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7 Ways You Can Get Paid to Work from Home

November 16, 2017 - By 

Is it time to ditch the office? Ready to gain more flexibility in your life?

If you’re considering working from home, there are ways to do it. There are a lot more options than you may think.

If you’re looking to gain more control over your life, a work from home job could be the answer. It gives you more freedom and time for the things that really matter.

Read on to learn seven of the best ways you can get paid to work from home.

1. Become a Virtual Assistant

One of the most popular ways to get paid to work from home is to become a virtual assistant or VA.

A VA provides professional administrative, technical, and other types of assistance to clients. They do this while working remotely from a home office.

A VA can handle many tasks for people who are very busy or have too many things on their to-do lists. They may answer emails, manage a website, or schedule appointments.

People use VAs for different reasons, but they gain a lot of benefits from delegating tasks to someone else.

If you’re looking to get started with working online, becoming a VA can be a great way to begin.

2. Start a Freelance Writing Business

Freelance writing is also a popular way to make money online.

There are more writing careers available than crafting a bestselling novel. You can make money writing for blogs, creating web copy for businesses, or pitching ideas to magazines.

Another lucrative way to make money as a writer is to write ebooks and offer them online as digital downloads.

Are you interested and knowledgeable about travel, sports, or technology? There are plenty of opportunities both online and offline that will allow you to make money as a freelance writer.

3. Online Tutoring and Teaching

If you’re a qualified teacher or you’re just good at explaining things, teaching or tutoring online can be a great way to make money.

You can help others learn in a variety of ways. You may consider charging for live tutoring sessions using Skype or video conferencing software.

You may also consider creating your own online course where you teach multiple people at once.

Many universities have online programs these days. If you’re qualified, you may be able to get a job teaching an online course.

You may want to use a specialized platform or software for teaching online to make the process easier. It will also help you with managing classes and interacting with students.

4. Become an Audio Transcriptionist

Another excellent choice for a work from home job is to work as a transcriptionist. Many types of businesses, organizations, and people need audio transcribed regularly.

You may work transcribing interviews or other types of things for businesses and organizations. Many transcription jobs fall into the categories of medical or legal audio, but there are other categories too.

It can take some time to be able to listen well and understand what’s being said. Once you get the hang of it, working as a transcriptionist is an in-demand job that can potentially pay well.

5. Get a Work-From-Home Call Center Job

A work-from-home call center job is exactly like it sounds.

Virtual call center jobs are just like typical call center jobs, minus the “center.” You won’t need to go into the office to work. Instead, all you need is a phone, a quiet space, and the right attitude.

Needless to say, you’ll be talking on the phone a lot, so this job is best suited for extroverts.

If this is the kind of job that “calls” out to you (pun intended), you can make a good hourly rate while sitting at home in your pajamas.

6. Become a Programmer and Get Paid to Work From Home

If you are technically-inclined, learning to be a coder or programmer may be the perfect job for you.

With this job, you’ll be writing code, designing applications and programs, and optimizing web pages. Keep in mind that it can take some time to become well-versed in these skills.

However, once you master them you can potentially make a lot of money. You may also choose to get started with a coding boot camp to jumpstart your progress and learn quickly.

Some coding languages are more lucrative than others, but overall it’s a great choice if you’re interested in working remotely. Being a programmer can be one of the most lucrative jobs you can do online.

7. Put Your Graphic Design Skills to Use

Do you have an artistic eye? Do you have the skills to use Adobe Photoshop and other graphic design tools?

Graphic design is one profession you can do with just a laptop and an internet connection. Businesses and individuals need flyers, newsletters, logos, and all kinds of designs completed.

You may choose to specialize in a certain type of project or take on all kinds of work. In addition to working directly with clients, you can also create digital downloads and sell them online.

This can be a great way to have an artistic job if you’re a creative type. You can also make money on your own terms.

Final Thoughts

There are other possibilities if you want to get paid to work from home, but these are the most popular ones.

If you have a skill that wasn’t listed above, don’t lose hope! No matter what your skill set is, you can find a way to market yourself and build an online income.

Think outside of the box, do your research, and keep your eyes open. You may be able to make something work for you and your unique skills.

With a little work, it’s possible to get paid to work from home and have the flexible career you’ve always wanted.

Looking for an extensive and trusted digital downloads marketplace? Check out our ebooks digital downloads marketplace or other digital downloads categories.


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Use These Plug-Ins to Add Yelp, Facebook, and Google Reviews to Your Website

November 10, 2017 - By 

When you are considering going to see a movie, if you are like most people, the first thing you do is check the reviews. It has become commonplace for Google reviews to be written about everything from the Chinese restaurant down the street, to what new books you should read.

This level of feedback allows your potential customers to get what they perceive to be a more accurate image of your business than what the flattering copy on your website paints. This is one of the most important parts of digital marketing.

These reviews are impacting almost every decision we make. Reviews and ratings are what sways the masses these days.

That’s why it’s so important for you to feature Google reviews on your website. You don’t have to rely on websites like Yelp! to display what your customers have to say about you.

Keep reading to find out what plug-ins you can use to display reviews right on your website.

Tips for Marketing Using Customer Reviews

There is no one more equipped to tell your success story than your satisfied customers. That’s why it’s a great idea to include Google reviews or comments on your website that are written in your customer’s own words.

Sharing real-time reviews from your buyers on your website will show your potential customers how well you deliver on your brand promise.

A positive customer review could bring a flood of new buyers to your website, while a negative one could drive everyone away.

This is particularly true for local businesses. People in your area will be more willing to believe the Google reviews of others within their community than random strangers found across the internet.

Many potential customers will use reviews to decide whether or not to trust your business. The personal recommendations featured in Google reviews can feel like they come from a trusted friend.

The most important traits that your customers will be looking for is a business that’s reliable, has an expertise, and maintains a professional image.

By creating this polished image for your business, your customers will be more likely to spend time on your website.

That makes them more likely to buy your product.

The Benefits of Displaying Reviews

Many people believe that displaying Google reviews is a job for sites like Yelp! and Amazon, but that’s a mistake.

It’s not necessary to have a review specific website to benefit from having a rating system and displaying customer reviews on your website.

Blogging

If you run a blog, chances are you have written a review or two on a product or service that’s relevant to your website content. Although your website may not be based solely on these reviews, there can be a benefit in creating a rating system for the reviews that you do write.

Many of the plug-ins that will be discussed will allow you to create summaries of all the reviews that you write. Then the concentrated version of your review will show somewhere in the vicinity of your original post.

One of the reasons that this is beneficial is that people on the internet have notoriously short attention spans. They have developed habits like skimming a webpage for what information they think is the most relevant.

If nothing catches their eye, then they will leave your website as quickly as they came.

By giving them a taste of your Google reviews with a plug-in preview, you can create a tasty morsel to tempt your readers to dive in further and read the rest of your post.

Small Business Owners

Beyond the needs of bloggers, small business owners can benefit greatly from the addition of Google reviews to their website.

With large websites like Google Plus growing every day, many small businesses have begun to see the upside to having great reviews written about them.

Since reviews play such a large role in the decision-making process, small business owners can take advantage of these big name review sites to drive more traffic to their website. This can be a key piece in your sales or conversion funnel.

Many of the plug-ins available will allow you to moderate your reviews and approve those that show up on your blog. You can’t do this with reviews featured on Google or Yelp!.

One great example of a small business making the most of their Google reviews is Go-Forth Pest Control in Wilmington, NC. They have featured posts by their customers on their homepage to show potential clients the quality of work they’re capable of.

Featuring Google Reviews

Unlike featuring a Facebook or Yelp! review, adding Google reviews to your website won’t require you to pay for anything unless you choose to.

There is a variety of WordPress plug-ins that can make featuring Google reviews slightly easier, but there are so many free options that for the majority of applications, purchasing a plug-in will be unnecessary.

Google Places Reviews

The most basic plug-in to use is called, “Google Places Reviews”. It’s offered through Google and will display a maximum of three reviews simultaneously. There are also a number of design options and configurations that you can edit to customize the look of your review panel.

Featuring Yelp! Reviews

For many industries, Yelp! is the go-to place for reviews. This is especially true of restaurants and professional services.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options when it comes to featuring a Yelp! review on your website. That’s because Yelp! is a niche platform that focuses on specific industries.

If you operate in one of the industries that Yelp! is known for, you know the amount of clout they have.

One of the reasons their reviews are so well-respected is that they have a fake review filter that has been designed to only display actual customer reviews.

This lends credibility to the reviews featured on the website.

Yelp Widget Pro

Yelp Widget Pro is a free feature included with your WordPress subscription. It enables you to embed features of your business’s Yelp page on your WordPress website.

The cost of this subscription is about forty-five dollars a year.

When you purchase and enable this plugin, the process is relatively straightforward. You will be emailed a file that contains the plugin and you will need to download it and “unzip” it.

Then you will navigate to your WordPress site and select the large blue button that says “Upload Plugin” under the tab, “Plugins”.

Once uploaded, all that will be necessary is for you to implement some code wherever you want your reviews to appear.

In all, this process should take about five minutes to fully complete. You will have a wide variety of styling options for the display box for your reviews. You can even tweak details manually by altering the code that you add to your pages.

In addition, you can choose what reviews you want to be featured. One option is to only display five-star reviews on your website. Other options include selecting whether or not you want to display your company’s contact information and several other formatting options.

Embedding Facebook Reviews

There are a ton of different options when it comes to embedding Facebook reviews into your website. The differences between the options are mainly the ease of implementation and the format that you desire.

Feed Them Social Plugin

The most simple Facebook review plugin is called Feed Them Social.

It can be uploaded and configured directly through the WordPress Plugin Dashboard. There is no manual upload required.

By using the dashboard, you eliminate the potential for any errors to occur. For those who don’t have a lot of experience with plugins, this can be a very important feature.

Facebook Reviews Pro Plugin

A secondary option is to pay forty-five dollars for a one-year license of Facebook Reviews Pro.

This plugin was developed by the same people who created the Yelp! plugin, so its installation is nearly identical. You will need to manually insert the code where you want your reviews featured and upload the plugin into the plugin tab.

The major difference between Facebook Reviews Pro and Feed Them Social is the formatting options that are available to each.

Wrapping it Up

There is nothing more important to your potential customers than being sure that the business they’re purchasing from is trustworthy and reliable.

By featuring reviews on your website, you are giving them the ability to see what others who have used your products or services have thought about your business.

There are multiple types of reviews out there with the three most common being Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Yelp! reviews.

Each of these has plugins available that allow you to easily add their review content to your website.

They’re all highly customizable and allow you to select fonts, colors, text size, and the size of the content box.

If you are looking for the right place to download your plug-ins, visit Pligg, a digital download marketplace that has products to drive traffic to your website today.


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10 Ways a Messenger App Can Transform Your Business

November 9, 2017 - By 

The way we communicate online has drastically changed the way a business engages their client base. In fact, a recent survey found that 50% of chatbot users claimed that using a messenger had a positive impact on their perception of a business.

A messenger app started as an easy way to chat with colleagues and friends. It has since turned into a tool for businesses to provide better customer support. But they can do so much more for a business.

We’re now seeing that companies can use these apps to help market products and services. Organizations are using this to transform customer experience and reach people in new ways.

Let’s break down the benefits these apps can bring to business operations.

1. Establish a Conversation with Your Customers

Engaging with your customers strengthens the relationship you have with them. The immediacy that a messenger app brings to this engagement is invaluable.

Two-way dialogue is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Online messaging makes this dialogue scalable. Media-rich connectivity and personal interaction give you an edge over your competitors.

Opening the channels of communication forms a sense of familiarity and trust. Companies that provide chat services have a better chance of repeat customers and upsell revenue.

2. Customer Convenience

People can and do shop online around the clock. Thus, the service you provide shouldn’t stop at 5 pm.

If a customer has a problem or question, a messenger app allows them a line of communication at all times. In this world of urgency, they don’t want to wait until the next day for answers.

Chat services allow for instant access to your service reps 24/7. This real-time interaction keeps business operations moving. It also provides a customer experience that’s much more enjoyable than listening to hold music.

3. Personalized Customer Interaction

Personalized communication is a huge advantage in marketing. A messenger app gives a business the ability to customize their communication for each customer.

Social media allows marketers to track customer engagement. This gives a business a cross-channel view of consumers to segment. Knowing your customer’s interests lets you personalize your message to fit their needs.

Observing the dialogue between you and your customer also keys you into their preferences. This is a perfect chance for personalized offers on products and services.

4. Reach Customers on Their Terms

A key strength of a messenger app is that it allows a dialogue with a customer when and where they want it. They also have the option of conversing in their preferred messaging channel. Not only is the communication more direct, it’s done in a way that makes the customer comfortable.

An advantage to chat apps is they provide an easy way to test different audience segments. They can also be scaled depending on the region.

Because the customer can communicate when and where they want, frequency and reuse are much higher than on mobile apps.

5. Chatbots Make a Messenger App Scalable

Establishing a messenger program for your business may seem intimidating. Luckily, chatbots have made the process less stressful and more functional.

Chatbots work as autoresponders for a messaging system. They enable quick responses and allow for a large volume of chat activity. This means you can leave the more important interaction to a live service rep.

Chatbots help scale engagement and reduce the cost of live teams needed to handle calls 24/7. A system can be set up so that a live agent takes over when needed. Global App crowdsourcing testing provides web and mobile app testing for agile teams.

6. Free, Unrestricted Communication

A big problem with SMS is that there is often a cost associated. Messaging systems provide customers full access to your brand without having to worry about being charged.

Customers can also reach you anywhere in the world. Unrestricted access to product information and service will help boost customer satisfaction. It also keeps businesses running around the clock.

7. Provide a Private Outlet for Customers

If you own a business, you know you will sometimes have unsatisfied customers. A messenger app decreases the chances of a customer expressing any frustration publicly. With so many looking at reviews and feedback online, this is a great advantage.

Messengers also provide an environment for communicating sensitive data. Things like delivery information remain between the customer and service rep.

By providing a private setting you encourage direct interaction. This helps keep an unsatisfied customer out of the public eye.

8. Enhance Team Communication

We’ve been talking about how a messenger app can help your customers. But it also serves an important function internally.

These apps can be a great way to keep everyone on the same page. This is very important if you have team members working off-site. Group chats allow you to meet virtually and keep everyone up to date on important information.

You will also have the ability to store conversations that include important data. Keeping a record of conversations is a great way to stay organized and track accountability.

9. Time and Money Savers

With messenger services, you can forget about making long distance phone calls. They allow you to communicate with anyone in real time and save money on the cost of calls.

They also help cut down on travel by providing a way to meet with colleagues all over the world. You also avoid long and confusing email correspondence. Have the conversation you need to have right then and there.

10. Increase Conversion

Most people want to speak to an actual human when they call a customer service line. Unfortunately, they end up becoming frustrated by an automated system.

Carry this line of thinking into the digital world. A customer is going to want a quick interaction with someone who can help them. If you provide this service you’re going to see higher customer satisfaction.

Messaging allows for immediate service, which means high conversion.

Promote Your Business with Direct Communication

The online marketing landscape provides endless ways to reach your client base. Adding a messenger app to your brand is a great marketing tool and so much more. The service it provides your clients and internal operation is well worth the expense.

Visit our site today for digital downloads along with informative articles.


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7 Tips on How to Start an Escape Room Business

November 9, 2017 - By 

As a lover of puzzles and labyrinths, you’ve likely been thinking about how to build your own. A great escape room business will take the exciting concept of an escape room and make it feel fresh and inventive.

Escape rooms are a great addition to your income, a fun way to meet energetic and adventurous people, and an exciting way to spend your weekends. While there are many different ways to navigate an escape room, the business end of it is less opaque.

Below are 7 tips on how to get your escape room business off the ground and keep people coming back for more.

1. Do Your Research

You can never do too much research when starting any new business venture. There are a lot of ideas that you can draw from in the History of Escape Rooms. You should also see what the most recent trends are.

Zombie-themed rooms were the rage for awhile. Are zombie-themed escape rooms on the rise in your area or is there another emerging trend?

You need to stay ahead of your competition.

Are there other escape rooms within 10-15 miles of yours? Figure out what you can offer that’s different than your competitors. Book a session with your competitors so that you can see where they succeed and where you can improve.

See if other escape room businesses have closed in the last few years. You’ll want to learn from their mistakes. Also, talk to your chamber of commerce to see if any other escape rooms are about to open. Competition is healthy but you don’t want to flood the market.

2. Can You Commit?

Running any kind of business is a huge time commitment. Do you have the free time to devote to running an escape room business?

Write out a budget for both time and money. See what you can afford to outsource and what you will need to handle on your own. Don’t let other aspects of your life suffer for a new business.

Online presence might be the way most of your clients encounter your business for the first time, so make smart design decisions with your site.

3. First Impressions Are Everything

Who is the face of your business? The first person who greets your customers at the door will set the tone for your customers’ experience. You want your greeter to relax your visitors who will likely be nervous about their first time at an escape room.

If you put a face in your promotional materials, you want that familiar face to be on site when your visitors arrive. The greeter needs to be ready to answer questions and give all of the information your visitors need.

Hiring someone else to handle this frees you up to mingle and manage the overall experience.

4. Timing Is Key

Use the time of year to attract your customers. Holidays, local cultural events or seasonal changes can keep your business fresh and give one-time visitors a reason to book again. A zombie or horror-themed escape room around Halloween is a great way to capitalize on the fall season.

If detective stories are on the rise, have a narrative to capitalize on that.

Create different narratives for different events so that potential clients have a variety to choose from. A large company with a good experience with one style of event may want to send another department for an outing more catered to their interests. A changing schedule posted months in advance will work to your advantage.

5. Market It Creatively

Even the best idea won’t sell itself. Be sure that your escape room business is being marketed to the right clientele. If you’re near a tech hub or a business park, tell businesses about how escape rooms promote teamwork. Offer discounts to the businesses nearby.

Talk to another local business or a brewery. By exclusively carrying their products, you can offer cross-promotional deals that are mutually beneficial.

If you’re near a college town or university, offer student discounts. Reach out to student associations and offer discounted packages to them. You’ll be surprised to see a bump in sales after a dozen students put up selfies and social media posts about your escape room business.

See if you can build a flexible business that can host anything from a birthday party, a family reunion, office outing, or any gathering at all.

6. Gifts That Keep On Giving

Your visitors will want a keepsake to remember the experience.

A cleverly printed photo or souvenir will allow visitors to share the story while continuing to promote your business. Taking a group “before” photo will allow your team to print and frame pictures while visitors are in the escape room.

Gather an email list from visitors so that you can stay in touch and offer them discounts throughout the year.

Give out keychains with your name and website on them. Lighters, bottle openers, and keychain flashlights ensure visitors will carry your name around for months or years after their visit.

7. Wrap-Up Event

What do you have waiting for your guests at the end of the puzzle? Other than a souvenir, it might be nice to have an event. Including a food and beverage package at the end, with a “bonus” included for winners, shows teams that you appreciate them.

Leave time at the end of every escape room session for players to hang around, mingle and ask questions. Making yourself available to answer questions can be valuable for building a repeat customer base.

For players, this may be a team-building exercise for their job or their first time getting to know one another outside of work. Helping to foster their relationships can encourage them to spread the word about your escape room business.

Have Fun With Your Escape Room Business

Don’t forget to make it fun!

You should be doing what you love with your escape room business. Connecting with clients should be as exciting for you as it is for them.

If you follow the tips above, you could build long-term connections with clients and offices, becoming part of their annual schedule of outings.


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A Simple Guide To Buying A Home With Bad Credit

November 8, 2017 - By 
buying a home with bad credit

Preparing to buy a home should be an exciting time in a person’s life. It’s a big step, and should be one that you take confidently.

If you have a low credit score, however, you may feel like home ownership will be out of your reach or more difficult to achieve. That may have been true once, but it isn’t the case anymore.

Potential home buyers now have lots of financing options that can help them secure their dream home, even if they don’t have the best credit history financial standing.

Buying a home with bad credit is now a real possibility, but you have to know the right steps to take. Read on for our simple guide, so you can eventually be ready to buy the house of your dreams.

1. Determine a Realistic Budget

Buying a home with bad credit is possible, but you have to be honest with yourself about how much home you can afford. If you’re already standing on uneven financial ground, the last thing you want to do is take on more debt than you can handle.

Start by looking at the numbers. How much do you make each month? How much do you have saved for a down payment? How much are you already paying toward other debts?

It’s also important to remember that the listing price is not the only cost associated with buying a home. There could be closing costs, a home inspection cost, and moving costs that you will have to pay. Factor those into your overall budget so you don’t end up spending more than you can realistically afford.

2. Consider a Co-Signer

If you think that your bad credit may stop you from getting approved for a mortgage on your own, consider asking someone with a more secure financial standing to co-sign your mortgage.

Your co-signer should be someone that you have a close, trusting relationship with — such as a spouse, parent, or sibling — and he or she should be willing to take on the financial responsibility of co-owning the property.

A co-signer will likely have to share their credit report, income information and other qualifications with the lender, so be sure you’ve prepared them to do so.

3. Explore Mortgage Lenders

Traditionally, if you wanted a mortgage loan you had to go to a bank. Now, however, mortgage lenders are becoming a popular option because they can make it easier for everyone — even those with bad credit — to buy a home.

Mortgage lenders can offer non-conforming loans that don’t have to meet a bank’s stricter criteria for funding.

They are willing to work with potential home buyers who don’t have a great credit score and can find financing options that enable those people to buy a home like they’ve always dreamed about.

Want to Know More about Buying a Home with Bad Credit?

Our lives are more complicated than they used to be, and between student loans and credit card debt, it’s common for your credit score to take a hit. But that shouldn’t — and doesn’t have to — stop you from being able to buy a home.

For more information about buying a home under any financial circumstance, please explore our blog.


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What Shark Tank Can Teach You About Startup Failures

October 19, 2017 - By 

The business world can be a brutal, take-no-prisoners type environment. In fact, 8 out of 10 new business are expected to fold within their first few years. And perhaps that’s why millions of viewers tune in to ABC’s hit television program Shark Tank.

Comprised of rotating judges Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Barbara Cochran, and of course, Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank is one of the most exciting and downright fascinating shows on television.

Competitors duke it out with the judges to get funding for their dream business.

But beneath the reality show exterior, there’s a lot that Shark Tank can teach us about business. Namely, failure isn’t always a bad thing.

Here are some key lessons to take away from Shark Tank’s startup failures.

Business Isn’t Always Easy

Shark Tank shares a lot with its reality show sister, American Idol. It’s theorized that people don’t so much tune in to watch the successes as they want to watch others fail.

This sounds harsh, but it brings about an important lesson: business isn’t always easy.

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t expect their first idea to be a smash hit. Sometimes ideas need refinement that can take weeks, months or even years.

This isn’t a bad thing, however. Don’t take rejection personally and learn to develop a thick skin. Rejection is going to come often, but it isn’t a personal matter.

There are plenty of reasons a business may not make it. Perhaps there isn’t enough capital, or an investor already has too many clients. So before contacting SBA Attorneys, be prepared for rejection.

Marketing Begins Upon Entering The Boardroom

Ultimately, a pitch doesn’t begin when the presentation does. On the contrary, a presentation is about more than PowerPoints and tables.

It’s about the entrepreneur themselves.

Everything from wardrobe to body language can make a huge impression in the boardroom. An awkward, aloof presentation may seem fun on TV, but in real life, it’s anything but.

And since startup failures are so common, one bad presentation can leave a business reeling. Accordingly, practice makes perfect.

Before presenting — even to just one person — have every detail planned out. That includes things like wardrobe and technology.

Like on Shark Tank, it’s the investor’s job to size up the entrepreneur. In fact, they may even pass on an opportunity because of the entrepreneur.

Remain calm, cool, and collected.

Failure Is Just As Important As Success

Finally, learn from every mistake. Don’t look at these as failures, but as growing opportunities as a businessperson.

Sometimes it’s important to sit down and look at the facts. What went wrong? What could have been avoided? What should’ve been done differently?

Debriefing a failed venture is a great way to learn some lessons. Understanding why something went wrong is far more helpful than shrugging it off. These failures should be cherished.

By understanding what happened in the past, it’s possible to improve future ventures.

Final Thoughts On Startup Failures

Shark Tank makes one thing abundantly clear: business is tough. But preparing, planning, and understanding can make a venture far more likely to succeed.

For more great tips and downloads, be sure to check out Pligg’s blog. From business advice to software, Pligg has everything you need to get ahead in life.


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The Best Expense Tracker App You Didn’t Know You Needed

October 18, 2017 - By 

If you’re like most of us, there always seems to be more month than there is money to cover it. It’s a frustrating feeling, even if you know you’ve spent some money you probably shouldn’t have. An expense tracker app can help you solve this problem.

So many of us fail at property budgeting our money. In fact, 62% of Americans can’t cover unexpected expenses when they pop up.

If you’re one of them, an expense tracker app is a technology that can play a big role in getting your personal finances in order.

Here, we’ll take a look at 5 of the best. Then you can decide which one you’ll want to start using.

Let’s check them out.

1. BillGuard

The BillGuard app helps you keep track of spending by month, type and location. A huge bonus is that it gives you totally free access to your credit score and identity protection tools such as data breach alerts.

It’s available on Android and iOS and can be used for free.

You can upgrade to premium for $83.88 per year which adds insurance for identity theft and full credit monitoring.

2. Fudget

Looking for something that’s no-frills? Fudget could be your choice.

It features a list interface and is best for people who have a decent handle on their personal budget but want a place to keep everything organized.

Fudget works great for short-term budget tracking during vacations, holidays or when you need to track your work travel expenses.

The app is free, but you can upgrade to the ad-free version for $1.99. With that, you’ll also get the ability to export and an in-app calculator.

Unfortunately, you can’t link it directly to your accounts, but it does work on Android and iOS.

3. LearnVest

This is a great app for people actively involved in investing. It’s only available on iOS but is free to use.

If you want to use it to partner with a financial planner, you’ll need to pay $19 per month plus a startup fee.

You’ll be able to categorize your transactions by expense types while you set and track goals. A great feature is that it gives you a net worth calculation in real time.

Plus, you can link it to all accounts.

4. Mint

Mint will help you create budgets with multiple categories of spending. It’ll warn you with brightly colored graphics when you’re nearing the edge of your budget.

It also gives you free access to your credit score.

This app is completely free to use, can be linked to your accounts and is available on Android, iOS and Kindle.

Securing Your Information Helps Secure Your Budget

Of course, none of this matters much if you lose your wallet or have your private data scanned through your wallet by an RFID scanner.

Solar powered Ekster Smart Wallets solve these fears for you and then some. They’re definitely worth a close look if you value your money and personal security.

So Which is the Best Expense Tracker App For You?

These 4 apps are great options that’ll help you get started with tracking your expenses and balancing your budget.

Take a look at each one and decide for yourself which one fits your lifestyle the best.

After that, take a look at some of our other self-improvement tips that can help you lead a more fulfilling life.

Thanks for stopping by!


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5 Job Site Safety Tips Every Worker Should Know

October 18, 2017 - By 
job site safety

Injuries, illness, and fatalities from work-related issues are at an all-time high. Working on a job site can be dangerous. In 2015, one in five worker fatalities occurred in the construction industry.

There are often large equipment and dangerous materials involved on job sites.

Accidents happen that can be unavoidable. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared and know what to do to avoid getting hurt in your place of work. It is important to never start a project without being well-versed in how to do the project safety.

Employee safety will strengthen the security of every job site and business. Embracing job safety should be a priority for any successful company. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of tips every worker should know for optimal job site safety:

Keys For Job Site Safety

1. Work As a Team

Through careful teamwork, your job site can be a safe one. Reviewing safety materials, handbooks, and protocols with your team on a regular basis can benefit the safety of all employees on the site.

Never leave it to the manager or superintendent for the project to ensure your safety.

Get your team together and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of safety and job procedures. If certifications or licenses are required for certain projects, make sure everyone can provide theirs before beginning work.

Following guidelines, safety procedures and discussing them as a team before you begin work can ensure everyone is committed to safety. This can eliminate careless or flippant attitudes as you stress the importance of doing things correctly.

When people feel accountable for job site safety, they will go the extra mile to get it right.

2. Hold Them Accountable

When it comes to job site safety, hold your employees accountable to following proper processes.

Set your guidelines in terms of safety and call out those who fail to comply. When you show your team or manager how seriously you are taking the safety, others will take notice.

3. File Complaints

Respond to irregularities and file complaints about broken rules.

Make your supervisor and team aware of any glitches, or people disobeying instructions. When it comes to job site safety, there is no such thing as a tattle tale. At the end of the day, you’re just trying to keep everyone involved as safe as possible.

4. Training for Optimal Job Site Safety

As you embark on a long project, it’s possible you will have new people joining the team as time goes on.

Make sure everyone is trained on job site safety for any given project. Be specific about the rules and regulations for each specific operation.

5. Know The Emergency Plan

Make sure you and your team have been trained on the emergency plans if something goes wrong. Consider safety seminars like those of the American Society of Safety Engineers. Stay educated on new technology and safety procedures throughout the life of your project.

Whether you are an engineer or a construction site worker, incorporating your training into your work site can save lives.

Keep It Safe

Training, accountability, and working as a team can save lives and keep your job site secure. For more materials, tips, and tricks on job site safety, click here!


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5 Tips Management Recruiters Need to Hire Winners

October 9, 2017 - By 
management recruiters

Labor is a signficant cost for businesses, often accounting for as much as 60% of corporate expenses. Given how much employers spend on recruitment, hiring, training, and payroll for their workforce, it is essential for management recruiters to pick reliable candidates.

Of course, finding great candidates is easier said than done. It can be challenging to get a full picture of what kind of employee someone might be by reading their resume and conducting some interviews.

If you’d like to know how to find and hire better candidates, then keep reading. Here are our top tips for recruiting winners to your company.

1. Look In-House

Many recruiters make the mistake of casting too wide a net too soon in the process. While some positions are best filled with outside hires, in-house candidates are often the right choice.

When you hire a manager from in-house, you know that candidate has experience with your company. You also send the message to other employees that hard work pays off and has rewards. If you always go to outside hires, you may see some of your best employees look for other jobs when they want to move up.

2. Build Your Company’s Reputation

Often when thinking about hiring, recruiters focus on how they can find better candidates. While this is important, it’s also essential to consider how to present your business in the best possible light. The better your company’s reputation, the more high-quality candidates will be interested in working for you.

One way to improve your reputation is with a digital marketing campaign. This way, when job seekers are searching online for new opportunities, they will be more likely to find your company. Soon, great candidates will be coming to you.

3. Start with References

Once you start getting a lot of candidates, it can become challenging to sift through all the application. A good way to narrow the field is by starting with references, rather than waiting until later in the process to contact them. Talking to someone who knows the applicant personally will give you a better idea of what kind of person they actually are.

4. Offer a Competitive Salary

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want the best employees, you will have to offer better compensation than competitors.

Remember that salary is just one part of the compensation package. Health insurance, family leave, and vacation benefits all factor in as well, and can be attractive benefits.

5. Don’t Stop at Recruitment

One of the biggest mistakes that recruiters make is assuming that their job is complete once they hire an employee. But to make sure that the employee succeeds and your company retains them, it’s important to follow up with their onboarding process.

For instance, the recruiting firm scoperecruiting suggests making a personal connection with the employee during this part of the process. Make sure you invite them to group lunches with colleagues and managers, and that they begin to build a rapport with their team. This will make them feel more connected to the job, making them more likely to stay.

More Ways for Management Recruiters to Find Success

These are some of our favorite tips to help management recruiters hire better candidates. But this list is by no means exhaustive.

What strategies do you use when recruiting candidates? Let us know in the comments!


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Is Bitcoin the Right Forex Investment?

October 5, 2017 - By 
forex investment

Over the last few years, you’ve likely heard about a new craze in currency sweeping the globe. This new form of digital money, known as a cryptocurrency, has already made trillions of dollars across the globe.

The most popular among the cryptocurrencies is no doubt Bitcoin. Generating billions of dollars, it’s an extremely lucrative opportunity. But is it right for Forex investment?

That’s a bit more complicated. Read on to learn more about Bitcoin and whether it’s a good choice for your Forex investment or if you should hold off.

What to Consider When Using Bitcoin For Your Forex Investment

How Does Bitcoin Work?

Bitcoin is essentially a decentralized, software-based worldwide currency. It can be used just like standard money to purchase tangible goods.

Similar to stock, you’ll make small purchases and investments in your Bitcoin. And again, like stock, that value can fluctuate on a daily or even hourly basis.

You can also “mine” for Bitcoin, which involves a P2P connection with other Bitcoin users. Your computer will seek out other networks and exchange data with others on the network.

Sound complicated? You’re not alone. Most people were initially wary of Bitcoin because of its generally convoluted nature.

Startup Costs

You’ll need to understand a few things before you’re a Bitcoin billionaire. While it’d be great to simply start mining and make a fortune, it’s not that easy.

You’ll first need a Bitcoin wallet, which is where your money is stored. Once you’ve set that up, you’ll need to make sure your computer is powerful enough to handle mining software.

It may sound strange, but you’ll need a pretty powerful processor to run most mining software. In addition to needing a strong CPU, you’ll want to make sure your GPU is up to the task as well.

The Value of Bitcoin Fluctuates Greatly

By now you may be thinking that Bitcoin sounds great! After all, why wouldn’t a worldwide digital currency be great for a Forex investment?

But since it’s a relative unknown in the global market, it’s far more volatile than other forms of currency. You may check your machine one minute to see the value increase by hundreds, only to lose money at the end of the day.

An investment in Bitcoin isn’t for those looking to get rich quick. It requires a solid understanding of a market value that changes in a near instant.

Be sure that you’ve done a thorough investigation into the history of Bitcoin before investing your hard-earned money.

Tools of The Trade

And since the market is in such a constant state of flux, you’ll need an easy way to keep track of your trades. Thankfully, the internet has made this quite simple.

Sites like Pecunia Systems allow you to manage your Forex trades with a few clicks of your mouse. Best of all, you can try their software free for 14 days!

So Is Bitcoin Right For Forex Investment?

Whether Bitcoin is a good choice for Forex investment is going to boil down to a few factors.

Make sure your computer is capable of handling the power-intensive mining. You’ll also have to make sure you’re okay with essentially risking your own money.

Be smart and do your research, which a Bitcoin Beginner’s Guide can help with. Keep reading for more great content and software downloads.


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Why Should Your Business Use Paperless Payroll?

September 22, 2017 - By 
paperless payroll

Are you trying to make your workplace more convenient?

If that’s the case, you might want to consider paperless payroll management. Thanks to cloud computing, businesses can manage payroll processing through web-based solutions.

Why are more businesses turning to a paperless payroll system? It can help save time, money, and even the environment. These systems can also be handled internally — eliminating the hassle of dealing with a third party’s convoluted process.

Are you considering making the switch to a paperless office? Read on to discover why your business should consider making the payroll switch.

Paper Costs

A web-based payroll solution might sound expensive. But rising paper costs have made paperless payroll a cost-effective option for businesses.

Paper costs have been on the rise thanks to increased supplier costs. These increased costs have had a domino effect on prices on everything from shipping to packaging.

The web’s accessibility makes these costs unnecessary to businesses. Paperless systems can eliminate the need for paper involved in checks, tax forms, government documents, and mailing documents.

Eco-Friendly

You’re not just helping your business when you switch to a paperless solution. You’re also helping the environment.

The average person in the United States uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year and paper use contributed to over 26 million tons of landfill waste in 2009.

Consider a large number of businesses still using paper systems. The employee paper usage adds up when you consider each individual pay stub and W-2 forms. Eliminating these paper documents could help to cut down on millions of tons of paper waste.

Convenience

Moving towards a new payroll system might sound like a tedious process. But it can save you a large chunk of time in the long run.

Paperless payroll offers unparalleled convenience for businesses. For one, employees have a central portal where they can access all of their payroll records and documents.

Online pay stubs have a number of convenient benefits. Employees no longer have to worry about losing their records, dealing with bank deposits, or picking up their paper checks.

Employees can also take advantage of a paystub generator. By simpling entering their salary information and company name, the generator will provide them with a snapshot of their payment history. This can be extremely useful for tax information, proof of income, and even salary breakdowns.

Mobile

Thanks to smartphones, it’s easy to access a wealth of information from the palm of your hand. Payroll systems are no different.

Employees can use their paperless system to access their paychecks directly via their smartphone. This allows them to access paperless stubs and deposit their checks at any time.

This helps to make sure payroll is always processed on time. Mobile continues to dominate the modern landscape and will only play a bigger role in payroll systems moving forward.

Your Paperless Payroll

Are you interested in moving your payroll system to a paperless platform? Doing so can make your modern workplace more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

Payroll is just the start. There are a number of other digital programs available that can help change your business. Read our blog about how digital downloads can help your company today.


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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs an Online Booking System

September 12, 2017 - By 
online booking

With so many businesses moving towards virtual bookings, it’s critical for every business to consider this option.

After all, a whopping 57% of all travel bookings are made online.

Online booking offers tremendous benefits for both you and your customers, and we’re here to show you exactly why you don’t want to miss out on this phenomenon.

Let’s get into it!

24/7 Accessibility

Let’s be honest. The standard 9-5 Monday-Friday hours don’t cut it for everyone. In today’s fast-paced 24/7 society, people want unlimited availability. They don’t want to have to wait until the office is opened or a live human can answer the phone.

They don’t want to wait until the office is open or a live human can answer the phone to make an appointment.

Online booking works when you don’t. That means if someone decides she wants a haircut at midnight, she has the freedom to book her service. No midnight calls for you. No inconvenience to her.

Good Customer Service

Customers like options. Some will prefer booking appointments in-person or over the phone. However, some will undoubtedly love the option of doing it online.

Having options for everyone is the key to solid customer service. This keeps your business reputable and in good standing. After all, nothing is worse than mixing up appointment times or “forgetting a service.”

The technology of these programs takes care of that. You’re only responsible for providing your excellent service or product!

Online Booking Minimizes Workload

One of the best elements of professional online booking sites, such www.medicalspasoftware.com, is that they remove additional scheduling and planning work from you. These services provide automatic scheduling, checking availability, and sending out the necessary forms and emails. They work to notify both you and your customers of their upcoming appointments.

They work to notify both you and your customers of their upcoming appointments. Everyone is on the same page, which is essential for a successful business.

As humans, we’re prone to make mistakes. The online booking process streamlines these errors and reduces them from happening altogether.

Up Selling

Adding on extras is a great way to earn additional income for your company. Sometimes, it’s awkward to do it in-person. And, sometimes, you may train staff to do it- but you won’t know for sure if it’s getting done.

Fortunately, most programs have options where you can automatically set up the system to ask your customers if they want to add on an additional service or product.

They have the freedom to decide without feeling any sales pressure.

Online Payments and Renewal

Automatic payment systems are easy for both you and your customers.

Because most online booking sites take all major payment forms, this reaches the majority of your target population.

Final Thoughts

As top business technology solutions continue to evolve, it’s important to stay aware of trends and provide customers with what they need.

As you are on your journey towards building an online empire, remember that these booking options provide comprehensive services to both you and your customers. Win-win!


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Safety in the Workplace in a Digital Age

September 6, 2017 - By 
safety in the workplace

Are you one of the many Americans who work on a computer all day?

Or is your factory constantly being inundated with the latest technology?

There’s no way around it. Technology is creeping its way into all aspects of our lives.

It’s not only changing the way we work, but also the way we view safety in the workplace.

We must acknowledge how technology is affecting our safety both positively and negatively, and how we can work with it to improve our lives.

How Technology is Affecting Safety in the Workplace for Office Workers

Advances in technology are changing the safety of offices around the world.

With advanced security systems, businesses can reliably lock down their assets when they close for the night. Cyber security systems help businesses secure their intangible assets like computer files and data.

High-tech cameras positioned around workplaces can detect intruders and potential threats before they even enter the building.

Technology has given us high-tech metal detectors that can find weapons that anyone is trying to bring into the workplace.

How Technology is Affecting Industrial Job Safety

Another way technology is making workplaces safer is through improved PPE, or personal protective equipment.

Safety goggles, hard hats, and other forms of PPE are becoming more advanced and user-friendly thanks to technological improvements.

The Negative Effects of Technology in the Work Place

Of course, as with all good things, there are some negative side effects.

Technology has transitioned the work force away from more physical jobs to sedentary ones in front of a computer.

While sitting indoors at a desk may seem safer than doing physical work outside, it doesn’t end up that way as humans weren’t made to sit down for 8 hours a day.

Many American’s spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

This sedentary lifestyle can lead to a slew of negative side effects such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

A staggering 33% of the population in the US is predicted to have diabetes by the year 2050.

Technology has changed the way we work and made us slaves to our screens.

Staring at a screen all day can also have a negative effect on worker’s eyesight. Research shows that 50-90% of people who work on a computer screen all day show symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

How to Deal With Technological Changes

It is important that people learn to adapt to this swiftly changing technological age.

In industrial settings, employees should be well briefed on new technology before trying to work it themselves. Especially when dealing with new machinery that could be dangerous.

Employees can also go through online safety courses like online OSHA training.

There are safety programs available online for all industries that can help reduce liabilities and improve safety in the workplace.

Technology Marches On

While there is no stopping technology from innovating the way workplaces operate, we do have choices as to how gracefully we accept and adapt to those changes.

Like this article? Check out more of our content here!


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5 Digital Marketing Tactics Your Business Should Try

September 6, 2017 - By 
Digital marketing tactics

By now, you probably understand just how important digital marketing is for your business. In this day and age, no one can afford to slack on their digital strategy.

But even if you know it’s important, you might not know how to make sure you’re actually effective. Maybe you know you need to be on social media, but you don’t know what your brand voice is. Or you’ve heard about online video, but not how to make it work for you.

We’ve got five new digital marketing tactics for you to try — read on to learn what could work for your business.

1. Get Interactive

People like to feel like they’ve made a genuine connection with your business. They can’t do that if you don’t give them anything to interact with.

Even something as simple as a poll can help create interactions with your customers. Anything that invites them to participate — like a contest, an interactive graphic, or a quiz — will build connections and engagements.

2. Learn SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an important aspect of digital marketing. Done correctly, it can help your business move up in search rankings so that people can find you easily.

Think of how often you click past the first page of Google results for something you searched for. It’s rare for people to spend a lot of time on search results, so you want to make sure your business pops up first.

Taking the time to learn SEO now will pay off in the long run.

3. Visual Digital Marketing Tactics

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliche, but it’s also true.

Humans are visual, and your brain processes an image sixty thousand times faster than text. That means your potential customers are way more likely to remember an image you created than a beautifully written paragraph.

That makes things like logos and branding even more important.

Don’t stress if you don’t have a graphic designer, though. Companies like Hive Digital Strategy specialize in helping businesses create logos that are both engaging and memorable.

4. Go Live

Live broadcasts aren’t just for cable television anymore. Now, even a small Mom and Pop business can go live on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Online video is on the rise, and live video is one of the digital marketing tactics you can’t afford to ignore.

Remember how we said people love feeling connected? Live video lets you interact with your customers in real time. You can even treat them to a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

5. Advertise On Social Media

You probably know that you need to have a presence on social media, but take it a step further by advertising there, too.

Social media advertising generates traffic almost immediately, and allows you to put ads right in front of your target population. Plus, most people spend a significant amount of time on their phones browsing social media. Meet them where they are with a well-placed ad.

Want more digital marketing inspiration? Check out our archive full of marketing advice.


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Credit Expert: Avoid These 5 Credit Card Mistakes

August 30, 2017 - By 
credit expert

Credit cards are a tool. They’re the type of tool that can allow you to travel for free or provide a large amount of cash back.

When used properly, a credit expert can actually make money. A low-income family can use them to lighten their financial burden. A new business owner can get the equipment he needs.

Using them improperly can be a nightmare.

The devil is in the details and today we’re giving you a heads up on 5 huge mistakes you need to avoid if you want to be successful.

From the Credit Expert: Avoid These Mistakes

1. Too Much of a Good Thing

Is a bad, bad thing. It may be tempting to open as many credit card accounts as you can. But don’t.

There are multiple reasons for this:

  • You lose track of your spending
  • Each account opening could dent your credit score
  • It will be hard to take advantage of rewards

If you’re new to the credit card hustle, start with one card. In six months, if you feel you can handle another, then ok.

2. Not Paying the Balance Every Month

Credit cards are a form of revolving credit. If you do not pay your balance in full every billing cycle, the charges you’ve accumulated revolve to the next billing cycle. In return for allowing you to do this, you are charged interest on the balance.

If you’re looking to utilize an excellent cash back or rewards program, not paying the balance in full every month will nullify any profit you’ve made off of the system.

Furthermore, once you get into this habit, you’re likely to continue until you’ve maxed the cards out. And that monster is a post for another time.

3. Closing the Account

Not using your card? Just close the account, right?

“Absolutely not,” says our credit expert.

If you’re carrying debt and you’re closing cards as you pay them off, you will hurt your credit score. Pay them off and keep them in a drawer or emergency box for safe keeping.

Having to open a new account to replace it will only dent your score even further.

4. Taking Out Cash Advances

Read the fine print. A cash advance is going to carry an interest rate of several points higher than your APR.

Not only that, you’ll be subject to a host of fees and interest begins accruing immediately, not at the end of your billing cycle.

By the time they’re done with you, you’ll be visiting WireLend to take out a loan to pay off your cards.

5. Not Taking Advantage of Services

The credit expert says the biggest mistake you can make is not taking full advantage of the services and perks of your cards. If you open an account that has a sign on bonus, make sure you follow the directions to get your bonus.

Throwing away free money is one of the top ridiculous things that new credit card users do.

Most credit card companies offer a free FICO or Vantage score. Use it.

The Takeaway

If you’re new to the game, our credit expert advises you to play it slow and smart. Stay away from cards with annual fees when you’re just getting started.

When used properly, credit cards can be one of your greatest financial assets. Don’t hesitate to use every resource they offer up.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, check out this post on 5 suggestions for writers doing their own taxes.


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5 Reasons Why You Need to Hire an Accident Attorney

August 9, 2017 - By 
attorney

Accidents happen so fast, but in that moment, lives may be changed. Severe injuries can affect your ability to work and provide for yourself.

The demand for personal injury lawyers is growing – because an accident attorney can help you receive the compensation you’re due.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to hire an accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

1. A Good Accident Attorney Will Take Care of Everything

You need to focus on recovery, and having a good attorney is essential for that. You don’t have the time to research and file your case all by yourself.

Simply put, while you’re getting better, you don’t want to be stressing about a legal case.

A good accident attorney such as Stephen Babcock will take control of everything your case involves, so you can relax, knowing you’re well represented and your case is progressing smoothly.

2. Lawyers Will Investigate on Your Behalf

Lawyers will build your case from the ground up. They will collect witness statements for you, identify the cause of the accident and put together a strong collection of evidence which will back up your case.

They use a team of expert investigators to do this, who will make sure every aspect of the case is as well-researched and watertight as it can be.

3. You’re (Probably) Not an Expert Negotiator

Around 95% of personal injury cases are settled before they come in front of a judge. Settling a case involves negotiating with other parties involved in the accident, who may be counter-suing you at the same time your case is ongoing.

This can get very sticky, very quickly. For someone without experience, it can be very difficult to hold your own against aggressive lawyers representing the other side of the case.

Lawyers are trained negotiators, who will not bend to pressure and fight your corner every step of the way. They won’t give in to the other side’s demands and will get much better results than someone who lacks experience.

4. An Expert Will Avoid Common Errors

The legal system is notoriously complicated. There are complex procedures to follow, filing deadlines to meet, and many other difficulties.

Plus, you have to consider both state and federal law to fully understand how your case will be handled. A lack of understanding of the law could see your case thrown out of the court systems – wasting lots of time and money.

An experienced attorney will guide your case through these problems with ease.

5. Legal Strategy is Everything

Having a good legal strategy before heading to court or negotiation means that you have a strong hand.

Knowing exactly what to do and say in court, and how to respond to the other side’s arguments are an attorney’s specialties.

Picking Your Lawyer

Before you choose a lawyer, test your accident attorney’s knowledge with these 5 important questions before handing over your case.

We hope that this guide helps you find the right lawyer for you, and we wish you the best of luck with your compensation claim.


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5 Suggestions for Writers Doing Their Taxes

August 7, 2017 - By 
taxes

Welcome to the world of the independent contractor.

You have all the freedom to set your own hours, regulate the flow of work that you take in and be your own boss. But with this freedom comes additional responsibility.

As a writer, you’re now your own HR, payroll, accounting, marketing and IT department.

Writer’s taxes is a very important money management role to embrace as a freelancer.

Let’s explore what you need to know.

Self Employment Tax

As an employee, employers don’t just offer you benefits. They pay half of your medicare and social security tax.

The rest is withheld from your paycheck.

But when you’re self-employed, you’re your own employer. No one helps you pay part of the bill. Plus you’ll owe income tax.

This can catch some freelance writers off guard. Your taxes will be as much as 1/3 higher than your office-bound friends’.

But don’t dismay. You also have deductions, credits and depreciation that you can claim to offset this.

Irs.gov is the source of truth for understanding what you can claim. Additionally, professional tax software will guide you through the process.

The Hobby-Loss Rule

You work part time at as a grocery clerk. And you pick up articles to write from time to time. It helps you pay for the unexpected expenses. But most of the time, your grocery job pays the bills.

Is writing a job or a hobby?

It’s very important to know the difference.

A job is something that you do to try to make a living. Even if that income is very small at the start, if your goal is to make it a profitable business, then it’s a job.

If you don’t really need the money, work when it’s convenient or only do it because you love writing, it’s a hobby.

If it’s a hobby, then you can only deduct your business expenses from the income that you earned. If those expenses take the income down to 0, you can’t deduct anymore.

If it’s a job, then you can take a “loss”. That’s negative income. You spent more than you made.

Commonly Over-Looked Deductions For Writers

We can’t possibly cover all the deductions here, so here’s a list of commonly overlooked deductions that you need to know about:

  • Depreciation – The declining value of a large asset like a computer
  • Home office – The space in your home that you use exclusively for work
  • Depreciation of your home – You can also deduct a portion of the value of your home
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Insurance

If any item is used for both personal and business, you can only deduct a percentage based on the amount of business use.

Commonly Mis-Claimed Deductions

  1. You can only claim a phone for your business if you have two phones or lines.
  2. Travel & Food must be related to the business, like meeting with a client. Not your daily lunch.
  3. Lounge outside while working? That doesn’t mean you can claim landscaping,  pool chemicals or a new privacy fence. Sorry!
  4. You must subtract the value of your land before claiming home depreciation. Land, theoretically, doesn’t depreciate.

Quarterly Tax Payments

If you’re making money as a writer, then you need to pay quarterly payments to the IRS on April 15, June 15, Sept 15, and Jan 15.

They’ll give you a pass the first year if your income isn’t steady yet. But after that, expect penalties. You can pay the IRS online.

Doing Writer’s Taxes

Invest a little time to learn about taxes. It will help you pay what you owe and avoid surprises down the road.

Would you add any quick tips for writers doing taxes? Comment below.


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Do the Math: 4 Business Finance Solutions to Utilize Today

August 1, 2017 - By 
business

Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, finances can be tricky.

You need to keep revenue rolling in consistently to pay for the expenses that keep your company going.

If you don’t, you could end up joining the ranks of the 80 percent of companies that fail, many in only 18 months.

Want to ensure a different fate for your company? We’ve got you covered. Here are four actionable business finance solutions to utilize.

1. Budget, Budget, Budget

It doesn’t matter the size of your company. It doesn’t matter how much money you have coming in: budgeting is key.

Each week or month, sit down with a few employees for an hour or so. Discuss the amount of revenue coming in. Is this your goal income or could you be doing better?

Next, draw up your budget. Make sure to account for surprise expenses which could crop up at the last second.

Revenue can fluctuate from week to week or month to month. For that reason, it’s important your budget is flexible. You might have to tighten your spending for a period and then loosen it once more revenue comes in.

2. Use Merchant Services (and Other Tools!)

Merchant services and other tools can make your life easier. After all, your job responsibilities likely involve more than planning finances from day to day.

Merchant Connect is one such service you can use for your business financial planning.

Their services include travel agency and medical claims processing, virtual merchants, terminals and card readers, point-of-sale (POS), accounting software, and so much more.

Tools can combine processes, digitally manage your finances, and do complicated math without human error. Consider one or several of these tools for your day-to-day work life.

3. Have a Plan

At the start of each quarter, you need to create a financial plan for the next several months.

With analytics and other financial software, you can review the past year and use it as a barometer for the year to come. By predicting trends both positive and negative, you can adequately prepare.

If revenue is less than expected, for instance, you’ll know what to do because you planned for it. You might have to reduce spending, roll out a new product, or change marketing tactics, for instance.

Even when revenue is better than expected, you still need to have a plan. This prevents you from overspending and having to pinch pennies later in the quarter.

4. Outsource If Need Be

Managing the company’s finances can be a lot of work, and it’s probably a job too massive for any one individual. This becomes truer the more employees your company has.

That’s why it may be best to outsource certain job responsibilities, such as bookkeeping and accounting.

Yes, hiring third parties does cost money. That said, you’ll recoup that money back over time. These finance professionals will prevent costly mistakes you yourself may have made.

For that reason alone, it’s worth considering hiring them.

Looking to manage your company’s business finance solutions? Want to use some of the handy tools we mentioned above? Check out Pligg.

This digital download marketplace is a great resource for finance professionals. You can download documents and eBooks sure to make managing your finances easier.


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The Top Business Technology Solutions of the Present and Future

July 25, 2017 - By 

The world of technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, transforming the way we do business.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are shaping today’s business technology landscape.

Which of these business technology solutions are worth paying attention to? Here are some of our top picks for 2017.

The Growth of Virtual Reality

Both augmented reality (such as 2016’s insanely popular mobile game Pokemon Go) and virtual reality have taken off this year. At theme parks, thrill-seekers can strap on VR devices to enhance their ride. Gamers can also explore fictional worlds thanks to VR.

In business, VR has its place as well. VR devices can be used as a training tool, giving new hires realistic on-the-job experience.

You can also use VR to introduce new products, creating a type of digital demo. Customers could strap on a headset and try out a digital version of your product before it hits stores.

Drone Devices Become More Prevalent

“Drone” is already a common word in the average consumer’s vernacular. Many consumers may have bought the commercialized version of these flying robots, which can connect to a smartphone and fly.

While that’s fun, drones are handy in business technology, too. These can be used to deliver products right to a customer’s door, ala Amazon and even pizza chain Domino’s.

Working from Home Expands to More Job Sectors

It used to be that mostly freelancers had the luxury of working from home. Today, more and more employees in all sorts of fields can now do their job when away from the office.

With the breadth of tech tools that exist, such as video chat, live document editing, and project documentation, it’s no wonder more employers now trust their employees to get the job done from anywhere.

AI Expands Communication Options

When you think of artificial intelligence, your mind likely first goes to robots. That’s fair, but AI is about more than just that.

In business, AI can save time on jobs that busy employees don’t always have time for.

For instance: the chatbot. These bots are a lot smarter than they were in years past.

A customer that has a few questions may go on your website and use your chat function. With today’s AI, they can speak to a bot and never know it.

These bots are a win-win. The customer gets the information they need quickly and efficiently. Employees have time to take care of other work.

If you need yet more communications options for your office, try a voicemail service like American Voice Mail Inc.

And Our Favorite Business Technology Solutions Trend…Live Streaming Provides Inclusion

It used to be that if you wanted to do live streaming, you had to sign up for a service dedicated solely to streams.

These days, you can use many platforms, even social media like Facebook, for live streaming. You just hit the button and you’re rolling.

How can live streaming benefit your company?

The main benefit is inclusion. Say you’re hosting a product launch and all your customers can’t make it there physically. You can live stream the launch so everyone can see what your company is up to.

Need more programs and apps to follow some of the above-mentioned business technology solutions? Check out Pligg, the digital download marketplace. From code to software and music to eBooks, find what you need here.


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5 Accounting Steps Every Small Business Owner Should Take

June 13, 2017 - By 

Owning a small business is no easy task, especially when it comes to the finances and accounting.

Even great businesses can struggle if proper accounting steps are not taken.

Here are 5 accounting steps to set a small business up for success.

1. Record your expenses

It is extremely important to keep track of all of a small business’ expenses.

This will not only help track the business’ spending, but it is also crucial in order to claim certain tax deductions.

Keep track of receipts, travel expenses, bank statements, credit cards, tax returns, W2 forms, 1099 forms, and any other record of spending.

2. Stay organized

It’s not hard to see that keeping track of all of these forms will result in a lot of paper, documents, and records, which can result in clutter and confusion.

But there’s no point of keeping all of these documents if they aren’t properly organized and easy to sort through when needed.

Keep your documents neatly filed and organized in a specific area, whether that’s in a certain office of the business, scanned and stored digitally, or online.

3. Understand taxes (before they’re due!)

All of these records will come in handy when tax season rolls around.

Without these records, even a professional accountant would have a hard time helping to file.

It is also important to understand what taxes different small businesses will owe, as it varies depending on the type of organization.

Is the owner self-employed? The head of an LLC? How much do they earn? Or is the business a corporation? How much does the company earn?

It’s important to know the answers to these questions, as they will affect how the business will be taxed.

4. Separate the business from the personal

Many small businesses begin with one person’s personal idea and passion.

But as they start the business, it is important to separate their personal checking account from the business’.

This allows for a clear understanding of what is a business expense versus a personal expense, which was mentioned earlier to be important for taxes and money management.

Separating the accounts will save time and money in the long run.

When opening the business account, it is important to carefully consider which bank to go to: What fees might they charge? What type of account is best for the business? Is there a minimum balance?

5. Hire a professional

A lot of this can seem overwhelming and confusing. That’s why it can be helpful to hire a professional accountant.

A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or a small business accountant with another similar certification can help with a myriad of things to keep your outfit running:

  • Cash and expense management
  • Leases
  • Taxes
  • Implementation of accounting organization or software
  • Provide guidance and advice
  • Help explain financial reports or statements.

Conclusion

Accounting is a crucial part of running a small business, no matter what type of business it is.

Continuously looking to improve the accounting of a small business and following these 5 accounting steps can help a small business be successful and organized.


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On the Rise: Why Emerging Markets Are Back

June 12, 2017 - By 
Anchor Text: small business loans http://sunwisecapital.com/business-loans/

The weakening U.S. dollar has long since been a crux in the side of the emerging markets. Those markets that shift from closed to open market economy.

Areas of the top 10 including:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • South Africa
  • Nigeria
  • Russia

Amongst a dozen others.

Yet, the 2.5% loss in the U.S. dollar (when compared to others) has presented a unique opportunity and benefit to emerging markets. The gap from 2011 to 2016 has not been kind to these regions but change is coming.

Why Emerging Markets are Back

Two interesting developments lead the new shift in attention for EM’s:

  1. A 17% gain (in 2017) for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
  2. A 7% gain (also in 2017) for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF

These reports have influenced Zach Pandl, the co-head of global foreign exchange and emerging markets strategy, to reevaluate its foreign exchange forecast.

Alongside comes an extensive report from Scotiabank detailing global currency forecasts and trends.

Other influences include:

  • An increase in demand for commodity due to their leveling
  • An ongoing reduction of current account deficits
  • An active set of reforms and acceleration of Chinese economies

Politics play an important role. The impeachment of Park Geun-hye of South Korea and shift in ruling parties of India are two such examples.

Lest we forget the impact of trade and business.

An influx of global outreach has been seen on a peer-to-peer level with the popularity of social lending and small business loans.

Likewise, the IT sector has seen success in emerging markets through the introduction of Internet companies, online transactions, gaming, and access to hardware.

The anticipation of new consumers in these markets are expected to contribute more than 70% of the global GDP. Areas, previously restricted in Internet access, have tripled. Mobile consumption due to cheap devices and services like Alipay play an important role.

The biggest winner is likely to be oil companies. The growing demand for new products and higher oil prices creates demand for alternatives such as solar, wind, and shale.

Michael Hartnett, Bank of America Merril Lynch’s chief investment strategist had this to say in mid-2016:

“There’s one thing that emerging markets have that everyone wants right now and it’s not raw materials or cheap labor — it’s yield. When you have negative interest rates in Europe and Japan, and zero rates everywhere else, the politics and economics of these countries becomes irrelevant.”

There are investment woes despite the positive outlook.

Investment Risks in Emerging Markets

As with any investment — there come risks.

Politics while playing a positive role in some emerging markets are not always the case in others. Political development may lag behind the economic growth and globalization which could pose a backlash from its citizens.

A general lack of transparency from companies and markets within these countries could also play a role. Fewer requirements, reporting, and human rights may create a difficult judge in investment for foreign investors.

U.S. protectionism and tension between allies and trade in China could introduce instability. A shake found in a recent executive order to withdraw the United States from NAFTA.

Growth is not guaranteed though optimism and the markets show a shift. Emerging markets create a high-risk, high-reward scenario that will be a worthy consideration for all players involved.


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7 Life Insurance Myths That are Causing Trouble

March 29, 2017 - By 
life insurance

Myths surrounding life insurance often lead to a significant issue: procrastination. But can you afford to procrastinate when it comes to the safety and security of your family?

The truth is that 86% of Americans agree that people need life insurance.

Life insurance has several functions. Its most important function is replacing income that stops flowing after the death of the insured.

The impact death has on your family can be quite dramatic, especially if you have debts to pay. Life insurance helps protect your family in case of a tragic event.

If you are considering life insurance, read on to find out about our 7 life insurance myths that are causing trouble before making your decision.

1. Only the Family Member With the Highest Source of Income Needs Life Insurance

There is a grain of truth to this myth. Yes, making sure that the family member with the highest source of income has life insurance is a wise decision.

However, this can prove to be catastrophic if a homemaker passes away, especially if you have to hire someone full-time.

Childcare can be quite expensive, not to mention cleaning and cooking services.

2. Investing Is Better Than Paying for Life Insurance

Life insurance is all about providing a safety blanket for your family. Unfortunately, there is nothing safe about investing.

You take a calculated risk when investing your money. However, it doesn’t always end well. Many investors lose money.

You can put your family into a tough situation if your investing ventures don’t go well.

3. You Should Only Purchase Life Insurance In Person

Many people think the only legitimate way to purchase life insurance is in person. However, it’s fast and easy to research life insurance online. In fact, 21% of life insurance consumers purchase life insurance online.

Though some may still prefer a human element, there are many ways to interact with agents online. It can also make the process of finding an agent much easier.

4. I Don’t Need Life Insurance If I Am Single

Even if you’re single, many of your financial burdens will pass down to your family. Funeral expenses, mortgages, or any other type of expenses can put a lot of pressure on your loved ones.

Life insurance can also be a great way to donate to your favorite charity while gaining tax benefits.

5. I Am Too Young for Life Insurance

Unfortunately, nobody knows what tomorrow holds.

When you’re younger, life insurance is a lot cheaper—even the premiums. As you age, however, the price increases, especially if you develop a medical condition.

If you’re still paying a mortgage or have college loans, you should consider purchasing a life insurance.

6. You Need a Medical Exam to Get Life Insurance

Many people hold off on life insurance because they don’t feel like going through the hassle of a medical exam.

The truth is that you don’t need a medical exam to get life insurance. You can learn about no exam life insurance from the comfort of your own home.

7. The Life Insurance Offered by My Employer Is Enough

It depends on how much debt you have, or if you have codependents.

If your debt will not put a hole in your family’s pocket and you are single, the life insurance from work will suffice. But if you have codependents, it might not be enough.

Wrapping Up

Unless you are wealthy, life insurance is the surest way to protect your family from the unexpected.

Keep in mind that there are many options for you to choose from. Don’t let the myths such as the mandatory medical exam hold you back from purchasing life insurance.


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Want to Become a Chartered Accountant? Here’s How

March 27, 2017 - By 
accountant

If you are interested in embarking on a career path and are considering becoming a chartered accountant, you need to know exactly where to start.

Chartered accountants enjoy flexible hours, high-earnings, and the ability to make a difference.

If this seems like something you’d be interested in doing, follow these steps to ensure you’re on your way to a successful career path.

Education

On the path to any new career, it’s imperative that you have the right education and training before you dive in.

Specialities

In the chartered accountant field, there are different specialties you can focus on:

  • Accountant specializing in auditing
  • Chartered management accountant
  • Chartered public and finance accountant

Regardless of which specialty you’d like to focus on, your education and training should be specific to each specialty’s needs.

Bachelor’s vs Associates Degree

Both bachelor’s and associate degrees can land you a position in the chartered accounting industry.

Whichever you decide, make sure that you’re choosing to focus your studies in business, economics, or accounting.

If you already have a degree, regardless of the field of study, you can also take additional classes to hone your skills as an accountant.

Many local and online colleges offer classes that focus on business, accounting, auditing, and finance.

Training Programs

Once you’ve gained the education, you will need to enroll in a chartered accounting training course.

Offered either in person or online, these classes will help you gain the skills needed for your future career path.

Depending on your location, these classes prepare you for your chartered accounting exams, which are necessary to become a professional chartered accountant.

Professional Experience

Many chartered accounting programs ask that you have at least three years experience working in a professional setting.

Like an internship, you should reach out to your university or college, or even your local chartered accountant association, to see where you can land a position that will enable you to gain the needed experience.

Exams

Once you’ve completed your education and training, and gained experience in a professional setting, you’re now set to take your qualifying exams.

Depending on which country you’re located in, the testing can last up to three days.

You must attain a passing score in order to be a chartered accountant.

Find a Job

So you’ve completed all your tests and studies, now you’re ready to get out into the job market!

Chartered accountants can be found in several countries around the world, so the sky is truly the limit when on the job hunt.

Some ways you can find and land a chartered accounting job:

  • Become a member of your country’s professional accountant organization. You’ll be able to network and potentially meet someone who may know of job openings.
  • Send out your resume. Sending out a letter of introduction and your resume will get your name out into the industry.
  • Search job leads online. There are tons of websites, like LinkedIn, that allow you to network and find jobs in your industry.
  • Network. In almost any job field it’s great to network with other industry professionals. Networking can land you a mentor who can help you through your career path.

Conclusion

If you’re on the hunt for an exciting career as a chartered accountant following the above steps will get you well on your way to your successful career.

Remember to focus on your education and training, and make sure once you’ve completed your exams you’re networking and looking for jobs within your industry.

Like any job search or career journey, it will take time and dedication to succeed in your goals.


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The Step-By-Step Guide to Improving Your Credit Score

March 22, 2017 - By 
credit score

Your credit score is used to determine your worthiness of credit in the eyes of banks and credit lenders.

This can have a huge impact on your interest rates and ability to obtain a line of credit in the first place.

While there are some great options for short term loans for bad credit, for the most part, your credit is going to impact your ability to get a loan too. This could be a setback in anything from getting student loans to buying a car or house.

If your credit is less than perfect, don’t just wait around and hope that it gets better. Here are the steps you need to take to improve your credit score.

1. Know what a credit score is

There are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding credit.

More than half of adults think their credit score can be found on a standard credit report — it can’t, by the way.

According to Nasdaq, “Your credit report is a compilation of credit-related information; your credit score is a three-digit number distilled from the report data.”

Meaning that checking your credit score isn’t as simple as just looking over your credit card statement every month.

2. Know what your credit score is

It’s all too easy to put off looking at your credit score, especially if you know your spending habits are less than perfect.

There are lots of options for checking your credit score that range from free one time services to those that require you to pay a fee or sign up for an account.

While researching the best option for you takes time and a bit of patience, it’s worth it, in the end, to know where you stand.

3. Dispute any errors you find in credit reports

Your credit reports include important personal information about you, run-ins with the law, and fanatical stability. This information can be sold by credit reporting agencies and used to evaluate your worthiness for everything from employment to insurance.

If you find mistakes on your credit reports, they could potentially keep that dream house out of reach or make that new line of credit impossible to obtain.

Be sure to report any mistakes to the Federal Trade Commission so corrections can be made.

4. Focus on collection accounts first

Now it’s time to get the money rolling and start chipping away at those unpaid bills and debts.

First, focus your attention on any bills that are in collections.

If a bill makes it to collections, it’s going to have a negative impact on your credit score, but you can reverse this to a certain extent by paying it off.

5. Pay off debts closest to your credit limit

It’s a common misconception that simply paying on time is good enough to earn you a good credit score.

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

Having a balance that’s near your credit limit can negatively impact your credit score.

Whenever possible, keep your balance around 35% of your limit.

6. Set a budget and stick to it

Budgeting is key to getting yourself out of a bad credit slump and staying out.

Set a budget that accounts for all monthly expenses and allows you to make payments toward debts and credit balances on a regular basis and, if at all possible, ahead of schedule.

If you don’t know where to start, look at bank statements and credits card reports from the last few months to see where you’re spending your money and where you can cut back.