What Made You Finally Launch? The Experts Weigh in on Finally Launching!

I guarantee you that after reading this article you’re going to finally launch that business that has been on your mind for the longest time.

When’s the last time you told yourself that tomorrow is going to be the day?

You know what I’m talking about. Tomorrow is going to be the day where you finally launch your business, quit your job, and create the life for yourself that you always wanted… or maybe you just want to launch something to make more money! No more excuses! This site isn’t about feeling sorry for ourselves or creating excuses.

Give me 20 minutes of your time and you’ll see how some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs have managed to launch that business. That first business. That first venture that sparked it all. If this post doesn’t inspire the shit out of you, then I have failed as a writer! Before we get to the experts, I wanted to share my store on the fear of launching.

What’s my story with launching?

“It needs to be perfect. I’ll do it next week.”

More time doesn’t mean that more work will get done. I have no come to accept this astounding concept. I would put things off. I would make excuses in my head. I want to do more “research.”

I wanted everything to be perfect. In the end all I did was put projects off. I failed to ship. I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve never been afraid of work. I’ve been afraid of launching though.

My problem has always been launching. It’s tough to ship.

The writing and the work is easy compared to the effort that it takes to ship something. So I had 9 months off in 2008 from school. I did summer school the year before so that I could be free by the new year. I wanted time to work on business ventures and save up money.

I managed to work long hours but I never launched that new business that I was planning on launching. I did research every single day. I just Googled random topics. I read and I read. I read every article on the topic.

I was even too cheap to read full books. It wasn’t until a few years later that I read every entrepreneurship book under the sun. The time flew by and I was back in school. I had literally launched nothing. I wasn’t even close to anything. I even took an entrepreneurship course that term. It wasn’t until November 7, 2008, a Friday night, that I finally did it.

I finally launched Studenomics in late-2008. 

I was sitting at home. It was a Friday night. I had just come back from the gym. I was upset because I didn’t have a shift at work day. It totally bothered me. My friends were at work. My girlfriend was at work. Everyone was at work, but me. I was waiting for phone calls. I was sick of it. I pulled out my credit card, found a tutorial, and launched Studenomics.

I had the worst theme in the world and I was clueless. I loved it!

The best training is done on-the-job. Ever since then, I’ve made it a habit to launch.

How did the experts finally launch their first business or bold project?

Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology:

For me, launching is an internal thing. When I have an idea that I can’t stop thinking about, it eventually needs to get out of my head and into the world or it will drive me insane. That’s usually my cue to set a launch date for something; once I’ve mulled something over long enough and can’t concentrate on anything else, it’s time to bring it to life.

Misha of Making It Anywhere:

We decided to write a blog because we knew we were living a bit of an unusual lifestyle, and we wanted to have a way of making friends with other people doing the same thing! There wasn’t really a “finally” aspect to it: we decided to write a blog in mid-June 2012, and it was up and running by the end of that month.

Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads:

I wasn’t launching a venture at all. I was just taking a year off to travel. The year turned into five and the blog turned into a business, but given that it was never my plan to do this as a new career, it’s likely that my answer will remain the most simple :)

Sam of Financial Samurai:

I decided to launch my site in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis. The idea of Financial Samurai had already been going through my head since 2005, but I was too busy with my career and getting my MBA to take on another project. It was my father who encouraged me to start the site given he knew how much I loved to write. “You work in finance, own real estate, love to trade, and have your MBA so why not leverage your experience?” he said. “Who knows what good things might happen down the road if you just start?”

I knew from his words it was now or never. Business was slow and I no longer had to spend an extra 15-20 hours a week after work on school. I redirected my class time towards just writing. Another reason why I started Financial Samurai was because I was bored on the weekends.

I’ve been getting up around 5:30am every morning since coming to San Francisco in 2001 because the stock market opens at 6:30am. While all my friends slept in, I was wide awake by 6am every Saturday and Sunday! My body can’t seem to sleep past 6am unless a lot of alcohol is involved the night before.  I would write from 6am-9am every weekend until the world around me woke up. Then it was time to play.

After four years of writing online it feels like blogging is just like speaking. It’s a normal extension of my day to day habits which I hope will last for a very long time. Blogging is a great way to keep in touch with family and to chronicle my own journey through life. When I’m really old, I think I shall thoroughly enjoying reading through the archives. Chronicling the past to help our future is the biggest reward.

Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind:

The first paid service I launched was my freelance writing service back in September 2011. However, it was less of a launch and more of a desperate stab in the dark. I had made numerous attempts to build profitable websites and had failed miserably, so I submitted a few pitches via the ProBlogger Job Board in the vain hope of landing a freelance writing client.

I didn’t actually expect anything to come of it so I was shocked when I managed to get a client willing to pay me a whopping $15 per hour! Since then I have managed to build my business up to a position where I am now earning $150 per hour.

It was desperation that persuaded me to put myself out there. I had nothing to lose from trying and I was willing to do anything to make something happen. Perseverance can get you a long way!

Jenny Blake from Life After College:

I didn’t think too much about it . . . and that was a good thing. If I had known what I was in for, I might have waited a lot longer! Sometimes it’s best to just go for it and figure out the details in real-time.

Dan Andrews of Tropical MBA:

I’m too old to answer this question! I feel the need to be heard. I never had much problems tossing my ideas out there. I mean, I’m terrified like the rest of the bloggers out there, but being terrified about what people think about your stuff is much better than being terrified about not being heard at all (for me).

Thanks everyone for your input!

“Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.” — Machiavelli

The Freelancer’s Guide to Looking Like a Million Bucks

Someone busier than you is working out right now and getting into top shape. Richard Branson has gone on record to say that working out is what has kept him productive all of these years.

So what the hell is stopping you?

That’s me chugging an egg white container in between writing.

When you have a steady routine, you can lead a steady life. With a 9-5 gig your life is pretty routine. You know when you start work, have break with your co-workers, go home, and watch your favorite programs. You have a gym routine and pretty steady eating habits. You don’t eat late at night because you’re likely in bed early for the next full day of work.

As a freelancer, life is anything but routine.

Chances also are that you travel often. Some trips are for work. Many are for adventure.

The problem is that you still want to look great. Image is everything. You want to boost your self-confidence so that you feel great when you meet clients and other freelancers.

You want to look like a million bucks. I get it.

Let’s look at the two components to looking like a million bucks: eating right and training smart.

What do you eat and how do you eat to look amazing?

The toughest part about the eating right as a freelancer is that, well, you’re likely not that into cooking. You also don’t know what your schedule is going to be like. You might have any of the following issues:

  • Clients cancel.
  • You find a new client.
  • You get the motivation to work on a new project at 2am and are up until the morning.
  • You have busywork all day.

I have to tell you this — EATING IS EVERYTHING!

With that being said, how do you master the eating part?

We only eat junk food out of convenience. The only way to combat this is to, not keep junk food at your desk! Stop buying crap. Buy decent food and you won’t eat any junk.

Below are my top tips for looking and feeling like a million bucks as a freelancer when it comes to food:

  • Try to eat almonds, vegetables, and beans for energy.
  • Consume lots of protein.
  • Have a cheat day once a week where you pig out to curb those cravings.
  • Drink tons of water to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid fast food joints with clients.

There you have it. Stop buying Doritos and everything will be fine.

Now it’s time to train.

I’m odd because I love training. I just competed in a half-marathon with no training.

Working out as a freelancer can be done anywhere, from a playground in the park to a gym in your hotel.

We’ll look at training in a gym (for those of you that like the social aspect) and working out without a gym membership (for those that travel often).

How to train in a gym.

There are two ways you can go here. You can stick to the main lifts and building strength (deadlifts, squats, and bench) or you can take classes. I go through phases here. At this point I hit the main lifts and attend MMA-classes at my gym. The classes are in the middle of the day (doesn’t anyone work) and are a refreshing break from my regular routine.

Classes are awesome because they remove your decision making for the day. You don’t have to think about anything. You just show up and work out. As a freelancer, less is more. You don’t want to stress about what workout you’re going to do.

Martin’s quick tip: get your ass in the gym. Join a class and show up.

How to build muscle without the gym.

What if you can’t join a gym, don’t want to commit, or just don’t want to spend the money? Are you out of luck? Nope. Not at all.

You can easily train at home with one of the many home-based training programs, go to the park, or just throw in random activities into your daily life so that you don’t get fat.

For example, what’s stopping you from 20 pushups after you send that email? Nothing!

Martin’s quick tip: do something. Hit some pushups, pull yourself up off the tree branch, or run up a hill. No more excuses.

Wait a minute — what about alcohol?

Ah yes, booze. There are so many occasions to drink as a freelancer. You don’t have to worry about the boss stopping you from chugging a beer because you are the freaking boss!

The best part of freelancing is that you don’t have a set schedule. You can get completely wasted on a Monday night and just relax on Tuesday!

The problem here is that, well, drinking heavily on a daily basis will get you fat. So you know the deal. I don’t have to tell you what to do. Why not limit the amount you drink per week?

Finally, you need to check out my ultimate three week kickstarter course to reclaim your fitness life.

That’s how you can look and feel like a million bucks as a freelancer.

Proof That You Can Learn Any Skill & Teach it For Dollars (Step-by-Step Guide)

“Here’s the truth you have to wrestle with: the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map. Don’t you hate that? I love that there’s no map.” — Seth Godin

You can learn any skill on this planet. Even better, you can teach any skill. You can then get paid to teach this skill. You can become a freelancer in less than 24 hours and it’s easier than ever.

It’s actually pretty easy. The Internet is amazing for this!

Here’s a quick story…

In early-2010 I was single for the first time in many years. I wasn’t sure of what to do. It felt weird to be free. I had many questions on my mind. How would I approach? What would I do? I reached out to a single friend to see if he wanted to go out.

My friend recommended that I read sites on picking up girls. I laughed in his face. Why would I do that? I just wanted to go out.

I then read the site and quickly realized that you can learn anything on this planet.

  • Yes, you can learn how to be more social.
  • Yes, you can learn a new language.
  • Yes, you can figure out how to get into better shape.
  • Yes, you can learn an instrument.

You can learn anything and then teach it! It won’t be easy, but it sure as hell isn’t impossible.

Let’s create an imaginary situation…

You’re likely thinking that you don’t have any skills. Let’s say that you’re right. Let’s assume that you have no skills.

Guess what? You can pick something up and then teach it!

There are freelancers teaching and perform all sorts of random services on this planet. You’re likely thinking that you don’t have what it takes. Self-doubt is common for aspiring freelancers. I’m here to slap you across the face if you doubt yourself.

You can learn how to pick up girls and then teach someone else how to do this.

Since this is just one example, let’s go through the whole process.

Let’s look at how you can learn any skill and then teach it for dollars…

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas of things you’re good at/would like to be good at.

There are a few crucial questions that you must ask yourself and actually answer:

  • What the hell are you good at? What can you do better than others? I happen to be excellent at getting things started and finished. I love to work out. I enjoy writing.
  • What could you improve at? Some people have two left feet. I’m jealous of them. I can’t dance at all. Improving in dancing would be an understatement. I need to learn how to dance. I’m sure that I could learn and then teach it to others. I just need to take that first step.
  • What do you wish you were an expert at? I would love to be an expert at launching and getting things done. What could you improve at and get to the next level with?

I fell in love with kettlebells and unconventional training at the very first class. So I launched a site dedicated to unconventional living, Kettlebell Rebels. I love looking at new ways to train and get in shape. I’m going to write about it for a long time.

If you figured out what you’re good at, you’re in luck.

If you realized that you could improve at something, then what the hell are you waiting for? Find a way to improve.

What’s the proof that you can learn any skill? Do a quick Google search or scan through sites like Kijiji. Note how many folks are teaching whatever it is that you want to learn. They can help you become an expert.

Step 2: Think of potential customers.

Who on Earth would pay you to do this?

You have to think about this. Without customers, you don’t have much of a business. Think of an empty grocery store. Think of an empty gym.

Without PAYING customers, you don’t have a business. You have a freaking hobby. The last thing we all need is another hobby.

Who are your potential clients? Think of the specifics. Think of age, income, beliefs, places they hang out, and so on.

For example, you wouldn’t hang outside of a Burger King looking for personal training clients.

Step #3: Find a way to meet these customers (marketing).

“Advertising is like sex. Only losers pay for it.” — Jon Bond

Where are these customers at? Do you have the slightest clue?

First and foremost, the solution here is not to read more marketing blogs or books.

Seriously, stop reading marketing blogs!

Get out there and promote yourself. See what works. Throw some ideas out against the wall. See what’s working well for others. Find a way to spread the word.

Is there a group or community that you can join? You already know the answer to this. Think of where you look for help.

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” ― Steuart Henderson Britt

Step #4: Become the best in the world at what you do.

You need to become the best in the world.

Before you freak out, there’s good news. Best in the world refers to your world. So if you work at a gym, you would only have to become the best trainer at that gym, and not the whole planet Earth.

The world is the pocket of the universe where your work is done.

Nobody wants to associate with anyone down on their luck or just not on top of things.

How do you become the best?

  1. Get results for all clients. Find someone to work with you and get them results! The goal of a business is to create customers that create customers.
  2. Daily consistency. You can’t just work on things once in a while. You need to be consistent.
  3. Pay for guidance. If you’re not where you want to be, pay for help. Some of the best athletes on this planet pay to work with experts so that they become better.

That’s all I could think of. Don’t wait to become the best.

Step #5: Land a paying client.

Okay, up until now you’ve figured out what you’re good at, what you can teach others, how you can get better, and how to find customers.

Now you need to get paid.

You’ve got to get paid. You can talk all you want. It’s useless until you get paid!

How do you get paid? Charge the client! Duh.

At this point, you need to turn any free work into paid work. You need to be consistently going after clients. Most important of all, you need to find someone willing to pay you.

If you can’t find a paying client, you might just have to move on and try something new.

Step #6: Consistently do a great job.

Once you get paid, you need to ensure that you’re worth the money. Nobody enjoys giving money away. That’s why you need to prove your worth.

There’s not much to say at this point. Always show up early, deliver results, and ensure that your clients are getting better. If not, you suck as a freelancer.

Step #7: Get referrals/testimonials.

When you’re doing good work, you should be worthy of referrals and testimonials.

As your clients get results and only WHEN they get results, you need to ask for a specific referral. Just a quick thanks or praise for something you did. This is your resume/portfolio.

Step #8: Buy my freelancing book/join our program. Don’t be cheap!

I just helped you make your first dollar. You can now grab a copy on Amazon.

If you want to work with me one-on-one, you need to check out our exclusive program.

Launch now

Thanks for sticking around to the end. This article is proof that you can learn any skill on this planet and then turn around to teach it for a profit.

Good luck! I’m always here to help if you have any questions.

What Happens When Your Job Sucks? Step-by-Step Guide For Making a Move

“I hate my job. I can’t believe I have to do this every single day.”

I hear this all of the time from friends. Most people seem to hate their jobs. You notice that? Rarely do you meet someone that’s excited about work or going to work. Most folks just want to complain about how bad they have it.

It used to be me all of the time. Now I choose what I do and when I do it. I’m not rich, but I’m certainly happy. I’d choose happiness over money any day of the week.

What happens when your job sucks?

The following comes from personal experience and watching others…

  • You drink or do drugs to escape.
  • You’re always miserable.
  • It takes a toll on your personal relationships.
  • You’re a crappy friend.
  • You waste life.
  • You do stupid things.
  • You’re not the same person.
  • You lose motivation.

Okay, I’ll stop there. Depressing enough?

So what the hell can you do about this? What do you do when your job sucks?

Stop escaping and focus in!

You need to snap out of it. Like right now!

Getting wasted, smoking, eating fast food, and doing drugs will only make matters worse.

You need to get things done. Getting wasted all of the time won’t help you with anything. You got to realize that you’re only making things worse for yourself by escaping and doing stupid things.

Once you snap out of it and start to focus, you can grab a hold of your life and take some action.

What should you do first?

Start saving.

You need some money in the bank so that you can build your F U Fund. This is the cash that will allow you to quit or at least give you the option. Without money in the bank and tons of credit card debt, you’re stranded. You have to go to work because you desperately need the money. I don’t want this to happen to you. I don’t want to see you forced to work a job you hate.

It’s also nice to have some money in the bank so that you don’t go homeless if you choose to freelance full-time.

Your first priority should be to find a way to put aside an extra $20 or so per week. Then you can slowly increase this number. If you have debt, you should strive to put extra money towards your debt payments.

I realize that it’s easier said than done, but you have to start. Without money, you have no options and are trapped.

Moving forward…

Build an income on the side.

You don’t have to start a blog on how to blog. You don’t have to blog at all. I just advise that you start building some sort of a side income. You could start with a part-time job and slowly transition towards freelancing of some sorts.

There has to be something that has been on your mind for the longest time. There’s something that you can teach others or do for others that will help you earn some money.

You can even work for free to build up your portfolio for the first little while.

Trust me, if you think about it long enough or just try, you’ll find something.

Please launch right now!

Test out your ideas. Put them to the market. You have nothing to lose. If things don’t work out, you just try a new idea or promoting to different folks.

As you’re doing all of this…

Look for other jobs as a backup plan.

This is the best time to look for new jobs because you’re not desperate. You have an income coming in. You have somewhere to go.

You don’t believe me? Imagine how your buddy who just got dumped behaves? He’s desperate. It’s pathetic. He chases after everyone and anyone that will look in his direction.

That’s how you’ll look if you start your job hunt when you’re desperate for work.

Look around now. Go for interviews. Throw some feelers out. See what happens.

And finally…

Keep your eye on the prize.

No matter what happens, you have to keep your damn eye on the prize!

I know the feeling. Your boss pisses you off, your job drains you, and your co-workers are frustrating. You get pissed off and you want to grab a case of beer on the way home. We’ve all been there before.

It sucks. But your goal is to break free, not to stay trapped. Never forget this.

I suggest that you use your disdain for your job as motivation to launch something and make it successful. A little bit ago, I interviewed a bunch of successful folks on what made them launch. Their motivations varied. This didn’t surprise me because we all have our own reasons for doing things. If you hate your job right now, this could be what pushes you.

So now you tell me, what are you going to do? Will you keep on complaining about your job or will you do something about it?

I want to see some results. No sob stories.

Banks face closer scrutiny following business loans mis-selling

The banks have certainly not enjoyed a quiet 2014; in fact, some might argue the last decade has been one long crusade to undermine the health of the UK economy. You don’t need to have too prodigious a memory to reel off any number of calamities to befall the UK banks in recent times.

Firstly there were the hugely costly taxpayer-funded bailouts to drag the banks from the brink of collapse. Then of course there’s the ongoing bloated bonus debacle which shows no sign of abating any time soon. Then there’s the catastrophic PPI mis-selling saga that is still prompting 1,000 complaints a day to the Financial Ombudsman Service. And perhaps the least said about the Libor rigging scandal the better. Well, it seems the banks have been busy again, and this time they’ve made an almighty mess of business loans.

It must be déjà vu…

The latest scandal, which MPs have optimistically labelled “another PPI”, centres on fixed rate bank loans sold to businesses to protect them from fluctuating interest rates. The twist is the secret ‘swap’ added by the banks which has had entirely the reverse effect. Rather than protecting firms from rising interest rates, many have gone bankrupt as a result of these unnecessarily costly loans.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with commercial credit options, business loans are explained in more detail by Everline here. In essence however, the source of the problem originates from the fact that despite being privy to information forecasting stagnant or decreasing long-term interest rates from 2007 onwards, the banks continued to guide their business customers towards fixed-rates loans which were priced at an average of 6 percent.

Once the customer was fully signed up, the banks would then turn to the derivatives market to sell the fixed-rate element of the loan, which was underpinned by their customers, to traders. The bank would then buy it back at a lower floating rate.

So, while small businesses were fighting for their lives in an economy brought to its knees by the banks, the derivative traders were paying out the actual rate of interest – just 0.5 percent, while receiving 6 percent from the customer. The difference would end up in the derivative trader’s pocket, while the bank received a hefty commission for doing the deal.

The fallout.

The Financial Conduct Authority has told the Treasury Select Committee it has not ruled not out taking “enforcement action” against the banks, which could result in hefty fines for the inappropriate selling of such complex products.

MP John Thurso, who is currently scrutinising the banks behaviour and the regulatory process surrounding ‘embedded swaps’, said:

“There is nothing wrong with selling a business a fixed-rate loan, the problem comes when the bank adds a hedge and fails to inform the customer. I regard that as at best mis-selling, and at worst, immoral.”

Businesses urged to complain.

A diverse range of businesses have been impacted by this latest scandal, from shops and hotels to vineyards and nurseries. In many cases, it is not until the business decides to change banks and exit the deal that they realise something is very wrong. One small business looking to change banks and exits its fixed rate deal expected to pay £20,000 in exit penalties. However, the presence of the derivative pushed the actual figure over the £100,000 mark.

It was the usual story from the bank, which claimed the borrower had been made aware of the significant break costs when the loan was agreed. However, when asked for documentary evidence to support this statement, the bank was empty handed. The business in question then complained to the Financial Ombudsman, which upheld their complaint and scrapped the loan.

Any other businesses with similar fixed rate loans are urged to speak to their banks to discuss their options. If the service they receive is unsatisfactory, they should take their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

What are you views on this latest debacle? Were you offered a fixed rate business loan at a time when interest rates were flat? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue so please leave your two cents’ worth in the comments section below. 

This article was brought to us by Adrian Fleeceman, a small business owner and freelance finance blogger who writes articles for some of the UK’s most authoritative websites. When not busy blogging, Adrian can be found wandering aimlessly around antiques fairs.

The Waiting Game: Why SMEs Wait Longer for Payment

Today’s article is brought to us by Trudy Oldman, a regular financial whiz, sharing her insights, opinions and very best ideas with SMEs and individuals in regular blogs, interviews and articles across the web and media.

There’s plenty for UK SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) to whinge about in the current economy. From red tape to zero-hours contracts, the niggles that plague small British businesses are certainly not in short supply. Yet, topping the list of SME grievances has to be the mother of all corporate irritations: late payment.

Late payments have been a serious problem for small UK businesses for the past 8 years and the situation shows no sign of improving, despite limp government attempts to intervene. Schemes like the PPC (Prompt Payment Code), set up in 2008, which aimed to encourage big firms to sign up in order to cough up, have had little or no impact. Today (July 2014) the problem is worse than ever. Payments owed to SME have hit the £40bn mark, £3bn higher than the previous peak of 2012 and significantly more than 2013’s £30bn late payments.

Fighting back.

With government intervention failing to improve the situation, increasing numbers of SMEs are working to reduce late payment themselves. Free company checks have seen a substantial surge in interest, for instance. These tools put the power in the hands of SMEs, giving them the information they need to make informed decisions about who they want to work with. They can provide crucial details such as payment history (including details of missed and late payments), legal issues (such as CCJs) and assets (which can help SMEs gauge whether or not a prospective client has the funds to make payment at all).

One rule for one…

Yet savvy client selection and careful due diligence can’t help to hasten late payments and chase down non-payment once the situation arises, particularly in an economy where big companies are often the worst offenders. Unfortunately, these large companies are very valuable to smaller businesses. They offer big contracts and an important revenue stream. This gives them the power to consistently pay late without negative consequences.

Like it or lump it.

With a lot of money on the table, it’s extremely difficult for humble SMEs to protest about late payments. In a competitive marketplace full of big businesses like Apple, Tesco and Wonga, it’s important to make life as easy for your biggest customers as possible. Often there is a queue of similar business waiting to step in if an SME causes bother for a bigger business. Take a late payment issue too far and you risk losing a valuable client. In this environment it’s a case of like it or lump it for small businesses struggling with late payments from bigger firms.

The state of play.

In 2013-2014 small companies with an annual turnover of below £1million waited an average 71 days for payment, far longer than the average 30 day payment terms that appear on most invoices. By contrast, firms with £500million+ annual turnovers waited an average of 48 days for payment. This discrepancy is huge and is having an equally sizeable impact on the growth of UK SMEs and on our economy as a whole.

With a distinct lack of parity between SMEs and larger enterprises, SMEs are increasingly struggling to fund their growth. With the economy seeming to rally after a long spell in the post-credit crunch doldrums, the smaller business (which the government continues to insist are the powerhouses of the UK’s economic recovery) are the ones struggling to find the funds to invest in their own growth. With late SME payments looking like an endemic part of our economy, the available capital smaller companies need to grow remains tied up in the kitties of large businesses.

Is there a solution?

I’ve already talked a little about using detailed company information to make informed choices about the businesses SMEs work with, but with valuable contracts on the table, it’s not always easy to turn away businesses – even with a history of late payment. I’ve also mentioned the ongoing failures of the PPC – a code which many of the FTSE 100 (including Sainsbury’s and GKN) flat-out refused to sign up to. With so many problems, how on earth can SMEs even start to see a light at the end of the tunnel?

One solution, proposed by the BMF (Builders Merchants Federation), is to name and shame persistent late payers. The BMF recently called for mandatory disclosure of payment practice. This step would make late payment public, without putting small businesses in a difficult “tattle tale” position which could jeopardise valuable contracts. Still, a concrete and effective solution remains to be put in place.

Is your SME’s growth hampered by late payment? How do you think the government should handle persistent late payers? Share your views and experiences with our readers below.

Carnival of Personal Finance #464 : It’s Warm Outside!

Welcome to another edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. I’m going to call this #464 since there was no carnival the past month. This also meant that I had to delete many submissions. I had to filter through to find the top ten articles from the past month. Let’s see what we have.

Did you realize that it’s warm outside? I have and I love it. I can’t get enough of summer. This is why I’m keeping this introduction brief today. Enjoy the articles and get out there.

Let’s jump into the top ten articles:

10. Mr. 4HWD from The Four Hour Work Day presents Will You Choose the Unlimited Upside?, and says, “When you go to work for someone else, you’re taking a pretty big gamble. It may seem counter-intuitive, given that being an employee means receiving a reliable paycheck on a regular basis. But if that paycheck is your only source of income, you could lose 100% of your earnings at any time for reasons far outside your control.”

9. Andrea from So Over This presents Could You Live on Minimum Wage?, and says, “Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past the year it’s hard to miss the ongoing debate over minimum wage!

8. Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents What Money Advice Would You Give Yourself If You Could Go Back in Time, and says, “The money advice I would give a younger version of myself falls into two categories: “What were you thinking?” and “Why aren’t you doing THIS?”

7. Marissa from Finance Triggers presents 3 Ways to Ensure You Have Money Left in the Last Week of the Month, and says, “We all know that when we look in our bank accounts during the week approaching pay day, it is more than likely that a few moths will fly out.”

6. Alexa from Single Moms Income presents 4 Things I?m Doing to Save Money Right Now, and says, “My income has slowly increased over the last three or four months. So, you’d think that I’d have saved those extra few hundred dollars, right? Wrong.”

5. Oscar from Money is the Root presents Can your Personality Determine your Income?, and says, “Experts will tell you that, when it comes to earning money, the type of personality that you have definitely influences how much money you will earn, save and/or put towards retirement.”

4. Larry from KrantCents presents What you can learn from the HENRYs!, and says, “What are HENRYs? They are High Earners Not Rich Yet (earn $100-250k annually).”

3. Jack from Money Saving Ethics presents Taking the Leap: When is it Time to Ditch the Lease?, and says, “This past decade has paved the way for some very big changes in the housing market, making it both harder to find a home and easier to get financed for one.”

2. Maria from The Money Principle presents Personal Wealth versus Mental Health: working from home, and says, “Working from home and freelancing is the way of the economy today. How do wealth and mental health weigh in the balance?”

1. Monica from Monica On Money presents You Don’t Have To Be A Superhero To Become Debt Free, and says, “Sometimes, I feel like I need to be a SUPERHERO to make it all happen.”

Carnival of Personal Finance #462 : Jumping on Opportunities Edition

“I want to be remembered as a person who wasn’t afraid to start things.” — Tina Roth Eisenberg

Welcome to another edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance.

With yesterday being Easter Monday, we decided to host this on a Tuesday. We haven’t had a carnival up in a few weeks so this will be the elite of the elite. The top ten of the last few weeks.

I’ve recently found myself trying to jump on opportunities. I wanted to share a few pictures and quick stories as we countdown the top ten!

10. Matt from Budget Snob presents Who needs an Emergency Fund? If these things happen, you do., and says, “If you have been an adult for any length of time you know that life is full of surprises, some good and some, well, not so good.”

9. Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents 16 Ways to Save Money on Your Energy Bills This Summer, and says, “Running your air conditioning 24 hours a day tends to be more expensive than heating your home (except if you use oil), so with that in mind, here are some tips to help get you ready for summertime to reduce your energy bills, reduce your impact on the environment, and keep some of your hard-earned money in your pocket where it belongs.”

8. Amy from Money Mishaps presents Organization is the Key to a Less Stressful Divorce, and says, “Frankly, getting divorced usually means a lot of difficulty and emotion. We can’t really help you with the emotional side of divorce, but when it comes to reducing your stress financially, we can tell you that being prepared and organized is one of the best ways to do it.”

Speaking at a conference on financial literacy!

Public Speaking

I was recently invited to Chicago to speak on financial matters. I decided to accept. I showed up, hoped for the best, and end up meeting lots of cool folks in the process. Very glad that I didn’t get nervous and back out.

7. Justin from Edward Antrobus presents Why the Wealthy are Suddenly Fond of Using Pawnshops, and says, “While banks everywhere have started frowning on assets that are not quite liquid, there is a boom underway in high-end pawnshops.”

6. Mr. 4HWD from The Four Hour Work Day presents Take Advantage of Working Corporate While it Lasts, and says, “It only took me a few years working 9-5 to realize that I wouldn’t be able to work in the corporate world forever. I’m a good employee but I just don’t see the incentive in busting my ass to make more money for a bunch of shareholders and board members.”

5. Monica from Monica On Money presents Safe Retirement Investments: Which Investments Will Fund My Retirement Best?, and says, “Retirees are rightfully concerned about the safety levels of the investments they count on to sustain their comfortable retirement lifestyles.”

Pro wresting!

Pro wrestling

I’ve already mentioned this. I have another show coming up this Saturday and I hope to seize this opportunity once again.

4. Natalie from Debt and the Girl presents Victims of Circumstance or Something More?, and says, “I have always been a big fan of doc type shows like True Life (the only good show left on MTV) that let you peer into the life of someone else.”

3. Andrea from So Over This presents Unexpected Health Risks of a Bad Night’s Sleep, and says, “Several ill effects of a lack of sleep are well-documented. From feeling out of sorts to being short-tempered, the common side effects of sleep deprivation will come as no surprise.”

2. Alexa from Single Moms Income presents 3 Ways to Earn Extra Cash This Spring, and says, “Instead of blowing my budget once again I figured it was much better to look for ways to earn some extra cash.”

Learning Spanish!

I’m doing my best between Duolingo and Michel Thomas to master my Spanish. Wish me luck!

1. Marissa from Thirty Six Months presents Tips to Make Your First Real Estate Investment a Success, and says, “Most of us do not really think of accumulating investment properties. It is just not something that we are programmed to do, but it is an area that more GEN Y should start taking seriously.”

If you want submit an article for consideration then head over to carnivalofpersonalfinance.com.

Carnival of Personal Finance #450: Favorite Quotes Edition

Welcome to the 450th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes with you!

The best of…

“Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: you have no one to blame.” – Erica Jong

You’re responsible for everything. Holding yourself accountable is key to getting ahead.

Harry Campbell from The Four Hour Work Day presents How Much is Your Time Worth?, and says, “When I was young, my dad’s favorite line to get me to do something that he didn’t want to do was, “You’re young, your time isn’t worth as much as mine.” And back then he was right, my time wasn’t worth much as a kid and my dad obviously thought his was. As I grew older though, I started taking on more and more responsibilities and trying to fit in additional stuff on my plate. In college, I worked a few odd jobs here and there, played intercollegiate volleyball and majored in aerospace engineering. I was very busy but I enjoyed every minute of it.”

An interesting take on the value of time. I personally think that while time is valuable, it can sometimes be too tempting to justify every little expense as not being worth your time. I do this with eating out all of the time.

Leslie H Tayne, Esq. from Tayne Your Debt presents The Costs of Becoming an Olympian, and says, “While the cost to host the Olympic Games is often the main point of discussion, the debt many Olympic athletes (and Olympic hopefuls) accrue throughout their competitive careers is equally as significant and staggering. The costs of coaching, equipment, traveling to competitions, and a proper diet can rack up to six figures over the course of a ten year competitive career.”

Nobody ever talks about this. We want to celebrate with the athletes, but nobody wants to show up to practise. Honing your craft is very expensive.

Alexa from Single Moms Income presents Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People, and says, “At one point or another we compare ourselves to others and feel inadequate. To find true happiness you need to stop comparing yourself to other people.”

I’m guilty of this one. I’m a very competitive person naturally. I want it all. I have to realize that I can’t have it all.

The essentials…

“Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one. They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers. They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.” – Seth Godin

Well said. Failure is not final nor fatal my friends.

Daniel from Make Money Make Cents presents These 5 habits may change your financial life, and says, “Every year it is proven that most New Year’s resolutions are not kept, mainly because most of them are simply aimed too high.”

Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance Blog presents 3 Times it Makes Sense to Pay Someone Else to Do Something For You, and says, “Just because you can do something does not mean that you should. Here are 3 times it makes sense to pay someone else to do something for you:”

Jason from The Money Makers presents Zimmerman Wins Lottery: A Prank, but What Are the Real Odds of Winning?, and says, “Satirical reports regarding George Zimmerman have been misconstrued as factual by several media outlets, which have led to the belief that the man who killed Trayvon Martin is now a multimillionaire due to a lucky lottery ticket.”

Oscar from Money is the Root presents Look at your Credit from a Lenders point of View, and says, “If you are keen on improving your credit in 2014 one of the best ways to do it is to look at your finances from a lender’s point of view.”

Donna Freedman from Money Talks News presents How to Find Thousands of Freebies, and says, “Want something for nothing? Go online, because Freecycle’s got company.”

Pauline from Savvy Scot presents Downsizing your home: rules for going small, and says, “Downsizing to a smaller home is a big adjustment, and requires lifestyle changes. It’s well worth it when you think of the money, time and energy you save. Add that you are using fewer resources, and you have a win-win situation.”

Pauline from Make Money Your Way presents How to Set Rates for Your Side Hustle, and says, “Harry talks about how to set your freelance and side hustle rates when you get started working on your own.”

Monica from Monica On Money presents How To Save Money Even If You’re Broke, and says, “If you are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to save any money, here is an idea to start saving money, starting with just $1. You do not need to save hundreds of dollars each month to make progress.”

Marissa from Thirty Six Months presents Making Your Income Go Further, and says, “If you are on minimum wage or a low-paying salary and are struggling to make ends meet, or finding it a challenge to afford any of life’s little luxuries, you might need to think about how you can be smarter with your money.”

Sam from The New Business Blog presents The Essentials of Digital Marketing for Small Business, and says, “Digital marketing is a very cost-effective tool for small business owners with a high ROI that beats most any of the traditional marketing forms.”

The best of the rest…

“Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson

Stop stressing over the perfect idea. Just do something. Make things happen!

Emily from Evolving Personal Finance presents Why I Love Joint Finances, and says, “My husband and I keep completely joint finances, and we love it! I give both philosophical and practical reasons for our position.”

Hadley from Epic Finances presents Financial Advice for Keeping Your Business Afloat, and says, “Sitting down and managing your finances and accounts is never going to be something you look forward to. However, it is essential for keeping your company afloat and keeping heaps of debt at bay.”

Amy from Money Mishaps presents How to meet your 2014 Retirement Goals, and says, “If you are among the millions of Americans that made a resolution this year, what we would like is that you become the 8% that actually reach your goals and keep your resolutions.”

Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents How to Freeze Your Credit and Protect Yourself from Identity Theft, and says, “If you prefer to use credit cards for the convenience as well as the credit card rewards, you may instead choose to freeze your credit. This is the most fail-proof way to protect your identity.”

saverspender from Save. Spend. Splurge. presents How much do top-tier fashion bloggers make as a salary?, and says, “How much do top-tier fashion bloggers make as an income? I go into a bit of detail of how much it costs to “invest” in a style blog, as well as estimates on their gross income and other sources of income.”

Aaron from Aaron Hung presents Protecting Your Money in 2014, and says, “Most investors concentrate on one thing; their returns. It makes sense of course but the fact is that it is easy to get obsessed with ROI and percentage points.”

Justin from Edward Antrobus presents 3 Lame Excuses for not Investing in a 401(k), and says, “There are plenty of justifications that people use for neglecting to invest in an available 401(k) but, frankly, very few of them are all that good.”

Natalie from Debt and the Girl presents My Favorite (Cheap) Party Foods, and says, “Oh, delicious food! Why are you so tempting to eat? There are just too many crazy good party foods on the market today. Some are more expensive than others. I am a big lover of all things tasty in the food world but saving money is great too.”

Larry from KrantCents presents Would a Countdown Clock Make You More Productive?, and says, “As often as I watch sports, I sometimes forget that the clock which counts down to zero as the game continues. Does this create urgency amongst the players to perform? Perhaps, we need a countdown clock for every day of our lives to motivate us!”

Holly from Club Thrifty presents Park Avenue and the One Percent, and says, “As many of you probably know, Holly and I like to watch documentaries.”

Bob from Dwindling Debt presents Social Security and Part-time Income. What you should know, and says, “These days more Americans than ever before are going to be working past the traditional age of retirement.”

Lily from Paying Debt Down presents Top 2014 Money-Saving Tips, and says, “With 2013 coming to a close many people are looking towards 2014 and finally becoming financially independent. The fact is however that while 34% of us set financial goals, only 8% of us actually reach them, at least according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that was done by the University of Scranton.”

Andrea from So Over This presents Improving Your Credit as a Single Parent, and says, “Regardless of whether you are divorced or have never been married, being a single parent can have a significant impact on your personal finances.”

Matt from Budget Snob presents The Good news about your Credit Score, and says, “Whether it is the interest you pay on your mortgage, your ability to get a car loan or being able to get a credit card with an excellent APR, your credit score, and making sure that it is a good one, is vital.”

You like this carnival? Be sure to submit your articles for next week’s edition, using the following submission form.

4 Rare Types of Personal Insurance You Should Know About

No one ever thinks they need insurance – until they do. While you might grumble as you pay your premiums, you’ll be grateful for the payout if you suffer a personal accident, house disaster or other unexpected incident. When times are at their hardest, you don’t want to be worrying about money as well – so consider if you’re adequately insured for when times don’t go as smoothly as you’d like them to. While you’ll be familiar with house, car and travel insurance, some cover is less well-known – but just as important.

Income insurance.

If you became sick or injured and were unable to work, statutory sick pay might pay out as little as £85.85 a week. Could you make all your monthly commitments with a salary of just £4,464 a year? That’s why income insurance from a active broker could be a very smart move. It pays out a percentage of your usual monthly income, tax-free, to cover you if you get sick or injure yourself. That means you can stop worrying about bills and concentrate on getting better.

Medical insurance and dental payment plans.

Though the NHS is a beacon of free healthcare for all, there are times when it just can’t keep up with demand. If you’re worried about struggling with long waiting lists, crowded hospitals and treatments not available on the NHS, you might want to consider private medical insurance. A standard plan will usually cover essential treatments like consultations, surgery and hospital care. Also available are dental payment plans, which lets you spread the cost of visiting the dentist across regular monthly payments instead of big one-off bills.

Pet insurance.

For many people across Britain, pets are far more than just animals – they can be cherished family members and loving friends. But when costly veterinary bills appear, many families are faced with a harsh choice between their pet’s suffering and crippling financial costs. Pet insurance will cover the expenses such as vet fees if your dog or cat gets ill or is involved in an accident. However, it’s important to remember that it won’t cover routine treatments like check-ups and vaccinations.

Wedding insurance.

Your big day and the experience of a lifetime – but what if disaster strikes? With the cost of a wedding spiralling ever higher, the cost of an abandoned or postponed wedding could be one of the most substantial financial losses you’ll ever see. Wedding insurance will generally cover things like an injury to the bride or groom that forces you to call off the event, or mishaps such as caterers that don’t deliver. Some policies will cover damage to the wedding dress, presents, rings and even the cake.