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.

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.

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.

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.

Have a Home Office? 6 Ways to Update It On a Budget

If you work from home, you need to have an office that is functional for your job. Improving your work environment has many benefits that will not only boost your productivity, but it will also keep you relaxed and focused.

The difficult part of renovating or updating an office typically comes down to the budget. Doing any enhancements to any part of a home is not always cheap. However, if done smartly, you can do many updates on a budget.

Your Corporate Business Solutions consultants have a few ways that you can update your home office on a budget.

Add a Coat of Paint

Paints the walls in your office can do wonders. Changing the color can make an old office feel brand-new. You can also go the route of using wallpaper for unique styles and added texture.

If you paint the walls, try to stay within colors that promote productivity and staying focused. Blue tones help if you need to focus, while yellow can help keep your creative juices flowing.

Reorganize Your Desk

Your desk is likely the main focus in your office because it’s where you do your work. Having a cluttered desk doesn’t benefit anyone.

Take some time to reorganize your desk. Go through all of the papers lying around and either file or destroy them. Organizing a desk can give your home office the update it deserves.

Bring in Natural Light

We know how beneficial natural light is. So, try to let in as much as you can in your office. You don’t have to do a full renovation and cut new windows in. Instead, utilize what you have first.

Give your window a good clean. When dust and fingerprints build up, it takes away from the natural light. Change out your blinds so that they allow more light in. Another trick is to install a mirror opposite of the window. That way, when the sun shines in, it bounces off the mirror and back into the room.

Get a New Office Chair

Your office chair should be of high priority if you’re working from home. An uncomfortable chair will only cause you issues down the road. Look for chairs that have good padding and give you the back support for good posture.

Bring in Some Green

You can decorate your office at a decent price with green plants. Try to incorporate a balance of indoor living plants and fake ones. Just like with daylight and the colors on the walls, the type of plant you have around you can also benefit your productivity.

Indoor plants also help to purify the air. If you’re in a small area all hours of the day, you’ll want to breathe in the clean, fresh air. If you can’t get outside, a plant is the next best thing.

Add a Personal Touch

The joys of a home office are that you can design it however you want. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to space. Decorate with items that you like (but won’t distract you). If you have a favorite painting, hang it up in your office.

Updating an office doesn’t have to cost you much money. Even the smallest changes can go a long way in making your office feel brand new.

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.

9 Business Lessons You Should Follow

Every entrepreneur goes through a moment where they think, “I wish I would have done things differently.” Having this thought is normal. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can do all the research in the world to prepare you. However, there will still be lessons you learn along your way.

Corporate Business Solutions Reviews came up with a list of nine business lessons that are common, and something you should follow.

Learn to Market, It’s Essential

Marketing is something you can’t ignore, especially in today’s world. If you want your business to grow and get the word out there, you need to have a solid marketing plan. Don’t put this on the backburner. Spend some time thinking about what would grab your audience’s attention.

Stop Waiting

How often do you find yourself saying that you’ll do something when the time is right? In the business world, you won’t find the “right” time very often. Instead of waiting (and procrastinating), take on a challenge right now.

Honor Your Commitments

If you made a commitment, honor it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t make a meeting or why your payment is late. When you honor your commitment, you become known as a person of your word, which means everything in the business world.

Be Honest

Honesty can slip through the cracks in the business world. However, we shouldn’t let that happen. If you miss something important or a payment, be honest with the person as to why. If people find out that you lie, that will haunt you while you run your business.

Customer Service is Extremely Important

Customer service means everything for a business. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if your customer service is poor, people will go to your competitors. Keep your clientele around by having the best customer service on the market.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

With that being said, as important as customer service is, it’s important to remember that the customer isn’t always right (contrary to what people like to say). Each situation is different. Sometimes you’ll have to swallow your pride and acknowledge that the customer is right. Other times though, you will need to stand your ground and back up your company or an employee.

Be Nice to Everyone

Niceness is another characteristic that can get lost in the business world. Because of how competitive some industries are, we get into that competitive mode and lose what it means to be nice to people. When you’re nice to people, they will likely be nice back to you, which can make your life a little easier.

Work Hard

Never stop working hard. That isn’t to say don’t take breaks. You should take those breaks when you know you need them. When it’s time to work, though, work hard. Be dedicated to your business so that it will flourish.

Take Care of Yourself

As important as it is for your business to succeed, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. If you can’t stay healthy enough to run your business, how will it succeed then? Take care of your health, both mentally and physically.

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.

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.