Businesses from Home


Life as a Consultant
Life as a Consultant (Photo credit: Ikhlasul Amal)


1. Marketing Consultancy


If you have served for several years in a particular industry, and have acquired the know-how that it takes to become an expert in the field, why not consider the role of a marketing consultant? You could start your business by offering your services to known customers, and expand the base as the business grows.


2. Web-Based Business


If the world of the World Wide Web is your abode, starting up a business as a web designer or developer is not a bad idea. The set-up costs would include investment in computer systems, and the word is ‘go’ from there on!


3. Photography




If photography has been an interest area all your life, why not turn this hobby into a business? All you need is the right equipment and the right digital tools to set ball rolling. What’s more, you could even opt for video photography to enhance the scope of work.


4. Online Trading


If you feel that the rise and fall in the stock market is the main cause of the fluctuations that happen in your heart, your soul lies in the share market. You can operate a business right from the comfort of your home as you offer consulting as well as trading services to your clients.


5. Real Estate




Property rates rising and falling make many consumers seek the advice and assistance of brokers or agents. If you have an interest in the field, you could take up real estate consultancy or brokering as an option to set up your business from home.


6. Automotive Parts


So, are you a car enthusiast and never imagined that you could turn your passion into a business idea? Well, here it is. You can tie up with manufacturers of parts and build a client base that requires them, but does not know how to contact the makers directly.


7. Pet Care


Animal lovers need not fret, for there are various options for them to start a business from home too. You could associate with a veterinarian hospital to know what products to purchase and hire one or two young helpers who love animals too.


8. Wedding Planning




While considered a female domain, scope for men to enter the industry is enormous too. However, you need to have the knack and organisational skills required for this job. You also need to have a good relationship with caterers, interior decorators, florists, hotels and various other service providers.


9. Food Catering


Did you think that cooking was just something that a homemaker had to do? Wrong! You can make a profession out of it, too! And that too right from your own home! All it requires is acquiring the right resources, gauging the tastes of your potential clientele, and of course, being a food-lover!




Now this does not mean you mow the lawns and water the plants in the houses of other people. This implies establishing your own set-up or nursery, wherein you can not only house plants and flowers of all kinds, but also provide equipment, training and consultancy to avid garden-growers.


Starting your own business, that too from home, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, cautious planning can help you turn a venture into a huge success. Make sure you know what your area of interest is!





How Companies Predict Your Buying.

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain
Image via Wikipedia

Science comes to the aid of  marketing in an awesome way.

Read on.

Pole has a master’s degree in statistics and another in economics, and has been obsessed with the intersection of data and human behavior most of his life. His parents were teachers in North Dakota, and while other kids were going to 4-H, Pole was doing algebra and writing computer programs. “The stereotype of a math nerd is true,” he told me when I spoke with him last year. “I kind of like going out and evangelizing analytics.”

As the marketers explained to Pole – and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop – new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target – cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.

There are, however, some brief periods in a person’s life when old routines fall apart and buying habits are suddenly in flux. One of those moments – the moment, really – is right around the birth of a child, when parents are exhausted and overwhelmed and their shopping patterns and brand loyalties are up for grabs. But as Target’s marketers explained to Pole, timing is everything. Because birth records are usually public, the moment a couple have a new baby, they are almost instantaneously barraged with offers and incentives and advertisements from all sorts of companies. Which means that the key is to reach them earlier, before any other retailers know a baby is on the way. Specifically, the marketers said they wanted to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. “Can you give us a list?” the marketers asked.

“We knew that if we could identify them in their second trimester, there’s a good chance we could capture them for years,” Pole told me. “As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they’re going to start buying everything else too. If you’re rushing through the store, looking for bottles, and you pass orange juice, you’ll grab a carton. Oh, and there’s that new DVD I want. Soon, you’ll be buying cereal and paper towels from us, and keep coming back.”

The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code – known internally as the Guest ID number – that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve zsent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own. (In a statement, Target declined to identify what demographic information it collects or purchases.) All that information is meaningless, however, without someone to analyze and make sense of it. That’s where Andrew Pole and the dozens of other members of Target’s Guest Marketing Analytics department come in.

Your Search Tells you what you are.

Shows how our thinking is controlled.

Search terms can be parsed in a similar fashion. Every searcher can be defined by the words they use when searching. Search engines and marketers alike know this and do their best to deliver you relevant results based on who they think you are and your intent at that exact moment.

As an extension of the targeting by intent strategy, a sophisticated and growing segment of brands are turning to searcher demographics to conduct detailed analyses of their online audience. There are already lots of opportunities for marketers to customize their messaging, placement, landing pages, and the like, for every consumer segment, but the brand managers out there have been using search terms to actually identify the attributes of a “Coke” vs. a “Pepsi” searcher. Considering the money that is spent on brand advertising, knowing how your branded search audience differs from that of the competition should be a valuable nugget of information.

To illustrate the point, below are some fun and interesting universal brand identities with dichotomous stances. Each example analyzes the demographics of searchers that used the branded terms for the month of July, and are based on head of household. The index baselines are the searcher demographics for the entire US search population. Available measures are Age, Income, Location (home/work), Region of the US, Household Size, and Presence of Children in the Household….

Google+ or Facebook?

The most striking differences between Google+ searchers and Facebook searchers are in Age and Income level. Google+ searchers overwhelmingly skew towards 18-34 year olds. Clearly Google+ is a popular brand with the younger segments, and good knowledge for Google to have as they develop their acquisition strategy and evolve their user base. Since Facebook is a much more mature brand in the social networking space, their search audience falls closely in line with the search population at large.

The income skews are even more distinct, essentially polar opposites of each other. More than 32% of Google+ searchers have a household income of $100K or greater, compared to 23% of Facebook searchers. Google+ is definitely off to a fast start in reaching the most desirable income segments, which may make it more attractive to advertisers.

Shocking Advertisements.

Advertising is a world in which the normal is beautified, cracks are airbrushed over and real-life is portrayed with rose tinted glasses. And all with the intention of getting the consumers to buy into such ideals.

A poster from an anti-smoking campaign by Les Droits des Non-fumeurs which has caused outrage for its implied association that smoking is tantamount to sex slavery.

For some more shocking ads.

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Researcher exposes Google spyware connections

A prominent anti-spyware researcher is calling on Google to sever its ties with an advertising partner that covers popular sites with pop-up PPC advertisements promoting those same sites.

A prominent anti-spyware researcher is calling on Google to sever its ties with an advertising partner that covers popular sites with pop-up PPC advertisements promoting those same sites.

According to Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and a staunch anti-spyware advocate, Google is charging advertisers for what he described as “conversion-inflation” traffic from the WhenU spyware program.

Edelman’s expose includes several screenshots, video, and packet log to show that WhenU continues to cover web sites with PPC popups. Crucially, those popups show Google ads — often promoting the very same sites users are already browsing.

Here’s a sample of Edelman’s report:

I browsed the Continental Airlines site. WhenU opened [a] popup — covering the Continental site with a list of Google ads, putting a prominent Continental ad front-and-center. Thus, Google charges Continental a fee to access a user already at Continental’s site. That’s a rotten deal for Continental: For one, an advertiser should not have to pay to reach a user already at its site. Furthermore, advertisers paying high Google prices deserve high-quality ad placements, not spyware popups.

The details of the Continental ad, as shown in the WhenU-Google popup, further entice users to click. The ad promises a “low fare guarantee” — suggesting that users who book some other way (without clicking the ad) may not enjoy that guarantee. And the ad promises to take users to the “official site” — suggesting that users who don’t click the ad will book through a site that is less than official. In fact both suggestions are inaccurate, but a reasonable user would naturally reach these conclusions based on the wording of the advertisement and the context of its appearance.

Edelman says this is the third sequence where he has observed Google paying WhenU to cover advertisers’ sites with the advertisers’ own Google ads.

He recommends that Google sever its relationship with InfoSpace, the company that it pays to deliver the ads. Edelman also called on the search marketing giant to pay restitution to affected advertisers.

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab. He manages, a security news portal. Here is Ryan’s full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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