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Magazine Publishing Home Business

By Brenda Avery

"Dear Liz:
I have been trying to start my own business now for quite some time. I have tried to find work, but you have to pay for everything. I have been an at-home mom now for a while and I have no income, no credit cards, nothing. How in the world can I find a job that I don't have to pay for? Why do you have to pay someone else to work for them? If you have any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Wants To Work At Home"

I think I would stand a good chance to wearing a crown as the Canadian Queen of Home Biz.start ups. I have been "self-employed" off and on for over 30 years, in many, many types of businesses and for the record I am 40 years old! I truly believe an entrepreneur is born not created. If you really want to work for yourself than you "yourself" must make the committment, no one can do that for you. Sift through the advice, throw out the trash and keep the treasure!

With parents that were deceased while I was very young and younger siblings to care for, I never gave up on my ability to make extra cash. My first home biz was the old lemonade stand, this moved to selling social security novelty cards, greeting cards, abandoned puppies, etc. What I was able to discover from this trend was I had found my niche - sales! Oh I too fell for the old envelope stuffing business but in all honesty 99% of all the self businesses that I have been involved in I have NEVER lost money (I might not have made much either) and very rarely have I put up more than none or just a little front cash to start!

By the time I was 32, divorced with 3 children, desperation kicked in. I knew I had to come up with yet another "home biz", once again for survival. This time I approached various organizations that sold memberships of some kind to the public. My inquiry to them was simple: I introduced myself as a "professional salesperson" which believe me I had the right to call myself this by now, I asked them how their renewals were and if they would be interested in paying me a commission to call their members and convince them they should renew their memberships. I would do this for a commission: 50% of the membership fee! Within days a very reputable automobile association called me in to talk. They though this was a great idea and were willing to give it a try. I did this for a year, twice a month they would mail me their renewal list. My children were tucked into bed for the night before I would start my calls that would take about 2 hours 2 or 3 times a week. I earned a great living as my renewal percentage was more than 90% successful. Soon I had added a few more businesses to this, it was great.

Time moved on, I was remarried (and added another child) and desired once again to be self employed. My husband was fully supportive. I found a magazine publishing business at a trade show, the downfall - it cost thousands of $$$$ that we did not have. I had no experience but this opportunity nagged at me because the true success of it relied on selling skills. We bought it!! Then the worst thing that could happen did - 6 months into a new business, thousands of dollars in debt , I was diagnosed with an advanced case of SLE (Lupus)!

What had I done to the financial future of my family? Was self confidence about to destroy us? Had I crossed the line in believing in myself this time? Physically I was now limited and it could get worse - it did! I was forced to close my business. I was more than a little depressed and disappointed in myself. Then, no kidding this is true, I received a BizyMoms newsletter, where you Liz had said something about never giving up and I thank you for this as once again my natural born desires and drive came back.

This was no different than the end of my lemonade stand some 30+ years ago! Pick up, learn from the experience and adjust accordingly. I had one thing to start with - loyal business owners who had been regular purchasers of advertising in my magazine. Paying careful attention to my health I planned my time well. 3 times a year I publish a "speciality" book such as Christmas Carols, etc. It worked!! Everyone is happy, my customers have stayed with me, I can spread out the time it takes to do this and best of all - I make more now on 3 books than I had been making all year doing a magazine every 2 weeks!!

I have met a lot of business women in my advertising work and would often pass on for them referrals for more business. A lot were looking to reduce the costs of their office and computer supplies. Another biz opp?? Right on!! I organized us in a group to buy discounted software and office supplies! Together we could buy in quantity and the prices were way down, saving us some 75% of the retail price. I made contacts for what we needed and I have been selling liquidated computer software from my computer and newspaper advertising. This cost me next to nothing to get started, only the price of an ad.

So to sum this up: I publish 3 speciality magazines a year; sell discounted software; group buy for a commission and give start up advice to others (yes for a small fee to cover the costs of any material that may need to be sent, etc.). Last year, without risking my health, I worked an average of less than 2 hours a day, 98% from home, and was able to earn an income of more than the average full time job. This year will be the same or better.

There are NO get rich quick schemes and as you have said Liz: if it sounds too good to be true IT IS, but on the same token anyone with the true desire and I mean true (passing thoughts do not count) , can work at (yes work!) developing a successful home biz, that eventually will lead to a great income and you don't have to kill yourself to get there!

Sincerely
Brenda Avery
brenlor@nb.sympatico.ca

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