Entrepreneurship While You are 20-Something – Go For It!

If you just cannot fathom working for someone else and making them rich; if you are an independent sort who works best on your own schedule; if you have one or two ideas for ways to make money – things that you are passionate about, then you are probably ripe for being an entrepreneur. And there is no better time than now to pursue that dream. Here’s why:

  • Statistics tell us that only 39% of you 20-somethings are married. This means that you have not responsibility for anyone but yourself. So if you eat Ramen noodles for a while, at least you are not forcing anyone else to do the same.
  • You can be selfish right now – you are pursuing things that make you happy and fulfilled.
  • You are young and have the energy, the risk-taking mindset, and you know that if you fail, you have lot of options for the rest of your life.

Recipe for Success

Over half of small business startups fail within 5 years. You don’t want to be a part of that statistic, so here are some important tips that will get you on your way:

  1. Base Your Business on Something You Love: Perhaps you have a hobby about which you are passionate. Is it something that others will value? Suppose you love to cook up great stuff. Opening a restaurant may be a bit ambitious, but how about a food truck? Do you have a specialty food that your friends rave about? Colonel Sanders ran a gas station and cooked his chicken in the back, eventually selling it to customers. Jessica Eckstrom had a passion for kids with cancer when she began her Headbands of Hope company – a multi-million dollar enterprise today. And she began her business at the age of 19. Can you turn your passionate hobby into a product or service for others?
  2. Start Small: You will probably not be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. But you can begin locally and move to a larger audience gradually. Many small businesses have failed because they were too grandiose in the beginning. Start small, build gradually, and then look for investors. Suppose you develop a very cool app or game. This is known as a “pop up” business. Get it out there on the Apple store and then begin your marketing campaign. And that campaign can be almost fully conducted via social media, the cheapest way to go. You will need to become a bit of an “expert” on social media marketing, but there is plenty of education out there for the taking.
  3. Remind Yourself of Your Goals Daily: You became an entrepreneur for a reason. When you become discouraged, think about why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. Do you now want to compromise those principles and goals? Of course not. You may need to re-group; you may need to pivot a bit. But always keep in mind the overriding reasons for what you are doing.
  4. Embrace Rejection: You may not be an overnight success. Those to whom you try to market your product or service may not be receptive. J.K. Rowling had over 200 rejections before a publisher took her first Harry Potter Think about that when you get discouraged about rejections and move on. You are young and resilient, and that is certainly in your favor.
  5. Use Your Social Media Presence: More than all generations before you, you have grown up with a web presence. Learn how to promote your business on social media. You have the skills – you just need to learn the strategies. Again, there is a wealth of training for free at your fingertips.
  6. Make Connections with Other Successful Entrepreneurs: If you want constant support and encouragement, you need to dump those friends and perhaps family members who are negative and naysayers. You cannot be around those attitudes. Join networking groups of other entrepreneurs both online and in person. Once you surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs, you have a cheerleading section that won’t quit. And you’ll learn quite a bit.
  7. Promote Your Brand Everywhere: Never attend a social event or go to a bar without an “elevator pitch” and a business card. People will ask you what you do. You need an exciting and compelling 30-second pitch to present, along with your card. You never know who you may encounter. 

If you are really serious about this “being on your own” stuff, and if you have the passion for what you are offering, the rest is all detail. Get going on your dream now – you are at exactly the right point in your lie to do so.

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Would you like to find out more about Entrepreneurial Spark?

Entrepreneurial Spark are offering you the chance to have a look around the accelerator, speak to one of the team and discuss joining the programme or how you/your business can become involved with Entrepreneurial Spark.

Whether you have a business yourself that you are looking to take to the next stage, you are considering becoming a mentor or believe you could help support the entrepreneurs within the Entrepreneurial Spark programme then we would like to invite you to join one of our tours.

Each group tour will last no longer than one hour and the tour will be conducted by Lynsey Cunningham, Belfast Entrepreneur Development Manager.

Please note that the hatchery tour is not on one to one basis and there will be approx 15 people on each tour therefore all questions and answers will be given in a group.

Entrepreneurial Spark is non – sectorial, equity free business growth accelerator based in physical spaces – Hatcheries. We accept entrepreneurs and businesses of all genres. We are more focused on the individual and how we can develop them as entrepreneurial leaders.

And everything is absolutely FREE.  

Entrepreneurial Spark – Lombard House. 5th – 6th Floor, Lombard Street. Belfast BT1 1RD GB


26 February


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Cyber security, threat or opportunity?

What is humanities back up plan?

Future Crimes by Marc Goodman is a very scary book. We have covered some books that touch on the topic before such as “Filter Bubble”, “Overconnected” and “Brandwashed”, but “Future Crimes, a journey to the dark side of technology and how to survive it” is an eye opener.

The scary statistics

Lets start with some scary statistics:

  • 200,000 new pieces of malware are identified every day
  • One third of all households in the USA are infected by malicious software
  • 95% of all malware is not detected by most virus checkers (those include McAfee and Symantec)
  • A hacking intrusion takes 210 days to detect
  • 75% of the time your defences can be penetrated in minutes
  • Only 15% require more then a few hours (but are still hacked)
  • The average cost per record stolen is $ 188
  • In 2017 a 100 billion will be spend on software and hardware security
  • 110 million accounts were stolen from Target stores alone
  • The value of location data will be over a 100 billion in the next ten years
  • Android was created to give Google access to all your mobile data
  • Data brokers earn 156 billion every year
  • Acxiom has over 700 million consumer profiles worldwide
  • Experian sold the data on 2/3 of the USA population to a organised crime group in Vietnam
  • 13.1 million Americans are victim of identity theft annually. 500,000 of them are children, costing $ 21 billion in 2012
  • 600,000 accounts on Facebook are compromised every day
  • 25% of all reviews on Yelp are bogus
  • 11.2% of Facebook accounts are fake
  • 25% of all credit reports contain errors
  • 100 million phishing messages are send every day
  • Organised crime is 15-20% of global GDP
  • 80% of all hackers are now working for organised crime

Everything is data

You can see where this is going. This is all about data. Google and Facebook are free because they are data collectors and aggregators. Google is worth 400 billion and the value of every long term profile on Facebook is worth 81 dollars. Both have hundreds of petabytes on their users (both don’t use the word customers…. this should make you thinks). They know everything you have done online and increasingly everything else. Imagine if Facebook was there since 1950. Anything in your past you don’t want anyone to know?

No privacy

In the USA online data that is collected by third parties are not considered private. Which means it can be used by Revenue, the police or the divorce lawyer of your ex. The Stasi could only tap 40 phones nationwide at their peak. Now Orwell’s 1984 is here and it is called Google, Facebook or Watson. You probably have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.

All that date is stored and hacker can get access to that data. Any data that is collected will invariably leak.

Do no evil?

Yes, the crooks are not only the criminals:

  • 41% of all cyber attacks are from China
  • The NSA is listening
  • Google used the street view cars for more then taking pictures
  • Google was fined $22.5 million for illegally circumventing privacy settings
  • When you fill in your online profile for OKcupid, that data is immediately shared with over 5o0 data brokers. Check your match.com terms and conditions
  • Facebook has conducted social experiments without permission and keep your data even after you have de-activated the account.
  • Every time you update, the privacy settings go back to standards setting, which basically gives full access
  • The average person will encounter 1,462 privacy policies every year, with an average length of 2,518 words
  • PayPal’s privacy policy is longer then Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Google Drive’s privacy settings will give Google the rights to all your content and IP (If JK Rowling had written Harry Potter on Google Docs, she would have granted Google the worldwide rights)

Think of what can be done. Google has access to your calendar, your maps, your contacts, your documents, your pictures, voice, phone, the apps you use on your android, your translations, the videos you watch on Youtube, the conversations you have on Skype, your Nest, your camera, your eyes (Google glasses), your wallet. Look at the companies they are buying (robots, cameras, sensors, drones, AI). Here is the list

You are their inventory. They better mean their slogan…… because if not……..

Your eyeballs can be hacked too

That is just on the data side. They can also hack your screen. Which means that you should not always belief what you see. Your phone screen might be controlled by somebody else. The CT scanner in the hospital can be manipulated. Your computer screen can be manipulated. Your GPRS screen can be manipulated. Virtual reality can be manipulated. Facebook has already manipulated you and Google can change your filter bubble with the flick of a switch (or algorithm).

Everything can be hacked

Everything that is connected can be hacked. And now we are at the beginning of the internet of things. Connecting everything. Which means that nothing can be hidden and everything can be hacked. Software and hardware. There are hardware viruses in chargers that allow to hack your phone. They found hidden wifi cards in kitchen equipment that could hack your wifi (and then the rest). You car can be hacked. Your pacemaker. Your hearing aid. Your headset. Your toys. Your lamp or your lightbulb (it is called Conversnitch). Your TV or Skype camera (they are watching you). Your coffee pot. Your burglar alarm. Your electronic locks. Your fridge. Your wearables. Google’s NEST has been hacked.

70% of all IoT devices have 25 unique security flaws.

If you are in business

Photocopiers can be hacked and I bet you didn’t know that photocopiers also have an internal hard disk where all copies are stored. Amazing what you can find on copiers that have been thrown away. Your printer can be hacked. The video conference system in your board room can be hacked.

If you are in government

Your infrastructure (energy, roads, water, broadband) can be hacked. Your databases (passports, police, medical, revenue) can be hacked. Your satellites can be hacked. In fact criminals are already launching their own mini satellites themselves.

The future of hacking

Robots can be hacked. Your servant robot will be sharpening the knife, while you are asleep, watching you. Your augmented body parts can be hacked. Your biometrics can be hacked. Facial recognition algorithms can be hacked. Facebook has the largest depository of biometric data on earth. They can be hacked. Keystroke recognition software can be hacked (Coursera uses keystroke recognition as a tool to identify users). Augmented reality can be hacked. Drones can be hacked. Your 3D and 4D printer can be hacked. Algorithms can be hacked. Now combine that with AI and the exponential curve. Watson as the new Al Capone or Don Watson.

Brain, DNA, Quantum, IoB, nano


Consider the development in brain computing interface (look up Emotiv and NeuroSky). IBM thinks that mind reading is no longer science fiction. Criminals soon can hack your brain.

Consider the development in DNA sequencing and synthetic biology. Your cells can be hacked. The DNA database probably already has been hacked. Combine that with bio printers and you have.

Consider the development of quantum computers, which will making hacking easier.

Consider the development of not only the Internet of Things but the network of microbes or the internet of biological things.

Consider the developments in nano technology. Nano bots can be hacked too.

Combine these development together and through exponentially on top of it and you have a potent mix for criminal armageddon or an exponential version of 1984.


At the end of the book he does give a number of tips on how to help you to protects yourself and they are very obvious:

  • Update regularly
  • Use sophisticated and different passwords
  • Know where you are downloading from
  • Watch your administrator settings
  • Turn off your computer when you are not using it
  • Encrypt
  • Think before you share

The above avoids 85% of all threats.

New words

The indication of a good books is the number of new words I learned:

  • Hacktivist (activist using hacking as a tool)
  • Crime singularity
  • Dataveilance (surveillance using data)
  • Sock puppetry (creating fake profiles)
  • Swatting (GPRS manipulation)
  • Flash rob (coordinated robbery by hackers)
  • CaaS (Crime as a Service)
  • Bluesnarfing (hacking your bluetooth to get access to your data)
  • Drone-versiting (drones as an advertising medium)
  • Narco drones (drones smuggling and transporting drugs)
  • Chemputer (printing medicine (or drugs))
  • Algorithmic criminal justice (using algorithms to determine infractions of the law)
  • DNA stalkers (hackers stalking your DNA)
  • DNA hard drive (four grams of DNA can store one year of digital data created by humankind)
  • Shodan (the criminal version of Google)

Business opportunity

If you want a book that makes you think about the unintended consequences of technology, this is one to pick. It also screams business opportunity. Cyber security is a hotspot.

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Expert Tips for Small Business Owners

Are you looking forward to having your own startup? That’s simply grand, as there are only a few things that are as liberating as being your own boss. However, now that you have left your job and eyeing the startup as your sole source of income, you have to be really strategic at every step. The post below details some expert tips that will help you to kick-start your new venture on a confident note.

Do what you are passionate about

Your business theme must circle around a theme that you are truly passionate about. Don’t go for a business idea simply because it sounds glamorous. A startup involves challenges and a great deal of hard work leading you to exhaustion at times – and you would soon lose interest midway if you are not genuinely interested about the theme. Life seems much easier when we get to do the things that we actually care about.

Enhance your knowledge

This is a vital tip when you are about to start something new. You have to increase your know-how on the business theme and follow the industry trends. Study relevant books, talk to experts in the business, keep an eye on the related news, and visit the business’ expos to enhance your exposure.

Create a concise sales pitch

Your sales pitch is an important tool when you have to create awareness about your business. You have to keep on delivering your business to customers, investors, and even potential employees to make them aware of the opportunities in your venture. But then, it’s a busy world today and people have no time to sit for prolonged sales talk. Thus, you have to bring up something that is both informative (with your main goals, mission, and service potential) and concise- the sales pitch must not exceed 30 seconds to a maximum of one minute.

Be frugal in the initial stage

Small business owners are usually tight on capital in their primary years and hence, you should act accordingly. There is no need to set fancy offices; watch each dollar that you spend and check all the expenses thrice. Maintain low overhead – your customers are primarily interested in your service, not how your office looks. You can obviously consider great decoration later on when you have enough profits to think of trendy shades for your office wall.

Hire smart

Your employees would form the pillar of your organization and hence, you must be really careful here. It’s obvious that you will look for seasoned tradesmen, but the experienced ones would definitely charge higher. So, added to the seasoned experts, you should also focus on potential freshers who would be eager to work at lower rates as well.

Workforce management is a big deal and thus, it’s smarter to invest in a workforce management software which can help with all important employee management activities like absence management, employee scheduling, time, and attendance etc.

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6 Professionals Your Small Business Needs to Work With

Budgets for small businesses are typically tight, prompting owners to only hire outside professionals when absolutely necessary. They would love for everything to be done in-house, but rarely is that possible. Most successful small businesses grow with the help of collaboration from specific professionals, whose expertise are complex enough to warrant the investment, rather than risking small business catastrophe by cutting corners.

If growth is a priority, your small business needs to work with these six professionals:

Insurance Professional

Insurance requirements seem to change on a yearly basis. Save yourself the headache and seek out an insurance professional to help you find the ideal coverage for your business. They will use your circumstances and location to find the best plan for you and your employees. Keep them on call as your business expands and insurance is required for dozens of employees.

PR/Marketing Professional

Some business have a capable in-house PR and marketing team, but most small businesses don’t have the resources or time to create such a department. PR/marketing companies can provide servicing on a monthly or bi-annual basis. There are many quality, small PR firms that are tailored to helping small businesses, so look for one specifically with concrete success within your niche.

CPA/Payroll Manager

Payroll is a hugely important, particularly because employees will start to lose trust if paychecks become late or erroneous. Having a CPA or payroll company aid in payouts will alleviate concerns significantly and save you hours each payroll period. A CPA can also advise you on state and federal taxes, something that requires a professional because your finances will likely be constantly changing.

Maintenance Services

Your business’ infrastructure is important, too! An uncleanly or disorganized office space can turn off both employees and clients. Small business owners likely already have enough on their plates to manually clean the office, so hiring outside help — like for those high-rise office window cleaners you could never get to yourself — is well worth the investment. You can focus on your work and employees and leave the cleaning to the professionals.

Business Consultant

The wide-sweeping term “business consultant” can turn some business owners off, especially if they’re confident that they can handle all business decisions. While a business consultant might not be as important as lawyers or insurance professionals, they can still be of great use in a general sense. Business consultants can find solutions via intelligent discourse, such as the Socratic method, and you might find it extremely helpful.

Information Tech

IT help isn’t always needed, especially if your business leaders are technologically inclined, but small businesses with less technical expertise should hire someone who specializes in it. Specifically, finding a professional to install the office computers or set up a cloud-centered content management system to aid in office collaboration and task management is certainly an option.

Although small businesses are constantly looking for ways to save money, neglecting the skills of these professionals is not one of them. Their expertise — from legal and insurance to PR and general office cleaning — can save you hours in the short-term, which can lead to impressive growth in the long-term. Plus, the web makes it easier than ever to find independent professionals who excel in your business’ niche.

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Attracting Investors to Your Startup by Standing Out and Proving Your Worth

One of the most exciting, and most frightening time for a team that is launching a startup is when it is time to pitch your products or services to potential investors. In fact, it is a bit like presenting your baby to the outside world and hoping everybody loves it as much as you. When you work to attract investors to your startup, you actually have several things to accomplish. The first, and most obvious is obtaining the funds you need to get your company to the next stage. However, in addition to this, you also want to get the best terms possible, and maintain as much control over your business as you possibly can. In order to accomplish these goals, you have to convince potential funding sources that you are capable of running a business that is successful enough that they will make a profit from their investment. Fortunately, if you have great product or service, the skills required to run a successful business, and a solid plan for attracting investors, you have a great chance at succeeding.

Show Proof of Market Traction

Market traction is your ability to convert customers, and grow quickly. For investors, proof of market traction indicates to them that they will be able to get returns on their investment relatively quickly. If they do not find evidence that your startup has traction, they aren’t going to invest.There are many ways you can prove traction. For example, you can provide investors with information about the success you have had with test releases and selling your product at trade shows. However, the best way to prove market traction is to simply tell the story of your product or service in the right way. For example, if you tell a potential investor that you have sold 50k units in 5 years, that may not seem like very much to them (depending on your product). On the other hand, if you tell them that you did your first manufacturing run and sold 15k units in the first two years, spent a year in redesign, launched again, and have sold 35k units in two years, that tells an entirely different story. The first is slow growth. The second is demonstrable growth and proof of traction.

Prepare a Well-Written Value Proposition

Your value proposition is a written statement that clearly defines what it is that you do, who will benefit from your product or service, and why they would select your business over other businesses in your niche. You begin this process by clearly outlining the problem that you are solving, as well as why that is a problem. However, you cannot simply show that there is a problem. You have to show that the problem is worth building a business solving. This means showing that the problem is widespread, or that has deep impact on those it does affect. Finally, you will need to show that your solution is in some way better than solutions that are currently being provided. Not only is a well-written value proposition impressive to potential investors, writing one will help you to solidify your vision as well.

Put Together a Dream Team

Since your company is only at the beginning of its destiny, there isn’t a lot of proof that you can give that truly guarantee you have a hit on your hands. This is why many early stage investors focus on the skills and talents of the team you have, almost as much as they do your products and services. When you make your pitch, be sure you can show investors that you have put together a team that can become successful. You can do this by talking about each team member’s skills and  how those benefit the company. If you have had past successes working as a team, you should bring that up as well. Investors want to see a deep and varied skill set, that every member has a role and is making contributions, and they want to see proof of cohesiveness..

Consider Crowdfunding

If you don’t think your best way to get funds together is through traditional sources like VC, you might consider starting a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is a way to earn small amounts of money from a large number of people. This can be a great option if you lack proof of  market traction, or are still in the incubator stage. However, if you choose to go this route, it is important to understand that there is much more to do than simply creating a crowdfunding page and then telling your story. You’ll need to determine how you are going to demonstrate your product or service, who the targets of your campaign will be, and create a plan for launching and promoting your campaign. You’ll also have to shoot and edit video and determine what it is you will offer those who fund your startup. You will also have the challenge of selecting your crowdfunding platform.

When crowdfunding does work, the results can be absolutely amazing. One startup, Chilango, a Mexican burrito restaurant successfully raised 2.1M Euros in order to launch their fresh, Mexican cuisine based operation.

Create Barriers to Entry

If investors believe that anybody can jump into your space and replicate what you are doing, they aren’t going to be compelled to invest in you. This is why it is so important to create barriers to entry. Barriers to entry are essentially roadblocks that you put up to make it difficult for others to become your competitors.You can create barriers to entry by setting up exclusive deals with vendors and retailers, getting patents on your technology, creating proprietary technology, truly being the first in your space and growing quickly, developing strong branding, or earning strong customer loyalty. Every barrier to entry that you can create makes it less attractive for potential competitors to come up against you. If you create enough barriers to entry, you can make it nearly impossible for them to do so.

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Help entrepreneurs to grow, mentors wanted

Helping 80 entrepreneurs to grow

The World’s largest free business accelerator, Entrepreneurial Spark, is opening its doors to exciting and dynamic businesses in Belfast this February (and we can’t wait!). Powered by Ulster Bank, we are offering free office space, a 6-18 month programme of hands-on enablement, a start up boot camp and regular events that will help the 80 entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

Looking for mentors

In addition to all of the above, we are on the look out for experienced mentors to support, coach and help the businesses- are you the person to make this happen?  The right mentor can provide expert support and ultimately increase the likelihood of businesses becoming a roaring success and we are looking for passionate people who have the skills and experience to share with Entrepreneurs, giving them the extra edge.

You are invited

Join us for a light lunch to find out more about the programme and see our state of the art Hatchery. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to tell us a bit more about you and how you could support the entrepreneurs, as well as meet other potential mentors.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 from 13:30 to 15:00 (CST) Add to Calendar
The Belfast Hatchery – Lombard House. 10-20 Lombard Street. Belfast, Antrim Bt1 1RD GB


Hope to see you there.

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7 Great Tips for Better Invoicing for Start-ups

Invoicing is among the most important aspects of operating a small business.  However, it can be such a big hassle at times- particularly if you are a start up company and new to the process.

So what is the best way to avoid having to spend so much time on the minor details of generating and sending out invoices and needing to chase late payees down, so that you have more time to focus on the important aspects of your business?

Looking Professional – Stay Consistent With Your Brand

Whenever you are generating invoices, it is very important to ensure that they look as sharp as possible.  If you send a customer something that has an amateurish and cheap appearance, they might not feel so inclined to pay you as fast as if they receive a more professional-looking bill.

Make sure that your invoices have your logo on it and also ensure that the amount you are owed is clearly spelled out.  Your brand should be reflected in the wording and colours of the document.  For example, if you happen to be a copywriter and using plain English is something you take great pride in, don’t add a lot of legalese to your invoice.  Save that for your terms and conditions, or have a good lawyer translate the legal terms into plain English.

Keep Things Legal

You want to ensure that your invoice is correct and in compliance with VAT requirements and with company law rules as well since it is a legal document.  If your business is a limited company or LLP, your business’s registered number and address should appear on the invoice.  It should also show any directors or members as well.  Fortunately, if you are using an online accounting system, it will all be done automatically for you.

Consider The Numbers

According to HMRC rules invoices are required to have “unique sequential reference numbers.”  However, the same sequence does not need to be used across your entire business.  For example, a different sequence can be used for every project or customer.

Select Your Pricing Structure

There isn’t anything illegal that prevents you from requesting a deposit from your customers, or for full payment upfront prior to you doing the work.  It confirms that your customer is committed to the project as well as being easier on your cash flow.  It also helps to spread financial risk between your customer and you.  If your customer isn’t required to pay until the work is complete, and then refuses to pay or disappears, you won’t have leverage any longer to stop the work- since it is done already.

If you are concerned that you may lose customers by asking for an upfront payment, then think about offering your customers a money-back guarantee if they aren’t satisfied with the service that you provide.

Make Sure Your Payment Terms Are Clear

Before doing any work, you should have informed your customer about what your payment terms are.  However, it still is important for this information to be included on your invoice.

If you have a 30-day payment period set and are expecting your invoice to be paid by the deadline, be sure this information is included on your document to make things as clear as possible to ensure that your client sees it.  Also, if you plan to make any late payment penalties or charges, be sure to make them as clear and prominent as you can directly on the invoice.  That way your client will have a reminder that the bill needs to be paid promptly.  Here are some good tips.

Follow Up On Invoices Right Away

Get into the habit of doing your bookkeeping at least once a week.  You should invoice at least that frequently.  Your invoices should ideally be sent out as soon as you have completed the work (unless your customer already paid you in advance).  That way, it will be one less thing that you need to worry about.  However, hopefully your customers will be pay you sooner than that.

Also make it as easy as you can for your customers to pay.  Include payment details, such as an online payment link or your bank account information, either on your covering email or on the invoice itself.  If you use a specific invoicing system for generating and sending out your invoice, check to see whether you can set automatic emails up to follow up on late payers.  That will help you save additional time.

Get A Technological Boost

Remember that it isn’t necessary for you do your invoicing from scratch on your own.  If you can possibly afford it, you should invest in specialist accounting or purchase management software to make this process much easier and convenient.

It can be especially useful if you will be send out invoices on a regular basis to the same client (for example, a monthly retainer fee) and would like to set up recurring invoices that are automatically sent.  Or if you want to include multiple expenses and would like to easily and quickly attach digital copies to your invoice of your expense receipts.  If you would like your client to pay faster, you might want to include a link to Stripe or PayPal, or some other online payment option so that they can pay you with one click of a button.

Be sure to do your homework first and check out all of the different options that are available to you to figure out which system will work the bet for your business’s requirements and you.  Over the long run, it can help to save you many hours of hassle and administrative work.

Invoicing is a crucial aspect of any business’s administration, since without invoices there isn’t a way for your customers to know how much to pay you, and if you don’t have money coming in, your business won’t be able to survive for very long!

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Three Business Ideas to Start from Home

Today, there are thousands of people who are considering starting a business from home. On average, people can expect to have two or three careers during their working life, and those leaving one career often consider moving their second or third career to their own home and working as their own boss. People who have been working as part of the traditional nine to five workforce and are on the brink of retiring from that life are often thinking of what to do next, and looking for a change and more flexibility and control. The good news is that starting a home based business is within anybody’s reach, providing that there is the motivation and commitment there to take a risk and work hard.


In order to be a consultant, you will need to have an area of expertise so that you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. This is an exceptionally good home based business option for those who are on the brink of retirement, but don’t want to finish working just yet. Perhaps during your career you managed the marketing for a large business, or set up a chain of shops or restaurants. Whatever experience you have had, you can use this to help others to achieve similar without making the same mistakes that you did along the way. Depending on your area and level of expertise, the amount that you will be able to charge for your services may vary. Many consultants find it helpful to start a blog related to their field of expertise in order to attract clients hungry to learn more.

Forex Trading

Trading currencies on the FX market is becoming more and more of a popular home based business idea. Initially exclusive to investment bankers, trading Forex is becoming an option for the general public and many people are picking up on it as a viable and flexible way to make money from home. With many Forex trading platforms having both mobile and web-based applications, it’s possible to trade Forex from any location with an internet connection, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for a flexible lifestyle. See CTrader Platform for more information.

Editorial Services

With so many websites out there needing content and many magazines and newspapers expanding their online presence, there is no shortage of demand for talented writers and editors. If you have a good grasp of the English language and are good at stringing sentences together to create interesting and engaging content, your skills can take you a long way when it comes to making money from home. There are a great range of different editorial services which you could choose to offer, including content writing, copywriting and copyediting, proofreading, ghost writing, and even book and e-book writing. The possibilities are endless.

When it comes to working and making money from home, there is a vast range of opportunities for freelancing and entrepreneurship. Whichever you choose, hard work and dedication is essential to get your business off the ground.

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Effectively Increase Brand Visibility With These 4 Tips

In order for your marketing efforts to be successful over time, you need to be seeing a constant increase in brand visibility for your business. This consistent growth will ensure that your business is on the right path and that your brand is always fresh in the minds of your customers. While there are certainly many factors that contribute to the success or failure of a business, few can match the importance of brand visibility. If you want to learn how to effectively increase brand visibility, then follow these four great tips.

1) Excel At Social Media

Effective social media marketing is absolutely critical to the success of any business in the modern world. If you are not yet using social media to spread the word about your business, then you should change that immediately. Social media communities are gaining more users by the day, meaning that your brand should be prominently displayed there for them to encounter. Interacting with your customers through your business social media accounts is also a great way to get direct feedback about your business from your customers, as well as connect with new potential customers. Social media success for businesses is all about transparency, providing high quality content and engaging with followers consistently. While posting on your social media accounts, make sure to use various types of content, including photos, videos, news articles and more. Within each type of posting there are strategies that work best. For example, if you post a video about your business, subtitling in different languages will show the best results, as people who speak a variety of languages could be interested in your products.

2) Improving Your Search Engine Optimization

These days, people use search engines to find everything imaginable. What this means for your business is that you need to be featured at or near the top of search listings for search phrases that are relevant to your business and industry. This is accomplished through a process called search engine optimization, or SEO. Establishing good SEO practices will increase the visitors to your website from organic search results dramatically. Anyone who manages the website of your business should be fully versed in the latest search engine optimization techniques and best practices. One of the best things about SEO is that even minor changes can create potentially fantastic results, so getting started on your SEO campaign as soon as possible is a good idea.

3) Attend Local And Industry Related Events

While Internet-based marketing methods are all that anyone seems to talk about today, some seemingly outdated strategies are actually still highly effective and should absolutely be included in your brand visibility campaigns. Attending events around your community and gatherings within your industry, such as trade shows and conferences, is a perfect example of this, as these are things that can greatly improve the results of your marketing efforts. At events such as these, you will have the opportunity to speak with others working in your industry, as well as spark conversations with potential customers and members of the community that surrounds your business.

4) Build Off A Fresh, New Design

Something that a lot of businesses today are finding effective as a brand visibility tool are new designs and logos. Having a business logo that is current and up to date with the latest design trends is critical. A logo is something that every customer you have sees each time they encounter or purchase your product, meaning that the better your logo is at sticking in their minds, the better business will be in the present and in the future.

By following these four tips, you will set your business on the right path when it comes to brand visibility. As long as you stay proactive in your marketing efforts and always stay conscious of the constantly changing nature of the marketing world, your brand will become more recognizable and successful than ever before.

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