How Online Branding Can Ramp Up Your New Business

If you have already worked for years in the real estate or restaurant business you should be familiar with the importance of establishing a brand people associate with quality.  Branding is no different when you establish an online business only the process of going about establishing your brand online is slightly different than a brick and mortar business.

Although people associate your online business with the design of your website, logo, and other elements that usually define an online business, online branding for your business is more about what you do, what you have to offer, and how you offer it to your targeted audience.  With all of the different businesses that are being established online, your brand will be the one element that makes your business stand out in the online crowd.

Establishing Your Brand Online

With a brick and mortar business there are different ways of getting your brand established which include advertising, networking, and other things that get your brand associated with quality and good service.  When you establish your brand online the process is similar only there are many tools that are available for you to use to help spread the word about your brand and your business.

Establishing your brand begins with deciding what you are going to offer and how you are going to offer it.  It is all about offering something in a different way than businesses that are similar to yours.  This is known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USO) which you are probably already familiar with from doing business offline.  If you are not familiar with it a USP is an extremely important component for establishing your brand online and will be the main selling point that sets you apart from all of the other businesses.

Defining Your Brand

Once you define your brand you can first establish yourself through your website.  The home page of your website is a very powerful and important marketing tool.  Your home page will be the first impression that your visitors see after arriving on your website.  On the average you have about 8 seconds to capture your visitor and tell them what you are all about.

Many website owners make good use of the home page by placing a video of themselves right on the home page that acts as a powerful business card when people arrive on your website. I mean what is more powerful than face to face contact in a world where we generally communicate through typed words? In addition to that, the benefits of doing business with you are clearly visible along with your logo and a clear explanation of what you have to offer.

Getting the Word Out

Once you have made your website the focal point there many other strategies and tools you can use for spreading the word about your new brand and your business.  From doing business offline you know that word of mouth advertising can be a powerful way to get new referrals and get your brand noticed.  This concept of advertising is no different when it comes to the Internet only the nice part is that is easier and more cost effective to get the word out online than it is in the offline world.

In the online environment you can spread the word through a technique which is known as viral marketing.  When you establish your online business viral marketing will be your arsenal of tools for establishing your brand on the Internet.  Although viral marketing sounds like an illness well actually….it is….but in a good way.

Viral marketing spreads the word through the use of a series of tools most of which are free to use.  Some of the tools that are used for viral marketing include social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, article marketing sites such as Ezine Articles and Submit Your Article, video networking sites such as YouTube and Viddle, social bookmarking sites such as Digg, and general networking sites such as Squidoo and others.

When you put these sites to good use for your business people will begin to create a buzz about your new online business and your brand. If you stay dedicated to using these tools consistently the word will spread like wildfire about your business.  One of the really cool things about all of these tools is they provide easy ways for people to share high quality content with their friends and fellow business professionals.

If they see something good they will willingly share the content with others who have the same interests by simply clicking on widgets that are provided by these sites which allow you to automatically forward the information with others.  This is whole lot different than the brick and mortar world where it takes a lot more time to spread the word and get referrals.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!!

Derek Bayer

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Best Free Google Tools to Build Your Online Business

When you are looking at starting an online business versus a brick and mortar business you will find that the cost of starting an online business does not even come close to the funds you would need for a business offline. We previously discussed the benefits of starting an online business on this website and low cost was one of these benefits.

Well, to add to our comments about cost effectiveness for starting an online business there are many free tools that you can use to launch and maintain your business. When you think of free sometimes you think of “cheesy” quality however, just the opposite is true with a lot of the tools that are available for free.

There is no doubt that there are some really cheap tools that really do not help your business but there is also some really valuable tools you can use for your business that are free of charge. In fact, some of these tools are so impressive it is hard to believe they are free. Some of these impressive tools are offered by Google and all it costs you is your time to set up a free account with Google. Here is an overview of just a few of the great tools that Google offers for running your online business.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to keep track of your website statistics in one easy to use dashboard. The tool is capable of tracking the traffic to your website, where its comes from, how your visitor’s arrived at your site, the page where your visitors entered your site, the keywords they used to find you, the path that they follow when they visit your site, and much more.

Without a doubt this tool provides you with some very valuable information for improving and growing your business. It helps you get to know the patterns of your website visitors so you know how to fix any leaks in your website where visitors are leaving. It also provides you with the knowledge you need to grow and improve your online business.

If you use pay per click advertising for driving targeted traffic to your website Google Analytics provides a comprehensive analysis of all of your pay per click advertising campaigns so you can test and tweak to optimize the campaign and make the most of your advertising dollars.

Google Alerts

If you have a Google account you can opt to receive the latest information on your industry and area of expertise. All you do is choose the information you want to receive and Google will automatically alert you with the latest information that pertains to your online business or other topics of interest. No more spending time searching for the latest news on your area of business.

Google Keyword Tool External

This is a free keyword tool that you can use to obtain valuable information on the types of keywords and keyword phrases that people are using to search for your product or service. The tool will also provide suggestions for other keywords that you may not have thought of that people use to search for your product or service.

Google Keyword tool allows you to see the number of people that are searching with specific keywords on a monthly basis as well as the level of competition for bidding on those keywords for AdWords campaigns. The tool also contains a convenient feature that allows you to import keywords into a spreadsheet program such as Excel for further analysis.

Google Friend Connect

On this website, we have discussed the importance of including a social networking strategy in your business and marketing plan. Google Friend Connect can help you to build social networks for your online business by offering an arsenal of free widgets to help you conduct polls, offer buttons on your site that allow your prospects to quickly share your information, receive ratings, allow questions and answers, and much more. The tool can be used with your website or blog to help you to begin to build an entire social networking community for your business.

These are only a few of the free tools that Google offers for running your online business. They are easy to use yet quite sophisticated when it comes to the number of capabilities in each program. And I should also mention that all of the free tools that are offered by Google are accessible by simply signing up with one account. You do not need multiple accounts for each application.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!!

Derek Bayer


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It Pays To Be Aware: What You Don’t Know Can Cost You!

If you are completely new to setting up an online business it is important for you to be aware of some opportunities that make their money off of the lack of experience and knowledge of people who are new and trying to break into making money online.

Sometimes people who are new to Internet marketing are unaware of what the costs are for setting up an online business as well as how easy quality expertise is available when you search for the Internet for advice on how to set up an online business. Some of the savvy Internet marketers know this and while most of them are straightforward and honest about what they offer there are also the ones that will try to profit unjustly from this lack of knowledge of newbie online business owners

For this reason it is worth taking a look at the Stores Online opportunity.

How Stores Online Works

Stores Online is an operation that assists people with setting up an online business by offering a shortcut method for setting up a website online. The company offers a package deal for setting up a website that is accompanied by a series of training sessions, conferences, and workshops. You also have the opportunity to ask a host of questions about setting up your business online as well as address any concerns you have related to your online business.

The company advertises online and through direct mail by distributing postcards that invite you to attend a one-day session at your local conference center in your community and they draw you in by offering a free lunch. While all of this sounds good what you find out when you get there is that you have to pay out a significant amount of money to attend an additional intensive one-day workshop and then there is a high pressure sales pitch to invest a huge sum of around $5000 to get started. What’s more is there is a contract with a lot of fine details and once you are committed there are a lot of hidden fees beyond the amount that you initially pay to get started.

The mentoring is completed over the phone and basically they set you up with a cookie cutter website that is difficult to maintain and navigate and you end up learning and losing a lot through trial and error. If you happen to know how to build a website they will not allow you to host it. Instead you have to go through their system.

What happens with this program is the people who do not have any idea what it takes to set up a business online end up paying out a lot more money than the average startup business simply because they do not know any better. Someone who is well seasoned or has any type of Internet marketing knows that you can establish yourself online with very little startup costs. You can also seek the advice of experienced Internet marketers for much less without being locked into a contract with a lot of hidden fees.

It Pays to Be Aware

Stores Online is one example of companies that profit from the knowledge that aspiring online entrepreneurs lack when it comes to setting up a business online. While there are a handful of people that seemed to be able to make this program work, if you Google this opportunity under scams unfortunately you will find that the negative experiences outnumber the positive ones.

We are telling you this as a new online marketer not to continually bash opportunities but instead to help you be aware of some of the opportunities that may seem to be the answer but when you delve a little deeper you find yourself in a quagmire of deceit. If you know how they work you can better protect yourself and get a healthy start for your new online business.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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The Convenience of Using Skype in Your Online Business

If you are looking to cut the costs on your business overhead there is a service available online called Skype that will help you to drastically reduce your telephone bills while adding convenience to the way you conduct online business on a daily basis.

If you are not already familiar with Skype it is an online service that allows you to make calls over the Internet which is also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Skype is a really nifty service that offers free calls to anyone in the world that has a Skype account and allows you to make calls to landlines and cell phones for a very low monthly fee.

Skype offers a series of different types of plans which are both free and paid depending upon the type of services you choose. For as little as $9.99 per month for the basic plan you can make unlimited calls anywhere in the world and to any type of phone completely over the Internet.

How Skype Works

You can use Skype with any computer that has access to a high speed Internet connection as long as the computer is equipped with a microphone or you have a headset that is equipped with a mouthpiece. If you do not have this equipment you can pick up a headset for as little $20.00 and plug it into the USB port of your PC and you are instantly up and running.

If you want to ditch your landline phone and make all calls through Skype, no problem. Simply get involved with the SkypeIn service and you can register your own cell phone number and when your clients call that number you can pick it up over your PC through Skype. Heck…. you can even make calls via a USB Skype Mouse which allows you to make calls over your PC. This cool device comes equipped with a keypad and mini LCD screen to display your contact list and the caller ID feature.

And that’s not all! For just a little more than $9.99 each month you can make unlimited calls worldwide as well as choose your own phone number which your prospects can call and you can answer on your own computer. It’s awesome!

You can also configure Skype so the calls can be forwarded to your cell phone or your landline phone if you prefer. You can also enjoy added services such as caller ID, voice mail, and chatting face to face if your computer is equipped with a Web cam.

Another nice part about Skype is that if you own a little netbook with a Web cam or even a regular size laptop, you can talk on the phone at any time and any place as long as you have high speed Internet access. With all of the public access points becoming available this is super convenient to use without the high priced phone bill.

What About Call Quality?

A lot of people that are thinking about using Skype ask this question. The good news is the sound quality of Skype calls completely surpasses a landline phone and most cell phones. As long as you have a high speed Internet connection the sound quality is extremely clear even halfway across the world. What’s also nice about the quality is you can adjust the volume of the call to a level you desire which is often not the case with a landline or cell phone.

Skype is a “No Brainer”

If you take the time to look at all of the great things that Skype has to offer it appears to be a “no brainer” when it comes to cutting the costs of your telephone bill and reducing business overhead. It is jammed with great features that offer more than a conventional landline and what’s more is it allows you flexibility and mobility in one easy to use interface.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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The Two Faces of Facebook

The Two Faces of Facebook: Use of Personal Profile and Business Pages
Although Facebook was originally established as a website for college students to connect, it eventually branched out to high school students, and currently it is a popular social networking tool for business owners and professionals from many different industries.

If you are starting an online business and are under the impression that Facebook is for the young crowd, think again because Facebook is a very useful tool for getting yourself established as an expert in your field and developing a client base that shares the same interests as you do.

The Two Sides of Facebook

Facebook offers the opportunity to establish a personal side and business side. If you are trying to establish yourself as a business professional and get your brand associated with quality, it is very important to achieve a good balance between your personal profile and your business profile. For example, if your personal profile is full of things like what you had for lunch or pictures of your latest Saturday night party it is time to clean up your act.

Instead you should be creating a professional image across the board in both your personal and business profile that will help you establish mutual and trusting relationships with the potential clients for your business. Whenever you post anything about yourself on Facebook you should do it with your business clients in mind. Here are a few tips on how to create a professional image for both your personal and business profile on Facebook.

§ Create a Professional Username: For your personal profile it is a good idea to use your full name so people begin to associate your name with the professional brand that you establish. For example, a username such as “party2night” will not exactly get you established as a professional and people will most likely not take you seriously when you try to offer expertise that is related to your business. If you are establishing a business page you can also use your full name or perhaps the name of your business which will tell people exactly what you are all about.

§ Complete the Profile: The Facebook profile provides you with a great opportunity to create a polished professional image. Think about your potential client when you fill out your profile. As you fill out the profile ask yourself, “Is there something you don’t want them to see?” Then don’t include it in your profile. Then ask yourself, “What do I want them to see?” Use this as your guide to add appropriate information to your profile.

Also, include most of your important business information on the home page. This is information that you want to emphasize such as the benefits your client will receive by working with you, your area of expertise, or the type of clients you work with.

§ Choose Your Photo Wisely: Use a photo that provides a balance between informal and too formal. You want people to feel like they can approach and connect with you however, you do not want to be so informal that they fail to see you as a professional who is knowledgeable in their field of expertise.

§ Use Profile and Privacy Settings: Facebook provides a way for you to limit your profile and privacy settings on a per user basis. Be sure to show enough of your profile to let people know what you do and then set the privacy settings so you can control what people can see. For example, if you do not know someone that well you can limit what they see in your Facebook profile.

Finally, always come across as professional in all of your Facebook communications and avoid hard selling. If people see you as knowledgeable and trustworthy, the sale will come later. On the other hand, if you engage in hard selling people will most likely see you as self serving and you will lose them rather quickly. The purpose of Facebook is to establish relationships with your clients, which is what social networking is all about in the first place. Use this tool wisely and it will come back to you tenfold with long term results for your online business.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!!

Derek Bayer

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When It Comes to Online Business Steady Wins the Race!

If you are tired of the rat race and thinking about starting an online business there are a few things you should consider before making the leap into entrepreneurship. There are a lot of people that are under the impression that they can become Internet millionaires overnight since they are opening up their online business to the world.

While it is possible to break out of the restaurant or mortgage grind and become financially independent with an online business, you must remember that setting up and running an online business takes effort, commitment and perseverance.

It takes just as much energy and effort to run an online business as it does to run a brick and mortar business and it requires online business planning and the skills necessary to carry out your goals and objectives. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider when starting an online business.

Entrepreneurial Traits

When it comes to starting an online business it is important to assess your business planning skills and personal attributes that are necessary for building a successful online business. The traits of an entrepreneur are much different than the traits of a person who works for someone else.

If you are a self starter, tend to maintain a positive way of thinking, and can commit to the end goal then you are well on your way to succeeding with an online business.
You must also have the ability to solve problems as they come up and not be easily discouraged with obstacles that will inevitably crop up.

Remaining consistent and disciplined every step of the way will help you to take the online tools of the trade and use them to create a strategic business and marketing plan. The business and marketing plan will be the compass that guides your online business to success.

Business Planning

Creating a business plan will be the lifeline to running a successful online business. Although some of the online business tools make it easier to set up a business as opposed to the offline world, you still have to have specific goals outlined in your business plan and stick to each one with a vengeance.

The business plan will be your blueprint to success and will help you to set short term and long term goals that will ensure your success every step of the way. By having a business plan in front of you it is also easier to see where your strengths and weaknesses are so you can come up with strategies for dealing with obstacles and problems that will come up along the way on your road to success.

A business plan will also demonstrate to others that you are serious about succeeding with your online business and help you to secure financing or attract investors should you decider to pursue this route. Your business plan will include a vision of what you plan to achieve with your online business, a clearly outlined business profile, demographics, and a cash flow statement. The initial plan will serve as a blueprint which you can update as your business takes off and grows.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan will clearly define your strategies for reaching your target audience. To write an effective marketing plan you must get to know your market and their reason for purchasing your product or service. Researching your market requires a significant investment of your time however; this will come back to you tenfold because you will know exactly who your audience is, what they are searching for, and how they think.

Knowing your market will help you describe the data in detail for your marketing plan and help you identify who your best prospects are and why. If you know your market well you can create a successful marketing plan that will help you to achieve your business goals and objectives.

Just like the business plan, you should continually revisit the marketing plan so you can keep in touch with your goals and objectives as well as make any necessary changes as your online business grows.

Without careful planning you cannot build a successful online business on a wobbly foundation. A lot of online businesses fail through misconception on the part of the business owner that you simply set up a website, do a little advertising, and then watch the sales roll in. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Although some of the tools that are offered online make setting up a business more cost effective, in a lot of ways starting an online business is no different than running a successful business offline. It takes a significant investment of time, steady steps that are measurable, and a lot of perseverance.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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The Differences between an Online Business and an Online Job

The current shift in the state of the economy has caused a lot of people to rethink their life’s goals and objectives. You open the news every morning and it seems that all you read about is the bad news of the economy and the companies and other institutions that are struggling to survive. A lot of people fear for their jobs or have been laid off and they are standing in the unemployment line wondering what happened to that dream of working your entire life so you can receive a gold watch and hopefully a few healthy years of retirement.

For this reason the economy has caused many people to rethink their values and their purpose in life. With the increased use of the Internet as a primary communications tool there has been a definite shift from the offline economy into the ecommerce movement which has allowed many people to change their lives for the better and live a more enjoyable and flexible lifestyle.

The onset of ecommerce has prompted companies to rethink their employment structure and allowed those with the entrepreneurial spirit to pursue their dreams. More companies are outsourcing their work to cut costs which is creating a influx of online employment and more businesses are setting up online to reduce overhead and increase their profits.

So if you are thinking about making a change here are a few things to think about when deciding to create an online business or pursue an online job.

Online Business

If you are considering starting an online business this can have many long term benefits on your financial future and your lifestyle. Instead of remaining in the 9 to 5 grind an online business will allow you to enjoy a more flexible lifestyle and puts you in the driver’s seat. If you have just been laid off, starting an online business can be a great way to finally be able to create an income doing what you love instead of what you are obligated to do to get the bills paid.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of starting an online business.

Pros

§ You Are the Boss: Many of us have worked for bosses that we loathe or we have chosen to simply endure the limitations of someone else always calling the shots. With an online business you are the boss and you call all of the shots.

§ Flexible Schedule: Although you will have to put hours of work in at the beginning the rewards will come back to your tenfold and you will be able to enjoy a flexible lifestyle and spend more time with family and friends.

§ Financial Freedom: If you know how to start an online business the right way your business will grow up to take care of your needs and if you stay consistent, it will bring you many years of enjoyment with financial freedom.

§ Low Cost: The costs of starting an online business are very low compared to the old conventional ways of setting up a brick and mortar business on the street. No longer do you have to take out this enormous loan or invest a lot of money into start-up not knowing if it is really going to work. Many online businesses start up for little more than $100.

Cons

§ Lack of Commitment: If you do not have the commitment and self discipline that it takes to become successful with an online business it could be a long road ahead.

§ Quick Buck: If you are looking to make a lot of money immediately this is definitely not the road for you.

§ Lack of Support: If you have not been able to secure the support of your family members and loved ones it can be difficult to stay motivated on your own.

§ No Desire: If you have no desire to be in charge and are comfortable working for someone else than an online business may not be a good fit.

Online Job

Online employment has been on the rise since the shift in the economy. Not only is there an excessive amount of outsource jobs online many companies are allowing their employees to telecommute a few days a week to cut costs and boost morale and productivity. While online employment allows you the flexibility to work out of your home office it still has its limitations because someone else is calling the shots. There are deadlines to meet just like conventional employment and a person to answer to but there are also some pros and cons to opting for online employment.

Pros

§ Flexibility: Online employment can add hours to your day and save you money. When you add up the amount of hours you spend getting ready for work, purchasing the required attire that is needed for the workplace, commuting, spending money on lunch, and then trying to wind down so you can enjoy a few precious hours at the end of the day, it really adds up to a lot. Although you are doing work for someone else there is a lot more flexibility than being required to show up at a certain place by a certain time.

§ Helping Others: Some people who seek online employment do so because they enjoy interacting with and helping others achieve their goals and objectives.

§ Immediate Income: If you have been laid off and you have specialized skills, you can begin generating immediate income while you decide what to so next.

§ Generate Passive Income: If you prefer working for someone else you may also decide along the way to generate some passive income streams for yourself with some of the opportunities that are available online.

Cons

§ Working for Someone Else: With an online job you are working for someone else just like you would be on a conventional job only you are working from home.

§ Someone Else Benefits: When you work for someone else online they are reaping the rewards of your hard work. If this is what turned you off to your offline job in the first place you will be placing yourself right back into that mold.

§ Indefinite Income: Depending upon the type of online employment you seek you may be looking at an erratic income stream if you are not interested in setting up other income streams for yourself. While some people can live with this for others the lack of a steady stream of income can cause a lot of anxiety.

Hopefully some of these points will help you to make an informed decision as to which option is best for you. However if you are truly sick of the 9 to 5 grind and want something that you can call your own, an online business may be the way to go.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer

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Online Business: A Way to Make a “Quick Buck” or a “Lucrative Career”?

It is a funny notion that people have about doing business on the Internet. They immediately think you can design a simple site, launch it, dole out a few pay per click advertisements, and then sit back and watch the money roll in. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fact of the matter is that an online business that is going to produce any kind of long term results requires determination, patience, and perseverance.

Sure there are hundreds of people online making a quick buck off of this or that however, these are the people that constantly have to be on the lookout for their next quick buck when the pool of money dries up when they neglect the business.
The people who are making a quick buck are always on an endless roller coaster of searching for money making opportunities when they could otherwise redirect the energy into a business that is sustainable and that will grow up to take care of them.

The Truth about a Quick Buck Business

Most of the people that are out to make a quick buck online often harbor the famous business opportunity scam. You know the kind where they promise that you will make a million dollars within the next five minutes if you buy a business in the box. Basically what they are selling is a cookie cutter that everyone else is using which is why it doesn’t work and the only person that is making money is the person selling the opportunity.

The money making opportunity is only as good for as long as it lasts until the word gets around that it is a scam. By that time the person is already searching for their next money making venture to repeat the process over and over again.

Quick buck businesses are also the businesses where you see a simple landing page that contains long or short sales copy that gives you a million and one reasons why you should purchase the product. They often feed on your emotions and are filled with a lot of sales hype that convinces you to make a purchase. There is often no opt-in list which is a dead giveaway that they are not the least bit concerned about establishing a long term relationship with their customers and it is all about the quick buck.

The people that engage in quick buck businesses are often exhausting themselves with one opportunity after another when they could wisely redirect those energies into something that will last over the long term.

The Lucrative Career

Unlike the quick buck businesses, directing your energy into something that is sustainable is indeed a wise investment. Building a business takes time and patience which is something that is lacking in the quick buck businesses. What the quick buck people fail to realize is that most of the work that goes into building a sustainable business is up front and then it is simply a matter of taking care of the customer, offering quality information, and developing backend products as needed.

If you take the time to nurture your business is will eventually nurture you and you will enjoy the rewards of helping others by offering something that enhances their life or helps them to solve a problem. There is not a lot of spiritual reward in a quick buck business when all you do is try to scam people out of their hard earned cash.

The old adage that says “Anything worth doing is worth doing right” is quite true when establishing a lucrative career for yourself online. Investing your time into building a business is like making a sound investment in your future. It is the equivalent to investing the time to write a good book and then enjoying a nice stream of income for many years to come instead of getting paid to write the book and when it is done you move on to your next venture.

So when you think about leaving your boring job and transitioning into something you love that will provide you with a healthier lifestyle, it makes more sense to invest the time into something that will last as opposed to choosing the exhausting routine of constantly looking for your next quick buck opportunity. What’s more is that you will feel better about yourself by helping others and you will have made the investment in lots of relationships that will last for a long time.

A sustainable online business is not all about the quick buck. Instead it should bring you the elements that make up a balanced lifestyle which include fulfillment, the joy of helping others, good health, and financial independence.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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Identifying Pyramids, Scams, Pickpockets and Ponzis

If you are trying to start an online business it can be very easy and tempting to fall into some of the money making scams that permeate the Internet on a daily basis. I hate to burst your bubble but a lot of these scams are very crafty at making it look like a legitimate online business when in reality only the person offering the opportunity is the one making money.

The truth to matter is that an online business takes the same effort to build as a brick and mortar business on the street and there is no quick fix or easy way around it. If you are going to build something worthwhile you have to be willing to put in the effort.

With that said, if you are suffering from severe job burnout sometimes you will do anything to relieve your misery so it is very easy to get sucked into some of the scams that are out there. To help you protect yourself from falling prey to a money making scam let’s identify what some of these scams are and how they work so you will resist the temptation and run the other way when you see them coming.

Pyramid Schemes

Although not all multilevel marketing programs are pyramid schemes but the fact still remains that the schemes are out there and can often be difficult to identify since they are so artfully put together.

A pyramid scheme often presents itself as a business opportunity that is dressed up to look like the opportunity of the century when in reality only a few people at the top are making all of the money. It pays the people well that get in on the opportunity at the ground level and then as the market gets saturated the people coming in at the bottom often lose their shirts.

Once the market gets saturated the company focuses on recruiting and requiring new recruits to purchase a specified volume of product each month to maintain their status with the company. What happens is the company profits from all of the recruits that are buying monthly product volume. The recruits fail to make any money because the market is saturated and they end up in the poor house which is just the opposite of what they set out to do in the first place.

If the company is high pressure during the opportunity meetings and the focus appears to be about recruiting others instead of the quality of the product, it is a good idea to take a second look before you jump in with both feet.

Business Opportunity Scams

Business opportunity scams are usually presented as a turn key business in a box opportunity complete with website, ecommerce services, and all of the other components that are necessary for running an online business. They present the opportunity so it appears to be a no brainer while there are often hundreds of strings attached behind the scenes to ensure that the company offering the opportunity makes a profit.

The opportunity is dressed up to look like a legitimate work from home job or business until they ask you to shell out money to get into the program. If it is a business in a box opportunity these often consist of cookie cutter websites that everyone else is using and then you pay hidden fees to access other ecommerce services provided by the company.

Some companies will even go as far as to take advantage of the people who are new to online business and do not know any better by asking them to sign a contract which locks them into using the ecommerce services for the company for a specified period of time. This can result in thousands of dollars to set up an online business when in reality many people start up an online business for as little as $150.

Online Pickpockets

With many banking institutions moving to the online environment, online pickpocketing has been increasing at alarming rates. If you are starting an online business it is necessary to take certain security precautions to keep your personal information safe as well as your customer’s personal information.

Online pickpocket criminals are sophisticated criminals that are well versed in computer programming. They create malicious files and insert them into links on Web pages, ActiveX controls, and on hijacking websites. If you inadvertently click on something it downloads a tiny file onto your PC that runs in the background of your computer and spies on all of your computing activity.

The malicious files can arrive in the form of a keylogger which keeps track of all of your keystrokes and other files that are designed to track your computing activity. The file is set up to communicate with a remote server where it sends all of your personal information back to the criminal for identity and monetary theft purposes.

Online Ponzi Schemes

Online ponzi schemes are known as cash gifting and anyway you look at it, it is a pyramid scheme and it is illegal. Ponzi schemes have been in the news lately and have recently become popular on the online video site YouTube. They are presented as cash gifting programs and prey upon people who are looking to make a quick buck online.

The program promises to help others make money by cash gifting by making a small investment to obtain the right to recruit others into the program. When you recruit others into the program you supposedly receive a money for each new recruit. When each new recruit sponsors others into the program they make money and so on and so on. The program is artfully presented as legitimate however it is highly illegal and the equivalent to a first class Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

When in doubt, do your due diligence. Call the business you have an interest in and check with your local authorities. Online business can be a very rewarding career but it also most definitely needs to be legitimate.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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Online Business Planning for the Mortgage Professional

If you have worked in the mortgage industry for some time and looking for a change you may want to consider starting an online business. An online business will offer you a flexible schedule and provide you with more time to do some of things you enjoy and often do not have time for when you work in the mortgage industry.

When you plan an online business you will use a lot of the skills you learned in the mortgage industry such as planning the product presentation, reaching your target market, and other skills that are associated with planning a business. Here are some of the planning skills you will need for setting up an online business which you will find are similar to setting up a mortgage business.

Choosing a Niche

Choosing a niche means choosing a product or service that serves a specific market. For example, when planning a mortgage business you will decide on the specific services you are going to offer that will create a highly specialized set of services that targets a specific market.

When you choose a niche for your online business you should choose a product that serves the needs of a specific audience and creates a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your online business. The more specific your product or service is the better your chances are of standing out in the crowd.

Finding Your Market

When you work in the mortgage industry more often than not the services you offer are geared toward a targeted market. For example, if you are a mortgage broker you may be serving a specific geographical area and an audience who is looking for certain criteria in a mortgage.

An essential part of planning an online business is finding the location where your market resides and discovering exactly what it is they are looking for when it comes to your niche product or service.

What to Offer and How to Offer It

Once you have identified your niche product or service and the market that is looking for what you have to offer, you should plan on exactly what you are going to offer and how you are going to offer it. This requires knowing your market, how they think, and why they are searching for your product or service. For example, if you know why your market is looking for your product or service then you can plan to offer it in a way that will appeal to your target audience to communicate that you have the solution to their problem.

This process is similar to the mortgage industry because you are providing your customers with a solution to their problem. They are looking for a mortgage, the market is overwhelming, and you are helping them to find the appropriate mortgage that suits their individual needs minus all of the hassles.

Defining Your Brand

When you work in the mortgage industry the company builds its reputation by associating the brand with quality service. When you plan your online business it is necessary to define the type of business and the brand that your prospects will associate with quality and good customer service.

Planning an Online Presence

A brick and mortar business involves planning a presence for the offline world that will help to establish a reputation for providing a quality product or service.

Planning a business presence online is very similar except that you are planning for the tools you will use to establish a presence online. This includes your website platform and layout, blogging platform, the online business tools you will use, and how you will establish your presence in the social networking environment.

Getting the Word Out

Planning an online business also includes creating a specific road map for how you will market your business once you have established an online presence. Coming up with an effective marketing plan should correlate with your business plan and reflect the needs of your target market. This requires you to know your market so you can create a plan that directly speaks to your market and addresses their concerns and thoughts about your product or service.

These are some of the basics to planning an online business and as you will see they are much like planning a business for the mortgage industry. The only difference is that planning your online business means that you are in the driver’s seat and in charge of your time and your destiny instead of working a job where someone else is calling all of the shots.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!!

Derek Bayer


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 "Creating An Online Business Plan"

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