Achieving the Home Business Mind-Set

One of the hardest things for many, who have spent their lives working a job and have decided to start their own home business, is to get out of the “worker” mindset and into that of an entrepreneur. Face it, we’ve been indoctrinated all our lives to “work hard,” “go to school,” “find a good job with security.” That’s the recipe that we got first from our parents, then our teachers and it’s then you’re further reminded of it by employers, who like to frequently remind you to keep your nose to the grindstone so as not to jeopardize “what you have.” But, just what do you have working for someone else?

Today’s Reality

Look around. Good people who have followed the advice above are losing jobs, homes and life savings at an alarming rate as the economy of the United States teeters on the brink. What about those who have already entered their “Golden Years” and are now finding out that the economic crisis has devastated the savings they thought would be enough to carry them through the rest of their lives? These are all people who played by the “rules” that had been laid out to them all their lives and are now finding out that nothing was guaranteed. Yet, many businesses are recording record profits.

A Shift in Thinking

We’ve all heard it from a boss at one point or another, “Come on, time is money!” What they mean is, “You taking too much time is costing me money!” The longer it takes you to get something done, the longer it takes for the company you work for to convert your efforts into money. You, on the other hand, are most likely being paid a set salary, for a set number of hours and have little incentive to work harder, except for the threat of having your income taken away.

1. As a home business owner, the first mindset change that you should look to achieve is to think not in terms of “Time is Money”, but rather “Money is Time!” When you have a successful home business, you will have invested time upfront for an income that will pay you over and over for that work and provide you with the kind of time freedom that you can only dream of as a traditional employee. Having a residual income that comes in week after week, for the work you’ve already done, is a powerful benefit of owning a home business and it will allow you time to enjoy family, friends and hobbies, as most successful home business owners only work a few hours a day and then have the rest for themselves.

2. Second on your list of mind shifts should be what most people envision when they think of being a business owner. They see a brick and mortar building, hundreds of thousands for start-up costs, thousands more each month for overhead, employee headaches, etc. I see no difference between being tied to that type of business to being a traditional employee, as both are slaves, just too different masters. You need to picture in your mind a business whose cost could honestly be funded with one good yard sale of stuff you no longer use, has over head that is tied to products you will be using on a monthly basis (or sharing with others) and can quickly be paid for by the initial income of the business. Most importantly, you want a business that can be done from virtually anywhere you have access to a phone and internet connection and not one that forces you to leave home or give up vacations to oversee.

3. Finally, you want to picture a business that will eventually allow you to walk away knowing it will run on autopilot, providing you with income on a weekly basis, while you enjoy life.

To the traditional worker, or even traditional business owner, the points outlined above are far removed from the mindset that they have been taught to embrace. But, for millions that have discovered the power that a home business provides, put in the work needed to change that mindset and learn the skill set needed to be successful, it is simply the best decision they ever made. Those that succeed in changing the picture of the world of work and business that they were taught to embrace, have found that money can buy you the most important commodity you can have, time. Time is something we can never get back. Unfortunately, you hear all the time about people who had to miss key events in the lives of their family for the sake of work. Imagine if you never had to make the choice between work and family again, and it was just a mind-set change away.

Summary

Owning your own home business requires a major shift in the way you think about work. Those that are able to successfully make the move from being an employee to sharing their home business and its opportunity to others, would never go back. You owe it to yourself to at least explore if owning your own home business is right for you.

5 Tips for Hiring a Small Business Attorney

Small business owners are often intimidated when faced with the task of finding an attorney to represent their business needs. It is vital for a company owner to have an attorney ready to represent their interests when the need arises. As you interview potential law firms, here are five tips to help you find the right attorney for your small business.

TIP #1 – SPECIALIZATION.

Attorneys, like ice cream, come in all flavors. Attorneys are highly skilled in their area of expertise. They are experts in the law, not necessarily in business. You want to find an attorney that focuses their practice on small businesses because they understand business practices and work with a client base of small business owners. As my Mother used to say, “You don’t order steak at a fish house”. Do not let the criminal defense attorney who fixes your speeding tickets represent your business interests.

TIP #2 – FEE STRUCTURE.

We live in a litigious society. business owners are served with lawsuits every day. Negotiate your fees before the lawsuit arrives. Once sued, you have 20 days in which to respond to the lawsuit. This is not the time to be negotiating fees with your attorney. Agree upon a set fee structure up front, and in writing. So much anxiety and uncertainty come with legal issues that you want to have something concrete and transparent. It will reduce your stress level in a time of crisis.

TIP #3 – ADVISORY TEAM.

Your attorney, along with your CPA, insurance agent, advertising agent, financial planner, and other management consultants, is part of your advisory team. When looking for a good small business attorney, consult your advisory team. Their purpose is to advise you. Does your CPA work with or recommend an attorney? Can your other advisors recommend an attorney that understands small business issues?

TIP #4 – ACCESSIBILITY.

How easy is it to reach your attorney? Will they return your phone call the same day, or next day? Will it take a week? Can you text them a question? Do they answer email? Your attorney needs to be accessible. You have every right to question the attorney as to their level of accessibility. A business owner might be frustrated if they can only talk to a receptionist or a voice mailbox.

TIP #5 – REFERRALS.

Ask other small business owners which attorneys they use for their legal needs. Some of the best referrals can come from other business owners who have firsthand knowledge of working with a particular attorney. Business owners can also steer you away from an attorney that might not be the proper fit for your type of business or industry.

Business Cards for the Entrepreneur – Evolving Over Time

The truth that no one seems to admit is that what constitutes the “best” business card is a little subjective. What YOU consider to be desired attributes for your business card might not mesh with what someone else considers to be the top desired attributes. That “someone else” might just be a prospective client!

This can make choosing a business card design difficult. Everyone knows what information should generally be included- business name, contact information, etc. But there are so very many possibilities and variations!

This is also one of the reasons that businesses usually have to try out a few different options over the years. Other reasons include changing objectives, and an evolving brand. The logo you start out with might not be the logo you end up with a year later. Often, right as a business is starting up with a single entrepreneur at the helm, the business’ identity is not at all fully formed.

Right at the start of your business, choose something simple and basic, produced at a local company. Why? Because you are probably going to change something about your business logo, branding, direction, or design, within the next year. When you start your business, you do want to cover your bases, and business cards are definitely one of the bases, but you are probably more concerned with developing your actual product, gaining customers, and working out other kinks in your operation.

After you use of that first batch of business cards, you might go online for a good deal on 500+. Something a little bit of a step up- maybe double sided, maybe a little more colorful, maybe glossy. There are a lot of templates out there that you can have modified to suite you.

After you have used that new batch up? Well, if you have given out that many business cards, you are probably on a roll. It is time to actually *invest* in this aspect of your business. Now it is time to put more thought them. Often, someone can tell how successful a business is (whether they are in there first few start up years), by how much personality the business card has. At same point, you need to give up on cheap card stock and cheap printing, or people will assume that you are not successful and experienced. It is the same reason that when people walk into an office looking to buy a service, they usually expect to see someone dressed professionally.

Your audience, your customers, they matter the most. If you are offering high end products or services, you need a high end business card. Etched glass, metallic embossed text- there are plenty of options in that regard.

Plain white business cards with the basics (name, job title, address, phone number) are still the mainstay for most businesses. If you don’t need to go overkill on your business cards, don’t! You can upgrade the type of card stock you use in regards to thickness and texture. You can bring in a graphic designer. You can choose a printer with top notch color and resolution output. There are plenty of options between basic and cheap to awesome and expensive.

Your business model may effect exact what you put on your business cards. For example, if you are a local plumber and you do not need a website, stick with the classic information. More often these days, though, there are some businesses run almost totally online; Those business cards would probably focus on a website and an email address instead of a street address. If your business is *you*, then your name should feature prominently, along with your title.

No matter what kind of design you the entrepreneur choose, some basic design sense is needed. Listen up: no tiny text sizes, no text too close to the edge, and please, do not use an awful color scheme. If you try to fit too much on the card, in regards to either information or color, your business cards ends up as a turn off. You do not want to turn off your customers.