Entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4815/all en-US 10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/working-from-home-80410876-small.jpg" alt="working from home" title="working from home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've now spent over two years as a freelancer. When I started my freelance writing and content development business, <a href="http://chasingdownthemuse.com">Chasing Down the Muse</a>, I knew I would learn a lot along the way about business, my skills, and what it takes to make a go of a freelance life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right?ref=seealso">Freelancing: A Beginner's Guide to Doing It Right</a>)</p> <p>In preparation for this article, I also spoke to a number of freelancing friends and colleagues about the actions that drive their success. Here are the top 10 commonalities I found.</p> <h2>1. Hang Up Your Shingle Online and Off</h2> <p>Tell everyone, and I mean everyone, what you're doing! Create a website, business cards, LinkedIn profile, email address with signature, and networking plan. You can build it, but no one is going to come if they can't find you. When people ask you what you do, tell them. Announce your freelance life and its progress on social media. I've been amazed over the last two years how many leads have come from my existing personal and professional networks even though this new business was a complete departure from my degrees and previous jobs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-linkedin-profile-noticed-with-a-few-attention-grabbing-tweaks?ref=seealso">Get Your LinkedIn Profile Noticed</a>)</p> <h2>2. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch</h2> <p>Understand that you are now salesperson-in-chief of your new business. You need to turn over every rock that looks interesting to you, whether they're actively looking for a freelancer like you or not. Pitches are seeds. Some of them will sprout quickly, some will take cultivation, and others won't sprout at all. However, one thing's for sure: If you don't pitch, you won't get the work.</p> <h2>3. Think Creatively About Your Value</h2> <p>What are all of the ways someone could utilize your skills? I write web and marketing copy, fundraising proposals, social media posts, blog pieces, traditional journalism, fiction, and nonfiction across a wide variety of topics from tech to food and almost everything in-between. When I started out, I thought about all of the uses for content where I could look for opportunities in addition to creating my own personal work. This was an incredibly valuable exercise because it helped me to identify clients that I previously didn't consider viable.</p> <h2>4. Know Your Worth</h2> <p>As you pitch, network, and think creatively about all of the ways you could earn a living from your skills, you will undoubtedly come across a myriad of opportunities. Before you sort through the options, use how you value your time and work as a lens to filter them. I have a minimum dollar amount for all of the writing I do. If an opportunity pays significantly less than that minimum, and I can't find another reason to take the gig (great connections, opportunity to learn about a new topic that interests me, significant exposure, etc.), then I turn it down. As a freelancer, turning down paid work is difficult to do. However, if you take every gig that comes your way, no matter what it pays, you'll find your schedule cluttered and you'll be making a living that's not sustainable. Know your worth and state it with confidence.</p> <h2>5. Leave Space in Your Calendar</h2> <p>Following on the idea of knowing your worth, you will find that periodically there will be space in your schedule, particularly as you get started. Don't be afraid of that empty space. You need it &mdash; to recharge, evaluate how you're doing, and go after new, exciting prospects.</p> <p>This is an especially difficult one for me because I like to be busy and productive. I took every single job that came my way my first year and by the end of it, I was completely exhausted. I made my desired nut (barely), however I paid a huge price for it health-wise. If I had been less afraid of the empty space, I believe I would have been more successful and happier that first year in business because I would have only done work I truly wanted to do and not work I felt that I had to do. After all, that's why I decided to leave my corporate job and take this freelance path &mdash; to do work I love.</p> <h2>6. What Gets Measured Gets Done</h2> <p>I've always been very goal driven and I find that I am most motivated to achieve a goal when I track my progress toward it. I set monthly and annual personal, professional, and financial goals and regularly review how I'm doing against those goals. If I miss them, I sit back and consider how and why that happened. If I hit them, I think about whether or not they unfolded as planned. If I surpass them, I spend some time evaluating if I underestimated myself. No matter what, I celebrate because I learn something new every single time.</p> <h2>7. Schedule It</h2> <p>The hardest thing for a lot of freelancers is managing a schedule. But you have to create a structure that works for you. Every week day, I get up early, walk my dog, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and get to work. When I had a corporate job, most of that timing was established for me. Now that I work out of my home, I need to be vigilant about my own schedule to stay productive and on-task. While some friends think I can get together or chat on the phone at any time since I'm working at home, I make sure to set clear boundaries. I rarely take personal calls during my working hours, and I try hard to honor an end to my working day so I can enjoy my personal life, too. It doesn't always go exactly according to plan, but then again neither does a corporate job schedule. Things come up and we have to be flexible from time-to-time. Life happens.</p> <h2>8. Speak With Confidence</h2> <p>When someone asks what you do, look them in the eye, smile, and say it with confidence. This is especially important (and sometimes difficult) as you first start your freelance life. A friend, family member, or complete stranger you meet in the grocery store could have a line to your next great work opportunity. If you explain what you do clearly, succinctly, and confidently, it helps everyone to make a strong connection to ways they may be able to help you.</p> <h2>9. Keep Your Skills Sharp</h2> <p>A freelance life is busy. You've got a lot of balls in the air and it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day. However, it's crucial to keep your existing skills up-to-date and to acquire new skills that are interesting to you and helpful to your work. Now that online learning is so plentiful, conferences of all shapes and sizes are popping up everywhere, and information is so democratically distributed online, you have a myriad of ways to stay current. Save some time in your schedule for learning; the future of your success depends on it in this fast-paced world.</p> <h2>10. Keep 3 Buckets of Work</h2> <p>The one trick that has been the single best practice in my business is my use of what I call the three buckets. I divide my work into thirds:</p> <ul> <li>One-third for keeping my current projects on track;</li> <li>One-third for pitching new projects; and</li> <li>One-third for researching longer-term potential projects.</li> </ul> <p>I keep track of all of my work in these three buckets and it's helped me to find success in the short-term while also helping me seed the ground for future success.</p> <p>Above all, remember why you started this freelance journey and make sure to revisit that original motivation often. Is it living up to your expectations and is it fulfilling? Are you happier now than you were before you started freelancing? These are important questions to continually ask yourself as you chart your own path to professional and personal success.</p> <p><em>Are you a freelancer? What actions have you taken that helped create your success? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship freelance productivity small business work from home Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1192001 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-86544982.jpg" alt="home office" title="home office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work from home, you spend a great deal of time inside your home office. It is the place where all your brilliant thoughts, amazing connections, and money-making ideas are nurtured.</p> <p>That same home office could be making you sick. At the very least, it could be inhibiting your health. From back tension to eye strain to lethargy, your home office could be causing some of the ailments you suffer from. However, simple changes to the layout, accessories, and decor of your office could improve your health. Here are 10 ways you can do just that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-rules-of-creating-a-powerfully-productive-workspace?ref=seealso">6 Rules of Creating a Powerfully Productive Workspace</a>)</p> <h2>Let There Be Light</h2> <p>Poor lighting induces eye-strain and can put a damper on your mood. Be sure to brighten up &mdash; with the right light.</p> <h3>1. Sit Near the Window</h3> <p>Placing your desk near a window allows you to be exposed to as much natural light as possible. The vitamin D your body receives from the sun is also a benefit, especially if you spend a great deal of time indoors. Sitting near a window will help your body maintain a positive work attitude throughout the day.</p> <p>If your home office must be in a room without a window, it is easy to create natural lighting with the addition of compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs. These light bulbs mimic light from the sun and can give you the same benefits.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-lights-making-you-tired?ref=seealso">Are Your Lights Making You Tired?</a>)</p> <h3>2. Use Task Lighting</h3> <p>Incorrect lighting in a room can cause increased strain on your eyes. This can lead to fatigue, headaches, and poor vision. Add task lighting to your work areas to decrease the amount of strain on your eyes.</p> <h2>Breathe Easy</h2> <p>Many of us find space for a home office anywhere we can. This can mean a basement, a small room without windows, or even a large closet. Often, these spaces have poor air circulation.</p> <h3>3. Install an Air Purifier</h3> <p>Improve the quality of the air you breathe by adding an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=home%20office%20air%20purifier&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LQTXOPK6LKMQNC2P">air purifier</a> to the space. Breathing in cleaner air will improve your overall health, reduce fatigue, and decrease your chances of illness &mdash; such as the common cold or flu.</p> <h3>4. Add Houseplants</h3> <p>If adding in an air purifier isn't possible (and even if it is), a houseplant or two can improve the quality of the air you are breathing as well. There are many plants you can buy that will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">filter out pollutants</a> and clean the air of smells.</p> <h2>Sit Comfortably</h2> <p>You spend a great deal of time sitting in your home office; the chair you use should be providing you with adequate support, enhancing your posture and comfort</p> <h3>5. Check Chair Position</h3> <p>Check for the proper placement of your chair and work space. If not placed properly, you could be causing excessive strain on your back. The chair you use should put you level with the top of your workspace so that your arms create a 90 degree angle when working.</p> <h3>6. Rest Your Feet</h3> <p>Place a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=foot%20rest%20under%20desk&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=K3I47JDCKEE52NRU">foot rest</a> beneath your desk. Adding in a small place for your feet to rest while you are sitting reduces the strain on your lower back and encourages proper blood circulation.</p> <h3>7. Stand in the Place Where You Are</h3> <p>Consider a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks">standing desk</a>. When you are sitting, your body is more prone to going into a relaxed state. Your heart rate decreases, your body slumps, and as you become more tired, you are more likely to lay back (or forward) and take a little nap. A standing desk prohibits your body from doing that. Your body will remain alert longer as you are more likely to move around slightly. This keeps the blood flowing through all parts of your body and your productivity may be less stagnant as the day wears on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford?ref=seealso">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Improve Your Mood</h2> <p>Boost your spirits &mdash; and your productivity &mdash; with some simple decor decisions.</p> <h3>8. Choose Cheerful Colors</h3> <p>Create a pleasant workspace with cheerful decor and warm colors. These decorating choices that you make from the paint on the walls, to the nick-knacks on the shelves will keep your mood stable and your health optimal. There is some research that suggests colors can enhance your mental health and productivity. Red, for example is a color that energizes; blue has a calming effect. The colors you place in your home office should be colors you feel good around, those that will best benefit your health.</p> <h3>9. Consider Aromatherapy</h3> <p>Consider adding in aromatherapy. Using essential oils to change the scents in your room can help to increase focus, decrease fatigue, and promote general good health. Infusing oils such as orange after a stressful conference call can help you to relax and refocus your mind. While lemon oil is said to calm anxiety, rosemary can stimulate your brain and improve memory. The use of essential oils may improve your health as well as your productivity while working.</p> <h3>10. Get Out!</h3> <p>Although this isn't a change to your home office, it is important to plan breaks throughout the day. Your body needs a few minutes of rest from being in the same position. Your eyes need a break from the constant focus on a screen, and your mood will benefit from the break you take outside in the sun. Whether it's a few minutes walking around your neighborhood or an hour laying outside to read, plan a few breaks throughout the day to keep you healthy while working in your home office.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your home office from making you sick? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Productivity home office Office Tue, 27 May 2014 08:00:28 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1140445 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-167146229.jpg" alt="man" title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to popular media and the glamorous success of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and even Mark Cuban, the idea of entrepreneurship is all the rage these days.</p> <p>A 2012 study showed that 54% of <a href="http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2012/11/an-entrepreneurial-generation-of-18-to-34yearolds-wants-to-start-companies-when-economy-rebounds-according-to-new-poll">millenials want to start a business</a>, despite only 8% actually running a business at the time of the survey. When we think of entrepreneurship, words like &quot;freedom,&quot; &quot;wealth,&quot; &quot;passion,&quot; or &quot;fame&quot; might come to mind. We love the idea of being our own boss and the sole beneficiary of our own labor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso">Starting a Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think</a>)</p> <p>Few, however, understand what entrepreneurship really is. At its core, being an entrepreneur comes down to your ability to make one key sale.</p> <h2>You're the Product</h2> <p>Think of a sales pitch. The presenters walk in, introduce themselves, and pitch their product. Each of you have a product to sell, and the product is... wait for it... you!</p> <p>Regardless of profession, we are all required to sell ourselves in some capacity. In the context of our lives, we are our own most valuable product.</p> <p>For entrepreneurs, the ability to sell themselves is their single most important skill. At no point do entrepreneurs stop selling.</p> <ul> <li>Product pitch? Selling</li> <li>Investor meeting? Selling</li> <li>Top talent hiring? Selling</li> <li>Customer acquisition? Selling</li> </ul> <p>If you've ever attempted to acquire a small business loan, you know your business plan is only half the story. The bank wants to know if YOU are a good investment. Ever watch Shark Tank? Those investors will laugh at a product and then fork over $100k, simply because the entrepreneur was able to sell him or herself well.</p> <p>The truth is you cannot be a successful entrepreneur without the ability sell your most valuable product &mdash; you.</p> <h2>How to Sell Your Most Valuable Product</h2> <p>So what does it look like to &quot;sell&quot; yourself like a product? How can you influence people to buy into you?</p> <h3>1. Identify Your Value Proposition</h3> <p>Your &quot;value proposition&quot; is a fancy way of describing your selling point. What makes you uniquely valuable? What specifically do you have to offer? What makes you irreplaceable?</p> <p>If you think you don't have a value proposition, you're wrong! No one else on Earth has the exact same combination of experiences and talents as you. You might need to spend some time investing in yourself (acquiring education, skills, and experience), but you have something to offer. Identify it! And then offer it!</p> <h3>2. Fall in Love With Yourself</h3> <p>The best sales people truly believe in their product. They know it inside and out and can't stop talking about it. Once you've identified your unique selling point, it's time to fall in love with yourself. It's time to get excited about you!</p> <p>If you don't believe in yourself, there's a better than average chance no one else will, either. Don't limit this idea to the positive thinking routine. When I'm confident in myself, I impart that confidence to others. People around me get a gut feeling that I have what it takes. Confidence and passion are infectious.</p> <p>Don't sell yourself short. Get excited about you!</p> <h3>3. Get Out There and Sell</h3> <p>Success in sales is all about playing the numbers.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs know the more people they pitch their product to, the more customers they'll acquire. You'll never accomplish your dreams from the couch.</p> <p>Selling requires action. You have go put yourself out there. You always have to risk a &quot;no&quot; if you want a shot at getting a &quot;yes.&quot; In five years, you probably won't regret &quot;wasting&quot; a day on failed interviews. You might not feel the same way about those daily six hours of television.</p> <h3>4. Always Be Closing</h3> <p>This old sales adage is a classic for a reason. Every successful salesman and entrepreneur knows you can't make a sale without closing. The close is the point in your pitch where you bring your audience to a point of decision. This is of the utmost importance. You have to bring people to a decision. You have to request them to take an actionable step.</p> <p>Without the close, the presentation was nothing more than an informational experience. Your audience now knows about one more thing they'll never buy. But the close changes everything. As you convince others to buy into you, bring them to a point of action. Require a response.</p> <p>I've witnessed firsthand the power of this technique. At the beginning of my career, I&rsquo;d send informative emails out to prospective clients, detailing my experience and inquiring about their needs. I&rsquo;d hear back from 1 in 15... maybe.</p> <p>The entire goal of my emails wasn&rsquo;t to get hired. It was simply to achieve a response. I realized that describing my qualifications just offered another sheet of information for the recipient to glance at and move on. I wasn't closing in my copy.</p> <p>So I changed my approach. I started using wording that forced the reader to form an opinion and influenced a response. Sometimes it was a direct pitch, other times a suggestion, question, or offer. Each target requires a slightly different approach, but the point is, I&rsquo;m attempting to close the target within my email.</p> <p>This change in approach has increased my response rate to 1 in 5. For segments where I&rsquo;ve discerned a trending problem I can fix, it's as high as 1 in 2.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>The point is, if you want to be successful, you must be willing and able to sell yourself like a luxury product. The sales process can be applied to virtually any business relationship (I'd advise you to leave it out of your personal ones). You are your own most valuable product, and you&rsquo;ll never stop selling.</p> <p><em>Are you considering starting your own business? Have you thought about how you are going to sell yourself?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jacob-mcmillen">Jacob McMillen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship business sales small business starting a business Fri, 23 May 2014 08:00:44 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1140156 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart Ways to Save Money as a Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-money-as-a-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-ways-to-save-money-as-a-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-small-business-owners.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_8_strategies_for_saving_money_smallbiz"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <p>It&rsquo;s tough out there for a small business. When you&rsquo;re running your business on a shoestring and grit, you need to save money wherever you can. The good news is that technology makes it possible for you to run a viable small business without a huge cost. Here are eight strategies for saving money as a small business.</p> <h3>1. Share Your Space</h3> <p>Office space can get expensive. Instead of shelling out for a high-end building all on your own, consider sharing your office space. For many small businesses, it&rsquo;s possible to share space and split the rent.</p> <p>Another option gaining popularity is coworking. In this arrangement, you can work for free, or you can lock up specific desks for a reasonable cost. Some coworking environments include conference rooms you can rent as needed, and other amenities of a small business office &ndash; without the cost.</p> <h3>2. Hire Homeworkers</h3> <p>As a freelance writer, I&rsquo;ve been on the other end of this equation. Small businesses often hire me to provide them with everything from marketing copy to internal documents to white papers. When you allow telecommuting, you cut down on your overhead costs, since you don&rsquo;t have to pay for equipment, power, and office space. You can manage your business from a coworking space while your employees or independent contractors work remotely.</p> <p>If you hire independent contractors, you have the further benefit of avoiding payroll taxes and the cost of other benefits.</p> <p>Many jobs can be handled remotely, and you can function quite well as a small business when you hire virtual assistants and outsource such items as bookkeeping, graphic design, writing, and marketing.</p> <h3>3. Use Interns</h3> <p>Even with the recent dust-up over interns, they can still be a great source of low-cost &ndash; or even free &ndash; labor. Before you hire an intern, though, make sure that you can provide a worthwhile experience for the intern, and that you are willing to devote the time to properly oversee and evaluate him or her. My experiences as an intern were quite valuable because I was given meaningful tasks, and my supervisor offered useful feedback. Everyone benefitted: I received good experience and college credit, and the business received months of free services.</p> <h3>4. Hold Online Meetings</h3> <p>If you have remote workers, or if you want to set up meetings with geographically diverse clients, use online meetings. In today&rsquo;s world, there is no reason to spend money on expensive airfare to travel to business meetings. There are a number of online tools you can use to hold meetings inexpensively. For example, Skype has a video conferencing option that I&rsquo;ve used to good effect. You might want to invest in a decent camera and microphone for your computer, but it&rsquo;s much less expensive than travel costs.</p> <div style="text-align:center;" class="ggnoads" id="kamidarticle"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0" style="width:300px; height:250px;"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>5. Keep in Touch With Clients Using Skype</h3> <p>As a freelance writer, I&rsquo;ve had to call people all over the world. Whether interviewing scientists for Discover magazine, or talking to business leaders for my <a href="http://experts.allbusiness.com/author/miranda-marquit/#.UzNGlfldV8E">AllBusiness column</a>, I&rsquo;ve called experts from China to Brazil to Australia. I find that Skype is a great way to keep in touch with all my international contacts without the high cost.</p> <p>While you can call other Skype users for free, sometimes you need to call a landline or mobile phone; not everyone uses Skype. Buy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_8_strategies_for_saving_money_smallbiz" target="_blank">Skype Credit</a>, and you can call landlines and mobile phones internationally (or close to home too!) for very competitive rates. For example, I find calling China from the US using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_8_strategies_for_saving_money_smallbiz" target="_blank">Skype Credit</a>&nbsp;is a fraction of the cost compared to using a landline.</p> <h3>6. Combine Resources</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s possible to combine resources with other small businesses to save money. Talk to other small businesses and consider making orders together. By making larger orders, you have better negotiating power. From business cards to office supplies, it&rsquo;s possible to split costs and qualify for perks, like free shipping, when you combine with others.</p> <p>Another strategy related to combining resources is to barter. When writing my book about online freelancing, I offered free content and other services in exchange for help designing and formatting the book, and taking care of other issues. Connect with other small business owners to arrange such exchanges. Everyone saves money, and you all get what you need.</p> <h3>7. Turn to Crowdsourcing</h3> <p>One of the rising trends in small business is crowdsourcing. You can use crowdsourcing to raise money for a specific project within your small business through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It&rsquo;s also possible for you to raise money with the help of securities crowdfunding sites like iCrowd and Offerboard, which allow you to sell shares of your company without venture capitalists or angel investors.</p> <p>Crowdsourcing can also help you get professional services for a low cost. Sites like 99designs and Fiverr can help you find people to provide graphic design, marketing, writing, and other freelancing services. And, while I despise freelance marketplaces as a freelance writer, small businesses can use sites like Elance, oDesk, and Guru to their advantage.</p> <h3>8. Rebates and Rewards</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget that you can save money as a small business when you use rebates and rewards. There are plenty of places to find online coupons and promotions that can save you money. Sign up for a program like Ebates, and you can get money back. Additionally, there are plenty of rewards cards that you can use for your business to get cash back, discounts, and other perks.</p> <p>With the right planning and approach, it&rsquo;s possible to save money on your small business and increase your profits. &nbsp;</p> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_8_strategies_for_saving_money_smallbiz"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i><i><br /> </i></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-money-as-a-small-business" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Smart Ways to Save Money as a Small Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Skype Credit Fri, 11 Apr 2014 04:07:23 +0000 Miranda Marquit 1134733 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-client-605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <p>You&rsquo;re probably familiar with one of the oldest terms in business, or the ABCs of sales: &ldquo;Always Be Closing.&rdquo;&nbsp;This phrase would almost be cliché if it wasn&rsquo;t true; a thriving business needs to keep prospects throughout all phases of the sales cycle, with special emphasis on getting a signed contract.&nbsp;</p> <p>The glossy business mags say that the key to closing a sale depends on wining and dining, often at a cost that&rsquo;s greater than what you can afford.&nbsp;Today&rsquo;s savvy small business pro can do deals on the cheap, however, and we have almost a dozen budget-friendly strategies for getting the job done.</p> <h3>Share the celebrations<b> </b></h3> <p>When our 6<sup>th</sup> son was born, a local bank sent me a laminated cut-out of the baby&rsquo;s newspaper birth announcement, along with a card and a special offer to open a new account. It was one of the few cards we received, so it stuck out. You can do the same for your prospects by making notes of wedding news, promotion announcements, or awards, and sending them along with a personalized card of recognition and an invitation to do business.&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.linkedin.com">LinkedIn</a> can be a wealth of information for finding out about these milestones.)</p> <h3>Do Coffee</h3> <p>Pricey dinners may not be in the budget, but a cup of joe is.&nbsp;If the thought of meeting in a crowded Starbucks seems impersonal, set up a meeting at a gourmet cupcake shoppe or an outdoor bistro with beignets on the menu.</p> <h3>Offer an Actual Freebie</h3> <p>&ldquo;30 minute free consultations&rdquo; are popular for service providers, but they may not actually give value to a prospective client.&nbsp;Keep tabs on your precious time and wow potential clients by letting them ask a single question via email &ndash; no strings attached.&nbsp;If they like what you have to say, a contract is closer to reality.</p> <h3>Use the Power of Public Speaking</h3> <p>Most conferences require that their speakers use the presentation time to educate, not solicit; this doesn&rsquo;t mean that you can&rsquo;t sell from the stage, however.&nbsp;Amaze the crowd with your knowledge of the subject matter and personable delivery. Remember that a good presentation offers solutions to real problems, as well as reminds the audience that there will be other issues you are ready to help them solve.&nbsp;By the end, potential clients will be coming up to YOU and wanting to know how you can work together.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Build Relationships With Skype Credit</h3> <p>Just meeting potential clients isn&rsquo;t enough if you don&rsquo;t call them to follow up. You should also schedule time to call current clients to see if they&rsquo;re happy with your service, as well as old clients to see if there&rsquo;s anything new you can do for them. As long as your calls are helpful and sincere, your clients will love the attention. You can use <a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client">Skype Credit</a> to call mobiles and landlines all over the world at extremely cost-effective rates.</p> <div style="text-align:center;" class="ggnoads" id="kamidarticle"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0" style="width:300px; height:250px;"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>Reinvent the &ldquo;Free Lunch&rdquo; Fishbowl</h3> <p>Offer a fresh take on this tired tactic by giving prospects a chance to win a prize when they sign up for your email list and ask one question related to how you can help them. You&rsquo;ll get their contact info AND insight into how to address their specific needs.&nbsp;(Prize winners often feel obligated to at least accept your cold calls.)</p> <h3>Attend Conferences No One Else (But Your Client) Does</h3> <p>If you are a roofer, attending a conference with a thousand other roofers likely won&rsquo;t get you new business.&nbsp;If you attend a conference with a thousand building managers, however, that is a different story.&nbsp;It takes research to find out where your best customers will gather, but it&rsquo;s worth it.&nbsp;Use sites like <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com">Eventbrite</a> to track industry events around the country and meet future clients where they gather!</p> <h3>Offer Referral Bonuses</h3> <p>This very traditional tactic still works! Let your existing clients know that any new business they send to you will be rewarded with a discount (usually 5-15%) and keep reminding them of this fact on every invoice you send. Offer bonuses for everyone &ndash; not just clients &ndash; by putting a referral &ldquo;code&rdquo; on business cards.</p> <h3>Speak in &ldquo;ROI&rdquo;</h3> <p>It can be difficult to assign a monetary value to using your products or services, but it can be done.&nbsp;Look at others in your industry to see what case studies they offer on past successes with clients.&nbsp;Can you do the same? If so, build a projection of the value you can offer to a potential client, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to throw it out as a possibility.&nbsp;Seeing the value is often all a prospect needs to move forward.</p> <h3>Ask</h3> <p>Sometimes, all a prospect needs to become a client is to be asked.&nbsp;The old &ldquo;what can I do to get a signed contract from you today?&rdquo; trick actually works.&nbsp;Maybe they simply need some reassuring, a small process change on your part, or a little more information.&nbsp;If you can deliver that final puzzle piece, business can happen!</p> <h3>Offer (almost) 24/7 availability</h3> <p>Do you know what really impresses a client? Being there. If you can&rsquo;t always be around, at least give the appearance of it by having a wide variety of ways for a potential client to reach you. Text, email, phone and social media are the bare minimum methods of seamless communication. (Can&rsquo;t be by your desk? Forwarding calls from your Skype account to your mobile or landline lets clients get to you anywhere, with just one number. There&rsquo;s no charge to the caller this feature.)</p> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href="http://www.skype.com/go/rates/?cm_mmc=SMAD_2214_wisebread_article_11_frugal_ways_to_land_a_client"><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Productivity Skype Credit Thu, 10 Apr 2014 04:06:25 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1134731 at http://www.wisebread.com Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here's How http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/small-business-5322435-small.jpg" alt="designer" title="designer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the great pleasures of owning my own business and working for myself is that I get to talk to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.</p> <p>They <em>want</em> to be entrepreneurs, but they aren't quite there yet. They read all the business articles online, they constantly make plans, they aspire to own their business and maybe one day they will get there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-home-based-side-business-ideas?ref=seealso">10 Home-Based Side Business Ideas</a>)</p> <p>I've heard Mark Cuban, and others, call them &quot;wantrepreneurs&quot; on Shark Tank because they are perpetually in the pre-business phase. Having ideas is great, but executing them is what separates true entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs.</p> <p>Unfortunately, so many of them never start a business because they put up barriers in their own mind. One of those barriers is that they think &quot;starting a business&quot; is an arduous task that will take them months and months, if not years, of planning and preparation.</p> <p>In reality, the paperwork of starting a business is almost trivial compared to everything else you'll need to do to start and run a business. But before you embark on filing anything, make one sale.</p> <h2>Make One Sale</h2> <p>Before you go down the route of &quot;starting&quot; a side business, make a sale. Just one.</p> <p>If you wanted to start a snow shoveling service, would you start by incorporating your business, getting insurance, paying for advertising, or opening a bank account?</p> <p>No, that's crazy. You would find a shovel and go door to door looking for people to pay you to shovel their driveway.</p> <p>That's what you should be doing with whatever business you're considering. Make one sale. You will learn a tremendous amount about your market by selling your product or service to one person. After you make one sale, sell it to a second.</p> <p>After you've made the first dozen sales, you'll know whether you have a business on your hands, a nice hobby, or a dream that can't be realized. It's valuable to do this before you waste time and money doing the paperwork of forming a business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=seealso">Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a>)</p> <p>Also, it's important to actually sell a product or service, not ask people if they would buy it. Most people are polite and tell you they would buy. But few people are so polite that they'd actually pay you for something they don't want.</p> <p>Once you've made enough sales to be sure this is a business, it's time to make it legitimate.</p> <h2>Startup Paperwork</h2> <p>So you've made some sales and you're ready to make it official. You need to do some paperwork. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners?ref=seealso">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a>)</p> <h3>State Licenses</h3> <p>The first step is to research the licensing and bonding requirements of your state. Some businesses need a license to operate. If you're starting a blog, you don't need to get a license or a bond to operate. If you're starting a tattoo parlor in Maryland, you need a Tattoo License before you can do business. Check your state's laws for what you'll need as it's different for each state.</p> <h3>Insurance and Bonds</h3> <p>The next step is to research your insurance needs. A surety bond covers guarantee of service but liability insurance protects you from accidents, lawsuits, and other business disasters. Some businesses need a surety bond, nearly all businesses should have liability insurance. If you intend to hire employees, workers comp insurance may also be necessary, as it protects your business from any medical or legal expenses associated with accidents on the job.</p> <h3>LLC, EIN, and a Checking Account</h3> <p>If you're starting a simple business that has no licensing, bonding, or major insurance requirements, the rest is easy. It's a three step process:</p> <ol> <li>Incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open a Business Checking Account</li> </ol> <p><em>Do you need to incorporate?</em></p> <p>It depends. Incorporating is a must if there are any potential liabilities associated with your business because it shields you from your business, if set up properly. You are often not required to incorporate and can operate as a sole proprietor. As is the case with any type of legal advice, check with a professional and with the requirements of your state.</p> <h3>Incorporate as an LLC</h3> <p>Incorporating is often a straightforward process, but it depends on your state because the complexity varies. In Maryland, it's a one-page form (Articles of Organization) with a handful of fields.</p> <p>One minor bit of advice, in the area where you write in the &quot;purpose&quot; of the company, use this: &quot;To engage in any lawful activity for which a limited liability company may be organized.&quot;</p> <p>Some states leave this Purpose field blank, some states automatically fill it out with a similar phrase (California automatically fills it out with &quot;The purpose of the limited liability company is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a limited liability company may be organized under the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.&quot; Don't get caught up in writing something descriptive here, it'll only slow you down.</p> <p>The cost associated with incorporating will include the one-time filing fee. In some cases, it may also include annual fees too. In Maryland, every business has to file a personal property tax return that has a minimum $300 tax. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-starting-a-small-business-for-the-tax-deductions-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Starting a Small Business for the Tax Deductions Worth It?</a>)</p> <h3>Obtain an EIN</h3> <p>An EIN is like a Social Security Number for your business &mdash; you can get one for free by <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-%26-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online">applying with the IRS</a>.</p> <p>Once you get an EIN, use this instead of your Social Security Number on all forms for your business. Congratulations! You've graduated from sole proprietorship to an LLC.</p> <h3>Open a Business Checking Account</h3> <p>Once you have the incorporation confirmation letter (original with stamps) and your EIN, go to your favorite bank and open a business checking account. Look for one with low minimums and no fees. Most banks make their money off business accounts with merchant processing and other add-ons, so the base checking product shouldn't cost you anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <p>Use this checking account as the center of your business banking world. Any revenue you receive should go into this account. Any bills you pay should come out of this account.</p> <h2>Now Go Back to Selling</h2> <p>Once you do those three steps, you're officially a business. Don't forget to file the necessary tax forms and get back to the important part of business, getting more of it.</p> <p>Good luck!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how" class="sharethis-link" title="Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here&#039;s How" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jim shares insights and lessons learned with new bloggers at Microblogger.com. Be sure to <a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/">sign up for his free (and very in-depth) Create a Lifetime Income Blog course</a> to learn from his experiences.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship business entrepreneurship starting a business Thu, 13 Feb 2014 11:36:35 +0000 Jim Wang 1124504 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-2187978-small_0.jpg" alt="running a mom-and-pop online store" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building an online store seems like an impossible dream for most people. But after talking to Steve Chou at the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/fincon">FinCon conference</a>, I learned that even <strong>normal people can build successful, six-figure income, mom-and-pop online stores</strong> that allow them to earn a good living and live their passions.</p> <p>What I love about Steve's message is that he's not promising overnight riches, or even millions in income. He's saying that regular folks can build online businesses that allow them to escape the grind of a job and live the lives they're passionate about.</p> <h2>Meet Four Normal People Who Built Thriving Online Stores</h2> <p>When Steve and his wife were expecting their first child, they knew that they wanted one parent to stay at home. The problem was that they lived in Silicon Valley, and losing the six-figure income of one parent would put a tremendous strain on their finances. After considering several options, they decided to start an online store, <a href="http://bumblebeelinens.com/">Bumblebee Linens</a>, which sells custom embroidered handkerchiefs. Within a year, the store more than made up for his wife's income; generating more than $100,000 in profit.</p> <p>Nowadays, in addition to running the online store, Steve writes the popular blog <a href="http://mywifequitherjob.com/">My Wife Quit Her Job</a> where he talks about their adventures in entrepreneurship. He also has a course to help others do what he and his wife have done with their online store. (Check out his <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinecourse">free 6-day email mini-course on running a profitable online store</a> to get a sense of what the full course provides.)</p> <p>I'm excited to interview Steve and three of his students &mdash; fellow normal people who run successful online stores:</p> <p> <ul> <li>Ron and his wife started <a href="http://www.sunnydecals.com">Sunny Decals</a> because they weren't happy with the wall decal products available on the market. They felt like they could provide better, non-toxic wall decals for their baby's nursery.<br/><br/></li> <li>Tracey quit her accounting job and moved to Ecuador. Her store, <a href="http://www.artisansintheandes.com/">Artisans in the Andes</a>, fulfills her passion for providing hand-made and fair-trade products.<br/><br/></li> <li>Single-mother Sandy launched <a href="http://getunrobed.com">Get Unrobed</a>, selling custom embroidered kimono robes, when she wanted to quit her job in order to raise and homeschool her child.</li> </ul> </p> <p>All four of these people now have thriving online stores, even though they weren't born entrepreneurs. It hasn't been easy, but their examples show that anyone, even the most non-technical person, can do it. Here are their stories.</p> <hr/> <h2>Why did you decide to start an online store?</h2> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When I first thought about how to replace my wife's six-figure income, I thought about taking on another job. But I knew that that wouldn't work. Afterall, it would defeat the purpose of our goal to spend more time together as a family. So ultimately, we decided to start an online store.</p> <p>The online store business model was perfect. You could have a computer server take orders on your website 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You didn't have to be physically present to run the store and all you had to worry about was order fulfillment.</p> <p>Basically, we could run our online business from our house and that is exactly what we did!</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals </strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.sunnydecals.com/jungle-wall-decals/" style="float:right;margin:0 0 15px 15px;border:none;" title="Jungle Wall Decals at SunnyDecals.com"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/jungle_wall_decals_250.jpg" /></a>The idea for our business venture started a few months before the birth of our son. We were looking for ways to decorate the walls for the nursery, and decided to use wall decals.</p> <p>But when we opened the large envelope there was a terrible, toxic smell of vinyl coming from the decals. We had to keep the windows open to try to air out the room from the vinyl smell and eventually the scent did improve. But a few months after applying the decals to the wall, they started to shrink a little and now there was a noticeable gap between all the pieces that we put together.</p> <p>That's when my wife and I decided that we should make our own decals and create a better product than what was available.</p> </blockquote> <p><center><a href="http://getunrobed.com/collections/bridesmaid-robes" title="Bridesmaid robes from GetUnrobed.com" style="border:none;"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/persbridalrobes1_large.jpg" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Ask yourself what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answer." - Lee Jampolsky</p> <p>After I had my son, my answer to that question, what is really important, changed a little. Like any other new parent, I now had a little being who needed a lot of my time and attention. Without question, he needed to rise to the top of my priority list.</p> <p>I knew that I had to redesign my life to ultimately stay true to my priorities. However, redesigning a life isn’t easy and moving away from the traditional 9-5 job can be scary. It was a big decision. </p> <p>It took courage, but I finally began to design my life around what was important to me. So, I decided to open an online retail shop.</p> <p>I’m so glad I decided to do it because it is slowly opening up more opportunities for me and allowing me to move closer to my ultimate goal: provide nurture and education through homeschooling my son.</p> <p>I knew that I needed to think outside of the traditional 9-5 system. Here is where the courage came in. It was time to design my life.</p> </blockquote> <h2>How did you find products and decide what to sell?</h2> <p><a href="http://www.artisansintheandes.com/beaded-necklaces-bib-necklace-chunky" style="border:none;" title="Beaded necklaces and other accessories at ArtisansInTheAndes.com"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/artisan-andes-stitched-600x120.jpg"/></a></p> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>The first step was to find a niche for my store. This involved many hours of research on Google and Market Samurai. Steve's guidance at this point was crucial to finding a profitable niche. I finally found a gorgeous niche among the handmade jewelry available in Ecuador.</p> <p>I thought that it offered many selling points that would be appreciated by today's consumer. The jewelry is colorful, unique, and handmade. The organic beads are sustainably harvested from trees that grow as a natural part of the Amazon rainforest. For me, this niche combined my passion for handmade with my respect for the earth.</p> <p>Now that I had a niche, I turned my attention to sourcing my products and developing a unique value proposition around handmade. Since I was looking at handmade items, I couldn't exactly phone up local factories. I only had a limited understanding of Spanish and the local indigenous culture. But I stayed persistent, talking to people, learning a little bit here and there. I finally tracked down my first artisan, Olga, a talented woman with an eye for fashion who handcrafts tagua jewelry.</p> <p>My values once more came into play as Olga and I were negotiating the price for my initial batch of inventory. I was interested in making a difference by working with artisans to build their businesses and provide them with more opportunities through access to a wider market.</p> <p>Olga and I established a relationship where I paid a fair price upfront and she provided me with her best work. We spent time together to calculate the cost of the inputs and the time to create the product. I ensured that the price paid covered both elements. From here, I added the idea of fair trade to the core values that underpin my store and made it part of my unique value proposition.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When we decided to create a better wall decal, the first thing that we wanted to do was find a material that was not vinyl and non-toxic. Seems like a no brainer that you shouldn't put a toxic substance next to your baby's crib or child's bed, right? After a lot of research we discovered a polyester fabric material with a water based adhesive. The material is non-toxic, works well with a variety of surfaces like textured walls, and it can be repositioned dozens of times.</p> <p>Unlike vinyl, this material did not need transfer paper or special tools to apply. All you have to do is remove the decal from the wax paper with your fingers and apply it anywhere you want. If you don't like where you applied it, then you can peel it off and reposition it.</p> <p>The only drawback is the price. The reason everyone online is using vinyl is because of the cheap cost. We believe that the extra cost is worth it for a top quality product for your child's bedroom.</p> </blockquote> <h2>How much did it cost to start your online store?</h2> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The best part about an online store is it costs very little to start. You don't need office space. You don't need to hire anyone. Renting a computer server only cost about $7/month.</p> <p><a href="http://bumblebeelinens.com/wedding-handkerchiefs-personalized-monogrammed-c-21_45.html" title="Personalized monogramed hankies for wedding parties by BumblebeeLinens.com" style="float:right;border:none;margin:0 0 15px 15px;"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/bumblebee-200x448.jpg"/></a>It cost us about $630 to get our ecommerce store open for business. Here the breakdown:</p> <p><ul> <li><em>Webhosting - $7/month</em><br/> We launched our online store on shared hosting and stayed on a shared server for about 2 years until we outgrew it. At $7/month it was cheap enough that we knew we could keep our store open indefinitely even if sales were slow.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Shopping Cart/Website - Free</em><br/> Most people are scared of the technical aspects of running an online store and creating a website. But did you know that there are many open source shopping cart packages available that are absolutely free. What that means is that you can start a fully functional online store for very little money.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Digital Camera - $200</em><br/> We took pictures of our products with a cheap point and shoot digital camera. These days, you can probably even get by with just your smart phone.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Computer - $100 </em><br/> For our "business" computer, we commandeered a cheap box that we found on Craigslist. Creating a website doesn't require a powerful computer. You just need a basic box that can surf the web.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Inventory - $322.90</em><br/> When we first started, we stocked a wide variety of products in very small quantities. This allowed us to test the market in order to see which products sold well. Then we placed larger orders of our bestsellers.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Shipping Materials - Free</em><br/> Most shipping carriers such as USPS offer free shipping boxes if you use their services. So in most cases, you don't have to worry about buying shipping materials at all.</li> </ul> </p> </blockquote> <h2>What shopping cart software did you choose?</h2> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I chose to use Opencart, an open source shopping cart, as the basis for the shop. Going with an open source cart has been a challenge for me as I had to learn some programming to set the shop up as I envisioned it. On the other hand, I really wanted to understand how my business operates from the bottom up, so this was a good choice for me.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote><p>One of the most difficult decisions at first was whether we should use a hosted or open source shopping cart. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. We finally ended up choosing to go with a hosted option with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/bigcommerce">Big Commerce</a>.</p> <p>The reason we chose to go this route is because there is less setup and maintenance involved. We do not have to worry about updates and security. Looking back, I believe that we made the best decision for our needs.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>We use OSCommerce to run Bumblebee Linens, but for those that don't want to deal with the technical aspects of hosting and setting up a free open source cart, there are three great fully-hosted solutions. <a href="http://volusion.com">Volusion</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/bigcommerce">Big Commerce</a> and <a href="http://www.shopify.com/wisebread">Shopify</a> will all allow you to launch a fully functional online store within a matter of minutes without knowing a lick of HTML.</p> </blockquote> <p>(<em>Editor's Note:</em> <a href="http://www.shopify.com/wisebread">Wise Bread readers get 20% off all plans on Shopify by clicking here.</a>)</p> <h2>How did you get sales once you opened for business?</h2> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>One of the most time consuming things involving a new store online, is trying to get your name and brand out to the public. There are no short cuts here; it just takes a lot of time and effort. To accomplish this we write a blog, we try to write on other peoples' blogs, and we try to get our product in front of companies specializing in our field.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Right after launching, we took a break and went on a rafting vacation to Tena, a little town in the rainforest. I found out about my first sale of $93 when I ducked into an internet cafe. I was amazed to see that I had recovered <em>20% of my initial investment with my very first sale!</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Truth be told, business was very slow in the beginning. After all, my wife and I had never run any sort of business before. We didn't know the first thing about selling online. And we had no idea how to market ourselves either.</p> <p>So we picked up as many books about the subject and forced ourselves to learn. We learned how to use pay per click advertising. We learned about search engine optimization. We did the leg work and the grunt work of calling event planners and wedding planners who would buy our products in bulk!</p> <p>Slowly but surely, business started picking up and by the 6 month mark, our business started to snowball. By the end of the year, we had made over <em>$100,000 in profit</em> which was enough to supplant my wife's lost income!</p> <p>So when my wife's maternity leave ended, she was able to quit her job knowing that we wouldn't have to make any major sacrifices for her to stay at home. And here's the best part. Over the past 5 years, our business has continued to grow in the double and triple digits.</p> <p>What started out as a small side business now generates enough income so that neither one of us has to work at all!</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>One of my favorite things about running this site is getting sales out of the blue. Back when I was in B2B sales, I would have to have a long discussion with each of my prospective clients. Even then, I was never certain of a sale. With an online shop, the work I do will carry over to every other potential customer. For instance, the work to get a product shoot done is only done once. Yet, it goes a long way in reaching each of my potential customers. I don’t have to re-shoot for each new potential customer, whereas while I was calling up businesses in the past, I needed to go through the entire sales pitch every single time.</p> <p>My favorite example of this idea in action was about 2 months into opening my site. I had recently had a professional product shoot and sales were starting to come in a little quicker than before. It was Friday night and I was at the park with my son. In between games of tag and trips down the slide, I checked my phone and saw a sale close to $250. It was my biggest sale at the time.</p> <p>I was excited, especially because it came just hours after sending out a decent sized shipment for the past few days. About thirty minutes later, another sale rolled in. Not as big, but enough to make that my biggest sales day up to that point. After that, sales came more frequently. They came in the middle of the night, while I was at my day job and while I was out with friends.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Any final inspiring thoughts?</h2> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Setting up a business and keeping it going requires focused work over a long period of time. Having a business where I have a strong connection to the product and the underlying values keeps me on track and motivated. I kept moving forward, starting with the things that I knew for sure, then allowing my values to creatively guide me at each major decision point.</p> <p>I have ended up with a business that has a deep meaning for me with potential for making a difference in the lives of others. The underlying basis is respectful to both artisans and to the earth. I feel thankful that I got to this point and look forward to how my shop will grow and develop.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When I review my reason for heading down this path, to stop trading time for money, to increase both simultaneously, running my own store from home does it. This allows me to work once and carry the results of that work through. This allows me to spend time doing things that are important to me. It allows me to design my life rather than default to whatever is thrown my way.</p> <p>If you have the courage to step outside the norm and the wisdom to do it right, you can design your life to reflect what is important to you.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Starting an online business is not that scary. And it doesn't take a lot of money.</p> <p>$100,000 per year &mdash; that was our magic number. At first, it seemed like an unobtainable amount of money to make. But when you break it down by the numbers, $100k per year is $8,333 per month, or only $278 per day.</p> <p>The average order size of our online store is roughly $50. So when we first cracked the $100k barrier (in our first year, by the way), we were only getting <em>6 orders per day</em>.</p> <p>In retrospect, 6 orders per day doesn't sound like a whole lot does it? The world is a very big place and you'd be surprised by how many people shop online. And it only cost us $630 to start. So do you have $630 to spare?</p> <p>The bottom line is that starting your own online business is not very risky and doesn't cost that much either.</p> </blockquote> <hr/> <p>I'd like to thank Steve and his students Ron, Tracey, and Sandy for taking the time to share their stories. These non-technical people were able to launch their own online stores, and in turn, live out their dreams and passions. I'm glad to know the mom-and-pop store is still alive and kicking in this internet age!</p> <p>You can join these four entrepreneurs in Steve's online course: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinestore">Profitable Online Store</a>. At the very least, I highly recommend <strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinecourse">subscribing to Steve's free email mini-course</a></strong>. It's chock full of useful advice for people thinking about starting an online store, and even if you never sign up for the full course, you'll get plently of great advice that will help you get started in launching your own online store.</p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship ecommerce online store small business Sat, 01 Feb 2014 11:42:58 +0000 Greg Go 1122923 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obstacle-167160369.jpg" alt="obstacle" title="obstacle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's note: Jim Wang launched the personal finance blog Bargaineering.com in 2005. Five years later, he sold the site for $3 million. Today, he runs <a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/">Microblogger.com</a>, where he teaches new bloggers how to build successful blog businesses.</em></p> <p>There's always a wall. A hump. A plateau.</p> <p>It might come on day two, it might come on year two, but there's always a point in every business where you feel like you've hit a wall. That moment when you aren't quite sure if you're just going up a small hill or if you've just run into Mount Everest.</p> <p>For me, that moment was about six months in. I'd started <a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/?utm_source">Bargaineering</a> in January of 2005 and by July and August, in the depths of the summer slowdown, I felt as if the site might have run its course. I started it as a journal to document everything I was learning about personal finance. Six months in, when the rush of constant discovery and of daily growth had subsided, I was left with a website that was only making a few cents to maybe a dollar a day and a feeling that I'd learned enough.</p> <p>This is very common. When the euphoria of starting a new venture, of meeting all these new people, and of discovering something fresh and new subsides, you're left with the reality of running your own business &mdash; and it's tough.</p> <p>Fortunately there are techniques you can use to get over the wall, crest that hump, and overcome the plateau so you can escape the local peak and reach your full potential.</p> <h2>Hit the Reset Button</h2> <p>Any business can be a grind; sometimes you need to hit the reset button. I don't mean that you should reset the business &mdash; reset <em>yourself</em>. If the business can handle it, step away and go on a sabbatical. Use this time to think about what's important to you, what you want to focus on, and whether you can adjust your situation so that you spend more time on the things that are important, rather than the things you &quot;must&quot; do.</p> <p>If you can't get away, take some time to re-evaluate your situation. Are you doing tasks that drain you of your energy and could be outsourced? Are you stuck doing the day to day, which you hate, instead of strategizing and planning? Oftentimes it's the day to day minutiae, which is a necessary evil, that causes us to feel like we're in a rut &mdash; not the business itself.</p> <h2>Lean on Your Support Network</h2> <p>A strong support network, whether it's just a handful of close friends or a more structured mastermind group, can help you overcome many of the emotional challenges of running your own business.</p> <p>You just spent the last week putting together these awesome posts that you swore would become popular, but didn't. You just recorded and edited these amazing podcasts, but only a few people listened. You just released several new products, but no one is buying.</p> <p>You're starting to doubt yourself, doubt the mission, and ponder quitting.</p> <p>Lean on your support network. Ask for their opinions, bounce ideas off them to see what might work better next time, and otherwise just use them as a way to get things off your chest.</p> <h2>Network, Network, Network</h2> <p>Ask anyone who has ever been successful and they'll often point to their network. Networking, which is a fancy term for going out and meeting new people, is absolutely essential to any business and can be a lifeline when you've hit that proverbial wall.</p> <p>Meeting new people gives you the opportunity to constantly evolve that support network, and it also gives you the opportunity rely on the expertise of others when yours might be insufficient. There is so much you can learn by meeting new people, especially if they're outside your domain, and you can only do so if you meet them!</p> <h2>Create or Update Your Plan of Attack</h2> <p>When you started your business, you probably had a plan of attack. A list of things you were going to accomplish, target milestones, and a schedule managing it all. Oftentimes, we run into that wall when our business reaches the end of that plan or we get derailed somehow. Our efforts become unfocused, we don't see progress, and we feel like we're in a rut.</p> <p>Use this opportunity to update your plan of attack, reset your milestones, and focus on your effort, rather than the results. It's very difficult to get over the hump if you have no plan for doing so.</p> <h2>Pick Up a New Hobby</h2> <p>I love the concept of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)">flow</a>, which is defined as a mental state in which a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full engagement, and enjoyment of some activity. When someone says they're &quot;in the moment&quot; or &quot;in the zone,&quot; that's the feeling we're talking about.</p> <p>You want to pick up a hobby so that you have something else that you are constantly improving and can feel &quot;in the flow.&quot; I started running, and it's given me an opportunity to both exercise and think about my business with a clear mind.</p> <h2>Focus on Data, Not Emotions</h2> <p>Why do you feel like you've hit a wall? Is it because sales have stagnated? Traffic? Revenue or profits? Has growth slowed? In many cases, it's data that's driving the emotion, so why not focus on that and dig deeper?</p> <p>If your business is a blog and you measure your progress based on traffic, dig into the numbers to see if you should be focusing on one channel over another. How much traffic do you get from social media? Search? Referrals? Which channel needs more attention? Should you be doing more in social or perhaps writing more guest posts?</p> <p>In almost every case, there is always something you can do. If you can't think of what that might be, ask people you trust for their advice.</p> <p>I'm glad I was able to persevere through those moments of doubt because by September of 2005, just a couple months after I had hit that wall, I was featured in the New York Times, and I never looked back. I hit a few more bumps in the road, found myself stuck on a few plateaus, but the rush of being on the New York Times, the prospect of being in it again (I would eventually get mentioned three times, each one was a thrill), and of the techniques I shared was enough to push me through.</p> <p>If you ever need a little help getting through the hump, reach out to me. I'm happy to help.</p> <p><em>Jim shares insights and lessons learned with new bloggers at Microblogger.com. Be sure to </em><a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/"><em>sign up for his free (and very in-depth)</em> Create a Lifetime Income Blog <em>course</em></a><em> to learn from his experiences.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million" class="sharethis-link" title="How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship blogging extra income freelance small business work at home Thu, 05 Dec 2013 11:36:19 +0000 Jim Wang 1098710 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Make Money With Friends http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-with-friends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-make-money-with-friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-4912069-small.jpg" alt="friends" title="friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tired of your boring job? Wish you could find a way to earn a living while spending your days with people you actually like? You can. All you have to do is look to your friends. Check out these seven ways to make cash with your buddies. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-talk-to-friends-about-money">Should You Talk to Friends About Money?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Set Up a Group Yard Sale</h2> <p>While a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-yard-sale">massive yard sale</a> with your friends won&rsquo;t make you rich or even make you a decent living, it will put fast cash in your pocket while helping you unload years worth of accumulated clutter. There are several benefits to partnering for yard sale with friends. First, you&rsquo;ll benefit from a larger network of people who will help promote and market the event to friends and family and around the neighborhood, so you can increase the number of visitors to the sale. Second, when the sale is over, you&rsquo;ll have extra hands to help load up all the leftovers so you can cart them off to a donation drop.</p> <h2>2. Start a Business Together</h2> <p>I could have made this article a big list of all the different kinds of businesses you can start with a friend &mdash; restaurant, day care center, moving company &mdash; but that list is virtually endless. The most important message I need to send in this regard is that if you want to start a business with friends, you should have a meeting, discuss your strengths and passions, and start tossing around ideas for potential companies you can launch that will make you all happy. A good amount of capital in the bank doesn&rsquo;t hurt either.</p> <h2>3. Make Each Other Your Go-To Resources&nbsp;</h2> <p>Your and your friends don&rsquo;t actually have to work with each other to work <em>for</em> each other. If you have friends who are great at what they do &mdash; let&rsquo;s say one of them is an investment banker &mdash; use that friend as your sole referral when your contacts ask if you know someone. I&rsquo;m queried a lot by my contacts on who I&rsquo;d recommend. Of course, I always recommend a friend that I know can get a job done. Do that once or twice and a good friend will start returning the favor &mdash; which means more money in the bank for both of you.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Join Rent a Friend&nbsp;</h2> <p>Have you heard of this social networking site wherein random strangers pay for your company? It exists. Join <a href="http://rentafriend.com/">Rent a Friend</a>, and you could set your own fee for how much you&rsquo;ll make per hour or establish a flat rate for an outing with a potential new friend. Sure, it&rsquo;ll become a tricky situation if you actually become friends with the person who bought your time, but there&rsquo;s no harm in padding your pockets in the meantime.</p> <h2>5. Become Secret Shoppers</h2> <p>You have to be super savvy to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">make secret shopping work for you</a> &mdash; you generally don&rsquo;t get &ldquo;paid&rdquo; but rather are provided a fee for your outing in the form of a reimbursement &mdash; but if you can master the art of secret shopping, it&rsquo;s a great way to add a little cash to your pocket while enjoying quality time over meals and activities with your pal. The key is to spend less than the fee allotted for the scheduled event so you can score the free meal, etc., while pocketing whatever is left from the fee. If both of you get in on the act, you may never have to pay for lunch again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Pool Your Money and Invest</h2> <p>This is along the same lines of starting a business with your friends &mdash; you&rsquo;ll need to put your money together to launch a company &mdash; but there are other ways to invest without having to go to an office every day. There&rsquo;s investing in the stock market, of course, but also think about hands-on projects into which you can each invest your money and talents and from which you can each reap the financial benefits of the final projects, like flipping a house, for example.</p> <h2>7. Buy a Bunch of Lottery Tickets</h2> <p>Granted, this is a long shot &mdash; but <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mega-millions-14m-jackpot-won-2-old-pals-article-1.1174983">it happens</a>. You don&rsquo;t have to be a rocket scientist to know that those 100 tickets you bought by pooling your cash increases your odds more than the 50 tickets you&rsquo;d buy on your own. Certainly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/playing-the-lottery-is-a-bad-gamble">not the most frugal or even the smartest way to spend your money</a> to make money, I admit. But, hey, we all have to take a gamble sometime. Every lottery winner in history has &mdash; and it paid it off.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-with-friends" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Make Money With Friends" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Extra Income friends and money how to start a business lottery secret shopping yard sales Mon, 15 Apr 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 973370 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8411025404_fee3bbdd24_z.jpg" alt="empty office" title="empty office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many people who have great ideas and the spurt of ambition to pursue their dream of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-lies-business-owners-tell-themselves">working for themselves</a>. Unfortunately, many of these same people have also gone bust &mdash; even before getting their business up and running. If you have been toying with the idea of starting your own venture, you should take time to evaluate what you think running a startup is really like, and what it means to be in business for yourself. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right">Freelancing:&nbsp;A Beginner's Guide to&nbsp;Doing It Right</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Think You Can Bootstrap It</h2> <p>There are many that go into a business idea without a dime to their name, utterly convinced they were going to make it big. Before telling your boss to take your job and shove it, you should really work through the realities. No matter what your business idea is, there will be overhead expenses to be covered until your business makes money, which can take years to happen. Consider working fulltime for a paycheck until you can truly stabilize your side business.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Believe in Business Plans</h2> <p>As a writer, I&rsquo;ve been asked to create a lot of different types of material. To date, my least favorite inquiry was from a couple who wanted me to write their business plan.</p> <p>At first I thought they meant &quot;rewrite&quot; their plan into something more professional. What they actually meant was for me to create a business plan for their proposed trucking company. This couple had not a single clue about what it would take to get the business up and running. They had absolutely no idea how to deal with the immediate future of their company let alone the long-term vision or profitability.</p> <p>Whether or not you plan to seek the financial assistance of investors, you need to work through a business plan. If you cannot answer the questions common in every business plan, do not open for business until you can answer those questions clearly and confidently.</p> <h2>3. You Are All Talk</h2> <p>Again, in my line of work, I deal with a lot of startup companies looking to cement their presence on the Internet. There are some who will ask for 20 quotes for web content and in the end never do anything about it. It&rsquo;s one thing to feel excitement about a business idea, but if you are unable to see the project through to completion, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-business-lessons-i-learned-the-hard-way">starting your own business</a> may not be the best move for you.</p> <h2>4. You Cannot Follow Through</h2> <p>There are some people that are so full of ideas but rarely does one stick around long enough to see it through. Jumping from one idea to the next can be dangerous, especially if you are putting forth your hard earned money for something that is going nowhere. Sort through your ideas in writing and sit with them for a while to see if any stick. Then consider pursuing that idea.</p> <h2>5. You Don't Understand the Business</h2> <p>There are some businesses that fail right off the bat because people fantasize about what the business would be like rather than researching the realities. For example, opening a bakery may look great on television, but it would be to your advantage to really see what it is like on a day to day basis. You should make an effort to talk to owners of businesses you are interested in starting for yourself and find out what really happens. You can even shadow a few business owners for real life experience.</p> <h2>6. You Rely on Others to Do the Hard Work</h2> <p>As a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times">business owner</a> getting ready to launch a startup, it is important to realize just how much of the actual work falls on your shoulders. You wear many hats, especially during the first few years when paid help may not be a viable option. You have to be committed to doing all of the hard work and seeing it through or you will be closing the doors soon after they open.</p> <p>You also need to really consider your target audience. If you are planning to open a jewelry business and think having only your friends and family as customers will keep you afloat, you may want to reconsider your business plans and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">keep your jewelry-making skills as a favorite hobby</a>.</p> <p>Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Surely there are things that can only be learned through trial and error, but when you are investing your own time and money, you may not be able to afford too many errors. Do your research, complete a full business plan if only for your own benefit, and really consider the pros and cons of what you are venturing into.</p> <p><em>Have you gotten your startup business through the difficult first few years? What do you know now that you didn't know then?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship business plan marketing startup business Wed, 27 Mar 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Tisha Tolar 971377 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Businesses You Can Start Online http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-businesses-you-can-start-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-businesses-you-can-start-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6829327061_495cb4753d_z%281%29.jpg" alt="Businesses You Can Start Online" title="Businesses You Can Start Online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on businesses you can start online, saving money at the drug store, and principles for growing wealth.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.business.com/blog/6-businesses-you-can-start-online/">6 Businesses You Can Start Online</a> &mdash; Want to start a business online? Consider being an internet researcher. [Business.com Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-drug-store/">How to Save Money at the Drug Store</a> &mdash; Asking the pharmacist about what you need can help you save money at the drug store. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://beingfrugal.net/basic-principles-for-growing-wealth/">5 Basic Principles for Growing Wealth</a> &mdash; To grow your wealth, live within your means and invest in yourself. [BeingFrugal.net]</p> <p><a href="http://mom.me/home/5459-10-ways-moms-can-make-money-home/">10 Ways Moms Can Make Money At Home</a> &mdash; Moms can make money at home by selling their kids' books. [mom.me]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Find-Out-Your-Co-Workers-Salary-27065984">6 Ways To Find Out What Your Peers Are Making</a> &mdash; If you want to know what your peers are making, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [SavvySugar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moolanomy.com/6416/8-easy-ways-anyone-can-make-money/">8 Easy Ways Anyone Can Make Money</a> &mdash; To make money easily, enter giveaways or review books. [Moolanomy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/01/29/a-former-insiders-guide-to-choosing-an-investment-manager/">A (Former) Insider's Guide to Choosing an Investment Manager</a> &mdash; When choosing an investment manager, focus on market cycle performance. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/01/28/party-philosophy-when-to-spend-big-on-fiestas/">Party philosophy: When to spend big on fiestas</a> &mdash; It's ok to spend big on fiestas when you can do so without incurring debt. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/01/second-act-career-teachertrainer.html">Second-Act Career: Teacher/Trainer</a> &mdash; If you want to earn some extra income and are good at teaching, try your hand at being an online professor. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-steps-to-toy-organization">4 Steps to Toy Organization</a> &mdash; Get your children's toys organized by first taking inventory of what they have. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-businesses-you-can-start-online" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Businesses You Can Start Online" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship best money tips business online Fri, 01 Feb 2013 11:00:35 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 967595 at http://www.wisebread.com Freelancing: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing It Right http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadfreelance.jpg" alt="Coffeeshop Telecommuter " title="Coffeeshop Telecommuter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on the field you&rsquo;re in, freelancing can be a great way to make extra money or transition into a full-time flexible career. But doing it right takes some planning and strategy. If you&rsquo;re considering freelancing as a way to supplement or replace your current income, here are the basics on how to get started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs">30&nbsp;Great Side Jobs</a>)</p> <h2>Network</h2> <p>As with any other business, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-simple-networking-tricks">networking makes all the difference in the freelance world</a>.</p> <p>Use past work connections, friendships, social media sites, and professional groups to get the word out about your services. Have an elevator pitch ready to explain what you do, your qualifications, and what sets you apart from the competition. Though networking is a never-ending process, it&rsquo;ll become easier as your body of independent work builds and satisfied customers begin spreading the word.</p> <h2>Research and Set Fees</h2> <p>Knowing what to charge can be tricky. Most freelancers make one of two mistakes when it comes to setting their fee structure. Either they underestimate what the market is willing to pay (short changing themselves in the long run), or they price their services too high for their experience level (alienating potential new clients).</p> <p>Use <a href="http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2012/09/08/freelancing-pricing-services/" target="_blank">online research tools to determine</a> what independent contractors are making in your field and in your area. Find the sweet spot based upon your background and skill set.</p> <h2>Establish a Rate Card</h2> <p>Once you know the general range of what you&rsquo;ll be charging, establish a rate card that outlines your menu of services.</p> <p>Think of every potential project you could land.</p> <ul> <li>Will you charge per hour or per project?</li> <li>How might your hourly rate change based upon the complexity of the work?</li> </ul> <p>A clear outline of prices (or even a good estimate) will help clients anticipate expenditures and budget for your services.</p> <h2>Pitch Recurring Projects</h2> <p>Big projects are great, but they&rsquo;re inconsistent. Pitching recurring monthly or quarterly projects to clients will show initiative and help smooth the peaks and valleys in your freelance income. Even a few modestly priced &ldquo;maintenance&rdquo; projects that you can count on every month will make a world of difference financially &mdash; especially in the beginning.</p> <h2>Create an Invoicing System</h2> <p>Once you have a rate card and are assertively pursuing projects, it&rsquo;s time to create an invoice. Here, simplicity is key. Create a one page Word document that includes:</p> <ul> <li>Date</li> <li>Your business name, address, and phone</li> <li>Tax ID number (if applicable)</li> <li>Client name, address, and contact person</li> <li>Project description</li> <li>Date work was completed</li> <li>Agreed upon fees and totals</li> <li>Method of remittance</li> <li>A thank you</li> </ul> <p>For examples of invoices that tick all the right boxes, check out <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/05/invoice-like-a-pro/" target="_blank">these slick designs</a> from Smashing Magazine.</p> <p>Every client has a different payment schedule and as your work expands, you&rsquo;ll need a way to track your invoices quickly and easily. I use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">simple Excel sheet</a> with six columns: Client Name, Project Description, Hours Worked, Amount of Invoice, Date Invoiced, and Payment Status. It&rsquo;s a bare bones way for me to check the status of my billings and helps ensure that no client gets invoiced twice for the same job.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Forget About Taxes</h2> <p>Remember, freelance work typically means you&rsquo;ll be receiving a 1099 tax form and will be responsible for setting aside the proper income tax amount yourself. Depending on how you structure your freelance work and how much revenue you&rsquo;re bringing in, you may be required to file estimated taxes quarterly. Discuss the particulars of your business with a tax advisor to make sure you&rsquo;re organized for Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>Create a Freelance Resume and Portfolio</h2> <p>Typically, your first few clients as freelancer will be people who know you and know your work. But once you have some projects under your belt, it&rsquo;s time to formalize it and reflect it in your resume. Create a separate resume or portfolio of work that you can use when pitching projects marketing your business to new clients.</p> <h2>Market, Market, Market</h2> <p>A successful freelance business takes constant attention. The work you&rsquo;re doing today is probably work you pitched three months ago to a client you met last year. That long horizon must be factored into to your daily work and it&rsquo;s a discipline that takes some practice to master.</p> <p>Market your services online, offline, formally, and informally &mdash; always with an eye toward where you want to be in six months or a year. Oh, and don&rsquo;t forget to thank current customers who send new clients your way &mdash; referrals are golden.</p> <p>Are you ready to test the waters of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/part-time-jobs-that-can-get-you-serious-discounts">part-time</a> or full-time freelance career? If so, some upfront planning focused on the basics can save you a lot of time and stress later. Happy freelancing!</p> <p><em>Are you a freelancer or have you worked solo in the past? What tips do you have for newbies?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right" class="sharethis-link" title="Freelancing: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing It Right" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Extra Income freelance income side jobs start a business Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:48:33 +0000 Kentin Waits 967361 at http://www.wisebread.com Great Ways to Generate Passive Income http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-generate-passive-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/great-ways-to-generate-passive-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3412060489_9a61077f6b_z.jpg" alt="woman holding cash" title="woman holding cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earning income passively is a dream for most people, since it essentially means you make money without putting in a significant time investment.&nbsp;Most sources of passive income will require time and some money to get started, but if successful, these opportunities can generate income for you long-term and without your direct involvement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-everyone-needs-side-income">4 Reasons Why Everyone Needs Side Income</a>)</p> <p>Here are some great ways to generate passive income.</p> <h2>Create a Product</h2> <p>You can earn passive income by creating a digital product, whether it is an e-book, audio file, video, or some type of presentation, and then sell it over and over again automatically. Once the initial creation of your product is complete, the sales of the product become passive if you set up an automated system to deliver prospects to your sales page, collect payment, and send out their purchased product.</p> <p>Other opportunities for passive income by creating a product might include writing a physical book and getting it published &mdash; ongoing sales of your book are earned passively. Some people become television writers, and when their series is picked up for reruns, royalties earned are considered passive income.</p> <h2>Sell Advertising</h2> <p>As a website owner or publisher of a popular e-zine, magazine, blog, or newsletter, you can sell advertising space. While you will have to do the initial legwork to create a successful website with a large following, once established, advertising revenue is a passive income opportunity where other business owners will pay you to include an advertisement on your website or in your newsletter.</p> <h2>Own a Business</h2> <p>When people think of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/passive-income-for-every-entrepreneur">passive income</a>, chances are they will immediately think about an online business of some type. The internet makes it possible to start and run a business with low start-up costs and low overhead expenses &mdash; which means more profit in your pocket. It also creates opportunities for automation, and anything you can automate provides a potential passive income stream.</p> <p>While it&rsquo;s often easier to break into the world of passive income online, passive income is not limited to the internet.&nbsp;Any business you own can generate passive income for you if it is established the right way. If you hire people to fulfill the day-to-day activities of your business, your business should generate a profit after all the expenses are paid.&nbsp;The profit you receive as the owner of the business is passive if you aren&rsquo;t directly involved in the daily operations.</p> <h2>Become a Landlord</h2> <p>People who own apartments or commercial space earn passive income through the rent payments they receive from their tenants.&nbsp;You receive the payment every month simply because you own the property; and you aren&rsquo;t exchanging a direct service or time for the rent payment.&nbsp;There are of course, responsibilities that come with being a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-want-to-be-a-landlord-part-i">landlord</a> &mdash; but many people find the experience rewarding and a way to establish consistent income without directly trading their hours for dollars.</p> <p>If buying a property to rent out is out of your comfort zone, you can start on a smaller scale and rent out an extra room in your home, your garage, or even your driveway. <a href="http://www.parkatmyhouse.com">Park at&nbsp;My&nbsp;House</a> will tell you the &ldquo;value&rdquo; of your driveway and help connect you to people looking for a place to park near event venues or who just need a place to park their vehicle in your area.</p> <h2>Investing</h2> <p>A variety of social lending opportunities online allow you to earn a return by helping fund other people&rsquo;s loan requests in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peer-to-peer-lending-prosper-marketplace-or-lending-club">peer-to-peer lending</a>.&nbsp;Your total investment in the peer-to-peer lending site is generally divided up across multiple borrowers to help reduce your risks, but your money helps others gain the money they need, and you benefit by earning a return on the investment in the form of interest.&nbsp;Two of the more popular social lenders include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/redir/prosper">Prosper</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/redir/lendingclub">Lending Club</a>.</p> <p>When saving your money in a bank, take some time to compare savings accounts to earn as much interest on your money as you can. If you meet minimum balance requirements, you can also earn interest on money saved in a checking account. Earning interest on your money is a passive way to increase your income, so you may as well take some time to discover your highest earning potential.</p> <p>You can also build an income investing portfolio to create passive income while growing long-term investments. You may include a variety of investments from dividend stocks to CDs, bonds, and annuities, with the goal of earning money quarterly, semi-annually, or annually without having to sell the investment.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-generate-passive-income" class="sharethis-link" title="Great Ways to Generate Passive Income" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Extra Income Investment extra money passive income start a business Fri, 04 May 2012 10:24:15 +0000 Debbie Dragon 924887 at http://www.wisebread.com Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5869798689_f7a9cbb984.jpg" alt="People in a coworking facility" title="People in a coworking facility" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular approach to working these days, and starting your own business is as popular as ever. Both options mean that you need a place to work of your own, though, because an employer won&rsquo;t be providing it.</p> <p>A home office may be an easy option, but there are a lot of downsides to working in the same environment your kids are playing in or your chores need to be done in. The main alternative &mdash; renting office space &mdash; can be an expensive proposition, especially if you&rsquo;re just starting out. A new trend may offer a much easier option, though &mdash; coworking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a>)</p> <h3>A Brief History of Coworking</h3> <p>Coworking spaces are shared offices. Usually one person or a small organization rents a larger office space and then makes parts of it available to other individuals. The trend started in San Francisco in 2005 with the Hat Factory, a place where three people lived, and, during the day, made the space available to others to work in. The concept gained traction and has spread like wildfire. Most major cities have at least one coworking space these days, and there are an estimated 700 locations in the U.S. alone. The <a href="http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/29303049/Directory">Coworking Directory</a> serves as the best resource for checking into what&rsquo;s available near you.</p> <p>Coworking spaces are meant to provide an improvement over working in a coffee shop (you don&rsquo;t have to keep buying an ever increasing number of cups of coffee) or at home (you can reduce the overlap between work time and your personal life). The movement, as a whole, also provides an organic approach to office space. No one needs a license or a franchise to open a coworking space. That&rsquo;s how they can pop up all over, and why each one is very different from the next.</p> <h3>How to Get the Most Out of Coworking</h3> <p>Just about any coworking space offers you a place to plunk down with your laptop and work, completely tuning out everyone else. Most of us need that sometimes &mdash; when we&rsquo;re on deadline, paying for the privilege of quiet workspace makes sense. But the rest of the time, there are a lot of other benefits you can get from a coworking space.</p> <p>Most coworking spaces operate on the assumption that if a bunch of people are going to work in the same area, they might as well form a community. Many spaces host events, but even those that don&rsquo;t offer plenty of informal opportunities to sit down and talk with other people in the space. Depending on your own background, this can be an easy way to find new clients, a freelancer to help you with a project, or even a team member for a new company. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you">human interaction</a> can be one of the biggest benefits of a coworking space, especially for those of us who are used to sitting home alone to work.</p> <h3>Understanding the Amenities and Prices</h3> <p>Most coworking spaces make a point of posting both their amenities and prices on their websites. If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to be in an area with multiple spaces, this information can help you decide where you should work, but it&rsquo;s also important to understand what you&rsquo;re getting.</p> <p>You may be able to choose between a variety of different plans, from a one-day drop in option to monthly plans giving you full-time access and your own key. You may have access to a range of amenities:</p> <ul> <li>A key allowing you access anytime you want</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">Coffee</a> and other beverages</li> <li>Storage spaces</li> <li>Reduced costs for events</li> <li>Membership discounts for other businesses</li> <li>Access to printers, fax machines, and other office equipment</li> </ul> <p>Every coworking space is different, so if there&rsquo;s a feature you really need, it&rsquo;s important to ask about it. If an amenity isn&rsquo;t available, your request may prompt the space organizer to look into it.</p> <p>Prices are mostly influenced by location &mdash; the simple fact that office space in New York City is more expensive than in Austin means that you&rsquo;ll pay more to join a coworking space in New York. I&rsquo;ve usually paid around $25 per day for dropping in at spaces in California, Oklahoma, and along the East Coast. Monthly memberships are often tiered to allow for different levels of access. In my experience, full-time access starts around $200 and goes up from there, based on location and features.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative" class="sharethis-link" title="Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship coworking space freelancing office savings small business Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:48:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 915082 at http://www.wisebread.com 35 Resources for Female Entrepreneurs http://www.wisebread.com/35-resources-for-female-entrepreneurs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/35-resources-for-female-entrepreneurs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4715022811_784d706e12_z.jpg" alt="woman at seminar" title="woman at seminar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Female entrepreneurship has spiked in the last decade. While the most recent U.S. government statistics are from 2007, women-owned (non-farm) businesses increased by over 20% from 2002 to 2007 according to the <a href="http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo/get07sof.html?12">U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners</a>, and now make up nearly 30% of all businesses.</p> <p>Luckily, there are an enormous number of resources available to help female entrepreneurs succeed. Here are the top resources and websites by category. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-mentors-you-can-access-for-nearly-free">6 Small Business Mentors You Can Access for Nearly Free!</a>)</p> <h2>Brick and Mortar Resources</h2> <p>These organizations tend to be more of the traditional resource centers that you might think of when you imagine getting assistance with your business. Most have actual buildings you can visit, local chapters you can meet with, or numbers you can call to get help.</p> <p><strong>The Office of Women's Business Ownership</strong></p> <p>Part of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the <a href="http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2895">Office of Women's Business Ownership</a> is the most reliable source for federal government grants for women and general information about starting a business.</p> <p><strong>American Business Women's Association</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.abwa.org/">American Business Women's Association</a> offers networking events, mentoring opportunities, and more.</p> <p><strong>National Association of Women Business Owners</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.nawbo.org/">National Association of Women Business Owners</a> hosts an online resource center and can connect you with your local chapter.</p> <p><strong>U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.uswcc.org/">Women's Chamber of Commerce</a> not only unifies some of the top women leaders in the U.S., but their site also offers great resources for women planning for retirement.</p> <h2>Collections of Resources</h2> <p>The following sites have their own extensive lists of articles, tool kits, and resources that are definitely worth checking out.</p> <p><strong>Entrepreneurship.org</strong></p> <p>You can find an annotated list of over 25 books and articles for women entrepreneurs at <a href="http://www.entrepreneurship.org/en/entrepreneurship-law/women-in-entrepreneurship-business-resource-materials.aspx">Entrepreneurship.org</a>.</p> <p><strong>Create Worth</strong></p> <p>On offshoot of DailyWorth, <a href="http://dailyworth.com/create/">Create Worth</a> has an excellent selection of articles on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-questions-to-ask-when-starting-a-business">starting your own business</a>.</p> <p><strong>Ladies Who Launch</strong></p> <p>Ladies Who Launch features a killer list of<a href="http://www.ladieswholaunch.com/magazine/tools-docs-templates"> free and paid tool</a>.</p> <p><strong>Smith College</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.smith.edu/wfi/toolbox_entrepreneurship.php">Smith College</a> has a toolbox of resources for women college-age and up.</p> <p><strong>Women Entrepreneur</strong></p> <p>The women's section of Entrepreneur magazine, <a href="http://forum.womenentrepreneur.com/">Women&nbsp;Entrepreneur</a> has great articles for every type of female entrepreneur &mdash; from home-based businesses to startups.</p> <p><strong>Mompreneurs</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.mompreneursonline.com/">Mompreneurs</a> helps mom entrepreneurs with lists of books and resources on their message boards.</p> <p><strong>Women 2.0</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.women2.org/">Women 2.0</a> wants to help more women become founders of technology startups and has superb information to get your startup started.</p> <h2>Blogs</h2> <p>Blogs can serve as great resources and sources of inspiration for women entrepreneurs who are looking to break into the business world. This list can get you started &mdash; and please share more of your favorites in the comments.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.alexismartinneely.com/">Alexis Neely</a></li> <li><a href="http://allisonnazarian.com/">Allison Nazarian</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amyporterfield.com/">Amy Porterfield</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.anti9to5guide.com/">Anti 9-5 Guide</a></li> <li><a href="http://balanceinme.com/">Balance in Me</a></li> <li><a href="http://connection-revolution.com/blog/">Connection Revolution</a></li> <li><a href="http://dissolveprocrastination.com/">Dissolve Procrastination</a></li> <li><a href="http://elizabethpottsweinstein.com/">Elizabeth Potts Weinstein</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/">Escape From Cubicle Nation</a></li> <li><a href="http://escaping-mediocrity.com/">Escaping Mediocrity</a></li> <li><a href="http://everydaybright.com/">Everyday Bright</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.femalepreneurs.com/">Femalepreneurs</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.lauraroeder.com/">Laura Roeder</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.lifeaftercollege.org/">Life After College</a></li> <li><a href="http://manishathakor.com/">Manisha Thakor</a></li> <li><a href="http://marieforleo.com/">Marie Forleo</a></li> <li><a href="http://jackiepurnell.com/">Respectfully Disobedient</a></li> <li><a href="http://rowdykittens.com/">Rowdy Kittens</a></li> <li><a href="http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/">Suitcase Entrepreneur</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.taragentile.com/">Tara Gentile</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/">The Middle Finger Project</a></li> <li><a href="http://alexisgrant.com/">The Traveling Writer</a></li> <li><a href="http://whenigrowupcoach.com/blog/">When I Grow Up</a></li> <li><a href="http://whitehottruth.com/">White Hot Truth</a></li> </ul> <p>What's your top resource for starting a business?</p> <p><em>This post is part of Women's Money Week 2012. For more great articles on Women's Entrepreneurship, check out <a href="http://womensmoneyweek.com/">WomensMoneyWeek.com</a></em>.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-resources-for-female-entrepreneurs" class="sharethis-link" title="35 Resources for Female Entrepreneurs" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Entrepreneurship business resources career advice women Mon, 05 Mar 2012 10:48:15 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 908074 at http://www.wisebread.com