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October 24, 2001

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A FREE electronic magazine...                    October 24, 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)
  Back issues at
    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. Feature: Article "Tame the Interruption Beast"
   2. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
   3. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
   4. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
   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!
(c)2001, A Few Good People, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A r t i c l e "Tame the Interruption Beast"
By Dave Balch, The "Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
Interruptions.  Arghhh.  One of the biggest problems for us
home-based business types is the relentless stream of things that
disrupt our train of thought.  Unexpected phone calls, children
that need attention, the dog needs to go out, the cat needs to
come in, the sink is leaking, the car needs to go to the shop... it
never ends!  It is extremely frustrating to be in the middle of
an important letter or proposal, deep in thought, only to have
Aunt Bertha call to tell you about her bunions.  What to do?
Aunt Bertha’s bunions are important!  (To her.)  Some
interruptions can be eliminated, some can be controlled, and
some, well.............. sorry, FedEx just got here and needed a
signature.  Where was I?  Oh yes; ...and there are some
interruptions you’ve just got to live with.
Let’s start with interruptions that can be eliminated:  phone
calls.  Turning the phone completely off is always an option...
let the answering machine get it.  That’s not always practical,
though; we do want to talk to our customers, don’t we?  Well, I
have two words for you:  “Caller ID”.  This is a wonderful
service provided by the phone company for a small monthly fee
that, when the phone rings, displays information about the caller
on a little gizmo that you can get at Radio Shack for under $20.
(And, there’s no interruption for installation:  they do it from
their office!)  Bingo!  Now you know who’s calling before you
answer the phone and you can make an intelligent decision whether
or not to answer it.  If it’s Aunt Bertha, let the machine get it
and call her back later when it’s convenient for you.  You now
have power over the phone, and it is good.  The interruption has
been reduced to looking to see who it is.
Other interruptions can be controlled.  For example, you need a
plumber to fix the sink and have a friend that wants to see your
hydrangeas.  Schedule them both for the same afternoon, i.e.,
group things into specific time slots if possible and then plan
activities for that time that are not sensitive to interruptions.
Another consideration:  don’t schedule them for the time of day
that is your best “thinking” time.  For example, I am at my best
in the morning so, when I have a choice, I avoid scheduling
things in the morning.  That way, the interruptions don’t disturb
me when I’m at my best.  Are kids or spouses walking in and
asking you mundane questions that could have waited?  Have a
OR BLEEDING”.  It could be as simple as closing your office door.
Or, you could turn on a specific light or lamp that would mean
the same thing.  How about a “Do Not Disturb” door hanger similar
to those in a hotel?  Make it a strict rule and enforce it:  they
will get the idea.  Eventually.
We have just scratched the surface, but this beast can be tamed
with a little thought and creativity.
22222  "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:
About 20 years ago I started writing, producing, directing Murder
Mystery Weekends.  Now that I am retiring, I would like to try to
make some money staging these events.
Your article made me think about how people react when I mention
murder mystery weekend.  They don't have a clue (sorry about the
pun).  I need to find a way to explain what I do in a brief,
concise statement.  Since I perform these events at hotels, what
I need to do is develop a presentation hotel managers understand
and will want to participate in because it will bring them more
business and be fun to boot.
One of the first words out of the mouth of a hotel manager is,
"Oh, you are bringing a group to my hotel.  Sure!"  Wrong.  What
I need from them is to do the advertising from their list of
clients.  Now it isn't a purely profit making deal without any
work or costs.  I guess in a way I am asking them to invest and
take a gamble.  Besides saving me that expense, it insures a new
audience each time and I can reuse some of the same scripts.
   Dear H.S.
   Some thoughts:
   1. Who else is doing this sort of thing and how do they do it?
   How do THEY get the hotels booked?  Do THEY get the hotels to
   participate?  If so, how?  It should be fairly easy to study
   their models and see what they do.  I'll bet that there is
   information on the Internet about doing this sort of thing.
   Do some research on the net, and if you see any books or
   tapes, buy them if they are reasonably priced.  You only need
   one good idea from such a purchase to make it worth 100 times
   what you paid for it.  And even if you don't get a good idea,
   you may get a bad idea that leads to a good one.  Learn from
   other peoples' mistakes... even though you have to pay, it's a
   lot cheaper and quicker than learning by making those same
   mistakes yoursefl!
   2. You mentioned that the first words out of a hotel managers
   mouth are "You want to bring....  "... and then you said
   "Wrong!".  I'm not sure that IS wrong.  He just doesn't know
   it yet, but you want to bring some of HIS people into the
   hotel.  As long as you get an enthusastic response, go with
   it!  After he says that (or it's equivalent), say "Can you
   help me bring them in?" or something to that effect.
   3. What do you do?  Here are some ideas... you entertain.  You
   facilitate.  You stage.  Here's something to get you
   started...  "I partner with hotels to stage entertaining
   themed weekends for small groups", or you could even say
   "...for their clients".  You may hate that, but that's okay...
   you have to start with something and work it from there.
33333 "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 )
In the last issue, I mentioned Marilyn, the toad that is living
in our garden, and wondered what critters were out there making
their way here... if you missed it, you can catch-up at
Now I have the answer.
First, Chris went into the garage and saw a spider near one of
the dog beds.  No big deal; we always take them outside when we
find them.  When she went to capture it, she realized that it
wasn't just a spider.  It was a black widow!  It was bedtime and
she was bare-foot... black widow spiders can kill you, literally.
We have been here over three years and it was the fist black
widow we've seen in or near the house.  So much for "bare-foot in
the garage".
A few days later, I was in the office (located in the house,
downstairs) early on a Sunday morning when nature called.  I went
in the bathroom, lifted the lid, and discovered much to my
dismay, a dead squirrel IN THE TOILET.  Not a mouse.  Not a rat.
A fully-grown squirrel!
How could this be?  The bathroom door was closed, and had been
for at least two days.  The bathroom window was open but the
screen was intact.  Dare I even entertain the possibility that it
came through the pipes?  Oh, my!  What if someone had been
sitting...  I can't even bear the thought!
I gingerly removed the critter, half-expecting it to suddenly
come to life and chase me around the room, and noticed that it
wasn't just a squirrel; it was a flying squirrel.  (No, not Rocky
of "Rocky and Bullwinkle"...)  We hear them chirping at night
(they sound like birds, but birds are silent at night) and have
even seen them on occasion soaring from tree to tree, but they
are nocturnal and extremely skittish.  I contacted a plumber and
yes, he COULD have gotten into the plumbing through one of the
roof vents.  They are only two inches and it would have been a
pretty tight squeeze and not only is it possible, but he knows of
at least one other person that has found a dead squirrel in the
For the time being, I'll be in and out of the bathroom in record
What will be next?
44444  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:
   -You requested it on my website or after seeing me at a
    speaking engagement
   -I know you personally and thought you'd like it
   -I asked you if I could send it and you said "Yes"
   -Someone forwarded it to you because they thought you'd
    like it.  Scroll to the bottom for subscription instructions.
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
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
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
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                   A Few Good People, Inc.
                        P.O. Box 824
                    Twin Peaks, CA  92391



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