Benefits Of A Shorter Workweek

4DayI always smile when I see posts on social media from people anxiously awaiting the weekend. Sometimes you see “TGIF” comments. Other times, the doom and gloom appears on Sunday night when my friends are preparing for Monday morning. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have these Monday-Friday requirements.

A recent article, titled, Arguments For A Shorter Workweek, discussed how the 4-day workweek benefits everyone. Two points really made sense to me, and reiterated the freedom I have as a business owner.

The first key benefit is that it makes people healthier. The U.K.’s leading health industry group stated that “the five-day workweek is causing people too much stress and that Britain should instead switch to a four-day workweek.” Other countries have already adopted this work schedule and have found it to be extremely beneficial. Heath issues cited to support this are lower blood pressure readings and reduced anxiety and depression.

The second benefit is the ability to focus better. Co-founder of 37signals, Jason Fried, wrote that a reduced schedule workweek, “makes people more focused on getting things done in the limited time they have. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.”

I’m not going to say that I only work 32 hours a week. Some weeks I work less. Others, more. I enjoy the options and freedom of choosing when and how long I will work. Time flexibility is one of the most important benefits of being a business owner. And it has certainly encourage me to focus, plan, and achieve more in less time.

When you own your own company, you can control the number of hours your work. If you are a home-based businesses have even greater options to set your own hours because you don’t have set times within which your company is operating (compared to a store-front).

Owning a home inventory business has enabled me to eliminate the structure of the 5-day, 40-hour workweek. I determine when and how long. My stress level is lower; my freedom for relaxation is under my control. If you own your own business, consider this shorter workweek. If you’re thinking about becoming a business owner, these are great reasons to act on this dream, and act on it now.


8 Questions You Should Ask Before Investing in a Business

8Baby Boomers are finding themselves out of work and not being able to get a new job. College grads are having difficulty landing a job in the field for which they just spent 4 (or more) years studying. Many retirees took part-time jobs and now cannot find one.

What do all of these people have in common – other than being out of work or not finding the right job? Many are choosing to start a business of their own. They have decided that business ownership can give them the opportunity to take control of their future.

Baby Boomers and retirees are most likely looking for a business that can be part-time, meaning they can work just the number of hours they choose per week or month. Others will be seeking a full-time business, and often want flexible hours. There are a plethora of business models available today to help the aspiring entrepreneur (no matter what their age is) find a business that is suitable for them.

Start-up kit, license agreement, business package, or franchise

There is always the option to start from scratch without anyone’s help or support. Other options, which give various levels of assistance either just at start-up, or continuing through years and years of owning the business. Start-up kits are normally in the low hundreds of dollars, offering just enough to get started (thus, “start-up” kit) and then you’re on your own. There are licensing agreements and business packages that provide various degrees of assistance from being very similar to a start-up kit to offering features and benefits that are similar to most franchises. And then there is the franchise industry. The investment is normally quite a bit higher for a franchise than any of the other business models.

8 questions to ask yourself

  1. Am I looking for a business that creates a product or do I want to offer a service?
  2. Do I have the funds to start my business?
  3. Would it cost more to do it all on my own, or is the business investment less expensive in the long run?
  4. Do I know what it will cost in addition to the initial investment?
  5. Is the owner/manager of the business I’m interested in available to answer my questions?
  6. What is my time frame of when I want to be ready to do business?
  7. How much assistance do I need/want?
  8. Will this business give me the flexibility/hours I want to work?

These 8 questions will help you create a clear picture of what type of business model is a good fit for you. The options are endless!


The Best Use of Your Time

timeismoneyMany small companies begin as a sole proprietorship or two-person operation (fondly called mom-and-pops). As the company grows, a need for additional help is realized. This business owner who used to wear the operations, bookkeeping, marketing, and sales hats now must decide who will help with these tasks. A choice whether to become an employer or to hire companies that provide some of these services looms overhead.

Often times business owners have a variety of skills, but common sense must be used when making the decision of whether to do it yourself or hire someone else. An option often considered is to outsource specific tasks rather than hire an employee because the sub-contractors 1) don’t call in sick or go on vacation, 2) can be used on an as-needed or contracted basis, and 3) don’t need training because they are the professionals in their field.


Well-known purchased services are cleaning, administrative, marketing, and accounting. Are your bills and invoices processed in a timely manner? If not, then a bookkeeping or accounting service would be a good opportunity for you to eliminate service charges and also get faster payment on your receivables. Are you still maintaining your own website and trying to write a newsletter, but finding both are suffering from lack of attention? A marketing or web design firm could be the answer.

Other services that are becoming more common are professional organizers, concierge services, commercial and residential inventory services and delivery services. Do you spend way too much time trying to remember where you put things? Then maybe it’s time to hire someone to bring functionality into your office. Are you spending too much time delivering your product instead of creating marketing materials? A courier service could solve that issue. Do you do monthly or annual inventories and find you’d rather be out selling instead of counting – or have you lost track of your company assets, where they are stored, when they will need to be budgeted for replacement, etc.? An asset documentation company could most likely do it faster and provide the updates in a more timely manner.

The value of the outsourced service

A small business owner sent Hartman Inventory this letter, which speaks to the issues all small business owners face, and validates that it isn’t always just the dollars that need to be considered:

I wanted to tell you briefly about how I learned the value of your services. As a new business owner, I am constantly plagued with where to put the few dollars and cents I have into business related expenses. I was told about your company, and thought – wow – what a great idea! As I looked at the costs, I ignorantly thought I could just do it myself and save a few bucks. As time went on and I needed to get an accurate inventory, I really started to feel the pressure come tax time. So, I had my part time sales person work on the hand written inventory over a two week period. It cost me hundreds of dollars in wages, plus time lost that could have been spent generating business (which has exponential value). Had I spent the time to figure out just how valuable of a service this is and how incredibly cost effective it is, I would have made a far better business decision. Rest assured, I will not be making that mistake again.

Often the answer is hiring a third party service provider who can get the job done more professionally, in less time, and you’ll have benefited financially by making that choice. The next time you have this type of decision to make, ask yourself: Is this a wise use of my time?

52% Want To Own A Business

OpenBusiness ownership. Own my own business. Start a business. Be my own boss. However you say it, being a business owner is a dream that many people have. According to a recent survey conducted by Refresh Leadership, 52% of their readers want to own a business of their own.  This is an overwhelming number of people holding onto that dream.

Personally, I had that goal since I was a teen but didn’t act on it until I was in my mid-50′s. How unfortunate that I waited so long. A couple reasons I didn’t pursue it is that I let life take me for a ride, instead of me taking control. I got married and had children. I used that as an excuse not to step up and focus on my goal. Other “comfort” excuses included that I had too many other expenses, kids would be going to college, kids were in college, etc. The same is evident in the Refresh Leadership survey, where 10% said they don’t own a business because it is not financially feasible.

Pursuing the dream of business ownership

I finally did pursue the almost 40-year-old dream, and took action. It was tough, but well worth the effort. There were more questions than answers, more uncertainties and feelings of confidence, more downs and ups … trust me! I wish I had someone to help guide me, someone to share their knowledge when I was a novice business owner. In fact, the exact quote from the survey’s 52% sums it up nicely: “I’d like to start my own business, but I don’t know where to start.”

They are going through the same issue I went through, which is what encouraged me to create Nationwide Inventory Professionals. This Business Package and Licensing Agreement to help others start a business. The home inventory industry is growing, and is now being called “asset inventory” quite often because business owners, renters, and even RV owners are learning of – and acting on – the need to have a list of all their personal assets (belongings).

The backbone of a healthy economy

Refresh Leadership’s article stated, “Small businesses are the backbone of a healthy economy, so it’s a good sign that such a large majority of respondents are interested in starting their own business.” I completely agree, and am pleased to be in a position to mentor those interested in our industry while we help them begin quickly and professionally.

The Modified Entrepreneur

EntrepreneursIn today’s economic environment, there is continued talk about the benefits of being an entrepreneur. The uncertainly of whether a job will be there tomorrow is one concern as more companies cut back.  People tend to hold onto their job, which lessens the opportunity for others to find work. For those who are are miserable in their current career, they aren’t looking to find a different job for fear they will not find another. Worse yet, if they do switch jobs, and become the “last in, first out” employee, they might be without employment very quickly.

All of these situations are encouraging many to become entrepreneurs. With a growing interest in self-employment, there are also groups of entrepreneurs who are taking on sub-categories, if you will.

Entrepreneurial categories

Many entrepreneurs who are in business alone are often referred to as solo-preneurs. They have chosen to embark on a business venture on their own, having full control over all decisions, creativity, and direction in which they take their company.

A new one I heard recently is PT-preneur. This was described as a person who is starting a business, but doing so on a part-time basis while the company is established. The are working on building their future, on a limited basis, while keeping their corporate job as a safety net until they are completely prepared to move forward on their own.

Identifying the initiative of a woman entrepreneur, she-preneur  and mom-preneur have been used to label this group of female go-getters. (I wonder if anyone has come up with the category of man-preneur yet.)

A term used to label himself, one of our licensees declared that he sees himself  as a modified entrepreneur. This as a perfect way to describe his place in the business world. His reasoning is that most people see a business owner as one who owns an established business, and an entrepreneur as one who starts from nothing and creates a business.

The word “modified” was chosen because our business package, similar to a franchise, has the idea, processes, marketing material, etc., in place, but he was responsible for building the business. The benefit of having the tools provided to him enabled him to concentrate on  networking and growing his client and prospect lists while the behind-the-scenes tasks were completed for him. Therefore, he sees himself as an entrepreneur – but a modified one.

Modified entrepreneur

The primary advantage that a modified entrepreneur has is that you can move into the business quite quickly compared to a true entrepreneurial approach that has an extremely long and difficult start-up phase. It’s reasonable to begin developing the business immediately, rather than spending months creating a website and other marketing materials, establishing processes and procedures, creating correspondence and worksheets, etc.

Rather than go through the trial-and-error of business development, and suffer through the long learning curve that many entrepreneurs experience, an alternative is to choose to be a modified entrepreneur. You can take your idea, and receive help from someone who already has this business model established.

So if the full entrepreneurship idea is a little frightening to you, consider a franchise or comprehensive business package/licensing agreement to help you get started. These options give you the freedom of business ownership, the pride of building a business, and the excitement that you created something that is yours! And at the same time, you have a built-in mentor to help guide you.

Benefits of Being a Home-based Business

homebasedMany have the idea that being a home-based business is easy, luxurious, and unstructured. I won’t argue that point, because I know some who operate exactly that way. Unfortunately, they don’t have that home-based business very long.

They picture of sitting around all day working only when you feel like it is a myth! Owning a business, whether home-based or off-site at another location, is a lot of work and dedication. And discipline. No matter where your desk is, you still need to make sales calls, respond to current customers, attend meetings, and tend to your marketing, financials, and other administrative responsibilities.

Since you need to still do all of the tasks required of any business owner, what are the benefits of being a home-based business? When I asked a number of others who work from home this questions, two reasons – or benefits – were universal in their answers.

Financial benefits

There are many financial benefits when you are a home-based business. When your house is your principal place of doing business, the percentage of your work area can be claimed as a tax deduction. Additionally, that percentage of insurance, utilities, and other household expenses are also legal deductions on your income tax return. Of course, before claiming any deductions, talk to your CPA to ensure you complying with the IRS regulations.

Other financial benefits mentioned were:

  • not needing to have such a large “professional” wardrobe
  • not eating out for lunch
  • gas savings from not driving to and from work each day

Consider just the lunch savings. You will still need to each lunch, so your home food expenses will go up. To make the math easy, let’s say $10 to eat out, and $5 to eat at home. The $5 per day difference x 20 work days per month is a $100 per month savings. The annual savings realized just on lunches could amount to $1200! We won’t even talk about gasoline prices!

Lifestyle benefits

Though money is extremely important, that topic was discussed with a serious, business-like approach. But when the lifestyle benefits were shared, an emotional flavor entered the conversation. Businessmen and business women alike enthusiastically ticked off a long list of why they chose to work from home.

  • not commuting gives an extra hour or more per day at home
  • more opportunity to set my own schedule
  • available to accommodate the family schedules
  • more time with their children
  • more time with their spouse
  • convenience to mix household chores while working, giving more free time
  • not needing a babysitter when the kids are sick and can’t go to school
  • when sick, can still work when necessary and won’t risk spreading the virus
  • more freedom to … (work out when I want, take a few hours to myself when needed, set my own schedule, etc.)

There are many more benefits mentioned, but you get the idea. Of course, some businesses cannot be home-based. However, if you can be, it is certainly a consideration. If you’re looking to start a business, this is a good list to review while you make your decision. If you are just looking for a home-based business to start, consider a home inventory service.

The Bases Are Loaded

baseballBaseball season is well under way. I love to hear the crack as the bat hits the ball. Cheering brings the energy level up to where you can actually feel it.

While watching a game recently, I was considering all the components that make a winning team. Without these elements, there would be fewer hits, fewer runs, and fewer successes. The successful teams, in any sport, are made up of a strategic game plan, excellent equipment, experienced coaches, and players with a love for the game.

Not unusual, my mind wandered over to the business world – to our Business Package and Licensing Agreement – and I thought about the commonalities among sports and business.

Strategic game plan

A business plan determines how you’re going to be successful. Written specifically for the home inventory industry, it is your game plan. The 3-year financial projections are prepared with all formulas verified. You just plug in your goals and estimated expenses and you’re all set. Just like in baseball, when your plan needs adjusted, the format allows for these changes.

Excellent equipment

There is no baseball without a ball, bat, and glove. The best teams have the best equipment. I am proud of the equipment we provide for our “team.” An excellent website, professionally written electronic newsletters, a manual that includes proven processes and procedures, templates of marketing materials and business documents, and certification by the National Inventory Certification Association to receive designation as a Certified Inventory Specialist.

Experienced coaches

Entering our second decade of providing home and business inventories, we share this knowledge and experience with our Licensees. Our job is not to tell them how to do their business because they are independent business owners. Rather, we coach them using our experience to help them make the right decisions for their company.  This ongoing mentoring, sharing what we’ve learned over the years, helps them implement marketing and sales ideas that fit their needs and preferences.

Players with a love for the game

This is my favorite part of the game – working with people who have a love for this industry. Before they invest, we discover what draws them to this industry and why they want to start a home and business inventory company. Almost every one of them replies in a similar manner – to help others and/or to educate the need for this information. Many have experienced a loss due to theft or disaster, or have helped a friend or relative try to recover. This first-hand knowledge of the difficulty in financial recovery is a great catalyst to share and educate, and ultimately be able to provide a professional inventory for their clients.

These key components create a winning combination – on the ball field and in business.

What Makes You So Special

coffeecupA fellow entrepreneur and I were engaged in a conversation about small business. Over our cup of coffee, we talked about what makes one company thrive, another just survive, and still another find they have to close their doors – all being in the same industry. We had a lot of conjectures, most being people-related. We agreed that it’s the leader, the one who customers and prospective customers talk to that make a big difference.

His next question to me was, “What makes YOU so special?”

Best in the industry

I immediately stated that we have the most comprehensive business package in our industry. And, of course, I began to click off all the features and benefits:

  • professionally created logo
  • thorough manual of business processes and procedures
  • downloadable templates
  • quality website
  • electronic newsletter distributed for our Licensees
  • certification with the National Inventory Certification Association

… as I took a breath to go on, he stopped me. He then said, “This is all well and good, but what makes YOU so special?”

What makes YOU so special?

Of course, I said, “Everything I just listed. And there’s more.” The smile on his face told me this isn’t what he wanted to hear. He made a great point. He made me realize that what makes Nationwide Inventory professionals so special is us! Wow! That was truly a wow moment!

That’s not a bragging statement. We have been in this industry for 10 years. We have learned through trail and error. We spent months creating our business systems. And we now share that knowledge with our Licensees without a limit on the amount of time they need us. When they call, we are there for them, helping them on industry questions as well as small business coaching. That is what makes us so special.

No one else in the industry does that.  What about you – what makes YOU so special?

It Is A Gray Area

SrPreneursEntrepreneurship is a topic that is being discussed at an increasing rate. The main reason for this is the forced early retirements and loss of jobs. Most of those in their 50s and 60s have difficulty finding new employment. Some turn to business ownership because they can find a job, while others see their loss as a true opportunity to own their own business.

The reason for not have a job is the same, the reason for starting your own business is the same. The difference is this: is this new role as an entrepreneur a sad thing that life just pushed on you, or an fantastic opportunity to finally be able to do what you’ve always thought of doing?

I don’t remember where I first saw the word seniorpreneur, but this certainly captures the Boomer generation. Typically, start-ups were for younger age groups – those who had the ability to “risk it all” or who have the time to develop their endeavor into a successful business.

Choosing self-employment

When members of this generation find themselves unemployed, or so miserably unhappy that they want to leave their job, the choice for business ownership is often seriously considered. Key questions to ask yourself during the decision-making process are:

  • How physically demanding is the work?
  • What is the initial investment?
  • What is the ROI?
  • How flexible are the hours? (You certainly want to have time to enjoy life!)
  • Can this be a full-time or part-time business?

 Time is a consideration

This generation is healthier than previous generations, living longer, and – by choice – working longer. Therefore, even those in their mid-to late 50′s or early 60′s can reasonably plan to devote 15 to 20 years to their new business. However, it is a good idea to start quickly and with a plethora of assistance if you’re entering an industry of which you are not familiar. For instance, the Nationwide Inventory Professionals business package and licensing agreement provides a comprehensive marketing package, on-going mentoring and coaching, memberships in other organizations for additional support, a manual of proven, successful processes and procedures, and a CD of formatted, downloadable templates. You can be ready to do business within 30 days!

I am in my early 60′s and don’t plan to ever fully retire. I enjoy what I’m doing, so why stop? The home inventory business is an ideal option for the seniorpreneur. I can’t think of a better way to keep your mind sharp than to own a business. If you are seeking an industry that gives you the satisfaction of helping others – often in one of the most difficult times of their lives – and also to gain peace of mind, the home inventory industry could be a good fit.

Business owner, entrepreneur, seniorpreneur, or solo-preneur. No matter what term you prefer, the numbers are increasing. Are you ready to own your own business, take control of your revenue, and have a say whether you work or not? The future is yours – whether you’re in your 20′s or 70′s. Live it the way you choose!

15 Reasons People Start a Business

15In my last blog post, I shared the link to an article in the Huffington Post, titled “10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014.” Thinking about James Altucher’s reasons to quit and/or start a business, I believe he is spot on when he discussed the dwindling middle class, lack of jobs, and no control over your personal revenue when you depend on someone else to supply the paycheck.

Some of the reasons my wife, Cindy, and I started our home inventory business in 2004 were loss of her job and an inability to find another job that she wanted, my unhappiness with the job I had, and wanting more control over our time, rather than working when we were told we had to. Since her downsizing wasn’t the first we had experienced over our 30 years in the corporate environment, we knew that it would be a possibility again and again over the coming years. We were in our early 50′s at the time, and that also reinforced our desire to take control of our life. We knew that as we aged, we’d have a higher chance of being removed from someone else’s payroll, and also increase our chances of not being able to find another place of employment.

We also created a company to help others start a business, which has given me many opportunities to discuss the why with others. Here are 15 of the most common reasons people stated they choose to be self-employed:

15 reasons people start a business

  1. Be my own boss
  2. Pride of being a business owner
  3. I want the challenge to be self-sufficient
  4. To have financial freedom
  5. To have more time for my family
  6. Added income stream to current business
  7. It’s my back-up plan while I keep my full-time job
  8. To keep me active after I retire
  9. To create a business to work with my wife/husband/kids
  10. Be seen as a leader in my community
  11. I can’t depend on someone else; I need control over my personal revenue
  12. To create something I can pass on to my children
  13. To have passive income when I retire
  14. I want control over my time
  15. I want to be an example for my children that you can do whatever you choose to do.

What is your reason? Please share!

Discover your hidden entrepreneur.

Request More Info


Home Inventory – A Guide for Homeowners and Renters

Home Inventory – A
Guide for Homeowners and Renters

The many reasons for a home inventory, plus a do-it-yourself guide and templates.


A Business Guide to Asset Inventory

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory
Protecting your company assets.

Copyright 2014 Nationwide Inventory Professionals, LLC © 2013. All Rights Reserved.