Fun and Novel Items for Your Home Office

Working from home, just like working from the traditional office, can be a real drag sometimes. Fortunately, you can find a variety of office supplies, items, and gadgets that may give a little more life to your workspace. You will be surprised at the variety and the uniqueness of their features that you may not expect them to have. Some items offer a combination of usefulness (or uselessness), entertainment and humor – you know, just to dispel those usual office doldrums. They can even make you chuckle! Check out some of them:

1) USB Pet Rock
Remember that inexplicable toy phenomenon during the 1970s that was the Pet Rock? For those who do not have an idea what it is, find about it in the article “Stupid Ideas That Made Millions”.

Now it goes high tech, although you’d wonder if the upgrade makes the Pet Rock any more useful than it was before. Plug it into any USB port, and let the fun begin! It does not suck in power, nor does it not need to be cared for or fed. In fact, it doesn’t do anything at all – except make you smile and laugh. Still the good ol’ low maintenance Pet Rock.

2) USB Mini Desk Vacuum
Ordinary chores such as vacuuming become even more enjoyable on a miniature scale. The USB-powered Mini Desk Vacuum has the appearance of a true life-size stand-up vacuum cleaner. It is useful for sucking in dust and small crumbs that fall on your desk or your laptop keyboard. When the bag is full, empty it just like you do with a full-sized household vacuum. Plus, it looks so cute it can even have a place inside Barbie’s home!

3) Exercise balls
Sitting in the office desk all day can be a real pain and you want to stretch and relax your stiff muscles once in a while. But a lot of exercise equipment is expensive, while some are a bit difficult or boring to use. Try those big exercise balls – it’s a low-budget but fun way to keep yourself fit and healthy. Aside from being fun to use, these exercise balls provide a lot of serious health benefits!

4) Tengu USB Powered Character
If you’re feeling a bit anti-social for the moment but you still want some company, the Tengu USB Powered Character would make an adequate replacement. The face of this little armless character features blinking LED lights as its way of reacting to its surroundings. It does lip-synching to music and even to your own voice! How cool is that?

5) Stuffed Blobfish
Hurrah for someone who thought of making a stuffed toy blobfish! He’s ugly yet adorable. The blobfish is one of Mother Nature’s most aesthetically challenged creations, but he needs a lot of love, too!

6) Legos
Legos are not that novel any longer but they’re still cool additions to your office. Those iconic colorful building blocks open your creativity and imagination to endless heights. Legos are always guaranteed to be fun.

7) Ctrl + Alt + Del Coffee Cups
Amp up the geek in you with these nifty keyboard-shaped coffee cups! They’re actually quite popular, with the black cups generally being more expensive than the white cups (Note: these coffee cups are NOT microwave-safe, but they’re dishwasher-safe).

8) Office nap pillow
Many people think that toiling away at the office too much will make them productive. But it’s actually counter-productive. While you need to focus on your work, you also need to take a break. If your eyes are tired and you’re feeling a bit woozy, an office nap pillow will be your best friend. Just don’t sleep through the rest of your work hours, though!

Tips to Get You Motivated While Working at Home

Everyone needs motivation at work. Even work-at-home freelancers. Sure, there are lots of benefits of being their own boss working from their own abodes. They can work at their own time and pace, and they don’t even have to dress in sharp suits like before when they used to work at the office. Thanks to the Internet and technology, it is highly possible to be productive without getting out of the house.

But like in every work situation, there are times that it is easy for work-at-home freelancers to acquire bad habits such as lack of self-discipline and motivation. Perhaps it may be even easier to do so, because they feel too comfortable in their own spaces – and end up struggling to stay focused on their own assignments. If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t lose hope! Take a look at the following tips to stay motivated while working from your own home.

1) Wake up early.
If you are especially new to this transition – from working in an office to working at your own home – waking up early proves to be quite difficult and even challenging. Since you no longer have to face the consequences of arriving late at the office (and that grumpy look on your boss’ face), you now feel little motivation to wake up at a reasonable hour and begin your work.

You may be tempted to stay in the bed longer and start working later than what you used to, but try hard to fight against it. Starting your work late in the day can quickly turn itself into a bad habit and that reduces your motivation to take it seriously.

Train yourself to wake up early just like you used to do when you were still working in a traditional office setting. Recent studies show that waking up early in the morning makes people more proactive. Wake up early, and begin your work following the standard business hours of 8 or 9 A.M. Being up early in the morning, the desire to finish your work early prompts you to work harder, faster and more efficiently.

2) Dress more properly when working.
One of the best things about working at home is that you don’t have to spend half an hour on what clothes to wear for work (admit that – it’s also one of the reasons of getting late). You also don’t have to adhere to somebody else’s dress code.

Still though, why make a point of dressing properly when you’re at home, right? There’s a reason for that. Dr. Karen Pine, a psychology professor, points out that “when we put on an item of clothing, it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment.”

In other words: if you are clad in your sleepwear while trying to work, you may feel lazy and may lose motivation and focus on your job.

Now, we do not suggest that you have to dress sharply in a business suit and tie when working at home. But you have to dress something comfortable, but also functional enough to make you feel that you’re actually putting on some work attire. A pair of comfortable jeans and a collared shirt or blouse will make for a decent work-at-home ensemble. Dressing up a bit will motivate you more in accomplishing your tasks.

3) Stay focused.
Distractions are detrimental to your focus on your work. For the moment, stay away from your phone, social media, Internet, chat, YouTube (unless editing videos is part of your job) and many others. Even if you have that sudden urge to make yourself a cup of joe, grab a snack, or put off your actual work for now to catch your favorite series, don’t. It will eat up your time that you would have devoted to your job.

Always finish your task first. Once you’re done, use those “perks” as a reward to yourself.

4) Get out of the house.
Sure, it’s good to stay focused on your job, but do you want it to become some sort of a self-imposed exile? You need to take a break too. You need to balance your career and the other things that also matter to you. Get out of the house. Take invigorating walks and get some sunshine. Go shopping (even grocery shopping – it’s therapuetic!). Stretch your strained muscles at a gym. Meet a friend over coffee. You need to go out, and be out and about, even for just once in a while – you need that to keep your health and sanity intact.

Going out with your friends once in a while makes a great stress-buster!

5) Socialize.
Working from home is good, but it can also be lonely. It can also lead to a feeling of isolation. It is a far cry to your office days when you had co-workers to talk and banter with, day in and day out.

Once your work is done for the day, socialize with other human beings. Spend the day with your family. Or if you’re living alone, make up for the lack of human contact by going out of the house and having casual conversations with your neighbors, out with your friends, calling up your former co-workers, or even by striking a simple chit-chat with the clerk as you make your way to the grocery check-out. No matter who you are having conversations with or what you are discussing about, interacting on a regular basis will help build your social skills. It is something that e-mail, chat or Skype won’t be able to give you.

If you want to meet new folks, join a class or a group whose interests and hobbies mirror your own. It is also good for your personal growth and productivity.

What Are the Best Colors for Your Home Office?

Color profoundly influences how we do things. Those include our mood, professional conduct, performance and productivity in an office setting.

If you’re designing a home office at the moment, you’re definitely planning to put paint colors very soon. But you may be wondering what type of color should be the right one for it. You can call for a professional painting service for color consultation, or you can do your own research by looking at interior design magazines or explore many office interior color ideas on the Internet.

The general rule of thumb is that light colors are ideal for smaller spaces as they make them appear larger, while darker colors are ideal for bigger spaces as they make them appear more snug. But if you have more trouble which exact colors and hues will suit perfectly for your home office, this article is here to help you out with color suggestions. However, your paint color choice can also depend on the current accent pieces of your home office as well as your personal preferences.

The following colors are best used as the primary colors for your home office:

1) Blue
Blue is considered as an “intellectual” color as it represents truth, wisdom, logic and communication. It also gives off a calming effect and provides an emotionally comfortable and stable impact on an average worker who’s usually had too much of the office drama. Blue should be used as a primary color in your home office, as it will enhance your sense of focus as well as good communication with your colleagues via Skype.

2) Green
Green, like blue, has a soothing and calming effect. Green is all about harmony, balance, growth and reassurance. This color is more suitable for occupations where creativity is enforced. Say, if your job is an architect, graphic artist, fashion designer, website content writer, interior designer, floral decorator, musician or a cartoonist working at home, green should be the primary color of your home office. Since green is easy on the eyes, this is ideal for jobs that require long hours.

3) White
White is a no-brainer choice especially if your home office is particularly tiny, as this color provides an illusion of a bigger space. It also represents cleanliness, perfection and practicality. You may be surprised to find many shades of white – cream, off-white, beige, eggshell, and even something called “cosmic latte.” Another great thing about white is that it is a versatile color – you can pair your all-white office space with something that brings a pop color such as a red beanbag chair, a vase with colorful blooms, or a big framed reproduction of a Van Gogh painting. Or you can go with the classic black-and-white or brown-and-white motif if you want.

4) Brown
Brown is a natural color – the color of earth, wood and chocolate! This is often an underrated but highly effective color, as long as the perfect shades are chosen. The darker tones of brown give the whole space an earthy and comfortable feel, while the lighter shades give off warmth and make excellent neutrals. Brown also represents stability, reliability and security. You can see many offices which are accented with browns, such as desks and cabinets. Contrasted with the crisp white, brown hues will be more highlighted and enhanced.

Here are the following suggested colors that are best as accent colors, or should be used only in moderation:

1) Red
Red is a color of passion and energy. But too much red can make one aggressive, irritable or angry. Red can also make you stressful and may make you distracted especially if your job requires attention to detail. So if you want some pop of pep and excitement to your office space, you may reserve red as an accent color for the walls.

2) Yellow
Yellow is known as a happy color – the color of sunshine. This color induces stimulation and creativity. But too much of yellow can incite feelings of anger, irritability, aggression, as well as fear – almost all those negative emotions! It may be okay as an accent color but not as a primary color, as yellow can make it hard for you to concentrate because of the energetic vibe that this color gives off.

3) Orange
Orange the color of energy, enthusiasm and stimulation. Although it is not as aggressive as red, too much of orange can be overwhelming, so it is best to use in moderation.

4) Turquoise
While blue is suitable as a primary color, it still depends on the choice of the shade. Of all tones of blue, turquoise is the one that should be avoided. While it catches your attention initially, it becomes too intense, leaving you probably too overwhelmed and distracted.

5) Purple
Purple is often associated with passion, luxury and romance. It promotes deep contemplation, which can be beneficial if your work requires focus. It strikes a perfect balance between the energy of red and the calmness of blue. However, you should use this color carefully, as the wrong shades of purple can have a negative effect on your mood and productivity.

When you need to change the look of your home office simply look for simple tips on this helpful article, “The Top 3 Ways to Refurbish Your Property.”

Essential Home Office Supplies

Every home office is different. Some of us has carved out a decent work space out of that little nook from our living rooms or bedroom. Others though, boast a full office suite complete with soundproofing, a door with smart locks, and a huge fish tank. While there are some who have converted their once-dusty attic into a decent working office space.

But no matter how much or how little the accoutrements, accessories and other impressive gadgets a home office might have, it should not miss on having the essentials. With these essential items, they already make your home office a complete and efficient one. Everything else comes second.

As more and more people are telecommuting nowadays, it seems that there is an increasing trend of converting certain areas of their homes into a dedicated work space or office. Many are looking for home office setup and design ideas on the Internet. If you plan to work at home, you should not forget to include the following things to your own list of home office essentials:

1) Laptop computer
A laptop computer represents everything great about working at home: mobility and flexibility. Even if you already have a desktop computer, having a laptop gives you more flexibility. Nowadays, only a paucity of at-home workers or home business owners can manage their work without using a laptop or desktop computer. Do your research online and look for laptop computers – brands, sizes and other specifications such as storage and batter capacity – that will meet your specific needs.

2) Monitor
If you have a desktop computer, it’s obvious that you need a monitor. However, it can also be helpful (and a less pain on the neck) if you have a monitor plugged in to your laptop. You may have to consider the specific requirements of your day-to-day office duties, so if your job involves a lot of multitasking, you are likely to need a second monitor.

3) High-speed Wi-Fi or Internet access
This is truly a must-have. Business transactions nowadays consist of sending large files, long-distance communicating with your bosses and subordinates and live tele-conferencing. And all of these things require a high-speed Internet connection to get things done on time. So when you really need to be an efficient work-at-home employee, it’s time to say goodbye to your old dial-up connection: high-speed Wi-Fi is the truly the way to go.

Plus, with Wi-Fi, it allows you work everywhere in your turf: in the living room, at the back porch or at the front lawn when you want to work in a more different atmosphere.

4) Desk
For a traditional home office, a desk is a certainly a must-have to create a basic workstation. An ergonomic desk is the best, and you can find types of desks with adjustable heights so that you can stand up while still working after prolonged hours of sitting. Nowadays, there are “smart” desks that offer clever storage and even wireless mobile charging features.

5) Chair
Comfort is one of the top priorities in an office setting, so it’s important that you should invest on a good office chair. A comfortable and ergonomic office chair will enable you to become more efficient at work.

6) Label maker
You say you don’t need a label maker? Think again. One day when you need to label everything – folders, file cabinets, binders, even ballpoint pens and staplers – you will definitely purchase this nifty gadget. By labeling your things with using a label maker, everything in your office will become more organized and less cluttered.

7) Safe
Even though you may have already lots of storage, you will still need a safe. Why? It will protect your most important documents, files, paperwork and other data from theft, fire, floods, etc. Depending on how much you will store, you can find a safe that’s small and compact enough to fit in a cabinet, or a large enough safe that can be bolted to a wall or floor.

8) Telephone and/or VoIP
With Internet-based phone services and the use of mobile phones, you may not need the traditional landline. But if you’re working from home and majority of your job consists of taking calls, you may need this type of phone service access, and maybe even a fax line.

9) Wastebasket
This is oft-neglected item is actually one of the most important things to include to your home office. If you don’t want garbage to pile up on your desk but you are otherwise too busy to dispose of them at a trashcan outside your home for the moment, there’s the wastebasket or trash bin which you can be put right under or beside your desk.

Other office accessories
You may do without them at first because they are basically non-essential office items. But if a specific need arises — such as needing to block off outside noise that may disturb you in your work — you can check out this list of awesome, unique and cool office accessories that can bring more excitement, comfort or ease to your work space.

Practical Design Tips for Your Own Home Office Setup

Nowadays, more people have willingly committed to work in their own homes because they enjoy many benefits from it. You don’t have to suffer rush-hour traffic, you can work in your pajamas, your schedule is more flexible and made more personalized than it was when you used to work in your 9-to-5 job – and still be able to meet deadlines and hold big tele-conferences and meetings effectively.

Another benefit of working in your own home is you can turn any nook and cranny of your house into your own office. As it is your personal space, you can design the home office of your dreams. You can do that in any way and style imaginable – the sky is the limit! At the same time though, aesthetic should also be balanced with functionality.

The Internet is a goldmine for practical design tips that you can apply to your home office. If you are looking for them, you have just come to the right place! Without further ado, here are simple but practical suggestions that you can use to your own home office.

1) Make sure you have a comfortable office chair
This may sound simple, but imagine yourself having to use your dining chair and sit on it for several hours a day? That would be a literal pain in the butt (as the well as on your back). Invest on a good-quality office chair that will provide a nice support to your body as you’re making calls or focused at working on a strict deadline.

2) Make sure to separate your office away from home
Again, this may sound like a no-brainer. But with more people telecommuting on a regular basis, it is extremely now important to have a dedicated space for your office work. It allows you to be more focused on your job, as well as to switch off from work when you’re at home. As much as we enjoy being with our loved ones, sometimes we really need to focus on our jobs. It’s best to have your office door locked to avoid unexpected interruptions and chaos while you’re in a conference call or rushing to some important deadline.

3) Go green
Having natural plants doesn’t only make your office look pretty. It’s also good for your health and your well-being. They actually help clear and filter out some noxious toxins in the air, keeping it clean. Plus, having natural plants will also help reduce stress and sickness – just looking at a little plot of bonsai can make you feel really good.

If you don’t have a green thumb, there are lots of indoor plants that are hardy and require little maintenance. These include aloe vera, snake plant, spider plant, cacti and some succulents. They come in little pots that will fit in most desks.

4) Invest on a good lighting
Working near the window is always a good idea so as to let natural daytime light into the space. However, make sure not to place your computer or laptop directly under the sunlight.

Sometimes, office hours can extend well into the evening depending on how much workload you should finish to avoid beating the deadline. That’s where the need for a good lighting arises. This aspect is frequently overlooked, but it greatly impacts your mood and productivity.

In lieu of natural light, or when you’re working in the evening, try out different lighting types with various intensities, and find the one that will work for you. It’s best to choose the one with enough light to illuminate your desk, but not with too much intensity as to hurt your eyes.

5) Storage and shelving
It’s important that your home office has ample storage for your papers, files and other odds and ends. But this aspect is overlooked when designing a home office. Make sure that you have enough shelves and filing cabinets in your home office.

You also have to look at your work flow – which work comes in, which will remain, which will be the pending ones and which goes out when you’re done. Even though almost everything is online even at work, nevertheless you should have an inbox and outbox (actual ones, that is) placed on your desk, or next to your desk. It’s important to locate your storage nearby so that your files can be easily accessed.

6) Show off your personality
The great thing about having a home office is that you can bring your own personality and style to it. Nothing and no one will limit you when it comes to your design ideas that are based on your personal taste. However, it is better to add items that are functional apart from being stylish.

For example: if you are into anything vintage or retro, we’re sure you will love these retro office accessories that will not only make your desk looking elegant, but should be functional as well. Putting up antique-looking posters will even add an old-world ambiance to your office. A nice and comfortable sofa is a good idea, as it will allow you to rest your eyes during a break — it would be better if you choose a sofa bed with additional storage.

Have a taste of vintage pop culture and want to incorporate it to your home office? Check out the “10 Popular 70s Decorating Trends That Are Making a Comeback” for great suggestions!

Another style tip: add a rug (especially a light-colored one). It will not only make your space more beautiful and cozy, but it will also help in demarcating certain areas of your home office space.

Making Money from Blogging

Many people consider blogging a hobby and not something that can be lucrative, but the fact is that it’s possible to make money from blogging – and not just small amounts. Some people make huge incomes from blogging.

I got into blogging after making some money from paid surveys (like ones here) and then realising I wanted to do something more creative.

What is blogging?

A blog is exactly what this website is – it’s where someone (or someones) write about a topic and people read it. Some people write blogs dedicated to a specific topic – like me here, writing about working from home. Other people write a general blog which can be more like a personal diary. Basically it can be whatever you want it to be, but it generally has some type of personal focus.

How do you make money from blogging?

There are so many different ways to make money from blogging. It can be quite mind boggling!

Some people make money from display advertisements. You have probably seen this on many sites before. Other people make money from affiliate marketing (explained here). Other people sell their own products on their blogs. Another popular way to make money from blogging is to write sponsored posts. This is when a company pays you to promote their product.

Many people don’t make money directly from their blog but use it as a platform to sell other services. This is what I do. I don’t make any money from my blog directly, but many people read what I have to say and then pay me for business coaching (contact me if you’re interested!).

Most bloggers do a combination of all of these.

What’s possible?

The sky is the limit when it comes to income from blogging. It’s crazy the amount some people make.

For example, check out Pat Flynn on his blog Smart Passive Income. He makes over $100,000 a month from his blog!

Of course many bloggers make a lot less or even nothing. In my experience working with bloggers, however, is that bloggers with the right mindset – one which involves being serious about making money and putting in the effort to do what it takes, tend to be successful. The many bloggers out there that don’t put in the effort to make and implement a concentrated plan to building up their income are the ones that make little to none. Even blogs with hundreds of thousands of page views do not make much money without concentrated effort.

Making money from blogging is entirely possible – you just have to work at it.

Balancing Life and a Home Business

Running a home business can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It gives you the opportunity to take control of your own life, to organize things in the way you want and to truly be your own boss. Although this flexibility is welcomed, it can also sometimes be troublesome.

Many people (including myself) can find it hard to separate life and business, as it is entirely their own project. When you work from home, you will quickly realize how essential it is to have this separation. Your home business can easily become ‘your life,’ whereas often the aim is to get your life back!

Below are some strategies that can help you in achieving a balance.

home business

Make daily plans

For me, a daily plan is essential. When I don’t make a plan, I find myself stumbling through the day and am nowhere near as productive as the days that I do have a plan.

It is a good idea to base your plans off a standard routine. Create a template of things you regularly do, such as checking emails, sending certain documents, making phone calls and dedicated breaks. Allowing this template to be flexible is key, and still will enable you to plan for everyday.

Having a plan will also help you to complete the day’s work, as well as give you a guide of what work is completed, allowing you to make a plan for next day and to follow through with any unfinished work.

Have a dedicated space where you work (and only work)

This is another essential.  A space where you work and identify only with work can help throw you into the mindset that you need to complete the task at hand. Opening your house to your home business can be daunting, and having reminders scattered around the house will only work to stress you further about the things you ‘should’ be doing.

There is also something rewarding about leaving the workspace, closing the door and forgetting about it. The luxury of this only comes from a dedicated space. Both a home office and an office rental space (where you choose the times you come and go) can do wonders.

Have an exercise regime

This could be one of the most underrated luxuries of working from home. I am a strong believer that to get energy, you need to use energy.

The luxury of working from home means those things are on your own time. Starting the day with a run no longer needs to begin at 6am. You can wait until 9am to run or even some simple cardio.

Mind block? Go for a run! Feeling claustrophobic? Go for a run! This can also help you unwind at the end of the day. One of the most rewarding things is to take care of yourself, and this can help you be more productive.

An energetic body and an active mind are always better than sitting and worrying about the work to be done.

Make time for the things you enjoy

As important as it is to make time for work, it’s also important to make time for the things you enjoy. This can range from a hobby, such as playing the guitar to spending time with your family. Making time for the things that you enjoy to do can ward off the imbalance that working from home can create.

The flexibility or working from home allows you to choose what you do and when you do them. The lack of restriction can be exactly what your family needs, because instead of putting work first, you can put them first. And after all, isn’t that what’s important?

Working Online – Choosing The Right Niche

A list of ways to make money online could literally go on forever. There are some great ways to make money online, but one that proves to be reliable time and time again are niche sites.

If you are unfamiliar with niche sites, here is the lowdown. Basically, a niche site is one where you pick a certain product/products to write about and sell via affiliate marketing. They can take time to build trust and value, but once they do, they can become a reliable source of income.

A big part of making money with a niche site is picking the right area. Do not just pick an area that makes a lot of money. There is more to it than that.

I would say to consider quality over quantity and to remember the basics of economics – people will purchase when the opportunity cost represents better value. For this, you need the right traffic. Follow the tips below towards building the right niche site.

1. Talk to other owners of Niche sites

Get an idea of what others do to make money. Speaking to other niche site owners is invaluable. Sam Webster writes about baby car seats to help readers find the best convertible car seats to buy.

Sam tells me that having children of her own and knowledge of other car seats definitely helps. She has hands on experience in buying and reviewing car seats, but knows there is more to it than this. She knows the process is not easy.

Sam also says that she surveyed parents and asked what they want to know about. Sam had several options to choose from but could see that this was the best one for her. Check out how The Stroller Site makes money here.

2. Pick an area you already have knowledge in

Knowing about the product you are trying to market is invaluable. It allows you to write individualized and quality information for your website and adds that personal touch.

You can see a website that is purely trying to make money from a mile away. Having knowledge on the product will give you an obvious advantage over your competitors.

It will also make the content easier to write and make the whole process more enjoyable. It can take a lot of effort to write and design an entire website and having the relevant knowledge just makes the process so much easier.

3. Contact relevant companies

Again, this will give you an advantage over the competitors. It will make your work more trust worthy and add a personal touch. When people research reviews, they are looking for personalized and unbiased reviews.

By contacting a company, you can have the product sent to you so that you can add your own photos and a reflection of your true thoughts. It can also be a great way to score freebies as many companies will let you keep the product you are reviewing!

4. Do your research

Is there a demand for the product or products that you are reviewing? Learn about your competitors. Research also means knowing what is selling, what is in demand, and what you could rank for.

If there are hundreds of websites dedicated to writing quality articles on a product it is going to be hard to compete with them.

5. Consider the cost of the products

People will be more willing to purchase something when the cost is lower. However choosing a product where the cost is too low can limit your earning potential. It is best to choose something that someone will be willing to buy at a reasonable price, but that you can also receive a fair percentage of.

This can be covered by considering it in your research above.

 

Planning is everything and success is just not possible without a plan. By following the steps above, you can give yourself the best chance of success.

Using Crowdfunding to Help Grow your Small Business

Why it helps

Starting a new home business can be tough. A popular way to minimize financial drama when starting a new business is to use a crowdfunding website. These websites allow people to make donations that you can use towards starting and growing your business.

Crowdfunding is becoming very popular among businesses, and there are many sites that allow for it. Choosing the right site will give you the best chance of success.

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites

There are many crowdfunding sites, each offering a different focus. A few examples are below.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe focuses on the struggles of individuals and businesses opposed to simply business opportunities. They charge 5% of the donations, and if no donation is made, there is no charge.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter allows you to advertise your project and receive funding for it. Kickstarter take a 5% pay from donations. Note that it is entirely up to you to follow through (otherwise you could be legally liable!).

Patreon

Patreon works by allowing a payment to be made on a reoccurring basis. This is beneficial as it can be on the lower end (even a dollar) a month. Patreon is centered on creative projects.

How to give yourself the best chance at success

Give people a reason

Transactions need to be mutual. People generally don’t just give money away (unless there is a genuine emotional appeal). Generally, ‘I need money’ wont work in this world! If this business is important to you, and you believe it is beneficial for society, then let people know that.

You should also let people know what social and environmental benefits your business could bring. This includes any ethical advantages brought about by your business. People will often support things that they believe benefits them.

Offer incentives

People love getting free gifts or incentives, and although they are paying, the trick is to allow people to believe they are getting more than you’re paying

Exclusive access to certain sites could helps you cause, and you could also offer workshops and other giveaways. You can also make people feel like a member of your business by providing loyalty cards and discounts. When people feel included, they may be more proactive in giving back.

Make realistic goals

People will often only help if they feel as though it is in their power to help, and although $100,000 would be nice, it is unlikely anyone will see this as a realistic goal.

By dividing goals into smaller portions, such as $500 at a time, people may feel it is in their power to help assist you. This achievable target can help with both set up and exposure, and have you on the way to starting a thriving home business. You should use your business plan to help do this.

Ethical and Social Responsibility Considerations for a Home Business

Just because your home business is small, it does not mean that you don’t have a role to play in ethics and social responsibility. Every business, big or small, as with every individual, needs to play their part in ensuring they operate in both an ethically and socially responsible way. This becomes more important when you own a business, as you are likely to work with more people, either locally or globally, and many of the decisions you make are ones you may not be accustomed to. Therefore, this guide will help you to stay on the right path.

Why is it important to be ethically and socially responsible?

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There are several reasons as to why it is important for a small business.

Firstly, it will save you a headache in the future by following correct procedure. Any irregular activity, either through transactions or your tax return will likely be followed up quickly. To ensure that you give yourself the easiest way to operate, you need to ensure your business follows the regulations and guidelines set out.

It will improve the appeal of your business. As a consumer, we want to know that we are doing the best we can. To ensure that your business stands above the rest, you need to set it apart by advertising the socially responsible aspects of your business.

It will result in better customer satisfaction. Your customers are what makes your business, and so it’s important that you both treat them right and make them feel valued. By being transparent and acting ethically, your customers will surely be as loyal to you as you are to them.

How to be ethically and socially responsible

Create a safe workspace

By far the most important factor working from home is creating a space that is safe. This raises two important considerations – legal requirements of the business and your own personal safety.

If you keep cash on the premises, ensure that it is stored safely away at all times. If you have guns or other dangerous items, use a certified gun safe like the ones reviewed here.

Safety extends beyond this. Ensure you are not sitting too long at a time and that your computer and furniture are positioned in a way that is comfortable. You may be surprised just how many workplace injuries happen this way.

Ensure you have proper registration and licenses

To ensure your business is acting responsibly, you will need to ensure that you hold the required licenses and registrations for your business. This includes registering your business with local regulatory and tax authorities. Depending on what your business does, you may require further permits/licenses (such as for importing goods) in addition to this.

Ensuring you have the proper licenses required for your business will save you a lot of hassle down the road. It will also ensure that you are paying appropriate tax, that you are following the law and operating as a socially responsible business.

When you get proper registrations and licenses, you appeal to your customer as a legitimate business. Your customer will trust your business and follow through. At the end of the day, we all look for security and legitimacy as consumers.

Paying proper wages

Although it can be an attractive option to pay the minimum amount to get work done (such as in freelance writing), this is not always the best idea. Whilst the cost difference may be minimal to you, it may be large to someone else.

Paying people properly not only paves the way for ethical behavior, but it also increases the likelihood of receiving quality work. There can be a big difference in even a dollar for many people, so it’s worth considering. If you employ staff, it is important to follow the minimum wage regulations set out by government agencies otherwise you could be liable for penalties.

Giving back

There are several advantages to affiliating yourself with a charity. The main reason is obviously the benefit that it can bring to the lives of others. Even a small donation can make a difference, and although it may not be realistic early on, when the business progresses there will surely be an opportunity.

There is also the benefit of being recognized for your charitable donations. This recognition can increase your businesses identity as a socially responsible player and set you apart in the competitive world of business.

Donating to charities may also have tax benefits, which can increase your savings.

Being authentic

It is always attractive to set yourself apart from the rest. For many people, this is the reason that they get into business. They believe their idea is different, better, and will benefit others, and of course, themselves. However, this can also lead to overly exaggerated claims (which we have all become accustomed to), which don’t necessarily match with reality.

One thing that all people hate is being lied to or cheated. This can destroy your reputation and prevent you from developing a solid business. To avoid this, it’s necessary to be as authentic as possible.

It is very important to make legitimate claims and follow through with them. This does not mean that you have to tell everyone everything, but being upfront and transparent with your customers will save you a lot of hassle in the future.

Being green

Everyone has a role to play in protecting the environment, including a small business. Part of operating a home business means being responsible for the decisions you make, perhaps even things you’ve never had to consider. This could mean scrapping paper for an email-based system instead.

Being at home may increase your emission output, such as by using the air conditioner and heater (although you could argue this is offset by the gas you save from driving to work!). Whatever the case, reducing your usage of these as much as you can will ensure that you are not unnecessarily wasting energy.

Simple steps, such as making sure the packaging you use are not harmful to environment, can make a difference. This could include saying no to plastic bags. Deliveries could also be organized in such a way you that you can collate all deliveries to one area, saving both gas and time.

Being ethically and socially responsible does not end there, are there is always more that can be done to benefit both your business and society.