It seems like everyone these days is a *hustler*. A lot of people are running home based businesses. Some are bloggers, photographers, web designers, event planners, and more. Some use their skills at crafts to make a few extra bucks. Some sell cosmetics, phone service, purses, or energy services. You name it, someone has figured out a way to sell it from home. Just about everyone has a skill that can be turned into a business. But is that business actually successful?
It is important to figure out the money aspect of it. Of course every business might not start out successful and making a profit from the start. All business need some work and nurturing. And it might take us new business owners a while to get the hang of juggling. This is especially true if you are a sole proprietor aka one-woman (man) shop. Things might not always be perfect. But with some support, understanding, and hard work… they can be profitable. But what if it's not? If you work a full-time job that pays the bills you have more leeway with your side gig. You can do what you love as a hobby, and not worry about making much of a profit unless you want to. You will probably be happy just getting some business by word of mouth. You can maintain this as long as it makes you happy. However, if your home based business is your primary means of income you have to be careful and be sure that it is bringing home the bacon.
Some have a belief that you cannot start a business without investing money. That is not always true. It depends on what you do. If you take awesome pics and you already have a pro quality camera, starting your business can be as simple as a friend asking you to take photos at their wedding. You do an awesome job, they tell another friend, and you're off! However, if your business involves crafting, stocking items, or something that requires purchasing lots of materials, you might want to make sure that you are not in over your head.
If you are wondering if you are headed in the right direction with your business, here are a few questions that you might want to think about:
- Do you spend more money on materials than you make in profits?
- Is your stock room (aka office) overflowing with supplies or items that are not selling?
- Do you make enough money each month to pay at least some of the bills?
- Are you consistently bringing in new clients?
- If you offer services, are your services unique?
- If you sell products is the quality of your products something different and better than those that clients can order cheaper online?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed or unsure about your business?
Depending on how you answered the above questions it may be time to take a step back and make a plan. Perhaps you need to adjust your services a bit. Or perhaps you are marketing to the wrong demographic. Maybe your social media needs a boost to get some buzz going. Or, maybe your website needs an overhaul to attract new clients.
If you have given it a good try and nothing is working perhaps it is time to let the business go and refocus. For example… since I have always had an affinity for computers, several years ago I used to build them from scratch for clients. I always enjoyed doing it for myself. I loved upgrading and tweaking until they worked just like I wanted. Before I knew it friends and relatives were asking me to build, and then it was a business, “Cain Computers.” It was fun for a while, but it quickly became evident that it was too much for me to handle by myself. You see I was not a big name computer company, I was a one-woman shop. When something went wrong I could not just place a call to Dell or HP and get it fixed like I did for my day job. It was all me. Sometimes tracking down just where a problem came from not easy. And computer component prices were not like they are now. They could get quite expensive. So, after doing that for a while I realized that it was a bit too much and I stopped. However to this day I will still build just for fun. 🙂
Now I try to think before jumping into a new business venture. I have a list of things that I want to accomplish, but I am slow to “expand” until I know that I can focus and devote the right amount of time and energy. And… I am waiting until I don't feel behind on things already on my list. 🙂 The businesses that I run now easily pay themselves off luckily. My main business is service based (blogging, social media, web design, etc.) so I don't have to spend a ton on materials that may become outdated to run my business. Yes, I still spend a fair share on office supplies, marketing, and the occasional gadget, but I always make it back easily. In my other business, photography, I make sure that my fee will cover my expenses and materials, plus leave me a certain profit.
I *think* I finally have an edge on how this thing should work. Do I know everything? Abso-freaking-lutely not! I am learning every day, pushing myself to catch up, learn more, get inspired, and succeed. But, I have also learned that if something is not working, I may just need to change my approach.
So, ask yourself… is your home based business worth the trouble?