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Is Your Home Business Giving You The Lifestyle You Want?

If running a business from home is the key to lifestyle freedom, why are so many parents who run a business from home feeling like they are on a never ending hamster wheel?

Let’s explore some of the reasons:

Working for yourself should be the ultimate in success, freedom, fulfillment and creating the lifestyle you want for yourself.

If the above statement is true (and I believe it is), then it begs the question “why is it not the case for so many people?”

Looking round there are many parents running a business from home facing very similar challenges – working much longer hours then they want to, not hitting the profit levels they want, family life compromised, relationships suffering, not time for really living life – to name but a few! Why is this?

Well, the reasons can be many and complex. Different contributing factors can apply to each individual and their unique circumstances. Having said that, there are things you can do to put your business on the path to providing the lifestyle you want for yourself.

Here are some suggestions for getting started:

• Stop seeing your business and lifestyle as separate entities.
• Clearly define what your ideal lifestyle looks like, with no limitations.
• Include your lifestyle vision when creating your business model.
• Ensure your business strategy and action plans are tailored to achieve your lifestyle goals.
• Put in place measurement methods to show the impact your business is having in creating your ideal lifestyle. Always use measurement tools to drive your decisions and actions.

Now, these tips make the assumption that you regularly review your business vision, strategy, performance goals and action plans. If you don’t do these things, that is your starting point right there! These things are key to consistent and sustainable business results.

The point I am making is this:

If you want to achieve Business Success & Lifestyle Freedom you have to start by designing it.

I can’t stress highly enough the importance of this – create a vision that incorporates both your business and lifestyle that is clear, specific, measurable and really lights a fire in your belly.

Working for yourself is your key to lifestyle freedom – use it wisely!

What will you do to stop being a slave to your home business and use it to support you having the family life and lifestyle you truly want? It is important to remember that it is totally within your control to mould your home business to support the family life and lifestyle you really want.

Your Vietnam Travel Plans Won’t Be Complete Without These 3 Spots

If you are reading this article, you have probably decided to go to Vietnam. If this is the case, you have made a great decision. When it comes to exploring a relatively pristine, unspoiled, and uncongested part of Southeast Asian, you can’t go wrong with Vietnam. It has an amazing and rare mix of relatively pristine attractions and decent infrastructure with less congestion. While many people often think of Thailand whenever the phrase ‘Southeast Asia’ is mentioned, many veteran travelers to that part of the world are in for a treat if they check out Vietnam. Here are the three travel spots that will complete any Vietnam travel plans you may have.

Halong Bay

The legend about this beautiful coastline is that the gods sent dragons to help humanity in its fight against an enemy. Once the war concluded, the family of dragons set out to sleep in the area where Halong Bay is located. It appears that there might be some truth to this fantastic story. If anything, there is definitely something magical about the beauty of Halong Bay. Its many limestone islands topped by a rich green canopy seem to float above the water. There is a definite otherworldly quality to Halong Bay that won’t be lost on any traveler to this part of the world. One of the biggest eye-popping elements of Halong Bay is the sheer number of islands and ‘floating’ rocks. There is a lot of, them and they all add to the mysterious beauty of the Halong Bay coastline.


Stepping through the narrow streets and exploring the riverside mansions of Hanoi are like stepping into a time machine. Checking out its pagodas and other ancient buildings, you are quickly transported to Chinese Empire-era Vietnam. Vietnam used to be under heavy Chinese influence and Hanoi stores the physical proof of this. There are quite a number of Chinese-style buildings and structures in Hanoi that harken back to an Imperial past. Checking out French era riverside mansions convey Vietnam’s more recent history as a French colony. Explore the history of Vietnam by visiting Hanoi and complete Vietnam travel plans.

The Mekong River

Snaking through Cambodia and emptying past Vietnam, the Mekong is the lifeline of Southern Vietnam. This mighty river offers many great vistas and the sunset views along its banks are something else. Make sure to include a stop by the Mekong River in your Vietnam travel plans. In fact, you should make it a whole day affair. It is well-worth it since there are just so many things you can do by the river. Naturally, you can swim, boat, and engage in all sorts of riverside water sports. You can also try fishing and see if you get lucky and land some famous Mekong River catfish. Another fun thing you can try on the Mekong is to rent a boat and check out the nearby fishing towns along the river. Talk about cultural immersion and going the extra mile to get an appreciation for local flavor and culture.

Online Education Replacing Brick and Mortar Colleges

The internet has revolutionized the way we do business in the world today. It has also changed the way the world communicates and how we organized our days. Statistics show that 77% of American population, about 240 million of us uses the internet. China, having the largest population in the world, has 420 million internet users, which is about 32% of their population. The numbers are increasing by the day worldwide.

Bill Gates, the man who contributed vastly to the internet world made a comment in August 2010 at the Techonomy Conference. He said, education today is inefficient and it is about to go through decoupling by the internet. He is super-optimistic about the internet changing the way we are educating ourselves and our children.

Internet is definitely able to influence the education platform. I believe, online education (for K-12 and also university education) will make education more affordable, more relevant and more effective in today’s changing world economy.
Burck Smith, an internet entrepreneur started Straighterline University, an online college in Virginia. A whole freshman year is only $999 per student. They have options where student can take per course basis, which is $99 per month plus $39 for every course. This is college education at the cheapest and you may not be able to get these affordable prices at a Brick and Mortar College.

Straighterline courses includes free live, on demand instruction, course advisors and tutoring. They also have agreement with more than twenty colleges in the United States were students are allowed to transfer credits and continue in a more specialized education in a brick and mortar college or another online college.

This system proves to save thousands of dollars for students. It is a great way to prevent student from getting into college debt while pursuing a college education.

Our daughter is currently doing part-time online high school and part-time brick and mortar high school (at the local high school). We found this arrangement to be really beneficial because:

1. She gets more done at home on her online school as she gets to schedule her time.
2. She is graduating one year earlier than her peers.
3. She gets to use technology for her education that most brick and mortar student are not using. For example, she uses Tok Box to do video conferences with her fellow online classmates. She also uses Elluminate for online discussions with her teachers, administrators and fellow students.
4. She get more one on one time with her assigned online teachers where she is able to ask questions and pinpoint to her specific needs.
5. She realized that online school subjects are more in depth compared to her brick and mortar school.
6. She is very familiar with the internet and the online community for the purposes of doing school work.

Even at a high school level we see quite a vast difference in educating our daughter. With the advancement of internet and the online communities, we see more advantages than disadvantages in online education.

Business Week reports on November 8th, 2010, that 66 percent of universities and colleges surveyed by National Center for Education Statistics, offer online education programs. Just to name a few of the schools surveyed: University of Nebraska, University of Florida, The State University of New York and Penn State University.

Are you still thinking if online education is real education?

Or are you thinking that it is a more inferior form of college education?

How about getting a college education free and clear? No debt, giving students the freedom to choose. Having freedom to choose where they live, where they work and who they work with?

What Are Some Risks and Issues Around My Company Setting Up a Customer Finance-Leasing Program?

Many firms benefit significantly from either setting up on their own or partnering with a third part to set up a customer financing program for their products. Key benefits are increased sales, cash flow, customer loyalty, etc.But are there also some risks for the company to be aware of also – Of course there are and let’s look at some of those risks.We would also point out that these risks are in fact the same ones taken on by independent leasing firms also.Foremost from a risk perspective is that fact the customer financing program will be viewed by the customers as the one and same as your company. Therefore customer service and financing ability are in fact now part of your firm’s reputation.Companies may also find that the borrowing costs to set up a program are in fact higher than their normal business operating costs. Naturally the method in which the finance division is set up also affects the debt levels of your company. No business wants to fail because it took on higher debt in an effort to in fact help their customers!On a long term basis company lenders might view your firms foray into customer financing as an additional risk factor, which they might try to compensate on by imposing restrictions such as additional covenants, requests for more equity into the firm, etc. The bottom line is simply that setting up a customer financing scenario may in fact affect your own firm’s ability to borrow.If your firm is larger then analysts and firms looking at your firm might in fact be raising issues and perceptions around which business you are actually in, i.e. your products, or the financing of those products. Business owners and financial managers will always want to ensure that ultimately they are sticking to their core business model and philosophies. If your firm becomes too enamored by financing you possibly run the risk of total business failure. There are numerous cases in financial history where firms collapsed because of the shenanigans of the finance division.We have heard the term in business ‘sticking to our knitting’, which of course simply means that management needs unique skills to run a business, and those skills are different in financing. Owners and managers related to the customer financing division must have strong skills in financial sales, structuring, and credit… Naturally we are also inferring that additional skilled personnel ultimately must be hired.No company every wants to look back in hindsight and say that if failed or stumbled because efforts and funds went into financing, as opposed to r&d, marketing, staff, and product growth. Do not let a customer finance program become an obstacle to your ultimate business successBusiness owners should ensure that there is good communications between the main operating company and the customer financing division – clear goals and philosophies should be set out re the function of such a customer finance program.In summary the benefits of offering financing to your customer are very obvious, and proven true by some of the largest and most successful companies in the world – but all you have to do is to do it right! Ensure your firm is aware of the risks and challenges and monitor your customer financing program on an ongoing basis to ensure you are not straying from your core business model.