How to make some extra money in your spare time

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If you’re not in full-time employment, or if you are and need a little extra money without that commitment of getting a part-time job where the idea of somebody else dictating where and when you have to work isn’t going to fit your current lifestyle then you could well be thinking of ways to make a little extra money for a specific purchase or just to make life that little bit easier on your wallet.

Be legal

If you’re going to start making a supplementary income then you really need to be above board as soon as you start making any money.

You should certainly inform the Inland Revenue of your actions because if you don’t you are liable to face a fine if you’ve already begun trading and they think you’re trying to dodge paying any taxes. It’s not complicated though; even completing a self-assessment is pretty straightforward and can be done online. Everything you need to know you should be able to find on the HMRC website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-up-in-business-se1

If you’re going to be working from home there are instances when you’ll need to check your home insurance for any level of cover you may need and also it’s worth investigating if you’d need to let your local council know what you’re planning if your new business idea impacts the usage of your home or property.

Use your existing skillsets

If you’ve already got a range of existing skills such as previous experience working with security monitoring service then trading on those seems to be the best place to start. It’s more than likely going to be the way you can earn the best rates of pay. So if you have any of the following why not consider putting them to work and reaping the benefits?

Graphic and website design

We all live on the Internet now and there are so many options in how to utilise your design or programming skills to earn extra cash. You can opt straight for sites like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer who will match you to clients who need your services. You may choose to advertise your skills direct to the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest. They’re all great ways of letting the world know you’ve got skills and are ready to use them.

There are also websites who will produce products for sale using your design work; websites such as Zazzle, Café Press, Spreadshirt or Pikistore; they all print your artwork onto various items from t-shirts to greetings cards leaving you to reap the profits.

Do you speak a second language?

With a second language under your belt why not check out websites like Gengo or One Hour Translation? There are a range of websites who are looking to pay people for translating all kinds of text and copy.

Or with the aid of a webcam and microphone you could offer private tuition. You don’t have to limit yourself to picking up that kind of work from local students anymore — if you choose to utilise the Internet then world is now your new marketplace.

Drivers

Once upon a time it meant studying and passing rigorous testing to become a taxi driver but Uber have made making a living from passenger delivery a much easier way to earn a little extra. And if you don’t like passengers all that much why not consider delivering fast-food or mail order items? There are a lot of owner-driver opportunities in those markets for someone willing to take the plunge.

Write for a living

You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to make your millions from writing. Of course if you’ve got it in you to write a best seller than what are you waiting for? But for anyone else with a good command of the language then you can make money writing for the Internet now. You can write and sell e-books; they could be fiction or educational. It’s not the same huge commitment and risk as writing a novel because a lot of e-books can be much shorter, novellas and short story collections are great options to write and sell while you’re putting the final touches of your version of War & Peace together.

A very popular way to make extra money writing now is to write blog articles. It’s a big business for SEO, driving traffic and digital marketing and there are a whole range of places you can apply your services. You can start by applying to write for content sites but once you’re up and running you can use those articles to sell your ways to the digital marketers who really need your skills.

Baking and decorating cakes

The cupcake craze a few years back boosted the work of bakers everywhere. A few well-placed examples on social-media easily gives someone with a talent for creating amazing birthday, wedding or special occasion cakes a great platform for a perfect home business.

Get crafty

The amount of craft selling websites available have made the home-craft industry into something a lot easier than selling your wares in the local village hall on a Sunday afternoon — get on etsy or ebay, there’s an enormous world-wide market just waiting to see your creations. Link it all through Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and you’ve got yourself a mass of free advertising too!

There are so many options!

This is a massive topic, and there are a thousand other ideas to make money without even using any existing skills. There are so many more ways you can use your existing talents — from earning advertising revenue from your gaming clips on YouTube or Twitch, to offering handyman, gardening or decorating services; you could become a private tutor if you’ve already earned suitable qualifications or just a little higher up the educational ladder than someone who needs a little help.

If you’re musical you could offer your services in cafes or restaurants, playing at social gatherings or networking events. You could become a DJ!

Or for the beautiful and aesthetically pleasing of you there are modelling opportunities that aren’t based around the catwalk — why not put the kids to work? There are all kinds of catalogue and web marketing opportunities out there, and what if you aren’t so beautiful? There are agencies who are looking for those with unusual or specific appearances; so make the most of what you’ve got — whatever it is!

4 Effective Ways to Become an Autodidact

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Autodidacticism is the art of self-instruction in any field or discipline. It refers to the individualistic desire to submerge yourself willingly in a pool of knowledge and to broaden your learning horizons. So keep reading and find out how you can become an autodidact.

An autodidact seeks to sharpen his set of skills through a private and informal process of self-study where he researches, accumulates, engrosses and applies his new found insights.

An autodidact can be anyone: a seven year old girl watching Youtube videos on how to make a fairy wand for a costume party or a forty-five year old, recently single man looking up recipes on how to cook macaroni and cheese.

As a self-educator, an autodidact has full control of the structure and style of his instructive procedure. Of course, he is free to consult other experts in the avenue of his study and gain their advice if he encounters trials that he may require assistance with.

Autodidacticism takes on the utilization of multi-media instruments of erudition that can range from books, videos, hands-on learning, online courses and much more. It is not limited to one kind of learning tool.

The beauty of the Internet is that it has allowed the world to obtain real-time information its mere fingertips and equipped people with the means they need to expand their scope of knowledge. This also has popularized the concept of self-teaching.

If you have had a life long dream to learn how to play the guitar, you do not need to pay a guitar professional to direct you. All you have to do is invest in a guitar and look up a free course online.

This can be attributed to the fact that there is infinite digital information available. Remember you will have an advantage if you have a strong memory and are capable of recalling concepts. There are various ways to become a master of your chosen discipline.

Follow Your Heart

The first and foremost step in your learning journey is to identify the subject matter that you wish to become a self-taught guru in. Go crazy and choose the most random interests that you have been in love with since you were a young child. The best part about being an autodidact is that you do not have to be selective and can commit yourself to developing skills across multiple industry verticals. Casting a wide net in to the sea of knowledge will keep your fire of passion ignited. It will inspire you to venture further into the depths of its detail. After all, your motivation is the most vital guiding component in your voyage of self-mastery.

Devour with Love

After you have chosen what you wish to learn, it should be full speed ahead! Dig, dig and dig! Refer to a multitude of eclectic sources to hone your mind. Yes, the Internet is an effective, endless database of information but it is gain exposure to a human element as well. Wondering how to do that?

Expand your foundation of intended education by registering for workshops, seminars and short courses. It will serve as a great medium to network and to build your base of contacts as it may prove beneficial later down the line if you attempt to earn a livelihood from your newly acquired skills. You may find a mentor or a role model learn from. Perhaps, you can even shadow him once in a while and see what the average day in his life is like. This will give you an idea what to anticipate and help you establish realistic expectations. Finding like-minded people allow you to indulge in an exchange of information and comprehend other people’s perspectives on a similar path as you. It will help you realize that you are not alone in pursuing your passion and will keep you motivated to devour the knowledge surrounding you with a bit of love.

Virtual Sources

As we have stated that you can learn a lot from the Internet, you must be wondering what kind of sources are available. Do not worry, we will share some of our top recommendations with you.

  1. Digital Courses: The revolutionary phenomena labelled as distance learning has been around for some time now. Countless universities, colleges and schools have launched online where you can pay to become part of their classes. Accredited and renowned educational institutions such as John Hopkins, MIT and Berkeley offer online classes.
  2. Podcasts: If reading is not your thing, do not despair. In today’s day and age, we are fortunate to have a variety of tools at our hands that allow us to grow our knowledge. Utilize your listening skills and attend an audio course whilst having your lunch break simply by hearing it. You can do this anywhere: exercising, running, taking a walk or whilst cooking even.
  3. Ebooks: There is a plethora of free electronic books available online that you can print out and read whenever you have time. Similar to podcasts, you can read them whilst riding the subway to work or in the bathroom. It is completely up to you when you dedicate time as that is the flexibility you have when you are an autodidact.
  4. Online Encyclopaedias: Portals such as Wikipedia offer free access to useful articles where you can spend the whole day surfing and exploring content related to your industry of study. Make Wikipedia your browser’s home page and begin your day by spending half hour increasing your knowledge base.

Connect the Dots

We live in a complex world where everything is inter-connected. Endeavour to see the bigger picture at hand and find that common thread that links the different tools of learning that you are exposed too. Each fact that you consume will hold value.

However, how you choose to apply that knowledge in your field of study is what will make you a master of that discipline. Peter Drucker, the famous American business guru, once said that “innovation is nothing more that the re-application of existing technology.”

How to drive productivity with the Eisenhower decision matrix

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What can the 34th President of the United States tell you that will help you get on top of that never ending to-do list?

You’d be forgiven for thinking the best plan is just to switch your phone to silent and roll your sleeves up – but in actual fact, Dwight Eisenhower had another plan, one that involved a simple but extremely effective prioritisation system.

The ‘Eisenhower Matrix’ (or ‘Urgent-Important’ matrix as it’s sometimes known) is exactly that.

Oh, and if you think you’re busy, don’t worry – aside from being a 5-star WWII general and Supreme Commander of NATO Allied Forces in Europe, Eisenhower was also a 2 term US President and President of a prestigious US university; although none of this stopped him enjoying daily golf sessions and producing over 200 oil paintings. It’s safe to say your time is in good hands.

What is the Eisenhower matrix?

In essence, the Eisenhower Matrix is one large square divided equally into 4 more squares, or quadrants. These quadrants are then labelled, left to right, top to bottom as follows:

  1. Do
  2. Plan
  3. Delegate
  4. Eliminate

Eisenhower matrix

As you can see, the upper quadrants are labelled ‘important’ and the lower ones ‘not important’ – with the left hand quadrants labelled ‘urgent’ and the right most labelled ‘not urgent’.

Now, the next step in turbo-charging your productivity in a presidential manner comes with quickly categorising the tasks on your to-do list…

Categorising your tasks using the Eisenhower matrix

There’s no prescriptive way of categorising tasks on your to-do list, the same task that’s important for you might be irrelevant to someone else, so you have to come at the matrix from your point of view.

You can start by approaching your list with one question:

Is this task urgent?

Your answer decides whether the task goes into the ‘urgent’ or ‘not urgent’ column. Next question:

Is this task important?

This next answer decides whether the task goes into the ‘important’ or ‘not important’ row. When you’ve decided, your tasks has now landed in one of the quadrants, and can be treated as follows…

The different quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix

  1. Do

This is the most pressing of the quadrants – as both ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ combine to advise that you ‘do it first’!

Don’t forget, these are subjective – so doing the ironing might not usually appear in this quadrant – but if you don’t have any ironed shirts before a big interview, then ironing suddenly becomes an urgent-important task.

A good way to consider if your tasks belongs in this quadrant is to ask yourself what the impact or knock-on impact would be if it’s not done. If it’s immediately critical to life, family, career or health then its place in the ‘do’ quadrant is probably well justified.

Oh – and if you hadn’t already assumed, these tasks need to be done as soon as is physically possible, prioritised over everything else on the list.

  1. Plan

If your task is important but not immediately urgent, the this second quadrant – ‘plan’ – is the perfect home for it.

A lot of life’s tasks are important but don’t need to be done immediately as a priority. Eating, exercising, spending time with loved ones – and a lot of professional tasks fall into this area too – the marketing plan for next financial year, putting together a brief for a client you’ll meet next month, and so forth.

Hence, planning when to do them should be your next step. Look at the diary, work out when they can be done around other commitments and fit them in. Depending on how your manage your diary, these will either be done when the time comes around – or they’ll end up being pushed back until they are bumped forward into the ‘urgent-important’ box.

  1. Delegate

Tasks that are ‘urgent’ but ‘not important’ can be a real drain on your time – and, if we can assume that virtually everyone owns a mobile phone now, your pocket sized companion is the perfect example of this:

You’re working on an important task and the phone rings – something that’s very difficult to ignore.

On the other end of the phone, a colleague, a friend, a telemarketing company… all of which are going to take you further away from completing that ‘urgent-important’ task.

So what do you do? The answer, as far as is possible, is to delegate the task.

Now, President Eisenhower probably wasn’t short of people who would answer the White House phone for him, but you don’t have to have staff to take advantage of delegation. Could you set your voicemail? Could you have your mobile calls rooted to a colleagues phone while you’re hard at work? Could you set up a rule for incoming emails?

Delegating to systems is sometimes just as useful as having someone who’ll pick up the work on your behalf.

  1. Eliminate

If a task is ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ then it probably doesn’t have a place in your day.

Be careful though, because there are some leisure activities that might not seem important, but are actually a vital part of a work-life balance.

So, reading the news might give you needed 5 minute break away from your job – but if you find yourself mindlessly sucked into reading every news story you can find out of nothing more than habit then this is very much ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ – and needs eliminating, as it does nothing more than eat up your precious time.

How do your days and weeks play out?

You’ve probably got a rough idea of how a day looks at the moment in terms of what can wait, what can’t, what’s ultra-pressing, what isn’t… etc.

However, our brains aren’t really great at being objective, which is why, to get a really good understanding of how the Eisenhower matrix can help you, you need to start recording everything you do.

Grab some post-its. Now, every time you change task, note down what you’re doing. At the end of the day, look back at these things with less ‘in the moment’ eyes – and ask yourself:

Was this important?

Was this urgent?

Then stick it on a printed out or drawn version of the matrix accordingly.

When you’ve got an idea of what your day entails, you can start adjusting accordingly. Finding a lot of ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ tasks? Great, your new found awareness means you’ve just freed up a bundle of time. Putting ‘important’ but ‘not urgent’ tasks before things that should be getting done immediately? Well now you can adjust.

Awareness is absolutely everything when it comes to productivity. When you understand what your behaviour looks like in a day, you can adjust it so that to-do list is worked through in the most effective way possible.

How to Get That Dream Promotion at Work

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It is a classic problem that most people experience at some point in their lives. You need, or want, a promotion. Maybe you need the money for debt help? Maybe you want the recognition? Maybe you’re bored in your current position and want more responsibility? No matter what the reason, we’re here to give you advice that might just make the different and get your that well-earned jump in your career!

  1. Work Hard

This might go without saying, but it will definitely help you if you are good at your job. But, this isn’t enough. You also have to be seen to be being very good at your job. This means you need to make sure you:

  • get credit for your ideas, initiative and quality work
  • arrive on time every day
  • don’t take excessive amounts of time off
  • show an interest in your work
  • work well with your colleagues

It is a good idea to have these attributes and attitudes from day one, but it is never too late to go for it. Don’t just ‘suck up’ to your boss either. Show yourself to be reliable and hard working with your colleagues as well, you never know when one of them may be in the position to promote you one day, or influence your bosses’ decision. Remember: it can be difficult to promote someone, no matter how talented they are, if they already aren’t respected by their future employees.

  1. Play Hard

Don’t go all-out crazy, but socialising is a very important aspect of a work-place environment. Go to office parties, and try to have lunch with your colleagues, or maybe an occasional pint or two. The better they know you as a person, the more supportive they will be to your advancement. Your boss is also much more likely to promote someone they know well, than someone they don’t.

You need to be careful, however, because you don’t want to become seen as simply a social-centre, rather than a respected member of a team. Too many office party hijinks, and your working reputation may be damaged.

  1. Educate Yourself

Some work places offer opportunities for professional development. Take these up as enthusiastically as you can! Even if your company doesn’t offer such opportunities, find some for yourself. Anything you can add to your CV or Cover Letter will help you chances.

Maybe learning a language, or becoming more financially savvy, is the key to your promotion? Evening, weekend, and online courses exist on all sorts of topics, from Russian, to Arabic, to Financial Know-How. Showing some initiative to improve yourself always looks great to employers.

  1. Be Confident

This can be easier said than done, but acting with confidence can make all the difference in the world. This will help you claim the credit you deserve when you do well, stand your ground if you find yourself needing ask for a promotion, and help you connect with your colleagues.

A great trick to being confident is to realise that no one is really all that confident. Everyone has their insecurities. Some great tips for improving your self-esteem include: avoiding negative self-talk, connecting with people who love you, focusing on the positives, and seeking support when you need it.

In terms of acting confident for a promotion, you may even want to think about enrolling in acting classes. If you can’t be confident, you can at least learn to act confident. Maybe you can think of someone confident who you respect and try to emulate them?

  1. Look elsewhere

If you really feel underappreciated, or underpaid, then don’t be afraid to look for work elsewhere. There is no point being loyal to a company who is not being loyal to you. Don’t act spiteful to your boss and colleagues, though; even if you do manage to get a job elsewhere. You never know when the networks you built during your years with them could be useful later down the line.

You never know, your boss might value you more than you think and offer to match, or raise, the salary being offered to you. So, it could be worth looking around, even if you would rather stay where you are.

  1. Ask for it

Sometimes a promotion opportunity might not be on the horizon, no matter how much your boss and colleagues like and respect you. But, if you have put in years of good service with a company, there is nothing to stop you asking your boss for a meeting to discuss your pay.

It might sound terrifying, but, often, the very act of taking the initiative, and knowing your worth can demonstrate your value to a company and convince your boss you are worth a pay-rise or promotion.

  1. Make it About the Company

This bring us to our second point: make that conversation all about what you bring to a company, rather than your needs. Your boss doesn’t need to know the details of your debt management plan, how expensive raising your child is, your DAS, or any other real reason you need the promotion. If anything, sharing your financial problems could lead your boss to question how responsible you are, or see you as a risk.

Tell your boss about all the great things you have done since you have joined the company. Talk about what you hope to do for the company should you be promoted: your plans and aims, and how you might achieve them. Most companies prefer hiring from within the company, so remember: you have an advantage, use it!

  1. Apply Formally

Whether you are applying internally, or externally; you’ve been told it’s just a formality; or even if your boss is your best mate. Always apply just as you would if you were an external candidate who really wanted the job. Put your best foot forward and sell yourself with an updated cover letter and CV.

You never know what is going on behind the scenes, and your boss might have to justify your promotion to their boss, or you might come up against an unexpectedly perfect external candidate. A lacklustre application will not appear very convincing, and you don’t want to risk putting anything to chance.