Last Updated 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.

Last Updated 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.

Last Updated 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.

Last Updated March 21st, 2017

How To Cope With Computer Problems In Your Home Business

When you run a home business, you are inevitably going to run into technical difficulties. It’s the nature of things. While sometimes you will have problems which ruin your entire day, others can be fixed with little difficulty. Here are some things you can try to fix computer problems as they come up.

I fix most of my own technical problems and only rarely have to get help. Usually, that means it’s not on my end of things, such as when the internet is down. I’m helping my son build his own computer, so you will probably agree that I’m a bit more comfortable with technology than many.

Be aware that you will lose any unsaved work with many of these solutions. If your computer has frozen up, the work is often lost regardless. Taking steps to get your computer running again won’t change that.

These instructions are by no means comprehensive. They’re just advice that may help. If they make things worse, I take no responsibility for that. Don’t try anything you think will damage your devices.

Problem: Computer Is Not Responding

Try To Save All Work

Before you do anything else, try to save any open work you have. This will minimize the heartbreak of losing progress. If the program is completely frozen, you will probably not be able to save your work, but try it first to be sure.

See If You Can Figure Out Why You’re Having A Problem

Sometimes the problem you’re having is so basic, you can spot it if you pause and take a look. A window on your computer might not be responding because it’s waiting for a response in a popup that has gone behind the main window. A connection may be loose. A battery may be near to zero. Check all your windows, connections and battery levels to see what you can find.

Shut Down The Program

It’s annoying when your computer stops responding for a time. If you think you know which program is causing the problem, try closing that program. Closing excess programs can help the rest run better, and you may be able to open it right back up.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

If it’s your Windows computer giving you trouble, use Control-Alt-Delete to see if you can get the Task Manager to come up. If the computer is completely frozen, this won’t help, but you can often locate the problem process in the Task Manager and end it. You can also bring up the Task Manager by right clicking on the taskbar.

The problem process may be using too much CPU, Memory or Disk. If the problem is not in a process you’re familiar with, you may not want to end it using the Task Manager. When in doubt, you can look up the process online to find out what it does. Some processes are not good to end in Task Manager, as they’re related to how your computer runs. If one of those is causing a problem, you need to restart your computer.

The problem process is usually the one you’re using. Web browsers freeze up sometimes, especially if you have a lot of tabs open. Other programs can freeze as well, because that’s how computers are some days. Hopefully your work is saved often enough that you don’t lose much progress.

Turn It Off, Then On Again

You can solve many problems can by turning the device off, then on again. There’s a reason why many tech support people have you try this first. Try it on your device. Try first for the normal shut down routine. If that doesn’t work, try the power button. If that doesn’t work, unplug it. If it has a battery and unplugging is irrelevant, swear profusely. Swearing won’t help your device, but it might ease some tension.

Actually, if it’s battery powered and being difficult about shutting down, try holding down the power button. It may take several seconds, but I’ve never had that fail.

Tech support will usually tell you to wait anywhere from 5-30 seconds before restarting. That’s only necessary some of the time. I make sure the computer is fully shut down and the fan isn’t running before I restart.

Problem: Printer Is Not Responding

My kids use our printer far more often than I do, but I still have to troubleshoot it sometimes. Ours gets fussy at odd times, and we usually see a message about the printer not responding as we hear it printing.

Check Print Queue

Open up the print queue for your printer and see if there are any jobs ahead of the one you’re trying to do. Sometimes it will be stuck on a previous job. Ours has been known to hold old jobs for days before the kids tell me that they’ve been having trouble. Cancel all the old jobs before adding any new ones.

We sometimes get a message that another computer is using the printer. We have four computers, so this would be reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that no one else has ever been using the printer at that time. The only thing that works for my printer with this problem is to shut it down using the power button, then unplug, pause, replug and turn it back on. This takes a few minutes, but is faster than just unplugging and replugging the printer because it gets whiny if it’s not shutdown correctly. I have to acknowledge the improper shutdown before it wants to do anything.

Check The Printer

The printer may be low on ink, be out of paper, or have a paper jam. Usually the print manager or print queue will alert you to this.

If the ink is low, try cancelling the print and submitting it again. Some printers lie about when they’re low on ink and you can still get some perfectly good prints out of them before changing the cartridge. This may save you from having to dash out for more printer ink. I prefer to order cheap printer ink from Amazon because we aren’t printing things for the long term here. I have yet to have any of it damage my printer, but that is a possibility, so take the chance only if you’re willing.

If the paper is out, put in more paper. I hope this could have gone without saying.

If the paper is jammed, figure out the various places you can open the printer to remove the jammed paper. There’s usually a place to open it up in the back, as well as removing the paper cartridge.

Problem: No Internet Connection

Here’s a problem that is often on your end and easy to fix, but otherwise you will have to call for help.

If you’re using wifi, make sure you have a good wifi connection. You should be able to see it on the taskbar. If you aren’t close enough to your router, of course you won’t have a connection. If you need wifi in more of your home, look into a range extender.

Windows can handle some troubleshooting for you. Right click on your wifi icon and select Troubleshoot problems. This won’t always give you an answer, but it might.

If you’re using a wired connection, make sure it’s well connected at your computer and the router. Kids, pets and time can loosen connections.

The next thing to do if you have no internet connection is restart your router. For most, the easiest way to do this is unplug the router, pause and plug it back in. It may take several minutes before you know if you have a connection again. It’s so easy I’ve given my older kids permission to do this. So far they always forget that option and wait for me. You can also try unplugging the power and disconnecting the cable, then reconnecting both.

If this doesn’t work, it’s time to call your internet provider. Pay attention to any parts you could have handled on your own for future reference. The equipment can vary quite a bit, so I’m not going to get too specific here, but there are other things you can do on your own on most equipment. The less often you have to sit on hold with your ISP, the better.

If your home phone goes through the same service as your internet, you are probably better off calling your internet provider from your cell phone. Shutting down some of your equipment will also shut off the house phone, which will terminate the call. Then you have to hope that they will call you back, or call in again knowing that you might have to start troubleshooting all over.

Problem: Computer Runs Slow

Now here’s one you could damage your computer with, so be very, very careful. The benefits can be worth it.

Open the Task Manager on your Windows computer. That can be found by hitting Control-Alt-Delete, as described above or by right clicking on the taskbar. Select the Startup tab.

Do not disable programs you don’t understand. You will mess up how your computer runs. However, if you have programs such as Spotify, Steam, QuickTime and so forth, you probably do not need them to run at startup. When in doubt, do a search online and find out if the program is safe to remove from startup. Once again, don’t do this if you aren’t certain it’s safe.

Limiting what runs at startup can speed your computer up quite a bit. There are many programs and apps that like to add themselves to your computer’s startup that do not need to be turned on before you start using them. They slow the entire system down by doing this.

You will need to restart after this.

Problem: Computer Is Making Noises

Sometimes your computer gets noisy, and it’s not an ad or video playing in the background. It may just be that it needs a good cleaning.

This is one of those things you have to be careful about, especially if you have a warranty and don’t want to void it. Do not do anything that will void an active warranty.

Desktop computers are not difficult to open up for most people. There are some good instructions here. I usually just follow the dusting instructions – it’s rarely necessary to remove and reseat cards. If you’re feeling ambitious or things look that bad, follow the instructions carefully. You will need some canned air and a small paintbrush at the very least.

Problem: Keyboard

I also use canned air to clean out keyboards, just along the surface. I don’t open them up – just blow the air along the lines of the keys. This won’t do a perfect job, but it will get some of the gunk out. This is usually enough to get it working pretty well again.

Now if your kids have been eating Nerds at the computer and drop some into the keyboard, well, I hope you have better luck cleaning those out than I did. The big ones are difficult to get out and get in the way of the keys. Better to make sure the kids don’t eat at the computer, especially anything that can drop small bits into the keyboard or other parts. Lucky for my kids, we had a spare keyboard.

If you want to clean the surfaces of the keyboard, spray a cleaner lightly onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the keyboard down. Don’t spray directly onto the keyboard – you do not want a lot of moisture there. It might work its way down to the electronic parts and damage them.

Problem: Popup Ads

Frequent popup ads on your computer can be a sign of adware on your system. They’re also annoying. It’s time to give your system a solid malware scan.

The first thing to try on a Windows computer is Windows Defender, which comes built in on current systems. It does pretty well these days. You can also try other reputable brands, such as Bitdefender or Malwarebytes. Be very careful what malware scanner you use, as many will cause more problems than they solve. Stick to the quality companies.

Run a full scan. A quick scan is faster, but it won’t catch everything, and when you have a problem you want it handled right, not fast.

Do not run two malware scanners at once. They will give each other trouble. You should have one always on, and you can choose to have an on demand scanner as well.

I hope these solutions will help you with some of the basic problems you can face with your equipment when running a home business. Knowing how to handle the basics can save you a lot of time on the phone or with your computer in the shop.

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 5th, 2017

Practical Tips For Goal Setting

Having goals when you work at home or run a home business is important, but even more important is setting the right goals. The right goals will encourage you to keep aiming at them, while the wrong goals will frustrate more than they help. It’s not just what the goal is – it’s how you phrase it and how you break it down.

Look At Your Big Goals First

Go ahead, look at them. Your dream goals. The things you aren’t sure you can achieve. Get it over with so that you can get to the more practical goals next. Write them down.

Skip things you have little to no control over, such as “winning the lottery.” That’s more dream than goal. When the only control you have over a goal is the first step and the rest is sheer chance, it’s not a good goal. Make your goals something you can work toward and have some level of control over your success or failure.

Look At Your Midrange Goals

Your midrange goals are the goals you’re more confident that you can achieve in a reasonable period. They aren’t huge, but put them together and they might just lead to something bigger. They might not be easy, but you know more about how you’ll get there.

These might be income goals nearer to where you are now, learning a new skill, working more hours more often… you get the idea.

Break It Down

Even your big goals can be broken down into steps. You might dream of running a six figure business (or more), but setting that as a goal has nothing to do with how you get there. You need to break it down into goals that will take you in that direction.

You might have a goal to find 5 new customers in a month. Sounds like a good goal, but it doesn’t say anything about how you’re going to get there. What actions do you need to take to get there? How are you going to get more attention to your services to get those customers? Think this through to come up with the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

Smaller steps can make great goals. These are the things you can get done. Some may take a couple hours work while others will take weeks or months. Some may be a simple to commitment to work a certain number of hours a day on a project.

Consider The Obstacles

If it were easy to meet your goals, most people wouldn’t struggle with them so much. When you set a goal, think about what might get in your way.

When you work at home and have kids, they’re often one of the major obstacles you face. It doesn’t matter how much you love them and enjoy working at home so you can be with them, they also make it harder to reach your goals.

Staying up late to work or getting up early are popular ways to handle the challenges that kids add. That may not be enough. You may need to look at ways to add in a little child care so that you can work during the day as well. You may be able to get a family member or friend to take the kids some of the time, a lovely, potentially free way to handle things, but not something that works for everyone. Working during naps only works as long as the kids are young enough to nap, and may not be enough. Finding the right balance is one of the major challenges for many people who work at home.

Other things may challenge you as you work at home too. Pets, friends, neighbors, TV, chores, there are plenty of distractions that can make it harder to reach your goals. Find a way to deal with whichever are keeping you from reaching your other goals.

Take Action

All this planning won’t help you at all if you don’t take action. Don’t overthink your goals. Don’t overthink the steps you plan to take to reach them. Do something. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t.

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.