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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

How To Secure Faster Invoice Payments When Self-Employed

A big struggle of being self-employed is maintaining a good cash flow. You do a lot of work for clients, but it could be weeks or months before the money comes in. You send out an invoice and it gets lost in the swill of emails they receive every day. Time passes and you desperately need the money to survive. 

Finding ways to secure faster invoice payments is crucial – and you’re about to learn how. Keep on reading to discover some of the best ways to do this. 

Offer multiple payment methods

One common mistake is sending an invoice with only one payment method attached. Typically, you’ll leave your bank details and expect the client to send a bank transfer over. This is quite an arduous task and it’s an easy thing for them to set aside and forget about. 

Instead, you should be looking for credit card merchants services to set up multiple payment methods. When an invoice is sent out, instead of only getting one option, they can click a button and pay instantly via credit or debit cards. You’re making the payment process more fluid and easier for the client, which can encourage faster payments every time. 

Ask for money before the work

Self-employed individuals have gotten into the habit of requesting payment after completing work. It makes sense, but think about how other businesses operate. If you pay a business for a service, you tend to pay upfront and then receive the service. Why should it be any different for a self-employed worker? 

Start asking for money upfront, so you’ve got the cash in your bank before the job begins. You’ll negate cash flow problems, making it easier to run your own little business. Or, you can ask for a percentage of the final fee as a deposit. It gives you some money, and when combined with the other tactics we’re talking about, should still enable faster payments. 

Invoice as soon as the job is done

If you can’t get money upfront for whatever reason, the next best option is to invoice as soon as the job is done. When you send off the final project to a client, attach your invoice in the same email. We moan about clients being late with payments all the time, but sometimes it’s not their fault. If you wait a few days/weeks to send an invoice, you can’t complain that it’s late. 

Get into the habit of making invoices in advance and then sending them the moment a job is over. You’re more likely to see instant payments like this as you’re fresh in the client’s mind and they don’t have any excuse to neglect the invoice. 

Try any or all of these tips and you’ll notice faster invoice payments from all of your clients. Also, while you’re creating invoices, make sure there are clear payment terms. Outline in the invoice when the money should be paid and what happens if it doesn’t get paid by that date. If clients see that you charge extra fees for late payments, they’ll definitely pay on time.

The Benefits Of Embracing Apps & Software In Each Day

If you want to be a more productive person each day, it’s wise to embrace technology and make your life so much easier. We live in a world that is surrounded by technology and it feels as though it’s going to take over at some point. While this is not the case, you may as well make the most of the technology we have at our disposal. It can help with the likes of simplifying work and getting things done so much quicker. Where are you are working on a project for yourself or you have things to do in your job, certain pieces of software can be life-savers. 

There are different programs coming out every year that can genuinely make life so much simpler for everyone. The same can be said about certain applications on smartphones and other devices. We should all look to embrace this kind of thing – here are a few specific reasons why:

Daily Tasks Are Streamlined 

Whether you are doing something serious for your job or you are doing something for recreational purposes, certain apps and other programs can align everything perfectly. Planning things out on your own is absolutely fine, but it might take a little longer and a few things could be a little tedious along the way. Certain apps will be able to plan everything out for you in a matter of moments and make life so much simpler as you do your tasks.

You’ll Have More Access To Information And Knowledge

The Internet and a multitude of online programs are caked in pieces of information that you will thoroughly use. From something as simple as Wikipedia to an amazing program like AI Achievers, you will be able to ask a question and get the perfect answer in response. You won’t have to worry about technology doing things for you, and lowering your brain power – it’s just a niftier way to get things done and to gather more knowledge.

Connecting And Networking Becomes Even Easier 

We live in a world where we are able to contact one another very quickly. Whether you want to get in touch with a work colleague or you want to speak to a friend, there are so many different ways we can do it. The more apps you have, I’m always you’ll be able to take part in networking and you’ll be able to progress a lot quicker. Having lots of different methods of communication also makes you look a lot more professional when you were trying to achieve things.

Health And Well-Being Are Promoted 

There are lots of different apps around in this day and age. This means that if you are looking for an app or a piece of software that can help you with your health, you will be able to find something that is perfect for you. Again, it will make everything so much simpler and break things down in ways that perhaps you never knew before.

Entertainment And Enjoyment Increases

While we have lots of responsibilities to take care of, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy life from time to time. If you have plenty of different entertainment choices due to the app you are using, it makes the days go by a lot nicer. There are so many different things we can use in order to pass the time and keep us happy.

How To Get Your Kids Moving On School Mornings

Do you find it a struggle to get the kids up first thing in the morning? Millions of parents around the world do! Some days are easier than others, but most of the time it’s difficult to motivate the kids to get up, wash, get dressed, and then eat a hearty breakfast before heading out to school. And if you’re in need of a hand to get the kids moving during those early hours, here are some tips that could help. 

Let Them Regulate Their Own Wake Up Time

This might sound like a very bad idea, but if you want your kids to get better at being up for school, you have to let them get on with it! So give them an alarm clock, walk them through setting it for the right time, and then see what happens next. 

Most kids will get up when it goes off and will even enjoy feeling like a grown up in the scenario. However, if they’re late waking up it’s entirely on them, and that sense of responsibility will really bring the reality their way! 

Use Meditations to Help Them Face the Day

If your kids are cranky or hyper in the morning, it’s best to do something that’ll help center them. Include it as part of your morning routine to make sure your kids quickly get with the program; a meditation, or prayers to start the day, will both work here. 

Get the kids to stand up and shake off sleep, then close their eyes and breathe through a moment of mindfulness. It’ll help them focus on what they need to do today, and make it much easier to get the rest of their morning routine done! 

Keep Their School Equipment in the Same Place

The morning routine might be daunting for your kids simply because it’s so tricky. They have to go all over the house collecting their school uniform and to pack their bags – no one wants to have to do that much work first thing! 

To make this much easier on them, institute a rule: the bag gets packed the night before and is left in the same place to be picked up before going out the door. The dining table or at the bottom of the stairs are the two most popular areas for this. 

Give Them Something to Use Up Their Energy

Adults lose a lot of morning energy as we get older. However, kids have it in spades! So put on a song that they like, or give them an activity book to go through while they’re eating their breakfast; both are great things for keeping their mind on the task at hand without being too disruptive. And if you’ve got a hyperactive morning child on your hands, the TV can be the worst thing for motivating them to get moving before school. 

School mornings can be slow – we all know that! But they don’t have to stay that way!

Striking the Right Notes: the Importance of Music When Working

For many people working at home, the ability to personalize a working environment can make a big difference in overall productivity. But other people struggle to find the right tools to help them. Music is something that can be very helpful and enjoyable. It can influence so many aspects of our being, from motivation to productivity, and can help us cope with boredom, stress, or fatigue. So, what are the ways that music can affect our work?

Influencing Mood

Playing music that can make us feel happy or sad can help us have new perspectives on our work. This is particularly important when it comes to something like creativity. While many people wonder is it legal to play music in a business, the reality of the situation thoroughly depends on the business itself. Lots of organizations could benefit from playing music to their employees to influence their mood, but it’s important to choose the right time of day. Lots of people listen to music in the gym to keep them motivated and optimistic, but you’ve got to consider what type of music is going to benefit certain departments. As a general rule of thumb, upbeat music is going to be the crowd-pleaser, but there’s always going to be one or two that are completely snobbish when it comes to music. Therefore, those people may benefit from either you providing headphones or them bringing their own.

To Help with the Monotonous Tasks

The difficult part of doing any job is when there are incredibly repetitive and boring tasks at hand. Data entry tasks are commonly considered boring, and it’s not uncommon to see data entry clerks listening to music or at least having the radio on in the office, but it’s something that can energize us all. If you are looking for a way to stay focused and motivated, playing upbeat music or songs that everybody knows well could make a big difference and can even speed up your ability to work.

Offering Different Types of Music to Please People’s Tastes

The reality is there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the best music, and we should think about choosing the music that suits our personalities but also find the right tunes that suit the task as well as our individual mood. Music is critical because it can enhance our work experience by making it far more enjoyable but also more meaningful. Music is a very entertaining and inspiring component of many people’s lives, but for others, it merely serves to irritate, especially in an office setting, so whether you’re running a business like a restaurant and you’re looking to improve the ambiance or you are trying to find ways to motivate yourself or employees it is essential to consider music as an integral component. There have been studies that show how classical music can help children with studying, and music is such an important part of our lives that we cannot neglect its power and importance, especially when it comes to improving the feel of an environment, stimulating motivation, productivity, and, of course, happiness.

Simplify Finances at Your Small Business

When it comes to running a small business, it helps you simplify finances to make your life a little easier, ensure you don’t get into debt, and stay on top of those all-important taxes.

Automate Outgoing Payments

It can be a trying time to pay out all your bills manually when you have tons to do. This is easy enough for personal money. But when it comes to business, there are many things you need to do. But you can automate specific payments according to your desired pay period. What is a pay period? Well, it is the time you set when your staff is paid, such as the 1st of every month. But you can also automate your pay period for outgoings such as taxes and business costs.

Keep Transaction Records

It is hard to work with disorganized data. And like any data, your transactions must be well-kept so you can find what you need on request. This will also allow you to see where you are losing money and where it is coming in. Down the line, this is essential for making decisions that have an effect on your business finances. If you are stuck for money and need to keep outgoings low, you can use Google Sheets for keeping spreadsheets on your business and finance data.

Simplify Finances with Transaction Apps

Using apps like Google Sheets is a great way to keep track of things. But spreadsheet software is limited when it comes to managing finances. Specialized apps such as Quickbooks are much better. And Quickbooks doesn’t cost much. It can record income and outgoings, and you can even link it to your bank account. This can help you see where money is going and where it comes from. But it also works out how much tax you need to pay based on your details.

Separate Business and Personal Accounts

It can be easy to use your personal account when starting a business. But very quickly, you will see it isn’t convenient when working with large volumes of transactions. So you need a business account as soon as possible. This makes it easier to track what relates to business and what relates to personal expenses. You will also know exactly how much money is available to your business so you can deduct your personal wages, and your personal assets will be protected.

Learn About Tax Deductions

We all pay taxes. And you can get into a lot of trouble if you don’t. However, that doesn’t mean the tax man is there to take everything you have. And anything you use solely for your business can be deducted from your tax bill. This includes software, computers, and even electricity if you work from home. But as a business, you can also deduct things like uniform costs (including cleaning costs), gas expenses for company vehicles, and common office supplies like paper.


It helps to simplify finances when running your own business. It’s easier to do this these days with automated payments, transaction apps and software, and separate bank accounts.

Things to Consider When Scaling Your Business

When you own, or run a business, there are many considerations to take into account to keep it successful, and relevant. One of the things you need to constantly evaluate is how to scale your business. Here are several important things to consider when it comes to scaling a business.

Investing in your employees

When it comes to building anything from the bottom up, you want to ensure that you have a strong set of foundations. When it comes to scaling a business, your employees form a large percentage of these foundations. A large number of employers will mistakenly not see their workforce as an overly important pillar of their business, but instead see them as a means to an end, and just as a way to get from A to B. The businesses that run with this mindset will often become unstuck rather fast due to employee satisfaction, lack of skills, poor engagement, and low morale. To make sure that this does not happen to you, you should carefully consider each employee that you plan to take on as a part of your team. Ensure that they are provided with the relevant training, tools, equipment, and support so as to complete their role to the highest standard, and take on their feedback whether it is good or bad. The money that you invest into your workforce is an investment and will help you scale your business due to a reduction in staff turnover, along with higher engagement levels, and of course a higher quality in work output.

Outsourcing work 

If you are looking for ways in which to scale your business, then often you will need to make use of tactical delegation, and outsourcing within your company. The way that this will help you scale your business is that although you will inevitably be spending money on hiring others to complete a variety of tasks for you, you will be freeing up a lot of extra time, and effort, not just for yourself, but for your business as well. For example, rather than doing things such as creating all your employee ID cards in-house, you could get ID cards online printed out by a third party. As you can see, this not only saves you time and effort, but you will not have to purchase or maintain any extra equipment. In addition, the results of outsourcing various tasks to third parties will likely be of a higher quality than what you could have produced yourself, as these companies are professionals within their industry, and want to provide others with a quality service. Rather than looking at outsourcing as an outgoing, or a drain on your business’s expenses, look at it as an investment or a tool to help your business grow.

In-depth competitor analysis

Scaling a business often focuses primarily on improving the way you run your company, and either producing more, or better products or services for your clients, while simultaneously attempting to attract new ones. However, another way in which you can help yourself scale a business is by doing competitor analysis. By doing this it will help your business stay relevant, and competitive, not to mention you will be able to observe and respond to any weaknesses in your competitor’s business plan that you see. For example, if you both sell the same product, but they have opted for a cheaper, low-end, and slower delivery service, it might be that you decide to look into focusing on your delivery timescales. This would increase customer satisfaction, and as a result, make you a more favorable choice to purchase goods from. At times there may be opportunities that arise while analyzing your competitors that would have otherwise been missed. These opportunities may be the crucial pieces of information that help your business grow.

Think about the customer experience

One of the most, if not the most important factor for any business looking to grow, is their customers. After all, your customers are who pay your bills, support your business, and grow your business’s success. Without customers, every successful business would be non-existent. So, make sure that when you are making alterations to your business plan, discussing new ways of doing things, and bringing out new products or services, you think about your customer experience and their journey with you. You can gather information from your customers in a variety of ways such as analyzing old data, and sales figures, sending out feedback questionnaires, connecting with your customers through social media platforms, or even through the complaints that you have received. Regardless of how you do it, make sure to think about your customer experience, because if you consistently look to improve it for them, they will notice, and it could have a huge impact on the speed at which you can scale your business.

Don’t compromise the quality of your product or service for higher profits

When you are looking to scale your business, it can be tempting to cut corners to create the illusion of larger profit margins, which then allow for larger investments into the business. However, if you are looking to continually scale your business you should make sure that you do not follow through with this option. The people who buy your products or services from you are not going to be naive enough to simply feed into a reduction of quality, and in the end, all that this will achieve is a shrinking of your customer base and a host of bad reviews. This is of course the last thing that any business wants. Instead of lowering the quality to boost your profits, why not think about what you can do to enhance or add to your product or service for a premium? This way your customers will see you have not compromised the quality, but are instead offering them an alternative with added benefits if they are that way inclined. This will over time help you to scale your business, rather than destroy it.

Sometimes making improvements is hard, and you may need to embrace change to grow your business. So, why not consider implementing a selection of these ideas into your business?