How I Found My Home Based Business Niche.
By: Elaine Currie, BA (Hons) © The Hunting Venus Group
I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly unemployed after more than twenty-five years in the same job. Prior to this I had no ambition to own my own business. I had previously had vague thoughts that it would be very nice to be able to work from home, but I never had any idea of what I could actually work at. I have a computer, I am literate and can type at a pretty fast rate. Apart from these, I have no skills which I can see as the basis for a home based business. I like reading and I grow all manner of plants from beans to cacti, but I couldnt see anybody paying me to stay home and do any of these things.
If you had told me then where I would be today, and what I would be doing, I would have thought you were crazy. I would not have believed that I would own some websites (my own domain actually), be working from home and have published articles which I had written myself.
I searched for work, both on and off the internet and the more I searched, the more downhearted I became. Sure, there were jobs about but they all required things I lacked: some wanted experience, some wanted much younger people, the worst ones wanted people who were prepared to work long hours for peanuts.
I was regularly searching on the Internet for opportunities for home work. I joined forums and read posts from women who were desperate to work from home, most of them had children and were unable to find suitable jobs to fit in with their schedules. It began to seem as if there is a great army of people all wanting to work but unable to find the right opportunity to suit them.
I signed up with a couple of companies to get paid for reading emails, but reading a couple of emails each day is not the way to make a fortune. I still read emails for these companies, but only out of sentiment (you will understand what I mean by this when you get to the end of this story).
I picked up a couple of ideas which seemed promising and I tried them out. The first thing was mystery shopping, which sounded simple enough, and potentially enjoyable well, getting paid to go shopping sounds good to me. I found many companies through searching the internet and I applied to dozens of them; I wanted a full time job, not just the odd shopping trip. Months went by and I heard nothing from any of these companies.
Fortunately, I had not been just sitting back and waiting for the mystery shopping jobs to come pouring in. I saw advertisements for paid surveys, and it seemed that you could make a full-time income filling in surveys on line. There were many websites which advised that you should never pay a fee to join a survey company, and these sites displayed the web addresses of various survey companies. At the same time, I saw a lot of advertising by a company which promised access to an enormous database of the best paying survey companies for a fee of only $35, which you would be bound to recover within a few days. Against my better judgement, I paid over the $35 and was disappointed to find that many of the companies in this database would accept US and Canada residents only. Nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact that I live in the UK. Of the companies which would accept international residents, I had already signed up to most of them. I got precisely nothing back for my $35. The only money I earned came from two paid survey companies which I did not join through that database. To date I have received a total payment of £12. I have earned another £21 which is in an account which would only pay out if my total reached £50.
My work search turned into a research project. I started looking at home based businesses rather than jobs. No shortage of possibilities here, but how to choose? I saw some attractive websites aimed at selling all kinds of goods but I had no idea where I would obtain stock, or even what I should try to sell, let alone how to set up a website, and my budget was limited. I tried searching for turnkey businesses. I looked at affiliate programme opportunities, and they seemed a good idea, no stock to buy or handle, but what should I sell? There were also different grades of memberships. I hardly knew what most of it meant to start with, but I was learning, and I was getting a pretty good feel for what I didnt want.
I would like to say that I found my niche as a result of my own genius, hard work and perseverance. Actually, it was an accident. I opened one of my paid to read emails, clicked on the link and had my first view of a Plug-in Profit SiteÔ. I try to avoid clichés but this truly was a sight for sore eyes, eyes which felt as if they were ready to bulge out of my head after hours of staring at a computer screen. If it is possible to fall in love with a website, I did just that; I knew absolutely without a doubt that I wanted a Plug-in Profit Site of my own, it was everything I needed and more besides.
An attractive young man (young enough to be my son, I am afraid) was offering to build for me free of charge a website, complete with five free to join affiliate programmes selling a wide range of items, to provide multiple ways of earning money. He was also offering me, free of charge, my own pre-written newsletter, his own guide to setting up and running my business and many other free things which I came to appreciate even though I didnt know what they were at the time (remember, I did not know a mailing list from a grocery list at this time, and I thought a lead was just something you needed to walk your dog). I could take delivery of all this within 24 hours, thank goodness; I dont think I could have waited a minute longer. I did not resist this temptation for even a second and within 24 hours, I was a website owner all ready to trade.
The learning curve started here but Ill save that for another story. Ill just tell you one thing that I learned: I found out that I had, once again, been extremely lucky. I joined a couple of forums and read many posts from people who had struggled for years to find a decent home based internet business. These people told harrowing tales of failure, money lost, mounting debts, years of hard work and worry. In a strange way, I feel almost guilty that I found my niche by accident.
About the author:
Elaine Currie, BA (Hons), is a writer and internet marketer. She came to the internet after a 25 year career at a London law firm, seeking a new career path. Knowing only that she wanted the opportunity to spend more time writing and to be her own boss, Elaine discovered the concept of the “pluginprofitsite” (details can be seen at http://www.huntingvenus.com/pips.htmland at Elaines website http://www.huntingvenus.com)