Business & Economy
6 Takeaways for Stay-at-Home CEOs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 30 June 2014 09:19
Veteran Entrepreneur Shares Tips for Balancing Business and Family

Being young and inexperienced can be intimidating for stay-at-home entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t mean you’re making mistakes, says veteran businesswoman Renae Christine.

Fresh out of college at 23, she thought she’d done something wrong when the wholesaler for her stationery company assigned her a personal representative.

“In reality I was doing so much business with them that they wanted to ensure my satisfaction,” says Christine, a serial entrepreneur who has created dozens of successful home-based businesses for herself and others. She shares practical how-to advice in her new book, “Home Business Startup Bible,” (

She was the busy mother of a 2-year-old and she’d just returned home – to the mess left in the wake of last-minute packing -- when the rep showed up, she says.

“I was mortified when he walked into my home/business and he was shocked, but the experience marked my first success as an official business,” she says. “It was actually the beginning of a great relationship.”

Though it turned out well, Christine says her first years in business would have been much happier if she hadn’t had to deal with her own painful feelings of self-doubt, embarrassment, guilt, etc.

“The good news is – no stay-at-home entrepreneur needs to feel that way,” she says.

She offers these tips for maintaining professionalism in business without sacrificing – or feeling guilty about -- family.

•  Don’t apologize for your kids. We need to stop apologizing for our kids’ squawks and energy while we’re on the phone or in meetings. Kids are kids and to them, Mommy is Mommy and their home is their home 24/7. If anything, we can all learn from our children and lighten up during business chats.

•  Don’t pick up the phone when you’re not ready. I used to think I had to say yes to everyone, including the telephone whenever it rang. Don’t answer the phone if you’re not ready to speak; if it’s important, the caller will leave a message. Consider an online chat system for your website; I use a free one via

•  Add a disclosure message to your call-answering service. My disclosure indicates the quickest way to reach me, which is chat or email. Email is quickly becoming everyone’s preferred method of communication anyway, and this way, we all have a digital trail that will help us stay organized.

•  Say no and don’t apologize for it. You can say no to lots of things, like PTA meetings and extra bake sales for your kids’ school. When you say yes to those things, you are saying no to your business. You have to think of your new business as if you are your own boss. Would you ask your boss for a day off so you can sell cupcakes? Probably not.

•  Pick a neutral location. If you need to have business meetings in person, I suggest choosing a neutral place like a coffee shop. Don’t allow them to come to your home and, if you can avoid it, don’t go to their office. If you’re negotiating, this can give them a home-field advantage.

•  Just say it. I continue to attend trade shows. When I tell companies that I work from home, they might give me an indifferent attitude and hastily move on to chat up a brick-and-mortar owner. I simply take my business elsewhere; I know the value of my business, and so will another vendor.

About Renae Christine

Renae Christine is the owner of by Renae Christine, a company that has launched several successful businesses and has helped launch dozens more for others. A journalist, she’s known for her popular YouTube videos (search Rich Mom Business channel), which use humor and pragmatism to advise others who want to launch home-based businesses. She recently published “Home Business Startup Bible,” (, a comprehensive how-to guide. Christine is also the founder of the Rich Mom Business University and has come into popular demand as a speaker.

Governor Quinn Statement on Anniversary of Fair Labor Standards Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:08
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the landmark law on June 25, 1938, which banned oppressive child labor, set a maximum hourly workweek and established the nation’s first minimum wage at 25 cents an hour. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be at $10.75 today.

“When President Roosevelt signed the Wages and Hours Bill into law, he gave workers benefits and protections that no other country had seen before, and put Americans on a path toward a fair standard of living.

“What was landmark legislation then is common-sense today. We know that children shouldn’t be abused and forced to work. We know there should be limits on how many hours a week someone works. And we know that no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty.

“If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation it would be $10.75 today. Raising the minimum wage is good for workers and good for growth. It puts purchasing power back into the hands of hardworking Americans, helps reduce poverty and strengthens the economy.

"As we work to build a majority to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, let's remember this is about dignity and decency.

“The hardworking people of our state deserve the opportunity to earn a decent living. Building an economy that works for everyone makes our state stronger and more competitive, not the other way around.”

Governor Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour in his 2013 State of the State address. Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Six out of every 10 minimum wage workers are female, including many single parents. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.


Loebsack Calls on Boehner to Bring Up & Pass Senate Passed Workforce Development Overhaul PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:06

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation includes Loebsack’s SECTORS Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today urging Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to swiftly bring up and pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This legislation, which would improve the nation’s workforce development system, passed the Senate today by a vote of 95-3. It also includes large portions of Loebsack’s SECTORS Act that links together businesses, labor organizations, local stakeholders, and education and training providers connected to a particular industry.

“The Senate did their part and now it is time for the House to do the same. Speaker Boehner needs to step up and allow a vote on the Senate passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act so that it can go to the President and be signed into law. From the overwhelming bipartisan passage in the Senate, it is clear that this legislation would have the votes to pass the House. It has been over 10 years since the Workforce Development Act has been reauthorized and now is the time to give workers the kind of skills they need and employers want.”

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House of Representatives in March of 2013 with bipartisan support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356). It has been over a decade since the Workforce Investment Act has been reauthorized.


Consulting Firm Thinks Outside the Box With Launch of New Human Capital Division PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by David Thielen   
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:05

ICS Nett Inc. (ICS), an established Washington D.C. consulting firm, has launched a new division that takes a fresh approach towards Human Capital Management. David Thielen recently joined ICS and was tasked with developing and launching a service that offers small businesses, mid-size and large enterprise customers credible and qualified talent. In just two months, Thielen, with a depth of skill and experience in Human Capital Management, helped create Customer Oriented Enterprise Resources (COER). COER is a practice that has been developed based on a combination of proven industry expertise and critical success factors that have enabled ICS to exceed its goals over the last decade. By combining proprietary technology built on data analytics with deep customer and mission success knowledge, COER achieves with its approach what no other firm has been able to realize with human capital management solutions.

"We wanted to make a statement not only with what we’re launching but also by how we’re launching it", says Thielen, Director of COER. "COER has developed a video announcing the launch of an ideology within the corporate arena. This is something that hasn’t been seen before in our space and we hope it communicates at every level our commitment to innovation, our dedication to quality, and our position as a trendsetter in human capital management."

Watch the video here:

The video outlines how COER takes a unique approach by focusing on the client’s enterprise and by targeting companies of any size and virtually every industry including energy, healthcare, media, legal and manufacturing. "The response to the video has thus far been fantastic", says ICS Founder and CEO Khurram Shah. "It has generated a buzz internally and I’m hopeful it will generate a similar buzz nationally as clients and customers begin to realize the unique benefits of this new service."

One such benefit of COER is its proprietary tracking software that matches the candidate’s skill set with the client’s requirement and environment. Additionally, every candidate is interviewed by COER’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to ensure they meet every requirement. "Our solution is based on the needs of our partners" says Becky Lewis, VP of Human Capital Management. "We interview our partners to understand not only their specific skill set in their industry but also to learn about their unique environment to ensure our candidates will be an ideal fit for their organization long-term."


About ICS Nett Inc.

ICS is a leading provider of innovative technologies and solutions within Intelligence, IT, ICT, Transit, Defense and Logistics markets located in Vienna, VA. ICS is an experienced company that is able to demonstrate significant expertise by partnering with its clients and by reducing the risks associated with traditionally long-term and large mission critical projects. ICS delivers success for its customers by combining carefully selected best practices and a refined agile methodology, with a mission-driven management approach. COER is the new Human Capital division targeting the entire United States to companies of all sizes. More information about ICS can be found at

3 Tips for Low, Middle & High Net Worth Peer-to-Peer Investors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:50
‘You Need to Learn Enough to be Dangerous,’ says P2P Pioneer

After the economy crashed in December 2007, nascent online peer-to-peer lending platforms quickly grew. They’ve since evolved into an increasingly popular investment alternative to Wall Street and other traditional options.

Peer-to-peer lending isn’t new and it’s no passing fad, says P2P pioneer Brendan Ross, president of Direct Lending Investments LLC, (, which runs a short-term, high-yield small business loan fund.

“It’s a rebirth of the simplest and oldest way of making money: one individual loaning money to another and getting paid back with interest,” Ross says.

What makes this new incarnation different is accessibility.

“Online lenders like IOU-Central and make it easy for prospective lenders to find and fund borrowers through a website,” Ross says. “These platforms have automated the underwriting process, including checking credit and looking at applicants’ bank accounts, so they can vet borrowers based on reliable information.”

Each online lending platform operates differently, but all vet applicants. The lender posts qualifying requests on its website, and private investors decide which to fund, either in their entirety or in part. At Lending Club, for instance, investors can choose to lend the entire amount requested by a borrower, or as little as $25 to multiple borrowers, which adds protection if one defaults.

Investors can manually choose which loans to fund, or they can ask the platform to choose within certain parameters. Yields on a portfolio of loans can be 10 percent or more, Ross says.

He offers these tips for investors in three tiered financial levels:

•  Investing $10,000 to $24,000: Visit the Lending Club and websites, and choose the one that most appeals to you, Ross says.

“Open an account in a tax-deferred IRA and shift a portion of your investments out of stocks and into lending,” he says.

The reason for that is interest income is taxed at a higher rate than the capital gains from stocks. Deferring those taxes until you begin spending from the IRA will help keep a lid on your current tax bill.

•  Investing $25,000 to $100,000: At $25,000, you have enough money to start getting professional advice about which loans to choose and how much to invest in each.

“I recommend going to because it’s run by Peter Renton, who’s very knowledgeable,” Ross says. “You choose between a conservative or balanced portfolio – I recommend balanced for higher yield -- and they’ll choose the loans for you and put them in your account.”

The fee is just 0.95 percent.

•  Investing more than $100,000: Accredited investors have privileged access – they can shop around for private fund pools, Ross says.

“As P2P matures, borrower categories that have always had the highest yields, such as small businesses, become available as private fund pools that are managed to deliver the highest yields,” he says.

These pools form mutually beneficial relationships with the P2P lending platforms, allowing the platforms to serve a larger volume of borrowers. The private funds get well-vetted borrowers from the platforms and manage the funds to the maximum benefit of all their investors.

“Everybody wins,” Ross says, “including the borrowers, who get fast loans at reasonable rates.”

About Brendan Ross

Money manager Brendan Ross is a peer-to-peer lending first adopter who has become an expert in this non-traditional transaction. The president of Direct Lending Investments LLC, (, which runs a short-term, high-yield small business loan fund, he previously ran a number of other companies, including ReserveAmerica, the world’s largest outdoor recreation reservation company.

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