November 1st, 2017

40 Home Business Gift Ideas For Entrepreneurs

40 Home Business Gift Ideas For Entrepreneurs

Birthdays and holidays are a great time to get others to help you improve your home business. It’s hard to know what to ask for sometimes, but even harder for others to know what gifts you want if you don’t ask. I’ve gathered some ideas to help you build up a list of home business gift ideas.

Education

Udemy – Udemy has a lot of online courses that could be very useful to anyone running a home business. You could learn to develop apps, improve your social media or writing skills, learn about digital marketing and more. The courses are reviewed by students, so you can see which are likely to be worth your time and money.

Conference Tickets – If there’s a conference coming up in your industry, wouldn’t you love someone to get you tickets? They’re a great way to catch up on what’s happening in your industry and make new connections.

Books – Get on Amazon and find books related to your industry that you’d like to read. Add all of them to your wish list. Here are some selections to get you started.

Equipment

Microphone – If you have ever considered starting a podcast or posting videos, a good quality microphone would be a great investment. The Blue Yeti is a popular choice, but there are many to choose from.

Camera – How good is your camera? The ones in smartphones are pretty impressive these days, but if you want to get serious about high quality photography on your website, a better camera may be in order.

Second Computer Monitor – I love having two monitors in my home office. My setup isn’t ideal, as one is attached to my laptop, but I’ve still noticed how much it helps having a second computer monitor at times. The most useful setup is usually to have them side by side, which doesn’t work with keeping my hands at a good level with my laptop. Even with that disadvantage, having two screens is worthwhile so that you don’t have so much clicking back and forth to see different pages.

Noise Cancelling HeadphonesNoise cancelling headphones are great if you have a lot of background noise in your home office. You can get ones that will work with your phone if you have to call people, or just use them to listen to music while you work.

Portable Charger – I love my portable charger for those days when we’re on the go. It’s not necessarily just for work – they’re great when you go on vacation too. It’s nice not having to worry about running out of charge on my phone or camera while out and about.

Moleskine Notebook – If you like to take a lot of written notes, a moleskine notebook is a great choice. They’re attractive and functional. You can step it up a little with a Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook. It allows you to digitize your notes.

Tablet Computer – A tablet computer such as an iPad Pro can be very useful if you want to work on the go. It’s so much easier to carry around than a laptop.

Laptop or Desktop Computer – A new computer can be a wonderful gift if yours is getting old. Something a bit faster and less cranky is always nice.

Smartphone – Maybe you update your smartphone regularly, but if not, a new smartphone can make an excellent gift.

Smart Speaker – A smart speaker such as Amazon Echo or Google Home will be welcomed by many people. They’re a nice way to play music in your home, and they can answer questions for you. There have been problems here and there, and there can be privacy concerns, but those don’t seem to limit the interest much.

Whiteboard – A whiteboard is good for brainstorming or visualizing goals. It’s an easy way to keep ideas and goals in sight while you work.

Sit-Stand Desk – I love my sit-stand desk from Autonomous. Appropriate heights can be programmed in, making it easy to change positions throughout the day. They say either sitting or standing all day is bad for you, but changing positions is better. You don’t have to get a full size desk – there are units that simply lift the keyboard and monitor on the desk you already own..

UPS Battery Backup – Having a UPS battery backup is a huge help if you use a desktop computer. You don’t have to worry about losing all your work if the power goes out. It’s less important with laptops, since they already have batteries.

Backup Drive/Personal Server – Having a backup drive or personal server can be a lifesaver if your computer dies. My husband’s computer inexplicably quit working recently – won’t even boot far enough to turn on the monitor. Fortunately, his hard drive was fine. Also fortunately, we have a backup drive of our files anyhow. You don’t want to lose all your home business files because your computer goes kaput.

USB Flash DriveThese little drives come in handy so often. They’re great when you need to move data from one computer to another. They come with enough storage now that they can do some good work as backup too.

Alternatively, sign up for an online backup service. These can be very reasonably priced, and your data will be safe even if your home is subject to a disaster.

Office Chair – A good, ergonomic office chair is a must if you spend long hours working in your home office. You don’t want to be hurting at the end of the day due to a poor quality chair.

Laptop/Messenger Bag – My laptop bag was one of my favorite gifts several years ago. I still use it any time we travel. It’s so nice having an easy way to carry my laptop.

Square Card Reader – Square is great for home business owners who sometimes take credit card transactions in person.

Fitness

Basic Exercise Equipment – Some basic exercise equipment to be kept in your home office makes it easier to get a quick workout in during your work day. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Some hand weights are a good start.

Exercise Ball – An exercise ball is great for core exercises. It’s also useful as an office chair.

Treadmill Desk – For those who are more ambitious, a treadmill desk may sound like a good plan. It may be more difficult to type while using one for some people. If you can make it work for you, it’s a great way to keep moving while you work.

Gym Membership – Not only will a gym membership help you get fit, it gives you an excuse to get out of the house more often.

Activity Tracker – It’s far too easy to be sedentary with many home businesses. A good activity tracker can be that little bit of encouragement needed to get up and move.

Decor

Posters or Art Prints – It’s your home office – it doesn’t have to be plain. The kind of posters or other wall decor depends on what you like and how professional your office needs to look. If you have clients come in, you have to consider them. If no one ever comes to your office or sees it on video, it’s all about you!

Fun Stuff – What do you like? My office has dragons, some Harry Potter stuff, Doctor Who stuff, Star Trek stuff… you get the idea. Go to Think Geek if you need ideas.

For The Home

Smart Thermostat – A smart thermostat makes it much easier to control the temperatures in your work environment. You can set up the basic program for what you usually want household temperatures to be, and change if if needed using your smartphone.

Fire Safe – A fire safe is the perfect place to put all your important documents, both for your business and your personal life. You can even keep your backup drive in one. You may never need fire protection for these things, but if you do, there may not be time to think about how to save them in the moment.

Shredder – Having a shredder is a great way to take care of those papers which shouldn’t be thrown directly into the trash. Most are also good enough to shred old credit cards too.

Video Doorbell – A video doorbell, such as Ring, can help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to answer the door during your work hours.

Food & Drinks

Stainless Steel Water Bottle – I love my stainless steel water bottle. It’s one of the ways I make it easier to drink water throughout the day. The straw lid I use minimizes the chances for a spill, which is great.

Travel Mug – A good travel mug will be loved by anyone who drinks their coffee or other hot drinks on the go. They help prevent spills, which is great for having your coffee in the office too.

Coffee – Some good coffee, or just some gift card to Starbucks or a local coffee shop, will be welcomed by many home business owners. A good source of caffeine is a great help most days. A good coffee maker is also worth considering.

Chocolate – For those who don’t drink coffee (me!) or who just love chocolate (also me!), some good quality chocolate is always a welcome gift. It makes a quick snack while working or taking a break.

Healthy Snacks – Having some healthy snacks available to grab and go is great for those busy days.

Help

Childcare – Whether you offer to take the kids yourself or pay a babysitter, having the kids out from underfoot can be a huge help to the home business owner. This is especially true when kids are small and clingy.

Relaxation

Slippers – Is the floor of your home office ever cold? A nice pair of slippers will help you deal with that in comfort.

Massage Equipment – At the end of the day, a massage will probably always sound good. It’s much easier to get one if you have the right equipment. Alternatively, a gift card to a good local spa would be a great idea.

Big Red ButtonFor those days when you need to pound something in frustration. We all have those days.

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.

October 19th, 2017

How Are You Holding Yourself Accountable?

How are you holding yourself accountable

One of the wonderful and terrible things about working at home is the lack of supervision. It doesn’t matter if you work for yourself or someone else, the lack of supervision is a challenge at times. At the same time, it’s nice having the flexibility to do things without a supervisor wandering by to check on you. It’s not always easy to keep working when no one else is directly holding you accountable. You need to get comfortable with holding yourself accountable.

Just because your boss isn’t in the same building as you doesn’t mean you aren’t supervised at all. If you work for someone else, they certainly have expectations of you. It might be when you work, how you work or how soon things will get done. If you have a business of your own, you may have clients who expect you to get things done in a timely manner or customers who expect their products promptly. You might also have family members who need you to keep up a certain income level for the good of your family.

But that isn’t always enough to keep some of us going. It’s too easy for things to slide just a little bit over time until productivity gets to be a problem. If you aren’t being held sufficiently accountable, this can continue until you lose your job, your clients or a significant chunk of your income. What can you do?

Get an Accountability Partner

One simple thing to do is make yourself accountable to someone. It can be a friend who works at home, your spouse, or anyone who you’re willing to talk to about what you’ve gotten done each day or week. Pick a time to check in with each other. Make check ins frequent enough to motivate you, but not so frequent that they interfere with getting work done.

Decide on what counts. This will depend on what exactly you do. It may be working a certain number of hours on your job, getting a certain amount of billable work done, earning a particular amount of money, etc. You decide.

I think it’s ideal if in some ways you’re accountable to each other. Challenge one another to reach your goals. It gives you both motivation, rather than having one person always listening to what the other has accomplished. That’s not a requirement, but I would consider it a help.

Set Daily Goals

How Are You Holding Yourself Accountable?

You can also be accountable to yourself. Set goals for every day as well as times you expect to work. I have particular times I expect to be working. This varies day by day. I don’t have the same expectations of getting work done if I know there will be a lot of interruptions as I do on days I know should be quiet.

Your daily goals should be things you can reasonably accomplish in a day. Don’t make your goals so difficult you rarely reach them or so easy they don’t challenge you. For myself, I might set a goal of writing one article a day (not quick, two paragraph posts, but serious articles which may require research or careful thought), or a particular amount of marketing done.

Review Your Progress, Good and Bad

Most jobs have regular performance reviews. There’s no reason why you can’t do that for yourself.

Take a look every few months at how you’re doing. What are you doing well? What should you do better? What do you need to make it easier to do even better? This is a good time to consider any tools you might need for your work or business, and decide if it’s time to spend money on something.

For example, you might realize that you need to do more keyword research so that your blog posts can rank more easily. Market Samurai is a tool to make this easier. It generates keywords for you and provides information about how competitive the keyword is and more. Market Samurai has a free trial, so you can find out if you like it before you buy.

You might also decide that it’s time to subscribe to a tool to make your social media marketing easier. I like Hootsuite for scheduling my basic social media posts. I can schedule out a large number of posts in an hour. It’s a huge help to not need to focus on my basic posts. Social media needs more than scheduled posts, but it’s a part of the job out of the way.

Come up with a plan to improve your problem areas. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. It might be how you deal with the many distractions inherent to working at home. You might realize that you’re charging too little for your work. Find ways to take action and fix the problems you’ve noticed. Keep holding yourself accountable.

Take Pride in Your Accomplishments

Celebrating the things you’ve accomplished is important too. It’s very motivating. You don’t have to do big things to celebrate, and you don’t only have to celebrate huge accomplishments. Have little goals as well as big ones. Make your rewards appropriate to the accomplishments.

I’ve taken my family to dinner to celebrate certain income goals being reached. It’s fun for all of us but doesn’t happen so often as to become meaningless. We don’t eat out very often, so this is a special thing, but the cost is far less than the increase being celebrated.

Working at home is hard in many ways. You gain freedom, but you also gain responsibility. If you don’t motivate you, it doesn’t happen. Try some of these ideas to make it easier to stay motivated by being accountable.

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.

August 30th, 2017

20 Freelance Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

20 Freelance Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

When you need flexible work, starting a freelance business is a great option. While you still face deadlines to get things done, you usually have a lot of options for when and how the work gets done. But first, you need to find the right idea to get started as a freelancer.

Most freelance businesses don’t require a lot of equipment beyond what you probably already own. You need a good computer setup, with all the accessories required for the work you want to do. These may include a printer, fax machine, drawing tablet and more.

You should focus on skills you can easily demonstrate as a freelancer. It’s very hard to get started if you can’t show potential clients the work you’ve done in that area before. You need a portfolio or work history with clear examples to show them.

Here are some business ideas you can start out with as a freelancer.

1. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants provide a range of services to businesses, such as graphic design, writing, administrative tasks, social media marketing, and more. If you have a range of skill you would like to use as a freelancer, marketing yourself as a virtual assistant may make a lot of sense.

You can specialize in certain types of tasks as a virtual assistant. You can start out on your own or join a virtual assistant service if you’d rather have some help finding clients.

2. Bookkeeper/Accountant

If you’re good with QuickBooks or other accounting software, you can find freelance work. Many home businesses need help with their bookkeeping, both at tax time and year round.

3. Writer

There are many kinds of writing jobs out there that a freelancer can do – blogging, ghost writing, and article writing, to name a few. Depending on the type of writing you do, you may have to pitch your ideas to someone, or they may come to you and ask you to write a specific piece for them.

4. Copywriter

If you’re good at writing copy for marketing purposes, you may do well as a copywriter. You need to create compelling and convincing copy for your clients’ needs.

5. Graphic Designer

A graphic designer creates images for their clients’ needs. This can be a logo, a pamphlet, a layout for a website, and so on. Most graphic designers use software such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The quality of your graphic design can make or break a marketing project.

6. Translator/Interpreter

There are companies that hire freelance/contract employees to do translation and interpretation. You can work on business documents, interpret for doctors and patients, and more. You need to be fluent in both languages you are working in.

7. Music Teacher

Music teachers have been finding their own students pretty much forever. You may need to go to students’ homes as a music teacher, or they may come to you.

8. Pet Sitter

When people go on vacation, their pets still need to be cared for, and many don’t want want to put their pets into a kennel. A pet sitter goes to their clients’ house and cares for their pets while the client is away. This includes making sure the pets have food, water, and have been cleaned up after. Cats and dogs will need playtime. It’s ideal for someone who truly loves animals.

9. Pet Trainer

Another freelance opportunity you can consider if you love animals is that of a pet trainer. This will probably involve dogs most often, but some cat owners need help too.

10. Mobile Notary Public

A mobile notary public goes to clients to witness documents. The pay can be good, but finding work can be challenging – I had a cousin try this a number of years ago.

11. Google Advertising Consultant

Take a courseicon and get Google AdWords Certified, and you can be a consultant to businesses that are advertising on Google AdWords. Many businesses need help getting their ads set up to maximize their return.

12. SEO

Many businesses also need help with their search engine optimization and other digital marketing. If you have learned how to help pages and websites rank well on search engines, many companies will be glad for your help. A good SEO knows how to use the right keyword research tools and keeps up with what works and what doesn’t over time.

13. WordPress Consultant

WordPress is incredibly popular and relatively easy to use, but some small businesses need help getting it setup just a right. Choosing the right plugins, theme and other settings can be overwhelming to someone new to WordPress. As a consultant, you can help businesses configure it properly for their needs.

14. Photographer

Photographers usually don’t work entirely at home, but you can base your freelance business there. You have a lot of possible specializations as a freelance photographer – wedding photography, family portraits, stock photography, real estate photography and more. Specialization is a big help in finding clients, so that they know what to expect from you, and you know what to expect in a job.

15. Tutor

Many students need a little extra help to do well in school. If you’ve taught a particular subject or are very good at it, you may be able to work as a tutor.

Some tutoring companies require that you have a teaching certificate, but you can work on your own as well. Tutoring may be done in person or online. So long as you can do a great job helping students understand the subject, you should be able to find clients.

16. Social Media Marketer

Social media is huge, and many businesses need help with it. If you know how to build a following, post interesting statuses and bring sales to the business, you can do well as a freelance social media marketericon. You need to know which tools are most effective, how to track metrics and keep up with current social media trends.

17. Software Developer

Many companies need software developers for short term freelance projects. You may update previously developed software or start up something new. Software developers can work on traditional software, apps, or advanced websites.

18. Website Designer

A website designer is not always a software developer. You might work more on the appearance of the website than on how it runs in the background. A good designer creates an interface that is easy and attractive for visitors to use.

19. Party Planner

Do you throw a great party? You may be able to plan parties for others as your own business. Take the stress of planning parties off your clients and make their events memorable.

20. Caregiving

Caregiving doesn’t have to mean running a daycare in your home. You can use sites such as Care.com to find babysitting jobs, opportunities to care for the elderly and more.

There are quite a few more freelance businesses you can start as a side hustle or as a business intended to become your sole income, but these are a place to start your consideration. Specialization is often a good idea, so that your reputation is built on your best skills.

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.

July 5th, 2017

10 Mistakes Most People Make When Starting A Home Business

10 Mistakes Most People Make When Starting A Home Business

One of the things we all do when starting out with a new home business is make mistakes. It can’t be helped. You’re doing something new, and even if you know a lot about the work you’re doing, running a home business is something different. Getting things wrong is all a part of learning to do something new.

Still, there are many mistakes you should do your best to avoid. Many come from trying to take the easy route to success, which rarely exists.

Mistake #1: Expecting to be an overnight success.

You can’t help but notice the people who seem to have success right away. They started a business, and it just takes off. In the meantime, you’re struggling to get any results at all. It’s frustrating. Why aren’t things happening for you?

Your typical “overnight success” has worked for years to get to where they are. Their success may be overnight-ish on their current venture, but what about the venture before that and before that? Few hit it big on their first try right away.

Business success usually builds up over time. You may know how to do the thing, and do it well, but you still need to learn how to deal with the business side of things. Finding customers. Managing your social media. Charging enough. Running your website. Time management.

All these things factor into the success of your home business, and they may not come easily to you. That can be a good thing, because an overnight success may become overwhelmed and have more work than they can cope with if they are new to the industry. Ramping up over time means you have time to learn the skills you need and to find help when you need it.

Mistake #2: Fake it until you make it to excess.

Many people love the idea of faking it until you make it. It sounds good. You say you’re an expert when you’re actually pretty new to it all. You’re actually figuring it out as you go along, and hoping that you can keep up.

The problem is that it’s easy to fail when you overdo it. Someone catches you asking for advice on how to do something you’ve claimed you can do elsewhere. Suddenly your reputation tanks. People know you can’t do what you claim, and they won’t trust you anymore.

You can find examples of this with photographers who steal images from other photography sites and claim them as their own. There are people who claim to have made big bucks as affiliates, as they ask very basic questions about affiliate marketing on forums. People who get in way, way over their heads because they can’t admit to their current limitations.

If you must fake it, don’t overdo it. Have confidence in what you know, but don’t offer what you can’t handle. Take the time to learn about things before you offer them as a part of your home business.

Mistake #3: Trying to do too much at once.

Many people try to do too much with their home business. They’ll make a website that they want to appeal to everyone, rather than to a particular niche, large or small. They’ll offer too broad a range of services to clients.

Picking a niche or specialty is a big help, especially when you are getting started. You’re more likely to attract customers or a following if they know they can expect great things from you in your niche. If you’re doing great things, but they’re geared toward different audiences, it’s much harder to attract the audience you want. A blog about your life, finances, cool new electronics, how cute your pets are, funny pictures, politics, career advice, new movies you’ve seen, great places to go on vacation and more will have a lot of trouble gaining an audience unless you’re an incredibly talented writer.

Specialize enough that people know what to expect from you. If you try to please everyone, you’re more likely to be seen as the “Jack of all trades, master of none” than as an expert.

Mistake #4: Expect results regardless of efforts

Some people think that starting an online business is an easy path to success. They hear about passive income, overnight successes, four hour workweeks and more, and think that it’s that simple to earn a full time living online.

What they don’t see is the time it took to get to where these things happen. Passive income comes about as the result of hard work for a long time. Websites that produce an income with only a few hours of effort a week are the result of dedicated effort to get there.

You don’t start out with spectacular results just because you put up a blog post. You work at it for years, often with mediocre to poor results as you learn how to make things happen for you. Easy income doesn’t happen for everyone.

Buying too much stuff for your online business

Mistake #5: Buying too much stuff for your online business

This is such an easy mistake to make. You hear about a hot new product that will help you build your online business. You buy it. Maybe you even use it a little. Then you hear about the next hot new product. And buy it. Then the next product, and the next.

It’s easy to waste a lot of money.

I don’t like to buy products that have a lot of hype around them. Most of them are merely distractions from my business. Few are worth my time and money. If I buy a product, I’ve thought carefully about it.

When you buy a product, choose it because you need it right then. Not later. Now. If you don’t need it yet, bookmark it and come back to it when you’re ready to use it.

If you stop in the middle of the learning process, you’ll feel as though nothing works for you. That will be true enough, but it won’t be due to any faults in the products. It will be because you stop trying before it has had time to work or before you’ve learned what you’re doing. Finish what you start.

Mistake #6: Buying too little stuff for your online business

On the other hand, it’s very easy to spend too little on your online business. It feels like saving money, but it can cost you income.

When you see a tool you can use to build your online business, and you know you will put it to use right away, buy it. Put it into use right away. Learn to make the most of it.

This goes for tools and education in running your business. When you’re ready to make use of them or you’re ready to learn something new, spend the money and take advantage of the opportunity. Do it right and it will be well worth the expense.

Mistake #7: Spam of any kind

You’re excited about your home business and you want to get the word out. I get that. But there are rules about how you promote your business that you must follow.

Some kinds of spam can get you into legal trouble. That would be emailing people without their permission. Take the time to build your list and you will build a list of interested buyers without worrying about possible fines for emailing spam. Double opt in is safest – that means they sign up on your site, and also respond to a confirmation email.

If you pay to have your ad sent out to someone else’s list, make sure theirs is legitimate too.

Don’t drop your ads on forums, Facebook groups, blog comment sections or anywhere else unless you know they’re welcome. You’ll get deleted, blocked, or banned. You’ll also annoy the people you’re trying to reach on those sites.

Many groups have a right and wrong way to promote your business. Some forums, for example, allow signature lines with a link to a business. Others don’t. Some Facebook groups have days when you can post about your business. Don’t post about it at any other time.

Your goal in using forums, Facebook groups and such is to become an authority that people trust on your topic. If they find out you have a business, they may seek you out because you’ve built trust. Spamming ads doesn’t build trust.

Mistake #8: Not worrying about credibility

Not worrying about your credibility goes beyond faking it until you make it. It’s making claims you don’t know to be true. It’s promoting products from other marketers when you don’t know if the quality of the product.

This can be easy to see. You subscribe to someone’s list, and they promote product after product after product. It’s clear that they aren’t concerned with whether it’s any good, just if they have a chance to make some money from subscribers. If you want to build a good reputation, you’ll consider your credibility both in your own products and in what you market for an affiliate commission.

Mistake #9: Taking on too much

You can overwhelm yourself with work when you run a home business. There’s a lot to do. You might even still be working a day job and raising a family as you try to build your business as a side income.

Running yourself into the ground trying to do it all for your business is probably not the right idea. You’ll need to work hard, but if you work so hard you make yourself sick, you’re doing too much.

Outsource when you can. It’s not easy to decide to spend that money, but it can be a huge stress reliever once you get things going well. It can give you more time to do the things that earn you money.

This can be anything from hiring a maid to clean your house once a week to hiring someone to help with your social media or design your website. Hiring someone to watch your kids while you work can even be seen as outsourcing, although many work at home parents prefer to avoid this.

Pay someone else to do the routine things and the things that you aren’t so good at yourself. You’ll be more free to do the things that need your special touch and you’ll give your business a better chance to grow.

mistakes are not failures

Mistake #10: Giving up too easily

There may come a time when giving up on your home business dreams looks like the right thing to do. Sometimes it is.

But often you’re going through a rough spot, and it’s not really time to give up. Maybe you thought success would come more quickly than it has. Maybe you’ve had a setback.

These don’t mean it’s time to give up. You may need to take a better look at what’s happening with your business and make some changes, but you don’t have to give up.

It took me years to get to where I am now. I worked on my websites and worked as a medical transcriptionist for years before my website income was good enough that I could quit the transcription job. I got there and I’m so glad I did.

If you catch yourself going from business opportunity to business opportunity and never having success, you probably aren’t giving each one enough time. Stop chasing the shiny new opportunity. Put solid work into one home business and really try to make it succeed. Don’t drop ads here and there for a couple months and get mad that they aren’t working. Build your business over time and know that it usually takes longer than a few months.

Don’t keep going on something that is bringing your family into financial disaster. That’s my big stopping point. If it costs too much and you can’t afford the loss, there’s a problem. Sometimes you will hit the point where going back to a regular job is the smart move. Sometimes that will let you keep trying with a business that isn’t doing enough to keep going but shows promise if you can keep going. Other times, it’s the best thing you can do because that business just isn’t going to happen for you.

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.

May 10th, 2017

How To Find Free Images To Use On Your Website

Quality images are important to the success of your website. While they don’t replace high quality content, they help keep people interested in your content. The challenge is in finding free images to use.

Safest, of course, is to use images you have created yourself. Photographs you’ve taken and graphics you’ve created completely on your own free you from worries about copyright issues on the images. You may still need to consider how you’re portraying products visible in your images.

It’s not always practical to create your own images, however. It’s extra work, and you won’t always have time to create the image you want. It is often easier to seek out images online. That makes it important to consider copyright.

What Should You Look For?

Knowing the copyright status of any image you use is vital. If you can’t figure out the copyright status of an image, assume it exists and that you cannot use the image. That’s safest.

Creative Commons

A very helpful form of copyright is called Creative Commons. This allows owners to declare what level of protection they want on their images. If you want to use an image on a website that you earn money from, you want images that allow commercial use. But there’s more to it than that.

You will also need to pay attention to whether or not use of the image requires attribution. You must give credit to the creator of the image if they require it.

You must also note whether you are allowed to change the image at all. Some want no changes at all to their images if you use them.

There’s also a Share Alike possibility, which means that anything you create from their image must have the same license.

Creative Commons 0 (CC0) may be the easiest license to deal with. That places the image effectively in the public domain. You can use it, change it, and you don’t have to give attribution.

Make sure you understand which Creative Commons license applies to any images you use that show it. If someone goes through the effort to put a Creative Commons license on something, it makes sense to follow those rules.

Public Domain

Images go into the public domain when they’re old enough. When that is can be complicated. You can read up on it here.

Once you’ve done that, I hope you’ll see why there isn’t any one answer I can give there. Many things published before 1923 are in the public domain, but that’s not a guarantee. Some older items will still not be public domain because they were never published, and so remain under copyright longer.

Where To Find Images

You can search sites such as Flickr for images with no known copyright restrictions. It’s one of the options you find when you do a search. If you don’t see it right away, do a search, and the results page should have the option to narrow it down by copyright.

flickr screenshot cats

Google Images allows you to search by usage. Do your search, then click on Tools. Click on Usage Rights, then select the appropriate level. It only goes to “Labeled for reuse with modification,” which will usually be enough. Google search can be easier than searching some of these sites, plus it’s searching all over the internet, rather than a site at a time.

Click on any image you’re considering, and go to the site it is on. Don’t download it straight from Google. Check the license as listed on that site so you know what you’re getting.

Google Images screenshot cats

No matter what site you find an image on, even if I’ve listed the site here as a safe one, check the terms of use on the image itself. Do not take my word for it on the safety of any images on these sites. I don’t control them, terms can change, and if someone uploads something copyrighted and claims there’s none, that has nothing to do with my advice. Some sites allow contributors to declare a particular license rather than default to CC0 or similar, and so may have a mix of licenses on the site.

Most image sites also have ads on them, and it may be difficult to tell whether an image is going to lead you to a paid site instead. Watch your sources!

Barn Images
BossFight
Fancy Crave
Foodies Feed
Gratisography
LibreShot
Life Of Pix
Negative Space
New Old Stock
Open ClipArt
Pexels
PicJumbo
Picography
Pixabay
Public Domain Archive
Public Domain Pictures
Skitterphoto
SplitShire
StockSnap.io
Stockvault
Unsplash

How to Research Images

If you want to know more about where an image comes from, you can do a reverse image search. TinEye is a good resource for this. You can also use Google Images to do a reverse image search. It’s not a bad idea to check on images you’ve downloaded, for your own safety. I can’t promise that you’ll always spot the copyright if there is one, but it may help.

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.