Category: Thrifty Business Tips

Ready to Try Your Hand at Passive Income? Here’s How to Find Great Real Estate Deals

“Money for nothin’ and chicks for free.” 

We’re not too sure about free chicks, but most people are pretty excited about getting money without working for it. “Passive income” sounds like earning money for little to no effort. The reality, however, is that you put in the work up front. 

Real estate investing is a common way to build up assets that can pay you over time. Buying property has always been a solid investment.

When you talk to owners or realtors, remember that you aren’t the only one in your area looking for a good deal. You will have to have a few tricks to get in on those extra special properties before anyone else.

How will you find the real estate deals of your dreams?

Like this.

Drive Around

Knowing an area well will help you with your investment strategy. You also don’t want to drive three hours away if something happens with your property. 

When you drive around, look for houses that could use a little love. Look for the telltale signs.

  • Overgrown grass
  • Tarps on the roof
  • Old mail in the mailbox
  • Worsening condition over time

These signs indicate that the place could be empty or that the owner cannot afford to fix the place up. 

Write down the address, do some digging, and reach out to the owner. See if they want to sell.

Check Eviction Records

Most counties will have some public record of evictions that are being processed. Evictions are terrible for landlords. If you can be the answer to their property woes, you could get a great deal.

Once you find out where evictions are happening, you can find the landlord’s information. Then it is a matter of calling or sending a letter to show your interest.

Search Craigslist

Look at the rentals. Keep an eye out for landlords that seem like they could be your average Joe/Jane. They will typically have their phone number in the ad.

Your expressed interest to buy may not be right for them, but hold on. Landlords may have another property they are looking to sell. Being the first offer puts you in the winner’s position.

Collect a Lot of Real Estate Deals

You want to look at a lot of potential deals. Don’t jump at the first property that seems nice.

There are many types of properties to consider. Your next deal could be a single family home, small storefront, or multi-family real estate. You can be smart by creating a funnel for finding bargains.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Search properties with the three tips above (you can also get listings from wholesalers and real estate agents)
  2. Collect 50-100 properties (Not so passive anymore, is it?)
  3. Get down to 10-30 properties to go look at
  4. Make offers on 5-20 of those listings

Get Ready for Business

Once you show up, get ready to pitch your deal and negotiate. Be considerate and honest. Remember that you are dealing with people who also need to feed their families.

Knowing about the many areas involved in real estate will help you be confident in your dealings. If you are not that savvy, bring along someone who is. 

It’s Getting Good for Buyers

After coming through the housing bubble of 2008, the market has become increasingly competitive. More buyers are confident enough to make an offer.

Now, things are looking good for buyers in the future. Signs suggest we’re entering a buyer’s market. Real estate deals will be easier to find. Let’s hope you find one of these gems in your area. 

Want to learn more to help you in your real estate investing? We’ve got more for you here!

Should You Pay by Check or Direct Deposit? What Employees Prefer

pay by check

With many companies paying as much as $50 per employee per month, payroll costs are through the roof in just about every industry. If you’re trying to decide whether to pay by check or to give your employees direct deposit, you could be talking about a big difference in fees. Deciding between the two requires balancing your own pay sheets as well as considering what would be good for your employees.

Here is everything you need to know about how you should be paying your employees.

Why Use Direct Deposit

Thanks to contemporary banking technology, direct deposit has become safer than ever. When you use direct deposit, your employees will benefit from quick payment at the same time every week. You’ll also benefit from being able to save on costs to print up checks on a regular basis.

Employees love the ability to never worry about a stolen check ever again. Even one that gets misplaced or goes through the laundry can be a serious headache that no one wants to deal with.

Trips to the bank can be cut way down for both you and your employees when their money is deposited directly into their account. And without having to wait in long lines or go way out of their way to find an ATM, they’ll have more time free to relax after work. Even if they were to normally get paid on a holiday, direct deposit will usually allow employees to get paid on time or even early.

If payday falls on their day off, your employees won’t have to worry about whether or not they can have access to their money. It’ll arrive overnight and be ready to pay bills or go on vacation the next day.

Direct deposit also allows for split deposits, so money can be automatically put into a savings account or paid to a bill, like a department store credit cards. Rather than having to make all kinds of complex transactions or having to shift money around online or over the phone, it can all be done automatically.

Why Direct Deposit Might Not Be Right

In order to get direct deposit, your employees will need to give you their banking information. Some people don’t like giving that much personal information to their employer without being able to keep track of it. Additionally, many people might not qualify for a bank account, which could keep them from using direct deposit.

If employees have a complicated immigration status, they will be required to pay state and federal taxes on their income, even if they can’t get a bank account. Rather than limit your payment only to direct deposit, if you anticipate employing people who might have hurdles, direct deposit might hurt their ability to get paid.

In recent years, banks have created payroll cards that automatically fill up once paychecks are sent. The downside to these is that there is usually a fee attached that can come down hard on people with limited means. Rather than dealing with bank charges that could cut into paychecks in a big way, employees might want another option.

People who struggle to manage their funds or work part-time might also have trouble with direct deposit. If an employee miscalculates their funds, they could get hit will fee after fee until they spend their whole next check just to get back to zero.

What’s Good About Paper Checks

Paper checks might seem outdated but they have their upsides. They allow employees to keep their banking information private, which is valuable to people with privacy concerns. When they have their paychecks in their hand, they can manage when they’ll have money in their pocket.

Without a bank account, there’s never any worry about surprise bank fees.

If your employees don’t want friends or family knowing how much they are earning, having a paper check leaves no trail behind. Checks can be cashed before going to a bank and no receipts will be found.

If an employee has a joint checking account with a loved one, they won’t have to deposit their entire check. Since they are the only person who can manage their check or cash it, they have 100% control over who knows about their finances.

Downsides of a Paper Check

WIth a paper check, you might have to worry about having it stolen or it getting damaged. Paper checks that are difficult to read or hard for bank machines to scan due to age or wear could give your employees issues.

Replacing a paper check is a pain and could take weeks, if not months.

If a holiday comes up, paper checks can be a headache. Finding a place to cash one on a Sunday could be hard enough, let alone during the holidays when you need money the most.

If you’re sick or out of town during payday, employees will struggle with a tight budget until they get back into town to cash their checks. Multiple trips to work and to the bank mean a loss of time and a loss of money.

On top of everything, employees might only be able to cash their checks at the financial institution they’re issued from. If there isn’t one nearby, the other option is a currency exchange, which can take a massive bite out of their earnings.

Whether You Pay By Check or Not, Always Pay On Time

Even if you choose not to pay by check, you need to give your employees a hard date for when they’ll be paid and stick to it. When you break up your payroll schedule, you can break up their spirit and make it hard for employees to have faith in their workplace. When they lose their morale, they won’t perform as well and could mistrust you as an employer.

If you need help calculating your payroll each month, check out the tools that we have to offer.

5 Tips for Starting a Clothing Line with Very Little Money

starting a clothing line

Do you have a ton of ideas for clothing designs but can’t spend a lot of money to start up a business? Well, you don’t have to. Spending money is a necessity to open a clothing line, but you don’t have to be rich to make it happen. With the right business sense and a love for the industry, you can be successful.

Here are five tips for starting a clothing line with very little money in your pocket.

1. You Don’t Have to be Rich to Do it

Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be a millionaire to start your own clothing business. Shopify is one cost-effective way to go.

Photoshoots can cost a bit of money but you can do even that cheaply if you don’t need models or an expensive photographer.

If you want to sell t-shirts, get quotes from several different printers to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.

2. Be Experienced In Business

It can be helpful to have a business background. You need to be able to see things from a customer perspective so you can better serve your target audience.

You also need to be able to look at your numbers every day to see what is selling well and what isn’t so you can adjust accordingly.

One important aspect to any business is making your brand known, you can do this by making yourself experienced in business.

If you need a guideline for branding, check out Super Saucy Brand for a few examples.

3. Find a Factory You Can Trust, and Visit

Start with a manufacturer that is near you that way you can visit it on a regular basis. This is an important step because sometimes fabric might not come as you expect it, or when they do the grading they could mess up the size.

If the size gets messed up, that could affect a lot of your pieces which is a loss of time supplies, and money. It pays to keep up with the factory you go through.

4. Identify A Market Need

If you create a product without a market need, then you won’t be able to create a demand for it.

Check different clothing blogs before you get started and pay attention to the comments. Make a list of products that pop up often, look for trending needs.

This will be the best way to make sure that you’re able to sell your products and don’t end up with a room full of backstock merchandise.

5. Love What You Do

When you’re passionate about what you do, that will reflect on your business. If you’re only doing it to make money, that will also show.

The more fun you have, the more it will make your brand image shine.

Starting a Clothing Line

Using these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to starting a clothing line. You can promote your brand and start up your clothing line for less than you think. Go into it with passion, and determination in your heart and that 20,000 that you have to work with will turn into a million.

With clothes comes accessories. If you’re crafty and want to start a jewelry business to go along with your clothing line we have a few tips for you to follow.

How to Take the Stress Out of Your Next Work Trip

work tripAs more than 1 billion workers are virtual, dispersed, or non-traditional, the average employee spends more time in transit than ever before. Even while you’re on the go, your employer might expect that you get some work done or be prepared to hit the ground running. By preparing for your work trip the right way, you can be sure that it doesn’t disrupt your productivity or comfort.

Depending on how often you travel, the 3-5 days you spend recovering from jet lag might not be an option. You might need to be alert and aware every step of the way. That’s why you need a strategy for your next trip.

If you want to be happy, comfortable, productive, and well-rested before, during, and after your next work trip, follow these 3 tips.

1. Disrupt Your Sleep Schedule Now

As you move from one time zone to the next, your body will be stuck in the place you most recently slept. Even if the clock reads 1 AM, if your body thinks it’s only 4 PM, you could be in for a rough night of sleep.

Get to know the time difference you’ll be facing when you take your trip. Start adjusting your sleep little by little now. If you’re going from the US to Europe, stay up as late as you can so that you’ll be exhausted once you get on your flight.

If you can remain asleep during a flight, you should be good. If you have trouble sleeping, try a little bit of liquid melatonin to help you get to sleep.

2. Book Everything Now

Take the time to start sending out emails to the people you want to meet with. Book a full schedule so that you know what you’re doing at what time each day. This can prepare you in multiple ways.

You can be aware of when your hardest days are, so you’ll be well rested. You’ll know who you’re meeting for cocktails and who you’re meeting for business and know what to pack. You can also prepare mentally for the flow of events to come.

Try out http://www.contracthire.tv/ for booking your car from the airport in advance.

3. Take Some Vitamins

It’s important to load up on Vitamin C before you head to the airport. The number of doorknobs, armrests, and recycled air that you’ll encounter will contain lots of opportunities for you to get sick. Eat as healthy as possible for 3 days before your trip.

Make sure you’ve also packed your bag with plenty of medication. If you’re heading to a foreign country, you might have trouble getting what you need. You’re better off carrying extra.

Prepping For Your Work Trip Will Relax You

If you don’t know what you’re expecting from day to day, you could be on edge during your entire trip. This could lead to poor work output and leaves open the potential for making lots of mistakes. Taking the time to prepare will allow you to give your best performance while on your work trip.

If your work trip has you itching to take a vacation, check out our guide to choosing your next family destination.

How To Start A Home Jewelry Business

home jewelry business

If you want to start your own home jewelry business, knowing how to make beautiful and original jewelry is not enough to be successful, but it’s a great start. While creating jewelry is an art form few people have the ability or passion to master, starting your own business is something anyone is capable of doing.

However, simply wanting to be your own boss is not easy. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to start a successful home jewelry business.

1. Build Your Brand

You might not think that a small home jewelry business would need to build a brand. But nowadays, branding is an important part of any successful business big and small.

A large part of branding is choosing a name for your business. This needs to be memorable, unique and reflective of your jewelry.

Remember the brand name needs to be able to be used on business cards, online as well as on any official documents.

You’ll also need a logo to promote your brand online and in your marketing materials. For more information on how to design a dazzling jewelry company logo, view here.

2. Become Legit

The next part of your journey towards becoming a home jewelry business is registering your LLC with your state. This makes you an official business recognized under the law.

It might be that you want to have your jewelry trademarked. This can be achieved through the United States’ Patent and Trademark Office.

It’s essential to carry out all of the bureaucratic and legal procedures to make sure you set yourself up as a legal business.

3. Get a Business Plan

Of course, the business plan might be as simple as – making jewelry. But without a clear and detailed business plan, you could find yourself in trouble.

After all, the finances of your business are really important. You need to consider various outgoings, such as the costs of registering your LLC and sourcing the raw materials to create your jewelry.

But also, it’s important to set business goals for your business. This includes – how many pieces of jewelry do you hope to sell this year? How much profit do you hope to make in your first year?

4. Set Up Your Workshop

You might have been making jewelry for many years as a hobby. If this is the case, you might have a workshop already.

But if you’ve been making jewelry at the kitchen table until now. It might be time to invest in setting yourself up with a quiet workshop so you can concentrate and store your materials and products.

5. Websites and Social Media

Nowadays even the smallest businesses have a website and social media accounts. These are essential and cost-effective media and marketing tools.

Make sure you at least have a Facebook and Twitter account. But because jewelry is so well-suited to Instagram, you should also have an account on this social network. Make sure you include contact details and many sample pictures of your jewelry.

You can also use your website to sell your products. Other online platforms to sell your jewelry include Etsy, Artfire, Amazon, and eBay.

On your website, you should also include a blog. This will not only help you become an influencer within your niche of home-made jewelry but also boost your SEO (search engine optimization). SEO helps you rank highly on search engines such as Google.

6. Set Your Prices

Setting your prices is one of the most difficult steps in setting up your own home jewelry business.

There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule for pricing your jewelry. But you have to consider the material and labor costs of producing the products. While you need to make sure you’re making a profit on your jewelry, don’t overcharge or you’ll struggle to sell anything.

If you’re selling your jewelry through a variety of mediums and markets, then it’s important to keep your prices consistent. This means it should cost the same whether it’s at a arts and craft market in a local town or on your website.

7. Be Patient

Many people who set up their own businesses from home are impatient for success. This is especially the case if you’ve risked everything and give up the stability of a 9-5 grind.

However, the trick to a successful business is to be patient. There are lots of new things to learn about running your own business. It can take many years to really build your home jewelry business.

If you’re struggling to make a profit or find new customers for your product, adjust what you’re doing. This might involve making a different kind of jewelry or driving your social media strategy in a different direction.

8. Do What You Love

What makes you different to someone else making jewelry? It’s not price or the quality of your jewelry, it’s that you love doing what you do.

Making jewelry is a creative process that requires a lot of time, effort and passion.

That’s why if you’re making jewelry you believe is beautiful and wonderful, the chances are, other people will too. There’s always a market for it.

Starting Your Own Home Jewelry Business

Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of entrepreneurship, or you’re an experienced player in business, starting your own home jewelry business can be daunting.

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success with your passion project! If you’ve set up your own home jewelry business, we’d love to hear from you. Let’s us know in the comments.

Otherwise, if you want to know more about becoming your own boss, explore our blog or get in touch.

4 Design Tips Heading into Graduation Season

design tips

Spring is here, which means that graduation season is, too! Across the country, people are getting ready to walk across a stage and celebrate their academic accomplishments.

It can seem like everything has already been done when it comes to unique designs at graduation, but there’s always a way to get creative. If you’re looking to stand out, we’ve got the perfect design tips for you.

Whether you’re decorating your graduation cap or designing graduation announcements, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more.

1. Make It Personal

Looking to make your own graduation announcements? It’s easy to be overwhelmed with options, especially if you’re new to graphic design.

You can start by making everything personal, even the colors. Did you know that each discipline has a color associated with it?

Law grads traditionally wear purple, for example, while someone who graduated in the fine arts would wear brown. You can incorporate your discipline’s colors into your design.

Who says that you just have to use your school colors on your grad announcement?

2. Embrace The Minimal

Whether you’re picking an outfit to wear under your graduation robes or designing an invitation to a graduation party, minimal is the way to go. You can almost never go wrong with doing more with less.

When it comes to graphic design, minimalism is a big trend right now. Images that are clean and understated are ironically what get the most attention.

As far as your clothes go, it’s generally considered a good idea not to wear anything that takes attention away from your robe. You want people to focus on your achievements, not your bright pink shoes.

3. Use Photography

A good photograph might mean that you don’t even have to design anything. A great photo can be used for anything from a personal website to a greeting card.

With how good phone cameras are getting, you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to get high-quality pictures. You might not have to look farther than your Instagram feed to find the perfect picture to include in a graduation announcement.

Instead of a staged graduation photo in a cap and gown, use a great photo of you and your friends, or find a photo where you think you look happiest. It will create a final product that’s way more personal.

4. Throw It Back

It might not be the eighties or nineties anymore, but that doesn’t mean that our design has to look like it. In fact, trends from those decades — like pastel colors and bright geometric shapes — are making a comeback today.

No matter what you’re working on, you can add a touch of nostalgia to your project by adding patterns or colors from the eighties and nineties. That’ll also help you stand out from what other people are creating.

Get More Design Tips Here

Looking for more design tips for graduation and beyond? You’ve come to the right place! Along with our deals, giveaways, and coupons, our blog is a great home for design advice for women everywhere.

Check out more of our design advice here.

Tips to Help You Open Your Own Online Boutique Today

open your own online boutique today

Having a great product to sell is awesome, but selling it can be frustrating. You have to rent a space, buy the furniture for the store, and hire staff to help you manage the store.

That already sounds exhausting! But what would you say if you could do it all today without all those extra logistics?

Well, it’s possible! With the technology available today you can get started now. Open your own online boutique today with the tips fleshed out below.

Choose Your Products

To get on track to open your own online boutique today you need to start deciding what products you want to sell. Find products that people are looking for or are on trend. Try to cater to a specific niche with your products.

After you find these products, take amazing pictures of them. Find a white background and bright lighting to ensure high-quality pictures. If possible, try to record some video of your products as well.

When you are done taking pictures of your products, start writing up your product descriptions. Include measurements and special features. If it is relevant, include the materials your products are made of.

Get Your Finances in Check

You need to map out your budget before you open your online boutique today. Decide how much you will spend on getting your products, setting up your website, and shipping costs.

Make sure you know what bills you will need to spend and what days you will need to pay them. Understand that if you have a website, you will need to pay to maintain it and to update it regularly.

Getting the word out about your online boutique will be crucial to the business. Decide up front if you will be paying for marketing to be done or if you will be doing it yourself.

Set up Your Website

The next step to open your online boutique today is setting up your website. Make sure that your site design is organized and easy to navigate, as this aspect will help customers decide your credibility.

Since people will be purchasing products on your site, you’ll want to make sure it’s secure. Update your website regularly to ensure that it stays secure. And work on getting your site SSL certified.

Purchase your domain name and create one that is relevant to your boutique. This is what customers will be looking for on the web. Before you launch your site, test it. Make sure all of the pages load effectively. If your website takes too long to load it may cause customers to navigate away from it.

If you’re not sure what design would be best for your online boutique, look at other online stores. Note what you like and don’t like about the sites of other businesses and use them as inspiration for your own. Yizzam is a creative online website for buying t-shirts and is a great example to look at. Check it out here for more info.

Get on Social Media

To help extend your reach, meet your customers on social media. Ask potential customers what social media platforms they are on.

Then start creating accounts on those platforms. You won’t need to be on every platform, just the ones that matter.

Create relevant content that includes the products that will make users want to see you on their timelines. Post on social media weekly to keep up with trends.

Make sure your social media accounts look the same as your website. All pictures and posts should have the same branding as your website. This will increase brand recognition.

Organize Your Checkout

Since you will be selling things in your online boutique you’ll want to create an efficient checkout process.

Give the option for users to check out as a guest with just their email. Having users create an account can be pushy and may deter them from making a purchase. Simply getting their email will still help with marketing tactics later on.

If you want to start out simple and don’t want to spend time making a whole checkout process now, consider using Google Checkout or PayPal for your business. As these can be easier alternatives.

Set up Stores on Other Sites

After creating a website for your online boutique, start setting up smaller stores on other sites. This can help extend the reach of your products even further.

There are many users on online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Create an account on these and put a few of your products for sale. In the bio of your account direct them to your website.

These smaller stores will help you channel more users to your website and start building brand loyalty right away.

Learn About Your Customers

It’s important that you continue to learn about your customers. Use Google analytics for your website to help you understand how customers are interacting with it. Try changing some of your tactics based on how your customers behave and see if your site improves.

Take a look at your social media accounts and the analytics behind it. This will help you create an effective strategy for what you post and when.

Organize monthly checks of the analytics to observe how your online boutique is growing or suffering.

Start a Blog After You Open Your Own Online Boutique Today

After more of the pressing setup is completed, dedicate one page of your online boutique website to a blog. This will help increase your website’s search engine optimization gradually.

Start writing articles on topics that people are looking for. Choose a few relevant keywords and incorporate them into your content.

By optimizing your site for search engines, you’ll help put your site on the radar of customers and increase your traffic.

By creating a blog, you’ll also be helping your customers with problems they have. Thus adding value to their lives. This can also help your boutique’s credibility.

Optimize for Mobile

Currently, about 1.6 billion people use their mobile devices to shop online globally. Being able to access your website through smartphones is a must. If you’re going to open your own online boutique today, it needs to be accessible by mobile.

When creating your website, test its accessibility on your phone first before launching it. If you are using a site like WordPress or Wix, select their options for optimizing mobile.

More Business Tips

So there you have it! You’re ready to start building your online boutique store. Don’t stop here though. Keep researching best practices and other technology that can help.

Being a part of the e-commerce world means constantly improving and growing. For more tips on how to start your own thrifty businesses check out our page.