When IT Doesn’t Work

There is no business without IT, but more importantly, there is no sustainable business without reliable IT solutions. Indeed, IT is at the core of your everyday processes, helping you to organize your workload, manage customer demands, handle transactions, and maintain your communication activities. You wouldn’t picture an office without a computer or a laptop. But while we can’t imagine working without direct access to technology, we sometimes struggle to make the most of our IT solutions. Indeed, when IT doesn’t work, businesses are left without any further option to carry out with their day-to-day jobs. More to the point, poor IT system can have dramatic consequences on your company. Here’s why you don’t want bad IT: 

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It affects your business rep

Your IT is the bridge that connects you to your audience. In the age of DIY digital businesses, you can’t afford to neglect your IT solutions. Indeed, poor setup or lack of setup plans can not only cause delays, but it can also hinder your customer relationship. Your customers want to be able to visit your website and interact with your brand without hitting the unpleasant 404 or 500 error page, for instance. Additionally, another setup issue could occur for self-made sites when the contact form isn’t correctly linked to a mailbox. As a result, your business doesn’t appear professional. 

It slows you down

Things break. Even with the best of care, your IT system might fail to update properly or hit unexpected roadblocks. However, without dedicated IT consultancy services, you might find your team struggling to get past issues. Indeed, IT downtime is unpleasant. But with professional troubleshooting and monitoring, you can avoid issues – or get them fixed rapidly. Getting in touch with an IT specialist and making an emergency repair appointment could cost you precious time when you don’t have a dedicated team. 

It costs you money

How much does IT downtime cost you? According to Gartner, the average cost ranks at around $5,600 per minute. However, the majority of companies report that one hour of downtime can cost a whopping $100,000 or more. For global companies, however, the cost of one hour is measured in millions. Ultimately, downtime means failure to process transactions, inability to carry on projects and meet deadlines, and potential loss of customers who turned to a competitor for their needs. The real question is: how much money can you afford to lose? 

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It costs you your team

Finally, your team gets frustrated. Nobody wants to get ready for work just to be met with the blue screen of a failed update, or to be stuck offline all day. Gradually, the frustration can feed their job dissatisfaction. Indeed, your employees don’t want to feel stressed out to meet tight deadlines as a result of your IT problems. Additionally, they don’t want to waste their time trying to maneuver their tasks around IT obstacles. In the long term, if IT disrupts their work, they’re likely to look elsewhere for a new employer. 

IT breaks, and it’s unavoidable. Not everything works all the time. But being able to rely on a professional team for support can ensure that your downtime won’t have any lasting, negative effect on your company. 

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Making The Most Of Being A “Homepreneur”

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As a way to express ourselves, it can seem that so many people out there are thinking about setting up a freelance business and following that trend of being a “homepreneur” where you set up a business from home. But is this a truly effective way to acquire professional and personal freedom? Let’s break down the trend and see what it can really do for us personally and professionally.

Getting Out More

Working at home means that you are, in one respect, operating with the blinders on. You may not be able to get a proper sense of the industry as a whole at home. In one respect, it’s helpful to stay away from bad influences, but conversely, you need to find the right ways to harness business help wherever possible. Because we can fly blind, especially at the outset, we need to make sure that we are protecting our business as much as possible. Minimizing naivety is crucial. And whether this is through IT protection like Safebit Solutions, or actually getting out there and networking with other entrepreneurs to capture a true sense of what is going on, we certainly need to get out more than we would stay in.

Understanding The Difference Between Your Work Life And Home Life 

One of the most agonizing aspects of working at home is that your work life and your home life are under the same roof. You need to understand the difference between the two, not just for the benefit of how you work but also how the people that live with you can fare better under the constraints. In one respect, you are better off setting up a home office far away from proceedings, but also, you’ve got to learn how to avoid checking those emails at 11 at night. It’s a very hard thing to get right, but one of the key components is all about discipline, in work and outside of it…

Bringing A Sense Of Discipline To Your Work 

Because being at home comes with a plethora of distractions, you’ve got to learn how to focus on the task at hand. It all depends on the time of day in which you work, as well as how many people are at home at the same time. A lot of people fare better by working a more twilight shift. But once you decide how you work best, that is when you will learn how to focus more. It’s always worth setting up some ground rules, especially if you have children.

Minimizing Loneliness

In an emotional sense, working at home by yourself means that you are, for a lot of the time, by yourself. Minimizing loneliness may not be a problem, especially if you’ve got a million things to do and plenty of people to speak to. But also, you’ve got to be aware of how isolating it can be. If you feel yourself getting like this, you work from home with a remote internet connection, so you can shake it up a bit and go somewhere else!

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Must-Have Tools To Improve Freelance Life 100%

The working world has been changing, and there are more people than ever that work from home, or that work as a freelancer. There are rising number of people that are skilled in what they do, but are choosing to work from home with a freelance career. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that when you work from home, you could actually be more productive and efficient, as well as saving time and money. But because things have changed in the way that we work, we need to give ourselves some time to equip ourselves with the kinds of skills and tools that are going to improve freelance life, especially if you’re new to it all. So with that in mind, here are some essential online tools that can help digital nomads improve and be the best that they can be.

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Organization 

If you are someone who tends to have quite a few tabs open on your computer, but can’t get away from it all, because you want to keep them for some point down the line, then you need some tools that are going to help to keep things really organized. You could use a tool like OneTab as a way to declutter, which is a browser extension tool that puts tabs all into a list. You could also use boards on a site like Pinterest, as it means you can bookmark things for later. Can be handy when you need to save client pages, and so on. 

Sharing of files

If you have often been sharing files with clients, for example, graphic artists or photographers will have large files to send to others, then you will want to use a platform that is going to make a massive difference and speed things up a little. You could use a VPN to help you to file share with other clients, as it can mean that you can send things much more quickly as you are using a private network. A VPN can also help to keep data and files secure, which, depending on what kind of freelance work you do, could be of paramount importance for your clients. There are different providers of VPNs to choose from, so make sure you look up something like an Opera free VPN review to see what the pros and cons are. It can be simple to do but it does make a difference.

Time Management

If you are someone who has to balance work and life, as well as someone who does things by the hour, then you need to make sure that you are using your time wisely, as well as tracking how long you spend on certain projects. Software like Toggl can let you keep track of your working hours quite easily, and you can assign out the time for the different clients that you are working for. The software can also generate some weekly or monthly reports, which can be a great way to help you keep track.

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Can You Make Your Business Seem Better Established?

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Running a small business is a serious undertaking. Of course, that’s not to say that it isn’t hugely exciting and rewarding because it is, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore just how much work you’ll need to put in. This is especially true for a startup where you a) don’t have that much experience in the business world, and b) are usually working with a pretty small team, perhaps even on your own. This means that it’s pretty easy for mistakes to slip through the cracks. Mistakes that get made in the early stages of a business’s life can have some serious and long-reaching consequences in the future. Fortunately, a lot of them are relatively common and, once you know what they are, they’re pretty easy to avoid. With that in mind here are some of the most common startup mistakes and how you can make sure that you don’t make them.

Overdoing your marketing

Now, this is not to say that marketing isn’t a massively important part of any business because of course, it is. The issue that a lot of startups run into however is that they assume that by throwing out at much marketing as possible then they’re definitely going to bring in the maximum number of customer. This is not only incorrect but ends up being a serious waste of time, energy, and money. Instead, what you should do is to make sure that you’re marketing precisely and effectively. The only way to make sure that you’re doing this is to do your research. Figure out who your target customer and what the most effective marketing methods are to connect with them.

Neglecting your IT

This one is especially true for smaller startups who assume that a well-managed IT infrastructure isn’t something that their business really needs. In the age of DIY online businesses, it’s easy to assume that you don’t need any support to get by but that’s simply not true. Without well-managed IT solutions, you’re going to end up hitting roadblock after roadblock. Ironically if your IT isn’t up to scratch, then the issues will only get more pronounced as the business grows and the strain on your infrastructure increases. By setting up your IT services early on, you avoid any delays or problems further down the road.

Getting too ambitious

It’s important to look to the future, and it’s just as important to think about growing your business, but that doesn’t mean you should let your reach exceed your grasp. Far too many startups end up getting into trouble because they try to grow too fast in a way that ends up being unsustainable. They simply can’t handle the increased expectations and responsibility that comes with running a larger business. Instead, make sure that you’re always working at a level that your business can actually sustain, otherwise you could end up in some serious trouble.

Looking amateurish

It’s surprisingly common for a lot of people to pass over smaller businesses in favor of better-established ones simply because they assume that it’s going to be a safer bet. People tend to see bigger businesses as more reliable and imagine that they would offer higher quality work. It’s your job to try and prove those expectations wrong. As well as improving your web design and overall branding, there are plenty of things that you can do in order to make your business seem bigger and more well established. A virtual office and answering service like VHQ answering services, complete with well-trained receptionists, can make even the smallest home business look well established and professional. It might seem odd to need to do something like this but customer perception is an essential part of business success.

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make is that they assume that it’s going to be easy if their business is small. After all, there’s certainly something to be said for how much easier it is to run a smaller business than a larger corporation. However, it’s also important to remember that your business often grows alongside you which means that you’re going to be far more capable as your business expands. In the early days, your business might be small, but you may be inexperienced and unable to fully handle all of the challenges that come with running any kind of business. Understanding this and being able to adjust the way that you do things in order to really make the most of your business is an essential step that you simply cannot ignore.

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A Lifelong Journey: Learning How To Be A Better Driver When Everyone Else Is Terrible!

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How much time do you spend behind the wheel of a car? It’s something that most of us have to do, whether it’s for your job or you’re the only one in your household that can do it. And over time, it can serve to increase our frustration, but also, if we want to get anywhere, we start to imitate those around us and take their terrible skills on board. Before we know it, our ability to drive goes down the drainpipe, and it’s because everyone around us is operating in the same haphazard manner. But driving better doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to attain; and if you really want to make a difference on the road, improve your commute, or just feel less stressed behind the wheel, try a few of these approaches… 

Truly Get An Appreciation Of Everyone Else Around You

As drivers, we can be absurdly single-minded, and only focus on our journey. But this means we don’t get a true appreciation of what’s going on around us. Sometimes we have to get a different perspective, and we can do this in simple ways. We could get a dual dash cam, which is something that many drivers now utilize on the road, not just to recognize the idiots that are causing near misses but also, giving ourselves an appreciation of the things we might very well not have noticed on the journey. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if we can get a better perception of what’s going on around us, it’s the perfect place to start.

Stop Speeding 

We start to imitate others around us because we feel that pressure. And when it comes to something like speeding, if everybody else is doing 5 miles over the limit, and they are doing that passive-aggressive thing to you because they’re stuck behind you and you were “only” going the limit, that temptation to speed up can develop into a full-blown habit. Speed limits are there for a reason. If you stop speeding, you’re not going to cause an accident, and you won’t have your license taken off you!

Stop Being In A Hurry

We are forever in a rush to get somewhere, and we witness this by the people risking their lives to take over us on a quiet road, but there’s a lesson to be learned here. If we are forever in a rush, then clearly we’re not leaving enough time to get to our destination, but also, being in a rush means we start to take risks that we wouldn’t if we had more time. It’s something you see all of the time. People cutting across all four lanes to get to an exit, and this is such a major mistake that could cause one massive accident, but the lesson is simple, if you are always in a hurry, bad habits will always up.

And probably the biggest lesson we can all learn is to address our own bad habits. One of the best ways to do this is, unfortunately, to have them checked by a professional. Being a good driver isn’t just about passing your test, it is a lifelong journey.

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Three Ways To Make Your Life Greener

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We are living in a world that is on the edge of extinction. We have very little of our precious time left to fix the issues that humanity has caused to our beautiful planet. Climate scientists agree that we need to act, as the effects of the years of abuse on the environment will become unrepairable. It is believed that if we change our ways now, we can stem the tide and help to overcome the problems that the world is today facing. 

Governments hold climate summits, and politicians, business leaders, and scientists talk it out. But progress is far slower than it needs to be. With most of the world falling short of its agreed targets to reduce carbon emissions, drastic action is required. 

While governments can legislate, or seek to gradually prevent certain practices that cause the world the worst harm, this change is slow. It takes businesses to get fully behind it and start to put the health of the planet before the health of their profits. It takes us, as individuals, to stop certain behaviors and adopt a much more conscientious approach to dealing with the issues that we are facing right now. 

You may be asking yourself, what can you do? When you are just one person, how can you help to change the world? Well, if you start to adopt new ways of dealing with things, and you can help one other to do the same. Eventually, a more significant proportion of us will be adopting greener lifestyles. Here are a few things that you can do to help to combat the climate crisis. 

Water Conservation

The world is at risk of coming under the grips of a drinking water shortage. It is estimated that by 2025, over a quarter of the world’s population will no longer have access to clean, safe drinking water. 

There is enough water on the planet to cover 70% of its surface. Yet 0.007% of the water on the earth is actually safe to drink. We have a growing population who all need to drink and wash. Then, we use good clean water for farming, giving to animals that are bred for food, washing your cars, filling up swimming pools, flushing toilets, and watering the garden. And in many countries, people act as though our water supplies will last forever. However, in South Africa recently, they discovered that it may not be the case. When it’s water supplies dropped to around 20% of the average capacity, the government was on the verge of permanently switching off the state-owned water supply to Cape Town and the surrounding areas, meaning the people of the country would not have running water. Fortunately, the South African citizens adapted to the changes it needed to make to help to conserve enough water so that they could keep it open. 

Although that crisis was averted, others may not be. But there are things that you can in your life so that you are less wasteful of water. Firstly, have a look at getting slimline water tanks fitted to harvest as much rainwater as possible. This can then be used for all manner of things such as toilet flushing, to watering the garden. You should adopt a more cautious attitude to the amount of water that you are using. Think about showering instead of having a bath. If you do shower, cutting the length of time that you are in there by just a minute or two will help to save a considerable amount of water. 

Stop Burning Fossil Fuels

Many of the world’s largest energy suppliers are still burning fossil fuels to provide us with electricity. This creates a dangerous amount of pollution which the environment cannot handle. With fewer trees on the planet, much of the carbon that gets emitted is not getting processed through photosynthesis.

If your energy company still insists on using coal to fuel its power stations, have a look at what alternative companies there are in your area that can supply fully renewable power for you. With so many wind, solar, and hydroelectric plants out there, there is no reason why you should be getting clean energy in your home. 

There are other things that you can do here too. Make sure and turn everything off when it is not in use. Even leaving things on standby uses up power. Turn off lights if you are not in the room. These things will also help to reduce your electricity bill considerably too. 

Buying appliances that have good energy efficiency ratings will be helpful too. That will mean you will use less power to run them. Similarly, use lower wattage, energy-saving lights throughout your home. 

Driving Ourselves To The Edge

If you are a motorist, there are ways that you can help the environment out considerably. One of the main things that you can do will be to choose environmentally considerate cars. If you are planning on buying a new car at any time soon, have a look at an electric model. If that is not an option for you, there are also hybrid cars. If you must buy a petrol-engined vehicle, get a small one, with a low emissions rating. 

If you can, start sharing rides wherever you go. If you can give somebody a lift in your car that may have otherwise driven to the same place as you, you will be helping to reduce the number of cars on the roads. 

If you can walk somewhere, try and get into the habit of doing so. It may not be as convenient as taking the car. However, it is better for your health and the health of the planet. 

If your employer offers a cycle to work scheme, take them up on it. Using bikes to get around is an excellent way of reducing your own carbon footprint. They may be able to help with the costs involved in buying the bike in the first place. 

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How Your Freelance Business Could Gain Customers This Year

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Being a freelancer in the modern world can be a very rewarding career path. Of course, it requires a lot of dedication and perseverance. When you become a freelancer, you have to appreciate the fact that you’re not just starting a new career; you’re starting a new business. So, if you want to be successful in this highly competitive marketplace, you need some entrepreneurial skills as well as some skills in your particular professional field. If you’re going to sell marketing copy to companies, for instance, then you’ll need to be knowledgeable with regards to the latest marketing practices in the business world and you’ll need to be a skilled wordsmith. However, if you don’t know how to push your own company out there, you’ll struggle to build up a substantial client base. So, let’s talk about how your freelance business could gain customers this year.

Create a trustworthy brand.

Firstly, if you want to gain customers this year, you should create a trustworthy brand for your business. People don’t care whether they buy their products and services from a solo entrepreneur or a huge corporation with a large workforce. Consumers just want high-quality goods from reputable brands. So, if you want to turn heads in your particular target market, you need to prove that your company is reliable. For starters, you should aim to gain good reviews from your existing customers. This will boost your reputation in the industry.

But you can go further than good reviews. You should focus on your business’ security. In today’s digital world, plenty of companies have been hacked. When customers see that their data has been leaked, they struggle to trust that business in the future. Consumers want to know that their details are safe when they purchase something from a company. Take steps to keep your data safe. Update your firewalls frequently, get help from IT experts to test your system for weak spots, and so on. In turn, you’ll create a trustworthy brand for your business.

Work on your online campaign.

You should also work on your online campaign if you want to gain customers. Everybody searches for the goods they want on the internet in the modern age. Obviously, most modern freelancers are based online because it’s much easier for solo entrepreneurs to operate that way. Still, the point is that you should focus on digital marketing if you want to reach the largest number of potential customers in your industry. You could get help from an SEO company if you’re struggling to increase your website’s ranking on search engines. Showing up at the top of the first search result page is your goal. That’ll increase the likelihood of you reaching potential clients. After all, people don’t often go beyond the first page of results.

Start a referral scheme.This is another way in which your business could gain customers this year. You might want to start a referral scheme so as to encourage your existing clients to bring in new clients. If customers see that they’ll receive rewards such as discounted prices or even free gifts, they’ll feel more inclined to spread the word about your company to their friends and family. For every person that they successfully refer to your business, you could give them rewards. There should also be a reward for the person who’s been referred to you. That way, it’s a fantastic opportunity for both of them. And, obviously, it’ll benefit your freelance company in the long run because your customer base will grow. You should keep offering rewards to your existing customers to maintain loyal relationships with them, of course.

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