Cyberdosh is about all the virtual money saving ways I can think of that might help you make the decision to start earning a living from home. Notice that I said earning a 'living' and not earning an income. I shall elaborate on this major difference soon.

By harnessing the great powers of the Internet and World Wide Web, setting up your own home-based business could be more affordable than you think. If you don't fancy yourself as a frugal entrepreneur (forever after known to us as a frugaleur) then value your own abilities and skills and trade them with other like-minded individuals to earn a living, not just simple cash! At most, we need some postage money!

There are no fancy letters after my name, I'm neither a business guru nor a specialist in any particular field (other than a frugal living expert), there's no fantastic success story (to date), nor are there any scanned copies of bulging bank account statements. All I have is an unquenchable thirst to succeed in earning enough to support Frugaldom and the wish to help others realise their own potential.

My blogsare a culmination of years of experience in working alongside like-minded others, supporting efforts at garnering success and, on several occasions, witnessing downfalls. Oh yes, I have seen far more failures than successes over the past twenty-five years, but those are the sources of my experience and I have learned something from each and every one of them. To all those people involved, I thank you for having the guts to have tried, failed, got back up, dusted yourselves down and tried again!

If you are reading this, we can safely assume you already have access to the Internet. Now, let's get our heads together and compare notes on exactly what, if anything, is available for frugal entrepreneurs.

Do you have a need to succeed?

Generating an income from a home-based office (or garden shed or room corner) is probably the most cost-effective, frugal and rewarding of jobs I can think of, but we need to remember that it is a job and that our time is important if we want to succeed.

Time management is a skill best practised from the start, especially if you are juggling building your frugal business empire with running a busy household and/or looking after a family.

Many would say that time is money, but I'm not one of those people.

My time is NOT money, my time is my own to spend as I please. (This is a problem.)

It pleases me to write, therefore I write.

Writing does not pay all of the bills, all of the time. (This is another problem.)

I am almost certain that any serious entrepreneur will confirm the fact that pursuing an enjoyable hobby is not the way to go when you need to earn money right now! A steady stream of revenue is essential, so never be scared to chase away anything that interferes with your work schedule! Anything that drains your existing resources needs to be stemmed as soon as possible. (If you are looking for ways of saving money or beating debt, join us in the Frugal forums.)

Cyberdosh is about combining skills, hobbies and enjoyable pass times to create a sound foundation on which to build a small, profitable or  self-sustainable business. The big difference is that, as frugal entrepreneurs, we have no start-up funding, no initial cash injection from interest-grabbing financial institutions (thankfully) and no regular source of income to cover the costs of getting up to speed in running a home-based business. These factors are what can put many people off before they even begin. Am I right?

Fear of success is another well-known factor, but I'll leave that one for another day.

Business planning is great, mainly because it is free. All you need is a simple spreadsheet that will calculate your overall costs, deduct your regular out-goings, add income from sales and provide you with an easy to understand document at the end of it all. It should also be excellent for highlighting the point at which you can expect to break even.
Number-crunching is good, it exercises your brain and instills an element of urgency to tweak your figures in the right direction. It can also help with weight loss as, more often than not, you'll end up pacing the floor trying to make your business plan work. If you haven't mastered spreadsheets, don't worry, paper and a pen will do. But spreadsheets, in my opinion, are genuinely fun to use!

All going well, your figures will stack up to represent a realistic business opportunity. If they don't, you need to take a closer look at your numbers and resolve any issues regarding shortfall. Basically, ensure you have included everything that is needed, strip away anything that isn't needed and focus on potential profit margins - this needn't necessarily equate to surplus cash!

A few things to think about before beginning:

• Will anyone pay you to do what you plan on doing?
• Have you the time, energy and inclination to pursue your business (or personal) goals?
• How much research have you done into your chosen field of business?
• What costs are involved in the set-up?
• Will the price you charge cover all your costs?
• Do you enjoy a challenge?
• Are you prepared to sit down and consider all your options?
• Where do you start when formulating your business plan?

Preparing your business plan need not be a tenuous exercise, nor do you need to spend a fortune on expensive software. Here in Frugaldom, I simply downloaded a free office suite from http://www.openoffice.org/

This great free software allows you to create all of the following:

•Text documents
•Spreadsheets
•Presentations
•Drawings
•Databases
•HTML documents
•Business Cards
•Labels
•Forms

What I like most about Open Office, aside from the fact that it is free, is that your documents can all be saved into a variety of formats, allowing you to send them out and/or make them accessible to all. The straightforward spreadsheet programme has all the functionality you need to create and maintain a business plan and is also ideal for keeping tabs on accounts.

Please note that not every successful entrepreneur produces a business plan at the start; many fly by the seat of their pants and follow their instincts, for fear of missing a fantastic opportunity to corner a specific market.

That's it for now, I think I've done enough free writing to kick myself up the backside and get into business planning mode. Only then will it be time to start capitalising on all the great advertising, marketing and promotional tools that are available to us free of charge. See you all soon!

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