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Author Topic: Cheap Man's Guide To Starting Home Business  (Read 9087 times)
Vince G, CSN MFT
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« on: April 24, 2006, 06:02:17 AM »

Its good that there has been a business board put up.  A lot of people around here over the years wanted  to start a business but they did not how to get started.  Well, I'm going to let you folks know how I started my business for less than $50 dollars.

Office Equipment:
Having a desk is essential to storing client's files and you must have a proper workspace.  Generally desk range from 50-100 dollars but I didn't have the money to spare so what I did instead is go to a Miracle Mart (Goodwill) and bought 2 small file cabinets for 15 dollars.  I then went to Home Depot and purchased a large unfinished wooden board.  Then I spaced out the file cabinets and put the board on top and that was it.  I had a large work space and had plenty of space to store client's files.  I also got an old thermal fax machine for 5 dollars which I still use to this day and a office chair for 10 dollars.  Don't be too fucking arrogant not to go to a Salvation Army or Goodwill to get your stuff.  You'll be surprised to know that a lot of rich people go to these same places to get stuff as well.     


The Business Name:
A lot of people think that its not important but its actually one of the most important things to decide.  Your name for your business should be clear and evident to a person to know what you do from simply hearing the name.  Its best for your business name to end with the word health, fitness, nutrition, personal training, etc.  A lot of people use their last name for part of the business name which is good but a unique name would give the business an appearance of being a major player.  Be sure to also check your business name under domain names and buy the domain itself immediately for marketing purposes.  You don't want to pick a name only to have the web domain name already being used.  That's what happenned to me and I had to wait over a year to finally purpose the rights to caliberfitness.com from the Arab Community and it wasn't cheap.

Business Cards:
You can make them at home on your computer however that's only if you have a laser printer.  Inkjet printers have a tendency for the ink to smear.  Business cards are thrown away by the majority of people so don't spend a lot of money having them made.  The importance of business cards are no different from a flyer, its just advertising.  I got my first cards from VistaPrint.com because they give you 250 cards for free.  Their advertising is on the back as a small price however like I said before, you should treat cards like an ad or flyer.

Office Software:
You can get OpenOffice for free on the internet which will give you a word procesor, spreadsheet, database, and HTML editor.  The GIMP is also free as well which will give you an advanced paint & graphics program.


Website:
Most hosting companies have free pre-designed templates so use them.  Use the HTML editor on the OpenOffice software to put your own information about your business on there.  Its good to have a merchant account to take credit cards but for now you can set up a paypal account and go from there
to put up pay links on your site.




Thats how I got started.  Part 2 will go over what to sell
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2006, 10:21:31 AM »

Def a cool thread vince!
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2006, 12:35:00 PM »

DO NOT pay $4,000 for your company's website.  Even if you don't come to me for a site, do your research and get a deal.

DO use consistent branding/logo on your site, business cards, flyers, etc

DO save receipts. I made a killing by paying taxes this year Smiley  You can deduct just about everything

DO trade/barter with others. I get window tinting, haircuts, gym memberships, and a lot of other things for free by trading skills

DO keep useful supplies for you job in your car. Being Johnny "on-the-spot" is great for your reputation.

DO make friends and value your repeat customers.  ALL of my business comes from personal referrals from happy clients. You DO NOT NEED to spend hundreds on ads if you do things right.
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2006, 07:24:25 AM »

Now that you have got all the supplies and everything you need.  Its time to discuss what to sell:




Now first off, if you are a national competitor and close to turning pro, the business that you should be into is personal training, nutritional consulting, and autograph pictures.  Your physique will carry much weight in obtaining clients and will provide you with the money needed compete in shows.  Avoid selling nutritional supplements, exercise equipment, and general fitness goods.  Why is that to be avoided???  Its simply because you are in the position of having a fitness company sponsor you at anytime and if you are selling supplements, most likely the company will think that you are already under an agreement and will simply go to someone else.  Now if you secure a sponsorship deal, you can easily get discounted wholesale to sell their products and merchandise.  This will not only give you extra money but will help extend the longivity of your agreement.  Guy Grundy is a good example of this.  He has been out of bodybuilding for some time yet he is still sponsored by Kaizen to this day mainly because he also sells the products on his website.


For the amatuer unknown bodybuilder, the products you can provide is personal training, nutritional consulting and supplement sales.  Start with personal training first because its the easiest way to make some quick cash.  Then after establishing a client base, then start selling supplements and other general fitness goods.  Have two separate websites, one for your personal training website and one for your supplements.  That way when you become a nationally recognized competitor, you can attract possible sponsors.


Now how do you get supplements at a wholesale price???  There are a number of places you can get started in selling supplements and all that needs to be done is to call the companies directly.  That's the easy part however you have to talk with some money as well.  You'll need at least 2,000 to 5,000 dollars to really talk soup.  Even though most companies have minimum orders of 300 dollars, you are not going to get the best prices.  The more money you're willing to put out, the better deal you can get.  Don't forget about sites like Bodybuilding.com and DPS Nutrition.  Generally they have tons of overstock and need to get rid of the extra product.  You can simply swoop in and purchase these products at practically the same price they got from the manufacturer.  I do this on occasion and it works pretty well.



Now although you have a website, the best way to sell products is to sell locally.  The best place to sell items is to sell them in unexpected markets.  I'm sure you have heard about me selling supplements at flea markets.  It may be cheesy but I have an overall advantage being the only person at the venue to sell nutritional supplements because everyone else is selling antiques, old tires etc.  If you want to sell a lot of supplements, you have to go where the people are and lots of people go to the flea markets.    Another advantage of selling at a flea market is that the majority of payments are in cash because most vendors only accept cash.  Even with that, I still have my laptop with high speed axxcess to my credit card terminal to take all forms of credit and have a manual imprinter to use as well in the event that its down.  I simply take their driver's license info for security purposes.  The best products to sell at flea markets is the ones that have been on TV commericals because people know the products.  The biggest seller I've had is actually creatine but also products such as coral calcium, noni juice, fat burners, growth hormone stimulants, DHEA and absolutely don't forget to sell some yohimbe because the hottest word right now is alternatives to Viagra.  Even if a person declines buying from you, give them a business card and offer free shipping on their first order when they place an order on your website.  Shipping locally is much cheaper via USPS and it entices the buyer to buy more stuff which should more than make up for it.



Remember this is only one of many techiques but the main idea behind this is the best way to compete against the competition is to NOT COMPETE AGAINST THE COMPETITION.  Out-pricing only loses money and negative badmouthing makes you look bad.  The key is to establish a territory and make the potential feel that buying from you is the best.  Use the locally owned, locally operated, homegrown motto because people have a general distrust for big business...USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.   



Part 3 will cover nude posing for colleges and university art classes




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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2006, 08:03:55 AM »

It pains me to say this, but not a bad write up Vince Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2006, 06:57:44 AM »


Remember this is only one of many techiques but the main idea behind this is the best way to compete against the competition is to NOT COMPETE AGAINST THE COMPETITION.  Out-pricing only loses money and negative badmouthing makes you look bad.  The key is to establish a territory and make the potential feel that buying from you is the best.  Use the locally owned, locally operated, homegrown motto because people have a general distrust for big business...USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.   


This is great advice!  I hate to agree with Venom, but he's right
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2006, 10:32:35 AM »

Also, you can incorporate yourself for cheap.  It only takes a few minutes to fill out the forms.  No need to spend $1000's of dollars to get incorporated.
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2006, 10:56:45 AM »

Thanks for the OpenOffice idea.  i was about to buy MS Office suite. 
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2006, 09:56:38 PM »

This was written somewhere I saw before.  Change a few words at least Vince.  Plaguerism is so common these days
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2006, 10:24:41 PM »

Good advice.  Also shop at the dollar store or walmart for office supplies, then hit office max for the specialty stuff.
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2006, 05:19:09 PM »

Yes, someone wrote about selling stuff at a flea market before...... Roll Eyes



I don't cut and paste articles, I simply write them so please STFU about that. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2006, 06:56:35 PM »

.


* Haney-Coleman.jpg (79.22 KB, 600x385 - viewed 537 times.)
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2006, 04:55:54 PM »

whats so great about this advice? SO you get a damn desk, fax, some business cards, now what Vince? You need a business plan, idea!!! thats the big one...

I started my own staffing agency...www.paramount-staffing.com  DID IT ALL, incorporated, you name it..leased a space and what happened? Ran ou tof money- I couldnt open accounts fast enough...
Its hard starting something from home, people dont take you as seriously..it depends on the business though..
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2006, 05:05:25 PM »

whats so great about this advice? SO you get a damn desk, fax, some business cards, now what Vince? You need a business plan, idea!!! thats the big one...

I started my own staffing agency...www.paramount-staffing.com  DID IT ALL, incorporated, you name it..leased a space and what happened? Ran ou tof money- I couldnt open accounts fast enough...
Its hard starting something from home, people dont take you as seriously..it depends on the business though..



I'm sorry to hear what happenned however this thread is about starting a home business.  You started a mid-level retail business so I can't tell you what you did wrong. 


And people have been taking me seriously since 2001.  All they care about is someone who can deliver results, ship product fast, and have good squawk with the customers.  Home businesses are rapidly increasing due to layoffs, downsizing, etc.  Former 500 corporate executives &financial consultants are following lead as well.  Don't count out the home business.  It is the wave of the future.  Apparantly you weren't taken seriously unfortunately since you did go out of business but perhaps you can try again except on a smaller scale.  Going big is always risky
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2006, 06:47:06 PM »

If you want to start your own PT business (or any business for that matter) my #1 advice is BE PROFESSIONAL!!! 

That means:

Have business cards
Have an LLC, Inc or some other company...or shit, just make one up.
Have a printed out price sheet with ALL of their options
Have them fill out a legitimate paperwork (PAR-Q, Waiver/Release, Cancellation Policy sheet, etc.)
Dress the part (All Black, or Black and White or something solid and classy.  No muscle shirts please!!)
Be EARLY

That's it for now. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2006, 12:22:23 AM »


The Business Name:
A lot of people think that its not important but its actually one of the most important things to decide.  Your name for your business should be clear and evident to a person to know what you do from simply hearing the name.  Its best for your business name to end with the word health, fitness, nutrition, personal training, etc.   A lot of people use their last name for part of the business name which is good but a unique name would give the business an appearance of being a major player.  Be sure to also check your business name under domain names and buy the domain itself immediately for marketing purposes.  You don't want to pick a name only to have the web domain name already being used.

That assumes the home business being started falls into the "health, fitness, nutrition, personal training" fields etc.

Now that you have got all the supplies and everything you need.  Its time to discuss what to sell:

Now first off, if you are a national competitor and close to turning pro, the business that you should be into is personal training, nutritional consulting, and autograph pictures.

{LOL} I can't help but laugh here. A person should be in whatever business they choose to be in.

Quote
Now how do you get supplements at a wholesale price???  There are a number of places you can get started in selling supplements and all that needs to be done is to call the companies directly.  That's the easy part however you have to talk with some money as well.  You'll need at least 2,000 to 5,000 dollars to really talk soup.  Even though most companies have minimum orders of 300 dollars, you are not going to get the best prices.  The more money you're willing to put out, the better deal you can get.  Don't forget about sites like Bodybuilding.com and DPS Nutrition.  Generally they have tons of overstock and need to get rid of the extra product.  You can simply swoop in and purchase these products at practically the same price they got from the manufacturer.  I do this on occasion and it works pretty well.

Using this scenario, does one not run the risk of purchasing old and/or soon-to be expired stock?  If a large scale distributor is overstocked in an item, it's usually because the item isn't a good seller, or possibly it is about to expire and they need to get it off their hands. I would never recommend a small business person tie up capital in unsaleable merchandise.

Quote
Now although you have a website, the best way to sell products is to sell locally.  The best place to sell items is to sell them in unexpected markets.  I'm sure you have heard about me selling supplements at flea markets.  It may be cheesy but I have an overall advantage being the only person at the venue to sell nutritional supplements because everyone else is selling antiques, old tires etc.

This strategy may work if the supplement manufacturer does NOT have a clause saying the products may not be dispalyed at such venues such as flea markets. Most companies have that stipulation written in so as not to cheapen their brand.

Quote
Remember this is only one of many techiques but the main idea behind this is the best way to compete against the competition is to NOT COMPETE AGAINST THE COMPETITION.  Out-pricing only loses money and negative badmouthing makes you look bad.

I couldn't agree with you more.

Quote
The key is to establish a territory and make the potential feel that buying from you is the best.  Use the locally owned, locally operated, homegrown motto because people have a general distrust for big business...USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
 

I suppose this could be used to your advantage if your business was limited to your local market, but once your business grows beyond that, creating distrust, or playing into distrust will backfire.
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2006, 12:46:41 AM »

whats so great about this advice? SO you get a damn desk, fax, some business cards, now what Vince? You need a business plan, idea!!! thats the big one...

I started my own staffing agency...www.paramount-staffing.com  DID IT ALL, incorporated, you name it..leased a space and what happened? Ran ou tof money- I couldnt open accounts fast enough...
Its hard starting something from home, people dont take you as seriously..it depends on the business though..

The 2 reasons businesses go out of business is:
  • They are mismanaged, ...or
  • They run out of money

The 2 quickest ways to kill a new business is:
  • Not enough sales, ...or
  • Too many sales

I think before anyone starts a business, any kind of a business, ...they first need to determine WHY they want to do it, as well as what they expect to get out of it. and I'm not simply refering to $$$. This clearcut understanding of your objective can assist you in determining what type of business endeavor to undertake. With this understanding, you can then best determine realistically, what resources you're going to have to have in order to keep the business going.

It doesn't matter how efficiently you use your resources. If your business requires overhead, understand that you'll be spending money on that overhead 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Most often, that's not the way in which income is earned is it? Most often income is only earned during "business hrs". If you're not rolling in money, you have to ensure the overhead is reduced to a minimum, or engage in a business where the income operates on the same equation as the overhead, taking on the same 24 hrs/ day, 7 day /wk characteristic.
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2006, 05:02:23 PM »

The 2 reasons businesses go out of business is:
  • They are mismanaged, ...or
  • They run out of money

The 2 quickest ways to kill a new business is:
  • Not enough sales, ...or
  • Too many sales

I think before anyone starts a business, any kind of a business, ...they first need to determine WHY they want to do it, as well as what they expect to get out of it. and I'm not simply refering to $$$. This clearcut understanding of your objective can assist you in determining what type of business endeavor to undertake. With this understanding, you can then best determine realistically, what resources you're going to have to have in order to keep the business going.

It doesn't matter how efficiently you use your resources. If your business requires overhead, understand that you'll be spending money on that overhead 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Most often, that's not the way in which income is earned is it? Most often income is only earned during "business hrs". If you're not rolling in money, you have to ensure the overhead is reduced to a minimum, or engage in a business where the income operates on the same equation as the overhead, taking on the same 24 hrs/ day, 7 day /wk characteristic.

Renting space is the best example of this.  If you're not using it 24/7, then you better be rackin in the dough. 
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2006, 11:40:19 PM »

Renting space is the best example of this.  If you're not using it 24/7, then you better be rackin in the dough. 

Exactly, ...and if you've taken out a loan of any sort to cover these expenses, understand the interest metre never stops. It calculates 24hrs a day / 7 days a week. If the income producing hours of our businesses are limited because of our businesses' hours of operation ie: M-F 9-5, and closed on holidays, you're working on the wrong side of the equation. These are critical considerations that I don't believe most people factor in. When I look at a business, I look at it from a completely sterile viewpoint, and weigh it's merits based on it's profit potential, as well as it's ROI., not necessarily because it is something that I have an existing interest or background in. That makes it a hobby. Also understand the climate in which you are and will be operating in. There are forces that can push you into success or crush you with endless struggle. You need to position yourself so that those forces work in your favour. It's the proverbial Irish blessing of having the wind forever at your back.
  • Renting Space
  • Tying Up capital in excessive inventory
  • advertising

These are areas that chew up more resources than are necessary.

With modern technology, the playing field is levelled, and it's possible to own & operate a business that makes more efficient use of one's available resources.

The key to success in any endeavor, especially when one is starting out is flexibility. If you're flexible and allow for leeway, when adversity strikes (and it will) you'll be able to bend and roll with the punches. If you rigidly box yourself in and limit your options, you most often end up breaking.
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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2006, 07:31:49 PM »

Its good that there has been a business board put up.  A lot of people around here over the years wanted  to start a business but they did not how to get started.  Well, I'm going to let you folks know how I started my business for less than $50 dollars.

Office Equipment:
Having a desk is essential to storing client's files and you must have a proper workspace.  Generally desk range from 50-100 dollars but I didn't have the money to spare so what I did instead is go to a Miracle Mart (Goodwill) and bought 2 small file cabinets for 15 dollars.  I then went to Home Depot and purchased a large unfinished wooden board.  Then I spaced out the file cabinets and put the board on top and that was it.  I had a large work space and had plenty of space to store client's files.  I also got an old thermal fax machine for 5 dollars which I still use to this day and a office chair for 10 dollars.  Don't be too fucking arrogant not to go to a Salvation Army or Goodwill to get your stuff.  You'll be surprised to know that a lot of rich people go to these same places to get stuff as well.     


The Business Name:
A lot of people think that its not important but its actually one of the most important things to decide.  Your name for your business should be clear and evident to a person to know what you do from simply hearing the name.  Its best for your business name to end with the word health, fitness, nutrition, personal training, etc.  A lot of people use their last name for part of the business name which is good but a unique name would give the business an appearance of being a major player.  Be sure to also check your business name under domain names and buy the domain itself immediately for marketing purposes.  You don't want to pick a name only to have the web domain name already being used.  That's what happenned to me and I had to wait over a year to finally purpose the rights to caliberfitness.com from the Arab Community and it wasn't cheap.

Business Cards:
You can make them at home on your computer however that's only if you have a laser printer.  Inkjet printers have a tendency for the ink to smear.  Business cards are thrown away by the majority of people so don't spend a lot of money having them made.  The importance of business cards are no different from a flyer, its just advertising.  I got my first cards from VistaPrint.com because they give you 250 cards for free.  Their advertising is on the back as a small price however like I said before, you should treat cards like an ad or flyer.

Office Software:
You can get OpenOffice for free on the internet which will give you a word procesor, spreadsheet, database, and HTML editor.  The GIMP is also free as well which will give you an advanced paint & graphics program.


Website:
Most hosting companies have free pre-designed templates so use them.  Use the HTML editor on the OpenOffice software to put your own information about your business on there.  Its good to have a merchant account to take credit cards but for now you can set up a paypal account and go from there
to put up pay links on your site.




Thats how I got started.  Part 2 will go over what to sell

I can't believe I just read this.

No, wait, I haven't read it yet.  My bad. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2006, 07:55:08 PM »

well said Vince. Thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2006, 09:34:12 PM »

note to self: read when bored or in time out Grin
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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2006, 04:38:39 PM »

You should definetely NOT make your own cards on some cheap website!  It might save you $100 bucks but it sends the wrong message.  Professionalism is KEY.

Find a graphic designer (or a graphic design student) and get them to make you a nice logo and design a business card (some marketing pieces while they're at it).  Branding is important and may be the only thing people recognize.  Pick a few colors and keep them constant throughout your business, inside and out (paint color, flyers, advertising, uniforms, signage...).   If you don't like giving people your personal cell phone (i.e. putting it on your business card), then get a business one, but make sure you are accessible.

Most of these small, local services can be done on trade if you're good enough.  Become part of your local chamber of commerce and attend as many funcitons as you can, it's a great way to get some grass-roots business, referrals and solidify your place in the community. 
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2006, 04:01:08 AM »

That assumes the home business being started falls into the "health, fitness, nutrition, personal training" fields etc.

{LOL} I can't help but laugh here. A person should be in whatever business they choose to be in.

Using this scenario, does one not run the risk of purchasing old and/or soon-to be expired stock?  If a large scale distributor is overstocked in an item, it's usually because the item isn't a good seller, or possibly it is about to expire and they need to get it off their hands. I would never recommend a small business person tie up capital in unsaleable merchandise.

This strategy may work if the supplement manufacturer does NOT have a clause saying the products may not be dispalyed at such venues such as flea markets. Most companies have that stipulation written in so as not to cheapen their brand.

I couldn't agree with you more.
 

I suppose this could be used to your advantage if your business was limited to your local market, but once your business grows beyond that, creating distrust, or playing into distrust will backfire.





Let's see here:

www.jaguarenterprises.co m
or
www.caliberfitness.com


Which site would you buy from??  Which site appears most deceiving.


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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2006, 07:24:31 PM »

Vince if you send me some money to compete at this tournament in atlanta i'll wear one of your shirts to the ring and throw it out in the crowd. Smiley
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