Tips on How to Start a Home Based Business by a Real World Entrepreneur

What I’m about to share in this short article is how to start a home based business — from my own experience. You do not necessarily want to follow my steps exactly in sequence, because, quite frankly, in the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing.

But 7 years later, and a multiple six figure a year passive income means that I’ve achieved a fair degree of success, so you may learn something.

When I first started, I was looking for opportunities in the online classified business section of Yahoo! This was back in 2002 and believe me, it’s not a good place to start because there are a high degree of scams posted there.

Nowadays, you’re much more fortunate because web sites that list legitimate opportunities are widespread.

The one smart thing I did was decided that affiliate marketing was an business model with a lot of promise. Today, affiliate marketing is still the best home based business opportunity that I think exists for the individual entrepreneur who wants to strike out on his or her own.

When I decided on affiliate marketing, another smart move I made was in choosing to promote products in the health niches. I knew that health products, because of the baby boomers, were the future. I also have a strong passion myself for natural health related products and that lifestyle, so it was a natural fit.

Here’s what I didn’t do right and you might want to do this correctly from the start.

Legal Protection Fast

I think I waited a bit too long before I formed a business structure for my entrepreneurial activities. When you start a business you automatically default as a sole proprietor until you incorporate or form an LLC or some other business entity that provides a shield of legal protection.

None of this is legal advice, mind you. It’s just me talking to you on how to start a home based business if I were to start again today knowing what I know now.

I operated as a sole proprietor for many months before I decided to look into forming an LLC for my company. Once I formed the LLC I opened a separate business account with it at my bank.

In short, there was a while there were I was legally vulnerable because I hesitated in forming my LLC, and if I were to do it again I would form it sooner and move away from sole proprietor status pronto.

Once you form your business structure, literally all of your efforts should go into marketing. Learning how to be an effective marketer is what makes you money and a lot of it.

When it comes to affiliate marketing that translates into learning how to effectively build web sites, write compelling copy for your sites, how to position the products you want to sell to establish trust with your web site visitors, how to identify good keywords that people search for in Yahoo! or Google, and so on.

Once you start to get good at this, the money will follow. Seriously. But you have to have the patience to stick it out. There will be times when you want to quit, believe me.

My suggestion here for those who want to know how to start a home based business and grow it quickly is to seek out mentors. People who have come before you and did what you want to do.

Form a mastermind group, or barring that, I suggest finding a training service that other like-minded entrepreneurs join so you surround yourself with success-oriented folks.

Doing this will shave years off of your learning curve and is probably the single most intelligent move you can make if you’re serious about succeeding in a home based business.

What’s the Best Web Hosting for Small Businesses?

The Best Web Hosting for Small Business is the Profitable One!

The best web hosting for small business can make all the difference in the quality of the service and experience you give your customers. A reliable business hosting service can be the best partner a business owner can have.

A small business website that is structured for the search engines and placed on a reliable hosting service can generated many leads for the business. It can be a site that is used for lead capture or to provide contact information. It can also be an eCommerce site that utilizes a shopping cart.

In all cases the best web hosting for small business will be hosting that follows the guidelines listed here:

  • Uptime Guarantee at least 99.9%
  • Great 24/7 Support with access through live chat, phone and responsive email.
  • A well maintained Knowledge Base.
  • A proven track record with positive reviews from users.
  • Software options and support for shopping cart, email, blogging and tracking scripts.
  • Multiple hosting account options from Shared to Dedicated Hosting
  • Affordable

Get the best web hosting for small business.

When you have a site for your small business you want to know it is working for you around the clock. Not all hosting companies are reliable. A good website host will have a minimum of 99.9% uptime and a back up for data. You also want a host that will have servers with quick processing and not overloaded bandwidth from other sites on the same shared hosting.

The technical support team needs to be responsive and knowledgeable. When you have a site go down (and you will at some point), the hosting companies staff needs to be able to identify and resolve the issue pronto. When you use a web hosting for your business and it goes down, that’s money out of your pocket and probably a lot more than what you saved going with the cheapest and not the best web hosting for small business.

Cost on paper for your small business web site hosting account can look pretty attractive until you factor in the cost of lost business from an unreliable hosting company with poor customer support. The good news is there are many economical plans with the most reliable companies which are the best web hosting for small business.

When budgeting for you small business site hosting, factor in about $5 – $10 per month for a good shared hosting plan. As you company grows and you need to expand you can move up to a virtual private hosting for about $25 per month and from there to a dedicated plan of around $100 per month. Things to consider are your bandwidth usage for traffic and any scripts you may be using on your web host.

Some of the basic software programs the best web hosting for small business will include:

Email – Consider how many addresses are needed for you and your staff. Also, what amount of storage you will need? SPAM filters and protection from hackers? How much and how many? Unlimited accounts is good.

eCommerce – Do you need a shopping cart now or in the future? Does the hosting account have the latest PHP and offer enough MySQL Databases for your small business? Do you need an 800 number phone service? Streaming audio or video? A forum for your customers? Are the latest web applications for your business supported by the web host? You will want a web hosting company for your business that stays current on the latest applications and the back office programs to support them.

Site Building Tools – What kind of site do you have or will you create? Many web hosting companies have tools to build your site and a popular one is WordPress. For a good shopping cart ZenCart is easy to install and use. It also let’s you use PayPal for checkout.

You have many choices when it comes to getting your business online and one option that may be the best web hosting for small business is below.

A Funded Proposal for Your MLM Business Will Put Cash in Your Pocket and Stop You From Going Broke!

Quick question. How much is your monthly marketing budget for your MLM business? What’s that you say? You don’t have a monthly marketing budget? Well let me put it a different way. Since the start of your network marketing career, what is the total amount of money you have you spent on the following:

  • enrollment fee for your network marketing business
  • initial product order
  • prospecting cd’s and dvd’s
  • prospecting brochures
  • company business cards
  • compensation plan flipchart
  • pens, pencils, paper, and other writing supplies
  • dropcards
  • fuel and tolls for travel to local meetings and one-on-one appointments
  • pay-per-click advertising
  • leads and genealogy lists
  • wardrobe and dry cleaning for business-related attire
  • web hosting
  • website design
  • internet service
  • cell phone bill
  • weekly meeting distributor fees
  • regional/national convention registration, airfare, hotel and food
  • coffee at Starbucks for your one-on-one meetings with prospects
  • classified ads
  • team logo design
  • training materials for you and your downline
  • network marketing books
  • full-page and half-page ads
  • check processing fee
  • thank you cards and postage
  • fliers
  • product literature
  • product orders for samples and for personal use or consumption
  • monthly autoship

Oh yeah, you forgot about those expenses. Well guess what, those are your marketing and promotion expenses. Next question. How many months have you been in business with your network marketing company? If you add the total of the above expenses, plus any others I may have left off, and divide by the total number of months you have been business, the result is your monthly marketing budget.

For the sake of example, let’s say the total you have spent on expenses since the launch of your network marketing business is $1500 and you have been in business for 5 months. A quick calculation shows that your marketing budget is $300/month. Now here is the most important question:

Where is that $300/month coming from?

If this money is taken out of the revenues from your network marketing check, i.e. you are earning more than $300/month from your business, then congratulations, you are in a positive cashflow situation (a good thing). However, if you are not yet earning at least $300/month from your business, then you have negative cashflow; you are in a monthly deficit situation (this is bad). You are spending more than the business is making. More than likely you are covering the balance of these expenses from your personal savings (this is very bad). Your personal savings account is now like a private investor in your business. Unless you start to show your “investor” some positive returns and dividends, you will soon have an unhappy investor that may shut down the cash pipeline. In other words, it is imperative that your marketing expenses are covered by your business, and pronto, otherwise you will go broke!

Q: How does a funded proposal turn a negative cashflow situation into a positive cashflow situation that can be used to cover your monthly marketing expenses, so that you don’t wipe out your personal savings account?

A: By providing you with an additional stream of income that you can promote to get paid today, while you’re building your long-term residual check from the growth of your downline in your network marketing company.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “funded proposal”, here is a quick definition, off the top of my head:

A funded proposal is a low-cost introductory product that you promote as part of your business model. The purpose of promoting the funded proposal product is to raise immediate cash to cover expenses, (e.g. marketing and promotion costs), associated with running your business. Typically, the funded proposal product is in some way related to your main product, so that the people who purchase your funded proposal product today would also possibly have an interest in your main product in the future. Because of your marketing and relationship building efforts, the customers who have purchased your funded proposal product will be more receptive to purchasing your main product in the future, than if you had promoted your main product to them first.

In your case, as a rep for your network marketing company, your main product is your business opportunity. One of your immediate goals is to grow your MLM business by creating a solid base of reps that have the proper skills, training, and work ethic to build a large, stable organization of reps and customers. A target market for good potential candidates to fill these positions is people currently in the network marketing industry that are dissatisfied with their current company, their current product, or the training and support they have received from their upline leadership.

An example of a good funded proposal product that you could promote to this group could be an instruction manual, or a video series, or audio series entitled, “How to Build a Huge Network Marketing Downline, Even Though You Have No Warm Market Where You Live and Your Upline Sucks!” Let’s say that you do your research, and you discover that a good price point for an instruction manual of this type is $47. If you sell 7 of these instruction manuals per month, using various free marketing methods, you would have just raised $329 that can be funneled back into your marketing campaign. It could be used to pay for your monthly web hosting, phone bill, marketing materials, fuel, etc., so that you are no longer taking money out of your savings to fund your marketing.

By promoting this product to struggling network marketers, you are accomplishing three tasks simultaneously.

1) You are building a list of qualified prospects (generating leads) to whom you can later promote your MLM business opportunity and
2) You are raising the necessary funds to keep your business afloat while you grow your MLM downline. (More Leads and More Cashflow)
3) In the event that they do partner with you in the future in your network marketing business, you are training them, through your instruction manual, to be the type of distributor that you want on your frontline.

Now, if you have the time and experience to create such a product, this would be a great product for you to create so that you could promote it to the type of individuals you would like to sponsor into your business, i.e., people with network marketing experience that may be struggling and open to switching to a new company. If you do not have the time and experience to create such a product, however, there are marketing systems that provide numerous excellent products that you can promote as an affiliate and make the upfront cash through affiliate commissions to fund your marketing efforts.

Some systems have upwards of twenty different income streams that you can set up in about an hour that you can promote without interfering with your primary network marketing business to finance your marketing budget. In addition, as a member of many of these marketing systems, you are given all the tools and training to generate traffic, build a list, market funded proposal products to your list to pay for your marketing, and sponsor more distributors into your MLM business.