small business http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7660/all en-US Best Business Travel Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/best-business-travel-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-business-travel-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000042581002.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you have a small business? Having a business travel rewards credit card can be a great way to separate your business and personal expenses while earning valuable points and miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=5x">Best Small Business Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Business credit cards work much like personal cards, except that they offer rewards that are focused on the expenses of business users, such as office supplies, telecommunications services, and advertising. In addition, these cards can offer valuable features for business users including employee cards, payment summaries, transaction tagging, and receipt tracking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-get-a-business-credit-card-over-a-consumer-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=5x">When You Should Get a Business Credit Card Over a Consumer Card</a>)</p> <p>Here are the best business travel credit cards that you should consider.</p> <h2>The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=7&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1348"><img width="154" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src=" http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/the-enhanced-business-gold-rewards-card-from-american-express-open-013015.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=7&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1348">Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN</a> offers 3x points on the spending category of your choice (among categories like airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers). In addition to the 3x points you get in your chosen category, you earn 2x points on all remaining categories and 1x point on other purchases. Points are earned in the American Express Membership Rewards program which offers gift cards, travel reservations, and transfers of points to airline miles.</p> <p>New cardholders receive 25,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. This card also features numerous business benefits including their ReceiptMatch service and OPEN Savings program for business purchases. There is a $175 annual fee for this card which is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=7&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1348">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1348"><img width="154" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src=" http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/capital-one-spark-miles-business-011916.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1348">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business&nbsp;card</a> offers a compelling option for travel rewards. Cardholders earn unlimited 2x miles on all purchases, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel purchases. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases within three months of account opening. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1348">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>CitiBusiness&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=58&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1348"><img width="154" border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiBusinessAAdvantagePlatinumSelectWorldMasterCard-0601.JPG" /></a>American Airlines customers will appreciate the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=58&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1348">CitiBusiness&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; World MasterCard&reg;</a>, from our partner Citi,&nbsp; which offers double miles on all American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include group 1 priority boarding and your first bag checked free for yourself and up to four others traveling together on the same reservation. In addition, you can earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year when you use your card to spend $30,000 or more. Finally, new cardholders earn 30,000 bonus miles after using their card to spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that's waived the first 12 months, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=58&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1348">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;CitiBusiness&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; World MasterCard&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-points-for-business-purchases-with-the-chase-ink-plus-business-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5x">Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card</a> offers 5x points for spending at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services (on up to $50,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year). You also earn 2x points at gas stations and on hotel accommodations when you purchase directly with the hotel (also capped at $50,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year).</p> <p>Points are worth one cent each toward cash back, gift cards and merchandise, or 1.25 cents towards travel reservations booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In addition, you can also transfer your rewards to hotel points or airline miles. New cardholders earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <h2>Business Platinum Card&reg; from American Express OPEN</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=8&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1348"><img width="154" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src=" http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/the-business-platinum-card-from-american-express-open-013015.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=8&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1348">Business Platinum Card&reg; from American Express OPEN</a> offers numerous premium rewards and benefits. For each dollar spent, cardholders earn one point in American Express's Membership Rewards program, which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel reservations and transfers of points to airline miles. In addition, travelers receive access to the airport lounges in the Delta SkyClub program, Priority Pass Select network, and American Express's own Centurion lounges. Cardholders also receive a $200 annual airline fee credit and a $100 credit towards the application fee for the Global Entry or $85 for the TSA PreCheck program. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees. Terms and restrictions apply.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=205&amp;pid=8&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1348">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Business Platinum Card&reg; from American Express OPEN credit card today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-business-travel-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</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/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">Smarter Security and No Foreign Transaction Fees: The Best Credit Cards to Use While on Vacation</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/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">5 Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel best credit cards small business Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Jason Steele 1711478 at http://www.wisebread.com Extra Cash for Your Small Business: Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018269558_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Through the years, Capital One has become a major provider of financial products, from car loans to consumer and business credit cards. Their selection of credit cards include various rewards programs and offers, and each one can be beneficial to you as a small business owner, depending on the needs of your business. If you prefer flat rate rewards programs over rotating categories, the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=181&amp;pid=104&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sname&amp;fot=1329 ">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash Select for Business Credit Card</a> is one of simplest and most convenient, no-fee business rewards credit cards available. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=review">5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2>Why We Like This Card</h2> <ul> <li>$200 one-time cash back bonus</li> <li>1.5% cash back on all purchases</li> </ul> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>This card awards a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with the card. You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back, which does not expire. There is no annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong>One-time bonus</strong>: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=review">5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Bonus Cash for Sign-Up</a>)</p> <p>You can request your cash back as a statement credit or check in any amount, with no minimum requirements.</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p><strong>Free employee cards</strong>. Add employees to your account, set limits, and track spending at no additional charge.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Business tools</strong>. Capital One provides tools which can assist in managing and organizing your business expenses such as quarterly and year-end custom itemized reports of your spending and purchase records that you can download into formats such as QuickBooks and Excel.</p> <p><strong>Visa SavingsEdge</strong>. Ttake advantage of savings and discounts of as much as 15 percent with retailers such as Wyndham Grand Hotels and Resorts and OfficeFurniture.com.</p> <p><strong>Travel assistance services</strong>. These services are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year and are helpful when you are traveling for business and include assistance with services such as ticket replacement, and legal or medical referrals.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <ul> <li>$0 Annual Fee</li> <li>13.24% - 21.24% Variable APR (0% introductory APR on purchases for 9 months)</li> <li>$0 Balance Transfer Fee</li> <li>$0 Foreign Transaction Fee</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=181&amp;pid=104&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sbutton2&amp;fot=1329" rel="nofollow"><img width="154" height="50" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" /></a></p> <h2>Considerations</h2> <p><strong>Low rate of rewards</strong>. Although the flat rate of 1.5% is convenient, it is only 0.5% more than the default rate that most cards award for purchases made in the &ldquo;other&rdquo; category. If the majority of your spending falls into a particular category such as gasoline or office supplies, you can earn more rewards with credit cards that award those purchases. As an example, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">SimplyCash&reg; Plus Business Credit Card from American Express</a> awards 5% cash back for purchases at U.S. office supply purchases and on wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. providers, and 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories. Terms and limitations apply. (See also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=review">5 Best Credit Cards for Office Supply Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>Competitors</h2> <p><strong>Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash for Business: </strong>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash for Business</a> offers 2% cash back on every purchase, every day, with no limits and no expiration. There is no foreign transaction fee. However, it has a $59 annual fee (waived the first year). If you spend at least $12,000 per year, this card would net you more cash than the Select version.</p> <p><strong>SimplyCash&reg; Plus Business Credit Card from American Express:</strong> The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-business-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">SimplyCash&reg; Plus Business Credit Card from American Express</a> offers 5% cash back on purchases made at U.S. office supply stores and wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. service providers, 3% cash back on a category of your choice, and 1% cash back on other purchases. New cardholders get a $250 statement credit after spending $5,000 within the first 6 months (offer ends 8/3) and 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 9 months (then 12.49%-19.49% variable). There is no annual fee. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>The Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business Credit Card is best for small business owners whose spending varies and does not fall into any specific category from month to month (but total expenditure falls below $12,000 per year). If you make more than $12,000 in purchases, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">Spark Cash</a> will net you more cash rewards, even with its annual fee. Or if your business has large expenses in any particular category, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-business-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">SimplyCash Plus Business</a> would be more suitable. This card is also one of the best available for small businesses because it is essentially fee-free and is especially ideal if you frequently travel abroad or need to make international purchases.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=181&amp;pid=104&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=send&amp;fot=1329 ">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash Select for Business Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card">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/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review">Easy Business Rewards: Capital One Spark Miles for Business Credit Card</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/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review">Unlimited Cash Rewards for Your Business: Capital One Spark Cash for Business Credit Card Review</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/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review">Travel Rewards Doesn&#039;t Get Easier Than This: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card</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/capital-one-secured-mastercard-the-best-option-for-repairing-your-credit">Capital One® Secured MasterCard®: The Best Option for Repairing Your Credit</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/a-card-that-works-hard-for-those-with-average-credit-capital-one-platinum-credit-card">A Card That Works Hard for Those with Average Credit: Capital One&amp;reg; Platinum Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Capital One credit card reviews small business Wed, 11 May 2016 21:18:26 +0000 Christina Majaski 1689467 at http://www.wisebread.com Unlimited Cash Rewards for Your Business: Capital One Spark Cash for Business Credit Card Review http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000082557113_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Capital One&rsquo;s Spark line of financial products includes a variety of small business credit cards. The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=182&amp;pid=30&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sname&amp;fot=1330">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash for Business Credit Card</a>&nbsp;offers the&nbsp;opportunity to earn more cash back for your business purchases. Here are the features that separate it from other business cards, to help you determine if this card is best for your business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2>Why We Like This Card</h2> <ul> <li>$500 one-time cash bonus</li> <li>2% cash back for all purchases</li> </ul> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>This card awards 2% cash back on all purchases made with the card. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and your rewards do not expire. There is an annual fee of $59, which is waived the first year.</p> <p><strong>Bonus offer</strong>: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.</p> <p>You can redeem your cash back in any amount without any minimum requirements, in the form of a statement credit or check.</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p><strong>Free employee cards</strong>. You can add employee cards to your account, set individual limits, and track spending at no additional cost, which will allow you to earn cash back on the purchases they make.</p> <p><strong>Small business tools</strong>. Create and download quarterly and year-end summaries of custom, itemized reports, to help manage and organize your finances.</p> <p><strong>Visa business benefits</strong>. This card includes Visa business benefits such as auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase security and extended protection, and travel and emergency assistance services for help with services such as legal or medical referrals or ticket replacement when you are traveling.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <ul> <li>$59 Annual Fee (waived the first year)</li> <li>17.24% Variable APR</li> <li>$0 Balance Transfer Fee</li> <li>$0 Foreign Transaction Fee</li> </ul> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=182&amp;pid=30&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sbutton2&amp;fot=1330" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="50" class="img-exempt" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a></p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p><strong>Valuable sign-up bonus</strong>. The spending requirement of $4,500 is slightly higher than most sign-bonuses, but the bonus itself is also more than the amount that credit cards usually offer. If you need to make a large business purchase right away, you can essentially receive a $500 discount just for using your credit card. This bonus can also help cover the annual fee for at least eight years after the first waived year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up">5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Bonus Cash for Sign-Up</a>)</p> <p><strong>No balance transfer fee</strong>. If you need to transfer and pay down a balance currently on a credit card with a higher APR, you can do so without paying the 3% fee typically charged by most business credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>Flat rate rewards</strong>. There are no spending categories or quarterly rotating categories to sign-up for or manage. Every purchase made with the card, regardless of the type of purchase, conveniently earns a flat rate of 2% cash back, which is among the highest flat rates offered by credit cards. This rate is double the amount you would normally earn with credit cards offering 1% cash back for purchases outside the bonus categories.</p> <p><strong>No foreign transaction fee</strong>. If you frequently travel abroad, or you need to make purchases outside of the United States, a foreign transaction fee would cancel out any rewards earned from the card. There are very few business cards available that do not charge a foreign transaction fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-secured-cards-with-low-or-no-foreign-transaction-fees">5 Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p><strong>Annual fee</strong>. Although the annual fee is waived the first year, if you do not earn the sign-up bonus, you should make sure you earn enough rewards each year to help pay for carrying the credit card and still benefit. If you won't use the card enough to cover the annual fee, credit cards without annual fees such as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-ink-cash-business-credit-card-review">Chase Ink Cash Business Credit Card</a> can be more cost effective choices. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>No introductory APR</strong>. There is no 0% introductory APR for purchases or balances. If you need to make a large purchase right away or need to transfer a balance, an introductory period allows you to save money by paying down the balance at 0% interest. If you&rsquo;re looking for a business card with a promotional offer, you may be interested in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-business-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card">SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express</a>, which offers new cardmembers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 9 months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">5 Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers</a>)</p> <p><strong>Higher APR</strong>. The APR on this card is quite high when compared to many other business credit cards. The APR is less of an issue if you typically pay your balance in full rather than carry balances from month to month. But, if you regularly carry a balance, you should select the card that offers the lowest APR possible, even it means sacrificing a rewards program. Depending on your creditworthiness, you could qualify for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card">Spark Cash Select Business Credit Card</a>, which starts with a lower APR. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">5 Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>The Spark Cash for Business Credit Card is best if you can either earn the sign-up bonus worth $500 or spend enough every year to earn the rewards needed to cover your annual fee. If you cannot cover the cost of carrying the card, you should consider the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card">Spark Cash Select</a>, which is similar, but has no annual fee. This card is also best for consumers who prefer a flat rate rewards program, generally pay balances in full each month, and for those who may need to use the card for foreign transactions.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=182&amp;pid=30&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=send&amp;fot=1330">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Cash for Business Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review">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/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review">Easy Business Rewards: Capital One Spark Miles for Business Credit Card</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/extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card">Extra Cash for Your Small Business: Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business Credit Card</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/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review">Travel Rewards Doesn&#039;t Get Easier Than This: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card</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/capital-one-secured-mastercard-the-best-option-for-repairing-your-credit">Capital One® Secured MasterCard®: The Best Option for Repairing Your Credit</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/a-card-that-works-hard-for-those-with-average-credit-capital-one-platinum-credit-card">A Card That Works Hard for Those with Average Credit: Capital One&amp;reg; Platinum Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Capital One credit card reviews small business Mon, 18 Apr 2016 22:24:06 +0000 Christina Majaski 1689468 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Business Rewards: Capital One Spark Miles for Business Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000063167657_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=183&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sname&amp;fot=1331">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business Credit Card</a>&nbsp;offers a flat rate for all purchases without specific spending categories. This card includes valuable business and travel benefits that can come in handy of any sized business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2>Why We Like This Card</h2> <ul> <li>Double miles on every purchase made with the card</li> <li>One-time bonus of 50,000 miles if you spend $4,500 within the first three months</li> </ul> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>This card awards double miles for every dollar spent with your card on all purchases. You can earn an unlimited number of miles, which do not expire. There is an annual fee of $59, which is waived for the first year.</p> <p><strong>Bonus offer</strong>: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles, equal to $500 in travel, after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.</p> <p>You can redeem your miles in a couple different ways. For example, you can use Purchase Eraser feature to redeem your miles as credit toward travel purchases such as car rentals, hotels, airlines, taxi cabs, and limo services, made within the last 90 days. You can also redeem miles through the Capital One Rewards Center, for flights, car rentals, or hotel stays. Typically, each mile is worth one cent; 20,000 miles is equal to a $200 credit. In addition to the travel options, you can redeem miles for cash in the form of a check or account credit and gift cards.</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p><strong>Free employee cards</strong>. You can request additional employee cards, set individual spending limits, and allow employees to make business purchases and add to the miles, at no additional cost to you.</p> <p><strong>Quarterly and year-end summaries</strong>. Includes time-saving features designed to help manage your business more efficiently. Create and download custom itemized reports of your spending, which helps in planning, budgeting, and preparing for tax time.</p> <p><strong>Visa Business Benefits</strong>. Receive access to Visa Business Benefits, which include additional benefits such as auto rental collision damage waiver for covering rental cars in the event of collision or theft, purchase protection which covers lost or stolen purchases, and extended warranty which doubles the length of the manufacturer&rsquo;s warranty for purchases made with your credit card (up to one year). Visa Business Benefits includes travel and emergency assistance services as well.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <ul> <li>$59 Annual Fee (waived the first year)</li> <li>17.24% variable APR</li> <li>$0 Balance Transfer Fee</li> <li>$0 Foreign Transaction Fee</li> <p><a target="_blank" href=" http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=183&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sbutton2&amp;fot=1331" rel="nofollow"><img width="154" height="50" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" /></a></p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p><strong>Bonus worth $500</strong>. If your purchases total at least $4,500 within the first three months, you can receive a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles, which, depending on how you redeem, is worth approximately $500. Although the spending requirement is higher than most, this is a highly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">valuable bonus</a>, especially considering the annual fee is only $59 and waived the first year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up">5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Bonus Cash for Sign-Up</a>)</p> <p><strong>Double miles without categories</strong>. There are no special purchase categories or rotating categories that change every quarter. Instead, you earn a flat rate of two miles for every dollar spent with the card regardless of the type of purchase you make. Flat rate rewards programs are often easier to manage and less of a hassle than wondering each time you use your card if you are making a purchase that earns rewards. Furthermore, this card offers one of the highest flat rates. There are also very few business rewards cards that offer flat rate rewards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><strong>No balance transfer fee</strong>. If you need to transfer a balance from another card, you can transfer to this card without paying the usual fee of 3%-5%. While this can save you money, it is important that you also consider the APR before transferring to make sure you don&rsquo;t end up paying more in interest and cancel out the savings from transferring without an additional fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>No foreign transaction fee</strong>. There is also no foreign transaction fee with this card, which makes it ideal for those who frequently travel abroad and plan on making purchases in foreign countries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">5 Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p><strong>Annual fee of $59</strong>. If you don&rsquo;t plan to make a large purchase within your first three months and miss earning the sign-up bonus, you will have to make sure you earn enough rewards throughout the year to help pay for the annual fee beginning after the first waived year. If you can&rsquo;t guarantee that you&rsquo;ll be able to cover the annual fee, you should instead consider a card with no annual fee, such as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-miles-without-the-fees-capital-one-spark-miles-select-for-business-credit-card-review">Spark Miles Select for Business Credit Card</a>, which only awards 1.5 miles per dollar, but doesn&rsquo;t have an annual fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>Higher APR than other travel cards</strong>. The APR is a bit higher than the APR offered with other travel rewards credit cards. Since an &ldquo;excellent&rdquo; credit rating is required to qualify for this card, there&rsquo;s a good chance you can get a lower APR with another card. However, if you typically pay your balance in full each month, the high APR is less of a concern. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">5 Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><strong>No introductory APR</strong>. Although there is no balance transfer fee, you won&rsquo;t benefit from transferring a balance to this card unless you transfer from a card charging a higher APR. There is also no introductory APR for purchases, which often helps small business owners save money while stocking up on business supplies. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card-review">SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express</a> offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for nine months (then a 12.49%-19.49% variable APR will apply thereafter). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">5 Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro APRs for Balance Transfers</a>)</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Credit Card is best for small business owners whose purchases include travel-related expenses that you can cover with the miles earned. It is also best for those whose purchases might be foreign, and if you prefer a card awarding a flat rate on purchases and if your purchases vary and are not exclusive to one brand or type. Although it is important you spend enough each year to cover the annual fee, this card is especially ideal if you have a big purchase planned and can earn the sign-up bonus currently being offered.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=183&amp;pid=32&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=send&amp;fot=1331">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review">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/extra-cash-for-your-small-business-capital-one-spark-cash-select-for-business-credit-card">Extra Cash for Your Small Business: Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business Credit Card</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/unlimited-cash-rewards-for-your-business-capital-one-spark-cash-for-business-credit-card-review">Unlimited Cash Rewards for Your Business: Capital One Spark Cash for Business Credit Card Review</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/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review">Travel Rewards Doesn&#039;t Get Easier Than This: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card</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/capital-one-secured-mastercard-the-best-option-for-repairing-your-credit">Capital One® Secured MasterCard®: The Best Option for Repairing Your Credit</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/a-card-that-works-hard-for-those-with-average-credit-capital-one-platinum-credit-card">A Card That Works Hard for Those with Average Credit: Capital One&amp;reg; Platinum Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Capital One credit card reviews small business Wed, 13 Apr 2016 23:13:24 +0000 Christina Majaski 1689519 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_business_owner_000075170859.jpg" alt="Woman using helpful tools to manage her small business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It takes great discipline and organization to successfully manage a small business. But if you're able to do so, being your own boss is only one of the perks. A lot of things can get in your way, though: procrastination, learning how to cope with isolation (if you do most of your business alone), accumulating a steady workflow, and learning how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">manage finances</a>. And there's also the challenge of maximizing time and being your most productive self.</p> <p>You will burn yourself out trying to please clients and meet a bunch of deadlines without the proper tools in your arsenal. Try these tools and strategies in order to automate your workflow and increase productivity.</p> <h2>1. Find the Right CRM and Project Management Tools</h2> <p>You need customer relationship management (CRM) and project management software (PMS) systems to successfully manage your freelance jobs. Zoho, Trello, and Asana offer a free solution that comes with a suite of business apps to help you automate your workflow. The apps integrate directly into the product dashboards, making tracking projects and customer satisfaction even easier.</p> <h2>2. If You Sell Products, add an E-Commerce Solution</h2> <p>In today's business environment, doing business without an e-commerce solution is almost impossible, and downright bad for business. Always-connected consumers expect the convenience of being able to make online purchases and mobile payments. Make sure you get a responsive website that adapts across devices with an integrated e-commerce solution.</p> <p>If your sales volume is low or you don't want the hassle of complicated software, use a readymade solution for professional services and online storefronts, like 3dcart, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Magento and sync it to your Stripe, Square, or PayPal payment gateway.</p> <h2>3. Offer Customer Support</h2> <p>According to Gartner, a marketing research firm, customers expect real-time 24/7 customer support. Of course it sounds ridiculous to provide around-the-clock customer support when you have a million other things on your plate each day, but unfortunately, that is not something clients should have to recognize if they are to do business with you. Your correspondence must be timely.</p> <p>Partner with a call center and/or web chat provider and add contact and support ticket forms to your website. ZenDesk is a full customer service solutions provider, including 24/7 customer support, email management, and support tickets. LivePerson offers affordable web chat solutions, as well.</p> <h2>4. Utilize Social Media and Email Marketing</h2> <p>Hootsuite and SproutSocial are two popular SMM systems for automating social media marketing campaigns. They each enable its users the ability to schedule posts and publish across multiple social media platforms. And now, a new feature; social customer service, deepens the automation rabbit hole even further by providing real-time customer support across social pages. The dashboard includes powerful analytics tools for measuring social reach and engagement. Get these same great automation features for your email marketing campaigns with well-known email marketing providers like: Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of Cloud Storage and File Sharing</h2> <p>Small businesses can use file sharing and storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive to secure e-signatures on contracts and agreements using the HelloSign (Google Drive) and RightSignature (Dropbox) add-ons. The many app integration options add lots of dynamic features. For instance, Merge by MailChimp is an app that lets you send Google docs as email campaigns and Pixsta by SweetLabs is a discoverable app that loads Instagram content directly onto your device.</p> <h2>6. Master Financial Management</h2> <p>One of the most important processes of running a business is managing finances. Cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping software solutions make it easy. Xero and QuickBooks Online help you streamline invoicing, reporting, and bank reconciliations. You can eliminate the grueling tasks of having to export and email spreadsheets to your accountant by inviting them to have limited access to your account.</p> <p>These tools should help you feel more confident about increasing your workflow by taking on more projects. The more discipline and control you have, the more successful you (and your company) will be.</p> <p><em>Are you a small business owner? What tools do you use? Share with us in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</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/what-pays-more-online-surveys-or-the-gig-economy">What Pays More: Online Surveys or the Gig Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips</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/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</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 Productivity business tools self employed side job small business Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1622169 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/divorced_couple_000027585457.jpg" alt="Business owners trying to protect themselves through divorce" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting a divorce can be one of the most emotionally devastating times in your life. Combine this with running your own business and next thing you know, your life has become extremely stressful. I know, because I've been there.</p> <p>If you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure">going through the a divorce</a>, here are some important financial steps to take to protect yourself and your business.</p> <h2>1. Get Organized</h2> <p>The first step when dealing with a divorce as a business owner is to get organized and find a lawyer who can help you take the right steps.</p> <p>Gather all your financial documents, business and bank statements, agreements, and other information that pertains to your business and marriage. Any debts and assets you and the business owns will have to be calculated and divided up. Examine all the bank accounts and documents, as you don't want to be out of the loop in a situation like this.</p> <p>Depending on the state you live in, and whether or not you signed a prenup, you and your spouse could be forced to split the business profits &mdash; and everything else &mdash; 50/50. If you and your spouse work in the business together, the operating agreements should outline directions for each spouse to protect themselves during a divorce or other separation.</p> <h2>2. Fill In the Details</h2> <p>What assets or savings did you bring into the relationship? How much do you have personally invested into the business? What are the balances of your personal, joint, and business accounts, investments, credit cards, and loans?</p> <p>Work with your spouse (or a lawyer if you need help mediating) to fill in all these details. Put the information on paper, or in a spreadsheet, so you're both on the same page. Ask your accountant for all the financial reports, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets for the business, too. Everything needs to be accounted for.</p> <h2>3. Protect Yourself</h2> <p>The next step involves dividing up the assets and agreeing on whether to sell the business, dissolve it, or keep it up and running. If you jointly own a home, the mortgage will have to be refinanced into your or your spouse's name, unless you both agree to sell it.</p> <p>By the end of the divorce process you want all of your assets divided fairly. Leaving joint accounts after a divorce can lead to credit reporting inaccuracies and even fraud.</p> <p>Take steps to protect yourself and your business during this process by separating all joint accounts, assets, and debts. Until a property is sold or refinanced into your name, you're still liable for the entire mortgage or rental payment &mdash; whether or not your spouse helps split the bill.</p> <h2>4. Keep a Paper Trail</h2> <p>Any conversations you have with your spouse need to be in writing. Save all your emails, notes, and text messages. This is especially important when it comes to figuring out the important details of how you'll handle the business together.</p> <p>In the event that you and your ex can't discuss things in a calm fashion, you'll need written proof of what each other has agreed upon so you can move forward with the divorce. Keep a paper trail of all the bank accounts you've dissolved, assets you sell, debt settlements, loan refinances, and any other financial paperwork. You may need written proof of these transactions in the future.</p> <h2>5. Start Fresh</h2> <p>Continue protecting yourself as you move forward and rebuild your life. This means opening up new bank accounts in your name only, for both personal and business, and making a plan to get back on track.</p> <p>Check your credit report using a secure site like <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">annualcreditreport.com</a>, to make sure everything is accurate. If you see any incorrect accounts, numbers, or names, reach out to the top three credit bureaus and get it corrected.</p> <p>When my divorce was finalized I was left with over $14,000 of consumer debt that we accumulated during our marriage. I had to find a new job and start making a plan to pay it down. Our credit was also conjoined since we had shared accounts, and these took some time to separate. It was rough to say the least.</p> <p>You don't have to lose your business just because you and your ex aren't on speaking terms. Work with a legal representative you trust and make sure everything's in writing.</p> <p><em>Have you ever gone through a divorce as a business owner? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">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/make-love-not-money-sort-of">Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)</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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Family business owners dividing assets divorce marriage pre-nup small business Tue, 01 Sep 2015 09:02:44 +0000 Carrie Smith 1538268 at http://www.wisebread.com 10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000037497774.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to get a small business loan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is the lifeline of any small business.</p> <p>And using financing to maintain healthy cash flow can be essential for a sustainable operation. Still, when it comes to seeking financing, some business owners may not know where to begin. There are now more options than ever for the hopeful entrepreneur looking to get a bit of a boost to jump start a business. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways you can get financing for your business.</p> <h2>1. Business Loan</h2> <p>With over half of small businesses using them, <a href="https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2014_Finance_FAQ.pdf">traditional bank loans</a> are still the most popular source of financing among small businesses. However, not every organization is able to secure one. According to a nationwide review of 10,000 loan applicants across 700 different industries, 82% of loan applications from small businesses are <a href="https://www.ondeck.com/company/in-the-news/press-releases/ondeck-main-street-pulse-report/">turned down by a bank</a>.</p> <p>There are two basic steps to increase your chances of landing a business loan.</p> <p>First, you need to build and maintain a strong business credit score. Don't confuse your personal credit score with your business credit score. Two thirds of U.S. small business owners haven't <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323893504578559420352637566">checked their business credit report</a> within the past two years. Before you apply for a business loan, find out your current business credit score, update any missing or incorrect information, and take steps toward improving it.</p> <p>Second, you need to establish a solid business plan, which not only details how you plan to operate your business, but also provides projections of revenues and expenses for the next five years. The more that you can back up your claims and projections with factual information, the better your chance of landing a business loan.</p> <h2>2. SBA Loan Programs</h2> <p>The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers <a href="http://www.sba.gov/loanprograms">several loan programs</a> for very specific purposes.</p> <h3>General Small Business Loans: 7(a)</h3> <p>This is the SBA's most common loan program, which is available to most small businesses that operate for profit in the U.S. and aren't delinquent on any existing debt obligations to the federal government. You can find more details about <a href="https://www.sba.gov/content/7a-loan-program-eligibility">7(a) loan program eligibility</a> at the SBA website.</p> <h3>Microloan Programs</h3> <p>With an interest rate ranging between 8% and 13% and maximum repayment term of up to six years, the SBA Microloan program provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses in securing working capital, purchasing inventory or supplies, acquiring furniture or fixtures, or investing in machinery or equipment. The <a href="https://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program">average microloan</a> is about $13,000.</p> <h3>Real Estate and Equipment Loans: CDC/504</h3> <p>A <a href="https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans/sba-loan-programs/real-estate-and-eq">CDC/504 loan</a> can be used for:</p> <ul> <li>purchasing land, including existing buildings;</li> <li>making substantial real estate improvements;</li> <li>renovating or modernizing facilities; and</li> <li>purchasing long-term machinery and equipment.</li> </ul> <h3>Disaster Loans</h3> <p>Most businesses whose real estate, property, machinery and equipment, inventory, or other business assets were destroyed in a declared disaster, may be eligible to a low-interest <a href="https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-business-loans/disaster-loans">disaster loan</a>. The SBA monies can be used to replace or repair the destroyed business assets.</p> <h2>3. Asset-Backed Loan</h2> <p>Trying to hire extra help during a busy season or taking advantage of a great opportunity to bulk up inventory for cheap can put your small biz in a cash crunch. One way to secure that much-needed capital is to use your accounts receivable or assets as collateral for a loan.</p> <p>Before you run to the bank with a list of all your business assets, you should realize that lenders are only interested in specific high-quality assets:</p> <ul> <li>accounts receivable under 60 to 90 days, depending on lender;</li> <li>heavy equipment;</li> <li>qualifying vehicles (e.g. trucks); and</li> <li>business inventory.</li> </ul> <p>To hedge the loans that they issue, banks generally <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/52726">appraise eligible receivables</a> and finished inventory at 70% to 80% and 50%, respectively, of their market value. The reason is that if you were to default on your loan or miss several payments, then the bank would liquidate the assets as quick as possible at a lower price. If the sale doesn't cover your remaining loan balance, you're still liable for it.</p> <p>By keeping in mind the lower asset valuations, associated loan fees, and applicable rules, asset-backed lending can be a useful source of financing for small businesses. This is why asset-based credit line commitments at the end of 2014 were <a href="http://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/CFA/72a44465-ed9d-4059-8a2b-308d81a7fe37/UploadedImages/2014%20Annual%20Asset-Based%20Lending%20and%20Factoring%20Survey.pdf">nearly $216 billion</a>, a 6.8% increase over 2013.</p> <h2>4. Kabbage</h2> <p>One of the main challenges of getting a loan for your small business from traditional lenders is that they base the majority of their decisions on a credit score. Even though small biz owners may lack the business credit score traditional lenders are looking for, they can still demonstrate a healthy cashflow through business data from connected sites, such as a QuickBooks, Square, Amazon, PayPal, or Etsy accounts.</p> <p>Leveraging this second type of business data, <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22986010&amp;fot=1285&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Kabbage</a> helps small businesses get the funding they need to grow. Through a fully automated, online platform, owners of small businesses can link their latest business data, allowing Kabbage to review the overall health of their business &mdash; not just a credit score &mdash; to approve and provide loans between $2,000 and $100,000 in minutes.</p> <p>Kabbage loans aren&rsquo;t for everybody. These are very short term loans that are payable within six months, requiring payment of one sixth of the total loan plus a monthly fee per month. Fees range between 1% and 12% of your loan for the first two months and 1% for each of the remaining four months. However, you can pay back your loan early without penalty and lower your financing costs.</p> <h2>5. Lending Club</h2> <p>The underlying idea of peer to peer (P2P) lending is to circumvent traditional lenders, such as banks, by crowdfunding funds from a large group of individuals. When one small business owner receives a P2P loan, his peers fund small portions of that loan and receive principal plus interest when the borrower repays the loan. In simple words: a peer lends to another peer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peer-to-peer-lending-prosper-marketplace-or-lending-club?ref=seealso">Prosper or Lending Club?</a>)</p> <p>Founded in 2007, <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.227343&amp;fot=1074&amp;foc=1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lending Club</a> has issued over $11.17 billion in P2P loans since 2007. In 2012, Lending Club issued a total of <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2014/201410/201410pap.pdf">1,386 small business loans</a> with an average loan amount of $16,268 and an average interest rate of 13.39%. Collateral is not needed for loans under 100k and no appraisals or business plans required. You must own at least 20% of the business and have fair credit. Their loans start at 5.99% fixed and you can choose from 1-5 year terms. There is a one-time origination fee that ranges from 0.99-5.99%.</p> <h2>6. Prosper</h2> <p>The pioneer of P2P lending in the U.S., <a href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27127/994" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Prosper</a> uses a credit score-based model for evaluating its P2P loans. more than 2.2 million members and over $4 billion in funded loans. Small business owners can apply for P2P loans between $2,000 and $35,000 and individual lenders invest as little as $25 in each loan listing they select. A small business loan through Prosper can have an APR ranging between 5.99% and 36.00%. Unlike Lending Club which prefers businesses to have been operating for at least two years with 75k in annual sales, Prosper encourages budding entrepreneurs to apply.</p> <h2>7. CircleBackLending</h2> <p>CircleBackLending is also a P2P operator but uses institutional investors. Small business owners can borrow between $3,000 to $35,000 at CircleBackLending. Their unsecured loans are fixed-rate with interest rates starting at 5.96% for those with good credit.</p> <!--<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26228790&amp;fot=1285&amp;foc=1">CircleBackLending</a>--><!--<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26228790&amp;fot=1285&amp;foc=1">CircleBackLending</a>--></p> <h2>8. PersonalLoans.com</h2> <p>Here you can find three types of personal loans: peer-to-peer loans, personal installment loans, and bank personal loans. However, due to applicable laws and regulations that vary by state, some of those loans may not available for you. Each type of loan at <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26230639&amp;fot=1285&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">PersonalLoans.com</a> has specific requirements. For example, the minimum requirements to qualify for a bank personal loan ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 are a credit score of 580, monthly income of $3,000, proof of employment or self-employment.</p> <h2>9. OneMain Financial</h2> <p>Depending on your state of residence, you can borrow between $300 and $15,000 through <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11042456-1411396647000?sid=davila-1539545" target="_top">OneMain Financial</a>. An important advantage of using this lender is that you can cancel your personal loan for any reason and return the money within 14 days without any early payment fees or other types of penalties.</p> <h2>10. Avant</h2> <p>Formerly known as Avant Credit, this issuer of personal loans can be an option for small business owners looking to start or build back up their credit history. While you don't need a FICO score to apply for a loan with <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26134024&amp;fot=1285&amp;foc=1" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Avant</a>, all of your payments will be reported to the major credit bureaus, which helps to improve your credit score as long as you're making timely payments.</p> <h2>11. Small Business Credit Cards</h2> <p>By choosing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal">right small business credit card</a>, you can avoid a cash crunch and meet your financing needs to secure future income. Choose the card that offers the best bonuses for your purchases as well as additional benefits like travel perks if you travel frequently.</p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-your-business-rewards-american-express-simplycash-business-credit-card">SimplyCash&reg; Plus Business Credit Card from American Express</a> offers 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores, and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-business-rewards-capital-one-spark-miles-for-business-credit-card-review" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Capital One&reg; Spark&reg; Miles for Business</a> offers 2x miles per dollar spent on every purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-get-a-business-credit-card-over-a-consumer-card?ref=seealso">The Difference Between Business and Consumer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Responsible use of a small business credit card can also help you to separate your business and personal finances.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>No matter the source of your financing, you should only seek a loan if you're experiencing a cash flow gap. This means that you need the money to meet the operating expenses for a guaranteed source of revenue. For example, you need the capital to buy a piece of equipment for an order that is double your actual capacity, or to hire additional employees during the Christmas season rush.</p> <p>There are several financing options available, so don't jump at the first loan offer that you receive, and always shop around for better rates.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to get a loan for your small business?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%252B%2520Smart%2520Ways%2520to%2520Get%2520a%2520Small%2520Business%2520Loan.jpg&amp;description=10%2B%20Smart%20Ways%20to%20Get%20a%20Small%20Business%20Loan"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%2B%20Smart%20Ways%20to%20Get%20a%20Small%20Business%20Loan.jpg" width="250" height="374" align="middle" alt="" />&nbsp;</h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</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/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-credit-score-suffering-without-your-knowledge">Is your credit score suffering without your knowledge?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Credit Cards Entrepreneurship borrowing money credit score financing loans small business Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:00:20 +0000 Damian Davila 1539545 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_at_work_000033231524.jpg" alt="Woman funding her own business venture without touching savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of new small business owners often dip into their retirement accounts or life savings to fund their new venture. But cashing out a retirement account, especially a taxable one like a 401(k), can sabotage the success of your business.</p> <h2>Avoid Using Savings to Fund a Business</h2> <p>For starters, you forfeit any future savings on money you've already set aside for use during your retirement years. What will you do later in life? You may not physically be able to work during your retirement years, so don't depend on the fact that you can simply continue working at a job to produce an income.</p> <p>Another reason to avoid taking out your life savings to fund a business is because it will likely come with high taxes and penalty charges. If you withdraw money from a 401(k), or traditional IRA, you'll have to pay <a href="http://gogirlfinance.com/career/entrepreneur/so-you-want-to-be-an-entrepreneur-why-you-shouldnt-cash-in-your-401k/">upwards of 40% in taxes</a> and early withdrawal penalty fees. That's not a smart way to start out a new business.</p> <p>Finally, you'll be losing out on extra tax benefits, like credits and deductions, that can be added to your tax return each year. You would also be missing out on any contributions from your employer if they offer to match your funds.</p> <p>For all of these reasons, you should avoid touching your savings and retirement accounts as much as possible. Here are three smarter ways for funding a new business venture without using savings.</p> <h3>1. Bootstrap Your Idea</h3> <p>The grassroots style of marketing and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-money-boosts-that-grow-your-savings">funding a new business venture</a> is a popular method that's been around for a long time. Basically, you use the connections and community you've already built as a way to help spread your idea or mission.</p> <p>The marketing is all done via word-of-mouth and you reach out to people individually to explain what you and your business do. The idea grows slowly and any money that it brings in is reinvested into the business. This will build a solid foundation while allowing you to keep more of your money in savings.</p> <h3>2. Consider Crowdfunding</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-raise-money-on-crowdfunding-sites">Crowdfunding sites</a>, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are becoming more and more popular because it leverages a huge audience of people and gives them the opportunity to invest in your business idea. Most small businesses don't succeed because they don't have the capital they need, but instead of pulling the funds out of savings, you can use crowdfunding to turn your business dream into a reality.</p> <p>Whether it's a interchangeable watch, a productivity planner, or an alarm clock that monitors your sleep, these sites have built a platform that allows you to share and fund your unique idea. And the best part is that you'll already have hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of raving fans and customers who are ready to buy and spread the word.</p> <h3>3. Enter a Contest</h3> <p>Another route you can take to infuse your new business venture with cash is by entering a small business contest. For example, Chase gives away $2 million annually ($100k each to 20 small businesses) through its <a href="https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/">Mission Mainstreet grants</a> program.&nbsp;</p> <p>MIT offers a 100K Entrepreneurship Competition where small business owners can pitch their ideas and have the chance to win much-needed funds to get started. Once your business idea is vetted and you create a business plan, you could win up to $100,000 to go towards your venture.</p> <p>Amazon similarly offers startups the <a href="https://aws.amazon.com/start-ups/">chance to find funding</a>, grow at a smart rate, and find resources for marketing, all for free. They've helped sites like Pinterest, Etsy, and Airbnb get their starts. So if you have a software-based business, or one that sells physical products, they can help connect you to the resources you need, for free.</p> <p><em>Are you thinking of starting a business? What are some other ways to fund it without using savings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-small-business-benefits-of-a-bulk-buying-club-your-chance-to-win">Sam&#039;s Club Giving Away a Free Membership and $100 Gift Certificate to One Lucky Wise Bread Reader</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/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship crowdfunding funding new business savings small business Thu, 07 May 2015 16:28:22 +0000 Carrie Smith 1410182 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/working-from-home-80410876-small.jpg" alt="working from home" title="working from home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've now spent over two years as a freelancer. When I started my freelance writing and content development business, <a href="http://chasingdownthemuse.com">Chasing Down the Muse</a>, I knew I would learn a lot along the way about business, my skills, and what it takes to make a go of a freelance life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right?ref=seealso">Freelancing: A Beginner's Guide to Doing It Right</a>)</p> <p>In preparation for this article, I also spoke to a number of freelancing friends and colleagues about the actions that drive their success. Here are the top 10 commonalities I found.</p> <h2>1. Hang Up Your Shingle Online and Off</h2> <p>Tell everyone, and I mean everyone, what you're doing! Create a website, business cards, LinkedIn profile, email address with signature, and networking plan. You can build it, but no one is going to come if they can't find you. When people ask you what you do, tell them. Announce your freelance life and its progress on social media. I've been amazed over the last two years how many leads have come from my existing personal and professional networks even though this new business was a complete departure from my degrees and previous jobs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-linkedin-profile-noticed-with-a-few-attention-grabbing-tweaks?ref=seealso">Get Your LinkedIn Profile Noticed</a>)</p> <h2>2. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch</h2> <p>Understand that you are now salesperson-in-chief of your new business. You need to turn over every rock that looks interesting to you, whether they're actively looking for a freelancer like you or not. Pitches are seeds. Some of them will sprout quickly, some will take cultivation, and others won't sprout at all. However, one thing's for sure: If you don't pitch, you won't get the work.</p> <h2>3. Think Creatively About Your Value</h2> <p>What are all of the ways someone could utilize your skills? I write web and marketing copy, fundraising proposals, social media posts, blog pieces, traditional journalism, fiction, and nonfiction across a wide variety of topics from tech to food and almost everything in-between. When I started out, I thought about all of the uses for content where I could look for opportunities in addition to creating my own personal work. This was an incredibly valuable exercise because it helped me to identify clients that I previously didn't consider viable.</p> <h2>4. Know Your Worth</h2> <p>As you pitch, network, and think creatively about all of the ways you could earn a living from your skills, you will undoubtedly come across a myriad of opportunities. Before you sort through the options, use how you value your time and work as a lens to filter them. I have a minimum dollar amount for all of the writing I do. If an opportunity pays significantly less than that minimum, and I can't find another reason to take the gig (great connections, opportunity to learn about a new topic that interests me, significant exposure, etc.), then I turn it down. As a freelancer, turning down paid work is difficult to do. However, if you take every gig that comes your way, no matter what it pays, you'll find your schedule cluttered and you'll be making a living that's not sustainable. Know your worth and state it with confidence.</p> <h2>5. Leave Space in Your Calendar</h2> <p>Following on the idea of knowing your worth, you will find that periodically there will be space in your schedule, particularly as you get started. Don't be afraid of that empty space. You need it &mdash; to recharge, evaluate how you're doing, and go after new, exciting prospects.</p> <p>This is an especially difficult one for me because I like to be busy and productive. I took every single job that came my way my first year and by the end of it, I was completely exhausted. I made my desired nut (barely), however I paid a huge price for it health-wise. If I had been less afraid of the empty space, I believe I would have been more successful and happier that first year in business because I would have only done work I truly wanted to do and not work I felt that I had to do. After all, that's why I decided to leave my corporate job and take this freelance path &mdash; to do work I love.</p> <h2>6. What Gets Measured Gets Done</h2> <p>I've always been very goal driven and I find that I am most motivated to achieve a goal when I track my progress toward it. I set monthly and annual personal, professional, and financial goals and regularly review how I'm doing against those goals. If I miss them, I sit back and consider how and why that happened. If I hit them, I think about whether or not they unfolded as planned. If I surpass them, I spend some time evaluating if I underestimated myself. No matter what, I celebrate because I learn something new every single time.</p> <h2>7. Schedule It</h2> <p>The hardest thing for a lot of freelancers is managing a schedule. But you have to create a structure that works for you. Every week day, I get up early, walk my dog, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and get to work. When I had a corporate job, most of that timing was established for me. Now that I work out of my home, I need to be vigilant about my own schedule to stay productive and on-task. While some friends think I can get together or chat on the phone at any time since I'm working at home, I make sure to set clear boundaries. I rarely take personal calls during my working hours, and I try hard to honor an end to my working day so I can enjoy my personal life, too. It doesn't always go exactly according to plan, but then again neither does a corporate job schedule. Things come up and we have to be flexible from time-to-time. Life happens.</p> <h2>8. Speak With Confidence</h2> <p>When someone asks what you do, look them in the eye, smile, and say it with confidence. This is especially important (and sometimes difficult) as you first start your freelance life. A friend, family member, or complete stranger you meet in the grocery store could have a line to your next great work opportunity. If you explain what you do clearly, succinctly, and confidently, it helps everyone to make a strong connection to ways they may be able to help you.</p> <h2>9. Keep Your Skills Sharp</h2> <p>A freelance life is busy. You've got a lot of balls in the air and it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day. However, it's crucial to keep your existing skills up-to-date and to acquire new skills that are interesting to you and helpful to your work. Now that online learning is so plentiful, conferences of all shapes and sizes are popping up everywhere, and information is so democratically distributed online, you have a myriad of ways to stay current. Save some time in your schedule for learning; the future of your success depends on it in this fast-paced world.</p> <h2>10. Keep 3 Buckets of Work</h2> <p>The one trick that has been the single best practice in my business is my use of what I call the three buckets. I divide my work into thirds:</p> <ul> <li>One-third for keeping my current projects on track;</li> <li>One-third for pitching new projects; and</li> <li>One-third for researching longer-term potential projects.</li> </ul> <p>I keep track of all of my work in these three buckets and it's helped me to find success in the short-term while also helping me seed the ground for future success.</p> <p>Above all, remember why you started this freelance journey and make sure to revisit that original motivation often. Is it living up to your expectations and is it fulfilling? Are you happier now than you were before you started freelancing? These are important questions to continually ask yourself as you chart your own path to professional and personal success.</p> <p><em>Are you a freelancer? What actions have you taken that helped create your success? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship freelance productivity small business work from home Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1192001 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-167146229.jpg" alt="man" title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to popular media and the glamorous success of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and even Mark Cuban, the idea of entrepreneurship is all the rage these days.</p> <p>A 2012 study showed that 54% of <a href="http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2012/11/an-entrepreneurial-generation-of-18-to-34yearolds-wants-to-start-companies-when-economy-rebounds-according-to-new-poll">millenials want to start a business</a>, despite only 8% actually running a business at the time of the survey. When we think of entrepreneurship, words like &quot;freedom,&quot; &quot;wealth,&quot; &quot;passion,&quot; or &quot;fame&quot; might come to mind. We love the idea of being our own boss and the sole beneficiary of our own labor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso">Starting a Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think</a>)</p> <p>Few, however, understand what entrepreneurship really is. At its core, being an entrepreneur comes down to your ability to make one key sale.</p> <h2>You're the Product</h2> <p>Think of a sales pitch. The presenters walk in, introduce themselves, and pitch their product. Each of you have a product to sell, and the product is... wait for it... you!</p> <p>Regardless of profession, we are all required to sell ourselves in some capacity. In the context of our lives, we are our own most valuable product.</p> <p>For entrepreneurs, the ability to sell themselves is their single most important skill. At no point do entrepreneurs stop selling.</p> <ul> <li>Product pitch? Selling</li> <li>Investor meeting? Selling</li> <li>Top talent hiring? Selling</li> <li>Customer acquisition? Selling</li> </ul> <p>If you've ever attempted to acquire a small business loan, you know your business plan is only half the story. The bank wants to know if YOU are a good investment. Ever watch Shark Tank? Those investors will laugh at a product and then fork over $100k, simply because the entrepreneur was able to sell him or herself well.</p> <p>The truth is you cannot be a successful entrepreneur without the ability sell your most valuable product &mdash; you.</p> <h2>How to Sell Your Most Valuable Product</h2> <p>So what does it look like to &quot;sell&quot; yourself like a product? How can you influence people to buy into you?</p> <h3>1. Identify Your Value Proposition</h3> <p>Your &quot;value proposition&quot; is a fancy way of describing your selling point. What makes you uniquely valuable? What specifically do you have to offer? What makes you irreplaceable?</p> <p>If you think you don't have a value proposition, you're wrong! No one else on Earth has the exact same combination of experiences and talents as you. You might need to spend some time investing in yourself (acquiring education, skills, and experience), but you have something to offer. Identify it! And then offer it!</p> <h3>2. Fall in Love With Yourself</h3> <p>The best sales people truly believe in their product. They know it inside and out and can't stop talking about it. Once you've identified your unique selling point, it's time to fall in love with yourself. It's time to get excited about you!</p> <p>If you don't believe in yourself, there's a better than average chance no one else will, either. Don't limit this idea to the positive thinking routine. When I'm confident in myself, I impart that confidence to others. People around me get a gut feeling that I have what it takes. Confidence and passion are infectious.</p> <p>Don't sell yourself short. Get excited about you!</p> <h3>3. Get Out There and Sell</h3> <p>Success in sales is all about playing the numbers.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs know the more people they pitch their product to, the more customers they'll acquire. You'll never accomplish your dreams from the couch.</p> <p>Selling requires action. You have go put yourself out there. You always have to risk a &quot;no&quot; if you want a shot at getting a &quot;yes.&quot; In five years, you probably won't regret &quot;wasting&quot; a day on failed interviews. You might not feel the same way about those daily six hours of television.</p> <h3>4. Always Be Closing</h3> <p>This old sales adage is a classic for a reason. Every successful salesman and entrepreneur knows you can't make a sale without closing. The close is the point in your pitch where you bring your audience to a point of decision. This is of the utmost importance. You have to bring people to a decision. You have to request them to take an actionable step.</p> <p>Without the close, the presentation was nothing more than an informational experience. Your audience now knows about one more thing they'll never buy. But the close changes everything. As you convince others to buy into you, bring them to a point of action. Require a response.</p> <p>I've witnessed firsthand the power of this technique. At the beginning of my career, I&rsquo;d send informative emails out to prospective clients, detailing my experience and inquiring about their needs. I&rsquo;d hear back from 1 in 15... maybe.</p> <p>The entire goal of my emails wasn&rsquo;t to get hired. It was simply to achieve a response. I realized that describing my qualifications just offered another sheet of information for the recipient to glance at and move on. I wasn't closing in my copy.</p> <p>So I changed my approach. I started using wording that forced the reader to form an opinion and influenced a response. Sometimes it was a direct pitch, other times a suggestion, question, or offer. Each target requires a slightly different approach, but the point is, I&rsquo;m attempting to close the target within my email.</p> <p>This change in approach has increased my response rate to 1 in 5. For segments where I&rsquo;ve discerned a trending problem I can fix, it's as high as 1 in 2.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>The point is, if you want to be successful, you must be willing and able to sell yourself like a luxury product. The sales process can be applied to virtually any business relationship (I'd advise you to leave it out of your personal ones). You are your own most valuable product, and you&rsquo;ll never stop selling.</p> <p><em>Are you considering starting your own business? Have you thought about how you are going to sell yourself?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jacob-mcmillen">Jacob McMillen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/10-myths-non-business-people-believe-about-business">10 Myths Non-Business People Believe About 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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business sales small business starting a business Fri, 23 May 2014 08:00:44 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1140156 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-2187978-small_0.jpg" alt="running a mom-and-pop online store" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building an online store seems like an impossible dream for most people. But after talking to Steve Chou at the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/fincon">FinCon conference</a>, I learned that even <strong>normal people can build successful, six-figure income, mom-and-pop online stores</strong> that allow them to earn a good living and live their passions.</p> <p>What I love about Steve's message is that he's not promising overnight riches, or even millions in income. He's saying that regular folks can build online businesses that allow them to escape the grind of a job and live the lives they're passionate about.</p> <h2>Meet Four Normal People Who Built Thriving Online Stores</h2> <p>When Steve and his wife were expecting their first child, they knew that they wanted one parent to stay at home. The problem was that they lived in Silicon Valley, and losing the six-figure income of one parent would put a tremendous strain on their finances. After considering several options, they decided to start an online store, <a href="http://bumblebeelinens.com/">Bumblebee Linens</a>, which sells custom embroidered handkerchiefs. Within a year, the store more than made up for his wife's income; generating more than $100,000 in profit.</p> <p>Nowadays, in addition to running the online store, Steve writes the popular blog <a href="http://mywifequitherjob.com/">My Wife Quit Her Job</a> where he talks about their adventures in entrepreneurship. He also has a course to help others do what he and his wife have done with their online store. (Check out his <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinecourse">free 6-day email mini-course on running a profitable online store</a> to get a sense of what the full course provides.)</p> <p>I'm excited to interview Steve and three of his students &mdash; fellow normal people who run successful online stores:</p> <p> <ul> <li>Ron and his wife started <a href="http://www.sunnydecals.com">Sunny Decals</a> because they weren't happy with the wall decal products available on the market. They felt like they could provide better, non-toxic wall decals for their baby's nursery.<br/><br/></li> <li>Tracey quit her accounting job and moved to Ecuador. Her store, <a href="http://www.artisansintheandes.com/">Artisans in the Andes</a>, fulfills her passion for providing hand-made and fair-trade products.<br/><br/></li> <li>Single-mother Sandy launched <a href="http://getunrobed.com">Get Unrobed</a>, selling custom embroidered kimono robes, when she wanted to quit her job in order to raise and homeschool her child.</li> </ul> </p> <p>All four of these people now have thriving online stores, even though they weren't born entrepreneurs. It hasn't been easy, but their examples show that anyone, even the most non-technical person, can do it. Here are their stories.</p> <hr/> <h2>Why did you decide to start an online store?</h2> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When I first thought about how to replace my wife's six-figure income, I thought about taking on another job. But I knew that that wouldn't work. Afterall, it would defeat the purpose of our goal to spend more time together as a family. So ultimately, we decided to start an online store.</p> <p>The online store business model was perfect. You could have a computer server take orders on your website 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You didn't have to be physically present to run the store and all you had to worry about was order fulfillment.</p> <p>Basically, we could run our online business from our house and that is exactly what we did!</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals </strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.sunnydecals.com/jungle-wall-decals/" style="float:right;margin:0 0 15px 15px;border:none;" title="Jungle Wall Decals at SunnyDecals.com"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/jungle_wall_decals_250.jpg" /></a>The idea for our business venture started a few months before the birth of our son. We were looking for ways to decorate the walls for the nursery, and decided to use wall decals.</p> <p>But when we opened the large envelope there was a terrible, toxic smell of vinyl coming from the decals. We had to keep the windows open to try to air out the room from the vinyl smell and eventually the scent did improve. But a few months after applying the decals to the wall, they started to shrink a little and now there was a noticeable gap between all the pieces that we put together.</p> <p>That's when my wife and I decided that we should make our own decals and create a better product than what was available.</p> </blockquote> <p><center><a href="http://getunrobed.com/collections/bridesmaid-robes" title="Bridesmaid robes from GetUnrobed.com" style="border:none;"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/persbridalrobes1_large.jpg" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Ask yourself what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answer." - Lee Jampolsky</p> <p>After I had my son, my answer to that question, what is really important, changed a little. Like any other new parent, I now had a little being who needed a lot of my time and attention. Without question, he needed to rise to the top of my priority list.</p> <p>I knew that I had to redesign my life to ultimately stay true to my priorities. However, redesigning a life isn’t easy and moving away from the traditional 9-5 job can be scary. It was a big decision. </p> <p>It took courage, but I finally began to design my life around what was important to me. So, I decided to open an online retail shop.</p> <p>I’m so glad I decided to do it because it is slowly opening up more opportunities for me and allowing me to move closer to my ultimate goal: provide nurture and education through homeschooling my son.</p> <p>I knew that I needed to think outside of the traditional 9-5 system. Here is where the courage came in. It was time to design my life.</p> </blockquote> <h2>How did you find products and decide what to sell?</h2> <p><a href="http://www.artisansintheandes.com/beaded-necklaces-bib-necklace-chunky" style="border:none;" title="Beaded necklaces and other accessories at ArtisansInTheAndes.com"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/artisan-andes-stitched-600x120.jpg"/></a></p> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>The first step was to find a niche for my store. This involved many hours of research on Google and Market Samurai. Steve's guidance at this point was crucial to finding a profitable niche. I finally found a gorgeous niche among the handmade jewelry available in Ecuador.</p> <p>I thought that it offered many selling points that would be appreciated by today's consumer. The jewelry is colorful, unique, and handmade. The organic beads are sustainably harvested from trees that grow as a natural part of the Amazon rainforest. For me, this niche combined my passion for handmade with my respect for the earth.</p> <p>Now that I had a niche, I turned my attention to sourcing my products and developing a unique value proposition around handmade. Since I was looking at handmade items, I couldn't exactly phone up local factories. I only had a limited understanding of Spanish and the local indigenous culture. But I stayed persistent, talking to people, learning a little bit here and there. I finally tracked down my first artisan, Olga, a talented woman with an eye for fashion who handcrafts tagua jewelry.</p> <p>My values once more came into play as Olga and I were negotiating the price for my initial batch of inventory. I was interested in making a difference by working with artisans to build their businesses and provide them with more opportunities through access to a wider market.</p> <p>Olga and I established a relationship where I paid a fair price upfront and she provided me with her best work. We spent time together to calculate the cost of the inputs and the time to create the product. I ensured that the price paid covered both elements. From here, I added the idea of fair trade to the core values that underpin my store and made it part of my unique value proposition.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When we decided to create a better wall decal, the first thing that we wanted to do was find a material that was not vinyl and non-toxic. Seems like a no brainer that you shouldn't put a toxic substance next to your baby's crib or child's bed, right? After a lot of research we discovered a polyester fabric material with a water based adhesive. The material is non-toxic, works well with a variety of surfaces like textured walls, and it can be repositioned dozens of times.</p> <p>Unlike vinyl, this material did not need transfer paper or special tools to apply. All you have to do is remove the decal from the wax paper with your fingers and apply it anywhere you want. If you don't like where you applied it, then you can peel it off and reposition it.</p> <p>The only drawback is the price. The reason everyone online is using vinyl is because of the cheap cost. We believe that the extra cost is worth it for a top quality product for your child's bedroom.</p> </blockquote> <h2>How much did it cost to start your online store?</h2> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The best part about an online store is it costs very little to start. You don't need office space. You don't need to hire anyone. Renting a computer server only cost about $7/month.</p> <p><a href="http://bumblebeelinens.com/wedding-handkerchiefs-personalized-monogrammed-c-21_45.html" title="Personalized monogramed hankies for wedding parties by BumblebeeLinens.com" style="float:right;border:none;margin:0 0 15px 15px;"><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/bumblebee-200x448.jpg"/></a>It cost us about $630 to get our ecommerce store open for business. Here the breakdown:</p> <p><ul> <li><em>Webhosting - $7/month</em><br/> We launched our online store on shared hosting and stayed on a shared server for about 2 years until we outgrew it. At $7/month it was cheap enough that we knew we could keep our store open indefinitely even if sales were slow.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Shopping Cart/Website - Free</em><br/> Most people are scared of the technical aspects of running an online store and creating a website. But did you know that there are many open source shopping cart packages available that are absolutely free. What that means is that you can start a fully functional online store for very little money.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Digital Camera - $200</em><br/> We took pictures of our products with a cheap point and shoot digital camera. These days, you can probably even get by with just your smart phone.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Computer - $100 </em><br/> For our "business" computer, we commandeered a cheap box that we found on Craigslist. Creating a website doesn't require a powerful computer. You just need a basic box that can surf the web.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Inventory - $322.90</em><br/> When we first started, we stocked a wide variety of products in very small quantities. This allowed us to test the market in order to see which products sold well. Then we placed larger orders of our bestsellers.<br/><br/></li> <li><em>Shipping Materials - Free</em><br/> Most shipping carriers such as USPS offer free shipping boxes if you use their services. So in most cases, you don't have to worry about buying shipping materials at all.</li> </ul> </p> </blockquote> <h2>What shopping cart software did you choose?</h2> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I chose to use Opencart, an open source shopping cart, as the basis for the shop. Going with an open source cart has been a challenge for me as I had to learn some programming to set the shop up as I envisioned it. On the other hand, I really wanted to understand how my business operates from the bottom up, so this was a good choice for me.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote><p>One of the most difficult decisions at first was whether we should use a hosted or open source shopping cart. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. We finally ended up choosing to go with a hosted option with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/bigcommerce">Big Commerce</a>.</p> <p>The reason we chose to go this route is because there is less setup and maintenance involved. We do not have to worry about updates and security. Looking back, I believe that we made the best decision for our needs.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>We use OSCommerce to run Bumblebee Linens, but for those that don't want to deal with the technical aspects of hosting and setting up a free open source cart, there are three great fully-hosted solutions. <a href="http://volusion.com">Volusion</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/bigcommerce">Big Commerce</a> and <a href="http://www.shopify.com/wisebread">Shopify</a> will all allow you to launch a fully functional online store within a matter of minutes without knowing a lick of HTML.</p> </blockquote> <p>(<em>Editor's Note:</em> <a href="http://www.shopify.com/wisebread">Wise Bread readers get 20% off all plans on Shopify by clicking here.</a>)</p> <h2>How did you get sales once you opened for business?</h2> <p><strong>Ron / Sunny Decals</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>One of the most time consuming things involving a new store online, is trying to get your name and brand out to the public. There are no short cuts here; it just takes a lot of time and effort. To accomplish this we write a blog, we try to write on other peoples' blogs, and we try to get our product in front of companies specializing in our field.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Right after launching, we took a break and went on a rafting vacation to Tena, a little town in the rainforest. I found out about my first sale of $93 when I ducked into an internet cafe. I was amazed to see that I had recovered <em>20% of my initial investment with my very first sale!</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Truth be told, business was very slow in the beginning. After all, my wife and I had never run any sort of business before. We didn't know the first thing about selling online. And we had no idea how to market ourselves either.</p> <p>So we picked up as many books about the subject and forced ourselves to learn. We learned how to use pay per click advertising. We learned about search engine optimization. We did the leg work and the grunt work of calling event planners and wedding planners who would buy our products in bulk!</p> <p>Slowly but surely, business started picking up and by the 6 month mark, our business started to snowball. By the end of the year, we had made over <em>$100,000 in profit</em> which was enough to supplant my wife's lost income!</p> <p>So when my wife's maternity leave ended, she was able to quit her job knowing that we wouldn't have to make any major sacrifices for her to stay at home. And here's the best part. Over the past 5 years, our business has continued to grow in the double and triple digits.</p> <p>What started out as a small side business now generates enough income so that neither one of us has to work at all!</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>One of my favorite things about running this site is getting sales out of the blue. Back when I was in B2B sales, I would have to have a long discussion with each of my prospective clients. Even then, I was never certain of a sale. With an online shop, the work I do will carry over to every other potential customer. For instance, the work to get a product shoot done is only done once. Yet, it goes a long way in reaching each of my potential customers. I don’t have to re-shoot for each new potential customer, whereas while I was calling up businesses in the past, I needed to go through the entire sales pitch every single time.</p> <p>My favorite example of this idea in action was about 2 months into opening my site. I had recently had a professional product shoot and sales were starting to come in a little quicker than before. It was Friday night and I was at the park with my son. In between games of tag and trips down the slide, I checked my phone and saw a sale close to $250. It was my biggest sale at the time.</p> <p>I was excited, especially because it came just hours after sending out a decent sized shipment for the past few days. About thirty minutes later, another sale rolled in. Not as big, but enough to make that my biggest sales day up to that point. After that, sales came more frequently. They came in the middle of the night, while I was at my day job and while I was out with friends.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Any final inspiring thoughts?</h2> <p><strong>Tracey / Artisans in the Andes</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Setting up a business and keeping it going requires focused work over a long period of time. Having a business where I have a strong connection to the product and the underlying values keeps me on track and motivated. I kept moving forward, starting with the things that I knew for sure, then allowing my values to creatively guide me at each major decision point.</p> <p>I have ended up with a business that has a deep meaning for me with potential for making a difference in the lives of others. The underlying basis is respectful to both artisans and to the earth. I feel thankful that I got to this point and look forward to how my shop will grow and develop.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Sandy / Get Unrobed</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>When I review my reason for heading down this path, to stop trading time for money, to increase both simultaneously, running my own store from home does it. This allows me to work once and carry the results of that work through. This allows me to spend time doing things that are important to me. It allows me to design my life rather than default to whatever is thrown my way.</p> <p>If you have the courage to step outside the norm and the wisdom to do it right, you can design your life to reflect what is important to you.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Steve / Bumblebee Linens:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>Starting an online business is not that scary. And it doesn't take a lot of money.</p> <p>$100,000 per year &mdash; that was our magic number. At first, it seemed like an unobtainable amount of money to make. But when you break it down by the numbers, $100k per year is $8,333 per month, or only $278 per day.</p> <p>The average order size of our online store is roughly $50. So when we first cracked the $100k barrier (in our first year, by the way), we were only getting <em>6 orders per day</em>.</p> <p>In retrospect, 6 orders per day doesn't sound like a whole lot does it? The world is a very big place and you'd be surprised by how many people shop online. And it only cost us $630 to start. So do you have $630 to spare?</p> <p>The bottom line is that starting your own online business is not very risky and doesn't cost that much either.</p> </blockquote> <hr/> <p>I'd like to thank Steve and his students Ron, Tracey, and Sandy for taking the time to share their stories. These non-technical people were able to launch their own online stores, and in turn, live out their dreams and passions. I'm glad to know the mom-and-pop store is still alive and kicking in this internet age!</p> <p>You can join these four entrepreneurs in Steve's online course: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinestore">Profitable Online Store</a>. At the very least, I highly recommend <strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go/profitableonlinecourse">subscribing to Steve's free email mini-course</a></strong>. It's chock full of useful advice for people thinking about starting an online store, and even if you never sign up for the full course, you'll get plently of great advice that will help you get started in launching your own online store.</p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-myths-non-business-people-believe-about-business">10 Myths Non-Business People Believe About Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship ecommerce online store small business Sat, 01 Feb 2014 11:42:58 +0000 Greg Go 1122923 at http://www.wisebread.com 100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-177737224.jpg" alt="cash" title="cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year, this week, this minute: There is a way you can make more money if you want to. Here I&#39;ve collected more than 100 ways to make more money &mdash; most right from Wise Bread&#39;s archives, and many of which you can start on today. From furthering your career to selling your stuff, from recycling to, heck, even juggling chainsaws &mdash; there&#39;s something here for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-make-money-over-the-holiday-break?ref=seealso">Ways to Make Money Over the Holidays</a>)</p> <h2>Career</h2> <p>Within your current career, here are some ways to up your income.</p> <h3>Ask for a Raise</h3> <p>You&#39;ll never know if you don&#39;t ask; pay rates are rarely straight across the board (unless you&#39;re unionized). You might just deserve a bit extra for your efforts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-boost-your-take-home-pay?ref=seealso">Ways to Boost Your Take-Home Pay</a>)</p> <h3>Look for Another Job</h3> <p>If getting more money from your current employer isn&#39;t working, maybe it&#39;s time for you to take a step up. Look around to see what jobs are available; depending on your career, you may wish to align yourself with a headhunter who can job hunt for you (headhunters are compensated by the employers and are free for job seekers). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job</a><span style="line-height: 1.6em;">)</span></p> <h3>Start a Business</h3> <p>What are you passionate about? Can you turn it into a business? You never know &mdash; and it might not be expensive to set up. Find some inspiration here: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dream-career-a-reality-for-less-than-100">Make Your Dream Career a Reality for Less Than $100</a></p> <h2>Side Jobs</h2> <p>These can be side jobs or even full-time jobs, depending on your situation.</p> <h3>Write</h3> <p>Writing is not a ticket to easy or quick income, but if you have a penchant for the written word, you can pitch articles to various editors of publications (online or in print) that you like to read, or you could even dust off some of that old poetry and see if it will sell. Here are some cautionary tips and tricks for making money as a freelance writer: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-wanna-be-a-travel-writer">So You Wanna Be a Travel Writer</a></p> <h3>Get a Sponsor</h3> <p>If you have a business or talent or website with a loyal following already, you might be able to monetize further with sponsorships. This is generally more of an in-kind form of income, with free products, tickets, and discounts in exchange for some sort of exposure. Learn more about sponsorships and the ethics around them: <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/10/financial-travel-tip-52-getting-sponsorships/">Financial Travel Tip #52: Getting Sponsorships</a></p> <h3>Affiliate Sales</h3> <p>Again this is dependent on having a solid online following. Find products or services that are in your website&#39;s niche, and sign up for their affiliate programs. Digital products like e-books can pay up to 50% in commission, Amazon&#39;s affiliate program pays about 5% commission, and there is a myriad of options in between.</p> <h3>Tutoring</h3> <p>Whatever you know about &mdash; if you can teach it, you can tutor it online! From music lessons to language tutoring to business planning and coaching, with tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing tools, just about anything is possible.</p> <p>Here are some resources for academic tutoring opportunities: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-opportunity-online-tutoring">Earn Extra Income With Online Tutoring</a></p> <h3>Mystery Shop</h3> <p>If you have the time and transportation, mystery shopping can be a fun way to earn extra cash. See our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">Guide to Mystery Shopping</a>.</p> <h2>Online</h2> <p>Many of the methods of making extra money in this article are made possible by the Internet. Some are more Internet-dependent than others. There are sites to help you rent out your car when it&#39;s not in use, others to sell things, and others yet to unleash your creativity (juggling chainsaws?) &mdash; and more &mdash; there are a lot of ways to make money online! Check out these articles for some inspiration and 21 ways to make money online:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-extra-income-online-today">5 Ways to Make Extra Income Online Today</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cool-convenient-cash-11-easy-ways-to-make-money-online">Cool Convenient Cash: 11 Easy Ways to Make Money Online</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-online-5-websites-that-can-seriously-pad-your-pockets">5 Websites that can Seriously Pad Your Pocket</a></li> </ul> <h2 style="list-style-type:decimal;">Recycling</h2> <p>Isn&#39;t it great when the stuff you don&#39;t need is worth something and doesn&#39;t have to go in the trash? Here are 20 or so ways to make money from recycling (heck &mdash; you can even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them">make money recycling corks</a>):</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-trash-making-money-recycling">Cash for Trash: Making Money Recycling</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></li> </ul> <h2 style="list-style-type:decimal;">Sell Your Stuff</h2> <p>From using the likes of Craigslist and eBay to local target marketing efforts, here are a few ways to be rid of your wares and all the richer for it.</p> <h3>Cleaning House</h3> <p>Adam and Courtney Baker sold just about everything they owned (similar to myself) several years ago. The difference is, they applied more of a science to it, and I would surmise they profited better from it than I did using eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: Book Review &amp; Tips.</a></p> <h3>Get Creative</h3> <p>In these articles you&#39;ll find sites and ideas like ExBoyfriend Jewelry (requiring your tragic tale of breakup in order to post your jewelry for sale), living estate sales, raid my closet parties, smartphone apps &mdash; and other creative ways of finding buyers for your stuff.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reselling-antiques-the-five-principles-of-power-picking">Reselling Antiques: The Five Principles of Power Picking</a></li> </ul> <h2 style="list-style-type:decimal;">Random Miscellany</h2> <p>How do you categorize renting out extra space, dog walking, selling event tickets, becoming a tour guide, participating in medical tests, and other wacky ways to make money? Randomly, I say. Very randomly:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Ways Legit Ways to Earn Some Extra Cash</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs">30 Great Side Jobs</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs with Flexible Schedules</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-money-today">25 Ways to Make Money Today</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-in-your-hometown-become-a-tour-guide">Make Money in Your Home Town: Become a Tour Guide</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">15 Ways to Make Money While You Travel</a></li> </ul> <p><em>What&#39;s your best idea for making more money?</em></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/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">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-19"> <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/5-money-making-activities-you-can-do-today">5 Money Making Activities You Can Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today">6 Smart Ways to Make It Rain Today</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/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Legit Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads to Earn Some Extra Cash</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-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</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/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper You Must Read Before You Get Started</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income career extra income income small business Tue, 07 Jan 2014 11:25:18 +0000 Nora Dunn 1102579 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obstacle-167160369.jpg" alt="obstacle" title="obstacle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's note: Jim Wang launched the personal finance blog Bargaineering.com in 2005. Five years later, he sold the site for $3 million. Today, he runs <a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/">Microblogger.com</a>, where he teaches new bloggers how to build successful blog businesses.</em></p> <p>There's always a wall. A hump. A plateau.</p> <p>It might come on day two, it might come on year two, but there's always a point in every business where you feel like you've hit a wall. That moment when you aren't quite sure if you're just going up a small hill or if you've just run into Mount Everest.</p> <p>For me, that moment was about six months in. I'd started <a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/?utm_source">Bargaineering</a> in January of 2005 and by July and August, in the depths of the summer slowdown, I felt as if the site might have run its course. I started it as a journal to document everything I was learning about personal finance. Six months in, when the rush of constant discovery and of daily growth had subsided, I was left with a website that was only making a few cents to maybe a dollar a day and a feeling that I'd learned enough.</p> <p>This is very common. When the euphoria of starting a new venture, of meeting all these new people, and of discovering something fresh and new subsides, you're left with the reality of running your own business &mdash; and it's tough.</p> <p>Fortunately there are techniques you can use to get over the wall, crest that hump, and overcome the plateau so you can escape the local peak and reach your full potential.</p> <h2>Hit the Reset Button</h2> <p>Any business can be a grind; sometimes you need to hit the reset button. I don't mean that you should reset the business &mdash; reset <em>yourself</em>. If the business can handle it, step away and go on a sabbatical. Use this time to think about what's important to you, what you want to focus on, and whether you can adjust your situation so that you spend more time on the things that are important, rather than the things you &quot;must&quot; do.</p> <p>If you can't get away, take some time to re-evaluate your situation. Are you doing tasks that drain you of your energy and could be outsourced? Are you stuck doing the day to day, which you hate, instead of strategizing and planning? Oftentimes it's the day to day minutiae, which is a necessary evil, that causes us to feel like we're in a rut &mdash; not the business itself.</p> <h2>Lean on Your Support Network</h2> <p>A strong support network, whether it's just a handful of close friends or a more structured mastermind group, can help you overcome many of the emotional challenges of running your own business.</p> <p>You just spent the last week putting together these awesome posts that you swore would become popular, but didn't. You just recorded and edited these amazing podcasts, but only a few people listened. You just released several new products, but no one is buying.</p> <p>You're starting to doubt yourself, doubt the mission, and ponder quitting.</p> <p>Lean on your support network. Ask for their opinions, bounce ideas off them to see what might work better next time, and otherwise just use them as a way to get things off your chest.</p> <h2>Network, Network, Network</h2> <p>Ask anyone who has ever been successful and they'll often point to their network. Networking, which is a fancy term for going out and meeting new people, is absolutely essential to any business and can be a lifeline when you've hit that proverbial wall.</p> <p>Meeting new people gives you the opportunity to constantly evolve that support network, and it also gives you the opportunity rely on the expertise of others when yours might be insufficient. There is so much you can learn by meeting new people, especially if they're outside your domain, and you can only do so if you meet them!</p> <h2>Create or Update Your Plan of Attack</h2> <p>When you started your business, you probably had a plan of attack. A list of things you were going to accomplish, target milestones, and a schedule managing it all. Oftentimes, we run into that wall when our business reaches the end of that plan or we get derailed somehow. Our efforts become unfocused, we don't see progress, and we feel like we're in a rut.</p> <p>Use this opportunity to update your plan of attack, reset your milestones, and focus on your effort, rather than the results. It's very difficult to get over the hump if you have no plan for doing so.</p> <h2>Pick Up a New Hobby</h2> <p>I love the concept of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)">flow</a>, which is defined as a mental state in which a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full engagement, and enjoyment of some activity. When someone says they're &quot;in the moment&quot; or &quot;in the zone,&quot; that's the feeling we're talking about.</p> <p>You want to pick up a hobby so that you have something else that you are constantly improving and can feel &quot;in the flow.&quot; I started running, and it's given me an opportunity to both exercise and think about my business with a clear mind.</p> <h2>Focus on Data, Not Emotions</h2> <p>Why do you feel like you've hit a wall? Is it because sales have stagnated? Traffic? Revenue or profits? Has growth slowed? In many cases, it's data that's driving the emotion, so why not focus on that and dig deeper?</p> <p>If your business is a blog and you measure your progress based on traffic, dig into the numbers to see if you should be focusing on one channel over another. How much traffic do you get from social media? Search? Referrals? Which channel needs more attention? Should you be doing more in social or perhaps writing more guest posts?</p> <p>In almost every case, there is always something you can do. If you can't think of what that might be, ask people you trust for their advice.</p> <p>I'm glad I was able to persevere through those moments of doubt because by September of 2005, just a couple months after I had hit that wall, I was featured in the New York Times, and I never looked back. I hit a few more bumps in the road, found myself stuck on a few plateaus, but the rush of being on the New York Times, the prospect of being in it again (I would eventually get mentioned three times, each one was a thrill), and of the techniques I shared was enough to push me through.</p> <p>If you ever need a little help getting through the hump, reach out to me. I'm happy to help.</p> <p><em>Jim shares insights and lessons learned with new bloggers at Microblogger.com. Be sure to </em><a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/"><em>sign up for his free (and very in-depth)</em> Create a Lifetime Income Blog <em>course</em></a><em> to learn from his experiences.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship blogging extra income freelance small business work at home Thu, 05 Dec 2013 11:36:19 +0000 Jim Wang 1098710 at http://www.wisebread.com When Avoiding Debt Is the Losing Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/when-avoiding-debt-is-the-losing-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-avoiding-debt-is-the-losing-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guys_in_coffee_shop_0.jpg" alt="Guys in a coffee shop" title="Guys in a coffee shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I must have written a dozen articles about the dangers of debt, but there are circumstances where taking on debt is the winning move. Here's an analysis.</p> <p>Borrowing for consumption is almost always bad. (I say &quot;almost&quot; only to allow for cases where you're borrowing for necessities like life-saving medical care.)</p> <p>Borrowing for investment is another matter altogether. In a growing economy, refusing to use debt to grow can cost you your business.</p> <p>Here's an example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-debt-bad-debt">Good Debt, Bad Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Debt-Free Growth</h2> <p>Suppose you have $20,000 in capital and want to open a coffee shop. You get a lease on a storefront, buy a machine to make espresso and cappuccino, order supplies, hire a few employees, and open for business.</p> <p>Let's further suppose that your business is a success. Right from the start you earn enough money to pay your rent, utilities, taxes, suppliers, employees &mdash; and have enough left over to support yourself. In fact, let's suppose you're making a little more than that.</p> <p>Finally, let's suppose that you figure your town can support four, maybe five coffee shops, and that you start putting aside that little surplus you're earning with an eye toward expanding just as soon as you've saved another $20,000.</p> <p>That's a reasonable-sounding strategy. But it's a losing strategy if you're up against someone who's willing to take on a little more risk.</p> <h2>Debt-Fueled Growth</h2> <p>Suppose there's another guy in town with $20,000 in capital, and that he also thinks there's room for four, maybe five coffee shops. But let's suppose this guy takes his $20,000 and goes to the bank and borrows another $80,000. Then he takes the $100,000 and opens five coffee shops.</p> <p>If you're both right about the number of coffee shops the town can support, his shops may well be successes right from the start too. Like you, he can pay all his expenses. But whereas you're only taking home a little more than you need to support yourself, he's taking home five times that.</p> <p>Now, granted, he's going to have to pay interest on his debt. But how much is that going to be? Right now, no more than 7% or 8% &mdash; call it $6,000 a year in interest. Even after paying his banker, he's still making a lot more than four times as much as you.</p> <p>Now, this may all seem okay. I mean, he's making almost five times what you're making, but he's taking on a lot of risk, plus he's working five times as hard as you. You may figure he's earning every penny, and be pretty glad that you're not in his shoes.</p> <p>Except for one thing &mdash; you both figured that there's only room for four or five coffee shops, and now there are six.</p> <p>You can expect competition to get pretty fierce.</p> <h2>Advantage: The Debt-Fueled Guy</h2> <p>The problem is, the other guy can compete a lot more fiercely than you. You've got a little money to compete with &mdash; that surplus you were hoping would let you save up to open another coffee shop. You could spend that money on advertising, or you could cut prices until they ate into your profits by that much. After that, any further fall in your profits cuts directly into your standard of living.</p> <p>Your competitor can cut his profits by 80% and still have enough support himself.</p> <p>Your competitor has other advantages as well. He does five times as much business with his suppliers as you, so he may well be able to get bulk discounts that you can't. As a larger business that employs five times as many people, he may get extra consideration from the city council when it comes to regulations that affect the business &mdash; rules about putting tables out on the sidewalk or having live music or how the dumpsters are arranged.</p> <h2>The Role of Risk</h2> <p>Now, it's true that the other guy has taken on a lot of risk.</p> <p>In particular, if you're both wrong, and the town really only has room for two coffee shops, he's probably screwed. He's got five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">coffee shops</a>, and they're all losing money. Your coffee shop is losing money as well, but you don't have any debt. If you can find some way to bring a little money in &mdash; maybe getting a part-time job &mdash; you can keep your shop open for a good long while. Your competitor has no hope &mdash; he can't get a part-time job, because he's running five stores and has no spare time, plus he's got those interest payments on top of everything else.</p> <p>But there's always risk in running a small business. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/contingency-plans">Any of a thousand things could go wrong</a>.</p> <p>If you're a risk minimizer like me, you might be surprised to learn that one thing that could go wrong is that you're not willing to take on a bit of debt, if that's what it takes to get big enough to compete.</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/when-avoiding-debt-is-the-losing-strategy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</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-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate 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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management bad debt good debt small business Mon, 21 May 2012 09:48:17 +0000 Philip Brewer 929260 at http://www.wisebread.com Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5869798689_f7a9cbb984.jpg" alt="People in a coworking facility" title="People in a coworking facility" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular approach to working these days, and starting your own business is as popular as ever. Both options mean that you need a place to work of your own, though, because an employer won&rsquo;t be providing it.</p> <p>A home office may be an easy option, but there are a lot of downsides to working in the same environment your kids are playing in or your chores need to be done in. The main alternative &mdash; renting office space &mdash; can be an expensive proposition, especially if you&rsquo;re just starting out. A new trend may offer a much easier option, though &mdash; coworking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a>)</p> <h3>A Brief History of Coworking</h3> <p>Coworking spaces are shared offices. Usually one person or a small organization rents a larger office space and then makes parts of it available to other individuals. The trend started in San Francisco in 2005 with the Hat Factory, a place where three people lived, and, during the day, made the space available to others to work in. The concept gained traction and has spread like wildfire. Most major cities have at least one coworking space these days, and there are an estimated 700 locations in the U.S. alone. The <a href="http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/29303049/Directory">Coworking Directory</a> serves as the best resource for checking into what&rsquo;s available near you.</p> <p>Coworking spaces are meant to provide an improvement over working in a coffee shop (you don&rsquo;t have to keep buying an ever increasing number of cups of coffee) or at home (you can reduce the overlap between work time and your personal life). The movement, as a whole, also provides an organic approach to office space. No one needs a license or a franchise to open a coworking space. That&rsquo;s how they can pop up all over, and why each one is very different from the next.</p> <h3>How to Get the Most Out of Coworking</h3> <p>Just about any coworking space offers you a place to plunk down with your laptop and work, completely tuning out everyone else. Most of us need that sometimes &mdash; when we&rsquo;re on deadline, paying for the privilege of quiet workspace makes sense. But the rest of the time, there are a lot of other benefits you can get from a coworking space.</p> <p>Most coworking spaces operate on the assumption that if a bunch of people are going to work in the same area, they might as well form a community. Many spaces host events, but even those that don&rsquo;t offer plenty of informal opportunities to sit down and talk with other people in the space. Depending on your own background, this can be an easy way to find new clients, a freelancer to help you with a project, or even a team member for a new company. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you">human interaction</a> can be one of the biggest benefits of a coworking space, especially for those of us who are used to sitting home alone to work.</p> <h3>Understanding the Amenities and Prices</h3> <p>Most coworking spaces make a point of posting both their amenities and prices on their websites. If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to be in an area with multiple spaces, this information can help you decide where you should work, but it&rsquo;s also important to understand what you&rsquo;re getting.</p> <p>You may be able to choose between a variety of different plans, from a one-day drop in option to monthly plans giving you full-time access and your own key. You may have access to a range of amenities:</p> <ul> <li>A key allowing you access anytime you want</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">Coffee</a> and other beverages</li> <li>Storage spaces</li> <li>Reduced costs for events</li> <li>Membership discounts for other businesses</li> <li>Access to printers, fax machines, and other office equipment</li> </ul> <p>Every coworking space is different, so if there&rsquo;s a feature you really need, it&rsquo;s important to ask about it. If an amenity isn&rsquo;t available, your request may prompt the space organizer to look into it.</p> <p>Prices are mostly influenced by location &mdash; the simple fact that office space in New York City is more expensive than in Austin means that you&rsquo;ll pay more to join a coworking space in New York. I&rsquo;ve usually paid around $25 per day for dropping in at spaces in California, Oklahoma, and along the East Coast. Monthly memberships are often tiered to allow for different levels of access. In my experience, full-time access starts around $200 and goes up from there, based on location and features.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-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/when-being-an-entrepreneur-isnt-sexy">When Being an Entrepreneur Isn&#039;t Sexy</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/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship coworking space freelancing office savings small business Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:48:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 915082 at http://www.wisebread.com