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YouTube has only been online for a few short years, but it has quickly become one of the hottest destinations on the Internet.  Once a little-used medium due to slow Internet connections, the widespread use of broadband has made online video a popular attraction.  YouTube is one of the first sites to have been built around online video, and its ease of use and variety of videos has made it extremely popular.

Marketers were quick to catch on to the possibilities presented by YouTube.  They began to create “viral videos”, clips that were intended to draw interest and spark widespread distribution.  YouTube’s embed feature allows anyone to place videos on his blog or website, so by creating funny or informative videos, marketers could spread their message far and wide.

Any online marketer can harness the power of YouTube to promote his products, services and website.  Here are some types of videos that tend to do well:

Popular commercials – If you have a television commercial that has brought you lots of business, putting it on YouTube can get you more mileage out of it.  And best of all, you don’t have to pay for airtime.

How-to videos – While some Internet users just want to be entertained, many of them come online looking for information.  How-to videos allow them to see how something is done rather than just reading about it. Businesses capitalize on this by producing videos about how to do things that relate to their products or services.

Video from special events – If you’ve held or participated in a conference, seminar or other special events, posting a video of it on YouTube could get you lots of traffic.  So don’t forget to take your video camera along!

Funny videos – Lots of Internet users visit YouTube when they need a good laugh.  If you can whip up a funny video that features your products or services, there’s a good chance that it could be highly rated and go viral.

A frequent mistake of YouTube marketers is just uploading their video and hoping for the best.  Here are some simple steps you can take to increase your video’s chances of success.

Take care to put your video in the right category, and make full use of tags.  Add tags that describe your business and products, as well as the video’s subject matter.  This will help users find your video more easily.

Write a good description that contains keywords that one might use to find your video.  Also, be sure to include your site’s URL in the description.

Be sure to allow embedding, comments and ratings.  Allowing others to embed your video will give it more exposure.  Making it possible for them to comment will generate discussion, which is also good for your video’s success.  And allowing ratings could put you higher in YouTube’s search rankings if people like your video.

YouTube is an invaluable marketing tool.  It gives businesses the opportunity to use the popularity of online video to their advantage.  Anyone can create a video with Windows Movie Maker and upload it to YouTube, so why not give it a try if you haven’t already?

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People love information.  If you give them something interesting to read, you can direct them anywhere you choose.  Your selling power will experience an increase more than you thought possible.

You are offering quality products or services that you want to sell to the general public to add quality to their lives.  The problem is that if the competition is saying the same thing, what will make them choose you?


That is where your wording comes into play.  Have you ever read a book and could picture the scene just by the descriptive words on the page?  The words made the book come to life.

That is what you will do with the right words.  These words will influence the reader to take a look at your website and also to buy or sign up when they get there.  These influential words are not just limited to ad copy but can be used throughout your website content and page headlines like a trail of breadcrumbs until they find your product and make the sale.


What are these words?  Well, the words vary depending on what you are selling.  You want to create a picture with those words of a place or situation that includes your product or service.  Once you’ve created the picture you can begin weaving in words that will have a hypnotic effect on your customers.

To create that picture, you need to know a little something about grammar and sentence structure.  As a writer, or if you hire a writer to do the ads, they will need to be familiar with these two things.

Most people read at an eighth-grade level.  Big words or long sentences will cause them to yawn and lose interest.  Keep your sentences short but powerful. Use as few words as possible to get your point across.


Choosing the right words is like a commercial filled with subliminal messages.  It could be a word that appears in several places within the commercial or an action that the actors keep performing that transmits a message to your brain.  A sweaty brow could make you feel hot or desire a cold drink or a new air conditioner.

What you don’t want is for the customer to figure out what you are doing.  It is misdirection as much as persuasion. You are creating a scene that gets the reader to feel certain things while sprinkling in words that will lead them to you and your product.  By doing this, when you get to the point where you tell them to visit you and buy, they are ready and eager to do it.

One way to find the right words is to examine other successful businesses and see what they do.  What are their “right” words and how do they use them? If you are good at persuasion, choosing the right words for your customer base will bring in the sales you seek.

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Maybe you love to travel or have a great deal of experience and knowledge about vacation destinations.  Maybe you just like the idea of working from home and discussing the best vacation spots! These days, most people make their travel arrangements via the internet, which opens a door of opportunity to work as a travel agent from home.  Here are a few tips and guidelines for getting started.


Find out your state’s laws regarding licensing    

Some states require travel agents to be licensed.  If such is the case in your state, you’ll need to find out what is required to obtain your license.  Certain fees may apply and will need to be considered as part of your start-up costs.



How you set up your home office will affect your efficiency and productivity.  You will need an area devoted to your business, with a filing cabinet, telephone, and computer equipped with a fast internet connection such as dsl or cable.  Your computer will also need appropriate travel software, such as SABRE. You also might consider investing in a headset so that you can speak with a client on the phone while finding information on your computer.

Find a niche

You’ll want to specialize in a particular area of travel to determine your target market and keep your focus.  Some possibilities are cruises, family vacations, spa retreats, and honeymoons. Go with what appeals to you and where the market is strongest.


Find a reputable agency through whom to work

While you will be working as an independent travel agent, working with a reputable travel agency that will support you in meeting your business goals is worthwhile.  Look for a company that has a good reputation, particularly in your niche, with a strong online presence. Such companies can help get you started with a client base, and often make a point of hiring agents who work from home.  It saves the agency overhead costs and working under their “umbrella” will save you the work of getting clients from scratch.


Set competitive fees

There is a lot of demand for travel agents and the business is lucrative, but because of its popularity there is a great deal of competition.  You’ll want to find out what a typical agent charges and set your fees accordingly. You might also consider offering some services for free for promotional purposes, especially at the beginning of your business venture.  And be sure to pamper your clients and keep them “grandfathered in” to your original rates if you raise them later.


Include marketing in your budget

You might consider hiring a professional to work with you in marketing your business.  Such experts abound online, and their fees vary. Usually, they offer various packages with different options to fit your marketing needs.  You can also use social networking (such as Facebook and Twitter) to circulate your name and promote your business.

It’s exciting to live in a day and age when technology has opened up the possibility of working from home as a travel agent.  Get your clients excited along with you, and you’ll be in business!

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When it comes to starting your own business, you’ll likely eventually need other people to do work for you.  Instead of hiring employees, you might consider finding contractors to outsource your work to. This will not only save you money, but it also has a lot of other benefits as well.


When you hire your own employees, you have to pay a lot more than just their salary.  Employers have to pay employee benefits like health and accident insurance, paid vacation, social security, and other additional expenses.  While most of these are small costs, over time they add up to quite a bit of money out of your pocket. If you hire contractors instead of employees, they pay for their own benefits, so you don’t have to worry about the expenses.  The only downside is that, because they incur these expenses themselves, they generally add these expenses into their fees.


In addition to paying for benefits for your employees, you also pay for training.  Even if someone comes into your business with experience, they still don’t usually know exactly how your business works and it takes time for you to get them up to speed.  If there is a new program or style you want them to use, you need to train them on it. A contractor does their own training so you don’t have to worry about it. Plus, if you don’t like the quality of work you’re getting from a contractor, you can just get a new one.  When you get a new employee, you have to go through the hassle and expense of training a whole new person.


Another financial benefit to hiring contractors is that you only pay them when they work, and they only work when you have business, and therefore profits.  If you lose a client or have less work to go around, you can simply stop using a contractor. If someone is your employee, you either have to pay them even though they don’t have work to do, or lay them off, which is a financial drain as well.


Contracting out work decreases your overhead costs in addition to not having to pay salaries.  Keeping employees also requires you to have a place for them to work. This includes the costs of owning or renting space, computers and other equipment for them to work on, office supplies, bathrooms, and a whole slew of other things required to run an office, all of which cost you money.  You can avoid all these costs when you hire out work; however, remember that contractors factor this into their charges. At the same time, you avoid these costs altogether when work is slow.


While outsourcing is a great way to save money, it has other positives.  Outsourcing helps you reduce your business risk. Since you’re not obligated to hire anyone when you don’t have business, you can protect yourself in case of hard times.  It’s easy to lean down your business and survive until work picks up again. Outsourcing also adds a degree of flexibility to your business. If you decide to head in a different direction with your work, you can simply hire new contractors instead of retraining employees.  This lets you be adaptable and makes you much more likely to survive and turn a profit.


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Thanks in part to the troubled economy, entrepreneurship has been on the rise over the past few years.  Small businesses have helped replace the jobs lost due to large manufacturers moving operations overseas, and they have helped boost the economies of their local areas.  But did you know that a large portion of such businesses has been started by women?


According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women-owned over ten million businesses in the United States in 2004.  In Canada, one-third of self-employed individuals are female. In decades past, these numbers would have been unimaginable.


Why do women become entrepreneurs?

Every female entrepreneur has her own story about why she chose the path she’s on.  But there are certain factors that often contribute to women’s desire to start their own businesses.  These include:


Lack of work opportunities – A growing number of both men and women are starting businesses because there just aren’t enough jobs to go around.  Many have been laid off or lost their jobs due to health or other reasons. Instead of trying to compete for an ever-dwindling number of jobs, they decide to create their own.


Family concerns – Another effect of the state of the economy is reduced income, which makes it difficult to obtain childcare.  Many jobs just don’t pay women enough to make hiring a babysitter worthwhile. So instead of paying someone else to watch the kids, many women are seeking self-employment.  This gives them flexible hours, and in some cases, the option to work from home.


The desire for independence – The need for self-fulfillment, independence and greater control over one’s earnings are often attributed to male entrepreneurs.  But this is the primary motivation for many female entrepreneurs as well. Instead of being subjected to the “glass ceiling” in the traditional workplace, they prefer to create their own opportunities.


What do female entrepreneurs do?

The term “female entrepreneur” often conjures images of moms selling items on eBay.  While that is a valid and often lucrative small business, there’s a lot more to entrepreneurism among females.  Not only do they start businesses in women-oriented fields such as fashion, cosmetics and home décor, they are also starting technology, finance and construction firms.


Women-owned businesses range from one-person freelancing operations to large corporations.  An ever-growing number of small service-based businesses are headed by women. Some high-profile female entrepreneurs include Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network, and Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and founder of Urban Decay cosmetics.


Women have made great strides in the business world, and much of their success is attributable to entrepreneurship.  They are creating opportunities not only for themselves but for others who need jobs. The impact of women entrepreneurs on the economy has been increasingly significant, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

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Have you been looking for a rewarding career that can help make you steady money in today’s unsteady economy?  Then you may have been looking into bookkeeping. This is a stable career field that, even though it’s been around for hundreds of years, isn’t set to go away any time soon.


So what exactly does a bookkeeper do?

Really, it differs from job to job, but in general, they keep track and organize records on all the financial doings of a person or company.  Depending on the size of the business, you could be keeping all the financial records, or you could be more focused, by concentrating on an area like accounts receivable or accounts payable.


So, what kind of skills do you need to be a successful bookkeeper?  

First and foremost you need to have good attention to detail.  When it comes to financial records, even a small mistake can cause big problems in the long run.  If you make mistakes often, you’ll probably be better suited to another career. While it may not be something you want to admit now, if you get a job and make mistakes right off the bat, you’re probably not going to have the job for very long.

It used to be that bookkeeping was exactly that – keeping the financial books, but nowadays, pretty much everything has been digitized.  So, if you want to become a bookkeeper, it’s important to learn how to use computers. Even if you can’t get experience in specific financial software at first, you need to learn to use a variety of software.  This will help you learn to use computers in general and let potential employers know that you have the ability to learn new technologies.


So if you have the skills and the desire to be a bookkeeper, how do you get started?  

Ideally, you should get a strong start while you’re still in high school by taking math, computer, and if possible, finance classes.

Most employers now require their potential employees to have more than high school education.  Depending on the job, you’ll probably need at least an associate’s or even a bachelor’s degree. Look into degrees in finance, accounting, or other financial areas.  It will also help you to continue with a computer and other technical classes.

If you’re not really sure what classes or degree to pursue, take a look at job announcements for the kind of career you’ll potentially want to have.  While the requirements may change, it will definitely point you in the right direction.

Once you get a job as a bookkeeper, don’t stop there.  The field of finance is constantly changing and progressing as new laws and ideas come through.


Continue to take classes, gain certificates, or even pursue another degree.  This will help keep you in demand and advance you further within your career field.  If you like what you’re doing, you might even consider furthering your career by becoming an accountant or other financial professional.


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Have you worked in the office drudgery long enough and want to branch out on your own?  Consulting is becoming a more popular option, especially since the internet has made long-distance communication and working from home so much easier.  Here are a few advantages and disadvantages or starting a consulting business to help you make your decision.



  1.  You are your own boss.  Even if you have the greatest boss in the world, you’ve probably had issues with them at one point or another.  It’s inevitable that everyone will disagree eventually. If you start your own business, you get to be your own boss and make your own rules.


  1.  No office politics.  In addition to not having a boss, you also don’t have co-workers.  While this means you have to do a wider variety of work, you also don’t have to rely on other people or deal with their problems.


  1.  Higher pay.  While you may have to settle for low prices to bring business in when you first get started, once your name is out there and you have an established customer base, you can set your own prices and generally make more money than you would working for someone else.


  1.  Working with what you know.  The beauty of being a consultant is that the term is so ambiguous.  A consultant is simply someone who gives advice. This means that you give advice on what you decide.  You get to teach people about what you already know.


  1.  Pick your own work.  If your boss gives you a project you don’t want to do or disagree with morally or for some other reason, you have to suck it up and do it.  When you run your own consulting business, you get to decide which jobs you want to work on.



  1.  Unsteady income.  Most jobs provide a pretty steady income, but when you run your own business, you have no guarantees.  Even if you have steady clients, there’s always a chance they’re going to have to cut their budget permanently or temporarily.


  1.  You’re responsible for your own benefits.  Most employers provide benefits like health insurance and reduced rates on other insurance.  They also pay a chunk of money into social security and take taxes out directly from your paycheck.  If you own your own business, you are responsible for taking care of these expenses on your own.
  2.  You have to do the unfun part of business as well.  If you run your own business, you are responsible for keeping the books, running your schedule, answering phones and emails, and a whole slew of undesirable tasks.  You can always hire someone else to do that, but you’ll have to be making enough money to support their salary.


  1.  No work, no pay.  It’s simple. There’s no sick leave, no vacation time, no personal time.  If you want to take a break, you’re not going to get paid so you have to have enough extra income to compensate.


  1.  You must be self-motivated.  Not having a boss breathing down your neck may leave you less stress, but often it means you’ll get less work done.  Plus, if you’re working from home, you’ll find there’s a lot more distractions there than at an office. To be successful, you have to learn how to keep yourself on task.
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Buying into a franchise is a great business opportunity.  While it takes a lot of hard work and capital, it also comes with support and fairly stable business investment.  But remember, when you’re buying a franchise, you’re not only betting on the product and the market; you’re also betting on yourself and your ability to run a business.  Before you get started, ask yourself if you think you have what it takes to be successful.


Customer service skills – Sure, you may not do a lot of customer service as the owner of your establishment, but that doesn’t mean you can make money with poor customer service skills.  As the owner, you set the tone. Your employees look to you for how to behave at work. They often learn from you how to treat your customers. Plus, no matter how hands off you want to be, you’re still going to have to deal with upset or unruly customers, and other businesses and suppliers.  When it comes to your business, good people skills can go a long way.


Passion for the product – For many people deciding what franchise to get into, money is often their main consideration.  There are some names out there that are so established, it’s hard to mess it up and not make a profit, but buying into the most profitable company is not necessarily the best bet for you.  You also need to find a company with a product you support and believe in. If you don’t really care about what you’re selling, then you’re not going to want to work to get things started. This could leave you drained and disillusioned, and will often take a big hit out of your business.


Planning – You can have all the desire and charisma in the world, but if you’re not a good planner, you’re not going to be a successful business owner.  Sure, franchising is easier to plan than starting an independent company because a lot of the decisions are made for you, but that doesn’t mean you can just jump in without preparation.


Willingness to be trained – An established franchisor will normally have a fairly rigid set or rules that you must follow as a franchisee.  They may range from the products you buy to the way you greet your customers. If you want to be a franchisee, you have to be able to learn and follow all the rules set forth by the franchisor.


Leadership skills – While you’re working as a part of a larger team, as a franchisee, you will still be a business owner.  That means you have to work with your own team in addition to outside sources. Good franchise owners must be skilled at hiring, training, and managing their employees.  Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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Business and emotions don’t really seem to mix very well. But as emotions are a daily part of our lives, short of becoming robotic, you may be faced with the two intermingling at some point in your career.


Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and overcome emotions in your business life.

Take a deep breath – If you’re having a bad day or particular difficulties at home, it may not be easy to switch back into business mode, but it can be done. Breathing is an effective strategy for all sorts of issues such as panic attacks, anger control or simply switching back to a positive state.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a short break and find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for a few minutes. Then take a few deep breaths. Involve your whole body in the process. See your stomach inflate like a balloon as you breathe in slowly for a count of seven to ten and then slowly let the “balloon” deflate as you breathe out slowly for a count to seven to ten.

It may help to visualize the stress and negative emotions leaving your body as you breathe out – many people will associate this with the colour black, such as a black burst of air leaving their body. Then see calmness and peace entering your body as you breathe in – you may associate this with a gold or green burst of air entering your body.

Deep breathing is not a gimmick or fluffy strategy; it’s a proven technique that psychotherapists use on a regular basis for many different ailments, and it may help you even in the most stressful of times.


Take control back – We all have moments of panic or feeling completely down and out, but it’s important that during these difficult times we take back control. After a few deep breathing exercises, tell yourself that you’re in control of your situation. You now have to concentrate on business and work but you will allow yourself time to focus on other issues once you have finished your work.

This way, you’re giving yourself a “break” to completely forget about the issue while you concentrate on work. The issue will still be waiting for you when you finish so it’s really not conducive to anyone to focus on it all day – by analyzing the issue in this manner you’ll feel more in control of your emotions and better able to separate them from your business.


Give yourself a break – It’s not easy to run a business and deal with personal problems at the same time. Give yourself some slack and realize that you’re only human and that you’re doing your best. If at all possible, take a short physical break from your business. Sometimes changing the scenery or a little time away is all it takes. Use this time to either concentrate on the positive aspects of your life or to simply unwind completely and not think about the business at all. It’s amazing what effect a change of pace can have, even if just for a day or two.


The reality of life is we all struggle with emotional overload from time to time and being 100% positive is not realistic. Follow the strategies listed here and do your best to stay positive and you’ll stand a better chance of keeping emotions at bay in your business.

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Many of today’s internet or home-based business owners can easily become swamped with the number of daily tasks before them. Some manage to do well online while at the same time having time for themselves or their family. These people have discovered the value of outsourcing. Not only does it allow you to get all tasks accomplished but gives you the opportunity to work on those items you enjoy most. The little tasks which consume so much of your time can be passed to your VA as well as your contracted employees.


In order to achieve your desired level of success, consider outsourcing some of the tasks. This will enable you to concentrate more on areas which you consider critical enough to deal with yourself. Here are some examples:

Article Writing: Frequently you will find online marketers outsourcing any article writing needs they may have. Although great in order to advertise your business, they can also be quite time-consuming. These articles are an important aspect of your internet or home-based business. You can submit them to various article databases available. Social networking and web content are also great ways to make use of articles.


Website Building: You may possibly find yourself lacking in some software skills needed for website building. This is a good area to outsource to avoid spending hours getting frustrated and therefore not accomplishing the task at hand. There are multitudes of people out there who are in a position to help you. They have the skills needed, giving you the ability to outsource this project. It’s best to learn new skills when time permits, and not with a deadline looming around you.


Blog & Forum Posting: Forums and blogs are great advertising venues. You may choose to outsource the addition or changing of content on a regular basis.  The outsourced employee may answer questions or add new content to your blogs and forums for you.


Other aspects which can help you establish effective outsourcing with your clients could be the following:

Be Honest: “Honesty is the best policy” is probably something you have heard said many times before. There is still no change to this quote, and it can become especially helpful in all your business ventures. Honesty is of the greatest importance when you are a service provider. This is something that should be passed on to your contractors as well.


Going the Extra Mile: Small business owners often have huge ideas for their business. This is often followed by much smaller budgets. The budget should in no way mean their business is of lesser value. By going that extra mile to provide a helping hand, your clients will remember your actions. This, in turn, will possibly result in them returning to you for further business needs.


Keep Lines of Communication Open: You want to make sure your clients feel they can come to you at any time to voice their concerns. If for some reason deadlines can’t be met, or communications seem to have ceased, be sure to reach out accordingly to re-establish contact. You can also inform clients of any new skills you have which may help them in other areas of their business. In addition, you can inform them that you are able to take on more assignments if need be.


Effective outsourcing is an important aspect of your internet or home business venture. It’s not only a way to allow for greater quality in the work you can provide your clients. It can also result in you receiving recommendations and future clients when word of mouth starts to occur.