It's no secret - I work at home. I've been doing this for 6 years.
I'm not a millionaire, but I'm not broke either. I do okay enough to pay my bills, pay my mortgage and not have to go to an office every day. I'll admit I'm always looking for ways to increase my income - after all, more money is always a good thing when it comes to paying bills ;)
As part of my work-at-home writing business I get to post on forums - some are paid, some I visit because they're great. I meet a lot of other writers on those forums and the biggest question I see on any of them is this:
"Where do I find a Work-At-Home opportunity so I can quit my job today?"
These questions tell me that writer will fall for a few scams, pay a lot of money for work at home "systems" or packages, then give up and get a menial job somewhere else.
You see, they've got their thinking all wrong. A work at home business doesn't come in a package or a book. No one else can set it up for you and get it running successfully.
It's a business. It's YOUR business.
This means YOU choose which customers you want, what products you want to sell, how you want to run your office, when to bill your clients and so on.
Beginning a work at home business is easy and in some cases free and yet so many people keep doing useless Google searches trying to find one that's already set for them.
I'm going to list down exactly how I got my own business up and running - and how I've kept it growing for 6 years - and I'll make some suggestions about how you can do it too.
Here's some tips for setting up your own work at home business for free:
1.- Figure out what you like to do.
I love writing. I have loved to write ever since I was a child. Before my business took off I was still working in a terrible job at a bank. I hated it. I would come home every evening and look at ways I could get paid to write. I planned what I was going to do. Then I followed that plan.
2. - Find real people who are already doing what you like to do
(hint: forums are good for this....)
I went and found people who really were doing what they say they're doing. I didn't buy ebooks or systems or courses. I just spoke to other successful freelancers and learned how they found clients. I learned how they found markets. I learned how they ran their businesses.
Some of the ideas were great. Some I didn't like. It's my business, so I chose the bits I liked and worked around those.
3. - Begin working part-time on that thing you like to do.
After work and on weekends I wrote little 'fillers' for magazines and posted them off. I submitted articles to magazines. I wrote short fiction stories. I learned as much as I could about improving my writing. I wrote on a notepad on the train to work.
When I got tired or bored, I'd write something else. I kept reminding myself that I was building a business. I did NOT quit my job at that point. I kept building my client-base and my writing income.
Tip: Turn off the TV and stop surfing the net. If you want to build a business, then invest your time wisely.
4. - Don't spend any of that part-time income!
This is important. If you're already working in a 'day-job', then don't spend your business income. Yet. You'll need to save it for a while because when you do leave your day-job, you'll need that extra money to keep you going while you're building more income.
When your part-time income reaches enough to cover most of your bills and expenses - THEN it's time to consider giving up the day job so you can work on your business more, which should increase your income again.
5. - Keep searching for ways to increase your business income
No business on the planet makes money from one single activity. All businesses have different products, different options, different packages - choices for customers - and these different things mean that they increase their chance of selling something to someone somewhere.
Writing is the same. NEVER rely on one single type of income. If something happens to that one main income, your business will die.
6. - Create Income Avenues
When most people set up a freelance writing business, they begin writing articles and trying to sell them. This is your main 'Income Avenue'.
To keep your business alive (and to stop you getting bored) you need to create more than one Income Avenue. It's up to you what avenues you choose - you might choose blogging or paid-forum-posting or affiliate sales or whatever. It's YOUR business. Choose what suits you.
7. - Promote
If people don't know about your business and your services, then they can't find you. You need to promote yourself and your business. You need to let people know who you are and what you do.
8. - Work At Home
Once you have a stream of assignments, clients and ways to bring income into the household, you can really say you're working from home. The only way to STAY working at home is to keep bringing in that income. Keep finding new clients and new income avenues. Keep working.
Don't goof off and watch TV. Don't sleep til 10am. Don't play video games. Work. You wanted to work from home - so work.
When your work is done - then you can goof off however you choose.
So... if you want to start a home-based business, it can be done. Start a free blog. Get some income into your business. Build it.
But don't fall for those "Easy Way..." systems or ready-made opportunities. They won't buy you a business that will keep you going. Only you can do that.