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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.

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Delegating: A Crucial Leadership Quality

As a business owner, you’re likely always looking for and learning new qualities to make you a great leader. Having strong leadership skills is essential for a successful business. If you cannot lead your team and your company, it will be difficult to push it forward.

One of those top leadership qualities is knowing how and when to delegate. Delegating is essential for not just yourself and keeping your task load manageable, but it also shows that you trust your team to take on these responsibilities.

There may not necessarily be a right or wrong way to delegate. However, there are some tips that will help you be better at it. Your Corporate Business Solutions consultants have a few delegating tips to help.

Know Who to Delegate To

A good delegate knows who can handle that task. You will have certain people that can handle more responsibilities than others, in which you would delegate larger tasks. Those who are more creative, there would be specific tasks you delegate to them. The point is that you know who can handle what, and you delegate accordingly. This will help you and your team be successful.

Knowing What to Delegate

Not only should you know whom to delegate to, but you should also know what is and isn’t appropriate for you to delegate. If you’re just starting, you’ll likely want to start with smaller tasks to see how it goes. As time progresses though, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable delegating more substantial and more important jobs.

It’s important to note that not every task on your plate should get delegated. As the leader, you still need to take on the things that only the leader should handle. Time-sensitive, delicate, and personal tasks should still be left to you.

Don’t Hover and Micromanage

If the purpose of delegating is to ease up your workload and trust your employees, hovering over them will not solve the issue. In fact, micromanaging will only make things worse.

It’s okay to check in with your team from time to time, and it’s a good leadership habit to get into. However, when you’re presences is dominating to the point that your team feels frustrated and not trusted, you’ll only cause issues. When you delegate, let the task go.

Communicate Efficiently

When you delegate a task, you need to ensure that you properly communicate the task, so the person knows what he or she needs to do. If you only give half the information, or can’t clearly communicate the task, that person will either keep coming back with questions or deliver the project not how you wanted.

When you delegate a task, make sure to clearly lay out your expectations, along with any instructions on how to perform the task. Be available to answer questions, but also encourage the employee to learn on his or her own as well.

Give Credit

If you delegate a task, only to take the credit for it, you’ll have many upset employees. No one will want to help you out again if that’s how things go. When you delegate a task, it’s imperative that you give credit where credit is due. Reward for a job well done, and thank everyone who was involved in the project.

Delegating is an essential leadership skill to learn and master. Not only will it make your job easier, but it also builds up trust and the employer to employee relationship for a successful team.

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6 Instagram Tips Every Business Owner Needs

Instagram has turned into a powerful tool that businesses can take advantage of. It’s one of the most popular social media platforms around, and many users enjoy scrolling through their feed to see what’s happening around the world.

For businesses, Instagram is a way to connect with its customers and clients. You can show behind the scenes photos and videos of what goes on in the day, showcase employees, or give your followers a sneak peek of something new.

If you do not have an Instagram account for your business, you should start one right away. To help you out, Corporate Business Solutions has six tips for your business Instagram account.

Follow People in Your Industry

Those who work within your industry, it’s a good idea to follow them. There are a few reasons behind it (and it’s not to copy what other people are doing). To start, when you follow someone, chances are they’ll take a look at your profile. They may even follow you back.

Another reason to follow people in your industry is to see the latest trends, and whether or not you’re keeping up with your competition. If you’re wondering why your clientele is slow, low or sales are slow, take a peek at your competition and see what you’re missing.

Follow People Who Follow Your Competition

Not only do you want to follow those in your industry, the ones who follow your competition, but you should also add them to your list too. Those clients are following your competition for a reason – for what they sell. Since you’re in the same industry, they are likely more inclined to follow you back since they’ll be interested in what you have to offer.

Have a Target Audience

If you’re posting for the sake of posting with no plan in mind, your account will only grow so much. Before you begin anything, determine who your target audience is. Once you know that, you can start to tailor your posts to them.

Create Engaging Content

After you set your target audience, you want to create content that will engage them. If you’re trying to reach to women in their early 20s, you wouldn’t want to post pictures and videos that are more appealing to men in their 50s.

Are you running out of creative and original content? Post-behind-the-scenes photos and videos and upcoming products or events with your business. Ask questions in your post to get your followers to interact with you.

Interact With Your Followers

If you want people to interact with you, you need to interact with them back. There is something to be said when a company replies to a comment from a customer. To them, it shows that you’re listening and taking the time to read what they’re saying.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

Many think you need to be constantly posting throughout the week. You can, but there is a good chance you’ll end up boring your customers. Cluttered feeds don’t get much attention.

Instead, focus on the quality of the post rather than how often. Although you do want to be consistent, you don’t need to post five photos in one day (unless you have a reason to).

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Starting Up a Business? 5 Tips to Find the Perfect Location

Are you in the process of starting up a business? You’ve gone through all the details, including outline everything in your business plan. The funding came in, and all that is left is to figure out where you’ll set up shop.

Finding the perfect location for your business isn’t an easy decision. You have many factors to consider, all of which can either make or break your start-up.

To help you find the best location for your new business, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a few tips to help you out.

Do Some Research

Before you even begin looking, you want to do some research to come up with a few options. When you research, you want to look at different areas of your city. Consider the main demographic around to what your target audience is. You wouldn’t want to set your business up in a retirement neighborhood when your target audience is young adults.

Consider Other Companies in the Area

If you want to be in a popular area, there will be other businesses around you, and that’s okay. Being around those that compliment your service or product can actually work in your favor. A customer may be at one store and realize that they could use something from yours.

Look at Your Competitors

As you look around, make a note of where your competitors are. There are a few reasons behind this. To start, if you and your competitor are side-by-side, it could be hard to grow your customer base, especially if your competitor already has many loyal customers.

Secondly, if you’re setting up your business in a larger city, going to a different area from where your competitors are could open up more customers for you. If people have the option to go to a store closer to where they live, they’ll likely choose yours over your competitors.

Think of Growth

Although you want to find a spot that works for you right now, you do want to consider what the future looks like too. This is when your business plan comes in hand.

Do you plan to expand your business as it grows? If so, do the locations you’re looking at allow you to expand, or would you have to move to a new spot? Your company will likely look a lot different five years down the road than what it is now.

Do You Buy or Rent?

A question to ask yourself is whether you should rent a building or buy. Each option has its perks and downfall. When you rent, you have less responsibility for the building. The landlord typically takes care of a lot of the maintenance, freeing up time and even money on your end. However, you have to go through your landlord for any changes you want to do.

Buying a building is a more expensive option. If you end up moving or shutting down, you’ll have to sell the place. When you buy though, the building is yours to do with however you please.

Where you set up shop is important, especially for a start-up. You want to go to an area that you’ll be noticed, without breaking the bank though. Do the research ahead of time so that you can find the best location for your new business.

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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.

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Looking for a Product Manager? Hire Someone With These 4 Traits

The product manager is an essential role in a business. He or she does more than simply manage products. There is also coordinating with sales and procurement, working alongside the marketing team, and taking on a leadership role beside the owner of the company.

Because of how important this role is to an organization, it is not something you want to give to just anyone. You need to be able to trust this person not only to get the job done, but to get the job done correctly and efficiently.

If you’re looking to hire a product manager, Corporate Business Solutions consultants have four traits you should look for.

Trustworthy

As mentioned, your product manager needs to be something that you can trust completely. If you have any doubt in their abilities at all, it will not only harm the relationship between the two of you, but it will be hard for anyone to get any work done.

You need to trust your product manager, but he or she also needs to trust the team. The product manager won’t have time to micromanage the team, and nor should he or she be. There should be trust between the product manager and the team so that everyone can efficiently do their job.

Communication

Another important trait to look for is communication. Your product manager talks to everyone within the company and knows basically everything happening with the business. If he or she cannot communicate tasks and information to the correct person, there will be a disconnect that can negatively affect the company.

A good product manager should have his or her own method of reliable communication. Whether it be through meetings, emails, texts, or simply checking in now and then with the team, the product manager should always be in constant communication.

Proactive, Not Reactive

There is a major difference between being proactive and being reactive. Your product manager should be proactive for the most part, but know how to react to a situation properly.

When looking for a product manager, see how he or she would react to a situation, and what he or she would do to prevent that from happening in the first place. By being proactive, he or she can see the bigger picture and know what to do and whom to speak with to ensure the company runs smoothly.

A Bit of Skepticism

Although being optimistic is still a good trait to have, your product manager should be a little skeptic. It’s not that he or she expects something to go wrong, or only looks at the negative side of things. Instead, the product manager takes previous mistakes as a learning curve and will ask the hard questions about assumptions, budgets, timelines, and the why.

A skeptical product manager likely has more than one answer to every question, because he or she is not satisfied with only one response. They go into great detail about questions, and will even challenge answers sent from managers above him or her.

A product manager plays a vital role in any business. Ensure you have one that you can trust and rely on to keep the company running smoothly.

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5 Common Customer Complaints You’ll Hear

If your business requires you to work with customers at one point or another, you know that there will be customer complaints at one point or another. No matter how excellent of a business model you have, you cannot make every customer happy.

What you can do, though, is rectify the situation to keep the customer around. Although every case is different, there are a few customer complaints that are quite common. To help you prepare for any complains, Corporate Business Solutions consultants have five common customer complaints you’re likely to hear.

Waiting for Too Long

Everyone thinks that their time is precious, and to them, it likely is. That is why when a customer has to wait for an extended amount of time, they can become irritated, frustrated, and ultimately let it out on you.

Long wait times can be for any reason. Sometimes the wait is beyond your control, and you have to simply apologize and explain the situation. In other circumstances though, the wait time is an issue within the company. With that case, you would again apologize and figure out how you can reduce customer wait times.

What I Bought Isn’t What I Expected

Whether it be a service or a product, sometimes the expectations a customer has does not equal reality. When this happens, the customer is disappointed and will have a complaint to the business.

If you come across this complaint, spend time speaking with the customer to see what they were hoping for, if they need help with the product or service, or it needs replacing.

Haven’t Heard From Anyone

If a customer feels ignored, it will only make things worse. A common complaint is when a business doesn’t respond to a customer comment or complaint promptly.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to respond to everyone as soon as possible. However, that isn’t always feasible. If you have this complaint, explain to the customer what the holdup is and that you value their opinion.

Your Competitor Can Do/Sell This

The competitor complaint or statement is another common one, and one that can be frustrating. There are two ways to take this complaint. The first is to toss it to the side and tell the customer there is nothing you can do. That will likely end with the customer going to the competitor.

However, if you want to come out on top, try and match what the competitor is doing. You can use this as a learning curve to see why you’re behind your competitors.

Getting Shuffled to Different People

When a customer has a concern, they want to talk to the right person the first time. Having to explain yourself multiple times to different people gets annoying very quickly.

One way to avoid this complaint is for the person who answers customer complaints, make sure they know exactly whom to direct the complaint to. If not and this complaint occurs, the manager should take over and try to rectify the situation.

Even though these are common complaints, they will still be different depending on the business and the customer. However, you can use these examples as a way to help prepare your customer service team for any complaint thrown their way.

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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.

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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.

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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.