Guide to Running A Location Independent Business

Digitization and job mobility are reducing the number of conventional office-based jobs and giving rise to a dynamic new ecosystem. There is a growing number of location-independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads roaming the world, following their dreams and better lifestyle.  They explore the planet and work from anywhere with an internet connection, be it a deckchair in a beach bar or a hotel lobby. Yet, this kind of life is not without challenges and hurdles. It is certainly not a constant joyride. Here is how to make sure you accomplish your goals and have a smooth ride.

A comprehensive roadmap

Location independence can be an utterly rewarding and fulfilling career path. However, to make it work, you need to plan correctly, well ahead of time. You might be eager to escape the tedious corporate world, but you still need structure and organizing skills. This is to say it is crucial to understand the risks of leading such a life beforehand and create measures to mitigate them. One of the main lessons digital nomads have to learn is that the combination of work and travel is a volatile mix. If you fail to strike a fine balance, it could blow up in your face.

Never out of touch

Furthermore, you do not have a steady workforce to rely on. Most likely, you are sort of a one-person-business. Beyond everything else, this means that success revolves around digital skills you have to offer and your commitment to honing them. At the same time, you have to keep in touch with your clients across communication channels like social media and apps like Skype. Finally, establish fruitful relations with complementary professionals and businesses. For instance, if you are in Australia right now, hire a digital agency from Sydney to carry out stellar online marketing campaigns.

Reaping benefits

Let us now address the fact that operating in a gig global economy has some unique benefits. Namely, mobile and agile businesses are able to save a lot of resources on payroll, benefits, training, and office space. You hire on a freelance basis and outsource to experts that would be too expensive to have as regular staff. You work from wherever you live at the moment. This kind of business is best suited for those entrepreneurs who engage in technology-heavy services. Others could struggle to keep up the pace in a fast-changing and competitive landscape.

Online presence

Ensure you have constant access to the online marketplace and a steady stream of work coming your way. Establish a strong online presence and use the right platforms. Showcase your competencies and expertise.  It is a good idea to put together a portfolio website that includes all your past projects and completed tasks. Additionally, use service providers like Upwork and Freelancer to branch out and land more remote work. Always ask for referrals to bring your network wherever you go. Link an inventory of leads to your website.

Location matters

Know that your dream destination may not be the most realistic target right away. Find something that is on the cheaper side and has a good internet connection. Some of the most popular hubs for digital nomads are Buenos Aires (Argentina), Adelaide (Australia), Cape Town (South Africa), Lisbon (Portugal), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Budapest (Hungary). It is preferable to have the locations close to one another: that way, you can minimize travel expenditures. If you are still in the market research phase and you are not sure where to locate your business, consider renting serviced office like this one in Melbourne. Entrepreneurs who are not keen on hiring remotely should keep an eye on the size and quality of the local talent pool.

Money management

Money keeps businesses afloat and it is the main fuel for your globetrotting business escapade. Going broke during a prolonged work holiday is not an option. Therefore, make an effort to assess living costs in the new area every time. Ballpark figures do not cut it— always come up with accurate calculations of your profits and expenses. Make financial projections and forecasts. Bring six months’ worth of living and operating expenses with you. This will act as an emergency fund. Like it or not, when going around the globe, unexpected situations arise.

Hit the road

Office-based jobs are declining and making way for the new mobile, gig-focused economy. You have a chance to embrace a worldwide lifestyle of freedom and build a profitable business in the process. So, embark on a journey of constant learning and growing, both personally and professionally.  Keep tabs on the online market and stay connected. Commit to growing your customer base and maintain cash flow to support your business endeavors and lifestyle. Take your time figuring out your next suitable location. Research and due diligence can take you far.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Ways Almost Every Business Owner Can Save Money

If you were to take a close look at just about any business, you would probably find ways that the business could save a ton of money. Businesses both big and small should be concerned with saving money. Even if you have a steady flow of cash coming in, you never know when you might go through a dry spell. Plus, the money you could be saving in certain areas could be put to better use in other areas. It makes sense to look at the places you can save money and then work towards them.

Here are some pointers that just about every business owner can use to save money:

Becoming More Eco Friendly

Becoming a more eco friendly business reduces the impact you have on the environment, and makes you more attractive to clients who are concerned with making the environment a better place, too. You’ll also save a lot of money, even if you take baby steps to making your business more eco friendly. Here are some ideas you can use to begin working towards a more eco friendly business right now:

  • Cut back on paper before going completely paperless
  • Buy from eco friendly, sustainable companies. You can get recycled paper and ink, for example.
  • Only use sustainable product packaging
  • Swap your light bulbs for more eco friendly light bulbs
  • Use more natural light rather than artificial light
  • Ensure everything is switched off before leaving the workplace at night

The above are just a few suggestions that will help you to become a more sustainable business.

Getting Rid Of Dead Weight

It might seem harsh, but you may have some dead weight in your business that you need to let go of before you can save money and move forward. Of course you should give people a chance to improve (plus this is what the law will state in most places), but if you have meetings and give written warnings and nothing improves, you may have to let employees go. Finding employees that are engaged and passionate about the work is important, but remember that your own leadership skills make a big difference too.

Creating Better Relationships With Suppliers

Creating better relationships with your suppliers is always a great way to save money. Whether you need cone bottom tanks for your warehouse or you’re looking for companies to provide you with stock to re-sell, creating relationships is the best way to save money.

Making Virtual/Temporary Hires

You don’t always need to hire a brand new employee when you have a lot of work on. Virtual and temporary hires can be just as effective, less expensive, and you have fewer responsibilities with them.

Allow Workers To Work From Home

Have you considered allowing employees to work from home every now and again? Not only is this more eco friendly, as you aren’t powering a whole office or getting your employees to drive into work, you’re going to save money on your overheads and other costs associated with working. It could even be a bonus for employees and make them more loyal to you.

4 Ways to Stop Your Business from Negatively Impacting the Environment

Becoming more environmentally friendly is something that more businesses are considering. Taking these steps will help to reduce the amount of waste and the impact to the Earth. Here are some of the ways that your business can change their practices to become more environmentally conscious.

Invest in Recycling Programs

Recycling is an important step that your business can take to stop your impact to the environment. Many things that are utilized each day can be recycled instead of going into a landfill. Electronics are becoming easier to recycle in many communities. Some buyback programs are even offered because of the value of the metals. Another thing to consider is purchasing recycled materials. Being more environmentally conscious in the workplace can make your employees see the benefits for their homes.

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

Turning lights off that aren’t in use is a big cost saving measure for businesses. Another one that you may not have given much thought was the HVAC usage. You can reduce your businesses usage by investing in a more energy efficient roofing system. For example, foam roofing provides more insulative qualities than a typical roof. This can be especially beneficial if you live in an extremely warm or cold climate. You can increase your overall energy efficiency by reducing your greatest area of waste.

Look Into Green Scaping

Water runoff can present problems for the environment. Erosion and other issues can occur when large parking lots lack the proper drainage system. Green scaping or soft scaping can help with this issue. Add catch basins for the runoff from your parking area to help with erosion. Invest in landscaping that is more tolerant of your climate. You want to limit the amount of water that is used to keep it in good condition.

Create an Action Committee

Another thing that you might want to consider is creating an environmental action committee. This committee can keep up on the latest trends in how businesses can help the environment. Some of their solutions may even be able to save your business a little bit of money. There are always new gadgets and technology that appear on the market. If you’re unaware of these things, you may not be helping the environment as much as you could.

Businesses have a social and ethical responsibility to do their part to help the environment. You can set a good example for your employees by taking these actions in reducing your carbon footprint.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

How to Best Train Employees on Fire Safety Procedures

Minimizing fire risks to your business is best accomplished by seeing that all of your employees are trained in fire prevention and response. In keeping them prepared, you’ll not only save property if a fire starts, but may save lives. Here are some of the topics that your fire preparedness training program should cover.

Fire Prevention

The best way to fight fires is to keep them from happening. Take a walk around your business and prepare a list of potential hazards. These may include improperly stored fuel or flammable chemicals, paper, fabric, or cardboard that’s too close to possible sources of ignition, and frayed electrical cords. Establish designated smoking areas outdoors that are well away from trash bins or other combustibles. Communicate these risks to your employees and encourage them to report any potential hazards going forward.

Emergency Response

Keep the right type of fire extinguishers at the right location and be sure they’re clearly visible and regularly charged. Employees must also be taught the right way to use an extinguisher. Have fire evacuation routes clearly marked and insist they not be obstructed by vehicles, trash, equipment, or stacked material. Conduct an occasional fire drill. Establish procedures for notifying first responders, meeting in a safe area outside, and verifying that everyone is present.

Safety Measures

Check with your local fire department and have the premises inspected to be sure you’re in compliance with local and OSHA regulations. Depending on the size and nature of your company, you may need things like sprinkler systems, first aid stations, fire alarms, and fire doors to prevent the spread of fire. If necessary, invest in commercial door repair to be sure that any area where there’s a risk of fire can be reliably sealed off to slow or stop the spread of flames.

Responsible Behavior

Try to create among your employees a sense of responsibility and vigilance in preventing and combating fires. Everyone should be responsible for seeing that their area is cleaned, of clutter and debris, and that tools and equipment are properly stored and maintained. Document your policies regarding fire prevention and responses. Make them a part of the employee handbook and post copies both around the facility and online for reference.

Your local fire department will most likely be glad to provide you with any advice or expert instruction you need. Take advantage of it, and be sure that every employee receives hands-on training so they’ll know exactly what to do if fire breaks out.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Flex time: The work perk employees can’t get enough of

There are all sorts of things you want more of at work. You might want more pay (of course!) and maybe more experience. Maybe you even want more chances to manage others and move your way up in the company. But we’re diverse in what we want—most of the time. The one thing that many of us are not diverse in in wanting? Flex time. Turns out the majority of us just want it, period. We want to be able to set hours that aren’t standard 9 to 5. We want to be able to work at home, maybe. And we want the freedom to have work-life balance if it’s important to us.

 While the desire for flex time is more important to more employees, then the reasons are diverse. Some people don’t enjoy the politics that seem to come with an office culture. Some simply don’t like their commute. What else? This graphic gives some thoughts.

 

Starting a Product-Based Business? How to Save Money on Shipping Costs

If you’ve got products you need to ship, you can save a lot of money by doing things the right way. Shipping can be one of the biggest costs of your business so learn how to save money shipping things.

Calculate it Right

Make sure you always calculate the shipping price right. Make sure you charge your customers the right price for shipping so you can get an accurate idea of what you need to ship things the right way. Never offer free shipping unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t lose money on it.

Ship it Yourself

If you think about used trucks from places like Arrow Truck Sales, you can actually save money on shipping. If you have a big business and are selling a lot of products, it might make more sense to ship the products yourself and then have them go to a distribution center. This may not be the best idea for very small companies, but purchasing a used truck can really make a huge difference for the growth of your business.

Consider Shipping Services

There are many shipping services that might help you. Things like Fulfillment by Amazon may help you save money on shipping. You’ll have to pay to ship your products to the center, of course, but you can save money shipping it to your customers. If you’re selling on a platform, always find out if they offer fulfillment services. This is usually the easiest way for you to save money on shipping costs so you can make sure you’re doing everything the right way and doing things that make it easier on your business.

Compare the Prices of Shipping

Always compare the costs of shipping with different companies if you plan on using a shipping company to get your goods out. If you’re going to help people see the things you have and if you’re going to ship directly to everyone, you need to compare your costs. Choose the company that not only has the lowest price but also has the best service for you to try and use.

There are many ways you can get your products to your customers. Think of all the different ways and don’t be afraid to get creative with the ideas for shipping. Always consider all your options and think about combining some of them to help yourself get more from the options you have. It’ll help you treat your customers better while also growing your business.

Run Your Warehouse Effectively With This Advice

A lack of efficiency in a warehouse environment can be extremely damaging for your business. Making the most of your time and preventing delays will be key to keeping your business as a whole running smoothly, while also keeping your clients and customers happy. If you’re not sure how to run your warehouse in the most efficient way possible, there are some changes and upgrades you might not have considered yet. Find out more about them below.

First of All, Get Organization Right

The very first thing that you have to get right if you want to run your warehouse in a professional and efficient way is organization. If you can’t make the space organized, the chances are you’ll always have problems with efficiency and other related matters. Have a clear and understandable placement and filing system, and ensure everything gets documented correctly.

Find the Right Software

One thing that will help you a lot with making your warehouse more organized is good software. In particular, you will need to find the inventory management software that works for your business. Few things matter more than making sure your inventory is correct and accessible via digital means for your staff working on the floor of your warehouse each day. There are many software options out there, so read about them and decide which is best. 

Employ Methods of Quality Control

Quality impacts efficiency too, and you should try not to forget that fact; so many small business owners do. If your output and performance are of a low quality, it will only make it harder for you to get things done and arrive at where you want your business to be. You will spend so much time correctly mistakes and putting things right and it will eventually cause massive inefficiency issues.

Use Heavy Duty Casters

For the efficient functioning of your warehouse, you’re going to need to ensure that anything that has to move around the space is able to do so smoothly and safely. A heavy duty caster is for making sure that your goods and equipment moves quickly when you need to get it across the floor in your warehouse. You should invest in as many of these as you need if you want to run things efficiently.

Focus on Staff Training

Finally, you should make sure that your staff have all been trained in the right way. Do they know which safety practices are necessary? Do they understand how you want them to carry out their jobs? When there are new practices and new tools in place, you should make sure everyone is trained in how to use them to prevent confusion and problems that lead to a lack of efficiency.

Running a warehouse is never easy, and there are lots of things that can go wrong and stop you from achieving all of the things you clearly want to achieve. But if you implement the ideas that have been mentioned here, you will quickly find that your warehouse becomes a more efficient asset for your business.