How to start a business from home

canstockphoto13169474If you’re thinking of setting up your own business, starting from home is a great idea. It helps to keep overheads down, is a failsafe if things don’t go to plan and very convenient, saving on both money and time. Starting from home is much less risky than renting or buying premises, so what can you do to make sure your venture is a success?


Marketing your business in the right way is so important to get it off the ground. Whether you’re creating your first clothing line, dog grooming parlour or catering business, getting your business out there is essential. From home, one of the best ways to market your business is by using social media. Use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get people talking about what do you and encourage shares and likes for more exposure.

Using social media is free so it’s amazing way for start-up businesses to get a digital presence.  Combine digital marketing with a small offline marketing strategy. A few flyers and posters in the area should gather some interest, you could even pay for an advert in your local newspaper and you’re sure to be well on the way to attracting many new clients.


Investing in some suitable transport will make your business a lot more efficient. Many businesses do their own deliveries and it’s essential you turn up looking like a reputable dealer if you’re dropping off parcels for clients. It’s a good idea to lease a van  as you’ll save on costs, have the space to get all your goods in and have a more professional business image.

Productivity tools

Often it can be really useful to find new productivity tools to help you keep on top of everything. Trello is amazing tool for keeping organised, it helps with creating to do lists, allows you to upload files and keeps you constantly updated. Other apps which help you manage your information, such as Strides can also be useful. Strides helps to make graphs and charts of your data so you can easily track your progress and business growth. Keeping on top of your admin work really pays off in the long run so it’s essential to make sure you’re using all the best tools.

Starting a business from home can be daunting but with the right tools, transport and a marketing agenda set up you should be well on the way to becoming a roaring success.

How Work Experience Can Help You Become a Business Analyst

Work experience is usually the most important consideration when business analysts are hired. In fact, since organizations want lasting solutions to their business problems, they always want to hire experienced and knowledgeable business analysts who can give those solutions. Therefore, if you are a professional in a business field, such as human resource, accounting, finance, business administration or economics, your experience can help you to make a quick transition into a business analyst career.

Building the right skills and experiences for a business analyst career does not require you to have a business analyst title. In fact, you can simply serve in a transitional position and grow your income stream while still accumulating the necessary qualifications for becoming a business analyst. Indeed, you can simply seek a transitional job at your current employer or get employment in a new company and work in a position that will help you to gain those skills. Nevertheless, while almost any job in the business field can lead to a career as business analyst, some jobs can help you to move quickly and achieve your career goals more conveniently.

What Skills Should You Gain from Transitional Jobs?

So what skills and experiences should you look for in transitional jobs? Firstly, the right transitional job to becoming a business analyst should give you the chance to work on in-progress business projects, enjoy on-the-job training in a lively environment and put the skills you have gained to use. Indeed, relevant transitional roles should allow you to work in requirements gathering, elicitation and validation, and in requirements management and analysis.

Secondly, the right transitional jobs should enable you to gain experience in Process Improvement Methodologies (such as Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, Business Process Management, Value Stream Mapping, and Capability Maturity Model Integration). Thirdly, transitional positions should enable you to gain experience in analyzing, documenting and proposing result-driven business solutions for complex and less complex business areas, and to translate core business goals into functional specifications.

Besides, the right work experience should include the chance to write use cases and use stories, and to get involved in test planning, technical design and project implementation. The jobs should also give you the opportunity to organize and run workshops and meetings of different kinds, whether with offshore developers, project creators or business stakeholders.

Such meetings will teach you the importance of communication to project success and to establishing rapport with team members, developers, third-party providers and clients. Similarly, relevant work experience should empower you to create and justify proposed business cases, translate business requirements to set deliverables and work flows, and to maintain seamless communication with key project teams, stakeholders, third-party suppliers, business intelligence and risk assessment teams, and quality assurance and compliance teams.

Transitional Jobs to Consider if You Want to Become a Business Analyst

There are two major classes of transitional jobs that can give you the relevant experience for becoming a business analyst: Easy-to-Qualify for jobs and Difficult-to-Qualify for jobs. The easy-to-qualify for jobs require a few years of professional experience and expertise and do not have very high levels of professional qualifications, yet they can help prospective business analysts to gain the necessary experience and be ready for future roles.

Examples of easy-to-qualify for positions are project coordinator (analyst), test analyst, administrative assistant to technology executives such as chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO), marketing analyst, operations analyst, sales analyst, reporting analyst, customer service, technical support officer, subject matter expert, and assistant roles to senior business analysts.

Difficult-to-qualify for jobs have heavy professional and work experience requirements to join, but they can lead directly to business analyst positions. They include project manager, software developer, systems analyst, technical writer, quality assurance engineer, business manager and functional manager. Nevertheless, there is no single path to becoming a business analyst and your professional experience will determine how soon you achieve your career dreams.

Therefore, if you are currently unemployed, make sure to look for a position that is easier to join and that will expose you to business analyst responsibilities. And if you are currently employed, you should either take up transitional roles or expand your responsibilities to include business analyst tasks.

Think it out loud: Tactics to consider before investing your money

182457_9046Our parents rightfully said that it’s easy to spend money that we don’t earn ourselves. That’s why we tend to burn through our weekly allowance in a matter of days. Now that you’re in one of the most important decisions in your life, how are you holding up? When it comes to choosing the right investment to go for, selecting a one-size-fits-all approach often ends up damaging your finances.

Let’s take a look at some tactics you need to know before you can answer the question ‘what is the best investment for me?’

How much are you willing to invest? Do you want to invest a lump investment, or to set aside a portion of your monthly salary? Maybe a short-term investment or longer? Most importantly, how much money do you currently have?

Some assets require you to pay a lump sum investment, such as corporate bonds or buying a property. Providers like NPBS have fixed rate home loans that make property investments easier to get, suitable for residential investors who want a fixed interest rate with loads of features and no ongoing fees. Properties can then either be rented out or flipped for faster ROI.

Other types of investment offer the flexibility of either a regular contribution or a lump sum, such as stocks and shares. Some investments also practice a minimum financial commitment, so knowing what you can afford and whether you can stick through it or not is a good starting point.

How long are you willing to invest? Or stated another way – when will you need to get your money? Some investment products run for a fixed period of time, which impacts the time when you can access your money. If you have a specific date in mind as to when you have to access your capital, then look at the type of investment you’re going for. Investments, such as shares shouldn’t be considered as a short-term investment option.

What are you planning to do with the money? Everyone has a reason for saving, and the purpose of your investment will affect how much risk you are willing to take with your capital. If your investment is targeted towards your children’s education, then you should invest over a long period of time, and look for a higher return, subsequently you need to choose a higher-risk investment option.

On the other hand, if you are investing money to finance a new car, or an overseas trip, you may want to invest for a short period of time and want confidence that your investment will be returned with bonuses. You should utilize lower risk short-term investments.

Will you need an income from your investment? Expecting an income from your investment will influence your choice of product. The best-known investment vehicle for receiving an income in retirement is a pension.

Other investment products that also provide regular income are annuities, or corporate bond funds. You may also choose to invest in a buy-to-let property to give you a steady stream of rental income.

There you have it! As a first time investor, I also suggest that you seek professional advice first before engaging in any products, as most of them require a huge commitment. Best of luck!

Saving Money Without Breaking a Sweat

It’s definitely more fun to spend money than save it. Nonetheless, saving is crucial to your financial health. Some people downplay the importance of saving money. They know it’s something they need to do, but they’re not willing to take the first step and create a savings plan.

The truth is life is unpredictable. We all have financial curveballs thrown our way, and it’s only by having a savings plan that we can be prepared. You can go to work every day and give your boss 100%. But this doesn’t guarantee you won’t lose your job because of downsizing. Your employer may offer a little severance and you might qualify for unemployment. If this isn’t enough to cover all your expenses, wouldn’t it be nice to have a savings account to meet your needs?

A savings account is also beneficial because it provides resources during an emergency. Financial experts recommend saving enough for a three to six-month emergency cash fund. This money comes in handy when you need an auto repair, a home repair or medical procedure. If you don’t have the safety net of a savings account, using a credit card and getting into debt might be your only option.

But, while the importance of saving money is obvious, some people have a completely different mindset. They want instant gratification so they’re not willing to postpone big purchases in order to boost their savings account. Also, some people are overly concerned with keeping up with the Joneses. Therefore, they would rather blow all their cash than prepare for their future.

Even if you recognize the importance of saving money, you might not know where to start. Saving money has its challenges, but it’s easier than you think. If you need to increase your cash flow before you can even think about saving money, here are a few practical tips for reducing your expenditures.

  1. Reduce your transportation cost

Next to housing, transportation is one of our biggest monthly expenses. You might have a car payment, auto insurance, regular maintenance and you have to put fuel in your car. Owning a car can take a huge chunk of your monthly income, making it challenging to save money. But there are ways to reduce your transportation costs and build your emergency fund.

To start with, evaluate whether you actually need a vehicle. If you live in a city with various modes of public transportation, could you possibly sell your car and take the bus, the subway, or light rail? If this isn’t an option, can you carpool with co-workers a few days a week and reduce your fuel costs while minimizing vehicle wear and tear. Or if you’re paying too much for your car, can you trade down and get a car with a cheaper payment and then put the difference in your savings account?

  1. Refinance your house

Talk with your mortgage lender to discuss the option of refinancing your home. If interest rates have dropped recently, you might qualify for a lower mortgage rate, which can help you get a cheaper monthly payment. Let’s say you’re able to save $200 a month by refinancing your mortgage loan. That’s a yearly savings of $2,400. Rather than waste this money on vacations, electronics or clothes, put this cash in your savings account, preferably a high-yield savings account so you can grow your emergency fund faster. When in need of a loan, one can always leverage the equity of their home. It is important to become familiarized with Home Equity Loan Rates.

  1. Save on energy around the house

Your energy bills aren’t written in stone. There are several ways to reduce your costs and save on a monthly or annual basis. You can install a programmable thermostat so your HVAC system uses less energy. Sealing or plugging holes around your windows, doors, and electrical outlets can help lower your utility bills, as does replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. Another option is comparing electricity rates and switching to a provider with a lower cost. You have the power to choose your electric company, depending on where you live. Some providers encourage comparison shopping because they’re committed to “helping consumers save on their monthly electric bills,” according to the experts at Commonwealth Edison.

  1. Cancel unnecessary services

You might think you need certain household services, but after eliminating these services, you come to the realization that they were unnecessary. If you don’t have extra money to build your savings account, it’s time to evaluate your priorities. Think about this: if you were to cancel your cable (or downgrade), your landline phone, your housekeeping service, and your lawn care service, how much could you save a month? Even if you’re only saving $100 a month, that’s an annual savings of $1,200 without breaking a sweat.

If you reevaluate your budget and what you spend money on, you might realize you have more than enough cash to build your emergency fund. But to get to this point, you have to make a few sacrifices and adjust your spending habits.

Managing Portfolios to Index-Beating Growth

MFS has been doing what some critics of managed funds call impossible: beating the indexes over and over. Indexes are the conservative investor’s best friend. Built on all of the best-performing stocks in the world, the index fund investor’s portfolio grows with the rest of the economy, often outperforming most other investment returns. Because this tends to happen, index proponents can forget what happens when it doesn’t work, when the worst happens. The recent stock plummet that originated in China was a reminder of this, and those of us with index mutual funds have yet to see our portfolios recover.

This method is the equivalent of investment autopilot. And while it works out well for a certain type of investor, there are storms which arise for which you will want a pilot, at least if you want your portfolio to survive the storm. That’s where MFS comes in. Using their 3 tiered strategy of 1) Lots of knowledge from lots of experts, 2) Constant Risk Analysis, and 3) Long term planning for each investor’s financial future, MFS manages to beat the odds and outperform the market many times over. Their performance is envied by those who relied on the market forces inherent to index funds during the recent stock fall.

MFS can pull this off because they have so many experts involved in the process. MFS needs their clients to make money. After all, it’s how they make their money. So accumulating real insight from a wide array of qualified people is how they make the best investment choices you are likely to find among fund managers. They’re also always accounting for risk, which helps them to take on only those assets which will be very likely to get their clients paid. This is a company that’s acting in the best interests of you and your portfolio for the long haul. So let MFS get involved with your investment. They’ll be able to guide you to opportunities and away from financial pitfalls.