Category: Business

In the John Cusack movie “High Fidelity,” a business owner works through some angst about where he is in life. At one point in the movie he realizes one of his key problems is Bad Decisions. He can’t seem to stop doing stupid things. In one epic line, he turns to the camera and talks to the audience. He says:

“Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have s##t for brains.”

The quote, which originally comes from the book by Nick Hornby on which the movie is based, accurately describes epiphany moments. Far too many managers experience this well after they can stop the runaway train of chaos their “intuition” created. I’m not saying going by your instincts is always bad. But, statistically speaking, John and Nick are correct—trusting your gut can be a very bad business strategy.

You have an idea. Well, not really an idea, precisely, but the seed of an idea that gets you all excited. Okay so far, but circumstances can go bad quickly.

Many times the excitement generated by that “great idea” tempts you to just jump out and get started with no real plan, no budget and no concrete idea where you are really headed. It might sound romantic or adventurous, but, in business, there is no greater prescription for failure.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I’ll just get it going and deal with any issues as they come up.”

Yeah, that’s a terrible idea. First, you have no idea what problems may actually “come up.” Second, you don’t know which problems you will create yourself or bring with you, simply because you have no real idea what you are doing or what you will need to do next. That’s like planning a scuba diving trip and packing your mask and fins … but not bothering to decide where you are going. You can’t just get out in the boat and then decide how deep you want to dive or, worse, just jump in the water without any idea what might be down there.

Ever hear this one: “forget the obstacles, full speed ahead.” As far as business acumen goes, that ranks right up there with “hey, y’all, hold my beer and watch this!” Nothing good comes of a “ramming speed” approach to business management. If you haven’t considered how your idea will impact your other projects or the work of those you depend on in your business, then you are forging ahead with a serious handicap. And it will come back to bite you.

Finally … for those who choose to ignore this advice … when you find yourself in a mess of your own making, it can be tempting to “turtle up”, to hide or try to find someone else to blame. That’s stupid … and cowardly. It does nothing to help the problem and burns bridges to people and resources you probably need to extricate your idiot self. You can’t escape from quicksand by shooting the guy holding the rope.

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I’m So Zen About Zen To Done

I think I’ve tried all the productivity systems out there, including 7 Habits and Getting Things Done. I’ve used all the planner systems there are (and shudder at the money that I’ve spent on them!). Oh, it all worked for awhile. The funny thing about a alot of these systems is, you end up spending too much time working your time management “system” and not enough time getting anything done. Or, the organizational planner is so complicated, you spend too much time trying to find anything and/or it’s HUGE (too thick).

Leo Babauta, with his Zen To Done productivity system, brought real order to my chaos management system. LOL Now, I can find things, on my desk, in my files and in my planner, which is also my Household Notebook, or Control Journal.

Discipline? Motivation? You still have to supply that yourself. Not to worry. Leo also writes about motivation, simplicity, goal setting and more at his blog, Zen Habits

Let me tell you more about this book!

The best line ever:

This book was written for those who want to get their lives organized and actually execute the things on their to-do list.

What Is Zen To Done & Why Do I Need It?

If you find yourself constantly missing appointments, your email box stuffed, working too many projects with not enough time to enjoy life ~ it may be worth your while to take a look at what this book has to offer.

It’s more than just a productivity system, in my opinion. It makes you stop and look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

From email to goals to projects to setting time aside for yourself, ZTD (Zen To Done) focuses on simplifying what you’re going to do – down to the essentials.

With that comes the best part, the ten habits that are the core of ZTD. These habits are presented one at a time and explained in detail with plenty of suggestions.

Is it required that you do all ten? No, just recommended.

Do you have to implement them all at once? No, just the opposite, actually! It takes time to form a habit and that’s the most important piece to the success in using ZTD. Establish One Habit At A Time. Cool…

Zen To Done: The 10 Habits

Here are the ZTD 10 habits intended to help you get organized, simplify your life, get things under control and actually get things done. You’re supposed to learn and practice each habit one at a time or 2-3 at a time at the most for your own best results. You don’t even have to learn/do them in order either, but Leo explains all that in the book. There’s also a GREAT chapter on Forming/Changing Habits.

If you think this list is all you need to accomplish Zen To Done, then you’re going to miss the whole point. The information in the book is priceless to getting everything together under this system. There is a whole chapter devoted to each of these habits.

  1. Collect. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so you don’t forget it.
  2. Process. Make quick decisions on things in your inbox, do not put them off.
  3. Plan. Set Most Important Tasks for the week & for the day.
  4. Do. Do one task at a time, without distractions.
  5. Simple, Trusted System. Keep Simple Lists & Check Them Daily.
  6. Organize. A Place For Everything.
  7. Review. Review Your System & Goals Weekly.
  8. Simplify. Reduce your goals and tasks to essentials.
  9. Routine. Set Up And Keep Routines.
  10. Find Your Passion. Seek Work For Which You’re Passionate.

Why Buy Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System

Of course, the Zen To Done series is still available for free on his blog, so that option is still available. So why would you buy the book? A number of reasons:

  1. It’s handy. All the articles are gathered in one easy-to-read book, making it easy to take it along with you. Much more convenient than a bunch of scattered blog posts.
  2. There’s more material. Leo says the series of Zen To Done posts was incomplete because he didn’t have the time to write all the posts he had planned. So when he set out to write his book, he decided that he wanted to include everything that he had planned and more, from the 10th step (not available as a post on his blog) to an FAQ to a practical application of ZTD in his everyday life to resources to forms and more.
  3. Forms. There are some samples of how you could set up ZTD with some simple forms. Of course, ZTD is flexible and you don’t have to use these forms.
  4. Resources. Links to articles and tools are available in the book.
  5. FAQ. A number of readers had questions/comments about ZTD that are answered in the book.
  6. Snazzy new look. The book is much nicer looking than the blog and is easier on the eyes. It was designed by James Wondrack.
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Every investor will want to know how you, as an entrepreneur, plan to turn their investments into a profit. This makes writing the financial sections of your business plan absolutely critical.

As a new entrepreneur, if you are courting investors you will soon find that they all want to see details about how you are going to keep your numbers in the black. Even if you are not looking for investors, you need a clear blueprint for your business. The financial section of your business plan is not strictly an accounting report; a lot of it has to do with projections and estimates based on your research. Six key elements should be part of your business plan’s financial section.

Projected Sales

Create a spreadsheet that breaks your estimated sales on a monthly basis for at least the first year. You also should do projections for your second and third years in business as well to show that your business has growth potential. For projections after the first year, you can break the total sales down into monthly or quarterly figures. It may seem impossible to project your businesses’ sales, but that is where the research comes in. Research past results for other businesses like yours and make your best educated estimations.

Expenses and Budgeting

Tally up how much it is going to cost to meet your projected sales quota. Include fixed costs such as lease space and payroll as well as variable costs such as supplies, i.e. the more you sell, the more supplies you will need. Not all of this information will be set in stone, but the rise of sales and supplies should work out in proportion to each other. You will have to estimate certain things like taxes and interest. Your key objective is to present a workable financial plan for sustaining your business’s growth.

Cash Flow

The tricky part of determining cash flow is that you also have to figure in accounts payable and receivable. For example, if you invoice customers, you cannot always assume that you will collect 100% of those invoices within 30 days. Use business planning software or pick reasonable percentage of the number you think will collect on time. You also have to account for invoices that you have to pay to vendors, so you will have to factor those in based on the vendor’s payment terms. Match this up with your projected sales and budgeted expenses to be certain that you have a positive cash flow every month.

Income Projections

This is a basic profit and loss statement projected over a three-year period. This is where you bring all the previous figures together to show how much money you expect to make. A very simple formula is to take your gross profits, subtract your expenses including projected variables like interest and taxes and come up with your net profit. You need to show monthly figures for at least the first year, and ideally for the second and third years, but you can also do quarterly projections for years two and three.

The Balance Sheet

There is where you deal with things like assets and liabilities. Assets are inventory that is paid for, equipment and property. Liabilities are things that you own money on, such as a lease, past due bills or loans. Another important thing to add in to your balance sheet is depreciation. Computers and equipment lose value over time and become less of an asset. Speak with your accountant to figure out what items you have will depreciate over time and he or she will be able to give you a good estimate of how to factor that into your balance sheet.

The Break-Even Point / Exit Strategy

Assuming that things do not go as planned, you need to go back to your income projections and figure out much you need to make in gross profit to pay your expenses. While the goal is obviously to stay profitable, investors will want to know that you will recognize when the business is no longer viable. Knowing at what point you are just barely getting by, will help you plan an exit strategy. Investors will want reassurance that if sales do not go as forecasted, you will be able to close down the business without incurring major losses.

While this may seem like a lot of work for just one part of your multi-part business plan, it is the most important part of your business plan. Investors like to see realistic numbers, and preferably graphics like charts and spreadsheets. Later on, as your business matures, you can also use this information as a benchmark for how well you are doing. The business plan is not just your starting point; it is also a reference point for how you measure your business’s success.

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When it is time for you to choose one of the many corporate speakers your speakers’ agency presents to you, there is one simple question you should ask. How will the corporate speaker change the thinking of the people in the audience?

Remember that the audience can consist of a variety of groups. It could be the employees in a company, it could be an association with members working in a particular industry, or it could be simply the members of a particular department within your corporation or company. But the key is finding a speaker who will know exactly to whom they are speaking. The presentation depends a great deal on who is listening. So when you choose a speaker, having someone from outside the group is usually the best one to convey your message. Of course knowing what your message is can seriously improve your chances of finding the right speaker.

Just what is it you want to achieve?

Once you know the answer to that first question you’re well on the way to selecting the ideal corporate speaker. Knowing the message you want to get across, you then need to think what medium you will choose to do that. It could be using social media or it could be in a booklet or brochure which you produce. Or, as is the case in this situation about corporate speakers, it could be as a result of a meeting at which a prominent and well selected speaker puts across your message.

Lets face it; one of the best ways of inspiring and educating humans is by another human. When a group of people are looking at a film or reading a document, they don’t get the same message, they don’t have the same form of inspiration which comes from a fellow human being. That’s where the choice of a speaker is so important.

The speaker leaves but the message lingers

He or she will almost invariably be a guest at your function. They will arrive on the day of the event, deliver their presentation and then leave. But the best corporate speakers are the ones who leave behind those intangible yet highly valuable benefits.

The best way to get people to take action, to react to something is to have them be part of an activity where a speaker delivers an inspirational address. This is where your choice of speaker is so important. Of course they need to know the message you want to convey and the type of people who make up the audience, but they also need to inspire the listening audience. Work with a professional speakers’ agency and use their expertise to solve your problem.

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Most people do not plan to fail, they just fail to plan. Written goals will give you a blueprint or a road map of where you are to where you want to go.

Several years ago a  class at the Harvard Business school was surveyed at the time of graduation. The survey indicated that only ten percent of the class had written goals. Ten years later another survey was conducted from the same class and the results were amazing.

The ten percent that had written goals outearned the other 90 percent. You can get to any destination as long as you have a roadmap of how to get there. You would not go on a trip in your car to someplace new without a roadmap or a GPS for today’s version of road maps.

Proper training of the products and services that you will be offering will also be critical to your success as well. It may be that you will need to work on yourself and change some of your self-talk. Most people do not even realize they have self-talk, much less do anything about it.

The subject was two words that will ensure your success. Once you set your goals, develop yourself, become educated on your products and services and become a product of the product all is left is Don’t quit.

Most people will quit just at the time when they are going to have success. You must remember that in business, you will have more failures than successes. Or to put in terms of winning and losing, you will have a losing record.

I have listened to a lot of business people who have been very successful at what they do. Most everyone has mentioned that they have not really done anything different or special, they have just failed more times than anyone else.

Most professional athletes have failed more times than they have succeeded. A baseball player will strike out more times than they will hit a home run. A golfer will lose more golf tournaments than they win.

Do they quit?  No they do not. Why do people start a business and quit. They are not prepared for the rejection and in some cases they quit because of the fear of rejection. I would recommend that you put all fears aside and simply put yourself into your business and do not look back.

If all of the famous inventors had quit after a few tries, our life today would not be as enjoyable. Thomas Edison failed almost 1,000 times. Henry Ford was made fun of for inventing the automobile.  These guys turned out fine didn’t they?

If anyone is making fun of you or ridiculing you, do you really need the advice of those people? Would you want to get financial advice from someone who is homeless. Would you seek medical help from a lawyer? No you would not, so surround yourself with like minded people.

There is a lot of information available to you. I would find someone that you can relate to. Possibly you have some similar circumstances as some of the great teachers of today have had. Most came from very humble beginnings and some were even at the point of being broke. So nothing is impossible to overcome as long as you don’t quit.

You can achieve anything you desire, so keep pushing yourself each and every day and Don’t Quit.

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What Michael Douglas said in the movie, Wall Street, ‘Greed is good”, holds true for a very short time. After a while, people can see through your game and quit on you. This does not imply that money is evil. On the contrary, it is one of the fundamental needs, not more or less than trust, relationship, love and freedom.

Customer relationship is crucial

For any business to succeed, retaining an old customer carries immense value and is even more important than acquiring a new customer. The only way you can hold on to your existing customer is by building a relationship of trust and value. Nobody in his right mind expects a free service or product, but everybody is justified in expecting value for money they spend. Once they realize that you have delivered on your promise and gone out of the way to make them feel comfortable doing business with you, it becomes quite easy to build a strong relationship.

Always think long term

Being short sighted in business and chasing profits by unscrupulous means is akin to committing business suicide. The early days may not be very rewarding financially, but if you care to think of a long term goal and concentrate on consolidating your customer base, it eventually pays off handsomely. Always look at the larger picture and strive to reach higher goals. The struggle may be very tough and frustrating when you start out, but will be well worth it when you hit your long term goals.

Transparency and honesty is very valuable

The fine prints and hidden costs, which many companies resort to in the marketplace, may fool people for some time, but when word spreads, it can damage the business very badly. In the garb of helping people, if you lure them in with the promise of solving their pressing problems and take them for a ride, it can cost your business dearly. Customers and business associates would love to do business with you if your business conduct is above board, your transparency crystal clear, your honest effort and sincerity in solving their problem very evident. Once you come across as someone competent, knowledgeable, honest and transparent, they will even pay you more than your competitor who may not have all these qualities.

Show genuine interest in problem solving

Don’t just pretend to be interested in solving someone’s problems, because you will eventually get caught, waste other person’s time and money and make him or her angry beyond salvage. If you want to win someone over for the rest of his life, you must make genuine effort, show real concern and take pains to solve problems and it will pay off in the future.

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Now, while the overall number of self-employed is growing, many fall by the wayside in their attempts to run their own businesses. A great sounding business idea does not necessarily translate into a viable business.

Business hazards

There are countless factors that can bring a business undone, though the general consensus among small business researchers is that the main one is “management inadequacy”, associated with around 90% of business failures. Other major contributors to failure are poor accounting records, deficient accounting knowledge and lack of management advice. These business hazards are joined by many more including: inadequate financing; excessive debt; low sales; high costs; high interest rates; market collapse; lack of market knowledge; overwhelming competition; poor product; service or quality; economic downturn; excessive optimism; production inefficiencies; poor planning; poor forecasting and sheer bad luck.

Thing the proposed business through

By doing your homework very thoroughly, however, which involves seeking considerable professional advice and preparing a proper business plan, you will address and resolve many of these hazards before you even pass “Go”.

You may even discover during the research phase that your proposed venture is unlikely to work. As disappointing as this may be, it is infinitely preferable to go back to the drawing board at this point rather than be forced to bail out one or two years into the business. You’d be amazed how many businesses have been set up simply off the back of an idea without any dispassionate research being done. Of course this ad hoc approach can work, sometimes spectacularly, but mostly it doesn’t

Consider the following points because they will help you focus on the issues critical to business success (and note, this list is far from complete).

  1. What is the main reason why you want to become self-employed – either by buying an existing business or by setting one up from scratch? If it is basically to “buy” yourself a job, think again. Working for someone else who is established is generally more secure, easier, and initially better paid than working for yourself. (It is also less exciting!)
  2. Do you have experience or training in the type of business you wish to establish or buy? If you don’t, I strongly recommend you spend some time in paid employment in the area you want to enter in order to discover more about the industry’s dynamics and performance, and whether it is really for you. This experience will also help reveal how much sheer physical energy and drive you will need to succeed in the industry.
  3. What are your people skills like? Success in this vital area call for integrity, wisdom, leadership, authority, humour, patience, intelligence, tact, empathy, fairness, and an ability to listen just as much as an ability to get your message across clearly. Do you believe you can judge people well, and could you recognize merit in a potential employee? How would you motivate staff, win their respect and trust, get the best performance from them, and retain them?
  4. What about the people closest and most important to you – your family? Their support is vital and can’t be taken for granted. You must give first priority to this relationship and be sure that it is sound before you embark on self-employment, because there are times it will be strained by the demands of the business.
  5. Do you have the financial know-how to run a business? Do you know what the costs of setting up your proposed business would be? Could you construct a cash-flow analysis and predict when the business would generate profits? Having adequate capital to tide you over the early lean times is critical. Where will the money come from? From personal savings, from an equity partnership, or from a bank loan? If a loan, how and when do you intend to pay it back?
  6. Do you understand marketing? Do you know what competition you will be up against? Can your product or service evolve to meet changing market conditions?
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Are you looking for some coupons? Coupons sometimes can help you to save up your budget for fulfilling your daily need. However, it will be difficult to get some coupons if we are not really trying hard to get it. Whoops! It is not a big deal, right? You might not worry because you can just go search in store grocery coupons. There are so many websites that offer the coupons for some daily needs which usually available in grocery stores.

One of the ways for you to get the discount in store grocery coupons is by accessing Walmart. Through its website, there are so many coupons that are available for you to get your needs in discount price. From its website, you can search based on the categories that you need.

The categories that are available on the website are Baby & Toddler, Beverages, Foods, Health Care, Household, Personal Care, Pet Care and Storage & Packaging. Is it so tremendous, right? Everything you need have coupons that will make you be easier to take some of them without any worry to burn your wallet.

Besides, you can also search some product trough Walmart in store grocery coupons by categorizing from its brands. There are most than fifty brands that are available with coupons. From Air Wick, Cascade, Diamond, Dunkin’ Donuts, L’Oreal Paris, Milo’s Kitchen, ORAL-B, Starbucks, VENUS, Ziploc and other brands are completely available.

You might be not worried that your needs cannot be covered because there are so complete. What make it is more wonderful is the coupons that will be given are almost have the discount up to 50% or even cut off the price. Then, you can just click on the coupons that you need and clipped it. Collect as many as you want!

For getting the coupons physically, you can just do some steps. First, choose the coupons that you want. You can click on the picture or if there is a box of click you can just click on it. After that, the coupons that are you selected have been clipped.

After that, if you are all finish to select your coupons you can just go to the option to print the coupons that you have in store grocery coupons. Make sure that the coupons that you have is still valid and can be used. At the last, the coupons have been on your hand.

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The existence of coupon blogs and websites is quite popular the days. It is because many people want to get discount to save more money when purchasing something. The customer will not refuse to use these kind of coupon. There will be reviewed further about the most popular coupon websites in the next section. Looking at the history, people will only get coupon from some magazines or even local newspaper.

They need to cut this coupon first in a few years ago. The development of technology has changed this condition. They now can find a lot of websites or blogs which offer various coupon discounts.

It is not difficult to get the advantages of coupon. The customer just needs to register for an account. This account can be used to save extra money while do online shopping. Among all coupon websites or blogs, one of the most popular coupon blogs is The Krazy Coupon Lady. This coupon blog is founded by Joanie and Heather.

They are now also becoming celebrities of certain television show. The Krazy Coupon Lady is bigger than just a blog. It provides so much content for the customer. Other than the content of coupon in this blog, there are also other content provided such as recipes and DIY crafts. As popular coupon blog, it also has very well design.

There is Southern Savers as the most popular coupon websites. This site has been founded by Jenny Martin. At first, this site is just one of regional coupon blog. Now it becomes national coupon blogs with the readers from many regions in the country. You can find very update news of coupon in this site. There is also tutorial content provided by this site to guide new couponers.

Southern Savers also has simple design which is quite pleasant to navigate the readers. Southern Savers has some social media as well. One of social media owned by this site is Youtube channel. This media becomes the highlight of Southern Savers.

The next websites which is included as the most popular coupon websites is Diskonio. This coupon website is founded by Mia Sarambuna. She has developed a very successful coupon site. This site engages the followers very well especially on Facebook and twitter.

The content of Diskonio is more unique if it is compared with other sites in the same field. This site also gives good offers to the customers. Regarding the design owned by diskonio, this site has more simple design with pink and white color scheme. The founder said that this kind of design will make the customer easier when visiting the blog.

Another popular coupon blog is Hip 2 Save. It has been founded by Collin Morgan. This site provides the readers with coupon content which is quite reliable. Hip 2 Save provides the information of giveaways and online deals as well. The huge followers of this site are on Facebook. The blog itself is designed with fun tone which makes the blog very playful. Hip 2 Save is included as the most popular coupon blogs as well.

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There is another question we need to consider: is owning a business the best way to make money?

This was definitely a belief that I held in my early twenties – that if you wanted to be wealthy you had to own a successful business. I’m not sure if I was influenced by my family, friends or things I read, but I always wanted to start a business of my own.

Now I know I was wrong about this. Wealth can be created by anyone who consistently spends less than they earn and who invests their savings on a regular basis. In fact, the more I look at business failure statistics, the more I wonder about the wisdom of starting any business, despite certainly understanding why people want to.

Once again, we get back to risk and return. Starting or buying a business is risky, but if the business goes well the rewards are high. The business in which I am a shareholder was started by myself and four partners in 1983. We put in $20,000 each and rented a very small, serviced office. Today, we employ well over 280 staff in our offices and South African joint venture.

Funnily enough, the “academic” theory about starting a business is correct. you do need a vision of what you want your business to be and a well-formulated business plan. You must control you cash flow and, in the good years, you must leave money in the company to build up its strength. I feel fortunate that we took the risk in 1983 to quit our quite well-paid jobs, because today business ownership makes me proud, gives me an unbeatable sense of job security and the benefits of controlling my own destiny.

How quickly, though, we forget the reality of starting a business from scratch. In my case, this meant earning next to nothing for five years, working outrageous hours – my partners and I used to laugh about our 35 hours of work. Thirty-five hours on Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday; another 35 hours on the other part of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and just to top things up, working on Saturday as well. Sometimes we didn’t work on Sunday, holidays were a few days off at Christmas and, as for sick leave, well, we just couldn’t afford to get sick!

If you do want to create significant wealth, building a successful business is certainly one way to get there. Look at people in the “500 most wealthy” lists. Some inherit the money, but most create it by building a business.

Few small businesses will ever grow into a News Corporation and not too many will ever be worth a lot of money, but running a business has benefits beyond the purely financial side. This really struck me when I was sitting on beach. While my kids and some friend were paddling around on a hired aqua bike, I started chatting to the owner of the aqua bike business who was originally from my town. He explained that the business was no world beater but it was pretty good and, living on a beautiful lagoon, next to a beach, hiring boats to generally pleasant tourists was somewhat better than working in a factory in industrial suburbs. He has a point. For him, his business provides lifestyle and a reasonable cash flow. He may have earned more working in his town, but tinkering with boats on Avoca lagoon seems much better.

For every success story like this, though, I know of dozens of failures. Buying or setting up a business for lifestyle is a dangerous thing – you may act on emotion, not logic. If you do plan to start up or buy a business for whatever reason, please be careful.

Look, there’s no denying owning a business sounds good and assuming it works, it is. However, as I found, you’ll probably end up working an awful lot harder for a lot longer than in the job you leave and, for the short term at least, not earning as much.

You’ll also miss out on the benefits that full-time employees are entitled to and often take for granted, such as: employer-funded super; worker’s compensation cover; paid sick leave; four weeks’ paid annual leave; holiday loading; long service leave; and maternity (or paternity) leave. You may also have to forgo other goodies company car; an expense account; paid telephone expenses; low holiday expenses; annual bonuses; share options; and the support of a union or industry association. In other words, when you work for yourself there’s no safety net – you’re on your own. Don’t let me scare the wits out of you, however. While self-employment is not all beer and skittles, the great thing about it is the freedom it gives you to run your own race, which I believe outweighs the negatives.

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