Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Starting a Web-based Business, Part 2

Welcome back!

In this series, we've been discussing how to start earning income from home through a website-based industry. (If you missed part 1, go here.) In other words, in the kind of business we've been talking about, there's more to your business than just the computer screen; you're selling a product or service.

Last time we covered how important it is to count the cost before getting involved in an entrepreneurial venture. You don't want to put your hand to the plow and then quit when the going gets tough. You've got to be in it for the long haul, and be committed to hard work.

You also must realize that even if your business is based around something you love to do (sewing, for example), you will probably have to do things in that business that you hate. I love shopping for our Simply Modest business, for example, but I hate loading inventory on the site.

Guess what? I have to do it anyway; because I'm not only the boss, but also the employee. There's no passing the buck.

So be prepared to be challenged and stretched. It's quite the adventure! Reward yourself every so often. Sometimes I hold myself back from something I want, until I finish uploading "such and such" amount of inventory - then I treat myself.

Today I want to talk about the traits you will need to develop in yourself as you become a business owner. You may be good at some of these things already - in fact, it's highly likely that you've got at least one covered, judging from the fact that you want to start a business, and these are business skills.But few people start out having all these bases covered. I know I didn't. And I still don't. It's a learning process. But little by little, I'm growing.

#1: Organized

You've got. to. be. organized. Absolutely. You can run a business slip-shod (ask me - I did it the second year of our website!) but you will end up bouncing checks (I didn't quite do that one, but came close!), re-selling products that have already been sold to someone else, and forgetting to ship out orders.

If you aren't the naturally organized type, consider a business partner who is great at those things, or just whip yourself into shape. Ask yourself "could I make myself stay organized if I worked for an organization where my job depended upon my organization skills?"

Yes? Good, because you do.

If you want to be more organized, but aren't sure how to be, take the time to learn. The word "organization" is often thrown around as if everybody knows how to do it. That's not true; you have to learn. If you don't know what you're doing, you'll have your workspace neat and clean, but spend many precious minutes finding everything, because the space doesn't work.

#2 - A Good Accountant
Let's face it; a business means dealing with money. Can you balance a checkbook? Will you balance a checkbook? Do you know how to figure costs and profits? Can you keep track of everything?

No? Work on it. Get somebody who's good at it to teach you.

#3 - Skilled
This kinda goes without saying, but you must be good at what you do. This has to be something you can do in your sleep. That doesn't mean you have to be the best, just that you have to be good.

Aim for high quality, and be proud of your work. You're building a brand, and you want your name to be associated with high standards. Practice, practice, practice, and be confident in your ability to turn out good results every time, before you start marketing your skill or product. No customer wants to be a guinea pig.

#4 - Somewhat web-savy
Relax - you don't have to know html to run a website. Not now-a-days. But you do need basic computer skills. If you can blog, you can manage a website.

I'm sure that if you are looking into starting a web business, you want to know all sorts of information on which web hosts are the best, how much websites cost, what to look for in hosting, etc., so I'll probably deal with that in my next post. It's an important topic, so stay tune!

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