The Price You Pay

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Anyone coming of age in the current working climate should know that there are significant changes afoot. Remote or freelance work is now the norm as more and more people break away from the 9-5. In many ways, this is an exciting change. Instead of settling for jobs which are less than ideal, the next generation can control their work/life balance. And, we all know that’s the best way to happiness.

But, with this freedom comes new responsibilities. Instead of being able to sit back and let a boss make difficult decisions, those going it alone have to step up to the plate. You’ll need to decide everything, from the jobs you accept, to the price you charge for them. And, pricing is exactly what we’re going to look at here. It’s a tough subject. Get it wrong, and you’ll fail to make a living. Worse, you could tarnish your reputation. In the freelance world, that’s a definite no-go. To ensure it doesn’t happen, follow these pointers when choosing a price plan.

Costs and labor

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to pricing, it’s worth estimating how much production costs you, and also thinking about the labor. Add up every expense you spend on each project. That includes printing costs, materials, and even a part of your internet bill if it features. Charging this much would mean that you cover costs but don’t make a profit, so you need to think, also, about your labor. Most freelancers charge more for larger jobs. If you spend eight hours on something, think about how much you can pay yourself per hour. Then, add this to your expenses to work out a rough price bracket.

Read available resources

No matter what your freelancing gig, you can be sure there’s a multitude of resources out there to help you here. The internet helps us all share these experiences in untested waters. Graphic designers talk about how much to charge. Journalists and illustrators do the same. Sites like SEO Jet even provide a good guide for those branching into SEO. You name it; there’s help out there for you. All you need to do is look for it, and learn from what you find.

Know your competition’s pricing

It’s also essential to know how much your competition charges. In fact, this is the most practical help you’ll find. Bear in mind, though, that it may not be best to charge the exact same prices. Instead, think about ways to produce a competitive pricing strategy compared to what they offer. This is the best way to set yourself above the rest. That said, don’t do this to the detriment of your profit. Bear in mind the pricing you developed when estimating costs and labor. Then, develop a competitive price list based on what you’ve found. If your overall price is over that of your competition, think about small ways to reduce it. Cheaper materials, for example, or finding faster ways to work.

Smart Ways to Grow your Business: The Power of Backlinks

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It is a known fact that backlinks are directly related to the amount of traffic that you have on your website. The more authoritative sites that you have linking to your site, the better rankings you’ll have and ultimately, the more traffic you’ll get. Quality backlinks should be your first focus. You may feel as though backlinks are hard to get, but they shouldn’t be and there are plenty of ways for you to earn backlinks so that you can benefit from everything that they have to offer.

Take Skip The Line Backlinks for example. They are able to offer you a huge range of backlink and SEO services, so you don’t have to build your links manually and risk low-quality alternatives.

Backlinks on Your Own Site

If you want to get the best result out of your site then you will need to use the right anchor text when linking on your site. You will want to have your own keyword and anchor text but you don’t want to have the keyword alone. The Google Penguin update targets those who do this and for that reason, you’ll only see a ranking increase over the short-term.

Backlinks on Other Sites

High authority backlinks are very important but they are also very tricky. You have to make sure that the link that you have can provide value to another site as well. It’s true that you can’t control what text another company will use, but you can still hope for the best by getting press in sites that are well-read. For example, you could ask the leaders in your company to post on guest-sites and when you have a company announcement, you can even send a press-release to other sites that are relevant and even popular with bloggers. This is one of the best ways for you to grow your business, but you need to show people why your post will benefit the readers of that site, and in exchange, you’ll get a backlink.

If you have an email list or if you have some social media pages then it’s important that you post on these accounts. It’s also important that you include links to other companies when your content talks about them or even other influencers.

Growing your Business

Ultimately, the best way for you to get backlinks would be for you to create high-quality content and to connect with other businesses. If you do this however, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get the best result out of your backlinks because you can’t predict how they will link to you or even if they will altogether. For this reason, it helps to choose a reputable company who is experienced in backlink building so that they can help you through the whole process.

Backlinks really are one of the best ways for you to establish your business online and it could be the ticket you need to ensure your own success. Building a business has never been easier, and you’d be surprised at how much it could make a difference to your own site traffic.

Unique Ways to Boost Business Efficiency

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All businesses are looking for ways to increase their efficiency levels, and if they are not, they should be. Being more efficient means that your business is working as smartly as possible. It, therefore, means that you are maximising your time and consequently your profits. Of course, being efficient now does not mean that you are going to be in a year’s time. The business world moves forward, and we need to make sure we keep up with it, or even better, that we set the pace. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some unique ways to increase efficiency at your business…]

  • Consider OCR software – Have you considering OCR processing software? If not, now is a good time to look into this further. For those who are unaware, OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It is a form of technology that gives you the ability to convert various kinds of documents – for instance, images captured by a digital camera, PDF files, and scanned paper documents – into searchable and editable data. This gives you the capacity to work more efficiently; you will be able to research more effectively, enabling you to spot trends that will improve your business, leading to even greater efficiencies. It has an incredible knock-on effect.
  • Scale down on meetings – Yes, meetings can boost efficiency at your business when they are done correctly, and you definitely shouldn’t get rid of them altogether. However, you do need to put an end to the “have you got a minute?” type of meetings. These are unscheduled and they will distract you and anyone else involved from working productively. It is an inefficient use of energy and time.
  • Drop the problematic customers – This is a controversial suggestion. After all, dropping customers seems like a bad idea, why would you want to get rid of someone that is paying you money? Nonetheless, you need to ask whether you are spending more time and resources on these customers than the money you are making? If that’s the case, then are you really gaining anything by keeping these customers on board? You will probably find that your time and effort is better spent looking for new customers to plug the gap.
  • Consider outsourcing – Last but not least, you need to decide whether outsourcing part of your business would benefit it. Ask yourself some key questions. Is this task getting in the way of your core activities? Would it be cheaper to outsource? Is this a task that is required on a seasonal or one-off basis? Would you benefit from specialist experience? If you answer yes to several of those questions, it is a clear indication that outsourcing would be better.

Hopefully, you now have some ideas regarding how to improve efficiency at your company. If you can use the some of the tips that have been mentioned above, you are bound to notice a difference. Nonetheless, don’t forget to measure the new approaches you implement to ensure they deliver the results you are aiming for.

Material Matters: Understanding Your Resources

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The world of engineering, manufacturing, and construction are all very complicated. From the challenges found in measuring large objects to the difficulty in understanding the materials being used, there are loads of things you have to keep on your mind. When it comes to the resources you use, making a mistake here could have a huge impact on your company. So, to help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the biggest considerations you have to make before choosing the resource you’ll be working with.

  • The Name

To begin, the easiest way to tell one material from another is the name it has been given. Even amongst metals of the same type, there will be loads of different grades and treatment styles which are given different names. To learn more about this sort of thing, you can look at this article about 304 stainless steel to give yourself an idea of the differences between some metals. Using a name will be the first step you have to take. Along with this, though, you will also have to do plenty of research to get started.

  • The Qualities

With the names of your materials in hand, you will be ready to begin the process of figuring out their qualities. For example, copper is a very soft metal, and can easily be bent to your purpose. Iron, on the other hand, is much less flexible, and will snap rather than changing shape. It’s critical that you understand the qualities of the resources you work with long before you ever do anything with them. In some cases, dangerous fumes could be pumped into the air around you and you wouldn’t know until it’s too late. Extractor fans are one of the best ways to deal with this.

  • The Uses

At this point, you will have some materials in mind, and it’s time to start thinking about what they are best used for. A good engineer will always work hard to ensure that they are using the very best option for the job they are doing, and this will depend on loads of different factors. For example, aluminum is perfect for budget bike frames, as it is nice and cheap while also being light. This creates a great basis for the creation of the finished product.

  • The Pricing/Value

Finally, as the last area to consider, a lot of people will ignore price until the very end in a project like this one. In reality, though, even a couple of pennies would make a big difference when you’re dealing with hundreds of the same item. In some cases, it could be worth compromising to get more for your money, even if it means your product isn’t quite as good. This sort of balancing act is often the hardest part of manufacturing.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your company’s resources. In a lot of cases, manufacturers and production businesses will completely ignore these crucial elementals, ultimately making their own lives harder in the future.

Safe Warehouse – Safe Workers

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When it comes to keeping your workers safe, there are many simple ways to organize your warehouse. A safe worker is a happy worker. Even if you think you have your safety legislation covered, there are always ways to improve!

Be Bright – Be Seen

The best way to ensure worker safety right off the bat is to insist on the wearing of hi-visibility vests and hard hats where required. You may wish to choose the brightest option possible as opposed to the standard. Your staff safety is paramount, and by selecting a more vivid color, it will go a long way to help your staff stand out.

Guardrails

Installing guardrails will be a necessity especially if you intend to use forklift trucks or ride-on pallet trucks. Guardrails positioned on ramps or corners will slow down your vehicle operatives and force them to concentrate in these areas where manoeuvring space is tight, and accidents may occur more frequently. As an added advantage, drivers will not be able to drift into pedestrian walkways, reducing the risk of such collisions.

Cutting Through The Red Tape

You will already understand that keeping your pedestrian staff well away from your vehicle, forklift operators or PFlow VRCs, is paramount when it comes to avoiding dangerous collisions and preventing accidents.  With floor tape, implementing safe traffic routes or marked lanes needn’t be complicated nor expensive. Make sure to mark out defined areas for pedestrians and ensure vehicles keep to their designated zones. By using tape, you can also very easily and quickly rearrange the warehouse should a  layout change be required after purchasing new equipment or if you require a new area to work in.

Clear The Aisles

Remove the clutter and clear the trash. Not only is it unsightly but these are the primary factors when considering risk and avoiding hazards. Fire risk is significantly increased where there is fuel gathered to feed a breakout. Loose waste packaging not only is a trip hazard to pedestrians but can also get under the wheels of any warehouse vehicles, causing slips which may lead to collisions. Keeping the area clean is a simple yet most effective way of reducing risk, upholding the ideals of good health and safety and increasing efficiency. It’s also an elementary rule to implement with the help of your Managers and the cooperation of your employees.

Safety Signs

It’s important to display as much information as possible to alert workers to potential dangers and which precautionary steps to take to avoid them. Safety signs take care of this directly and inexpensively and are a legal requirement in most warehouses.  Ensure you have adequate signage, which should be placed wherever a risk a posed. It is essential, however, not to go over the top as employees may become blase over the amount and the importance of the signs may be lost in the mire.

They could also be considered a distraction to drivers.

Team Meetings

Although not something that is essential in the overall safety plan, regular team meetings can be one of the more efficient ways of distributing information on any new risks or any changes to your Safety policies within your corporation. The benefit is two-fold, allowing not only the dissemination of such information but encouraging a team responsibility and awareness for each other. It will also reinforce the commitment of the company that it’s employees health and wellbeing are paramount to the Management. When employees feel valued, then productivity is increased.

How to Pursue a Good Idea When You Don’t Know Where to Start

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Good ideas come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes, the person with the good idea isn’t necessarily going to be able to achieve it on their own. For example, if you have a great idea for a line of cleaning products, you might have the marketing and advertising down and the funding covered but you aren’t entirely sure how to actually manufacture the product.

Or indeed, it might be that you can make the product, but every other step in the narrative to success is eluding you.

Don’t panic. This is normal. And, it’s why great inventors tend not to work on their own in a garage at the bottom of the garden, but in collaborative teams where other people and experts can help to refine their ideas.

If you’ve had a good idea but you don’t know where to start, this is what you should do.

Tell People About Your Idea

Of course, knowing that an idea can be done and finding a market for that same idea are two very different things. Talking to your friends is a good plan because they will be able to suggest ways that it might be made better or indeed point you towards similar products on the market.

It can be difficult to tell people about an idea you are holding close for fear of ridicule, but this really is the best way to get it out in the open and start to refine it into something that will sell. You might also be worried about your friend stealing your idea. This is natural and it is probably a wise choice to apply for a patent to protect your idea, and not just from your friends. This process will also show up any similar ideas that have already been patented.

Ask an Expert for Help

Good ideas are rarely the work of just one person so taking your seed and getting an expert’s advice will help the idea to take root. Continuing with the cleaning product analogy, you might want to seek the professional help of a company who can provide custom chemical formulation to find out how you can make the best product with what you have.

Make a Prototype

Once you have consulted friends and experts, it is time to make a prototype. This will show whether your idea actually works, for starters, but it will also flag areas that could be improved as will as parts that could be simplified in order to make the manufacturing process easier. Bear in mind that your first prototype will not be perfect and this is not a reason to give up, just a reason to continue refining and improving as you go along.

Don’t Wait Until You’re Ready

There is a whole blog on the subject but the headline is exactly as it states. If you wait until the perfect time, you will miss the boat. This is because there is no perfect time.

Trust your instinct, run with your idea and get it out into the world.

How To Ensure Your Business Continues To Grow In Success

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As a business owner, you may be looking back on your company’s year through 2017 and feel extremely accomplished with all that you have achieved. It quite possibly could have been your most successful year yet, and you’re thinking “what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, the answer that follows this question is quite an intense list. Your profit numbers could fall significantly, you could be met by a new competitor that is causing your footfall statistics to plummet, or your services may just drop in demand. Though these examples are not exhaustive, you want to keep your company striving forward – rather than bathing in your current success – to ensure you don’t find yourselves taking a bumpy fall back down the ladder you fought so hard to climb. Here are some sectors of your business that should not be neglected, to ensure your current success is sustainable and able to have continued growth.

Outsource

Keeping outgoings at a minimum is a good way of ensuring a contingency fund of profit should any problems arise. A lot of companies are currently turning to outsourcing for certain services – like customer response, marketing, and accounts – for a very good reason.  Not only will those services be carried out by industry professionals using top of the range equipment and software, but the cost of the service is considerably less when compared to hiring, training up your own staff, and investing in the equipment needed to carry out the job efficiently. It also frees up a considerable amount of your’s and your employees’ time to focus on the core of the business – your product and customer service.

Brand and Customer Service

When it comes to your brand and customer service, both should be under constant scrutiny to ensure you are giving out the best possible service and impression of your business. Your brand is what people will say about your business when you are not there – this is the word of mouth of your business – so you want to ensure this is always as positive and full of recommendation as possible. The top way of ensuring this positivity is making sure your customer service is impeccable. Investing some time in listening to your customer feedback, and making your customers feel like an essential asset to your business, will be invaluable to your success.  

Returning Footfall

Keeping track of your daily footfall, and ensuring you’re always on top of any searches through a company like 180fusion, is a good way of practically guaranteeing your company continues to bring in the growth it deserves. However, it’s sustaining that growth which is imperative. Having a loyal fanbase, who continually chooses your service over competitors, is really the big key to continued success. You can encourage this returning footfall by giving something back to those who support you. This can either be through a loyalty scheme – where so much spent equals to so many points, or you could offer ‘loyal customer only’ discounts through your email subscription service. Either way, customers like to know they will be rewarded for their loyalty and are more likely to recommend you highly to a friend.

Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas of how you can maximize your current success for the year of 2018.

Don’t Call Me A Life Coach

Back in 2007 when I started my business I got certified as a Life Coach.

Although there are always personal conversations I have with clients, I’ve never marketed myself this way.

What is a Life Coach? 

Is that someone who is going to tell me how to live my life?

If that’s so I don’t want to talk to him/her…

Life Coaching has becoming more acceptable and mainstream recently, but I’m not comfortable with that title.

It could be because of the certification I earned from iPEC. When I started as a coach I thought I needed to be certified to prove my credibility, but to this day no one has ever questioned me about it.

During my 6 month training, I only connected with a few people in my cohort and used less than 10% of the info they taught. In fact when people contact me via LinkedIn asking about iPEC I tell them it was a waste of money.

The only 2 people I’ve met with the title Life Coach at one point in their career that I respect are: Jenny Blake and David Vik. Yet both are thought leaders and entrepreneurs which is why I admire them.

My gripe is this: being labeled a Life Coach is vague and the imagery associated is fluffy.

When I worked with a coach nearly 15 years ago it was for his expertise in a specific niche. Great coaches are consultants who use coaching techniques.

See, coaching is not an answer to “what do you do?”

Rather it’s the “how you do it.”

For example I run an online test prep company now which I focus on the sales, support and customer service for. I contract tutors to work with students while I coach my team.

I’ve found over time that I can use coaching in whatever I am doing as a career. It defines my style, not my job title.

Don’t call me a Life Coach.

How To Start Your Own Yoga Business

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The new year is upon us, and many of you are already thinking of changing the old ways and embarking on a journey that will help you feel more fulfilled and rejuvenated.

Starting your own business is a great way of doing so, and if this means enabling your passion to be your main source of income, then even better.

Do you want to teach yoga?

Teaching yoga is not for the faint at heart, as there are many aspects of the business that need to be looked after, but it is certainly a very rewarding trade.

If you are able to have realistic expectations about it, starting your own yoga-teaching business can be a fantastic experience.

Research other businesses in the area

To make sure you are offering your own specific services, do some research beforehand. Google “yoga classes” in your region and see what comes up. This will teach you a great deal about your competition and will help you identify what it is that other businesses are doing that is successful. You can then think about what services you will offer and how you will market these to match and outweigh your competition.

Come up with a great brand for your business

This is the fun part. Take a piece of paper and write down names that have crossed your mind for your business. The list doesn’t need to include the best names that come to your head only. Write all the names that you have ever thought of calling your company so that you can then brainstorm amongst a list that includes the best and worst options. If you are stuck, Brand Bucket might help you think of interesting options.

Design a low-cost website through which to market your services

Platforms like Wix or Squarespace are relatively cheap and will allow you to design a website that looks the part and is complex enough to include all the information you need to share about your business.

Reach out to your existing customers

This could be the trickiest part if you haven’t got any past clients to whom you have taught yoga on a freelance capacity. If you do, simply reach out to them via email letting them know of your new business venture. Intelligent software like medicalspasoftware.com will allow you to manage your clientele appropriately. From helping you keep your client records in an organized manner, to assisting you with online marketing, it will help you take your business to the next level.

Attracting new clients

Tell your friends and family about your business and start marketing your services on social media. Maximize your brand visibility also by posting relevant text on yoga- and health-related blogs and remember to attend key yoga and wellbeing events in your region so that you can network in person. Try Wanderlust for a list of some of the most popular mindful living events. Growing your customer base is as simple as turning up to a networking event and saying hello! See where that takes you.

The above tips have hopefully given you a good insight into what it takes to start teaching yoga professionally. Best of luck and congratulations on starting to take steps to make your dream a reality!

Top Tips For Investing In Your 20’s

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Everybody knows that investing your money is sensible if you want to have a healthy retirement pot. But you don’t need to worry about that until you’re getting close to retiring, surely? You could wait, but if you think about it, what real reason do you have to delay? The earlier you get started, the more money you can save up. Starting in your 20’s also means that you don’t have to put as much money into investments each month. When you’re young you probably don’t have much experience with investments so it can be a little daunting. Don’t worry though, just follow these simple steps and you’ll realize that investing doesn’t have to be that hard.

Get Some Help

This is the number one most important thing to remember. You can do all the research you want but you still won’t be an expert. If you make poor investment choices you’ll lose everything so it’s always sensible to get help from a professional. Hire a good broker that can give you advice on the markets and tell you where your money is safest. Check out this tastyworks review to get a better idea of what help they can offer you. It is possible to make investments on your own without the help of a professional but it’s not worth the risk.

Understand The Power Of Compound Interest

When you put money away and it earns interest, the rate at which that money grows will get faster and faster as the interest compounds on itself. If you started investing in your 30’s, you’ll make significantly less money than you would have in your 20’s because of that interest. The earlier you get started, the more money you stand to make and even a few years can make such a huge difference.

Clear Debts First

Thinking that investing is the solution to all of your problems is naive. It can help you to build wealth from a young age but you need to think about your overall financial health as well. If you’ve got a load of student loan debts or credit card debts, all of that money you build up is just going to go into clearing them when you’re older. Before you start thinking about putting money into an investment pot, get all of your other financial business in order as well.

It’s also important that you get a handle on your spending habits as well. If you’re reckless with your money then you won’t have enough spare cash to put aside each month.

Increase The Amount Gradually

When you’re younger, you’re likely to be earning a fairly low wage. If you put too much away for investment you won’t be able to save for a car or a house or anything like that. When you first get going, start off with a small amount. Then you can increase the amount gradually, in line with your income as you start to earn more. That way, investing isn’t going to make life difficult for you.

Investing isn’t just for people in their 40’s that are earning a good wage. The earlier you start, the better.