Everything that I write about on this blog is something I truly, use, think and/or believe. I do not accept sponsorships for this blog. If you have any questions about a service or resource for small business owners, feel free to email me-contactATlovelylittleladies.com. I'm more than happy to give you my opinion on it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why Free ? And the way FREE can benefits a business.

A note from Renee, I read this article on a message board and wanted to jump up and cheer!! Nanc gives some much needed advice to online entreprenuers.

FREE is a 4 letter word to anyone trying to do business online and be

Yet everyday I see ads for I want free hosting, free graphics, free
ebooks, FREE Adivce ect.

We are all homebased business owners. You would not expect people to
ask you for FREE products or Service correct. Then please do not
expect others to offer you free services or produts.

Hosting agents IF they do not make money placing AD on your website
need to make a living. For those of you that do not understand how
hostig works it cost the service about 300 to 1,000 a month to provide
servers or more for YOUR use. And hosting right now is pretty cheap as
low as $3.95 a month or a bit more for a small site. They spend
thousdands a year to run a business and if they make $3.95 or $7.95 a
hosting client imagine how many clients that takes to run a successful
business. Many get stiffed or client are late paying each month which
puts a strain on them financially.

Graphic designers spend hour creating their images for resale.

Publisher put a lot of research into their producuts.

FREE is not a good way to do business and since you expect to get
paid don't expect others to offer you their services for free.

Now I was new once too online and ON a tight budget I seached and
found the best deals I could. I started with a budget of $20 a month
now you still can get hosting and Advertising for that each month IF
you a smart shopper. I cn guarantee you if you look you can find both
hosting and adveritsing online for $20 a month.

You can swap ads if you don't want to pay for them at least then the
other person get something out of it also.

But here is the bottom line most people send an enorumus ammount of
time and effort and MONEY to set up and run their businesses and they
have every right to get paid for what they offer you. Most of us that
are homebased have very affordable prices but you really should not
expect to get anything for free unless you make some sort of
investment with them also.

Now free is a GOOD Add on Buy one get one Free, a Free ebook for
signing up for a newsletter, Free ads for becoming a member works well
and is good business. Free chats are excellent resources and many
homebusiness groups host great chats to help you become more
successful. FREE should be used sparingly and No one should Expect to
get anything for free anymore online or off.

My Granny use to say you get what you pay for and most freebie are not
worth what you pay for them.

Nanc Johnson
Nanc Johnson has been on Online leader of the homebased business community since 2001 when she started a shoestring marketing firm it has grown into a thriving community of homebased business owners working together and supporting each other through networking, chats and online events. http://smallbusinessreferralnetwork.com

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Be READY for business

I know that what I am going to say will step on some toes and offend some.

But this blog is named 'Blunt Business Advice' for a reason.

I have seen several businesses use free hosting and free domain names (i.e. www.freewebs.com/yourbusinessname). This is truly my biggest pet peeve and I think the largest mistake any wahm can do.

I frequently shop online and I try to support other small business/wahms. But I will not shop from a store that does not have it's own domain name, and paid hosting. As a customer I think 'This must be a 'fly by night' company, because it didn't invest in it's own hosting/domain.' I also find banner ads/pop up ads that are frequently on free hosting annoying and very unprofessional. Even if I like a product a business has I will not buy from them.

A customer has to trust online companies more than they do Brick and Mortar stores. We are paying you for a service or product and are willing to wait a few days or weeks for it to arrive. As business owners we need to make sure that there is nothing on our site to compromise that trust.

The biggest excuse I've heard is: "I can't afford a domain name or hosting right now." Would you open up a coffee shop and tell customers, "Sorry, no coffee, we can't afford it right now."? I don't think so!

A domain name and paid hosting is an important part of an online business.

I honestly would rather wait until I could afford a domain name and hosting then risk giving off an unprofessional image to (future)customers.

The truth is it does not cost a lot to have paid hosting and a domain name. I currently host a site with www.doodlebabies.com. Stacey, the owner, is very helpful and always emails me back asap. Hosting with Doodlebabies starts at $3 a month for the Starter package ( includes 50 MB Web Space, 100 MB Transfer, 1 Email Address). I currently use the $7 WAHM business package and have no complaints. The 'doodle cart' - Doodle Babies shopping cart- is a bit expensive ($85 license fee and $10/month for hosting). I can't afford that right now so I am using a different host for my shopping cart.

If you decide to use Doodle Babies and need a cheaper shopping cart there are several options (these options are for every host, not just Doodle Babies):

Use an open-source cart such as OScommerce or Zen Cart. These are free to use but have a HUGE learning curve and are difficult for those with limited techinical knowledge. These are available for download through most hosts.

Use a free shopping cart software such as Mals Ecommerce (mals-e.com) or Pay Pal. These are DIFFERENT than free hosting in that you are given code that you can copy and paste or your site.

I use www.wahmshoppes.com for my shopping cart. The 'Feature Cart' is great and has a ton of features for only $7 a month. Customer service with the owner is not as good as Doodle Babies, but there is a support forum for all the wahmshoppes customers and I've always had my questions answered there in a timely manner. Wahmshopes is also a host (included in the $7 a month fee, but I just use the shopping cart for one site).

As for a domain name, I never pay over $8 for one. I use Godaddy.com (the cheapest and has great customer service). Before I purchase a domain name, I search 'cheap domain names' in yahoo. A Godaddy ad will appear in the 'Sponsored Links' section at the top of the search. Click on this link and you will be able to purchase a domain name for $6.95 a year.

In summary, if you have about $15 (and the $3 or $7/month thereafter) and do your research, you can create a professional image online.

Finding your business niche

We've all been to yahoo groups or message boards where fellow business owners have 8+ links in their signature line! I have seen some women who affiliate with dog treat stores AND adult romance companies.

As a customer, I would like to buy from someone whom I believe really knows about their company (or the one they represent). If you are a representative for so many companies, do you have the ability to know all about each companies products and can answer customers questions correctly and in a timely manner?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should only have one company. I myself am a Mary Kay rep (for personal use with some family as clients), and I own two online stores. But my stores both sell Children's clothing and items. That's my 'niche' and what I love to do. I love to buy clothes for my young niece and created a business out of that.

It is much easier to do well in a business if we like what we are selling. I honestly doubt that someone who sells for 8 or more companies truly enjoys each one and LOVES every product.

As women we tend to believe that we can do it all (and sometimes we can!), but why split up our time/energy into so many companies when we can invest A LOT of time into one or two?

Just think how much more successful we could be.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why Blunt Business Advice

I've been an entrepenuer since I was 13 years old. I am always thinking of business ideas and I always have to try them out. Within the past year I have created 2 ecommerce websites. I joined several networking groups for women in business and was amazed at how helpful everyone is.

However, I was also amazed at how quick people were to give up on their business because it was a failure.

More often than not, businesses online fail because people don't plan, they make costly mistakes with web hosts, web design and marketing, and they simply don't believe you need to invest any money online to succeed.

This is simply not true. To make money you have to spend money! Not a lot, but you will have to invest a lot of time, energy and yes some money.

I will posts articles and resources on this blog. I will also give free website and business reviews. I will be blunt and hold no punches.

My only goal is that everyone succeed.

Renee Walker