Working from home? Things to consider.

UPDATE Thursday 2 April 2020
This was first written in June 2014, and now here we are almost six years later being enforced to work from home.

Today though it is vital whether in business or simply as a residential customer to look at what you are spending on essential services, and seek a value for money offering. We can look at broadband, landline, mobile and energy, plus some insurance. We also have CashBack on shopping for good measure, whether in store or online.

Here at Combyne Group, we have carried out a free utility and telephony audit for over 18 years – in the days, when we could meet there would be coffee too. Today, it can be done virtually.

Please give us a shout as long as you are United Kingdom based, please?
Initially by email is the best way forward: hello@combyne.co.uk 

Now back to the original article as still as relevant today as 2014. 

There are two elements of working from home:

1) working under flexi rules for the company that employs you, or

2) running your own business from home.

If the former, please agree with your boss what they are going to cover expense wise, and how they will agree the hours you work. You should also seek a bonus, since you are reducing company costs.

If you are renting, then you are obliged to inform the landlord and if you have clients visit, please have your insurance revised to cover that.

If you are buying then please inform the mortgage company. Insurance has to be amended too.

Such as contents and also public liability cover.

In most cases, flexi working does not see clients visiting.

So onto number two and running your own business from home – link to follow.

2) running you own business from home.

All the above apply and more so – I would seriously discourage having people visit – suggesting a coffee shop or hotel as better, especially for people who work alone. You really do not want a nutter in your house or flat.

Create a routine in your life and build in social, me time, otherwise you will become stale and very quickly. In an office there is interaction, on your own at home, there is not.

A daily To Do list done the night before is now vital. Too many distractions otherwise.

Go out for a coffee/tea or a walk at some point – I have made friends with all the independent businesses locally and often pop in for a chat.
Also look for support such as here in this group, where you can share your success and seek guidance.

Keep an accurate record of all expenses – they are tax deductible.
Don’t forget energy a percentage of your council tax charge.

If your profit is less than £10,000 then claim working tax credits – these apply to the self employed too.

Create a phone line for business use only – it is 100% tax deductible. My link will explain more. And of course good broadband, go fiber if your area supports it, especially if you have family too.

Check you can use your home address for correspondence purposes. If not, seek an alternative, such as MailBoxes Etc. or your accountant.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and see what grants may be available as a start up or small business.

Networking groups have already been mentioned – there are also others less formal that meet as a coffee morning and some Chambers of Commerce run lunch time events, plus offer training in skills you need.

That covers most of it and my link is here:

4.5 million British adults have less than £10 spare cash each month

One in 11 people, or 4.5 million British adults, have less than £10 a month left over once they have paid their essential bills, new research from thinkmoney has found.

With many households struggling to make ends meet, the findings from budgeting account provider thinkmoney reveal the worryingly small amounts of disposable income people have left once they’ve met all their financial commitments.

Of the 2,149 people polled, one in four said they had less than £50 a month to s…pend after bills.

Across the UK, the average monthly disposable income was £224.50. However, there was a wide gender difference with men reporting having disposable incomes averaging £272.50, almost twice as much as women (£190.20).

Young people reported having the least disposable income, with 18-24 year-olds averaging £174.20 – some 22% below the overall UK average. Almost one in three people in this age group have less than £50 a month to spend after bills.

By contrast, the wealthiest in terms of post-bills spending money are people over 65, with an average of £269.50 a month available to spend.

The amount of disposable income also varies depending on where people live. It is highest in London, at an average of £261, and the South East, at £244. People in the North East and Wales have the lowest disposable incomes, at £199 and £181 respectively.

Worryingly, one in six people questioned in Wales said they had less than £10 a month to spend after bills.

“It’s stressful not knowing if you will have enough money to pay the bills and afford added extras each month,” said Ian Williams, director of communications at thinkmoney.

If you would like to know how to create additional income streams, please visit http://www.future-biz.co.uk and click contact us to request your free money making report?

Bingo – what a great place to network

This morning I attended the Sutton United FC Business Club monthly networking event – I was a guest of the organiser Jeremy Ramsden.

It was unusual, since it was held within Riva Sutton, Bingo Hall, and yes we all had a game too. Didn’t win, so no chance to shout: house.

There was informal networking over breakfast, some short presentations by members, more networking and then on our way.

Hosts at Riva were Nuala and Tony Lynch, and this is one of three locations they run around the United Kingdom.

All very modern with electronic cards now, nicely upholstered seats and plush carpet throughout. A hugely comfortable environment from what I can remember some thirty years ago.

I expect to meet them again and discuss some corporate ideas too.

Residual Income – a real description

On Sunday 15 September, I attended the South of England half year conference with Utility Warehouse in Cheltenham – almost 2,000 there, and we are now looking for a larger venue for next year.

Some of us (the leaders) were discussing earnings over the years, and how they had built up over time.

The discussion turned to how long individual customers had been with us, and my first customer, I realised, had paid me for 190 months – in that time I have earnt £900 from this single customer, and still he pays me month in, month out whilst using the services. That is true residual income.

So for 60 minutes work, I have so far been paid £900. So how does your hourly rate compare?

Zero Hours contracts – self employed without the benefits?

Mike Patterson of Berwins’ Solictors wrote the following and can be contacted by email at mikepatterson@berwin.co.uk

New figures released this week revealed that more than one million UK workers could be employed on zero-hours contracts, which is four times the number initially estimated.

This figure derives from a survey of 1,000 employers carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has prompted renewed calls for the government to launch a full inquiry into the use of these contracts by employers.

A zero-hours contract is where a person is not contracted to work a set number of hours, and is only paid for the number of hours that they actually work. Used appropriately this type of contract can provide flexibility for employers and workers, and help to create more flexible working opportunities, by allowing employers to staff their workforce according to peaks and troughs in demand.

However, workers on a zero-hours contract are left without guaranteed hours, sick pay or holiday pay. Often they are only told how many hours they will work once the weekly or monthly rota has been confirmed, but are expected to be on call for extra work at short notice. As a result, workers are left vulnerable to sudden reductions in shift patterns and last minute shift cancellations at the discretion of managers, without any entitlement to pay.

Yesterday it emerged that the UK’s largest food chain, McDonald’s, is potentially the biggest zero-hours employer in the private sector with over 82,000 of its staff (90% of the workforce) on the controversial terms.

This follows the announcement that retailer Sports Direct employs around 20,000 of its 23,000 staff on zero-hours contracts, as well as Buckingham Palace which uses them for its 350 summer workers. These contracts are also popular with those employers in the care home, catering and leisure industries.

The CIPD has stressed that there needs to be a closer look on what is meant by a zero-hours contract, the different forms that they take, and clearer guidance on what good and bad practice in their use looks like.

What action the government takes in response, we will have to wait and see.

So my take on this subject is that Zero Hours contracts are self employment by the back door, but without the benefit of tax breaks. Now that is quite worrying.

Mike quotes a recent survey suggesting there are 1 million people on these deals, which rather confirms the suspicion of many that there are nearer 4 million unemployed in the UK presently

I also look at the situation slightly differently too, since many of these people may not have work of a day to day basis. That surely provides the opportunity to use that time effectively elsewhere for personal profit?

One idea could be to create new and additional income streams.

Here is one that I became involved in many years ago:

www.future-biz.co.uk

An award winning company with full training and support.
Lots of promotions and benefits too
Two car plans, plus lots, lots more.
Totally flexible hours too, so can be worked as and when you are available. Fits around Zero Hours.

Please take a look, you could be pleasantly surprised?

Second Income Workshop – Friday 26 July – early bird discount ends soon

Early bird discount expires Friday 12 July at 9pm.

Have you always wanted to start your own business?
Want to finally be your own Boss?
Need to generate more income whilst maintaining your regular job?

Then The SECOND INCOME WORKSHOP is Just For You.
We will show you how to Generate income during your spare time.

Eight great speakers will show you various methods of starting your business, the tools available, the pitfalls, and plenty of tips too.

There will be time for networking and sharing experiences with
others as the day unfolds in London.

The long term aim of this workshop is to help you start & grow your business until it’s successful enough for you to go full time.

EVENT FORMAT

09:00 AM. Arrival & Registration . Tea / Coffee & Fresh Pastries.
09:30 AM. Session 1.
11:00 AM Break
11:30 PM. Session 2.
13:00 PM. Lunch. Food & Drink Provided.
14:00 PM. Session 3.
15:30 PM. Break.
15:45 PM. Session 4.
17:00 PM. Drinks & Networking.

At the end of each session, the speaker will answer any business woe’s/problems you have. So please come prepared with your questions.

Further information and venue location, plus booking details here:

http://bit.ly/133wBmc

Early bird discount expires Friday 12 July at 9pm.

Why does networking work?

UPDATE: June 2019

Lunch time networking is back on the agenda with OMNI Local Networking.

You can read more here: https://www.omnilocalbusinessnetworking.com/embankment-london

We meet every two weeks on the following dates:
Thursday 27 June 2019
Thursday 11 July 2019
Thursday 25 July 2019
Closed for August and return with a bang in September
Thursday 5 September
Thursday 19 September
Thursday 3 October
Thursday 17 October
Thursday 31 October
Thursday 14 November
Thursday 28 November
Thursday 12 December
Closed for Christmas and New Year
New dates to follow for January 2020

OMNI is a membership based networking group, but entrenched in collaboration, rather than competition.

Come along and sample and if you like what you see and hear, please stay?

Exciting times.

This a question that crops up time and again – I simply enjoy the buzz of a successful breakfast. Yes, I accept networking for some on a cold winter morning is not fun, but you are in a warm and supportive environment, and cold is only felt, when you wear the wrong sort of clothes.

Also if morning is not your thing, then there are lunch time and evening groups – just accept though, numbers will be smaller.

More importantly, I was discussing the merits of networking with a colleague earlier this week, and I explained that an average group with BNI see 200 visitors a year through the door. Not all will join, but that is 200 companies looking to grow their business. Maybe, you have something to offer them through a joint venture? Or a product or service to make their life easier?

So no gate keepers, no voice mail, just you speaking direct to a decision maker.

How much effort do you have to put in to find 200 opportunities for new business? With a networking group it is presented to you, more or less on a plate, plus of course existing members will refer you too. Again no gate keepers, qualified leads and a warm welcome.

I am known as a networking tart – it is a great tag, and a reflection on the fact, I deliver again and again for members around the table, and they in turn deliver for me.

A real win-win.

With over 15 years of networking for my own business, I know it works, so why not give it a go at a number of different groups, and find one you like, then commit, and create a lasting stream of new leads.

What Makes a Successful SOcial Media Campaign?

There are some very interesting facts within, and thankfully, I appear to be following their suggestions. Relief. Social Media can be a minefield, but some simple rules make it pleasant for all. Great blog.

SO! What? SOcial.

How is a social media campaign best executed?

This infographic below created by Cox Blue highlights some of the universal components of a successful social media marketing campaign. What are your thoughts in regards to this infographic?

What makes a successful social media campaign?

Like SO! What? SOcial

SOcial Media Marketing Agency Vancouver on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

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Telecom plus Plc delivers again through photosynthesis

One of my friends spotted this and thought I would share it too:

This has to be one of the best reports I’ve read on the company. Even a non finance guy like me can understand it! I love the quote “Telecom Plus isn’t a normal utility, it’s not even a normal growth company, its more like a robust house plant, growing through photosynthesis and the odd sprinkling of water. And neither the sun nor rain get switched off”.

http://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/telecom-plus-both-weird-and-wonderful

For people looking to create new income streams, then the following is of vital interest, since it shows the potential profit for team members, which are called Independent Distributors.

“Over half of new sign-ups (55%) come in as Gold members, those taking at least four of its five services (gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, mobile), and when it gets them through the door, they tend to stick like flies to paper, churn down to just 1.2%.

What this means is that average revenue per user, or ARPU, rises on a seemingly unstoppable tide, jumping 14.5% to £1,363 last year. That’s nearly 200% up in 10 years and makes the £190 ARPU in its first year back in 1999 look laughably minuscule.”

I can write from direct knowledge, since I have been involved in the business since 1997, and the ARPU referred to above is so on the money, if you pardon the expression. :o)

And the future is looking brighter and brighter, as more people hear about the award winning services and customer care.

To find out about becoming involved in the business, this link will tell you more: www.future-biz.co.uk

If you are in London on Monday 3rd June, then there is a massive presentation taking place in the evening – details here:

http://super-cop-london.eventbrite.co.uk

Update: Tuesday 4th June – what an extraordinary evening. Over 500 people came along to the event last night. Clive Leach and Robin Brooks were in stunning form as they presented the business to the assembled numbers. It truly was standing room only and the attendees were educated and entertained by two stars in our successful business.

O2 closes call centres

An announcement that appeared in the Daily Telegraph this week shows the pressure the main mobile networks are under financially as they go the outsourcing route again to India and South Africa.

Unfortunately, it is simply the user that will suffer in the long run as call waiting times increase.

More here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/telecoms/10087909/Capita-plans-to-close-O2-call-centres-and-cut-thousands-of-jobs.html

The article also says:

Meanwhile, a Capita call centre in Cape Town that already handles a small proportion of O2 customer service will be expanded from 200 staff currently to 660 in 2015. A Capita centre in India offering support via web chat will also be expanded as part of plans to discourage customer calls, known as “contact deflection”.

Overall, it is planned that the staff of more than 5,800 worldwide currently serving O2 customers will be cut to fewer than 3,000 at the end of Capita’s contract in 10 years.

That is quite a frightening cut back in service levels.

Whereas Telecom Plus here in the UK is more than doubling is HO footprint and customer care staff to cope with ever more increasing demand for its range of award winning services.

This growth is reflected in the record share price delivered this past week as The City continues to sound its approval. http://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/telecom-plus-both-weird-and-wonderful

The range of services on offer to both the business user and home user continues to deliver value for money. More here: www.go-fast.co.uk

A further comment can be found here on the impact of the year end results:

http://wp.me/pae1W-8L

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