Cool Business Startup Success Stories from Springwise

February 12, 2012

I found a terrific web site – springwise.com – that lists thousands of successful start-up business from around the world.  Many of these are work from home businesses and prove that creativity sells!  Three examples are profiled below to provide ideas for the want-to-be entrepreneur.  Successful business is not always about solving problems; innovative creations sell too!  “Green” business ideas remain very popular; resourcing and recycling is big and will sell.  I’ve seen many creative example at local craft shows.  Check one out to spark a business idea for you!

—————–

Although the BP oil spill in the Gulf last year may have now slipped from the media spotlight, preservationists are still working to clean many of the birds affected by the disaster. In order to raise money for the cause, Louisiana-based MATTER’s first initiative BirdProject is now selling symbolic soaps to help fund the rescue operation.

Symbolically, the soaps represent the washing of a bird whilst simultaneously linking that process to human activity as they wash themselves. A further function of the design is that it has helped raise awareness for a rescue operation at a time when many feel swamped by calls to give to worthy causes. Those trying to achieve similar goals, time to start thinking creatively!  www.birdproject.org

————-

Australian UBeauty has launched a line of garden pots made by hand in Pakistan from old, worn out tires.

Hard on the heels of our story about Mexico’s Tubohotel comes word of yet another creative upcycling venture. Rather than recycled concrete pipes, however, Australian UBeauty has launched a line of garden pots made by hand in Pakistan from old, worn out tires.

UBeauty’s tire-derived planters are made by a former leather-crafting shop from discarded tires that are past the point of retreading. Any tread remaining on the tires is stripped and used for mulch, while steel belting is removed and recycled. The remaining sheets of rubber are hand-cut and stitched using durable nylon thread; major joints are reinforced using exposed nuts and bolts.

Whether it’s airline seat covers or discarded tires, there’s no end to the creative possibilities for keeping waste out of landfills. Keep the upcycling innovations coming!  www.ubeautypotsandplants.com.au

————-

Evenings spent at a busy party or bar can often cause drinkers to lose track of their beverages. Wine drinkers already have wine charms to identify their glasses, and now — thanks to BeerTag — there’s an equivalent for beer drinkers too.

The company claims that 32 percent of US beer drinkers resort to ripping the label of their beer bottle in order to mark it as their own in a social setting; 46 percent, meanwhile, choose a particular spot to set it down in so as to keep closer track of it. Chicago-based BeerTag, however, hopes to end all that with a distinctive — and even advertising-ready — sleeve that fits over the neck of a beer bottle to identify whose it is. Available in a variety of colors and designs, the BeerTag not only helps consumers protect their drinks, but it also “offers beer distributors a unique opportunity to promote their brands, directly onto a competitor’s product, in the on-premise environment,” in the company’s own words. Several designs are available as free downloads on BeerTag’s site; interested advertisers are encouraged to contact the company for a quote.  www.thebeertag.com

Source for stories:

http://www.springwise.com/?s=birdproject

http://www.springwise.com/eco_sustainability/ubeautypotsandplants/

http://www.springwise.com/marketing_advertising/beertag/

– By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012


Home Computer Networks: Routine Maintenance Tips

February 9, 2012

For a more detailed description of configuring and maintaining a secure home network with wireless, see Home Computer Networks, Basic Setup Instructions, for Windows and Wireless By Dion D. Shaw and available on Amazon, SmashWords, and iBooks.

Part of operating a home business involves technology and understanding how it works at a high-level.  Unless your business is in the technology industry, information about router programming, website design, and firewall options takes up too much brain space.  Outsource those tasks where possible when upgrades and additions to the home network are needed.  You can perform some basic maintenance on your home or small business network that will improve performance.  Provided below is something to do on a monthly basis or so.

Similar to business networks and servers, home networks require periodic maintenance to help operating efficiency.  The steps below should be done about once per month and are similar for both DSL (e.g. AT&T) and cable networks (e.g. Comcast).

Read the rest of this entry »


Making Money on eBay

February 8, 2012

This post is a follow-up to the frequently visited article on creating an eBay storefronteBay is a very popular – and potentially rewarding –  business model, inexpensive to start-up, and easy to run.  eBay provides many helpful suggestions, tips, tools, and user forums to help both buyers and sellers.  eBay is also a classic example of a work from home business that even works while you sleep.

eBay may be the most powerful on-line money-making resource.  As mentioned below, 97 million active users use eBay as of early 2011.  Including both buyers and sellers, full and part-time, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace  Many people dream about working from home; very few are truly successful.  Could an eBay business model offer a way for many to achieve a viable work-at-home goal?

eBay World Wide Stats

With more than 97 million active users globally (as of Q2 2011), eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Founded in 1995, eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. Their collective impact on ecommerce is staggering: In 2010, the total value of goods sold on eBay was $62 billion — more than $2,000 every second. (1)

Anyone can make money on eBay with a product to sell, a computer, and an Internet connection.  Individuals don’t even need to own a computer or have broadband access; local libraries and community colleges provide these resources for free.  eBay represents the ultimate in business equality:  Sellers are retirees, employed, laid off, college degreed, white-collar or blue-collar persons.

eBay is very attractive from a marketing standpoint.  Buyers are automatically drawn to the site to search for both specific and general products, from printer paper to antique clocks to real estate.  The challenge is finding a product that drives traffic to your listing.  As with any new business, initial challenges exist, but with experience one can become a very good seller.

A good seller views the marketplace from a buyer’s perspective:  What items are popular, needed and/or desired?  What information does the buyer want and what requirements (e.g. free shipping, no reserve) are key to the potential purchaser?  Register initially as a buyer and research the products to better understand the selling process and marketplace.

Here are some tips directly from eBay’s “1-2-3 Start Selling” page:

Get Ready to Sell

> Research similar items

Search or browse through similar items and completed listings on eBay to see how other sellers describe similar items and what categories they typically list similar items in.

> Take a digital photo of your item – make sure it is clear, and upload extra pictures if necessary.

> Calculate postage and packaging costs.  Buyers want to know up-front the total cost of what they’re buying, and you don’t want to end up out of pocket.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

> You’re now ready to list your item.

> Click the Sell button at the top of any eBay page, and this will take you to the Sell page. Enter the name of what you are selling in the yellow search box and click “Sell It”. You will now be guided through the listing process.

> If you are not registered on eBay, you will be asked to register. If you haven’t sold before, you will be asked to create a Seller’s Account.

Complete the Sale

> Make sure you deliver – both in the literal and the figurative sense. Track your sales in My eBay so you know where you are. Send your buyer an invoice by email (PayPal prepares this for you automatically if you use it), and once you have received payment post and pack your item well, and dispatch within the time you committed.

> Make sure you deliver great customer service too – email buyers to let them know you have dispatched their item and include tracking or insurance details, if relevant. Follow up on any questions or concerns they have, and don’t forget to leave fair and accurate feedback.

Congratulations! You’re an eBay Seller. (2)

– By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

References:
1) http://www.ebayinc.com/who
2) http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sell/basics/start.html

eBay is a trademark name with all rights reserved.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2013


Low Cost Business Idea – VHS to DVD Transfer Service

February 6, 2012

Homepreneurs has another home business idea for you: offer a service that transfers VHS tapes to DVDs.  VHS players are all but gone, yet millions of tapes exist in home video libraries.  Family memories recorded on camcorders, old movies or important historical information are examples.

The Problem:

VHS tapes are sensitive to sunlight, heat, water or hungry VHS players with a taste for precious tapes.  Storage is another concern; VHS boxes and tapes require much greater space than slim DVDs and jewel cases.  Further, VHS tapes are difficult to search, forcing a watcher to fast-forward, stop and watch, fast-forward, etc.

A Business Solution:

Transfer VHS tapes to DVD or Blue-Ray using an VCR, software, cables, and a computer with a DVD burner.  The computer you probably own; if not, an inexpensive computer with DVD burner costs less than $500.  DVD burners can be purchased separately for less than $50 from many local computer stores.  Check the models of each for compatibility.  Software packages with cables included can be purchased at Walmart, Costco or other retailers for around $50.  Roxio has a solid reputation as a software vendor; Honest Technologies is another option.

The Process:

The process is simple: Install the software, hook up your VCR to the included connectors, then plug the connectors into your computer. Copy your VHS tapes’ images to the computer’s hard drive and then burn the images to a DVD.  Customize the DVD and add Hollywood style menus and chapters for impressive results.  The same process may be used for transferring videos to iPod or PSP too or LPs and tapes to CDs.  Make the product unique by labeling songs automatically with title, artist and genre information.

Market the Product:

Develop a clever name and tag line, order free business cards through VistaPrint, start a blog or web site, and get some free or low-cost publicity.  Finally, do some market research and price your service accordingly.  Display your service at local craft and art shows, and promote your business for free using the Internet.

People will pay you to provide this service: For some it is a major time saver, for others the technical challenges are too great.  This is an inexpensive and desirable business opportunity.  Price and advertise the business correctly and you will be successful!

I’ve successfully used the Roxio product to record multiple DVDs from older VHS tapes.  These are VHS tapes I purchased years ago and have the legal right to make a single (backup) copy for personal use.

Some tips from my experiences:

– Additional cables (either RCA or S2 video) are required and are not supplied with the software package.  Do not open the box and expect to instantly play and record.

– To set pricing of your service, calculate the capital costs – software, hardware, hourly wages – and price accordingly.  Remember you are providing a service and should be cost-competitive.

– The basic process is simple: load the software, connect the cables, follow the instructions, and start recording.  Advanced features such as editing or scene setting are more complex and require experience.

This is a good side business to consider.  It is relatively simple and generally uses equipment you probably own.  Buy the software and cables, get free business cards, market your service and instant business!  It is also a great gift idea for those difficult to buy for people.

– By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2013


8 Tips For Creating a Successful eBay Storefront

February 5, 2012

Many are looking for employment, a second job or a different career, especially one that may be part-time, full-time, and run as a home business. This article, by Sarah Kessler, covers tips for a job that almost everyone qualifies for and can do successfully. The start-up costs are minimal and most already own the necessary equipment: a computer, a camera, and Internet access.  It is true work from home employment and once started, runs automatically, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A seller needs a little creativity and research along with solid customer service skills, though almost no direct contact with the public occurs. Further, the world is your marketplace, thanks to the Internet and popularity of eBay.

eBay wants its sellers to succeed, offering tips and tutorials via online classes about setting up stores for new sellers.  eBay also has information for forming an eBay business and lists several resources for sales ideas.

Do you have a collection of coins, inherited jewelry or a unique antique you no longer want?  eBay will provide exposure, a far higher number of buyers, and assistance with all parts of a sales transaction.  Several hundred million potential buyers is much more than a local store, craft fair or garage sale could ever provide.

If the Internet has a quaint pastime, selling things on eBay is probably it. Before a thriving e-commerce sprouted a handful of platforms on which anyone can sell anything to anyone, there was a slightly thrilling novelty to participating in the online auction. “Yes,” we told our friends, “I sold it on the Internet.”

Some of the mystery and magic may have been lost over the last 15 years, but the easy selling platform remains. Up to 100 individual listings per month are free on eBay, but many people go beyond that — the site’s 90-million-person community now buys enough (about $1,900 worth of goods every second) to support many full-time businesses.

If you’re thinking about setting up a storefront on eBay, here are eight pieces of advice to keep in mind.

1. Ask yourself if eBay is right for your business

Though Marc Cohen’s business sells merchandise on Amazon, Buy.com, and through each of his two store’s websites, his two eBay storefronts bring in about 80-90 percent of his business. eBay works well for him for several reasons. For one, sites like Amazon and Buy.com have catalogs of merchandise that make it easy to create listings. If you’re selling something other than what is in the catalog, however, it can be more difficult to create a listing. Because Cohen sells a wide variety of used video games and other discount merchandise, at times it’s easier for him to list them on eBay. If you sell unique items like collectibles, eBay might also be the best way to go.

Another aspect that makes eBay an ideal choice for Cohen is that he deals exclusively in merchandise that is somehow distressed — used, returned, part of a closeout sale, or excess inventory. “eBay is an online flea market,” he says. “It is extremely price competitive. Most products (except rare or out-of-stock products from primary retailers) will not fetch prices even close to the retail prices.”

Like all third party online retailers, unless you can offer something that is harder to find or lower priced than the majority of other sellers, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much success.

2. Start slowly

“[Most eBay sellers] don’t think of their businesses as business, and they don’t come from business backgrounds, and they tend to make mistakes in their business practices based on this lack of experience,” says Jim Griffith, eBay’s senior manager of seller advocacy and the author of The Official eBay Bible.

Before you jump into eBay full throttle, Griffith suggests starting out with a few listings while you perfect your processes. Taking on more listings than you are prepared to smoothly package, ship and provide adequate customer service for could lead to detrimental buyer reviews.

3. Customer service is king

Aside from offering quality products at competitive prices, customer service is probably the most important factor for successful selling on eBay. Sellers who win glowing reviews from their buyers will turn up higher in product search results than a competitor with low ratings, and achieve a better public feedback profile.

Frequent sellers who maintain good customer service ratings also become part of the top-rated seller program. Benefits of belonging to this program include an endorsement badge that is displayed alongside listings, UPS discounts, and a 20 percent discount on eBay’s final value fees.

4. Create effective product listings

Griffith works with new sellers every day. He says one of the most common innocent mistakes he sees them making is in their descriptions, terms and photos.

One thing that sellers should avoid is adding text that could be viewed as negative by buyers. “Harsh or restricting terms of service — requests to do not do this, do not do that, you must do that — that kind of language doesn’t work in any marketplace, and on eBay it’s actually an effective way of getting rid of customers,” Griffith says.

Terms should be simple. Consider using a bullet-point list to convey your shipping and handling, payment and return policies. Product descriptions can be more robust. Griffith suggests watching how others selling in the same category handle their product descriptions. Clothing sellers, for instance, used to use simple sizes like XL in their descriptions. Now they are migrating toward exact measurements.

It might seem obvious, but another great way to increase your sales is to provide quality photos. eBay sellers can upload up to 12 photos with each product and should use as much of this space as possible.

5. Brand your storefront

One of the great things about selling on eBay is the opportunity to create a branded store page that highlights specific products and can set you apart as a seller. Unlike most other selling platforms, eBay allows all sellers to create up to 15 customizable pages.

Cohen, whose Thumbmonkey Video eBay store beat out about 12,000 other stores to win a marketing award from eBay in 2008, says that some things that are being upfront about the return policy and providing contact information.

eBay provides a free tool for customizing your pages. Marketing and merchandising apps can also help you make you customize the look and functions of your storefront. In addition to themes, the section contains apps for doing market research, sharing your listings over social media, or even tracking your buyers’ locations.

6. Remember, the customer is always right — even when they are not

Griffith gets a fair share of heroic customer service stories during his daily conversations with eBay sellers. Recently, a seller of packaging materials told him about a customer who complained about an order of pink packing peanuts.The customer said he had received white, not pink, packing material. After assuring the customer had another order of pink packing peanuts on the way, the seller asked if the buyer could send a photograph of the mistake in order to show the supplier its mistake. The customer sent a photo — of indisputably pink packing peanuts.

“That to me as an example of what a great seller on eBay will do, not to protect themselves, but just to make sure that somebody is happy, even if they’re completely wrong,” Griffith says.

7. Consider free shipping

“When it comes to shipping, the standard is moving across the industry toward free shipping,” Griffith says. “Buyers don’t want shipping to be part of their decision making. The best way to take it out of the decision making process is to offer free shipping. Even if that means moving some or all of the cost of shipping into the price of the item, it’s still an easier experience for the buyer.”

Unlike many other selling platforms, the seller is in control of setting shipping prices. Whether you decide to go with free shipping or not, you should ship your merchandise as quickly as possible. Cohen says that even if there’s a problem with the order, buyers are usually much more amicable when they’ve received their products quickly.

8. Do a bit of method acting

In order to understand what eBay buyers want, become one.

“You’ll garner a lot of valuable information about your business once you understand what the eBay buying experience is like,” Griffith says.

By Sarah Kessler (mashable)

Article Source:

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/8-tips-for-creating-a-successful-ebay-storefront-sarah-kessler?cid=em-smartbrief

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.


Website or Blog: Which is Better?

February 1, 2012

You’ve made the decision to start a blog or website to increase your home business exposure or sell products online.  Both represent a presence on the World Wide Web, both have considerable value, yet differences exist.

A blog is more dynamic and easily changed with a few lines of text, pictures or video.  Websites can be added to, of course, but the structure is more static and often more difficult to modify.  A blog can – and often is – used in tandem with a website.  Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as personal online diaries; yet still others function more as online brand advertising for a product or company.

Blogs are often the work of a single person, not a team of designers, programmers, and writers, as some websites need.

Cost is a factor too – blog hosts are often free.  WordPress.com is an example.  Websites usually have charges associated with development, hosting, content, and updates.

Different Types of Blogs

– Art or art blog

– Photographs or Photoblog

– Videos or video blogging

– Music – MP3 or iTunes blog

– Audio or podcasting

blog2-1

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 22,022 other followers

%d bloggers like this: