Best $79 You Can Spend

When you run your own home business you may find your time a little thin when trying to manage family life, shopping, and household errans.  As your business grows your going to need to find ways to save time and money at the same time.

I came to this point myself and realized that unless I hired someone to shop for me I would be running short of required household items.  On the advice of a friend I tried the free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime.

If you have never heard of Amazon Prime your not alone I hadn’t either before my friend told me about it.  Here is what is so great about Amazon Prime:

1. Free 2 day shipping – The main reason I became a member was for the free 2 day unlimited shipping option.  This is a great feature since many items on Amazon.com can be ordered almost for free even after including shipping since it’s free.

Now not every item is eligible on Amazon for free shipping but many are.  You want to order food, clothing, office supplies, christmas gifts, etc go ahead since most have free shipping and you will get your order in 2 days.

When your short on time or if you don’t have use of a car due to repair or not having a car, no problem.  The $79 year membership covers unlimited free 2 day shipping which will save you at least that much in gas your not using.

2. Free Streaming Movies – Many people don’t realize that Amazon now has over 10,000 streaming movies that are free to Prime members.  When I intially started my membership there were only a few movies.  Today there is a huge selection to choose from.

If your paying $9/month for Netflix’s unlimited streaming service you will entirely save this money by using the Prime membership instead.  This is really a nice bonus feature og having the membership.

The Amazon Prime membership is really not only a time saver but a money saver as well.  You can literally live without a car if you have this membership and there are people who do this.  They have all their food bought and delivered for free from Amazon.

Creating Structure In Your Business

When you go from a conventional job to a home based business there is a bit of culture shock.  The first few weeks feels like christmas followed by the reality that you need to steer your own ship now.  You won’t be forced to start your work at the same time everyday and no more steady paychecks.

This can be a liberating experience or utterly terrifying and it all depends on how well mentally you have prepared for this moment.  If you planned ahead with several months of expenses saved and have made the decision with confidence you should be fine.

The new reality though is that you will no longer have co-workers to talk to, benefits to fall back on, and paychecks every two weeks.  This isn’t so much of a problem if you planned for these situations in advance and it tends to be more along the lines of developing a plan and structure for your day.

As I wrote in earlier posts you can structure your days however they best fit your desire lifestyle but you will still need some structure.  This structure can be a set number of hours per day spread out over 24 hours or a set number of specific hours.  My favorite is to work in several hour chunks with no set amount of hours.

Some days I don’t work at all while other days I work most of the day.  I like this flexibility since some days I just don’t feel creative or productive while other days I crush it.  It’s also nice to work this way so I can take days off and go on vacation when the days are nice.

The point is that there is no one structure that works for everyone and it will depend on many individual factors.  Initially you may want to experiment with different routines until you find the combination that works for you.

Once you have structure developed you will find a comfort that fit better than when you were in your 9-5 routine.  This structure will also allow you to perform at your peak interval and creativity.

Investing In Yourself

There is a common misconception that in order to get the skills and knowledge to make money you need a college education.  Although I think college can be valuable to learning new skills it’s not essential for starting a successful business.

If your planning to work in the corporate world than yes you will probably need the college degrees but when your starting your own business it can sometime be a weight around your ankle.  College teaches you book knowledge not the real world knowledge that really is needed.

This is one of the big draw backs of going to college, it can get your mind focused on doing ONLY what is conventional.  When your mind only thinks in terms of what everyone else says is possible you are missing opportunities that are right in front of you but your mind doesn’t see it.

Many successful home business owners either went to college but dropped out or didn’t go to college at all.  Apple Founder Steve Jobs, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates all dropped out of college and they aren’t doing to bad.

There are thousands of extremely successful business owners that didn’t finish or even go to college.  So how did they do it?  They learned the skills and got the experience on their own.  The internet can teach anyone how to do almost anything while learning valuable skills.

Take a look at YouTube, I bet if you type in anything that you need to learn how to do there will be multiple videos showing you how to do it.  Need to change you oil in your car there is a video for that.  How about making Iphone Apps? Yep.

The point is in the earlier days before the internet you could learn things through books at the library, today the internet makes every skill available at your finger tips and most of this information is free.

Most of the home business skills I learned exactly this way.  I don’t have any family that knows anything about running a business online and I was able to learn these skills without spending a dime in costs and you can too.

All your education can be free and making this investment in time will pay off in big financial returns.  College may be nice to have but it certainly isn’t required to start a successful home business.

 

Free Advertising

No matter what your home business does it will need to generate customers and there is no better or faster way to do this than through free advertising.  Since most advertising cost money it helps to have a list of advertisers that are free to use.

Here is a list of some of the top performing advertising websites that allow anyone to post ads for free:

1. Craigslist – The most popular free advertising website is craigslist and it’s free.  You have to be careful when posting ads on this site though.

Craigslist doesn’t like spammers and if you post multiple ads a day they will flag and ban your account.  To prevent this from happening don’t post ads more than a few times a week.

Don’t underestimate the power of this site since it can bring lots of traffic to your ad and always include pictures in your ad to generate interest to your post.

2. US Free Ads – The second most popular classified ad site is US Free Ads.  This site will allow you to post up to 10 ads.  If you want more ads they charge $6/month for an unlimited number of ads.

The paid plan also automatically renews your ads every month so you don’t need to keep reposting your ads.  This site definitely gets the traffic as well and it’s worth your time to post an ad here.

3. Adland Pro – One of the more popular classified ad sites is Adland Pro.  This site is very similar to US Free Ads only with less traffic.  This is a combination social site/classified ad site.

Be careful about posting your phone number on this site since you will end up getting calls from other members of the site trying to sell you their service.  This is great for posting your business website or email address though.

These three sites may be free but don’t underestimate their results.  I have had better conversion of sales with these free sites than using paid per click (ppc) through Google and I had to pay quite a bit for that advertising.

Low Cost Home Businesses

I prefer to start home businesses that require little money but more time to get started.  Since I keep my monthly expenses low it makes my time more available for a new business.

Given the bad condition of the economy I am sure there are many people who like me are looking to get into a home business with little money.  Not to worry as there are many.

1. Ebooks – Everyone had some knowledge and experience from their years generating income.  This may come from your college education, job experience, any businesses you may have had, etc.

You don’t need to be an expert on a topic to create an ebook you just need to know more than the average person does.  What is common knowledge to you may not be common to other people.

The Process Of Creating An Ebook

You only need a few tools for making an selling ebooks:

a. Writing Software – You will need MS(Microsoft) Word or a MS Word compatible software. You can get compatible software free here.

b. Adobe PDF Software – In order to sell and send the ebook you will need to PDF it. This allows the ebook to be sent online. Adobe offers 5 free PDF’s for new accounts. After the 5 free you can sign up for their $9.99/month plan and stop it whenever you choose.

c. Ebook Cover – Through sites like 5er.com you can have your ebook cover made for $5.

d. Domain/Website – This is optional since many sellers sell directly on Amazon via the kindle or payment processors like ejunkie.com. Though I recommend setting up a sales page so you can continue to sell the book on your own.

e. Payment Processor – If you plan on selling the ebook on your own site you will need Ejunkie.com. For $9.99/month you can download your ebook and get a html code for your sales page. Then when a buyer clicks on the “Buy Now” button ejunkie sends the ebook automatically to the buyer and sends the payment directly to your paypal account.

That is all that is required to sell your own ebooks. For less than $50 you can make several ebooks and have them available for sale online.

2. Creating Websites – Although this process is a little more complicated than creating ebooks the cost is even cheaper.  You will need to buy a domain and hosting service for your website.

The domain name you can register and own for less than $10/year at Godaddy.com.  You have several options for selecting a hosting service including Hostgator and Bluehost which charge less than $10/month.

You can have multiple websites hosted on your hosting site without additional costs.  It is possible to have 10-20 sites hosted for less than $10/month total cost.  Hosting is a real bargain.

So for less than $20 you can have a website started and growing while focusing on ways to generate traffic to your site.

Preparing To Start A Home Business

When you have done all the research and planning required to take the plunge and start your business there are some important financial steps to take.

1. Lower Your Expenses – One of the most important steps to take is to reduce your monthly expenses.  Any business requires some start up time to get the income sufficient to meet their expenses.

Most businesses require 6 months to 1 year before it becomes profitable, in the mean time it’s important to lower your expenses as low as possible.  The lower the better as it will give you some breathing room why growing your business.

A barebones budget is best, that means no cable, netflix, lower cell phone bills, etc.  If your truly dedicated to your businesses success this should be no problem.  Once your business is up and generating sufficient income you can increase your expenses back to the level they were initially.

In a few years you may be living much better than you were before you started your home business.  The temporary cut back in your budget will more than be worth later on.

2. Business Room – Your going to need a room where you can work in peace and conduct your business.  If you don’t have a room available wall off a corner of your garage, basement, or some other room.

When your trying to make money at home your going to need a spot where you can concentrate.  The more isolated the better your focus will be.

3. Business Phone – Rather than using your home phone it’s much more professional to have a seperate business phone using a cell phone.  The prepaid phones work best if your on a tight budget since you can’t spend more than you loaded on the phone.

When your business grows switch your cell phone number to a landline number.  Remember keep expenses as low as possible.

4. Have 3-6 Months Expenses – There is no guarantee that your business is going to make money right away, in fact you probably will lose some money.  It is important to have at least a few months of your lower monthly expenses saved in a bank account.

This money will allow you to have some breathing room while you grow your business.  I can’t empasize this enough, you NEED this money for at least the first few months of starting your business.

If you don’t have this money saved you will spend too much time trying to scrape by and worrying about your bills.  This is hardly the perfect environment to start a business.

Why Having A Job Is A Handicap

Conventional wisdom says that you should go to school and than get a job/career and be happy with it.  Unfortunately that general wisdom started several generations ago when you had one job for your entire life and retired on a decent pension.

Today’s workers are looking at changing jobs every few years without any thought of a company pension.  The reality is much scarier when you realize that many younger workers will also have student loans to pay off.

If you could skip college and the loans that come with it and start learning how to be your own boss out of high school you could really create some great entreprenuerial skills and experiences.

Having a job saps a persons creative energy and by the time they come home from work their so tired that the last thing they want to do is think of new business ideas.  This is understandable as most of us can relate.

When your self employed your mind and body aren’t being taxed by outside opinions and stresses which leaves you more relaxed in your creative and income producing abilities.

Having a job leaves you dependent on its income and benefits, only by gaining confidence in your own abilities and experience can you be truly independent.  Having a job lets you glide  by knowing that you will get a paycheck.

10 Benefits Of A Home Business

If you have ever had a traditional 9-5 job or any job really you know all the drawbacks that come with them.  Remember getting woken up by an alarm clock, drinking coffee to get your buzz on only to have to look forward to rush hour traffic.

I mean looking back on that life it’s hard to understand why anyone would allow themselves to deal with the stress of just getting to their job everyday.  There are tons of benefits to working from home.

1. No Dress Code – How nice would it be to wake up and go to work in your most comfortable pajamas?  Working at home you can, try that at work.

Your clothes budget will drop to almost zero when you don’t need to buy all those dress clothes to dress to impress.  Think about how nice that would be and you bank account will end up fatter.

2. No Commute – No more sitting in traffic and costly commutes to your day.  Imagine waking up and logging onto your computer or making business calls from your desk.

3. No Office Politics – What job doesn’t have the people whom will sell you out for a dollar?  Don’t you get sick of seeing co-workers getting promotions because of who they know versus the work.

A few years of seeing this action repeated is enough to make anyone want to get out and working at home will completely avoid any office politics.

4. No Meetings – You know the dreaded meetings, the ones where your constantly looking at your watch and dreaming about being anywhere else, gone.

I found these meetings to be a feasting ground for the workers who loved being heard and to promote their careers.  Working at home completely avoids this problem.

5. No Gossip -  How many times have you heard about a co-workers personal life while simply getting a cup of coffee?  How about sitting at your desk and hearing the gossip?

The problem is that everyone wants to gossip about your off hours.  What a pain in the but to constantly have to monitor your own talking and hide your feelings.  Working at home will definitely solve this problem.

6. Free Time – Being your own boss will allow you to take vacations and enjoy your life without the constant stress of working a set number of hours each day.

Many home business owners will take a few days off and than power work for a few days to make up for their time off.  YOU get to make the rules with your time.

7. Scheduling – Try working between your life errons when your at a job.  Working at home allows you to schedule your life around your business not the other way around.

The ability to control your time and schedule is priceless and you will never have to miss another one of your kids activities or events.

8. income – How many jobs do you know where you can double or triple your income every year.  Outside of generous stock options or a huge promotion it’s non existent.

Being self employed you can simply work more or add new sources of revenue.  You have the control of your income not an employer.

9. Flexibility -  Want to go on vacation?  How about take some time off to rest?  A traditional job will rarely allow you to just call in and say your not coming in because you have better things to do for the next three days.

Having a home business allows you to change your plans instantly without the consent of a boss.  You wake up and decide it’s so nice outside that your going to the beach and you just do it.

10. Passive Income – Many of the home businesses generate significant passive income.  Not many jobs will pay you when your not working but home businesses can and do.

It’s nice to take a few days off and than come home and find money sitting in your bank account that wasn’t there before your left

These are just a few of the many benefits of having a home business.  Although there are some drawbacks like not having health insurance or pension benefits I believe the pluses out weigh the minuses.

Defining A Home Business

I like to define exactly what I am defining a home business in my opinion to be so there are no misunderstandings when reading the posts on this site.  A home business is defined as any business that can be run entirely from home.

That definition means that if I have to drive to meet with a client or refill vending machines at store locations it’s not considered my definition of home business.  I also realize that many people would disagree with my definition which is exactly why I want to be very specific on its use in this site.

A true home business doesn’t need a car to operate since its income is generated at home.  You may need a car for everything else but not to generate income for your business.  Home businesses are purely run from home 100% of the time.

Lots of businesses that claim to be home home businesses are according to my definition not home businesses.  It’s also nice to know that if you ever needed to go without a car for whatever reason your income wouldn’t be effected.

There are a whole new breed of home business owners who get by without leaving the house.  They buy groceries and products from sites like Amazon that offer two day free shipping with their annual $79 Prime membership.

They host get togethers at their own house and rent cars when needed for longer trips.  I don’t think this is a bad idea but the point is that having a home business opens up all kinds of possibilities that a traditional job won’t allow.