Work from home advice for beginners?

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I want to earn a living from a blog or website, and start it as a genuine work from home opportunity.

I have a bit of money to invest in setting up my startup, and I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do.

The only problem is that whenever I search for advice I end up with scammy, spammy type websites and pages and this makes it difficult to know where and how to start.

Since this is my first attempt at a work from home startup, what advice do you have for beginner entrepreneurs like myself?

In particular, are there are strategies I should use to ensure that I succeed? Other than hard work, of course. :)

Work from home start-up checklist for beginners

Setting up a small home business is the easy part. There are plenty of great software and tools available that can help you get started quickly, and cheaply.

The hard part is making money - through sales and leads (or whatever method your venture uses).

Starting a company, regardless of whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced entrepreneur, must begin with a great business plan.

1. Business plan

Your plan will give you focus, and the information you need to direct your energies into the most productive areas to help bring about success (or at least an income) as early as possible.

I recommend checking out our free business plan for online startups to get started.

The research and effort you put into creating a good plan will pay off down the line as you avoid pitfalls and make use of connections, resources, and anything else you identify and discover at this early stage.

2. Website

Either your enterprise needs to sell stuff, in which case you need an eCommerce website builder, or it doesn't, in which case you need a normal website builder.

You can learn how to build either as cheaply and easily as possible (without requiring any Web development or design experience) by reading one of these step-by-step, beginner guides:

  1. How to build a website with Weebly
  2. How to build an online store with Bigcommerce

Website builders make developing a website something that any ordinary person can do relatively quickly and easily - without having to resort to expensive custom Web design services.

However, if you are in the mood to get your hands a bit dirty, check out the best way to create a website for sales and/or marketing.

3. Marketing & SEO

Any home based startup that relies on the Internet to capture new prospects and build revenue will need to produce plenty of high quality content.

Content is the basis of all online marketing activities, and it is important to understand that this is where pretty much all your marketing efforts should focused (at least until you are earning enough to splash out on more expensive forms of marketing).

By creating lots of great search optimized content, you give Google something to index and return in its search results. The more content you produce, and the better it is, the higher your page rankings will be - over time.

Established enterprises that can generate plenty of Web traffic from organic search have a great advantage because there is a continual stream of visitors - all of whom are potential customers and clients.

I recommend you learn how to blog to start off.

With great content, you are also able to start building a mailing list and run email marketing campaigns that can also be very profitable.

4. Admin & accounting

While much your energies should initially be focused on growth and marketing in order to start generating profits (or at least some revenue) as early as possible, it doesn't hurt to keep admin under control and to a bare minimum.

For small, home based businesses, the best accounting and management software/service available is FreshBooks, a lightweight, online cloud accounting system used by over 5 million people.

5. Local resources

Finally, it is absolutely vital that you don't shut yourself off from the world - especially the local community.

There are often really valuable resources in your own town or city that can be used to meet people, make new connections, find out information, get loans, grants or other benefits, and so on.

One of the best places to start is with your local chamber of commerce.

If you are in the U.S, then the Small Business Administration is a great online resource.