Today, I want to talk about an important topic that most consultants do not like to think about: insurance. Why? Because it’s a dry subject and no one wants to think about what bad things can happen to you. But part of having your own business is to protect yourself from liability and loss. So whether you like it or not, as it is with death and taxes, you have to face the music some day.

It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. A little advance planning can save you a ton of headaches down the road. And while you don’t want clients or employees to sue you, have your business burn down, or get sick, these are business realities that you have to plan for if you want to stay in business. Because it only takes one lawsuit or accident to put you out of business.

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As an internet professional, there are times when you are called upon to travel to a client’s location, and this often involves flying to another city. Putting together a client presentation is difficult and time-consuming enough without you having to worry about everything that can go wrong when traveling.

As a consultant, your time is extremely valuable. Time wasted on planning the trip is time taken away from billable hours. That’s why I’ve put together some travel tips that will help make your busy schedule a little easier.

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In this day and age, we have the world at our fingertips. Technology has brought us to the point that we can accomplish astounding amounts of work without even leaving the comfort of home. Countless companies employ workers who spend their 8 hour days sitting at a desk, staring at a computer. Obviously, this sedentary lifestyle can lead to many issues. Obesity rates in the first world have soared in the last 30 years

Sitting for any extended period of time can lead to serious issues. Your body is not made for this level of inactivity. Additionally, if you are like millions of other people and exhibit poor posture, this can only increase your problems. On the extreme end, we are looking at poorer mental health, higher risk for heart disease, and a higher risk of obesity. Standing desks is one way to combat this, if your company allows it. If you must sit during an entire normal work day, fitness experts indicate that you should at least stand and get your blood flowing every 30 minutes.

Sitting all day can also affect your dietary choices. Prolonged sitting can lead to weight gain from increased appetites and lowered energy output. Keep your choices healthy and practical. As always, lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables is always going to be your safe bet.

Consider fitting some light workouts into your standing breaks. There are so many stationary exercises you can do from your desk. Getting creative is essential in this case. The following are some ideas to get you started.

Chair Squats:

Lower yourself as if you are going to sit in your chair. Just as you are about to hit the seat, come back to a standing position. Remember good form and do not use your hands to support yourself.

Push ups:

Pushups don’t have to be boring. Consider placing your feet on the wall or in your chair. Or vary the distances between your hands for wide-armed, standard, and close-hand pushups in order to target different muscles. Try a pushup using only one leg or attempt to master the dive pushup. Keep it fun and they will stay interesting.

Dips:

You can use the assistance of your chair or desk in this case. Turn away from your desk, placing your palms down flat. With your legs stretched out before you, place your weight on your arms and bend your arms to dip down. Press back up and you have completed a rep.

Lunges:

Just your standard lunge– just make sure you have the room to do it! Alternate legs and feel the burn.

Situps and Crunches:

Like the pushups, these can be varied to target different areas of your core. Twist to target your obliques, pause when you’re only halfway up, throw in a few leg lifts. The possibilities are endless.

When you’re out of the office, make time to get a solid workout in. Swap your button-up for a t-shirt. Kick off your loafers and change into a proper pair of fitness shoes – DssTuff. And when it comes to footwear, everything from your weight to your feet to your experience level can change what would be considered the “proper running shoe” for you. As always, take care to research the best gear to fit your workout.

In the meantime, don’t fear the desk job. There is an incredible amount of support for the fact that sitting all day is bad for you. Times are changing, albeit slowly, and sometimes we have to adapt in order to overcome before our bosses catch up. Be an advocate for your own health and that of your coworkers. Speak out to make changes and in the meantime, keep your self up and moving.

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Many internet web professionals today chose to work from home. Many of us have everything we need to get working right here on our own computers. Working from home is the ultimate dream for many of us. No smelly public transport, only tapping away on your keyboard every day in your sweatpants or pijamas. Another plus is unlimited fridge raiding capabilities!

After falling in love with a romantic Italian man, I decided to leave my job in England and head out to Italy. I soon realized I didn’t do my research as the city I landed in wasn’t English language friendly. This meant I found it very difficult to find a job. So, I took my own initiate and began to work for myself, at home. This undoubtedly made a huge impact on my life.

Since working from home I genuinely feel that I works incredibly longer hours, because I find myself wanting to prove to myself that I can do this. I can work from home and be productive. It’s important to have everything you need before working remotely, like a reliable phone line, up to date computer/laptop, printer, scanner, etc.

Over time I’ve had to develop techniques which have certainly helped me to keep my sanity and most importantly, my productivity.

1 – Change of scenery

A usual symptom of working from home is the notorious cabin fever. You constantly wake up in your house, eat in your house, work in your house and finally sleep. It can suddenly become horrifyingly easy to avoid leaving the house for a few days at a time.

To fight this, it’s ideal to work from different location as frequently as you can, or at least once or twice a week. Even if it’s just heading across the road to your favorite café. The change of scenery is fundamental and I promise you that’ll you will be amazed at the difference it will have on your daily mind set and work productivity.

2 – Escape the computer

Once you finally finish your work for the day, you must switch off your computer! Don’t close the your laptop or place your PC into sleep mode. Genuinely and physically shut it down. Don’t touch it again till morning!

Shutting down your computer or laptop helps to provide a distinct cut off point when work ends and your home life begins. It also makes compulsion email checking very difficult. Finally, it allows a break for your eyes and computer.

Now that you’re switched off, why not do something different? Go watch your favorite TV show, cook dinner, anything that doesn’t involve your laptop or computer. You need to draw a line between home and work to prevent driving yourself mad.

3 -Take a break

If you find that you’re struggling to focus and your attention is wandering, feel free to take a 10 minute break. One bonus about working from home, or for yourself is that you can work to your own pace that suits you.

Instead of fighting the urge to check your Facebook account, a good tip is to give in. Get up from your desk, make a drink, take a look at the newspaper or social network sites. Then, once your 10 minutes are up, return to work. Just don’t let 10 minutes turn into an hour!

4 – Create boundaries

One major problem of working for yourself at home is that you can suddenly become permanently available, or that’s what your friends and family believe. People suddenly assume that you can go to lunch with them ‘because you don’t need to get back to the office’.

You must be straightforward from the start. Set your Skype to ‘DND’ or ‘invisible’ and explain politely to friends and family that you’re still required to work during the day, even if you aren’t in an office.

5 – Stick to a routine

Lastly, and I believe this is the most important; make sure to set your alarm and get up each morning at the same time. Pretend that you are leaving the house. Make sure to get dressed, and follow the usual routine you would have when going to the office.

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There is a new wave of marketing that is about to sweep the world.

The problem is most of the so-called “network marketers” have no idea how to use the biggest network available. The biggest network in the world and it’s not being used for network marketing in the right way anyways.

The way network marketers are taught to use the connections that they make with people in their daily life to make some money in the business. This is all fine and dandy until… you run out of people.

So there is a bit of a supplement when it comes to this, and the people who know how to use the Internet properly for network marketing are the ones who have the greatest success.

Once your typical friends and family network runs out, it’s time to take it to Twitter or Facebook. It is actually the perfect place to make money in this business!

There’s a trick to really making network marketing work. You have to use the Internet to make connections and then once those connections are made, you take it offline to really get those people signed up.

How to make those online connections real offline relationships

Basically there’s only one way to make this happen. You have to talk to them. This is one of the biggest problems with using the Internet. You never really have to have direct contact with someone when using the Internet. You can send an email or private message, but that is not what’s going to build a strong enough relationship to get someone to start a business. This is what network marketing is all about…

Getting people to start their own business under you. Almost every network marketing company rewards their distributors for getting others to sell underneath them. In order to get these people to become a distributor, you’re going to have to make some direct contact. This can only really be done with, as dreaded as it sounds to those who spend a lot of time online, direct contact.

I know it sounds scary, but to be successful you will have to do things like talk on the phone or maybe some type of webinar. These people are going to have to see you and talk to you in order to trust you enough to start their own business under you.

If you can stomach the thought of this type of contact, this type of business model is absolutely lucrative.

So to sum it up, you use your abilities on the Internet to make the initial connections. Then once the connection is established, you use traditional methods to build that relationship and own that needed trust.

So that basically only leaves one more thing to do: finding the right company.

There is a plethora of options for these types of network marketing companies. What you will need to look for is an established company with a pretty good product.

An example of one of these companies is Plexus Worldwide. It is an multilevel marketing company that allows its ambassadors to make commissions from selling the product, which in the case of this company is a weight loss product called Plexus Slim.

The reason a company like this is viable is because the market is huge, as everyone knows, and everyone wants to order Plexus Slim after seeing what the product can do for their friends and family financially.

The trick is finding some type of presentation to be able to convey this to the connections you have made on the Internet. Maybe you make some sort of video series explaining results and have someone give a testimony.

People are itching for a better way. In order to be successful with this model, it’s a matter of making it happen for yourself and then showing others how you did it.

There is an absolute opportunity here, if you are wanting an opportunity to make some cash passively and do what you want in life; now is the time to get on board.

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Internet based businesses can be very straightforward to get setup and running as they often are very location independent. Entrepreneurs are always keen to keep start-up costs to a minimum to allow them to focus more on creating value. In this article we want to highlight some ideas we have put together to make sure that you get the most out of a limited budget, while not restricting yourself too much. In our opinion this list comprises must have items, some of which you may already own.

1) Laptop Computer
We generally advise people to buy a laptop computer rather than a desktop, unless your business requires very high end processing power (e.g. high end video and photo editing). The advantage is that you can bring your laptop with all your files and other work on any trip. This gives you much more flexibility and makes you really location independent. Whether you go for a Mac or PC is really a personal decision and may come down to certain applications you will need. Obviously a PC can be bought cheaper so this may be a good solution for a lean start-up business.

2) Reliable Internet
You shouldn’t go for the cheapest, and you don’t need to go for the absolute fastest. What you want is reliability with as little as possible downtime. The best way to do this is to research customer reviews for Internet providers in your area and maybe talk to some friends and family on their experiences.

3) VOIP Phone System
Some people may question this point, but we do see a reliable phone system as very important for any business. Cell phone technology is pretty good, but imagine being on a call with a potential client and your connection is really poor. This could have very adverse effects on making a deal.

Our suggestion is to get a VOIP system set up over your Internet connection and then you will be able to plug in a standard cordless phone. With this simple set up you can make sure that you have a reliable communications connection that will not impact whether you can adequately deal with clients.

4) Smartphone
You will definitely need a good phone to make sure you can take calls, send emails and do some research while you are away from your laptop. iPhones and Android phones are currently the most popular, so make a personal decision on what will suit you best. For the most important functionality either one will do the job, but keep in mind that there seem to be a lot more apps for the iPhone.

5) Printer
This is one of those items where a lot of people think it may be superfluous because so much is done onscreen. However, if you are running a business you will occasionally have to print out documents for book keeping or tax purposes. The best thing to do here is to invest in a cheap inkjet printer with a built in scanner. This will give you all the functionality you could possibly need for everyday administrative tasks.

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Step away from the keyboard, drop the mouse, and pick up the gun…the paintball gun, that is. Paintball has been around for years and continues to grow in popularity. In fact, the sport was devised in the early 1980’s as a fairly simple game and hobby. Over the years it has grown into a popular extreme sport with leagues and tournaments. Because it is often played as a team sport, it is a great team building activity for employers and organizations.

Why Paintball for Team Building?

If your job consists of sitting at a desk working on the Internet all day, you’re not getting much of a chance to take part in human interaction. Internet professionals need an opportunity for some socializing, fresh air, and fun too. But, why choose paintball for team building?

Well, think about it for a moment. What sounds like more fun? You can channel your “Call of Duty” persona outdoors, dodging and shooting paintballs at co-workers and supervisors. Or, you can sit in the conference room discussing improvements to the company morale through plaque awards. Which sounds like more fun?

And, paintball actually does more than allow you to let out a little pent-up workplace frustration. The teamwork required actually can benefit your organization. By creating teams to work together for the common goal of stealing the opponents flags and defending their own, a bond forms. The negative barriers that may have built up among co-workers and supervisors begin to break down. Amazingly, employees are communicating and working together instead of sitting isolated in a cubicle.

What Do You Need to Play Paintball?

Most paintball adventure companies give you everything you need for the activity. Some of the equipment that is typically provided with a reservation are:

paintballs (you may want to buy extra)
paintball guns (preferably low-power)
face masks (check out some cool paintball masks here)
chest and back protection

It’s also a good idea to wear clothing in layers with a long sleeve t-shirt, pants, and good athletic shoes with ankle support. Now is not the time to worry about fashion, so dress to win and get dirty. Most paint from the paintballs is washable, but better safe than sorry.

What About Liability and Employee Injuries?

Yes, it is possible for someone to get hurt playing paintball. But, when played with adequate protective gear, it’s about as safe as most any organized sport. If a paintball should hit an unprotected area of skin, it feels like a pop with a towel. There are rules established by the paintball adventure company and referees are employed to make sure the guidelines are followed. Obviously, liability is also a concern for the paintball company. They are going to make the game as fun and risk-free as possible.

When scheduling a paintball team building activity, be sure to ask questions so you can let your employees know what to expect:

Is the course indoors or outdoors?
What is provided with the entry fee?
Are outside equipment and paintballs allowed?
Is there food and drink available?
What forms need to be completed beforehand to participate?
Is first aid available?

Some employees may be hesitant or doubtful about participation, especially those that are self-conscious or not athletic. Encourage, but don’t force, an employee to participate. There is a role for everyone. Some may be good at making team strategies and being lookouts, or others may just want to stay in one place and fire like a sniper. There’s no right or wrong way to have fun. And, after watching other co-workers having a great time, even the most reluctant employee will likely join in too!

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China: A land of Internet Marketing Opportunity

I recently had the chance to go to China to work as an online marketing consultant for some fairly large businesses seeking to gain a footing in overseas markets. I found that this had been a major trend in China. Chinese companies can certainly sell domestically, but are having trouble penetrating international markets. The ones that are successful overseas gain prestige back at home and abroad, which furthers bolsters their credibility as a truly international company.

Challenges: Marketing for Chinese Companies

First and foremost, you need to realize that in China, business is a relationship. Most of the time my Western clients do not require to see me face to face in order to sign up for my services. I prefer to work online in the digital nomad fashion, it gives me freedom.

In China, however, I had to set up some contacts in the real world, with real world meetings. This is the natural order of things. The Chinese prefer to get to know you first before they are willing to do business first. So this means a lot of tea drinking and karaoke salons. Be prepared.

The Internet Divide

The internet in China is a different universe from the one that we are used to in the West. Marketing channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube essentially do not exist here. Instead they have their own variants with their own specific quirks. Wechat is the de facto marketing channel for domestic audiences. Other channels include, Weibo and Taobao (an online super giant retailer that makes Amazon look small).

Translating domestic marketing approaches for the west can be difficult.

Internet speeds in China can be a point of friction when establishing an effective workflow. Always pay for the fastest internet you can afford. Thankfully broadband prices are not as terrible as those in some countries in the west (ahem Canada!) so cost will not be an issue. I pay about 30$ / month for my broadband and it is the fastest I can get. Most importantly there are no silly bandwidth caps on broadband internet, which is a refreshing change from the incessant throttling and price gouging from back home. You can expect maximum speeds are about 10 mbps for typical copper cable broadband. Some exclusive properties in big modern cities have fiber optic internet with speeds exceeding 50 mbps!

The good news is that the Chinese government is extremely forward thinking when it comes to Telecom infrastructure. The three main Telecom companies (China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom) are all partially owned by the government and have a mandate to install fiber optic internet all over the country. Contrast this to the US where the telecom companies have taken government money to upgrade the network and subsequently. This is what happens when you have corrupt politicians and unlimited funds for lobbying.

VPNs in China

It goes without saying that if you decide to set up shop in China, you will need a VPN to get access to the full uncensored internet. Can you imagine not being able to connect to Facebook? Google? Youtube? Twitter? Well the harsh reality in China is like this and it is unknown if the internet will become unrestricted anytime soon. In the meantime you can buy a VPN service. It is a fairly cheap and effective solution to get around the Great Firewall in China.

But beware: Not all VPNs are made equal. Especially for use in China! The firewall here is a constantly shifting and evolving piece of technology that seeks to stamp out encrypted channels such as your VPn connection. It is not uncommon for a VPN to be working one month and then fall under attack from the internet filter and be completely useless the next month. So with this in mind, it is important to get a GOOD VPN for China.

Here is a list of VPNs that I found offered services specifically for those in China:

  • Astrill
  • PandaPow
  • Vpninja
  • VyprVPN

I also stumbled upon a great business startup blog in China (startuplivingchina.com) that did a pretty thorough review of some of these China VPNs. According to them, the best vpn for China at the moment is VyprVPN. I myself have tried VyprVPN and it seems to do the job. Speeds are a bit slower than my non-VPN internet but still respectable.

Summary

China is a land of skyrocketing economic progress and there are many opportunities to become an online consultant for one of the many Chinese companies seeking to attain broader exposure in the global market. I highly suggest taking a look into this field, as the boom periods will not last forever!

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