Home Business Start-Up – Credit or Savings?

You may be playing a losing game if you are using credit to fund your business start-up, unless you are prepared to pay your entire balance each month. The maze begins because when you have cash you need to pay your credit card and other bills. If you need cash even for necessities, you are forced to use your credit, aka ‘funny money’.

make it don't fake it
It may just seem natural to use your card for business expenses, particularly online where you may be required to use a credit card in order to make a purchase. If you start planning to start a business by creating a savings account that will be for business operating expenses, it makes much more sense to your bottom line. If you have saved sufficient funds in your savings account to make a purchase, then use the credit card, but prepare to pay the entire balance from your savings as soon as you can (try not to accrue interest) and no need to since you already have the money to pay.

Ask yourself if you have any gambling addictions or compulsive spending habits. Please be honest with yourself because if you do, then you have to be very disciplined in your spending, more so than others who do not feel compulsive about spending money. You should definitely get serious about this before you go bankrupt. Your situation can get out of control if you do not have enough income to cover your expenses. Never speculate, which even with a fancy name is still gambling.

If you are using credit now, do some simple math with examples. Do some calculations that prove how interest due on the money you borrow from your credit card adds up quickly and compounds. It is costing you a lot of money to use credit instead of cash (savings). Never spend more than you have immediate custody of, no matter what the excuse, including investing in your business. Only use your credit line for emergencies, other than what you can pay each month to erase any balance, as defined above.

Preparing for the unexpected should be done before it happens. You never know when the unexpected will happen. The idea to be prepared ‘just in case’ is a good, safe one. We hope nothing catastrophic ever happens, and if it doesn’t you have a windfall. We need both savings for emergencies and a business operating budget. You can probably have two free savings accounts with minimum balances.

If necessary part of your business plan should start with how much money you have to invest each month to fund the start-up. You should start putting away money into a savings account if you have a job, each payday. Even $5 will add up believe it or not if you are consistent and don’t use it.

Some Important Internet Marketing Skills

If you are going to start an online business there are a number of Internet marketing skills that should be acquired. Many of these skills are important for success in any industry. Many are developed within, such as determination and motivation. You need self-confidence and a desire for accomplishment.

Do it Right!
Anybody doing anything anywhere needs the ability to stay positive. There may be periods especially in the beginning where business is slow or non-existent just yet. You need a strong mindset to keep yourself from becoming discouraged during these times. The situation should make you try harder rather to give up or slack off because ‘what is the use’.

Being capable of remaining focused is a huge internet marketing skill – and usually needed for anything where you hope to accomplish something specific. Chaos can be a prevalent atmosphere in business. One can be totally overwhelmed especially if they were not organized before the chaos set in. Organization is one of those skills that you need for practically anything.

Being organized is almost required, particularly for someone who is trying to navigate anything new. It is best when you are trying to focus on something that you remove other unrelated things from your space so that they do not distract you.

Planning is very important and is a big part of being organized and helping you to focus on what needs to be done. Just as people use maps so that they know which way to go, planning will save you so much time because you won’t need to do as much trial and error.

Writing is a key Internet marketing skill. You will need to write for advertising, email marketing , networking with peers, prospects and customers, and blogging to promote your business online. It is important that you express yourself clearly especially because you probably don’t have the opportunity to explain what you mean in a live conversation as you would if you were in retail or offline.

The last thing you need to close a sale is an important question they have before they make the purchase. If it requires back and forth emails or calls to ask and answer a question, it can mean they will just move on to something that is less trouble or that they can do right now.

Under no circumstances should you cave to your inclination to say you can’t or won’t write. You need to figure out how if that is the way you feel, or be willing to pay for writers. In the long run money concerns aside, it is to your own benefit to do things for yourself. In any case, be very friendly and responsive in your communications with prospects, customers and peers.

Don’t Be Stuck in Traffic – Drive it to Your Home Business Website

Have you ever stopped to account for all the time and money you spend commuting to and from your job? When determining whether it would benefit you to work from home, start right there with how much you spend on gasoline, bridge tolls, parking, car maintenance, or public transportation.

Get Started Already!
You will likely see where a big chunk of your income goes out of pocket. If you have children then you could add the cost of child care and the related transportation for that. So technically right from the start, if you work at home, you will have money in your pocket that wasn’t there (for long) when you had a job.

Additionally you must consider the intangible benefits of working from home as they are of paramount importance. One is that you will have much less stress without the commute and office politics. You may say ‘eh, stress no big deal’ – but it is – people actually die from stress-related diseases. Part of this equation is that when you have a home business you have more time for exercise and fresh air so there are at least two ways it helps you stay healthy.

Another intangible benefit of working from home is that you have more time for your children. Whether you can cut out child care and do it yourself while you work at home, or just by using all the commute time as ‘play’ time with them, your child is benefiting from the arrangement more than you probably realize. You probably just accepted that you rarely spent time with the kids, because there was no alternative that you knew of. You have to work. However all a child understands is you are hardly ever there.

To think realistically there will be obstacles and challenges to getting your life transitioned to working from home. The most efficient way would be to start building your business part-time. Keep your day job as long as you need the income. Quit only when you are secure that you have sufficient money to cover your living expenses should you quit your job if at all possible. If you are being ‘let go’ (laid off, etc.) the company should provide severance, unused vacation days accrued and pay in lieu of notice if applicable. You should be eligible for unemployment insurance or have a healthy savings account and this will help tide you over while you find at least a part-time job for the next step in building your own business.

Home Business Opportunities Online

The Internet offers a vast array of home business opportunities if you just look for them (in a search engine). Some may seem a little far-fetched, but you may be surprised. Even the companies that advertise their business opportunities on television may not seem realistic. There is always a ‘catch’ – for instance lately there are ads that claim they will build a website for you absolutely free. They forget to mention the $100 maintenance fee until you get to the order form. It still may be a good deal but ‘free’ it isn’t since the maintenance is required.

ideas!
Many ads simply show the results of the most successful people. Although it may seem to be far-fetched, there are legitimate online business opportunities and people really have been making money with them for quite some time now. However they may not always be easy to find. Searching for one of the ‘super sites’ may seem like a job in itself. Research is not the thing to scrimp on, so don’t rush. Many people may look for a quick buck on the Internet. Many who look for a quick dollar are not necessarily looking for an honest dollar, so be careful.

There are all sorts of business opportunities to choose from on the Internet. Freelancers can do writing and SEO (search engine optimization) projects just to name a few services you could do from home to earn money. Many business opportunities online rely on the buying and selling of products either directly or through affiliate programs. It may seem cheaper and easier to go off on your own (no ‘middle man’) but if you get to the point of itemizing your expenses to set this up, you will see the middle man is worth every penny.

The affiliate gets paid when a customer buys a product or makes a referral in some cases. Many online businesses center on online stores if a store is your idea of a ‘business’. It is a good way to represent several different products in one place. Others believe it is best to focus on just one niche. Having multiple streams of income is a very wise strategy, whether it is different opportunities or miscellaneous products in the same niche.

It works really well to have ‘back-end’ sales where you have made the initial sale and at the checkout you offer an optional related product. An example of this would be you sold a phone and the ‘back-end’ offer(s) may be accessories like a leather case, a stylus, head phones, etc.

Internet Marketing – Realizing Your Dream

When you were a kid did you dream about what you want to be when you grow up? You probably changed your mind several times by the time you grew up! If you had a solid idea of what you wanted to do by this time, you may have planned to attend college to create a reality from your dream. You researched which colleges had the best options, the best cost, decent housing costs for living either on campus or in an apartment, etc. You may have done this routine with a few different schools before you determined if one was just right for you or as close to it as possible.

Dream big
The point is people have to create a plan that includes their ability to pay the costs, do the work, etc. If you want your dream(s) to become your reality, you have to create a plan and research it as you develop it into a step-by-step process that will get you where you want to go. You also need the ability to change direction when necessary. Your plans need to be both focused and flexible.

After graduation it will be the same type of planning where you will need to find the companies that are hiring in your field. Some of the things you will need to know to decide if it could be right for you are for instance, where is the company located? Will the company pay you close to what you are expecting? *(they say don’t ask this until you have been through a few interviews with that company). Will you or they be willing to compromise if not? Who do you need to see to arrange an interview? Since plans are usually dependent on different factors, some of which are beyond your control, you may at least consider what other options you may have. It is best to plan for contingencies.

If you dream of creating an Internet marketing (IM) business, then all of the above still applies. However, IM seems to attract its share of ‘mavericks’. Entrepreneurs do not necessarily have college degrees, so don’t give up if you can’t hack college. IM Entrepreneurs just need initiative and motivation and be willing to learn. If necessary there are other (much cheaper) options to learning online part-time so that you can still support yourself and/or build your business while you are learning. Check out ‘Community Colleges’. These schools actually are accredited (you can earn a valid degree).

You can start out to see if you like the industry just by joining an affiliate marketing program online for a few dollars. It wouldn’t be such a far stretch to assume that with a little hands-on experience in the field, you could start your own membership program.

Are You One Who Lives to Work or Who Works to Live?

Some people love to work and their job is a priority. These folks enjoy working and look forward to it. Others not so much and just show up for the paycheck and do as little as they can get away with. Hard to tell if they have something they really do like to do, like a hobby, such as photography or painting – maybe not even that.

work it out!
It is pretty common to hear the expression ‘starving artists’. That’s because for some reason they usually spend several years of creating art that doesn’t sell and doesn’t often generate enough money to live on. Many times artists have no sense of business so they may mismanage most financial issues. Sad, but maybe something about the struggle may contribute to developing their talent.

If we live to work or work to live , the difference may depend t on whether you have a job where you are doing something you like to do if not just tolerate it well. Sometimes it is necessary to do anything we can to support ourselves when in dire straits. This may have to be okay for a limited time, but if it becomes a permanent career it can become a real mental and emotional drain.

Other than sleeping, our work consumes a large portion of our daily life. We should really try to be happy with what we are doing – or are forced to be doing. It really requires some strength to remain positive in a negative situation. However, if we are in a position where we are not really happy, we need to try to change it.

In today’s financial environment, we can’t just throw away a job, because the days are gone where we knew we could always find something better. We are fortunate if we have a way to support ourselves on any decent level. If we really want more, we have to believe that we can do it and then we have to take action to achieve our goals.

If we love to work it will be a lot easier if we have to develop a business to supplement our income, or to start mapping out a planning an escape from our hamster wheel (rut) to save our sanity among other things. If you are willing to try working at home at least part-time to begin to build a business you can get creative and build something you like doing.

15 Things We Can Learn From Sir Richard Branson

You can fail and still succeed. In 1995 and 1998, Richard Branson and his team tried to be the first to circle the globe in a hot air balloon. They failed. But the publicity they received on both occasions for the Virgin Brand was priceless. Plus, we have to imagine they had fun, too.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Rich, powerful, world-renowned – certainly someone like Richard Branson is careful to project a poised, professional image at all times, right? Nope. In 1996, Branson shaved his beard and donned a wedding dress and makeup to promote Virgin brides, his new wedding and bridalwear store.

If you’re going to compete with a big name, do something spectacular. In 1998, Branson drove a tank through Times Square and pretended to blow up a Coca-Cola sign to promote his own Virgin Cola. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

Research and planning and pretty darn important. In 2007, Branson celebrated the first Virgin America flight by bungee jumping off a 407 foot tall building. But Branson and his team didn’t take into account that leaping off a building is NOT the same as jumping off a bridge or cliff. Branson crashed into the building twice and could have been seriously hurt or killed. Luckily, he only ripped his pants.

Pay off your losing bets, but still go for the last laugh. In 2013 Branson lost a bet with AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes over each company’s Formula 1 racing teams. Branson had to serve as a female fight attendant – complete with skirt, purse, mascara and pantyhose – for AirAsia’s airline. But Branson got the last laugh when he ‘accidentally’ spilled a tray of drinks on Fernandes’ lap.

When in ‘Rome,’ do as the Romans do. To promote Virgin Atlantic’s new routes in South Africa, Branson consulted the cultural center in Johannesburg before authentically dressing as a Zulu warrior and posing with the locals.

Do it in style. In 2004, Branson crossed the English Channel in an amphibious car, wearing a tuxedo. We wonder if he also had vodka martinis on the trip – shaken, not stirred.

Go viral. When Branson did an interview with Stephen Colbert, he splashed the talk show host with water from his mug and Colbert splashed back. The interview dissolved into both men laughing hysterically, and resulted in additional coverage, views and social media shares.

Don’t wait for others – make it happen yourself. While most people might wish Hollywood would cast them in a movie, Branson made his own movie and stared in it. The Casanova Gunslinger is a 20-minute live action movie, created by Virgin Mobile.

Test your idea. To start his new airline, Branson called Boeing and negotiated to rent one plane for a year, to see if his idea was viable.

Get inspiration from others. Branson has frequently cited non-fiction books as his inspiration for everything. For example, from Nelson Mandela Branson learned to let his vision guide him, instead of his fear.

If you’re going to do something, do it right. Virgin Records was burning cash and digging itself into debt. But Branson found a way to illegally avoid paying the 33% purchase tax. Customs eventually caught on to the scheme, and to avoid jail Branson had to pay back three times the amount not paid in taxes. He somehow managed to make the payments, and vowed to never do anything illegal again.

Be willing to do anything for your business. When Virgin announced it had flights to Scotland, Branson arrived at the press conference wearing a kilt and underwear that read, ‘Stiff Competition.’

Your past does not equal your future. Branson did poorly in school, still couldn’t read at the age of 8, and was described as hopeless in math and science. Yet now? He’s one of the richest people on the planet.

Frustration equals opportunity. When his flight to Puerto Rico was canceled, Branson charted a flight and sold seat to his fellow passengers, and Virgin Air was born.

Building Components for an Online Business

The idea for the business would seem to be the most important thing to consider when you are creating a plan to start a business online. Ideas may include products or services to sell, and also the entire concept. The concept would be the look and feel (environment) etc. Your presentation is key as well – your website design and format, your advertising and marketing content is important in attracting people and keeping them interested.

motivation fuels the ride
It would be important to know if there is a market for what you plan to promote. It is very logical that it is more difficult if we choose the product and then try to find somebody that wants it. The ‘path of least resistance’ would be to do some research to learn what the market wants and then give it to them. Think about that. It is a whole different dynamic when they come to you for something they want, than if you are chasing them down to try to convince them.

Your motivation is important. Determine how badly you want to have a business and why. It probably should be more than ‘need money’. You should have a passion – (besides the money). Motivation may arise as a result of your dissatisfaction with where you find yourself. For instance you are not making as much money as you want or need; or maybe you are not doing something that you like to do.

There can be other negative factors associated with politics in our workplace environment. A huge motivation would be if you are about to lose your job, love it or hate it, or have already been terminated. You know you need to do something fast and as for a home business it can be either part or full-time. Realistically if you don’t have severance pay or unemployment insurance, you should probably focus first on replacing your full-time income.

Any of these things can motivate you to start building your own successful home business. If you put a lot of effort and time into developing your business, and are patient with the process, you are likely to eventually achieve your goals for success. Just don’t give up. One thing that must be part of your mindset is that you are not in a rush. You are realistically building a business from the ground up. There is no magic that will have money popping out of your computer in 2-days – or maybe even 2-months. That is why you have to be strong in your motivation to see it through. Otherwise why bother?

Help Needed! Starting a Business Online

Our society wants instant gratification with everything. The faster we go, the more we want it to move faster. Give us ‘quick’ or ‘instant’, and we want ‘ready-made’. Starting a business online is no exception.

starting-up
Some ‘pre-fab’ things work well and there is a real benefit saving time and money buying something that is all put together for you. It depends on the context. For a business there are things that may be too complicated for most. That alone is a good reason to find tools that can give us a head-start such as the Internet’s infamous ‘Business in a Box’.

If learning a programming language was required, well we just wouldn’t or we would believe we couldn’t. Too far out (technical)? This would prevent us from having a website or starting a business online in many cases. At least it would be the case if we had to take a time out for a few years to learn the language and get some hands-on experience. This would be more likely if the business was to be technical. If you just want to market opportunities and products online you really don’t need that level of skill at all.

People are not necessarily lazy. More so, it is usually just that some people can relate to technical things and some don’t. There is nothing wrong with that. We are all different. It is just that we should know our limitations as well as we know our likes and dislikes. If you are building your own business this is the time to make it what you enjoy and could do well.

There are several resources we could use to accomplish what we need. There are web design companies to create a website and some web pages for us, but this can be expensive or cheesy looking. Don’t be fooled by ‘really free’ website built ads on TV that are laughable. They make that point “really free not funny free”. Yes, really free to build it.

However don’t forget to mention that they charge a maintenance fee each month (average $100 a month). This may include some basic marketing and content that might be the right thing for you if you can afford it and have little time to invest.

If you have few technical inclinations and no desire to cultivate the skills, we can go the almost free way. We could build a website on a blogging platform. All we need there is hosting and a domain name which really are very inexpensive. You want to do some research on hosting though, as far as reliability and security, as the host is really what keeps your website running and displayed online where potential customers can see it.

The blogging platforms usually have a number of free themes you can choose from. You may start to customize it for your purposes. (Note that not all themes can be changed so pick one that can be if that is what you want).

If you can’t even afford almost free, there is a blogging platform where you don’t even need a domain or host. The drawback is that the design options are limited, and you will have a sub-domain which is not as professional as a top-level domain. In fact it screams ‘I am a flat-broke newbie’. No big deal, everybody had to start somewhere, but it may turn a few ‘savvy’ individuals away.

Affiliate Marketing Programs

Many people have been enabled to earn money at home by participating in affiliate marketing programs. You can do it either part time or full time depending on your situation. Affiliate marketing and the types of products offered through them, range from beauty products to electronic devices.

become an affiliate today
Naturally choosing a good Affiliate Marketing Program is of paramount importance. Do enough research to make sure that it is a legitimate, well-known company and principal(s) that live up to their commitments to you as well as the customers you are able to acquire. Look at the track record if they have had previous businesses. Keep in mind though that many times when people do not want to really work, they will blame the program for ‘not working’ when they fail (so try to get multiple perspectives).

The product is also very important. Choosing the right product that has the potential to sell is obviously important. It is just as important that the affiliate believe in the product that he or she is promoting. You will be writing or discussing the program as a primary method of advertising and your true feelings can show through your words. That is why whenever possible you should use the product yourself. It will help with writing reviews, as well as ads.

When you become an affiliate of one or more programs, you are provided with a professional sales (web) page you can advertise. This is not a web (site) that can be changed. If you do get a few programs it would definitely be more professional if you had a website with a domain name that advertises all of your opportunities as long as they are somewhat related. There are some who do not trust affiliate links. A domain name says you are serious and there are ways to see who owns them.

Thankfully it is not that difficult to set up a blog or website for free or at low cost if you are able to follow simple menu-driven instructions. Web hosts like WordPress and Blogger enable one to set up a reasonably good looking site free of charge. The sites are easy to work with, so even someone without technical knowledge can set up a well-designed web site and be able to navigate. There are techniques you will need to learn in order to promote your business online, but again it’s just not that difficult or expensive.

Affiliate marketing can be a successful way to earn money and make a profit. The good news is that with planning, perseverance, and a little easy work,a person can successfully earn a living while working from home and the easiest way is with affiliate marketing.