A guide to running a successful online business from home

What makes a successful e-business? We look at a few success stories.

 

The great advantage of running a business from home is that it offers you the flexibility to choose your own hours. There is also the convenience of being close to home to attend to commitments that need your attention.

What makes an online business successful?

While running your business from home means you can be your own boss, it is also important to have the necessary time management skills needed to make your venture successful.

One of the most common challenges in this space is competition - there are many existing home businesses across various categories in Australia.

To be able to stand out in this market, there are some considerations to take into account before you start getting those business cards printed.

Will the business work from home?

The first question you must ask is, “will my business be as successful in the home as it would be anywhere else?”

In many cases, the answer is no.

You may need to rely on specific equipment or a big space for your business. It is important to consider all the requirements for your business and work out if these can be contained within your home.

Benefits of the nbn™ network for Australian businesses

One of the biggest changes the nbn™ network will enable are the advantages it will offer to small and remote businesses. The combination of satellite, wireless and wired connections will mean more Australian businesses will have access to fast broadband.

Among the key benefits are:

  • Better online customer service experience: Fast internet will offer remote businesses - who have been hamstrung by slower connections - to be more responsive on websites, forums or social media channels.
  • Increased online presence: These same sites could enable small or remote businesses to grow digitally and increase awareness of their stores online.
  • Ecommerce:  Shops who may not have been able to expand their offering online - due to poor internet connections - will have the option to offer their products or services online.
  • Overseas export: An unexpected source of profit can also come from overseas markets. The ability for a business to advertise and communicate with people from all over the world can open up export opportunities which can in turn help the Australian economy.

Unleash your creative streak

Combining a computer and a creative streak is often a great way to be able to start an online business without the need for excessive upfront business costs. A great example of this is blogging.

One of the biggest booms in online home businesses has been in the world of blogging.

Often seen as the domain of stay-at-home parents, blogging enables people to work from home and set their own hours.

While many use blogs as an opportunity to express their opinions on topics, many Australian blogs have turned into thriving businesses. While a blog is not a business in itself, using your blog to create a brand can eventually gain sponsorship or advertising. 

Mamamia is an example of a successful blog that is now also a thriving business. In 2007 Mia Freedman, who had previously worked as a publisher in magazines, started a blog in her living room that was designed to allow women to have a place to talk to each other about their lives.

Now, Mamamia employs almost 80 staff and has a team of contributors who provide content from home.

Other examples of businesses that can be successful from home include:

  • Freelance writing
  • Graphic and Web Design
  • Consulting
  • Social Media Management
  • Marketing

Find a gap in the market

Another way to set up an online business from home is to find a niche product or service. Many successful businesses started when owners found a gap in the market and used that opportunity.

Surf Stich is an online only Surf fashion store that used a niche category to break into a cluttered market. Seven years ago in a garage in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, two surfing mates saw a gap in the surf clothing market.

Starting in 2008 with a staff of five and an online store, the combination of a niche market and successful online business model has enabled them to expand, now delivering to over 123 countries and employing over 250 staff. All without a single bricks and mortar store.

Some other examples of potentially successful niche markets:

  • Online Personal Assistants
  • Food delivery services
  • Task outsourcing
  • Clothing items
  • Box subscription services

 

Harness your expertise  

Many other successful online businesses have thrived due to industry knowledge and know how.

A great example of this is Kogan. Ruslan Kogan was out shopping for a TV and was surprised by how high the prices were. As a result, he used his knowledge of business to start an online consumer electronics website in his parents’ garage.

His edge? Going direct to the manufacturer and cutting out the middleman. This has enabled Kogan to become one of Australia’s biggest online stores with over 100 staff.

Knowledge of the market is a great way to ensure you can stand out from other businesses in your sector. Some other industries that require that kind of expertise include:

  • Accounting
  • Financial planning
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Fashion

Fast internet means great opportunities

Access to fast and reliable internet for all Australians once the nbn™ network is complete means many entrepreneurs will have the ability to start an online business from the comfort of their own home.