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‘Business’ and ‘inspiration’ are often not words that people would expect to see together. Oh, how wrong they are. It takes a lot to build something from scratch and develop it to the point where you’re not only living, but living comfortably while doing something you love. Below, you’ll find a list of resources which we think could help you to build your business into something truly special.

XOSarah

Sarah’s blog is specifically aimed at people who want to make money out of their blogs. It might seem like the lessons don’t apply to people with a very different business idea. However, blogs are a great thing to have for pretty much any business, so Sarah’s super-informative site is a great place to start. We especially love this post about how best to handle a really busy day.

Two Scots Abroad

While Two Scots abroad is a travel blog, we came across this post and we love it. It gives some great info that works for people who are just starting out, or for those who want to step up their game. Fine, you might not be promoting your own travel blog, but if you’re trying to sell anything online the tips they offer would be a great way to start.

Adore Creative Studio

Chloe is a freelance designer. She runs a beautiful website, as you would expect from a designer. However, we want to talk about her blog. It’s a fantastic example of how a business can use a blog to showcase their work, as well as creating a ton of business-related content which people will want to share. If people share your content, they spread the word about you. This post gives some great ideas for what to post on social media when you get stuck. And you will get stuck eventually. It happens to us all.

Living For Naptime

Living for Naptime is designed for mums who want to start a blog in their free time. But if you’re starting a business while dealing with something else that takes up a lot of time and attention (ie. that full time job you want to get rid of some day) we think there’s a lot to be learned from the brilliant time-saving tips on there. We particularly love this post about growing your Instagram. Give it a try!

Snap Creativity

Tauni Everett has an amazing ‘Blogging + Entrepreneur Tips’ section on her website, which is packed full of information which is really useful whatever your business. For those looking to increase their social media following, we particularly love this post about organically upping your Facebook likes. But, really, the whole blog is a treasure trove.

Nesha Woolery

Once you’ve got yourself set up and your website looking great, you’re on the right track. But it’s not enough to just sit there and wait for your clients to roll in. This post on Nesha’s blog is especially great. It provides a run-down of loads of ways you can go about attracting clients. It’s all about putting yourself out there, and that post will show you how.

Now. Real talk time. Did we miss any amazing sources of business inpiration that you think we should know about? Where do you turn when you need a kick up the backside? If you take away one tip from all of this, what will it be?

 

So, you have your class up and running, and it’s looking great. But how can you get the word out and start to increase your booking numbers?

Add a Call to Action button on Facebook

If you have a Facebook page, you have everything you need to add a Call to Action button. This is a way to send people directly to your classes. You have the option of seven different CTAs (that’s right, we’re abbreviating) and one of them is, conveniently, ‘Book Now’. All you have to do is enter the link for your class and you’re away! Additionally, since you have your Facebook page set up and looking awesome, you could also consider paid ads or promoted posts on Facebook too. They’re a great way to increase the numbers of people seeing your content.

Get Tweeting

If you have Twitter, start tweeting about your classes. The key to remember with Twitter is that you can’t just do it once. There’s an average of just under 10,000 tweets published every second, so you’ve got a lot of competition. Once your tweet has been out there for 18 minutes, the likelihood is that its been buried on everybody’s newsfeed. What that means is you really need to be tweeting about your classes at least once a day. Now, that sounds like a lot, but don’t panic – there are awesome sites like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and Sprout that allow you to schedule your tweets. Just line ’em up, and these services will send ’em out. There’s also the option of promoted tweets, but if you’re a paid advertising virgin you might prefer to do that on Facebook – it’s much easier to pick the right audience.

Add a link to your site

If you have your own website, add a linked image to your sidebar to say ‘hey, I teach online classes’. That way, whatever page a potential student is on, they’ll always see the option to book. If your site gets a lot of traffic from people who aren’t local to your in-person classes, this is a great way to increase bookings from that audience. In fact, feel free to use the embed codes below for a stylish way of linking your website visitors to your classes.

For a navy blue background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/ttg7zrWtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>

For a white background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/4dNCkzRtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>
These can be pasted anywhere on your site. Don’t forget to change the URL in the code to the URL of your class, and get in touch if you have any issues!

Tell your mailing list

Do you have a list of customer emails? Let them know about your classes! If you want to increase the quality of the emails you send you could try using a service like Mailchimp to make them look super-slick. You can even add a button to your email which takes a user straight to your class booking page. After all, you want to make the process as quick and easy as possible. You could also try sending out promotional codes to get the ball rolling with your bookings. We send them out in the newsletter all the time, or we could always help you by

Use word of mouth

Got a student who’s mentioned going away or moving? Remind them that they can keep up their classes with you!

Mention your classes in other professional profiles

Do you write a column in a newspaper? Speak at events? Make TV appearances? If you have to provide a profile about yourself, mention that you teach on HowNow. If your work is being seen you might well be attracting people who are interested in learning from you. Letting them know that they can find you on HowNow is a great way to capitalise on interest, especially if the geography won’t work.

Extra special bonus suggestion!

If you’re looking to increase your mailing list or your social media following, a giveaway is a great way to do it. There are great applications like Gleam or Rafflecopter which make it super-easy to set up a prize draw where a user gives their email address or follows you on social media in order to be entered into a draw. An online class is a great option for a prize because it doesn’t depend on location and there’s no financial outlay for you. You’d just need to contact the winner afterwards to give them a prize code (contact us if you ever need this) and voila! You’ve run a competition!

Please note that we do not advise waving your profits around willy-nilly, no matter how much this stylish photo may suggest otherwise.

Don’t forget, if you do need any more advice, it’s always worth getting in touch to ask – we might just be able to help.

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.

Why should anybody learn new skills? After all, we’re all adults here, and there’s that whole adage about teaching old dogs new tricks. That didn’t just come from nowhere, so what’s the point? Right? Well, first off, that’s quite a negative outlook. Learning new skills can be hugely beneficial for a whole host of reasons. Here are just some of our favourites.

Increased self esteem

You’re awesome. We already know that. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep in mind. One way to remind yourself exactly how great you are is to learn new skills. After all, who would have though that you’d be speaking five languages in your thirties when you spoke none as a kid? Amazing. There’s nothing like taking on challenges and smashing them to make you feel like a badass.

The chance to get in the zone

Learning new skills gives you the opportunity to get in the zone. The zone is a great place to be. For the uninitiated, it’s that moment where you’re concentrating so hard on the task at hand that everything around you ceases to exist. That means all of your stress, distractions, other people, everything. It’s almost like magic, but a magic you can recreate any time.

Increased satisfaction

Can’t get no satisfaction? Maybe you need to make a positive change in your life. If you feel stuck in a rut it can be difficult to see a way to improve things, but learning a new skill is a small step in the right direction. Maybe you usually go home and log straight on to Netflix. It’s not so different to go home and then join an online class. The only difference is that you’ve suddenly become super-productive with no extra movement involved, and that’s an achievement.

Increased creativity

You might become an amazing creative genius as you continue to develop in one particular discipline. However, you might also find that adding to your roster of skills can give you a chance to work out problems in another area of your creative life. For example, suffering from writer’s block? Pick up a ukulele or learn to cross stitch, and stop worrying about it for a while. You might be surprised how much it helps.

Improve your memory

Learning something new is a great way to keep your mind active. This is especially important as we get older. Sure, you could just do a bunch of Sudoku puzzles, but wouldn’t it just be that little bit cooler to become a badass guitar-playing rockstar instead? Thought so.

You could literally change your life

Always fantasised about moving to Italy? You could start learning the language. If you do that, you’ve just taken your first step to actually living the actual dream. Similarly, if you’ve always wanted to be a chef, you could start with a few basic cookery classes. The world is so well-connected these days that you can find somebody who can teach you all of the new skills you’ve ever wanted to learn to change your life.

Higher income

Maybe you want to make more money. Firstly, we do not blame you. And secondly, it’s all about adding value, and new skills can do that. Learning a second language, picking up some writing skills, or improving your public speaking could all help you on the road to earning more. And if your current employer isn’t bothered that you’ve gone the extra mile, you might find somewhere else that appreciates your increasingly-abundant talents.

learning

So what new skills are you raring to learn? At HowNow we’re making it possible to learn awesome stuff from experts all over the world. We can’t wait to see what you choose.

Life is expensive these days, and it doesn’t show any sign of letting up. So what can you do when it’s all getting expensive and you need a bit of extra income? You can get by on one kidney, so that’s always an option, but you might be one of those picky people who are after something that’s a little less – well – invasive. Luckily there’s a whole host of online services which are giving people the chance to make a bit of extra income.

HowNow

We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t throw our own hat into the ring. HowNow is a platform that lets you teach online classes from the comfort of your own home to people all over the world. They can be about literally anything, and they can happen whenever it’s convenient for you. If you have a skill or some knowledge that you could share you could be our next Expert, and feel great about sharing your gifts with the world while you earn extra income. Plus, you don’t even really have to get out of your PJs.

Air BnB

If you have a home, you have pretty much all of the requirements to earn extra income with Air BnB. You can let out a spare room, or even the whole place if you have somewhere else you can go. You’ll need to provide a few pieces of ID, and some quality images of your space, plus a warm welcome when you meet your new guests, and you’re basically golden. You have the freedom to say when you can accept guests, so the amount of income you pull in is totally up to you.

Survey Sites

Do you have opinions? There are loads of survey websites, like MySurvey, OpinionOutpost, and ValuedOpinions which allow you to earn extra income while airing your views. You could be answering questions on anything from lifestyle to your opinions on a new movie trailer before it’s released. You know those surveys they always quote on Eight Out of Ten Cats? They have to find those examples somewhere…

Top Cashback

If you want to earn extra income without actually having to change your habits at all Top Cashback is for you. Using their links to big brand websites means you can earn rewards and money off of your purchases. It doesn’t always feel like a lot, but it adds up when you check your account one day and realise you have enough cashback to cover something fun like a hotel room or a new pair of trainers without having to put in any extra effort. Everyone loves a freebie.

Fiverr

If you have a skill you can market, Fiver is a place to do that. The whole point of the site is that you make $5 per job, so the extra income isn’t huge, but if you’re a fast worker you might find that it adds up. Maybe you’re a designer, or a Twitter whizz, or even a coder. People are looking for your skills. Of course, you do have to be slightly wary about devaluing your work, especially if you’re looking to make a significant amount of extra income without giving away all of your free time.

extra cash
So there you have it. These are just a few of the many ways you can find to make a few extra pennies online. We hope to see you teaching a HowNow class in the very near future, and maybe we’ll even come and stay at your Air BnB. Nothing weird, honest.

So. You have an amazing idea for a business and you’ve decided you want to make it happen. That’s awesome, but what’s the next step? It’s likely that you’ll need to find funding to get the wheels in motion. Here are a few of the options you might want to look into:

Use your own money

Sure, it’s a risk, but it can’t be that much of a risk if you have an amazing idea and you’re really confident that it’ll work. It’ll mean you stay completely in control of your business and there’s nobody who’s going to kneecap you because you owe them money (although if you’re borrowing money through legit means we’re sure there’s only minimal kneecapping anyway). It’s the kind of funding that provides the most freedom from other peoples’ opinions.

Ask your friends/family/connections

If you know somebody who has money and who’d be willing to chip in to support you on your way to living the dream, then let them help you. It can be awkward, but it’s worth it if it gets you where you want to be. If you have connections with people who are open to investing, exploit those. Starting a business is no time to start feeling shame, and lots of people would be very excited about funding a loved-one’s dream.

Grants

It can take a while to research all of the business grants available and whether your project fits their criteria. The application process can also be equally long and dull. However, if you can find a suitable grant and end up getting it you’ll be glad you took the time. After all, free money is the best kind of money.

Incubators

If you think you could benefit from more than just an injection of cash, an incubator could be the way to go. Depending on the company involved they could offer to provide office space, advice, help with marketing, and networking opportunities along with their financial offering. It does require giving up a degree of control, though, so it might not be the dream option for everybody.

Loans

Loans are a classic option and, while there’s some suggestion that they’re more difficult to get in today’s financial climate, if you have a well-thought-out business plan and a clear idea of what your revenue will look like, you still might be able to convince a bank to sit down with you and talk it over. The crucial thing to remember is that you’ll have to pay it back eventually, whether or not the business works out.

Nothing

If you’ve got a simple idea, you might not need to be put off by complicated methods of finding funding. Say you were launching a consultancy business: You could work from home, set up a simple website, and get networking. There doesn’t always need to be a big financial outlay, and as you being to bring money in you can reinvest it to help your business grow at a sustainable rate.

funding

It’s not necessarily hard to launch and grow a successful business, but it does take a lot of work to keep it running. If you’ve managed it, you’re already kind of our idol. Do you fancy guiding other people through the process? Sign up today to become an Expert with HowNow. And if you’re just at the beginning of your journey, keep an eye out for some advice from our experts.

Leaving the world of full-time employment is exciting. After years of being told what to do and when to do it, you suddenly don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s a great step if you’re looking for more independence. However, along with losing the boss who constantly orders you around, you also lose the convenience of having somebody sort out most of your money for you. It’s not the end of the world, but it does mean you have to step up and take responsibility for your finances. Here are a few things you might need to think about.

Remember you need to pay taxes

When you’re on somebody else’s payroll your taxes are basically sorted. You’re sent a tax code and your employer makes sure you pay your taxes. It’s done before you even get your hands on your own money, and everything’s legit. When you’re working for yourself you need to keep track of your own expenses. You also need to make sure you fill out a tax return when Moira Stewart tells you to. And, take it from us, compared to the other bills you have to pay, your tax bill is a big one.

Keep your money separate

As a freelancer you invoice your clients, and they send you all of your money in one go. It’s very exciting. But it does mean that you might be tempted to spend it all at once. Think again. You remember that big tax bill we talked about? It’s a sensible strategy to put a bit of money aside every month. This will cover your tax bill and any other expenses you know you’re going to incur.

Keep your receipts

Part of doing your tax return is knowing how much you spent on business expenses during the year. This information is a key part of your tax return. The Inland Revenue could decide to audit you so it’s important to be able to prove you spent this money. If you go hire an accountant  it’s also helpful for them to see the details of your expenditure in front of them.

Find some good invoicing software

Part of being the super-organised freelancer you are now is being able to quickly and easily generate an invoice. If you have a regular client and nothing much changes you can automate these to go out every month. If you have slight-less-regular-but-still-frequent clients you can store their information to make invoicing even quicker. Team HowNow bloody love Wave, if you’re looking for a great invoicing tool.

Plan for the future

If your freelancing is a long-term thing, you need to think about the future. You might be used to having a nice employer provide you with a pension, but that is not something that happens for those out of the realm of employed work (because any current pensioner will tell you that the state pension on it’s own will barely cover a thing). There are loads of pensions you could set up so that you can keep saving for the future, but do remember to pay into it.

Don’t forget you can take other jobs

If you’re working with one main client, it’s easy to forget that you’re a badass freelance type now, and can therefore take on as much work as you please. Of course, you shouldn’t take on more than you can cope with, but your clients can’t complain about you doing extra work for other companies like your old boss might have done.

money
Freelancing is a changing beast but, like we already mentioned, it’s an awesome way to gain some independence. Keep an eye on your money, and be a little bit sensible from time to time (Boring, we know) and it could be lifechanging.