If you have a service you would like to provide as a basis for your home-based business, how do you get started? Perhaps you would like to become a Virtual Assistant for example. One of the first things to do is check the market for demand and competition. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Demand and competition are major factors in your chances of success for just about any business.
Try using freelance websites to get a quick view of competition and demand in a service market. By freelance websites, I’m talking about sites like Elance, iFreeLance, Get A Freelancer, or Free Lance Designers. Sign on and get an account set up. In most cases they’re free to look at (there are usually charges if you want to actually start bidding on projects). Begin by review the following.
Number of projects – Check the number projects relating to the service you want to provide. This represents demand and generally the more there are, the more demand there is.
Number of bidders – Check the number of bidders on each project. These represent your competition. Is each project overflowing with bidders or are most projects light on bidders? What is the average bid for each project?
Quality of bidders – Most certainly you’ll have at least some competition. Check out the bidders closely. Do they specialize in the service you plan to offer or are they ‘crossing over’? (Crossing over refers to service providers who bid on a wide scope of remotely related service projects). Are the other bidders very experienced or are there a fair number of new providers?
Aspects of projects – Finally check out the projects themselves. Most people who post projects provide enough detail for you to determine if it’s something you’ll really want to do. Perhaps the projects are too demanding or don’t pay enough. Pay attention to all aspects of the projects including time constraints, time demands, and workflow demands.
There are many other steps in starting up a home-based service business (such as preparing a business plan, getting legal, etc), but researching the demand and competition of your market can give you valuable planning information up front. Furthermore, the freelance websites are good places to get your business started until you build up your own base of clientele.