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Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is a Lifestyle Job and How to Find One

Almost everyone must have dreamed at one time or another of finding that elusive job that chimes with their existing lifestyle. The one which doesn’t feel like a job; where it’s almost an embarrassment to look at the monthly paycheck because it’s so much fun just going to work every day. The one which pays well enough that daily living is comfortable and unexpected bills are not a mad scramble for the last available penny.

A Lifestyle Job for the Salary
The official definition of a lifestyle job is a job which allows the holder to live a defined level of lifestyle to which they have aspired.

Often, a lifestyle job such as this starts out as a part time franchise, independent distributorship or similar operation, run alongside a dayjob to make some extra money. It takes up a few hours a week and brings in perhaps a couple of hundred pounds a month. Many people start off looking for extra income to pay for a holiday, their children’s schooling or a credit card bill. Once they have built up a customer base of their own, the option is there for franchise holders to take their involvement further. Using the tools and marketing provided by the company, they can opt to grow the business, recruiting new members to 'the team' or 'the downline' and benefiting from a cut of the value of any sales made by these new recruits. In an ideal model, this eventually provides enough income for the founder (and their immediate family) to live at a level typically higher than they would have managed without the entrepreneurial streak. It is often not sustainable beyond a single generation, but provides inspiration for younger family members and customers to try their hand at something similar. Even for part timers, a lifestyle job offering good chances of repeat business (health, nutrition and dietary products, homewares or cosmetics, typically) can provide a worthwhile strand of additional income.

Businesses which offer the option of residual earnings like this are often online operations using advertising or websites to sell products or concepts. They are popular lifestyle businesses as they are easily scalable and yet can still be run by one or two people. Such a network or multi-level marketing model may not appeal to everyone, but that is not to say that they are bad – many people have had great success from selling health and wealth-centric products and advice.

Business opportunities are often promoted by word of mouth advertising, linked in short social media posts, offered via advertisements or found through an online search for phrases such as ‘work from home jobs’ or ‘earn extra income’. Not everyone will make a success of every opportunity, and it is advisable to research thoroughly before committing to any franchise. Some people may even try several different companies before settling with one that best suits their way of working.

A Lifestyle Job for the Love
The other definition of a lifestyle job is something which chimes with the holder’s ethics, morals or existing interests. So an animal lover could end up working for a rescue charity, or someone interested in fashion could land a position as a buyer for a High Street store, for instance. These positions are often a great way to achieve high levels of job satisfaction, since the employee perceives that they are being paid for doing something they would be doing anyway. The pay may not be great but the feeling of being able to make a difference often outweighs the salary question.

These positions are typically found in many organisations. Large companies such as hospitals, academic institutions and councils have a wide range of roles to attract many different people, whether their skills lie in the vocational, practical or back room spheres. IT specialists, auditors, maintenance staff, retail workers, pastoral carers, rehabilitation workers, fundraisers and many more experts can be found working alongside the medical, nursing and clinical staff in large teaching hospitals, while universities and colleges also have the feel of being small towns in their own right at times, with professional help of all kinds available on campus.

Of course, for some people, it is possible to hold both varieties of lifestyle job. Their dayjob could well be in one of those specialist fields where they are using their existing qualifications and skills, while their sideline could be providing a little extra cash by running an independent business using the power of online marketing.

Just because it is sometimes possible to have your cake and eat it too.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

MacBack site buys used Apple devices for resale

MacBack logo. Image proivided and used with permission.



Having written about looking into buying a second hand MacBook yesterday, I have now found that the company behind tech.trade also has a sister company and site where users can sell their old Apple devices for cash.

MacBack (cool name, huh?) specialises in the purchase of used MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs but will also take a look at any recent Apple device with the exception of iPods. The site is ISO registered for peace of mind and has a quick and simple quote request system. The quote is offered within 48 hours and once it has been accepted by the seller, payment is made to PayPal or bank account immediately.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. A Mac user can trade in their preloved, used but still usable, equipment and within a couple of days can have a downpayment towards the cost of the newest, shiniest, most up-to-date model. Current owners should follow the basic security procedures advised in the Apple support pages, and take a backup of all data on the machine before sending it off for sale. The MacBack team will securely wipe all data on any machine received in accordance with Data Protection Act and Government rules. This includes iTunes, iCloud and iMessage content, so users should ensure that they are logged out of all programs before parting with their device. There are no fees for the data wiping or courier pick up and the price sellers receive is likely to be more in line with market value than many resellers.

MacBack’s couriers will be despatched to the seller’s house to pick up the parcel. They will announce their imminent arrival by text. If, on receipt of the item, the team have any queries or issues, the seller will be contacted to discuss, and if necessary, a revised quote will be offered.

The MacBack site has a special contact area for those sellers with multiple items to trade in, as they work with educational and industry buyers to ensure that all items are sold on to the most appropriate places.

MacBack reminds me of the kind of trade in site operating for used mobile phones, but on a bigger scale. There is a huge market for secondhand tech, and I owned no less than four used desktops or laptops before finally deciding to make the break and buy a new device. Apple devices in particular have a good resale value, as new models are released regularly while the older models are still relatively up to date and function well even if they are several years old. My classic iPod is still working just as well as the day I was given it almost a decade ago, while the iPod Touch I use to play iOS games on is a bit dated in terms of the operating system but it can still handle many popular games. I have no reason to doubt that the same is true of MacBooks, iMacs and iPads once they have been carefully reconditioned and tested.

Users looking to sell their used Apple devices for a decent sum could do well to check out the price offered by MacBack before parting with their item to any reseller, as they may be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tech.trade offer competitively priced refurbished Apple products

Tech.trade logo. Image provided and used with permission.

After yet another problem with my Windows laptop I’ve found myself considering the option of buying a reconditioned Macbook or Macbook Pro. I’m no fan of Apple devices, and quite cheerfully admit that the cult of Jobs passed me by completely. My husband, on the other hand, is a Mac fanboi, and has several bits of Apple kit, both retro and modern. He swears that the reliability of iObjects is far superior to others, and believes that a Macbook would even be me-proof, which is a decent recommendation given that I have something of a reputation for destroying tech accidentally. Seeing as my current Windows machine has drilled through a hard drive failure and two rebuilds in under three years, I’m open to suggestions at this time. I use my laptop for at least four hours every weekday and closer to 18 hours a day at the weekends, so it needs to be robust. Luckily most of my work is saved or backed up in the cloud, so when the updates prove too much, I don’t lose too many files any more.

When I was told about tech.trade, a site specialising in refurbished Apple devices, I decided to take a look. There are other manufacturers available, but the refurbished Macbooks presently available at time of writing run from £150 to £700, depending on the grade of refurbishment. The three grades are Bronze, Silver and Gold, reflecting the quality of the machine at the time of refurbishment and the likely lifespan of the machine afterwards.

Tech.trade also have other machinery for sale, including televisions and smartphones, but the primary focus of the site is on Apple products. The prices are generally cheaper than eBay, which I found to be eyewateringly expensive for a decent spec product. There are several iMac desktops
available, a selection of iPads and iPhones and the MacBooks that originally caught my eye.

Personally, as a newcomer to Apple tech, and with limited finances available to spend, Tech.trade is a real find. The price of a refurbished MacBook is around the same cost as a new laptop from another manufacturer, and at least half the price of a new model. All refurbished models have 90 day warranty but then again, Apple offer a comprehensive repair programme through their stores too. Ten-day shipping is free for goods over £100. For those customers who must have their item immediately, if the item is ordered before 2pm, an extra £10 secures next day delivery.

With prices this good, anyone who has wanted to try an Apple product but doesn’t have the funds for a new one could be well advised to take a look at Tech.trade. I’m certainly going to keep an eye on the site in future to try and spot that elusive must-have MacBook at an affordable price.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Want to earn more and work less?

Living the Dream. With this opportunity you could too.
Image provided and used with permission.

I’m sure you’ve all seen these network marketing or MLM schemes where you can sell items and make some money but it’s signing up new recruits that makes the big bucks for you.

This one works in a similar way but seems a little different. If you watch the 17 minute promotional video I’ve just linked to, you’ll hear about a training program that will show you how and where to place advertisements to attract leads. Those leads are then converted into customers by the company’s dedicated sales team, and you will earn commission on any sales they make. To date, the company has paid over $67 million in commission.

The company does not class itself as an MLM or cash-gifting firm, but more as an online education source, where the firm’s partners learn how to use advertising to their benefit. In common with many online work-from-home programs, it accepts applicants from all backgrounds, but not everyone is deemed suitable. Around a quarter of all applicants are either screened out at the time of application or choose not to continue after the first 7 days’ free training.

The company claims to have paid out commission to over 3,500 people so far so some of them must be doing something right. The highest earners have already made over a million dollars, and a handful have been paid over $100,000 to date. Several hundred have earned over $10,000 in commission. The dedicated sales team who process the leads generated by the adverts are trained to sell high-value items, which I suspect may be the advertisements that the partners are earning commission from placing. Therefore, if this opportunity works the way it appears to, it would be a possible revenue stream for someone who travels widely or has other reasons for needing to earn money from working online. Placing the advertisements requires no technical knowledge whatsoever; there is no website to run and no follow ups to perform on the leads generated, as this is all handled by the sales team. Placing the adverts generally takes around 30 minutes. The company is active in over 40 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The founder of the company made his first million dollars by the age of 25, and the training new partners will receive is directly from coaches he has picked. Of course, the testimonials at the end of the video are from the highest earning partners, they always are. I’m guessing that for many people, the commission will be lower, and the big figures will take some time to build up. As a veteran of several MLM and independent franchise opportunities, you get out what you put in with these programs. Generally, you can earn enough to cover your costs plus a little extra to make life more comfortable.

The main glitch I see with this approach is if the advertisements are detected and blocked by ad-blocking software which many people use these days. However, if the advertisement can be placed via a paid campaign on social media, or simply a post (like this) with a link in it, then the potential for revenue is much higher. For those with some spare time and a good internet connection, an opportunity like this could be worth investigating.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cool Tumblers - you design it, they'll print it

Dish Washer Tested
A typical ecxample of Cool Tumblers' work.
Image available on the CoolTumbers.com website
 

Tumblers are incredibly useful items. Not only can they save your best shirt from coffee stains, they can also express your personality. From a company’s point of view, they are easy to customize and long lasting, making them a good corporate gift to regular customers, an ideal goody bag addition and a brilliant publicity tool.

Running around the average corporate campus to meetings, staff can easily ensure they stay hydrated with their own personalized tumbler from Cool Tumblers. Safer than mugs, more environmentally sound than single use plastic disposable cups, each tumbler can be printed with a custom design to the buyer’s specification. Prices are as low as $40 per unit, and potential customers can contact the company to discuss their order before buying. The Cool Tumblers site is configured to show prices in USD by default, but the top menu offers the option to display costs in many different popular currencies. So UK customers can expect to pay between £56 and £75 per unit and Euro customers between €66 and €89 per unit. The price decreases the more units are ordered.

The powder coating on the tumblers improves grip and the choice of stock or custom designs increases the appeal of these durable items. For school sports teams, frequent travelers, commuters and staff attending meetings away from their desks, a tumbler from Custom Tumblers is a useful accessory. The company also suggests that they are good for fundraisers, which makes sense if the ticket cost covers the cost of a free tumbler too.

Designs cover monograms, corporate logos, tattoo style designs, school and team crests and the customer’s own preference. It might even be possible to order a batch for a team with different designs on each tumbler according to the team members’ individual choices. Customers can always contact Custom Tumblers to discuss any questions.

Cool Tumblers’ tagline is We Like To Print, which may well be obvious from their website, given the amount of information they offer about their tumblers, the production and printing process. The firm specializes in custom drinkware from RTIC, YETI and other brands, and has a comprehensive means of contact, showing that customer satisfaction is top of the agenda. Custom Tumblers’ Facebook page is always an option for potential customers to use as a contact point, although the Contact Us page on the website is prominently flagged on more or less every page. The Feedback page is also available for anyone to fill in, while the terms and conditions and user agreement are posted for customers to scroll through before they place an order.

The Print on Demand nature of the Cool Tumblers’ business lends itself particularly well to digital printing, which is fully adaptable to today’s modern printing requirements. The latest printing technology offers pin-sharp reproduction, efficient production methods and the lowest cost possible. For those customers ordering inventory, this approach allows a much leaner approach to stock holding, which in itself cuts costs as the buyer is not having to store as much stock.

Sounds like Cool Tumblers have it covered when it comes to custom drinkware. Why not check out their website for further information.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tracey Kelley - hometown lender to the discerning


Image from FitzGerald Financial Group
Used with permission of Tracey L Kelley

Tracey Kelley may seem like rather an unusual name for a mortgage specialist website until you realize that it is named for the person who set it up. Many people seeking mortgages for residential purchase or refinance reasons are referred to their lender thanks to the testimony of friends, family or other clients. Many of these companies are individuals affiliated with larger financial groups, so potential customers can simply arrange everything with a local lender, even if their larger company is a nationwide name.

A hometown lender who is part of FitzGerald Financial Group, Tracey L Kelley is a mortgage banker specializing in residential purchase and refinance. This Maryland-based mortgage loan officer has closed thousands of mortgages, thereby helping many people buy or refinance their home. The problem with financing a property today is that what is current when a potential customer sees it online may not necessarily be the actual market picture by the time the loan or mortgage is closed. This applies just as much to mortgage costs and interest as loan prices and guidelines. Therefore it is always better to speak to an expert in the market, someone who has their finger on the pulse of what is actually being offered, right there and then. They will be able to give customers the up-to-the minute news about rates and prices, and will also be able to offer approval at the time.

The website’s blog cautions that ‘anything you read on this blog might be irrelevant by the time you are ready to buy a home or a close a mortgage transaction’ and suggests that personal contact is the best option. Plus, mortgaging or refinancing can be a pretty soulless job when done alone, as there is always the niggling thought that another provider may offer a better deal, if only time and patience were there to check out every possible option.

Tracey L Kelley’s site takes away a lot of this doubt, by displaying a list of current mortgage rates and a detailed scroller of mortgage and real estate news. There is a link to the Facebook page on the blog tab and a link to FitzGerald Financial Group on the Home tab. Potential clients have all the information at hand which they may need to decide whether Tracey L Kelley is the hometown lender for them.

FitzGerald Financial Group itself is a division of TowneBank, and prides itself on the personal experience provided by its lenders, together with the speed typical of online processing and approval. The team offers affordable loans and quick processing as well as the breadth of knowledge shared intelligence can bring. Plus, because all their lenders are local to the community in which they work, they have neighborhood networks and connections with others in the housing business, such as builders, realtors and appraisers.

For the best mortgage and loan options, it looks like keeping it local with a hometown lender such as Tracey L Kelley may prove to be a good option for many homebuyers.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zigstat free SEO statistical & analytical reports

Screenshot of Zigstat website
Image taken with permission.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is vital to the success of any website. A good webmaster or website owner will know how to ensure their site has good SEO, but to the uninitiated it is often a dark art. Even for the best webmaster, having the stats of your site at your fingertips is useful information.

Zigstat.com can help decode some of the jargon and provide indicators of success by providing free statistical and analytical data on any website. Users provide the name of the website they are checking and in return can see a variety of stats about it. Data provided includes associated organic keywords, similar sites found by the same keywords and most popular sites providing backlinks to the website. There is also a screenshot of the home page, plus a host of SEO stats including the Alexa, Semrush and Moz Domain Authority ranks, popularity by number of visitors and traffic map by country.

The report also shows the page loading speed (vital for user engagement), earnings from advertisements and popularity on numerous social media channels. Thinking somewhat laterally, the analytics draw parallels between the subject site and similar sites on the same IP address, as well as contrasting the site’s success with those showing the same Adsense adverts.

Lastly, the analytics show the WOT Trustworthiness and Google Safety scores for the website as well as reproducing the WHOIS data and information on the domain name and registration details.

But why would anyone want to know this information about a site?

Sometimes, being able to contact the person who registered the site is important, for instance in cases of plagiarism or when serving a cease and desist notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A recent article from the BBC entitled How long will you wait for a shopping website to load? (Matthew Wall, BBC.co.uk Technology of Business Editor, 19 August 2016) suggests that if a site hasn’t loaded within three seconds, many potential customers will look elsewhere. It is also interesting for website owners to know which sites the web considers most similar to theirs, and how other sites perform serving the same ads as theirs.

Services such as Zigstat are not often widely recognized outside the professional website management realm. But anyone who has a website, no matter how large or small, will benefit from having free information on hand, on demand. A single snapshot of a website’s stats is all very well, but for those looking to grow their business, or see why orders have dropped, regular visits to Zigstat before and after making changes to the site can be beneficial and provide real insight into their own and their competitors’ performance.