Archive | February 2013

Low-Cost Business Training Resources

Education

Education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

As a freelancer writer and editor, most of my time is spent working alone. However, when I do find myself in a social setting, inevitably someone in the group starts asking me questions about what it takes to be a freelancer or run a home-based business. It seems to be a hot topic in most circles. Either people want to start a side business or change their careers. My first reaction is surprise, when people ask me for business advice. I’m not a business guru. I don’t have an MBA or any formal training in business management. But after the shock wears off, I realize that I do have a little knowledge to pass on. And if I’ve learned anything from researching business ownership and muddling through the “real-life home-business ownership school of hard knocks,” it’s that you don’t need a business degree to run a successful business.

According to a 2007 report by the United States Census Bureau, 26.4 percent of business owners surveyed had achieved a bachelor’s degree  and 18.5 percent of owners of businesses had earned a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree before starting or acquiring their business. The report doesn’t say how many of those degrees were in business, but even if most of those people had earned a business degree, that leaves an overwhelming number of people who started businesses without obtaining a degree of any kind. Only 36.7 percent of business owners surveyed had previously owned a business or had been self-employed before owning their current business. People start businesses based on a product or service they wish to sell, not on their level of business expertise. This is good news for those of us learning business ownership on the job. But, just as they used to sing in School House Rock, “Knowledge is power.” Business training is still valuable and needed. Fortunately, there are a lot of free and low-cost resources out there for use small business entrepreneurs. Here are a few I’ve found that can help any business owner brush up on the skills needed for overall business success. Read More…

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Face-to-Face Networking Still Works

34th Bangalore Wikimeetup, 12 June 2011 images...

I’ve said it many times. Networking is not my favorite thing to do as a small business owner. However, it is necessary to doing business of any kind. Last year I wrote an article on face-to-face networking for Fall 2012 issue of  Annals of Psychotherapy and Integrative Health. While social networking through electronic means such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are still very popular, according to my research, nothing beats a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting.

I wasn’t surprised by this. Practically all of the freelance jobs I’ve contracted in the last seven years have been through old-fashioned networking and word of mouth referrals in my community. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that makes the difference” holds true even in the digital age. Face-to-face networking can happen at any time. Yes, it happens at social gatherings and business conferences, but it can also happen unexpectedly at the dentist’s office or grocery store. That means we must be ready for those opportunities when they arrive.

Since you probably can’t go out and buy a copy of Annals of Psychotherapy and Integrative Health on your local newsstand (it’s a bit of a niche publication), I’ve summarized the main points of my article below. Read More…