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Top Time Management Tips To Get Stuff Done

Whether you are looking to work from home at the moment, or you are already killing it in your own home business empire…you are always going to face one thing. That is your ability to get stuff done and work autonomously. The promises of having a great career working from home, as well as what you do, is your ability to successfully do it.

Moving from a corporate job to a home office does seem like a rosy proposition, but there are a couple of issues you will inevitably face. These basically revolve around yur personal management. That is, how do you manage your daily tasks, motivation and output. There are these days some great tools that I would recommend to anyone that is going it alone, as they will help you stay on track and keep a good momentum and pace to your work. Some of these had been covered in previous posts:

Time Management Tips When Working From Home
More Time Management Tips For Those Working From Home
How To Keep Track Of Your Time When Working From Home

HOWEVER, some time has passed and this post is to be a more general overview of productivity, motivation, and some hacks for getting the most out of your days and weeks as you push forwards towards your ultimate goal.

I think the best way to do this is to basically get to the meat and potatoes and lay out the actual tools you can use that will both increase your motivation, as well as your output when working from home. Motivation in of itself is a illusive thing. Some days you will feel like you are bursting at the seams with it, and others you will feel like staying in bed and doing nothing. It’s unreliable. That fire to get up and smash through your day is a fleeting feeling when running a home business empire. One bump in the road can make your motivation disappear at the snap of a finger. Early on I learnt that you want to move your desires, and goals into workable habits. Your habits will trump your motivation every time.

If you don’t develop the habits that work towards building your goals you will have motivation problems. If what you need to be doing on a daily basis to succeed has been crafted into habits, then you don;t have to think about it. It will just happen for you on autopilot. As quickly as possible you want to move things from your ‘to-dos’ into daily habits that you can do with your eyes shut.

lift-appA great app for this I have found is callled ‘Lift’ - https://www.lift.do/

Lift’s motto is ‘Unlock Your Potential. Change Your Life’. Essentially how the app works is you input your daily habits that you want to develop. When running a home business, think of all the things you should be doing on a daily basis and put them into your profile. For me that list would read like the following:

  • Read a business book 30-60minutes (the more you learn, the more you earn – Warren Buffet)
  • Listen to an internet marketing podcast
  • Write website content – content is king on line
  • Write documentation for outsourcer – what can you systemise and get off your plate
  • Work on an email newsletter – how can you give more value to your readers and/or customers

Doing activities like this on a daily basis builds momentum, momentum builds motivation, and the cycle continues. When logging your habits on lift, each day you complete a habit you get positive feedback, and you are looking to get that HABIT STREAK. Get a week or two of completing your habits each day and you can begin to feel the wind beneath your wings, as things start to take shape and it all becomes a little easier each day.

Lift is also great for non-work related habits that you might wish to build. Spanish lessons and yoga anyone?

Now that we have you thinking about what your daily actions are and how you could be building them into automatic actions via the power of habits, how do you plan your day and make the most out of it?

To-Do Lists – (protip: put ‘create todo list’ in your Lift app for each day)

They aren’t sexy, but they they are a great tool to: GET. THINGS. DONE. Just don’t go too overboard for the day. My suggestion is you only keep 3 things active on your todo list. You can have as many ‘archived’ so to speak in the background, but only pull out 3 things for the day. Anymore than that and you are creating overwhelm and mental fatigue. No one wants to look a a list of 20 things to do for the day, it’s a massive demotivator. Especially when you dont complete them for the day. Put 3 things that you can take a good chunk out of, and most likely get finished.

When it comes to-do lists, there are two tools I really love to use. One that is used personally, and another that can be used very well when working in teams.They are: Trello, and Kanbanflow. In this case I love to use Trello when managing projects with others, and Kanbanflow for managing personal to-d- lists, as it has a built in timer based off pomodoro, while restricting you to only 3 active tasks at any one time.

Trello

A fantastic online planning and collaboration tool, and FREE to boot. Trello is amazing for organizing projects into To-Do, Doing, Done columns. There is also a lot more flexibility to organize groups of tasks or content into any manner you wish. Trello has great integrations with other services like dropbox & Google Drive, allowing you to link in documents and easily invite others onto your boards and projects. Out of Trello and Lanbanflow the interface of Trello is nicer, but it’s missing the time logging features and gamified leaderboard that I love so much about KanbanFlow.

 

 

KanbanFlow

KanbanFlow is very similar to Trello but has a couple of features that really make it more suitable to personal management. A built in timer and based around the pomodoro method in my opinion makes it easier to push through your tasks. Drag a task over to you ‘doing’ list, and then log a pomodoro against it (a pomodoro is a focused 25min block of work, which is then followed by a 5 minute break). As you log your pomodoros each day, you can see where you land on an international leaderboard of the best time loggers on the platform. Give yourself a goal to be in the top 30, and you will be cranking out good output everyday and have a great sense of accomplishment.

So between building your daily habits with Lift, and then planning projects with ideas in trello, and smashing out your personal to-do list in KanbanFlow you will have a very nice workflow to get things done and planning out your days, weeks and months ahead. Along the way you will be building some solid work habits as well, making your future home business successes come even easier. There is just one key to the puzzle though, and one more hack that will give your even more personal accountability, and motivation to keep on track and get things done:

RescueTime

Rescuetime runs in the background of your computer, keeping an eye over what you are doing each day, logging your productivity and keeping you on track. Have you been productive when working from home, or have you been spending a little too much time on Facebook and Youtube? How many hours did you log this week on your computer, where did you spend the majority of your time?

Rescuetime will let you know these things, without requiring any input from you. Each week you will get a great report showing your total hours logged, and your productivity score. Website and apps you use are ranked from ‘very distracting’ to ‘very productive’, to make sure you are keeping on track. Spend more than an hour a day on distractive tasks, and Rescuetime will let you know. It’s like your personal coach, keeping you accountable and sticking to the plan.

 

It may sound like a bit of overkill to have all of these things running, but the overhead is not much at all.

Each day use Lift to build your longterm habits for success. Plan your projects with Trello, and get your tasks done with kanbanflow, focusing on logging your time as you go. Have you been on track for the week, kanbanflow will let you know. Stringing together some great work days you will see your statistics lift, enforce positive habits, and feel a sense of motivation and accomplishment as you move towards your goal.

Do you have any other cool productivity hacks when working from home and/or working on your home business? Let us know below!

 

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Reviews

The Best Work From Home Training Sites

Going it alone is hard. Whether you are starting a business, or trying to figure out how to earn some additional income online, if you don’t have a path or someone to guide you, you are open to all sorts of potential problems.

Affilorama

affilorama-2

The affilorama free-lessons view. A simple layout to help you get the general gist of affiliate marketing.

Established for 6 years with over 5000 students out of New Zealand and one of the 50 fastest growing businesses for NZ in 2010 – Affilorama is a completely legitimate, well price affiliate marketing member site. It is 100% free to join, to dip your toes in, learn from some videos and then take it from there. Once in the back-end they do have some premium products, but at that point you have had enough exposure and seen the quality of the content so you can know where you want to take it from there. Affilorama is really geared towards the greenhorn that wants a really low entry way to begin making money online. The vehicle they use for this of course is affiliate marketing, which hands down has to be the cheapest way to begin your own business on-line.

Beyond the free membership they have 4 key products in the following progression:affilorama-1

  1. Affiloblueprint (Learn)
    The premium step-by-step system for making money online that actually works. Designed to kill procrastination, indecisiveness, and give you a turnkey plan to begin earning an income online. No grand promises, but an achieveable, repeatable, and future-proof system to get going.
  2. Affilotheme (Build)
    The fastest and easiest “one-stop shop” for creating profitable beautiful websites. Contains WordPress theme, hosting & plugins.
  3. Affilojetpack (Fill WIth Content)
    affilorama-3

    Great live chat and support are there to help you make your way through their site and products.

    Hit the ground running with the pro-level tools and strategies you need. Basically if you are looking to knock a huge chunk off the learning curve, the affilojetpack will give you the copy & paste materials, formulas and strategies to run on your website. Included in this are things like an autoresponder sequence, web templates, web hosting, content cheat sheets, etc. The jetpack helps take care of the day-to-day things you need to help you scale, so you can focus on the activities that will bring in the income.

  4. Affilotools (Monitor & Improve)
    AffiloTools crunches data from a range of premium sources to find out what’s REALLY happening on your website.
    Search engines, social media, revenue… All your most important data, all in one place.

Impressions: Well the site is completely legitimate and above board. The quality of the free content while good doesn’t get too indepth, so it wouldn’t take long before you would want to dive deeper and get your hands on the good stuff. The live chat and support is a nice touch as is the community of others to help and discuss strategies with.

Cost: Free account, with $67/month premium option.
Ease of use: 8/10
Community: 9/10
All up I give it 7/10.

 

 

Wealthy Affiliate

The wealthy affiliate Back-end. A bigger focus on community, communications and levels.

The wealthy affiliate Back-end. A bigger focus on community, communications and levels.

Initially I am going to have to give Wealthy Affiliate a slight edge over Affilorama. Just in terms of what they give away freely. Essentially the sites have the same purpose though, and it is summed up nicely in the 4 step process Wealthy Affiliate lay out.

Broken, down, the process looks like this:

Step 1: Choose an Interest

Step 2: Build Your Website

Step 3: Get rankings in search engines (leads to traffic)

Step 4: Earn $$$ from your traffic

You can see from the back-end however that it feels a little more overwhelming than affilorama. There are so many options, things to click, stats and it can feel a little overwhelming at first. If you are a fan of bells and whistles though it may be better for you. There is so much information in Wealthy Affilite, but it has been criticised for being a little harder to make your way through it, compared to the simpler approach of Affilorama. Doing reviews though you will see other members that are pro-wealthy affiliate, and others that are pro-affilorama. It really comes down to your personal preference, as they both do contain all the same information, just laid out in a slightly different manner.

On the plus side, there is more information overall, and it’s all available with the premium membership which is $47 per month, instead of the $67 per month for Affilorama.

Cost: Free account, with $47/month premium option.
Ease of use: 6/10
Community: 10/10
Overall 8/10

 

Income Hero

Income hero helps provide guidance by earning badges, and levelling up as you complete online courses on how to gorw a home business

Income hero helps provide guidance by earning badges, and levelling up as you complete online courses on how to gorw a home business

The new kid on the block, and a little different to both affilorama and wealthy affiliate, Income Hero covers all methods of online monetization. This ranges from affiliate marketing, to ecommerce, email marketing, and digital marketing principles online in general. A community that is designed to condense and teach online money making strategies in a fun and rewarding way.

It was also less than half the price of the premium memberships of Affilorama and Walthy Affiliate respectively. A membership at incomehero was just $49 one time, and then only $9 a month per life. Adding up over a year, that’s $148 for the entire year compared to the $47 per month for Wealthy Affiliate and $67 per month for Affilorama. So there is some serious value there I believe.

 

When you join Income Hero, you are a level one hero in training, and by completing lessons and completing quizzes you increase your points, status and rankings, earning badges along the way. This makes learning a lot easier path, rather than just being bombarded with information and not knowing where to start. With Affilorama and Wealthy Affiliate there may also come a point where you will outgrow the usefulness of the site. I mean once you have your site and and running earning an income, then what? Income Hero picks the baton up at this point. Rather than condensing affiliate marketing strategies in one backed, a variety of courses on all digital marketing are added each month.

Income hero backend where you can see your rankings, achievements, and current progress.

Income hero backend where you can see your rankings, achievements, and current progress.

Many of these courses are standalone products in their own right selling between $50-300 each. Income Hero is great because it makes these available within the membership and is updated with new courses each week and month.

Cost: $9 per month, 10/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Community: 6/10 (but growing)
Overall 9/10

EDIT: we have also secure a coupon that gives users 50% off the initial sign up price, and is still covered by a 30 day guarantee which is really cool.

Use ‘BEAHERO‘ during their signup and they will give 50% off the first month, valid for the first ten signups.

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Articles

Building Your Home Business Website in 2014

The starting point for a lot of people wanting to setup a home business or work from home is getting their website up and running. There is a multitude of options though, and it can be overwhelming to know which direction to take. Do you hire a designer, use a free blog platform, get your friends son and/or daughter to do it, purchase a commercial CMS? Is your head starting to spin?

It becomes further complicated when you want to then do something down the track and you realise the platform you are on can’t do it, or worse yet your site becomes out of date and could even be hacked if you aren’t on top of it.

There are a couple of criteria we are going to rate each option by. That being ease of use, cost, and scalability.

Wix

You have probably seen the ads for the Wix website builder. It has become very popular in the past 18 months, and is the first point of call for many people looking to start their website. It offers a very user friendly interface, and drag/drop site builder that people find easy to use. It is also free to get started, making it a great choice for a lot of people. The only issues people run into is down the track, when perhaps their site is growing and they need to do some mor advanced tactics and strategies with their site. So it does lose out on some points in flexibility in this regard.

Pros

  • Great starter templates that look fairly professional.
  • Simple drag and drop system, helping you rapidly build your site.
  • Can be incorporated with other cms like wordpress etc.
  • Good user support with tutorial videos etc.

Cons

  • Can become expensive when you no longer want to display the wix ads showing your site is a ‘free Wix site’ (not a good look)
  • Most of the templates are not responsive (although many do have mobile versions)
  • Not very portable, it can feel like you are locked into the platform
  • Lacks the advanced features for business sites offered in standalone CMS platforms like wordpress
  • Not good for very large sites, as only supports 2 levels of navigation
  • Blog ‘addon’ is sub-par compared to dedicated blog platforms like wordpress etc.
  • Difficult to change style of site once you pick your initial template (content is not separated from look/feel)

 

Weebly

Weebly initially started out as a user article and content directory of sorts. People could create their own free pages and monetize them with affiliate links and Google advertising. The more popular your page on Weebly was, the more advenue you could generate. In the last couple of months though they have steered their business into the direction of being more of a site builder like Wix. The market there was just too big of an opportunity for them to give up, so they have pivoted their position. Since those early days Weebly now labels itself as a full blown drag and drop site builder.

Pros

  • Super easy to use
  • Free to use (free plans have good features too)
  • Decent templates (not quite as good as Wix at moment, but getting better)
  • Good user support with tutorial videos etc.
  • Site exporter (so you can take your site and host elsewhere)

Cons

  • Not idea for ecommerce or sales sites.
  • Also basic blogging functions like Wix

 

WordPress

The most popular website platform in the world with no hint of slowing down. WordPress can help you start a simple blog, or these days build a full blown ecommerce site. Out of the bag it comes in two flavours, the wordpress.com hosted platform, and the wordpress.org version that you can download and host on your own server. If choosing the wordpress.com variety, you can be up and running just as quickly as above two drag and drop site builders. WordPress does however have a clear separation between design and content, so you will be working within the available themes given to you, and honestly I think that is better for most people who aren’t really web designers. The upside to this is that you can easily refresh you site while keeping your existing content. Just install and customize a new theme each year to always look fresh.

There are some downsides to wordpress though. If you have never used a CMS before it can feel a little overwhelming initially. Posts, pages, menus, themes, and plugins…what does it all mean?! How do you change this, or move that… The trick here is to start simple and stick it out. If you are building a business online, you are here for the long haul. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have it all figured out at the end of your first week. The chances are that you will know 10 times more in week 2 than you did on your first day.

Most of the criticisms of wordpress fall into the following three statements.

  1.  It is too hard to use
  2. It is insecure and my site got hacked
  3. It punches above it’s weight, with people using it for things it wasn’t designed for.

Let’s have a look at these and see if we can get to the bottom. Coming from very basic drag and drop site builders like Wix and Weebly, wordpress can feel a little overwhelming. This however is also correlated by the fact that you can do alot more with wordpress as well though. So we are really looking at two sides of the same coin. In terms of CMS however, WordPress would be one of the easiest to use that is available. WordPress will also in all likelihood outlast your site and business. It has a healthy development community that is always improving it, and it can be extended to do almost anything. Want to put a forum on your site, no problem. Want to add a store to sell goods, you got it. Anything you can think of, there is probably either a free or commercial plugin out there that can help you.

Perhaps you have also heard about security issues with WordPress. It is the most popular CMS in the world, and along with that probably the most hacked. A lot of these issues can be avoided though. Using wordpress.com, wpengine, LeadSitePro.com (who also have a built in drag and drop site builder, and marketing tools) or any managed WordPress provider will mean your site is automatically updated and backed up, If it has any issues it will be fixed for you immediately. The vast majority of security issues people have with WordPress comes down to the fact they self host their websites and don;t properly maintain them. If you use one of the aforementioned providers to hos your site, this won’t be an issue for you. Some of these providers as well (like leadsitepro) provide a drag and drop site and theme builder as well, making your site almost as easy to design as Wix and Weebly Sites.

This brings us to the last point. WordPress is being used for things that perhaps it shouldn’t be used for. While I can understand this from a technical standpoint, the reality is that the quality of the plugins and commercial addons available really makes this a mute point. This is also the beauty of it as a platform for your site as well. As your site grows, so do your avenues to monetize and make money from it. WordPress in this instance definitely provides the best opportunities to continue expanding your online business from home. Just follow best practises, and use a provider like wordpress.com , wpengine.com , or leadsitepro.com to host, manage and keep your hard work safe, sound and running fast.

Pros

  • Can be used for almost any type of site.
  • Massive variety of themes via theme marketplaces like themeforest
  • Can be transferred from one server to another.
  • Powerful blogging features
  • Powerful ecommerce features using addons
  • Powerful marketing features using addons

 

Cons

  • Does not have drag and drop functionality out of the bag, but can be extended with ‘builder’ style themes
  • Higher learning curve than other simple drag and drop site builders
  • Requires updates and maintenance if you are hosting it
  • If you don’t keep it up to date, is known to be hacked (solved by using cloud WordPress platforms)

 

So obviously the recommendation here is to pick something that can scale with you, so it’s hard to knock WordPress. If however it is in fact too difficult for you to use, and you have given it a decent shot, get started with Wix or Weebly. The main point is to get started. If the day comes when you have outgrown those, well that’s a good day. What I would call a high quality problem. Hey, the day may even come when your home business empire is booming and you have outgrown WordPress, which would be a very high quality problem. That’s another kettle of fish all together though. ? Let us know your thoughts or any questions below, and share if you found this useful!

 

 

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Articles

Working From Home As An Article Writer On iWriter

A guaranteed way to begin earning online immediately, and a great way to hone your own blogging strategy while starting out (yes  you can make money from home blogging – in Australia) is writing paid articles online. To make money online doing 90+% of things, you need to create content. Whether that content is a course, blog, sales listing, newsletter, sales material, email etc. Content is king. So why not get paid to work from home and create it? The other advantage to becoming a ‘professional writer’ online is that you can write on topics that you actually care about. The trick is just finding the places where you can get paid to do so. When I say ‘professional writer’ however, I don’t mean you need a degree in literature. If you have any passion for a particular subject, the chances are you could begin earning money by writing about.

One gem we have found is called iWriter. iWriter is a content marketplace where you can start out quickly and begin getting paid for creating blog posts and articles for clients. When you start on a content marketplace like this however, you start at the bottom. You need to get some articles under your belt with good reviews before you can get into the higher paying gigs. So what exactly does that look like?

Well iWriter has 4 categories of article writer: Standard, Premium, Elite, & Elite Plus. When you begin as a writer you will begin as a standard writer. The earnings are not spectacular at this level, but you have to start somewhere. Writing a 500 word blog post for a client as a standard writer will only get you $2.50 (frowny face). As you progress though and get decent rankings (which is very easy to us native English speakers), that same 500 words as an Elite Plus writer will earn you: $25. Writing this blog post now, I can tell you that with a little bit of practise, 500 words would take you only about 30 minutes. So in full-stride, you would be making around $50usd/hr. Now we are starting to get somewhere!

To get to this level though you would need to write around 30 articles (30 day challenge anyone?) and maintain a 4.5 star rating. This may sound hard, but when you are writing about topics you care about, the vast majority of your reviews would come in at 5 stars. This is also the case as you are competing with non-native speakers, so the ace is up your sleeve.

Getting started is easy, you just sign up here , which is completely free, and then you can begin writing articles by clicking on ‘Write Content’ in the top navigation.

The iWriter interface. View projects, write content, and earn money from home.

 

In the above screen we can see the member homepage. From here you can browse jobs. Once you select a job, you normally have around 5 hours to complete and then upload from approval. It’s mega simple, and the only equipment you need to get started is a keyboard (and maybe a cup of your favourite coffee).

To get started as an article writer, or atleast to give it a shot, visit iWriter Here.

With each job you successfully finish, you become closer to levelling up. With each level you move up, the more income you generate and in all likelihood the better you are becoming as a writer.

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Articles

Making Money Online from Home as an Amazon Affiliate

Did you know that it is possible to make money online in Australia as an Amazon affiliate? Amazon is one of the most trustworthy and oldest affiliate programs that you can find online. It offer commissions of around 4-10% on average which means that a person is able to earn some decent money since it also upsells well and is a familiar brand. Most people normally have a habit of purchasing more than they had planned for which gives the affiliate a chance to earn more. It is also important to note that the more you sell, the more commissions you get thus there are a number of incentives you can get from using the program. Read on to find out how you can benefit from the program:

Joining the program

To make money online in Australia as an Amazon affiliate you have to access the official page so that you can sign up. Once you are done with this process and your application is accepted, you can start promoting products/services on the site. There are a number of ways that this can be done and this includes:

Creating links through the official website

The overall premise of the program is that you can earn while basically blogging about whatever topic you like (if you don;t have a blog, see our article here about how to easily have one setup in under 30min). Within your blog posts you then link to related useful products and offers, many of which are found in the amazon marketplace.

Amazon normally allows persons to create affiliate links using their Associates login area. From here, you get the opportunity to create different types of links. After you log in, you can view all the options you have by clicking on the tab that reads ‘Links and Banners’. There are 3 different links you can create and these include:

I) Product links – this is where you are supposed to link to a product on the site and include some information as well as image links. The links include associate tags and product previews can be used to enhance the links. As a blogger, you may want to work with this option as it allows you to mention products that are relevant to what you are writing about which can help you make money online in Australia as an Amazon affiliate.

II) Banners – with this, you can link to Amazon promotions and categories using banners from Amazon. This link to specific sections on the site using the banners. You can choose from various banner shapes and sizes that are readily available. It is also possible to show special graphics. They are easy to add and can help you earn referral of about 10% of the sales.

III) Site stripe – the site strips normally let you build your Associates links right from the site. They link to any page on the site. These offer easy and quick link building while browsing the official site. It also creates short cuts to Associates reports and news. They are very easy to configure and are also compatible with your product links. This option can come in handy for bloggers if you are looking to link to a certain search results page.

If you created your website with WordPress, there are a couple of plugins that you can use. An example of this is Easy Azon which helps you add links conveniently to your pages. This way, instead of using Amazon’s associate area, you can just do it from WordPress.

You can also consider the option of purchasing an aStore which is similar to a mini Amazon store but it only promotes the products that are related to your niche. With this, you can control the items that tou want to offer and the store can be embedded on your website. Keep in mind that to make money online in Australia as an Amazon affiliate you need to work hard and be patient. Make sure you have created a niche site and you can go ahead to enjoy the benefits of becoming an affiliate.

While a lot of people think 10-15% commissions isn’t great, it is important to state that it is quite worth it (due to overal cart sizes and amazon’s great conversion rates), and you can actually end up making some good money at the end of the day. You have the ability to mention products that don’t have any affiliate programs anywhere else. Amazon deals with all the products that you can think of. Thus it is better to earn small repeating commissions, rather than nothing.

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Articles

How To Set Up A Shop On eBay

eBay has become one of the most popular choices for Australians wanting to work from home. This is one part of an ongoing series of guides where we will be looking at the best practises for creating and running an eBay business from home in Australia. A lot of users don;t realise that ebay is now a full ecommerce marketplace, rather than just an auction site. Specifically, we are going to look at the initial steps of getting started with this, and how to setup an eBay shop.

If you’re serious about selling on eBay, and want to sell a decent amount of goods through it, you should look at setting up a shop.
It is a little different, and takes a slight amount more effort than setting up a regular account, but it helps you get noticed and bring in more business.
We also need to look at the trend, that more and more buyers are using and liking the idea of buying direct from an eBay shop, rather than through the normal bidding process. To get started you need to do the following:

1. The first think you need to do is select the subscription level you require. Obviously, you pay more for the advanced services, but for now, the Basic package will suffice. If you feel the need for extra features at a later date, you can always upgrade easily enough. For now, choose ‘basic shop’ and then click ‘continue’. You’ll be offered some free extras on the next page. There’s no harm in taking them. In Australia your base store price ‘Basic Store Package’ is $19.95.

2. As you’d expect, you’ll need to read through a user agreement before you can proceed. Although you may skip this for most products, it’s worth having a good read through, as it’s a business you’re setting up, not just a software package. Accept and then click ‘subscribe’ to fire up your account. Remember, you must keep your shop open a minimum of 30 days, and you will be billed for the month even if you cancel within that period.

3. Now you’ve setup your shop account and you’re ready to begin. You’re now offered the chance to use Quick Shop Setup. This process will build and design your shop in just a few minutes. However, you can also refine and enhance your shop at any time later.

4. The quick shop setup screen. Here you lay the foundation of your shop. As you scroll down the page, you build the various aspects of your shop, and you can personalise the template to suit you.

5. First is the shop colour and theme. Click the ‘edit’ link under the ‘Shop colour and theme’ section and you’ll see a box containing the options available. Browse through these and click the radio button next o your selection. Click ‘save’ when you’re done.

6. Now you need to give your shop a description. This is the text that will appear in search results for eBay shops, next to the shop logo. You’ll want to make this as welcoming and descriptive as possible, but don’t let it get too long. Buyers don’t want to read an essay to find out what your shop is all about.

7. Next, decide how you want your items to be displayed to your customers. You can choose Picture Gallery or List View. Gallery is the most descriptive option, but List view lets you fit more on screen. You can also choose the order in which items will appear.

8. Promotion boxes are important, because they help to draw a shopper’s attention to certain items. Here you can choose to have four promotion boxes or none at all. Depending on how much stock you have, you may or may not need these now. You can change this at a later date, so don’t worry too much about your choice at this point.

9. Listing frames can be customized by shop owners, and in the next step you choose the template you wish to make use of. Header & Navigation is the best template, as it’s the most flexible, but you may want to opt for the other layouts.

10. With the basic building blocks of your shop complete you can no preview it. Although it’s going to look a little sparse at the moment, you can see the general layout and feel of it. And there you have it: your shop is created. However, there are far more options to play around with, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Check in next week when we discuss how to increase your share of sales. For a full all-in-one guide to getting going with your own eBay home business, we recommend the following:

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