5 Real Struggles of a Mompreneur

Are you considering dropping the day job to become a mompreneur? Honestly, I can say that there is no better time to launch a new business than the present. However, there are a lot of things people don’t tell you when you quit working for someone and start working for yourself.

Here are my top 5 tips that have saved me when I first launched my new boutique. For details on my business please visit www.mommyboutique.net.

  1. Taxes – Yes, we are all aware that Uncle Sam needs to get paid on anything you sell, but what they don’t tell you is that in the state of Florida, you have to file sales tax every 3 months! For someone who knows nothing about taxes, this was a huge wake-up call for me. Luckily, I spoke with a very patient and understanding lady from the IRS who walked me through the whole process. To avoid me having a panic attack the next time, I actually enrolled in a program called Tax Jar (This is an affiliate link). After not knowing what the heck I was doing I started researching tax programs and fell in love with Tax Jar. The reason is that they make it super easy for you. You link your website to theirs, then they provide you with all the information the Government will need, plus you can see your net profits. That’s not all, here is what sets Tax Jar apart from the others in this industry. You can enroll to have them file your quarterly taxes for you. Yep, that’s right! They do everything for you and honestly, it’s so worth it, so that I have peace of mind, and don’t have to worry about the stuff I know nothing about. I feel confident that they have my back. Check them out, you’ll thank me later https://taxjar.grsm.io/MOMMYBOUTIQUE
  2. Wages – As a work at home mom or Mompreneur you expect to get paid for all your efforts right? WRONG! Yeah, you’ll make money when you sell stuff, but all those hours you’re promoting your brand, organizing, buying products, and doing sales pitches are all your time. Now, there will come a point when all those hours will pay off and you’ll be able to pat yourself on the back for sticking with it through the hard times, but believe me, there are many hard times. This is something no one ever tells you. They say yeah, quit your job and work for yourself, but they don’t tell you the long hours you’ll be grinding away, learning your craft. The hours you will spend arguing with your spouse over money issues, and the times you will have to tell your kids no ice cream when the ice cream truck comes around. Being a mom is hard, but adding your own business takes it to a whole new level. Now, don’t get me wrong I would not trade working at home, for anything. My kids get to be a part of my job, they even do live video’s with me on YouTube. But no one ever tells you about the real-life struggles that you face, the long hours, and the exhaustion that sets in when you are first starting out. You do way more work then what you get paid for at first. Our goal is to get to a point where all these efforts pay off, and we are able to hire someone else in our place! But don’t go into this thinking you’re going to be making a lot of money at first. The money follows the efforts! 
  3. Sweat – Blood, sweat, and tears! We’ve all heard the saying, but when you’re a mom working for yourself that brings on an entirely new meaning. For me, I mean literally sweating! I have a booth at a flea market every Monday and I sweat. Some day’s I do really well and I can say the day was worth it, other days I’m sitting in the Florida heat for hours and never make one sale. During the summer I had to drag my kids along with me and they had to endure the heat as well. I mean let’s be honest who can afford childcare these days? Especially for kids in diapers (FORGET IT)! So, on those days with no or little sales, you really start to question if you made the right decision. From experience, I want to push you to hang in there. Consistency wins people’s trust. If you can stick with it during the slow times, you’re going to see the benefits during the busy seasons. At least that’s how it’s been for me. Most of us become mompreneurs and work at home mom’s (WAHM), so we won’t have to pay a babysitter or daycare, so keep in mind some days are harder than others. Remember you are building a legacy, and hopefully one day your children can take it over, or help you with it when they are older. That’s my plan anyway. 
  4. Balance – This is one I talk about a lot on my podcast – WAHM RADIO. Balancing your daily life with kids, and your work is not easy. Most of us have errands to run, chores to do, a to-do list, and not to mention if you’re married, then that list gets even longer. You have to worry about dinner, girl scouts/boy scouts, tutoring, Bible class, speech class, laundry, dishes, and afterschool sports. We have to help with homework, baths, lunches, diapers, and the list goes on and on. This is before we even start to focus on our work at home job. So balance is your lifeline. No one ever told me that you’d have to be very disciplined to stay at home and work. The reason I say this is because your bed is going to look mighty cozy once your baby takes a nap mid-day, and the never-ending list gets overwhelming. However, to combat this, I have learned to set alarms and schedules. I give myself a daily schedule. We all have smartphones, so get out your calendar app and start giving yourself a daily schedule. Then set alarms for everything. I have about 30 alarms that go off during the day. They range from: it’s time to feed the baby lunch”, to “go pick up the girls from school”, or “do marketing on social media”. I have to give myself a small task that I know I can finish in order to get anything done. Otherwise, I will leave everything until tomorrow and then nothing get’s done. Time management is going to be your best friend when running your own business! 
  5. Getting incorporated – When starting a small business, one of the most asked questions I get is when should I incorporate? I have had many businesses in my life, some have been successful, some not so much, but here is one thing I’ve learned through the years. When you start making enough money to cover your business cost and daily living wage, then you need to consider an LLC or Corp. Now, I can not advise you as to what is best for your business. I’ve been on both sides and had LLC’s as well an S – Corp so you’d want to speak with a business advisor on what will fit your company best. The reason I say to incorporate once you see profits is to protect yourself and your business.  When you become a legal corporation you no longer are liable for anything that may happen through the business. Right now, if you were to get sued they could take your house, your car and any other assets you may have. When you have an LLC or Corporation, now the business has it’s own set of assets and they can no longer go after your individual assets. Plus, it’s a great way to record your income, and prove you are a dedicated business owner to your clients or customers. Most people want to see the LLC or INC behind the name. It builds trust and helps people know you’re not just playing around, but in it for the long haul. If you are selling cakes for friends on Facebook, then maybe waiting is a good idea, but if you have an online store like me “Mommy Boutique” then perhaps getting incorporated is worth it. Along with this comes other factors like business licenses, tax licenses, county licenses and so on. Be sure you have someone to speak to about all the requirements for your state. If you’re in Florida here is where you would go to get incorporated. http://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/

 

There is a lot that I can’t cover in a blog post, but I hope this gives you some things to consider when becoming a mompreneur. We are powerful, we are worthy, and we can accomplish great things when we put our mind’s to it. Together we stand as women, and support each other on our daily grind that is life, working from home, kids, spouses, and all the in-betweens!

 

 

 

 

Start a photography business

Do you love taking photos? How about starting your own photography business?

It’s easier than ever before to take amazing photos. You don’t even need a $500 camera to do it. You can take amazing photos just using your smartphone.

Download a good editing software from your computer, and you have yourself a great startup to your new photography business.

Make a portfolio

The easiest way to get known is by having a good portfolio. Anytime we have hired a photographer for family photos, I always check out their profile page, and look through all their photos. I want to make sure we will get good results from our session.

When you first start out, you’re not going to have a lot of photos to show clients, so you’re going to have to start offering FREE services to your family and friends, in return for good reviews, and rights to use their images for your portfolio.

After getting a least five different groups, or individuals, you will have enough to start charging for your photos. Remember photo sessions are fun, and you want it to be low pressure for your customers. Have poses lined up, and don’t ask them to pose. Unless they are professionals, having them pose themselves turn out bad in photos. Believe me, anytime a photographer said just pose yourself how you feel comfortable, I always came out looking constipated!

Side income, or full-time income

Starting a photography business can be a great side income, or full-time income if you get the right clients. A very good friend of mine landed a job at National Geographic because he took really amazing photos of animals and bugs.

One of the ladies who took our photos rented a storage unit with AC for her studio. I was a little apprehensive when I pulled into the storage lot, but she had it decorated really cozy, and it was two units put together, so there was a lot of space. She had a nice cozy chair to sit, with a mirror, and even a tiny play area for the kids. Then on the other side was all her camera equipment and backdrops. It was honestly a very inexpensive way to have a studio set up. The photos she took came out great.

You can get creative with this type of business. You don’t have to have a studio. You can take photos on location. I personally love the way those photos come out way better than being in a studio. And without a studio, you have no overhead.

Just use what you have to start

To start out, just use what you have. Use your smartphone, take great photos, and invest in a photoshop or a good editing software.

At first, you don’t even need a website. Create an Instagram account and a Facebook business page for your photography and add your photos there. Promote it and see if you can book some sessions. Once you start making some money, then invest in a website. As you continue getting business, buy better equipment. Let your clients buy your supplies so that you won’t have a big up-front investment.

As time goes on and you get better known, then invest in Facebook advertising. You can customize the market you want your ad to show to and bring in the clients you want.

This is a great hobby, side income, or could become a full-on business if you want it to. Find your niche and go all in or do it all. There are so many adventures to roam with photography. You can shoot weddings, baptisms, birthday parties, babies, animals, bugs, wildlife, plants, headshots, the list goes on and on.

Get creative, and make it happen. Stop thinking about it and do it! That’s the hardest part… Doing it!

Unplug and make connections

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Family Connections – Why we unplug.  

We are all attached to our smartphones and laptops but once in a while, we need to unplug.

As a work at home mom, I am on the computer eight-plus hours a day. It’s so easy to get caught up in working because it’s right at my fingertips.
I have three kids, and monkey sees, monkey do! My two daughters are constantly using their tablet or on their phones as well. I can’t be upset being I am doing the same thing. However, because I understand that we live in a time where devices control our attention, we have made a few rules that I believe keeps us strong and connected as a family.

The first rule is every night we have dinner together as a family. No devices are allowed at the table during that time, and we make a point of talking about our day. We ask each other the highs and lows of the day. It’s a fun way to get us all talking and listening to each other.

The other rule we do in our house is on weekends we spend time together. We play board games, go to the movies, bounce houses, have a dance party, and just have fun together. Once we have our fun, we will watch our favorite shows on Netflix, and perhaps before bed play some online games together. Sunday is when my husband is off work, and so this is the day we go to theme parks, visit family or travel. Sunday we are almost always unplugged unless we are visiting family with no kids. Then they can play on their tablet or phone for a short while.

No matter what your rules are in your house, it’s a good practice to have at least one day of family unplugged fun. It will not only make you feel better, but it will help your children feel a stronger bond towards you as they get older.

How face to face contact can help build your brand!

Unplugging at home is a great practice, but let’s dig into why it’s also just as important to unplug when you are starting your own business or working for a company at home.

It’s really easy to just rely on the internet for sales. It’s quick, convenient, and you can be online at all hours of the day or night. However, it’s not as easy to speak to potential clients or customers face to face. We tend to hide behind our keyboards, never wondering into the outside world.

One thing that I have found with all of the businesses I’ve started, is that it was vital for me to not depend solely on internet sales. You have to get out of your comfort zone and go to meet local people. Perhaps put flyers up at stores or pass out business cards.

A few things that really helped me grow my businesses were getting involved with mommy groups in my area. We have a program called MOPS (moms of preschoolers) and they are nationwide, so you should be able to find one in your area as well. Most of the time you see them being held at churches. This was a great way for me to meet local moms, as well as promote my businesses without being preachy, or spammy. Once I got to know the ladies, most want to know what I do for a living, and this is my opportunity to tell them.

Another great program you can get involved in is meetup groups. You can find them on Facebook, or online at meetup.com. Look for your area’s playgroups. If there is not one, then make one! If you are the admin of the group, this works even better in your favor because after a while of getting to know your group, hanging out with them, and learning about them, then you can ease into telling them about your business.

Meeting people locally is a wonderful way to get people interested in you as a person, and overall it builds your brand. You can join a bible study at your church or even a class on a topic that interests you. Find like-minded people to connect with, and grow your business with word of mouth advertising.

To quote Grant Cardone, start thinking to yourself “Who has my money?” Now, this is not to say be fake with meeting people. Don’t join the groups for the sole purpose of making a sale. Go in wholeheartedly to make connections. Your kids will benefit from the play dates, and you’ll get some much-needed adult time! So, it’s a win-win even if you don’t make a sale right away. You’ll be building your brand, making connections, meeting locals, having fun, and perhaps getting your business known around town, all at the same time.

Unplug once and a while – It does a body good!

Unplug from your daily internetwork and join a group of friends for coffee. It’s really going to help your morale to disconnect now and again!
Internet sales may be your main source of income, so keep plugging away at that, but don’t forget how important human face to face interaction is.

Even if you have a drop shipping eBay or Amazon business, you can still promote it with at a meetup. Just remember to hold back until they get to know you. Otherwise, people will feel you are pushy and it might scare them away. We all know that ONE PERSON! You know the one, she/he only calls because she/he needs to make a sale and wants you to order their product. Yeah, that one! Don’t be that one person. Instead be a friend, and make a sale because you are respected, not pushy!

Men, you’re included in these groups as well!

Unplug at home with your family at least once a week, to build a stronger connection, and get your mind clear for the following week of nonstop computer work. Then find a day that you can unplug for a meetup or mom’s group. It will be so worth it, with or without a sale. And for dad’s out there, don’t feel left out. Many churches have men’s groups, and there are also meetup groups for dad’s.

I always appreciate your support

If you liked what you read, and enjoy my podcast, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Your donations help me to continue making my work at home program better, and allows me more time to help you reach your work at home goals!

How to start a free podcast, get a custom URL and host it for free!

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This is a little off the cuff of my normal post, but I wanted to share something with you, that has been vital to building my brand.
Anytime you embark on building your own business, you need to get your voice heard. The way to do that is social media. However, you can’t stop there.

One of the biggest and best tools I’ve used to get my name out there has been by podcasting. When you get a podcast that starts to build engagement, I think it ranks you higher on so many levels.

Because of my podcast, I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world. As a matter of fact, I sent Girl Scout cookies to one of my listens in Ireland. I live in Florida, so this was pretty awesome.  I’ve spoken to many people from the UK and done interviews with people thousands of miles away. In all honestly podcasting is an amazing way to connect with people on a deeper level, from all walks of life.

There is something about the voice that creates a deeper level of comfort. More so than video, or text.
I wrote a blog post on this subject when Ileane Smith who is very big in the podcasting community, came on my WAHM RADIO show.

Today, I want to teach you how you can also build some great relationships by using a free podcasting app. It’s called Anchor.
You download the app from your phone’s play store and create your station. I have two stations and would love for you to check them out sometime. My first station is my Audio Blog, called Sheena Diane’s Audio Blog. This is where you join me on my day to day activities as a work at home mom with three kids. My second station is my professional station called WAHM Radio. This is where I give you all the tips and tricks on balancing daily life as you work from home, and also give you places to find real work at home jobs!

I’ve made many connections on these two channels. I’ve tried other podcasting platforms, but I always come back to Anchor. The reason being, is the social aspects are amazing. Your listeners can call you to comment on your segments, and also, they really seem to be more engaged with my content.

Once you create your station name and set up your account, now it’s time to start broadcasting to the world. I will warn you though, it get’s pretty addicting.

 

Learn to listen first.

Now, one of the biggest difference between Anchor, and some of the other platforms is to get engagement, you first have to be engaged with them. Meaning, if you just get on record your segment and close the app, you are not going to get many listens. You have to first listen to others. This does not mean just call into as many stations as possible to promote yours. The people of Anchor are very passionate, and as a matter of fact, we call ourselves the Anchor family. In order to get listeners, you must first learn to listen! Once you start building those relationships, you will see the numbers go up and creating content becomes exciting, because now you know people are actually listening and will call in to comment and interact with you.

 

Getting your personal domain name

Now that we covered how to get listeners on Anchor, let’s move on to getting yourself a personal URL. I have used Go Daddy for all of my website domain names. They have the best customer service by far. Anytime I’ve had a question, they are always very patient, and walk me through the issue.

Here is an example of my husband’s podcast URL. His channel is called Gator Johnny’s AudioPhile. So, I purchased the domain name www.GatorJohnny.com

 

A free way to set up web hosting for your podcast

If you only want your URL to be for your podcast then I have a simple and free way to set it up. However, if you want to do more with your site, and make it more of a blog, or informational website then you can message me for more info on that. Instagram or Facebook are the best places to reach me for questions.

If you’re here because you want a way to host your website for free, while promoting your FREE podcast, then this is for you! You can get a .com for as low as $9.99, depending on where you buy it. Go ahead and purchase that domain name without any other bells and whistles. Just buy the domain for one year at first. You can decide to renew it later. You also have the option to get a .info for even less money, so really, it’s up to you. As long as you can get the name you want the .com, net, info, or us, does not really matter.

You have your domain name, now what? Normally you’d have to buy hosting. It cost anywhere from $100 to $200 for the year. If you’re not really making money with your podcast yet, then this can really seem like a lot of money to drop.  Here is the solution. With Anchor, you have a domain name. For the sake of this example, we are going to use my husband’s podcast URL. https://anchor.fm/gatorjohnny 

I purchased the name I wanted, forwarded it to the Anchor address with masking, and now you can visit my husband’s podcast by going to Gator Johnny . com.

 

Video Tutorial purchasing your domain, and forwarding it to Anchor podcast.

Here is my video tutorial to guide you through it. I use Go Daddy, but the process should be similar no matter what domain site you purchase your name from. https://youtu.be/hEC7jYZnonE

Direct Sales MLM – Worth it or not?

Almost every day, a friend or family member of mine asked me to buy something from them. I get it on text messages, on social media and even over the phone. I’m sure you can relate to that feeling of, “oh no it’s Sally calling again, she’s wanting me to buy Avon”. We’ve all been there, and we all know someone who is selling something. To be completely transparent with you, I have done about 5 of these direct sale companies myself.

Mary Kay:

When Keira my firstborn came along I was determined to be a stay at home mom, so I joined Mary Kay. You pay $100 for the starter kit, you get brochures, a bag, and sample products to use at parties, plus your website is free for 3 months. You do have to sell so much within a 3-month span to keep you active as a consultant.

I did okay at first, but back 11 years ago the internet was not like it is today, and I had to do a lot of house parties. It cost me a lot of gas, and in products because I had to have the products to sell them. Needless to say, I could only make it about 1 year before I called it quits. I still love Mary Kay beauty products but the high price keeps people away.

Avon:

I needed to make extra income so when my second daughter Sasha came along I thought I’d try going with Avon. My mom had sold Avon, and I was familiar with a lot of their products cause I’ve used them all my life. When I joined Avon it was $25 to join, you had to buy your campaign books every two weeks, and had to sell a certain amount to stay active each month. The website is also free for three months, but you do pay $10 a month after that.

Now, I am not going to lie, I actually did really good with Avon. I got a downline and began making money even when I wasn’t selling due to the people who I signed up. I had regular customers, and even became the lead for my area. I really loved selling Avon, and it didn’t hurt that I also loved the products as well.

We ended up moving and I lost all my regulars. I actually did Avon for about 3 years before we moved, but it never was a full-time income. It gave me gas money but that’s about all. Needless to say, after losing my regulars, my business died a quick death.

Now Avon offers you 3 start-up kits. One that cost $25, one that’s $50 and one that’s $100. Funny thing is, I still get calls for Avon and I have not been active for over 5 years now.

Juice Plus:

After I went to work outside of the home when my youngest daughter turned 3, I worked in childcare. I was the pre-school assistant teacher and moved up to be in charge of the extended care department. Being around all those kids took its toll on my health, and I got sick a lot. One of the teachers suggested I start taking Juice Plus.

She said since she started taking the vitamins she hardly ever got sick. So, yet again I signed up to sell another product and this time it was Juice Plus. It cost you $50 to join but you do have to enroll in monthly shipments of the vitamins as well. I was okay with that being I needed them for work.

Honestly, I have to say they did work. When I was regularly taking Juice Plus, I hardly ever got sick. As a matter of fact, I was being called in to sub for the subs who had gotten the funk going around, and I was healthy as a horse, while everyone else was sick around me. Juice Plus is all the servings of vitamins and veggies your body needs in a day, put into a capsule. My kids even loved the vitamins gummies they have.

Overall, I never made a penny with Juice Plus. Not a cent! I bought it for myself, and my kids but ended up spending a lot of money on it because the cost of the vitamins were about $50 a month. Yes, they work. I did not get sick and did feel better, but honestly, that’s high way robbery in my eyes. $50 a month for vitamins! The worst part was that I could not sell them to anyone, no matter how hard I tried. Epic fail as far as virtual franchises go!

Jamberry Nails:

I told myself I was done with direct sales and didn’t want to have anything to do with them again. Well, my friend Joann called me and invited me to a girls party at her house doing our nails. I thought sure why not, sounds fun, plus I had never heard of Jamberry Nails before so I was curious.

I went to the party and had an absolute blast with all my mom friends. The nail wraps were so pretty. You cut them to fit your nail, then used this cute little heater to heat them up. Then you press them on and they stay on your nail for a few weeks. It was adorable and you can guess what happened. I was sold and ended up joining the team of my friend who had the party.

I have to admit, selling Jamberry nails was by far the easiest MLM I’ve ever done. The designs are so cute that they really sell themselves. Plus, they are very inexpensive. The nail wraps only cost $15 and you can do your toes twice & nails twice with that one sheet. The startup was $100 but you got a ton of stuff. I never did a house party with Jamberry nails, I did all my parties on Facebook and I did okay at first.

As far as perks go, Jamberry Nails is where it’s at. I got so many free wraps that I still have some to this day. It was short lived though, the fad died after only 5 months of me selling it. I think it was also my fault because I started getting aggravated that my hair would get stuck in my wraps while I was taking a shower. I’d get so frustrated that I’d tear them off and it started damaging my nails. Again, my fault, but it was pretty annoying.

Scentsy:

After yet again swearing I was done with these MLM things, I got introduced to the amazing smelling world that is Scentsy. I am a sucker for nice smells. I love candles and always had them burning in my house until my younger daughter burned her finger by putting it in the hot wax one day.

After that, I threw out my candles and started using plug-ins. That was until I was invited to a Scentsy party with a lady from my church. I was hooked from the moment I walked into her house and smelled the baked apple pie scent.

The warmers never get hot enough to burn little fingers, and the wax has no chemicals. I promised myself I was not going to join another MLM so instead, I bought Scentsy from her. I think I was probably her best customer because I bought a lot of Scentsy. After a few months, she says to me, “you know Sheena, as much as you buy from me it would be worth it for you to sign up and be a consultant so you can get the discount and just buy from yourself.” Lightbulb! I bet you can guess what happened next!

Yep, I signed up and am still currently selling Scentsy. Although I only made money during Christmas, the rest of the time I just buy from myself. Plus Scentsy, as much as I love the products, makes it really hard to ship. In order to get free shipping, you have to make $200 in sales. So, if you have a party that only makes $100 in sales, then your host has to cover shipping, and I just think that stinks. Plus, you have to pay for shipping for the catalogs, and any marketing materials you buy.

The perks are not good like others I’ve seen, and the warmers can be as much as $50 or more, for one warmer. So a little on the costly side in my opinion. I honestly just love the scents and how my house smells every day. I’ve tried other things and Scentsy has the best smelling scents by far. That’s really the only reason I still sell it. However, I have not made my quota this month, so I will probably lose my consultant status come next month. I’m honestly okay with that, I think I’d rather buy from someone else then have to spend $200 every three months.

Pros and cons:

So, why did I tell you about these experiences?  I wanted you to see that I have done many multi-level marketing sales. It’s true you can make money doing them if you hustle. Yes, I know people who drive the pink Mary Kay car and have opened an Avon store. Even the lady who I signed up for Scentsy with is a director now because she’s made so many sales. She’s been on two cruises just last year paid for by Scentsy, so yes it’s possible to make money doing these businesses.

Pros:

  1. When I was doing these MLM businesses, It did teach me how to market my products, and how to conduct myself as a businesswoman.
  2. I gained some great people skills and learned to speak in front of a group comfortably.
  3. Confidence and excitement about the products kept me going.
  4. Learned a lot of skills on what to do and what not to do.
  5. Direct sales gave me a goal to work towards.

Cons:

  1. Didn’t really make enough money to make an impact.
  2. You become THAT person that everyone hates to talk to.
  3. Friends start avoiding your calls, messages, and text.
  4. You spend more money on products then you sell to keep you at consultant status.
  5. You are your best customer and sometimes the only customer.

But let’s break it down for a minute.

You pay $100 on average to join this MLM company. You become the representative or salesperson for that company. Then it’s your job to market the crap out of it to make a sale. Now this MLM company is getting FREE marketing because you’re doing it for them. But wait, then after you make a sale, you don’t get to keep that money…nope, you only get to keep a small percentage of that sale you just did all that work for.

Some of the companies I signed up for, were as little as 10% of my sales. So here I am, working my butt off, taking time away from my family to work this MLM business to make my sale so that I can stay in the representative status for a lousy 10%! Let’s think about this for a second. The company has all these people all over the world selling their products, having you do all the work, and then asking you to pay them for it!

Let’s go even further, you are not only doing a lot of work for very little back, but you also have to buy a certain amount of products each month to stay active. Or you have to sell a certain amount of products to continue having the consultant status. So, you pay to join the company, and pay to keep selling the products, while only making a small amount back, does this still sound like a good business plan for your future goals?

When you join these companies they sell you on a business idea. You’ll be your own boss, leave your corporate job behind and have freedom. But, what you’re not seeing is they are getting rich from your hard work, while you are only making pennies.

Anytime you join these companies the first thing they tell you to do is write down 20 names of people you know right now, that you can sell these products to. That might be okay at first, but I know from experience that I avoid those friends now.

True story, I had a really close friend who I adored, started selling a diet product and would only call me to ask me for a sale. After a while, I stopped answering her calls, and sadly we hardly talk anymore. It happens with family members as well. You don’t hear from someone in a long time, and they message you out of the blue, you get all excited, just to realize they want you to join their jewelry company.

I was that person, I got blocked by friends who were tired of me pitching my products. I get it, I hate that as well, and when you join these MLM just understand you will start to be disliked. You will upset your friends, and you might even lose some friends due to it. So in the simplest terms possible, before considering this type of thing, ask yourself, do you want to be hated?

I have a solution if you are still wanting to have your own business. I’m putting together a mentoring program where I will be coaching you on how to find work at home jobs, or how to start your own! If this is something you’d be interested in here is a short survey for you. As a bonus, if you leave your email address, you’ll be among the first to be notified when the program is starting.

 

 

 

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Sell your stuff as a job!

Make money by going to flea markets!

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Have you ever tried to sell your stuff on one of those marketplace sites before? I know I have many times. You get a rush when you sell that item and have cash in your hand. Why not do it for a living?

My children and I stopped by our local K-Mart to grab some coffee pods for my Keurig. I knew the store was closing and thought it would be a great way to get a lot of coffee on sale. I ended up getting a ton of coffee pods because they were seventy-five percent off! As I was looking around the store, and yelling to myself, “Sheena, you just came in for coffee, don’t wonder”, I kept thinking man, I could buy some of this stuff and make a killing on eBay right now!

I have a good friend of mine who actually sells stuff on online as her only job. She goes to yard sales with her husband every weekend and buys stuff. They go to flea markets, and second-hand stores and buy things that they know will sell for more on Amazon, eBay, or a marketplace like Facebook, and she makes a profit from those items. I remember one time she found an American Girl Doll in perfect condition at a Good Will for $5 and sold it for over $300 because it a classic that was no longer being made! That was all profit, and an amazing find I might add!

You’ve come to my blog because you are searching to make money from home. This is a great way to start. Even if you’re not ready to buy stuff to sell, why not go out to your garage or closet and sell stuff that you haven’t looked at in years? Test it out on eBay, and see if your items will sell. Now, my friend has a specific category that she sells in. You don’t have to do that, but it has worked really well for her. She only sells kid stuff. It started out with her just selling her son’s clothes, and toys. Then when her daughter was born she realized just how quickly kid stuff sells and how some toys are worth a lot of money! Her husband has joined in on this and he sells vintage video games stuff. He sells pretty much anything with an old video game image, or the toys, or the shirts, games, anything that has a video game theme he sells it! They have become very successful doing this and even though her husband still works a full-time job out of the house, she has made this her full-time work at home job and only works it on the weekends going to the yard sales & flea markets. After that, it’s just the time it takes to list it and wait for the money to roll in!

There is a lot of potential for this sort of business. If you find you’re having success with selling your own stuff, move on to buying from stores that are closing, or second-hand stores, then start making even more money! Why stop there? Once you get to the point where you know what sells, what to buy, and how much you will make from that item, why not move into manufacturing your own items to sell. You can call manufacturing companies, and buy a product you like in bulk for cheap, then sell it on your store for more. A lot of people do that and it’s made them a lot of money. If you go on Youtube, you will find literally hundreds of videos of people doing just that!

What are you waiting for? Go do your research on what’s selling on eBay, then download the eBay scanner tool as well as the Amazon tool, and start scanning stuff around your house. See what you can sell your stuff for right now. Let me warn you, it does get addicting! But that’s not always a bad thing. Good luck my friends!

What is your brilliant idea?

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Today I want to touch on a great idea I saw in a magazine while I was on a mother-daughter date with my 7-year-old, Sasha. She was getting a haircut, and I was reading an entrepreneur magazine. I was so blown away by the article I read, that I had to do a podcast about it. Click the link above to hear the whole story.

What a unique and wonderful idea this is! A mobile tea party! I was intrigued and a little upset I didn’t think of it first. See, I have 2 daughters and we love going to the tea rooms for special bonding time. We dress up fancy, wear pretty hates, and act like we are royals in the English castle. It’s fun and we love it. So, when I read that someone had brilliantly made this into a mobile party business, I thought this was the best idea ever! This lady packs all her fine china, her scones, fancy hats, gloves, and lace and brings it directly to you. She also sells the hats and accessories if you wish to keep them, or you can just use them for the day and give them back. She has a mobile heating station to heat up the pots of tea and to keep the scones warm. In the magazine I was reading for this particular lady, it said she was making a 6 figure income with her tea party business! That’s simply amazing.

Now it’s your turn to come up with a brilliant idea to make money from home, or on your terms! Why can’t this be you I’m talking about? What if I opened up that magazine and it was you who was making a 6 figure income with your mobile business? Guess what! It can be….

If someone can come up with this out of the box idea, then why can’t you and I come up with something brilliant too? The truth is you really do have something that someone out there wants. The trick is figuring out what that something is! If you are looking to start a business, think outside of the box. Throw away the thought that you are too old, or that you just can’t.  If this tea party lady would have thought like that, then she would not be making 6 figures right now. Do you have a story you’ve been wanting to write for years and can’t make time to write it? If Stephenie Meyer would have kept putting off the story that she wanted to write, then the world would have never had Twilight. That was a phenomenon, all because she put her words on paper. What is your brilliant idea? We all have one, don’t be scared to try. The truth is we might fail, but if you don’t try you can never win!

I would love to hear what your brilliant ideas are and if you’d like to reach me on social media I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook! As always you can email me below! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

10 tips to help you start a business in 2018!

Are you thinking of starting a business in 2018?

Here are some pointers to help you along the way. I have started a lot of businesses. Some have been a success, and others barely made a profit. There are a lot of things to consider before jumping right into getting incorporated. One big mistake I’ve made was not having a clear business plan before starting. When my husband and I started our first business, it was a dog training business called The Doggy Guru. We did great at first, but as the business grew my husband could not keep up with the demand, and we eventually had to shut the doors. Now, you might be thinking if you were growing, why would you have to close? We were growing in customers, but still not making enough money to hire additional trainers, and that caused him to only be able to take on so many new clients. What ended up happening is my husband got burnt out within only a few short years, and decided it was time to move on. If we would have had a set business plan, we would have been prepared for the spike in clients and knew how to deal with that. Just jumping head first into owning a business will be a sure way to fail, it may not happen at first, but over time without a clear guideline of where you want to go with your business, you end up getting stuck, scared, and lost!

After that, we learned that we needed a clear goal and business plan, so our next business was a great success. We started a commercial cleaning company called Matos Clean. I had a business plan, we had rules and guidelines for employees, and even had a lawyer who helped with the paperwork. This business felt different going in because we knew we had all our ducks in a row. Businesses saw how professional our paperwork was, and we got hired early on with some big companies. We even got a contract with an apartment complex that gave us steady work. What we didn’t plan for was a bad employee. Yeah, we went through all the proper channels and background checks, but still, you never know if a person is going to be a good employee. We were cleaning a big bank, and we had just hired a new guy. A really sweet older man and he and my husband got along right away. During one of the routine cleanings of the bank, this new guy stole money! Yep, he stole money from every single donation jar in the bank. Now, because this was a very large bank there were jars in every office and on most of the counters. There are camera’s everywhere, and needless to say, the next day we got a call from the police, asking us to meet with the bank supervisor. We were terrified and didn’t know what to expect until we saw the camera footage. We were embarrassed, devastated, and also grateful the bank did not press charges on us. Instead, they asked us to pay back what was taken from the jars, and since it was donations they really had no idea how much it was, so they gave us a number, and it pretty much bankrupted our little business. I don’t tell you this to scare you, instead, I tell you this to prepare you. We hired the wrong person and that untimely was our demise. You may do everything right and by the book, but there is always going to be something unexpected that pops up no matter what business you have, so have a little money stashed away for those incidents, just in case. I just hope that never happens to you!

Here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way by owning businesses. This info is based in Florida, as this is the only state I’ve ever started a business in, so be sure to check your state’s guidelines, and county licenses needed before going any further with a business plan!

1. Paying customers– Before you ever even think about getting incorporated be sure you have a product or service that people want. If you don’t have clients already, then you may be wasting money by starting a business. If you have a product, test it by selling in on Ebay, or Facebook first. If you want to bake cakes, sell them to friends and family to be sure you can actually make a profit. If you’re offering a service, get a portfolio of jobs, or gigs you have done so that you will have references once you start your business. Ultimately, you don’t want to spend money on getting your licenses if you don’t already have interest in your product or service. With our business Sunshine Breeders, we were selling the worms long before we started our LLC.  The reason we had to incorporate, is that we started selling the worms to local stores, who could only pay us if we had a business checking account. In order to get a business checking, you have to have a registered business.

2. Business plan – I know I touched on this earlier, but it’s vital to have a set-out goal or plan for what you want for your business. Starting a business just because you have customers is not going to last long term. Don’t be too anxious, patients is a blessing sometimes. You need a clear idea of where you want your business to go, how much money you expect to make, if you want employees, or what your end goal is for this business. Having these ideas are going to help you focus on them, and help make those goals happen, it’s also going to keep you on track for what you need to change if you missed the goals in the first year. I can’t stress enough how important this is when you are thinking of starting a business. Also, a great idea is a vision board or journal for your business goals. If you want help with writing a business plan feel free to email me. SheenaDiane@gmail.com

3. Should you get an LLC– This is a question I get asked a lot and it’s one that’s honestly hard to answer. Currently, our business is an LLC but when we had our cleaning business it was an S Corporation. Here is the definition found on www.legalzoom.com “A limited liability company (LLC) combines elements of a partnership, sole proprietorship, and a corporation. Consider your type of business, personal assets, and liability risk when deciding whether to form an LLC. what does LLC mean? Limited liability means that its owners, also called members, are usually not personally responsible for the LLC’s debts and lawsuits. If an LLC files for bankruptcy, the members do not have to use personal money to pay the company’s debts. If the LLC faces a lawsuit, the members do not risk losing their home to cover a settlement”.

4. What is an S Corp – Here is what an S Corp is – this was taken directly from the IRS website: “S corporations are corporations that elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S corporations report the flow-through of income and losses on their personal tax returns and are assessed tax at their individual income tax rates. This allows S corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income. S corporations are responsible for tax on certain built-in gains and passive income at the entity level. To qualify for S corporation status, the corporation must meet the following requirements:
• Be a domestic corporation
• Have only allowable shareholders
o May be individuals, certain trusts, and estates and
o May not be partnerships, corporations or non-resident alien shareholders
• Have no more than 100 shareholders
• Have only one class of stock
• Not be an ineligible corporation (i.e. certain financial institutions, insurance companies, and domestic international sales corporations).
Whether you get an S corp, C corp or LLC really depends on what you want out of your business. I suggest speaking with a business lawyer, or Business advisor on the correct one to choose. There is also Sole Proprietorship and that is where you act as the business using your own social. However, I was advised against that being if you ever get sued or go in debt all your assets like your house, car, etc. become the businesses and you can lose everything you own in your name. If you are incorporated as an LLC or S Corp then the business acts as a separate entity and your personal assets cannot be touched!

5. Marketing – One thing I had to learn the hard way, to have a successful business of any sort, you have got to learn to market it. Going back to the Doggy Guru days, I would have spent all day long marketing for my husband, and it paid off because again we got so much business we had to turn people away. I had to learn the hard way on what worked and what didn’t. You have got to have some sort of online presence so that people will buy whatever it is your selling. This does not necessarily mean you need to run out and buy a website right away. Places like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter can act as your website until you start making enough money to put back into the business. If you are not good at marketing but have high hopes for your business, I would suggest hiring someone to market your business for you. It really is going to make or break your business. It’s the difference between having friends and family as customers, to growing into a big enough business that you have customers for years to come. Social media is really the best and most cost-friendly way to market. If you need tips on this, check out Gary Vaynerchuk, he is literally the master of social media, and he has taught me so much more than I ever would have learned on my own. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3w3YvhbHVA

6. Knowledge is power – I say this a lot but it’s so true. If you are going to brand any type of product or service, you have to be knowledgeable about what the people want. If you are not reading about your craft and learning all there is to know, then what makes you stand out next to the other guy selling something. There are no original ideas. We are all fighting for someone to spend their money on whatever it is we are selling. If you are not an expert in your craft, then I’m going to go to someone else who can answer my questions about the product or service. You have to know everything there is to know about your business. If you don’t know it, then research it. Get the answer and memorize it!

7. Customer Service – This by far goes such a long way. For instance, I also sell Scentsy, the scented wax, but there are literally hundreds of people in my area selling Scentsy. So, why would you buy from me? I strive to give great customer service. I will meet you wherever you need me to, I will take time out of my day to speak with you if you have questions, and I always give thank you cards, or gifts when you purchase from me. I go above and beyond for my customers and they know that when they book a party with me, they are going to get lots of goodies in return. Another example of this is our phone company. Note, that I am not being paid in any way, shape, or form to plug T-Mobile, but I’m going to use them as an example. We have been with T-Mobile for over 12 years. Do you know why? Because their customer service is amazing. I can’t tell you the number of times they have replaced our phones or given us a discounted phone. They may not have the best cellular service, nor the best data plans, but we would not go anywhere else because over the past 12 years T-Mobile has given us the best customer service possible. No, the customer is not always right, and yes, there will be times people will try to take advantage, but the truth is, keeping the customer happy makes everyone’s life a little better. Without good customer service, it’s going to be hard to keep people coming back.

8. Taxes – This is one of those things that I have no clue about, but, it’s also something I didn’t think about when starting our first few businesses. When you are a business owner, the taxes that come out of your check in a regular job no longer happens. You have to manually deduct the taxes from your income. What helped me was having two bank accounts. I had my main business account, and I had my tax account. I actually set up a checking and savings together and used the business savings for taxes only. This way when it was time to file, I would not get a huge tax bill that I had no clue how I was going to pay. Another suggestion I can give unless you are an accountant yourself is to hire a CPA to help in this department. The last thing you want is to not file your taxes correctly and get the IRS after you.

9. Files – Be sure you keep all your receipts going out and coming in. A huge help to me was getting Quickbooks. Yes, it is a bit costly. I want to say it cost about $200, but in my opinion, it’s worth it to keep everything organized and filed. I get sidetracked really easily, so having a program like this really keeps me accountable. If I don’t file a receipt, then I won’t have the correct amount on my budget paperwork. Definitely look into purchasing a program like Quickbooks to help you keep everything in one place, and keep all your sales in order. You will need this at the end of the year when filing your taxes or when filing your business report. I also use a filing system with folders. You can set up one folder for income, and one for business expenses.

10. Florida – Because I live in Florida I register my business name through Sunbiz.org. Depending on where you live you will have guidelines to follow. Also, depending on the county you live in you might need a county license in order to do business in your area. I say do all the above before paying to get incorporated, let getting an LLC or S corp be the last thing you do. The reason I say this is because you don’t want to drop $150 bucks if you’re not truly ready for the long haul in your business. There are so many little steps you will learn along the way. You will make mistakes, but learn from them and keep moving forward. Once you register your name on Sunbiz.org then you will need to get a tax ID number. You can get this by going to IRS.com. It’s pretty easy, you just fill out the form with your new business info that you get from Sunbiz, then you get emailed your tax ID or EIN. With this number, you can open a business bank account, and have a business PayPal. If you are not sure where to find info for your state, call your local tax office. They can direct you to the right locations, and answer a lot of your questions.

I hope that my experiences can help you in yours. I want to wish you a very prosperous 2018, and all the best in starting your new business! I am always glad to help, and love hearing from you so feel free to shoot me an email below, or find me on social media! Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter.

Check out my podcast on starting a business: https://anchor.fm/sheenawahm?at=2125452