20 Tips for Working From Home

More people than ever are working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re new to working remotely or just looking to level up, these tips from a remote work pro can help you stay productive and maintain balance.

Starting around March 2020, more people than ever before began working from home, and quite suddenly. Organizations and individuals didn’t have time to prepare for remote work or think about the best ways to transition teams, processes, and culture to an online-only environment. No one knew (or yet knows) how long the COVID-19 pandemic and thus mandatory remote work would last.

If you’re new to the work-from-home lifestyle, whether due to the coronavirus or because you’ve managed to find a remote-based job, you may have found that you need to change your habits and routines to make working from home a success.

I’ve worked 100 percent remotely for more than six years, long before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Several of my friends and colleagues have done it, too. We each face unique challenges, not only because of our different personalities, but also due to our various lifestyles and the type of work we do. Still, many of the core issues we face as remote workers are the same.

Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. What about office equipment, career development, training opportunities, and building relationships with colleagues? 

1. Maintain Regular Hours

Set a schedule and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. 

That said, one of the best benefits of remote work is flexibility, when the job allows for it. Sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.

Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime, let you check in on whether you’re sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you’re most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by protecting the hours when you’re most likely to get difficult work done. For example, if you tend to have high productivity between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., don’t schedule meetings during that time.

2. Create a Morning Routine

Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. 

A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee before you tackle your to-do list. It might be returning home after a jog or getting dressed. (Wearing pajamas is a work-from-home perk for some, but a bad strategy for others.) Look for an existing habit that you have, like brushing your teeth or coming in from a dog walk, to act as your signal. That way, you can tack on the new habit of kicking off your workday.

I say “morning routine,” but not everyone who works from home follows a nine-to-five schedule. Yours might be a “getting started” routine at another time of day. Nevertheless, look for an existing habit you have and try to start your work day after it. 

3. Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space

Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space when you work. 

For example, if you have children who are learning at home or who come home from school while you’re still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. If you share a space with another adult who’s working from home, you may have to negotiate quiet times, meeting times, and any shared equipment, like desks and chairs.

Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you always will. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labor, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.

4. Schedule Breaks

If you work for an organization, know the policy on break times and take them. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seem to be the standard for full-time US employees. For computer-based work and other sedentary work, it’s important to stand up and move to get your blood circulating every so often, at least once an hour. It also helps to move your eyes off screen regularly, even if it’s a micro-break of 10-20 seconds.

5. Take Breaks in Their Entirety

Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour or meal break. 

There are apps, such as TimeOut for Mac and Smart Break for Windows, that let you set a schedule for when you’ll lock yourself out of your computer. RescueTime also has a pause feature that lets you time 15-minute and one-hour breaks. Don’t need any more apps in your life? Set an alarm or timer on your phone, or mind the time with a standard clock. No matter how you track your breaks, make sure to take them in their entirety. For example, if you plan for an hour break and return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20.

Working remotely, especially when working from home most of the time, means figuring out these issues and others. Here are 20 tips for leading a better and more productive remote-work life, based on my experience and what I’ve learned from others.

6. Leave Home

To the extent that it’s allowed and safe during the pandemic, get out of the house and move your body. Your body needs movement and blood circulation. Plus, the fresh air and natural light will do you good. Ideally, step outside for at least a short while before, during, and after your working hours.

This same advice applies to people who work in traditional office settings, too. Leave the building at least once a day during working hours.

In non-pandemic times, remote workers can also go to cafes, libraries, and co-working spaces to break up the monotony of being at home. That’s great, too, but the really important part is to leave your home, get some air and natural light, and move. 

You don’t have to go to crowded public spaces to get away from your solo workspace (and you probably shouldn’t right now, either). Take a walk. Weed the garden. Sit on the stoop. You get the picture.

7. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for What You Need

If you’re employed by a company or organization that supports your work-from-home setup, request the equipment you need as soon as you start working from home, or within a few days of realizing you need something new. 

It’s extremely important to set a precedent early that you will ask for what you need to get your job done comfortably. These items might include the right monitorkeyboardmouse, chair, desk, printer, software, and so forth. Organizations that are accustomed to remote employees often have a budget for home office equipment. Ask what it is and how often it’s renewed. It also doesn’t hurt to ask whether there’s a loan agreement or who will pay for return shipping or disposal of outdated equipment. Some remote organizations allow employees to bring in a consultant to make sure their workspaces are set up to be ergonomic

If you’re working from home short-term and are expected to return to an office when it’s safe, ask for what you need, but be willing to make acceptable compromises. Ordering a new office chair and desk might be off the table. Instead, a mouse, keyboard, laptop riser, and a back-supporting cushion go a long way and all together can cost less than $200. There are other cheap and easy ways to improve your home office, too.

8. Keep a Dedicated Office Space

In an ideal world, remote employees would have not only a dedicated office, but also two computers, one for work and one for personal use. It’s more secure for the employer, and it lets you do all your NSFW activities in private. 

But not everyone has a spare room to use as an office in their home, and keeping two machines isn’t always realistic. Instead, dedicate a desk or table space and some peripherals that will be used only for work. For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time. When it’s on your lap, that’s personal time. You may want to go as far as partitioning your hard drive and creating a separate user account for work. Making even small points of differentiation between work time and personal time helps your brain know when you’re off the clock, and that contributes to better work-life balance.

For more tips on creating a great workspace, see our story on cheap and easy ways to level up your home office. We also have tips for how to can maintain focus and productivity with our guide to keeping your desk tidy.

9. Maintain a Separate Phone Number

Set up a phone number that you only use for calls with colleagues and clients. It doesn’t have to be a landline or a second mobile phone, or even require a SIM card. It can be a VoIP service, such as Google Voice or Skype. 

Similar to some of the other tips, having a separate phone number helps you manage your work-life balance.

10. Use a VPN

Use a VPN whenever you’re connected to a network that you don’t control. That includes Wi-Fi at co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, airports, hotels, and so forth. Organizations often have their own VPNs that off-site employees need to access certain servers or websites that store information meant only for internal use. In those cases, you’ll also need to use a VPN at home. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of leaving your VPN connected as often as possible because it’s always safer to have it on than not.

One more point about VPNs: When you’re connected to a company VPN, your organization could conceivably see what you’re doing. So, don’t view porn via a corporate VPN.

11. Socialize With Colleagues

Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways to socialize. For example, they might have channels in a team messaging app, like Slack, for talking about common interests or organizing meetups for people in the same region.

Figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socializing, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. If you’re not at a company with a strong remote culture, you may need to be more proactive about nurturing relationships.

As much as team messaging apps are excellent venues for socializing, they tend to create distractions, too; check out these tips on how not to get overwhelmed by Slack.

12. “Show Up” to Meetings and Be Heard

Certainly, you’ll take part in video conferences and conference calls while working remotely, but it’s a good idea to attend optional meetings sometimes, too. Be sure to speak up during meetings so everyone knows you’re on the call. A simple, “Thanks, everyone. Bye!” at the close goes a long way toward making your presence known.

If your company uses Zoom Meetings for its video conferencing, you can quickly master its ins and outs with our story: Top Zoom Tips for a Locked-Down World

13. Get Face Time

If your employer is lax about getting you in a room with other employees, ask to have an annual or semi-annual trip in your contract. It could be for annual planning, training, or team building. Or, tack it onto some other business event, such as a yearly fiscal meeting, nearby conference, or office holiday party. Don’t wait around for someone to invite you to the office or an event. Be proactive.

For those unexpectedly working from home who are also trying to reduce face-to-face contact, set up a video call with your colleagues or manager once a week to check in. Don’t be afraid to let check-in meetings be as short as they need to be. Sometimes a five-minute conversation is all it takes to stay connected.

14. Take Sick Days

When you’re not well, take time off. If sick days are part of your compensation package, take the time off that you need. Not taking it is like throwing away money!

If you’re freelance or self-employed without paid sick time, it can be tempting to power through illnesses and keep working. Remember that for your long-term wellness and productivity, it’s best to rest and get better so that you can get back to work at full capacity.

15. Look for Training and Learning Opportunities

When you’re not in an office with your fellow employees, you might miss out on training and skills development courses that are taught in person. Your company might even forget to add you to its online training courses. It can be tempting to regard this as a dodged bullet, but you might be missing out on an opportunity to learn something useful. Speak up and make sure you’re included.

In addition to top-down training, you can request online or in-person courses, training, and coaching if you need it. There are also plenty of online learning sites that teach business soft skills, programming, software skills, and other courses. Remote companies often have a budget for learning and skills training. If your organization doesn’t, ask if they might add it.

In non-pandemic times, people who work 100 percent remotely might seek out learning opportunities that are taught at the organization’s headquarters or nearby. That way, you get training and face time with colleagues in one go.

16. Overcommunicate

Working remotely requires that everyone overcommunicate. 

Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. Don’t assume they’ll remember. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself. Joke about how you must have mentioned your upcoming vacation six times already, then mention it again.

17. Be Positive

Reading tone in written messages is really difficult in all-remote settings. The less face time you have with people, the more an intentionally concise message can come off as terse and short-tempered.

In remote work settings, everyone must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive, gushy even. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji. You’re going to need them 😀

18. Take Advantage of Your Perks

For two years, I baked a loaf of bread nearly every week. Why? Because I was home and I could. I love baking bread, but you need to be home to tend to it once an hour or so to punch down the dough, shape the loaf, and let it bake. It doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time, but you need to be there. When I worked in an office full-time, I struggled to find half a day when I was home to bake.

Working remotely comes with unique perks. Take advantage of them. You deserve it

19. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself or Others

Successful remote employees have a reputation for being extremely disciplined. After all, it takes serious focus to do any full-time job from an unconventional space.

That said, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes. If you find yourself working one minute and researching vacation house rentals the next, don’t reprimand yourself too harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether people in an office setting do the same thing. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work. Above all, remember, you need to balance productivity with self-care; otherwise, you risk burning out.

During the COVID-19 pandemic—but really all the time—we need to extend this same kindness and forgiving attitude to our co-workers, clients, and bosses. There is an extraordinary amount of stress and anxiety during a global pandemic. Keep in mind that you may not know what another person is going through not only in life, but also in their home work environment. Cut them some slack.

20. End Your Day With a Routine

Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be a sign-off on a business messaging app, an evening dog walk, or an at-home yoga class. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.

Make It Personal

Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other remote workers who are in the same boat. A supportive community does exist, whether you find them in your organization’s Slack channel or online through blogs or Twitter. Consider, too, that you might need to shake up your routine once in a while, lest it gets too…routine.

60 Reasons Why Entrepreneurship Is Amazing

Every entrepreneur has a different story about why he or she decided to start a business. Some have known from day one that they wanted to work for themselves and others come up with ideas while working for someone else and decide to take the entrepreneurial leap.

Most business owners will agree on one thing — being an entrepreneur is great. There are endless reasons for this, and every entrepreneur will have his or her own personal reasons as well. Here are 60 reasons, in no particular order, why I think entrepreneurship is amazing.

1. You have full control over your destiny. You call the shots and make the decisions that ultimately determine the success or failure of your business. Nobody will get in the way of your vision.

2. Entrepreneurs are innovators. Think of all the new technology and ideas that have come to life over the past few years. Those were all once just an idea — but amazing entrepreneurs brought those ideas to life.

3. You become part of a family. The entrepreneurial culture is almost like a big family — and you won’t find a better group of people willing to offer advice and help than fellow entrepreneurs.

4. You control who represents your brand. The team you surround yourself with plays a major role in your success — you can assemble a team of like-minded individuals that share your same drive and passion.

5. No dress code. CEO and Founder of Vivint, Todd Pedersen, was recently on the TV show Undercover Boss and stated that he wears a company-branded baseball hat daily. He is the boss — he can wear whatever he wants.

6. You have the opportunity to change lives. Have an idea for a product or service that has the potential to make a huge impact? Go for it — nothing is stopping you!

7. You have full control over your workspace. Do you excel in a creative environment? Want an office with dry-erase paint so you can draw on the walls and a full espresso bar to keep you full of caffeine? Make it happen!

8. It provides a rush that is hard to duplicate. There is no greater shot of adrenaline than the one you receive after reaching a goal and knowing you worked extremely hard to get to that point.

9. You serve as a role model. As an entrepreneur, people will look up to you. You have the ability to be a role model for family, friends, employees and community members. Your success serves as motivation and inspiration.

10. You will never be bored. There is always something to do and you will more than likely always have a mile long to-do list. Every day presents new challenges and new opportunities to keep you on your toes.

11. Freedom to travel. Modern technology, remote employees and the Internet allow you the freedom to travel while still running your business. Being able to see the world while creating an amazing company is a realistic possibility.

12. There is no age barrier. Entrepreneurs are starting at very young ages — some straight out of college, some while still in high school and even children as young as 9 years old that want to create healthy treats.

13. Your mind will always be utilized. Every single decision that involves your business is your responsibility, from the initial concept and branding to the growth and goal setting.

14. The satisfaction of saying you’re a business owner. It is a great feeling to be able step back and say, “this is my company,” while proudly holding your head up. Being an entrepreneur takes an incredible amount of work — those few words feel so good coming out of your mouth.

15. Go cubicle free. Entrepreneurs have total freedom to roam, create, delegate and work. There are no cubicles or desks to be tied to all day.

16. No blame game. As an entrepreneur, there is no finger-pointing when something goes wrong. Knowing every decision that I make daily directly impacts my business is the best kind of motivation.

17. You never feel undervalued. If you have ideas to make the business better you can implement them right away — you don’t have to hope that someone in a higher position will give you the time of day and listen to your suggestions.

18. Creating something from nothing. Every business starts as an idea. You get to create it from the ground up.

19. Opportunity to make a better mousetrap. Have an idea to make something better or more efficient? Make it happen!

20. Spend more time with family. Entrepreneurs with children have the ability to adjust their schedules to attend school functions and activities.

21. You get out what you put in. If you are willing to work harder than anyone else, you will be rewarded accordingly. Want to experience more growth and opportunities? Simply work harder.

22. Provide opportunities for family members. Many will say that mixing family and business partnerships is a bad idea (and I agree) — but this is less of an issue when talking about an employer/employee relationship.

23. Opportunity to give back. Owning a business gives you the opportunity to support local charity events, local schools and nonprofit organization. Being able to make a difference in your community is a great feeling.

24. Become healthier. A flexible schedule allows you to create a fitness routine and stick to it. Hit the gym early in the morning, at lunch or in the evening — whatever works for you.

25. Enjoy your hobbies. As long as you “do the work” and give 100 percent when in work mode, your free time can be spent doing the things you love. Attend more sporting events, play more rounds of golf or fish more. Being an entrepreneur provides you with the ability to enjoy your hobbies more.

26. You contribute to society. You can directly impact society by introducing a service or product that people use.

27. No more frantically checking the time. How many times does the 9-to-5 crowd check the clock daily? Often. As an entrepreneur your time management balance is key. Your day ends when your tasks and responsibilities are taken care of.

28. You report to nobody. There is no boss to report to and you don’t have to get expense requests approved. If you want to do something you believe will help your business there is no red tape to navigate through.

29. It’ll be one of the biggest challenges you will face. Leading a company and team members on a growth path is a huge challenge. The obstacles you face along the way will provide you with an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

30. No career hamster wheel. Imagine doing the same thing every day for as long as you work. Thankfully, as an entrepreneur you don’t have to worry about this — you wear multiple hats and play a variety of roles.

Related: Passion, Freedom and Impact: The 3 Ingredients of Business Success

31. The ability to pivot. If your business model slows down, you have the freedom to pivot. Think of how many businesses died because of the Internet. The ones with good leaders simply pivoted and made adjustments to survive.

32. You get to work with brilliant minds. As an entrepreneur you will connect with extremely intelligent people from all over the world. You encounter brilliant minds on your team and through business relationships.

33. Create a legacy. Creating a successful brand to the point where it leaves a personal legacy behind is appealing and serves as motivation for many entrepreneurs.

34. Turn your passion and beliefs into a business. Are you passionate about health and fitness? Become a nutritional consultant or open a gym. You have the ability to create a business as well as impact people through your passions and beliefs.

35. You can make people happy. There is a good chance you own an Apple product — an iPhone, MacBook, iMac, iPod or iPad. These products bring a smile to faces of millions every single day. Sure, Apple is making billions of dollars, but they are also making their customers happy.

36. You will never hit a ceiling. Some jobs have a growth cap and you can only advance so far. When you are an entrepreneur, there is no growth ceiling.

37. Earn a living doing what you love. Let’s face it, money is important. When you are able to make a comfortable living doing what you love it’s a win-win situation.

38. Feeling appreciated is great. It’s a great feeling when you receive an email or phone call from someone that took time out of his or her day to let you know that your business impacted them in a positive way.

39. Build your own security. It doesn’t get any more secure than controlling your own destiny. You will never stress about having the wrong person in charge of a business.

40. You get to constantly learn. As an entrepreneur you are always learning lessons — sometimes the hard way. It is a priceless education that you can’t get in a classroom.

41. Eliminate downsizing or layoff fears. Businesses make cuts and lay off employees daily. That can be extremely stressful. When you become an entrepreneur this fear doesn’t exist.

42. Bad days could always be worse. A bad day as an entrepreneur is better than a bad day working for someone else.

43. No degrees or pieces of paper stand in your way. You don’t have to have a degree from an Ivy League school to start a business. In fact, some of the most successful tech billionaires dropped out of college.

44. You get to push the envelope. There are no boundaries — create, invent and disrupt as you wish. This is how brilliant ideas are born.

45. Satisfy your personal curiosity. Most entrepreneurs are curious — will my idea work? Can I grow this into a sustainable business? Can I be a good leader?

46. No more boring meetings. Gone are the days of boring meetings — now, if you are in a boring meeting, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

47. Media and press acknowledgement. When your company receives media coverage and validation it is extremely satisfying. Recognition for the hard work you put in helps fuel your inner fire.

48. You become a provider. As an entrepreneur you will become a provider for many. Your employees will depend on your leadership and decision-making, as it will directly impact their livelihood and well-being.

49. Create your own corporate culture. You get to create a corporate culture based on your beliefs. Want to allow your employees to work from home on Fridays? How about providing in-office daycare to allow your employees to bring their children to work? You get to develop the corporate culture that you believe will provide the best environment for success and excellence.

50. Experience personal growth. It is a great feeling when you look back and see how much you have grown as an individual. The growth and success of a business is often directly related to the personal growth of the entrepreneur behind it.

51. You become an expert problem solver. As a business owner you become very resourceful and over time you will learn to overcome anything and solve any problem placed in front of you.

52. It never feels like work. Some might disagree — but that just means they haven’t found what they truly love to do. Once you do find that you will never refer to what you do as work.

53. Even learning disabilities can’t stop you. Johnny Earle, the creator of the brand Johnny Cupcakes, is proof that not even a learning disability can stop an entrepreneur from succeeding. If you don’t know Johnny’s story watch this video for some inspiration.

54. Endless life experiences. You get to travel to new places and interact with different people all the time. What some might see as just a business conference, you see as an opportunity to visit a new part of the world and meet people you would never have met otherwise.

55. You develop an iron jaw. You are going to get hit and knocked down. Learning to take the punches and continuing to get up turns you into a stronger business owner and individual.

56. You get to walk on the wild side. When you put your own livelihood and finances on the line because you believe in something 100 percent, it becomes an extreme rush.

57. You conduct your own performance review. Sales, company morale, growth and customer feedback can all be used to judge your performance — not some person with a clipboard and a generic Q&A review test.

58. You can get competitive with yourself. Entrepreneurs are competitive by nature. The goal is to constantly improve and grow, so turn it into a personal competition. Can you make more business contacts today than you did yesterday? Can you motivate your sales team to crush the numbers from yesterday?

59. It enables you to dream big. No idea is too crazy and no goal is too big when you are an entrepreneur — you can dream as big as you want!

60. You don’t have to be lucky. Luck has nothing to do with being successful. Thinking it does is just an excuse that prevents you from achieving success.

 

 

Article originally published on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243389

10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job

LinkedIn Influencer, James Altucher, published this post originally on LinkedIn

This was going to end badly.

My boss screamed at me in front of my colleagues. I had done something wrong of course. I had sent a product to the client without debugging it thoroughly. It was my fault. But I don’t like being yelled at.

And fortunately I was sitting on a job offer that I decided to take that moment. So the next day I said the magic words, “I quit”.

And then a few years after that, I quit again, and never went back to work in the corporate world.

And now it’s too late. Now the course of history has finally written its next chapter. There’s no more bullshit. I’m going to tell you why you have to quit your job. Why you need to get the ideas moving. Why you need to build a foundation for your life or soon you will have no roof.

1. The middle class is dead.

A few weeks ago I visited a friend of mine who manages a trillion dollars. No joke. A trillion. If I told you the name of the family he worked for you would say, “they have a trillion? Really?” But that’s what happens when ten million dollars compounds at 2% over 200 years.

He said, “look out the windows”. We looked out at all the office buildings around us. “What do you see?” he said. “I don’t know.” “They’re empty! All the cubicles are empty. The middle class is being hollowed out.” And I took a closer look. Entire floors were dark. Or there were floors with one or two cubicles but the rest empty. “It’s all outsourced or technology has taken over for the paper shufflers,” he said.

“Not all the news is bad,” he said. “More people entered the upper class than ever last year.” But, he said, more people are temp staffers than ever.

And that’s the new paradigm. The middle class has died. The American Dream never really existed. It was a marketing scam.

And it was. The biggest provider of mortgages for the past 50 years, Fannie Mae, had as their slogan, “We make the American Dream come true.” It was just a marketing slogan all along. How many times have I cried because of a marketing slogan. And then they ruined it.

2. You’ve been replaced.

Technology, outsourcing, a growing temp staffing industry, productivity efficiencies, have all replaced the middle class.

The working class. Most jobs that existed 20 years ago aren’t needed now. Maybe they never were needed. The entire first decade of this century was spent with CEOs in their Park Avenue clubs crying through their cigars, “how are we going to fire all this dead weight?”. 2008 finally gave them the chance. “It was the economy!” they said. The country has been out of a recession since 2009. Four years now. But the jobs have not come back. I asked many of these CEOs: did you just use that as an excuse to fire people, and they would wink and say, “let’s just leave it at that.”

I’m on the board of directors of a temp staffing company with one billion dollars in revenues. I can see it happening across every sector of the economy. Everyone is getting fired. Everyone is toilet paper now.

Flush.

3. Corporations don’t like you.

The executive editor of a major news publication took me out to lunch to get advice on how to expand their website traffic. But before I could talk he started complaining to me: “our top writers keep putting their twitter names in their posts and then when they get more followers they start asking for raises.”

“What’s the problem?” I said. “Don’t you want writers that are popular and well-respected?”

When I say a “major news publication” I am talking MAJOR.

He said, “no, we want to be about the news. We don’t want anyone to be an individual star.”

In other words, his main job was to destroy the career aspirations of his most talented people, the people who swore their loyalty to him, the people who worked 90 hours a week for him. If they only worked 30 hours a week and were slightly more mediocre he would’ve been happy. But he doesn’t like you. He wants to you stay in the hole and he will throw you a meal every once in awhile in exchange for your excrement. If anyone is a reporter out there and wants to message me privately I will tell you who it was. But basically, it’s all of your bosses. Every single one of them.

4. Money is not happiness.

A common question during my Twitter Q&A (that I give every Thursday from 330-430 PM EST), asked at least once a week, is “should I take the job I like or should I take the job that pays more money”.

Leaving aside the question of “should I take a job at all”, let’s talk about money for a second.

First, the science: studies show that an increase in salary only offers marginal to zero increase in “happiness” above a certain level. Why is this? Because the basic fact: people spend what they make. If your salary increases $5,000 you spend an extra $2000 on features for your car, you have an affair, you buy a new computer, a better couch, a bigger TV, and then you ask, “where did all the money go?” Even though you needed none of the above now you need one more thing: another increase in your salary, so back to the corporate casino for one more try at the salary roulette wheel. I have never once seen anyone save the increase in their salary.

In other words, don’t stay at the job for safe salary increases over time. That will never get you where you want – freedom from financial worry. Only free time, imagination, creativity, and an ability to disappear will help you deliver value that nobody ever delivered before in the history of mankind.

5. Count right now how many people can make a major decision that can ruin your life.

I don’t like it when one person can make or break me. A boss. A publisher. A TV producer. A buyer of my company. At any one point I’ve had to kiss ass to all of the above. I hate it. I will never do it again.

The way to avoid this is to diversify the things you are working on so no one person or customer or boss or client can make a decision that could make you rich or destroy you or fulfill your life’s dreams or crush them. I understand it can’t happen in a day. Start planning now how to create your own destiny instead of allowing people who don’t like you to control your destiny. When you do this count, make sure the number comes to over 20. Then when you spin the wheel the odds are on your side that a winning number comes up.

6. Is your job satisfying your needs?

I will define “needs” the way I always do, via the four legs of what I call “the daily practice”. Are your physical needs, your emotional needs, your mental needs, and your spiritual needs being satisfied?

The only time I’ve had a job that did was when I had to do little work so that I had time on the side to either write, or start a business, or have fun, or spend time with friends. The times when I haven’t is when I was working too hard, dealing with people I didn’t like, getting my creativity crushed over and over, and so on. When you are in those situations you need to plot out your exit strategy.

Your hands are not made to type out memos. Or put paper through fax machines. Or hold a phone up while you talk to people you dislike. 100 years from now your hands will rot like dust in your grave. You have to make wonderful use of those hands now. Kiss your hands so they can make magic.

One can argue, “not everyone is entitled to have all of those needs satisfied at a job.” That’s true. But since we already know that the salary of a job won’t make you happy, you can easily modify lifestyle and work to at least satisfy more of your needs. And the more these needs are satisfied the more you will create the conditions for true abundance to come into your life.

Your life is a house. Abundance is the roof. But the foundation and the plumbing need to be in there first or the roof will fall down, the house will be unlivable. You create the foundation by following the Daily Practice. I say this not because I am selling anything but because it worked for me every time my roof caved in. My house has been bombed, my home has been cold and blistering winds gave me frost bite, but I managed to rebuild. This is how I did it.

7. Your Retirement Plan is For S**t.

I don’t care how much you set aside for your 401k. It’s over. The whole myth of savings is gone. Inflation will carve out the bulk of your 401k. And in order to cash in on that retirement plan you have to live for a really long time doing stuff you don’t like to do. And then suddenly you’re 80 and you’re living a reduced lifestyle in a cave and can barely keep warm at night.

The only retirement plan is to Choose Yourself. To start a business or a platform or a lifestyle where you can put big chunks of money away. Some people can say, “well, I’m just not an entrepreneur .”

This is not true. Everyone is an entrepreneur. The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur: an ability to fail, an ability to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on those ideas, and to be persistent so even as you fail you learn and move onto the next adventure. Or be an entrepreneur at work. An “entre-ployee”. Take control of who you report to, what you do, what you create. Or start a business on the side. Deliver some value, any value, to any body, to somebody, and watch that value compound into a carer.

What is your other choice? To stay at a job where the boss is trying to keep you down, will eventually replace you, will pay you only enough for you to survive, will rotate between compliments and insults so you stay like a fish caught on the bait as he reels you in. Is that your best other choice? You and I have the same 24 hours each day. Is that how you will spend yours?

8. Excuses.

“I’m too old”. “I’m not creative.” “I need the insurance.” “I have to raise my kids”. I was at a party once. A stunningly beautiful woman came up to me and said, “James, how are you!?”

WHAT? Who are you?

I said, “hey! I’m doing well.” But I had no idea who I was talking to. Why would this woman be talking to me? I was too ugly. It took me a few minutes of fake conversation to figure out who she was.

It turns out she was the frumpish-looking woman who had been fired six months earlier from the job we were at. She had cried as she packed up her cubicle when she was fired. She was out of shape, she looked about 30 years older than she was, and now her life was going to go from better to worse. Until…she realized that she was out of the zoo. In the George Lucas movie, THX-1138 (the name of the main character was “THX-1138″) everyone’s choices are removed and they all live underground because above ground is “radioactive”. Finally THX decides better to die above ground than suffer forever underground where he wasn’t allowed to love. He wasn’t free.

He makes his way above ground, evading all the guards and police. And when he gets there, it’s sunny, everyone above ground is beautiful, and they are waiting for him with open arms and kisses. The excuse “but it’s radioactive out there!” was just there to keep him down.

“This is easy for you to say,” people say to me. “Some of us HAVE to do this!” The now-beautiful woman had to do it also. “What are you doing now?” I asked her. “Oh, you know,” she said. “Consulting.” But some people say, “I can’t just go out there and consult. What does that even mean?”

And to that I answer, “Ok, I agree with you.” Who am I to argue? If someone insists they need to be in prison even though the door is unlocked then I am not going to argue. They are free to stay in prison.

[Or, you can see my Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing with Excuses.]

9. It’s OK to take baby steps.

“I can’t just QUIT!” people say. “I have bills to pay”. I get it. Nobody is saying quit today. Before a human being runs a marathon they learn to crawl, then take baby steps, then walk, then run. Then exercise every day and stay healthy. Then run a marathon. Heck, what am I even talking about? I can’t run more than two miles without collapsing in agony. I am a wimp.

Make the list right now. Every dream. I want to be a bestselling author. I want to reduce my material needs. I want to have freedom from many of the worries that I have succumbed to all my life. I want to be healthy. I want to help all of the people around me or the people who come into my life. I want everything I do to be a source of help to people. I want to only be around people I love, people who love me. I want to have time for myself.

THESE ARE NOT GOALS. These are themes. Every day, what do I need to do to practice those themes? It starts the moment I wake up: “who can I help today?” I ask the darkness when I open my eyes. “Who would you have me help today?” I’m a secret agent and I’m waiting for my mission. Ready to receive. This is how you take baby steps. This is how eventually you run towards freedom.

10. Abundance will never come from your job.

Only stepping out of the prison imposed on you from your factory will allow you to achieve abundance. You can’t see it now. It’s hard to see the gardens when you are locked in jail. Abundance only comes when you are moving along your themes. When you are truly enhancing the lives of the people around you.

When every day you wake up with that motive of enhancement. Enhance your family, your friends, your colleagues, your clients, potential customers, readers, people who you don’t even know yet but you would like to know. Become a beacon of enhancement and then when the night is gray, all of the boats will move towards you, bringing their bountiful riches.

 

Originally published on: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240879

What is a Corporate Identity

You need a properly designed corporate identity(ci) if you want anyone to take you seriously and also you want you business to grow faster. I would suggest that you find a good designer and pay them well so that you get a great ci. This is a great investment into your future.

A corporate identity is the overall image of a corporation or firm or business in the minds of diverse publics, such as customers and investors and employees. It is a primary task of the corporate communications department to maintain and build this identity to accord with and facilitate the attainment of business objectives. It is usually visibly manifested by way of branding and the use of trademarks.

In general, this amounts to a corporate title, logo (logotype and/or logogram) and supporting devices commonly assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines govern how the identity is applied and confirm approved colour palettes, typefaces, page layouts and other such.

Below is an our own ci

Typography

Text

 

Colour Palette

Colour

 

Logo

Logo

 

Business Card

My-business2

 

Stationery

My-business

 

 Website Layout

My-business1

 

Our ci and website was designed by BWD

Excuses For Not Starting Your Own Company Demolished

If you go back a hundred years before the mechanization era, you would see that the default way of making a living was not through a job, but through farming. So that tells us the current default for making a living is temporary. The question is what’s next?

The next default could be starting startup. Just like getting a job is today. But should you start one now? Let’s look at all the reasons not to. And objectively examine our feelings.

Too Young.

The median age of startup founders is 27. Being too young is not about biological age. It’s about maturity. Would you feel like an equal talking to your employees who might be older than you? What if your investor or your co-founder said “your idea is stupid”. Would you agree or would you rebel? A kid would do either of these things. An adult would ask why.

Too Inexperienced.

The only 2 ways to get experience is to work for someone else or to work for yourself. Working for someone else gives you the experience of working for someone else. That’s not what you need in a startup. So the best way to get experience in startups is to start one.

Not determined enough.

You can’t get good at math through determination. To be good at math you need to learn the rules and then manipulate those rules. In startups there are no rules. So the determination to make up the rules and make them work can get you as far in startups, as your talent can get you in math.

Newbie in business.

What does it really mean when people say they know a lot about business? What business? Since startups by definition are new businesses with new business models, no one really knows about these businesses. So it’s OK if you don’t know, but be prepared to be the first one to find out.

No co-founder.

Startups are stressful, demanding, and all-consuming. Sounds a lot like life. Most people go through life with partners. So why would you want to go through a startup by yourself? There is a good chance it will be too much to bare for one person.

No idea.

Luckily ideas are free. And many startups change their idea midway anyway, so if you start with a not-so-good idea, and then turn it into a good one, you’ll be like most startups.

No room for startups.

Some gawkers comment that there are too many startups. That’s like saying that too many people are trying to solve world’s problems. There are enough problems in the world, big and small, for as many people as are willing to start a startup.

Family to support.

Most startups do not generate revenue for the first while. Revenue-free lifestyle may not be possible for people with families to support. There is always another way though. Consulting or building a paid product can give almost immediate income.

Independently wealthy.

Although few people have the problem of being so rich that it would discourage them from starting a startup, some are. For those people it’s still more exciting to work with people who may not be so rich.

Afraid of commitment.

Startup will take away your freedom. So if you value it more than anything, don’t do a startup. But that means you should not get a job either. If your startup succeeds, though, you may discover a new kind of freedom that is otherwise unavailable, like freedom to deliver products to millions of people.

Need for structure.

Some people say that they prefer a job because it gives them structure. It’s a nice euphemism. But really it means that they need someone else to tell them what to do. If that is you, don’t do a startup. Even many prestigious jobs don’t want to tell you what to do, though. So it may be better to look for structure elsewhere.

Fear of uncertainty.

There is not much uncertainty in startups – most of them fail. But a few don’t. So prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

 

Originally published on: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-graphic-will-demolish-every-excuse-you-have-for-not-founding-a-startup-2015-2

6 Best Practices for Working from Home

More and more entrepreneurs are working remotely. They may have an “office” at home, in a co-working space or even at the nearest coffee shop. Fortunately, technology has allowed everyone — even entrepreneurs who commute to a traditional office every day — to benefit from the flexibility of working from home when it’s needed or preferred.

Anyone who works from home will tell you that it has its benefits, yet also challenges. When I started my business in 1998, social media did not exist, I had no clients and most of my friends worked in a traditional office setting.

After working for a large hotel for nearly six years, I had grown accustomed to being surrounded by people each day. Working from home provided peace and solitude, yet I was lonely.

I had no one to interact with except my yellow Labrador. No humans were around for sharing ideas. I worked long hours, many in my pajamas. No one was there to hold me accountable for my work and I had to force myself to rise at a reasonable hour each morning and develop self-discipline.

But after a while, I set up a regular routine, joined some networking groups and adopted some best practices. Here are some tips to keep in mind to stay focused on your work throughout the day:

1. Set and keep regular office hours.

Most people who work from home find they work too much rather than too little. Other remote workers struggle to keep a regular schedule — working a few hours one day and pulling an all-nighter the next.

Some interruptions can’t be avoided. Client deadlines may unexpectedly require extra hours. Family obligations can interfere as well, especially if children are home during the day.

Do your best to set work hours and stick to them. Then try your best to leave work at the “office” and turn your phone on silent and enjoy the rest of your day. Give yourself some time to recharge so you can be as productive as possible.

2. Plan and structure your workday.

Structure your workday to maximize efficiency. Take advantage of your body’s natural rhythms and plan your work around your most productive hours.

If you know you focus best in the morning, resist the temptation to check email until 10 a.m. or later. A quick review of your calendar when you first start work can set you up for a productive workday.

Make a list of your most important tasks before you move on to less urgent business. If possible, shut your office door (if you have one) to signal to others that you’re working and don’t wish to be disturbed.

3. Dress to impress (even if it’s just for your dog).

As enticing as it is to stay in pajamas all day, this is not the best work habit. The way you dress affects you psychologically.

Taking the time to shower, have breakfast, brush the teeth and dress can make someone feel more confident. Maintain a casual (not sloppy) work wardrobe to help you transition smoothly between home and office — even if they’re in the same place.

4. Set aside a designated work area.

Consistency is an important aspect to working from home. Try to work at the same spot every day. It could be a spare bedroom that you’ve turned into a home office, a desk located in the corner of the living room or even the dining room table.

Make sure your workspace functions efficiently for you, your business and your style. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and make you happy including flowers, music and pictures. Make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day, an area where you can focus and do your best work.

5. Take breaks.

Schedule time for frequent breaks throughout the day. Rise from your desk, stretch or walk around the house or down the street. Take a lunch break and enjoy a midday meal.

If you need a little socializing, go out to lunch with friends or clients. A major advantage to working from home is having flexibility. If fitness is important to you, a quick trip to the gym can reinvigorate you and make for a productive afternoon.

6. Avoid distractions.

One challenge of working from home is accountability. With no colleagues or partners nearby, it’s easy to become distracted. There are always errands to run and chores at home to do. Do your best to put off household tasks, like laundry and dishes, until you’ve gone “home” for the evening.

Stay focused on work throughout the day to maintain consistent productivity. Avoid online distractions as well. Limit the time spent on email, social media and websites unrelated to work.

Set a timer on your phone or computer if necessary. Don’t waste time or money on meetings or activities that are counterproductive to your success.

 

 

Originally published on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242115

Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

What is the UIF?

  • A fund established in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001.
  • It offers short-term financial assistance to employees who are registered with the UIF, contribute monthly to it in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act 4 of 2002, and who:
    • become unemployed;
    • cannot work due to illness, maternity leave or adoption leave; or
    • are deceased and have dependents.

Who does the UIF apply to?

  • Every employer who pays remuneration to an employee must contribute on a monthly basis to the UIF
  • Employees must work more than 24 hours a month.
  • Employees can claim if their employers are bankrupt, contracts are completed, or if they are dismissed.
  • The UIF applies to domestic workers who work for 1 or more than 1 employer, and who lose their job at one of the employers or their employer dies.
  • The UIF does not apply to workers who are:
    • learners;
    • foreigners working on contract who will be sent back to their countries at the end of their contract period;
    • an employee who only earns commission;
    • an employee that receives remuneration under a contract of employment in terms of the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998; or
    • employees in the national and provincial spheres of Government who are officers and employees per the Public Service Act, 103 of 1994.

How is an employee registered?

  • The employer is responsible to register an employee with the UIF.
  • An employer must approach the Department of Labour and complete the necessary forms to ensure registration.

What is the amount of contribution?

  • A contribution to the UIF is made monthly.
  • Employees pay 1% of their salary and employers contribute another 1%.
  • For example: a domestic worker earns R1700 a month. S/he must contribute R17 to the UIF and the employer must contribute another R17 to the UIF.
  • It is the employer’s responsibility to deduct 1% from the employee’s salary (R17) and pay it, together with his/her 1% contribution(R17), to the UIF (totaling R34).
  • An employee who earns more than R14 872 a month will not contribute more than R148.72 a month.
  • There is no tax payable on the contribution or the benefit received.

How much money can be claimed?

  • A contribution to the UIF for 4 years or more entitles a claim for up to 238 days (34 weeks). A shorter period entitles an employee to claim 1 day for every 6 days worked.
  • Maternity leave allows a claim of only 121 days.
  • The UIF pays a percentage of the salary earned. The highest amount that can be paid is 58% of a salary earned per day.
  • Employees can claim from the day they stopped working until their benefits are used up or they start working again.

How to claim from the UIF?

  • Step 1: an employee must contact the Department of Labour to get the necessary documents depending on the type of claim (LegalWise can assist in this regard). Employees must claim within 6 months after they stop working.
  • Step 2: the employee must go to the nearest Labour Centre to hand in the documents. Staff at the Labour Centre will assist an employee with the processes and will give advice.
  • Step 3: an employee must follow the instructions of the staff, for example, the staff might request an employee to attend training.

When can the UIF refuse to pay benefits?          

  • Due to fraud, resignation, the employee accepts another job, s/he does not report at set dates and times or refuses to go for training or accept advice, or if benefits are claimed from the Compensation Fund or an Unemployment Fund under the Labour Relations Act.

What happens if there is a dispute regarding payment of benefits?        

  • If the Commissioner of the UIF or a claims officer rejects a claim for benefits, an appeal can be lodged with the Regional Appeals Committee by sending the prescribed appeal form to the UIF’s head office.
  • If an employee is not satisfied with the Regional Appeals Committee’s decision s/he can appeal to the National Appeals Committee.

Key

  • UNEMPLOYED: an employee loses his/her job due to a fair dismissal. A resignation is excluded.
  • ILLNESS: the illness results in an employee being off work for more than 2 weeks.
  • MATERNITY LEAVE: may be taken from at least 4 weeks before the expected due date and not within least 6 weeks after the delivery of the child.
  • ADOPTION LEAVE: where an employee adopts a child less than 2 years old.
  • DEPENDENT: a person relying on the support and survival of an employee such as the spouse or minor child/ren of the deceased employee.
  • COMMISSION: payment to an agent for selling something.
  • DOMESTIC WORKERS: a cleaner of a household; gardener; driver of a motor vehicle for a household; or a person who cares for children, the sick or aged. A farm worker is excluded.

How can My Business Registration help you?

  • A consultant can assist employers to register with the UIF.

How to Stop Making Excuses and Run With Your Business Idea

Introduce yourself to a stranger as an entrepreneur, and invariably that person will start talking to you about how he or she has this million-dollar concept that will change everything. You’ll listen politely and eventually respond with something like, “Sounds great, why haven’t you pursued it?” And that’s when the inevitable “if only” comes out: “If only I had the time/money/manpower/energy/[insert excuse here].”

But here’s a fact that every entrepreneur knows: There’s never enough time, money, manpower or resources to launch a business with ease. And it’s rarely the perfect time in your life to start a business. But you do it anyway, in much the same way you buy a house or get married or start a family; you regularly venture into huge and scary unknowns that could wipe you out financially and emotionally if you fail.

All this is to say that the best time to launch a business isn’t after the economy improves, or after the kids reach a certain age or when you have X amount of money socked away in your retirement account. The best time is now. If you have a solid idea and the passion to see it through, then you’ve got all you need to get started.

For inspiration, look back on the Great Recession. Millions were thrown out of work, yet hundreds of thousands of people started new businesses. And I’m willing to wager that a good number of those businesses were launched because the owners had no other choice: There were no jobs available, and to put food on the table they hustled up a new career.

Many of them may not think of themselves as entrepreneurs in the classic sense, but they are.

So the question for you is this: Are you going to wait until you lose your job to make the decision to launch a business, or will you take your idea and run with it now? I think you know the answer.

 

 

Originally published on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225956

5 Excuses That Shouldn’t Stop You From Bringing Your Ideas to Life

I’ve heard every excuse in the book from my students about why they’re unable to turn their ideas into reality. But the only way to succeed at becoming an entrepreneur is to have the courage to take that first, small step.

Unfortunately, most of us tend to focus on everything we think we can’t do, rather than what we can do. As a result, we never even get started. It doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve listed (and rebutted) some of the most common excuses I hear below — do any of them sound familiar?

1. I don’t have any experience. The truth is that you need less experience than you think. I bet most successful entrepreneurs would tell you they learned by doing. In fact, I think lacking experience can actually be helpful, because your fresh eyes allow you to see things differently. When I started a guitar pick company, I had never worked in the music industry before. I asked a lot of questions, used the internet to do research, found mentors in the business and recruited a partner who did have experience. But I was able to see opportunity when others couldn’t, because they were too close to the industry. They were artificially constrained by what they thought was a given — I wasn’t.

2. I don’t have any time. Starting a company is a big commitment, I agree. It takes an incredible amount of time. But there are other ways you can bring your product ideas to life that require very little time, such as licensing an idea. I always tell my students: Don’t quit your day job, because you don’t have to. (Of course, to do so would be unnecessarily risky.) You can successfully license an idea by dedicating your lunch break and some time before and after work and on the weekends. Your licensee is going to do the heavy lifting. You just need to figure out how to get your idea to them.

3. I don’t have enough money. Today, there are a lot of options for starting a business. If you work smart, there is always a way to do something efficiently for less. I have been cutting costs for years, from hiring college students to do graphic design work to filing for a provisional patent application myself, using excellent (and affordable) software. You can bootstrap your operation — and still be very successful. With crowdfunding, it’s never been easier.

4. Protecting my idea is expensive. Yes, filing patents is very expensive. But that’s not your only option and it shouldn’t be a major deterrent. I cannot give legal advice, but filing a PPA is a great way to start out. (If you make less than $150,000, you can file a PPA for $65.) Filing a PPA allows you to label your idea “patent pending” for up to a year. A year is more than enough time to test the waters. Maybe you can find someone who is willing to pay for your patents.

5. Prototypes are expensive and hard to make. Before you start thinking about needing to create a prototype, you need to determine that there’s interest in your idea by crafting a sell sheet. A sell sheet is a one-page advertisement that can be used to gauge interest in your idea. It’s very basic — just your one-line benefit statement, a rendering of your idea drawn by a graphic artist and your contact information. ELance is a great affordable resource — I’ve hired graphic designers to draw one of my product ideas for less than $100. (Always have them sign a nondisclosure agreement.) I show my sell sheet to potential investors and licensees. If they’re interested, I go about proving my idea can be made.

There’s really no good reason not to get started if you have genuine enthusiasm. Don’t let your fear of failure hold you back. If you want it bad enough, it is possible.

So what’s your excuse?

7 Ways To Make Money That Actually Work!

I can remember my teenage days well. I didn’t want to work, but I needed to make money to support my social life. So I umpired, cut grass, and bagged groceries.

I didn’t particularly love any of the jobs, but in order to offset my spending, I needed to work.

The good news for us today is there are a wide range of ways to make money- that weren’t around when I was a teenager.

Most of them require a good work ethic, but there are a lot of new opportunities available.

Luckily for many of us, we may already be very skilled in certain areas that could easily translate into a nice side income for us. For example, I remember hearing about a teenage girl who designed Myspace backgrounds and was making more money than her parents.

So potentially, a teenager who is willing to work hard could make considerably more than working traditional “jobs” like at McDonalds, cutting grass, bussing tables, etc.

Get paid to Tweet

Did you know that advertisers will pay you to send out tweets about their products?

As you could imagine the bigger your audience the more you will get paid, but you can find out more here – SponsoredTweets.com.

Tutor or give lessons

Are you great at guitar, math, or kicking a field goal?

Why not advertise your skills to those a few years younger than you?

Many parents are willing to pay a teenager to tutor their child in an area that needs development.

Post an ad to Craigslist for free and see what happens!

Take online surveys

I am not particularly fond of the whole online survey thing since I had a bad experience using CashCrate.

But there are lots of online survey sites and people who do it successfully. Here are a few if you want to investigate it further:

I recommend proceeding with caution and definitely not paying anything to join.

Work as a virtual call center agent

One of our writers worked as a virtual call center agent and this is what she had to say about LiveOps.com

“Live Ops is a company that hires virtual call center agents. You are responsible for paying for your own criminal background check prior to starting work (this costs around $30). You also must have your own dedicated phone line and a quiet workspace.

Once you are all set up, Live Ops has an excellent online training program that teaches you how to handle calls from customers. You will be taking calls for many different companies. When you start working, your phone will ring and a script will pop up on your screen. You simply read the script word for word and input customer information as you go along. If customers have questions, there is a section on your screen with FAQ’s and you are also logged into a virtual chat room should you need to ask for support from a supervisor.

The pay is .25 per minute of talk time. Agents typically make anywhere from $7-$14 per hour. As for the hours, they are totally flexible. You can choose which shifts you want to work each week and the shifts are broken down into half hour increments giving you optimal flexibility. You can even log in and work if you are not scheduled for some impromptu cash.”

Testing websites

Website owners are occasionally looking for feedback about their websites. Usertesting.com allows you to get paid to test and give feedback about websites.

Their current payouts are $10-$15 per test.  The tests normally take about 20 minutes.

Sell Digital Photos

Making money as a photographer has become easier over the last decade. There are now lots of sites looking to buy digital photos:

As with most things, the better you are, the more money you will make, but it can be a nice passive income if you work at it!

Offer to do jobs on Gumtree or OLX

Gumtree and OLX are websites that connects those offering random services (like walking a dog, being a personal assistant for a day, giving guitar lessons, etc) with buyers who are looking for those services. I would suggest checking out some of the ideas listed on the site and sign up and offer those services.