A Home-Based Business Online
Sent to 2,523 subscribers
Editor: Elena Fawkner
Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
Contact By Email
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Welcome and Update from the Editor
2. Home-Based Business Idea of the Week
3. Feature Article - Look Before You
Leap ... Is A
Home-Based Business REALLY
4. Guest Article - The Importance of
5. E-Book Review - Don't Mess With the
8. This Week's Web Site Pick
9. Next Week
11. Subscription Management
13. Contact Information
1. Welcome and Update from the Editor
Hello again and a warm welcome to all new subscribers!
Well, it's been another week of webhost server problems
unfortunately. If you've had difficulty accessing the
AHBBO website or have had email returned, that's why.
All now appears to be back to normal though, for now at
A reminder that the AHBBO newsletter publishing tutorial
starts January 21. If you've been thinking about starting
your own online newsletter (ezine) but haven't known
where to start, this tutorial is what you've been looking
Remember, this newsletter is for YOU! If you have comments
or suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed,
or would just like to share your experiences with other
subscribers, I want to hear from you! Please send comments,
questions and stories to: Contact By Email
2. Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Gettin' Crafty
It's great to delve into an interesting hobby such as
artwork, photography, or crafting paper jewelry. It's even
more exciting (and financially rewarding) to turn your
special talents into a successful home-based business.
That's exactly what Mary Maturi of Cleveland Ohio, Leslie
Croyle of Bay Village, Ohio, and Marlene Stephenson of
Virginia, Minnesota, did. Each turned her hobby into a cash-
generating business complete with paying customers and a
These aren't isolated stories. Men and women across the
country are joining the ranks of entrepreneurs converting
hobbies into money-paying propositions. It's important to
note that none of these women originally planned to start a
business. On the contrary, interest by others in their
hobbies convinced them to sell their work.
MARY MATURI'S KILLER WHALES
Mary Maturi markets a line of "Killer Whale" petroglyph
tee-shirts, sweat shirts, and note cards both in Alaskan
gift shops and in natural history museums in the lower
It all started when Mary and her family spent a year living
in Wrangell, a small town located on Wrangell Island in
southeast Alaska. One day Mary ventured down to Petroglyph
Beach on the island. Petroglyphs are ancient rock carvings
left by an unknown people. Using rice paper and different
colored ferns, Mary "rubbed" the petroglyphs to capture
their images on paper. When others saw her rubbings, they
offered to buy them.
"People's interest really surprised me, so I thought of
other ways to share the uniqueness of the petroglyphs
without having to deal with their awkward size (some were
several feet in length). That's how the "Killer Whale"
notecards were born," Mary says. Using her rubbings as a
guide, she created smaller scale pen and ink drawings
which she took to a printer to get price quotes for paper,
printing and envelopes.
"The major cost of printing is making the plates. Therefore,
it's wise to get price quotes for different runs of 1,000,"
says Mary. For example, a run of 3,000 cards might cost
around 10 cents per card while a run of 6,000 note cards
could drop that per unit cost below 8 cents per card. That
decreases your card cost by more than 20 percent - quite a
saving. Mary also recommends getting bids from several
suppliers or even splitting up the order.
While printers know how to price their printing
competitively, they don't make their own envelopes. Mary
uses the least costly printer that can deliver the quality
of paper stock she desires, but buys her envelopes from a
warehouse specialist at a saving of nearly 35 percent from
prices quoted by printers and other envelope suppliers. It
pays to let your fingers do the walking and get competitive
Once Mary obtained the cost estimates, she visited several
gift stores and museums to gather pricing information on
competing notecards. She also talked to store owners and
museum managers to determine their interest in ordering.
After all, it would make no sense to have the notecards
printed unless buyers would purchase at prices that can
generate a profit.
LESLIE CROYLE'S PHOTO-FINISH
Leslie Croyle converted her love of photography and knack
for framing into a full-fledged photo decorating business.
Leslie and two friends offered for sale enlarged photos of
popular Cleveland events such as the start of the Revco-
Cleveland Marathon & 10K, and a spectacular shot of the
United Way Kickoff's release of thousands of colored
balloons in Public Square.
"We hired several photographers to cover the events and used
the best photographs of the bunch," says Leslie.
Advertisements for photo promotion proved popular. The trio
sold 600 photos at prices ranging from $8 to $10 a piece,
gathering a bit less than $5,400 in revenues. Not bad for
the first venture. Unfortunately, the combined cost of ads
and fees for the photographers ate up the $5,400 and more.
"Although we ended up with a loss, it gave us a lot of
market exposure and a proven track record," says Leslie.
Next, Leslie and her friends put together a portfolio of
photographs and contacted local businesses. This marketing
move landed them a job of photo decorating PJ McIntyre's
Restaurant in a Cleveland shopping center. "We tied into
the nostalgia theme of the restaurant by contacting area
historical societies and arranging to have their vintage
photographs copied. It's important to make sure you have
the right to reuse the prints. Ask for proper releases and
permission to use whatever photos you have copied," advises
She stresses the importance of networking industry contacts.
A decorating firm they worked with on one project led to
additional work when that firm recommended Leslie and her
partners to some of their other clients.
Since 1987, the photo decorating business has progressed
well since its initial unprofitable photo event ventures.
Major projects include photo decorating the guest rooms and
suites for the historic Glidden House, which has been made
into a unique bed and breakfast, and an all-sports photo
motif for the Grand Slam Bar & Restaurant in the refurbished
Cleveland Flats night spot area.
"From our humble beginnings, we're now getting into some
pretty good sized jobs," says Leslie. "Just keep bumbling
along - don't give up."
MARLENE STEPHENSON'S PAPER PROFITS
Marlene Stephenson makes her money tearing paper. Actually,
her unique sculptured jewelry draws rave reviews wherever
she wears it. In fact, people routinely ask to buy her
unique designs right off her dress when she appears at
Marlene is a medical technician by trade, and her paper
profits grew out of a coffee get-together group of friends
that met once a week to try their hands at new craft ideas.
One day one of the ladies brought a book on making paper
jewelry. "I just fell in love with it and made a pin and
some earrings to wear to a business meeting. Lots of the
women at the meeting asked me to make some for them also,"
As with any fashion item, Marlene pays attention to color
schemes and design. Even though she makes several copies of
different designs, each is unique in color, shading, size,
and even texture. Marlene crafts her one-of-a-kind jewelry
to match her customers' special outfits.
"With any small business, it's important to link up with
other small businesses," stresses Marlene. For example, her
local hairdresser lets Marlene display her paper jewelry at
her shop. Local gift stores either buy the pins and
earrings outright or take them on consignment, which means
they pay for them after they sell. Marlene also teamed up
with several other artists to display their work at trade
"Try to tailor your product to the particular market. With
the loon as the state bird of Minnesota, my loon pins always
do well at local craft shows," she says. Likewise, when
Marlene sent samples of her pins to trade show in Anchorage,
Alaska, she made some new designs to capture the wilds of
Alaska, These pins included a polar bear, Alaska wild
flowers, whales, and fish.
Whatever your own hobby pursuits, you may be overlooking
an opportunity to turn personal interests into money-making
enterprises. Investigate the possibilities, calculate the
costs, analyze the market, and move forward with your plan
of action. Take your lead from these three women who have
turned hobbies into profits.
There are many more ideas like this in AHBBO's Home Business
Ideas page at AHBBO Unique Home Based Business Ideas
with more being added all the time.
Don't go it alone in your home-based business. Our team
leaders help you build a downline and insure you earn a
residual income. Promote and market with our FREE Internet
Income course. We provide the FREE tools. You provide the
ambition to succeed. Act NOW!
3. Feature Article - Look Before You Leap ... Is A Home-
Based Business REALLY For You?
By Elena Fawkner
Working from home sounds wonderful, doesn't it? No commute;
no boss breathing down your neck; no fixed schedule; reward
for effort; control; work/family flexibility; not having to
worry about being laid off; leaving the office politics way
behind; not having to get dressed up; being with your
children. Is this what comes to mind when you think about
what it would be like to work from home? If so, take a
good hard look before you make the jump from paid to self-
Although these are all indisputably strong benefits of
running your own home-based business, they need to be
weighed against some pretty harsh realities if you are to
make an informed decision whether a home-based business is
truly right for you. These realities can be grouped into
three main areas: personal, financial and situational.
-> Commitment - you must be totally committed to making a
success of your business. It is important to distinguish
between commitment and mere interest. If what you want to
do as a business is only an interest, your enthusiasm and
motivation may wane over time. You must be absolutely
committed to the success of your business if you are to
achieve the success you desire.
-> Risk-Taker - one of the benefits of owning your own
business is that you don't have to answer to a boss. The
other side of the coin is that there is no-one to fall back
on if things go wrong. If you make a mistake or suffer a
loss, you wear it. For this reason, you must be comfortable
taking calculated risks. If security and stability are very
important to you, perhaps paid employment is a better option.
-> Self Motivation - again, there is no boss to wave a carrot
under your nose to get you moving. You must be able to
motivate yourself to do what needs to be done and that
includes the stuff you don't particularly enjoy doing.
-> Self Discipline - being your own boss means exercising
personal discipline to ensure that the work gets done.
There will be no end of distractions to tempt you away from
the task at hand when you're working from home. You will
need a healthy dose of self discipline to ensure you stay on
-> Patience - starting a home-business is one thing; turning
a profit is quite another. You will not make a profit
overnight. Be prepared to be patient and frugal during the
first few months of your new venture.
-> Reasons - closely related to the need for self-motivation,
your reasons for wanting to work from home will keep you in
the saddle. If your reasons are to get rich quick or work
fewer hours, think again. A home-based business will
definitely not deliver.
-> Flexibility and Adaptability - you may have come from a
corporate environment where you enjoyed a certain status.
You may have had a secretary or assistant to take care of
the more routine aspects of your job description. In your
home-based business you will need to be prepared to wear
many hats, at least in the beginning. This means being
flexible and adaptable, being prepared to learn new skills
and willing to take on new tasks.
-> Willingness to Sacrifice - especially in the early stages
of your business, be prepared to make sacrifices in terms of
time and money to get your business off the ground. You
will need to be prepared to put in long hours and, more
likely than not, get by on less money than you were bringing
home from your paid job.
-> Work Ethic - the backbone of all of the disciplines you
will need to practice in your home business is your work
ethic. If you have a strong work ethic then the need for
personal discipline and sacrifice will come as no surprise.
-> Stress Management - the burden of your business's success
or failure will rest squarely on your shoulders. That's a
lot of responsibility. Consider your capacity for stress
management. If it's not high, learn ways to increase it.
-> Cash Reserves - if business is slow to start, do you have
sufficient cash reserves to see you through? If not,
perhaps you should consider starting your business part-time
until it is bringing in enough of a profit to sustain you.
-> Retirement Planning - say goodbye to the employer-
sponsored pension plan and hello to the world of IRAs
(Individual Retirement Accounts). You need to think
differently about your retirement plans and should seek the
advice of a qualified financial planner in the early days of
your new business.
-> Health Insurance - say goodbye too to the perks of paid
employment such as free medical, dental, life and disability
insurance. You will need to take out your own cover for
-> Vacation - no-one's going to pay you while you take that
two week vacation any more. And, while we're at it, who's
going to run your business while you're away?
-> Hard Work, Long Hours - if you think that working for
yourself means you won't have to work as hard or as long,
think again. Most likely it will mean more of both.
-> Interruptions - if you have children at home, be prepared
for constant interruptions. Being with your children, of
course, is one of the main advantages of working from home
but you will need to set limits if your business is to get
sufficient attention. The same goes for your spouse!
-> Distractions - beware of the temptation to take care of
household tasks during the time you have allocated to your
business. It's very tempting to run a load of washing or
vacuum the carpets instead of facing up to that business
task you don't feel like doing right now. Self-discipline
is crucial if you are to avoid procrastination undermining
-> Isolation and Loneliness - if you come from a busy
corporate background, at some point after the novelty of
working from home begins to wear off, you may begin to feel
isolated and even lonely. Be prepared with strategies to
keep the isolation blues at bay. See "Overcoming Isolation
in Your Home Business" at
http://www.ahbbo.com/Overcoming_Isolation.html for some
As you can see, although there are many wonderful reasons to
work from home, there are also many strong reasons why a
home-based business may not be the right choice for you.
Take a good hard look at the above realities and your own
personal qualities and motivations. Do you have what it
takes to make a success of your business? Are you prepared
to do what has to be done? Whatever that is? If so, a
home-based business may very well be just what the doctor
ordered. But, if you have any doubts, look very hard before
you make the leap from paid employment to your own home-
based business. You could very well be jumping from the
frying pan into the fire.
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4. Guest Article - The Importance of Customer Trust
By Cathy Bryant
Each time I begin to write about an aspect of marketing
online, I ask myself the same questions: Is this
information going to be valuable to my subscribers? Will
it help them in developing or improving their own home-
based business? Is it accurate and timely?
There's no shortage of subjects to write about when dealing
with your own business, either online or off. And each
writer brings to their work their own experiences,
techniques, and opinions about what works and what doesn't.
But all successful online marketers will agree with what
traditional marketers have known for years to be true -
your customer's trust in you is paramount.
If you are currently marketing online or have plans to do
so in the future, this is a critical element to be
considered when developing your marketing strategy. It
is obviously even more important online, since the
face-to-face contact we are so used to in the traditional
marketplace is absent.
So how do we develop and cultivate our customer's trust in
us? There are many ways, but the most important should be
the most obvious - HONESTY. How often have you seen the
headlines "Make $14,000 a month working at home in your
spare time?" or other such garbage? Even though we'd all
like to believe that such a thing is possible, our common
sense tells us it's not. Developing your own home-based
business online is just like any other endeavor - it takes
time, along with a lot of hard work, to be successful.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply not being
truthful. Be honest with your customers and they will
return to you time and again because they know you won't
Another way to develop trust with your customers is to
deliver what you promise - whatever that may be. If it's
information, products, services, and/or support, make sure
that they get what they expect. Remember that the
customer is always right, and if they're not happy, they
won't do business with you any more.
What are some specific things you can do online to deepen
the trust that your customers place in you? Communicate
with them as much as possible. Newsletters such as this
are a good way to keep in contact with your customer base,
and they are easy to implement. You don't even need any
special software - there are many free services that will
host your newsletter for you. The following are all free
A great site that can help you get your newsletter up and
running can be found at
This site is full of resources for you, including articles
that you can publish in your newsletter along with a
template to get you started.
These are all the same resources I used to start my own
newsletter. They worked for me, and they can work for you.
Don't forget the most important thing of all - answer
your emails promptly and courteously! This is probably one
of the hardest to implement, but it is vital to your long-
term success. When people need help, they want to know
you're available. Things sometimes happen unexpectedly that
get us off our schedule, but if you know you will be
unavailable for some time, you owe it to your customers to
make them aware of that.
Communicate with your customers with honesty and deliver
what you promise, and they will continue to place their
trust in you. The loyalty of your customers is a key
element in helping you grow and prosper in your own
5. EBook Review - Don't Mess With the IRS by Jackie Hale
FINALLY, someone has produced an easy to understand yet
comprehensive summary of all of the myriad of tax and
accounting issues we, as home-based entrepreneurs, need to
come to grips with in our businesses.
Jackie is a CPA and this e-book is the product of her years
of experience as a controller of a company that endured
what appears to be more than its fair share of audits from
various taxing agencies.
"Don't Mess With the IRS" does not purport to be a
definitive guide to the tax laws. What it is is a
collection of 108 logically grouped "tips" to flag the
issues you need to turn your mind to in your business. And
Jackie doesn't restrict herself to purely tax issues, either.
This ebook is as much about good business management
practices as it is about tax and accounting.
Jackie covers general business set-up issues, office
organization, employee issues, insurance, general accounting
issues, daily accounting transactions and records (including
business use of your car, meal and entertainment expenses,
the home office deduction and other expenses), customers and
sales, end of year issues and, finally, what to do if your
tax return is selected for an audit.
"Don't Mess With the IRS" is an excellent bird's-eye view of
the tax, accounting and general business issues you need to
be aware of when running your own business. The price is
easy to swallow, too, at only $9.95. One of the best value-
for-money products I've seen in a long time. I highly
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8. This Week's Web Site Pick - Work At Home Success
A well-worth-a-visit site for those of you just flirting
with the idea of starting a home-based business.
Particularly geared towards those seeking a balance between
work and home, this site is full of resources and specific
information to get you going.
-> Can You Afford to Work? Do you know how much it costs
you to work? Get ideas on how to live on one income
instead of two.
-> Work At Home Success Profile - benefit from the
experience of others who have found a way to work at home.
-> Work At Home Success Company Profile - companies hiring
-> Business Basics - how to start your own home-based
business including choosing a business, financing and more.
-> Telecommuting Corner - how to locate or create a work at
-> Scam Alert - the most common scams and how to avoid
-> Work At Home Wannabe - follow Kathleen as she strives to
fulfill her goal of working from home.
A very useful resource.
9. Next Issue
That's it for this week, everyone. Here's what's in store
for the next issue:
-> Home-Based Business Idea of the Week:
-> Feature Article: How the 9 to 5 Grind
Could be Costing
You More Than You Earn and
Why a Home-Based Business
Could Be the Answer
-> Guest Article: It could be yours!
Thanks for being with us and have a great week everyone.
11. Subscription Management
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13. Contact Information
Elena Fawkner, Editor
A Home-Based Business Online
Contact By Email
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