Blog : Financial

Basic Guide to Intellectual Property

Basic Guide to Intellectual Property

Basic Guide to Intellectual Property (IP) Law

 

The legal system in the United States protects people’s property and provides them with legal rights in respect of that property. Intellectual property is property which is produced from the fruits of mental labor and intellectual property rights allow people to make a living from their creations.

 

General IP laws are separated into three areas. First, copyright laws are used to protect written and artistic expression. Second, patents are used to protect tangible inventions and finally, trademarks protect names or symbols which identify the producer of goods or services.

 

Copyright

 

Copyright is the protection for both published and unpublished works of authorship. This authorship must be expressed in a tangible medium. This means that an idea for a book will not be protected, you actually have to write the book.

 

Copyright laws provide protection for creations like movies, books, articles, drawings, photographs, and sound recordings. It prevents others from reproducing the copyrighted work, performing or displaying copyrighted work publicly, or to prepare derivative works. Depending on the type of work created, the rules surrounding copyright can differ.

 

Copyright is different from patents and trademarks in that protection is granted the moment the work is created. You do not need to apply or pay a fee for copyright protection.

 

Patents

 

A patent may be granted for an invention. Usually, a new patent will last for 20 years from the date the application was filed and it grants certain rights. These rights include the right to exclude others from using, importing, selling, or making a patented product.

There are three types of patents. A utility patent is granted to people who invent or discover a new and useful process. A design patent is granted for the design to manufacture something and a plant patent is given to people who invent and asexually create a new variety of plant.

 

Patents are used to protect the rights of the creator in order for them to earn an income from the fruits of their labor. By filing a new invention, the inventor will have at least a 20-year head start on the competition.

 

There are complex rules relating to the granting of patents and the process can be long and expensive.

 

Trademarks

 

A trademark is a phrase, word, design, or symbol which identifies the source of goods. A service mark is the same but identifies the source of a service. However, the term trademark is commonly used to refer to both.

 

Trademarks differ from patents and copyrights because they don’t expire. Rights come from the actual “use” of a trademark and could go on forever.

 

Trademarks prevent other people from using the same or similar trademark for their business. On top of this, they also prevent other people making or selling the same goods or services under a different trademark.

 

Registration is not mandatory, but registration at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is recommended. Advantages of USPTO registration include a notice to the claim of ownership and the right to exclusive rights to use the mark.

 

Intellectual property laws seek to protect the fruits of mental labor. IP laws are separated into three main areas: copyright, patents, and trademarks. Each area has its own specific set of rules and you are always advised to seek the advice of a Lawyer before embarking on any legal process.

 

* Personal Note*

A few years back one of MCJ3 Media lost control over one of our Web Properties on Facebook. At the time 5 million followers and a Major factor for our company. The very first question from Facebook was “is this your Intellectual property and please send us a link to the US Trademark site” and a copy of your trademark. In short if you don’t have one you don’t own nothing. It don’t matter about your URL, Video & Photo’s of you. Know the difference between a copyright or trademark. Thanks to Marcos E. Garciaacosta our page was return to us within 5 days

 

Marcos E. Garciaacosta, Esq.

http://www.legalbizglobal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IPLawMarcos/

How to Protect Your Online Life During a Breakup

How to Protect Your Online Life During a Breakup

These days our online and offline lives are becoming more and more intertwined. We have real world bank accounts, but we access them online. We interact with our friends, but we do so both online and off. The mix of online and offline worlds makes our lives richer, but it also presents some unique challenges.

Many of those challenges rear their ugly heads when it comes to a breakup or divorce. If you have been sharing your life with someone, you have probably shared your most intimate online experiences as well. Your partner may know all your passwords, PIN numbers and other essential details. When the relationship goes south, that knowledge could easily be turned against you.

No matter what the reasons for the breakup or divorce, it is important to protect yourself and your online identity. There are certain steps you need to take to ensure your now ex-partner does not have the tools to make your life miserable.

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How to Avoid Financial Scams When Dating

How to Avoid Financial Scams When Dating

The online world has made dating and meeting people a lot easier. Instead of spending hours in a dingy bar, men and women can simply log on to their favorite dating sites and scan through dozens of potential matches. But while online dating has opened up new possibilities, it has also introduced some new dangers. From the threat of hooking up with a sexual predator to the risk that your new love is after your money instead of your love, there are plenty of reasons to keep your guard up when looking for love.

Of course, some of those precautions apply no matter how you met your current dating partner. Even if you meet at work or church, there is always the risk that the people you date are not what they appear. It is always important to do your own homework and listen to your intuition.

Fortunately, it has never been easier to check out your potential dating partners and protect yourself from predators. Something as simple as scanning social media sites can tell you a lot, and a quick Google search may reveal even more. If you are really concerned about your safety, you can even hire a private detective to do a background check.

It is just as important to pay attention to the questions you are asked during those first few dates. While a few personal questions are nothing to worry about, watch out for people who want to know too much too soon. Also be on the lookout for questions that are often used to enhance online security – your date may be trolling for the information they need to break into your accounts and commit identity theft.

Questions like the name of your pet, where you went to high school and your mother’s last name are all common challenge question should all raise a red flag. Your date may just be curious, but you can never be too careful.

One way to protect yourself is make sure your challenge questions do not relate to anything a new dating partner is likely to ask. Go through the challenge questions you have created at your bank, brokerage firm and other sensitive sites and change them if necessary. Taking a proactive approach will allow you to let your guard down and enjoy your first date without worrying about ulterior motives.

Dating is already fraught with emotion. Taking a proactive approach to protecting your identity and financial life will give you one less thing to worry about. Whether you just started dating or are still looking for that special someone, taking steps to protect yourself is important in today’s world.  by beconrad


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20 Basic Personal Financial Rules Women Should Know

20 Basic Personal Financial Rules Women Should Know

Everyone is different and may have financial situations that are unique to them.  So not everyone will be able to follow these rules all of the time.  However, the more you follow these rules, the better your financial situation will become.  None of these rules are perfect but they may give you a quick check to see if your money management is on the right track.

1.  Spend less than you earn

The number one fundamental rule for someone’s personal finances is this; spend less than you earn and save the difference for the future.  According to a survey released by Bankrate.com, fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses. Which is enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event.  Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.

2.  Know your credit score

You pay your bills on time, haven’t had any credit issues so you feel there’s no need to check your credit score because you know it must be excellent.  Then you go to apply for a car loan or a mortgage and Bam! You find all kind of errors on your credit report making you seem like a credit risk and your loan being denied or subjected to a higher interest rate.  Check your credit report at least once a year for free by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.  Checking your credit report doesn’t hurt your credit score but lets you see what the creditors see and gives you a chance to make any necessary corrections.

3.  Keep it simple

It’s easy to accumulate a lot of credit cards and other debt, but it’s a little harder to manage that debt. Also the more credit you have, the more chances you have for identity theft.  The more investment accounts you have, the less attention you can give to each one and the more likely it is that you will miss a big problem. The more accounts and investments and bills you have, the more time and energy you have to spend to stay on top of it all and the more likely it is that you’re going to make an error.  Even if you setup your accounts for automatic payments it does not prevent identity theft or mistakes by the credit issuers.

4.  Build an emergency fund

If you do not have an accessible cash emergency fund, then this should be your number one priority. Cash is king for solving most of the problems that life throws at you. Unlike credit, cash is available in situations of credit problems or of identity theft. If you don’t trust yourself to set aside the money each payday then set up an automatic allotment that comes directly out of your check before you even get it.  You probably won’t even miss the money and before you know it you’ll have a nice little nest egg for emergencies.  Just remember needing a new pair of shoes for the wedding party is not an emergency.

5.  Focus on eliminating high-interest debt

Now that you have your emergency fund set up and going, you should focus on eliminating your high-interest debt. Organize your debt by interest rates.  The debt with the highest interest rates will be the one that you focus on paying off first. Try making double payments (or more) on the debt with the highest interest. Make the double payments until the debt is paid off.  Once the debt is paid off tackle your next highest interest rate debt by adding the total amount of the payment you were making on the paid off debt to the debt you are now working to pay off.  Keep repeating this pattern until your high-interest debts are gone.

6.  Saving for retirement

Get every nickel of your employer’s fund matching in your 401(k).  If your employer offers matching funds for your 401(k) plan, make absolutely sure you’re contributing enough to get every nickel of those matching funds.  It’s free money, and free money should never be left on the table. Matching funds allows you to get an immediate return on every dollar that you save for retirement.  Don’t let your employer keep that money in their pockets.

7.  Build strong relationships

One of the most important things in life is having strong personal and professional relationships.  Having such relationships can enrich your life in more ways than one.  Having good people in your life will provide you with social, spiritual, emotional, and professional support when needed.  These relationships must be cultivated, do not skimp on the time and effort that these relationships will need to be healthy.  Listen to what these important people in your life are saying, be available for them and get involved with your community.  These are the ways to build the important relationships you need to help make your life fulfilling.

8.  Don’t worry about how the Jones’s spend their money

Just because your best friend is driving an expensive car, don’t feel that you need one too.  Your friend and her boyfriend are updating their Facebook every day with pictures of their vacation in Spain.  Don’t let this make you spend your money on something expensive that you don’t need to show you can hang with the Jones’s.  Just because other people choose to buy things, eat at expensive restaurants or whatever else people do with their money, does not mean you need to do it too. Make choices and spend money on the things that will help you achieve your goals and that you care about. Don’t worry about how others spend their money.

9.  Don’t worry about what other people think

This one goes hand in hand with not worrying about how others spend their money.  Don’t choose a car to impress other people. Don’t choose your clothes because you think others will be envious.  Don’t choose gadgets to one-up someone. Why? Because it won’t really impress them. It’s all about what you bring to the table, how you respond to people, your ideas, how you carry yourself, and how you treat others, that’s what impress people.  Not the superficial things in life. Buy things that you need, make you happy, and will improve your future, not because you think others will be impressed.

10.  Buy life insurance

Don’t let an insurance salesman fool you, in fact initially you don’t really need to talk to a salesman at all.  There are numerous online sites that you can use to buy life insurance (Dave Ramsey suggests Zander Insurance Group).  You don’t need much life insurance unless you have a family or someone who directly relies on your income. If you do have dependents, your best bet is to get a term life insurance policy, one that will pay out enough money to care for your dependents in the event of your early demise.

11.  Build a budget

A budget can be a useful tool for keeping track of your spending as long as it’s done correctly.  You build a budget based on your actual spending over the previous few months.

How much do you actually spend a month on food? Entertainment? Utilities? Your car? You need to have real numbers, estimates will not really help you.  Check your bank and credit card statements to get the real numbers.  You might be amazed at how much you really spend and what you spend it on.

12.  Set big goals for yourself

What is it that you want for your future? Do you want a secure early retirement? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to travel and visit different countries? Do you want to find a job that you would love to do? Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind all the time.  Do things today that will bring your goals closer to fruition.  Remind yourself constantly of your goals so that you make better choices in your life to help fulfill your dreams.

13.  Buy cars based on safety, reliability, and fuel efficiency

Those are the three main factors you should think about when it comes to buying a car because they will make an enormous difference in your finances. A reliable and fuel-efficient car will keep your fuel bills and your repair bills low for the entire time that you own it. A car that has a high safety rating will be cheaper to insure, saving you money on car insurance. Do your research when it comes to buying a car, there are many online sites you can use, such as Consumer Reports before buying your dream car.

14.  Your retirement fund is off limits

When you’re struggling to pull yourself out of a financial hole, it can be very tempting to tap your retirement funds to pay off certain debts or to put a down payment on a house. If you can, avoid doing that. It’s hard, if not impossible to recoup the money you would have made had you not removed it from your retirement account and there is a good possibility that you will not adequately refund your account.  Tap your retirement if you must, but only as a last resort.

15.  Start a side business

Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do (without quitting your day job).  Almost all of us have a big dream inside. Some people dream of becoming a fiction writer, others want to design or make things and sell them online. Whatever your dream, find a way to spend at least some of your spare time fulfilling it. It all begins when you make the choice to start.

16.  Sleep on it

You see a pair of killer shoes that you just have to have.  Feel free to try them on and ogle at yourself in the mirror, then take them off, place them back in the box, and leave the store (without the shoes).  Sleep on it, ask yourself “do I really need those shoes”?  How much will it set you back from reaching whatever goals you have set for yourself?  This goes for any major purchase.  The more expensive the item, the bigger window you give yourself to think it over.  You will be amazed at how often you say to yourself, “I really don’t need…..”  You fill in the blank.  Cutting out impulse buying will save you an untold amount of money.

17.  Share your dreams and your mistakes with your partner

If you’re in a long-term relationship, be completely open and honest about your finances, dreams and past mistakes with your partner.  It is an incredibly powerful way to build a stronger bond between you and your partner and to maintain your focus. Encourage each other to improve but keep negative feedback and emotions in check.  Discuss your goals and what you are doing to achieve them on a regular basis, it will make a world of difference in every aspect of your life.

18.  Fix it yourself

The things that you can find on YouTube is unbelievable.  Your toilet is having problems or your faucet won’t stop dripping don’t make your first call a repairman, try to fix it yourself.  Google whatever problem you may have, if necessary borrow some tools and give it the ole college try. You may just find that you can fix the problem yourself, saving you some cash and building confidence for future repairs. The worst case scenario is that you end up having to call in the repairman anyway.

19.  Cancel unused memberships and subscriptions

Got a gym membership you never use? Cancel it. What about all those magazines that come to your house that you never even open? Cancel them (besides you can read them for free at the library).  Don’t watch your Hulu Plus subscription? Drop it.  You have Amazon Prime but only order stuff at Christmas? Let it go. Unused subscriptions and memberships do nothing but devour your money month after month and since a lot of times it’s only ten dollars here or twenty dollars there you don’t think it’s a lot of money.  But over the course of a year and several unused subscriptions or memberships that money can really add up.

20.  “Stuff” will never make you happy

Remember that “stuff” will never make you truly happy, because happiness comes from within. You may enjoy the things you buy for a minute but “things” will never make your life fulfilling.  Don’t buy into the idea that the more you own, the happier you’ll be, because it won’t. The biggest way money helps is by reducing your stress and eventually improving your life options through improved financial security.  And you can only get to that point in life by being smart with your money.

The “rules” I have mentioned above are not written in stone and are just suggestions that should improve the quality of your life now and in the future.  Not all the rules will work for you, so find the ones that will work since each of these can improve your financial situation.  And if you only choose one, make sure it’s to save, save, save.

Basic Overview of Forming a Limited Liability Company

Basic Overview of Forming a Limited Liability Company

When you go into business for yourself, you have options when it comes to the type of business structure you choose. You might be a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. Which you choose will affect factors such taxes, liability, and required paperwork.

If you’re thinking that a limited liability company (LLC) is the right choice for you, here’s what you need to know about this option and five things you’ll need to do to form your company.

Background on Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The benefit of an LLC is that unlike corporations, LLCs aren’t taxed as separate business entities. All members of the LLC report profits and losses of the business on their personal federal tax returns. The business does not pay federal taxes. Therefore, if the LLC incurs a debt or is sued, your personal assets are generally exempt.

Under an LLC, the IRS treats your business as if it were a sole proprietorship (if you are the only member) or a partnership (if there are multiple owners), unless you choose to be taxed as a corporation. However, the federal government automatically classifies and taxes certain LLCs as corporations.

Either way, you’re taxed on your share of the profits as part of your personal tax return (Schedule E). Though not required in most states, your LLC may have an Operating Agreement, which discusses financial decision-making, such as how to distribute profits and losses.

Under an LLC, you are self-employed and aren’t subject to tax withholding. Therefore, you must pay estimated taxes and self-employment taxes quarterly. However, an owner not actively involved in the LLC may be exempt from paying self-employment taxes. Talk to your accountant.

As a small business owner, you must assess, collect, and submit sales tax to the appropriate state authorities. In addition, you must pay state taxes (if applicable in your state) through your individual tax return.

Forming a Limited Liability Company

Each state has its own guidelines on the steps you need to take to form an LLC. However, here are five things you’ll need according to the Small Business Administration:

Business Name. Choose one that doesn’t currently exist in the state, include LLC in the title, and avoid restricted words, such as ‘bank’.

Articles of Organization. This includes information such as your business name, address, and the names of members.

Operating Agreement. This is not required in many states; however, it is a good tool for structuring multi-member operations.

Licenses and Permits. Find out what federal, state, and local business licenses and permits you need based on industry, state, and locality.

Employees. There are a variety of good sources to help you learn what you need to know about hiring staff, such as your state Chamber of Commerce, Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), and the Small Business Administration.

Additionally, some states require new businesses to publish a statement in the local paper about their LLC formation. Check with your state small business development center.

While small business owners have options beyond forming an LLC, it is one of the best choices available. If you’re still unsure whether to incorporate, talk with your attorney.

Make That Million Dollar Pitch

Make That Million Dollar Pitch

A pencil
Yes, you read right: a pencil. I’m sitting here at my desk in mid-suburban Toronto staring at a pencil. “Why?” you might ask. I’m sitting here staring at my pencil wondering who gave this company the financial backing necessary to pump out millions of pencils a year. I’m wondering who had the guts to stand up in front of a board of directors and say “you know what we’re missing, besides a cappuccino machine? Pencils!” I’m wondering… you get the picture. Today, we’re discussing the business pitch.

The Pitch
There is a certain excitement about making a million-dollar-plus pitch. I know: I’ve just come out of such a meeting and we got everything we asked for. I don’t write this article as a guru in million dollar pitches, but more as someone who has learned a few things that I would like to pass on to those of you who may one day go into such a meeting. The principles outlined in this article are not exclusively for large project pitches, though they are essential for them.
There are 3 key elements to any large pitch (after the donuts and coffee, that is). Firstly, you must approach it as a team, both in numbers and in that you are partnering with the people on the other side of the table to fulfill a dream. Next, your attitude must be successful and you must never blush at the mention of the word “million”. And the last important piece to securing that 7-digit check is the presentation.

There’s No “Hey It’s My Turn” In “Team”
Whether you’re pitching to your own boss, or to clients who aren’t quite sure that they want to spend X amount of dollars on you or your idea, it’s essential that you approach it as a team.
It’s critical that more then one person from your end of the table be involved in the meeting, as well as in the presentation. By playing to the strengths of your team members you not only involve them, but you can bring those who know how to answer the questions in to bat at the appropriate moments, thus improving your odds of a home run.
That said, you and your team mates are not the only team at the table. Whether you’re presenting to your own company or to someone else’s, you want to establish right up front that they’re part of the team as well. You need to give them something to own as they walk out of that meeting. They must walk out with a “we” attitude, otherwise your dream of that pretty Christmas bonus might as well be a dream of walking penguins in Manhattan.

Check Your Attitude at the Door!
Attitude is everything. This cannot be stressed enough. Attitude is everything. Oh, did I already say that? Attitude is everything. When you go into a meeting where serious players are talking serious money there are two types of attitudes that will kill you: “The Meek” and “The Owner”.

The Meek
This is someone who doesn’t really belong and who knows it. He has never in his life received a ten dollar tip, let alone asked for serious cash. If you wear this attitude the people at the other end of the table will feel superior, they will perceive you as asking for favors and they will think you weak. We want none of this. We want an attitude that says the expense is justified and that we as a team should undertake this project for the betterment of the world as we know it.

The Owner
The antithesis of The Meek is The Owner. This is often the person who’s idea the project was originally. If this is you, drop this attitude now. If you walk into a meeting owning an idea you will walk out owning that idea, and this is one of the worst things that can happen. If I could typify an attitude that would be ideal it would be The Contagious Pencil.
You need to convey to everyone involved that you realize you aren’t creating the next writing wonder, that you aren’t Coca-Cola and that you realize this, but that what you have is better. It may not revolutionize the world, but it will definitely be worthwhile.

D-Day
The final and often talked about part of your pitch is the presentation itself. There are 5 elements that must be covered in any successful presentation:
1.    a summary of the goals and vision for the project,
2.    identification of at least 3 methods and time frames for achieving that goal,
3.    prototypes (either that your team has completed, or that are taken from working examples) of important concepts,
4.    hard data proving to the group the validity of the idea and its possible market perception, and finally
5.    a recommendation as to a course of action and a next step.

The Pitch Summary
Because not everyone has been working lawyer hours trying to put this presentation together, they’re not likely to be intimately acquainted with the socio-economic changes your project will generate. In reality they may have forgotten or may not know anything about what you’re proposing, in spite of your masterful memos and emails.
So take the first five to ten minutes to accommodate the less fortunate in the group — those who haven’t already climbed aboard your gravy train. Lead them through the reason that the project came to be, who’s been involved, the goals and vision for the project, and summarize what has been accomplished so far.

The Three Plans
It’s essential that management have at least 3 options, and no more than 5. By presenting them with alternate timelines, goals and costs, you ensure that any idea they pick will remain theirs, if only in their minds. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a slow and cheap, a medium and preferred, as well as a fast and costly plan. Most management groups will play it safe and pick the medium method as it means that everything gets done, without over-the-top costs.
One of the best summaries to this section of the presentation is a First Year Costs & Returns document that outlines what will be spent on, and generated by each of the models. In this way management can see the effects of your SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) plan.

Prototypes
Everyone must walk out of your meeting with a true vision for what you are proposing. So you have 3 alternatives. You can mime your project, you can bring in a Star Wars 3-D Holograph Display, or your can show them prototypes. In spite of the fun it would be for me to receive pictures of thousands of Instant Mimes around the country, I recommend the prototype route. By exemplifying the true ingenuity and thoughtfulness your team has put into the project, as well as showing the money and time saving effects of what you will be doing, you should easily be able to grab the “wow” factor you need.

Cold Hard Data
Nothing is more worthwhile than taking the time to prove to any detractors that the project you’re proposing is worthwhile. To satisfy the number crunchers, you must have cold hard data that illustrates the increases in sales, market interest levels, return on investment, etc. of your proposal. This also gives the other side of the table something that they can take with them and analyze after your Broadway Spectacle is done.

The Recommendation
Though it’s ideal that everyone involved sees things your way — after all that is the goal of your presentation — sometimes they won’t realize the genius of your idea. So to keep everyone on the same page I suggest that you make a cautious recommendation as to the path to be chosen from those you’ve highlighted, as well as recommending a next step. This is also the time to firm up any financial commitment required, and to set down a date for a next meeting if it’s required.

You Are The Pencil
Though walking into the CEO’s office and asking for a million-plus dollars may seem like a walk in the park to some of you, for others it is at least twice as bad as asking the boss for next Monday off so you can go to Disney World for the long weekend. This article is not intended to cover every aspect of presenting or to serve as a checklist to a multi-million dollar request meeting. The main purpose is for all of us to realize that if someone can get millions for a pencil, surely your idea is worth no less.

By Jeremy Wright

20 Easy Ways to Make Money Online

20 Easy Ways to Make Money Online

Working from home can be a great way to either supplement your income or earn a full- time living. Most work from home jobs only require a computer with a high speed internet connection and a phone line. With a bit of research and precaution, it is possible to find legitimate work from home jobs that can provide you with flexibility as well as additional money on the side. Here are 20 of the top ways you can begin earning money from home.

1. Telemarketing
Do an online search for telemarketing positions from home. Most positions require that you have high speed internet and a dedicated phone line. Telemarketing can be an easy way to begin building your paycheck at home.

2. Order Fulfillment
Many businesses will pay you to process orders by email from home. There are many companies that will also hire you as a typist to process orders. You can charge a flat rate per order or even request to be paid per hour.

3. Blog for a business
Offer to create and manage a blog for a local business. You can charge a flat rate to create the blog and then charge an hourly management rate. Many business owners know that they need a social media presence but simply do not have the time for it.

4. Blog for yourself
Creating your own blog is super easy and fun to do! Blogging about your passions and hobbies can be a great way to build a main source of income. The most common ways to earn money through a blog include: selling products, paid membership access to premium content, and speaking at workshops.

5. Affiliate Networks
Once your blog is set up, join as many affiliate networks as you can. Affiliate marketing can help you make money by selling other people’s products on your blog, which can be an easy way to earn a passive income.

6. Write articles for other bloggers
If you have a good grasp on grammar and punctuation, offer your freelance writing service to other bloggers. This can be an easy way to earn extra money while you are building your own blog.

7. Sell your unused items online
Selling your unwanted items online can bring you an easy part-time income. You can even check out local yard sales for extra items to sell.

8. Etsy
If you have a knack for handmade or special homemade items, consider selling them online. There are many people who make a full-time living selling their hand-crafted items.

9. Create an ebook
Everyone is knowledgeable about something and people will pay for your knowledge. If you have helpful advice that can assist people in their own lives, write about it and create a website!

10. Email marketing
Create and sell a webinar to a list of email contacts. There are literally hundreds of techniques to build an email list. This can be an amazing way to earn a steady stream of recurring income.

11. Create an upgrade package
Offer your email list an upgrade package in addition to your ebook. You can offer a DVD, podcast, or a special report for a flat fee.

12. Tutoring
If you are proficient in math, science, or history, offer to tutor students online for an hourly fee.

13. Translation
If you can speak another language, offer translation services online. You can charge a fee per document or even per word. There are many companies who require large volumes of documents to be translated, so this can be an easy way to begin making money online.

14. Transcribing
If you have a knack for data entry and can type 50 words per minute or more, offer your transcribing services online. Many companies are inundated with the amount of transcribing work to be done and they would happily pay you to take that work off their hands.

15. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants work remotely to handle a business’ bookkeeping needs. You can charge a flat fee for taking care of accounts payable and receivable.

16. Personal shopper
Do you love shopping? If so, you can offer to take the chore of shopping off people’s hands for them. Invite your friends and family members to use your service and ask for referrals. You can earn money by charging per item or by the hour.

17. Online jury duty
Online jury duty is a new concept that allows you to review court cases from the comfort of your home. If you are chosen, you can make anywhere from $20-$50 for your time.

18. Forex day trading
Trading currencies on the Forex market is an exciting way to earn extra money. Once you gain knowledge of the market, day trading can become a lucrative full-time job.

19. Take surveys
Online surveys are super easy to complete and can be a quick way to make a few bucks. While you won’t get rich taking surveys, an extra $20 here and there can definitely add up.

20. Photography
If you are skilled with a digital camera, you may want to consider selling your pictures to a stock photo company. You probably won’t make enough to earn a living, but selling your photos online is a great way to monetize your skills.

If you are determined to earn money online and desire the flexible lifestyle that can come with working from home, the best way to succeed is to treat your online business as you would any other business. Creating a home office and setting business hours will set you on a path for success.

6 Steps to Take Before Starting a Business

6 Steps to Take Before Starting a Business

Discovering a great idea for a business can be exhilarating.  Unfortunately, many people struggle to turn their idea into a successful business.  It is easy to make silly mistakes that cost both time and money.  With a little forethought, those mistakes can be avoided and you can begin running your successful business sooner.  Here are 6 essential steps you must perform to turn your dream into a profitable business venture.

Define what do you hope to achieve with the business
It helps to set your expectations for the business early on.  As you plan the business, you can test its potential success against those expectations.  If you want the business to provide enough money so you can quit your current job, make sure that it has the financial viability to do so at the planing stage.  Some people might want a business that only involves three hours of work per day.  As you write the business plan and assess the business’ viability, make sure that your goals remain viable.

Will your product or business be viable in the market?
You must ascertain if your offering will be viable in the market before you open your doors.   The first step here is to define your product.  What exactly will you offer in the market?  How will your offering benefit potential customers?

The next step is to understand your potential market.  Will you be selling over the Internet to a specific demographic, or will you have a storefront where anyone can wander in?  The more you know about your target demographic, the better you can understand your offering’s viability in that market.  To gain a better understanding of the market, talk to people who may be interested in your product.  Test the idea on family and friends to see how they react as potential consumers.

At this stage, it helps to have a rudimentary price structure for your offering.  When doing any testing of consumers within the market, make sure you include the price.

You should also consider who the main competitors are in the market.  Are they providing a stronger offering than you already?  You must be able to directly compete against them or create a niche in the market that has not been filled.  Ensure that competitors in the market are actually successful.  There is no point entering a market if there are four or five main competitors that are already struggling with sales due to low demand.

Create a business plan
Now it’s time to create a solid business plan that brings together your business idea, market analysis, competitor analysis, marketing strategy and financial analysis.  This is when you collect hard data to test the viability of your business.  A business plan helps you focus your intentions into action.  Additionally, a business plan is essential if you are seeking finance or a business partner.  It is also critical for keeping the business on track.

Determine if you have the willpower and money to finance the business
If your business plan shows the offering is viable within the market, it’s time to test yourself.  Assess how much time, money and work it will take to bring your product or service to the market.  There will be start-up costs, significant amounts of time, stress and lots of work involved.  Are you driven to make the business work or is it just something you want to try when you have spare time?

The idea might be great, but you might not have the resources to commit right now.  If you don’t commit yourself to the project, it will inevitably end in failure.

Consider how long it will take to make the first sale.  Do you have the money to spend many weeks or months establishing a business, then waiting for it to become cash flow positive?

Train yourself to sell this product or service
Once you have committed to making the business work, it’s time to become a master seller of the product or service.  Become better at sales and train yourself to sell this particular offering in this particular market.  You need to be able to clearly express why your business is better than other competitors and compel customers into taking action.  Sales do not come naturally to some people.  However, if you have committed yourself to the business, you will do what it takes.

Sort the financial aspects of the business
If you require money to get the business started, now is the time to find finance.  There are many sources of finance for a new business including banks, family, friends, product pre-sales, crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, home equity loans and venture capitalists.  You could also raise the money yourself by simply selling assets.  Unfortunately this is where some businesses fail — they simply can’t get the finance together.  By having a very well thought out market offering and business plan you maximize your chances of obtaining funding.

Secure the assistance of experts and meet legal requirements
Make sure your business has all of the necessary legal and financial requirements.  Set up a corporation, sort out insurance, patent any inventions and trademark your business name.  Make sure your business does not infringe upon the trademarks or patents of other businesses.

Don’t assume you can make your business safe by yourself.  Obtain expert advice from lawyers and accountants to make your business secure.

Start selling!
Now is the time to see if your business can make it in the market.  Your business has the highest chances of success if you are committed and willing to put in a lot of hard work.

Keep your eye open for changing market conditions and don’t be afraid to adapt your business to suit them.  Some businesses start out selling one product or service, then completely shift direction when they see another opportunity.  Stay alert to any opportunities and your business will thrive in the coming years.