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Top Mobile Apps to Accept Payments on the Go

Top Mobile Apps to Accept Payments on the GoBy Erin Steiner

A couple of years ago, a friend and I were hanging out at a craft fair when we found some handmade soap that we loved and desperately wanted to buy. Unfortunately, neither of us had thought to bring cash; we were about to leave to find an ATM when the vendor said, “I can just swipe your card here.”

Then she pulled out her smartphone, plugged a plastic card swipey thing into the headphone jack, and a couple of minutes later, the soap was ours.

Accepting mobile payments is common now, but at the time, I was amazed. What magic wizardry was this? I couldn’t wait to tell my friends—they had a touring band and were lamenting their lack of ability to accept credit cards on the road. I think I told everybody I met that day about it. “On her smartphone!” I kept exclaiming over and over … until my friend told me I was being annoying and demanded I stop talking about it.

Now there are a bunch of different apps that will allow you to accept mobile payments, and card swipers come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes.

Security is the biggest issue now. According to “Designing an iOS Payments SDK for Security,” one of the biggest challenges facing the mobile payment industry is finding a way to keep sensitive and personal information from being stored within the app’s source code. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Ever Leave Your Comfort Zone?

Do You Ever Leave Your Comfort Zone?By Dawn Berryman

As a work at home woman, do you ever leave your comfort zone? Do you have a schedule or daily routine for your business or for your job that you don’t deviate from? Have you ever thought about changing it up to see how it could positively affect your productivity or your bottom line?

Here are five simple things that you could try that just might enhance your day.

1. Get up earlier.

Do you typically wait until your kids are at school to begin your work day? Do you take care of household related tasks before tackling your work day? I am not a morning person, so I know many of you may be rolling your eyes right now, but getting up a little earlier could have a dramatic effect. You could rise 30 minutes before your kids and check your e-mail, get a jump start on a project, do a little yoga, or even just enjoy a cup of coffee alone. All of these things can set the tone for a productive, energized day. Just 30 minutes could make a difference and allow you to start the day on a positive, more relaxed note.

2. Take a break.

How can taking a break improve your productivity? Everyone needs a break now and then. When working at home this sometimes gets lost. It can be good to schedule one or two short breaks throughout your day. Use them to actually take a break. Get out of your home office and take a walk around the block or spend a few minutes playing with your pet. Regularly scheduled breaks can clear your mind and get you prepared for the next task at hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Heidi Gollub, Founder of Free Fun in Austin

Heidi Gollub, Founder of Free Fun in AustinTell us a little bit about your blogging journey. 

I started Free Fun in Austin as a creative outlet, when I was ten years into being a stay-at-home mom and still had two little boys at home. I’d take the boys on a new adventure every morning and write about it in the afternoon when they were napping. Gradually, I started writing about free events that were coming up, and added a Free Fun Calendar and a Free Food Calendar.

I used to call Free Fun in Austin the hobby that took over my life. It took me a long time to admit that my blogging had transitioned into a real job. There’s an odd sort of guilt that accompanies working from home when you still have kids at home. It’s a tricky balance.

How are you growing your audience?  

I put the bulk of my social media effort into Facebook. I always have. I’m fortunate that when I started Free Fun in Austin four years ago, Facebook pages could grow still organically with minimal effort (and followers saw all of your posts). These days it requires more strategy, but I still get great results. My reach is generally more than 150,000 on Facebook, which is about five times the number of people who like my page. Read the rest of this entry »

Aim High and Win Big: Why Raising Your Prices Will Net You Better Clients

Aim High and Win Big Why Raising Your Prices Will Net You Better ClientsBy Lisa Stein

Divorce yourself from thinking about your own, or your competitors’ business for a minute.

If you were looking to hire house cleaners and these were your two options — what would you choose?

  • $179 full home cleaning package from Maid Yourself at Home
  • $29/hour, two-hour minimum from Maid Express

Obviously, if you’re already trying to talk your husband into why hiring a cleaning service is worthwhile, price is a consideration. But doesn’t the “full home cleaning package” intrigue you? What do they do that a simple hourly maid doesn’t?

It makes me imagine a checklist to make sure that every corner of your home is shining, a managing maid in a pantsuit inspecting her team of workers and an overall transformation of your home from normal to something new and sparkling.

Can a maid service really do all this? Maybe. But in the early communications, it’s not as important what they do as what they make prospective clients think they do.

Before you even try them you’re already doubting the quality of the cheaper option—after all, you want the best for your house and you’re willing to spend money to get it! And that’s how you need to view your business (though, of course delivering on your promise is also very important). Read the rest of this entry »

Four Steps to Creating Your Work at Home Career

Four Steps to Creating Your Work at Home CareerBy Kelly Robbins

Do you want to start your own home-based business, but you’re not sure where to start?

Some of us start a business working from home because we have a clear passion and desire to help people in a certain way. We feel a calling deep inside and know exactly what we are meant to do and how we are meant to help people – we might not know how to make money at it, but we are clear on our mission and purpose.

Others of us know we want to live a certain lifestyle or want to leave the constraints of the corporate world. We are clear about the lifestyle we want to create – but not how to create it. We feel a strong desire for change but feel constricted or unclear on what steps to take next. If you feel stuck and are in either one of these positions, try answering these four questions and view your business in a different light.

Here are four steps you need to take in order to start creating your life on your terms.

1. Define what lifestyle you want to create for yourself.

For your family. Describe it in as much detail as you can. Be vivid in your imagination. How many hours a week do you want to work? Weekends? Does it matter as long as you can be home with your kids or travel? Or are you really aiming for that three day weekend each week? Look at four specific areas, relationships, work, home, and self. Read the rest of this entry »

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