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4 Common Mistakes Remote Workers Make

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Remote work is becoming common for freelancers and full-time employees alike. It is also becoming a cause of conflict in the workplace. Here are four common mistakes remote workers make and steps to take to avoid making them yourself.

Ignoring the Legal Issues

If you handle company data on your personal computer and there is a “data spill” with restricted information processed by your computer, will you have to have your personal computer wiped or private internet history reviewed by the company? If this isn’t acceptable, either use a company provided device when working from home or use a computer you would be able to work without if the company confiscates it for a digital brain wipe. Another issue you need to discuss is data retention policies, such as the need to document and store any messages you share with the company or customers. How does the company want you to back up these messages in the manner they are legally required to follow? If your device is bricked, will the company pay for an iPhone data recovery service to recover both personal and corporate data?

Never Disconnecting

Companies are embracing remote work when it results in 24x7x365 support, such as the ability for their best IT staff to work a 10 PM to midnight maintenance window from home and respond to problems on a Saturday afternoon. One of the biggest mistakes remote workers make is never disconnecting from work. Employers and customers will consider you always connected and reach out to you anytime they want to if you don’t set boundaries. A common problem is remote workers putting in more hours than when they worked in the office and having work interrupt family time and down time, increasing stress without resulting in higher pay. Make sure you disconnect from work, silencing the phone, sending emails and instant messages to a folder that you’ll read later. The word for people always on call is servant, not employee.

Relying Only on One Communication Channel

One major mistake remote workers make is relying on one communication channel. Baby Boomers tend to rely on phone calls with some email. The forty and fifty-something workers tend to rely on emails. Those in their twenties and thirties tend to rely on instant messaging and text messaging. This can result in segregation of communications, leaving out whole sections of a team because they don’t follow the conversation in that medium. Remember to shake things up and call a customer to discuss issues too complex for an email or send an instant message to IT for a quick issue instead of a longer email that may take them a few hours to check.

Forgetting a Backup Plan

Remote workers often fail to have a backup plan. What will you do if the power goes out in your apartment? Do you have a backup battery that would allow you to keep working for a few hours or at least a five-minute reserve from a UPS so you can save your work? Do you already know somewhere you could move in case your personal internet connection is down, whether a coworking space or the library?

Conclusion

Determine your legal obligations and risks before you start remote work. Disconnect from work even if connected to the internet personally to protect work-life balance. Don’t rely on a single communication channel and use the medium that works for that person and type of message. Have a backup plan in case utilities or internet goes out at home, but understand how the environment you relocate to impacts your work.

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How A Business Owner Can Get Out Of A Rut

Falling into a rut is never easy. It’s frustrating and disappointing for all of those involved. Being a business owner is a difficult job. The role’s stressful and often requires lots of hours and hard work for little reward, at least in the beginning. Getting stuck in your path is a tough pill to swallow.

There’s no right or wrong answer about what to do if this happens to you, however, there are options for getting out of it. You can't sit back and assume it’ll just go away. You need to have determination and perseverance to work through it. See how a business owner can get out of a rut.

Revisit Vision

Go back to why you started your business in the first place. Revisit your vision and motivation for kicking it off at the start. Let your mind wander back and find your passion again. You may need to dig deep, but it’s probably there. This’ll help you reset your mind to want to charge forward with inspiration. Finding the reason why once again will bring your mind to a good place and you’ll be able to focus on the future. Go back to your initial notes and business plan documents to help you recall. Doing this may trigger a happy memory and snap you out of your funk.

Exercise

It’s important you incorporate some movement into your day. Being an entrepreneur typically means you’re working and sitting a lot. You need your exercise to maintain high levels of energy and to feel mentally with it. Join a gym, run at lunch or participate in a new activity on the weekends. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get your daily exercise. It’ll benefit you in many ways and the time you spend exercising may lead you to answers you would have never thought of without the quiet time.

Explore New Ventures

Maybe it’s time for a change, and this is your sign. A great way to make a new start is in the screen printing and embroidery business. Owning a franchise means you’re the boss and can take your prior experience with you to start a brand new line of work as an entrepreneur. People use signs all of the time, so you won’t need to worry about if the need is there or not. Even the motion and action of researching and exploring new ideas will bring new life to your mind.

Talk & Share Ideas

Bounce ideas off of other people. Call up a friend or family member and tell them how you’re feeling. Talk to your leadership team at work and get a feel for how they think business is going. Open up and share your concerns and see if they can be worked out, so you feel good about your situation again. Talk and share ideas to get it off of your chest and let in new perspectives.

Conclusion

There’s no magic formula for turning your mindset around. You must explore yourself and seek the answers you need to find. These are ways a business owner can get out of a rut.  

Continued Reading

Check out this great article from Ken Evoy, Why Every Solopreneur Should Succeed (And Why Most Don’t).

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The Key to Winning More Business for Your Company

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Although many new companies need business right now, it’s not the sort of thing that happens overnight. There isn’t a magic business fairy that comes along and puts a new customer under your pillow while you’re catching flies. You need to work hard for new business, just like the other successful companies out there.

There is no secret to winning business, but there are things you can do to give you a higher chance. What is the ultimate key to winning business?

You Must Be Patient

If you own an established business, you’re always going to go through the stage of wondering where your next customer is going to come from. From a financial point of view, “be patient” aren’t the words you want to hear, but they are words that need to be followed.

The same advice needs to be followed for new businesses. It takes a while to become an established business because you need to make an extra effort and try to land jobs without references. Once you have references and pictures of work to show, you’re going to have a much easier chance of landing more business. Patience is the real winner when it comes to landing business.

Deliver on Time

Did you know that many businesses around the world don’t get new customers through social media or online advertising? They get new business through word of mouth, which is probably the most powerful type of advertising there is.

A customer that’s willing to recommend a family member is a customer worth delivering on time for, and that’s all of them. If you deliver your promises on time and do a good job, they will recommend you to friends and family – it’s that simple.

Apply to Tender

Applying to tender can be a tricky affair, but it’s a step that should be considered if you have an established business. The first tender is always the hardest to win because you’re not going to have any decent references from local councils or authorities. But once you do win a tender, you’ll find the process will give you a higher chance of landing a good one.

Tenders are usually offered by local councils and communities, which often means they are hard to land. However, you can get a lot of help in this field by hiring a professional company to come in and write up applications to tender for you. They generally have extensive experience in the field and have provided successful tender applications to thousands of businesses just like yours.

Market & Advertise Some More

It’s important you take your marketing and advertising strategies seriously; otherwise, you’re going to be pouring money down the drain without any results. Have a look at traditional and digital marketing methods to give your business more of a chance, and plan your strategies and research demographics in your area.

Winning business can often be a painful process but it’s one that needs to be done to make any business a success. If you provide a good all-round service to your customers and you are patient, you’ll find you will reap the rewards in the future.

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5 Online businesses you could start today

 Guest post presented by 3rd party-- BLOG not written by Doug Sandler

Guest post presented by 3rd party-- BLOG not written by Doug Sandler

If you are looking for a new career and want to be your own boss, then there are many ways you can start a business online. It is easier to work online than in an office, and you can always work from home if you needed that flexibility. You can start by utilizing your strengths, but before you do, ask questions like what could you offer people? Do you have any skills that you can add to your online business? Here are some ideas that you can start working on today.

Social Media Consultant

Social media is an area that many companies are looking to expand their reach. However, a lot of them do not have the time or resources to do it themselves, so they employ an outside company to manage it for them. This is where you can create an opportunity for yourself. First, you will need to do some research and understand the mechanics, but you can quickly become a very sought after freelancer.

Web Design

If you have skills at web design, then you will be able to attract many clients. With what almost seems like everyone running a website, web designers can run a profitable business. There are lots of companies, especially start-ups, which need new sites designed. You can also add more to your products by offering a web hosting service as well. Companies such as Certa Hosting offer many services, and they also allow you to resell web hosting which can generate extra income.

Virtual assistant

There are many jobs that smaller companies are now outsourcing to freelancers instead of recruiting additional, permanent staff. In particular, virtual assistants are becoming an excellent way for business owners to have someone look after his or her emails and calendar. The responsibilities vary from project to project, but primarily it involves organizing emails, diary and occasionally phone calls and invoicing. Many people who hire you will be happy to show you how to use their particular software.

Virtual Support

In a similar way to a virtual assistant, virtual support offers companies IT support for their computers and software. It can save companies much money to just hire someone when there is a problem and is means there is plenty of work for you. Most of the support you give will be over the phone, although you can always offer a call-out service as well.

App Development

Mobile apps are very popular with companies, with more companies now looking for freelancers to develop apps for them. There is much work involved in app creation, but the financial rewards can be significant. Some mobile apps can cost $15,000 or more if there are many elements included. You can also collaborate with designers and other freelancers to offer more detailed creations.

These are just a few of the many online businesses that you can start from the comfort of your home. Some might need a little work, and you many need training or to conduct research, but the benefits of having your own business and working from home are more than enough to compensate.

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How to Create a Seamless Workflow

 Guest post presented by 3rd party-- BLOG not written by Doug Sandler

Guest post presented by 3rd party-- BLOG not written by Doug Sandler

When was the last time your company reviewed its workflow? It could be that everything is working as it should, and you are happy with that. Even if that is the case, it is always a good idea to regularly go through your work processes to ensure you are running at your most efficient.

You may not have to change anything in a drastic way; it might just need a little tinkering here and there. Here are some of the ways you can make your workflow almost seamless.

Technology

The way you use your technology can save you much time. However, some companies do not use their systems to their best advantage. Adding data to a spreadsheet is easy, but if you are doing the same input more than once, it is wasting your time.

With office applications now available in the cloud through sites like Bytes, you can share your data securely encrypted with everyone who needs to see it without having to input it more than once.

How your customers place an order is another potential area where duplication or too many steps can be unnecessarily slowing down your workflow. Go through the process and eliminate any steps you do not need.

Is your software up to date? Are there things you can do to improve the way it works? If your company has been using the same software for a while, it could need reviewing to see if there are any better alternatives.

Communication

It is a good idea to take a look at your communication processes and how they are handled. It is of particular importance for your customers. If they have to go through too many menus or talk to a line of people, they will get frustrated.

Simple things such as creating more ways for your customers to contact you can make a significant difference to their satisfaction and your workflow. Utilize social media, web chat and your website to give people options to communicate with you.

The way you deal with other companies can also be streamlined, dealing with suppliers and other clients electronically are much faster, especially if the process is automated.

Training

Using technology or other systems may not come naturally to everyone. If you have particular software that you use for your business, does everyone know how to use it? Is there anyone trained to use it if the person responsible isn’t available?

Ensuring that all your workers have the correct training can lead to less confusion and a more seamless workflow. Knowing what to do if there is a problem is also a good idea. Having clear procedures along with telephone numbers to hand will get issues resolved quickly.

Just looking at a few simple ways to speed up your workflow can have a significant impact on your productivity. It will also help you to save money and time in the long run which will benefit you and improve your customer satisfaction.

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