Computers for Cash: How Technology Can Make You Money

There are plenty of guides out there telling you how to save money by embracing technology. Whether it involves using an Excel spreadsheet to keep tabs on your finances, or automating parts of your sales pipeline to reduce overheads. But what about actually making money in the first place?

The digital economy is booming and offering such a wide variety of jobs that it can be difficult to know exactly which role would suit your skill set. If you’re a bit of a technology nerd, or are simply interested in a career change, here are a few ways that you can use computers to make a living.

Web design

The number of websites on the internet continues to grow, with figures now well in excess of a billion. However, these sites aren’t simply wished into existence, they are created by talented web designers.

Web design is one of the digital careers than combines creative expression with technical know-how, which makes it a great way of making money if you find other technological pursuits a little bit… boring.

In addition, because this job only requires that you have access to an online connection and the right software, it offers a lot of freedom. You could join a web design agency for full-time work, or opt to go freelance, seeking out clients yourself and working remotely.

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Software development

Software development is vital for many of the things we now take for granted. You expect to be able to take out your phone and post your photos to social media with the click of a button, or open a web browser and purchase gifts from the other side of the world in seconds. Without software developers, this wouldn’t be possible.

In order to get into software development, strong coding skills are a must, and many countries are now placing greater emphasis on this in schools in order to create the next generation of software engineers. Making money from this pursuit has changed in recent years, however, and it’s good to be aware of this. Advertising revenues and subscription fees are now the predominant methods of paying for software, rather than purchasing a physical copy.

White hat hacking

That’s right, you can actually receive payment for hacking into businesses and government agencies, but only if you are doing it for the right reasons. White hat hacking is the ethical version of breaking and entering in the computer world and can prove quite lucrative, if you have the right skills.

Ethical hackers are most often employed by government agencies or very large businesses, where they are tasked with finding weaknesses in their cyber-security. The reason that this position is so useful is that it helps organisations find out about security flaws before the bad guys do. So, instead of having to pay out thousands of dollars due to a ransomware program, suffering huge reputation damage, and watching the media talk about how poor your security is, you just employ a white hat hacker instead.

In order to secure a position like this, you’ll need a broad knowledge of different types of web and software attacks and a detailed understanding of the most commonly used operating systems, like Windows and Linux. However, you should be aware that to become a white hat hacker, you cannot simply start infiltrating corporate networks and then proclaim your good intentions.

Ethical hacker positions are formal roles at large companies, but they are few and far between. Instead, some businesses offer reward programs for anyone that finds a vulnerability in their computer systems. This can be a great way of seeing if ethical hacking is right for you and you get paid for it!

Become a YouTube sensation

This career is not the easiest to achieve, but it is one of the most rewarding, financially at least. YouTube pays its content creators based on the ad revenues that they generate, so getting a lot of viewers is the first step to becoming a YouTube sensation. Of course, in order to do that you need to offer something interesting, educational or entertaining to your audience. The bad news is: there’s a lot of competition.  The good news is: you can choose to video whatever you want.

You can become a successful YouTuber offering guitar lessons, language learning tips, interior design ideas, playing video games, or just by vlogging about your life. As long as you stamp your personality on it, have a video camera and some basic editing software, you’re ready to go. Remember to offer something unique to what’s already out there if you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

YouTube success can also lead to further career opportunities. There are examples of YouTube sensations that have gone on to land book deals and other sponsorship opportunities – so what are you waiting for, get filming!

Trading

Technology has had a huge impact on so many industries, and the stock market is certainly one of them. The days when trading stocks and shares involved putting on a suit and shouting, “sell, sell, sell,” loudly in Wall Street or London are long gone.

Instead, complex computer systems now manage hundreds of trades in a fraction of a second. You can even take part in market trading simply by using your smartphone, with a number of dedicated apps in existence to help you get started.

The foreign exchange (or Forex) is the largest financial market in the world, simply because every transaction that takes place between more than one currency relies on an exchange process and rate. For traders in Forex, it is vital that they can keep a constant eye on currency exchange rates as they can be very volatile. Doing this manually would not be particularly efficient or practical, which is why technology is often used instead. Investing in a cheap Forex VPS (virtual private server) will provide you with 24/7 up-time, so you’ll never miss the opportunity to buy low or sell high. You can also utilize automatic trading to maximize your profits even if you’re preoccupied.

Sell your wares

Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, the internet provides a valuable outlet for anyone wanting to make money, whether they’re seeking a full-time job or just some cash on the side. One of the ways that you can do this is by selling products online.

Auction sites like eBay provide a customer-base in the range of millions, meaning anyone can start selling unwanted items with much greater reach than they would have offline. However, the internet is not just useful for clearing out your junk – it can also be the start of a professional retail business.

Webpages like Etsy allow you to express your creativity by making products and selling them to others. You can then use this to gather an online following and start becoming recognized as a brand in your own right. Ultimately, you could begin an online retail platform of your own, using your own web design skills or paying for a digital agency to help you.

Sell your knowledge

Earning money using digital technologies can be rewarding in more than just a financial way, particularly if you get to pass on the gift of knowledge. There are currently a number of websites that enable you to earn money as an online tutor. Udemy and SkillShare, for example, provide you with an opportunity to teach your favorite subject, whatever that may be.

You can design your online course however you like and have the benefit of teaching it in your own time, and in your own unique style. What’s more, you don’t have to stick to traditional subjects like History and Mathematics, you can offer classes in cooking, crafts or anything that you think your students will find useful.

Data analysis

The amount of data being created each day is enormous. Our website clicks, smartphone use, debit card transactions and many other everyday activities all create data. However, making sense of this deluge of information is not easy, which is why data scientists are becoming highly sought after.

A career in data analysis would suit someone with a strong mathematical background, an eye for detail and an understanding of statistical modelling and its associated software. As well as a passion for numbers, data scientist must also have an awareness of how the data they are working with can be used to benefit their employer, because data without insight is just a collection of numbers.

If you’re looking for a career using digital technologies that is more future-proof than most, then data analysis is a good one to choose. The amount of data at our disposal is already huge, but will surely continue to grow in the years to come. With the Internet of Things on the horizon, data volumes will increase once more, creating an even greater need for data analysis.

Technology provides a great way for us to express our creativity, watch movies or simply catch up on the news, but it is also so much more than that. It offers a broad spectrum of career options and money-making opportunities, no matter what your interests are or where your skills lie.

 

Tips on How to Improve a Business’s Cash Flow

Does your business suffer from cash flow problems? This is a problem that affects thousands of businesses and it has the potential to eventually destroy a company. Despite this widespread business problem, there are many ways you can reverse this situation. Below are the most effective ways you can improve your company’s cash flow, starting today.

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Improve Your Business Skills

If you’re a business owner or a business decision maker, you may not be aware of how to manage the financial aspect of your organization. Rather than continuing to make the same financial mistakes, you should look for ways to develop your business skills and knowledge so that you can address any cash flow problems your company faces.

For instance, a wide range of online MBA options are available that cover all areas of a business, including accounting and financial management. Before you start a course like this, finding out how detailed the financial advice will be is one of the most important online MBA questions you should ask.

Reduce or Avoid Offering Credit to Customers

Many businesses are too generous when they deal with their customers and offer credit when they really can’t afford to do so. Each customer may only owe your business a small amount of money, but this soon adds up to a significant figure when you have a large number of people who each owe you a small amount of money. Instead, you should look for upfront payments or reduce the amount of credit you are willing to offer your customers.

Increase Product or Service Sales

The more sales a business makes the more money it generates and the healthier its cash flow situation becomes. You can increase sales in a number of different ways.

First of all, you can sell more products or services to existing customers. When you have repeat buyers like this, it reduces the amount of money you need to spend on advertising and marketing to attract new customers.

Secondly, you can increase product or service sales by reaching out to new customers. This usually requires a business to invest in marketing and advertising activities that will attract the attention of people who have never dealt with you and your business before.

Provide Multiple Payment Methods

The more payment methods you offer, the more customers you will be able to cater for. Some customers like to pay by traditional methods such as cash or check, while other customers use the latest payment methods such as credit cards, mobile apps and a range of different online payment processors.

Discounts for On-time and Early Payments

In some businesses, you can encourage clients to pay early or to pay on-time by offering certain discounts. This is an attractive proposition for customers, especially if they have the funds available to make a payment. Both parties win because you get paid and your customer saves some money on their purchase.

Improving the cash flow in a business can be achieved in a number of different ways. You need to educate yourself and continue to look for ways like those mentioned above, to ensure that money keeps flowing through your business so that it can survive and grow.

How To Turn Your Disgruntled Employees Into Ambassadors For Your Brand

Businesses like to think that PR is something that can be dealt with in one particular department. But the truth is that it is a business-wide effort, involving everybody in your team.

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It’s a good idea, therefore, to think about ways not only to prevent employees damaging your brand but to help them promote it. Each time they interact with somebody external to the company, their passion for the product and for the brand should be clear.

Here’s how to transform your disgruntled workforce into brand ambassadors.

Show Staff What Good Communication Means

Zeynep Ilgaz, and entrepreneur currently working in the bio-sciences says that entrepreneurs need to set an example as leaders. This, she says, does more than keep a company profitable: it also helps to transfer top-notch communications skills to all people in the firm. Employees, she says, have to have a clear picture of who their leader is, what motivates them, and what they find valuable before they can emulate those values themselves. How that leader responds to conflict and adversity is key because this is how employees learn.

A recent poll by Harris discovered that when leaders have open communication with their team, employees are more likely to foresee a brighter future for their company. Under those circumstances, they’re far more likely to do what’s in the long-term interest of the company, including building close relationships with customers, no matter what their role. Staff who are confident in the future of the company will create authentic connections and be more creative than those who aren’t.

Encourage Employees To Go An Extra Mile

Most companies just reward sales. It’s something that has worked in the past, but in today’s more sophisticated world where consumers are ever-more skeptical of the hard sell, companies need to look beyond commission.

One thing that they can do is reward not only staff who make sales but also those who go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. Business owners need to look out for opportunities to create well-rounded employees who customers can feel confident will solve their problems.

Recognising employees is also good for the health of your team. Companies with recognition programmes cut their turnover by nearly a third.

Create A Professional Image

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One of the reasons ambassadors are so well dressed is that they want to create the best impression possible before getting down to business. As a result, companies need to focus on things like attire and name badges. Companies, like Imagin Badges, help businesses give their employees a uniform and professional appearance, generating both trust and confidence in their customers.

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Get Employees To Do Company Advocacy

When it comes to marketing on social media, your employees are an asset. A study by MSLGROUP found that posts that were shared by employees of a company had 561 percent of the reach of posts shared by the official company social media account alone.

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Social media policies that make it clear to employees what the company’s goals are help them to leverage their own accounts to increase sales.

 

Tech Entrepreneurs Who Can Inspire Any Business Owner

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Entrepreneurship is something a lot of people forget to mention when we talk about the essential elements of an advancing society. But without entrepreneurs, where would we be? Many of the things you use and love on a daily basis were built by entrepreneurs who dared to go their own ways and fill gaps in the marketplace that no-one else had filled.

People who are in any way interested in making a big name for themselves in the tech industry should absolutely know the names of the following people. If you’re looking for entrepreneurial inspiration, it’s unlikely that you need to read much more than this!

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The student millionaires

These days, there are loads of students who have barely hit their twenties who have become millionaires through their tech ingenuity and programming know-how. The founders of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown have become billionaires thanks to something they were developing for fun during a college project. College certainly seems to be a great place for this sort of brainstorming; young geniuses all crammed into the same space and working for hours seems to bring out the best in growing entrepreneurial minds!

The college dropouts

When people think of successful college dropouts, they usually think about Kanye West. After all, his classic debut album was called The College Dropout! But it’s not as if anyone would have that hard a time finding successful musicians who didn’t go to college. It doesn’t seem immediately essential to the work that you get a degree, right? Surely technology and entrepreneurship is a bit different?

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We could point to quite a few college dropouts who became big in the tech industry. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are obvious ones. But surely the educational and tech landscapes have both changed too much since then for them to be held up as the best examples? Well, there are plenty of contemporaries who fit the bill. Arash Ferdowsi, the founder of DropBox, dropped out of college in 2007. The founder of the King Kong Digital Agency, Sabri Suby, did the same even more recently. And hey, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college to focus on Facebook full-time!

The investors and inventors

Many people might remember Sean Parker as the weird guy who was played by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 movie The Social Network. As that movie showed, he was instrumental in the founding and development of both Napster and Facebook. But this isn’t someone who has disappeared from the technological map and into obscurity: he helped fund Spotify and is still investing in innovative tech businesses across America. Even from the standpoint of an investor, you can make big splashes in this industry. The giants needn’t needn’t be inventors.

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But if we’re going to talk about influential tech inventors, then how can we ignore Elon Musk? Like his products or not, agree with his view or not: Musk is definitely worth getting some influence from. He’s one of the world’s most powerful people, and is currently engaged in some of the most important engineering, environmental, and transportation projects currently going.

Clean Up Your Act: Making Your Business More Eco-Friendly

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In recent years, pressure has been increasing from governments for businesses to work on their impact. Of course, it can be hard for a business to make changes like this. But, they have to be done. In these cases, it’s better to lead and effort than to fall behind. So, you need to be trying to make a difference. To help you out, this post will go through some of the best ways to make sure you’re doing everything you can.

Renewable energy is becoming a more and more viable option for businesses. Business properties usually have loads of space. This makes it easy for a business to make room for solar or wind power. Or, if you don’t have this option, you can look to power suppliers to that only use renewable energy sources. The availability of things like this may be limited by your area. So, you may have to wait a little while before you can use it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t start making some difference, though. Turning off lights and making sure that computers are off will save a lot of power. And, when you save power, you also save money. So, it’s well worth making an effort in this area.

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Paper doesn’t really have a place in most modern businesses. But, companies still like to use the stuff. Unfortunately, paper isn’t that great for the environment. Oxygen giving trees have to be cut down to provide it. Not only does this make it harder for the world to keep supplying oxygen, it also ruins the homes of animals. You don’t actually need paper, either. You just need to be smart about the way that you share data. Services like Office 365 for Business can offer the tools that most businesses use. And, it’s not very expensive. In fact, when you don’t have to buy paper, toner, and pens, it may even be cheaper. You should also consider using a document management system, for your old files. This will make it much easier for you to find and use older documents, which were originally on paper.

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In a lot of modern factories, robots are leading the way. This sort of methods is known as automation. It’s used because it limits the amount of human interaction a job needs. This gets rid of elements like human error and laziness, making a process much more efficient. Of course, not every business has a factory. But, automation can also be applied to some little things. You can’t expect everyone to turn lights or computers off. So, you should do it for them. You can get software for computers that turns them off after a certain time. Of course, you need to be careful with this, though. And, you can also get rid of your normal light switches and use automatic ones. This will make it much easier to ensure power isn’t wasted.

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Hopefully, this will inspire you to stop using the world’s resources and get on with going green. In the future, it could be much harder to make these changes. So, it’s worth making sure that they’re in place before the company grows. This will ensure that your business is always doing as much for the environment as it can.