How To Price Your Services: A Guide For Web Designers by Kevin Muldoon

How To Price Your Services: A Guide For Web Designers

Pricing your design services is a dilemma that all web designers face. It can be very difficult to put a monetary value on your time and your experience. Whether you like this aspect of designing or not, it is something you need to do if you are a freelancer or if you operate a web design company.

Unfortunately, pricing your services is not an exact science. You need to consider a lot of factors in order to price a project correctly. And you may find that you need to price different projects in a different way so that you are compensated fairly.

In this article, I would like speak about the factors you should consider when pricing your web design services.

Hourly or Fixed

Design projects are normally charged as a fixed price or on an hourly basis. It is important to understand the pros and cons of each pricing structure.

Clients generally prefer to pay a fixed price for design work so that they know in advance the full cost of a project. The benefit of this is that both parties know up front what the cost will be i.e. a client wants a design and will pay you X amount of money.

For designers, charging on an hourly basis may be a more practical solution as it ensures you do not lose out financially if the project takes longer.

Consider a website design that you expect will take 20 hours to complete. Before you take on the project, you could quote the client a fee of $1,000 or an hourly fee of $50 per hour. If you charge a fixed price and manage to complete the website within ten hours, you have effectively earned an additional ten hours of income. But what if the project takes longer than expected? What if the website took 25 hours, 30 hours, or even 40 hours to complete? You could end up spending double the time you had expected for no additional earnings.

As you gain more experience in freelancing, you will have a better understanding of what is involved in a project. Therefore, if you are positive that you will not face any problems with a design, it may be worth charging the client a fixed price. However, things do not always go to plan and it is difficult to see the challenges that a particular design may present. That is why charging per hour is favored by many designers. A good alternative is to charge a fixed price for a project and then charge more if it takes more than an agreed number of hours to complete.

Even if you favor charging by the hour, you may be faced with the decision on whether it is worth taking on a project on a fixed price basis (e.g. a project advertised on a freelancing website or because a client wants to know the final cost up front). Be sure to evaluate each project and know the pros and cons of each charging option before you agree terms with the client.

Determine the Market Rate

Knowing the market rate for design work will help you price your own services effectively. You can do this by checking the rates of competitors on their website and through freelance marketplaces.

Understand the market that you will be targeting:

  • Will you be offering your services locally or internationally?
  • Are you targeting small businesses or large companies?
  • Will you be taking on smaller jobs (e.g. logos, banners) or bigger projects (e.g. complete websites)?

Compare like with like to ensure that you have a realistic estimate of the market rate of your services.

Evaluate Your Own Skill Level

If you can put your ego to one side, it is worthwhile evaluating the quality of your services against competitors. This will help you determine whether you can charge more than the market rate.

  • Do you have more experience than your competitors?
  • Can you offer something that others cannot e.g. technical or design experience?
  • Do you have a good reputation within your market?

Being aware of your own skill level will allow you to price your rates accordingly and justify these rates to clients.

Drafting the Initial Design

Are You in Demand?

If you just starting out, you may have to drop your rates initially in order to build up a portfolio. This will help you secure projects you may have lost due to your recent entry into the market.

As demand for your services grows, you will be in a position to increase your rates. Turning down clients because you have too much work on your hands is a sure sign that you are in demand and probably not charging clients enough. So don’t be afraid to increase your rates if you have a lot of enquiries about work.

Identify Your Own Costs

Be aware of your business costs when you are pricing your services. On a project to project basis, you should incorporate the cost of any stock images or templates you need to purchase for the project. You should include any costs of hiring another developer or designer to help you with any problems you may face too.

Also take into account ongoing freelancing costs such as marketing expenses, telephone calls, insurance, and any traveling expenses that are involved visiting the client. The important thing to remember is that any expenses you incur will eat into your profits. Therefore, they should be incorporated into your pricing structure from the start.

Sign A Contract

It is in your interests, and your clients interests, to sign a contract before you work together. Your contract should detail:

  • The estimated time to complete the project and what happens if the project takes longer to complete
  • How many revisions are included with your initial draft
  • Whether you will be working set days per week and whether you have any holidays planned
  • How payment will be made
  • What happens if the client changes their mind and wants to change the design
  • What conditions need to be met to cancel the project early
  • Whether the client be charged an additional fee if the project requires more work than expected
  • Whether the client can pay an additional fee to make their project priority and finish the design sooner
  • The amount of support, if any, that is provided after the design has been completed

It is not enough to have your terms and conditions agreed verbally with the client. You should sign a contract so that the law is on your side. At the very least, you need to make it clear on your website what happens in certain situations and have the client agree to those terms through an online declaration form. This will avoid unnecessary problems arising in the future.

Terms and Conditions

After Sales Support

Providing support to clients can be a big drain on time. If you are going to provide after sales support to your clients, you should agree with them beforehand how much support is provided free of charge after you have delivered the final design. For example, you may include two hours of email support after delivering a website design to help explain how important functions work. Beyond that, you could offer additional support at a set rate.

A good way to earn extra money in the future is to set up a contract for two or three days of maintenance work and support every month on an ongoing basis (perhaps under a retainer). If a few clients sign up to this, you can easily increase your passive income.

Discounts for Loyal Customers

It sometimes pays to be a little flexible with your pricing, particularly when it comes to offering discounts to loyal customers.

  • Will you offer a discount for placing more than one order?
  • Will you offer a discount if the project is larger and contracts you to a longer period of time?
  • Will you offer a discount to returning clients?
  • Will you offer a small referral fee or discount to a client if they refer you new business?

While you should not get into the habit of dropping your rates, you should give consideration to offering discounts to good customers. Remember the 80/20 rule. 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your income; therefore it pays to give preferential rates to your best clients.

Negotiation Skills

Jeff Gardner wrote a great article for Smashing Magazine five years ago in which he spoke about the Quality-Price-Ratio in Web Design.

The quality of a design and the monetary cost of producing or procuring that design have absolutely no relationship whatsoever.

Jeff noted that, from a client’s point of view, a design will fall into one of four categories:

  • Bad design that’s expensive
  • Bad design that’s cheap
  • Good design that’s expensive
  • Good design that’s cheap

This illustrates that both the quality of your designs, and the price of your services, are subjective. Your branding and your confidence in your own abilities will therefore be a big factor on how you sell yourself to clients.

Ultimately, it comes down to how well you can negotiate a price and sell yourself to the client. Do not be afraid to walk away if a client is not willing to meet your demands, as you may have to turn down a higher paying client later because you have agreed to work at a lower rate.

Accepting Payment

It is common for designers to accept as much as 50% of the final price as a deposit. Some designers deliver the final work on delivery of the final payment, while others charge clients in stages. For example, the first payment before the initial draft, another payment after the next draft, final payment upon completion etc. Paying in stages reduces the risk for both you and your clients.

Another important thing you need to consider is the method of payment. Before you do anything, discuss with the client how you will be paid. You should be aware of the costs involved in accepting payment through a service such as PayPal, and the corresponding risk of a client making a complaint through a payment service about non-delivery. This is why many designers accept payment by check or direct bank transfer instead.

To get a better understanding of how other designers charge clients, I recommend reading this fantastic series of articles by David Airey from 2008. A total of 60 designers share the method they use to charge clients and why they chose that particular method. It is a great insight into how other designers operate.

It may be tempting to do some work for a client before payment has been made, though it is better to wait until you have been sent the initial payment before you do anything. If not, you run the risk of doing design work for a client that does not pay up.

Final Thoughts

Pricing your services is a necessary part of working as a designer. If you take all pricing factors into consideration, you should price your services correctly. Though remember that pricing your services is not an exact science, so you need to accept the fact that you may sometimes under price your services. With experience, this becomes less of an issue.

While you may need to drop your prices a little at the start to encourage clients to try a designer with few past clients, be aware that pricing your services too low might attract tire kickers that waste all your time.

We are proud of the fact that web designers from around the world use Elegant Themes designs to create websites for their clients. Therefore, we want you to get a good price for the work you do by taking into consideration all the factors raised in this article.

Do you have any pricing advice to share with fellow designers? If so, please share your tips in the comment area below .

For more tips, visit: http://www.elegantthemes.com/blog

Top Twenty Businesses For 2015

Get-Rich-2015. Follow your dream. We have the top twenty businesses for you to start now!

You don’t need to have a lot of money or experience to start your own business. You need to have passion and drive. You need to be detailed oriented with a dedicated follow-through. Are you ready?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration anyone can start a business and succeed if they have a good idea, a good target market and leadership ability. Do you have what it takes to launch your very own private gold mine? There is something for everyone in our top twenty businesses.

Over the past several years, one of the most important contributions psychology has made to the field of business has been in determining the key traits of acknowledged leaders. Tests have been used to determine what characteristics are most commonly noted among successful leaders. This list of characteristics can be used for developmental purposes to help managers gain insight and develop their leadership skills. You can use it to rate your chances of being a great leader.

Raymond Cattell, a pioneer in the field of personality assessment, developed the Leadership Potential equation in 1954. This equation, which was based on a study of military leaders, is used today to determine the traits that characterize an effective leader. The traits of an effective leader include the following:

• Emotional stability: Leaders must be able to tolerate frustration and stress.

• Dominance: Leaders are often competitive, and enjoy overcoming obstacles.

• Enthusiasm: Leaders are usually seen as active, expressive and energetic. They are often very optimistic and open to change.

• Conscientiousness: Leaders are often dominated by a sense of duty and tend to be very exacting in character.

• Social boldness: Leaders tend to be spontaneous risk-takers. They are usually socially aggressive and generally
thick-skinned.

• Self-assurance: Self-confidence and resiliency are common traits among leaders. They tend to be free of guilt and have little or no need for approval.

• Intuitiveness: Rapid changes in the world today, combined with information overload result in an inability to know everything. In other words,
reasoning and logic will not get you through all situations.

• Compulsiveness: Leaders are controlled and very precise in social interactions.

• Empathy: Being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes is a key trait. Without empathy, you can’t build trust.

• Charisma: People usually perceive leaders as larger than life. Charisma plays a large part in this perception. Leaders who have charisma are able to arouse strong emotions in their employees by defining a vision that unites and captivates them.

Leaders are rarely (if ever) born. Circumstances and persistence are major components in the developmental process of any leader, so if your goal is to become a leader, work on developing those areas of your personality that you feel are not up to par.
Top Twenty Businesses

What Business Should You Start?

To be successful, you must launch a venture that you will love. If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life. And if you enjoy operating your business, every day will be an exciting adventure. There is something for everyone in our top twenty businesses.

Thanks to our global world there is no category of business that is off-limits to you. Purchase a business opportunity, buy a franchise, launch an independently owned company from your home or outside facility. Consider taking on a partner if you lack certain talents or skills that they can provide.

Start the business you dream about! We’ve put together fifteen amazing business categories that will be hot in 2015 and into the future. We present the top twenty businesses you should consider starting now. There is something for every interest and budget. See what will work in your community. Is there a market for this business in your area? How will you reach your target customers? Do you require special permits? Conduct your own due diligence research to see if one of our top twenty businesses is viable for you.

■ FOOD

Food businesses are hot and you don’t have to be a five star chef to get into the food industry. There are plenty of ways to get started with a food business of your own! Food definitely deserves a place on our list of top twenty businesses.

If you make a food product, sell it! Bottle that sauce, offer your custom cakes for sale or create fabulous dinners in your client’s home as a personal chef. Make sure you investigate the rules and regulations involving selling food products that you make at home. In some states you will need a Food Handler’s License. It is similar to taking a permit test to get a driver’s license.

Call the county clerk’s office in your area and see what the regulations are and you can find them online at your state’s website.

You might also have to have your home kitchen inspected by the Health Department.

You can also sell food from an established business that already has a Food Handler’s License. You can purchase sandwiches from a local food shop or deli, for example, and then resell them for a

profit at industrial parks, sport fields, etc. See if you need a permit to sell food in a public space. Again, the county clerk can answer these questions for you.

You can also bake bread for a local restaurant or catering company, bottle your salad dressing or pasta sauce and sell it at local crafts fairs and food markets. Check out the laws and print up a label of ingredients for your sauce and dressing. Go online conduct your own due diligence research to check out the requirements in your state.

If you want to tie in with a proven leader and sell their food products consider Little Jimmy’s Italian Ices & Push Carts. Their fun and colorful, crowd pleasing carts, fit in most minivans or SUVs. The push carts require no electricity or dry ice.

Your first order placed with Little Jimmy’s will include more than 6000 servings of their Italian Ice that includes no fat, no dairy, no cholesterol, and no high fructose corn syrup.

You don’t need any experience to launch this business and you can run it on weekends, part-time or full-time. Sell at fairs, crafts shows, flea markets, wherever people gather.

The startup cost is less than $4300 and you can learn more about by visiting http://www.ITALIANICE.net or call 800-763-4348.

L’il Orbits is another food company that offers a business opportunity program. The company offers donut making machines and accessories. Anyone who has walked a street fair or crafts shows, etc., has probably been lured to the booth of a L’il Donuts vendor by the aroma of fresh baked donuts.

According to the company, “Our mini-donut and pancake & crepe machines are proven money-makers, made in America and now operated profitably in over 100 countries around the globe. For more information on joining the Lil’ Orbits family of operators worldwide, click on the links above.

“Fresh, Hot Mini-Donuts have always been a popular food item at carnivals, festivals, fairs and many other outdoor seasonal events. Our customers often tell us how much fun it is to hear their customers reminisce about eating mini-donuts when they were kids.

“The Lil’ Orbits Uni-matic II pancake & crepe machine can help you add new, easy-to-prepare items to your current menu, and also improve product consistency. The Uni-Matic will cook anything you can cook on a griddle, without oil or grease.

“In addition to seasonal, outdoor events, there are hundreds of other places where our popular automated equipment can be very profitable. Here are just a few examples of where a well-placed mini-donut or pancake & crepe machine can help you become your own boss or expand your current business: coffee shops, bakeries, mall kiosks, storefronts (indoor or outdoor), sports arenas, food courts, entertainment complexes, high school sports, fundraising and much much more!”

To learn more about how you can start a business with help from L’il Orbits, visit http://www.lilorbits.com and read about their history, business startup info and more. You can also call 800-228-8305 to contact the company.

■ DETAILING

Our obsession and love for our vehicles seems to have no signs of slowing down. Our automobiles and trucks are treated with kid gloves. Many car buyers spend in the high five figures for a vehicle and want them cared for by someone who can see to every detail.

You can start your own car detailing business and expand to include trucks, RV’s, boats, planes, scooter and motorcycles. A must for any list of top twenty businesses to consider now.

There are books on how to detail for sale on amazon.com and there are videos on YouTube that show the finer points of detailing a vehicle. You can do it on your own. Visit an auto store and take a look at the products.

If you don’t want to be completely on your own, consider buying a kit. The Detail King company sells business opportunity packages priced from $1595 to $20,495. Visit their website at http://www.detailking.com to see their six different auto detailing startup kits.

Paint Bull offers a business opportunity package that will help you become a mobile automotive repair technician. You’ll offer: paint repair, paintless dent repair, interior repair, headlight restoration and rim repair. The company is based in Saginaw, Michigan and their website is http://www.paintbullbusiness.com. You can also call them at 800-800-5725.

Do an online search and see what you can learn about the business and the industry.

■ LANDSCAPING

We all love to get home, kick back and relax. But who has the time to cater to the lawn, prune the shrubs, handle the weeding, organize the seeding and fertilizing schedule, order the mulch and put it down, and a host of other chores that caring for our landscaping and yard entails.

You can start a lucrative small business in your community taking care of these tasks. We know of a woman who was let go from her firm in Chicago, and starting with a single small gas powered lawnmower and a minivan, launched what is now a six-figure landscaping empire.

She printed up a flyer and left it everywhere: on cars, hanging on community bulletins boards, at any local establishment that would let her leave it for the taking. She placed a small ad in her local paper and offered a discount to “new customers.” Gradually, she built up her enterprise to the point where she just booked the jobs and sat back and collected the fees.

You can choose to specialize in a particular type of landscaping business –such as weed pulling-or you can run the gamut and offer it all. The choice is up to you, Boss.

By the way, weeds are a large problem for many landscapers who hire out the task to “Weeds Only” type landscape companies. You can start a “Weeds Only” business and never have to work to get jobs. Just contact the existing landscapers in your community and let them know when you are available to begin work.

Contact PLANET: Professional Landcare Network to learn more about the landscaping profession. This group represents more than 100,000 landscapers. For more info visit http://www.landcarenetwork.org/PLANET.

■ PARTY SERVICES

Businesses that cater to parties always seem to do well no matter what shape the economy is in and there are plenty of options to consider in the party services business category.

Have you been told you make a great host? Consider starting a party planning enterprise. The Event Planners Association is a great website to investigate for ideas and options. Visit http://eventplannersassociation.com/ to see their information on a wide variety of events.

If you love cocktails and even like to invent your own, why not become a freelance bartender? You can attend one of the many bartending schools located throughout the United States. Just search for Bartending Schools online and see what is available in your region. Some bartending schools offer “intensive study” so you can get your certificate of completion right away. Going to a bartending school is not a requirement to launch your own freelance bartending service, but it could help you establish credibility and make it easier to take on gigs as a bartender for a local caterer.

Other small business possibilities include: photographer, florist, dish and glass rental, chair and table rental, tents and DJ. If you are an excellent cake maker consider starting your own custom cake business.

You can also run a fun photo booth. Mojo Photo Booth offers The Original Portable Photo Booth that has been a hit at many weddings, parties and events. The booth packages begin at $3995 and take only 15 minutes to set up. They fit in any passenger car and can be run by one person. You can even purchase the booth and then rent it out to wedding planners and other party planning or catering operations. The company website can help you learn more. Visit http://www.mojophotobooth.com or call 888-484-MOJO (6656).

■ KIDS

Small businesses that cater to kids are hot moneymakers. Parents don’t have enough hours in the day to take care of every programmed event for their children. Music lessons, sports activities, after school clubs, dance class, planning birthday parties, schools and tutoring are just a few options. Parents need help.

A number of stay-at-home Moms have launched day care centers in their homes figuring if they are home taking care of their own kids, why not get paid to watch and care for a few more. You’ll need supplies ranging from diapers and food to play things. You’ll need liability insurance and a waiver form for parents to sign. You might even need help and have to hire a few assistants to help you. Check with your local country clerk’s office to see if any special permits are required in your region of the country.

If you excelled at a subject in school or can play an instrument, consider giving classes or lessons. If you teach to a group, you’ll make more money in one hour than if you offer individual instruction.

Tutor in the child’s home to save on dressing up your own facility. Less liability, too, with this option.

If you enjoy kids but don’t want to be involved in a business working directly with them, consider starting your own Friendly Songs small business. You offer personalized music and gifts. You sell singing stuffed animals to your customers and CDs that have customized names for the children. This is a business opportunity dealer program and the company will help you get started. Visit http://www.FriendlySongs.com or call 803-485-1544 to learn more.

■ WEBSITE SALES

If you are online you can see how many sales are generated by websites. You can launch your own website and sell a product that you’ve created or sell a product that you purchase wholesale from another company. Selling online today is the equivalent of a modern day mail order venture. More than 191 million shoppers in the U.S. buy goods online. More than 87% of the world’s population has shopped online. This is a global market for your products.

There are plenty of “drop and drag” affordable websites that offers easy to use tools to create a website in less than an hour. Yola.com, weebly.com , squarespace.com or 1and1Internet.com are just a few examples of web hosting companies with tools that you can master.

What types of products interest you? If you are a biker, sell a new type of bike lock, seat or helmet. Get involved with products you love and make your small business interesting and fun.

If you are a musician, sells music books or tools to fix guitars. You can even tie in with MusiciansFriends.com and become an affiliate. You place ads on your website for their products and if a visitor to your site goes to MusiciansFriends and buys it, you receive a percentage of the profits.

Amazon.com has a similar affiliate program that you can investigate.

You can visit the alibaba.com website to view products that you can purchase from overseas and China. You should be cautious of making transactions with companies that have not been referred to you or that have a poor rating online. Google the company first and check out any complaints or negative reports. Do your homework before you purchase anything and avoid being ripped off later.

You can even start a business building websites for the almost 88% of small business owners that don’t currently have them. Investigate the website hosting services, learn the tools, build one of your own to promote your business and start selling to local entrepreneurs.

■ CLEANING SERVICES

Cleaning services come in all shapes and sizes from the sole proprietor who is out there cleaning store windows to the mega-franchise owner who operates a dozen residential and commercial cleaning businesses. There is plenty of room for opportunity with a cleaning business.

You can start your own residential and commercial cleaning service by tying in with a franchisor and using their system of doing business, or purchase supplies, place ads, build a website homepage to give your business recognition online and start shopping for customers.

You can also start a variety of other cleaning businesses.

The Master’s Touch, for example, offers a complete turnkey system so you can launch your own hard surface cleaning company. This is not a franchise. There are no royalty payments. Financing is available for qualified candidates.

Training for The Master’s Touch program is comprehensive. According to the company, “Training is one of the most important elements when starting a new business, so we’ve put together a comprehensive training program designed to properly equip you for success. You’ll learn it all.

“The first day you will experience the tools first hand on a live job followed by a tour of our facility and classroom training where you learn the variety of surfaces you can clean with The Master’s Touch tools.

“On day two we’ll dive into the equipment training. This is where you will learn how to operate and maintain the equipment that power your tools.

“Now, generating sales is key the growth of your business so we’ll spend the third and fourth day with an emphasis on sales, marketing, and ongoing support.

“And Friday is graduation day, an experience that you’ll always remember as you officially become a small business owner.”

Visit tmtopportunity.com to learn more or call 866-932-5353 for more information about the opportunity.

Rotovac offers a startup carpet cleaning package for $2995. Many carpet cleaning businesses just use the old manual scrub wand method because it has been around for over 40 years. Using a manual wand requires a great deal of physical labor and only cleans from two directions, often producing only mediocre results. The manual wand is old technology and gives you nothing new or different to market to your customers.

The Rotovac company has patented special Rotary Vacuum Heads that can deep clean the carpet from all directions. The tools do all the work.

The company also offers a package to clean tile and grout and we all know what a chore that can be. Their tile and grout-cleaning package is $3995. You can book residential and/or commercial clients.

Contact the company by phone at 888-768-6822 or visit their website http://www.rotovac.com for more information on how you can start this type of cleaning venture.

You can start a cleaning business cleaning out foreclosed properties. The Cleanout Foreclosures Guide is $249. The startup manual comes with a CD, business forms and professional marketing materials. You can run this business on weekends, evenings, part-time or full-time. The author, JT Stewart shares his insight. Stewart has ten years of experience in this field. Call the company at 800-685-9670 or visit their website at CleanoutForeclosures.com to get more info or to order the startup package.

The legendary VonSchrader company has been in business for 79 years and that carries a lot of weight to consumers. You can tie-in with VonSchrader to purchase their systems that include a carpet cleaning package and an upholstery package.

The company offers free training and a money-back guarantee. They also provide free sales and marketing service and support when you become a VonSchrader associate. The company offers Green Seal Certified cleaning products, a how-to business manual and support material. A comprehensive instruction book and DVD is included.

For more information call the company at 800-626-6916 or visit http://www.VonSchrader.com for information on how to get started.

Another disagreeable necessity for homeowners and apartment owners is blind cleaning. You can launch a blind cleaning business that also includes the cleaning, repair and installing of shades and shutters as well with help from LetsCleanBlinds. The company suggests that entrepreneurs can earn about $2000 a week with this business—and that’s just working for less than five hours a day, Monday to Friday.

LetsCleanBlinds suggests the business is ideal for part-time or full-time launch and offers good repeat business. Visit their website LetsCleanBlinds.com or call 770-616-1964 to learn how you can make money cleaning blinds for homeowners, commercial businesses, restaurants and more.

Hygienitech Systems offers a business opportunity turnkey package that will help you start your own mattress, upholstery cleaning and sanitizing service. You’ll receive free training, marketing assistance and help with advertising. You can learn more about the cleaning business by visiting the company website http://www.hygienitech.com or call 561-381-4202/888-999-9030. You can also send an email to the sales department: sales@hygienitech.com for information.

Another cleaning venture you might want to consider is the cleaning of barbeque grills. We offer information on a unique cleaning business called The BBQ Cleaner The BBQ Cleaner in the BACKYARD BONANZA section of this feature.

■ JUNK HAULER

If you own a truck, you have the basic tool you need to launch your own junk hauling service. Many people don’t have a truck or van to take their discarded items to the local dump or recycling facility.

Small business owners also make up your target audience. They could have recyclables that need to be carted away along with old chairs, filing cabinets and equipment.

Brian Scudamore started the 1-800-GOT-JUNK company back in 1989 and today it is the world’s largest junk removal company. Visit their website to see what they do and how they do it: http://www.1800gotjunk.com. You can start a high-profit business based on junk!

■ PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

If you live in any area that attracts a lot of absentee property owners you can launch your own property management venture. Your assignments will be to drop in, check on and take care of properties while the owners are away.

There are a lot of tasks to consider: pool care, leaf raking, and maintenance of the house. You can also offer to restock the refrigerator and fill cars with gas.

You’ll be the one around to work with the local contractor while the property owner is off site, help with any deliveries and, in general, check on things while the owner is away.

Once you develop a couple of clients and receive positive word of mouth, you can start building a good and lucrative client base.

■ MAIL ORDER

You can make money by selling goods through the mail or from your website and it has never been easier to get started. There are plenty of exciting options for even the first-time entrepreneur with no experience. You can sell your goods to a global audience. The first thing you need to find is a product to sell on your site or from your mail order ad.

A good source for your startup is “How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire,” by Fred Broitman. Fred Broitman is a well-known mail order authority and principal at Sunman Direct, Chicago’s largest independently owned Direct Response Advertising Agency.

Broitman’s book is a comprehensive
manual to help you start, run and manage your own mail order business using the Internet. You’ll learn about how to find a great product to sell, how to create winning ads and how to establish your online presence and maximize search engine optimization that will drive customers to your website.

The mail order manual is available via mail order and at select conventions. For a limited time only you can buy the guide for $29.95 plus $3.50 for first class postage and handling. Send a check or money order in the amount of $33.45 to Superior Press, 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. To learn more You can also visit http://www.becomeamailordermillionaire.com.

■ PERSONALIZED PRODUCTS

Start your own business making high profits on goods that are personalized. You can work with everything from candy wrappers and personalized water bottles to key rings, badges, signs and even customized songs for children.

You can sell these items from your own with a website or by placing a mail order ad. You can also sell from a space in another person’s store. This is called “piggybacking.” You can establish a booth at a crafts fair or flea market. Rent a kiosk in a mall during the busy holiday season (if you don’t have the funds to rent the booth all year long.)

If your products are targeted to a particular market—weddings—for example, contact caterers in your area and show them your product line. See if they would offer their clients what you have to sell and give them a commission on the sales. If you have personalized labels to put on candy or water bottles for a wedding party or other event, the caterer might want to include this in their “party package.”

Children are a large market for personalized books, stuffed animals and musical CDs.

The promotional products industry is a $20 billion industry and growing every year. Here are a few companies that can help you get started with your own personalized products business right in your home:

Promotional advertising specialties are a good way for small businesses to generate goodwill among their clients. You can tie in with the Kaeser & Blair company to offer hundreds of items ranging from travel coffee mugs and backpacks to awards, caps and shirts. The program costs just $85 to become a dealer and this fee is refunded when you begin to sell products and reach certain goals. The sky is the limit on sales. You can earn anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a week. It is all up to you and how entrepreneurial you want to be. Contact the company to receive a free Kaeser & Blair prospectus package. Call 800-642-0790 or visit http://www.kaeser-blair.com to get started.

Occasionography offers a fun and moneymaking business opportunity that will have you taking orders to personalize a wide variety of products from candy bars and mints to water bottles and much more. If you own a computer you can generate these fun labels yourself and then place them on the appropriate products. The company suggests they are great for weddings, graduations, fundraising events, showers, new baby announcements, birthdays, family reunions, small businesses and more.

Work on this business part-time or full-time. To receive more information on how to make money creating labels and wrappers for products, visit Occasionography.com and you can learn everything you need to know. The phone is 800-306-3552.

Personal Touch Products can help you launch your own business selling personalized products with names and surnames for just $249. You don’t need expensive equipment, just your computer. The company will provide you with software to create gifts for every event ranging from First and Last Name Keepsakes and Gifts, to Coat of Arms, Personalized Poetry Gifts, Popular Bible Verse Gifts and Family Tree Gifts. Visit the website at http://www.personaltouchproducts.com/bizopp to learn more or call the company at 909-596-1166 and they will answer any questions you have about the business.

Badge a Minit is a proven leader in the field of personalized products. They offer a startup kit for only $29.95 that can enable you to create button for every occasion or event. The buttons can be used for fundraising events, community celebrations, anniversaries, small business giveaways, birthday parties and other special acknowledgements, schools, sports teams, crafts parties and much more. The company has been in business since 1971 and is ready to help you start your own business. Visit http://www.badgeaminit.com or call 800-223-4103 to learn more.

We featured contact information on Friendly Songs in our section on KIDS. Visit http://www.FriendlySongs.com to learn about their custom music for children.

■ SPORTS

A major activity around the world is sports! If we are not playing sports, we are watching and wearing the logo items of our favorite teams in our communities and schools as well as pro teams.

SportsLife Enterprises can help you establish your own small business selling sporting goods and promotional items to local schools, corporations, clubs, special events, small businesses and more. You can offer screen printed or embroidered pieces ranging from hats and sweatshirts to ref’s shirts and custom uniforms.

If you love sports, this is a fun business to start. The company is celebrating their 23rd year in business in 2015, so you can work and learn from this proven leader. The startup costs are low. There is something available for every sport including football, basketball, soccer, softball and baseball.

Begin the dialog by contacting their website at http://www.sportslife.com or by calling the headquarters at 800-909-5433. Make this the year you start your dream business venture.

Pro Star Athletics is another company that can help you get started selling sporting goods, caps and jackets, team uniforms, licensed gifts, licensed apparel and much more. The sports they cover include football, volleyball, hockey, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer and more. You can sell the custom team products to local sports groups, clubs, community teams, small businesses who sponsor local events and more. Visit http://www.Prostarathletics.net to learn more about Pro Star or call the company at 866-390-7732 and start making money doing something you love.

■ HANDYMAN

There are plenty of jobs for the handyman thanks to a building boom that has larger carpentry services turning down the “little” jobs. If you have experience swinging a hammer or performing tasks such as deck repair and building, fixing minor leaks and changing faucets, putting up fences and power washing homes, you have the potential to launch your own handyman service.

Check out the competition in your area. Is there room for another handyman enterprise? What are their rates? Do they charge by the project or by the hour? What will you charge your customers?

Call your insurance company and learn about liability insurance and getting bonded. This means that you will be covered by insurance should any damage occur on the property where you are working.

Call your county clerk’s office and determine if you need any special licenses or permits to operate in your county.

Develop a flier and a website with photos of some of the projects you’ve undertaken. You can start with your own home improvement projects or those that you’ve performed for your friends, family and neighbors. Get business cards, place an ad in your local newspaper.

Contact franchises such as Mr. Handyman by visiting their website
http://www.mrhandyman.com and House Doctors at http://www.housedoctors.com as well as Handyman Connection at http://www.handymanconnection.com. To learn more about franchising, visit the International Franchise Association website http://www.franchise.org to investigate the concept.

■ BACKYARD BONANZA

Start your own business catering to homeowners’ love of their backyards. You can start one or all of these ventures.

Mirage Waterless Grass is looking for entrepreneurs who want to own their own dealership marketing and installing Mirage Waterless Grass products. The company has created a synthetic grass that is a moneysaving, eco-friendly alternative to natural grass. It doesn’t have to be cut, fertilized, watered, seeded or mowed.

The product is ideal for both commercial and residential applications. You can run this business on a part-time or full-time basis. Visit http://www.WGDealer.com to learn more about the business opportunity. The overhead is low and it costs about $2450 to get started.

The company also has opportunities available to install Putting Greens. Visit http://www.MirageGreens.com to learn more about that business startup opportunity.

Barbeque Cleaning is a hot business to start. We all love to barbeque but who likes to clean the grill? You come in and offer the service with your BBQ cleaning opportunity program from The BBQ Cleaner. The company offers a proven tested business system for cleaning barbeque grills.

You purchase the system, the kit and a complete operations manual that will teach you how to clean and repair BBQ grills. Contact The BBQ Cleaner by visiting their website http://www.thebbqcleaner.com or call the company at 888-296-8368 to learn more.

Another company that offers a business opportunity program cleaning barbeques is BBQ Renew. The company wants you to cash-in on all of those dirty gas BBQ grills out there. They offer a gas grill cleaning and restoration business opportunity that include equipment, tools and supplies, along with marketing materials. Visit their website http://www.bbqrenew.com, or send an email to info@bbqrenew.com to learn more.

Set Up & Install Outdoor TVs with help from Mirage Vision who has packaged their knowledge on outdoor LED/LCD TV systems into a business opportunity package. Backyard entertainment is booming and the company wants you to capitalize on the home cocooning trend.

You can learn to install the outdoor, waterproof TV systems and make a profit on every one you sell and install. Plenty of designs and options available.

Market this business to homeowners, bar and restaurant owners, hotels and resorts, sports bars, cafes with outdoor terraces, tail gate parties, campers, fisherman and anyone else who loves to hang out and relax in the great outdoors. Call 702-533-8899 or visit http://www.TheOutdoorTVStore.com to find out how you can start this business in your region.

■ HOME INVENTORY

There have been an increasing amount of natural disasters ranging from floods and wildfires to hurricanes, tornadoes and windstorms. Many homeowners do not have adequate protection in the form of a proper listing of their belongings such as household goods, jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, computer equipment, and more.

This is where you come in: you can establish your own small business taking care of the job of creating an inventory listing of all items in the home or apartment. You can start and run this business as a mobile entrepreneur with your laptop computer and a camera/video camera/smartphone.

Develop marketing tools such as a website, brochure, business cards and place an ad in your local newspaper.

Visit the homes or apartments of your clients and make a list of their items. Photograph and/or video the contents of the home. Present your client with a written list and a CD/DVD of the home tour.

Small business owners will also want to be your clients.

You can start your own or purchase the business opportunity program from Home Journal Business. Their startup kit contains everything you need to launch and run this business from forms and marketing ideas to software. To learn more about the opportunity they offer to entrepreneurs visit www. homejournalbusiness.com

8 Reasons Why Who You Are Affects Your Business

In the past few years, the word entrepreneurship has become a buzzword rivaling others like synergy or globalization. Emerging from a slumping economy, our country’s best and brightest thinkers have gotten the itch to start their own businesses.

According to DocStoc, there are over 28 million small businesses in America as of 2013. In that same report, an estimated 543,000 new small businesses get started each month. Additionally, over half of the working population now works for small businesses.

With all of this innovation, its easy to get caught up in the excitement of the brilliant new ideas and creative solutions produced by the flux of these startups. But what about the people behind the businesses? Who are the folks that are bringing these ideas to the market and what are their stories? What collaborations and coalitions among individuals make entrepreneurship possible?

The answers to these questions might be easily brushed aside by the outside observer, concerned more about the bottom line than leadership and team dynamics. But anyone who has started their own business likely sees things differently. Indeed, the vault of quotes from top business execs and CEOs about how companies are only as good as their people is vast and exhaustive. If its true that the people who make up businesses are the magic, why is it that many of these companies leave their employees feeling like they can’t be their authentic selves?

A study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation shows that many people of color say they need to, “compromise their authenticity” in order to fit in at their company. Andres Tapia, author of The Inclusion Paradox, notes that companies have done a great job of achieving compositional diversity within their organizations but struggle when it comes to developing a “corporate culture where all employees feel included, respected, comfortable, and able to do their best work.”

Who we are matters and in order to reach our potential in business we have to embrace conversations about identity to best serve ourselves, the people we work with, and our clients.

Here are eight reasons why who you are affects your business:

1. You are your product. No matter how innovative or earth-shattering your idea is, people won’t care to listen to it if they don’t know your story. The best sales people don’t sell products, they sell themselves. The life experiences you’ve had significantly impact your product and the way you run your business. If clients know the person behind the idea, they will have a more profound understanding of why the idea is important and why they should invest in it.

2. The more you understand yourself, the more effective you’ll be. On performance reviews it is often referred to as self-awareness. Those who have a developed understanding of their own strengths, areas for growth, vulnerabilities, and insecurities are better able to navigate challenges and be effective through adversity. Taking some time to explore your own identity as an entrepreneur will help you to better understand your business and your product. It will also allow you to more authentically and confidently communicate your ideas to potential clients.

3. The business world isn’t fair. The sad reality is that our society has been set up to benefit some groups of people and marginalize others. Whether it is racial privilege for white folks or gender discrimination toward women, the systemic structures of privilege and oppression affect us all. Regardless of whether your business does anything to change these structures, it is impacted by them. This might mean that men have a better chance of advancing business than women or that people of color will face obstacles that their White counterparts do not experience. A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that minorities are less likely to get loans, more likely to be denied credit, and pay higher interest rates. The more conscious we are of these inequities that influence business, the more likely we’ll be to navigate them effectively.

4. Your competitors care about identity and diversity. Every industry has niche markets that businesses aim their advertising efforts toward. Market research is one of the most important strategies for a successful startup. Good companies know the different types of people interested in their product and how best to appeal to those demographics. Ignoring these differences and assuming that the market is colorblind could mean that your competitors are getting the leg up in attracting a prime market for your business.

5. The market is more global than ever before. With e-commerce and the flattening of the world, business today is more global than ever before. This means that companies are learning to navigate cultural boundaries, like language, tradition, and custom, in totally new ways. And understanding globalization doesn’t just apply to big international corporations, it affects small startups right here on Main Street. The U.S. is growing increasingly more diverse everyday and successful companies that know how these changes impact their business will thrive.

6. Effective businesses leverage difference. Every good business knows how to utilize its different resources. Each person working in your company brings a vast portfolio of strengths to the table. Not talking about those differences, whether they be specialized training, personality types, or cultural perspectives, means that you have useful skills and talents going to waste. Too often companies focus on diversity in terms of numbers and filling quotas, instead of going a step further and actually capitalizing on the differences among their employees. Different ideas and perspectives only serve to make a product better and more appealing to a broader audience. Smart entrepreneurs seek out feedback and input from diverse perspectives in order to improve their business and see things they couldn’t otherwise.

7. Retaining good people means understanding who they are. Good companies do more than just hire diverse employees, they know how to keep them engaged. Employees who are fully engaged in their companies are 50% more likely to exceed expectations than their non-engaged counterparts. Companies who engage their employees outperform companies who don’t in terms of retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth – by a lot! That being said, it makes smart business sense to go the extra mile and provide the resources necessary to keep members of your team engaged in the business. This means taking the time to learn about who they are and what is important to them.

8. Understanding identity and diversity can make or break your image. A company’s success depends largely on the way it is seen by the public. Social media and the internet has significantly impacted the way businesses think about their image, specifically around issues of diversity and discrimination. Incidents of bias that would have flown under the radar a few years ago can cripple a company’s reputation overnight. Companies are being held to a higher standard and this accountability is leading to better businesses that care about issues of diversity and inclusion. Instead of hoping to avoid embarrassing instances of bias, smart entrepreneurs look to understand diversity and the ways it improves their business.

Looking Ahead in 2015 – Making Resolutions and Goals That Stick

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015 – doesn’t it look nice and shiny? That’s because it’s a new year – with plenty of opportunities for you to make the most of whatever it is you want to do… and there can be the problem, right?

You want to make goals and resolutions, but every year you do this… and every year, those goals and resolutions just don’t stick. Here’s a couple of reason’s why that might be the case:

  • Your resolutions lack accountability
  • Your resolutions focus on a weakness
  • Your goals lack measurable outcomes
  • You don’t put any real thought into what you want to achieve
  • You can’t really be bothered, so you just go with the same ones you had from last year

Sorry if that seems a little in ya face, but if you’re honest with yourself, I’m probably right. This was me last year, so I don’t get off lightly either!

So how do you make your goals and resolutions stick? I’m glad you asked…

How to Make Goals and Resolutions ‘Stick’

1. Figure out your focus:

It all starts with focus. We are constantly distracted in our daily lives, which makes it difficult to remember where you’re heading and what you’re trying to achieve. And it doesn’t take long to veer off course and end up moving in a direction that wasn’t even on your radar.

So to combat distractions, you need to focus on what you’re looking to achieve this year and into the future.

Mark Joyner, CEO of Simpleology, suggests setting only three major goals – a short term, medium term and long-term goal. Then he suggests further that when you set your daily to-do lists, that you review these goals to make sure your to-do’s are moving you toward those goals.

In my previous post, I talked about my goals for this year. I have 7 areas that I focus on and then mini goals within those. My to-do list is then created and linked to the main ‘focus’ area it pertains to. I use Todoist as my to-do list, but Simplelogy is also a good option.

Find the tool that works for you and then set yourself up for success by reviewing your main goals and linking them to your daily actions and tasks.

2. Make resolutions that focus on your strengths:

While it might make sense to make resolutions to improve an area you feel you’re weak in, this can actually set you up for failure right from the get-go.

If you want your resolutions to stick, look at focusing and harnessing your strengths. Ask the question, “Am I trying to change a weakness or am I playing to my strengths?” This is from author of “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” Marcus Buckingham.

Focus on strengths

If you choose to focus on and increase your strengths, you’ll feel more passionate and engaged about what you’re doing, which leads to an increased inclination to follow the resolution through.

So for me, one of my resolutions is to remove sugar from my diet. This is a difficult resolution for me because I have a massive sweet tooth. It also means I’m not super passionate about really doing it. I know that sugar is bad for me, but my willpower is zero when it comes to eliminating it from my diet.

So a better resolution for me would be to focus on eating better foods and reducing my sugar intake rather than trying to eliminate sugar from my diet – which if I’m really honest with myself, ain’t gonna happen!

Don’t focus on or try and change your weaknesses, focus instead on your strengths, which will ultimately balance out those weaknesses anyway.

3. Look for the obstacles:

Making goals and resolutions isn’t easy and sticking to them is even harder. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need to make a big deal about setting them in the first place, right?

Part of making your goals and resolutions stick is in being aware of potential obstacles ahead of time so that you can plan around them.

So how do you anticipate the obstacles and plan for them?

Set up rewards for sticking to your goals and resolutions, particularly if you’re a bit of a procrastinator (like me!).

Make them big rewards too, and not rewards that could potentially undo your hard work… like take my resolution of eating healthier foods – my reward should NOT be to spend a day eating a bunch of sugary crap. Instead, a better reward would be a day at the spa or a massage.

Put baits in place to keep you interested and focused on achieving those goals and resolutions.

Identify the obstacles ahead of time and plan how to deal with them and then just deal with them. Reward yourself when you do and hey presto, those goals and resolutions have ‘stu

By following these three key steps you’ll ensure that this year, your goals and resolutions will actually stick.

But there’s one other key ingredient… can you guess what it is?

YOU!

That’s right, you still have to take responsibility, take action and follow through. All the above steps do is help you set yourself up for success – you still have to actually do the steps, right?!

What are your goals and resolutions for 2015? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll hold you accountable!

Do you have your own ‘trick’ for making your goals stick? I’d love to hear about that too – you know the drill, leave it in the comments below…

-See more at: http://www.outsourcedfreelancingsuccess.com

11 Tips to Make your eLearning Freelance Business a Success

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This article features 11 top tips that will help you make your eLearning freelance business a success. Regardless of your eLearning niche or the length of your client list, you’ll find bits of advice and insight that you can use to take your eLearning Freelance business from simply surviving to thriving.

How To Make your eLearning Freelance Business a Success

There is a distinct difference between eLearning freelance businesses that just survive and those that stand the test of time and turn a great profit. While there are a myriad of factors that determine under which category an eLearning freelance business falls, there are also a number of tips that can give eLearning freelancers the opportunity to achieve success, even in down economies when the competition is fierce.

  1. Discovering your eLearning niche should be a top priority.
    While it’s always helpful to know a bit about everything, you should also have a specific eLearning niche that you focus on. This is a specialty that is ideal for your skill sets and your experience. To be really successful, you have to be aware of your eLearning niche and be ready and willing to learn it inside and out. Find out all you can about the various eLearning tools and technologies that are at your disposal and delve into the principles and theories involved. Become an expert in your eLearning niche, so that you become the eLearning Freelancer that everyone calls upon when they’re looking for the best of the best in your field.
  2. Develop an effective online eLearning portfolio and keep it up-to-date.
    One of the most valuable eLearning freelance business tips I can give for those who want to achieve success is to really take the time and effort to perfect their online eLearning portfolioMake sure that it accurately reflects your skills and experience, as it will be carefully viewed by your potential clients and employers, when they will need to get a sense of who you are and what you can offer to them. As you learn new things and develop new techniques, add these to your online eLearning portfolio, and ensure that it is well organized, well designed, and up-to-date.
  3. Set up online headquarters for your design and development team.
    Virtual work spaces, such as Asana and Basecamp, are great platforms for project management. If you work with other eLearning professionals on a regular basis, you’ll definitely want to think about setting up an online base of operations in order to stay on-task and stick to deadlines. Through free project management platforms you can assign projects, keep a team calendar, and send out alerts for upcoming due dates.
  4. Focus on building an online presence and manage your online reputation.
    Create a site or blog that includes information about your expertise and services, and stay active on social media sites and eLearning online forums. By doing this, you increase your online presence, which means that clients and employers will be able to find you more conveniently. Also, pay attention to your online reputation by asking satisfied clients to post their positive reviews and recommendations. Go above and beyond to keep clients happy, so that they feel compelled to leave glowing testimonials about your eLearning services.
  5. Track and manage your resources effectively.
    Organization and resource allocation are key to success for any eLearning freelance business. Keep track of expenses, time spent working on individual tasks, and anything else that will affect your bottom line. This will help you to not only increase your profit margins, but it will also allow you to create more accurate bids for projects. For example, if you can accurately estimate your eLearning course development time, then you can factor that into the overall cost.
  6. Network, network, network!
    Go online and join eLearning professionals’ groups, such as the Instructional Design & E-Learning Professionals’ Group on LinkedIn. Attend networking meetings in your area or eLearning conferences, if possible. You have to devote time and energy to networking in order to build your list of contacts. These contacts can not only be invaluable resources in the event that you need help with projects, but they can also let you know about projects that may be an ideal match for your expertise.
  7. Be ready and willing to learn more in order to profit more.
    As eLearning freelancers, we are always on the lookout for new and better ways to create meaningful eLearning experiences. To do this, it often means that we must be perpetual learners, who are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to expand our knowledge and master new skill sets. Attending courses and webinars that will help you to learn about emerging eLearning technologies and utilizing resources that deal with Instructional design models and theories can give you the opportunity to learn more in order to profit more.
  8. Research the eLearning market to identify points of need and then seize the opportunity.
    Every industry has gaps that need to be filled and points of need that, once identified, may lead to significant profit. So, research the eLearning market and see where there is a need and then see how your skills and experience can give you the power to create new opportunities. For example, if there are very few eLearning companies who are willing to take on smaller projects that only require one eLearning freelancer, then why not capitalize on this by becoming the go-to eLearning business for smaller organizations.
  9. Be innovative and get creative.
    Learn about emerging eLearning technologies that may be of benefit to your eLearning freelance business in the near future, and be creative about how you use the technologies and tools available today. Try to discover new eLearning techniques and applications for them when creating your eLearning deliverables. Being innovative and always willing to take on new challenges, you can gain invaluable experience and provide better eLearning deliverables for your clients.
  10. Set aside time for marketing and promotion, even when you have a full work load.
    Even if you are swamped with work and don’t really have any room in your schedule for another task, it’s always a good idea to keep up with your eLearning freelance business marketing strategy. This can ensure that you have new work waiting for you when you’ve wrapped up your current projects, and that your eLearning freelance business never has any down times. Avoid the dreaded “feast or famine” by always setting aside time for marketing and promotion.
  11. Don’t forget to reassess your strategy periodically.
    Your eLearning freelance business strategy should always be a work in progress. Every now and then take the time to assess what’s working and what’s not, so that you can constantly improve the way you do business. Get feedback from clients and contractors you’ve worked with in order to determine your core strengths and weaknesses, as this will allow you to remain at the top of your game.

Hopefully these tips can give you some inspiration and ideas for how to make your eLearning freelance business stand the test of time and thrive. Determination, dedication, and a well rounded eLearning freelance business strategy are key ingredients in the formula for eLearning success. Staying focused and committed to taking your eLearning freelance business to the next level, and never settling for anything less than the best from yourself and your team, are crucial.

Do you need additional tips to land more jobs? The article Tips Every eLearning Freelancer Should Know to Land More Jobs highlights 7 tips that absolutely every eLearning freelancer should know to land more jobs, even if you don’t have any prior experience in the eLearning industry.

Last but not least, there are a number of ways that you can boost your earning potential and increase your profits even if you are new in the eLearning field. At the article Tips to Earn Money as an eLearning Professional you will find 10 tips on how to earn money as an eLearning Professional.

For more, kindly visit: http://elearningindustry.com

How To Build Practical Work Experience By Freelancing

How to create your own freelancing business so you can build practical experience in your chosen specialty.

One of the most common fears most college graduates have these days is being able to find a stable job right after graduating to pay off those student loans. There are several ways a recent grad can collect great working experience without having to deal with the constant “1-5 years experience” requirement most entry-level jobs have now.

Freelancing is more than just an alternative career for people who have worked in their industry for a few years and want a change of pace, it is the perfect starting point for recent grads to get a better holding in their career and start getting the experience they need–as well as the pay!

There is a lot of information and many methods out there, but this guide can help from step one all the way to that first client.

Creating a freelance brand and business

First things first: you need to be able to have an easily accessible online brand, which could be as simple as a nice, professionally done picture of yourself and “[Your Name] Freelancing” as a business name, although there are freelancers out there who create an entire business and unique brand to be memorable.

Regardless, all of these happen to be requirements before plunging into freelancing:

  • A business name, even if it’s your own name
  • Roughly a 150-word explanation of your business for SEO purposes, which will be added to the “Meta description” of your website
  • Speaking of, you will need a website! Even a free WordPress blog will do for a time, but it is strongly advised to purchase a domain name and host your own site. You can download a copy of self-hosted WordPress here or use a professional hosted website service like Squarespace.
  • Readily available contact information, even if it’s just an email address.
  • A resume and/or portfolio of sorts. School projects are acceptable as previous work.
  • Finally, social networking. If you haven’t already, create professional profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other websites you think will help your freelancing.

Once you have all of that set-up, it is time to check out all of the different ways you can start freelancing. A very important reminder: it is best to “spread out” your freelancing efforts online, which basically means, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket.” Take all opportunities into consideration. Remember, you are a business when freelancing.

Job bidding websites for freelancers

There are dozens of websites out there where you can sign-up (usually for free) and have countless jobs to go through which you “bid” on in order to win and create work for yourself. You bid the price that you wish to be paid on the project and the client chooses the best one for their budget.

For beginners: oDesk is a great way to start off your freelancing career because of how varied the jobs can be. There are copywriting, graphic design, programming, and even social media management jobs on there that are all freelance-based, all you have to do is create a profile and start bidding. Remember that oDesk takes 10% of the pay from a project.

For intermediates: If you have a general understanding of freelance job bidding sites, then eLance might be up your alley. It is also a better website if you already have initial “start-up” cash in order to fund your freelancing endeavors–as the old adage goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” eLance takes 8.75% from your payment.

For programming: There are many job bidding sites out there which focus primarily on programming and similar web work. However, the two biggest happen to be Freelancer.com and vWorker (formerly RentACoder). There was formerly ScriptLance, but they were bought out by Freelancer.com, which has become a huge hub for Web jobs.

For online marketing workTo keep your digital and online marketing skills sharp, check out Project4Hire and Guru. Both of them offer daily updates on clients looking for SEO gurus, content marketing experts, and general Internet marketing knowledge for their projects.

For design and graphics: For all of the designers out there, all of the mentioned above bidding sites are a great start, as well as iFreelance. It is also highly recommended that you showcase your work on professional design communities with Behance and Dribbble being the important websites to have a profile on. All of these will provide great freelancing opportunities to expand your experience with design and graphics.

A freelacing newcomer: If you’re interested in providing creative services like eBook design, logos & branding, marketing design, social media and website or interface design Microlancer is a brand new platform. Tends to be inexpensive contracts for quick work but it can very useful for building your digital portfolio fast.

While this may seem like a lot to take in at first glance, just remember that it is better to work with one or two job bidding websites at first. Do your research and read reviews on sites you are interested in. Alternatively, you can give it a “one week/month” rule to see if the website is a good fit.

Normally it is best to pick a combination of a generalized job bidding website and then a specialized one, as sometimes the specialized one will have higher paying jobs in something you want or are knowledgable in.

A reminder: Take into account how much the job bidding site takes from the final payment! Include that percentage in your bid every time you seek out work, otherwise you might have an unwelcome surprise when it comes to payday.

Finding jobs on freelance job boards

Building up a reputation and clientele through a job bidding site is one of the most common ways people break into freelancing, but there happen to be other ways to gain exposure and make some money along the way.

One of the most common ways is through job listings, but these aren’t your regular Craigslist or Monster.com job ads. These lists are usually 90% freelance work with some full-time and part-time positions sprouting up. These are also jobs ads usually with bigger brands and websites (and thus a bit more competition). The biggest job lists which are updated daily are:

  • MetaFilter — A mixture of programming, design, writing, and multimedia freelancing jobs.
  • Authentic Jobs — A large focus on Web work, updated daily.
  • Krop — More than just freelancing jobs, Krop offers positions available with digital media firms, tech companies, and ad agencies.
  • FreelanceSwitch – Only freelance jobs, updated everyday. One of the most best aggregators of freelancing work.
  • Smashing Magazine — Another job board which offers both freelance and full-time work, updated everyday with new leads.

If you’d like a comprehensive list of job boards, check out this list on InspirationFeed of 40 sites to find work.

These types of jobs will require you to send an email or submit an online form with a resume and possible links to previous work. But don’t worry, school projects and non-paid volunteer work can certainly pass in this scenario. If you don’t have those either, then creating some mock-up work can be acceptable, although it’s preferable if you could do some free work at first. An unfortunate, but required, downside to freelancing: sometimes it means doing free work at the start to gain a trusted reputation.

Other freelancing resources:

Here are some other links to read over and ways to break into the freelancing community.

Freelancer Forums: 

Freelancing Resource Websites:

Remember that freelancing is difficult at first and at times you may want to give up. However, if you stick with it you can make it work and gain valuable experience. There are few better ways to build practical skills like self-management and business administration while building experience that will dramatically improve your resume and your online reputation.

15 Step Guideline To Create Your Perfect 2015 Digital Marketing Strategy

15 Step Guideline To Create Your Perfect 2015 Digital Marketing Strategy

It is hard to believe that 2015 is right around the corner.

As the weather starts to cool down, digital marketers’ brains just begin to warm up and think about the budget for the New Year. The million-dollar question is what are the best digital networks to invest into and what platforms should receive more exposure for 2015?

Malcolm X was quoted as saying; “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” If you are reading this article, you are likely a step ahead of the competition by staying sharp in news and trends in the online marketing field. By starting to think about the future of online marketing, you can plan out a successful 2015 year for your business while staying a step ahead of the competition.

The 15 step guideline for the perfect 2015 digital marketing strategy will provide you with a digital marketing blueprint for the upcoming year.

Once the ball drops on New Years at midnight, you won’t drop the ball when it comes to digital marketing strategy.

1. Get started on Instagram

If you haven’t started an Instagram account for your business, what are you waiting for? The younger generation has flocked to this social media platform with over 200 million monthly active users (according to Expanded Ramblings). Advertisers are getting more of an opportunity to share their content through filtered photos. Instagram is one of the most natural ways to share content for your brand. It is better to be a step ahead of the game than 2 steps behind it.

2. Yahoo! Bing network

The average cost per click on Yahoo! Bing was 10% to 24% lower than on Google AdWords.  A lower cost per click can yield a lower cost per acquisition, which is the exact reason why you should start taking the search network seriously that receives 11.6% of the market share this upcoming year.

If you are in an expensive industry in the pay per click world like the legal profession, insurance industry or medical field, having a lower cost per click can help with a profitable PPC campaign.

3. Facebook lookalike audience

What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? According to Facebook, Lookalike audiences let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to a customer list you care about. When you use Custom Audiences, you can choose to create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to your Custom Audience list.

Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers! This is a neat feature that advertisers should at least test during the upcoming year.

4. Paid promotion on Facebook

Adding just $5.00 in promotion to selected Facebook posts will drastically increase your interaction. You’ll start to notice a major spike in communication when you boost your post for a small budget. With Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, the likelihood for a business to appear high in the news feed is less likely. This is why for 2015, you should focus on posts that can yield the best results and boost them for a small budget.

5. Email marketing

If you are a business that only sends out one email blast per month, start doubling this number and send out at least two per month. Nordstrom sends out multiple email blasts EACH DAY! If you have compelling content that would be informative to the subscribers on your email list, tell them about it via email communications.

According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!

6. Twitter outreach

There has been a lot of frustration amongst marketers over all of the advertising that various social media channels are forcing businesses to partake in. Luckily, Twitter is still a great platform where you can grow your following organically. Start searching for hashtags within your industry and reaching out to users in this fashion. Compliment someone on Twitter about a blog post that they wrote. Begin asking questions related to your hashtag. The result will be more interaction and core following of people who are interested in your content! There is a reason why Twitter has nearly 1 billion registered users! Start reaching your target audience via tweets through the perfect Twitter outreach strategy in 2015.

7. Facebook re-marketing

If you are a social media marketer and have not taken advantage of display advertising on Facebook, you are missing an outstanding opportunity. Not only will this yield one of the highest return on investments for your clients, it will help with brand exposure, lead to better conversion rates and provide a flexible budget which will lead to a more effective strategy.

An apartment community in Columbus implemented beautiful graphics with relevant messaging for one of its apartment communities for Facebook re-marketing. When someone would drop off of their website and visit Facebook, this messaging would follow them around. This resulted in a 33% uptick in conversion for their Polaris Apartments community!

Start seeing an uptick in conversion by implementing a Facebook re-marketing strategy for 2015.

8. Better blogging

We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines. 80% of daily blog visits are new so this is a great driver of new website traffic! Additionally, a blog can serve as content for a Facebook and Twitter post as well as a teaser for an email marketing campaign. By creating better blog content in 2015, your web traffic will increase and your content will become more compelling

9. Google+ game plan

Google+ might not gain you that much interaction on your social media posts. This social media platform plays a crucial role in search engine optimization on the localized level, which makes this a must for marketers in 2015.

The more reviews you get, the more content you post onto your page and the more followers your obtain, the higher the likelihood that you will start ranking well for localized search terms.

10. YouTube videos

Did you know that Google owns YouTube? By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Exposure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure. Online video should definitely be included in your 2015 digital marketing strategy as this form of rich media can be a game changer in terms of publicity for your company. People will interpret your YouTube videos that you are taking your marketing initiatives very seriously!

11. Compelling graphics

The more compelling your graphics are on various social media channels, the more interaction you will receive. If you have a graphic designer, start sending him or her over your social media calendar so they can help create beautiful imagery. In 2015 you will want to increase engagement and great pictures certainly help. If you don’t have a graphic designer, don’t worry; there are affordable sites that offer stock photography like BigStock.

12. Search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have an average close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as cold calls or print advertising) have an average close rate of 1.7%. Having your website optimized for SEO is a necessity heading into 2015. By having an SEO strategy in place, you can increase your leads and grow your business for next year.

13. Content contribution

If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields. If you own an apartment community in Nashville, start writing for a local Nashville website that talks about the best activities around town. You will be seen as an expert in your city and this can help drive more traffic to your website. While people might not be looking for an apartment immediately, they will remember that you have invested time and effort into content within the community!

14. Digital PR

You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post.  The more people talking about your company, Tweeting about your business and mentioning your brand, the better exposure you will receive for the upcoming year.

15. Unique promotion:

Brainstorm a unique promotion that people will actually enjoy that can drive massive publicity for your company in 2015! Whether it is coming up with a user generated jingle contest or a photo upload promotion, entice your great fans on social media to interact with your brand in a clever way. If the promotion is a success, it will be one of the most talked about campaigns for your company in 2015.

We don’t expect digital marketers to hit on each and every one of the 15 guidelines referenced above. Within the list, some of the suggestions are relatively new while others have been around for the past decade. If you incorporate some of the 15 Steps from our Guideline, you might just have the perfect year in 2015 from an online marketing perspective!
Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/10/08/15-step-guideline-to-create-your-2015-digital-marketing-strategy/#rwt7yfXKrumzyeVF.99