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Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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As the number of Americans who work from home continues to grow, the home office is replacing the workplace for many workers and small business owners. In 2016, 43 percent of employed Americans worked at least some of the time from home, a Gallup poll reports. Within the next 10 years, hiring managers anticipate that 38 percent of workers will work mainly from home, Upwork research shows.

When you work from home, the safety and security policies your employer would normally handle become your responsibility. Whereas a traditional employer may be required by law to follow safety and security procedures, it’s easy for a home worker to forget these essentials. Here are three important steps you should take to protect your home office.

Create an Ergonomic Home Work Station

Some of the worst health hazards in the workplace are easy to overlook. Uncomfortable chairs, computer screens set too low and poorly positioned keyboards and mouse pads can lead to conditions such as back pain, neck strain, and sore wrists and elbows. Circadian Technologies research has found that back pain plagues 30 percent of male workers and 40 percent of female workers, while wrist pain bothers 16 percent of male workers and 27 percent of female workers.

To avoid ergonomic injuries, home workers should work in a location where their chair and monitor can be adjusted to a comfortable height. Hands should be placed in a position where they can rest comfortably on the keyboard and not reaching in an upward position. This means home workers who type frequently should use desktop computers instead of laptops or tablets.

Take Fire Safety Precautions

Traditional employers must follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations to prevent fires. Home workers are less likely to have a fire prevention plan. Only one in three American households have designed and practiced a fire escape plan, a National Fire Protection Association plan states.

To guard against the risk of fire, home workers should take basic fire safety measures, advises the National Safety Council. Work spaces should be kept clear of trash piles and flammable liquids, and radiators and portable heaters should be kept at a safe distance from flammable items. Smoke detectors should be maintained in working order, and fire extinguishers should be charged and kept on hand.

All walkways and doors should be kept clear of obstructions, and work areas should ideally have more than one exit route available. Home workers and their families should know which exits to use in the event of a fire and should practice using them.

Enact Physical Security Measures

Physical security is another responsibility traditionally shouldered by employers that home workers are tasked to take up. Both your office equipment and your personal property are at risk when you work from home. Nearly one in 10 U.S. households experienced at least one property crime in 2016, Justice Department data shows.

To deter burglars, make your home look like it’s occupied at all times. Place lights, radios and TVs on automatic timers to go on when you’re not home, and always park your car in the garage with the door shut rather than outside so that burglars scoping out your house don’t get the idea that no car in your driveway means you’re not home. If you have a second car, leaving it parked in the driveway will reinforce the impression that you’re home. Clear away any bushes or other obstructions burglars might use for concealment, and set up motion sensors to automatically turn on lights if an intruder enters your yard at night.

Prominently displaying a security camera can also deter burglars by letting them know they’re being monitored. Today’s best security camera system options come in both wired and wire-free varieties. The best wire-free, battery powered security cameras are equipped with high-capacity lithium batteries and only record when activated by motion, making them a practical and effective option. These systems can also send motion-activated push notifications straight to your smartphone, giving you time to respond appropriately while you’re at home or away. Read More→

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website scrabbleWireframing is a technique which is used in the early stages of website or app development to draw out what you want it to look like and to stay the coding process which goes alongside it. If you have ever had a great idea for an app or website you likely have throughout about how it can be made, and this is an integral part of the process which we need to master in order to make the best possible app we can. Here are some tips for beginners in wireframing.

 

Start With Lo-Fi

Lo-Fi wireframes are the most simple of the two styles and they allow us to sketch an idea with little detail to get a general jist of what we are looking for in our app. It is always better to take your time with wireframing and start basic before adding in the details later because it will give you the chance to change things around which don’t quite work how you wanted them to.

 


Digital & Hand Drawn

If you want to make sure that your wireframe is the best that it can possibly be, you will want to start your journey with a pen and paper and draw a rough draft of what you want things to look like on the screen. Once you have a sketch to work from you can either go on a wireframe app or contact a CRO agency to do it for you. Mixing hand drawn with digital makes life much easier and it means that you can work more accurately.

 

Use Flowcharts

Sometimes when you are completing a design for an app or website you will need to start thinking about the navigation and how it will work on screen in practical terms. Think about what kind of navigation you want on the starting screen and how this will branch out and change throughout the app, you can make a flowchart to show the different navigations which will give you a good start on deciding where things will go.

 

Use Free Tools

Although there are many many options out there which are paid for online, there are also many different free tools that you can use for your wireframe which will allow you to really make the most of your creative process without spending the Earth. It can make things much easier for you in the long term because it can be hard paying for you resources and it will mean that you can get more done.

 

Ask Someone

If you are such a novice in the wireframing world and you really have no idea where you want to start with the process, the best thing you can possibly do for yourself is ask someone what you need to do. Someone who is already familiar in the field can help you in the right direction and give you handy tips to make the process much quicker than it was before. You will be on track in no time and and expert in what you are doing.

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Improving your personal finances in this day and age can be difficult. The cost of living is expensive. But there are ways to see a better bank balance at the end of the month if you make some small changes to your lifestyle. You don’t have to cut back on the things you need; you just have to think of smarter ways to buy them. You also need to look for non-essential expenditures that you can cut. Here’s some advice on improving your personal finances.

 

Saving money at home.

If you want to improve your personal finances then you should start by saving money in your household. Running a home can be expensive. For starters, you might want to reduce your monthly utility bill by creating a more energy-efficient household. You could get thicker glazing to better insulate the house, for instance; that’ll reduce heat loss. Take a look at your monthly bills and see if there are other ways to spend less on the necessities without compromising. A monthly budget will help with this.

 

You might even want to cancel your cable subscription if you barely watch TV anymore. After all, most of us watch the shows we like on Netflix or Amazon. You’re spending all that money on a subscription with your internet provider every month, and you might be spending a fair amount of money on streaming websites. Why spend even more money on cable if you’re not using it? Saving money at home is about making a clear budget that tracks your spending. If you see an expenditure that’s unnecessary then you should cut it out of your life. That’s how you’ll start to see a better bank balance at the end of the month.

 

Saving money on your car.

You should also look for ways in which you could save money on your car. After all, this is probably one of the most expensive assets you own. For starters, self-maintenance is a good way to keep it in shape. If you want to avoid costly repairs then you should clean your car frequently to prevent rust and check the tire pressure before hitting the road. You could also save money on your car insurance by opting for a provider who lets you pay by the mile rather than paying for an excessive insurance premium that you don’t need. You might want to look into metromile rates if you’re interested in this. It’s much more cost-effective to pay for coverage that accounts for the extent to which you use your car.

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Consumers like to feel special – like they’re being singled out as valued and interesting customers. This is unsurprising in a world in which, until the recent rise of targeted advertising, customers have been treated as if they’re one whole mass with the same tastes and the same personalities. If personalization is something you feel would benefit your customers, perhaps inspiring them to return to do business with you or enhancing your reputation through feedbacks or reviews, then take a look at the following four tips which point towards enhanced customer personalization.

 

Account Management

Each customer that comes to your business has their own concerns, their own priorities, and their own way in which they would prefer to interact with a business. By managing to tailor your communications with each and every customer to their unique style of interaction and expectations of business, youll be personalizing their experience with your company. The best way to do this is through account management, with each customer or client assigned to a manager who deals with all the interaction from that particular person, which sets up a personalized relationship that can grow organically instead of one bounced between call center staff.

 

Marketing

As mentioned above, targeted marketing is a new and innovative way of personalizing the content that you share with potential and existing customers in order to show them the products and services that best apply to them, in a style and form of advertisement that, again, is most applicable to the individual in question. By using digital marketing strategies such as this, youll help to offer a degree of personalization to your customers thatll lead to enhanced business opportunities for both yourself and your customers.


Web-Based Solutions Read More→

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Running a small business takes a lot of work. Sure, your company might be small in size, but that means there are fewer people to take on all of the tasks that come with running a business. From accounting to marketing, you could find yourself wearing many different hats to ensure the day-to-day running of your business.

Fortunately, help is at hand for small business owners thanks to the wealth of online tools that can help save you time and money as well as make tricky business tasks easier. Get help for your company with the help of these six online tools that offer incredible value to your small business.

 

1. Accounting tools

Hiring an accountant for your business isn’t always feasible, especially while you’re still finding your feet. Even if you’re not particularly great with numbers, online accounting tools make it easy for you to manage your business’ finances and keep track of budgets, profits, etc. The best online accounting tools can even help you manage taxes and invoices, allowing all of your business’s finances to be managed in one place.

 

2. Scheduling tools

Keeping track of your employees’ schedules, payroll and annual leave can be tough when you don’t have an HR department to help. Scheduling tools are becoming more popular for businesses, particularly those in the retail or hospitality industries. Make sure your employees work their agreed shifts and keep schedules up to date with time clocks for small businesses that sync up with online tools for simpler management of your employees schedules. An effective system will help produce timesheets and more to help you feel more in control and not have to worry about inputting manual data to keep up to date.

 

3. Video conferencing

Do you work with remote employees? Then video conferencing tools could be just what your small business needs. Saving time, travel costs and helping employees work better together, video conferencing systems are changing the way meetings are held for more productive work environments, as well as being a better use of resources. There are plenty of free video conferencing facilities you can use to save costs for your small business, upgrading to more sophisticated systems as needed.

 

4. Project management tools

Find it difficult to stay on top of projects? With the help of online tools, it’s even easier to manage projects effectively and stay in control. The best online project management tools enable you to input tasks, attach documents, put deadlines and reminders in place while keeping everything in one secure location. Your small business can’t afford to waste time and money from losing information or falling behind on deadlines, so make sure you manage your projects more effectively using the tools that are available to you.

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Aug
07

How To Buy Bitcoin

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There’s no doubt that you would have heard about bitcoin, but you may not know exactly what you are meant to do with it. Bitcoin is just one of many new cryptocurrencies that will, most likely, take over from the currency we use today. The difference between bitcoin and standard money is that it is all digital. There are no notes and coins, and everything is done online through encryption, and this makes it an extremely safe way to purchase items.

Since not everywhere is set up to receive bitcoin just yet, many people are buying it as an investment for the future, rather than as a means of paying for goods and services. Bitcoin’s value has risen so much over the last few years that some people who spent relatively little are now millionaires thanks to their investment. If you like the idea of buying bitcoin for yourself, here is how to do it.

 

Find A Good Wallet

When you want to buy BTC, you will need somewhere to store your purchases until you are ready to either spend your bitcoin or exchange it for a different currency. There are many different wallets which you can find online, and they will all offer a variety of different features and benefits that will suit some people and not others. Take your time to pick the wallet that is going to suit your needs rather than rushing into signing up for the first one you see because you’re not sure of the differences.

 

Choose A Trader

Once you have your wallet, the next thing you’ll need to do is find a trader. Although it is possible to buy bitcoin yourself, if you use a trader you will have access to a lot of expertise and advice along with your purchases. The best place for a trader (or you) to buy bitcoin is on an exchange, and, again, there are many out there to choose from. This is another reason to use a trader as they will understand the exchanges and know which one to use.

 

Choose A Payment Method

When you are ready to buy your first bitcoin, you will need to choose a payment method. It’s ideal if you can pay by either debit or credit card and link the purchase to your bank account for added security. Using methods such as PayPal isn’t recommended because it is too easy to be used in a fraudulent way, and you might lose what you have bought due to scams and other issues.

 

Buy Bitcoin

Now that you have everything set up and ready to go, you can buy your bitcoin! Bitcoin is a volatile currency, and the price can change dramatically minute by minute, so once you see an amount you want to buy for a price that you can afford, you will need to act. If you wait too long, the price may well increase, and you can easily lose out. This is great news once you have bought your bitcoin, but not so great before the transaction can be completed.

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Aug
06

Saving Money To Stay Home

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Usually when I write something having to do with working from home, it’s about how to create an income. However, making money isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the stay-at-home recipe. The flip side of the coin is making some sacrifices and finding ways to save money.

When my husband and I first made the decision that I would leave the corporate world in favor of working from home, we knew it was going to take more than just me finding a way to bring in money from home. The amount that I would be making was half – or maybe even less – than I made at my corporate job. We needed to find a way to make it on his Air Force salary and my very small financial contribution.

Get Rid Of Non-essentials

In order to cut out some of our living costs, we sold one of our cars and for the next several years I drove around a lovely (I use that term loosely) car that had been my grandmothers, we also changed out insurance compnay to insurancepartnership.org/motor-trade-insurance/ just because it was a little more affordable. It certainly wasn’t my dream car, but it got me around town and we also saved a LOT of money when the time came around to pay tax and licensing fees.

We also cut out cable and anything else that we could find in our budget that we could live without. It’s amazing what things we consider “essential” that truly aren’t.

Keep Things Simple

Another aspect of our life that received serious cutbacks was eating out. This was a hard adjustment for me at the time. When I worked full-time outside the home, it seemed easiest many nights to just stop and pick up supper on my way home. And once I began staying home every day, I still wanted the ease of fast food.

I wish I could tell you that I found a way to make that work, but of course that’s not the case. Instead I began working on my cooking skills and learning to make easy, simple meals that kept us within our food budget each month. Read More→

Aug
01

4 Ways To Make Your Home Business Look

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There are so many benefits to running your business from home; you can be a lot more flexible with your time, you don’t need to pay for a big office and loads of employees and you can spend more time with your family. However, there are some downsides. One of the biggest challenges that home businesses face is not looking professional. It’s important to consumers that the companies they deal with are professional and they often don’t get that sense from a business that is run from home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find success, you just need to use some of these tips to make yourself appear bigger than you are.

 

Get A Proper Phone Number

If customers are calling your business on your personal home phone number or your mobile, that doesn’t give them a great impression. What you need is a proper, toll free business number that they can call. You can easily buy 1300 numbers online and then have them redirected to your personal number. As far as the customers know, they’re calling up a big company with loads of employees. Having a free number is also a massive bonus because people don’t want to be paying loads of money every time they need to call your company, especially if they’re already ringing up with a complaint.

 

A Custom Website Domain

Using a free website creator to build your site is a great way to save money, but it’s also a pretty good way to tell customers that you’re running the business on your own from home. As soon as people see a domain name with the website builder’s name in it, it screams amateur. It doesn’t even cost that much to get yourself a proper registered domain name for your business but it does no end of good for your image. Most of the free website builders have an option to buy your own personalised domain name so you won’t have to make any other changes to the site. You can also get a business email address thrown in as well.

 

Business Cards

When somebody sees a business card, they immediately assume that the person is fairly professional. Even though anybody can get them printed up, people still associate them with business success. They’re especially useful if you’re networking, which is an important part of business. If you meet somebody and they ask you for your details, it doesn’t look good if you have to ask them for a pen and paper.

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Aug
01

3 Ways to Earn Customer Trust for Your Online Business

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Gaining the trust of prospects and continually working hard to retain current customers is one of the biggest challenges in business, particularly in the digital age; after all, people are so easily distracted and have so many options at their fingertips that it can be difficult to make a solid impression.

But there is some good news: Once you earn that trust, customer loyalty is attainable. In fact, studies show today’s consumers revel in forming an emotional connection with a brand and earning benefits from companies with which they identify.

For companies, this spells opportunity. The following tips represent the three biggest factors in earning customer trust. If you can do these things and do them well you’ll be well on your way to creating and maintaining a large customer base that will patronize your business again and again.

1. Be Great

The same reality that has always existed in business is no different in the online world. First and foremost, you need to provide a great product or service that’s better than the competition in an expedited manner. In other words, time is a-wastin’, so make sure to get your name out there quickly.

Companies that once skated by with a mediocre but rare offering in their market can no longer rely on geography to save them. Instead, your website and social media pages must show clearly, quickly and convincingly exactly how and why your product or service is the best choice. But speed and efficiency is the name of the game.

Truthfully, people aren’t willing to spend minutes at a time clicking aimlessly on your website to buy something or have their question answered. With that in mind, make it a point to reduce your differentiating qualities to a bite-sized explanation with good visuals in particular and disseminate that message over and over in as many places as possible.

Standing tall on what you do best is the greatest asset you have in landing new customers to take a chance on your business. Read More→

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Jul
30

When Calling In Sick is Not An Option

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jill-new14feverThe phone was ringing and I couldn’t find the energy to answer it. I knew I should answer, needed to answer, but couldn’t summon the strength necessary. I’d been fighting the discouragement and frustration of a lingering illness for months and didn’t see any end in sight. Doctor’s said I’d see an improvement within six months of beginning this new medicine, but a month in and nothing felt different, in fact, I felt worse. I couldn’t imagine how my business was going to survive if something didn’t change soon.

Dealing with sickness as a mom is always challenging. When you add in the responsibilities of a business it can feel downright impossible. As I dealt with my health problems over the course of the last year, I’ve found a few ways to keep my business afloat while I’m healing.

Schedule your time in small chunks.
During the toughest weeks of my illness, I would set daily goals like “work for one hour” and “work on laundry.” By giving myself small goals like these I was almost always able to achieve them. It is amazing how crossing things off from my to-do list helped me to feel productive. My efficiency was a far cry from what it normally is, but I felt encouraged by these accomplishments.

It’s also imperative to schedule specific times to rest. Despite the fact that I was sick, I felt guilty for feeling so tired all of the time. By penciling in fifteen minutes or so at a time to rest, I was freed from the guilt. It became one more item to check off of my daily to-do list.

The extra benefit was that scheduling it in helped my three-year old to adjust to these short nap times. I would lay on the couch and rest and he would sit with me and watch a movie or play the Wii. This way I always knew where he was and he knew I was there for him if he needed me.

Outsource as much as possible.
My virtual assistant (VA), without even being aware of it, was crucial to me during this time. She was able to take on some of the tasks that I do on a regular basis. What a relief to know that I could count on her to do the things that HAD to be done. Even the weeks when I was at my lowest I knew the necessary tasks were taken care of.

If your kids are old enough you can “outsource” some additional chores to them while you’re healing. My six-year old was such a great source of hope and help to me. By helping me more than usual with tasks like laundry, vacuuming and even cooking (she can put crescent rolls on a cookie sheet better than any other six-year old I know), she felt like she was assisting in my recovery. So often our kids feel helpless, like there is no way that they can help us when we’re ill. This was a wonderful way for her to feel needed and helpful.

Let your family help.
During the months that I dealt with health problems, my family played a crucial role in keeping my business afloat. My husband would often take the kids out to dinner or simply outside to play, giving me time to rest and work if I felt up to it.

Grandma, too, comes in especially handy if she’s available and willing. Although, a neighbor or good friend may be willing to help out when needed.

Don’t take on too much.
Even when you’re feeling your best it’s important to learn the art of saying no. Know your limits and don’t go overboard – even with good activities. When you’re dealing with sickness, it’s imperative that you be honest with yourself about your limits. Don’t try to take on all that you would were you well.

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