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Working from Home Doesn’t Have to Mean Working Alone

Lonely office man

We are constantly refreshing the content of our MYOB training course so that you are privy to all the latest information you need for becoming a bookkeeper, running your own bookkeeping business, or doing the books for the businesses of others.

Certainly, technology has reshaped the way most of us work, learn and interact with each other. Whether working from home or from an office, many of us spend the bulk of our time online, and for many, it’s not uncommon to feel increasingly disconnected from others, lonely, even. However, in this ever-increasing virtual world in which we live and work, there are ways to combat loneliness — things we’ve probably learned from our mother’s and grandmother’s: to mind our P’s and Q’s.

Everybody Emails

If you are thinking about working from home and running a bookkeeping business in 2013 (or you already do this), it goes without saying that things are substantially different to the way they were 20 years ago; different, even to just 10 years ago. Instead of seeing your clients often and chatting regularly on the phone, you email. On a daily basis, your Inbox fills with emails from clients — emails you rarely read in full, scanning instead for keywords or instructions that you mentally note down for later; the email is then closed. Rarely a response longer than “No problem”, “Done” or “Sure, will do” is sent back (something I’m guilty of myself!).

However, there was a time when a client would have phoned through their request or query, you’d have chatted, built a relationship, and some of the loneliness of working from home would have been assuaged. Today, we rarely indulge in such pleasantries — and we complain we’re lonely.

Building Relationships

But loneliness is so easily rectified, particularly in business. Instead of emailing a one-word email back, engage with your customers. Get to know them; ask them how they are, how business is travelling and, above all, thank them for continuing to do business with you. People like to feel appreciated; they like to feel that they’re not alone in the world.

At EzyLearn, we’re in the business of helping people build profitable businesses working from home. With all of our online training courses, we strive to ensure our online students don’t feel detached or lonely. We know that studying online can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on the student-teacher, student-student interaction, making your road to graduation a long and lonely one. It’s why we implemented the ZenDesk customer support system — to handle and respond to your queries quickly and efficiently — and why we’re also active on social media so you can connect with us quickly and easily, every time.

Next time you feel lonely when working or studying online or from home, perhaps consider whether technology has effectively placed a barricade between you and those around you. Are you likely to be regarded as a real person by your clients, or more a faceless, voiceless email that happens to bear your name? Use technology, instead, to connect (or reconnect) with people — and what better place to start than by saying, “Thank You”!

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Tossing Up Where to Study? We Look at TAFE, Uni and Private Facilities

online study courses
Where you study will probably change over time.

There are more ways to study, more institutions to study with and more courses to study than ever before. But with so much choice, it raises the question: Where’s the best place to study?

Study to Suit Your Circumstances

I am a university graduate and I wouldn’t swap my degree for anything else. But I’ve also studied online and completed short courses and seminars run by universities and various other learning institutions.

Each time I studied, the method of delivery — face-to-face, online — or institution I chose offered me something that uniquely suited my circumstances at the time.

As a university student undertaking a five-year journalism degree, it was necessary to gain entry into the competitive media industry where a tertiary education is essential.

But when I decided to study again — this time an online course on becoming a freelancer — it provided me with the flexibility of studying when and where I wanted while I was still a full-time employee.

That said, I don’t believe an institution like TAFE or university is necessarily better than a private institution. For instance, I would NEVER study a language at university! I would much rather private tuition.

Online Study Benefits

I didn’t choose online study merely because of the flexible delivery — I was more than able to attend night classes at TAFE or uni if I’d desired. I chose online study because, having worked in the industry for several years already, I’d been exposed to much of the industry know-how and I was quite practised at working independently; face-time with the teacher and fellow students simply wasn’t necessary.

Studying with Peers

Sometime later I enrolled in a two-day seminar about building a successful freelance business. I had been freelancing for sometime by this point and I was seeking something that fostered interaction with fellow freelancers while I learned the low down, (semi) dirty tricks of the trade.

Stretching out your Study

And most recently, I completed a short course in investigative reporting; again at a university. What attracted me to the course was not the institution, but the teacher: a gold Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist. In this instance, I opted to attend the classes over a series of weeks rather than one intensive weekend, it gave me the chance to experiment with the things I was learning — accessing public registers like electoral rolls, seeking information from government departments through the Freedom of Information Act, and so on — so I could seek guidance if I ran into difficulties.

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So if you’re tossing up between online or face-to-face study, university or TAFE or a private institution, it’s not a matter of who’s the best or what’s the best method; it’s really a matter of what your circumstances are and what you’re hoping to achieve.

If you’re a motivated, self-starter we offer a number of online courses designed to help you develop and grow your skills across a range of pursuits, when and where you want.

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LinkedIn Profiles: How Useful Are They, Really?

What is the power of a LinkedIn profile?

how useful is a linkedin profile online learning social media training
We scrutinise the power of a LinkedIn online social media profile.

THERE MAY BE SOME debate over whether having a LinkedIn profile actually helps professionals make valuable connections with other professionals, but the same could also be said of traditional networking.

As a writer, I probably should network more, but personally, I don’t find much value in it. In the past I have either fallen prey to someone wanting publicity for their pyramid-scheme-type business or I’ve turned into a borderline stalker myself; harassing someone who perhaps only gave me their business card out of a feeling of social obligation.

Besides, a business card tells you nothing about how competent or capable that person is at their job. For writers and journalists, I’ve always found it pretty easy to validate their claims on Google; for other professionals: not so much. Until LinkedIn, that is.

The Professionalism of LinkedIn

LinkedIn may not connect you with the recruiter of your dream job, but Twitter doesn’t guarantee you’ll become BFFs with Mariah Carey, either. What LinkedIn does, however, is give you an online professional profile.

And it’s the rather perverse nature of today’s digital society that makes an online professional presence invaluable; LinkedIn itself can act as your calling card, demonstrating how others endorse you and your work; it can act as your resume; and it can help you to actively find the right job.

The Power of a LinkedIn Profile

Any time you meet someone, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll Google you. Whether they’re prospective employers you’ve interviewed with, people you’ve met in a professional setting (clients, industry alums) or even colleagues, you can bet at some point or another they have Googled you.

What that Google search turns up can totally change the way they interact with you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve LinkedIn-stalked a fellow writer only to discover their LinkedIn profile is not so impressive, after all. From this point on the entire dynamic of our relationship has changed immediately; suddenly I feel I’ve got the power.

On the other end of the scale, discovering the meek-mannered, unassuming but otherwise seemingly-unimpressive editor I chatted to with extreme ease is actually a former Vanity Fair staffer or contributor to The New Yorker adds another dimension to our relationship — usually, I’m putty in their hands.

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And it’s in this context that, yes, a LinkedIn profile does work. Whether you’re using LinkedIn as a job-hunter or a networker, your LinkedIn profile tells people everything they think they need to know about you.

The old phrase — first impressions are lasting impressions — is out. It’s online impressions that are the lasting impressions.

If you haven’t already, we welcome you to connect with EzyLearn at LinkedIn.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

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Teleworking – how does it benefit you?

Teleworking, home based business work from home

Teleworking from home

While Australians have had the ability to telework by using laptops, tablet devices, and smartphones, to connect to work for sometime, it’s unusual for employees to do this on a regular basis or even to be employed solely on this basis.

However, research both locally and internationally has shown the great benefits that teleworking can offer employers and employees, and in fact, the country as a whole.

For employers, teleworking assists with the recruitment and retention of staff, particularly young employees and those transitioning to retirement, but it also reduces staff turnover and absenteeism usually triggered by changes to family circumstances.

Teleworking saves money

In other, more tangible senses, teleworking reduces the costs associated with office space, such as energy costs and infrastructure, now that employees can remotely access files and documents using cloud accounting and storage software like DropBox.

But the real benefits for employers are derived from the benefits experienced by their employees.

Being able to work from home has been shown to greatly increase an employee’s work/life balance, which in turn drives job satisfaction and on-the-job productivity.

And by reducing commute times and the mental stress associated with juggling work and family commitments, employees have more time to up-skill by enrolling in distance education or online courses (like one of our MYOB courses), which will be even better with the NBN, which increases the number of highly skilled workers in the labour force.

Teleworking levels the playing field

While employers have access to a larger labour pool and employees likewise have access to a larger pool of employers now that geographical restrictions have been removed, teleworking also increases the instances of people starting a home-based business.

It is these benefits from teleworking, such as the increase in labour participation, the uptake of further education, and the growth in new home-based businesses that is not just great news for Australian employers and employees, but also for the Australian economy.

The scary news about teleworking

The major risk to Australian workers is that the increased pool of workers also includes workers in developing countries like the Philippines and India who are often very well trained and willing to work very hard for much lower pay. Even if we look at the USA we find remote workers who are willing to perform most small business operational tasks for $15 per hour.

There may be a benefit in living in the Australian time zone, speaking good English and writing well, but when it comes to many fields of work like graphic design it has really become a global market place for workers.

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What is Teleworking?

Teleworking from home in Australia - NBN

In a nutshell, teleworking is the ability for employees to work remotely, usually from a home office, rather than travelling to the workplace. And it’s something that Australia, and indeed, the rest of the world has been moving towards for some time.

If you think about it, ever since the widespread adoption of email, the wheels have been in motion for an era where people could opt to work from home rather than commuting to the workplace every day.

For a while, though, it has been a bit of a logistical nightmare. If you’ve ever tried to work remotely before, then chances are, at some point you’ve uttered one or all of these complaints: “This file is too large for me to email”, [quote]I don’t have that software installed on my home PC[/quote]  or “My Internet’s really slow. I might as well just come into the office”.

But when you throw things like broadband Internet, laptops, tablet devices, smart phones and the latest little life-saver, cloud accounting and storage software (like Dropbox) into the mix, working remotely, or teleworking, slowly but surely got easier.

The benefits of teleworking to employees and employers, plus also to the Australian government are huge, which is why the Australian government spearheaded the move to a National Broadband Network (NBN), which, when rollout is complete, will see high-speed Internet cabled into nearly every Australian home (93%).

The NBN will give you the freedom to things like enrol in distance education or complete one of our MYOB courses, work from home, or even start a home-based business without having to worry about poor or unreliable internet coverage.

Teleworking is the future of all Australian workplaces – you can learn about the benefits of teleworking here.

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CIA Provides Secrets about Linkedin

LinkedIn: The Living CV

I’VE WRITTEN A NUMBER of posts about the power of LinkedIn to replace the traditional resume, but after speaking with an expert from CIA (Sydney-based company, Computer Information Agency or CIAOPs) I learnt some new secrets about Linkedin. Robert Crane, CIA’s Director, shared some tips as to how and why LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you get a job AND find more customers.

Robert-Crane-Digitar-web-linkedin-secrets
Robert Crane is the Director of Computer Information Agency

Here’s what Robert had to say…

One of the greatest advantages that Internet based technologies can provide is leverage. Nothing could be more the case than with social media. Unfortunately, too many businesses and professionals fail to see the potential that it can provide themselves and their businesses. Probably the most effective social network for business is LinkedIn.

You may be surprised to know that LinkedIn in has been around for over a decade. It was around long before Facebook and Twitter as a source of connecting business people together. LinkedIn allows you to create a personal or business profile to which you can add all kinds of information.

[quote]Many professionals use LinkedIn as a “living CV” where they can post their career and achievement records for others to view.[/quote]

Sharing that information with others help them grow their potential network and makes it easier for others to locate people with the right skills.

The True Power of LinkedIn

This is where the key technology of search begins to reveal the true power of LinkedIn, for not only can you share your information with others, independent parties can search LinkedIn and locate individuals with the skills they need. This is reason why so many HR people use LinkedIn to locate and target individuals with the skills they require.

[quote]Posting resumes and trawling employment website is now ‘old school’. Indeed, the highest quality applicants are signed up via Linkedin even before a job is offered.[/quote]

Is It Too Late for You?

This means that if you are not using Linkedin your competition probably already is. So what can you do to catch up?

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to create a LinkedIn account and then fill in the information about yourself. The more professional information you provide the better. It is also important to include a professional headshot as part of the profile so if you don’t have one of these go out and get one.
  2. Once you have all your information entered start looking for people and associates you know who are already on LinkedIn. When you find them send them an invite to ‘connect’ with you on LinkedIn.
  3. Once you network starts to grow make sure that Linkedin becomes an ongoing part of your business strategy. Don’t let the information you have entered get stale. Revisit your account regularly and ensure it is always as current as possible. As you meet new contacts look them up on LinkedIn and ask them to ‘connect’ with you. Always be looking to grow your network and don’t be afraid to ask people in your network for introductions to others on Linkedin.
  4. When you start to feel comfortable with Linkedin use the testimonial feature to ask business contacts and clients for referrals. These referrals can be directly posted on your profile for all to see.
  5. Nothing lends credibility like endorsement so always continue to seek them out and grow the number that you have. Once the endorsements start to flow make sure you direct other information about your business to your LinkedIn information. Use it on your website, business cards, etc.

Other Powerful LinkedIn Uses

The more you work with LinkedIn, the more powerful you will find it. When you need something you can ask your network of contacts, you can search their skills for what you need, and you can join any number of special interest Linkedin groups on the very topic that you are seeking assistance on. Because Linkedin has become such a worldwide tool for business, chances are you’ll find the person or business you’re looking for, if you know how to use it.

Jump On the Social Media Bandwagon

I went to a seminar recently and heard Nick Bowditch from Facebook speak. He said that the businesses engaging with, and using, social media will be the ones still around in 5 years. Perhaps it’s arrogant to think that social media is so mighty, but given the speed with which technology is moving these days, and the ferocity of competition, it’s better to build a profile, reputation and brand that people know, like and trust — and social media is the opportune way to do this.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

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Start your own training business for $999

EzyLearn has announced the plan to build an elearning platform that will allow any person to operate their own computer training business from home for less than $1000.

Ezylearn director, Steve Slisar, announced the plans today saying that “anyone who has good computer skills, is good with people and wants to earn some money helping their friends, family, school members, mothers group members, or seniors club will be able to use all the existing EzyLearn learning workbooks videos and exercise files”.

The new e-learning website will have an open registration system, where anyone visiting the website will be able to register and enrol into the Excel Beginners (Course 301) for free. “By registering and enroling and then using one of the EzyLearn courses, potential clients will see how easy and cheap it can be to learn new computer software skills online” says Steve Slisar who has been developing and updating the training material since 1998.

Anyone interested in learning more about the “work from home business opportunity” should join the EzyLearn email newsletter by visiting this site: http://www.ezylearn.com.au/_mgxroot/page_10703.html and entering in their name and email address or by calling Steve in Australia on 0413 007 481.