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The Guide to Teleworking

Anna Ross

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The Guide to Teleworking
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For the past two-ish years, I’ve been working online. This isn’t new to me, honestly. It’s actually a fairly normal thing for me. Unlike most people, I’ve spent the vast majority of my years working as a freelancer from home—and it honestly suits me.

That being said, teleworking isn’t something many office workers can get used to. Before you start working from home, you’re going to need to know what to expect, what you’ll need, and what will serve you best in this new lifestyle. As a long-time teleworker, here’s what I have to say on the subject.

Before You Begin…

I’ll be honest. Teleworking isn’t for everyone, especially if you are going to work from a home office. If you any of these following things ring true, don’t try it!

You can’t stand being alone for long periods of time. Most people who try teleworking get depressed because they don’t actually get much social interaction. We’re social creatures by nature. If you can’t handle isolation in long periods of time, consider getting a WeWork space or similar.

You’re not disciplined. Working from home makes it oh, so tempting to just roll over in bed and sleep some more. However, you can’t do this. You need to be able to pull yourself out of bed knowing that you have a full work schedule you need to take care of.

The area you live in is noisy. Trust me when I say that people will judge you if they hear too much chaos in the background. You need a designated quiet zone!

You think working from home is going to be a cakewalk. You will be in for a rude awakening.

What You’ll Need

Generally speaking, most teleworking positions will require you to have the following things:

  1. A functional laptop
  2. High-speed internet
  3. A cell phone
  4. A webcam and headset
  5. Job-related software

As long as you have these things, you should be able to perform most of the tasks at hand, meet with clients, and accept jobs.

Should You Get A Cowork Space?

If you’re worried that the environment of your home is too loud (or too lonely), a coworking space can make things easier on you. That being said, they can be pricey and commuting to them can be a hassle. It’s up to you to decide what to do.

Setting Up Your Space

Your workspace should be a place that you want to work in—and also be a place that’s distraction-free. Putting together a workspace is a lot easier said than done. Here are my tips for newbies:

  1. Keep a separate room for it, and make it a quiet one. Your room should be away from noisy kids or roommates. If you like to listen to some background music while you work, get an Amazon Alexa to stream music while you work.
  2. Do add a little bit of decor. Decorations can make a bigger impact than you think. Along with adding a little brightness to your workspace, having the right decor can help cement your brand when you’re doing Zoom calls with clients.
  3. Keep your area clean. Nothing adds distraction and stress like a cluttered work area!
  4. Make sure you have enough outlets for your equipment. This is a no-brainer, but definitely deserves to be said. Having a meeting cut short due to an outage is terrible.
  5. Choose a comfortable chair. It’s your zone. You might as well make it a place you’d want to be.

Tips For Your Day-to-Day Life

The hardest parts of teleworking are dealing with the loneliness and the temptations to slack off. I’m not going to lie, it’s brutal. Most people who telework eventually choose to go back to a “regular job” after a period of teleworking because of it.

If you want to be a veteran and keep yourself sane, here’s what I suggest you do…

  1. Make a point of exercising daily. Hitting the gym or attending a class is a good way to stay in shape and avoid pangs of loneliness. You would be shocked at how easy it is to let yourself go when you’re working from home.
  2. Have set timers on when you’re working and when you aren’t. You need to be able to unplug once in a while. Otherwise, you’re going to feel overburdened by work and tied to your house.
  3. Make a point of having people you visit and meet up with you. The loneliness can mess with you, so having a support network in place is crucial to your wellbeing. Attending networking events, going to nightclubs, and even just having a coworking group can help.
  4. Remember that you still have to report to someone. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like your work is always going to be there. You can still get fired from a job, even if it’s remote.
  5. Plan out meals. One of the perks of working from home is that you can do a lot more to better your health, including improving your diet. Planning out meals can become a highlight of your day, not to mention a great way to improve your overall health.
  6. Stay organized. I’m not the most organized person in the world, but I do know what needs to be done and when. If you can’t work with that minimum, this won’t be a good work style for you.

The Overall Conclusion

If you are considering working from home, remember that it’s not going to be like any other job. It’s a lot more malleable, but it’s also a lot more difficult. If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re ready for teleworking, start with setting up of your space, and adjust your daily routine on a gradual basis.

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10 Tips For Teleworking With Zoom

Anna Ross

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Teleworking with Zoom
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If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 crisis has sparked, it’s an interest in learning about video calling apps like Skype and Zoom. Most of us have used Skype, gotten disappointed by it, and moved on from it. Zoom is the new “hot program” on the marketplace today—and it’s basically like a more flexible version of Skype that also allows recording.  

Zoom has become a must-have when it comes to teleworking, and these days, everyone teleworks. New to teleworking, or just want to get better with Zoom? Here are some good tips to use (see our video and a full transcript below):

Concessionist on YouTube – 10 Tips for Teleworking with Zoom
  1. If you have an important meeting, hit “Record” to avoid missing a single note. It’s a lot easier than actually have to write things down. If your client decides to claim they don’t recall you saying something, you can then forward them the meeting video via Dropbox. Recording the meeting may help reduce some liability, but just make sure that your participants know that you’re recording the meeting before you do it.
  2. Get a better background by turning on the Virtual Background feature. Worried about people noticing your awkward home decor? Zoom has a virtual background feature that allows you to chat it up while using a white background…or the background of your choosing. Between the recording feature and the background, it’s easy to see how Zoom can be used to create awesome video chats for YouTube.
  3. Encourage the use of private chat if you’re in a meeting with a lot of people. A lot of meetings get very chaotic with everyone talking to each other. If you want to cut down on noise and also give people a way to discreetly ask questions, the private messaging function is a must. Just make sure your fellow meeting goers remember to choose the person the message goes to before they hit “SEND!”
  4. Use the in-meeting chat to send links, files, and other goodies relevant to your business. Rather than emailing everyone the goods ahead of time, dropping them in the chat while you speak can be an easier way to make sure that all the items you’re discussing can be easily accessed. If you want to double up on the sending, make a point of sending your digital goods to everyone’s email after the meeting. 
  5. Lock private conversations. Have a nosy coworker you’re worried about “dropping in?” Want an extra layer of security to your meetings? When hosting a meeting, add a password lock to ensure that people who don’t belong on your meetup don’t show up.

    Locking your rooms with a password is also a smart move if you don’t want to have a Zoom brigade happen. Zoom brigades occur when trolls crash a private meeting, flooding the room with lewd images or screaming obscenities into the microphone. Though rare, they do happen and password-protecting your room.
  6. Be aware of your camera and microphone. We’ve all heard of people who have been on online meetings, typed up stuff, and forced everyone to hear the clackity-clack of keyboards. Not cool! Worse are the stories of people who had online meetings nude, with the camera on. You can prevent this from being you by keeping an eye on your mute and video buttons. 
  7. Mute other meeting members to eliminate problematic noise. Having a hard time getting people to be quiet while you speak? Mute them all at once, and you’ll be able to make your meeting a lot smoother. 
  8. Use Zoom’s settings to make you look better. Zoom has a neat feature tucked away in its settings. It’s called “Touch Up My Appearance,” and it does exactly what it suggests. Workers who have a fondness for FaceTune will love this feature.

    This feature might seem superfluous to many, but think of it this way. When you’re at a meeting in-person, you want to look your best, don’t you? This is one way to fix yourself up on a virtual level. It makes sense to take advantage of it 
  9. If you are looking to gain a better grip on who’s paying attention, ask the audience to use the hand raise function in unison. It’s unbelievably easy to zone out in a meeting or to just leave the meeting on to make it look like you’re paying attention when you’re not. If this is an issue, the handraise function works well as a way to sniff people out. Those who don’t raise their hands aren’t actually there or just zoned out. 
  10. Keep numbers low if you’re noticing lag on your meetings. A lot of areas in the United States don’t have fast internet. In some cases, large meetings can increase the amount of lag that Zoom users experience. To prevent this from mucking up a meeting, keep the maximum amount of users in a single meeting to 15 or so unless it’s absolutely necessary. It helps!

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How to Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Venture

Anna Ross

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Turn your hobby into a profitable venture
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I remember back when I used to be a model. I wasn’t making much, but it was a status that always elicited a response out of people. The reaction I got from most guys was pretty obvious, but with girls, it was a little intriguing. 

With some girls, the reaction I’d get was one that was palpable. Sometimes, it would be raw jealousy and venom. Sometimes, it was more congratulatory. Most of the time, though, it was a click of the tongue and a “must be nice.” I never quite understood that slight envy I often saw. 

In reality, all I did was turn my hobby into money. Anyone can do that. We live in a world where we can turn hobbies into profit—modeling included. If you’ve been yearning to get extra cash, the skills from your hobbies can prove to be the best ally you have. Here’s how you can make money off your true interests, step by step.

Step 1: Learn your hobby inside and out. 

Before you can make a single dime off any hobby, you need to know the hobby well. You need to know what makes a person good at the hobby, top products in your hobby, what kind of attitudes people in the hobby tend to have, and how to be great at it. 

Without having a seriously solid foundation regarding your hobby, you won’t be able to make money off it. So, take at least six months to study your hobby thoroughly before you even try to make any money off it. Obviously, the more experience you have in this hobby, the better.

Step 2: Figure out how to profit off it. 

Everything can be profitable if you have a good target audience and something that can make them happy. Most hobbies will let you profit in one of five ways:

  • Affiliate Marketing. Do you know the best succulent planters on the market? Putting together a website that is devoted to helping people get the best goods for their hobby time is a smart idea.
  • Advice. If you know enough about a difficult hobby to be considered a master at it, this could be a good option. It works well with affiliate marketing, too!
  • Entertaining Reactions. We’ve all seen YouTubers and Twitch streamers make millions by just reacting to the craziness of online games. If you’re known fo having funny reactions and commentaries, this could be a viable venue for you. However, you will have to work hard to get your name out there and grow your fanbase.
  • Events. If you have a lot of friends in the hobby, throwing events is a smart way to make extra cash. 
  • Making Goods and Services. This is a popular choice with people who enjoy hobbies like candlemaking, soapmaking, woodworking, or DIY crafts. However, if your hobby involves something like coding, it can be a viable option too. 

Step 3: Figure out the supplies you’ll need. 

Every hobby-turned-career should start off as a side gig. When you’re first starting a side gig, it’s important to have the right supplies you’ll need in order to get started. Since you’re literally at the bare beginnings, you will not have to go for the fanciest tools. 

Your job is to figure out what you will need at a bare minimum in order to start your business. Having a free site, tools to do your hobby, and social media accounts are all you really need in order to kick off your own business in most cases.

You will have to take the thing you’re selling into account.  In some situations, like modeling, you won’t need a free site or eBay/Amazon/online store to get started. On the other hand, if you are thinking of selling candles you made, you might need an online store. If you want to be an affiliate marketer in your hobby, a blog would be best.

A lot of people want to add a large budget for advertising. If you can afford it, do so. However, it’s not necessary. When you’re first starting off, word of mouth and social media will do more for you than anything else. 

Step 4: Create content to advertise and sell your hobby-related services. 

Once you have the store and social media set ups you need, you will have to start selling your wares. Here are some good pointers to remember when you’re finally getting to the point where you’re ready to set out on your own:

  • Tell everyone you know about your hobby, your skill, and your products. People won’t know about your skills if you don’t advertise it—at least by word of mouth. You’d be surprised at who will want to step up and ask for advice. 
  • Good content will put you at an advantage against others. If you have a website, writing good articles and practicing SEO can help people get to your site whenever they search for things related to your hobby. If you’re doing item sales, YouTube videos, and other similar work, getting good photos and videos is a must. 
  • Remember that it’s still a business, even if it feels like pleasure. Evey if it is your hobby, you still have to treat it like a business. You need to avoid giving away freebies. You need to advertise. You need to grow your community. You need to remember that you’re going to have to work on less-than-awesome stuff to do the awesome stuff you enjoy.
  • Network, network, network. In most hobby scenes, you never know who knows who. Treat people accordingly and you maximize your chances at success.
  •  Remember that these things take time to build. Most people who tried their hand at making a living in their hobby make a little social media account, post occasionally for about a month, and then give up when no one reacts to their stuff. This is not a good way to go about things. This is not a race. Turning a profit is a marathon, and the longer you work at it, the better off you’ll be. 

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What Is Passive Income? And How Do You Earn It?

Ossiana Tepfenhart

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What Is Passive Income? And How Do You Earn It?
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If you’ve ever worked a regular job, you already know a truth that probably isn’t very comfortable to admit: a simple salary is almost never enough to make you truly wealthy. For a while, people generally assumed that getting rich meant you would need to get a second or even third job. That’s just not true. To get rich, you need passive income. 

What Is Passive Income?

There are two types of income: active and passive. Active income is the money you earn when you work for it, like an hourly wage. Passive income is income that you don’t actually need to work to earn, such as earning money on the stock market.

Why Do You Need Passive Income?

If you want to get rich, or just want to have a safety net of your own, you need a passive income. We can’t be working all the time. Things sometimes happen that require us to take a break from our work. If we have a break time or get fired from our regular J-O-B, we have to have something to fall back on. 

In times like these, you cannot rely on social welfare programs to keep yourself and your family afloat. Passive income can be a safety net that can make a major difference when stimulus checks and unemployment run out. 

Can You Live Off Passive Income Alone?

Absolutely, and most of the wealthiest people do so. There’s nothing that tells you that you need to have a job to survive. In fact, if you work very hard at creating lots of passive income, it’s possible to have your passive income exceed anything that you would be able to earn at a typical job. 

How Do You Earn Passive Income?

There are many, many ways to earn passive income available to you, but the bottom line is that you have to either have work that keeps working after your done or to have your money do the work for you. These are some of the most popular ways to get passive income started:

  • Invest. If you invest money in the stock market, have a 401(k), or have a Roth IRA, you already have a source of passive income. Stocks make you income by making your money work for you. When you buy a stock and the value of the stock increases, you can earn dividends or just build equity. 
  • Sell Media On Major Platforms. Once you record a song or write a book, that’s it. You’re done working. Every time someone buys your work, you get money—even though you might not have actively had to sell it to them. 
  • Be A Content Creator. Content creation, like what you see on YouTube or via online games, can be a great way to earn passive income. Much like with direct media sales, what you need to work on here is making the content and having a brand people love to watch. 
  • Dropshipping Sites. This is kind of a passive income, but not really. You do have to put in work in order to get your site ready to accept orders and gain enough attention for it. However, after a certain amount of work, the site will become less demanding and more entertaining to run…and you’ll make a ton of cash.
  • Affiliate Marketing. I like to consider affiliate marketing the sister of dropshipping. This type of market involves encouraging people to buy products off sites like Amazon. You earn money every time a referral you make is used to make a purchase. Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative, but now that many programs are starting to trim affiliate benefits, it’s not what it once was.
  • Landlording. Renting a room to a person in need, whether it’s via an app like AirBnB or via a more traditional method, is considered to be a way to gain passive income. You still will have to do maintenance and put up ads to get those renters, though!

Wait! Some Of These Passive Income Methods Still Include Work!

That’s true—and to a point, that’s why it’s a misnomer. This is why I feel kind of dodgy calling it passive income at times. The thing is, nothing in this world involves “free money.” Someone has got to work for it, and that has to be either you or the people whose company you invest in. 

All forms of passive income will have a certain amount of risk associated with them. If you leave others to do all that work for you, you can’t really control what they do, how they do it, nor can you always control the results you get. 

The reason why it’s better to put work into your own ventures is because you will be able to get more control over the risks and know for certain that something is being done to further your income. Personally, I find that to be great reassurance. 

Is Passive Income Instant?

Here’s why a lot of people get annoyed with passive income. It takes time and effort to accumulate. If you were hoping to get an overnight income, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It can take weeks, months, or even years before your passive income can support you. 
There’s never going to be a legit “get rich quick” scheme you can rely on. That’s why you need to start working on your passive income before you actually need it. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck in the same place as you are now, later on in life…and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.

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