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Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

Who wants to work from home?

Ever since we started offering our MYOB training courses online, thousands of students have enrolled and learned how to become MYOB bookkeepers. Many of those students are mums, who were looking to become skilled in a job they could do from home.

In 2012, we added the Small Business Management and Start-up course to our online training platform, to help students to learn a new set of skills that would help them start their own businesses as independent contractors, so they can earn more money, work their own hours, work closer to home, and spend more time with the kids.

Continue reading Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

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So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are strong-minded individuals – but we’ve found there are at least 5 other qualities they tend to possess that leads to their business success.

In running our Small Business Management Course and MYOB Training Courses, one of most common reasons we find that people want to start their own businesses is to be their own boss and work remotely from home.

This is a perfectly understandable sentiment — but it’s not necessarily conducive to making a small business work.

Entrepreneurs are known to be people who manage starting up and/or bringing to fruition their own businesses and ventures, but entrepreneurs are a certain breed and as many find out the hard way, self-employment is not for everyone. Continue reading So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

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How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

invoicing small business
Don’t do all the hard work and not get paid for it: consult our checklist for what you can do to get paid – and faster.

If you’re working as a contractor and using an Australian business number (ABN), rather than a tax file number (TFN), you’re self-employed, and this means you will need to invoice your customers for the products or services you provide in order to get paid.

If you’ve only ever worked as an employee before, you’re probably used to being able to set your clock to payday, but unfortunately this isn’t often the case when you’re a contractor.

Getting paid late — or worse, not at all! — can seriously affect your cash-flow, and in turn, affect the success of your business, which is why we cover things like financial planning in our Small Business Management and Start Up Course.

Continue reading How Bad Do You Want It? (Money, That Is!)

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The EzyLearn MYOB Course Community

At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.

Here’s why:

  • We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
  • Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
  • As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
  • Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.

Our Online Community

Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.

That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.

Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).

Qualified Moderators

Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.

Annual Membership

Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.

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Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

Get paid for promoting our proven course to your friends by becoming an affiliate partner.
Get paid for promoting our courses

Earn Income by Simply Recommending Our Courses

We are looking for anyone who has completed our MYOB training course to become an affiliate marketer and earn money by recommending our training courses to people you know.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? Continue reading Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

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When Should You Work for Free?

It's ok to do work for free, but your clients should be made aware of the extra value you're adding.
It’s ok to do work for free, but your clients should be made aware of the extra value you’re adding.

In our Small Business Management Course there is a module on determining and setting your prices, which includes factoring in things like travel expenses if you’re going to be visiting clients and so forth.

But what about things like, installation costs – should you bill your clients for this or work it into the price or just let it slide?

Some businesses work those sorts of prices into their final cost; others – think Foxtel, for example – charge installation fees; but a surprising number of businesses let it slide. Continue reading When Should You Work for Free?

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Small Business Finances: Should You Start Your Business in the Red?

Don't fall into a credit trap by running into debt to finance your small business before you even have your first customer.
Don’t fall into a credit trap by running into debt to finance your small business before you even have your first customer.

The ‘Plan small business finances module‘ of our Small Business Management Course takes students through the steps to creating a financial plan for their small business. Many small businesses get loans and credit from banks and other finance institutions, but how wise is it to get into debt before the doors to your business are even open?

Is Credit the Best Way?

About 20 years ago, the only way businesses could make payments easily was to apply for a credit card from a bank. The bank would then give you an amount of credit, $5000 say, and the more you used it, the more credit you would be offered.

This is great if you have the means to pay it back immediately – and if you do actually pay it back immediately. However, if you’re like most people, having access to large sums of money that can be paid back at a later date – in 30 days, 55 days, 3 months – can lead down a dangerous path for your small business.

Start-Up Finance

We spoke to one entrepreneur who had an idea to start a gourmet packaged meals business aimed at a demographic of busy professionals. He had planned to go the conventional route and borrow $200K to finance his start-up; even though at this point, he didn’t have a single customer.

But there were plenty of other options available to get his business off the ground, rather than getting into debt before he even had his first customer. We suggested using another company’s equipment, contracting the manufacture of the products to another company, or re-branding an already existing product.

The term used in the start-up community for using your own money is called bootstrapping. But it’s one way to guarantee that you will do all the research and determine the most cost efficient way to run your business before outlaying substantial sums of money on equipment or other overheads.

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With new technologies like cloud-based software and high-speed internet, many small business owners have been able to significantly reduce their overheads, which has enabled them to avoid starting their business in the red.

Business is about taking calculated risks for a reasonably predictable reward and it really all comes down to research and knowledge. Live with an asset mentality and don’t get caught in the credit trap. You’ll find out all the best financing options for your small business in our Small Business Management Course.

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Small Business is about Doing

It's time to roll your sleeves up: our Small Business Management Course gets you working on a real life business idea.
It’s time to roll your sleeves up: our Small Business Management Course gets you working on a real life business idea.

As Australia’s leading provider of online training courses, we deliver all kinds of different training courses – and we’ve recently branched into providing online induction training courses to business. But where EzyLearn’s flagship course, the MYOB training course, teaches practical skills in using one of the most popular accounting software packages, it is a completely different kind of course to our Small Business Management Course – and for good reason.

Thinking as if You Own A Business

Our Small Business Management Course is designed to make you think like a business owner. Where our other software-based courses are designed to systematically guide you through a particular software package, our Small Business Management Course needs to be different.

As a business owner, you’ll be thrown curve balls from many directions – especially when you first start out – and the key to surviving them is being able to think objectively and without bias.

You’ll need to be able to problem-solve and sometimes develop new approaches to existing business practices or activities. Running your own business means having a plan, but not always operating to it.

To complete the course, you need to be able to demonstrate that you possess the required skills to successful operate your own business – by researching, thinking and writing.

A Real Business Idea with Tutor Feedback

The Small Business Management Course is deliberately structured so that as you work your way through the course content, you’re applying the exercises and skills you’re learning to a real-life business idea. Then, once you’ve complete the course, you’ll go live with this business idea.

The course gives students an unusual and unique advantage over other soon-to-be business owners because our students get feedback from a tutor that they can then apply to their business strategies.

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This is what makes our Small Business Management Course so popular – because you’re learning with your real business idea, where other business courses merely have student complete exercises or answer questions in relation to hypothetical business scenarios.

If you would like to learn more about our small business management course, visit our website or enrol here.

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Why The Business Name You Choose Is So Important: Interview

Choosing a business name that is Google-friendly is important.
Choosing a business name that is Google-friendly is important.

Our Small Business Management Course teaches students everything they will need to successfully start and operate their own small business, which includes how to write a business plan. Throughout the duration of the course and particularly, when it comes to writing your business plan, you’ll need to think about what you’ll name your business. So what does make a good business name?

What’s In a Name?

For this post, we spoke to a business owner whose business has a rather distinctive name: CIA OPS’s Principal, Robert Crane. CIA — or Computer Information Agency — OPS is a Sydney-based technology consultancy firm, which focuses on assisting businesses and individuals improve their productivity using technology and smart business practices.

The name CIA OPS perfectly encapsulates everything Robert’s business does — provide his clients with information about computer-related technology, such as how to streamline a business’s processes for use with cloud-based software or training in Microsoft Office 365 — but at the same time, it’s also a conversation piece.

“Everyone’s heard of the CIA, as in the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency,” Robert says. “So when they hear CIA OPS, they immediately ask me more about my business and what we do.”

Interesting – and Easy to Remember

But because the name CIA OPS has already aroused people’s curiosity, they’re more engaged and interested in what Robert has to say. The fact CIA OPS is also easy to remember is another added bonus.

“Even if they forget the ‘OPS’ part,” Robert says, “They always remember the ‘CIA’ part and the fact we work with computers, which makes it really easy for them to find me Google.”

Is it Google-Friendly?

Which brings us to another important consideration you need to make when it comes to thinking of a business name. Thinking of something quirky and interesting which also represents what your business does is one thing, but ensuring it’s Google-friendly is another altogether.

Google has, in many ways, fundamentally changed the way we do business — and as a result, it has changed the way people select their business name, too.

If your business name is too obscure that it becomes too hard to remember, then it won’t work; if it’s too common that it returns hundreds upon hundreds of Google results, it won’t work, either; if it’s too long, too short, too boring — won’t work, won’t work, won’t work.

“You really need to think about what you’ll call your business, because that is one thing that’s hard to go back and change later,” Robert says. Make sure you check to see if the business name you’re thinking of using is being used already, or is too similar to someone else’s — which could land you in hot water, as you will lean in the intellectual property and general law module of our Small Business Management Course.

Robert’s advice: “Avoid names that include the words ‘solutions’ or ‘networking’ — they’re boring, too common, and pretty obvious — you know, all businesses hope to provide some sort of solution, for instance.

“Be original, give your business name some real thought, and test it out on your friends and family first,” Robert advises.

Being that your business name is so important, we recommend that our small business management students start thinking about potential names as soon as they start the course, so than when it comes time to finishing their business plan, they’ll have something in mind.

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If you would like more information about our Small Business Management Course, click here. For information about the other courses we offer at EzyLearn, click here.

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The REAL Benefits of Cloud-Based, ‘Real-Time’ Accounting Programs – A CASE STUDY

Having access to real-time info about their business helped Cheryl and Jim climb from just breaking even to owning two stores.
Having access to real-time info about their business helped Cheryl and Jim climb from just breaking even to owning two stores.

So you’re thinking of starting your own business in bookkeeping — or perhaps a small business in another industry? Cloud accounting programs like MYOB Account Right Live, Reach and Xero can make it much easier for you to start a bookkeeping business from home; these accounting programs can also help existing business owners operate and grow their businesses. And the great news is that EzyLearn now offers courses in all three.

MYOB Account Right Live

Today we’re blogging about MYOB Account Right Live. We recommend this in all of our MYOB training courses — not because it’s the latest version of the hugely popular MYOB software — but because it gives business owners the kind of data they need to run their business efficiently and securely. This was no more evident than in the case of Cheryl and Jim; business owners who discovered that they were literally throwing money away by using an outdated version of MYOB. With the recent addition of our new real-time accounting programs to our suite of products, we figured it’s an apt time to revisit this popular case study.

The Blessings of ‘Real-Time’

Perhaps the biggest bonus with cloud accounting software is that you have access to information about your profits and expenses in real-time. This is enormously useful for small businesses to constantly track how they’re going and make any necessary changes.

We decided to take a look at how one business owner grew a moderately successful business into a totally thriving one by using cloud accounting software to track their expenses.

From a Break-Even Bakery — To Owning Two Successful Stores

Cheryl and her husband, Jim, operated a small neighbourhood bakery in a busy block of local shops. Jim was the baker and pastry chef in residence, while Cheryl, who had previously worked as an account executive at an advertising firm, managed the office side of the business.

“I was used to budgets and targets, so it made sense that I would handle the admin side of the business,” Cheryl tells us. “But, coming from a large-scale ad agency, I had been spoilt for choice in the way of CRM and other software that tracked my sales in real-time,” she says. “I didn’t have any of that with the bakery. Just an outdated version of MYOB!”

Cheryl and Jim estimated that it would take them about a year before they would start to see any real traction with the bakery, but a year had come and gone, and they were still just breaking even.

“Jim would come in and go ‘we had a great day today, heaps of customers’ but at the end of the month we were still struggling with all the expenses, paying our staff and trying to pay ourselves a wage too,” Cheryl says. “Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB.’”

Cheryl comments that having access to data they had previously only received once it was too late was a game-changer. “This sounds funny, but I could see we were spending all this money on flour, but our sales didn’t reflect a need for it,” Cheryl laughs.

“Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” Cheryl says.

“I asked Jim if he was over-ordering because that seemed like the logical answer, but he said he only ordered what was needed,” she says. “This led me to do some investigating.”

What the Data Revealed…

Jim would bake an average of 75 loaves of bread a day, but sales records in MYOB showed they old sold an average of 40 loaves a day; Jim was baking twice as much bread as he needed and all left-over stock was thrown out at the end of the day.

“We were literally throwing our money away,” Cheryl says. “But it was a learning curve.”

Before long Cheryl and Jim implemented various other systems to track their stock, so they could better manage their expenses. Within a year, Cheryl and Jim had completely turned their business around.

“Now we have two shops,” Cheryl says. “Where before we struggled keeping just the one going. Being able to see what we were spending as we were spending it — that changed everything.”

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Basically you’re running blind if you’re not able to see your accounts in real time. The use of cloud accounting software like MYOB Account Right Live, Reach and Xero grants you this, safely and securely. Want to get up to speed with everything MYOB? Our MYOB training courses will equip you with the information you need. Enrol today.

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Is the Death of the Bookkeeper Imminent?

Happy New Year to all our readers! And take comfort in knowing that we think the death of the bookkeeper is FAR from imminent! Read the post to find out.
Happy New Year to all our readers! And take comfort in knowing that we think the death of the bookkeeper is FAR from imminent! Read the post to find out.

All right, so it’s not the most joyful heading we could have gone with on New Year’s Eve, but it’s not actually meant to conjure up doom and gloom! We have  researched and developed new online training courses for Reach Accounting and Xero, which have now been added to our suite of training courses that include the flagship MYOB training course. In the process we’ve spoken to a number of accountants to see what software they’re using, to ensure we’re providing the training courses you need to get a bookkeeping job. This is good news because you can then rely on us to inform you what more you may need to offer clients.

Throughout this process, we’ve come across a number of accountants who are using BankLink, an accounting service we’ve written about previously, which streamlines and automates the data entry portion of managing a client’s account.

The ‘In-House’ Extra Employee

For many accountants the BankLink software, which was acquired by MYOB in June of this year so they could further extend their reach into the accounting space, is being billed as an “extra employee” that never makes mistakes and is comparatively cheaper than the additional in-house bookkeeper or admin person headcount.

The big question for us is: Does this spell the end of the bookkeeper? For instance, think of the way personal computers did away with the need for the office stenographer working in a steno pool? The answer is that this is indeed possible — but this is only if data entry is the sole service you offer. Like most professionals today, the more specialised you are and the more services you can offer, the more likely you are to experience career longevity.

At the end of the day, software is only as good as the person who uses it. If you’re a highly experienced bookkeeper in a particular industry or possess a number of highly sought-after accounting skills, you’ll find BankLink a dream come true in that it eliminates the tedious, time-consuming data entry from your job.

BankLink: Giving You More Time

With more time on your hands, you’ll be able to grow your client-base — a goal for most small businesses and previously only available if you miraculously grew a spare set of hands, or employed a spare set of hands, at least. You may even be able to move your business out of the narrow bookkeeping space into the small business management space.

With the number of new small businesses increasing, the key to their individual survival in a highly competitive marketplace is good management — and who’s more suited to that job than someone with a thorough understanding of account keeping?

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So while BankLink may spell the end of tedious, time-consuming data entry, for the experienced bookkeeper it presents more business and career opportunities — not less. Upskill and enjoy greater career success as a result.

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Introducing Our Reach Accounting Course – The Low Cost Alternative to MYOB

Reach Accounting is giving small business owners a cheap accounting software solution.
Reach Accounting is giving small business owners a cheap accounting software solution.

Ever since we started offering online MYOB courses, we have been encouraging our students to start their own home-based bookkeeping businesses. We’ve also introduced new courses along the way, like our small business management course to encourage our students to become virtual assistants. Now we’re pleased to introduce our latest Reach Accounting Course to provide small businesses with a low-cost alternative to MYOB.

Finally! A Cheap Small Business Accounting Solution

For many small business owners operating fairly simple businesses (say, virtual assistants or teleworkers)  the need to invest in rather expensive accounting software like MYOB has probably never existed.

It’s not uncommon to find a sole trader who still uses Excel to create their invoices, and still keeps a shoebox-full of receipts that they then enter into another Excel spreadsheet, or else endure the wrath of their accountant if they don’t.

This is generally because there’s never been any low-cost accounting software available to them — that was until Reach Accounting, a division of Net Registry, entered the fray a little while back.

Because we’re constantly looking to help small business owners, we’ve partnered with Reach Accounting to offer small business owners a low-cost Reach training course, which includes a free trial of Reach to use while you’re taking the course.

In our new Reach Accounting course, we cover the following subjects:

  • DIY Accounting
  • Set up
  • Daily Transactions
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll

So if you’re a small business owner and you’re looking for some low-cost accounting software, Reach Accounting could be the solution. 

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You can take a closer look at how Reach compares to MYOB. Want to know the honest opinion of a small business owner? We asked a freelancer to test-drive Reach for 30 days; see how it works for them.

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Want to be a teleworker? The Australian Government wants it too

Telework-work from homeSince we closed our Sydney-based training centres in Dee Why, Gordon and Parramatta in 2006 and went 100% online we’ve been able to offer more for a lower price.

For the same price we use to charge for a one day training course in MYOB we are now able to offer ALL 5 MYOB training courses AND provide lifetime course access (INCLUDING updated course content).

You might also recall that our online support team comprises remote workers who operate their own virtual assistant business from all over Australia and even internationally so we are thrilled to be part of the new revolution in remote workers.

We are also very proud to be a Partner of the Australian Government Telework week in the SME (Small Business Sector) and look forward to helping more and more students find work as well as run their own businesses from their own homes.

Remember that we even offer the opportunity to start your own online training business using our established infrastructure AND if you are looking to start your own business as a bookkeeper (or any business for that matter) we now have the Cert IV in Small Business Management on our Learning System.

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The Virtual Business: Transitioning from the Real World to the Digital World

If you prepare and test first, then the transition from physical to virtual office should be smooth sailing.
If you prepare and test first, then the transition from physical to virtual office should be smooth sailing.

There are many benefits to be had by operating a virtual business — both to yourself as a business owner and to your clients — and in our last post about closing your bricks and mortar office doors to create a virtual one, we discussed the importance of getting the timing right.

But once you know the timing is right, how do you make the transition? Continue reading The Virtual Business: Transitioning from the Real World to the Digital World