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How to Work from Home as an Online Retail Consultant

How to Work from Home as an Online Retail ConsultantOnline shopping is the mainstream trend both for large companies and small entrepreneurs. Some online stores operate as independent websites, while others take advantage of platforms such as Etsy or Amazon, which offers them the support of a thriving community and an established brand name.

And many of these ecommerce websites need help to grow their sales, establish their own brand name and become more visible on search engines and the social media. All these entrepreneurs need an online retail consultant. And it could be you, working from home as a freelancer or home-based business owner.

What Does an Online Retail Consultant Do?
An online retail consultant or ecommerce consultant evaluates an online store and recommends strategies for:
⦁ Improving and upgrading the design
⦁ Scaling and improving the website functionality
⦁ Increasing the visibility of the website by a sound SEO strategy
⦁ Improving the user experience by making navigation more user friendly
⦁ Optimizing the entire shopping experience by simplifying the checkout process;
⦁ Improving the security of online payments by choosing reputable payment processors.

Online retail consultants work either on individual projects or as long-term consultants for clients who want to keep their website permanently optimized for the best shopping experience for their customers.

If this type of activity is exactly what you are good at and passionate about, this is what you need to know about working from home as an online ecommerce consultant:

1. Get Certified
A simple Google search will show you that you have lots and lots of competition in the niche of online consulting, both from companies and individual freelancers. So, any potential client will look for credentials before they decide to hire an online consultant.

Certification is important – even if it is in the form of a diploma from an online training organization. Look at the types of certifications held by other freelancers or home-based business owners in this niche, and try to obtain them too.

2. Build a Portfolio
Most certainly, you have past experience in optimizing ecommerce websites, or even running your own. List all the relevant projects you have worked on, either independently or as an employee. Discuss with your former employer before you list the clients you have worked for, because they may have included confidentiality clauses in the agreement with their clients. Do not post work references without this clearance, you may be taken to court for breach of your former employment agreement.

3. Determine the Price for Your Services
The majority of online retail consultants price their service on an hourly basis. Others will negotiate a price per project. As a beginner, you may not charge a lot per hour, plus your initial engagements will be short projects. Thus, you will probably make more money by negotiating a price per project.

As you gain more customers and more credibility as a freelance professional, you will get hired for longer term projects for customers, which you should price per hour.

4. Speak in Terms Understandable to Your Clients
Some of your clients will not be tech savvy – that is exactly why they need your services. When you work for these customers, try to explain to them what you advise them to do, or the actions you will take with respect to their websites, in simple words which they can understand. They do not need a magician with a wand or an obscure guru, but a full understanding of what you propose to do to improve their websites. This is their own business, after all, and they need to feel that they are still in control of it.

5. Ask for Testimonials and Credentials
Your happy clients will have no reserve to give public testimonials about your work. They may even post a credential in the footer of their web pages (“website optimized by…” with a link to your website). So, even if you have just started your activity as an online retail consultant, do not be afraid to ask for testimonials and credentials for your work. They will help you grow your reputation and find new customers.

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5 Lucrative Home-Based Business Ideas You Can Start in 2017

5 Lucrative Home-Based Business Ideas You Can Start in 2017The world of business is forever changing. Products and services in demand today may become obsolete tomorrow. At the same time, new and in-demand products and services appear, in line with people’s changing needs and interests. Knowing what is lucrative and in-demand ahead of time helps entrepreneurs adapt their business models and keep their companies relevant over time.

For home-based business owners, 2017 is a year in which both craft businesses and professional services are in great demand. There are no surprising changes from last year (so you can breathe out in relief) but there are some shifts in popularity among various niches.

This article is also aimed at potential entrepreneurs who are not sure if their skills and experience are a good fit for starting a home-based business. Without further delay, these are the most in-demand and lucrative home-based business ideas for 2017:

1. Affiliate Marketing

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-You don’t need to write or produce any unique content

-You don’t need to create any products to sell

-You don’t need to write up any sales letters

-You don’t need to provide any customer service or follow up support

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2. Crowdfunding Consulting
Crowdfunding websites such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe and Kickstarter feature hundreds of thousands of projects. Some of them succeed, but many fail. And, among the successful ones, some crowdfunding projects fall apart in a very public and unpleasant manner, with negative legal consequences.

To avoid this, many people hire a crowdfunding consultant to advise them on the best way to formulate their project and ensure transparency and a fair treatment of all contributors. At the same time, potential entrepreneurs want to make their project stand out, be visible and have an adequate promotion on the social media and other channels to attract more contributors. All these fall among the scope of work of a home-based crowdfunding consultant.

3. Woodworking
From abstract services, we move now to a craft home-based business, more specifically to woodworking. There is an increasing demand for unique, handmade furniture, toys and decorations made of wood. People want to add a personal note to their homes and are willing to pay more for a crafted item than for mass-produced items. If you love carving wood and are good at it, this is the moment to open a home-based business and start making money from your hobby.

4. Social Media Consulting
The social media has long exceeded the status of an online forum for people to meet, share photos, and build conversations. It is a thriving world where businesses find potential customers, build relationships with them and advertise their products and services.

There are many unwritten dos and don’ts in social media engagement, and small businesses need advice or even a manager for their social media pages. As a social media consultant or manager, you can build a thriving customer base and establish your authority as an expert. In time, you can expand your business to publishing eBooks and hosting webinars.

5. Candle Making
Candles have appeared over 2,000 years ago and it seems that they are here to stay. No longer used as a lighting source, candles (especially scented ones) are now popular in spas, for creating a romantic atmosphere and for scent therapy.

Handmade beeswax candles are very popular, especially if you craft them in creative shapes and colors, adequate for various celebrations (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.).

If you didn’t find your skill or hobby in this list, do not despair: you still stand a great chance to open a successful home-based business.

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How to Start a Woodworking Business From Home

How to Start a Woodworking Business From HomeMany people are extremely skilled at working with their hands and creating beautiful and useful things. One of the oldest crafts which is still appreciated in the present is woodworking. Wood is a sturdy, beautiful and resilient material which can be crafted in many ways, creating everything from everyday items to amazing artworks.

If you are skilled in this time-revered craft, here is some great news from you: the latest interior design trends have revived the rustic look of homes, with lots of handmade wooden decorations and furniture. This means that you stand great chances of being successful if you decide to open a woodworking home-based business.

Not sure how to do it? We are here to help you with tips and advice which will put you on the right path towards becoming a successful entrepreneur. When it comes to woodworking, these are the most pertinent issues a potential home-based business owner should know and consider:

1. Woodworking Requires a Minimal Start-Up Capital
If you want to open a woodworking business, chances are you have already been practicing this craft as a hobby for some time now. If so, you already own the most important tools you need and have a shed or a garage where you can work undisturbed.

Thus, you do not have to invest a lot of money in equipment and workshop location. It is recommended, however, to make sure that you separate the work area from the home area in order to be able to deduct your expenses with utilities (electricity, heating, water, etc.).

2. Find Your Niche
Woodworking is a very large industry. In order to be successful, you should specialize in a certain niche. This niche should be one you like and are good at; at the same time, you should make some inquiries and find out if you have a potential market for the items you want to make and sell. Some of the most successful woodworking niches are:
⦁ Cabinet making
⦁ Wooden toys
⦁ Decorative sculpted items
⦁ Rocking chairs
⦁ Bird houses
⦁ Fences
⦁ Handmade artistic furniture (headboards for beds, armoires)
⦁ Picture and photo frames

Your niche must be directly connected with the local area you live in. For example, if you live in a large city, artistic furniture is in demand, while in the countryside you will find more customers for fences and basic furniture (cabinets, garden tables and chairs).

3. Ask Your Friends to Spread the News
It is likely that you already have some crafted items which you have made as a hobby. You should start by gifting some of them to your friends and ask them to share their opinions on them with their own friends on social media.

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing and promotion, so do not consider that you are losing money if you give away a few items. It is more expensive to promote yourself without any support, and without anyone endorsing you and your products.

4. Have Your Items Professionally Photographed
As you prepare to launch your business, you should be ready to showcase your items in a website or on social media accounts. If you have a photographer friend, negotiate a fair deal – because you need professional photos of your items. Yes, everyone has a phone with a good camera, but a good photographer knows how to set up the background and the lights in order to capture the best angle of your products.

5. Learn How to Price Your Products
In order to make it worthwhile, you should make a profit from selling your items. The final price should reflect both the materials you used and the time and care you took in crafting them. To get an idea of how to price your products, search various online craft stores on Etsy and eBay and use those prices as reference for yours.

Last, but not least, invest time in building a personal brand for you and your home-based business, by creating social media accounts and engaging with potential customers.

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