Friday, February 27, 2009

Recession: Real or Virtual Mind?

I received this story about what recession mean. It is about a man who once upon a time was selling hotdog by the roadside.
He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio. His eyes were weak, so he never watched television. But enthusiastically, he sold lots of hotdog. He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales. His sales and profit went up. He ordered more and more raw material and buns and use to sale more.

He recruited few more supporting staff to serve more customers. He started offering home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove. As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from College, joined his father.

Then something strange happened.
The son asked, "Dad, aren't you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?"
The father replied, "No, but tell me about it." The son said, "The international situation is terrible.
The domestic situation is even worse.. We should be prepared for the coming bad times."

The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV. He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly. So the next day onwards, the father cut down his raw material order and buns, took down the colourful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic...

He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his hotdog stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly, same is the profit.

The father said to his son, "Son, you were right". "We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time."

Moral of The Story:It's all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think we do! What can we take away from this story ?

1. How many times we confuse intelligence with good judgment?
2. Choose your advisers carefully but use your own judgment
3. A person or an organization will survive forever, if they have the 5 Cs
    * Character
    * Commitment
    * Conviction
    * Courtesy
    * Courage

The tragedy today is that there are many walking encyclopedias that are living failures. The more practical and appropriate views on this economic recession is:
"This is the time to reunite together for any small or a big organization,
this is the time to motivate and retain people which are the biggest asset,
this is the time to show more commitments to the customers,
this is the time show values of our company to the world,
and this is the time to stand by our Nation".

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

5 Areas You Should Focus On During This Recession

Everywhere I go, everyone will be talking about the current economic situation. Some of my friends who are business owner are getting mad on how the bailout is going to help them, others see the opportunity that is ahead of them. For working professional, most are worrying whether their company is going to cut down more people. Personally I believe that this is the time for us to stay focus and answer the question of the year “What should I be doing, NOW!”
Five basic areas to focus on first.

Examine your Mindset

Do you believe in your ability to survive and be successful? Are you prepared and open to the new opportunities that exist. This no time for Chicken Little thinking, invest wisely, but first on yourself and our mindset.

Back to School

The best investment you can now make is to increase your knowledge: read, attend a class or seminar, gain new knowledge and learn new skills. If you are temporary layoff professional, consider a postgraduate degree to brush up your skills so that you can prepare yourself to new challenge when the economy picks up. If you are an entrepreneur, evaluate whether there is any training that will improve there performance, customer service, sales, communication and team building are great areas to examine.

Financial Analysis

Analyze your company growth, revenue data and cash flow thoroughly. This is the time where numbers are the language of business, by knowing your key indicators and what drives the indicators. From there, drive your company strategy on ways to overcome downturn.

Market, Market and Market

This is not the time to trim your marketing budget; you should have solid data that allows to pin point the marketing that targets the best results. You cannot afford to “spray and pay”. You have to know what works and what does not work, measure the results of all marketing campaigns and repeat the successful programs. Do not highlight discounts or reduced prices, showcase value and unique product/service offerings. Take advantage of low cost, no cost marketing techniques.

Protect your existing customer

Build a loyalty fence around your existing customer. Give them no reason to consider about your competitor at this point of time. Value them as they are the most important part of your business. (Which they are) if you don’t know how they feel about you and your business, ask and listen.

We have many choices with the directions that we take our businesses and the choice is always ours. Some say it will get worse before the economy rebounds, will you be prepared? How are you going to come out the other side of this current situation? And if you are “all in” can you afford to not do things differently than before? The choice is all yours, what will you do first, what will you change?

Do share your thought here.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guilford Editor Telecommutes to San Francisco


Tech publishing editor Mike Loukides found the gain in efficiency in productivity as a telecommuter has allowed him to manage more authors for his company, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

From his home office in Guilford, Loukides works with 20 authors located all over the country, each with manuscripts in different stages of development. "I've generally done more than most of the other editors," said Loukides. "Part of that is because I've worked from home and have less interruptions."

"For my particular job there's a lot of freedom for organizing how my job goes and with telecommuting you spend a lot less time in meetings," Loukides added. "Although I do find that despite having a lot of freedom to control my time, it definitely helps to set a business-hour schedule. I try to work close to an 8:30 to 5:30 day.

O' Reilly & Associates, with its worldwide headquarters in San Francisco, California, publishes 70 to 100 computing books a year for the professional and corporate market. Loukides began telecommuting for O'Reilly ten years ago when his former employer, Multiform Computer Systems went out of business (O'Reilly was a documentation vendor for the company). Loukides was then equipped with a three-computer network and a DSL service.

There are about 40 telecommuters working for O' Reilly according to Loukides, including half of the editorial staff. He said they do a lot of teleconferencing with each other and with the office (group meetings once a week). "For books with multiple authors we'll set up a regular meeting time and use teleconferencing centers available on the Internet."
"In addition, if my child is sick and needs to stay home my work doesn't stop," Loukides said. "I know people who if their child is sick they're just home with them and no work is getting done. As for myself I don't generally take very much sick time. I am still able to do some work and already being set up with a home office I am able to do it."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mompreneur: A Day in the Life

By Lisa Druxman

As you'll learn, becoming an entrepreneur while being a full-time mom is not only entirely possible, it's desirable for many women. If you've ever wondered whether you could hack it as a mompreneur, here's your chance to find out a day in the life as a mompreneur.

Name: Gretchen VogelzangGretchenVogelzangphoto1

Name of Company: KDCP Productions, MommyCast Weekly podcast that focuses on topics of interest to mothers.

Founded: 2005

What's an average day in your life, starting with waking up? Because my business partner and I are moms, we fit everything around kids and family. I usually have time between getting my 15-year-old off to school and getting my 10-year-old up. That's when I check e-mail, check up on the site, do work on our social networking site (Facebook), etc. We talk a lot about current events, so I always have one ear to Good Morning America listening for potential topics. Our schedule is such that we podcast once a week--usually recording three or four shows. Then twice a week I sit down to edit the shows, do show notes and links, and post them to our website. I usually do this later at night when the kids are in bed. With our new video show, we go into the studio once every four to six weeks and do a blitz of shows. Sometimes we can record 20 to 30 shows per production stretch.

What's your biggest challenge in being a mom entrepreneur? Probably not becoming all-consumed by it. I think it's hard when you work out of your home to sometimes shut it off. I try hard to resist sitting at my computer while my kids are around doing homework or other evening activities. And on the weekend, I try to keep my focus on family. Besides, it's all potential story material for our shows. It's great when your job is your family, and even better when your other job is your family.

What's your best tip for success as a mom entrepreneur? Be passionate about what you do. You need to really love it or it'll become drudgery. A lot of people start businesses because they think they can make money. That ambition will only sustain you so far. And I think you're less likely to be successful if you don't have a fire in you that allows you to really believe in what you're doing. People gravitate toward sincerity and enthusiasm.

Do you make time for yourself? How? Yes. That's another perk when you work for yourself. Because my kids are older, I have a substantial part of my day when they're at school. I try to exercise or play tennis at least five times each week, because sitting at the computer for extended periods of time, I really need it.

If you could start over in your business, what would you do differently? Nothing. Our business has been one pleasant surprise after another. We've enjoyed every step, and I can't really think of anything I would do differently.

What's your favorite book? The last book I read that really touched me was 'Water for Elephantsby' Sara Gruen. It's rare that I get to read for pleasure.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top 10 Home Based Business Ideas

In the past, I have covered starter guide for WAHM. If you want to start earning well by staying at home, here are top 10 home based business ideas which might come in handy:

1) Medical and legal transcription. If you have transcription skills and the necessary equipment, you can easily work from home for a variety of different companies. Check out Job Listings for list of medical and legal transcription opening

2) Virtual Accountant. There are many opportunities available for certified accountants or account assistance. Take a look at American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for information on specific state requirements and Virtual Accountants for any job opening.

3) Web Design. If you can design quality Web sites, consider turning your skills into a home-based business. Good designers tend to be well-compensated for their efforts. You can invest in professional Site Builder software.

4) Crafting. Handmade crafts are popular and creative home-based business. There are websites such as and that allow you to market your product online

5) Child-care services. Turn your expertise with children into one of the most popular home-based business opportunities. Check out Starting a Daycare for free help on how to start your own child-care center

6) Cleaning service. If you are good at cleaning, consider offering your services to others. One way to go is with a franchise. CleanNet-USA and JaniKing are two of the largest franchisers in the cleaning market.

7) Computer Repair. If you are a computer geeks, turn this into a business and start getting paid for fixing fatal errors. Check out Geeks on Call America and Rescuecom if you are interested in franchise opportunities.

8) Wedding Planner. Turn your organizing skills into creating a 'Happily Ever After' story for others in a wedding. There are numerous online certification courses online, including one from Weddings Beautiful.

9) Virtual Assistant. There are great demand for virtual assistants so sets the stage for starting, operating and growing a successful business. If you need help on setting a virtual assistant business, check out Virtual Assistant - The Series

10) Tutoring. You can start a business tutoring students by advertising at schools, the local YMCA, and other places frequented by families. If you have children, talk to their teachers and determine the needs of your school district.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Selling Online: Consider This before You Decide What to Sell

With the opportunities in online business growing more and more every day, it’s almost time to ask the question, “What CAN’T be sold online?” However, there are some things that fair better than others when it comes to selling on the Internet. Let’s talk about a few of the more popular (and profitable) ways to make money as an online business owner.

Sell Your Own or Wholesale Products

If you manufacture your own product, you can sell it online. Or you can save yourself manufacturing costs and hassle by purchasing ready-made products at wholesale prices. Just take into consideration the extra work and storage space involved with carrying a product line. You can always purchase dropshipped wholesale products (the wholesaler ships only when you make a sale), but that usually carries a low profit margin.

The other suggestions in this article don’t carry the require of inventory and extra workload…

Direct Sales Products

Direct sales companies offer great support and a proven product in many cases which makes starting your business with them a nice idea. That being said, remember to check with any company you are considering joining with to be sure they allow sales online. If so, set up your own website and start selling. You must be willing to promote your website in order for the online side of sales to work, however so learning the ins and outs of marketing online, just as with any other type of business, is important.

Information Products

Also known as info products, these include ebooks, audio or video recordings, guides, reports, etc. that teach someone how to do something or explain something in detail.  Most times, info products are sold in a form that allows the buyer to immediately receive their purchase by means of downloading them from your website. You can also sell info products in the form of physical products such as CDs, hard cover books, manuals, etc. that can be shipped to the buyer. It’s easy to make an info product business 100 percent online by offering everything in a downloadable format.

Affiliate Sales

Do you have a blog or informational website already? If so, have you considered selling other people’s products on your site? Many business owners have affiliate programs that allow other you to refer their products or services to others. In return they will pay you a commission when someone uses your referral and makes a purchase.  This carries the benefit of not having to fulfill orders or having to offer customer service. You just focus on promoting.

Just search for the type of product you want to sell + “affiliate program” on a search engine – you’ll see plenty of options.


Whether it is administrative services, bookkeeping, web design, copywriting, or some other service you perform, the chances that you can sell it online is a good one. By creating a professional website that explains your services and marketing it to your potential clients, you’ll be one step ahead of others who are looking to offer their talents online as well.

Need to Build Your Internet Based Family Website?

Looking for an even easier option to build your web pages? Take the comprehensive website builder at XSitepro

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

20 Essential Tips for Telecommuting Success

By Leo Babauta

Telecommuting is a regular employee’s dream, for many obvious reasons. It’s also a great way to combine a day job with a freelancing career, if you can manage to juggle two jobs at once.

However, telecommuting often turns out to be less of a dream job for many people who are not prepared for the hazards of working at home, and many people will see a drop in productivity if they don’t take steps to ensure that they firewall home from work.

It’s not impossible to be a success as a telecommuter, but it takes a bit of commitment. But think of it this way: it’s worth the effort to make telecommuting work, because your worst day working from home is pretty much better than any day at the office.

What follows are some of the best tips I’ve found that work for me, and have worked for many others. Your mileage may vary, so choose those that will work best for you.

Create a ritual. One of the main problems with working from home is that home and work become so blurred that there’s no distinction. That’s dangerous, and a surefire way to fail. So start your work day with a pre-work ritual. This will be different for each person — you might take a shower, dress for work, eat breakfast, and plan your day, for example. But the main thing is to give yourself a signal that you’re beginning work, and leaving home behind.

Simplify. Work can become complicated if we let it, leaving our days filled with a million tasks and stretching on forever. Don’t let this happen. Simplify your work day by focusing only on those tasks that really matter, that must be done, that you want to accomplish for the day. Try to eliminate as much of the rest, the distractions, the little things that can fill up your day, or at least batch them together and do them all at once. Simplify your day, and you will be much more productive from home.

Set limits for work. Set a starting time and ending time for work, or for several blocks of work if that’s better for you. However you structure it, always have a finish time. Otherwise, you’ll work way longer than you would at the office, because there’s no home to go to. When it’s quitting time, wrap everything up, shut down, and go spend some time with the family or some “me” time.

Make a plan. When you start your work day, don’t just start working. Plan out what you want to do, picking out a few important tasks or projects, and structure your day efficiently, broken down into hour-long blocks. This will allow you to make the most of your work day, and ensure that everything necessary is taken care of.

Schedule chores, family, breaks, meals. In your schedule, don’t just put work tasks — get the other stuff in there too, or you will forget about it. Have time for your family, for eating, for taking breaks, for doing chores, for all the other things you want to accomplish by working from home.

Find quiet. If you work with family in the house, or roommates, you’ll want to find a quiet place to work. You can’t get stuff done with the television blazing or babies screaming. If possible, put your computer and desk in a separate room, away from the living room or family room.

Have a good work space. Your working area should not only be quiet, but also spacious enough for you to have room to work, with a place to put your files, your supplies, etc. Make it a place you enjoy working in, and that puts you in a productive mood.

Find your zone. Most people have a time of day when they’re most productive, when they can really crank out the work. Find your zone, and make the most of it. Don’t schedule trivial tasks during this time, but the most important tasks of your day.

Communicate. Whether you’re a regular employee working from home, or a freelancer working on a contract basis, you need to communicate with those you’re working with. That includes communicating what you’re working on, the progress you’re making, what you’ve achieved, any issues that need to be resolved, and anything that needs to be followed up on. Keep that communication regular, so you can’t be accused of not doing your work.

Groom yourself. Many people make the mistake of working in their pajamas, unwashed and loving it. However, as comfortable as that may seem, I know from experience that you will feel more productive, more energetic, and more on top of your game if you take a shower, get fully (but comfortably) dressed, and otherwise groom yourself as if you were going to work.

Log your time and work. As you have no time clock and no one to watch over you, you need to account for your time, if not for your employer or your client, then for yourself. It’s important that you not have a day go by without knowing what you’ve really accomplished, so log what you do, and how long it takes. It may seem like extra work, but really it just takes a few seconds after every task.

Use a timer to stay focused. Working from home can make it difficult to stay focused. To combat that problem, use a timer to help keep you on task and productive.

Limit calls, keep them short. If possible, schedule short blocks of time (30 minutes, perhaps twice a day) for phone calls, otherwise you may be doing them throughout the day, and never get actual work done. When making calls, keep them short and stay on topic. Calls can be one of the worst time drains if you aren’t careful.

Do only work emails, infrequently. The problem with doing email from home is that people tend to mix work with pleasure, and can spend all day in their email client. Instead, schedule time for email, and while you’re working, only do work emails. And, as with phone calls, keep them short and on topic. Do the personal emails later, when you’re off.

Set limits for a task. If you’re going to work on a task, set a time limit for it. Say, 30 minutes or an hour. And then stick to it, or you’ll end up taking forever on a certain task. If you don’t finish within that time limit, try scheduling more time for it later.

Disconnect. If you have problems staying focused, and tend to surf the web or check email or whatever, try disconnecting when you really need to concentrate on a task. Close your browser, and even disconnect the Internet if necessary. You’ll see a huge productivity boost.

Pace yourself. People tend to work hard and fast, and not realize how much they’re working. But if you telecommute for any length of time, you can burn out. Instead, keep an even pace, take breaks, stretch, walk around.

Minimize interruptions. If you can, turn off the phone and your email notification and IM, and ask anyone else in the home not to interrupt you when you’re doing an important task. Interruptions can kill your productivity.

Don’t watch kids and work. Many people make the mistake of substituting telecommuting for child care. You can’t actually do both at the same time. Telecommuting is great for the flexibility you’ll need if you have kids, but when you need to work, you need to have other people watching your kids.

Don’t go to the couch. It’s tempting to move from your desk to your couch, and take a nap or watch TV. After all, why are you working from home, right? Wrong. The couch is a trap from which many a telecommuter has never returned. It’s hard to go back to work after relaxing on the couch (or the bed), so try to avoid the temptation.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Virtual Assistant Specialist

lauriebizsml1 Retrenchment, financial uncertainty. With all the financial and economic dramas around the world, you will be thinking twice on hiring an assistant to do your office work. Don't look far because Halo Secretarial Services is on the way.

Laurie has a long history as an in-office legal assistant/paralegal. She began her career working as legal secretary soon after receiving her honours diploma in paralegal studies in 1993. She worked for a sole practitioner for a few years then worked as legal assistant in a large lawfirm and finally as both a legal assistance and then paralegal for a governmental legal department. Soon after the birth of her third child, she founded Halo Secretarial Services.

"Really it is about making the best use of your time. If you delegate tasks appropriately, your business will function better. Success is not only about working hard but working smart." her response on why people should hire a virtual assistant. Very true indeed since Laurie has helped her clients to save on the cost of hiring full time employee by using her professional services.

With her extensive legal assistance background, Laurie is perfectly suited to help lawfirms get more work done. Halo Secretarial Services is an independent contractor to business without paying direct wages. Halo Secretarial also offers general virtual assistance to small business owners, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs and freelancers.

On a personal note, she has three wonderful sons and a life always lived on the go. She shares her life with an amazing and supportive husband who keeps her on track.

Do check out all the great services at Halo Secretarial Services

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Customer Service Jobs Require More Than A Smile


In the world of customer service, there are no strangers, just friends you haven't met yet. And unfortunately, some of those new friends are mean, rude and just weird. But no matter the disposition of your customer de jour, your demeanor should always be poised and professional.

You"ve probably heard the expression, "The customer is always right." No one is always right, not even customers, so we've slightly amended this phrase to read as follows, "The customer is always right...if you want to keep your job." And you do want to keep your job, right? In this economy, jobs are precious resources.

So if you want to excel in the customer service field, there are a few things to remember. A smile goes a long way, but attentive, professional service goes even further. Not every customer is going to leave your business happy, but by treating people with the same respect you expect from them, you can at least minimize the damage a miserable customer can do to you and your company.

Here are a few customer service tips broken down by the most popular customer service industries:

"Counter" culture and retail jobs
When people think about customer service jobs, they often think about the cash register jockeys breaking change, and the sales floor employees folding sweaters and stocking shelves. These retail jobs can be stressful, especially during the holiday shopping season. (And if you haven't already started your seasonal job search, this is a great place to look). One way to ease the stress of these retail gigs is to embrace the diversity they offer. Ask your manager if you can move departments, or see if you can cross-train to learn a new skill set. For example, if you're a store greeter charged with making a positive first impression with customers, see if you can be a changing room attendant.

Manners are on the menu at restaurant jobs
Restaurant jobs may be the most demanding of customer service jobs. You're always on your feet, hungry people aren't always the most polite, and the late-night and weekend hours can be demanding. But these jobs can be especially rewarding because they're one of the few gigs where your effort and positive attitude are directly linked to your earning potential. That's right; tips represent the bulk of the pay for servers, bartenders and even bussers. So remember: Grabbing that extra serving of blue cheese dressing or bringing the undercooked steak back to the kitchen after a sincere apology can reap you big rewards on the flip side.

Dialing in call center jobs
Taking a steady stream of calls from angry and confused customers would be tough to do for 30 minutes. But imagine doing it for eight hours at a time. Many customer services jobs involve never seeing actual customers, but instead talking over headsets while typing up a storm. If you don't have an onsite ergonomic expert at your telemarketing camp, here are a few basic guidelines to make sure that you won't get carpal tunnel syndrome your first week on the job. Be sure to keep your eyes at least 20 inches from your computer screen, adjust the monitor to your eye level and keep your feet positioned firm on the ground. And don't slouch. Working at a desk or cube all day can make you feel cramped and restless.

There are, of course, customer service jobs in a number of additional industries we can't fit here. Just remember: When conducting your next job search, make sure to find out how you'll be interacting with customers - and whether or not that fits your personality.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How To Get More Sales With Less Effort

As a business owner, sales results is one of the most important parameter to determine a business's success. Thus you need to have a positive mindset. Negative statements like "That won't work", " We can't achieve that" shut down the creative part of the brain. This is seen as a way out of the fear of selling.

You need to be a risk taker with courage to overcome the fear for success. To get massive results, always "Think outside the square". Be creative and ask yourself positive questions:

1) What is the target you would like to achieve?

2) What could you do if you want to double up the business revenue?

3) What are the strategies (don't worry about being outrages)?

4) What are the obstacles that you need to overcome?

5) How can you determine if the idea would work?

6) Is there any assistance you need to achieve the goal?

Understanding your customer need is crucial as well. You need to know what your customer are looking for and what you can do to fulfill customer's need are essentials. Do a customer satisfaction survey to understand what they thought about your competitor, pricing and product relevancy.

Always remember that your limitations are based on your current thinking. Use your creativity to grow your business and always remember that no idea is a bad idea.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shana's Shop: Handmade Magnets With Love

IMG_3238Shana’s Shop was created in August, 2008 by Debbie. The creative process started many years before when she received an opened dollhouse kit missing some pieces. Wanting to put the kit together proved to be a challenge and sparked her interest in creating and designing. The first dollhouse led to a second dollhouse, and soon Debbie was building furniture.

After moving into her own place, Debbie found that it was difficult to find exactly what she wanted in order to furnish her home. Frustrated with her options, she started building her own furniture.

Her passion for building and creating things led Debbie to become an architect by profession. When she is not working, she enjoys creating new items and custom orders in her home studio for Shana’s Shop.

Shana’s Shop has evolved greatly since it was created. Wanting to share her travels around the world, Debbie started making square plastic magnets with her own photographs. These have evolved into round glass magnets with her photographs.IMG_3532

"A few people told me about Etsy and when I looked at the site, I thought I could do this. It took me a while to actually set up a shop,” said Debbie when asked about creating Shana’s Shop. Then she added, “I think it is important to buy handmade items and give them as gifts. I have always enjoyed making handmade gifts because there is more meaning associated with them. My favorite and most meaningful gifts that I have received have been handmade just for me. There is something so special about handmade items that you cannot find in store bought items." 

For Debbie, the biggest challenge so far has been advertising. She is still trying to figure out how to reach people that would be interested in the items that she is selling. With her creativity and lovely work finding the right place to sell her work is probably just a matter of time.

Meanwhile, do check out all her lovely magnets, photographs, and cards at Shana's Shop.

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