So you want to be an entrepreneur ? Live free of an employers chains? Earn more money the harder you work? While doing it all in your underwear? If the answer is yes, then look no further you’ve come to right place. Now, launching a business can be hard, most business require over $30,000 plus to startup. However, most of it goes into renting space. So why not just do it from home ? A home business is one of the best low-cost ways to earn money as an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy work and you won’t make much to start with. However, if you follow my 10 steps I can guarantee you’ll succeed and at the very least make a living.

So here are the 5 steps to follow for your home-based business:

Step 1: What am I doing ?

So what do you do first? I can bet every dollar in my pocket that the first think you thought of doing is coming up with a name. ERRRRRRN, wrong answer! Sorry but, deciding the name comes later. The first thing you need to figure out is what you’re selling. Is is a product, service or idea? Once you’ve figure it out, you need to write a list of features and benefits for your product or service (for ideas this is harder to do, but try your best). If you don’t know what they are here is a break down to guide you:
Features: Are what the product, service or idea can do and what makes it special. For example, say you want to sell iPhones. Take the iPhone 6s plus, can you tell me what the features are? No? Well here are a few: it has a 12 megapixel camera, 4k video resolution, A9 processor, live photos and supports 3D touch. These are a few of the phones features, it’s what makes it unique over other phones.

Benefits: When you think of benefits what comes to mind? Most likely you’re thinking, what value can I gain from something or how does it help me, right? Well that is exactly what the benefits of your product/service/idea are. It’s what will help people and add value for them. For example, going back to the iPhone a benefit of the 12 megapixel camera is that it allows people to take clearer pictures. Moreover, the moving pictures provides entertainment value for the user.

Make sure you write as many features and benefits down as possible. Now on to step two.

Step 2: Who am I doing it to ?

Now that you’ve figured out what you’re selling you need to think about who you will sell it to. You’re probably laughing saying to yourself; “that easy, I’ll sell it to whoever the hell buys it”. Although, that’s a valid point, again you are wrong. Unless, you have millions of dollars and a lot of time, you won’t be able to market your product to everyone. So what do you do? Remember those features and benefits you wrote down? Great! We are going to use them now.

The best practice to maximize your sales is to segment your market and create a group of people you want to sell to. In marketing this group is called your target market. Usually, this requires a lot of research and planning. However, for a home based business it’s not as complicated. Most likely, you’ll be selling your product/service/idea locally. So you technically already have all research you need because you live in the area and already know what the people are like.

So take your features and benefits list and look at it. Now think who from your community will benefit the most from your product. Use the list of benefits and match it up with the people. Like this:

Tina, 34: Female likes taking pictures. Feature: high-resolution 12 mpx camera. Benefit: Tina gets to take high quality photos that she can share with her friends and family.

George, 26:  Male likes videos, loves the moving pictures from Harry Potter. Feature: moving pictures. Benefit: George gets to take pictures that move like in Harry Potter.

Okay, maybe the last one was a lame example, but you get the point. List about 20 people and rank them by the amount of value you think they will gain. Then group the most important ones and there you go, you’ve got a target market. It should look something like this.

Target market: Females and males, 25-35, living locally, love Harry Potter and taking pictures…

Once you’ve established your target market, you’re ready for step 3.

Step 3: How am I doing it ?

Step 3 is extremely important and can destroy your business if not done right. You can have thousands of people wanting to buy your product, but how will they get it? What will you do if you get a drastic increase in orders overnight (it does happen) ? Failing to provide customers with a product they have bought in a timely manner could be detrimental to your business. You will ruin your reputation and especially since your selling locally, word will spread like wildfire.

So, the first thing you need to figure out is how will you get the product to your customers. Most businesses have a store or shop, unfortunately you don’t. So you have two options, deliver it yourself or hire someone else. Do some calculations and decide what your capabilities are within a give radius. Let’s say you get 20 orders in a day. Can you deliver all of them in if they are spread out around a 50 km radius from you? Workout your delivery capacity and make a decision based on your findings.

My advice would be to start doing deliveries yourself unless, you can’t because of work or kids. Obviously, doing it yourself will keep your cost low. However, one other benefit is that when you do decide to hire someone you already know the best way to distribute your product.

On the other hand you will also need to think of how you will get product you need. Even if you’re providing a service you might need some products. Contact varies suppliers and negotiate as much as possible to get the best price. Make sure to find out how long delivery takes, especially when the product is in high demand so you can pre-order if needed. Beyond that it’s pretty common sense and straightforward.

On to step 4…

4: Why am I doing it?

It’s time to bring out the five-year old self out. Remember when you were starting to understand the world and every other second you’d ask your parents why this or why that? Well we need you to do that again, just this once. In sales and marketing “the why” is the most important part of selling your product/service/idea. Why ? You ask, because you need to know why you are selling what you sell. That reason will be the core of the business and it’s what will drive you to succeed. It the overall accomplishment a.k.a your end goal. I know, I know everyone’s mind jumps to millions of dollars. However, you need to think of something intangible, like solving a problem in all of your customer’s life. This will also help you keep yourself motivated when things get rough.

Now, I will let you in on a little secret . It doesn’t matter what your selling, because you can sell anything. When you aim to sell your product you’re not just going to have to sell the features and benefits. You have to sell your company and yourself as well. Therefore, what you’re really always selling is an idea. The idea behind your product and company that will make the customer believe in you.

Here’s something to think about, when you buy something new do you know 100% it will work? The answer is no, that’s why most people hesitate before making a purchasing decision. There is never any guarantee that the product/service will work. As a matter of fact, you can sell absolute garbage and still get people to buy it if you give them a good enough reason.

Amazing! Right? So essentially what you’re selling is why your company has developed this product, why it will benefit the customer to buy the product, and what they should trust you. Once you give them a good enough reason, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. This applies whether you’re selling online, over the phone, in person or through advertisements.

Once your figured all this out, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for. Picking the name of your business. Why so late you ask? Because now you know exactly what you’re selling, to who your selling and how your going to sell it. You’ve also established a core value and have a good understanding of how your business will work. So based on this information you need to pick a name that reflects your company appropriately.

Do not name the company Garry’s computer repair or R. and F. marketing. Use a name that stands out and will have the greatest impact on your customers. Also, to build credibility you should Incorporate your company. For example, a good name for a company that does computer repair could be Quicky Computer Repairs Inc. The Incorporate part of the name will build trust with your clients so they don’t think your working of your basement (even though you are).

If you’re selling something like cookies the Incorporation is not necessary, you may want to take the friendly local business approach (Yummy Tummy Cookies). The only time you should use your own name as the business name is if you’re well-known in the community. Whatever you pick, remember you’re trying to paint an image in the customer’s mind so choose wisely.

Now, it’s time for the last step.

Step 5: Where am I doing it ?

So you’ve got everything figured out except one thing. How will the customers find my product/service/idea. In 2016 the obvious answer is online. Even if you don’t plan to make an e-commerce site, I strongly suggest having a website. Over 90% of people use the internet daily in North America and what do most people do when they are looking for a product? They Google it. So make sure you have a website that promotes your products and people can find easily.

Going online also provides you with Social media which is a fantastic way to gain customers at no cost. Think about it, over 1 billion people use Facebook alone. So get on social media and start making accounts and pages. Now, if you’re looking to sell online only and want a e-commerce site my best recommendation is Shopify. It’s super easy to set up and they have everything you need integrated. There are a ton of other websites you can use and even hire someone to create your very own. For a home based business this would be the best and easiest way to sell your products and service.

Of course as mentioned earlier there are other options:

Cold calling: There are calling list available to buy and rent. You can also find local phone directories, however not many people use landlines anymore so you may not get many sales. However, call some people up and pitch them your products/service/idea, it may work miracles for you.

Mail: You can either buy or rent mailing lists of people within a certain area and send them promotions through the mail. You can also go door-to-door and drop-off flyers.

Personal Selling: Take a walk and go door to door, start talking to people and tell them about your amazing product/service/idea. Face-to-face is the most effective way to sell your product. However, as you can imagine going door-to-door is also the most time-consuming way.

Advertising: Most advertising is probably out of your budget and also ineffective for a small home business. You can always post posters on board around your community, or ask shop owners to display them for you. Another, way to advertise is online, I won’t get into it because it would take all day. If your interested check out Google AdWords.

Now you have and know everything you need to start your home business. All you have to do is decide what will work best for you. So now I leave it in your hands, go out there and make me proud. Best of luck to you.