One of the biggest problems faced by mums who start a home business is being taken seriously.
You may be in network marketing, you may have a blog, or maybe you are freelancing in whatever profession you had before you had children. Your business may be very successful and making money and you may be very fulfilled doing it. But still some people will see a one man band business as ‘not a proper business’ and may judge you because of it.
It’s not fair, but a lot of people will see the tell-tale signs that you work from home and judge your business as being less worthy of their time and money than bigger, seemingly more professional businesses, even if you’re doing what they’re doing better than them for less money!
What’s a business woman to do? Make your home business appear more professional that’s what!
Here are some pretty simple things you can do to put your business on a par with the bigger players and convince more people to choose you over the more established competition:
Ensure You Have a Custom Domain
Subdomains like http://mumstheboss.blogspot.com/ might be free, (and that blog is one of my Portuguese competitors!) but they are not nearly as good at earning trust and showing potential clients just how professional you are as a custom domain like www.mumstheboss.co.uk.
It’s maybe not so important if you are just running a blog and not selling from it, but if you are trying to persuade people to trust you and buy your services, then it is definitely worth paying a small amount to a company like Bluehost or Hostgator to show that you are serious about your company. Even a small investment like this shows just how professional you are.
Getting a website that shows off your personality and demonstrates what you can do is also well worth the investment. Your website is your virtual shop window in this modern world, and it should really show off the best of what you have to offer.
Get a Virtual Business Address
Acquiring a virtual mailing address from a company like https://physicaladdress.com is a sure-fire way to increase the perceived professionality of your business. Why? Because it removes the need for you to have your home address on your website, emails and business cards, etc., and replaces it with a more businesslike form of contact instead.
Not only that, but it majorly boosts your privacy and makes handling correspondence simpler – you simply log into your account and read scanned versions of your mail. What could be better?
Keep Your Branding Consistent
If you use a red and white colour scheme on your website, but your business cards are blue and orange and you favour a purple colour scheme for your social media profiles, you can hardly blame anyone for thinking that your business is unprofessional and disorganised.
It’s not just your colour scheme either, every aspect of your brand from your logo and profile pictures, to your message and content needs to be the same across the board. You can choose whether to be formal , businesslike and appear trustworthy, or you could go for more informal, friendly and fun, but whichever it is, you need to keep the same persona across all your website, emails and social media postings.
If your brand isn’t cohesive, it will not impress anyone!
Use a Business Email Adress
If you want your work from home business to look professional, you should absolutely not be using your Gmail, or heaven-forbid Yahoo or Hotmail email address for official correspondence.
Every email you send to clients should come from an email address from your own domain, that looks like email@example.com. No one is going to trust you if you’re using an external email address that can be so easily hacked and which is not part of your brand.
I use my Mum’s the Boss email address for all of my corespondence, business and personal. It always raises a smile when people ask for my email address and I tell them it includes Mum’s the Boss. Next thing I know, people in shops and random businesses that I interact with are asking me what I do, and some of them may then come along and read my blog.
I do have a gmail address which I use for certain purposes but I don’t share it with many people. I wear my brand on my sleeve at all times, because I never know when I’m going to meet my potential readers.
Ensure Your Social Media is Active
If your social media profiles have few followers and hardly any posts, it won’t look like a bigger more professional operation. So, work hard to create solid content and attract followers if you want to compete.
If you can’t manage to post consistently on all the social media networks, then pick one or two to focus on, and close the other profiles down.
It’s also a good idea to use social media automation accounts (my favourite is Edgar) to share your content across all of your different social media accounts at the same time, and to recycle old content and make your accounts loook busy even if you are not in them full time.
So there are five simple things that you can do to make your small home business look like a much larger, more professional organisation. What else would you add to this list?