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        Another AHBBO Article
        How Do I Start A Home Business?

        © 2014 Elena Fawkner

        From time to time (at least once a day actually) I'll get an
        impossible-to-respond-to email that says something like,
        "How can I work from home?", or "I want to start my own
        home business.  Please send info." or even, "Please send
        free info.".  Naturally such vague, generalized requests are
        not, for reasons of time (among others), going to elicit a
        particularly helpful response but it does exemplify the
        mindset of a proportion of my site visitors - they think they
        want to start a home business but where on earth do they


        The best advice I can give to someone who asks a question
        as vague as this is that they're asking the wrong question.
        The first question they should be asking themselves is:
        "SHOULD I start a home business?", not HOW do they do so. 

        The person who asks how to start a home business has not
        given much, if any, thought to what they might do as such
        a business (otherwise, their question would be "How do I start
        an errand service home business?" or "How do I start a gourmet
        gift basket home business?"). 

        So, first things first.  Why do you want to start a home
        business?  What are the advantages as you see them?
        What are the disadvantages?  What entrepreneurial qualities
        do you bring to the table that make you think you could
        make a success of your own business?  What is your plan?
        What product or service will you market?  Who are your
        customers?  When will you give up your day job?  Are you
        thinking about this because you just LOST your day job
        (if so, warning bells should be ringing very loudly!)?  A home
        business is most definitely NOT for everyone and it's
        certainly not a solution to unemployment per se. 

        There are financial considerations too, obviously.  How will
        you support yourself until you generate a profit?  Where will
        you obtain financing? 

        For more thought starters, read "Look Before You Leap ...
        Is a Home-Based Business REALLY For You?" in the AHBBO
        Articles Library at http://www.shelteredturtle.com/lookb4uleap.html .

        Assuming you work your way through the above considerations
        and conclude that you do, indeed, want to start your own
        home business, then, and only then, should you ask "HOW do I
        start a home business?"

        There are as many answers to this question as there are
        individuals who ask it.  There is no one answer that fits all
        sizes.  Generally speaking, however, the process of starting
        one's own home business can be broken down into seven
        broad steps.


        If you're truly starting at ground zero and you don't already
        do something on the side that you'd kind of like to see if
        you could make fly, your first step is to decide what it is
        you'd like to do as your business.

        I'm a firm believer in following your passion, whether that
        be for gardening (start a herb and spice business or
        cultivate cuttings for distribution via mail order), lead-
        lighting (design and create stained glass lampshades),
        accounting (run a home-based small business accountancy
        service) or website design.  It doesn't matter whether
        other people are equally as passionate about what
        you're passionate about.  It's YOUR passion that counts
        and it's YOUR passion that will propel you towards
        success.  Do something you love to do in other words.
        Make your work your joy and you won't be able to help
        but succeed.


        Now, it's one thing to know what you're passionate
        about, it's quite another to identify an unmet need in
        that field.  But that's what you must do if you want to
        turn your passion into a truly profitable business venture.

        Identifying your niche is a pretty straightforward

        1.  Identify your general category and sub-category

        Let's say your general passion is gardening.  Gardening is
        your general category.  Let's also say that you're
        particularly interested in growing herbs and how they
        can be used for cooking and medicinal purposes.  Herb
        growing is your sub-category.

        2.  Hang out with people interested in your sub-category

        In order to identify unmet needs in your sub-category
        (step 3.), you must find out from people interested in
        your sub-category what they're looking for that they
        can't find.  A good way to find out is to hang out where
        they hang out - offline and on.  Offline, you may belong
        to a local gardening club or cooking class at which you
        hear that so-and-so has been looking high and low for
        a certain type of specialty herb that isn't commonly
        grown in your country.  Online, you may sign up for
        mailing lists and hang out in newsgroups to listen to
        what people are asking time and again. 

        3.  Identify unmet or under-met needs in your sub-category

        If you follow step 2, chances are, if you hear the same
        things repeatedly, you've found potential unmet needs
        or needs that aren't being adequately serviced by your
        competition.   After all, if the need is being met, it won't be
        the subject of repeated questions.

        4.  Inventory your experience, interests and competencies

        In order to decide what to focus on in particular out of
        a group of potential unmet or under-met needs, take account
        of your experience, interests and competencies.  People are
        generally good at what they enjoy and are interested in,
        after all.

        5.  Fill the unmet or under-met need

        Once you've identified the unmet need(s) in your
        sub-category, you can start thinking about how your
        business can fill that unmet need.


        At this stage, you need to take your business idea
        and survey your niche market and your competition.
        If you have competition, can you be better?  If your
        market is dominated by a few large, well-established
        players and you really don't bring anything new or
        different to the table, then the competition is probably
        going to be too stiff.  On the other hand, if that
        competition is focused on the high end of the market
        leaving the lower end largely uncatered for, then this
        could well be an excellent niche for you.

        The bottom line is to identify your best competition in
        your niche and decide whether you can be better.
        Only if you believe you can be the best in your
        niche should you proceed.  If not, keep looking until
        you find a niche perfectly suited to your particular
        blend of experience, interests and competencies in
        which you can be the absolute best.

        => BUSINESS PLAN

        Once you've identified your niche and surveyed your
        market and competition and are reasonably confident
        you can be at least as good as your best competitor,
        it's time to get down to brass tacks.

        This is where you take your business idea and shape
        it into a battle plan.  Formulating a business plan is
        goal-setting for your business.  For a more detailed
        treatment of writing a business plan, read
        "Putting the Plan Back Into Your Business Plan"
        at http://www.shelteredturtle.com/busplan.html .

        Once you've thought through and recorded your
        business plan you should have an extremely
        thorough understanding of your industry and the
        challenges you must overcome to make a success
        of your business.  Take your business plan and
        establish objectives, goals (which support attainment
        of the objectives) and tasks (which support attainment
        of the goals).

        Put your tasks and goals into action to achieve
        your objectives.  Decide where you want your business
        to be in five years time and work backwards until
        you have 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 year objectives and goals
        to support them and tasks to support the goals.  The
        end result should be a daily to-do list of things that
        will directly lead you closer to the achievement of
        your goals and objectives.

        => ACTION

        Once you have your daily to-do list, DO IT!  The best laid
        plans of mice and men are useless if not translated into
        action.  It's action that will propel you and your business
        towards success.  Mere thoughts and plans are necessary
        but insufficient.  They must be translated into activity.

        => TRANSITION

        If possible, transition from whatever you're doing now
        into your business.  Test the waters, in other words.
        If you're currently in a paid job, stay there and run
        your business part-time, taking the risk on someone
        else's nickel until you can be confident this thing's
        going to float.  Know when you're better off devoting
        your full time and attention to your business (i.e.,
        know when an hour of your time is worth more when
        spent invested in your business than your job) for
        that is the time to shift into full-time entrepreneurship.

        => MAKING THE LEAP

        Finally, make the leap with faith and courage.  Sure,
        you'll have moments of self-doubt, thoughts of
        "can I do this?" when you're wondering where the next
        order's going to come from and you think back to the
        nice, safe, secure paycheck you used to be able to
        count on in your job.  But recognize these insecurities
        for what they are.  They are your mind playing tricks
        on you.  You can do anything you set your mind to.
        You just have to want it badly enough.  So, when the
        time comes to make the leap, do it and hold nothing
        back.  Your success or failure is up to you alone.
        There are no excuses. 

        So, in answer to the question "how do I start my own
        home business?", it's quite simple really.  You do what it

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