Build Your Writing Confidence

The best way to build your writing confidence is to be consistent. Regardless of how long you’ve been writing, the magic formula to boost your writing confidence is no secret: you have to establish a habit of writing. The more you develop this habit, the more adept you will become.

Begin with a goal of 100 words per day. Gradually increase this number and you will soon be writing thousands of words each week.

Compliments are nice, but they should not be what you need to keep going. Submit your work without seeking approval from others. You must write for yourself, understand your work and know it is good.

Writers need to read. Reading will inspire you to write words of your own. Your goal should be to create even better work than what you read.

Why do you read the same writers’ work? It inspires you! Be sure to write something that inspires you, and so is likely to inspire your readers. Writing to fill word count will show, but if you are trying to change the lives of others in a small way, your work should shine. And when you know you are inspiring others, you will automatically be more confident about your work.

These steps to writing confidence are simple and easy to follow. Start using them today to improve your work!

15 Low-Capital Small Business Ideas

When people talk about starting a business, one of the first concerns is that it will involve a lot of capital to get started. But it doesn’t have to be that way: some businesses can be started with very little investment. As Arthur Ashe, the athlete once said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Here are fifteen ideas for low-capital startups to get you thinking in the right direction.

Social Media Consultant

With the massive growth in social media membership and use, a business opportunity has been born. Social media is no longer used simply for chatting or uploading photos: it has become a powerful tool for campaigning and advertising. To get started as a consultant, all you need is a solid understanding of social media and a client. Look for politicians, businesses, non-profits and other organisations – or even another entrepreneur like yourself – and manage their social media accounts for pay.

Catering

People will always need to eat, no matter what the economy does. Starting a catering business will cost you a little money for equipment (and maybe training), but the investment is small. This is a business you can run locally, starting with a single customer and expanding as your client list grows.

Tailoring

One of mankind’s basic needs is clothing. And one of the basic needs of clothing is repairs. By learning how to mend clothes properly, you can start a small business. From there, you can move on to making alterations, or even designing and creating your own clothing. Who knows… you could end up as a fashion designer!

Computer Training

A basic understanding of computers is an essential of modern life, especially since the majority of employers expect all their staff to be computer literate. Start your own training business to educate people in computer use, assuming you have the required knowledge. If you’re really good, you can fix their problems as well.

Photography

You may already have a camera, but is it earning you any money? You can convert a hobby into a money-making idea by offering photographic services for events, or by taking photos and selling them online. It’s a tough business, to be honest, but it’s a good way to earn if you have an eye for a great picture!

Interior Decorating

People who move house do not always have the time or expertise to redecorate. That’s where you come in, as an interior decorator. If you’re not very good at DIY, you don’t have to do the work yourself – you can sell consultancy services based around your artistic abilities, become a feng shui expert, or just act as the middleman and manage third-party decorators. And don’t limit yourself to homeowners: all those local ceremonies and parties take place in venues that need decorating, too!

Freelancing

This is one business idea that needs very little investment. It also gives you freedom that few other jobs can offer. Whether it is writing, photography, editing, web design or something else, there are people in need of your services. The competition’s tough, but the market is enormous.

Laundry

Everyone needs to wash their clothes, but not everyone has the time to do it. With very little starting capital – enough to buy a washing machine, a dryer and an iron, if you don’t already own them – you can set up a home laundry service. Add a vehicle and you’re on your way to making extra money for home collection and delivery!

Reselling

There are dozens of places online where you can pick up all sorts of goods at cheap prices: jewellery, clothes, DVDs, toys, video games… just about anything you can imagine is available at a discount, somewhere. Invest a little capital in buying low, then sell at a higher price and make a profit. Rinse and repeat, slowly growing your inventory for more revenue.

Website Design

The website has become an essential part of modern business, but many people still do not know how to set one up, let alone change a design. There’s a learning curve to this business, which will cost you time or money, unless you already have the skills. As soon as you’re competent, you can start helping local businesses create an online presence, then move on to bigger clients in the global market.

Transport Service

If you own a vehicle, or have access to one, you can set up as a local delivery service. It doesn’t matter what you transport, as long as it’s legal! You can carry all sorts of small deliveries for local businesses, run a courier service for urgent messages, offer yourself as a pet ambulance to take people’s furry friends to the vet, or even set up as a taxi. Bear in mind that some of those options will need special licenses to be legal.

Barber or Hairdresser

This is one business that requires time and money to set up, but which has no “down” season. It can be done anytime, anywhere. The secret to success in this business is being good at what you do. Provide your customers with a quality service and you will see them come back regularly, and even bring more clients.

Car Wash

With no formal training and very little equipment required, this is one of the easiest businesses to start. All you really need is a source of water, some sponges or cloths, and a strong arm! Start by offering to wash cars for people in your neighbourhood, then expand as word of your services spreads. You can even split the work with friends and other entrepreneurs when there’s too much for one person: unskilled labour is not hard to find.

Game Centre

The video games industry is as big as Hollywood, but not everyone has a console or computer at home. There are people who will pay to access their favourite games, both online and off. With a little investment, you can set up a gaming centre and begin making money.

Livestock Farming

Livestock farming does not necessarily mean keeping a thousand head of cattle: it can be done on a small, medium or large scale. Depending on your investment and what scale you want to aim for, do careful market research before getting started. You could raise half a dozen or hundreds of animals. You could opt for chickens, ducks, goats, turkeys or something else. This one’s a long-term investment with a lot of hard work to succeed, but it offers a real change from an office job!

Seven Secrets of Successful Blogging

Although blogging may appear straightforward, many bloggers quickly discover that it’s quite the opposite! Running out of ideas, lack of engagement, or simple boredom can all quickly destroy motivation. So how can you improve your chance of success? Here are seven key factors that determine your blog’s future.

1. Set your objectives

The number of people who decide to start a blog, post half a dozen times, then give up is phenomenal. If you’re serious about blogging success, you must set your objectives before you start. This will help you stay focused, and track your progress. The better you define your goals, the easier it will be to spot problems and fix them.

Think of yourself as an entrepreneur: every business has goals and a vision, so you must do the same with your blog. Divide your goals into targets for the short, medium and long term, and make them achievable (especially in the short term). Keep them simple and measurable. For example, you could set yourself a short-term goal of blogging twice a week, on Monday and Friday. If you keep to your plan, this can become a long-term goal as well.

2. Do not compare yourself with others

It sounds easy, but it’s one of the hardest things for any blogger. When setting your objectives, you should not compare yourself to other bloggers – especially the famous ones! This will just turn into a stumbling block when you do not have the same success as them in the short term.

Every blogger is different. Some are a huge hit in days; others take months building up a solid following. Your blog will be different to every other blog online, so be prepared to build success at your own pace. Make sure you focus on your own work, and not what others are achieving or have achieved. Ignore the pressure (which you create yourself) to emulate Seth Godin or some other celebrity blogger.

3. Join a community

It is a good idea to join a blogging community. This allows you to learn from other bloggers, and make sure you improve your blog. Other bloggers are also an excellent source of support, especially at times when your site is not performing or you feel like giving up.

There are a lot of blogging forums and communities online, so make sure you choose wisely. Don’t just sign up with half a dozen general blogging forums if there is one which addresses your specific niche. But don’t ignore the general communities, either. Mix and match to find what works best for you, and use these communities to find out what works (and what doesn’t) in the blogging world.

4. Keep learning

Never stop learning. The Internet changes constantly, and many of those changes affect blogs directly, especially if they’re search engine updates! This is where blogging communities are so helpful, as they are excellent sources of news and opinion about both existing and upcoming changes.

A great way to learn is by subscribing to blogs about blogging. Find a few knowledgeable individuals who are well-respected in the blogging world, and follow their posts. You can pick up some excellent tips in this way. However, make sure you practice what you learn, or all that knowledge will just rot away in your brain instead of improving your blog!

5. Have fun

Blogging should never be a stressful experience: that stress shows in your writing and is transmitted to your readers. Make sure that you keep it fun and enjoy what you are doing. That doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes: it just means keeping a positive, optimistic tone in your writing.

A lot of people choose blogging to make money, because they do not want the pressure that is commonly associated with a “normal” job. But replacing work stress with blogging stress is pointless: if you find that blogging is starting to overwhelm you, take a break and unwind before coming back. You can even consider putting out a call for guest posts, which can give you a longer break, while maintaining your posting schedule.

6. Analyse your analytics

You should always pay attention to your analytics. Google provides some excellent training content to help you understand what their data means, and there are dozens of articles online specifically targeted to bloggers who need help with the figures.

The advantage of understanding your analytics is that you can determine what is working for your blog. The better you understand your analytics, the more you can tailor your blog posts to suit your visitors. For instance, you can check the number of visits for the most popular post, the bounce rate, and visitors’ countries. Combining this data gives you insight into who visits your blog, from where, and whether they stay for more than one article or leave quickly.

7. Be consistent

Perhaps the most critical factor in a successful blog is consistency: you must be consisted with your blogging effort. Don’t publish five posts a day for a week, then wait five weeks to publish another. It is important that you post regularly to keep your readers.

That doesn’t mean you have to post every day: it means you need to always post on a regular schedule, whether it’s once a day, once a week, or something else. Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule your blog posts ahead of time, which means you can write whenever you like, and still keep to your schedule.

For non-bloggers, blogging looks cool and easy, but this is not always the case, especially for successful blogging. By following the seven secrets to successful blogging outlined above, you dramatically improve your chances of running a popular, high-traffic blog for years to come.