Creativity

Building Your Brand: How to Develop a Business When Working from Home

One of the most frequent questions people ask me is whether or not they should leave a full time position and become a freelancer. Every situation is different, and no matter how much you may hate working for someone else, working from home has its own challenges. So I asked my friend and freelance writer Jenny Holt for her advice. It’s worth noting if you’re thinking about launching out on your own:

Starting a new business and establishing your brand is never easy, but can be a particular challenge when working from home. It’s important to combat the isolation of home-working, reach out, and proactively drive your business to become a success.

Creating a Network – Building links and making connections with likeminded people from all areas of business is vital. You never know when you might need someone with a particular skill set, and it’s always best to be prepared. Try and get out to industry events and conferences to meet up in person, but if you can’t, social media is a great way for people who work from home to connect. It can be hard to build up an online presence for your business with just your own content, so utilize sharing, tagging, and linking to existing businesses with similar target audiences to make more people aware of your brand.

Find Your Niche – Research what is already on offer in your field, and find a unique selling point that you alone provide. Working from home lacks the ‘water cooler conversations’ of a regular office job which may spark ideas or highlight another company which has already had them. Ensure that you do your research, and utilize your network’s skills and knowledge to test, refine, and improve your ideas.

Cross-Platform Communication – Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to design a consistent strategy for all your platforms of communication and then follow through on them. You want to keep things fresh and exciting, but if you’re constantly changing who your target audience is, what you offer, and how you market it, customers are not going to be able to build a long-term relationship with your brand.

Outsource Your Weaknesses – There may be some things that you cannot do well or efficiently enough to be cost-effective, so look at your contacts for options to outsource certain tasks. Creating consistent content for your website, social media feeds, leaflets, and packaging, may be best left to a professional. Equally, e-commerce programs where a larger company will store your goods and then ship them to customers will reduce your time spent packing boxes and making trips to the post office. You can also often have a presence on their selling platform, which gives you access to an enormous ready-built consumer base.

Your business won’t go anywhere unless you push it out to the wider world. Keep thinking of new and different ways to connect and share to help your business grow.

If you’re a freelancer – what advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business from home?

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10 Comments

  1. Hey Phil – this is a great article! I started working from home as a full-time music producer & web/graphic designer 6 months ago, and I can certainly relate to these points. I’d advise others who work from home to do things that reinforce a work environment. For me, I make sure to dress up and put on my shoes like I did when I had a 9-to-5. I keep a clean desk / studio, and have a list of tasks for each week based on proactive goals, such as customer outreach, blog & video production and music editing. All of this while having my 8 month old around for 3 days a week! Works for me!

    1. Excellent advice that even Pres. George W. Bush followed! A book on W’s faith revealed that he would never enter the Oval Office without putting on a suit, even in the middle of the night and in his own home. It kept his priorities in the Presidential mindset and reminded him to respect the office of the Presidency.

  2. The more professional you appear, the more seriously you will be taken. I always have issues with freelancers who promote themselves as a company (e.g. The Jones Group rather than Paul Jones) but then the e-mail is “Jones123@gmail.com,” and their website is just a Facebook or LinkedIn page, or it’s one page with “coming soon” for a couple of years, or it’s poorly put together with obviously stock photos. It’s cheap and easy to get your own URL and have at least a basic web presence. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why should your potential clients?

      1. Oh, there are lots of ways to have conflicting brand messages. Another is having what is obviously a home address (e.g. “Apartment 12”) if you’re billing yourself as a company rather than an individual. It’s also a mistake to mix personal and business social media, as it just looks unprofessional. Many others as well. Decide whether you want to be seen as an individual freelancer or a company, and then act and brand accordingly.

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