Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Business of Publishing - New Fiction Table

Found his little tid-bit in Writer's Digest the other day. Yeah, I kind of figure this out for myself when the "new book" I was looking for was on the shelf and the one that I bought 6 months ago was still sitting "pretty as you please" on the New Fiction Table. But did you know that the supermarket book aisle that has #1, #2 and so on is also placed for payment? Hmmm.

Chains in the US and the UK allow publishers to pay for placement of a book -- it's called co-op advertising. This basically means that when you look on the New Fiction table at Barnes and Noble or Borders, a publisher has paid to have a book there for a week or a month -- it has little to do with how "new" it is.
Jodi Picoult, Writer's Digest, February 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Creating Cash - Making Money out of Thin Air

We will first focus on "creating cash." Why? Because even a small amount of cash allows us the freedom to do the things we want to do.

  • It allows us to pay for our DSL bill and our electric bill so we can keep this blog going.
  • It allows us to pay a business license fee when we come up with a fabulous business idea.
  • It allows us to buy equipment and services that allow us to effectively telecommute or work remotely for an employer.
  • It allows us to open banking and investment accounts to begin our wise, yet small steps into financial success.
Yes, creating a small bit of cash can grow into creating big opportunties. So we will start there.

For my "creating cash" endeavor, I have decided to use E-BAY, Craigslist and my very junky garage and closets. I'm hoping this money-making endeavor will also allow me to de-clutter my home and push me closer to being uber-organized, thus opening the flow of energy throughout my house . . . which, should increase the flow of monetary energy. (Do I sound too new-age-ish?)

Okay, so let's use "real terms". I need to make money. So, I should liquidate my assets (or better terminology: sell my stuff). I need to get brutal with myself and take everything that I'm not currently using -- and a lot of stuff I don't like -- and sell it, quickly. Bank the cash and move on to the next project.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I've opened two savings accounts

The first account is my "million dollar account", where I will accumulate a million dollars. I will not touch the money that I put into this account.

The second account is what I call my "investment account." This account I will use to invest in myself. I will use this money to pay for listing on E-bay, to buy supplies and equipment for my business to invest into this blog or my book or whatever money-making venture that I decide to participate in. Yes, I must acknowledge, that it does take money (but only a little) to make money.

Also, I thought is would be a safe way to be soft on my goal, because in the past whenever I opened an account that I told myself I would not touch for any reason at all . . . something came up that made me dip into it anyway.

I know, I know . . . that's what an emergency fund is for. Don't worry, I plan to have one of those too. But it just feels better to say that I have started my "savings program." Gives me energy to tackle all the things I need to do. So back off! Let me have my little fun in this.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Change can help me too . . .

If you around my house and you'll find change (coins, monetary metal) everywhere.

Clean my house and you'll have buckets of the shiny (and not so shiny) little round metal thingies. [That's what my baby used to call them when she was three years old -- "little round metal thingies."]

Think about it, all the change I collect could get me closer to my million dollar goal. I mean if I wrap 100 pennies I have $1.00 -- that's 1/1,000,000 of the way toward my goal! Which means I would only have to accumulate 999,999 $1 dollar bills to reach my goal. See, 100 pennies destroyed a comma like that [snap]. Doesn't that task look easier now that a whole comma was destroyed?

And check this out, I have way more than 100 pennies! So, my first task is to find all the change in the house -- which will help me clean up the house -- two birds, one stone -- count it and put it all in my million dollar account.

I'm on my way!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Getting a million dollars is a simple thing - just collect a whole bunch of $1 bills

Okay, I've made up my mind, a million dollars is a very simple thing to possess when you think of it as 1,000,000 - $1 bills. I've probably handled more than 1,000,000 $1 bills over half of my life time, I just never thought to keep those $1 bills.

So, I'm going to play a game with myself. It's a simply game really. It's called, how many $1 bills can I actually collect.

Then I can monitor the percentage of the 1,000,000 that I have accumulated:

Collect $100 and I'm 1/10,o00 of the way there . . .
Collect $1000 and I'm 1/1,000 of the way there . . .
Collect $10,000 and I'm only 1/100 of the way there . . .
Collect $100,000 and I'm only 1/10 of the way there . . .

See how easy that is?

It's even more feasible when I think that all I have to do gain 1 million dollars is sell 1 million things for $1. I'm not sure if I have 1 million things, but I'm damn sure that I have over 100,000 things! So, if I could sell 100,000 things and average $10, I'm well on my way to realizing my first goal.

Look around you, do you have 100,000 things? Do you have 10,000 things? Do you even have 100 things? Yeah? Then what the hell are you waiting for, start making money. E-bay, garage sells . . . here I come.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Business of Writing

While reading through my dozens and dozens of writing journals, I discover tid-bits of information about the world of publishing that we "readers" and "aspiring writers" never think about.

The most interesting information about the publishing world is always hidden in articles talking about something else entirely. But these tid-bits are crucile to your survival and success as a writer. What many aspiring writers don't realize is when you venture into the ocean of "publishing" you cruise some dangerous waters. I want to make sure that if you venture into the deep, you survive your journey.

So, whenever I come across critical information about the publishing industry, I'll make sure to publish my findings here. The beginning of the title of these posts will always be, "The Business of Writing."

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Think Like the Employer

The question was recently presented to me:

"You know, I've sent out a few dozen resumes for telecommuting work. But I haven't received any response from the employers. No phone calls, no e-mails, no mailed letters, nothing. What's going on with these people? Do they really have a job to fill?"

My answer:

Yes they do have open positions to fill, but to understand why they don't answer your applications for employment, you have to jump into the employer's shoes.

First of all, you must understand that there are thousands of people (if not millions) looking for work-at-home opportunities. Most of them are looking for clerical work. When an employer with this type of job opening announces the possibly of working-from-home, the response from job hunters can be overwhelming!

One man I know had a part-time clerical/data-entry job for $7.00 a hour. He offered the opportunity to work from home. He received 4,000 -- yes, four with three zeros -- resumes in three days!

Now to understand how many actual resumes this employer received, imagine a "ream" of paper (a ream of paper is 500 pieces of paper). If you don't know what a ream of paper is, go to any office supply store and ask for a ream of printer paper. Now imagine buying 8 reams of paper and stacking them on your desk. Those 8 reams of paper is the equivalent to height of all the resumes that employer received if they were stacked on his desk.

Now ask yourself, why would the employer advertise for an assistant in the first place? The answer would be, because the work load of his business had gotten so large that he could not run his business, make a profit and do all the paperwork needed. So how the heck is the employer going to sift through all those resumes and get work done that will enable him or her to pay the employee when the finally hires her?

Afterall, they have to keep business rolling. Despite what we may think as employees, many employer's business is not hiring people -- it's providing a product or service that makes money so paychecks don't bounce!

Okay, you're still in the employer's shoes -- let's fast forward to the time that you (the employer) has found a staff person to fill the job. Now, what do you do with the other 3,999 applicants?

Option 1: Do you ask your new clerical assistant to make 3,999 calls to tell all the applicants that they were not chosen?

This would be a waste of your new assistant's time. You hired this person to do clerical work that will bring your business more profit. Not break your budget by creating a large phone bill.

Option 2: Do you ask your assistant to send 3,999 emails?

This is a waste of your new assistant's time as well. They should be about the work of the business -- making profit and assisting the employer. Anyway, if you send out more than 4,000 emails in a 48 hour time period many ISP's will shut down service thinking you're "spamming." But even if they "could" send out that many e-mails without getting accused of spamming, it would take the assistant an entire week to copy/paste or in some cases type in all those e-mail addresses correctly. That week of work can be better used catching up on paperwork that did not get done while you were searching for an assistant!

Option 3: Do you send 3,999 letters?

This is a waste of time and money. First you must mail-merge 3,999 letters which takes data entry (one week - $140 in salary) and 8 reams of letterhead paper ($200), nearly 4,000 envelopes, and over $1500 worth of postage!

Simply put, to tell a bunch of people they didn't get the job you have to spend over $1800.

Option 4: Do you just notify everyone you interviewed (about 10 people) and let the rest figure it out when they don't receive a call?

Noting the above, if you were the employer what would you do? Pretty much what employers are doing today; not calling, e-mailing or sending any type of notice in the mail.

It's really not such a mystery when you look at it from the employer's shoes.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Are you Snoopy or Charlie Brown?

Tele-Classic Article

As a child, I enjoyed the holidays because there was always a Peanuts Special involved. A reoccurring theme in many of the stories was something I could identify with, even though I was a small child.

Charlie Brown was always waiting at the mailbox for a letter or some sort of correspondence from someone, anyone. Charlie would lose days waiting for a letter and never receive anything. Snoopy, to the aggravation of Charlie Brown, always had mail. How in the heck could a “dog” have mail everyday? In Charlie’s eyes a dog was more successful than he was.

I would laugh uproariously at this whole situation because even as a child I understood why Snoopy got mail. Do you?

It’s because Snoopy wouldn’t stop writing letters. That dog was always mailing something out. Then he would forget about it and go back to write and send even more. He would get his good friend “Woody the Bird” to drop the envelope in the mailbox. Then he would stroll back to his typewriter, on the top of his doghouse, and write another letter or another fictional story about the Red Baron. He was always writing something. He understood what many people don’t. Volume is the key. If you want a response -- good, bad or indifferent -- the more you bravely throw things out into the universe, the more likely you will hit a target and the better your chances are for success. Unfortunately, success is just a numbers game folks.

This goes for job hunters looking for telecommuting work. I get messages from those that send out 25, 50, 100 resumes; complaining that they have yet to get a response. I say stop sitting around banging your big head against the mailbox (like lovable Charlie). There are a lot of chances to make money; you just haven't hit the mark yet.

Maybe you need to analyze your efforts or your skills. Maybe the one hundred and first resume will hit its mark. Maybe you should look into other ways to make money while you’re looking for that perfect fit (i.e. register with freelance work sites). Your continued action is all that matters. Sitting back and waiting is a waste of your time. The time is going to pass anyway; you might as fill it up with something. The more you give, the more you will receive. Remember that success is just a numbers game. Which are you, Snoopy or Charlie Brown?

Original copyright 2000, Revised 2007 © Telecommuting Millionaire/R. Mays
Photo by David HM Spector

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Starting a business with $0

"It takes money to make money"

We've all heard this before and it's true to an extent, but . . .there are people that began construction businesses with just a shovel; there are people who began a salon with a comb; there are people who sell food to millions that started from a home oven with
one burner working.

Heck even the largest business successes today:
Craigslist, Kinko's, UPS and Yahoo had meager beginnings:
Craigslist began in 1995 as an e-mail newsletter to Craig Newman's friends -- telling them about cool events around San Francisco like the Anon Salon and Joe's Digital Diner. It spread through word of mouth, and became large enough to demand the use of a list server, majordomo, which required a name -- his friends suggested calling it "craigslist" to reinforce its personal and down-to-earth nature. Over time, people started posting items on the list.

Kinko's began as
a low-price copy shop for college kids in Santa Barbara. It was founded in 1970 by Paul
Orfalea, a self-described mechanically inept and dyslexic, "C" student at the University of California. He leased an 80-square-foot former hamburger stand in Isla Vista, near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and rented a small Xerox copier, charging customers four cents a page.

UPS was founded
in 1907 in Seattle, Washington, by 19-year-old Jim Casey as a bicycle messenger service called American Messenger Company. Casey delivered telegraph messages and hot lunches and sometimes took odd jobs to keep his struggling business going.

Yahoo! Inc.
got its start in 1994 as the hobby of two Stanford University students who were writing their doctoral dissertations. Jerry Yang and David Filo, spent much of their free time surfing the World Wide Web and cataloging their favorite Web sites. In doing so, they created a Web site of their own that linked Internet users to Yang's and Filo's favorite places in cyberspace. At that time, their site was called "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web."
Histories are from:

they can do it, you can do it too. And damn-it, if I can do it (I began a business with virtually no money) then I know you can do it -- and do it better!

This technique of starting a business with zero or little money is called
bootstrapping -- and I've done a lot of it. This article is the beginning of a series to help you begin your home business. Because there is no excuse for you not to begin your business today.

This series will be titled: "Begin with Zero."

No Cash, No Fear: Entrepreneurial Secrets to Starting Any Business wit (Google Affiliate Ad) 

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Impatient Telecommuter

Tele-Classic Article

Message I’ve received recently:

Hello, I want to thank you for providing a free list of telecommuting jobs that help me in my search for home employment. But, I must say that I’m disappointed in my job search so far. I’ve sent out 28 resumes in the past two weeks and I haven’t had any success! Could you advise me on what to do next?

This was the tenth message I received in two months with similar concerns. I realized that this was a viable worry for many of my visitors. I found that many telecommuting job hunters would send a few resumes out and then sit back and wonder when employers would call.
My responding question is: “How long does it usually take the average job hunter to find a “regular, commuting” job?”

The answer: It usually takes the average job hunter anywhere from three months to one year to find the job with the desired salary and duties. Now, I have bad news for you so sit down.
To find a telecommuting job, the job hunter must multiply the average time it takes to find a conventional job (three months to a year) by three. Yes, you heard me; it takes a telecommuter three times as long to find a real and legitimate telecommuting job. Expect to search, apply and hope for at least six to nine months before finding any success.

I’m not here to disappoint you. This is just the plain truth. If you achieve employment before the above stated time, great! But, to be fair to yourself, give the job search at least nine months. Why? Because competition is stiff and employers have the pick of the litter.

You see there are millions of people, just in the United States alone, that wish to work from home at least part of the time. So, you have lots of company and competition.

Remember that it took 685 hours of hard and constant searching (that’s four months of searching eight hours a day) before I found just the right telecommuting job that complemented my needs. It will probably take just as much time and effort for you.

My next question: “When you are searching for a “regular commuter” job, how many resumes do you send out in a week?”

I don’t know about you, but when I searched for my last “commuter” job, I sent out (on average) 30 resumes a week. My husband sent two times more (60 a week) during his job search. As a co-owner of a secretarial service, I’ve had job-hunting clients that send out over a 100 resume a week for several weeks before they landed their positions.

Believe it our not, this is a typical amount of activity for a job search. Some people have better experiences finding jobs quickly because they are applying for jobs that have lots of openings and few qualified applicants. In other words, they are in high demand by employers.

For example, I have two friends that helped troubleshoot for Y2K problems. Each sent out three resumes in 1999 and was snapped up in a matter of days. However, after the 9/11 Incident, these same people had the hardest time finding part-time or even temporary work.
In my case, I have administrative and clerical skills and so do a gazillion others. I can send out resumes until the cows come home and I’ll only get a couple of responses. This is what happens when a few thousand people are applying for the same position. Employers are completely bombarded with people wishing to apply for the few viable work-at-home jobs. With literally thousands of applicants, the employer does not have the time or resources to contact them all. So today, employers only contact the applicants of interest. The ones they aren’t interested in . . . get silence.

My advice to all of you telecommuting job hunters -- keep going, you’re just getting started. If you want to better your odds in this game, while you’re searching for your “ideal” telecommuting job, enroll in additional training. Figure out what skills are in high demand and take an on-line course or a course at your community college. It can’t hurt and it will most likely speed up your job finding process.

My ultimate advice -- before you begin your telecommuting job search, find out which jobs are in high demand for telecommuting. What skill does this type of job need? Find out if you have the aptitude and resources to learn those skills. Once you’ve obtained those skills, send your resume to twenty places and get that telecommuting job lickity-split!

Original copyright 2002, Revised 2007 © Telecommuting Millionaire/R. Mays
Photo by David HM Spector

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Negotiate Your Way into a Telecommuting Job

Tele-Classic Article

A friend of mine just showed me, by example, a new way to find (or rather create) a telecommuting job. It all started when she asked me the question I’ve heard a million times. “How did you find your telecommuting job?”

Well, by now everyone knows that it took 685 hours (that’s 4 months of 8 hour days) of research to find the job I have today.
“Okay, how does one usually find a telecommuting job?” she asked. Well, that answer’s really easy. “Get a conventional job, do well at it and show your boss that you need little supervision and then convince your boss to allow you to telecommute.”
Then came the next question, which I thought was pretty darn insightful. “Knowing what you know today about telecommuting, what would you do to get a telecommuting job?”

I smiled. I hadn’t told anyone my ideas on the best ways to find telecommuting work, because frankly, no one asked. But Shana, my friend, seemed to be receptive to my crazy ideas so I told her, “I call this technique 'The Promotional Trade'. I would get a job the “conventional” way, work my butt off and when it was time for promotions or raises, I’d forfeit that reward for telecommuting options. I’d even take on additional duties for no raise in pay, if I could telecommute at least 3 days out of the week. If they offer full-time telecommuting with occasional visits to the office, I’d give them my second-born -- my first-born is reserved for the man that gives me the winning lotto ticket.

I giggled thinking she would join in. But instead, she wore a contemplative expression on her face. “Interesting, “ Shana said, “I think that would work.”

“What?” I said, really confused now.

“I’ll tell you as soon as I see the result. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know,” then she left.

I hate secrets!

Well, one week later my Shana squealed in my ear over the phone. “It worked! It actually worked!”

“What worked?”

She explained that she had just gone on a job interview for a “conventional” job that could have easily been a telecommuting job. She took my “Promotional Trade” theory and applied it to negotiating for a new job.

First she had carefully followed my advice from a previous article called “Want to Telecommute? Do the Math!” and had calculated the exact salary needed to maintain her standard of living while working form home.

Then she created a simple yet thorough proposal on how her new boss could create a telecommuting arrangement around the vacant position.
After the interview, the company offered the job to her and asked her what salary she required. Shana gave them two salary requirements. The first salary requirement was for a “commuter” job. The second salary requirement (which happened to be 15% lower than the “commuter” salary) was for a telecommuting job.

“I could have gone lower. Working at home cut my expenses by more than 40% but anything over 20% seemed as if I was desperate. I make it a point to never let a potential employer know I’m desperate for a job!” she told me.

Guess which option the employer picked?

So there you have it, two new ways to find a telecommuting job. Why not try it yourself? Ask your employer if you could trade your next promotion, salary increase or certain benefits you don’t need or want into a telecommuting option. It can’t hurt to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Three Types of Telecommuting

Tele-Classic Article

The first step in searching for a telecommuting job is choosing which type of telecommuter you want to be. There are three types of telecommuter to choose from; each has its pros and cons. And unfortunately, making the right choice is imperative to finding a telecommuting job. The three types of telecommuter are:

  • The corporate telecommuter,
  • The freelancer or independent contractor,

  • The self-employed telecommuter,

Which one would you like to be?

The corporate telecommuter
A person that has the best of both worlds -- able to work at home and still have an "on site" presence establishing relationships with co-workers at the office. Most likely, being this type of telecommuter will allow the teleworker to work at home a couple of days out of the week. This is wonderful for those that experience isolation problems while working at home and are concerned about being in the corporate “loop."

But be warned, this option also allows the employer to dictate the design of your home office, the days you are to telecommute – basically, the employer has all the control. Many job hunters are searching for the corporate telecommuter position, believing that they can have this type of home-based job and look after children at the same time. However, most corporate employers offering flex-time options (such as telecommuting), stipulate that an employee wishing to telecommute must have child-care available during working hours.

The advantages of this type of telecommuting position is that the employer pays for all the equipment and software and the teleworker receives benefits and a steady paycheck. The job hunter will find that most telecommuting job offers are in this “corporate telecommuting” category.

The independent contractor
Which is my personal favorite of the three choices. Why? Because this choice allows the teleworker the most control, especially if teleworker is a parent who wishes care for children during the day. The IRS stipulates that the employer of an "independent contractor" cannot stipulate working conditions or stipulate the working hours of a contractor. The employer can only insist on the condition of the end product and the deadlines.

The teleworker in this category is usually a sole-proprietor can seeking out long-term projects. These people can work from more than one company, but often not at the same time. But because they have the option to work for more than one company the sky is the limit on how much income the independent contractor can make.

On the downside, this teleworker's income tends to fluctuate, there are usually no benefits offered and the teleworker must take care of self-employment tax, updating equipment and software and other issues that an "employee" does not have to consider.

The self-employed telecommuter
A self-employed telecommuter is "employed" by the business he/she creates and hires "independent contractors" or has employees to assist customers and clients. This option is where the real wealth and freedom resides. However this is the option that holds the most risk.
All opportunities begin and end with the teleworker. There are no benefits (unless the teleworker’s company pays for them), no guiding hand of an employer, no "corporate office" to rely on for assistance -- but plenty of opportunity for the brave individual that goes this route. The savvy teleworker that chooses this route can name their price for work completed, choose the type of people they wish to work with, and grow as quickly or as slowly as their talent and determinations warrants.

So now you know what you're getting into, have you made your choice? The choice is the first step. Why? Because once you have a clear idea of what you want to do -- which type of telecommuter you want to be -- any other opportunities that do not meet your goal can be quickly weeded out. You will be able to concentrate on the opportunities you do want. So, which type of telecommuter do you want to be?