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

Foreclosure Cleanup – How to Make Money Today With Your Business

Years ago, I had an office in New York City, right down from Madison Square Garden. My little office was on the fourth floor of a small commercial building. There were several small businesses housed on my floor. My small business neighbor was also my accountant. I’ll never forget the words Tony the Accountant said to me one afternoon when he peeked into my office for a chat. He said, “Always ask yourself, what can I do to make money TODAY?”

Your Primary Task Each Day: I’ve gone back to that statement over and over again throughout the years. Sometimes as business owners we get so mired in running our business, that we forget to consistently make money at what we’re doing. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. The bills have to be paid (money going out); the marketing pieces have to be prepared; the uniforms have to be washed; the truck has to be dumped; the equipment has to be repaired; etc.

But when you first get up in the morning, running around like a mad person to start your daily business tasks, stop and ask yourself that same question that Tony proposed to me: What can you do to bring in a dollar today in your foreclosure cleanup business? Whatever else you may have on your plate should really take a back seat until you have done the primary task that will add money to your bank account that day.

If you don’t succeed, you will have put out a ton of feelers that may turn into cash the next day or later in the week.

What Services Do You Offer in Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business?

Are you offering services that will allow you to bring in cash on a daily basis? Are these services within your immediate control? Or, are you, instead, offering services that make you sound good, official, but that require you to depend on others to perform those tasks? Can you personally winterize, change locks, handle repairs, do the gutter cleaning, handle the painting? Or do you need a crew to assist you in getting those jobs done TODAY?

Take Inventory of Your List of Services: If you are a new foreclosure cleanup business, take inventory of the list of services you have included as part of your foreclosure cleanup business. Do you need to scale back to be in control of making money TODAY?

As your business grows, of course you will add more and more services to your cache of foreclosure cleanup duties, and you will add more workers. But, when you’re just starting out, consider offering only those services that you know you can handle yourself. Why? So you can wake up knowing you can put money in your pocket TODAY, all by your lonesome, if you have to.

Your business won’t seem as big, but you will be making more money. And that’s what business is about: making money, profit, being able to pay yourself a decent salary, consistently.

Take Action Today: For example, using Tony’s question (What can you do to make money today?), you can wake up on a Saturday morning and decide you want to put $300 in your pocket before night fall, all by yourself, in your new real estate and foreclosure cleanup business. Put your lawn mower on the back of your truck (a truck that should hold your company’s magnet signs), and hit every home and business within a ten mile radius, offering a Special Today Only rate for lawn care.

Worst Case Scenario: Those eventual customers that may say no today will now know your business name and have your company flier, which should list all of your real estate and foreclosure cleanup services.

Remember, you should already be targeting your primary foreclosure cleanup client base via email, snail-mail, phone, and through your online marketing efforts. But, keeping in mind your primary focus of making money TODAY, if your price is right, you will be busier than you can shake a stick at with just lawn care — and you will come home with that $300 bucks in your pocket!

Plan of Action Example: If you specialize in interior cleanup, get on the phone and plan to call 500 realtors today. Yes, it will be a lot of calls, and you may not make it through even a quarter of the list, but if your Today Only Special is low enough, and you strategically target your list, you will get cleanup business. Always remember that business is simply a numbers game: the more prospects you target, the more business you will get.

If you want to specialize in exterior cleanup and you know the dump yard only charges you $37 for exterior debris dumping, call 200 real estate brokers and offer an incredible Weekend Only deal on exterior debris removal to the broker’s list of realtors. Make it a special they can’t refuse and see what positive results you have.

Greasing the Pipes: Remember, as a business owner, you must concentrate on how you can make money TODAY to survive. All the while you will be greasing the pipes (a term my multi-million dollar small business mentor used quite often) for future foreclosure cleaning business.

Many wishes of great success in your foreclosure cleanup business!

Secret Of Using Blogs To Drive Traffic To Your Home Business Site

One of the main benefits of creating a blog is that you can use it to drive traffic to your home business web site or your offline home business. And the key to doing this is to make sure that your target audience can find your blog as easily as possible.

This means you need to do whatever you can to get your blog ranked as high in the search engines as possible, and make sure that the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN know when you have updated your blog so they can visit it and “index” your latest blog post–ensuring it appears in their search results.

Since Google is the largest and most powerful search engine for generating traffic to your home business blog, you will probably want to focus a great deal of your attention here.

Fortunately, there is one particular strategy you can use to make sure Google knows exactly when you have added new content, so that it can visit your home business blog and index your latest post… which enables people searching the internet to find your blog.

Only when Google has visited and indexed your new blog content will that content show up in Google’s search engine. Any by telling Google to come and visit your blog, you will get your latest content into the search engine much faster– potentially by weeks or even months–than if you wait for them to find it.

We’ll use our home business site ([http://homebusinessnow.blogspot.com]) to illustrate the step-by-step process you need to follow to use this strategy effectively.

Your first step is to submit your blog to Google. Your home business blot must be submitted to a search engine to speed up the process of getting listed in Google’s search results. To do this, go to Goolge and when the URL shows up, add the following without the quotes to Google’s address “addurl”. Hit “enter” and on the next page enter the URL of your blog and a brief description and submit and you are done!

Now wait a few days (you can add more than one URL if you have several blogs running) to check if your blog has been visited by Google. To verify if your home business blog has been added go to Google’s search engine just type Google (dot) com into your browser window. When that page opens enter “cache: followed by the URL of your blog site. If your blog has been visited by Google, you will see the date of the visit at the top of your blog page plus a “cached” (saved) version of the page on that particular date.

You can double-check your listing status in Google by searching for a unique string of words in one your blog posts as if you were an internet surfer looking for information. As an example, enter the following words with the quotes, “make money with a home business” and you’ll see our main site come up. At the time of this writing, our site was ranked #2.

Your blog will appear in the search results if Google has visited and indexed it.