Promote Your Home Business

Use the same marketing tools as a standard brick and mortar business, to promote your at home venture.

Advertising your service or product, is just as important, if not more, when you work from the home. It is important that the public knows how to find you and that your business exists. In order to find success in running your own home business, you must be totally comfortable promoting yourself.

As the owner of a home business, you will need to talk up your business to a large number of potential customers. You have to be able to make your customers feel that your business and products are of the highest quality. Learning to successfully self-promote, is one of the keys to making big time profits.

Participate in trade shows that focus on your particular product or service. Trade shows provide a great way to network with others in your industry. It is also an effective way to promote your business to many potential customers by providing you with a setting to demonstrate your product or service.

Create a mailing list for your home business. This can either be through snail mail or the internet. Let others know about any special deals you are offering or just promote your business.

You can also send out small updates or newsletters to your customers to let them know what has been going on. This will increase traffic to your web site.

Examine all of the ways your home business appears in the marketplace and be sure you have a consistent message and presentation.

Whether it is your business cards, web site or social media business page, keeping your messaging professional and synchronized helps you promote your business appropriately and clearly across multiple channels.

Having a home business does not mean you have to stay home.

Get out of the house to network and promote your home business.

Promoting your business will help make your business grow and in turn make you more money.

Being active in the community will help to spread the word of your business. Business cards are a great way to promote your home based business and get your name out to the community.

Search for free business cards online and then distribute them wherever you go, including grocery stores, dentist offices and your children's schools.

Set up an advertising and promotional item budget for your home business and make sure you stick to it.

Advertising, free products, printing and more can add up quickly.

When you stick within your allotted budget, you help your business stay on track. Your budget will grow over time and you will be able to spend more money to promote your business down the line.

Promote your home business by offering a coupon for a free sample or a discount for your services. People are attracted to free offers, so this is a good way to bring in new customers. People are more willing to try a new business if they do not have to risk their own money to try it.

If you are caught by what is being called the "latest recession" and you are  wondering, "How is my family going to get by?", see if some of these ideas and helpful tips can help you survive and improve your financial situation.

Tips On Beginning Your Own Home Business

There are a lot of things to consider when you work from home. If you need help getting through the do's and don'ts of a business you run out of your home, then this article will give you the help you need to understanding how to make it successful.

Commit yourself not to decisions but to action. Starting and growing a home business does not follow a linear path. It zigs and zags and requires constant flexibility. There is no way to make all the right decisions up front; you just have to jump in and start doing. Commit to action everyday, and have faith that you will be able to make the right decisions each time choices come up. 

There is no one product or service that everyone is going to need, want or be happy with. Do not try to morph your business to make everyone in the area happy. Concentrate your energy on the consumers that are interested in the things that you have to offer to them.

Provide transcripts of any video or audio you post about your home business products or services so that search engines can index it and customers who can't see or hear can read it. Making your content accessible to the widest possible audience will open you up to getting leads from any demographic.

A great tip for your home business is to try to include a gift or surprise with every order that you send out. This will speak volumes for you and your company and give customers a reason to come back to you. The personal touch is critical with your success.

Another great tip for your home business is to pay your takes throughout the year instead of waiting until tax time. This will keep you from being hit with an unexpected amount of money during tax season which might potentially hamper your business. Check with the Tax Office for specifics on how to properly submit your taxes quarterly.

Take advantage of new technology that allows you to charge credit cards from home. Most people want to pay with a credit card, so invest in a product that will easily let you do this. Many companies have figured out how to make this very affordable for home businesses.

To help promote your home business, consider joining forums that are related to home business generally and your own niche in particular. This is a great idea because you will be able to get free advice and many tips or tricks that you might not have been exposed to otherwise. Do your research on which forums benefit you the most.

People can't be bothered clicking through a hundred pages on a website to find out what your home business is about, so feed it all to them on the front page. Include what you do, who you are, quick testimonials, a photo of yourself or your product, and how to contact you, and your leads will skyrocket.

As was stated at the beginning of this article, having a home business requires a lot of work and follow up in many different areas. The tips and suggestions here should help anyone who has or is hoping to start a home based business make it more successful.

Google’s latest changes

GoogleTop search engine Google has announced that their latest search algorithm changes are intended to favor sites with original content over sites that reproduce content produced by others, in an attempt to reduce spam sites or sites that seek to improve their rankings in order to get sales from advertising such as adsense.

As a result, many sites that consist mainly or solely on automatically generated content,  such as articles, videos or news stories already ‘out there’ will suffer much lower rankings than in the past.

Naturally, Google wants to stay as the No. 1 search engine and to keep that slot, they aim to give searchers, their customers, the best quality search results.

There is nothing more irritating than to click on a link that takes you to a site that tells you nothing about what you’re looking for. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience, so these changes are welcomed for this reason.

However, the changes may well have a big impact on those who have sites  with some reproduced content on them. If you are one of those, then a post yesterday by Gail Bottomley called Duplicate Content – No Longer Allowed can help you fix things up. There is a great deal of particulary good content there as well as the replay of her webinar on the subject. I watched the webinar live and found it particularly helpful and positive.

Any changes to reduce spam either on websites or in our inboxes are to be welcomed and anyway,  it is believed that these latest changes in Google will probably not be noticed by most viewers.

Joint Ventures Can Be Mutually Beneficial

Joint Venture Agreement
Joint Venture

Internet marketers often work alone to generate income for themselves, but sometimes it can be mutually beneficial to form a joint venture with other like-minded folks working on similiar projects.

The ability to spread out effort and risk, while increasing returns, can be somewhat risky, but one worth taking because, if the exercise is successful, you have made a new friend and maybe even developed a permanent working relationship.

As with any worthwhile pursuit there are some core basics and guiding principles that joint venture participants should practice when seeking partners and executing a plan.

Before proceeding, it’s essential to know what a joint venture is. A “JV” is an agreement between two parties each seeking to cooperatively leverage the assets of each other, be it a skill, a product, a trade secret, or a customer or prospect list. In the case of an internet marketer, the agreement usually involves one marketer mailing to the other’s mailing list.

Once it’s been determined that a joint venture will be undertaken there are some fundamentals that should be followed to assure the best outcome.

Assessing your partner is a critical first step when forming a joint venture. Analyzing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and discerning each other’s agenda beforehand will serve to lessen negative surprises later.

You can get a free Joint Venture Agreement form here.

Strategy development is an initial activity where both participants assess the viability of their effort and any potential obstacles to the outcomes they plan to achieve. Concurrently, the partners can set milestones and financial agreements during this period. A 50-50 profit split is most common. In some cases, a newer marketer may forego some of the proceeds in order to establish a presence in their market.

Once these tasks are found to be suitably addressed, the new associates can move on to carrying out the campaign. Of course, this is not a static operation. If time and duration allows, testing and improvement should be ongoing as the campaign proceeds to its conclusion.

Finally, the hopefully happy and prosperous end is reached and various goals realized. It’s important to note that any end-defining milestones should have been during the assessment and strategy sessions. This will prevent misunderstandings and promote further collaboration.

Another pointer is to aim high. Sure, rejection may be the first response, but perseverance rules the day and a big player could be the tipping point to reaching a critical mass of success and security.

Lastly, always operate with a win-win mentality while following the sequence. Do it right, and it will be the first of many join ventures…or the last one you’ll ever need.

For more information, you can get a free copy of “Joint Ventures: Tips for Successful Partnerships” from this link or by clicking on the book below.

Joint Ventures

Computer Hardware – Info for Beginners

There is more to your  computer than the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse, though most of the other components are hidden away.

In that big box that you often complain about being too bulky, lies the heart of the computer.

It houses all the vital parts that make your computer fully functioning.

Get to know some of these parts.

  1. The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) determines how fast your PC will be & is perhaps one of the vital parts of a computer, if not the most vital. Having a fast processor will allow your computer to convert data faster

    Read more

Have a Go at Selling on eBay

There’s something undeniably entrepreneurial about selling on eBay. It is true that there are eBay millionaires and there are also successful backroom eBay stores run by people with no more skills than the desire to make money under their own steam and it is the nature of selling on eBay that makes it possible for them and also makes it possible for you. A ready-made audience, instant search engine listings, ready payment systems and the ability to get started with no more than a product, a computer and a desire to succeed all combine to make very low barriers to entry.

The more sophisticated a business selling on eBay becomes, the more opportunity it represents. The scale of the marketplace is immense, for example a pair of shoes is sold on average every 3 seconds. Billions and billions of dollars are transferred every year from buyers to sellers.

There are constantly new niches and opportunities to exploit. Part of selling on eBay is to understand the marketplace and identify exploitable niches within your area of expertise. While there are many bargains to be had on eBay for buyers, it is also possible to achieve a higher price than that paid in shops for some of the items you sell, especially when you start with a low initial price, as this encourages bidding. Everyone loves to get a bargain!

When starting out selling on eBay choose a single, low value product to work with. It makes the whole learning process easier and less painful. Conquer that product before exploring other avenues of revenue. The experience that comes from actually doing it, along with the adrenaline and excitement when you finally make some money from the process is exhilarating. This is normal and healthy, but don’t get carried away. Keep it simple until you feel confident in approaching another market. More competitive markets will be harder to break into, so go for something you know about and feel you can realistically compete in.

Selling on eBay may not require a payment system or a website, but it does require all the other elements of a regular business. You need to be seen to run a professional outfit and to provide a professional service or customers will not return for a repeat visit. Worse than this, one of the features of selling on eBay is that users will leave feedback after their purchase.

Negative feedback can be the kiss of death to your business. Buyers are cautious not to trust their money in the hands of merchants who have provided poor experience for previous buyers and once you have negative feedback it will be seen by all of your prospective customers. Often, with so little to differentiate yourself from your competitors it is vital that you have as good a seller rating as is humanly possible.

A core component to maintaining good feedback when selling on eBay is accurate item descriptions and prompt delivery. The most common reason for poor feedback is slow delivery, although stock control issues, slow customer response times and bad packaging are all very important in order to maintain a good seller rating.

So, give it a go. Have a bit of fun! You’ll never know until you try just how this opportunity might turn out for you.

Best wishes
Trish

Using E-Cards Safely

If you send or receive e-cards (electronic greeting cards), you may not think too much about whether they are safe for your computer or not. They are free and fast, making them a popular and convenient alternative to traditional greeting cards.

To send an e-card, you simply go to an e-card site, choose a card from a number of different categories, and then send it off to your recipient with a personalized greeting. Some of the more well-known companies are Hallmark, 123Greetings, American Greetings or Blue Mountain, but it’s worth doing a search as you’ll find many great e-card sites specialising in topics such as sports and nature & also charity e-cards.

Receiving an e-card is fun too. Often, these cards come equipped with short video or music clips. Millions of people receive e-cards for special days like Christmas, Easter and personal birthdays every year.

E-cards are created the same way Web sites are; they’re built on the Internet just like this page. So when you send someone an e-card, you’re actually giving them a link to click, which takes them to the online greeting card you created for them.

Not all e-cards are harmless cards, though; some may contain viruses, spyware, adware, phishing attacks or spam. At best, this is annoying and can involve pop-ups, lots of unwanted junk mail, or other minor disturbances. At worst, these viruses can crash your system or hack into your email contacts.

There are a number of ways you can protect your computer from unwanted surprises that come in the form of e-cards. The following are some tips for online safety for e-cards.

Know what to look for:

The best way to be safe from online viruses is to keep your eyes out for anything suspicious. A good indication an e-card is not legitimate includes:

  • There are misspelled words or names. The inclusion of non-letter characters such as * @ # $ % , if your name is misspelled, words are spelled with letters in the wrong order such as “Best Wsihes” or are misspelled in other ways, there is a possibility that it is spam or a virus.
  • Make sure you recognize the sender’s name before clicking on any links. The sender should always be recognizable, either in the subject line or the e-mail itself. People don’t normally send e-cards to strangers, so you should probably avoid opening e-cards from anyone you don’t know.
  • The e-card has an attachment. Most e-card companies that are legitimate don’t put their e-cards as attachments. Rather, they have a link you follow to the company’s website that takes you directly to the card. By downloading attachments, you can unknowingly be downloading a virus or other type of unwanted intrusion onto your computer.
  • Be cautious. If you have any suspicion that the e-Card you have received is fraudulent do not open, and do not click on any links within the e-mail if you do. Legitimate e-mails will always give you the option to pick up the e-Card by typing in the address of the Web site, rather than clicking on the link.
  • Preview a link’s Web address before you click it. If the link doesn’t show an address, move your mouse pointer over a link without clicking it to see where the link goes. (The address should appear on the bottom bar of your Web browser.)

Keep your anti-virus & firewall etc software up to date.

You should also have anti virus software, a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-adware installed on your computer to help to detect threats and protect your. In most cases you can get all these programs free, but they do need to be updated and run regularly to give you the best protection. Spyware and adware not only compromise your computer’s security, they will often slow your system down.

Read fine print and terms of service.

If you receive an e-card that has a check box saying you agree to their terms of service, be sure to read the fine print. If you are like most people, you simply check the I Agree box without even looking at the print. This can be a big mistake, because with spam e-cards, you might be agreeing to have them download spyware or adware or even to have access to your computer’s address books.

When in doubt, delete.

If something doesn’t look right, such as the name of the sender or vague subject lines, just delete the card. It’s better to safe than sorry.

E-cards are fun to receive and send, as long as you’re careful when doing so. The above tips will help you be safe online with e-cards.

Computer Crash! Prevent Loss of Your Valuable Data

Have you ever had a computer crash and all your data was lost?

Most likely your computer’s hard drive failed & this happens more frequently than we’d like and for all sorts of reasons. Another major risk to your data is fire, flood or theft. The following strategies will help you to protect and recover your data.

Although the software files for the programs that run on your computer is also data, you don’t need to back that up as it is easily recoverable from the installation disks you received when software is purchased.

The data that we will focus on is “user” data specifically, the data that you create from the software programs that run on your computer.

For example, if a word processor is used to create a document or a letter, the word processor provides functions to save this data. The data that is created and saved through the word processor is “user” data. Most programs will create and save data somewhere on the hard drive.

There are many kinds of user data that are usually stored on the hard drive, do you have some of these?

  • letters you write in a word processors
  • flyers / posters for your clubs
  • business cards
  • spreadsheets
  • greeting cards you’ve made
  • accounting data from a money management program
  • picture files
  • music files
  • video files
  • email and email addresess

This is not a complete list, but to give you an idea of what you might have created and could lose if your computer crashed or in a fire or theft. Most people do not pay enough attention to this basic fact about computer systems until it’s too late. Don’t let this happen to you!

Remember, the key is “prevention” and in order to prevent loss of valuable data you must be prepared, so let’s look at some basic backup plans.

Option 1: Save your data to CD or DVD disks
This is by far the cheapest option and a very good approach to securing user data, especially if you don’t have too much. All that is needed is a CD or DVD burner and some blank disks, which cost very little these days.

When using this option, make two copies so that one of the copies can be stored off site, to protect you against fire, flood & theft. Another reason is that a CD or DVD backup can also become corrupted & it’s better to have two or more copies.

Option 2: Use a memory stick (USB stick)
This will cost a bit more than option 1, but USB sticks are getting cheaper & cheaper all the time, and holding more data as well. One advantage is how small they are and easy to carry around. I bought a waterproof one when they first came out for my client’s data and was very glad I did so, as it went through the wash twice and still worked fine! (I did have other backups though & I still use that drive today!.)

Option 3: Consider having two internal hard drives, especially if you have a lot of user data, especially big pictures or music files.

Most home computers generally all come with only one internal hard drive, which stores both software and user data. This means that this one single hard drive is experiencing a lot of wear and tear. Every time a program is launched it’s being accessed. Every single function that the operating system invokes will likely hit the hard drive etc. This heavy wear and tear can eventually lead to physical failures.

Also, many viruses are designed to hit the operating system & if the user data is on the same physical drive as the operating system, then it can be severely impacted by viruses as well. The disadvantage of this method is that it doesn’t protect you from fire, flood or theft, etc, but it is probably the easiest way to automate backing up your files.

Option 4: Attach an external USB Hard Drive to the system

With the price of hard drives getting much cheaper, this is another really good option. By attaching an external USB hard drive to the system, special backup programs can be installed and scheduled to run over night. There are many cost effective backup programs available. Some will be built into your operating system and others are available free – search on the internet and you’ll find plenty of options. The advantage of the external drive is that your work is still physically separated from the main hard drive and can be taken off-site with you.

Option 5: Online backup service
The services are fairly inexpensive (typically about $5 a month), and the best ones won’t noticeably slow down your PC use or Web browsing (after the initial large upload, at least). They also encrypt your data before, during, and after it’s been sent to industrial-strength servers. There are no discs or USB drives to worry about, either. The service can start processing and uploading files automatically on a schedule or in the background when there are enough free cycles available.

How often should you make backups?

This really depends on what your data is. If you are only using your computer for emails and writing letters, perhaps once a week is sufficient. When you’re doing work for someone else, it’s wise to keep doing incremental backups as you go, every ten minutes, every hour perhaps. It’s a decision you need to make for your personal circumstances. I personally do my backups before I go away from my work area and every night. The main thing is, remember to DO IT!

Summary

  • You need to backup your user data in case of computer crash or fire or theft
  • Back-up frequently, as often as needed to make it easy to restore your work to where you were
  • Use at least two different methods
  • Keep one copy of your backup data away from the computer (prevent loss if fire or theft)

Hopefully this helped you become more aware of the importance of your data and the need to back it up.

The options presented here are the very same methods used by many highly experience data processing centers and can be easily adopted by the average computer user. The most important point to remember is that good planning for potential disasters is the best protection against loss of valuable user data. You may not think of it this way at first but the user data that you accumulate on your computer takes time to build up and acquire.

If you value your time then you’ll value your data. Your data has a lot of value. So why not take a few simple steps to protect it.

Planning & Action

Yesterday I spoke about not getting things I want to achieve done. Since then I’ve been thinking about this and have written down the steps I’ve taken during periods when I have been very productive. These are not my original ideas, but those I’ve found from reading books & listening to the advice of successful people.

I guess most of us know what works, or would work for us if we put it into practice, but the knowing and the doing are not the same, are they? When we lead busy lives, it is easy to get caught up in just doing what comes up and we feel we don’t have time to sit down and plan anything. This is a reminder that if we plan, we achieve more.

Plan and take action

  1. Make a list then mark the items in order of importance
  2. Focus on one thing at a time.
  3. Start with the most important/urgent thing on your list, complete it and cross it off
  4. Continue working down the list, completing & crossing off – feels good, doesn’t it?
  5. At the end of the day, put any unfinished items onto a new list along with tasks for the next day.

Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can eliminate or pass on to someone else.

Learn to say no to nonessential tasks. If you have work plans in place, you’ll be more easily able to say “I’m sorry, but I can’t fit that in today … this week….”

If you find yourself eagerly ‘administrating’ instead of ‘just getting on with it’, you’re probably procrastinating. Try some of these ways to stop “putting it off”.

  • Begin with a task you enjoy.
  • Avoid being a perfectionist.
  • Eliminate time wasting activities e.g. Housework (my favourite!)
  • Plan your time and stick to the plan where you can.
  • Break difficult or ‘boring’ work into sections. This allows you to approach a large task as a series of manageable parts.

Have a productive day!