Tag: Blog

How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It #find #a #business

#work from home ideas

#

How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It

This post includes affiliate links.

If you want to work from home and make money blogging, then you need to have the right tools, resources, and information to guide your way.

With an overwhelming amount of information on the web it’s often confusing figuring it all out. Listed below are some of the resources that I use, recommend, or that I’ve found helpful on my blogging journey.

These tools will not only help get you started but they’ll make the process easier so you can start making money faster.

First, grab my FREE Blogging e-book. it will teach you how to write great content, get tons of traffic to your blog and most importantly, how to make money from it!

To start the process you ll need to choose a blogging platform; or in technical terms a content management system (CMS). There are many different CMS platforms to choose between, but I highly recommend WordPress. It s ideal for beginners as it s easy to use and modify, it has tons of functionality, and it s free to use all you need to do is purchase your hosting and domain name.

WordPress is what I use for this site.

A lot of people ask me about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. I’ve heard it’s easy to use. But I also know a lot of people who started out on Blogger, but then had to make the switch to WordPress later on. Do yourself a favor and use WordPress from the beginning, you ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Once you decided on a blogging platform you ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. When choosing a hosting company you’ll want to make sure that you get one that’s reliable, affordable, and that has excellent customer service. Right now I m using a virtual private server (VPS) through, Liquid Web. They have a wide variety of hosting plans, which makes it easy to upgrade your service as your site grows. If I weren t using them, I would probably use Bluehost or Synthesis. as they were created with WordPress users in mind. Over the years, I ve had to switch hosting companies three times which is no fun.

Need help installing WordPress to your host? Here s an EASY way to be up and running in 30 minutes or less!

When I first launched my blog, I had a graphic designer create a custom design for me. And while I loved my design it was very expensive! If I were just starting out again, I would use Bluehost with their 1-2-3 easy upload and a template from StudioPress (which is what I m using now). Not only are these templates affordable (like $99), but they look great and they re super easy to modify. To help make your site stand out, I do suggest getting a custom logo designed. If you re launching your blog on a shoestring budget, try Fiverr where freelancers only charge $5 for their services. I haven t used Fiverr for logo design, but I have used them for other sorts of images, and I ve been happy with the results.

To get traffic to your blog you’ll want to utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google Plus. Seem overwhelming? To help manage all of these social media platforms, I use HootSuite. I’ve tried other applications, but this one has the most functionality, and it is the easiest to use. You can schedule updates and manage all of your accounts in one place, and best of all it s FREE!

The one network that you can’t manage from HootSuite is Pinterest. For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster to manage my pins. It s only $5 a month and so worth it! You can schedule pins and re-loop your pins so that they receive maximum exposure.

For tips on how to maximize your Pinterest efforts, check out these resources:

To create pin-friendly images for your blog posts, I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. I started out using PicMonkey, which is easy to use, and it gives you professional looking images in a flash. But now I mostly use Canva. It has premade templates and font combos which help me create professional looking images quicker. Each platform is free for basic usage with permeium features costing just a bit more.

For stock images I use StockFresh and DepositPhotos not only do they have high-quality photos, but they re affordable.

Part of getting traffic is writing awesome content. To make sure your content is excellent you ll need to edit your posts for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Now you can do this manually, but I ve found that even when I go back and proofread two or three times I often miss typos. Of course, you can hire an editor to proof your content, but that can get expensive. A more affordable option is to use an editing software or program. I ve tried a few different platforms out and by far my favorite is, Grammarly. It s easy to use and catches errors that word processing programs miss. It also tightens up your copy so you re using an active voice.

From the first day, you launch your blog you need to make sure that you’re building an email list. SEO rules and social media platforms are constantly changing. But with an email list, it is something that you own, and that can always be used to reach your audience. Personally, I use Constant Contact I love them! They have lots of professional looking templates to choose from, it’s super easy to use, and they have added features like auto-responders. They even offer a FREE 60 trial so you can test them out without any obligation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The majority of my traffic comes from Google, and this is because certain keyword phrases on my site have ranked well with the search engines. Search engine traffic is free, and you’ll want to take advantage of it. I used to recommend Holly Klaassen’s e-book, 50 SEO Secrets for Mom Entrepreneurs, but she s no longer selling it.

So to get familiarized with SEO here are some useful articles on the basics.

I have read a ton of blogging books over the years, and these are the ones that have SERIOUSLY helped me on my journey!

There are so many ways to earn money from your blog, from direct ad sales and ad networks, to affiliate marketing and digital earning so make sure to check out these must-read articles.

As a career blogger, you ll need to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. The first year I started out, I made the mistake of keeping all of these transactions in a spreadsheet which made tax time a nightmare. Since then I ve been using GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly, Outright) which has simplified the whole process because it automatically updates your transactions from your PayPal and checking account. The online platform is super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for all monetized bloggers.

Hope you found this roadmap helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey!

This post includes referral and affiliate links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. See our disclosure policy for further information.





Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016 – Salesforce Blog #atm #business

#business quotes

#

23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016

If there’s one thing we know about small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on growth. When we surveyed entrepreneurs and small-business leaders earlier this year, the majority told us they expected to grow significantly in the coming year. (Click here to see the full results of our research .)

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to give small businesses a little inspiration. Here are 23 of our favorite quotes to help you jumpstart business growth in 2016.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.

— Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

― Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

— Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”

― Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.

— Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.”

― William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin, writer

No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

— T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.

— Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

— Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.

— Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.

— Thomas Watson, Sr. former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.”

— Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.”

— Vaughn Aust. EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders. hire individuals who will lead by example.

— Jody Kohner. VP of Employee Marketing Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant, co-founder, General Motors





Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Running a Drop Shipping Business – The eCommerceFuel Blog #free #business #templates

#drop shipping business

#

Running a Drop Shipping Business

The following Q A answers many common questions associated with starting and running a drop shipping business. For a real-world example, you ll want to read this post which details the fulfillment process in one of my own businesses. TrollingMotors.net.

Jump to questions/answers:

What do I need – and much does it cost – to start a drop shipping business?

To properly set up a drop shipping business in the U.S. you ll need:

  • To incorporate a business with your state (Approximately $150 to $300)
  • Request an EIN number from the IRS (free)
  • Request a sales-tax ID from your state (if your state charges sales tax, usually free)
  • Find and establish a relationship / open an account with a drop shipper (free)
  • (Recommended) Create your own eCommerce website (Approx. $10 to $50 per month)

The costs will vary based on your circumstances, but in most cases you should be able to get a drop shipping business up-and-running for less than $400. For more information on finding suppliers, please see the section on finding drop shipping companies.

Do drop shippers provide customer service and/or talk with my customers?

No. As the retailer, you re 100% responsible for dealing with customers. You ll need to build and market your website, handle customers support issues, solve problems and deal with any issues that arise. You ll act as the intermediary between your supplier and your customer.

How do I submit orders to suppliers?

Each drop shipping wholesaler will be different. Most suppliers (but not all) will accept orders via email. Many will accept them over the phone, and those with more advanced websites will accept them online. A few sophisticated suppliers will even allow you to submit your orders in bulk via a specially formatted XML or CSV file.

What is the turnaround time for fulfilling a drop shipped order?

This will vary based on the quality of the supplier, and their location. Most decent suppliers should be able to process, pack and ship out an order the same-day if it s received by noon their local time.

How do I get tracking information for orders?

This will also vary by drop shipper. A quality drop shipping wholesaler will provide tracking information via email in plain text or in a specially formatted .CSV or .XML file. Tracking information should be received immediately after the shipment is processed or by the end of the day the order was shipped. Once you receive a tracking number, it s your responsibility to pass it along to your customer usually through your shopping cart interface.

One mark of a poor drop shipper is delays in sending you order verification and tracking information and/or making you log-in to their website to retrieve tracking numbers.

How do I pay my supplier?

Starting out, a drop shipper requires you to have a credit card on file to pay for orders. When getting a business credit card, make sure you get a Visa or Mastercard as many suppliers won t accept Discover or American Express.

Once you ve built up a relationship and track record, you may be given the option of Net 15 or Net 30 terms. This means that the supplier will extend you credit, and simply keep track of what you owe. Then, you ll need to pay them by check within 15 or 30 days.

I have established, multi-year relationships with numerous drop shipping suppliers and still prefer to pay by credit card over Net terms. Why? It s more convenient, I don t have to write and mail a check, and I can rack up some serious reward points using the right rewards credit cards. In fact, I was able to accumulate enough rewards to pay for a trip around the world .

Who pays for the shipping costs on orders?

While a drop shipper will usually use their own UPS/FedEx/USPS account to pay for shipping, they ll pass along the cost to you when billing you for the order. It s up to you how much to charge your end customer for shipping.

Do orders appear like they came directly from my company?

Yes! This is one of the great things about the drop shipping model. Most drop shippers will put your company s name and logo on packing slips and invoices, as well as your return address. So it appears like the package was shipped directly from you.

How do returns from customers work?

Most drop shipping companies will have restrictions on what can and can t be returned. So you ll need to make sure you clearly communicate (both before the purchase AND before accepting the return from the customer) that it meets these criteria.

Most suppliers will issue you a RA (Return Authorization) number. This unique number will identify the return in their system. Once received, simply pass along this RA number along with the address of the warehouse to your customer.

Once the supplier receives the return, they should send you a notification along with a credit invoice showing that they ve credited you for the item. Then, you in turn refund the customer who purchased from your store.

Who pays for return shipping on returns?

This will vary from retailer to retailer, but here are the policies I have in place and highly recommend:

For Defective Items: If a customer received a defective item, I feel it s my business responsibility to pay all the associated costs to get them a working product! Some store owners will argue:

We didn t make the product! It s not our fault! A defective item is the risk a customer takes for purchasing.”

but I think that s a poor way to do business, and provides a very bad experience for your customer.

I recommend paying for the return shipping costs incurred by the customer to send back the item, as well as the costs involved with shipping out a new replacement. In the event the product is very low-value (costs $20 or less), I ll often ship the customer a free replacement without requiring them to return the old product. This is often easier, faster and cheaper than paying to have a customer return a cheap defective product.

On the bright side, if a product is genuinely defective, most drop shipping wholesalers will pay for the shipping cost of sending out a new item, which means you ll only need to cover the cost of shipping from the customer to the warehouse.

For Non-Defective Items: If the customer decides to return an item due to incorrect selection – or because they simply changed their mind – they will usually be responsible for paying for return shipping fees. However, if the product was incorrectly advertised or presented on the website, the business should cover return fees if this was the cause of the problem or incompatibility.

Do drop shippers ship internationally?

This varies widely by drop shipper, so you ll need to check. I would say approximately half of the drop shippers I work with will ship internationally.

International shipments can quickly get expensive, and getting accurate quotes regarding shipping fees, customs and duties for hundreds of countries is complex. It also takes a drop shipper significantly more time to process an international order as there is more paperwork involved. Some will charge an additional fee while others simply won t bother.

Also, issues with returns and fraud get a bit more complicated with international shipments. If an international customer receives a defective product, getting them a replacement will be significantly more expensive. And the likelihood of fraud and abuse increase with international shipments.

Jump to section:

0 Comments





Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants – Small Business Blog #business

#minority business grants

#

Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants

Minorities are choosing entrepreneurship in leaps and bounds. The pool of minority-owned business includes members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnic groups. According to the SBA, this number rose to 14.6 percent in 2012 in part because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

As with their non-minority counterparts, proper access to funding is crucial for the creation, growth, and sustainability of their businesses. Although minority business ownership is growing, there continues to be great disparities in their access to business funding. In their effort to even the playing field, minority business owners continue to search for various funding resources.

Grants for Minority Business

Federal Grants

As part of their quest for funding, the first choice for minority business owners is to seek out grants. The belief that there are federal grants available for the start up and growth phases for small businesses is a myth. The federal government does not provide grants to businesses for start up, expansion, to cover operational expenses, or to pay off debts. However there are federal grants available in the areas of research in the fields of medicine, scientific research, education, and technology development. Here are a few such grants.

  1. Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – This grant is for the purpose of funding small business projects that are research related. Research areas include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See a full list of program descriptions and research topics allowed on their site.
  2. The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program – The purpose of this grant is to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The amount of the award ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

You can search additional federal grants at grants.gov .

Corporate Grants

We have included a list of some grants available to black and minority owned businesses.

  1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest The FedEx Small Business Grant awards 10 different grants to small business owners in the following amounts: (1) grand prize grant of $25,000, (1) grant of $10,000, and (8) grants of $5,000. Deadline is January 12, 2015. To enter, the applicants must share their business story including their motivation and plans for growth. Winners will be announced April 21, 2015.
  2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grant Program This grant allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular business need. Each grant is worth up to $5,000. To apply visit nase.org, create an account, become a member, and click on the link apply today. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
  3. MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series – This grant supports urban entrepreneurs by awarding up to $150,000 in business grants to five entrepreneurs annually.
  4. Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – Grant proposals are accepted from businesses that nurture the relationship between mother and child either through a product or service. The amount of the award is $15,000 plus additional business resources for further development.

Organizations that Provide Minority Business Grants

The Role of the SBA

While the SBA has the authority to provide grants to certain non-profit and educational organizations, it is not permitted to provide grants to small businesses, including minority owned businesses. However, minority business owners can take advantage of the SBA (8) a Business Development Program. The program assists qualifying minority-owned businesses develop and growth through one on one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical assistance.

The 8(a) program has been designed for some minority groups that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. Those groups include: African American, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. A business must be at least 51% owned by a minority of the group listed. Other groups can apply for this program if they can prove that they have been discriminated against or are at an economic disadvantage. Those groups include: Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations.

To learn more about this program contact the local SBA office in your area.

The Minority Business Development Agency

Another great resource for minority business owners is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). MBDA maintains a national network of 44 business centers whose purpose is to assist minority businesses with access to capital, contracts, and new markets. The specialists that work at the business centers can assist with the grant application.

Minority Business Grants: The Process

Applying for a grant is not a quick process. First the application can be more than a few pages and it is normally a detailed application. Most grants have an opening date, which is the date when the grant became available for application. The deadline date is the final date you must submit your grant by. Keep in mind that the decision may take a few months.

Additional Grant Preparation Tips

  • Create a business plan – Writing a business plan is an important step. The business plan will act as the roadmap for your business. Be sure to provide specific information in the plan about your minority business and how it will improve the economy and your community.
  • Read through grant information thoroughly Once you have decided which grant you will apply for, make sure that you read through all of the information. This will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Most grant synopsis’ are detailed and require a lot of specific information.
  • Keep track of the application deadline – Obviously it is important that you do not miss the deadline. So be sure to apply for the grant before the deadline. A good idea would be to create a project checklist which includes dates and milestones. It’s a good idea to submit the grant before the deadline approaches.
  • Gather all of your documents – Make sure you gather all of the documents required for the grant. Prepare a checklist, check, and double check. You do not want to have any missing documents that may cause the grant to be denied.




Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Catering Beginner? Three Tips to Get You Started! The Burkett Blog – From Burkett

#catering business

#

Thinking about starting your own catering business? The wedding and events industry can be very lucrative, but before you start handing out your business cards or promoting your business online, we’ve listed the top three aspects that new caterers should never miss.

There is no better way to learn, than actually doing the task. If you’re interested in catering, you need the practical, real-world experience to successfully launch and maintain your business. Catering is no joke – it requires passion and stamina to work the long hours and big events. Getting some hands on experience will prepare you with the tools you need to move forward. You’ll also get insight on market trends and other major catering firms, allowing you to build your business to meet the needs of your customers.

What are the most important items to get you up and running? First you need to apply for and obtain a business license. Secondly, you’ll need approval from the department of health, certifying your facility. If you plan to start out of your home, contact your local health department. There are various zoning requirements and safety codes that are specific to each state. Also keep in mind that some states do not consider a home as a foodservice facility. Do your homework and be prepared to make some costly renovations.

Once the business end is covered, you’ll need to invest in professional catering equipment. That’s where Burkett Restaurant Equipment comes in! Commercial restaurant equipment and catering supplies streamline your operations and make every event flow smoothly. From serving utensils to storage pans, we carry all of the essentials for your new business.

A little Business 101: In order to have a successful start-up, you’ll need a strong customer base to boost profitability. Social media is a great way to get your name out there and to have real-time interaction with potential customers. Sign up for twitter, set up a Facebook page, and monitor sites like Yelp for customer reviews. Every business owner can set up a free account on Yelp to post photos and message your customers. Don’t forget print advertising if it’s in your budget. You might consider flyers and advertisements in your local paper and magazines.

Finally, develop valuable relationships with other event industry vendors such as florists, bands, event planners and organizers. This network of businesses can help refer customers to your catering business, and vice versa.

Most importantly, successful caterers have three things as their strongest attributes: Talent, Flexibility and Organization. Focus on the food. Be a savvy business person. Plan your events down to the last detail, but be ready to accommodate any last minute changes. The rest, including your customers, will follow.

Share this:





Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Hard Is It to Be a Small Business Owner? Small Business Blog #business

#small business owner

#

How Hard Is It to Be a Small Business Owner?

There are a lot of misconceptions about being a small business owner. Like…

People often think that being a small business owner is easy because you get to be your own boss and set your own hours.

The Reality : Most small business owners work harder than they used to work when they had a corporate job.

People think that being a small business owner is glamorous – you get to make big decisions, make big money, and have a carefree lifestyle.

The Reality . Most small business owners have to wear many hats – sometimes getting to be a strategic visionary, but other times having to serve as a front-line customer service person, amateur psychologist, or office janitor.

But one of the biggest misconceptions about being a small business owner is that it’s too “hard.” I recently read an article on the Naked Capitalism blog entitled Tech Titans Promoting Basic Income Guarantee as a Way to Shrink Government, Kill Social Programs , which suggested that being an entrepreneur is a raw deal for most people:

But who wants to be an entrepreneur? Seriously. If you can hold a job with any stability and you don’t mind the work and get on with your boss and co-workers, it’s a vastly better deal than running your own show…being in business for yourself is almost a roll-back for the whole rationale of advanced economies: that of specialization. In a larger organization, the really good sales guy can mainly do sales, plus the unavoidable internal politics and bureaucratic tasks. The accountant can mainly do accounting, and so on.

By contrast, starting a business requires lots of skills, including selling, negotiating, having common sense about priorities, being able to size up potential backers and employees, being able to budget and manage funds. It’s a drag if you are really good at one particular thing to have to do all that other stuff, even if you are capable of it.

The payoff curve for entrepreneurship looks a lot like that of lines of employment that most parents would tell their kids to avoid: acting, playing sports, writing novels. Remember, 90% of all new businesses fail within three years. And like J.K. Rowling, A-list Hollywood stars, and football pros, the lure of the huge payoffs at the top end masks the steep falloff after that.

First of all, it’s not true that “90% of all new businesses fail within three years” – according to statistics from the Small Business Administration. about half of small businesses survive for five years or more, and one-third survive for 10 years or more. That’s a lot longer than I’ve lasted at any corporate job.

This article also makes it sound like entrepreneurship only offers rewards to the people at the top – as if most small business owners are a bunch of low-paid losers who would be better off trying to make it as actors in Hollywood. But even if we’re not going to be the next Bill Gates, most small business owners make a decent living – according to an American Express OPEN survey on the average entrepreneur’s salary. as of 2013, small business owners paid themselves an average annual salary of $68,000 – which is significantly more than the 2013 U.S. median household income of $52,250.

But more broadly, I disagree with the premise of the argument that it’s “too hard” to be a small business owner because you don’t get to specialize in what you do best.

It’s true that when you work for a big company, there are certain “economies of scale” that enable the big company to do things faster, cheaper, and perhaps better than a smaller company could. This is a basic principle of economics. However, for small business owners today, in the age of the Internet, there are so many great online small business tools and resources that can help you be more productive! You don’t have to be a big company to get big results in 2015 – you can use business-grade tools and resources to outsource, automate, and delegate various business tasks and daily operations, whether it’s basic back-office functions like simple accounting, invoicing, or payment processing, or more advanced skills like marketing, building customer relationships, and business inventory management .

As a small business owner today, you’re in business “for” yourself, but not “by” yourself. You can get help with almost any business topic imaginable online. You can connect with other entrepreneurs on LinkedIn for advice and ideas. You can get free business mentoring from SCORE, the Small Business Administration’s mentoring program. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur or small business owner with only a few employees, there are many ways to make your business seem “bigger” without the bigger costs.

It’s simplistic (and wrong) to think that it’s too hard to be an entrepreneur, so no one should want to do it. I think it s actually the opposite – while it s never easy to run your own business – there are always financial risks and stresses, and lots of hard work – the Internet is making it easier than ever before to run a business. Not everyone has the right combination of ambition, hustle, vision, and sheer willpower that makes for a successful small business owner – but if you do, the rewards (and the daily sense of freedom) make it all worthwhile.

Ideally, as a small business owner, you should get to specialize more than ever before in doing what you do best every day. Use some of these cheap (or free) online business tools and mobile apps to outsource or automate the daily tasks that you don t like to do or aren t as good at. Being an entrepreneur helps you unleash your productive, creative potential like nothing else!





Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants – Small Business Blog #business

#minority business grants

#

Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants

Minorities are choosing entrepreneurship in leaps and bounds. The pool of minority-owned business includes members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnic groups. According to the SBA, this number rose to 14.6 percent in 2012 in part because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

As with their non-minority counterparts, proper access to funding is crucial for the creation, growth, and sustainability of their businesses. Although minority business ownership is growing, there continues to be great disparities in their access to business funding. In their effort to even the playing field, minority business owners continue to search for various funding resources.

Grants for Minority Business

Federal Grants

As part of their quest for funding, the first choice for minority business owners is to seek out grants. The belief that there are federal grants available for the start up and growth phases for small businesses is a myth. The federal government does not provide grants to businesses for start up, expansion, to cover operational expenses, or to pay off debts. However there are federal grants available in the areas of research in the fields of medicine, scientific research, education, and technology development. Here are a few such grants.

  1. Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – This grant is for the purpose of funding small business projects that are research related. Research areas include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See a full list of program descriptions and research topics allowed on their site.
  2. The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program – The purpose of this grant is to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The amount of the award ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

You can search additional federal grants at grants.gov .

Corporate Grants

We have included a list of some grants available to black and minority owned businesses.

  1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest The FedEx Small Business Grant awards 10 different grants to small business owners in the following amounts: (1) grand prize grant of $25,000, (1) grant of $10,000, and (8) grants of $5,000. Deadline is January 12, 2015. To enter, the applicants must share their business story including their motivation and plans for growth. Winners will be announced April 21, 2015.
  2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grant Program This grant allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular business need. Each grant is worth up to $5,000. To apply visit nase.org, create an account, become a member, and click on the link apply today. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
  3. MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series – This grant supports urban entrepreneurs by awarding up to $150,000 in business grants to five entrepreneurs annually.
  4. Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – Grant proposals are accepted from businesses that nurture the relationship between mother and child either through a product or service. The amount of the award is $15,000 plus additional business resources for further development.

Organizations that Provide Minority Business Grants

The Role of the SBA

While the SBA has the authority to provide grants to certain non-profit and educational organizations, it is not permitted to provide grants to small businesses, including minority owned businesses. However, minority business owners can take advantage of the SBA (8) a Business Development Program. The program assists qualifying minority-owned businesses develop and growth through one on one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical assistance.

The 8(a) program has been designed for some minority groups that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. Those groups include: African American, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. A business must be at least 51% owned by a minority of the group listed. Other groups can apply for this program if they can prove that they have been discriminated against or are at an economic disadvantage. Those groups include: Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations.

To learn more about this program contact the local SBA office in your area.

The Minority Business Development Agency

Another great resource for minority business owners is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). MBDA maintains a national network of 44 business centers whose purpose is to assist minority businesses with access to capital, contracts, and new markets. The specialists that work at the business centers can assist with the grant application.

Minority Business Grants: The Process

Applying for a grant is not a quick process. First the application can be more than a few pages and it is normally a detailed application. Most grants have an opening date, which is the date when the grant became available for application. The deadline date is the final date you must submit your grant by. Keep in mind that the decision may take a few months.

Additional Grant Preparation Tips

  • Create a business plan – Writing a business plan is an important step. The business plan will act as the roadmap for your business. Be sure to provide specific information in the plan about your minority business and how it will improve the economy and your community.
  • Read through grant information thoroughly Once you have decided which grant you will apply for, make sure that you read through all of the information. This will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Most grant synopsis’ are detailed and require a lot of specific information.
  • Keep track of the application deadline – Obviously it is important that you do not miss the deadline. So be sure to apply for the grant before the deadline. A good idea would be to create a project checklist which includes dates and milestones. It’s a good idea to submit the grant before the deadline approaches.
  • Gather all of your documents – Make sure you gather all of the documents required for the grant. Prepare a checklist, check, and double check. You do not want to have any missing documents that may cause the grant to be denied.




Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Freeway Insurance Blog – Insurance Articles, Tips, and News #blog, #freeway #insurance, #auto #insurance

#

Freeway Insurance Blog

  • AB 60 California
  • Affordable Health Care Act
  • ATV Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Auto Insurance News
  • Car Insurance
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance
  • Health Care
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Identity Theft Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Motorcycle Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • SR-22 Insurance
  • Teenage Car Insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Watercraft Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance

  • 8 Safe Driving Tips

    While in reality car accidents will happen, it is still important to drive safely to help curb the frequency and severity of them. The very reason we call them automobile “accidents” is because most of them are preventable. So what can.


  • What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

    If you live in an apartment, condo, or other rented living space, you have probably needed a rental insurance plan. After all, apartment insurance can protect you from paying for the repairs or replacement of items damaged or stolen from your.


  • Top 7 Reasons to Buy Commercial Vehicle Insurance

    Whether you run a business that has a garage full of semi-trucks or you operate a business out of your home, it is important for all businesses to have a commercial vehicle or commercial truck insurance. Many freelancers or small business.


  • What is Renters Insurance?

    When you’re living in an apartment, a condo, or other rentable living space, you can depend on your landlord on a lot of different issues or repairs. If the apartment complex catches fire, surely their landlord insurance will cover all the.


  • DIY Landscaping Tips Homeowners can Tackle this Spring

    Getting your yard looking nice this spring and through the summer might not be as hard as you think. As a homeowner, taking pride in your home can mean just as much as the actions you take to safeguard it. Much.

    Owning a recreational vehicle (RV) can be a great way to achieve a more nomadic lifestyle. RVs are also perfect for exploring the California. Read more.

    Enjoying Tampa Bay and getting out in the sun with friends and family can be a highlight of springtime and summer, but it is. Read more.

    All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) give you the chance to drive through rugged, wild, remote places at high speeds. Few places in Florida are more well-suited. Read more.

    Nothing says summer like sitting on the bow of a boat and sunbathing, especially on the California coast. But before you hit the open. Read more.

    Springtime and summer can be great times to finally get your family outside and enjoy barbecuing together, but there are some safety measures that. Read more.

    Many people feel good, smart, and safe whenever they purchase cheap full coverage car insurance from auto insurance companies. After all, it’s “full coverage. Read more.

    When it comes to vehicle coverage, everyone’s goal is to have the best car insurance at the lowest possible rate. Getting cheap car insurance. Read more.

    The Internet has made everything more convenient in our lives. With a click of a mouse, we can order food, pay bills, and even. Read more.

    Everyone wants the cheapest car insurance with the right coverage, but many have trouble finding affordable car insurance. Cheap auto insurance is hard to. Read more.

    Do you run a small business? Do you use a vehicle primarily for work purposes? Then you should get commercial car insurance. Many people. Read more.

    Start your quote!





Mobile App Trends Series #social #networking, #social #media, #news, #web, #technology, #web #2.0, #tech,

#

Mashable

As the smartphone market grows, so too do the apps you can use on them. The Mobile App Trends Series discusses mobile app trends, in-app advertising and innovative uses of mobile app technology to get you up to speed with your handheld device and its potential.

The Mobile App Trends Series is presented by Sourcebits, a leading product developer for mobile platforms. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iOS, Android, Mobile and Web platforms.

25 Recent Stories

Written by Elisha Hartwig

over 4 years ago

In our Mobile App Trends Series, Mashable offers tips for utilizing the current mobile app trends to maximize your business potential. We know that in the rapidly growing app market it is difficult to keep track of all the changing technology, so we.

Written by Ryan Matzner

over 4 years ago

From leveraging specific features like GPS all the way down to the mere fact that people are walking around with Internet-connected computers in their pockets, smartphones open a whole new world of opportunities for marketers at businesses from large.

Written by Lauren Hockenson

over 4 years ago

The jury is still out on the true relevance of near-field communication (NFC) — is it a technology before its time, or just a dud?

Written by Ryan Matzner

over 4 years ago

You can improve your app with analytics — but make sure you re analyzing the right data.

The Next Big Thing





How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It #loan #business

#work from home ideas

#

How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It

This post includes affiliate links.

If you want to work from home and make money blogging, then you need to have the right tools, resources, and information to guide your way.

With an overwhelming amount of information on the web it’s often confusing figuring it all out. Listed below are some of the resources that I use, recommend, or that I’ve found helpful on my blogging journey.

These tools will not only help get you started but they’ll make the process easier so you can start making money faster.

First, grab my FREE Blogging e-book. it will teach you how to write great content, get tons of traffic to your blog and most importantly, how to make money from it!

To start the process you ll need to choose a blogging platform; or in technical terms a content management system (CMS). There are many different CMS platforms to choose between, but I highly recommend WordPress. It s ideal for beginners as it s easy to use and modify, it has tons of functionality, and it s free to use all you need to do is purchase your hosting and domain name.

WordPress is what I use for this site.

A lot of people ask me about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. I’ve heard it’s easy to use. But I also know a lot of people who started out on Blogger, but then had to make the switch to WordPress later on. Do yourself a favor and use WordPress from the beginning, you ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Once you decided on a blogging platform you ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. When choosing a hosting company you’ll want to make sure that you get one that’s reliable, affordable, and that has excellent customer service. Right now I m using a virtual private server (VPS) through, Liquid Web. They have a wide variety of hosting plans, which makes it easy to upgrade your service as your site grows. If I weren t using them, I would probably use Bluehost or Synthesis. as they were created with WordPress users in mind. Over the years, I ve had to switch hosting companies three times which is no fun.

Need help installing WordPress to your host? Here s an EASY way to be up and running in 30 minutes or less!

When I first launched my blog, I had a graphic designer create a custom design for me. And while I loved my design it was very expensive! If I were just starting out again, I would use Bluehost with their 1-2-3 easy upload and a template from StudioPress (which is what I m using now). Not only are these templates affordable (like $99), but they look great and they re super easy to modify. To help make your site stand out, I do suggest getting a custom logo designed. If you re launching your blog on a shoestring budget, try Fiverr where freelancers only charge $5 for their services. I haven t used Fiverr for logo design, but I have used them for other sorts of images, and I ve been happy with the results.

To get traffic to your blog you’ll want to utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google Plus. Seem overwhelming? To help manage all of these social media platforms, I use HootSuite. I’ve tried other applications, but this one has the most functionality, and it is the easiest to use. You can schedule updates and manage all of your accounts in one place, and best of all it s FREE!

The one network that you can’t manage from HootSuite is Pinterest. For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster to manage my pins. It s only $5 a month and so worth it! You can schedule pins and re-loop your pins so that they receive maximum exposure.

For tips on how to maximize your Pinterest efforts, check out these resources:

To create pin-friendly images for your blog posts, I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. I started out using PicMonkey, which is easy to use, and it gives you professional looking images in a flash. But now I mostly use Canva. It has premade templates and font combos which help me create professional looking images quicker. Each platform is free for basic usage with permeium features costing just a bit more.

For stock images I use StockFresh and DepositPhotos not only do they have high-quality photos, but they re affordable.

Part of getting traffic is writing awesome content. To make sure your content is excellent you ll need to edit your posts for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Now you can do this manually, but I ve found that even when I go back and proofread two or three times I often miss typos. Of course, you can hire an editor to proof your content, but that can get expensive. A more affordable option is to use an editing software or program. I ve tried a few different platforms out and by far my favorite is, Grammarly. It s easy to use and catches errors that word processing programs miss. It also tightens up your copy so you re using an active voice.

From the first day, you launch your blog you need to make sure that you’re building an email list. SEO rules and social media platforms are constantly changing. But with an email list, it is something that you own, and that can always be used to reach your audience. Personally, I use Constant Contact I love them! They have lots of professional looking templates to choose from, it’s super easy to use, and they have added features like auto-responders. They even offer a FREE 60 trial so you can test them out without any obligation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The majority of my traffic comes from Google, and this is because certain keyword phrases on my site have ranked well with the search engines. Search engine traffic is free, and you’ll want to take advantage of it. I used to recommend Holly Klaassen’s e-book, 50 SEO Secrets for Mom Entrepreneurs, but she s no longer selling it.

So to get familiarized with SEO here are some useful articles on the basics.

I have read a ton of blogging books over the years, and these are the ones that have SERIOUSLY helped me on my journey!

There are so many ways to earn money from your blog, from direct ad sales and ad networks, to affiliate marketing and digital earning so make sure to check out these must-read articles.

As a career blogger, you ll need to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. The first year I started out, I made the mistake of keeping all of these transactions in a spreadsheet which made tax time a nightmare. Since then I ve been using GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly, Outright) which has simplified the whole process because it automatically updates your transactions from your PayPal and checking account. The online platform is super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for all monetized bloggers.

Hope you found this roadmap helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey!

This post includes referral and affiliate links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. See our disclosure policy for further information.





Tags : , , , , , , , , ,