Are You Living Your Best Life?

COULD YOU EARN a second income by running a website? Thousands of Australians already are; if you have bookkeeping or creative skills, perhaps it’s suited to you too.

Most people now know that the old way of working — long hours in an office at a job they don’t really enjoy — is not living their best life. And simply dreaming of a better one simply won’t cut it, but there is a way. Continue reading Are You Living Your Best Life?

Independent Contractor! PayPal Provides Instant Business Working Capital Finance

If you’re an independent contractor you’re a business owner

EzyLearn can help your business train WHS staff or provide credentialing and inductions.
EzyLearn can help your business train WHS staff or provide credentialing and inductions.

As an independent contractor, operating with an ABN, you’re effectively running your own small business (so working capital important), and that means you’re subject to some of the same reporting obligations for the ATO as other small businesses are. The only real difference is that as an independent contractor, your business model is a lot simpler to other ones.

For example, most independent contractors operate as sole traders, so while they have to withhold their own tax and manage their own superannuation contributions, they still pay the same rate of tax as an individual (or an employee) does, making them eligible to claim the tax free threshold, among other things.

But unlike an employee, an independent contractor has to bill their clients by issuing them with an invoice, and the simplest way to do that is to use a cloud-based accounting software. With the recent announcement that PayPal and QuickBooks had joined forces to offer low-cost cloud accounting software which allows businesses to accept PayPal payments, I’d say QuickBooks is likely to become the independent contractor’s cloud accounting software of choice.

PayPal will Loan Money for Working Capital Based on Cashflow

paypal working capital and intuit quickbooks online accounting softwareOn its own, the PayPal-QuickBooks syncing is a pretty compelling reason for every independent contractor to be using PayPal to accept payments from their clients, but there’s also another, better reason to be using PayPal: PayPal Working Capital.

Working Capital is PayPal’s latest foray into the small business money lending fray – complementing their other ventures, which include merchant services, card readers, and, of course, the QuickBooks deal – by offering business loans to businesses that already use PayPal to process their payment.

The application process is remarkably simple: use PayPal to accept payments, and you can apply for loan of up to 15 percent of the sales processed by PayPal in the last 12 months, up to a maximum of $85,000.

Repayments are made directly from your PayPal account, you decide the rate at which the loan will be repaid – 20 percent of each sale, for example – and are only paid when you are paid. There are no late fees or fees for missed payments, and you don’t pay interest on the loan – just one, simple fixed fee, based on your sales history and the amount you are loaned.

PayPal is selling their Working Capital service as the quick and simple way to grow your business, and it is. Suppose you need a new computer – or a couple of new computers – with a PayPal Working Capital loan, you only pay one fixed fee and you have the money in your PayPal account as soon as your application is approved. So here’s a thought..

Borrow money from Paypal at a fixed cost (not based on interest charges), pay it off from future sales and use it to make a capital purchase for machinery, equipment of a car and claim the cost of that asset purchase this financial year!

PayPal helps make you globally competitive

The real reason every independent contractor should be using PayPal to accept payment from their clients, though, is because it helps to make you globally competitive. With PayPal you can work with clients in different countries, without having to worry about whether they will be able to deposit money into your account, and what fees may be charged to your or your client that make you less competitive than other contractors.

Now that PayPal has inked a deal with QuickBooks, it also makes setting up a PayPal payment gateway and directly your clients to pay you with PayPal incredibly easy – just a few clicks of a button, in fact. This means, your clients can choose whichever payment method to pay your invoices, whether it’s by credit card, debit card or direct from their own PayPal account – so it’s not only easy for them, but quicker too.

And the quicker and easier it is for clients to pay you, the more likely they are to pay you on time, every time. 

You can read more about how PayPal is changing small business in Australia by subscribing to our blog. Alternatively, if you’d like to start your own business as an independent contractor, we’ve recently partnered with the StartUp Academy to help you do just that. Download our free guide to becoming an independent contractor or register your interest in one of the current business opportunities at their website.

More People Are Working From Home Than Ever Before

Local Government Councils Encourage Home Businesses and Working from Home

Australian Bureau of Statistics office door reveal the majority of micro businesses use the Internet to let their staff work from homeIF YOU’RE THINKING about whether to start your own home-based business, consider this fact I stumbled across recently: More than a third of all Australian micro businesses – that is, a business with four or fewer employees – use the Internet to allow their staff to work from home, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[quote]That’s an 8% increase in 2 years[/quote]

This represents an 8 percent increase in the number of people working from home in the space of just two years, and you can bet that figure keeps rising. You can also bet that a good majority of those people working from home were not employees, but independent contractors.

The business opportunities are there if you’re up for the challenge!

There are a great number of business opportunities for people to work as independent contractors, and many Aussies are readily taking up the challenge to contract their services out to other businesses, from bookkeepers to web designers to virtual assistants.

We recently published a guide on how to become an independent contractor — a free download from the StartUp Academy website. If you’ve been thinking of becoming an independent contractor, I encourage you to download and read it, because the demand for independent contractors is incredibly high.

I’m not saying that the demand will peter off, but I do think it’s a good idea to establish yourself now, while the practice is still gaining momentum, rather than waiting to board the train at the next station – because it might be hard to find a space in which you’ll fit then.

Your time is now

If you have a business idea you’ve been toying around with for some time, but just need the soft skills to get it off the ground, our Small Business Management Course can help you.

Alternatively, you might be interested in some already existing business opportunities, in which case the StartUp Academy can provide you with the training, guidance and support you need to make the transition from salaried employee to independent contractor.

For more information on working with the StartUp Academy, visit their website. Or if you’d like more information on our Small Business Management Course, visit our website or enrol here.

NSW State Government Building Codes, Local Council Planning Zones and the ATO

There are concessions and exemptions as well as of course deductions (costs that you incur that can reduce your taxable income) that all point to ways that our local, state and federal governments are doing their best to help grow the knowledge economy of home based workers. Most people though who decide to start a business from home are just thrilled at the personal development journey, learning how to become independent and have a better quality of life.


Get the free guide to becoming an independent contractor

New Year, New You, New Business Startup?

Now is the time to explore new startup opportunities

Dreaming about setting up a new business startup
365_The_Daydreamer_(6517625965)

As the end of 2015 approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and frivolity of summer, by enjoying the few weeks of the holidays in the sun with friends and family. But it’s also a really great time to think about your career plans for the new year.

If you follow this blog regularly, then you may already be aware that EzyLearn has launched a new service called the StartUp Academy. The goal of the StartUp Academy is to help people launch and operate their own home-based businesses, supported by our network of successful business owners and entrepreneurs.

Opportunities are aplenty

By partnering with a number of other businesses, the StartUp Academy has a number of business opportunities available, spanning a variety of industries and occupations that include, Remote IT Services and Telephone Systems, Bookkeeping, and Website Creation and Online Marketing.

If you come onboard with the StartUp Academy, you’ll receive full training in the field of your choice, as well as small business management training to ensure you’re fully prepared to operate and manage your own home-based business.

Under each of the opportunities offered by the StartUp Academy, you’ll operate your business as an independent contractor (we’ll show you how to set up as a independent contractor, too), from your own home office and claim the costs of having your home office, Internet etc.

We know starting is hard, but we want to make it easier

We launched the StartUp Academy because we know that for most people, the biggest barrier to starting a business is that there’s no support. You have to go it alone, and that’s scary. Many of the small business owners we’ve spoken to confirmed this. They told us that they wouldn’t have made it if they hadn’t had someone to support and give them guidance.

So that’s what the StartUp Academy aims to do: support and give you guidance as you start your own home-based business. You don’t have to feel afraid or alone, because we want you to succeed in your endeavours, as much as you do.

Have a think about what your plans will be next year, and if you think 2016 is the year you should start your own business, browse some of the current business opportunities and get in contact with the team at the StartUp Academy.

Live on the NSW Central Coast? The State Government wants you to be teleworking

NSW State Government Incentives for Teleworking

Nexus Smart Hub at Wyong to help people telework or be virtual assistantsThe State Government wants the NSW Central Coast to become the next Silicon Valley by encouraging commuters and freelancers to work from one of their two Smart Work Hubs located at Wyong and Gosford. The Smart Work Hubs are part of the State Government’s $1.5 million pilot program of co-working spaces, which are also part of the Government’s greater push to get more people teleworking.

I wrote a post recently [The NBN makes it easier to run a business from home] on how the NBN is making it easier for people to move out of the city and relocate to regional parts of Australia and still conduct a business from home that provides valuable services to businesses in our major cities. The NBN is just one aspect of the Government’s push to get more people teleworking, and their new Smart Work Hubs Pilot Program is another initiative that will encourage trade and investment in regional areas.

Teleworking Commuter hubs in five regions across NSW

The program is also operating in Western Sydney, with spaces located in Penrith, Rouse Hill and Oran Park, three areas that were identified as having a large volume of residents commuting to the Sydney CBD. The two spaces on the Central Coast are unique, however, because they’re the first co-working spaces of their kind in the region.

Co-working spaces have been around for some time in Sydney, originating in inner city suburbs like Chippendale and Ultimo, and spread quickly across the city as more people started businesses and began working remotely from home. Co-working spaces give home-based workers an alternative space to work from, as well as an opportunity to meet and collaborate with other like-minded individuals.

But while those inner city co-working spaces were established to encourage collaboration between creatives and start-ups, the NSW Government’s Smart Work Hubs Pilot Program has a slightly different focus, targeting commuters instead.

Member for Gosford Chris Holstein said that Gosford and Wyong been selected for the Smart Work Hubs Pilot Program due to the high volume of residents who commute to both Sydney and Newcastle for work.

“Around 40,000 residents commute outside the Central Coast region each day for work and this can have significant impact on their work/life balance,” Mr Holstein said.

“By establishing Smart Work Hubs in locations with large commuter populations, we can take advantage of the benefits of using technology to support smart working practices.

“New technology and high speed broadband are changing the way people work and NSW has much to gain by taking a leading position in this emerging landscape.”

State of the art facilities, with a 12-month government subsidy

If you’re a teleworker – that is, an employee of a business and not self-employed – then you’re eligible for a daily $20 workstation subsidy from the Government to be used at the Wyong Nexus Hub, which reduces the daily workstation rate down to just $15 and is available for the first twelve months of operation.

Although the Smart Work Hubs are aimed at commuters, freelancers, home-based workers, and small business owners are also encouraged to make use of the spaces, which have been guaranteed state government funding for twelve months. Although the self-employed aren’t eligible for a government subsidy, the day rate for booking a workstation at the Wyong hub has also been reduced to $15 for a limited time; the Gosford hub isn’t currently eligible a government subsidy.

Over the course of the twelve-month trial period, the hubs at each five locations are being monitored to determine their viability in other regions across NSW, and, if successful, the Government hopes to trial sites at other locations throughout NSW, including Newcastle and the Illawarra.

The Smart Work Hubs in both Gosford and Wyong are both been fitted out with high-speed broadband Internet, photocopiers and printers, video conferencing facilities, private offices, meeting rooms, a kitchen, and use a swipe card system to ensure security; the space at Wyong also has an onsite gym and childminding facilities for Hub customers, as well as a café and easy parking.

Why start a business at a Smart Work Hub?

Work hubs and co-working spaces are not only a cheaper alternative to renting an office, but with all the facilities they offer – gyms, childminding, etc – they’re also more convenient for home-based workers with kids. Many people who complete our training courses intend to start a business from home so they can spend more time with their kids, making a co-working space or work hub perfect for mums or dads who need time away from the kids while they get some work done.

Better than that, though, work hubs also have the added benefit of providing a space where you can network or collaborate with other small business owners. A work hub provides home-based workers with an environment not dissimilar to a regular workplace, but it’s one that’s more conducive to working productively – i.e., there’s less time spent complaining about the boss!

If you’ve been thinking of starting a home-based business, I don’t think the climate has ever been more start-up friendly than it is at the moment. Aside from the State Government’s Smart Work Hub Pilot Program, new small business owners can also take advantage of the Federal Government’s small business tax breaks, in addition to the NBN’s continued rollout of high-speed fibre optic Internet in regional areas across Australia.

If you’re looking for a low-risk new business opportunity, our partner National Bookkeeping has a number of licensee opportunities for people interested in starting a bookkeeping business. You can visit the National Bookkeeping website for more information or to register. Alternatively, read more about EzyLearn’s partnership with National Bookkeeping on our blog.

Reinvent Your Career: ‘Work At Home’ Seminar

I mentioned in my last post that I will be presenting a Work at Home Seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo in

work from home
Steve Slisar, EzyLearn CEO, will soon be sharing how you can work from home.

Sydney on 30 and 31 August 2014. We call it the WAH Seminar and I really hope to see some of EzyLearn’s students there. We’ll have a stand there for our soon to be announced Start Up Academy!

Work at Home with the Start Up Academy

The Startup Academy is the culmination of 14 years in the training industry. Over those years I’ve watched EzyLearn transition from a training centre in Dee Why to having three centres across Sydney and then finally close all centres in 2006 and move all of our training content online. In 2008 online training really kicked off for us. We offered MYOB and Microsoft Excel Online training courses and we began our journey into hiring remote workers to work from home for various parts of our business. We’ve used a number of different services to find the right people for our organisation including oDesk, Gumtree, Virtually Yours, 121 Temps, Freelancer, Elance and even this very blog. Everything we’ve learnt a lot along the way I’ll be sharing with the audience at the seminar.

Good Online Reputation Means You Can Work at Home

Social Media and the Internet have given more people a stronger voice than at any time in human history and as a result we are all faced with our “online profile” and “online reputation” – this is particularly relevant for people who work from home. One of the best examples that I can think of where people want to have a good reputation is eBay. I’ve met many eBay sellers and they are all VERY keen to do a great job and get a great rating and it’s always a pleasure to deal with them. The same thing is now happening with the way we work and provide services.

I’ll be talking about a range of things to help remote workers start their own business working from home as independent contractors, including how to find work. Here’s a little more on what to expect from me:

  • Does it really happen?
  • Does it affect me?
  • How do I fit in?
  • Make yourself stand out
  • Measure the work you do
  • Teleworking
  • The Australian Government wants it
    • – workforce participation
    • – digital disruption
    • – work is about what you do
    • – working anywhere
    • – enablers
    • – benefits
    • – drivers
    • – unmet demand – mature, parents and disabled
  • Our experience
  • Measure outcomes
  • Your public profile
  • Your competitors
  • LinkedIn
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Finding clients
  • Create an engine

Once again, I hope to see you at the seminar. If you would like more information on the Reinvent Your Career Expo, you can visit their website for more details and if you are interested in having me do the same presentation at your industry group meeting, chamber of commerce or other meeting please let us know.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Work at Home Opportunities in our Start Up Academy, visit this page: Work at home business opportunities.

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.

If you read this blog regularly, then you might recall that EzyLearn is a Teleworking Partner, an initiative of the Australian Government to get more people working from home, which I am a big believer in. In fact, many of EzyLearn’s team members are independent contractors, who regularly do their work from home.

Come to my Work-at-Home Seminar

So I am thrilled to announce that I will be speaking at the Reinvent Your Career Expo at the Sydney Showground in Homebush this August 30th and 31st! If you are in Sydney, I’d love to see you at the expo, where I’ll be speaking about EzyLearn’s transition into an online business, how we work with remote workers, and how you can find employment as an independent contractor.

Start a home based small business in bookkeeping, WH&S Safety and website design

I’ll also be talking about some other ‘turnkey’ opportunities we have available for entrepreneurs who want to start working straight away in the areas of work health and safety (contractor management), bookkeeping, and WordPress website design and internet marketing, as part of our soon-to-be announced Startup Academy.

For more information on the Reinvent Your Career Expo, you can visit their website, otherwise I will post an update in blog post shortly. I look forward to seeing you all there!