Plan for the unexpected. It never fails that things are going along smoothly, then BAM, a home based business owner gets broad-sided with something they never dreamed would happen. It could be anything from a flooded basement where they have their home based business office to the computer getting struck by lightening–or just an electrical outage at the busiest time of the day. So take the time to make back up plans for every eventuality. This doesn’t mean you have to become pessimistic in your outlook, just that you have a backup plan for most any emergency that may come along. Having a plan means you’ll be prepared just in case.Have money put aside. When your home based business profits are pouring in, it’s easy to let your spending get out of hand. Then when the computer does get struck by lightening, you don’t have the money for needed repairs. So you need to put aside some money each month while you’re growing your home based business to help you through any bad times you may have–and you will have them. Every business, home based or otherwise, has good times and bad. Having the financial resources to see you through them is essential to keeping your home based business operating, and growing.Use your time wisely. With a stay at home business, it’s easy to get distracted by the television, the telephone and the family. It’s also easy to let paperwork slide. A lot of home based business owners become like Scarlet in Gone with the Wind and think there’s always tomorrow. What happens is when things pile up, a home based business owner can easily get overwhelmed. After all, there’s no one else to take care of things. So make sure you organize your time, make a schedule–and stick with it.Get and keep your office organized. Home based business owners don’t have time to waste. And an unbelievable amount of time is essentially thrown away when you have to spend precious time looking for things. Organize your home based business office so that it maximizes your efficiency. Little things like making sure you always have a pen and paper by the phone can save an enormous amount of time. Also, having a good filing system is vital for the same reason: the time you spend looking for things you need is time you could be spending attending to business.Make sure you have insurance. This is crucial in case something should happen to your home based business inventory or equipment. A home based business can afford not to have the proper insurance. That basement flood mentioned earlier could easily put you out of business for good unless you have insurance. So you want to have the best insurance you possibly can, even if it means scrimping on other expenses. If you don’t already have it, get on the phone or go online and get adequate insurance as soon as possible.Plan for taxes now. If you haven’t already discussed your taxes with an accountant or other home based business financial advisor, you want to do it as quickly as possible. And you want to check in with them frequently to make sure you stay up to date on important tax laws that may affect your home based business. You want to be sure you’re setting aside enough money to pay your taxes and you also need to know if you should be filing taxes yearly or quarterly as many self-employed people do. Also, if your home based business has employees, you’ll want to make sure you’re withholding the right amount of taxes for them as well. Taxes are a fact of life and the sooner and more efficiently you plan for them, the better off your home based business will be. The last thing you want is for that tidy little nest egg you’ve saved for your home based business to be gobbled up by the tax man!Charles Fuchshttp://www.charlesfuchs.commhttp://charlesfuchs.blogspot.comI grant permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way.
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In order to be a good mystery shopper you need to do certain things while at the same time avoid others. Following is a checklist of dos and don’ts of mystery shopping:Things to do- Read and do you research well. Learn the facts and figures of mystery shopping business.- Inquire about the returns that you would be getting, the date of shop and whether or not there would be any out of pocket expenses.- Get registered with a mystery shopping company of good repute that trains shoppers and is popular among other shoppers and clients.- Always give prior notice to the mystery shopping company in case of crisis so that the company can find a suitable replacement. Crisis here means a situation when you are unable to complete the shop due to some reason.- Check the instructions that would be provided to you by the shopping company. Understand them well and then follow them to perform exactly the way the company wants you to.- While filling the report be precise in your answers. Answer the question to the point. Read it well, to discard all the mistakes, before submitting.- Give your opinion only when you are asked to, otherwise just report the real happenings and facts.- Always visit the store, in the rush hour, for your scrutiny. When the store is not filled with customers it is likely that the salesmen would have enough time to present themselves perfectly and would be polite. They would reveal their true self only when they have too many customers to attend to. It would be better to carry out the survey during both these hours for best results.- Prepare yourself well according to the different types of customers that visit stores in urban and rural areas. You must know the likes and dislikes of people living in small towns and in big cities, because then accordingly you can put your questions to the salesmen. The judgment would then be appropriate.- A true mystery shopper should not bring his mood and personality to the store at the time of scrutiny otherwise the findings will get distorted. You should also keep in mind your age while choosing a shop. For example, if you are very old you should never go to the store to buy stuffs like surfboard.- As you would just be pretending to be a shopper you might not know the real needs of a customer. It is advisable to compare your findings with the feed back from the real customer.- Record all the necessary facts like whether there was enough stock of goods and the price of the product. Don’t waste time in scrutinizing things like cleanliness and ambiance etc., unless asked.Things to avoid- Avoid those companies that boast of making profits and do not train the mystery shoppers.- Ignore undesirable e-mails claiming to provide jobs that can be accomplished from home itself.- Never pay money for training and recruitment of mystery shoppers.- Never take up a job that you think you will not be able to finish. Do not betray your employer.- Never make silly excuses for unaccomplished tasks. Mystery shopping companies keep in touch with each other. Someone might spill the beans and you may end up not finding a shopper’s job at all.- Never discuss the fees with the employer after accepting the shop. Negotiate it prior to finalizing the deal. It is an unprofessional attitude.- Never embellish your report in order to impress the clients. Stick to the facts.- Never carry your forms to the store especially when you have taken up more than one shop. You might make a mess of the reports. Fill them while on your way back or at home.- Avoid being caught while you are secretly shopping.
Have you been considering setting up your own website to make money on the internet? Perhaps you already have a business or a business idea and want your own presence on the web. Or maybe you just know that you want to make money on the internet but have no idea what is involved.To give you an idea of what is involved I will outline the 7 steps you need to take to set up your own money making website. This will give you the basics of what is involved and allow you to do further research and make progress in each of these seven areas.*Step 1 – Your business ideaIf you already have a business or a business idea, you can skip this step. If not, then spend some time writing a list of all the things that interest you. The chances of succeeding in your new business are far greater if you are doing something that you are passionate about. This way it won’t feel like you are doing a job when you start spending time on this. Don’t worry too much about a product at this point, just think about the things you like to do – perhaps you like cooking, or playing football, or foreign travel. Try to write down at least 5 things that you enjoy.*Step 2 – Research your Market and Analyse the CompetitionOnce you have completed step 1, you need to find out if there is a market in the areas that you are interested in. At the same time you may want to avoid entering a market that is highly competitive. From my experience the best way to analyse this is by using a tool called Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com). Note that the trial version is a cut down version of the much more powerful full version and only includes statistics from one search engine rather than multiple engines.Use this software as a brainstorming tool and type in your interests that you came up with in step 1 (or your original business idea). Wordtracker will return related keywords, which you can then select and add to your “basket”. At this stage it is best to keep an open mind and fill your basket with around 1000 keyword phrases. Finally you can do a “competitive analysis” on the keywords that you have chosen. This will allow you to see how many searches a day are done on a per search engine basis for each keyword phrase.In addition to this you will also see the number of competing websites and a value called a “KEI” which is a “Keyword Effectiveness Index”. You have a better chance of succeeding if you choose keywords that have a KEI above 100. If the KEI is above 400, then you have an excellent chance of success.Ensure that you spend sufficient time in this planning phase, repeating the above process again and again until you have a good set of related keywords with good KEIs. Once you have chosen your keywords you should check out your competition by typing the keywords into Google and looking at top websites for each keyword phrase that you have selected. The Google and Alexa toolbars can help you with your analysis of competing websites*Step 3 – Choose a ProductIf you don’t already have a product in mind, the next step is to decide on your product or group of products. Before you do this, try to do some research and find out exactly what your potential customers are looking for. What sort of questions are they asking? Google Groups are an excellent place for doing this sort of research.One solution is to join some affiliate programs (related to your chosen keywords of course). Affiliate programs are usually free to join and pay you a commission for directing customers from your site via a special affiliate link. You can find a lot of information about affiliate programs by searching for “Affiliate Programs” on Google.Another alternative is to sell your own product. This could be something that you have made yourself such as a craft item or an informative e-book, or a product that you dispatch using a drop shipping service. It is also possible to buy resell rights to e-books and software written by other people.Before you make a final decision, work out what your profit margin will be and do a rough calculation of how much money you will make based on the estimated traffic from Wordtracker.*Step 4 – Choose and Register a Domain nameThe next stage is to decide on and register a domain name. There are many websites selling domain names and you should be able to get one easily for less than $10 per year. There is no need to sign up for a domain name with your web hosting company if they are charging more than this as domain names can be transferred easily between hosting companies.Try to choose a domain name that has some of your keywords in it. It’s also an advantage to have a name that is relatively short and easy to remember.*Step 5 – Find a Web Hosting CompanyThere are hundreds of web hosting companies available. Some even provide hosting for free. I advise against using the free services if you are setting up a business, as this can look unprofessional, especially since most of them use advertising on your site as a way to recoup the cost. This is fine for a personal website, but if you are serious about making money you need to choose a reputable web hosting company.Ensure that you are happy with the disk space and bandwidth allowances that your hosting company provides. Other things to consider are the customer support services, reliability in terms of the percentage of down time expected and the interface for uploading files. There are many websites that offer reviews and comparisons of different hosting packages.*Step 6 – Build your WebsiteAt last, you are now ready to start building your website. Many people skip the research stage and dive straight into this part, but your chances of success are much higher if you spend time on the research part first.Depending on your knowledge and experience in this area you may decide to do this yourself, or pay for a web designer to do this for you. If you are doing it yourself, it helps to know HTML, but there are also many web page editors such as Front Page and Dreamweaver which you can use to construct your website with little or no knowledge of HTML.Try to ensure that your site is clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate and that it looks professional. Have someone proofread your copy to ensure that there are no mistakes. Also ensure that you use your keywords from your Wordtracker research in the title of your page, the headings and throughout your copy. Use one or two of your chosen keyword phrases per page and don’t overdo the use of your keywords as search engines may consider this as SPAM.*Step 7 – Market your WebsiteFinally you need to market your webpage. It is simply not true that you can just build a website and wait for visitors to come without doing any form of internet marketing.Internet marketing is a huge topic, out with the scope of this article. The sort of techniques that you may want to consider include reciprocal linking, writing and publishing articles, pay per click (PPC) advertising such as Google AdWords and Overture, classified and solo ads, participating in discussion forums that allow a signature in your postings and advertising on related (but not competing) websites.These 7 steps take time and effort, but if you do your research and persevere you are likely to see excellent results.Don’t forget, that once you have been through this process once, you can repeat it again and again until you have multiple websites making an income for you while you sleep, or relax on the beach!
Three of the biggest areas of concern to our home based business owners are repeat sales, getting new business and staying focused while working at home. First, let’s discuss staying focused at home. Remember, to have a separate office or to delineate one area and one area only to your home business. This can be your kitchen table, a desk in your dining or living area, but only one place for the business paperwork. Obviously, if you have to place supplies in a different area, this is OK. In addition, if you have clients come to your home, you can do this in your living room, or family room area, or an area you have designated for clients. I know, it’s summer and all that sunshine and water beckons you. Remember, folks this is your business. If you need a few days off to get it out of your system, do it. You’ll come back more motivated, refreshed, and ready to tackle anything. Your home-based business is no different than that job many of us had years ago, that when Spring and Summer came along we had a hard time concentrating, and maybe took some time off. However, when we came back we were ready to work. And this time it’s your own business, so that should motivate you even more. Don’t forget one of the basic tenets of running a business from your home, set distinct hours for that business and stick to them. When the work day is done, close the door, or clean up that area, and go on to household chores, or outside interests. Use that To Do List to keep you focused. Make it up at the end of each day. Use that last half hour of the day to set up your work schedule for the next, put your work and To Do List in your tickler file, check your daily scheduler, check your goals for the day, did you meet your goals for the day, if not, why not, and what do you need to do to be sure you meet them for the next day, and for the week. Use your goals to keep you focused on your work day and what needs to be accomplished. What time of day is it when your focus is wandering. Is it late afternoon, early evening? Maybe you need to get up earlier, and adjust your schedule so that your work day is done sooner, and your down time coincides with the periods of time you are having trouble focusing. We all go through periods when we need to get away or take time off, even from our own businesses. I don’t care how passionate you are and how much you love what you do, sometimes you just need to get away from it all. We say DO IT, have your fun in the sun, pool, golfing, whatever. Then come back with a vengeance to that business with renewed purpose and energy.Copyright DeFiore Enterprises 2001
A joint venture can be one of the most profitable and fastest ways to make money on the Internet. It can also destroy your reputation, get you ignored, or worse, accused of spam if you don’t take the proper care to create a valuable offer.There are three things you should NEVER do when creating a joint venture proposal for a potential partner. Below are three things NOT to do, with several tips to help you do it right.1. Fail to Plan.Before you send out any emails to potential partners, you need to plan your offering, decide who you are going to send it to, and what you expect in return.First, create your offer. Ask yourself these questions:What am I going to give the potential partner to make him/her want to joint venture with me? i.e. Are you going to give the partner a copy of the product, do you have bonuses available, what’s the commission you are paying, are you offering a large one time commission, or a recurring monthly commission?My rule of thumb is to never offer less than 50 percent. What you want to do is make the partner an offer that is not only fair, but more beneficial up front for him/her than it is for you.Once you know what your offer is, you want to create solo ads, a review, or something that the partner can plug his/her information into so that you have something to give him/her when you make the offer.Include the affiliate sign up link, and make it as easy as possible to sign up. Also include the link to the product, as well as tell the partner how to get the download, the membership, or whatever you are selling.The point is, make it easy. My joint venture partners are busy people. They don’t have time to write ads for me, or spend a lot of time getting prepared. They need something they can set up in a few minutes, send it out, and move on. Remember, your potential partners are probably the same.2. Forget to Target Your Market.I get over 500 emails a day. Mind you, they aren’t all joint ventures although I get a lot of those too.The point is this: research your market. Find products, services, memberships, etc. that complement yours. Then you have a market.3. Send Your Offer to the Wrong Person.No one wants to read offers that say, “Dear Publisher”, “Dear Friend”, or anything like that.The first, and most important thing about creating a joint venture is to make sure that you send it to the right person at the right email address.Although I don’t recommend it, you can send your joint venture proposal to someone you don’t know provided you have properly targeted your market. This doesn’t mean you can send your message to 100s who just happen to be in your target market.What I recommend you do is this: build a relationship with the person. Build a lot of relationships with a lot of people. If you have something relevant to say about someone’s newsletter, write him/her.I get so many bogus offers that when I get something I appreciate, or I enjoy, I always write the publisher a complimentary email. If there’s a survey, I answer it. If the publisher needs help, and I can, I answer.This is how great business relationships are built online. You would be amazed at how much others are willing to help you when you take the time to get to know them.Finally, unless you know one of the “gurus”, and very well, I wouldn’t advise sending them your offer. Most of them already have joint venture arrangements in place and aren’t really willing to work with someone they don’t know, or who hasn’t made it to “guru” status.There are plenty of potential partners out there with nice sized mailing lists who are hungry for more ways to make more money. With millions online, you have a wide range of potential partners to choose from.Remember, it really doesn’t matter if you sell gardening tools or ebooks, or anything else for that matter, a joint venture can quickly and easily add to your bottom line.
Ah, working at home… Visions of leisurely days, conference calls in comfy sweatpants, increased productivity with fewer interruptions. But the distinctions between work life and home life soon blur. You really should throw some laundry in the wash before you write that proposal. You have an hour before a meeting: Should you balance your books or clean the kitchen? And remember to call that client back right after you empty the cat box.Welcome to the real world of working at home: unforeseen distractions, a lack of structured time, and sometimes a perceived loss of identity. But don’t give up the dream just yet! By putting into place a few simple ideas, you can reap more of the rewards of working at home. Based on my experiences and those of my associates, here are 10 simple ways to help you stay on track.1. Separate Your Space.Keep a separate, distinct work area in your home. (This is especially difficult if you’re living and working in a shoebox studio, like I was when I started my business in New York City!) If you don’t have a separate room, at least define an area, and know that when you’re in it, you’re in “work mode.”2. Structure Your Time.As your business and personal time mesh, it’s more important than ever to structure your day. For example, if you regularly take a walk or go to the gym, try to do it every day at the same time. Value that personal appointment with yourself – even when you’re very busy. It will actually help you keep your business on track! I like to get up early and work until noon, then I take a few hours off to enjoy lunch, do some reading, and take my daily jog on the beach. Then I’m back at my desk at 4:00 until who knows when!3. Outsource All You Can.When I began my business, I made the mistake of acting as my own courier service. I soon learned how much time I was wasting by frequently visiting clients just to pick things up and drop them off. Whenever you start thinking, “Well I can just do that myself,” STOP. Streamline your business, making everything as automatic as possible. Use outside services to stay focused on your *real work*. Get accounts with an overnight delivery service, messenger service, virtual assistant (VA), bookkeeper, etc. Save your energy for your brilliant ideas! : )4. Use Technology to Your Advantage.In-person meetings are very valuable when appropriate, but schedule them sparingly. Try to do most of your business via phone, fax, and e-mail using the best equipment you can afford. For most home-based entrepreneurs, when you’re out of the office, you’re NOT making money. So it’s important that you can communicate flawlessly from where you are. And PLEASE do us all a favor and get separate lines/services for your phone, fax, and Internet! No one likes getting a busy signal.(BONUS TIP: If your phone company offers voicemail, get it. Not only will your outgoing message sound more professional, but if you’re on an important call and don’t want to be disturbed, other callers can still leave you a message.)5. Group Your Errands.Try to group your meetings and errands together to minimize your out-of-office time. Make a list in the morning of all the outside tasks you need done for the day, and attempt to complete them in one fell swoop. Even better, do what I do and designate just one day a week as your “blitz” day for errands and meetings. Plus, then you only need to get dressed up one day a week! : )6. Stay Focused.Make your workspace off-limits to other roommates or family members when you’re working. For you animal lovers, this may go for pets as well. (My cat Francine gets *very* jealous when I’m not giving her complete attention!) Keep all personal paperwork such as bills, magazines, and to-do lists out of sight, so they won’t distract you from your projects.7. Beware of Yappers.Many of your friends and family will be immediately delighted when they learn that you’re working at home. They picture you lounging on the couch, eating potato chips, and waiting for their calls. When they call you simply to chat, politely remind them that you’re working, and ask them if you can call them back after your day is over. It may take them a while, but they’ll eventually get the idea.8. Work With Your Moods.Keep track of your moods and productivity compared with the time of day. For example, if you find you’re more alert in the morning, use this time to make important calls and do your creative work. Take advantage of your natural cycles. If you feel better after an afternoon nap, go for it! (I’m a BIG proponent of the catnap. In fact, I may start a support group.)9. Suit Yourself.To bring out your best work, make your environment perfect for YOU. How do you work best? With plenty of breaks, or with no interruptions? In silence, or with some light music in the background? On a cushy couch and coffee table, or at a business desk in an ergonomic chair? (My friends thought I was nuts when I spent $750 on my Herman Miller Aeron chair, but they quickly understood why once they sat in it! And my spine thanks me every day.)Also, find some places you can do work when you need a change of scenery. How about the library, the park, or your neighborhood coffee shop? When I need to do serious reading, thinking, or editing, I take my work outside to the beach. The sea air, sunshine, and soothing waves help me think much more clearly.10. Break for People.Feeling sluggish, lonely, or moody? Arrange for at least one social break during the week. (I aim for two or three.) Schedule breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even just coffee with a client, vendor, or friend. Join a business networking group, or sign-up for social activities such as dance class or recreational sports league. Don’t go into hermit mode – it can be self-destructive!© 1999-2009 Alexandria Brown International Inc.
Having worked in investments for many years, “performance chasers” are those people or investment managers who are always looking for the “hottest stock” that will get them the most bang for the buck now. There’s nothing wrong with optimizing performance, but they lose site of long-term investment goals. You know.. the tortoise and the hare sydrome.The same applies to business. Are you looking only to make the most sales now or are you taking the long-term approach to where you want your business to be? Are you truly taking your customers needs to heart or are you only looking to sell them the latest and greatest? Are you looking to build a loyal, long-term customer base or to make the most money you can now?One of my favorite movie scenes is from Miracle on 34th Street where the customer is in Macy’s and can’t find what she needs. Macy’s doesn’t have the item and sends her over to Gimbel’s. The customer is shocked that in this day of age of materialism (yes they thought that back in the 1940′s, too), that a store would make sure her needs were met first instead of trying to sell her something she didn’t need or want. As a result, you know she’ll become a loyal customer of Macy’s.I’ve worked for “performance chasers” and I’ve worked for business builders. The performance chaser could have had an incredible business, but because of his lack of long-term vision for his clients, his customers were like a revolving door. Too bad, too, because they were very high-net worth people.The business builder created and nurtured solid relationships over the years and had only his customers needs at heart first and foremost. His integrity, sincerity, honesty is truly genuine. In times of stock-market ups and downs, he never lost a client. He never chased performance.I choose to model my company from the latter. I would rather be here 5, 10, 15 years from now knowing that I took the time to build my business based on trust, integrity and honesty. My customers know that I place their needs first before profit and therefore, they remain loyal to me as I remain loyal to them.How about you? Are you a performance-chaser or business builder?To Your Success!Patty Gale
Virtual Assistants (also known as VAs) are home-based entrepreneurs who take pride in providing fellow small business professionals with a wide range of office tasks, from administrative support to web design & maintenance. VAs are able to provide professional, creative assistance without ever having to go into the client’s office.Being small business owners themselves, VAs understand that success comes to entrepreneurs when they provide the best possible customer service. But, great customer service can sometimes be hard to upkeep when you are spending valuable time trying to stay on top of the non-core tasks that are a part of running a business.A VA works WITH their clients to help alleviate some of these tasks, allowing them to free up some of their time to concentrate on generating revenue and building their businesses.But, how do you know when you really need the services of a Virtual Assistant?
Your inbox pile just seems to be getting higher, and each day you fall farther behind.
Your day timer just doesn’t seem to be able to keep you organized.
The important tasks are getting lost in amongst everything else and, when you do locate them, you find yourself rushing to meet a deadline.
You don’t feel comfortable taking on an administrative task that requires a specific professional appearance.
You find you aren’t delivering to your clients as fast as you would like to as you have too many other ‘things’ on the go.
You have a project that you need to get done but you aren’t sure cartoon porn how to accomplish it.
Your administrative tasks have you so overwhelmed that you just don’t seem to have time for anything else.
You spend so much time working that your family says it’s like living with a stranger.
Your business is booming by you have no one to share it with or draw on for support.
Your website looks the same as it did two years ago, or
Your website is just a figment of your imagination.
You dread looking at the piles on your desk and wondering when you will get everything accomplished.
Running your business just doesn’t have that same fulfillment as it used to because you’re spending too much time mobile porn doing the non-core tasks and not doing what you love the most.
You wonder where your ‘life’ has gone.
FREE TIME? … WHAT’S THAT?
Operating a business should not have you stressed out and wondering how you are going to make it a success when you are so busy black porn doing everything yourself. You started your business because it involves what you love to do. But, the non-core tasks that are involved with running a small business should not be a discouragement.Virtual Assistants are in business to help you alleviate some of that added pressure by taking some of it off of your shoulders. They want you to succeed and will do everything possible to see that happen.From general word processing to graphic design to website design. A VA’s specialties can be just what you need to allow you to get back to running your business instead of it running you.