Pinterest Tips for Business

Pinterest is reported to have over 70 million users and has surpassed email as one of the top sharing platforms online according to Share This.  It’s no wonder why so may businesses are riding the wave of Pinterest. With these stats, I became curious as to what made this channel so darn powerful. So, after getting past the learning curve, I went on a hunt to figure some things out. If you still don’t get what Pinterest is all about take a look at this cute and short video  (less than 2 minutes) to gain some understanding on how it works.

pinterestlistFor businesses, Pinterest is a great tool because you can share content by way of appealing images, graphics, pictures etc. that can ultimately increase your sales. Since many people absorb better through visuals, the growth of Pinterest is  expected to continue to stay on the rise.

So, in light of this predicted growth, I set out to research the most recent and popular articles online related to Pinterest in an effort to gain some understanding. Learning some Pinterest tips for business will improve my overall interaction level on this platform through the use of methods and tools in order to bring more visitors to my websites. Here’s what I found:

Copyblogger's Pinterest WorksDoes Pinterest convert? According to Copyblogger’s Pinterest Works article, heck yeah and they have proof to show it. Copyblogger is considered one of the pioneers of blogging so when they have something to say, I usually listen. I enjoyed this article because I was a skeptic myself on the power of Pinterest for business. Delineated in it is some social proof of how this amazing tool drives thousands of referral traffic to a couple of online publishers. It also offers a simple step-by-step process on how you can use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your website. Copplyblogger debunks the the Pinterest naysayers.

Smart Strategies for PinterestNeed more proof? Here it is. This blogger shrugged Pinterest off because she thought her “marketing” and “tech” themes weren’t visually enticing enough to use Pinterest. Therefore, she embarked on a research bend and now Pinterst is her second top referral source for social traffic. She offers 40+ strategies to drive more traffic.

Optimize your imagesHow do you optimize your images for more traffic? This is one of my favorites because Cynthia Sanchez offers a video on how to do this exactly through the use keyword rich descriptions to help your pins be found. She also offers a podcast that may be helpful.


Hashtags for PinterestHow are Hashtags used? Hashtags are profusely used in in many social marketing platforms. Hashtags use on Pinterest, as per this article, is used differently than on twitter. If you want to learn to use of Hashtags for Pinterest for better search results, this resource offers 7 tips.

Must follow Pinterest BoardsIf what you’ve heard is that Pinterst is mostly a social media platform for recipes, arts & crafts and shoes well, here is a list of 15 bloggers using Pinterest for their blogging efforts. From SEO to Internet Marketing and social media pinboards, take a look at how these bloggers use Pinterest. It will give you a some ideas on how to combine blogging and Pinterest in creative ways.

Tools for PinterestWant to know what the best tools are to heighten the efficiency of Pinterest for your business? Here are 9 tools shared in this article by Business 2 Community that can help you make the best of your Pinterest pinboards. From Pinterest analytics to creating an online store on Pinterest you’ll be able to find at least one item on the list that you’ll be able to put to use right away.
Tricks for Pinterest

Besides tools, learn some Pinterest tricks that all bloggers should consider – 7 to be exact. In this article, Hello Society dishes out some cool tricks that can catapult your blogging and put you on the  Pinterest map. Up until know, I have just been posting my social friendly images attached to my blog content all over social media but with this article, I learned to not only have an exclusive blogging content pinboard but also exclusive images for Pinterst. This entices people to keep coming back for more so you can continue to optimize this avenue further in your marketing. There are also examples of blog content boards that just got my creative juices flowing all over the place.

Pinterest PlacesIn November of 2013, Pinterest introduced Place Pins which as per Pinterest, combines the imgery of a travel magazine with an online map. Social Media Examiner shows you 6 ways in which you can promote your business with this new feature. It also has a tutorial on how to create a Place Board.


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Get Paid What You’re Worth in Your Business

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.

Today’s Q is:

What is your strategy for pricing your offers so that you are getting paid what you’re worth in your business?

Christa Jensen from says:

make more moneyThis is a very important topic and not one easily tackled when you go to set your prices whether it be a service or a product. Having a good strategy to get paid your worth is fundamental to the success of your business.

Everyone should, in my opinion, always follow these 3 strategic yet simple rules:

  1. Know the value of what you are offering. (What would you pay, not what you want people to pay. Choose at least 3 prices).
  2. Research. (Know what your competitors are charging and charge competitively without undercutting your value).
  3. Don’t be afraid to test prices (Start with your highest ideal price and offer discounts using other projected prices).

If you value yourself too low potential clients will not take you seriously. If you do not do your research you will not be effectively competitive. If you test your prices you could increase your sales dramatically (don’t price lower than your lowest valued price).

I have used these rules for years. The training on the value of a successful business I had to learn in the last time I worked in the corporate world stuck with me and now I apply them to what I offer!

Stephanie Watson from Monthly Content Helpers says:

make more moneySince 90 percent of the work I do is content writing, it’s not really very difficult for me to price my offerings. I price by the package or by the article and give discounts for bulk orders. The one thing I had to realize is that I am not competing to be the low cost leader.  I want to work with serious online and offline business owners who want quality content that provides value to their audience. I don’t want to work for people who only care about getting the lowest price without being concerned about quality.

Once I realized all that, it was simple to set my prices. While I have package rates, it all started with knowing how many hours I can work a week and how much I need to earn. That helped me create my goal hourly rate. Then I figured out how long it took me to research and write an average article. That helped me create my package rates. I also learned that if I have 5 or 10 articles to write on the same subject I can do all the research at once, and pass on the discount to my clients.

I receive inquires from all types of business owners seeking content, some do want to pay me less than I am worth. I have figured out my worth and I don’t accept positions that don’t pay me what I have figured out I need and deserve. That’s not to say I didn’t at first.

Sometimes you do have to stick your toes in, do a lot of low paying work in order to build up your resume and confidence. But, after getting experience and building a reputation, people start wanting to hire you for your expertise as much as the tasks that you do. Once that happens, you can command the fees that you deserve.

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

make more moneyI let people know what my highest prices are and then ask for their budget. Then I build a plan for them that might offer less services but still be as valuable for them and their business. The idea is that once I get them more customers, they will be able to afford to scale it up.

My Insights

make more moneyThe topic of money is a sensitive subject for many people and can be a huge stressor for an entrepreneur who may have a predetermined expectation of having the hard work pay off big time. It is particularly pressure provoking when factoring in supporting a family or when frequently entertaining the thought of making enough to pay the bills. Money in general evokes feelings of many colors. So having all things to consider, is there a way to price your products and services so that you’re making what you are actually worth?

A huge point shared by some of the Sparkplugging advisors was the caution of undervaluing yourself. As I agree with this view I also believe pricing may be influenced a bit by your viewpoints and personal relationship with money.  The task of pricing can become quite challenging and it is a task that is of superb importance for the success of your business.

momoneyBeFunky_Slide1.jpgThink about when you had to slap a figure on one of your products or services. Were you ever worried about things like, “My customer won’t be able to afford the price?”  Or, “My customer won’t want to work with me if my price is too high.” Or, what about, “My competition will steal my customer?” These and similar thoughts will most likely be reflected in your pricing decisions.

So what is your worth? In addition to factoring in your internal money dialogue, here is a summary of some of the ideas presented by our Sparkplugging panel. Plus, a few other tidbits I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Have a clear picture of your priorities, personal goals and vision for your business. However, take an honest look at where you’re at right now. If you need money immediately you might have to start on a less than ideal end, work your customer through your sales funnel and scale up as you progress.
  2. Be honest with your value and provide real justification by demonstrating how your product or service will be beneficial to your customer. Don’t assume your customer is clear about the benefits of your product or service.
  3. Figure out who your customer is and what particular market you are serving. I figured this out when I was running my cleaning business several years ago and realized that our service didn’t just provide cleaning. We provided aesthetics too as it included detailing, organizing and de-cluttering living spaces in the homes of people in affluent communities. It was a service that our customers proudly paid a hefty amount for because many of them had a certain image to maintain and they had the financial means to pay for the service.
  4. If your customers are always haggling for discounts, are you working with the right people? For example, my husband, a graphic tee designer and seller, is frequently approached by high school and college kids requesting discounts or freebies. Offering discounts is tempting because it’ll bring in some money and exposure but clearly, not all markets are a good fit for what you have to offer. Choose your customers wisely and consider your positioning and messaging.
  5. Factor in your costs and what you want to earn. You’ll want to cover your expenses plus take in a profit at the end.

Although you may have to consider many other factors in your pricing depending on the type of business you’re in, when it comes to getting paid what you’re worth also take into account your wisdom, skills, and creativity. There is no one in this world that has a replica of all your personal assets and your expression of them.  Therefore, put them to use, accept your worth and gain the ability to proceed with confidence to strut your stuff.  After all, don’t you deserve it?

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Do Homepreneurs Need a Game Plan in Social Media?

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their business from home.

Today’s Q is:

In the ever-changing landscape of social media, what strategies and networks do you find are working best for growing your home-based business?

Stephanie L. Watson from Barry Publishing says:

Social Media for HomepreneursI have found that the very best social media strategy for growing my business is to use all the social media of which I am a part to share information, blog posts, articles, and products that are based on my website or blog.

In other words, everything I post on social media should “technically” go back to my website. I don’t always accomplish that, because face it; social media is a huge distraction. But, it’s the goal and the best way to use social media to promote my business.  (Where did 2 hours go?)

IMO, the entire point of social media marketing is to help me get traffic to my products and services — not get likes, followers, and friends on social media — although that is nice too. I just have to be very careful and limit my time on social media so that I am not too distracted.

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

Social Media for HomepreneursSocial media is tough for me. Since I still work a fulltime job, there’s just not much time left to spend cultivating relationships on social media sites. I have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Pinterest but I only give my time to Facebook and even then, it’s limited. Because of my time constraints, I use social media to advertise in order to build my list instead of depending on it for organic growth. Currently I only use Facebook ads and I pay close attention to how they perform. Each week I try to tweak my ad a little to get better and better conversion rates. I’m still not where I want to be with the conversion but it’s much better than it was when I first started.  Practice and testing makes perfect!

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

Social Media for HomepreneursOne of the on-going conversations I have with my clients is that if they want to be FOUND on-line, they need to BE on-line. Sometimes, though, we forget to take our own advice! That happened to me when someone noticed that I offer all of these done-4-u services to get others found on-line, but I didn’t do it for myself.

They challenged me to do it for myself for 30 days. I only lasted 15, but the results were fantastic. Here is how you can do it too:

  1. Write one blog post on your own website every day.
  2. Create one additional piece of content a day…a mini podcast, an article for an article directory, a video, or a guest blog post.
  3. Syndicate what you’ve created. I use Onlywire to syndicate my material and also selectively share content to groups I belong to on LinkedIn and other networking sites where my clients hang out.

Once you get the hang of it, it takes less than an hour to create your content and syndicate it.

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says:

Social Media for HomepreneursWithout a doubt, the best social network for me has been Facebook.  Not only am I able to bring traffic to my site when I post articles to my Facebook page, I have also built some wonderful relationships with clients and other people in my niche.

I can’t necessarily say that I have a strategy other than being myself.  I make sure to take the time to read each and every comment that is left on my page and interact with the people who follow the page. The experience has been overwhelmingly positive and, even with over 6,000 followers, I feel as though it is an intimate enough setting to get to know people.  I love to post questions on my page and it’s come to the point that, when I post a question, I’ll think to myself, “I wonder what _____” will say about this.  I love it!  It’s like an extended family.

Last year, before I started getting a lot of traffic to my site, I gained many new clients through Facebook.  People got to feel that they knew me and could trust me.  It’s been a great experience and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the depth of some of the connections I’ve made.  This year, I’ve started connecting with other “soulpreneurs” on Facebook and that is really enjoyable as well!

I set up a Twitter account last month and plan to set up Google+ next month.  To be honest though, I’m glad that I’ve spent an entire year focusing solely on Facebook because it’s given me a good, firm foundation in social networking with a fantastic tribe of people that I’ve come to really enjoy.

One thing that I would tell people is not to worry so much about your number of followers.  Focus on building relationships with people and, when others see that you are genuine, your social following will grow organically. [Read more…]

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5 Home-Based Businesses for Animal Lovers

businesses-for-pet-loversThis is a guest post by Holly Reisem Hanna.  Thanks for the great ideas Holly!

It’s no secret that Americans love their pets! In fact according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend an estimated $55.53 billion dollars on their pets in 2013 alone. So if you’ve been looking to launch your own home-based business and you love pets, here are 6 different pet careers to try on for size.

Franchises for Pet Lovers:

Do you want to have your own pet business, but you’re not sure where to start? A pet-based franchise may be the perfect work at home business opportunity for you. A franchise is a turnkey operation where you pay a designated amount upfront and then you’re given all of the tools to launch your very own home-based business.

Here are three different pet-based franchises to check out.

  • Fetch Pet Care is a home-based franchise that offers a variety of services to pets and their owners including: daily small pet visits, private dog walks, in-home overnight sitting, day and evening care, private boarding, pet taxi services, home care, yard cleanup, and medication for pets. Franchise cost $20,295 – $36,500.
  • Doody Calls is a home-based franchise that offers pet waste removal services for residential, commercial, and kitty litter boxes, as well as deodorizing and brown spot treatments. Franchise cost $42,230 – $59,030.
  • Zoom Room is a home-based franchise that offers dog training, agility, obedience, enrichment and puppy classes. As well as socialization events for dogs, such as indoor dog parks and parties. Franchise cost $35,000.

Pet Sitter:

Do you love interacting with animals? Launching your own home-based business as a pet sitter maybe your calling. Pet sitters generally take care of individual’s pets while they are at work or on vacation. Ensuring that pets are well taken care of, pet sitters will deal with feedings, cleanings, elimination needs, as well as nurturing and loving pets. Some added services that you could include with your pet sitting business are dog walking, grooming, or even pet massage.

Direct Sales Consultant:

Would you love to have your own pet boutique, but don’t have the funds to invest in a brick and mortar storefront? No problem. The direct sales industry has made it easier than ever to have your very own home-based business within the pet industry.

Companies like Life’s Abundant and Flint River Ranch offer a home-based opportunity selling pet products like, health and beauty aids, treats, toys, accessories‚ apparel items‚ beds‚ and gifts. As a direct sales consultant you will be paid a commission on each product that you sell. Most direct sales companies will also pay you a small bonus commission from consultants who you refer into the program.

Create Pet Wares:

Do you have a creative flair? Then perhaps designing, creating, and selling custom pet gear online is your calling. From pet carriers, animal beds, embellished tags and collars to clothing, toys, and feeding bowls – pet owners love to spoil their pets with unique products. To get started, use an e-commerce store platform like Volusion, Etsy, or Shopify. Once you create your account, you upload your photos and descriptions for your products, hit publish and you’re ready to go.

Gourmet Pet Treats:

Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Then consider starting your own gourmet pet treat business. Pet owners love to give their pets the very best from dog biscuits and speciality decorated treats, to gourmet cakes, natural chews, and kitty kibble. You could even specialize your treats for dogs and cats with special dietary needs. Set up your own website or use an e-commerce platform and you’re ready to start selling your custom treats.

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21 Home Business Resources You Can’t Miss


Could your home based business use some help? A little jolt to make you jump for joy?

We thought so. :)

Here it is, all free and all organized. Start clicking!

How to Start a Home Based Business

10 Signs that You are Ready to Start a Home Based Business – How to know if it’s truly time to hang up those shiny work shoes and trade them for your favorite flip flops.

Top 10 Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear – Our all-time most popular article here at Sparkplugging, and with good reason. It’s a starter list of ideas anyone can use to get up and running in a home biz.

10 More Work at Home Internet Business Ideas You Can Do in Your Fuzzy Bunny Slippers – In case you prefer the mental imagery of cute rabbit feet over scratchy long johns (or whatever usually snuggles your undercarriage).

The Truth about Starting a Home Based Business – And the truth shall set you free!

Find the Right Home-Based Business to Start – With so many ideas floating around in your noggin, how will you know which one is the best? This guide will get you started on the right track.

How to Quit Your Job to Run a Home Based Business

10 Signs that You Should Quit Your Job to Work at Home – Wondering whether you should stick it to your boss? This article will help you decide.

How to Leave Your Job & Take the Freelance Plunge in 6 Months – A great mid- to long-term strategy to get you out of the cubicle and onto your living room couch.

How to Achieve Home Based Business Success

Top Ten Key Success Ingredients for Home Based Businesses – What really goes into making up a successful business for work at home folks.

10 Free Resources to Start or Grow a Home Based Business – Because this list can’t possibly hold them all. Hop on over to that post for even more helpful links.

A Productive and Organized Home Office – How to create a work space that actually helps you work.

Why do Entrepreneurs Need Inspiration? – Thoughts on the power of inspiration in determining your level of professional success.

The Virtual Assistant A Team: The Helpers to Business Success – How and where to assemble an awe-inspiring team of VAs to help you automate as much of your own business processes as possible.

How to Overcome Stress and Failure in Home Based Business

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Your Home Based Business is Failing – We all struggle with feelings of failure at some point. Here are 10 great questions to ask yourself to help you respond to and overcome those feelings.

Top Ten Working from Home Mistakes – Do you make any of these errors in your work at home business?

More Tips for Home Based Businesses

18 Amazing Articles to Help You Work at Home – Yes, even more articles to help you out! We’re pulling out all the stops with this article. :)

How to Show Up in the Google Local Business Directory – This can be a great way to strengthen your brand, increase traffic to your business website, and grow your business.

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5 Ways Calendars Can Help Market Your Business

When we think Calendars, we often think our personal calendars, using it to manage our promotional calendar or share with our virtual assistants or project partners. But it doesn’t always have to be that ‘dry’. Many marketers online use PDF’s, videos and audios to get their message out, hope they turn viral which eventually brings traffic back to their web sites and their name in front of others. This method works and works well. Guess what? Content can be in other formats too like calendars.Calendar

Here are a few example ideas I came up with that you can use a shared Google Calendar to help promote your web site or business.

  • If you are a speaker, publish a speaking schedule. You are probably already doing that through Google Calendar already. Maybe you are publishing the calendar to your website. If you are, people can also subscribe to the calendar via Google Calendars or iCal. Promote and publish those links too.
  • Is your site or blog all about soccer? Create a calendar around the different soccer matches either around the world or the locality that your readers are most interested in. Let them know how they can subscribe to that calendar.
  • Maybe your visitors are mostly business people or marketers. How about creating a calendar that shows when quarterly taxes are due, a reminder when to start their holiday marketing planning and when to start promoting? Enter the dates and weeks of holidays and observances they can use for promotions.
  • Similarly, if your visitors are moms, how about a calendar with suggestions of places to visit, things to do, seasonal reminders or shopping and menu plans.
  • If you are a coach. Create a calendar around a program let’s say, a 60 day organizing program that users can subscribe to and they be reminded or things they need to do each day or each week to help them move along.

Use your imagination. Think of the calendar as a free reminder tool for your visitors. Remember that you can enter a link in Google Calendar entries. This can encourage subscribed users to click through to visit your site, an offer or simply lead people to read old but timely posts.

Don’t think it would work? This is the third year I am creating a calendar for bloggers of the many blogging opportunities throughout the year. It is very popular and I get people asking when it will be updated each year. Great tool to keep you in front of your audience at all times through the year as well. You can get a PDF copy of this calendar as an example for your own project. This year, I will be creating both PDF and a online ‘live’ version using Google Calendar.

Image courtesy of yalcin Eren

Lynette enjoys discovering new ways to use technology or new technologies to use in a business and in turn help her clients apply them. You can find also Lynette at her blog, Twitter and Facebook

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Who Says Spreadsheets Can’t Be Sexy?

It has been so many years since I’ve used Excel. These days, OpenOffice Calc is used exclusively around here. Still, I can’t deny there are some pretty cool things about Excel. Not saying Calc is not a good tool, there are just a lot of cool features and functions that I miss. Also, documentation and help is a little sparse with Ooo. I’m far from a spreadsheet guru. I can create formulas in spreadsheets and use it to help tabulate a bunch of stuff – my household budget is run on a spreadsheet, but that’s about it. Guess I just never found the reason to chart stuff until today…Pointy Haired Dilbert

After paying a visit to Pointy Haired Dilbert’s blog. WHOA! Now this guy can chart! From cool management dashboards to project management to creating a Twitter client with Excel? Now that is something interesting.

He’s also got a bunch of downloadable templates you can grab and utilize for your business. Kinda want to make me finally break down and get a copy of Excel. Well… maybe I’ll just go make a dashboard. That’s something I’ve found that I need to keep me on track lately.

Lynette enjoys discovering new ways to use technology or new technologies to use in a business and in turn help her clients apply them. You can find also Lynette at her blog, Twitter and Facebook

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