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Student News for Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Exciting news this week! We are developing additional materials for the course "Legal and Ethical Consulting" which will include more business tips for you! Since many of you already run your own business we would love to hear from you about the following topics. Please submit your answers to: CustomerService@TheBEarthInstitute.com. Anyone who submits answers to the questions below will receive a four free promotional posts on our Herb'n Home, BEarth Institute, and Avicenna Institute Facebook pages for one month. Anyone who submits a 2-page article on the topic will receive a free month of newsletter promotions AND a feature in one of our newsletters (you choose which one).

1. What is your business? (anything healing, alternative therapies or natural lifestyle related - either services or selling products)

2. How long have you been in business?

3. Do you operate locally or online or both? What is your contact information?

4. How did you decide on your business name?

5. How did you decide what path to take (service, writing, products, kinds of products, selling your own handmade or selling products from other companies or anything else)?

6. How do you get your business name out there? How do people hear about you? Do you trade advertising? Pay for advertising? Use Twitter? Facebook? All of the above? Other?

7. What are the top three tips you have for people wanting to embark on a career in natural healing?

8. Does your business support you or is it part-time or supplemental to an already existing career or business?

9. What are the three biggest mistakes you made in your business that you don't want others to make?

10. What business help resources or courses have you taken that have helped you? 

11. Have you read any good books or taken any good seminars or webinars that helped you?

12. What inspires you and keeps you going every day?

13. Anything to add?

We look forward to hearing from you all!

#9 What are the Three Biggest Mistakes You Made in Your Business?

To start you all off I will be sharing some of my experiences as we add material to the new chapter in the course. I will be discussing number nine this week.

1. Working Part-Time: A lot of people think they can start a successful business working part-time. I thought the same thing and tried to work part-time while also working another job for many years. I was worried that my business would not support my family or I would fail. Until one day I had an accident and became confined to the home/office and could not leave for about two months. It was during this time I discovered the power of focus. By focusing only on my own business only for two months it was able to grow with amazing leaps and bounds. Luckily I had been given some compensation for the accident so I was able to "not work" for two months but if I had known the power of this focus before the accident I would have done anything in my power to save money to make this period of time possible. Looking back I would have given up eating out and movies. I would have eaten oatmeal every morning for a year to save money. It was amazing how valuable this time-off to focus on my own business was! I still had to run my house during this time and take care of a child but it was much easier to balance work with a home than it was to balance work with work with work and more work! Especially since the outside work (not my own business) was draining the enthusiasm and life out of me. It was not as rewarding, sapped my energy and resulted in me coming home and just wanting to be alone. I am able to work 12-hours a day on my own business if needed but working for someone else I only had energy for 6-hours a day. Barely.

2. Budgeting to Strictly: When I first started websites were something completely new and I had to learn HTML from my engineering-techie brother to start my first website. From this I got used to the idea that I could do everything myself and that all I needed was something simple. But the online industry grew quickly! I soon realized that my website standard needed to be upgraded and I needed the help of some professionals with certain aspects of the business in the area of design and PR. It was hard (gulp!) to pay someone else what I had been doing alone for years but the results were worth every penny and more. Once again I wished I had done it years before. Even if you don't have a website you can also fall into this "being in the past" mentality. Be sure to keep up with the latest trends and business methods! Even a local business needs a Twitter page, Facebook page and Instagram account. You will also need to advertise in unique places. Newspaper advertising is a lot less effective than it was years ago. Stop the newspaper ads and start using things like Groupon (become an offer for them) or a focused magazine or hand-out ad.

3. Starting Alone: A lot of people start a business because they are independent or they like working a lone. I was the same way. I didn't want to "share" the business or deal with making decisions with a group of people. And, as I mentioned in #2, I thought I could "do it alone". But you will quickly become run-down this way AND miss out on great marketing and partnering opportunities. There are so many options for cooperation. Cooperation does not mean you have to share 100% of your business. You could share office space with another business owner, hire someone as a contractor to help you with work, do an advertising or marketing campaign with another person, hold an online conference with other people, and much more! Look for as many opportunities as possible to cooperate with other like-minded business owners and make friends in your field - offline and online. 

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