How to build a home business for veterans (or anyone for that matter) is all about finding something you love to do. Something fun. And then sharing it with the world!
How do you convert fun into profit?
There is a four step process to building a home business as follows:
- Step 1 – Choose your passion
- Step 2 – Build your website
- Step 3 – Get people to visit your website
- Step 4 – Earn revenue
The following infographic shows how big home-based business in America is. Data becomes outdated as soon as it is published!
Four Steps to Building a Home Business
Step 1 – Choose Your Passion
Making money from home is not, or should not, be a job. It all begins with selecting a niche you like from which to make money.
Merriam-Webster defines niche as an activity that is very suitable to someone. A niche is the situation in which a business’s products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people.
Some of the best known businesses started off as hobbies or garage projects.
- Do you know Apple or Amazon? Jeff Bezos started Amazon.com as an online bookstore run completely out of his garage!
- How about Mrs. (Debbi) Fields? She started her home business while she was a stay-at-home mom. She became a famous global brand. Everybody knows Mrs. Fields’ cookies!
- Did you know Google started out in a garage? Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Stanford Graduate students, started Google in Susan Wojcicki’s garage in September 1998. Their garage project started interfering with their graduate studies. So they tried selling it to Excite for $1 million. Excite declined to buy. The rest is history. Now Excite is ranked by Alexa.com as the 10,352th popular website in the world. Google, of course, is #1.
Part of the definition of a niche involves identifying a group or groups of people. These are people who want to buy a certain product or service.
You cannot turn passion into profit until you identify the group of people that would be interested in your product. The more specific the group is, the more successful you will be in identifying that group. The internet is a gigantic marketplace. There are people who want your specific product.
Today it is easier than ever to build an amazing website. Make your online business or blog come alive and attract new visitors and clients.
That is all well and good, but how do you choose your passion? Or find a niche?
Start by creating a list of things you are passionate about, your hobbies, special interests, things that “float your boat,” make you excited. Ask your spouse or significant other. Once you have your list of ideas, rank them. You know the drill! #1, #2…
Next, do some market research to see if there are people interested in your ideas. I have an article about market research. Just CLICK HERE for more information on identifying your home business target market.
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Step 2 – Build a Website
Building a website is Step 2 in the process of building an online home business. Building a website consists of two parts, building the actual website structure and adding content. There are three ways to build websites. Hire a website designer, use web development software or web editor or use an online website builder. I will briefly describe all three ways. But the focus will be on using a website builder and I will tell you why.
Three ways to build a website
First, hire a website designer. A number of professional website design companies offer website design services. But considering the cost of these services, the majority of designers are outside of our budgets. An alternative is to hire an independent website designer. Prices are considerably lower. Check out Fiverr.com, which provides low cost professional services. Websites can be designed for less than $100.00. But, buyers beware there are higher risks to using low-cost designer services. Quality is an issue and delivering on time is another.
Another alternative for building a website is to use web development software. There is comprehensive software available such as Dreamweaver as well as free software (often open-source) that can be used. For example, Kompozer is a handy web editor, but requires coding knowledge and experience. Unless you want to learn web development and coding, using stand-alone software really is not an option.
The third option is using an online website builder. A number of web hosting companies such as HostGator and GoDaddy offer automated website builder applications as an additional benefit for their web hosting customers. There are also online companies that offer automated website building and eCommerce tools. Examples are Wix and Weebly. An online builder makes it easy to create your website. Select a theme, add your information through easy to use drag-and-drop editor and save to publish your website.
Adding content by using a website Content Management system
The previous section covered the website technical and structural form. Next, Content is developed, added and managed through a Content Management System (CMS). CMS is a software application used to create and modify content using a standard interface. The CMS user interface is designed so that anyone can create or modify content and add it to a website without using a webmaster or outside agent.
Some of the most popular CMS includes WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! WordPress is probably the most common CMS used with over 60 million applications worldwide. (I found WordPress much easier to learn and use than Joomla!)
WordPress is one of the most popular applications because it is:
- free – WordPress is a free open-source software.
- easy to learn – WordPress has proven to be a program that is easy to learn.
- easy to use – no coding, programming or file transfer programs are required.
- easy to create websites – over one thousand templates or website themes are available.
- social media friendly – customizable social media capability is often built in.
- flexible – thousands of plugins are available to improve website functionality.
Step 3 – Get Visitors to Your Website
Visitors and customers are the lifeblood of any business, whether online or a brick-and-mortar business.
This section highlights the main methods of attracting visitors (traffic) to your online business. The four main source of traffic are content creation, social media, paid advertising (Pay Per Click, for example) and email marketing systems.
The previous section focused on three ways to build a website and different content management systems, particularly WordPress. The CMS software is designed to present website content in a manner to attract visitors.
Successful content-based websites that are built around a specific theme attract the most visitors. The websites that provide quality, relevant information (content) and are built with some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tend to be ranked higher in the major search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo. The higher ranking websites are more likely to attract more visitors in competitive niches.
The importance of quality and quantity of website content cannot be stressed enough. The more relevant the information is to people searching for information to solve their problems the better it is for the business owner.
Sharing is caring. This is a very connected world with people networking around the world and around the clock. Information sharing is instantaneous and can go viral spreading quickly.
Social media connectivity is built into most online website builders. Social engagement is key to success for many businesses. It is difficult to find a website these days that does not have the “Like,” “Tweet” or “Share” buttons.
I love Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook! Members sort themselves out by demographics and interests. Where else do people join groups based on specific interests? Name any group of people, Work-at-Home Moms or Senior Golfers for instance. There are a number of groups based on these interests in the social networks.
Paid advertising includes Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Action (PPA), Cost Per Action (CPA). These are advertising business models that for a price advertisers will display brief ad copy to web users. This screenshot shows paid ads at the top of the search results for “golf balls.”
Pricing for this kind of advertising is based on the popularity of search terms. The search terms are called “keywords” which reflect the words a person would use to find information on the internet. The more popular words or groups of words are, the higher the price.
The advantage of using PPC is the ability to specifically target a group of potential customers. Ideally, customers with cash or the ability to buy now.
Some of the popular paid advertising sources include Facebook Ads, Google’s Adwords and Bing Ads. Facebook Ads.
Email Marketing Systems
Email marketing has been around along time. It is a popular marketing system to the point of being abused by aggressive marketers. The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 was passed to control the distribution of Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE). In other words, SPAM.
Email marketing systems are automated systems that are designed to capture potential customers (voluntarily) email addresses, add the information to a database and then integrated into an automated mailing system. Once in the automated mailing system, emails are sent to the recipients on a periodic basis.
A typical email marketing system uses a lead capture page (or called a landing page) designed to get the viewer to provide personal information, particularly email address. Usually the landing page includes an inducement such as money-saving coupon, a free offer, free report or limited time sales price. Some email marketing systems will send a confirmation email to the recipient asking they confirm their addition to the marketer’s list. The Can SPAM Act requires that the mail sent to recipients include a “Remove Me” or “Unsubscribe” function in the email. This allows the recipient to unsubscribe at any time.
Amazon.com has a world-class email system to service their millions of customers. Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a cost-effective email service built on the reliable and scalable infrastructure that Amazon.com developed to serve its own customer base.
Step 4 – Earn Revenue
Now that you have people visiting your website, you can offer products and services. There are several ways you can do this. You can build your website as an eCommerce site or an affiliate-related site.
eCommerce sites refer to online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers much like a brick-and-mortar store. BigCommerce.com is an example.
Many companies, Amazon for example, have “affiliate programs” which are free to join. Affiliate programs allow you to promote just about anything without having to develop and own the product yourself. There is no inventory or shipping.
From links on your website, or separate advertising, your visitors can go to the company website for products you are promoting on your website. Depending on the affiliate program and products, you can earn commissions of up to 75% if your visitors buy something. Amazon alone, has over 32,000 different types of basketball shoes from which you can earn a commission. Each company sets their own commission rates. Digital software products tend to have the highest commission rates (also the highest competition). For more information about what is affiliate marketing, please read my article.
Going back to the previous discussion of the idea that “website content is king,” successful affiliate marketers build their own websites and create content. It seems like monetizing their website via affiliate programs is an after thought. But their website visitors are more inclined to buy products when they find them in real websites. Just slapping product pictures and links does not work. They create useful content that helps people solve problems.
How to build a home business for veterans is conceptually simple. So much so that at times it is easy to forget that success does not occur over night.
But “time flies when you are having fun!”
It takes learning, planning, patience, persistence and effort, skills military veterans possess, to be successful.
Word of caution: Occasionally we are drawn to the idea of taking short-cuts. There are so many pre-made, done-for-you business opportunities on the internet that are a waste of money and time. These get-rich-quick schemes promise overnight riches without effort. If they were true, everyone would be rich.
I am absolutely committed to changing our financial success together. If you have any questions about how to build a home business online, I would love to help! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the form below. Or visit Wealthy Affiliate.
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