The Muslimah Network is pleased to introduce TMN Experts. In this month’s edition, Home Business Mentor, Sister Kimberly Ben, answers TMN Readers’ questions. Know more about her and her work here.
Assalam Alaykum. I’m a home business person, alhamdulillah. I do handicrafts and make mus’haf covers. We custom design wire and crystal jewellery. The problem is: we have no exposure whatsoever and it’s affecting our income. People think since they know us they can take a 70% discount. This severely affects our income. And as we all know handicrafts cost far more than machine made stuff. Please advise.
From Ms Anzalna Sharjah
Kimberly Ben: Lots of home business owners can sympathise with the issue you are having regarding friends and family expecting freebies and/or deep discounts. If you rely on your business to support your family, you’re going to have to stop giving your creations away. There is no easy way to do this. You’re going to need to be firm and simply make the decision to not offer discounts that hurt your profitability. When people ask, “Why not?” simply reply, “It is our new business policy.”
If you want to promote your business to a larger audience, online marketing is the least expensive and most effective method. Do you have a self-hosted website that features a gallery of pictures showcasing the items you sell? Do you regularly promote your business on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.? Do you participate in any online craft shows? Take some time to create a marketing plan for your business and be consistent in implementing the plan. Eventually you will see results.
Encourage your customers to spread the word about your business by offering them a small free gift in exchange for referred sales. You can even offer them a modest discount on the next item they purchase.
How should I make a set time table to distribute separate projects while working from home? I am currently managing two projects: one is an online website and the other is making curriculum for a youth development project.
From Ms Aysha Samrah
Kimberly Ben: If you are working on a project that you’ve never done before, determining an appropriate timeline can be tough.
You could make a list of action steps required to complete each task and estimate the time it would take you to complete each individual step. Total the times to determine how long it may take you to complete each project.
Keep in mind: the times you come up with are only estimates. When you’re working from home, lots of situations and distractions occur that may throw those numbers off. I recommend “padding” the project time totals – that is, add some extra time to ensure that you allow plenty of time to complete each project to your client’s satisfaction.
Are there home-based jobs available for stay-at-home mums in Dubai? If so, how do we know the authentic ones and how do we go about approaching them?
From Mrs JS
Kimberly Ben: Unfortunately, I am not familiar with very many home-based jobs outside of the United States and Canada. However, there is a growing list of companies that hire people globally. You can review a list of these companies at: http://www.muslimahsworkingathome.com/work-at-home-company-directory/.
Is there any way to earn from home for telemarketing?
From Ms Shabana Khan
Kimberly Ben: Yes, in fact a growing number of companies are establishing virtual call centers allowing workers to perform as customer service and telemarketing representatives from home. A list of virtual call center job opportunities can be found at: http://www.muslimahsworkingathome.com/work-at-home-company-directory/
I have started working from home recently and am struggling with sticking with a work schedule. Are there any tips to help me stay more disciplined as a stay-at-home entrepreneur? I get very easily distracted with everyday chores and by the end of the day have only done half the work I was hoping to do. Please help!
From Ms Amina Farah
Kimberly Ben: There are so many distractions at home that can interfere with work-at-home success. Unwashed dishes sit in the sink, unwashed laundry and similar chores seem to lure you away from work; and before you know it, another unproductive day has passed.
I recommend creating a “to do” list at the end of each work day for the next day so that when you start your work day, you don’t waste time trying to decide what to do.
Establish regular work hours, including lunch and break times; and commit to starting and ending your work day at the same time each day. Another tip: start with your end goal and work backwards to come up with a schedule for how to spend your day. For example, if you need to write a blog post, schedule time for all the tasks required to complete the post (research, writing, finding corresponding images, promoting the post on social media, etc.) and add these tasks to the day’s work schedule.
Discipline comes from your commitment to succeed. Over time, you will get better at managing your time and productivity.
– Sister Kimberly Ben is a passionate work-at-home blogger, online job search coach, multi-credentialed resume writer, wife, and mother of four busy children. She is the founder of www.MuslimahsWorkingatHome.com, an online resource created to provide online/home-based business and job search information. She shares valuable tips and advice to empower Muslim women to achieve spiritual, financial, work, and life balance in their daily lives.
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