Becoming a Home Blogger
In the modern era, it’s easier than ever to work from home and run a successful business. One of the first and most popular business models to come from the rise of the internet and the ability to work from anywhere (including your own living room) is the blog. These are an online equivalent to magazine articles and columns, and you can easily set one up for free to cover an array of topics that interest you, and that you think will be useful to others.
Advice, resources, and information are all normally covered by blogs, and you can pick and choose the topics you write about to pick up a dedicated following. According to Entrepreneur Handbook, over 4.4. million blogs are published every day, owing to an increase in amateur bloggers and a shift in the publishing industry towards an online model. To get started and to be able to compete in this growing market, you’ll have to decide which niche subject to cover in your posts.
Popular blogging subjects that often become startup ideas include:
- Hair, Makeup and Beauty
- Art and Crafts
There are many more ideas and topics you can explore and discuss in your blog alongside these, but even the most popular blog subjects will need to be marketed correctly to be a success. Having a working knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO), content writing and marketing, design, and editing will all put you at an advantage. Using the major digital marketing mechanisms (social media, emails, and notification tools) is also highly recommended.
To get started and physically set up a successful blog, you’ll need to:
- Purchase your domain name
- Set up hosting, creating a blog-style website using a builder or WordPress (if you’re video blogging, you can also use YouTube or Vimeo)
- Ensure your new blog is mobile-friendly, as 50% or more of your readership will use their phones to look at your blog
- Set up Google Analytics to view your readership statistic and ensure you’re GDPR compliant
- Put together a content plan (what you intend to post for your readers), using strong, relevant keywords to make sure your blog is noticed by the major search engines
- Create social profiles and templates for newsletters
- Set up a marketing plan to draw in and retain a readership
Setting up a strong content plan will usually take between two and three weeks, so you should never feel discouraged if it doesn’t look like the plan is coming together within the first few days.
Primarily, blogs are monetised through display advertising. The simplest way to get started with it would be to apply and join AdSense, a program run by Google which allows you to place relevant ads on your blog, alongside your content. These ads “pay per click”, and per thousand user impressions, and can be placed in the best performing positions on your blog (in the header, footer, or even in the content itself).
If your blog focuses on a particular niche subject, you might be able to plan and align your content with specific products and services. This could help you to make money through affiliate marketing, which is marketing the product sold by a separate company and taking a commission of any sales made.
If you run a B2B (business-to-business) blog, you might also consider exploring the idea of lead generation, which is collecting details or interest from your blog’s readers whenever they wish to buy a particular product or hire a service, then selling that information to a direct supplier or third-party provider.
Sell Goods Online (or in Person) With eCommerce
A practice that’s becoming even more popular with the current shift towards conducting business over the internet is finding, buying, or making goods to sell online. It’s easy to start up a business this way, as there are a host of market platforms to choose from, including Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
Depending on which one you decide to sell from, you may have to set up an account, and after this, you’ll need to decide what kind of products and goods to market to an audience. Once this is done, you will need to get these items ready to sell, whether you’ve found them in an antique store, bought them in bulk from a supplier, or made them yourself as part of your crafting hobby.
Whichever you choose to do, you should always make sure the products have high-quality photos, have a clear description (which includes the condition of the item), and say how long the item should take to deliver. You’ll also need to make sure that your items are categorised correctly and have a clear title, so that they’ll be displayed properly when your target market browse the website and search for what you’re selling.
If you’d prefer to get outside and start up your business in a physical marketplace, you can even rent a stall or space in local spots across the UK. Many towns and cities offer cost-effective rental prices on stalls (Camden’s market stalls only cost £15 a day to rent), and you’re likely to see customers come by every day that the market is open.
To become a business owner in your local marketplace and open up your own stall, you’ll need to:
- Decide on the products you’ll be selling
- Pick the market you’ll conduct business in (you might decide another marketplace offers you more potential customers)
- Practice and perfect your selling and presentation skills
Once you’ve set up your stall and business is starting to boom, you can start hiring people to help you out at busier times (such as weekends). You may even be able to expand to multiple stalls in different market places, depending on demand for your products. To double your potential market, you may also consider selling your products from an eCommerce website alongside your marketplace stall.
Use Your Talents for Freelance
If you’ve previously worked for another company or firm, you might decide to take a dive into the world of freelancing. From freelance writing, to accounting, web development, and graphic design, you could take your experience and your talents from previous jobs and market yourself as a professional to firms who need specialised services. These often command high fees, owing to the fact that you’ll need some experience to be able to do them well.
You might start up as a freelancer in your field by joining platforms such as UpWork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour, and finding your particular expertise (for instance, you may be a copywriter or graphic designer by trade and only want to see jobs for these areas). Once you’ve established a profile, you’ll be able to build up a portfolio and get good reviews by taking on and completing as many jobs as possible.
Make Money with a Hobby
If you have a hobby you love, such as art, writing, or photography, you might take the time to turn this into your full-time career. The age of the internet has made it easy for any aspiring author to write up, publish, and distribute their ideas on all manner of subjects (both fiction and non-fiction), without the help of traditional publishing houses or worry involved with the costs of printing.
All you will need to do is write and edit your book (either yourself or by getting a professional to do it), publish it on a website such as Kindle, Lulu, or Smashswords, and market it on your own website or on the platforms you’re using to sell it. If you choose the latter, however, you must be sure to get as many good reviews as possible. This allows your book to climb the platform rankings and persuades more people to try out your work.
If art or photography is more your style, you will need to make sure you have the correct professional equipment. For photographers, this may also mean purchasing software and editing equipment, and setting up a studio space where you can take pictures. You may then choose to market your work through social media, set up your own website where people can book sessions, and ask for friends and family to spread the word about your business.
Work for Other People
Startup ideas don’t have to end at creating pieces or selling products. There are a host of services you can provide for clients and customers without sending them items, including becoming their personal trainer, life coach, or virtual assistant. To get started as an assistant in particular, you may wish to start advertising your services on professional platforms and find clients that you can work with in the long-term.
Building a reputation as a great virtual assistant should see you build up a portfolio and gain fantastic reviews. In turn, this should allow you to increase the price for your services.
To become a successful personal trainer, you’ll need to start off with a good level of physical fitness (perhaps some experience from working in a gym environment, too). This will then need to be coupled with the experience of setting goals and targets for your clients so that you can help them meet their targets for anything from exercise regimes to nutritional advice. You’ll then need to find the right space to train both groups and individuals.
Setting up your own website and having a business phone number will be crucial for this work, and you will need to have public liability insurance coverage before you start. Because your reputation will be built on word of mouth, you may wish to set up social media accounts (especially on Instagram, where you can post free exercise videos), or partner with a local gym so you can reach out to their client base.
Work with Animals
If you love animals and want to help out pet owners whose commitments mean they can’t be at home with their animals all the time, you might consider taking up dog walking to earn some extra cash. By marketing your services in your local area (through a Facebook page, Gumtree, or even services like BorrowMyDoggy), you may be able to quickly build up a list of clients.
You’ll need a good level of physical fitness if you intend to try startup ideas like this, as well as an understanding of how dogs behave and a master harness (so you can walk multiple dogs at once). In some areas, you may also need a license to be a professional dog walker, so it’s always best to check what’s needed before you open your business.
If you’re up for the training to obtain certification, you may even be able to start up your own dog grooming salon. There are courses available to teach you how to properly cut and trim coats and nails, to style dogs’ coats in a way their owner likes best, and even to provide professional pet massages. You’ll need the professional equipment to be able to do this, but you may be able to travel to your clients’ homes to conduct business before you think of buying your own salon.
Marketing yourself will involve word of mouth among your potential clients and customers, while also advertising yourself on sites like Gumtree and other directories. You may also be able to create your own website to list your services and prices.
Do Something Different with Your Home
You might not realise it, but even your own home can be monetised if you do something a little different with it. For example, if you own a family-sized house but you live by yourself, it’s always possible to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast for your local area. This is a particularly good idea if you know you live in an area with a lot of tourists, or your town or city often sees people coming through on business.
If you already have a suitable property, the next thing you’ll need is the appropriate insurance and to list your home on a third-party platform such as Booking.com or the official Airbnb website. These give you exposure and take care of marketing for you.
Use professional photos of your property that make it look warm and welcoming, keep your tone friendly throughout the description and keep the information detailed. You’ll also need to put together a welcome pack for your guests, setting out all the information they’ll need about your B&B. This will normally include things like WiFi codes, fire exits, and information about check-in and check-out times.
To help make an informed decision about what you should charge, look at similar accommodations for rent in your local area. Find out the average from this and set your price at the lower end. This should start to drive business your way, and once you’ve had an influx in positive reviews, you’ll be able to increase the price.
If you’d prefer to keep your home private for most of the year, you can also consider renting out rooms (or even the entire property) as a short-term rental when you go away on holiday. Similarly to listing your home as a B&B, you’ll also need to list your property online with attractive photos, a detailed description, and a set price. Unlike listing a B&B, however, you will also have to note down the periods the property will be available, (e.g. at Christmas, during the summer holidays, etc.).
Does Your Startup Business Need New Premises?
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