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February 2018

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Laptops and business laptops are so important, in your life. I know we like to pretend that we don’t rely so heavily on tech, but we do.  Laptops are so important for your personal use but if you’re a side hustler you’re likely using them as a business tool as well! My laptop screen is faulty so I have found myself looking into the best laptop’s out there. As a side hustler, you will want a strong performing laptop but also one that is portable and not going to cut into your pocket too much. You will want to spend a fair amount, as this could mean the tool for your source of income (teaching online). However,  at the same time if you’re running a business on the side you will have other costs you need to consider.  So hear our top picks of business laptops for the side hustler for under £1000.

 

1.Microsoft Surface Laptop available from Very (£799)

Covered in: Telegraph

CNET

Techadvisor

Image of Surface laptop

I am sure you have heard of this one, it’s had a large marketing spend behind it, so I’d be surprised if you missed it. If you did, well here it is. A top contender for business laptops. This laptop has a slim design and is ultra lightweight at only 1.25KG. This certainly won’t break your back carrying it to and from work or when you’re out and about.  It boasts a long battery life and a lovely touch to its keyboard. The screen is touch – giving you the feeling of the tablet. The downside is that it only has 4GB of RAM for the price point it’s positioning itself at. What this means is that the computer has to work longer/harder to transfer data. Most modern laptops now have 8GB of RAM. This computer will be fast enough for most functions but if you want a high performing laptop that operates quickly then I would choose a laptop with higher RAM.

 

2. Lenovo IdeaPad 720s available from John Lewis (£829.95)

Covered in: Telegraph

Techadvisor

Lenovo Ideapad 720s image

This laptop is very aesthetically pleasing. It offers twice the RAM as the Microsoft Surface Pro only weighing a little more at 1.6KG. It is not touchscreen, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all.  The screen rotates 180 degrees, if you ever find that useful. It has a long battery life of 14 hours which is great if you left your charger at the office or at home and find yourself working somewhere else.  The webcam that is included in the laptop is 720p at 30fps which is all you need unless you are streaming yourself on your laptop while skiing downhill. Which would be highly impressed but unlikely to happen. The downside is that it’s only 14 inch which means you don’t get the same large displays of the standard 15.6-inch laptops. Maybe this isn’t important to you as you might prioritize transportability. It’s one the best business laptops and one that should be heavily considered for the side hustler.

3. Lenovo Yoga Book available from Currys (£429.99)

Covered in: Telegraph

Another laptop from Lenovo. This laptop is a bit more affordable than its competitors but I guess it’s more of a tablet than a laptop. So, with that in mind, I would say this is a great laptop for those that want something closer to a tablet. For those that want something much closer to a laptop, this one is not for you. positives – It has a great build quality to it and is only 10.1 inches big so they weren’t kidding when they called it a book. The RealPen which comes with the book acts as a fantastic stylus but alsoooo- wait for it: as a pen. No really, I mean you can add a ballpoint nib onto the head meaning you can write on the flat keyboard as though you were actually writing. Great for the artist and designers out there.  But yes I did say flat keyboard, which is odd and not for me as I quite like to feel the keys go down and hear that click. However, saying that it means it can be more versatile. Great book/laptop but the keyboard might take some getting used too.

4. Acer Swift 3 available from Tesco Direct (£599.00)

Covered in: Techadvisor

If portability isn’t everything, then this has almost everything else and is at a great price.  It has an all metal body which is probably what makes it a bit heavier but it’s different. The screen is full HD and the battery life is 10 hours – not as good as the Lenovo IdeaPad 720s but good enough.  It also boasts 8GB RAM giving it a strong performance.  The touchpad on the keyboard has very high reviews of recommendation on this laptop because of its smooth feel and light but defined click. What is fun about this, is a fingerprint reader which feels more normal now as most phones have that function and entry point. A good midrange option for our business laptops list.

 

5. Asus Chromebook flip C302CA available from John Lewis (£499.95)

Covered in: Laptop Mag 

Another laptop which is kind on the eyes. The screen bends all the way back so it folds back onto the keyboard which is handy if you want to use it as a laptop. This one is great for meetings as you focus on the display and use the touchscreen to change anything rather than use the mouse. Also great if you’re traveling on the train or relaxing at home and want to watch something without the keyboard getting in the way. It weighs less than 1.2KG making it fantastic and portable. The screen size is only 12.5 inches which is one reason it’s so light.  The biggest flaw for me is it has no USB Type A ports which are the usually USB port you would find on a laptop. However, this is a great contender if you are on the move a lot.

 

6. Dell Inspiron 13 7000 available from Currys (£809)

Covered in: T3

 

This entry from Dell is a good quality laptop with a speedy yet powerful performance. On the small side of 13.3-inch screen. However, this one has the needed ports making it functioninal for your personal and work life including an HDMI connection port.  You can also log into this with your face – that’s where we are at these days.  This is a 2 in 1 machine operating as a tablet with a keyboard that folds all the way back. The battery life could be better only running at about 5 and half hours, well below its competitors. The RAM is decent at 8GB.

 

7. HP 250 G5 available from ebuyer (£449.99)

Covered in: Techadvisor

This is one the most affordable business laptops that you will find. It has an impressive 8GB of RAM considering the price point. This laptop has no DVD drive, however, most people are streaming through Netflix these days then putting on a DVD they got for Christmas.  This is the heaviest option in our list at 2.14 KG but it has a 15.6-inch display, so it’s a given. While it may not suit the side hustler who is often on the move, it will serve as a strong machine to set up your workstation at home or at work with. While this device is not the best, it’s the best for the price range of under £500. We thought we would include a lower cost model as not everyone can fork out the money for a higher performing portable laptop just yet.

 

If you’re starting a business, maybe you’re teaching online and you think your laptop webcam may just not be up to scratch. Or you use a desktop computer which does not have a webcam and microphone and you think it’s time to invest in one. The webcam quality in modern laptops is getting far better but sometimes an external webcam is just a better purchase- giving you more flexibility in the quality you can choose from as well as giving you more freedom in where to position it. We have scanned the shops and internet for the best webcams for under £100. Check out our list below:

 

1.Logitech C922 Pro Stream

£84.99 from Game

 

This is a top of the range webcam designed for gamers which means it has fantastic streaming capabilities.  This one is the highest price point out of the ones we suggest, however, it is worth every penny.In fact, I think it’s probably the best webcam for under £100. This webcam lets you record and stream in HD1080P. It supports 60fps at 720p. This basically means if you are doing any fast action on your webcam such as dancing- it’s going to pick up your moves smoothly without jittering and lagging ( the tech term used for a delay in a video). It has a high functioning mic built into the webcam picking up the sound and transmitting sound from all directions; So if you’re teaching a musical instrument online it’s going to pick up the sound with clarity for you. Bonus feature: Comes with a fully adjustable tabletop tripod.

 

 

2.Logitech HD Webcam C270

£19.99 from Currys PC World

 

Another one from Logitech. This one is very much at the lower price point. It does not offer the same quality features that their more advanced model offer, but still does what most people would consider enough for their needs. This is a good option if you are starting to stream more often as you teach online but are not ready yet to spend nearly £90 on a webcam. It has HD video quality at 720p. It also had a built-in microphone. But don’t take our word for it, check out the average 4.5/5 star review on their Currys website from an incredible 428 people!

 

3. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 USB Port Webcam

£21.95 from Amazon

 

This lovely camera from Microsoft performs pretty well with a built-in mic that can pick up sound from multiple directions as well noise cancelling the acoustics that you sometimes hear on a video call. So this, in theory, should be pretty good for sound quality. I mean it has an average 4.5/5 star reviews from 904 customers, so people must be pretty happy with it. It records and streams videos at 720p HD at 30fps like most competitors.

 

 

4. Hue HD Pro Webcam

£54.12 from Greens Stationary

 

This is definitely a camera that is flexible (in the literal sense) to your needs. It’s super bendy neck makes it easy to position the camera where you want, so you are getting the best angle for streaming or recording in HD. It features full 360 rotation so you can share all of your surroundings.

 

5. Logitech C170 HD webcam

£16.99 from Currys Pc World 

 

This is a great camera for those with a very tight budget; coming in at the lowest price on best webcam under £100.  It’s the cheapest camera we have found but the best at this budget price. Logitech is the market leaders I believe in webcams. So if you’re going to go budget, then go with them. This webcam has a built-in mic meaning you don’t have splash out more for an external mic. It records in 1024 x 768 resolution. The universal clip also means you can attach it to a shelf or something else as well as your monitor.

 

 

 

What’s a domain name some of you might be thinking and why do I need to buy one? You know the famous ‘www.’ then the name that follows that such as amazon.com? Well, it’s that thing that you write in the address bar to go to a website. It’s a great way to grow your brand, come across professional and be taken more seriously by your customers. Also, if you own and register your domain name that is consistent with your brand it will stop competitors pulling away search traffic from your site. We’ve done a bit of research on how much it will cost you and what you will get from each domain provider. Have a look below to find out where to buy your domain name.

 

1.GoDaddy

Probably the only one you have heard of from the heaps of advertising they do especially at the Superbowl. GoDaddy is great at helping and educating you on how to go about buying your domain name. it’s probably the go to for where to buy your domain name.

.co.uk is £0.01 for the first year if you register for 2 years or more. After the first year, it’s £9.99 each year.

.com is £0.99 for the first year if you register for 2 years or more. After the first year, it’s £13.10 each year.

With .com you also get the following extra’s free of charge: Parked Page, Domain forwarding & masking, Total DNS control, Change of registration, Getting started guide, Status alerts and Domain locking.

.club is £7.99 for the first year and £12.10 each year after that.

.pro is £3.63 for the first year and £14.21 each year after that. ( this domain used to be limited to certain professions but now anyone can buy this domain)

 

 

2.123 Reg

This claims to be the no.1 website for the domain names in the UK. They also offer you a free forwarding email and a free two-page website for free to get you started. GoDaddy offers you the chance to start with a free website but you have to pay pretty soon after that. So let’s get down to costs – all costs also include free DNS control:

.co.uk is free for the first year if you register for 2 years or more. After the first year, it’s £9.99 +20% VAT.

.com appears to be £11.99 for the first year +20% VAT.

.club appears to be £7.99 for the first year +20%VAT.

.Pro appears to be £2.99 for the first year +20%VAT.

 

 

3.1&1

This website includes a range of features you can sign up to as well as purchasing your domain name.  They Include a free 2GB mailbox email address, private registration and SSL certificate when purchasing your domain name.

.co.uk is £0.99 +20%VAT for the first year and then £9.99 +20% VAT every year after that.

.com is £0.99 + 20% VAT for the first year and then £12.99 +20%VAT  each year after that. This domain also includes a one-off ICANN fee of £0.11.

.club is £0.99 + 20% VAT for the first year and then £14.99 +20%VAT  each year after that. This domain also includes a one-off ICANN fee of £0.11.

.Pro is £14.99 +VAT  each year. This also includes a one-off ICANN fee of £0.11.

 

 

 

4. Names

You get a free website for the first year when you sign up then it’s £14.40 each year after that.

Names also give you a free email account and webmail, Domain and email forwarding as well as advanced DNS control. What they do offer which other domain buying websites do not is an offer with Shutterstock which gives you 40% off packs of 5 or 25 images. This could be great if you’re thinking of buying images from here. However, we have a nifty little guide to where to get fantastic royalty free stock imagery. Check out our guide here.

.co.uk is free for the first year. When purchasing a two-year registration it costs £16.78

.com is £17.99 for a 1-year registration.

.club is £11.99 for a 1-year registration.

.pro is not available from this site.

 

 

 

Hopefully, this has outlined some sites that can get you your domain name at the price and deal which suits your business.

You may have been flicking through your own library of images thinking nope not that one or that one, as you try to find beautiful photos for your business’ website, social media or blog. Fear not, the days of searching Shutterstock and Getty and discovering just how much you need to spend are over. There are a fantastic wealth of royalty free stock images you can access out there. You would be surprised by the quality – it’s outstanding. Explore the sites we have below; to give your business the professional look you need without emptying your pockets.

1.Unsplash

This is the first place I was made aware of when I was stuck in the same spot as you. It’s shocking how good these photos are and how generous people are with sharing their love of photography through royalty free stock images. I know a couple of contributors who love the idea their images could help a young business.

Example image- Photographer: Samuel Scrimshaw

Person standing on top of a mound near a cliff

 

 

2. Pexels

This is another fantastic site that has extremely high-quality content for you to use completely for free; regardless if it’s personal or commercial. Feels a bit like daylight robbery right? They have a great feature on this site where you can see the top photographers that are trending right now, allowing you to select images more easily. What’s nice about this feature is that these top photographers who are donating so much free imagery to this space can receive donations. So, if you feel guilty for using 15 of their images- although you shouldn’t, as they’re putting images out there to share; you can make a donation to this photographer to support them in their work. Think of it as a token gesture.

Example image – Photographer: Bruce Mars

Man sitting on floor using his laptop and phone

 

 

 

3.Pixabay

This site is great as it has over 1.3 million photos up for use. This is fantastic as it has videos- a great resource for you to have. They also have vector graphs and illustrations! This site just keeps on giving! Definitely, pay them a visit.

Example Vector Graph- Creator: Gordon Johnson

Vector Graph of House

 

 

4. Kaboom Pics

This site has a range of photos which you can search by category. Most photos also come in different sizes and come with a downloadable colour palette.  More beautiful free images; not much more to say.

Example Image- Photographer: Kaboom Pics

Coffee Cup

 

 

5.Picjumbo

This site was created by Designer and Photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013. This site has a lot of photos with really useful category breakdowns to help you find that perfect image quicker. If you like a particular photo it allows you to see more similar photos that may have been taken at the same photoshoot. So, this allows you to handpick the images that do it for you. Who knew there would be such a selection of royalty free stock images.

Example Image- Photographer: VIKTOR HANACEK

A man waits for a subway train in Prauge

 

 

We live in a visual world, judging something by its cover ( even though you’re constantly told not too) we instinctively do it. Research has indicated you only have 7 seconds to make a strong first impression. Check out these sites and find the image that best suits your needs.

P.s our title image is from by Nursultan Rakysh on Unsplash

We’ve all been there on the tube, in the car or maybe walking to work thinking I could do more with this time. Why not make the most of your commute, so you can feel you’ve accomplished a lot before you even get to work. Here’s a handy list of apps to get you on your way to more productive commute – you’re welcome.

1. Listen to a podcast – Stitcher

Although reading a book is great and we don’t want this pastime to die. It’s not always easy to get a book out or indeed fit one in your bag alongside your laptop, gym kit and your snacks for later. Also, Podcasts are great if your driving and don’t have four hands. You’re likely staring at a screen all day so why not give your eyes a break and just plug-in and listen. Some great podcasts: Tim Ferris Show, Stuff You Should Know, Ted Radio Hour to name a few. So what’s the app? Well, Stitcher is free and allows you to create a playlist of your favorite podcasts.

Image of Stitcher app on phone

2.Get some Buddha into your day  – Calm

We all need some head space and some time to just focus on our breath. Meditation is massively on trend and for good reason. There is a lot of research to say that taking time to just focus in the moment has wondrous effects on your health and mentality. So give this one a go. It’s free and has a range of things you can do from guided meditation to just focusing on your breath.

image of calm app on phone

3.Organise your food goals- Jawbone UP

Trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, but always forget about that cheeky brownie at lunch or the extra glass of wine at the pub? Well, this app is great for helping you maintain a healthy diet or track your food to try to lose weight. They have a great feature to be able to watch your goals with friends and challenge them to a duel. Which is a race against your friend to do more steps in a set period such as 3 days. If you’re competitive this could be a great motivator for a lunchtime walk.

image of Jawbone UP app on phone

4.Catch up with what you couldn’t do earlier – Pocket

Ever too busy to read something but bookmark it for later and never actually get round to reading it. Well, all that could change with this handy app from Pocket. You can save articles from google (other search engines are available), twitter, Facebook, email, or almost anywhere else. Then, when you’re stuck on a train for 30 minutes because there is yet another strike; you’ll feel a lot more informed and motivated knowing you have had a productive commute.

Image of Pocket app on phone and tablet

5.Get your to-do list in shape –Wunderlist

Everyone loves a list, don’t they? I don’t know if it’s the numbered/listed thing of knowing you have objectives or maybe the satisfaction in crossing or ticking something off the list. Whatever your reason for making lists; there is a fantastic app called Wunderlist which allows you to make lists, add reminders, share with others ( i.e remind Tash to do her slides for that presentation). It also syncs with your computer – making life just that bit easier. So if you’re a list maker, write this on your to-do list to install.

Image of Wunderlist app on phone

6. Get everything connected – IFTTT

Ever get so confused by all the apps you have and wish everything could just be more synced and together? Well, this nifty bit of tech does this for you. IFTTT ‘gets all your apps and devices talking to each other’. The platform has a range of what they call ‘Applets’ which can bring services together to give you new options for making life easier.Image of IFTTT app on phone.

7. Zone out and concentrate more – Noisli

This app is fantastic at helping you zone out and focus which will inevitably increase productivity. You can create a custom sound scape to suit you by choosing a range of natural sound as well as brown, white and pink noise generators. Phone are used for lots of things and some apps stop running as soon you close them, however, this one keeps going meaning you can use other apps at the same time. Give it a try.

Image of Noisli app on phone

8. Personalise your typing – Swiftkey

We all do things a little differently. We have different preferences when using devices. This app allows you to custom your keyboard to suit the way in which you use your phone. It has the predictive abilities of Darren Brown. If this doesn’t make for a productive commute when you are getting through emails, I don’t know what will.

Image of someone using Swiftkey on their phone

 

 

 

 

It’s Wednesday and you’re already fed up with your working week. Are you ready for a change? It’s time to start your own business. Have you been thinking about it, but still not sure you’re there yet? We, think you might be ready to take the plunge if you’re showing the signs below. Read below to see if you might be ready.

1.You’ve calculated the risk

You’ve already tested the water – you know what works. You may have even started your side hustle or maybe you’re making a few sales on your blog. Perhaps a number of people have said you need to take this passion of yours full-time. Start up’s are a risky business. Which is why researching your market, audience, challenges and potential rewards are key before you get started. You may already have expertise in the area you are going into or experience from an existing profession. This will lower your odds of failing as you’re more aware of your industry and market. You know it’s riskier than staying in your current job but where’s the fun in that?

2. You’re done with being a cog in a not so well oiled machine

Time and time again you hear of people who are not happy in their job. They feel like a cog in a machine, simply churning over the same work day in and day out.  Large companies who are unwilling to change for fear of disrupting their processes are not going to progress at the rate you are.  Start your own business and be your own boss- it can be so rewarding. Take control of the decisions you make, test out new ideas knowing that if it doesn’t work it’s ok- just go back to the drawing board. Your career is in your hands. You control how far you progress. You’re only limited by your own drive to succeed.

3. You want to love Monday mornings

You won’t be hitting that snooze button when you’re running your own company. Monday mornings will actually feel empowering as you can get back to working on what you love and start making progress. Think about it – you work for an average of 50 years of your life and spend about 40 hours a week working. So, why not love and enjoy that time and look back on your life thinking you lived it well, rather than counting the clock till you can go home each day. Make money from something you love.

4. You want to learn

If you start your own business it’s a constant learning curve as you discover all the things you don’t know (but need to figure out) in order to go forward. If you’re keen to start teaching yourself the tools you need to progress in your venture, then you’re ready. There are loads of great resources to follow that will teach you snippets of expertise to fill in the gaps that you currently have. To name a few, entrepreneur Tim Ferris and Hubspot are great to look into.

5. You’ve accepted failing is part of the journey

There is a difference between failing and being a failure. Failing is inevitable, it’s part of the path to learning. Your company fails when you have failed to acknowledge failing is something that needs addressing. Opportunities can arise when certain parts of your business may fail as you can assess areas you may have previously overlooked. In the words of Winston Churchill who, if he had given up when he hit failure, it would have resulted in us living in a very different world today – “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Start your own business.

Start your own business. Women holds a mug which read's 'Like A Boss'