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Building Your First Business
How To Start Business

A key element towards a successful business is to understand the nature as to how it works and its possibilities to expand in the future. Planning for strategies is essential as this will be the pillars in helping you grow as an entrepreneur and at the same time, being able to reach out to your target market regarding the products or services that you offer. The importance of seeking advice from financial advisers should be provided regarding financing, managing, and ways to market your business.

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6 ways to make money as a stay-at-home parent

Here’s a statement virtually no one will argue with – childcare is expensive.

You’re not the only one feeling the squeeze either, as UK residents we’re paying some of the highest childcare costs in the world. In fact, according to a survey by Daycare Trust and Save the Children, a quarter of parents reported being falling into debt partly because of child care costs. Fortunately, there is plenty that can be done if this happens to you. Debt management help and advice could help you to cope with these costs.

When you consider this fact alongside research findings that suggest new parents almost exclusively want to spend more time with the little ones they’ve welcomed to the world, it’s little wonder that working from home is high on people’s lifestyle wish lists.

We’ll walk you through our 6 top ways to make money as a stay-at-home-parent.

  1. Embrace your creative side

Now, you might have already considered the well-trodden paths that masses of people have taken already when it comes to creativity – but don’t be too quick to throw the idea to the wind.

A lot of creativity isn’t about what you do – it’s about how you let the world know about what you do.

There are 7 billion people that make up your potential market, if you could offer your creative talents to everyone you’d be a millionaire overnight (although you would have a lot of orders to fulfil).

So, there are two things to think about here. Firstly, what can you do? Secondly, how can you market what you do? Find a platform that suits you – there are lots of Etsy style selling sites if creative crafts are your thing – as well as Depop and similar if you’re more clothing focused – tech does well on eBay… or maybe classified sites are ideal?

  1. Sell your skills online

Have you got a flair for writing? Maybe you’ve got awesome coding skills – or can knock out a world-class logo in no time at all?

Design, writing and coding are some of the most popular skills you’ll find on freelance sites such as Fiverr, People Per Hour and Upwork – and they’re all skills that can delivered from the comfort of your home office, desk or dining table.

The beauty of freelance work over more traditional work-from-home positions is the time flexibility. As long as you deliver your goods on time, it doesn’t matter to the client whether you’re working 9-5, or sticking to baby’s schedule and opting to work at 3am or during nap time…

  1. Looking after other people’s children

This suggestion is firmly in the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ camp in relation to childminding costs, but the fact of the matter is, there are lots of people who need good quality childcare.

Relatively recent changes in the law mean being a childminder is a lot more difficult than just offering to look after people’s children – but the hoops that you need to jump through are reflected in the amount of money you’ll bring in.

You need to be registered with your local authority and Ofsted before you can begin – and you’ll also need an enhanced criminal records bureau check (now referred to as an ‘enhanced disclosure and barring service’ check) – to make sure you don’t have any criminal convictions that prevent you working with children.

The local authority will explain the more intricate rules around the numbers and ages of children you can look after – but if you want practice for bringing up your own little one, there’s little better than being paid to have a house full of other people’s children!

  1. Teach English

Unless you’re a teacher reading this you’re probably thinking you’re not able to teach English – and while you might be right about formal teaching, that’s not the only kind out there.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who are falling over themselves to find native English speakers to practice their skills on. English is still the language of business around the world – so people of all ages, especially those from countries with lots of export business like China and India, want and need to hone their language.

There are formalised teaching websites available – like italki.com – but a lot of people opt to advertise on freelance sites and teach over Skype.

Oh and don’t worry, you don’t have to have any knowledge of the person’s native language, students will tend to be coming to you with a reasonable level of English to begin with – with your role being more about tone, pronunciation and cultural understanding.

  1. Become a ‘VA’

Virtual assistants – or ‘VAs’ occupy a really important role in the internet business world.

The term virtual assistant is a little vague – and, in line with that, the role could encompass any number of tasks, from data entry, social media management, email monitoring, diary organisation – and much, much more!

There are many different levels of VA available – and often people in developing countries charge a very low hourly rate. You’ll probably want to charge more – but you’re likely to have native English speaking and the UK time zone firmly in your favour.

Again, sites like Upwork and People Per Hour are a great place to start with this – although that said, if there’s a particular industry you’re familiar or confident within, checking out some relevant groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, as well as industry specific forums could be a good first step!

  1. Talk about work from home opportunities

This is a bit of a curve-ball for people who are thinking about becoming self-employed through their little one’s younger years – but you shouldn’t discount talking to your current employer about adapting your role to suit working from home.

Of course, it depends on your industry and role – but where possible it makes a lot of sense for the company in question. Studies show that employees who work from home report higher levels of job satisfaction and greater productivity – leading to greater staff retention.

If it’s something you know would be new to your company – why not suggest working for a while on an agreed trial basis? You would have to be honest about how it’s working for you – but with more and more companies looking to offer positions that are based at home, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re a fan of your role.

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Should I Save or Invest?

Sometimes it feels like every year there is a new financial product on the market. This is most true of loan products – the rise of payday loans, and hire-to-buy loans are just two recent examples. But there are also plenty of financial products for people with a little money to spare, rather than a little money short. ISAs, Regular Savers Accounts, Investments. If you have a bit of cash, what is the best thing to do with it?

The Difference between Saving and Investing

Not everyone is entirely clear on what the difference is between saving and investing, and it is very important to understand the difference when you are deciding which is best for your situation.

SAVING: Putting aside some money, bit by bit, either by setting it aside and not spending it, or by putting it into a cash product, such as an ISA or a Savings Account.

INVESTING: Using your money by buying things that you believe will increase in value, so that you can sell it for a profit later on.

It is important to note that when you put money into a cash product, your bank will use that money to invest for themselves, and that is why they can pay you a return. This return is likely to be much less than the bank actually made with your money, but it is also guaranteed (depending on your product).

The Traditional Rules: Save first, Invest second

Broadly speaking, saving is seen to be the secure, safer option, while investing is thought to bring much higher returns. This has led to the development of some fundamental Rules

Step One: Save an Emergency Fund of 6 Months Living Expenses

Your first thought, if you are lucky enough to have some extra cash, should be to create an emergency fund. Generally, this should be the amount you need to live on for 6 months, or longer, including housing, bills, food, and recreation (for yourself and any dependents you have).

So, if you spend about £800 a month, make sure you have at least £4800 put aside which can be accessed on a moment’s notice. This should protect you if you have a sudden expense, or lose your income suddenly.

Step Two: Save for a goal under 10 years away

On top of this, it is generally accepted that, if you can, you should save at least 10% of your monthly earnings. You might want to think of a short-term goal (a goal under ten years away) that you want to achieve. This may be a new car or a deposit on a home.

So, if you earn £18,000 a year after tax, which is £1,500 a month, make sure you save £150 each month. By the end of the year, you will have £1,800 + interest. In five years, that would be £9,000 + interest, which should be enough for a deposit on a £180,000 home. With a partner who has done the same, you can save for a home of £360,000.

Step Three: Invest

If you are lucky to still have money after all that saving, now is the time to think about investing.

You should always think of investing as a long-term project. Any amount of money that you are going to need within five to ten years, should be saved for, rather than invested for, because investments can go down as well as up, and you are waiting to see the long-term growth increase your money.

This makes investing suitable for pensions, your children’s university, or wedding, funds (if they are still very young), and other such long-term goals.

But: Interest Rates vs Inflation

The main reason that investing is considered to be better than savings for long-term goals is the effect of inflation. Due to inflation, a sum of money slowly becomes worth less over time.

For example, if you put £10,000 aside in 2017, and the inflation rate is 3%, your savings will be worth around £5,400 in 2037. To put that another way, in 2037, to be able to buy the same things you could have bought in 2017 with £10,000, you would need to have around £17,000.

This means, you would need a savings interest rate of 3% to simply keep your money from losing value.

This leads us to some very non-traditional advice for the situation that we currently find ourselves in. If you can, investing is a safer bet than saving, even for medium-to-short term goals. But still riskier than saving.

This is because we are in a very interesting, and difficult time. Inflation has reached 3%, but the Bank of England’s base rate remains at a measly 0.25%. This means that almost all banks have savings rates which are below the inflation rate, meaning your money is almost guaranteed to lose value.

Due to short-term volatility, it is still not advised to invest for goals which are less than 5 years away, and definitely do not invest for goals which are a mere 3 years away, but, depending on how comfortable you are with risk, it may be worth looking into investments (even for that house deposit).

No matter what you chose, remember to learn how to invest before you dive in. Important risk controls, such as diversification, could seriously save you from disaster.

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Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Credit can be ideal for purchases when you don’t have cash available, but it’s important that we use it in the right way. More and more people are falling into debt because of multiple lines of credit which in turn can affect your credit score. This may not seem like anything major in the first instance, but having a bad credit score could stand in the way of purchasing a home, or even gaining employment.

If you have recently checked your credit score and have found it’s not the best it can be, fear not. Although there’s no magic wand when it comes to repairing your credit file, (and be mindful of anyone who says that there is) there are some steps that can be taken to improve your credit score moving forward.

Ensure You’re on The Electoral Roll

Proving where you live can be one of the most important aspects of improving your credit file. Think of it this way, would you borrow money to someone you won’t be able to track down? Ensuring you’re on the electoral roll is the easiest and most efficient way of proving where you live, improving your credit score in the process.

Take Control of Delinquent Accounts

For some people, it can be all or nothing when it comes to their credit file. This means that one late payment can often lead to other missed payments, with the assumption being that it makes no difference in the long run. While late payments are recorded, getting these up to date will fare much better than a default or County Court Judgement, which can stay on your credit file for six years.

Don’t Excessively Apply for Credit

When searching for a loan or credit card, some of us may not be happy with the APR or interest rate being applied, meaning that we often look to another provider for a more favourable deal. However, applying for numerous lines of credit leaves footprints on your credit file, which can be a red flag. While it may not be the case, it can be assumed that the numerous applications are being made as you are in financial difficulty, which can mean your credit score decreases as a result.

Set Up Payment Reminders

Depending on how many lines of credit we have, it can be difficult to remember each due date. However, if we fall into the habit of making late payments, this will be reflected on your credit file.

While it can be difficult to memorise every payment date, there are ways of ensuring that we meet the deadline. For some, it’s as simple as setting up a reminder on their calendar. You can also speak to the company directly and inquire as to whether some sort of text reminder service can be set up.

If all else fails, you could opt for specialist software or even a phone app that makes the budgeting of money easier.

Check for Mistakes

While for the most part, credit checks do provide accurate information about a person, that’s not to say that mistakes aren’t made. If you feel that you’re making payments on time and managing credit in a responsible way, it may be worthwhile checking your credit file for mistakes.

It could be that debt has been inaccurately listed, or there is some information that is not correct present on your file. To be able to dispute the entry, you will need to forward a letter to the company in question, stating why you feel the entry is incorrect.

Keep Your Credit Usage Low

As you would expect, part of your credit score is made up from how much you currently owe. However, many may not know that the amount of credit they have left can also affect the score. While it may seem unfair, the assumption can be that those with a low credit availability are struggling, and so any further credit may be refused.

Disassociate Yourself from Adverse Accounts

While our own actions can have a detrimental effect on your credit score, so too can the actions of others. If you’ve ever held a joint account with a former partner or spouse, then their financial dealings could hold ramifications for you. How you remove your name from the account will depend on the type of account it is, and which company runs the account. In most instances, there will be a form that needs to be completed.

If you’re unsure as to whether you’re still connected to a joint account, then it could be worthwhile checking your credit report to see if any entries relate to accounts that may relate to an ex-partner.

You May Need to “Create” a Credit Score

It’s easy to assume that many have a low credit score as they aren’t too good at managing money, but this isn’t always the case. In some instances, some people may not have taken credit out at all, which can mean that your credit file is essentially blank. As there is no record, this can mean that many lenders will not know how risky you are as a customer, so may decline the application.

If you’re looking to build and maintain a credit file, there are some things you can do. As well as ensuring your details are correct and you’re on the electoral roll, you can also look at taking out small forms of credit.

You may not realise it, but even a mobile phone contract can help create a credit file, and if maintained in the right way, can help increase your credit score over time.

There’s no real way of knowing what contributes to your credit score. For example, there may be instances where our income can be a deciding factor, or how long we’ve been in gainful employment. As such, there can be aspects that are beyond our control, but if we’re able to make payments on time and sustain favourable relationships with lenders, then there’s little reason as to why your credit score won’t improve over time.

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Tips in Financing Your Business

Year after year there are a lot of new businesses sprouting up all over the industry. Most of these become a trend setter to things that have truly attract the attention of not just a few of its target market but as well as to the entire world. This on the hand makes it a challenge especially if you have been in the business world for many years. Of course, it is expected that there are others who are competing with you.

Having to deal with the pressures of starting your own business, keep in mind that not all businesses are alike and regarding common goals, there is only one thing that you’ll need to consider, and that is to raise money to finance the business company. Its main purpose is to build a foundation for it to be effective and at the same time, being able to cover corporate or business expenses.

Difference between Equity versus Debt

These are mainly the two ways that you can start building your business.

Equity- it is also known as the equity stake wherein you are selling a portion of your business. The good thing about it is that you do not have to pay back its earned investment to the new owner because he or she can get all the benefits, its cash flow, and voting rights.

Debt- this is either a line credit or a loan that sets or provides an amount of money that needs to be repaid in a period. The loans are mostly secured by assets, so if there are unpaid situations, the moneylender company can easily take it away. More so, an asset can also be unsecured if there are there are no specifications.

For you to fulfill your dream goals, here are the following tips for you finance your own business. This is best fitted for mid-sized entrepreneurs.

1. Saving- thinking of saving your own money is the wisest, safest and even the most conservative way of starting your own company. However, this can lead you to problems that you will be caught between your priorities. It is best that you segregate your savings according to your needs and goals. Financial advisers would not recommend that you use your savings, emergency savings, insurance, and home loans if you want to start a business.

2. Credit Cards- this is another factor that you can benefit in effectively financing your business, and you can use it as well to extend your cash flow. Furthermore, you can use it to pay your suppliers, earn discounts, protection, and more rewards. The only downside in using the credit card is that it is tied straight to your credit score. One thing that you must remember if you are opting to use credit cards is not to overspend and over use it otherwise; you will end up being in debt.

3. Credit lines and business loans- this is another way that you can finance your business. This is mainly financed by a certain bank. If you wish to loan, a bank will give you an amount that can be paid for over a period. Credit line comes in handy as it provides facilities that you can take advantage only when it is desperately needed, and this can be paid on regular terms.

4. Family and friends- most of the small businesses are funded by either the family or a group of friends which is also a mean for investors. This is when an equity investment comes in which you can sell to the portion of the business. Since having a business involves so much pressure, just make sure that your relationship with your family or friends is maintained without getting affected.

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