How Much Should You Be Investing in Business Marketing?

Any free marketing opportunities in business will be a boon, but it’s inevitable that you will have to spend money to gain new sales – and you should. Business marketing isn’t about whether you should invest money in marketing but how much you should be investing. Even with a marketing budget, it can be easy to get muddled and be tempted to invest a little bit more in the hope that new marketing techniques will pay off.

So, how much is too much?

Take the Time to Work Out Your Return on Investment

The only way to know whether you’re spending too much (or too little) is to know exactly which marketing investments have led to the most financial return and which ones are proving to be a waste of money. In order to work out your return on investment, you need to consider:

  • The cost of your product or service
  • The marketing investment you have made
  • The resultant profit you have accumulated

You may have made a significant profit during a period where you employed a new marketing technique compared to a previous quarter where you hardly made any profit. If this rise in revenue is consistent with the continuation of your new marketing technique, it’s safe to say that it must be paying off.

Ultimately, it’s the logical investments in services that can help your marketing strategy in the first place that are the most rewarding, such as marketing training from

Set Clear Budgets and Goals

This is a must for any area of business, but by setting realistic budgets for how much you would like to invest in marketing based on a certain revenue amount, then you know that will never go over budget. Incidentally, if your goal revenue amount isn’t reached, you know you need to cut your marketing budget by the corresponding percent in order to avoid going overbudget.

Compare New Customer Marketing with Existing Loyalty

While gaining new customers is always key, you should take the time to assess the extra revenue that could potentially be gained from existing, loyal customers. It may be that you spend more of your marketing budget attracting new customers, when actually investing that money in better loyalty programs and promotions with existing customers may lead to a bigger pay off in the end.

This could be in the form of existing customers buying more services or products with you or investing in a long-term subscription or membership, for instance. Existing customers are more likely to make this investment based on the relationship and trust that they have already established with you. Spending marketing money on trying to convince new customers to pay for a long-term product or plan is less likely to happen if you haven’t yet established a relationship.

How much you should be investing in business marketing is really dependent on your product, the way you do business, and how much revenue you are receiving. Marketing budgets don’t have to be inflexible, and can be tailored however you see fit.

Learn to trade the major trend in Forex market

Unless you can ensure a proper position sizing of the trades, you will have to tough time in trading profession. You need to ensure proper execution to manage profits. But the margin must not affect your trading performance. It is a sign of desperation which indicates that you are caring for the position sizing of the trades. Then the money management will be neglected by your trading mind. It is not a proper idea to trade in Forex without proper planning. If you intend to trade without a proper plan, losses will be inevitable. And the end of the trading business will be near than you can imagine. You will blow up the trading account shortly after starting in this industry. That is why you need to control proper position sizing which can utilize the price trends properly.

This article is to help the rookie traders and enlighten them with the idea of a proper trading plan. We will mention some ideas which can influence you to focus on the trades rather than only on the returns of the trades. Your coordination is needed to learn proper trading approaches.

Control the investment properly

To ensure proper trading performance, it is very important to control the trading money. You need to hold on the capital and invest very little into individual trades. It will help to reduce stress as well as excitement for the trades. As there is more possibility of losing trades, you have to trade with a small lot size. And it needs to be consistent for the trading business. At the beginning of the trading career, you might not like the idea of a small investment policy. But, there is no other way to increase the safety of the trading business without reducing the investment. To be consistent, you will need a decent risk management policy for the trades. Using a decent pan like a 1% risk per trade strategy, you can easily execute proper trades.

It is a very vital part of proper trade setup and the rookies need to emphasize on it. Otherwise, the lot size will be big and you will affect equity with big losses. To improve the profit potential use the Forex demo account free by Rakuten to learn the proper method of trading.

Trade with a proper strategy

Using a proper risk management plan, we can sort out the risk per trades. As we mentioned, the main idea is to reduce the amount of investment into the trades. We cannot take too much money and put it into uncertainty. That is why a proper money management plan is important for the trading business. Besides the idea of proper risk exposure, we need a proper trading strategy. It has to be constructive so that we can ensure proper position sizing. You cannot control the trades unless there is proper planning being used for the trades. Ensuring the entry and exit points of the trades, the rookies need to handle the trades. The main hassle will appear when you will try to set the exits of the trades. Use a proper market analysis so that, you can utilize the potential supports and resistances for the stop-loss and take-profit. Try to follow a decent profit target while opening a trade.

With a decent trading plan and a consistent effort, you can ensure consistent trading performance. The most important thing is, trades will be controlled in every market condition. Even when you will lose trade, the stop-loss will take care of it.

Emphasize on the market analysis

To execute a proper trade setup, you need to have proper market analysis skills. The fundamental analysis will come before the technical analysis. It is important to understand the possibilities of market volatility. After you have the idea of it, use the technical tools to evaluate the position sizing of the trades. Based on a decent risk to reward ratio, ensure proper execution. Most importantly, do not trade until you have a suitable market condition.

How the US-China Trade War Could Cost the Average American Household Big Bucks

It certainly isn’t news that Trump is at war with China. While this war may be a financial one, the impact on US citizens will soon be quite real. It could literally end up costing our way of living.

Many in the US are already living paycheck to paycheck, and numerous financial reports show that just one unexpected bill of $500 could put many households over their financial means and into serious financial situations. Around 60% of the country is just a $500 bill away from difficulties.

While the trade war may not be seen to affect Americans, in reality, the impact is going to be quite serious. According to The Washington Post, this cost is likely to be at least $1000 per household on average, possibly as high as $1500. Can you afford an extra $1500 in expenses?

In this article, we will look at why this is happening, how it is happening, and if anything can or will be done about it.

The US-China Trade War – What Is Happening?

The match that started this trade war fire was lit by tweets from Trump before he even became the president of the USA. In the early days, he was quoted as saying “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world”. This is a clear message about Trump’s stance on the China trade agreement situation.

Since then, numerous talks have been held, and some policies put into place. However, it has been an almost tit-for-tat routine between the two countries and their leaders. As one imposes tariffs and extra legislation, so then does the other impose equal or higher tariffs.

The US hits China with 10-25% tariffs on imports from China, and then China hits the USA with the same kind of restrictions on their exports to China. These economic powerhouses are fighting one of the biggest public financial wars seen in a long time. Each trying to force the other to back down. Which, unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be likely to happen anytime soon.

This situation has now escalated to a point where the US and China are blocking entities from trading at all, and that the 10-25% tariffs are being levied on hundreds of billions of US dollars worth of imports in both directions. Just to put that into a more relatable form, 25% of only 1 billion US dollars of trade is a tariff of $250,000,000 USD. Now, multiply that by hundreds and you can quickly see why this situation is so serious and is already very expensive.

How Much is Being Affected By Tariffs?

At the time of writing, tariffs are already affecting hundreds of billions of exports and imports between the USA and China. Between them, it is heading towards half a trillion US dollars of trade being affected by the tariffs levied. At 10-25%, it is a very serious issue.

  • US Tariffs Applied to Chinese Imports – $250,000,000,000

  • Chinese Tariffs Applied to US Imports – $110,000,000,000

How this Affects the Average American Family

An incredible amount of products that are used in the USA originate from China, including many that people don’t realize are initially produced in China or that the parts used to make them are produced by China. With billions of dollars being added to the bulk prices, this extra cost is likely to be passed largely through to consumers.

Chinese firms may opt to reduce some prices in order to remain competitive, but it is unlikely in most scenarios that they could absorb the 25% tariffs and still be profitable. This then means the increased cost will inevitably be passed onto Americans unless other suppliers step in to fill the demand quickly (for the amount of import that is involved, it would take many years to transition).

The only hope is for a trade deal, as without it US and Chinese imports and exports are going to be affected, making a significant dent in both the country’s economy and the average family’s budget.

How Can this be Resolved?

Unless Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping can come to an agreement, this war is likely to continue and have a lot of casualties. The US economy has already seen some impact, as has the Chinese economy. Both superpowers are standing their ground, and tariffs are currently scheduled to increase further by the 1st of September 2019

Fortunately, there is some hope, as talks have now been scheduled to occur before the tariff increases come into effect. If things can be resolved, and better trade agreements put in place, it could have a positive impact on both countries.

What it Means for the Average American Family

Here are the main impacts of the US-China trade war on US households. While not inclusive of all effects, it doesn’t look good if an agreement can’t be reached.

  • Citizens will likely absorb impact – the losses and increased costs

  • Slower economy from reduced exports and more expensive imports affecting budgets and local business

  • China devaluing currency – which could possibly have a knock-on effect to Asian economies and farther afield

  • Foreign capital inflow will decrease, as costs increase and trade restrictions block or deter external investment

  • Presently there are a lot of costs and issues, but the initially wanted more open markets and agreements haven’t really progressed since this started.

  • US citizens refinancing assets to liquidate funds while the economy is low and costs increase

  • Us economy could be damaged long term according to an analysis of the US-China war and its effects.

All we can do is hope that talks result in better agreements and cooperation. Some businesses and parties could also put pressure on those in power, but at the end of the day, this is largely a battle of the giants and only Trump and Xi Jinping can break this vicious circle of trade blocs and tariffs.

Ideas to Get Most Out of Car Insurance Claims

A car accident claim allows you to get money for your treatment and damages. If you want to get the maximum benefits of your insurance claim, you have to understand this process. After an accident, you may experience a devastating situation. Stress can make it difficult for you to manage things around you. 

Remember, you will need organization and patience to deal with the complications of this time. It is necessary to navigate the process of claims confidently. Here are some ideas that can help you to get the most out of a car insurance claim.

Image result for auto insurance for your business

Review of Insurance Policy

Keep it in mind that auto insurance can save you from different problems. For this reason, look for features and benefits of car insurance quotes before buying an insurance plan. You will need a comprehensive insurance plan to deal with injuries and damages. 

After an accident, you have to check your insurance policy for accident coverage. Some people may have two or more plan for an insurance claim. Remember, an average person needs homeowner policies, credit card paperwork, and umbrella policies. 

If your vehicle is not drivable, check your insurance policy to find support for a rental car. Immediately contact your agent to determine if you are liable for collision damage of a rental car. It may vary in each policy.

With an uncovered rental car, you can borrow a vehicle from friends or family for some time. If your health allows, use public transportation. To maximize the sum of claim, pay attention to the scene. Try to stay calm to deal with this situation. Carefully check around to see if you need an ambulance for an injured person. Try to contact your insurance company to file an insurance claim.

Prepare for Phone Calls

After filing an insurance claim, an auto insurance company may call you to get extra details about the accident. You may get a phone call by a claims adjuster or insurance agents. After approval of your claim, the company may send out an adjuster. He will evaluate the damage and fix it.

In case of a dispute about an accident, you may get calls from the insurance company of another person. They will ask your version of the crash. Make sure to record these details and ask for the phone number and name of the agent.

Avoid Giving anything in Written Format

Before understanding your coverage, you must not give anything to an insurer in written format. Moreover, you can stop an insurance company from recording your conversations. If you want to understand your rights, consult an attorney.

Manage Good Records and Receipts

If you want to file a claim to an insurance company, you must maintain your records. With the help of proper documents, you can convince them for a suitable cover. Moreover, save receipts related to your claim. For instance, you will need receipts of repair work, medical costs, treatment of injuries, etc. Keep these receipts at a secure place to get a complete insurance settlement. 

What You Always Wanted to Know About Investing in Cryptocurrency

The rise of cryptocurrency has opened up a world of opportunity for savvy investors and punters alike. In particular cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple are widely regarded by many as being akin to virtual gold.

With the future looking bright for the world of crypto, now may just be the right time to get on the wagon. To help you get started, we at United Finance have prepared a simple yet comprehensive guide which outlines the basics of cryptocurrency and tips on investing.

The Basics of Cryptocurrency

If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to have a relatively solid understanding of cryptocurrencies and how they work.

In a nutshell, cryptocurrencies are a form of digital money which exists purely in the realm of cyberspace. Unlike fiat currencies, cryptos are not issued by governments and are entirely unregulated.

At the point of writing, Bitcoin is the most valuable form of cryptocurrency. Having been around for nearly a decade, Bitcoin has made significant inroads amongst mainstream consumers while also becoming the cryptocurrency of choice amongst major U.S retailers.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should invest solely in Bitcoins. In fact there are dozens of new cryptos being released everyday with varying features and valuations. The key to making a profit lies in your ability to 

This makes them especially useful for folks who value their privacy as transactions are nearly untraceable. On the other hand, this means that it’s extremely easy to be cheated or scammed by unscrupulous merchants and traders.

As they have no physical presence, cryptocurrencies are stored on eWallets which come in two forms. The first being hot wallets which are constantly online and can be susceptible to hack attacks. Cold wallets are hard drives which do not have to be connected to the internet and are a much safer option.

Now that you’ve gained an understanding of cryptocurrencies, we take a look at some investment strategies.

Investing in Cryptocurrencies

1. The Market is Extremely Volatile

Back in 2017 during the peak of the Bitcoin rush, millionaires were made overnight as valuations rocketed up into the stratosphere.

It was during this time that investors and punters began flooding the market in the hopes of finding their fortune. With prices increasing exponentially from $900 to $20000, investors were able to clinch a return on investment of more than 2000%.

The good times would not last as BTC valuations eventually plunged to as low as $3000 in the 4th quarter of 2018. However, in recent times the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market has seen a resurgence with Bitcoin being priced above $10000 at the time of writing.

This massive volatility means that you can either stand to gain or lose massive amounts when investing. Hence, it is always best to ensure that you have a diverse portfolio consisting of different cryptocurrencies.

By doing so, you’ll be able to significantly reduce your risk exposure while still allowing yourself some room for growth. 

Alongside this, it’s always best to invest only what you can afford to lose. Given the extreme volatility of the market, chances are you won’t be able to take corrective action until it is too late. By investing only what you can afford, you minimize the risk of you suffering a huge loss.

2. Only work with trusted partners

The unregulated nature of the cryptocurrency market means that the likelihood of theft and hack attacks is extremely likely. As we’ve seen from the collapse of Mt. Gox and several other high-profile scandals, operating within an unregulated market is not without its risks.

By working with fraudulent business partners and exchanges, careless investors may find themselves losing everything. To add insult to injury, due to the unregulated nature of the market, victims typically end up with little-to-no legal recourse.

Hence as a rule of thumb, only work with trusted exchanges or partners. Do your research beforehand and speak to professionals in the market. For example, if you read user evaluations, like this eToro review, will help you have the feedback you need to reassure you of your safety.

Despite the variety of risks, the crypto market is an extremely lucrative one. Through a combination of careful investment and persistence, you too can benefit from cryptocurrency.

3 Ways To Clear Your Credit Card Debt

Credit cards can be both a blessing and a curse. When properly managed, credit cards are an excellent source of free cash and can be used to tide you over during the leaner months.

However, when left unchecked, credit cards can become a financial nightmare. From extortionate interest rates to the predatory schemes employed by banks, one would do well to stay away from credit card debt. 

Rather unfortunately, even the best of us can sometimes fail to properly manage our spending. All too often, it’s sometimes easier to just make swipe that piece of plastic for a certain purchase. 

After all, you’ll be able to worry about it at the end of the month, right? Wrong.

From a recent survey conducted, it was determined that nearly 1 in 2 Americans were trapped in a never-ending cycle of credit card debt. Oftentimes, credit card debt is carried over month after month with many struggling to make payments.

Further compounding this issue (pun intended) is the very real fact that interest rates are set to increase in the near future. As a result, banks are able to profit from regular interest payments while leaving debtors in a cycle of debt.

But, don’t give up hope just yet. There’s still hope for the future. With the help of your guide, some financial savvy and plenty of discipline, you’ll be able to pay off your credit card debt in no time. And you still can use money to buy things you love, either clothes, food or college football betting. Just don’t spend more than what you have and follow the tips we give you.

Here’s our 3 foolproof ways for you to quickly and effectively pay off credit card debt.

1. Pay more than the minimum amount

Paying more than the minimum amount is easily one of the simplest yet most effective ways of clearing your credit card debt. As we’ve mentioned previously, banks utilize a variety of devious strategies to trap you in debt.

These range from allowing you to pay a minimum amount each month to charging you absolutely ridiculous interest rates.

Oftentimes, paying just the minimum amount means that you’re merely paying off interest and service fees while leaving the principal amount owed undiminished. Carried over from month-to-month it becomes increasingly difficult to pay off the amount owed.

Hence by paying more than the minimum amount, you’ll be able to start clearing off your debt. You can opt for making two payments a month or setting aside a fixed amount every time you get paid. Before long, you’ll realize that you’ve successfully paid off your credit card debt.

2. Pay for everything in cash

As the adage goes, cash is king. Instead of living on credit, consider making the switch to paying for everything in cash.

Studies have shown that consumers are much more likely to be financially prudent when making payments in cash. One of the reasons why is that cash payments are much more tangible as we are made aware of our declining bank balance.

Meanwhile, making payments on credit encourages us to think that we’ll be able to settle the payment at the end of the month. As a result, many of us tend to be less thrifty when swiping our credit cards.

To cut down on your credit card expenses, adopt the mindset of “if you have to charge it, you can’t afford it”. Over time, you’ll be able to instill the habit of using cash exclusively while leaving your credit card in the wallet.

3. Consolidate your debt

Sometimes the idea of excessive debt can be overwhelming. You find yourself having to make multiple payments each month while struggling to keep check of everything. At the end of the day, you wonder where your pay cheque has ended up.

Don’t let debt overwhelm you. Take a step back and consolidate your debt.

Essentially, debt consolidation is the action of taking a new loan to pay off all existing liabilities and debts. You can choose to take out a small personal loan or use a new credit card when consolidating debt. 

As we’ve discussed before, there are pros and cons to each approach. Personal loans can be used to pay off high-interest credit cards or as a means to finance a new purchase.

If you have an excellent credit history, you can consider using a new credit card. Some credit card providers offer a zero-interest balance transfer scheme which gives you some breathing space to pay off your debt.

The 11 Best Ecommerce Books to Add to Your Reading

One of the most important things to remember when getting into ecommerce is that you’ll always be learning. Regardless of if you have little to no experience or if you’re a seasoned professional, having an open mind to always learning more about your professional field is essential if you want to find success. This is because the field of ecommerce is always changing, with new cultural trends and businesses affecting (and sometimes innovating) the ways people do ecommerce business.

However, it’s understandable if you feel intimidated by the large variety of different books out there. After all, the market for ecommerce book is quite vast, with a variety of different options that focus on specialties. This is why we’ve scoured the internet to provide you with a list of The 11 Best Ecommerce Books to Add to Your Reading list:

#1. The Complete Ecommerce Book: Design, Build and Maintain a Successful Web-Based Business by Janice Reynolds

If you want a comprehensive look on how to quickly get into ecommerce, you can’t do much better than this book. Janice Reynolds does a great job of highlighting the entire process of becoming familiar with the world of ecommerce!

#2. One-Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard Brandt

As one of the most successful and controversial companies in the world, Amazon has become incredibly popular and powerful over the past 20 years. This book follows the formation of the company and explains how they’ve remained being successful to this very day.

#3. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

Google is one of those companies that is almost impossible to avoid if you use the internet. After all, they control many different social media platforms and own the world’s most comprehensive search engine! This book talks about the complexity of Google and how the company has influenced internet culture.

#4. SEO 2018 Learn Search Engine Optimization with Smart Internet Marketing Strategy by Adam Clarke

If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and its ever-changing nature, this is the book for you!

#5. The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing by Kim Ann King

B2B marketing is an incredibly effective method for anyone looking to increase the impact of their online presence. This book tells you how to make it work for you!

#6. 50 Shades of Growth by Sid Bharath and Danny Halarewich

Don’t let the name fool you—this is a great and informative book on growth hacker marketing.

#7. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

It’s no secret that marketing is something that never stops changing, but we’re glad David Meerman Scott has gone into excessive detail to explain why that is.

#8. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

This is a wonderful book that highlights just how important it is to reach out to customers and always try your hardest.

#9. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Messages So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Building a brand is essential to anyone looking to excel at ecommerce. This is why we recommend you get this book, as it is a great guide to learning about which elements of brand-making are truly important and how you can have a competitive advantage over your peers. This book also covers all different types of marketing mediums, allowing you to not limit your brand’s reach to a single platform.

#10. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Sometimes the best books related to ecommerce are the ones about truly motivational stories. Elon Musk is one of the most interesting characters to pop out of the new age of marketing, bringing strategies that make him stand out among his peers. This book goes in-depth to analyze Musk’s methods and why he is currently one of the most interesting people in the world.

#11. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton

Understanding how analytics work is incredibly important for any ecommerce business who wants to learn from their mistakes and target areas in which they can improve. This book sees Brian Clifton going into great detail on why this is important, giving you essential strategies to find success.

In Conclusion

What did you think of our list? Are there any books you’re excited to read? What about any specific ecommerce techniques that you’re interested in? If you’re interested in one of the most innovative technologies that is currently changing the ecommerce world, we recommend you look into a magento extension. This extension is helpful for identifying which types of consumer features are most effective when introduced to the market.

Want to learn more about using a magento extension? We recommend checking out this article about magento 2 speed optimization!

20 Motivational Quotes for Success in Business

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right” these are the words of Henry Ford and they are absolutely true because we are only what we make of ourselves, especially in business where we need every bit of courage that we can get to be successful. So, we are listing 20 motivational quotes of success in business. Read them regularly or at times when you feel down and need the inspiration to move forward.

“The Only Limit To Our Realization Of Tomorrow Will Be Our Doubts Of Today.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

“What You Lack In Talent Can Be Made Up With Desire, Hustle And Giving 110% All The Time.”

Don Zimmer

“Do What You Can With All You Have, Wherever You Are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“The Future Belongs To The Competent. Get Good, Get Better, Be The Best!”

Brian Tracy

“For Every Reason It’s Not Possible, There Are Hundreds Of People Who Have Faced The Same Circumstances And Succeeded.”

Jack Canfield

“No great achiever – even those who made it seem easy – ever succeeded without hard work.”

Jonathan Sacks

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

Jimmy Johnson

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.”

Thomas Carlyle

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Saint Francis

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

Calvin Coolidge

“Success only comes to those who dare to attempt.”

Mallika Tripathi

“Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.”  Haile Gebrselassie

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”

Jim Rohn

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Muhammad Ali

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Louis Pasteur

“Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. It’s hard to stay on top.”

Paul Coffey

“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”

Lou Woltz

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”

Harry Golden

“You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it pulling out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.”

Tony Morgan

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along”.

George Herbert

Keep these motivational quotes of success by your side to provide you the punch your motivation that you need and always remember that:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.

Helen Keller

How to Make Your Side Job Profitable

Whether you have to have a side job to make ends meet or are doing the extra work to cushion your finances, you want your side job to be as lucrative as possible. From freelance graphic design to starting your own online store, there are plenty of ways to make your second job profitable. 

Market Yourself

It’s hard to grow your personal business if you can’t bring in new customers. To make your side gig a success, you need to market yourself. There are a variety of ways to do this, including word of mouth and taking the initiative to reach out to businesses with information about your product or services. However, to make it as profitable as possible, you should think bigger. 

Promotional items are a staple in marketing because they work. Giving out gear with your logo on it will help build awareness for your side business. Depending on your target market, you could design anything from personalized pens to custom Airpods

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to build business in the digital age. Your clients are already there, so why not go directly to them. Plus, you can also place highly targeted ads on most social media channels to reach exactly who you want. Pick one or two platforms when you’re first getting started, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. 

Invest Your Money Wisely

Do you need a specific program or tools for your side job? Make sure you are making the most of your resources by shopping around affordable or free solutions first. If you are going to invest any of your own money in your side job, try to minimize your expenses, especially when you are first starting out. Keep in mind that any income that you put into your side hustle will need to be subtracted from your profits. 

That being said, there are costs that you won’t be able to avoid if you want your business to be a success, like materials for your core product, a card machine to handle your card transactions, or a domain for your online store. Before you make any business-oriented purchases, make a list of must-have items you need to get started and try not to deviate from it. Later, you can make a plan to increase your budget toward business investments once your side gig is more established.

Be Strict with Your Schedule

Your time is money, so don’t waste it. To maximize the profitability of your business, you want the time cost to be offset by how much money your side job is bringing in. Otherwise, you might want to reconsider whether it’s actually worth your time. When you’re first starting out, it’s understandable that it may take a larger time investment, along with some trial and error, but it should taper off as you get it more established. 

Once your side gig is part of your regular routine and you have some structure in place, set a schedule for yourself. This will help you make the most of your time investment and prevent your side gig from taking over all of your free time. 

Set up a Good Office Space

If you’re really dedicated to your side gig, working at the local coffee shop may not be the most productive place. Instead, invest in creating an optimized workspace at home. To make the most work-conduce space in your home, consider getting a standing desk, making sure the room is well lit with natural lighting, and setting up any materials you might need where they’re easily accessible. 

It can also be beneficial to add some greenery to boost your mood. Clear your home office of any distractions and clutter, this space should strictly activities that are related to your side business. If you share a home with roommates or your family, make sure your office space is somewhere private that you can focus. 

If your side job isn’t bringing in the income you need just yet, try implementing these recommendations before throwing in the towel. Reigning in how you spend your time and money should be fairly easy but setting up your home office and marketing will take more effort so make these changes at your own pace. 

4 Ways to Optimize Your Retirement Savings

Planning for your retirement can be extremely overwhelming. After all, you have to figure out how you’re going to live off your retirement savings for the rest of your life. How do you know if you have enough saved up? Will you be able to live according to the same standard of living you’re accustomed to? Will you need to continue working on the side? 

Below, we’ve gathered some tips for how to make the most of your retirement savings and set yourself up for success.

Utilize a reverse mortgage

If you’re aged 62 or older, live in your home permanently, and have substantial equity in your home – you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage. What’s a reverse mortgage, exactly? It’s a form of financing that converts the equity you already have built up in your home into usable cash you can use however you see fit. For example, you can use it to cover healthcare expenses, pursue your new archery hobby, pay for groceries, or buy new hiking boots for your hiking club.

You can use a HECM calculator to see what kind of loan you may be able to expect.

Plan out your guaranteed income

One of the major forms of income you’ll need when you’re retired is a form (or forms) of guaranteed income. It may come from a reverse mortgage, as we mentioned earlier, which allows you to choose payments in the form of a lump sum or monthly payments or a combination of both. 

Guaranteed income may also mean your Social Security benefits. It’s important to note that the size of your Social Security benefit will depend on when you actually start taking the benefit. For example, if you delay collecting until your full retirement age which is usually around 66-67 years old, you’ll receive the full amount of your benefit rather than the reduced amount you’d get if you started receiving them at 62 (when you’re first eligible).

You may also receive a pension that’ll you’ll be able to calculate into your retirement savings. However, with that said, only about 14% of workers receive a pension so you might not have one at all.

Annuities are another option for providing yourself with money to cover basic living expenses and hobbies you pick up during retirement. Essentially, they’re a contract you make with an insurance company that means you’ll get regular paychecks from them for the rest of your life. They come in three forms: indexed annuities, variable annuities, and fixed annuities. 

Plan out your flexible income

Nobody can predict what life will bring down the road. As such, it’s incredibly important that some flexibility is built into your retirement savings. You’ll want to make sure your income is diversified so not all your retirement eggs are in one basket so to speak. It’s important to have variety of income sources like stocks that can grow, steady sources of income, and general flexibility so you can withstand different life changes like a sudden health event or the need for long-term care.

In addition, it’s a good idea to plan out a budget so you can manage your expenses that you’re anticipating along with the unexpected ones that pop up along the way.

Plan out your growth

Your retirement savings shouldn’t be static. They need to be able to grow as you age. Of course, there are many factors that you should consider before deciding on the type of investment strategy you need for your retirement. It’s a good rule of thumb to consider a healthy variety of bonds, stocks, and cash but with consideration to your financial situation overall, your tolerance to changes in the marketplace, and your time horizon for retirement. 

In general, when you’re trying to plan out the sources of your income and plan for retirement, it’s smart to talk to a financial planner. Not only can they help you sort through the maze of taxes and types of investment strategies you’d otherwise have to parse out for yourself, they can also give you some serious peace of mind.


Retirement doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. As you start to prepare for retirement, it’s important to set aside time to talk to a financial advisor who can help guide you and your spouse so you can enjoy a totally comfortable retirement. After all, you’ve worked hard your entire life, your retirement and golden years should be spent doing what you love and pursuing new hobbies. Whether you choose a reverse mortgage, or an annuity, or a variety of different income streams, you can make your money work for you and your desired standard of living.

How to get a home equity line when you have bad credit

A home equity line (or HELOC) can be very beneficial for those borrowers who need some cash and have equity in their home. It’s typically  a win-win for both borrower and lender. The lender benefits because the borrower has their house and property offered as collateral, which is the ultimate form of insurance on paying the debt, since nobody wants to lose a home to foreclosure. But the borrower has more leverage in being approved for this loan because they’re putting up collateral. So it’s a safer bet for the lenders, and homeowners could have access to needed cash faster than a traditional loan. 

But what if you don’t have great credit? 

The usual requirements for garnering a home equity line involve some basic qualifications. Borrowers need to have a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of usually 43 or lower. The lower the DTI, the lower the interest rates will be for the borrower. There are some lenders who approve borrowers with higher than 43 on the DTI scale.  

As with all loans, FICO scores are part of the loan underwriting process. For a home equity line, lenders usually want a FICO score of at least 620 or better. But it’s dependent on the lenders and what they look for. Some lenders accept lower FICO scores, but the interest rates on those approvals will typically be higher.

Bottom line: you can still get a HELOC with less than ideal credit

All is not lost if your numbers don’t meet the standard criteria of a Home Equity Line. There are lenders out there who specialize in these circumstances and offer non-prime home equity loans. These lenders are subject to oversight by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). These loans are ideal for those borrowers who want a Home Equity Line but only have a FICO score between 500 and 620.

All That You Need to Know About USDA Business Loans

USDA business loans are loans guaranteed by the department of agriculture of the U.S. Formally, it was known as USDA business and industry loans. Banks or credit unions usually give the loan to businesses that are located in rural areas. USDA business loans are not very different from Small Business Administration loans. But the focus here is to create jobs in the rural sector and promote small businesses.

These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, some of which are

  • Business development, modernization, and repair
  • To upgrade machinery, supplies, equipment, and inventory
  • Development through a commercial real estate purchase
  • Debt financing to work upon cash flow
  • Acquisition of business, when the loan saves or creates jobs

Though all businesses aren’t eligible for it, these loans are certainly an excellent source of financing for non-profit and other businesses in rural areas. This business loan gives you flexible funds, high-interest rates, a good amount, and long term agreements.

How to be eligible for a USDA business loan?

Both new and existing businesses can avail USDA loans. There is a set of minimum requirements to get the loan. The minimum requirements are given below:

  • Have to be located in a rural area: Any area other than a city that has a population of over 50,000 is eligible.
  • Must be a citizen: The applicant must be a citizen of the U.S. or have permanent residency status.
  • Must be eligible as a borrower.
  • Must have the minimum cash flow required for loan repayment.
  • Good credit history: This means a constant 680 score over a long period has to be maintained. In business, it means on-time payments, no derogatory marks, and low credit utilization.
  • Must have an equity position of 10% of an existing business, 20% for new business, and 25% to 40% for energy projects.
  • An independent consultant must do the feasibility study
  • Worker’s compensation, flood insurance, and other types of insurances may be required.
  • Corporate, as well as personal guarantees, are required.
  • Collateral is required.

One may be unfamiliar with the equity position of tangible balance sheets when it comes to commercial loans. If so, one can use tangible assets to arrive at the equity position. Therefore, this is the business’s balance sheet equity, excluding any intangible assets. Some of the intangible assets are licenses, goodwill, patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.

Interest and fees

The interest rates for commercial loans are usually like those of on SBA loans i.e., 6-9%. The lender sets the interest rates, and it is ensured that the interest rate is reasonable when compared to similar personal loans.

USDA loans come with the following types of fees:

  • Initial guarantee: The fee is 3% of the total loan amount
  • Annual renewal fee: 0.5% of the principle(outstanding)
  • Bank fees or lender fees: Origination fees, appraisal fees are charged by banks. A penalty that is to be made before the payment and miscellaneous fees are also included.

Completion of the loan application

   The following are required to complete the loan application:

  • A business plan
  • Credit reports of business
  • Credit report of all owners(personal)
  • Resume of the business owners
  • Updated balance sheet
  • Profit and loss statements(maximum 90 days old)
  • Pro forma balance sheet i.e., projected for loan closing
  • Cash flow projection for the next two years and balance sheet
  • Average wages, number of jobs created and saved
  • Current statements for guarantors
  • Real estate review
  • A feasibility study by an independent consultant

   Hope this brief guide to USDA business loans clarifies all your doubts and queries.