Marketing locally for small businesses is the best way to help others while building your own online business. I first did this in 2006 when a family member was having difficulty getting his handyman business up and running. I had just been online for about six months at the time, and I watch for about two months as he spent hundreds of dollars for a small advertisement in the local newspaper, and went door to door in the heat of the summer, leaving his homemade flyers on people’s doorsteps.
He did get some calls that turned into jobs for him, but at the end of two months he had worked more than fifty hours each week and had earned less than two hundred dollars per week. At an average of four dollars an hour, I could see that it wouldn’t be long before he decided to give up his dream of having his own business and returning to the work force. He was in his fifties, and the recession was just beginning to take its toll; my guess is that he would have had a hard time finding work that paid him more than about eight dollars an hour.
I offered to start a blog for him. He had heard of blogs, but didn’t read any or know much about it. I set up his blog using the Typepad blogging platform. I wrote two paragraphs every day about one of the things he could do as a handyman – installing and repairing kitchen and bathroom faucets, hanging pictures, installing ceiling fans in rooms that were prewired, and hanging interior doors. For each post I included a picture. This improved my blogging skills at the same time.
Then I went to a forum and signed him up. It was free to do this, and I completed his profile and wrote a little about what he could do. It turned out that the forum was very good for SEO (search engine optimization), so when I used the name of his city and the type of work he could do it showed up on page one of Google. His blog posts soon showed up on page one as well.
The rest, as they say, is history. He is still in business today, and receives more calls than he can handle. He refers the extra work to two other handymen in his city. Instead of having to close down his business during the worst recession in recent history, his business is thriving because of local marketing. My business has grown as well, and now many of my students are doing the same thing for clients where they live.