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Why More Small Businesses Are Opting For VoIP

by Guest Author 22 October 2019 07:08

Small Business Tips: Why More Small Businesses Are Opting For VoIP

Businesses are always looking to cut costs without cutting the amount of services they provide their customers. It's the reason businesses invest in technology that allows them to accomplish more with less effort. It's also why VoIP business phone systems have become so popular.

The Advantages of VoIP For Small Businesses

VoIP or Voice over Internet protocol for those who don't like to use acronyms, is a phone system that uses the Internet rather than telephone lines. While the calls lose nothing in terms of clarity or strength (they're indistinguishable from traditional phone calls) they are less expensive to make. Whether it's local or long-distance, VoIP will always cost less money than traditional phone service. Private VoIP service can cost as little as $5 to $10 a month, and business VoIP service can start as low as $30 per month.

In addition to the low costs and high strength though, VoIP phone systems for small businesses tend to come with features that have traditionally cost a great deal extra. Caller ID, call forwarding, a voice mail box, and other features are quite expensive with traditional providers, but they're often part of the deal when it comes VoIP phone systems.

More VoIP System Providers Means More Customers

The real reason that more businesses are opting for VoIP small business phone systems likely has something to do with the spread of VoIP service providers. More companies are offering businesses more options, and the result is that traditional phone service is falling further and further behind. It can't offer the same service at the same low price, so if there is high-speed Internet available in a given location it's much more likely that a business is going to choose VoIP.

If is the key word there.

While VoIP phone systems have huge advantages for small businesses, if there isn't an Internet infrastructure in place to support a VoIP system then it just isn't a feasible option. That's why in more rural and unconnected areas VoIP hasn't made its mark yet. It is, according to some, just a matter of time.

Small Business Tips: 3 Ways You Can Make Money Through Your Blog

by Guest Author 20 September 2019 07:15

So, you've decided it's time you started a blog. You've got your site set up just the way you like it, you've picked out a name, and you're ready to start putting your fingers to the keys. There's just one question... how are you going to make any money doing this? Ideally people who read your blog will also shop at your store, but what if the subjects you blog about don't lend themselves to conversion sales?

That's a good question. Fortunately, though, there are multiple ways you can use your blog to increase your revenue.

#1: Advertising Revenue

The most common way for bloggers to make money with their blogs is by selling ad space. Once your blog is established, and you've been regularly updating your content, you find an ad service like Google AdSense, Infolinks, or Sovrn. You apply to that service, and then if said service approves you, it will feature ads on your blog. Some ads merely require being seen (typically paying you a small fee for every 1,000 views), and others will require the ads to be clicked, but when these conditions are met, you receive a fee for being the host.

While this is a fairly easy way to start earning money on your blog, it requires a huge amount of traffic in order to make serious cash. Payments from ads tend to be small, and most ad services have a minimum payout threshold (typically around $50) that you have to reach before they cut you a check. Some bloggers will have multiple ad services on one blog, though, and that can double their money. They'll still need several thousand hits a day to get paid at the end of the month, though.

#2: Affiliate Marketing

While it's very similar to ad revenue, affiliate marketing differs in the fine details. When you work with an advertiser to put ads on your blog, you don't have a lot of control over those ads. Nor does it really matter, because all you want is for your audience to see them, and click-through. That's all it takes for you to get paid. Affiliate marketing, though, goes a step further.

With affiliate marketing, your goal is to actually sell a product that's being advertised. Because for every sale that comes directly through you, and your unique links, you get a cut of that sale (typically 10 percent).

For example, say that you ran a movie review blog. If you have joined the Amazon affiliate program, then you could leave purchase links in your review. Every time someone goes to your blog, clicks that link, and buys a movie, you get a cut of that sale. There's often a minimum amount of money you need to make before you earn a check, though, which means you need to make a lot of sales in order to turn a profit. If you have a popular blog, a lot of traffic, and a trusting audience, though, you can build that up over time.

#3: Crowdfunding

When most people think of crowdfunding, they think of websites like Kickstarter. You put together a proposal for a big project (like making a card game, or filming a movie), and then everyone who wants to see that project completed backs it. It's sort of like passing the digital hat, and asking people to help fill out your budget. Kickstarter, and similar crowdfunding sites, focus on a single project, though. Whether you're writing a book, or programming a video game, people are giving money to you to do one, specific thing.

That's where sites like Patreon come into the picture.

Patreon allows people to become patrons of an ongoing project, like a blog, vlog, webcomic, etc. The way it works is that a patron pledges a small amount of money per new installment, or per month, which allows the creator to earn a regular paycheck for making new entries into an ongoing series. So if you are a blogger, all you have to do is set up a Patreon page, and let your followers know how they can support you. You can even offer incentives, like swag or special offers, to entice people into helping support you as a blogger.

There's No Silver Bullet

For most bloggers, there's no such thing as a single paycheck. Rather, their blog is a patchwork quilt of different earning devices which, at the end of the month, all come together in the form of several, small payments.

For example, your blog might have 20 followers on Patreon, which contribute a total of $150 a month to support your efforts. Your blog might also be quite popular, earning you a $50 check in advertising revenue every month. And if you have affiliate links in your posts, and your viewers are making purchases, that might be another $50 a month. And then there are the clients you write pieces for on the side, which covers the rest of your bills.

That might not sound like much, but for a blog to be successful (and to earn you enough to help with your other business costs), you need to have as many different earnings options active as possible. Most importantly, though, you need to have a loyal following, and a lot of traffic. Because a blog can have all the earning options in the world, but if no one is stopping by to read it, then your numbers are going to remain steadfastly at zero.

Business Advice: Tips to Find Time to Take Care of Yourself

by Guest Author 21 August 2019 09:11

Most people find that there isn't enough time in the day. They wake up and rush until it is time for bed. Some people even bring their work home with them and put in a few hours after their family is asleep.

All of this isn't good for you. You need to find time to take care of yourself as a busy business owner. Here are some tips to help.

Make it a priority. You need to make the decision that self-care is going to become a part of your routine. If not, nobody else is going to make you do it!

Start small. It is hard to make changes, so it often helps to start small. Want to start exercising? Start by squeezing in ten-minute workouts. After a while, you may be able to fit in a few more minutes. Want to take time to relax? Take a few minutes every morning or evening. Eventually, you will be able to take a few more minutes every day.

Outsource some things. In order to make time for yourself, you may need to outsource some of your tasks. This can be business tasks such as paperwork, though you may even want to outsource some of your tasks around the home. Could you get some help to clean your home, so you have a few more minutes for yourself?

Or simply ask for help. If you are married, get your husband or wife to pitch in around the house. Have family that lives close? See if anyone can take your children for a few hours so you can really focus on getting things done (and having a little extra time for yourself).

If you don't make self-care a priority, nobody else will. Usually, by starting small, you will begin a routine until it becomes normal. Eventually, you will realize that it doesn't feel right if you don't take a few minutes for yourself in the morning or before you go to bed. In order to give yourself some extra time, you may need to enlist help or outsource some tasks.

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