Monthly Archives: May 2017

Mind Your Business

My best business idea ever – and, believe me, I’ve had a lot of them – was a great concept. A sure thing, I thought. It would be part store, part salon, part party place for girls only. It had great potential. It wasn’t the first time I’d had a new business idea and then discovered someone else had the same idea at the same time. I’m addicted to thinking up new business ideas, planning out the logo, branding and marketing and then realizing – about three days in – that I just don’t have what it takes to commit to being an entrepreneur. I don’t have the money, the guts to borrow the money or the time to spend every waking moment worrying about my business.

Come to think of it, I also don’t really like selling, nor am I particularly fond of hiring and managing employees. Turns out, thinking up new and clever business ideas isn’t so much a sign of my entrepreneurial prowess as it is a slightly obsessive hobby. Some people knit or go on Facebook. I think up business ideas. The whole incident reminded me that being an entrepreneur is almost never about the business you’re in. So, you like cupcakes. Great. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should open a bakery – unless you like working early in the morning, managing lots of people and figuring out what to do with your leftovers at the end of the day.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t about what you’re selling. It’s about possessing a complementary set of skills that most people don’t have. You have to be good with money, good at managing your time, good at managing people, good at relating to customers and good at marketing and branding. You also have to be willing to live the lifestyle – the hours, the travel, the commitment – required by whatever business you decide to own. If you love cupcakes but don’t have all those other skills, maybe you’d be best off becoming a cupcake decorator and working for someone else.

Too often, would-be entrepreneurs get caught up in the excitement of the idea. They envision their logo, their business card or their store front. They imagine saying the words, “I own my own…” whenever someone asks them what they do for a living. The reality, though, is that while the idea of owning a business sounds glamorous, the day-to-day work involved is anything but. You’ll miss parties and dinners and dates. You’ll miss lots of sleep and even when you could be sleeping, you’ll be lying awake worrying about money or a problem employee. It’s not, as they say, for the faint of heart.

How to Start a Pet Care Business

For entrepreneurial pet lovers, there’s almost no question as to what type of business they would want to start. Becoming a trainer, groomer or sitter is likely a dream job for those who want to spend their days working with and caring for dogs and cats. But, as any pet care professional can attest, being a part of this industry is no easy task. Starting a pet care business is certainly an achievable goal, but you won’t succeed without a strong knowledge of both animal behavior and business basics. Before you start writing up that business plan, here’s what you need in order to work in the industry.

Regardless of what type of pet care business you want to start, a basic education in animal care and handling is the first step to working with animals. While you don’t necessarily need a degree in animal science, reading books, taking courses and attending industry events are essential to expanding your knowledge of animal anatomy and behavior. Groomers and trainers are responsible for more than simply washing and cutting fur and teaching tricks: They are often the first to spot issues like fleas and ticks, which they will need to know how to deal with.

While books and classes are a good start, a theory-based education can only get you so far. Firsthand experience handling animals is critical to starting and running a successful pet care business. Most groomers and trainers started out as apprentices under more experienced professionals before branching out and starting their own practices.

Because animal behavior can be unpredictable, protecting both yourself and your customers through proper licensing and insurance coverage is a must. Massara recommended doing thorough research into local ordinances and taking the proper steps to comply with them.

In the pet care industry, one must remember that professionals work with both pets and people. While the bulk of a trainer, groomer or sitter’s day-to-day activities involves the care and handling of animals, it’s the owners who ultimately drive your business. George Quinlan, NADOI member and founder of All About Dogs Behavior and Training Center, said that liking people and being able to communicate with them is just as important as loving animals.

A true love of animals and experience working with them only make up one half of the equation for an independent pet care business. The other side, of course, is knowing how to run a business. Speaking with other entrepreneurs, both in and out of the industry, can help in determining pricing structure, hiring needs, necessary equipment (if any), marketing and other essential elements of starting a business.

Home-Based Business Ideas

They say home is where the heart is, but if you’re creative and motivated it can also be where your work is. Working from home isn’t just a nice perk, but it can also boost your productivity and, ideally, enable you to be your own boss and set your own schedule. Wondering exactly how to go about starting a home-based busisness? In this countdown, Business News Daily takes a look at these 5 great ideas for home-based businesses to help inspire you to found the next big company right from your own living room.

  1. Transcriptionist

    If you’re a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney’s offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.

  2. Business plan service

    If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

  3. Massage therapist

    Becoming a massage therapist requires proper training and licensing, but if you’re looking for a great career to pursue that you can also turn into a home-based business, massage therapy might be the right choice for you. And with a massage therapy business, you have options: You can either invite clients into your home for appointments, or make house calls for massages.

  4. Interior designer

    If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor’s degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn’t feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.

  5. Translator

    If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you can turn it into a business as a translator. Businesses that work with international partners need to make sure their documents are accurate and in order, so offer up your linguistic skills to translate their documents for them, and you can do so from the comfort of your home.

Coffee Industry

Coffee is a staple of many people’s daily routines. Whether you cool off in the summer with a large iced coffee or add an extra shot of espresso to jump-start a particularly sleepy morning, if you love coffee, you know just how important it can be — and entrepreneurs know it, too. It seems like there’s a café on every corner, but coffee shops aren’t the only way entrepreneurs are using your love of coffee to their advantage. These businesses are putting a unique spin on coffee and brewing their way to success.

Does the ambience of your favorite coffee shop help boost your productivity? Coffitivity is here for you on days when you can’t make it to the café. The free app helps bring the perfect coffee shop vibe to you wherever you are. The app offers several different audio tracks with the ambient sounds of a coffee shop. It even allows you to listen to your favorite music at the same time, so you can pretend you’re at the café with your headphones on.

Beanhunter is perfect for the caffeine-obsessed traveler. If you’re always on the go, you can use the Beanhunter app (it’s free and available on Android and iOS devices) to find the best coffee shops nearby, wherever you go. You can search by location or even by brand of coffee, filter by features like equipment and brew methods, read reviews and view photos — it’s like Yelp, but exclusively for coffee lovers.

Jiva Cubes are cubes of instant coffee that are portable and perfect for taking on adventures like backpacking expeditions and camping trips. Jiva’s instant coffee cubes are high quality and all-natural and come in many different flavors, like caramel, French vanilla, mocha, hazelnut and more. The cubes dissolve easily in hot water, so you can have delicious coffee even when you’re nowhere near your favorite café.

Ever wonder what all that coffee you’re drinking does to your body? If you’re a Jawbone UP user, you can track your caffeine intake and its effects with Jawbone’s free iPhone app, UP Coffee. UP Coffee tracks how your body reacts to the caffeine you drink throughout the day, and can even tell you how long it will be before your body goes from “wired” to “sleep ready.”