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Helpful Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs Who Need New Tech

by Mark Courts on 10/13/19

This article is another one of the articles from our guest writer series. We are honored to share another article with you from guest writer Marissa Perez from I hope you find it informative. Thank you for visiting our site. Without any further delay:

Helpful Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs Who Need New Tech

When you own and run your own business, it can be challenging to find the right fit when it comes to technology. Often, cost is a major factor, but you may also be hesitant to jump into something new if you don't know much about it. Technology can be intimidating, especially since it changes often, but keep in mind that there are a few things that entrepreneurs can't live without. Good security, a fantastic website, and customer service are three of the most important, and tech plays a role in all of them.

The good news is there are plenty of ways you can upgrade your business this year without spending a ton of money. Figure out a budget, then take a look at your competition or the small businesses around you to get an idea of what they're spending their tech budget on. Trends change from year to year, but some things--such as cybersecurity--stay the same as far as popularity goes. Investing in the right kinds of tech and learning how to delegate via freelancers can help you maintain success for a long time.

Here are a few of the best ways to get started with new tech for your business.

Boost your mobile game

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a multi-faceted job, but with the right tools, you can ensure that you're prepared for anything. Going mobile is a great way to stay current and run your business in real time, so look for a phone and mobile plan that will give you all the features you need at a great price. Email, professional-looking photos, and social media posts are just a few of the things you can take care of with your smartphone. If you're an Apple fan you can snag the new iPhone 11 Pro Max, which comes with three high-quality cameras as well as long battery life. Android users should take a look at the Google Pixel 3A, which also has a fantastic camera equipped with Night Sight and features a fast interface.

Get your site right

Every entrepreneur knows that having a great website is essential; it's the best way to keep a company current and accessible to customers, so take a look at yours to make sure it's updated and fresh. Customers should be able to easily navigate the pages to find what they need, and the company's info should be highlighted. You want to avoid clunky transitions, because today's customer is in a hurry. If a page takes too long to load, they'll move on to something else, especially during the holidays when stress levels are high. Consider hiring a freelance web designer to make sure your site is done right, as the benefits are numerous for your business.

Lock it down

Your customers depend on you to keep their information secure, and there's no better way to do that than by ensuring that you have reliable security when it comes to sensitive data. Whether it's credit card information or just names and addresses, you'll want to keep anything you have on file under wraps. Look for a cybersecurity system that will fit your budget while protecting your data, and make sure you use in-house tactics to keep your employees on the same page when it comes to passwords and access to customer files.

Get out there 

One of the best ways to stay informed about the latest tech in the industry is to head to conventions and other events where new technologies and resources are showcased. If you live too far away from a convention for travel to be feasible, check to see if they will be streaming the event online. Many big companies will do this, especially when they're unveiling something major.

Finding new tech and gadgets for your business doesn't have to be a stressful endeavor. Set a budget from the very beginning and think about the kinds of tech that make the most sense for your specific needs. Additionally, don't be afraid to hire freelancers to boost your tech-based efforts, as they can really benefit your business overall.

Marissa Perez is a co-founder and head marketing writer at She can be reached at:

Can't Afford More Staff? Why You Should Hire Freelancers Instead

by Mark Courts on 08/19/19

This article is another one of the articles from our guest writer series. We are honored to share another article with you from guest writer Marissa Perez from I hope you find it informative. Thank you for visiting our site. Without any further delay:

Can't Afford More Staff? Why You Should Hire Freelancers Instead

Do you need more help at your business, but are hesitant to bring on new employees due to cost? Hiring employees can be expensive, and sometimes a business's labor needs aren't high enough to justify the cost. So what do you do to bridge the gap?

Benefits of Hiring Independent Workers

Freelancers and independent contractors are an ideal solution when you need extra hands on deck but can't justify expanding your staff. Instead of training your existing staff on a new task (and taking a productivity hit in the process), you can bring in a highly-specialized worker to get the job done quickly and to a high caliber.

Despite independent workers' high rates, you can also save money hiring them. That's because independent workers pay their own taxes and benefits so businesses don't have to. Most freelancers also work from their own office, so you don't need to invest in office space like you would for regular employees. Together, this can add up to big cost savings for employers. If you're not sure whether hiring an independent worker is worth it, compare the total cost of an employee to the freelancer's rate to decide.

Freelancers vs. Independent Contractors vs. Temporary Employees

The person you hire may refer to themselves as a freelancer or an independent contractor, but for the most part, these pros are the same. However, while people who refer to themselves as freelancers tend to take on project-based work, independent contractors are more likely to be brought on long-term.

Both freelancers and independent contractors are subject to the same IRS employee classification rules. In essence, in order for a worker to be classified as an independent contractor, they have to be in charge of how, where, and when they do their job, and the work performed can't be a key part of the business. If these standards aren't met, a worker is considered an employee, and employers must withhold income taxes and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on their behalf.

If your staffing needs don't meet the IRS rules for independent contractor classification, temp agencies offer a nice middle ground. Temp agencies screen employees for you, so you can skip the tedious parts of the hiring process and meet your staffing needs ASAP. While temporary workers are employees and can be treated as such, they're not your employees. As a result, bringing them on doesn't add to your payroll demands. Instead, you simply cut checks to the temp agency.

Tips for Managing a Distributed Workforce

For many business owners, the greatest hesitance when it comes to hiring independent workers isn't the cost, but how to manage them. When you hire permanent staff, you build a team that's committed to your business. And since they're on-site, it's easy to keep track of who's excelling and who needs extra guidance. With a distributed workforce, however, employers have to develop new strategies for managing their team.

This means turning to tech solutions that keep your staff connected no matter where they're located. Project management software is a great example: With software like Asana or Basecamp, your team can communicate about projects and track progress toward deadlines without needing to call a meeting every time. When you do have meetings, instead of trying to coordinate the entire team's schedule, use an automated transcription service to quickly convert audio to text. Send out the files to members unable to make the meeting as well as those who were there to ensure everyone is on the same page.

If paying independent workers hourly, you'll also need a way to track their time. Software companies have filled a need here too, with apps like Tsheets that let companies create schedules, track hours, and chat with remote workers all through one platform. Some project management apps like Zoho Projects and Wrike include time-tracking capabilities in their software.

Even with software costs, bringing on freelancers, independent contractors, and temporary staff can deliver huge benefits to your business's bottom line. However, saving money isn't the only reason to add independent workers to your team. When you have a big project that's outside your team's scope or a short-term surge in staffing needs, independent workers let you meet labor needs quickly so your business never skips a beat. In today's competitive business landscape, you can't afford not to use independent workers.

Marissa Perez is a co-founder and head marketing writer at She can be reached at:

Effective Strategies that Make Customers Choose Your Small Business Over the Big Competitors

by Mark Courts on 07/06/19

This article is another one of the articles from our guest writer series. This article has been provided by Marissa Perez from I hope you find it informative. Thank you for visiting our site. Without any further delay: 

Effective Strategies that Make Customers Choose Your Small Business Over the Big Competitors

Small businesses still form the backbone of our local economy, but they face challenges when it comes to competing with major market players. The good news is that small business is far from dead -- you just need the right strategies and tools to gain the advantage. 

Stay on Top of Your Tech Game

If you do any e-commerce, having an engaging and reliable website is an absolute must. Everyone knows that Amazon is the major hub of online shopping, but a small business can still compete in e-commerce by making sure you offer an experience that is just as convenient.

One of the key decisions you'll make that impacts your e-commerce potential is choosing a website hosting company. There are different types of services to choose from, and any savvy business owner should compare the options to make sure you're getting the features you need while making the most of your budget. Some companies offer a 90-day money back guarantee, dependable uptime, secure hosting solutions, and 24/7 support. This is all in addition to a wide range of other features. Of course, you still want to look at the overall benefits and drawbacks of what they offer to make sure you find a hosting service that fits your particular business needs.

Once you have the basics of your website up and running, you'll want to add other useful tech tools that help you stay at the top of your game. According to Hello Tech, some of the best tech tools you need include accounting software, cloud storage, and email marketing.

Continue to Innovate 

Market trends can change incredibly fast, but as a small business, you can actually use this to your advantage. This is because it's often easier for small businesses to adapt to customer demands. As long as you follow the trends in your industry and listen to customer feedback, you can keep innovating to meet those demands. And when you adapt quickly, customers will return to you because they know they can count on you for the newest and best.

Don't Hesitate to Delegate

When you're first starting a business, you may feel compelled to do everything yourself. However, as your company begins to grow, it's important to surround yourself with qualified individuals you trust to handle tasks both big and small.  That way, you can delegate certain tasks to team members, which will allow you to focus on ways to continue growing your business. If you're unsure where to start, look into hiring a virtual assistant through an online job board. Virtual assistants can function as remote office assistants that tackle a range of tasks including administrative support, customer service, data entry, and calendar management thereby relieving you of such duties making it easier to set your sights on the bigger picture.

Stand Out from the Crowd 

While it's good to adapt easily, you don't want to stray from your core products or services. For example, if your business is a children’s boutique, you can innovate by continually bringing in brands that fit what your customers want. What you don't want to do is sell every children's product under the sun. You may not have as wide a selection as Amazon, but specializing gives customers a product and an experience that they can't get elsewhere.

Be an Ace at Customer Service 

Providing the best in customer service is where you can set yourself apart. As a small business owner, you have the ability to provide a more personal experience. You can create this relationship in all kinds of ways: by interacting with fans on social media, asking for customer feedback, and providing loyalty rewards are just a few ideas. Plus, with web tools that any small business can use, you can deliver just as much convenience as the bigger brands.

As part of your customer service strategy, focus on what you can offer, rather than what you can’t. Maybe you can't afford free shipping on every order, but you can create a loyalty rewards program that gives customers credit. Offering a rewards program is worth the investment because it creates repeat customers who are truly invested in your business.

The truth is that a small business can't do what big retailers like Amazon can, but big retailers can't do what you can. Maximizing customer service and being innovative are the things small businesses do best. Don't listen to naysayers who tell you small businesses can't compete these days. All you need are the right tools and tips to carve out your place in the market.

Marissa Perez is a co-founder and head marketing writer at She can be reached at:

The Best Ways to Boost Your Business Using Savvy Outside Services

by Mark Courts on 05/13/19

This article was provided by guess writer Lucy Reed from I hope you enjoy it. Have a great week!

Raising your bottom line is a natural goal for all small business owners, but it can be a frustrating puzzle.  Looking beyond your own walls can often make a surprising difference.  Read on for how to use both free and paid outside services for boosting your business in ways you might not have considered. 

Stake out digital real estate

Does your business have a website?  Sometimes small businesses, especially ones with ample foot traffic, might feel an internet presence is unnecessary.  However, as Chron points out, a website is an inexpensive avenue for adding to your customer base.  It's a chance to have your storefront available 24/7, all without adding to your staff.  Besides, people often check out items and services via the internet these days before ever making a purchase. Your website should include information like your location, hours, and a story about your business that sparks interest. 

By developing a digital presence, the chance of being noticed is dramatically increased.  There are website builders available to help you in your creation, and it's far easier than it used to be. Consider including a shopping cart so you can snag more sales while you’re at it! When it comes to hosting your website, you can pay for business hosting, but if your business is just getting off the ground, you can save by using shared hosting. Some web-hosting companies offer shared hosting services for as low as $2 a month.

Encourage engagement 

Using your website is a great first step toward boosting customer engagement.  Telling your customers your business's story can help them identify with you and want to send their dollars your way.  But it doesn't need to stop there.  Consider adding a blog, which can be informative and entertaining. You can build on that engagement even more with a social media presence. You can quickly learn how to use Facebook to boost interaction. Some statistics indicate Facebook is the most popular social media site these days, with well over a billion active daily users. Consider it a chance to broadly market your product, with minimal investment of time and energy. 

Build your brand 

Do people know your company by name? There are some obvious perks for a strong brand name. For instance, LEGO, Kleenex, and Band-Aid tend to roll off our tongues more than "interlocking toy bricks," "facial tissues," and "adhesive bandages." 

If you haven't done so already, one way to bolster your brand is to create an easily recognizable logo, which you can do for free using an online template.  Another idea is to run online contests and giveaways. You can use an app for creating contests, which reduces the amount of effort you need to put toward them, and can help funnel sales to your webpage. When it comes to prizes, think of what your customers are apt to appreciate, while at the same time directing them to your products.  A T-shirt printed with your logo or a coupon to spend on your website are a couple of popular and effective ideas.

Keep customers happy 

In our world of e-commerce, your clientele can jump ship in the blink of an eye. Not only that, unhappy people are able to voice their opinions via the web, instantly reaching their friends with any bad vibes regarding your company.  This means customer satisfaction can make or break your business these days.  In fact, some surveys indicate putting customer satisfaction ahead of profits is linked with how well-established and successful companies become. 

One way to avoid trouble is to make it easy for your customers to connect with you when there is a problem. Offer tools like a post-chat survey, and make sure it's user-friendly and concise. The last thing your customers want is to struggle with navigating the vehicle for feedback. Also make sure you are available, since some research indicates they will reach for the phone to let you know there is a problem. 

Finding ways to raise your bottom dollar can be puzzling, but outside services can often give your business a boost. Develop your web presence, build brand recognition, and make sure your clientele is happy.  Thanks to looking beyond your four walls, you can enhance your business and profits simultaneously.

Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.

Learn To Code

by Mark Courts on 04/27/19

Jobs paying $75.00 per hour and salaries of over $185,000 a year are going unfilled due to a lack of skilled tech workers.

To all of the young people that follow my Page, I have two imperative bits of advice for you. Listen to me and listen good, please.
1. Learn to code. Get a job in tech.
2. Learn to create apps. Own the tech.

Now get out there and Live your Best Life!
Get up out of poverty! Read More Books. Take free online courses. Join YearUp!
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