How-to Earn a Few Bucks (while Unemployed)

Relying on unemployment benefits while you’re on the hunt for a new job may not cut it.

It’s probably crossed your mind to pick up some side-gigs or part-time work. You’ve already checked your unemployment eligibility and started receiving the support. Good on you. Yet, bills still need to be paid and you’re itching to do something other than wallow in self-pity around the house.

Before you go about doing that:

·  Working a job that has you filing a 1099 may affect your benefits

·  You must report any income you earn during the time you’re earning benefits

·  Many states remove benefits if you go over 30 hours a week

·  Most states won’t allow you to go over your weekly benefit amount

It’s important that you check with the unemployment office before you take on any part-time or contract position while you’re collecting unemployment.

Let’s talk about ways to earn a few bucks while unemployed now that we got that out of the way.

Basic Services/Gigs

Basic services & gigs are what I’d say to be what anyone can do without much experience:

·  House cleaning

·  Dog walking

·  Babysitting

·  Washing cars

·  Clean pools

·  Moving

·  Mowing lawns

·  Driving

The type of jobs you may have had as a teenager. These jobs aren’t going to pay a lot but with enough of them you’ll be able to pay some of the basic bills. Plus, the majority will pay in cash.

Nowadays it’s easy to find these gigs on your phone or online:

·  Apps: TaskRabbit, FieldAgent, Uber or Lyft

·  Website: FB job groups, Fiverr, Rover, Care.com

No doubt you have a skill you could offer to earn a few bucks each day.

Selling & Flipping

We all know about Amazon, Ebay, and Craigslist.

These are great platforms to unload unneeded stuff to earn a few bucks. The payment processing may take a few days so take that into consideration. For faster cash you could always pawn the items, using an FB buy, sell, trade group, or use apps like LetGo or OfferUp.

Can’t let your stuff go? Try flipping.

This is where it gets fun (and you learn a good negotiation skills which could help in the job hunt). The platforms are the same as above but in this case, you spend money to make money. Sometimes you can find items for free, too.

This has been success for me – I’m sure it would be the same for you:

1.  Browse through the selling apps and sites and look for furniture (tables, chairs, etc.)

2.  Negotiate a lower price (try to not spend more than $20-$40 on an item)

3.  Pick it up and bring it home

4.  Use a sander to strip the old finish

5.  Go on Pinterest and other design boards to get decoration ideas

6.  Repaint or add a nice finish to these pieces – giving them a proper update

7.  Relist them on the apps or sites at a profit

You could do this with clothes, electronics, and all type of stuff – develop a good eye for deals and you’ll be making bank!

Micro Work

Just because you’re not at a stable position doesn’t mean you can’t earn a few bucks with your skills:

·  Talk with the former employer to see if they’ll throw small tasks your way as if you were a freelance professional. It takes a while to find someone to replace your position. If you’re still on good terms it’s worth the shot.

·  Get in touch with website owners or small businesses to offer consulting in your topic of expertise. This helps their business, you’ll get a kick back, and it may turn into a job if they want to keep you on board.

Don’t squabble your skills while you’re at the job. Hustle and find people that need it for small projects to keep the skills sharp and a few bucks coming in.

What would you recommend for earning a few bucks while unemployed?

How To Get Your Sales Team Motivated

When your sales team succeeds, the entire company succeeds. This is not a fact that can be denied. Of course, what there does seem to be some argument on is how you can get your sales team to be as motivated as possible. While what may work for one sales team member may not work for another, there are some tried and true motivators that really seem to kick a lot of people into gear.

Set Up A Prize System

The exact way you will set this up will have a lot to do with how you run the company, as in, how you track the success of your sales team. But one great way to set up a prize system, as an example, would be to give out gas station fuel cards for every milestone each sales member reaches. Not only will your employees appreciate the financial reward, you will have the bonus of knowing that they cannot say they ran out of gas and could not make it in to work. Then you could give a much larger prize to the one sales team member who is the most successful by the end of the month. Remember, some nice incentives can really go a long way when it comes to pushing your sales team to meet your expectations and even surpass them.

Show Them The BIG Prizes

Working for weekly or monthly incentives can be a good thing. However, if you would like to take your motivating skills to the next level, you might want to think bigger. Most businesses run on quarterly and yearly goals and deadlines. Decide what you would like your sales team to focus on the most and then set up one extremely large and lavish prize that will be rewarded to the one person that broke the mold and brought in the biggest cash flow for the company. You could start with getting the Welk timeshare contact information and offer a week’s stay at it, free of charge, for the top earner. This of course, could be meant to be used during his or her regularly scheduled vacation time or you could throw in some extra time off to make it that much nicer.

Entice Them With Cash During The Holidays

Cash talks, but cash handed out during the holiday season talks even louder. This is because many of the people on your sales team will have friends and family that they want to buy presents for. They may have travel arrangements that they need to pay for or they may want to host a few dinner parties, which tend to cost a pretty penny. You can offer cash prizes or bonuses to your sales team if they reach a particular goal by the end of November. Yes, that is not yet the end of the year, but it is close enough so the winners of the cash will have time to make their personal arrangements and shop before the winter holidays arrive.

While taking notes about the various ways in which you could encourage your sales team to break some long-standing records, you will want to think about them personally and all you have come to know about them over the time you have spent working with them. Many sales teams become a family of sorts and if you really think about it, you will be able to decide which motivation tactic will work the best for them.

Starting a New Business

So, you’re starting a new business, and you’re looking for some advice. When you’re just starting a new business, there are lot of pitfalls to be wary of. A few of them are obvious, others not, but they all bear repeating. After all, this is your livelihood, and it’s full of hard choices, so every piece of advice is potentially a lifesaver. Here are just a few ways to make the most of your early business years and start off on the right foot.

An important element of all business is marketing, and it’s doubly important for a new, small business. The first and foremost way to broadcast your message to your town is just that, broadcast. If you can afford it, local TV and radio stations are the best way to reach the most people, so the investment is worth it if it’s in the budget. Another, less expensive alternative is the local paper. Newspapers have fallen out of favor in recent years, but it’s a far less expensive option that radio and TV.

Another great tip is to make sure your business is an inviting one. This starts from the road. Your sign needs to project an air of warmth and friendliness to draw in customers. Your signs and other onsite advertisements need to have that same inviting feel while also informing your customers of your goods and services.

Lastly, and this is key, you need to save everywhere you can. Obviously, you need to save without diminishing the quality of your goods and services, or the point is moot. Retailers like Tractor Supply can provide deep discounts on the equipment you need (if you’re a farmer) and can save you money the essentials of your business. Keep your eyes peeled for whatever discounts you can find that don’t sacrifice quality.

Making Your Company More Attractive to a Global Audience

The “marketplace” has changed from a very local audience, to one that you can tap into without any difficulty, as proven by portals like eBay, Amazon, or even Etsy. Your homemade hand cream can become a big hit in Asian markets, just like your water purification system can become a household staple in Peru.

As much as we would like to think that these things just “happen” by chance, the reality is that it takes some effort to prepare your product or service to be used overseas. From educating yourself on things like duties, shipping and handling, digital marketing, and even simple phrases in other languages, you can make your business attractive to a foreign clientele.

Here are some tips that small businesses can use to attract a global audience:

Speak their Language

Yes, it’s true that English is quickly becoming the “universal language” which people around the world as using to communicate with each other. However, the proficiency level varies from person to person, and many times you’ll find it difficult to communicate with foreigners who haven’t themselves invested time into learning the language. Depending on your product, you might want to get a translation of manuals, data sheets, and technical documents, in a variety of file formats and languages. In other cases, you’ll want to use very simple instructions aided with diagrams which will make it easier to understand

Go Online

An easy way to tap into the potential of globalization is by entering the digisphere. Create a website, invest some time in developing social media, and make sure to mention that you do world-wide servicing and shipping. Then it’s a matter of capturing the attention of your audience through search engine positioning, dispersing content through social media, and making online connections with other world-wide brands. Approaching local influencers can also be a useful tactic, especially for lifestyle brands. Develop a hashtag strategy and run a few contests to get a healthy following which can be analyzed and used as market research.

Find Representation

Depending on the specific markets you are trying to reach, you might find that there are already existing channels you can use to get the message of your product or service across. There could be distribution companies specializing in getting products similar to yours into the country, or interested individuals who would love to represent your brand and act on your behalf in local markets. Though you will be losing out on some of your profits due to the fact that you would be paying commission, the exposure and possibility for your audience to interact with your brand representative on a personal level could be well worth it and your sales could reflect it.

Be Ready to Sell

If you are targeting a foreign audience, don’t be surprised if all the sudden you start getting traction and orders start coming in. Already knowing your shipping rates and times will make this process more user-friendly and more likely that your customer will actually go through the checkout with what’s in the “cart”. Yes, you can scramble to produce this information, but having it ready for a quick response and transaction makes it a more professional and wrinkle-free experience, and therefore a stronger contender amongst similar companies present on a global front.

Even small companies can gain recognition and support from foreign consumers and investors. If you put in the effort to position yourself for the global marketplace, you might be surprised by the opportunities that arise. Once you address some of these tips you’ll find yourself on the journey of a lifetime and the rest of the path will be very evident to you.

The Financial Supplies Your Office Needs

The path to becoming a small business owner is exciting but challenging. Maintaining the books, finances, and accounting practices is not an easy task. As a small business owner, there are some supplies that can help make these processes a bit easier. Stock your business with these financial supplies to make sure your financial tasks are always on track.

Deposit Slips and Other Paper Products

Image via Flickr by CarbonNYC [in SF!]

A small error can multiply over time and can cause problems with payments or even when tax time comes around. Thankfully, there are smart software options available. Quickbooks is a popular accounting software option and comes with accessories to simplify supplies for you. For example, the company offers custom deposit slips, pre-printed with your company’s information, that reduce the work you need to do for clear communication from the bank to the books.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’re always fully stocked with printer paper and envelopes. Sending out timely invoices and paychecks will keep things running on schedule without delays due to insufficient supplies.

Payment Acceptance Tools

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or you’re selling at craft fairs, you need the ability to accept more forms of payment to avoid losing sales. A portable credit card swipe terminal is a classic tool and comes in many versions with different features. Square Point of Sale is an app that uses your phone as a register. By plugging a small device into your headphone jack, you can swipe, track, and manage credit card payments just like a traditional point-of-sale register. Another option is Paypal. This payment system has been around for a number of years and is an especially great choice for sellers with an online store.

Image via Flickr by Philip Taylor PT

Basic Supplies for Handling Cash

You must also accurately count and deposit your cash regularly so your balance in your account is able to cover payment of supplies or employees. These bank deposits require basic packaging materials like secure deposit bags, bill straps, coin sleeves, and coin envelopes. Investing in some counterfeit banknote detection pens to check for counterfeit bills will also help protect your business.

Time-Saving Devices

As a small business, some things that help big offices manage their finances with less effort might also be a good idea for you to purchase. Handling large amounts of cash is easier when you have a coin sorter and a bill counter to make quick work of adding up totals. Having a laptop or tablet is a good investment because it enables you to access your accounts on the go. If you’re planning to offer shipping, a postage machine is an efficient way to manage your shipping without endless trips to the post office, and it adds your total spending for an easy reference.

All small businesses are unique and may not need all the tools mentioned above. Take these helpful tips into consideration, but adjust your investments to fulfill your specific business needs. Take care to make sure you’re ready with the right supplies and enjoy, with less stress, watching your entrepreneurial efforts lead to success.

Why Your Business Needs an App

It is the era of technological advancement and all business mist comply with the industry’s changing attitude. It is important to have business apps now, as they are the real tools for business building. These not only help you communicate with existing customers, attain new ones, but also enhance internal business processes.

Mobile devices are part of daily life now and real-life contact is maintained by introducing business apps. In addition to that, you can contact employees and share files centrally with all members of the company.

Because it is still a fairly new concept, many business owners hesitate to accept this change. However, it is important to accept the change and introduce mobile app. Some of the key benefits of this move have been outlined below:

  1. Enhances Communication

As already mentions, mobile apps enhance relationship building. Multiple businesses around the world are doing the same thing, and this app is what will help you differentiate.

The apps improve real-time responses and therefore improves the customer’s experience with the company. With a mobile app, you can stay in contact with your customers. They can share their queries too.

Mobile apps feature push notifications, via which you can send messages to app users instantly. It appears on the phone screen and has a very high response rate, and is therefore more powerful that e-mails and SMSs.

So, you can now inform about new products, announce your weekly offers, etc. very easily.

  1. Great Way to Differentiate Your Brand

Mobile apps help you stand out amid the clutter of similar brands. Apps provide ways to innovatively engage customers and help them feel connected to the company. Constant communication keeps the brand on top of their mind and this brand recall enhances sales.

  1. Association with Social Share

Exposure in the Internet world is boosted because of mobile apps as the apps encourage social shares. Individuals like to share service stories and news about innovative products with friends and family. As apps allow them to do this instantly, there is no chance that they will forget. This is the best form of word of mouth and acts as referrals. In fact, business apps will not only bring these referrals, but also will lead to new sales and encourage repeat purchase. As a result a loyal customer base will be attained.

  1. Helps Nurture Loyal Customer Base

Another important benefit of mobile apps is database collection. The rise of direct response marketing and e-mail marketing has made is essential for companies to have a working database including details of prospects and customers. You can take help from an easy to use app builder that helps you add your own business rules, send emails, approvals, payment processes, and more . The app will help you collect essential information and then organize them according to your needs.

When needed, you can also very easily share this information with other employees of the firm.

For businesses that providing engaging and interesting content, getting a regular audience base and customer base is easy. Many people who think the content and products are relevant often subscribe through the website or business app and then provide personal contact information like name and e-mail address willingly.

All of these entries are then accumulated by the app and then sorted to create an effective excel sheet.

In conclusion, the business app is a great lead capture tool. It encourages internal communication and also improves conveyance of messages to the customers. It helps retain old customers and also attracts new ones. Sales is boosted and therefore, overall business performance is benefitted.

How Entrepreneurs Can Use the Internet to Reduce Business Costs

Do want to find ways to reduce the cost of running your business? If so, the answer is staring you in the face because using the internet in the proper way has the potential to reduce your business outgoings. Here are some of the ways entrepreneurs can use the internet to reduce their business costs.

Online Courses

Business owners should always be learning new things and developing new skills. Up until recently, enrolling in a high-quality course was expensive, especially if you had to attend college or university lectures in person.

However, the latest internet technologies have changed all of this and a wide range of online business degree courses are now available to students all over the world. The fees for an online business administration degree are affordable and you avoid many of the costs associated with studying in a college or university.

Online Tools and Software

Are you aware of the tools and software systems that are available online? Many business owners are not aware of these resources and could be spending a lot of money they don’t need to spend on licenses and monthly subscription fees for items that are available for free. Examples of these tools and software applications include graphic design packages, cloud computing systems, different types of generators and a wide range of other items.

Free and Affordable Business Tips and Advice

Some entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars attending seminars and other programs that promise to improve the fortunes of their business. Some of these gatherings are effective, while others are a complete waste of time and money.

In many cases, you’re better off turning to the internet and looking for advice from reputable business coaches, mentors and consultants. The online fees for these business services are usually much more reasonable and some of these business experts even give away valuable business tips and advice for free.

Advertising and Marketing

Thanks to the internet, it’s never been as easy to reach a huge number of potential customers and shoppers in an extremely short amount of time. Many of the most popular online advertising and marketing strategies used won’t cost you anything except your time.

You may need to hire an online marketing professional to help you though, but the exposure your business gets and the reasonable fees many of these internet marketing experts charge, means it’s still more cost-effective than the cost of traditional marketing campaigns.

Communication

The internet has made the world a much smaller place and the cost of communicating with other people all around the world continues to fall. You should be using mobile apps, email and video conferencing systems to keep in touch with your customers, suppliers, employees and other work associates.

Online Deals

Finding bargains online is another good reason to surf the net. Business systems, office furniture and equipment for all kinds of industries are put up for sale at ridiculously low prices on many marketplace websites and could save you a lot of money, which could be used for other business purposes.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re not using the internet to its full potential, you could be wasting a lot of money. The points mentioned above are good examples of ways you can save.

Entrepreneurs Talk About the Jetsetting Side of their Businesses

laptop

As global markets emerge and companies expand, more and more entrepreneurs conduct business at an international level. For some, jumping on a plane to a foreign country is simply a job perk but for others their career is wholly dependent on traveling.

Air Charter Service recently reached out to three traveling entrepreneurs to get some insider insights into the experiences that come with a location-independent career. There are three inspiring lessons on business travel to be learned from the interview.

Quitting one’s day job for a travel-related career isn’t always a bad move

While switching from a stable desk job to making a living on the road looks good on paper, it’s even better once you start doing it. Be advised, however, that jumpstarting a travel-related career is no doddle. It takes hard work and dedication but can be  financially rewarding.

John Lee Dumas, founder and host of business Podcast EOFire, used to be a commercial real estate agent before he ventured into motivational podcasting for businesses. It took Mike Michalowicz a couple of beers before he realised that he was unhappy at his job. By his 35th birthday, he’d founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. He is currently helming his third business.

Colin Wright, author and international speaker at Exile Lifestyle, worked as a graphic designer for a magazine but his boss kept shooting down his ideas. He subsequently decided to quit his job to start his own magazine. So successful have these entrepreneurs been that they now travel between once every two weeks.

It doesn’t take expensive equipment or gadgets to make a success of your business

While the latest tech can make your working environment a lot easier when you log a lot of miles during work, you really don’t need them. Unlike traditional start-ups where you need office space, telephone systems and fax machines, the life of a traveling entrepreneur requires minimal equipment.

John says he only takes his iPod, Kindle, and noise-canceling headphones with him, while Colin packs his laptop, smartphone and notebook. Mike proves that entrepreneurs do not need to break the bank to stay productive – he uses a $250 laptop and portable ergonomic keyboard when he is working.

There will be challenges on the road

Business travel, unlike holiday trips, seems like one of those experiences that has one pro and several cons every time someone talks about it. Mike reveals that flight delays are his business’ biggest obstacle is delays. “If a flight is delayed, I may have to delay or move a speech, which may cause problems with the next flight and the next speech, “ he says. For Colin, being stuck without internet access can be a headache sometimes as they can bring about tighter deadlines.

 

Business travel does has its “wow” moments

There are times when a hypermobile career lives up to that image that some people envision as a life of glamor. Travel, after all, “opens up a world of new experiences, cultures, skills and languages, that can have a powerful effect on how you conduct your business practises,”. John spent four months in India and the experience really exposed him to the rich diversity of the world. While in the Philippines, Colin came to realise after regular power failures that a physical disconnection from the outside world can sometimes even be more enriching than staying plugged into the online world.

Tips from our traveling entrepreneurs

And lastly, a few nuggets of wisdom from our entrepreneurs on how how startups can stay sane while pursuing their dreams across the global landscape.

Do everything you can to prepare ahead of time and be realistic about your schedule and timing” – John Lee Dumas

To overcome fatigue, I suggest working out consistently” – Mike Michalowicz

“Have a few little rituals or routines that you can perform anywhere, which will help you feel at home in a new place” – Colin Wright

4 Items That Will Be Less Expensive This Summer

Although it seems that prices seem to continue to rise each year, there are certain months when everyday items reach a low and it is time to make the purchase right away.  Whether it is the warmer weather putting consumers in a better mood, retailers know the same, so will be looking to increase prices where they can.  For certain items, you can be fortunate enough to catch a break on this summer.

Milk, Cheese, and Eggs

For decades dairy has seem to consistently increase, but it may not be as bad as of late.  Milk prices have taken a nose dive due to oversupply, not only in the United States, but everywhere.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of milk is down 7% to last year, and in Wisconsin, being at a six-year low.  Hand-in-hand with the milk supply, the United States is sitting on an oversupply of cheese and prices are expected to continue to drop.  The days of the egg shortage due to bird flu and prices have plummeted.

Beef and Pork

Beef prices have been dropping throughout all of 2016 with the average price of ground beef down to $3.82 according to the BLS, a drop of 10% from the previous year.  Although not as steep as beef, pork has seen a 3% drop, with the exception of bacon, which continues to rise, go figure.

Gas

Memorial Day did tick up gas prices as of late, but no need to cancel summer travel plans just yet.  Now that we are into June you will see prices continue to slowly rise as we go well into summer, but the good news is that prices are $0.50 cents lower than they were last year when we thought we were getting a bargain.  GasBuddy states that we will have the cheapest summer at the pump in a decade, so plan those picnics, trips to the beach, or even a cross-country vacation that you have been putting off.

Airfare

As the price of gasoline drops to increase road trips, so does airfare.  The airlines are able to lower fares 12% compared to last year, 20% compared to the year before, but do not feel bad, they are not hurting for profits.  If you are looking to travel abroad, due to the American dollar being strong, you will find deals on foreign travel on sale for the taking.

7 Tips on How to Get Business Financing

Getting business financing is the first big challenge of any company. But in this day and age there are more ways than ever before to get business financing. If you are looking for some conventional and unconventional ways to secure financing, this guide will help you through the process.

  1. Traditional or Online Bank Loans

Traditional bank loans are always a good way to start. These provide you with the backing of a reputable organization that’s still going to be there in five years. For newer businesses, they may even have mentoring programs you can take advantage of. Unfortunately, loan decisions can take three months and the banks are more cautious than ever before. For companies with daring ideas and short deadlines, traditional bank loans aren’t a good move. There are also several online lenders that specialize in business loans like Business Lending Pros and OnDeck.

  1. Family and Friends

This is one option if you want some money now with low interest rates, or even better no interest rates at all. If you do allow those closest to you on-board, make sure you have a comprehensive loan agreement in place. This should be written on paper for both your benefit and their benefit.

  1. Angel Investors

Angel investors are available through an array of online platforms. These are investors who take a small slice of your company in exchange for financing. The thresholds for receiving investment tend to be lower, but you have to give away part of your company in return. Luckily, these online platforms make paying back the loans easy. You can usually do it in one payment and the platform will distribute the money accordingly.

  1. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding five or six years ago may have seemed like a terrible idea. But it’s becoming more viable than ever before. More and more companies are pitching their companies in the form of a video. They are then offering perks in exchange for thousands of dollars. Only businesses with real popular appeal should see this as a viable investment option. A good example of a crowdfunding company is LendingClub.

  1. Cash Advance on Future Sales

An advance loan is a loan amount based on your future sales. Each time a sale is made, a portion of that sale is paid automatically to the lender. These are short-term loans and you’ll usually pay anywhere from 10 to 50% of the original loan amount on top. These can be costly loans, but if your product is fantastic and you just need the right marketing to get it off the ground this can be a great loan option.

  1. Private Company Small Business Loans

Sometimes you may not be able to find an organization that will provide you with a small business loan. Instead, many large private companies are offering small business loans to companies they believe have promise. This tends to be almost framed like a competition. You have to show promise and show you can change the landscape as people know it before you can qualify for these loans.

  1. The Old-Fashioned Way

Finally, if you are struggling to find financing you may want to opt for the old-fashioned method. This is where you find an investor who wants to invest in your business. You may have to give away up to half of your equity in order to make this happen, though. It’s also a more time-consuming method of securing financing. For experimental business ideas, this is often the only way of receiving the capital you need.

Tips for Getting Financing

 

  • Be realistic. Don’t ask for a crazy amount of money because you won’t get it. Since 2008, lenders are more cautious than ever.
  • Be transparent. Reveal everything because investors will discover if you are hiding something.
  • Research the lender first. Make sure they have experience in lending money to other companies in your sector.

It Takes Time

You may decide to use multiple options on this list. Securing financing takes time and you will have to jump through a lot of hoops, particularly if you are shooting for a large amount of money. Sometimes it may be worth asking for a lesser amount of money in order to get your business started. Once you show you can make your product or service work on a small scale, you can begin to scale upwards again through securing additional financing. Many lenders will take a second look at companies that demonstrate they can do this. With all this in mind, how will you go about finding the business financing your company needs?

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