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

FREE Guide on Becoming an Independent Contractor

The Contractor versus the Employee

Receive the free guide on starting a business from home as a remote contractorIn a recent post, I talked about EzyLearn’s latest venture, the StartUp Academy, which helps people start their own home-based businesses as independent contractors. The StartUp Academy is something I’ve been working on for sometime after I noticed a compressing of regular salaried jobs – sometimes it was the consolidation of two jobs into one but most often, entire jobs were being outsourced to consultants and contractors.

New technologies, new opportunities

There are many business analysts and economists who see the reduction of permanent jobs as a bad thing – and to some extent, they’re probably correct – but I saw it as an opportunity. New technologies have made it easier for people to work at home, wherever their home may be – a city, a beachside town, outback Australia – so long as they have access to a reliable Internet connection.

Now, people who have previously been excluded from the job market have an opportunity to earn an income. That’s great news for workers and for the economy, and it’s why the government has spearheaded a move to encourage working from home, or teleworking as it’s officially known, among businesses and their staff.

EzyLearn’s a Telework Partner

I joined the Telework Partner Program with the Australian Government a few years back and even presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo, because I really see contracting as the future for many professions. I launched the StartUp Academy, because I wanted to help people make the transition from salaried employee to independent contractor and even more importantly remote contractor.

Build credibility, reputation and trust

This brings me to the reason you clicked on this blog post in the first place: that free guide on becoming an independent contractor. Before you can start providing services to clients as an independent contractor, you need to set yourself up. As an independent contractor, you can operate your own business as a sole-trader (or a partnership, company or trust) and as a sole-trader, you have certain responsibilities you didn’t as an employee – you have to determine your own charge out rates, manage your own superannuation, make provisions for your annual and sick leave, and so forth.

Tips, hints and advice from REAL contractors

I spoke to a number of independent contractors, consultants and freelancers to find out exactly what they wish they had known about starting out as a contractor before they started out. Based on their comments, observations and advice I put this guide together for you, which you can download from the StartUp Academy website, absolutely FREE.

I hope you find it useful, and if you’re reading it over the summer and weighing up your options for the new year, you might want to consider one of the business opportunities available at the StartUp Academy for 2015.

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.

Are Xero and MYOB going to get SMASHED by QuickBooks Online?

Is QuickBooks Online the White Elephant in the Room?

I recently wrote about QuickBooks, once the great competitor to MYOB accounting software, and I thought I would delve a little deeper to see what has happened with the company that use to be their Australian distributor, Reckon and how big they are in the US. I looks to me like we have a period of consolidation on our hands with some very big companies and many of them listed trying to earn the cloud accounting dollar.

We have online courses in MYOB and Xero and are exploring a QuickBooks Online training course.

What do you Reckon about Reckon?

Reckon 5 year Share Performance
Reckon 5 year Share Performance. Information from Commsec. Click to Enlarge

As a public company you can see Reckons financial results and industry commentary at the ASX website and in their latest financial announcements they confirmed that they had parted ways with Intuit as the Australian distributor earlier this year (saving them $2.5M in royalty costs).

Reckon is now a competitor to their previous partners, Intuit, and a participant in the online accounting and bookkeeping software market with their own software service called Reckon Hosted.

If I were Reckon the scariest thing for me would be that the brand that I helped to build over such a long period is now strongly competing directly against me in the local market. Let’s hope they built some good relationships with accountants who’ll continue to work with and recommend their new product lineup. Their share price seems to indicate that they are currently falling out of favour.

Xero vs QuickBooks Online

Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge
Xero Oct 31 2014 Share Performance. From Commsec. Click to Enlarge

Xero is the nameplate for online accounting software because they pioneered accounting software that ONLY works in the cloud. A major shareholder in Xero is Craig Winkler, the man who successfully helped MYOB dominate the accounting marketing in the PC era and sold out to Archer Capital who then sold to another large US private equity company Bain Capital.

I wrote about Xero’s financial performance not long after they listed their XRO shares on the ASX (they are a New Zealand company) but their recent share price performance seems to indicate that they are not popular in Australia. The next frontier in online accounting and bookkeeping seems to be integrations and accounting suite tools for accountants. These integrations and add-ons are one way of making their software more important in the suite of programs that small businesses use and a good example is the recent announcement of Xero’s integration with Microsoft’s Office 365.

Visit Xero’s website and you’ll quickly be able to get to their Add-on Market Place.

MYOB vs QuickBooks Online

Bain Capital paid over 1 billions dollars for MYOB to include it in it’s bag of technology investments – see if you can spot MYOB! Although they are no longer an Australian public company they are listed on the ASX and Aussies can invest in the company that now offers a wider range of services that just accounting software. Their revenue has grown significantly in the 2014 financial year according to their announcement on 25th August 2014.

MYOB had many partners in their PC based software but went through a very tough period when accountants were refusing to recommend MYOB customer upgrade their software. MYOB had to re-write their software to cater for the cloud accounting market and some integrations just didn’t work as a result. It appears that the online version is still popular with MYOB Partners and you can learn more about MYOB Add-ons here.

MYOB is still the market leader for accounting software in Australia an although they appear to be a laggard in the online space they are agressively competing with Xero for new customer acquisitions. A recent article by Peter Dinham at IT Wire about Xero and MYOB customer numbers highlights how dirty the fight is getting and how important accountants are in the sale of accounting software. Peter talks about MYOB being the 800 pound gorilla but when you explore the global market for accounting software you cannot ignore Intuit.

QuickBooks Online and the Global Accounting Software Market

Go to Intuit.com and you’ll be presented with a message that says “we’ve gone global” and the option to go to your local country website site. Let’s face it, they’ve been global for a while but it’s apparent that their online marketing for Quickbooks Online is becoming stronger. I read a recent blog post from Sholto Macpherson’s popular Digital First website about the Top 5 Most Popular Features of QuickBooks Online and note that at the bottom of his post he disclosed that he travelled to QuickBooks Connect as a guest of Intuit. It’s a sign of the impending marketing blitz that a massive US company is capable of.

Visit Intuit’s investor relations website and you’ll see that the revenue for Intuit in 2013 was almost 4 times the total capital purchase price that Bain Capital paid for MYOB when they bought it. With that size, established software brand in Quickbooks and a network of Intuit Pro Advisers ready to help small businesses I think this is the space to watch for online accounting software.

Again, as a very established software publishing company Intuit have an impressive range of Add-ons to help improve the functionality of the software as small business look for ways of integrating the ever widening range of cloud-based software they use.

QuickBooks Pro Adviser Offer

Whilst writing this post I became aware of the big launch that Intuit are doing in Australia to strengthen their network of accountants and advisers. It’s started with a blubbery story about the great history of a 30 year old US company, but I found this video which shows what they are willing to do to help Australian Bookkeepers increase their knowledge, get new sales and better support their customers (Small Businesses).

Here it is..

Join our Bookkeeper Directory

Startup Academy - work from home as an independent contractorIf you are a MYOB bookkeeper and want us to help you get exposure and find new small business bookkeeping clients register with our partners at Workface as we build a national bookkeeping database to help you find new clients and help small businesses find honest, hardworking bookkeepers who operate their own home based bookkeeping business.

To be a bookkeeper in this cloud accounting era means that you can perform bookkeeping from your own home office if you do a great job and have a good reputation. Although you can perform this work from home its becoming more important to get that reputation and one of the tried and trusted ways is by meeting people face to face at networking events. When people get to know you and like you they’ll start recommending you to people who they know need a bookkeeper and that is when you’ll discover the power of referral marketing.

Registering for the bookkeeper directory is the first step in our plan to help people operate a business from home. If you want to read more about how we plan to help ordinary people start their own business as independent contractors visit the StartUp Academy website and learn more. You can subscribe for the free guide that I created to help people on that journey.

 

Google Displays Mixed Messages about Quickbooks Online

Who is Behind QuickBooks Online?

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with free trial button

It was once seen as the biggest competitor to MYOB in Australia when accounting software reduced in cost from several thousand dollars (for software like Attache) to several hundred dollars. It was the time when the PC was the craze and suddenly normal people could do their own bookkeeping – so they say. I’m talking of course about QuickBooks.

I was doing some Google searches this morning about QuickBooks Online because I was interested in seeing how Reckon and Intuit now differentiate themselves online and I discovered a couple interesting things. The most interesting to me is how many companies are now putting up a landing page that expects you to make a purchase or sign up right there and then.

Landing Pages

Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button
Intuit QuickBooks Google Ad with buy now button

Here are the two landing pages that I discovered when searching for QuickBooks Online on Google. One offers a massive 40% off if you skip the trial and the other says the same message but the action button says “Start My Free Trial”. To me it seems like they are still perfecting their online strategy and are doing some beta testing on what potential customers will do.

What I find most interesting about the current QuickBooks strategy is the expectation that people will register or buy straight away! Perhaps they will when this ad comes up because they have actually searched specifically for “QuickBooks” rather than just online bookkeeping or accounting software, cloud accounting comparisons etc.

Marketing Your Business on Google

Pretty soon, we’ll feature our own bookkeeper directory so every piece of information like this we see we make a note of to see if it is something we can use ourselves.

This also demonstrates something we cover in our Small Business Management Course about testing and measuring – that you don’t always get your message across perfectly every time. The most important thing to do is to make a plan and get started. The best thing you can do is take action and start, then you can measure the results and fine tune, tweak or completely change your marketing strategy.

Share Your Opinion About QuickBooks

I was looking at some of the bookkeepers in our bookkeeper directory and noticed that a good number of bookkeepers still use QuickBooks and know about it. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions about it.

  • Do you use it?
  • Do you prefer it to MYOB or Xero?
  • Are there things that QuickBooks Online do better than MYOB or Xero?
  • Do you still work with Reckon (who use to distribute Intuit products in Australia) and their online accounting software?

If you have something to share simply send us an email to support @ ezylearn.com.au or post your comments on our Facebook page.