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  A Home-Based Business Online
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   September 10

   Sent to 5,869 subscribers

  Editor: Elena Fawkner
  Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
 
    Contact By Email

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   IN THIS ISSUE
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1. Welcome and Update from Elena
2. Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Pet Products
3. Feature Article - Why Am I Afraid to Sell?
4. Pro-Motion Column
5. This Week's Subscriber Web Site Pick
8. Subscription Management
10. Contact Information
 

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1. Welcome and Update from Elena
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Hello again, and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers
who have joined us since the last issue!

A while back, I ran a press release in this segment for Heike
Boehnke-Sharp's WAHMfest in Northern California in October.
The date for this event is fast approaching.  For the benefit of
those new to AHBBO and who may not be aware of the event,
here's the information you need to attend.

WAHMfest Northern California in Sacramento, CA on October 7,
2017. This is one of many local WAHMfests being organized
across the US in the next few months. This event is to support
and inform parents looking to trade in their careers to work
from home. 30+ exhibitors will be representing their home-based
business, from Avon to Pampered Chef to 1800PartyShop. There
will be webmasters, tax and financial experts, and more.
Informational speakers will be presented throughout the day,
and the Exhibitors have donated wonderful doorprizes to delight
anyone's taste and help them build THEIR home-based
business. For more information, see ,
or email Heike (Local Director) at .

In this week's feature article, "Why Am I Afraid to Sell?" we
take a look at how the strong focus on "relationship marketing"
online can in fact sometimes lead to too much focus on the
relationship and not enough on the marketing.  Here's how to
redress the balance.

Another 123 email addresses were removed this week because
of full mailboxes, folks.  100% of these were free email accounts.
If this keeps up, I'm going to have to reject any subscribe
requests from the freebie accounts.  I really hate to do that
though.  Again, if you have a free email account and want to keep
receiving this newsletter, please make sure you clear your mail
regularly!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this
week's issue.

Remember, this ezine 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 .
 

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2. Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Pet Products
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What's one of the biggest industries in the United States
today?  Anything to do with pets.  Step into any major pet
supply store and you'll be dazzled by no end of inventions
to make your life with pets easier and the life of your pet
more fun.

This ready-made market represents an online business
opportunity for anyone with a creative streak and who loves
animals.  The possibilities are endless.  Collars for dogs
and cats with unique designs; name tags; handknitted
doggie coats for those cold climates; ceramic water and
food dishes with unique artwork; pet hampers for the
pampered pooch at Christmas time; frisbees painted in
your own unique design.  You name it, it will sell!

Your website is crucial.  If you do this bit right, you can run
this business right out of your home, mail order. So start
out creating a few dazzling samples of your work, have them
professionally photographed and display them at your site.
Don't rush the website stage.  This needs to be really
professional and beautiful.  It will be a reflection of the quality
of the work you do on your pet products.  If you don't make
the right impression here, you won't make the sale.

Plan on including ready-made products in your catalog
but also offer custom work as well.  You can charge much
more for custom work and your profit margin on these items
will be much higher.

This is a business where word of mouth advertising will be very
important.  So create exceptional pieces and you'll find that
the word will spread, and quickly.  Get set up to accept credit
cards at your site as soon as possible.

You'll be able to find good reciprocal linking partners in
this business too.  Look for sites that are dedicated to
pets such as pet care, what to look for in a pet, that sort
of thing, and negotiate to swap links with the webmaster.

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There are many more ideas like this in AHBBO's Home
Business Ideas page at
and Online Business Ideas page at
with more being added
all the time.

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3.  Feature Article - Why Am I Afraid to Sell?
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© 2017 Elena Fawkner

Relationship marketing.  It's the backbone of a successful
online business.  Fail to forge online relationships and your
business will suffer.  Simple enough concept, right?  But what
does "relationship marketing" really mean?  Simply put, it
refers to the principle that, in order to be successful in business,
especially online since it's such an anonymous medium, you
need to establish a relationship of trust with your site visitors
and ezine readers before you can expect them to do business
with you.  It requires a commitment to customer service and a
willingness to help others for no certain reward other than the
satisfaction of helping another and building for yourself and
your business a reputation of credibility and trustworthiness.

At the end of the day, though, if your business is to be
successful, you have to turn a buck.  One of the most
common anxieties expressed by new (and even not so new)
online entrepreneurs, though, is that they don't want to come
across as "selling something" to those with whom they have
forged the very relationship that is a prerequisite to actually
making the sale!

In other words, the focus on "relationship marketing" has been
so much on the relationship that the marketing begins to
feel crass and a violation of trust.  Many new online business
owners report that they feel like they're taking advantage of the
trust of those with whom they have forged a bond.  Of course,
there's no reason to feel any such thing so long as you believe
in what it is you're selling and that it's something that will
benefit your customers.  If you don't feel this way, then your
bad feelings are well placed.  You ARE taking advantage!

The discomfort associated with selling is not restricted to the
business owner, either.  I have received several indignant
emails over the course of the past year or so from readers of
my ezine in response to promotions I have run for programs I
actively promote.  The recurring theme of these sorts of
communications is that I have a "responsibility" to my readers
because they've come to rely on me as an authoritative source
of information and I have somehow breached this responsibility
by doing something so crass as to actually market the
programs I promote to earn part of my online income.  Some
have even gone so far as to suggest that, since I accept paid
advertising in my ezine, I should be content with that revenue
stream and not seek to make money by promoting outside
programs.

My response to this line of reasoning is simply that I'm running
a BUSINESS.  I'm not working nights and weekends on my
site and on my ezine out of the goodness of my heart.  I'm just
not that noble, believe me.  I have a profit motive.  Despite
what some people seem to think, a profit motive is NOT, in and
of itself, a Bad Thing.  A profit motive is only a Bad Thing when
one misleads, deceives and otherwise takes advantage of the
trust of another to pursue that profit.  There's no reason to
apologize or feel guilty for wanting to make an honest profit.

How about you?  Do you have just a twinge of uneasiness when
it comes to marketing your products and services?  Here are
some ideas to help you overcome the reticence you may feel
in pursuing sales from your prospective customers and how to
manage these relationships so that your customer understands
that, although you are there to help them, you are also out to
help yourself by earning an honest living.
 

CRYSTALLIZE YOUR PURPOSES

The very first thing you need to do is decide what it is you're
really doing when you create your website or publish your
ezine.  Is it a hobby or is it a business?  The difference,
respectively, is the absence or presence of a profit motive.  If
it's a hobby, fine.  Don't try and turn a profit, just enjoy yourself
and make just enough to cover your expenses if you can.  But
if it's a business, understand that making a profit is non-
negotiable.  It's the reason for your business's existence.  You
will no doubt have several purposes.  But the profit motive is
key.

Do whatever it takes to crystallize your purposes.  For some
people, just thinking about it and making a mental decision is
sufficient.  For others, crystallization requires seeing it in black
and white.  If that's you, write down your purposes.  Again,
though, if you're running a business rather than indulging in a
hobby, turning a profit must be on your list of purposes (unless,
I suppose, you're running a non-profit business but we'll leave
that aside for present purposes).  Recognize that purpose for
what it is.  Embrace it.  PURSUE it with a vengeance.  It's
nothing to be ashamed or coy about.  So long as you intend to
do so, and actually do so, by legitimate, honest and ethical
means, give yourself permission to aggressively chase a dollar.

Why crystallize your purposes in this way?  Because they'll
keep you on track when you're confronted by the naysayers
who'll inevitably pop up in your porridge.
 

BE BUSINESSLIKE AND PROFESSIONAL

The concept of "relationship marketing" does NOT mean
getting up close and personal with your customers.  You'll save
yourself a lot of grief and angst if you just keep things
businesslike and professional - friendly to be sure, but not
*overly* personal.  It's possible to be friendly and helpful in a
professional, businesslike manner without stepping over the line
into the personal.  The people you're dealing with are not your
friends, they're your customers.  Of course, over time, you may
become friends with certain people who started out as
customers.  But don't start from the position that you have to be
friends with your customers in order to engage in relationship
marketing.  You don't.  Keep it businesslike and professional
and you won't raise any unrealistic expectations.
 

ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR BUSINESS'S BEST
INTERESTS

One way of keeping yourself in check is by constantly testing
your decisions against the criteria "is this decision in the best
interests of my business?".  If so, do it, recognizing that
something can be in the best interests of your business even
if it doesn't involve cash flowing in your direction.  If not, don't.

Occasionally, it will be in the best interests of your business
to do something that may be perceived by your customer as
a personal favor.  An example might be giving a refund for a
purchase under circumstances where the customer is not
strictly entitled to one and where you have an ongoing
relationship with the customer.  You do so in the interests of
customer service and this is certainly an example of something
that is in your business's best interests.

Sometimes, however, customers can take advantage of such
a policy.  To forestall this type of problem, if you decide to do
something that benefits your customer/reader/visitor over and
above what they have an entitlement to, make it clear, in a
subtle way, that you are doing so for business reasons.  Be
prepared to set limits though.  Know how far you are prepared
to go before it stops being a business decision and becomes a
personal one and to the detriment of your business interests.
Being uncomfortable saying "no" is not a good enough reason
to sacrifice your business's best interests if that's the right
decision in all the circumstances.
 

BE DIRECT AND HONEST

Don't be shy about promoting your products and services and
letting your prospective customers know you would like for them
to purchase from you.  Be direct, open and honest about it.  For
example, if someone emails me and asks for my advice about
how to get started in an online business of their own, I'll
recommend products that I think will benefit them.  Typically, I
recommend Cookie Cutter and Cash Cow if they're new to internet
marketing.  Why?  Firstly, I believe in both products and think
they give the newbie an efficient, cost-effective way of learning a
lot about how online businesses work in a short period of time.
Secondly, I am an affiliate of both programs and earn $20 a pop
each time I sell one.  Would I recommend any products that
are directly relevant to my business that I don't have a financial
interest in?  No.  Why?  I have a profit motive.  My time is money.
The key is, I believe in the products.  If I thought there were
better products out there than the ones I was promoting I'd
recommend them too.  But only after I signed up as an affiliate
so I could make a profit from my recommendation.

On the other hand, occasionally I'm asked to recommend a
webhost.  I'm an inactive affiliate of one of the major webhosting
companies but I never recommend them because I think they're
too expensive.  In this case, I refer the enquirer to the webhost
I use for my own site.  I'm not an affiliate of theirs and I have no
financial interest in making the recommendation.  I'm not
particularly interested in webhosting as a product to promote so
I haven't bothered (yet) to sign up for my webhost's affiliate
program.  It's just an honest recommendation, just as Cookie
Cutter/Cash Cow is an honest recommendation.  The only
difference is, I make money on the latter and why not?

The point is, so long as you're making an honest
recommendation, there's no reason why you can't make a
profit at the same time.  It's a win-win situation.  So stop being
afraid to sell.  It's the reason your business exists and it won't
if you don't.

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This article may be freely reproduced provided that: (1) you
use the autoresponder copy which contains a resource box;
and (2) you leave the resource box intact. To receive a copy
of this article by autoresponder, just send a blank email to
.
 

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4.  Pro-Motion Column - Answers for the "Pro in Motion"
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by jl scott, ph.d., Director, iCopô

Q. I believe I'm losing business by not offering an option for
customers to pay by online check. But I'm having difficulty
finding a dependable service to process online checks for me.
Can you recommend one? (Julia)

A. First of all - you're right! Failure to offer potential
customers the option of paying by check - AND still receiving
fast delivery of their order - DOES lose customers. Not
everyone chooses to use credit cards.

Now to your problem ... I'm quite familiar with it! I have
personally been through four online check out-sourcing
companies - none of whom were dependable. In fact at some
point, I failed to be paid by every one of them!

The solution, as it turns out - is quite simple. WHY didn't I
think of it sooner!!

Nearly all banks now offer debit cards to their customers.
These debit cards must have either the "Visa" or "Master
Card" insignia on them and can be used exactly like a credit
card.  The only difference is that the money for the payment is
debited directly from the customer's bank account - just like a
check.

The customer simply enters the payment amount in the
checkbook as if (s)he had written a check.

Many folks aren't aware that they can use these debit cards
online. So far, every merchant account I've checked with DOES
accept debit card payments. This has also been true for the
merchant accounts of credit card outsourcing services.

To alert your customers to this, simply post a note beside your
"Buy" or "Order" link to advise your customers that they may use
these cards. Be sure to state that the cards must be either Visa
or Master Card debit cards. (A regular ATM card will not work.)

If you are in doubt as to whether you can accept these debit
cards for payments - be sure to check with your merchant
account or outsourcing company.

* To submit questions to "Pro-motion"

jl scott, ph.d., Author
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved

This article may be reprinted with permission by including the
following resource box:

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dr. jl scott is the Director of the International Council of
Online Professionals (iCopô) http://www.i-Cop.org - and also
the publisher of MONDAY MEMO! - the ezine dedicated to
upgrading Professionalism on the Web. For your FREE
subscription:

 

   ~*~*~*~*~*~
 

Rachel's problem is similar to Mary Cope's from a couple
of weeks back.  A great site but such a unique concept that
it's not likely that anyone's going to search for it specifically.
So how do you get traffic?

For sites with subject matters like this, you need to be a bit
more creative than the average webmaster when promoting your
site.  Fortunately, however, people like Rachel and Mary are
naturally creative.  That's what gets them into trouble in the first
place!  :-)  So they'll need to think outside the box when it
comes to promoting their sites.

Obviously, Rachel, submitting your site to the major search
engines using keywords like "scrapbook" probably won't result
in the traffic you need.  So pick a broader concept.  Examples
that come to mind are "crafts", "craft business", "hobby" etc..

Also, Rachel's doing the right thing negotiating reciprocal
links with other webmasters.  Don't underestimate this sort of
linking as a traffic generator.  It can bring surprisingly healthy
results!

Another thing you may want to look into, Rachel, is getting into
a webring with other similar or complementary sites.  Don't
limit yourself to linking with other scrapbook sites, though.
There's no reason why you can't link with other craft-based
sites or webrings.

As for your question, "what exactly is an ezine?", you're reading
one right now.  An ezine is an electronic magazine.  This would
be a good idea for you, Rachel, because it gives you a medium
to get the word out about your business.  You can write articles
about various aspects of scrapbooking as both a craft hobby,
and a business opportunity.  Publishing an ezine is a great
way of staying in touch with your site visitors (invite them to
sign up when they're at your site) and customers.  Also, by
actively promoting the ezine independently from your website,
you will naturally drive traffic to your site as people read your
ezine and then visit your site to see what you're all about.
To get started with an ezine of your own, I recommend you visit
Kate Schultz'  excellent resource, http://www.e-zinez.com/ .
 

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If you want your site seen by thousands, write and tell me
about it!  But make sure it's one you've created yourself
or have had created especially for you.  No self-replicating affiliate
sites please.

 

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8. Subscription Management
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10. Contact Information
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Elena Fawkner, Editor
A Home-Based Business Online
Contact By Email

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