I started researching website builders around about the time when my youngest was heading overseas for his gap year.
For at least the next year, I was going to be living alone. I was working in a well-paying but not especially fulfilling job, with a very limited social circle (by choice...) and my baby was leaving home.
For the first time in thirty years I didn't have family to care for - at least not on a daily basis anyway. So I was looking for something new to learn.
Something that would hold my interest and be challenging. Something that would allow me to make better use of those lonely hours after work and on weekends than just vegging out in front of the TV.
I have been interested in building websites since the mid 1990's but never had the time to do much about it (what with 3 kids, full time work, full time study, community involvement and everything else that living life as a suburban mum involves). So there I was. Suddenly I had the time, an empty house and not much else in my life to distract me from noticing the big hole in my day to day life where my kids used to be. (They are not gone per se, just grown up and busy living their own lives.)
How I Learned About Building an Online Home Business...
So I started looking online for information on how to build websites, which lead me to sites that talk about using websites to build an online business. Which lead me to Sitesell or Site Build It! (SBI for short). The company has recently modernised their name (it is Solo Build It! now) but their focus remains the same, educating and supporting solo-entrepreneurs. Sbi'ers first, company second. The powers that be firmly believe that doing the right thing by their client base, is in the best interests of the company.
Anyway, way back when I found SBI and in those days the Action Guide was the place to start - actually, thinking about it - it is still really the only place to start. The Action Guide is a step by step instruction manual that teaches would be online entrepreneurs how to build a viable business online. They not only tell you how to do it, but why you should do each step.
Page by page, keyword by keyword, SBI leads you through the basics of researching and creating an online home business. Some SBI'ers stop there and use the tools provided by SBI to build solid information sites, others go on to learn how to code their own html and/or CSS pages, or to add third party applications (forums, shopping carts, membership applications, etc.). Once you understand the basics, you are really only limited by your willingness to learn about and implement new things!
The site I started with is long gone. I made all my mistakes with it, learned a bit of html, worked out how to code and upload my own pages instead of using the block builder tools, played with CSS and built up a small following for the site, but it wasn't a site that excited me. The topic was commercial rather than a passion and with the mistakes I made while building it, it became more of a chore than anything else. So I started another site, one about knitting.
I have been a knitter for almost all of my life (started at the age of six...), it is a topic I know a lot about and one that I enjoy sharing with others.
So for me, this site is one that I can write pages for easily.
Not huge potential for passive income, but there are other ways to earn income from a site (like an online store for knitting wool and accessories for example). This site is now the core of my online empire.
What started as an information store, morphed over the years to include an online wool store which was successful operating for several years which then lead to me opening a physical store in my home.
Even after I was forced to close both of the very successful stores (family drama a few years ago which required me to travel between two different states for months at a time and a supplier that could not cope with two different delivery addresses) the site still manages to generate enough income to pay for itself and to pay the costs of all of my other sites.
Knitting Naturally generates income from a number of sources (Google Adsense, Affiliate Product Sales, Physical Product Sales, Knitting Classes, and Custom Knitting Services). It has a healthy list of subscribers and a decent following on facebook. I could be doing more with the site, but I am a little bored with it and have branched out to try new things - building new sites and learning to use new platforms or tools suitable for building online home businesses - which I will sharing with you on the pages in this site.
So read on to find out how I built my online home business and which tools I have used (including online scheduling, payment processors, content management platforms, bulk email services, shopping carts, etc.). Not all of them will be applicable to you, just because I used them does not mean that you will need to but by checking out how I used them, you will be able to make an informed decision about using it/them in your business.
What Else Do I Bring to the Table?
If you are still not convinced that I have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of building an online home business, perhaps knowing a bit more about what I do as a day job might help?
So, basically I am very well educated in business and commerce, so much so that I am frequently told that I am over qualified for even senior management roles. I have an ordinary Bachelor of Commerce with a major in accounting and a minor in Business Policy and Strategic Management.
I also have an Honors Degree that focused on the use of Activity Based Management in the Public Sector.
My Masters degree was a research degree that was co-sponsored by the Education and Business Schools at UNISA. I was involved in an international bench-marking study in the automotive components manufacturing industry in 5 countries looking at the adoption and implementation of lean production.
My thesis focuses on the Australian cohort and looked at lean production implementations, lean management and adult learning practices in lean workplaces.
I was also a CPA for over ten years. For those of you that don't know, to qualify as a CPA you need to complete a post-gradate course and after that you are require to maintain a certain level of professional development very year.
During my career I have worked in a variety of roles in the public sector, non-profit and private sectors. I have worked in competitive environments (in commercial construction industry for example), and in high stress service delivery organisations (country ambulance). I have been in the trenches doing hands-on work and I have been responsible for guiding and informing executives on strategy development processes.
I have owned a successful off-line small business and build websites in my spare time.
Bottom line? I know what I am talking about...
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