telecommute http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8972/all en-US How to Find a Legit Virtual Assistant Job http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-legit-virtual-assistant-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-a-legit-virtual-assistant-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_virtual_assistant_45281194.jpg" alt="Woman finding a legit virtual assistant job" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working as a virtual assistant sounds like a dream job. As a remote administrator, serving as a virtual assistant allows you to work from home in your pajamas when it suits your schedule. You get to do more varied work than an at-home customer service representative &mdash; you might manage social media accounts, book travel arrangements, create PowerPoint presentations, or take minutes during online meetings.</p> <p>Moreover, good virtual assistants can make an excellent wage from their homes. Because of how appealing this gig sounds, virtual assistant job listings are rife with scams and fraudulent listings.</p> <p>While some executives will hire virtual assistants on their own, most workers find clients through virtual assistant companies that connect business owners with contractors. The industry is expanding rapidly, and discerning the scams from the real companies is becoming increasingly difficult.</p> <p>Here are some tips to help you find out if a company is a legitimate business.</p> <h2>Check out the Better Business Bureau</h2> <p>While the virtual assistant company&rsquo;s page on the Better Business Bureau site may not be comprehensive, if they do have a presence on the page, that is a good indication that the business is a serious enterprise.</p> <h2>Review Their Website</h2> <p>If the page is littered with typos or broken links, that is a definite sign that the company is not legitimate. Also, pay attention to the company&rsquo;s contact information; if they list a phone number or email address, reach out to them and see if they work.</p> <h2>Do a Google Search</h2> <p>If a company is the real deal, a Google search will reveal other companies who use them, LinkedIn connections, and business profiles. If they are not reputable, you may find people complaining about them on social media or sites like <a href="http://www.ripoffreport.com">Ripoff Report</a>.</p> <h2>Visit GlassDoor</h2> <p><a href="http://www.glassdoor.com">GlassDoor</a> can be a great resource to see what current and past employees experienced at the company. They will share their experiences &mdash; both the good and bad &mdash; such as what to expect regarding salary, working conditions, and whether they got paid.</p> <h2>Understand the Interview Process</h2> <p>Scam gigs will hire just about anyone without much screening, so if you send in a resume and are immediately hired, that is a major red flag.</p> <h2>What to Expect From a Legitimate Company</h2> <p>As a virtual assistant, you will be closely working alongside executives and be privy to sensitive information. Real companies want to make sure you are a person of integrity and have the talent to do the job efficiently to maintain their reputation.</p> <p>A legitimate virtual assistant company is extremely thorough. You will likely have to submit a resume and cover letter, and then undergo an initial phone screening. From there, many companies will have you complete various tests and evaluations to test your speed, accuracy, and professionalism. It is not uncommon to go through second or even third interviews, usually through Skype or GoToMeeting. The entire process can take as long as two months.</p> <p>While the long interview duration can be time consuming, it is a good sign they are doing their due diligence and are an upstanding company.</p> <h2>Where to Find Real Virtual Assistant Jobs</h2> <p>There are a number of virtual assistant firms that are well-known and respected, who hold their virtual assistants to high standards, and pay them decent wages:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.eahelp.com">eaHelp</a>: Virtual assistants mainly work with entrepreneurs, celebrities, and pastors. The pay ranges from $12&ndash;$18 an hour.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.timeetc.com">Time Etc</a>: With Time Etc, you will do everything from book a family&rsquo;s vacation to write blog posts. Pay is usually around $11 an hour.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.zirtual.com">Zirtual</a>: Unlike other companies, Zirtual assistants are full-time employees. While the pay is about $11 an hour, you are eligible for medical and dental benefits.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.fancyhands.com">Fancy Hands</a>: While Fancy Hands is a real company, its structure is very different. They pay per task, with each task paying as little as $2 to $7.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.99dollarsocial.com/content-specialist-position/">99 Dollar Social</a>: Unlike other virtual assistant positions, 99 Dollar Social&rsquo;s representatives solely update social media accounts for clients. The pay is approximately $12 an hour.</li> </ul> <p>For many people, getting a job as a virtual assistant is a great way to earn extra income or even transition to working full-time from home. However, because these roles are so attractive, you need be aware of how many scams there are that will try to steal from you. Carefully research potential employers and check out the established and reputable companies to make sure you get paid for the work you do.</p> <p><em>Have you worked as a VA? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-legit-virtual-assistant-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-real-money-from-virtual-work">Get Paid Real Money From Virtual Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs">6 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-as-a-chat-or-forum-moderator">How to Make Money as a Chat or Forum Moderator</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-100k-jobs-you-can-do-online">8 $100k+ Jobs You Can Do Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting flexible schedules job listings scams telecommute virtual assistants work from home Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:00:18 +0000 Kat Tretina 1753208 at http://www.wisebread.com 22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_from_home_000025337892.jpg" alt="Woman finding surprising websites that will pay her to write" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You'd like to get paid to write online, but many websites are looking for contributors with experience. If you don't have significant experience, what can you do?</p> <p>Good news! There are a lot of websites, small and large, that will pay you regardless of experience. If you've ever looked at a greeting card and thought, &quot;I could do that,&quot; written a poem or short fiction, thought you could do a better job on a research based article than what you've read online, are an expert hobbyist or more, you could be earning hundreds or thousands in extra income a year.</p> <p>Below is a list of 22 sites that pay for your writing. It isn't comprehensive, but is merely meant to provide a wide range of examples of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging">paid writing opportunities</a>. Use it as a guide to help you find many more sites that will pay you, too!</p> <h2>1. ADDitude</h2> <p><a href="http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/writers-guidelines.html">ADDitude</a> is an online magazine is devoted to providing strategies and support for people who are living with ADHD and other learning disabilities. Though they typically accept guest contributions from journalists and mental health professionals, they are also looking for writings from lay people who have personal experience with ADHD and other learning disabilities. Articles should be no more than 2000 words, and payment amount is calculated based on many factors including length, and experience with the topic.</p> <h2>2. Ashtray Blog</h2> <p>Vaping is all the rage right now. So if you're an enthusiast, why not consider getting paid to write an article for the <a href="http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/write-for-the-ashtray-blog">Ashtray Blog</a>? They are looking for those that focus on vaping, harm reduction, electronic cigarettes, or similar related topics. The pay rate varies, but typically starts at $50 for a shorter piece (think 500 words) that doesn't require a ton of research.</p> <h2>3. Alive Now</h2> <p>The bi-monthly devotional magazine <a href="http://alivenow.upperroom.org/writers/">Alive Now</a> will pay a minimum of $35 for a submission that is accepted. They provide the themes, which can help you structure your submission.</p> <h2>4. BabyFit</h2> <p>Owned by SparkPeople, a popular online preventative healthcare website, <a href="http://babyfit.sparkpeople.com/articles.asp?id=775">BabyFit</a> focuses on fitness and nutrition when pregnant and as a parent. If you can write a well-researched article between 500 and 1200 words, you may be interested in submitting one to this site. They pay contributors between $25 and $90 for their expertise.</p> <h2>5. Blue Mountain Arts</h2> <p>If you can write contemporary prose or poetry focusing on personal experience, check out <a href="http://www.sps.com/help/writers_guidelines.html">Blue Mountain Arts</a>. This greeting card company will pay you $300 for exclusive rights to your poem, or $50 for one time use in a book.</p> <h2>6. Classic Toy Trains</h2> <p>Obsessed with toy trains? Could you write about them? Well, <a href="http://ctt.trains.com/magazine/submission-guidelines/2006/06/ctt-submission-guidelines">Classic Toy Trains</a> accepts articles on this very topic and they pay $75 per page.</p> <h2>7. Chicken Soup for the Soul</h2> <p><a href="http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/story-guidelines">Chicken Soup for the Soul</a>, which is also responsible for the best-selling books with that same name, will pay you $200 for an &quot;inspirational, true story or poem about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences,&quot; or $100 for a devotional. Submissions should be no more than 1200 words in length.</p> <h2>8. Comstock</h2> <p>Adult humor greeting card company <a href="http://comstockmarketplace.com/guidelines.php?osCsid=h1lc4vllps64q4glctd7uscvi3">Comstock</a> is looking for ideas and will pay you $50 for each one accepted.</p> <h2>9. Developer Tutorials</h2> <p>If you're knowledgeable about computer programming and design, and can write a tutorial, this website might be for you. <a href="http://www.developertutorials.com/write-for-us/">Developer Tutorials</a> is looking for list-based articles and will pay for accepted contributions. The rate depends on many factors, such as length and quality of the tutorial, as well as the demand for your particular lesson.</p> <h2>10. Fantus Paper Products</h2> <p>Their greeting card division, <a href="http://www.psg-fpp.com/creative_guidelines.htm">P.S. Greetings Inc</a>., which manufactures &quot;everyday&quot; greeting cards and has an extensive Christmas program, is accepting submissions to be featured on their rack and box set cards. Compensation is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <h2>11. FineScale Modeler Magazine</h2> <p>If you enjoy building or know a lot about model airplanes, cars, ships, etc. then you could earn some extra money writing about them at <a href="http://www.finescale.com/magazine/contribute-to-fsm/2004/01/submit-to-finescale-modeler-magazine">FineScale Modeler</a>. This magazine pays for articles between 750&ndash;2500 words, and the payment amount is based on the length of the article.</p> <h2>12. Girl's Life</h2> <p>If you have a daughter, sister, niece, or female friend who is younger than 18 and likes to write, create poetry, or short fiction, she can earn money if her submission to <a href="http://www.girlslife.com/page/Writers-Guidelines.aspx">Girl's Life</a> is accepted. Payment amount is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <h2>13. Glimmer Train</h2> <p><a href="http://www.glimmertrain.com/writguid1.html">Glimmer Train</a> has been devoted to discovering new writers since 1990 and pays up to $700 for first publication rights for accepted stories.</p> <h2>14. High Country News</h2> <p><a href="http://www.hcn.org/about/submissions">High Country News</a> is a non-profit magazine focusing on the American West (&quot;people, politics, culture, and aesthetic values&quot;). If you like writing on these topics, they will pay you .50 to $1.50 per word (yes, per word) depending on your writing experience and their experience with you. If a submission is accepted and they decide not to run it, you will receive a 25% kill fee (a percentage of what you would have received had the article run).</p> <h2>15. Oatmeal Studios</h2> <p>This greeting card company is looking for humorous greeting card ideas, so if you have a knack for that, send them to <a href="http://www.oatmealstudios.com/html5/pages/art_guide.html">Oatmeal Studios</a>. They'll pay $75 for each idea that is accepted.</p> <h2>16. The Hairpin</h2> <p><a href="http://thehairpin.com/about/">The Hairpin</a> focuses on women and features (mostly) women writers. The topics are varied and wide-ranging, from celebrity culture to tips for creating a great cover letter. They are looking for original, unpublished content, and pay contributors for their work.</p> <h2>17. BlogMutt</h2> <p><a href="https://www.blogmutt.com/become-a-writer">BlogMutt</a> produces blog posts for businesses in just about every industry imaginable, from pet boutiques to tech services. If you can write on a wide variety of topics &mdash; especially in the tech industry &mdash; you'll have a lot of available work. There are no deadlines or assignments, so you can write at your own pace. Customers provide the topics they need blog posts on, writers submit posts on the topics they choose, and the customers pick the posts they want. There&rsquo;s no guaranteed sale, but most writers have a 90% acceptance rate.</p> <h2>18. Smart Alex</h2> <p>Adult humor greeting card company, <a href="http://www.smartalexinc.com/pages/artist_submission/124.php">Smart Alex</a>, is looking for submissions that are &quot;funny, edgy, and risque&hellip;topical, witty, smart, ironic, or sexually suggestive.&quot; Compensation is discussed once a submission is accepted.</p> <h2>19. Smithsonian Magazine</h2> <p>Recognized for its libraries devoted to exhibits in in science, art, history, and pop culture, <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/contact/article-submit-print-magazine/">Smithsonian Magazine</a> will pay authors whose submissions are accepted. Hard numbers are hard to come by, and as you can imagine, they receive a lot of submissions, but it looks like an article could earn up to $1500 for a piece they like.</p> <h2>20. Tales to Go</h2> <p><a href="http://talestogo.travelerstales.com/about/">Tales to Go</a> is a paid subscription website and book publisher focusing on stories about travel. They are looking for personal, non-fiction stories and anecdotes, especially to unfamiliar areas. Stories should be between 1000 and 3000 words. Works that are accepted will receive a $50 honorarium.</p> <h2>21. The Secret Place</h2> <p><a href="http://www.judsonpress.com/catalog_sp_guidelines.cfm">The Secret Place</a> is a quarterly devotional made up exclusively of freelance writers. They pay $20 per accepted meditation devotion which should be about 150-200 words.</p> <h2>22. The Sun</h2> <p><a href="http://thesunmagazine.org/about/submission_guidelines/writing">The Sun</a> is an ad-free paid subscription website that focuses on many aspects of the human experience. They pay contributors anywhere from $300 to $2500 for their work and are looking for essays, interviews, fiction, or poetry. They even throw in a complimentary one-year subscription to their magazine.</p> <p>This list really is the tip of the iceberg, and many writers, including myself, have had positive experiences and enjoyed the extra income. Let's grow this list. Let me know about your favorite sites in the comments below!</p> <p><em>[Editor's Note: A helpful reader pointed out that an entry in this list was no longer paying (ReachSelf). We have replaced that outlet with another paying market.]</em></p> <p><em>Have you earned extra cash with your writing? Where'd you sell it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-legit-virtual-assistant-job">How to Find a Legit Virtual Assistant Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs">6 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting blogging freelance self-employment telecommute work from home writing Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:00:35 +0000 Kim Owens 1571537 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_working_online_000042174160.jpg" alt="Man staying productive while working from home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've just landed a coveted work-from-home job. This is great news. You can now ditch the time-consuming commute to work. You can avoid office gossip, and you can work on your own schedule.</p> <p>But, there are some pitfalls. It's not always easy to stay productive when you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts">working from home</a>. There are plenty of distractions &mdash; <em>Orange Is the New Black</em> on Netflix, the refrigerator, and your bike just waiting for you in the garage &mdash; to take you away from your work. If you're not careful, you might find yourself missing deadlines, angering your bosses and &mdash; ultimately &mdash; heading back into an office every day.</p> <p>The key to avoiding this fate is to treat your home office more like an office and less like a home, at least during the workday. Here are five tips that you can use to remain productive while working from home.</p> <h2>1. Take Control of Your Workspace</h2> <p>Devora Zack, author of the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162656261X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=162656261X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TUQNZYZOU6UC5PHI">Singletasking</a> and owner of Only Connect Consulting, a business-consulting company in Bethesda, Maryland, says that you need to keep distractions at bay during the working day. That means creating a workspace that keeps out children, spouses, or any other distractions when you're working.</p> <p>Zack says that it's your job to &quot;build fences&quot; that will keep distractions away. These fences can be anything from a closed and locked door to muting your call-waiting feature while conducting an important phone interview.</p> <h2>2. Have a Schedule and a To-Do List</h2> <p>Andy Abramson, chief executive officer of marketing firm Comunicano, has been working from home part- or full-time since 1974 when he first started handling marketing duties for professional sports teams. The resident of Del Mar, California, says that the key to staying productive at home is to have a schedule for every day, and to stick to it.</p> <p>It helps to have a to-do list, too. That way you won't reach the end of your work day only to find that you didn't complete your most important tasks.</p> <p>&quot;Have a routine if you work from home, and plan your day,&quot; Abramson said. &quot;This includes times for taking breaks, running errands, and eating meals.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Don't Forget to Leave the Office</h2> <p>Dani Mackey, owner of Washington, D.C.-based Dani Mackey Communications, says that it's important to leave your home office on a regular basis. It's too easy to cut yourself off from the community if you work from home every day. Mackey suggests schedule meetings when possible outside your office.</p> <p>Leaving the office increases networking opportunities and forces you to dress professionally &mdash; it can be easy to dress down every day when you work from home.</p> <p>&quot;It also forces you to be more productive while you are in your office, as there is less time available to be unproductive,&quot; Mackey says.</p> <h2>4. Don't Let Email Consume You</h2> <p>It can be easy when you work from home to let email take over your life. It's tempting to check your email while playing with your kids, chatting with your spouse, making dinner, or exercising, especially if you're constantly toting your smartphone with you.</p> <p>Michael Fritsch, the productivity expert known as the SavvyCOO, says that people who work from home should set aside blocks of time specifically to deal with email. They should also use email filters to automatically route messages to specific folders. You might designate emails from your boss or clients to automatically redirect to an inbox marked &quot;Urgent.&quot; You can automatically route emails from friends and family members to a different, less-urgent inbox.</p> <h2>5. Don't Work All the Time</h2> <p>When you work from home, it can be too easy to spend all of your time on work. But this isn't healthy: You need to schedule time for exercise, reading, and spending time with your family.</p> <p>Elisette Carlson, founder of San Diego-based public relations firm SMACK! Media and someone who works from home, recommends treating these breaks as you would any other meeting or deadline; don't blow them off.</p> <p>&quot;Take a moment in the evening to put it all away,&quot; Carlson said. &quot;This has helped me a lot. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. is family time. Sure, I'll peek at my phone to ensure there aren't any emergencies, but I try to keep this time 100% about family.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you stay focused when working from home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home">How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-working-from-home">The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity home office remote jobs telecommute work from home Mon, 13 Jul 2015 09:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1484700 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_freelancer_000057859604.jpg" alt="Man learning life skills every freelancer needs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eight years ago, I decided to ditch my commute, mothball my business casual wardrobe, and fully commit to building a freelance writing and content management business. With nearly 12 years of professional experience behind me, I knew I could handle the business basics of a freelance life. From networking to invoicing, and from marketing to tech support, I realized everything would be up to me &mdash; and (frighteningly) only me.</p> <p>How right I was. As I enter my ninth gloriously commute-free year, I can affirm that success is built around the following eight life skills every freelancer needs.</p> <h2>1. Communication</h2> <p>As with any other job, good communication is the linchpin between success and failure in freelancing. Networking, pitching new business, working with different teams every day, and keeping clients up-to-date all require proactive and professional communication skills.</p> <h2>2. Time Management</h2> <p>For most freelancers, work comes in unpredictable spurts. Being able to go from zero to 60 in a day or two is just part of the game. And when multiple projects all have back-to-back deadlines, staying sane means learning the secret of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">effective time management</a>.</p> <h2>3. Negotiation</h2> <p>Freelancers must be able to establish fair work agreements and terms &mdash; terms that respect your skill and time and offer a competitive value to your clients. Getting the hang of it and negotiating with tact and confidence takes practice.</p> <h2>4. Organization</h2> <p>At this exact moment, I have four major new projects waiting in the wings &mdash; each with a different client. Keeping due dates, deliverables, meeting times, billing terms, and contact names straight takes masterful organization skills. If you don't have a Type A personality, do yourself a favor and explore some organization tools for businesses.</p> <h2>5. Scheduling</h2> <p>Many newbies eagerly accept every project that comes their way and never learn to gracefully push back on a deadline. But understanding how much work we can handle without sacrificing quality or breaking promises is critical to business success. When we get it wrong, first-time clients become one-time clients.</p> <h2>6. Self-Motivation</h2> <p>Since freelancers seldom have a boss looking over our shoulder, it's alarmingly easy for our workday to veer off track. A keen ability to self-motivate, stay focused, and not let short breaks turn into long distractions is essential for success.</p> <h2>7. Boundary Setting</h2> <p>For freelancers, there's no official beginning or end to the workday and not much separation between work, home, and social life. We have to defend our zen by setting clear boundaries. Successful freelancers know when to shut things off, walk away, and get back to the business of living.</p> <h2>8. Self-Awareness</h2> <p>As freelancers build a strong work history with a wide range of clients, one or two of those happy customers will inevitably extend a job offer. The security of traditional employment arrangements can be tempting; it takes profound self-awareness to know exactly what you want, guard your independence, and know when to say, &quot;Thank you, but no.&quot;</p> <p>Remember, freelancing is a science <em>and </em>an art. If you're just starting out, explore <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">what successful freelancers do</a> and develop your life skills as you develop your business.</p> <p><em>If you're a freelancer, what life skills have helped you the most? Which ones came naturally and which took conscious effort?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs">Why You Should Think Twice Before Bidding on Freelance Gigs (Book Giveaway)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship freelance self-employment small businesses telecommute work from home Tue, 07 Jul 2015 09:00:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 1481900 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_student_000056371408.jpg" alt="Woman using gadgets every work at home professional needs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Desk jockeying from the comfort of your home? Make your home office way more awesome with these six gadgets. They can help increase your productivity, reduce boredom, and make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-work-from-home-jobs">working from home</a> much easier.</p> <h2>1. Multi Device Keyboard</h2> <p>Need to switch from iPad to laptop, and back again without fumbling for cables or constantly restarting the Bluetooth connection? This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MUTWLW4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00MUTWLW4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5CYHDAML4NWYGBQR">multi-device keyboard</a> makes it easy &mdash; as simple as turning a dial. It's wireless and completely mobile, making it easy to move around the house or pack on business trips.</p> <h2>2. Smart Light Bulb</h2> <p>I've been on spreadsheet grinds that go so long that when I look up, the sun's set and it's dark as a cave in my office. It's time to consider switching the home office lighting to the new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TJ4WMZE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00TJ4WMZE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=PXVTF3FRNDVCHGYE">GE Wink</a>, which can be controlled by both your home dimmer and from anywhere with a smartphone app. Try one in your office and one in the living room, so you can brighten, dim, or turn off the light without having to leave the desk.</p> <h2>3. Bluetooth Headphones or Speaker</h2> <p>My Bluetooth speaker has been a lifechanger. When playing back a video for work, I can actually hear it without tethering myself to the computer with corded headphones. If you want a big sound for less, try the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D6OHHEE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00D6OHHEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2VIIEZBOSHOE5DCW">Photive Bluetooth speaker</a>, which is by far the best value in the Bluetooth speaker market. It also holds a single charge for days.</p> <p>For those who like lush headphones, these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MR8Z28S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00MR8Z28S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IFTL42CB5APW6QWD">Jabra Bluetooth headphones</a> are awesome. They're comfortable, have well rounded sound, and work within a decent range. You can finally enjoy work tunes and grab something from the fridge at the same time!</p> <h2>4. USB Key</h2> <p>This really handy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A3U7IS4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A3U7IS4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QMPCHVGQGAS6MOVJ">USB stick by LaCie</a> fits onto your key ring, but it's also shaped and sized like a key! This makes it lightweight and less bulky than your current USB drive. You'll also find it very hard to fill because it holds a sizable 32GB of drive space, making this the perfect goto on-the-go USB solution.</p> <h2>5. Desk Elliptical</h2> <p>Everyone knows it now: Sitting is a disease. But even if you work from home, you probably also need to work at a desk. There are options such as the standing desk, or the treadmill desk. But, If you want to remain sitting most of the time yet keep your blood flowing (perhaps even burning some extra calories), try this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SIBYETQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00SIBYETQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=E2CQUHTE3LOAKWEC">under-desk elliptical</a>. It's compact, light, and easy to use. Plus, it's a great value compared to full-size home gym equipment.</p> <h2>6. Tylt Vu Charging Pad</h2> <p>This is really cool: An affordable and convenient <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DG8NUC8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DG8NUC8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YY3JNJKHK5OP4BYB">home charging pad</a> that's good for any smartphone. No more misplacing cords, then scrounging for them in a hurry when your phone is at 3% battery. It's also small enough to keep on your desk and take along on business trips.</p> <p><em>What are some other gadgets you can't work from home without?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-smartphone-is-hurting-your-career">7 Ways Your Smartphone Is Hurting Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-tools-for-telecommuting">5 Essential Tools for Telecommuting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-working-from-home">The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Technology freelancing gadgets home office telecommute work work from home Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:00:13 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1467957 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Worst Work From Home Jobs http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-work-from-home-jobs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-worst-work-from-home-jobs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad-man-desk-466203577-small_0.jpg" alt="sad man desk" title="sad man desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Telecommuting &mdash; that is, working from home instead of a traditional office setting &mdash; offers employees freedom, flexibility, and nearly infinite pantlessness. No wonder it's a growing trend.</p> <p>Some work-at-home opportunities are more hype than hope, however, and many workers find that they are trading in convenience and lower commute costs for a lower earning potential and less job security. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs?seealso">30 Great Side Gigs</a>)</p> <p>So before you start fantasizing about an at-home work day, take a look at some of the <em>worst</em> jobs you can do from home, and why they often don't pan out for remote workers.</p> <h2>Mystery Shopping</h2> <p>I admit to having done this job myself, over the course of six years. For the college student, retired person, or foodie who just wants a little &quot;pocket change&quot; and a free meal once in a while, shopping incognito in exchange for some honest feedback can be fun. Mystery shopping is realistically more of a hobby than a real career, however, as assignments pay far less than minimum wage in many instances, and signing up for a steady stream of jobs is exhausting.</p> <p>For those who live in a busy urban area, it's possible to line up jobs that pay more or that come more often. Rural shoppers or those with less experience, however, will rarely see more than one job a week per shopping company, and the rate of pay is typically reimbursement for your shopping, plus $4-10. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper</a>.)</p> <h3>Direct Sales (MLM)</h3> <p>Many of the ads for work-at-home opportunities promise freedom from the 9 to 5, unlimited income potential, and the perks of being your own boss. These same ads, if they fail to mention exactly what it is you'll be doing, are often the first in many sales pitches to get people on board a multi-level marketing plan. MLMs aren't new, although the methods used to sell them are. All of them require some kind of upfront buy in (anywhere from $15 to $1,000) and only pay you when you sell the company's product or sign up friends and family to also sell the product.</p> <p>While there are cases of those who have achieved financial success with MLMs, there are many more cases of those who fail. The pressure to sell all the time, to everyone, in an often saturated market, often brings frustration and strain to the seller. MLMs are notorious for bringing success only to those who sign on in the early stages of the company. You can often tell if a job listing is an MLM in disguise by the failure to disclose just what it is you'll be doing or selling, along with a referral to a conference call or affiliate website to get &quot;more information.&quot;</p> <h2>Lead Generation</h2> <p>Many of the customer service jobs listed on work-at-home job sites are nothing more than hard sales, often obtained by what are called &quot;cold calls.&quot; Cold calling is essentially telemarketing to potential customers who have not previously expressed an interest in your product or service. Cold calling is a hard job because people today generally value their privacy and do not want to be contacted on their home or cell phone to be asked to buy something. Lead generation is necessary to gain more customers, but the turnover for these positions is high; many companies have found that having at-home workers do the job is more profitable than housing employees in a call center.</p> <p>Money can be made doing this job, although wages vary. Some companies pay a flat hourly rate that is competitive with formal telemarketing jobs, and others pay a straight commission (so you don't get paid anything unless you sell or make appointments.) If you have had experience telemarketing in the past and have been successful, this job could be for you. For the majority of those trying to escape the rat race, however, it's a difficult job that many people don't want happening in their own homes.</p> <h2>Pay Per Task Sites</h2> <p>Since the invention of <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-money-with-amazon-mechanical-turk">Amazon's Mechanical Turk</a>, other websites have popped up allowing everyday computer users to complete simple, mundane, and often repetitive tasks for money. These tasks can include everything from verifying the CAPTCHA characters on a web form to ranking web searches based on usefulness. The work involved in making money this way, however, is often more than people realize.</p> <p>First, available tasks fluctuate from season to season. Workers who can work odd hours (overnights, for example) often have a better chance at getting tasks than those who work when the majority of people are competing for tasks. Tasks are often paid out at a rate of just pennies per task, requiring hundreds of tasks to be done before the payout threshold can be met. (Many companies require a minimum of $50, for example, to be earned before they issue payment.) U.S. workers are often competing with international workers with a lower standard of living, as well; minimum wage expectations are often not met.</p> <h2>Home Daycare Provider</h2> <p>A few years ago, caring for children in your home was considered a profitable endeavor, as the startup costs were low. For the stay-at-home mom, adding a child or two to your care used to be a reasonable way to increase income to the household budget without too much additional strain. As years have gone by, however, increased regulations and zoning laws have made it too much of a burden for the typical family to even consider. Transportation of children, even in a car, often requires liability insurance or additional driving licensure. Caring for even the youngest children may warrant college credits or outside classroom hours. Add in the cost of bookkeeping and the payment of self-employment taxes, and it's not worth it for the average person to do in many jurisdictions.</p> <p>Working from home can be an amazing experience. I have been doing so for over seven years, and I never regret my decision to leave the cubicle life. But not all work-at-home jobs are the same, and I encourage you to research before jumping head-first into any telecommute endeavor.</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken on any of these, or other, work-at-home jobs and been disappointed? Please share in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-work-from-home-jobs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-side-jobs-for-people-who-are-good-with-money">6 Side Jobs for People Who Are Good With Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income side gig side jobs telecommute work at home Tue, 12 Aug 2014 21:00:21 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1180823 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Office Habits to Keep When Working From Home http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-office-habits-to-take-home-with-you</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007129515Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you've set out on your own or have convinced your boss to let you telecommute, it may feel like a huge relief to finally lose the commute and be able to work from home. So it may come as a surprise when you find yourself struggling to maintain productivity and a stable work-life balance, when you've never struggled with either before.</p> <p>What happened?</p> <p>You left your at-work attitude back at the office.The structure and formality of an office setting offers unconscious cues that allow you to get in &quot;work mode&quot; that a home office may not provide. However, you can replicate the benefits of an office setting but still have the flexibility and comfort of working from home.</p> <h3>A Physical Boundary</h3> <p>The most obvious difference between commuting to an office and stepping out of your bedroom is the physical boundary. When you're at the office, you can't access your couch, your bed, your Tivo. Your neighbor can't knock on the door to borrow some tools. All the stuff you have at home &ndash; a leaky faucet, laundry, DVD set of <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> &ndash; is literally out of your reach until you get home. It sets your mind at the tasks that are in front of you.</p> <p>Consider using a coffee shop or a library as your &quot;office&quot; to avoid distractions at home. Sometimes doing this just once or twice a week can make a big difference in your ability to focus on tough tasks or when working on a deadline. At home, create a designated work space. If you can't have a whole room for an office, use something physical to block off the space and make sure both you and others in the household respect that space. Get noise reduction headphones and turn off the house phone so you can't be disturbed, just as if you were in an office elsewhere.</p> <h3>Watercooler Chats</h3> <p>Among the most valuable aspects of a traditional office are daily social interaction and camaraderie. It's not just nice to have social relationships, but it's an opportunity to network and establish bonds with other people in the industry.</p> <p>Remember to make time for professional engagements that allow you to connect with colleagues. This might be joining a local meetup group or just keeping in touch with old coworkers by meeting them for lunch. If you are telecommuting while fellow coworkers are at an office, it's all the more reason for you to maintain regular contact (in person) to stay properly integrated into the team.</p> <h3>Role Models</h3> <p>Not having a boss down the hall who can easily look over your shoulder may be liberating, but on the flip side, not having someone you can quickly reach out to for advice and direction limits your productivity. Further, one of the best ways to grow professionally is to have a mentor. If you're working from home, you may need to reach out to people you look up to and see if they'd be open to mentoring you.</p> <h3>Respectable Clothes</h3> <p>One of the best things about working from home is that you can be on important conference call in your bunny slippers. However, being in your PJs all day isn't conducive to training your mind to be in work mode. After all, PJs equal bedtime; our bodies respond to routine. If you go through a &quot;getting ready for work&quot; process, it will help your mind and body gear up for it. This doesn't mean you have to wear a tie at home, but it does mean getting out of your PJs and brushing your hair.</p> <h3>Office Hours</h3> <p>Increasingly, employees are breaking out of the usual &quot;office hours&quot; anyway by checking and sending emails during non-office hours, but it's still important to establish your work hours regardless. Working from home allows you a lot of flexibility in setting those work hours. For example, you can work 4 hours in the morning, break for 4 hours, and then work 4 hours in the evening. Whatever works best for you is what you should go with, and then make sure the people in your life are aware of that.</p> <p>One of the problems about working from home is that friends and family think that you're available for them at any time. You'll get requests for airport pickups, impromptu visits, and other tasks and events that you're expected to do or participate in because you can work &quot;any time.&quot; While it's true that you are able to adjust your work time, it's just as important to maintain a regular schedule so that your colleagues can reach you, your work is done promptly and efficiently, and you don't lose your professional edge.</p> <p>It's easy to take for granted some of the ways that a &quot;real office&quot; contributes to your professional growth and productivity. But a home office can give you the best of both worlds. All you have to do is step out of your bunny slippers and keep yourself actively engaged.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-office-habits-to-keep-when-working-from-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Small Business Resource Center home office self employment small business telecommute work habits Tue, 28 Jun 2011 09:30:00 +0000 Lynn Truong 559429 at http://www.wisebread.com Is An Office Necessary? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-an-office-necessary <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/is-an-office-necessary-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/is-an-office-necessar...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-an-office-necessary" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007198789Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="176" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems like the first thing most people do when considering opening a small business is shop around for office space. The cost of renting or buying space has a fairly standard place in the business plan and it simply makes sense that your business needs a home, just like you do. But is an office truly necessary for your business?</p> <p><b>Office Alternatives</b></p> <p>An office simply isn't the only option, especially with today's technology. It's becoming rarer that you'll need to meet with every client in person or even that you'll need much more than a laptop computer to run the majority of your business. When you combine that fact with the cost of office space, it makes sense to consider alternatives. If you can entirely avoid renting office space, you'll have more money &ndash; perhaps hundreds more each month &ndash; to spend on other things your business needs.</p> <p>The alternatives are as varied as the types of business you may run. It's easy for some firms to work remotely, from their homes or coffee shops. It is equally easy to rent a share of space &ndash; at a <a href="http://www.deskmag.com/" target="_blank">co-working</a> space or a <a href="http://www.obcai.com/findanoffice.php" target="_blank">business center</a> &ndash; as you need it. There are even people who simply work wherever they are, traveling regularly with their laptops &ndash; these digital nomads, as they are sometimes known, may not even have a <i>home</i>, let alone an office.</p> <p><b>Deciding What You Need</b></p> <p>As you're developing a new business, or evaluating an old one, it's worth considering exactly what you need in terms of work space.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Do you need storage space?</strong> If you have paper files or inventory that you need to maintain, storage space may be a consideration. Office spaces often provide a limited amount of storage useful for a small business, but there are alternatives with lower costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>D</strong><strong>o you need to hold face-to-face meetings?</strong> Whether you're meeting with clients or employees, an office often represents an easy meeting place. There are alternatives, of course, but it's worth considering how often you plan to hold meetings, as well.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Do you need to be able to directly supervise workers? </strong>There are certain jobs where you need to be able to see exactly what a worker is doing &mdash; and asking them to come to your home to work can be a little uncomfortable.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Do you expect clients or customers to drop in unannounced</strong>? In retail situations, for instance, you need a space your customers can expect to find you during working hours.</li> </ul> <p>There are plenty of situations in which an office is necessary to the health of your business, but there are also plenty where an office is just another expense. Of course, you can also use combinations if that's the best fit for your business. Perhaps you need a small office you can work from, while the rest of your team works remotely.</p> <p><b>What an Office Represents</b></p> <p>Some of your clients may view an office as a symbol of professionalism. While it may not be worth it to get an office just for appearance's sake, it may be worth considering an alternative that helps you with that issue. It's important to do some research into what your clients will expect and how they feel about different scenarios. If you're in an industry where you can expect to never meet your clients face-to-face, a professional-sounding mailing address could easily be enough.</p> <p>By working out of a business center or a co-working space that provides you access to a conference room, you can appear more professional to those clients who may have concerns. Alternatively, you may want to play up the fact that your organization doesn't need an office. There are plenty of clients who appreciate flexibility and a lower bottom line. It comes down to a question of how you want your business to appear.</p> <p><b>If You Need an Office Space, Get It</b></p> <p>There are some businesses that absolutely need office space, or perhaps even more commercial space &ndash; like a warehouse or a retail space. If that's what you need for your business to succeed, go for it. Find the best possible space and rent or buy it. Build it into your business plan and your cost estimates.</p> <p>You aren't tied forever to one office, even if you buy the space. You can always change up where you and your staff work later one. Make the decision that is right for your business today. Evaluate what you need at regular intervals and you'll come up with not only the most cost-effective approach to office space, but you'll have the space you actually need to grow your business.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-an-office-necessary">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business center business nomads co-working home office shared office small business telecommute Thu, 10 Mar 2011 22:48:56 +0000 Thursday Bram 495895 at http://www.wisebread.com Secrets to the Best Online Meetings http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/secrets-to-the-best-online-meetings <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/secrets-to-the-best-online-meetings-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/secrets-to-the-best-on...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/secrets-to-the-best-online-meetings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003774161XSmall.jpg" alt="businesswoman on a call" title="businesswoman on a call" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/telecommuting-is-not-just-an-hr-perk-kate-lister">Telecommuting has its benefits</a>, but a company that allows its employees to telecommute does face some unusual dilemmas. One of the most crucial is how to handle meetings. There are advanced tools out there that make online meetings a simple matter. Instead, the real question is how to keep your employees on track.</p> <p>Employees who don't see each other on a daily basis and may have limited interaction beyond your meetings. That can turn a simple meeting into a time for catching up and sharing information that only one or two people actually need. Keeping a meeting focused can take some effort, but it is not impossible.</p> <h3>Set Agendas and Stick to Them</h3> <p>Just like when you're meeting in person, setting an agenda and sticking to it is critical for managing a meeting. If you simply schedule a reoccurring meeting and let the conversation wander, accomplishing much of anything is a miracle. Having a set list of what you need to cover is the first (and most crucial) step to making sure that your employees will be able to stay focused during a meeting.</p> <p>Many online meeting tools allow you to put together an agenda and share it with your meeting attendees. Some even let you gather input for the agenda. Make use of those tools to create a schedule for the meeting. The faster you can get through what you need to, the less time you'll have to spend keeping your team on track.</p> <p>As you set your agenda, remember to set time aside for catching up and general conversation, though. For a team to function well, the members have to relate to each other. They need some of the idle chit-chat that used to take place around the water cooler, if only to develop the sort of connections that let them trust and depend on each other. Even saying that the official meeting lasts a set amount of time and inviting your team to stick around afterward just to chat can be worthwhile.</p> <p>Your agenda may also be affected by time zones. If your team is spread over multiple time zones, each member's relative ability to focus on the meeting can certainly vary. It's not just a matter of scheduling meetings when everyone would be awake anyhow. It's a question of whether one of your team members is going to be just as functional when she's done for the day as soon as the meeting ends.</p> <h3>Get Everyone Heard</h3> <p>One of the difficulties that comes up in many online meetings is that there are very few cues that you can use to see when someone wants to speak. In a meeting where everyone is physically present, it's easier for a team member to interject a point in the discussion. With an online or phone-based meeting, however, a person can wait until the end of the meeting to be able to get a word in edgewise. That can lead directly to losing a team member's attention.</p> <p>Depending on the tools you have, you may be able to set up some sort of signal whenever someone wants to speak, but even if you don't have a technological answer to the question, you need to take charge of getting everyone's opinion or thoughts out into the open. Otherwise, there's no point to having a meeting; you could just dictate the next steps and move on.</p> <p>The sense of being unheard during a given meeting can make some of the other issues facing telecommuters worse, as well. For some employees, telecommuting can create a sense of disconnection and it's only through regular interaction (even online) that the feeling can be reduced. After all, your meetings may be most of the social interaction they get in a given day.</p> <h3>Develop Meeting Leadership</h3> <p>When every meeting is exactly the same, company meetings can quickly turn into the worst part of your day. Changing things up can help keep everyone focused. One of the simplest ways to manage that is have different people lead each meeting. Your employees will each bring different strengths to organizing a meeting, letting you see what works best with your team.</p> <p>As an added bonus, when your team members have sat through a meeting while trying to keep on track, they're going to have more sympathy for your agendas and other strategies to manage a meeting. You may see some decided differences after you put your employees in the hot seat.</p> <p>In order to develop your team's abilities to lead meetings, you will need to offer some level of guidance. At the lowest level, that can mean an introduction to the management end of the tool you use for meetings. At higher levels, it can include some education on agendas and how to make sure everyone gets heard.</p> <h3>Create Alternative Communication Channels</h3> <p>Because meetings may be among the only opportunities for your team to interact, it's easier for them to become derailed. But, if you set up other ways that your team can interact, you can help set aside meetings as a way to handle specific information and situations. Encouraging your team to use instant messenger to talk through projects and problems (rather than email, which is a slower process), allows for the one-on-one interactions that may distract your team during meetings.</p> <p>Furthermore, not all information needs to be shared through a structured meeting. In some cases, keeping your employees on task during a meeting is harder because the way information is being shared isn't particularly useful. Meetings are ideal when you need to discuss information, not when you need to simply share it. In an office-based situation, meetings make sense as a way to broadcast information throughout the group quickly. But when your employees primarily telecommute, you can't just tell everyone to meet in the conference room in five minutes &mdash; sending a group email is a lot easier.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/secrets-to-the-best-online-meetings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fantastic-phone-services-for-people-on-the-go">Fantastic Phone Services for People on the Go</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology small business telecommute teleconference Sun, 12 Sep 2010 17:33:28 +0000 Thursday Bram 218365 at http://www.wisebread.com Telecommuting Is Not Just an HR Perk http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/telecommuting-is-not-just-an-hr-perk <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/telecommuting-is-not-just-an-hr-perk-kate-lister" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/telecommuting-is-not-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/telecommuting-is-not-just-an-hr-perk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011994853XSmall.jpg" alt="Traffic" title="Traffic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Telecommuting emerged as a concept back in the mid '70s when former NASA rocket-scientist turned researcher, Jack Nilles, was summoned from California to Washington to do a secret briefing on his work. Told to be there the next morning, he packed up his overhead projector slides, endured a red-eye flight across the country, and arrived bleary-eyed only to have the meeting repeatedly rescheduled and then canceled late in the day.</p> <p>On the flight home that night he realized an encrypted videoconference link to the Pentagon, installed two floors above his office, could have saved him from two sleepless nights and a wasted day. He realized a &quot;telecommunications transportation tradeoff&quot; was possible, and (thankfully) coined the words &quot;telework&quot; and &quot;telecommuting.&quot;</p> <p>Alvin Toffler understood the problem back then, too. In <em>Future Shock</em> (Random House 1970) he wrote, ''In a country that has been moaning about low productivity and searching for new ways to increase it, the single most anti-productive thing we can do is ship millions of workers back and forth across the landscape every morning and evening.''</p> <p>By the '80s, traffic delays in metropolitan areas had doubled, and companies began experimenting with remote office sites to see if their employees could work effectively from offices near their homes. What they found was that productivity rose almost 20 percent, and they saved money using lower cost suburban space instead of expensive downtown offices. While fax machines were widely used to send a few pages across the country, FedEx came along back in those days with the audacious promise that they could deliver whole documents overnight.</p> <p>By the 1990s, traffic congestion had tripled compared to the '70s and word was spreading that many work-related trips weren't necessary. The 1994 earthquake near Los Angeles reinforced the idea that distributed offices were a good idea. About that time the Internet made it possible for work to go to workers, instead of workers going to work. E-mail and file sharing were changing the nature of how we did business.</p> <p>Then in 2000, Congress enacted a little-known law requiring all federal agencies to set up telecommuting programs, and decreed that federal workers should telecommute to the maximum extent possible. Largely ignored, the events of 9/11 underscored the need for operation continuity plans. Additional legislation approved by the Senate, but stalled in the House, aims to put more teeth in the federal programs by requiring agencies not to just show why workers should telecommute, but requiring it unless proof could be shown that the job prevented it</p> <p>Occasional telecommuting grew significantly as the first decade of the 21st century drew to a close, increasing 74 percent from 2005 to 2008, though few companies had adopted it as a regular, multiple days per week, business practice. In fact, only about 2 percent of private workers and 5 percent of federal workers telecommute on a regular basis, although GSA says 61 percent could. In 2009, 12 members of Congress urged the House Transportation Committee and House Committee on Energy and Commerce to include telework incentives in the nation's energy and transportation laws.</p> <p>In March of 2010, the White House Conference on Workplace Flexibility put its stamp on the importance of telecommuting for continuity of operations and fair employment. With uncharacteristic foresight, the federal budget for 2011 calls for a 50 percent increase in telework, and both the House and Senate have bills designed to enforce federal telework mandates because of worries over weather calamities, diseases, terrorism, and fuel prices. The economic mess of 2009 to 2010 has encouraged thousands of out of work people to take up freelancing. And one in four households have dropped their landline telephones in favor of mobile communications.</p> <p>What if Congress authorized federal investment in a hypothetical Giganet System with a Federal Internet Act of 2010, just as the Interstate Highway System was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956? Like highways, an Internet superhighway would be an investment in, to quote an Interstate Highway document, &quot;a new, higher speed, lower cost technology which fundamentally alters relationships between time, cost, and space in a manner that would allow new economic opportunities to emerge that would never have occurred otherwise.&quot; With the cost per lane-mile of urban highway at almost $4 million, and the cost per mile of information superhighway at $20,000, it should be a no-brainer.</p> <p>There's also been some talk that Google's enlightened self-interest might result in a nationwide free WiMax service. Based on our imaginary Giganet as a backbone, it would be a pivotal piece that could revolutionize they way we work. Starting with remote communities, those with fewer job options, it would not only boost Google's click-through ad revenue, but also help put our economy back on its feet. In 2000, we looked back on 1980 and wondered how we managed to live without personal computers and cell phones. In 2020, we'll look back at 2000 and wonder how we managed without free online access everywhere, and why we accepted separate services for entertainment, information, and communications.</p> <p>Telecommuting offers benefits for everyone, too. Highway congestion would be a thing of the past if those that could work at home (about 40 percent of the workforce) did so just half the time (the current average). It would take the equivalent of 10 million cars off the road, and people who still had to go to an office to work could enjoy what would again be super highways. Cities would be revitalized as access became easier. Baby Boomers could assume roles as online mentors, tutors, and educators. Thanks to them, and to modern telecommunications, universities would no longer be accused of having an edifice complex as students learned from home &mdash; something that an extensive IBM study showed is more effective than traditional learning. Disabled veterans and others with handicaps could have access to employment as easy as their able-bodied neighbors.</p> <p>Our GNP would probably increase too, as study after study has shown that telecommuting increases productivity from 15-50%, although some argue that much of that results from people spending more time working. And that may be true &mdash; studies show that teleworkers are willing to put in up to 58 hours a week (while reporting greater job satisfaction), while their office counterparts feel that 38 hours is too much.</p> <p>Economic, environmental, and continuity of operations demands suggest that telecommuting is more than an HR perk and should be a fundamental business strategy adopted, at the very least, by any company that has people sitting in front of a computer all day.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-lister">Kate Lister</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/telecommuting-is-not-just-an-hr-perk">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-legit-virtual-assistant-job">How to Find a Legit Virtual Assistant Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center small business telecommute Mon, 05 Jul 2010 00:09:28 +0000 Kate Lister 150580 at http://www.wisebread.com Tools for Running Your Location Independent Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/tools-for-running-your-location-independent-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/tools-for-running-your-location-independent-business-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/tools-for-running-your...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/tools-for-running-your-location-independent-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009847006XSmall.jpg" alt="Working from a boat" title="Working from a boat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your clients and customers don't necessarily need to know that you are running your business from across the globe. With the advent of the internet, <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/when-to-outsource-for-your-small-business-nora-dunn">outsourcing</a>, and other services, you can operate your location independent business just as effectively from 2,000 miles away as you can from 20 miles away. Here are tools to help you do just this.</p> <p>In addition to my own experience of traveling full-time since 2007, I've solicited the advice of three <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/location-independent-career-basics">location independent</a> business people who have loads of experience working from locations around the world.</p> <p>Anil Polat started out by telecommuting for six years as a security consultant, before branching off in 2009 and working independently from the road. As an expert on technology, you can learn about his various tricks of the trade at <a href="http://www.foxnomad.com/">Fox Nomad</a>.</p> <p>Cherie Ve Ard and her partner Chris Dunphy have been living a fully mobile life in their solar-powered RV, <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">traveling</a> around the States since May 2007. They juggle a few business ventures and government contracts, and share their methods and costs to operate on the road at <a href="http://www.technomadia.com/">Technomadia</a>.</p> <p>Lea Woodward has been traveling with her location independent career since 2007. She and her husband Jonathan run <a href="http://www.kinetiva.com/solutions">Kinetiva</a>, an online marketing and branding consultancy. They even travel and run their businesses with a baby girl in tow.</p> <h2>Finances</h2> <p>Your business won't go far if you don't get paid. With the advent of online banking and other services, it's not difficult to manage your business finances from abroad.</p> <p><strong>Invoicing</strong></p> <p>Lea emails her invoices and uses <a href="http://www.freshbooks.com/">FreshBooks</a> (which offers time-tracking, billing, and invoice management services) to organize it all. As a web-based platform, it can be accessed from any computer, which enhances the appeal for location independent businesses.</p> <p>Anil likes to use another invoicing service:</p> <blockquote>For formal invoices I use <a href="http://www.curdbee.com/">CurdBee</a>; it's free and makes setting up invoices and saving templates very easy.</blockquote> <p>Depending on how you get paid (which we'll touch upon in a minute), you can also create invoices with payment services like <a href="http://www.acceptpay.com/">AcceptPay</a> and <a href="http://www.paypal.com">Paypal</a>.</p> <p>Cherie's major clients employ online vendor payment systems which negate the need for invoicing. And she's not alone in the infrequent need to create invoices.</p> <blockquote>For individual clients, we'll email a manually created invoice when appropriate &mdash; however that's a fairly infrequent need.</blockquote> <p><strong>Receiving Electronic Payments</strong></p> <p>Services like AcceptPay and Paypal offers the ability for customers to pay via a few different avenues including credit and debit cards. PayPal is also a great cross-border transaction tool, since it converts currencies and avoids costly international bank transfers.</p> <p>Direct bank transfers are also popular (especially in the UK), and Lea likes to use them as much as possible. &quot;For any UK-based clients, we receive payments via bank transfer since this is free and usually faster than Paypal.&quot; Cherie also cites her primary sources of income as direct deposits to her business account, since they are regular payments.</p> <p><strong>Depositing Checks</strong></p> <p>Although it's less and less common, receiving checks in the mail can happen, and is possibly the biggest hurtle to managing location independent finances. But even this is relatively easily to overcome.</p> <p>Some <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/essential-services-for-the-road-nora-dunn">virtual mailbox services</a> will deposit checks into your bank account for a fee. Some banks also have worldwide branches, which makes depositing a check from wherever you are fairly straightforward.</p> <p>Otherwise, many location independent business people who are out of the country will simply have the check sent to a friend, family member, or business colleague in their home town, who can in turn deposit it on their behalf. Anil says:</p> <blockquote>If someone wants to send me a paper cheque I have it sent to friends or family in the US &mdash; most banks don't have a problem accepting cheques made out to you no matter who they're deposited by.</blockquote> <p><strong>Paying the Bills</strong></p> <p>One of the benefits of a location independent business is a lack of bills to pay! You don't have rent, power, and a host of other expenses you might juggle if you operate out of a traditional office space. And for what expenses you do have, you can use a debit or credit card (which can be managed online), and set up automatic debits for regular expenses.</p> <h2>Communication</h2> <p>From staying in touch, to networking, to managing documents and calendars, your location independent business may benefit from some of these virtual helping hands.</p> <p><strong>Document Management</strong></p> <p>Lea is a big fan of Google in general.</p> <blockquote>We use Google Apps as our main 'engine' &mdash; so we use Gmail, Google Docs (including Google forms) and Google sites for most of our business admin and communications. Anything important, we download onto our hard drives but we leave the majority '<a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/keeping-business-records-in-the-cloud-thursday-bram">in the cloud</a>.'</blockquote> <p>Cherie is also a fan of Google for coordinating schedules and documents across long distances:</p> <blockquote>We use Google Docs and Calendars for collaborating on our schedules and any documents we're creating.</blockquote><p>She also uses <a href="http://www.evernote.com/">Evernote</a> for digital records of receipts.</p> <p><strong>Social Media</strong></p> <p>Formerly used by the &quot;young crowd,&quot; <a href="http://www.facebook.com/">Facebook</a> is increasingly becoming a multi-generational tool for staying in touch. Both Lea and I use it quite regularly. (Warning: It can become addictive; I am a very unsuspecting case in point)!</p> <p><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Twitter</a> is an incredibly powerful social media tool if used properly. You have to sort through spammy users to establish sincere connections, but it can be done. Judicious use of searches and hashtags can result in finding information you want, helping out fellow Twitterers, or meeting valuable business connections. Through #traveltuesday, I met (first online, and eventually in person) three fellow female travelers and writers the last time I was in Canada. More recently, I met a Spanish photographer who gave me important information on festivals in Spain, where I'll be shortly.</p> <p><a href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a> is the last of the mainstream social media sites, although none of the experts specifically mentioned it as an essential tool. Developing a profile complete with recommendations will increase your search-ability through Google, and act as an informal resume. Some of the newsgroups are also quite informative, and participating in them can lead to new business opportunities.</p> <p>Admittedly, there seems to be a movement away from the 140-character craze that has seized the world in favor of some deeper and more meaningful connections. But to meet new people and establish lines of communication, these social media engines have revolutionized location independent networking.</p> <h2>Backups</h2> <p>Both Cherie and Lea use <a href="http://www.dropbox.com/">Dropbox</a>, but for different reasons: Cherie uses it for file-sharing, and Lea uses it for backups of specific files. For backing up her entire system, Lea also uses <a href="http://www.backblaze.com/">Backblaze</a>.</p> <p>And with his extensive computer security work, Anil is pedantic (in a good way!) about his backups. &quot;Backups are essential when traveling and I'm a huge fan of <a href="http://www.b2.crashplan.com/landing/index.html">Crashplan</a> since it's free online backup and allows you to set up more than one backup location.&quot; He backs up his information both on his own computer, as well as a secondary computer that is in a more central location while he is on the road.</p> <blockquote>It's robust and easy to restore things if I have to.</blockquote> <p>Anil also suggests that using virtual machines are beneficial, especially if you are trying out new software that you don't want to compromise your primary system.</p><blockquote>Some free options are <a href="http://www.virtualbox.org/">VirtualBox</a>, <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/">VirtualPC</a>, and <a href="http://www.vmware.com/products/player/">VMWare Player</a>. They basically let you run Windows in a Mac, or an extra copy of Windows on your Vista machine without affecting your main system at all. The benefit is if you screw up a virtual machine you can always create another &mdash; much harder and riskier to do on your 'real' computer.</blockquote> <h2>Other Location Independent Business Tools</h2> <p><strong>Digital Product Delivery</strong></p> <p>Two popular programs for delivering digital products (like e-books) and managing affiliate programs are <a href="http://www.e-junkie.com/">E-junkie</a> and <a href="http://www.1shoppingcart.com/">1ShoppingCart</a>, and Lea (and I) attest to using both of them.</p> <p><strong>Escrow Services</strong></p> <p>Escrow can be valuable as an impartial &quot;middle-man&quot; for long-distance business transactions. It holds the fees payable in a special escrow account until all parties agree that the product or service is satisfactorily delivered. Escrow services can also increase customer confidence (and their likelihood in buying). <a href="http://www.escrow.com/">Escrow.com</a> is one such service.</p> <p><strong>Project Management, Help Desk, etc.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.worketc.com/">WORKetc</a> offers project management software, web-based CRM, and invoice/billing software, on top of document and calendar-sharing services. It also has help desk software that help you to answer customer queries effectively.</p> <p><strong>Document Signing</strong></p> <p>Location independent businesses struggle most in getting documents signed by multiple parties in different locations. <a href="http://www.echosign.com/">EchoSign</a> is a service that can take care of the leg-work for you by sending documents, obtaining signatures, and copying, delivering, and filing the final product.</p> <p><em>We want to hear from you! What location independent business tools do you swear by? Feel free to leave a comment and help the OpenForum community learn from your expertise!</em></p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/tools-for-running-your-location-independent-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology location independent small business telecommute web tools Wed, 23 Jun 2010 23:54:52 +0000 Nora Dunn 104716 at http://www.wisebread.com Things to Consider Before Uprooting Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/things-to-consider-before-uprooting-your-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/things-to-consider-before-uprooting-your-business-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/things-to-consider-be...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/things-to-consider-before-uprooting-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007769257XSmall.jpg" alt="Vacation work" title="Vacation work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Deciding to uproot your business and go virtual can be very liberating. More lifestyle options become available to you once you structure your business to be run from anywhere in the country &mdash; or the world. But it's not quite as easy as picking up and leaving; there are a number of things to consider and account for before buying that plane ticket. Here are some things to consider before pulling the plug on your office space.</p> <p>To help sort through it all, I chatted with Marion Harrington, who has established a reputation as a &quot;maverick tax guru&quot; in the financial planning field as a result of authoring a detailed international tax research paper on International Private Pensions and her very laid-back style of doing business. She <a href="http://www.locationindependentservices.com/freedom-financials">works with Location Independent clients</a> and is developing a country-specific <a href="http://locationindependentguides.com/the-location-independent-tax-finance-guide-us">LIP Tax &amp; Finance Guide</a> to help people uproot their own businesses.</p> <p><strong>Benefits to Uprooting your Business</strong></p> <p><b>Lower Capital &amp; Operational Costs.</b> With no building premises to pay for and maintain, you see an instant <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395199;41474888;e?http://www.plumcard.com/?eep=17460">savings</a>. Other capital and operational expenses associated with having a physical office are also significantly reduced.</p> <p><b>Increased Profits.</b> There aren't really any additional costs to making your business virtual, so all the money you save in lowering your capital and operational expenses go directly into your pocket.</p> <p><b>Fluid Employee Base.</b> Depending on your employment needs, you may be able to <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/when-to-outsource-for-your-small-business-nora-dunn">outsource</a> your needs to freelance or <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/to-payroll-or-not-hiring-contract-vs-salary-employees-nora-dunn">contract employees</a> or virtual assistants. By engaging freelance employees only as required, you can also reduce your operational costs. Those <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/life-insurance-for-your-business-nora-dunn">key persons</a> to your business can remain on the payroll, and work as telecommuters.</p> <p><b>Work with Clients Internationally.</b> Depending on your market and product or service, you could get clients/customers from anywhere in the world, since you are set up to assist them virtually. This can open up your business to international markets, and be very rewarding.</p> <p><b>Psychological Freedom.</b> Even if you don't physically move from your home town and roam the world at large, uprooting your business can give you a great sense of freedom in knowing that you have options.</p> <p><strong>Pitfalls to Uprooting Your Business</strong></p> <p><b>Fluctuating Currency Rates.</b> If you decide to stay or live in another country, you could find that your personal income fluctuates even though it may not on paper. &quot;If your main target market is in the U.S. you would logically bill out in Dollars. However, if you live in the EU and the Euro dramatically weakens, all of a sudden your monthly cash-flow forecasts [decrease],&quot; says Harrington.</p> <p>To make your accounting life easier around this issue, Harrington recommends keeping accurate and timely records. &quot;Currency issues figure in IRS returns as well &mdash; all numbers have to be expressed in Dollars. Do your accountant favor &mdash; if you receive monies in any currency apart from Dollars, make a note of the exchange on the day you receive it.&quot;</p> <p><strong>International Tax Planning Considerations</strong></p> <p>Although you can structure your tax situation to minimize tax liabilities, it's very difficult (and usually illegal) to evade taxes entirely by playing the international tax dance. International tax planning is about how you organize your affairs to make the most sense for your business and cash flow, while minimizing taxes payable. Harrington says things like nationality, residency, and domicile become important. &quot;You can have a different tax residency from your physical residency. Each country has its own definition of what residency means. Sometimes you can have a complete hybrid.&quot;</p> <p><b>Claiming Worldwide Income.</b> Harrington warns that even if you live outside of the U.S. and earn money from other countries, you still have to claim it on a U.S. Return if you are a U.S. Citizen. &quot;Uncle Sam exercises his right to tax citizens on their worldwide income, wherever they live. Strictly speaking, even individuals who are born abroad but have a U.S. mother or father are supposed to file a return with the IRS.&quot;</p> <p><b>Foreign Earned Income Allowance.</b> If you run your business outside of the U.S., you could be eligible for a huge tax break called the Foreign Earned Income Allowance (FEIA). &quot;Providing you meet certain criteria, you are permitted to exclude $91,400 in earned income each year from your taxes ($182,800 for a married couple). This isn't a credit or deferral but a complete exclusion from your taxable gross amount. The FEIA could possibly nullify all tax liability depending on the rest of your circumstances,&quot; says Harrington.</p> <p><b>Travelling the World with Multiple Streams of Income.</b> &quot;Legislation on operating certain businesses in each country varies, virtual or otherwise,&quot; says Harrington. You have to pay attention to the nationality of your customers, the tax laws in the country in which you reside (or in some cases are just visiting if you continue to operate your business during your visit), as well as U.S. tax regulations. &quot;In the majority of instances a suitably worded disclaimer prominently situated on your website is usually sufficient to satisfy most jurisdictions.&quot;</p> <p><b>Visa Requirements.</b> Although some countries allow people on tourist visas to operate virtual businesses, others don't. Be sure to research the visa regulations and requirements of any country you visit.</p> <p><b>International Tax Regulations by Country.</b> Don't assume that each country has similar tax laws. For example, in France, you could unwittingly assume tax residency depending on your length of stay and bank account structure.</p> <p><b>Offshore Corporations.</b> When I asked Harrington about the benefits of setting up an offshore corporation, I learned there is no clear-cut answer. &quot;There are certain cases where an offshore corporation might result in a minimization of tax liability but detailing all the specifics would demand an eBook on that subject alone. I certainly wouldn't consider offshore unless I had already taken professional advice. So much depends on the unique set of circumstances in each case.&quot;</p> <p><b>U.S. Withholding Tax.</b> Your cash flow could be affected by U.S. Withholding tax regulations, which are complicated and were recently adjusted (in January 2010). You can read IRS Publication 519 to determine how your occupation and target market is affected.</p> <p><strong>Checklist of Things to Do and Questions to Ask Before Uprooting Your Business</strong></p> <p><b>1. Get organized.</b> Harrington cites getting your tax and financial house in order as a priority. &quot;Organizing your tax and finances should rate as an absolute priority both before launch and before you hit the road.&quot;</p> <p><b>2. Figure out where you're going.</b> How you structure your business will depend on where you're going and how you'll generate your income.</p> <p><b>3. Set financial goals and expectations.</b> How you structure your business and international residency depends on how far you're prepared to go to save tax.</p> <p><b>4. Educate yourself.</b> &quot;Familiarize yourself with key terminologies both domestic and international. If you're planning to travel, you need to carry out extensive research. Seek out country specific tax information and back-check with domestic law.&quot;</p> <p><b>5. Consult an expert.</b> Consult your accountant and financial planner to ensure you're on the right track. If you plan to travel, Harrington suggests consulting an international tax attorney or financial planner with international experience. Your team of experts can also help you stay on top of the ever-changing laws and legislations.</p> <p><b>6. If you want to live somewhere else, decide if you'll return to the U.S.</b> Whether or not you plan to return to the U.S. for residency purposes can have huge implications on your tax situation. Some tax and residency considerations include:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Income expectations.</li> <li>Whether you are prepared to break all ties with the U.S.</li> <li>Changing your passport/nationality.</li> </ul> <p>Lastly, take a look at <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/essential-services-for-the-road-nora-dunn">Essential Services for the Road</a> to help make your virtual business run smoothly from anywhere in the world, with nothing more than an internet connection.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "plum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/things-to-consider-before-uprooting-your-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center home business location independent small business telecommute work from home Sun, 13 Jun 2010 02:45:30 +0000 Nora Dunn 92376 at http://www.wisebread.com Essential Services for the Road http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/essential-services-for-the-road <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/essential-services-for-the-road-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/essential-services-fo...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/essential-services-for-the-road" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002696700XSmall.jpg" alt="Working on the road" title="Working on the road" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In order to run your business from the road, you need to have some infrastructure in place to keep things going smoothly. For starters, you probably require phone connectivity, internet access, and a functional mailing address.</p> <p>As a location independent entrepreneur, I have my own systems in place for doing business, but my way most certainly isn&rsquo;t the only way. So I&rsquo;ve asked a few other location independent entrepreneurs who <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">travel</a> full-time to weigh in with their own strategies for running a business from the road.</p> <p><em>Lea Woodward </em>started her location independent career in 2007 and has traveled the world with her work ever since. She and her husband Jonathan run <a href="http://www.kinetiva.com/solutions">Kinetiva</a>, an online marketing and branding consultancy. In 2009 they had a baby girl, and hit the road again when she was four months old to continue their nomadic lives and businesses. They are currently in Turkey.</p> <p><em>Cherie Ve Ard </em>and her partner <em>Chris Dunphy</em> have been living a fully mobile life in their solar-powered RV, traveling around the States since May 2007. Cherie is a project manager for her software development business, Chris consults in the competitive analysis arena for the mobile technology industry, and together they run a technical consulting firm developing mobile applications and advising start-up technology companies. They blog about their location independent nomadic lives at <a href="http://www.technomadia.com/">Technomadia</a>.</p> <p><em>Anil Polat </em>was a telecommuter for six years working as a security consultant before branching off in 2009 and working independently from the road. He is currently writing about technology and travel (primarily on <a href="http://www.foxnomad.com/">Fox Nomad</a>), as well as doing some freelance programming and computer security work. He has recently been in Germany and Ecuador, and is returning to the US for a few months before moving to North Cyprus.</p> <p>Here are basic essential services for operating your business on the road.</p> <h2>Phone Calls</h2> <p>Using the phone can be broken down to two categories: making calls and receiving calls. Making calls from the road is pretty easy since (as a worst case scenario) you can purchase a long distance phone card and make calls fairly inexpensively from whatever phone you can find. Alternately, having an internet connection makes long distance calls a cinch with services like Skype and Google Voice. But having an incoming number takes a little more creativity.</p> <p>Lea uses <a href="http://www.skype.com/">Skype</a> for both making and receiving calls.</p> <blockquote> <p>When we can't make Skype-to-Skype calls (which are free), we have SkypeIn numbers for the US and the UK &mdash; this gives us a UK and US phone number which we can give to people who would prefer to dial an actual phone number. This rings through to the Skype on our laptops.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anil also enjoys using SkypeIn and remarks that the low monthly fee of $6 also includes voicemail. Both Lea and Anil spend a good chunk of their working days online so they receive calls for free, but you can also forward your SkypeIn calls to any phone (subject to long distance or mobile air-time fees, depending on where in the world you are).</p> <p>Cherie isn&rsquo;t as big a fan of Skype and instead has a phone number with <a href="http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?answer=142423">Google Voice</a> (formerly Grand Central). Because they stick to the States, they have iPhones (with a national carrier) to which their calls are forwarded.</p> <blockquote> <p>We have it on a schedule to send calls directly to voice mail in the early morning, so that work calls don't wake us up as we traverse time zones.</p> </blockquote> <p>For local connectivity on the international scene, most long-term traveling business people have an <a href="http://wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road">unlocked cell phone</a> into which they insert a local SIM card to make and receive local calls, which also acts as a forwarding number for SkypeIn or Google Voice calls.</p> <h3>Voicemail Retrieval</h3> <p>If you keep a phone and voicemail system in one location, checking your voicemail from abroad can be costly and time-consuming. Voicemail retrieval systems such as <a href="http://www.callwave.com/landing/mobile/SelectService.aspx">Callwave</a> use speech recognition software to allow you to receive your voicemails by text or email.</p> <h2>Internet</h2> <p>When I&rsquo;m actively traveling, I&rsquo;m always on the hunt for an internet connection, and without a doubt I need solid internet anywhere I choose to hang my hat for a while. And I&rsquo;m not the only person for whom internet is a non-negotiable essential business service.</p> <p>Anil relies heavily on Wi-Fi connections, and enhances his ability to find them with a USB antenna to exponentially extend his range.</p> <blockquote> <p>I also use a program called <a href="http://www.netstumbler.com/">NetStumber</a> to find hidden networks at airports or bus stations. Other than that I plan my travels around Wi-Fi. I schedule when I'll work based on when I think I can get online.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you are traveling around one country or region for a while, it may be worthwhile to purchase a USB wireless internet service. Cherie uses an air card from Sprint that becomes her own Wi-Fi hotspot in the RV to which she connects all her devices.</p> <p>When actively traveling, Lea uses <a href="http://www.skype.com/intl/en/allfeatures/skypeaccess/">SkypeAccess</a> to pay for available wireless connections on a per-minute basis.</p> <blockquote> <p>We also both have Blackberry handsets with the global email/messaging service enabled so we always have access to the email, even when we don't have Wi-Fi or other internet connections.</p> </blockquote> <p>When staying in one place for a month or more, she stipulates internet inclusion as a requirement for any furnished accommodation she rents.</p> <h2>Mail</h2> <p>As much as we may strive towards being a <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/30-easy-ways-to-go-green-in-the-office-nora-dunn">paperless workplace</a>, we can&rsquo;t quite eliminate it entirely. We can reduce the amount of mail we receive dramatically, but we must also have a mailing address to receive the occasional piece of mail. But even if you&rsquo;re on the road all the time, it&rsquo;s not an impossible task.</p> <p>Cherie uses a virtual mailbox service to take care of her affairs.</p> <blockquote> <p>We use <a href="http://www.mydakotaaddress.com/">MyDakotaAddress</a> as our mail and domicile address. The service gathers our mail, discards the junk and forwards it to us monthly at an address we send them. And they also serve as our legal address for vehicle registration, insurance, voting and taxes.</p> </blockquote> <p>Most virtual mailbox services will email you a scan of the unopened envelope when it arrives. You can then choose for it to be recycled, mailed to an address you give them, or opened and scanned for you to view electronically. Some services will also arrange to deposit checks to your bank account, and even take care of certain legal matters on your behalf.</p> <p>However, these services can be costly, especially if you are a small business without a huge amount of mail to manage. Lea formerly used <a href="http://www.earthclassmail.com/">Earth Class Mail</a> but dropped it due to increasing costs and her initially low-volume needs. But after being without for a while, she&rsquo;s considering a UK-based virtual mailbox service again.</p> <blockquote> <p>It's a handy service to have if you think you'll be receiving enough email to warrant the monthly fee.</p> </blockquote> <p>Both Lea and Anil (and myself for that matter) have reduced their anticipated mail to almost nothing, and have benefited from family members who are willing and able to receive and action any unexpected pieces of mail. Anil says of managing his ongoing mail:</p> <blockquote> <p>Typically I do everything online and don't expect any important bills or anything in the mail. When I do need to receive a package or mail, my rule of thumb is to have it sent to where I'll be in 2 weeks just to make sure I get it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Earth Class Mail isn&rsquo;t your only virtual mailbox option; there are a number of virtual mailbox services available, depending on your location and needs.</p> <h2>Faxes</h2> <p>Although the ability to send and receive faxes was once a staunch necessity for business, it is being replaced with electronic equivalents. In most cases, we can scan and email documents that formerly required faxing. In fact, Cherie swears by it:</p> <blockquote> <p>Most businesses now send PDF documents via email in place of fax &mdash; and generally we can just annotate them with Apple Preview and email them right back. Occasionally there's something we need to print out, fill out and then photograph to return. We've used this method for selling a house, employment papers, insurance claims, media releases and government contracting.</p> </blockquote> <p>Both Lea and Cherie liked <a href="http://www.efax.com/">eFax.com</a>, but found that they didn&rsquo;t send or receive a high enough volume of faxes to justify the monthly fee. For free (or inexpensive standalone) faxing services, Anil and Lea use <a href="http://www.faxzero.com/">FaxZero.com</a>.</p> <p>With these basic essential communication services sorted, you can take your business just about anywhere you want, for as long as you wish. Later we will examine some other tools for running your location independent business smoothly and effectively.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/essential-services-for-the-road">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fee-fighters-fighting-for-low-credit-card-processing-fees">Fee Fighters: Fighting for Low Credit Card Processing Fees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center small business telecommute Thu, 13 May 2010 12:00:04 +0000 Nora Dunn 48223 at http://www.wisebread.com Save the Planet: Work at Home http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-the-planet-work-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009596496.jpg" alt="Telecommute" title="Telecommute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If every person in the U.S. with a telecommuting-compatible job worked at home on Earth Day, collectively it would:</p> <ul> <li>Save 900 Million vehicle miles<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save 45 Million gallons of gas &mdash; $188 Million in consumer savings<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save 2.3 Million barrels of oil &mdash; valued at $185 Million<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eliminate 423,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases &mdash; the equivalent of taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save 28 million kWh in net electricity &mdash; enough to power 2,600 homes for a year<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Save 775 people from traffic injury and deaths</li> </ul> <p>Less than 2% of U.S. employees work from home the majority of the time (not including the self-employed), but 40% could. If they did so just half of the time (roughly the national average for those who do), as a nation we would save over a half a trillion dollars a year and much more.</p> <p>Telecommuting &mdash; specifically, home based work &mdash; offers a relatively simple, inexpensive solution to some of the world&rsquo;s most vexing problems:</p> <ul> <li>Environmentalists applaud telecommuting because it significantly reduces greenhouse gases and energy usage.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Astute company owners support telecommuting because of the cost savings and increased productivity.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work-life experts endorse telecommuting because it addresses the needs of families, parents, and senior caregivers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Workforce planners see telecommuting as away to avoid the &lsquo;brain drain&rsquo; effect of retiring boomers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Human resource professionals see telecommuting as a way to recruit and retain the best people.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Employees see telecommuting as a way to save time and money, and improve the quality of their lives.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Baby Boomers find telecommuting offers a flexible alternative to full retirement.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gen Y&rsquo;ers see telecommuting as a way to work on their own terms.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Disabled workers, rural residents, and military families find home-based work an answer to their special needs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Urban planners realize telecommuting can reduce traffic and revitalize cities.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Governments see telecommuting as a way to reduce highway wear and tear and alleviate the strain on our crumbling transportation infrastructure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Organizations rely on telecommuting to ensure continuity of operations in the event of a disaster or pandemic &mdash; all federal workers are required to telecommute to the maximum extent possible for just this reason.</li> </ul> <p>It's time we made the road less traveled the way to work. Let's start with Earth Day.</p> <p><em>Editor's note: Kate Lister was the principal researcher at <a href="http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/">TeleworkResearchNetwork.com</a></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-lister">Kate Lister</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-finding-legitimate-work-at-home-opportunities">Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Green Living Earth day environment telecommute work at home Thu, 22 Apr 2010 12:00:02 +0000 Kate Lister 38832 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home office_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many it may be gas prices, the long commute, or a new baby that makes a telecommuting arrangement seem so appealing. After all, if you can save all that time driving to and from work, grabbing that mandated lunch, and avoiding office politics, you could probably increase your productivity threefold, right? While you may be certain that it would work, convincing your boss (especially in this economy), is a challenge in itself. Here are tips for asking &mdash; and getting &mdash; that home office arrangement you want</p> <h3>1. Have a thorough proposal in hand.</h3> <p>It is not enough to walk in with a list of reasons why it will work for all parties involved. Documentation is key, along with written benchmarks for assessing whether the arrangement is working well into the future. While there are many studies available showing how productivity has increased for various employees, your situation is going to be unique to you. Be sure to address your individual tasks, needs, and solutions as it pertains to you, specifically.</p> <h3>2. Give details.</h3> <p>The more information you provide in your proposal, the more convincing you&rsquo;ll be that you&rsquo;ve thought through every possible angle. Briefly describe everything from how your <a href="http://wisebread.com/7-essential-tools-for-getting-work-done-anywhere">home office will be set up</a>, what your schedule will look like, how often you&rsquo;ll check in to voicemail, email, and in-person, and be sure to include a back-up plan for unforeseen emergencies. (If your wireless goes out at home, what will you do?)</p> <h3>3. Plan to sell within a cycle.</h3> <p>Very few requests for telecommuting get accepted immediately. Be prepared to come back with information to address any additional concerns that are brought up during your discussion. If you&rsquo;re needing to telecommute for a new child, plan early so that negotiations can continue well in advance of your delivery (2nd trimester at the latest). Use <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/sales/closingthesale/index115580.html">basic selling tactics</a> to get the &ldquo;yes&rdquo; answer you want, while reassuring your boss that this will benefit your company, as well.</p> <h3>4. Be wary of the naysayers.</h3> <p>Any successful working woman (or man) with a family is already well-aware of the &ldquo;special treatment&rdquo; that is supposedly bestowed upon them. (You know, like actually using a hard-earned sick day here or there to take care of a child or <a href="http://wisebread.com/wanna-put-away-some-cash-take-a-vacation"> going on vacation</a>?) A request for telecommuting may not be seen as fair to many of your co-workers, and you&rsquo;ll be challenged daily to earn respect with your new arrangement &mdash; especially if it is made as a result of a new child in the family. If the work-at-home setup does in fact do what you claimed it would, the tension should subside after a few months. If not, you may want to reassess ways you can appear more visibly productive without putting you in a position to have to work harder than what&rsquo;s reasonable. If you&rsquo;re sensing tension, your boss is, too. You don&rsquo;t want to have to continually defend yourself.</p> <h3>5. Give updates.</h3> <p>If there was ever a time to sell your contributions to the company, it is now! Track your telecommuting accomplishments on a weekly or monthly basis, so that you&rsquo;re prepared to show how the new arrangement has worked out for the company. Think of it as the same kind of planning that goes into a performance review, only more frequently. Not only will you be ready to meet any challenges to your work performance, but you&rsquo;ll be that much more ahead when your review actually does come. (And in the unforeseen case of a <a href="http://wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off"> potential lay-off</a>, you&rsquo;ll be in a great position to showcase &mdash; and defend &mdash; your value.)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building career telecommute work from home Thu, 01 Apr 2010 13:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 6124 at http://www.wisebread.com