Adjust your clocks as the world of work is changing. People in their thousands are heading home from the day job to build a business at nights and weekends. It's what we call the 5 to 9 economy and it's a great way of starting a business as it means low cost and low risk. Are you interested in joining this growing group of part-time and spare-room entrepreneurs?
Starting up a business in your spare time is, I would say, the best way to start. You give yourself time to research the market, test out your products & services, build a presence on the web and, critically, make some sales. And you can do all of this whilst holding down a job that continues to pay the bills and cover your overheads.
Consider a few small investments to get you going:
Find dedicated space in the house - it's important to keep home as a place to which you return from work and unwind so find a dedicated space/room which becomes your home office and in which you can comfortably be in ‘building my business' mode.
Technology - a growing range of products are designed to help the 5 to 9 entrepreneur. Create a home on the web through a blogging tool like blogger.com or Office Live, sell your products through sales platforms such as etsy.com and keep in contact with customers with a BlackBerry and follow-me numbers. These products and gadgets mean you can keep in regular contact with your business in a way that's not detrimental to your job.
Develop relationships - use your time to develop relationships with possible partners, suppliers and an all-round support network. Much of this can be done online by visiting business sites (such as my own at http://www.enterprisenation.com/ and the Microsoft Small Business Centre) and industry-specific sites where you can keep an eye on new ideas coming to market and follow what customers are buying.
Business branding - promote yourself and your business at every opportunity with stylish stationery like business cards/promotion flyers/stickers etc. I particularly like moo.com as they offer good quality for low prices and the ordering process happens online.
As your brand grows and, with it, the number of customers knocking on your home office door, the time you devote to the business will increase. Before you know it you'll move from working full time for someone else to working full time for yourself!
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com], the home business company, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up - how to start a business from home'
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