Saturday, August 16, 2008

Step 6 ~ Be Mindful and GROW!

In today's business climate, one of your greatest assets as an entrepreneur is being AGILE, able to easily shift when a new economic environment or opportunity shows up.

Keep on continually upgrading your daily operating system – that is, the activities that run your business day after day. Become better at what you do as your business evolves and grows. There are lots of books that can help you at this stage of the game, and here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Manage your business by keeping statistics. You will first decide which statistics you will track …obvious ones are the amount of income flowing in, your dollar amount of expenses going out, the number of new customers, and number of continuing customers. Monitor these numbers at least weekly and monthly. You can even put them on a graph if you want to keep a visual representation.

2. Figure out which of your marketing avenues are producing the most amount of business. Whatever you are getting business from, continue to do more of that. Eliminate avenues that after 6 months are not generating sufficient business for the amount of energy (time and or money) you are putting into them.

3. Set new targets and goals. Celebrate when you hit a target, and adjust your course as needed when you don’t.

4. Make new contacts and add to your list. Find good new resources. Evolve!

Would you love to stay informed and receive more tips and strategies to support your unjobbing experience? Join Your Unjobbing, Entrepreneur Support Network on® at

~ Devin & Maria

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Step 5 ~ Deliver Beyond Their Wildest Expectations

Amazing service will give you something you cannot buy.

It will provide you with an endless buzz that passes on from person to person, and does not rely on any of your own marketing. Your goal is to whenever possible, deliver MORE than what is expected from your customers or clients, which will accelerate the buzz you most desire. Your outcome vision is to have your customers or clients telling their friends about you because they had such a great experience!

Maximize this energy by getting referrals and testimonials from happy and enthusiastic customers. Include these testimonials in all of your marketing, especially on your website and in your emails to other customers.

You can also create a monthly newsletter to provide new, helpful or interesting information to send out to your existing customer base. Find ways to show your appreciation of them, and include them in Polls and Surveys to solicit their input in order to fine-tune your systems and services.

Here are your primary keys to establishing a strong, ongoing base of happy and loyal repeat customers:

- Promise them something they strongly desire.
- Deliver it beyond their expectations.
- Keep them coming back by giving even more value beyond their “purchase.”
- Inspire them to refer new customers to you!

Rock their world!
~ Devin & Maria

Monday, June 30, 2008

Step 4 ~ Get Ready to Rumble!

You are getting so close to generating money in your business that we bet you're in a state of eager anticipation! You've already figured out WHO will buy from you (your market) so now it's time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to offer your product or service by establishing your basic Marketing materials and systems.

First you'll need your Marketing materials, and unless you're a graphic designer you will hire someone for much of this part. Here is a checklist of basic marketing materials:
___ A unique LOGO that gives your business a "brand"
___ Business cards
___ Letterhead / envelopes
___ An Introduction letter
___ Postcards or brochures
___ A Report on your topic or industry that can be printed or emailed
___ Flyer with a list of your Services and Prices
___ Your business website

Your marketing should consist of multiple approaches to connecting your message to your potential buyers. These approaches will range in cost from $0 to several hundred dollars or more. If you currently have more money than time, consider investing in the approaches that don't involve much time; if you currently have more time than money, your best bet is to invest your time in the approaches that are no-cost or low-cost financially.

Less $$ / More Time
1) Face-to-face meeting with people
2) Networking in groups who can be referral sources for your business
3) Set up an online "blog" and write helpful information about your topic or industry
4) Introduce yourself with phone calls
5) Introduce yourself through email
6) Hand write a short note to introduce yourself and mail it
7) Write some advertising copy and post it on free sites such as Craigslist
8) Join Google or Yahoo groups that are pertinent to your topic or industry and get involved in the conversations (link to your Blog so interested people can learn more)
9) Create a monthly newsletter about your topic or industry and email it to your list.

More $$ / Less Time
1) Hire a professional web designer to create your website
2) Have someone create videos and audios to add on your website, your Blog, and other sites like YouTube. Always link back to your website for maximum exposure potential.
3) Hire a graphic designer to create postcards or other marketing materials for a focused direct mail campaign.
4) Hire a marketing coach to help you target effective ways to bring you business. They will be able to walk you through every marketing approach you're interested in, and can work with you to strategize and prioritize depending on your time and budget!

There are many advanced marketing options that you can explore as your business grows, both online and offline. Many books, workshops and trainings are available to help you market, so as you take your next steps to "successful unemployment" remember to watch what other people are doing to promote and keep a journal of ideas!

your partners in unjobbing success,
Devin & Maria

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Step 3 ~ The Money is in Your List

In Step 1, we asked you to consider ..."Who is your ideal customer or client?"

Another way to consider this is to ask yourself WHO will want to buy your product or service? You created your business to serve a need for a specific group of people. These people are called your "market." Who are they??

The sooner you can clearly identify your market, the quicker you'll be able to generate income. Knowing EARLY who you want to reach out to will save you lots of time, money and energy as you move into marketing what you do!

So before you begin your marketing, create an initial list of contacts. You can build your "audience" by starting with this list -- your money flow has the potential to start with this list, so it's essential to get these names, contact information, and other important data entered into a Contact Database. You can use the simple database that comes with your email program (Outlook, for example) or purchase ACT or other database-compiling software.

In your contact list, enter as much information as you know about each contact, including:
-- Name, phone # and email address
-- Address
-- Occupation
-- Personal and family information
-- Their website, if they have one
-- Where and how you met
-- Additional notes you want to remember

1. Start with EVERYONE you know who is old enough to buy your product or service, including family members, friends, and neighbors. Make that list!! Then think about who each of these people know -- everyone you know they know. Write those down, even if you don't know names. Just make a note about them.

2. Next, think of EVERYONE else you associate with ...including your hair stylist, dry cleaner, auto mechanic, real estate agent, attorney, veterinarian, doctor, dentist, insurance rep, store owners, barista, restaurant managers, etc. You get the idea -- make that list!!

Now think again about who will want to buy what you have to offer. You are ready to take it to the next level!

3. Do you know that there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of people who serve the SAME market that you do? What if you could tap into THEIR contacts -- people who will also want what you have??

Consider this: WHO CAN REFER BUSINESS TO YOU, DAY-AFTER-DAY? What types of people come into contact with YOUR ideal customers or clients every day? Which professions provide services or products to YOUR potential base of customers or clients??

Developing this additional list will lead you to a GOLD MINE of continual referrals. Make this list!!

4. And last (but not least) is the unlimited world of social networking! You can expand your market in a big way by joining social network groups that share your interests and are likely customers or referral sources for your product or service. Our favorite is Meetup -- go
see what groups are set up in your area. You can even start your own group! Take a look at ours (click here)!!

Once you've completed Step 3, it's time to prepare to deliver. This is when you start marketing and letting the world know that you're OPEN FOR BUSINESS! Step 4 is when it all starts coming together ...

get ready!
Devin & Maria

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Step 2 ~ How Money FLOWS

(Click to review the INTRODUCTION and STEP 1 ~ Self-Employed Home Business Basics)

Okay, you've covered the
basics, so now it's time to create a framework for your business. MONEY is the energy (green energy!) that fuels your business and your life. And just like a river, this energy requires some type of structure to be able to FLOW.

That's why we think it's helpful to have a FLOWCHART type of diagram. You create a flowchart to show how $$$ will come into and flow through your bank account, thereby nourishing your business! This flowchart will soon become the basis of your Daily Operating System, and will be used to determine the Statistics you will compile to Manage Your Business. As your business evolves, you can update your flowchart as needed.

There are 3 simple components to create a structure to support the flow of money in your new business:

SET-UP: A business address (or P.O. Box) for business mail; a business email address; a separate phone number; you may also need a toll-free number.

OPEN UP: A business bank account for your money to flow through. (Note -- when you open your account, be sure to take your assumed name/DBA and optional EIN# if you got one ... see
Step 1 for information.)

DRAW UP: A business flowchart that illustrates the specific money flow in your business. To complete this, you need a general sense of what's involved in reaching potential customers, receiving payments, and the production and delivery process for your product/service.

Want an idea on how to put together your money flowchart? You can download our generic FLOWCHART as an example to follow ... click here to get yours!

In the FLOW,
Devin & Maria

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do Something That Makes You Happy ~ It's the BEST Way to Make More Money!

"If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature."
- Bruce Barton, American author and advertising executive

Do you know that you can make money doing something you love? Honestly, we hear a common complaint from people who are passionate about a skill, talent or interest ... "But I can't make money doing this!"

And we have to agree with them; they are 100% right. They can NOT make money doing what they love because of their own lack of belief. But take a good look around at all the people who are making LOADS OF MONEY doing what they love -- how come they can do it and you can't?? In sports, in entertainment, and in every industry imaginable there are plenty of people who are making plenty of money. There is no scarcity, money flows abundantly all around us, and there is every reason for you to stop holding yourself back and jump right into that stream!

We've heard parents with talented kids warn them to have a back-up skill because you "can't make money doing (fill in the blank -- usually something creative)." No wonder so many people are reluctant to do what they love. They're afraid.

Is there something that makes you joyful and excited? How about something that feels meaningful and brings a sense of satisfaction and happiness? Whatever does that for you is something we recommend you do or have MORE of.

There are unlimited ways to creatively add more money streaming into your life that you aren't aware of at the moment. You don't need to limit yourself to one endeavor, and you can even have money streaming in that's not the result of something you DO are a creative being with multiple and expanding skills, talents and abilities that you can apply in so many ways. Take some baby steps by increasing the amount of time you FEEL GOOD, whatever that is for you. And start playing with the thought that maybe it is possible, that perhaps you can do more of what you love and find ways to love more of what you do.

go for it,
Devin & Maria

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What do you mean by "Self-Reliant Living"?

People have been asking us about "self-reliant living" ...what exactly IS it?

Are we talking about those passionate folks who choose to live completely "off the grid", out in the wilderness or on a remote farm growing their own food, collecting rainwater, making everything they can themselves? Well, this certainly is an extreme example of Self-Reliant Living.

But let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Even though many of us might fantasize about living off the grid, we choose to live in the city or suburb for unique reasons. Devin and I have lived in Dallas, Texas, for the last 27 years because it gives us access to virtually anything. We worked our professional advertising company from our home here (even before it was cool to home-biz), birthed 2 of our kids here, kept them out of school here, entrepreneured them here, and connected with other amazing self-reliant families and individuals here ...yes, here in Dallas.

For us, self-reliant living is about living authentically, following your own guidance even when it's way outside the scope of what most people do, including:

• Creating your own ways to earn money
• Taking care of your own health when possible
• Choosing how to raise and teach your children
• Supporting them to embrace their own choices
• Promising to stay true to your values, but allowing for change
• Providing confidence and guidance to anyone wanting greater self-determination in their life

Our motto is "QUESTION EVERYTHING." Do you know kids who ask WHY? all the time and won't accept because I said so as an answer? Well, they're on track to becoming fully self-reliant adults!

Self-reliant living is about personal empowerment. It's trusting yourself and listening to your own inner guidance before setting foot onto a path. It's being excited about the amazing adventure of living life on your own terms and trying things out that maybe have not been done before (or that maybe are a little scary).

We subscribe to Mike Dooley's daily "
Notes from the Universe", and this recent note is descriptive of how self-reliant living can begin:
The Evolution of a Dream
-- Dream is implanted into brain.
-- Dreamer becomes thrilled.
-- Dreamer becomes terrified.
-- If no action is taken, terrifying thoughts grow into flesh-eating monsters. Dream is considered unrealistic.
-- If action is taken, terrifying thoughts are revealed to be paper tigers. Confidence soars, miracles unfold, and dreamer begins to saunter.
Either way, nothing remains the same.

We started by creating our own business at home, and then expanded self-reliant living into family choices that some may consider extreme, but that we know are true to our values and beliefs. What about you? Is there something you'd rather be or do that seems impossible? Are there preferences you're not living because you don't think you can??

Call or email us if you could use some inspiration, motivation or even celebration on your self-reliant path! We would love to hear from you.

Devin & Maria

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Step 1 ~ Self-Employed Home Business Basics

Okay ... you're ready to shift to the self-reliant path! It starts with creating your own business, but don't get scared yet because we can help you sort through getting this part going.

There are hundreds of books and manuals available that teach entrepreneurs how to run a traditional business. But when it comes to getting a solid foundation for your home-based business, good instructions are not easy to find.

So we're going to show you the simplest, lowest cost ways to make your home business a reality in 7 EASY STEPS. Your belief in yourself will build at each step ... are you ready for STEP #1? Here is what you need to do FIRST.

Step #1: IDENTIFY Your Business ...who are you, and what is your Business?

-- Are you offering a Product or Service?
-- Who do you believe will want to buy your product or service?
-- What unique NAME will it have?
-- How do you Register and Claim that business name?
-- Do you need an EIN or simply your own Social Security# for your business?
-- How much do you have for initial start-up costs?


• Are you offering a Product or Service?
It's important to determine which category your business falls into. PRODUCTS normally require parts, a manufacturing process (even if you do it yourself), and you often need an inventory of your products that are ready to deliver to customers on demand.

On the other hand, offering a SERVICE requires no inventory, parts or manufacturing. Services may include coaching or consulting, health-related services, advertising, organizing, personal assistance, home maintenance or repairs, technical support, day care, photography, interior design and much, much more ... but you get the picture of what we mean by a SERVICE industry, right?

Either way, you want to be aware whether you have a PRODUCT or SERVICE business, because each requires a different approach. We'll get into more depth on that in later posts!

• Who do you believe will want to buy your product or service?
This is called your MARKET. You've got to figure this one out before you spend your $$$ on marketing. Here is the most important question to answer: can you define your IDEAL customer ... the person who would most love and use your product/service?

The more clearly you can define your ideal customer, the more focused and effective you will be when you develop your plan to contact them.

• What unique NAME will it have?
This may be challenging ... you need to find out if anyone already has the name you want to use! It is helpful to talk with people who know you and get their input on this. Before you get set on a name, search on GOOGLE to see what the internet pulls up on what you've chosen. Besides having the name locally, you most likely will want to create a larger internet presence as well, so checking out names online is essential for your future growth. You can go to
GoDaddy and see what names are available for websites, as this is a factor to consider in choosing a name. Once you've decided on one, register and claim your name!

• How do you Register and Claim that business name?
First, you want to register with your County Records office as a "DBA", which stands for "doing business as". In our area, it costs $12 to register and keep a name for 10 years, then you can renew it for 10 more. Most County offices now have an option to register online, so check that out before you drive to the County Records office!

Then go back to
GoDaddy to claim your internet domain name. You'll find several options, but try to purchase a dot com ( as this is the most desirable.

• Do you need an EIN or can you use your Social Security# for your business?
You can either use your Social Security# or an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for your business. What's the difference? Not much when it comes to filing your taxes, because both are linked to YOU. You can apply for and get an EIN online at

If your business name is tied to your own name (example: Whitworth & Associates), using your SS# may work fine. We have an EIN because we want to keep our business accounts and personal accounts separate ... this makes bookkeeping so much simpler! If you have questions about what's best for you, find a good home-business accountant and take their advice.

• How much do you have for initial start-up costs?
You're going to need to spend some money to get started, no matter what type of business you have! You'll also need a monthly budget, so figure out what it's going to cost to set up and run your business for the first 6 months.

Start-up costs can include product inventory, internet costs (domain name, website, maybe a shopping cart, etc.), logo and design of sales materials, marketing, computer and other office equipment and supplies. Make a list of everything you can think of. If you know others who have their own business, ask them about any hidden costs you may not be considering.

We've created a FREE REPORT titled "The TOP 10 Secrets for Home Business Success." If you want a copy, just email us and you can download it at no cost!

It's important to BE PREPARED in all the areas we've outlined here. Good preparation = greater confidence in getting your home business off to the best start. Once you've done these things, take a deep breath, give yourself a pat on the back, and let's move to your next step!

Self-reliant living is on the way,
Devin & Maria

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Self-Employed Home Business Journey

After a few short stints at various jobs, it was clear to both Devin and I in our early 20's that the employed life was not for us. Even though we were productive and well-liked on the job, working on someone else's schedule and being paid according to someone else's criteria did not fit into our idea of freedom and happiness. Neither of us EVER enjoyed punching a time clock, adhering to a dress code or having performance reviews.

Interestingly enough, Devin hired me when I was 24. He had already struck out on his own, a real maverick entrepreneur. We met on an interstate highway in a very bizarre turn of events (read the story, soon to be published in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book; watch this blog for details!) ...he hired me, and then made it a permanent contract.

Our 30-year journey of unemployment has been on a long and winding road. Of course, there have been road bumps, pot holes and dead ends. We have had a few major wrecks along the way, usually out in the "wilderness" with no one to help. It could be pretty darn scary during the fog, the storms, and in those moments of contemplating the vast UNKNOWN.

Have you ever taken a road trip through the Rocky Mountains? There are times on those switchbacks that you feel way too close to the edge, in danger of rolling down the steep precipice ...then, just moments after, the most awe-inspiring landscape takes your breath away and you're filled with immense GRATITUDE. It's the same with being on your own, being self-employed, self-responsible, self-reliant and along the way, self-fulfilled.

This road trip metaphor is perfect for the entrepreneurial home business journey ...being successfully unemployed is not a destination, but an ongoing adventure. It's never complete; it's like one great unpredictable itinerary with new and often exciting scenery around each twist and turn in the road. YES can be gut-wrenching. YES may sometimes wonder what in the heck you're doing this for.

The truth is, we wouldn't trade this self-reliant way of living for anything!

This blog is our way of providing some confidence-building SIGNPOSTS along your own journey, whether you're just starting to consider breaking free and working for YOU, or you've been self-employed for a while. We can give you a general map to guide you on the way to being successfully unemployed and feeling free to do and be what is best for your life.

Stay tuned ...

your partners in self-reliant living,
Devin & Maria

**WARNING** --- the unemployment path is not for everyone! You probably know people who prefer going to the same vacation destination year after year ...the same hotel, same activities, predictable food, tried and true and SAFE. They take comfort in schedules, like it when someone else leads the way, and prefer not being responsible for what happens in their life. THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR SAFETY-SEEKERS.