Home based business has a long history, but the way internet has shaped it, more and more people are considering a small scale home based business over 9 to 5 job or a traditional business.
Of course, doing an online home based business is way more easy and flexible than running a traditional store or a service. Anyone with a desktop or laptop can start an online business from the comfort of their couch. And, in fact many people are doing it trough a tab or a smart phone.
However, the increasing competition, rapidly changing technologies, and complex consumer behavior requires you to have few basic skills in order to be successful in your online venture.
Let it be a full fledged home based business or a working for another business from home, you must have the following key skills:
1- Search & Research Skills
If you intend to start and run an online business, or just any other business, the first and foremost skill you need to have is the ability to search and research.
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Though your smartphone can have hundreds of apps and you can do just anything with it, if you are serious about online business, you better get hands on a desktop or a laptop system. Despite the fact mobiles are the super smart devices we have today, desktop and laptop systems have their own benefits which can never be replaced with the smaller screens.
Everyone today with a smart phone knows how to search on internet, but 90% of the people do not use the web search effectively and efficiently. Mostly people check out the top three search results or the first page of the search results at maximum.
You must know the fact that the web searches are not always intuitive. Moreover, using the search engine optimization techniques (both ethical and un-ethical at times) many websites manage to secure the top position in the search results, but they do not answer the queries of everyone.
What you are looking for might be buried deep down in the search results, and you should know the steps to dig this information from the millions of search results.
This article is a great read and it explains ten detailed tips on how to better search online. These tips include using the right keywords and specific techniques to filter out the results.
And, the search is not limited to Google. You should be using Yahoo, MSN and other search engines too. At times, when your search for rich media content like videos, images and infographics, you may want to explore Pinterest, Youtube, Dailymotion and other platforms too. The same principle is applied here, i.e. do not just stick to the first few results and dig as deep as you can.
You might have found the best answer to your question after filtering hundreds of pages, but before applying or using this information, you must verify its credibility.
Wikipedia is a quick source of information, but it is not always authentic, because anyone can add and edit information on a Wikipedia page. Similarly, everything that is shared on Facebook and other Social Networks is not always true.
Many bloggers and social media influencers are paid to promote certain products/services and so the information they provide must be counterchecked.
Ideally, the niche specific websites have more credible information. For instance, if you are building your business website using WordPress platform (which is free), WPBeginnner is an authentic blog to find help on setting up a website, followed by WordPress’s own forums. Similarly, if you are looking for a good web hosting service for your business website, WebHostingTalk forum is the best place to find real reviews of different service providers.
What if my research is related to something else?
Definitely, you might be searching for ten different things….. Ideally you should search for the credible sites on subject first.
Let’s say your research is about nutrition. You may search for “credible nutritionist websites”, “top 10 nutritionist websites” and so on. Filter the results based on the following:
- The Domain; Look at the domain name; credible websites have a meaningful domain name.
- The Site Structure; Credible sites have structured content, i.e. For instance WebMD.com has diseases and conditions categorized in a systematic manner, and they do not post content about movies. A blog that has mixed posts about too many niches, cannot be considered as a credible source of information.
- Content: Poor spelling and grammar make a website shady. Observe the writing style closely and you can better observe if it is valuable or not. Authentic content is always supported by relevant stats and references.
- SSL certificates; when accessing the website, if is uses https:// rather than http:// you can consider it a good and secure website.
2- Content Creation & Curation Skills
Content is the foundation of today’s hyperdigital world. Whether you want to start your own business or looking for online/work from home jobs, you must have an excellent command over understanding, creating and curating content in various forms, i.e. text, images, videos and presentations etc.
Many people get discouraged thinking that they cannot produce content. But actually, anyone can do it.
Content creation and curation is a skill that can be learned, and the best way to acquire and master this skill is to read more.
The more you read, the better you write!
If you intend to start an eCommerce store, read every smallest detail about it. If you plan to start a food blog, read at least 50 food blogs to know what made them a success. If consultancy is your field, read and know all what it takes to run a consulting business from home.
I will hire a content creator for my business… Do I still need to have expertise in content?
Yes, you still need to have excellent command over content or at least an understanding of the dynamics of the content better than the content creator you hire.
Why? Because, it’s your brand and it should tell a story that you want, not what content creator tells you to.
Even if you can afford having a team for managing social media and content right in the beginning, you must know the deep insights of your content to make sure your team is doing the right thing.
CopyBlogger is one of the best websites to get started with, and once you learn the basics, it’s all practice that makes you perfect!
3- Social Media Skills
Almost everyone with a smartphone has a social media account on at least one platform!
Even if you are not a social media savvy, you do need exceptional social media marketing skills to run an online business.
Social media has evolved massively over the recent years; the paradigm shift from plain text based updates to visual content, i.e. images and videos has made it more interesting and engaging than ever before. And, this paradigm shift demands an online entrepreneur to know the business use of social media.
You don’t just need the skills to design and creating visual content, but also be able to effectively use the tools to automate social media where needed, use it as a customer service channel, and keep the customers and prospects engaged.
You also need to polish your analytical skills, so you can analyse what type of content engages your followers most and how to increase engagement.
Each social media platform has its distinct features, and knowing these features is an essential. For instance Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter lists, platform’s internal search engine, etc.
Moreover, having hands on the social media techniques, i.e. hashtags, URL shortners, trending topics is also mandatory for one to effectively manage a business over social media.
4- Website Anatomy
As a beginner, the free website offers may excite you a lot. But the truth is that nothing is free in today’s world. Services that offer a free website have their own benefits out of these offers and you do not get full control of your website too.
For instance, XYZ.com is offering you to host a free blog with them. You are very much excited and you start a blog with them which makes it yourblog.xyz.com. You don’t have to worry about the technical details, and you are posting great content daily which is just optimizing their main website “XYZ.com”. Now you are a popular blogger, and someone wants to place an ad on your blog, but XYZ.com either doesn’t allow it or else wants you to share 40% of the revenue.
The best option is to have a custom domain, i.e. yourbrand.com and have it hosted on a good server. Domain and hosting both come with a price but it’s not too much. A .com domain costs anything between $10 and $16, and good webshosting can be purchased within $24 to $36. Both domain and hosting estimates are for one year.
If you know how to create an Email address on Gmail, you can set up your own full-fledged business website too. Yes, there can be a lot of questions which you can search and find answers (as we discussed in the step 1).
There are many website builders available too which offer to create website within 30 minutes or so, but most of these builders have features limitations. WordPress is a better option because you can create just any type of website using the self-hosted software, i.e. blog, ecommerce website, membership site, product review website, etc.
5- Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is essential for doing any kind of business. But it is crucial in case if you have an online business because the change in online technologies and trends is way faster than it is on offline business grounds.
Till so far, you might be very much convinced that some people are less luckier than others when it comes to run a successful business, but it has more to do with the growth mindset than the luck.
Having a look at some of the most successful and exceptional online entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezoz and others, you see that it is the power of their thinking, or rather their mindset that took them to the peak!
And the best thing is that a growth mindset can be developed at any stage of your life; even if you are growing through the hardest times of your life. Challenging your limits, accepting and learning from mistake, facing failure and setting aggressive yet achievable goals help you develop a growth mindset.
The Bottom Line:
Being an online entrepreneur is the future, but it does take parallel efforts and skills to be successful. If you already have the above skills, you are all set to get started, but if you are lacking any of the above, it’s never too late to get hands on it!