For the Veteran

Various information for Veterans different government programs available to assist Veterans in starting a business. Veterans benefits programs. This is not a political blog but we will speak our minds about current treatment of Veterans returning from the Gulf.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Help I have no home business knowledge can I still make a living online?

Part one.

Starting a home business is, in some ways, like starting any other business. It is going to take a while to get going in full gear and begin to gain the financial rewards that are possible in a good home business venture.

Sometimes people find that the idea with which they first started out does not really excite them in the long run as much as they thought it would. No problem. In internet home business it is far easier to change horses, as it were, then in a business that has a site, equipment and personnel lined up in one direction.

No computer skills? Answer this question first: how do you know that you are not proficient in these skills? We’ll answer for you: because you can see all around you people who do have these skills – they are common skills which are becoming more and more apparent everywhere. Are all of these people more intelligent than you or do they have some special, secret talent? A closer look around and you will answer “no” to that. Yes, of course there are some people who specialize in computer skills, but the majority of people who are working with computers in various ways today are ordinary people who, with a little training and practice, have mastered what is necessary for them to make the computer work for them.

To get started, you may wish to take a computer class at a beginner’s or intermediary level. These classes are being offered in schools, libraries and other locations everywhere and you can also find them online. In fact, in the 21st century people who do not have computer skills will be handicapped in any job – so why not learn them for your own business rather than for someone else’s?

Our advice, for the above reasons and others, is that you put aside some savings – even if it means working for someone else for a while longer – to tide you over while you are getting started. Again, this advice would be true of any business, whether an off-site venture or a home-based business. No business makes a profit right away. Give yourself a cushion so you can relax while finding your way to financial success in the exciting internet home business world.

Make sure that you have a good and sound business plan. This alone will help build your confidence and give you a guide for evaluating yourself and deciding whether your home based business is starting off and moving along in the way that you want. There are many sites online where you can find templates or guidelines for writing a good business plan. The process of doing this – before you start your own internet business – will focus your ideas about what you really want for your business and the steps needed to achieve your goals.

You know your dream – financial independence and creative control of your own life – keep that focus in mind always and remember that everything else can be learned!
In part two we will explore the government, non profit and paid services that can help you improve your knowledge for your home business. You can do it.

Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal. Home business success.

Success in your home business. Time management is one of the keys.

The Importance of Time Management
Part one

It may be that more money and energy has been spent on time management studies than on any other tool of management in business. It drives numbers-crunchers crazy to see what they view as “time wasting” activities, or inefficient use of time employed in their business. Sometimes, in an effort to cut these things short, management winds up requiring even more time-wasting paper work than before, insisting that employees keep detailed accounts of how they spend every minute. In addition to adding to wheel-spinning activity instead of reducing it, management winds up with disgruntled employees who will go to any lengths to sabotage the boss’ nit-picky ways. Finally, managers become little more than petty overlords, spending hours of their own time policing minutes and seconds of their employees’ use of time. The classic example of this is the manager who stood every morning looking out a second story window and timing with a stopwatch how long it took his employees to get from their car to the door. That itself is an example of poor time management. Much better, instead, to give the employees some training in a variety of ways in which they can choose for themselves which time management techniques work better for them individually and then giving them incentives for getting their work done well and efficiently.

Time management IS very important to any successful enterprise. This is even truer in the case of a work-from-home business. Without someone else keeping track of your time wasting activity it may be difficult to realize how much of it you are doing. You wanted to be your own boss, so sometimes you must act like a boss and expect efficiency and good use of time from yourself. After all, if you waste time in a home based business, you are wasting not someone else’s money, but your own. And you didn’t get into a work at home business so that you could have no free time to enjoy yourself – that is the opposite of what you wanted.

Sometimes just taking a little time to plan will save you hours of time in the long run. Experiment, for instance, with what time of day you are most efficient. This is one of the great advantages of working from home. If you like to sleep late and then hit your stride during the early evening hours, put yourself on that schedule. If your biorhythms are cooking at full steam in the early morning hours, make the best use of that time. Whichever you choose, however, once you have chosen it and proved its efficiency, STICK TO IT!! Sit down at your computer for whatever hours you have chosen and let everyone know that those are your working hours. Unless whatever they are contacting you about is business, it will have to wait for your free time. You would have to do this in someone else’s office, so do it in yours.

Set up your workspace so that you don’t have to spend time looking for the things you need once you start work. Do not think that you can juggle personal calls or other people’s priorities just because you are working at home. A successful home business is run just like any other business and you must take it seriously. Remember, the more efficiently you make use of your time the more time you will eventually have for yourself.

In part two we will explore programs that help you with your time management while running your home business.
You can do it.

Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal Home Business Success.

Starting a home business whats your motivation?

Why Do I Want To Start a Home Business?

In former years the search for security and job longevity caused people to look for jobs in big corporations. In this type of job a person could either find a niche that was in their comfort level and stay in that niche for an entire working life, or they could get a toe-hold on the corporate ladder and climb it in a pretty predictable manner. Yes, there was an illusion of security as long as one did one’s job with reasonable competence. What is wrong with that system? Or is anything wrong with it? How can a home-based business be better for you?

In the ‘80s the first cracks began to appear in the corporate design. Before that, for a couple of generations, men (and it was an almost completely male-dominated system) had virtually sold themselves, body and soul, to corporations for the feeling of security mentioned above. Take, for example, a person who worked for IBM. Employees used to say that those letters stood for “I’ve Been Moved.” Families whose husbands and fathers worked for IBM could have no stability in terms of setting down roots in a community, having long standing friendships or associations, being close to family or providing continuity in their children’s education.

All of these things were sacrificed for the good of the corporation as families were moved across country at the whim of the corporate hierarchy. In fact, people began to understand that the purpose of some of these moves was to make families dependent on the corporation for everything in their lives and therefore to bind strong ties of loyalty. Corporate Big Daddy would provide everything they needed and all friendship and associations would be forged within that framework. Of course they would all be short-term relationships between people who were competing for the same promotions, but it was supposed to be worth it.

In the ‘80s thousands of men understandably felt betrayed when, through corporate takeovers and “downsizing” they lost the jobs for which they, and their families, had given up everything that makes for a happy and stable family life. Men who had made slaves of themselves for the goal of a far-off pension found themselves turned out into the cold to look for other work late in their careers in a job market that had no place for their experience and skills. Many men never recovered from this shock. Others resolved never to depend on someone else for their livelihood again.

Can you see how having your own home business fits in to this scenario?

In building a home business you start with what YOU like to do, not with someone else’s idea. You are able to work from your permanent base and nurture your own roots in a community. You are able to fit your work into your family’s pattern instead of vice-versa. You are able to work mornings, evenings or noonday – whatever best suits your preferences and biorythyms. You can depend on your own competence and drive – not on “getting along” with those in a hierarchy above you. Your friends can be really your friends, not potential competitors for the approval of the bosses. You are limited only by your own potential, not by someone else’s “evaluation” of you.

Convinced? Then consider throwing off the shackles of working for someone else and put yourself in charge of your own destiny by taking advantage of the home based business opportunity now available to you!

Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal Home Business Success.

Work from home fears of failure and how to avoid them.

Part One

It is normal, and even wise, to feel some nervousness about starting any new venture. We have three suggestions to start with:

1) Provide as much of a financial cushion for yourself as you can, before you begin. Any new business takes time to get started and begin to become financially viable. In fact, you may wish to start your home based business in your spare time while
continuing to work at your “day job” for a while. You may wish to view it as a “hobby” for a while – until you gain the confidence to step out full time into a work from home business.

2) Connect yourself with others who have already gone through what you are going
through now and come out on the other side.

3) Get as much training as you can in the mechanics of using the internet and finding
your way through such obstacles as taxes, government regulations, legal issues and so on. The more you know about these things – or better yet the more you know about how to LOOK THEM UP the less fearful these things will be.

The most basic internet search will lead you to sites and links which will give you step-by-step instructions for putting your home based business idea into effect. If you have a little start up money (and you should expect to need some) you can find, for a small fee, someone to design a web page for you or furnish you with all the forms you may need for administering your business in a professional way. Don’t forget – the idea is for you to make maximum use of your PERSONAL skills and interests. You don’t need to feel that you have to start out knowing EVERYTHING – no one does. But once you get in contact with others who have done this you will realize that if they can do it, you can.

One thing that many beginners neglect in their eagerness to get started is proper preparation in the form of a solid business plan. Again, a quick search on the internet will lead you to ways to find good templates for business plans that you can use to plug in your particular information. This will not only be an invaluable asset in promoting your business but will serve to focus you on exactly what you want your business to be and to do. A good business is neither too narrow in focus (limiting your possibilities) or too wide (not having clear goals.) It is difficult to present to others exactly what you do if you do not have a clear idea yourself. Sometimes in writing a business plan a person realizes that want they truly want is something slightly different from what they originally envisioned. That’s good! Look for a good business plan design and then shape it to fit your ideas.

People sometimes become discouraged early because they had too high an expectation of sitting back and watching the money roll in. You will see ads on TV which encourage this kind of expectation. Ignore them. Realize from the beginning that any business takes hard work and some disappointments before it gets off the ground. But isn’t that the case with a salaried job also? At least your hard work is going for something you are building for YOURSELF, not for someone else. And your early disappointments will give you valuable experience instead of knocking you down a step on the corporate ladder.

Don’t forget, the internet – and the use of it – is the one thing that will DEFINITELY grow in the future. Remind yourself, too, that those thousands of people out there working at their own businesses cannot all be geniuses and you don’t have to be either!

In part two we will explore the government, non-profit and paid services that can help you shed and fear you have about starting your home business.

Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal. Home business success.

Home business help. The importance of time off

Make Sure You Balance Work and Play Take At Least One Day Off a Week
Part One

We have advised people who have a home-based business about organizing their time and space efficiently for maximum use of work time. But there is another factor to be considered, and one that also needs some organizing.

To begin with, let’s consider this question: Is it better for a slave to have another master, or to be his/her own master? Answer: It’s a trick question. No one wants to be a slave at all! Please don’t let the fact that you have a home-based business turn you into one.

You are already well aware of the down-side of working for someone else at a remote work site. That is why you originally got a home business idea. But now that you are working at home do you sometimes have a feeling of nostalgia for the days when you knew you were at work because you were THERE and knew when you were off-work because you were HOME? Do you get the feeling that whenever you read to your child, or take time to make a pie for your family, or read a book or watch a TV program that you should be working instead? Do you get a nagging feeling of guilt whenever you take time for yourself, or even sleep, that you are losing time from the business? Do you feel pulled into several different directions with each part of your life – family, leisure, creativity, business, spirituality – all pulling at you and demanding that you stop one and do the other? When people get into this kind of dynamic they get to feeling that no matter what they are doing, they should be doing something else. This is a terrible state of affairs, and not what you wanted from your home-based business. If working at home is decreasing, instead of increasing, your peace of mind it is not working for you as it should. Stop creating a new rat race for yourself in which all the rats are you – you can’t win!

Once again, a little organizing out of your own experience will solve this problem. After you have worked at your home-based business for a while – say two to three weeks – sit down and take a few minutes to review how long it takes you to do the tasks involved carrying out your business plan. Decide what is the best time of day for you to spend that amount of time. Be absolutely religious about planning in AT LEAST one day TOTALLY OFF per week. Then resolve to spend that amount of time each working day on your business and NO MORE!

Yes, we can hear your objections – one of the major points of working from home is the ability to be flexible about time. Yes – and this may sound contradictory at first – it is sometimes necessary to PLAN for flexibility and spontaneity! If something comes up with the family that you want to take advantage of – scrap Plan A for that working day and go to Plan B. Or C. But chances are that if you have no plan at all you will fall into the trap of having no balance at all – it will be all work or all play all the time. Not good.

The amount of planning you need to do – and the care with which you need to stick to it – will depend in part on your personality. Being your own boss requires that you get to know yourself very well. Are you the type that will goof off whenever possible and look for any excuse to get away from the computer? (Come one, be honest!) Or are you the type that is driven to work every single minute and resents any “interruptions?” You can see where these questions are going. Learn about yourself and your loved ones and what balance of work and play will maximize your enjoyment of life and make that the essence of your plan.

Remember too, that as your business grows you will probably need to revise your plan. If you have been honest with yourself, and have tuned in to signals from the people who matter most to you all along, you will know when it is time to do that.

In part two we will explore some ideas that can help you relax and enjoy life as an owner in your home business. You can do it.

Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal. Home business success.

Home business help How helping the community can help your home business

The Benefits Of Helping People In Your Community
Part One

A home-based business can be a wonderful opportunity to reach out to others in your community and create a truly well-rounded life. The more you gain expertise in your own chosen field the more you have available for others and the greater your sense of satisfaction.

Are you learning, through your home-based business, about networking? Are you finding out what excites people and what people need to have a sense of safety and well-being? These are insights that can be used in community outreach as well as in your own business.

We keep talking about the necessity for planning when starting a home business. Here is yet another way in which good planning is essential. If you are interested in being an asset to your community and putting your newly-found expertise to work for good, you must make this a part of the balance in your work/leisure life. You don’t want to give away the expertise and talent that you are depending on to build your own business, but on the other hand there is nothing like networking to benefit any beginning business.

As with anything else, it is important in this aspect to be true and honest with yourself. If you take on a community project just for the purpose of building up a customer base for yourself, it won’t work. For one thing, people will see through it and you will not generate the good will that you thought you would. It is like the old joke about the Hollywood producer who set “The important thing is sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made!” No – people, especially those in your home community, will not be fooled for long. However, if you take a while to find out what community projects attract YOU and what ones can you honestly get excited about – you will find that giving of yourself and your talent will reap rewards you have not even thought of.

In keeping track of your own home business finances are you finding out that you have a gift for numbers and a sound financial sense? You may find it rewarding to put this to use volunteering as the treasurer of the local food bank or church building project. Have you discovered areas of creativity within yourself that aren’t completely satisfied by the parameters of your business? Maybe these “left over ideas” are just what your local school needs to liven up their programs. The people you will meet under these circumstances can be the basis for associations which enrich you personally and, in the long run, build your business. When people come to know and trust you – and realize that you are not out only for the “almighty dollar” -- they will be relieved and happy to refer their friends and family to you when they need what your business has to offer.

Remember – let this pro bono “for good” – work come out of your own personality and what you have discovered about the things that bring you satisfaction. Then you will never need to fake anything and the good you do will naturally flow back to you in many satisfying ways.

In part two we will explore the government, non-profit and paid services that can help you help your community as a home business owner. You can do it.
Stephen Mistretta is a freelance writer and partner in the work at home portal. Home business success.