Category Archives: to-do list

Are Parties Necessary for Direct Sales Success?

the wish place logoPeople who are considering a home based business in direct sales begin to think about companies that use party plans as a means to generate income.  Party plans encourage prospective customers to host a party in order to earn free or discounted products.  Are parties necessary if you want to work in direct sales?

Not all direct sales companies require their associates to conduct parties.  In fact, some direct sales companies don’t require parties at all.  You may want to look further into companies offering a different plan for marketing if you are not comfortable talking to crowds of people.

Melaleuca, Avon, and World Book, among others, do not require a party plan.  So, are they necessary for success?  Obviously, the answer is no.  Even people that are associated with party plan companies can succeed by using other marketing plans.  It happens every day, you just have to do some research and determine what the other options are.

Direct sales success really depends more on you than on the method of marketing the product to potential customers.  If you don’t believe in the company and the product, it doesn’t matter what you do – you won’t be able to make your home business a success.  Here are some ideas to help you succeed whether you’re using a party plan or not:

1. Familiarize yourself with the business manual you received in your start-up kit.  Make a list of questions you have and then contact your upline sponsor as soon as you can.  Understanding what is expected of you, what you can and cannot do to market the product, and how the company will pay you will make all the difference in how you conduct your business.

2. Follow the instructions given to you during training.  Most likely you will be told to make a list of everyone you know. This will be your master list, the first people you will contact about your new business.  If you don’t complete this task, you’re not going to do the rest.  Swallow your pride and ask for your money back.  This company is not for you.

3. Begin networking with other business owners.  Join the local Chamber of Commerce and get plugged into regular meetings.  You must promote your business if it is to grow, and networking with other business people is a great way to let others know about your company.

4. Schedule specific times during the week to work on the various aspects of your business. If you’re at home, make sure to let friends and family members know that you do not want to be interrupted during your “work” hours.

5. Tell everyone about your business. Don’t assume that they already know about it or that they’re not interested.  You might be surprised to find that more people are interested than you think.

These five points show that you do not have to be involved in home parties in order to succeed in direct sales.  Your success is ultimately up to you, and depends on how serious you are about treating your business as a business.  If you want to see your business grow, you have to act in ways that will cause growth to happen.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger, nature photographer and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Getting Over the Christmas Giving Blues?

christmas piggy bankTake the Christmas Budget Challenge.

Written by Bernie Wiemers Copyright 2005 http://www.my-wealth-plan.com

With Christmas just around the corner, our focus is slowly starting to shift from our work commitments to Christmas and with it comes the annual Christmas spending spree. Unfortunately many families don’t set a Christmas budget and they rely on their credit cards to get them through the festive season.

Shortly after Christmas these same families will also develop symptoms of the “Christmas Giving Blues” which can include an upset stomach, lack of sleep and anxiety.

You know that feeling. You spend up big, charge it on the card, and then spend the next couple of months worrying about how you are going to pay off your Christmas debts while vowing never to let this happen to you again.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for a lot of families every Christmas and they just don’t seem to be able to break out of the cycle.

This year, give yourself and your family a Christmas gift and take the “Christmas Budget Challenge” and enjoy your Christmas without the suffering the Christmas Blues.

There are two parts to the Christmas Budget Challenge:

1. Put in place a strategy that will help you survive Christmas with as little pain as possible.

2. Put in place a strategy that will give you a plan to enjoy your next Christmas. This plan will also run itself without you even thinking about it.

Let’s start by putting in place a plan that will hopefully make this Christmas a little easier on your hip pocket:

1. Have a look at your finances and set an upper limit that you can afford for your Christmas spending. Allocate a certain amount to Gifts and a certain amount to other Christmas expenses. This is the start of your Christmas budget.

2. Leave the credit card at home and pay for Christmas with money wherever possible.

3. Keep track of all your Christmas spending. A good way of doing this is by carrying a small notebook and pencil and writing your purchases in it.

Gift Buying

4. Call your relatives and agree that Gifts will only be purchased for the children

5. Take your Christmas Gift budget that was allocated in step 1 and divide it by the number of gifts you need to buy. This number will be the maximum you can spend on each gift.

Christmas Food Shopping

6. Take your Christmas Dinner budget and make a shopping list.

7. When you are doing your shopping use a calculator to make sure you stay within your Christmas budget.

8. Save money by looking for the cheaper priced goods on the top and bottom shelves. Try not to buy items that are on shelves at eye level, these are usually the higher priced items.

9. Try not to buy items that are located in the displays at the end of the shopping aisles, these items are usually more expensive than the items located in the aisles.

10. Compare prices of similar items and buy the cheaper item.

11. Remember that Christmas is only one day a year. You don’t have to spend a weeks worth of grocery money on one day.

12. Ask each relative to provide a food dish, drinks or dessert.

As soon as Christmas is over and the pain is fresh in your mind. You need to take action and put in place the second part of the “Christmas Budget Challenge”. This next step will ensure that you have enough money for next Christmas

1. Add up all your Christmas expenses including gifts, food and any other costs.

2. Take the total of your Christmas expenses and divide it by the total amount of pays until next Christmas.

3. Open high interest bank account with the following attributes:
– No minimum starting balance
– Interest is accrued daily and billed monthly
– Interest rate on this bank account must be higher than the inflation rate.
– No bank charges

ING Direct and Citibank have an online banking account that may be suitable for your Christmas Budget account.

4. Organize an automatic bank transfer from your bank account to your Christmas Budget account. This transfer will be on each payday for the amount you worked out in step 2. It is important that this is automated because most people will not stick to this plan if it is a manual process.

5. When next Christmas comes around withdraw your money and repeat the process again.

You can get a free excel “Christmas Budget Challenge” spreadsheet from http://www.my-wealth-plan.com/christmasbudget.zip. Use this spreadsheet as a template for your Christmas Budget,

This plan is very simple and surprisingly effective and you will be able to enjoy your next Christmas without the suffering the Christmas Giving Blues.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Planning Thanksgiving Dinner – Tips to Make Your Holiday Easy

thanksgiving dinnerPlanning Thanksgiving dinner and preparing it can be very stressful, especially if you have a large family or are expecting a number of guests. In order to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable for yourself as well as your guests, some advance planning and preparation will work wonders. Use these tips to make your holiday a stress-free, memorable occasion:

10 Days before Thanksgiving:

A week to 10 days before Thanksgiving, make your guest list. If there are any friends or family members you have not yet contacted, do so now to give them and yourself plenty of time to prepare. If any of your guests will be bringing a special dish, add it to your menu.

If you will be cooking turkey, decide upon fresh, frozen, or smoked. Make sure you have room in your refrigerator and oven. You should plan on one to one 1/2 pounds per person and even a bit larger if you want plenty of leftovers.

Deciding upon your final menu should be completed at least a week before the big day. Consider the number of people you will be entertaining and if you have children on your guest list, try to plan a couple of special dishes or treats especially for them.

The Week of Thanksgiving:

The week of Thanksgiving is the time to stock up on necessary items from the grocery store. You can make certain items in advance such as bread or rolls and freeze them until Thanksgiving morning. Also make sure you have supplies such a napkins, cups, etc.

The Days before Thanksgiving:

A couple of days prior to Thanksgiving you can prepare a few items in advance to save time on the big day.

Things like cranberry sauce or relish can be stored in your refrigerator for a few days. You may want to cut up onions, celery, and any like items and store them in plastic ware to save time on Thanksgiving morning.

Make sure you have everything on your shopping list in your kitchen at least 2-3 days before Thanksgiving morning.

If you have children, involve them in the planning. They can help organize games for the younger guests, assist with decorations, and can even help out in the kitchen if you desire.

If you have purchased a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator 3-5 days prior to cooking (depending on size) to give it plenty of time to thaw. If you will need to iron linens, etc., do so a couple of days before Thanksgiving to cut down on the amount of work you will have to do the night before the big day.

Thanksgiving Morning:

On Thanksgiving morning, make sure you have your thawed turkey stuffed (if necessary) and ready to place in the oven. Side dishes should be ready to cook or place in your oven and it would be a good idea to have desserts prepared the night before to save time and frustration on Thanksgiving Day. Any items you have frozen should be taken out of the freezer the night before so they can be heated easily.

With some advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving can be a stress-free (almost) occasion and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends and family.

julianne headshotJulianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Why You Need a Website

website picBelieve it or not, there are still many business owners who do not have websites.  The Internet has dramatically changed the way people communicate, send and receive information, and shop.  If you do not have a website, you are hurting your business.

A website makes you look like a solid professional.  If you wanted to do business with someone, especially if it was business done long distance, you would expect them to have some type of website that gave you information about the type of services they provide.  The costs for registering a domain and building and hosting the website are very inexpensive.  Without a website, your business can look second rate.

Another reason why you need a website is so people can find you.  If someone is sitting at home trying to find a good copywriter, they will more than likely turn on the Internet and perform a search.  If you are a copywriter and you don’t have a website, they cannot find you.  And if they cannot find you, they cannot hire you.

Even if you decide to build your business locally, it helps to have a website.  You can distribute resumes, business cards, and flyers with your phone number, and you may receive some phone calls.  However, if you have a website where people can get a glimpse of what you do, you will earn more business.  Plus, some people would rather pop onto your website and email you versus picking up a phone and calling you.

Your website will also let people know exactly what type of services you offer and how much you charge.  People do not want to wait for that information.  They want to know things now.  You can also include an online portfolio where prospective clients can view work that you have completed and read past clients’ testimonials.  This can help them decide if you are the person who can handle the project they need completed.

Having a website will also allow for automated ordering.  If you sell cosmetics and one of your clients is having a bout of insomnia and decides to surf the web at 2:00 in the morning, they can happily shop for your products at home.  They do not need to wait until the next day to call an order in to you.

Websites also allow you to do business globally.  Instead of focusing on your local area, people from all over the world can view your site and do business with you.  This opens up a whole new base of clients and opportunities.

Having a website, even a simple one, will only help your business.  Without one, you are going to be losing out on many prospective clients and sales.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Do I Really Need a Business Plan?

business planMany people who start a home business never take the time to write out a business plan.  That is a big mistake, as a business plan can greatly increase your chances of success.  The following are some reasons why every business needs to put a business plan into writing.

A business plan maps out your future.  If you have decided you are ready to start a business, your first step should be to write out your plans for what you want to do with the business and where you see the business going in the future.

You have probably heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  That is very true when it comes to your business.  The more planning you do in the beginning, the greater success you will see in the future.

If you decide to take your home business to the next level, a business plan can help you secure financing.  A financial institution will want to see, in writing, the reasons that they should loan you money.  Simply walking in and telling them why you know you’ll be a success isn’t good enough.

However, if you can hand your lender a document that states your business idea, your business goals, a list of steps you plan to take in order to reach your goals, as well as your estimated earnings, you will be seen as a professional and the lender will take you more seriously.

Your business plan will also help you determine your action plan.  Your action plan consists of the steps you plan on taking in order to achieve your goals.  This is another task that people usually sidestep.  Instead of “just kind of knowing” or “having the ideas in your head”, you should take the time to put them on paper.

The reason this part of the business plan is so important is that it literally walks you from point A to point B.  While your business plan, in general, serves a map, your action plan is the “turn-by-turn directions.”

Having a business plan to present to your spouse can also help your spouse realize your business idea is more than just a passing amusement.  This can really help you, especially if your spouse is skeptical.  Your spouse can see that you are serious and will become more helpful and more encouraging.  Having the support of your spouse can really motivate you and help you find success.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

How a Positive Attitude Can Help Your Business

positiveattitudepicDeveloping a positive attitude will help you grow your business and achieve success. Everyone has times when things in their business do not go as planned. If you have a positive attitude, you will be able to pass those obstacles and get back on track. When you have a positive attitude, you will feel more confident in yourself and your business abilities.

You will also notice that finding clients may become an easier task. When you display a positive attitude, others will react to that. They will want to hire you and recommend you to others.

A positive attitude can help other areas of your life as well, including your health. People who are generally optimistic have less heart disease. The following are some tips to help you develop a more positive attitude.

Spend Time with Positive People and Avoid Negative People

Attitudes are contagious. When you spend time with positive people, you will feel more positive. When you talk to a positive person, you will find yourself in a more positive place.

On the other hand, bad attitudes are contagious, too. You have probably heard the saying “misery loves company”. When you are around people that are constantly complaining, you will find things to complain about as well. Little things that you would normally shrug off will seem to bring your whole day down. You will feel drained of energy.

Once you lose your energy and motivation, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. This can have negative implications on your business. Going through periods of negativity will be similar to spinning your wheels.

Be Nice To Others

Being nice to others will make you feel good about yourself and put a positive spin on your day. This doesn’t mean that you should let others take advantage of you.

Be Proactive

When you notice a problem coming up, do not wait until the last minute to solve it. Be proactive and think of a solution before the problem becomes serious. By keeping a step ahead of potential problems, you will be able to avoid setbacks.

Stay Organized & Practice Time Management

When you are organized you will be more efficient and able to get more things done. You will know what you want to accomplish each day; and will be able to spend the day working, rather than looking for your clients’ lost phone numbers or email addresses.

Consider Hiring a Coach

Many people are hiring coaches to help them achieve business success. A coach will help you decide what you want out of your business. They will help you set achievable goals and will also hold you accountable for your actions.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

 

Marketing to Moms

The goal of any business is to make money.  To that end, many businesses should be focusing on a multi-billion dollar market: moms.  Marketing to moms is the wave of the future…and the wave of now!

Why are moms so important?

Moms are enterprising.  According to BSM Media, Inc., the amount of money spent by moms is already over the trillion dollar mark.  That’s more than the budget of some third world countries!

Also according to BSM Media, Inc., almost ninety percent of moms consider themselves the financial head of the home.  The husband may be the one in many cases that brings home most or all of the money, but moms are usually the ones that make the ‘how-to-spend-the-money’ decisions.  Moms shop for everything that is related to the household: clothes for the kids, appliances, electronics, outdoor furniture, accessories and home improvement items. 

The majority of husbands who shop for these items will consult their wives before buying them.  Why do they do this?  It is because the wives tend to do most of the research into the products to find the best one on the market for them.  Moms influence as much as eighty-five percent of the purchases for their homes.  That’s a huge number of moms!  Over seventy million!

Take a moment and think about all of the tasks that moms handle in a day.  The tasks can include housework, driving kids to and from school and activities, cooking meals and managing finances.  They need to keep all of these things straight…and to that they usually employ a wide variety of technology.   It is quite common these days to see a mom sitting at a park, watching her kids playing while browsing/working on an iPad, iPhone, or other such mobile device. 

Moms are typically quite savvy on the internet.  For many years, the trend has been for moms, and women about to become moms, to come out of the ‘9-5’ workplace and come home to start their own business so they can be home with their children.  To that end, moms have developed a network of blogs, websites and forums designed to teach moms everthing from designing websites, starting businesses online, marketing to other moms, all while managing their homes.   With all of this additional knowledge, moms’ buying power has increased exponentially.

Marketing Mistake?

Traditionally, the only products marketed towards women were household and cooking products.  This goes back to the old thought that a woman’s place was in the home.  Many companies are now seeing what a huge detriment that approach has been to them. 

Women and moms have made a huge imprint in what was traditionally a man’s world.  Women are not limited to office jobs.  They are CEOs and CFOs.  Women don’t just ‘surf the internet’, they are becoming entrepreneurs with increasing influence over internet marketing.  These days, having moms shun your product because you are not marketing to them means that they are spreading the word via the internet and in their own communities. 

The Future

Moms are influenced by other moms.  Several generations of moms are coming together to influence spending habits of major corporations.  In the future, you can expect this trend to continue.  As moms become more ‘connected’ in the world, their influence over spending will increase [as their circles of influce do]. 

Gain the support of savvy moms with your products/services and your business will reap the benefits. 

Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.