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Starting A Free Online Business, Step by Step #government #small #business #loans

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Starting A Free Online Business, Step by Step

Every day, thousands of people search for information on starting a free online business. They are looking at online business systems, searching for free online business opportunities, and basically looking for legitimate home business ideas so that they can work from home .

That’s what I do, and I love it. That’s a photo of me above. It was actually taken several years ago – this is my 12th year working from home. And it was taken at a friends house too. I love being able to work anytime, anywhere!

Anyway- yesterday I had opportunity to meet two such ladies who were searching for that very information, and who happen to live in my town. They found me on MySpace. so we talked there and then decided to meet for lunch and discuss what it takes to start an online business.

I’ll share the same details with you here that I shared with them over lunch, which were simple steps for starting a free online business. I cant share the fabulous spinach salad, or the great conversation we had, but hopefully this will prove useful to you if you are searching for internet business ideas yourself.

Home Business Ideas

There are so many home business opportunities and internet business ideas, that it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where you should start. We talked about a few of the different business models – from ecommerce sites that use wholesale dropshipping. to offering a service or starting your own blog.

You can make money online in a variety of ways. Just a few examples include: sell your own product, offer services, sell advertising on your website or blog, or promote other people’s products and/or services.

That last option is called Affiliate Marketing. It’s basically commission-based sales, and I compare it to the offline model of selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. When you make sales, you make money. You can sign up as an affiliate for a company and they will give you an Affiliate Link. You promote that link, and anyone that goes through your link to make a purchase will be tracked – resulting in a commission to you for that sale.

This is the internet business model that I focused on during our conversation over lunch yesterday. I actually use a variety of internet business models to make money online myself, but Affiliate Marketing seemed to be a perfect match for my new friends.

Some business models are active, while others are more passive. An active business model requires a more active role on your part. A membership site for example is high maintenance. If you offer services, then you need to interact with clients and take phone calls on a regular basis. I prefer passive income models, which allow you more freedom and flexibility.

That’s not to say that active business models cant be incredibly profitable and successful, just that something more passive seemed like a good fit once I got to know her a bit.

To clarify, when I say passive I dont mean that you wont have to work at it. I think we’ve all kind of figured out by now that “get rich quick schemes” dont really work. And we were discussing real, legitimate ways to make consistent income online. Not spotty one-off ways to make a few bucks here and there.

We discussed the realistic investment of time and money, and I confessed that I put a lot of time in upfront to get each of my internet business models up and running (some more than others). I explained that you could invest money to get sales rolling in quicker, or you could invest time (up to 6-12 months even) to get your sales up to a good level on a consistent basis. You’ll make money along the way of course, but geting that consistent income is the key.

Going that route, you can get started for less than $10. Yes, literally.

The passive part comes in after you have your affiliate site up and running – once you’ve done that groundwork. With affiliate marketing the merchant is handling orders, shipping and customer service. All you have to do is send them traffic through your affiliate link.

Once your site is up and running, you’ve set up your systems (such as a newsletter, blog, or whatever fits your model), and you’re driving traffic to the site. most of the “work” from there can be automated, and maintained in very little time. For example, I can usually run a site like that in as little as 5 hours a week. That frees you up to create more just like it, and duplicate your income

Starting a Free Online Business

I mentioned above that you can get started for less than $10. I know that a lot of people are interested in starting a free online business, but this small investment is well worth it. Especially if you are serious about making a consistent income with a real online business.

You could actually spend a lot more than ten bucks, but if you take my advice you’ll save a lot of money – and still end up with a solid internet business model.

What are the steps in creating an online business?

Your first step is to decide what niche you will target. Meaning: what are you going to sell, or what topic is your website going to be about? You might start with the product, or you might start with the topic – it doesnt really matter as long as you get that initial idea.

To help you, here are some of my own mini-tutorials on keyword research. Keywords are simply the words or phrases that people are searching for online. If you read through the links on that page, you’ll have a much better understanding of how you can research keywords to choose topics or products.

Once you decide what your website will be about, you’ll need two things: a domain name and a hosting account. The domain name is your website address (like www.ClickNewz.com is mine) and the hosting account is the space online where you will put your website.

I use GoDaddy.com to register my domain names. For hosting, I use HostGator – they allow you to host multiple domains or sites on the one account (saving you money when you start duplicating!) and they have tons of cool features that save you time & money too.

The domain name will cost you $8.95 for the first year. The HostGator account is $9.95/month, but I have a coupon code you can use to get your first month free. And that’s all you really need upfront to get started – so start up cost is actually less than $9, and then 9.95/month.

So you’ve picked a topic for your website, you registered a domain name, you set up your hosting account. now you need to create a website. (This is the hard part for most people)

It might be tempting to just hire a web designer, and that’s certainly an option, but you really want to learn some things yourself if you are going to be running an internet business. Creating your own website will also save you a lot of money.

You’ll find some tools in your hosting account to help you develop your website. You can also find all kinds of free resources online by doing a search. If you decide you need some help, consider hiring someone to design a template for you – not an entire website. Its much cheaper to just outsource the template design and do the rest of the work yourself.

You’re going to run into questions along the way. But dont let that stop you! I have an online business discussion forum where you can stop in and ask any questions you have, and get help from others who have already gone through these steps themselves.

Go back through the steps and check out some of the links. Read my keyword research tutorials, and then join us at the forum if you have any questions before you get started.

If you liked this tutorial, be sure to sign up for my free weekly tips. It’s the best way to get the current scoop on free resources, and new online business tips!





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Window Cleaning Coach: How to Start a Window Washing Business, Tips, Advice, Training, Tools,

#window cleaning business

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Hi, my name is Dave and I run my own successful window cleaning business called ShineTime in Birmingham, England.

The reason I’ve created this website is because I found that there was a lack of free information on setting up your own window cleaning business when I first started.

Instead I found there are a lot of opportunist window cleaners on the internet who are selling their knowledge (you can’t blame them really can you).

I realise when you’re setting up your own business funds are tight, so I’ve decided to give my expertise away for free.

The reason for this generosity you might ask? Well window cleaning helped me out of a tight spot: I was working in a dead-end factory for minimum wage and wasn’t too happy about the situation.

I finally decided to start my own window cleaning business, and after a lot of trial and error my business became successful. I want to help other people thinking of starting their own window cleaning company avoid some of the mistakes I made when I first started by doing this informative website.

Let’s get one thing straight, being a window cleaner is a horrible job: in Winter you feel like your hands are going to drop off, if you’re working by yourself it can become very lonely, and sometimes your customers can give you hassle. As you’re the head of the company you’re the one who has to deal with troublesome customers because there’s nobody to pass the blame onto.

It’s not easy either, most people seem to think it’s just a case of buying a bucket, getting a chammy and you’re away. Sadly there’s a lot of competition out there, it’s highly likely you’ll find all the best areas where you live (the posh ones that make you the most money) are taken.

You have to be prepared to work hard to build up your round and be able to discipline yourself because there’s no boss to kick you up the arse when you feel like having an impromptu day off. It’s very easy to slip into the habit of thinking: I can’t be bothered with it today. or I think I’ll knock off early .

It’s good to have the freedom that only comes with being your own boss, but it still doesn’t mean you can spend every other day in bed. Disappointing I know, but that’s life.

I want to make it clear that not everybody is suited to self-employment, some people need a person watching over them to make them work. If this is a description of you then you probably shouldn’t bother wasting anymore of your time on this site. Instead, you may want to consider looking for other cleaning jobs first to get some experience and see if a window cleaning career is really for you.

Despite all the drawbacks however, I believe if you’re desperate, i.e. stuck in a job you absolutely hate, or unemployed and on the dole, then window cleaning could be for you because it’s a realistic way of making a respectable living for a person who has no other options, just don’t expect to be driving around in a Bentley anytime soon.





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Buy Shadilal – Sons A Trade Game Business Deluxe India Online In India –

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Shadilal Sons A Trade Game Business Deluxe India

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Babyoye.com is India’s favourite baby shop. We are a one stop shop for all mother-care and baby products. “babyoye.com” is a registered trademark of Mahindra Internet Commerce Pvt Ltd.© 2010-2016 babyoye. All rights reserved.





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How to start a window cleaning business: Starting a business advice and business ideas

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How to start a window cleaning business

What is a window cleaning business and who is it suited to?

Window cleaning is not all buckets and suds and step ladders. It s a lot more dangerous than that. If you believe research conducted by Churchill Insurance way back in 2004, window cleaning might even be the most dangerous job in Britain. Thankfully, it s not quite as risky as such surveys suggest: things have become a little safer with the passing of time. Window cleaners now have equipment that allows them to completely eliminate the need to work at height, Damian Whittaker of the British Window Cleaning Academy (BWCA) explains, Modern window cleaning is no longer the dangerous job it once was.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Perhaps because of this dangerous reputation, window cleaning has suffered from something of a poor public image in the past, but don t let that deter you. Window cleaners come from all all walks of life. While a City background may not be what you expect from the MD of a successful window cleaning company, there are many who have just that.

Christopher Turner, who set up The London Window Cleaner in 2006, for instance, is a former hedge fund manager. I was actually in a hedge fund for the charitable sector; and I spent eight years in charity work before I left, he says. There are lots of people in the business from the City. I got out because I wanted to go back to something that was fundamental, something practical and useful and that would always have a market.

A City background is not a prerequisite of course although it might help with your start-up costs. Window cleaning is often a family business and, according to Damien of the BWCA, there are a few husband-and-wife teams around. Like most start-up businesses, entry is limited only by commitment and interest. In times of downturn especially, many people who have lost their job use their redundancy payment to start a business in something like window cleaning. So if you want to take up your squeegee and ladder, don t let the scare stories put you off. Read on for our tips on how best to start up.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here .

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Sale of sports business, a positive for Zee: The Hindu Business Line – Mobile

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Zee Entertainment Enterprises has decided to sell its sports business (TEN Sports channels) to Sony Pictures Networks India and its affiliates for $385 million.

The sale will help Zee exit its loss-making sports broadcasting business, which contributed ₹631 crore (about 11 per cent) to its consolidated revenue in 2015-16.

The sports business incurred a net loss of ₹37 crore, against a profit of ₹1,027 crore from consolidated operations during the year.

It was in 2006 that Zee acquired a 50 per cent stake (raised subsequently) each in Taj TV, Mauritius, which owns TEN Sports channels, and in Taj Television India, the distribution arm of TEN Sports in India.

A report from Ambit Capital shows that the sports business has incurred losses at the operating level in all years except one since 2005-06.

This is in sharp contrast to the company’s profitable general entertainment channel (GEC) broadcasting business.

Zee has a strong foothold in the Hindi and regional languages GEC space, which forms a chunk of the TV viewership base. Even as it is exiting the sports genre, it is looking at expanding its presence in the regional GEC space (Tamil Nadu, for instance). In January, it acquired Sarthak TV, a leading GEC in Odisha.

TEN Sports has the broadcast rights to the events organised by the cricketing boards of five countries, including South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan, as also to other non-cricket events such as wrestling, football and tennis.

But, it does not have the broadcasting rights for some lucrative events such as the cricket matches organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, thereby impacting the company’s subscription revenue from this business.





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Dragons – Den – s most successful businesses: Starting a business advice and business

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Dragons Den s most successful businesses

It’s now over 10 years since the first episode of Dragons’ Den aired on British TV screens and in that time we’ve seen some brilliant, and not so brilliant, businesses pass through the Den.

While many of the start-ups which have appeared on the BBC show have since floundered or failed to gain traction, a number have gone on to achieve huge success – with and without the Dragons’ backing.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Now, with the 14th series returning in three weeks time, and to mark over 10 years of the show, we’ve delved into the Den archives to find out what has happened to 15 of the brightest businesses to have pitched to the Dragons and where they are now.

From the infamous Levi Roots to the £65m-valued Tangle Teezer dubbed “hair-brained” by Peter Jones, read on to find out just what happened once the Den’s cameras stopped rolling…

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How to Write a Business Contract #local #business

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How to Write a Business Contract

Entering into a contractual business relationship with another party is a serious task and should only be entered into after giving real thought about the relationship you want. Don’t fall into the trap of entering into agreements haphazardly or with complete trust of the other party. Even if it’s a family member (some would argue especially if it’s a family member), the business contract should protect your own business interests first and to do so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some guidelines on how to write a business contract.

Generally, you will want to keep two things in mind when entering or writing a business contract:

  • Does the agreement address all of the possible situations which may arise. It’s also good to have contingency plans.
  • Do the provisions leave too much room for ambiguity? Contract disputes often arise over unclear terms or provisions.

Read below for tips on writing business contracts for your small business.

1. Get it in Writing

Anytime you enter into a business contract, you want written proof of the agreement as well as specific terms by which each party is bound. Oral agreements do occur in the small business context, but such agreements are difficult to enforce and people’s memories can be faulty and terms easily misremembered or misinterpreted. The first lesson in How to Write a Business Contract 101 is to always get it in writing .

2. Use Language You Can Understand

There’s no need to be intimidated by a false sense that a business contract has to be written in legalese. The best contracts, particularly in the small business context, are written in plain English where both parties know exactly what they’re signing and what the provisions mean. Just be sure that the terms you write are specific as to each party’s obligations and the specific remedies that you have in the event that the other party violates the agreement. Also, keep in mind that certain terms have specific meaning in the law .

The easiest way to write a contract is to number and label each paragraph and only include that topic in the paragraph. By segmenting the contract into individual units, it will be more easily understood by the parties (and by a court should it come to that).

The rights and obligations of each party should be laid out in specific language that leaves little room for interpretation. If you want delivery on the 15th of each month, use the specific number instead of writing, mid-month . If you and the other party agree to a new term or decide to change an existing term in the agreement, be sure to add a written amendment to the contract rather than relying on an oral agreement. A court may or may not accept the oral agreement as part of the contract.

4. Include Payment Details

It’s important to specify how payments are to be made. If you want to pay half up front and the other half in equal installments during the life of the contract, state that, as well as the terms under which you will release payment. For example if you contract with someone to paint your business offices, you might want a provision stating that your regular payments are contingent upon a certain number of rooms being painted to your satisfaction. Whenever possible, list dates, requirements and methods of payment (cash, check, credit). Contract disputes often center on money, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible.

5. Consider Confidentiality

Often when entering a business contract, the other party will gain access and insight into your business practices and possible trade secrets. If you do not want the other party sharing this information, you should include a clause that binds the other party from disclosing your business information or information included in the contract to other parties.

6. Include Language on How to Terminate the Contract

Contracts aren’t meant to last forever. If one party continually misses payments or fails to perform their duties, you want to have a mechanism in place so that you can (relatively) easily terminate the contract. It could be a mutual termination agreement (when the objectives of each side have been met through the contract) or more likely an agreement that either side can terminate if the other side violates a major term of the contract, after giving proper notice of its intent to terminate.

7. Consider State Laws Governing the Contract

Contracts can stipulate which state’s laws will govern in the event there’s a dispute. If the other party is located in another state, you should include a clause that states which state laws will govern. If you don’t, and there’s a dispute, there may be a whole other legal argument (which costs more money) about which state’s laws should be applied to the contract. Avoid this headache and agree to it at the inception of the contract, when both parties are agreeable.

8. Include Remedies and Attorneys’ Fees

Especially if you believe that it’s more likely that you’ll sue over the contract (as opposed to the other party suing you), you might want to include a clause that awards attorneys’ fees to the winning party. Without this clause, each party will have to pay for their own attorneys.

9. Consider a Mediation and Arbitration Clause

In the event of a dispute, it may be advantageous to include a provision that requires the parties enter either mediation or arbitration. or both. Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties try to work out their issues directly, with the help of a neutral third party mediator. Any settlement must be approved by both parties. Arbitration is a more adversarial process where the arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments and makes a decision that both parties must abide by. It’s akin to a trial setting, but the arbitration process is much quicker and cheaper than litigating in court.

10. Consider the Help of a Legal Professional

Writing a business contract that protects your interests while balancing your business objectives is critical to your business’ success. Learning how to write a business contract is the first step on the road to success. But while you should get acquainted with the legal terms and processes for writing a contract, sometimes it’s best to have an attorney review your contract before it takes on the force of law. Find a business and commercial law attorney near you for assistance.





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How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps #business #tips

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How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here’s how we make money .

Qualifying for a small-business loan is easier when you’re prepared. Below is a to-do list that will help you qualify for the cash you need to grow your business.

Whether you end up applying for an SBA loan through a bank or opt for an online small-business loan, you should be familiar with the requirements of each lender. Knowing whether you meet their criteria before you apply will save you time and frustration.

How to quality for a small-business loan

1. Improve personal and business credit scores

Your personal credit score ranges from 300 to 850 (the higher, the better), and evaluates your ability to repay debts. The score is typically weighed more heavily by small-business lenders if your business is new and lacks credit history. It’s based mainly on three factors: your payment history (35% of your score), the amounts owed on credit cards and other debt (30%) and how long you’ve had credit (15%).

Paying your bills on time is, of course, crucial to improving your score. But even if you pay your bills like clockwork, credit report errors could be damaging your score one in four consumers has damaging credit report errors. However, four out of five consumers who filed a dispute got their credit report modified, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. You can get a copy of your credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com and dispute any inaccuracies you find through each of the credit bureaus’ websites (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Businesses that are more established and applying for bank loans can check out their business credit scores (which generally range from 0 to 100) at the three business credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Dun Bradstreet. Check out these five steps to building business credit, and if you see any mistakes on your reports, contact the bureaus.

More than likely, you’ll need an excellent business credit score as well as good personal credit to qualify for an SBA loan or traditional loan from a bank, although this will depend on the individual lender and factors such as your business revenue and cash flow. In general, online lenders look at personal credit scores but are a bit more lenient when it comes to credit score requirements, as they place more emphasis on your business’s cash flow and track record.

2. Know the lender’s minimum qualifications

There’s no way around it: If you don’t meet a lender’s minimum qualifications, applying is a waste of time.

Borrowers typically need to meet minimum criteria related to credit scores, annual revenue and years in business. And lenders generally frown upon recent bankruptcies and other past delinquencies.

To qualify for SBA loans, borrowers also must be current on all government loans and can’t have any past defaults. So if you’re late on a federal student loan or a government-backed mortgage, you’ll be disqualified. You also can’t be on the SBA’s ineligible businesses list. which includes life insurance companies and financial businesses such as banks.

Qualifying for online lenders can be easier. While these lenders typically underwrite loans based on traditional factors such as credit scores, annual revenue and cash flow, the loans carry less stringent requirements than banks.

3. Gather financial and legal documents

Banks and other traditional lenders typically ask for a wide range of financial and legal documents during the application process. They include:

  • Personal and business income tax returns
  • Balance sheet and income statement
  • Personal and business bank statements
  • A photo of your driver’s license
  • Commercial leases
  • Business licenses
  • Articles of incorporation
  • A resume
  • Financial projections if you have a limited operating history

These requirements can make getting a bank loan time consuming. That may not be an issue if you’re in the market for a long-term business loan to finance a major investment.

However, if you need money faster, online lenders may be a better fit, as they can provide a streamlined online application process with fewer documentation requirements and faster underwriting. But they may come with higher borrowing costs. If you have good credit and business finances, however, some lenders may provide rates comparable to those of bank loans.

4. Develop a strong business plan

Lenders will want to know how you plan to use the money and will want to see that you have a strong ability to repay. They may require a solid business plan that details the purpose of the loan and how you expect it to increase profits.

Your business plan should include current and projected financials, and clearly demonstrate that your business will have enough cash flow to cover ongoing business expenses and the new loan payments. This can give the lender more confidence in your business, increasing your chances at loan approval. Your p lan should include :

  • Company description
  • Product and/or service description
  • Management team
  • Industry analysis
  • Facilities and operations plan
  • Promotional, marketing and sales strategy
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

5. Provide collateral

To qualify for a small-business loan, you may have to provide collateral to back the loan. This refers to an asset, such as equipment, real estate or inventory, that can be seized and sold by the lender if you can’t make your payments. It’s basically a way lenders can make back their money if your business fails.

SBA loans require “adequate” collateral for security on all loans, plus a personal guarantee from every owner of 20% or more of the business. A personal guarantee puts your credit score and your personal assets on the hook.

Some online lenders do not require collateral but may want a personal guarantee. Others may also take a blanket lien on your business assets essentially another form of collateral giving the lender the right to take business assets (real estate, inventory, equipment) to recoup an unpaid loan. Each individual lender has its own requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.

If you don’t have collateral to get a loan or don’t want to take on the risk of losing personal or business assets, unsecured business loans may be a better option.

Find and compare small-business loans

If you’re looking for financing, NerdWallet has created a comparison tool list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

This post was updated. The post was originally published on Dec. 1, 2015.

Image via iStock.

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One Woman Built A Cupcake Empire With Just $33 #sba #grants

#cupcake business

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How One Woman Built A Multimillion-Dollar Cupcake Business With Just $33 To Her Name

Gigi Butler was a cleaning lady with just $33 to her name when she opened her first cupcake shop in Nashville, Tennessee, almost seven years ago.

“People thought I was crazy, and they laughed at the idea,” she told Business Insider. “But I just had this feeling that I had to do it.”

After securing a location, whipping up a few recipes, and hiring two employees off the street, Butler opened the doors of Gigi’s Cupcakes on February 21, 2008.

“I had no investors and literally not a cent to spend on advertising,” she says. “So I just hoped and prayed people would come.”

Today there are 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations in 23 states, and this year she expects $35 million in annual sales across all stores. I t’s safe to say Butler’s bank account balance is no longer in the double-digits.

“I’m so happy with how things have turned out, but I never thought my success would stem from cupcakes,” she tells us. “I always thought it would be music.”

Butler was born in Oklahoma and grew up on a farm in a small desert town in California, about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Since age 7, she dreamed of becoming a country singer. “Nothing else was even an option. I was going to be a country star, end of story,” she says.

But at 15 she needed a job, and she really wasn’t interested in working for anyone else. “I decided to buy some mops and buckets, and I went from door to door, ringing doorbells, offering to clean people’s homes.”

That’s how Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

She cleaned homes, offices, and construction sites (and sang in a band on the side) in California for five years before deciding she was ready to take the next step in her music career.

So, in 1994, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville with $500, no job, no friends, and no place to live.

“When I got there, I continued cleaning. So I’d do that all day, then come home and nap, then I’d go sing at bars at night until 3 a.m. – and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “But when I turned 31, I got tired of getting my butt pinched and passing the tip jar around. I felt like I was failing since my dream was to sing. But I knew it just wasn’t working anymore.”

After giving up her dream of becoming a country star in 2005, Butler focused on building her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making pretty good money and learning how to be a boss, manage a team, and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world, which was great since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, pantyhose, and a skirt,” she says.

Though content, Butler said she knew she wasn’t being challenged enough, “and something was still missing.”

In 2007, while cleaning a bathroom in a client’s home, Butler got a call from her brother.

“He was in New York for Labor Day Weekend and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but people are waiting in line for hours for cupcakes. And they’re not even as good as yours.”

Butler grew up surrounded by bakers. Her aunts, grandmothers, and mother were all talented in the kitchen – and she “inherited the gene.”

“It’s in my blood, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career or a business.”

She hung up the phone and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, I’m not afraid to fail, so I’m going to do this. I am going to open a cupcake shop.

A month later she was in Texas visiting her great aunt Bennie who owned a bakery. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I went there to learn.”

When she got back to Tennessee, she went to the bank to ask for a loan. “I had great credit and no debt, but they literally laughed in my face and said, ‘Seriously? A cupcake shop?'”

So, instead, she took $100,000 in cash advance loans from her credit cards.

After finding a location for the store – which she refers to as “the sweet spot,” since it’s near three universities, six hospitals, and right off Music Row – Butler’s parents came out to help her launch her new business. “My mom helped me develop recipes, and my dad did the store design. They also gave me some money, which I really needed.”

Before opening the shop, Butler used up all of the $100,000 in loans, plus the money her parents gifted her, and all of her savings – and she still had $6,500 in bills to pay ($4,500 in rent; $1,000 for ingredients; and $1,000 for her first two employees). She had just $33 in her bank account.

“I literally cleaned three houses the day before we opened the store to pay the plumber,” she says. “And then that same day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 dry wall bill he ‘forgot’ to give me. I literally fell to the floor and had a melt down.”

Butler had exactly one week to pay the $6,500 to her landlord, food supplier, and two employees – and told the contractor she’d need some time to pay off his bill.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she tells Business Insider. “I remember looking up, saying, ‘Please, just let the people come. Make them like my cupcakes. They have to like my cupcakes.'”

They didn’t like them; they loved them, she says.

Butler recalls an encounter with one customer that first week. “I was walking around greeting people, and one woman said, ‘I’m going to order a Scarlett’s Red Velvet flavor cupcake.’ So I told her we didn’t have that particular flavor that day, and she started screaming at me, ‘I’ve been waiting in line for that cupcake! You’re telling me you don’t have it. Are you some kind of idiot ?’ And you’d think I’d be offended, but I walked away and thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, people are yelling over my cupcakes because they want them! Cha-ching!'”

By March 1, 2008, a week after opening, Butler was able to pay off the $6,500 in bills. “And I still had $300 left,” she says proudly.

A few months later, Butler’s landlord, Alan Thompson, suggested she franchise her concept. “I said, ‘What’s franchising?'”

So together with Thompson, her parents, and her brother Randall, who was eventually appointed as chief operating officer of the company, Butler began franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand in November 2008.

“I thought I’d open one shop and make $50,000 a year, and that’s it,” she says. “In fact, I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchises.”

Today, 90 of the 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes stores are owned by franchisees.

She believes her brand has had so much success because the products – cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, and other baked goods – are “delicious and unique. Each flavor has a story,” she explains.

The other reason: “I was never afraid to fail, so I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mom to her 3-year-old daughter, says her biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that she “no longer wears all the hats.”

“At the beginning, I did a little bit of everything. I’d be whipping up a batch of frosting, then have to run to a meeting, and then do paperwork. Now we have a great team to do all of those jobs, and my role is to be the face of the brand. But I still want to be everywhere, all at once, making sure everything is perfect, because this business is my baby – it has my name on it.”

Butler says she plans to grow the business to 250 stores by 2019.

“But no matter how big we get, I’ll always make time to put on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting, because that’s what I love to do.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why One CEO Asks New Hires To Sing Their Favorite Song In Front Of The Entire Office





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Start Your Cupcake Business

Our site is full of information that will help you to successfully run your own cupcake business, become your own boss and enjoy every minute of it.

Cupcakes are in high demand. they re ideal for all occasions and instantly bring smiles to peoples faces!

Whether you re thinking of running a small business as a hobby or growing steadily into a business that deals with corporate clients and hundreds of orders per week, we re here to help .

In the current economic situation many people are turning to alternative forms of income and running your own cupcake business can give you this opportunity. A home cupcake business is also relatively low on start up costs making it ideal for someone who wants to dip their toes into the world of entrepreneurship.

You may be a huge baking enthusiast looking to make money from your love of all things sweet or you might be someone looking to try something completely new and develop your business skills. Whatever the case may be, a cupcake business ran from home is a relatively low risk business and one that can definitely make money .

We ve provided a list of some of the essential equipment you will need on our Cupcake Business Equipment page.

Operating the business from home can also give you many benefits compared to renting an external space.

Full control over utilities

Save money on transport / fuel costs

Communicate with customers via email and phone from your home

Some things to consider are:

Is your kitchen big enough to cope with orders?

Do you have space to set up a small workspace for your computer printer?

Be a Cake Specialist

To succeed with your new cupcake business you will most definitely have to specialise in a particular area.

This may be something that you simply stumble upon one day while preparing an order or it may be something that you know no one else is offering.

You need that extra something to make potential customers come to you for their cupcakes instead of a competitor.

Here are some examples:

Highly sophisticated and unique designs

All ingredients are organic / fair trade

Exceptional customer service

Specialist cupcake delivery service

Plan Your Bakery Journey

This is one of the most important aspects of any successful business, if you don t have a plan in mind then you will have no idea of the direction your business is headed in.

Will you eventually move into a shop, an industrial unit, extend your house, franchise, the outcomes are extremely varied, but if you haven t planned then you may end up not achieving any of them.

Planning what you are going to do and how you are going to do it will give you a much better idea of how you will achieve the goals that you ve set out!

Going it Alone

Will you be running the business by yourself or will you be joining with a partner in a partnership?

This is something to consider even in the early stages of your business. You may be fine running it on your own for a while, but once you start to get orders coming in on a regular basis you will soon need to consider having someone else to help you.

You may even find yourself in the position of taking someone on part time as a receptionist or delivery driver.





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