ecommerce (7)

Top 4 Businesses to Start in 2013

2013 is just around the corner. And as we approach this time to declare a “New Year, New You”, this is a great time to do something new, do something different, and actually take the steps to start a business. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have specific education or thousands of dollars to invest in a business that will thrive and last beyond the dreaded 3 year failure mark. The following 4 business types are all businesses that have been deemed the “top” businesses to start in 2013 as their industries are growing.

1. Organic Food- Perhaps with help from the FLOTUS Michelle Obama with her “Let’s Move” Campaign, organic food sales are rising. People are starting to care more about the quality of food they consume and prepare for their family. The organic food industry is a growing industry that will continue growing into 2013. If you are someone who loves organic food, good with creating recipes or interested in growing it, this would be a great industry in which to start a business. Get more information here about the certifications and accreditations needed to get started. ORGANIC FOOD CERTIFICATION

Average Start-Up Costs: $500-$1000

2. Cosmetics- Always a popular product, natural cosmetics are going to be big in 2013. Women... well, people are going away with Botox and chemical peels, etc. They are looking for more natural ways to maintain a youthful appearance. There are several ways you can start a cosmetics company:

A.You can join a company already established and be their walking advertisement by wearing and sharing their products. Companies like Mary Kay, Seacret, Xango and Rodan+Fields are reputable companies with proven natural products.

Average Start-Up Costs: $100 - $1000

B. You can create your own cosmetic products. Of course your investment will be much more, but at the end, the product will be your own brand. To start a cosmetic line of quality may average you $40,000 and more. Don’t get me wrong, there are places where you can start your own for much less but if you want to stay in business, the money is worth it or go with option number A. Start Your Own Cosmetic Line Option

Average Start-Up Costs: $40,000+

3. Ecommerce –,,, and are just a few great resources for selling products like clothing, jewelry, electronics, books, music, vintage stuff, etc. People sell all kinds of things through these resources. All you need is a camera, even cell phone, to take pictures of stuff you are selling and set it up.

Average Start-Up Costs: $0 - $100

4. Affiliate Marketing- According to CNBC is the “best online small business idea of 2013”. The affiliate, internet, network marketing business model will see an increase of business owners. Several reasons for this is because training is free and unlimited and there is a great potential to generate a substantial income with residual options (money that continues to generate even if you do not work that month). Best companies to start are companies just starting, that do not have a saturated field of marketers. You just need a computer and an out of the box product. New Millenium Business

Average Start-Up Costs: $25 - $200

Of course these are only a few options for businesses to start. There are plenty other and if you put forth hard work in anything it is bound to succeed. For help on deciding what type of business to start, more specific information about the industries above, or how to expand your current business, Sign Here to receive a free consultation. Trying something new can be scary but when you have a Success Teacher by your side, that makes it so much easier. Happy New Year and make 2013 a "Go Get It" year!

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

Garrison Prosperity Solutions

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If you are selling anything on your site, chances are you accept credit cards.  With credit card fraud and identity theft abound, how do you protect your e-commerce business and still offer your customers the convenience of purchasing with credit?

Credit-Cards.jpgYour responsibilities as a merchant are governed by the laws and regulations in your state, federal laws and regulations, and the specific requirements of the particular card entity (i.e. American Express, Discover, etc.).   Many of the major cards have also come together to create the PCI Standards Council.  They’ve created a series of requirements that merchants must adhere to when agreeing to accept credit cards.

So, why does all of this matter, you ask?  You’re only running a small online store.  Well, when you agree to accept credit cards, you enter into an agreement with the major cards.  As such, you agree to comply with all of these requirements.

Plus, dealing with fraud, chargebacks (amounts charged back to the credit card) and other breach hassles can be both costly (think thousands of dollars) and time consuming.

As you’re setting up your online venture, here are a few steps you can take to better protect your site and ultimately your business.

Use a Third-Party Gateway

Payment gateways are a bridge between your site and the actual payment processing that takes place.  That means that you don’t have to personally handle anyone’s credit card information.  If I purchase from your site and you use a payment gateway, I enter my information and you never see it.  The card is authorized via the payment gateway.  From a data breach perspective, that’s really important.  You don’t have to store anyone’s sensitive cardholder information which could help protect you from some liability.

Select a Reputable  Merchant Account Provider

A merchant account provider is a company that processes your card transactions and deposits the funds from the cards into your business bank account.  Beware.  Not all merchant account providers are created equal.  Some have seemingly excessive fees.  Others try to bind you to a contract term of 36 or more months.  Read the fine print of the agreements carefully, and once you’ve narrowed down your choices, sit down with your attorney to make sure you fully understand the terms of your particular contract.  The terms are legally binding, so you don’t want to enter into the agreement until it is clear to you.

Set the Strictest Possible Verification Measures

Some payment gateways give the merchant a little leeway to determine what information will be required to process the transaction.  For instance, will the cardholder be required to give the three-digit code on the back of the card?  What if the address for the cardholder does not match the billing address the online customer provides?  Will you refuse to process the purchase?  These are all decisions that you will have to make as a merchant.  The more steps you require, the greater protection you provide yourself and the cardholder.  Stricter controls may seem cumbersome, but it pays off with fewer chargebacks  and identity theft claims.

Make Sure Your Site Has a Security Certificate

Most merchant account providers and payment gateway providers require the site holder to have certain security certificates in place that encrypt data that flows over the internet.  This certificate can usually be purchased from the same company that hosts your site.  For example hosting companies like GoDaddy and Blue Host offer security certificates.  Even if your provider does not require it, it is a good idea to take the extra step to add a security certificate to your site, particularly the store portion of your site.

Verify that Your Business Insurance Covers Online Transactions

Some insurers deem online behavior to risky and specifically exclude it from coverage.  When you’re deciding on a policy to cover your business activities, read the exclusions carefully to verify that your online transactions will be covered under your existing insurance policy.  Having to address fraud claims and other possible security breaches without insurance can endanger your business and definitely lessen its profitability.

Limit Access to Sensitive Information

If for some reason you do maintain certain cardholder information, limit access to only those individuals that absolutely need to know this highly private information.  Set measures that can track when and how those individuals access this private information.

Carefully Review the Data Security Standards and All Individual Card Requirements

The PCI Standards Council issues the Data Security Standards to which every merchant must adhere.  Review them carefully.  Ask questions.  Consult with an IT person to ensure that your systems meet the requirements.

Finally, as with all agreements you enter into as a business owner, invest in a consultation with a licensed attorney in your area.  The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ve covered your bases will be invaluable and better equip you in the unfortunate event that you do have to defend against claims of security breach.

For additional information, visit the PCI Standards Council site.

Here’s to your business success!

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JUNIQUES MULTICULTURAL CONNECTIONS IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CONNECTION E COMMERCE. HERE IS LETTER FROM THE CEO OF E BUSINESS SOLUTIONS"Epiphanysoul"Black Visionary and Activist; Charles Bowlds breaks the "Code" to the Financial Failures In the African American Community".Introducing the AAC's EBusiness Solution's CEO; Carolyn Simmonshttp://www.jusmcc.orgclick here to check out AACBorn in Beaufort, SC to a single mother who was the first black school bus driver in the county and a woman who always put education first, I was anointed and blessed to have such a strong-willed,powerful and loving women who gave me everything.My mother left Beaufort at an early age to better herself and to pursue her education. She moved to Portland, MA and she sent for me four years later. My mother was determined to show me that independence would carry me many days in my life. I can say that I truly had the best and went to the best public schools.My mother involved me in music at an early age as well as many other activities. Although we lived in the north, economic slavery and discrimination were still very real for most Blacks. Even though my mother faced a lot of racism, she never brought her sorrows and frustrations home to me. She was and still is today the strongest women I know even with her disability. As a small child I never knew what discrimination was even though there were days when incidents would occur. It wasn't until moving back home to Beaufort in the seventies did I begin to realize what the great migration to the north was about.We Blacks have always been last in having the freedoms, rights, justice, and the so called "American Dream". So my life trials and pains of watching and understanding what my family and others have went through for so many years, molded me and gave me determination to a lifelong dream of empowering my people. I have always had a love for and always sought to find the vehicle that would help us break the generational curse of poverty, hopelessness and financial death. After going through and being in many different companies, groups, organizations that I thought would break the "Code", of financial disparity in the black community and watching the collapse of Wall Street, I had received a call from Charles about the company I watched him grow five years ago.That vehicle is the African American Connection. http://www.jusmcc.orgclick here to check out AACWe often complain about and debate about the forty acres and a mule and why blacks our always last to succeed but no one really broke the "Code". One thing we as blacks must realize is that for to long we have looked to others to in some way confirm who we are as a people. We've measured ourselves not by the characteristics of who we are and what God has blessed us with but we believe we are not worthy unless other cultures validate us. Not only am I humbled and grateful but I'm truly excited about the capability and the sureness of this company to be one of the pillars that will help us through the toughest of times.Charles has showed that in the AAC we don't have to be politically correct and we should be proud of our Afro Centric Views and Values. The African American Connection in my opinion demands and requests the true spirit and values of the Black community. It stirs in us a sense of pride, strength and worthiness’, as well as empowers the entrepreneurial spirit that is a part of our DNA. It allows us (without penalty), to learn the value of having our own business.It is the vehicle to which the prerequisite is to be accountable for your culture, your children and your legacy. It is one of the most powerful visions that has been brought to life by a man not just seeking a monetary fix but a long-lasting legacy that will reshape our destiny as African Americans.Understand this, the energy that will fuel this vehicle is the solidarity of the Black community and the responsibility we have to lift up all black businesses and admonish our owners who choose to with (courage and a strong sense of urgency), take their place in history.I encourage you all to partake of this wonderful opportunity to embrace our economic power, build our financial freedom and secure entrepreneurship for the future. Know that it is then and only then that we will assure the survivability of our children for generations.Welcome all to the African American Connection's E-Business SolutionsSincerely,Carolyn Simmons CEOE-Business Solutionshttp://www.jusmcc.orgclick here to check out AAC
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Thinking of Starting An Online Store?....

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So You Want Your Own Online Store

Those wanting to shop online have about a million options for where to buy something. Those who want to make money on the internet are faced with nearly the same number of options on how to go about setting up so they can make money online. If you're looking to sell something online, you will find that this is one of the easiest ways to make money from home; if you do it the right way..….Read More


Starting an Online Store - What You Need to Do

The idea of creating an online store is appealing to many entrepreneurs. In concept, it is quite simple. The execution is time consuming and costly if you are starting from scratch. The basics should be planned out so you can take a step-by-step approach. Winging it as you go along will inevitably cause problems. Like any online business you start, you need a plan....Read More

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The number one tool of PR professionals for more than fifty years has been, and continues to be, the press release.***Visit us now at and learn how to get a Free Press Release (Reg. $99) created for your business/site, mention you are a member of Sistapreneurs with any distribution purchase and we'll add your site/logo to our Featured Business Links page at no additional cost. - Limited Time Offer
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I am fascinated by attorneys like me who pursue non-traditional career paths. One such person is Tax Girl. Her blog is funny and interesting. Subscribe to it so you can learn stuff you need to know about taxes. Tax Girl has a category at her blog called Getting To Know You. Since I can't think of a better title for this category at my blog, I'm borrowing Tax Girl's.


In my Getting To Know You column, I'm going to share with you ten interesting things about someone I know personally and professionally. Let's begin. My first Getting To Know You column features Jamila White. That's me and Jamila in a photo taken by fellow Indie and IBN member Anne-Marie Faiola while we were on Capitol Hill earlier this month with Lela Barker and Kayla Fioravanti.

10 Interesting Things About Jamila White

1. Jamila and I Once Lived in the Same Town. Jamila and I lived in the same town (Bowie, Maryland) for years before we met through the Indie Beauty Network in December 2005. At the time, I was head of the Bowie (Maryland) Chamber of Commerce's small business committee, responsible for finding speakers to deliver luncheon presentations on topics of interest to small businesses. We met in person when Jamila accepted my invitation to speak on the topic of e-commerce.

2. Jamila Makes a Good TV Show Guest. After that, Jamila accepted an invitation to be a guest on my local cable television show, the Lifestyle CEO Show. Then, I found out we were sorors, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. By now, Jamila is getting really cool.

3. Jamila Likes Pizza. When I moved from Bowie to Charlotte in August 2006, Jamila came to my farewell pizza party. My house was empty except for a few tables and chairs. We ate pizza and chatted about what a shame it was that we lived so close for so long and were only just then sharing a pizza.

4. Jamila and I Launched a Blog Together. After talking it over with my brother (who is normally really smart but thought it was a lousy idea), I called Jamila in November 2007 and invited her to join me in launching a blog called Bootstrap Babes. Jamila was skeptical at first, but eventually, decided she was as crazy as I was to take on a new project. Within 3 months, were were interviewed for a feature in Entrepreneur Magazine, which came out this month. Read all about it at Bootstrap Babes.

5. Jamila's Sister is in the Media. Not that Jamila needs any help, but hey, it's nice to know someone with a blood relative who produces television shows. I'm always available, just in case you're wondering.

6. Jamila's Mother Lives in Vermont. I spoke on a panel and produced a promotional video at the Handcrafted Soap Maker's Guild conference in Vermont this past April. It was tons of fun. There is a law in Vermont that makes it a crime to disrobe in public. That's no surprise.

But did you know that, in Vermont, it's not illegal to walk around town naked so long as you leave your house that way? I think Jamila's mom must be at least as interesting as her daughter to live in a state with a law like that.

7. Jamila Has 3,497 and 1/2 Businesses. Well, not really, but you know. She's the E-Commerce Diva, a Bootstrap Babe and the brains behind j.blossom. She's got other stuff going on too, but a blog post can only be so long. Besides, she's hosting a free blogging seminar tonight and you need to go sign up.

(Yes, Jamila is also one of my Media Partners (see all Media Partners listed at left). Yes, this is a shameless plug for her blogging seminar. Yes, it's a good blogging seminar even though this is a shameless plug. Yes, you should attend.)

8. Jamila Has Cool Hair. Natural and un-chemical. Just the way I like it.

9. Jamila Stormed Capitol Hill With Me Earlier This Month. Jamila likes to talk. This was a good thing since we were dealing with politicians while we were there. I think a future career for Jamila includes public service. Isn't it fun to tell your friends what you think they should do?

10. When Jamila Opened Her Store, She Forgot Her Camera. Jamila always forgets her camera, so when she had a grand opening for her j.blossom store in 2006, she didn't have a camera. So if you're going someplace you know Jamila will be, please take your camera, snap a picture of the two of you together and send it to Jamila. You'll have a fun memory, and help a fellow Indie. And Jamila will use the photo to plug your business. Yes, she's that cool.

So, that's 10 interesting things about Jamila.

What about you?

Do you know Jamila? Do you agree that she is as interesting as I think she is? Please tell us something interesting about Jamila in the comments section below.

To get to know more fun people regularly, subscribe to Indie Business Blog today.

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