Monday, October 12, 2009

Moving Your Business Beyond the Idea Stage

You have a great business idea.  You know it will work and you could finally fulfill your dream of being your own boss.  If only you knew how to get started.

Too many ideas remain just that - ideas.  But you can move your business beyond the idea stage by following these simple steps.

1.  If you have a basic idea of what type of service or product you want to provide, do some research to make it as marketable as possible.  Are other businesses offering the same thing?  If so, how is your business different.  If your idea is completely unique, do some further research to be sure there is a market for it. 

2.  Write your business plan.  Every business, no matter how small, needs a written business plan.  What's in a business plan? It depends. You can create a fairly elaborate plan with an executive summary, market analysis, business strategy, financial plan, management summary, implementation steps and much more. These are great if you are applying for a loan to start your new business or are bringing in partners or investors. But if you just want a plan to help you get your new home business idea off the ground, it can be much simpler.

3.  Assess your financial situation.  How much money will you need to get your business off the ground?  Do you have enough to finance it yourself or will you need a loan?  Will you continue in your current job while you build your business?  If you are going to devote yourself full time to your business, how much will you need to finance it and cover your living expenses until you start making a profit?  Do you have enough money set aside to live on while you build your business?  If not, where will you get it?

4.  Create your marketing plan.  Who is your target market?  How will you reach them?  Is there more than one market for your product or service?  Will you market to them both in the same way?  How much will you need to spend on marketing?  If you don't understand marketing, study what the Top 10 Internet Marketing Gurus and my Favorite Women Entrepreneurs are doing and apply it to your own business.

5.  Prepare to Launch!  Set up a step-by-step task list of what you need to do to get your business idea off the ground and make it a reality.  Each day do at least one thing to move you closer to your goal. 

From idea to prosperous business - all it takes is a few steps and you'll be on your way!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Join the Ranks of the Work at Home Professionals

Let's face it.  The economy may be getting better but most of us still aren't feeling it where it counts - in our pocketbooks.  And the unemployment rate is predicted to continue to rise in spite of the fact that we are coming out of the recession.  So, you've lost your job, the economy is still not growing, the unemployment rate is still higher than ever.  You hear that working from home is the answer to your problem.  Are you supposed to believe that?  You'd better!

Thousands of women successfully run home businesses. You can too!  It really is easier than you realize.  All you need is an idea and the desire and drive to get started.  How?  Follow my step by step process and you'll be up and running in no time.

1.  Decide what your business will be.  This is actually probably the hardest part of the whole process.  There are so many ways to make a living from home today.  The best thing to choose is something you love.  What are your interests and hobbies?  What are your skills?  Where do these - skills and interests - overlap?  That is probably your best direction when just starting out.  I love graphic design.  I'm always having great ideas for a new design for the Traveling Bob store.  But I don't know a pixel from a pasteboard, so I'm probably not going to make a living as a graphic designer.  I am a certified master trainer and coach and I love helping others.  I'm never happier than when I'm in front of a room full of people and I see the light in their eyes that says they get this.  A coaching/training/mentoring business is ideal for someone like me.  So the first rule of business success - do what you enjoy and what you are good at.

2.  Get your domain name.  You can't start a business online without one.  And you don't want to wait or you make lose it.  I had to learn this lesson the hard way.  I had ideas for several mini-sites with great names.  But I waited to purchase those domains until I was ready to launch the business.  By the time I finally got around to it, the domains were gone.  What is even more frustrating is that a couple of them aren't even being used.  They were just purchased by someone who is in the business of buying and selling domains.  I can now still purchase it if I want to pay about 10x the amount I would have paid originally.  Legal?  Yes.  Ethical?  Business is business I suppose.  However, I won't pay the amount being asked.  And if I a great idea for a domain name suddenly comes to me, I purchase it right then.  I may not do anything with it.  But for the price it costs, it's better to buy it and have it if I want it than to discover it's not available when I'm ready.  Where do you go to buy your domain name?  There are literally hundreds of places.  I use  The prices are reasonable and they are reliable. 

3.  Decide exactly what you will market.  A product?  A service?  Both?  What type of product?  An actual physical product or an infoproduct?  What type of service?  Will you offer it strictly virtually (online) or will you actually physically connect with your clients?  What about a combination of the two?  Can you offer both a product and a service? 

4.  Create your product or structure your service.  If you don't know exactly what type of product to offer, check for affiliate programs that are a good fit with your business.  If you want to design your own infoproduct and don't know how, there are loads of resources to help you.  If you need suggestions on where to get help, read my blog post on the "Top 10 Internet Marketing Gurus".  Any one of them can provide the assistance needed. 

If your business is service oriented, decide what types of services you will offer and how you will package them.  Will you provide just a single service?  Multiple services?  Will you have different packages and fees?   

5.  Build your website.  If you know computers at all and have the time and patience, you can build your own.  If not, there are plenty of template-based applications available.  My favorite is Site Build It! because it works, even if you're like me and know nothing about web design.  Or you can hire a professional web designer.  No matter how you do it, though, get a site up.  Even if it's just a blog to start while you build your actual site. 

6.  Choose your host.  Once again, there are lots of choices.  If you use Site Build It! to create your site, they will also host it for you.  If you have chosen some other means of building your site, then you will have to decide which hosting service is best for you.  Research what's available and make your choice based on which service best suits your needs.  Not sure?  Ask.  If you know someone with a site you like and you trust their opinion, ask for a recommendation.

7.  Promote, promote, market, market.  The coolest site and greatest product or service in the world won't make a bit of difference if no one knows how to find you.  Become a master at "tooting your own horn" and driving traffic to your site.  Once again, if you don't know how, there are tons of resources to help you learn.  Study this blog.  Check out those "marketing gurus" I mentioned earlier.  Read.  And read some more.  And then most importantly - put what you have learned into practice.  If you make a mistake, that's okay.  You learned something.  As one of my favorite internet geniuses, Mike Litman, says, "You don't have to get it right.  You just have to get it going."  Or in the words of Bob The Teacher, "Take Action. Revise Later."  You can always come back and fix or revise what isn't working.  But if you don't try something, you'll be right where you were when you started - nowhere. 

Follow these seven steps and you will soon join the ranks of the work at home professionals.  Find your passion.  Match it to your skills.  Plan your business.  Work your plan.  And market, market, market.  Maybe one day you'll make my Top 10 list!       

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Six Steps to Happy Holidays!

I know it seems a bit early. But in reality, it's not too early to start planning your holiday sales promotions. If this is the first time you've ever thought about a special promotion for your business during the holiday season, you need to get started right away. Experienced marketers often put months of planning into their holiday promotions. We only have a couple of months left. Lets get planning!

Step 1: Choose your theme. Having a theme will help you tie all of your marketing together into a fine-tuned campaign aimed at your target market. Don't make the mistake of trying to offer too much to too many and end up coming across as tacky and pushy.

Step 2: Create your offer. There are lots of ways to promote holiday sales. Packages are always great because they take the thought out of buying. For example, when I was a Girl Scout leader, my girls sold more than almost any other troop. How? They learned the value of the special package. And so they created the Chocolate Lover's Package (Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, and Peanut Butter Patties), The Classics (Thin Mints, Shortbread, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Caramel Delights), Something Old, Something New (Thin Mints, Shortbread, and whatever new cookie we had that year). They tied each package together with ribbons and sold them like crazy. What can you bundle together and offer as a holiday package?

Holiday discounts are another great way to generate sales. Try to come up with something for every budget - gifts under $10, under $25, under $50, under $100. Another way to use holiday discounts is the volume discount. Encourage your customers to purchase multiple items from you by offering a discount when they spend a certain amount or purchase a certain quantity.

Give something away. Do you have some items you are getting ready to discontinue? Or perhaps you have an e-book, or a special report you can offer. Or you can offer an hour of consulting or instruction. Whatever you have, promote it with your holiday offer. "Purchase this - and get this free!" It's like getting two gifts for the price of one.

3. Get your site in the holiday spirit. Be careful with this. You don't want to appear tacky! But do add some holiday-themed images and colors to your site to make sure your customers get the message.

4. Prepare your holiday newsletter. Or email. Or postcard. Whatever you use to communicate with your current customers. All of the steps listed previously are to help you gain new business. You might also attract some repeat business, but why wait? Send a special holiday offer exclusively to your current customers.

5. Offer holiday gift certificates. Even if you don't normally offer them, now is the time to do it. I always buy some sort of "kitcheny" thing for my brother-in-law, the chef. But he is a chef after all so it's hard to know exactly what he needs. A gift certificate solves the problem. He can choose whatever he wants. I love to read but I'm not much for the novel of the month. My favorite Christmas gift is the Barnes and Noble gift card my husband gives me every year. I get the pleasure of spending time in one of my favorite stores and he doesn't have to worry that he bought me something I already read or have no interest in.

6. Promote, promote, promote. Announce your holiday specials in your newsletter or ezine. Change your email signature to include a link to your holiday specials. Spread the word on message boards and online groups. (Don't SPAM, though, unless you want to drive your prospects to someone else). Write a press release. Announce them in your blog. Promote them through social networking.

Take action now and have a Happy and profitable Holiday season.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Need To Grab One Now!

This is HUGE!

I just discovered that the Internet Marketing Center is running a crazy deal right now...

They're looking for real people who can testify their new five-step online success program can help regular folk quickly make up to $10,000+ a month -- or more.

And to get those "real-life" testimonials, they're giving away trials of this "secret weapon" for just $2.95!

If making a LOT of money (at least $100,000+ in your first year) is something that interests you, I urge you to activate your trial of this new profit system and give it a try!

If it doesn't work for you, no big deal... Just cancel it and it won't cost you a penny more.

You can take part in this risk-free trial by going to:

Here's your chance to finally start making money online,and all it will cost you is a pocketful of change.

I'm not sure how many trials they're giving away so if you want to take part in this great opportunity I suggest you act NOW.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Women Entrepreneurs

Traditionally, when we think of entrepreneurs, we think of men. When we do think of women entrepreneurs, we tend to think of those ultra-successful, high-powered, women - the Oprah Winfreys and the Mary Kay Ashes of the world. But today, more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs. And while they may not be household names yet, they make decent livings and have the pleasure of knowing they are doing it on their terms. Let me introduce you to some of my favorites. Who knows - maybe they will inspire you to join our ranks and step out on your own!

1. Beverly Mahone - Beverly is a veteran journalist, author, media coach and motivational speaker who writes about issues affecting middle-aged women in her book, "Whatever! A Baby Boomer’s Journey Into Middle Age." After more than 25 years in the news business, Bev decided she wanted to stay at home and write full time. She now uses her journalism skills and experience as a featured writer for, Bonkers and Passionate For Life Magazines and as the host of a weekly show on BlogTalk Radio called Passions. She also shares her media expertise as a consultant to train individuals how to market themselves to radio, television and newspaper professionals through her company, BAM Enterprises. As the founder of Boomer Diva Nation, Bev has brought together a network of over-40 women from all walks of life who share their experiences and skills in support of each other and other baby boomer women.

2. Denise Michaels - Denise is a marketing mentor, speaker and author of the business bestseller, "Testosterone Free Marketing." With over 20 years of experience in marketing, selling, strategic planning, public relations and promotions, copywriting, advertising and online marketing, Denise helps enterprising women - and men - to create their own success and increase their cash flow. Her goal is to help women “Revolutionize their capacity to flex their marketing muscle.” A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Denise originally hails from Detroit, Michigan. Visit her online at

3. Karen Batchelor - Karen is a lawyer, former corporate executive now certified professional coach BIG into helping women in midlife achieve success and happiness through career and life makeovers. Karen had 20 years in the practice of law and as an executive in corporate America. Now she combines her diverse and extensive professional skills with her natural blend of creativity, enthusiasm and humor to support and encourage others as they rediscover and reinvent themselves in the uncertain times of midlife and a troubled economy. She's a wonderful lady and a fellow Boomer Diva. Get to know her better at

4. Felicia Slattery - I've known Felicia "virtually" for years and finally got to meet her in person this past February. She was every bit as dynamic and energetic in person as she is online. Be careful - you might have trouble keeping up! Felicia is a communication consultant, speaker, and coach specializing in training busy professionals to succeed by communicating effectively with clients and prospects. She teaches teleseminars, leads workshops, and offers private coaching to individual clients on improving their communication skills in order to present their best image. A published author and popular public speaker, Felicia began her consulting and coaching business in early 2006 when she decided it was time to take the communication skills she'd been teaching for years and offer that same knowledge to people outside the classroom. Take advantage of her knowledge at

5. Linda Gracy - Linda is actually partially responsible for my success. As she was starting out on her latest venture, she would often call and ask me how to do this, or that, or something else. I discovered that, far from being annoying, I actually enjoyed teaching her and watching her success. Linda was an insurance agent, then a high school math teacher. But when her kids were little, she wanted to stay home with them. Of course, it took both her husband's and her paychecks to pay the bills, so she had to find a way to replace her teaching salary. So she started her search for a home-based business that would let her stay home without the selling. It took her 19 years to find it, but once she found it, it only took a few months before she was able to kiss that 19-year career goodbye. Find out how she did at

6. Betty Lynch - Cookbook author, writer, and foodie - that's Betty Lynch. Author of the popular cookbook Back to the Table with My Country Kitchen, Betty has turned her love of cooking and good food into a business that provides you with recipes, ideas, tips, cookbooks, and more to help make your time in the kitchen stress free. Her recipes have become some of my family's favorites. Find your own favorites at

7. Heidi Caswell - Heidi's business fascinated me when I first met her. I had never heard of it before. A personal touch consultant? What is that? Heidi describes it as showing others how to use technology to build relationships, both personal and professional, to set yourself apart. Now that I understand, I have become an ardent fan. Too many of us get caught up in the technology and forget that small personal touch that will make us stand out in the virtual crowd. Her favorite tools are SendOutCards and blogs, although there are many other ways to follow up and stay in touch. Find out how to add your personal touch to your business at

8. Wendy Y. Bailey - Affectionately called “WendyY” by her clients, business associates and coaching colleagues, Wendy Y. Bailey is a Master Certified Group Coach, Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and Certified Experienced Coach. WendyY leveraged more than 20 years of leadership and management experience and expertise leading hundreds of teleseminars, live workshops and small group training sessions to create Group Mastery for Speakers, Trainers and Workshop Leaders. I have had the pleasure of meeting her in person and having her as a teleseminar guest. Both times, she taught me a great deal. Meet the unforgettable WendyY at

9. Teri Dempski - Teri started her online virtual assistant company in 2007, and can handle most administrative tasks, as she has a professional team of subcontractors in place. Teri is certified as an author’s assistant, and internet marketing virtual assistant. She is passionate about training people new to Web 2.0 tools for online social media marketing how to use them to full advantage. She trains clients both online and offline, though she prefers working online. Contact Teri at

10. Kathie Thomas - Kathie is a successful Virtual Assistant with a 14+ year old practice. She was a VA before the term ‘virtual assistant’ was in use. The founder of A Clayton’s Secretary, established March 1994, she pioneered the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia. Prior to establishing her business she had a background of 23 years’ secretarial/administrative experience in the corporate world, working for CEOs and MDs as well as project groups. Now she is a published author, blogger, speaker, VA coach and passionate photographer in Melbourne, Australia. Meet this amazing woman at

I could have listed many more women entrepreneurs than I have here. Pam Archer, Eileen Williams, Sharon Williams, Heidi Richards Mooney, and the one-of-a-kind Pop Art Diva all deserve mention. But space is limited so I chose these 10 for one common factor. Have you guessed what it is? They are all fabulous examples of how to take something you already know how to do and love doing and put it work for you. What is your passion? What skills do you bring? Will I be able to list you on a future post of my favorite women entrepreneurs? Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What The Heck Are Back End Products?

When I first started out online as an affiliate marketer, I have to admit - I struggled. With no website and no list and no idea of what I was doing, it was hard to even make a few dollars. I often tell the story of my first sale - which netted me an incredible $20! I was soooo excited! I had made money online! But realistically, it takes a lot of $20 sales to make a living.

Then I joined the Internet Marketers Club. At the time it was being run by Corey Rudl. Corey passed away a few years ago in an automobile accident. His close friend and associate Derek Gehl runs things now. But nothing has really changed. It is still a great source of information if you are trying to learn the internet marketing business.

One of the first things I learned from them was about something called "back end products". Newbie that I was, I had no idea what these were. I found out pretty quickly that they are cash in the bank!

What are back end products? Very simply, they are the products you sell your existing customers after your initial offer. It is much easier to sell additional products to repeat customers than it is to continually try to find new customers for your one main product. For example, my brother-in-law, the chef, has an online cooking class for single guys. Once they sign up for his class, it's very easy for him to promote all types of household and kitchen gadgets to them. He plays on the fact that women love a guy that can cook and since most men don't normally have well stocked kitchens, he makes quite a good sum of money selling them the things they need to use what they learned in the cooking class.

To be effective, back end products have to be compatible with your main offer. Mark makes money selling kitchen items to people who find him through his cooking class. He and his wife are also in my Fortune downline. They don't mention the business opportunity or the many FHTM products to the leads this list. Chances are these guys aren't looking for a biz op, vitamins, or a cell phone! By targeting his offer to his ready made market, he is much more successful.

Back end products also work for affiliate marketers. Just about every affiliate product I promote has a selection of other products already designed to complement it. Site Build It! - main product the Site Build It! system. But there are also ebooks available on many subjects that can serve as back end products. Magnetic Sponsoring - I market the Magnetic Sponsoring course, then follow up with Black Belt Recruiting or one of Mark Dillard's other great courses.

If your affiliate product doesn't already have a ready made back end, look for another affiliate product that is compatible and offer it. Or create one of your own.

Bottom line - back end products can make a huge difference in your online success. Find them, create them, but do use them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Did My Business Survive?

You may have noticed my absence lately. I admit - I did sort of drop out of site for the past few months. The anniversary of my dad's death hit me hard. I miss him more than I thought possible - especially if you remember how I used to complain about having to take care of him.Then Dearl's health problems cropped up again and that has just taken my full attention. And just when it was beginning to even out, God saw fit to provide me with not 1 but 3 distractions to care for. 3 new grandbabies in the last 4 months. To say I've been a bit preoccupied would be an understatement.

Now, I would love to say that I am independently wealthy and that I didn't have to worry about such mundane things as mortgage payments or grocery bills or putting gas in the SUV. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. I have to make a living just like everyone else. I obviously was not functioning at full capacity business-wise through all of this, though. So how did I manage to hang on? The answer is - automation.

My primary sources of income all operate pretty much on autopilot. So, while I can't neglect them indefinitely and expect to thrive, I can take a couple of months to focus on other priorities when necessary. My business may not grow (although Traveling Bob still managed to net some new customers!) but it won't die either.

Is your business automated? Can you take a break and generate some passive income while on vacation? Not sure? Answer these questions to see where you might need to make some changes.

1. How do you build your mailing list? Do you have opt-in pages on your sites that capture email addresses and names of visitors? This is the first step in automating your business. When visitors come to your site, have a enticing offer such as free special report or free trial to get them to subscribe to your newsletter. Once they enter their name and email, it is captured and placed in your database, automatically adding names to your mailing list every day.

2. Are you using autoresponders? If you have a mailing list, but don't have a way to automatically stay in touch with your contacts, then you are still not taking full advantage of automation. With an autoresponder, you can program a series of emails that will be delivered to your subscribers consistently for months or even years. So even when you aren't able to follow-up personally, your autoresponder is delivering content, offers, and reminders to re-visit your site over and over again. There are lots of great autoresponders available. I use AWeber and have been very pleased with the results.

3. Do you take orders and payments online? It has never been easier to do this than it is now. Services like PayPal make it a breeze to accept online payment, even if you aren't set up to take credit cards with your own merchant account. Combine this with a simple online shopping cart, and you're ready to make sales 24/7, rain or shine, whether you're available or not.

So - I am back now and trying to catch up from neglecting everything for so long. Fortunately, it won't take me long to just go in and update things. But it's good to know that if necessary, I can step back from actively building my business for a short time, and it will still be there when I get back. Can you do the same?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Building Wealth Together

When I first decided to strike out on my own, that is exactly how I did everything - on my own. It took me a while but I finally learned that there is a better way - building your business in partnership with someone else.

We live in an age of great opportunities and equally great challenges. The internet has enabled many to choose to become an entrepreneur. And yet, we look at the current economic situation and it seems the American Dream of life-satisfaction and financial freedom remains out of reach for many.

These days, it sometimes takes teamwork to reach our financial goals. Partnerships and joint ventures are a great way to create more business for everyone involved. You aren't an expert in everything. We all have our talents and interests. Allying yourself with several other people, especially those with different areas of expertise, but similar values, is a means of combining your strengths for mutual benefit. Focus on your strengths and use the strengths of your allies to fill in your weak areas.

You can use joint ventures in a variety of ways. Do you know someone that has just created an fabulous product but doesn't know how to market it? If you have the marketing skills necessary for success, joint venture. Or suppose it's an existing product that hasn't been introduced into a particular marketing niche. If that's your niche, joint venture. Do you want to expand your business into other areas but don't know how, joint venture with someone who is already successful in that area. I engage in a very common form of joint venture regularly. As a "baby boomer' woman entrepreneur, I have access to a very specific market. Much of my list is comprised of baby boomer women - some entrepreneurs in their own right, most of them professional career women in some aspect. I am often asked to market someone's product or service or book to my list. If it's something I can endorse, I will do so in exchange for either a percentage of the sales or, if they target a market I am not reaching, having them promote me to their list. A very simple and yet at times highly profitable joint venture.

It can sometimes be difficult to find a partner to joint venture with, especially if you are new in the business. There a several resources available to help you learn this skill. I highly recommend you read everything available by Ken McArthur and attend one of his jvAlert events as soon as you can. I have made many valuable contacts at these events and Ken works hard to ensure that the atmosphere is conducive to just that - networking, making contacts, and creating joint ventures.

Another great way to build wealth together is through a MasterMind. Napolean Hill, in his classic Think and Grow Rich, wrote: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which can be likened to a third mind. No individual may have great power without availing himself of the ‘Master Mind.’”

What is a MasterMind? Very simply, it is a group of like-minded people who get together to provide each other with feedback, hold each other accountable, brainstorm ideas together, and help each other focus and stay on track. MasterMinds allow you to tap into the experience and skill of others to help you improve your business. I love working with my MasterMind groups and look forward to our meetings. I have received great feedback and support here.

Finding the right MasterMind is important. You want to be sure the members have similar interests and skills to your own. Most reputable business coaches support a MasterMind group of their own. I suggest you start there. Find a coach you trust and respect and see if they have a MasterMind group. If not, you can always ask if they would be interested in starting one.

Whether you find a joint venture partner or join a MasterMind - or both, I hope you have learned one thing today. You don't have to do this alone. There are plenty of opportunities for you to reach out to others and build wealth together.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top 10 Internet Marketing "Gurus" and What I Learned from Them

You have heard me preach endlessly about the value of learning from the "masters" - the experts in your chosen business niche - and following their lead. But who should you be following? The internet marketing and business worlds are full of "gurus", each claiming to be the one with the answer to all of your problems. Here are the top 10 that I have learned valuable lessons from. In my opinion, they are the best of the best in their areas of expertise and come with my whole-hearted recommendation!

1. Ken McArthur - Ken is an author, marketing expert, legendary creator of Impact, and the resident expert in forming partnerships and collaborations. I met Ken when he became one of my clients in my capacity as an site selection specialist for HelmsBriscoe. Ken taught me the most valuable lesson of all - I don't have to do this alone. There are lots of experts available who are more than willing to share their knowledge, time, contacts, and advice with me.

2. Felicia Slattery - I met Felicia many years ago on Ryze and came to admire and respect her long before I had the opportunity to meet her in person. Felicia taught me the value of being able to communicate effectively in any format. And then she taught me how to do that.

3. Bob the Teacher - I have been on Bob the Teacher's mailing list forever so I was thrilled when I finally had the opportunity to meet in this past February at Ken McArthur's jvAlert event in Orlando. Other than being much younger than I expected from his level of expertise, he was everything that I had envisioned and more. Bob has taught me how to use a variety of marketing tools and not be afraid of them. Teleseminars, squeeze pages, mind mapping, Squidoo, Twitter - all tools I have embraced thanks to Bob's tutoring.

4. ProBlogger (Darren Rowse) - I discovered ProBlogger through a teleseminar that mentioned a man (ProBlogger) that was bringing in a six-figure income simply from blogging. I imediately went to his site and through his teaching, entered the world of blogging for myself. From a blog with 1 or 2 hits, I now have multiple blogs with hundreds of hits. I am currently participating in his latest project - 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Who knows what will happen with my blogs after that!

5. Ken Evoy - creator of Site Build It! for web building and hosting. In addition to discovering an absolutely fabulous tool to help create and host websites, Ken taught me the importance of a content-rich site for business.

6. Marlon Sanders - lots of great products and Marlon's Marketing In a Minute newsletter.

7. Mike Litman - Mike is the author of the best-selling "Conversations With Millionaires." What is the most valuable lesson I learned from him? "You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going." Thanks, Mike! I did just that!

8. The Barefoot Executive (Carrie Wilkerson) - I have only known of The Barefoot Exec for a few months. I met her at jvAlert in February. But she made a powerful impression on me with her reminder to focus and that nothing gets accomplished without massive action TO COMPLETION!

9. Wendy Y. Bailey - friend and fellow Baby Boomer Diva WendyY taught me to say 4 simple little words that have made a huge difference in my cash flow - "I Charge for That." She's a group coaching expert and will show you how to incorporate those skills into your business model.

10. Allan Gardyne - I have been a subscriber to the Associate Programs Newsletter since stepping out into internet marketing many years ago. It has never disappointed me. If you want to know how to make a living as an affiliate marketer, you need to know this man

There you have it - my top 10 list of internet business experts. Did I leave someone off that you think should be here? Post a comment with their name, website and why you recommend them and I will definitely check them out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Making a Business Plan

I'm just the sole owner of a small home business. I don't need a business plan. Those are just for big businesses. I work out of my bedroom!

This was the answer I got when I asked a coaching client if she had her business plan finished! She had no plan and truly felt she didn't need one. Mistake? Absolutely! If you have a business that you invest time and money in, and if you want that time and money back plus more - you need a business plan. It doesn't have to be a multi-page, formal presentation. Although the typical business plan is approximately 20 pages, my first plan was a single side of one sheet of notebook paper! Size isn't important - as long as your plan is useful.

I'm going to help my client write her plan. If you don't have one yet, let's help you write yours also.

First, what is your objective? Where do you want your business to be five years from now? Are you content to be a one-man small enterprise, working from your bedroom like my client? Or do you someday want to have an actual physical location with dozens of employees? Perhaps you'll even expand into a chain - each location run on your ideas and principles with hundreds of workers. There's no right or wrong answer here, so don't feel less than successful just because you really don't want to grow that large.

How much money are you making in five years? Just enough to replace your job? Enough to completely financially free? Put a number on it. $50,000 a year? $500,000? $1 million? Again, there's no wrong answer.

Now that you know where you want to go, write your plan to get there. How will you do it? Will you need some money up front to invest or can you start small enough that you can come up with your own financing? If you will require financing, where will you get it? Will you be working your business full time or part time while still holding a job? What product or service will you offer? Who is your target market? How soon do you plan to become profitable?

Who are your competitors? How is your product or service different from theirs? How will you market that difference?

What price will you charge for your product or service? If selling a product, how will you distribute it - direct sales, affiliate program, retail distributors such as department stores?

How will you market your product or service? What types of advertising will you use? Sales promotions? What about your PR campaign?

After reading this and answering these questions, you should be ready to prepare your own basic business plan. If you're still hesitant, ask for help. There are several resources available to assist you in creating your business plan. Check out any of the following:

- Small Business Development Centers: SBDCs offer a wide variety of information and guidance to individuals and small businesses. If you need help developing your business plan, the SBDC counselors can help by offering assistance with market research, cash-flow projections and more. And, in most cases, the help is free.

- SCORE: A source for all kinds of business advice, from how to write a business plan to investigating marketing potential and managing cash flow. SCORE counselors work out of hundreds of local chapters throughout the United States.

- Business Plan Pro: The most popular business plan software. Business Plan Pro offers 500+ business plan templates, market research data, and expert advice at every step.

- Creating a Successful Business Plan: This book from Entrepreneur Press is filled with practical advice, easy-to-use how-to lists and forms, and step-by-step guidance to offer you a proven blueprint for creating a high-impact business plan.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Invest In Your Business

Wow! My business is finally making money. I can start buying some of the things I have always wanted now, right? WRONG! Yes, you have worked hard to get this far and you deserve to reap some rewards. But if you want your business to continue to grow you must continue to invest in it. Now is not the time to start spending all of your profits on you. Reward yourself a little, but reward your business also by investing some of those profits in ways that will help move it to the next level.

There are many ways you can invest in your business. Start by determining what percentage of your profits you will reinvest. I started by investing an average of 50%. Some months it might have been a bit less. Some months it was a bit more. But on average, I suggest you invest approximately 50% of your profits back into your business.

Once you decide how much to invest, you need to decide where to spend the money. Look carefully at all of your options before you make this decision. Sometimes the smallest investment is the wisest choice. For example, should I spend $2000 on a business conference when I could spend $500 on a new logo for my website and print material? The material you use to communicate with your market helps prospective customers determine who you are and whether they want to do business with you. The smaller investment to create a more professional-looking site and marketing material may actually be the wiser choice.

Another great way to invest in your business is by outsourcing. You may be saving money by doing your own web design or copywriting. But if you are not a professional, you may actually be losing money. You might be losing sales because your web site is not converting as well as it could. A professional web designer or copywriter, while costing some money up front, may actually increase your profits by generating more sales.

You also need to think about your own time and what it's worth. If you are saving $2000 a month by doing all of your own paperwork, but it's costing you $5000 a month because that's time you could have spent consulting, speaking, or meeting with new clients, you haven't saved any money. You're actually losing $3000 a month. Hire an assistant or VA and use your time in a more profitable manner. That's actually a lesson I have just learned myself. I'm proud to announce that I have hired an assistant of my own named Christy Robertson. I'm sure many of you will get to know her better in time as she takes over more of the daily office tasks!

How do you determine the best way to invest in your business? You have to calculate the ROI or return on investment. ROI is defined as the profit or cost saving realized for a given use of money.

If you are looking at two different forms of marketing for your business, you would calculate ROI by determining the projected increase in revenue for each marketing venture and then dividing them by their respective costs. For example, if a local ad that costs $35 will generate a potential 50 new customers and my product sells for $100, then 50 x $100 = $5000. Subtract the $35 it took to generat that income and I have a profit of $4965. Divide that by my $35 investment and my ROI is 141%. Pretty good! But perhaps I am also looking at doing a direct mailing. This will cost me $1000 but I anticipate 100 new customers because I am able to reach a wider market. 100 new sales x $100 each = $10,000. Subtract my $1000 cost and I have a profit of $9000. Divide that by my $1000 investment and I have an ROI of only 9%. So while it may look like a smarter decision to try to reach a larger market, in this case the better use of your money may actually be the smaller local print ad.

Sometimes you have to spend some money to make even more money. But by carefully evaluating each opportunity to invest in your business, and calculating your maximum return on investment, you should be rewarded by watching your business continue to grow.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Treat Your Business Like a Business

My grandchildren have been spending the past few days with me while their Mom and Dad prepare to give me one more to add to the brood. It has been so tempting to just close up shop and spend time with the kids. They are full of excitement and energy right now with a little brother on the way. They want to be home. They are impatient to have all of this over with. They don't seem to be able to entertain themselves for even a few minutes. It's all very distracting.

Just when I was about ready to give in, turn off the computer, contact my clients and tell them I was taking a few days off, and focus all my attention on the grandkids, one of my coaching clients reminded me of something I had told her when she first started: Just because you work from home, you still have to work. You have to treat your home business like a business! Thanks for the reminder.

Thinking that if I needed the gentle reminder, so perhaps did others, I've decided to share with you the advice I gave to her.

First, it's a business. Treat it like one. If you think you are going to sign up for free affiliate programs, put up some free classified ads, then sit back and watch the checks roll in, don't quit your day job. It doesn't work quite that way. You can't own a McDonald's franchise without a little upfront investment. The same is true of any business. You can find some legitimate businesses that are very inexpensive to start. It only cost me $299 to start with Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. And there are some very good affiliate programs such as SBI that are free to join but pay very good commissions. But you still need to invest a little bit in advertising.

Once you have decided on the basis of your business, you need to learn all you can about your internet marketing and your business in particular. There are many ways to do this and you will find all kinds of "gurus" offering to help if you will pay them enough. Some of them really do know what they are talking about and some of them don't. I can personally recommend some of them and you will find them mentioned in many of my earlier posts. You can also read this blog from the beginning for help. Be prepared to spend a little bit of money on some of the better books, courses, and seminars. Consider it part of your "online marketing degree!"

Let everyone know you are in business! This seems to be one of the biggest obstacles for most online marketers. Either they think they can't afford to advertise or they don't know how to do so effectively. Some, especially the network marketers, are afraid to do so because they think no one will take them seriously. Let's face facts. You can't slap a McDonald's on a street corner and expect to do business if no one knows McDonald's exists. You can't expect customers to find you if they don't know who you are. Tell people! If you don't have money to advertise, start by telling everyone you know. You can do that pretty inexpensively and you know far more people than you realize. When I started in Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, the first thing I did was send an email or a postcard to everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) I could think of telling them what I was doing and inviting them to visit my website. Some of them ignored me (FHTM is network marketing, after all). Some didn't. Some of those that visited became my customers. Six of them even became involved in the business with me. Those six have helped me build a team of almost 400. Not too bad for a few emails and a postcard or two. And the ones who laughed? They aren't laughing so much anymore!

Work your business. The number one reason most internet marketers fail is that they give up. They just quit. They don't make thousands of dollars overnight and so they just stop working. Do you know how much my first FHTM commission was? 84 cents! Two years later I'm not going to tell you how much I make, but it's enough to support me quite nicely. Am I a millionaire? Not yet. But I make more than enough to live on. So get up and go to work every day. If you have to keep your regular job while you build your business, that's okay. Just be sure you do at least one thing everyday to move your business forward.

Go to work at least 6 days a week. I know - many entrepreneurs say they work 7 days a week. But even God took a day off. Choose one day a week to relax and focus on your family and yourself. It's necessary to maintain some balance in your life or you will burn out. I don't normally work much on Sunday. It's the day I spend in fellowship with my church family and focusing on my husband, children, and grandchildren. But the other 6 days of the week, I'm at work. You need to do the same. Even if you are still working at a job while you build your business, you absolutely must devote some time to your business everyday except one if you want to grow.

Schedule your time when you are most productive. I am a night owl by nature. You will often find me working online until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. And if you interact with me personally, you will quickly find out that I don't schedule meetings or phone calls in the morning very often. I maximize my time by scheduling around my own internal clock. Meetings and phone calls in the early to late afternoon. Paperwork and computer work in the evenings or very early morning. If you have to work a set schedule because of job or family commitments, then do your best to prioritize your schedule based on your available hours.

Just say no! Just because you now work from home does not mean you are available to run errands, watch sick kids, have coffee or long, leisurely lunches with friends. You are running a business and you will have to teach your family and friends that you are serious. I had to work very hard to make my family understand that during certain hours of the day, I was simply unavailable unless it was an emergency.

Internet marketing is just like any other business. You will get out of it what you put into it. I can't promise you will get rich. I can promise you that if you find a legitimate business or affiliate program, take the advice of those who have gone before you, let people know you are in business, concede that you aren't going to get rich without some investment, and most importantly, WORK YOUR BUSINESS and DON'T GIVE UP - you can make a living online. Heck, if I can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Align Your Business with Your True Self for Maximum Success

Although the formal launch of my coaching program is still a few days away, I am already thrilled to be working with a great group of women - my inaugural class! I'm so excited! I can't remember the last time I was so eager to get up and get to work that I'm having difficulty sleeping! It's amazing! When your profession and your passion merge, anything seems possible!

This has been a question raised by some of my coaching team. How do we find the business that's right for us? And my answer is to find your passion and pursue it. How do you find your passion? What brings you the most joy in life? What makes you feel completely fulfilled? If you had the ability to do anything you wanted, what would it be? I love to help others grow and develop. Being present in that moment when someone takes that next big step or makes a breakthrough and knowing that I helped in some small way is almost intoxicating. What is it that makes you feel that way? You probably know. But, perhaps, like I did, you keep your true love buried.

Why? Why would someone deny their true calling? Lots of reasons. Whenever I mentioned teaching other women as a profession, my dear friends would look at me as if I wre insane. "Teach them what?", they would say. "What kind of money can you make doing that? Who would pay you enough to live on? What do you know that someone would pay you for?" Family members would remind me that they counted on me to help make ends meet and there was much to be said for a steady paycheck - even if it wasn't a very big paycheck. But the one that usually would make me sigh and turn away from my dream was the subtle hint that perhaps I thought I was too good for the likes of my blue collar family. That hard work every day was somehow beneath me. That I was, perish the thought, LAZY!

Is pressure from family members or others you respect and admire keeping you from your true profession? Don't listen to them! They may have the best of intentions, even playing match-maker with you and a career that seems to be a good fit… to them. Or it could simply be the fact that they gave up on their dreams long ago and they resent you for pursuing yours. Maybe not consciously, but deep down, they're jealous and afraid and if they can keep you on their level, they won't have to face their own failure.

Why? Why would you let someone else have control over your destiny? Perhaps you feel trapped, as I once did. A newly single mom with small children. No job skills really. I was military - in a career field that did not necessarily translate well to the civilian world. But I needed to find a way to make additional income to support my daughters. How could I possibly devote time and energy to pursuing something that may not ever pay off? I needed to make real money now for the sake of my family. Time enough for dreams later. But later never comes.

Do you feel trapped in whatever situation you currently are in? Are the doors for other opportunities closed? Perhaps you don't see a way to make it happen financially. Perhaps you think that you are too busy, too young, too old, or that it is too late. But it's never too late. And there are successful businesswomen from all age groups and walks of life. The only difference between them and you is that they dared to look beyond the barriers and imagine what could be possible. Instead of saying "I can't" they said "Maybe I could....". And once they started imagining ways to overcome the obstacles to their dreams, suddenly they were able to acknowledge that this was their purpose, their mission, their profession.

Do what you love to do. It's the key to true success. Take the time - right now! - to find your passion. Then do it! Don't worry about what others will say. Surround yourself with friends and mentors who understand that you HAVE to do this thing and will support you. Chart a plan of action to take you, step by step, to your dream. If you run into a roadblock, don't give up. Keep focused on your vision until you find a way over it, through it, or around it.

When I announced that I was FINALLY taking my business in a direction that just felt right, I received some words of encouragement from my friend and mentor, Beverly Mahone. I'd like to end this post by sharing those words with you.

"You sound so enthusiastic about this whole project and your new Boomer Biz Coach venture! If you do what you love, you'll love what you do! It definitely sounds like you have a winning combination!!!"

What's your winning combination?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If you have contacts in the non-profit community, I need your help!

If anyone is being hurt by the current economy, it's the non-profit sector. And just when they are needed more than ever. Charitable giving is the lowest it has been since Katrina. And yet demands for help from charitable organizations are increasing beyond all previous records.

What can we do to help? My friend Ken McArthur is a genius. In fact, I'd say he's the #1 internet marketing genius today. Recently, while I was attending his latest business conference, he asked for my help. ME! What can I do for a multi-millionaire marketing expert? Well, it seems he knows I used to work in the non-profit sector. And he believes I can use those contacts to help him help them.

Ken just recently launched a new project called Impact: How to Get Noticed, Motivate Millions and Make a Difference in a Noisy World. He is hosting a huge training event May 1 -3, at The Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. He says he is going to teach participants how successful Authors, Celebrities, Coaches, Newspapers, Magazines, Internet Sites, Non-Profits and Corporations Use the Internet, Publicity, Joint Ventures, List Building, Social Media Sites, Radio, Television, and Web 2.0 Techniques to Drive MILLIONS -- Instead Of THOUSANDS -- of Active, Targeted and Eager Fans, Clients and Customers to Their Best Ideas, Products and Services.

Now here's where we come in. Ken is truly one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. And he really does want to make a difference in the world. He knows how the non-profits are hurting. And he believes if he could just teach them these skills, it would make a HUGE difference to them. But he also knows that most of them couldn't afford the $1000 price tag his seminars command. So - he is inviting them to come and be trained AT NO COST! All they will have to pay is their transportation and hotel costs. The entire 3 day training seminar is absolutely free to any non-profit that wants to send some of their staff.

Ken has asked me to coordinate this project and I couldn't be prouder than to be involved in this. But I need your help. If you know of anyone involved in the non-profit sector that might be interested, have them contact me ASAP. Let them know that this is their opportunity to get free training from the man who practically invented PR and self-promotion.

Some of the things they will learn are:
How to get noticed in a world that doesn't want to listen to you.
How to motivate millions based on over 100 years of scientific research.
How to change peoples lives using time-tested persuasion techniques.
How to make a real difference in the world, one person at a time.
How To Stomp the Search Engines
How to Build Search Engine Optimization That Works
How to Write Effective Copy That Can Double Your Donations
How to Get Reciprocal Linking
How to Make Money From Blogs
How to Get Free Publicity For Your Organization
How to Build Your List By the Thousands
How to Use Multi-Media to Increase Your Donations
How to Use Booklets For Increased Donations

Please help me spread the word. This is truly an amazing offer from a wonderful man. There is NO catch. Ken just wants to pack the house. He has rented meeting space for 1000 people and he wants it full! And he wants if full of people he can help! Even if he has to pay for it all himself! I'll be at this event (and I don't even get to go for free) and I hope I can introduce Ken to a bunch of my readers! Please help us make an impact in the world. Thanks!

Want a copy of my upcoming teleseminar?

Just rewrote the home page to my FHTM site. I'd appreciate it if my readers would take a look and give me your opinion. If you do, I'll send you a copy of the CD of my upcoming teleseminar "Passion + Skill = Profit" as my thank you gift to you. Thanks!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Smiles, Laughs, and Old-Fashioned Customer Service

Part of my weekly routine is a survey of all the weird, crazy, zany and off-the-wall "holidays" celebrated each month. A couple of my Diva sisters, Bev Mahone and Heidi Richards Mooney, enlightened me on how these were goldmines for marketing opportunities. So I always check just to see if there is something coming up I can build a marketing campaign around. Well, did you know that this month is National Laugh-Friendly Month? Me either. But it sounded like something I could use and so I decided to do a little research on it.

It's not very often that I come across a company that I just have to share. But in my research on the origins of National Laugh-Friendly Month, I found one. ee publishing and productions, llc, also known as "the laugh-friendly company" and the creators of National Laugh-Friendly Month. ee created National Laugh-Friendly Month to encourage more smiles, laughs, and old-fashioned customer service. Curiosity piqued, I had to know more about the company that created their own holiday. I was not disappointed in what I discovered.

ee publishing was founded by two sisters, Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice. They create children's books and toys with high play and imagination value because they believe that the world would be a happier place if kids got to be kids just a little bit longer and if grownups greeted each day with more of the wonder we love in our children. As they clearly state on their website, they are out to change the world.

Incorporating their values into their business, the sisters have created a company and product line that comes alive with their passion. You can almost feel their energy as you browse their website. The colors are vibrant, the words are energetic, and the products - well, the products are adorable!
The products bring to life the magical world of a sweet little girl called Nana Star created by their grandmother years ago. Entrepreneurs at heart, in order to introduce children to Nana Star, they became picture book authors, publishers, and members of that illustrious band of trend-setting businesswomen: mompreneurs. Since founding ee, that's "double e," by the way, they've expanded the world of Nana Star to include an award-winning picture book series, line of character plushies, and companion web site. They're also launching another line of retro-style toys, the CutiePatootie WannaBe Babies, designed to spark the big dreams of little people.

The site also encourages others to live "laugh-friendly" and recognizes other companies that do. The Nana Star foundation benefits children who need a reason to smile. And their ''blaph" (blog + laugh = blaph) is full of inspiring, amusing, and uplifting stories and pictures.

This is just an example of what you can build when you follow your passions and your vision. You can learn a great deal about building a brand and marketing a concept from these two women. Check out the site for yourself and you'll walk away with inspired with new ideas. I know I was. So stop by and browse around ( Meanwhile, I'm off to order a CutiePatootie for my own princess. Or maybe a Nana Star doll. Oh what the heck! Maybe I'll just buy both!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teleseminar Formula Rocks!

One of my goals while at jvAlert was to ask Ken McArthur for recommendations on who I could work with to futher my business. When I asked him that question one morning over breakfast, his immediate response was Bob the Teacher. Now I have been a subscriber to Bob's newsletter for quite a while and it is always packed with useful information. So when Ken suggested I work with him, it sounded like a good idea.

Bob's presentation at jvAlert addressed using the power of teleseminars to boost your business, grow your list, and create products. I must admit, I had never done a teleseminar although I do listen to them and I always come away with new information. But the technology and cost were, to me at least, a bit daunting.

Surprise! I couldn't have been more wrong! Teleseminars are a snap. And inexpensive! And powerful! After listening to Bob speak, I sat there wondering why I hadn't ever heard this information before - and trying to figure out how I was going to use it. But wait - as with any seminar, the speakers at jvAlert had products and books one could purchase. Bob was no exception. His offering - The Teleseminar Formula Training Camp. For an extremely reasonable price, Bob will teach us everything we need to know about creating our first teleseminars. Of course, I signed up on the spot!

I downloaded the first lesson today and I'm already excited. Did you know there are more than one type of teleseminar? And that there is more than one way to profit from them? Me either. But I do now. And did you know that you can produce one and walk away with a marketable product for less than $100? Me either. Learned that today too! In fact, I learned so much today, I think I'm just a little overwhelmed - and it's only day one! I already have ideas for several teleseminars. In fact, I have an idea for an entire series! I know I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself here, but this is good stuff.

I've already lined up a couple of guests for interviews as part of my proposed series. If you're an expert in any field I may be contacting you as well. Meanwhile, I'm off to download lesson two. I hope it will address the only thing that has me concerned. What if I give a party and nobody comes? But I know that won't happen. I'm a Diva and my sisters will support me by being on the call - won't you ladies?

I'll keep you up to date on my progress through this training. And of course, I'll let you all know when I am going to host my very first seminar. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about Bob the Teacher and check out the Teleseminar Formula for yourself, here's the link:

Looking forward to my first! Hope to "see" you on the call!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Legal Aspects of an Online Home Business

Guest post by: Pasi Kaarakainen

Before starting an online home business, there are some legal aspects you should be aware of. You really do not want to loose your business because of some legal matter. If you are not familiar with them, it is possible that your web site get closed down because of some legal controversy. Let's talk about some things you should know prior to starting a business online.

Before you sign any contracts or agree to any terms with an online program, you want to make sure you read it carefully. It is vital you understand what you are signing and what limitations there are to the document being signed. You really do not want to sign some document only because you do not completely understand it. In this case it is recommended to ask a lawyer or accountant what unclear parts mean.

One thing you should consider when starting a business online is whether you want to incorporate your business. By incorporating your business at home, you can benefit greatly with tax implications and other areas. You can also be looked up much higher by other companies or people if your business is incorporated. Though, it is not free and not all people can afford to do so. That is why it could be more reasonable not to incorporate in early stage of your business. You can do it later when the business is running smoothly and is profitable.

As you start your online business and begin to develop products, you are going to want to decide whether or not to trademark and patent various products and documents. Do you want to copyright your web pages and their content? Do you want to trademark the products you promote and sell? While it will cost you money to do so, it can potentially save you a great deal of money from other businesses stealing your ideas.

Lastly, make sure you are familiar with the different internet laws that are in place. You do not want to get in a bind by stealing someone else's content when you were unaware that it was copyrighted. You also need to be careful about plagiarizing content that you see on the internet. Just know that something as small as purchasing a domain name can have trademark infringement if you are not careful.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and be overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with an online home business. However, it is vital you read up on the different internet laws and understand what is legal and what is illegal. You do not want to get into a bind and lose your business.

About the Author:

Pasi Kaarakainen runs a website with legitimate online home business opportunities
and resources. Visit his site today and learn the best ways starting an online home business of your own.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Building Wealth is Hard Work!

You see, to actually build wealth, you have to do something to get it. That means you actually have to work. Work smart. But also work hard. Anyone telling you that you can earn a six figure income in 6 months with no effort is lying. Plain and simple. Yes, you can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars - and in 6 months or less - but you will have to work.

I guess I'm sort of wound up about this topic right now. You see, I am still reveling in the experience of the recent jvAlert conference. And I want to share that experience with everyone. So this morning, I was having coffee with a friend and I was telling her about three of the speakers I met at the conference: Carrie Wilkerson aka "The Barefoot Executive", Bob Jenkins alias "Bob the Teacher", and Adam Urbanski. Each of them achieved phenomenal success in a relatively short amount of time. I gained valuable information from each of them that is helping me move in the same direction. And when I tried to encourage my struggling business friend to at least LOOK at what these three great coaches offered, her reaction astounded me. "Hard work and skill won't get you where anywhere. You have to have a system." (Does anyone one other than me thinks she's been watching WAY too many infomercials?)

Granted, the concept of getting ahead by hard work has become somewhat passe over the years. We are all encouraged to "leverage this" and "maximize that" and to "work smarter not harder." And those are all great ideas. We should leverage everything we can in our quest for success. And why wouldn't you want to maximize all that you do. And of course we should all strive to work more efficiently and effectively, i.e. smarter, when we can. But you still have to work hard. I don't care how much you leverage, maximize or whatever - if you are only working on your business a few hours a week, you will get a few hours a week worth of results!

My granny taught me that you get what you give. That means if you give effort, you get results. If you give leveraged, maximized, smart effort, you get enormous results!

Don't believe me? Take it from the experts. Carrie's presentation centered on building success using "M&Ms". What's one of the M&Ms? Massive action to completion. Massive action = hard work.

Or read an excerpt from an email I received from Bob the Teacher after enrolling in his Teleseminar Formula workshop. "It's an intense schedule...Keep yourself focused on this one course, and eliminate as many distractions as you can." Intense schedule, keep focused. Or in other words, hard work!

How much work is enough? Think about it like this. If you are working full time at your business, then you should be devoting 8-9 hours a day to your work. If you had a job, would you tell your boss you can only work 2 hours a day and still expect to get paid in full? Of course not! Your business is your job. Work it like you would your job. Forty hours a week. Now I know some of you are saying "Hey - if I'm working 40 hours a week, why not just keep my job?" Well, I work 40 hours a week - in my PJ's some days, on my porch, at the local Starbucks, in Orlando, at my daughter's or my sister's. Can't do that with a job! And if I want to work all night and sleep in, I can. If I want to work all weekend and take a couple of days off during the week, that's my choice.

Now if you are still working a job part time while you build your business, that's a different story. But you still need to be devoting a least an hour or two EVERY DAY to your business. One day off for your relationship with God and family (wealth without God and family is meaningless) - and then back to work.

Knowledge, skills, and hard work are what it takes to succeed. Forget the "system" that will make you money while you sleep. Sure you can eventually automate and build your own system that will allow you to generate income 24/7. But unless you have been building your business for a while, some hard work now is what will make the difference in your success down the road. So roll up your sleeves, turn off that infomercial, turn on your computer, and let's get going!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baby Boomer Business Coach is Born!

Those of you who attended jvAlert Live either in person or virtually know what a fabulous man Ken McArthur is. He has also been my mentor, advisor, and inspiration since the day I first met him. We had the opportunity to really have a heart-to-heart chat about my business direction and I was so pleased to discover that his thoughts mirrored my own.

I am pleased to announce my new business - Baby Boomer Business Coach!

I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the business and marketing industries. I have enjoyed success beyond anything I ever imagined. And I want to combine that knowledge with my experience as a master trainer and coach and help other baby boomer women build businesses that will enable them to enjoy the same freedom and security I have.

I will be working on a new blog as well as building my new website at So bear with me, please, while we go through some design and growing pains. I am also going to be preparing a teleseminar series and will have the first one recorded by the end of February.

WealthTogether (the blog) will still be used for basic business help for anyone who needs it. But boomer lady friends - I'm working on the new one which will be just for you!

I can't wait to get started and I am SO looking forward to working with some of you more closely. Thank you so much for all of your support through the past year. I don't know if I could do this without the encouragement and love of my great group of readers!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Magic of jvAlert

It's 4:30 am and I have finally had to concede that once again there will be very little sleep this weekend. It's been such a great day already, that I'm too excited too sleep - and it's only the first day! Oh wait - I haven't even told you where I am yet. I'm sitting in my suite at the Caribe Royale Orlando preparing for the first full day of another jvAlert Live! event. I've only been here about 12 hours and I've already made enough new contacts and picked up enough new tips and ideas to make it a worthwhile trip. And the best is yet to come. Of course, you will reap much of the benefit because several of the other attendees have already graciously consented to let me share some of their expertise with you!

What is so special about a jvAlert Live event? Imagine attending 2 days of workshops and seminars conducted by some of the best minds in business and internet marketing. Ken McArthur, Willie Crawford, Michael Angier - they're all here. In fact I met Ken first thing as soon as I checked in. This is his event and as is his custom, he was sitting in the lobby of the hotel waiting to greet his guests as they arrived. Wendy Y. Bailey is here, and so is Felicia Slattery. My friend Rhonda and her companion dog, Molly Flagtail are here again. Rhonda and Molly actually helped me create the "Adventures of Traveling Bob." We were sitting in the hotel lounge at a previous jvAlert just tossing around some ideas and before the evening was over, "Traveling Bob" was born.

Actually, that's the magic of jvAlert. Sure you can attend marketing seminars of all kinds. Willie, Michael and many of the other "great names" in business and internet marketing conduct their own events. But jvAlert is different. While you do learn so much from the presentations and panels, workshops and seminars, the greatest benefit comes after the "official" events are finished for the day. Because that's when the networking happens. Imagine sitting in the hotel lobby or the lounge or coffee shop and having a one-on-one conversation with Willie Crawford. Imagine having Wendy Bailey stop by your room that night to be interviewed for a blog post or your latest book. Or being asked to film a promotional video for one of your sites to help promote the event itself. Meeting people who have made millions in internet marketing and online businesses, sharing ideas with them, getting advice from them. I already have several new ideas and I've only been here 12 hours! If you have ever attended this event, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you need to, because otherwise you can only imagine the all that happens here! It's life changing! Don't believe me? Here's a quote from my friend Linda Gracy. I brought her with me this weekend. It's her first jvAlert Live. She was thrilled when I introduced her to Ken and Willie. And then she got to sit in the lounge with us last night and bounce around some business promotion ideas. Linda's reaction after we returned to our suite? "OMG! The energy! The excitement! The people! Thank you so much for bringing me, Melodieann! Why didn't you twist my arm the first time you invited me?"

There's room's time to get ready for the first full day of jvAlert. But I will be back this evening - filling you in on all that happened, sharing ideas, tips, and information from the best of the best. And photos! I actually remembered the camera this time so that you can finally have some faces to put with names. Stand by - it's going to be a wild weekend and YOU are going to experience it as much as possible. And hopefully, at the next event, I'll be saying "and guess who else is here?" Will it be you?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shopping for a Virtual Storefront

Recently, I decided to open an online store for merchandise based around the "Adventures of Traveling Bob" site. I already had a pretty good idea of what I was going to use. Since I didn't really have a product line of my own yet - Bob's travel guides are still works in progress - I opted to go with CafePress. But before I made a final decision, I did a little research. Since I someday hope to offer my own products through WealthTogether, I wanted to see what other options were available. And since I have heard that several of my readers have decided to start selling products online, I decided to share what I found. So here it is - my Top 5 list of virtual storefronts.

1. Volusion. I had already heard lots of great buzz about Volusion before I checked it out. It has won several awards for Best Ecommerce Solution. I signed up for the 14-day free trial to see how it worked. I was immediately impressed by the hundreds of built-in features. But I was even more impressed by how easily I could customize it to suit my own business. I am not a tekkie by any stretch of the imagination, so the fact that I did not have to know tons of code to build my store was a huge plus. The training video's and online wizards were enough to help even the novice internet marketer build a professional looking store. And I love the Search Engine Friendly Feature. You can use their templates and design tools to create your own look or you can have one of their designers do it for you. Security isn't an issue either. They are PCI/CISP certified. There are several pricing packages to choose from, based on your needs. If you have a good selection of products and you want a truly professional looking storefront, Volusion should be your choice.

2. ProStores. Another award winner. Like Volusion, ProStores lets you design your own storefront or have one of their designers do it for you. And it offers several different tiers, depending on your needs. Unlike Volusion, in addition to the monthly subscription fee, there is also a transaction fee for each successful transaction. While the subscription fee is less than Volusion's, the transaction fee could add up quickly if your business takes off. ProStores is supported by SSL encryption but is not PCI/CISP certified. If you are just getting started and can't afford the cost of Volusion, ProStores could be the right choice for you. Take advantage of the one month free trial and see for yourself.

3. Yahoo Merchant Solutions. Yahoo offers most of the same features as Volusion and ProStores. The biggest drawback for me was the 1.5% transaction fee in addition to the monthly subscription fee. If you are at all successful in building your online business, 1.5% can add up to a lot of money fast! Other than that, it brings all the experience and marketing clout of Yahoo to your efforts. Not a bad choice if you can swallow that transaction fee.

4. Shopify. Shopify's biggest asset is it's design flexibility. You can have a professional looking store up and running in no time. It doesn't have all of the features of Volusion or ProStores, but it is incredibly easy to work with. Once again, there are several pricing options to choose from and like the others, Shopify offers a free trial.

5. CafePress. I like CafePress for two reasons. It's a good way to get started if you don't have a product of your own but want to start getting your name out in the world of ecommerce. CafePress allows you to put your logo or other graphics on a wide array of "print-on-demand" products from T-shirts to dog bowls. You can set up a basic shop for free or for a very small monthly fee, you can own a premium shop. I have fun trying to think of creative ways to use the Traveling Bob logo and graphics to create products for my store. Use one of their templates or design your own store. It's a great, low-risk way to get a taste of the world of ecommerce.

A virtual storefront to sell your products is just one of the many ways to make money online. Check these out and choose the one that is right for you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Promoting My Friends!

One of the great things about having a blog with loyal readers is the opportunity it provides me to share some of the awesome things my friends and fellow Divas are doing. I've decided to devote this week to sharing some of the latest with you.

First, it's the launch of a brand new resource for baby boomers., a subsidiary of The National Center for Baby Boomers, Inc., is a unique and innovative internet resource whose goal is to meet the needs and interests of active and creative Baby Boomers. provides educational and informative content, products, services and community forums where like-minded individuals can learn and share. Their vision is to redefine the mental model of aging from one of limitation to one of rich and rewarding possibilities. The National Center for Baby Boomers and strongly support the concept of lifelong learning, personal mastery, and self-fulfillment. Their focus is directed toward developing an in-depth understanding of their audience and to creating a means to meet their needs and interests. is a trusted resource for baby boomers and a virtual "Center" or "Community" where members can visit twelve interactive locations relating to: Career Management, Culinary Arts, Financial Planning, Fitness, The Center for Well Beings,
The Home, Relationships, Balanced Living Center , Travel, Arts and Entertainment, Coffee House, and the Make A Difference Center.

Several of the Divas are featured contributors to this site. Check it out at

If you are a parent then you definitely want to check this out. Friend and Diva Pat Montgomery is hosting her first teleseminar! Pat is an expert on parenting and is the author of "Now You Know What I Know: Parenting Wisdom of a Grandmother," and is host of the popular radio show Parents Rule! Pat is partnering with parent coach Barb Desmarais and they are discussing Parenting: What We Know For Sure. It's free, so the price is right! The teleseminar is on Monday, February 2nd, at 7 pm EST. The link to register is

Valentine's Day is fast approaching! If you're not sure what to do for that special someone in your life, let Diva Betty Lynch show you how to make it the most memorable Valentine's Day ever. My Country Kitchen created a very special menu with easy to prepare recipes that will impress your Sweetheart! Along with the menu and recipes you will receive a grocery shopping list to make your shopping easier for you. In addition, you will receive ideas for romantic music, table scape, and wine recommendations for your main course and dessert that will make this Valentine’s Day a day to remember. All of these recipes and ideas are ready for you in an easy to download file for just $2.50 for a limited time. That’s right! My Country Kitchen would like to help you make this Valentine’s Day an evening to remember.

Speaking of Valentine's Day - or any other card-giving occasion - what do you do when you suddenly need a greeting card and you don't have time to run to the store? Where do you find the most original selection of greeting cards available? The answer to both is simple. Go to Easy Greeting Cards from PopArt Diva. Just pick your design from a WIDE selection, print them on your own printer, trim along the dotted line, fold, and mail. What could be easier? Print as many as you want for only $2.00!

Be sure and check out FEISTY SIDE OF FIFTY RADIO - a celebration of women over fifty and how boomers are revolutionizing what it means to grow older. Give Eileen Williams just fifteen minutes of your time and she'll give you interviews with women who will inspire you to make significant and positive change in your own life.

There's a new workout video on the market. Pam Archer worked as the Creative Producer on a video for Anchor Bay Entertainment and Dragonfly Productions. It is now on the shelves in Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, (other retailers as well), and at Amazon, and The title is "Dance Off the Inches-Country Line Dance Video". I can't think of a more fun way to lose those extra holiday pounds. Thanks, Pam!

Helen Georgaklis is the Guest Speaker at next week's Winning SistersNetworking 101 chat on Skype. Helen's topic will be " How to RetireBefore You Die!" The chat will be at 12:30 EST. Info on joining this chat can be found at

DATE: Wed January 28, 2009
LOCATION NAME: Skype Chat-- Winning Sisters Networking 101
CONTACT: Ginger Marks
COST: Free

Do you know what Diva Wendy has been up to? I just finished reading an email from former client, friend and mentor, Ken McArthur. In it he lists the speakers he has lined up for jvAlert Live 2009 in Orlando. jvAlert Live is Ken's big marketing seminar that I used to plan for him during my former life as a meeting planner and he only invites the best of the best to speak here. Want to know who one of the FEATURED speakers is? You guessed it - our own WendyY! Check it out:

I was planning to attend anyway, but now that I know Wendy is going to be there, along with my friend Felicia Slattery, nothing could keep me away. Hopefully, I'll see some of you there as well! I guarantee it's a life changing experience! Just look at me!

And...a great new book that's a must have for any one who wants to hone their networking skills to build their business. I have known Carrie Perrien Smith for many years and she is an expert in the art of networking. Her latest book, "Currency: Striking Networking Gold in a Relationship Economy," is an absolute gold mine of information. Learn more about Carrie, her company Soar With Eagles, and her book - PSST!! Bev! I think she has all the makings of a Diva!