This post brought to you by Absolute DomesticsID-100213919

Sometimes, life gets hectic. Other times, it spins into pure chaos. There are many ways to organise your life so you’re prepared for these times. While spreadsheets and nifty-looking stationery are great for getting organised, the most effective approach is to begin at the core: by organising your mind and your home.

Here are five simple tips for letting you pass through the chaos unruffled:

1. Organise with Long-Term Goals in Sight

To-do lists are tried and tested ways to stay organised, but a more holistic approach is the “core beliefs” list. Begin every week with a set of goals that link in and work towards your long-term values and goals. For instance, if these long-term goals include raising a great family, maintaining personal health, and making a positive contribution at work, you would sort your to-do list under these headings. It can even be a loose association, so long as it resonates with you. Something like “Plan Miss 5’s birthday party” might go under the “Family” subheading, while “Try a Pilates class” would fall under “Health”.

2. Clean and Neat Home

It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something we often forget: an organised life begins with a tidy house. And that means a house that’s consistently tidy, not just tidy in the few hours after your fortnightly cleaning blitz.

When the dust and clutter build up around you, your ability to think clearly and plan ahead gets clouded. A messy house can be so distracting you may even lose sight of your core values. Commit to a regular cleaning routine as the basis for all other organising activities. If your core values pull you towards dedicating your time to something else, consider hiring someone in to do the work. Companies like Absolute Domestics could send a cleaner to your house every month or every week – however often you need to win your time and head-space back.

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3. Plan Ahead

Set aside time at the end of each day to plan the next. Check in with your diary and weekly goals list. Has one task consumed all your time? You might need to reshuffle and carry over activities. Locate, fix, and lay everything out in its place: lunch for work in the fridge, clothes hanging at the front of your wardrobe, and papers together by the door. This will let you wake up feeling on track.

4. Entries and Exits

You know the feeling: You’re all set to head off for the day when, suddenly, you can’t find your keys, your phone, or your sunglasses. Clear a space by the front door. Place a large storage box, such as a hamper, underneath and a smaller storage container, such as a bowl or shallow basket, on top. Develop a habit of storing your must-have items in these containers, perhaps even including a checklist on the wall of things that should always remain in this area when not being used.

5. File Away

For most of us, the average day comes with a bombardment of literature: flyers, bills, receipts, forms, work papers… the list goes on. Most of it will end up floating aimlessly around the house until you need it, at which point it disappears entirely, destined to reappear only after you’ve torn the place to pieces. Right?

So, a good filing system is essential. We’re well and truly in the electronic age, so why not embrace it in your filing? Throughout the day, collect all your papers in a folder or box. Put aside 10 minutes in the evening to sort the papers. Anything you’d deem mildly important, such as receipts, business correspondence, and user’s guides, can be scanned and entered into your computer, allowing you to throw away the hard copies and save space for the documents you absolutely must physically keep.

Do you have any organisation tips of your own you could add to this list? Don’t be selfish – share them in the comments below and help other readers get their lives organised!

Order/Chaos image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Desk image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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brandingI recently rebranded my business. I still get a thrill out of telling people my new business name and all about what we do; I suspect this feeling will linger for a long time, as I’m confident in the choices I’ve made.

So how did I know it was time to change? Well, to be honest my original name wasn’t a well thought out business name. I was “Interior Decorating by Sophie”, a name selected in a flurry of excitement when I was encouraged to jump in and start my own consultancy to source and supply interior finishes and furnishings for a relatives’ renovation. After finding an available name, I registered an ABN, wrote a one page plan and I was in business.

After having the name for a few years, I learned a few things through networking groups, mentoring sessions, workshops and short courses. The name I had selected had poor SEO (search engine optimisation), my name was in it (which is a mouthful when you make a phone call, let me tell you!), people could never remember the exact name and it wasn’t going to take me to where I want to be in the future; it was simply, well, OK.

I now have a clear vision on exactly what work I want to be doing and the determination to be successful at it. I have a set of goals and know who the clients are that I want to attract, what vocabulary people use to find my service (opposed to technical jargon). I know that my business is growing from ”I” to “we” and I have an exit strategy for the distant future. I now see the value in using other services (I really had to get my head around this, I mean I’m a designer, surely I can design my own business cards using an online program… and I’m smart, I can create my own website using a free template, and I did well in English at school, I can write copy…). What I’ve realised is that I am the key and outsourcing to people that are great at what they do, supplying them with an awesome brief is far more valuable than me “figuring it out” and fumbling by myself.

brandingNow you will find me in the role I’m best at, that I most enjoy and am passionate about. So please let me introduce myself, I’m Sophie Kost, Director and Lead Designer at “My Beautiful Abode”, an interior design and styling consultancy focused on helping people to make their homes beautiful, inviting spaces.

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cafe

Has it ever been your dream to open up a quirky garden café that serves up great coffee and wholesome, fresh food in a relaxing atmosphere?

How about an underground bar pouring the best cocktails in the city accompanied by share plates that will make your mouth water?

Opening up a café or bar is something a lot of people consider. Many even take the plunge into the hospitality industry in the hope of realising their true passion and creating a job that doesn’t feel like work. We all know the hospitality industry is not always fine dining, good food and happy customers, so here are the pros and cons of opening your own café or bar:

Pros

  • A culture for dining out is growing as people choose to go out for dinner, try new experiences, and eat delicious food on a regular basis rather than sparingly or for special occasions.
  • Professional shopfitters, such as TU Projects, can make your space completely unique so that you stand out amongst the crowd of average cafés and bars. Shopfitters will also ensure the space works for you and the customers, so everyone can have an enjoyable, relaxing time as soon as they walk in the door.
  • The days are not getting shorter but people are getting busier and busier. This opens up a new opportunity for cafés and restaurants, especially to cater for time-poor families who want good food quickly and for a fair price.
  • There’s the satisfaction that comes with realising you have achieved your dream, created something special for people to enjoy, and secured a host of regular customers who support your business.
  • When things go right, you can achieve, long-term financial security for yourself and the business.

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Cons

  • The café and bar industry is saturated with choice, so it can be hard, especially for a new, small business, to stand out in an overcrowded market.
  • The start-up cost involved in opening up a café or bar is high because equipment, produce, and licensing are all large and ongoing expenses.
  • The success of your business and its incoming revenue is highly dependent on your customers. It is a gamble that sees you relying on the opinion of the general public whose views can be very subjective.
  • If you have ventured into the hospitality industry as a new business owner rather than a franchisee, there is no overarching company that will prop you up when you are down. While being an independent business may have its advantages, there is an increased degree of security when franchising an already established brand that you will not have the luxury of relying on.

While this isn’t a list to deter you from opening your own café or bar, it is important to consider both the pros and cons of every project before investing in it financially and emotionally. Balancing the pros and cons will allow you to see every factor of the project without tunnel vision, which is essential when starting a business.

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This post brought to you by Clime Asset ManagementID-10029336

When you work for yourself you miss out on some of the benefits of being an employee, like holiday pay, paid sick days and importantly superannuation.  You are not bound by law to make superannuation payments if you are self employed, but it is really important to think about building your super so that you have money to live off in your retirement.

Here are some super tips for mums in business to get you on your way:

Choosing a Super Fund

If you have ever worked for someone else you will have a super fund that was set up when you were employed.  You may in fact have several.  You can consolidate all of your superannuation funds and roll them into one account.  You can also find lost super by going to the ATO’s lost member register.

So how do you decide on the right fund for you? Ask for recommendations from friends, do some research on what funds have won reputable awards and even look into funds available to your specific industry.  Also consider the fees you have to pay each year.  If all this is too much then consult a professional superannuation or asset specialist.

Make Your Money Work

It’s hard to get excited about putting your money somewhere you can’t access it until you retire.  But in order to reap the rewards of investment and compound interest, you need to make it a priority.  Leave it too late and you will not have nearly enough to live off in your twilight years. Working for yourself doesn’t mean you can’t pay yourself super.  Set aside a nominated amount each month and get it direct debited.  You won’t even miss it!

Tax Benefits

If you are self employed and make your own super contributions before June 30 each year, you can claim them as a tax deduction in that financial year. Contribute up to $25,000/year (if under 50) and only be taxed 15% instead of the full tax rate. That’s a great incentive to pay yourself super!

Government Contributions

Many self employed people are not aware that they can benefit from the government’s co-contribution scheme by contributing to their own super. If you earn less than $49,488 per year (before tax) and make after-tax super contributions, you are eligible for matching government contributions.   If you earn less than $34,488 (before tax), the government will actually pay 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to a maximum of $500.  Who doesn’t like a great return on their investment that is guaranteed?

There are eligibility requirements so check these before you start and in order to receive the co-contribution you will need to lodge a tax return for the year.

Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF)

Managing your own super fund is an option for those who have a large super balance to make it worthwhile.  There are many things to consider before deciding on this option as it is not as simple as you may think.  The rewards can be enormous (you have the freedom to invest your money in your chosen asset such as property or art) but you must first factor into the equation things like your time to manage the fund, your financial nous so that correct investment decisions are made, ongoing costs such as legal/accounting/tax advice and all the separate insurances you will need that are often wrapped up with super e.g. income protection.  If you are keen on this option then you can also consult an adviser such as Clime Asset Management who can assist with the decision making and administration.

Gaining an understanding of how you can contribute to your super whilst being self employed is a good investment in your future.  Ignoring your super fund will leave you with a big gap to fill come retirement, but making some smart decisions now could mean retiring many years earlier.

Make every dollar count and get your money working for you. The earlier you start, the more “super” the outcome!

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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This post brought to you by Learn to TradeID-100213690

If you’re conscious of the benefit that making some extra money would bring this year, the good news is that there are ways to make some extra cash without having to work around the clock. Every little bit of additional money helps and, sometimes, you need to think a little bit creatively about ways of generating some extra funds.

How can you make more income this year?

1. Trading

If you have an interest in shares and currency trading, now could be the perfect time for you to upskill yourself with a quality education course through a qualified provider such as Learn to Trade. When you have the appropriate education, you are best placed to trade strategically, insightfully and sensibly, which will increase your chances of playing the market successfully.

Another appealing aspect of learning to trade is that you can trade from anywhere and at times that fit in with your existing schedule and commitments. You definitely need to be organised and thorough to trade well, but when you are skilled and have a sound understanding of what you are doing, the rewards can be lucrative.

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2. Website Testing

Sometimes, website owners seek feedback and comments about their websites. This type of market testing can be paid and the tests you are asked to do often involve a nominal amount of time. While the money generated by website testing is appreciated, it is also worth noting that the payment received may be minimal and the opportunity to do this type of work irregular.

3. Sell Unwanted Items

Most of us have them laying around the place, but neglect to realise just how much money could be made through the sale of our unwanted items. If you become especially proficient at selling items online, your family and friends may enlist your help to sell their unwanted items, and this represents an opportunity to make some additional cash by splitting the profits.

4. Car Flipping

This type of activity is not for everyone, but if you love cars and are comfortable with the haggling process, a car flipping business may be an appropriate way for you to make extra income. To do this well, you will need to search for an appropriate deal, buy a car at a great price, repair and refurbish the vehicle as necessary, and then sell the car for more than you paid. Ultimately, you need to understand the kinds of cars that are not only sought by buyers, but the cars for which buyers will pay a good price. Also be sure to look more into your state or country’s stance on this practice before getting started to ensure you don’t break any laws!

5. Freelance Writing

If you are a skilled and confident writer, and can work to deadlines, work as a freelance writer may be a good way to generate some extra income. Today, content is absolutely essential on the web and there are many organisations that need the services of freelance writers to produce quality content to increase their visibility and draw people to their products and services.

This year, there are many different ways to generate some handy extra income. You may be tempted to try work in an area that you are not so familiar with, but capitalising on your existing skills and experiences is usually the best way to secure work that brings in some additional cash.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image of pig investing courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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