Launching Soon – eBook “How to Choose a Home Business Idea and Become a Homepreneur. Plus 50 Home Business Ideas”

I transitioned to freelance writing after working in the banking industry for fourteen years. The decision to change tracks was both professionally and personally motivated, but it is one that I have rarely regretted. I shared my experience of starting as a freelancer in my first eBook called ‘Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer – How to Use Freelancing Websites to Source Jobs and Make Money from Home, which was published on Amazon Kindle in April 2016.

Being a freelancer has taught me so much about managing a business, cause that’s how you have to view any money-making venture. In my case, the key decisions to be made were deciding what type of content writing I was good at, which clients I should work with and where do I find them, how much to charge for my writing services, and which online channels I could use to promote myself.

In addition, over the last six years, I have read and written loads of content on starting a business, the challenges of being a business owner, and the technologies available to manage and promote a business. A couple of friends have also sought my guidance on freelancing and starting their business.

Second ebookMy experience as a former corporate employee,  business writer, and an adviser to friends, led me to write my second eBook. The eBook is tentatively titled,  ‘How to Choose a Home Business Idea and Become a Homepreneur. Plus 50 Home Business Ideas’ and should be available on Amazon Kindle within the month.

What’s the eBook About?

Most of us would love to give up the drudgery of a job and become a home business owner. But the transition from employment to becoming a homepreneur, as you probably already realize, is not an easy one.

For many aspiring home business entrepreneur or homepreneurs, the biggest roadblock is their inability to decide which business venture to pursue. After all, potential business ideas are a dime to a dozen.

You will find loads of business ideas on the internet. You could draw inspiration from your personal interests or professional experience. Perhaps you have learned of a business opportunity from a friend. A personal problem that you faced, may offer insight into the idea for a new business.

But which home business idea is right for you?

And once you decide the business idea, how do you make a start?

img_1648.jpgIf you too are grappling to find answers to these questions, then my second eBook is just what you need. ‘How to Choose a Home Business Idea and Become a Homepreneur’ has been written specifically to help you choose a home business idea and take the first steps towards actualizing your home business idea.

The eBook will give you food for thought on how you need to think strategically about every aspect of your home business. It will help you –

  • Assess whether you are ready to become a home business owner.
  • Understand the advantages of home business ownership.
  • Understand how to overcome the disadvantages of managing a home business.
  • Evaluate which home business idea works best for you.
  • Create a workable business plan to get started.
  • Understand what it takes to succeed as a home-business owner.

As a homepreneur, you are about to embark on one of the more rewarding phases of your life. Not having a boss to answer to, the joy of making all the decisions and growing your business from scratch, and the possibility of becoming an employment generator, the path to becoming a home business owner is certainly exciting.

A home business may be a small-sized venture, but starting it will require all the time, energy, positive attitude, resources, and creativity you can muster. As an entrepreneur, the stakes are always high, especially if you are the primary bread- earner of the family, or if you plan to dig into your savings to fund the business.

The transition to becoming a homepreneur must, therefore, be made with a clear understanding of what your business stands for, who are your customers, how will you sell, and how will you ultimately build a sustainable business.

The eBook is about 10500 words spread over eight chapters. Good friend Hazel Kamath @ TangleWithHazel has graciously agreed to provide doodles for the eBook. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the images.

 

 

 

 

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5 Internet Based Home Business Ideas

In India, many Hindus celebrate a day called the ” Vishwakarma Puja“, wherein tools and machinery are worshiped as a mark of gratitude for the livelihood earned through the functioning of these pieces of equipment. In my opinion, this concept should be extended to the internet as well. Thanks to the internet, millions of freelancers are able to do business with clients located globally.

I know it is probably an obvious statement to make, but I am grateful to be born in the time of the internet. Most women of the generation before us, especially those who were married to men with transferable jobs, did not have this flexibility. They were either restricted to being full-time housewives or teaching in schools where they earned far below their potential.

An internet-based home business is an ideal option for young mothers ( like myself) who often find themselves with limited spare time and energy. It provides flexibility of working hours, whilst giving the opportunity to put your professional skills to good use.

Of course, as with any other career, it is not easy to make money via the web. To get work through the web, you must be well-trained in the service you are providing. You must be a thorough professional. For instance, in the way you communicate with clients, negotiate pricing and meet committed delivery dates.

internet jobs

As a freelancer, I am often approached by acquaintances for information on home-business ideas that could work for them. This prompted me to start writing my next eBook, which is tentatively titled, “How to Choose a Home Business Idea and Become a Homepreneur. Plus – 50 Home Business Ideas!”

Here is an extract from the eBook on internet-based home business ideas. I hope you will find the information useful.

  1. Online Tutoring or home tuitions: If you have an interest in the education space, starting a home-based coaching centre is ideal. You can also expand your reach by enrolling with online tuition platforms such as My Private Tutor,  Udemy, and Eduboard.
  2. Online content writer: Start sourcing online content jobs through sites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru. My first eBook ” Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer – Use Freelancing Websites to Source Content Writing Jobs and Make Money from Home” is a ready reckoner for anyone looking to become a freelancer using websites such as Upwork.
  3. Editor: If you are good at identifying a badly written sentence, an editing business could be for you. There are two types of editing work- the first is copyediting, where you are checking for accuracy of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other writing style issues. The other is developmental editing, where in addition to copyediting, you also add, change, or delete content to improve readability. Apart from a good understanding of grammar, punctuation, you need to be familiar with the different international writing styles.
  4. Blogging: If you are passionate about a topic, start blogging. The key is to write just not what you know, but write blogs that answer questions/ concerns that people may have about your passion. Before you begin a blog, learn the technical aspects of blogging such as using the right keywords, and how to search-engine optimize your blog (to make it more searchable).
  5. Virtual task provider: Small business owners often lack the time, the resources, or the skill to handle routine tasks of their business. Depending on your skills, you can start a remote assistance business that handles these business tasks such as social media marketing, responding to customer emails, calling a customer base, data entry, writing blogs, creating powerpoint presentations, and writing standard operating procedures.

Apart from the above five, the other freelancing options that are in great demand on the internet are website design, mobile app design,  graphic design, social media marketing and SEO services.  If you have skills in these areas of work, you can pitch for international projects on freelancing websites such as Upwork and Freelancer.

New year resolutions

6 Ways To Improve as a Beginner Freelance Writer

Happy New Year

The year New Year is here, and it’s a good time as any to kick-start your freelance writing career. If you want to improve your writing skills and become a professional freelance writer this year, here’s what you need to do.

1. Read books on Writing – I recommend that you read these three books on writing:

Improve as a Freelance WriterWhen I first started as a freelance writer, The Yahoo Style Guide was extremely helpful in building an understanding of how to write content for the internet. I read the other two books several months later when I realized that I must sharpen my freelance writing skills to meet international standards.

Even when you aren’t working on paid assignments, spend time honing your writing skills by writing your blog, or reading other blogs. One person whom I enjoy reading is Henneke Duistermaat whose website is Enchanting Marketing.  Another blog that I followed closely in the initial stages was the ProBlogger.

2. Start a professional website/ blog: As a freelance writer its imperative that you have a platform that shows your writing skills, as well as contains details of your writing services and experience.

You can create a website or a blog for free on sites like WordPress; although you will have to pay a small amount to have a unique domain name.

To create blog content, list at least twenty potential target blog titles, and then start writing. You don’t necessarily have to write on topics that you know.  Your success as a freelance writer will depend on being able to research information and write informative articles; so do the same for your blog. You could pick three or four broad blog categories and then list titles under each.

List your writing services clearly, along with an ‘about me’ page that tells potential clients who you are, especially your academic/ professional background, and your writing expertise. Include a link to your social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook ( especially, if you have a Facebook page dedicated to your writing work)

Finally, include a ‘contact us’ form or just share your contact details on the website so potential clients can reach you.

If you don’t have the skills or the inclination to start a website, you can also create an article portfolio on Contently, and then share the link in your project proposals submitted to clients. But you still need to create and upload content here.

3. Write what the reader wants to know, and not what you know: When you write posts for your blog, or for clients, don’t ramble on because you have all these creative ideas and information that you want to share.The question is, does your reader have the time or the inclination to read your content?

Is your blog post or article informative, entertaining, relevant, or pathbreaking? Only content that falls in any of these four categories will succeed in engaging the reader.

Apart from writing quality content, ensure that your content is easy to read. Here are some basic writing guidelines:

  • Have a catchy headline. Blog titles with numbers ( e.g., X Tips, X ways) are a great way to communicate a real benefit of reading an article. Another way is to create a sense of urgency (e.g., include phrases such as ‘Need to know’ ).
  • List one or two keyword phrases, and include the keywords all through the article, including the blog title, first paragraph, and several times throughout the article. Also, include the keyword in the post’s meta description.
  • Divide the article into easy to scan through sections, with subheadings and bullet points. While this style may not work for every client, it is the preferred style of writing for the internet.

4. Seek a writing mentor: Approach a content writer who has more experience doing what you aspire to do. Suggest how you can be of help to them and inquire if they would be willing to work with you as a writing coach.

Even if you can’t identify anyone to help you develop your craft, don’t fret. It may take you a little longer to learn the ropes but the on-the-job experience is the greatest teacher. The more you write, the better you will get.

5. Use technology as an aid – Use online tools to make you a better content writer. The FREE writing apps that I frequently use are: Writing tips

  • Writebox – A distraction-free text editor that allows you to type without worrying about grammar or spelling errors, which you can correct later in the editing stage.
  • Hemingway Editor – An app that you can use to improve the readability of your article by identifying sentences which are too long or in the passive voice, as well as by suggesting removal of unnecessary words.
  • Grammarly – Another grammar and spelling check app, which apart from checking your content, can also be integrated with your email account to ensure that your business emails are error free.
  • Coscheduler – To analyze the effectiveness of your blog/article title
  • Blog Title Generator – To generate potential blog tiles when you are stuck for ideas

6. Test your skills as a writer by pitching for freelance writing jobs – Use websites such as Upwork to source content writing jobs ( there are plenty of creative and non-fiction writing jobs) and test your skills as a writer.

You will find loads of tips on my blog on creating a profile and bidding for jobs. For a more detailed update, you could also see my eBook and video series on using freelancing websites to source content writing jobs and make money from home.

As a final tip, if you want to succeed as a freelance writer, it’s imperative that you are professional to the core. Apart from being a good writer, you must be a reliable writer. Maintain a project tracker ( a simple excel sheet would do, or use Google calendar) to plan your article submission dates and to ensure that you never miss a client deadline.

Only commit to a deadline that you can keep. If the deadline promised to a client is 15th January, then try to complete the job by 13th at the latest; this will ensure that the client gets a final product by the promised date.

Now that you have made the resolve to be a better writer, all you need is a disciplined approach to get there, and hopefully, the above tips will help.

New year resolutions

Happy New Year.

( P.S Don’t miss my writing tips on Quora)

Starting a home business, Importance of a business plan

8 Reasons to Write a Business Plan for Your Home Business

Do you have a home-business idea but don’t how to make a beginning?

Having decided which business you want to be in, the first step to putting your ideas into action is to write a business plan.

A business plan is a 360-degree assessment of your home business. It documents every aspect – from defining your product, industry, customers, and competition, to listing your marketing and distribution strategy, sales targets, and business expenses.

Importance of Writing a Business Plan

If creating a sustainable small business from home is your end goal, a business plan is your roadmap to get there.

Almost everyone who intends to start a business, or wants to make major changes to an existing business (e.g. launching a new product or implementation of a new technology), must write a business plan.

Starting a home business, Importance of a business plan

Importance of a Business Plan

A business plan will help you in the following ways as you start a home business –

1. Stay focused: It keeps you focused on your business goals, as you grapple with the day-to-day challenges of your new enterprise.
2. A sense of business: It gives you a sense of creating a ‘business’ even when all you have is a laptop and a telephone to get started.
3. SWOT assessment: It compels you to identify the threats and opportunities you will face both in the present and in the near future. This assessment helps you develop strategies to circumvent the risks, and leverage favorable conditions.
4. Share your ideas: It’s a valuable document for sharing with investors, lenders, and potential employees, on what makes your business worth their time.
5. Division of work: If you have a business partner, detailing your business helps in allocation of responsibilities.
6. Help items: It also serves as a means for identifying which aspects of your business you need help with. E.g. Social media marketing or website creation, may not be your expertise, and it may make sense to hire a freelancer for the job.
7. Serves as a benchmark: Evaluating your progress against the milestones listed in the business plan will help you assess the correctness of your day-to-day business decisions.
8. Understand the financials: If you plan to enter a business that requires a large investment, or where goods are sold on credit, a business plan will help you list potential sources of investment, and how you need to manage your cash flow.

The level of detailing will depend on the size of your business, as well as the end purpose of drafting the plan. Although the length of a business plan can vary from a few pages to more than a hundred pages, for most small businesses, a business plan of 10- 20 pages is sufficient to draft a working strategy.

That’s all for now folks.

Ensure that you press ‘follow’ button above to stay tuned and receive informative updates on working as a freelance writer,  web content writing tips, and managing a home business.

( image source)

home business, small business

Are You Ready to be a Small Business Owner?

“Darn….I am fed up with my boss, and there are no jobs in this stagnant economy! I’ve always dreamt of doing something of my own, and maybe that time is now!”

Does this sound like you?

Starting a small business is something that perhaps most of us dream about. After all, what’s not to love about being the boss or not having a 9 to 6 routine.

But, are you really ready to dive in?

home business, small business

Are you ready to become a business owner?

One of my favorite shows on TV is the SharkTank, where small business owners pitch their products/ services/ and new business ideas to established business moguls such as Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. As per Ivana Taylor, founder of DIYMarketers, the entrepreneurs who appear on the show Shark Tank are perfect examples of entrepreneurs who “are so driven by the need to solve a problem that they devote their life and savings. They can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Starting a small business will require time and energy, and all the positive attitude, and creativity you can muster. The answer as to when is the right time to start a small business, is akin to asking someone, “Whom should I marry?” The decision of when to begin has to be made by you.

However, as with evaluating whether or not you ready for marriage, you have to assess some do’s and don’t before deciding to become an entrepreneur. Before you start your business, spend considerable time scoping the market opportunity, identifying what makes your business idea unique, and whether you have enough savings to support yourself for at least two years without a paycheck.

 

5-reasons-for-starting-a-small-business

 

Answering the following questions will help you to arrive at a decision if ‘now’ is the time to start a small business from home.

1. Are you passionate about what your business idea? At the very least, is the business idea something that you are really interested in starting? Do you believe that this is something you will enjoy or be good at?
2. Do you have the experience, skills, or professional network to succeed in the marketplace? Has your existing profession prepared you for success in the industry you plan to start a business? Have you spent considerable time reading up on the industry and the opportunities it presents?
3. Can you commit the money and time needed for the venture? Do you have access to the funds to get started? ( e.g. for procuring the raw material, manufacturing the product through an off-site business partner, or maintaining a minimum level of inventory to start with).
4. What customer problem are you going to solve? Or how will you be different from the competition? You don’t necessarily have to start something groundbreaking, but you do need to offer a real value for your customers, be it pricing, quality, or overall customer experience.
5. Have you tested your business idea, product or service? For instance, you could have helped a friend with a business problem and discovered that you have a marketable skill. Maybe you designed something that your friends appreciated. If you aren’t convinced, it may be a good idea to hold your day job as you launch your business on a small scale to test the waters.
6. Have you done your preliminary research on demand ( especially local demand if you plan to sell a product), customer needs, suppliers, pricing, and local competition/ business trends?
7. How good are you at taking decisions alone? Because you will most likely be working alone in the initial phase you must be decisive on what you need to focus on at any point in time.
8. Do you have the ability to persuade people? For instance, your skills of persuasion will come in handy when negotiating the price with a customer, or cost with a supplier. You may need to persuade an old friend to work with you on the project.
9. Do you enjoy multitasking and working towards goals? As the sole business owner, you must be a highly organized person to ensure that you focus on every aspect of your business.
10. Are you comfortable working in an unstructured environment, where every day will present its unique set of challenges? Are you an eager learner and someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone?

It may not be the best time to give up your steady job and start a small business if you have a new baby in the family or if you have a just bought a home on a mortgage. Don’t start a business because you are fed up with your current company and boss; maybe what you need is a new job. And don’t start a business unless you feel genuinely excited and convinced that you have a viable business idea.

 

small business start up

There may never be a perfect time to start your business.

On the other hand, as you contemplate starting a small business, there will always be ‘ifs and buts’. The competition will always seem tough, and despite all the market research, there are no guarantees of success. If you are looking for the perfect time and opportunity to start your small business from home, you will be left waiting and wanting.

Starting your small business could be the most rewarding venture of your life; but before you make a start ensure that you have the resources, support, the risk appetite, and the determination to persevere.