What Every Potential Mompreneur Needs to Know About Starting an Online Business

An online business can be a very appealing and safe way to start a business. It allows moms to be home with their children while still having the opportunity to be an entrepreneur. The running of an online business allows you to work from home while creating your own schedule. The initial investment can be very little and your monthly expenses are minimal. Most importantly an ecommerce business can be run anywhere there is Internet access which allows you to be home with your children and even work while on vacation.

What You Need To Run an Online Business

With very little equipment you could be running your own ecommerce business out of the confines of your home. Ideally, a home office is best but I started my first ecommerce business from my kitchen table. So, just clean organized spaces where you can keep your computer and files. You will, of course, need a computer. I prefer a lap top as it allows me to work from anywhere in the house or in various coffee shops. Of course you will also need an Internet connection and I highly recommend a high speed connection. As moms we need to work fast and as efficiently as possible and high speed Internet allows that to happen. A printer is nice to own and will be useful for printing whatever documents you may need. A fax machine is not essential. With programs that offer online faxing, such as “eFax,” owning a fax machine is no longer critical. Believe it or not, that is basically it from the standpoint of hardware and connectivity.

Stocking Your Website with Product

The most important step in owning an ecommerce business is stocking your online store with product. Depending on the industry you get involved in, you might find that you are able to drop ship versus holding product in house. Drop shipping means you hold no inventory. How drop shipping works is once a consumer makes a purchase on your site you send the order directly over to the vendor. The vendor fills the order and sends it directly to your customer.

When the customer makes the purchase on your site the money goes directly into your business bank account. When the vendor ships the order out, they will at that time charge your card. You pay the whole price for the product to the vendor. The customer pays retail price. Your profit margin is the difference between the two.

Daily Tasks of Running an Online Business

When running an ecommerce business, daily tasks have to be completed each day such as checking orders and answering emails. I would allow 30 – 45 minutes when you first start out to complete these tasks. You must answer emails each day as you want to offer your customers the very best in customer service. What can be done in your own time is search engine optimization, merchandising, and marketing. Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your site so when someone types in keywords that relate to the products you sell on your site then your site will come up high in the search engines. This is part of the daily running of your ecommerce business and is critical to your success.

Merchandising is a term I like to use when referring to updating your product, adding new product, and changing out the product on your front page. You want your site to be dynamic and interesting. Changing out the front page and adding new product makes your site interesting to potential customers.

Monthly Expenses

The monthly expense of running an ecommerce business can be very minimal. Some of your fixed costs include monthly hosting which on average is $10.00 per month, a merchant account which on average is around $25.00 and month, your newsletter providers which is about $5.00 per month and your 800 number which can vary but with services like “Kall8.com” you can keep that cost to around $5.00. So for around $45.00 per month you can run your ecommerce store. By just obtaining 1 sale per month you could cover the cost of that overhead.

Software and Security

Everybody asks about additional software they must add to their home computer or laptop to run help them run a store. That’s one of the benefits of running an ecommerce business; the software applications that are so critical to your success are ASP or Application Service Provider software. This means the tools you need are online and are attached to the backend of your website. You don’t need to purchase any software and load it onto your computer; everything is in an online environment. The “chain link” is what we like to call it and refers to the succession of links starting from your website to your bank account. It goes like this: your website and store admin are hooked or linked, your store admin is hooked to your shopping cart, your shopping cart is hooked to your gateway, and your gateway is hooked to your merchant services provider, which is hooked to your bank account. All of these critical pieces are online and accessible to you by a unique user and pass with 128 bit encryption, so it’s very secure.

Security problems such as viruses can be a concern because you are online often perhaps doing research on your online marketing rankings such as search engine optimization and pay per click or searching for new vendors to help expand your product line. As always, you have to be very careful of accepting emails from unknown senders. If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email. Also, be wary of the occasional popup. You can combat this by turning on your “popup blocker”, cleaning out your cache, and deleting your stored historical web pages once in a while. I would recommend purchasing a good and reputable virus scanning software such as McAfee or Norton. It’s hard to go wrong with those two. Also, McAfee offers a free virus sweep that you can use once every couple of months that is very easy to download and run. All that being said, your specific ecommerce work, such as editing your site and shopping cart, viewing orders in your shopping cart, answering` client questions with your gateway, or reviewing the money in your merchant account prior to it being passed on to your bank account, is all done in secure user and password generated sites.

Running an ecommerce business can allow the busiest of moms to raise a family while running a successful business. It also allows a mother to have a creative outlet while expanding her skills as the CEO of both her family and her business. For more information on starting your own boutique web business or other work at home web businesses check out http://www.pureecommerce.com

End of the Year – Time to Set Goals and Clear the Cache for Online Article Writers

As the most prolific online article writer in the history of mankind, I have often been asked when is enough? When will you stop writing articles, well right now, writing articles is my default setting and it is set at about 10-50 articles per day, depending on whatever else is going on in my life. Still, those who ask these questions have my best interests in mind. And 2008 is here now and so I have to discharge some of the articles that I have not written yet and put off so far.

There is no sense in denying the fact that these article titles below are just never going to happen. It’s not that I can’t write these articles, I easily could, but I want to keep writing fun and do not wish to force myself to write them. However, they are indeed, articles that the public needs and so I am offering these article titles to you, as maybe you might have something to say on these subjects and may wish to turn keyboard to screen and get them done on your own accord. Below are the articles, I am not going to write:

  1. 2008 Laptop Battery Software – Know Exactly How Much Time You Have When You Start Your Computer
  2. 2008 Solar Powered Wheelchairs – What About Solar Powered Cars?
  3. The Collective is Dangerous – It Wants to Steal Your Identity, Ego and Self – Do Not Submit
  4. 2008 Cell Phone Records to Find Influenza Outbreaks
  5. 2008 Foreclosures Increasing by 1% – Increases Crime by Two and a Third Percent
  6. In 2008 I Want a WiFi Skateboard with an iPod and iPhone Option – And I Want it Now!
  7. Trusting the Terrible Toxicity of Transferring Terabytes that Transcend your Terminal in 2008
  8. In 2008 – The Religion of Collectivism is the Most Dangerous of All Known Movements
  9. Stocking the Shelves in the Middle of the Night Stoned Out of their Mind Until 2009
  10. In 2008 Do a Little Less Talking, a Little More Walking and a Few Less Excuses – You’ll Be Fine
  11. 2008 Bingo Behavior and Competitive Chaos – The Secret Side of Senior Citizens
  12. She Despised People with Egos – I Worry About People Without
  13. Community business lack of integrity gets around fast, on the internet scum can last for years.
  14. In 2008 Your Personality is Great use it with Honor and Without Debate!
  15. Recession Proofing a Nation Using Franchising, Small Business Solutions and Entrepreneurial Training in 2008
  16. If the Mass Mobs Screws Up Everything in 2008 – Why Are We Rushing to Collective Idiocy?
  17. Are You Pulling Strings, Influencing Puppets or Leading the Field – Concentrate in 2008
  18. Why Are You Trying to Convince Me That I am Not Open Minded – Look in Your Own Mirror
  19. 2008 Grassroots Political Campaigns – Don’t Forget Bingo Night – Bring Prizes!
  20. UGVs and ROVs to Fight Fires Remotely – The Future is Here
  21. Futurist Website or Just the Latest Current Technologies and Innovations in Science?
  22. Is the Young Policeman’s Ego Getting them Into Trouble with the Collective Citizen’s Perception?
  23. How Can We Make the Human Collective Computer Smarter than all Humans and All Computers?
  24. Hiding From Yourself – The Easiest Person to Avoid
  25. Collective Intelligence or Collective Stupidity?
  26. The Difference Between a Story, Work, Piece, Article, Column, Book, Editorial and Novel
  27. You Should Fear Those Who Fear You Most of All
  28. Individual to Collective – If I am Not Important, then Stop Asking Me Questions and Bothering Me
  29. Writers On Strike for More Money Spend their Days Off Writing for Free
  30. A Dead Zone is Not a Place Where Paris Hilton’s Cell Phone Doesn’t Work
  31. 2008 Oil Change and Fast Lube Industry – Challenges Ahead
  32. What if US Consumers are Paying $4 per gallon in 2008
  33. Was Your Small Business Less profitable in 2007 or 2006 – What About 2008?
  34. 2008 Oil Change and Fast Lube – State of Industry Predictions
  35. 2008 Auto Industry and Related predictions
  36. Lack of Respect Does Not = Hate – Just Like Tolerance Does Not Equal Acceptance
  37. God Bless the Weather, Tropical Storms, Global Warming and the TV Ratings
  38. The Universe is All in Your Eyes – What an Organic Engineering Marvel?
  39. Big Bang Believers Need to Re-Think Reality in Relation to this Dimensional Realm
  40. Who Do You Think You Are – Human or Something?
  41. Steroids for the Brain – It is Already a Huge Problem
  42. Trying to Sell Real Estate in a Buyers Market
  43. Could The US Army Hit the Skids Due to a Budget Crisis?
  44. UN Chief Needs to Resign; He Says Confront Global Warming or Face in Oblivion?
  45. It’s the End of Advertising as We Know It – And I Feel Fine!

Now that my friends is consolidation and getting rid of the baggage so you can lighten your load and be ready to take off in the new year. I want you to think about this for a moment, what do you have on your plate that you know you will never do in 2008? Maybe it’s time you cleared your plate and set a new course for the future.

Could These Two Secrets to Getting Advice Be Helpful to Successful Business Women?

Successful business women know the importance of having mentors at various stages throughout their lives. Whether it was in school, sports teams, dance or other activities, who among us doesn’t remember having someone who offered the help, support and advice that helped us get some challenging times.

Business is tough enough for success business women so why not have some people you can count on for support. Many people will tell you what they think you want to hear, not enough will tell you what you should hear.

And receiving and accepting candid feedback is a main reason why successful business women get that way. They use it to avoid costly mistakes and make better decisions to achieve their business goals and professional aspirations.

Mentors are important to those who may be lacking the experience, knowledge or skills required in a certain task or position. Successful business women can leverage the capabilities of others to help them when their lack of experience could be a liability.

After all any stretch assignment has potential pitfalls where your lack of experience could cause you to fail. This is where a mentor can help. You learn from their mistakes, not just from yours.

But how do you know what type of mentor you need? Who would be the best person to help? How can successful business women find them?

The first step requires an objective self-assessment – You can’t find a mentor until you “find” (know) yourself. Only after you know what you need, can you find a mentor to help.

Ask yourself what do I really need in a mentor – if it’s for career then maybe you want to know what jobs you should be taking now. What course and/or training are needed? What assignments should successful business women be thinking about taking to give them the right experience given their career choices?

Or maybe you’re in a new role or stretch assignment. You might want to ask a mentor – What are the barriers to success? How do I get around them? Who should I involve? What other skills are needed? And so on. Determine and understand what you really want.

Step 2 – After you have answered these questions, ask yourself how a mentor can help you.

Mentors can help with a promotion, developing skills, identifying strengths, getting help with weakness and as well as business progress. They can also be business development sponsors for successful business women.

The right business related mentor is also someone who knows your field, can help you learn new things and is willing to give his or her time to help you. Often they have the knowledge and skills, open-mindedness, accessibility, trustworthiness and reliability.

Sometimes their great success comes with great egos which can be a problem. Just because someone has significant cache doesn’t mean they will help you. Successful business women will also need to determine the structure of the mentoring relationship – in person, virtual and global or network. And if the mentoring relationship is for long term or just for short period of time.

Successful business women may not find a mentor over night. They will need to continually be reaching out to people who they think could help. Meeting with them, sharing ideas and concerns. Over time you will determine if they are the right person for you: can they be the mentors that you need to help you and your business.