March 15, 2016
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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"The reputation of 1,000 years may
be determined by the conduct of one hour."
Without trust a good reputation cannot be created, a leader
cannot be effective, and a company cannot prosper in the long run.
Build your reputation upon a foundation that will enable you to say,
"trust me," and be able to back it up with actions.
doubt, ask yourself the question that should precede every business
choice: "Would I be pleased and proud if that action was on the
front page of the newspaper tomorrow?"
BarterNews.com — World's Largest
Hundreds of valuable articles,
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button from right.)
(Part I of a two-part
Dissatisfied with Your Job? Now's The Time To Create Your Own
You have a respectable, steady job. You provide for your
family. You do home improvement projects on the weekends and
even find the time to coach your son's Little League team. But
as you slog away at your 9-to-5 job and go through the motions
of daily life, in your own mind you feel that true success is
still eluding you. You tell yourself that you should be grateful
just to have a way to pay the bills (especially in the wake of
the Great Recession). Yet you can't quite stifle that little
voice that whispers, "there ought to be something more."
The truth is, you want to be your own boss — and to own your own
business. But, you think the risks involved in becoming an
entrepreneur are just too great. After all, you can't gamble
your current steady income, your credit, and your family's
comfort on a venture that may or may not succeed.
that, claims Sean C. Castrina, is where you're wrong.
"You don't have to gamble any of those things in order to start
your own business," assures Castrina, author of 8 Unbreakable
Rules for Business Start-Up Success (www.newbizcoach.org).
"The solution is to become a part-time entrepreneur. And if you
follow a specific set of rules, there's less risk involved than
you may think."
Castrina speaks from extensive
experience. He has started over 15 companies in industries
including direct mail, home services, property management and
retail — the first while he was working a full-time job. He
emphasizes that you don't need an MBA or a college degree, to
become a successful entrepreneur.
"Look at my group of
poker buddies, many of whom are self-made millionaires," he
says. "Only a few made it past high school. One, who was
introduced to roofing as a teenager, now commands the field and
has a multimillion-dollar company reflecting his expertise. Two
others own specialty retail outlets, and are flourishing in
spite of superstore and online competitors. Another owns the
area's most popular restaurant, when so many other food
establishments nearby have gone belly-up."
So, what sets
Castrina and his poker buddies apart? "We all started with what
we believed was a good idea, deciding to take action on it,"
Castrina answers. "We didn't wait for ideal conditions. For the
most part, we began building our companies in our free time
while we still worked for other bosses." And he promises, you
can do the same.
According to Castrina, it's easier than
ever to become a part-time entrepreneur. With 20 hours a week
(or less) of organized and focused time, you can build a solid
foundation for small-business success. Thanks to internet-based
tools, virtual secretaries and answering services, you can reach
and service many potential customers without ever leaving your
house. Plus, you have 24/7 access to educational tools and the
ability to instantly search for answers to a huge variety of
If you're ready to create a more rewarding
experience than slaving away at a 9-to-5 job that offers little
to no security, has disappointing retirement savings and doesn't
come close to paying for your children's college tuition, then
try Castrina's rules for being a part-time entrepreneur:
Figure out your game.
Perhaps you already have a clearly
defined vision for your business: You'd like to use your
background in accountancy to start your own tax service, for
instance. However, it's very possible that you have no idea
which field to go into. (Anything that allows me to be my own
man! you think.) In that case, Castrina recommends starting a
service business (anything from home cleaning to tutoring to
adult care) for the following reasons:
require minimal money to start. "I've never started a service
business with more than $10k, and many with less than $3k —
including businesses that have made me millions," he comments.
⇒ Many service businesses don't require a prior work
history in the field or particular qualifications.
⇒ In most cases, they can't be outsourced or performed by
computers so you'll always have work.
⇒ Since you
can hire others to perform the actual work while you handle the
key behind-the-scenes management tasks (like hiring,
supervising, taking client calls, marketing, etc.), service
businesses are a great source of passive income. "For instance,
I started a mobile car detailing business in my 20s," Castrina
shares. "I hired an employee to do the work, charged $95 for a
full detail inside and out, and gave my worker 50-percent. All I
did was make the phone ring and schedule the jobs. I didn't get
rich, but I did make an extra $25k a year. Not bad for three to
five hours of work a week during my down time."
"Entrepreneur.com has a great list of service businesses to
start you thinking," Castrina shares. "Or you might also want to
take a look at
for more resources."
However, make sure you understand the rules before you start
playing. Once you've familiarized yourself with the
possibilities and identified a few types of businesses that
might be needed in your area, try to poll at least 50 people —
to not only determine which services they would use in the next
six months, but also if they'd pay the price you would charge.
Their answers will give you a good idea of which field you
should go into.
"Before pulling the trigger on your
business, take time to research the licenses, permits, and
certifications you may need for the industry you're entering.
Then make sure that obtaining them won't be prohibitive," he
adds. "You can usually find the information you need at your
local business tax office or by contacting your Chamber of
Commerce. And take it from the voice of experience: Start
filling out that paperwork early, as government bureaucracies
can be painfully slow."
Do business from anywhere other
than your current job.
Odds are, you'll be starting your new
business from home — a place that's full of distractions ranging
from the television to your wife's "honey-do" list. That's why
setting up a dedicated workspace is crucial for productivity.
Depending on your home's layout and your personal preferences,
you might be able to use a spare bedroom, a basement, a detached
garage, or even a nook in the living room as your office. And,
if you already have a dedicated man-cave even better.
"Personally, I converted our dining room into an incredible home
office," Castrina shares. "I was able to do this on a dime
because the room was already equipped with a large but
seldom-used table. If you go this route, you might want to add a
file cabinet and swap the chandelier for recessed or track
lighting. As I found out, it’s hard to tap into your
entrepreneur mojo when you’re constantly ducking a chandelier.
"Also, if you set up a home office, don't forget to capitalize
on tax deduction advantages," he adds. "For example, if you set
aside a separate room of your house in which to conduct your
business and/or store products, you may be able to take a home
office deduction. You can also write off transportation expenses
to and from your home to your business appointments and, in some
cases, expenses related to car maintenance and repair."
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