4 Tips for Staying Organized as a Freelancer

If you’re a freelancer, then you know the many perks that come along with the lifestyle. The freedom to build your schedule and work around your own day, being able to work from home (or anywhere else you want, really), and having the joy of relaxing without the stress of an office, are all some of the many benefits of working as a freelancer.

You also know, then, that there are some downfalls to being a freelancer as well. One of the most major downfalls is staying dedicated and organized to get the work done.

You don’t have a boss hanging out near your office ensuring that you complete your workday. Instead, it’s all up to you. That is why it’s crucial to stay organized as much as you can to keep on top of the game.

At Corporate Business Solutions Reviews, we know the importance of organization. So, here are four tips that will help any freelancer stay organized.

Know Your Limits

Especially when you’re first starting, it’s hard to say no when jobs come up. Money tends to be tight at the beginning, making it more appealing to work as much as you can. However, taking on more than you can handle will cause unnecessary stress in your life.

Have a Consistent Schedule

Consistency is essential for freelancers. If you get in the habit of waking up whenever you want, scheduling in appointments and errands in the middle of the workday, it gets hard to stay on top of your work.

Having a consistent schedule will not only help you stay organized and keep track of all the different projects you have going on, but it will also help you maintain a life. It’s easy to get caught up with work every evening and into the weekend.

A way to build a consistent routine is to schedule out your week in advance. Make a note of all your appointments, deadlines, tasks, and other projects on the go, and allow yourself a realistic amount of time for each. Always leave wiggle room for things taking longer than planned, and unexpected projects or issues popping up.

Prioritize

Prioritization is key for success as a freelancer, and it will help you stay organized as well. If you start your day off with a project due at the end of the week but ignore the one that’s due tomorrow, you’re setting yourself up for a stressful evening. Stress can cause chaos in our lives, and that will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. So, when you plan out your week, start with the high priority jobs and work your way down.

Have Steady Work

Part of what makes freelancing a challenge to organize is all the one-time jobs and random assignments popping up. It’s hard to feel secure in your work when you can’t guarantee you’ll have an assignment coming your way.

Building a relationship with your clients to maintain long-term work will help ease the stress of the unknown. You won’t feel the need to take on more than you can and say yes to any unnecessary jobs just to make ends meet.30

If you’re a freelancer who struggles to stay organized, consider implementing the above four tips. You’ll find that after adjusting to them, you’ll stay more on top of your work and feel better about your daily schedule.

Can Your Business Handle These 5 Common Problems?

No matter how solid a business plan you have, how organized everything is, and how much you prepare yourself, every business faces challenges. It is inevitable.

Some issues are something that you can control. Other problems, though, are out of your hands and it comes down to how you respond to them.

Don’t let the idea of challenges stop you from running your business. Corporate Business Solutions has five common problems that any business is likely to face.

Uncertainty

Every business goes through uncertainty. That is because no matter how much thought and research you put into your business plan, you cannot guarantee your business idea will take off at the start. Right there, is uncertainty.

Uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling because it is usually out of our control. You can do what you can to help remove the unknown. However, there will always be factors that come into play that you cannot control. A strong business is one that can persevere through the uncertainty because it’s prepared for as many outcomes as possible.

Diversity

We live in a diverse world, and diversity helps to keep an open mind about many things. The challenge with diversity is that not everyone will agree with your choices, and that is a challenge for businesses.

Diversity in a company comes in multiple ways. First, it’s the diversity of your employers. It doesn’t stop there though. The diversity we’re talking about comes from keeping multiple viewpoints in mind and building an environment that allows your team to explore those different points.

Finances

At one point or another, your business will face financial struggles. From making sure you bring in enough money to keep the doors open, to wondering where you should beef up your budget, money can cause much stress for a company.

Your company’s finances should not be taken lightly. Basically, that money is what allows your business to keep moving forward. To help ease the stress, ensure that you have total control and understanding over where the money goes and comes from.

Employee Performances

If you have employees, even just one person working for you, his or her performance will always be something you think about. Most businesses will face a bad employee. Not every person is fit for every job available, and how else will someone know that unless he or she try it?

Monitoring your employee’s performances will help you stay on top of their work. When you’re monitoring them, it doesn’t mean micromanaging. Take a step back to see what their work habits are like. See how they contribute to the business and if their contributions fit their compensation.

Competition

You’ll rarely find that there is one sole business for an idea. Typically, when one company pops up with an idea, others will soon follow. There will always be competition in the business world. However, it’s all on how you handle it.

You can handle the competition in two ways. For starters, it could be the biggest challenge you face, which ultimately closes your business. Alternatively, that competition could be the driving factor towards innovation and success.

Your business is bound to face one of, if not all of these challenges. Take them in stride and use these issues as a way to further your company and its success.

6 Golden Rules for Writing a Business Plan

Any business expert will tell you that you need a solid business plan before moving forward with your idea. A business plan helps you visualize what the company would look like, the costs to start it, and if your idea is feasible or not.

Business plans are an essential part of any company, no matter what stage it is at. The question, though, is how do you write a good business plan?

At CBS-CBS.com, we have six golden rules that will help you write a solid business plan.

Don’t Be Scared

Writing a business plan can get intimidating very quickly. However, don’t let that happen.

Not every business owner is an expert, but many owners started at the same point you’re at – getting a plan. You’ll likely learn as you go, so don’t shy away from the challenge.

In the beginning, you can have a more basic business plan to get the ball rolling. A simple, single-page plan is enough to get you started. Then, as you move forward, continue adding more to your plan.

Keep it Short and To the Point

A business plan needs to be straight to the point. You’re not writing an essay or novel that requires a colorful description. If someone has to read page after page that could have been summarized in one paragraph, you’ll likely lose their attention.

Your business plan is something you carry with you as you grow your business. That means you’ll need to revise it many times. Having to change a hundred-page business plan will take you quite a long time that you’ll likely neglect it.

Define Your Audience

Unless you’re opening up a general store, your business plan should have a designated audience you want to target. Your audience is a group of people that your company should attract.

Another audience to think of is for who is looking at your business plan. If you’re submitting it to a bank, you’ll want to put more emphasis on the numbers. Maybe you have a partner joining you, in which case you’d likely tailor your business plan a bit differently.

Know Your Competition

Basically, every business out there has competition. The business world is competitive, and you need to be able to identify who your competition is. You should clearly state this in your business plan, along with any research about the competition. Also, make a note of why your idea is different and what makes you stand out from them.

Provide Evidence for Every Claim

You can’t expect to make unrealistic claims on your business plan and have an investor take it seriously. Every claim you make needs to have evidence to support it. By getting in this habit, not only will it educate you more in your field, but it will also help you out as a leader.

Be Realistic

When presenting a business plan, you want your idea to look good. However, you need to do so realistically. For things like the timeline, budget, employees, and supplies, you don’t want to exaggerate anything just to make your idea look better.

Take these six golden points into consideration when writing your business plan. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of your idea succeeding.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Work Computer Secured

At work, you have tons of important data on your computer, just like you have personal information on your computer at home. If that device or its data got into the wrong hands, it could be detrimental to the business.

Keeping your computer and everything stored on it secured is essential to the safety and privacy of everyone involved in your company. From employee’s information for payroll to client contact and banking data, you’re responsible for all of that information and to keep it safe.

Here at CBS-CBS.com, we know how essential security is for any business. So, we came up with six points to help keep your work computer secured.

Physically Lock Your Computer

Chances are, you have a laptop for your work. They’re great in the sense that they’re portable and you can take them anywhere. However, if you can move your laptop to wherever you want, so can somebody else.

You can get cable locks that will secure your computer to wherever it’s sitting. That way, if you’re not around, you don’t have to worry about someone sneaking in and stealing the device. These cable locks can also be useful for monitors as well.

Always Log Out

If you have to step away from your computer, always log out of what you’re doing. Even if it is only for a few minutes, put your computer to sleep so that if anyone tries to access it, they have to enter in your password.

Logging out will hide any personal information you may have open on your computer. It’s one of the best ways to add additional security from anyone walking by.

Have Strong Passwords

If you don’t have passwords, you should add some right now. Passwords are a way to lock out unwanted users from your device. However, passwords are only useful if you’re the only person that knows them, and you make them strong.

Make a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters for your passwords. Try to use different combinations for all the passwords you need, and get in the habit of regularly updating them.

Keep Your Computer Updated

If you’re more concerned about an online breach, then one step to take is to keep your computer updated. Each update your device has will likely have useful upgrades for protecting it against online threats. Falling behind on those updates could leave your computer vulnerable to an attack.

Install Additional Security Software

Depending on how strong your computer’s internal security is, you may want to consider installing additional protection. Use software that regularly scans your computer, warns you of suspicious online activity, and blocks you from accessing threatening websites and emails.

Use a VPN

If you’re ever on a public network and doing remote work, it’s a good idea to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This software creates a tunnel for your data to travel through once you connect to a network. It makes your information virtually impossible to look at or attack while connected. That way, you can work from any network safely and securely, without putting your main office network at risk.

Take security seriously for your work computer. You wouldn’t want to have all of that stored information taken by someone who is not authorized.

Need to Let an Employee Go? 5 Tips to Help You Out

It’s a process that business owners will likely face at one point or another. It’s not an enjoyable conversation to have, but sometimes it’s needed. We’re talking about letting go of an employee.

If the time comes to lay off a worker, you have many things to consider, including their emotional and mental wellbeing. Being laid off is not something that a person wants to experience, so the better you can approach the situation, the less likely you have to worry about it escalating.

To help you go through the unfortunate event of letting go of an employee, Corporate Business Solutions has five tips to help you out.

Don’t Catch Them Off Guard

Depending on the reasoning for the layoff, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to the employee. If you catch him or her off guard, it could turn into a situation that you wanted to prevent.

If you’re letting go of an employee due to poor performance, he or she should have an idea that this was coming. By doing regular performance reviews and speaking with the employee about his or her performance, it allows you to set the grounds so that no one is surprised.

However, that isn’t always the case, and sometimes it’s necessary to keep the firing quiet until that moment. Each situation will be different.

Speak Face to Face

Laying off someone is not something you should do over the phone, through email, or by text message. Even having someone else fire an employee for you, it’s better for yourself as the owner to do it, and speak face to face.

When you’re speaking to someone in front of you, you can watch their body language and get a feel of how what the energy is like in the room. That can help you approach the topic in different ways.

Keep Your Feelings in Check

It’s going to have your own emotions during a layoff, as it’s not something that people enjoy doing. However, you’ll want to keep your emotions in check. If you start to express sadness, it will only make the other person more emotional. If you’re upset with the performance of the employee, getting mad will only escalate the situation into something much worse.

Be Compassionate and Empathetic

Put yourself in the employee’s shoes. How would you want the conversation to go if you were the one being fired? Most likely you would want to see empathy from the other person, and that he or she shows compassion in how you feel.

Being compassionate and empathetic towards the employee will help the process go smoothly. When someone loses his or her job, it can affect their entire life, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Be Honest

You don’t want to be blunt and rude about it, but you also don’t want to sugar coat why you’re letting someone go. Honesty is essential in these situations.

If the reason is out of your control due to the economy or a chain shutting down, make sure you keep employees in the loop. When employees get the feeling of a layoff, rumours start to float around that will only make the situation worse.

Want a Pay Raise? 5 Tips to Help You Ask

Do you believe you deserve more money to compensate for the work that you do? If that’s the case, you’ve likely stressed about the idea of asking your boss for more money, especially if there isn’t any being handed out.

Asking for a pay raise is not an easy conversation to have. How do you ask for more money and what would happen if your boss says no? You don’t want to have that uncomfortable conversation.

If you deserve to have a bigger paycheque for the work you do, then you want to take charge of the situation. A manager is more likely to respect the fact that you took the time and courage to come and talk with him or her, rather than sitting back and doing nothing.

To help you get past the nerves and ask your boss for a raise, CBS-CBS.com has a few tips to help you out.

Know Your Worth

If you’re going into a meeting to talk about money and your value to the company, you should know what you’re worth. If you cannot back up your request for more money, it will be hard for your manager to agree with you. Do the research beforehand to prepare yourself so that you can confidently say what you’re worth to the company.

Have a Number in Mind

Don’t leave it up to your manager to tell you how much your pay should increase. That should come from you. After your research, you should have a number in mind as to what you want to make hourly or yearly. Be fair to yourself and the organization though.

Practice Negotiating

There is a good chance you’ll have to do a bit of negotiating with your boss. If he or she doesn’t want to give you your exact number, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not worth that to the company. It could be that the company can only afford so much. However, don’t let that stop you from negotiating a fair price. So, practice ahead of time with someone who can ask the tough questions.

Express How You Feel Working There

Want to help your case out more? Explain to your boss while you genuinely enjoy the company and are happy to come to work every day. By letting your boss know that you’re satisfied with your job, it can reassure them that you’re a valuable employee that is loyal to the company.

State Your Case Confidently

Be confident when approaching the topic of money. If you’ve done your research beforehand, you should have a valid reason as to why you deserve a pay raise.

Explain to your boss the situation clearly. It could be that your workload increased as the company continues to grow. Maybe you’re struggling financially at home and the extra dollar an hour will help you pay your bills on time.

Although you should be honest with your boss, don’t guilt him or her into giving you a raise. That could make the situation worse in the end.

Asking for a pay raise is not an easy conversation to have. However, if you can gather the information, be confident in your decision, and thoroughly explain why you deserve the increase, you have a better chance of being successful.

What to Do With a Late-Paying Client

If you haven’t come across this yet, prepare yourself as it’s bound to happen. You have a customer or client who just won’t pay your invoice on time.

Late payments put a strain on your business, yourself and the relationship between you and your clients. You spend quite a bit of time and effort to do the work the client needs; you expect in return that you’ll get compensated in a timely manner. Late payments are one way to burn bridges between people.

It doesn’t matter what type of work you do. You deserve to get paid and get paid on time. Although there are some circumstances beyond people’s control in which payment may get delayed (in which case, this should get communicated between all parties), for the most part though, you should get paid on time.

If you’re struggling with a late-paying client, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a few ways to help you get paid.

Send Out Reminders

In some cases, all that’s happened is your client forgot to send out the payment. A simple reminder may do the trick. There are a few ways to do this. You can either send a quick email or text reminding them about the invoice or resend the invoice altogether.

To prevent late payments, send out a few reminders before the due date. Send out the first reminder a week before the payment due date, the day before, on the due date, and a week after the due date.

Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, emails and text messages can get lost and forgotten about. A phone call is a form of communication that is hard to ignore. Also, a phone call seems to stress the point that much more.

If you decide to make a phone call to the client, use your best customer service skills you have. You don’t want to burn any bridges with your clients. Approach the situation in a calm manner and let them know this is a simple reminder.

Implement a Late Payment Fee

Whether or not you struggle with late payments, implementing a late payment fee is a good business practice. It helps ensure that you receive payment on time and if you don’t, you’re compensated for the days you’ve waited for payment.

If you go this route, make sure it’s well-known to every client that you have a late payment fee. You wouldn’t want to catch them off guard with additional charges and hurt your relationship with the client.

Refuse Work

Do you have a client who is late with payments every time, no matter how many reminders and phone calls you send them? It may be time to cut ties with this client. Typically, a business goes this route as a last option, unless there are other factors included.

When refusing to work with a client, you still want to do so politely and professionally. You never know if the client will say something to another person about the experience. Be confident and straightforward with your decision, and explain why you’re not going to work with them anymore.

It’s important to keep track of all invoices, when they’re paid, and how many reminders you’ve sent. That way, if you need to contact them or decide to stop working with them, you have the proof to back your claims.

5 Steps to Help Handle an Angry Employee

No workplace is perfect, no matter how hard you may try to make it. There will come a time when an employee will get upset at work, and you as the manager, must handle the situation. Whether it be from a bad day at home or a conflict at work, anger can overcome even the best of people.

When an employee becomes angry, even if it’s at you, the first step is not to take it personally and emotional yourself. One party needs to be level headed to calm the situation down. Then, you can take control and work to rectify everything.

If you have had, or currently have an upset employee on your hands, use the following five steps from Corporate Business Solutions to help resolve the situation.

Acknowledge Their Feedback

One quick way to lose control of the situation, and in turn, have an even more upset employee is not to acknowledge why they’re upset. If management brushes off an employees concern and feelings, it can make them feel like they do not matter to the company, and provide no value either.

The first step is to acknowledge the employee’s feedback and concerns, no matter how upset they may be. Let them know that you hear them, appreciate the energy, time, and courage it takes to speak to their superior about these issues. Show that you value not just their opinion, but them as an employee and as a person.

Be Empathetic

When letting an employee air out frustration, it can feel like they’re attacking you. However, if you quickly go on the defensive, you can easily lose control of the situation, and it will likely blow up even more.

Instead, be empathetic towards the employee. For starters, you may not know what’s happening in the rest of their life to make them feel this way. You, as the employer, may actually be in the wrong. Alternatively, they may just want to be ensured that their voices are heard.

Get All the Information

Before you can start making suggestions on what to do, you need all of the information. Have the employee go through, in detail, the events and what caused them to feel so upset. You need to know if you’re the problem, another employee, something to do with their job title, or maybe it’s something at home affecting their work.

Do Something

It’s one thing to listen and acknowledge the feedback of a frustrated employee. However, it’s something entirely different when management acts on it. Once you have all the information, it’s time to do something about the problem.

Discuss with the employee what you can do to help rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again. Offer a sincere apology, especially if you are the problem. Even if the issue has nothing to do with you, a simple “I’m sorry this is happening to you,” or “I’m sorry you got put into this situation,” can make a difference.

Check-In

To go one step further in rectifying the problem, check in with the employee down the road. See how your solution to the issue helped (or didn’t), and what everyone’s learned from this. The check-in is a crucial step that shouldn’t get missed.

3 Resolutions for a Healthier Relationship With Technology

It’s no secret that our world loves technology. The advancements over the last few decades have improved our lives both personally and business-wise in more ways than we can imagine. It’s never been easier to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. You can send and receive information in an instant, check in with your dog at home while you’re sitting in your office, you can do almost anything with technology.

All of these benefits are great, except for one thing – we’ve relied on technology so much that it disconnects us from what’s in front of us. Do you find yourself spending more time in front of a computer screen or your smartphone than you do face-to-face with a human being? If so, you’re not alone.

A Nielsen Total Audience Report in 2018 found that American adults spend roughly 11 hours a day in front of a screen. That’s basically half of your day right there.

Although we need technology in our lives, there are times when we also need a break. The Corporate Business Solutions Consultants have three resolutions you should make this year to maintain a healthier relationship with technology.

Turn Off Notifications

How often do you hear your phone ding and struggle to resist the urge of dropping what you’re doing to look? When that notification goes off, we want to see what’s going on. Maybe it’s important, but it’s likely one of your games notifying you that you’re ready for the next level.

Turn off as many notifications on your phone as possible. If you need your phone for work and can’t afford to turn off the dings for emails and text messages, that’s okay. However, if you have every app sending you a message constantly, it’s time to go through them and see what can go.

Turn Off Your Phone

Throughout the day, especially when you’re at work and busy, turn off your phone entirely. Even if you have most of your notifications turned off, there’s still that temptation of wanting to check it periodically. Instead, you should stay focused on the task at hand, and reward yourself with some phone time after you’ve completed your ‘to do’ list.

Consider doing this when you’re at home too. It’s easy to get distracted by your phone while you should be spending some quality time with your family. Multitasking with a phone doesn’t usually work. Turn it off at certain points and give you full attention to who’s in front of you.

Have No-Phone Areas

Even after turning off notifications and turning your phone off periodically you still find yourself attached to your electronic device, designate no-phone areas. You can use this for both at home and work.

In the workplace, make the board room, meeting areas, and other areas that are specifically meant for work a no-phone zone. At home, you could say no phones in the dining room and the bedroom. Think of where people get the most distracted by their phones, and that is a good starting point. The purpose isn’t to ban phones altogether. Instead, it should help eliminate a distraction and keep people focused at work and with who they are around.

Your 2019 Business ‘To Do’ List

A new year is a way to start fresh for some people. They set their New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives in many ways. You quite often hear the saying, new year, new you, and for some, that is true.

That saying is great for your personal life, but what about your business? Can you have that same mentality with your company?

It’s not that you’re looking to revamp your business model entirely. However, a new year can be like a fresh slate for tackling tasks and making changes you’ve been thinking of for the past few months. As we continue into 2019, here is your New Year ‘to do’ list for your business from CBS-CBS.com.

Map Out Your Targets and Goals

One of the best ways to start the new year is by mapping out the future of your business. This plan should include all targets and goals you hope to achieve and by when. Set up annual, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly goals for yourself and everyone that works for and with you.

Goals are an excellent way to keep people motivated. It gives people something to focus on since there usually is a reward at the end. Sit down with everyone and decide what the most important targets are for the company, and create realistic goals for everyone to contribute to the target.

Learn the New Trends

Each year that passes means there are new trends. No matter what your business is about, there is likely a trend that you want to keep up with. Trends are what your target audience is looking at. If you don’t keep up with them as they change, your company could get left behind.

Speak With Your Staff

Your staff helps you run your business. They are essential to the success you make. That is why it’s necessary to ensure that they’re treated fairly and have everything they need. Your ‘to do’ list should include time to sit down with each employee and see what their needs are and if there are any changes that you should make.

Clean Up the Budget

Year-end is a great time to look at your budget from the previous year and see how your finances look (if you don’t keep track of your business finances, you may want to start). See where you’ve spent the most money and what part of your company brought in the least amount of money. You can then decide if you need to make cuts and clean the budget up a bit and work out a plan to bring in more cash over the next year.

Look Over Your Original Business Model

Before you opened the doors to your company, you would have made a business plan or model. That plan helps keep you on track and lead to you running a successful business.

With each new year, you should revisit your original business model and see how you’re doing today. Take note of what you hoped you would achieve by this point. Did you make it to where you wanted to be, or are you behind with your goals? That business model will help you make any adjustments so that you stay on track.