Your business can’t afford to lose potential customers due to downtime, data loss and diminished reliability. Unfortunately, far too many business owners fail to safeguard their data from corruption, theft and loss. Do you know the leading causes of data loss and how to prepare? Here’s a round-up of what to look out for.
Using a computer without a backup or recovery system is like driving without automobile insurance. Your valuable data is likely to be corrupted or lost with no viable way to retrieve it. Backup failures are an unfortunate part of computer and device use, but testing your data’s recovery is crucial to ensure success. However, not everyone has the time or inclination to regularly test their data to ensure everything is working smoothly.
Fortunately, you don’t have to employ a dedicated IT team to keep your data secure. Save money by outsourcing your data backup to the cloud with a service like Mozy. Create a set-it-and-forget-it system for backing up your data at your discretion. From there, Mozy does the rest without needing to log in and check the process. If data is lost, users can quickly restore the files they need or their entire computer.
Damage to your servers, computer and devices can cause instantaneous and unrecoverable data loss. It’s not enough to find the best durable and waterproof cases. Regardless of how well-protected your laptops and smartphones are, internal systems can still go bad without warning. After all, drives and operating systems don’t last forever.
Hardware repair is sometimes possible, but doesn’t always guarantee your data is recoverable. That can mean a lot of time and money spent on trying to fix an unsolvable problem. Ultimately you’re left with a broken device, irretrievable data and facing a loss in revenue.
Ransomware is on the rise, and victims can fall prey to this type of hacking when they find themselves locked out of their devices and are unable to retrieve their data without paying a hacker. At times, hackers are known to retaliate and send compromising information to the contacts in your device.
Your only protection against ransomware is a two-step process. Back up your data to a third party cloud provider that focuses on preventing downtime and malicious attacks. Most reputable providers will provide encrypted technology to keep your data safe and ready for retrieval. Next, perform a factory reset on your device and create new passwords and pins. Read More→
As a parent who is self-employed or works from home, you are no stranger to the struggle of time management, multitasking and prioritization. Carving out that precious, uninterrupted time for yourself is a necessity to get anything done, but it requires a lot of juggling to get there, with school runs, snack prep and babysitter scheduling.
Most days it feels like you can barely keep your head above water, but somehow you still manage to get many of the most important things accomplished. However, there are many less time-sensitive to-dos that often get pushed down your priorities list that could really use some attention — like financial management. Here are three strategies to implement to make your money management more efficient and effective.
Stay on Top of Bookkeeping
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work duties and overlook seemingly simple tasks like bookkeeping. Then, all of a sudden, the year ends and you begin scrambling to file your taxes and realize that it’s been over six months since you last properly tracked your business expenses.
Avoid the headache of trying to get everything done at the last minute by automating your process as much as possible. Sign up for cloud-based software like QuickBooks Online or Xero to track all of your business expenses in a format that your accountant can easily work with. Choose a service that syncs with your business banking institution so that you can skip entering every line item manually and instead simply categorize and approve each expenditure before reconciling your records with your bank statement every month.
To avoid months of bookkeeping work piling up, create a recurring calendar event every month a few days after your monthly bank statement becomes available so you can update everything for the previous month. Typically, this will only need to take an hour or two.
Diversify Your Income Stream
For the majority of people, working on your own means forgoing a consistent paycheck in favor of flexibility. Sure, by the end of the year, you may even make more money than you would working for someone else, but that money is never really a sure thing until the work is complete and you get paid, making it somewhat unpredictable at times.
To balance things out and try to make your income a little more predictable, try diversifying your income stream. Choose a reliable form of income like renting out a real estate property that you own for a minimum a one-year lease. Or take advantage of a gig economy opportunity with a company that has a strong focus on creating jobs in the U.S., like Amway.
Create a Monthly Budget
If you thrive on structure, a monthly budget could really help you save more money while still covering all of your family’s basic needs. Since your income likely varies on a monthly basis, aim to underestimate your income and overestimate your expenses to help make sure there is money left over for your savings.
If possible, “pay yourself” first by putting a predetermined amount of money into a savings account or 401K at the beginning of every month before you start paying for other routine expenses. If you procrastinate doing so until later in the month, you’ll be less likely to actually put any of that money away and will often use it to pay for other less necessary expenses ahead of time.
I have many single moms who have shared with me the challenges of dating when you are a single mom. After all, it’s a complicated dating world with apps and online sites. And we often feel guilty about dating again when we have little ones. When you meet someone you like, it can often be a challenge to make it work when you are so busy with your kids. But he could be ‘the one,’ so it’s worth giving it a go. Therefore, here is how to make a new relationship work when you are a busy single mom.
Explain your priorities at the beginning
To make the relationship work, you need to be honest with your guy at the beginning. You need to make it clear that your children are your priority and that they have to come first. After all, if you have to cancel dates as your child needs you, he has to understand. If you explain your priorities at the start, it can make it easier as your relationship develops. It will also give him time to process the situation, and decide if he does want to move forward with the relationship.
Make time for him
It can be a challenge finding time while you are a busy mom to spend time with your new guy. But if you want to make the relationship work, you need to make time to spend with the man. Find someone you trust to look after your little ones while you head out on a date. Try and meet up at least once a week at the start, so that you can spend some time getting to know one another. And make sure it’s outside of your home to keep it separate from the kids for now. Spending time together will help you both decide if the relationship is something you want to continue.
Show him you care
When you are so busy with the kids, it can often make the new guy feel a bit pushed out. And it can be hard for him to know that you are interested. Therefore, make sure you text and ring him to ensure you can make it work. And as Christmas is on its way, make sure you get him a great card and gift to show him you care. You can find brilliant sites with gifts for him if you are stuck for ideas. And make sure you have honest conversations with him about how you feel the relationship is going. That way, he will know you are keen, even if you are really busy to see him.
Don’t rush for him to meet the kids
To make the relationship work, it’s better for the two of you to meet up on your own at first. After all, if you rush meeting the kids, it might put a strain on your new relationship. As this feature explains, don’t put them all together until you are sure there are real possibilities for the relationship. That way, they won’t be left dumbstruck if it ends sooner rather than later. Still, you might want to refer to him as a ‘special friend,’ so your kids can get used to the idea of a guy in your life.
Hopefully, you can make the relationship work, and you can become one big happy family!
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An Interview with Sunny Lee
What do you think the most important takeaway from this book is?
The important takeaway from the book is that Money Masters and Money Monsters are created through what they’re taught. Our children are the most common money monsters and their parents are often their creators. Like most skills in life, when our children are taught money skills early, they can become Money Masters who can take charge of their finances and life. In my book, I will show you the seven simple habits that I taught my sons in order to make them Money Masters. Instead of depending on me to give money to them and tell them what to do, my sons know how to earn, save, give and invest money for their future. It’s like a teaching a man to fish instead of simply giving him a fish. When a man is taught this skill, he can eat for lifetime.
How has your experience as a financial adviser changed the way you look at money?
Money is essential to a safe, comfortable life, and money is good and useful. It is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is. In my profession, I’ve met many generous multi-millionaires who love giving and sharing. However, I’ve also met many people whose ultimate goal in their lives is to make lots of money and get rich. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, and it’s very dangerous to be in that kind of state of mind. We reap what we sow, whether good or bad, and that’s the law of sowing and reaping.
As a financial adviser, what are the biggest mistakes people make when creating a financial plan, and how would you recommend avoiding it?
The biggest mistake people often make is not making any plans at all for their financial future, and they keep their fingers crossed wishing and hoping that they will be fine. However, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” as Benjamin Franklin said. You can’t be exempt from life being life. Life happens all the time no matter who you are or how well you are prepared. Rain falls on everybody, so you need to have a good financial plan if you want to have a good life.
Another mistake many people often make when they create a financial plan is that they don’t ask for help nor seek advice from financial professionals in the process. Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something. Creating a financial plan is like building a house – if you don’t lay a solid foundation first, the house will collapse. It’s like a building a house on the sand instead of rock. A good financial plan requires both short-term and long-term goals as well as many detailed action plans to reach those goals. It also requires commitment and persistence until you get the job done. Having a long-term financial plan is like running a marathon. You need to be on the racetrack no matter what happens along the way until you finish the race. In the same way, your financial game is not over until your life is over, so don’t make permanent financial decisions based on temporary events in life, and don’t try to make a right plan but make a plan first and make it right.
Prologue: The Legend of the Phoenix
The caterpillar into the butterfly. The duckling into the swan. The peasant into the princess. Since childhood I’ve been obsessed with the idea of transformation. Perhaps it was because I wanted to shed my skin and emerge something better than I was, but at the core of my soul, I believed change was possible.
In college I read “The Rising of the Phoenix” as part of a project on Greek mythology and a spark ignited within me like a match to dry fodder. There was something about the story of this bird that moved my soul and gave me hope. The legend permeates more than Greek tradition and has been told and retold over years and cultures. The origins of the bird can be traced back to Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, and Persian cultures. But to early Church fathers like Clement and Lactantius, this bird was a symbol of resurrection, rebirth, and renewal. As I read the story, however, the Phoenix was more than a far away fable or symbol of faith . . . it was me.
My life was up in flames and I had nowhere to turn.
Perhaps it was the bird’s loneliness or the isolation or the hiding or the silence or the desire to be transformed, but I lost myself in the prose of ancient times. Soaring above my life, I had a bird’s eye view of a story that was to be my own. As the exhausted bird traveled out of desperation to an isolated desert, I caught a glimpse of my life and turned each page for the promise that one day I—like the Phoenix—would be made new.
Reading the mythological story awakened the reality that so many of us will face. There will be proverbial fires and flames that threaten our lives; moments that make us feel like all hope is gone and nothing can or will change. But I remind you, the fire that boils and softens a potato is the same fire that hardens an egg. It’s not about our circumstances, but simply what we’re made of. Read More→
HOMESTEAD CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION (HCI), a women’s state prison in Miami-Dade County, Florida, might seem an unlikely haven for redemption, but for many of the women incarcerated here, that’s what it is—thanks to Leslie Neal. Neal is Founder and Artistic Director of ArtSpring, a unique prison arts program that helps women connect to a creative, self-affirming space of inner freedom, often for the first time in their lives.
These uniquely designed classes often include concerts and theater performances to which prisoners, family and other outside community members are invited. Developed over 20 years, Neal’s programs are so popular with the women and respected by prison administrators that at least one class is available every day. “Once they start taking classes, they never want to stop,” says Neal. “Currently, approximately 445 of the 700 inmates participate in at least one class. We offer prerequisite, beginning, intermediate and advanced classes. Then we also provide mentoring and teaching opportunities through which women themselves guide and train other inmates.”
Over the past several decades, the number of women in U.S. prisons has been growing at a faster rate than that of men, largely due to the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing for drug crimes.1 This increase in the female prison population makes women’s rehabilitation a crucial national issue—which is why programs offered by ArtSpring are so important. Working in prisons since 1994, ArtSpring is one of the longest running arts-in-corrections programs in Florida and today offers workshops in dance, visual arts, theater, music, creative writing and poetry to over 1200 women inmates and juveniles a year.
ArtSpring programs help inmates learn behavioral and social skills that will aid them in their life transitions while incarcerated and upon release. And the proof is not just anecdotal: “The recidivism rate in Florida is close to 30%,” says Neal, “which means one of every three inmates released from a Florida prison returns to prison within three years.2 We’ve had hundreds of women pass through our programs in the last 19 years, and roughly 100 students who were enrolled in our programs for at least a year are now released. Of that 100, only one has returned.”3
One of the biggest problems home workers face is trying to separate their work and personal life. It’s tough – especially if you live in a small home with not much space to create an office environment.
It puts a lot of pressure on everyone, and you need to be careful that one aspect of your life doesn’t infringe too much on the other. In today’s guide, we’re going to reveal some of the key points you need to consider and put into action. Follow them and you can avoid many of the problems home workers face.
Lay down some ground rules
Start by laying out your priorities, including work demands and family time. Both are just as important as the other, and it’s vital to have some rules in place. Working from home can lead to a flexible work life, but at the end of the day, you have to earn money. If your family’s needs encroach on your ability to make a living, or vice versa, there will be troubling times ahead.
Separate working areas
If you have space for a home office, this is easy. If you don’t, you’ll have to dedicate a corner of a room to your business activity. There’s a lot to think about. You’ll need enough space for a comfortable chair and desk, for a start. Then there are files, computers, printers, shelving and all kinds of other business equipment. You may also have to consider some storage elsewhere in the house, especially if you are selling products online, for example.
Use a mail forwarding service
There are several advantages of using a home mailbox service. A more prestigious address looks better for your business, of course. But also, it helps separate your business mail with your personal letters and bills. Some mailbox forwarding companies will even open your letters for you and scan them, before sending them on in an email. It’s a good way of keeping your personal and business lives as separate entities. Read More→
Major Christian Organizations Partner to Launch Africa Study Bible Kickstarter Campaign Planned to Help Raise 1 Million for 100,000 Study Bibles
“The Africa Study Bible is a project that has almost unprecedented ability to positively influence the body of Christ in Africa, perhaps more than other single continental-wide project in the history of Christianity.” –Dr. Danny McCain, University of Jos, Nigeria
Wheaton, IL – Millions of English-speaking Africans know and love Christ, but for many, God’s word is hard to grasp. With nearly every full evangelical study Bible written from the viewpoint of the United States and United Kingdom, Africans have lacked a resource that connects with their unique experience, hindering discipleship.
But that is about to change as major Christian organizations, led by Oasis International, are joining together to launch the Africa Study Bible (ASB), a six-year,
cross-continental effort that has produced the first study Bible developed by Africans for Africans.
“With the ASB, we’re bringing the power of Scripture to Africa in a new and culturally relevant way,” says Dr. Matthew Elliott, president of Oasis, publisher of the ASB. “Under the leadership of an 11-member editorial board of scholars from across Africa, we’ve brought together 350 writers and editors from over 40 African countries, representing 50 denominations. This is an unprecedented project that will impact the global church.”
With the editorial nearly complete, Oasis, with the support of its partners, is inviting fellow Christians to join with them in helping get the ASB into the hands of Africans. With a goal of raising one million dollars to print the first 100,000 copies, Oasis is seeking private donors as well as launching a Kickstarter campaign, which begins April 18 and runs through June 16. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign have the opportunity to receive incentives ranging from artwork prints to limited Italian leather editions of the ASB as well as all-expense paid trips to the launch of the ASB in the United States and in Africa.
“Our goal is to have the first run of the ASB available in Africa by the end of 2016,” says Elliott. “We already know of more than 100 million people in denominations and movements in Africa whose leaders want to use the ASB for discipleship so there is a lot of anticipation throughout the continent.”
Designed to grow the faith of African church members, teach them to evangelize their communities, and apply a biblical worldview to their society, the ASB uses the New Living Translation and includes 2,400 plus features such as application notes, stories and proverbs, touchpoints that link Africa and the Bible, learn notes that explain basic theology, and major theme articles that apply the Bible to key issues. Oasis plans to initially release the ASB in English with French and Portuguese translations in development. Oasis is also developing a full-featured app of the study Bible. Read More→