Finding Your Focus

I am always amazed at the number of people who say they want to make money “doing something on my computer” but don’t have the vaguest notion of what that “something” is. It is true that computers in general and the Internet in particular have done more for the at-home worker than any other innovation in recent memory, yet they certainly are not the only tools needed for a home-based business.

It is easy to see the appeal of having a home-based business. Not having to worry about arranging for child care when your kids are sick or have time off from school, trading in a commute down the Interstate for a short walk to your home office, and the ultimate in flexibility are just a few reasons why many people chose to work at home. In other instances, home-based businesses are borne from a desire- or necessity – to contribute to the family’s income while still others get their start simply because it is something to do. Whatever the reason, those who enter into their home-based business are usually quite anxious to get started and as a result, often don’t take the time needed to fully think their decision through. And that is the single biggest reason why so many home-based businesses fail.

Before you get started with your business it is extremely important that you have a clear idea of what you want to do. Take an honest look at your skills and experience to see what you might be able to offer potential clients. Similarly, think about the various factors that may somehow impact the way in which you work. Finally, identify the types of things that make you uncomfortable so that you can be sure to steer clear of them. For example, if you are uncomfortable asking people to buy things, then direct sales is probably not for you. Likewise, if you don’t think you will be able to keep a regular schedule or if you know that you will constantly be interrupted by your kids, then you will probably be better off looking for a position that requires little or no interaction with others.

It is also very important to remember that the competition in the virtual workplace is fierce. Typically there are hundreds of people competing for any given position and since many hiring decisions are made based only on what it included on an online application or email, it is extremely important that you take the time to properly convey your credentials. As a result, if you are not fully qualified for the position for which you apply or if you do not take the time to fully describe your qualifications, chances are, you will not be hired.

So, before you get started, take some time to take a long, honest look at your skills. Make a list of the things you can do well – for example, write, sell, data entry – and decide how you want to use them in your business. For example, if you are a writer and have small children at home, you may not be well-suited for jobs that require telephone interviews and other types of interaction with others but would be a good fit for technical writing positions that do not require a great deal of input from others. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you pursue only those positions that you realistically believe you can successfully fill.

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About Michele Blandino

Michele Blandino is a freelance writer based in central New Jersey. She is also a wife, mother (Jennifer - age 9 and Michael - age 4), daughter, sister, scrapbooker, Girl Scout leader, active church member, school volunteer, occasional walker, and long-suffering Rutgers Scarlet Knight fan.