Stop Dreaming and Start Making Money

Was 2016 a Year of Success or Failure?

Planning for success in 2017

I don’t know about you, but I take time off from being a small business owner/internet marketer at this time of year. The Christmas holiday season and approaching new year is an especially important time for family and friends.

As we approach the new year, it is also important to take a break from business and assess the efforts of the past year. Was 2016 a successful year? Did we meet our goals or business plan objectives? How does our financial picture look?

For me, 2016 was a year of renewal. Late in 2015, as usual, I reviewed my results and planned for changes in 2016. This website is the result of refocusing my internet efforts.

One of my major concerns was whether or not the things that worked for me in the past would work again. The short answer is yes, to a degree. But I spent 2016 learning new tools, reading, reading, and more reading to learn new business and marketing techniques. So 2016 was a year of discovery for me. In that regards, 2016 was successful.

If I was successful in 2016, will my 2017 efforts be as effective in the new year? Are there areas in business that need improvement such as customer service? Are there skill sets I need to be better entrepreneurs?

Once I have assessed my 2015 results, it is time to plan for 2017, make tweaks to my business plan and objectives or goals. I find this time of year a good time to develop a budget for the next year. IF it has been a profitable year, then it is also a good time to squeeze in the last purchase of office supplies or equipment or even some extra advertising to lessen taxes owed to the government. After all, the Internal Revenue Service does not base business tax on what the business makes, but what is left over after subtracting business expenses from business revenue. This is called EBITDA, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.

Beginning after Christmas, I will put together the preliminary financial returns for my business. Based on my assessment, I will plan for 2017 taking into consideration all that I learned this year.

So here is planning for the most successful new year ever.

What are you doing to make 2017 a successful year?

Home Based Business Opportunities Saving the American Dream

How are home based business opportunities saving the American Dream?

This is the land of opportunity. How can the American Dream fade?

Is there a scarcity of opportunity?

But first…

What is the American Dream?

The English Oxford Dictionary defines the American Dream as “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”

Also, James Truslow Adams, in his book “The Epic of America,” which was written in 1931, stated that the American dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” (from the Library of Congress American Dream lesson plan)

The American Dream ideal originates with our Declaration of Independence in that all men are created equal with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Throughout our history, we have seen the American Dream in action. From the settlers heading west in covered wagons to Oregon and California to create a better life, Black Americans moving north from the south, and to the folks in Appalachia moving to the mid-west to work in the steel mills and factories after World War II.

So How is the American Dream Doing Today?

Not so well these days!

The New York Times, in their article “The American Dream, Quantified at Last,” reported on an economic study done by a Stanford University team. Their research was titled the “Equality of Opportunity Project” focusing on improving the economic opportunities of our children.

Their research data shows that the American Dream is fading. The following chart from their research (equality-of-opportunity.org) shows this.

The research project states that, “Children’s prospects of achieving the “American Dream” of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half century.”

Why is the American Dream Fading?

50% of Americans say they are financially insecure.

A Study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that many Americans are worried, stressed out, and have the feeling that they were left out of the economic recovery from the last recession. That does not speak well for our ability to plan for retirement or for the future of our children. Upward mobility is fading fast.

Who is the blame for all this?

Somebody has to take the blame. Right? If we are a victim, then there must be a perpetrator.

It must be the System, the Man, the government, my bad luck, the rich, the one percenters, the elites, the current administration, the increase in secularism, and so many others.

Maybe. Maybe not.

J.D. Vance in his 2016 best-selling book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” tells his story of his upward mobility from the crushing poverty of Appalachia (rural Kentucky) to the struggle to graduate from Yale Law School. He talks of the unequal opportunities, loss of jobs, drug abuse, family problems, and poverty common to Appalachia (as well as other regions).

My conclusion from Vance’s book is that to achieve success, it is up to the individual to succeed by overcoming obstacles in the way. This may be simplistic, but relying on others such as the government has not and will not work. Individuals and their communities need to work to solve their own problems.

How Are Home Based Business Opportunities Saving the American Dream

First, people should recognize that society is evolving. We have gone from an agricultural-based society to an industrial society. And now an informational based society. Technology, for better or worse, continues to change our economic life.

These are societal changes, but what about the individual, you?

Entrepreneurs like you continue to create new businesses, new jobs, and new wealth.

As I stated on my home page, “BSmall Business Administrationased on a 2012 study by the Small Business Administration, 52% of U.S. companies operate as home businesses. Many of today’s biggest brand names were established by stay-at-home moms – (Dorothy) Gerber, Mrs. (Debbi) Fields, and Julie Aigner-Clark (Baby Einstein), to name but a few. And don’t forget Apple or Amazon. Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994 as an online bookstore and it was completely run out of his garage.”

Conclusion

Home based business opportunities will continue to drive the American Dream once people recognize that it is up to them to create a better life for themselves.

Are you the next Jeff Bezos? Or Debbi Fields?

I would love to hear your opinion. Just fill in and submit the form below.

Email Advertising Tips

This article provides a few little known email advertising tips. These are based on all the email advertising I have done or read over the last 20 years. I have seen some great email ads with some unique formats. But the vast majority of email ads could use major work. Consequently, I have listed some quick fixes in no particular order. These should increase your email advertising response rates.

email advertising tips

1. Always add your first and last name in your signature block. Unless your name is Cher, Kanye, or Elon. There are many Bobs, Sharons, Bills, among others advertising by email. Adding your last name is important in identifying YOU and creating your personal brand.

2. The body of your email ad copy should not be any more than 60 characters wide (preferably 55). Add line breaks if you must. I use a 60 character ‘map’ like this:

123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890

A 60-character wide email keeps the copy appearance tight and the readers’ eyes focused on one side of the page. Ad copy that extends to the far right side of the screen appears sloppy and unprofessional. It also makes the ad copy harder to read when it goes across the page. Also, the text is easier to scan for the readers.

3. Use sentence case when writing; minimize the use of all capitalized words. Occasionally capitalize SOME words for EMPHASIS.

4. If you use a safelist mailer that sends all email in text format, then add a line above your salutation and below your postscript. Use special characters like (-, _, +, =) to create a line. This will separate your email from ads, links or comments the safelist admin includes in the email.

5. Include a link to the Sign/Buy/Join page near the top of the page. If you still insist on writing a long sales letter as your email, then include a link to the Sign/Join page or order form and not a splash page or another sales page. If the reader has decided to click your link after reading a long email, the reader probably has made up his mind to join or buy your product. He does not need to read another sales pitch.

Give these email advertising tips a try. Split-test them with your usual style to see if they make a difference in your email advertising response rates.