Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How to Make a Living Selling Your Inventions

You’ve invented something that you believe will benefit thousands of people. Congratulations! Now you have many decisions to make. The most important being: how are you going to profit from your invention?

This article is here to help. Making a living selling your inventions doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Here’s how to do it.


#1 Identify your target audience

The key to success for your invention is to determine who will benefit from it. What problem does it solve and who does it solve the problem for? Once you identify your target audience it will help you decide the best method for selling it. Identifying your target audience will also help you market your invention successfully.

#2 Determine the best selling approach

There are a number of ways you can sell your invention. They include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Selling at local fairs, trade shows and kiosks
  • Licensing - you own your invention and rent the right to make, use or sell it in exchange for a royalty payment
  • Private label agreement – you essentially sell the rights to sell your product to one retailer
  • A joint venture
  • Selling online
Depending on your invention you may need to find a manufacturer to produce it. This can be expensive, so plan your business and your projected earnings well. Don’t manufacture more than you can sell. Licensing and partnership agreements may help you cover the cost of the manufacturing initially.

#3 Set up an online store

Of all the methods to sell your invention, an online store may be the easiest and most profitable. You can market, fulfill and distribute - all from your website. Additionally, this eliminates the need to find office or retail space.

The key to successfully selling your invention online may rest with your marketing. It’s important to create a buzz for your invention. Issue press releases and have a presence on local media. Get out into your community and online. Cater to your niche.

For example, if your product solves a problem for new parents, then join forums and chat rooms where new parents hang out. Advertise on websites for new parents, and in magazines. You can make money from your invention, however, your profits and success will rest on a few key decisions.

Research your market. Identify your target audience. Once you know who they are, you can position your invention optimally. Then create a solid business plan. Make sure it outlines where and how you’re going to sell your product. Include goals and a plan to achieve those goals. Then get out and market your invention. You’ve created a wonderful product. Share it with the world and enjoy the profits!

How to Select a Profitable Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing has been, and still is, a profitable business model. Whether you’re pursuing affiliate marketing as a retirement business or are looking to add a few affiliate products to your current business model, there are some secrets to selecting a profitable affiliate program.

1. Check out their reputation in the industry. There are literally thousands of companies around the world with affiliate programs and chances are you’ll have plenty to choose from in your business niche. However, not all of them are created equal and it pays to be selective.
  
One key way to make sure you’re signing on with a profitable affiliate program is to research their reputation in the industry. Do they have a reputation for quality products? Do they have a reputation for good customer service? Are they respected? Is the company growing or is it on a downward turn?

2. What are their payment terms? Does the company pay you whenever you make a sale or only when you reach a certain level of sales? This is important because if you have to wait until you make ten sales or reach $500, this affects your cash flow. Cash flow is important, not only in staying afloat as a business owner but also in staying profitable. Make sure the payment terms of your chosen affiliate program meet your cash flow needs.

3. What are their sales pages like? If you’re being paid per sale, rather than pay per view, there’s no profit in sending 1000 customers to an affiliate sales page if the sales page doesn’t convert visitors into customers. Make sure the sales pages of your affiliate product or service convert traffic into sales.

4. What materials do they provide you to promote? Some affiliate programs give you an affiliate link and send you on your way. Other affiliate programs offer you a wealth of content, advertisements, promotional materials, buttons, and more to promote their products. The more materials a company provides, assuming it's quality marketing material, the easier it will be for you to make money.

5. How do they treat their affiliates? This is important. When issues arise or when you need to speak to an affiliate manager about anything, is there someone available to help you? Look for companies that have a good reputation for treating their affiliates like the valuable assets they are. If you have questions about whether an affiliate program is the right choice for you, contact them.

6. Do you feel good about their products or services? Instincts and intuition are important, and so is your ability to sell or promote an affiliate program’s products and services. If you’re unable to promote them with enthusiasm then you’re probably not going to make much money from them.

7. Does the program compliment your other affiliate programs? This may seem obvious; however, the best way to make an affiliate program profitable is to make sure it fits into the needs of your audience and that it compliments your other affiliate programs. If you’re seeking your first affiliate program, then make sure it fits your business vision.

Finally, ask around if you have questions about an affiliate program’s potential profitability. If you cannot find anyone who represents the products, which you should be able to do with a quick search online, then contact the program manager and ask for a few references or the contact information of a few affiliates. Talking to these affiliates will likely answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How to Turn Your Jewellery Making Hobby into a Successful Retirement Business

Hobby Depositphotos_55029521_s-2015Do you enjoy making jewellery and wish there was a way to make money from it? Good news - there is. You can turn your jewellery making hobby into a successful retirement business.

Full time, part time or somewhere in between, you can create a business selling your jewellery. Here’s how to get started:

#1 Research your competition and your market. The first step to creating a successful business is finding a unique niche or market. If you make a variety of jewellery types and styles, then there’s a great chance you can find a unique niche. Research online to learn who your market is and who your competition may be.
In addition to researching jewellery websites, also visit etsy.com, eBay and other seller websites to see what’s available there. Based on your research, determine the approach you want to take. Do you want to specialize in single stone rings? Do you want to specialize in zodiac jewellery? Or wedding jewellery?  What’s your unique niche?

#2 Create your inventory. In addition to having a range of stock to sell, you can take photos of your items for your online catalogue. Potential customers will want to see samples, and the photos of your jewellery will motivate them to purchase. Have fun with this part of the business-building phase and do your best work.

#3 Price your jewellery. This is the fun part - don’t underprice your jewellery because you want to sell it. Price it for what it’s worth, price it to make a profit, but price it competitively. This will require a bit of research.

#4 Create your website, or have someone create it for you. Your website needs to accomplish several goals. It needs to market your business and your jewellery and provide the opportunity for people to order your creations and pay for them. This can be accomplished by using several approaches, including ensuring your website has search engine friendly content, a product catalogue and information about you and your art. You’ll also need some way for people to order jewellery, a shopping cart system, and a fulfilment procedure.

#5 Consider creating stores on other websites like etsy.com, eBay, or even Amazon.com. These sites offer you the ability to create ‘stores’ and they manage the shopping cart and search engine aspect of business. It can be a great way to start out.

#6 Market your jewellery. There are various ways you can market your business. In addition to creating stores on the websites mentioned in #4, you can also advertise online or utilize content marketing and search engine optimization tactics to drive traffic to your website. However, don’t forget your community. Friends, family, and local advertising can be a wonderful way to get your first few clients. In fact, word of mouth is one of the best marketing tactics there is.

For example, you could host a home party to sell your jewellery, or give it to family to wear with the agreement that they hand out your card every time someone compliments them on their jewellery.

I hope that's convinced you to give it a go!  Launch your business, get your beautiful designs out there and make money from your jewellery hobby. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.

How to Become a Ghost Writer

Being a ghost writer can be the best of both worlds. You have the opportunity to work from wherever you want, doing something you love to do. And because you hand over the finished product to your customer, you're relieved of the marketing and publicity tasks associated with successfully publishing a book.

Top that off with the fact that ghost writers have the ability to learn about a wide variety of industries and that the pay can be pretty darned good, and you have the makings for a perfect encore career choice. So how do you become a ghost writer?

#1  Choose your niche and business model. Are you going to write on a variety of topics or will you specialize? For example, you can become a health writer. Additionally, will you ghost write any type of content i.e. articles, blog posts, books and reports, or will you specialize in one particular type of content? It’s important to decide this in advance because it will help you not only hone your skills but also market your services and assess your competition. You can always expand your services or reduce them as your business grows and changes.

#2  Become an expert. The only way to prove you’re worth your salt as a writer is to write. And the only way to become better as a writer is to write. If you’re going to focus on a specific industry or topic (and this is strongly advised because it enables you to focus your marketing efforts), then you’ll want to gain recognition in your niche. That means publishing articles, reports and maybe even a book on the topic.

Don’t worry though - publishing can be a very straightforward process. The internet has made the process of self-publishing easy and very accessible. 

#3 Create a portfolio. Using the content you’ve published and other samples of your work, you’ll want to create a portfolio of samples your potential clients can review. This can be a labour-intensive process; however, it’s worth the effort.

#4 Create a website. One of the benefits of working as a ghost writer is that you can work from anywhere and your clients can be half way around the world. That means, it pays to have a website which outlines what you do, how to contact you, what you charge and provides a glimpse into your portfolio.

#5  Begin marketing your business. Some ghost writers make a very good living through a bit of networking and word of mouth. And if you’re a skilled writer, you can fill a year with projects with very little marketing effort. However, it always takes a bit of marketing to get your business off the ground, and it pays to have some sort of marketing strategy to fill in the gaps. Clients come and go, and a solid marketing strategy will help you replace them without too much stress or effort.

Again, one of the best ways of marketing your ghost writing business is to write and publish. Article marketing, for example, enables you to drive traffic to your website. You may also want to attend industry events and introduce yourself to people you’d like to work with.

#6  Continually strive to improve your skills. That means not only staying on top of your chosen niche industry, but also improving your writing skills. Attend conferences and workshops, read publications on writing and consider working with a writing coach.

Being a ghost writer takes a combination of writing skills and business skills. You’re offering a service and, if you remember to balance that with being a good writer, you’re well on your way to a successful ghost writing career.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

How to Find a Great Virtual Assistant

A good virtual assistant can be the answer to an online marketer’s prayers. However, finding a good virtual assistant isn’t always easy. You want to find someone who can handle your tasks competently and professionally. You also want someone who is easy to communicate with and charges rates you can afford.

Here’s how to find a great virtual assistant:

Step One: Define what you need. Before you go on a hunt for someone to help you, determine exactly what you need help with. Each VA is going to have their own strengths. Some virtual assistants might offer a variety of services ranging from basic to quite technical and complicated. Other VA's may specialize in an industry or a specific type of service.

For example, one VA may specialize in editing, proofreading and transcription. Another may specialize in forum management or WordPress installation. In order to determine who to hire, you need to first determine what you need them to do.

Step Two: Begin the search. In addition to perhaps posting the job on classified job sites, social networking sites and your own website, start searching. Ask associates who they recommend. Use a search engine to find service providers. Start gathering candidates for the position.

Step Three: Narrow the field. Once you have a list of candidates, start narrowing the field. Use references and recommendations to shorten the list. Consider speaking with the top candidates on the phone to find out how they work, what their policies are and to see how they communicate. Half of an effective relationship is communication. You must be able to clearly and effectively communicate with each other.

Step Four: Test the waters. Ask the top two or three candidates to manage a small project for you. The purpose of this is to, essentially, test how you work together, how the VA manages the project and their professionalism. If you end up with two or three perfect virtual assistants, that’s okay. You can then choose the one that offers the best rates or the one that you most connect with personally.

Step Five: Keep your new VA busy. Once you’ve found a great virtual assistant, or two, then keeping them busy is a great way to keep them. Service providers need to keep their schedules full to keep their business alive. If they can count on you for a certain amount of work each week or month, they’ll make a consistent place in their schedule for you. This means you’ll be able to receive your projects on a timely, and consistent, basis.

Great virtual assistants can be difficult to find. Additionally, a good working relationship with a VA is a two-way street. You want to be able to provide clear and consistent communication about what you need accomplished. Consider creating a system for your virtual assistant to follow. Once you’ve found a great VA, take the steps necessary to keep them.

How to Think Like a Winner

Your mindset has a direct effect on your success in your retirement business. It also strongly influences how much you enjoy running your business. When you think like a winner, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams because you'll take setbacks in your stride - dealing with them and 'getting back on the horse'.  Here’s how:

#1 Create a pattern of success

One of the best ways to think like a winner is to create a pattern of success. This is accomplished by setting goals and consistently achieving them. There are many ways to set goals. To achieve them and create a pattern of success there is a proven method. Create a realistic but motivating goal. Create a series of smaller goals to help you achieve your big goal. Plan how you’re going to achieve each smaller goal.

For example, if you were a business coach, your larger goal might be to have $100,000 in sales this year,  Then one of your smaller goals may be to launch either a service or information product each quarter. Plan how you’re going to launch your product or service successfully. Create measurements to determine your success. As you achieve each smaller goal, you’re creating a pattern of success. As you become accustomed to succeeding you’ll naturally begin to feel, act and think like a winner – because you'll be one.

#2 Positive affirmations

We all struggle with limiting beliefs and doubts. However, to think like a winner you need to think positively. Turn your fears, limiting beliefs and doubts into positive affirmations. For example, “I'm no good with money” can become “I'm in control of my financial future. I'm capable of success.” Repeat the affirmation each time doubt creeps into your thoughts. Make a habit of repeating the positive affirmation regularly. Make it part of your inner dialogue. Soon you’ll begin to believe and act like it’s true.

#3 Surround yourself with supporters

Make sure your friends, family and associates are of like mind. It’s unhelpful to give your attention to naysayers. Believe you can accomplish anything and surround yourself with people who feel the same. Positive and enthusiastic people are powerful. Their passion is contagious. When you surround yourself with these people you really can accomplish anything.

Finally, accept that some days are going to be more difficult than others. Instead of fighting these days (or longer time periods), experience them with an open mind. Embrace them as learning periods and persevere. Winners aren’t people who never fail or struggle. Winners are people who persevere.

Set goals, maintain a positive mindset and create a strong support network. You're a winner. Always remember that.

The importance of good customer service

In today's increasingly competitive business world, every company needs to stay on their toes in order to survive in the long term. One way to separate your business from its competitors and build a brand that stands the test of time is to direct more of your focus to customer service. Where many of your competitors are likely looking to cut customer service down to a minimum in order to maximize short term profits, it may actually be a better idea to do the exact opposite and focus on building long term value and a large, loyal customer base.

It's true that offering only the bare minimum of customer service is likely to increase profits in the short term. You could get away with doing the bare minimum, and, as long as you cover the basics, you won't have too many disgruntled customers complaining about your company. However, it's also likely that the customers who are forced to deal with that subpar customer service will probably not return to buy more from your business. They also won't be recommending you to their friends anytime soon.

Contrast that with a situation where they received a hugely positive impression of your customer service - maybe you went above and beyond their expectations, taking every step necessary to guarantee their satisfaction. In that situation they're definitely more likely to become return customers, coming back to buy more from you, time and time again. Most likely they'll also recommend your company to everyone who'll listen, and, in the end, you may receive a handful of loyal customers just from one perfectly-handled customer service situation.

As you can see, offering great customer service is likely to lead to increased profits over the long term, even if it costs a bit more upfront (and requires a bit more effort to pinpoint what works and what doesn't). This is a tradeoff that most businesses should be more than willing to make. What good does it do to make a few extra bucks today if your business isn't going to be here tomorrow?

The sad thing is: many businesses fail to consider this, and, as customers, we're often forced to deal with poor customer service from a variety of companies. The main offenders are usually large corporations who care more about next quarter's profits than their customers, but even some smaller companies fall victim to this mentality. Don't be one of them!

How to Turn Your Ideas into E-Books

Information marketing is a wonderful retirement business model. It can be quite lucrative as a standalone business and you can also incorporate it into an existing business model for more profits and credibility.

However, sometimes taking that leap from idea to e-book can be quite a challenge. Here are a few ideas to get your idea turned into an e-book reality.

#1 Get someone else to write it. No, we’re not talking about hiring a ghostwriter, though that’s certainly an option. Some of the best e-books are actually collections of articles written by industry experts.

For example, if you have a website devoted to dog training and want to write an e-book about training your dog unusual tricks, you could ask ten animal trainers to each contribute their favorite trick to the book. Each dog trainer would get exposure for their business in the book and you’d get a complete, and quite valuable, e-book to sell. And you didn’t have to write a single word!

#2 Break it down. Sometimes the hurdle between book idea and actual product is a feeling of being overwhelmed. There’s an easy way around that challenge. Break your main topic into ten to twenty supporting topics. It may be easier to pose them as questions.

For example, an e-book on sales techniques might have the following supporting points or chapters:
  • What are the benefits of better selling?
  • How do listening skills play a role in increased sales?
  • How important is relationship building?
  • Should I network for more sales?
Each of these supporting chapters can then be divided even more into ten or more supporting points. Thus, for a ten chapter book you end up with 100 smaller, almost article size, topics to address. It makes writing a book much more manageable.

#3 Turn to audio. Some people just don’t have the time or the inclination to write a book, but still want the results. No problem. You can create an audio file instead. There are actually two ways to approach this. You can interview people on your topic, have the interviews transcribed, edited and polished. Then compile them into an e-book format.

Or you can simply speak your book and then have someone transcribe it and edit and polish it into an e-book. For some, it’s easier to flesh out their ideas if they’re talking. If this is you, consider recording your book instead of putting fingers to keyboard. Additionally, there is software like Dragon Naturally Speakingthat will transcribe your audio for you. This saves you the cost of a transcriptionist, though you may still want to hire someone to edit and polish your book.

Finally, though we did mention it in the beginning, if you do have an idea for an e-book but don’t have the time or inclination to turn it into a reality, then consider hiring a ghostwriter. Look for one who is experienced with writing books. Discuss your needs and work together to turn your idea into e-book profits.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

How to Make Money on the Internet

The Internet has changed the world.  You can shop for practically anything online. You can learn practically anything online. Children do homework and even go to school online.

The Internet has also opened up an entirely new way of doing business. In fact, there are many ways you can make money on the internet and for Baby Boomers who need or want to continue to work (in some capacity) after retirement, the idea of starting their own business via the Internet is an intriguing prospect.  Let's take a look at some of the most popular ways to make money online...

Affiliate Marketing

This business model is one of the most popular. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get into Internet marketing. An affiliate marketer earns money by pre-selling products or services for other companies.

An affiliate marketer begins with a niche - a specialty topic. You then create a website based on that topic. You provide an abundance of article content and information about that topic. This draws traffic to your website. You promote affiliate products by writing information about the products or services you’re representing.

For example, you could create an affiliate website on slow cookers. The content you create on your website could range from reviews of slow cookers to slow cooker recipes or unique ways to use your slow cooker. In the review articles and other content you include a text link or two to the company’s sales page. For each slow cooker you sell, you earn a commission.

Information Marketer

Information marketing, like affiliate marketing, is a fairly easy way to make money on the internet. However, unlike affiliate marketing, as an information marketer you’re creating your own information products and promoting them online. Information products are products that provide information. They include books, videos, online courses and even seminars and workshops.

Like an affiliate marketer, the key to success is to choose a specialty topic or niche. Create content to support that topic and draw traffic to your website. You can then build an opt-in list and begin marketing your information products to your visitors.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce is essentially selling a product online. You can sell a handmade product such as jewelry or bath products, or you can become a representative for another company, or manufacture products. Many internet business owners are artisans. They create what they sell online. There are sites that support this type of business owner. They include but certainly aren’t limited to Etsy, Foodzie, eBay and so on. You can use these ecommerce sites to create a store, or you can create your own website to sell your merchandise.

Service Provider

Finally, the other major business model is to become a service provider. This is a great way to make a supplementary income or to create a full-time business. You can provides services ranging from freelance writing, administrative help, graphic design, personal coaching, or even health and fitness training.

If you have a background in a service, consider creating an online business around that experience. You’ll market your business with a website. It’s a great option because you can choose your hours, your clients, set your own rates and make a living helping other people while doing something you enjoy.

We’ve covered four of the most common types of Internet business models. However it’s not an exhaustive list and, if you’re interested in making money online, start by taking a look at your skills, interests and then try to match them with what people need. Design a business that helps solve a problem and you’re off to a great start.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Retirement Doesn't Have to Mean the End of Your Career

Will Rogers once spoke about how half your life is wasted attempting to find something to fill the void of all the time you rushed around trying to save. Most people have many productive years left after retirement, and that’s plenty of time for you to start a new career, lead a different lifestyle and enjoy numerous successes.

We baby boomers aren’t content to accept the gold watch and then be relegated to a life of isolation. It might be fun and relaxing for a while, but eventually boredom sets in and it becomes difficult to spend the days in forced idleness.

After the honeymoon period of retirement has ended, you can find yourself becoming so bored and inactive that depression can set in, changing your health and outlook on life.

But retirement can be a very active and challenging time for seniors. Rather than finding a job, which can confine you to certain hours of the day, think about starting an online business.

Online businesses can be very rewarding, both financially and intellectually. You can set your own hours and supplement your retirement income nicely from an online business - when done properly.

Don’t worry if you feel technically challenged. There are many universities, colleges and online courses that offer specially-designed courses for seniors on everything from computer programming to simply getting to know your computer.

You’ll be learning a new and exciting way to fill the hours of the day with project planning and marketing that will not only boost your income, but will provide a way to keep your brain power sharp.

Low interest rates on savings and less-than-stellar returns on pension investments mean that, if you’re a recent (or soon-to-be) retiree, you may not be able to live comfortably on your retirement income.

Learning about available opportunities on the Internet can provide you with a boost in income that can be stimulating and profitable – and with very little startup cost. If you have a computer and know how to use the Internet, you can start your own business.

Not only will you have extra money – but you’ll have the added satisfaction of building and growing something.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when beginning anything new.  But if you keep yourself motivated by reading blogs and finding other ways of keeping in touch with seniors just like you (such as social media groups), you’ll soon master the strategies of making money on the Internet and be on your way to a new and exciting life-after-retirement.