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The Stay-at-Home CEO™
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  "Make More Money and Have More Fun"
with your small business!

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August 16, 2001

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A FREE electronic magazine...                     August 16, 2001
B I G   B U C K S   I N   A   B A T H R O B E
Make More Money & Have More Fun With Your Small Business!
Publisher:  Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
    Comments, suggestions, or questions are always welcome.
(Scroll to end for subscribe / unsubscribe instructions)
I n   T h i s   I s s u e . . .
   1. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
   2. Article "Crooked Pictures"
   3. "Ask Dave" - Can I Help You With a Business Problem?
   4. "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
   5. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
   6. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
PLEASE FORWARD THIS to each of your friends who have small or
home-based businesses; they'll LOVE you for it!  (Be sure they
know it's from you, or they'll think I spammed 'em!)  Thanks!
11111  A b o u t  "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe"  N e w s l e t t e r
Welcome! You are receiving this because either:
   -I know you personally and thought you'd like it
   -I asked you if I could send it and you said "Yes"
   -You requested it after seeing me at a speaking engagement
   -Someone forwarded it to you because they thought you'd
    like it.  Scroll to the bottom for subscription instructions.
If you don't want to receive future issues, send any message to and you'll be removed from the 
list.  No harm, no foul, no hurt feelings!
My goal is a bi-weekly newsletter that will:
   -help you with your small or home-based business
   -share articles of interest
   -be informal and informative
   -answer specific questions asked by readers
(c)2001, A Few Good People, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
22222  A r t i c l e   "Crooked Pictures"
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
We have a wonderful cleaning lady from Mexico.  She and her
daughter go through the house every week and leave it in tip-top
shape.  They are happy, polite, agreeable, and hard working.
Plus, they will do just about anything we ask without complaint.
Clean an extra window?  No problem.  Sweep the driveway?  Happy
to do it!  Wash the car?  It's as good as done.  They are eager
to please and, naturally, we recommend them without reservation.
They give good service, and they deserve it.
Every hanging picture in the house is crooked when they leave.  I
didn't say "some".  I didn't say "most".  Every single one!
We've tried to tell them about it but their English isn't very
good.  We've tried showing them, but for some reason it just
doesn't sink in.  Maybe it has something to do with all of the
earthquakes in Mexico; I don't know the reason, but it is really
annoying.  After they leave we walk around the house
straightening pictures.  If it wasn't for that, they would get a
Think about that for a moment.  They are dusting the frames and
the glass.  They already have their hands on them. it would take
barely any effort at all to straighten one before they go on to
the next, but for some strange reason they don't.  And by not
doing so, they severely affect the quality of the service that
they provide.
Is there some small thing that you can do that will dramatically
affect the quality of the product or service that you offer?
Here's an example of a very small thing that I experienced that
had a huge impact on my perception of the value I received.  I
went to a local dinner house for a business dinner in the Atlanta
area.  When the server arrived with our steaks, he placed them in
front of us and said "If you gentlemen don't mind, I'll just wait
here a moment so you can cut into your steaks to make sure that
they are prepared exactly the way you want them."
I was blown away!  (It's been over a year and I'm still taking
about it!)  What a small thing to do.  What a big impression it
made.  I don't know if that was the restaurant's policy or the
server's, but that point of service didn't cost them anything.
The food would have been the same had he not done it.  But it
certainly left me with the feeling that they truly, sincerely
cared about our satisfaction.  And that is worth plenty.
No matter what your product or service, there must be some way to
improve its perceived value at little or no cost.  To get some
ideas, start with others in your field.  What do they do that you
could adapt to your situation?  Then look at businesses in other
fields.  Perhaps you can adapt the restaurant example above to
your own business by verifying your customer's satisfaction very
early in the sales/delivery process.
After all, the last thing you want to do is leave them with
crooked pictures.
33333  "A s k   D a v e"
   (Can I help you with a business problem?  I will field
   business questions in every issue.  Send them to )
   Ask whatever you'd like... all letters will remain anonymous.
   Maybe my 2-cents'-worth will make you "Big Bucks"!
   (Maybe not...)
Today's question:
Dear Dave:
Since your office is at home, how do you know when to just stop
working for the day.  It's right there and always looking you in
the eye!  I feel guilty sometimes if I put in my 12 or 14 hours
and still have a few things left to do - when do you just say
                                             A.K., Arizona
   Dear A.K.
   I often tell people that the biggest advantage to working at
   home is the convenience.  The biggest DISadvantage is the 
   same: the convenience!
   I struggle with this problem all the time and all I can
   say is that there is no easy answer.  The key is
   discipline.  You need discipline to work in spite of
   distractions, and discipline NOT to work as well.  I think
   that we naturally gravitate to doing the least unpleasant
   task of the moment, and without discipline it's hard to do
   what's IMPORTANT rather than what's EASY.  Here are a few
   1. Set working hours and observe them, NO MATTER WHAT.  Treat
      yourself as if you were an employee in a 'real' business
      (which, in reality, you are) and as if you had a strict
      boss to please (which, in reality, you do...  YOU).  Work
      during those hours, and don't work outside those hours.
   2. That said, be flexible but only when absolutely
      necessary.  For example, you have to give yourself a break
      when kids have to be dropped-off or picked-up somewhere.
      Work their schedule into yours, so that these
      interruptions are planned.  You have to 'give yourself
      permission' to take scheduled breaks.
   3. Practice, practice, practice!
   4. Have interests that are not work-related so that you have
      something that you really want to do that will also give 
      you a "break".
   I have a presentation titled "Be a Nut!" in which I
   encourage people to identify and pursue their passions, because
   when you have passion OUTSIDE your work, you'll generate energy
   and enthusiasm that spills INTO your work.  The way I figure it,
   if people think that when you are pursuing your passion that
   you're a "nut", you're probably on the right track!
   Do you think that you don't have time for your passion?  WRONG!
   The enthusiasm that your passion generates will enable you to do
   what you already do in less time, thereby creating the time in
   which to pursue it!
   For more information on "Be a Nut!" or my other topics, visit
44444 "M e a n w h i l e,   b a c k   a t   t h e   r a n c h..."
       A Glimpse Into the Life of This "Stay-at-Home CEO"
   (Photos and short bios of the complete "cast of characters" 
   are posted at )
Last Saturday night about 1:30 A.M., the dogs began barking
furiously.  This is not particularly unusual because, living
at the edge of a National Forest area, there are always noises of
things that "go bump in the night".  But we are always concerned
about the safety of the horses, so one of us usually goes out onto
the deck to see what's going on.  (The deck, which is right outside
our bedroom, overlooks the barn, corrals, and horse turn-out area.
Off to the right, you can see well into the forest beyond our
perimeter fence, except for some spots which are blocked by very
large trees.)
Chris, my wife, took our one-million-candle-power spotlight (that
wasn't a mistake... ONE-MILLION candle-power!) and swept the area.
One-million candle-power is a lot!  With it, you can light up an
area 200 yards away as if it were daylight.
The horses were safe in their corrals, but very alert and looking
into the forest.  When the light reached where they were looking,
she saw what all the commotion was about.
She came running into the house and woke me up excitedly.  "You've
gotta come out and see this!  There is a HUGE bear outside the
gate!"  Together we watched him for about five minutes until he
wandered out of sight.
I went back to bed marveling at how lucky I am to be living in a
place where I can safely watch such marvelous animals just steps
from where I sleep.
55555  W h o   t h e   H e c k   a m   I,   A n y w a y ?
I've generated over $5 million (so far!) from my own home-based
software business and I have a lot to share with you about how I
did it and what I learned along the way.  Now, as a professional
speaker, I offer programs that will help you and your employees
"Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your small or
home-based business!
Visit me at for descriptions of
the programs and educational materials that I offer.
66666  H o w   to   S u b s c r i b e   /   U n s u b s c r i b e
Please note:
   - This newsletter is sent every other week.
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     anyone for any reason.  PERIOD.
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     send any message to
                   A Few Good People, Inc.
                        P.O. Box 824
                    Twin Peaks, CA  92391
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