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A Home-Based Business Online
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Editor: Elena Fawkner
Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
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IN THIS ISSUE
1. Welcome and Update from the Editor
2. Home-Based Business Idea of the Week
- Utility Auditing
3. Feature Article - Putting the Plan
Back Into Your
4. Newsletter Publishing Tutorial - Part
2 - Why Publish
5. Book Review by Amy Shellhase of ReviewZ
8. This Week's Web Site Pick
9. Next Week in A Home-Based Business
11. Subscription Management
13. Contact Information
1. Welcome and Update from the Editor
Hello again and a warm welcome to all new subscribers!
This week sees the continuation of the AHBBO newsletter
publishing tutorial looking at exactly WHY you should publish
your own ezine and another of Amy Shellhase's informative
and entertaining book reviews. The winner of the REAL 'Net
Profits Contest for January is also announced this week (see
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 - Utility Auditing
Auditing is not a matter of magic. If you have the patience
to sort through regulatory tariffs and have a keen eye to
spot billing inconsistencies, you can conduct an audit
(subject, of course, to whatever licensing requirements
apply in your area).
Auditing utility bills has become one of the most popular
areas of concentration for auditors because of the inherent
complexity of billing for utilities. Utility rates are
highly confusing because they differ depending on type of
service, volume of usage, and promotional packages offered
at the time of installation.
Utility Auditors earn commissions, usually around 50% of any
overcharge they uncover. And this is where you may need to
exercise more of your patience. Although utility companies
would gladly settle a verifiable overcharge (relatively
quickly out of court), it may take them up to six months to
issue any refund. This is particularly true with larger
Most clients prefer to pay auditors on commission basis for
two reasons: no upfront cash outlay, and no risk if the
auditor comes back empty-handed.
For the auditor, working on commission offers distinct
advantages: it makes it easier for them to land clients, and
it usually enables hem to earn more than if they would take
a basic fee.
MAKING THE SALE
The biggest challenge facing auditors is to get a potential
client to admit that there is a high probability that they
(the client) overpaid for their utilities without knowing
it. This issue is usually not a problem if the client is a
small business where the owner makes all the decisions.
However, the executive committee of a major corporation may
feel threatened that they'll be held accountable for
irresponsibly overpaying for utilities. Your job is to
convince your potential client that overcharging does
happen and that it is the job of an outsider auditor, and
not people from within the company, to "fix" the problem.
For a listing of business opportunities in the utility
auditing field, visit
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.
3. Feature Article - Putting the Plan Back Into Your
By Elena Fawkner
Very little that is worthwhile in life happens by accident.
Cause and effect dictates that worthwhile results come from
worthwhile efforts and the converse is also true. It's
basic goal-setting theory. Set the goal, put in place
the steps that will eventually lead you there, carry them
out and you will eventually reach your destination. Think
of a business plan as a goal-setting tool for your business.
There are two main purposes for writing a business plan.
The first is to help you to manage your business. The
second is to raise capital. The focus of the business plan
for each purpose is different. In this article, we are
focusing on the business plan as a tool to help you manage
Why Write a Business Plan?
There are many reasons why a business plan is a valuable
tool when it comes to managing your business. Most
fundamentally, it helps you 'set your sail' in the direction
you want your business to go. Rather than drifting along
aimlessly, being tugged this way and that by random currents
and puffs of wind, a business plan helps you steer a
predetermined course and stay on track.
A business plan also facilitates focus. It can help you
keep your attention where it is required ... on those steps
you need to take to bring you closer to your objectives.
This creates a results-oriented mindset which helps break
the inertia that can result from a lack of focus.
The process of creating a business plan can help you to
anticipate hurdles and threats to your business and to
formulate actions to overcome adverse contingencies.
A business plan also serves to keep your business on track
by reinforcing your vision for your business. It acts as
a check and a balance, something against which to weigh
a proposed action. Does the action further the purposes
you have outlined in your business plan? If so, go for it.
If not, it is probably just a distraction.
Things to Think About In Your Business Plan
A good starting point to begin thinking about the elements
of your business plan is to carry out a SWOT analysis (what
are your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
The strengths you identify will become the foundation for
your competitive focus. You want to think of ways to exploit
your strengths here as these are what will set you apart
from your competition. For example, you may be particularly
good with people. Use this talent in the customer service
aspects of your business to distinguish yourself from your
competition who may be lacking in this area.
By identifying weaknesses, you can plan for ways to compensate
for them. For example, you may be in a business where you have
to wait for some time to be paid by your clients and as a result
you may be vulnerable to cash flow shortfalls from time to time.
By recognizing this potential weakness in your business, you
can take steps to minimize cash flow difficulties by arranging
for an overdraft facility with your bank. Or introducing an
incentive for clients to pay you earlier such as an early
The opportunities you identify become the cornerstones for
your business development. What opportunities exist that you
can exploit in the next 12 months to develop your business?
Think here in terms of things like technological advances
that you are in a position to exploit but your competition is
not, possible joint venture partnerships, or the exclusive
rights to XYZ patent that you have negotiated.
Finally, the threats you identify become the foundation for
your contingency planning. By recognizing the threats that
exist to the future health of your business before they
become a reality, the better placed you will be to implement
contingency plans in case the worst happens and the better
prepared you will be to ride out the storm.
Deciding on Your Plan
Once armed with your SWOT inventory you can begin to
refine your thinking in terms of coming up with an overall
strategy for your business. Remember, you want to exploit
your strengths and opportunities and minimize the impact of
your weaknesses and threats.
Once you have your overall business strategy in front of you,
you are then in a position to reformulate the elements of your
SWOT analysis into specific goals and objectives. Write
objectives to support every goal for every area of your
business. Think about your products and services, customers,
competition, image, customer service, marketing and advertising,
financial objectives and the like. For example, one of your
goals may be to introduce a second or a third product line
in the coming twelve months; or to launch a new advertising
campaign or to negotiate a more favorable line of credit with
By the time you are done, you will be very clear in your
own mind where you want your business to go and what you
need to do to get there. In turn, this awareness will help you
to recognize new opportunities as they present themselves.
Finally, bear in mind that a business plan is just that, a
plan. It is not carved in stone and, as with any plan, be
prepared to be flexible and make changes as circumstances and
priorities change. Work with your business plan and treat
it as a living, breathing, organic part of your business. By
constantly keeping your plan in mind when making business
decisions you can rest comfortably, knowing you are steering
your business in the direction YOU want it to go.
4. Newsletter Publishing Tutorial - Part 2 - Why Publish
If you have started or are contemplating starting your own
online business, you cannot afford not to publish your own
Before we move on to consider the purely business reasons
why you should consider starting your own newsletter, I want
to touch on what has been, for me, the most satisfying
aspect of my online business.
Initially I started the A Home-Based Business Online website
because, like many of you, I was in full-time work and was
disenchanted with the whole 9 to 5 grind. So I started
looking for ways to work from home.
Already an avid internet user, I used my favorite research
tool in my search. At some point during my quest the seed
of an idea for my own online business was planted and AHBBO
was eventually born. The website, that is.
Then I started researching ways to market my new site and
generate traffic. I read the marketing gurus' advice and
one piece of advice was repeated ad nauseum. Everyone kept
saying you need to publish your own newsletter. And so I
did. When I started the AHBBO newsletter, it was intended
purely as a secondary way of generating traffic for my
website and as a vehicle for advertising my own affiliate
Over time, though, in a day-to-day sense the AHBBO website
has become very much secondary to the newsletter.
Why? Well, for a start, I work on the newsletter every
day. I update my website only a couple of times a week.
So the newsletter is always in focus. It takes time every
day to produce and manage. There are always articles to
write, home business ideas to research, advertisers to work
with, subscribers to welcome. Don't be under any illusions.
Publishing a newsletter with original content (and you
shouldn't even think about doing anything less) takes real
work and real time.
But the other side of the coin is that it is actually
enjoyable! Sure, there are a lot of very good business and
financial reasons why the AHBBO newsletter SHOULD have been
born but the real reason I enjoy it is the people I meet
along the way. I have made MANY new acquaintances, a couple
of friends, and I have forged alliances with new colleagues.
And it is SO rewarding to hear from someone who has just
made their first sale after being inspired to start their
own venture by AHBBO. I received another one only today,
in fact. Way to go Charlotte!
So, when you're considering the following reasons why a
newsletter may be a good business move for you, think also
of the personal rewards this venture will deliver.
Influencing others in a positive way is a very real
byproduct of newsletter publishing. This is often
overlooked in the marketing hype you will read on this
subject but keep it in mind.
OK, enough of that. Onto the nitty gritty business reasons
why you should publish your own newsletter. Ezines or
electronic newsletters (the terms are used interchangeably
in this tutorial) are generally recognized as enormously
powerful marketing tools for the following reasons.
-> They Remind Your Site Visitors To Revisit Your Site
In the first place, your ezine keeps you in front of your
customers. Any visitor to your website should be
prominently encouraged to subscribe to your newsletter.
Why? Buyers typically don't buy on the first visit. You've
heard it a million times. Prospects need to see your
message at least seven times before they will seriously
think about buying from you. What guarantee do you have
that your site visitor will come back a second time, let
alone a seventh? By inviting your site visitor to subscribe
to your newsletter, you have a way of making repeated
contact with that visitor to remind him or her to go back
to your site.
-> They Are a Way of Creating a Network
One of the most important skills you can cultivate in
your online business is the ability to network. Successful
networking involves forming relationships with people.
Through networking you create a pool of contacts, each
one of whom is a potential customer, service provider,
colleague and/or joint venture partner.
A newsletter is an excellent way of allowing other people
to get to know you. In short, it is an effective way to establish
rapport with many different people.
-> Generating Customers Without Creating a Website
Apart from the people who join your newsletter because they
have visited your site, you can also generate new customers
directly with your ezine. If you publish your own newsletter,
it is not necessary to have a website to run an online
business. You can do the whole thing by email. By this
mean your newsletter IS your business. You run it and grow
it because you derive advertising revenue from it and
perhaps promote affiliate programs or your own products.
Of course, if you HAVE a website, you can use your
newsletter to make your readers aware that your site exists
and thereby encourage them to visit.
-> Income Generation
Far from being merely a tool to drive traffic to your
website or to keep in touch with your site visitors,
an ezine can be an income producer in its own right. When
you have generated a decent size subscriber database, you
can begin to charge for advertising in your newsletter if
that's what you choose to do. Many people who have really
substantial databases can derive sufficient income from
this source alone to quit their day jobs.
These are only the main business reasons why an online
newsletter can be so important to the profitability of
your online business. Hopefully, I've convinced you and
you're now itching to get started with your own. The rest
of this tutorial series will be showing you how you can do
Next Week Part 3 - Finding Your Niche and Refining Your
5. Book Review by Amy Shellhase of ReviewZ
Starting from No: 10 Strategies to Overcome Your Fear
of Rejection and Succeed in Business
By Azriela Jaffe
There is much I like about Azriela Jaffe's writing, but what I admire
most is her up-front honesty. She uses examples from her own
life & from her family to 'tell it like it is'.
There's no writing as though she's a guru on high dispensing
wisdom that's nothing more than theory. When you read
anything from Azriela, be it her books, web site, or newsletters,
you get a very clear picture of the woman behind the words.
"Starting from 'No'" is a workbook filled with self-tests, charts,
checklists, worksheets, quizzes, tips, & strategies. Everything
is backed-up with examples, stories, and real life experiences.
The suggestions for working though problems are down-to-earth
and do-able. No 'pie in the sky' for Azriela.
And the examples come from small business people, sales
people, home-business owners, writers, consultants, coaches,
and more. These are real people, like you & me, who have
come up against the same fears, problems, & rejections &
lived to tell about it.
=> fear of rejection & why rejection is just the word we use for
fears of all kinds -- failure, success, humiliation, approval (or
lack thereof), and more
=> how to make yourself rejection proof. What concrete things
can you do to overcome the fear that cripples you?
=> what are your limits? Can you stretch them? Are you taking
on more than you can handle & setting yourself up for failure?
=> the power of your mind. The only thing you have to fear is fear
itself -- now who said that!?
=> resiliency & flexibility -- do you know when to hold fast &
to give in? Do you see yourself as a victim? Do you see negative
situations as everyday occurrences, use them, & move on?
=> maintaining detachment -- take a step back & assess
=> asking for referrals, building rapport, keeping yourself
motivated, & knowing when to take a break.
=> staying in the game -- do you know the difference between
temporary setbacks & when to throw in the towel?
Shall I go on with more examples? Nah. Just know there's much
I found so much useful information in this book. One section that
caught my attention while thumbing through the book is what
Azriela calls "The Jaffe 3-5 Rule". Azriela, like me, has experience
with network marketing (or you might know it as MLM).
Many of us were taught the '3-Foot Rule'. It means that anyone
within 3 feet of you is a possible prospect.
Talk about pressure! I never could figure out how to bring up
nutritional products while standing in line at the post office. That's
probably why I don't do network marketing anymore.
It's not the products; they're usually superior to store bought. It's
turning everyone into a customer that puts on the pressure. You
feel as though you never relax. And I felt I was putting friends &
family on the line.
Azriela rejects this notion, too. Her '3-5 Foot Rule' has no pressure
attached & reads like this:
"To prosper in your business, focus your efforts on no more than
three to five major target markets, using no more than three to five
primary marketing tools, and making the most of your three to five
greatest business skills. Be sure you spend your time in three to
five major business responsibilities, and if possible delegate the
rest." (p. 144)
You're not left in the dust after this statement. Azriela walks you
through a step-by-step way to implement the idea so it'll work in
your specific business & situation.
Then she shows you how to draw up a chart so you can see what
needs to be done & then prioritize your tasks.
I'm not categorizing this book. It's not self-help, though it has those
aspects. It's not strictly a management book, either. Let's call
success book. It will prepare you for the pitfalls of running your
business, show you how to avoid them, and, if you do get caught,
how to get out of them.
I highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed. I also
suggest you check out Azriela's web site, Anchored Dreams:
Consider signing up for any or all three of her newsletters, too.
Information is on the web site.
Liked: Easy to read style. Good layout. On target cartoons.
Consistency in fonts, headlines, charts, etc.
Didn't Like: Azriela looks too young to have written 6 (might be 7
now) books, run a business & raise 3 little ones under the age
of 5. How can you like this woman? (that's a joke for those of
you who lack the humor gene)
Amy Shellhase publishes ReviewZ every two weeks expressly for
those small business owners who are good-looking, smart, & rich
-- or who plan to be.
All context is the opinion of the author.
Copyright 2017 (c) Amy Shellhase All Rights Reserved Worldwide
8. This Week's Web Site Pick - A Beginner's Guide to HTML
This is the starting point for many people wanting to learn
about hypertext markup language (HTML) and is, without a
doubt, one of the best introductions on the web. If you've
been thinking about creating your own website but have been
too intimidated because you think HTML is beyond you, then
this site removes all the excuses.
9. Next Week in A Home-Based Business Online
-> Home-Based Business Idea of the Week: Wire Jewelry
-> Feature Article: How to Minimize Legal Liability In Your
-> Newsletter Publishing Tutorial: Part 3 - Finding Your
Niche and Refining Your Theme
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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Wednesday, 23-Jan-2019 22:29:02 CST