The Best Apps for Your Home Business

Running a home business can be fantastic. It’s a great way to do something for yourself and to follow your dreams. It’s an opportunity to work for yourself, without having to follow the rules or do as you are told. It also gives you the chance to earn money for yourself, without discrimination or glass ceilings. Home businesses are growing in popularity as more people are taking the risk and going it alone.

But, it’s not easy. When you run a business out of your house, you are likely to face many challenges and problems which you must overcome, facing head-on if you want to make your business a success.

Fortunately, in 2019 there are countless tools to help you. While you may not have the resources and finances that bigger businesses have, as they use business applications so often that they eventually need applications rationalization to help weed out legacy applications and reduce the costs. You will find that help is at hand. Small business loans and grants are often available. Digital marketing is an excellent tool when it comes to saving money while growing your business, and then there are apps. Nowadays most of us have countless apps on our phones. They help us with most elements of our life, as well as providing entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that there are also apps to help you run your business. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

Image Source – https://pixabay.com/photos/iphone-smartphone-apps-apple-inc-410311/

QuickBooks

If you are new to the business world, one of your primary challenges might be looking after your accounts. Many small business owners and sole traders find themselves in a panic as tax return season comes around as they have no idea how much money they have made, or what they can claim as a tax-deductible expense.

QuickBooks can be an extremely useful tool if you’ve got little experience in accounting. Even if you know what you are doing, using an app to manage your invoices and receipts can make your life a lot easier and save you a great deal of time. It could even save you money.

QuickBooks is one of many accounting apps on the market, but it’s often thought of as the easiest to use. You can use QuickBooks to keep records of your sales and expenses, track invoices, to pay your staff and to calculate your income. Other finance apps you may find useful include Wave, Gusto and Freshbooks.

Trello

Another big problem that home businesses face is productivity. When you are working at home, surrounded by distractions, it can be hard to organise and manage your time. Apps like Trello can be a massive help.

Use Trello to organise your days and manage your time. Create a Trello board for each project and add comments, pictures, attachments, to-do lists and deadlines to help yourself stay on track. If you often collaborate or have a team working with you, you can use Trello to assign tasks and get updates on progress. If you prefer to keep things simple, to-do list apps and even Google Calendars can be a big help.

Evernote

If you work from home, chances are you don’t always work from home. You might work at the library or in coffee shops. You might even try to get work done while you are sat in your car waiting for an appointment or meeting. This can be hard if all you have got in your phone.

Evernote can make things much easier. You’ll be able to work on your phone or tablet on the go, and anything that you do will be synced between your devices and your desktop back home. Evernote can give you a great way to maximise your time and get the most done, without worrying about losing work.

PayPal

As a small business, you might regularly work with other small companies and influencers. This often means that PayPal is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to make and receive payments. Having the PayPal app on your phone means that you can send invoices, receive payments and transfer money on the go. It also allows you to look at your income and save receipts.

BoxMeUp

If your business is in sales, and you sell products out of your house, BoxMeUp can be a huge help. The app helps you to organise and track your packages. You can even use it to print labels and scan them into your phone to help with tracking and communicating with your customer.

It’s Time To Pay More Attention To These Parts Of Your Business!

When you’re running your own business, it can often feel as though you’re spinning plates. You’re trying to keep everything together but it feels like the moment that you turn your attention to one thing, something else goes wrong. The truth is that this is just a fact of life when you’re a business owner and it’s something that you have to get used to.Sure, there are plenty of things you can do to make life easier but sadly the most common things that a lot of business owners do is to just ignore certain parts of their business that they consider to either be unimportant or that they simply take for granted. If you do that, it’s always going to cause more problems than it solves. With that in mind, here are some parts of your business that you need to stop ignoring.

Your IT solutions

IT is the backbone of pretty much all modern businesses. We live in such a heavily digital world that trying to run any business without IT solutions is just asking to get left in the dust by the competition. Of course, not everyone is going to be an IT expert and trying to deal with it all on your own can often cause more problems than it solves.That’s why it’s so important to find companies that can offer solid IT support to your business. After all, if you’re outsourcing it, you are able to focus your energy elsewhere while ensuring that it’s always being looked after.

Your accounting

Accounting is one of those things that a lot of businesses work incredibly hard to avoid as much as possible. This is often for two reasons. Firstly, accounting is difficult and complicated. And secondly, it can be incredibly boring. Most business owners would rather ignore something quite so dull and would rather focus on the more dynamic aspects of their business. However, just because it’s not that fun doesn’t mean that it’snot incredibly important. If you’re not staying on top of your books then not only could your business end up in financial difficulty, but you could end up in some pretty serious legal hot water to

Accounting is one of those things that a lot of businesses work incredibly hard to avoid as much as possible. This is often for two reasons. Firstly, accounting is difficult and complicated. And secondly, it can be incredibly boring. Most business owners would rather ignore something quite so dull and would rather focus on the more dynamic aspects of their business. However, just because it’s not that fun doesn’t mean that it’snot incredibly important. If you’re not staying on top of your books then not only could your business end up in financial difficulty, but you could end up in some pretty serious legal hot water too.

Employee support

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business and if you’re just treating them like machines who are going to do great work because you pay them every month, you’re letting them and your business down. The truth is that your employees need your care and support in order to feel motivated and happy at work. From rewarding great work to being a little more flexible with them, it’s crucial that you put the effort into making your employees feel supported and cared for as much as possible.

The truth is that you’re almost always going to be in a position where you feel like you’re playing catch up with certain aspects of your business. The key is to make sure that you’re planning and prioritising things carefully without falling into the trap of letting certain things go entirely ignored. Sure, that might sound like a serious challenge but that’s just part and parcel with running a business.

4 Things That Change When Your House Becomes Your Workplace

With 70% of people working remotely at least once a week, the odds are high that you won’t be stuck in the office. And, since the internet has made launching a startup a piece of cake, you might find your new office is your home.

Aside from a welcome mat at the door and inspirational quotes on the walls, your workplace might look similar to before. Usually, this isn’t helpful because it encourages freelancers to slip into bad habits, they kind they would never do in a traditional office.

With that in mind, there are some things you should change and you can find them underneath.

The Lighting

It’s the back end of autumn and winter is almost here, so your home will reflect that fact. Lots of homeowners take lighting seriously because they want to create a dark, cozy mood to go with the new season. With lots of lamps and lanterns around the living room, you’ve pulled it off to a T. Sadly, they need to go as it isn’t a productive atmosphere. Natural and artificial lights boost serotonin levels as well as a person’s mood, making them happy and more likely to be productive. Therefore, the curtains and table lamps are out and the blinds and focal light fixture are in.

The Mess

There is never enough time to clean up, plus you spend most of the day out of the house. It makes sense to leave it until you come home to tidy up. Now that you’re in the house from morning until the evening, this is an unproductive routine. The brain sees clutter and takes it on board, causing the mind to feel littered and unorganized too. From a work standpoint, this isn’t healthy for productivity. A commercial cleaning service will sanitize the area and make it simpler to perform basic tasks. Stop calling it “organized chaos” because it’s a cop out!

The Main Room

Typically, people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or living room as they have focal points. Plus, it’s practical to watch TV where there is a set and to cook where there are utensils. For work purposes, it’s better to switch up which room you spend your days in. Otherwise, you’ll get easily distracted and do nothing. The obvious example is sitting watching television rather than sending emails or writing content. A bedroom, especially a spare room, should become your office as it has zero diversions. After a while, you’ll get into a healthy work routine.

The Name

Correspondence to and from a residential address is a sign you’re not a big fish. As soon as clients and customers recognize this, they might bounce due to a lack of trust. All it takes to change this is to come up with a new name for your home, something corporate-like. As long as the zip code is the same, all of your mail should forward to the same address.

Another option is to hire a P.O Box and use their location for customer and client services.

3 Ways the Internet Can Make or Break Your Home-Based Business

The internet has absolutely transformed how companies do business and how consumers purchase products. This transformation has been dramatic and has affected all sectors of the economy. If you ignore how the internet has changed commerce, you will likely be left in the dust of competitors that have implemented the internet to expand their reach to consumers.

However, despite the benefits of the internet for businesses, selling your product online from your home isn’t necessarily easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are a lot of common mistakes you need to avoid. With that in mind, below are three ways the internet can make or break your home-based business.

SEO

One thing that can make or break your home business on the internet is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO includes the strategies that are utilized to obtain a preferable ranking on the major search engines like Google.

Google processes about 1.2 trillion searches a year. It’s how nearly everyone on the planet finds what they want on the internet. If you have poor SEO, it can certainly hurt your bottom line significantly. Definitely make fine tuning your SEO a priority. You also need to adjust your SEO over time since Google is always tweaking its algorithms.

Downtime

However, there are other issues apart from SEO you need to worry about. One of them is downtime. Downtime refers to times when your website can’t be loaded by visitors or refuses to operate properly. Downtime is a serious issue that causes businesses to lose millions a year. Most often, the cause of downtime is a higher volume of traffic than what a website’s hosting account is designed to handle. Make sure to search for web hosts and internet providers that will grant you the bandwidth you need to ensure that your website is always online and available to customers.

User Experience

Lastly, even if you obtain a high ranking on Google and avoid downtime completely, you can still fail. Part of this may be the fact that your website’s user experience is poor. This may happen, for example, if your website is hard to navigate. Today, most people surf the web on their smart phones. If your website scrolls from left to right instead of just up and down, most smart phone users may get frustrated. Make sure to test your website’s user experience on multiple different platforms.

Overall, running a website for your online business isn’t easy. Your success isn’t guaranteed. However, if you make sure your website has strong SEO, is always online and produces a good user experience, you can significantly increase your chances of success.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Creating a Client-Worthy Home Office

With the number of home offices rising year after year, the design of these spaces is constantly getting improved and upgraded. The point of such an office is to give you a productive place to work, but also make an area for meeting the clients as well. An office will reflect your work habits and clients will pay attention to every detail in order to get a picture of your professional skills. The true challenge lies in dealing with shared space and being productive, and these are the things a good office can help you with. Achieving all of that in a place where you also live can be quite tricky, but there are a few simple rules you need to follow in order to make everything work.

Choose just one area

When welcoming clients into your office, it’s important to be able to separate everything else going on in the rest of your home. Firstly, choose a space that’s far away from the living room, because that’s usually the loudest room in the house. Apart from that, talk to your family or roommates, explain your delicate situation to them, and ask them to be quiet when you’re having meetings.

This space should be dedicated to your work only, and you should keep all the distractions outside. If you don’t have a spare room in your home, choose a quiet area and set your office there. Just make sure you have privacy, especially if you’re stuck with an open space.

Be professional straight away

Your front porch and the hallway will be the first things your clients are going to see, so try to make these clean and simple. When it comes to the outdoor area, always keep your porch clutter-free and add some plants to bring in a dose of nature into the picture. Be sure to have secure and sturdy entrance doors because that will show everyone your style and personality in a matter of minutes.

Keep the space from the entrance to your office clean and stylish, because you’ll have to walk with your clients through the house. Don’t put away your personal belongings because your clients will appreciate you more if you have pictures, travel memorabilia and personal items displayed in the hallway.

Provide comfortable seating

The seating area for your clients should be divided into two parts to make it work for different types of meetings. One should be right next to your desk and you can choose between comfortable and ergonomic chairs. That way, you’ll be able to work over some strategies on your laptop and deal with the paperwork. In addition to that, you can add a cozy sofa which will be great for brainstorming and going through different ideas.

By breaking the seating area into two sections, you’ll be able to meet everyone’s wishes and provide them with enough comfort, and your clients will cherish how you’ve thought of everything. Your desk and chair should be comfortable and positioned in the center of the office because you need to be able to work and function throughout the room when you have meetings.

The space should reflect the business

An organized space is one thing, but you’ll take everything to a whole new level if you opt for styling your office in accordance with the type of your business. For example, if you’re in the real estate business, you could hang pictures of modern houses and apartments, or showcase successful sales you’re proud of.

On the other hand, if you are a marketing guru, you can add a whiteboard to be able to show your clients some of the ideas you have for them. It’s important to connect the style of your home to your business, because that will show your professional side as well as your wish to always be productive.

Add some color

You should definitely forget the “office beige” and focus more on finding some color combinations that will help your productivity. One option is to use vibrant colors to boost the productivity level and combine this with some subtle décor.

On the other hand, many people like to use soft hues such as orange, green and blue, because these are both professional and playful, and can be combined with different types of furniture. However, if you want more style, you can use wallpapers and choose different types of patterns and prints.

When designing your own home office, make it inviting and professional, and create a balance you and your clients will love. They need to feel comfortable, but also know that you’ll do a good job and make your collaboration successful. Although it may seem like a lot of work for a home office, this is also a working area, and it should reflect all the abilities of your business. In the end, make sure you’re inspired because working from home has its advantages, but you’ll always struggle with trying to be productive.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

Smart Space Management: Transform Your Home into a Proper Working Environment

Home trumps work any day of the week. So, logically a home office has more benefits than any other working environment. There is no commuting, no boss watching your every move, and balancing professional and private life is a breeze. Setting up an office at home may seem difficult, but with careful planning and research, you can save up money, increase productivity, and in the long run, be much happier with your job.

Things to Consider

When deciding the place of your future home office there are a couple of things worth considering. The space needs to be isolated from the rest of the home, and generally in a less active part of the house. This will significantly minimize distractions, since you want to focus on your job, and separate home and work hours. Also, your personal requirements and affiliations, as well as the nature of your work will guide the decision making process. So, creating a workshop next to the dining room, probably wouldn’t be the best solution, or having the office next to the laundry room.

Setting up Shop

Conserve space by changing the purpose of less frequently used rooms in the house and turn them into your home office. Storage rooms like the attic, basement, and garage can be easily transformed into a spacious, insulated working environment. Another way to go is to make a dual-purpose room. An extra guest room, and even the dining room are great due to their infrequent use. And by making small adjustments to the furniture, like adding pull-out couch, or getting a larger dining room table, you can have re-furbish the room to accommodate all your needs. Also, it is possible to find appropriate appliances online, like small fridge, which can complete the office design.

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Office Comfort

Comfort is the main idea behind a stay-at-home office. Consider that you might put in long hours in front of the desk, so buy a chair that is enjoyable, but also drives you to work. Depending on the work, a desk should inspire and be able to handle all the tools of your trade (computer, printer, books, paper, etc.). Apart from being comfortable, your furniture should also be ergonomic. The chair should support your back, and have enough height, so your arms are parallel to the desk. And by borrowing, buying secondhand or re-purposing furniture, you can cut costs and invest in other aspects of your business.

feng shui office desk Luxury Ways To Feng Shui Your Desk

Light up Work

Your office should also have plenty of light. A well-lit room will make for an efficient working environment that is motivational, but also healthy. Utilize natural light sources as much as possible, whenever possible. By positioning the desk next to the window, so that the light hits you from the right-hand side, you will get the greatest amount of light, decrease shadows on your work area, and tone down outside distractions. Although natural light is great, it is in short supply. Although many rooms have an overhead light, a desk lamp should be an essential at your work station. Combining it with other light sources will mean that your work space is always well-lit and you don’t exert your eyes.

Break Time

Depending on space, create a relaxing comfy zone within the office. This will enable you to think, research, read, and plan, when you are not actively working. The corner will also provide a great break area. Get yourself a comfy armchair, or a couch, and soft rug will feel great on your feet when you take your shoes off. You should also include a lamp and a coffee table for those serene coffee breaks.

Office Storage

Storage is an issue with any office, so be sure to get creative and organized. Big stacks of paper, files, and office supplies, are not very inspirational, and the best way to removed them from sight is to put them into a closet. Another great trick to minimize office clutter is to store the non-essentials in a different room, such as a basement. On the other hand, keep the essential documents near you, by putting up shelves and storing them there.

In the end, the home office tops a regular cubical any day, so make it an enjoyable and motivational working area. And if you do it right, you will save money and nerves, manage your own hours, and ultimately be your own boss, working from the comfort of your own home.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

 

 

Turning Your Home Furniture Hobby Into a Winning Business

If you’re looking for a new business to get underway, then you could much worse than taking your existing hobby and finding ways to make money from it! One of the best – and increasingly popular – hobby-cum-businesses is home furniture. Because this is an area where limited produced pieces are often more popular than mass-produced items, you’ll be on a more level playing field with other furniture companies than you would be in other industries. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy: it isn’t! If you’re thinking of starting your own furniture company, then take a look at our tips below, and you’ll be increasing your chances of success.

Perfect Your Craft

There’s a big difference between someone who does something as a hobby and someone who does something professionally. Before you look at making a viable business from your home furnishings, make sure that you’re taking the time to perfect your craft. You’ll receive plenty of compliments from friends and family when you’re just getting going, but it’s a different matter when you start charging people for your creations. As such, you’ll want your furniture to be as perfect as possible! If that means delaying your launch date by a few months while you hit the appropriate standards, then so be it.

What’s Your Niche?

As you might have gathered, the furniture world is pretty big! And you’ll perform much better if you select a niche to work in. For example, you could focus on kitchen tables and chairs, or bedside cabinets, or coffee tables for the living room. You’re likely able to do everything, but as you’re getting started, it might be better to build your company around a specific set of furniture. You’ll also want to work on a particular style, too: are you rustic, modern, traditional, or something else?

What Do People Want?

But of course, what you’re good at making and what you like to make might not coincide with what people generally want. As such, before you sink too much money into your new venture, try to find out if there’s an audience for your creations. This is where your market research will come in handy. It’ll help to determine what people are looking for, how what you create meets that end, what to charge, and so on.

Getting Creative

Having said that, it’s important that you’re putting your own spin on your creations too. You shouldn’t just give people what they want; if you do, you’ll end up playing it too safe, and if you’re going to succeed, then you need to have something different about your products! So develop your own style, and don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s not always about meeting everyone’s wishes; when it comes to artistic pursuits like furniture, there’s also an element of showing people where they might like to go, too.

Working From Home Or Renting

You’re going to need space to work, and that’s going to force you to make a tough decision: do you work from home, or rent a space? There are benefits to both. If you work from home, then you won’t be spending money that could be better spent elsewhere on rent. If you’re working from a rented space, you’ll have more space to work and store more of your creations. All weighed up, it’s probably a good idea to rent a space. This will allow you to make extra income by hosting workshops, and will also give you a more professional look, especially if you’re “store” is located in one of those hip industrial zones that are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas.

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Source: Pexels.com

Antique Markets

When you’re in the furniture game, your best friends are going to be antique markets. These are places to not only sell your creations, but to also buy pieces that you think you can improve upon. Take a long your best creations, and you’ll soon gain a reputation for offering top-quality goods.

Getting the Word Out

You probably looked at setting up a furniture company because word of mouth was helping to get the word out about your creations, and thus you decided to make a go of it full-time. However, when it comes to making a full-time business out of was once a hobby, you’ll need more than word of mouth. You’ll want to have a website and social media channels, and also work with a furniture marketing agency to draw more people to your online presence. Of course, referrals will also be a big part of your business, so try to come up with some sort of incentive package for your clients who direct future work your way.

Use The Best Materials

You might be able to make your furniture look good, but your reputation will quickly fall to pieces if, well, your furniture falls to pieces. As such, make sure you’re using the best materials for your creations. People have no shortage of options if they want cheap but poorly made furniture; they’ll come to you because they know it’s the best, and they’ll expect you to use good materials!

The Art of Presentation

If you’re going to sell your furniture online, then you’ll need to learn the art of taking a good photograph. Look at taking an introduction to photography course, or hiring other people to take professional photos of your products.

Building Relationships

Also, don’t forget the power of building relationships! It’s much cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer on the hook rather than fish for a new one. Work with your clients, and make yourself available for custom pieces.

Final Thoughts

So far as businesses go, there are few as enjoyable, creative, and as easily accessible as selling furniture. If you have the passion to create things for their own sake (i.e. when it was a hobby), then you’ll have the necessary drive to turn it into a successful business..and especially if you incorporate our words of wisdom above.