How are you doing on the top ten list? If you're not doing at least six of the ten, resolve to make improvements. Choose one area at a time and set a goal for incorporating all ten into your lifestyle.


The Dream of Your Own Business Your Kodak Moment

You have a dream to be the star in your very own show. To open the door to your very own business, and to be able to say that as a Solopreneur you own it. To be the boss and be able to make the decisions that you know you are able to make that will lead you to a successful career. But after getting started you soon discover that it takes more than a dream to hang out a neon sign.

What about the glue that will hold the foundation together? Imagine Dennis the Menace outside, dressed in multiple warm layers, smugly challenging the cold and Mr. Wilson. When he comes inside you peel away the scarf, the mittens, the boots, the coat and the sweater to reveal the appeal of the wiggly kid within. So, too, to become a successful business owner you'll strip aside an assortment of layered obstacles.

Some will be more difficult to pry loose than others. But in the end, with the obstacles gone, you have the dream. How strong is your level of confidence for what you hope to achieve with your concept? How much time are you willing and able to devote to making yours a standout endeavor? If you've ever planted a garden, or tried to lose weight, or to grow your hair to your shoulders, you know they all take time, hard work and perseverance. Just like starting a business. What about your current financial means? Have you set aside funds for unexpected costs, or for expenses for new hardware, software, memberships, and registration fees? Even the pennies for everyday expenditures that pay the regular bills and put food in your fridge must be noted and tallied in a column of your proposed financial ledger.

What is your plan for your business? Who will you try to reach? What actually will you do? How will you do it? You must be better than those around you. Can you see yourself up till all hours late at night or early in the morning? Do you have the full support of your family, because initially your first efforts may seem to endlessly take you away from them? Who do you know? As part of your plan, you'll want to pursue ways to network and meet like-minded individuals. You may be known as a Solopreneur, or Independent Contractor if you will, but in reality you can't do it alone and truly succeed. At home, seek out your local Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, or other area business clubs.

On the Internet, join Virtual Assistant (VA) organizations and message boards. Then set aside a good portion of your time to immerse yourself in reading those forums and the boards' archives. Ask questions. Observe! And be like the largest sponge on the rack; absorb. For what you intend to do, how much experience do you have? Do you REALLY have? Starting a VA business is more than assigning "lip service" to a credible idea, or getting up one day and deciding to say you're a business owner.

You're really going to have to exert yourself. And then labor some more. Karen McGreevey, an aspiring and successful VA, relates starting a business to the following: Drive, determination, and experience: check. Family support and financial set-asides: check. As Tawnya Sutherland founder of Virtual Assistant Networking (VAN) states, "It's easier to believe in yourself when you are already a winner.

To become successful as a VA, you've got to believe you are already holding the winning blue ribbon even though you are still standing on the starting line waiting for the gun to fire." So stop dreaming and start achieving today. Take the steps necessary to become the success you want.

Tawnya Sutherland, founder of Virtual Assistant Networking (VAN) http://www.vanetworking.com and author of The VAS System, a Virtual Assistant Startup System, is a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist sharing her expertise to help aspiring and successful VAs turn website clicks into cash for them

Financial Planning

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