|(Photo by Images of Money)|
1. Home-service mechanic. Okay, this is not exactly something you can do at home, but it's a service you can manage from home and offer to your neighbors and everyone within a two kilometer radius from your house. Actually, I've always wondered why this service is so seldom offered. If my car is broken, isn't it obvious that I would need somebody to go to my house to fix it? I could hardly drive it to a shop if it won't start, right?
2. Ironing and laundry service. You already wash your own clothes, right? It shouldn't be too hard to put up a sign in front of your house offering to wash your neighbors' clothes as well. Better yet, put the sign up at the village gate. Really, you never know who might need your help. Good target: moms with new babies. (Can you imagine all those diapers to wash? Just make sure to ask them to rinse the diapers out very well first!)
3. Web design. If you're running an online business, you would do well to have a Web site. For some, Multiply works well. But for the more finicky among us (like me), we want our business Web site to carry our own domain name and our own unique template. I'd been forced to design my own site for this blog and for Escrive.com, but it took so much time, I tell you, if I could have found somebody I could afford, I would have enlisted their services.
4. Tailoring. This is so classic, we often overlook it. With a sewing machine and a lot of talent, you could sew up a dozen outfits and sell them online. You could also offer alterations and repairs to your next-door neighbors. There's always a zipper getting broken or a pair of pajamas getting ripped somewhere, and honestly, not all of us have the time to repair them ourselves.
5. Be an Avon lady. If you love lotions and make-up and jewelry and bags and all those kinds of girly stuff, this is one of the easiest and most fun businesses to get into -- and often, all you need to do is to leave a catalog lying around where people can get them! My mother-in-law makes a pretty good living doing this, I tell you, though of course, it took her years to build up her client base.
I've said it before, I will say it again and again: it takes years to build up a client base. You've got to start sometime!
(Ma, I advise this to others, but I can't do it myself because, as you know, I don't use makeup or lotions or even a toner, and I hardly ever buy shoes and bags; I'm in the running for stingiest person on Earth.)
How to get clients
Now the question is, how do you get clients? Here is what you need:
1. Time. I can't emphasize this hard enough. People write and say, I'm giving birth, I want to quit my job, how can I start my own homebased business?
Oh, boy. We are presuming here that you want to start your business so you can replace your job's income? Not going to happen in that time frame! And if you opt to take a shortcut and get a work-at-home job instead, you'll soon find that you'll need to double your office job's hours when you move at home, in order to match your old income. That is, unless you're so lucky that your current office job will allow you to telecommute.
If you want a homebased business, start taking steps toward it as soon as possible. If necessary, offer your work for free just so you can build a reputation and a portfolio.
2. Have an online presence. This means having a shop at Multiply or eBay or Sulit.com.ph. Better yet, have your own Web site. I put up Escrive.com on twenty-four hours of labor and a P500 cashout.
3. Brand your expertise. This is how my friend Tarie gets all her clients. If you want a detailed crash course on how she did it, she's holding a seminar on it this March 2012. Click here to read more. If you want just a brief summary, here it is: she's been blogging on her niche since 2005, and she maintains an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc.!
4. Activate your network. You can't build a client base by being a loner. Solitude can help you be a great philosopher or scientist, but if you're starting a business, you've got to go out and meet people. And you've got to let them know about your business. Have business cards printed out. Have a Facebook page. Have a blog. (If you can't write, find somebody who can. Escrive has written for a lot of blogs.) Join online groups and attend meet-ups. Oh, and be nice! Come on time, keep your promises, do favors, give free advice, etc.
It's hard work, I tell you. If you want something easy and comfortable, you won't find it in a homebased business; you will find it in an office job. But that won't let you watch over the kids and their yaya.
That's as many tips as I can give right now. I hope other successful work-at-home moms out there could add their tips too!
Next up: where to get funding and how to build your own classy Web site!