Set up an account and list your business on Google Maps. It feel’s so good to see your name “up there in lights”! Add information about the business, with descriptions and photo’s to help potential customers see what you are offering. Ask clients to give you reviews on Google maps, this is vital, so don’t be shy (use friends you have practiced on while training if it’s still early days for you). Most of my new clients see the lovely reviews I have on Google maps and this is what gets them to my door. It helps build trust before I’ve even met these new people. I alsoĀ had a local Google Trusted Photographer, come and take a video and static photos of my entrance and room. These are somehow (magic šŸ˜Š?) put onto Google maps, meaning that you can walk “virtually” into my home and look around my salon, without leaving your house. How clever is that! Its fantastic for clients to be able to have a sneaky snoop before they book in.

Google Maps

You can link this to a Google + account in your business name and you then post on it just like Facebook (use the same post that you use on Facebook, but make it longer and try to add in extra keywords relevant to you). Make connections with other people, businesses and interact on other people’s posts. It can feel like aĀ  bit of a faff setting it up, but don’t ignore this one. Even if no one you know uses it, Google see’s the interaction and interest, this all helps you climb up search engine listings. Take a look at my google + pageĀ TheHomeSalonSpecialist.

AdWords

AdWords is GooglesĀ  “cost per click” online paid advertising. I’m not a expert and it takes a lot of trial and error to find what wording catches people’s attention . Be very careful to set how much you want to spend a day, as each time a person clicks on your advert you will get charged a specific amount depending on how popular that keyword is on search engines. It’s worth an experiment, plus look out for free offers as sometimes Google sends out voucher codes for businesses to try AdWords to see if it works for them. I know an acupuncturist that seemed to make this work well for her, gaining quite a few new customers this way.

 

Having done your training and transformed your space, it can be a bit of a shock that clients aren’t beating your door down (or perhaps that was just me!) Generating clients is like a full time job in the beginning, don’t be disappointed or disheartened, keep plugging away at it, they WILL find you eventually. Just bare in mind that certain marketing will work better or worse for you depending on a lot of variables.

The type of treatments you offer, the type of client you want to find, what area of the country you live, whether you’re in an urban or city area and even theĀ around you all make a difference. You will need to experiment and find what works well for you and your home business. I have done all of the following at different times over the last 12 years, some have worked well, others not so well and have actually wasted my time and money. But all are worth a try, experiment and find what works for you.

Marketing

Digital and Online Marketing

Local Marketing

  • Local magazine
  • Local shops,Ā  church, Village hall
  • Leaflet drops
  • Charity/Gift vouchers
  • Word of mouth

Marketing and advertising is evolving and changing all the time. Read anything you can find online or from library books. Even information aimed at big businesses can give you little ideas that you can adapt to be useful for your micro business. Find what works for you and refine and repeat it. Good luck šŸ˜Š

Personally I love working from home, no stressful commute to work in the mornings. A few minutes between appointments and once I’ve done “salon stuff” I can get some house work done, multi tasking at its best!

Working from home.

But, it’s no good if your not a self motivated person. If jobs don’t get completed, there’s no one else you can blame, you need to be able to kick your own arse and be self critical in a positive way.

Some of the benefits of working from home:

  • Its flexible as can you work appointments around you and your family’s schedules. This flexibility is also be an advantage to clients. I have started if need be at 7am and finished at 10pm, something that wouldn’t really be practical in a shop.
  • Filling a niche….some people don’t feel comfortable going to a high street salon, but love somewhere quieter, and less obvious.
  • Less overheads, so you can start slow and steady with just a handful of clients and working a few hours if that suits you.
  • A relatively low start up cost. With the right basics you can then build on improving your space as you earn.
  • No time spent getting to and from work and no petrol costs, bus fare etc.
  • Easier child care. I’m not suggesting you can work without a babysitter when they are little. Once mine where about 8,10,12 I could successfully work a few hours in the holidays, without childcare. ( maybe with them gagged to prevent arguingšŸ˜Š)
  • You do the job on your own terms. ( I’ve hated working for other people and being made to conform to doing a less than perfect treatment just to fit in with their timings and cost cutting)
  • It’s sociable, most clients are lovely and I look forward to seeing them.

I’m “The Home Salon Specialist” and I just love my little home based salon. It’s meant I can bring up my family, pay the bills, all while doing something I’m passionate about. Being good at the treatments you provide is not enough for a micro business. You need to be a therapist, accounts manager, cleaner, marketing expert and receptionist all at the same time. With my blog I hope to pass on my own experiences, sharing advice that I’ve gathered from multiple sources, from my partner and from other generous business owners over the years.

Me in my home salon

When first starting my home salon 12 years ago it took a very long time to become established (9 years to become full time and give up my other part time jobs). With a combination of being naive business-wise, un-confident, with no financial backing, no IT skills and a young family to help support and bring up, it was all rather tricky. Eventually I got there. My children all in their late teens, I was working more than full time, running a home (with a partner who works away) and trying to make time for my family.

CFS/ME

Unfortunately I’d been steadily getting more and more run down and after many tests, was diagnosed as having CFS/ME last year. Having hit rock bottom, I re-evaluated my life and made a lot of lifestyle changes (I’m lucky to have a very supportive family and partner who helped me). I personally love reading blogs, they can be so inspirational and comforting. So I came up with the idea of starting my own blog, about something I’m obsessed with and I feel I know a lot about. Its a way to use my creativity, while sitting down more and hopefully help other people too! A win win situation for everyone.

I’d been encouraging and sharing my tips and experiences with a few clients in my home salon. Having faced the same problems, worries and problems of working from home, this blog won’t have all the answers, but enough to get you well on your way. If you can use my information, avoid similar pitfalls and get earning money quicker than I did, I’ll be chuffed to bits for you.