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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From Working In A Cubicle To Working From Home – Are You Ready?

Working from home has a number of great benefits, including the ability to work from anywhere you choose and set your own work hours, design and decorate your own workspace, make more time for family or friends and wear whatever you want every single day.
Of course, there are downsides to working from home as well, such as more distractions, less opportunity to socialize throughout the day, a lack of structure and the difficulty of separating your work from your private life, not to mention that paid vacations will be a thing of the past.
If you are thinking of making the shift from the traditional office environment to working from your own homeoffice, it is important to consider both the pros and the cons.
Working from home may not be for everyone. Some people just need more structure in order to be productive, while others find it difficult to draw a line between work and home life without physically leaving the house.
On the other hand, many people find that they are far more productive when working from home and a recent survey found that there are currently around 2.5 million home workers in the US, so it is certainly not an unrealistic goal to reach for.
The following are a few points to consider before you take the plunge and ditch your cubicle for the comfort of your home.

Working From Home – Are You Ready?

Do You Work Well Without Supervision?

This is an important point to consider, although you may not even know the answer until after you have attempted working from home.
If you enjoy what you do and you are motivated enough to get the work done without any supervision or set working hours then it can work. On the other hand, if you hate your work and already have a difficult time getting it done when in the office, chances are being at home is only going to make it worse.
Being self-employed or even just having more flexibility in your routine requires a good deal of discipline. If you can’t manage your time well when you are at work with a supervisor looking over your shoulder, then there’s a good chance that working from home will only make the problem worse.

What Is Your Home Situation Like?

If you want to work from home, you will need to have a space or area that is strictly reserved for your work and is free of distractions.
If your home is crowded and there is little space, it will be difficult for you to concentrate on your work. You won’t get much work done if you have to sit on your bed or the living room sofa while family members or house mates watch television or chat in the background.
Making sure that your family members and friends are onboard with your decision to work from home is also important, as your decision will affect everyone to some degree.
It gets even more complicated if you have young kids, as they may find it difficult to understand the difference between your working hours. Think about how you are going to deal with these challenges, whether it means hiring a nanny or transforming an unused space like the garage into your home office.
Distractions at home From Working In A Cubicle To Working From Home   Are You Ready?
Image by ‘@alonsomayo’

Are Your Goals Realistic?

As difficult as it may be, you have to look at things realistically and see if your goals are actually realistic. How many hours will you have to work at home in order to make the same salary you are making at your current job? Will you be able to get enough work to make ends meet? Do you have a plan for retirement? What about benefits and insurance?
If you have thought about these things and decided that the benefits outweigh the risks, here are a few tips to help make your transition a bit easier.
1. Get Dressed
Sounds simple I know, but it can be tempting to head to your desk with your pyjamas on and your hair unkempt and messy.   That said, dressing for work in the morning helps you to get in the right frame of mind.
2. Schedule Your Work Hours In Advance
Don’t start the day without any plan for how you are going to get everything done. Make a scheduleand stick to it as much as possible. You can still decide when you will work, whether in the morning or evening, but just make sure that you delegate enough time to get things done.
3. Make Sure Your Family & Friends Understand
Let your kids, spouse, friends or housemates know that while you are working, you are unavailable to answer questions, enter into conversations or solve problems.
4. Eliminate Distractions
When working from home, you will find that there will always be a million and one things vying for your attention. Try to make your workspace a noise-free zone and remove anything that can distract you, from your cell phone to the email notifications that pop up every few minutes. Keeping your desk clean and clutter-free can also help keep your mind organized.
5. Don’t Forget To Take Time Off
This may sound silly, but many people who work from home actually end up working more hours than they would at the office because they find it hard to switch off from “work mode” and relax. Just as you must schedule your work hours, you must also schedule your breaks and days off in order to maintain a healthy balance between work and play.
Have you switched from working in an office to working from home?  Did you find the switch easy or hard?  What do you find good or bad about working from home? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

20 Successful Nonprofits Started by Students

Today's post features 20 successful nonprofit startups that have been started by students. The article was originally posted on OnlineCollege.org


Colleges have always been hotbeds of idealism, where gifted minds, too young to be jaded, dream of better futures they want to bring into being. At the same time, one of our culture’s most widely promoted values has been the entrepreneurial spirit, especially in recent years. In the private sector, spinoffs of research done at institutions like MIT and Stanford have shaped our modern economy, taking companies like Google and Facebook from dorm rooms to the NASDAQ. Many business schools have recently made a significant shift in emphasis from molding middle management to acting as incubators for start-ups. So it’s no surprise that innovative ventures are actively being created, fostered, and rewarded in the nonprofit zone as well. Here are 20 amazing philanthropic organizations that began as student projects and are now going on to change their communities and the planet:


    Government and Politics major Ben Simon launched the food aid program that became Food Recovery Network when he was a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally a plan to collect unused food from campus serveries to feed the homeless, the organization began collecting from private restaurants as well, expanded to schools in other states, won two social entrepreneurship contests as well as outside seed money, and registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

    New York University’s Eli Lowenfeld traveled to Iowa in 2008 after seeing TV reporting on the devastating effect of flooding in Cedar Rapids. During his volunteering, he noticed there was no organized Jewish effort to match the churches and other groups … so he founded one himself! Originally a student group, JDRC now operates under the umbrella of the Jewish nonprofit incubator Bikkurim.

    Two Cornell University freshmen, Ricky Panzer and Alex Friedman, launched this anti-poverty foundation in 2010. The pair’s first initiative, called Project Ndola, raised funds to buy shoes, produced locally in Ndola, Zambia, for children at the Haven of Hope Orphanage. Signature Donations is currently working to build a financially self-sustaining school in that same town.

    Gabriel Whaley, who was on the mens’ soccer team at West Point and later transferred to the University of North Carolina, founded this charity soccer camp in 2006. Participants pay in food donations rather than money. At UNC Whaley worked with mentors from the business school to obtain 501(c)(3) status, and hopes to build his nonprofit into a national or even international concern.

    Jean Leon Iragena, a Rwandan international student, was studying abroad as a junior at Millsaps College in Mississippi when he founded this U.S.-based charity to promote literacy in his native land. Donating e-book readers, awarding prizes in a writing competition for Rwandan youth, and publishing a thrice-yearly magazine are just a few of the Foundation’s current projects.

    George Srour created Building Tomorrow while he was a student at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and an intern at the UN, in order to improve educational facilities in Uganda. They’ve already built seven schools and eight more are on the way. To top it off, this year the young organization received the ultimate seal of approval in the NGO world, when former president BIll Clinton and his daughter Chelsea visited their school in Gita.
  7. 7. PL-AIDS:

    Founded by a group of Brown University students in 2009 as the Brown Global HELP Initiative, Partners in Learning about AIDS is a nonprofit that “seeks to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence around the globe through film-based outreach to at-risk populations,” sponsoring local prevention measures in Providence and southern New England as well as international prophylaxis education.

    First put together in 2001 with a social entrepreneurship award of $20,000 from the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, this microfunding venture disburses loans to local business owners in the New Haven area in order to stimulate prosperity in Yale’s own backyard.

    A group of undergrads at the University of California, Santa Barbara founded EENG in 2009 to bring free environmental education programs to California’s cash-strapped public schools. Since then, it’s expanded from a single second-grade classroom to an organization of four regional chapters with 220 volunteers serving over 3,000 children.

    Kibera is a troubled district of Nairobi where 60 Kenyans are employed by this NGO, founded in 2001 by UNC senior and former Marine Rye Barcott. It treats over 40,000 patients at its clinic and over 5,000 children in its youth programs. In 2007, Senator (now President) Barack Obama paid a visit to CFK in his ancestral homeland, and when violence broke out following Kenya’s 2008 elections, the group played a valuable role in providing aid.
  11. 11. J.E.S.S.I.C.A. CARES:

    Jessica Ballew describes herself as Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder of J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares, whose name is a backronym standing for “Journey to Becoming an Extraordinarily Strong, Successful Individual with Courageous Aspirations.” Ballew founded this group that does leadership and self-esteem outreach on behalf of young females while studying at the for-profit Berkeley College, where she was a nontraditional student, having worked in banking for over 14 years.

    In an educational environment where it often seems the privileged can buy up the test scores, essays, and internships one needs for a bright future, CollegeSpring is one nonprofit aiming to level the playing field by giving SAT prep and college counseling to low-income students. Stanford students Garrett Neiman and Jessica Perez founded the organization as SEE College Prep in 2008, and it now serves over 2,000 students in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
  13. 13. BEAUTY GAP:

    Amber Koonce, another UNC student (they seem to be particularly prominent in this field), created Beauty Gap after a 2009 trip to Ghana, where she noticed that little African girls only had little European-featured dolls with which to play. This struck Koonce as unfortunate, if not flat-out imperialistic, and her 501(c)3 aims to provide dolls of color “to promote the affirmation of every child’s God-given features in a world where they are not usually celebrated.”
  14. 14. YAYA HEALTH:

    100% of donations made to Nyaya Health, founded by Yale School of Medicine medical students in 2005, go directly to funding hospitals and other medical programs in Nepal. The group was named a “standout organization” by GiveWell, a nonprofit that does extensive research to determine which charities are most clearly worthy of support.

    Brandeis University student Jessye Kass founded this nonprofit in collaboration with artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, whom she had met at an orphanage during a gap year in Ghana. The group received funding from the Sorensen Fellowship andDoSomething.org, and now serves over 1,000 students and is hoping to open its own school.
  16. 16. KARTAVYA:

    Lest we think that all these groups need be founded by Westerners to bring help abroad (in fact, those were just the easiest to research in the English-language press), we should keep in mind Kartavya, founded by students at the Indian School of Mines (ISM) Dhanbad and expanded to other schools in the country. Volunteers at this nonprofit tutor the next generation of Indian students, working to develop villages and slums into healthy, plugged-in centers of education and upward mobility.

    Founded by students at Brandeis and Northeastern in the Boston area, Project Plus One focuses its work on the Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, the capital of East Timor, one of the globe’s youngest and most troubled nations. Patients here are badly afflicted by diseases that many Westerners rarely even recognize as a scourge, like tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia, hepatitis, leprosy, and HIV.

    The abbreviation in this nonprofit’s name stands for Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, a hereditary condition “that results from the incomplete development of the female reproductive tract.” This little-discussed condition is usually first noticed when an adolescent female never begins to menstruate. While women with MRKH appear no different from their peers in most ways, they often suffer from emotional struggles as well as severe difficulties in having children. The group was cofounded by Christina Ruth, a college student at Appalachian State University, and works to advocate for those affected by MRKH and give them a venue to share their experience.
  19. 19. SLAVERY IS REAL:

    The no-nonsense name of Slavery is Real fits its mission: “raising awareness and taking action against human trafficking.” It was founded by Austin Knight, a student at the University of Kentucky, when he was just 19 years old. Being a young man, the Galahad-like Knight figured he was in a unique position to lend a voice saying “no” to the sex industry and dispelling the idea that prostitution as practiced is a victimless crime.

    API was founded by Aziz Yuldashev and Dmitriy Nurullayev, two young men from Uzbekistan who had both studied in America (at Seattle University and Hendrix College, respectively). Both have been held by the Uzbek secret service for their work, which includes activism against child labor, and had to seek asylum in the U.S. when their student visas expired, to avoid imprisonment upon return.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

1st edition of the competition "Calabria Dinamica. Mediterranean Startup Network Awards"

The first edition of the competition "Calabria Dinamica. Mediterranean Startup Network Awards" was kicked off 10 days ago on the 8th of October 2012!

The competition aims at new startups that are formed in the last 4 years. Startup owners and entrepreneurs take part by posting their website link on the competition pages that are currently running on both Facebook and LinkedIn. They get assessed solely on the content available on the public websites and are given scores by the Evaluation Committee. 

As founder of StartupProPlus.com, I'm honored to have been invited to the committee by the Committee and Competition Chair Mr. Domenico Nicolo.

The deadline is on the 20th of October. So hurry up!! Post your startup website using the links below now!

Click to join on LinkedIn

Click to join on FaceBook

Contest Rules for the nomination in the 1th edition of the competition "Calabria Dinamica. Mediterranean Startup Network Awards"

-Who can participate? 
All start-ups corporations existing from no more than four years

-How to submit your application to the competition?
Startups can submit the application by pasting their website, facebook page or blog URL in the following ways:

a) as a comment to the note in the facebook page "Calabria Dinamica"

b) as a comment to this discussion in the Linkedin group "Calabria Dinamica Mediterranen Startup"

You should not send the busines plan.

-What are the evaluation criteria?
Commitee will evaluate each startup only on the basis of the publicly available information on the website, facebook page or blog of the startup competition participants.
Startups should not send any further information to the members of the evaluation committee

-How will the score attribuited to startups?
Each member of the committee will have a total of 10 points that might distribute among the start-ups that he considers best.
After evaluation by the Committee, shall publish the list of the best start-ups.

There are no cash prizes.

The best startups selected by the committee will be able to participate in a subsequent competition that will provide for the allocation of preferences only by fans.

Participating in the competition startups expressly declare that they accept the rules stated in this note


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6 Online Business Ideas For Stay-at-Home Moms

Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom (Mum for our UK readers), stay-at-home Dad or just someone who likes the idea of earning a living from home, it’s time to start an online business!
But what should I do? What can you do to earn money online?
Well, there are numerous ways to earn money online, which is why I started this website!

One of the best is to start one or two free websites here to get a feel for what it takes to manage a website, but that is not the only way. The key thing to remember is that anyone can start an online business, but many can’t sustain it for long. Like any business, online or offline, it takes hard work and dedication. So, if you think you have the dedication, the drive and the passion to succeed, then there are a lot of opportunities to make a living online.
Stay at home Mom Online Business Ideas For Stay at Home Moms
Image by ‘Mish Mish’

Ways To Earn Money As A Stay-At-Home Mom

1. Start Your Own Blog/Website

Why not start your own website or blog and write articles on what you are most passionate about. The more interested you are in your chosen subject, the more willing you are to put the work in to write on a consistent basis and build up your site.
Try if you can to pick a subject that both; you are interested in and is a profitable niche blog topic. If you can find a balance between the two, then you can potentially make lots of money by monetizing your website with things such as Affiliate Marketing and Advertising, etc.
But how do you actually go about making your own website?
Well, it’s actually easier than you might think to build a website. You only need 4 fundamental things;
  1. Domain Name – This is the URL address of your website (e.g. OnlineIncomeTeacher.com). I useGoDaddy to register my domain names.
  2. Website Hosting – This is where the information on your website is stored online, so people can access your website 24hrs a day! I use HostGator to host my website.
  3. WordPress – This is how you will manage your website. WordPress lets you easily manage all the content on your site, e.g. articles, pictures, adverts, plugins, etc. If you don’t know how to create a website from scratch using CSS code, then you will definitely need WordPress.
  4. WordPress Theme – You want people to view your site as a professional website, not an amateur site. A good quality WordPress theme can make your website/blog look a lot more professional. I personally use WooThemes for my sites, this very site runs on the Canvas Theme fromWooThemes.
Once you have your basic website you can start adding regular articles and posts on your chosen subject. It’s important that you stick to your chosen niche, as this is what your readers will be expecting to read on your site. There would be no point in me writing a post about my holiday to Japan for this website as it has nothing to do with making money online!
With regular content being added, you can look at ways of attracting traffic to your website. Getting your site on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook & Google+ will help, but learning about On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEOTargeted Google Keywords, link building and more will help in the long run.
Finally, with traffic starting to come in to your website, you can look at ways to monetize and make money with it. Now, there are many ways to do this and it generally depends on what your website is about, but some of the most successful ways include; Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, Product Reviews, Product CreationEmail Marketing, and many more.
Read our ‘30 Ways Your Website Can Earn You Money!‘ to learn more.

2. Start Your Own Product Review Website

This method is almost exactly the same to the previous, the only difference is that instead of writing about all the things that are related to a specific subject, you write product reviews for a certain type of product.
For example, you may be a keen reader. You could create a website/blog and review books that you have read. Give your honest opinions on books that you liked/disliked and let your website visitors comment on whether they agree with you or not. On each review you can supply an affiliate link to Amazon to the specific book you are talking about. This way, when someone reads your review and decides to buy it, they can click on your affiliate link and buy it through that, which means you receive a commission.
It doesn’t have to be books that you review, it can be whatever you like. If you like movies like me, then start a film critic website and place affiliate links to the corresponding DVDs/BluRay products. You might have small children, you could set up a site reviewing children’s products, whether it’s toys, prams, clothes, etc. Write a product review and find an affiliate link for that product. You might love gadgets, video games, arts & crafts, cooking, whatever it is, you can write your own product reviews for them.
The good thing about this type of site is that people who visit your site are more inclined to buy via you. They are actively seeking a review of a product, so they find yours. If they read a glowing review of a product that you have written, they might buy it straight away. But equally if you tell them that a particular product is terrible, you may be able to inform them of a better one.

3. Start A Business From Home & Promote It Online

Work From Home Online Business Ideas For Stay at Home Moms
Image by ‘Ben McLeod’
You may have your own business that you run from home. This could be; bookkeeping, consultancy, writer, preparing gifts, dog sitter, etc. It doesn’t really matter what it is, the point is that you could promote yourself to a wider range of people by having your own website.
Having your own home-based business can be a struggle to find a constant supply of clients, particularly if you are relying on local advertisements like the local newspaper. Having your own website can open up your opportunities and not rely on local business.
Perhaps someone on the other side of the world, or even just an hour down the road, could benefit from your services.
You could also combine this with any of the previous two examples with your site. Perhaps you run a home-based catering service. You could design a website to promote your business, whilst writing the occasional review of cooking equipment or posting the odd recipe. All this can help draw attention to your website and ultimately make you more money!

4. Work As A Freelancer

If you have a specific skill, such as; writer, photographer, web designer, etc. then you could work as a professional freelancer.
A freelancer is someone who is not committed to a particular employer on a long term contract. This allows you to split your time between a number of different clients whilst providing them with a service.
As a freelancer you can work from home whilst completing a project for a client. Generally, clients hire you based on a completion date, so you are free to work the hours you choose within the day. This is great if you have kids that you are running to school in the morning and picking up in the afternoon, as you are free to work whilst they are at school and in the evening if you choose.
Again, having your own website to display your skills can help in finding new clients. You can use it as a portfolio for displaying your previous work, so potential employers can see that you are capable of working for them.

5. Become A Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA or virtual office assistant) is someone that provides professional administrative, technical or creative help to clients from a home-based office. Now, because VA’s are generally self-employed, clients are not responsible for any employee taxes, insurance or benefits that they would normally have to pay to regular in-house employees. This means that VA’s are quite in demand at the moment, especially as companies are trying to cut costs whilst we are still in an uncertain economy.
Working as a VA will help you to generate a steady income without the expense of commuting to work. Once you develop a good amount of experience, there is even the potential to create your own virtual office business at home and hire extra people to assist you.

6. Start An eBay Business

How To Make Money On Ebay Online Business Ideas For Stay at Home Moms
Yep, eBay is still going strong! Why not start your own business from home by selling things on eBay.
You may have already sold some things online, perhaps the odd bit of junk from the garage or loft that you no longer use. A lot of people turn this into a business by going round charity shops and car-boot sales to find items to sell on eBay. If you know what sort of items sell well, then you can make a nice amount from other people’s unwanted items.
You can take it a step further however. If you are going to start your own eBay business, then unless you have an endless supply of unwanted items, you will be needing stock! Pick a certain type of product that you are going to sell and go and find a supplier that sells them. Now there are two sources for getting stock; Wholesale and Dropshipping.
  • Wholesale – This method requires you to have the room to store the stock that you buy and the money to buy it in advance. The risk with buying from wholesalers is that you could potentially buy stock that doesn’t sell, but as long as you do research and make sure to check completed listings before you order anything, the risk here should be kept to a minimum.
  • Dropshipping – This method holds all the stock for you. When someone buys an item from you, your dropshipper company sends out the item for you to the customers address. You only actually pay for the item once you have received payment from the customer. This method does require you to pay a membership fee to join the scheme in the first place though.
Whichever method you choose to go with, you can start selling larger quantities of stock on eBay. If you can find products that sell well, which nobody else is really supplying, then you have got a great business that you can run from home.
Then you can update your computer for even more possibilities!
For more detailed information, read our post on ‘How To Make Money On eBay
These are just some of the various ways that you can earn money by staying at home. The internet is becoming more and more integral to our professional lives, so utilising it to promote yourself and/or making money online is a key skill to have.
Did you find this post helpful? If so, please help spread the word about it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Leave your questions below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Source: http://onlineincometeacher.com/money/online-business-ideas-for-stay-at-home-moms/

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