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How to Become a PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER

A Personal Fitness Trainer can reduce the boredom and lack of motivation by providing individual fitness plans. There is a great need to increase the physical fitness of Americans. If they were more physically fit their mental health and physical health would improve. This would reduce the probablility of numerous illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

If you have any specialized sports related skills, you could use these to teach others. Such as karate, aerobics, baseball etc. These could be taught in gyms, students homes, YMCA’s or anywhere that you would have access to a large enough room and the equipment needed.

Start-up Costs

$100 to $5,000 depending on where you are going to do your Personal Fitness Training.

Financial sources

Banks or Credit Unions. There is also the Small Business Administration. Personal savings or family members.

Advertising and Marketing Tips

Yellow page advertising, business website, business cards and newspaper advertising. Once you get some clients, word of mouth will work very well if you are good being as a Personal Fitness Trainer. Your website should be listed on your business card and with your other advertising.

Essential Equipment

CD player, DVD player, TV, aerobic steps, ankle & wrist weights, exercise balls, jump ropes, exercise mats, step-up boxes etc. Reference books and video tapes on nutrition, weight training, physical fitness and exercise games. Cell phone, seperate phone line with answering machine or service, pager, brochures and business cards.

Recommended Training & Needed Skills

Nesta is an association that covers training and certification for being a Personal Fitness Instructor. You will need to know nutrition, athletic training and sports psychology. Training at your local community college or with online courses such as with Nesta. Home study courses are offered by Distance Education and Training Council.

Income Potential

As a Personal Fitness Trainer you can earn from $20,000 to $80,000.

This would all depend on your level of training and what type of classes or individual courses you teach.

Target Market

Your target market as a Personal Fitness Trainer would be professionals, atheletes or people who just want to get in shape. Another market would be people who have been told by their physicians to get back into shape. This holds especially true for diabetics and people with high blood pressure.

Success Tips

For those who haven’t done any exercising recently, have your client get permission from their doctor. Get a Fitness Trainer Business Plan. Check local zoning laws. Have your Lawyer and Insurance agent provide liability insurance and waiver forms for your clients.

by Randy Wilson

Tips on INTERIOR DESIGN Business Starting

I know what you’re thinking. I need some tips on interior design business starting. O-k! Well, first off, you need a house! Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Interior designing is a popular business. Usually designers begin with a home-based business and after some experience enlarge their business. Interior design business starting includes some important steps like calculating start-up costs, writing a business plan, establishing the type of designing and studying the local interior design pricing structure.

An interior design business may be quite profitable, as it is always in great demand. Besides, it is an interesting and creative occupation. So, if you like to earn money using your designing ability and knowledge, and you are interested in being your own boss, you may consider starting an interior design business.

Interior design business starting includes some basic points. First of all, you must decide either you will be a designer or a decorator. To be a designer, in most states, you need to be qualified or certificated. In the United States there are organizations, for example NCIDQ (National Council of Interior Design Qualification), which can qualify applicants as professional designers. Six years of design education plus a full-time work experience is required to be accepted for the exam. If you do not have any designing education, you may work as a decorator. A decorator is limited only at the aesthetic side of interior designing.

Another important point in interior design business starting is establishing how large you want your business to be. Many designers and decorators are starting with home-based business, so they can save money on the cost of the office. A great number of interior designing firms are small companies with less than five employees. Only a few of them have more than 100 employees. Interior design business starting requires a number of initial investments. Here are some of the principal interior design start-up costs.

It is recommendable for a professional interior designer to procure AutoCAD software or anything similar that permits elaborating three-dimensional projections. The advantages of computer use include an easier communication and better understanding of a client’s needs, and it also gives the possibility to make rapid changes and corrections in the plan. Some designers prefer working on paper. If you are going to be a product-driven designer you must consider buying books of samples – wallpapers, paint, carpets and draperies.

Interior design business starting also includes writing a business plan and establishing the prices of your services – fee structure. Interior design pricing structure is variable. The most common forms of payment are fixed fee, hourly fee, per square foot cost, and cost plus. The pricing structure depends on factors like type of designer, type of the projects, services and products offered. For example, if you are designing a big commercial project you would probably establish a per square foot fee. Payment per hour of the time you spend on the project is very popular in residential designing.

Costs plus are most convenient if you are a product-driven designer and you have certain discounts from suppliers and manufacturers. Many designers also require a retainer. Retainer is a part of the amount of money for the entire job, paid before starting the project. If you are interested in interior designing job and you would also like to run your own business, you should consider starting an interior designing business.

by SYL.com

5 Tips for Success For Home-Based TRAVEL AGENTS

1. Do your homework in advance.

Working from home is a tremendous opportunity to lower costs and increase profitability for many agents, be they agency owners closing a storefront location, past employees of agencies that may have closed or new entrants to the world of travel sales. However as in any new business direction, there are a unique set of objectives and even challenges to operating from home. Read anything you can about operating a business from home so that you are prepared and ready to take on this new direction. The book “How to Start A Home Based Travel Agency” can certainly propel you on your way.

2. Zoning, Permits, Travel Seller Registration and Insurance

These are four very important things to study up in advance of your move. Certain cities and counties across the United States may have zoning restrictions and or permit requirements in order to operate a home based business. Be sure to check with the local and city authorities to be certain you are in compliance. Additionally, some states have what are known as travel seller registration programs that may require your compliance. Generally the attorney generals office of each state can assist you with information as can NACTA at our NACTA Members Only website.

If you are planning on having clients come to your home to discuss travel, you need to check with your home owners insurance provider to be certain you arrange for coverage should they harm themselves in some way on your property.

3. Invest in your home office

Take pride in this exciting move home and indulge yourself by furnishing it comfortably and efficiently. Just think of all the money you are saving on office space rent and other overhead costs and invest some of that money back in your new location. A new desk, comfortable chair, state of the art computer, printer, scanner, fax, good phone system and more can have a tremendously positive impact on your self esteem and drive to succeed in this new venture.

If at all possible, dedicate a spare bedroom or other location in your home that can be isolated from the daily home life. A quiet office where you can shut the door and keep out the sounds of the barking dog or lawn mowing gardener is very necessary to maintain your professional approach to your business.

4. It’s all in the family

If you do not live alone and have family members who share the home with you, you will need to get them all in your corner from the onset. Have a family talk and discuss the plan with them. Include them in the decision and make them feel a part of the success of your business. There is bound to be some times when you are just too busy to attend to their needs because you are on the phone selling travel. Have a plan on how you will handle home life and work life from home. We have what we call a Family Chat about once a month just to be sure we are all communicating and working together so that everyone is happy and fulfilled.

5. Go tell it on the Mountain

When you make this decision to move home with your business, enlist the support of everyone you know. Tell all your suppliers and be proud of your smart business decision. Tell your clients with enthusiasm and they too will feel your passion for this change and support you in your endeavors. On the flip side, if you are unsure about making the move home and have concerns that clients and suppliers might misinterpret your move as a financial failure, then you will certainly have a challenge convincing them otherwise. Instead, share your direction as a brilliant move to make better use of technology and the ability to better service your clients with more personal attention. If your heart is in it, they will be proud to be a part of your success.

In closing… the most common statement I hear from agents who have moved their business home is “Why didn’t’ I do this 10 years ago, I am making more money now and having much more fun!”

by Home Based Travel Agent Information Center

Spend Your Money on Doing Things Rather Than Owning Things

When dealing with personal finance, it is important to remind yourself from time to time that our most valuable assets are things that cannot be bought. Family and friends would certainly apply to this category. So would your health, time, and knowledge. It would be impossible to put a price tag on any of the above.

So let’s step back from discussion about saving, investing, and accumulating money, and let’s talk about how we spend our money. When it comes to spending your dollars wisely, some purchases may be wiser than others–at least as far as happiness is concerned.

Let’s say you get a bonus at work. Do you spend it on a new toy (whatever your “toy” of choice might be) or a vacation? If you want to be happier, you should spend it on the latter. People receive more enduring pleasure and satisfaction from investing in life experiences than material possessions.

Taken from a practical perspective, this seems to make sense. If your house was burning down and you only had time to grab one material possession, what would it be? For many, it would be their photo album. The memories of different experiences that those photos conjure up are priceless.

A national survey involving more than 12,000 participants, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, found similar results. When asked which made them happier, an experiential purchase or a material one, most people chose the experiential purchase.

Here’s some of the reasons why:

Experiential purchases are more open to positive reinterpretations. For example, if you go on a hiking trip, and the weather is terrible, you might not view it as a pleasurable experience in the here and now. Instead, you may view it as a challenge, and over time remember the positive aspects of the experience more than the negative aspects. With material things you can’t do this, because they are what they are.

Experiential purchases are a more meaningful part of a person’s identity. Our culture highly values accomplishing goals and challenging oneself. We strongly value accomplishments. Experiences tend to be associated more with deeper personal meanings than possessions.

Experiential purchases contribute more to successful social relationships. Experiences foster relationships because you tend to do things with other people, so there is a great social aspect to it. Furthermore, we often share stories about experiences because they’re more fun to talk about than material possessions.

So when you are out spending your hard earned money remember that spending on things you can do, as opposed to things you can have, will make you happier in the long run.

by Accumulating Money

Starting a Home-Based PHOTOGRAPHY Business

Anyone with an eye for original images, the right equipment and film, and excellent technical skills can take good pictures. But to make a living out of taking stunning photographs needs more than photography skills; you must also be a savvy businessperson. To succeed in this business, you need to know about financial, legal, management and marketing aspects of starting and running a photography business.

What kind of photography work do you want to do?

The field of photography is wide and competitive. There are a wide variety of players out there, from the part-timers freelancing for the local weekly paper to a few superstars who can command fees of $10,000 per day.

As a home-based photographer, you can work on a broad range of subject area, from fashion, portraits, underwater, weddings, product photography and others. You can be a freelance photojournalist or a publication photographer.

While there are various types of photographic activity, professional photography can be broadly divided into two categories: assignment photography and stock photography.

Assignment photography is any photography commissioned by a client. It covers advertising of products, portraits, weddings, school functions and other images shot on assignment. Most photographers spend their entire career shooting on assignments, as it provides lower financial risk for the photographer. You know that you will get paid, either before the event or after the contract has been satisfactorily completed.

On the other hand, stock photography is photography shot on speculation, in advance of being sold. In going after a “perfect air balloon” shot, photographers may take several dozens, if not hundreds of shots, of air balloons that could be made available at a fair price for generic uses. These “surplus photos” can then be used in a multitude of ways, in newspaper articles, brochures, calendars, web sites, and many more. Instead of commissioning a photographer, many commercial and educational establishments simply buy stock photographs at a lower-cost.

Your first step, therefore, is to determine whether you will specialize or diversify. If you specialize, for example as a fashion photographer, you need to strive to be the best in your field. If you work in several areas, you need to be competent in each area or even outstanding. You can either exclusively shoot on assignment or stock, or like many other photographers, combine the two. When on assignment, some photographers take the opportunity to shoot pictures of their surroundings or events that they put in their own stock collection.

Getting Started

You know you have the skills and technical expertise to become a good photographer. From a hobby, you now want to embark on it as a business. Here are some of the steps that you need to take when starting your own home-based photography business:

1. Write your business plan. Yes, even photographers need a business plan. The business plan will serve as your roadmap to starting, managing and growing your business. It will help you assess the viability of your business. Writing a plan will help you to think out what your goals are and identify the strategies that will take you to reach your goals. It will help you understand the financial requirements of your business, evaluate your resources, force you to think of where and how you can finance the business, and tell you the parameters of measuring the financial status of your business. Through the business plan, you can begin to identify your potential clients, establish a workable timetable, set reasonable fees or prices, and plan out your marketing strategies. As you go through your business, the business plan will serve as your guide that will tell you how well (or how bad) you are performing.

2. Establish your legal business identity. Each country, state and counties have different rules in treating businesses. Check with your local county clerk the rules that apply to a photography business, particularly home-based. If your business is going to be a sole proprietorship, you only need to register your business in the county office or town hall and file a “doing business as” (DBA) form for a small fee if you are not going to use your own name.

3. Open a business banking account. Bring your DBA form to a bank to enable you to open a checking account for your business. It is important to separate your business from your personal finances. Deposit the capital going into the business as your opening deposit, and as soon as the account is established, use it to pay all your business expenses. If you are going to use a credit card to jump-start your business, it is preferable that you have a separate card for your business and financial expenses.

4. Check zoning restrictions in your area. It is best to determine the zoning restrictions in your area before you proceed, particularly if you expect to have clients coming over to your house for a photo shoot session. Your neighbors may object to the daily comings-and-goings of your customers.

5. Get your equipment. The equipment you will need depends on your budget, space availability and kind of shoots that you do. List all photographic equipment that you will need for at least a year: cameras, lenses, tripods, filters, electronic flash units, studio lights and stands, seamless paper and other backgrounds, and others. Don’t be extravagant, buying expensive but rarely used equipment. Purchase high quality core equipment and sufficient back-up to complete any job. Consider rental sources, particularly for one-time use equipment.

In addition, you need to identify the office equipment that you will need, such as computer, telephone, fax, scanner, office furniture, and others. In your list, make a mark of what you already own and what you need to buy. This will help you determine your budget and plan out how to procure the additional equipment that you will need for the business.

6. Set-up insurance. You must always think of ways you should protect yourself and your business, and getting the right insurance is the first step. Most photographers benefit from liability insurance, particularly if you have clients going to your studio. This kind of insurance will protect you if your customer, for example, trips on a cable and suffer an injury. You also need to explore getting equipment indemnity, if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance do not cover these items. For your own benefit, you also need to set-up health and disability insurance in the event that you cannot continue working in your business.

7. Join professional organizations. One of the very first things that you need to do is to participate in your local chamber of commerce, photography associations and other professional organizations. Joining a group is the best way to network and meet potential customers, compare notes and collaborate with other photographers in your area, and maybe find a financier for your business.

8. Finalize supply and photo lab arrangements. If you will be in this business for the long-haul, you need to start developing relationships with your film, processing and camera equipment suppliers. Select a reliable photo lab, if you will not be developing your photos yourself. The photo lab you use can make or break your business. The quality of work, ability to meet promised deadlines, and the ability to get a complex order correct varies from one photo lab to the other. Experiment before you even start your business, and pick one that works best for you.

Working at Home

If you will work from home, you need to ascertain whether your space can accommodate a photography business. Unlike a computer programmer who only needs computer set up in one corner of the house, a photography business will require more space. Plan, design and set-up your work space. How you set up your workspace will depend on space availability and how you intend to operate.

Determine what space you will need: office, darkroom if you are going to do your own developing, and storage area for your chemicals and equipment. Depending on your specialty, you might need a studio and a waiting area for customers as well.

If you are going to do small product photography, you can simply set it up in a corner of the room. However, you will need more space if you are going to shoot portraits, family pictures or complicated set-ups. The minimum space for portraits should be about 8 feet wide and 10-12 feet wide to hold backgrounds, lights, and camera equipment.

The good thing though about a home business is that you can start small. Initially, your bathroom can double up as your darkroom. You can do all the business aspects, like balancing your books and preparing your correspondences, in your dining table, kitchen or in an extra room in your house.

However, you must consider the tax rule that you can only claim business deductions from your home office if the space where you work is used exclusively and regularly for that business. Improvising and using other spaces in your home for your business like the patio or the kitchen may not qualify you for home office deductions come tax time.

The Top 5 Ways to Become a Millionaire

Becoming a millionaire isn’t all that difficult and there are countless ways to achieve that milestone. Some people do it through real estate, others start their own business, while some simply get lucky by winning the lottery or winning big on a game show. What is even more interesting is that you don’t have to be wealthy to begin with nor do you have to earn six figures to reach this goal.

I know some people who earn well over $100,000 and all they have to show for it is a large mortgage payment and a fancy car that depreciates faster than a glass of milk left outside in the summer sun. Anyone can become a millionaire and there are five ways to have the best shot of making that a reality.

1. Earn Income. Clearly the more money you make the faster you can reach that milestone but that doesn’t mean your average Joe with a median income can’t obtain millionaire status. The current median income in this country ranges between $35,000-$60,000 depending on which state you live in. Better yet, get married so you have dual incomes. The wonderful thing about having dual incomes is that even with two people in the household your income may double but your expenses typically don’t.

If you don’t earn even an average income, all is not lost. It is up to you to do something about it. A negative attitude about your job or your earning potential won’t change anything. Be proactive and make the decision to improve your situation. It is your life so take control and realize that things don’t change overnight. It may take a few years of slow growth before you reach the point where you want to be, but you can do it if you try. Remember, short of inheriting money from a relative or winning the lottery you will need income to become a millionaire.

2. Live Within Your Means. Ok, so you have income but now what? It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you spend it all or spend even more than you make. It might be nice to eat out at nice restaurants every night or to always be on the cutting edge of designer fashion but, this will only make you feel like a millionaire. This doesn’t mean you have to live a miserable and miserly lifestyle but you simply need to live reasonably.

Start by purchasing a home that you can comfortably afford and drive vehicles that suit your lifestyle without straining your budget. You don’t have to be pulling down $75,000 a year and drive a 1992 Civic Hatchback or live in a dump, but throwing your money at a 4,000 square foot home in a gated community and luxury cars or SUVs that cost as much as one year of your salary won’t help you become a millionaire. Some may argue that an expensive home and real estate in general is a good way to become a millionaire but I will touch on that later.

3. Save Money. This isn’t rocket science but if you earn a reasonable income and you live within your means, guess what, you will probably have money left over to save. The problem most people have is they put savings last, as an afterthought. People pay bills, buy things and then whatever is leftover they try to save. That is the wrong way to save. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but pay yourself first. Whether it is $100 a month or $1,000 a month, think of the savings as a bill that needs to be paid and do it regularly. If you are unable to save money you will find that your only wealth is in the form of material things.

4. Invest Wisely. Now that you are saving money, you need to invest it wisely. Sticking it under the mattress isn’t going to help you reach your goals any faster. You don’t have to read the Wall Street Journal or watch CNBC everyday while actively managing your portfolio in order to be a good investor. Some of the best investment advice is to simply buy and hold and to buy low and sell high.

It is also important to remember that real estate is part of your investment picture, but it shouldn’t be all of it. Too many people stake almost everything they have into a primary residence and expect it to appreciate in value. Just like any investment, generally speaking, over time you will make money. There isn’t much debate about that, but relying heavily on real estate is no different than if you rely on one stock to fund your retirement.

You can become a millionaire by simply buying a single stock and holding onto it for 20 years if it goes up significantly just like you can buy a home $500,000 home and have it double in value in 20 years. Take a lot of the risk out of the picture by making sure all of your eggs aren’t in the same basket and develop an investment strategy that will provide steady growth.

5. Stick With Your Plan. If you have done the previous four items the only thing left to do is to continue doing it and stick to the plan. As far as income is concerned, always be on the lookout for ways to increase your income, whether it is through climbing the ladder at your current job, finding work elsewhere, or maybe even starting a business on the side. Increased income will mean you can save even more, provided you aren’t foolishly spending the additional money. As that additional money gets tucked away into savings or investments it will continue to grow even more quickly.

It Isn’t Hard to Do

Unfortunately most people are looking for a way to get rich quick or to capitalize on the next big thing. It is true that some people have made their wealth through playing the real estate market while others have done so by investing in a few stocks that exploded, but this is the exception and not the norm. If the above list seems overly simplistic, good. There are no secrets to becoming a millionaire and almost anyone has the chance to make it happen. The process is simple:

1. Make money
2. Don’t spend all of your money
3. Save some money
4. Invest that money
5. Repeat

Certainly there are many factors in play that can make this easier or more difficult for different people. This is simply the process that you can use in order to reach that goal, whether it is in 5 years or 50, if you follow a few basic steps you can do it.

by Jeremy

10 Tips On How To Get Rich Fast

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get rich tomorrow? What would you do with all that money? Well believe it or not it can be done. Now I didn’t say it would be easy I just said you could do it. Here are 10 tips on how to get rich fast.

1. Invest – Start young. In fact start while you are in elementary school, kindergarten is even better. It’s the beauty of compound interest and over time your money will grow into a nice nest egg. Okay if you are reading this you are probably too old to start in elementary school but you can get your kids hooked. As for you the best plan of defense is to invest 50% of your salary in a high risk market fund or the penny stock market. You’ve got a 50-50 chance. You’ll either make a million or be broke in 90 days.

2. Marry Rich – Now how difficult can this be? All you need to do is find someone who has loads of money and marry them. Okay I didn’t say you’d be happy just rich. Perhaps not a solution for most of us but it apparently works for a few.

3. Win The Lottery – Ya ya I know the odds of getting struck by lightening are better than the odds of winning the lottery but you can’t win if you don’t try and it’s one of the few ways I know of that you can get rich fast.

4. Rich Parents – If you come from a wealthy family then you are half way there. All you have to do is stay in their good books and convince mom and dad to not spend their money and leave it to you when they pass. After all why should your parents get to enjoy the wealth they reaped?

5. Get An Education – Go to school for lots of years, accumulate plenty of debt, and choose a career that pays big bucks. After about 10 years in your profession you should be rolling in the dough and you might even be filthy rich before you get old

6. Become A Star – Heck if Jennifer Aniston or Nicolas Cage can do it why can’t you. A couple of acting lessons and you should be set. All you need to do is head to Hollywood and strike it big. One good movie and you’ll be set for life.

7. Invest In Real Estate – Buy high sell low – whoops I think I got that backwards. Buy low, wait 10 years, 20 years, maybe even 30 years but inflation will have your investment growing by leaps and bounds and you could be filthy rich especially if you bought in an up and coming city while house prices were still low. Now if you bought in Hicksville USA you may have a problem. It might take more than your lifetime to see any dramatic increases. Oh well you can leave it to your kids who can leave it to their kids and in another 100 years or so someone’s going to be sitting pretty.

8. The Internet Way – Heck where have you been. A quick search on the Web will reveal plenty of sites that will teach you how to make $50,000 a day. Now I think most of us could live quite comfortably on that don’t you? All you need to do is part with about $500 and they’ll tell you the secrets of wealth in one page or less. If the first one doesn’t do it for you perhaps you might want to try a few more. Oh wait a minute. Perhaps what you need to do is set up one of these sights, then you’ll be the one getting rich off the other poor fools that part with their $500.

9. Bank Robbery – Okay highly illegal and could land you a lifetime in the slammer but desperate needs require desperate measures. After all if you get caught you might not be rich but you’ll have free room and board for the rest of your life and then you could write a book about what not to do when robbing a bank and well see you could get rich from your book. And even better, you’ll stay rich because there is really no place to spend it while in jail.

10. High Risk Work – Take on those high risk jobs no one else wants. You know counselor in Iraq, bean counter in Afghanistan, Oil tycoon in Iran. But hey if you live through it you’ll be rolling in the dough. What does it matter that 99% never live through it. You’ve got a 1% chance and when it comes to getting rich those are pretty good odds.

Sure most of these ideas are pretty off the wall but if getting rich fast was easy wouldn’t we all be rich? Then what fun would there be in that? We’d all have too much money and probably be bored to tears. So why not aim for better life with good friends, love, happiness, and enough money to live comfortably but not so much that you stop dreaming about what you would do if you were rich.

by Deon Melchior

10 Tactics For Finding New Business Ideas

I’m often asked how I come up with so many new business ideas so here are some tips for coming up with your very own business ideas.

1. Expect to have ideas . If you believe you’re incapable of coming up with ideas then you won’t come up with any. Put aside any negativity about yourself or you creativity and expect to have ideas.

2. Keep and open mind. Ideas can come from anywhere and some of the best ideas will seem daft or impossible based on your current knowledge, experience and assumptions. Try to be prepared to explore new ideas and to change your view of the world.

3. Keep a written record of your ideas, ideas that inspire you or ideas that are new to you – When you write things down you are more likely to remember them and if you don’t you’ve got a record to refer back to. I keep a record of all the ideas I see, read/hear about or have and I review it regularly. My written record has also evolved into this blog full of ideas.

3. Keep a written record of your ideas, ideas that inspire you or ideas that are new to you – When you write things down you are more likely to remember them and if you don’t you’ve got a record to refer back to. I keep a record of all the ideas I see, read/hear about or have and I review it regularly. My written record has also evolved into this blog full of ideas.

4. Try to learn something new every day. Talk to other business people, talk to your friends and neighbours, talk to anyone that looks interesting and will talk to you. Read websites, magazines, books whatever medium you prefer try to read something that will expand your knowledge everyday. I enjoy business/entrepreneurs biographies and histories especially those that explain where the business or idea for it came from.

5. Talk about your ideas. Talk about your ideas to anyone who will listen, more often that not it’s my wife who has to listen to my ideas, if she’s not around however I’ll talk to myself! Failing that write down what you’d say to someone to explain the idea. The point is that in explaining the idea you’ll usually spot flaws or areas for improvement thus making the idea better.

6. Ask questions and listen to peoples problems, hopes, dreams and aspirations. As a small business consultant I always ask people what problems, issues or challenges they face in their business (or job), there are often good business opportunities in solving those problems. Peoples hopes, dreams and aspirations can provide ideas for example a business like Red Letter Days helps people fulfil their dreams by providing experiences such as driving a supercar or flying a plane. Weight Watchers appeals to those hoping to loose weight.

7. Research see what else is out there that is similar. Evaluate potential competition and keep notes on what you find. Use the search engines to look for similar ideas, businesses or products and take notes on them.

8. Draw a mind map. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

9. Synthesise ideas. Put two or more unrelated ideas together. One way to do this is to brainstorm with your team. You’ll get the best results if you’ve followed steps 1 – 6 first as you’ll have a larger pool of ideas to combine.

10. Sleep on it. Go away for a while and think of something else, often your subconscious mind will continue to work on the problem and will come up with new ideas or refinements on the ideas you already have.

by Business Opportunities And Ideas

 

More Money: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time

The discussion yesterday about how to earn money when you’ve lost your job got me thinking about ways to earn extra income outside regular employment. None of these are quick fixes, but they’re ways to generate cash in your spare time.

Get a second job

A second job can be an excellent way to earn extra money if you have the time and energy. Why have a second job?

To pay off your debt

To build up your savings

To get more experience

To ease into a career transition

Real-life example: In 2000, I took a second job programming computers. For several months, I was working sixty hours a week. I’ve never been so flush with money in all my life. Too bad I was a spendthrift back then — it was all wasted on computer games, comic books, and Magic cards.

Become a consultant

Earlier this year, Andréa wrote a guest entry about becoming a consultant to defeat debt quickly:

“Consulting” may sound intimidating. It’s really just a fancy word for someone who trades their knowledge and expertise for pay. Every time you make a suggestion, recommend a process, draw up a plan or manage a process, you’re using consulting skills. To get into consulting, you just need to find someone who can use your expertise.

Real-life example: After I decided that computer programming was not for me, I set up a small computer consulting business. I designed web pages, maintained networks, and repaired computers. Though I didn’t have much work (I never pursued the business as much as I could have), my hourly pay was the highest it’s ever been in my life.

Earn money from your hobbies

If you’re like most people, your hobbies cost money. They may cost lots of money. For example, I used to spend hundreds of dollars for new camera lenses just so I could take better photos of my cats. Is there a way to turn your hobby into a money-making proposition? Even if you make just a little cash, you can help offset your costs. Get Rich Slowly readers have been sharing their stories about money-making hobbies in an ongoing (though irregular) Sunday series:
Selling digital photos (more here)

Binding books and printing buttons

Mystery shopping and belly dancing

Here are some more ways that you can use your hobbies to bring you wealth.

Real-life example: After spending a fortune on lenses and camera equipment, I’ve actually been able to make a little money on my hobby. The $750 I’ve generated from prizes and sales is peanuts compared to what I’ve spend on the hobby, but it’s a start.

Make money online
Wait. Didn’t I just write that blogging is no way to get rich quick? Absolutely. But blogging can be a way to supplement your income. If you have subject that you’re passionate about, and if you like to write, a blog can let you earn extra money from your expertise.

But blogs aren’t the only way to make money online. You could open an online store. You could sell things on eBay. Here’s a list of 10 ways to make money online from Web Worker Daily.

Real-life example: This blog.

Sell stuff
A final way to earn some extra cash is to sell things. Look in your closets. Check your bookshelves. Walk out to the garage. See all that junk? How much of it do you actually use? Couldn’t you borrow books from the library when you need them? When was the last time you played Mario Kart 64? Wouldn’t you feel better if your house were less cluttered?

As long as you don’t try to sell it all at once, it doesn’t take much time and effort to sell your used stuff to generate some extra cash.
Sell your most valuable items on eBay. (My eBay tips.)

Consider selling certain specialty items to specific stores: sell your used CDs to a music store, your used Nintendo stuff to a game store, etc.

Use Craigslist to sell bulky items, or to get rid of stuff that just won’t sell. (My Craigslist tips.)

Hold a garage sale to purge everything else. (Our annual garage sale is just a month away — I can’t wait.)
Real-life example: Once or twice a year, I sell extra stuff I’ve accumulated. Each year at our garage sale, I make about $300. Every couple years, I sell more valuable items on eBay. Last year I made $1500 for a few hours of work.

Use your extra money wisely!
What should you do with the extra money you earn using these techniques? Establish an emergency fund, pay off debt, and then save for retirement!

by J.D.

4 Defense Strategies to Becoming A Millionaire

Something happened to me that completely took over my mind and made me think non-stop about money. I completely transformed every facet of my existence to thinking more and more like a millionaire. Come on, you know you have it bad when you think about it during sex.

What type of mindset do you have to have in order to become a millionaire? First off, let me say that I am a firm believer that in order to reach a goal you must first be the specific person, that takes the actions, that reach that goal. Be, do, have! I’m also a firm believer that one is much better off learning proper money management techniques while they have 1 dollar, instead of waiting until later in life and not knowing how to manage.

Dr. Thomas J. Stanley has taken a couple of decades of his life to do extensive field research on millionaires. In fact he has surveyed and personally interviewed +1,000 millionaires during this time. Carefully analyzing this statistical data, as well as their direct advice, and coming up with many fundamental success principles that are shared by these millionaires.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to the audio version of Dr. Stanley’s book ‘The Millionaire Mind’. The facts I learned surprised me, but more importantly they changed my paradigm, and my actions towards money.

I’ll share a few of the interesting and unexpected facts I learned in this book, and if you’re interested you can certainly find the book at Amazon or your local library. Remember these facts are statistically significant for MOST millionaires, not all of them. The mentality could be used by anyone for success.

Defensive Money Strategies from Real Millionaires

House Purchases. Real Millionaires do not get houses custom built, nor do they move into new developments. They live in clusters with each other in OLD neighborhoods, in OLD houses. Most are 15 years old and they often triple in price since their purchases.

Clothing Purchases. They aren’t going to buy really expensive clothes. They may frequent thrift shops or even Walmart to get their clothes. So don’t be embarrassed to go cheap, just think of it as acting like a millionaire. They will buy really expensive shoes, and resole them when necessary. Since they’ll wear them for a couple of decades the cost per wear will be marginal compared to constantly replacing a cheap pair.

Furniture Purchases. Real millionaires do not buy the latest styled furniture. They’ll go out and buy a $10,000 antique table made from REAL wood, not modern saw dust. They’ll repair and refinish this table when needed. They can keep it for a lifetime, pass it on to their children, and not worry about upgrading to the latest. Guess what? Antiques raise in value, so their net worth doesn’t take a hit at all! As far as other furniture goes, they re-upholster it a couple of times in their life time, which is way cheaper than buying new again.

Vehicle Purchases. Real millionaires will not buy the latest car while it’s still sitting on the lot. They’ll keep their cars well maintained for many years, and when it comes to make a new purchase they’ll find a used car that is in good condition. This way they can avoid that initial depreciation that comes with driving a brand new car off the lot.

First Cost Vs. Life Cycle Cost Defense Strategy

This applies to the amount of money that can be saved when purchasing an item, versus how much fixing and replacing this item will cost over a life time. The furniture purchases and shoe purchases I mention above are pretty good examples, but it can apply to many other situations as well.

A good example that Dr. Stanley used was in the case of paying a plumber to do some work for you. You might be able to buy a cheaper boiler, install it yourself, and save a few hundred dollars. However, you aren’t thinking about the big picture.

Factors To Consider

Your Working Hours. While you were being a do-it-yourselfer you weren’t generating income from your regular job. Even if the professional that you hired was earning more money per hour, you must consider the work you’re missing. If the plumber makes $100 and you make $75, then by doing it yourself you only saved $25 per hour.

Your Lack of Skills. Your lack of skills in this specific profession may cause unexpected monetary losses. The install will not go as planned and you will ruin the item that you purchased, having to spend more for a new one.

Possibility of Injury. Whatever you’re undertaking may cause an injury. If you were to be injured at your job, chances are your job would cover it. If the professional you hired were to be injured, his job would cover it. However, if you hurt yourself doing work around the house, you will be responsible for your own injuries.

Purchasers Insurance. When a professional does work for you it will often times come with an insurance. If a problem is to arise you just dial the number and get someone over to fix it. If you did the job yourself you’re taking more time off work to do the fixing yourself.

by Alex Shalman


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