CREATING CASH FLOW FROM HOME
If ever there was a time to consider going back to work it’s now! More and more stay-at-home mothers, semi-retired women and even the ladies-who-lunch crowd are contemplating the idea of generating a little extra cash to stay afloat.
Alas, it’s been years since your last job. How can you possibly compete with a gap in your resume, an economic downturn that has the market flooded with qualified candidates, and college graduates willing to work for less than what it would cost to hire a nanny? What’s a gal looking for a little extra dough to do? Start dreaming, that’s what!
Forget about getting a job. This is your chance to finally get that business idea that’s been lying dormant in your head onto paper and ready for prime-time. While some would say this is a less than opportune time to launch your entrepreneurial dream, I say becoming your own boss is the best way to bring in an income consistent with your qualifications and economic needs while keeping a flexible schedule that suits you and your family.
Here are a few tips for “good launching in bad times:”
1) Rely on the past: When cash is needed immediately, starting a business that requires two years to bring in revenues is not going to solve your problems. Stick to the business sector you came from. Position yourself as an expert consultant, and capitalize on your professional history. For example, if you were a public relations executive in your former life, launch a small boutique agency out of your home.
2) Be a solution to a problem: When times are tight, businesses as well as consumers are looking for ways to cut back just like the rest of us. Be a solution to these tough times by offering your services at a lower rate than the competition. You are likely to have less overhead and can offer to do equal work for less money. Companies and consumers who are often loyal to brands and services in more stable times can’t afford not to save a little, and you may be the answer to their cost saving needs. For example, if you want to become an esthetician, offer an in-home service to clients. The money you will save on overhead will translate into lower pricing — and what customer doesn’t want to pay less for good service.
3) Recession-proof your idea: If you are starting up in this climate, consider business ideas that can weather the ups and downs of Wall Street and Main Street. Don’t start a business that relies on consumer discretionary income. Instead, consider a business that is essential regardless of the economy. For example, launch an after school childcare program in your home. You can grow or downsize as you desire, and you will be offering an invaluable service to working parents in your area.
4) Get creative: Look for businesses you can align yourself with based on a similar demographic, and bundle your products or services. For example, if you want to open a flower shop, look for wedding coordinators and event production consultants with a similar sensibility to bundle your services with. Create promotional materials with all of your numbers and link to each other on your websites. Share client lists and create a referral program amongst one another.
5) Get connected: Don’t forget to network! Go to industry events and get to know people in the world you want to become part of. If you are re-entering your previous field, contact your former colleagues and customers to rekindle professional relationships. For example, go to your local chamber of commerce and offer to sponsor or speak at a networking event specific to your area of expertise.
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. What started out as a way to put a little jingle back in your pocketbook may just have provided the opportunity and motivation you’ve needed to turn your cash flow blues into a life-changing solution. Good luck to each of you as you begin the amazing journey of launching your dream.