Planning to Start a Home Business

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 19th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Starting A Business

Who would have thought that answering a "help wanted" ad would lead to someone creating (his or) her own business? I certainly never did, but that's what's happening in my world now. And you could do it, too.

"Help Wanted"

A few weeks ago, I answered a help-wanted ad for a repair shop near my neighborhood. I don’t know much about vehicle repair or part sales, but I didn’t figure I’d need to be an expert in order to file papers, answer the phone, or collect money. I also thought if parts of the job were more sales-oriented, there would be a computer and some training. The important part for me was having a flexible job outside the home but close enough that I could pick my son up from school on rainy days.

It took me a while to get an interview, and all the while I was still thinking I was walking into this small business office to offer general office help and be a secretary. So imagine my surprise when instead, I heard this...

So, I understand you’re a writer

Sometimes I can be a little slow on the uptake when I have an idea in mind. I was thinking – OK. Repair shop. A lot of guys who know a lot about machines but maybe can’t spell their way out of a paper bag. Everyone has his/her/their talents. Or he thinks I want to be writing my next novel on his dime, and I need to reassure him that getting away from my own “stuff” is important for inspiration sometimes. It could go either way, so I just said “Yes, sir” and shut up.

And then my world turned upside down in a good way.

“Yes, sir.” I grinned, having just written about the database I'd created and my experience using Hootsuite.

And did I know anything about managing webpages?

“Yes, sir." I said. "I’ve built four now. The one on the email I sent you was one I built myself on GoDaddy. I used to use WordPress, but it was more of a blog and I needed a static page for my books.”

And I realized I might as well have been speaking Greek to him. He told me he knew what a webpage was, and a Facebook page – and he had both, but he didn’t have time to write copy and keep up with everything the website he’d bought could do for him.

“I could help with that. Definitely.” I said.

The Coward Inside

Inside my head, I was thinking:
but I didn’t take a single business class in college!!
What did I know about marketing – other than selling my books, of course?

But I have sold books. I’ve sold books without a publishing house through in-person sales and social media marketing.

And I started changing directions and coming over to his way of thinking. We talked about a plan, with me basically showing him what I had done to market my book, and how I would adjust and change strategies to market his already successful business to new clientele who were currently going to his competition. He already had a website, a Facebook page, and other media outlets. He just wasn’t adding content regularly and he wasn’t turning that media content into NEW clients.

But he didn’t think he could afford a full time person. I showed him how I could set things up and then let his staff of experts run with things, using hashtags to attract potential local clients to his business.

In that 30 minute meeting, I went from being an author looking to provide office help to being a social media management consultant. I saw myself differently, and I liked what I was seeing.

Research

That night and weekend, I researched the SEO – the keywords and hashtags that potential customers would use to find his business -- partly by checking out his competition. I printed off searches to show when his competitors were ranked above him, when a search led to him, but with broken links, or when incorrect information about his company popped up. I created a mock newsletter and sample tweets using his images and content he already had online. He already had so much done, in fact, that I think I talked him out of hiring me to fix what needed fixing. But that’s OK.

It was time for me to start thinking about how I could do that for other businesses. I’m smart. I love to learn new things and meet new people. I don’t need to be an expert in someone’s business to help them get new people to their door. I need to know about the same amount as a potential customer who’s trying to do research before making a purchase or choosing a service company. I can do that.

And if I did that for a few companies a week: built their website(s), set up company Facebook page(s), set up Twitter account(s), create testimonials blogs or “ask the experts” blogs for them – it wouldn’t take long for me to have a profitable social media marketing platform and business. (And if I can do it in my neighborhood -- so can you in yours!)

With Advice from Other Wikinuts

Even better, I could refer to Peter’s article on starting a business and acquiring capital – I may not have to find money up front to make money. And Snerfu’s articles on SEO and submitting websites to search engines to get more traffic would help me promote the brand new websites I created. So I ordered some new business cards, am writing a business plan, and am putting together my client list. I've spent the last month improving my online author presence -- now it can serve as a living portfolio of the services I can provide local businesses. And everything I learn to promote their businesses I can also use to promote myself.

My Client List

I’m looking for small businesses, family-owned businesses and mom-and-pop shops. These businesses don’t need a fancy marketing team or a full time staff for media. They may need a ghost-writer. Mainly though, they just need someone who’s dug into the trenches of social media and is willing to help them navigate the waters. They want someone who will keep learning and staying on top of social media changes so they can focus on their businesses. After all, they hire bookkeepers and accountants to keep up with tax codes, why shouldn’t they hire a cutting edge author to create a down-to-earth online presence they can manage themselves?

Best of all, by keeping it local, everyone wins. My small town is a growing community full of economic entrepreneurs. Sam Walton and John Tyson’s kids and grandkids attended the same schools I did. Bill Clinton is from my state. If I project the right attitude on top of my organization and passions for hard work, I should be able to create a business model that will inspire. And in my spare time, I'll still be writing books!

For Review and Further Reading

In the article above, I mentioned a few other articles that really helped me consider whether or not I could create my own business in social media. Here they are again:

Peter S. Giblett
Creating A Business With Other People's Money

Snerfu
Writing an Article for Search Engines
Submission of Site to Search Engines

Me, Myself, and I:
Creating a Database Worth Tweeting About

Last, but not least, I also want to give a shout out to Miss Marilyn Davis for getting me back into Twitter, and Michelle Stanley for pushing me to explore Google + and giving me my first children's book review.

Image Credits

"Help Wanted" -- created in Paint
So, I understand you’re a writer -- Created in Paint
Have You Ever Done that Twitter Thing? -- Created in Paint
The Coward Inside -- MorgueFile Image adapted into Paint
Research -- MorgueFile
With Advice from Other Wikinuts -- Profile Photos belong to their respective Wikinuts, combined with PowerPoint
My Client List -- MorgueFile Image superimposed with my text via Powerpoint
For Review and Further Reading -- MorgueFile
Image Credits -- MorgueFile

Tags

Business, Content, Facebook Page, Home Business, Marilyn Davis, Marketing, Media, Media Consultant, Michelle Stanley, Online Business, Peter Giblett, Phyl Campbell, Promote, Snerfu, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Webpage, Website

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar WOGIAM
20th Sep 2014 (#)

You took the chance and it turned out positive for you, I wish you the best of luck with your business plans.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks, Wogiam!

Reply to this comment

author avatar GV Rama Rao
20th Sep 2014 (#)

Wish you good luck in your new venture. I'm happy wikinuts helped you. What are friends for?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Exactly, GV. Thanks!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
20th Sep 2014 (#)

This is awesome, Phyl! Congratulations and much luck to you in your new endeavor.

Reply to this comment

author avatar snerfu
21st Sep 2014 (#)

WIsh you great success Phyl. I am flattered to say the least to find my mug on business pages. I guess, I too can learn from your example. Keep plugging!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks, Snerfu -- and thanks again for the tips.
Lavenderblu -- many thanks!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Sep 2014 (#)

You are walking the talk - what an inspiration you are Phyl. Great attitude and creative spirit lead you to success. I do hope you will continue to find time for Wikinut once you have taken off! My last article has certainly no relevance to people like you! siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Your every article is relevant to me -- I'm still just in planning stages & terrified of pulling the trigger. But I am approaching the business office next week to make sure I can afford to conduct business legally and safely! BIG STEP!!
Thanks for all the encouragement.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Phyl, I enjoyed reading your article (BTW thanks for the mention) It does occur to me that you could also fulfil the role of editor for the contributions that are posted. this way you earn from them and ensure that posts continue to be added on a regular basis and that the quality of the writing is good.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

I hope so, too. Ghost writing is something I haven't done in ages (for public consumption), but I spend a lot of my free time finding errors in social media. Might as well make some money from it!! ;) Cheers!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Utah Jay
21st Sep 2014 (#)

I always learn something when I read your page…Thanks, and good luck.
P.S.
I know you will do just fine.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Sep 2014 (#)

Oh, Thanks, Utah Jay!

Reply to this comment

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
23rd Sep 2014 (#)

Good evening and woo-hoo, Phyl. I am so proud of you. In the next two weeks, there will be an article on the "other side" writing job I generated simply by opening my mouth...we can be thankful that we can talk, walk and write, Phyl. Thank you for the mention and you have also taught me so much. Just another woo-hoo! ~Marilyn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
23rd Sep 2014 (#)

I am SO grateful for the ability to walk, talk, and write -- and only fall down every other day, and only in front of 10 people instead of 100. ;)
Looking forward to your article and to see all your progress.
My FB and webpage for the business each went live Sunday. The license is cheap, and can wait until I actually sign the first client. I don't have to make a lot, but it sure would be nice to have more bills paid before taking J to Florida this December!! ;)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Carol
23rd Sep 2014 (#)

Very helpful hints Phyl many thanks.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
24th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carol.

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
24th Sep 2014 (#)

maarvellous Phyl...not only the advice but the way you are so willing to Go For It...you encourage me so much so often...thank you..

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
24th Sep 2014 (#)

Best to you, dear one!!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ptrikha
26th Sep 2014 (#)

Surely, you took brave steps to venture into a new work and making great efforts to be productive and make things work.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Sep 2014 (#)

The steps are brave, but I haven't actually got clients yet. My business cards are expected in next week, and then the real pavement-hitting starts! Wish me luck!!
I have added a FB page and a page on my website if you are interested in following either. Thanks, Ptrikha, for following me on Twitter. I really appreciate it. Cheers!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
27th Sep 2014 (#)

It looks like thats the future in the corporate world, interesting and informative post my dear Phyl!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks, Fern!!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Athlyn
1st Oct 2014 (#)

Writers wear so many hats because what we do requires skills in so many areas. I always chuckle because the average person has no idea that we fiddle with HTML and programming and employ bookmarkiing and social media and edit photos and SEO and work with keywords, etc. etc. etc, all the myriad tasks of being a writer.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
1st Oct 2014 (#)

Exactly! I have taught and now I write because being an "expert" in one thing was never enough for me. And good writers don't have to be experts (though they should be above average), but they have to make readers THINK that they know what they are talking about, at least! And one of the worst traits about writers (myself included) is how self-deprecating and under-appreciating we can be. It is definitely something to work through to put best foot forward!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Lee Hansen
1st Oct 2014 (#)

What a major feat that you are undertaking. I admire you for getting out of your comfort zone and showing us how to as well. I wish you well in this new endeavor. The sky is definitely the limit.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Lee! Knowing which ducks you HAVE to have in that row is definitely the hardest. My online stuff is set up, but now I'm wondering how much print material I should make up to take new clients, or how much research into their brands I should do. Which is all really just ways of saying I'm still scared to take the next step. But with great support like I've found here, I will do it!!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Kingwell
4th Oct 2014 (#)

Wow! There is always something to learn on your pages. Blessings.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
4th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks!

Reply to this comment

author avatar micheal
24th Oct 2014 (#)

very helpful article Phyl, sounds like your really busy at it.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Michael. I'm really busy, but actually don't even have a client yet. "Client Zero," as I'll call him, for being the origin of this adventure, still says he wants my services, so I thought I was starting with him and wanting to wait to talk to new clients until he was a satisfied referral I could use. And I've been busy with other things. So I have not pursued other clients this month as I intended. But that doesn't mean someone else could not do what I intended. My plan is solid -- it just needs implementation!!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password