All posts by Steve C

Are You Alienating Customers From Your Online Business?

I’m not sure whether it’s because retailers are cutting back on their expenses and customer support, but lately I’ve had a rash of poor shopping experiences both online and in person. At a few of these places, I was so annoyed that I will never shop there again. Since my wife and I run a store ourselves, I thought it would be a good idea to make a note of these annoyances so that we never make the same mistakes. Some of these things are subtle and probably wouldn’t bother the average person, but I’m pretty anal when it...

Why Real Estate Made Me A Millionaire and Investing In Stocks Did Not

I am proud to present a guest post from Julie Broad, author of www.revnyou.com. 8 years ago, Julie and her husband set out to free themselves from their J-O-B’s. Starting with just $16,000, they bought their first investment property. Today, they are real estate millionaires and Julie officially retired from work at age 31. They now own a small business around helping other people achieve their real estate investment goals. Martin, our money man and main investing partner, emailed us last night and said simply “I’ve pretty much lost it all”. We’d been shopping for a...

The Hidden Benefits Of Owning Your Own Business

Most people start their own business hoping to find the answers to a few key questions. How can I be my own boss and make money doing things that I enjoy? How can I be in control of my own destiny? How can I become wealthy and rich? Don’t get me wrong, these are all very important criteria when deciding to start any business. But with these goals in mind, many first time entrepreneurs don’t fully appreciate the hidden benefits of starting their own venture. The emphasis is often placed on the results...

The Tradeoffs Of Owning Your Own Business Vs Working A Day Job

Ever wonder whether the people who brag about their small business wealth are really living the high life? Most of what you read on the web about starting your own business tends to be over glorified because everyone is always trying to sell you something. When all you see are get rich quick tag lines everywhere, it’s no wonder that many people have misconceptions about what it’s like to run your own business. I’ve already given you a sneak peek into my glamorous life as a small business owner. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m...

Despite The Downturn, I Feel Wealthier Than Ever

I don’t know why but I always get a little pensive during the holiday season. This is the time when I like to lie down, stare at the ceiling in total silence and reflect on my life for the past year. Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving tend to amplify my mood. If I’m depressed, then I get more depressed, but if I’m happy, then I’m absolutely beaming with joy. This year, I’m fortunate to have many things to be thankful for. In just the span of 9 months, I feel like my life has finally come...

How Our Online Business Brought My Wife And I Closer Together

When my wife and I decided to start our own online business together, many people advised us against the idea. “You’ll fight all the time!” “Business and marriage don’t mix!” “Your business will drive you two apart” “You and your wife need time to yourselves” The above quotes were just a sampling of some of the many warnings we were given. But despite all of the contrary opinions, we saw our joint online business venture as a rare opportunity to create something special that we could share. We knew that we had an excellent chance of succeeding because our interests were intimately intertwined....

Why Your Job Conditions You To Take Things For Granted

Last Friday, an engineer in the office complex where I work brutally gunned down the CEO, VP of Operations, and the Head of Human Resources of his company before fleeing the premises. This engineer, named Jing Wu, had recently gotten laid off from his job and decided to take revenge on the executives who were responsible. Because this tragic triple homicide literally happened within 50 feet of my office, I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days about all of the things that I’ve been taking for granted. I’ve also been trying to place myself in the same...

How To Build Wealth By Spending Money Wisely

In a previous article entitled how to build wealth by saving money without sacrificing your livelihood, I discussed different ways that my wife and I save money on a day to day basis without drastically affecting our lifestyle. While finding good deals and extending your money is an important aspect of accumulating wealth, deciding the right things to buy and avoiding spending altogether is every bit as crucial. Because spending and saving go hand in hand, the ability to allocate your funds wisely coupled with a proper savings plan will exponentially increase your pool of wealth. So...

The Secret To A Healthy Relationship With Money

Do you believe that money is the ultimate panacea? Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I just had more money, my life would be so much easier and less worrisome?” Most people tend to think this way until they amass some wealth and the opposite happens. Their life gets harder and more stressful. During the dotcom boom of the 90’s, my stock portfolio did extremely well. I amassed a small fortune, got greedy and starting investing more and more into the markets. Sometimes I even used margin and other forms of leverage to...

Kids And Money: Teaching Ways To Deal With Peer and Societal Pressures

When I was a kid, I always wanted to buy what my friends were buying. I remember when the Reebok Pump basketball shoes first came out, all of my friends bought a pair except for me. I never was allowed to buy my own pair because they cost 160 dollars, enough to buy 4 reasonably priced pairs of shoes. I remember playing basketball and not getting picked to play because all of the “Reebok Pump” kids wanted to play on the same team. (I assure you that not getting picked had nothing to do with my basketball...

Why Our Online Business Almost Failed And How We Recovered

In a previous article entitled mistakes we made early on with our online store, we outlined 5 early decisions that hindered the growth of our business. While those mistakes slowed us down, none of them were showstoppers by any means. In this article, I’d like to talk about decisions that nearly put us out of business. Sadly, most of these early choices were made due to greed and human nature. Many of our actions were downright stupid and I’m quite ashamed to even share them with you. I’ll try and start with...

Customer Stories: The Woman Who Didn’t Get A Receipt

I’m not sure why but our online store attracts a large quantity of customers that are not very web or email savvy. We spend a lot of our time taking orders over the phone because people don’t feel comfortable ordering online or entering their credit card information on a computer. While a good portion of our customers fall into this category, most of them are extremely courteous and polite. Usually, it’s a joy to walk them through the necessary checkout steps and teach them about the world wide web. In this particular case however, we had one...

Starting Your Own Business: Getting Beyond The Excuses

Everyday as we slip further and further into recession, I’m hearing more and more complaints from my friends and coworkers about their job security and overall satisfaction in the workplace. The level of concern and panic is very real, even worse than I can remember from the dot com bust of 2002. Most of my friends depend on their day jobs as their primary source of income so they are very afraid of getting laid off. What’s worse is that some of them absolutely hate their line of work but are sticking to it because they need...

5 Misconceptions Your Child Probably Has About Your Finances

Part of the reason most kids in America have no concept of money is because parents don’t share their financial information with them. Most kids have no clue how much their parents make nor do they have any idea how much it costs to survive in the real world. Because this information is not readily available, it is only natural that kids will make assumptions regarding their household finances. Most of the time, their assumptions are grossly incorrect. Next time you have the chance, talk to your kids and check to see if they have the...

Reader Response: Do They Teach True Collaboration In Schools?

I received an extremely well written and thoughtful comment from Bleu Panda regarding my article on 5 Crucial Subjects Schools Don’t Cover That You Should At Home so I thought I’d respond to his comment in a blog entry as a token of my appreciation. Please take the time to read his comment below followed by my reply Thanks for the being open and honest in your posts. I’ve really enjoyed reading some of them and look forward to the rest, as well as future ones. Regarding your post about 5 crucial subjects schools don’t cover, I would suggest...

More Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money – Part 2

In my previous article on mistakes parents make with kids and money – part 1, I pointed out 3 crucial mistakes that parents make with their kids and money. 1. Parents use credit cards in front of their kids 2. Parents buy their kids stuff because other kids have it 3. Parents hide financial details from their kids If you happen to fall into any of the above categories, chances are you’re already sending wrong messages to your children about money. What’s worrisome is that this isn’t even an exhaustive list. In this article, I’m going to point out even more things...

Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money – Part 1

My parents came to the United States with practically no possessions and very little money. They had to take odd jobs just to scrape by and could barely afford to have a roof over their heads. Every morning my Dad had to carry 2 buckets of water with outstretched arms up a mountain barefoot in a snowstorm to the water well a mile away. Okay, my Mom and Dad may have exaggerated some of their hardships but the fact is they didn’t have many luxuries growing up. Because my parents lived a difficult life, they did their best...

How To Find The Optimal Price To Charge For Your Products

In a previous article entitled how to command premium prices for your small business, I emphasized the importance of coming up with a unique selling proposition for your products and services. A good USP grants you the ability to charge a premium for the products that you sell. Once you’ve pinpointed the strengths of your company and can effectively convey that message to a customer, it’s now time to search for your pricing sweet spot. While there’s no magical formula or quick solution to finding the right price, the techniques outlined in the article below will...

Entrepreneurship: What Is Your Definition Of Failure?

Thanks to social media sites like Stumble Upon, Digg and Reddit, I’ve been able to easily find and read more than my fair share of articles on entrepreneurship in just this past month. I really love reading about entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship emphasizes taking action through self-motivation. There’s no better way to push yourself to pursue your passions than to read about other people doing the same. Listening to their stories also reinforces the need to overcome your fears and make mistakes. In fact, every article I’ve ever read on entrepreneurship emphasizes failure at some point, but...

Reader Response: How To Prepare Your Daughter For Dating

In a previous post entitled 5 crucial subjects that schools don’t cover that you should at home, I ended the article with a paragraph describing how I was going to prepare my daughter for dating when she grows up. Below is an excerpt from the article. On a more serious note, I’m kind of resigned to the fact that my daughter will eventually start dating with or without my consent. The best way to prepare her for dating is to take her on dates myself. Once or twice a year, I plan on taking her out for night on the...