One morning my VP asked me into his office. I knew the news wasn’t going to be good. The country was in the midst of the ‘great recession’ and by that afternoon I had joined the ranks of the unemployed. Now what?
I took my career into my own hands as a freelance writer and consultant. Working from home was an uncertain bet, but over the years I’ve had the fortune to work with some of the most respected brands in North America. My home-based business grew from absolute zero into a six-figure income that I never thought would be possible working from home.
How did I do it? Here are three success tactics that worked for me.
It’s unlikely that a prospect will randomly approach your company and make a purchase all in one go. A sales pipeline helps you manage and track opportunities from “got to get them” to “they have some interest” to “sold,” and is a good way to gain more control.
There are plenty of templates and tools available to create a pipeline, but I recommend keeping it simple: anything that provides a visual snapshot of where potential customers are in the process. I use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that lists my projects and clients, assigns an income figure, and presents them in descending order; from an active project to a hopeful sale.
that lists my projects and clients, assigns an income figure, and presents them in descending order; from an active project to a hopeful sale.
One challenge of working from home is that you tend to spend a lot of time on things that don’t directly pay. My secret weapon is the use of an automated meeting scheduler. There are several affordable tools to consider. Automated meeting schedulers allow customers to book from your available time slots. Since they select the best time for them, the hassle of playing phone tag and constant rescheduling is eliminated. This gives you more time to devote to paying activities, takes your stress level way down, and makes you look important and professional.
Different markets have different needs and customers tend to put more trust and investment behind suppliers with a demonstrated history of success within their specific industry. That is why it is important to find your niche and leverage your expertise in that industry. Start with a “beachhead strategy” focused on winning clients in a particular niche first before moving into other, larger markets. This focused approach helps direct your product development and marketing efforts to target new clients, build a reputation, and increase account penetration.