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Jul 31, 2008

Love What You Do

"Do what you love and love what you do."

That is a pretty simple philosophy but one that not many people follow. If they did they would not only be happier but more successful too.

I recently wrote an article that was dedicated to my Dad who passed away after 70 years in his own business.

I wrote that one of the reasons for his longevity and success was his passion for what he was doing. Obviously to continue working well into your 80s you have to love what you are doing!

I am not the only one who thinks that passion for what you do in business is essential.

If you have been watching "The Donald" in his hit TV show "The Apprentice", he states, in more than one episode, that you have to have a passion for what you are doing.

If you go back through history, you can see that passion has played a part in the achievements of all great people.

Whether they were conquerors like Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great. Great leaders like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Great artists like Michelangelo. Or great business tycoons like Carnegie, Ford, Morgan and Trump. They all had a passion for what they did. A devotion that went beyond the job itself.

A passion for what you are doing will help you get through the rough times. It allows you to overcome obstacles and separates the quitters from the succeed ers.

Don't believe that passion is critical to success?

Then ask yourself this question.

Why do people invest so much time, effort and expense into a hobby?

Because they love what they are doing!

If you love what you are doing; time, effort and expense are not the motivating factors. Achievement and satisfaction are.

If you "do what you love and love what you do" you can't help but be successful.

Why?

Because if you enjoy what you are doing, it will spark that inner drive that all successful people have. The desire to succeed at all costs and not give up when facing a difficult road ahead.

What I am saying here is very important to someone who wants to own a small home based business.

In a small home based business, you will have many obstacles to overcome, some of which are:

  • Lack of funds.
  • Working long hours.
  • Working alone.
  • Learning the business through trial and error.
  • Getting discouraged when things aren't going as planned.

It takes time, effort and knowledge to make a small business successful. The passion you have for your business will be the difference between giving up on your dream and achieving your goal of a profitable and satisfying business.

How many times have you heard actors, professional athletes and other successful people say that not only do they do what they love but get paid for it?

Wow! Isn't that the ultimate achievement?

Get paid to do what you love to do!

This is all possible with your own business.

Let's face it. If you work for someone else, you may like your job and you may be good at it; but no matter how passionate you are, your boss still reaps the rewards of your passion and dedication.

It is still his or her business, not yours.

So take some advice from someone who, now and for most of my business life, got paid for doing what I loved to do.

Find something you love. A hobby perhaps. Turn it into a home based business. Devote the same time, effort and expense into it.

Become passionate about it. And you will succeed!

Jul 29, 2008

What is an Affiliate Program and How Can it Make Me Money?

You may have heard the buzz terms, ‘affiliate programs’ or ‘associate programs’.  Chances are your think of them in one of two ways, either – it’s got to be another one of those Internet ‘work at home’ scams.  Or, “That’s just out of my league.”

Promoting affiliate programs is in fact an attractive and viable way to initiate multiple residual income streams.  It’s not a get rich quick scheme.  In fact, to be successful it takes a great deal of work and persistence.  It also requires flexibility and an inquisitive nature that embraces trying new ways of marketing until you find something that works for your target audience.

What is an affiliate program?  Thousands of established businesses set up affiliate programs in order to have people like you promote their products or services.  When you sign up for an affiliate program you are given a link with your own unique id embedded into it. 

With your own unique link it then becomes your job to promote the affiliate program and drive traffic to the businesses website.  You never handle sales or products, but each time an interested prospect visits the website through your link and actually purchases something you earn a commission. 

One of the most effective ways to promote affiliate programs is to find a subject that you are passionate about.  Something that (humility aside), you may even consider yourself an expert of.  Take that subject and develop a website that is devoted to it.

Building a website does not have to be intimidating.  There are a tremendous amount of resources available to you to help you build one.  You could also have the template of a website designed for you, or you could purchase a website at a price that may surprise you. 

Once you have your website built, you will submit it to the major search engines and every day set some time aside to promote your website.  At the same time, find affiliate programs that complement your content and ad their banner ads or text links to your website. 

Working with a subject you love insures that you won’t become bored with the website.  The more content that you add to your site and the more you promote it, the more traffic you will get.  It could take a good year to get the site to the point where you are actually surprised at how well it is doing.  At that point, it seems to almost effortlessly improve itself.

The key is to draw your visitors to the website because you have terrific content.  It is even more effective to offer a newsletter that your visitors can opt-in to.  This way you can send them monthly newsletters with articles that will interest them, convincing them to frequent your site over and over again.  You can also include the affiliate program links in your newsletters as well.

In the end, you have indulged in promoting a topic that you are knowledgeable and passionate about; while at the same time have initiated a residual income from. 

Now you will have even more expertise and confidence, and the next site will be a piece of cake!

Jul 27, 2008

Time and your Internet Business

How many hours per day should you devote to your internet business?  We’ve all seen the ads trying to tell us that we can make millions in no time by doing nothing if we just sign up for XXX.  We probably also recognize by now that this is nonsense.  If you truly want to build an internet-based business that can improve your life, you will have to invest some time in doing so.  It need not be a lot of time.  Many of the available online business programs allow you to build a business with truly impressive profits in as little as two hours a day.  Of course, you can build the business more quickly if you spend more hours per day—up to a point! 
 
Logically, you should be able to build your business twice as fast at four hours per day as you can at two hours per day.  My own experience, like that of others whose opinions I value, does not necessarily support that.  I find that after the first two or three hours of sitting in front of my computer, my productivity falls rapidly.  Your span may be different, but the bottom line is the same:  Two hours of work produces two hours’ worth of results, regardless of how many more hours you spend looking at what you’ve accomplished.
 
The times of day that you choose to devote to your business may also be important.  I personally know at least one man who conducted nearly all his business after his family had gone to bed for the night, between eleven at night and two in the morning.  This man currently has an online business making more money each month than I would have ever made in a year as an employee of the company I used to work for.  For myself, I have to revisit the thought of efficiency.  I just don’t get much done in an hour of working after midnight.  I find that the best hours are shortly after dinner, when the daily demands on my attention have been met, and I’m not yet too tired.  You may, of course, choose whatever hours work best for you—after all, that’s why you’re building your own business!  Whatever times you choose, be consistent!  You must choose your time frame, and give your best for that time—every day of every week!
 
Depending on the daily structure of your life, it might be necessary to divide the hours you spend each day on your business.  This is not a problem as long as you’re consistent.  Indeed, sometimes it may be helpful to designate segments of your business time to different operations.  You may find it useful, for example, to spend an hour in the morning answering email and phone messages and generally dealing with your business contacts.  Then in the evening you could spend an hour, or two if you have it and can honestly make use of it, in such things as advertising your business, determining your best business sources, and generally doing whatever it is that causes your business to be better this month than it was last month.
 
In closing, allow me to restate what is probably the most important single piece of advice I have ever given:  you gotta be consistent if you want to be successful.  Whether you give one hour per day or eight hours per day to your business, you have to give it that every day, day in and day out.  If you honestly do that, you will find that you have a successful business far more quickly than anyone would ever have imagined!

Jul 25, 2008

Your Business, Your Plan - Oil and Water?

I've been thinking long and hard lately about why I'm into this business of internet marketing.
You might wonder why I’m second guessing something that I’ve put my heart and soul into.
Well, it's this business plan. I've started writing mine and I'm realizing that the direction of my website isn’t exactly the way I want it to go. In turn, that means my ezine is being misdirected, my split-test that’s half written on my computer is misguided, etc.
So I let fright almost turn into flight! I almost let it get to me that bad. I started thinking I had done it all wrong and “ruined” my reputation and there was no repairing my mistakes.
Then I started thinking, really thinking about what I wanted to accomplish with my business. Why am I IN business? What is it that makes AlphaDynamic Marketing so different? Why do I have my heart SET on making ADM work?
Ah, the beauty of the business plan! You see, a business plan's primary goal may be to focus your business and it's finances but it has a hidden, secondary gem. If you are really filling out a business plan and not just filling in the blanks, you'll come to find that you are asking yourself these same questions.
You will find yourself looking at your websites with different eyes, more cynical eyes. You'll try and imagine what your business will be in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years. Will it be? Do you have a goal? Do you have a business plan?
All of those eBooks that you have on your computer that tell you to write down your goals, have you done that? I'd bet some of you have, but a vast majority have not. Why? Because we already "know" our goals, in our head, in our heart. Just as I knew exactly what I wanted for my website.
Until I took the plunge and decided to "get serious" about my business. To be serious, you MUST have a business plan. I haven't personally asked Terry Dean or Willie Crawford but I would lay money they have one and that they have HAD one for quite some time.
Success may come to you but without a clear path to follow, you will not be able to hold onto it.
Writing down your goals and making a business plan are the first REAL signs of success for they are the magnets of progress and prosperity.
Now, with my business plan to lead me, it puts blinders on things that may stand in my way. To "opportunities" that I don't need. I have a clear path and all I have to do is follow it.

Jul 23, 2008

Grow your network by organizing your business cards

Do you give out and collect business cards at networking events or when you are introduced to a new friend? What do you usually do with these cards?
While giving out and collecting business cards are the fastest way to establish contact, how do we actually put these name cards into use? Here are some tips:-

  • Store the business cards in alphabetical order for easy reference.
  • Write notes at the back of the card to help you remember important points such as date you receive the card, how do your new friend looks like, what do you plan to do with this contact, his hobby and his family history (if interesting).
  • Collect several cards from each contact to make referrals later. Eventually, your new friend becomes your good friend.
  • If you prefer to do manual records, you can consider sliding an empty card behind each business card to record your contact history with that person (when you called, did you make referrals, when was the last time you met them etc.).
Looking at how useful business cards are, it is important for us to store the business cards systematically into cardholders. If you are hardworking, categorize the business cards into:-
- prospective clients
- those whom you want to build relationship and maintain contact with, and
- others (for reference only)
This way, you can quickly start approaching the prospective clients, plan what you want to do with the second group and dispose the third group when you card holder is full. However, think twice before you dispose the cards. Safest thing to do is to get a cardholder that holds a large number of cards in alphabetical order. Just divide each alphabet into 3 sections.
The secret to organizing your business cards is to be consistent and to make sure it is updated all the time in order to keep the information at your fingertips. Once you've mastered it, you'll find your business growing and networking is a piece of cake!
If you do not have business cards yet, we suggest you get at least a box of it today. You can use it when running your own business or simply to keep connected with friends and family. We recommend you take a look at Vistaprint, which offers free business cards worth $250. However, you'll need to pay the shipping cost. Still, its a deal! You'll get professional quality printing and 30 design choices.

Jul 21, 2008

How "Pipe Dreams" Can Become Realities!

TIPS ON ATTAINING WEALTH
Many people want money as a primary goal. And there certainly is nothing wrong with desiring money. But first, be sure that your true goal is money. Can you live, breathe, eat, and sleep money? Do you dream about money, and want it more than anything?
For true money-seekers, you must be your own boss. The great money-makers all started and ran their own businesses. And, even though it seems as though all the good ideas have already been taken, there are plenty out there.
The secret of the wealthiest people is to find a special need and fill it. Like quick-food chains; like supermarkets; like electronic games. Whether you invent a new toy or gadget, or see a spot to market special items in a new way, the world is open to true entrepreneurs. And they do make it.
LEARN YOUR TRADE
Almost any goal you choose - whether riches and material abundance or spiritual attainment - requires learning. How much education do you have? Do you want more? Perhaps your goal is to get another degree or to secure a special license.
There are countless opportunities to learn more about your own industry or to learn about a new skill. Not only do you have the colleges and universities, but there are many trade schools, correspondence schools, and special groups that teach skills -at very reasonable prices.
KEEP THE END IN MIND
What do you need to know to get to where you want to be? You may not need a degree, but the actual experience. So you'd need to change jobs or accept a part-time job at night to develop your skills.
More than ever, people are leaving their present occupations to learn a new trade and then starting at the bottom again to be happy in their work. Maybe you'll need to put in extra hours at work now so that you can save money to take the time off next year.
Even though most entry level positions are offered to the younger people, you can find many companies willing to give you a chance to change your occupation. Many times you might find an older master willing to apprentice you to learn the skill or trade.
Once you're enrolled to learn new skills, put everything towards learning. Apply yourself one hundred percent. Take advantage of asking questions and getting criticism from teachers and fellow students. Read everything you can study well. It is your developing expertise that will get you ahead and closer to your goal.
It's always a good time to learn more. Even if you are happy in your job,expanding yourself through education is a very rewarding activity. Take dancing or tennis, gourmet cooking or sculpture. Any activity is taught and shared by many enthusiasts.
STOP WASTING TIME
Consider the most important things you need to accomplish. These are high priorities. Then think about those things that seem to take up a lot of time and get you nowhere. Those are the low priorities.
Understand what's important to achieve and do those things first. Let go of all the busywork for paperwork that piles up. It's better for you to stack those low priorities somewhere else and finish the important material than to spend time clearing your desk to get down to the essential things.
You'll be noticed more quickly for the big things you achieve than for keeping paper flowing. Don't let co-workers waste your time with chitchat if you've got things to accomplish. Save that for lunch hours or for after work social activities.
Handle paper once; decide the action and finish with it. Keep interruptions to a minimum and delegate responsibilities. Although you'd like to believe you're indispensable to the job and you are the only one to take care of many things, you can teach someone else and move on to your own goal achievements.
DON'T PROCRASTINATE
What are you waiting for? Few opportunities are thrown at you; you have to create the right positions and situations to move up. Make lists of things you want to accomplish and do them.
If you're busy in an office situation, make daily lists and reward yourself with praise upon completion. Catch yourself achieving.
Concentrate on what you're doing and do one thing at a time. But do it quickly and handle the next thing. Be efficient in telephone calls, maybe taking them at appointed times or calling back at your convenience.
Don't generate copies or correspondence that make you look like you are doing things. Your superiors will know what you accomplish. Be busy doing important things rather than writing about what you've done.
And take the time for physical exercise. It will energize you -not take away from your effectiveness. It relaxes your mind and stimulates your capacity to achieve.

Jul 19, 2008

Are You In It For The Long Haul?

Do you own a home business? Now I'm not talking about the twice yearly yard sale. I am talking about a legitimate home based business. It doesn't matter what type of business you are running affiliate marketing, ecommerce website, ebay auctions, etc.). The question remains the same: Are you in it for the long haul?
What exactly is the "long haul" you may ask? I consider the long haul sticking with something long enough to truly determine if it is something that is going to work for you.
I've got you thinking now, huh?
Well if you are like me, you know some one that has tried their hand at everything. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with checking out different ways to have a home based business. Owning your own business is a GREAT thing.
What I am talking about here is that person that gets into something for a few weeks or months, quits or drops out, then starts something new just to find that this new thing is not what they are looking for either. On top of this, a lot of times this person will tell everyone they know that none of these programs or businesses are any good.
Now as I said, there is nothing wrong with "kicking the tires" to see what is out there. The big thing is when you find something, give it an HONEST effort.
How long this honest effort may take can only be determined by you and the program you are promoting or the business you are starting. Go into it with an open mind. (TIP: There are NO "Sit back and do nothing and get rich overnight" opportunities).
Understand what you are getting involved with and determine your goals. Once you have these goals in place, HONESTLY work your business. If you fail to reach your set goals, step back and look at where you are. This will give you a good idea if this business is going to get you where you want to be.
Don't get me wrong. I am by no means telling you to stick with something that is OBVIOUSLY not working. None of us are in business to lose money. Just remember that building a STRONG home business can take a lot of work and a lot of time. It is not something to be taken lightly.
In closing let me say that if you are a "tire kicker" and jump from one "sure thing" to the next, do us all a favor. If you don't give the program or business an HONEST effort and enough time to truly determine what you have, don't go around spreading "how bad this or that program" is. Let others make up their own minds. What may not have worked for you, may be that "sure thing" for some one else.

Jul 17, 2008

Getting Your Family Involved In Your Home Business

Do you own your own home business? Is your family involved with your daily business? Yeah, I know at times it seems easier to just do everything yourself. It is an easy trap to get into. Why take the time to explain the job, show them how it should be done, make sure it is done properly, and then possibly have to redo the project if it is not done to your liking? Yes, we have all been through this at some point. The question is: what are you going to do about it?
You basically have two options: Do everything yourself or invest the time to get your family involved. For me, the second one is the ONLY option.
First off, if you are doing everything yourself, you are probably spending a lot more time with your business than with your family. Secondly, you are depriving your spouse and children of the joy of owning a home business.
Why not take some of the burden off of yourself by allowing your family to help you in your daily tasks. Here are a few ideas that you can implement to start getting your family involved.
SPOUSE: If your spouse is not involved with you in your home business you are missing a great opportunity to spend some much needed time with him/her. I know, this may not be everyone’s idea of quality time with your beloved, but is it not better than the alternate – you doing your thing and he/she doing theirs? My wife is my biggest supporter. She is the person I bounce ideas off of. She is also my proofreader. If your spouse is not in tune with what you are doing, do what you can to peak their interest and get them involved today.
YOUNG CHILDREN: Obviously there is not much for a toddler to do, but as they grow older you can give them small jobs to start out (dumping your trash can, sharpening your pencils, etc.) and continuing to give them more challenging jobs as they become more mature. No matter what the job, kids feel a sense of pride in knowing they are “pitching in”.
TEENAGERS: This is the group you need to get! There are so many things that a teen can get involved with (sports, music, friends, drugs). Wouldn’t it be nice if what they are involved with were your business? If you have been giving them jobs as younger children then most likely they are already involved. If you are just getting started with your business and/or getting to those teens, try giving them some things that they might not expect that you would delegate to them (typing a letter or making a call to a supplier to place an order). Let them see that you have the confidence in them and they will respond likewise.
Our teen daughter makes her own jewelry so we decided to make it a part of our business with a section of our website dedicated to her creations only. After seeing this, our oldest son decided he wanted something to do, so he started making wood-burned signs. We added a page for him also. They both are very proud of the fact that the stuff they are making is actually on the web. It has gotten them very interested in what we do as a family business and allows us to get them even more involved as time goes by.
In conclusion, do whatever you can to get your family involved. Not only will it alleviate some of your workload, it can truly draw you family closer together.

Jul 15, 2008

Don't Let A Home Business Cost You Your Family

Does the title of this article sound funny to you? To some, it may not only seem funny but downright silly. To others, it may be offensive also. On the surface, it does sound like a funny topic for an article. When we look deeper, it can be a very serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Now I’m sure that most of us have either heard, or even personally known a family that has been damaged because the husband/father pours all of his time and efforts into a job or career. His wife never sees him. His children don’t know him. He may try to make up for it with all kinds of “worldly” gifts, when all the while what is really needed is him to be there.
I know what you are thinking. This couldn’t, or shouldn’t, happen with a home based business. I am here to tell you that it not only can, but also it does. It doesn’t matter if the husband/father is devoting all his time to his career away from the home or tucked away in his cozy office at home. The outcome is going to be the same.
The question that needs to asked is “How can a father/husband run a home based business, at times while still working full-time outside the home, without causing irreparable damage to his marriage and family?” Hopefully, the following things will help him keep his priorities in line and not be “sucked in” to the “succeed at all costs” mentality that is so prevalent in this day and age.
1) The most important recommendation I can offer, the reason it is at the top of my list, is to trust in God to provide. If we learn to trust HIM rather than feeling that is all up to us, the better off we will be (I used to struggle with this BIG time)..
2) If you are building a home business while working outside the home, you MUST understand that your family needs you. I’m not talking about being able to purchase the newest home video center to keep everyone busy either. Set aside some time to spend with the family. Make your wife feel special (surprise her with a rose) and remember that you kids are only kids FOR A SHORT WHILE.
3) Set your goals according to the items listed in #2 above. Don’t let your goals run your life. Goals are important, but they are worthless if you lose your family in the pursuit of them.
4) Try to get your wife and/or children involved in your business. The home should be a place of commerce. Children are a blessing, not a curse. Let them bless your business. Our oldest daughter has designed her own line of jewelry that we sell on our website. It started as a hobby, and then naturally progressed into a small business. Let your children do things for you, even if it is just filing papers or searching a topic on the Internet that you may need. Make them feel like they are a part of the business and it will go a long way to keeping your family together.
There are many other things that can be done to keep your home business from adversely affecting your marriage and family life. Some of them are OBVIOUS while others are not. A good rule of thumb is to remember that your family should be the most important thing in your life next to your relationship with God. If you keep this in mind, and work your business with this as your primary “goal”, not only will you not cause damage, but I truly believe you will be blessed in whatever endeavor you are undertaking.

Jul 13, 2008

Your Own Home Business - Dream or Reality?

This is a question many people have asked themselves, sometimes over and over. Is it possible for the average person to start and run a successful home business? I’m here to say that the answer is a resounding YES!
With that said, there are some specific questions you should answer before starting your business. This list is by no means a complete, comprehensive all-encompassing checklist, but it will give you a good starting place.
What type of business to start?
1) Do I have any knowledge in this area?
2) What skill do I have to run this business?
3) Is this something that I will enjoy doing?
4) How much will it cost to start?
5) Do I have the money this would require?
6) Is there a market for this product/service?
7) How will I promote my business?
8) Am I willing to put in the effort to make it work?
9) Am I dedicated enough to “stick with it”?
10) How much income will this business have to create?
11) How big do I want this business to become?
12) What are the tax implications of owning a business?
13) Are there any regulations (federal/state/local) that I need to be aware of?
14) Am I capable of doing the bookkeeping required or do I need to hire out?
15) What type of insurance will be required?