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From Appliance Repairer to Online Authority – A Friend’s Journey

I have a friend who’s very good with repairing appliances. He’s really good to the point that people just hire him instead of the corporate big wig repairers because he’s that good and he charges less. He even gives out free services to loyal customers. On one fateful day, he broke his good arm when a huge pipe fell on it whilst repairing a furnace. It took him a few months before he could go back working but it was no longer the same anymore. He had a hard time gripping the tools, so he decided to retire (at a ripe age of 48 years).

Thankfully, he never lost use of his fingers and he found out that he was still able to type. One afternoon, he stumbled on an article that depicted how to fix a leaking water heater the wrong way. He left a comment and the day after, people followed his advice instead of the article. This is what made him decide to create an outlet for his authority as an appliance repairer.

A fortunate turn of events

Now he runs a blog that contains everything he knows about appliance repair, but this time, he is sharing his knowledge to the people who used to be his clients and to people from all over the world. He also created his own eBook on how to repair common appliances at home that he sells on his own website for a very small price (it’s like paying for his services permanently).

So what did he do?

First, he created a blog using WordPress and from there, he built his content on how to repair the common appliances at home. His first article was a comprehensive guide to fixing a leaking water heater and covered every common problem that was associated with a leaking water heater and provided the adequate solutions to the problems. Soon he created more content that covered the basics of repairing appliances, like how to detect water heater leaks and how to check for faulty outlets. He hit a plateau where he could no longer write articles because he ran out of ideas.

Water-Heater-Leaking-From-Top

Then the questions started coming in like “how to fix an electrical outlet” or “how to repair a broken condenser” and so on. He got more ideas to write about and he was overwhelmed by the people who read his articles and soon he asked another friend to help him with video production. He then created videos on how to fix appliances that was too difficult to put into words. He garnered a small reputation within a few months and a year after that, he released his first eBook. He used his monthly sales to expand his new business and add more content. He already has his own YouTube channel and he posts what he know about appliance repair on a weekly basis.

Fast forward to today, he now owns one of the most reliable home appliance repair blogs in the world.

 

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August 20, 2014
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How to Go From Sleeping on an Air Mattress to Making a Good Living Online

When I started out in college, I was completely broke thanks to the tuition fees and the miscellaneous expenses of travelling from one coast to the other. I was in a shared apartment with a bunch of people who were attending the same school and had just enough money to pay my share of the rent and look for an affordable air mattress to sleep on. I had no idea how I would pay my day to day expenses during college, and things were pretty bleak. While discussing my concerns with my new apartment mates, I came across the idea of earning money online – and lo! That discussion set me on a path, which wasn’t easy, but one that definitely helped me get back up on my feet and begin earning good money based on what I was good at. Here are a few tips for those who have just been introduced to the notion of making money online.

 

If it’s too Good to be True, it’s a Scam:

Rule Number One of earning money online: do not fall for advertisements that guarantee earnings amounting to thousands of dollars ‘in just one week’. These are the most common ways by which hackers and scammers take advantage of gullible individuals by asking for some initial investment and then disappearing. Remember, earning money online requires hard work, in one form or another. If a website tells you to install a small software and begin earning money just by letting it run – stay clear, it is malware that will damage your computer at best and steal your personal information or hijack your computer at worst.

 

Make the Most of Your Strengths

The internet has plenty of honest ways of earning that pay well for your hard work, provided that you are willing to invest some time and effort initially:

  • Freelancing:

Freelancing is the easiest, and most secure way of making money online. There are plenty of reliable online platforms where you can create an account for free and start selling your expertise to hundreds of thousands of potential employers. The best thing about freelancing platforms is that your payment is guaranteed by the service providers themselves.

  • Outsourcing:

If you’re someone with business / managerial mind then you don’t even have to be the one who does the work. Outsourcing is when you take the work of one party, assign it to another party, and keep a portion of the profits for yourself. But be warned, this method can backfire on you if either side backs out of the contract – which is why you need to make sure that you have contingency money to protect your online reputation, as well substitutes who will work for you if the original freelancer quits mid-job.

  • Online vending:

If you are short on time, you can use a quick and dirty technique to make money online. It involves purchasing goods wholesale (or at a lower than retail cost) from a reliable vendor, and selling them at retail prices using websites such as eBay or OLX. This will be just like running a retail store in real life, except that you would be doing it online. This approach to making money online will require you to have some startup capital. The profits may be somewhat less but then again, there will be very little dedicated effort required on your part.

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August 14, 2014
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Lessons From An Old Music Store Owner

There are instruments that date back centuries. Every generation has had it’s own style of music and their own instruments to go along with the style. This helps to define the unique culture of the time period. These musicians over time had to get their instruments from somewhere…and they have turned to their local music shops!

As we know in business, things can change drastically very fast. I had a chance to have a conversation with an older gentleman who owns a music store the other day. It really was fascinating. So I thought that I would share some of that story and my takeaway here.

It is a story of business evolution. Starting back in the 1940′s, Bob used to make his own musical instruments to sell. It started out as a hobby and relatively quickly grew into a viable business for him at the time. People of those days were not as material as they are today though. So unknown to him at the time, this would not be how he retired.

As people became more and more conscious of brand, Bob’s homemade instruments were no longer sought after. He became relegated to being a middleman between the manufacturers and customers. (Though to this day you will find a couple of handmade selections hanging from his walls!) His store is also full of things like sheet music, accessories, studio furniture, power supplies and batteries. It is necessary to be a “one stop shop” to attract people to come in.

Just as he thought he had figured out all he had needed to…in comes the Internet! Online music malls had a severe impact on the local business. The ability to just choose something and then be playing in a couple of days (while experiencing great savings) is an unmatched experience!

Local stores have had a hard time competing for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, price. The overhead required to operate a brick and mortar store dwarfs that needed for online retailing. Often times, through drop shipping, these stores do not even need to carry inventory! And that brings us to the second advantage. Selection. It would be impossible to fit all of the things you can find online into a local music shop.

So Bob moved online. He still operates his store; he still makes his own instruments. But now he also sells them online as well! One of the instruments you can find to buy online is the digital piano. Information is available about all makes and models and you can buy as soon as you see one you like. Hassle free returns take the risk out of it as well.

Bob’s story got me thinking about some of the challenges I have faced in the landscape of my business ventures as well. His bend but don’t break attitude is one that we would all do well to model. If you could have been there for the conversation, the sense of pride in his eyes was evident as he described his ability to transform with the times! This lesson, from an old music store owner with no business education, is the most important you could ever learn.

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July 31, 2014
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A Work-At-Home Success Story

Every now and then it’s good to hear a story about someone succeeding in their stay-at-home business. I find that it helps to inspire both me, and my readers who are working to pursue similar paths, knowing that others are out there making it. It proves to them that with hard work and the right idea they can make it too.

The story I’m about to share belongs to a good friend of mine, named Cal. We’ve known each other for many years, and he recently moved into my neighborhood. Cal has been in the medical field for while now. He became a nurse about 6 years back, and was satisfied with job until he heard what I do. We were actually talking at a party that was thrown by a mutual friend, and he was intrigued when I mentioned that I worked from home for myself. Since then we’ve consistently talked about our business at least once a week.

I’ve coached him and even done some consulting for him as a favor, but the steps he took towards success were the same ones that we all take in securing a stay-at-home job. He first experienced a desire to work from home and committed to himself that he was going to do what it took to make that a reality. He then researched all of the available options that were viable for him. He loves the medical field, but working graveyard shifts as an RN for the local hospital’s emergency room made it very hard for him to spend time with his family after having kids.

Cal eventually found a website about medical billing from home and decided it was the perfect fit for him. Since he already had taken a number of medical related courses, it only took him a year to get the proper education and certificates. He then took a job for a short while at a chiropractor’s office doing billing. He gained the trust of his employer and after a while of working very efficiently, he was able to convince his chiropractor to let him telecommute from home. A month later, Cal registered an LLC and began talking to other small private practices in the area inquiring about their coding and billing needs. He offered to code for them from his home office. He began doing that on the side and when business was picking up, he spoke to his employer and let him know that he would be quitting, but that he would be happy to continue handling their billing as a contractor. Now he’s so swamped that he’s forced to turn work away, but he’s very financially secure.

He still works at least 8 hours a day, but he has the freedom to decide when those hours are. He doesn’t think twice about his job security, he can plan his own vacation days, and never has to worry about office politics. He spends his breaks and lunches with his family, and he can’t imagine ever working for someone else again. Sounds nice, right? Some of you are at that point. Others of you are working towards it. If being your own boss is your goal, but you are just starting out, research all of the home careers that interest you. Figure out what each entails. Then make a plan and work towards it each day. As Cal is happy that he figured out, not only is it possible, it’s very probable if you put in the required effort.

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July 27, 2014
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Finding motivation in the strangest of places: work boots, attic rodents, and a day in the life of a builder

I am truly grateful for the fact that I can make money from home with internet marketing. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but the best part about it is the freedom! If I’m feeling lazy, I can stay in bed, and if I’m feeling motivated, the sky’s the limit to what I can achieve.
 
Spending so much time working online can make you a little restless. If you work from home like I do, you often have periods of days where you can become very unproductive, even though the hours are still long. Often during these times, you seem super busy, but you’re not actually achieving a whole lot. Maybe you’re spending too much time in your inbox, or doing menial tasks in order to avoid other, more important tasks. Of course, a regular exercise routine helps, but finding the motivation for a run sometimes seem impossible when you’re alone. For this reason, I almost never turn down an offer from friends or family to do something physical, whether it be joining them for a walk, or helping them out in the garden. It’s a great excuse to get out of the office and recharge your motivation batteries.
 
Last week, after spending some unusually long hours working online, and going around in circles, I got a call from my high school buddy Bradley, a carpenter, who asked me if I would be interested in helping him out for a day as he needed an extra set of hands. Apparently a client of his discovered rodents, or some other type of pests in his attic, chewing away at timber beams and electrical wiring! He had removed the unwanted guests, and decided to have the whole attic stripped out and converted into an extra office space. I jumped at the opportunity of course, as I felt like I was suck in a rut with my work, and felt extremely unproductive. It also seemed like a great situation to test out my home renovation skills.
 
I found it tough to wake up and start work at 7am, as I don’t think I have woken up that early in years. Our mission for the day was to erect some framing timbers in an attic, which was being converted into a huge office. I am not going to lie, I was a little jealous at the thought of this attic-style office, and have since started thinking about plans for my own.
 
The work was very physical, and after a few hours of ‘hard yakka’ I felt extremely weak. At one point I was so exhausted that I failed to react to the 60 pound piece of timber which I dropped straight on my feet. My toes remain intact thanks to the steel toe work boots I was wearing, which I picked up on www.workbootcritic.com beforehand.
 
After a long morning of cutting and nailing timber frames together with Bradley, we stopped for a well-deserved lunch of roast turkey baguettes and soda. A few more hours and the job was done ahead of time, so I invited Bradley over to show him a thing or two about how I do business online.
 
The following few days (after a well-deserved sleep in), although a little sore, turned out to be an extremely productive time, and possibly one of my most productive streaks yet! I learned a few valuable lessons over the course of that week, which I will share with you now:
 
 
1) Utilise your attic – Attics are usually wasted spaces, so why not convert them into a cool office, study, or whatever space you desire? They are also great places for unwanted household pests to hide, since they are usually dry, dark and empty. After reading this resource on common attic pests, I discovered the dangers of ignoring your attic space. Kill 2 birds with one stone by converting your attic into a new room.
 
2) Wear safety gear when working outside – see my story above about how a simple pair of work boots saved my precious toes. You can never be too careful.
 
3) Step away from your desk to find motivation – If you’re stuck in an unproductive rut, do yourself a favor and get away from your computer for a few hours. A little change of scenery may be all you need to get you motivated for that next project. It sure gave me the kick-in-the-butt I was looking for.

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July 27, 2014
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Sweeping Up the Competition

Of all the challenges that I have encountered while trying to grow my business, and maintain a work at home life has nothing to do with the work itself. Honestly, the biggest struggle that I’m asked about most often is how to balance housework with “work”. When you work at home it’s easy to get so caught up in the running of your household that you don’t put the hours into your business that it deserves. On the other hand, when you do buckle down and focus only on the work that needs to be done for your business then you’ll often find that the housework isn’t getting done. This is problematic primarily because a clean work environment fosters better accomplishments and more consistent dedication to making money from home.

I personally had to face the struggle head on when I noticed that as much as I tried to keep up on the housework on my off hours, it just wasn’t getting done well. The floor in the kitchen was sticky around the table, there was water spotting around the sink where I clean the dishes, and the bathroom floor well we won’t even talk about that. So, doing what I do best, I got to looking online for the best steam mop at www.thesteammopguy.com. I’ll tell you now; I never realized that a steam mop was intended to be just a spot clean up rather than a hardcore floor cleaning tool. This is why I’ve steered away from them for so long. I don’t want to spend all day cleaning the floor. This got me really excited, being able to pull the mop out and do a quick cleanup of the spots that need it the most will free me up to spend more time doing what needs to be done to make ends meet. Money well spent!

Now that I’m on a roll I’ve saved myself so much time in keeping the laminate floor clean, I decided to take a few more minutes and check out www.thevacuumguy.com to find the best vacuum for pet hair. After all having pets means I’m always fighting to keep the pet hair under control. Finding a vacuum that will speed up this task will once more save me a good amount of time and give me more time to get to work. Just these two simple steps have increased my productivity 15%. There is less time being concerned with cleaning, and more time making money. After all, isn’t that why we all wanted to stop working for big business and started our own work at home money making.

I hope these tips, and the included sites are able to help you overcome the work vs. cleaning battle. I’m sure there are other shortcuts I’ve yet to learn and when I do I’ll be sure to share them with you here. Feel free to share your own experiences with this balancing act. A clean work place is a productive workplace!

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July 25, 2014
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Mixing Business and Pleasure

Working from home has many benefits (as well as some drawbacks). Besides the convenience, one of the things that I enjoy the most is my ability to have complete control over my environment. When I first started my online business I had a crappy laptop, a dial up internet connection and my desk was the kitchen table. Oh how thing have changed! I’ve come a long way since then, and have upgrade both my workspace and the equipment around me. It’s nice to no longer have to worry about getting crumbs or jelly all over my business documents.

I’ve learned that one of the most important things about having a home office is actually having an office – a private workspace where you can tune out the many distractions of home life. I’ve recently just moved my home office into an upstairs addition to the master bedroom that lies between my bed and our upstairs balcony. In my opinion, it’s about the best workspace one could imagine. Actually I did imagine it up, and that’s why we built our home with such an addition. The great thing is that it is completely separated from the bedroom, and has a door that I can close to ensure that I am not disturbed if I need to make an important business call. However, what I love most about it is the view. The wall facing our balcony is made out of glass, so I can feel like I’m outside working without having to worry about the outside noise or temperature.

I’ve always liked to customize my office with little trinkets and toys associated with some of my personal hobbies and interests. I’m of the persuasion that if you have a boring drab office, it’s harder to keep up a high morale and stay excited about your work. I make sure to take short breaks every couple of hours to de-stress regularly. This year, I’ve really been expanding my business which is great for my financial statements, but it also means that I’ve been required to work longer hours. Late at night it can be a little harder to take a break since most often everyone else in the Luxe home is asleep. I’ve been wanting to find something to do during my break time, so I recently ended up purchasing a nice new piece of equipment for my office that I’ve been dreaming about owning since I’ve been a little kid.

I’ve always enjoyed staring up at the sky at night and looking for shooting stars or other heavenly objects. In fact, when I’m pounding away at my keyboard late in the wee hours of the night, typing up my next blog post or planning my next brilliant strategy, I often find myself staring out into the night searching for inspiration. Well, my view just got a whole lot better! I’ve recently purchased the Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian telescope. It’s a powerful telescope for a great price. I found it online at telescopeobserver.com, where I was able to look at a few of the top models and compare reviews. Not only does it give me a crystal clear view of the moon, but the apparatus itself looks great. I actually keep it in my office for aesthetic reasons, and then at night I just open the door and roll it onto the balcony during my breaks. That’s right! Did I mention that its base has wheels so it’s easy to move around? If you can’t tell, I’m still very excited with my new purchase, but I share this story to highlight an important business principle. Sometimes you need to mix business with pleasure. Not to the point where the pleasure is distracting, but there are countless things you can do throughout the work day to make it more fun and enjoyable. The more you enjoy your job, the more successful you will be.

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July 21, 2014
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Where Blog and Life Meet

Naturally, I'm always fascinated (as you've probably worked out from the theme of this blog) when I run across other people who've taken an idea, a niggling little dream or urge, and turned it into a successful business plan. I like to find out what makes them tick and how they did it and what other lessons people can take from their journey.

I'm also a touch proud (who isn't?) and like many people in today's figure-conscious world, I like to look my best. The trend to demand physical perfection from each of us seems to be expanding rather than diminishing, and instead of the pressure easing up on ladies, it seems to have spread to infect guys too.

There are some ridiculous diets out there, too. Even though we're told over and over again that crash diets should only be viewed as a temporary solution and that long term calorie restriction is dangerous, I routinely see people overuse the idea of severe calorie restriction far too much.

That's why I was rather fascinated to see the science and idea behind the HCG diet, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone diet. HCG assists in reducing many of the unpleasant side effects of calorie restriction. Examples are hunger and the loss of muscle before fat, making it far more effective at fat metabolism as well as weight loss. It's a fascinating idea and more than a little tempting. I must say that the HCG pellets would be my choice of poison, as the idea of administering the injections is a little scary to say the least! Talking about scary, the 500 calorie-a-day HGC food plan list is a little daunting too. I had to remind myself that any severe calorie restriction diet is designed only for short term use, and shouldn't be seen as a long term strategy.

But there's a little more to this then my rambling flirtations with weight loss. The site above is a classic example of the number one recommendation for running a business and the centrepiece of every piece of advice Warren Buffet has ever given: stick with what you know.

The face behind the HCG diet is Doctor Simeons, a man who spent many years of his life experimenting in the fields of obesity, weight control and more. Obviously, the man had found his calling or he wouldn't have stuck it out for so long. Whilst I'm speculating here, I can only imagine that taking the next step and developing this HCG diet as a supplementary business option was considerably easier backed up by that same drive and knowledge. It's easier to trust someone with experience – decades of it – in the industry they're selling to you. It's nice to know that the business you're trying to develop a relationship with has passion and inspiration behind it.

Far be it from me to dispute the founder of the Buffet dynasty. He's right, after all. Tackling something you can understand and act upon with passion, enthusiasm and inspiration will make the hard days of setting up a business easier to swallow. Sticking with what you know will enable you to make the right decisions to carry yourself and your business forward.

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July 14, 2014
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Top Small Family Vehicles for Home Business Owners on a Tight Budget

Photo by MIKI Yoshihito and reproduced under Creative Commons

Not everyone can afford to buy an expensive car. This is most especially true for families who have a lot of expenses to cover in their monthly budget, so paying for an expensive car is out of the question. But fortunately there are still budget-friendly family cars that you can afford, cars that can haul each and every member and other stuff as well.

Family vehicles should be big and have enough room for everyone and the stuff that should be brought along on trips. The best choice for a family vehicle is an SUV, or sports utility vehicle. The perception on sports utility vehicles is that they are very big and bulky, expensive and chugs down gasoline more than other types of vehicles. But recently small SUVs have been on offer from different car manufacturers. Small and compact SUVs are way cheaper than their bigger counterparts, and they are just perfect for families in need of small SUVs but are otherwise on a very tight budget. Here are some small sports utility vehicles that can fit into a tight family budget. Find out the top 7 small and compact SUVs by clicking here.

  1. The Nissan Dualis can fit seven people in its interior, with enough room for storage, and is very kid friendly. Car seats can be installed without any hassle. It is also fuel efficient, which adds to its appeal to families.
  1. The Subaru XV is very sleek and stylish. At under $30,000, this vehicle is an all-wheel drive, and dads can take it for a drive in the back roads for a weekend with the boys. This being said, this vehicle serves a double purpose: as a family vehicle and as an adventure vehicle.
  1. Nissan X-Trail is perfect for families who always go on weekend trips and haul bikes and other equipment along. The seats can be folded to make room for equipment and other stuff, and the flooring can be removed and washed, so there is no worry over getting dirt and mud into the vehicle.
  1. Probably the best feature of Mitsubishi Outlander is its six airbags. You can never be too safe when you have children inside the car. Although it is a small sports utility vehicle, it is roomy enough for a family.

Customers do not have to spend a fortune just to have an SUV that can haul their families to trips. They can already own one for $30,000 or less. It is always important to read reviews first before deciding on a brand and model to see which one is most beneficial for each family.

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June 27, 2014
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How Online Product Reviews Can Help You Become a Successful Online Seller

The general population of several countries in the world today is growing at an alarming rate. Yes, there are those countries where the population growth rate is not very significant, but this is not the main concern. The problem is that resources continue to be stretched and overstretched. The economy becomes ‘congested’ and a high percentage of the population remains jobless.

Another cunning scenario arises whereby people appear to have wage earning engagements whereas the actual truth is, they are under-employed. Meaning, they are more qualified than the kinds of jobs they are employed to do.

Under these circumstances it is common to find people complain about the job situation. Only a few are smart enough to think ‘outside the box’. When one path fails, it is clever to take another, provided that they both will get you to the same destination.

Money cannot only be obtained through formal employment; and business does not have to be conducted from a shopping centre in the city’s central business district. It is the traditional ways of thinking that sometimes hold people back from thriving amid challenging but potentially rich circumstances.

Many people all over the world have realized how much money can be made online. Internet business is one of the most popular trends today. A lot of businesses dealing in lines like furniture, medicine, machinery; just to mention but a few are thriving in major world cities including New York and the UK.

You do not have to rent an office space downtown to be able to operate an online business. You can do all these right from the comforts of your study. You need to be smart however in choosing your line of commodity; it needs to be something that you can comfortably manage.

Key among your considerations for putting up a start-up business should be relevance. Always find a way to make the products you offer relevant to the current times.

For instance, given today's economic climate, people will be most interested in things that shout pocket friendliness. Major global concerns like pollution and global warming also can be clever sources of a business idea. An entrepreneur would therefore choose to deal in a line of product which, in essence, alludes to the idea of clean environment, family, and affordability.

Take lawn mowers, for example. The available models in the today's market are gasoline, electric, and manual. If you are looking to sell a lawn mower that will appeal to the "green" market, manual or reel mowers would be your best bet. However, it is important that you online sell the highest quality of reel mowers on your site to avoid losses. You see, consumers today have access to reviews posted online by owners of certain products. These days, online reviews contribute a great deal to the how a product sells. If you stock up on substandard reel mowers, it highly likely that you will lose out because they won't sell.

Which brands of reel mowers should you sell in your online store? Well, different perspectives determine the best reel mower brands. Everyone has their own preferences and in this case, their unique individual considerations and the features they look in determining the reel mower that they deem best. For this reason, you should also look up reviews on reel mowers and take note of the brands that come highly recommended by homeowners.

If you prefer, you can also sell electric lawn mowers on your website. After all, there are homeowners who are too busy or just simply prefer to makes their lives easier by cutting back on the manual labour. Of course, you should also look up electric lawn mower reviews to determine which ones would sell best to homeowners who are environmentally conscious.

Whatever product you choose to sell online, make sure to do your research. Running an online business is not just about uploading photos and captioning in prices. You need to figure out how you will be shipping the items to your buyers, payment methods you would want available, and of course, how you will be marketing your online store. Overall though, many online sellers have become successful in their line of business. That said, it is definitely something you should consider if you are looking for ways to make money online.

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June 19, 2014