Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here are some tips if you wish to start your own network marketing company:

*Make sure you really like what you do, because you will be working
long hours starting and running this business.

*Get work experience and training in the industry related to your
company so you understand the industry "inside and out."

*Offer products you believe in (and use) and those your customers will

*Write a marketing plan.

*Expect your business' growth to take time until its profits are
those that will allow you to quit your "day job."

*Offer ongoing guidance and support to your downline.

*Be honest with your customers and proud of your business.

Suggested Resource:

*The Direct Selling Association (DSA) - comprehensvie



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Build Your Own Network Marketing Company?

wwAs a freelance contributor for several small business publications, I have interviewed a number of home-based entrepreneurs who turned their business idea into very successful network marketing ventures. They are the following:

Nancy Bogart, Founder of Jordan Essentials that produces unique soaps, salt scrubs, and other skin products:

Patty Brisben, CEO, Founder of Pure Romance that offers relationship enhancement products :

Kevin Clark, Founder, Critter Control, a pest-control franchise company:

Debra Cohen, Founder of Homeowner Referral Network (HRN), a homeowner's referral company:

Paula Kay, Founder Ageless Checkes, non-medical assistance company of seniors helping seniors:

Tory and Elena Kiam - Founders of a direct-selling fashion (costume) jewelry business:

Lane Nemeth, (Founder of Discovery Toys) and a pet products home party business, Pet Lane:

Susan Suh, President, Co-Founder of d'essense of LMS Fragrances:

What about your products and-or services? Could you turn them into a business opportunity or network marketing company?



*Build It Big: 101 Insider Secrets from Top Direct Selling Experts by Direct Selling Women's Alliance (DSWA)

*Rod Cook's How To Start Your Network Marketing Or Internet Multi-Affiliate Company by Rod Cook


*The Network Marketing Magazine:

Article: "Network Marketing--The Truth, The Hype, and the Opportunity: How You Can Launch a Profitable Network Marketing Business" by Rod Nichols & Sue Seward - published in "Home Business Magazine" (print) November-December, 2010, issue.


NEXT:  Tips for Starting Your Own Network Marketing or Business Opportunity Company

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Right to Be Unique

Brief History: Every Child’s Right to an Education

    When my Aunt Jean was pregnant in the 1950s, she contracted German Measles. As a result, her baby, my cousin, Bonnie Jean, was born in the 1950s with cerebral palsy and could not walk or talk. Despite friends’ and some medical specialists’ advice to place Bonnie Jean in a home and “forget about her,” my aunt and uncle chose to have their daughter stay with them and their older daughter. They took Bonnie Jean everywhere. I remember my Uncle Lee carrying her up the stairs at our rented shore house; and to family gatherings. She was happy, though she was never even able to say “MaMa.” When she was only ten years old, she died of pneumonia. My aunt and uncle never regretted their decision to have her as part of their family.
When I was college senior, my university hosted one of the first Special Olympics events held in the area. We students volunteered to help the participants, students with mental and physical disabilities. Many of the participants came from private schools or their parents’ homes, as they were not permitted to attend public schools.

Today, thanks to the battle and pressure of parents, in 1975, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) became law. It required that all schools receiving federal funds provide equal access to education for children with special needs. Schools, county services, and pre-schools began hiring special education teachers for separate classes.
In 1990, EAHCA was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and has since received a number of amendments in 1997, 2004. In 2009, the IDEA received additional funding in 2009 through new legislation supported by President Obama.

They Are People, First

While raising my three sons, I directed two part-time community recreational programs for children and adults with unique needs for over twenty years. Our participants attended concerts, theme parks, and the shore; had dances and parties and also participated in Special Olympics. Some of the program’s participants came from the area’s first group homes established in the early seventies, taking former residents of huge institutions in and around Philadelphia that were shut down. Other participants who attended still lived at their individual home. Some of the participants’ families were of the Mennonite faith who, before many other programs were established, had their own caring network to support unique children of their congregation in both church and work programs. A group of these parents obtained funding to start Ridge Crest in Sellersville so their severely disabled, medically-fragile children could be cared for in a caring facility in their area and that family could visit daily.

My staff and I and volunteers, including my own sons and mother and brother, had wonderful experiences with the participants in these programs. They became our friends and we learned they are like us, but better in that they were more accepting of one another; looked after one another, and even “interpreted” for one another when it was difficult for us to understand some of their friends’ speech.

We had numerous funny and poignant moments. Once I took our participants to see a wrestling match at a local high school. The participants were excited; but after a few minutes watching the match, they came up to me and said with disappointment, “Mrs. Huff, this is NOT wrestling!” Wrestling to them was the professional wrestling, not the high school wrestlers we were watching.

“Aunt Advocate”

    When my niece was two years old, she had unexplained seizures.  After test results, it was discovered she had the genetic disorder, tuberous sclerosis (TS). Persons with TS have tubers that for some unexplained reason grow in their bodies’ organs including their hearts, kidneys, and brains. My niece had some learning difficulties and was classified as learning disabled by her school district. I was honored to be “Aunt Advocate,” for her, attending every IEP meeting with her mother from kindergarten until her graduation this year from high school. My niece was the first child in the school district to have this disability; so her mother had to educate my niece’s teachers and principals about her daughter’s needs and strengths.

In attending her graduation ceremony this year, it was wonderful to see my niece along with other graduates with unique needs receiving their diplomas. She and the other special students had attended many regular classes.  How different from the years ago when children like them were “warehoused,” in large buildings and thought that they could not learn or contribute anything to our society! (It is very important to note, too, that many students with disabilities have above or above-normal intelligence.)

Now my niece’s parents and I are evaluating work programs that will best fit her needs now and in the future so she can live a full adult life with satisfying work and an appropriate social life.

Mothers’ Push
    After these years, I have observed that it is due to primarily the mothers’ pushing and pressuring institutions and educating the public, educators, doctors and professionals about their children’s unique needs; that has enabled their children to be mainstreamed into today’s society. These mothers are asking for assistance to help their children live the most fulfilling and normal lives they can, just as all parents wish for their children.

 I do not want to cut fathers out of the picture here, because they, too, have cared and supported and continue to do so for their special children. But like our featured author, there is something about these mothers’ persistence and tenacity to see their children get treated fairly, no matter what the obstacles, that has obtained the rights for all the children and others with disabilities, that exist today.

    Being a parent is challenging in itself, but for a parent of a child with unique needs, it often means a lifetime of responsibility and commitment. Many parents get so exhausted from the stress and “battles;” by the time their children are adults that they just cannot fight any more. Thankfully, there are friends, relatives, and yes, the next round of parents to take up the banner. They, we, will continue to push to see that society will accept all of us, no matter what our abilities or disabilities, and as human beings who are loved equally by a loving and caring God.  

“It is said that a society is judged by the way it takes care of those who cannot care for themselves.”

How You Can Help Children with Unique Needs

*Respite Care – Volunteer to give parents and caregivers a stress break by watching their children while they shop or go away for a weekend.
*Advocate – Do not let politicians or schools cut back or eliminate programs that educate and help instruct these children and adults to be self-sufficient.
*Volunteer – Be an advocate, tutor or be an aide in classes and other activities.
*Invite special children to your child’s party or take them on vacation with you.
*Hire – When they are adults, give them jobs.

Suggested Online Resources - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act site - Americans with Disabilities Act - Guide to Individualized Education Program - Committed to making the business case for employing people with disabilities.

I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for
Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder
by Chynna Laird. The book is a memoir of a mother fighting for a diagnosis when
countless doctor's told her that her daughter was just "spirited". Chynna shares the
heartbreaking reality of mothering a child with a severe "No touch" rule. She calls it
"Mothering without touch." Although Not Just Spirited is the perfect match for parents
of children with SPD, the determination and victories shown in the book will
encourage anyone parenting a child with special needs or working to overcome
an obstacle in their own life.

Chynna has also written a children's book, I'm Not Weird, and resource book about SPD,
At-Home Strategies for Managing Sensory Processing Disorder: A Guide for Parents .
She is now working on another book White Elephants. When not writing, Chynna
is a mom to her three young children and a student working on her BA in

If you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Not Just Spirited
To read Chynna's post about parenting and a list of other blogs participating in Chynna's
Blanket Tour visit The Muffin.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wells Fargo's Second Half Champions

On October 20, 2010, it was my pleasure to participate in Wells Fargo's Second Half Champions awards,** held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (, "celebrating extraordinary (three individuals) transformations after the age 50." The Hammels Foundation co-sponsored the event.

I nominated my friend, Patricia C. Gallagher because the second half of her life, she and her family have been speaking out and helping others become aware of clincal depression and other mental health issues and how they affect family and friends.

The two other recipients were Dick Goldberg, Director of Coming of Age; and Lisa Reisman Halterman, owner of her art gallery. The program highlighted each awardee with a short video of their accomplishments, followed by the evening's entertainment, by talented Mike Rayburn (, "The World's Funniest Guitar Virtuoso."

Visit if you wish to submit a nomination for a "Second Half Champion" that you believe deserves to be recognized. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finding a Unique Business Niche

     How many times have you heard about a unique business and said, "Why didn't I think of that?" Here are some pointers to help you get that business idea that everyone else wishes they had thought of first. Pay attention if you hear people saying:

They wish there were some devices or businesses that will help them do tasks easier.
They wish they knew of a device that would save them time with certain tasks.
They would pay someone to do tasks they hate.
They wish certain items were more affordable.
They are interested in learning something new but do not know where to start.
They are tired of the "same old way" of doing certain tasks or operating something.

     Business niches exist in every profession and industry. Niches are basically potential customers whose needs have not been met. For example, homeowners with small yards, may have a difficult time in finding a lawn care professional to mow their smaller yards. Many lawn care business owners find it more profitable to care for large companies' or establishments' larger properties. Thus, the niche here is to offer to mow and maintain the condo or townhouse yards. A niche can make you rich. Look for those opportunities.

Suggested Resources
Book: Strike It Rich in a Niche by Sharon Lampert
Article: "How to Find Your Niche in Business"


Next: Wells Fargo Second Half Champions at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Monday, October 11, 2010

Learn How to Choose Your Ideal Business Idea(s)

Your ideal business idea is one that combines your skills, preferences and financial resources with a solid, reputable company. Each venture is unique, so thoroughly investigate its profit potential and its overall suitability and how it relates to you and your life’s goals. Here are some points to consider:

--Your experience and skills: See what ventures will incorporate your talents and skills gained from previous jobs or education in their operations. Previous experience in an industry increases your likelihood of business success. A good way to see if you will like doing this work on a full-time basis is to get a part-time job in the industry related to your business idea. You will also pick up some practical pointers and make contacts with whom you can network after you launch your business. Enroll in courses if you need certification or to learn new skills and information required to operate.

--Personal preferences: Consider opportunities in which you will be doing work you prefer and if it is feasible to run at this time of your life. Again, there is no avoiding the long hours of running a business, so it makes sense to choose a venture you enjoy.

--Working alone or not: Partnerships sound good in theory, but most break-up due to partners’ conflicting business goals. Can the businesses idea that interests you be operated solo or will it need independent contractors or employees or additional company staff? Will you need assistance in hiring and managing employees?

--Financial capability: Calculate your personal financial statement to determine your borrowing potential. Financial experts can assist you in analyzing your personal finances and assessing business opportunities’ accounts. Paying down your personal debt and having money to invest in your business venture, increases your chances to get a loan. If you cannot start right away, start saving money toward your venture.

--Your available time: New ventures involve many hours. What type of business activities can you fit into your present schedule? Three-quarters of all home-based businesses are started on a part-time basis.

--If you are interested in purchasing a franchise** or business opportunity, ask if they offer financing to qualified buyers; or consider borrowing from friends or family members or independent lenders. Consult with certified financial and legal experts before signing any financial contracts. Franchise consultants and career counselors can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and provide you with compatible business ideas.

Talk to your bank’s officers to pre-qualify for a business loan and ask if they participate in the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Franchise Registry ( that streamlines the loan application and qualification process.
**For important information, read the’s “Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide,” and visit the sites of The International Franchise Association and The Association of Franchisees and Dealers

--Write a business plan as it will help you determine if a market exists (potential customers) that will be able to meet your expenses AND produce continual profits.

Choosing the best business idea for you is only the beginning in your quest to having a successful home business. For many, this is as far as it goes. Others go on to the next steps that turn their business ideas into a working reality. Do not be afraid of going forward to the next stages of your business start-up. Millions are doing it every day, and so can you!

Suggested Resources

Book: “Work at Home Now: The No-Nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-Based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living” by Christine Durst, Michael Haaren


Next: Finding a Unique Business Niche

Monday, October 4, 2010

Money Money During the Holidays

I enjoyed a feature today on Good Morning America: “Hire Yourself for the Holidays:” - Holiday money-making by Tory Johnson
Here is an article I wrote on this topic several years ago:

With the holidays and related celebrations upon us, many of us wish we had some ways to bring in some extra money to help pay the extra bills and other living expenses.  Even though you are not starting a business, per se, here are some preliminary questions you should take the time to consider:

Will you be selling a product or service?

If a product, wholesale or retail?  If a service, will you provide it to consumers? Businesses? both?

If a product, how will you be selling it? 
--Directly to consumers? carts or kiosks? to shops? to catalogs? via mail order?

Is there a demand for your product or service in your area (market research)?

What prices will you charge? (See my archived article on pricing.)

What is your marketing plan and what advertising methods will you use?

What legalities are required?  Remember, too, that even with seasonal earnings, you will have to report your income and that you should follow all the required legalities—licenses, permits, liability insurance, etc.—that apply to your particular enterprise.  Be advised to consult with an accountant, lawyer, and insurance broker, before you enter into any profit-making endeavor.

     It may even be too late to start a part-time, holiday venture this year, but at least you can start researching some ideas for next year or for the next big holiday.  Here are some money-making ideas—but know, too, that there are other lucrative ideas out there, including those that may apply to your area/region only. 

1.  Crafts - If you are creative with your hands or you are an artist, holidays offer some of the best times to sell you work.  Remember, though, the work you create must be your own designs, unless you have a licensing agreement to sell well-known characters (movie, television, or book characters).
--Open House - One woman in a small town, regularly holds a Winter and Spring open house in her own seasonally-decorated home.  She charges the other artisans a percentage of their sales and an admission price to attendees that she donates to local charities.   She applied for a temporary parking permit from her borough to allow for her customers to use a nearby public, parking lot.
--Craft Shows - Retail and wholesale shows are usually held the same time and place each year, so you can plan your production schedule accordingly.
--Catalogs - If you wish to sell your items to a catalog house, your crafts will first, have to be accepted by the catalog’s buyer; and secondly, you will have to be able to fulfill the orders received (at a profit).
Get good business pointers from the print publication, The Crafts Report –
3.  Calendars - Using popular desktop publishing software and a scanner, you can make unique calendars using customers’ favorite photos.

4.  Holiday Cards
--Your own:  “Niche” greeting card designers and companies, are reaching  smaller specialized audiences.  Many artists hire local printers to produce a quantity of their work into unique greeting cards. - The Greeting Card Association –
--Calligraphy - If you have talent and training in this letters-art, you could charge to address cards or party invitations.
Stockings, Tree Skirts - If you are good with a thread and needle, unique or personalized
Christmas stockings and tree skirts will always be a popular holiday item.

5.  Unique Ornaments - Many crafters are making ornaments, not just for the Winter holiday season but for other holidays as well..  Those made from natural and recycled materials sell well.

6.  Decorating
--Businesses - Check with local businesses if they hire out for their store decorating and if so, propose to do it for them.
--Individuals - Most people with homes enjoy doing their own holiday decorating, but you could offer to do it for those who no longer have the time or are physically-able to do so (do not forget to include the “un-decorating” with your service, also).
7.  Sensational Santas - Many crafters have created one-of-a-kind Santa figures that are popular items not only with Santa “collectors” but with storefront decorators as well. 

Holiday Catering - People love parties, but not everyone has the time or inclination to cook for these special occasions. If you decide to do this, keep in mind most states require you cook from a commercial kitchen, which you may be able to rent on off-hours from an institution or an eating establishment. 
Other food specialties that are in demand during holidays:  specialty desserts; cookies; candies; and hors d’oeuvres

Pet-lovers will love the following:
--Pet Photography - If you are skilled in photography, you could arrange at a local pet or feed store to take holiday pet photos.
--Pet Portraits - If you can paint or draw, many people would love to have a pet portrait. One woman custom-painted pet portraits on beautiful pins for gifts.
--Pet Consultant - Often at holiday times, many people buy animals as gifts, but really do not know how to handle them.  If you have experience or training with certain kinds of animals, you can offer your services either on how to select the pet best suited for a person or family; or how to train and care for a pet after it is purchased.
--Petsitting for pet owners who are going away for the holidays.

--Growing kits:  If you are knowledgeable with seeds and what grows in your area, you could package gardening “kits,” –butterfly, herb, children’s gardens, etc., to sell as gifts to be planted in the spring.
--Holiday Greens - If you have holly, and/or evergreens on your property, you could sell cuttings for decorations or make them into centerpiece arrangements or wreaths.

     People and businesses can use the following to help them save time during the hectic season:
...Deliveries for businesses.
...Gift Consultant - for consumers, businesses.
...Wrapping and taking packages to the post office or shipping centers.
...Buying (and returning) gifts.
...Holiday Clean-Up - before and after parties.
...Holiday Child Care - babysitting evenings so couples can shop together for their children’s gifts.
...Assembly Expert - Help put toys and gifts together that come disassembled.
...Holiday Jobs Newsletter - Publish a newsletter listing seasonal jobs and have it available for free at local stores. Charge the employers to list the openings.
...Letters from Santa - Write and design special custom letters to send to children.
...Table Favors - Design and create special napkin rings, place cards, or tiny favors for parties.
         These are just a few suggestions for you to earn some part-time money during the holidays.  If your ventures are profitable, it may lead to a regular holiday tradition for you or to a lead-in for a possible business start-up.  Do not forget, too, the “Spirit of the Season.”   Giving a percentage of your proceeds to help your favorite charity or a needy family is not only good “PR” but is also good for your community and will help “warm your soul.”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Using Your Gift of Writing to Fight Cancer (WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour )

I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN (  The book includes Diana's experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal stories.  A survivor of both breast cancer and multiple myeloma, Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin--in that it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.

Diana, the author of eight books, spent 25 years as a medical and self-help writer before turning to poetry and memoir.  She teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

If you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Healing with Words:  A Writer's Cancer Journey.  To read Diana's post about breast cancer and a list of other blogs participating in Diana's Blanket Tour visit The Muffin.

                                       Using Your Gift of Writing to Fight Cancer

We all have God-given gifts and we as writers can use these talents to report, inform, entertain, encourage and spread hope to our readers.  We all know someone who has been diagnosed with some form of cancer and here are some ways you as a writer can take advantage of your profession and use your gifts to fight this disease:

*The gift of time:
Writing is basically a home-based business and with laptop and the use of other technology, or just a pen and tablet we can write anywhere.  Having this flexibility of my time, I have been able to arrange my writing hours to accompany my best friend, my mother, and my husband to doctors’ appointments, and treatments. Depending on the person’s wishes and permission from medical staff, I have accompanied my friends and family members into just about every type of screening test-treatment that exists.  I have worn gowns, lead-shields, ear plugs, shoe coverings, and masks; and slept on couches, chairs, and even a hospital bed so I could be there for my loved ones.

*The gift of listening-interviewing-advocating:
Writers are good at posing questions that others may not have thought to ask.  Persons with cancer are often so overwhelmed with the entire experience, that they cannot remember all that is said or their care instructions.  You can be that extra “pair of ears,” to help your loved one understand the medical jargon; and write a summary of the doctors’ directions for him or her.  You can also be her-his advocate, to ensure medical staff will follow their wishes.

*The gift of research:
As most writers are good at researching facts for their fiction and nonfiction projects, you can help people find the best doctors and treatments for their cancer.  When one surgeon wanted to remove most of my husband’s colon because of possible pre-cancerous polyps, my research found a surgeon with less-invasive methods.

*The gift of writing:
--When two of my closest women-friends died of lung cancer (neither they nor their husbands ever smoked), I interviewed medical researchers and wrote an article on some new research findings.

--I love a “cause,” like my great-grandmother who was a writer-poet and suffragette.  I regularly write “snail mail” letters to politicians, urging them to fund more cancer research.

--We can write press releases for nonprofits' upcoming events or to help them get grants for funding.

--We can help persons with cancer in writing their memoirs; or as with Diana M. Raab, our featured author, we can journal and share our experiences in battling cancer.

How will you use your writing gifts to help us win the battle against cancer?

* * *

                                               What I Never Knew about Cancer…

I never knew…that cancer could strike anyone, at any age or time in his or her lives, no matter what their physical condition.

I never knew…that so many others have also suffered along with their loved ones and friends who have contracted some type of cancer.

I never knew…that cancer is an alien in disguise, fooling one’s body into thinking it is developing friendly cells, when all along it is insidiously robbing the body of its nourishment, its dignity, its very life.

I never knew…we spend billions of dollars on weapons of war, and so very little on
research to develop tests to detect cancer before it gets a death grip that cannot be loosened by any number of medicines or treatments.

I never knew…there were so many compassionate and caring medical professionals and
aides who bring comfort and support to not only their patients with cancers but to their family and friends as well.  And they do this today and every day during both work and after work hours.

I never knew…how many people—friends, relatives, neighbors, church members, and
those who never even met the person with cancer—will visit, call, send letters and cards.  And not just once, but over and over again to let that person know she or he are in their prayers as well as the family members caring for that person.

I never knew…that even in the “dying days” there could be laughter in exchanging
personal anecdotes, watching “chick flicks” and reading “Howard Huge” and “Garfield” comics, eating DQ ice cream and animal crackers at 3 AM in the morning; and sharing the tales of grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s accomplishments and antics.

I never knew…that God could be so close to a person with cancer and to those who
love her.  He eases the pain and suffering and takes her hand as they walk
into Heaven, while laying His other hand on the bowed heads of her loved ones
to comfort them in their grief as they say their “Good-byes.”

I never knew…that cancer really does not “win,” but is soundly defeated by God’s love and by all those who care.  With their courage, and with God’s support, some day… people will be able to say, “I never knew there was something called Cancer!!”
Ó2002 Priscilla Y. Huff in memory of her mother, Helen, thyroid cancer, her mother-in-law, Gladys, colon cancer; Aunt Betty, breast cancer. And dear friends, The Revered Pamela A. Chomitzky, lung cancer; Joan, lung cancer. AND to Caren, my sister-in-law and courageous breast cancer survivor.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Business?**

What Business?

Most businesses ideas are either product- or service-based. If you are recognized as an expert in your field, becoming a professional consultant is another entrepreneurial option you might consider. Having work, volunteer, or hobby experiences in the industry of the business idea that interests you increases the chance of your business’ success. Home-ventures are also either performed on-site (your home’s office, garage, basement, or other area); in clients’ homes (like cleaning or professional organizing); or with a combination of these.

Make a list of business ideas that interest you and research information and talk to others in related industries to see if a future market potential exists for your proposed venture(s). Are there enough potential customers ready to hire or purchase from you to justify your starting a particular enterprise? Often businesses that solve a problem or that save or make people money tend to have the best success rates. The good news is that no matter where or what your business is there are common operational tasks that you can fit in between your day job’s work.

Visit libraries for home business idea books, attend business expos and search the Internet for small business forums, and business idea web sites for ideas. Be aware of the rise of work-at-home business scams. Visit for questions to ask before investing in any home business opportunity. See also my book: "101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, 3rd ed

** Previously published “Sneak a Start-Up!” in the October, 2009, issue of HOME
BUSINESS® Magazine, an international publication for the growing and dynamic home-based business market. Available on newsstands, in bookstores and chainstores, and via subscriptions (U. S.) ($19.00 for 1 year, six issues). Visit
Next: WOW – On Friday, October 1st, for the October Breast Cancer Awareness month, I will write a post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for
Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pros and Cons of Investing in a Franchise and-or Business Opportunity

Turnkey opportunities such as franchises and business opportunities can offer less risk than starting a business from scratch because of their proven operating programs. Here are some additional pros and cons to consider before you invest any money:

--Experience is often not necessary because many companies provide training.
--Name recognition by potential customers.
--Sales, marketing, financial assistance available.
--Proven product and sales record.
--Supplies and equipment available and standardized.

--Financial investment may be substantial.
--Have to follow company procedures.
--Required to purchase company’s supplies.
--If you decide to quit the franchise, you have nothing to show for your years of work—no building, equipment, and other items.

Research all opportunities to ensure they are legitimate and that they fit your abilities and that a potential market exists for you to make the profits you desire.

Suggested Resources:
--From “SBA-Approved Franchises: How do they work and How does the loan application process change?” - “A Consumer Guide to Buying a Franchise.” - The Association of Franchisees and Dealers - The International Franchise Association
Next: Choosing a Business

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Personality?

Entrepreneurs are a unique group of people. They have a self-confidence and charisma that distinguishes them from others. They are non-conformists and tend to ask many “whys” and “why nots?” and love it when they are told, “it will never work!” or even “You’re crazy!” They enjoy the challenge entrepreneurship provides them and are driven to succeed. Here are some additional entrepreneurial characteristics:

*Risk-Taker – Entrepreneurs are generally non-conformists with courage to try something that they (or others) have never tried before.

*Self-Motivator – Entrepreneurs are self-driven to take the steps necessary to achieve their personal and business goals. They have that “never give-up” determination and high energy to put in the hours they need to succeed.

*Unafraid of Failure – Statistics reveal that it often takes as many as three attempts to start a business before one succeeds. Entrepreneurs know that failure itself is not bad. Instead, they learn from their mistakes and persist until they succeed.

*Willing to Ask Questions – Entrepreneurs are not afraid to ask the questions until they find the necessary answers. They never stop learning!

*Entrepreneurs Love Their Businesses! – Whenever you talk to business owners, there is an enthusiasm and energy that emanates from them. You can hear it in their voices and observe it in their movements.

Every new business faces obstacles and challenges that can be overcome only by long and hard efforts; but for the entrepreneur, the rewards can be plentiful. It is worth a consideration.

Suggested Resources:

“Do You Have What It Takes? (SBA Small Business Planner) -

The Entrepreneurial: A Social Construction by Elisabeth Chell

Next: Pros & Cons of Investing in a Franchise and-or Business Opportunity

Friday, September 17, 2010

Establish Your Business’s Ethics

After listening to some of the present-day television and radio talk show hosts, you may despair that any fair play or ethics in politics or business have become a thing of the past. That is the media. Ethics are still very important in how you conduct yourself in your business, as it relates to your customer relations and also the standards of your industry and-or profession. You may not realize it, but your business will reflect your standards, your philosophy, and your moral values. For example, Ellen, a professional organizer, does not take any gifts from clients. “They will say, ‘Here, you can have this glass vase or dish,’ as we are cleaning out their home,” she says. “Instead, I urge them to get a licensed appraiser to assess their items and then they can either sell them, give them to others (not me), or keep them with their estate.”

Here are some guidelines for establishing your business’s ethics:
*Be honest in your dealings with your customers and business associates. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, make reasonable amends, and then take steps to ensure it will not happen again.

*Be fair and treat all customers, subcontractors, and-or employees with equal respect. *Check to see if your trade industry recommends a code of ethics to follow. It will help legitimize your business. For example, the Direct Selling Association ( has an ethics code for its members.

*Follow your instincts, common sense, and the “Golden Rule.” As one woman entrepreneur says, “If a client or business associate requests I do something with which I am not comfortable, even if it appears to be potentially lucrative, I will not do it.”

*Exchange information freely with others in your industry. You never know what leads they may give back in return. You can also discuss how they have handled ethical problems.

Establish your business principles now to be your guide should you ever face a moral dilemma or problem.

Suggested Resources
*Book: Street-Smart Ethics: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul by Clinton W. McLemore
*Article: U. S. Small Business Administration’s “Business Planner,” article on writing your business’ ethics:

Next: Is your personality entrepreneurial?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

5 Home-Based Business Ideas with Low Start-up Costs

I just completed an assignment for Home Business Magazine,, featuring 25 home-based service business ideas for the December, 2010 issue. As I stated in the article, service-based ventures are generally the most reasonable in terms of cost to launch. Here are five examples:

Related Business Ideas – Training, product creation, boarding or pet-sitting.

*Financial Advising
Related Business Ideas – Home-based accountant; assist people in planning for college, retirement, getting out of debt.

*Business Support Services
Related Business Ideas -Virtual assistants; billing; customer service; market consultant for home-small, and-or e-commerce businesses.

Related Business Ideas – Professional make-up artists, hair stylist, and other beauty matters are in demand by theatre groups, modeling agencies.

*Fitness and Nutrition
Related Business Ideas – Fitness trainers, nutrition counseling for special diets.

More ideas are found in my book, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, 3rd ed.

Next: Establish Your Business’ Ethics

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home-Business Survival Tips

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you launch your business and to ensure you stay in business:

*Learn all the pluses and minuses you can about the business you are starting.

*Be legal. Know the licensing and zoning requirements, certifications, inspections, and other regulations that apply to your specific business. Ignorance will not suffice for defense should you fail to comply with regulations.

*Monitor your business’ financial matters and use software to track your cash-flow, expenses and income, on a routine basis.

*Create a workspace that is functional and separate from your home life.

*Review your business plan periodically to analyze your venture’s progress, direction, and achievement of goals.

*Reward yourself (and your family) for both small and large accomplishments to stay motivated and demonstrate you appreciate your family’s support.

Suggested Additional Reading:
Article: "20 Start-Up Secrets for Your Home Business"

Next: 5 Home-Based Businesses with Low Start-up Costs

Monday, August 23, 2010

Common Entrepreneurial Traits

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I have interviewed former business owners who said it was too much work or that their business was not producing the profits they anticipated or for some other reason. From my book, “101 Best Home-Business Success Secrets for Women,” here are some common entrepreneurial traits successful entrepreneurs, men and women, possess:
*Creative problem-solvers
*Willing to ask questions.
*Successful networkers
*Good communicators
*Excellent at multi-tasking
*Willing to work long hours
*Not afraid to fail
*From an entrepreneurial family

Suggested Additional Reading & Resources
The Entrepreneurial: A Social Construction by Elizabet Chell

Next: Home-Business Survival Tactics

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Entrepreneurship = Time Flexibility

When the home-business trend took off in the eighties and nineties, one of the biggest reasons women were leading this movement is that being self-employed provided more flexibility in their work hours. Many women were fired because they had to care for ill family members, or could not work overtime due to personal responsibilities.
I personally knew a woman to whom this happened, though she was excellent at her (employed) job, when her daughter contracted pneumonia and had a lengthy recuperative period. When I was a part-time substitute teacher, many teachers told me they saved their sick days not for themselves; but rather for when their children were ill as day care centers seldom permit sick children to attend. How many companies today provide paid family leave time for employees?
In another instance, the manager at a large box store, informed employees they had to come in a half-hour earlier or half-hour later. This upset a number of employees whose spouses worked alternative shift hours at other companies so their children would have at least one parent to care for them.
Today, when people say parents do not spend enough time with their children, it makes me laugh, and not nicely. When I married in the late sixties, generally only one paycheck was needed to support a middle-class family. If one spouse were ill, the other spouse was a “back-up,” and could usually work instead.
But with the rise in the cost-of-living expenses, it takes almost 2 ½ jobs today to support a middle-class family. With this recession, many employees have also had to take on more responsibilities as other workers were let go. Fearing of losing their jobs or being demoted in pay, they do these extra tasks, often working later. Then they drive over the speed limit to be on time to pick up their children from their child care center for fear they will be late.
A young health professional told me their children will be kicked out of their day care center if she or her husband, a busy new doctor, are late three times in picking up their children.
And do not think that teens can take care of themselves and do not need supervision. I read that many girls get pregnant in the afternoon, after school. Another woman decided to work from home when her son’s principal called her and said her house was the meeting place for teens after school.
Being self-employed, does not mean working fewer hours. In fact as discussed previously, a new venture often demands twice as much time as working at a “regular” job requires, especially at its onset. But what these entrepreneurial parents did, and still often do, is work in blocks of time when their children are in school, in bed, or cared for by another friend or parent.
That is WHY I liked working from home and continue to do so. I was able to be home for my children; and later for elderly parents and in-laws who needed care and assistance. I also do not have to do those “cheers” before and after a workday or attend workshops that are inane and had nothing to do with improving my job skills. Besides, I love my business and unless I “fire” myself, I can do it as long as I choose…WHEN I choose.

Suggested Additional Reading & Resources
*Entrepreneurship / Edition 4 by Peggy A. Lambing
*Chaos or Community?: Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics by Holly Sklar, Matt Wuerker (Illustrator)
Web site:
*Entrepreneurship topics sponsored by theEwing Marion Kauffman Foundation


Monday, August 9, 2010

# 3: Know How to Overcome Common Obstacles to Entrepreneurship

Many people want to start a business, but for a number of reasons never see their ideas become realities. Here are three (of many) obstacles you may face and consequently must overcome if you wish your business to succeed:

1. Financing your start-up: You need money to establish your business; to operate it while it grows; and for any future expansion plans. The first step is to write a business plan. A business plan will help you determine how much money you will need for initial and operating costs. Very important, too, is that your business plan will reveal to you IF a potential customer market exists for your services or products.
Suggested resources:
Book: How to Get the Financing for Your New Small Business: Innovative Solutions from the Experts Who Do It Every Day by Sharon Fullen
Web sites:;;

2. Adequate time to devote to your start-up: Three-quarters of all home-based businesses are started on a part-time basis. You can work at one job to meet your living expenses, while building your business on the side. The challenge here is how to prioritize your time for your regular job, your new venture, and your personal activities. You can cut out or cut back some of your non-essential activities; and-or consult with a time management consultant. Remember, too, to “have a life,” and not neglect those closest to you.
Suggested resources:
*No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy
* Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy by Clate Mask, Scott Martineau, Michael E. Gerber (Foreword by)

3. Your qualifications: Before starting a business, consultancy, or professional practice, you should have the formal qualifications and-or experience in your industry. Some industries or professions may also require you to be licensed. Research what skills or education you need to operate your business or practice and then do a self-assessment to make sure you qualify. If not, decide if you will go ahead and enroll in courses; or you can get first-hand experience by working at a job in the industry that interests you.
Suggested resources:
Webinar: 2-Minute Small Biz Self-Assessment

Next: Common Entrepreneurial Traits

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Avoiding Common Home-Business Mistakes**

The common adage, “Fail forward to succeed,” certainly applies to entrepreneurs. Statistics demonstrate the average entrepreneur attempts three (or more) business ventures before one succeeds. However, you CAN learn from the mistakes of others. Here are several, common business mistakes you will want to avoid:

MISTAKE: Not following standard business procedures and ethics: All industries have dos and don’ts as to how to conduct oneself in business with others in your industry and with customers. No matter what your venture is, be sure to follow the recommendations and any rules and regulations that are followed and practiced. If not, your reputation in your field could be damaged and-or you could be fined.

MISTAKE: Not keeping your family and business matters separate. Have separate bank accounts, business records, and spaces for your personal matters and your business ones. Starting a venture is difficult but it will be even more so, if you do not keep your finances and business activities apart from your personal life.

MISTAKE: Not having a business plan: Starting and running a venture without a business plan is like building a house without blueprints. You may get it built, but the foundation may not support it for long. Writing a plan for your business enables you to figure how to finance your venture; set your goals; and determine if a potential market exists so you will be profitable.

**More common business mistakes to avoid are in my book, "Make Your Business Survive and Thrive! 100+ Marketing Methods to Help You Beat the Odds and Build a Successful Small or Home-Based Enterprise" (Wiley)

Next: Success Secret # 3: Know How to Overcome Common Obstacles to Entrepreneurship

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pros & Cons of Working for Yourself

#2 Success Secret: Weigh the pros and cons of working for yourself.

Being self-employed is not for everyone. Seriously consider the pros and cons before you launch a venture. Here are some of the major ones:

*You have more control over your time and how to manage it.
*You can be home more with your children, though most home-business owners have some type of child-care arrangement—a life partner, grandparent, local baby-sitter; bartering babysitting hours with other entrepreneurs, and others—so they can set some regular hours to work on their business.
*You have the flexibility to arrange your work hours around your children’s activities; or care for family members who are ill; or are elderly.
*You are your own boss and “CEO.”
*You can volunteer for community activities.
*You can start your venture on a part-time basis, as most home businesses are, giving you time to test your products and services while still making money at your regular job.
*You have the potential to earn more income than at a salaried job.
*Commuting is optional, depending where your business and customers are located.
*Overhead is lower if your business is home-based.
*You can buy or lease equipment as your business grows.
*A college degree is not a requirement, unless your profession requires it.
*It is fun, exciting, and more rewarding because you are working for yourself.

*Finding adequate financing will require you to be creative and resourceful.
*Obtaining adequate health insurance for you, your family, and any employees may prove difficult.
*Working extra hours to get your business up and running is certain.
*Feeling overwhelmed is common when you are responsible for doing the work as well as the tasks involved with operating a business, including the accounting, billing, marketing, advertising, and more.
*Staying motivated and energized will be challenging through the ups and downs of running a business.
*Being an entrepreneur, you must have the determination, drive, discipline, and persistent to succeed. There is no easy way, but ‘what an adventure!’ if you do decide to work for yourself.

Take the advice of entrepreneurs and husband and wife, Mark and Leisa Bates ( are featured in my article, “Ten Home-Based Millionaires Share Their Stories & Advice for Tough Economic Times,” (appearing in current issue of Home Business Magazine, July-August, 2010, [on newsstands now].

“Most people don’t aspire to what they can really be; they find excuses not to go forward,” says Leisa. Our ears perk up when someone says it can’t be done,” she says. “If you believe in what you want to do, you…will…always find a way!

Next Topic: Avoiding Common Home-Small Business Mistakes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Success Secret #1: Understand the Impact of Small Business

From 101 Best Home-Based Secrets for Women (revised, updated)
1. Understand the impact of home-based, small businesses on the U. S. and our global economy.
*Women were the fastest-growing business owners from 1997 and 2004 and continue to be so to date ( - 4-’08)

*Small businesses represent over 99 percent of the U. S. businesses that employ over 58 million Americans. ( - 9-’06)

*52% of the 30 million U. S. small businesses are home-based. (

The growth of home-based, small businesses is vital to the recovery of the U. S.’s and the other countries’ economies from the current recession and creation of new technologies and jobs.
You can become part of this entrepreneurial movement, no matter what your age. Working for yourself is no guarantee that you will have success; but remember, the potential is there!

My goal is to help you succeed by providing you with information, but you have to be willing to work hard and persevere. The only “instant” millionaires are those who inherit money or win big lotto jackpots.

For Additional Information:
*Center for Women’s Business Research:
*U. S. Business Data & Statistics:

Next Success Secret: Pros & Cons of Business Ownership

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why, "No Thanks! I'll Work for Myself."

Why my blog, “No Thanks! I’ll Work for Myself.”? One of the primary reasons I started this blog was to provide an alternative for those who want a better quality of work-life than their present circumstances can provide. For example, a relative of mine was downsized out of her job last year and cannot find a job paying the same rate that will enable her to meet her basic bills and support her family. She was employed by the company for over fifteen years and worked up to her present pay rate; but with the present recession, and only a high school education, no other company will hire her at the rate she had when she was let go. She has started a senior (non-medical) services business, making an hourly rate higher than her former job.

Another example: A young woman, with a degree in market research discovered her boss was taking credit for her work; so she left and started her own business. It took her five years to build her client list, often working two part-time jobs to pay her bills; but now she is able to work full-time doing work she loves.

There are many other reasons entrepreneurs start their ventures, and with my blog, I plan to feature self-employed women and men and their success stories. Working for yourself has its own challenges and I do NOT promise that you will be “making millions.” I will strive to be as realistic and honest as possible. Being self-employed is not for everyone or even possible for many.

Other features I will be adding in this blog:

*Chapters of my previously-published books (updated, of course) to which I have the rights:
*101 Best Home-Business Success Secrets for Women
*101 Best Small Businesses for Women
*More 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women

*Resources for entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals and professionals.
*Guest blogs.
*Current news for home-based business owners; small business owners; self-employed women and men.
*Entrepreneurial trends.
*Business ideas.
*Avoiding business scams.
*Q & A from my blog followers (anonymous, if preferred)

Thank you for visiting.