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How to start a freelance business the right way

Posted by on Oct 23, 2018 in Getting Started | 0 comments

freelance business

The typical 9-5 office job lacks the glamour it once had. It once provided the income, prestige, and fulfillment that once defined the American Dream – not anymore. These days, stagnant salaries, 12-hour work days, and piles of soul-crushing work are becoming the norm.

Is that all there is?

No. There are people who still enjoy their careers in 2018, but many have chosen to build theirs from the ground up. The freelancing revolution is in full swing – by 2020, 43% of all workers in America will be self-employed.

Want to join them? Below, we’ll talk about everything you’ll need to address before you can make your favourite coffee shop your new office.

Find an overlap between your skills and what the market needs

Writing, graphic design, web development – these are just a few areas in which you can specialise as a freelancer. To succeed, though, it is vital to research your target market’s needs.

If hundreds of writers in a specific region are churning out the same content, it will be tough for you to make ends meet.

On the other hand, finding someone who writes quality ad copy can be difficult. Specialise in this niche, and you will be able to earn much more per project than lower skilled writers.

Whether it is writing technical documents for oil & gas companies, coding SaaS apps, or creating covers for e-book authors, a lucrative income can be found at the intersection of your skill set and the needs of the market.

Name your price

The temptation to undercut the competition can be overwhelming – don’t do it. First, most established freelancers are too well-connected to worry about having future work opportunities ‘stolen’ from them. Second, underpricing oneself can create a poverty trap that can be tough to escape from.

To figure out a fair rate for your skill set, research the websites of colleagues who do similar work. If their fees aren’t displayed, contact them as a ‘customer’. This may feel awkward but remember – successful freelancers get dozens of e-mail messages every day.

You will be far from the first person who ghosted them after sending over their rate card. If this bothers you, be transparent about your intentions – many freelancers are happy to help out their brethren.

Create a high-quality website

It is not enough to be on social media. A website gives self-employed professionals a platform to sell themselves to clients around the world. On it, you can break down the services you offer, showcase your work in a portfolio, display testimonials, and more.

Don’t think you have the technical prowess to set up a website? It has never been easier for everyday people to get their own web portal up and running thanks to WordPress.

Web hosts like Bluehost and HostGator offer a streamlined installation process that usually takes less than five minutes – you don’t need to be a nerd to set up a website these days.

Can’t afford to set up your own domain? Establish a web presence for free on WordPress.com or Blogger. While we recommend having your own space, this is a quick way to get on the web for no cost.

Once you are ready to show your site off to the world, optimise your site’s SEO, buy some Google Ads,  get on social media, and print business cards – these steps and others will make it easier for clients to find your home on the web.

Learn about taxes

taxes

As an employee, taxes are something you never have to think about. Every two weeks, the payroll department automatically deducts local and federal taxes, as well as entitlements. When you work for yourself, though, this responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders.

A newly-minted freelancer’s first tax season can be a painful one; not because of the amount they owe, but because they forgot to budget for it in the first place.

Make an appointment with an accountant before sending out a single invoice. They will educate you on the records you’ll need to keep, quarterly filing dates (if applicable in your area), tax breaks, and so on.

At minimum, calculate your effective tax rate and deduct this amount from your daily gross earnings. At month’s end, transfer everything that is owed into a segregated savings account. This way, you’ll avoid spending money that isn’t yours.

Prospect for clients

Now that you’ve learned how to set up, market, and run your freelance business, it’s time to get some clients. With any luck, some may have already reached out via your website. If not, it’s on you to find them.

But before calling or e-mailing every company in your area, take a second to think about the work you want to do.

You may be an ace at building websites, but if banking bores you to tears, taking on clients in finance might not be the best idea. If you constantly check out houses on your morning jog, though, designing sites for real estate agents might be a better fit.

Next, draft a solid pitch. Feel free to reuse it for multiple prospects, but leave plenty of room for customisation – nobody likes to receive a generic pitch e-mail they’ve seen dozens of times before.

Cut to the chase – quickly explain what skills you bring to the table, as well as the specific value you intend to deliver.

Keep a record of every business you contact. This way, following up unanswered pitches becomes easier. Most successful entrepreneurs are busy – sending them a gentle reminder two weeks later will increase the likelihood of a reply.

Cut the cord

Unless you have six to twelve months of expenses saved up, we don’t recommend quitting your job to start a freelance business. Instead, leverage your free time outside of work to build your practice on the side. This way, you’ll avoid having financial stress influence your decisions.

Once you have built up an income you can live on (as well as the six to twelve-month buffer mentioned above), schedule a meeting with the boss and turn in your two-week notice – the real work is about to begin!

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20 Best Personal Finance Blogs for Young Adults of 2018

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Saving Money | 0 comments

Top best blogs for young adults

We all learn math, science and English throughout grade school, and some of us go on to learn in college as well. One thing that no one gets the same lesson on is personal finance! Grade schools and colleges might have a class here or there about personal finance, but there is not a standard by any means. We each get our own lesson by watching our parents muddle their way through their own finances. The majority of us really do not want to end up like our parents, financially speaking.

Approximately fifty percent of Baby Boomers have less than $100K saved for retirement and according to AARP Gen X has on average $125K in debt, which includes credit cards, school loans, and mortgages. This is a perfect example as to why young people today really aren’t interested in receiving financial advise from friends and family older than them! Young people today are apprehensive about taking on any debt and they are right to do so.

Looking for classes or books on how to learn about personal finance really depends on your own personal situation and everyone’s situation is different from the next person. Everyone has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to where they start out financially in life. In order to help you navigate the vast amount of knowledge regarding personal finance, we have created a short list of a top 20 Personal Finance Blogs for young people to follow and learn from below.

In no particular order here are finance blogs that may help you find your own personal financial path.

 

The College Investor

TheCollegeInvestor

Blogger Robert Farrington started writing in 2009 and averages 5 blog posts per week. His niche is helping postgraduates get out of debt and helping them start investing. Some of his most popular blog posts are: 3 Ways to Make $50,000 Per Year Without Working With Passive Income, 50+ Ways to Make Money Fast With a Side Hustle and Secret Ways to Get Student Loan Forgiveness. I like that he shares not only tips for everyone, but opens up and tells people what he actually uses for his own personal financial needs.

 

Money After Graduation

moneyaftergraduation

Blogger Bridget Casey started her blog in 2012 and posts new entries several times a month. Her niche is in helping you figure out how to pay off your college debt and learn how to be in control of your financial life instead of being a victim of it. Some of her latest blog posts are: The Best Books to Gift a New Grad, How to Save a Down Payment for a House and How to Use the Debt Snowflake Method. She also offers e-courses. One of her courses Debt Crusher on debt elimination is free! Another course is on how to Build a Better Budget is pretty inexpensive at $47. Another course she offers is The Six Figure Stock Portfolio, which helps you learn how to build a portfolio. This class is $400, payable in two installments of $199 each. I love getting free debt advice and giving it as well.

 

Retire by 40

ReitreBy40

Joe Udo, formerly a computer engineer at Intel, said that the job became more and more stressful and he decided he needed to get out. He started Retire by 40 in 2010. He started his blog about his journey, mostly to keep tabs on himself to make sure he followed through and he was able to quit his full time job and leave corporate America in 2012. He now dubs himself Mr. RB40 says that just because he left the 9-5 does not mean that he does not work. He says he stays really busy with blogging and other things, like being dad and maintaining the house. He posts one to two times a week depending on his availability. Some of his most recent blog posts are School’s Out – First Grade is Over!, May 2018 Goals and Financial Update and Take a Peek Behind the Curtain – See How I Write a Blog Post. MR. RB40 shares his personal portfolio and his journey, and instead of starting out right out of college, this journey starts in his 30’s. With many people in different stages of life between their 20-30’s it is important to look at all pathways to being financial stable. His wife still works and they live off of his passive income, and Mrs. RB40 should be retired by 2020 and they will be living off his writing and their passive income.

 

The Penny Hoarder

ThePennyHoarder

Kyle Taylor is the founder and CEO of the Penny Hoarder website, which started in 2010. The website / blog’s mission is to improve the lives of regular people by allowing them to spend less time worrying about their finances and more time living their lives. The Penny Hoarder employs over 90 individuals and has many different writers, but the blog concept is there. The different categories that The Penny Hoarder focuses on are: Making Money, Deals, Food, Smart Money and Life. In all of these areas readers learn about how to pinch their pennies and save either with coupons, side gigs, budgets or college. Some of their most popular blog posts are: 8 Legitimate Paid Survey Sites to Make Extra Money Each Month, 12 Ways to Save Money and Add $5k to Your Bank Account this Year and 31 of the Absolute Best Freebies We’ve Ever Found Online. With multiple blog posts per day, if you are looking for a specific topic I’m gonna bet they have covered it!

 

My Money Blog

MyMoneyBlog

Jonathan Ping has been sharing his knowledge about money and finances since 2004. He might post once or twice a month, but that’s because he is busy living and loving life! He and his wife cut back to being half time workers and their passive income is enough to cover their household expenses, but they aren’t ready to retire just yet. This blog is about preparation and learning about your finances and retirement. His most recent blog posts are: Airbnb vs Hotels Price Comparison Chart, How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free (book notes) and British Airways Fuel Surcharge Settlement. What I love about this blog is that he doesn’t claim to be an expert, just a man trying to figure it out each and every day.

 

Frugal Rules

FrugalRules

John started out adulthood like many do, with piles of credit card debt, and he has become debt free and is a veteran of the financial services industry as a stockbroker. He wants to spread financial literacy, so the more people understand how to live within their means. Some of the topics Frugal Rules covers are: frugality, investing, debt, credit cards and online brokerages. Some of the most recent blog posts are: Are Side Hustles Worth the Sacrifice?, 7 Best Ways to Sell Your Old Stuff for Money and How to Invest in Stocks When You Do Not Know Where to Start. I like that he owns up to his debt from college and says that he wasn’t aware of living within his means, because that is where many people find themselves regardless of their age! Knowing the next step to living within your means is an important one.

 

Good Financial Cents

GoodFinancialCents

Jeff Rose is a self-proclaimed numbers geek. If you don’t love this guy after reading his about me page, you should just stop now, just stop it. He has credentials but also personality. If you can make finances fun that is a talent in itself! His site also has a Retirement Income Calculator, which I know there are plenty of those online, but not all are found on blogs. Some of Good Financial Cents’ most recent blog posts are: 87 Super Easy Ways to Save Money, CIT Bank Review and Best Insurance for College Students. Still trying to make a difference and reach everyone, Jeff also has a Podcast that might reach more young people than his blog, because what young person do you know that sits down to read about financial literacy? While owning up to his failures he makes it fun to learn about finances what to do and NOT do, sometimes from personal experience.

 

20 Something Finance

20SomethingFinance

G.E. Miller started blogging in 2007. He believes he has solved the financial matrix and he spends less, has less but insists he isn’t missing out on anything. He posts           a new blog entry about every week. Some of his most popular blog posts are: Money Savings Products I Personally Use, How to Pay Taxes with a Credit Card (and Profit) and The U.S. is the Most Overworked Nation in the World. I like that he started at the bottom, where most people find themselves when looking for a change in their finances. He moved for a higher paying job, he bought a smaller home; he sold his second car and started biking to work. He switched his purchases of products and services from ones that cost money to ones the create money. He talks about how to use your credit cards to earn cash back each month on purchases you are going to make anyway.

 

Everything Finance

EverythingFinance

This site was started in 2007 and while this blog site is more corporate run that is not to say that it doesn’t have some great information for young people. Great articles on getting started in investing, understanding your credit score and loans like mortgages or personal loans. Some of the most popular blog posts are: 5 Tips for Managing Bills as a Married Couple, 7 Summer Jobs You Can Do from Anywhere and Why We Bought a House When Renting was Cheaper.

 

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

GirlsJustWannaHaveFunds

Ginger with Girls Just Wanna Have Funds for women entrepreneurs to use passive income to reach their financial goals. She started her blog in 2003 with the mission to teach women about how to earn their financial freedom because she has been there done that and wants to help you avoid those same mistakes! Some of her recent blog posts are Tight on Funds? Here’s What You Can Do!, 3 Ways to Fix the Mistakes of Your Younger Self and 3 Interesting Ways Other People’s Money Can be Good for Your Finances. While her site is geared towards young female entrepreneurs, that’s not to say guys can’t benefit from reading her blog too!

 

The Centsible Life

TheCentsibleLife

Kelly Whalen a mother of four has been blogging since 2009, she started The Centsible Life as a way to keep track of all the advise she had been given and read up on for ways to get her family out of debt. She soon realized that her blog was helping other people just like her trying to get out of debt too. Blogging quickly became more than just a hobby for her! Her site covers all things life and money. Your finances are tied to your health, food, travel, etc so just about anything where you spend money or it costs money or you can save money in life, The Centsible Life will write about it!

 

Money Smart Life

MoneySmartLife

Ben Edwards started Money Smart Life in 2006 to share his story about being in control over his spending. His journey began when he was only 12 year old and wanted a Nintendo and his parents made him work for his money to buy it. He worked hard to earn the $150 needed for the system, but when it came time to actually buy it, he decided not to. He claims to have cracked the Konami Code and chose instead getting the game system to invest his money and how it became addicting to him to check everyday in the newspaper how his stocks were doing. While not all 12 year olds are going to swoon over getting stock for every birthday and Christmas, that’s exactly what Ben did. This gave him a financial edge over his friends after graduating from college he was able to cash in stocks and buy his fiancé a ring, put a down payment on a house and pay for their honeymoon. He was ahead of the curve because of the decision he made when he was 12 years old. What I love about this story is how you can use this same advise and teach your children and or use it as personal advice to start controlling your own financial future right now.

 

Debt Roundup

DebtRoundup

Debt RoundUp was started in 2012 by Grayson Bell to help navigate his way out of debt and share his own journey at the same time. While Grayson isn’t a certified financial planner, he is a guy who dug himself out of debt one penny at a time. His site is to share his personal journey and provide tools to help you get started on your personal journey out of debt or learning how to manage and use their money to free them of the looming cloud of credit card debt. This site’s followers aren’t financial professionals but they are regular people sharing their successes, failures, struggles and ways they found worked! So if you are like Grayson and financed a Jetski and want to get out of the financial hole you are digging you will be in good company with the author and followers of this page. I might need to follow this one myself, as someone who went on vacation after losing my job and another time went ahead and bought the furniture when my roommate lost his job. Knowing you can make financial blunders and still get out of the hole is always good to know.

 

Wise Bread

WiseBread

Wise Bread is not rung by one person but instead a community of bloggers whose mission is help you live your life on a budget. The writers blog about Credit Cards, how to avoid them, how to use them to your benefit and how to manage them. They tackle the topic of personal finance and budgeting. They give tips on frugal living and life hacks and more. A few of their latest blog posts are 28 Free Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer, Best Money Tips: How Much You Should Spend in Retirement and These 8 Modern Car Features Are Riskier Than You Think. What is great about this site is that the community of writers have all kinds of different perspectives that they share while writing so while you might not agree with one blog post, there still might be another post that speaks right to you and your current situation. Just keep reading and see if you find a blogger or topic that is going to best fit what you are searching for!

 

The Simple Dollar

the simple dollar

The Simple Dollar was founded by Trent Hamm in 2006 when Trent was tired of ‘trying’ to get out of debt and was ready to make it happen for good. While working on his own debt he felt inspired to help others do the exact same thing by sharing the tricks and tips that worked for him. Now with a staff to help run the site and contributing writers they have more than one post per day to help you learn how to plan your financial goals for credit cards, loans, insurance, investments and banking. Having multiple writers is a great way to be more relatable to your readers by having lots of different perspectives writing each day that have different backgrounds and can share their own struggles and successes. Some of their most recent posts are: Ten Inexpensive (and Quick) Ways to Liven Up Cooking at Home, The Gap Between Your Goals and Your Actions and How to Plan a Really Cheap Weekend Getaway.

 

Broke Millennial

BrokeMillennial

Erin started Broke Millennial to help young people figure out how to get out of debt and #GYFLT (Get Your Financial Life Together)! She explains that she learned at a very young age the value of a dollar after working hard to earn it and this life lesson helped her through college and she graduated with zero college debt! Learning how to get your financial life together happens differently for everyone and if reading all of these blogs isn’t quite you style, check out her youtube show where she breaks it down in quick videos for you. I love that she addresses one of the big things about young people… umm they don’t really read much! They want information and they want it NOW! Being able to get the same information watching a quick video is time well spent rather than fifteen minutes of reading articles. Everyone learns differently, and I am just glad someone recognizes this!  Some of her latest videos on YouTube are: 5 Pieces of Money Advice to Ignore, The 2 Easiest Ways to Pay Down Debt and Mastering Your Bank Account. Her mantra is “It’s time to get your financial life together. It doesn’t need to be terrifying. It just needs to be done.”

 

Financial Samurai

Financial Samurai

Finding it hard to get motivated to get out of debt or earn more money? This is where the story of the Financial Samurai begins. Sam Dogen was working in Corporate America waiting for that next big raise wasn’t a driving force, but finding a way to life free was motivation! What does living life free mean? It means something different to each person, but here it means spending time with family, travel and have little worry about finances. Starting the blog in 2009 it only took 3 years to make the jump from employee to self-employed. Sam’s experience shows that even if you make the right choices and invest and get educated you can still fall victim to financial disaster. He suffered financially from the financial crisis and with money no longer as a motivator; living life by his terms is what mattered most. Now he writes for his blog and is able to save and is control of his financial life, and he shares his knowledge about investing, negotiations, starting a blog, financial products and wealth management.

Taking financial advise from someone who is well educated on this topic is never a bad thing, but knowing how they have personally made their success and worked through their failures is important. Why would you take financial advise from a guy behind a desk with an office? Do you know his credit score? Do you know his debt to income ratio? Nope. If you do not know someone’s ability to manage their own financial life, why would you take their advice?

 

Nerd Wallet

NerdWallet

Tim Chen is the CEO and founder of NerdWallet, he started the site in 2009. Tim states that he has made many avoidable financial mistakes and while some mistakes cost money, others cost time. Either way sharing way to avoid making these mistakes to others was a passion of Tim’s and thus NerdWallet was started. NerdWallet now has roughly 285 employees and their site covers topics like: credit cards, banking, investing, mortgages, loans, insurance and money. Topics for each may be finding the best credit card for your situation, how to start investing or how to earn more interest with your investments. Taking the financial advise from a blogging standpoint to a full grown company with employees is quite an achievement from someone who is honest about making financial blunders. It is always good to know you can make mistakes and still find success down the road.

 

Club Thrifty

ClubThrifty

Holly and Greg Johnson who were previously in the mortuary business founded Club Thrifty in 2012. Through hard work and by not listening to other people they pursued their goals and soon started living their dream life. Having kids and working full time jobs and working a side hustle wasn’t easy, but knowing you can only fail if you quit trying they knew that this was their ticket out of their financial struggles. It didn’t happen over night but they worked their way out of debt and soon found that living life without debt and huge interest payments you can actually afford to LIVE! Their blog’s niche is about you stop spending and start living. You can often learn a lot about how to travel on the cheap and learn about how to use credit card points to help cover the majority of your travel costs. What is exciting about this blog is that with no financial background and a family to support they were able to work together as a team and now work from home or a beach or a foreign country to support their family.

 

The Minimalists

TheMinimalists

The Minimalists’ founders Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus started their site in 2010 after a realization that having it all, the money, the houses, the cars, the 80-work week still left them unsatisfied. They were not in control of their lives. This led them to begin taking control over their lives through minimalism. Their story didn’t start there, they are long time friends who both grew up poor and both found their lives needed change and decided to take control over their lives with minimalism. A few of their top blog posts are: New to Minimalism? Start Here, 30-Day Journey to Minimalism Game and Tour Joshua’s Minimalist Apartment. The Minimalists also have a podcast, books, films and tour to help inspire people to take control over their lives by not allowing all the ‘stuff’ to control their lives. What I like about this blog best is it speaks to how to live life and not focus on keeping up with the Jones next door. Living life as a minimalist does not mean you go without, it means you are fulfilled by other things in life other than ‘stuff’.

All of these blogs have something to offer people, whether you are starting out in life right out of high school, graduating from college or are already married with kids. Take some time to find a blog that speaks to you and your financial goals in life. If you don’t like to do a ton of reading, find one that has a podcast. It is never too early or late in life to start taking control over your financial future, so start now!

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Entering Contests and Raffles Online is a Gamble?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2018 in Gifts for College Students | 0 comments

gambling

We’ve all seen the email, gotten the piece of mail, received the phone call, you’ve been selected or you have won… followed by a long pitch about a product or service you have never heard of before. The idea of winning something is exciting and it is also a gamble! Registering to win something can be as simple as putting your name and email address on a website and then waiting. You might think your chances to win increase with the more contest you enter, this is just not true. Even if you win one contest the likelihood of winning anything is rare.

However there are many pitfalls to registering for a lot of contests. Your email and information can get sold and then you receive tons of spam that is unrelated to the contest you registered for. You can receive unwanted emails, calls, and mail for the rest of your life because once your information is out there; it is nearly impossible to remove it.

Now that’s not to say all contests or raffles are scams, some of them definitely have winners, but for every hundred or thousands of people who register only one person will win. Statistically speaking it’s unlikely that you might win. However some people will say, well you can’t win if you don’t play. This is true, but at what cost are you applying to win? Entering your personal information seems simple enough, but do you know where that information goes? Is it discarded, unlikely. Is it sold over and over, yes!

Knowing when you are receiving a legitimate email, letter or phone call for a prize is difficult only if you register for so many you cannot keep track. So if someone contacts you and says you’ve been selected, you might want to think twice before believing you have actually won anything.

Here are 12 signs from TheBalanceEveryday.com that the prize you just won is fake:

  1. Anytime the person or business contacting you requests payment to receive your prize.
  2. The email account that contacted you is a free email account, like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail etc.
  3. They tell you, you won something you don’t recall registering for.
  4. The person or company sends you a giant check for your win notice.
  5. The individual or company wants to send money via Western Union.
  6. The person on the other line is very pushy and wants you to make a decision quickly or the prize will go to the next person.
  7. They ask for your bank account or credit card information.
  8. Winning the lottery without buying a ticket.
  9. They do not address you by your name.
  10. They falsely represent a government organization to get your information.
  11. The notice contains spelling and grammatical errors.
  12. Sweepstakes scam notifications arrive by bulk mail

So it turns out the Prince from Nigeria is not only a bad speller and pushy, he needs your credit card information to confirm your identity before wiring your money Western Union for the lottery ticket from a foreign country that you have never visited and do not remember buying a ticket for and is contacting you from a Hotmail account might be a fake?!

I know this seems a bit crazy, but their target market is young people or older people. If the scammers pressure one of these two generations they have a chance of getting them to give them information to win the prize.

If you register to win a Jeep from a local car dealership, your information will remain on their mailing list, they will usually not sell it and you can always ask them what they will do with your information before you register. If you are going online and registering for every raffle or contest you find that the prize is something you might like, chances of you being contacted by scammers are high.

If you are not sure about the prize you were contacted for, get their name and phone number and ask to call them back. Consult with someone about the situation to see if it seems legit. Never NEVER give any information to a random call from someone saying you have been selected or that you have just won a prize. You should always be able to call them back and claim your prize if it is in fact a legit raffle or contest.

If you want to win the next iPhone or whatever it is that the raffle or contest has as a prize, consider what you are giving them for free and how it impacts you and your information for years to come. Is the idea of winning a $1000 new iPhone that will be outdated in a year worth your personal information being sold worldwide for years to come?

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Best Grants for Young Entrepreneurs

Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Scholarships and Grants | 0 comments

Best Grants for Young Entrepreneurs

If working your way up the corporate ladder… hoping to make a difference down the road doesn’t sound like your cup tea, perhaps you are an entrepreneur, but don’t know it yet. If you recently graduated from college or university and have found that the only options available to you are starting at the bottom and working your way up over the years, but you are filled with great ideas and aspirations to doing something big now, consider starting your own business.

Australia boasts about having capital available for entrepreneurs wanting to make a difference now, but who lack funding. Check out all that is available by region and business type at SmallBusinessLoanAustralia.com. Some of the best ideas come from those people who are willing to take risks and build businesses out of products or services that have yet to be invented or need improvement. If hearing NO doesn’t faze you, you might be cut out for the job, the job of boss… your own boss. There are services out there to help guide new entrepreneurs in the right direction, there are event local FaceBook groups filled with other entrepreneurs willing to share their knowledge and help others not make the same business mistakes they made. In the sport of entrepreneurship, everyone can be a winner, even if they are competitors!

Getting Started

Great! You have an idea! Now how can you take that idea and turn it in to a product or service that people want? Check out and maybe become a member of SME Association of Australia. This organization will help guide new entrepreneurs in the right direction when developing a business plan and more. Building a business plan starts with research, a lot of research. Does this product or service exist anywhere else? It may seem silly, but finding a similar business or product is actually not a bad thing! If someone else has already done half of the legwork to develop a product or service similar to yours you can gain a vast amount of knowledge by checking out his or her product or service. Review their webpage, their customer base etc. This can shave a ton of research time off of your plate. If you cannot find a comparable product or service to your idea, which has already launched, this means you are leading the pack and you have a lot of work to do and little time to do it before someone else may launch their model of your idea. It’s a race and you better get ready!

Funding

Typical means for business start up capital can come from a myriad of sources. Some people are able to take from available funds they already have, but this is not the norm. You may be able to sell something in order to get enough money to get your idea started and off the ground. If you can find anyway to start your business without creating debt owed to friends, family, financial partners, banks, or other interested parties do it! It can create a lot of strain on a new business owner trying to launch their product/service and business while trying to keep stakeholders happy as well.

Grant Options

Australia offers numerous grant options that can help get you from an idea to a launched business with products and services. Regions fund many of the grants available.

Talent + Grant has available funds up to $40,000 AUD to help support an artistic outreach and business plan. Funds Available in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, and WA.

Jobs Action Plan NSW Grant has available funds up to $6,000 to help a business who has grown and needs to bring on employees cover costs of the new employees payroll taxes.

Regional Economic Development Fund NT has funding for up to 50% of projected costs if the project helps develop the Northern Territory.

Innovation Connections Grant has funding for territories: ACT, NSW, NT, QLD for small to medium sized companies to work on collaborative projects in the technology industry.

Championship Grants TAS has funding up to $7,000 AUD for organizations to bring sporting championships to Tasmania.

Regional Events Funding WA has funding for up to $50,000 AUD when a business or organization brings awareness to local culture in their communities by hosting events that showcase these cultures.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Community Benefit Program has funding available from $5,000 to $1 million AUD for projects in Barndioota and Kimbal in South Australia if they are helping strengthen the ecosystems.

Trade Support Scheme NT can help cover up to 50% of costs associated with international marketing

New Market Expansion Program TAS has funding for businesses located in Tasmania to create new markets domestically and internationally.

Future Industries Sector Grown Program has available funds up to $1 million AUD when then project will create jobs and help grow the economy in Victoria.

While this is merely a handful of the grants available to Australians each grant has it’s own restrictions and guidelines for the application process and policies surrounding the usage of the funds made available to the grant winners. With all of these different funds available it is no wonder that Australia has experienced year over year economic growth recently. While entrepreneurs are out to change the world, they need to work efficiently and not create more financial burdens that they need to. Grants are a great source to help provide aspiring individuals the tools and know how to get their idea off the ground and running.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it is who is going to stop me.”

– Ayn Rand

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College Side Hustles: How to make money from writing

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in How to Pay College Tuition, Saving Money | 1 comment

writing for money

With the rising cost of going to college, working while going to college is more the norm than it used to be. After the housing market recession students are more aware of their financial situations and trying to keep from graduating with mounds of debt. Many will try to pay for their classes during the semester after securing a student loan to cover the upfront costs. Students have crazy class schedules that can make it difficult to find employment to help cover their bills.

Freelancing:

Students often don’t realize that they have a skill that they have been developing for years, writing. From grade school through high school students have been working on mastering the skill of writing, whether they wanted to or not. Being a freelance writer can be the ‘write’ fit for a lot of students. Freelancing works around your crazy school schedule because you can write for a client a 2 am or at 10 am between classes. You can literally work wherever with your laptop by your side and Wi-Fi on campus.

Job Market:

You can find a job just about anywhere. There are job boards created just for freelancers. Every website on the Internet has content that they either need to update or create. Some sites will pay top dollar to have great content. Others will pay low rates but spend more time correcting and editing a freelancer’s work. There are a myriad of types of contract work available.

Pay for writing depends a lot on the content being written about and the experience of the writer. As a freelancer you can decide what your time is worth when you write. Some content positions will pay $0.05 per word; others can pay up to $0.25 per word. If a client asks you to write a 1,000 word article you charge them $.05 and it takes you two hours two write maybe a little longer you have just earned $50. If you were working for minimum wage you would need to work about 7 hours to earn $50. Clearly the minimum starting pay for writers is better than the US minimum wage. If you write faster, the higher your hourly rate is.

Experience isn’t always required. You have papers you have written for college and other projects, this is already a beginning of a portfolio. Just because it wasn’t paid work doesn’t mean it can’t be used to help get you that first writing job.

There are inexpensive classes you can take that will teach you how to become a freelance writer. Earn More Writing is an example of this type of course. It has several levels of courses you can take and can be done in a relatively short period of time. You are also learning from someone who currently makes a living at freelance writing, who has taken the time to share her knowledge.

While you can figure out how to freelance all on your own, you will save time, energy and money by taking a course on how to become a freelance writer.

What Should I Write About?

When you are just starting out you should write about topics you already know about. Maybe you just took a class on a subject that really interested you; this is a great starting point to build a portfolio. You shouldn’t write about things that do not interest you as your writing may be affected by your lack of interest for the topic. Keep in mind if you write about something that isn’t fun the rate per word could be higher, so you could earn more for your work.

Pitching clients can happen in lots of different forms. You can send cold pitches to websites or companies. You might not hear back, but then you might hear back right away. Dealing with rejection or just no reply at all is a good thing to learn early on.

Having an Online Presence:

Creating a portfolio of your work doesn’t have to be fancy. You need a simple site, and you can even use a WordPress site for free to begin to market your writing. Create a bio explaining you are in college and what your interests are and you can link some of your writing you have done for school to start in your portfolio. Once you get some online published work you will want to add this to your portfolio.

Freelancing while you are in college is a great way to earn some side money or even enough to pay your tuition. The ability you have to market yourself and time you have available are really the only things you need to get started. You can write whenever and wherever. The flexibility is endless when it comes to freelancing.

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Top 5 Tips for a Successful Spring Vacation for College Students

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Featured | 2 comments

College students actively look for interesting places to spend their Spring Break vacation. This is particularly true for students that study in colder climates. The idea of enjoying an exotic locale for Spring Break vacation is appealing to escape the cold weather, enjoy the parties, and get some extra sunshine. There are many locales that have capitalized on the Spring Break vacation market; however, when the time comes to choose where to go, it is important to carefully consider which destination has the most value, yet is at a price that most students can afford. Consider the conversation below when picking your next economic Spring Break vacation destination.

The Best Locations for Spring Vacations

When trying to decide where to travel to for your Spring Break Vacation, it is important to analyze several factors and decide which are the most important to you.

Beach: If you are looking for gorgeous beaches, it is highly recommended to spend your Spring Break Vacation in places such as: Cancun, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Jamaica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. In terms of beaches, these locales have an excellent local culture that also have picturesque beaches. If you are looking for teal blue waters and white sand beaches for your Spring Break Vacation, these are the ideal places to start.

Parties: Spring Break Vacations are known for their parties, particularly when students are enrolled in their four-year degree program rather than graduate school. In terms of parties, it depends what kind of party you are looking for. If you are looking to enjoy tequila shots and authentic Mexican cuisine, then you should be going to Mexico. If you are interested in trying the rum that the Caribbean is known for, you should be visiting Jamaica. If you are looking to stay within the United States and enjoy in American festivities, you should be looking at Miami, Daytona or San Diego for your Spring Break Vacation excursions.

Distance: Distance will depend on where you are studying. If you are studying in the East Coast in the United States, places in Florida and Texas will be better suited for you. You will be able to experience warmer weather, parties, and beaches all in one. If you are already studying in Florida or Texas and want to head to international waters, then heading to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica will provide you with the cultural stimulation you desire.

Price: Price is a major factor for students. Depending on where you are studying, price will be affected with the cost of airfare and hotels available during high season. There are many packages with cruises in the Caribbean or flight/hotel combinations that can be more economical than staying within the United States. Bearing in mind price considerations is important when deciding which destination will be the best possible fit for your ideal Spring Break Vacation.

The Best Dates to Travel

Spring Break vacation varies depending on which university you study at. That said, Spring Break vacation usually happens between mid-March and mid-April of every year. If you are able to reserve your travel plans early, the best date to travel will depend on what discounts you are able to obtain that coincide with your specific Spring Break vacation dates.

The Average Cost of a Spring Break Vacation

When trying to calculate what your average Spring Break Vacation will cost, it will depend on whether you will be staying for the full week, the proximity of the location to where you are studying, and the packages/discounts that you are able to obtain. A general rule of thumb is that a domestic Spring Break Vacation within the United States if you are studying domestically will hover at around $500-$1,000 depending whether you are flying cross country, sharing hotel rooms with travel companions, and the amount of capital you spend on food and beverages. If you are venturing to foreign territories within the Caribbean or Mexico, the average price will hover between $1,000-$2,000.

5 Ways to Save Money During Spring Break

It is possible to cut down the cost of your Spring Break Vacation

1.Travel with Many Friends: Traveling with a group of friends is a great way to cut back on what you will be spending on your accommodation. You will be able to stay in a nicer place for groups and still save money at the same time.

2.Pick a Destination That Is Cost Effective: Picking a destination that is cost effective in terms of distance and overall price will cut back your cost. Be realistic at what you can afford so you are not stressing about the price the whole trip.

3.Look into Travel Packages: There are many travel packages available that can help cut the cost down of your trip. Looking into packages with cruises/airfare, hotels/airfare or all-inclusive packages are a great way to really get a better locale and overall value for your Spring Break Vacation.

4.Cook with Your Friends: One of the costs that hits you unexpectedly with Spring Break Vacations is food. If you are staying in a group setting, it can be really fun and memorable to prepare meals with your friends. This will cut down your cost substantially.

5.Downgrade Your Hotel: If you are in a beautiful place, you may not want to spend much time in your hotel room. If this is the case, then you can downgrade your hotel and save a great deal of capital.

Final Remarks on the Subject

Traveling for your Spring Break Vacation is a memorable time for many college students. It is important that you are intelligent with how and when you are spending your capital. Being realistic about what you can afford and where you are interested in visiting is essential to finding the right Spring Break Vacation for you. Lastly, be open to exploring the tropical areas immediately around the United States. At times, there are potential travel packages that can help you to save a substantial amount of capital on your Spring Break Vacation while simultaneously providing you with a rewarding travel experience.

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Why Use Comparison Sites to Guide Financial Decisions?

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Saving Money | 0 comments

choice

Financial decisions cause us an inordinate amount of stress. From small financial worries – like how to budget for day-to-day expenses – to large financial worries – like when and how to invest – can be stressful enough to send us into a tailspin. It doesn’t help, of course, that there are so many options and possibilities out there. With financially-minded technology it feels like there’s a new product, service, or bank to consider every day. This can add to the stress we’re already feeling and cause us to do one of two things:

  1. Shut down completely. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, we may come to a standstill. This isn’t helpful because we won’t be able to make an effective decision that meets our financial needs or solves our problems. We might lose money, pay too much in fees or interest if we refuse to change banks or services, you name it!
  2. Make a snap-judgement decision – that’s wrong for us and our situation. We’ve all made poor financial decisions in the past and it’s never fun. If you make a judgement call without knowing all the information, or based on bad information, you could truly cause yourself financial harm.

Obviously nobody wants to make bad financial decisions, or to not decide at all, but these things happen. They happen a lot more often when we’re overwhelmed or stressed out.

What makes a bad decision “bad”?

good or bad

A bad money decision doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s truly bad. It might not just be the best decision for you. If you make a call that either loses money or doesn’t make you as much money (or save you as much money) as another decision could have, it’s probably a “bad” decision. You want to be living your best financial life, not walking the line between mediocre and great.

Several things come into play when you discuss making a poor financial decision. Often it has nothing to do with the intelligence of the individual. Usually it’s a result of many other factors. Here are a few things that play into your bad financial decision making:

  1. You’re emotionally invested.
  2. You feel like you’re making the right decision because someone you know made a similar decision.
  3. You’re choosing to work with a company, brand, or financial institution you’ve worked with in the past without researching their services.
  4. You went with the company that advertised to you.
  5. You didn’t do enough research.
  6. You did too much research and became overwhelmed – leading to a rapid-fire judgement call.

These are just a few of the reasons you might make a bad financial decision – or even just a decision that wasn’t the best fit for you. This may leave you feeling even more overwhelmed then before. “How am I going to make the right decisions if literally everything I do will somehow get in my way?” you might be asking. Luckily, there is a way around several of these human errors when it comes to money decisions: doing the research ahead of time on impartial comparison sites.

How do I do my research the right way?

researchThis is a common fear. You’re always going to run the risk of over-researching different products, services, or companies and end up committing to the wrong one – or, the wrong one for you. But comparison websites really do help.

Their value comes, in large part, from their ability to remain unbiased. The reviewers on the website you’re looking at likely don’t have an emotional connection to the products, services, and companies they’re reviewing. And they don’t have an emotional connection to your unique financial dilemma – they don’t even know you!

This gives them the ability to provide excellent, thorough, documented research that compares different services, products, and companies. As you wade through this research there will be a temptation to discredit it. That’s fair, and you should look at several review and comparison sites before making a final decision. However, the truth of the matter is that very few reputable comparison and review websites provide you with faulty information. Their sole goal and purpose is to empower you to make the right decision – regardless of how you may feel.

Take the guess work out of decision making – and save money.

Comparison and review sites help you take the guesswork out of research. They give you the cold, hard facts and help guide you towards an answer that solves your financial problems. More importantly, they’ll empower you to work with new companies, try new products, and experience new financial services that can legitimately save you money. You’ll either decrease your spending or find ways to grow your wealth – and that should always be the goal when making a scary financial decision. Comparison and review websites can help get you there.

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