Posts tagged home business

Hot Trends: Five Ways to Make Money From Home

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The first book I fell in love with as a child was Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery…here’s a quote I could (and still do!) relate to: “There’s such a lot of different Anne’s in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

Working with people who want to start their own home based businesses is pure joy for me –it allows me to use my possibility thinking to the max.  Once you start seeing all kinds of opportunities to make money…you won’t be able to stop!  Start by thinking of possibilities for other people you know…before you know it…you’ll start creating multiple profit centers of your own.

Here’s a roundup of just a few home based business ideas to get you started:

writer1.  Writing.  I’ve made six figures in a year from writing for the last four years.  There are all kinds of ways to make money through writing: grant writing, technical writing, copywriting, resume writing, travel writing, website copywriting, and creating blogs that attract ads are just a few of the ways you can enjoy your writing skills while bringing in the bacon.

computerrepair2.  Computer repair.  I’ve often wished I had someone reputable (a good sense of humor would be a bonus) I could call who would make home visits to repair my computer.  You can serve consumers or small businesses or both.

housework3.  Senior Services.  This industry is exploding.  You can provide all kinds of non-medical services.  You could specialize in one or create different service packages. Some ideas:  caregiver who keeps a person company while doing light housework and maybe cooking, provide transportation to appointments, shopping, yard work, or pet care/grooming/boarding.

va4.   Virtual Assistant.  I’ve had the same VA, Pat, for several years.  She lives in Texas and I’m in Southern California…and we work together beautifully.  There are online schools that will provide training, certification and a listing on their websites.  Pat recommends AssistU where she got her training. 

web_design5.  Website/Blog Designer.  This is another fast growing field.  Most people are overwhelmed at the thought of creating a website or blog…if you come in with a “Do It For You” service that keeps it simple for them, you’ll have more business than you can handle alone (not a bad problem to have!).  You might want to team up with a marketing coach who can help the client decide on the overall focus of the website and the copy that describes specific benefits about their products or services.  Or maybe you’re talented in copywriting and can do it all!

Keep on looking for those opportunities that are a great fit for YOU.  They’re endless.

Put Money In Your Pocket With Sizzling Sales Copy

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Every self employed person needs to learn how to write successful sales copy.  Sales copy is a different style of writing. Just as I had to drop the academic boring writing to the more conversational writing you’re reading now…I had to learn to spice up writing when I wanted to sell something. 
For each product/service you would like to deliver to your customers, you’ll need to write a sales letter – start out with about 1,000 words, as you get practice, you can make them longer.

Here are my four best tips to get you started:

1.  You gotta get their attention with the headline: 

Would you bother reading a page about this?  “5 Ideas for Home Based Businesses.”  Maybe.  How about this one?  “Why Home Based Businesses Are Raking In More Money Than Ever Before.”   Or, “Smart Tips When Eating In Airports” compared to “What Never to Eat Before Boarding a Plane.” 

Your headline must get your readers attention.  Then it can get them curious, introduce a compelling idea or make an offer.

You don’t want to “trick” the reader.  Be authentic.  But spice it up with power words.  Here are some to get you started:  “You owe yourself a _____.”  “Straight talk about _____”.  Here are some power words you can use anywhere in your copy:  energizes you, relieves stress, a smart buy, knocks your socks off…are you starting to get a feel for it?

2.  Focus on the readers “pain” or problem that you can solve.  We all make purchases from emotion.  Then we justify them with logic.  A good sales letter moves the reader from emotion to desire to action.  Want proof?  Think about the purchases you’ve made lately, particularly those in response to a sales letter you read.

Even better…start collecting those sales letters that get you to take your credit card out of your pocket and buy.  What is it about the letter that appealed to your emotions?  What pain/problem were you looking to solve?

3.   Why you?

What makes your service/product unique?  What is your Unique Selling Proposition? This is what you will build the sales letter around. You must make the reader know that YOU or your product can solve their pain/problem. 

Maybe you’ve have had a similar pain/problem and have turned it around, perhaps there is strong research evidence available about the product you are selling. 

Testimonials can also boost credibility in your sales letter.  If you use them be sure they are specific, address only one benefit and have a full person’s name, city and state.

4.  It’s All About the Benefits NOT How You Deliver Them

Here’s where most of us trip up.   Many of my clients focus on the features of their products/services rather than benefits.  For example, in a home study kit on “How to Make Money Online”, the features may be a 100 page workbook, 2 audio cds, 5 worksheets and 2 bonuses.  That’s nice but what do I GET if I buy it?  What problem do I solve?

Benefits are the specific advantages your customer/client will receive from your products or services.  In the online home study kit example benefits might include: make money from home with no commute, create passive income that brings in money while you sleep, pay off your debts putting in only 3 hours a week online.

If you can show that your product or service will: make someone money, help them lose weight, get them healthier, make them more popular, improve their appearance, save them time, or make something more convenient for them, you’ll get their attention.

People don’t care how you are going to fix their problem…they just want to know you can.

What service or product are you ready to offer?  Go ahead.  Write your first sales letter.  Sure, it will feel like riding a bike for the first time…you’ll be wobbly…it’ll take time and a few revisions.  But after you’ve written five or so, you’ll be able to crank these out in no time AND you will put money in your pocket while serving others in your unique way!

How to Overcome Resistance in Your Home Based Business

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I highly recommend a book called “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield.  In it he examines internal obstacles to success and how to unlock your creativity.  Today’s tips are adapted from his book.

I am often asked how I get so much done…running multiple profit centers while still having plenty of time for exercise, reading, learning and play.  One thing I can attribute to my productivity is the attitude I took the very first day of my being self employed – I gave my home based business the same respect I had given my previous jobs. Here’s what I did, and continue to do:

1.  I show up every day.  When I first started my home based business, I decided I would work Monday through Friday –no weekends. I also decided I would make my commute down the hallway to my desk in real clothes.  Now, one of the joys of working from home is that I can wear comfortable clothes…however, I don’t show up at work in my pj’s. 

2.  I show up no matter what.  In my previous employment, I rarely stayed home –I’ve got great health and hardly get sick, I didn’t want to let my colleagues down, and I took pride in meeting my project deadlines.  I have the same philosophy in my home based business.  If I’m truly sick, I rest but other than that I show up.

3.  I stay on the job all day.  I decided my hours would be Monday-Thursday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Fridays from 9:00-2:00 pm.  And for the most part, I am at home working during those hours.  I gradually adjusted the tasks I would do at different times.  For example, I used to take client calls every day –now I don’t take them on Mondays or Fridays.  Mondays is a day when I work on projects and writing, and Friday is a project day and also a time for planning the upcoming week.  I now quit at 1:00 most Fridays.  Most days my husband joins me at home for lunch – so I have a midday break.

While working from home gives me the freedom to rearrange my hours if needed, I find that my regular daytime schedule works for me…I have plenty of time in the early mornings, evenings and weekends for relaxation and play.  Your ideal schedule might look very different.  The point is to have a schedule and stick to it.

4.  I accept pay for my work.  You accepted your paycheck when you were employed by someone else right?  You didn’t feel guilty for taking it did you?  Yes, I’m enjoying my work and yes it provides service that I feel compelled to give to the world and YES, I’m here to make money!   You’ll need to get over any discomfort you have about quoting your fees and asking to be paid if you are going to have a successful business and not just a hobby.

I’ve seen these 4 factors make or break home based businesses.  Commit to these things for 3 months and let me know what “magic” happens for you!

How Entrepreneurs Can Build Self Confidence

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It’s not my imagination. And it’s not just anecdotal evidence from my own coaching business. I’ve recently read several research articles that find women exhibit a lack of self-confidence in their own abilities as entrepreneurs compared to men; many women do not feel comfortable calling themselves entrepreneurs; and, fear of failure is higher for women compared to their male counterparts. Now the good news is that for some women in the research studies, entrepreneurial self-confidence grew over time in business.

It breaks my heart when I work with women who hold back and don’t fully share their gifts with the world –even when I can see that they are shining stars. And I can relate! I’ve been there. I had very little self confidence in my younger days (middle age has its blessings). Here are five tips to build your entrepreneurial confidence.

1. Act now. Procrastination feeds fear. With each success you have, you lay another brick in your confidence foundation. Choose an action that you feel you can accomplish -even if it’s a little scary –and get it done.

2. Keep an accomplishment log. Women often discount what they’ve accomplished, attributing their success to luck or other people. Keep a log of your accomplishments –read them when you start to feel self doubt. This is also a great tool to keep your resume or portfolio updated.

3. Save testimonials. I have a “testimonial” folder in my outlook email box. When someone sends me a thank you or a compliment of any kind, I save it in that folder. This serves two purposes: one, testimonials are a powerful marketing tool –people love to buy from someone who shows them testimonials that talk about specific outcomes, and two, reading them reminds me of why I get out of bed every day and do what I do.

4. Faith it till you make it. I know…you’ve heard “fake it till you make it”…since this is Authentic Life Institute … we say “faith.” I have said “yes” to requests that are in alignment with my business and values even though, at the time, I wasn’t confident I could meet the request. I knew I’d figure out the “how” if I made a commitment. An example was the first time I was asked to give a radio interview…my first internal reaction was a big gulp and a “I’ve never done that and don’t have a clue what to expect” fear.
My external reaction was a confident “yes, thank you for the opportunity and what date are you looking at.” In this case, the interviewer was experienced and sent me questions ahead of time…yes, I was nervous and no, I don’t think listeners knew it. With experience, I’ve learned to have a few “talking points” I want to be sure to work into the interview, regardless of what questions the interviewer asks…I didn’t do this the very first time and it was just fine.

5. Don’t Dwell on Mistakes. Do you ruminate over your mistakes…playing the scenario out in your mind over and over again? That’s a habit to drop. Instead, learn to become a gentle, reflective, observer of yourself. For example, after I give a workshop or presentation, I reflect on the experience. I consider what I might do differently next time and then I spend more time reflecting on all the things that went well. Most of all, I congratulate myself, for “getting out of the way” and remembering that the purpose of the presentation was to inspire others. Yes, learn from your experiences, but keep the big picture perspective.

Walk tall today. Know you have unique gifts to share with the world. Confidence is attractive…let yours shine!

Creativity: The Successful Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon

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Your creative powers are infinite. Yup…think about it.  You come from the same source as all of nature around you.  Look at fruit trees.  How do you think those fruit push themselves up the trunk, through the branches and then hang themselves like beautiful ornaments in just the right place?  Well we don’t really know how it works, but we know it’s creation.

You cannot not create.  I know…many of you just don’t feel creative.  Maybe your definition of “creative” has been too narrow.  Creativity isn’t a gift given only to artists, sculptors, musicians, or dancers.   It’s something you do naturally.  Question is…what are YOU creating?  You are always creating with your thoughts.  Every product, every service in the world started first in someone’s mind.  So “mind your mind” and direct your thoughts to things you really want to create…like abundance and good service and joy.    

You are absolutely unique.  There is no one quite like you.  So the way you look at the world, through your eyes, your mind is different than any one else’s.  Successful entrepreneurs embrace this uniqueness.  Even though there are many people who cut and style hair, each does it in their own way –haven’t you had a favorite hairdresser or barber who just always got it “right”?

So don’t waste time worrying that you have nothing new to offer.  You do.  Yourself.  Discover what it is that you enjoy about yourself and incorporate those qualities into your business.  When you do, you’ll love your work and your customers and clients will love you.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist has written extensively on the topic of creative flow.  He says when we are engaged in an almost effortless yet highly focused activity we experience “flow.”  Here are the characteristics of being in “flow”:               
1.  Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
2.  A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
3.  Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
4.  Knowing that the activity is doable – that skills are adequate to the task.
5.  A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
6.  Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present,  time seems to pass by in minutes.
7.  Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

When have you felt that?  Whatever you were doing at the time, do more of that!  I celebrate and honor your creativity. Don’t hide it from the world…let it shine.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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Why am I talking about love in the context of business?  And no, I don’t mean a passionate office romance.  I’m talking about the fact that loving my clients has been a key to success in my business.  It hit me several years ago when someone asked me the secret to my success…without thinking…I said “I love my clients and they know it”…and then I felt a bit embarrassed, thinking that I didn’t sound very “business-like.”

Now, let’s clarify what I mean by “love.”  That little four letter word has tons of different meanings in the English language.  For the purpose of today’s article, let’s go with “affectionate concern for the well-being of others” and “strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything.”

If you want to be successful, you have to genuinely care about others. When I was a teen, I read the famous 1936 book by Dale Carnegie -“How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  When you’re a teen, you REALLY want to win friends.  It resonated with me and I immediately began to implement the principles he outlined.

Here’s what he said about getting people to like you:

Six Ways to Get People to Like You.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Sound simplistic?  Believe me it’s not.  Watch how people talk to each other today and see if you can find people who do this well.  Better yet, start practicing yourself.  The practice of being curious about others (not nosy… in a way to dig up their “dirt”) but rather a genuine curiosity about what makes them tick, what they long for, what are they proud of…combined with a love and enthusiasm for the service or product you provide…is to me, the most powerful business “secret” there is.

Start practicing this with the very next person you meet.  If it’s a brief encounter, perhaps at the market with a clerk –you can at least make eye contact, smile and say thank you.  If you have more time, try asking a question that gets a person talking about one of their interests and then… LISTEN.  This item four of Carnegie’s list, “be a good listener,” is an area in which most people need practice and reflection.

Through all the training I’ve invested in and received in coaching and ministry, I’ve had the gift of being listened to deeply and to in turn, give the gift of listening deeply to others.  What do I mean by listening deeply?  I mean giving them your FULL attention –when you’re in person with them –looking at them, staying focused on their words AND the tone beneath the words.  Keeping your mouth closed –both figuratively and literally –so many people are just chomping at the bit to respond with advice or a “that happened to me too story” or to finish the sentence with words that they think the talker is going to say.  Allowing them to completely finish what they were telling you and then to acknowledge what they’ve said –that’s honoring them and that’s a rare gift.

You can accomplish the same things on the phone –the difference is –you’re not looking at them. I often close my eyes when listening to a client on the phone –it helps me stay focused and allows me to really hear what’s going on beneath the words –whether there is genuine excitement in what they are saying, or some trepidation that needs to be addressed and supported…or perhaps resignation –it just might be time to let go of a direction that just isn’t right.

So, what’s love got to do with it?  Everything.  Start loving your clients/customers today and see what happens!

Attracting Ideal Clients/Customers

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You will have the best results in business if you create your vision first.  Then you can take “inspired action” consistently and persistently.  Without vision you may find yourself in the same boat as many unsuccessful business owners who dash madly from one marketing effort to another –never giving any of their strategies time to produce results –results that came from the vision.

This article focuses on one important aspect of your business –who you serve.  Here’s an exercise I did when I first got started and if I find myself attracting people who are not ideal for me to serve, I revisit my vision to get clear again. 

I encourage you to do this process (or call it a game if you like!) in a chair where you would typically work.  If possible, have a 2nd chair next to yours. Now think back to a client you’ve had in the past who is ideal for you or at least as close to ideal as possible.  Consider all the interactions you had with this person.  What was it you enjoyed about serving this person?  What are the positive qualities, attributes, and characteristics of this person?

Take out a piece of paper or computer document and write a list of all these qualities, attributes and characteristics of your ideal client. For example, mine include:  has a sense of humor, is interested in their spiritual development, takes action, values my time as well as their time, possesses and demonstrates mental well being, intelligent and has common sense, understand and demonstrate that they deserve to be successful, has a financial cushion allowing them to buy my products and services, they want me to be successful and make a profit, they subscribe to my weekly ezine, they enjoy referring my services to others, they have realistic expectations about what can be achieved and when, they have clarity and focus, they are open-minded, they are heart-centered, they are learners, and they are true to themselves.

Now, if you can, switch chairs –put yourself in your client’s chair.  Ask your ideal client these questions: What are they struggling with that brought them to you? What is the biggest change they experienced as a result of the wonderful work they did with you?  What are the results they have now as a result of their work with you?

Next, make a list of at least 10 problems your ideal clients/customers want to solve.  What change/breakthrough do they want to experience and are they willing to pay you to help them get there?  List 10 results they could get from working with you.

Once you are clear on their challenges and results you deliver, you will not only be setting into motion the attraction factor –you now also have plenty of authentic words to use in your marketing materials!

Speaking to Grow Your Business: Why You Need to Conquer the Fear

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When I do workshops on marketing …and mention that speaking is one of the most effective strategies for building a list of contacts who can’t wait to buy from them, most people in the audience look at me with that “no way in hell am I gonna do that” look.

What is it about speaking that makes it such a powerful marketing tool?   Listed below are 3 benefits of public speaking.

Benefit #1:  You build your leads list quickly. People get an experience of YOU.  They get to feel your essence…who you really are.  Now you’ve got their trust.  When building your list of prospects (the MOST important part of creating your business!) people typically move through four stages:  from suspect (they don’t know you and think you just want to take advantage of them) to prospect (they say yes to a free offer you’ve made and are interested in learning more about you) to client (they’ve spent money with you…even one dollar!) to raving fan (they buy just about everything you offer AND tell others that they must get to know you too).

When you get out and speak to a group you will want to collect their email addresses and postal addresses. Offer to give them your free ezine or a special tip sheet or a cd of an interview you’ve done, in exchange for their email address.  My experience is that 95% -100% of folks will do this…after hearing you speak, they want to get more from you.  You’ve created a relationship and these folks aren’t suspects…they are already prospects…or if they purchased one of your information products…they are clients….and many will already be raving fans!

Benefit #2: Sales in the “back of the room”. I don’t know about you, but I always love browsing the information products (books, workbooks, cds, home study courses) that are provided at seminars.  I always buy at least one thing (usually more) because I am interested in the topic the speaker is talking about and am hungry for more information.

A speaker is truly performing a disservice to her audience if she doesn’t give them more of what they want.  AND, you can make a boatload of money selling these information products!  You spend time to create them once…and then continue to make money with them for years to come.  If you’d like to learn how to create your first info product (and don’t want to procrastinate for 3 years like I did!….do you know how much money I lost when I did public speaking and had nothing more to offer folks!) join me on an information packed teleclass June 17. http://www.authenticlifeinstitute.com/ownbossteleseminar.htm

Benefit #3: You are Living Your Life Purpose and Serving Others.  You have good information to share (yes, you really do!) and it would be a shame not to share that information with others.   When you speak on a topic you are passionate about you can literally change lives.  One piece of information can encourage someone to take a baby step that leads to another and another …resulting in a positive life change.

Tom Antion is the man I go to for public speaking advice and tips.  Check out his chock full resource center, click here.

More to come in the next 2 articles…next week we’ll talk about putting together a presentation and in 2 weeks, you’ll learn how to market your presentations on a shoestring.

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