Read my UK family lifestyle, making money online & healthy living blog here:

 RSS Feed

Category: Business: Work from Home, Freelancing, Self-Employment, Home Business, Marketing, Etc

  1. Reasons why people love to support micro businesses on Etsy

    Posted on

    How my business started on Etsy

    I have a lot to thank Etsy for as it’s where my Lylia Rose business first began.  Without Etsy who knows, perhaps I would never be working for myself today.  My business may never have begun and grown into a full time career.  Of course I never blogged on Etsy which is what my main business is today, but originally I started selling handmade cards there.  This was back in 2012 after I’d had my first baby.  I was bored on maternity being stuck at home by myself and needed a hobby.  I never had a hobby back then and so decided to try and make some handmade cards.  It kept me occupied, but I had nowhere to store all these cards or be able to use them all as there were so many!

    I’d heard good things about Etsy from a work colleague that was into homemade and unique items.  I checked out the platform based on her recommendation and it seemed the perfect place to sell my cards.  At first I just told a few family members about my shop and some even ordered from me!  There was nothing quite like the buzz of hearing my phone ding with a sale, even if it was only family and friends at first!

    It didn’t take long to receive orders from random shoppers on Etsy and this was even more thrilling.  I was hooked!  I absolutely loved selling my items on Etsy even if at first it was only to cover the cost of the materials – a hobby business if you will.  After making cards galore I wanted to try my hand at something else, so started making jewellery.  I stocked up on beads, chains and charms and made an assortment of bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces.

    Whilst baby was napping or happily playing I would crack on with my Etsy shop venture by making items to sell, taking photographs and listing them on Etsy.  It gave me something to do that was for me and so I didn’t just feel like a mum.  I had a hobby to focus on.

    Little did I know I’d go on to turn it into a profitable business, set up my own website, start blogging and eventually make a full time income from it!

    Related
    The story of how Lylia Rose began
    How I Became a Lifestyle Blogger

    Reasons why people love to support micro businesses on Etsy

    Image

    A buying and selling community

    I have to say I was surprised when I got sales on Etsy.  It’s such a huge platform that I assumed I’d just blend into the masses and not attract any buyers at all, or that they’d even find me.  It was amazing to be able to generate sales on the platform as well as get my name out there.  Though I don’t have any listings in my store today, I am keeping the shop in case I ever decide to return.  That’s one beauty of Etsy as you only pay a listing fee and selling fee.  There are no other costs involved such as a monthly contract.

    I loved the community feel of Etsy.  I have also been a buyer on Etsy for over six years and most of the businesses I buy from are so friendly and personal.  The only marketplace platform I had previously purchased from was eBay where most of the sellers never contact a buyer or send a cut’n’paste message.  On Etsy it is different.  Most of the times I’ve ordered I have been sent a personalised message from the seller to update me on the order and thank me.  They are not big corporations and their small individual or micro businesses are their livelihood.  They care about their products and their customers.  Plus the items are handmade so they are very passionate about them.

    The reasons why people love to support micro businesses on Etsy

    A company called Seareach have recently published some interesting research into why people shop at Etsy by surveying over 1000 online shoppers.  There are some really interesting results which begin with only 30% having purchased anything from Etsy.  I find that quite amazing as I did think it would be higher.  Only 16% had not heard of Etsy at all, so perhaps the rest just hadn’t got round to buying anything yet!

    Here are their findings:

    Etsy-infographic

    As a buyer my main reason to shop there is for personalised items.  I especially love ordering a personalised baby card whenever there’s a new-born in our friends or family.  I know most people keep their baby’s birth cards so I like to try and get an extra special one if I can.  My cousin even kept the one I sent for her son and framed it on his nursery wall.  She was so impressed it was a papercut with his name and birth date!  With this in mind it doesn’t surprise me that the reason for 58% of people to shop there is for a unique and personalised item.  It really is the best place to find the perfect gift that’s not mass made and really is individual.

    Other reasons include:

    • Their selection of independent sellers – 40%
    • Selection of items for sale – 33%
    • Prefer to shop from independent sellers rather than chain stores – 10%
    • Niche items available – 2%

    It’s great to see that people love to shop with independent sellers and support micro businesses or even ‘kitchen table businesses’.  At first my business started on the dining room table or perched on my bed whilst kneeling on the floor.  Luckily I now have a proper office desk and chair!  I’d definitely much rather support an indie business over a commercial giant!  It seems that a lot of other online shoppers feel the same.

    As more and more people continue to set up their own businesses in this way I think the popularity of Etsy will skyrocket.  It was only once I started my own business that I then understood what it truly meant to support a similar business and thus started changing some of my shopping habits.  With internet shopping booming and people now able to buy goods online that they’d only previously get at a handmade fair, it makes it so much more convenient for shoppers to find these ‘made with love’ items.

     

    So if you’ve never visited Etsy then pop there now for a good look around whilst supporting the makers.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

    Related reads

    Halloween Costume and Decor Inspiration from Etsy
    Home Decor: Six of the best handmade items from Etsy

     

    Reasons why people love to support micro businesses on Etsy

    Collaboration

  2. 7 things to do when starting your own business

    Posted on

    Deciding to start your own business is an exciting and nerve wracking moment.  Perhaps you’ve a hobby that you can turn into a money making venture, you want to start monetising your blog or there’s a home business idea you’ve been dreaming of for years and you’re ready to make it a reality.  I’ve been self-employed and running my own small business called Lylia Rose from home since 2012. In this blog post I’ll share seven things to do at the beginning of your starting a business journey.

    There are lots of things to think about when setting up your own business for the first time.  I’m no stranger to this process as my husband has started his own business recently and I also set up my own second website.  The beginning process is one I am familiar with.  We would also like to set up another travel related website, but we are stuck on deciding a name!

    In no particular order here are the first seven things to think about, create or design when setting up your own business:

    7 things to do when starting your own business

    Image

    The name

    The first thing you need to do is decide on a business name.  This can either be the easiest process or the hardest!  Sometimes you know instantly what you want to call your business and if it’s not a taken name then away you go.  However, if every name you think of already exists as a business then it can become more of a challenge.  Mind map and brainstorm until you come up with a perfect name.  Don’t settle for anything you are not 100% sure of.   Also think about the longevity of the business name.  There are many bloggers who call their blogs something like Baby Isla’s Mummy only to go on to have lots more children and after a year Isla isn’t a baby anymore.  Try to think of a name that can represent your business as it evolves into the future.  Once you have the name sorted then you can design the perfect logo.  You’ll also want to check your proposed business name is available as a domain and on the social media accounts you plan to use.

    Business cards

    No doubt you’ll want to tell lots of people all about your new business venture and if interested they’ll want to know your new business name and website details.  Most people will forget what they’re told, so it’s handy to have some business cards in your wallet ready to give to those inquisitive people.  Then there’s no danger of them forgetting and you could instantly have a new fan, supporter or even customer.  Professional business cards are easy to make using an online printing company like HelloPrint UK where you can upload your own designs and logos.  Give some extra cards to your friends and family to pass on and news of your new venture will soon spread.

    Website

    In the modern age it’s so important to have an online presence.  Your customers will be searching online to find a company just like yours and if you’re not there, you can’t be found.  It’s a great place to showcase a portfolio, take bookings or even to sell products depending on your business model.  Setting up a website is easy than ever nowadays with plenty of free templates available even for those of us who have no idea about coding whatsoever.  For a monthly or annual fee you’ll be able to get a slightly better website with more functionality and customer service to guide you through the process.  You can even hire a web developer to design your website from scratch if preferred.

    Related read: How to CREATE your own website (who I use)

    Social media accounts

    As well as being found by your website, customers will want to see you have a social presence too on some or all of the social media websites available today.  If all of them is too overwhelming (and time consuming) then just pick around three that you can focus your time and energy on.  I use Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  All three have very different purposes, but they mean my customers and followers can see what I’m up to and contact me via these channels if preferred.  It can give your business a more personal feel and some insight into the person who runs the business and a peek behind the scenes.

    Domain email

    When you have your website set up you’ll want to set up a business email that’s linked to your domain.  This means your email address will be something like hello@yourbusinessname.com.  If you only have one domain you can set up a free account with Zoho who will talk you through setting up a custom domain email address.  I use them for both my Create and Wordpress websites and the process was pretty straightforward.  If you get stuck they have an online chat team who can assist.  Of course you could go for something like yourbusinessname@yahoo.com but I don’t think it looks as professional as your own domain email.  Seeing as you can set this up at no extra cost, it’s definitely worth doing.

    Branding

    Once you’ve got a name and logo then you’ll want to think about your branding.  This may start with the logo and the choice of colours you use.  Think of the colours you want to use for your brand and use them throughout your website, marketing materials, graphics, social media and email signatures.  Consistent branding will enable your business to be recognised and appear more professional.  This is the same with the fonts you decide to use.  Have a main text font and then choose an accent font.  Your brand voice is your businesses personality and this should also be consistent allowing consumers to trust you, recognise you and rely on you.

    Tax

    The scariest sounding thing of all, but believe me it’s not that bad.  You will need to register with HMRC as self-employed if you are starting a money making business.  No matter if you are only going to make 1p or even a loss in your first year, you still need to register.  If you already have an employed job, you still need to register.  You will need to declare all your business incomings and expenditure for tax purposes, even if you don’t meet the personal threshold and have nothing to pay.  It still needs to be declared.  There are so many helpful guides on the HMRC website that explain everything and this is a great starting point: https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself

    Starting your own business is so exciting.  Good luck!

     

    What to read next

    5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum
    Make money from your blog with Awin affiliate marketing
    10 careers you can do from home
    The 5 ways I made £30000 money from home in 2017/2018

     

     7 things to do when starting your own business

  3. Everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blogger

    Posted on

    I have been blogging full time for 14 months now, making money from blogs for over two years and in total I have been a blogger for over five years.  I work anywhere from 30 to 60 hours per week depending on my workload, and that workload can fluctuate considerably.  One minute my email inbox is empty and I’m on top of all my collaborative work.  I breathe a sigh of relief but I know it won’t last long.  Plus even when everything appears to be done, there is always something I can be doing whether that’s producing my own content, tweaking my website, chasing late invoices, removing dead links, balancing the books or repurposing and updating old content. 

    The next minute I check my email inbox and I have over thirty emails out of nowhere, payments received to log, enquiries about my services, ten blog posts to write with short deadlines and several PR queries.  All of a sudden there is so much to do and organise again and it can be overwhelming when working this way.  Often the blog posts can’t just be typed and job done, but photos need to be taken or sourced, topics researched, a professional blog post written and uploaded, keywords researched, SEO implemented, social media shares across all platforms created, scheduled and then marketed in various group boards and so on.  Often blogging as a job requires a great deal of multitasking and prioritising to stay on top of it all.  The best thing to do is to create an organised blogging working environment that helps you stay on top of your game, productive and professional at all times. 

    On top of blogging I have a household to run, husband to organise(!), two young children to chase after, eBay reselling, matched betting and various other side hustles taking my time and topping up my income each day.  I’m sure many other bloggers are in the same position and staying as organised as possible is key.

    Read also: How to deal with overwhelm as a work at home parent

    In no particular order here is almost everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blogger:

    Everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blog

    Image

    Fast internet connection

    A fast and dependable internet connection is a must.  When we moved into our home we chose a rather cheap internet provider and it was awful.  It often didn’t work and we even had no internet for a whole three week block!  It’s frustrating enough when you can’t have the internet for personal use, but when trying to run a business it’s essential it works.  Most of my blogging work is done online so I need the internet to work.  Needless to say we switched to a much more reliable provider with the fastest connection available in our area.  It makes all the difference when you run an online business and ensures work can always be completed on time.

    Reliable email provider

    Originally I had a Yahoo email address and emails to my @lyliarose.com were simply forwarded to Yahoo.  This was easy and great at first until there was a glitch and I realised I hadn’t been receiving all my emails for a couple of months.  Luckily this was before I went full time so I could sort it.  I now use Zoho so I have a proper @lyliarose.com email address which is integrated into my website.  It’s free for one domain and I highly recommend it.  I use two different blogging platforms, one with a company called Create and one with Wordpress.  I have emails with my domain name set up for both for a small fee.  If you only have one domain though, it’s free.  There are instructions on both Zoho and Wordpress with how to link the accounts.  It looks very professional to have a proper email address with your blog’s website name at the end.

    Decent laptop with long battery life

    There’s nothing more frustrating than a broken laptop or one that does not perform efficiently.  Believe me I know, I’ve been there!  I’ve probably had four laptops in five years!  I’d recommend finding one with a nice large screen, installing Office and making sure there’s lots of RAM so it works quickly and can handle multiple applications open at once.  I sometimes have 30 tabs open at once on my internet browser from different emails, to social media, image editing software, banking, research and so on.  Then I have 1-3 spreadsheets open and lots of Word documents with blogs in progress.  It’s worth spending a little more on a laptop with higher specs that can handle all this if it’s how you work too.  Before I had a lower spec laptop and it kept freezing up and going slow as it couldn’t handle how many things I needed open.  My new laptop works like a dream!  I also love a long battery life in case I want to work on the go whilst travelling or in a café or business lounge for the day.  Even at home it’s great to be able to move location with ease.

    A website that works

    I can’t offer much advice on going self-hosted with Wordpress or anything as I’ve never done it!  My main blog (this one) is with a company called  Create and it’s very basic.  It works fine for me though and I’m happy with the simplicity of the blog platform.  It does everything I need it to do.  Plus their customer service is outstanding. My other blogs are hosted by Wordpress.  I pay for one of their plans.  It is quite expensive, but for now I am happy with the fee.  I do see a lot of bloggers having issues with their hosts so do your research and make sure you are happy with them.  If not then change as there’s nothing worse than a website that is not speedy or doing what it should.  Make sure you think of the future when choosing a website and ensure it has all the functionality you need.

    Everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blogger

    Image

    Well equipped with stationery

    Though I do most of my blog related work on my iPhone and laptop, I still have some stationery that I couldn’t be without.  It’s important to have the right stationery and supplies to hand to help your working hours run smoothly.  I have a pot of pens and highlighters within reaching distance on my desk and an open notebook ready to scrawl down any ideas that pop into my head.  Sometimes it takes time to open the laptop or locate my iPhone if left in another room and I’m bursting to write down an idea before I forget it.  It’s also super easy to take a notebook and pen when travelling to jot down blog post titles or to make notes at blogging conferences.

    I have a calculator which is useful for organising my accounts or working out fees on the spot if I need to add them to an invoice.  I find an actual calculator easier to use if I’m working on the laptop, though you can use one online or on your mobile phone.

    Whilst much of this can be done electronically, you may prefer to have physical diaries and planners to make your life easier.  For some people it’s easier to see your blogging schedule up on the wall on a planner or in a week to view diary next to you on the desk.  Give both options a go and see which way you work best.  I always kept everything written down, but I now use my email inbox and a spreadsheet to keep myself organised.  That works best for me personally.

    Bookkeeping system

    When blogging for money, even if you only make a penny, you will need to register as self-employed with HMRC in the UK.  You’ll need to complete a tax return each year to declare your income and pay any taxes due.  Start documenting your incomings and outgoings from day one and research what you can class as an expense. 

    I use a spreadsheet to keep a note of everything and I also have a separate bank account and PayPal to keep it all in one place.  This makes referencing items much easier and will make any audits smoother.  I document every incoming or outgoing as it happens so my spreadsheet is up to date.  Others make this a weekly or even monthly task, but for a few minutes here and there each day I’d rather stay on top of my accounts as it all happens.  You’ll also need to keep hold of any receipts for several years to prove your outgoings in case you are ever audited.

    There is bookkeeping software available to make it all easier and I’ve seen bloggers mention Quickbooks several times.  You can also hire an accountant to do it all for you and they’ll even fill your tax return on your behalf.  It’s worth looking into if this part panics you.  I prefer to do it all myself on a spreadsheet which I cross reference with my bank accounts every week or so, but you don’t have to do it yourself or this way.  Find the way that works best for you.

    The government GOV website has so many useful guides on self-employment.  This is a great link to let you know how much you can legally claim towards your homes energy costs and so on: https://www.gov.uk/simpler-income-tax-simplified-expenses/working-from-home

    Set working hours

    My family and work life often overlap and it’s not the most efficient way of working.  It was a challenge working when my youngest was here all the time, but luckily he gets 30 childcare hours a week free as we’re both working parents.  I also pay extra for the kids to go in the holidays.  This means I now have the school day to dedicate to work.  The morning and after school hours are for house chores, cooking and getting the kids things ready for school or homework done.  Then I can work from 9am-3pm whilst they are at school and nursery.  I then work again in the evening for a couple of hours or so when they are in bed.  Having set working hours can enable you to focus on the tasks at hand and not be distracted by anything else, as you know there is a time slot for you to do that other thing later.  Without set working hours it can be a bit overwhelming as there’s so much to do it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Related: How to survive the half term when you work from home

    Desk or office space

    Having a dedicated working space makes me feel more productive.  I definitely work better and can concentrate more when sat upright at a desk, compared to slouching on the sofa trying to balance a laptop on my knees!  Setting up a healthy workspace with lots of natural light, a house plant and keeping it clean and tidy is great for boosting productivity.

    Read also: Decorate Your Home Office for Fresh Blogs and Inspiration

    An organised inbox

    I mostly use my email inbox to organise myself.  I keep work I need to do in the inbox and work through this first prioritising the oldest paid collaborations.  I then have lots of subfolders such as ‘In Progress’ which I use whilst negotiating with a brand or waiting for more details or payment.  Every now and then I will go through my In Progress folder to see if I need to chase anyone up or if I can move it to my Completed folder if I’ve had a response and completed the work.  Organising my inbox in such a way saves me having to write out a blog to do list as I can always see the highest priority work.  If an email in my inbox is paid work and I have all the details then I will flag it with a red flag so I can easily spot which emails and work to concentrate on first.

    Everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blogger

    Image

    Set realistic deadlines

    It’s best to set realistic deadlines for yourself and to tell clients.  There’s no point in telling every client you’ll have work complete by the end of the day if you are then sent five pieces of work and they take you five hours each.  It’s just not doable.  I work as efficiently and quickly as possible and give a 48 hour expectation to myself and clients.  If work starts building up then I will increase this as I feel necessary to a maximum of 7 days.  I haven’t yet had to go over this timescale as I will just work later in the evening if I get more work.  Work out how long it takes you to complete blog posts, whether you’ll have a dedicated time to spend on them without any distractions and then give yourself a little extra leeway just in case.  I find it best to under promise but over deliver.  So if you say five days but return the work in two, then they are always pleasantly surprised and grateful.  It also means if anything unexpected does pop up like an ill child or family emergency then you have covered yourself for this event.

    Make use of your phone’s notes

    I love my iPhone notes section!  I have lists of hashtags stored here that I can quickly copy and paste for Instagram posts, pre-written responses to emails so I can email on the go quickly and easily, lists of titles for blog post ideas and more.  It’s a great way to note something on the go and even to just ask Siri to create a note for you without even typing anything.  Plus you can email the notes to yourself if you need to add them to your ‘to-do inbox’.

    Learn to prioritise

    Learning to prioritise is really important.  I prioritise paid work and the shortest deadlines first.  These are the first things I tackle every day.  The rest can come later.  I also keep half an eye on my phone where I have email notifications set up so I can see a quick preview of emails as they pop up.  If any look very urgent then I can quickly see them and respond if needed without having to close the blog post I am working on.

    Use Canva

    Canva is an amazing tool for creating images for your blog and Pinterest in particular.  There is a free version and I now pay for the upgraded package.  This meant I could upload my blog font and save my business colours.  It makes creating graphics much quicker and easier as it’s all there for me.  Canva also save every image you create to their website so I have templates I can access straight away and edit in a few seconds to create a new blog image.  I mainly use it to create pins for Pinterest as they have the exact size I need.  There are templates for all sorts of  social media image sizes that are quick and easy to locate.

    Schedule with Social Oomph

    I use Social Oomph to schedule my Twitter posts and it saves me hours!  You can set up recurring tweets in all sorts of different ways which is great for evergreen blog posts.

    Read How I save hours every week scheduling tweets with Social Oomph to find out more.

    Use Tailwind to organise Pinterest

    I love to use Tailwind to organise my Pinterest schedule and ensure I have regular content going out as well as using their Tribes function to promote my posts to others and help promote theirs in return.

    Everything you need to stay organised productive as a professional blogger

    Image

    Keep a list of monthly outgoings

    If you have monthly payments for various blogging tools and even your blog itself, domain renewal and hosting, then keep a list in sight of your workspace with the dates of each payment.  This way there is no surprises.  Add it to your calendar and planner and even set up a reminder email nearer to the date.  I always keep a bank balance of a few hundred pounds in my blog bank account just in case I accidently forget a payment is due.  That way I’m covered and can make a note next month so I never forget again.

    Block out distractions

    This is a great piece of advice if you have a really important blog post to write and you need to concentrate.  Shut yourself in a room with no distractions to complete the important task.  Switch your phone to ‘do not disturb’ and leave it in another room.  Ignore the door if it goes.  You need to be in work mode.  Sit away from everything and anyone so you can only work.  If the deadline is looming then you need to do this.  You can catch up on all your notifications once the work is complete.

    Take a break

    It’s really important to stay healthy when working for yourself and at home.  I am guilty of working straight through and not taking a break as time often escapes me and I’m so busy.  It is important though to schedule a lunch break into your day for nourishment as well as a break from the computer.  Taking a break can help to reenergise your body and refresh a tired brain making you more focussed and productive as a result.

    I share some great tips in this blog post about how to stay healthy if you work from home

    Hire a VA

    When you get to the stage that everything is too much all the time, then you may want to consider hiring a virtual assistant.  I’ve started to reach this stage now and have just hired someone to do a couple of things for me a week to see how it goes.  I can already tell it’s going to be a big help and hopefully I will pass some more things to my assistant to enable me to concentrate on the blog itself and less of the admin or social media side which is time draining!

     

    Phew!  That’s a pretty extensive list with lots of my methods and some tools to help bloggers be more organised and productive each day.  I’m sure there are plenty more, but I will leave it there for now as the list is probably overwhelming itself!  Learning the methods and organisation skills that work for you will take time as well as some trial and error to get them perfect. 

    Best of luck with your blogging business!

     

    What to read next

    5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum
    Make money from your blog with Awin affiliate marketing
    10 careers you can do from home
    The 5 ways I made £30000 money from home in 2017/2018

     

    Everything you need to stay organised and productive as a professional blog

     

  4. Flourish In Your Career

    Posted on

    We're in the working world for the long run. There’s pretty much no way out. Even if you decide to start up your own business, you’llstill spending most of your time working. Even if you go part time, you’re still going to be there at some point. The only way to truly get out of the working world is to win the lottery, and there’s a fat chance that that’s going to happen.  Even if it did, would you honestly do nothing?  I know I'd still want to run my own businesses even if I was rich! Hopefully I'd have more flexibility though. So, if you’re stuck with this working lifestyle, how do you think you’re going to be able to make it better for yourself? Because, everyone spends so much time stressing about how much they hate work, but don’t do anything about it. That’s what I want to try and change, I've got a few ways that you can help your career flourish, and possibly take you down a new road altogether.  There's no point in continuously moaning about something and not doing anything about it.

    Flourish In Your Career

    Image

    Journey Back To Education

    The thought of education to some of you is going to sound like an absolute nightmare. School was either a place where you thrived, or a place where you cried. When you think about it, all the stress with exams and what not was really horrible. However, going back to education when you’re that little bit older just isn’t the same. It’s such a relaxed atmosphere, and for most of the courses that you can do, you don’t even need to leave your home. It’s not all about being stuck in a classroom wishing you were somewhere else. It’s about enjoying your time whilst learning, and doing it at your own pace. For example, you could do a online masters in psychology, and it could take you so many different places in the working world. Because we’re not just on about the psychology of the brain here, we’re on about the psychology of people, and how it links to the business world. Psychology plays a big part in how companies manage their marketing campaigns, and it can help you to become a better person with the people you interact with. You really would be surprised how far this online degree would get you!

    Journey Abroad

    If you’re going on a journey, you might as well journey abroad. I'm not going to try and say that the career choices here in the UK are limited, because they’re not. But you need to understand that they’re not the only careers out there, and we’re not the only country who offers the careers that we do. You’ll find that if you head to countries such as Thailand or Australia, you’ll have the same jobs, and a mix of different jobs to enjoy. There’s nothing more liberating than travelling the world either, and if you were going to do it, you might as well work so you can extend your stay. Working in different countries is actually really good for your employability back home. So, if you were to go and teach in Thailand for six months, and then wanted to get a job in teaching back home, it would look so much better for you.

     

    Related blog posts
    Why digital marketing skills are essential today 
    How small businesses can use the internet effectively
    7 tips for a successful small business
    Why your small business needs an online presence

     

    Push Yourself

    How hard do you have to drag yourself out of bed to actually get up in the morning? If the answer is a lot, then you’re not alone. So many people struggle to have that drive to work, because we’re always working for someone. But the lack of drive is where productivity drops, and if you show yourself to not be a hard working employee, then you’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure. You need to dig deep, and push through every shift at your best performance. The more they see, the more they’re going to like, and the more doors that might be able to open for you. Even on the days where you feel like you’re struggling the most, you have to find that motivation and positivity. Whether it be money that’s motivating you, or the desire to progress within your role.

    Making Yourself More Employable

    It’s not hard to make yourself more employable. All you have to do is some extracurricular activities as it were, and you could fill your CV with things that are going to make you so much more employable. Volunteering is always a good one. It shows you’re prepared to do things off your own back, for the good of others. Furthering your education, and doing courses such as first aid are also really good. You might find your current job puts you on courses like this, or you might have to go out there and get them!

    Working for yourself

    And if you hate being a employee altogether?  If you have a lot of self-motivation and determination and you're filled with business ideas, then perhaps consider working for yourself.  Obviously don't go and quit your day job on a whim as you need to pay the bills, but if you have a great idea then start off doing it in your spare time and start building a business.  Then when you've been comfortably making a decent wage for months on end it could be time to make that leap into full time self-employment.  There's nothing more rewarding than working for yourself and creating your own income doing something you love.

     

    What to read next
    5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum
    Make money from your blog with Awin affiliate marketing
    10 careers you can do from home
    The 5 ways I made £30000 money from home in 2017/2018
    Easily make money from home by testing websites

    Flourish In Your Career

  5. Be eco-friendly with a climate-conscious pension from PensionBee

    Posted on

    Do you have a pension?

    Pensions.  Eugh!  Do you have one?  Do you not?  I’ll admit, I’ve never had one.  I was never enrolled in a workplace pension pre-children and since having kids and becoming self-employed I’ve only just began to panic about the whole thing.  

    At the start of the last tax year I decided I needed to save something.  I am now saving a small amount each month, around 10% of my earnings, and I have a couple of thousand in the bank already.  It’s not much, but it’s a start.  I will now continue to save 10% and I hope to up this as my earnings rise, if they do.

    I never used to think about pensions.  In my twenties I lived for the weekends, was paying off a debt management plan and thought I had no spare cash.  I now realise I did have some spare cash but I spent it very unwisely.  Retiring seemed a lifetime away to me back then, but since hitting my thirties and realising I’d possibly like to retire and travel in my sixties, that only gives me 30 years to save and I so far have nothing saved.  Cue the panic alarm inside me!

    Be eco-friendly with a climate-conscious pension from PensionBee

    Image

    How much to save for a pension?

    If, like me, you are absolutely clueless about pensions and have no idea how much to save then try an online pension calculator to help figure it all out.  By entering my age of 32 and my possible retirement age, (I was generous and went for 65 but hopefully I’ll be travelling the world at 60 and not having to work until I’m 80 to get a decent pension), along with my monthly savings of around £170 per month, I can see that by the time I retire I’d have around £15000 to live off per year.  Not much is it.  I really need to up my pension game and save way more than I am now.  If you have a play around on the calculator you’ll be able to work out exactly how much to save monthly now in order to hit your desired income upon retirement.

    Go green with your pension!

    Roll on one year since massively starting to panic about the whole pension malarkey and I’ve been putting away some money each month into a regular savings account.  It is my own personal pension pot.  The interest at banks is atrocious right now so I really need to get on the case and investigate what I call a ‘proper pension’ with a reputable pension management company. I have found out about a company called PensionBee which has an climate-conscious pension option among its offerings.

    Yes, you read that right.  It is possible to have an eco-friendly pension!  You can choose to build a better future for yourself and the planet at the same time.  It’s the perfect way for us eco-conscious regular folk to invest in a plan that aims to bring positive change and positive returns.

    PensionBee recently studied 1677 of their customers to see how attitudes towards a greener pension differed between age and gender.  Here are the main results from their findings:

    • Savers under 30 almost twice as likely to choose an eco-friendly option as those over 50
    • Male and female savers equally eco-friendly, with 17% choosing the PensionBee Future World Plan
    • Almost a fifth of Brits (17%) would go for a greener pension

    I always find these statistics so interesting, especially to see that the younger generation seem to care more about eco-friendly causes compared to the older generations.  Being greener is certainly something we care about in our household and are teaching our children about every day.  It’s something I’ve only become more conscious of in recent years and I even wrote the blog post 15 eco-friendly things I do on a regular basis recently to share my efforts.

    Even if you’re not a total eco-warrior, you can now have a good impact on the environment by switching your pension to a greener pension instead.

    How to go green with PensionBee (even if self-employed)

    Perhaps, unlike me, you have a stack of pensions from various workplaces and with different pension companies?  If this is sounding all too familiar, then don’t panic.  You can easily reduce the paperwork and consolidate all your pensions into a single pension plan with PensionBee.  You may not even need to locate the paperwork as by letting them know your employer’s names and dates of employment they might be able to track all your pensions down for you.

    If you’re self-employed like me and thought you couldn’t have a ‘proper pension’ then think again!  I’ve just been checking out their FAQs and even us self-employed can set up a pension by making ad-hoc or regular payments.  There are generous tax benefits to be gained from paying into a proper pension. Basic rate taxpayers get 20% tax relief, so if you paid £8,000 into your pension, HMRC would effectively add another £2,000 to bring the total contribution to £10,000.

    Final thoughts

    Having a pension is absolutely a sensible thing to do as soon as you start earning.  Yet again I find myself asking frustratingly ‘why don’t they teach this stuff in schools?!’ It’s only now in my thirties that I’m actually learning about pensions and their importance.  It’s only in the past year that I’ve started saving a miniscule amount into a regular savings account for my own pension.  I should have started a long time ago.  Better late than never though, and if you’re a never person then I recommend you look into it!

    For now I have my pension in a bank account, but there are many tax benefits to be had by setting up a real pension with an online pension manager such as PensionBee.  I love that a climate-conscious pension can be chosen to help lessen our impact on the environment and will invest our money in companies that care.

     

    PensionBee is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. With pensions, your capital is at risk. The value of your pension with PensionBee can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you started with.

    What to read next
    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)
    Easily make money from home by testing websites
    Mustard Car Insurance Comparison Promises to Beat Your Cheapest Online Quote
    How to earn cashback on things you already buy
    5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum
    Why saving an emergency fund is a great idea
    8 Ways to save money on household appliances

    Be eco-friendly with a climate-conscious pension from PensionBee

    Collaborative post with PensionBee.  All opinions are my own.