Are you still paying big telephone bills and haven’t tried Skype?

I doubt that there’s a home based business owner anywhere who would not like to have a reduced phone bill. Skype makes that possible.

Skype, if you haven’t heard yet, is an online, i.e. internet service that allows you to have phone calls without time limit, with people anywhere in the world, at no charge other than your broadband connection cost, which you are already paying anyway (yes, it does need broadband) and a one off purchase of a headset with microphone, that you plug into your computer. A headset that does the job perfectly should not cost more than about $12: if you skimp on that and try and use a separate microphone and your PC speakers, you will create an echo and the call will not be pleasant. You download the free software from and installation is very straightforward – Windows or Mac ok.

Skype has other features which I find very attractive, including the capacity to speak with up to five people at once in a conference call – and if you’re into multi-tasking, you can type messages to one another in the chat box at the same time. The online console allows you to show others when you are online or away and to see who of your friends and colleagues is online and available for a call at any time – this one feature is in itself a boon for people who want to make cross country or international calls, don’t want to go to a whole lot of trouble of working out timezones and would otherwise not know whether the other person is at their desk, asleep or away.

There are also third party products, free to download, which add other features, including using video with your calls. To keep up with what’s happening with Skype, including new features and third party add-ons, bookmark SkypeJournal – it’s independent of Skype and willing to report and comment on any problems with Skype products or service.

Starting a new business or re-focusing your existing business?

If you are looking at starting a new business or re-focusing your existing one, you will inevitably be looking at what to name the business. This is not a trivial decision and is either implicitly or explicitly a branding exercise. I’ve just discovered that Scott Allen has written an excellent summary of How to Create a Great Business Name which you can get by clicking here. A very practical, insightful checklist and some great thought-starters. Price? A few focused hours of your time. Reward? Unlimited.

Scott and his colleague David Teten have also written a book about online networking – this is a must-have for anyone who wants to take advantages of the huge opportunities for business building that online networking provides. These guys know their stuff and ‘walk the talk’: click here to get your copy of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online.

Teleconference announcement – interview with yours truly on home based business

Exciting News! This week I’m being interviewed by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System fame, as part of their teleconference series Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line. I was one of the bloggers interviewed by them for their recent publication, Build a Better Blog. In the course of interviewing a bunch of bloggers for the book, Denise and Patsi discovered that each of us had other specialties that merited our being interviewed about – hence the ‘Conversations with Experts’ series. I’m being interviewed as an expert on home based business. This is a great oppportunity to share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired ‘in the trenches’ over the past sixteen years.

I’m convinced that home based business will in the not too distant future be the preferred model of millions for providing the income to achieve an abundant, fully self-actualised life. For many of us it is already just that or fast becoming so. However, a lot of people who work from home don’t exhibit the sort of pride and exuberance you might expect if home based business is such a great a model.

Part of the secret to developing that pride and exuberance is to really work on thinking like a business owner. So many people who start a home based business have been employees for a large part of their working life, it’s not surprising that they find it hard to get free of deeply embedded ’employee attitudes’. Nor is it surprising that a lot don’t understand the necessity of changing those attitudes if they are to succeed in business. Which means that when the going gets tough they often start looking for a job in some guise or another, rather than just seeing this as part of the business journey. And thinking like an employee can mean you simply miss some opportunities to strengthen and grow your business. I’ve had to learn this stuff the hard way and I like helping people by-pass some of the ‘roadblocks’ I unwittingly set up for myself.

I’ll be talking about these and other practical issues for home based business owners on the call with Denise and Patsi.

The call is this coming Wednesday July 27, 8.30 pm US Eastern time, which is Thursday July 28, 10.30 am Australian Eastern time. There is no charge to register for the call. I would love to have some of my regular – and irregular! – readers on the line. Here’s the link to find out more/register. The calls are usually recorded, so if you’ve registered but can’t manage the particular time, you should be able to listen to a recording later. For calling from Australia, I use a calling card from Card Call – costs about AU$2 for an hour’s call.


THB Insider is a bi-weekly blog and newsletter with information, tips and links for the home based business entrepreneur. Produced every two weeks by Des Walsh, business coach & blogging evangelist, THB Insider can be read in any of the following ways:

  • as a blog – click on the THB Insider category, left hand sidebar at Thinking Home Business

  • by email – if you haven’t yet registered to receive the newsletter by email, just use the form in the right sidebar under THB Insider, to register

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All material in this newsletter is Copyright © Des Walsh 2003-2005. All rights reserved

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