Entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4815/all en-US How One Inventor Turned a Spring Break Idea Into a Six-Figure Business http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inventor-turned-a-spring-break-idea-into-a-six-figure-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-inventor-turned-a-spring-break-idea-into-a-six-figure-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beach_party_000031976020.jpg" alt="Inventor turns spring break into six-figure business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rob Ianelli reached down to crack open a beer with his shoe.</p> <p>It was 2006 and the 19-year-old American University student was on spring break in Mexico throwing back a few cold ones with his friends. He was wearing a trendy new line of beer bottle-opening sandals made by the surf brand Reef. In his eyes, the utility of a fashionable, wearable bottle opener was brilliant. A frat guy's dream. There was just one problem: Probably the most inconvenient place to house that beer opener, he surmised, was in the sole of his shoe. The floors of most frat houses aren't exactly clean.</p> <h2>Inspiration Strikes</h2> <p>These were the thoughts occupying Ianelli's mind when he walked into the next bar on the strip and whipped off his sunglasses. From his perch on the bar stool, he contemplated local Mexican beer to order while fingering the frame of his glasses. Then it hit him.</p> <p>&quot;I was just sitting there looking at my glasses and I thought, 'This is the real place for a bottle opener,'&quot; Ianelli said.</p> <p>He sketched it down on a napkin. A pair of shades with a bottle opener built into the earpiece. How had no one else thought of that?</p> <p>&quot;It was a joke to some extent,&quot; Ianelli said. &quot;Everyone dreams about inventing products. First thing I did after sketching it on a napkin was get a patent. I had no idea what I was doing. But two years later I had a prototype.&quot;</p> <p>If it sounds like it was easy, it wasn't. Ianelli had no experience in engineering and product development. (In college, he studied International Relations.) Not to mention the first prototype was a bust.</p> <p>&quot;They didn't fit,&quot; Ianelli explained. &quot;They also did not open bottles. They had a piece of metal on the end that looked like a claw, but it was functionless. It was pretty disheartening.&quot;</p> <h2>Try Pry Again</h2> <p>For awhile, Ianelli gave up. Then, about a year after the prototype dud incident, he got a second wind. Inspired to make a fresh start, he networked his way into a business deal with a more design-focused factory than the one he had previously worked with. It took a whole lot of trial and error, but eventually Ianelli succeeded in creating a prototype that fit his vision: Fashionable, functional eyewear to help students more easily achieve a most essential collegiate need &mdash; beer-drinking, of course.</p> <p>He launched the product under the name <a href="http://brewsees.com/">Brewsees</a> in 2011. And within two years, he had a six-figure business.</p> <p>&quot;I wanted the brand to be youthful,&quot; Ianelli said. &quot;The ultimate consumer is a 19-year-old frat guy. I look at it as a lifestyle brand, and we're only just beginning with our line of beer-opener sunglasses.&quot;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/BrewseesOwner.jpg" width="605" height="605" align="middle" alt="" /></p> <p>Ianelli, who is now 28, said he has sold more than 30,000 pairs of the eyewear he dreamt up nine years ago while <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-spring-break-destinations-that-wont-break-the-bank">on spring break</a>. He said the company is currently experiencing month-over-month growth rate of 200%, in part thanks to a robust network of 108 Brewsees campus ambassadors at colleges across the nation.</p> <p>In addition to creating new styles of sunglasses, Ianelli said he dreams of branding out into apparel and partnering with a brewery to create a Brewsees brand of beer.</p> <h2>Staying Motivated Through Failure</h2> <p>His best advice for other inventors is as simple as this: Make sure you want it it badly enough, and if you do, stop at nothing until you find success.</p> <p>&quot;There's absolutely no chance that you're going to have an overnight success,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;So do you really care about what problem you're trying to fix? A lot of people are just trying to get rich, but the people who do the best and find the most success are the people who are so passionate about the problem they're solving that they're never going to give up until they they solve it.&quot;</p> <p>He said it's also important to realize that you can dream up the greatest invention in the world and it might still be a flop.</p> <p>&quot;Making a product is one thing, but building a business that can sell that product in a way that's profitable is another thing and that's what you need to be successful,&quot; he said. &quot;Kickstarter doesn't cut it.&quot;</p> <p>For Ianelli, the hardest part of the invention process was product development.</p> <p>&quot;It's not for everyone,&quot; he said. &quot;I'm good at it now, but I started out pretty much clueless. There's no college course or magic wand that's going to teach you what you need to know. But if you truly believe in your idea, you will figure it out.&quot;</p> <p><em>What product invention are you sitting on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inventor-turned-a-spring-break-idea-into-a-six-figure-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-with-friends">7 Ways to Make Money With Friends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">6 Signs It&#039;s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-generate-passive-income">Great Ways to Generate Passive Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/over-7-million-money-making-ideas-google-patents">Over 7 million money-making ideas - Google Patents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-business-of-ebay">The Business of eBay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Extra Income inventing Patents product design side businesses Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:11 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1432343 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs It's Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_student_working_000052734564.jpg" alt="Woman deciding to make her side gig her career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You daydream about it: turning your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-prevent-side-gig-burnout">side gig</a> into your career. Quitting your day job and achieving your business goals on your own terms. But it can be hard to know when the right time to actually make the move is.</p> <p>If you're unsure what's holding you back, but suspect you may be ready, take a look at these six signs it's time to quit your day job.</p> <h2>1. Your Bills Can Be Covered on Side Business Income</h2> <p>Are things going pretty well right now? It's time to do the math. Add up all of your household's living costs. Now, add up your side business's month-by-month revenue over the past year. Can a decent percentage of basic expenses be covered by your side business?</p> <p>Making a big move based on this sign depends on a couple of factors such as how much your spouse or roommate contributes to the household, and whether or not those contributions can be counted on for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>For many people, the answer is a gradual transition. In my business, my partner/husband and I found an arrangement that let us spend 75% of our time on the company, and the rest of the time on freelance income to bridge the gap.</p> <h2>2. You're Leaving Money on the Table</h2> <p>Are more opportunities arising, ones you don't have the time to take? A small business can only flourish if it has enough time to grow the infrastructure and increase client communications and partnerships. If you can only spend nights and weekends on your side business, then you will hit a plateau that is very difficult to break through without hiring help.</p> <p>The best way to learn if you are leaving money on the table is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan">reviewing your business plan</a> and making a new <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76418">year-to-year projection</a>.</p> <h2>3. Your Clients Want More</h2> <p>Surely you've had more ideas on how to upgrade your services. Do you see your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/market-segmentation-to-grow-customers-sales-and-profits">customer or client base growing</a> and becoming more reliable? This kind of stable growth begetting a stable fan base is a good sign that your regular clients are ready to be upsold on more services. If you are B2B, don't let them grow antsy to leave for a bigger company. If you are a consumer-facing business, don't let your customers grow bored with your product offerings. Start with your most loyal customers to show them that your business is growing with their needs and that you value your relationship.</p> <p>In my business, we grew so quickly in the past year that our customers were not able to keep up with our newest releases. So we started a new subscription program for our most rabid fans that allowed them to get everything we make for a monthly fee. When you start with your most loyal, you can work out the kinks of the new program with minimal pain and customer service issues before rolling it out to the public. We wouldn't have been able to plan, set-up, execute, and maintain this new service if one of us hadn't gone full time.</p> <h2>4. You Find Yourself Becoming an Expert</h2> <p>Are friends, family, and peers increasingly asking you for advice or resources on your industry? If so, the outside perception of your company must be good enough for you to be considered a thought leader on the topic.</p> <p>A great way to give back as an entrepreneur is to share your expertise. It's also a great way to grow your business indirectly by inserting yourself in the major ongoing conversations within your industry. Look up <a href="http://www.allconferences.com/">industry conferences to attend</a>, and you could create a Slideshare about what you've learned. When you have become a full-time entrepreneur, others will take you even more seriously. If you were already planning the full-time transition, this sign might be the morale boost you needed.</p> <h2>5. You Need More Time at Home</h2> <p>Is your household changing? Maybe you are planning to have children in the next two years. Maybe your spouse is earning enough money to cover the basic expenses so you can take more time on your business. Staying at home provides you the flexibility to grow both your business and your family on your own schedule.</p> <p>Do it smart: Using your monthly expense calculator and business projections, start mapping out a plan that allows you transition to a home office. Calculate the costs of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">making a functional home office</a>: desks, computers, office and creative supplies, and storage solutions. You might have to incorporate freelance income in your revenue mix alongside the other services your business provides.</p> <h2>6. You're This Close to Hiring Employees</h2> <p>Are you looking for help to improve workflow? It will be hard to manage employees from a desk at another company. It's time to look at the numbers and see how much more revenue you could earn with an employee's help, versus quitting your day job and doing most operations yourself for a while.</p> <p>People-specific skillsets you don't possess (i.e. coding, graphic design, etc.) might be hires you can't avoid. But what if you just have too much basic upkeep to do? What I have learned is that repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks are great to outsource to a freelance employee for an affordable rate. Core work like business development and creative should be left to you until you go full-time, so you can properly manage your employees and give them the one-on-one time they need to grow within your company.</p> <p>Make sure you have what you need to <a href="http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2013/10/top-7-tips-for-hiring-managing-your-1st-employee.html">hire your first employee</a>, and learn about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees">managing staff</a>.</p> <p><em>How's your side gig doing? Ready to make the leap?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right">Freelancing: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing It Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper You Must Read Before You Get Started</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Extra Income business self employment side jobs work Tue, 19 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1416883 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_working_000045281724.jpg" alt="Woman answering financial questions before going freelance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to quit your day job to become a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">full-time freelancer</a> can be the most exciting transition in your career. You gain control over your own schedule, and have the freedom to choose the type of projects you work on.</p> <p>But with this excitement comes a lot of financial questions and planning. In order to make the leap from your day job as smooth as possible, here are five questions to ask &mdash; and answer! &mdash; before becoming a full-time freelancer.</p> <h2>1. How Much Should You Save?</h2> <p>If you have no other sources of income to pay the bills after you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job">quit your job</a>, how long would your savings last? Do you feel comfortable giving yourself three months to get your new freelancing career off the ground? Or is six months a more reasonable timeline? Obviously the more money you save up, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.</p> <p>There are additional factors that need to be accounted for too, like whether or not you're the breadwinner for your family. It's likely you'll have to pay for your own health insurance, taxes, and fund your own retirement account. All of these things need to be calculated before you can accurately estimate how much money you should save.</p> <p>Most experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months' worth of expenses in a separate savings account to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">cover any emergencies</a> or losses of income (some even suggest as much as twelve months' worth). As a freelancer you might as well double this amount to account for the added risk of being self-employed.</p> <h2>2. What's Your Bare Minimum Budget?</h2> <p>What's the bare minimum amount of money you need to make in order to pay your bills each month? Make sure you add in all of your household bills (utilities, insurance, groceries,) as well as the cost of doing business as a freelancer.</p> <p>When I was in the process of quitting my day job, I calculated my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">bare minimum budget</a> to be $3,000 a month. This meant that I needed at least $18,000 saved up ($<em>3,000 a month X six month savings cushion = $18,000</em>) in order to cover my bare expenses for six months while I built my freelancing business.</p> <p>Calculate how much money you need to adequately pay your bills every month, then multiply this figure by six to eight months. This is the amount you'll need to save in a separate account to make the transition from a day job to freelancing a successful one.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have Passive Income Streams?</h2> <p>One other way to make this process much easier is creating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-freelance-gigs-anyone-can-do-to-make-extra-money">multiple streams of income</a>. Aside from your core freelance duties, do you have other options for creating passive income? What other assets can you leverage to bring in more money each month?</p> <p>Maybe you can branch out and offer business consulting, or create an online course that teaches a specific skill based on your background and experience. Do you have investments that earn small dividends or interest?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-a-side-hustle-can-further-your-career">Every little bit of income</a> can help you save up money faster, while easing the transition of quitting your job and steady paycheck.</p> <h2>4. Are You Willing to Do What it Takes?</h2> <p>How much time do you have available to dedicate to finding work? Are you prepared to spend nights and weekends building your business? In the beginning, clients won't come to you, so you'll have to actively seek them out and build a solid network from scratch.</p> <p>How much time you spend in the beginning will determine how quickly you're able to replace your day job's income. There will likely be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but in the end you have to determine if the reward is worth all the effort.</p> <p>Freedom is never free, and this includes financial freedom. You have to figure out if the cost is worth it.</p> <h2>5. Do You Have a Financial Backup Plan?</h2> <p>What happens if Plan A doesn't work out? Do you have a Plan B in place? In the event that you blow through all of your savings, and are still not where you can fully pay your monthly expenses, how are you going to cope?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do">Create a backup plan</a> of action for this specific event. List out the possible solutions and scenarios for how you and your family will deal with this. Are you going to find another full-time job? Will you be able to move back in with your parents?</p> <p>This is another reason that having a large chunk of money stashed away in savings can really help you during the process of quitting your job to freelance full time. Calculate at least six months' worth of your minimum budget expenses and then save money like crazy.</p> <p><em>Are you in the process of quitting your job? How are you preparing yourself financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship emergency funds freelance income self employment Mon, 18 May 2015 21:00:09 +0000 Carrie Smith 1424770 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_at_work_000033231524.jpg" alt="Woman funding her own business venture without touching savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of new small business owners often dip into their retirement accounts or life savings to fund their new venture. But cashing out a retirement account, especially a taxable one like a 401(k), can sabotage the success of your business.</p> <h2>Avoid Using Savings to Fund a Business</h2> <p>For starters, you forfeit any future savings on money you've already set aside for use during your retirement years. What will you do later in life? You may not physically be able to work during your retirement years, so don't depend on the fact that you can simply continue working at a job to produce an income.</p> <p>Another reason to avoid taking out your life savings to fund a business is because it will likely come with high taxes and penalty charges. If you withdraw money from a 401(k), or traditional IRA, you'll have to pay <a href="http://gogirlfinance.com/career/entrepreneur/so-you-want-to-be-an-entrepreneur-why-you-shouldnt-cash-in-your-401k/">upwards of 40% in taxes</a> and early withdrawal penalty fees. That's not a smart way to start out a new business.</p> <p>Finally, you'll be losing out on extra tax benefits, like credits and deductions, that can be added to your tax return each year. You would also be missing out on any contributions from your employer if they offer to match your funds.</p> <p>For all of these reasons, you should avoid touching your savings and retirement accounts as much as possible. Here are three smarter ways for funding a new business venture without using savings.</p> <h3>1. Bootstrap Your Idea</h3> <p>The grassroots style of marketing and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-money-boosts-that-grow-your-savings">funding a new business venture</a> is a popular method that's been around for a long time. Basically, you use the connections and community you've already built as a way to help spread your idea or mission.</p> <p>The marketing is all done via word-of-mouth and you reach out to people individually to explain what you and your business do. The idea grows slowly and any money that it brings in is reinvested into the business. This will build a solid foundation while allowing you to keep more of your money in savings.</p> <h3>2. Consider Crowdfunding</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-raise-money-on-crowdfunding-sites">Crowdfunding sites</a>, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are becoming more and more popular because it leverages a huge audience of people and gives them the opportunity to invest in your business idea. Most small businesses don't succeed because they don't have the capital they need, but instead of pulling the funds out of savings, you can use crowdfunding to turn your business dream into a reality.</p> <p>Whether it's a interchangeable watch, a productivity planner, or an alarm clock that monitors your sleep, these sites have built a platform that allows you to share and fund your unique idea. And the best part is that you'll already have hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of raving fans and customers who are ready to buy and spread the word.</p> <h3>3. Enter a Contest</h3> <p>Another route you can take to infuse your new business venture with cash is by entering a small business contest. For example, Chase gives away $2 million annually ($100k each to 20 small businesses) through its <a href="https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/">Mission Mainstreet grants</a> program.&nbsp;</p> <p>MIT offers a 100K Entrepreneurship Competition where small business owners can pitch their ideas and have the chance to win much-needed funds to get started. Once your business idea is vetted and you create a business plan, you could win up to $100,000 to go towards your venture.</p> <p>Amazon similarly offers startups the <a href="https://aws.amazon.com/start-ups/">chance to find funding</a>, grow at a smart rate, and find resources for marketing, all for free. They've helped sites like Pinterest, Etsy, and Airbnb get their starts. So if you have a software-based business, or one that sells physical products, they can help connect you to the resources you need, for free.</p> <p><em>Are you thinking of starting a business? What are some other ways to fund it without using savings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship crowdfunding funding new business savings small business Thu, 07 May 2015 16:28:22 +0000 Carrie Smith 1410182 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_organized_ideas_000038689064.jpg" alt="Woman figuring out how to fund her business without borrowing money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Becoming a small business owner or freelancer is a great way to regain control of your schedule while having limitless potential for income and locational flexibility. The only problem is that starting a new business venture usually comes with a big price tag.</p> <p>It may be difficult to fund a new business without using loans or credit cards, but it's not impossible. Here are some tried-and-true ways to avoid taking on debt when becoming your own boss. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-market-your-side-business?ref=seealso">6 Simple Ways to Market Your Side Business</a>)</p> <h2>Bootstrap Your Business</h2> <p>Bootstrapping is essentially the DIY version for business owners. It's the process of streamlining your expenses while spending as little as possible in order to grow your business in the long term. It's not just about being cheap, but more importantly about spending money on the right areas of business while being conscious of your bottom line.</p> <p>A few bootstrapping techniques include outsourcing small projects to contractors using paid gig sites, such as <a href="http://tracking.fiverr.com/aff_c?offer_id=1441&amp;aff_id=4437">Fiverr</a> or <a href="https://www.odesk.com/">ODesk</a> versus hiring regular employees, or paying for a course to learn a bit of copywriting, versus hiring a professional copywriter.</p> <p>But don't stop there. Are there existing sources of funding you can use for your new venture? Can you use the cash value of your life insurance policy, sell a little-used second vehicle, or downsize your home? Bootstrapping takes many forms, and if you're serious about avoiding debt, you should also be serious about locating funding.</p> <h2>Seek Out an Investor</h2> <p>This is not a new idea by any means, but it's one that should nonetheless be considered. If you need capital for inventory or equipment, seek out an investor who believes in your idea and is willing to become part owner. This will give you the added cash flow your business needs without going to the bank.</p> <p>You can choose to be as informal as you want, by asking friends and family to invest in your idea, or be more formal by seeking out someone like an angel investor, either through local professional networks, or on websites such as <a href="https://gust.com/">Gust</a>.</p> <p>You have to be willing to take on a partner of course, but working with someone who has deeper pockets than you do could be a real advantage.</p> <h2>Leverage a Day Job</h2> <p>Consider leveraging your current day job while starting your business on the side as a means of generating revenue for your new venture. This is a very smart way to vet out your idea before having the added pressure of making it produce revenue to support itself. Many entrepreneurs choose this route before starting an online business, and essentially use their day job to fund their dream job.</p> <p>This method may take a bit longer to build up, and you'll have to juggle multiple priorities at the same time, but you will be the sole owner of your business and able to build a solid foundation from the beginning.</p> <h2>Try Crowdfunding</h2> <p>If your business venture is an idea for something that people will buy, such as a physical product or a smartphone app, consider crowdfunding as a way to infuse your new idea with the cash it needs to get off the ground. Sites like <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/">Kickstarter</a> and <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/">IndieGoGo</a> are perfect platforms for bringing your new idea to the masses.</p> <p>There have been quite a few ideas brought into the market this way, including everything from video games to watches and beer, that have grossed more than $1 million dollars from crowdfunded pledges.</p> <p>Give your new business the fighting chance it deserves by avoiding taking on debt in the beginning stages. You will learn to streamline your work process and focus on the true priorities while the business grows. Then you can later expand and build upon the foundation you've created.</p> <p><em>Have you launched a business or side business? How'd you pay for it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship freelance funding investors self employment small businesses Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:00:28 +0000 Carrie Smith 1400876 at http://www.wisebread.com Self-Employed? Here's How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_cartoon_apartment_000044030686.jpg" alt="Self-employed couple trying to rent an appartment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there are great benefits to being self-employed, like setting your own hours and working on projects you really enjoy, there are a few downsides to not getting a regular paycheck. Aside from the inconsistent income, you also have the added hurdle of <em>proving </em>your income when you want to move to a new apartment. This is something my husband and I are dealing with, because we both work from home.</p> <p>The standard apartment application includes providing proof of current employment and copies of your latest paycheck stubs. So how do you get approved for a new apartment when you don't have either of those things?</p> <p>Here are a few things to do if you're self-employed and moving to a new place.</p> <h2>1. Seek Out Independent Landlords</h2> <p>Any landlord wants the best tenants to ensure the rent gets paid on time. But larger property management companies often have stricter policies and guidelines for renting to self-employed individuals, so it may be best to avoid the big complexes.</p> <p>Opt for smaller, individually-owned duplexes or triplexes, where you can connect to an independent landlord. Their rules may be a bit more flexible, and allow you to apply for an apartment without a traditional paycheck. It's also a good idea to ask local contacts, friends, or family members if they know of any landlords who are open to self-employed individuals.</p> <p>We have an appointment with a landlord who was introduced by one of our family members, and on top of being lenient with self-employed income, we may also get a discount on our rent because of our connections.</p> <h2>2. Enlist a Real Estate Agent to Help</h2> <p>Of course, a real estate agent can help you <em>buy</em> a new home, but they also come in extremely handy when you're looking to rent an apartment &mdash; particularly in a new city. It's a real estate agent's job to know the local laws, as well as contacts for landlords who accept self-employed applications.</p> <p>They will be able to most effectively help if you share <em>all </em>the information about your work and lifestyle situation. I have a freelancer friend who had a difficult time finding roommates because they didn't want someone working from home all the time. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's because many people view at-home freelancers as lazy or messy.</p> <p>In any case, be up-front with your needs and explain how you work during the day. This will also help you be the most productive if you need a place that's quiet and free of outside distractions.</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Financial Records Organized</h2> <p>There are several things you will likely have to hand over to your landlord or apartment management company during the application process. So it's important that your financial records are accurate and organized.</p> <p>Since you don't have the advantage of simply printing off copies of your latest paycheck stubs or W-2s, you'll most likely need:</p> <ul> <li>Six month's worth of bank statements</li> <li>Three year's worth of tax returns</li> <li>Copies of long-term client contracts or big projects that prove consistent income</li> <li>A healthy savings account that covers at least three month's worth of rent</li> <li>References in writing from previous landlords</li> </ul> <p>If you don't have a lot of extra debt, this will help your case as you become much less of a risk to the landlord. Obviously a few other things that will help are to dress appropriately when meeting the landlord, and sharing any other advantages you bring as a tenant (in my case it's the fact that we don't have kids or pets). Sell them on how great a tenant you are and make them feel good about having you in their apartment.</p> <p>Finding a new apartment is a bit more difficult when you're self-employed, and you'll likely have to save up a bit more money to prove you're financially responsible. However, by using these tips you can find a new place that works for both you and your landlord. Happy apartment hunting!</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to find a new apartment while self-employed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Real Estate and Housing freelance landlords moving renting self employment Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Carrie Smith 1392099 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_computer_000025658945.jpg" alt="Man trying to boost his odds of retiring early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://crr.bc.edu/briefs/the-average-retirement-age-an-update/">average age of retirement</a> stands today at 62 for women and 64 for men. But if you're like many Americans, you'd probably much prefer to have your feet in the sand and a piña colada in hand well before you reach your 60s. No matter your age, it'll be pretty hard to pay for that oceanfront real estate and tiki bar tab if you haven't set aside enough savings.</p> <p>Fortunately, your dreams of a comfortable, early retirement can still come true &mdash; so long as you're willing to do some heavy duty planning, smart saving, and savvy investing. Read on for our roundup of the best tips and tricks for retiring early &mdash; without winning the lottery.</p> <h2>1. Set a Savings Goal</h2> <p>First thing's first: You need to calculate how much money you'll need to stockpile before you can quit your day job. Be forewarned &mdash; it'll likely be a number that will make your jaw drop. But even if it seems totally unattainable, rest assured that it's not. Let's say you'd like to retire at 48 &mdash; a plum 15 years earlier than the average American. Take your pre-retirement income and multiply it by the number of expected years of life you'll have in retirement; in this case, we'll say it's 48 x 31 (this assumes you're going to live to be 79, the average life expectancy for an American).</p> <p>For example, if you're living off a $70,000 salary now, you'll need to save $2.2 million before you can ditch your nine-to-five. On average, retirees spend between 65% and 95% of their<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/fidelity/2015/03/23/are-you-on-track-for-the-retirement-you-want-infographic/?sr_source=lift_polar"> pre-retirement income</a>, so this calculation shoots a little high. But since you very well may live a decade or two longer than the average Joe, it's better to have a bigger cushion than no cushion at all.</p> <h2>2. Live Frugally</h2> <p>If you want to achieve a comfortable, early retirement, one way of getting there is by living frugally. That means forgoing name brand clothing, coupon-less meals at restaurants, salon visits, and airplane travel. Buying used cars only &mdash; or giving up cars, altogether and instead riding a bike or public transit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally?ref=seealso">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally</a>).</p> <p>If this sort of lifestyle sounds foreign to you, you may want to begin by crafting a carefully detailed budget that will set you up to achieve your long-term retirement savings goal. If all of this sounds exactly like the way you don't want to live out your younger years, frugal living as a road to early retirement quite simply may not be for you.</p> <h2>3. Start a Business &mdash; Then Let Someone Else Run It for You</h2> <p>If you've got an entrepreneurial bone in your body, you might want to explore launching your own business as a means of achieving early retirement. Whether it's a food truck or a marketing and consulting firm, the idea is to launch the business and work it until it's profitable enough that you can hire someone else to run the day-to-day operations while you kick back in that beach chair and watch the money pour in. Alternatively, the sale of your business could fund your retirement. Nearly 40% of small business owners say they are <a href="http://www.guardianlife.com/glife11pp/groups/camp_internet/@stellent_camp_websites/documents/document/sbo-retirement-readiness.pdf">poised to retire earlier</a> than they had anticipated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think &mdash; Here's How</a>)</p> <h2>4. Get Yourself a Pension</h2> <p>The beauty of the pension plan: It's sort of like earning a salary, only without having to put in the work. And although many industries are phasing out these plans, about one in four large employers still offer some sort of <a href="http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Insights/Newsletters/Americas/Insider/2014/retirement-in-transition-for-the-fortune-500-1998-to-2013">pension to new hires</a>, according to a recent study. At the top of the list are companies in the insurance, utilities, energy, transportation, and food and beverage industries. Government is another sector where pensions are alive and well. Many municipalities still offer firefighters, police officers, and public works employees pensions that include overtime and saved vacation in the final calculation. The result is that some workers can retire with a pension that's <a href="http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Crushed-by-town-pensions-1413396.php">higher than their former salary</a>. Imagine that.</p> <p>Alternatively, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other big-name employers in the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-industries-with-the-best-retirement-benefits/10">information industry</a> offer workers an average retirement benefit contribution of $2.76 per hour worked. That's huge. Also, these tend to be pretty high-paying jobs, which means employees have more flexibility to make larger contributions to their own retirement savings, in addition to what the company chips in.</p> <h2>5. Make Smart Investments</h2> <p>The best time to start investing is now. Case in point: If you start maxing out your IRA contributions at age 25, you will have saved $1.6 million by the time you're 70. But if you were to start at 35, you'd save about half that sum. Clearly, a few years can make a huge difference. Now, if you're not investment savvy, there are tons of tools available to help you figure out where to put your money.</p> <p>One of the best and easiest is an automated investment advisor, such as FutureAdvisor, that specializes in retirement planning. With <a href="https://www.futureadvisor.com/">FutureAdvisor</a>, you can get your 401(k), IRA, and other accounts analyzed, plus receive recommendations on how to improve your existing investments &mdash; absolutely free of charge. Then, if you're impressed with the results and want to hire FutureAdvisor as your investment manager, there's a monthly fee of either $9 or $19, depending on the value of your assets. Rest assured, all of FutureAdvisor's investment recommendations are made with the goal of setting you up for the most comfortable retirement years possible.</p> <p><em>What other steps are you taking to ensure an early retirement?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-facts-millennials-should-know-about-retirement-planning">5 Facts Millennials Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">12 Surprising Things Women Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-saving-for-retirement-at-40">How to Start Saving for Retirement at 40+</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Investment Retirement 401(k) pensions savings Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:00:42 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1379696 at http://www.wisebread.com 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-pitfalls-that-can-bloat-a-home-office-budget">7 Pitfalls That Can Bloat a Home Office Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client">11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses">Outsourcing Your Life, and Creating New Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jacob-mcmillen">Jacob McMillen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-money-as-a-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client">11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-business-plan-by-answering-4-simple-questions">Create a Business Plan by Answering 4 Simple Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unnecessary-household-expenses-you-can-cut-today">7 Unnecessary Household Expenses You Can Cut Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-money-as-a-small-business">8 Smart Ways to Save Money as a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-tools-that-create-hours-of-free-time-a-week">9 Tools That Create Hours of Free Time a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-using-skype-to-keep-in-touch-with-family-and-coworkers">Why I Love Using Skype to Keep in Touch With Family and Coworkers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses">Outsourcing Your Life, and Creating New Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <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">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business">The Real Deal: What to Expect When Starting Your Own Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-tips-to-good-business-management">Six Tips to Good Business Management</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><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></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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="/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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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