Beware of Work From Home Scams

Beware of Work From Home Scams

My father used to tell me “When something comes in like fireworks, run the other way”. His advice rings true (on so many levels!) but particularly when someone is looking for a legitimate home based business opportunity.

The internet, coupled with a sluggish economy have made home-based business opportunity seekers more vulnerable than ever to unscrupulous companies and individuals peddling work-at-home scams and get rich quick schemes. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for a way to make money from home while raising your family, someone looking for a second income, a career changer or a retiree, I’m sure you’ve come across websites or business opportunities promising that you’ll make thousands of dollars each month with very little effort.

And, there’s a big difference between work-at-home opportunities vs. home-based businesses. When you launch a home based business, you are the owner and work for yourself. When someone offers you the opportunity to work from home, you work for them. And, as a rule of thumb, if you find a business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or franchise that offers you the opportunity to work-from-home for their company but they require that you pay money to them first, beware. These are generally scams.

Below is a short list of some of the most notorious online “work-from-home schemes”. If you’re searching for a home based business online and feel confident that one of these opportunities is the right fit for you, I advise you to do your research and ask questions!

• Envelope stuffing

• Craft/product assembly

• Rebate processing

• Claims processing

• Multi-level marketing companies where money is generated solely as a result of your recruitment of others

• Posting ads online

• Check cashing

• Contract typing where you pay for a lead list of potential clients

• Name and address collection services

• Mystery shoppers

The bottom line is that the rewards of operating your own home based business are tremendous but they require time and effort. If a company or website promises overnight riches consider it “fireworks” and run the other way.

Part Time Work/Full Time Pay

Part Time Work/Full Time Pay

It’s a simple fact—in today’s economy, it takes two incomes for most families to survive.

And, if you already have a full time job or are a stay-at-home mom, finding a viable home based business that can be operated on a part-time basis can really be a challenge.

The key is to find a home based business that:

  1. Has low overhead.
  2. Will turn a profit in a short period of time.
  3. Allows you to work smart, not hard.

And, the Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®) business does just that.

Low Overhead: Did you know that the monthly expenses required to operate an HRN® business are less than $250 month? And, you can get up and running with just a computer and a phone? The HRN business is a “word of mouth” business which means that you won’t have to invest thousands of dollars in expensive advertising.

Profit: Since operating expenses for an HRN® are so low, most owners report turning a profit within the first 6 months of operation. And, many HRN owners start out working from home on a part time basis and grow their business into a full time operation. There have even been HRN business owners who have sold their companies for more than $250,000!

Work Smart: While an HRN owner is working from home in his/her office, there may be 10 or more contractors at work on jobs referred by their business. And, you—as the HRN® business owner—are earning commissions from all of those jobs. That’s working smart, not hard.

If you’re looking for a proven, turnkey home based business with low overhead and outstanding profit potential, an HRN is an ideal work from home solution.

Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions about launching this unique home based business in your area.

A "Recession Proof" Home Based Business

A "Recession Proof" Home Based Business

Lately, many people have asked me if an Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®) business can still do well in today’s economy?

The answer is “yes”!

While any business can be vulnerable to an economic downturn, the HRN business is more “recession proof” than most for a variety of reasons:

  1. In today’s real estate market, people cwho an’t afford to move are opting to expand or renovate their existing homes.
  2. Homes are generally our biggest investment and a priority when it comes to spending.
  3. In any economy, a home needs routine maintenance and repairs.
  4. An contractor referral service serves the needs of more affluent homeowners who aren’t as affected by the ups and downs of the economy.

And, this has been the case for several other HRN owners operating nationwide as well. For example, one HRN owner recently told me:

Briefly…because most people are NOT selling their homes these days, it makes sense for them to make them nice to live in. No doubt you’ve now heard the popular term “Stay-cations” coined because of our economic times.

Too, deferred maintenance, while it may seem penny-wise, is pound foolish…maintenance needs not only don’t go away, they get bigger and worse if not tended to, and become more costly. Smart to take care of those things now.

Consider as well, that investing in your home now will come back to homeowners when the R.E. market returns, and it will, of course, return. And the folks who have already done the upgrades and facelifts will be ahead of those who ‘get it’ after them.

Finally, remember contractors schedules are a bit lighter now which is PERFECT for homeowners! They are hungrier, there’s more flexibility in their scheduling, their pricing, etc. Not to mention that it makes this an ideal time for you to recruit them.

And a HRN owner who just launched his business this year writes:

The direct mailing is working great. I have gotten two big 100k+ remodels from it and some smaller projects. I am shooting for 3 consecutive months at 3k+ revenues by June 09 and think I can hit that easily. Thanks again.

If you’re considering the launch of an HRN in your area, please let me know. I’d be happy to arrange a time to chat with you.

Financing a Home Based Business

Financing a Home Based Business

abstract person with moneyFinancing tends to be one of the biggest challenges when launching a home based business. Even if you expect your start-up and monthly operating expenses to be minimal, it may still be challenging to find the money you need. If a traditional business loan isn’t an option, you might want to consider simpler financing options that you can create on your own.

For example:

Take a look at your assets. If you own things, you can sell them. Jewelry, rugs, furniture, time-shares or second properties are just a few examples.

What about your car? If you drive a nice, late-model car, you can sell it and lease a less expensive one without a down payment.

Borrow against your home. If you have established equity in your home, it should be very easy to borrow against it. Keep in mind though that once the loan begins, you’ll have monthly payments. Or, you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage with a new one.

Friends and family. Friends and family may be willing to support your business start-up. If you do chose this option for financing, be sure to put your agreement in writing so that it’s official and there aren’t any miscommunications that can cause a problem down the road.

Borrow Against Your Investments. If you plan to continue working full-time while you start your business, consider borrowing against your 401(k) or other retirement plan.

Consider a low interest credit card. Credit cards are a quick and easy method of funding your start-up and can help build business credit at the same time. You can start with deferred payments or a minimum monthly payment until your business starts to generate income.

Regardless of the financing option you chose, be responsible and keep your financial security at the forefront of your mind. If you’re determined to succeed at your new venture, investing in yourself is the way to go!

What's In A Name?

What's In A Name?

One of the first steps for every entrepreneur is to choose a name for his/her new business but deciding on the right name can be tricky. Your company’s name needs to be memorable and it also needs to convey what type of service or product you’ll provide to your prospective customers. Not to mention that there are also several legal issues to consider.

Some business owners believe that the best names are the most creative ones while others think that a company name should be descriptive and informative. In my experience both types can be effective if the name is backed by the appropriate marketing strategy and partnered with a descriptive tagline and logo.

For example, when I launched my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®), my husband and I created a list of potential names for my new business until we finally hit upon the name “Home Remedies”. I loved the name instantly but didn’t want prospective customers to think that I was in the business of selling homeopathic medicine. In order to explain my services more clearly, I worked on developing a descriptive tagline to partner with my business name along with a logo that incorporated the shape of a house or tools.

If you’re launching a new business and are trying to choose a good name, you should first decide on what you’d like to communicate to potential customers. If your name is more descriptive than it will be easier for you to explain what type of service or product you provide.

Next, try to pinpoint what type of image you’d like to establish for your company. For example, do you want your business to convey a local, hometown feel or do you want to be perceived as a larger corporation? The typeface in conjunction with your business name and logo will the first impression you make on potential customers.

If you’re having difficulty deciding on a name, you can brainstorm by making lists of adjectives and keywords that best describe your business and pairing them together. If your name is recognized in the community or you just want to give your business a more personalized feel, you can try including your first or last name in your business name. There are also several websites like http://www.rhymer.com/naming.html that can help offer name suggestions. Once you have a list of your top choices, share them with family, friends and industry related professionals to get their input.

And finally, keep in mind that your name shouldn’t be too long. If people can easily pronounce your name or understand it when it’s spoken, they’ll be more likely to say it.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to 2-3 possibilities, be sure to check with your state government to be sure that the name isn’t being used by another business. And, if you plan to operate your business in other states or nationwide, you should search the US Patent and Trademark website (http://www.uspto.gov/index.html) to be sure that the name you’ve chosen doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks.

Essential Tips for the "Lifestyle Entrepreneur"

Essential Tips for the "Lifestyle Entrepreneur"

What’s a “lifestyle entrepreneur”?Image preview

Lifestyle entrepreneurs are business owners who know how to work efficiently so that their business doesn’t infringe on valuable personal time or family responsibilities.  For a home based business owner in particular, this can be a challenge.

Whether you’re  considering the launch of a home based business or if  are already operating one, below are three essential tips that will help you incorporate working from home into your busy lifestyle:

1. Define Your Hours: Take a look at your schedule and pinpoint the hours of the day that you’re able to devote to your business. If you’re a “morning person”, plan to wake up one hour earlier to work. If you prefer to work in the evenings, go to your home office after dinner or after your family has gone to bed. Need to schedule work hours around a full time or part time job? Call forward your business line to a cell phone and return calls during your commute to and from work or during your lunch hour.

2. Use The Internet: The Internet is a phenomenal tool for a home-based business operator. It allows you to promote your business 24 hours a day and communicate with clients even when you’re out of your office.

For example, if you launch a website for your business set up a form with an autoresponder message so that potential clients can contact you at any time and receive an immediate response via e-mail.  And, if you collect names and e-mail addresses of visitors to your site you can follow up with a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter.

3. Work Efficiently: No matter how many hours you have to devote to your business, use your time well. If you’re only able to work 1 or 2 hours per day, focus your energy on the money-making aspects of your business and outsource other business responsibilities that require a particular area of expertise such as web design, copy writing, accounting, etc.

Finally, if you feel that you’re time is too limited, consider launching your home based business with a partner and divide business responsibilities based on your individual talents.