Internet Tips for Your Small Business

Nowadays, running a successful business involves much more than running a brick-and-mortar shop. Some of the most successful businesses today use the power of the internet to promote their services, make online sales, and reach out to potential customers. The internet and social media are powerful tools that can help your business make more money, help you expand and grow, and ensure the longevity of your business! Below are some of the best tips to use for your small business.

1. Have a Dedicated Customer Service Team Online

If you have an online website, one of the best ways to satisfy your customers is to have a chat feature on your website. This chat feature allows your customers to talk to your customer service agent directly, without having to pick up the phone. A customer service team member online can also effectively turn leads into sales. If a customer stumbles on your website, a chat feature can help provide them with more information and possibly sell them services right then and there!

2. Invest in Cybersecurity

Running an online website comes with risks, especially if you accept online credit cards for transactions. In addition, internet crime can also involve hackers using the internet to communicate falsely on your behalf. Not only can these fraudulent schemes be damaging to customers, but they can also ruin your reputation.

Invest in cybersecurity to conduct sweeps online, prevent fraud, and keep your online transactions secure from hackers. If there is any sign of fraud, such as a fake website or social media page, inform your customers of this as well.

3. Respond to Online Reviews in a Positive Manner

Did you know that around 87% of people read reviews for local businesses in 2020? That’s an almost 81% increase since 2019! Reviews are crucial to help customers gain trust in your services, view the experiences of other customers, and ultimately decide to use your business or go with a competitor.

It’s important to look at your reviews and respond to any customer reviews that are negative. Do not talk negatively to your customers. Instead, offer an explanation, compensation, or another type of initiative to get on their good side. This helps other customers trust that you have their best interest in mind and will provide them with compensation if your services are not what they expect.

4. Use Social Media for Promotion

Social media has the power to influence purchasing decisions as well! Around 40% of people said they rely on social media when spending money and making their choice for a business. How can you use social media for your business? Think about the type of business you have, and explore relevant businesses on social media. For instance, if you run a hair salon, are there other hair salons in your area that have a social media page? What do they post on their page?

Exploring other social media pages can help you get started on ideas and can also help you find what the competition is doing and if you can do it better! Use social media to promote your business, reach out to potential customers, or even for customer service. Many customers might want an easier way to connect online, and will use the direct messaging feature on Instagram to do so. Refrain from posting negative comments and posts.

Using the internet can help make you money and turn leads into sales! All it takes is a dedicated website or social media page to boost your sales, reach out to customers, and solidify your business in the eCommerce space!

What Are the Benefits of a Simple IRA for Small Business Owners?

The Benefits of a SIMPLE IRA for Your Small Business

As someone who is self-employed, my retirement plan looks a little different than most. Employee-sponsored 401(k)s and pensions plans are not in the cards for me, and there are a few more tax considerations as well. So, I need something easy to implement, that will offer substantial tax breaks, and allow me to maximize my contributions. Now that I’m looking for a new retirement vehicle to add to my portfolio, a SIMPLE IRA may be the answer to my problem.

What Is a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA, or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, is an Individual Retirement Account that is specifically designed for sole proprietors and small business owners. It works well for smaller employers who want to offer retirement benefits since it is easy to set up and maintain. Like other retirement plans, both the employer and employee can make contributions and receive tax benefits.

What are the Benefits of a SIMPLE IRA?

This type of retirement plan offers many benefits to both the employer and the employee.

1. It is to set up and maintain.

The first benefit is the convenience and easy process to set it up. There are fewer reporting requirements with a SIMPLE IRA than with other types of retirement accounts such as a 401(k). So, there is less paperwork involved to set up and maintain it.

2. There are fewer fees.

In that same line of thought, there are also fewer administrative fees to set them up. In general, the overall costs are lower when compared to the other alternatives. This makes it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits and attract more skilled employees.

3. It offers significant tax breaks.

Although you can’t claim your contributions as a deduction, you can defer part of your salary into these accounts. Since they would qualify as pre-tax income, any contributions you make to a SIMPLE IRA will lower your overall taxable income. And, your balance will continue growing, tax-deferred. The compounding interest will help you to maximize your earnings.

Additionally, it allows you to avoid the capital gains tax when you buy and sell within the account. The account is tax-deferred, so you won’t have to worry about this until you start receiving distributions.

And if your gross income is below a certain threshold, you may also qualify for the saver’s credit if you made contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Employers also receive tax benefits as well. They can claim a 50% tax credit for up to $500 to offset the start-up costs for the first three years. The incentives make it more enticing for small business owners to set up these plans as well.

4. It has instant vesting.

With some employee-sponsored plans, sometimes there is a vesting period. This requires the employee to stay with the company for a set number of years to receive the matching contributions. However, with a SIMPLE IRA, any money deposited into the account is immediately yours, no waiting.

5. It increases the amount I can contribute.

As a sole proprietor, I can maximize my contributions as both employer and employee. In theory, it allows me to contribute double the amount that is allowed with a traditional IRA. As an employer, the contribution threshold for 2022 is $14,000. However, the maximum total is $20,500. If I can max out my contributions, it allows me a greater capacity to save for my retirement.  

Are There Restrictions on a SIMPLE IRA?

No retirement plan is perfect. So, it is important to be aware of the restrictions and requirements that are associated with a SIMPLE IRA.

Eligibility Requirements

As an employer, you must have 100 employees or less. And, you must make annual contributions to the account. You can do this in two ways: by electing to match their contributions with a limit of 3% or with a non-elective contribution of 2%. You can switch between matching or non-elective with notice.

To be eligible as an employee, you must have received at least $5,000 in compensation for the calendar year. Furthermore, you must have received at least the same minimum during two previous years as well.

Limitations

First off, a SIMPLE IRA is not available as a Roth account. It also has different thresholds for maximum yearly contributions. For 2022, you can make a maximum contribution of $14,000, or $17,000 for those over 50. The total contribution is $20,500, or $27,000 for 50 and older. You also can’t max out this account if you have already reached the limit on another employer-sponsored retirement account.

The other feature of this tax-advantaged account is that you won’t pay any taxes until you start taking withdrawals. At that point, it will be taxed like normal income. There is also a 10% penalty if you withdraw before age 59 1/2 and a 25% penalty if you withdraw within 2 years of the first contribution. However, there are some qualified exemptions for early withdrawal.

Account Setup

If you choose a SIMPLE IRA, it is fairly simple to get started. You can partner with a financial institution to offer employers an individual account. Or, you can create the infrastructure and allow employees to set up their own accounts with their chosen institution. Employees who choose to participate will fill out the SIMPLE IRA adoption agreement, and then they can open the account with the designated custodian.

Is a SIMPLE IRA Right for You?

Any time an employer offers a retirement plan, it’s a good idea to participate. Otherwise, you are leaving free money on the table. It is also a great benefit for small businesses if they want to offer retirement benefits because it’s easy to set up and manage.

However, each situation is different. For me, a SIMPLE IRA gives me another investment vehicle and increases the amount I can contribute as both employer and employee. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer when compared to a 401(k) or traditional IRA. But what works for me may not be the best solution for everyone. So, you should review your options with your financial advisor to determine which is most beneficial for your specific circumstances.

Read More

Keep Commercial Insurance Rates Low With These Truck Driving Safety Tips

Commercial vehicle accidents can cost a lot of money. An accident involving a large semi truck, tanker, bus, or another large commercial vehicle can potentially cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in property damage and medical bills. There is also the possibility of environmental damage if hazardous materials such as fuel or chemicals are being transported by the driver. For these reasons, any company that purchases commercial insurance for its fleet of vehicles should want to do everything possible to minimize its insurance costs. Here are a few safety tips that can be emphasized during driver training.

Facts About Distracted Driving

A huge problem that is caused by the use of cell phones and other technology in cars and trucks is distracted driving. It is estimated that up to 80% of crashes are caused by some kind of driver inattention. Aside from phones and devices, things as simple as talking to passengers or eating while driving can become distractions as well. Drivers should be told about these facts and the dangerous nature of distractions in the vehicle. This means phone use should be forbidden while actively driving. Most jurisdictions have outlawed things like texting and talking on the phone while driving. However, it is also important to emphasize personal responsibility, as law enforcement cannot realistically give citations to all distracted drivers.

Avoiding Fatigued Driving

When a driver is getting tired due to being on the roads for an extended period of time, this can become very dangerous. Fatigued drivers are much more likely to lose focus, take their eyes off of the road, or even fall asleep behind the wheel. There are federal transportation regulations in place to limit total driving hours each day and week, but drivers should be encouraged to take breaks and rest as much as necessary in order to stay alert and minimize the possibility of an accident. Most typical rest breaks for commercial drivers average 30 minutes in length, but longer can be taken if needed.

Blind Spots

Large commercial vehicles also tend to have large blind spots on the sides, corners, and rear of the vehicle. Drivers can be taught to check their mirrors regularly for other vehicles, and it’s also possible to scan the area in front of the vehicle before obstacles enter the blind spots. Certain side and rearview cameras are also available to help view these blind spots.

Turning Safety Issues

Commercial vehicles tend to have a wide turning radius, and it’s possible that a turning vehicle can flip over or the driver can lose control. Drivers should be taught to only make turns at a safe speed in areas that are clear of other vehicles on the sides.

Substance Abuse and Commercial Driving

Not only is drunk driving illegal for commercial drivers, but there are also lower legal limits for a commercial driver’s blood alcohol concentration in most states. Despite the legality of doing so and strict penalties for breaking the law, the trucking industry has a serious problem with the abuse of alcohol and drugs. These costs can be passed onto employers, as their insurance may need to cover the costs of lawsuits associated with injuries and fatalities caused by a commercial driver. Employers may want to regularly test workers for the presence of drugs and alcohol to ensure that they are not driving while impaired and avoid the potential liability and increased costs.

It is important to keep in mind that insurance rates for commercial drivers are based on the insurer’s level of risk. This means that lower costs due to no prior accidents and saving money can be passed onto the business and policyholder. Drivers can also be trained on these points and defensive driving techniques to provide better safety.

Mistakes to Avoid as a New Small Business

Starting a small business can be a thrilling, life-changing event. It allows you to be in charge of your career and make something that could benefit both you and your community. However, some people go into it without knowing exactly what they should do. This results in a lot of mistakes. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid as a new small business.

Ignoring Digital Security

These days, a lot of work is done online. This includes everything from storing employee information to taking payments on a customer’s credit card. This information is extremely personal and needs to be stored securely. If someone gets into it, they could steal it and wreck the lives of the people it actually belongs to. When you ignore digital security, you don’t consider things like encryption and security programs. According to Verizon, small businesses make up 28% of data breach reports. A data breach can destroy your customers’ trust, so you want to avoid it as much as possible. Pay for effective digital security from the beginning.

Doing It All Yourself

You might be tempted to do everything yourself in order to save money. However, there is only so much time in the day. You won’t be able to get it all done and your business and well-being will suffer as a result. As you budget for your business, try to delegate tasks as much as possible. This will allow you to focus on the parts of your business that make money without letting the other parts slide. The amount of delegating you can do will depend on how much money you have, but even some help from the start will make a big difference.

Partnering With the Wrong People

Whether you’re looking for a business partner or an investor, you should be careful who you work with. It can be tempting to go with the person who will bring in the most money, but you also want to make sure that they are honest and that the two of you are a good fit. If you have a dishonest partner, they might embezzle money. Embezzling is a white-collar crime where someone mismanages the financial assets they’re in charge of. They then use that money for unauthorized things. If you find that your partner is embezzling funds, it could ruin your business. So make sure that you only work with people that you know and trust.

Ignoring Online Marketing

Some small business owners think that the internet is a waste of time. In fact, 10% of small businesses don’t invest in marketing at all. They want to focus on local customers and what’s happening in person. However, even if you’re not selling online, you should incorporate online marketing into your business plan. Social media and good SEO will make you visible to significantly more potential customers than physical advertising will. It can also connect you with a younger audience who does much of their research and shopping online. You don’t need to be over the top with your online marketing, chasing trends and spending a lot of money. Instead, focus on a few things you can do to boost your online presence and alert people to your small business’s existence.

Not Making a Business Plan

It might be tempting to just jump in feet first and make it all up as you go. However, you should never do this. Having a business plan from the beginning will help you figure out how much money you have and how well the business is doing. It also gives you the steps to take if something unexpected happens. Before you open your doors, set up your business plan.

Starting a small business takes a lot of time and resources. You want to be sure that you do it correctly from the beginning. Keep these mistakes in mind and make sure that you avoid them.

The 5 Fundamentals of Monetizing a Facebook Page

Fundamentals of Monetizing a Facebook Page

A Facebook page can be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. Not only does it allows you to connect with customers and fans, but it also provides an opportunity to monetize your content.

Monetizing, however, isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. Here are the 5 fundamentals of monetizing a Facebook page. By following these tips, you can create a successful strategy for generating revenue from your Facebook page!

Understand How Facebook Ads Work

A Facebook Ad is a form of advertising that allows businesses to promote their products or services to the users of the social network. It works by targeting specific demographics and interests — placing ads on Facebook’s News Feed.

This is a great way to generate revenue, but it is critical to understand the inner workings before you begin your campaign.

Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success with Facebook Ads:

  1. Target your audience carefully: Make sure you target users who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
  2. Use strong visuals: Ads with strong visuals tend to perform better than those without.
  3. Keep your message clear: Your ad should have a clear and concise message that tells users what you are offering.

Connect Your Facebook Page With a Payment Processor

If you want to monetize your Facebook page, you have to connect it with a payment processor. This will allow you to start accepting payments from customers who purchase products or services through your page.

There are a few different options available and one is Meta Pay. Be sure to find the best one for your business. Once you have connected your page with a payment processor, you can start accepting payments and generating revenue!

Create High-Quality Content Relevant to Your Audience

We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King.” This has never been more true than now. One of the most important aspects of monetizing your Facebook page is to create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. This means creating content that they will find valuable and interesting.

If you can provide value to your audience, they are more likely to trust you enough to purchase products or services from you. This could include blog posts, infographics, videos, or anything else that would be useful to them.

By creating relevant and valuable content, you can increase your chances of monetizing your Facebook page successfully.

Use Facebook Page Insights

Facebook Page Insights is a powerful tool that allows you to track the performance of your page. Including how many people are visiting your page, what kind of content they are engaging with, and how often they are clicking on your ads.

By tracking the performance of your page, you can adjust your monetization strategy accordingly. If you see that your audience is not engaging with your content, for example, you may need to adjust the type of content you are creating.

Experiment With Different Monetization Strategies

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to monetizing a Facebook page. What works for one business may not work for another. This is why it is important to experiment with different strategies until you find one that works best for you and your business.

Some monetization strategies include content creation and promoting affiliate products, selling of products or services, and paid memberships. Try out a few different strategies and see which one generates the most revenue for your business.

Monetizing a Facebook page can be a great way to generate additional income for your business. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success. Good luck!

If you have any additional tips on monetizing a Facebook page, please leave them in the comments below!

Read More:

Is It Worth Paying for Digital Security?

How Can You Secure Your Job in Uncertain Times?

Can You Buy and Sell Air Rights?

Choosing to Live as a Digital Nomad

Choosing to Live as a Digital Nomad

Over the last two years, more people have chosen to work remotely. However, there are many people like me out there who have chosen to live as a digital nomad long before the pandemic started.  While it wasn’t the original career path I had set out to pursue after grad school, it has brought me more job satisfaction than I could have ever hoped for. In addition to a steady income, it allowed me to work and travel for the last decade. If you have ever considered this kind of lifestyle, here are a few things you should know before you take the leap.

What is a Digital Nomad?

The first humans were nomadic. So, it makes sense that we have adapted this trait as we evolved. Nowadays, technology allows us to work and move freely without being tied to a single location. Digital nomads can live in whatever location they choose, relying on telecommunications to perform their jobs.  Unlike remote employees, we don’t need to have a base camp or a corporate network to log into.

Although many careers can accommodate a nomadic lifestyle, I work as a freelance writer and copy editor. I can handle all my job responsibilities and communication as long as I have my laptop and a good wifi signal. For someone like me who embraces adventure, needs flexibility, and can quickly adapt to change, it is the perfect job.

During my years abroad, I set up shop in Belize, Mexico, Taiwan, and as I backpacked across Europe. I’ve held conference calls in cafes, interviews from hotels, and produced content from train stations and overnight buses. As long as I kept bringing in clients and meeting my deadlines, I was able to support myself as I explored the world.

The Daily Logistics of the Digital Workspace

As the pandemic continues, more people are getting used to a hybrid environment and working from home. What once seemed like a logistical nightmare has become more attainable with technological advancements. Email, chat, and videoconferencing have also facilitated faster communication. Although they will never replace the social value of face-to-face interactions, it allows for instant communication and quick resolutions.

Freelancer marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr have also made it easier to market your skills and connect with potential clients. Not only does this mean more opportunities for a digital nomad, but also better chances to secure regular income streams.

But, your bottom line comes down to the quality of your equipment. If you are unable to depend on your tech to complete your work, then you will never be able to maintain a steady workload.

  • First, you’ll need to invest in a reliable laptop. Mine definitely shows its battle scars after years of being crammed into bags and jostled through security checkpoints. Yet, it still runs like a champ.
  • Secondly, you need to have unlimited access to a strong internet connection. My phone usually works well as a mobile hotspot. However, it may be worth purchasing your own portable device if you want to live in more remote areas.
  • It’s also a good idea to carry your own external hard drive. I perform regular backups of all my documents just in case something happens.

While it may seem like a huge initial cost, I know my technology will withstand the test of time and the rigors of travel.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Nomadic Life

While the nomadic life can be very appealing, life as a digital nomad is not as easy or convenient as some would like to believe.

The Good

I have been fortunate enough to visit over 30 countries, earning an income to support myself along the way. I saw many incredible places and experienced many diverse cultures firsthand, immersing myself in them. As I gained professional and personal experiences, I also realized that the value of my skills had increased. After increasing my rates, I actually started to save and invest rather than making enough to survive. Achieving greater financial freedom gives you the power to decide when, where, and how you work.

The Bad

However, this life isn’t for everyone. And, it isn’t as simple as some make it seem. Starting your own business is challenging enough. But, it can be even more so if you are in a foreign location where you don’t have local contacts or speak the language. Then, you have to contend with visas and your legal status with immigration. The applications and runaround can be extremely frustrating and leave you with a mountain of red tape to cut through.

The Ugly

The total independence you have as a digital nomad is both a blessing and a curse. It’s true that you have complete autonomy to travel, work, and schedule your life as you please. However, after the novelty of it wears off and you settle into a daily routine, you eventually start to feel the weight of isolation and loneliness.

While I made friends that were more like family, many of them moved on to new locales within a few years. Even today we still keep in touch, but it leaves you with a relatively small support network. I grew increasingly homesick, especially during the lockdown. When my dad’s health took a turn or the worst, I decided it was time to return home. I wanted to be closer to my family and not miss out on any more important moment than I already had.

Starting Out as a Digital Nomad

Although I’m closer to home these days, I still maintain a career as a digital nomad. Looking back, I spent many years getting underpaid for my services. If you want to be successful, you have to know your skillset, the true value of what you can offer, and how to market yourself.

There are no guarantees that you’ll earn a sustainable income. But if you are self-motivated and ambitious, it is possible to turn it into a full-time job. Your success directly depends on the effort and time you put into building a career. Once you establish yourself, build a good reputation, and find your niche in a digital community, the world is at your fingertips.

If you are currently working as a digital nomad, what has helped you find success?

Read More

50+ Items You Can Quickly Resell for Profit

Items You Can Quickly Resell for Profit

I spend a lot of time looking through items listed in local online marketplaces. There are some great deals out there. Sometimes I come across things that are practically being given away because they need repairs. I have often thought, “That’s an easy fix,” or “I could make money off that.” As it turns out, I’m not the only one. Reselling, or flipping, items for a profit has become a popular side hustle in the gig economy. If you know where to find items you can quickly resell, here’s how you could turn them into supplemental income.

Why Reselling Is Profitable

Anytime you find a low-cost supplier for high-demand goods, there is potential for a huge profit margin. Depending on the products you sell, it doesn’t necessarily require a ton of startup capital either. So, if you find your niche market, you could begin seeing profits right away.

However, not everyone is successful when choosing items you can quickly resell. You must be in tune with consumer trends to know what people are buying. Furthermore, you need to know which products offer the biggest return on your investment.

50+ Items You Can Quickly Resell for a Profit

The truth is that you can sell just about anything if you know how to market it. Believe it or not, people are literally turning trash into treasure by selling empty toilet paper rolls online.

So, if you are looking to get into the flipping game, here are 50+ items that are bringing resellers good returns.

Tech and Gadgets

Living in the digital age means that high-tech gadgets and products are in high demand. And, by association, so are the accessories that go with them. With a growing market, these are some of the easiest items you can quickly resell for a profit.

  • phone cases
  • phone tripods
  • wireless charging stations
  • screen protectors
  • wearable devices
  • microphones
  • Bluetooth earphones
  • TWS earphones
  • drones
  • watches (smart and vintage)
  • website domains
  • ink cartridges

Car Accessories

Since we spend so much time in transit, many people want to have comfort and convenience in their vehicles as well. Therefore, people buy accessories to equip them with the necessary functions and compatible tech. With the right supplier and quality merchandise, car accessories could be very good for your bank account.

  • LED lights
  • USB chargers
  • rear cameras
  • car phone holders
  • seat covers
  • interior organizers
  • air fresheners
  • wireless vacuums

Home Goods

Over the last two years, more people are working remotely and spending time at home. So, it makes sense that they want to improve the spaces around them. From home decor items to smart home appliances, finding a source for low-cost home goods to flip is a great way to supplement your income.

  • smart home items (plugs, temperature sensors, bulbs, wall switches, wireless chargers)
  • kitchen utensils and appliances
  • furniture
  • area rugs
  • vintage picture frames
  • vintage electronics
  • collectibles
  • vintage cabinet knobs
  • shower heads
  • hands-free soap dispensers
  • toothbrush holders
  • toilet brushes
  • candles
  • yard equipment
  • power tools

Health and Beauty Products

No matter how markets fluctuate, there will always be a steady demand for health and beauty products. And since many of these items are small and lightweight, it saves the reseller on shipping costs which is great for your bottom line.

  • reusable water bottles
  • yoga mats
  • resistance bands
  • bicycles
  • kerchiefs
  • hair pins and clips
  • high-end hair products
  • nail decor
  • makeup jewels
  • jewelry

Clothing

If you have an eye for fashion and a nose for sniffing out good deals, clothing could be the perfect product for you. Whether you are a new designer or a thrifter with a head for numbers, reselling clothing is currently one of the hottest online trends.

  • second-hand items from name brands
  • snow gear
  • vintage jerseys
  • sports caps and hats
  • vintage trucker hats
  • concert tees
  • fashion with puffy sleeves or classic blue items
  • strapless bras
  • baby items
  • vintage swimwear
  • vintage sewing patterns

Entertainment Items

Those who held on to their childhood toys or have accumulated lots of equipment from their hobbies could be in for a big payday. With fewer public entertainment options, people are looking for hobbies, games, and collectibles that bring back the nostalgia of simpler times. And, they are willing to pay good money for it.

  • baseball cards
  • video games and consoles
  • books
  • Legos
  • board games
  • plush toys
  • vintage toys
  • vinyl records
  • cameras and lenses
  • sporting goods

Where Do You Find Items You Can Quickly Resell?

Once you have an idea, the next step is to find items to sell. You can start with unwanted items around your house or hand-me-downs from your family and friends. If you still need more inventory, be sure to check out yard sales and estate sales for cheap merchandise. Thrift stores and flea markets can also produce quality items.

The other option is to find good deals online. You can scour clearance sales from retailers, wholesale venders, and online outlet stores for deep discounts.

How Much Can You Expect to Make Reselling?

When it comes to reselling for profit, your earning potential is only limited by your own ambition. Therefore, you need to determine how much time, effort, and capital you want to invest in the venture. And, you should also know what kind of returns you expect from it.

Although most people only see it as a side hustle, others have turned it into a primary source of income. In fact, some resellers claim to make six-figure salaries. However, you have to be realistic. If you are putting in part-time hours, you can probably expect to bring home between $500 and $2,000 each month. But, it’s not unreasonable to double this figure if you find the right product and audience.

What Are the Best Places for Reselling?

The first place people start posting items for resale is local marketplaces like Facebook and Craigslist. However, auction sites like eBay can help you reach a larger audience if you don’t mind shipping the products.

For those who want to earn more than just supplemental income, it’s a good idea to set up your own online shop. Depending on the products you sell, you could host a shop on Amazon, Etsy, Depop, Poshmark, or any other of the popular online marketplaces. Having your own dedicated store will attract more customers and get more eyes on your products.

Tips for Getting Started

As with any new business venture, do your research and know the value and profit margins for the items you are selling. Also, make sure you are up-to-date with the latest tax codes as well.

There is bound to be some trial and error. But, it could prove profitable with the right product and marketing strategy. You’ll need to set clear financial goals you hope to achieve with items that you can quickly resell for a profit. But, as any decent writer will tell you, stick to what you know. And when in doubt, seek expert advice to help you turn your ideas into cold, hard cash.

Read More

Is Investing in Premium Domains Worth It?

Is It Worth Investing in Premium Domains?

Choosing a company name and the domain are important decisions, especially when you are launching an online business or e-commerce site. It is the first impression you make. If you are having difficulty finding a standard domain that fits your brand, then you might consider buying a premium domain name. However, some of them will cost you a king’s ransom. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth investing in premium domains?

What Are Premium Domains?

Premium domains are higher-value, more desirable domains with more branding potential. These domains are more likely to become popular, so they come at a higher price. While some of them are expensive, they are also more memorable and easier to find through search engines.

When it comes to premium domains, there are two different types. Aftermarket Premium Domains are ones which people already own that are for sale. Registry Premium Domains are ones which the registrar has determined to be more valuable. However, they are not yet registered to a company or an individual.

A domain can receive a ‘premium’ designation for many reasons. However, these are the most common attributes that help determine if it is a premium domain.

Length

Short names are easier to remember and more appealing to a wider public. In fact, the shorter the name, the better. Two-letter and three-letter names are almost always premium domains since they can be used for abbreviations.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The right domain name should draw higher volumes of internet traffic. If the domain contains a popular keyword or phrase that people frequently search, it makes the domain much more valuable. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find names that contain them. So, people are willing to pay more money for a premium domain that brings more people to their site.

Brandability

While this factor is more subjective, a domain’s branding and marketing potential also affect its value. Catchy and unique domains make for more effective branding campaigns. A brief and descriptive domain tells visitors or customers exactly who you are and what you provide. Therefore, it would make sense that domains with more brandability go for a higher price.

Desirability

Ultimately, a domain’s value is whatever people are willing to pay for it. Names that you would think nothing of could cause a bidding war. New companies and products are willing to pay top dollar for premium domains if it fit the image they want to portray.

When Are They Beneficial to You?

When deciding between a standard and premium domain, the primary question is how will it benefit you? If you are able to find a low-cost domain that fits your needs, then it probably doesn’t make sense to pay exorbitant rates for a premium domain. However, if a premium domain serves a specific purpose or meets an important business need, it may be beneficial to buy one.

Premium domains do offer certain advantages. First of all, investing in premium domains means you usually get a name that will be easier for people to remember. This is crucial when launching a new site or online business since you can build your brand around the domain.

Then, there are the technical advantages they bring. As a general rule, premium domains also have higher SEO rankings. When you have existing domain authority, as many premium domains do, it enhances your ranking in search engines. Your site will appear in the first few pages instead of being buried in the search results. This helps potential customers find you more quickly.

Although there are several benefits to owning a premium domain, only you can ultimately decide if it is worth the investment.

Is Investing in Premium Domains Worth It for You?

This sticking point for most people is that premium domains come at a higher price. Standard domains run between $10 and $30 while premium domains could cost you hundreds, or thousands, of dollars. It is a very personal decision, and warrants careful consideration. If you are looking at purchasing a premium domain, here a few questions to ask yourself before you make the plunge.

1. Is it in the budget?

Ask yourself, can you really afford the price tag on a premium domain? If the majority of your budget is going towards the domain, you should reconsider. You don’t want to go bankrupt before you even get off the ground.

2. Are there alternative names or other workable options?

Although a premium domain name is your first choice, is it the only choice? Try not to get hung up on more expensive options simply because it is a premium domain. If there is something more suitable or appropriate available, choose the cheaper option. Having some flexibility could save you a ton of money.

3. Do you have plans for monetization?

If you have plans to monetize, it might justify the cost of a premium domain. The site could pay for itself. Finding ways to earn money and attract more internet traffic could offset the expense.

4. Do you need to draw traffic?

Finally, how important is traffic to the success of your site? If you need a high-traffic site, a premium domain could help you reach those goals.

Where Can You Buy Premium Domains?

If you decide to invest in a premium domain, there are several ways to purchase them. You can buy them directly through domain registrars if no one owns them.

However, you can contact the owner directly to purchase a specific domain. If you aren’t sure who owns the one you want, you can look it up here to find the current owner. There are also dedicated marketplaces like DomainAgents and Afternic where you can buy them at set price points or make an offer.

Remember that online purchases always come with a risk. You have to trust that they will fulfill the sale and transfer ownership once payment is received. Marketplaces reduce the risk by using an open forum. And, of course, be wary of investing in premium domains that aren’t worth the price. Take time to evaluate your decision before investing in something you may not need.

Read More

 

The best cost-effective applications

Different applications are used in day-to-day life, and they make the life of users more comfortable. People design mobile apps for personal as well as business purposes. Commercial institutions are investing in creative applications to simplify their business processes and meet their customized needs. Individuals also develop mobile apps to get minor day-to-day tasks done. Personal budgeting software helps individuals monitor their expenditure, establish long-term goals, and develop plans to meet these goals. Continue reading

The SMBX: Changing the Way You Invest in Small Businesses

SMBX: A new way to invest

As an individual investor, I am always looking for new and innovative ways to diversify my portfolio and increase my earnings. I already have a healthy range of holdings in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

However, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to generate passive income. That’s where platforms like the SMBX come in. This new marketplace directly engages with its investors to make it simpler for you to invest in small businesses.

The platform is somewhat complicated and new, so here is some explanation of what it is.

What is the SMBX?

The SMBX is new investment platform where small business owners can directly connect to the public. Their model utilizes regulation crowdfunding to allow small businesses to go straight to the source. As their tagline states, individual investors get to “be the bank,” providing an entirely new way to raise capital. Rather than purchasing stock in a specific company, any investor can buy small business financial securities through their marketplace.

What sets the SMBX apart is that they have created a new asset class: the Small Business Bond. The idea is to help small businesses generate capital through bonds instead of relying on bank loans. Private investors purchase bonds, which are debt-based financial assets. The investor (you) loans money to an issuer (the small business) for a period of time. In exchange, the issuer has a legal obligation to repay them, plus interest.

It is a win-win scenario for everyone. Small businesses can bypass the loan process to get the funding they need at better prices than banks offer. Meanwhile, investors have more control over where their money goes since you can pick which small businesses to invest in.

What are the Advantages of Investing with SMBX?

The greatest advantage of the SMBX is that it creates new options for both small businesses and individual investors. Unlike other marketplaces that emphasize equity, the SMBX is transforming small business debt through community engagement. Additionally, investors have the opportunity to affect change by supporting these businesses. What seems like a modest investment to the individual has the potential to impact not only the business owners, but also the people they serve.

For Small Businesses

The greatest benefit to small businesses is that they have the ability to bypass traditional lenders. Small companies no longer have to be captive to bank loans. It is much easier and cheaper to raise capital through Small Business Bonds since they can appeal directly to the public. Furthermore, there are less regulations and fees associated with this type of asset. Here is what their website says:

SMBX value for businesses

For Investors

There are even more advantages for individual investors. Since you get to replace corporate banks, you have the ability to affect change within your community. You support local commerce when you invest in small businesses, allowing them to continue operating. What seems like a modest investment from the individual can have a huge impact on hundreds of people by creating more jobs locally and returning profits back to their communities.

Another benefit is that the SMBX welcomes non-accredited investors to join. The platform is easily accessible and very user-friendly. There are no investors fees and you can begin with as little as $10. The average returns on investments is approximately 6.5%, and it pays the principle plus interest each month.

What are the Disadvantages?

As with any investment, there is always risk. It is possible that your investment will not see profitable returns, and you could lose your money. SMBX is offering bonds, so you’ll want to read the bond prospectus for each offering.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the SMBX is a relatively new platform. Any financial advisor will tell you that it is risky to invest with new firms that have a short history. However, the expertise and combined experience of the founders give me confidence that I’m not throwing my money away.

One thing that I was disappointed with was the limited offerings. Since it is a relatively new marketplace, this makes sense. However, I hope to see a wider variety of small businesses on the marketplace and more frequently updated offerings in the future.

Here are some of the companies in their marketplace offering bonds.

SMBX Offerings

How Do You Start Investing with SMBX?

Getting started was the easiest part. It is simple to sign up. First, you need to create an account, which requires you to enter your personal details. They will ask for typical information including your legal name, address, estimated income, and estimated net worth. Once you verify your email and add a payment method, you are ready to get started. Just be aware that you must link to either a credit card or bank account to your profile.

After you confirm and submit everything, you can then browse the available offerings and choose which one to invest with. I carefully looked at each one, evaluating their financial goals, bond duration, expected yield, and overall mission.

Once I reviewed my options, I chose to purchase my first Small Business Bonds from ChildWise because I am very passionate about education. Furthermore, the bonds I bought have an estimated 8% yield. Not only can I feel good about where I am investing, but it also seems like I will see good returns.

Why Should You Use SMBX to Invest in Small Businesses?

My initial experience with the SMBX has been extremely positive. I feel it is important to find innovative ways to directly connect investors with the small businesses they want to invest in. Through their marketplace, investors are able to engage and interact with the company in an entirely new way. As the markets continue to evolve, it is important that small businesses find ways to thrive.

The best part is that it creates new revenue streams for your portfolio by supporting your local community.  You don’t need thousands of dollars to get started. Even a modest investment in Small Business Bonds with a high yield can significantly increase your earnings. You can get started with as little as $10 and choose from the latest offerings at the SMBX. The bonds pay between 4% and 9%, which is higher than most bank accounts, although you are taking a bit more risk.

By way of a quick wrap up here, if your looking for some additional revenue and you like the idea of investing in small businesses, you can sign up here.

Read More