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How to Start Working from Home

Working from home is the ideal way for many entrepreneurs to both work on their business as well as maintain balance with their personal lives. And hey, the short commute ain’t so bad, either!

Here are a few tips to help you start a business working from home.

First, Decide if it’s Right for You

The truth is, not every entrepreneur is cut out for working from home. There are a lot of distractions waiting to take you away from your focus, and sometimes your family isn’t capable of letting you work in peace and quiet.

So consider: are you able to motivate yourself to get work done without other co-workers around (or even with children running around)? Do you have space in your home that you can dedicate as your home office? Are you able to separate work and home life, or will you end up doing laundry when you should be working?

If the answer to any of these is “no,” think twice before working from home. It’s simply not for everyone. Continue reading “How to Start Working from Home” »

Why No One Is Reading Your Blog

511_3060496You started your blog, you’re faithful to your posting schedule, your copy is free of grammatical errors, your content is strong and no one is reading. Waaaaaaaaaaah. Don’t cry. Look at what you can do to ensure your blog is getting the eyeballs it deserves.

Are you promoting it effectively?

Take the time to promote your blog by sharing your posts on social media. Remember to use a powerful pull quote or a gripping, but relevant title to engage readers. Use sites like BizSugar to share your tips and tricks and see how your content fares against other writing. The important thing is to keep sharing your URL in an appropriate and resourceful way, seeking out new opportunities without fail.

Are you connecting with readers?

While comment sections can be dreary places, you can spice them up with witty and articulate contributions. Look around to see who else is creating content in a similar vein and engage them in dialogue. When you create a compelling discussion, you attract an active audience and the exchange can extend to your blog. Make sure you link back your URL, so your audience can find you. Continue reading “Why No One Is Reading Your Blog” »

5 Steps for Registering Your Business’ Name

The woman with a magnifierOne of the very first steps you need to do when starting a business is to register your business name. Many newbie entrepreneurs assume simply deciding on a name is sufficient to establish it, but that’s not the case.

In order to ensure that you’re the only person using this name, and to protect yourself from anyone else using it, there are a few steps you need to take to register a business name.

Step 1: Conduct a Name Search

The quickest way to see if anyone else is using the name you want for your business is to conduct a corporate name search. This will tell you whether anyone else in your state is registered with a business of the same name. If that’s the case, you may want to choose another name so as to avoid confusion.

Keep in mind, this search won’t tell you if anyone in any other state is using the name. For that, you can trademark your name to get a nationwide search on it.

(CorpNet offers free corporate name searches!) Continue reading “5 Steps for Registering Your Business’ Name” »

Should You Hire an Intern This Fall?

609_3688247Every season brings something different, and in addition to cooler weather, the fall brings you the opportunity to boost your staff without reducing your budget. Hiring an intern is a great way to take some of those mundane tasks off your list while possibly grooming your next employee.

Why Interns?

As a small business owner, you don’t have a lot of money, but you do have a lot of work. So while hiring a full-time employee isn’t always an option, hiring an intern is. Sure, it’ll take some training and hand-holding, but working with an intern provides many perks:

  • You can focus on running your business while they handle the admin or repetitive tasks
  • You get more done without stressing
  • You teach them the ropes, and if you like them,  you can hire them after the internship is complete
  • You get a free trial run with a potential employee!

Some colleges require you to pay at least a nominal salary to your intern, while others are nonpaid. Figure out which fits your budget. Continue reading “Should You Hire an Intern This Fall?” »

Five Ways to Use Twitter to Build Credibility

Whew! Social networks are huge and only getting bigger. Twitter has proven that it is a great way to reach an audience, but how can you use Twitter to build credibility over time if you have more to contribute than jokes, memes or mean tweets directed at celebrities? One of the first rules of useful Twitter engagement is to base your interactions on courtesy and respect. It is important to think through your comments before you post, as your tweets will live on in eternity. Remember: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t put it in a tweet.

Connect with Leaders in your Field

Search wide and far to find influencer in your industry. A great way to initiate contact is to ask them a thoughtful question that they may not have been asked before. Think long and hard before asking something that you could just look up on a search engine. Kudos are great, but they don’t really add to the overall conversation. Use them sparingly as your first means of communication.

Share Great Content

Sure you can link to your own work, but to build your reputation on Twitter, it is vital to share timely, interesting, and related content. There are no limits. Share industry humor (keep it light-hearted), good advice, relevant articles or even original research that connects to your area of interest. Continue reading “Five Ways to Use Twitter to Build Credibility” »

Who Influences YOU as a Small Business Owner?

SBInfluencer-color-300wAs a small business owner, you can likely list multiple people who have helped you get where you are. That might be a mentor, a company that provides great small business software, an outstanding small biz journalist, or an app that helps you get more done.

And while you certainly know the impact these individuals and companies have had on your own business, chances are, they don’t know. What better way to let them know how they’ve helped you than to nominate them for a Small Business Influencer Award? Continue reading “Who Influences YOU as a Small Business Owner?” »

6 Things You Should Know About Trademarks

When it comes to protecting your intellectual property, the single smartest thing you can do as a small business owner is to trademark it. By registering for U.S. Federal Trademark protection, you get many benefits such as treble damages in some cases of infringement, the right to use the ® symbol in your trademark, and a streamlined process for securing domains and usernames on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Here are a few more things you should know about filing a trademark.

1. The Approval Process Can Be Slow (But Doesn’t Have to Be)

Getting your trademark registered and approved can take anywhere from 9 months to several years, depending on the complexity of your desired mark and other existing conflicting marks.

But if you don’t have that kind of time, Corpnet can prepare your application within 48 hours. We’ve got the experience you need in filling out the complicated application and can expedite the process.

2. You Can Trademark More than Patents and Inventions

Intellectual property doesn’t just cover patents and inventions. It can also include your brand assets — everything from your company name to the logo and product tagline you use in marketing. Continue reading “6 Things You Should Know About Trademarks” »

6 Things Our Legal Protection Plan Can Help With

legalHave you ever had a legal question but didn’t know who to ask? Lawyers bill at upwards of $300 an hour, and you certainly don’t have that kind of money to get a simple question answered, right?

That’s why CorpNet decided to launch its Business Legal Advice service for small business owners just like you, who sometimes need the help of a lawyer but can’t afford to have one on retainer.

Finally, Affordable Legal Services

Our services are designed to help with specific tasks related to starting a business, like the following.

1. Get Unlimited Legal Advice.

Whether you want an expert legal opinion on starting your business, or just have a question or two, you can get it when you need it. Continue reading “6 Things Our Legal Protection Plan Can Help With” »

5 Legal Documents Your Business Structure Probably Needs

If you’re thinking about incorporating a business, or have recently done so, you might assume that all the work is up front with the actual filing. That’s not the case. There are still several documents you’re required by law to create and update. And even if you’re not a corporation, there are still legal documents you might need for your business. Let’s take a look.

1. Bylaws

For corporations of any size, bylaws tell how that company will govern itself. Consider them your company’s rules. They may include:

  • The number of directors that will sit on the board
  • Range and power of the directors
  • Date, time and location for annual meetings of the board
  • How the directors are elected or removed
  • How corporate officers are appointed
  • Officers duties and powers
  • Date time and location of annual shareholders meetings
  • Voting rules for both directors and shareholders

Continue reading “5 Legal Documents Your Business Structure Probably Needs” »

6 Pieces of Advice You Shouldn’t Listen to When Starting a Business

It’s funny how when you hit a certain milestone in your life, everyone’s there with unwanted advice. Like when you are expecting a baby. Getting married. Or…starting a business.

Now, I appreciate advice as much as anyone, but there are certain pieces of advice that I could have done without when I started both of my legal filing services. Here are the ones you can ignore.

1. Find the Right Time to Launch

Folks, I’ll be honest. There’s no ideal time to launch your business. Life will always get in the way. And if you strive for perfection before you even reveal your products to the world…well, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Instead, be okay with imperfection. The faster you start your business and get your products out there, the sooner you can get feedback from your customers and go back and improve your offerings. Continue reading “6 Pieces of Advice You Shouldn’t Listen to When Starting a Business” »