When you’re running a business from home, every little bit you save helps. The average business costs about $30,000 to start up, the Kauffmann Foundation reports. If you work from home, you may be able to trim this down to under $3,000, the Small Business Association says. When you add on operating expenses, you may be looking at another $250 a month, equivalent to another $3,000 a year, entrepreneur Purna Duggirala estimates. Fortunately, you can cut your expenses by strategically employing today’s business technology. Here are five technological tools you can use to lower your business expenses.
Virtual Office Services
In 2015, the average annual cost of renting office space for a single employee ranged from $4,194 in Atlanta to $14,800 in New York City, according to The Square Foot. To trim office rental expenses, one cost-efficient alternative is using virtual office services. A virtual office provides you with a business mailing address where you can receive mail and have it forwarded to you without having to rent actual office space. Some virtual office packages include professional phone answering services, voicemail, virtual assistant services and even meeting space you can pay to use on a per-meeting basis. Today’s top virtual office providers charge around $100 per month for a mailing address and $220 per month for both a mailing address and answering service.
Office Communication Tools
Even if you rent an answering service, you will probably want to have your own business line for outgoing calls, and you will definitely need a business email. A New York City business using five phone lines a month from a traditional provider can expect to pay a $385 setup fee plus another $467.20 a month in taxes and fees, estimates Fit Small Business. This can be cut to $232.92 a month by using a phone service based on Voice over IP (VoIP) technology. If you only need one line, you can get a VoIP line for as little as $30 to $60 a month, including free long distance and advanced phone management features.
For enterprise-quality email services, Rackspace estimates that the average cost of a traditional on-premises Microsoft Exchange email deployment runs around $585 per year per user. By going with a hosted email service that provides an email address with a domain customized for your business, you can cut this down to as little as $2.00 to $12.95 per user per month, Comentum estimates.
Office Productivity Tools
Every small business needs an office productivity suite. Microsoft Office has long been the most popular small business solution in this area. The home edition of Microsoft Office 365 currently costs $9.99 a month or $99 per year. A number of freeware alternatives to Microsoft Office are available, such as Apache OpenOffice and Google Docs. If you want the business edition of Google Docs, prices currently run at $5 per month per user, including features such as email branded with your domain name and online storage space.
Backup Storage Tools
Data, such as your financial records and customer mailing list, is vital to your business, making reliable backup essential. Backing up enterprise data using traditional on-premises equipment can run as high as $60,000 for 4 TB of storage, estimates tom’s IT Pro. If you use a cloud-based data service such as Mozy, you can start with 10 GB for as little as $109.89 a year or $9.99 a month.
Web Design Tools
Today’s small business needs a website. Traditionally, many web designers have used Adobe Dreamweaver, which currently costs $19.99 a month if you use it as an individual app or $49.99 a month if you use it with Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Plus you’ll need to have web design skills, unless you plan to hire a designer, which is considerably more expensive. More recent online web design tools geared toward non-designers have cut design software fees down, while also making it easy for anyone to build a website, even if they don’t know web design.
When you first met your husband (or wife), you were most probably crazy about each other. You would spend all your time together, dream about the future, and talk about what you would do when you were old and gray. However, after being married for a few years, you may have noticed that your relationship has changed. Perhaps your once happy, fun marriage has all but disappeared, and in its place is a couple that seems to have very little to talk about.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. A lot of couples find that after a few years, their marriage is not what it used to be. If your marriage is no longer a happy one, you may be thinking about divorce. However, that’s not the only option; you may be able to get your relationship back on track. It’ll take time, but it is doable.
If you’re unhappy with your partner, the first step is to seek help. You can’t fix your problems all on your own; you may need a helping hand. Talking your problems through together will often lead to an argument, which is why marriage counseling can be a good idea. This allows you to chat about your problems in a calm, controlled environment. This will allow you to work things out by talking to one another, instead of arguing.
Keep talking to each other
In any long-term relationship, it’s crucial that you keep talking to each other. Instead of eating dinner in front of the television, sit at the table and talk about your day. Don’t spend your time in bed on your electronic devices, chat about anything and everything. Be intimate with one another, take the time to show affection. As you chat, you’ll find that you’ll start to grow closer again, and you’ll realize what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. Read More→
Everyone would work from home if they could. Well the truth is, now you can. The trick is finding the professions and jobs that will make you real money from the comfort of your own home.
Of course, you’ve seen the pyramid schemes, the work-from-home scams, but there are legitimate jobs you can do from home in your spare time, and while they may not become a full-time job, they can supplement your income. Here’s a look at a few jobs and professions you should consider.
While many will scoff that your words can earn you money, content writing has become a lucrative business in recent years. It may seem like written content is on the outs and visual media is a more prevalent medium in this day and age, but you may be surprised that the demand for well-written and interesting content is a larger market than ever before. Companies, as well as personal bloggers, pay for content that is engaging and informative, however, there are many unfair offers for freelance writers out there.
When you first start out you may not get the type of money you want, but don’t sell yourself short, either. Craigslist is filled with horrible rates for writers as low as one dollar per 100 words. Read up on freelance writer rates of pay, which vary depending on the client and your experience.
In this technologically connected world more people than ever telecommute, at least part time. If you have computer skills, there are many companies that can utilize those skills while you’re at home. Jobs can range from a web search evaluator (someone who tests the accuracy of online searches) to remote employees for identity theft prevention firms, like LifeLock. Many customer help lines have given up on large call centers and now direct their customer service calls to home-based agents. All you need for this job is a gift for social interactions and a script from the business that contracts you. Of course, in-depth knowledge about the companies products or services is also plus. Read More→
With each trip I lead to Israel, I start with a past itinerary. There are some non-negotiables I want each group to experience, but I also want some new opportunities for each group, especially for repeat travelers. Plus, some new opportunities arise, so I always ask the touring company and guide if there are any additional options they recommend. So, before the last trip, I received an email that asked, “Would you be interested in an archeological dig?”
We spent a morning at the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Truckloads of earth, containing centuries of artifacts, had been taken from the Temple Mount and carelessly dumped. Archeologists usually take great care in uncovering layers of civilizations, but all the strata were dumped together. Now, it needs to be sorted, studied, and categorized, one bucket at a time.
We started with brief training, learning about the project, archaeology basics, and the careful process we’d follow. An archaeologist and regular volunteers were on site to help. (Who knows what valuables we would have tossed aside without them!) They had already placed scoops of dirt, artifacts included, in buckets and added water to soak off some of the dirt. We worked in pairs, choosing a bucket, pouring its contents over the sifting frame, rinsing everything well, then sorting—every single rock and remnant.
It was tedious, yet exciting, because at any moment, we might find a treasure among the rubble. We had to learn what was important and what wasn’t. We looked closely and asked a lot of questions. We relied on people who knew a lot more than we did. And we celebrated when we found something. (And we did!) Read More→
We’re busy. We need things to happen quickly. We scroll through social media feeds for distraction, encouragement, or affirmation. We click like and share what is most consistent with what we believe and prefer. If it sounds good and doesn’t immediately contradict what we know to be true, it makes it through our quick filters and we claim it and send it on for others to see and accept.
We often take a quick approach to God’s Word, too. We use a concordance or online search to find all instances of a certain word and declare that’s all God has to say about a topic. We can’t possibly know everything that’s in the Bible, right? And there are those sections that are pretty much just rules and names and things that really don’t apply to our everyday life. Isn’t it just easier to play search-and-find, circle the treasures we dig up, create a fun image about it, and make it our profile pic?
Years ago, as I was leading a group of women through the first Bible study I wrote, I noticed how many times we all talked about feelings. I got curious about what God says about our emotions—fear, anger, jealousy, peace, anxiety, frustration, guilt, shame, joy—and dug into the Bible. I spent a lot of time untwisting the distortions we’ve created about those emotions from the purity of what God says about them. My journey resulted in the study Pure Emotion. I’ve spent the last year taking the same approach with submission. We search for the word submit and claim the few verses we find are all God has to say about the topic. In reality, submission is scattered throughout the Bible. We try to keep it in a box, making it only about specific situations or groups of people. That is not pure submission.
Submission has become one of those words (and concept) we’d rather avoid. It brings up stories and experiences of mistreatment, disrespect, and abuse of power. The concept has been “hijacked” by authority who have only their own interests in mind and want everyone else to do it “my way.” We live in a culture and time of applauding “my way”—until it bumps into someone else’s “my way.” Read More→
If you’re already working from home, you’re probably up to speed on what needs to be done. The self-employment laws are finally embedded in your mind, and you’ve got a good idea of exactly what needs to be done and when. The thing is, when you move abroad that all changes. If you’re serious about setting up shop and moving to the other side of the world, it’s time to do some thinking. Is working from home still the best idea? Let’s discuss.
Before you move, you’re going to need to talk to your employer (if you have one) and inform them of your intentions. Is it going to be possible to do your job from the other side of the world? In some cases, it won’t matter one bit. In others, though, meetings that you might have attended now and again could be crucial roadblocks that will stand in your way. If it’s not going to be easy, you’re going to have to reconsider your options.
If the work from home idea is still your intention, you’ll want to study the laws of the country you’re going to. Is there anything you need to know before you get over there? You might find that there are financial implications that will stand in your way. Suddenly, that nice paycheck you take home every month might be taxed enormously. Do your research and figure out the best option.
So what if it’s time to reconsider? Is it worth going back to an office job? Can you find more opportunities in that country that you can’t find back at home? There are specific roles where jobs for foreigners are in excellent supply. Your extensive knowledge of a different language or set of skills might just give you the advantage in an area you particularly enjoy. It’s worth exploring your options and getting an idea of what’s available to you.
Finding meaningful and good-paying work when you are a mom is a challenge. Traditional employment requires juggling work and family schedules that may not be practical for your family. The expense of childcare also may override how much you make at work.
Luckily, there are legitimate and decently paying options out there for anyone who wants or needs to work from home. Such opportunities enable you to work at times that are convenient for you, such as before the kids wake up in the morning, after they go to bed and in-between soccer vanpools. Check out some of these viable and surprising options that can help you contribute to your family’s bottom line.
Be a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is hot right now with blogs, online journals, magazines and your local paper looking for freelance talent. Copy editing and proofreading are also great opportunities to look into.
Start by culling your local Craigslist and LinkedIn ads. Use one of the many writing-specific job boards to find more opportunities. Freelance Writing Jobs is a good starting point because it includes job boards from BloggingPro along with valuable resources on how to get started, how to write a resume and how to find legitimate opportunities.
Pro tip: Don’t sell your words short. Anyone who pays a penny a word is underpaying you. Keep looking for opportunities that pay what your work is worth.
Start an Etsy Shop
Do you have a knack for crafting? Do you make jewelry or wallets? Do you have a large collection of antique mason jars? Etsy is an online store that is uniquely designed for artisans, collectors and crafters. You can utilize your network of other moms to collect unused crafting materials or scour your local thrift stores to get your idea started. Etsy charges fees for your listings and transactions, but well-designed items sell fast, especially when you use other social media like Facebook ads to get the word out.
Plug Into an Existing Business
There are plenty of direct marketing and sales companies out there that are great for busy moms. Become a wellness advocate for Doterra selling natural oils. The company purports the oils to be a healthy alternative to many forms of traditional medicine. Start a low-cost business venture in direct sales with Amway. It has been in business since 1959, due to its highly successful variety of home and lifestyle products as well as its blog, which provides valuable information about its products and getting started.
Other direct marketing and sales opportunities include Cabi (women’s fashion), Younique (makeup) and Scentsy (candles). Find one that aligns with your interests because the more passionate you are about a product the easier it is for you to sell it. Read More→
Finding balance as a working mom can be difficult, and finding balance as a work-at-home mom can be more difficult still. Difficult, but not impossible. Use these tips, tools and resources to help create a symbiotic relationship between your work and mom duties, while working from home.
Create the Right Mentality
While you aren’t reporting to an office each and every day, and perhaps not even answering to a boss or direct supervisor, working from home is just as much of a
commitment as an in-office job. Your key to success comes from self-motivation. Whether it means waking up before the kids to get a few hours of uninterrupted work in, or staying up after bed-time, it’s important to know your challenges and address them head on.
Create a Schedule
As previously mentioned, your work hours may not look like that of someone who spends the day in an office. You may have to spend a few hours at a time, working, rather than blocks of time, or work off hours to work around your kids’ busy social agendas. Find a schedule that works for you, and your family, and stick to it. Moments with Mandi offers some useful tips on organizing your work at home schedule.
Take Advantage of Nap Time
While working early morning and late evening hours may work best for you, you will need to have a few standard office hours if you plan to communicate with the outside world, who operates on a more standard 9-5. First and foremost, take advantage of any quiet or nap times that currently exist within your home. These quiet, kid-free moments are perfect for making phone calls, sending emails or focusing on high priority tasks. Read More→
Working from home (or wherever you park your laptop) is a true blessing. For many people, it is the only way to earn a steady income and balance work and family obligations. While remote work is great, there are a few things you need to do in order to stay connected with your coworkers.
Although it’s hard to replace face-to-face meetings, video conferencing is the next best thing. There are numerous services available, and each has its nuances to consider. You may want, or need, to use a combination of all three of the following options.
Skype doesn’t need an introduction as it is the most widely used and best-known video chatting site around. Chances are you already have this installed on at least one of your devices and your clients and co-workers do too.
FaceTime is Apple’s video chatting service that comes pre-installed in newer iOS devices — iPhone, iPad or Mac desktop. This sleek and easy-to-use program offers a more personal feel than most video conferencing apps, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your business needs.
Google+ Hangouts comes with your Google account. Up to nine people can video chat at a time and it offers a plethora of interesting features you can explore.
Screen Sharing and Screen Casting
Screen casting and real-time screen sharing are invaluable tools for remote workers. The first is, in simple terms, a video of your screen and what you are doing on that screen when you hit the record button. Screen sharing, on the other hand, allows a client or co-worker to see your screen in order to collaborate on a project or work through a problem. Join.me, CloudApp, and ScreenHero are great programs to checkout. Read More→
USA TODAY, recently ran a full-page article of Kerry Hannon’s book “Love Your Job.” She rightfully quotes the latest stats that just 30% of the American workforce is engaged at work. She goes on to relay that most people either don’t want to leave for another career or are simply putting in time to protect income and health insurance. That’s a fine kettle of fish! So if leaving is not in the cards and merely putting up with work to collect a paycheck are the only options, I conclude 70% of the workforce are doomed!! Unless… unless they begin to take charge of their own ecosystem and self-management. That’s what resiliency is all about. It is not about settling. It’s about stirring the pot.
1. Stir your imagination. That’s right: think more broadly about what you could do that would stretch your skills, add to your interest AND provide value for the organization. You might need a series of other “imagineers” who would help you consider possibilities. Make sure the people you ask are not those recognized as naysayers and whiners.
2. Beware of your negative imagination. That’s the voice that will tell you why everything is bad, why it won’t work, and on and on and on. Listen to your imagineers without judgment.
3. Ask. If you don’t ask, you can’t get. Don’t assume that your manager has any clue about what would re-engage your spirit. Mindreading, as far as I can tell, is only found in Vegas shows. Read More→