How to start a business from your Living Room

Posted on Jul 29th, 2013 | Productivity

The recession has not stopped many entrepreneurs thriving, especially within the freelancing community. As business owners see the internet as a cheap way to launch a new business the services of freelance professionals such as copywriters, web designers and virtual assistants are in high demand. In fact almost anyone can now claim a slice of the eCommerce pie by setting up a business online, all that’s needed is a family PC or laptop and a couple of days of free time.

We’ve put together some tips to get you started quickly; if reading this early you could be in business by bedtime!

Create a Website

Your first step is to create a website. Even if it’s just one or two free WordPress pages, this will provide the base where you want everyone to go. You need to ensure that this website sells your products or services perfectly and has the ability to convert visitors into customers so that when someone is directed there you’re 99% into closing a sale.

You can do this yourself with a little research or you can hire a copywriter from £20 per webpage and a web designer from £15 per hour from an online freelance marketplace like PeoplePerHour.

Connect with Peers

The next step is to connect with businesses that complement your products or services but aren’t in direct competition. You can build up connections on social media websites or through local networking events. The more people you meet the more chance you’ll have of gaining that all important profit in the first few weeks.

Build a Presence

Building a presence online is a little different to offline as you have so many more channels to focus your energies on. You also need to be mindful of keeping your private and professional life separate online, so even if you have a thousand Twitter followers and 5000 Facebook friends for your personality, unless you’re a celebrity in your own right, customers will want to see your professional side.

That’s why it’s a good idea to start from scratch, use the pages facility of Facebook, create a business Twitter account and follow some golden rules that ensure you never step over the line.

Boost Your Ranking

You probably know that appearing at the top of search engines for certain terms can be a licence to print money as you are what people see when they’ve already made the decision to hire or buy. To get there you need to ensure your content is rich, engaging and informative while connecting with peers to ensure you have links on other websites too. You can regularly update your blog, add your business to Google Places or invest a little more money and choose a freelance SEO expert to help.

Enhance Your Reputation

When people search for a product or service online, they utilise the wealth of information at their fingertips and delve a little deeper than if they were shopping on the high street. They will research you and your brand and see if you deliver what you promise and have knowledge on the area you’re trading in. This is why it’s not only important to guest blog with informative articles and advice, it’s also important to encourage feedback and reviews online to confirm your position as a leader in your industry.

Get the Ball Rolling

Once you have a website, a social media presence and a presence online you can start making waves to bring visitors and customers to your business. There are many ways to encourage a flurry of interest such as:

A competition

This can be announced on social media prompting people to “share to win” considering every Facebook user has an average of 234 friends each, the results can snowball quickly.

A press release

Press releases are no longer distributed to the broadsheets and tabloids; there are hundreds of sites waiting for news and many allow you to submit your news for free. You can pay a little extra to guarantee your exposure as some sites promise to promote you on news outlets like Yahoo! News or Google News.

An eShot

You can utilise connections you already have by sending out an eShot to all of your contacts, letting them know about your new venture. Many will probably tell their friends especially if they like what you’re doing.

All of this can be done from your living room, from a laptop with nothing to pay for except your electricity. You can choose the paid versions or find freelance consultants to increase power and exposure however if you have the skill, the free versions can be effective too. It’s no wonder there are thousands of people choosing to become freelancers online everyday.

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Written by Martina Mercer

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