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Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Business From Home

Embarking on a home business venture can provide tremendous flexibility and the kind of work-life balance that we all crave. But at the same time a home based business brings its own set of challenges. For example, all the new ideas, new concepts, and all the decisions are up to you. It can be quite demanding. The advantages that come when we work from home bring their own set of pitfalls that we need to be on guard against in order to manage ourselves as well as our home business effectively. Loneliness is the number one complaint from people who work at home. Many people are used to the almost constant social interaction of a regular work environment and are not prepared for the isolated working environment. While it may seem easier to do everything virtually, that isn’t always the best approach. Instead, take some time away from your home office for face-to-face meetings that will help build your business. Plan lunch dates, attend networking groups or even spend some time working from a coffee shop to maintain some human interaction.

When you work from home it’s all too easy to spend every waking minute doing exactly that – working from home. This is a recipe for physical and mental burnout. You feel guilty if you’re not working, and you don’t switch off. It’s the home business version of taking your work home with you. You need to know when to walk away and turn off for the day and take care of your personal time and family. It’s easy to take personal phone calls or emails when you work from home. There is nothing wrong with that of course but you need to ensure it doesn’t interrupt your working day too much. You need time to focus on your business so one strategy is to set aside blocks of quiet time throughout the day when you don’t allow phone calls or email alerts. You also need to be careful about getting distracted by home chores like shopping, laundry or childcare. Again, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the flexibility that comes with a home-based business, but be vigilant to ensure it is not your home business that suffers.

Don’t try to be the master of everything. Be prepared to look to others either for advice or for outsourcing tasks that are not an efficient use of your time. You have to manage the business and yourself. Try to connect with others in your field, maybe building a network or mastermind group. It is all too easy to get distracted by some tasks, only to find the day has slipped by and you haven’t completed your most important goal for the day. A regular work environment is usually quite structured and we have tasks that we are accountable for getting done. In a home business, we have to take charge and prioritize and stick to our work schedule. Set not only a plan but include deadlines to work too. Discipline is important and it is up to us to impose this on ourselves. Working from home can be a wonderful, liberating and empowering experience. A home-based business brings many advantages to our personal and professional lives. Equally, for the unprepared or unwary, there are pitfalls lurking that can derail the process. Being aware of these pitfalls and being prepared to avoid or manage them will give your home business the greatest chance to provide a fulfilling and profitable experience if needed by taking Forth Worth title loans if you are in Forth Worth to rent and outsource people to get your home-based job completed and your clients satisfied.

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Tech Trends For Small Businesses That Dominated In 2017

Image of eyeglasses, pen, two touchpads and financial documents at workplace with businessmen handshaking on background

Technology continues to have a dramatic impact on the way that small businesses operate. The internet and mobile devices have had a particularly significant effect, as they are changing how business market their products and interact with customers. If you want your business to remain as competitive as possible, it’s important stay up-to-date with the latest technological trends. In this guide, we’ll share the biggest tech trends for small businesses in 2017. Understanding these trends will give you a head start for 2018 and will help ensure your business remains successful.

  1. Social media became even more influential

The growth of social media over the past decade has been nothing short of spectacular. There are now more than 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 300 million on Twitter, and 800 million on Instagram. In 2017, many small businesses began using social media to achieve new goals including:

  • Improving brand awareness and advertising new products
  • Promoting sales and special offers
  • Providing customer support
  • Increasing web traffic
  • Promoting content marketing campaigns

This tech trend is expected to continue in 2018, with more small businesses using social media daily.

  1. More small businesses used crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a fundraising method where you obtain many small amounts from many different people. In 2017, many small businesses began using crowdfunding to fund new products or business ventures. Crowdfunding works very well if your business has a loyal customer base and allows you to try new things with less risk. Using crowdfunding is also easier thanks to new crowdfunding platforms like Fundable, IndieGoGo, and GoFundMe.

  1. More small business allowed workers to work remotely

Allowing some employees to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis can be very advantageous to a small businesses. There are cost savings associated with having less staff in the office, including lower utilities costs and equipment costs. Employees who have the option to work from home also tend to be more productive and effective. Many workers have better job satisfaction if they can spend a little more time at home as well.

In 2017, more small businesses became aware of these advantages and began allowing some employees to work remotely, often via the Internet. With excellent productivity gains and cost savings available, remote offices are sure to remain popular in 2018.

  1. Online subscriptions boomed in popularity

In 2017, more small businesses started using online subscriptions. Consumers pay a small recurring fee and in return, they are provided with a service or product on a regular basis.  Online subscriptions are now being used for everything from razor blades through to wine and vegetables. Websites like PayPal make it simple for businesses to sign customers up to a subscription service.

  1. Small businesses are using more payment methods

Most small businesses have already integrated electronic payment methods like PayPal into their day-to-day operations. In 2017, more small businesses began integrating new payment methods like Square, Android Pay, and Apple Pay. Some small businesses are even starting to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Adding more payment options gives consumers more flexibility and increases the likelihood that they will follow through on a purchase.

  1. Small businesses began outsourcing additional technologies

Traditionally, small businesses would provide support over the phone or face-to-face. The advent of the internet allowed business owners to also provide support via email. In 2017, more small business owners began providing support via other channels including like social media, video chat, and text chat. These technologies allow for immediate interaction with a customer, which the customer finds very satisfying. They can also be performed remotely and at a very low cost. Small businesses also started using other remote technologies like hiring a small business accountant in Melbourne, Miami, or London, which can help businesses around the world. This trend helps minimize in-house costs and allows companies to focus more on their mission, so it shows no sign of slowing in 2018.

  1. Small businesses jumped into content marketing

Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing right no.  It involves the creation of high-quality content that is shared both online and offline. Creating valuable content for others to enjoy can establish your business as an industry leader, attract more visitors to your website, and improve brand awareness. The best part is that content marketing is very affordable. Many small business really increased their content marketing initiatives in 2017.

  1. Data security is being taken more seriously

We saw many large security breaches in 2017, which resulted in the loss of millions of customer records. Many of these breaches involved large companies like Bell Canada, Yahoo, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Target. These attacks severely tarnished the reputations of these companies and in some cases, led to lawsuits.

Governments around the world introduced legislation that would force companies to be more careful with user data.  In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to come into force in 2018, which compels businesses to be more transparent in the way they collect, process, and secure data. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to data security breaches. Many small business owners began to take cybersecurity much more seriously in 2017 — a trend that will continue in 2018.

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Storage hacks for a less chaotic home

With a few storage hacks, your home will look more ordered and less chaotic ... photo by CC user Wjablow on wikimedia commons

Organisation lies at the heart of a tidy, relaxing home. Having a regular clear out and clean up puts fresh energy into the atmosphere and has a calming psychological effect on the mind.

With a less chaotic home, you’ll feel more creative. You’ll have more time, be more inclined to indulge in hobbies or other leisure pursuits if you don’t have to clear space to work, or hunt down sports equipment every time you want it.

But how do you reach that calming state of home and mind? Here are a few tips to help you reclaim (and stay in control of) your living space, whether it’s a bachelor apartment or a family home.

Choose Your Furniture Wisely

Furniture can be both decorative and functional. You don’t have to choose one or the other.

Divans or ottoman beds with storage beneath the mattress provide convenient, hidden storage for spare bedding (freeing up wardrobe space) or out of season sports gear. Practical coffee tables with drawers offer accessible storage for TV remotes or charging cables, tablets or gaming controllers.

Use Overhead Space

Use shelving to reclaim floor space and enjoy a more open living area. We clutter up floor space and create unintentional obstacle courses, leaving wall space bare bar a few pictures. Fitted open shelving creates a fashionable display area for books, ornaments or knick-knacks that would otherwise be on mantelpieces, bookcases or sideboards.

As well as the vertical spaces in rooms, consider shelving in hidden spaces such as the airing cupboard, the awkward space under the stairs, or within existing kitchen cabinets. Maximising storage areas like these helps you organise and categorise storage, making it easier to find items as well as providing additional space. For instance, in kitchen cabinets, tinned foods take up little space, and an extra shelf in the cupboard would create room for more tins within the same area. Look for purpose made wire racks if you don’t want the trouble of actually fitting interior shelves.

Reduce the Amount of Furniture at Home

Over time, furniture items seem to multiply. Maybe through inheritance, buying new and not getting rid of the old, or through the changing needs of a growing family.

When you no longer use an item but can’t bear to permanently part with it, consider off site self storage. It’s not terribly expensive, there’s a wide range of space sizes, and storage companies tend to be located in easily reached town locations with good road access and plenty of parking for unloading. Another advantage to this solution is the short term nature of the contracts, so you can hire a space a week at a time if you’re unsure about whether you want to hang onto unused items or sell them on. It can buy you breathing space while you get used to a new living arrangement.

Create Dedicated Spaces with Zoning

Zoning can be easier to achieve than you might imagine. Even the smallest spaces can have areas cordoned off for specific activities. Ideas include slightly extending a kitchen worktop to make a breakfast/snack area, or turning out a bookcase so it stands perpendicular to the wall, creating a small barrier to a desk area in the living room.

If you try the bookcase idea, have business books turned toward the desk and novels or entertainment matter turned towards the living space. If you’re up for a bit of DIY adaptation, you could fashion bespoke enclosed bookcase shelves (alternating the open sides) with sections of wood or MDF cut to size and pinned into place. Use the blocked off sections to display small artworks or photos.

With open spaces, clear surfaces and everything in its place, life becomes much more productive and invigorating. It’s almost like having a few extra hours in the day.

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Repairing Your Electrical System After a Flood

Flooding causes a lot of damage to thousands of homes. After the disaster, everyone hurries to get things back to how they used to be. It is, however, crucial that you pay more attention when comes to your electrical system. You should carefully evaluate your electricity with the help of a utility worker, firefighter or a professional electrician before you start to rebuild or move things around. Electrical repairs are often dangerous, and the addition of water increases the risk significantly. Here are a few valuable safety guidelines you need to consider when repairing your electrical system after a flood;

Pay Attention to Bonding and Grounding

Grounding and bonding are among the vital components of a home’s electrical system. You should pay complete attention to these two.They carry current to your house during normal operation, and in case something goes wrong; they carry current to the ground. These parts can get damaged during floods. It is important to have an equipped electrician to assess the damage. Ignoring your grounding and bonding system may cost you your safety when electrical accidents occur.

Do Not Assume It’s Safe

It is quite obvious that electricity and water do not go well. Unfortunately, not everyone has all information about electricity safety. You should take careful measures when stepping into flooded areas. Electrical cords and submerged outlets could energize the water. It is for this reason that you should have your flooded home inspected by an electrician, firefighter utility worker. Turning off the main switch to shut off the power to your house does not guarantee safety entirely. Energy can flow back from your neighbors who use backup generators making the risk of electrocution even higher.

Replace Everything

It is essential that you replace any electronics or appliances that were affected by the water. Very few can survive being submerged, even for a short time. Appliances like tank water heaters, ovens, freezers, and refrigerators are mostly destroyed since their insulation cannot be replaced. Well, some appliances survive but can be exceedingly dangerous to operate. You should also replace all the metal components of your electrical system as they might rust and prevent connection to your home’s grounding system. You should not assume that your water-damaged electrical appliances can be simply cleaned, dried and reused. Flood waters contain contaminants, including chemicals which might corrode or damage your electrical equipment. These compounds could also cause fires, shock or electrocution.

Once your home has been cleared by qualified personnel, then it is safe to begin cleanup tasks. It is vital to consider all these because your priority is safety. Remember that all electrical repairs in your home have to be performed by a licensed electrician. Even after it has been cleared to be safe, you need to be extra careful during cleaning. Having an early safety check after a flooding event is essential. In case of any emergency electrical services of any kind; you could contact Gordon Powers. They are professionals who will guarantee any repairs, maintenance, and electrical installations.

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