How To Make Your Work From Home Business More Professional

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Running a business from home is a luxury that many are taking to because of the convenience of the job. Being able to work your own hours and at your own pace is something that many people long for, especially if you have other commitments in your life like young children or elderly parents to care for. The only problem with running a business from home is that you can struggle to come across as a legitimate and professional business. However, there are some great ways to make sure that this is no longer a problem. Check it out:

Create a kick ass website

One thing that all great and successful businesses have in common is a website that shows how professional they really are. Invest in a web design company that can create the perfect look for your website. Remember to make it so that your website is easy to navigate around. Having a website that’s too complicated will turn potential customers away and straight towards your nearest competitor. Making sure that your contact details are easily found is also essential so that your interested clients can quickly and easily get in touch if they want your services. Don’t forget to include a price list so people know what they are letting themselves in for!

Have a logo designed

A mistake that many people who run their business from home make is not having a logo for their business made. Having a logo defines your business and imprints your name into people’s minds. Come up with a clean and simple logo design for your business so that you can begin showing it off on social media, your website, and also any paper documents that you send out to clients. Remember to make sure that the colours match the theme of your website, or vice versa with your website matching the colours of your logo.

Invest in a virtual office

One of the biggest problems of running a business from home is having to put your address out there for everyone to see. For obvious reasons, this can lead to trouble further down the line. It also doesn’t look very professional. Rather than giving yourself the hassle of having a disgruntled customer turning up at your door, invest in a virtual office. This will give you a permanent business address for your post and phone calls, and all will be forwarded to your home address. Privacy for you and your home, and professionalism for your business!

Have business cards made

Finally, it’s likely that you will have events to attend at some point during your business life. Whether it’s a networking event or you’re trying to promote your business, having business cards handy to give out will help you grow your business no end. They also add a sense of professionalism and trust; meaning more clients for your business!

Apply these tips to your home business and see the difference it makes becoming more professional!

Overcoming Future Business Challenges That Will Hinder Your Growth

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Growing a business is tough–we all know this. From all the money you pour into your company to the many different legal threats lurking around each corner, there are so many considerations to keep in mind that it can often be overwhelming to new business owners. One of the best ways to overcome those challenges is to plan ahead for future growth, and in this article, we’ll be touching on most of the common subjects to think about when growing your business.

Future-proofing your business

First, let’s discuss the concept of “future proofing”. Future proofing is essentially preparing your business’s workflow for the future. It’s all about upgrading your technology to a point where it can last a long time, or reinforcing business practices so that you have a better chance of staying relevant in the future. There are many ways to future-proof your business, but we’re going to focus on the use of technology in this article.

First, the main problem with technology is that it has to be scalable. This means that no matter how many extra employees you add to your company, your technology needs to be able to support that growth. A good example of this is with your internet connection. If you’re adding a dozen employees then you have to consider the impact it has on your internet connection and networking in general. You’ll need more internet switches, you’ll need a faster and more reliable connection, and you’ll also need to consider IT consulting to actually help you grow in the first place. There are many factors to keep in mind when growing your tech and making it scalable, so make sure you plan ahead by speaking to professionals and getting a rough estimate of the cost involved.

Growing your audience organically

One of the most underrated things in business is slowly and organically growing your company. There are far too many people that focus on speedy and unsustainable growth because they want to seize an opportunity and make the most of it. Sadly, this comes with the added problem that your business is not going to be stable once that initial trend or opportunity falls off.

For example, you could pump your resources into the production of an item you sell that is currently trending. You could speed up production and even use additional capital to produce more varieties of that product. Sadly, if the trend dies out and you eventually lose your grasp on that market, then you’re going to suffer the consequences of wasted capital.

Growing your audience organically means capitalizing on trends, but it also means appealing to your audience, creating a customer profile to follow and also doing your best to monitor trends and not over-commit to something. Take it slowly, do what you can to analyze the market and give your business some space to take risks without overdoing it.

Growing your business is difficult without having a plan, which is why it’s important to think about how you can overcome not just present challenges, but future ones too.

How To Stay Relevant In Business

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It’s not easy staying relevant. As time moves on, so do advances in technology and customer behavior. The unwary business owner will soon be left behind if they don’t play catch-up, and as many have sadly found, they may be forced to close their doors as a consequence.

So, how is it possible to stay relevant in this ever-changing world? There are a number of ways to go about it, future-proofing your business to help you keep your doors open for longer.

  • Research online. Particularly when it comes to new technologies, you can find out most of what you need to know online. By visiting popular technology websites, you will quickly get the heads up on the latest technologies you need to be looking out for. Not every tech will be relevant to your business, and there are times when you may choose to sit out what could be a passing fad, but it’s still worth knowing what is happening now  and in the near future.

 

  • Ditch old technologies. By using old technology, you are making the lives of your employees harder, and losing respect and recognition from industry peers. While you don’t need to get rid of everything, there are still those newer technologies that will help you remain current. We are thinking fax over voip in favour of your old (and expensive) fax machine gathering dust in the corner of your office. We are thinking of cloud technology, rather than traditional methods of storing data. And we are thinking ‘live chat’ options on your website as a better means of staying in touch with your customers. Not every technology is here to stay, but these are some of the modern trends that will better serve your staff and customers.

 

  • Keep an eye on the competition. Particularly when you notice your sales drop, you do need to take notice of what your rivals are up to. Are their products better than yours? Are they using the latest payment methods to better serve the customer? Is their website in line with modern design and functionality? If they are getting more sales than you; if your customers are migrating over to the ‘enemy,’ you need to take note and make the effort to both match and beat them to give your customers what they want.

 

  • Survey your customers. Don’t second guess customer trends. Find out ‘straight from the horse’s mouth,’ using popular services such as SurveyMonkey to formulate a survey that can be passed on to your customers through email or social media. This is an easy way to conduct market research, and when you have the relevant data to hand, you can take action and update your operation accordingly.

 

  • Follow industry leaders. Who are the people influencing your industry? It may be a thought leader or a particular company that is spearheading change. Follow them on social media, read any literature they produce, attend industry events to speak and listen  to them, and learn from their example. There are people in the business world that are here today and gone tomorrow, but for those who have been in the game a long time, it is worth taking notice of what they have to say.

To survive in business, you need to stay ahead of the curve. Use our advice as a springboard to help you stay relevant in business for many more years to come.

Feeling Empowered In Your Life And Career 24/7

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Feelings can be fleeting. It’s normal for them to come and go. However, it’s tough to forget about a positive feeling once we’ve had one. One feeling that can be tough to forget is empowerment. Feeling empowered makes you feel strong, confident, and like you can do anything. You feel content, almost smug (although you’d never admit that). Feeling empowered in your career can shine through and get people to bang down your door with their offers and new opportunities. It can make you a shoe in for that executive or managerial role. It can help you to get what you want in all areas of your life.

So, just how do you start feeling empowered in your life and career 24/7? Read on to find out!

Define Your Goals And Create A Plan

Start by defining your life and career goals, and then make a plan so you can achieve them. Picture yourself in 2, 5, and 10 years time. Where do you want to be, and how do you think you can get there? You don’t always need to know the how, so don’t worry about that, as long as you know the what and the why.

Define your goals and write them out to finalize them. Put them somewhere they will stay fresh in your mind. If you can create a plan to get there, do so. Just make sure the steps are manageable. Taking regular baby steps is less intimidating and more realistic.

Make Yourself Stand Out

Making yourself stand out will make you feel empowered in any career and industry. But how can you do this? Work on your skills and abilities consistently. It isn’t always about experience and knowledge (depending on the industry). It’s about how willing you are to work at what you want. How much you want to improve and be the best version of yourself. You can look at progressing your knowledge and skills at the University of Southern California, or you could take a simple, cost effective course online. Different things will suit different people and needs.

Find A Mentor

A mentor can help you to look at things objectively. They will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and give you points to improve upon. Even the most successful people have mentors!

Make Sure What You’re Doing Aligns With Your Values And Beliefs

Whatever you decide to do with your life, you need to make sure it aligns with your values and beliefs. If you’re not doing this, your work won’t feel meaningful, and you certainly won’t feel empowered. This is why many people decide to start their own business and create work for themselves.

Network

The more people you know, the better! Get your name out there and speak to people.

Embrace Failures

Failures carry great lessons with them. Embrace failures. To fail means you tried, and the most successful people have failed numerous times. If you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to try. See the lesson in everything and you’ll always improve!

5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Are Still Making In 2018

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As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to make mistakes. However, it’s also easy to learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t keep on repeating the mistakes that they have made. There are a number of resources out there that can help you to stop making the mistakes that others are making in 2018 – so why are people still making these mistakes?

In this post, we’re going to lay everything out for you plain and simple. Take a look at the 5 mistakes that entrepreneurs are still making in 2018.

Losing Their Focus

Losing your focus can be easy in the first year or so of starting a business. You need to avoid losing your focus so you can keep on driving your new business forward no matter what. Losing your focus means becoming complacent, and that will not help you to grow your business to the proportions you’re hoping.

Write down the reasons you started your business and keep them somewhere you can see them. Every day, you can then outline what things you’re going to be focusing your attention on for the day.

Trying To Do Everything Alone

Trying to do everything alone is a fool’s game. Don’t be too proud to get help, especially when you’ve started and you see a need for another skill that you don’t have. You can’t do everything. Employees may be necessary to help you deal with your workload and bring skills you haven’t got to the table. Outsourcing is a popular option too, as it takes away much of the responsibility associated with hiring employees.

You could even consider getting a coach or mentor to help you to look at things objectively and move forward through the hard times.

Being Impatient

No matter how well you plan or how hard you work, you can’t expect your business to blow up in the first few weeks, months, or even years. Being patient is key to a successful business. This is why celebrating even the small victories is important! Wanting to improve is great, but you just can’t rush things.

A great marketing plan will help you to grow your business, but you still can’t rush. Make sure you know the ins and outs of things like A/B testing, social media marketing, and Google squared. If you’re wondering what is Google Squared? You can find out more with the help of numerous resources.

Poor Hiring Decisions

Poor hiring decisions can haunt you for a while, especially if you have to get rid of the hires you made eventually. Avoid making poor hiring decisions by going for people who are a good fit for the company and culture, rather than the cost.

Starting A Second Business Too Early

You may have had this business for a year or so, but waiting a while before you start a second business will ensure you’re not making a huge mistake.

Avoid making the above mistakes and you should experience fewer issues with your business!

How Educators Can Make an Impact on the Education System

Guest Post by Tiffany Rowe, Seek Visibility 

Already, teachers have an unbelievable impact. Every year, a teacher touches between 20 and 160 young lives every day, on average, and each interaction has the opportunity to change the world by creating a brilliant scientist, an intuitive author, a great artist or an inspired engineer. A good teacher not only facilitates learning in curriculum-guided studies but helps direct students toward beneficial life choices; together, this creates a balanced, productive society of well-meaning, beneficial people.

Unfortunately, as important as teachers are to society, society does not adequately support teachers. Average pay for teachers hovers only just above the national average, which is notably not a living wage in most states. Worse, local and federal governments fail to equip classrooms with the appropriate tools to ensure a high-quality education for every child, so either teachers must supplement with materials from their own pockets or else make do with less-than-acceptable supplies. Recent strikes in West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky and Oklahoma have shown just how unfair the education system has become – but many educators want to do more than walk out on their kids.

Fortunately, there is a way teachers can change not just individual students’ lives but the education system as a whole: becoming an education administrator. Administrators work in school and district offices, making decisions that influence several dozen classrooms at once. Here’s a career guide to educational administration and how it helps teachers make an unbelievably great impact.

How to Become an Education Administrator

The path to education administration can be a long and winding one – or it can be stick-straight for those who know the career they want and are eager to get there fast. Most often, education administrators start as teachers; therefore, an education bachelor’s degree is most common. Still, it is possible to reach education administration from other fields, especially business administration

Skipping past state licensure and teaching experience – which existing teachers already have and prospective teachers know they need – would-be administrators should return to school for an advanced degree that will prepare them for administrative responsibilities. For existing teachers, the best choice is an online master’s degree in educational administration because it allows them to maintain their current employment. Most can fit their coursework into their existing schedules, watching lectures and completing assignments during recess or after school, so they can focus on their own classrooms as necessary. Finally, prospective administrators in most states must pass a final licensure or certification exam to function as principal, superintendent or other top-tier administrator.

The Responsibilities of Education Administrators

An education administration program will prepare future administrators with the advanced skill and knowledge they need to excel in school offices. Subjects include educational law, communications, data analysis, organizational behavior, school finance and leadership programs that instill qualities like integrity, courage and focus. However, during their advanced education, teachers should also look to current administrators, especially those they respect, to better understand what their school needs from leadership.

Education administrators do more than say “We don’t have the budget for that” – though that might be what most teachers primarily see. Different types of administrators will claim different daily duties, especially if they are employed in unconventional workplaces like museums, correctional facilities and community or non-profit organizations. Still, some of the most common education administrative responsibilities in schools include:

  • Managing relationships with parents, students and the community
  • Developing and maintaining budgets
  • Keeping records on teachers, students and the school
  • Overseeing student services, such as guidance programs
  • Training and managing teachers and other staff
  • Cultivating community support, perhaps through public or alumni relations
  • Drafting and enforcing regulations
  • Purchasing equipment and materials

Why Teachers Make the Best Education Administrators

Teachers are in the trenches, fighting every day to ensure that the next generation is prepared to tackle today’s problems and create a society that is functional into the future. Though other types of administrators might have the leadership experience to keep schools operating, teachers have the knowledge and familiarity with the system to know what needs to change. With the right training, teachers can acquire positions of authority to make the institutional alterations they desperately need, like a longer, more balanced school year and more appropriate grouping of students in classes.

The school system is due for an upgrade, and teachers have shown they aren’t afraid to make their voices heard. With the right credentials, they can project their voices even louder and push through the policies schools actually need.

How to Go Green in Your Home Office

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If you have a home business or are looking to get into having a home office, then you are in the prime position to start going green. There are hundreds of things you can do to make your office more environmentally friendly.

Some of these are common sense, and others are quick tips to help you tackle going green a little easier.

Turn off your computer totally when not in use. There is no need to put it in sleep mode or rest. Just save everything properly and turn it off.

Update you stand-by settings and set the times for the standby mode to kick in within about 30 minutes of you not using your computer (during working hours).

Make sure all of you electrically equipment is up-to-date. While you might think ‘it works perfectly well, so there is no need to replace’ and there is some truth in that, the newer technology is much eco-friendlier, simply by being more energy efficient.

Use a scheme to recycle your old computers, rather than just get rid of them.

Replace all of your bulbs with LEDs wherever possible, they use around 75% less energy than standard light bulbs. And, last longer too, saving money in the long term.

Rather than have darker décor and use a lot of lighting to lift it, swap for some whiter – lighter walls. It reflects light better and will be well lit for longer during the day – meaning you’ll be reaching for the light switch less.

Whenever possible, refrain from printing – however, if you do need to print something, switch to recycled paper and use both sides. Again, newer printers will have this option, so it is worth the upgrade.

Aim to get a printer with an eco-mode.

Recycle your used printer and toner cartridges.

If you find yourself either grabbing bottled water on the way to the office or stocking up on bottled water then switch to something like a 30 oz yeti rambler, they keep drinks cooler for longer, and you won’t be trucking through so much one-use plastic.

When picking office supplies, try and get things like staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled rather than just thrown away.

Try and find a program that recycles anything in your office that you notice you use a lot of.

Add some plants to your office space, not only does it do wonders for your productivity, but they also do their own air recycling. Keeping your office air cleaner and better for you.

Add a note to the bottom of your emails with a friendly reminder that unless it is essential not to print the email.

Where possible, ensure that if you are buying anything, you look for an eco-friendly brand or one that specializes in recycled materials.

You can even swap out your current cleaning products to ones that are less damaging to the environment.

Going green is natural if you tackle it bit by bit!

Hey Entrepreneurs: How You Manage Your Down Time This Summer Matters!

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There’s nothing more liberating and emancipating than being your own boss. All those years spent trying to climb the greased pole that was the corporate ladder were so frustrating that they were beginning to take a toll not only on your sense of self worth but your mental health. You slaved for so long under the yoke of the system; overworked, undervalued, under-appreciated and worst of all… Underpaid. The best thing you ever did was quit the day job and dedicate yourself to your own business. Now you run a fully functioning enterprise either from the comfort of your own home or from your very own premises. But while your business may be growing and even thriving and you may now enjoy the freedom and sense of agency that comes with trading the life of a worker drone for a life of entrepreneurship, now it’s more important than ever to guard against entrepreneurial burnout.

As your business expands, so too does your responsibility to it and if you’re not careful, you may become a victim of your own success. With the inevitability of the summer slump draining workplace productivity, it’s likely that you’re working twice as hard and putting in more hard work than ever to compensate for the slump. But this is neither sustainable nor conducive to good health. Carry on like this and you’ll be reduced to an emotionally volatile and creatively stunted shadow of your former self. It’s vitally important that you take some down time. But that doesn’t just mean sitting at home and playing video games (although a little of that is fine too). Here are some genuinely restful activities for downtime which will relax you while also stimulating your mind and body and growing the skills you need to come back to work stronger and smarter than ever…

Boating

What could be more restful than taking your whole family out for some “vitamin sea”. Renting or buying a vessel from Premier Boating and taking to the water is not just a fun way to spend your down time, it also has proven restorative qualities for your mental health. The color blue is known to have calming and stress relieving qualities while watching the ebb and flow of the ocean actually changes our brainwave activity and lulls us into a more meditative state. Likewise all that sunlight and fresh air are nourishing for the mind and body, ensuring that you return to work bursting with new ideas.

Cycling

Cycling is another great way of relieving stress while also ensuring that you get a great anabolic and cardiovascular workout. The act of cycling stimulates both the heart and the mind, ensuring a greater flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, thereby ensuring that you return to work at your most rejuvenated and productive.

Hiking

We all know that a good, brisk walk is a great way to stimulate the mind while also burning a surprising 94-200 calories per 30 minutes depending on speed. Aside from the shot of dopamine and endorphins that come with cardiovascular exercise, you will also get all the mental health and productivity benefits that come with spending time in nature.

Remember, it’s not only important to allow yourself plenty of down time. How you spend it matters too!

UX And SEO: Why They Need To Be Considered As One

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For many years, a lot of business owners and marketing pros for that matter have viewed search engine optimisation and user experience as two separate entities. However, these days are long gone. If you want to rank highly on the search engine result pages, you need to master the art of UX. Both go hand-in-hand. With that being said, read on to find out more.

Why UX matters in terms of SEO

So, why is UX all of a sudden an important factor when it comes to your search engine ranking? Surely it is all about links and keywords? While both are important, UX also plays a critical role. This is because search engines have changed their algorithms over the years so that the most relevant and user-friendly websites rank at the top. They now consider elements such as bounce rate and page load speed when ranking your website. If your website does not offer a good user experience, you are going to struggle to rank highly.

Elements of UX that will impact your SEO

With that in mind, it is a good idea to work on the UX you provide online customers in order to improve your visibility. There are a number of ways you can do this, and here are some examples:

–    Include image tags – Google cannot look at images in the same way that we do. Moreover, some people may not be able to view images on certain devices or if they have a poor connection. This is why adding image tags is a good idea to make sure the UX is the same no matter whether the image uploads or not.

–      Improve the speed of your website – A poor page load speed is one of the main reasons why people leave websites and look elsewhere. Look for ways to increase the speed of your business website, such as deleting large media files, and you will boost the UX and your ranking as a result.

–     Make sure all blog posts and content is over 600 words – Why is this important? Well, it ensures that the content you produce provides value. It sends a signal that the content answers the user’s questions and that it adds value.

–      Ensure your web design is responsive – There is no excuse for having a website that is not optimised for mobile use in 2018. You need to make sure your site can be used and viewed optimally irrespective of the device being used. You can make the most of digital transformation services to assist with this, as companies providing these services can make sure your website’s design is responsive while also improving other UX elements.

So there you have it: hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the relationship between SEO and UX. You need to master both and consider them as a joint venture if you are going to be able to reach the heights you want to on the search engine result pages.

Running A Business From Home Is Easier Than Ever Before!

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Many people these days find themselves totally dissatisfied with the standard model of employment, that’s hardly anything new. After all, the standard work-a-day world has had a reputation for sucking the life out of people for as long as it’s existed. For decades, people have dreamt of throwing off the shackles of their employer and striking out on their own. People have always wanted to start their own businesses and take charge of their lives. The big difference now is that it’s something that many people are actually able to do. It truly has never been easier to start your own business. One of the major things that have lowered the barrier to entry when it comes to business is that people are, more than ever, are able to run their businesses from the comfort of their own homes. Where you once might have needed a dedicated office space in order to get your startup off the ground, now you really only need the drive, the time and the inclination. Here are a few reasons why it’s never been easier to run a business from home.

Cloud storage

Running a business comes with the need for a pretty hefty amount of storage. This used to mean purely physical storage but over time that was replaced by digital storage. While digital storage definitely takes up less space than physical storage, not many people have the room (or budget) for a large series of servers to store all of their files and information. This is where cloud storage comes in. Cloud storage is essentially a huge network of online servers that allows you to safely and securely store your data. This means that your files and information are always available without taking up huge amounts of room on your personal servers. Not only does this save you huge amounts of space but will also prevent your servers from slowing down due to the massive drain from trying to accommodate all of that storage.

Virtual office

While a virtual office might sound like something from the future, it is in fact very real and extremely useful. One of the biggest roadblocks that a lot of startups face, especially ones run from home, is that they find it difficult to make customers, clients and investors take them seriously. A lot of people will see that a business is run from home and automatically assume that whoever is running that business is doing it as a hobby and perhaps not really that interested in it. This leads them to assume they won’t get the same level of service that they would expect from a more established company. Services like yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk allow you to present your business in a way that seems far more established. Virtual offices can also include telephone and email services that will make sure that no matter how you are being contacted, your business always seems professional and legitimate.

Of course, none of this means that running your own business is suddenly something easy that everyone in the world can do at the drop of a hat. But it does mean that you don’t have to spend your life stuck in the standard work situation, slowly losing any spark of passions or drive that you once had. Instead, the modern world has allowed people to take control of their lives and their businesses.