Last Updated February 18th, 2019

How Can Repurposing Content Beat The Content Blues?

How Can Repurposing Content Beat The Content Blues?

Creating content for your online business is challenging. It’s hard to come up with new ideas day after day. You get clobbered by the content blues and struggle to come up with new ideas. Why can’t you come up with any new ideas?

Have you thought about repurposing content you’ve already created?

I don’t mean rewriting the same article over and over again. It’s already hard enough to avoid that trap when you’ve been working on a topic for a while. New blog post ideas are hard to come by. You can easily forget some of what you’ve written in the past and write something new that is very similar.

But writing content isn’t the only game in town. You can repurpose content you’ve already created for use in marketing your site.

Why Repurpose Content?

Repurposing your content can do great things for your blog. It’s also easier than coming up with something new every time you start to work.

Repurpose your content by creating different versions of it to use in different places. You don’t want to put exactly the same content all over the internet, of course. Each version should be targeted to the audience of the site your content is placed on.

This has a lot of benefits.

  • SEO benefits – You can build links from other sites with repurposed content.
  • Authority benefits – The more people see your name and content on other websites, the more likely they are to view you as an authority.
  • New audiences – Getting your work out there in new places means new people will see your content. They probably wouldn’t have found you otherwise.

What Content Should You Repurpose?

Be picky about the content you repurpose. Not everything you put on your blog will be suitable.

What you’re looking for is content that performed well already. The posts that got a lot of traffic, comments, and/or social media response. Look for anything that shows you did a particularly good job on that piece of content.

blogging challenges

If it’s seasonal, the big question you need to ask yourself is if you can repurpose it in time for that season. It takes time to repurpose content. That great piece you did for Christmas that everyone loved isn’t going to perform well at other times of the year. You may be better off putting a note in your calendar to see about reviving it before next Christmas.

Check your Google Analytics to see which posts got the most traffic in the past month. Odds are that you can repurpose some of those posts into something new.

If you have Tailwind, you can also check the analytics there to see what performed best for you on Pinterest. While this is also a function of the quality of your graphics, a pin that performs well is usually connected to good content.

When you repurpose your old content, don’t leave it exactly as it was. Consider the target audience you’re now aiming at. Try to add a little something new. Some of your audience may interact with your content in more than one way – you don’t want to bore them with repetition.

How To Repurpose Blog Content

There are quite a few ways you can repurpose your blog content. Some are easier than others.

Create New Blog Posts

While you don’t want to write the same blog post over and over, you can take some of the information from an old blog post, and come at it in a different way with a new blog post.

For example, a “how to” post can inspire a “how not to” post. This could be approached seriously or with humor.

You can also find a common theme within your best posts, and use that to create a list post that links them together. This could become a great resource all on it’s own. If you realize that there’s a point to be made that you haven’t covered yet, include it in the list, and write a separate blog post for it.

Another thing to look for in your post is points that you can cover in more detail. Check the comments for things people wanted more information on.

If you find that something has gone out of date in a blog post, you may be wiser to update that blog post rather than create a new post on that same subject, so long as the changes aren’t extreme. If they’re too significant, a post emphasizing how things have changed is a better choice.

Record A Podcast Episode

Some people love to learn by listening. It’s how they learn the best. You’ll need a microphone for your computer and some software such as Audacity to create it. There are many sites you can use to distribute your podcast. You can even share it on iTunes.

The tricky part is coming up with information that’s long enough to be interesting. Just reading off an article would make for a very short podcast episode. While it’s possible that you could get away with super short podcast episode, you’ll probably do better if they’re longer.

It takes practice to do a good podcast. You have to speak clearly and sound interesting. No one will listen if you’re droning on and on, or speaking so fast they can’t understand you.

podcasting

Record A Video

Sites such as YouTube are incredibly popular. They get millions of visitors looking for videos on all kinds of subjects. This is great since some people are very visual learners.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to YouTube. Many social media sites, including Facebook and LinkedIn, allow users to post videos.

If you have Windows, you can easily install a movie making app. There are a number of them in the Microsoft Store, from free to paid. Macs also have tools to help you make videos.

You will need either a good webcam or a small digital camcorder if you want to be in your videos. There are a number of great options out there. Make sure the camera takes good quality high definition video and captures sound well.

You can also use your smartphone if the camera is good enough. Most are, these days.

You can, in essence, read your articles to make your videos if you like. I suggest having visual aids when possible. If you’d rather not be a talking head in the video, you can make them be a sort of slide presentation, or do a product demonstration without showing your face. You have plenty of options.

Create An Infographic

When you’re feeling a little more creative on the design side of things, you can beat the content blues by creating an infographic out of a blog post.

Infographics won’t work for every kind of blog post. Some things just aren’t suited to that. But if you can think of a way to share information in a visual form, it’s time to make an infographic out of it.

You don’t have to be a great graphic designer to do this. You can use tools such as VengagePiktochart or Canva to create infographics. There are both free and paid tools available. Paid tools are generally more advanced, but you can make great infographics for free with some work.

Infographics can be included as a part of your original post, of course.

A great infographic is easy to read and allows your audience to grasp the information quickly. It’s not the place for long paragraphs of information. Neil Patel has some great tips on creating infographics.

Make A Slideshow

There are several sites that allow you to post your content in the form of a slideshow. Slideshare is run by LinkedIn, and is extremely popular. They state that 80 million professionals use the site for educational purposes

Google Drive has easy to use slideshow maker, and you can upload your creation directly to Slideshare. They have a variety of preformatted slides to choose from, or you can style it yourself. You can even upload your own background images.

The information you put into your infographic is perfect for a slideshow. Work on these at the same time, and you can get them both done with less effort.

creating blog content

Share On Medium

Medium.com can be a good place to share some of your content. They even let you import blog posts. From there, you can edit it as desired or leave it in its original form. This tool leaves a link to your original post at the bottom.

Medium has a solid audience, and if they like your content, this may drive visitors to your site. But they also allow you to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that you can connect with the audiences you already have there.

You can learn more about the advantages of publishing on Medium on Wordstream.

Use Excerpts In Your Social Media

Pick some of the most interesting parts of your post and use them as social media posts, including a link to the post. These can do a great job of driving more traffic to your post.

For Twitter, the excerpt will be relatively short. Facebook gives you quite a bit more room.

For some niches, LinkedIn can be a great place to share a part of your post. People don’t spend as much time on LinkedIn as they do on other social sites, so you need to consider if it’s the right site for you.

Don’t limit your social posts by only linking to your content. Use them to drive discussion. That can bring in more people than would have seen your post otherwise.

Make New Images For Pinterest

If you do a lot of marketing on Pinterest, try creating new images for posts that have done well there in the past. Pinterest loves new content.

Don’t just use your blog post title for your images. Use a call to action or pull an interesting bit from your post to inspire the text you put on your pinnable images. On the whole, these will be far more interesting than simple blog post titles.

I like to create a wide range of pinnable images for my content. While many people feel that light/white or minimalist images do best, I like to work with a variety of style. I like color.

Testing a variety of styles will help you learn what works best for your audience. You can’t assume that what others say works best will be best for you.

content blues

Answer Questions On Quora

Quora is a question and answer site, and many marketers find that they can do really well on it.

Seek out questions related to posts you’ve written, and use some of that information to answer the question, including a link back to the original post. Don’t skimp on the information you put directly on Quora – your answer won’t rank well if it’s not helpful right away.

If you aren’t sure how much information to include in your answers, take some time to read what others have done. You’ll see that the most popular answers are highly informative. That’s what you should aim for.

Make An Online Course Or Ebook

Use some of your most informative posts to create an online course in your niche. Add extra information to bring it to the next level. Your course should offer something more than people can get for free on your blog.

You can sell your course on your site or use one of the many sites out there that sell your course for you. Udemy and Teachable are very popular.

Write A Guest Post

Guest posting can be a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website. And while most sites that accept guest posts want original content, you can use an existing post to get you started.

Make sure your guest posts are different from your other posts. While you can use some of the same facts, you don’t want to repeat all of the same points. Come up with something new for each guest post.

Go Live

You can do a live stream based on your content. Live streaming is very popular, and you can leverage some of the followings you already have.

Facebook Live, for example, is extremely popular. If you already have people following your blog on Facebook, they may be interested in seeing you go live. Just announce the time that you’ll do it so that people can plan to be there.

Use your post as the basis for what you’re going to say, but don’t just read it off. Most blog posts don’t sound exactly like what you’d say out loud.

Be ready to answer questions in the comments when you’re live too. The people watching you can come up with some interesting thoughts. They might even inspire future content.

Here are just a few of the sites you can go live on:

coffee blog inspiration

Isn’t This All Really Time Consuming?

Of course it is!

No matter how often people talk about online business and blogging being super easy, the simple truth is that most people really have to work at it.

Hard.

But that’s the great thing about repurposing your content – much of the hard work has already been done. All you have to do is freshen it up and put it in the right format for a new audience.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 12th, 2019

What Kind of Schedule Should You Expect When You Work at Home?

What Kind of Schedule Should You Expect When You Work at Home?

One of the major reasons people want to work at home is to have a flexible schedule. The problem is that not all home based jobs are as flexible as you might hope. Some are downright strict about their scheduling in fact. When you work from home for someone else, your schedule is often subject to their needs. Some have more flexible needs, while others need more of a routine from you.

Full Time, Regular Business Hours Work

Some employers will expect you not only work full time, but to stick to regular business hours, starting about 8 or so in the morning, finishing around 5. Things such as picking the kids up from school that many people want to do when they work at home, may not be possible at these jobs. Childcare of some sort is probably a necessity, so that you won’t have too many distractions. Then again, that’s a good idea for most work at home positions.

The good: You know when you’ll work. You might sometimes have overtime, but that’s true at many jobs. You’re working full time, but you don’t have to worry about horrible traffic during your commute.

The bad: It’s not flexible. You can’t decide to start work when it pleases you.

work at home scheduling

Full Time, Off Hours Work

Some jobs are full time, but the hours are nontraditional, maybe late night or early morning, but still a fairly regular schedule. These jobs can be great if they match with your preferred work hours or make it possible for you to work when the kids are asleep rather than pay for childcare.

The good: If you need to work slightly nontraditional hours but also want a predictable schedule, you may enjoy working an off hours schedule.

This may be a help if you need to drop children off at school or pick them up, or if you just like working different hours from the traditional schedule.

The bad: It may involve working overnight, which may not suit you. The schedule may be set up more to accommodate people working at the main office rather than remote workers wherever they may be.

Full Time, Flexible Hours

Other employers want a full time schedule out of you, but when you work may be more up to you. If you need to change things up, they don’t mind so long as your work gets done. There may still be scheduled meetings that you have to attend online. Communication and collaboration are important, after all.

The good: If you have obligations during the day, you can still meet them, so long as you work enough hours. That’s great for parents of school-age children, so long as the kids don’t interrupt you while you’re working.

The bad: Flexible hours doesn’t always mean flexible in your favor. Sometimes it means you work the hours your employer needs you, not the hours you want to work.

Part Time, Regular Hours

Many part time work at home jobs still require that you work a regular schedule. You have your days and times to work, and that’s when you work. If you need to change your schedule, you have to plan in advance with your boss, just like with an outside the home job.

The good: You know when you have to be at work.

The bad: The hours your employer wants you to work may not be the hours you would choose if you had the option.

wahm schedule

Part Time, Changing Schedule

Some part time work at home jobs expect you to follow a schedule, but you choose the schedule on a weekly or other basis. Once you’ve signed up for hours, you’re expected to work them, and if you need to make a change, make sure you clear it with management.

The good: If you get to pick your hours, you can select ones that work with your needs. Want to chaperone a field trip? Sign up for a schedule that allows it, and hope you get it.

The bad: You may not always get the schedule you want. Some employers may not be all that understanding if you have to make a change in the schedule you selected.

Part Time, Flexible Hours

Other part time home based jobs are more flexible. You may not have to report your schedule, just so long as you get the work done. Sometimes all you have to do is sign on when you’re ready to work, making for a super flexible job. If you can’t commit to a regular schedule, that’s a great thing.

The good: You need to run an errand? Do it! Work when you want.

The bad: Some jobs that let you pick your own schedule only have limited work available. If there’s nothing available when you sign on, you’re out of luck. It may be difficult to earn enough money in these cases.

100% Flexible Hours

Full time, part time, what’s that? Who cares about schedules?

Some jobs aren’t much concerned with when or how much you work, just that the work gets done. The challenge may be getting work when you’re ready, as some jobs like this have a bunch of employees, and if there’s no work available when you want to work, that’s just your tough luck.

The good: You can set up the schedule you want. That’s great if you prefer to break your day up more than usual.

The bad: They expect you to get how much done? By when? Sometimes the demands are high when you’re given a lot of control over your schedule. It’s also easy to work too many or too few hours for the needs of your job. Then again, you may be competing with others for available work,

Also, remember that some flexible jobs are flexible in favor of your employer’s needs, not yours. They may change your schedule to suit their needs, not yours.

schedule planning

On Call

Not all jobs really have a schedule as such. Sometimes you’re on call. There should be some sort of schedule for the days and times that you’re on call, but they may be pretty broad, depending on how much work comes of being called on. You have to be ready to work when your employer needs you.

The good: You know when you’re going to be on call in most cases, so you can plan around it to a degree.

The bad: You never know when you’re going to work or how much you’ll need to do. If a call comes in the middle of the night, you still have to handle it.

Know What’s Right For You

When you accept a work at home job, be sure that you can handle the schedule expected. Few things lose you a job like being unable to handle the expected workload.

Think carefully about what kind of schedule you can handle. Be realistic about the demands you expect on your time, especially if you have children or aging parents to care for. There are situations where working outside the home makes more sense, even if you want to work at home with all your heart.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 28th, 2019

Are MLM Opportunities Worth The Risk?

Are MLM Opportunities Worth The Risk?

One of the most popular ways to earn money from home is to join a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. It sounds great. You sell products you believe in to friends, family, and anyone else who cares to buy from you. It’s flexible, perfect for busy moms and dads who want to earn an income while raising their family.

But are MLM opportunities worth the risk?

Make no mistake, there are risks when you join an MLM. Some involve more risk than others. And the risks aren’t only financial.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of MLMs. The selling style has never appealed to me, nor has the level of risk.

MLM Risk: The Cost Of Joining

The cost to join an MLM varies significantly by company. Many are quite affordable to join, under $100. Other, such as Lularoe, can be several thousand dollars.

People trying to recruit you into an opportunity can make the cost sound entirely reasonable and recoverable. They have an incentive to do so, of course – it helps them to make money. It shouldn’t be their primary means of earning money, as that’s a sign of a pyramid scheme, but recruiting always has some kind of benefit in MLM.

The cost of entry isn’t the only one you will face. With most companies, you’ll face a push to attend special conferences and events at an additional cost. These events can be quite educational and motivating, but they’re also expensive.

The pressure to attend these events can be huge. I have a friend who has tried several different MLM opportunities who tried starting a GoFundMe to attend a conference, stating that while she didn’t have the money on her own, she wanted to know that her friends and family had that much faith in her ability to succeed in her new business.

Then there are the costs of finding customers and building a downline. Sure, you start with your friends and family, but for many people, that won’t be enough. So you sign up for online training, that being cheaper than attending a conference, and keep trying to build. You might even try paid advertising.

All these costs add up. If you don’t succeed in making sales and recruiting a downline pretty quickly, your new business isn’t going to work out for you.

MLM money suitcase

MLM Risk: Few People Succeed In MLM

While most MLM companies love to brag about their success stories, these truly are the outliers, not the average.

In 2006, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) testified to the FTC that the median annual gross income from direct selling is about $2,400 per year and that 59% of direct sellers earn under $10,000 per year.

TruthInAdvertising.org reviewed the income disclosures of 32 direct sales companies and found that more than 80% of distributors in those companies earned less than $1,200 annually (less than $100 per month!).

All in all, not a terribly promising proposition, is it?

Yes, some people make serious bucks and an amazing living in MLM. You can hope that you’ll be one of them. Just be aware of the odds against it and be ready to work hard toward that goal if that’s what you decide to do.

If you want even more information, check out this list of MLM Income Disclosures. It’s only for certain companies, but what you’ll quickly see is how little money is earned by the people at the bottom of the list, and how much the very, very few at the top get.

Pay attention to how they disclose income. Some companies look pretty good until you realize that the income table only includes top earners, while lower earners averages are hidden in the paragraphs of text above or below. They have to share that information, but that doesn’t mean some won’t try to hide it a little.

MLM Risk: The Company Goes Out Of Business

When you join an MLM, the life of your business is connected to the life of theirs. If they go out of business, you’re out of luck.

While this happens only rarely with older MLMs, it’s not all that uncommon with younger companies. Some just never manage to get sales going well enough. Others are shut down as pyramid schemes.

essential oils

MLM Risk: Too Much Competition In Your Area

A popular MLM opportunity can sound hugely appealing. It has some name recognition, which could make it easier to find customers.

It can also mean there’s too much competition in your area.

If you have several friends doing the same MLM opportunity, for example, where are you going to find a customer base of your own? Odds are that they’ve already contacted many of the people you would target.

The other problem is that you create your own competition as you recruit a downline. Sure, you make money from their sales, but not as much as if you made those sales yourself.

Worse, they were probably one of your customers to begin with. Will your sales to them be the same after? It’s hard to say.

A significant downline is vital to success in MLM, as it’s hard to find all those customers yourself, but when that downline reaches people you would have liked to have customers sooner than you

MLM Risk: Your Friendships

Have you ever had an old friend (or even a current one) contact you out of the blue, wanting to reconnect? It’s a pretty special feeling, right up until you realize all they want to do is recruit you into their downline.

The Washington Post shared an article recently on how MLMs hurt female friendships. A part of the problem is that recruiting efforts have gone beyond inviting people to join a downline at an event they know is about MLM to bringing it up under the guise of renewing a friendship or starting a new one. When the recruiting effort fails, the interest in friendship disappears.

It doesn’t make the person recruiting look good. It makes them look deceptive and damages the relationship. How can you be friends if they only care about you if you sign up under them?

friends talking mlm

MLM Risk: What If It’s A Pyramid Scheme?

MLMs are in the form of a pyramid, that’s their nature. Each person recruits people below them, who recruit people below them, and so on. It can’t be helped.

But that doesn’t mean most are pyramid schemes.

One of the key signs of a MLM being a pyramid scheme is that you have to buy a large inventory of products. Having to buy some products is reasonable – being forced to carry a large inventory is not.

Another sign is that recruiting new people is more beneficial to you than selling to the public. A legitimate business opportunity should make most of its money from sales to other people, not to recruits.

Is LuLaRoe A Pyramid Scheme?

LuLaRoe was an extremely popular MLM company a few years ago. You probably saw several people online selling it if you were on Facebook. There were groups everywhere, and people bragging about the money they made from it.

Things don’t look so great with them now.

The Washington Attorney General has filed suit against LuLaRoe, accusing it of being a pyramid scheme. They accuse the company of making misleading income claims and pushing consultants to focus more on recruitment than on sales.

The company often promised high profits and that a full time income could be made through part time work. The included disclaimers may not have been adequate.

Over time, they also had problems with product quality and returns. Consultants found that the company was steadily less willing to allow them to return products as promised.

Is LuLaRoe a pyramid scheme? That’s for the courts to decide, but it’s a great example of a company that was hugely popular that may have been one.

But the Washington lawsuit isn’t the only one LuLaRoe is facing. They’ve been sued by many consultants over their business practices.

What you should learn from the LuLaRoe example is that popularity does not mean a company is not a pyramid scheme, or that it’s safe to join. Take your time to ensure that you really understand what you’re getting into with any home business opportunity. Not just MLMs, but all opportunities.

How Can You Investigate The Risks?

No matter how much you trust the person recruiting you into a MLM opportunity, you should take the time to do your own investigation of it. The FTC has some great tips to help you get started on checking out an MLM opportunity. These are some of the tips:

  • Consider the products
    • Is the pricing reasonable?
    • Are they safe?
    • How good is the quality?
    • Can claims be backed up?
  • Investigate the company
    • How long has the company been around?
    • Does the company have a good reputation?
    • Has the company been sued for deceptive business practices?
  • Consider your potential earnings
    • How do you earn money?
    • How much does the average distributor earn?
    • What expenses should you expect?
makeup brush

How Else Can I Earn Money At Home?

If you’ve read much at all here, you know there are lots of ways to earn money from home. Some are flexible, some aren’t.

Work at home jobs have the advantage if you want to know how much you’ll earn for the work you do. The pay may be hourly, salary or based on production, but you know what to expect from your paycheck. Depending on whether you’re a regular employee or an independent contractor you may have to provide your own equipment. Some also require training that you would get on your own before applying or require that you pay for a background check during the application process, but otherwise, have few costs.

Home businesses have all kinds of opportunities and risks. What I love most about starting a home business is that you can decide exactly what you want to do, and figure out how to make it happen. You can blog, freelance, sell crafts, cook, design apps or whatever suits your skills and interests.

Home businesses, no matter how affordable, are not without risk, but that’s okay. The fact that there is a risk is a part of what makes the reward so worthwhile. Even when the learning curve is difficult, you know you’re building something that is yours. About 50% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years, which is much better odds than you get with an MLM.

Even though I’ve met someone who had significant success in MLM, I just can’t say that MLM opportunities are worth the risk. Too few people succeed in them. I know quite a few more who have failed in MLM, some multiple times. If you decide to join an MLM opportunity regardless, do so with your eyes open to the risks so that you don’t get caught off guard.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 25th, 2019

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

Having one parent stay home with the kids is often seen as a benefit to the family. One parent is always there for the kids, you don’t have to spend money on daycare, it just sounds better.

The only problem is that when finances get tight, you have less flexibility. There’s a certain financial sacrifice already when you have one parent stay at home, and when the one income drops or disappears suddenly, your family may be in trouble. How can you, as a stay at home mom or dad, help when the money crunch hits?

I’m going to assume at this point that you’ve already cut back on spending in the usual areas. You probably aren’t getting a daily Starbucks if money’s tight. You’re probably watching what you spend on groceries. It’s the most obvious and simplest step to take, even if it’s not without discomfort.

When money’s tight, don’t spend on the things your family doesn’t need, and know the difference between needs and wants. There’s a lot of ground in there, but you can find what works for your family.

Here are some other ways to help out with a money crunch while still being a stay at home mom.

Find a Way to Earn Money From Home

Whatever you do, don’t be desperate about this one. It’s easy to get scammed when you’re trying to get a work at home job or start a home business. You have to pay attention to what you’re getting yourself into.

Don’t expect miracles. Most people earning money from home don’t earn millions, or even thousands per month. If you find some good work to do, it’s still something you can contribute financially to your family.

Read up on how to earn money from home if you’d like more ideas on how to get started.

coins

Increase the Income You’re Already Earning

You might be earning money from home already, in which case it’s time to step things up and bring in more money. That can mean increasing your rates if you’re a freelancer, working harder on getting more sales if you’re an affiliate or if you sell your own products, or asking your employer for more hours if you have a work at home job. Find a new affiliate product to offer that complements the products you’re already offering.

The thing to remember if you’re already earning money is that you can find ways to increase it. It may not be easy, and may add to the stress in your life, but that’s often what it takes to dig yourself out of a bad financial position.

You might also take on a side gig. There are many flexible ways to earn money at home that can be added on to what you already do.

Get a Job Outside the Home

This can still be compatible with one parent staying at home. If your spouse is still working, just with a decreased income, consider taking on a job at night, and being the at home parent during the day. Working opposite shifts from your spouse sucks big time, but if that’s what it takes to support your family, you may have to do it.

If your spouse is completely out of work, it may also pay for both of you to look for work. It might just be that you trade who’s the one at home, assuming the parent who had been working can stand the switch. Not all can.

dollar

Sell Things You Don’t Need

Selling things you don’t need only takes care of the short term, but that can be important in the long run. When my two oldest kids were small, my old car broke down, we didn’t have the money to replace it. We also realized we didn’t really need it. We lived in a very walkable area, and I arranged my errands around my husband’s work schedule.

Selling that car for the little bit it was worth not only brought in a little money, it cut down on insurance and gas costs. I almost hated replacing it when the time came that my husband’s car was no longer enough.

Garage sales can be pretty easy to organize, although you have to be ready for the over enthusiastic bargain shoppers. Some areas require you get a permit in order to hold a garage sale. Check with your local City Hall to see what’s required in your area. The money is quick, and you get rid of things you truly no longer need.

The same goes for selling on Craigslist. It’s a fast way to get some money, but probably not a complete solution.

Try Not to Rely on the Credit Cards Too Much

While it may be necessary to put more than usual on the credit cards when times are tight, do what you can to minimize that. Credit card debt can take a very long time to pay off, and can keep the financial stress up even after your income improves.

If you don’t have a choice in the matter, of course, use those credit cards. It’s better than losing your home.

bills

Find Free Fun Things To Do Together

Going through a money crunch is stressful. You have a lot of legitimate worries when money is tight.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

There are tons of free and cheap things you can do with your kids. Getting out and having fun as a family is a great stress reliever.

Just think about all the fun things you can do that won’t cost much at all. Anything from taking the kids to the park to having a family game night to finding free community events is possible.

The most important thing you can do when your family has money troubles is to find a way to work through it together. These things don’t last forever; they just require some extra effort to find your way through.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 22nd, 2019

What Is The Real Cost Of “Free” To Your Home Business?

What Is The Real Cost Of "Free" To Your Home Business?

How much can you afford to spend on your home business? Many people can’t afford to spend a lot, which is why freebies are so popular.

But there’s a potential cost of “free.” It’s not always the best choice for growing your home business. “Free” tools can cost you a lot of money that you can’t see directly. And that’s the price you pay for it.

I’m not always a fan of “free” when it comes to running my business. Getting things for free feels nice, but it’s not necessarily effective.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many free tools you can use for your home business which are very much worth it. Many open source tools are wonderful. I use WordPress software for my blog, which doesn’t cost anything, but I pay for my hosting.

But if you rely on free things in the wrong areas, you’re asking for trouble. There are a lot of great reasons to pay for higher quality tools.

Free Goes Poof!

One cost of using any free tool for your home business is that it can go away at any time. If you’re relying on it, that’s a huge potential problem.

That’s the big problem with free blogs such as WordPress.com, Tumblr and Blogger. Do something wrong and your blog is gone. Don’t do something wrong, and sometimes it still vanishes, and you don’t always get a warning or a chance to move your data elsewhere.

Free tools vanish often, even when they’re supported by big companies like Google. You may not remember Google Wave, Knol, or Picnik, which shut down years ago, but you probably know about Google+. The consumer version of that will shut down in April 2019.

Tools supported by smaller companies can also vanish or cease development. Lots of free WordPress plugins are developed for a time and then abandoned, even if they developed a pretty good following.

This isn’t to say that paid tools don’t disappear. It’s just that developers have a greater incentive to keep working on them when they’re making money.

home biz planning

Free Tools Are Developed More Slowly

When a tool is free, it is often developed and updated more slowly. Once again, there’s less incentive for the developer to keep the tool updated.

I’ve used Gimp for years, for example. It’s an excellent tool and it can do many of the things Photoshop can do. But it is very slow to change. This means it takes just about forever (or so it feels) for new tools and features to be added.

Paid tools are more likely to have people dedicated to keeping it up to date.

What Are You Giving Up For Free?

Free means only that you aren’t spending money for the product. There’s often a different cost for you.

Information is a significant hidden cost, and it’s why you need to read the privacy policy and terms of use for any free products you use. You want to know what will happen to any information that passes through that tool. Most are respectful of privacy these days, but it pays to check.

One cost may be that you are exposed to advertising. I personally don’t find it to be too big a deal, so long as the ads don’t get in the way of the utility of the tool. We all have to make a living somehow, and providing something free with no way to earn any money at all doesn’t help.

For free blogs, the cost can be whether or not you can earn money with your site. Some don’t allow you to commercialize your blog at all. If you can’t make money, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

home biz tech

May Not Work as Well as a Paid Tool

Sometimes the free tool is indeed the right tool for the job, but other times you really need to use the paid tool. You need to consider the flexibility you need.

Free blogs are a great example of this. It’s quick and easy to put up a basic Blogger blog. The problem is that it takes more effort to make it look professional, especially if you don’t even spend money on your own domain name.

Putting up a WordPress blog on paid hosting (rather than a free WordPress.com blog) takes a little more time and has monthly costs, but you get a tremendously more flexible blog with more themes and plugins available, so that your blog can have the look and options you prefer.

Paid tools generally offer more features. This is why many have a free version and a paid version. The free gives you a taste of what you can get, and gives you the confidence that the paid tool is what you need. That’s a good thing.

Consider Tailwind, for example. They give limited free access to Tailwind Tribes as well as to their pin scheduling tool. Using the Tailwind free trial was enough to get me to pay for the whole thing. The paid version of Tailwind also has a wonderful analytics section that can help you figure out what is and is not working in your Pinterest marketing.

Free can be amazing, of course. Google Analytics gives you a tremendous amount of information about traffic to your website, yet it’s free for most users. Some do have concerns about how much information Google gets by providing such free tools to so many websites, but most find the advantages sufficient to use them anyhow.

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Support May Be Lacking

A lack of support when you have problems is a serious problem with many free home business tools. When you have a problem, you want help fast, and sometimes that’s just not available with free tools.

This isn’t to say you get perfect support with all paid tools, of course. It can take a long time to get help with some of them as well. But your odds are better.

Free Marketing May Be Slow Marketing

One of the great things about social media marketing is how much of it you can do for free. You don’t have to pay to pin on Pinterest, post on Facebook or Instagram, and so forth.

The price you pay is in how long it takes to get that marketing going. You don’t start out with a following on any of the social media websites. You have to build it.

If you want your marketing to go faster, you probably have to pay for it. Once you know what you’re doing, doing paid promotions of your social media posts can greatly improve your results. There’s a learning curve, and it can get expensive. But once you know what you’re doing, you should be able to make it worth the expense.

One thing you should not do is pay sites for followers. Many of these sites don’t give you high quality, targeted followers. Some are even against the TOS of the various social media sites.

Sure, having a large number of followers looks good, and if you’re trying to get paid to post for other people you need a lot of followers. But if your followers aren’t engaged with your content, they’re worthless. Don’t pay for something that doesn’t help your business.

Use Free Right

The big thing you need to remember is to use free right. If you want to have a home business and take it seriously, spend a little on it.

Get a domain name and pay for your hosting. Domain names are cheap, and it’s easy to find hosting for less than $10 a month. That’s not much money at all to risk, even knowing that you may not earn anything for a while. Going with the free option may slow you down and make it harder to start your business right.

Save free for the areas where it won’t hurt you in the long run. I do a lot of my rough drafts for blog posts in Google Drive, which doesn’t cost me anything, but means I can work on them anywhere, and on a range of devices. If it were to disappear, I wouldn’t suffer from any significant problems.

Free trials are almost always worth it if you’re considering a tool or training. They’re often the best way to find out if what you’re considering will be worth the money.

There are any number of free tools that are worth using, so long as you understand the risk. If you’re relying on something free as the base of your entire business, make sure you know what you’re going to do in the event that it goes away.

pointing at computer

When Is Free A Good Idea?

Free is a good idea when there’s too little to be gained by paying for a tool. If you can get all the functionality you need for free, and it won’t endanger your business should the product vanish,

There are lots of products, tools and training that qualify. Here are some that I like.

Productivity And Scheduling

Business And Financial

Office Alternatives

Graphic Design

Many of these tools have paid upgrades, but the free versions work well enough for most needs. When you need more features, power, or speed, upgrade or find a better solution!

Tools Worth Paying For

There are other things you absolutely should pay for. These are the things that will help you grow your business more quickly and effectively. Going with free alternatives can make it more difficult to have a successful business.

Yes, some people do very well building a business entirely for free. But for most of us, paying for the right tools is far smarter.

Website hosting, for example. I’m on A2 Hosting right now, and I like it quite well. I’ve always paid for hosting because I prefer the flexibility it gives me.

I also pay for both Hootsuite and Tailwind. They make my social media marketing much easier. Not everything I do on social media is scheduled – you should never forget the social side of social media – but a significant amount of it is.

Advanced training is something else you should pay for. You may be able to get the basics for free, but if you want to learn the bigger secrets, you’re probably better off paying for them.

If you want to be a virtual assistant, for example, you should consider signing up for the Horkey Handbook. It will help you learn the things you need to know to become a virtual assistant. Sure, you could figure much of it out on your own, but it’s faster to learn it from someone else.

What are your favorite free tools? Which tools are worth paying for?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.