Category Archives: Career Advice

Getting Started as a Van Courier

If you enjoy driving and working with the public then working as a courier could be the perfect job for you.

Below are some of the most important things to think about when getting started as a courier.

 

Finding work

When it comes to finding work as a courier you can either choose to work for a major courier firm or set up on your own as a freelancer.

When working for a company, you have the guarantee of a steady income and regular work. You also often get benefits such as a company vehicle and paid holidays, depending on the company.

Working as a freelancer on the other hand comes with its own challenges. There are lot of pros and cons of working as a freelancer generally, and this certainly applies to working as a courier.

One of the biggest challenges of working as a freelance courier as opposed to working for a company is that you’ll need to find your own stream of steady clients. This certainly isn’t impossible but with so many trusted courier firms out there now, it can be quite difficult to find customers who are willing to trust their parcel to a freelancer with no name/reputation.

However there are also some major benefits that come with working as a freelancer, such as being able to choose which customers you work with and also choose when you can take time off.

Ultimately you should think about what’s most important to you and how flexible you are.

Getting a vehicle and insurance

The most fundamental thing you’ll need in order to work as a courier is your own vehicle, preferably a van. Vans are not hard to find so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting one at a reasonable price.

As well as a van, you’ll also need to get the right type of cover. In this case you’ll want to get a good courier van insurance policy that will not only cover you for road risks but also protect the parcels you carry too. Courier van insurance policies can be very highly tailored and in addition to getting cover for road risks and goods in transit, you can also get cover for things like breakdowns, liability claims and windscreen repair.

5 Great Ways to Save Money

Saving money is one of the most popular new years resolutions that people have. Saving money isn’t that complicated but there are probably some things you’re doing currently that are hindering your ability to save..

With this in mind, below are 5 great ways to save money in 2017.

1. Set specific monthly targets

Setting monthly targets is a very good way to save money. It’s well known that the more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them. SMART goals have become the standard when it comes to goal setting and using SMART goals is an excellent way to save money in a way that you can track.

2. Get the right car insurance policy

Getting the best car insurance policy you can is a great way to save money. Many people simply go with the first insurance provider they contact but this is not a good idea since you can easily end up overpaying. If you have specialist needs, such as a horse trailer that you need to insure then a good tip is to get cover from a specialist provider. You can get quotes from a panel of specialist horsebox insurance providers at http://www.rwst.org.uk/.

3. Consider a new career

Saving money is much easier when you have more of it. If you’ve been thinking of changing career for a while then this could be the perfect time to make the move and start earning more money. Thanks to the internet, there are now several ways you can make money from home so you’re not only limited to finding employment.

4. Get a pay as you go mobile

Most people get phone contracts to avoid the heavy expensive of buying a phone outright. However if your contract is coming to an end then you can save a significant amount of money by switching to a pay as you go sim. Just make sure your phone is unlocked so you can use any sim card with it.

5. Don’t spend to cheer yourself up

Retail therapy is now more prevalent than ever thanks to internet shopping. It’s very easy to simply spend money on things you don’t really need just to cheer yourself up. This is never a good idea and will make it very hard to save money if you do it on a regular basis. Try to limit your spending to things you actually need and only treat yourself occasionally.

 

 

Running a Newsagent

Many people like the idea of running their own business but are put off by the barriers to entry, such as having to invest in a premises and employing staff. Not to mention the uncertainty of whether the business will succeed or not. 

Running a newsagent is a very viable way to run your own business however. Providing you get the fundamentals right, you stand a great chance of making it a success.

Below are some of the most important considerations when you’re thinking of running your own newsagent.

Practical considerations

  • Location- Location is extremely important when you run a newsagent. Unlike most other business types, advertising isn’t really effective for newsagents so being in a good location that’s convenient for customers is a must. Just this one thing alone will have a big impact on whether the business is successful or not.
  • Insurance – Having the right insurance is crucial when you run a newsagent. Newsagent insurance doesn’t just cover your building but also contents and cash, liability claims, stock, business interruption and goods in transit. Newsagents can unfortunately be targeted by criminals who view them as an easy target so having a good insurance policy in place is a must.
  • Security – Security is another thing that you need to think about when you run a newsagent. While there’s nothing you can do to eliminate the risk of being targeted by burglars completely, there are steps you can take to make your shop more secure. Installing CCTV and a security alarm will help to keep your business safer for sure.
  • Working hours – One of the most important aspects of running a newsagent is to have regular opening hours that your customers can rely on. You should think about what hours you are prepared to work because it’s not unusual for a newsagent to be open 12 hours a day or more.
  • Competition – When thinking about the location of a newsagent, you should know what competition is close by, whether it’s other newsagents or supermarkets. The amount of nearby competition will certainly affect how successful your business is so this is important information to find out.

 

Is Letting Property The Right Career Move for You?

Letting property can be an extremely lucrative venture if you go about it in the right way. Due to the unstable economy, a lot of people simply cannot afford to buy a house anymore and therefore are choosing to rent instead.

You can take advantage of this by investing in property to let out.

Below are some of the most important practical considerations when letting property

  • Keeping your property occupied – Keeping your property occupied is important for a couple of key reasons. Firstly and most obviously, when your property is occupied you’re receiving a regular return on your investment. Secondly is the fact that unoccupied property is at much greater risk from things such as theft and vandalism; not to mention squatters.
  • Finding the right tenants – Just as important as keeping your property occupied is finding the right tenants. Some of the biggest headaches that landlords have to deal with are due to difficult tenants so you should be as selective as possible. Background and employment checks are a must but you should also use your intuition to discern if a potential tenant is suitable or not.
  • Investing in the right type of property – If you want to succeed as a landlord then investing in the right type of property is crucial. Location is of course extremely important but so are the types of properties you buy. Apartment buildings are always a good choice since they enable you to get rent from multiple tenants from within the same property. If you’re uncertain which type of property to invest in then don’t be afraid to get outside advice.
  • Getting insurance – Getting the right insurance is another key part of letting property successfully. A simple building insurance policy will not cut it when you’re letting out property to the public. You need to protect yourself for other risks such as theft, vandalism, loss of rent and liability claims. If you own specialist property, such as listed or thatched roof property then you’ll need a policy from a specialist provider. You can find quotes online very easily from sites such as Thatched Insure.
  • Day-to-day running of your business – If you’re letting property then you need to think of it as a business and not just an easy way to bring in some extra cash. There are plenty of things you’ll need to deal with, such as the upkeep of your properties and staying on top of problems with tenants should they arise.

How to Increase Productivity When You Work From Home

An ever-increasing number of people now work from home. Working from home is a double-edged sword. Yes – you get to make your own hours and have the freedom to take time off when you want.

However the downside is you need to be very self-motivated in order to accomplish your goals. With this is in mind, below are some of the best ways to increase productivity when you work from home.

Eliminate distractions

There’s no doubt that eliminating distractions is one of the key things you need to do in order to do your best work. Distractions can come in many forms when you work from home. One of the biggest is wasting time on the internet rather than getting work done.

There are some excellent apps that will lock your access to the internet for a period of time that you decide. They are an excellent way to help you focus if you find that you can’t trust yourself.

Distractions can also include your TV, radio or even something like a book or magazine.  Because of this you should try to keep your work environment as distraction-free as you possibly can.

Have a separate office for work

One of the best ways to increase productivity when you work from home is to have a separate office for working in. Many people who work from home make the fatal mistake of working in the same room that they sleep in. This is not a good idea.

The environment you work in certainly has an impact on your mindset and if you’re working on a computer in your bedroom then it’s not going to lead to the best work.

Setting up a home office will help you to eliminate distractions, whether it’s in the form a TV, games console or radio. When you create a home office, you can make it solely focused towards productivity and this one step alone will certainly help you to get more done.

Prepare for the worst

When you work from home, you want to know that your home is safe. This means protecting it from potential risks such as burglary, fires, flooding and even damage from subsidence.

Most home insurance policies will protect your home for theft, break ins and fire damage. However if your home is susceptible to subsidence then you’ll need to get a separate subsidence insurance policy. http://www.subsidenceinsure.co.uk/ is an excellent site for getting quotes.

5 Great Careers You Can Do From Home

With the job market being as unpredictable as it is and so many companies having to let employees go, an increasing number of people are now looking for ways that they can make money from home.

The good news is that the internet has made it possible to pursue a wide variety of career paths from home so you no longer have to be dependent an an employer for work.

Below are some of the best career paths for working for yourself from home.

1. Freelance writing

Freelance writing is something that many people now make a very good living from. Writing is something that’s constantly in demand. This makes sense when you think about it. The abundance of content online has to be written by somebody and a lot of businesses simply don’t have the time to write their own content, which means there’s a great opportunity to make money from it for those who can write to a good level.

2. Graphic design

Graphic design is another career path you can pursue from home. Graphic design isn’t for everyone however and there are certain skills you should have already, or at least feel you could attain before you pursue such a career. The great thing about graphic design is that there really isn’t a ceiling to how much you can earn. You’re only limited by your only talent and skill set.

3. Freelance artist

Artistic Art Drawing Artist Draw Drew SketchWorking as a freelance artist is another great way to make money from home. It would be useful if you already have a good level of skill and talent for art before pursuing this career though, since it can be very competitive and getting good enough to make money is not something you can do in a matter of weeks or even months. That being said, there’s nothing to stop you making it a long-term goal since, contrary to what a lot of people believe, art is something that anyone can improve at. 

4. Buying & selling online

If you don’t have any marketable skills already but you want to start making money straight away then one of the best ways is by buying and selling online. You can choose to sell through a website such as eBay or through your own website. The advantage to selling on eBay is that you already have a large audience to sell to. However selling on eBay can be very competitive so you need to find the right niche in order to have success.

5. Web design

Web designer is sometimes thought of as a dying career. There are so many options for people who want to create their own website now that it can create the perception that web designer are surplus to requirements. This is not the case however. There is still a great demand for good web designers despite the abundance of services that allow businesses and individuals to create their own website without coding skills.

Protecting your business

If you do work from home then it’s vital that you take every step you can to keep your house safe. This means getting a good home insurance policy and also protecting against the risk of flooding if you live in a high risk area. You can get flood insurance policies online very easily now so there’s no good reason to neglect this.

 

Things to Know If You’re Thinking of Becoming a Lorry Driver

Driving a lorry for a living can be a great way to make a living, especially if you’re not the type of person who likes to be stuck behind a desk all day.

There are certain things you should be aware of if you want to become a lorry drive though.

Below are some of the most important.

It can be very stressful

stress

It might seem obvious but driving a lorry for a living can be very stressful at times. A lot of the time is spend driving on motorways, which is usually the least stressful part of the job since there’s enough room to maneuver but driving in built-up cities, on narrow roads is when it can be a lot more challenging. Because of this you should be the type of person who can deal with such stressful situations well.

You’ll be away from home a lot

As a lorry driver, you can also expect to be away from home a fair amount, especially when driving across the country. Depending on the hours you work, you’ll often need to stay overnight at the various locations you deliver to. This isn’t a problem for everyone but if you have a young family then it might not be the ideal situation.

You’ll need the right cover

Lorries are much larger and more expensive than an average car so you need to get a special type of cover for them. Depending on the company you work for, insurance might not be something you need to take care of yourself but if you do, you’ll want to find out what cover options are available and get a policy that suits your needs.

You can find out more about truck insurance at http://www.multiquotetruck.co.uk/

You’ll need the right training

 

In order to drive a lorry, you need to acquire the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in order to show that you can competently and safely drive such a large vehicle. There are plenty of good training companies out there who you can get your CPC training from.

You’ll need to meet the requirements

Not just anyone can become a lorry driver. You need to meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to drive a truck and do your CPC training. Two of the most basic requirements are that you’re at least 18 years old and have a full UK driver’s licence.

Click here for the full requirements for becoming a lorry driver in the UK. 

 

Finding Employment When You Have a Conviction

If you have a conviction of any kind then it’s likely been a source of worry when it comes to finding employment opportunities.

There’s no double that a conviction can be off-putting to potential employers and without any good advice, getting regular work after a conviction can seem like a lost cause.

Below are some of the most common concerns that people who’ve had a conviction have when it comes to finding employment again.

Do I have to declare my conviction to employers?

One of the first questions that people with a conviction want to know the answer to is whether they need to declare it to employers, insurers etc. The answer to this question is dependent on whether your conviction is spent or unspent. ‘Spent’ and ‘unspent’ are simply terms that are used to determine how long it is until you’re no longer obligated to disclose your conviction. Less serious crimes that come with a fine or community service are spent in 5 years, whereas more serious crimes that come with a jail sentence of 2 and a half years or more are never spent. Click here for more information on spent and unspent convictions and employment law. 

It’s important to point out that even if you’re not obligated to tell an employer that you have a conviction because it’s spent, there’s still a good chance that they will find out about it due to their own background checks.

How do I make myself more employable?

There is no point in sugar-coating things and saying that your conviction will not count against you in the eyes of some employers because it will. However that is not to say that all hope is lost. There are plenty of employers who will be prepared to give you a chance, especially if your conviction wasn’t for anything too serious. Below are some ways you can make yourself more employable –

  • Dress well
  • Acquire useful skills
  • Work on your communication skills

I need to drive for work but can’t get cover

car

A major concern that many people with a conviction have is being able to find car insurance at an affordable price. It’s definitely true that a lot of insurance providers will either not insure convicted drivers at all; or if they do the price of policy will not be affordable. The good news is that there are specialist providers of insurance for convicted drivers who look at every individual’s case in order to offer a fair price for cover.

Conviction Insure is a site where you can get quotes from convicted drivers insurance specialists in order to save money.

5 Tips For New Landlords

Letting property can be a very profitable venture, however it’s not without its drawbacks.

If you’re completely new to letting property then there are certain things you need to be aware of in order to make it a worthwhile way to make a living.

With this in mind, below are 5 key tips for new landlords.

 

1. Make sure you have the time

time

This is extremely important. Many new landlords underestimate the amount of time that’s required to let a property. Even if you just have one property that you’re letting, you might find that you’re unable to do it while also working another full time job. You should think very carefully before investing in more property unless you’re certain that you can dedicate yourself to it fully and make it a success.

2. Get the right cover

When you own property that you’re leasing to tenants, it’s absolutely vital that you have the right cover in place. Landlord insurance is a must since it will cover you for all the risks associated with letting property, including building insurance, liability claims, rent guarantee and contents cover. You can tailor a landlord insurance policy to meet your exact needs.

3. Try to keep your properties occupied at all times

It can be tempting to set your rent prices high and wait until the perfect tenants come along but there is an inherent risk in this approach. This is because unoccupied property is at much greater risk of being broken into and vanalised as well as attracting squatters. For this reason you should try to keep any property you own occupied whenever possible.

If you do have properties that are unoccupied then you need to get them covered with vacant property insurance. 

4. Be selective with your tenants

One of the best ways to avoid problems as a new landlord is by being as selective as possible with your tenants. It’s never a bad idea to go through an agency, who will do all the necessary checks on any tenants you’re considering. You shouldn’t rely on background checks alone though since they only tell you so much. Always be sure to meet with any potential tenants yourself so you can make a fully informed decision.

5. Make sure you have a proper tenancy agreement in place

tenancy

Being selective with tenants is a great way to avoid problems further down the line but it’s just the first step. Things can go wrong even with good tenants. You also have to make sure that you protect yourself with a proper tenancy agreement.

It’s a very good idea to familiarise yourself with landlord law as much as you can when letting property.

 

6 Tips When Changing Career Path

It’s very easy to find your self stuck in a rut when it comes to your career. Many of us would like to do something we’re more passionate about for a living but real life gets in the way.

If you are thinking of changing your career then below are 6 tips to help you make the right choices.

 

1. Find something you’re passionate about

When most people make a conscious decision to change their career it’s because they are no longer fulfilled by their current work and want to do something they’re more passionate about. Therefore in order to find a career that you’re going to be happy with you want to think about what it is you’re passionate about and try to find a way that you can make money from it.

2. Do you research

If you already have a good idea about what it is you want to do then you should research your new career thoroughly. Find out about what skills you’ll need, what the employment opportunities are like and what the average salary is.

3. Acquire useful skills

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If your new career path is drastically different to what you’re currently doing then it’s likely you’ll need to acquire some new skills. The skills you need will of course depend on what it is you want to do. Fortunately there are now an abundance of great resources available online for learning new skills, whether it’s writing, coding, graphic design etc. If you have transferable skills that you’ll be able to use in your new career then all the better.

4. Think about the work environment

Nobody knows your own personality better than you so you should think not just about the type of job you want to do but also the environment you want to work in. If you get bored easily and don’t like being sat a desk all day, then a driving job might be perfect for you. There are countless jobs you can do in the driving/motor industry, from deliveries to truck driving or even buying and selling vehicles.

5. Will you need training?

Some careers require very specific training for you to able to do them. You should out what training is required in order to be able to break into the industry you’re considering. In some cases you might find that the amount of training required is restrictive, either due to cost or the time investment, so it’s always a good idea to find out this information upfront.

6. Start networking with the right people

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When trying to forge a new career path, it’s extremely useful to know the right people who are already established in the industry. Social media makes this easier than ever to do. LinkedIn is a great social network for meeting influential people in a new industry. Get as much advice as you can from these people and try to make yourself as useful to them as possible. You never know where a career opportunity might come from.