How to kick-start your career as a freelancer

Even just ten years ago, the idea of working freelance was one that was alien to many people. Giving up the security of a regular wage didn’t seem worth it, even if it was in exchange for some more freedom. But in today’s more exciting, decentralised and ever-changing economy, it’s increasingly appealing for a whole host of reasons. Whether it’s increased flexibility in your schedule or simply the opportunity to complete a more diverse range of tasks, there are lots of reasons to go for a more liberated working life. With that in mind, here’s how you can get your freelance show on the road.

Consider career goals

While some who go freelance may be concerned that they’ll be limiting their chances of returning to permanent work, it’s true to say that it can actually benefit your career to opt for this route. Through the many different clients you’ll meet, freelancing exposes you to the ways that lots of different firms operate – which is a handy insight for a permanent employee to have. If you make a success of your freelance life for long enough, it will also in the future show potential employers that you’re organised enough to run your own business – which is a quality that any manager would love to see.

Think about tax

Tax is not the sort of thing that many people want to think about – but if you’re about to become a freelancer, you’re going to have to think about it and prepare to deal with it. An essential part of freelance work is the fact that you’ll need to manage your own tax affairs, a task which includes filing your own return once a year if you’re a sole trader.

And if you incorporate as a limited company, you’ll have even more to file – such as a detailed confirmation statement. If all of this sounds like too much, it may instead be worth using an umbrella company which can handle the tax side of things for you. While the umbrella company vs. PAYE (pay as you earn) discussion rages on, it’s clear that using an umbrella firm can help you to reduce the time spent on accounting and instead make the most of your time to earn money.

Rough with the smooth

Unfortunately, as a freelancer it’s always going to be the case that money doesn’t flow in as regularly as you would like. From clients who miss payments to months when work dries up, there are lots of financial issues to consider. If you’re able to save some cash before you make the decision to leave your job and start out as a freelancer, you’ll be able to have an emergency fund in place to look after yourself if monetary problems arise.

As a freelancer, you’re likely to face all sorts of different hurdles from time to time. Whether it’s your ability to keep paying your bills during periods of downtime or ensuring that you don’t miss your tax return deadline even by a day, there’s a lot to do. Luckily, the existence of umbrella companies, career plans and much more mean that freelance life can be made just that little bit easier.

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4 Important Financial Steps You Need to Take This Year

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When it comes to money, there are a lot of things that you will need to keep in mind. Every year you should be reassessing the direction your finances are taking, and looking at what you can do to make things better. There are so many changes you can make to your money management each year, and this is something that will help you to be more comfortable and focused.

Of course, it is important to think about the present and ensure you have plenty of money now. But, you also need to make sure you think about the future as well, and this is something important to keep in mind. You have to make sure you make the right choices now that are going to help you in the future, and this is crucial for a better and more comfortable life. These are 4 of the most essential things you need to keep in mind today.

1. Make Investments

There are a lot of different options these days for those who are looking to make investments. This is an important step for the future and one that is going to help you improve your financial situation in the future. There are loads of different things you can invest money in these days, and this includes something like cryptocurrency, stocks and shares, and even fine art. There are a lot of things you can do that will help you to make the right investments today, and this is something that can really improve stuff in the future.

2. Stop Overspending

Overspending is something that we are often all guilty of, but it is also something you need to make sure stop as much as possible. There are a lot of things you can do to achieve this, and it is something that you need to get right as soon as you can. Stop overspending by visiting https://cheapautoinsurance.co/ to get cheaper auto insurance. Make sure you are only using the essentials, and that you try to cut your phone and TV bills down.

3. Get Out of Debt

Getting out of debt is absolutely crucial for the future because it can affect many areas of your life. There are a lot of things that need to play a role in the process of debt management, and getting out of the red as quickly as possible is so important. This might involve becoming part of a debt management program, or getting rid of things like credit cards to help you reduce your outgoings.

4. Pay off the Mortgage

Paying off your mortgage is absolutely essential, and you need to make sure you focus on improving the way things work financially. You need to think about the future and what you can do to keep on top of your mortgage payments. This needs to be a primary focus for you, and you need to make sure your finances are such that it will help you to keep up with these payments.

As you can see, there are a lot of steps you can take to ensure that you are making the right financial decisions. When it comes to money, you need to think a little further ahead than just the moment. This is why you have to make sure you consider what it takes to make the right financial decisions moving forward.

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Easy ways to start investing your money

As an entrepreneur, you may run your own successful business and have a little money built up in your bank account as a result. While you could leave it sitting there, the low interest rates that most bank accounts offer don’t make it work as hard for you as it should. That is why many entrepreneurs will look at investing some money to get a much better return on it. Whether you run a beauty salon doing fabulous nails or a boutique selling the latest amazing clothes, investment is something that all entrepreneurs should consider.

Which are the best investment sectors when starting out?

Of course, for many people, the thought of investing money can seem a little scary. With so many things that you could invest in that all have their own terminology, choosing your first investment can be tricky. If you need some great tips on investing money as a beginner, then read on.

Fashion

If you love your fashion and clothes, then why not make this an investment option to consider? As you know all about the industry anyway, you already have a great head start in choosing what to invest in that may go up in value over time. Whether it is designer Chanel handbags or one-off Armani jackets, using your knowledge of the fashion industry could be the best way to dip your toe into investing.

Stocks and shares

Many successful entrepreneurs will start their investment journey here. It is easy to see why – it is quite simple to understand, there are brokers that you can use to advise you, and you don’t need lots of cash to get going. Just be careful to educate yourself if you will be trading alone or fully research any brokerage that you use to handle it for you!

Trading

Many people do not realise this, but the FX market is actually bigger than the stock market, with over $5tn being traded on it each day. The idea is to pick a currency pair and then predict if the price will go up or down. Trading on this market is very popular now as it is easy to access, simple to actually trade, and offers pretty good returns if you do it right. Always check reviews of any broker that you use to trade with online though, to ensure that they are reputable.

Peer-to-peer lending

A great introduction to investment that will also make you feel good is this one. A relatively new investment class, it sees you lending money to other business owners who need it. When they have enough, they pay you back with any interest agreed as profit. This is brilliant if you have a business in the fashion or beauty world and want to help others get into it.

Take it steady

When it comes to taking your first steps in investing, it is wise to go steady. This will ensure that you make correct, informed decisions and invest in a sensible way. When done right, investing can give you a much better return on your money and ensure that it is working as hard as you do.

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Create Wonderful Window Displays to Attract Customers

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Your shop’s window display is one of the first things that customers will see. Both people who are already planning to come in and those who are just walking past will see your displays and should get a good idea of what they can find inside. You can use your window displays to show off your products and boost your brand. You need to use them to draw people inside, so keeping them fresh and attractive is important. Changing your displays regularly will help you to keep things exciting, but first you need to know how to make a good display.

Tell a Story

A good window display tells a story and shows people how they can use your products. You might set up a fun scene from homewares or create outfits out of your fashion items. Select a mannequin for sale that suits the look you want for your brand, and it can help you to create hundreds of different window displays. Pick a theme for your window or perhaps even create a narrative that continues over a series of days. Think of creative ways that you can use your products to put up a fun display that draws people in.

Create Movement

Light, sound and movement can help to draw people in when you create window displays. There are a few ways you could create movement to get people to stop and look in your window. Hanging items on wires or string can sway gently or, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you could consider mechanical displays or animations on screens. You can reuse some more expensive items in different ways to make them worth the investment. An easier way to create some movement is to use a fan, which can move light objects, from clothes to streamers.

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Use Seasonal and On-trend Themes

If you’re looking for themes to use in your window displays, think about seasonal occasions, as well as current trends and cultural references. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that relates directly to your products. Anyone can create a Christmas or Valentine’s display if they’re creative enough. You can also make references to pop culture or anything that might appeal to your customers, whether it’s the latest video game or a classic movie. People enjoy things that feel like an inside joke or a reference that only those in the know would get.

Put Key Items at Eye-level

Before creating a window display, go outside and take a look at where people’s eye-level would be. You can mark it with tape so that you can see from indoors. It’s important that you put the most important things at the right level so that people will spot them first, and then look at the rest of your display. Remember that your eye-level when you’re inside is probably not the same as what people will see on the other side, so it’s important to check.

Attractive window displays can help a lot with foot traffic. Keep yours exciting to encourage customers inside.

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Managing Your Finances As A Student Is As Easy As ABC

University is one of the most crucial parts of your life, which is why you mustn’t let financial worries get in the way. Encountering a few hurdles along the way is perfectly natural. Still, disruptions to your academic progress cannot be allowed to creep in. If they do, there’s a strong chance you’ll be left with regrets and unfulfilled potential.

Learning to take responsibility and manage your finances in a suitable manner is essential. It may seem daunting, but you can overcome most of the issues in just three easy steps. Here’s all you need to do.

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Accumulate

Tuition and related university fees are far from cheap, but finding the right student loan can remove some of the pressure. Other forms of funding may be available too, but it’s important to find one where the repayment starts after graduation. Otherwise, this could become a source of great stress.

Earning a little money to support your studies can be highly beneficial. A part-time job is a good option but isn’t the only way. These examples of trading show how the online arena can be used to increase your bank balance. Likewise, starting a blog or offering your services on a freelance basis can work wonders too.

While you don’t need to be rich to get yourself through the student years, having a little money in your pocket will remove a lot of strain. Do not forget it.

Budget

Having money certainly eases the tension, but you still need to be frugal with it. After all, you’re not going to have a full-time job when you’re busy studying. Getting organised with online banking and a clear understanding of when direct debits leave your account is vital. This will help you avoid late fees.

Moreover, you should try to incorporate these money-saving tips for students into your life. By spending less on daily habits and direct student fees, you’ll gain a huge sense of satisfaction. Better still, those skills should stand you in good stead for future life challenges once you’ve finished university.

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You needn’t stick religiously to your budgets. But knowing exactly how much you spend should help you pinpoint and eradicate problematic habits far sooner.

Credit

Good financial health isn’t solely about the amount of money sitting in your bank account at any given time. It’s likely that you’ll be a little short of money from time to time, and buying items on credit can be a solution. However, you must ensure that you are capable of meeting the repayment terms while also securing the best deals.

Several factors will contribute to the rates offered and the opportunities that are made available. Therefore, going the extra mile to keep your credit score in good health should be one of the top items on your agenda. By landing the best deals, you will naturally keep your finances in a far better condition.

Get each of these three aspects under control, and your finances will remain in good health. It won’t suddenly make you rich, but it will let you focus on your studies.

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7 Ways To Spend Less As A Student

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Many students can find it difficult to financially survive even with a student loan. Fortunately, there are many cost-cutting tricks that can help you to make the most of uni life. Here are just 7 ways in which you can spend less as a student.

Download e-books

Most courses will require you to buy some form of literature whether it’s a textbook or a novel to study. You can often save money on these by downloading them as e-books rather than buying physical copies. This may require investing in an e-reader first, although you can still read them on a tablet or a laptop.

Shop around online for supplies

You can buy many supplies such as HP printer ink and cartridges online for much cheaper than you would in the stores. Even with the cost of delivery, many of these supplies are cheaper. Don’t forget to also try second-hand sites such as Gumtree for cheap supplies such as used books.

Rent a laptop

If you don’t own a laptop and don’t have enough to buy one, you could always rent one. Many universities now offer laptop rental services for students in which you pay a small amount each month. You often don’t have to rent the laptop for a fixed term – if you only need a PC for a couple months whilst writing your dissertation, this could be a good shout.

Cook your own meals

It’s all too easy to overspend on takeaways and pub meals. Get into a habit of cooking your own meals. When shopping at the supermarket, buy food supplies in bulk and give own brand food items a chance. Try to eat healthily and not stick to £1 pizzas and noodles – vegetables are often very cheap compared to meets.

Pre-drink

Uni life can often involve a fair amount of boozing. Rather than spending huge amounts on drinks at your local bar or club, take advantage of comparatively cheap supermarket drink prices and dedicate some time to pre-drinking. You’ll end up spending a lot less when you go out and a lot less overall.

Share stuff with fellow students

You can save a lot of money by sharing things with fellow students. This could include cooking each other meals, sharing Netflix accounts and even sharing textbooks. By sharing the cost of these items, you could each save money.

Take advantage of student discounts

There are many places where you can take advantage of student discounts – many of which people aren’t aware of. With an NUS card, you can get discounts on shopping at Co-op, discounts on clothes at ASOS, A 12% discount on a 16 – 25 railcard and a 49% discount at Alton Towers. You can find out more about these discounts at the NUS site. Be wary that there may be local bars, restaurants and shops also offering student discounts.

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Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Property

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If you have decided that the time has come to purchase your first property, there is a lot that needs to be considered. Not only do you need to consider whether you are financially ready to do so, but you must make sure you are ready to put down roots in the area in question and you need to make sure that the property is right for you. With that being said, continue reading to find out about the key questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a property. This should help you to make the right decision for you.

Is your credit score good? There is only one place to begin, and this is with your credit rating. You can easily access your credit rating for free online today, and this is something you should definitely do. This will give you a good understanding as to what sort of offer you will get when you seek a mortgage. After all, if your rating is fair, you may still get offered a mortgage, however, you won’t get offered the best rates. Therefore, you may want to work on improving your credit rating before you make a mortgage application so that you will get offered a much better deal.

Are you ready to put down roots in the area? It is important to remember that when you purchase a property, you are not just buying the bricks and mortar, you are buying into an area. This is why you need to make sure that you are ready to put down roots here. Can you see yourself living in this area for years and years to come? Are you happy with your job here? Would you be happy to send your children to school here?

Can you afford the mortgage? – There are many different costs associated with buying a property, yet there is no denying that your home loan is going to be the biggest expense. You can use a refinance calculator to find out whether or not you will be able to afford a mortgage comfortably. If you can’t, or you are not happy with the rates you have been offered, you should work on your credit score and keep saving until you feel you are in a position whereby the mortgage is right for your circumstances.

Are you making decisions based on your emotions? Emotional decisions are often where we go wrong in life. When we make decisions based more on our emotions, we end up living to regret it. The worst thing you can do is buy a property based on emotions. Yes, you may see a property that you love, but if it does not cater to your requirements, it is no good for you. It is easy to get attached to a house and convince yourself that you can compromise. But once a few years have passed by, you will regret it.

Does the home and the location provide long-term resale value? You also need to look at the financial side of things in terms of future profit. The last thing you want to do is purchase in an area that is in decline. Instead, you need to do your research regarding house prices in the area. Do not only look at historical prices, but consider the future. Are there any developments in the pipeline that could impact the resale value? After all, while historical prices are beneficial, they do not guarantee that an upward curve is going to continue.

Have you got enough money to deal with any maintenance and repairs? Unlike renting, when you buy a home, you are going to be responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs. If the boiler breaks, you need to fix it. If the shower stops working, you need to pay for it to be sorted out. You can’t give these responsibilities to someone else, which is why it is so important to make sure you have an emergency fund so that you can pay for all of these issues as and when they arise.

Do you understand your wants vs. your needs? When it comes to purchasing a property, you need to have a thorough understanding of both your wants and your needs. What sorts of things are you willing to negotiate on? What sort of things are a necessity? Before you go to start house hunting, you should have a list of all of the things that are non-negotiable. This will ensure you can search for a property with greater clarity. However, make sure you actually understand your wants and needs. For a lot of people, the lines are blurred. They think they need certain things, when, in fact, they just want it.

As you can see, there are a number of important questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a property. If you ask all of the questions that have been mentioned above, and you give honest answers to yourself, you should be able to come to the best decision for you. After all, there is no denying that purchasing a property is a massive investment. This is not something that you should rush into. You need to ensure the property is right for you and that you can afford it, which is why the questions mentioned above are so important.

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Careers That Will Give You More Than Just A Paycheck Each Month

There’s a difference between a job and a career. A job is a means of making ends meet. A career is something that you’re passionate about, and want to pursue further so that you’re not only bringing in money, but you’re getting something else out of it too. Have you ever wanted more from your job than just a headache and a pay packet? Take a look at these careers that will do more for you than just give you a paycheck each month and see if any of them take your fancy!

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Chef

Being a good chef means that you’ve got to be able to stand the heat within the kitchen, make decisions on the spot, and also direct a group of people as well as work with them to create food that people are going to love and enjoy. It’s a role that many people aren’t able to handle because of the unsociable hours and the pressure that you’re put under. However, if you’re a successful chef, you will have the pride of receiving comments about your food, and you’ll be able to work your way from a line chef to a head chef if you work hard enough. Being able to cook also helps at home too when you’re cooking for the family or entertaining guests!

Teacher

Making the decision to become a teacher requires passion for the education system. It’s a role that will test your patience from time to time, but it gives you the wonderful opportunity to be able to help mould the minds of the future generations. You will meet amazing students that will inspire you to carry on. Best of all? You’ll have the gratitude from parents for helping their children achieve the very best in their life. You can find teacher jobs online or alternatively, hand your CV in to local schools and wait for some call backs!

Carer

Some people aren’t as fortunate in life as others, and live some if not all of their lives, being unable to take care of themselves. Whether it’s old age, a physical condition, or a mental illness that’s disabling them from being able to look after themselves, it’s extremely debilitating. Being able to help someone achieve simple tasks such as getting dressed or making themselves lunch is an incredible feeling. While this role has difficult parts too, the reward is seeing how much of a difference you can make to someone’s life by simply just being there.

Writer

Finally, if you’re more of a thinker rather than a do-er, then a career within the writing industry might just be the perfect one for you. Again, not an easy role, but when you see people reading the content that you’ve produced and congratulating you for it, it’s a wonderful experience. Imagine having your writing published and becoming as famous as say, J.K. Rowling? How amazing would that be?

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Money Issues Everyone Faces

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Money, money, money… Everyone has it in life, and unfortunately the world won’t go around without it. Money and finance isn’t the most exciting topic in the world to talk about however it is integral to the way we live our lives. When you reach teenage and adulthood, money will start to become a large part of your life and eventually it will be common place to worry about your savings and bills. Here are some of the most common issues that everyone faces with money during their lives, and don’t worry because you are not alone with money troubles in life!

Getting into credit card debt

One of the things which will surprise you as you get older is the fact that it can actually be beneficial to have a credit card or take out short term loans for yourself now and again. Our credit history is built upon the credit cards and loans we take out and pay back, and by taking out loans and paying them back in time you can actually build up a decent credit score for your future mortgage or car. The issue that comes with a credit card is the temptation to spend beyond our means, and so many of us overestimate how much we can afford to use and this can cause us to end up getting into debt.

Students loans

After reaching college and potentially going off for university or an online degree, one of the main things you will suffer with is student debt. Student loans are often the only way you will be able to afford to study at university and it is this which can be an inescapable trap for many young people in this day and age. The good news is that you only have to start paying back your student loan once you earn a certain wage so you can spend some years saving up a small sum for when that day finally does arrive.

Struggling to save

Saving is the ultimate buzzword when it comes to finance as you grow into adulthood, and we spend our whole lives trying to save up money for one thing or another. To start off with it is usually a car or a house, then it could be a wedding, and then it could be children.. but no matter what, saving up can be hard. The key to saving successfully is to create a standing order which comes out of your account every time you get paid and goes straight to your savings account, this way you can’t spend the money you should be saving up.

Low wages for your lifestyle

Everyone wants to live a life of luxury, adventure and fun, but there are so many of us nowadays who struggle to do what they want to do with their lives. Living a fun lifestyle can be expensive and we often don’t have the money to go out and enjoyhe things we want to. The key is to remember that life’s what you make of it and you can have fun without spending a pretty penny. As long as you are surrounded by people you love, you can do anything and have a great life.

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Concrete Steps You Can Take to Become More Eco-friendly

 

 

If you’re looking for simple but effective ways to do your bit to protect the planet, keep reading. In this blog, we suggest concrete steps you can take to become more eco-friendly in your day-to-day life.

Don’t send your litter to landfill

If you have a bad habit of discarding all of your rubbish in regular bins when you’re out and about, now’s the time to stop. As environmental and safety product provider Glasdon points out in its eBook ‘Socially Responsible Me’, one way to become greener is to make sure you use recycling bins whenever you can. These eco-friendly containers are now easy to find on the streets, in supermarket car parks and elsewhere, meaning there’s no excuse to send plastic, paper, glass and other recyclable materials to landfill.

Instead of getting drinks in disposable cups or bottles when you’re on the go, why not invest in a reusable drinks holder? Try to steer clear of plastic-wrapped sandwiches and salads too. If you can, prepare your food at home in advance.

Reduce waste at home

Before you do your food shop, check your cupboards and fridge to see what you’ve already got and what you need. By making sure you only buy what you’ll actually use, you can minimise any wastage. Also, when you have leftovers after meals, try to get into a routine of freezing this food rather than binning it.

Think about how your household uses energy too. The chances are, you can take simple steps to cut your usage of gas and electricity. For example, make sure you switch off your appliances and lights when you’re not using them. You might also want to lower the temperature in your house during winter. By dropping the thermostat by a degree or two, you could significantly lower your energy consumption. If you get a tad chilly, simply reach for a jumper. Another way to become more environmentally-friendly is to ditch your tumble dryer in favour of a clothes line whenever possible.

Think green in the office

It might be time for your company to conduct a waste audit to see if you’re using any resources unnecessarily. While you’re at it, why not try to make the shift to a paperless office? This will mean you get through less paper – and it has the added benefit of making it easier to keep your workplace organised.

Although these actions may not seem like much in themselves, put together they can seriously reduce your carbon footprint and mean you’re much kinder to the planet.

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