3 Hidden Truths – Starting Your Online Business


Have you been thinking about starting your own online business?  Once the very thought of it comes along, it seems like a new friend suddenly popped into your life as it takes on a form of its own.  Every day, you’re thinking about it here and there.  It’s very exciting!

new biz idea map


Starting an online business has so many wonderful benefits; I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about it.  Today more than ever, there are so many incredibly free valuable resources to learn about getting it started.  You can listen to podcasts on iTunes in the Business category, watch and learn about it on YouTube, read a near endless supply of books on the topic, ask others, and of course “Google it”.

Great news for all future online business owners, there’s more free information available than anyone could possibly consume to learn how to start their own business and launching it on the web!

Are you ready to start you own side business soon?!

I listened to countless hours of podcasts, read books, watched many on YouTube share their excitement and know how, and of course I “Googled it” like crazy to learn about this and that to get started.  There are powerful themes from all this outstanding and valuable information including specific steps to take and tips galore.  Again, I highly recommend consuming it.

Yet, there are a few hidden truths that were merely whispered once within the sea of information to start your own business.  Even magnifyingglassafter swimming in the vast sea for over year, well I was caught off guard by these because frankly they really weren’t either mentioned or highlighted.  I’m still all for anyone jumping into the friendly waters, however carry these 3 hidden truths with you going in as if it’s your life preserver; at least until you learn how to swim in these new deep blue waters.


Hidden Truth #1: It’s a Lifestyle Change

It’s going to take time, plenty of your time to get this started.  Though you can literally start your business within a week, the reality is it takes months for it to really take hold.  That includes many hours of your time every week.  At least 20, though it could be 30 or more during the initial 4-8 weeks.  Then it will require a steady minimum 20 hours, though again be prepared to spend more.

clockUnless you had an extra 20-30+ hours per week completely free, you will need to make an adjustment in your lifestyle in order to accommodate the time necessary to get your online business up and heading in the right direction.  Think about what you will swap out of your life to make room for your new, exciting venture.

What’s going to take so much time?

Well for starters you will be fine tuning what the purpose of your business is, defining the exact type of people you will be serving, the domain name & name of your business, colors, mission statement, logo, tag line, and product(s) and/or service(s) for starters.

Then there is your platform, in other words your home base which is your own website.  Though you can literally get yours up in less than 15 minutes, that’s merely the first baby step.  You will be spending hours, days, and potentially days getting it shaped up by yourself.

There is the marketing side too.  You’ll need to have a free opt-in in order to attract your audience to be incented to sign up to receive it by providing their email?  Naturally you will create your opt-in.  When it comes to social media, it’s not nearly enough just to be “out there”.  You need to be interacting, engaging in social media.

These are just for starters and take time, lots of it including time spent learning about them as you go.  For there is only so much you can remember during your initial investigation while surfing the web, tuning into podcasts, reading books, and YouTube views.

Be prepared to commit the time necessary to get it up and running with these initial areas and put in the hard work to make it happen.  It’s well worth it!


Hidden Truth #2: Embrace Technology

The good news is you do not ever need to write a line of code to get your online business started and thriving.  However, at a minimum you will need to get comfy with technology and proficient with products such as WordPress for your website and blog.

You need to roll up your shirt-sleeves or be prepared to “lose your shirt” financially paying others to take care of that end.

If you are one of those people that claim you are “not technical” nor want to be, then you’ll be fine as long as you have about $5-$10K for starters.  Though if you are fine welcoming learning the basics of building your website, then it will practically only cost you pocket change to get started.

The old saying “Time is Money” rings true for an online business.

browserSince getting your website up and running in good shape does not require any programming, you can definitely do it.  The learning curve to do so depends upon your technical aptitude.  Today, it’s easier than ever to get your website up and looking sharp using the 100’s of free or premium themes available, let alone sites like Square Space and Shopify that offer you the ability to simply do some configurations.  However even with any of these, it will still take embracing technology.  As simple as they make it today, they all still have their own learning curves to get things set up.  Having your own website isn’t as simple as “set it and forget it” by any stretch of the imagination.

Best to simply let go of any anxiety and resistance to not being a “technical person” and instead embrace this new, amazing world that offers so much that can ultimately lead you to being a proud business owner.  This is a key to your initial success, because it typically takes months before you will receive substantial income from your new journey.  Even if you do have the extra money to pay others, it can become disheartening spending a chunk up front for months without much or any income to become profitable, let alone just to offset the expenditures paying others to deal with the technology.


Hidden Truth #3: Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees

When it comes to an online business, at first money doesn’t grow on trees.  Rather money grows slow and steady like a tree.

Though there are plenty of successful, viable online businesses, they typically take time to generate serious income.  What’s my definition of serious income?  It’s income worthy of paying your rent or mortgage at the least, at best it’s affording you a better lifestyle beyond that.

moneyTake the minimum viable approach to creating your business.  This is not ground-breaking news, though a hefty reminder because it’s easy to quickly spend a lot of money, creating for your business, before you have a customer.  Best to first ask around, others that would be ideal candidates for your new products or services, to see if they would buy them before you build them.  Heck, if they offer to give money upfront in order to secure a better price or first delivery, then better yet.  It’s surely not wise to invest money to build a big inventory of products that you have never sold before.

Income typically takes time for online businesses when first starting.  Sure, there are exceptions to this rule.  They are few and far between.

Once you have the idea for your new business, think about how you will monetize it and make a plan for how it will be marketed and sold.  It’s not a real business until someone is paying you.

Sure, you can sell a $1.99 eBook within the first day of launching your business.  However plan to have a viable business generating income worthy of your lifestyle, anything else is just a pocket change business.  Building a viable business to generate this level of income will take months, at least 6 though likely closer to 12.

Note – While on the topic of financials, if you are going to partner with someone, even your best friend create a legal agreement.  This way neither of you will be burned should one or both of you decide to go in different directions down the road.  No sense in starting a business only to wind up losing all kinds of money because you partnered and there was no clear understanding of who is entitled in this regard.


Summary: Timing is Everything

Did you sense a theme in starting your online business?  It’s timely.  However in time all your persistence, patience, and hard work will payoff handsomely.

My experience is that many Internet marketers are providing huge free value as well as having tremendous paid programs or products you can benefit from while starting your online business.  However they don’t mention or at least emphasize the timing factor much or in some cases not at all.  Though their programs and products are usually very helpful and valuable, when jumping at these shiny objects too soon and too often, they will be collecting virtual dust; in some cases never to be used.


Proceed ahead in starting your online business when you’re ready to make the commitment in time as it folds in as a new area into your lifestyle.  Don’t be afraid of technology, most of it is user friendly.  Like learning and using most technology, exercise persistence, patience, and hard work and it will become your new best friend as it saves you more time and money in the long run.  As you work towards monetizing your business, the fruits of your labor will come through in time and grow.

Now that you grabbed this life preserver, you’re ready to dive in headfirst and enjoy a smooth and sometimes bumpy ride that will eventually provide new views and experiences that will greatly enhance your life.  Now that you know the waters ahead, you are prepared for a successful journey.  If you’re like me in the beginning, you may have lots of questions.  Please do post them here, I will be delighted to answer them for you so your ship can set sail!


This guest post was written by Dean Patino, Founder of  Top 5 Percent Income.

Top 5 Percent Income help “people raise their income level substantially by sharing the proven, honest methods Top 5 Percent Income professionals use to achieve it.”  They do this by providing a short video tip of the day, a weekly podcast and an informative blog.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/top5percentincome
Twitter: www.twitter.com/top5percentinco
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/top-5-percent-income
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+Top5percentincome
email:  dean@top5percentincome.com


Get our Income Tip of the Day! http://www.top5percentincome.com/incometipoftheday/

Genesis by StudioPress



Genesis, is a two part theme.  It consists of the main “parent theme” underneath with the “child theme” on top. The “parent theme” provides the main functionality of the site, while the “child” theme allows design customization without touching (and potentially messing up) the framework underneath.  

Genesis is my theme of choice and used by over 101 000 people and there are good reasons for this.  I worked this out the hard way, initially using an alternative premium theme by a different company and it was only after changing to Genesis that I learned just how easy WordPress can be.

Genesis is very easy to use, it looks great and they have lots of child themes. All the child themes can be customized it make your website truly  fit your brand, with no coding knowledge needed.

So there are five main reasons why I love the Genesis Framework by StudioPress, and it would be a great choice for you too:

  1. Search Engine Optimization.  The SEO of WordPress is great; but the SEO of WordPress with a Genesis theme is even better.
  2. Mobile responsive.  These days, with a significant number of people accessing the web on smartphones and tablets, a responsive website is imperative.  There are a large number of highly responsive child themes.
  3. Highly customizable.  Genesis makes it easy to customize your site, exactly as you want it.
  4. Fast.  Genesis has very clean, lightweight code, creating very fast loading times.  Loading time has been shown to be significant to whether people stay on a site.
  5. Support.  Genesis has great support.  So, when you buy Genesis not only are you given access to a beginners guide, tutorials and a community forum but access to a responsive support team too.

There are other reasons why Genesis is a great framework, such as the great security features.


Child Themes

When you buy a theme for the first time, you buy the Genesis Framework and a child theme.  Later, if you choose to buy a different child theme, perhaps for a different website, you only need to buy the child theme, you do not need to buy the Genesis Theme Framework again.  This makes it much more affordable with many child themes only about $20.

There are a large array of child themes, so how do you choose the one that’s best for you.  Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Choose one that is highly responsive.
  • Choose one that is designed for the type of website you are building.
  • Choose one that looks most similar to what you want your website to be.
  • Look at the demos of any theme you are interested in on the StudioPress site

If you are still confused, why not try the StudioPress theme chooser?


A great deal

As a valued reader of my site: If you choose to buy the Genesis framework using my affiliate link below, then as a thank you I will give you access to some great WordPress training videos to help you on your journey.

Here is how to take advantage of the deal:

1. Buy the Genesis Framework.

Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress

2. Forward the “Welcome to StudioPress!” confirmation email to StudioPress@InternetBusinessHandbook.com

3.  Enjoy Genesis and your bonus tutorials.





The first website I wrote was written in HotDog using HTML code.  What that means in everyday language is – it was written a long time ago and my knowledge and skills were very out of date.  So when I started an online business, I had the choice of learning a lot of programming or finding an alternative.  As I was still working two jobs and had a busy family life I decided on the second.  I had heard of WordPress, but didn’t think I had the time to learn it, so I used SiteBuilder.  What a mistake!  It was very limited in what I wanted to do, in was non-responsive (not mobile friendly)  but the main reason that I decided I needed to change was that the SEO was terrible.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress is a publishing platform, used by millions of websites,  that makes it easy for anyone to publish online. It comes in two flavors: the fully hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org. There are many reasons why, I believe that as an online business you should look at self hosting your own WordPress site and not use WordPress.com.  By hosting your own WordPress:

  • You have complete control of your site.
  • No limitation on themes.
  • There are no limitations on including ads or affiliate inks (ads and affiliate links are not allowed on WordPress.com).
  • There are hundreds of plug-ins and widgets that you can download to extend the functionality of your site, including commerce related plug-ins such as shopping carts.
  • You are free to upload any files that you require (on WordPress.com you have no ftp access).

So while WordPress.com can be a good choice for the non-business blogger, for a business WordPress.org is much more suitable.  As this is a site for online businesses; this article will look at WordPress.org only.

There are several Content Management Platforms out there- So why WordPress?

Over 60 million people use WordPress for the websites.  What makes WordPress such a good choice? The best thing about WordPress to me is that, without any customization it has excellent SEO which can be further improved with plug-ins. Secondly, WordPress is highly customizable so that you can design your website just the way you want to, with the functionality you require.  There are literally hundreds of WordPress plugins available that extend its functionality and thousands of themes, many free, which change the look and feel of the site. WordPress is very simple to install.  Most web hosts have a one-click installer and some now have specific WordPress packages where WordPress comes pre-installed.   WordPress is very quick to get up and running.  This site was set up in only a couple of hours – and I had never developed a site in WordPress before.

The Dashboard

The Dashboard is the first screen that you can see when you log into your site.

You can always return to your dashboard by clicking “dashboard” on the top of the main navigation menu on the left.  The dashboard gives you an overview of your site and allows you quick and easy access to your sites contents.  The dashboard is highly customizable. The dashboard screen presents information in blocks called modules.  When first set up, the main dashboard screen contains five modules: At a Glance, Activity, Quick Draft, WordPress News, and Welcome.  All of these can be moved about using drag and drop, deleted and others added.  At a Glance tells you how many pages, posts and comments you have as well as what version of WordPress you are running and what theme you are using.  Activity includes the upcoming scheduled posts, recently published posts, and the most recent comments on your posts and allows you to accept, reject and reply to them.

WordPress Themes

The theme of the website affects not just how the website looks, but also the functionality of the site.  The theme, itself, is a collection of files, called template files. There are about 10 000 themes, of which nearly 2000 are free and the rest are premium.  How to choose the best theme for you can be bewinldering.  I talk more about, my choice of theme – in the article on the Genesis Framework.  Here I offer a few things to consider when choosing a theme.

  1. Graphical design.  Most inexperienced people will choose a theme entirely on how it looks – and this is important.  Your website is the “home” of you business on the internet and your is an integral part of your personal brand.  People really do judge books by their cover and businesses by the look of their website.  So, this is a primary consideration.
  2. Responsiveness.  That means that it displays well on a range of devices including a desk top computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone.  It is estimated that 40% of time spent online is done so on a mobile device (20% if you count only smartphones) and this number is growing.  Yet, less than half of all websites are responsive.
  3. Functionality.  A website must be able to do what you want it to.  If you want to set up a portfolio site, then a newspaper / information theme is probably not the best choice.
  4. Degree of Flexibility.  Some themes are highly customizable while others are very restrictive.  Often the more restrictive are easier to use, while the most flexible more suitable for a more advanced user.  Compromise may be the key.
  5. SEO (search engine optimization).  SEO allows you to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).  This is obviously pivtal in bringing traffic to your website.  While WordPress has great SEO, some themes are more SEO friendly than others.
  6. Navigation.  How does the menu system work and is it located where you want.
  7. Support.  Once bought, is there any support for the theme or are you left entirely on your own.  Is there documentation to help, a forum or training information provided?
  8. Regular updates.  This in one area where premium themes tend to do much better than free themes.  There are normally two main WordPress updates a year and so it is essential that themes are regularly update to ensure that they work with the latest edition of WordPress.

Once you have chosen your theme, you need to install it.  To do so go:

  1. Download your chosen theme, to your computer (unless you have chosen to use one that automatically comes with WordPress).
  2. In your WordPress site go to the main navigation panel on the left.
  3. Go to appearance > themes.
  4. Click “Add new”
  5. Click “upload”
  6. Click “choose file”
  7. Find the .zip file on your computer and click “open” (or double click file)
  8. Click “install now”

Now customize your theme to create the ideal website for your business.


Plugins and Widgets

A plugin is an application that extends the functionality of WordPress. It is a tool that is visible only to the site admin and does not interface with the public in any way.  The uses of plugins include: SEO optimization, custom form managers, site map generators, social media, stats, eCommerce and more.  Plugins can be added, activated or edited from the main navigation panel.

Widgets add content and features to your sidebars and other widget specified areas such as the footer.  Widgets include sign up forms, features pages, post archives, images, calendar, category list, search, arbitrary text or html and more.  Widgets can be accessed from a link on the main page of the dashboard or the “Appearance” tab of the main navigation panel.  Widgets can be added to the site by dragging and dropping to the desired widget area.


Further Training Videos

Clearly WordPress is much more complex than the brief introduction given here.  In the article on the Genesis Framework there is a generous offer to gain access to further WordPress Training Videos.




Workflowy is a list maker.  There are lots of to-do list applications available – so why Worksflowy?

Workflowy has many advantages, that makes it an ideal productivity tool for the entrepreneur.  It is incredibly simple.  Simply makes bulleted lists.  The lists can be nested, and notes added.


To give an idea of the simplicity of Workflowy and its interface – here is a screenshot.


Workflowy lists are searchable.  Tags can be added, such as #urgent.  These can then be used as search functions.  For example, if I organize a guest post with Michael Kawula on networking, I might tag the entry #networking #guest blog @Kawula.  

One of the most important considerations for me when adopting Workflowy, was that it is completely usable across multiple platforms.  As a web-based app, the data is always up to date and the same whether you look at it in Windows, Apple or Android.  Further, it is useable as an app when there is no internet connectivity and will automatically sync when you are next connected to the web.

Workflowy lists, and sections of lists can be shared.  This can be useful when collaborating on projects.

The final benefit of Workflowy is that it is free.  There is a pro version, but the free allows 500 items a month which is plenty for most.

The only downside of Workflowy for a to-do list application is that there is no option to add due dates.

If you would like more information on Workflowy, I have embedded a number of videos below.  Enjoy.









Scapple is a mind-map and note taking software.  It is made by Literature & Latte, the people who made the highly respected Scrivener.  Both Scapple and Scrivener can be downloaded for a free trial.

I have never been someone that finds mind mapping useful and originally looked at the software as a useful program for making resources for my students. Scapple is both incredibly simple and flexible.  It is this flexibility that makes it so useful for a whole array of applications.

Scapple has been compared to a blank sheet of paper or a whiteboard.  Scapple allows the user to put notes, images and connections on this paper and arrange as they find helpful.  To give you an idea, I used Scapple to outline the features of the Internet Business Handbook.  This is what I came up with:


Scapple works by:

  • double clicking anywhere to insert a note.  This can be repeated and the notes arranged by dragging and dropping.  Some people use Scapple, in this way as a virtual brainstorming platform.
  • drag one note to another to make a connection.  The note will spring back, to the original position and a connection, with a dotted line, made between them.
  • hold down the alt key (option and command keys on a Mac) while you drag to create an arrow between the notes.
  • images and external text can be pasted in.
  • double click a link to add a note between the two linked notes.
  • borders can be added to notes, as well as colors.  Custom note-styles in the format menu are easy to make and delete.  If you have a number of notes that you want formatted in the same way, then select all of them before formatting.
  • URLs  in Scapple are clickable.

Once finished the Scapple document can be exported in .pdf or .jpg forms.  

So, Scapple is a quick, powerful tool to organize your ideas.  However, care must be taken not to spend too much time making your mind-map a masterpiece.  Your masterpiece should be your product not the mind-map you used along the way.

Why not leave a comment about how you use Scapple or any tips that you have found helpful?




Fiverr, is the cheapest of the Outsourcing options.  Fiverr has over 3 000 000 jobs, called ‘gigs.’  There are an amazing range of gigs available.  Many of them are a little crazy such as, writing your name on a piece of rice.  Gigs start at $5 but many have upgrades. While the buyer pays $5, the seller only receives $4, fiverr taking a whopping 20% commission.  The price makes it affordable, but the quality is highly variable.

However, the likelihood of a successful gig with fiverr can be enhanced with the following steps:

  1. Look at the sellers stats and feedback, noting both the percentage positive and the number of votes.FiverrRatings
    The stats come from the buyer feedback.  Most have quite a high rating, so the comments further down the page can be more revealing.
    Level 1 – Sellers are automatically promoted to level one when they have been active on the site for 30 days and completed at least 10 orders while maintaining excellent ratings and a great track record.
    Level 2 – Sellers are automatically promoted to level one when they have made over 50 orders in the past two months while maintaining excellent ratings and a solid track record.
    Top rated sellers are manually chosen by Fiverr editors. Promotion is based on the following criteria: Seniority, volume of sales, extremely high rating, exceptional customer care, and community leadership.
  2. Notice the cancellation ratio.FiverrCancellation
    While the feedback stats may be high, a high cancellation ratio should be cause for concern.  Not all sellers have a cancellation ratio, and a small one is probably not relevant.  However, a high cancellation ratio can mean either that the seller is canceling any problematic orders or that this percentage of people are unhappy enough to demand a refund. If there is a high cancellation ratio then my advice wold be to not buy.
  3. Check out the samples.
    Their portfolio of previous work is your best indicator of whether they are suitable for your job.
  4. Read the gig details carefully.
    For example, make sure that you understand what you are buying and what is an extra.
  5. If you are not sure if they can / will do what you want, then contact the seller.
    The seller does not want an unsuitable job that will lead to negative feedback, so are likely to be honest with you.  A lot of sellers like this as communication helps then too.
  6. Put effort into answering their questions.  Often when you make an order, you will be asked a number of questions about what you want.  The more information you can give, the better able the seller is to provide what you want.
  7. Consider buying two gigs.  I did this when I ordered gigs for a public domain book I published in Kindle format.  At $5 each two still does not cost very much and then if one is not at a level you would want to use, there is still another option.  Below are the two results for my Kindle book cover.
    Montessori2       Montessori1
  8. If you want some changes let the seller know.  The seller does not want negative feedback, so will do what they can to rectify any issues you may have.  So, talk to them and give them a chance to make alterations before leaving negative feedback.
  9. Remember, the seller is only getting $4, do don’t expect that every ‘gig’ you order will be wonderful.  Think of it as a $5 gamble.  If it works out well, great, if it doesn’t there is not much lost.
  10. I would suggest that content creation not be outsourced to Fiverr.  I did try and get some content writers on Fiverr to write articles, that I could use for comprehension exercises, for some practice exam papers that I was writing.  The results were diabolical and I used none of them.


In conclusion, buyers like Fiverr because it enables small tasks to be completed cheaply with minimum risk and over time they can find dependable freelancers that they are able to use for repeat work. Sellers are able to build their portfolio, accumulate reviews and  grow their business by offering basic gigs for $5 and providing extras for additional revenue.

I have bought gigs on Fiverr that have been unusable, such as this diagram of a cell, where it is drawn on paper and scanned with the creases of the paper cutting through the diagram.


However, other gigs have been great, such as this book cover I used.


If you are new to outsourcing, fiverr can be a good place to start as it allows you to outsource with minimum risk.  For some jobs, such as transcription of audio, it can be an efficient way to better utilize your time and resources.  However, being the cheapest of the outsourcing methods, for more complicated jobs or to hire more experienced people, then other platforms such as Upwork may better serve your needs.

Resource Link:  Fiverr

The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson

There is no such thing as easy money and nothing worth doing was ever easy. But, if you’re prepared to work smart and develop a laser-like focus on achieving your ideal lifestyle, then anything is possible.

Natalie Sisson’s book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur is full of inspiration, advice and information on how anyone can build an online business that fits into their lifestyle or desired lifestyle.  While written for the ‘digital nomad,’ it is useful for anyone who would like to build an online business that gives them more freedom in their life.

Natalie Sisson; who is resident in three countries, owns two passports and has three international bank accounts; has spent the last few years travelling the world while establishing her very successful business.  She shares her own experience of travelling to 61 countries on five continents as well as the case studies of others to show that it really is possible to “create freedom in business and adventure in life.”

The book is steeped in reality.  While demonstrating the amazing possibilities that online businesses have, from the outset she states that it takes perseverance, initiative and the meeting of challenge head on.  Further, she accepts that continual travel is neither possible nor desirable for everyone.

The book itself is divided into three acts.  The first is titled “Welcome to the new world of digital nomads.”  This act is challenging from the beginning.  She states that to make a real change that you need to get uncomfortable.  Our comfort zone is attractive but as Natalie points out “if you do what you’ve always done then you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Then Natalie proceeds to wipe away any excuses.  The right time – there isn’t one.  If you put it off, you are just delaying the living of your ideal life.  Money – all you need is a laptop and less than $100.  Lessons you need to know in order to become an online entrepreneur like finding your “sweet spot” or the need for testing – they are all covered in this act.  The inspiration to begin the “rollercoaster ride” of an entrepreneur – again, found in this book.

Act two is titled, “How to build an online business you can take anywhere.”  While passion for your business and a desire to create freedom in business and adventure in life is great, it needs to be backed up with a plan of action.  This act provides the concrete steps and information that you need to know in order to create an online business.

After looking at why today is the best time to build your business, outlining eight trends that define the future of work, she reminds her audience of the importance of mobile.  Natalie then provides the reader with information needed to build a business – from determining what business to start to Natalie’s six steps of building an online business, to things to consider when setting up a business and tax requirements.  From only five essential tools to run a business, Natalie uses a virtual office set up to provide a wealth of information about useful tools that can be used to make your business more effective.

Reminding her readers of the need to be where our customers are, Natalie gives both the reasons we need to be on Social Media and also tips that we can use to optimise the use of Social Media for our business.

Then after providing some insight on how to build a virtual team it’s on to act three.  While act one and two are valuable for anyone who is running or thinking of running an online business, act three is specifically for the entrepreneur who plans to travel.  Act three is titled, “How on earth does one become a Suitcase Entrepreneur?”

Act three, as with the first two acts is full of useful tips and down to earth advice.  From staying fit and healthy, to advice on visas and how to pack this section is filled with useful information.

In between your blocks of time you’ve carved out you need to leave time to stop, stretch, dance and get some fresh air.  This actually makes you more productive and helps you focus back on what you’re doing.”

So, the freedom to do what you want and achieve your dreams?  Yes, Natalie convinces the reader that with focus, hard work and determination it really is possible.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an online business or thinking of starting one.




You can purchase a copy from:




Why you should write a book



I’m not talking about an ebook give-away – though they are certainly useful.  I am talking about an actual published book.  I know when starting a business time is normally at a premium, as there is so much to do when starting and you are often still working a full-time job as well.  So why is writing a book, along with all of your other time commitments important?

I am going to list five reasons why the entrepreneur or business owner should write a book.

1.  It expands your market.
Amazon is the largest paid search engine in the world.  Once you are on Amazon and other book websites, your name is accessible to a very large number of people.  Content is the new form of marketing and a book is the ultimate content item.  It introduces people to your other services and if they really like your book, then they will seek out your other products and services too.

2.  It raises your profile.  
Writing a book gives you authority in your area of expertise.  By writing a book, it introduces you to your market as an expert.  That expert status then can opens many opportunities (see point 3 below).  A book really is the best business card you can have.

3.  It opens opportunities.
When people want someone for interviews, to speak, consult or coach.  They will generally look at those who have published in the area.

4.  It’s a source of passive income.
Don’t get me wrong, there are very few for whom a book makes them a living on its own.  However, it can contribute significantly to your income, and the great thing is that once it is written and distribution channels set up, the income is largely passive and can continue to come in for many years.

5.  Its affordable and achievable.
While writing a book is difficult.  My first book took me a long time and lots of editing before it was ready to be published.  However, once you have your final pdf file, the publication of that file is now easy.  Platforms, such as createspace enable publishers to publish their book with absolutely no set up cost and no need for stock inventory.  Publishing a book has certainly never been easier.


So why not start your book today, and take your business to the next level?


The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries

Every so often a business book comes along that changes how we think about innovation and entrepreneurship… The Lean Startup has the chops to join this exalted company. – Financial Times

Since the Lean Start Up was written in 2011, it has revolutionized the approach of entrepreneurs to start-ups.  The Lean Start Up methods are now being taught in some  Business Schools.  Some of the terms coined by Ries such as pivot, minimally viable product, and continuous innovation are now enmeshed in entrepreneurial circles.

The book, defines start-ups as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” Thus, he places start-ups in the realm of large corporations as well as small businesses.

The lean start-up model is based on the principles of Toyota including using small batch sizes, just-in-time production, inventory control and faster cycle times.

Startups often build things that no-one wants.  It doesn’t matter how quickly or brilliantly or cheaply we build something, if no-one wants it.  Ries wrote that the goal of a startup “is to figure out the right thing to build – the thing that customers want and will pay for as quickly as possible”.

Startups are more than the product, but an institution that requires management.  Thus, entrepreneurship requires a managerial discipline.  Ries, discusses in detail the role of the manager in a startup, to enable an environment in which experimentation and the lean startup principles can flourish.

The idea is to make a minimum viable product and then start testing with real customers.  Ries suggests that anything added above that which is required to make a minimum viable product that can be shown and tested with early adopters is waste.

Startups have what Ries terms an “engine of growth.”  Any changes to the product should drive the engine of growth.  The lean start up model uses a measure of progress called validated learning, where any change requires the formulation and then testing of an hypothesis. The results of the constant testing can then guide the entrepreneur as to whether it is appropriate to continue or pivot.  Ries refers to the as the build-measure-learn feedback loop.  The measurement must include actionable metrics based on the hypothesis and not vanity metrics which can be misleading.  In this way, waste of time producing items or features not wanted by the market can be avoided. He explains that this often involves one or more pivots of different types.

The lean startup model views problems and defects as an opportunity for learning.  Its method of root cause analysis is the five whys – simply asking why five  times.  This very simple technique enables the root cause to be identified, which is often hidden behind more obvious symptoms. Then all five levels need to be addressed.

However, the lean startup model is more than a set of techniques to be ticked off from a list.  It is a model that should be adapted to the business in question.

Pros: Many businesses have in the past spent months or even years in building their product before it is seen by a single customer.  Then, often, after months or even years of development, entrepreneurs learn the hard way that customers do not need or want either the product itself or most of the product’s features.  The lean start-up model reduces this waste.

Cons:  A lot of his book talks about teams and management, which makes the book appear less useful for the small startup with only one or two people.  The minimum viable product needs to be decided with care.  Some have used the Lean Startup model as an excuse to rush incomplete or mistake ridden products to market.  This can have consequences for how you are regarded in the market that can be difficult or impossible to overturn.  Finally the pace of innovation and testing can increase the workload beyond the point that it is useful.  In the book Ries gave the example of SnapTax, a part of Inuit.  SnapTax tested over 500 innovations during the two-and-a-half-month tax period, up to seventy in a week, or 14 a day.

Conclusion:  A longer book than necessary for the information that it contains.  It contains a lot of useful concepts and techniques such as minimum viable product and the five whys.  Interacting with customers from early on in development is important.  Understanding how to predict and measure is useful and being given permission to pivot is, well pivotal.  It deserves its place in the classics of business but must be taken with a good dose of common sense.


You can purchase a copy from: