About Jeannette de Beauvoir:
Jeannette de Beauvoir is an award-winning writer, author, consultant and founder of Customline Wordware
, which provides a variety of writing services for businesses and individuals. She has helped companies and individuals write and publish books, produce videos, blogs, articles, and more. She is a frequent and popular speaker at conferences and seminars, and a host of numerous radio broadcasts.
What made you decide to start a home business?:
I really wanted more control over my life and work. I'd done my stints in cubicle-land and the horrible lighting that always seems to go along with it, and I wanted something different. I wanted to be able to go for a walk in the afternoon, even if it meant working that weekend to make up for it: I wanted to control that. And I wanted to control the projects I took on (or didn't take on) as well.
Why did you start the business you did?:
It's really the only thing I ever considered, because writing is really the only thing I've ever felt passionate about. So a writing and editing business that could incorporate my skill-set seemed obvious. Plus you don't need much in the way of office space or equipment! As long as I have a computer, a printer, and a telephone, I can work. Now I have a room in my house dedicated to my business, but when I started out it was the kitchen table.
What steps did you take to get started?:
I joined every possible freelance group out there, not just people in my own areas of expertise but others as well. I listened to how they acquired clients, how they solved problems, how they ran their businesses.
How did you get your first customer/client?:
Through a networking group I joined.
How do you market your home business?:
I do a lot of marketing through social media (i.e Facebook
), since I work with clients worldwide. I also am trying to have more local business, and to that end have joined a local business group. I've done some advertising, but feel in general that it has not been money well spent.
What are your biggest challenges?:
Cash flow and the uncertainty of what next month will look like. Sometimes it's scary—wide-awake-at-three-in-the-morning scary, as I think about my mortgage and my student loan and my other financial obligations and have no clue what the immediate future looks like. This fear can get in the way of doing my best work.
What are your biggest successes?:
In a bad economic climate, I am surviving. That alone is brilliant. I've been doing this for over 15 years now and have developed a name and a reputation that I'm proud of.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?:
I wish that I had started with more of a financial cushion. If I had substantial savings, I wouldn't fret so much, and fretting takes energy away from the work.
Next Steps to Home Business Success:
Freedom to do what you want, when you want has inspired many to start a home business, including Jeannette. She was able to save time and money in starting her business by tapping into a skill she already had; writing. Networking has played a part in her success, helping her learn about business in the beginning, leading to her first client, and a continuing part of her marketing plan. Many people don't like networking, but it's one of the best ways to get started and keep the business going, especially on a budget.
Jeannette says she wished she started with a bigger financial cushion because the ebb and flow of income is a challenge. Getting your financial house in order is crucial to success. Starting part-time around an existing job or building a good size savings before you start are two ways to avoid financial difficulties in the beginning. It's also important to understand that unlike a job, a home business income can vary month to month. Some months may be lean, while others might be flush. You need to find ways to save during the flush times to get through the lean times.