Saturday, September 27, 2008

Home Business ... A Laughing Matter?

What's so funny about being a home-based business owner? Well, some days ... nothing. Those are the days you'd rather pull your hair out, beat your head against the wall or just plain 'ol freak out.

There are bad days in business and when you're working alone from home, those days can be a lot harder to take.

This morning I enjoyed my first laughing yoga session. It was quite fun and even more importantly, very educational.

We all know laughter makes us feel good. It can turn a mood around, change the energy in a room, stop a fight in its tracks and even heal our bodies.

Stress is going to be a part of our lives forever and there will be bad days in life and business, so we have a choice ... let it hurt us or keep it from growing into a raging monster.

As you go about your daily business, make a point of laughing throughout the day, even if you just don't feel like it. Why? Here are a few good reasons...

1. Laughter is a coping mechanism for stress.

2. Your body doesn't know the difference between fake laughter or real laughter, so you'll reap the same health benefits whether you're forcing laughter or genuinely laughing.

3. Cardiovascular-wise, one minute of laughter is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Your heart rate can increase to 120 beats per minute with laughter.

4. Laughter is a natural pain killer. It releases endorphins reducing the intensity of pain.

5. Laughter boosts your immune system. It increases the activity of natural killer cells that help fight disease.

6. Laughter lowers blood pressure.

7. Laughter alleviates bronchitis and asthma.

8. Laughter increases the blood supply and efficiency of internal organs.

9. Laughter massages your internal organs, enhancing blood supply and increasing their efficiency, thus promoting regularity.

10. Laughter encourages people to breathe properly as during laughter, the exhalation releases the residual air in the lungs.

11. Laughter increases antibodies in the mucous of the nose and respiratory system.

12. Laughter reduces depression.

So, what will you do the next time you're feeling angry, frustrated or sad? Hopefully, you'll laugh your way out of it.

This might sound crazy, but it really works and if you aren't in an environment where you can laugh out loud, make a point of looking at your reflection in a mirror, window or any reflective material and give yourself a big, full tooth smile.

Then when you're alone, think of those 10 or 20 grins you gave yourself that day and have a good laugh about it.

Bring laughter back into your daily life and you'll be surprised at how soon you start feeling pretty darned wonderful.

*If you're in the Sudbury, Ontario area, look up Sari Huhtala of Cheer Factor. She's a phenomenal laughter yoga instructor.

"The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that's laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place." - Mark Twain

Want to use this article in your web site or ezine? You're more than welcome to as long as you include the following author bio in its entirety.

Laurie Hayes is the expert and visionary behind The HBB Confidential, a no-cost bi-weekly ezine for home-based business owners. Each issue delivers simple strategies you can use right away to build a profitable home business while creating fun and freedom in your life! Go to to learn more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Customer Service

I just read a good article on providing great customer service. I think it is very timely and presents the information from a customer's personal viewpoint. I think the service provider will get some great insight into what traits make you a great customer server provider. Find the article here.

Yahoo! Search Marketing

Saturday, August 9, 2008


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Monday, July 7, 2008

RePosted Article

"3 Things You Can Do to Stop Worrying About the Coming 'Recession'"
by Alexandria Brown

I was catching up recently on the phone with an acquaintance of mine, and her talk turned to the coming recession. "Oh no," I thought. "She's really buying into this."

She went on to complain about the price of gas, how everything's getting so expensive, how she's worried about her husband's job, and how the country's going to hell in a hand basket. And she knows all this of course because she watches the news.

Then, as our conversation took another turn, she told me about the fancy new home entertainment system her hubby just installed in their family room. And how her daughter now is taking both ballet and piano lessons.

I don't know about you, but as I look around I still see people jammed into shopping malls and spending, spending, spending. Compared with the rest of the world, we really have nothing to complain about. And for you reading this article, this recession will only be what YOU make of it.

Now listen, I know prices are going up for many things. You may have lost some equity in real estate. And it may cost $75 to fill your gas tank. The family grocery bill may be higher than before.

But it's especially important as entrepreneurs that we do NOT follow the thinking of the herd. If you let the news get to you and become mousey with your marketing or waffle back and forth on firm business decisions, you WILL feel the "recession". So it's important more than ever to simply refuse to participate in all the worry.

Here are three steps to turning this "lemon" of a recession into some entrepreneurial lemonade...

1. Stop listening to all the media's B.S.

Mainstream news would make no money if it stopped preying on people's fear. (You realize the news networks are not a public service, right? They are in the business of getting ratings to sell advertising. Period.)

Have you ever noticed that after watching just 20 minutes of CNN Headline News you usually want to go curl up in a ball and die? I mean, you may as well because the world's going to blow up, right?

Everything is going to pot. You'll find negative stories on the environment, war, disease, crime, and of course... the economy. It's laughable what they'll come up with just to broadcast some bad news. A few weeks ago at the gym I spotted this "headline" story on the tube along with some sad-faced puppies: "PETS: Feeling the Foreclosure Boom!"

Everyone is selling crisis! From the news and politicians. So stop watching CNN all day, refuse to participate in this circus, and instead start planning your first (or next) million.

2. Look for the good news.

If you actually look around you in real life right now you won't see people holed up at home, huddled around a fire and eating rice and beans. Yes folks may be cutting back their budgets a bit, but it's pretty much life as usual.

I am told that just this past May the U.S. enjoyed the fourth straight week of a declining number of people filing for unemployment. And while the media keeps harping on the disappearance of the middle class, guess where most everyone is apparently moving? The TOP. Yes, that's right. Two-thirds of the middle class are movin' on up - just like George and Weezie.

A recent issue of Time Magazine stated that according to federal income-tax data, "...the pie is [still] getting bigger for everyone." And a June 18 article in the Los Angeles Times says, "...there still won't be an actual recession, UCLA forecasters say."

You can always find doom and gloom if you want to. So turn off your TV and use your brain.

And even if you think this recession is going to be a big deal, see what it brings with it: A huge opportunity for entrepreneurs, along with less competition from those throwing in the towel because they aren't made for the game.

3. Go where the profits are.

Those two-thirds who have moved up are what many are now calling the "mass affluent". These folks are a BIG opportunity for we business owners to re-engineer our offerings for large potential rewards.

My marketing mentor Dan Kennedy -- whose "no B.S." attitude on the recession I adore -- reported in a recent article that there has never been more discretionary income and spending on a broader and more diverse range of premium priced goods and services than ever before.

Dan was the first one to teach me that in normal conditions less than 10% of consumers truly buy only based on price. He surmises that number will go up in a recession, perhaps even double or triple, but it will still be the minority.

(By the way, Dan has an excellent new book on this precise topic, The No B.S. Guide to Marketing to the Affluent. Everyone in business right now should get a copy.)

So it's funny that many of us are so worried about what we charge. What we should be doing instead is looking at ways to make what we offer more valuable, more experiential, more unique, more indispensable. AND what we all should be doing is looking for ways to take what we already do and target it to the wealthy and soon-to-be wealthy.

For example, can you offer a premium version of what you already provide? Something that includes more 'hand holding', more services, or a more dynamic experience with you? Do a quick brainstorm on your own.

It's Time to Step Up, More Than Ever Before

NOW is the time to be bold, dear ones!

While your competition sits around and complains that toilet paper has gone up $1, you unleash an amazing new marketing campaign that blows 'em away. While they hem and haw their investments have dropped, you snap up real estate deals on the side. While they are convinced they should charge less and cutting their profits to survive, you choose to reengineer, raise your prices, and thrive -- growing your business faster than ever before.

Look for the silver lining... it's right in front of you.

© 2008 Alexandria Brown International Inc.

Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown publishes the award-winning 'Highlights on Marketing & Success' weekly ezine with 28,000+ subscribers. If you're ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Article Repost

This is a recent article I read that I thought others might find useful.

Top Ten Frugal Ways to Market

Your Small Business

by Bonnie Jo Davis

Most, if not all, small businesses are built on a budget. Available funds must be used to buy technology, additional phone lines and marketing materials such as business cards. In this article you will find ten low cost or no cost tips that will help you get your first customer and build your business.

1) Obtain free or low cost business cards at a company such as Add an explanatory tag line to identify your product or service. While you are running your normal errands drop off a business card at every business you see such as drycleaners, restaurants, gyms, etc.

2) Have a new or rebuilt shopping center opening in your town? Attend the grand opening and chat with the business owners and staff and hand out your free or low cost business cards.

3) Create flyers with your phone number on tear off tabs and place them at the library, grocery store, coffee shops, etc. Carry a few in your car with push pins so you never miss an opportunity.

4) Hold a contest. People love freebies. When you're handing out business cards and designing flyers highlight your contest for a limited time. Anyone who books at least two hours of your time during the contest month is entered into a drawing for a gift basket. Put together an inexpensive gift basket with sample size coffee, a coffee cup, a business book or best selling novel, cookies and crackers. Put the names of the qualifying clients in a hat and have your child draw the winning name. Take a picture of the gift basket and your child drawing the name out of the hat, scan the pictures and put them on your website along with the name of the winner.

5) Write an article that would appeal to your target audience such as small business owners, add a four to five line biography with your e-mail address and web site address. Submit the article to websites and e-zines that cater to your target audience.

6) Create an informative presentation around your topic area and contact your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak at a monthly meeting.

7) Create coupons offering a free or discounted product or a free hour of service for every two or three hours of paid service. Give them out to prospective clients and to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce to use in contests and give aways. Give the recipient an incentive to by your product or use your services by giving the coupon an expiration date.

8) Use the time you spend sitting in traffic to gain new clients. For less than thirty dollars you can purchase a sign for your car from or

9) Create a press release announcing the opening of your business or some other milestone event. Send the press release to editors at your local newspaper and to other free area publications.

10) Ask for referrals. Give your business card to your family members, neighbors, hair salon, etc. and ask that they pass them on. Offer an hour of free service or a free product to anyone who refers a client who signs a contract for services and give them a link on your web site.

(c) 2001, Davis Virtual Assistance

Bonnie Jo Davis is a Virtual Assistant working with small businesses to increase efficiency and profits. You can reach Bonnie at or by calling (949) 709-2670.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I read a very helpful article this afternoon and I wanted to post it here to help someone else but I seem to be having problems so I will link to it instead.
It's titled:
I hope it is as helpful to you as it was to me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Article Repost

The Silent Killer of Business Success

by Laurie Hayes

It seems harmless and innocent enough, but its crippling effects run rampant in the business world.

Entire days are lost, projects sloppily thrown together, and work pushed aside as entrepreneurs become slaves to its hypnotic pull.

It was designed to make life easier and speed up communications, but instead has become the nemesis of the already overextended business owner.

Have you guessed what it is? If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're also a victim of the cursed 'email.'

How many times a day do you check your email? How much time to spend each time you visit?

During a recent mastermind call, a colleague discussed challenges he was having with productivity and event management. As we broke his day into segments, we discovered he was spending 15 minutes of every hour checking email - the majority of which is spam.

Another member then shared the fact that he too had fallen into the email trap and had recently started a stat sheet. In one day alone, he checked his email 21 times! He was trying to curb his habit but was still struggling.

Several more of us chimed in confessing we had "slipped" in our email discipline efforts and were checking it more often than we should be.

Before the call ended we made a pact to check our email no more than twice a day and for a maximum of 10-15 minutes only. We will share our results at our next meeting.

An analogy one of our members shared really helped put things in perspective. Would you as a responsible business owner walk to your mailbox 10-15 times a day to collect bulk mail and advertisements? If not, why would you do it at your computer?

These challenges are not reserved for home business start-ups and amateurs. My mastermind colleagues who were discussing these difficulties are six and seven figure earners. Email infatuation does not discriminate!

My own coach, a multi-millionaire who has built several companies, recently discussed his obsession with email and the impact it was having on his productivity!

It's an ongoing dilemma and all you, I, or any of us can do is be aware of it, keep our activities in check and do whatever it takes to stay the course.

This time I have taken extra steps to remove email from my mind. I open the application between 11:30 and noon and between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., take care of business then shut it down.

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, defines email as, "The greatest single interruption in the modern world" and recommends weaning yourself down to one visit a day. He's actually reached the point where he checks it once a week.

If anyone needs you badly enough they will pick up the phone and call, and if they don't, how important could it really have been?

Are you ready to get a handle on the silent business killer? If discipline is an issue, find an accountability partner or state your intentions to your mastermind group or peers. If you can't do it yourself, have others rally around you.

It takes 26 to 30 days to create a habit. Stick this out - create productive, winning habits and once you've mastered the monster, you'll be on the fast track to business success.

Copyright 2007 Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source

Laurie Hayes, founder and visionary behind The HBB Source, helps government and corporate employees break free of their jobs to live their dream of entrepreneurship. To subscribe to her FREE e-zine for valuable resources designed to create home business success, visit

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

7 Unusual, Uncommon, and Unexpected Networking Secrets

When Business Cards Aren't Enough:
7 Unusual, Uncommon and Unexpected
Networking Secrets to Help Boost Business

By Scott Ginsberg
author of The Power of Approachability

There comes a time in every small businessperson’s life when common networking practices like handing out business cards, attending various meetings and schmoozing with potential clients only goes so far. Eventually, the same old techniques get overused to the point that they become insufficient.

But how many times have you gained new business, created a great relationship or watched your website hits skyrocket because you did something unusual? Or uncommon? Perhaps even unexpected? Maybe you were on the right track.

The following is a list of atypical networking techniques that will help boost business. WARNING: They will stretch your courage. They will test your expertise. And they will challenge your creativity. But when business cards aren’t enough, alternative ways to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships are your ticket to networking success.

What’s Your Story?
How did you get your start in business? Did you “fall” into your line of work? Perhaps there was an interesting anecdote, epiphany or event that caused the birth of your business. If so, this is called “Your Story.” Now, it’s not your Elevator Speech or your 30 Second Commercial. It’s your story. And it’s a fundamental tool for helping people and potential customers get to know you.

Here’s the key: write it out. Practice saying it aloud. Make it funny. And tell it to everybody. Not only does this create a memorable presence, but the more you share it with people, the more they will share Your Story with other people. Why? Because people don’t remember things, they remember stories. And after a while, the word about Your Story will spread.

Mix the Medium and Wow People
When I receive an email from an organization or business who has a question, wants to work together or just wants to chat, I do something called Mix the Medium. Here's how it works:

1) The exact moment I finish reading the email, I obtain the person’s phone number (if I don’t already have it.) If there's no email signature, I look at their email address or go to their website. If all I know is their company, I call Directory Assistance or look them up on City Search. Basically, I do anything I can to get their phone number within the next two minutes.

2) Then I call them right back.

3) I then say, "Hi, this is Scott Ginsberg. I was in the office when your email came through and I thought I’d call you back!" I say with a big smile on my face.

PEOPLE LOVE THIS. I have never done this without completely blowing the caller away. They respond with such excited phrases as "Wow, that was fast!" or "I'm impressed you called back already!" In fact, I recently received an email from a friend of mine who just changed jobs. He was writing to say hello and wish me a Happy New Year. And since I hadn’t heard from Jake in quite a while, I Mixed the Medium and called him right back. Five minutes later he booked me to do one of my speaking programs for his new organization!

Network en Masse
Speaking of speaking, here’s another untapped networking resource: local groups, organizations and associations. But I’m not talking about joining; I’m talking about giving a speech. It’s what I call “Networking en Masse.”

Small businesspeople are successful because they’re experts on something. So whether you’re in sales, printing, tech consulting or retail, find a way to transform your expertise into an informative, concise and entertaining speech that will help other people like yourself boost business.

Contact the meeting coordinator of your local Chamber, Rotary Club, Networking Group or Trade Association. They always need speakers. Offer the group a free 15-20 minute program. Include valuable tips, stories, illustrations and examples from your own business experiences that are of interest to the members. By speaking, you position yourself as an expert, validate your credibility and increase your company’s visibility.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Become Known as an Expert In Your Field

Here is another article I hope you find useful.

How To Become Known As An Expert In Your Field

Whether you're in home renovation, hairstyling, real estate, coaching, dog grooming, multi-level marketing, or any other type of business, one of the best ways to build a home-based enterprise is to become an expert in your field.

You may be competing with hundreds of thousands online or with a small number in your own community, and if you want to give your business the edge over the competition, you want to become known as the go-to person for the most reliable advice and guidance.

People will pay top dollar and deliberately seek out "experts" to help them solve their problems.

So, how do you establish yourself as an expert?

First, be willing to focus on a very specific niche then commit to learning as much about it as you can. Read books, attend courses, workshops, and conferences, study white papers, government reports and opposing opinions of experts in the field.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Join discussion groups, write articles about what you've learned, and post on blogs and online forums where other experts in the field congregate.

If you're a realtor, instead of just selling homes like 90 percent of the others, become an expert at foreclosures, private sales, relocations or selling to a specific group of individuals.

If you're in home renovation, become an expert at custom decking, gazebos and pergolas -- turning the outdoors into an expanded living space of the home. Someone who is a jack of all trades won't be able to share the same creative ideas, best materials for use and pitfalls to watch for as someone who has studied hundreds of designs and built a handsome portfolio of projects with glowing testimonials.

Second, remain focused on your niche regardless of how many enticing ideas and opportunities come your way.

Entrepreneurs are idea people. They can have five new ideas a day and a problem arises when they try to pursue all of them at once. This is known as "Bright Shiny Object Syndrome", an ailment that lures many a business owner down a scattered, non-productive road.

There will always be great ideas you can pursue, but like the Chinese proverb says, "Man who chases two rabbits, catches none."

Focus on one thing at a time. Once you have mastered it, move on to the next.

Third, surround yourself with people you want to be like. For example, if you have joined a multi-level marketing company and want to be in the top ten percent, find out who make up the top ten percent and model them.

Call them up, ask if they would be willing to mentor you or give you some sage advice. Find out what the top ten percent do that the other ninety percent doesn't, then model their actions.

If they go to every conference, go to every conference. If they read four books a month on personal growth or the particular industry they're in, do the same. If they attend three networking functions a month, attend three networking functions a month.

They've proven their formula works, and you only need repeat it.

Fourth, be willing to acknowledge you'll never know everything. As soon as you feel you've learned as much as you possibly can and choose to stop learning, you begin to regress. Everything is in a state of constant change and as long as you remain committed to keep up with change, growth continues.

Fifth, regard yourself as an expert. As the Law of Attraction dictates, you become what you think about.

Muhammad Ali referred to himself as "The Greatest". Was he? He may not have been when he started, but he certainly turned out to be.

Some people consider this lying to yourself. Some people call themselves stupid or not worthy and belief it, but is it true? Not at all. Yet they act the way they believe they should to match their perception of themselves.

When you regard yourself as an expert in your field, you begin to act in ways an expert would act. You carry yourself a certain way, speak a certain way and become who you want to be by playing the part until it becomes a part of you.

Experts in various fields state it takes approximately 10,000 hours of commitment to your craft, sport, or field of study to achieve expert status.

If you're willing to commit to these five basic principles and accept that it's a process and will take time, expert status will be yours.


Laurie Hayes is the expert and visionary behind The HBB Confidential, a no-cost bi-weekly ezine for home-based business owners. Each issue delivers simple strategies you can use right away to build a profitable home business while creating fun and freedom in your life! Go to to learn more.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Today I read a great article that I'd like to share with you. I think even if your a veteran, you can benefit.

How To Build A Strong Social Network by Laurie Hayes

The success of your home business ultimately boils down to the quality of your relationships.

People do not buy your product or service. They buy YOU first and foremost.

When they know you and trust you, and know you have a genuine interest in them, they become loyal customers and refer their friends.

How do you find people to build relationships with?

You can do this both online and offline.

To meet people online, simply Google "social networking" and explore your options.

To meet people offline, check your phone book for local networking organizations or ask professional friends who they recommend.

The biggest mistake people make when networking is ignoring the fact that building relationships takes time and patience. Many attend networking events and verbally "vomit" on the people they meet. They ramble on about their great opportunity, product or service and how everyone should jump on board and take advantage of it right away or risk losing the best offer they've ever had.

Has this ever happened to you? You've met someone who hasn't expressed any interest in you whatsoever or asked any questions to learn more about you, but somehow "seems" to know just what you need and insists they have the magic pill?

How do you respond to someone when they treat you that way? Do you want to spend another half hour talking to them or turn on your heels and run?

What if, however, that person asked you about yourself and was genuinely interested in you and what you do, and only after you asked about what he does, does he provide a brief explanation without a motive to sell. Would you be inclined to continue your conversation and learn more about each other and how you might be able to help each other?

In order to build a strong social network, you must be willing to learn about people -- ask questions and be willing to listen to their answers. Resist the temptation to interrupt or turn the conversation to yourself and you will be rewarded for your self-control.

As you learn about people and what their needs are, offer resources or connections that can help. Focus on helping others and others will help you.

If you're shy and uncomfortable in a room full of strangers, the simplest way to overcome that is to get to know them. This can be the scariest thing to do, but at the same time, if you move past the fear and take the risk of approaching others, you will liberate yourself from your self-imposed prison.

The world is then your oyster.

I recall a networking event I attended in a neighboring city. I didn't know anyone and stood alone holding a plate of raw veggies. Everyone there seemed to know each other. They were huddled in groups laughing and chatting.

I felt awkward and was beginning to wish I hadn't gone, then forced myself to snap out of it. I traveled to this town to meet people and decided I wasn't going home until I met someone.

I approached a small group and tapped a woman on the shoulder. I told her I was from out of town and felt silly standing by myself and wanted to meet people and would love to meet her first.

That's all it took to move past my fear. After speaking with her and meeting her colleagues and enjoying good conversation, I excused myself and went on to introduce myself to another person.

This person turned out to be a graphic designer, someone who had a service that complements my business. It turned out that she provided top quality business cards that no one could beat in price and I had a keep-in-touch technology that would help her grow her business and promote her creative work. We become instant friends and alliances.

By the end of the event, I made several new connections and met some fascinating and enthusiastic people. I also won a draw to participate in a golf tournament and meet more people.

If I could give three simple rules to build a strong social network, they would be:

1. Get out of your comfort zone. Introduce yourself to others. Take risks.

2. Make it all about the other person. Ask questions, then close your mouth and listen.

3. Share resources, contacts, experience -- whatever you can to help others.

Follow these three simple rules and others will reciprocate in kind. Regard networking as a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. Your relationships will be stronger, enduring and reward you for many years to come.


Laurie Hayes is the expert and visionary behind The HBB Confidential, a no-cost bi-weekly ezine for home-based business owners. Each issue delivers simple strategies you can use right away to build a profitable home business while creating fun and freedom in your life! Go to to learn more.

Why I'm Here

I decided to to start this blog because I am an entrepreneur and that means a lot of trial and error in getting my business off the ground. Since people have helped me with sound advice and direction, I would like to reach back and help others. This is one way I will be doing just that. Here in this blog I will be reprinting articles with the permission of those authors, and tips as well as helpful websites. I hope this will help some other newbies avoid or at least minimize some of the pitfalls I have encountered. Thanks for reading and I welcome any comments or questions you may have.