Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Grant Program Gone Bad?

Sometimes even the most well-intentioned grant program can go awry!  To help with providing security in schools a grant program was initiated to provide funds for schools to provide better security.  One school applied for this new grant right away and got a $75,000 grant to install digital surveillance cameras in their school.  However (as you might imagine) other schools also began to apply for the grant as well!  This provided a problem because theoretically speaking EVERY school would have been eligible to apply for this grant.  So now who decides which school would receive the funding and why would those chosen be chosen over other schools?  So in the end this grant program was cancelled )-:

This brings up a good point about grant programs in that there are new ones being created (and alas cancelled) all the time!  You really have to keep on top of this kind of information.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

How To Not Pay For A Grant

The surest way not to have to pay for a grant is to read everything about that grant (program) and make sure that you do not have to pay anything to get the grant. Most of the grant programs give grant awards without the recipient having to pay anything however it is always advisable to read everything that you can about each and every individual grant program that you are applying for.

There are also some social and public agencies that may be able to help you locate grant and funding programs. Some of them charge a fee and some of them don't.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Are there REALLY any grant programs to help you pay your bills?

The bottom line is this: Are there programs that offer financial assistance to help you pay your bills? Of course the answer is yes and I'm not talking about loans I am talking about GRANTS - where you do not have to pay the money back.

There are programs for helping with mortgage/rent and especially bills relating to utilities such as heating. There is one program I was involved in where the client got a brand new boiler system and did not have to pay for the boiler or the installation! - A $3,000 job some have told me.

Ironic as it may seem the simple fact that searching for this information will bring forth results a LOT of people get frustrated to the point that they stop looking or they may even be looking too hard! These programs do exist you just have to find them!

A VERY good case in point: There was a grant program to provide a student with $400,000.00. The student had to be an orphan and they also had to study to be an engineer! Do you know that that program is in danger of being scrapped because they can't find anyone to apply for it!

So you can make fun about these grant programs but they have been around for years. (and I won't even get into the subject of the ones that being created!)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Making $5K A Month?


Good morning to you,  I saw your advice on the said site Business Ideal Cafe, and thought that you gave some very important insight into the world of grants.

I continued to read about you and discovered your Business Plan XXX.  Please tell me what it is about etc.  I am a african american consultant who is always looking for avenues of making money.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,  J~

Someone emailed me and said that they wanted to be able to make $5K a month.  Of course they didn't include anything about themself or about the kind of work they would like to do - they just wanted to make $5K a month.  At first I thought that it was just a smart-alecky kind of email and I was going to dismiss it but my mind got to thinking.

There are 2 ways to make money - either you find a need and fill it or you take what you love to do and turn that into a business.  One of the  most profitable businesses is the onlin sex/porn industry and the reason?  Sex Sells!

My mind got to thinking about how one could start a business knowing this kind of information so I wrote a basic business plan for those that wanted to start their own business using their computer (& Internet access).  Each business plan is a step-by-step tutorial that has to be customized because certain information has to be updated or changed so that each person doesn't get the exact same businessplan.  And since this business plan has to do with the XXX industry that is why it is called BusinessPlanXXX.  Since it has to do with the XXX industry it is not for everyone.  But it is the answer to that smart-alecky emailer who wants to make $5K a month!

You can find out more about BusinessPlanXXX by going to my website at:

Can you get a scholarship(s) to attend art school?

Of course the answer is "YES".  Because of the work that I do I know this for a fact.  But what makes it more true is the fact that I just read about a student from India who won a scholarship to go to an art school here in the United States!  What makes this story even more inspiring is the fact that although the scholarship was very much appreciated it still fell short of covering the entire tuition.  Guess what?  The student submitted addition artwork that he did and HE GOT THE SCHOLARSHIP INCREASED!

Still think there is no funding out there!

Friday, July 14, 2006


I was posting on a message board asking about spammers.  As annoying as this is to people with email addresses some spammers actually make money at this.  (Why else would they do it?).

I remember a story on TechTV where they interviewed a woman spammer who sent out thousands of email spam a day!  She said the reason why she does it is because she actually gets customers this way!  Another story I read in the paper about a guy who made a lot of money by sending spam mail.  Not only did he make money by sending his spam, he made even MORE money from advertisers who wanted to advertise on his spam mail.  I guess the way that they look at it is that if they send thousands of spam mail they are likely to get a percentage of customers and even 1/10th of thousands could potentially mean a LOT of money! 

Even though you may delete or throw away that spam mail chances are you may actually get a customer or two if you send out enough of it.

Am I advocating spam mail?  No.  I hate getting it as much as everybody else.  And even with all the steps that have been added to get rid of spam mail you just can't seem to get rid of all of it.  Spammers find a way around it or just get a new email address.  Sometimes you can't even trace where the spam has come from!  So why does it still happen?  Because there is still a lot of money to be made.

PS - If you're thinking of starting your own spam campaign then you'd better be careful.  Many email accounts have been cancelled because of sending spam.  If you get enough complaints then your account could also be cancelled.

So what's the solution if you're trying to sell a product or a service?  You do it the right (and legitimate) way!

Just Starting Out? - What About Creating Your Own Flyer?

I think this is a very good idea for those that are just starting out and the only thing that I wanted to add was that you should if anything definitely make a flyer.  This is a very good way to start with something that you already have - which is your computer and some wordprocessing software.  Even though it may take longer I suggest that you first write out how you would like your flyer to look and then create it.  If you're wary about giving out some personal information don't add it. 

When you're starting out you want to build up a reputation and the best way to build up a good reputation is to provide good services with each customer that you get.  "Word of mouth" is the best advertising there is and when your customers are satisfied they will spread the word!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today I'm Just Tired!

I got a LOT done yesterday.  I might have even overdone it a bit!

One of the things that you should be careful about when you work at home and/or have your own business is to not overdo it!  Time management and all that is very sound advice.

I also found out about a program in my local area that provides low-interest loans to those that are low-incomed but seeking to buy a car.  I happened upon this information quite by accident which just goes to show you that information can come from anywhere!  A lot of people have done searches looking for fundding programs so that they can purchase a car and I have just found another one.  This is for low-incomed families and you have to be employed for at least six months.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Career As A Poet?

First of all the fact that you have been able to get customers for what you love to do (which was designing special occassion greeting cards) just shows that making a living at it is possible!

You have received many great replies and you should take them to heart!  Get your website up!  The one good thing about having a website is that you will be reaching a LOT more potential customers.  Yes you will have to build your website up and the way to do that is to identify your target market - which is who would be most likely to buy your products and then you go where they "hang out" and let them know that you are in business.  Do you know the old saying about looking for a job will be your job until you get a/the job?  The same thing will apply to you as well.  It's not enough to put up a website and expect people to come.  You have to work on your website to get people to come to it.  You have to remember that people will find sites when they go to search engines.  You want to be in the list of links that the search engines provide - its call SEO for search engine optimization - which simply means that you target your website to get the highest search engine ranking as possible.  This is something that also requires work but the more you do it the more better you get at it!

A while back someone posted (on another message board) about how dis-heartened they were because they wanted to start an on-line astrology business but they were becoming frustrated because either they got people that wanted free readings or they didn't get any inquiries at all.  When they posted their frustration to the board almost every reply was for her to "give it up".  Now I knew better than that but just to be sure I emailed a couple of on-line astrologers who were making a living doing the same thing that this person wanted to do and one of the replies that I got back was from an on-line astrologer who said the reason why she was making money on-line was because she had to "make it work" and that is exactly the same thing that you have to decide as well!

If this is something that you love to do/have a passion for then it will show in your work and people (as well as potential customers will see that) and besides getting more customers more options will become available to you.  There are syndicated poetry columns out there and you could be one of them.  You might even be asked to write a book or you could publish your own book!  You may get advertisers if you start some type of poetry site/newsletter kind of thing - income-making avenues will start to open up for you that you probably had never thought of.

Since you have experience with children you should also try to turn that into some type of tutor/counseling kind of thing - something which you could also do online.  There are many others who are doing this exact same thing online now and it would behoove you to check some of them out if for no other reason than to see that others are doing what it is you want to do and they are doing it successfully (and profitably) as well.

There are so many resources that you have available to you and I'm thinking mostly of your computer.  Now you said that you have created using your computer using clip-art and the like and I'm glad to see that you are using what your computer has to offer because a lot of people that want to start their own business don't.  But along with your computer you have Internet access which opens up the world to you!  Have you considered all the poetry competitions out there?  I'm not talking about the ones where you have to pay a fee but there are those where you don't have to pay a fee.  There are grants for poetry, competitions for poetry and there is even a handbook for writers which you should purchase because it has a list of what publications are seeking poetry and what their submission requirements are.  I'm sure that that is one resource that you didn't think of.  Have you considered songwriting?  That's poetry too!  I'm currently reading Patti Davis's biography and one of the things that she mentions in her book is the fact that since she wrote a song that appears on one of the Eagles albums she is still receiving royalty checks on that one song she wrote! What about giving speeches, seminars, poetry writing classes - things that you can also do online?

This brings up another aspect and that is copyrights!  You have to learn more about them!  Do you know how strong the need is for good songwriters is?  People pay good money for good songwriters and I'm sure that you have heard songs that kind of relate to the kind of poetry you write.

One last thing - the business aspect of running a/your business.  No matter how much you don't like or know about this aspect - you had better learn!  Even if you hire someone to do this aspect of your business you will want to know enough not to get taken!  How many celebrities or even other people have you read or heard about who have gotten taken by the very people they hired to take care of their business.  You're also may not be aware of the fact that there are a lot of deductions that business owners can take on their taxes - like supplies, equipement (including computers, etc.,)

I will end this very long post by saying that you have gotten a lot of great replies and you should take them to heart!

If you don't think you can't make a lot of money being a poet just look at Maya Angelou(sp?) or even Bob Dylan!

Remember no matter what it is that you want to make a career out of someone is already doing it or doing something similar to it and has become very successful at it.

Make your business fun!

The saying is true.  You are only as limited as you think you are!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Have You Considered A WebPage?

So many people want to work at home but they just don't know what they want to do (or how to do it).  Have you considered having a webpage?  "A webpage about what" you may ask?  What is your dream job?  There are lots of people out there that want to be actors, singers, designers, etc.  A webpage can help almost any type of career that you want to be in.  You can post your resume/portfolio on your webpage so people will know about you and about what you want to do.  You can make a recording of your voice and put it on your webpage.  Whatever it is you want to sell you can take a picture of it and post it on your webpage.

If you want people to know that you are "open for business" then you are going to have to let them know (and see) that you are open for business.

Yet, still people don't know what kind of work they could do at home and a lot want to do something that has to do with their computer that they can make a living at.  You could start a community newsletter type of thing and get advertisers for it.  You could take an interest of yours and turn that into a career using your computer.  If you are really good at something you could offer tutoring or advice online.  How about your favorite TV show or sports team - you could make a career out of those or almost any interest that one could possibly have.

I know a lot of people want the convenience of working for a company that will pay them.  While I do know of a few of these companies you should definitely find out for yourself if their terms are suitable for you.

Are there people who are successfully working from their home?  Of course there are!  There are astrologers, tutors, teachers and writers who are successfully working from their homes!  And you can too!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Teachers! - Grant Program for teaching Energy Conservation

Many times I have posted about how grant programs were started to help bring a greater awareness of something - in this case it is about energy conservation.  17 teachers in Texax are going to share in a $1 Million Dollar Grant and Scholarship Awards program because they were teaching energy conservation projects to their students.  Some of the projects included students building a fuel efficient car and cooking with solar power. The individual grant awards were either $5,000.00 or $10,000 grant awards to the teachers.  This grant program was started so that the students would learn to become more energy efficient (and provide better and alternative uses of energy and energy conservation.  The teachers were also awarded $300,000 in scholarships so that they could attend a three-day conference, a science kit and related material to help teach their students about energy conservation.

The above information is also a very good example of a grant program that is provided not by the government but by a business corporation. 

You have to look at more than just the government sites for grant funding because many, many other entities are providing grant programs for teachers.

Still Think That There Are No Government Grants For (For-Profit) Businesses?

Here is an excerpt from an Entrepreneurship Newsletter:

Q: My company just launched a health care product for post-surgery and emergency room care. The product has been well received in the medical community but I need money for marketing and new product development. I'm finding that our product line is just not sexy enough for local venture funds even though we solve major patient care issues in all hospitals. I'm about to give up on the investor route and just get a loan from the Small Business Administration. Is there anything I'm missing?

A: Raising capital for an entrepreneurial business is very much like navigating bad rush-hour traffic. Yes, you want to drive fast, pass other cars and avoid slowdowns. But sometimes when entrepreneurs are so determined to drive in one direction, they never see how taking a different route can get them to their destination.

Think of it this way. When the state Route 520 bridge is clogged, practical drivers with an opportunistic outlook take Interstate 90. So where is your I-90 funding alternative?

Let's start with grants for the small business.  These grants are available from various departments of the federal government, such as the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, etc. Each participating department sets specific priorities, or topics of interest, for its research dollar. Small companies that best match these broad research topics receive grant awards.

I like this grant program because it can provide "free and clear" capital for innovative, for-profit companies. This means that business owners like you can receive funding without repayment obligations or equity dilution. This is a better deal than an SBA loan or a venture fund investment.  Grant recipients' only obligation (not to minimize this) is to complete the proposed development work on time and within budget.

These grants are funded in two phases: Phase I awards provide up to $100,000 to help businesses test the technical feasibility of a new product or service idea. This is extremely valuable to entrepreneurs who pursue less sexy business goals or have been told they are not "far enough along" to warrant serious attention from investors.

Top-performing Phase I grant recipients can then apply for a second grant of up to $500,000 to help bring their technologies to market. I'm told that there is considerable emphasis today in funding technologies that can meet U.S. market needs plus serve our military interests in Iraq. To the extent your technologies can potentially improve the care of U.S. causalities, you may ride the express lane to this kind of grant funding.

It's important to know that the administrators of these grant programs are supported by an elite team of technical advisers. They are highly knowledgeable in specific technical areas and favor well-researched, well-reasoned applications. They also will carefully evaluate the likely ability of a company's management team to build a prosperous business. Much like venture fund investors, these administrators want to fund companies with the best chances of long-term commercial success.

To improve your funding prospects, I encourage you to learn as much as they can about their funding priorities before starting proposal work. Identify the names of companies that have received this same type of grants from your targeted federal government agency. Speak to the "principal investigator" of several approved grant projects. Also ask how to boost the perceived technical stature of your investigative team.

There is one other benefit to this grant program. With extra capital in hand to achieve meaningful business progress, most grant recipients find they have greater appeal to investors and lenders. So don't give up. There are many ways to reach your destination. You can do it!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Working From Home?

So many people are searching for "work at home" opportunities and the majority seem to want to be able to work for companies that will let them work at home.  Although there have been many of these kind of opportunities that have been posted a lot of them are scams or have some hidden kind of agenda.  However there are some out there that are completely legitimate.  For instance I have found information about 2 different companies hiring people to work from home.  One is an auto club that uses "at-home" workers to take and screen calls.  Another company has hired people to work from their homes taking calls from customers/people who want to order their forms.  Although these employers do not offer benefits they do allow you to choose your own hours.

Option number two would be for you to start your own business working from home.  What kind of business could you start?  Almost any type of business!  What kinds of businesses have people started from their own homes?  Writers, artists, graphic designers, desk-top publishing, tutoring, and almost anything else that you could imagine.  If you would like to see some good examples and read questions from others (and my reply to them) you can go to my consultation page at:

I am an example of someone who works at home.  I started my own business because I hated the job that I had and lots of people have done the very same thing!  Even though I love working at home I also have to remember that a certain amount of discipline is needed when one is working from home.