Home-Based Business Owners Should Be Reading Regularly!

by Yank Elliott

Why do you, a home-based business owner, need to read anything at all? You already know enough to start your business, and you don't have time for anything else.

To start with, you're likely among the 86% of new-business owners with no business experience at all. That alone means you need to read about taxes, legal issues, business tools, marketing, finance, and customer relations. This is in addition to learning all you can about your products.

The Internet has opened the information gates to one and all. However, there is so much information in cyberspace, one person can easily become overwhelmed and get nothing from it. Besides, much of what you find online turns out to be useless and irrelevant--take SPAM for example.

A major problem with this information overload is a resulting loss of focus.

For example, when you are on the Internet doing anything at all, what happens? You're flooded with pop-ups, pop-unders, and all manner of banner-type pages you did not ask for. Casinos and lotteries are all over the place, as well as offers for low-priced university degrees, long-distance phone services, and low mortgage rates.

These distractions, combined with a lack of self-discipline, make it hard for many of us to concentrate on our main reason for being on the Net: our business. We waste too much of our limited time chasing information online and trying to look at everything.

As hard as it may be, you must stay focused on your business and put aside these distractions. You'll find that a little practice at this will make you much more productive.

Keep in mind as well that finding good sources of the information you need on a regular basis is no accident. In addition to Websites, there are still books, magazines, and newspapers. Remember them?

A good place to begin is to determine the subject areas in which you need more knowledge and/or areas in constant change. Then, pursue information on these topics on a regular basis. Some resources may come in the form of daily updates, but you'll find most of your information in weekly e-zines and e-mail newsletters

Below, you'll find a list of Internet links to many common areas of business knowledge that you, as a home-business owner, should check out regularly. (To get you started, I've included only a few information Website sources, but there are many, many more out there). Note that many of these Web pages list suggested e-zines, and you should subscribe to all that interest you. You can always opt-out later if you change your mind.

Subject Area:

How to Market

Discover a comprehensive list of links to free online information (articles, e-books, and tutorials) on marketing and many other small business subjects ( http://www.websuccesscentral.com/ebooks/index.html ).

Subject Area:

How to choose products

Here's one source ( http://www.smithfam.com/news/1products.html) of information about products you can sell. The site includes links to products and articles by many experienced Internet marketers. While you're at this site, click the E-zine link to peruse the archived articles from the free Internet Marketing Newsletter, or click the Subscribe option to sign up.

Subject Area:

How to use Internet tools

A. E-mail

Be wary of spamming by ensuring that your list of e-mail recipients are double opt-ins. One source ( http://www.optinfrenzy.com/lbinfo.html) for double opt-in help is a software program called Optin Frenzy. It offers a quick and easy way to build a BIG, CLEAN, and above all, RESPONSIVE list of subscribers. Prices vary, depending on the size of your order.

B. Autoresponders.

This article ( http://www.wilsonweb.com/reviews/proautoresponder.htm) offers a lot of information about autoresponders, as well as a review of one popular program called ProAutoResponder.

C. Websites.

There are many URLs dealing with Website design and development; this one (http://www.chuckpoundsdesign.com/) will get you started.

D. Word Processing Programs

This site gives a lot of mostly free tips about MSWord ( http://www.mvps.org/word/). If you use another program, visit your software product's Website. Your local community college may be another excellent source to learn about these valuable tools.

Subject Area:

How to write

A. Articles

You will find a lot of writing help at this site ( http://www.editavenue.com/writing_tips_award.html). It includes links to prize-winning Websites that specialize in writing tips.

B. E-books

This page (http://www.ebooks-made-easy.com/) has everything you'll need to get you started if you want to create and promote your own e-book; check it out!

C. E-zines

Most marketing experts will tell you that a newsletter or e-zine is essential for establishing and maintaining a relationship with your clients or customers, as well as for promoting your products or services. Here's where to go for basic e-zine hows and whys (http://www.smart-web-promotion.com/ezinepromotion.htm).

D. Advertising copy, headlines

Writing good ad copy is essential to your marketing success. Read these ( http://www.promotionbase.com/article.php/753) ideas on how to do it effectively.

Subject Area:

Marketing campaigns

A. How to design a campaign

You'll find many articles ( http://www.wilsonweb.com/webmarket/) on marketing on this Web page. Look for them under the Promotion category, third column from left, second category down.

B. How to track results

This site ( http://websitesecrets.com/newsletters/wss-30-5.htm) discusses several ways to track your ads so you can know which ones to continue and which ones to drop.

Subject Area:

Accounting and management

A. Time

Be more efficient with these ideas ( http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/homemgt/nf172.htm) time management.

B. People

Have you considered hiring telecommuters ( http://www.career-intelligence.com/sbs/HrforHomeBasedBusiness.asp)? This article discusses why you might want to consider hiring a staff and why telecommuters might be the answer.

C. Customer service

If you neglect this business function ( http://www.customerfocusconsult.com/articles.htm) you'll have no business at all! This link provides a comprehensive list of links on Customer Focus, Customer Service, Customer Loyalty, and People in general.

D. Financial

In the U.S., the Small Business Administration ( http://www.sba.gov) is the place to start to learn about starting, financing, and running your small business.

E. Tax and Legal

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service's page ( http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html) for small businesses and the self-employed provide valuable tax information for the home-business owner.

Subject Area:

Using software

A. Free net tutorials

Here's enough (http://www.freeskills.com) information to keep you busy until next year! Besides many free software tutorials, this site also provides links to online courses at a reasonable cost.

B. Forums

This is (http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/) only one of hundreds of discussion areas where software users share tips and suggestions and answer each others questions. You can find an answer to just about any software-related question here.

Subject Area:

Opportunities for additional income sources

A. Network-MLM, Affiliate Programs

You will find many possible businesses on the pages ( http://www.no1-work-from-home.com/workfromhomeideas.html) of this Home Business Directory.

B. Mail Order

Find out about this ( http://www.henroy.com/mailinfo.htm) popular home-based business. Free articles tell you why and how a mail-order business can be profitable.

C. Franchises

This site discusses many franchises ( http://ifa.expoventure.com/uploads/splash/homebasedfran.htm) for home-based entrepreneurs.

D. Other

Check out this Web page ( http://www.thefrugalfamily.com/page12.html) for some unusual business ideas and cottage industries.

Remember that because your time is limited, you MUST decide what information you need to know now. Place priorities on reading and learning to designate subject areas important to your business. Then, leave the rest.

It is suggested that you use this article as a flexible guide. For example, here's one way you can use many of the "How To" articles you'll find that contain lists (like this one):

1. Print it out so you can manually arrange the priorities of items and delete information you don't need.

2. Next, copy the printed article to whatever text editor you use (i.e., MSWord, Notepad. etc.). Make additional changes and move items around to meet your needs.

3. Schedule a little time daily or weekly to pursue the "how-to" items important to you.

It's important that you do these things regularly. It's also vital that you make reading about your business a habit. In this way, you can form habits that will help ensure your home-business success, improve your time efficiency, and get only the important information you need.

For your review, here is a list of the resources mentioned in this article and in the order they were cited:
























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