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Free tools every Solopreneur should use

Article Written by : MLAVA Finances

Solopreneurs are a unique group. They manage all the pressure faced by an entrepreneur with very little outside assistance. A lot of this is down to how each individual deals with the pressure and how best he or she make use of the tools available. Here are some tools that solopreneurs can use to free up time for maximizing growth:


A nice tool to create a professional email signature that includes an image along with all contact information. This includes social media information and website links. It is free and allows extensive customization.

Workflow Max

This is a job management tool. It allows everything from lead and client management, invoicing, sheets, job costing, purchase orders and more in one place. In addition, 30 plus add-ons that extend the ability of the tool further. It is an entirely cloud based product.


Every company will need a way to accept payments at some point. Unless the focus is B2B, Square ensures secure payments through its hardware dongle. The service does take a 2.75% cut from each sale and accepts both debit and credit cards.


With solopreneurs doing everything, there is nobody to give a second read to important communications. This can result in grammatical as well as other errors in the copy. Grammarly catches all that and more. They provide integration with popular browsers and tools. In addition, there is also a plagiarism checker.

Avoid High Risk Status and Accept Credit Cards Online for Less

high-risk-credit-cardsArticle by Credit Card Processing Blog.

Learn more about how to avoid high risk status for your merchant account.

A high risk merchant account can be a costly proposition. High risk accounts signify that your business presents an above-average risk of return for the payment processor. You might be honest, but years of failed and dishonest businesses have created a system for assessing risk that may not agree with you. In this guide, we look at methods you can use to accept credit cards for less money.

Fixing High Risk Status

The first step in paying less to accept credit cards online is to try and fix your high risk status. Usually, it’s an issue with credit or payments. If your payment history is off on bills, for instance, that can hurt your business credit rating. Length of time the business has been open can present an additional hurdle, as new businesses are often viewed with an eye of skepticism.

Talk with your credit card processing company, and find out what the problem is. Once you understand their viewpoint, you can take steps to resolve the issue. You might even try negotiating, which works especially well if you’re bringing high volume sales to the payment processor. They may be able to lower their rates and still make a profit.

Final Thoughts

If you’re assessed as a high risk, it’s not the end of your business. It usually means you will pay higher fees than someone who is not high risk, however. Shop around. Just because you’re high risk doesn’t mean you should settle for the first account that comes your way.

Read more Merchant Account related articles at

The Pros of Accepting Credit Cards, as a Business Owner

Article provided by Credit Card Processing News.

Summary: As a business owner, it would be wise to allow customers to pay with debit and credit cards. Some of the benefits have been explained below.

If you are a business owner who does not accept credit cards, you should strongly reconsider. There are many advantages to allowing customers to use their cards, including the ones outlined below.

Fewer People Carry Cash

Nowadays, fewer people carry cash on them. Credit cards and mobile wallets have made it significantly easier to always have a form of payment with you at all times. Using cash requires people to carry multiple bills with them, and if they end up making a purchase somewhere, there is a good chance they will ultimately have change, in the form of coins, somewhere in their pockets or bags.

As a business owner you want to make it as easy as possible for whoever walks through your door to make a purchase, right then and there. If a customer wanted to purchase a good or service from your business, only to find out that they would have to step out to look for an ATM, he or she likely would reconsider the purchase. Look into a merchant service provider to add that level of convenience to your business.

Customers Will Spend More

Another reason why you should accept credit cards is that customers will spend more. Not actually seeing the money that will be spent could result in more impulse purchases. A recent study showed that, on average, customers who pay with their credit or debit cards spend 12 – 18% more than those who pay with cash. This could be because customers do not actually have to count their money out.

Easier to Prevent Stealing

An additional advantage of accepting credit cards at your business is that it makes it more difficult for employees to steal. Although it is unfortunate, stealing takes place around the world. By using a card terminal, the money received from transactions will get deposited automatically.

For more articles about merchant processing visit

3 Ways to Invest Your Company’s First Profits

Summary: Reinvesting profits can be beneficial for both your company and your consumer base.

So you’ve officially earned your first dollar and you’re not wondering what to do next. Here are the top 3 ways that you can invest your money back into your company to pave the way for future endeavors.

  1. Digital Marketing

Marketing is a key component that plays a significant role in the success of a business. Most startups that hit the beginning phases of their business wait months before they invest in marketing. Most of the time it’s because they don’t exactly know where they should start. One solid investment is in performance metrics. Keeping track of your campaigns and adjusting them accordingly will only help your business understand what’s working and what’s not.

  1. Improving Your Business

Startups tend to spend their initial profits in reinvesting. Your company shouldn’t be the exception. Your reinvestment efforts need to be in line with your business plan as well as your business goals. Most business owners like to reinvest their profits into improving their business. For instance, things like equipment, infrastructure, and business processes are all ways that you can improve the experience for the consumer. It’s a valuable strategy that can improve your profits over a period of time.

  1. Improving Your Team

A stronger workforce can assist in streamlining your business, improve the overall productivity, and create a company culture that tends to attract only the hardest workers. By investing profits into training programs and continuing education for example, can provide them with the necessary tools that they need to thrive. Furthermore, as your company continues to grow, you can even include benefits packages as well as other discounts that are accessible to all of your employees. Even if you’re a one-man show, or even an entrepreneur like Sebastian Guthery, you can still allocate funds towards assistance.

Article written by Sebastian Guthery. Sebastian has been motivated for entrepreneurship since a young age, growing up in Wichita, Kansas. Numerous companies with millions in revenue owe their success to Guthery, who lives and works in the greater San Diego region of Southern California. Visit Sebastian Guthery’s Linkedin page for more info.

Just How Safe are Digital Wallets? We Find Out

Digital wallets show a lot of promise, but there are still some small concerns that prevent the public from fully embracing this new technology. Some of these concerns are overhyped by the media, but many come down to a lack of understanding. In this article, we’ll look at some of the common questions regarding consumer safety and see how digital wallets overcome those challenges.

Open Doors

The first thing to straighten out is that a digital wallet isn’t very easy for outside parties to gain access to. Nothing is completely immune to hacking, but there are some important precautions taken when using a digital wallet.

For one, retailers never have access to an account number. Everything is “tokenized”, which is another way of saying that it all takes place within a single session. Because each transaction number is unique, with no account data attached to it, thieves can’t snatch all of the data tied to your account. Without that data, they won’t be able to easily gain access.


The entire key to security really lies in your mobile device. Password or fingerprint protecting your device will help stop thieves from entering a device they have access to. Keeping your phone on your person at all times is the safest method you have to protect your account, but password protection is also a must.

If you misplace or lose the phone, you’ve got one final option. You can reset your account remotely by logging into the app from your desktop.

How to Solidify a Business Agreement Properly

Article submitted by Barry K Rothman.

An enforceable business contract plays an integral role in defining your business. Follow these tips to see why.

Document the Agreement

Although a simple handshake and promise might be binding in many situations, know that if somehow you were to end up in court, there’s no way to enforce any part of it. Even if the law does not require it, always be sure to document every agreement that you make with a client. It’s generally less risky than an oral agreement because you’ll have a written consensus that spells out each party’s rights and obligations in the case of a disagreement.

“Short and Sweet”

Rather than focusing on creating a complex document, keep it short and sweet. Contrary to what most lawyers say, you don’t need a stuffed, legal-laden contract to make it enforceable. Instead, keep it simple with numbered paragraph headings that tell the reader what’s in the paragraph. Just because you’re simplifying the contract, doesn’t mean you’re skimping out on any details.

Speak to an Authoritative Figure

Just like you’d want your clients to deal with you as opposed to a junior at your business, you’ll want the exact same thing during the negotiation process. During a business agreement, politely request to be in touch with the individual in charge. This is important because he or she must have the authority to bind the business and perform its obligations under the agreement. By playing “telephone” with another company, you’ll only make things more difficult in the future if issues were to arise.

Article submitted by Barry K Rothman. For all your business and entertainment legal needs, visit Barry K. Rothman today. Take one look at the many positive Barry K. Rothman reviews online and you’ll see why he and his firm have taken the legal field over by storm.

Building a Project Team

Summary: It is important to assemble a good project team. When building the team, ensure that the team has the right mix of skills, provide them with goals, and assign roles to avoid any confusion. In addition, encourage them to ask questions.

A good quality project team is an asset and will ensure that your project is completed as per plan with little delays. Here are a few tips on how you should build a successful project team.

Selecting your team – Look at project team members that are qualified, experienced and those that possess the correct skills for your specific project. Ensuring your team includes a mixture of skills, abilities, and personalities is key to creating a balanced team. Project members should also be skilled in working as a team cohesively.

Set the tone and the rules – After your team members are selected, schedule a meeting to identify who is leading the team and what role each team member will play. Look at providing the team with a set of goals and ask them to develop and present a plan on a set date.

Clear goals – The goals you set should be clear, achievable and always quantifiable. It is also important that goals of one individual do not clash with another’s.

Early goals – Early goals will increase morale and enthusiasm in a project. Look at settling easily-attainable goals that the whole team can work at achieving. Early successes will help the team bond and help them work harder on long term goals.

Communication – Let the team know that communication is key and give your team the chance to ask questions freely.

Written by Lyle Charles. Visit the website for more on construction claims consultants who will help to ensure that your project progresses on time.


Tips on Starting a Brokerage from Scratch

Summary: A brokerage might be the financial investment that will take your real estate endeavors to new heights.

For those that are looking to take their real estate investment to the next level, starting a brokerage might be the right move for you. Now, by doing this, you’ll have multiple agents split their commission with you as well benefiting from a brokerage ownership.

Remember, as a broker, you’ll be taking on supervisory duties that don’t have to as an agent, plus you’ll have to take care of overhead costs. However, this opportunity can provide an immense fortune if done correctly.

Here are some tips from the finest minds in the business that will help you get started.


First off, you’ll need to have the funds to cover your startup costs such as renting or buying your own space, supplying your office with the appropriate equipment, insurance, website design, and many other aspects. You’ll also want to cover your operating expenses for a minimum of three to four months. Otherwise, you’ll end up running yourself out of town before you get a chance to thrive.

Licensing Requirements

It’s crucial to look up what broker-licensing requirements are in your state as well as obtain your real estate broker’s license. In most states, you’ll have to take a course, be 21 years of age, and have practices real estate for a minimum of two years.

Website Design

An important step every business needs to take is to create a website to expose yourself to potential clients. Be sure to set up a professional-looking website that incorporates a services that includes listings in the area. Most home shoppers begin their search online, which means more business for your brokerage.


Be sure to purchase the correct insurance that covers you in a variety of areas. Remember, as a broker you’ll be taking on liability for the actions of your real estate agents. To protect you and your assets, errors and omissions insurance will cover you in the case that an unhappy client decides to sue your brokerage.

Office Essentials

Every office requires essentials such as a waiting area, conference room furniture, reception desk, computers, fax, copier, phone system, and other items. If you’re hiring independent contractors, they can utilize their own individual computers if they prefer. On the other hand, if you have in-house agents, you’ll want to provide desks for your agents.

Recruit the Right Agents

Established agents that have worked in the field for years will be a great asset. While new agents might bring a plethora of excitement and enthusiasm, you run the risk of allowing them to make errors in the field that could lead to legal issues. They’ll also require mentorship by you or a specialized trainer. Keep this mind when you’re taking care of the hiring process.


5 Small Business Ideas To Make Money Online

The internet has totally pervaded our modern lifestyle and has become a major influence in the daily running of our lives. This is increasingly apparent when it comes to online commerce, with the internet contributing to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales alone. With such a powerful tool at your disposal, you’d expect that making money online should be a walk in the park; there’s nothing further from the truth. Unlike what the get rich schemes you find online want you to believe, finding and implementing an authentic business idea is not easy. So many people are trying to avoid the dreaded office set-up by finding work online so you’re guaranteed to have enormous competition. Additionally, navigating and finding reputable sources of adequate income without falling prey to pyramid schemes and other marketing scams is no mean feat.

What’s a small business idea?

A small business idea requires relatively little in the way of capital to get started and therefore much easier to implement.

However, as with all good things, you need to work for it. While it’s possible to make adequate quick cash in the short term, most small business ideas need requires a lot of effort and building a strong reputation over time for success. Here are some ideas that could work for you.

  1. Sell private label products online

Private labelling is one of the most lucrative small business ideas you can invest in. A private labelled product is a product that you can acquire by a contract or a third-party manufacturer then resell under your own brand. Here’s how it works, you get a product from a manufacturer then alter it according to your own specifications to create your own brand. It’s a great time to get into the private labelling arena as more and more people are opening up to the idea of using such products. The fact that more than 80% of customers believe that private label products are equally as good or even better that their national brand counterparts.

You can sell products that are actually of the same quality as leading national brands, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. To start off, check out the five steps about how to sell private labels that customer will want to buy by Patrick Foster. Once you have a product idea in mind, find suitable private label manufacturers to make your product after which you can apply any necessary tweaks and labelling to create your final brand. There are various online commerce platforms you can use to sell your product but Amazon definitely stands out due to its FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program. As long as you do it right, private labelling is guaranteed to rake in a lot of money.

  1. Create a blog.

Practically everyone has thought about writing a blog to make money. Those who’ve actually tried know it’s not as easy as some popular bloggers make it seem. Even though blogging requires little or no capital, building a successful blog needs persistence, discipline and patience. It isn’t a quick fix, you could literally write every day for months before seeing any sort of returns.

First, focus on getting a lot of web traffic by consistently posting high quality content. Once you have enough traffic on your blog, you can start to monetize it in a number of ways. You could sign up with a company like Google Adsense and start advertising on your blog. Alternatively, you could publish sponsored posts about products or services on behalf of a company. Other ways include setting up membership and subscription fees or working with an affiliate network. You’ll find that blogging is a small business idea that’s difficult to start out but will effortlessly earn you money once it gains momentum.

  1. Sell your professional services online

Another small business idea you could consider is providing services such as freelance writing, programming or graphic design, for a price. If you are particularly gifted at a certain field, don’t hesitate to sell your services through sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Listverse and many more. Small business ideas such as this require practically no capital, unfortunately, starting out can be pretty difficult and time consuming. These platforms are all highly competitive so finding clients won’t be easy till you get a good track record and accumulate numerous positive reviews. You could have a successful freelancer show you the ropes and help you figure out what to do to succeed faster. Alternatively, you could try to find the most successful people in your particular kind of work and see how they do things, from their online profile to their approach. Doing this can give you much needed inspiration.

  1. Create an app

The number of people using smartphones is simply staggering. In fact, according to Techcrunch, there will be a whopping 6.1 billion smartphone users globally by 2020. With that many users, the demand for new and innovative smartphone apps is ever on the rise, making apps a business opportunity ripe for the picking. However, unlike many other small business ideas, creating an app requires a fair bit of technical knowhow to accomplish. Lacking such skills isn’t an excuse to give up; you can always hire someone else to do it for you as long as you have a good idea for an app. The good thing about creating apps is that you don’t really need a huge capital base while starting out and unlike physical goods, you don’t have to worry about storage or transportation costs. Take your time and do proper market research and analytics to find an app that will sell then you can sit back and watch your app earn you loads of money.

  1. Become a virtual assistant

Virtual assistant perform the jobs that any assistant or secretary would do for small businesses that are reluctant to hire an in-house employee. Such duties include making travel arrangements, paying bills, making appointments and many more. As a virtual assistant, you have the benefit of working from the comfort of your home and only interacting with your clients online. How much you are paid depends on your overall expertise and experience as well as the number of clients you can comfortably handle.

Author Bio

Sarah Kaiser is a digital marketing manager at a French retailer’s sourcing division, which specializes in private labeling, Asian supplier audit and customized product sourcing. She’s a fan of water sports and has studied business management in France. Her works have been published on dozens of websites and blogs. If you are interested in starting your private label business, you can contact her at or follow @Godirek on twitter.

How is Money Transferred Globally? Is it Safe?

Summary: The complex system of transfers involve numerous pit stops in various countries along with embedded security systems to prevent sensitive information from leaking.

More than likely, you’ve transferred money to a relative or acquaintance that you know at least once in your life. But, have you done so to another person overseas? This is much more complicated and requires additional security measures to ensure it reaches its destination safely without compromising sensitive information like account numbers or addresses.

Now, there are numerous solutions to overcoming the difficulties of micro-transactions and bank transfers, but there is still an overwhelming issue of security for each credit card processor. The fact that there are people constantly scouring the Web for a way to hijack these systems is enough to make you hesitant.

Money Transfers: What’s the Cost?

In today’s economy, much of contract labor comes from around the globe. While this represents an amazing opportunity for the individual, there is a cost however. Money transfers cost money, and not every ecommerce merchant account is willing to pay the premium price to send the allotted amount to the individual.

In order to compensate for this, merchants will often include numerous fees to cover the costs of moving the money around from country to country.

Security Measures

Regulations in countries vary in regard to how strict their policies are when it comes to personal information. Owners of online wallets need stay cautious in how they accept money, the types of protocols involves, and whether they are making themselves vulnerable to hacks. With various security measures being implemented regularly, transfers are slowly starting to gain back their reputation of being fair and secure – although to be fair, it’s not entirely perfect yet.


Profiling Omar Amanat: Businessman and Philanthropist

Omar Amanat was the founder and CEO of Tradescape, an electronic brokerage company that quickly became an industry leader by offering investors a direct connection to all nine Electronic Communications Networks. Responsible for processing over 10% of NASDAQ’s daily trading volume, it was deemed one of the top 50 private companies in the United States. In 2002, Mr. Amanat sold Tradescape to E*Trade for $280 million.

Mr. Amanat studied at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business before working with CyberTrader founder Philip Berber to develop a stock trading platform that was acquired by Charles Schwab for $488 million. He survived the dot-com crash, and narrowly avoided the crash of the World Trade Center in 2001. His observations of the post-9/11 world led him to explore the role of media images in cross-culture empathy. Mr. Amanat was the first financier of Bridges TV, an American station devoted to promoting positive images to unite Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. He is also a key investor in several Hollywood film production companies, one of which plans to release between 20 and 30 feature films in the next five years.

Finally, Omar Amanat is a well-known philanthropist, using his skills as both a businessman and public speaker on behalf of humanitarian causes. He served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Acumen Fund, a global venture capital fund for the poor that was described as one of five charities changing the face of international charitable outreach. He is also on the Board of Directors for Human Rights Watch and Malaria No More, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.

Time Impact Analysis

Written by Lyle Charles

A Time impact analysis will help to understand the extent of the delay in the construction process. A Time impact analysis is conducted to help with the negotiation process or with delay claims. If done once a delay claim occurs, this will be part of the company’s construction claims analysis process. The analysis is done by examining current schedules and including the inputs that have a bearing on the schedule.

Request a time impact analysis from the company’s construction claims consultant or the claim management team. The analysis will add activities indicating delays or changes to a schedule representing progress. The goal of the analysis is to understand the impact caused by a single event or a series of events and how this event(s) affected the project schedule.

This analysis is a tool and can also be used to adjust contracts as the project is in progress. It is best to provide the time impact analysis after completion to the contractor, to avoid the contractor presenting a different analysis that may leave room for a claim. This technique can also be useful to understand the extensions that can be granted to contractors after an excusable risk has occurred.

However, this type of analysis should be avoided if the actual project schedules have not been updated. A time impact analysis in this instance will provide inaccurate results that do not represent real project data.


Lyle Charles offers construction advisory services for commercial construction projects across the United States.

Advantages of private mediation

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Written by Lyle Charles

Private mediation has become a movement in many countries as they offer an alternative to the traditional courtroom battleground and litigation process. Normally mediation follows five processes and they are negotiation, conciliation, expert determination, round-table conference, and arbitration. Mediation has allowed many disputes to be more open, empowering, and cooperative. Here are some advantages of private mediation.

Reduced costs and time – Most disputes, especially those involving construction can take months or even years to be resolved in a court setting. To speed up proceeding many construction consulting firms are not recommending private mediation to reduce time and costs for both parties.

Less polarizing – Courts generally position parties against one another which can often cause a toxic and acrimonious environment. Mediation, on the other hand, places both parties on equal footing in a safe environment, where issues can be discussed and understood.

Empowerment – Mediation allows each party to voice their views, instead of letting lawyers handle the discussion. Therefore mediation leaves parties with the ability to make their own decision instead of leaving their fate in the hands of a judge.

However, mediation can cause power imbalances that may put one party in a more favorable situation than the other. This can be overcome by ensuring that the party representing the firm has some prior experience in mediation proceedings or by hiring a consulted to provide the person representing the company with sufficient knowledge.

Your construction business needs the best construction & turnaround services to avoid any unnecessary construction delay claims. Lyle Charles consulting can offer you superior services together with their proven track record and flawless reputation.


Employee background checks – what you should and shouldn’t do

Written by Tenant Screening Services, LLC

Making a wrong hiring decision can cost a firm time, money and unnecessary disruption. Therefore, most employers have hiring procedures that include an employee background check. Here some tips on conducting employee background checks.

You should be broad and thorough – It is vital that hiring personnel get an expansive spectrum of information. Therefore, the information should include a background criminal check, education, employment and driving history, social media details etc. Concentrating only on one area will not give the hiring manager an overall picture of the candidate they have selected.

You shouldn’t ask the candidate if they have a conviction – Instead of asking the applicant to put down their conviction details on a form, once you have shortlisted a candidate, use their employee background check to guide the decision.

You should follow the law – It is legally required for employers to receive consent from the applicants before conducting a background check.

You should follow the rules – There are rules on pre-employment checks and they vary from state to state.

You should be consistent – It is vital that all applicants short-listed should have the same searches and investigations on them. Although different job titles will require different information, the same job title should follow the same searches.

You should maintain good communication – It is a good idea to speak to a candidate about areas that you need clarification on. There could be misconceptions, mistakes, and reporting errors that can be resolved by speaking to the candidate.


Tenant Screening Services, LLC provides a variety of background checks and services for property owners and employers. Use their employment screening services before your next hire.

Four key areas to consider when buying furniture for your workspace

Article Written by : Total Merchants
The right furniture will contribute to the comfort, atmosphere, and productivity of your employees. However, with so many different stores offering some designs, finding the right office furniture can be difficult. Here are a few areas that should be considered.

Cost – It is important to set up a budget of how much you can You should then allocate money for each employee, depending on their designation and job role.

Needs – You will mainly have to buy chairs and desks, but it is important to match your furniture with the needs of the business. If you want to cultivate an office culture that helps employees communicate easily, then you should look at an open office plan. On the other hand, a more formal approach will require desks with cubic dividers, to maintain privacy.

Flexibility and functionality – You will require storage space to encourage employees to keep their areas neat and tidy. Therefore, look for desks with space at the base or on the sides.

Size – If you have a small office space, compact furniture is key. Look at minimalistic furniture, made from light, strong materials like aluminum and metal. This will allow furniture to be easily moved and the materials make the furniture less bulky. However, if you have a large office space, investing in wooden bookshelves, large desks and couches will make your office seem spacious and comfortable.