The home office deduction may become even easier to use in the near future. Colleen DeBaise wrote, in an early 2006 article entitled "Locking In The Home-Office Deduction," about efforts being made to simplify this tax deduction. She wrote, "The National Association for the Self-Employed, a small-business group in Washington, D.C., supports a simplified, standard deduction to ease the burden on home-based businesses. And perhaps someday, sweet relief will be granted: Two bills introduced in 2005 contain language for a standard home-office deduction, although neither has passed. One of the bills, the Small Employer Tax Relief Act of 2005, specifically calls for a standard home-office deduction of $2,500'¦. In the meantime, small-business owners have little choice other than to muddle through the form—or hire a tax adviser for help."
Because niche marketing is targeted and specialized, it requires a strong background in consumer research, as well as a deep understanding of marketing principles and strategies. Marketing programs offer general courses in business, economics, and basic marketing principles that provide an overview of how companies work and compete for market share and customers.
Is there a product or service that you are particularly enthusiastic about? If you are, you may be able to develop a website that is built around selling it. You don’t have to be the actual provider of the product or service either. There are many businesses that offer these products and will allow you to sell them on an affiliate basis. For example, you may be able to sell a product on your website for a commission of 20% or 30% of the sale price.
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Niche marketing is more common for small businesses with limited budgets and offerings that are geared toward a specific group. However, larger organizations that typically have broader offerings might focus parts of their product lineups on niche customers. For example, automakers might target hybrid cars at environmentally-conscious buyers in urban areas.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
Targeting a niche is a broad strategic objective that affords you plenty of flexibility to accomplish your other marketing goals. It even allows for the gradual expansion of your targeting to a more general, further-reaching audience (once you’ve established yourself). If you want your marketing and advertising to be competitive, you need to get specific and focus on just one niche to start.
Notice the "may be". Although there are many entrepreneurs that make an excellent living at home in professions such as consulting or information technology, the home businesses listed here are not generally big money makers. They are however, legitimate businesses rather than "make money in your sleep" or any of those other phony work from home schemes.
Successful home business ideas let contractors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs be in charge of their own lives. Maybe you’d prefer to wake up late and take long lunches, confident in your ability to finish your work on time. Possibly you prefer to be your own boss, setting up best practices and ditching those quarterly reviews. Or, it could be that you want to travel or be at home for your family, and you view commuting as a pain.
Home-based businesses are quickly becoming the fastest growing form of business start-ups. Growing your company out of your home allows for flexibility that is difficult when renting or buying office and warehouse space. Although working at home requires self-discipline, the benefits can be substantial - especially in the start-up years. (We provide six tips for creating a winning business in a losing economy. Check out Starting A Small Business In Tough Economic Times.)
It takes a very thick skin to go into this business, but debt collectors only need a telephone and a computer to work, making it a great work-at-home business. It’s also a recession-proof (or even recession-loving) business. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you do your homework before setting up shop. Median salary: $31,300.
Starting a business in this field will require some experience, but as long as there is anxiety, there will be a market for coaching people to create and deliver presentations. Invest in video equipment or use a smartphone to record students as part of the coaching process. If you have a background in radio or TV or specific experience in high-profile public speaking, all the better.
If you have a background in marketing and a passion for a particular niche, then organizing a virtual event may be just up your street. A virtual event could span across a day or longer. Individual live sessions would be run by experts in the field. And conference features would include live question and answer sessions, forums, and plenty of free giveaways. Visitors to the virtual event would pay to attend, so the more effective your promotion of the event the more money you would make.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Boundaries can be overstepped. Similarly, your family will need to respect your boundaries, and the lines can sometimes blur. It may look like you’re not working even when you are. It may be easier for family and friends to take you less seriously when you work from home, so you need to be vigilant about maintaining a proper separation and level of professionalism, and teach everyone to respect your time and space.
An important part of the home buying process is having a professional home inspector go through the house to determine the condition of the building and point out any potential problems. A home inspector needs to meet the state regulations for the profession, which varies from state to state, although anyone who has worked in the construction or housing industry will have a leg up. Median salary: $52,000.
By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. Establishing a niche market give you the opportunity to provide products and services to a group that other businesses have overlooked. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers that have specific needs, a subset of a larger group.