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Month: November 2017

Top 6 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

The world of real estate can be the place where your wildest dreams come true, but at the same time it’s a real jungle. To clear the way and cut through the vines, you need to arm yourself with extensive knowledge. Along the way, you will also have to build trust, reputation, and relations. Grasping all the moving parts can be quite overwhelming, so brace and pace yourself. Advance in the direction of tangible goals, leaving a trail of closed deals in your wake.

Numbers run the show

All that number crunching may not be glamorous, but it is the key to fulfilling your grand visions. So, set your emotions aside and dive into the ocean of facts and figures. Take your time to learn the math. Tap into data on past and future revenues of the property, capital costs, ROI, and operating expenses. You cannot afford to fall victim to myths that float around the internet no matter what.

You have to plan, plan, plan

Real estate endeavors must be treated just like any other business. Wishful thinking will not help, and cutting corners does more harm than good. Therefore, come up with a business plan as sound as a dollar. It should establish your budget and outline actionable, measurable goals. Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst by having an exit strategy and a contingency plan in place. Keep track of your workflow. Get back to the drawing board if you fall short of your goals.

Looking beyond immediate avail pays dividends

You cannot expect hefty profits if you are not prepared to invest good money. The penny-pinching mentality will not take you far. If you are sure that you have found a good deal, worrying about the money to fund it is not your main concern. Take into account how the quality and potential of the location and neighborhood impacts the (future) value of the property. Look at the long-term horizon, not just the profit that waits around the corner.

Importance of going with the flow

Put an emphasis on cash flow – the real gold mine of property investing. It makes the difference between miserable fizzle and dazzling success. Furthermore, note that careful analysis enables you to discover emerging markets and hit a home run. At the same time, identify small-scale ways of optimizing and boosting the cash flow. Learn, for instance, how to raise rental income without upsetting tenants and familiarize yourself with the difference between active and passive income.

Value of teamwork

Finding great team members is a very important element in maximizing your chances of success. After all, you cannot learn everything, nor should you try to. So, network with like-minded real estate hunters. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Outsource as much as possible to make the most of your time. If you plan on investing in real estate overseas, try to find someone who will take care of your finances. An experienced buyer’s agent from Sydney is who you need if you want to invest in Australia, for example.

Pillars of success

Trust and reputation are the foundations upon which a stellar property portfolio gets built. Thus, try to position yourself as a trusted expert. Always build relationships and get to know the top dogs out there. Never skimp on updates and repairs because that will give you a murky reputation. Steer away from shoddy and obsolescent properties: a network of satisfied clients can launch you towards greatness.

Golden opportunities

To get the show on the road, take baby steps rather than making a leap of faith off a cliff. Create a plan of action and grow your portfolio. Embrace a targeted, focused approach and carve your niche. Figure out one strategic approach you are going to master, be it flipping, renting, wholesaling, or something else. Make your moves only after handling the spadework. Do not get sidetracked along the way and take your emotions out of the equation.

And the moment you recognize a great opportunity, snatch it before anyone else does.

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6 Tips For A Successful Landscaping Business

If you love being outdoors and have a passion for plants, starting a landscaping business may be just what you are looking for. You need to be aware that you will have to face a very competitive market, so in order for you to make it, you will have to put in a lot of effort and time into it. You need to lay a proper groundwork for your business, by learning as much as you can, and going into business well-prepared. In this article, we are going to discuss 6 tips for running a successful landscaping business.

Learn all you can about landscaping

In order to do a successful landscaping business, you first need to learn as much as you can about the craft. You can start by gaining some experience by working for another landscaping company. You can also provide services as an apprentice to a landscaper that has more experience than you. Another option is to sign up for a technical school and go to classes that focus on landscape design and business practices. Here you will gain valuable information that will help you be smart when you plan out your business later on.

Decide the scope of your business

It is up to you to decide what the scope of your business will be. You can decide that you want to mow lawns on your own, or you can turn into a whole company that provides various services, such as retaining walls, grading, storm drain work, and the like. Of course, you can’t offer everything you want from the start, but it’s essential that you know where you want your business to go. For example, if you want to focus on grading and retaining walls, you’ll be working on projects that are big enough so that you don’t need a large clientele, but small enough so that you can finish them in a somewhat short period.

Assign roles and responsibilities

If you aren’t going to be doing a one-man business, then you’ll probably have a partner or two that you are going to work with. It is essential that everyone in your business knows what their role is and be familiar with the responsibilities that each role means. Partnerships can turn to dust if responsibilities aren’t determined from the start. You should know that if it isn’t stated otherwise in a legal document, everyone in your partnership has the same claim to the business, no matter whether they are actively taking part in it.

Start early

You need to be smart about when you do your business. Depending on where your business is located, it is important that you make the most out of spring, summer, and fall. This is the perfect time to do your best so that you can get ahead of the competition. Bring out your marketing campaign and roll out the ads you’ve got up your sleeve. Look for clients that will agree to place your sign in their own yard. Brochures and cards are a great way of spreading the word.

Equipment, supplies and capital

According to professionals at Sand4U, essential things that you’ll need are landscaping supplies, like sand, gravel and soil. You will need the right heavy machinery as well, like a bobcat, a trailer, and hauling equipment.

Starting out with a substantial capital is important, as machinery will often need repairs, and you need to be prepared for such a scenario. You have to be sure that in the midst of a project, you have the money to do a proper repair and not hold up work.

Diversify your work

Once your business has become successful, you can grow it further by branching. For example, you may be focused on residential properties at the moment, so it might be a good choice to take commercial properties into account from now on as well. Commercial properties have big needs, so they will provide you with more business.

Final words

There are other things that you need to keep in mind, such as having a website so that people can look you up online and learn about your business. You need to figure out how payment collection is going to work, and make sure that your company accepts all credit cards. There are also the options like partnering up, starting a blog, creating a strong social media presence, etc.

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What Listening to Music at Work Does to Your Brain

Music has influenced human behavior practically since the dawn of time and it continues to influence both our lives and our feelings every day. Some people listen to music to gain inspiration, some listen to it to improve their mood, while some listen to it to channel their inner rage, when reality becomes too harsh to bear. Nevertheless, music helps people in various situations, but the question is why do we find music so appealing?

The main reason is that music affects our brains by stimulating the neurons (nerve cells) to produce dopamine, also known as a “feel good chemical”, which induces the feeling of pleasurable and rewarding stimuli. Simply put, it’s what makes you feel good, happy and motivated. That’s why listening to music in various situations can affect your mood, especially in situations that have a tendency to become quite stressful, such as working. Let’s check out what listening to music while working does to your brain.

Improves motivation and productivity

Listening to music helps people deal with repetitive mundane tasks much easier. Repetitive tasks, such as reading or answering emails, tend to become quite overwhelming even if they’re not complex by nature. As mentioned before, listening to music we like helps produce neurotransmitters that make us feel good. These feelings help people perform tasks more efficiently and with fewer mistakes, while giving them the sense of accomplishment.

source: Pexels

In short, music helps motivate people to complete tasks faster as their brain compensates them with a sense of reward. For example, if you finish your daily tasks faster, you’ll have more free time and your brain will make you feel good with a sense of accomplishment, while listening to music will motivate you to strive towards that feeling. Moreover, studies have shown that music also improves productivity, helping you be more efficient at your work. That’s why you will feel like spending $10 on creating your own playlist on Spotify is a good investment that will help you become more productive.

Escape from a noisy office

Crowded office spaces can get too noisy and therefore too distracting. Trying to eliminate the noise and focus on work can be next to impossible. As a matter of fact, your brain will try to make sense of the coworker chatter and other noises in the office whether you’re aware of it or not. This brain function takes a lot of energy. Not to mention that it increases the levels of cortisol in your brain, which is a stress-inducing hormone, and reduces the levels of dopamine.

source: Pixabay

This will make you less productive and more agitated at work. However, listening to music can help cancel out the noise and, although you might play your favorite YouTube or Deezer playlists in the background, unfortunately it won’t be enough to eliminate the noise completely. You can, however, plug in your in-ear headphones and eliminate the outside noise altogether. That way you can listen to your favorite music and focus on work.

Improves creativity and accuracy

Even if you’re good at something, listening to music can make you even better. As an example, surgeons always listen to music and playlists on Spotify, to help them focus and make them more accurate when performing complex surgeries. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study in which they found out that surgeons performed more accurately when they were listening to the music they preferred. Also, the music they didn’t prefer was the second best, while not listening to music was of no help at all.

That means that if you listen to the music you prefer you’ll be more focused, productive and less likely to make a mistake, even though you’re already good at what you’re doing. Furthermore, studies have shown that reasonable noise levels coming from music can inspire creativity during brainstorming and creative sessions. It seems that the ambient music playing in the background is extremely helpful and works best for your creativity, but only if it’s not too low- or too high-pitched noise.

Interferes with the learning process

With all the positive effects music has on our brains, one would think there aren’t any downsides. Sadly, when it comes to learning new information, listening to music can be too distracting and counterproductive. The main reason is that when learning new information, your brain has to process and memorize that new information.

source: Flickr

However, when you add music to the equation, your brains has to process additional auditory information alongside information you’re trying to comprehend and memorize. This multitasking activity in your brain may cause information to be stored inadequately or cause you to have trouble remembering what’s important.  This is especially true if the music you listen to contains lyrics. Therefore, if you’re about to learn something new at work, set aside your music until you learn it.

Music is one of the most creative inventions humanity has ever created. It influences our mood and emotions, while enriching our lives. It even helps us be more efficient, focused and productive at work, where normally some days, people are anything but. So, why not give in to the joy of music? After all, it makes our lives a lot better.

Oscar Waterworth – a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.

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Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease or is Confusion Normal With Age?

Alzheimer’s Disease. Many people assume that all older people develop this relentless condition that eventually robs people of memory while affecting a person’s thoughts, words, and actions; however, Alzheimer’s is not a normal change of aging.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is a common brain disorder that progressively destroys brain cells over time, causing many changes in memory, language, and behavior. It was first diagnosed in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician who presented a case history of a 51-year-old woman who suffered from a brain disorder we now know as Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, approximately 5.1 million people in the United States may have Alzheimer’s, and that number is predicted to rise.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association this common form of dementia causes the following changes in the brain:

  • Beta-amyloid plaques – clumps of protein and other material that form around the brain’s neurons, or nerve cells
  • Neurofibrillary tangles – twisted strands of protein tau inside the neurons
  • Destruction of brain connections or synapses
  • Inflammation
  • Shrinking brain tissue as cells begin to die

Scientists have been unable to pinpoint exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease, which is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this progressive loss of brain function, but research studies are being conducted that are searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s. Some treatments have been developed that may help manage symptoms of this dementia.

Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease tend to start gradually and become more severe over time. Progression to severe stages might take two to twenty years or longer. Although Alzheimer’s mainly affects people over the age of 65, this most common form of dementia may have an early onset in those as young as 30. Although everyone may experience moments in which they forget things, Alzheimer’s has patterns of abnormal changes affecting:

  • Memory
  • Thoughts
  • Language
  • Behavior

A person who does not have dementia might misplace his or her keys while someone with Alzheimer’s may be holding the keys but cannot remember what they are called and may be unsure of what to do with the keys or why they are holding them. Someone without Alzheimer’s might miss an appointment or forget a name while someone with Alzheimer’s may forget how to get to the doctor’s office or have no recollection of ever meeting the person.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association some red flags to watch for include:

  • Short term memory loss – failing to remember recently learned information, forgetting important dates, asking the same questions repeatedly, depending on others to handle tasks they used to do themselves.
  • Difficulty with concentration that makes it difficult or takes longer for the person to follow through with a plan or to work with numbers.
  • Problems completing activities of daily living, such as driving, managing finances, brushing teeth, getting dressed, or playing a familiar game.
  • Inability to remember the time or place – a person with Alzheimer’s may be somewhere but have no idea how they arrived at the location or where they are.
  • Problems with vision, such as discriminating colors, contrasts, or depths. They may also have difficulty reading and might mistake a mirror image as another person.
  • Difficulty with speech may appear as the person struggles to find the right word, forgets what he is trying to say, or frequently repeats herself.
  • Losing items, placing items in odd places, and being unable to retrace his or her steps in order to find those items.
  • Judgment is affected as the person may have difficulties in making decisions about personal hygiene, managing finances, and other daily decisions that once came naturally.
  • Social isolation tends to result as the person avoids activities and social gatherings he or she once enjoyed.
  • Personality, mood, and normal behaviors may change as the person may become suspicious of others, angry, fearful, anxious, or depressed, particularly in unfamiliar settings. The changes may be progressive, persistent, and may result in quick outbursts.

Typical red flags of Alzheimer’s tend to occur over time and progress. For example, short-term memory loss, an unkept appearance, and difficulty making decisions may appear in earlier stages and later progress to being unable to remember family members and needing assistance with activities of daily life. This type of dementia will typically progress for two to twenty years.

Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Although brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease were discovered over 100 years ago, the cause of those changes and how to reverse them seems to remain a mystery. Although all people may have lapses in memory at times, Alzheimer’s progressively robs people of the ability to remember, think, reason, and care for themselves over time. Confusion can be caused by many other conditions, so it is important to seek an evaluation by a healthcare professional if Alzheimer’s is suspected.

Alzheimer's Disease Signs and Symptoms


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Use Your Website To Increase Your Revenue

If you are not tapping into the power of eCommerce today, you are losing out on the massive potential that it brings to the table. If you have a desire to run a growing business, you need to use the virtual world to your advantage. There are no hours here. You can always be open for business, and people from around the globe can take advantage of all that your website has to offer. All you need to do is make use of the tools and resources that are at your ready disposal. There are also times when you need to provide your visitors with the information that they need to make an informed buying decision, such as that which is found with comparison shopping engine management. By providing a wealth of information, and a visually appealing and functional website, you can use your online presence to increase your revenue accordingly.

Put a Virtual Office to Work for You

With such a range of technology ready for you to implement today, you will want to make use of more than a few that are applicable to your business model. This can include automated email delivery to remote payment processors, and almost everything in between. Each of these features will enable your website to become easily accessible from virtually anywhere around the world. You might be a small business operating out of your home, but your website can give you the power of delivery traditionally reserved for major corporations. All you need to do is ensure that these resources are properly implemented into the scope of your existing website.

If you use a virtual office, your clients will be able to access you and your products at any time, day or night. It allows them to engage with you via such features as online chat, email, and phone just to name a few. You might not be physically in the office, but your virtual office can handle many of the requests that come in when you are away. If you run an eCommerce site, your virtual office can handle many of your daily tasks in an automated fashion that makes you more efficient and productive. This will allow you to spend your time dealing personally with customers, which is where your attention needs to be in order to retain a competitive advantage over other businesses in your field.

Offer Personalized Service

It is also important that you offer a level of personalized service to individuals who visit your website. This is the one disadvantage that is commonly associated with online commerce, as customers often feel alone when shopping in the virtual world. You can use modern technology to your advantage in this regard as well. Make sure that you or your staff is personally available to speak to customers as they need you. When there is an issue with an order, you need to be able to deal with it quickly, or you will risk losing the customer to another site. Offering a certain level of personalized service will go a long way towards making your eCommerce business successful.

These are a few of the many ways that you can use your website to increase revenue. Remember to focus on the customer and everything else should fall into line nicely.

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4 Hobbies You Can Turn Into a Stream of Income

Our Guest Post today comes from Heather Redding. Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer from Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys reading and running. Street photography is her artistic outlet and she likes to capture everyday little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.


While you may need extra money from a side hustle, you may not want to spend long hours working at a job that you find boring or uneventful. It’s not really a secret that doing something that you love is the best job there is. This is why monetizing your hobby into a side business may be a great idea.

There are several wonderful hobbies that you may enjoy doing and that you could use to generate some extra money. Here are a few excellent hobbies that can easily be converted into moneymaking side jobs:

1. Blogging

Blogs are increasingly popular, and there are a seemingly endless number of them available. You may not realize it, but many people actually hire a ghostwriter to write their blogs. Therefore, if you enjoy writing, you could easily partner with a blogger who writes about topics that you are interested in, and you could generate steady income by writing a few blogs per week for an established blog.

Another great idea is to launch your own blog. With so many options available these days you can easily build your own site and begin posting content. Make people notice your blog by stoking emotions and engaging your readers on social media. When you do this, you build a loyal following and encourage sharing online. As a result, your blog will have more pizzazz than you have ever dreamed.

There are different ways that you can generate income from writing your own blog. For example, if you develop a large following, you can sell advertising space on your website, or even promote products inside your blog posts. The larger your following is, the greater your income potential may be.

2. Photography

While some people enjoy writing in their free time, others enjoy taking beautiful photos of people, urban scenes, nature scenes and more. You may not realize, however, that you can monetize this hobby in multiple ways.

If you have excellent photography skills and can produce impressive images, you may be able to do portraits in an in-home studio or even offer wedding photography services. You can also sell your images online. Some websites allow you to copyright your images and then sell them online to businesses and others who might need them for marketing or other purposes. The more images that you offer for sale, the greater your income potential may be.

3. 3D Printing

If you have tinkered with 3D printing recently, you may be excited to take your hobby one step further. Whether you are into jewelry, toys or 3D printed artwork, you can use your passion to sell the products you make.

Nowadays, 3D printers are almost unmatched in their ability to create customized items. Therefore, selling unique and personalized items that are made to order is a great way to make some money on the side. You can create a line of your own products, and then sell these items on Etsy, eBay, and other e-commerce platforms. Hosting a booth at local arts and crafts show may draw even more interest to your 3D products. 3D printing is an exceptional way for you to turn your creativity and passion into a potentially lucrative side business with minimal upfront expenses.

4. Baking

While some of the famous TV bakers and chefs make it look easy to create impressive cakes and pastries, the reality is that this is more challenging than it initially seems. If you have mastered you cupcake toppings and know how to keep your soufflé from collapsing, why not offer your services to moms struggling to create birthday cakes or businesses in need of delicious snacks for their events?

You can get the word out and even offer samples of your products at local fairs and community events that allow you to set up a booth. Keep business cards handy at these events, and include a link to your professional baker’s website to further encourage others to place orders.

These are just a few home-based side businesses that you can pursue if you want to monetize your hobby. However, there are other hobbies that may easily be monetized as well. Focus on a hobby that you enjoy, and explore different ways to turn your hobby into a moneymaking side business.

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