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Guest Post by Kathleen Gage

A dream for untold numbers of entrepreneurs is to build a viable, sustainable and profitable business, and to do so without leaving the comfort of their home. In years past the definition (and reality) of a home-based business was very different from what it is today.

Because of the Internet, multiple six- and seven-figure businesses are being built every single day. Small empires have grown out of nothing more than a dream and a desire for the dream to become a reality. This doesn’t mean it happens in a day, but the seed is planted and, with time, it grows.

We’ve all heard the rags-to-riches stories of someone building an extremely successful online business starting with a solitary computer, Internet hookup and an unconventional idea. Many of us have not only heard about it, we are living it.

Yet for each success story, there are dozens more fatalities in the field of dreams of home-based online businesses. Therein lies the problem; it’s not a field-of-dreams mentality that creates the success of an online business. The best thing anyone who is serious about building an online business can do is to get rid of the thought, “Build it and they will come.”

Sure they may come, but they have to know about it first. The field-of-dreams mentality is one of the greatest obstacles to one’s success in business.

This thought process isn’t new to cyber-business. I recall facing more than 20 years ago the resistance of small business owners who didn’t see the need to market. Their belief was people would somehow miraculously find them and flock through the doors. Often this belief was born out of a secondary belief that they could not afford to market or word of mouth would provide them all the business they needed.

Sadly, it was often when they were holding the going-out-of-business closeout sale that they finally marketed to let consumers know there was a huge sale going on.

The fact is had they been marketing from the beginning, they likely would never have had a closeout sale. Granted, there are other aspects to a successful business such as quality of products and services, customer care and follow through, but marketing is at the core of a solid business model.

Fast forward to today. With all that is available for marketing online there is no reason anyone should not be doing so. Budget is no longer a limitation with the onslaught of social-media marketing, social networks, joint-venture partnerships, viral marketing, affiliate programs and the power of an honest-to-goodness high quality, ethical bribe. Simply put, an ethical bribe is something you give a current or potential customer in exchange for their contact information.

Before you can market though, you have to know to whom you are marketing. This is an often overlooked step; a step that when done right can save you lots of time, money and frustration. You see, you have to make sure you are not marketing to those who have no need, interest or desire for what you offer.

A mistaken belief by some is that everyone wants and needs their products and services. If you hold this belief, I recommend you change it as quickly as possible. Regardless of what industry you’re in and what products and services you offer, there is a niche market that you need to be targeting rather than trying to reach a wide, unidentified market.

The nature of marketing has drastically shifted since the massive influx of social networks. You’ll go a lot further if you go deep into a niche market and become visible within that market as an authentic and transparent entrepreneur.

Sure, there will always be the exception to the rule, but in an overwhelming majority of cases, to be known, liked and trusted by a small- to moderate-sized tribe of consumers is far more productive and profitable than to spread yourself too thin.

About the author

Kathleen Gage is an Internet-marketing advisor who works with spiritually aware speakers, authors, coaches and consultants who are ready to turn their knowledge into money-making products and services. Find out how you can learn from Kathleen on how to build a sustainable and profitable business using the Internet faster and for less through her Street Smarts Marketing VIP Club.