Yeah-But Rebuttals: Computers and Software

yeah-butt-headThis is the second in a series of periodic posts on rebuttals to common “yeah-buts” that I hear from people wanting to work from home.


“Yeah, but, I don’t have a computer I can use.”

The Rebuttal

Along with the excuse of not having a place to work, people often think they need some super powerful computer to get started. Others don’t have a computer at all. Though eventually you will have to get a fairly recent computer to run newer software (or better yet go open source – but that’s for another day), you don’t need anything fancy to get started. In fact you don’t even need a computer of your own.

I have known several people who have used friends’ computers, library computers, or a school or church computer lab to start a home-based business.

One young mother used her local library’s computers while her sister took her son to reading time. I also had the privilege to talk with a homeless artist who used a local church’s computer to check email and collect email addresses of potential customers. He didn’t even have a roof over his head most days, but was working on getting an art business started using freely available computers.

So no computer is no excuse. There are excellent, easy to use Web-based tools and programs you can use that can be accessed from any computer anywhere that has internet access. The need for personal desktop software is no longer essential to get started running a home business. Once you’ve been established, you can choose to upgrade, but you my find that the freedom Web-based tools offer is too good to give up. Here’s some I’d recommend to get you started:

The need for a new computer with lots of expensive software use to be a major cost of entry for the home-based business. Now, using your own older computer or others you may have access to, along with Web-based software, you can get up and going with as little investment as possible.

Modeling Mashup: Your Template of Success

something-to-ponderME “Liz” Strauss has a regular event called “The Mic Is On!” featuring a topical conversation in the comments. It’s a cool idea, and though I wasn’t able to make it this week, the topic, “We’re Having Parallel Lives” got me thinking about how we can view our ideal selves.

The discussion surrounded who we might like to be in a parallel life or lives. People we find inspiring or interesting, doing things that we’d like to do, and living lives we find exciting.

Rather than just hero worship these types of visualizations can be productive. A technique called modeling, is a great way to create a shortcut to success by modeling the behavior of those already successful in the area you are focusing on. Though there are different views on the technique, I’ve found it to be very effective.

The term mashup describes mixing pieces of different songs, videos, or Web sites to make a new work.

So instead of parallel lives, what about creating a “Modeling Mashup” of our role models? Think of 5 to 10 people (real or fictional) you find to be living the “ideal” life. Those that embody your idea of success, or that represent an area of success for you. Then visualize a mashup of those models to get a sort of template of your ideal model. Do you want Trump’s money and business acumen, with Jobs’ flair, Branson’s sense of adventure, and Oprah’s compassion? Who exemplifies those qualities, or maybe just a single quality, you find important to have in your life? Here’s my current list:

  • Alton Brown – truly loves what he does, knowledgeable and funny (sort of the hipster of the culinary world).
  • Bill Amend – Foxtrot cartoonist – funny and a little bit geeky.
  • Charles Schulz – an extraordinary cartoonist and my first hero.
  • Dave Barry – one of the funniest people on the planet.
  • Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable – the epitome of cool, funny, and loving dad.
  • Jeffrey Gitomer – sales guru with entertaining approach.
  • Malcolm Gladwell – incredible and prolific writer who sometimes ticks people off.
  • Peter Max – one of the greatest artists of all time.
  • Steve Jobs – creative and a great business mind.
  • Wayne Dyer – great speaker, big thinker, and loving father.

Think of your own success models and mix them together into the perfect representation of success. It’s a fun and creative way to help get an idea of what you consider to be the necessary ingredients for a successful and fulfilling life.

Happy mashing!

Self-Employed Budgeting Tips

tips-to-considerSamuel Peery over at the Getting Finances Done wrote a great post last week with some excellent tips on “Budgeting on a self-employed or irregular income.” The info he outlines is some of the best advice I’ve seen for those working from home or looking to make a go at it:

Use cash for out-of-control categories – Since you may not know when your next paycheck will be, it’s more important than ever to keep a tight grip on variable expenses that tend to get out-of-control.

Build up a short-term emergency fund (STEF) equivalent to four weeks of expenses – A STEF will help smooth out the bumps inherent in an irregular income

Determine the timing and priority of expenses ahead of time – Planning the order in which expenses must be paid and allocated will relieve a ton of stress. You’ll know exactly where your income needs to go before you even get it.

Create a sample budget as a reality check and baseline – A sample budget helps to ensure you are not only living within your means but also achieving your high-level, long-term financial goals.

There’s a lot of valuable advice and good planning tips. Well worth a read.

Finding Your Genius

genius-bookA couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the book “Is Your Genius at Work?” while referencing an interesting post by the author, Dick Richards. Genius is a phenomenal book that brings a valuable and unique approach to discovering your unique genius and purpose. The core principals of the book are summarized as:

You have a genius that is inevitably linked to your work and career.

Your genius was a source of success and satisfaction in work that you have done in the past, and it can be a source of success and satisfaction in work that you do in the future.

The first step toward recognizing your genius is acknowledging that you do have a genius.

The primary method for recognizing your genius is to give it a name.

I discovered the book last year after reading about it on several of my favorite personal development blogs. As an avid reader, I’ve read hundreds of success and personal development books. Most have little or no lasting impact. Genius was different. Here, almost a year later, I can trace many key life decisions and changes back to discovering my genius with the help of the book.

Shortly after reading the book the first time through, I wrote to Dick, which became a guest post on his blog:

As I began to study the book and complete the exercises, my interest intensified. Though I had been through hundreds of personal development products over the years, I never felt the need to write an author. But after my first time through “Genius,” I was compelled to email Dick to express my enthusiasm regarding his work. His methodology was such an authentic and fresh way of approaching that “inner something.” What I found even more appealing is that the process is not an easy, quick-fix. If I had read the book once, done the exercises, and had my genius, I don’t know if it would have had the same impact. The fact that I had to continue to search within to articulate my genius, made the process even more compelling.

The exercises in the book are both fun and engaging. They can also be frustrating:

After several weeks, I had not found my genius and began to get frustrated. I saw glimpses and flashes as I struggled to grasp hold of the underlying thread that was trying to reveal itself. It was like desperately trying to remember a dream that you know has significance. The more I tried to uncover the details, the murkier it became.

It took time and work, but I did find my Genius. Now, close to a year later, I feel that the discovery helped me to better understand who I am and why I do things. It also gave me a much needed wake-up call about what I wanted to do in life. There is amazing power in clearly knowing who you are and what you want. “Is Your Genius at Work?” can help to find that clarity, and provide some valuable insight into the real you.

More Resources

  • Chapter 1 is available for download from Dick’s site.
  • Lots of folks have had similar experiences with the book. You can find more stories on the Come Gather Round blog.
  • There is a companion Google Group that might be helpful for those going through the exercises and looking for some help.

Hidden in Plain Site

skillsWhy is it that we can never see what’s plainly obvious to others? Whether it’s the person we should be with (she’s just a friend, not my soul mate) or our calling, sometimes it’s hard to see what is right in front of us.

When it comes to finding an ideal work-from-home business, people tend to bounce around the obvious choice – the one that is a perfect blend of their passions, talents, and gifts.

Take for example a guy I’ll call Ralph (not his real name). He’s a natural people person, and loves to teach. His way of presenting information is so intuitive, it’s almost like you can’t help but learn from him. He went into sales instead of teaching because of the money. Now, after his new baby was born, he’d love to be home more. After discussing his love of teaching and training, and his natural gifts for presenting ideas in a clear and interesting way, he narrowed down his choices of the perfect work-from-home business. Now did he choose:

A. A training and consulting business geared towards presenting corporate training in a way that engages the clients. Or,
B. A multi level marketing “business” his friend Bill said he would be great at because of his natural sales ability?

It was obvious to everyone but Ralph that option “A” would not only make him happy, but be very lucrative in the long run. But the promise of “millions just from recruiting your friends” sounded easier than starting a training business. When I asked Ralph why, he said he didn’t think anyone would really be willing to pay him to teach and train because it was so easy. That anyone could do it. Why pay him, an outside consultant, to do what they could easily do on their own?

The answer, again obvious to everyone but him, was that is wasn’t easy. It was just easy for him. Often when we are considering our own unique gifts, we just assume that everyone can do it as easily as us – because it comes so natural. Whether it’s art, writing, teaching, building things, singing – any special innate talent – to the one lucky enough to have it, it just seems normal. But to everyone else, it’s anything but. It’s a special talent and an ideal way for you to create a successful venture.

So how do we identify these gifts? Here are a few options:

  1. Start to recognize your talents and passions for what they are. Gifts special to you and something unique that you bring to the world.
  2. Ask friends and family what they would say are your special talents. Ask people you trust, and who know you well, but don’t have any specific “mold” of how they think you should be.
  3. Look at what you do that comes so naturally you tend to not even notice it. What creates that magical state of flow when you’re doing it, and seems to make time fly by.
  4. What do people consistently ask you for help doing, because you’re the guy or gal with the skills? Are you always helping people with their car, A/V equipment, their craft projects? Are people always asking for fashion tips, interior design options, or health and fitness questions?

By being aware of what you do naturally, those skills that you enjoy using, and how you can provide value to others, you can find the foundation on which to build a successful home-based business. A business that is a unique contribution, because it offers those special gifts that only you can bring to the marketplace.