10 tips for sole traders

By Pete | @kingpetey | 21 Nov 2017

Running your own business can give you the freedom and peace of mind that no ordinary job can offer. Below, we’ve rounded up ten top tips for sole traders to consider…

1.Set up your business as soon as possible

Becoming a sole trader is simple – all you have to do is sign up on the Government website, and then keep a record of your business’ sales and expenses and submit a Self Assessment tax return at the end of every business year. The good news is that, after paying tax, you’ll get to keep 100% of your profits, so getting organised and signing up your business as soon as possible makes sense. Otherwise, you may have to submit the previous year’s finances and back-pay your tax, which can be time-consuming, stressful and costly.

2.Organise yourself

There are a whole host of benefits of working for yourself, but one drawback is self-motivation. If you’re struggling to know where to start, create a calendar and organise where you’ll need to be, what you should be doing and how long you’ll need to do it for.

3.Get the best deals

Just as you would for your personal finances, you should shop around to get the best value for money on things like rent, marketing and insurance. If you have a van, for example, then you can find cheap fleet insurance quotes on websites such as Be Wiser. It pays to use price comparison websites and haggle to get the best deal – it almost always results in a discount.

4.Start your own website

Your website is your online shop front – it's where people will go to find out about what you do. Whether you're a mechanic or a hairdresser, a website is essential – use a web design tool such as Web.com or hire a professional web design company to create one for you.

5.Do some marketing

Nobody is going to buy from you if they don't know you exist, so do some marketing to get the word out. Consider printing off leaflets, set up social media handles for your business and put an advert in the local newspaper – every little helps in the early days of a company.

6.Save money when you can

Taking out a small business loan can work, but it pays to have money set aside for when you need new equipment or want to expand. Rather than boosting your salary or splashing out on expensive work meals and outings, save money as and when you can for a “rainy day”.

7.Collect money as soon as possible

Whenever you’re hired for a job, you should send out an invoice for the work – that way, you’ll be able to collect money and avoid being scammed. We recommend sticking to email-based invoices, as that way, customers can’t argue that their invoice was “lost in the post”.

8.Monitor your competitors

When you're in the early days of running a business, it's crucial that you identify your competition. Look around to see who else is offering services similar to yours, monitor their marketing and online activity, and see what they're doing differently to you. You can learn a lot about your industry by copying best practices from your competition, so don't be afraid.

9.Set up a bank account

Although you don’t technically need a separate bank account as a sole trader, having one can keep your personal and business finances from intertwining. Get business earnings paid into a separate account that you can monitor, and then transfer wages into your personal account. That way, you’ll be less tempted to spend money you’ve earned for your business.

10.Make friends

A one-man-band business can be great fun, but it can also be lonely. Network with other business owners and industry friends, as they’ll not only keep you company when you’re sick of working alone, but they could become useful contacts when looking for new work.

Building a solid link profile is a very important part of SEO. However, not all links are created equal. If you are looking to build a solid link profile here are 3 ways you can do just that.

Focus On High Quality Links

The quality of links in your profile matter. If you have thousands of poor quality links pointing to your website Google and other search engines will see that as a problem.

If there are any toxic links pointing to your website, disavow them as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure they don't pass on any bad link juice to your website.

Get Links From Sites In Your Niche

If you are a personal trainer in Los Angeles, you want to make sure your site has links coming from sites in the health and fitness space.

If you have a ton of links coming from a real estate agents site Google will view that as irrelevant and your rankings will take a hit.

Diversify Your Links

Instead of focusing on getting all of your links from one or two niche sites, try getting a range of links from several trustworthy sites.

When a trustworthy site is linking back to you the search engines see that as a good thing and will send you more traffic as a result.

A solid link profile is the key to getting quality organic traffic to your website. It doesn't matter how well you have optimized your website, if your link profile isn't strong your traffic and conversions will suffer.

To get the best results you have to put yourself in the place of your ideal customers. What are they searching for when they go to Google? Knowing this information will give you an advantage over the competition.

Need Help With Your Link Profile?

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to building a solid link profile, 445 Media can help. They are experts in both on and off page SEO and can help you build a link profile that drives hundreds of targeted visitors to your site every single month.

There are more than 12 million eCommerce websites on the internet today. Less than 650,000 of them make more than a thousand dollars every year. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to marketers. While the probability of success in eCommerce might seem low, entrepreneurs can make a killing buying not so successful online stores and turning them around. In this article, we will look at some ridiculously easy ways marketers can make failing eCommerce websites profitable.

Content Marketing

Growing traffic to standalone eCommerce websites can be tough work. This is because of the sheer competition that your business faces from rival stores selling the same products. Thanks to the latest algorithm updates, search engines like Google rank established websites like Amazon over smaller, niche stores. One way to get around this challenge is through content marketing. Publishing blogs, videos and images that appeal to your target audience helps your business get seen on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Also, a well-planned content marketing strategy can also help your business rank for lucrative long-tail searches on Google. All of this draws your targeted audience to your website who may then be directed to your eCommerce portal.

Consolidation

ECommerce marketplaces like Shopify Exchange are extremely popular among serial entrepreneurs who own a lot of businesses. The reason for this is consolidation. Entrepreneurs who own a lot of properties in an industry tend to buy more businesses in the space in order to refer visitors and customers from one portal to the other. For instance, if you own a fashion blog, it is a good idea to buy an online apparel store that aligns with the kind of fashion you cover on your website. This way, you could refer the visitors from the blog to your online store and vice versa, thereby growing the traffic and revenue across both these properties.

Coupons

Customers love giveaways and discounts. Coupon marketing can however bleed your revenue and should therefore be deployed judiciously. To begin with, target your coupons at specific customers or products. For instance, you could offer a ten percent discount on new customers. This way, you incentivize new registrations while forcing regular customers to pay market price for products. Similarly, if you are having trouble moving certain SKUs, you could look at offering discounts on these products alone. One way to make sure that your coupon strategy does not cause loss is by setting a minimum order value.

Partnerships

The purchase of an eCommerce store should not be viewed as a standalone transaction. Buying an online store also helps you get access to suppliers, wholesalers and distributors who can provide you products at a discounted rate. Besides selling these products on your eCommerce store, you may also strike a partnership with complementary websites or brick and mortar destinations to deliver these products to their customers. This helps your business scale up your monthly volume which can fetch you a better price from the suppliers. This strategy is particularly useful to increase profitability as well as to dramatically improve your monthly turnover.

Shropshire Web & IT Company Reveals New Brand

One of Shropshire’s leading web and IT companies has recently revealed its new logos and branding, to support its growth to becoming one of the region’s best technological companies.

The new branding follows a previous office move within Shrewsbury, which has allowed Information Solutions and its sister company, The Web Orchard, to hire additional staff to support their commitment to providing the best web and IT services within the region.

Peter White, one of the directors of Information Solutions, says, “Over the past year our businesses have gone from strength to strength, and with future development planned it’s been great to move into the larger offices and refresh the branding so it better reflects the two companies as we progress into this phase of the company.”

“We’re also happy that we’ve been able to remain in The Pump House in Shrewsbury as it’s a great low energy and environmentally friendly building, and allows us to have a great central hub for working with the whole of Shropshire and the West Midlands.”

Along with its aim of providing the best IT and web services to its clients, the company is also dedicated to providing valuable services for the larger community.

The company which also runs the popular Love Shrewsbury website and the Community Hub web services for local parish councils – has helped dozens of local businesses and organisations create an online presence for themselves.

The company’s rebrand was carried out by Carl Jones Design, and it is not the first time the two companies have worked together, having recently worked on projects such as the new Housing Plus Group, Blue Square Building, and Battlefield 1403 websites.

Set up in 2003 Information Solutions has become one of the region’s leading professional IT support providers and web development companies.

With clients based throughout Shropshire and the greater West Midlands area Information Solutions are able to offer a whole suite of IT services from bespoke IT Support Packages to the latest cloud based services and effective IT Security Solutions.

The Web Orchard specialises in Drupal and WordPress content management systems and has developed websites such as Telford Shopping Centre, Shropshire Fire and Rescue and Shrewsbury Town Council during its ten years history.

Information Solutions aim ‘To be the leading IT & Web provider in Shropshire, the business that people want to work WITH and FOR

www.theweborchard.com

www.info-sol.co.uk

Do you have a job that keeps you tied to your desk throughout the day? It can be difficult to stay in shape in an office environment, but there are things you can do to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Read on for our top five work fitness tips to help you avoid piling on the pounds.

Adjust your posture

Many people fall into the trap of slouching at their desk. Sitting up straight is a calorie-burner as it contributes to toning your physique. Your back and core muscles tighten up when you sit up straight, helping to tone them as well. Having correct posture can prevent backaches and neck pain, allowing you to continue exercising away from work without injuries or injuring yourself further.

Don't skip lunch or 'down time'

Do you usually grab your lunch without taking a break from your work? This usually results in us rushing something unhealthy down and increases the chances of putting on weight. Choosing healthy options such as fruits, vegetables and fat free yogurts away from your desk can help you stay fit. Take time away from the daily grind and utilise your lunch hour to do something enjoyable such as trying out casumo free spins or reading a good book can also help our wellbeing.

Keep yourself mobile

Standing up and going for a short walk can help you stay in shape as this will increase your activity levels during the day. If you need to speak with a colleague, pop along to their office rather than phoning or sending an email. At lunchtime try and get outside for some fresh air – even a brisk 15 minute walk can make a difference to your fitness levels.

Don't overdo tea or coffee

It can be notoriously difficult to try to control your intake of tea and coffee at work. This can be made worse if you take your drinks with sugar. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so that you remain hydrated and alert. Water can trick your body into feeling full, significantly diminishing your hunger and cravings.

Don't skip your gym session

You can soon get out of the habit of visiting the gym if you have an office job, but keeping a workout in your daily routine will undoubtedly help you to stay in shape. Most gyms offer early morning sessions, so why not get up an hour earlier and start the day on a treadmill or exercise bike? A quick shower afterwards will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle your office duties.

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