Understanding Why

Are you contemplating starting your own home business? Are you already involved in one, but aren’t having the success you had expected?

Have you seriously considered the reason “why” you wanted to start in the first place? There are many reasons to start a business from home, but If your why is big enough then the how becomes easy.  You can always use your why to keep you motivated during tough times.

When I started my business, I had a solid J.O.B., but was intent on helping my girlfriend pay down her credit card debt and help her to require less work hours as well as have more time with her daughter and me.  For me this is a good enough reason to put many hours a week into my home business, but for you it might require something stronger.

What is your passion in life?

What do you dream about?

What keeps you up at night?

Do you want to be a full-time parent?

Do you want to do volunteer work?

Maybe you have a loved one that is in need!

Or you’d like to go to college?

Perhaps build your dream house or travel the world!

If money were no object, what would you do? Where would you go? What would you become?

Take a piece, or two, of paper out and answer these questions with your spouse or significant other. Really search your heart! Don’t take the easy road and say, “To make more money.” That is generally the outcome people in business are working toward, but it is really a means to an end. Get specific – be outrageous – but mostly, be honest and real with yourself, because unless you are just stubborn, you aren’t likely to succeed in a home-based business if you don’t have a “why” that gives you immediate pause.

Your “why” must be a strong enough incentive to get up early or stay working late even thought there is no boss to dock your pay. It must be clear enough for you to keep up with the daily tasks you may not enjoy. You need to be passionate enough about your dreams, your goals, your objectives, that when you are struggling, you’ll be able to push through the pain, because your “why” is that worth it.  The phone may feel like its 1,000lbs before a call to a prospect if you don’t know “why”.

Once you’ve got your “why” clearly pictured in your head you need to write it down in a few sentences and make sure you keep it in plain sight at all times!

As always if you’re stuck trying to come up with your “why” please get a hold of me and I’ll be happy to help any way I can.

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Growing your business daily

I personally find that one of the hardest things to handle with my own home business is ensuring that I’m working on the right things.  It’s very easy to get caught up in all of the many angles of your business and find your day completely gone. 

What makes you money in your business?   Organizing your desk doesn’t! 

You don’t want to become a professional meeting attendee either, so you need to make sure you’re doing something EVERY day that’s building your business.

Obviously you need to be sure that these tasks are properly aligned to your goals, availability and skills, but we’ll talk about that another time.

Make a time commitment and stick to it EVERY day!

What we’re going to talk about here is how to get yourself organized so you can easily keep your business growing!

This is an extremely simple process:

List everything in your business that will actually make you money.  For example…

  • New customers – 1 point
  • New representative Sign-up – 2 points
  • Successful Home meeting (3 or more attendees)– 5 points
  • New guest at a weekly group meeting – 2 points
  • Registration for national company events – 1 point
  • 3 way calls – 1 point
  • Track how many of these you perform every day!

Typically for about every 10 points worth of work you do you’ll get 1 new distributor for your business.

This can be applied to ANY business because the key to all of them is consistency.

You can make this fun and host team competitions for whoever has the most points each week.  Make it FUN!   Remember that even though people are participating in a home business they typically enjoy the social aspects of building it.

I teach all of my distributors how to apply these techniques in a fun and efficient manner, but if you’d like to learn how to apply more advanced techniques I would recommend getting a copy of “Building On a Budget” which I’ve found invaluable in building my business.

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Choosing the right business opportunity – part 2

As I mentioned in the first portion of this series it is very important to know what you’re getting yourself into no matter what type of business.  If you don’t understand these areas you run the risk of losing   your business   and wasting your time.

You need to know:

Who endorses the company?

You need to have third party support that potential customers, employees or representatives can relate to.  This endorsement really needs to align with the product or service strongly as well.

What direct competition do they have?

Is this a one of a kind product you’ll be selling or are there a lot of other companies selling competing products?  What sets their products apart from the competition?

Are they publicly traded?

Depending on the area this may not be critical, but when choosing a home based business it might be.  Because of corporate reporting laws and other things put in place to protect investors a publicly traded company has the potential to be a better choice than a private company.

Do their policies and procedures limit your marketing efforts in any way?

Some companies require that you only market to specific types of customers or limit your use of certain words or phrases in your marketing.  You need to clearly understand these limitations so that when you are building your game plan you’re not caught off guard.

Do they charge extra for tools, websites, etc?  How much?

You need to know how much you’ll expect to pay for a web site, business cards, leads, etc.  Some companies include this for free and others charge.  Don’t assume anything.

What countries can you do business in?

We are constantly operating in a global market and you need to keep this in mind from the beginning.  If you can only do business in the United States you’re severely limiting your upside potential.

What paperwork are you expected to do?

Some companies will handle everything for you while others require you to track your business personally.  Make sure you know what will be expected of you.


How do the business opportunities you’re evaluating stack up?

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Choosing the right business opportunity

I had an interesting conversation with one of my good friends the other day over a game of pool.  He told me about how he could sit with another entrepreneur and brainstorm new ideas that might “make money” for hours. 

I’ve seen this time and time again where someone will see a business opportunity and believe that because it can possibly make money they should proceed. 

This is dangerous and you should always do your homework first.

Whether you’re looking to open up a new home business or start a new McDonald’s franchise you need to make sure you’re choosing the right opportunity for you.  Many times one opportunity will shine over another pretty obviously, but sometimes it boils down to whom your direct mentor will be.

Here are some key questions that should allow you to determine if an opportunity will be appropriate for you:

How long have they been in business?

This will help you understand how well established the company is.  There have been tons of examples of companies that are only around for a few years before being shut down or closing up shop.

How large is the market for their products?

You don’t need to go crazy and do market analysis for this, but understanding how many people you know might be interested in the product is a start.  Begin by taking a group of your friends or family members and asking them about their use of similar or competing products.

How strong is the leadership team?

Your business will live or die by your ability to develop leaders.  It is critical for you to have support from all levels of the business.  Understanding the leadership’s strengths and weaknesses is critical.

If you are considering beginning a network marketing endeavor you should also critically examine the direct up-line as they will be responsible for getting you started.

What kinds of training do they offer?  How often?

We are all constantly learning and growing in many different personal areas.  Each person has their own deficiencies and will need education.  Make sure that the areas you are weak in are supplemented by training!

Can I sell or will my business?

None of us will live forever and you need to be sure you know what might happen to your million dollar business after you are no longer on the planet!


Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I will cover some additional questions that will help you to choose the right opportunity to invest your time and money in.

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How to develop your warm market list

Pretty much everywhere you look in sales there are people trying to come up with a list of "warm leads" for various marketing purposes.  Whether you're in the mortgage, web development, consulting or home based business industries having a solid warm leads list can be invaluable for your business. 

When getting started in my latest venture I found this process was actually more difficult than it first appeared.  I was asked to come up with a list of 100 names.  Even though I feel like I know quite a few people I still had a hard time getting my list to even half that length.  After days of racking my brain I finally made it, but only with a lot of prompting.  I'm hoping that by providing you with a list of ideas it will help your brainstorming and save you some time.Here are some memory joggers to help you with expanding your list:

  • Go through your cell phone numbers
  • Look at your check register for people you've given money to
  • Go through old photo albums, family
  • Look at your resume and think about each job you've held.  Use a service like http://www.linkedin.com to reconnect with these people.
  • Think about awards you've received and the folks that gave them to you
  • Use sites like http://www.Classmates.com or http://www.Facebook.com to remind you of peers and teachers
  • Pull out church directories or go to your church web site 
  • Add old co-workers who are privy to your hard work ethic
  • What clubs or organizations have you been a part of? PTA, rotary club, toastmasters, etc.
  • Note all of the homes / apartments you've lived in and your neighbors at those times as well as the landlords, managers and owners
  • Who have you bought cars from in the past?  How about your home?
  • Look at your e-mail sent items
  • Do you have a landscaper, house cleaner or other service person at your home regularly?
  • Who does your significant other / spouse know? 
  • Who babysits your kids?
  • What sports / league teams have you been a part of?
  • Who are your doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and mechanics?
  • Do your children take lessons with anyone?
  • What business owners do you know?
  • Who goes to the gym you exercise at?
  • What are your favorite restaurants?
  • Who delivers pizzas or other food to your house?
  • Who do you know involved in Avon, Mary Kay or other multi-level marketing companies?
  • Who do you know in the military?

Now that you have developed a long list of warm market contacts, how do you go about informing them of your new business?  Some of them you may not have seen or talked to in many years.  Depending on who they are it might be good to call them and catch up first before discussing your venture.  It will be natural for them to ask about what you are doing and you can simply give them a little information to pique their interest.  Don't spend the entire call talking about your new business as this will annoy them and they will probably not be interested. Once you’re contacting folks be sure to ask them to think about friends or family that might be interested as well.  If they aren’t interested in coming over to review your new business make sure to talk to them about helping you by being your customer.  

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Are e-mail gremlins trying to ruin your career?

How many times throughout the day do you find that you're spending more time tending to your e-mail than actually getting your daily work done?  Lately I've found that I’m spread too thin across many tasks and that e-mail has turned into an anti-productivity tool.  Here are a few tips for reclaiming your precious time. 

Turn off notifications

Normally,  I see the little outlook message notification in my toolbar or the preview notice window, hear the evil little new message chime or my cell phone  beeping to kindly remind me that I'm not giving it enough attention.  This happens to me about 300 times each day.  I know that I'm not special and there are many of you out there that see these even more frequently.  I recommend turning these reminders off completely, which will ensure that during times when you're being productive you aren't continually distracted with issues that will pull you off task. 

Set pre-defined times for reading e-mails

After you've turned off the notifications you should set one or more specific times during the day to jump into your preferred e-mail client and begin knocking away at all of those little electronic monsters.  During these times, your goal should be to pick off the easy ones.  If the message only requires a few lines of response then don't hesitate shoot back a response and get it out of your inbox. 

If you prefer phone contact setup an auto-responder

Many people still prefer to use phone as their primary form of contact.  If you happen to be one of these people then it might be a good idea for you to setup an auto-responder in your e-mail client letting people know that it might take a while for you to get back to them via e-mail, but they can quickly contact you by phone.  Doing this will help them immediately understand your preferences.  This will help to ensure that they don’t get upset while having to wait for your response. 

Don’t use email as instant messenger / text messaging

It may be perfectly reasonable to assume that you can send one of your IM buddies a message that says "plz git meh sum coffeee", but how would you feed if a prospective employer or customer was to read it?  There are many e-mails I've seen that have glaring spelling issues or poor grammar.  While it is mildly annoying to me, there are some people that actually take offence to e-mails where it is obvious that the writer did not care enough about the content to spend a few extra seconds doing a spelling and grammar check on their e-mail.   

If you’re asking a question, place it first and add supporting details afterward

Following this simple rule will not only make things easier for the recipients of your e-mails, but it will ensure that your questions are answered promptly.  Simply start your e-mail with the questions you have and add any supporting information afterward.     

Keep on topic

Many times it is very difficult to try to find a certain topic or block of text in my e-mail box.  You can make this easier by keeping the subjects of your replies up to date.  If the subject of the e-mail is no longer relevant to the body you should update the subject of the message.    

Take another look before you send

I love email. It's much less intrusive than a phone call and faster than a letter. It may be your introduction to someone you never met before. Take your time putting together a well-written message. Once you hit the send button you won't have another chance.

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