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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

Keep Records

As we get through day to day WAHM business we often forget to keep good records of our expenses. Keeping records is not just for business owners. This goes for consultants/distributors/affiliates too.

Here is the IRS definition of a business expense found on their site at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p535/index.html:

To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

Now I am not going to get into the deep dark complicated details. What I am going to get into is a few ways to keep track of your expenses.

The simple thing many do is keep a shoe box or envelope that holds all receipts for expenses. This can get messy but at least it is a start. If you are going to use this method alone try to keep it semi organized. Have more than one envelope and have a tracking page attached to each. Keep one for office supplies (paper printer ink, envelopes, tape, paper clips, pens, etc) gas receipts, (this is for keeping up with gas prices at the time of business travel. You also need to keep track of miles traveled for business only) meal receipts (these are meals strictly for closing the deal, negotiations, contracts, etc. These are not for personal meals turned into business chit chat), charity donations, misc, and so forth.

Keeping a ledger is a step up from the above. You still have to keep receipts but you can keep a running total better. You can purchase a ledger at an office supply store. Still takes work but a cheap way to keep those records.

Yet another step up create or have someone create an excel sheet. All the numbers can be tallied for you. Again you still have to keep those receipts but this gives you an instant view of all your expenses.

If you are familiar or willing to learn check out Quickbooks for all your accounting needs. These types of software are the best way to stay organized and on top of all your business expenses.

Software and spread sheets are the preferred methods or staying organized but the old school methods work as well. No matter the method you have to keep these up. They don't keep themselves up.

Now I am not a tax expert and can only help you in the direction to find the information you need. For all your questions regarding deductions and how to sort these for tax purposes please visit the IRS site at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p535/index.html.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

Own Your Business

As a business owner it is obvious who has complete control over the company. As a consultant/distributor/representative you have control over your portion of the business. This portion of the business is what you have worked hard to build. As a WAHM you joined a company to start a business. Problem is very few "own" what they have started.

Now when I speak about owning your business this does not mean starting a new company. When you join a company and earn your pay through commission sales, you own that part of the business. You pay for the business cards you share with potential customers and recruits. You pay for the samples you pass out for customers to try. You pay for the ad space getting your name out there. You "own" your business.

Too many are in the mindset that it everything is done for you when you join a business. All you have to do is tell people and they will buy. In a far off land where the prince slays the dragon to win the heart of the princess this may be true. In the world we live in you have to work.

You have control over how successful your business will become. You have control over what you are willing to do to create the business you desire. You have control on whether your business will ultimately fail.

Don't wait for a company to offer customers incentives to buy. Take the reigns in your business. You offer your own incentives. Be creative. This is your business so own it. Offer your own sales. You know your customers best. Take care of them and own your business.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009


This is a constant issue that I feel I must address from time to time - Spam.

Spam is ANY unsolicited email, instant messages advertising, blog comments advertising unwelcome products or services, unwelcome advertisements on forums and message boards, mobile phone text ads, invitations to social networks regardless if business related, to join traffic exchanges, and anything else you or your business will benefit from. If someone did not ask for it no matter the intention it is unsolicited and that is spam.

I see many WAHMs justify their spam by stating they were just passing on something they thought they would benefit from. If it was not asked for, it is spam. A common way many WAHMs begin to spam is using their address book. If they come in contact with anyone for any reason through email they automatically add them to their address book without permission. Because they felt they were entitled due to previous contact regardless of the circumstances surrounding that contact they send our advertisements for their business.

Spam is spam no matter how you try to candy coat it and change the intention. If you did not ask if you can add a contact to periodic emails or they did not sign up for your newsletter, do not send them spam. It's that simple.

If you do receive permission to send email advertisements or newsletters (it is not spam if you have permission) you must offer the option to opt out later. A simple disclaimer at the bottom telling receivers how to remove themselves from your mailing list is all you need.

Make it easy and simply state:

If you no longer wish to no longer receive periodic emails from {insert your name or business name here} click reply with unsubscribe in the body or subject line.

You don't need to bother with asking why. Just respect their wishes, accept they no longer wish to receive your mailings, and leave it at that. There is nothing worse than receiving more emails after you requested they stop just to find out why you want to stop. Just end the emails immediately.

Do not risk harm to your name or your business because you sent out what you called a beneficial email aka SPAM to someone who did not want to receive any. More reputations get a nasty ding over what you thought was an innocent email. Its not worth the trouble so just do not do it.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

Proof Read

More and more you are seeing simple spelling and grammar errors in advertising. We are all human but in business we are held to higher standards and you may turn a customer away because you forgot to proof read. It doesn't matter if you own a fortune 500 company or a WAHM with small crafting business out of your kitchen, business is business.

Now of course nobody is wanting you to become an English major but your ads are a representative of your business. This is regardless if you are a business owner, consultant, or affiliate. Lack of attention to detail can make a prospect think twice about doing business with you. Some may tell you its OK. It doesn't matter. Truth is it does. Are you willing to do so so in your business or are you wanting to do great!

Turning a customer off is something you do not want to make habit. Common grammar errors I am seeing are know and no, your and you're, there, their, they're. Spelling is even worse. Most programs out there have spell check. Even your email has spell check. Use it when corresponding with customers, sending ads to advertising groups. If you are using a program that does not offer spell check, open up Microsoft Word on your computer. Write what you need and spell check it. Word is great to check for common grammar. This does not pick up everything so don't rely on it.

Another problem occurring is posts and ads are being sent out as if the reader knows what you are thinking. I am speaking about company jargon, partial sentences, or something you feel everyone should already know about a product/service/company. When advertising, writing articles about your product/service/company you have to write as if they know nothing. At the same time you can't tell them everything in one shot. Its overwhelming to the reader and that alone can turn someone away.

Another problem I have seen recently is using words that mean something completely different than intended. It seems to come from one person using a word and others following.or copying an ad and a word being present that does not relate. If you are not sure of a word's meaning look it up. Dictionary.com is free on the Internet. If by chance the meaning is hard to understand which can happen also look up the word at thesaurus.com. This will give you other words that mean something similar so you have a better understanding what a word means.

Before you send out ads, posts or articles, press releases, have someone proof read it. Make sure it flows well, grammar and spelling is correct, and whether it is easy to understand. If it can't be read, difficult to understand, or just plain poor writing due to grammar or spelling, customers will steer clear of you. Don't let that happen. Take the time to do it right.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

Make that connection

If you are a consultant for a direct sales company, you are selling live and direct with your customer one on one. Direct sales is successful when the customer has a connection with the consultant, company, and the products. Online network marketing can and does work but not without dedication and time. In direct sales to be successful you need to be off the computer and in front of customers more than online.

Before you jump up and yell "I can't. I have kids" you can do this with kids. We are not talking just home parties here. We are talking about customer relationships. This happens every day, all day.

Direct sales is the marketing and product sales, direct to customers away from a retail location such as a store. Sales typically take place through a party plan, one on one demonstrations, and other arrangements. A text book definition is: "The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs."

A party plan is home or online parties with a hostess earning rewards. You make sales during these home parties to your hostesses guests. You also gain leads during these parties for future parties, recruiting, and future sales.

During these interactions you will need to make that connection. Nobody wants to buy from someone they do not like. Your connection may be your children. Leads come from everywhere including your child's sports teams, club meetings, and friends. These are people you deal with all the time and enjoy the company of.

Don't just sell. Find that connection. They are lurking where you never realized. Open your eyes and look around. Your connection is just around the corner.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

Advertising Sale

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  • Ad campaign length (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months)
  • Ad position choice
  • We will send you an invoice through PayPal or RME.
We accept PayPal (balance, instant transfer), credit card (processed through PayPal), bank account (through PayPal, where available), and RME (revolution money exchange)

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Hurry! Get your ad listed before it ends June 30. Spaces are limited.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

Organize It

Representing multiple companies is fast becoming a popular trend in the WAHM world. Problem many women face is organization. Starting and building one business can be a great deal of work in itself. Add a second, third, or more, and that can spell instant stress and move towards overwhelming before you even really gain momentum. Along with just gaining sales you need to market and network. Getting and staying organized is absolutely necessary.

Here are a few tips to get and stay organized:

Create folders in your bookmarks or favorite list in your browser for every day of the week. This will make 5 new folders. In those 5 folders create bookmarks of sites you need to visit that day. Each day you will click on that days folder. This can include:
  • Social networks
  • Message boards
  • Blogs
You can have multiple days with similar sites but plan to visit each site you have joined at least once a week. This will help keep you on track and consistent in your marketing and networking.

On your desktop create a folder that says WAHM business or anything that refers to your business. Within this one folder you will have a dedicated folder for each company. Each company folder can have several folders.

Folders on computer for each company should include:
  • Keep online notepad for important links
  • Files containing rules, guidelines, handbook
  • flyers to handout, bookmarks, business cards, brochures
  • Product information, use tips, ingredients
  • Newsletters
Having these folders separated by company help keep all you need easily accessible. Keep these folders in one main folder on your desktop. This is your daily reminder of where to visit once you sit down.

Most have just one email for all business and even personal. Keep your email organized for business as well. In your email create a folder for each company.

Folders in email for each company may include:
  • Sign up info
  • Welcome letter
  • Email correspondence related to company
  • Newsletter
Keeping a folder for each company in your email keeps your email organized and easily accessible. This will help keep important emails where you need them without having to spend unnecessary time searching.

Here we are with that trusty notebook. Some are discovering how useful this. You should have one notebook dedicated to each company. You can have one general notebook for general notes but anything that pertains to a specific company should be in your company notebook.

Notebook for each company is for you to write about:
  • Goals for your business - you need to know where you want to end up. I suggest you start with short term goals and move to long term goals.
  • Ideas - ideas can be marketing your business, a new party idea, contests, etc
  • Budget - whether a business owner or consultant you must have a budget for your business. Your budget will include samples, business materials, advertising, demonstration kit needs, hostess or customer thank you gifts, shipping materials, and so forth. If it relates to the cost of your business, it needs to be included.
  • Training - this can be notes you received in training or how you wish to train your team members or staff.
Having a notebook per company keeps your thoughts clear and organized based on company vs general ideas.

Create a schedule
  • Daily schedule - know what needs to be done in your daily life as well as your work life. Keep a schedule so you are always on top of what needs to be done.
  • Open schedule for prospect appointments - always have time open to meet with a potential customer, hostess, or new team member.
  • Email reading - this sounds like a given but what most are trying to do is read email all day long. Instead read email at specific times instead.
  • Networking - this is where those bookmarks come in handy. Schedule time to visit those daily bookmarks and spend time networking. Networking and advertising is different so know the difference and network.
  • Marketing and advertising - start or check in on advertising campaigns. This can include researching, changing advertising, learning new advertising techniques, and learning how to properly advertise.
  • Training - schedule important training for your business into your schedule. Also schedule time to train team members and staff. This is an area to not neglect. You may not need to include this weekly but at a minimum of once a month.
Having a schedule ensures you are taking care of business as needed on a daily basis. This schedule includes work, home, family.

Staying organized is vital to your success. Without staying organized you will never reach your full potential and can lead to the failure of your business. No matter starting out or a seasoned business owner get organized and stay there.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

To be, or not to be, a WAHM

Stay at home with the kids, take care of the household chores, spend more time with your spouse, make money in your spare time. Being a WAHM sounds wonderful right? Of course it does. That is why so many turn to working from the home every day. Is it really this glamorous?

First thing I will tell you is get out a notebook and write down your plans for the business. If you are opening your own business you need to know your start up costs - printer, paper, labels, website, website design, shipping materials, payment fees, business cards, brochures, promotional items, graphics, logos, how you plan to ship, advertising, business license, resell license, permits, will you have employees. If you are a consultant for a company you need to know what business materials do you need to start, samples, full size product, domain names, monthly fees, quotas. You need to write down your expenses and be realistic. Starting a business even as a consultant is never free. A free sign up is not a ticket to easy money. You still have to do the work and that will involve money. To work your business and actual build a business you must have business materials, inventory even if only samples, and so forth.

Working from home is not easy. You must be well disciplined to make it work. You must adhere to a schedule as though you were working outside of the home. You need to be prepared for 8+ hours a day. Maybe you can get away with only 4 hours a day (although I would not depend in this amount) but you will have to put in time daily to make your business a success. If you have to many distractions and you cannot work around them, how to you plan to work?

Before you decide to start or join a business, you need to write down all you do in a typical day. If needed keep a detailed diary of everything you do daily. If the first thing that comes to mind is you don't have time to do that, being a WAHM is not for you. If you don't have time to write down all you do or keep a diary for a couple days how do you plan to build a business? A response I would expect is you would make time. If you can make time to work, you can make time to to do one small task. This one task isn't even a dent in what you will have to do when building a business.

You have your day laid out and know that you can rearrange your day to accommodate a work schedule, it is time to decide on what you will do. If you plan to join a company know your market locally and online. An example: In my local area Avon is a hot seller. Problem: I can name off 5 people I know very well that sell it and I can name at least 3 more within just 1 or 2 blocks. The reason this is a problem is the market is over saturated. They do get sales but in the end they are only making about $500 for the year. Now this is not the case for everyone so you must do your research. If you have an over saturated market in one field look at another. There are no Discovery Toys reps in my entire state. Now that is an open market and huge potential.

Do not join a company that you would not enjoy. Do not join a company that will not sell in your area. Its hard to sell a $500 jewelry set in a small town with a median income of $20k. My suggestion is to have a home party or a rep come to your home for a opportunity party. The success of that party will give you a good idea if the success you can encounter.

Being a WAHM is hard work. It is not and never has been easy. The ones that make it look easy have been doing this for quite some time. Don't be blinded by glamorous side. Be realistic, do your research, know your goals before starting, know your beginning budget. Your success depends on your ability to plan and push through the obstacles. If you are not willing, being a WAHM is not for you. This is not a quick or sudden decision. Take your time and know what you are getting into before you invest your time and money.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

What goes into advertising

You tell everyone about your site, offer sales, place a link in your email, join message boards. Yet you can't seem to get the sale. As a WAHM this is what you are told to do. Know what the problem is? Its the type of advertising and advertising placement.

There are a few things that go into an ad to get sales.

Lets think about a couple things first. If you show someone a website URL, what makes them want to click on it? If the website URL states the product and they need it now, sure they will click. What if it doesn't? Let's say you are selling candles. Everyone sells candles these days and everyones are the best and safe. What is so different about yours? If you can't answers these, then why should your customer buy?

You have been out there promoting, and you have the sweat and tears to prove it, but nothing is happening. It all comes down to how you advertise online. This doesn't mean how often but what you are telling prospects. Let's look at your advertising and marketing.

When writing your ad, what are you wanting to do? Make people aware of your business or generate sales?

If you want to bring awareness to your business, your ad may look like this:


Visit So Chic Bag Boutique today and order your favorite purse

An ad that brings awareness to your business simply gives your name or company name along with basic information as shown above. This is also done with giving a company name and link and asking people to visit. This type of ad does not generally create sales for small businesses. While you should not use these to drive business, this is great to use in signatures as a reminder in ADDITION to your well placed ads.

An ad to help generate sales shows an actual product and description. This type of ad may look something like the one below.

A text ad will highlight a single product, features, and benefits. Give a direct link to the product whenever possible. Avoid scare tactics such as bad health or how they can't live without your product. They don't want to be afraid to be without it. You want them to enjoy having and using it. Find another way. Instead of telling someone they are unhealthy tell them how good they will feel because of your product. Always focus and sell based on the positive. Never the negative.

Here you are trying to generate sales by bringing in customers to see the product in your ad and also view your other products. Be specific. Show off what you offer. Like they say, a pictures is worth a thousand words.

Offering an ad that says something like "I could use some sales. I just got laid off so please order. Any order of any size is greatly appreciated. Visit my site at www.mysite.com." You may feel this is the best way to get an order but this is actually the least effective way to get an order and most times will generate no orders. Why? It's a sympathy ad. Sympathy ads generate little to no sales. If that is the only way you can generate sales, what will you do when the story gets tired?

When writing and creating your ads, make sure to have a call to action such as Hurry! While supplies last! Sale ends soon! Don't miss out! What you are doing is creating a need to buy now and not later. These words can make it imperative to buy now as they may not be able to buy later. Again focus on the positive never the negative.

Ads should not be lengthy. You need to grab your reader not bore them. They need to be short, sweet, and to the point. Nobody wants to spend 20 minutes reading your ad. They want to know what you offer and where to find it.

You don't have to be a great writer or a creative person to make a great ad. You just need an idea and run with it. Brainstorm. Take a piece of paper and just like in school make your bubble with the word or phrase for what you will be brainstorming on in the middle. If your business is candles, write candles in the bubble. Now think of words that describe your candles - scented, votive, wicks, colors, wax, and so forth. Come up with at least 20 words to describe your candles. Now that may seem impossible but when you start with the basics, the rest naturally comes to you. Use these words in your ads.

Also you cannot just place your ad anywhere. You need to place them in areas they will be seen and wanted. What good is it to place an ad for pocket knives in an area that sells baby items. No matter how well written your ad is, if you have it ill placed it will do nothing in way of building your business and generate sales.

Marketing your business encompasses everything you do to get your name and product out there. Advertising is a portion of what marketing involves. Marketing includes handing out samples, business materials such as brochures and business cards, contests, newsletters, personal notes of thank you, going to events, networking, and more. Marketing involves your goals and your plan to achieve these. No matter how easy someone tells you it is to show a link and you make money, without a proper marketing plan you will never reach your full potential and likely give up before anything is really started.

In the end know what you want from your business and the ads you use. If they are not working, make them work. Change them. DO NOT use the same ad all the time. People get used to it. and desensitized seeing it all the time. People want to be excited and not think that what you have is nothing new or exciting.

Olivia Vidal
© Copyright 2009

Are You Advertising or Networking?

You join a forum/message board and think YES! Great networking opportunity. Problem is you are probably advertising not networking. Do you know the difference?

Networking and advertising are not the same thing. Message boards are not for advertising. They are for networking. Networking is relationship based building customer loyalty and making connections in the business world. Advertising is promoting a product/service in an attempt to make a sale.

Do you know how to network on a forum/message board?

When you network using forums/message boards, you building a relationship with your potential customers and creating a quality business reputation for yourself.

Here are a few important tips on how to make your networking experience positive or you, your business, and your customers.

It is very important to read all of the forum board rules, before posting for the first time. Rules and Guidelines vary from forum to forum so do not assume they are all the same.

Your forum profile is very important, so please don't overlook this and not complete your profile. Try to be as complete as possible with the information requested. Forum members do read new member profiles. It's a great way to let others know about you and your business. It is important to make yourself a signature while completing your profile. Your signature will be visible with each new post or reply you make.

Post an introduction on the forum/message board. Your intro should give your first name, state if you choose, a few personal items such as family and hobbies, and a brief blurb about your home business. Do not make your introduction post an ad. It makes you appear as a spammer and many will disregard you almost immediately. Do not make a post before your introduction. Some forums/message boards have specific rules on posting an introduction first. Even if they do not it is proper forum/message board etiquette.

Participate in some general topic discussions. This shows the other members that you are there for the right reasons. There is nothing worse than joining a forum board and immediately posting a business dd. Its a turn off to members and some forum/message board admins will immediately remove you from the forum/message board. Forums/message boards are for networking not advertising so interact with members. Get to know them and let them get to know you before you start posting ads.

Every forum/message board is different but one thing is certain, if you are joining just to advertise, don't join. Advertising is not networking. Before you join think about why you are joining. Join for the right reasons and your membership will be beneficial. The wrong reasons you will be wasting your time and the other members' time.

Be consistent when networking. Set aside time on a weekly basis, to visit the forum board. Participate in current topic discussions, or better yet, start a few new topic discussions yourself. This does not require large amounts of time. I like to schedule 2 hours a week to forums/message boards. That usually translates to 4 days with 30 minute time blocks. Do what works best for you but do this weekly.

Watch how you speak to others. Do not use curse words or overwhelming business jargon. You want to appear professional at all times while still having fun. Do not get into ugly arguments and lash out. It makes others afraid to do business with you. You may say you are who you are and people either like it or don't. The problem with bad attitudes is you will create a bad reputation for you and your business.

Join forums/message boards that you like not just because they can boost your sales. If you like scrapbooking but you sell headbands, join a scrapbooking forum/message board. If you join a forum/message board you enjoy, your interest will continue and not dwindle when you are bored.

The key to successful networking is involves all of the above and more. By taking the time to build quality networking relationships, you will build a professional online business reputation that others will be proud to do business with. You can't network if you don't interact with others. Get involved.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009

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