entrepreneur http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6106/all en-US How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24 http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern-businesswoman-470761315-small.jpg" alt="modern businesswoman" title="modern businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More than 70% of graduates finish college with debt, at an average level of almost <a href="http://projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-data.php">$30,000 per student</a>. The <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/specialfeatures/2013/08/07/how-the-college-debt-is-crippling-students-parents-and-the-economy/">national student debt level</a> has reached $1.2 trillion and a staggering 7 million borrowers have already defaulted on their loans. With so many adults seeing their debt situation as helpless, it was refreshing to come across a young borrower who managed to pay off her hefty $40,000 student debt burden in just a few years.</p> <p>A $40,000 debt load put Michelle Schroeder in the top 10% of borrowers. Even with a loan burden substantially higher than most young graduates, she was able to return her debt by the time she was just 24 years old. &quot;It was hard but it paid off in the end,&quot; says Schroeder. &quot;It's the best feeling ever. I don't have to submit a $1,000 payment every month for something I don't see.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-emergency-fund-and-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso">How to Balance Saving for Retirement, Emergency Fund, and Retiring Debt</a>)</p> <p>Schroeder concedes that her journey wasn't easy, but that anyone can do it, if they really want to. To reach her goal and pay off her debt, Schroeder took three simple steps. Read on to discover how you can follow in her tracks.</p> <h2>1. A Financial Assessment</h2> <p>When Schroeder reviewed her personal balance sheet, she didn't like what she saw. &quot;I didn't want to be one of those people with $40,000 in student loan debt when their kids are going to college,&quot; she said. &quot;I just wanted to be done with it. I made a crazy action plan to have it paid off within the year.&quot; Schroeder admits it can be scary to add up 10 different student loans and realize how much they total. Even so, she knew she'd have to face up to her reality before she could create a game plan and start to pay her burden off.</p> <p>According to Schroeder, this is a step anyone can take, and yet many don't. &quot;A lot of people are afraid to look at the total or they're just not interested in doing the work to pay it off right now.&quot; Even so, it's not a difficult task, once you bulldoze past the psychological barriers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-money-worries-are-holding-you-back-heres-what-to-do?ref=seealso">Your Money Worries Are Holding You Back &mdash; Here's What to Do</a>)</p> <h2>2. A Decrease in Spending</h2> <p>Schroeder's first line of attack was to figure out where she could scale back. She cut her gym membership, dropped her cable TV package, and scaled down her food budget. She also took on mystery shopping work, which would often fund dinners, snacks, and other perks. She received an annual bonus that she used to fund her emergency savings account and further reduce her debt. All together, she was bringing home $5,000 per month in salary and was cutting costs wherever she could.</p> <p>Anyone can develop their own cost cutting strategies by identifying areas of excess consumption. To target where to reduce spending, check out an online tracking service like Mint or Quicken. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today?ref=seealso">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a>)</p> <h2>3. An Increase in Income</h2> <p>Schroeder was already doing more to decrease her debt burden than many borrowers but even so, she wanted to speed up her debt repayment pace. To make a real dent in her burden, she started looking into ways to boost her income.</p> <p>She got creative and took on a boarder, which brought in an extra $300 &mdash; $400 per month. She next started a side business, first as a virtual assistant, later as a staff writer, and finally as a blogger and website consultant at <a href="http://www.makingsenseofcents.com">Making Sense of Cents</a>. &quot;I wasn't making much money for the first one to two years,&quot; she says of her online business. &quot;Plus, I sacrificed a lot like hanging out with my friends and watching TV. Instead, I focused on growing my business.&quot;</p> <p>Between her day job and side gigs, Schroeder worked 100 hours per week for three years straight. Her small side income grew and she eventually was paying $5,000 per month toward her student loan debt. In the final month, she wiped out her emergency savings account to pay the $10,000 remaining student loan balance.</p> <p>According to Schroeder, anyone can build a side income, regardless of skill set. Her suggestions include a part-time job in a retail store, walking dogs, babysitting, or starting a business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-earn-more-money-heres-how/?ref=seealso">You CAN Earn More Money &mdash; Here's How</a>)</p> <p>Last year, once her loans were repaid in full, Schroeder left her day job. She now lives off of what was once a side income, and works from home. When asked why more people don't take a fast-track approach to paying off their debt, Schroeder chalked it up to societal expectations. &quot;It's not normal to pay student loans off fast,&quot; she says. &quot;People consider it good debt and they're fine with it because everyone else has them.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Most people can pay their loans off within a couple of years if they try really hard,&quot; she says. For her, the upfront work was worth it. &quot;Life's not as stressful, now that I don't have student loans,&quot; she says.</p> <p><em>Are you burdened by a mountain of debt? How do you plan to eliminate it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">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/this-recent-grad-paid-off-34k-in-sudent-loans-and-launched-a-business-in-just-4-years">This Recent Grad Paid Off $34K in Student Loans and Launched a Business (In Just 4 Years)</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/how-one-college-graduate-paid-off-28000-in-three-years-on-a-30k-salary">How One College Graduate Paid Off $28,000 in Three Years on a $30K Salary</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/how-this-single-income-family-found-financial-freedom-in-just-27-months">How This Single-Income Family Found Financial Freedom in Just 27 Months</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/how-one-couple-paid-off-147k-of-debt-even-while-unemployed">How One Couple Paid Off $147k of Debt (Even While Unemployed)</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-one-inspiring-couple-paid-off-48000-in-25-years">How One Inspiring Couple Paid Off $48,000 in 2.5 Years</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting debt repayment debt stories entrepreneur personal finance side gig student loans Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1245576 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Business Blogs that Can Boost Your Bottom Line http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-business-blogs-that-can-boost-your-bottom-line <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-business-blogs-that-can-boost-your-bottom-line" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-business-blogs-that-can-boost-your-bottom-li...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-business-blogs-that-can-boost-your-bottom-line" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012013608Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt, reading blogs can be a dangerous time sink if you&rsquo;re not careful. But devoting 10 minutes a day to scanning a few well-selected ones &mdash; in addition to those you&rsquo;ve already discovered on the OPEN Forum &ndash; is a great way to stay on top of trends that you can&rsquo;t afford to ignore in your business. Here are some good ones to bookmark.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.babson.edu/facultyblog/"><b>Entrepreneurial Thought in Action</b></a>. Written by the faculty at Babson College &mdash; one of the nation&rsquo;s leading schools for entrepreneurs &mdash; this well-edited blog will keep you in touch with interesting case studies, insights on the secret sauce that makes some business owners so successful, what Washington policy means for entrepreneurs, and more. Reading it is like getting the best tidbits from an MBA program without having to sit in a lecture hall.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/running_small_business/"><b>The New Entrepreneur</b></a>. This newsy blog from <i>Bloomberg Businessweek</i> will keep you abreast of key developments that are likely to have a direct impact on your company. It also delves into interesting side issues. One recent post covered new findings on dyslexia and entrepreneurs, a subject of perennial interest in the business community.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://lifehacker.com/"><b>Lifehacker</b></a><b>. </b>You already know that maximizing every working hour is essential if you run a small business and want to have a semblance of a personal life. Lifehacker's Shortcut of the Day, focused on tech, is a great resource to help you maximize your time at the computer. One recent tip: How to use keyboard commands to call up your browser, so you don&rsquo;t have to click on your desktop or type in the web address.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/"><b>Freakonomics</b></a>. Looking for insightful answers to questions like how much political lobbying contributed to the financial crisis &ndash; or whether the Fed is responsible for higher oil prices? Then this lively blog is a must-read. At the very least, it&rsquo;ll leave you well prepared for your next cocktail party debate or panel discussion.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.garywhitehill.com/blog/"><b>Gary Whitehill</b></a><b>. </b>Gary is the young entrepreneur behind New York Entrepreneur Week. Covering topics ranging from how to embrace your inner critic to the unanticipated challenges of bootstrapping, he draws on his experience with a wide spectrum of startups to offer interesting advice and inspiration. If you&rsquo;re feeling worn out and jaded, log on for a jolt of youthful energy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-business-blogs-that-can-boost-your-bottom-line">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</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/best-business-travel-credit-cards">Best Business Travel Credit Cards</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-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business blogs business news entrepreneur freakonomics gary whitehill lifehacker small business trends Wed, 15 Jun 2011 18:14:43 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 559431 at http://www.wisebread.com Veteran Business Owners Benefit from a Marketing Makeover http://www.wisebread.com/veteran-business-owners-benefit-from-a-marketing-makeover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/veteran-business-owners-benefit-from-a-marketing-makeover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/military.jpg" alt="Military" title="Military" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Military members have access to an array of benefits and opportunities earned by their service. Credibility and marketability in the business world just happens to be an added bonus.</p> <p>There are more than 25 million veterans nationwide. Those who become entrepreneurs and small business owners can use their military service as a springboard to new customers and repeat clients. About 7 in 10 Americans would rather patronize a veteran-owned business than one owned by a civilian, according to the National Veteran-Owned Business Association, or NaVOBA.</p> <p>But scores of veterans fail to capitalize on the power of their stories and service. Part of it may be an unwillingness or uncertainty about touting that record. In other cases, it's simply an awareness issue. The reality is that veteran-owned business owners who take steps to tout their backgrounds can reap significant rewards, from government contracts to increased industry recognition.</p> <p>For some, it's a matter of seeking certification and official declarations. But for thousands of others, the key is a basic shift in the way they present their business to the world.</p> <h3>Veteran Contractors</h3> <p>Veterans who own small contracting firms should strongly consider registering with the Department of Veterans Affairs. As with having a minority- or woman-owned business, a veteran-owned business has access to a dedicated pool of federal contracts.</p> <p>The VA coordinates an <a href="http://www.vip.vetbiz.gov/">official registration process</a> that includes verification of a veteran's military service. The base requirements are that a veteran must own at least 51 percent of the company or its stock and directly control the daily operations. Along with that comes a long, hard look at the business's finances, management structure, inventory, tax documents and other key data.</p> <p>Now, not every small contractor is in a position to compete for large government contracts. But those that are can boost their chances by obtaining formal certification as a veteran-owned business. There's also a special certification class for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Veterans with a documented disability rating have access to their own pool of contracts, which the government is required to set aside.</p> <p>Small contractors must also register with the government's main contracting clearinghouse, the <a href="https://www.bpn.gov/ccr/">Central Contractor Registration</a>.</p> <h3>Veteran-Only Business Loans</h3> <p>Veterans who qualify have perhaps the most potent home loan program on the market: the VA Loan Guaranty program. But you can't use a <a href="http://valoans.vamortgagecenter.com/">VA home loan</a> to purchase a commercial building or inject capital into a business.</p> <p>To help cover the gap, the U.S. Small Business Administration created a pilot program that provides funding for veterans seeking to start or expand small businesses. The <a href="http://www.sba.gov/patriotexpress/">Patriot Express loan program</a> offers low-interest loans for up to $500,000, which can be used for a host of purposes, including equipment purchases, working capital and real-estate buys.</p> <h3>Small Steps, Major Impact</h3> <p>Veterans outside the construction sector might still want to take the time to register with the VA. Consider it the first step in a marketing makeover designed to broadcast your service record and credibility.</p> <p>But there's certainly no requirement if you're more of a mom-and-pop operation. What's essential, though, is making sure prospective and existing consumers clearly understand they're dealing with a veteran-owned operation. That might include revamping your suite of marketing materials and signage &mdash; both brick-and-mortar and online &mdash; to incorporate that &quot;veteran-owned business&quot; tagline. Embrace it in emails, mailers and promotions. Heck, don't be afraid to mention it when you answer the phone.</p> <p>This isn't about &quot;cashing in&quot; on a veteran's proud service. This is about recognizing and celebrating it.</p> <p>American consumers are clamoring for the chance to support veterans and their families. Why not make it easier for them to do so?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/veteran-business-owners-benefit-from-a-marketing-makeover">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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your 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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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/business-plan-basics">Business Plan Basics</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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</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 entrepreneur marketing for veterans military business owner veteran business owners Thu, 05 Aug 2010 13:24:22 +0000 Debbie Dragon 196105 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computerlab.jpg" alt="apply online" title="computer lab" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;">Previously, this series for finding freelance jobs covered what you needed to do to prepare yourself for freelance life in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one">Part One</a>; where to find the clients in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">Part Two</a>; and in the last article of this series - I'll give you some tips for actually applying or bidding on the freelance jobs you find.</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>How to Apply or Bid for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Applying for freelance work is an art form in itself &ndash; once you master the techniques, you'll be on your way to a thriving freelance business. Applying for work on job sites and contacting potential clients directly involves a different process than bidding for work on freelance bidding sites.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Bidding for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">When you use a freelance bidding site to &ldquo;bid&rdquo; on jobs, you are rarely asked to provide a complete resume. The trick is to sum up your abilities and answer any questions their job specifications indicate within a paragraph or two as you are placing your bid. A sample bid response for a freelance writing job involving writing 10 articles for a blog about fish that are due on March 15</span></span></font><sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">th</span></span></font></sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"> might read something like this:</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-left: 0.99in; margin-right: 0.99in; margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">I am a freelance writer and fish enthusiast &ndash; I would love to write 10 articles for your blog on the topic of fish. I can write and deliver ten 100% unique articles on or before March 15</span></i></font><sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">th</span></i></font></sup><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">, completely free from plagiarism. They will be spell checked and ready to post to your blog upon receipt. Thank you for your consideration.</span></i></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Notice there isn't a ton of information in a &ldquo;bid&rdquo;. If you have experience directly related to the topic, you might mention that. In this example, if you have an aquarium in your home, or worked for the local fish store, that might spark interest in the buyer because you are already familiar with the topic. In most cases, you can write articles on topics you aren't familiar with simply by doing research, so it's not a requirement for the majority of writing jobs. </font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">The most important aspects to include in a bid for a freelance bidding site are to show you understand the assignment (10 articles before their due date, 100% unique), and to write your bid without typos or spelling errors (particularly if you're applying for writing work!) There are many non-english speaking service providers bidding on the same work (and often at rock bottom prices if the buyer's currency is worth more than the providers currency), but you would be surprised at how many don't take the time to spell check or proof read their bid.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Apply for Work</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">On the other end of the spectrum, when you find assignments posted to job sites or when contacting a potential client directly, you need to use a different strategy for applying. These situations expect more information from you in order to consider you for the work.</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">It's a great idea to create a resume, summary of qualifications, or professional experience document that can be used for all freelance work you apply for. It doesn't have to be boring like the resumes you made as a high school student &ndash; and in fact, it is in your best interest to jazz it up a bit to stand out from among the hundreds of other people who may be applying for the same jobs!</font> &nbsp;Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-noticed-on-craigslist">10 tips for landing a gig online</a>, by Wisebread's Andrea Dickson. &nbsp;These tips are excellent and will help you with your applying or bidding process!</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Use your freelance logo if you have one, and don't be afraid to use decorative fonts for the headings of categories on the document. If you have links to work samples that are accessible online, include a few so the prospective client can click and quickly see something you've worked on. You may want to include a small, professional head shot of yourself as well just to make it a bit more personable.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">When you apply for work, write a &ldquo;cover letter&rdquo; email (or follow the instructions given in the job listing for how to apply), and include your resume or professional experience document. It's a good idea to paste it into the email directly as many businesses will not open email with attachments. You can always include a short note in your closing that you are happy to forward your resume or any other information upon request.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Getting the Job</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">After you start applying and bidding for work, you will start to get responses from the prospective clients. A freelance bidding site is your opportunity to get selected and get the just based on your &ldquo;bid&rdquo; alone; while most freelance jobs from a job site or direct contact will not hire you from your first contact alone. Expect to exchange a few emails and maybe even talk on the phone once or twice before you are selected as the freelancer for the assignment. Be professional with every communication you have with the prospect, and be sure to treat each client as if they will generate hundreds of new jobs for your freelancing business &ndash; because you never know which clients may turn into long term clients or your biggest referral source for new clients.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">When you've gotten your first client and completed your first job &ndash; be sure to follow up with the client to see if he or she has any additional work you could provide. In fact, add the client to a mailing list and make it part of your routine to contact clients once a month or so after you do work for them, just to remind them you are still in business in case they have a need to hire a freelancer again. This is how you turn a one-time client into a repeat client &ndash; which is necessary for<a href="http://empoweringmomblog.com/2008/11/4-ways-to-increase-your-income-as-a-freelancer/"> long term success in the freelance world</a>.</font></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: 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/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/ebay-s-non-paying-bidders">EBay’s Non-Paying Bidders</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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</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/summer-camp-as-a-side-business">Summer Camp as a Side Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship applying for work entrepreneur finding freelance jobs how to land a freelance job Making Extra Cash small business marketing Fri, 15 May 2009 13:55:47 +0000 Debbie Dragon 3153 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business hide.jpg" alt="finding where clients are" title="Hiding Client" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;">Last time, &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one">How to Find Freelance Clients:&nbsp;Part One</a>&quot; discussed some of the things you would need to do to prepare for freelancing.&nbsp; In Part Two of this article, we'll cover where to find the actual clients who pay freelancers.</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><b>Where Your First Client is Hiding</b></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Everyone has a different level of comfort with marketing activities. Some people become freelancers in hopes of not having to deal with the public as is necessary with most other professions. Despite the fact that you might work from your home or a small one-man (or woman) office; you will need to network and market yourself to become successful.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Wouldn't it be nice if there was a rock out there that you could just turn over and find your first client's hiding place?</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Instead, you need to do a little investigation to find your first client; and probably step outside your comfort zone at times.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>Freelance Bidding Sites: </b></i></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">One possible place to find your first client is through the use of freelance bidding sites. These sites are similar to auctions, in that a buyer posts the specifications of the work he or she needs doing; and then multiple service providers/freelancers place &ldquo;bids&rdquo; to complete that work.</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Freelance bidding sites are controversial among the freelance community. Some freelancers swear by them, and get most (or even 100%) of their clients through the use of these websites. Others refuse to use the sites because of the tendency for the work to be on the low end of the pay scale when compared to the freelance industry pricing as a whole.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">As a new freelancer, you might find the bidding sites to be an easy way to land yourself your first client or two, gain a testimonial from a happy client to add to your growing &ldquo;proof&rdquo; pile, and make a few dollars in the process.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Some of the bidding sites are free to use as a service provider, but you'll pay a fee if you land a job through the site (typically a percentage of the project price). Other bidding sites require a membership fee from providers, or a pay-per-bid price.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Take a look at a number of bidding sites to see the types of jobs that are posted, and which bids are being selected as the service provider. Not surprisingly, buyers who use freelance bidding sites are often after the lowest price; but there are buyers who use the sites for convenience and make their selection based on who they feel can provide the best quality within their deadline and price range. When you are reviewing the bidding sites and projects listed, also look to see what the winning bidder is including in their &ldquo;bids&rdquo; - how they are worded, what type of information they include and what they leave out, whether they are well-crafted or casually written introductions about their freelancing skills. Try to model your own bid responses on the style of bids that seem to be winning projects.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Using freelance bidding sites is a bit of a numbers game; you might have to apply for (bid) a number of jobs before you &ldquo;win&rdquo; one. As soon as you win a project, do your best (even if the project pays less than you intend to charge your clients moving forward) as you are starting your reputation as a freelancer with this first client.</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Examples of freelance bidding sites you may want to try:</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><a href="http://www.rentacoder.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.rentacoder.com <u>(I found my first freelance clients here)</u><br /> </span></span></font></a></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.getafreelancer.com/affiliates/DebbieDragon">Getafreelancer.com</a></u></span></font> (affiliate link)</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><u><a href="https://www.upwork.com/">Upwork.com</a></u></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.guru.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.guru.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;">&nbsp;</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>99Designs:</b></i></font> Are you a designer? <a href="http://99Designs.com">99Designs.com</a> is a site which allows prospective customers to request their logos, web design, t shirt designs and other design needs as a contest through the site.&nbsp; You can register for a designer account with 99Designs and start entering your designs to open contests.&nbsp; If chosen, you win the contest fee.</p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>Direct Contact: </b></i></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Use the internet to find businesses who typically use the services you offer. For example, you could contact marketing agencies to offer your graphic design skills for their brochures, business cards, and direct mailings. If you are a web developer, instead of looking for a new business without a web presence to help them get online with a site &ndash; try contacting existing web design businesses that seem to be doing very well to see if they have a need to outsource any of their work. You can make initial contact via email or contact forms on the websites of the businesses you decide to contact &ndash; or you might phone them directly. Both options are free (with the exception of your time) and are very effective for drumming up your first client (as well as finding clients regularly!)</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>Ask Everyone You Know: </b></i></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Don't be afraid to let your friends, family and co-workers know that you're starting a freelance business and ask if they know of anyone who might need your services. Word of mouth and referrals is by far the best type of marketing there is, and these people are all included in your &ldquo;warm market&rdquo;. If a friend refers someone they know to you, you already have the trust of that prospective client simply because their friend referred them. Having the trust of your prospects is key to turning them into paying clients.</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>Try eBay:</b></i></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><b> </b></span></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">eBay.com is not really designed to market yourself as a freelancer, but if you type in &ldquo;freelance&rdquo; in the search box on eBay.com, you'll find a few hundred people who are advertising on eBay. It only cost a few cents to list an ad, so if you can figure out how to present yourself to potential eBay users, you might be able to benefit from the hundreds of thousands of visitors the site receives each week. Keep in mind that most people are visiting eBay to buy products, not services, but there have been freelance writers and graphic designers who have done very well for themselves by adding an auction listing for their work. You can sell web content articles for $10 or $20 a piece; a single logo design for $50 &ndash; whatever service you offer as a freelancer can be listed on the eBay in an auction format. It may not be the best long term strategy for incoming business (although never say never!) but you may be able to find yourself your first client with a little auction posting of your own.</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><i><b>Job Sites: </b></i></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Even though job sites are primarily for full time and part time positions, many online job listing sites include jobs for freelancers; sometimes classified as &ldquo;telecommute&rdquo; or &ldquo;contract work&rdquo;. All of these terms basically mean the same thing &ndash; you're working from your own home or office and you're not considered an employee of the company for tax purposes. Try searching the major job sites and classified listings for jobs that are in your area of expertise and are offered on a contract, telecommute or freelance basis. </span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 150%;"><font face="Arial, sans-serif">Here are a number of sites to help you get started on your search:</font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.craigslist.org/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.craigslist.org</span></span></font></a></u></span></font><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"> (under jobs category for every state and city of the US, you can find your industry and then view the listings for free. Apply to any that are contract or telecommute that you can do).</span></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.creativeheads.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.creativeheads.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.monster.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.monster.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.careerbuilder.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.aboutfreelancewriting.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.freelanceswitch.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.freelanceswitch.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.problogger.net/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.problogger.net</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.allfreelance.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.allfreelance.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.allgraphicdesign.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.webprojobs.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.webprojobs.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.krop.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.krop.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.sologig.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.sologig.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.authenticjobs.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.authenticjobs.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.freshwebjobs.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.freshwebjobs.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.designcrowd.com/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.designcrowd.com</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000080"><span lang="zxx"><u><a href="http://www.freelancers.net/"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-style: normal;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">www.freelancers.net</span></span></font></a></u></span></font></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In &quot;How to Find&nbsp;Freelance Clients:&nbsp;Part 3&quot;, I'll give you some tips for applying for the freelance work found online.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</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/when-being-an-entrepreneur-isnt-sexy">When Being an Entrepreneur Isn&#039;t Sexy</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship entrepreneur freelance clients freelancing Making Extra Cash marketing small business Wed, 13 May 2009 14:20:10 +0000 Debbie Dragon 3152 at http://www.wisebread.com The Entrepreneurial Spirit and the Economic Crunch http://www.wisebread.com/the-entrepreneurial-spirit-in-an-economic-crunch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-entrepreneurial-spirit-in-an-economic-crunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/511298198_773b196368.jpg" alt="First Entrepreneurial Five Dollars " title="First Entrepreneurial Five Dollars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="231" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you thinking about starting your own business but concerned about the economy? Feeling the pull of being your own boss but wondering if that could possibly be a good decision under the current circumstances? Then you'll be relieved to find out that 92% of existing entrepreneurs say they'd have started their business regardless of the economic climate, or so say Ernst &amp; Young's Entrepreneur of the Year finalists and winners.</p> <p>But how do you do it? What do you need to do to make a new business work during an economic crunch? I talked to some people who've started businesses within the last year, and this is what they have to say.</p> <p><strong>Look On the Bright Side</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, it's better to be on your own when the economy's down than it is to be part of a company. Len Porcano, of <a href="http://novisi.com/" title="Novisi">Novisi</a>, remembered the last time the economy had a downturn and his company cut 2/3 of their workforce. This time, slowing economic conditions actually motivated him to go out on his own because he felt like he had a better chance of maintaining income if he &quot;could respond [himself] more quickly to where opportunities developed in a weakened economic landscape.&quot;</p> <p>Being an entrepreneur can also allow you more room to learn from your mistakes. As long as you have some income to count on, you can try new things and &quot;see very little whiplash from mistakes,&quot; says Philip Tepfer, whose sailing-and-regatta clothing company, <a href="http://www.sailproud.com/" title="Sail(Proud)">Sail(Proud)</a>, has found success in the current market. He sees the ability to make mistakes on the small scale and learn from them as a luxury, and one that larger companies don't have.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Know Your Strengths</strong></p> <p>Knowing where you're strong is the first step toward knowing how to position yourself when the economy tanks. Philip realized that Sail(Proud) is at an advantage because they're &quot;a small, agile entrepreneurial company. We don't have high payroll expenses, HR costs,&nbsp;enormous&nbsp;marketing fees, and the like.&quot; Their size and agility allows them to dodge 'n roll in situations where larger corporations would have to take the hit.</p> <p>Jesse Levin and Danielle Caro found that integral parts of their original business plans gave them a leg up in the current climate. Jesse designed <a href="http://www.archergroupinvestments.com/page/home" title="The Archer Group">The Archer Group</a> to specifically &quot;cater to clients looking to invest in the emerging markets.&quot; This gives him an advantage in the current economic climate, when traditional markets are struggling. Danielle, who founded the marketing and design firm <a href="http://foxandgazelle.com/" title="Fox &amp; Gazelle">Fox &amp; Gazelle</a>, intentionally designed her business processes to be efficient and streamlined. This keeps her overhead low even when the economy is strong and becomes a huge asset when it's weak.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Leverage Your Strength</strong></p> <p>If you know your strengths, you can figure out how to use them to your advantage. While streamlining processes &quot;was a core aspect of our business plan from the start,&quot; Danielle says, it &quot;is only made more relevant by this environment.&quot; The pared-down processes are not only an advantage she can offer clients, but they also allow her to invest much of her profit back into the business.</p> <p>Sometimes, it's possible to structure your company so it will not only survive but will also thrive in adverse economic conditions. Len realized that, as companies were downsizing and not rehiring for other positions, they needed a less expensive way to fill those gaps and get those jobs done. He positioned his company to step in and handle that &quot;extra&quot; work, and thus made his business particularly viable during a recession.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Regroup</strong></p> <p>When Philip saw that he wasn't going to be able to rely on retail sales like he'd hoped, he immediately came up with other markets for his merchandise. Knowing that even the giants of retail are suffering right now, he sought out other markets. &quot;We still do retail sales,&quot; he says, &quot;but now we're seeing much more&nbsp;positive&nbsp;results from our yacht club, regatta, event, boat show, and corporate sales.&quot; While his ultimate goal is still the retail market, he's ok taking it slow for now.</p> <p>Regrouping doesn't always mean selling your product in different place or to different people. Christopher Jacobs points out that strategically adding services can make a huge difference when you're starting out during an economic slump. His company, <a href="http://www.emergentenergygroup.com/home/" title="Emergent Energy Group">Emergent Energy Group</a>, found that many municipalities needed their cheaper, cleaner energy solutions even more as finances became tighter, but often didn't have the resources for an intitial investment in doing energy differently. They changed their approach, he says, &quot;in that we offered a service to write grant applications.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Remember Your Motivation</strong></p> <p>Starting a business is often hard, and requires even more of a committment when the economy is rough. When you can remember why you wanted to work on your own in the first place, though, all that hard work is worth it. Several of the entrepreneurs I spoke with don't want to work in a traditional office environment. Others relished the challenge of starting a business when times are rough. Still others saw an opportunity and decided to take it, wanting to get in before anyone else did even if it meant extra hours and some lean times. Whatever your motivation, keeping your reasons before you, even writing them out and putting them where you'll look at them often, will help you when you wonder if you were suffering from temporary insanity when you gave in to the entrepreneurial bug.</p> <p>Whether you start your business soon or wait for an economic upswing is up to you. Knowing that others are making it, though, can make all the difference in the world. If you're starting a business, thinking of starting a business, or waiting until things change, leave a comment. I'd love to hear your story and the thoughts behind your decision!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-entrepreneurial-spirit-in-an-economic-crunch">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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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/business-plan-basics">Business Plan Basics</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-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship entrepreneur entrepreneurial endeavors entrepreneurial spirit Mon, 10 Nov 2008 16:42:45 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2570 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ben franklins.jpg" alt="one hundred dollar bills" title="one hundred dollar bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Former kid entrepreneur, co-founder of <a title="http://www.icontact.com/" href="http://www.icontact.com/">iContact</a> (a leading on-demand email marketing service) while an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and now Chief Executive Officer of iContact, Ryan Allis, has lots of ideas for getting money to grow a business. He&rsquo;s got real-world experience, which he shares in his book<a title="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071496661/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20" href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071496661/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20"> <em>Zero to One Million: How I Built A Company to $1 Million in Sales... And How You Can, Too</em>.</a></p> <p>Using Ryan's&nbsp;expertise as a guide, here are&nbsp;ways, simple to sophisticated, to get money for your business:</p> <p>Former kid entrepreneur, co-founder of <a title="http://www.icontact.com/" href="http://www.icontact.com/">iContact</a> (a leading on-demand email marketing service) while an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and now Chief Executive Officer of iContact, Ryan Allis, has lots of ideas for getting money to grow a business. He&rsquo;s got real-world experience, which he shares in his book<a title="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071496661/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20" href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071496661/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20"> <em>Zero to One Million: How I Built A Company to $1 Million in Sales... And How You Can, Too</em>.</a></p> <p>Using Ryan's&nbsp;expertise as a guide, here are&nbsp;ways, simple to sophisticated, to get money for your business:</p> <ol> <li>Use money from a regular job, part-time job, one-time gig, or contract work.</li> <li>Generate cash from your business and re-invest it (also known as bootstrapping).</li> <li>Get a personal loan from family members or friends (iContact bought server equipment through a loan from a friend).</li> <li>Request a loan using <a title="http://www.prosper.com/help/topics/borrower-create_loan_listing.aspx" href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27132/994">Prosper</a>.</li> <li>Set up a credit line with corporate credit cards (iContact has 2 credit cards with a combined $160,000 of credit available).</li> <li>Use personal credit cards (I know someone who funded her business, a chain of tanning salons, with credit cards. She paid teaser rates only and kept track of when promotional offers ended, and when she needed to find a new card.)</li> <li>Borrow from your bank or credit union, getting a secured loan using your personal assets (such as your home) as collateral.</li> <li>Get a loan secured by business assets such as inventory, real estate, or equipment.</li> <li>Find a co-signer for a loan if you don&rsquo;t have assets to use as collateral.</li> <li>Get a bank loan backed or guaranteed by the <a title="http://www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/sbaloantopics/index.html" href="http://www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/sbaloantopics/index.html">Small Business Administration</a>; also see this&nbsp;<a title="//www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_29/b3741632.htm" href="//www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/01_29/b3741632.htm">article on SBA-backed loans</a> from <em>Business Week</em>.&nbsp;(iContact got a credit line from Bank of America backed by the SBA.)</li> <li><a title="http://factoring.qlfs.com/html/what_is_receivables_factoring_.html" href="http://factoring.qlfs.com/html/what_is_receivables_factoring_.html">Factor your accounts receivable</a>; that is sell your unpaid invoices to a factor who will pay you part of what you are owed now, and more when the full amount is collected, less a fee,&nbsp;helping your cash to flow.</li> <li>Structure a <a title="http://www.businessownersideacafe.com/financing/convertible_debt.php" href="http://www.businessownersideacafe.com/financing/convertible_debt.php">convertible debt deal</a>. This <a title="http://www.inc.com/magazine/19950201/2159.html" href="http://www.inc.com/magazine/19950201/2159.html">Inc. article describes how a software company owner designed a deal</a> that paid its lenders a guaranteed interest rate and then paid back the principal after 5 years if the debt had not been converted to an ownership stake in the company. (iContact raised $500,000&nbsp;by issuing&nbsp;convertible debt through a deal with <a title="http://www.ncidea.org/" href="http://www.ncidea.org/">NC IDEA</a>).</li> <li>Work with a venture bank such as <a title="https://www.square1financial.com/creditsolutions" href="https://www.square1financial.com/creditsolutions">Square 1 Bank</a>&nbsp;or <a title="http://www.svb.com/svbank/ " href="http://www.svb.com/svbank/">Silicon Valley Bank</a>. These banks may offer a variety of funding methods and tend to work with companies that have strong potential for explosive growth and profitability. (iContact has a $1 million credit line with Square 1 Bank).</li> <li>Issue <a title="http://www.sec.gov/answers/bondcrp.htm" href="http://www.sec.gov/answers/bondcrp.htm">corporate bonds</a>. A company may structure its own deal with a stated interest rate and term length, and then sell the debt instrument to investors.</li> <li>Find <a title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_investor" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_investor">angel investors</a> or a <a title="http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/FX102516451033.aspx" href="http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/FX102516451033.aspx">network of angel investors</a>&nbsp;who will give you money in exchange for a equity in your business (common stock or preferred stock).</li> <li>Raise capital from a venture capital (VC)&nbsp;firm. This process requires much dialogue and culminates in a term sheet or details of the agreement prepared by the VC firm and a valuation of the company, which will ultimately determine the percentage ownership the VC firm will have in your business. (iContact received $5.35 million in funds from <a title="http://www.updatapartners.com/interior_portfoliocompanies.asp " href="http://www.updatapartners.com/interior_portfoliocompanies.asp">Updata Partners</a>.)</li> </ol> <p>Ryan&nbsp;recommends starting the getting-money process&nbsp;by preparing a business plan and pro forma&nbsp;financial statements&nbsp;(projections of profit &amp; loss statements and cash flow). The financial information gives business owners, lenders, and investors an idea of how much money&nbsp;is needed, what the&nbsp;money will be used for, the projected return, and how&nbsp;much risk is involved.&nbsp;</p> <p>The&nbsp;amount of money&nbsp;needed is a key factor in deciding the approach for finding money: for example (according to a table in the book), if you're looking for $1,000 to $25,000, then you'll likely get a bank loan or money from friends; if you need $25,000 to $250,000, a bank loan or angel investors are the way to go; if you need $250,000 to $1 million, go&nbsp;to a&nbsp;small VC firm or a network of angel investors; for more than $1 million, see a&nbsp;VC firm. All of these techniques require building solid relationships over a period of time and being able to demonstrate that you know what you're doing.</p> <p><em>Note:&nbsp;I received</em> Zero to One Million <em>in exchange for a book review.&nbsp;This post focuses on one chapter, &quot;Raise Funding or Bootstrap.&quot;&nbsp;Ryan shares general business principles but also provides insight into what it takes to build a high-value technology company.&nbsp;Fairly complex ideas, such as pre-money valuations of&nbsp;companies seeking venture capital,&nbsp;are covered but the book&nbsp;is easy to read and written in a conversational manner.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-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-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/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips</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/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</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-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</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/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</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-three-f-rule-can-lead-you-to-happiness">The Three F Rule Can Lead You to Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship angel investors business loan entrepreneur factoring NC IDEA venture capital Zero to One Million Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:26:38 +0000 Julie Rains 2168 at http://www.wisebread.com If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smart-but-not-rich.jpg" alt="Smart but not rich" title="Smart but Not Rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&#39;t hear it much any more, but for a long time, &quot;If you&#39;re so smart, why aren&#39;t you rich&quot; was a pretty effective line for the average Joe when dealing with somebody who was smarter than him.  The expression has kind of fallen out of fashion lately.  Nowadays, there are too many rich smart people.</p> <p>The line worked because, for most of history, being smart wasn&#39;t really a big advantage in becoming rich.  Aside from things like inheriting/marrying wealth, or winning the lottery, there are basically two paths to wealth:</p> <p>Option #1 is the &quot;millionaire next door&quot; way to wealth:  live below your means, save and invest, and let compound interest and the natural growth in the markets work its magic.  If you do this--and  you live long enough--you&#39;ll eventually be wealthy.</p> <p>Option #2 is to be an entrepreneur:  find some need, and then create a product or service that can satisfy it at a profit.  Unlike living frugally and saving, this is not a sure way to wealth.  Many new businesses go broke.  Many of the rest muddle along making less money than the owner could have made working a regular job.  But lots of entrepreneurs make good profits and a few become wealthy.</p> <p>The downside to option #1 has always been that it took too long.  Unless you lived very frugally indeed, it could take 30 or 40 years to turn an ordinary salary into real wealth.  (Even then, success depends on living long enough--and if bad luck or bad choices pushed your income down, your expenses up, or weighed on your investment returns, &quot;long enough&quot; could turn out to be longer than you&#39;ve got.)</p> <p>So, for most of history, option #2 has always been the way to go if you wanted to be wealthy.  But being an entrepreneur took a certain set of personality traits--a set that notably doesn&#39;t include being smart, but includes things like a tolerance for risk, a burning desire for wealth, a thick skin, and a willingness to put running the business ahead of other interests (like hobbies, friends, and family).</p> <p>Over the past generation, the &quot;knowledge economy&quot; has made intelligence a bigger advantage than it used to be.  Besides the dotcom boom (which made it possible for people with only a modest entrepreneurial bent to get rich following option #2), it&#39;s been possible over the past couple of decades to accelerate option #1 as well:  an ordinary smart person, working at an ordinary good-paying job, has been able to support a family at an ordinary middle-class standard of living, and have enough of a surplus for saving and investing to become modestly wealthy in a decade or two.  (Of course, lots of smart people failed to do so, but that&#39;s just because smart people are as prone as dumb people to suffer from the natural human inclination to let the cost of living rise to whatever one&#39;s income will support.)</p> <p>Smart people of the world:  This is your shining hour.  There&#39;s no telling how long just being smart will translate into the kind of income advantage smart people have enjoyed these past couple of decades.  This is very much a &quot;get while the getting is good&quot; kind of situation.  Don&#39;t miss it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich">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/how-to-get-rich-by-being-evil">How to get rich by being evil</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/the-surprising-true-source-of-wealth-creation-that-you-probably-already-have">The Surprising True Source of Wealth Creation (That You Probably Already Have)</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/book-review-rich-like-them-by-ryan-dagostino">Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D&#039;Agostino</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/what-does-being-rich-mean-to-you-anyway">What Does Being Rich Mean to You Anyway?</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/tactics-of-the-rich">Tactics of the rich</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living entrepreneur millionaire rich risk smart wealth Fri, 21 Mar 2008 19:01:50 +0000 Philip Brewer 1939 at http://www.wisebread.com Augment Your Income By Going To Nightclubs http://www.wisebread.com/augment-your-income-by-going-to-nightclubs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/augment-your-income-by-going-to-nightclubs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lineup.JPG" alt="Lineup" title="Lineup" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Execution is the key to successful business. Good money-making ideas are rampant, but it's the people who actually take the time and energy to execute those ideas that are the world's next entrepreneurial geniuses. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>If you like going to night clubs and are a decent schmoozer, here's a potentially big money-making idea for you. It has a capital investment of nothing but time, patience and charm, and a potential payout of a few thousand dollars a weekend: </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Your job is initially that of a survey conductor. (Or if you're really resourceful you have lackeys - I mean friends - conduct the surveys for or with you). Either way, the people you are surveying are those standing in line for nightclubs. They don't have much else to do, and you can make answering a few questions worth their while (and yours). </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Approach them by saying that you organize killer parties in nightclubs, and are conducting a quick survey to see what sorts of events people would attend. You can make up your own survey, but the general things you want to determine are: </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><em>What kind of music do they like? (ie: latin, hard rock, alternative, hip hop, etc)</em></span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><em>What night of the week do they most prefer to go out? </em></span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>And here's the big question: <em>If you were to contact them by email with a special invite to a party that fits their interest at a wicked bar, would they consider going?</em> If they are game, get their email address. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>That's it. Just keep the survey quick and easy, so you can work your way through a line-up without troubling anybody too long and you can get lots of feedback. The big thing is you want to get email addresses, so make your pitch quick and compelling. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Here's the rub: You will need a lot of survey responses before you can go to the next step. Thousands would be good. So your initial investment in this idea is going to cost you (and hopefully your lackey friends too) a number of weekends. At least the surveys are quick and easy, and you can work your way through a 30 person line-up in no time. One night can bring in hundreds of email addresses if you turn on the right charms and work the crowd effectively. And even better, you're already downtown so once you're tired of doing surveys head into a club to relax and let loose!</span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>You'll also need to compile all your survey answers into a database or spreadsheet of sorts; another reason to keep the survey down to two or three questions. Once you have done this, you now officially have a party invite list that bar owners would kill for. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Your next step into the world of entrepreneurial splendour is to connect your party-goers with the right bar owners.</span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Let's say that you have 500 people who like Latin music and Friday nights. Approach a small bar (ideally one that already has a Latin theme to it, and possibly one that is either new and trying to establish a clientele, or one that is suffering and needs a boost), and ask to speak to the owner or manager.</span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>***An aside about speaking to anybody in the service industry: Do not, (read: NEVER) ask to speak to a bar owner during busy hours. The downtime for most bars and restaurants is in the mid to late afternoon. That is when the owner is most likely to be hanging around and available to chat with you. If he or she isn't around, get their name and ask when a good time to drop by will be.***</span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Once you are in front of the owner of this club, introduce yourself as a party/event co-ordinator (or whatever cool hard-hitting title suits your fancy) and that you have a database of over 500 pretty people at your fingertips who love Latin music on Friday nights. You would be happy to co-ordinate a Friday night at their establishment in a few weeks and pack the place if he or she is interested. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>What's in it for them? They will have a full house that night and probably get some new regulars out of it. If it's a new or struggling bar, this will be music to their ears. </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>What's in it for you? Either a cut of the bar sales, or the cover fee at the door. You can work out the proper compensation that suits you both with the bar owner. (If they charge a paltry $2 cover fee and 500 people come over the night, you just pocketed $1,000). </span></p> <p><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Last step: After you have figured out a date for the party, send an attention-grabbing invite to your 500 Latin music lovers about a special party they are invited to as part of an elite crowd. Not all of them will show up, but a percentage of them will and they'll bring friends, in addition to the regular crowd at that bar. This will make for a fun-filled night for everybody and a tidy sum of money for both you and the bar owner. Everybody Wins! </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/augment-your-income-by-going-to-nightclubs">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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</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/seven-ways-to-get-free-shipping-supplies">Seven Ways to Get Free Shipping Supplies</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/easy-weekend-business-sell-used-books">Easy weekend business: sell used books</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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> business entrepreneur Making Extra Cash money making ideas surveys Mon, 27 Aug 2007 07:09:58 +0000 Nora Dunn 1051 at http://www.wisebread.com To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate http://www.wisebread.com/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/561310701_a35d89ab27_m.jpg" alt="Hardworking Ant" title="Hardworking Ant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="180" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it: most of us have ideas that we think might sell. And most of us think we'd love to work for ourselves. But is that really a good idea? Here are 10 things to consider if you're thinking of starting your own business.</p> <p>1. Do you care?</p> <p>Ok, so you have a good idea that might make some money, and you envision yourself conducting business by cell phone while watching the waves roll by in Fiji, but do you actually care? Do you want to make people's lives better, easier, more fulfilling, whatever, though your new business? If you don't care, you'll run out of steam before the long haul of starting a business even gets started.</p> <p>2. Do you have what it takes?</p> <p>The reality of the entrepreneur's life is, well...craziness. Long hours. Disappointments. Patience even when the bills are piling up. Basically, investing all of yourself and much of your future in the public's response to a product. If you don't have the persistence, the blasted stick-with-it-ness to keep going no matter what, you might sink when the first hard time comes.</p> <p>3. Do you have the social support?</p> <p>What do your family and friends think of this new idea of yours, and your dedication to it? Do they see you as haring off on a wild goose chase, or are they chomping at the bit to buy what you're offering? More importantly, are they willing to put up with your long hours, cash flow difficulties, moodiness, exhaustion, etc.? If they are, you have a much better chance of succeeding.</p> <p>4. Do you have a financial plan?</p> <p>Booor-iiing! And I agree. But absolutely necessary. How much do you need to start your business? When do you envision yourself turning a profit? What will you do if it doesn't happen? Who are you going to approach for the capital to get going (if you don't have it yourself)? The more of these questions you can answer, the better off you'll be.</p> <p>5. Do you have a backup plan?</p> <p>What happens if no one wants what you have to offer? Or if your baby gets sick and needs serious medical care before you have health insurance again? We hope these won't happen, but they're realistic possibilities. You have a better chance of making it as a startup if you've thought these through. Most likely, everything you think of won't happen. But something will, and you're more likely to survive if you've thought it through.</p> <p>6. Do you have the time?</p> <p>Are you willing to pour most of the time that you're not asleep (and some of the time that you should be) into getting this thing going? If you aren't, maybe you want to work for someone else for a few more years, or until you get an idea that inspires you to pour yourself, and your time, into it.</p> <p>7. Are you willing to tell the truth, no matter what?</p> <p>Are you willing to tell the people you're wanting to hire that most likely your business will fail. Most new businesses do, you know. Are you willing to tell possibly buyers that you don't know how your product sells? Because you don't. If you don't have an ironclad integrity, you may want to reconsider starting your own business.</p> <p>8. Do you have enough experience?</p> <p>Do you have any idea what it take to produce your product or facilitate your service? To run a business? To hire the people who will write good code and actually make your product do what you want it to? While experiences in everything isn't necessary, the more you (and your business partners) have, the better.</p> <p>9. Do you have a niche?</p> <p>Who will buy your product or service? Who are you marketing to? Where do they meet, and when, and how? What does your product offer that others don't? Why should people even look at what you're doing? The more defined (not narrow, but sharp!) answers you can give to these questions, the better chance you have for success. You will aim and fire where you want to, and not waste time and energy on a scatter technique.</p> <p>10. Do you care what others think of you?</p> <p>Ok, you have to care some because you want people to pay your for something. But do you care when people look at you and think you're crazy to give up your security for something that doesn't have a great chance of success? Does it bother you when people get a blank look after you tell them what you do? The more independent and sure of yourself you are in this regard, the better your chances for success.</p> <p>And a bonus: Are you a lover or a fighter?</p> <p>Both can succeed as entrepreneurs, but they'll do it very differently. A lover might value forming lasting relationships with her investors where a fighter would try to convince them, overwhelmingly, that their product is going to win over millions. If you don't know which you are, you can spend a lot of time and energy trying to do things in a way that is counterintuitive for you. While both are good strategies to know, it's better to go with your gut the first time out. There will be time to learn more later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's hard to be an entrepreneur. It's a demanding, difficult life. But it's also highly rewarding. Here are some of the best insights I've found to give you a realistic perspective that won't destroy your hope.</p> <p><a title="The Flip Side" href="http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/08/on-the-other-ha.html">The Flip Side</a></p> <p><a title="The Lazy Way" href="http://lazyway.blogs.com/lazy_way/2006/06/top_10_signs_yo.html">The Lazy Way</a></p> <p><a title="Kill the Bargain Hunter" href="http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/765/kill-the-bargain-hunter-and-change-your-attitudes-toward-money-and-time/">Kill the Bargain Hunter</a></p> <p><a title="Weekend Entrepreneur" href="http://www.queercents.com/2007/08/02/weekend-entrepreneur-if-you-really-want-something-done-find-a-busy-person-to-do-it/">Weekend Entrepreneur</a></p> <p>There are a million more! Search and enjoy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your 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/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips</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/business-plan-basics">Business Plan Basics</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/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship entrepreneur start-up Thu, 02 Aug 2007 17:51:59 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 941 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bizwoman.jpg" alt="business woman" title="business woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you made your move: you&rsquo;re finally out on your own, earning a living on your terms.</p> <p>No more commuting, no more answering to middle-management and say goodbye to bad office coffee. <em>You&rsquo;re</em> the boss&hellip; and the salesperson, bookkeeper, janitor and receptionist; you&rsquo;ll have to do your work and, in most cases, handle the other aspects of your budding business that &ndash; up until now &ndash; were handled by a co-worker at your last salaried position.</p> <p>Congratulations, you&rsquo;re now a freelancer, contractor, consultant, etc.</p> <p>As a small business owner there will be various tasks for which you&rsquo;ll be responsible and can seem overwhelming, at times. But, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to make your time worth more. And that value can be measured by a combination of money and self-satisfaction:</p> <h3>Stay Organized</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll need tools for communication, tracking your money, writing invoices and managing your projects. One of the most comprehensive lists I&rsquo;ve found that&rsquo;s chock full of useful software is <a title="Freelancer's Toolkit" target="_blank" href="http://www.cogniview.com/convert-pdf-to-excel/post/the-freelancers-toolset-100-web-apps-for-everything-you-will-possibly-need/">The Freelancer&rsquo;s Toolset</a>. Peruse the list but don&rsquo;t feel you need every item; simplicity is best, so choose only what you need or you&rsquo;ll just make more work for yourself playing with all the cool stuff;</p> <h3>Kill The Distractions</h3> <p>There will <em>always</em> be something you&rsquo;ll think of to avoid starting a project, calling a client or doing paperwork. Even if you have a home-office, temptation lurks in every open newspaper, unkempt garden or messy garage.</p> <p>And besides seemingly productive tasks like rearranging your sock drawer or alphabetizing your canned goods, the Internet will &ndash;if you let it &ndash; pull you in and drag you down. Your friends over at iMyTubeBlogFace will have to wait&hellip; you&rsquo;re on the clock;</p> <h3>Set Aside Time For Specific Tasks</h3> <p>In a way, this is part of staying organized <em>and</em> killing distractions: you restrict your time for certain tasks.</p> <p>Throughout the course of the day it&rsquo;ll be tempting to send or reply to every email every few minutes, or chat with either friends or clients on the phone. But you are at a real job, even if you&rsquo;re still wearing pj&rsquo;s (yes, I&rsquo;m talkin&rsquo; to you).</p> <p>Unless it&rsquo;s really important, most phone calls and email exchanges can wait until you have time to devote to them when you&rsquo;ve completed your task. Constant interruption, spread out over small intervals over a workday, can add up to a lot of lost productivity and late evenings working to catch up;</p> <h3>Networking</h3> <p>I think everyone understands the indisputable value of this: no one knows you&rsquo;re there unless you tell them you are. Join your business&rsquo;s professional organization and attend some functions; also, sites like <a title="Ning" target="_blank" href="http://www.ning.com/">Ning</a> and <a title="LinkedIn" target="_blank" href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a> are just a couple of many online resources for making contacts.</p> <p>Hopefully, you haven&rsquo;t burned any bridges so keep in touch with ex- coworkers and, if appropriate, vendors. Contacting clients of your last employer, though, probably isn&rsquo;t a great idea; your relationship with your ex-employer may prove to be more valuable in the long run;</p> <h3>Define Your Terms</h3> <p>You are a business, and, among other parameters that you&rsquo;ve established, you have fees, you keep reasonable business hours and you have payment terms that keep you self-employed. Prices are (and should be) negotiable, time is flexible; but getting paid is neither of these.</p> <p>Be fair with your clients, both with your prices for your service and with the time you spend working with them; but you need to get paid, and on terms you decide. Your clients should respect this or you won&rsquo;t be in business for very long;</p> <h3>Outsource</h3> <p>There may be times that, to successfully complete a project, you might need to enlist the help of someone with an expertise that you don&rsquo;t possess. In fact, sometimes the growth of a successful business is not measured by the hours you put in doing the labor, but by how you delegate work and manage various aspects of your project that can be handled by someone else;</p> <h3>Work <em>With</em> Your Client, Not <em>For</em> Your Client</h3> <p>Think of your relationship with your client as a partnership: you are an extension of their business, applying your particular skill to help them achieve their goal. You might be designing their web site, writing the copy for their annual report or handling their public relations; your goals should be their goals, because your success depends on their success;</p> <h3>Fire Your Client</h3> <p>A controversial statement? Maybe. But consider this: if you devote a lot of your time and effort to a client that has high demands but is never satisfied, what have you accomplished? I had a client that called me almost daily and, it seemed, gave me a lot of work. But at the end of the year, after having devoted myself to try and meet their expectations, I did a breakout of how much I earned per job from this client: it was far less than what I thought, and the reality was that it was only a few small- to medium-sized jobs I worked on, although it felt like much more when I considered the time I put in.</p> <p>If you are spending a lot of unproductive (and unprofitable) time trying to please a client, it&rsquo;s probably best for you both if you part company;</p> <h3>Do Your Work, Then Step Back&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip; the only path to serenity. Wise words from <a title="Tao Te Ching" target="_blank" href="http://www.mindfully.org/Tao-Te-Ching-Lao-tzu.htm">Lao-tzu</a> . If you&rsquo;re passionate about your work, sometimes it can eclipse the reason you work and why you went out on your own: to have a different <em>lifestyle</em>. I&rsquo;ve worked weekends, nights and even some holidays because sometimes there are unexpected circumstances that require you to make a sacrifice now and then to get the job done, and get it done right.</p> <p>But no one says you have to work 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week; it defeats the purpose of quitting a salaried job to become an entrepreneur. Don&rsquo;t feel guilty if you take some time off;</p> <h3>And The Last Guideline Is&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip;up to you.</p> <p><em>You</em> decide what&rsquo;s important, how you want to work and how you plan on meeting expectations &ndash; both your own and your client&rsquo;s.</p> <p>You started on your own for a reason; keep that reason in mind when you fill in this last guideline you plan to follow &ndash; it might be the most valuable one of all.</p> <h3><em>Other Resources:</em></h3> <p><a title="SBA" target="_blank" href="http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html">SBA Small Business Planner</a> <br /> <a title="Determine your rate" target="_blank" href="http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/">Determine Your Rate</a> <br /> <a title="Startup Journal" target="_blank" href="http://www.startupjournal.com/">Startup Journal</a> <em> (from the Wall Street Journal)</em><br /> <a title="CentralDesktop" target="_blank" href="http://centraldesktop.com/">CentralDesktop</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">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/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</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-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</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/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went 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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</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/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship consultant contractor entrepreneur freelance Fri, 27 Jul 2007 07:57:00 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 910 at http://www.wisebread.com The three secrets to a successful family business http://www.wisebread.com/the-three-secrets-to-a-successful-family-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-three-secrets-to-a-successful-family-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/familybusiness.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone sees the family business as a safety net. If you fail in the corporate world, you can always put your talents to work at your dad's shop or snag a few hours at your uncle's place. But if your family doesn't prepare, that safety net likely won't be around for the next generation.</p> <p>Family businesses are at the heart of corporate America. While you might think of a neighborhood bakery or restaurant, family shops are not just mom and pop shops. You might have heard of the Maloofs with the Palm Casino and Sacramento Kings, the Heinz family, or the Blocks of H&amp;R Block- families are the foundation of billion-dollar businesses. Most of us are likely a long way from a global empire, but if you want to be the one of the three businesses which will survive to the second generation (from<a target="_blank" href="http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1760"> the Family Firm Institute</a>), you should focus on the following three areas: individualization, Internet marketing, and succession planning.</p> <p><strong>To each his own </strong></p> <p>You may work in your father or mother's business, but that doesn't mean you share their talents. They might love numbers or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068128/">be a junk dealer in Los Angeles</a>, but odds are you're going to be good at something different than your parents. And that means, it's your job to carve out your niche in the business. Find your talent or passion and discover how to apply it to the family business. Maybe it's <a target="_blank" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0259446/">drawing menus for the Greek restaurant</a> your family runs or launching a financial services add-on service to your family's sales company.</p> <p>The key here is that you have a personal goal that you can achieve and the freedom to pursue your own dreams within your family's business. That goal will make you work harder and feel even more invested in setting things up for the next generation. So, establish your place and carve out your own niche.</p> <p><strong>Take your message online </strong></p> <p>People want to work with family businesses. They like knowing that a person will answer the phone and a name is attached to a service. So, it's your job to do everything in your power to help them find you and your family's business. There are<a target="_blank" href="http://www.freewebsitetemplates.com/"> template websites available for free</a> and you can get online within a week. You should consider maintaining a corporate blog to help establish your family's brand and allow people to connect with your family. Tell your family's story, the history of the company. People want to hear about you, in your own words. Often, families are unwilling to sell their best asset- themselves. Tell people why they should do business with you. Guess what? They probably will...</p> <p><strong>The children are your future </strong></p> <p>According to a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2007/06/25/daily38.html">study from Oregon State University</a>, fewer than 30 percent of business owners have put a succession plan in place. And that can lead to a difficult situation when a family member retires or passes away. Who will take over as head of the business? Who knows the right contacts and has the insitutional knowledge stored inside the brain of your father or mother? You have to ask these questions and get the answers in place well before the first generation is ready to step down.</p> <p>When you start looking at the future of your business, then you're thinking like the Heinz family and the Blocks- and you're one generation closer to a billion-dollar business.</p> <p><em>Got any other tips? How has your family found success or just the patience to work together? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jonathan-bender">Jonathan Bender</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-three-secrets-to-a-successful-family-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-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/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For 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/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed">A Simple Guide to Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed</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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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/business-plan-basics">Business Plan Basics</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship entrepreneur family business self-employed Tue, 17 Jul 2007 12:21:22 +0000 Jonathan Bender 847 at http://www.wisebread.com Business Plan Basics http://www.wisebread.com/business-plan-basics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/business-plan-basics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/failedbusinessmodel.jpg" alt="failed business model t-shirt" title="failed business model t-shirt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="205" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a business and offer writing services so, on occasion, I have been asked to write business plans. Those making such requests are generally very eager, convinced of their no-fail ideas, and are being held back only by a lack of funding. Their bank accounts are typically not filled with the cash needed to support their soon-to-be highly profitable, cash-producing enterprises so they go to where they think the money is for them: the bank. Bankers do want to make loans but they also want to avoid loan defaults, so the would-be lenders ask for a business plan.</p> <p>Apparently, the business-plan request surprises the otherwise hopeful entrepreneurs who then knock on my door. Although I am a writer and can create a financial statement, I am not an inventor, marketing researcher, mind-reader, or a magician. I quickly advise these clients to learn just a bit about business perhaps through business start-up classes offered through the community college or chamber of commerce. Such a process, which would take perhaps a month or two, would certainly delay the start of the business and result in not capturing the sure, hot market that is available today. So, again, the clients look to me, though, honestly, I have never requested or received a business loan.</p> <p>I have learned, over the years, that it is best to give the start-up clients a list of items <em>they need to give me</em> in order to prepare a business plan. To date, I have never actually prepared said business plans (promises of giving me the information in a few days have never been fulfilled) but it has saved me quite a bit of time that I would have otherwise spent trying to convince clients that they are unprepared.</p> <p>I developed the list based on <a title="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0764554816/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20" href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0764554816/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20">Small Business for Dummies</a> (by Eric Tyson and Jim Schell), which is available through amazon.com or the public library. My list is not comprehensive but is enough to get them started...</p> <p><strong>Business Description</strong></p> <ul> <li>Mission statement (business purpose, values, and/or motto)</li> <li>Summary (brief description)</li> <li>Legal/tax structure (a sole proprietorship, partnership, C Corporation, S Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation-LLC)</li> <li>Niche (how you will differentiate your company from the competition)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Management</strong></p> <ul> <li>education, experience, and accomplishments</li> </ul> <p><strong>Marketing Plan</strong></p> <ul> <li>Industry (overview, market conditions, industry leaders, and opportunities)</li> <li>Potential customers (who they are and why they will choose your product or service)</li> <li>Benefits of the product or service</li> <li>Geography and distribution (where your customers are and how you will deliver products or services to them)</li> <li>Marketing (how you will reach your target audience, how you will retain customers, and how you will build referrals)</li> <li>Pricing (pricing structure, how your prices compare with competitors' prices)</li> <li>Payment terms (how will customers pay you and if/how you will extend credit)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Operations</strong></p> <ul> <li>Employees (positions needed, job descriptions and skill sets, human resources policies, and compensation plans)</li> <li>Vendors (products or services you will need and vendors you will use)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Financial Management Plan</strong></p> <ul> <li>Budget / profit and loss statement (expected income less expected expenses)</li> <li>Balance sheet projections (assets such as equipment and liabilities such as loans)</li> <li>Cash-flow projections (timing of income and expenses to determine if you will have cash in your account to cover your bank loan, payroll, etc.)</li> </ul> <p>...or scare them away.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-plan-basics">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/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</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/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For 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/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed">6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed</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/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-three">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Three</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/veteran-business-owners-benefit-from-a-marketing-makeover">Veteran Business Owners Benefit from a Marketing Makeover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business banker business plan entrepreneur loan start-up Thu, 14 Jun 2007 21:48:59 +0000 Julie Rains 735 at http://www.wisebread.com