Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Stay On Track By Creating A Supportive Network

Starting a business on your own does not mean you have to go it alone. Having your friends and family to cheer you on can mean the difference between giving up and pushing on. It’s obvious that this safety net has a positive effect on your mental and physical state, but even so, it is supported by a gazillion scientific studies.

Mlm-group-cartoon

If your support network is on the lean side, you need to beef it up. Not just so you have support during the tough times, but so you have people to celebrate with when things are going great. So where do you go to make friends these days? Since this is a site for business tips, let’s start there.

Find an entrepreneurial networking group in your area. Start your search on the internet, but don’t stay there. You want to connect with people with whom you can eventually meet up.

For the women, I highly recommend Ladies Who Launch, Savor The Success, and Smarties. They are large networks, with local groups across the country. If money is an issue (yes!), know that you don’t have to be a paid member to attend many of their events. I have met a lot of wonderful women through these groups, and have become friends with some of them.

For men and women, I suggest attending, or even organizing a Tweetup (a real world meeting of people who have connected on Twitter). Click here for tips on organizing a Tweetup.  You can do the same type of thing with your Facebook friends, using the “events” feature. You can also do a Google search for entrepreneur networks. I came across the Rural Entrepreneur Network, so trust me; you can find a group that suits your needs.

Besides a general sense of security and belonging, interacting with others leads to personal growth. So get out there and make some new friends and acquaintances. Then, if you ever crawl out onto the ledge, we’ll know it’s to appreciate the wonderful view.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Train Your Brain To Think Positively

If you’ve been reading my blog for even a little while, you know that I am a big fan of positive affirmations – because they work. Advocates of this practice fall into several camps. Some believe there is a spiritual aspect to it and others believe you are developing a habit of positive thinking. I believe the success, in part, is due to changes in the brain as it “learns” the new perspective. No matter what the reason, most people have good results, as long as they are consistent and persistent.

Brain

 I believe we can take charge, in a concrete way, of how we think, and thus how we feel. In order to assist the brain, and speed up the affirmation process, it is important to keep the mind nimble. Like the body, the brain needs exercise, too. When you don’t use it, you can become mentally lazy. And when you’re mentally lazy, you will have trouble pushing through life’s challenges.

Every time you learn anything, even the definition of one new word, a new neural pathway is created. So challenge your mind by learning something, anything, new. If learning a new language is too much at the moment (of course it is – you’re a new business owner), learn how to knit or start playing Sudoku. And be aware, everything you do to run your business gives your brain a workout. Research done at the University of California Los Angeles found that internet research stimulates centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

The best part about doing things to keep the brain healthy and active is, the more you do it, the more you want to do it, so you do it even more. Along with your daily affirmations, incorporate learning and fun new activities as often as possible. The brain loves to question, explore and learn. If you treat it well, it will return the favor and you will see positive results in all areas of your life.

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Free Advice Friday, Again.

Today is the second Free Advice Friday.  Let me know what you need to know about starting a small business.  You can email me, leave a comment or contact me on Twitter with #freeadvicefriday.  Or if you have a marketing question, you can contact Angie Rupert on Twitter @LA_MarketingGal.

Free

Last week didn't really bring the response I was expecting.  I hope some of you have prepared a question or two for this week. 

You will get a response during the afternoon, but if you don't hear from one of us at that time it means we had a ton of responses (yay!) or had to step away for a minute.  We're both looking forward to helping you guys out, so please take advantage of this opportunity.

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Building Your Online Community

Building Your Online Community from Beth Andrus on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Peer-To-Peer Loans With Lending Club And Prosper Loans

Staying with the theme of money, another alternative for small businesses is peer-to-peer loans. Two such companies are the Lending Club and Prosper.

Dollar

Lending Club is a social lending network that connects investors and borrowers. The loans are provided at rates that are usually better than regular banks, and loans can be for as little as $1,000. The club only approves US credit worthy borrowers, which they define as people with a FICO score of at least 660 with a debt-to-income ratio (excluding mortgage) below 25%.

If you are approved for a loan, it will be for a fixed rate with a life of 3 years. You will post your loan request online and lenders will agree to fund your loan in varying amounts. It may take up to 2 weeks to get fully funded.

Prosper Loans is another peer-to-peer lending company. It is similar to Lending Club in their approval process and their loans have a life of 3 years and are repaid at a fixed rate.

When you post your loan request with Prosper, you also choose the maximum interest rate you're willing to pay. Your listing displays a summary of your credit history, and a personal note to the lenders telling them about yourself, your business, and how you plan to use the loan. Lenders read all of this and then bid on your listing. Subsequently, your interest rate could be driven down by the auction bidding.

This service (for both companies) is unavailable in some states, so check their FAQ pages. I really love what these companies are doing.  Obtaining a loan has become difficult, but there are alternatives out there.

Peer to peer lending is another facet of the emerging social lending movement. It will be interesting to see how this trend evolves. I will share information on any new opportunities as they are created.

Lending Club

Prosper

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Get A $100 Discount Off The LWL Fresh Entrepreneur Workshop!

I have a great opportunity for those of you that are in the Los Angeles area, or will be on the weekend of October 3-4. The Fresh Entrepreneur is an intensive 2-day weekend workshop designed to help women entrepreneurs launch to the next level in their business growth. The focus will be on 7 essentials for launching your business to the next level.

Lwl

In this workshop you will:

Define your personal brand

Design a life mission statement and vision declaration

Learn how to build relationships with your ideal customers

Create opportunities for multiple streams of revenue

Uncover fresh marketing ideas & strategies

Appoint your success support team

Develop an inspired action plan based on your new tools and ideas

The Ladies Who Launch organization knows that women approach life holistically, integrating their business and personal lives. This workshop will offer a modern approach to planning and growing your business, with an understanding that women view passion and personal fulfillment as key elements of their success.

Read more here. LWL Los Angeles The course is $549, but if you enter the code THANKSBETH you will receive a $100 discount. If you are ready to make an investment in yourself and your business, I highly suggest starting with this fantastic opportunity. 

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Manage Loans From Family With Virgin Money

Money, money, money. It is a huge concern for everyone these days, and small and micro businesses are no different. I recently posted a video saying you don’t need a lot of money to start a business, and I firmly believe that. But you may be at a point where a micro loan will allow you to take your business to the next level.

I recently wrote about micro loans that are backed by the SBA (read about it here). This is a great option, but it is not the only alternative. Richard Branson has established Virgin Money to handle your personal loans. 

Virgin

If you have a friend, family member or even an acquaintance that is interested in investing in your startup, you don’t have to do it with just a handshake and a do-it-yourself contract. To keep these money situations from getting kind of sticky, you can contact Virgin Money and have them manage your loan agreement. 

Virgin Money is a pioneer in the emerging social finance sector. They've helped thousands of people manage over $370 million in loans with relatives and friends. You and your private lender determine the terms of the loan and Virgin Money will take care of the loan documents, electronic fund transfer, emailed statements, and year-end reporting. Read more here Virgin Money.

Handling your business loan this way will show that you are serious about repayment, and it will help protect the personal relationship. Cruise around the site and check out their loan options for school and mortgages. This is such a cool idea. Let me know if you decide to take advantage of their services.

Friday, September 18th, 2009

It’s Free Advice Friday (#freeadvicefriday)

Today is the first Free Advice Friday.  Let me know what you need to know.  You can email me, leave a comment or contact me on Twitter with #freeadvicefriday.

If I don't have the answer for you, I'll find someone who does. You will get a response, so if you don't hear from me right away, it means I had a ton of responses (yay!) and/or had to briefly step away.  I'm looking forward to helping you guys out, so please take advantage of this opportunity.

New

Also, a reminder... if you want to participate as a vendor at the Los Angeles Unique holiday gift show, you can now submit your application.  Unique Holiday   Here's the previous post.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Self-Doubt

Dealing With Self-Doubt from Beth Andrus on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Give Your DIY PR Efforts A Boost With The Pitchy Chicks

Although I believe there is a DIY yourself option for everything, there are some things that are best handled by professionals. I think you should farm out the things you can’t stand doing and/or the things you’re really bad at. For instance, I don’t do anything “techie”. If I dedicated enough time and energy, I could figure it out, but I would be hating life. And I don’t believe in torturing myself (or those around me).

Another thing I don’t like doing is writing about myself. I can write about things I like, other people, and upcoming events until the cows come home. But I get writer’s block when it comes to writing about me and what I’m doing. This is why I’ll be contacting the Pitchy Chicks when I need a media pitch.

Chick

Their specialty is writing the perfect email pitch for you and your product, a pitch that will help you get the media attention you want. They have decades of PR experience between them and they will use that to your advantage, for a very affordable price. Here are a few things they offer:

Basic Pitch Edit ($200):
Email your pitch to them and they will send it back within a week, reworked to give your business the best chance for maximum media exposure.

In-Depth Pitch Edit (varies):
If your pitch requires a major reworking, they will let you know immediately, and work with you to come up with an affordable attack plan.

Social Media Tips ($400):
If you want guidance with your blog, tips to receive online reviews, offer giveaways, etc… Basically anything to do with online marketing.

You can waste a lot of time and money trying to get the attention your business needs, just to end up lost in a pile of other pitches. If you can afford it, spend a little up front to avoid some of the frustration. It’s a great semi-DIY option that I think you should check out. The Pitchy Chicks