May 2 is National Life Insurance Day, an observance that reminds Americans how proper planning now buys peace of mind in the future. Protect your loved ones with life insurance through AOAExcel®.

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Mercury Retrograde Guide | California PsychicsWhat is Mercury Retrograde?

Just the thought of Mercury Retrograde makes us nervous, doesn’t it? So much legend and lore is connected with the mishaps that reportedly take place during Mercury Retrograde that it’s necessary to sort out what actually does and doesn’t happen here. So, let’s separate fact from fiction about this infamous time period, which actually occurs three to four times every year.

First of all, Mercury Retrograde lasts for several weeks, including a “shadow period” that starts when the planet “stations”, or stands still, until it returns to the sign and degree of the zodiac where it initially slowed down to change directions. The sign and house that Mercury is transiting, and the things that they rule, will point to the areas of our lives that tend to be highlighted.

For example: if Mercury’s in Taurus, it could highlight real estate, if it’s in Scorpio, taxes and insurance. If it’s in Aries, how we put ourselves out in the world, if Pisces, our mystical connections and psychic ability. You get the picture.

To refine this a little further, a Taurus Mercury Retrograde taking place in your second house would highlight banking, savings, and investments. But, if it’s in the fourth house, it probably points to issues relating to land and your home.

Planets don’t really move backwards, however, they just appear to do so. Nevertheless, this phenomenon does cause changes in human affairs until the period ends. Whether a planet changes to direct or to retrograde motion, we humans know that something is about to happen!

Wondering how this Mercury Retrograde is going to affect you? Talk to one of our Astrology Psychics today to learn more!

What Effects Does it Have?

Because Mercury rules spoken and written communication, it’s true that misunderstandings can take place. Verbal and written messages frequently give a different impression than what was intended. Devices ruling communication go on the blink. Phones, computers, anything with a lot of little parts, can go haywire and need to be repaired. Travel plans may need to be modified. Even important conversations can be affected.

In general, we have a tendency to misunderstand situations, and what we think we want during Mercury Retrograde frequently changes as soon as Mercury stations direct.

Mercury Retrograde Do’s and Don’ts

So, what should we do, and not do, during a Mercury Retrograde?

Do: double-check fine print on any contract you are signing. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to fully understand what’s going on.
Do: take time to gather information for a project you plan to start later.
Do: reach out and get back in touch with contacts you made in the past relating to your career.
Do: review and reflect on who and what you want as part of your life, and reconsider taking up with acquaintances you’ve left behind, after careful consideration, of course.
Do: get back in touch with old friends and lovers for the purpose of understanding what you offer each other, and either “close” or go forward, accordingly.

Now for some don’ts:

Don’t: move impulsively to a new location without thoroughly researching the area and cost. If possible, wait until Mercury goes direct to actually sign the mortgage or lease, and make the move itself.
Don’t: make a new romantic commitment, or get married during a Mercury Retrograde. Don’t decide to break up or get divorced. Wait a few weeks and see if you still feel this is necessary.
Don’t: buy high ticket items, especially if they are communications devices or vehicles. You stand a good chance of getting a “lemon.”
Don’t: decide on a new career path, school, friend, or lover without waiting a few weeks until Mercury is direct. You may or may not still think it’s a good idea to go forward at that time. It’s not bad to gather information, or get acquainted with a person or place, just don’t commit until the retrograde period has cleared.

Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period

There’s more to a retrograde than just the time the planet spends in reverse, there’s also the pre and post-retrograde periods, also known as the shadow periods. In the case of Mercury Retrograde, the shadow periods last about two weeks each. While not as potent as the actual retrograde itself, you can still be affected by the shadow periods, so it’s important to know when they’re going to hit, and fortunately, they’re easy to calculate.

To start, you’ll need an ephemeris, which is a chart that details the movement of the planets throughout the given year by degrees and signs. You can purchase them in various lengths of time, from one year, all the way to out to the next 8,000 years. Next, locate the end date of the Mercury Retrograde in question to discover what sign and degree Mercury will be at when it ends, then find the date previous to the end of the retrograde when Mercury was in that same sign and degree, and you will know when the shadow period for Mercury retrograde begins. The same rule applies to calculating when it’s shadow period ends, except in reverse. This time, look at what sign and degree the retrograde begins in, then go down your ephemeris to find the next time in the year Mercury will be at that sign and degree, and you will have the exact end date of that Mercury Retrograde post-shadow period, and the true, official end of Mercury Retrograde.

Mercury Retrograde Self-Care

How do we make the most of the retrograde energies? A great thing to do during Mercury Retrograde is to simply rest more. Do something recreational. Take a minimally planned get-away trip and keep a sense of humor about delays and changes.

Go back and review your journals. Record your dreams. Think about where you’ve come from and where you’d like to head. Actually, finish that project that you started and left hanging, if it’s something that is important to you.

Benefits of Mercury Retrograde

Believe it or not, this infamous period really does have some advantages! It is a great opportunity to fine-tune documents of all kinds. It’s a great time to revise anything that you’ve previously done. This can even include intimate relationships, so take time out to think and talk with your partner about what you’d like to see happen in the future. Just don’t implement those big changes for a few weeks!

And What of 2020?

The final Mercury Retrograde this year takes place October 13- November 3 and Mercury will trace backwards through Scorpio and Libra. Think inheritance, taxes, sexuality, shared resources, intimate partnerships, beauty, and beauty rituals.

So, relax, and have a peaceful and positive Mercury Retrograde!

Astrology plays an important role in your day-to-day life. The planets are responsible for your moods, experiences and more, which is why you should get a psychic astrology reading. Our astrology psychics can calculate your natal chart and tell you about the important dates in your life (past, present, and future) that will massively impact you.

Find an astrology psychic or learn more about astrology readings.

About California Psychics
California Psychics is the most trusted source of psychic readings. We have delivered over 6 million discreet and confidential psychic readings by phone since 1995. More than a prediction, we are your guide for life’s journey. Serenity, happiness, and success are just a phone call away. With over 400 psychics online to choose from, you’re sure to find the best psychics for you. Call one of our trusted and accurate psychics today! Confidential and secure, real psychics, accurate predictions, 100% guaranteed.

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A guide to resources that can help you pay bills now, from rent to health care

About 52% of Americans still say that they’re being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to survey data from TransUnion. While some of those affected have been able to find new jobs or rely on unemployment benefits to see them through, 75% are worried about paying their bills.

That may be especially true with Congress failing to pass any of the proposed additional relief packages over the summer. In the interim, the $600 enhanced weekly unemployment benefits expired and the $300 boost spurred by President Donald Trump’s executive order only lasts six weeks.

Although unemployment benefits have been trimmed, there are other programs still operating that can help Americans stay current on their bills and loans. Below, CNBC Make It rounded up a list of resources and information that may be helpful for those struggling financially right now.

Housing

A federal eviction moratorium put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. expired at the end of July, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an eviction moratorium that runs through the end of the year. It applies to individuals expecting to earn less than $99,000 and couples expecting to earn less than $198,000 in 2020 who can demonstrate they cannot pay rent due to the coronavirus and that they already “used best efforts” to apply for aid. However, many of the details are still being ironed out.

Here are some resources to consider for renters: 

If you are worried about eviction, it is important to know your rights. It is illegal for your landlord to kick you out of your home for nonpayment of rent without first going through your state’s formal eviction proceedings, including giving you notice that you are being evicted.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced in August that multifamily property owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that enter into forbearance programs need to inform tenants of their rights. Additionally, while in forbearance, landlords must agree not to evict tenants for not paying rent.
Laws vary drastically depending on the state and even the city you live in, but the formal eviction process can take weeks or months. During that time, you can stay in your home. And you should, Cea Weaver, statewide campaign coordinator for the Housing Justice for All coalition, previously told CNBC Make It.
Local housing nonprofits or rental assistance programs may be able to help.
Contact a local tenant’s organization or legal aid society to get free help if you’re facing eviction. Relief organizations are local and you can search for a tenant’s organization in your area.
Legal Services is an independent nonprofit that helps low-income households with issues like eviction.

Here are some resources to consider for homeowners: 

First, figure out if your mortgage is federally backed, as that may entitle you to more protections. You can use tools developed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to find out.
If your mortgage is held by a private lender, here’s a list of mortgage relief programs offered by 12 major banks, as of July 2020.
If you’re struggling with your mortgage payments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a Find a Counselor tool, which provides a list of counseling agencies that can help advise on loan terms, credit issues and foreclosure.
The U.S. Department of Housing has a database of approved organizations that offer foreclosure avoidance counseling.

Food

About 10% of Americans, 22.3 million, reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat within the past week, according to the Household Pulse Survey for the week ending August 31. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that up to 17 million children are living in households where they can’t get enough food.

Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP,  through your state agency. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but typically your household has to be at or below 130% of the poverty line. For a family of three, that’s a gross income of about $28,200 a year.
Young families may qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. To qualify, you generally need to have been deemed at “nutritional risk” and have a gross household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. That’s just over $37,000 annually for a family of three.
Food pantries, such as those supported by Feeding America, may be able to help. The organization, which supplies 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries, has a helpful lookup tool that shows its network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and meal programs around the country. In many cases, you do not have to be eligible for SNAP in order to qualify for pantry services.
The Homeless Shelter Directory, FoodPantries.org and FreeFood.org also have addresses, websites and contact information for soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks by city and state.
Little Free Pantries, a grassroots mini pantry movement where neighbors stock pantry items for those in need to take, may be another option.
If you have school-aged children, many schools are offering free grab-and-go meals to students. Additionally, some states have been approved to offer the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) assistance in August and September. The program provides families with a voucher to purchase groceries to replace the breakfasts and lunches their children were missing with schools operating virtually.

Utilities

If you’re worried about paying your utility bills, contact your provider. While some providers’ Covid-19 specific programs ended in June, other companies extended their assistance. You may be able to defer utility bills through the assistance programs most companies offer year round, including major providers such as ConEd, Duke Energy, FirstEnergy and PSE&G.

Call your provider directly to determine what options are available to you right now. Assistance varies by company.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program for low-income families that helps with energy bills. While income eligibility requirements vary by state, generally a four-person household earning less than $36,400 qualifies. You can call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline toll-free at 1-866-674-6327 to get information on where to apply for LIHEAP.
UtilityBillAssistance.com provides a state-by-state breakdown of available grants, programs and even charities where you may be able to apply for payment assistance.
If you’re struggling to pay your phone bill, the Federal Communications Commission has a program called Lifeline that provides discounted landline or cell phone service to low-income families.
The federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can provide assistance with basic needs such as housing, food and utilities, as well as offer services focused on child care, job training and transportation. Each state runs its TANF program differently, but you can look up each program by state to determine what types of assistance are offered and if you qualify.

Credit cards and loans

Major banks, including Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo, are encouraging any customers facing economic hardship to enroll in payment assistance programs. These are not automatic, so you will need to enroll each auto loan, personal loan or credit card that you want help with.

In addition to suspending payments temporarily, you may be able to sign up for a hardship plan, which could mean lower interest rates or smaller fees and penalties for a time.
If your bank doesn’t have a formal program, the National Consumer Law Center recommends sending hardship letters to lenders to see what your options are. The NCLC provides this sample hardship letter.

Student loans

The coronavirus relief package passed in March, known as the CARES Act, allowed federal student loan borrowers to temporarily suspend payments and dropped interest rates on federal loans to 0%. These protections were set to expire Sept. 30, but President Trump signed an executive order in August that extends the payment pause through January 2021. The CARES Act only provides payment suspension for federal loans owned by the Education Department. These protections do not apply to private loans.

Through the end of the year, if you want to suspend your payments, make sure you turn off the autopay feature on your federal student loans. If you have lost your job or experienced a change in income, you may want to consider enrolling in or recertify your income-driven repayment plan.
To help enforce the protections granted under the CARES Act, the National Student Legal Defense Network created template letters you can send to your loan servicer if you want to continue paying your loans and have those payments applied to the principal and if you’re seeking a refund of any payments you have made since March.
If you’re not sure if you have a federal student loan owned by the Education Department, you can look it up on the National Student Loan Data System website or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID.
If you’re a resident of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia or Washington, you may be able to suspend private student loan payments. These states reached agreements with several of the largest private student loan servicers and are allowing borrowers to request a 90-day forbearance. You can apply for this forbearance by contacting your loan servicer.
If you’re not covered by any of these protections, you can reach out independently to your loan servicer to see if there’s any assistance they can offer. Navient, for example, is offering short-term forbearance for at least a month for qualified borrowers who request it after July 1, 2020.

Health care

As many as 12 million Americans may have lost health insurance since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published in August by the Economic Policy Institute. That’s because many Americans get their health insurance through their employer, so high levels of unemployment are affecting access to health insurance.

If you’ve lost your job and your health insurance, don’t simply sign up for coverage offered under Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA, without doing your homework. This can be an expensive option because it keeps you on the same plan you had when you were employed, but instead of your employer covering a portion of the cost, you’re on the hook for the entire amount yourself.

Check out your state’s health insurance marketplace for less expensive options. You have two months, 60 days, after you lose coverage to enroll in a marketplace plan.
Depending on your situation and where you live, you may qualify for Medicaid. This is a federal program that provides health coverage for low-income families and children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.
There are also health centers around the country that offer low cost and no cost health care services. The Health Resources and Services Administration has a locator tool to help find a clinic in your area.
If you don’t need to see a doctor in person, several telemedicine services have been offering free health care during the pandemic.
For those struggling to afford their prescription medications, PhRMA has a Medicine Assistance Tool that provides information about assistance programs. RxAssist.org also maintains a comprehensive directory of drug assistance programs.
Also check out Free Drug Card, which is a prescription assistance program that’s accepted at most major pharmacies and can save you up to 75% on medication costs.

Child care

For those facing unemployment, child care may not seem like an essential expense. But it may be difficult to return to work or find a new job without it. Many states and local municipalities offer subsidies and grants that can help families pay for child care.

Check out Childcare.gov’s rundown of child-care resources by state.
Local child-care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies can also provide referrals to providers as well as information on how to get help paying for care. Child Care Aware offers a helpful lookup tool by ZIP code.
Early Head Start (for infants to children up to 2 years old) and Head Start (for children ages 3 to 5 years old) are federally funded programs generally available for families at or below the poverty level. You can find and apply for a center near you by using the the Head Start Locator or by calling 1-866-763-6481.
Some child-care providers may allow families to pay on a sliding fee scale based on their income. If you’re looking for child care, you can ask providers if they offer this, or if they have payment plans or other assistance programs.
If you’re a member of the military, you may be eligible for fee assistance or other discounts. Child Care Aware has a list of providers and resources.

 

 

Source: cnbc.com

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Original Source: american-apartment-owners-association.org

Starting a new business is a busy time for an entrepreneur. You’re developing a business plan, getting your financial plan in order, and possibly pitching to investors or seeking funding. One thing that can be overlooked but is incredibly vital, is ensuring all legal obligations are met. The failure to do so can result in fines or possibly even court proceedings.

This guide should help you tackle the legal aspects of starting a business in the UK, from choosing a name for your business right at the start all the way to employing staff later on. You can work the relevant legal points into your traditional business plan, or even draw up a separate legal plan or checklist to ensure you have covered everything. 

While the legal processes covered are specific to the UK, the general categories are likely applicable no matter where your business located. That being said, let’s dive in.

Naming your business

You need to choose a unique name for your business, that is not being used already, to avoid running

into problems. If the name is too similar to other businesses, it can suggest there is a connection between the companies and you could be seen as trying to pass your company off as theirs, taking business from them as a result. If they complain or file for trademark infringement, you could be required to change your business name, possibly pay damages, and spend extra time and money re-doing signs, stationery, advertising, etc.

You can easily check to see if your name idea has been taken yet using Made Simple and it’s also wise to verify if a similar trademark already exists.

Choosing the legal status of your business

The legal status you choose determines whether you need to register your business with Companies House, which is the UK’s registrar of companies. The legal status also affects the records and accounts that you have to keep, the amount of tax and National Insurance (NI) you will pay, and your financial liability if the business were to go under. 

It’s also worth noting that in the UK employees pay NI contributions to qualify for certain state benefits and a state pension when they retire. This total will vary based on the legal status of your business. Here are the most common types of legal business structures to choose from when setting up a new business.

Sole trader 

This is the easiest option if you are the only owner (you can still employ people). There is no business registration with Companies House required and keeping records and accounts is simple. Many businesses start off as sole traders and change their legal status later on.

You can benefit from full profit retention and you can complete your own self-assessment tax return online each year, or get an accountant to do it for you. There will be more about paying taxes in the next section. 

If you want to protect the name of your business, you will still need a trademark as no formal registration happens. You will need to weigh up the cost of this to see if it is worth doing.

The downside of being a sole trader is that you have unlimited liability, meaning you are liable for any debts the business has. You could risk your own personal assets, such as your house and savings if the business got into financial difficulty. Sole traders also find it harder to get the funding they need from banks, but it could be the right option for you if your business is low-risk and does not need finance. 

Some people prefer to deal with sole traders over limited companies as the business tends to feel more personal, particularly if the nature of the work is sensitive.

Partnership 

This is the easiest option when there is more than one business owner, and two or more people share the costs, risks, and responsibilities. You do not have to have equal shares and each person’s liability is proportionate to their share.

The downside is that like being a sole trader, partners are not protected financially. If the business goes under you could become liable for your partner’s share of the debt. To avoid this scenario, you can become a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) so that the LLP is then responsible for any debt and not the business owners.

Limited company 

Most limited companies in the UK are limited by shares. Setting the business up as a limited company means it is a separate legal entity that protects you financially, as the company finances are separate from your own personal finances.

It is more complicated than becoming a sole trader as you need to register the business with Companies House, submit accounts and annual returns to them, and adhere to their record-keeping requirements.

There can be financial advantages in terms of paying tax by becoming a limited company, and it can also be easier to obtain financing. It is best to discuss these specific benefits with an accountant before registering your business.

Paying tax and National Insurance

All businesses must be registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as you start trading so that you can pay income tax on your profit and Class 2 and 4 national insurance (NI).

This can be done online and the HMRC will set up an account for you to do your self-assessment. Once complete, they will contact you with a ten-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and send a letter in 2-3 weeks giving you an activation code to access the account.

In order to complete your self-assessment properly, you will need to keep records of your business sales and expenses. To help me stay organized, I have a separate business account that I use to buy the things I need for business operations.

Accepting payment by cash makes keeping track of earnings a bit trickier, and may require keeping and uploading receipts. You can also manage this with your accounting software and add the information to your business financial statements on a monthly basis.

If you are moving to the UK to start a business, you will need to apply for an NI number and can give this number a ring to apply: 0800-141-2075.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax added to most goods and services. You only need to register for VAT if your VAT taxable turnover is going to exceed the current limit in any rolling 12-month period. The limit is currently is £85,000, and you do not need to include any values from sales that are VAT exempt.

For example, VAT is not added to most food and children’s clothes. Additionally, a lower rate of 5% applies to certain goods and services such as home energy and children’s car seats. The standard VAT rate is 20%.

If you need to register for VAT, there is further information available via www.gov.uk/vat-registration.

Insurance

Some insurance policies are legally required, whereas others are available if you want to protect your business against certain risks. Parts of the business that you can insure include your vehicle, equipment, premises, employees, your products and services, your business idea, and even yourself.

Motor insurance 

Insuring vehicles is always required by law. If you are going to be using your vehicle for work, you will need to make sure you have insured the vehicle for the correct class of use. Any claims would be rejected if you use the vehicle for business purposes without amending your policy to reflect this.

There are other motor insurances available to cover things like tools in a van, that would require Goods in Transit cover. You can compare the costs of these policies via www.confused.com/van-insurance/goods-in-transit.

Professional indemnity 

This insurance is required for certain professions such as accountants and financial advisors. This protects them against claims for losses suffered by customers as a result of mistakes or negligence. Often other professional advisors decide to take this cover out for their own peace of mind in case their customers want to sue them.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

This is mandatory for all businesses with employees. This is to protect you from any claims an employee could make following an accident or illness suffered as a result of working for you.

Additional insurance coverage to consider

Here are some other insurance policies you may want to explore depending on the nature of your business:

Buildings and contentsBusiness Interruption —These policies typically cover any instance where you are unable to operate due to external factors such as inclement weather. The extent of policy coverage fully depends on limitations laid out in your insurance contract. Cyber cover — If you have access to information that would be valuable to fraudsters, this will help manage the cost of the incident and deal with enforcement against you from industry regulators.Employment ProtectionKeyman insuranceMoney in transitProduct LiabilityPublic LiabilityShop insuranceTheft

It is worth remembering that all business insurances are tax-deductible expenses.

As there are so many insurances to think about, it is helpful to go and speak to a local insurance broker to check you have the cover you need. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) website contains a section to help you choose the right insurance for your business.

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Acquire industry-specific licensing

Certain businesses require a license from the local authority to be allowed to trade legally. Some examples include hotels, hairdressers, street traders, boarding kennels, and food outlets.

Contact your local authority and ask to speak to Local Planning or the Building Control Office to find out if you need to register or obtain a license, as failure to do so may qualify as a criminal offense.

Local authorities also have Trading Standards departments who help you understand how to be legally compliant in your business area. You will need to know who the regulator of your industry is and then find a way to keep your knowledge up to date to remain compliant.

Do I need planning permission?

While you investigate whether there is a need for a license from the local authority, also ask them if you need planning permission. Working from home or changing the use of a building can both require planning consent, even if you are not changing the physical building.

You can be fined if you set up a business at home without permission. If your work leads to extra foot traffic and a lack of parking, excess noise, etc. your neighbors may end up reporting you.

Ask the Local Planning or Building Control Office about the plans for your business as soon as you can. Planning consent can take time if it is needed and may cost some money, so it is good to have this figured out early on. 

Employing staff

If you’re going to take on staff you will need to ensure that you comply with certain pieces of employment legislation. Here’s what you need to establish.

Carry out applicant checks 

As an employer, it’s your legal responsibility to make sure you check that any staff has the right to work in the UK. Depending on which sector you work in you may also need to undertake a criminal records check known as a DBS check. Failure to do so can lead to you and your business being liable for a civil penalty.

Register with the HMRC as an employer 

You usually need to register with HMRC within 4-weeks of taking on your first employee. You’ll be responsible for deducting any tax and National Insurance contributions from your staff’s pay. You’ll also be responsible for paying any remaining employee or business taxes at the end of the year if you do not plan accordingly.

National minimum wage 

You must make sure that all staff is paid at least the current national minimum wage per hour for all the hours that they work. The rate does depend on each employees’ age and if they’re an acting apprentice.

Pensions auto-enrolment 

As an employer, you must enroll all eligible staff into a workplace pension scheme. There are different pension types that either require you or the government to add a specific matching dollar value to each employee pension. In most automatic enrollment schemes, employees will make contributions based on total earnings, including:

salary or wagesbonuses and commissionovertimestatutory sick paystatutory maternity, paternity, or adoption pay

Statement of employment 

You will need to issue all staff, who will be with you for more than a month, with a written statement of employment. This document sets out the conditions of their employment, such as hours and pay, and must be given to staff within 8-weeks of their start date. In addition, staff should be given a contract (which can be incorporated with the statement of employment).

The contract sets out details of their rights, responsibilities, and working conditions. Make sure the contract is clear on which terms are contractual and which are not, as this will affect how you can make any changes in the future.

Employers liability insurance 

We mentioned this before, but if you employ staff other than direct family members then you need to take out employers liability insurance. This type of insurance will cover will protect you from claims made by employees if they are injured or fall ill at the workplace.

Health and safety 

All employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their staff. If you have more than 5 staff you will need to have a formal written Health & Safety policy. This includes a safe place to work, safe access to work, safe systems of work, safe equipment procedures, safe interactions between workers, and protection from risks of injury.

Legislation that may affect your business

Legislations are rules and regulations that you must adhere to whilst running your business. I have not listed all of them as not all will apply to every business, but you will need to identify the ones that apply to you. We will touch on the more common ones, but to explore more legislation please visit www.legislation.gov.uk.

Employment law

Employment law is there to protect the rights of employees and their health and safety. We will touch on the main laws to consider for those employing staff.

Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974

Premises and machinery must be safe and not affect the health of workers. If you employ 5 or more staff you need to have a written health and safety policy and conduct risk assessments which need to be documented and communicated to the employees.

Equal Pay Act of 1970 

Employees must be paid equally to those who do work of the same value regardless of their sex.

Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 

Employees cannot be discriminated at any stage of recruitment, training, or employment.

Race Relations Act of 1976

It is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their color, race, or ethnic group.

Employment Protection Act of 1978

Employers must provide employees with a written contract of employment. This is to protect them from unfair dismissal and gives them the right to redundancy pay should their job no longer be required after 2-years.

Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection rights are there to protect customers from unfair business practices.

Sale and Supply of Goods Act 

Goods must be of a decent standard. This applies to any goods that are identified and agreed to be purchased by consumers.

Trade Descriptions Act 

Goods and services must be as advertised and you must not give misleading information.

Distance Selling Act 

Some selling methods, such as online shopping, require you to allow a ‘cooling-off’ period, during which time a customer can change their mind about a purchase and obtain a refund. 

Data Protection Act/GDPR

This will apply to anyone that needs to take any customer details, so it will apply to the majority of businesses. You’ll want to make sure you fully understand the extent of these protections and can check the Information Commissioner’s Office for specifics.

Develop internal legal documents

Developing internal legal documents helps to instill confidence in your business for the benefit of everyone — your customers, employees, and potential investors.

Privacy policy

A privacy policy is a statement that tells your customers how their data will be collected, used, stored, and protected. It should also detail if there may be a need to share any personal information.

Company handbook

Your company handbook is something you will probably change and add to as your business grows. In short, it is really a book to summarise how you do things in your business. It needs to be made available to staff at all times — you could either give everyone a copy or make it otherwise easily available for reference. Here’s what to include.

Your company mission statement

Your employees want to know the goals and reasons for your company’s existence. This is where your mission statement comes into play. Generally, it should include the history of your company, the vision, and the goals you want to achieve.

Your company’s policies 

Your company policies are typically extensions of required legal stipulations along with any additional company-specific policies. This can be anything that is important such as having a clear desk policy outside of office hours to help protect data or even just the way you want staff to answer the phone.

Human resources and legal information related to employment

If you don’t have an HR department to help you outline every policy, you’ll need to address the following:

Joining the company Employee benefitsWorking hours Annual Leave and sickness absenceAbsence management –policy for managing short and long-term absence and requirements for reportingBribery, confidentiality, whistleblowing, and data protectionEqual opportunities and bullying and harassment policiesIT rules (including areas such as social media use both inside and outside of work)Your Health and Safety policy including how you intend for you and your staff to implement this Disciplinary/Grievance proceduresFlexible family-friendly legislation policiesCapability and performance management targets and proceduresTermination of employment including retirement and redundancy

It is a good idea not to make any company policies contractual for staff so you can amend the staff policies in the employee handbook at any time.

Retaining legal counsel

It is useful to have a solicitor on retainer so that you can get advice whenever you need it. When starting and operating a small business you probably won’t need a solicitor often, but having phone support available for when you do will be beneficial.

There are large national organizations that offer this service such as Peninsula Group Limited, but you may prefer to ask a local solicitor or a more friendly and personal service.

Why develop a legal action plan?

Incorporating a legal action plan into your larger business plan may be necessary when pitching to investors or applying for funding. It’s also valuable to incorporate specific legal steps into your milestones to better use as a management tool.

Now, this guide has covered a lot of different legal components, so you may find it easier to write a separate legal action plan. Since Employment Law is such a large part of legal planning, if you do not plan to hire any staff and will operate by yourself, you might just need a simple legal checklist.

In any case, be sure that you have some sort of plan in place to be sure you address everything.

Don’t get overwhelmed by legal requirements

This all may seem daunting as there is so much to think about, but I hope that this guide helps you to plan and meet your legal obligations. It is best to start off small but keep the big picture in mind. Keep referring back to your traditional business plan so as not to lose sight of what you dreamed of.

If you ever have questions or concerns about specific legal requirements, check the official UK government website or reach out directly to a legal expert for assistance. Best of luck with your new venture!

Editors’ Note: This article is purely informational and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have questions regarding specific laws, licensing or protections contact your preferred legal counsel. 

Original Source: articles.bplans.com

Whether you want to free yourself from the personal and financial restrictions of employment or you just want to supplement your salary with some extra spending money, working for yourself or starting and growing a business has never been easier — and there’s never been a greater choice of roles to choose from.

Below are several incredible freelance and small business opportunities in a variety of different industries you can start working on today.

Home & Remote Business Opportunities

What’s not to love about working from home? Zero commute, complete kitchen facilities, and maybe even the ability to work in your pajamas.

Here are some great business opportunities that will allow you to work from the comfort of home:

1. Professional Consulting

Those with an enviable track record in setting up or helping to grow businesses have easily-transferable skills they can use to make money from home.

Market yourself as a professional consultant who assists others in launching and building successful businesses through online sites like Clarity. Alternatively, you could also offer (and charge more for) in-person consultations, either going out to visit clients on their turf, or having them come to your home office (although you should probably get changed out of those PJs first).

2. Home-Based Child Care

Childcare is and always will be essential to many families, and daycare centers don’t come cheap. If you’re already spending the day keeping a watchful eye over your own little ones, why not pocket a little extra cash by undercutting the “pros” and providing childcare to friends and neighbors, too?

3. Tutoring

What in-demand skills do you have that you can teach to others? Business skills like consultancy are generally the most profitable, as you can charge much more for your time — but it’s usually harder to find clients, and many of your bookings will be one-off training sessions.

Other skills, from teaching languages to music to helping with reading or writing, are all easy to turn into businesses — and they can be reasonably lucrative and hugely rewarding, too.

What you can charge will depend upon your experience, location, and vocation you’re teaching; just don’t expect to make your millions this way. That said, most of your customers will visit on a recurring basis, so tutoring should at least provide you with a regular, reliable income.

4. Elder Care

Like childcare, care for the elderly is an essential service that will always be in demand. What’s more, those that need it often do better when able to remain in their own homes instead of moving into assisted living.

While certain elements of care require medical qualifications, helping clients with day-to-day tasks like shopping, cleaning, and cooking do not.

5. Private Chef

If you’re skilled in the kitchen but don’t fancy the long hours and stressful environment that’s synonymous with full-time restaurant work, you might want to consider working as a private chef instead.

Exactly what this entails will vary from job to job, but expect to mainly be dishing up quality cuisine to groups of friends and family at dinner parties. Just bear in mind that you might need to employ waitstaff to serve food and drinks and look after guests.

6. Driving

The gig economy isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, driving for Uber or Lyft are great ways to make a little cash. You can choose the hours you drive, and the app will automatically connect you to clients who need a ride. 

7. Thrifting

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture on Craigslist that has potential if someone would just give it a little TLC? If you are particularly handy, you could go to thrift shops and garage sales, pick up items at low prices, refurbish them, and turn them around for a higher price.

This concept doesn’t just apply to furniture, either. If you have a good eye, you could scout for collectibles, oddities, and more. Auction sites like eBay can connect you with a wide audience looking for your items.

8. Makeup & Hair Styling

Proms, weddings, and other special occasions compel people to look their best. You can become an independent stylist and have people come to your home studio, or you can make house calls or work on-location. Eventually, you might consider opening up a salon or spa, but many independent artists love the flexibility of working from home and/or being mobile.

9. Pet Sitting

Just like in-home child care, pet sitting is an industry that you can tap into to make extra money. Many folks want the peace of mind knowing that someone is there for their fur baby, ensuring they’re comfortable and safe while they’re gone. Sites such as care.com help put potential clients in front of pet sitters in their local area.

10. Airbnb

If you have an extra room, casita, or property, you can use it to earn money when you sign up as an Airbnb host. You can list your space for free, and Airbnb does all the heavy lifting for you, making it easy to attract and host travelers. You can charge what you want, and Airbnb even protects you with property damage and accident insurance.

Online Business Opportunities

Online business opportunities also afford you all the benefits of working from home, but even better, many of them allow you to work from absolutely anywhere (which has never been easier or more fun, thanks to the ever-growing coworking industry).

Tommy Landry of Return on Now, explains this transformation. “One of the major changes to ‘how we work’ over the past decade is the massive shift toward free agency, i.e. freelancing, consulting, or running solopreneur-types of businesses,” he says. “While many older workers were taught to pursue security in the form of a full-time job, that is no longer the only way to make a living. In fact, it has become super easy to make the leap out to independence heading into 2019. You could consult or freelance in a number of areas from copywriting to marketing strategy, or run your own ecommerce business from your home.”

He also advises that no matter which path you choose, the smart way to “escape” your full-time job is to start making this transition while you’re still working. “I started my own business as a side gig back in 2009, while running marketing teams for local high tech companies,” he explains. “It took 2.5 years to build up the business enough to sustain a living income, and I went full-time in 2012. I’m living proof … if you want to run solo, you can do it with the right business model, a sound exit strategy, and a lot of hard work.”

11. Gig Work

Want a way to start making money in minutes? Sites like Upwork, Freelancer,  and People Per Hour allow you to do just that.

Another valuable (but often overlooked) resource for finding freelance work is Craigslist. “Craigslist has a whole section devoted to Gigs you can join to make additional money,” says Carl Sednaoui, Director of Marketing at MailCharts.

Just bear in mind that these jobs aren’t scalable. What they are, however, is a great way to make a little extra pocket money by outsourcing your skills on your own terms.

Some sites are better than others — in terms of both opportunities and pay — so you should do your research to find the best match for your skills, abilities, and expectations.

It’s also well worth considering some sound advice from Foundr‘s Jeremy Noronha. “Go where your customers are, not where your competition is,” he advises. “Many freelancers who get started tend to hang out in the online communities with their peers and not their potential clients. The best way to develop and build the right relationships is to provide value in all the places your ideal clients spend their time.”

Some skills are more in demand than others. The rarer the skill (and the better you are at it), the more you can expect to earn. 

12. Web Design

It can be tough to find great web designers and developers, and that’s why freelance web designers are highly sought after. As Ashley Faulkes, founder of Mad Lemmings explains, one of the biggest reasons behind this is the fact that the industry is overrun with cheap-yet-underskilled designers and developers.

“Web design and development has gotten a bad rap lately with so many cheap options available, but I still find clients who want a personal and professional touch,” she says. “You can start with the basics, and produce top-notch sites using online tools, or start with WordPress and good themes and page builders. Focus on quality and great communication and you will soon make a name for yourself.”

13. App Development

More than half of all web traffic is mobile. It may be competitive, but if you’ve got the skills, there’s big money to be made either in developing and distributing your own app or developing apps for others.

14. Amazon Selling

While the working conditions of Amazon’s own employees regularly come under fire, there are plenty of ways to make money through Amazon without being on its payroll.

Thanks to services like Amazon Fulfillment, it’s easier than you might think to sell products from home, since Amazon will pick, pack, and deliver your orders for you. The service can even enable you to import and export outside your home country.

Other opportunities include self-publishing ebooks (you can learn more about writing books that sell here) and affiliate marketing, which involves linking to Amazon products from your website, and earning a commission if a link is clicked and a purchase made.

15. Etsy Selling

Etsy is the platform for selling goods such as arts, crafts, jewelry, and much more. Basically, if it’s handmade, vintage, or just a little bit different, Etsy’s the place to find it (and sell it).

16. Course Creation

Sites like Udemy and Coursera allow you to market, sell, and profit from courses you’ve created yourself. Few of the courses are accredited, but that’s reflected in the price students pay.

They’re also far more popular than you might think. “Online courses are huge right now,” says David Hoos, Head of Marketing at The Good marketing agency. “They can be incredibly helpful to develop niche skills and businesses will often use them for professional development purposes. If you have a unique skill that you can organize and share, a course is a great way to do it!”

17. Virtual Assisting

Working as a virtual personal assistant takes minimal skill and is easy to get into, since there are always businesses looking for people to take on day-to-day grunt work without the cost of hiring an assistant in-house.

18. Influencer Marketing on Social Media

This one might sound like wishful thinking, but countless people are making substantial amounts of money simply by having a large and engaged social following.

Sure, it’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you, it takes time to become successful. That said, if you’ve got the right personality and patience, making money using your influence online is a very real possibility.

19. Freelance Writing

With the demand for digital content, you can position yourself in front of clients who need text produced for their websites or other collateral. The most popular freelance opportunities are in:

Content writing – Writing article content to drive traffic.
Copy writing – Writing sales copy to drive conversions and revenue.

In addition, you can even be more specialized within those functions. For example, you could focus on case studies or whitepapers.

Federal Business Opportunities

This might sound surprising in the age of corporate giants, but where possible, the U.S. government supports small businesses by contracting work out to local independents. This means there are always opportunities for the “little guy” to get their foot in the door with the federal government. You can view a forecast of contracting opportunities here.

Meanwhile, common federal business opportunities include:

20. Construction

This could entail constructing new government buildings or updating or maintaining existing buildings. Even simple janitorial work is understandably always in demand.

Opportunities are typically listed on job sites like Indeed and Simply Hired.

21. Security

Security is, understandably, of extreme importance in government buildings. While this will include security measures like cameras and alarms, security personnel are often employed in order to screen visitors and patrol the interior and exterior of buildings at off-hours.

While you can provide security services as a sole contractor, the business is easily scalable by employing and finding work for others.

22. Consultancy

Consultants are experts in a specialist field who are employed to advise those with less knowledge and experience than themselves. Government consultants are no different.

Don’t expect finding work in this area to be easy, however. You’ll need solid proof of your ability to do the job, and you may well be required to have a degree — in some cases, even a master’s or Ph.D.

Other Business Opportunities

If none of the opportunities above sound like something you could leverage, here are a few other lucrative business opportunities that could be the right fit for your skills:

23. Personal Training

Health, fitness, and general wellbeing are big business. That means those with the skills to help others be their best are in high demand. That includes personal trainers, for one.

So how do you get started as a personal trainer?

Personal training is an unregulated industry, but that doesn’t mean your 3-year gym membership qualifies you to help others improve their strength and fitness. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause somebody serious injury.

You can read up on reputable personal training courses and what to do once you’re qualified, here.

24. Real Estate

In many states, you can complete the required training, become a licensed agent, and start a new career in just a few weeks or months. While it does require an investment of time, money, and effort, it can be well worth it. You can be your own boss, work a flexible schedule, and have the potential to make a lot of money. While there is no shortage of real estate agents in the industry, there’s still plenty of space for agents who genuinely want to do the best they can for their clients. Learn how to get a real estate license here.

25. Turnkey Businesses

Turnkey businesses offer an ideal startup model for those with limited time or budget, largely because the time investment is minimal.

Examples of turnkey businesses include storage units, laundromats, and automated car washes — basically, turnkey businesses are those that are largely self-sufficient and can almost manage themselves.

26. Trade Work

If you’re skilled in DIY and happy to compete on price while making a name for yourself, you can start leveraging your skills for cash right away.

Don’t know a hammer from a hacksaw? Then enroll in a course and learn. Skilled trades are one of the few industries in which demand outstrips talent. Whether you want to start out on your own, or begin by working for someone else, the pay is good, the work is rewarding, and job security is pretty much guaranteed.

A few trades you might want to consider include:

Carpentry
Plumbing/HVAC
Iron work
Cabinetry
Auto repair
Auto detailing

27. Lead Generation

Almost all B2B companies have a need for leads. What they don’t all have is the time to acquire them.

While there are numerous services offering up automated lead data, the quality of those leads is questionable at best. That means there’s good money to be made sourcing qualified leads for time-strapped, growth-focused companies.

AeroLeads‘ Pushkar Gaikwad has some good advice on how to do this. “Partner with local marketing agencies and provide them with B2B data, prospects and leads, based on their requirements,” he says. “You can gather such data using various free and paid online tools. Later you can start your own lead generation agency, too.”

28. Food or Coffee Truck

Running a restaurant or coffee shop is risky business, primarily because overhead is so high. Traditional brick-and-mortars are not your only option when it comes to managing a food or drink business, however. You can be super-successful for a fraction of the cost with a food or coffee truck.

Izaak Crook of AppInstitute agrees. “Food trucks are a fantastic way to showcase your culinary expertise without the overhead of opening a static restaurant — and what’s more, you can take your food on the road to different events and festivals to raise awareness of your brand,” he explains. “Create your own mobile app for your truck and help to build a loyal customer base through offering a loyalty scheme — and even offer pre-ordering so that punters don’t have to wait out in the cold whilst you prepare their meals!”

The key to any successful small business is knowing exactly who your audience is, how you plan to attract and serve them, and why they should buy from you. Start planning for your business today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Original Source: blog.hubspot.com

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