What to avoid if you’re thinking of starting a home business

everything_going_wrongThere are tons of people waiting to help you out if you’re thinking of startign a home business. It’s no surprise that there are scammers looking to take your money in return for business opportunities that don’t exist. And of course, you should run a mile from those.

But there are plenty of entirely legal business opportunities that are simply poor value for money.  By that I mean that most people buying the opportunity will make little more than pocket money. The few people who are doing well for themselves will be used as the case studies given to potential new recruits – after all, that are just good marketing. The problem is that often their stories don’t show the reality for the vast majority of the people who sign up. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll often find that the successful few have a background in sales, which is a huge advantage.

You could argue that a high failure rate is to be expected if people are buying into these business opportunities with little or no business experience and are only working part time. But I don’t think that’s good enough. If a business opportunity is being offered to you at a price, you should have a decent chance of success providing you work hard.

If you see the following clues, be on your guard:

– “Anyone can do it” – actually, not everyone has what it takes to succeed as a self-employed person.

– “Everyone needs to buy these” (e.g. consumables like household cleaners, gas or electricity) – true, but that usually means your competition will be fierce.

– The founder of the scheme being presented as an ordinary housewife – Look closely and she’ll often have run businesses before. True, she may be working part time for a few years while she brings up her kids- but is it likely that you can replicate this success with your own skills and experience?

– “I’ll be your partner in…” – you SHOULD get support and training but always keep in mind that you are a customer and you are being sold to. You’re not an equal partner in the usual business sense.

– Using the lifestyle as a selling point – “I get to travel the world and earn money at the same time” – if you’re starting a business, your focus should be on what you have of value that your customers want to buy. Keep in mind that this ‘lifestyle’ tactic is putting you firmly in the customer role when you need to be thinking like a business owner.

– “I’m working flexibly around my kids and loving it!” – Great, but are you earning more than minimum wage?

– Any suggestion that you can earn a full-time income by working part-time hours. This is possible, but it usually takes a few years of hard work (minimum) to build up to this point. And only a relatively small number of people have the stamina, mind set and skills to do it. Are you one of the few?

– “No hard sell, just sell to your family and friends” – do you want to be hassling your family and friends on a regular basis to buy these products? Will they want to buy these products?

– Any business where you just have to follow a series of steps to guaranteed success. It’s never that simple.

These tactics are NOT definitive signs that you’re about to be ripped off, but they are indicators that you should keep your eyes open, read between the lines, check the small print and definitely Google the company to see what others are saying about it. It can be hard to tell a good opportunity from a poor value one and you do need to do your homework.

If you’re tired of hypey, poor value home business opportunities, take a look at The Fast Start Up course. I think you’ll find it a refreshing change! (Enter the code 1AREQ9Y91M at the checkout to get 60% off).

Who should you believe?

finger-man-451211_1280If you’re starting a business it feels like everyone is an expert!

The danger is that you end up listening to every expert out there and getting totally confused. (Yep, been there!) So I thought that I’d share a few things that I have found have helped me…

1) Find a few experts who resonate with you and watch what they do. Don’t buy their stuff at this stage, just read, sign up for their freebies, watch the emails they send you (and their frequency), look at what they are encouraging you to do. How often are they selling you stuff? What are they doing when they aren’t selling – proving they are an expert, building a relationship, telling you how authentic they are? Learn from what they do as well as what they say.

2) There are tons of online business models, theories and ways of branding yourself. Many of them work, but only some will work for you personally. I pick the ones that are most likely to work for me personally and put the rest on the back burner.

3) That said, there are general rules that apply to pretty much any business e.g. you have to make an offer and put it in front of people. If they do buy, great, try to improve the percentage that buy and/or the money you make per customer. If they don’t then change the offer. The best way to do this online is to have a list and make offers regularly, mixed in with good information (see number 1, above if you don’t believe me! 🙂 )

4) Decide what you need to work on NOW and focus on that. There have been times when I’ve needed to know how to create a product, so I’ve sought out information on how to do that and shut out info on (say) branding and positioning myself as an expert. Then there have been times when I needed to improve the quality of my videos, so I worked on that and ignored other things. Most recently I needed to strengthen my product funnels, so I’ve learned about that and implemented as I went along. These days I try to take in info at the same speed as I implement, so it’s learn – do – learn – do- learn – do. If I soak up more information than I need at the time that then either I get confused and overwhelmed or by the time I get around to implementing it’s all out of date anyway.

5) If I’m still not sure if I trust someone I take a piece of their free – or very cheap, say up to £20’s worth – of information and implement it. (NOT just read it and assume it works because the author is very convincing 🙂 )Then I decide if it works for me, if it’s worth the effort involved and whether I can see myself doing it in the medium-term (no point starting something that bores me to death in two weeks’ time e.g. article directories, urgh). You need to be a bit cautious here because some marketing techniques take 3 months of consistent effort to show results. but still, this is the best test I’ve found.

6) Beware of what’s hot now. E.g. what’s hot now is Facebook ads and video marketing. They are all good if used right but there are plenty of people telling you that you absolutely must use them or you’re doomed to failure, which isn’t true. Beware. 🙂

Note that very little of the above needs any technical knowledge and if you do need that you can pay someone to do it for you. It’s far more about focus, strategy and switching your mindset from customer to business owner than it is about being a techie.