Frequently Asked Questions
Starting the entrepreneur path takes long working hours, dedication, and a passion for your new career path. Before you get started you should take a few minutes to answer a few question that can really help you succeed.
1. Do I Have What It Takes To Be My Own Boss?
The most important question you need to ask yourself is 'If you have what it takes to be your own boss' before embarking on your journey to be financially free. You have to remember to not only set a schedule, but it is essential that you committed to that schedule to be successful. You will be working longer hours than you would if you were employed by someone else at the beginning of building your business. Remember you want to be your own boss, it comes with sacrifices that you must be willing to live with. You must come with the mentality of succeeding from day one to become and stay your own boss.
1. Do you become bored easily?
2. Do you crave day-to-day interaction with others?
3. Are you able to set goals for yourself and stick to them?
3. Do I Need a Business Plan?
Planning can sometimes take away from you putting actions to start your business. It can make you feel like you have to plan every detail before you move on to anything. A formal business plan is important when you need to go out and get outside funding. Sure you are risking money, time, energy on this new venture, but remember if you do not let people know about it nothing will take root. Do not spend all your time planning, spend it learning about your niche and the people you plan on servicing. Ask yourself these simple questions..
What is your business? are you selling jewelry? A bike repair shop?
Who is most likely to buy what you will be selling, whether it’s a product or a service?
Why is a customer willing to come to my business instead of the competition?
What are the best ways to promote to your target customers?
What are the first steps you need to take to get your business underway?
How will you price your product or service and what do you expect your costs and revenue to be?
5. How do I research my competitors’ prices and services by calling them or being notice as competition?
If you are thinking of starting a new business the best policy is to be upfront and honest with existing businesses. A long-standing business will, for the most part, be able to detect a would-be competitor on the spot. Some business owners may not be willing to part with information while others a more than happy to help out a newcomer. If they are overloaded they may be willing to even refer customers who need your specialties in certain areas. You will find that some entrepreneurs are just too happy to provide newcomers with opportunity as a mutual help to the both of you. It all depends on how business is doing in your particular industry to how much people are willing to share.
You want to do the obvious, go on the internet for information, it never fails to give you a good start. Many businesses post their rates and services on their website for everyone to see. If it is a special type of product or service that comes at a much higher rate they may only have a phone number for you to call. Find out if any new technology could give you an edge over the competitors. Try providing a special offer like "same-day service," "free consultation," "no overnight charges," or any other service related to your business. People are more than willing to pay for great service, do not be afraid to let them known what you provide for the right cost.
How about hiring someone to make the calls for you. This may only be them calling to request your competitors’ brochures and other sales materials. Make sure it is someone that has enough experience to answer a few screening questions that they will be asked. Try someone with a little marketing research background to get the best results. Try creating a unique business by answering these questions:
What is each business doing that sets it apart from others?
What’s special about what they are doing?
Who are their customers? Who is this business best suited to serve?
How well are they delivering the product or service they claim to offer their clients?
How, as a customer yourself, do you feel about the product or service they are offering? How can this be improved? How could you make this even better?
A final tip: If a large number of your competitors have been doing things the same way for a long time it means most likely that it works. It is what customers want and they provide it, so you will want to think about that. You can still use their practice and ad your own special twist to it.
7. How Much Money Will I Need to Start a Home Business?
Starting a business in today's society is fairly easy because most homes have some major equipment's you will need to start. You most likely have a computer, internet access, even a printer, it all depends on the type of business you want to start on how much it will cost. Remember each business do have its own start-up cost, license, training, even certifications can add to the cost. You may be starting a business that requires special software, this will most likely be a costly business to get underway. The cost varies from $100 to $5000, it all depends on what you want to do and what equipment will be required to start.
Remember having your own business means no more paycheck from someone else coming in. You have to cover your basic living expenses such as rent/mortgage, groceries, even health insurance, so make sure to have enough money for your business and your personal expenses.
9. What do you think about direct selling or MLM?
MLM or Multi-Level Marketing is now more commonly referred to as direct selling, which also the name of the industry association (www.dsa.org). Most individuals refer to it as network marketing. The difference is in the direct selling, with sales commission on the product sales is a higher while to make good money in a company that emphasizes network marketing, building an active downline is key.
The Advantages of Direct Selling/Networking Marketing/MLM
-Low cost to start up means that if the business fails you haven’t risked as much money as you would have had you invested in or bought a franchise or business opportunity.
-High earning potential, though only relatively few people reach a six-figure income.
-Direct selling distributorships are designed to be run from your home.
-Working at home and direct selling are extremely compatible.
-You can have a satisfactory direct selling distributorship on a part-time basis.
-You can successfully run a part-time direct selling distributorship in addition to having a job or another business.
-The direct selling parent company generally provides the marketing and promotional materials you will need.
-In many cases, the direct selling company provides bookkeeping, sales tracking, and other business-related services.
-Your downline organization could eventually provide you with some “passive” income.
-Reputable direct selling companies stand by their products and assist with customer support and/or complaints.
-Direct selling companies usually provide extensive low-cost training and motivational materials such as videotapes, audiotapes, books, and special events like rallies, etc.
-You can learn to sell and people-management skills usable later in your career.
-You may find a community of people in your direct selling company that satisfies your social and business aspirations.
The Disadvantages of Direct Selling/Networking Marketing/MLM
-Despite the longevity of industry leaders such as Alticor’s Amway & Quixtar, Shaklee, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and others, a great many direct selling companies only stay in business for a few years.
-Direct selling’s reputation, justified or not, often makes it difficult to recruit people into your downline.
-Keeping your downline motivated to stay active selling and recruiting is sometimes more difficult than recruiting them in the first place.
-Direct selling companies do not offer exclusive territories. In fact, the very nature of direct selling distribution is based on recruiting as many people as possible.
-Some people feel products being directly sold can quickly lead to a saturated market for the products you offer.
-Despite the claims, actual average incomes derived from direct selling distributorships are so low that for most people they are not viable as full-time opportunities. The average gross income of an active Quixtar direct selling distributor, based on Quixtar published figures, was $115 per month in 2003. (http://www.quixtar.com/Documents/IWOV/VIS/010-EN/PDFs_Redstar90104/IBO_Support/sa4400_IBO%20Plan_FIN.pdf). Quixtar is one of the few companies that publish this information, the result of a court case against sister company Amway.
-Direct selling contracts are not as formalized as those in franchising and therefore can lead to more disputes and other problems. For example, rules of termination are far less clear than in franchising.
-You may experience some unpleasant changes in your relationships with friends, family, and associates. By attempting to sell and recruit those closest to you, you may be perceived as pesky, pushy, or worse.
-Direct sellers tend to market themselves with inflated offers and misleading promises. It is sometimes difficult to find out what you can realistically expect.
-It is harder to research a direct selling company before becoming involved, especially since some direct selling companies even deny they are a direct selling.
-Many direct selling companies use highly emotional appeals to address people’s fears and dreams. Such approaches purposely obscure the company’s actual structure.
-The structure of direct selling companies makes the industry hard for state and federal agencies to regulate.
-The complex “matrixes” used to calculate the commissions you will earn from your downline are often complicated, convoluted, and just plain hard to understand.
-Most people won’t get to the point of generating much “passive” income.
-Not everyone can generate the “passion” direct selling uniquely requires for successful sales and recruitment. As a result, the turnover rate of distributors exceeds 100 percent a year.
11. How Do I Find Out If a Business Name Is Available?
“I did a search where I live and discovered no one else is using the name I want to use for my business. There are many other sites on the Web with that name already. Does that mean I can’t use a name if someone else is using it out of state?
If a name is on the popular side and is all over the web it could mean that it is virtually unprotected and open to anyone else using it. But you still have to go and do your research if you plan on using the name as an official business name.
Make sure to check out whether any of the others using the name have taken steps to protect its use within your state or nationwide through a trademark or service mark. Be very careful about using names because there can be serious legal consequences of even inadvertently using a name that’s already protected. This could lead to you being forced to change your name and have to start rebuilding your identity and reprinting all your materials. Even if your name is not protected legally you may want to separate yourself from the rest by being original. You also do not want to get tangled in a bad review that another company that is using the same name as you receive.
Check the availability of a name within your state by contacting the Secretary of State’s Office in writing or online. The online legal service Nexis offers a database called Corporate Filings, which contains the corporate name information on file in the secretary of states’ offices in all fifty states. If the name you choose is available in your state, now you can reserve it on an interim basis while you apply to the Secretary of State’s office. Now you want to make sure you are not violating anyone's trademark or service mark so make sure to do a trademark search. A trademark and a patent attorney can conduct a trademark search for about $200. The attorney will check for legally similar names as well as exact duplicates at the federal level and in all fifty states. To save time and effort, you can now do a trademark search yourself online. It is still advisable, however, to record your entire search session and take the results to an attorney.
Note: taking the proper steps does not always protect your name from being used as an Internet Web address. Make sure to apply for a domain registration through a company like Godaddy.com and wix.com, two of the many hundreds of domain sellers.
13. How Do I Take the Plunge from Part-Time to Full-Time?
Consider the income you are bringing in at home every month after all expenses are out of the way. Once you see a constant income starting to be generated from your business than you can make the decision on if you can leave your regular job to go full time on your own. You may believe that having a steady paycheck from a company is security, but more and more the illusion of that security is being discovered. When it comes to the business world companies purge, merge, change locations, and even downsize all the time. That job you think you have security in may go away as soon as tomorrow. Creating your very own income stream and establishing a business of your own can provide you with more security than a steady paycheck from a job.
If you have decided to go full time on your business make sure to set specific target goals to meet your expense needs. Plan to cover yourself for at least the next six month up to a year. Make sure to have a plan that will drive customers to your business to achieve your goals. Make sure to track all your result every month to see the profit, sales, along with customers reactions to your business. Every month you see an improvement in your business will give you the confidence you need to keep working hard and pleasing your current and future customers.
15 What Can I Do to Take My Business to the Next Level? “How do I get others interested in my ideas for expansion?”
Many successfully self-employed individuals see the positive side of growing their small business. You may get stuck on ideals when you want to move forward, but do not worry about what you want to do just yet, especially if people seem to not be interested in your 'ideals'. Most people want to see action, they want to see sales then they will give you more response. That is why you should never wait for the mass to validate or encourage you to keep going in your business. Start taking the necessary steps in the directions you want to see your vision grow. Every day you post updates, create multiple ways to put your progress out in the open people will see and start to come to you. Remember to focus on the small steps that you can take every day and make them grow as you go along.
Never wait for a big budget because it could work against you as much as for you. If you have a lot of money to spend in the beginning it means you could lose a lot of money as well. Test your ideas in small steps like having a pilot test of a product or service. If you are creating new workout equipment for working out try creating a "prototype" and testing it in the market. Now after you have gathered enough data you can use it to attract the next level of interest.
Q: Where Can I Find Working Capital to Expand My Business? “ Where is the best place to find such funds?”
With more and more people starting their own business from home many banks and lending institutions are now eager to make smaller loans available to small and home-based business customers that have an established track record of success over several years. They are sometimes referred to as “low doc” loans, meaning they do not require extensive paperwork or a long time to process. For the Small Business Administration low doc loan program see www.sba.gov/financing/lendinvest/lowdoc.html
Another option would be to obtain a line of credit, instead of a loan. You no longer have to be a larger firm to receive a line of credit. Your revolving lines of credit work much like a credit card, your funds will be available as you need them and you only have to use the amount you need. You may qualify for a generally higher dollar amount than a credit card and the cost is lower.
Use a line of credit for activities that have direct, immediate and tangible results, such as:
-Funding your new marketing activities in advertising and promoting to boost sales
-Buying/updating equipment that will help you to handle more business, increase your service prices, find ways to lower your cost to increase productivity.
-Acquiring inventory and resources that you need to fill orders or improve the quality of the service you provide to your customers.
-Outsourcing funds payment, or new employee payment for better use of your time on more important parts of your business. This will allow you to take on a more profitable business in the future to bring in more money to cover your expenses.
PNC business checking account https://www.pnc.com/en/small-business.html?lnksrc=topnav and Capital One Spark® Business Checking accounts https://www.capitalone.com/small-business-bank/ are just a few examples of banks active in small business lending.
SBA Loan Guarantees, The Small Business Administration, a government agency that offers support and resources to small businesses, offers guarantees for loans. The SBA guarantees up to 85 percent of loans up to $150,000 and up to 75 percent of loans over that amount up to $500,000, so there is reduced risk to the lender.
18 Can you point me in the direction of good companies hire home workers?
While we all strive to be self-employed a number of individuals may also be looking for employment at home. Try looking on the web if you are looking to get a paid a salary, on an hourly basis or by piece, regularly search the web. Top two companies to look through are www.monster.com and www.careerbuilder.com. Looking for more than just the online try looking at CareerBuilder first, it is tied in with major newspapers, does meta-searches of approximately 50 job sites web the sites. Try using the search term or keyword for the kind of work you are planning on working on like telecommuting, virtual secretary, data entry. You may also want to sign up for sites that charge a membership fee but they do come with their problems and are not highly recommended.
You will be paying the sites a commission based on the work you get as your payment is sent to you. Look for local gigs with smaller companies who are hiring people for their office, they prefer local for those work from home jobs.
Want to know how to find these openings? The common answer is making contacts and talking with people that could be of help. When you check locally you can find companies that expanding faster than they can lease space or are having a heavy workload that may be short-lived, that is where you can find them hiring someone who will work at home. Your best options are looking for growing industries in which there is a demand for workers. Do not forget to check out not-for-profit and governmental organizations, such as trade associations, civic and charitable organizations, libraries and local governments.
Keep in mind that a few items will be required to do these work from home jobs. Companies may require the use of a computer or a telephone. Investigate in your community to see what people are using, the type of work that needs to be done, and anything extra they may need.
19 What can you recommend for someone who is disabled?
If you are confined to your home for any reason a telemarketing alternative may be more attractive to you. Telemarketing jobs come in two forms of inbound and outbound positions. In outbound telemarketing require you calling from pre-qualified lists or compiled lists of businesses and business professionals who are a fit to certain profile than reading a script that was already prepared. Inbound telemarketing involves answering calls generated through advertising a product or service in some other medium, such as on TV, radio or in a magazine ad. These ads would typically provide a toll-free number that would be routed to you; you will then take the information from the callers.
Now know that you will be making has much has 100 actual calls in a high-hour day so get ready to work hard. This could also include you making over 300 phone calls during those periods of times. Plan to use a telephone headset and other equipment like a desk chair ergonomically suited to you that won’t cause you physical distress.
Look for work from firms like Arise Virtual Solutions, Incorporated(www.arise.com) and Working Solutions (www.workingsol.com) that match workers with companies or market yourself as a telemarketing business for companies. If you create your very own business you can find customers in your own community to provide service for. Locate your local Small Business Development Center to offer some guidance on this, your State Vocational Services can be a directory to other resources in your area. Advertise yourself on the web on sites like TelePlaza (www.teleplaza.com).
If you come with any language skills than that is a plus, you can now perform translation work. Companies like Language Key (www.languagekey.com) specializes in foreign language instruction, interpretation, diversity training, accent reduction assistance and offers employment opportunities to others suffering from illnesses and disabilities. The number of paralegals, desktop publishers and freelance writers are growing in numbers. However, you may need additional training to perform the jobs that you are going after. The Small Business And Self-Employment Service (SBSES) is a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor which provides comprehensive information, counseling, and referrals about self-employment and small business ownership opportunities for people with disabilities. The SBSES is described athttp://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/sbses/.
State Vocational Services in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Wisconsin all have special programs to help the unemployed go into their own businesses. Check out if some other states can provide you with similar programs.
2. What Business Should I Start?
A simple answer to that is looking at your hobbies, interest, or even your past careers. Think about your last or current occupation, now think of what you really want to do. Most individuals start their own business to pursue a passion they have so the simple solution is creating a career out of something that really inspires you. In today's changing economy it is possible to carve out a rewarding niche and be rewarded. The key is to not limit yourself to possibilities, one hobby can create more than one income stream. Think of a product, service, or just advice that people will pay for and you can provide. This will not be an overnight thing to figure out the very next day, it will take time and experimentation to figure out. The main point is to know your ultimate goal, find your niche and package it to promote yourself.
4. How Do I Make Cash Flow Projections for My Business?
Making proper cash flow projections for your business can be a challenge as an entrepreneur. After you have been in business for over a year or three making these projections will be a lot easier to make. If you would like to know how much money you will be bringing in you need to consider these factors.
Your pricing. This is your important factor, you need to decide what you will charge your customers. Your fees are by the hour, by the project, on retainer or by the commission based on business.
Your expenses. It is important to know how much will be coming out of the business to properly charge your clients.
How much business you will have. To properly serve your customers you need to always be equipped to do so. That will mean determining how many clients you expect to be working with each week or each month and the size of the orders or projects you will be getting. Remember to look at the norm in your industry along with what your marketing plan project?
Your payment arrangement. You have to plan on when you will be getting paid to cover not only your expenses but your lifestyle. Are you a business that is able to get full or partial fees upfront or do you get paid when your service or project is completed. Maybe you bill your client on a 30-day cycle, they may wait 2-3