Work From Home Articles, Small Business News, and Home Business Buzz

Archive for December 2010

In the week ending Dec. 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week moving average was 414,000, a decrease of 12,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 426,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.3 percent for the week ending Dec. 18, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.2 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Dec.18 was 4,128,000, an increase of 57,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,071,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,120,000, a decrease of 37,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,157,250.

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 521,834 in the week ending Dec. 25, an increase of 24,879 from the previous week. There were 556,517 initial claims in the comparable week in 2009.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.3 percent during the week ending Dec. 18, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 4,095,135, a decrease of 85,886 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.9 percent and the volume was 5,088,864.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Dec. 4 was 8,866,924.

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No one ever said that starting a small business would be easy, but then again, very few things in life worth doing are easy.  The challenges that face the entrepreneur when starting a small business would seem daunting to most people, but many entrepreneurs live for this kind of excitement and cannot stand the boredom of a 9-5, steady job, week-in, week-out.

With that said, first time entrepreneurs can easily find themselves in over their heads if they jump in without first doing their market research, consulting some experienced colleagues, and doing a lot of reading.  While there’s no one stop shop for learning how to successfully launch your first small business, here’s some well-known traits of successful small businesses that you should strive for in your own startup.

  1. Small Markets, Not Small Profits
    While many bemoan the construction of another big box store moving into town as the death of all of the mom and pops, the fact remains that a large chain simply cannot meat the needs of everyone.  As an avid photographer, I know that i can get a good price on a new camera if I head to Best Buy, but there are a few local, independently owned shops in town that carry all of the obscure parts and the higher end cameras that professionals and semi-pros need.  They also service cameras and lenses in the store, whereas a camera bought at Best Buy will either be swapped out for a return (if you’re within 30 days) or you’re left to fend for yourself, dealing with the manufacturer for a warranty repair.
  2. Treat Your Customers Right
    Despite the rampant growth of national chains, there is currently a resurgence (particularly in larger cities) of smaller stores with knowledgable salesmen cropping up more and more.  What gives these small businesses and edge, and keeps them in the black, is often the dissatisfaction that many customers have found at the bigger chains, so they’ll turn to the smaller alternative.  If you start a hardware store, for example, you’ll never be able to beat Home Depot on pricing, but what you can beat them on is service, knowledgeability and going above and beyond with your customers to make sure they leave satisfied and come back your way the next time.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid To Branch Out
    While you’ll mostly be focusing on a niche (or narrow) market with your small business, a great way to grow your small business is to add on with similar niche markets, ideally in the same vein.  Take our camera store example, the one i have in mind in Seattle, opened up a second store by the same name across the street, but instead of camera equipment, it’s lighting, camera support and film.  While this isn’t a big departure from their initial business, it opens them up to more customers and gives more people who live in the neighborhood less of a reason to go to the big box stores.

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With small business owners and entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved communities continuing to face challenges accessing capital, the U.S. Small Business Administration today announced two new initiatives aimed at increasing SBA-backed loans to small businesses in these markets.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills also today named Catherine L. Hughes, chairperson and founder of Radio One, Inc., and a former SBA borrower, to chair the agency’s new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities.

SBA and U.S. Department of Commerce studies have shown the importance of lower-dollar loans to small business formation and growth in underserved communities. With that in mind, the two new loan initiatives – Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage – are aimed at increasing the number of lower-dollar SBA 7(a) loans going to small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities. The agency’s most popular loan product, 7(a) government-guaranteed loans can be used for variety of general business purposes, including working capital and purchases of equipment and real estate.

In conjunction with the implementation of these two new Advantage loan initiatives by March 15, the agency will end its existing Community Express pilot loan program on April 30.

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Many 9-5ers dream of working from home.  To set your own schedule, be your own boss, and occasionally go to work in your underwear.  For those bold enough to dream of an office without cubicles, here’s 10 great options for anyone in search of the perfect work from home job.

  1. Graphic Designer
    Time was that to work in graphic design you needed a lot of equipment, huge rooms and tables for layouts and, in many cases, a darkroom to develop your prints.  Technology has boiled it all down, essentially, into one or two ubiquitous pieces of software so that now the only thing standing between you and your own graphic design firm is your level of talent.
  2. Construction
    This is an oldie but a goodie.  Construction job sites these days are dominated by large companies with aggressive bids, but if you focus on a narrow niche market, you can run your own business and do quite well without stepping on the toes of the big guys.  My friend, for example, started a company that specialized in small cement trucks, so if you don’t need a whole truck full, no need to pay for a whole truck full, and business has been excellent for him.
  3. Insurance Sales
    Insurance, or many other types of sales for that matter, represents a great way to work from home and make potentially a lot of money.  It takes a very special skill set to be a successful salesman, but if you have what it takes, it can be a very lucrative career, and often your commissions with stack year-over-year giving you a substantial raise each year and a great incentive to continue improving your numbers.
  4. Real Estate
    While you’ll still spend a decent amount of time outside of the home (usually in other people’s homes) many real estate brokerages don’t require office hours.  This can be a great job for a self-starter with a decent rolodex and you can spend the time you would be in the office making business contacts in the community.
  5. Childcare
    Whether you start a daycare, or nanny for a family, childcare is a perennial need for nearly all dual-income families.  Even if you have children of your own, you may find it relatively easy to take on one or two more children in a nannying position and bring in a substantial amount of income, while planning the same activities you normally would for your own little ones.

Read the full article at announced that one of its advertisers, Suzie Randle, a representative with Thirty One Gifts, has made a sale as a result of her placement on

Randle has been working with Thirty One Gifts, a work from home business opportunity offering a full array of embroidery items, for about 2 years and has over 100 in her network.  She started receiving leads from in September of this year and it was only her 4th lead that led to the sale.

“She had been to a Thirty One party, and she was looking for someone to connect with and sign up under,” Randle says of the prospect that later joined her network.’s strong search engine presence, specifically for the keywords specific to Randle’s home based business opportunity, were heavily responsible for this future Thirty One representative finding Randle.

When asked about the prospect’s future, Randle was quick to say “I think she’s going to end up being my next superstar.”


Home Business Bug is a new directory that features hundreds of home-based business opportunities, as well as work-from-home articles and information.  Those interested in starting a home based business can browse completely free of charge, and find opportunities whose investments range from under $100 to a few thousand dollars.  Please visit our work at home directory . Advertisers can take advantage of the low introductory rates to promote their own opportunity. For more information about advertising a work from home based business opportunity, inquire at

December 9, 2010 — announced today that one of its advertisers, Jennifer Lewis, a silver gift director with La Bella Baskets, has signed her 8th referral as a result of her placement on

“It took only three or four leads from to sign up my first recruit,” says Lewis. Since then she has made 7 more sales off a total of 49 leads. Lewis’ has recruited close to 30 La Bella Baskets consultants, making responsible for about 25% of her network. Asked if was her most fruitful source, she replied “I would definitely say so.”

The La Bella Baskets home based business opportunity offers two streams of income, the first of which, selling of their high quality gift baskets, flowers, and cookie bouquets, was Lewis’ main focus her first few months after joining in January of 2010.  It was only in May when she decided to focus on the second income opportunity, building a network of other La Bella Baskets representatives.  It was around that time that she discovered and took advantage of their free advertising offer.

Asked what she attributed the attractiveness to her opportunity, Lewis cited the price point.  “I think what really works for La Bella Baskets is that (consultants) only have to spend $20 per month.”  That is after the initial start up cost of only $1.97.


Home Business Bug is a new directory that features hundreds of home-based business opportunities, as well as work-from-home articles and information.  Those interested in starting a home based business can browse completely free of charge, and find opportunities whose investments range from under $100 to a few thousand dollars.  Please visit our work at home directory . Advertisers can take advantage of the low introductory rates to promote their own opportunity. For more information about advertising a work from home based business opportunity, inquire at

Equifax (NYSE: EFX) announced the results of its Q3 2010 study on the state of small business bankruptcy — a key indicator of the financial health of business markets across the United States. Analyzing bankruptcy trends among the nation’s more than 24 million small businesses, Equifax found that the Western regions continue to experience economic turbulence with some decrease in bankruptcy rates across select MSA’s in California, Texas and Illinois. While bankruptcies have slowed in some regions, small business economic challenges continue to pressure many areas and impact the pace of recovery in certain markets.

“Our analysis on small business bankruptcy continues to indicate ongoing uncertainty in today’s marketplace,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh, senior vice president, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions. “While business bankruptcies have begun to reverse course in some regions, it remains to be seen how small firms will steer through economic headwinds and sustain growth.”

Focusing on the Q3 2009 to Q3 2010 timeframe, this Equifax study analyzed national bankruptcy trends by metropolitan statistical area (MSA). While bankruptcy rates remain high across the nation, 11 of the top 15 MSA’s with the highest number of small business bankruptcies in Q3 2010 saw a year-over-year decline from Q3 2009. The table below shows that the Los Angeles, San Bernandino and Santa Ana MSA’s experienced year-over-year bankruptcy rate increases while areas such as San Diego and Oakland reported double-digit declines year-over-year in Q3 2010 — a striking development considering California’s economic challenges. Another interesting finding, the Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta and Chicago/Naperville/Joliet MSA’s saw a bankruptcy rate decrease of 26.75% and 16.67% respectively.

While the total number of bankruptcies among the top 15 MSA’s with the highest number of small business bankruptcies in Q3 2010 declined 4.41% from 6,870 in Q3 2009 to 6,567 in Q3 2010, economic instability continues to impact many of these areas. Equifax data shows that 9 of the top 15 MSA’s reported a year-over-year increase in bankruptcy when comparing the first three quarters of 2009 to the same time period in 2010. Further analysis of this time period revealed that the total number of petitions for these 15 MSA’s dropped by 1.23% — signaling a nominal decline in overall bankruptcy rate.

As part of the study, Equifax also analyzed the 15 metro areas with the fewest small business bankruptcy filings in the third quarter of 2010. Our research showed that 10 out of these15 MSA’s experienced a decrease in the number of bankruptcy petitions from Q2 2010 to Q3 2010 as well as year-over-year. The table below shows that all of these MSA’s reported 11 bankruptcies or less during Q3 2010.

For this study, Equifax applied analytics to identify the total number of small businesses and define the MSA’s within the sample population. Equifax classifies a small business as a commercial entity of less than 100 employees. As part of the study, Equifax analyzed Chapter 7, 11 and 13 filings. Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding in which a debtor receives a discharge of all debts, while Chapters 11 and Chapter 13 are reorganization bankruptcies that allow individuals and companies to pay off debt over a set period of years. To learn more about Equifax Small Business Solutions, visit

About Equifax (
Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

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