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Energy Saving Tips | How to Reduce Bills

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | Energy Saving Tips | How to Reduce Bills

A recent study shows that energy usage in the United States is doubling every 20 years. If you are like most homeowners, reducing the amount of energy your home consumes is something you are passionate about. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to conserve energy and save money.

However, implementing the changes needed to reduce home energy use can be difficult. In this article, we will discuss some methods you can use to conserve energy and save money.

Make Sure You Are Getting the Best Energy Rates

One of the main things you need to focus on when trying to reduce monthly energy costs is getting the best rate. In states like Texas, the energy sector has been deregulated. This means that the energy providers in this state are competing with each other for business. This level of competition can help you get cheaper electricity rates.

By taking the time to compare the various rates being offered by providers in your area, you can get a much better deal. Ignoring the need for this type of research may result in you paying too much for your home energy needs.

Check Your HVAC Air Ducts

Finding sources of home energy waste will usually require you to perform an audit. Inspecting the various parts of your home can help you see where problems exist. During this audit, you need to pay close attention to the condition of your HVAC air ducts. If these ducts are filled with dust and dirt, it will be hard for air to pass through them.

The longer this problem is left in place, the harder your HVAC unit will have to work. Not only will this result in higher than normal energy bills, it can also lead to the unit being damaged. Hiring professionals to clean your ducts is a great way to keep your HVAC system efficient and reliable.

Control the Amount of Natural Light Entering Your Home

During the summer months, temperatures inside of your home can get pretty hot. As a homeowner, it is your job to find ways to reduce the amount of heat that enters your residence. If you leave your blinds open or have curtains made from sheer material on your windows, a lot of natural light can enter your residence.

The more natural light you have entering your home, the higher the temperature will get. Rather than putting your HVAC unit in a bind, you need to work on controlling the amount of light entering your home. The best way to do this is by investing in blackout curtains. The money paid for these new curtains will be worth it considering the energy they can help you conserve. Just be sure to find blinds suited to your windows, such as blinds for large windows for instance.

Invest in Solar Energy Solutions

If you are trying to make your home more environmentally friendly, investing in solar energy solutions is a great option. With the addition of things like solar panels and solar-powered water heaters, you can save money and reduce your dependence on fossil fuel-based energy. Most homeowners fail to realize just how much energy their electric water heater wastes. With the addition of a solar-powered water heater, you can get the consistent supply of hot water you need without relying on fossil fuels.

Solar panels are also a great addition to your home. Allowing professionals to install these panels will allow you to avoid mistakes.

It’s Time to Take Action

Using any of the suggestions in this article can help you save a lot of money and energy. With the help of professionals, making these energy-efficient changes will be easy.

How to Run a Business from Home

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Run a Business from Home|How to Run a Business from HomeThe idea of starting a business is something that appeals to a lot of people, but there are some restrictions that might stop them from going forward with their dream. One of these is that they feel the need to have an office or business premises away from home. Although this will be true of cafes, restaurants, retail stores and the like, there are many other businesses which you can start and run successfully from home.

If this ideal appeals to you and you want to use your home to run a business from, there are things you will need to consider and put in place to be productive and successful. Read on to find out what some of them are.

Have a Dedicated Office Space

It may not be possible if you live in a small apartment, or if you share your home with lots of other people, but if you can find a space to use solely as an office you will find that working from home is much easier.

This could be a guest bedroom, for example, or a playroom that the kids no longer use. You could extend up into the attic or use the basement. You might even have a custom-made building put up in your backyard.

Although this might been like a lot of trouble and expense to go to if you could simply work at the kitchen table or in your bedroom on a makeshift desk, it will help you be more productive, and ultimately more successful, if you have somewhere you can call your own. You won’t have to keep moving your work so that other people can use the space and you can effectively shut everything away at the end of the day, offering a better work life balance.

Have a Special Phone Line

People will want to be able to get in touch with you and that means an email address and a phone number. An email address is simple to set up and can be done in minutes for free. The phone number, however, is slightly different. You could give your cell number, and although this is perfectly fine, it can be seen as a little unprofessional. You could give your home number, but what if someone else needs to use the phone, or what if someone else answers it and has no idea what the person calling needs or wants? This will also look unprofessional.

The ideal solution is to have a virtual phone line set up. This will give a landline number for customers to call and it can be diverted to your cell so that you know to answer in a professional manner. There are different plans at virtualhostedpbx.net to look at and you should be able to find something that suits you and your business in terms of budget and ease of use.

Be Organized

Organization is key in any business, but perhaps even more so when you work from home. It can get very confusing when you have your work and personal life mixing so closely, so you need to be extremely organized, allowing time for work and time for home life. Have a schedule in place and try to stick to it as much as you can. This will help you stay happy and keep you productive, too.

Ready To Work In Your Own Office?

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Starting Your Own Business|Ready To Work In Your Own Office?If you feel you’re ready for an office of your own, to take your home business or new business idea into, put a brake on the process for a moment. You need to stop and think a little more about what you’re getting into, and whether or not it makes sense for you and your career goals at this point in time.

So, why not take the questions listed below and apply them to your situation? It’s much better to be cautious when spending capital like this, rather than accept the risk and let things fall through much faster than you ever thought possible.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

The amount of time you’ve been in business is key to knowing whether you’re ready for your own office or not. If you’ve got a business that’s at least a year old, and better yet, you’ve been operating for at least 5 years, you’ll have an advantage over someone just starting out and trying to build their brand. You’ll already have done all of the necessary foundation work, and now you’re simply expanding to something bigger and better.

How Many Offices Are Around You?

The amount of offices in the same area as you is a good indicator of the kind of competition you’ll come up against. It’s one of the main reasons why businesses fail in the first year; if you’ve got an overwhelming amount of competition to try and beat out of the water, you won’t have the time or resources to focus on your customers. You’ll be constantly trying to innovate, and do better than the company just down the road, and who knows if you’ll be able to pull that off?

At the same time, you need to be sure there’s enough office space for you to move into as well. You need to look into private office rentals in your area, if you don’t have the capital to outright buy an office of your own (as many small businesses don’t).

Why Would You Need an Office?

And of course, ask yourself why you’d be in need of an office for the future. How many bullet points can you jot down on paper to answer this question? You’ll need at least 3 to ensure you’ve got a viable strategy to work off of in order to pay for your expansion; you may need an office to house more employees, which means you have more customers to service, which means you’re making more profit overall.

And do these kind of profits outweigh the costs of moving into a commercial space? If not, your expansion plans may need a bit of refining before you go any further.

Your own office is something you often dream of, of course. But you need to be sure you’re ready to take it on; you need to ensure that you’ve got the funds and the need behind you for such a space. Don’t rush your expansion process.

A Guide To Starting A Home Mechanic Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | A Guide To Starting A Home Mechanic BusinessAnyone that knows their way around under the hood of a car and is looking for a rewarding way to earn money from home should consider starting their own mechanic business. You can be a self-employed mechanic and earn a good living working from the comfort of your own home and get to work on cars every day. People always need the services of a reliable mechanic so the work can be stable and being able to work from home gives you good work-life balance, and the ability to put yourself in control of your earnings. Read on for advice on becoming a self-employed mechanic.

Treat It Like A Business

Although you can operate out of your own garage, it is still important to treat this like a proper business and to go through all the proper channels. This will involve:

  • Carrying out market research
  • Writing a business plan
  • Securing funding
  • Registering as self-employed

Set Up Your Garage

Of course, in order to be a success, you will need to have a suitable work environment for working on cars. A few tips include:

  • Clearing out clutter
  • Investing in high-quality tools and equipment
  • Having a desk area for paperwork
  • Having a computer with internet access
  • Adequate lighting and ventilation
  • Having a first-aid kit

Insurance

You need to have the right protection in place before you commence business as otherwise, you could be putting your finances and home in jeopardy. Motor trade insurance is one of the most important types to arrange as this will provide cover for any car that you are looking after for professional purposes – you can get motor trade insurance from Tradex which will provide the cover that you need.

Running The Business

You will also need to consider the business side of the operation, such as accounting, invoicing, web presence, and marketing. These are all key areas which will need as much attention as the car repair work. You can either teach yourself how to handle these areas (which can be interesting and rewarding), or you could hire somebody to help you.

Building A Reputation

Developing a positive reputation is vital to success in this industry. This can be challenging when you first start out, but you can get early business by offering reduced rates to friends and family. You can then build a positive reputation by:

  • Encouraging word-of-mouth marketing
  • Using customer reviews on your website and social media
  • Partnering with relevant local businesses (like a car dealership)
  • Advertising online and offline

The information in this guide should give you the confidence and knowledge required to set up your own garage at home. There is the potential for great success as a self-employed mechanic once you start to develop a positive reputation, plus you have the benefit of being able to work from home which gives you a great work-life balance and allows you to handle any other large responsibilities that you have. Much like any business, it will require hard work and commitment, but it can also be highly rewarding.

 

How to Run a Successful Business from Home

When most people imagine the inner workings of a successful business, they usually picture tall office buildings, huge open spaces filled with desks and water coolers, and hundreds of employees buzzing around like bees. Of course, thanks to digital technology there is nothing in the way of creating a business from scratch in your very own home. The difference between running it successfully and letting it become just another failed homemade startup is the level of care and dedication put into it. Here are some helpful tips for you to grow your business from your own home.

One: Outsource Some of Your Workload

When starting your own business, it can feel almost as if it’s your child and you are the only person responsible for it. The sense of ownership can be a blessing and a curse, both encouraging you to do your best while keeping you from letting other people assist. If you work from home because you prefer solitary activities, you will still need the help of others if you want your business to shine. Outsourcing is a great way of getting professional assistance for tasks you either don’t want to do or don’t have the particular skills for. If you need to get yourself seen, enlist those in the know – for more information, take a look at PR marketer. These are the kinds of companies that can make the difference between a functional home business and a successful one. There’s no need to pile all the work on yourself. Delegate cleverly and use your newfound time to focus on more important tasks.

Two: Concentrate

Sometimes the reason people choose to run their business from home is due to financial reasons such as the cost of an office space. Some people even work best when they’re alone with their thoughts. However, your home is full of distractions that can cause you to take your eye off the ball and miss some crucial business opportunities. To avoid falling into this common trap, dedicate a space in your home specifically for your work. Limit the distractions that can enter this space such as food, pets, television, and even loved ones. If you give yourself a set time and place for work, your family will respect that you are busy and leave you to it. Not only will your business improve, you’ll also become more self-disciplined.

Three: Don’t Isolate Yourself

It can be tempting to hole yourself away and work without lifting your head, especially when you feel like you’re onto a great idea or a major breakthrough. Even the most introverted businesspeople can benefit from interacting with others, so take the time to pause from your indoor life and network. It’s important to meet people with similar interests who can potentially help or offer advice in the future. The upside of an office environment that you miss out on when working at home is that you learn from the mistakes of others. Venture out occasionally to do some reconnaissance – your business will thank you for it.