Making Money Online with a Second Language

As Americans climb out of difficult financial times, student loans remain an economic barrier to many, with loan debt growing in every quarter since 2003. Repayment is a burden for many current students and graduates.  What can you do to rid yourself of the debt accumulated?

I recently spoke with a community college graduate who smartly navigated his way out of educational debt through leveraging his proficiency in a second language. Though highly intelligent and proficient in their own languages, many students at his school were having trouble mastering English, and needed someone to fill the gaps introduced by textbooks and professors. The graduate spent some of his free time tutoring students in the library, but before long he had expanded to online tutoring as well.

Current students and grads don’t have to move far to make money; a number of people make sizable profits by roving online opportunities.  Those who speak a second language land jobs, leveraging multilingual skills to consult, tutor, translate documents, and address other tasks. You may not think that moving “learn to speak Spanish” to the top of your to-do list makes sense, but here are a few reasons why investing in that second language is a fiscally sound move. [Read more…]

Three business credit cards that can help build your small business in 2013

OK, I’ll just come right out and say it: Every small business should own a business credit card.

Business credit cards offer perks a regular consumer card simply can’t, including greater rewards, higher limits and competitive APR’s. Plus, they’ll build  your personal credit and your businesses’ credit, improving your chances of staying power and growth down the line if you need a business loan.

You’ve probably read stories about small business being built up from credit cards. (And maybe you yourself did something very similar.) And while exorbitant credit debt is a no-no for any business, there are several business credit cards in 2013 tailored to growing your small business.

Before applying for a business credit card, remember to consider:

  • The needs of your business. The best business credit cards reward you for the purchases you already make.
  • Your monthly budget. Since many business credit cards require you to spend a certain amount in a short period of time to receive your bonus points or miles, match up your monthly credit card budget with a similar card offer.
  • If you’ll need employee cards. Generally, business credit cards include employee cards with spending limits at no additional charge. If you’re in need of employee cards, make sure to confirm in the fine print that this is offered before applying.

So whether it’s cash back or bonus miles (or something else) that could give your small business a bump in the coming year, here are three business credit cards that can help you grow your small business in 2013…

1.) Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN

American Express has long held the gold standard (no pun intended) for business credit cards. This credit card for small business is perfect for your air game (3x points on airfare), ground game (2x points on gasoline purchases) and all other purchases your business needs to grow (1x points on everything else).

Other ways this business credit card can improve your business is through their purchase protection program, which guarantees reimbursement for lost or damaged items up to 90 days. Plus, employee gift cards are free in your first year as a cardholder and can help your business pile up the points.

That’s where the real perks of owning this credit card come into play: the AmEx membership points. It’s no secret that American Express has the most lucrative rewards program, which is why they’re able to get away with annual fees when others cannot. (The annual fee on this business credit card, by the way, is $175 and waived your first year.) Redeem your business rewards points on the things that can save your company the most, including flights, hotel rooms and office supplies.

2.) Chase Ink Bold® Charge Card

The Ink Bold® Card from Chase includes great features specific to your small business. New members can earn 25,000 bonus points simply for making their first purchase, and another 25,000 when they spend $10,000 in their first three months. (The equivalent of $625 in travel.)

This is a pay-in-full charge so there’s a flexible limit and no interest charges to deal with, and their Ultimate Rewards® program includes 20% off airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises with no blackout dates. Basically, this business credit card can help you (and your small business) get around.

Finally, members receive 5x points on every $1 spent on business purchases. (Up to $50,000 annually.) This is one of the best business credit cards to earn points fast, and if you travel abroad you’ll pay nothing in foreign transaction fees. Small business owners that travel often should absolutely consider this business rewards card. (Despite the $95 annual fee.)

3.) SimplyCash ® Business Card from American Express

Finally, there’s this business select credit card from American Express. This is another business card that can get your small business going places (literally) in 2013.

If you push a lot of paper, this might be the best credit card for your business because you’ll receive 5% cash back at office supply stores (up to $12k), plus 5% cash back on wireless phone service. Earn another 3% cash back at the pump year-round, and once again gain access to their excellent rewards program.

Make next year the year your small business really takes off with the boost you’ll receive from one of these top business credit cards in 2013.

About the Author: This guest post was written by Jason Bushey. Jason gives personal finance advice on Creditnet.com.

Making Money with Vending Machines: Turning Snack Time into Cash Time

When looking for a way to make money on the side without having to dabble online, some people tend to ignore the giant snack-filled box in the room. Vending Machines have a reputation for being unreliable as both a source of income and snacks. But there are ways to make money off of these bulky giants if you know what you’re doing. Here are some tips for starting out.

Do your homework.

As with any source of alternate income, you’re much more likely to make money if you treat it like a legitimate job. The harder you work, the more you make. So when you’re starting out, don’t rush into things. Look into several suppliers before buying your vending machine, paying attention to prices, warranties, and size. Consider what you want to sell and make sure you buy the right type of machine to dispense those products.  Talk with local businesses about putting the machine in their facilities and scope out the best location- one with high traffic.

Be Creative

The great thing about vending machines is that you can dictate exactly what you want to do. You can sell what you want, charge what you want, and market it how you want. Consider the location of your machine and try to market to the people who will be visiting it. With healthy eating on the rise, consider healthy but tasty options that people won’t feel guilty eating. Also, look into selling handmade goods or other unexpected items. Choose something that people will say, “Wow, I can get this from a vending machine?!” The novelty alone will result in sales. Be competitive and reasonable with your prices, but keep in mind that if you’re not making a profit, you’re not doing things right.

[Read more…]

How to Import: A Guide for eBay Sellers

[Last week I published a guest post about importing from China. That article seemed to have got some of the readers dabbling in eBay excited about a new option they have not explored before for cutting through the competition. I had several mails asking me about some of the basics of getting started. Since the guest author, Alice, is an expert on this topic, I asked her if she could help us with a more basic How-To guide. And she was kind enough to oblige. I hope this will come in handy for some of you.]

I recently wrote a post about The 6 Essential tips for importing from China. Not surprisingly, it sparked an interest among some of the enterprising readers about what is possible when you import items from China to sell on eBay and they want to learn more. So, I have put together this little guide to cover some of the finer points of importing goods from China to the US. Read on to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to import cut-price goods to resell for a profit.

Finding a supplier

Obviously this is the first step to importing anything. I covered some crucial tips in my last post, but if you need a refresher, the main things to remember when ordering from an overseas supplier, from China or elsewhere, are:

  • Use safe payment methods such as PayPal or ProPay. These payment methods offer you some level of protection if something goes wrong between the time when you pay the supplier and when you receive and inspect the items at your home or warehouse.
  • Be wary of on large marketplace-style wholesale websites such as DH Gate. While there are plenty of trusted suppliers here who offer great service, these sites are also rife with scammers posing as suppliers who will either take your money and run, or deliver you poor quality items that you won’t be able to give away, let alone sell for a profit.

Ensuring that you can legally import your chosen items

Common sense can often determine whether you can import a particular item, but it’s worth doing a thorough check anyway to avoid the disappointment of spending time and money trying to import something that you cannot legally bring into the country.

Check out the Customs and Border Protection’s list of restricted items and prohibited items to check your items are fine to bring in.

[Read more…]

Importing from China to Sell on eBay: 6 Essential Tips for Successful Importing

If you are interested in making money on eBay, you might be aware of the fact that some sellers find that competition on the eBay marketplace a little intense.

For many items such as electronic gadgets like mobile phones and mp3 players, it’s pretty much impossible for a new seller to make sales. This is because you are going head-to-head with long-term sellers with big budgets (they often make wholesale orders of over $20,000 -$30,000 at a time) which is difficult to compete with.

However, there are still a lot of unsaturated markets on eBay and therefore, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to cash-in. One of the best ways to ensure fast sales on eBay is importing from China, the global manufacturing giant.

When you import from China, you open yourself up to being able to source products that sell like hotcakes on eBay at a fraction of the cost of sourcing them locally. Products at 60% below retail prices? Yes please!

Importing from China isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here are six essential tips to help get you started.

Take precautions when importing from china

This is especially true when you order from suppliers on DHGate, China Vision, iOffer, etc. While these sites can have some exceptional bargains, they are also rife with dodgey suppliers who are offering products that are of such poor quality that you will have trouble selling them. In some cases, products bought from sellers on these sites never even show up. Your best protection is checking the suppliers feedback score (most wholesale marketplaces have feedback systems just like eBay) and contacting the supplier for a chat before you purchase anything.

Above all, remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

[Read more…]

From Financial Advisor to Financial Comparison Site Owner: How To Quit Your Job and Support a Dream Lifestyle

This is the story of how I went from being a bored financial advisor to owning a financial comparison website that lets me travel the world on the profits.

I’m usually not comfortable telling people how to make money online but I wanted to share my story because if I can do it then you can do it.  I’ll also give you some tips on what NOT to do when starting a niche site like this.  If you avoid the mistakes I’ve made then you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy, and you’ll probably start making money a lot more quickly too.

My story

I am a qualified independent financial advisor, and although I had a decent job in the UK financial services industry, like many other people I found myself dreaming of making money online and living by the beach.  I tried a bunch of things and nothing seemed to work until I started Compare Logbook Loans, a financial comparison site in the obscure niche of logbook loans that I’d never even heard of before.

How to Quit Your JobIt wasn’t an easy ride, and I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but it now earns me and my business partner a basic living each month, and since it really took off I spent most of 2011 in Thailand and Vietnam living by the beach.  The site won’t make me rich – it now makes around $8,500 net profit per month between two of us – but because I get paid in UK pounds it allows me to live an excellent lifestyle in exotic places where I benefit from the great exchange rate.

There are many different online business models but the one I have managed to get working is a cross between affiliate marketing and lead generation. Put simply, this means that I get paid a commission by loans companies every time my website sends them a new visitor who goes on to become a customer.  Everything is tracked automatically by online software and the lenders simply transfer money into my bank account at the end of the each month – it’s great!

Obviously there is a large amount of work of be done on the website each month – it’s not one of these automated cash machines that you hear about – but in relation to the income the amount of hours worked is pretty good and I can’t complain.

What NOT to do

Rather than just give you give you a chronological account of what I did, it might be more useful for you if I break it down into mistakes I made and how you can avoid them.  I have always found negative advice more useful, simply because it is much easier to know when something does NOT work than when it does, because there are so many variables involved, including blind luck and random chance (which most of the so-called “gurus” never seem to mention.)

Here are a few of the mistakes I’ve made and what I learned from them – I hope this helps you to shave at least a year off your learning curve!

[Read more…]

Work From Home Opportunities

“I can’t go back to work,” my best friend lamented to me half way into her maternity leave. “I’m tired of working for somebody else; and I don’t want to leave him” – indicating her six week old son – “for eight and a half hours a day.” She looked at me pleadingly, the raw emotion clearly visible in her eyes. “How did you do it?”

By ‘it,’ my friend meant leaving my full-time job and embarking on a new professional path as my own boss. No more 8am conference calls with an unsympathetic manager; no more weekend calls to work overtime; no more office politics.

The fact is, just about anyone can use their skill set to make money outside of the traditional workplace. Whether you’re a journalist, like me, who wants to branch out on her own, or an independently-minded businessman looking to take advantage of the dozens of franchise opportunities available right now, if you look hard enough, you’ll uncover many creative new ways to expand your income.

Many people find passion by working from home.

Become A Mortgage Broker

With mortgage rates at all-time lows, there’s never been a better time to become a mortgage broker. You’ve got two options when it comes to pursuing this career path. The first is the more conventional of the two – signing on to work as a broker with an established office or company. The second gives you more freedom and control – and more responsibility as well: taking advantage of mortgage broker franchise opportunities.

To get an idea of the mortgage broker franchise model, think about the world’s biggest franchise: McDonald’s. While most people associate this chain with Ray Kroc, the first McDonald’s was actually opened in 1940 by two brothers, named – what else? – Richard and Maurice McDonald. It wasn’t until Kroc signed on as a franchise agent in 1955 that the chain took off. Under the McDonald’s model, qualified franchisees pay an upfront fee to open a location under the parent company’s name. They follow the parent company’s rules, usually offering the same products or services with minimal variation. While the franchisee ultimately reports to the parent company, they enjoy the benefits of owning and operating their own office or storefront. [Read more…]

Before You Dive Into the World of Freelance Writing, Beware of These Three Gotchas

If you’ve been a salaried employee all your life the allure of a home-based self employment gig can be awfully compelling.  And it seems that there are several economic and cultural shifts occurring today that are opening up the freelance market to people in many industries.  It’s an open secret that corporations have taken to hiring “consultants” or contractors both for specific projects and for an indeterminate period of employment.

Software engineers and network experts often hire out on a contract basis.  Case managers and clinical study professionals for pharmaceutical firms, even executives with backgrounds in finance or operations management are to be found today working under contract.  But this article is about people who are interested in starting a freelance writing business in partnership solely with a computer and high speed online service.  One of the cultural phenomena that are driving the freelance writing business today is the remarkable range of online commercial enterprises.  Those that are depending on using the internet for marketing purposes need quality content, and a lot of it, to establish their presence.

Beware the Bidding Wars

Some freelancers read everything they can about blogging and set out to develop a site with sufficient quality to build a following that in internet terms, translates into a revenue stream from advertising dollars.  Others who are casting about for a starting point in the business gravitate to one of the bidding sites for freelance services such as Guru, Elance, oDesk, ScriptLance, and many other lesser sites offer the freelance writer an opportunity to sign on and bid on posted writing jobs.

Most of these have a premium subscription level that provides full access to listed jobs, so you’ll be paying a monthly stipend.  In addition, once you land a job with one of these services payment is handled through their site and they take a cut of up to 10% of your earnings.  If you’re being paid through PayPal, that’s another deduction from your earnings. [Read more…]

How Much Should You Pay a Freelancer?

When outsourcing work for the first time, one of the most important aspects is deciding on how much to pay your freelancer.  As this might be unfamiliar territory, the aim of this article is to provide some practical advice in addressing this decision.

Why Do We Hire Freelancers?

 

Generally there are 3 reasons why we utilize the services of freelancers. These include:

  1. Freeing Up Time Many individuals do not want to sacrifice time for money. When considering the online market, for example, it allows Internet Marketers the opportunity to outsource work such as article writing or graphic designs etc.  Many established Internet Marketers will rather pay someone else to do the work for them in order to free up more personal time. [Read more…]

5 Lessons YOU Need to Learn To Become the Best Tutor Ever

Money. So easy to spend, yet so hard to make. I learned this lesson the hard way from my parents who constantly emphasized that “money didn’t grow on trees.” Every allowance made from cleaning dishes and babysitting didn’t go toward Malibu Barbie or the red patent leather Mary Jane’s I’d always wanted, but was fed directly to my pink, plastic piggy. This was why when I was a senior in high school and prom time came around, it was no surprise that my parents wanted me to either pay my own way or go the Molly Ringwald way from ‘Pretty in Pink.’

Luckily, I had attended an SAT preparatory academy during high school to study for the SAT’s and had done well enough to get asked to teach there during the summers while I was in college.  And that marked the beginning of my decade-plus long career as an SAT instructor. While I’ve had numerous jobs from being a barista to taking sushi delivery orders, no other job has given me the opportunity to pay my way through school and to gain financial independence from my parents.

Best TutorFrom then on, I’ve always been fortunate enough to help a steady stream of students through word-of-mouth (thanks to all the tiger moms!) and this financial freedom has allowed me to take certain risks, ones that I would never have been able to do without these teaching gigs. For example, I had worked in publishing for some time and was seriously considering a career change, but without having a severance to fall back on, there was no way that I could’ve taken the leap without having tutoring’s safety net catch me.

Lesson 1: Get Everything in Writing

Whether you’re acting as a freelance tutor or working for a private institution, make sure all the terms, including number of hours worked, hourly rate, cancellation policy, etc., have all been discussed, negotiated, and on paper. [Read more…]