How to Budget and Save Money in Less Than 30 Minutes

For most who are currently struggling with their everyday financial needs, budgeting is generally an unavoidable scenario. However, don’t panic. There are certain ways to make budgeting fun, effective, and painless, without it really affecting your everyday lifestyle by much. When it comes to budgeting, it is all about thinking critically about ways you can save money and conserving on existing services you may be enrolled in. Although budgeting is often frowned upon, it inevitably enables you to become a much wiser consumer. By following this step-by-step tutorial on how to create a budget, you will be able to create a budget, save money, and have a better understanding of your spending in less than 30 minutes.

Calculate your monthly income

When you think about budgeting, you probably get an image of math calculations and all that fun stuff. However, in order to know what you are able to afford or not afford, you need to be aware of your monthly income. Because without it, you simply cannot create a budget. The purpose of having a budget is to indicate simple things like if you are able to splurge or not, or currently able to enjoy that extra dinner night out. You can say basically, it is a guide, or a stepping stone for establishing a foundation in which you can live in without going into debt. The main objective of having a budget is to be more aware of your expenses and to not spend more than you can afford.

Create a list of your monthly expenses

This is where all the subtractions comes from in the calculations. In addition to creating an average of your monthly income, it is just as important to make a list of total costs of your monthly expenses. These expenses may include, food, services, clothes, and other means which require deducting money off your paycheck. I recommend breaking your list of expenses into two categories, fixed and variable expenses.  Items that go under fixed expenses are general expenses that don’t tend to fluctuate and is generally predictable. Examples are, Cable, Internet service, and so on. The other category called variable expenses should hold expenses that may fluctuate like for example, eating out, entertainment, vacation, and so on. Being aware of these expenses and categorizing them is extremely important when it comes to making adjustments geared towards your monthly earnings and creating a reasonable plan.

Making reasonable adjustments

Once you have categorized your expenses, now it is time to look back at your expenses and begin to really question if a certain expense is necessary. Like for example, paying for unlimited texting . Although it is more convenient, is it necessary? Budgeting is all about making minor sacrifices in order to sustain a certain way of life, without the need of additional income. The purpose of living by a budget is to ensure you do not go pass your limits and be more aware of your current financial situation. By making reasonable adjustments and thinking of ways you can substitute or possibly eliminate certain expenses, you are allowing yourself to be that much richer every month. The things I ask myself before I eliminate something is:

  1. Can I live without it?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Can I find an alternative and replace it?
  4. Do I still currently use this?
  5. Is it worth it?
  6. Am I happy? (ask yourself in a month)

Although the 6th question may seem odd, it is a question you should ask yourself after a month if you are still thinking about that one service you canceled. If you miss it after a month of cancellation, most likely, you didn’t accurately answer question 1. There are certain times when you should be able to enjoy the luxuries of life, however, there should always be a balance.

Have a realistic goal

One of the common mistakes people make is not have a realistic goal. Like for instance, saying you will cut costs of spending everyday by at least $30. Even though everyones’ standards of spending may be different, dropping say, $30, within a day can be rather difficult and can make budgeting seem relentless when it doesn’t have to be. It is recommended to slowly adapt to a budget you think is healthy, say, dropping $5 cumulatively every week, rather than making one huge decision for a variety of reasons. Adapting slowly enables you to transition to a more conservative lifestyle and at the same time, enables you to accept and get used to the new lifestyle. Budgeting should be adapted slowly because it can be uncharted territory and for most, not having the proper time to transition from one lifestyle to another, can lead to worlds of problems with added on stress. Budgeting is all about adopting healthy habits and becoming a much wiser you, and the sooner you adopt better habits, the sooner you will begin to see results. The biggest obstacle of budgeting  is suppressing the urge to do regular old habits that may be costly, and substituting services like Cable, with other reasonable means.

Review your budget monthly

Last but not least, review your budget on a regular basis. If there is ever a notable change in your monthly income, it is extremely important to add that valuable information to your budget to ensure you stay on track. Budgeting is all about sitting down, reflecting, and creating a balance geared towards your financial situation. After the first month take a minute to sit down and compare the actual expenses versus what you had created in the budget. This will show you where you did well and where you may need to improve. From there on, take that information and learn from it and in no time, you should begin to start seeing results.

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5 Easy Ways For College Students To Save Money

The economy has seen its better days over the last couple years and many of us have been forced to change the way we spend money.  Many people have found themselves unemployed or underemployed and some are even going back to school as a result.  Saving money while you are still in school is one way for you to come out on top after college.  Unfortunately, our college days don’t last forever and preparing for the future is necessary for the world we live in.  And that starts with saving money.

So we put together five easy ways for college students to save money.

Develop A Budget

People hate the B word, but sooner or later you will learn that budgets aren’t really that bad.  When you use a budget it doesn’t mean you have to set up a budget that completely restricts your spending.  The point of a budget is to help you spend less than what you earn and to know where you are spending your money.  There are numerous online tools to help you budget and plenty of cool apps, too.

Use Coupons

I know clipping coupons doesn’t seem all that cool, but who cares if it saves you some money. Today, you don’t have to search the Sunday paper for coupons because they are all over the internet. You can find coupons and promotion codes for just about anything, and the savings is well worth it. It might require you to do some planning ahead, but once you see just how much you can save you will get hooked!

Use A Cash Back Credit Card

Contrary to what many people think, credit cards are not evil. With that being said, if you are going to use a credit card you must be responsible. Using a cash back credit card is one easy way to save yourself some money. With a cash back card you earn a percentage back on your purchases. Typically, these cards pay 1% to 5% cash back on the amount you charge to the card. Keep in mind the only way you really save money is by always paying your balance off in full each month and never missing a payment. In other words, to save you have to be responsible. There are many great student credit cards that offer cash back.

Ask for a Discount

Most of us don’t think about asking for a discount, but you would be surprised what happens when you do. I learned this from my mom who always asks for a discount no matter where she goes. I recently applied this tactic with my cable company. I had been seeing various ads from other companies offering a lower price for the same services I was using. I simply called up my cable company and asked them to give me a discount because the other companies were offer lower prices. It worked and I ended up saving money!

Review Your Cell Phone Bill

Having worked in the cell phone industry, I know first hand just how expensive cell phones can be. They can be even more expensive than necessary if you are paying for services you don’t need. I have talked to many customers who discover they are paying for services they don’t even use. This could include things like roadside assistance, phone insurance, premium text message subscriptions and more. Take a good look at your bill and make sure you are using all the services you are paying for. For example, if you have a really old phone, then paying a monthly insurance charge probably isn’t necessary because you could just get a new phone if needed.

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10 Amazing Ways to Monetize Youtube Videos

Thousands of people, from kids to old, have utilized youtube to be their main income stream since it has a lot to offer.

No matter if you have failed in your youtube mission or you are just planning to start a new, this guide has come at a right time for you. Here we have listed all the monetizing methods of youtube videos to fill up your pockets with passive income.

10 Amazing Ways to Monetize Youtube Videos

Youtube Partner Program

This is an inbuilt system provided by youtube to share the revenue with video publishers which they get from the showing ads in their videos. However, this program is available to people of few countries only. These countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The program works on the basis of CPM, i.e. revenue is given when the videos and hence ads get every 1000 views. And this CPM rate differs from country to country and is also setup by the location of the users viewing your videos.

The Youtube Network

Have you been not selected for Youtube Partner Program for any reason? Then it’s time to try this one. This is also a cool way to monetize youtube videos as this includes independent marketing networks that work on youtube marketing and share their revenue with you which they earn through your videos.

All you need to do is to look for a youtube network and apply. If your channel is focused on the videos related to the niche that networks are looking for and you receive good views and engagements on videos you publish, you’ll be accepted by them.

Paid Content

The paid content service of Youtube allows you to rent or sell your videos or channel. In easy language, people need to pay for watching the videos which have been set under this service by the video owner.

The terms and conditions of subscription, renting or buying the videos/channel are described by the channel on their pages.

To start with the Paid Content service, you have to switch on this feature from the ‘Status and Feature’ setting.

To earn through this service, you need to fulfill some basic criteria like your channel should be an active one with a decent amount of audience, you should be from one of the countries listed for this scheme, and also, must have Adsense enabled.

Getting Sponsorships

The easiest way to earn money without any kind of hassle is to get paid by the sponsors. The method is best for those video creators who are not from the countries that are eligible for Youtube Partnership program.

The main work is getting the sponsors, and for that you need to have a decent audience (atleast 1000 subscribers recommended for having good sponsors) which remains well engaged with your content. Mostly, the sponsors look for channels in their niche so that they would target the specific audience which will serve as their potential customers. Even if your niche is somewhat different, you can still get the sponsorship if you convince them that you will create new videos which will directly or indirectly praise their product or service.

There are also many companies working in this regard. They will help you to connect with the new sponsors for the commission. One such company is Famebit.

Making ‘How-To’ Video Tutorials

Whenever you want to know anything, what you do? You just open the internet and search it in Google or Youtube. Everyone would agree that video tutorials are much easier than the text ones. Hence, Youtube is the source of many a-to-z guides and full ‘how-to’ tutorials those bring the channel lot of views and subscribers.

The only thing to note is to select a specific niche and post videos only of that. For example, you just can’t publish videos of food recipe and laptop repair method in a same channel. Just stick to a niche to make audience realize that you are an expert in your niche and your videos really work.

Creating Video Reviews

No matter you are a book lover, a tech geek, a movie enthusiast or a game lover, you always evaluate the effectiveness of a product after you use it, don’t you. Well, everyone does. Now, what about sharing your experience of a product or service with people around the globe to earn yourself money, isn’t that cool?

Soon after a movie is released, you see hundreds of review being published in several sites and also youtube. You can do the same and that too, in the niche you posses passion.

A 9 year old kid, with a youtube channel named ‘EvanTubeHD’ , earns about $1.3 million per year by just reviewing toys. You know, inspiration can come from anyone of any age.

You can chose tech gadgets like laptops or mobiles, fashion wear, movies, or basically any products. But, just try to post a review as soon as the product is launched to be ahead in the competition.

Affiliate Marketing

Promote the product of anyone and earn commission. Yes, you need to create videos explaining the need of any product/service to the potential customers. And if you are able to convince them to buy the product and they eventually buy, you are going to earn commission.

This can be linked to the above mentioned ‘Review Videos’ but the approach in this must be to somehow get the people buy the product.

You can promote web services, ebooks, wso, online courses and basically anything that will earn you a good commission.

Youtube +Wordpress ads

You can collaborate WordPress with Youtube for easy monetization. If you are a blog creator and are planning to make video version of it, this is a boon for you.

Display the banner-ads in your youtube videos that are embedded in your blog posts or pages.

Fan funding

This is a just a way to get funds from those who have become fans of your videos and work. Youtube allows you to receive funds from your fans those are willing to pay just to support you in your business.

All you need is to take care of the eligibility required to get this feature which you can check in youtube settings.

Be a Brand

Once your videos start to become hit, it’s time to scale up your business. You need to become a authority in your niche to get to the top-most level in youtube business. And then, success will catch you.

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Understanding The “Thank You Economy”

The business world has gone beyond a state of evolution in recent years. In many years, it’s a state of genesis. Better yet, it’s a rebirth like the phoenix from the ashes. The way most businesses must operate to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive world is based upon a re-imagination of the very ideas that helped small businesses grow a century ago.

We are living in the ‘Thank You Economy’ thanks to social media and other forms of instant communication. Businesses who want to flourish must recognize this.

Thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, business owners do not need to be experts in social media to know the right way to use it. They simply have to understand five major principals and let those principals guide them in their online (and offline) engagements.

Repeat History

Before the Internet, before television, in the days where mass communication was something that happened in Town Halls and churches, western society lived in the original Thank You Economy. Mom and Pop stores dominated most cities, keeping their stores stocked with the items that their customers wanted and very few other things.

What made them successful was the basis for their existence – they knew their customers. It was more than just knowing what items sold better or which profit margins were the strongest. They literally knew their customers. When “Bob” or “Leslie” walked in, the employees of the store knew their names, what they normally ordered, who their kids were, and why they missed church last Sunday.

Mass production, improved transportation, instant communication channels, and increased competition slowly degraded this type of business over the past decades, culminating in recent years with a completely impersonal business style that lacks humanity. For the most part, the Internet put the nail in the coffin.

A portion of the Internet is pulling the nails out. Social media has given a voice to the people. It has allowed a way to communicate publicly with companies large and small. Thanks to social media, the Thank You Economy is not simply popping in for a quick appearance. Today, it has become a necessary ingredient for success.

There’s a reason that Vaynerchuk’s wine business outsells Costco and Wine.com. By taking on the historical “Mom and Pop” mentality, he has repeated history, only on a grander scale. If the Internet contributed to taking the humanity out of sales and services, social media is re-injecting it right back in.

Let Loyalty Drive Every Interaction

There are two parts to this aspect of the Thank You Economy. First, our goal in business is to establish loyalty from our customers. It has been said many times that keeping a customer is easier than getting a new one, but it should also be noted that getting more business from a loyal customer is the best strategy of them all.

Social media can easily be used as a customer retention tool. In fact, it has proven to be effective even when price and convenience get in the way. Look at Comcast. They have helped set the trend of using social media to listen and respond to customer challenges. Their services are rarely the cheapest in a given market and they have been known in the past to be far from the most convenient choice, but by keeping the channels open publicly through Twitter and Facebook, they’ve been able to retain customers while continuing to grow.

Loyalty is earned. It’s based upon hearing what the customers are saying, and reacting accordingly. Social media is the right venue to make this happen because it can serve the dual role of keeping customers happy while gaining new customers as a result.

In theory, this is all great stuff. In practice, it’s a challenge without the other aspect of loyalty. To truly attain a level of strong loyalty from your customers, you must prove to be loyal to them and their needs as well. Loyalty is a two-way street.

In the past, there were few channels where upset customers could be heard. The concept of “word of mouth” has always been considered important even before the phrase was coined. Today, word of mouth can be exponential. It can be viral. An airline who broke a guitar a decade ago would not be hurt by it. They wouldn’t be forced to do anything other than repeat their policies and eventually ignore the victim.

As United learned, it’s a different time. For better or for worse, the ability of individual issues to be amplified world-wide has forced businesses to take customers seriously. Loyalty is the key. Having a sincere desire to help every customer in need, to step up regardless of policies and regulations, and to demonstrate the willingness to go above and beyond the sale are things that can only be accomplished if your company has a mindset of being loyal to the customers for the sake of the customers (and as a result, for the sake of the company as well).

Be Authentic

For years, most business faked it. “How can I help you? Have a nice day!”

Nobody wants to believe that their businesses were being unauthentic, but they were. We trained our employees to say certain things. We scolded employees who weren’t smiling enough in front of customers. We focused on being professional and tossed out terms like “customer-focused.”

In the back room, we would joke about that lady that comes in on Wednesday’s with the rude kids. That kind of talk was rarely discouraged. We only worried about the times when customers were watching.

Thanks to social media, customers are always watching. They see what you say. They see what your customers are saying. They have a written record of everything you’ve said on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and your blog since you first started saying things on them. There is no way to hide in a social media world.

Authenticity can no longer be faked. A lack of sincerity can be seen in real life interactions and displayed for the world to see. Again, it’s in the mindset of a company that disasters can be avoided. Policy is not enough to make employees online and in real life represent the company in the right light. It starts at the top.

The number-crunchers that built successful companies in the 80s and 90s would have a hard time duplicating that success today if they weren’t authentic in the way they felt about their customers. Leaders lead by example. Truly caring about what happens in your business and more importantly to you customers is the difference between business yesterday and business in the world of the Thank You Economy.

When you say “Thank You,” you have to mean it. Being real is one of the most important keys to success.

Take Every Customer Seriously

“You never know.”

It’s a three-word statement, but they are three words that you can live (and succeed) by in the Thank You Economy. There is a scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts’ character walks into a store dressed to the nines and carrying bags with thousands of dollars worth of clothes. She talks to an associate who had previously dismissed her because of her old outfit.

Roberts’ character asked if the associate remembered her and whether or not the associate was paid on commission. When she received a double-affirmative, she held up the bags and said, “Big mistake. Huge!”

Every customer may be your next Pretty Woman. You can tell what a customer is currently spending with your company by checking spreadsheets and invoices, but you don’t know how much their spending with a competitor. You don’t know if they’re spending a little now with you and other businesses in hopes of finding the best place to spend all of the money. You don’t know if the glowing review they write on Facebook will be read by a big fish looking to spend millions on what you have to offer.

Customers do not put their Klout score on their foreheads. They don’t tell everyone that their blog has 20,000 daily visitors. They don’t have a link to their 50k subscriber YouTube channel on their T-Shirt.

Even if they did, it shouldn’t make a difference.

Every customer must be treated like they’re your best customer in the Thank You Economy. As old-school thinking begins to prevail again, some of your competitors may be already doing it. If you want your business to progress at the right pace, you can no longer think of certain people as VIPs.

They all are (or could be sometime soon).

Be Willing to Reorganize

Your people must see things in the right way. You’re there. You see the light. You’ve read the book and understand the way the Thank You Economy works. Now, it’s time for the tough decisions.

Not everyone is going to see it. As hard as it may be, you may find a need to reorganize. The need may be there to take someone who is customer facing (online or offline) and move them to another department. You may need to hire the right people who are willing to follow the trends and react to the changes in this tumultuous business environment.

You may have to let some people go and put different people in place.

While it’s something that no business owner wants to hear, having the right people is absolutely imperative if you are to have any chance at success today. The wrong people touching your current and future customers can be disastrous. In the past, you could hide them by giving them the easier customers. You could give them accounts that were lower-value or less important.

Today, everyone is important.

Hire well, train well, and have the right mindset. We’ve said it three times now but it can’t be said enough. If you and your employees do not have the right mindset, they won’t be following history, they won’t be loyal to your customers, they won’t be authentic, and they won’t take every customer seriously.

Social media can be powerful in both directions. If you use it right, you can excel in this Thank You Economy in ways that you’ve probably never imagined. If not used or used poorly, it can lead to disastrous results.

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5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Business Finance

You can never over-prepare for potential pitfalls in business, especially where your own individual finances are concerned. Going into a business uninformed about something as basic and essential as your finances can leave you open to all sorts of risks. This can therefore damage your reputation beyond all repair. If you can’t take care of your business capital, clients will be few and far between so never take a light hearted approach to your finances. Here are 5 life lessons about business finance that you may not have learnt in business school.

Invest Personal Money

Many business owners make the fatal mistake of presuming that they can borrow everything needed for business. Not true. In doing this, you are actually restricting your potential growth, not to mention killing the trust of investors. Business lenders will look to see if you have invested personally in your own business. If you’re not willing to back your business with your own personal toil, sweat and funds, how can you expect anyone else to feel passionate about it?

Don’t Underestimate Business Credit

You wouldn’t apply for your first mortgage with a poor credit rating would you? The same consideration should also apply to a new business venture. A weak business credit score can harm your company reputation so if you value your business, you must take your credit rating seriously. Take the time to browse the right vendors for you and hold on to the ones that can build and boost a healthy credit score.

Set Realistic Financial Models

Ambition is a marvellous thing, but setting the bar unrealistically high when starting out will never end well. Many businesses often rely upon ‘magical’ financial projection. In other words, impractical time periods of 15 years or more as opposed to a simple 2 or 3 year financial structure. Set your sights on more attainable goals – the best you can ever hope to do in business is to have simply achieved, what you set out to.

Don’t Get Complacent

When business is booming, it can be tempting to sit tight and assume things are plain sailing, but this is when you should become more ruthless than ever. In the wake of success and generous cash flow, many business owners need the backbone to protect their franchise. As a rule: if it isn’t broke, fix it anyway.

Consider Your Options

Lastly, carefully consider all the finance options available to you. Embracing a certain financial scheme now may not apply to you a few months down the line so take the time to investigate a financial solution that suits you. Ensuring that you will make the best possible decisions for your business.

Don’t leave your business finances to chance. Enlist the help of a professional consulting firm such as Gibson Hewitt. Whether you need help to deal with mounting company debts or simply need general guidance to keep your business assets in check, a team of professional financial advisers can ensure a healthy future for your business capital.

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A Major Dilemma: Tips for Unsure College Students Choosing a Major

At the start of every school year, bright-eyed freshman walk the grounds of college campuses filled with enthusiasm and potential. However as time passes, an ever-present lurking question begins to appear behind those eager eyes: If I don’t know what to do with my life, what major should I choose? Many college students harbor doubts about whether their major is right for them or if it can lead to a profitable career. However, by doing some research, exploring, and engaging in new experiences, college students can make a decision on their major and prospective career choices.

Tips for Picking a Major
Picking the right major is a tricky question that has no right or wrong answer. However, choosing a major that is best suited to your interests and personality is highly important. The following are some tips for the prospective freshman or the older college student seeking advice:

1. Set Some Goals:
Before rushing to the nearest computer and changing your major, you should first sit down and ponder over your goals. What do you want out of your major, or out of your experience in college? What are your ultimate goals in life? Perhaps you want to cure diseases, help people abroad, or simply make a lot of money. By answering these questions, you can create a structure by which to shape your college experience.

2. Explore your Options:
College is the best time to meet people, make mistakes, and learn about new interests. Therefore, try to experience all you can while on the path of finding yourself. Whether by taking a class not in your requirements, joining a sport, or participating in an internship, college is an opportunity for you to explore different options and career choices. In other words, try not to stress yourself out asking this question. Sure, it’s extremely important, but you may surprise yourself throughout your time in college.

3. Consider your Interests:
A career is a lifetime commitment; ideally, you’ll want to choose a career that is similar to your interests. When choosing a major, make sure it’s something that interests you. Not only will it help you with your career prospects, it will also make your college experience more enjoyable. Do not get caught up with the tough economy or how much money your interests can make you. If you enjoy a subject, go for it and do the absolute best you can. There is always room for someone good at their skill.

4. Visit the Career Services Center:
Many students fail to take advantage of their college’s career services center “ a veritable gold mine of resources. These resources include books on careers, salary ranges, and the job market. In addition, the advisors themselves can help students with career and academic advice; as well provide services such as proofreading resumes and conducting mock interviews. Most career centers will allow you to call them on their business phone and make an appointment, but some encourage students to just stop in for a visit. If nothing else, this resource will help you feel confident when it comes time to make decisions.

5. Talk to Professionals, Professionals, and other People:
If you’re unsure about your future, talk to those that have already experienced theirs. Upper classmencan give you advice about which classes to take, and their take on their majors, internships or other experiences. Professors can serve as mentors and teach students about various topics or whether a course of study is right for them. Finally, visiting professionals in your desired career can give you first-hand exposure to whether the job is suited for you.

Does my Major Matter After College?
Does your major even matter when entering a career field? The answer is both yes and no. As a new graduate, your major may have an effect on new job prospects and opportunities. Your major reflects your background and interests when you have nothing else on your resume. In addition, it shows your basic skills and what you’ve been trained in. For example, it is highly unlikely that you’ll be considered for a software engineering position without the computer science degree.

However, suppose you graduate with a major that is different from what you ultimately decide to become. There’s no reason that you should not pursue your desired career just because you didn’t graduate with the right background. There are countless ways to gain experience after college, whether through internships, professional organizations, or the right contacts. Simply demonstrating that you have the interest and willingness to learn will open many doors for you and your future.

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Post college work opportunities

Graduating from college counts as being not only one of the most exciting experiences of one’s life, but also one of the most anxiety-producing. With such a difficult economic climate to navigate, it can be difficult for practically any college graduate to know which route to take after they finally get their diploma and enter into the real world. Diving straight into the workforce may be a necessity, although there are a variety of things that one should think about before simply jumping right in. Indeed, putting effort into gaining the right experience is of the utmost importance. Consider the following tips, all of which can help you to ensure that you’re getting the experience you need after graduation.

Get an Internship

While many people strive to get internships while in college, this isn’t always an option for everyone. Those who simply did not have the time while in school to take on an internship should consider taking this route as soon as they graduate from college. Often, the first few months after college act as somewhat of a grace period; many people choose to travel, for example. You can get a huge jump on building experience by getting an internship, however. This is not to say that you should take on an opportunity that doesn’t pay, however. Many internships offer a fair amount of pay, which goes right along with the knowledge that one can often coax out of the experience. For best results, look for an internship that is in line with what you’d like to do for a living.

Consider A Certification Program

Just because you’ve graduated from college doesn’t mean you should never consider going back to school. Indeed, there are a variety of reasons why one might wish to go back to school after their graduated from college. Attending a certification program is a great way to expand your knowledge and skill set, and will also make you a better candidate for taking on a variety of different types of jobs. An associates in accounting degree, for example, can be extremely helpful for those who are looking to build a career in finance; even if you don’t plan on being an accountant. While it can be difficult to manage the financial side of going back to school, taking the time to ensure that all your ducks are in a row is more than worth your while.

Network

Networking is perhaps the most important thing you can do post-college. Regardless of where you plan to work and live, you’ll find it quite difficult to break into the community if you don’t put an adequate amount of effort into networking. Note that it doesn’t need to be difficult to network, although getting started can be easier said than done. You’ve got to have the right amount of confidence to ensure that you’re worth your salt, so to speak, which is an essential aspect of marketing yourself to others. The more work you can put into networking, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed in business.

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Making Social Media Work for You

You’re on the homestretch of your education, a lot and so close to graduation that you can hear Pomp and Circumstance playing as you envision your proud walk across the stage to ge

t your diploma. You’re excited about displaying that hard-earned degree on your resume, and you’re ready to get your career moving forward in the direction that you’ve chosen. As you think about searching for a job, you naturally wonder what gives you a head start over your competition. One possibility is using social media. The following are a few ideas that may be worth trying as the time to start your job search approaches.

Professional Networking
You’ve been told at least a thousand times that networking is the key to getting a job. Deep down, you know it’s true, but maybe you haven’t had the time or opportunities for face-to-face networking. In the digital age, virtual networking can be much easier and more effective than in-person meetings. Networking should be a main focus of your use of social media for advancing your career.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site. Once you set up your account, you can network with your primary acquaintances, who can then recommend you to their acquaintances, who may ultimately be your potential employers. Name recognition from LinkedIn may give you an advantage over competitors when you are applying for a job. LinkedIn also lets you establish your settings so that you receive email notifications when jobs open up based on criteria that you choose, such as location, title, salary, duties or company.

Twitter
Popular wisdom states that if you want to become a top-level executive, you’d better act like one. That means you’d better get tweeting, according to a report that 80 percent of business executives in India use Twitter. It’s great for networking because it lets you find people who share your professional interests, and it keeps you updated, via Twitter feeds, on what you need to know regarding high-profile companies. You can use Twitter to promote yourself by tweeting interesting and relevant information, and staying in contact with people who communicate with you about your tweets.

A Few Tips
Using social media is probably already second nature to you as you finish up your studies, since colleges and universities use online learning techniques both in on-campus and online courses. A few reminders can help you maximize your efforts in using social media to land a better job.

    • Clean up your Internet profile. You can assume that potential employers have access to everything about you that is online. You may be happily married with kids, but human resource departments are amazingly adept at digging up forgotten photos from your bachelor party.
    • Keep your profiles updated. That includes progress toward your degree, your experience and any online portfolios that you have publicly displayed. Employers won’t be too impressed by outdated information.
    • Don’t depend on social media for jobs. Facebook is not your most likely source for job leads. Keep doing your regular job searches in addition to your virtual networking.

The job market is small in a rough economy, and competition is fierce. Your degree and experience are admirable, but not necessarily enough to set you apart. Making good use of social media may be what you need to get ahead in the career game.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

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Why You Should Wait for Grad School

So many students believe that the best thing they can do, once they have obtained their undergraduate degree, is to go straight into graduate school, the thought seems to be to carry the momentum gained from graduating with a bachelor’s degree and use it to stay motivated through grad school. Really, though, for lots of people, it’s best to wait. Here’s why:

Real World Experience
So many people choose to go to grad school for the same subject they studied as an undergrad. If this is your plan, it really is in your best interest to take a few years off of school and work within the field you’ve studied. This will show you, at least as an entry level employee, what it is really like to work within the field you’ve chosen. Real world experience is what will help you figure out whether you really want to devote a few more years of your life to studying that subject. That way you don’t have to worry that, after all of that extra study and expense, you’ll find out that you hate that field and want to do something else.

Learning Style
If you go to grad school right after you get your bachelor’s degree, the school you attend will most likely be the same one from which you just graduated, whether or not it is conducive to your learning style. As a graduate student, you need to find a learning environment that caters to your particular learning style. That might be a large, state funded, university. It might be a small Christian graduate school with smaller class sizes. Taking time off after undergrad gives you time to find the school that is best suited to helping you succeed in your graduate studies.

Money, Money, Money
Graduate school is expensive. Taking a few years off after getting your bachelor’s degree to work and save up will reduce the amount of money you will need to take out in student loans to continue to fund your education. It also gives you time to pay down your undergrad loans so that you don’t have to worry about the interest piling up while you go back to school.

Appreciation for the Education
Taking time off from the academic environment will build your appreciation for it when you are ready to go back. Going back to school because you want to, instead of because you feel

like you have to increases

your appreciation for the education you have chosen to pursue. This appreciation will increase your dedication to your studies which will improve your chances for success—not just in terms of your grades, but in terms of your ability to parlay your master’s education into employment after you graduate.

These are just four of the reasons that you should wait to go to grad school. No matter what your peers or your professors tell you, taking time off doesn’t automatically mean that you will lose your momentum. It means that you are making sure that you are doing exactly what you should and need to do to set yourself up for future success.

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Paying for College : how are you going to pay for it?

You’ve applied and gotten in to the school you most want to go to. Congratulations! You are in for an incredibly exciting adventure. Now how are you going to pay for it? You’ve undoubtedly spent some time searching through the scholarships and grants that are available through local avenues. You’ve probably even already applied to everything for which you are eligible. But what if you still need funding? Where does a young go-getter go?

Spend some time searching for third party scholarships. These are scholarships offered by individuals and businesses, like the 21st Century Scholarship for students who have shown initiative in community service. There are a few different resources on the web that you can use to find this funding. Fastweb is one. A quick Google search will turn up plenty of others—it might even turn up the scholarships themselves!

Don’t limit yourself to scholarships. Spend some time searching out grants. Grants work basically the same way that scholarships do but the application process is more involved. There are lots of different foundations out there that give out grants to promising students who want to go to school. Sometimes this will involve agreeing to spend a certain amount of time working for the foundation or within a certain field after you graduate.

Approach specific companies about tuition assistance. This is a particularly good plan if you’ve been hoping to get a job with a specific company after you graduate. You can approach the company before you start school, ask for funding and then agree to work for the company in whatever capacity they deem worthy for a year (or maybe more) after you graduate. You can apply this same technique with government officials. Senators and Representatives at both the federal and state level will often sponsor a student’s education in exchange for a commitment to non-profit or government work after the degree is obtained.

There are lots of places to find outside and third party funding for your education. Before you take any of them for granted, however, you need to make sure you are prepared for the application, interview and presentation process.

1. Do you have all of your resume, letters of recommendation and application materials ready to go?
2. Have you perfected your personal essay or mission statement?
3. Have you polished up on your interview skills? Ask a teacher to work with you on ensuring that you make a fantastic impression.
4. Do you have your elevator speech down pat? This is the first thing that people are going to want to know about you. You need to be able to rattle it off in any situation. Make sure it’s great!
5. Do you know how to properly and professionally follow up on an application or meeting? Ask a teacher to help you work on your approach to this as well.

The simple truth is that if you are determined, creative and willing to work hard, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the funding you need for school—without having to take out a lifetime’s worth of debt in student loans!

Colleges Reaching Out Through Social Media

Social media has been an important way for people to stay connected. Today’s younger generation has been able to maintain friendships, plan social events, and keep up-to-date with acquaintances through one of several social media sites.

However, in recent years, employers and colleges have begun to use social media outlets to reach out to potential employees and future college students. In addition, several employment sites have had log-in links with social media outlets, such as Facebook. This allows colleges and employers to reach a younger, technology-savvy generation in an environment where they regularly access, and likely feel comfortable.

Pretty much all schools already have their own Facebook page, allowing the college to advertise important social and academic functions online. Students are able to post pictures of events, enticing future students to the college. In addition, students are able to post important comments on the academic achievements completed by the students. If you want a good example of a socially active school page then Like Hampden-Sydney College on Facebook. When students feel comfortable enough using social media outlets during college, that this may translate to them being able to look for employment using the same sources. It is important to feel comfortable using all avenues to search for a job in this age of competition for positions. Being able to successfully use social media sites to one’s advantage could be a major asset..

However, now that using social media in bet online casinos both the employment and college-seeking process is becoming common-place, it is important to keep several tips in mind when posting to a group social site. First of all, the adage that you should not post anything on social media that you would not want on the front page of a newspaper is important advice. However, it does not stop there. While it is important to limit information on the sites that an employer or college might view negatively, it is also to post positive information as well. For example, recent volunteer work, academic achievements, or other accomplishments can be displayed on the social media sites, increasing the chances of landing a job or finding a great college.

Social media sites can be a great source for potential employers or admission agents to look for the next addition to their company or school. However, it is critically important for users to keep a clean profile, free of negative or unflattering information. In addition, adding achievements, awards, or other accomplishments can increase the chances of success outside of the virtual world.

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3 Advantages of Investing in Early Retirement

Retiring early is what most Americans want, but few actually work towards achieving it. But it’s definitely a dream that you can make a reality by making the most out your productive years while you’re still young.

Investing in an early retirement has many advantages. In the following article we discuss a few important ones…

#1: Find More Time for Family

Working hard and getting ahead in your career is a good thing. But is it really worth sacrificing your family time for your career goals? Do you feel satisfied spending less and less time with the family on the pretext of fattening your bank balance?

If you look around, you’ll find that most working people have a hard time finding a balance between work and family. Saying your family comes first is different than actually being there for them. Investing in your retirement at any early age and accelerating your savings helps you come closer to giving more quality time to your family.

#2: Live Your Dreams

Dreams, we all have them. However, most of us are so busy working day in and day out that we find no time and space to actually live our dreams. Besides that, enjoying life and doing what we want to requires enough money, which usually takes a lifetime to save.

If you wait too long to invest in your retirement, you could miss out on the opportunities to make the most of your dreams. However, if and when you retire young, you not only have the energy but also the ambition and passion to enjoy things that old retirees are unable to.

#3: Start Your Own Business

Not everybody wants to stop working after they retire early. You may have an undying entrepreneurial spirit in you that pushes you to use your experience and knowledge to start your own business. It could be what you always wanted to do.

For example, if you’re a software programmer with years of corporate experience under your belt, you could use it to start your own software firm. What’s more, with great learning resources like Income.com available, you won’t have a problem finding the guidance you need.

It may sound difficult at first, but retiring early is entirely possible if you stay focused on your goals. You don’t have to wait till you reach your 30’s or 40’s to start investing in your retirement. Take massive action and do it while you’re young – you will thank yourself.

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Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make

Do you or somebody you know work as a freelancer? There are several ways to make money by freelancing, however it is important that in doing so, you keep track of all your finances. Freelancers work to make extra side money, which is good up front, but can be costly down the road if you aren’t careful. There are several financial mistakes that many freelancers tend to make, which is why it is important to understand how you can make sure to avoid these money mistakes when picking up freelancing gigs.

Failing to report to IRS

Ah the Internal Revenue Service, where your money needs to be reported for taxes. Many freelancers tend to forget that they need to report any extra money earned from freelancing. If you don’t pay and get behind, you will end up owing the IRS a large sum in back taxes, which is why it is really important to actually pay taxes on a quarterly basis. This makes it easier for freelancers to make sure they are paying what they owe throughout the year, rather in one large lump sum at tax season. Failing to pay what you owe in taxes for freelance work might also cause you to pay extra late fees. So is it really worth it to take on a freelance job if you are going to have to pay for it in the future because you didn’t pay your taxes on time? Probably not.

Having no health insurance

If freelancing is your number one source of income, then it is likely health insurance is not something on your mind. Especially for single individuals who feel healthy, they might think they don’t need health insurance, as it is one extra bill to pay each month. Unfortunately, you now need to provide proof of health insurance when filing your taxes. If you do not, you will be fined, and again, is this fine really worth it? You also never know what might happen. Accidents and illnesses happen even to the least suspecting groups of people, which is why it is important not to skip out on having a basic healthcare package while freelancing.

Not saving money now or for retirement

It is important to create a savings account for emergency use, however many freelancers tend to forget to do this. This is especially true when it comes to setting money aside for retirement. Just because you are not working for an employer who offers retirement benefits doesn’t mean you should not be contributing to your future. Obviously if you are working as a freelancer, money and projects just might not always be there. Do your best to set up a retirement plan, because even putting away a small amount will benefit you in the long run. This holds true for even a basic savings account. Emergencies arise and you aren’t going to want to rely on credit cards or personal loans to get the money you need.

If you work as a freelancer either part time or full time, make sure to keep your financial priorities in order and you shouldn’t run into many issues.

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