Monday, November 05, 2007

Money Making At Home: Finding Your Niche

It is Money Making Monday at Crystal's blog. I've been wanting to write a post for it but just haven't had the time recently to sit down and compose my thoughts.

I have been fortunate to be able to be home with my kids since my son was born two years into our marriage. I did work for a couple of months during a very bad time, but decided then and there I wanted to avoid having to do that again. Leaving my children everyday was heartbreaking to me.

As a result I have done many different things at home for extra income. I have: stuffed envelopes for a friend, arranged flowers for weddings, provided daycare (7 years), did some design work and production of some accessory pieces for my friends quilting business, sold at craft shows and craft malls for about 5 years, that one lead to the home based business that my husband and I have run for the past 10 years.

My bit of advice for people looking for something to do out of their home is very simple.

First: Determine what your strengths and skills are. What do you have someone might need? Do you have a hobby you can turn into a business? Everyone has marketable skills whether they believe it or not.

Second: Make it known to your family and friends, even people you know casually, that you are looking for at home employment. They may know someone who needs someone to do at home work. We have used at home moms in our business. An added bonus is they can give you a reference.

I have a friend who got her part time job through the lady who did reading therapy for her daughter. She works 2 days a week and is paid the rest of the week to take calls for the business on her cell phone. Another friend takes customer service calls at her home and sets up appointments for repair men.

Third: After you evaluate your skills and talents and think about what you might like to do. Start looking for a niche that needs filling.

This is one of the most important things in my opinion to being successful. Find a need and fill it. When we started doing research into marketing our gift product to stores we noticed that though there were similar products they were much less expensive (and not as nice) items and much more expensive items. We decided to fill that gap between the two extremes with our product and I that is what helped us to stay in business long enough to start turning a real profit. Many of my friends who have had successful businesses have found success in doing the same thing.

Just remember, whatever you decide to do, you have to market yourself. You can't just start a business and sit back and wait for the customers. You have to let folks know you are there. Some people I have known in the past that have failed at businesses thought they could stick a sign in their front yard or put one ad in the paper and people would flock to them. It takes time.

I read somewhere that the typical entreprenuer starts and fails at an average of 5 businesses before they find one that is successful for them. So, just remember that whatever you decide to do, you are going to have to give it some time and some real effort to make it work. Motivation and a real desire to keep plugging along at building your business is a major factor in making it a success.

Pic: Backyard of my "office".


Debbie J. said...

Thanks for the tips. I want to do something on the side to supplement our income. It'd be nice if it was something that worked into full time too. :o)

Carrie J said...

As you can tell, I've tried many different things. I didn't start anything full time, except daycare, until the timing was right for our family. It takes awhile to get a good fit usually.

Christine said...

I love these tips. I was once looking into getting a night job or an at home job and nothing seemed to work out. Steve has a new job position so he is able to work some overtime if needed for time and a half pay which is nice. Hey, we would love to see some of your work. Steve has told me lots about it. You need to send some to the Quilted Bear out here. I'm sure they would love your work.

Carrie J said...

Actually Christine, a lady from Utah used to buy from us and she sold them in Quilted Bear. I think in Provo, I can't remember, it may have be SLC. Anyway, that has been several years ago. Right now we aren't in any stores west of the Mississippi. We were in Billings, Montana and a couple in California for awhile. We actually have just about all we can handle while still working from home.