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Should You Quit Your Day Job and Become an Entrepreneur?

dreamstime_xs_57497446Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

If you're absolutely tired of your day job and it's no longer fulfilling you, you may be tempted to quit and start on a brand new track towards entrepreneurship. But is this really a wise decision? Should you really quit your job to become your own boss and run your own company? Continue reading for a few helpful insights that will steer you in the right direction.

Are You Ready to Lead a Company?

Being an entrepreneur means more than just having a good idea; it also means actually putting that idea into action and making decisions as a leader of an organisation. Read more »

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Tips to Cultivate Willpower to Manage Finances & Build Wealth

WealthContributed article in our personal wealth series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

In football, the best coaches and coordinators with the sharpest playbook and most advanced plays won't win games if their team can't execute the plays. Taking care of your finances and building wealth are similar. A plethora of free knowledge is available from the experts regarding building wealth and achieving success, but few have the willpower and discipline to do what it takes.

But the good news is that willpower is a skill, not some genetic trait. There are ways to train your mind and learn from the best to climb your way to the top.

Finance is a Mental Game

Whether you're building your first savings account, paying off credit cards or building a successful business, finances are almost always a mental game. Think of financial success in relation to diet and exercise — you can read every blog, hire every trainer and take every supplement — but unless you can actually execute, there won't be any results. Read more »

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5 Sure-fire Ways to Advance in Your Career

Business woman walking into arrow shaped door with bright light

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Whether you are seeking to climb the corporate ladder within your industry or looking for a new position with another company, there are ways in which you can advance quickly with just a little effort. Becoming proactive in your goals lets you take the reins, and before you know it that coveted position can be yours. Here are 5 sure-fire ways to advance in your career.

1. Networking for Meaningful Connections

There are so many ways in which to network that surely you can find one in which to make the connections you are looking for. From social media to volunteering in a cause that is meaningful to you, there are ways to meet new connections who are able to help you advance within your career. These may be executives of companies within your industry or peers who know of open positions. Besides making an impact on your community, society today is oriented towards ‘doing good’, and your volunteer hours logged will surely impress your boss! Read more »

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The Ways Cloud SaaS Can Improve Efficiency

businessman connect social media by smart phone.

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Modern business apps offer more than just a helping hand with emails and fundraising, they are essential to entrepreneurs in order to manage business as usual, leaving you free to focus on business development and growth. Integrated, cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are able to work on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones in order to handle tasks such as project management, video conferencing, internal communication and much, much more. In addition, the SaaS revolution has also enabled many entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground quickly. Instead of the need to code your own internal platforms to take care of processes, there is a variety of ready-made options to choose from. Here are just some of the ways in which SaaS is enabling startups to be more efficient and competitive. Read more »

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Mobile Device Trends that Affect Your Business

Mobile DevicesContributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Mobile device users are doing more shopping from their smartphones and tablets, the latest Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly report for Q2 2015 indicates. With worldwide smartphone shipments reaching 1.44 billion, the average number of page views per visit from mobile devices rose from 6.22 in Q1 to 6.29 in Q2. This correlated with a 9 percent rise in conversion rates and a 3.4 percent increase in average order value, which rose to $118.26. As mobile commerce grows in popularity, businesses are adapting by adopting technological innovations that support consumer demand for smartphone shopping. Here are a few mobile technology trends that companies doing e-commerce business should pay close attention to. Read more »

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Effective Data Storage In Remote Environments

dreamstime_xs_32304795Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

A major concern for organizations with remote locations such as offices and branches (ROBOs) is providing an easy to manage infrastructure while ensuring application reliability. The amount of hardware required onsite is vastly reduced which is a major benefit for hard to reach locations such as weather stations, wind farms and oil rigs.

The concern with these wasn’t just providing IT to a remote location but whether it would stand up to the rigors of bad weather and fluctuating temperatures.

Virtualization to the rescue

The rise of software and its role in creating easy to manage and flexible IT resources has made a huge difference to organizations generally. Read more »

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How to Survive at Work After Minimal Sleep

dreamstime_xs_45529615Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Sometimes, a bad night’s sleep is inevitable, although none of us enjoy it. Whether it’s because you suffer from insomnia, or something has happened during the night that has kept you awake, there are a multitude of different reasons as to why sometimes, we just can’t manage to get a good night of beauty sleep. For many people who suffer from a night with minimal sleep, getting up and going to work the next morning is the worst part – and by the time the end of the day has come, they are literally falling asleep on their desk. Thankfully, we’ve put together a number of great ways in which you can stay awake if you ever find yourself in that position.

Read more »

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How to Ensure Your Employees Remain Safe at Work

helmet and construction equipment with building and crane against dusky sky use for construction business theme

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

In all types of workplaces, there are various types of equipment and machinery that is used to carry out necessary tasks. As all work machinery and equipment has the potential to cause damage and harm, it is important that all employees are fully aware of its correct and proper use and how to avoid accidents occurring in the workplace. All employees in a workplace should be responsible for ensuring that the equipment remains safe to use, reporting any faults accordingly, and making sure that nobody is at risk of harm from faulty or damaged machinery or equipment.

How to Make Sure That Work Equipment is Safe

Work equipment is any equipment used at work, such as forklift trucks, vehicle hoists, lifting slings, hand tools, vans and other vehicles, and display screen equipment such as computers. Some workplaces may also use equipment such as respiratory protective equipment and personal protective equipment. If you have control over any such work equipment, it is your legal duty to ensure that it is safe to use at all times. In order to do so, a number of measures can be taken including regular equipment checks and tests, carrying out risk assessments, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and use, and establishing and ensuring that a system in place for reporting any equipment faults. You can buy safety equipment from autobodynow.com.

How to Deal with Faulty Equipment

If you discover any work equipment or machinery that is faulty or damaged, you should immediately label it unsafe for use, and report it according to your workplace’s specific guidelines. Any broken machinery or equipment should be repaired as soon as possible and tested for safety before any further use. For example, a truck bed liner that is in need of replacement should be replaced as soon as possible, and the truck should be out of use until this is carried out.

Should Employees be Trained?

Legally, any work equipment should only be used by employees who have received adequate training and are authorized to do so. Allowing untrained or unauthorized employees to use work equipment can be dangerous, and could result in accidents leading to insurance claims or worse. Depending on the equipment being used, different levels and types of training will be required. For example, equipment such as forklift trucks or vans will often require employees to have passed a driving test, whereas more basic equipment such as personal protection equipment or display screen equipment will only require employees to undergo some basic training. It is also recommended that employees who use work equipment are enrolled in regular refresher training to ensure that they stay on top of how to use the equipment and the various risks involved with doing so. Any changes to equipment also require employees to be retrained in its use.

How do you keep your employees safe at work? Which work equipment and machinery are they required to use? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below.

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How to Manage a Successful Exhibition Stand

Exhibition advertising promotion stand orange design layout template vector illustration

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

The investment in both attending and having a business presence at a trade show needs to pay dividends for the company. There are many different ways to bring value and get the most out of diverting money and employees to the exhibition centre to meet and greet with interested attendees. Here are a few suggestions for managing a successful exhibition stand:

Focus on the Lighting

Lighting is everything. The human eye is attracted to things that are bright enough to be noticed and interesting enough to keep the attention once it has been acquired. In a sea of other exhibition stands, the importance of effective lighting should never be overlooked.

Stand Out With a Professional Exhibition Stand

Especially for small businesses and smaller exhibition spaces, it is critically important to make a statement with your exhibition stand. Leaving this up to the professionals is the right approach to take. A company like Finesse Exhibitions that has been in the business of creating attention-grabbing exhibition stands for over two decades is a good choice.

Maintain a Consistent Marketing Message

There is nothing like confusing potential customers with a marketing message that seems to be saying different things to different people. All literature, posters and press packets need to present the brand in the same way so that it is recognisable and clear. The staff members managing the exhibition stand need to have practised their 30 second pitch so that they will not get tongue-tied when customers walk up. If needed, provide time ahead of the exhibition for proper practice or training.

Building Rapport with Visitors to the Stand

Building relationships is all about making people feel comfortable. A successful exhibition stand in many ways lives and dies on the successful interaction between the staff and visitors to the stand. Staff should talk to as many people as possible. Don't let staff members be afraid to walk up to attendees at the edge of the stand and begin a conversation.

Ask the visitor questions. Show interest in their business and what their needs are that the company may be able to help solve for them. Each face-to-face meeting is an opportunity to learn about the individual needs of the customers of the business. This can be invaluable.

Keep Staff Members Out in the Open

Depending on the design and construction of the exhibition stand, employees may have difficulty standing out in front so people walking past can see them. People have a tendency at trade shows to stay behind the welcome counter or in other positions that put a barrier between themselves and the potential visitors wandering into the stand area to learn more. You should learn about the different ways to attract new visitors to the exhibition stand before attending.

Consider Rotational Shifts for Staff Members

Exhibition days can be long and drag on. Meeting and greeting a new collection of people every hour gets exhausting quickly even for those who claim to be “a real people person”. Ensure that staff members get sensible rest periods and if possible, create a rotational shift which reduces the total number of hours that each staff member is at the exhibition stand. This way they'll be fresh and energised when meeting each new visitor to the exhibition stand.

Plan ahead for your next trade show to help get the most out of your investment in an exhibition stand.

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How to Apply for a US Work Permit

Washington, USA. July 8, 2011. The reflaction of demonstrators on a window shop. Woman carrying a pancart with the image of Dr. King and the slogan "We Too Have a Dream" in reference to woman and Litino rights.

Contributed article in our entrepreneurial series. My great-grandparents were immigrants and didn't speak English, and as a result I strongly support the rich diversity that immigrants bring to the USA. Welcome and enjoy! – Kimberly

Want to work in the US? Here's some practical advice for people courageous enough to embrace the challenge to moving to a new country.

The process for applying for a US work permit, also known as an employment authorization document (EAD), is quite straightforward. The process involves filling out a one-page form, attaching the fee, photos, and documents to prove that you are eligible, and submitting it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, since the work permit is only available to certain groups of immigrants, the catch is making sure that you are eligible. If you’d like to learn more about how to apply for a US work permit, read on.

Form I-765

The initial form that you will need to fill out in order to apply for a work permit is Form I-765 which you can download from the USCIS website. The form requires you to fill in your name and general contact information, along with additional information such as EB5 funding. Question twelve will require you to detail your most recent entry into the US, and the manner in which you entered the country. Question sixteen will require the most effort, as you will need to use the I-765 instructions detailed on the USCIS website in order to determine which eligibility category you fall into.

Attaching Proof

In order to prove that you qualify for a US work permit, you will need to attach a photocopy of whatever documents you have that shows the status you described in question sixteen on the Form I-765. For example, if you are applying as an asylum seeker you will need to attach the judge’s order granting you asylum, or a copy of the letter from the asylum office. If you are applying as an investor, you might enlist the services of a legal group such as Hirson Immigration. However, you should note that if you are applying for the work permit at the same time as application for status you will not need to include proof of eligibility.

The Fee

As of 2015, the current fee for applying for a US work permit is $380. However, if you are applying after this time it’s important to note that the fee does change and can go up often, so you should check the official website to find out the latest fee. If you plan to request deferred action, you will also need to pay a biometrics fee which is currently $85. Certain categories of applications will not be required to pay the fee, such as those who are also filing to adjust status in order to obtain a green card.

How to Submit Your Application

In order to submit your US work permit application to USCIS, you have two options. You can either send the application by mail, or use e-filing which is an online application. E-filing is a convenient option for payment, however you will also need to send your supporting documents by mail. If you are submitting your application by mail it’s important that you double check the address, as there are different mailing addresses for the various applicant categories.

Have you successfully applied for a US work permit? How did you find the process, and how long did it take? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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