Working From Home – The Three Keys to Success

There are several trends that are driving forward the popularity of working from home. The main trend is the improvement of communication technology, mainly the Internet. The Internet allows people to access information and communicate with people all over the world in an instant. For employed people, this often means accessing company databases remotely and for the self-employed, this means marketing products, services or an opportunity online.

Another trend that is driving the popularity of working from home is people’s quest for a different lifestyle. People no longer want to work 40 or 50 hours a week for a boss, just to pay the bills. People are generally seeking more control of where and how they work and whom they work with. This brings us on to another trend…

A much improved scale and efficiency of logistics. People now expect to order something online or on the phone and receive their goods within a day or two. This has created new distribution channels for manufacturers and wholesalers and new income opportunities for people who can help those companies find new customers. These new distribution opportunities are usually in the form of Direct Sales / Network Marketing or eCommerce websites. The Work From Home era is truly here.

My Background

I first got involved in working from home on a part-time basis 7 years ago, with a British Direct Sales and Network Marketing company called Kleeneze. Their business model uses commission based, self-employed distributors who distribute their home shopping catalogues to households and then take orders and deliver products. The company takes advantage of the growing home shopping trend, improved goods distribution and people’s quest for a better lifestyle. Kleeneze are basically a goods warehouse that uses a catalogue distribution methodology, combined with a network marketing incentive structure to take their products to market. It’s a strong model.

Over the past several years, I have built up a team of distributors, whose sales contribute to my group turnover, which the company pays me a percentage on every month. This gives me a passive income that allows me to free up time to focus on other activities such as helping a selected team members, developing ideas and exploring new opportunities.

More recently, I have become involved in financial services. I am an appointed representative for a financial services practice and a consumer credit compensation company, both on a part-time basis. This means I am running 3 businesses on a part-time basis, all of which compliment each other quite well. In one role I am helping people earn a substantial extra income. In another role I am helping people with protection, insurance and mortgages. In another role, I am helping people to significantly reduce debt. I try and help people improve their lifestyle and finances in one form or another. The skills I’ve learned along the way include selling, public speaking, coaching, web design and Internet marketing.

Why Work From Home?

People will want to work from home for many different reasons and in many different ways. For example, the schoolteacher working from home marking exam papers is very different from an entrepreneur working from home trying to build a successful enterprise. For the purpose of this article, I will endeavour to give some useful advice for people who are looking to work from home to either earn an extra income, or build a business for the longer term. This will usually be a network marketing or eCommerce business.

The idea of working from home can be very attractive. Being at home for your family. Flexibility of hours. Home comforts and more. These are all real advantages but as with everything in life, there are two sides to the coin. Positive and negative. With children or other family members can come distraction. Flexibility can be hard to discipline, so time can easily be wasted and time wasted can never be gotten back. Home comforts can again distract your focus from important tasks that need to be carried out.

The Three Keys To Success

There are 3 things you need to be successful. Willingness, ability and a good opportunity. The good news is they’re all down to you. Willingness (motivation) is down to you. Ability (acquiring the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for success) is down to you by how much you’re willing to learn. Finding a good opportunity is also down to you – research as many opportunities as you can and don’t just go for something because it’s initially appealing.

Let’s first look at finding a good opportunity. I will use the criteria I use when looking at an opportunity and these criteria should serve you well. Let’s assume you’re looking to join a Network Marketing company for example. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • Products / Services: Is there a good market for the products / services that the company provides. Are they priced to sell and priced for profit? Are they of acceptable quality? Are at least some of the products / services consumable, offering future repeat business? Can they easily be bought elsewhere more easily and cheaply? Is there a strong guarantee? Do the products / services satisfy a growing trend or need in the marketplace? Having all these criteria together is not critical, but the more you have, the bigger the advantage
  • Company: Does the company / supplier have a proven, successful track record? Does it have strong corporate and financial backing? Does the company have a positive public image, or if it’s a newer company, positive endorsements or testimonials? Does the company practice integrity?
  • Support: Does the company take support and training seriously? The vast majority of new distributors or representatives will probably need to learn specific skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them to attain a certain level of success
  • Innovation: Does the company have the right people in place to help drive the development of the company through changing economic and market conditions? Change is the only constant in life and only those people and companies who adapt will survive and prosper in the long term.

My final advice when assessing a company is imagine you are preparing to invest a large loan that is secured against your house into the business. Do your due diligence and invest using your brain, not your emotions. Emotion can come later.

The second key to success is willingness. This means a willingness on your behalf to put the time and effort into learning the knowledge, skills and attitudes required and of course, quite simply getting down and doing the work. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Before you commit time and effort into something, you need desire and belief and they are both closely linked. Desire comes through pain or pleasure. You’re either motivated by something you want to move towards, or motivated by pain to move away from something. Here’s something interesting: for the majority of people, pain is more of a powerful motivator than pleasure, especially in the shorter term. Here’s a few quick tips to develop consistent desire (motivation):

  • Allow yourself to dream about what you really want your life to be like (the pleasure principle). If you find this difficult, remind yourself of your dreams you had as a child, before disappointment and cynicism took over!
  • Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you
  • Feed your mind with information that is conductive to helping you build the life you want. This includes books, audios and even refraining from watching trashy, negative TV!
  • Take yourself forward 5 years and imagine what your life will be like if you don’t follow your dreams (the pain principle). Now 10 years. Now 20. Now imagine yourself as an old man or woman looking back on your life. Are you proud of yourself or full of regret?
  • Set your goals and take immediate and sustained action!

Belief will come through being associated with the right company. By company I mean a physical company and of course people. If you did your due diligence before joining a company, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If this belief starts fade, then you need to ask why, because a lack of belief in what you’re doing or what you’re involved in will destroy your chances of success as fast as anything else. Here’s where having a good coach or mentor will help massively. Try and find a mentor or coach that you feel comfortable with and one who’s qualified to help i.e. one who’s done it or doing it.

Finally, I recommend you become a student of personal development, if you’re not already. Simply put, if you want to become successful, study success. If you want to become wealthy, study wealth. There’s a great range of personal development material on the Internet that you can explore.

The third and final key to success is ability. This simply means the ability to turn work into positive results. In other words, having the right knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA’s). What might the KSA’s be?

  • Product / service knowledge
  • Selling and negotiating skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Marketing knowledge
  • A knowledge of human psychology
  • Specific technical knowledge / skills
  • A focused attitude
  • An attitude of courage – willingness to expand one’s comfort zone to do things they haven’t done before

How do you develop ability? If you’re involved with a company that takes support and training seriously, they will have a training programme that you can join. It should be structured and allow people to work through it at their own pace, with various competence standards along the way so you can measure your progress over time. A good training and development programme should:

  • Be clear and in easy to understand language
  • Be organised and structured
  • Have clear learning outcomes so the student can measure their progress against set competence benchmarks
  • Allow feedback between the student and teacher. The ”student’ is usually the distributor or representative and the ‘teacher’ would be the coach or mentor that has proven success by using the information that is being taught
  • Have a certain degree of flexibility so people of varying experience and timescales can work through it at their own pace
  • Use various media such is written text, audio, visual and ‘hands on’ practical activities
  • Include group learning and fun!

One quality that is often overlooked by companies and trainers is character. Although having the right skills and knowledge is really important, just as important is a person’s character. This includes qualities such as trustworthiness, empathy, good humour and discipline. Character is developed through the interaction of life’s experiences and one’s own fixed mental attitudes. A great way of helping people grow is through group activities, and not necessarily business orientated. The key is to create and fun and conductive environment for people.

What I have outlined in this article is a general blueprint for your success in running a business from home, without the specific details for your particular company. I hope you have found this article useful and I wish you all the best in your current and future ventures.

Tackle the E-Commerce Website Usability Qualms

Virtual market was never scarcely populated, but thanks to advancements like Zen cart eCommerce, magneto eCommerce development and likes, the zone now is certainly crowded. The crowd however is not making money. There are abundant reasons for this, but as the scope of this article is limited, let’s zero down on one of the most critical aspects and that is the E commerce cart usability.

With various possible ways one can attract traffic and even induce an initial purchase, however if the eCommerce store is not a convenient buy option or is not easy to use, it will repeal buys. The idea is pretty straight forward. Consider a situation where to buy an electronics item, you log onto a relatively new eCommerce website you have heard about. The home page is stuffed with product pictures and descriptions of all kinds and scrolling through all of it obviously seems a pain. But then it is justified, I mean naturally if there are so many products to be sold, the details will be posted. However, while this “seemingly natural” situation is defensible from the owner’s perspective, as a buyer you are all lost in the maze.

The situation further worsens, if the search box is not placed right above the fold. The sophisticated eCommerce design then seems totally redundant and the whole task of eCommerce website development fails to generate any returns. Despite putting in a diligent effort and thus making use of high tech shopping cart systems the php eCommerce development based website or Magneto eCommerce development driven online store or Zen cart eCommerce website fails to deliver.

How to Define Usability?

An eCommerce website design is considered usable if

1.It is easy to explore – it is not a puzzle a buyer is here to solve. The motive is shopping and shopping should always be easy and quick and fun. Nobody is interested in getting lost while attempting to navigate the path leading to the desired item. Breadcrumb navigation along with the requisite heads and sub heads is the solution.

2.It saves time and is convenient – An online store, which during the final stages of checkout displays the message ‘out of stock’ is certainly frustrating. Likewise unnecessary pop-ups and adverts are a turn-off.

3.It communicates security and trust – this is critical for a non branded set-up. Zen cart eCommerce is a fantastic open source platform and many are making use of this software to create shopping carts however, a user is not able to trust all. To foster this trust level few measures like placing trust certifications, portraying security badges and thus conveying security concerns are pertinent.

4.It is extremely straight and clear on the price aspect – You cannot trick and confuse a buyer more than one singular time, so don’t waste time and resources on anything like magneto eCommerce development, if this is the focus. An eCommerce website design is usable if it clearly elucidates the item’s net price along with all possible add-one like shipping charges, volume discounts, etc.

Ecommerce and the Motivation to Start

Ecommerce is the hinge that allows the online business door to swing wide open. This is the industry of cyber business. It goes beyond simply saying, “Look at me world, I have an idea. Doesn’t anyone care?” Ecommerce allows you to take your idea and connect it with consumers and your bank. It allows the free flow of commerce, your ideas, those who want to join you in what you are doing and a banking institution that can manage the electronic transfer of funds.

The overriding benefit of ecommerce is its low cost when compared to a brick and mortar storefront. However, an equally compelling benefit is the ability to appeal to a substantially larger consumer base.

Ecommerce can seem scary to those who have never dipped a toe into the waters of cyber sales. This can be likened to the apprehension some have felt over the use of a cell phone instead of a landline, a word processor instead a typewriter or a computer instead of an encyclopedia. These are not necessarily Luddites, but they do possess a fear over the use of something they don’t understand.

If you have an interest in ecommerce, but little interest in learning the skills to set up your online business there are online ecommerce solutions to help you get started. You can also use web builder technology to access many of the tools you will need to get started. These will typically be available with simple step-by-step instructions on the successful development of your ecommerce site.

One of the primary things you will need to know is that business transactions will typically be conducted electronically. What that means is you will not likely see cash or checks, but a simple notice (usually be email) that alerts you to deposits in a bank account or online financial institution such as PayPal.

Many larger online firms have further extended their sales potential by including Bill Me Later. This easy to use financial tool allows consumers to purchase something and defer payment in much the same way they might a credit card. The process for acceptance is simple and billing is handled by traditional mail, but can also be viewed via an online account by consumers.

Every day more tools are being made available to allow ecommerce to exist and thrive in an online environment.

What may seem ironic is even those who have attended college in the past, those who have encountered and conquered personal difficulties and those who have struggled through health difficulties may actually be the first to reject the idea of going into business online.

Yes, they have endured and conquered much, but they still view ecommerce as a hurdle that may be too much to manage.

The best suggestion I might make is to simply take the time to investigate some of the skills needed to conduct business online. Consider a few of the possibilities for an online business. Look through various online marketing ideas that others have used successfully. Pull each piece and view those fragments as puzzle pieces. When you have enough of them a bigger picture begins to emerge.

Ecommerce is possible and it isn’t something only those with great technical skills can use. It is for everyone. It may just be for you.