Global Legal Implications of Health and Safety for the Self-Employed

In recent years, self-employment has rapidly increased in both the United States and the rest of the world. Technology is making it easier for freelancers in a variety of fields to work from anywhere and connect with businesses all over the country, giving them both freedom and a suitable income. In fact, some studies estimate that as many as 40% of American workers could be independent freelancers by 2020.

This rapid increase in self-employed people could force the government to alter workplace laws, specifically with regard to health and safety in the workplace. After all, what constitutes a workplace has been changed by the increase in self-employed people. So, what are the legal implications of that with regard to health and safety?

UK Law

Across the pond, the United Kingdom has already addressed health and safety regulations for the self-employed. The Health Safety at Work Act (HSWA) from 1974 stipulates that those who are self-employed must conduct business in a manner that does not expose members of the public or employees of the self-employed person to health and safety risks.

In 2011, a document called the Löfstedt Review was proposed, advocating that self-employed people be made exempt from the HSWA when their business poses no threat whatsoever to the general public. In October 2015, the suggestions outlined in this review were largely adopted in the UK.

As a result, a significant number of self-employed people in the UK, from novelists and journalists to graphic designers and financial advisors, no longer had to worry about how the NSWA impacted them. Even self-employed people who employ others are exempt from the HSWA, which deems self-employed people fit to judge whether or not their work is potentially hazardous to the general public.

With the amendment to the HSWA, unless self-employed people work in certain fields or certain objects (i.e. agriculture, railroads, construction, gas, etc), they will not be regulated in any way. However, if there is an incident that causes harm to an employee or member of the public, they may be found in violation of the HSWA and face legal consequences.

US Lack of Law

In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) covers most workers but does not pertain to self-employed individuals. This gives self-employed Americans, as well as small businesses, a great deal of freedom when it comes to health and safety in their line of work. One could actually say it’s one of the biggest benefits of being self-employed or running a small business.

Ultimately, most self-employed freelancers pose little or no safety threat to the public at large. However, the regulation in the UK does leave the door open for prosecution if something unfortunate happens. Meanwhile, self-employed people in the US can rest easy knowing that they are exempt from OSHA and don’t need to concern themselves with health and safety laws.

 

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Storing Your Data in the Cloud

The idea of transferring data from on-site devices to cloud-based storage is becoming a more appealing alternative for many businesses. Improved cloud technology provides such benefits as savings on hardware and maintenance, better security, and more reliability. These are distinct advantages to smaller companies with limited IT support and financial resources.

However, storing your data in the cloud involves more than contracting with a provider, uploading your files, and handing off responsibility. Here are five key questions to ask before entrusting your data to the cloud.

What Is the Service Going to Cost?

Before signing off on what looks like a reasonable price, understand that real value comes from the services that are being provided. Take the time to fully understand what’s covered by your monthly fee and what will cost you extra. There may be additional fees added for services like data back-ups, data recovery testing, exceeding bandwidth or memory limitations, or specific SLAs (service level agreements).

It’s prudent to do some cost modeling based on your own budget and requirements, then start shopping around for the cloud provider that best fits your needs at the most affordable price. Also make note of the security measures that are in place, and whether additional security will cost more. Typically, free solutions will have less storage, support, and security, while premium cloud providers expect you to pay a sliding scale for extra features and services.

Are There Bandwidth Limits?

Bandwidth is the range of frequencies, or extent of communications, that can take place over a given channel. If you are planning to upload or download large files, such as extensive video or high-volume data backups, you may be using a lot of bandwidth. Cloud storage can involve higher costs because the provider has to utilize greater internet bandwidth to accommodate all of their customers.

Limitations on bandwidth may also limit the speed of data transfer. As part of your business continuity strategy, you must have a good estimate of your bandwidth requirements for data recovery should you need it. Ask your provider about features for data compression and bulk data transfers.

What Data Security Is Provided?

In a digital environment where any organization can be targeted by hackers, it’s important to get assurances that your data will be protected. This is particularly important if your data will contain sensitive information like credit card numbers and account passwords. Any responsible cloud provider will have protective measures in place for client information.

Data safeguards should include encryption mechanisms both for transferred and stored data. Messaging can be intercepted at either endpoint, so it’s crucial that all communication is encrypted before it’s sent. Server-side encryption is also essential when storing any sensitive information so that it’s worthless in the event of data theft.

Without encryption, enterprising hackers can embed spyware on computers or devices that enable them to capture, log, and read client-server communications. If they gather the right personal information, they can steal your identity and use it to plunder your accounts and destroy your credit and reputation.

What Are My Disaster Recovery Options?

Cloud services provide a convenient means for performing necessary data backups and initiating data recovery to replace lost or damaged files. Be certain to ask your cloud provider to explain their disaster recovery options in detail so that you aren’t hit by surprises when you need critical data restored. You should have clear directions on where and how to access and recover your data in the event of a system catastrophe.

Ask about where your provider’s data centers are, and how they’re protected and supported. Fast and reliable data recovery is an important feature of continuity. There should also be redundancies to ensure multiple copies of your data at different locations so that you aren’t out of luck if something happens to one of the provider’s systems.

What Kind of Technical Support Is Included?

Prompt, accessible, and expert support is also important. You, as the client, should be provided with opportunities to ask questions or get technical help as needed on an ongoing basis. Small companies with limited technical knowledge are likely to need advice and guidance, especially in the beginning.

Large companies may have the IT support to resolve their own issues, but this could be a complicated and lengthy process for businesses with limited resources. When contracting with a cloud provider, you need to know what level of support is available to you and how to reach it. Support should be available at all hours of the day and night, as inability to use your own data could be crippling to your business.

You need to determine whether technical support will involve extra charges for upgrades, any limits on service time frames, and the promptness and quality of the support you’ll receive. Making the right choice in support services could mean the difference between steady revenue streams and costly downtime.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cloud storage solutions can provide many benefits to your organization. However, it’s crucial to determine which cloud providers can best suit your needs and provide the greatest value. It’s important to select a provider that ensures a high level of accessibility, data security, customer support, and effective solutions for data backups and recovery. If you take the time to obtain a thorough explanation of charges, features, and limitations, you can choose the best cloud services for your company.

 

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

How to Get Started With Digital Marketing

The digital marketing industry is constantly changing and evolving. Nowadays, it is a competitive challenge to impress the viewers and meet their ever growing expectations. However, choosing a career in digital marketing is quite exciting and profitable. The demand for skilled digital marketers is high, due to the competitive market and a need for businesses to stand out in the crowd.

Moreover, becoming a digital marketer is difficult enough and finding a suitable job will require both wit and skill, alongside determination. As same as customers have to be impressed by marketing efforts, so do the employers need to be impressed by marketers that are looking for employment. Here are a few tips on how to get started with digital marketing.

Work on Yourself

As mentioned, digital marketing industry is constantly changing and shifting directions. What was a big hit today may as well be a thing of the past tomorrow. That is why it is important that you work on yourself and improve your knowledge and skills regularly.

Whether you graduated from marketing school or you are self taught, having something more to add to your portfolio may be beneficial in finding good employment. Additional certification or a degree in some marketing course can help you out, but it may not be necessary. Some employers like to read your biography, while some prefer to see what you can do.

Furthermore, you should always make time to update your knowledge and learn about the industry’s news by reading posts from websites that are on top of the marketing industry such as The Moz, HubSpot etc. The key for growing in digital marketing is by staying updated at all times.

Build your Online Presence

The best way to convince employers that you can build their company’s online presence is by building your own first. After all, the best way to get noticed and show your potential before employers start testing you out is by having some successful personal projects.

A good example would be to start your personal website and support it with a blog. You can pick a topic or a niche to write about or simply write about yourself. Your blog will be your pet project, so make sure you develop it well and implement different strategies to drive traffic to it. You may as well test out your SEO skills on your blog.

For instance, make sure you have fast website speed, because it is a well known fact that viewers have zero tolerance for slow loading pages and sluggish blogs. Besides, site speed affects rankings and it is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Use your skills to increase your website visibility and popularity enough to impress anyone, so when employers ask what have you got to show, you will have an ace up sour sleeve.

Learn Different Skills

In the world of digital marketing today, marketers who possess knowledge and skill in several different areas of expertise are highly sought after. However, this does not mean you have to be an expert in all aspects of digital marketing, but it is valuable to know at least the basics for all and have expertise in at least one or two.

For instance, your specialty is content marketing and SEO but you know your way around social media marketing, content writing, e-mail marketing and so on. These types of skills or variety of skills, usually referred to as T-shaped marketer by The Moz, will increase your chances of landing a good job or making a profitable career in digital marketing. You are probably already familiar with different digital marketing strategies, so don’t hesitate to hone your other skills and improve your knowledge. After all, they will be very useful to you in both landing a good job and building a name for yourself.

As digital marketing industry is improving and growing, so should digital marketers. Staying informed and updated on the latest industry news will help you keep up and not miss out on anything important. Remember, if you are looking for a good employment you should have skills to back you up.

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

How To Improve Your Marketing Strategy Today

As marketing is a vital part of business development it makes sense to take time to work out a sound marketing strategy and to implement regular business reviews for ensuring it’s not stalled.

To succeed in the modern world of business it is important to use all the tools of the trade so to speak. Internet is one of the main ones that business people turn to today to ensure their businesses can grow and develop.

Marketing strategy should not be confused with business plan or marketing goals. While business plan describes the whole business structure and process marketing strategy deals with the steps or measures that are necessary to implement to achieve the goals.

Here are some things to consider before proceeding with the business startup.

  • When starting a business it is possible to go through most of the process online. Instead of going through the rigmarole of newspaper and magazine printed ads business marketing can be done on computer which significantly reduces the timeframe for launching new ventures.
  • Establish your target market from the start so you can tailor your strategies and services or products with maximum efficiency which will give you the cutting edge.
  • In the competitive world of corporations small businesses get a fighting chance the moment they join the force of the internet. Search engines (SEO) and websites are the modern tools of any trade whether it’s roofing, bricklaying or cake baking. Modern fashion, design and technology, science and literature industries have already changed beyond recognition due to the wonders of the internet and computers. In other words, the internet has given the small businesses the chance to fight their corner with the help of small business web design and SEO that’s straightforward.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the social media. Apart from networking and direct marketing it can also create influence waves which can increase sales within hours after posting an image or fact about your products. Remember to use this potential to the full if you want to get ahead of your competitors.
  • Keep your marketing objectives focussed on your customers. This should involve everything from product/service development, packaging, pricing and delivery as well as post-sales care where appropriate.
  • Detailed and in-depth market research will be invaluable both in short and long term planning. Companies usually conduct analysis of performance, customer analysis and pricing scans.
  • It’s impossible to create a marketing strategy without a marketing plan. The marketing plan is essentially the manifesto of your business marketing strategy. It should explain all the necessary steps to put your strategy into action as well as set out marketing budgets, goals, profit margins and time targets.
  • A marketing strategy wouldn’t be a strategy without future vision for the business. It should include where your business is going to be in a month, in a year and in 5 years. So any future developments can already take shape now within the marketing strategy.
  • Be sure to create a contingency plan for any possible market changes as nothing is set in stone.

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PrMediaOnline

 

Don’t Burn Your Business in Hot Water

Being in hot water with the authorities can leave lasting burn marks on a business even when it manages to pull itself out of the pool. It can taint it in regards to the law, in regards to its customers and in regards to its brand. Because of this it is best to avoid being in hot water altogether. Below you can find a few ways how you, as a business owner, can keep your business out of hot water.

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Image source

First and foremost you should never make yourself an enemy — to anyone. You shouldn’t depict yourself as tough and mean person to do business with to your potential clients and customers. You shouldn’t paint yourself as horrible boss to our employees. In doing so you could very quickly find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit. If you are ever accused of misconduct in the workplace by an employee, for example, you are then in hot water. Even if you manage to come out of the embroilment without charge, being in the hot water in the first place is not going to do you any favours for your brand image. And misconduct is just one reason why an employee may take to suing you. Because of this you have to constantly be in control of your actions and should never let emotions drive you to make decisions or act in a certain way.

You also need to be in control of all the legal boundaries that are in place on you and your business. It is very important that you never overstep these boundaries and that you work towards remaining in them at all times. One such legal boundary that can sometimes be passed by without knowing is the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement. This is a regulation put in place by the authorities to prevent identity theft and other fraudulent activities. As a business owner you simply must comply to it. If you don’t know where to start in doing so, however, then rest assured that there is assistance out there. Identify verification solution for businesses is on offer for you to implement in yours so you can always be sure exactly who it is that you’re doing business with. Knowing who it is on the other end of a transaction is hugely important. If a customer of yours has their identity stolen on your watch you are never going to come out of the situation smelling of roses, regardless of if you were legally punished for it or not.

And you can also find yourself in hot water online if you aren’t careful. When using SEO to grow your business it is possible for you to end up in hot water with Google, and other search engines, if you start ‘keyword stuffing’. By this it is meant that you stuff in too many keywords in the hope of getting higher in the search engine’s rankings. However, by doing so you will just find yourself being pushed to the back of the queue by the search engine.

So, if you don’t want your business to be burned by hot water then don’t get it in hot water in the first place.

 

 

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

With technology only improving, businesses and consumers are becoming closer than ever before. Social media is more prevalent in society than in the past, and small businesses everywhere are embracing the new ways to market their services using online tools to help promote further customer reach. Here is a list of 5 ways to help market your business online:

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  • Facebook

Facebook is a great way of advertising and raising awareness of your product. By creating a page for a business and adding its location you are opening up the possibility of having customers digitally check themselves into your venue. Customers are then able to engage and review a businesses services and share this with their social network. It is important to remember to reply to comments to continue to build the rapport between business and consumer. Facebook also offers paid advertising and marketing campaigns through their business portal

  • Twitter

Twitter is another way of attracting customers, although it does take longer to build a large network on Twitter. The key to a successful Twitter is to always engage in relevant posts, follow any relevant profiles and be smart while still being funny. Engagements are what build your followers on Twitter. If you’re worried about having the time of running your social networks, organisations out there to provide social media help to develop a content marketing strategy that will help build your online growth.

  • Website

Having a website allows you a stronger online presence, and gives businesses the opportunity to display a list of the services available to customers. A website is also a great way of sharing the products, events, sales and opening times. Services such as WordPress are simple website builders. For a low cost it is possible to buy your own domain from these sites, with the option of an email address attached.

  • Emails

In the modern world email is the best form of contact for most customers. Whether you sign up for a free email service or get one through a website, email is a great way of responding to customers enquiries in a professional manner. Customers respond positively to speedy responses from businesses. Through having a registered email address assigned to your business, you can provide subscription services directly to customers, providing them with the option of being notified of sales or further events.

  • Coupons Vouchers

Everyone loves to think they’re getting a good deal. Sharing coupon vouchers through your social platforms will drive business and grow the customer base. New companies that have provided new customer discounts or free delivery have been successful in entering the market in major cities across the globe. Through having a campaign offering free services or VIP sales to clients, for things such as signing up to your email subscription service, discounts on their birthdays, free delivery or new customer discounts, consumers are urged to try a product for the first time.

It is important to not to put all your eggs within one basket, and be able to see the broader picture. One method of marketing may work better for you than another, however the important thing to remember is that all this does not have to be done alone. Consulting with services that provide provide social media help can alleviate some of the stress that can be added when struggling between traditional face to face services and online services allowing the balance to be achieved within the business.

 

 

 

 

Are You Ready to Move into the Flexible Jobs Market?

2017 might be the year when flexible jobs explode. For many looking to wrest some control back over their working lives, this could be the year. Flexible jobs give people the ability to have more control over when and where they work. For some this means cutting down from full-time, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working, while for others it means taking their job and moving it to the spare bedroom. Initial results are showing higher levels of job satisfaction and higher rates of engagement and productivity within the work itself.

Flexible Jobs with Potential

According to Forbes.com, there are 20 jobs above all others which are primed to be the top flexible jobs of 2017. These are:

  1. Statistician
  2. Product Manager
  3. Physical Therapy Assistant
  4. Operations Manager
  5. Operations Analyst
  6. Office Manager
  7. Occupational Therapy Assistant
  8. Nurse Practitioner
  9. Nurse – ICU
  10. Medical Director
  11. Information Security Analyst/Manager
  12. Genetic Counselor
  13. Front-End Developer
  14. Financial Analyst
  15. Data Scientist
  16. Client Services Coordinator
  17. Business Process Analyst
  18. Business Development
  19. Account Manager
  20. Account Executive

With 63% of employees believing the 8 hour work day will soon be a thing of the past, it is worth considering if flexible work is right for you. The main considerations are financial and practical. Can you afford to work less? And can your job be done from home? Or can it be shared? Then you have to see if your company is willing to enter into flexible working arrangements. Reduced work, for example suits those with savings, stable income from a partner, or a second job/side hustle to fall back on or build up. Those on low wages with financial insecurity cannot afford the less work option, but may be able to wrangle a work from home remote position if it improves productivity for your employer.

Can You Go 100% Flexible?

For the above, it is mostly about reconstructing or renegotiating jobs you are already in. For many, this is not an option. The first decade of the 20th century saw an explosion of jobs relating to the Internet. So far, the second decade has seen working patterns fracture and become more flexible with more jobs being related to servicing online needs or performing everyday business tasks and services online. The so-called gig economy has been around for a long time, but it seems more prevalent now and has allowed many people fired from work to instantly get back up on their feet and move forward with their lives. Instead of applying for a steady stream of jobs, many people are able to brainstorm how to turn their situation into a job or at least a steady income be it driving people around or delivering items.

Make no mistake, the flexible lifestyle of a freelancer can be stressful. You do have the ability to work when you want, as you want, but each gig is not always well paying, and they may be hard to obtain too. You need tremendous self-discipline and the ability to go out there and make things work for you. Furthermore, whether a freelancer or a remote worker, flexible work needs a lot of organization and an ability to ignore distractions. Strike the right balance, work hard, and it can be a very rewarding lifestyle.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.