Getting Help with Your Finances

Most of us are in debt. We’ve got credit cards, loans, overdrafts, store cards, and car financing plans. Some of us even owe money to our utility providers and landlords. Even those of us that aren’t are cutting it fine. We want to save, we even open savings accounts, but find ourselves struggling to put any money in them. Many of us want to set up businesses and build home offices, but our financial situations won’t allow it.

But, just as many of us are doing nothing about it. We’re getting by paying the minimums back on our debts.We’re letting any savings that we do have just sit there, instead of finding ways to make them grow. We’re living paycheck to paycheck without taking the time to improve things.

This is often because we’re embarrassed. We don’t want to admit that we need help or that we’re in debt. We don’t want to ask for advice on how to save or make our money grow because we are ashamed to admit that we don’t know already or that we’ve been wasting our money up until this point. We are afraid of speaking to an accountant only to find that we’ve been recording our profits incorrectly and our small business accounts are in a mess. We bury our heads in the sand because we are embarrassed and afraid. But,there’s really no need to be. There’s plenty of help out there, and plenty of people that need it. You just have to make that first move. Here’s a look at some of your options.

Visit a Financial Advisor

If you’ve got debts, you might find that their repayments are crippling. That you’ve got very little disposable income each month because paying off your debts is eating it all up. It doesn’t need to be like this, but it’s so hard to see a way out when it’s your money.

A financial advisor can take a look at your situation and help you to find ways to improve it. They’ll look at your income and expenses and recommend consolidation loans or other options that could help. They can even help you to create a budget to manage your money.

Most banks offer a free financial advisor service. But, remember your bank is only likely to recommend their own products. You may have to pay to see an independent advisor, but you could be offered a wider range of options.

Get Help with Investments

Investing your money is a fantastic way to watch it grow. But, it’s complicated and confusing. If you’ve never invested,you might worry that you can’t because you don’t know enough. The good news is,you don’t even need to meet an advisor in person, read https://budgetboost.co/etrade-review/for another option that’s great for beginners and novice traders.

Hire an Accountant

If you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you might try to manage your own finances to save money. But, it can be all too easy to make costly mistakes. Hiring an accountant can actually save you money. They’ll ensure you are claiming any tax deductibles that you are able, and they’ll make sure you don’t face a hefty fine because you’ve either missed your tax return deadlines or made a mistake in your working out.Read more about deducatbles at https://www.raymondbenn.co.uk/services/businesses/detailed-list-of-tax-allowable-expenses.

How to Set Up a Home Office on a Tight Budget

Working from a home office is many people’s dream. The idea of waking up and walking mere footsteps, instead of driving miles and miles, and being able to work in your pajamas, represents the height of living and working flexibly.

And while working from home offers many benefits, there are quite a few changes you’ll to which you’ll need to adapt. Specifically, you will be responsible for setting up your home office. This means not only finding the right equipment, but paying for it all, which can get expensive quickly.
But building a good home office doesn’t necessarily need to mean spending thousands on a high-end desk and premium computer equipment. You can set up a home office that can be a bastion of productivity even if you’re on a tight budget. And here’s how

Make It Separate

This is a way to save on your home office that might not be felt right away but that will still help lessen the burden on your pocketbook. Essentially, by making sure your office is completely separate from the rest of your home, and designating it as strictly an office, you will be able to claim this space on you tax returns, helping put money in your pocket at the end of each year.

However, before you get too excited, know that there are some stipulations involved with this deduction, especially after the new tax reform law that went into action in 2018. Essentially, you can only claim a home office if it’s your primary or sole place of business. So if you work for a company and they let you split between working from the office and working from home, then you might not be able to take this deduction. But if you run your own business, or work full-time as a freelancer, then you probably can.

Consider enlisting the services of tax accountant, as they can help you figure out if you qualify and also how much you can deduct. Typically, it will depend on how big the office is in comparison to the rest of your home. So if you have an 800 sq. foot home, and your office is 80 sq. feet, you should be able to claim 10 percent of your living expenses as business expenses, and these can be deducted from your taxes. However, it’s not always this black and white, so make sure to consult a professional before signing your name to any legally binding documents, i.e. your tax returns.

Find Used Equipment

A more immediate way to save when setting up your home office is to opt for second-hand or used equipment. While it might look nice to have brand new mahogany furniture, this will set you back quite a bit, and it might be best to wait for these luxuries until you’ve had the chance to save some cash.

But this also goes for computers and A/V equipment. It’s often nice for those working from home to have a separate monitor so that you can keep track of all the tabs and programs you have open, and these can usually be found second hand for rather cheap. A quick Google search for “used” or “second-hand office equipment” will reveal countless places where you can get what you need at great prices.

And if you’re in need of a new computer, ask yourself if you really need a brand new, $2,000 Macbook. For most of us, the answer is probably no, especially since you can find other options for much more cheaply. For example, shop around on manufacturer’s refurbished catalogues. These devices come with full manufacturer’s warranties, and they are often better buys than something brand new, as any issue they might have has already been detected and addressed.

Choose the Right Room

Working from a home office will require you to use more utilities than normal. For example, if you live in a colder climate, many of us are used to turning the heat way down during the day; it doesn’t make sense to heat an empty house. But when working from home, this might change. You may need to run heat or A/C all day, and you may start using more electricity. And while in the beginning this might not seem like a big deal, these expenses can add up quickly.

To work around this, spend some time to choose the right room in your house. Try to find a place that receives a good amount of natural light, as this will not only help reduce your need for lamps and lighting, but it can also help enhance your mood and productivity.

If you live in a warm climate, try to pick a room, though, that doesn’t get blasted by direct sunlight, as this will make it hotter and increase your need for A/C. But if you’re in a cold climate, this can help heat things up and reduce your need to turn on the furnace or baseboards. Rooms that face north tend to be a good happy medium as they will get light from outside but will not severely alter the room temperature of your office.

Opt for Free Services

There are countless services out there all claiming to help you manage your home business much better than you can on your own. And while this may be true, the expense of these services can add up quickly. So don’t discount free services. Google Drive can do everything and more than Microsoft Word, and it’s getting better every day. Trello can help you manage projects, Skype can work as a phone, and PayPal allows you to send and pay invoices for free.

Of course, there may come a time when it makes sense to pay for a service, such as when you want to make use of marketing automation or CRM software. But the key is to save elsewhere so that when you do need to incur these expenses it’s not as dramatic.

Set Your Home Office Up Today

While setting a home office up on a budget might make it look a little less glamorous, it will not affect its functionality. And by working to save wherever you can, you’re going to increase the margins on whatever you’re using the office for, boosting your income and turning you into a savvy remote worker.

About the Author: Kevin Conner is the founder of Broadband Search, a service dedicated to helping people find the right internet package for them. As an entrepreneur and a long-time home office worker, he’s always looking for ways to help others raise margins and boost productivity.

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.

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.”

 

 

Design and Storage Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Office

Working in a small office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort and space. If you organize everything according to your needs, you’ll be able to achieve all your tasks easily. The true secret behind being successful in a small office is in using every corner you have – by giving every inch a purpose, you can transform even the smallest office into a proper work area. It will provide you with enough storage space and different zones for every part of the working process. Keep in mind that most startups were created and ran from crowded rooms or basements, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the same.

The color psychology

Even though you may think that plain white walls are the best solution, there’s more to that than you think. You’d be surprised with the effect that green and blue have when it comes to productivity and efficiency. These two restful colors can really boost the creativity in the office and help you tackle more tasks.

You should avoid white, beige, purple and gray because they can seriously affect your mood and even create some gloomy feelings. During working hours, you don’t want anything less than full productivity, which is why you should stay away from bright colors because they have a tendency of being disruptive.

Choose the furniture wisely

Every piece of furniture needs to be carefully picked because you’ll have no room to spare. For starters, you’ll need some comfortable office chairs and practical desks. Apart from that, if you work with clients, you’ll need an additional seating area for meetings. To avoid crowding up the space, just add two additional chairs to your desk and you’ll be able to work and have a meeting at the same time.

Working with tight space means you need to be creative when it comes to furniture, so foldable desks are all right, while those large L-shaped ones are definitely not. You don’t have room for huge furniture and everything needs to have a real purpose, not just an aesthetical one.

Think about storage

The best way to be sure you’ve utilized all the space you have is by thinking beyond the common storage space options. Many people use vertical spaces for additional storage units, and this can be a solution for small offices. Besides giving you more space to work with, these units can be a great way of keeping items close to your reach. Apart from that, you can always use your desk and add additional drawers around it which will come in handy for all your documents.

You can also use storage units to fill in the empty space beneath the window, behind the door or underneath a coffee table. It goes without saying that decluttering goes hand in hand with creating designated storage spaces. You need to throw away everything you don’t plan on using and make room for the things you’ll actually need.

Get organized

Keeping everything organized starts from your desk, and it needs to be impeccable! Create different zones to be able to keep track of every step of your working process instead of feeling lost. If you’re dealing with lots of papers, use binders to keep them separate and all in one place.

It’s inevitable to always struggle with the lack of space, so try to use the additional seating area to make phone calls, drink coffee or schedule meetings. That way, you won’t be distracted from the actual work and will always know where everything is. Also, use modern technology, start going paperless and stop piling up so many documents – maybe you don’t really need them at all and you just waste time and space on storing them.

Small spaces can be turned into the most functional and inspiring offices if you use a little bit of imagination. You don’t need a large office to be productive and finish all your tasks on time when you can do the same in a much smaller space. Being a successful entrepreneur is more than having a cool office – it’s all about finding the strength and willingness to work in any kind of conditions. Only the people who manage that end up running the most successful businesses.

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.

Checklist for Starting Your Home-Based Business

Starting a home-based business can fill you with a full range of emotions. On one hand, you may be thrilled to get the chance to be your own boss and work from home, but you may also feel intimidated or even fearful about the unknown aspects of the process. While there are no guarantees that your venture will turn into a profitable success, thinking about a few important points up-front can help you to better prepare yourself and your home for the days ahead.

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Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/write-plan-business-startup-593333/

Assess Your Qualities

As amazing as working from home and running your own business can seem, you need to be honest with yourself about your traits, work habits and abilities. Not everyone who wants to have a home-based business has what it takes to succeed. Spend ample time honestly answering these questions before you take any further action to launch your business:

  • How much money can I afford to invest?
  • How much time and energy can I invest?
  • Will my family and friends be supportive?
  • Are my goals realistic?
  • Do I think I can realistically run a successful business from home?
  • How will my strengths and weaknesses affect my home-based business?
  • Is there space in my home to set up a dedicated office area?
  • How will a home-based business impact family life?

In addition to analyzing honest answers for these questions, take a closer look at your skills and personality traits. The successful home-based business owner has personal drive, is self-motivated and is very disciplined. In addition, this person has exceptional time management skills, loves to work independently, enjoys solving problems and is eager to continue learning new things. Being tech savvy is also a beneficial trait for entrepreneurs who work at home.

Take Care of Legalities

After you have ensured that you have what it takes to be successful with your venture, you should reach out to a business lawyer to address the legal aspects associated with running your own business.

You will need to register your business name and determine what entity you will run the business as. For example, will you start a partnership, a corporation or another type of legal entity? Your lawyer may also help you to walk through the steps required to obtain a business license and will review business compliance requirements with you personally.

Prepare Your Workspace

Now that you have taken care of the necessary up-front work for your home-based business, you can start setting up your home office. Select a workspace carefully. In most cases, choosing a removed area of the home that is quiet and that can be dedicated entirely to your business activities is smart. However, if clients will visit your home office, setting up an office in the front of the house is a better idea.

After you have decided where to set up an office, make a list of all of the equipment, supplies and furnishings that you will need. Properly budget for these items, and measure the space so that you ensure everything fits properly. To save money, you may be able to buy some items on consignment or used. However, all items should be high-quality and functional. For example, you need to have a good task chair that is comfortable to sit in for long hours each day, and you need a fast computer that meets your requirements. Lighting is also a critical element to pay attention to. Your home office ideally will have a combination of task, ambient and accent lighting.

Remember to spend ample time exploring options for technology, equipment, supplies and more before you make any buying decisions.

Analyze Your Finances

In many cases, a home-based business owner’s personal finances will be directly affected by business activities. You must understand your personal financial situation. Running a business out of your home is a cost-effective way to keep overhead low while you are starting out, but there are plenty of other expenses that will affect your financial situation. This includes one-time expenses, such as office equipment and furnishings. It also includes recurring costs, such as accounting fees, insurance, supplies and more.

Estimate how long you think it will realistically take you to break even and to turn a profit. You should have enough personal funds available to make ends meet until your business produces enough income to support your personal lifestyle. If not, consider lining up funding through a partnership, a loan or another financing option.

Create Balance Between Work and Family

A home-based business can affect the entire family in different ways. One area of the home may be off-limits to your family members. Your family members must be respectful of your work time and remain as quiet as possible while you are working.

Try to set up a home office and a regular work schedule that decreases the impact on your loved ones. You may also discuss the business and your needs with your family members. By doing so, you could identify and address concerns up-front.

In the End

Remember that these are only a few of the many factors that require your attention before launching a business. For example, you also should prepare a thoughtful business plan, crunch numbers related to business operations and more. Your preparation in each of these areas can help you to lay the groundwork for a truly successful home-based business.

Author Bio: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, Joe enjoys spending time with his family, reading about latest tech gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters