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  1. If you’ve ever read advice on how to limit your business expenses, then you’ve no doubt hear about outsourcing. It’s an idea that’s very useful for home businesses, as you pay companies to handle specific tasks. The alternative to this is hiring your own employees, which is both impractical and too costly for most home business moguls.

    I’m not going to say you should outsource absolutely everything in your business. No, I think there’s a time and a place where outsourcing becomes beneficial, or else it ends up being a massive expense. There are certain things you can definitely handle on your own, and there are certain things you can’t. Bearing that in mind, here are the best things your home business should start outsourcing today: 


    Search Engine Marketing

    A lot of home business owners choose to outsource all their marketing services. They look for an agency to handle everything, and it takes a weight off their shoulders. While I don’t think this is a particularly bad idea, I do think you might be wasting money on services you don’t need. Instead of finding a company to cover everything, find one to deal with one aspect; search engine marketing. SEM is probably the most complicated part of a marketing strategy, which is why it benefits you to get some help. Trust the experts, and you’ll soon have a website that ranks highly in Google searches and brings in a lot of traffic. But, you’re free to handle other parts of your marketing strategy by yourself. This includes social media marketing, spreading news through word of mouth; and anything else you can think of. Many parts of marketing & advertising are simple. So, why pay an agency to do them for you? Save money, and only get help for something complicated like SEM.


    Financial Services

    I had a long hard debate with myself before putting this on the outsourcing list. Financial services cover all aspects of business finance. We’re talking about expenses, income, tax, and so on. Some of you may believe you can handle this yourself. If you have a small business with very few expenses, then it may be straightforward for you to take care of things. However, the one main thing that made me put it in here is tax. It’s so important that your business does its taxes properly and effectively. You may know how to fill in a tax form, but do you know all the different things you can claim back as business expenses? More to the point, how long does it take you to do all of this, and how much time are you devoting to it? You may do it yourself, but this can cause you to miss out on other opportunities as you’re focusing on taxes. Plus, this is before we even bring the other financial things into the equation. Realistically, it will help your business is you outsource a financial expert to handle these jobs. Find an account that knows business finance, and you’re good to go.

    Software Development

    Think your home business doesn’t need software development services? Think again. It’s something that will help contribute to various different things. You can use software development to create a mobile app that brings your business into the modern era. You can use it to build your own web applications of business software to help you do certain things. There are many reasons that outsourcing software development is a great idea, and the main one is that you haven’t got these skills at all. Developing software is so complicated and requires loads of hands on deck. If you were to do it yourself, you’d need to hire a full team, which would be so expensive. So, if you have any type of software that your business needs, then make sure you outsource this service.

    Graphic Design

    Again, this is one of those things you think your business doesn’t have to concern itself with. On the contrary, graphic design plays a huge role in modern organizations. Even a home business needs a proper logo for its website. The only way to achieve this is with a high-quality graphic design. Outsource an artist that can create the perfect logo for you, and then you can use it everywhere to spread brand awareness. They can also help draw up posters or pamphlets to use as marketing material too. It’s cheaper to outsource than it is to hire one full-time, and I’m sure most of you aren’t skilled enough to design your own logos.

    Virtual Assistant

    I’m going to start by saying; this might not apply to all home business owners. If you run a small business where you don’t really take any calls, and most of your communication is done online or via instant messaging, then you can ignore this and move onto the next one!

    However, if you run a home business that often gets calls from existing and potential clients, then it’s definitely something to think about. A virtual assistant is someone that answers your calls for you. They make a note of what anyone says and will email you the transcript so you can take action - if needed. They’re ‘virtual’ in the sense that they don’t work in your home office, and they could be on the other side of the world for all you know. Why should you outsource a virtual assistant? Well, think of the alternatives. You either have no assistance and end up wasting time going through loads of missed calls, or you have to hire someone to work in your home. The first alternative isn’t a good idea as clients can become annoyed when you miss their calls, and a prospective client can lose interest in your services if you don’t pick up. The second alternative is far too expensive for a home business. So, a virtual assistant becomes the ideal solution! You won’t miss any calls, no one gets upset, and you save a lot of money.



    Conversion Optimization

    Remember when I spoke about marketing earlier on? That’s just one stage in the process of taking someone from a consumer to a customer. SEM, social media, and all your other marketing material can help generate leads, but you’ve still got to convert them. This is where conversion optimization comes into play, as it enables you to take as many leads as possible and turn them into paying customers. It’s harder than it sounds, which is why so many small businesses outsource their conversion optimization these days. An excellent way to tell if you should do this or not is to ask yourself; do I even know what conversion optimization is? If you don’t, then that probably means you aren’t up to the task of taking care of it. Another good way to tell is to try and look at your current conversion rates. If they’re poor, then it could be time to outsource this job to a company with experience and expertise.

    Home business owners are in a unique position in that you get to work from home. This has its pros and cons, but problems often arise when you think about growing your business and hiring help. It’s often far too expensive to bring in full-time employees - not to mention impractical as you don’t have a proper office! Outsourcing can be the best option, but only in instances where it’s necessary.

    The best thing to do is have a look at business processes and figure out whether or not you can do them yourself, and do them well. If you can’t perform tasks to a high standard - without other areas of your business suffering - then it’s time to outsource!

    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
    The Ultimate Marketing Strategy to Give Your Business a Boost


  2. I have a great giveaway for you today from online company Party Bags & Supplies.  I don’t know about you, but it is birthday season for us now!  Almost all family and friends birthdays are from June to August.  August being the hottest birthday month and including my birthday!  We even have a day in July where we have one friends birthday and two family members birthdays all on the same day!  It’s quite nice really as it spreads it all out away from Christmas.  Plus if there are parties or gatherings then these can often be outside thanks to the warmer weather.  Ben my husband’s birthday is 9 days before mine and we also have our wedding anniversary in August.  Phew!

    Win a kids birthday party pack in my blog giveaway



    Another thing to note if you’re a new parent or coming up to school age is the amount of parties once your kids start school!  Sometimes it feels as though there is a party every other week!  It was particularly like this when Bella was in reception, but has calmed down now she is in year one.  We did a Frozen birthday party when Bella was in her first year of school as a big treat and to have some of her new school friends over.  This year we just had a sleepover with two of her cousins.  I did love planning the Frozen party though from designing invitations, to booking princesses and setting up a fabulous frozen themed party table.

    If you have a birthday coming up, or even to be prepared for a future child’s birthday then this giveaway will save you a few pennies on tableware and party bags.  The prize for the competition winner is any item from page which includes a pack of party plates, cups, table cover and even FILLED party bags.  That will be one thing to tick off your list if you win!

    Enter here!

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.  There are 16 different ways to enter so plenty of choice.  You can pick one way or even all of them for more entires!

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Pin me!

    Win a kids birthday party pack in my blog giveaway

    Terms and Conditions

    There will be one winner

    If you have previously won a giveaway from Party Bags & Supplies, they state you cannot enter future competitions

    The prize for the competition winner is any item from this page -

    There is no cash alternative

    There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries

    Winners will be notified within 28 days

    Prizes will be sent out within 28 days of receiving the winners address

    The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited

    All entries must be received by the date and time specified

    The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email

    The winners name and email address will be passed to Party Bags & Supplies in order for them to contact you to arrange prize selection and dispatch.

    Giveaways are open to the UK only


  3. When your parents get a little older, they start to get to the point where they need to be cared for. If you are their only child, then you’ll find that the responsibility is on you to make sure that they are in the right care home or that you look after them yourself. If you are one of a few children, you might find it a little harder to share the responsibility. In this article, we are going to take you through some tips on how to work with your siblings to care for your elderly parents. Keep reading if you’d like to find out more.

    Working with Your Siblings to Care for Your Parents



    Sibling Roles

    The first thing that you need to consider is the roles that you have assumed through the years. You might find that one of your siblings has always taken the responsibility while another, normally the youngest, has just gone along with whatever has decided. You need to remember that just because it has worked like this in the past, doesn’t mean that you need to follow this when caring for your parents.

    Other Responsibilities

    Another thing that you need to consider when it comes to caring for your elderly parents with your siblings is the levels of responsibility that each sibling has. Maybe one of your siblings has four kids and a partner while you live by yourself and don’t have anyone else to look after. Make sure to consider these factors when deciding who will be the primary caregiver but remember to share responsibilities if you can.

    Talk To Each Other

    One of the most important things that you should do when sharing the responsibility of caring for your ageing parents is to talk to each other. Something that can tear families apart is unhappiness and lack of communication. If you feel like one of your siblings is not pulling their weight or that they not letting you help, say something. Hold some family meetings about this to make sure that everyone agrees on the big decisions that are being made.

    Talk to a Professional

    If you are really struggling to get through to your siblings about the stress that you are feeling, make sure to talk to someone else. You could talk to your friend or partner or even an online therapist like those at AskaCoach who will be expertise in the field. Getting your feelings out and hearing some advice will help you to understand how to approach this topic with your siblings and sort the situation out quicker. 

    The Cost

    It is likely that your parents have paid for a lot as you have grown up, so it is only right that you help them out in their old age. Perhaps you need to pay for some adjustments to their home or even a care home for them to stay in. Whatever it is, you should make sure to share the costs equally amongst your family. Don’t let your siblings have you cover everything as this will only lead to more arguments in the future.


    Related blog posts:
    Learning To Worry A Little Less About Our Ageing Parents
    A Quick Guide to Helping Your Parents Move House
    Updating Your Grandparent's Phone: Making Android Super Senior Friendly
    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: How To Take Care Of Yourself And Not Feel Guilty
    How to help aging parents be more independent

    Working with Your Siblings to Care for Your Parents


  4. Welcome to my latest Braces at 30 blog post where I share my experience of wearing a brace as an adult with updates from each appointment.  I had my braces fitted when I was 30 years old.  I’m now 32 and have had braces on for over two years!  Below I share what happened at my latest appointment.

    Here’s my last update if you missed it:

    Braces at 30 – Implant consultation results and a new consultation

     Braces at 30 20th Tightening Appointment 27 Months


    This is tightening appointment number 20, but I must have had over 30 appointments altogether now between the orthodontist and dentist!

    It’s only been eight days since my last update, but I’m having no end of teeth appointments now as I’m going to both the orthodontist and the dentist!  If you read my last update you’ll see I have four appointments just next month at the dentist to get the ball rolling with my top teeth which have now had the brace removed.

    Today I went to see the orthodontist and we’d hoped my bottom brace would be ready to remove, but nope.  There’s a pesky gap that just won’t close!  It’s been there the last few appointments and I can’t tell that it’s reduced in the slightest.  Usually I’ve always had the same strength elastics put on to close gaps, but today she had much thicker elastic to use.  It’s really tight on my teeth, but it should do the trick. 

    Usually when elastic is added to close gaps I can start seeing the difference in a matter of hours or days.  Last time this didn’t happen so I knew it wasn’t going to close in time.  The elastic also stretches over time so becomes ineffective.

    My next appointment with the orthodontist is only three weeks away and is the same day as one of my dentist appointments. I’ll have three teeth appointments in two days!  If this gap has closed then I will be able to have my bottom brace removed next time.

    I’ve decided to try the permanent bonded retainer on the bottom, so she’s booked a one hour slot for me in preparation.  The aim is to remove the bottom brace, file down the tops off the teeth so they are straight as they are very uneven at the moment from wear, then fix a bonded retainer to the rear of my teeth.  This will be fine in the day, but I’ll have to wear a clear Essix retainer on the bottom teeth every night for around 3 months, then part time after this.

    She also looked at my top teeth with the Essix retainer on and without.  She says I can just wear for three months permanently and then at night time only.  This means when I get my denture (temporary false tooth solution for now) at the end of July I’ll soon be able to wear the denture in the day all the time.  This will make my social life so much easier as at the moment I cannot eat or drink anything other than water in the day.  Even drinking water makes the Essix retainer fill up and I spit!  It’s gross!   Really pleased I’ll be able to wear the denture soon and look more normal.  I just hope the denture looks good and not like a bodge job!

    Update in around three weeks when I should hopefully have my bottom brace removed, a bonded retainer to the bottom, my peg tooth removed at the top and new Essix retainer with two false teeth!

    Braces at 30 – Implant consultation results and a new consultation

    Clear Essix Retainer with false tooth & train track brace on bottom

     Braces at 30 _ 20th Tightening Appointment _ 27 Months

  5. Welcome to my latest Lylia Rose scarf giveaway!

    If you love printed scarves, do pop over to my online fashion accessories boutique for a good browse where you'll find over 60 different designs in stock, perfect all year round indoors and out!

    They are just £8 each and 2nd class UK delivery is free.  They are just perfect as gifts. 

    Win this scarf in my blog giveaway:­

     Giveaway: Win a Black Glossy Elephants Print Scarf from the Lylia Rose Boutique

    More about the scarf

    These beautiful scarves could also be used as sarongs, head scarves or even as breast feeding covers!  These scarves have so many other uses too. Pop over and read Five Other Ways to Use Your Fashion Scarf for inspiration!

    Important information:

    - Approximate size of scarf 180cm by 100cm

    - Soft printed poly fabric

    - Hand wash only

    - The scarves are protected in waterproof poly packaging.

    - Dispatched in 100% bio-degradable environmentally friendly mailing bags.  

    - To keep waste to a minimum invoices and unnecessary packaging will not be added to your order.

    Don’t bin it!

    I really hope you’ll love your new scarf for years to come, but if you ever get bored of it, please don’t throw it away.  Landfills are too full of things that can be reused, reworn and recycled.  For inspiration on what to do with your worn out or unwanted clothes and textiles, please read my blog post: 13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

    Enter here:

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    Suggestions of blog posts to read for one of the entry options:
    The top 3 ways I made money from home in 2017
    Get paid to test websites from home (£5 per 20 minutes)
    Get paid doing simple tasks from your phone with Streetbees
    I’ve made £300 tax free cash from home in 2 weeks and you can too

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Please pin me:

     Giveaway_ Win a Black Glossy Elephants Print Scarf from the Lylia Rose Bout

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the item pictured above
    • The prize must be claimed within 28 days of the first winner's notification email being sent.
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only