Getting Your Small Business Organized

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PutALabelOnIt #CollectiveBias

Getting Your Small Business Organized

As many of you know, beyond my blog, I also have at etsy shop where I sell hand stamped jewelry and ornaments.  (You can take a look at my creations here.)  Several weeks ago my business received a huge custom order from a school.  The order was a huge opportunity for me, but I was rushed to get it out.  Luckily I had my trusty husband here to help me expedite the process!  We ordered some new tools and supplies to greatly improve our manufacturing process, our products, and our business, and now we are currently renovating a room on our property, which is going to serve as a new jewelry and business studio!

So right now I am extremely excited at the thoughts of getting all my jewelry supplies, photo props, and other items moved in to their new home!  (As soon as the new room is complete, I’ll have a full makeover post for you!)  Till then, I’m trying to get all my stuff ORGANIZED so that it will be ready to go, as soon as we’ve put the finishing touches on the room.  One new tool I’ve invested in is the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Value Bundle Pack. [Read more…]

Help Make Mom an Entrepreneur: Support her MUMZY Project

The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean the giving has to stop!  In 2015, you can help give moms the gift of entrepreneurship by helping to fund their project on Mumzy.  Mumzy is new crowdfunding site especially for moms.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with crowdfunding sites, I’ll explain.  They are sites where people share their idea for a product, project, a business, or even a charitable cause, and try to raise money for the endeavor through donations on the site.  And apart from giving moms the ability to raise money for their projects, Mumzy also provides them with with other support and resources, so they can grow their business, even after their fundraising goals have been met.

The site was founded by mom and marketing expert Catherine Merritt.  Mumzy sees moms as some of the most innovative and inventive entrepreneurs and hopes to help this underserved population.
Mumzy Screenshot

I love this idea.  I’m a big fan of small businesses, and I applaud all women, especially mom’s, who are trying to better themselves through a home based business or other entrepreneurial efforts.

As someone who makes money through my blog site and Etsy shop, I know all about the limitations and restrictions a lack of funds can put on your business.  And I know so many people out there are just like me.  They have great ideas and are only limited by time and that little thing called the almighty dollar!

Without crowd funding a lot of us have no choice but to do what I’ve done, which is to build a business very slowly.  But still more people will be forced to quit due to financial constraints, and some may not start the business at all!

Screenshot 2015-01-08 22.46.59

Another great thing about Mumzy is that it allows for fundraising for charitable causes.  Currently there are two charitable projects to donate to.  One is for PCDH19 Epilepsy Research Funding and the other is for the Choc Children’s Hospital Screenshot 2015-01-08 22.46.17

Mumzy is still a new site, and they are very excited for you to be one of the first members of this growing community by posting a project or helping to fund another member’s project. To encourage this, one of the first 100 people to post a project will win $1000 toward their funding goal!  Mumzy also invites you to give feedback and make suggestions on how they can make the community better!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

My New Tablet with T-Mobile Free Data

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #TabletTrio

T-Mobile Trio AXS

I am so excited to introduce you to my newest toy….err blogging tool!  I’ve been wanting a tablet for the longest time, but our budget doesn’t allow for me to just go out and spend hundreds of dollars on something like this, especially when I already have my laptop and smart phone for my blog and Etsy business.  But when I heard about the new tablets at Walmart, featuring a free T-Mobile Data Plan, I immediately got excited! [Read more…]

Designing Business Cards for Your Blog

Simply Sweet Home Business Card

As a blogger and Etsy shop owner one thing I’ve learned about is branding.  It’s important to have a unique banner/logo at the top of your blog to help you stand out.  And you, of course, want to use matching elements or colors throughout your website to create a cohesive look.  Furthermore,  it is important to use your logo and/or head shot and other matching thematic elements on your social media accounts.  But what about print media, such as business cards?

How do you take the elements from your website and use them to create a business card or a printed media kit?  The easiest thing to do would be to hand your elements over to a designer and have them fashion a card for you.  Some web designers even include a card design in with your blog design package. [Read more…]

Business Card Giveaway from PrintRunner

printrunner

As a blogger and Etsy shop owner, I love sharing products and services that can help us to promote and grow our businesses.  PrintRunner is a company that specializes in online printing  that offers business card services, poster printing,  and more!

Today I’m excited to offer you guys a great giveaway of 250 business cards!  If you’re a blogger and you don’t have a card, I encourage you to enter.  These are great to hand out to friends and family, and especially if you ever attend a conference!

[Read more…]

Die-Cut Business Card Giveaway

I’m always excited to offer print giveaways to my lovely readers,  especially when it’s a product that you can use for your blogs and businesses.  This time around I’ll be giving away Die-Cut Business cards!
In the past I’ve ordered some Uprinting business cards  for my blog.  The process was very easy!  I used my blog header as a template and created the card design on photobucket, and then I just uploaded it to the Uprinting website and voila!
But if you don’t like designing things or don’t know how, don’t worry!  You can always choose from the variety of templates available on the Uprinting website!
I’m very excited that I’m going to recieve a set Die-Cut Business Cards this time!  If you’re not familiar with Die-Cuts, these are business cards that feature rounded corners or other fun shapes.  It’s a great way to make your cards stand out!
Here’s more information on this prize:

250 Die Cut Business Cards for One (1) Winner
2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.75 x 3.5” (slim card)
Die cutting options available: Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded One-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle
Paper Type: 14pt Cardstock Gloss, Matte, or High Gloss; 13pt Cardstock Uncoated
Color: 4Color Front, Blank Back; 4Color Front, Black Back; 4Color Both Sides
Limited to US residents only 18 years old and above

Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner, April!

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Disclosure: For hosting this giveaway, I will be receiving a set of Die-Cut Business Cards.

New! Mom-preneur Blog & Etsy Guide

 

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Laurie of Tip Junkie.  And you know that she’s a super blogger who’s all about promoting other bloggers and mom-preneurs.  Today I’m pleased to introduce you to my newest affiliate program and the newest ebook being offered on Laurie’s site.  It is Mom-preneur Blog & Etsy Guide.
The goal of the Mom-preneur Blog & Etsy Guide is to give you another perspective on how to sell products online through your blog, website, Facebook, and Etsy.
Simply put, it is full of effective advice to help you brainstorm ways you can ask for money. Including, useful strategies on how to set your blog up to sell your products and services, give you some Etsy advice, as well as several marketing strategies. The goal is to help facilitate your naturally creative brain to find ways you can effectively sell online.
Do you want to know how to set your blog up for selling success?
Would you like to know others’ best selling tips and strategies?
Would you like to know how to market a new product and make sales immediately after announcing it?
It is easy to read, has a lot of real-world strategies, and encouraging words from fellow women in business. We as women are expected to juggle a LOT. Therefore this Mom-preneur guide also covers more than just sales.
The book also comes with 3 great printable Bonus Gifts! 
Giveaway Check List – When another blogger hosts a giveaway one of your products or services.
How to Promote a Giveaway – A check list on how to drive traffic to a giveaway.
New Product Check List – How to drive traffic to a new product you just uploaded.
Click here to view more details on this fabulous book!
If you have an Etsy shop or other online business, you should also learn more about mobile advertising.

-Jerri

 

Creating a Unique Image for Your Business (or Blog) – Guest Post by Christy Strauch

I’m very excited to have Simply Sweet Home be a part of Christy Strauch’s virtual book tour this month, and I’m happy to have her guest posting here today!  Christy Strauch is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. In addition she is president of Clarity To Business and has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them do what they are passionate about – and make a profit. Her book is available at Amazon.com – Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Turn Your Passion into a Solid Business
For this post, I asked Christy to tell us how we can make our blogs and businesses stand out; that is, how can we create a unique image and differentiate ourselves from other bloggers (or shop owners) in our niche so that we can gain a loyal readership and customer base.

When you start making things, whether they are crafts, lotions, a new recipe for a meal, a dress, a blog, a new website, or anything else, underneath the impetus and desire to create whatever it is, lurks a purpose.

The purpose can be anything. You might want to beautify your home, create something new for your family, teach yourself a new skill, make a new kind of lotion that’s easier on your newborn’s skin, hone your writing skills, or even, God Forbid, even earn extra money.
The first step in creating a unique image for yourself and the things you make, are to discover what this underlying purpose is.
I’m going to use this website as an example. Jerri tells us in her “About” page that she’s “…always loved expressing myself through music and writing….It [the website] has been a wonderful creative outlet…It is a place for women to come for ideas, family fun, and inspiration.”
So the purpose of Simply Sweet Home is to give Jerri a wonderful creative outlet and serve as a gathering place for women, where they can find new ideas for making family life fun and inspiring.
Now that you know the purpose of this website, everything flows from there. Jerri can use this purpose to decide what products or services she herself might offer on her Etsy site. As an example, she creates jewelry; that work gives her a creative outlet which is in line with her purpose.
Her purpose will help her choose what products or services from other people she would endorse on the website. She features other Etsy artists, and women who make things that make family life fun and inspiring.
She uses her purpose to help her create blog topics. It helps her decide how she communicates to her readers, what she says, and how she says it.
Most importantly, her purpose helps her differentiate herself from other people and businesses doing the same work.
This is where your work comes in.
If you want to differentiate yourself from other websites or businesses doing similar work, here’s what to do.
Sit down in front of a blank piece of paper. Find your favorite pen, and answer these questions:
1. What do I enjoy doing so much that I’d do it whether I got paid for it or not?
2. What motivates me to do this work?
3. Why it is critical for me to do this work?
4. Why is it critical for the world for me to do this work?
The answers to these questions will help you begin to unearth your purpose. And once you know what it is, knowing it and expressing it in all your work, will be the single most successful way to differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Christy Strauch is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. In addition she is president of Clarity To Business and has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them do what they are passionate about – and make a profit. Her book is available at Amazon.com at Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Turn Your Passion into a Solid Business

Starting Your Business: Just a Few Ideas, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my Business Ideas Article.  I hope it will help to inspire you.  Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a guest post from Christy Strauch.

7. Make gift baskets. This is a similar business idea to the flower and wreath business, and it could be a good seasonal business to supplement your flower or craft business. The best times to sell gift baskets are around Valentine’s Day and Easter; however, if you plan to make a lot of sales, then you need to start taking orders in advance so that you will have time to make the gift baskets and so you can get the word out and make plenty of sales to make the effort worth your while. If you get a lot of customers you might also consider taking orders for Mother’s Day and Christmas baskets.

8. Make money in sales. You can make money by selling used items from around your home or selling items from a wholesale website. Use websites like ebay and upillar to reach customers. Or you can sell items at a yard sale, a consignment shop, your own website website, or flea market booth.

9. Accounting/Consulting/Data entry. If you have previous office or business experience, try contracting yourself out to small businesses. Small business owners often need part time help to do accounting, data entry, filing, marketing, and other administrative tasks. This is another idea that does not require a lot of start up money, and you can earn a decent salary even if you only have a couple of clients. This kind of work also does not require a lot of time away from home generally.  You can often find jobs online.  There are websites out there that specialize in placing virtual assistants in data entry and customer service jobs.  Just be sure to do your homework to avoid scams.

10. Telemarketing. If you look in the paper or on the internet you will find plenty of jobs for telemarketing sales and making calls for collection agencies. This kind of work is not for everyone, but if you have a good phone voice and you enjoy talking to people, this is a good stay at home job.

11. Baking/Catering – If you enjoy cooking and baking consider running your own baking and catering business. This venture can be as small or as big as you like. You can bake an occasional cake or pie for a friend or family member who is having a party. If you are a skilled cake decorator you can earn money by making wedding cakes, or you can go all out and cater for entire events, providing appetizers, main courses, desserts, and anything else you wish to offer. If you have a friend who enjoys cooking or baking this would be a good business to go into with a partner. And you can earn a good wage just by catering to a couple of events each month.  There are also several good bake shops on etsy, if you wish to go that route.

12. Tutoring – Tutors can potentially earn a very good hourly wage. If you have expertise in a particular subject, and especially if you have a degree and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, you should try being a tutor. Often you will find that people you already know have a child that needs to be tutored, or they know of someone who is looking for a tutor. You can also put your name on tutoring lists at schools and local agencies that provide tutoring services or you can sign up at tutor.com. This is a great job that can take up as little as an hour or two of your time each week, and you can work with kids of all ages or adults in college.

13. Professional organizer/Decorator – If you are good at organizing items in your home, you can get certified and become a professional organizer or decorator. In this type of home business people pay you to come into their home as a consultant and get it organized and uncluttered or decorated. As a professional organizer you could also host organizing parties where you introduce and take orders for new organizing products.

14. Fortune/Network Marketing- There are lots of networking marketing companies out there.  Some are good. Some are not so good.  My husband and I are involved in a company called Fortune.  Unlike other marketing companies there’s no selling involved or quotas.  Fortune pays you to purchase your own cell phones, internet, satellite tv and other products from yourselves (rather than purchasing at Best Buy or Wal-mart).  And they have an extremely generous pay plan.  (In fact if you have cell phone or internet at your house, you’re already doing Fortune….you’re just not getting paid for it.)  So if you’re interested in that, I’d be happy to give you more information.  Other well known marketing companies include Avon and Mary Kay. My stepmom actually got started in Mary Kay a couple of months ago, and she seems to enjoy it.  And there are a lot of lesser known companies that sell scrapbooking supplies, jewelry, and more.

15. Workshops/Ecourses – If you have expertise in a particular field or you have a marketable skill, then you can make money from teaching others what you know. You can make money by creating and selling an ebook or ecourse. You can hold online workshops and webcasts. Or you can have workshops and conferences offline at a your local civic center, library, your home, or another venue.

As you can see, there is a wide range of opportunities out there for people who would like to start a home business. All it takes is one good idea, and some research and initial planning, and you can begin building your own home business and becoming financially independent.

I originally wrote this article in 2008.  Though I tweaked it a little, I’m sure there are a lot of new opportunities in 2010 that are not included in this article.  If you have anything to add to the list, feel free to comment.
-Jerri

Turning Your Hobby or Passion Into a Business

Today as promised we have a guest article from writer Christy Strauch.  Christy is the author of  Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Turn Your Passion into a Solid Business which is now available at amazon.

Want to start a business based on your hobby or passion? Here’s what you should do.

The first thing you have to know when you are evaluating whether or not to turn your passion into a business is your level of commitment.

Having a hobby is a lot like being single—you can work on your hobby (i.e. go out on a date) when you feel like it, or stay home in your pajamas and watch TV if you don’t. Hobbies don’t demand anything of you (just like that casual date you had last night). You can work on your hobby every free minute you have, or put it down for a year, or change your mind and forget about it completely, with few repercussions.

A business, on the other hand, can be very demanding. Deciding to cross the line from hobby to business is like committing to getting married. If you decide you want to make your hobby into a business, you have to commit yourself heart and soul. If you decide to turn your passion into a business, you’ll be making the decision to go from happy-go-lucky hobby kid, to grown-up business adult.

You know what making a commitment looks like. There will be days when you don’t feel like working on your business. But since it’s now a business instead of a hobby, you’ll have to do the work anyway, or figure out how to delegate it to someone else. Your commitment will force you to take actions that scare you; take risks that might frighten you, or do things you don’t enjoy.

But just like with a marriage, if you pick the right work, the work you love, turning it into a business can be deeply fulfilling, not to mention fun and profitable.

It boils down to one question. Are you ready, willing, and able to commit?

Do you have what it takes to turn your passion into profit?

The skill of successfully owning and running a business doesn’t require a specific genetic trait, or possessing the set of secret rules from a small business society that only allows five selected people into their membership every three years. What it does require is:

• A willingness to learn, at a deep level, who your perfect clients are and how to market to them.
• The perseverance to keep going when things are tough.
• The training to understand what your business numbers are telling you.
• The ability to flow with change.

If this all sounds too scary, then you should consider keeping your hobby a hobby.

But if you think these challenges sound interesting, stimulating and fun, you’re the right candidate to turn your Passion into Profit. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you love your hobby enough that you’d like to do it regularly, as work?

2. Would you like to become a professional at your hobby; to step up your level of skill at it so you would be considered one of the best in your field?

3. Would you be willing to spend time marketing your work?

4. Are you willing to work on it even on days you’re not in the mood?

5. Can you weather setbacks (a client firing you, someone not paying who promised to pay, a downturn in the economy, plus a host of other things that happen to every business owner).

6. Are you willing to learn new things; such as new ways to market, updated ways to do your work, etc.?

Christy Strauch is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. In addition she is president of Clarity To Business and has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them do what they are passionate about – and make a profit. Her book is available at Amazon.com at http://cli.gs/JhYQXG