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Promoting Your Business? Go Couponing!

Businesses need to be constantly find ways to promote their offerings and attract more customers onward. Regardless of their types and size, they have to come up with an aggressive marketing plan to successfully achieve their sales goals and one of the best ways to do that is by couponing.

Coupons are popular sales tools that can be given away to consumers in various ways. Research has shown that majority of shoppers use coupons while some are actively looking for them. This only means that more people these days, especially those with families, are conscious of their spending habits and don’t hesitate to use coupons to save money.

To use as a marketing tool, companies can have coupons printed in catalogs, in-store magazines or in local newspapers and magazines or post them online in their own websites or in coupon-exclusive sites. For the print version, though, businesses have to invest a certain amount. The online version, on the other hand, is less costly as businesses can simply post them in their own websites. Another option is to partner with the well known coupon websites to increase exposure of your products or services. [Read more…]

Beat the Blues of Working from Home

Working From Home


Work-from-home people know it all too well. The first few months, working from home seems like the dream job. No more office politics and an overbearing boss. No more of the stress of getting stuck in traffic and being late for work.

Then reality sets in. When you have a break from work, there's no one to talk to. No office banter and colleagues to share your stories with, no rushing to get a ride or driving, no deadlines to meet and reports to make. What you thought you've gotten rid of suddenly becomes appealing.

The feeling of isolation is an insidious process. It creeps up on you unobtrusively and before you know, you've lost the zeal for meeting deadlines, achieving your goal and satisfying your clients.

All is not lost, however. It's not depression (not yet, anyway) and you don't have to go to expensive shrinks to tell you what to do. Here are tips for dealing with isolation.

Accept it.

The aloneness is inevitable. You may not have anticipated it but now that it's there, you must learn to live with it and recognize that it is an occupational hazard of the trade you have chosen. But it's not enough to accept; remember that you can do something about it.

Think positive.

You have flexible working hours and are earning money from it. Compare your circumstances with others-media people assigned to ISIS nations, women with unfaithful husbands, people without internet, Korean comfort women , the hunger in Africa. There are so many problems besetting other people that you'll be grateful for your situation.

Identify what you miss most.

Then find ways to counter them. People who work from home most often miss the physical contact with others. Human beings, even introverts, are social creatures. Online conversations cannot replace personal face-to-face encounters. You miss the obligatory office activities you used to dread. The Christmas parties with the usual games, the drunken officemate, and the trainings and seminars the company pays for you to attend.


Invite friends for coffee and accept their invites if you get one. Volunteer your services on a part-time basis with organizations. Work somewhere else once in a while; take your laptop to a nearby Starbucks but don't overstay your welcome. Get out of the house everyday for a few minutes to walk your dog, jog or buy something from a convenience store.

Continue your professional development.

Attend trainings and meetups. Job websites like Elance and Odesk hold gatherings in local places for their member providers. Sign up or attend as an invitee. Or look up trainings and seminars that interest you, participate in them and make new friends with the same interests.


5 Worst Reasons to Pursue Freelance Writing

So you’ve probably heard that there are various opportunities to be had in freelance writing and you heard right. There are indeed opportunities in it – personal satisfaction, learning, earning, widening social relations, and many others depending on one’s goal in pursuing it. All these however do not come automatically. It is even possible that you will never get to attain any of this especially if you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

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Here are five of the worst reasons to pursue freelance writing:

You Don’t Want a Full-Time Job

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The most common misconception about freelance writing is that it is an endeavor that can be taken up any time, or at any one’s spare time. While this may be true in a sense, freelance writing with serious goals like the ones mentioned above would require a lot more. The most successful freelance writers put in time at regular hours. The only difference here is that you get to decide when and how much those hours will be.

If you are particularly opposed to holding a regular 9-5 job and would want to pursue a writing career, then freelance writing can be a good option. But to think that you will not be required to give it ample time is a mistake. Like any other successful venture, you will need to work on freelance writing. You will only be limited by what you are willing to give. It can happen that you will actually put in more hours than what a regular job entails but all rewards go to you instead of your employer.

You Want to Earn the Easy Way

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If you want to earn the easy way or as easy as child’s play, then freelance writing is definitely not for you. Given that you love writing so much that doing it is effortless and enjoyable, this doesn’t mean that you will earn from it. Writing and earning do not always come together.

It is a fact that you can earn from freelance writing, there is no question about that. However, you will need to find the people and the places that can make that happen. Your work’s worth should also be convincing enough to paying clients. At the start, you may have to make that happen by searching for these resources. Once you have established a good name for yourself, offers do come. When this is achieved, you will even have the privilege of choosing but not without proving anything through hard work. Freelance writing is not among the Get-Rich-Quick schemes which many people are on the look-out for.

You Think Anyone Can Write

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Because you believe anyone can write, you decide to dive in head first into freelance writing. You do it without knowing that there are certain rules that need to be observed in spite of the seemingly nonchalant attitude many freelance writers adopt in public. And then your head hurts from thinking why your exceptional post is not appreciated by any one, especially by the paying kind.

Of course anyone can write but not every one will have that factor which will make his or her writing fit for public consumption. Not every one will be able to produce content that businesses and advertisers are more than willing to pay for. The bright side here is that writing skills can be learned up to a certain point and the rest will have to be determined by other factors such as experience, persistence, and being at the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities as they come.

You Only Need to Write About What You Want

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Freelance writing can allow you to write about what you are passionate about, what you like, and what you want to. An important component however of professional freelance writing is the ability to adjust to the writing topics that may be required by paying clients. To say that what you will be asked to write about will not always adhere to your idea of an ideal topic is probably an understatement.

Of course as a freelance writer, you can always choose not to accept but there will always be factors to consider like client relationship, pay which is too tempting to refuse, or simply the call to professionalism. Whatever it is, reasons that will make decision making more difficult than usual will come at some point. Thus, freelance writing will not always be about what you want.

You Think You Have No Other Work-at-Home Options

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Someone you know must be a freelance writer and you hear many good things about it. You do an online search and just about every person from all walks of life are into it. Every one seems to be talking about the advantages of being a freelance writer.

All of these look attractive to you who may be tied up in the house, unable to seek employment outside for some reason. Freelance writing is one way of earning while at home but it is not the only way. You would just be torturing yourself in forcing the issue especially if writing is not something you would like to do for the most part of your life. It would be best to find other work-at-home options that you actually want to do.

The Best Reason to Consider Freelance Writing

After going through the 5 worst reasons to pursue freelance writing, you may be interested to know what I think the best reason would be to pursue it. I believe that it is the desire to earn from an existing passion in writing. You have the basics to work on which is the genuine interest in writing. Cliche as it may seem, work becomes a lot easier when you are enjoying it. Trying to live off the success of others while wallowing  in continuous disappointment and frustration because of the inability to replicate what others can do may be a sign that you’re into freelance writing for all the wrong reasons.

Think about it now and get out. There is something else waiting for you.

5 Important Items You Must Include In Your Prepper Kit

There’s been a lot of crazy weather lately and it’s gotten people thinking that the worst that can happen, will happen. From natural calamities to outbreaks of disease, there are a lot of things that can wreak havoc and disrupt our daily lives. This is why it’s really important to establish some sort of plan should a worst case scenario come true. While a plan will definitely come in handy, it’s also useful to know what items you need to have on hand when disaster strikes. Here are five of the most important things your prepper kit should have.


1.       Water

Any prepper kit, or Bug Out Bag, worth its salt should have water. You can go without food for three weeks but if you go without water for three days, you probably won’t survive. Depending on how many people you’re making that bag for, you should have at least one gallon of water per person, per day. Make sure to store your water properly so that it remains potable. If you can get your hands on an effective water purification tool, include that as well. There might be some spots where water, though disgusting, may accumulate and provide you with the hydration you need.

2.       Clothing

Depending on the weather, your survival might depend on the clothes you have. To get an idea of what clothing to bring, pack the way you would for a hiking trip. Make sure you have something to keep you warm and something to keep you cool. Your shoes will also play a big part in your survival. A sturdy pair of boots is always a good idea.

3.       Shelter

If a disaster compels you to get out of the house, you’ll need to find a place to sleep at the end of the day. This is where having some shelter in your prepper kit will be useful. Include a tent, or even just a tarp that will protect you from the elements. Just because your head is covered doesn’t mean you’re already in the clear; a sleeping bag or any surface that acts as a barrier between you and the ground could mean the difference between life and death because the ground absorbs body heat rather quickly.

4.       Food

Three weeks without food is possible but entirely unpleasant. Keep a stash of energy bars and other food items that won’t perish for a long time. Freeze dried meals are also a good idea — if you can find water to hydrate them. Don’t rely on foraging because you might wind up poisoning yourself and unless you’re a skilled hunter, hold off on killing animals.

5.       First Aid Kit

You are most definitely going to need a first aid kit. There are a lot of items that can go into these things but it’s always best to create one for yourself. This way, you’ll know what’s in the kit and what they’re for. Basic kits should have some gauze, an antiseptic, and various medications for minor ailments that may afflict you.


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Five Reasons Anxiety Can Keep People From Working

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is a severe mental condition that may render an individual unable to perform his or her normal job duties. Bouts of nervousness and anxious bodily reactions characterize the condition. A person who is suffering from GAD will have problems that are so detrimental to his or her health that working can become impossible.

General Anxiety Disorder


When GAD prevents a person from performing his or her job duties, a disability attorney may be able to help that person to collect Social Security Disability. The following are five reasons that generalized anxiety disorder can keep people from working:

[Read more…]

Work From Home Plans? Think Hard About Your Answer

Work From Home Jobs Are Challenging

Work from home plans in 2014? Take notice.

If you want to work from home, then one of the first things you should do is recalibrate your expectations. There is a certain charm that comes with the decision prior to rolling up your sleeves and actually doing it. If you’re blinded by this charm, it can be difficult making the necessary adjustments for success.

After close to six years of full-time work from home experience, there are some things I hear from hopefuls that immediately send my eyes rolling into the back of my head. With that said, I’m not writing this to discourage you, but to help you set realistic expectations. So if you think you want to pursue this path, first ready yourself for some of the challenges you’re going to face.  

One: You Work Harder.

Before leaving the office environment, you’re probably thinking how great it will be to escape the prying and judgmental eyes of your boss eight to 10 hours per day. For the first couple of days, it is awesome until you realize that no one is there to motivate you into getting things done. And especially if you work for yourself, that can be a scary thing. 

(No work, no eat.) 

Once you come to grips with what is at stake, you’ll find yourself become something of a workaholic as the panic sets in. From there, it becomes quickly apparent that you need more structure and less freedom. Question is: are you the type of person, who can self-provide? Here are some additional tips from Nigel Marsh on work-life balance: 

Two: Your Schedule Gets Tougher To Manage.

In my own business, I’m up to 11 regular clients. Without productivity apps, such as Wunderlist and 30/30, I would be completely lost as to what should come next. When you get to this point, you have to prioritize work by profitability without stamping on the expectations of your agreements. That means more product management skills and more work, even as you make billing arrangements to keep cash flowing in. 

Three: You’re Your Own Boss. (Ha!)

When I first became a full-time freelancer, it was common to tell people what I did and then get that “Lucky you” look as they said, “You’re your own boss now!” Ha! Leaving the office environment took me from one boss to several. You have to be careful when marveling at your newfound freedom. Get too proud of yourself, and you won’t put the customer first. That leads to shoddy work, fewer clients, and lower income.

Four: Your Loved Ones Just Don’t Get It.

When people find out you work for yourself (or from home), they’ll start thinking your schedule isn’t as important as when you worked in an office, when it’s actually more important. I can’t tell you how many times friends and family have acted bothered — whether they’re joking or not — that I didn’t answer my phone at 10 a.m. or 2:30 in the afternoon. 

In Summary

You’re going to learn a lot when you work from home, and you won’t like everything you discover. Still, the flexibility and empowerment is worth every extra moment you spend working. If this is your dream for 2014, set realistic expectations and plow forward, full-steam-ahead.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

4 Financial Decisions You Can’t Afford To Put Off In 2014

Financial Decisions Not To Put Off In 2014

We’re now just two weeks in to the New Year. By now, most resolutions have crashed and burned into a fiery mess of disappointment and inaction. However, there’s still time to turn things around. One resolution, in particular, that needs your attention: finances. Here’s what you can’t afford to put off in the weeks ahead:

Life Insurance

If you’re in the 18 to 35 demographic, and you’ve yet to sign up for a whole life insurance policy, what are you waiting for? It gets more difficult to qualify for coverage as you get older and health issues arise. Buy in now, and you can get significant coverage at affordable rates. It doesn’t matter if you’re single and without children. If you plan on having a family one day, now’s the time to set the wheels in motion, and earn cash value in the process.

Controlling Healthcare Costs 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a troubled experiment in government-run healthcare, and the current numbers aren’t very encouraging. According to Businessweek, the dominant buyers thus far have been older individuals and women — two groups historically expensive to insure. Furthermore, more than 79 percent of sign-ups are eligible for subsidies, leaving 21 percent (mostly middle class families) to make up the difference.

If you can get ACA subsidized, then it can help defray out-of-pocket expenses, but if costs continue going up, don’t count on the subsidies to be around forever.   

In 2014, you can fret over this trajectory, or you can take proactive steps for controlling healthcare costs. For many, that means purchasing catastrophic health insurance plans or jacking up deductibles to afford premiums, then negotiating with hospitals to pay normal check-ups out-of-pocket. While you’re at it, don’t forget to eat healthier and exercise four to five days per week. Healthy living is one of the best things you can do to keep down costs.

Setting Up An Estate Plan

If you want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re gone, then make sure you’ve got an estate plan. First, create a will that details your financial wishes. Then, decide whether a living trust is right for you. Trusts can protect your assets while still making them available to you while living. Next, make sure that you have an advanced medical directive in place to detail your wishes should you become incapacitated as the result of an accident. Finally, choose an executor and a medical power of attorney that you can trust to fulfill your last will and testament. For more on setting up an estate plan, here’s the first in a 15-part series that’ll help you get started: 



Updating Beneficiaries

Have an estate plan, retirement account, and/or life insurance plan in place? Don’t forget to revisit your beneficiaries on a regular basis. Life circumstances change. You get married, divorced, have children — wherever you’re at and whatever you’re going through, make sure your financial plans are always reflective of your true wishes.

In Summary

New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep 365 days out of the year. But it doesn’t require 365 days to do all you need to do for financial peace of mind. Get your affairs in order today because you never know what tomorrow might bring.

[Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

10 Things Every Man Should Have

A previous article on o5 itemised the 10 things every woman should have, and it seems only fair that a similar article focusing on the 10 items that every self-respecting man should have be prepared too. So here’s the list … here are 10 items, listed in no particular order, that every man should have.

[Read more…]

7 Types of Annoying Facebook Friends

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Facebook – everyone has at least one account and it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends who have moved to other countries, relatives who you don’t see often, classmates, former officemates  – basically everyone! Facebook users log into the website at least once a day - to update their status, to check their friends’  status, to read messages – however, that is no longer the case.

Recent surveys show that there is a decrease in usage amongst Facebook users (teens in particular). Researches attribute this to the proliferation of other social networking sites such as Twitter and Snapchat. Others find that Facebook has become exceedingly boring; others have had it with Facebook’s constant privacy changes; while others – probably just can’t be bothered. However, one other (unspoken) reason why people are no longer as excited about Facebook is because the site has become the hangout of annoying friends.

[Read more…]