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Basics of Taxation, Income tax and working principles.

Header Image: Income Tax Fundamentals

Brief history of Taxing

Unlike what we know today, the US used to be income-tax-free. This was mainly because of the absence of the federal government in its infancy years. The US was under a British colony, so it imposed a few taxes on its citizens. Some of these taxes were the head tax, a tax imposed on each adult male, the realty tax, a tax on land and buildings, and the legendary tea tax that ignited the historic Boston Tea Party.

The American Revolutionary War, a significant event in the history of the United States, began in 1775 and lasted till 1783. This war, a military contention between George Washington-led American patriots and the British colony, marked a turning point in the nation’s history. The independence of the American people, achieved through this war, led to the imposition of income tax on the American people, a significant step in the nation’s financial system. 

The United States follows the trend of other developed nations by having high-earning citizens pay a more significant percentage of their income in taxes to the government. In a progressive tax system, higher rates are levied on those who can afford it. Income taxes at the federal level are between 10% and 37%  as of 2023.

What is a tax on income?

Income tax is a tax that governments levy on the income earned by firms and people within their sphere of influence. This tax is used to cater to public services, fund government responsibilities, and provide basic amenities for its citizens. It is a crucial source of revenue for the government, which is then used to fund various public services, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure development. Individuals’ wages, salaries, and other income are subject to a Personal Income Tax. In contrast, gains earned by small firms, self-employed, companies and partnerships are subject to a Business Income Tax.

What is insurance? Types of insurance, and why do you need one?

What is insurance? Types of insurance, and why do you need one?

Image by jcomp on Freepik 

With a good Insurance policy, the insurance company promises to pay for certain losses, damages, sickness, or deaths in exchange. Insurance is a contract, usually shown by a policy, in which the user agrees to pay a certain fee to an insurance company or the state. It’s a way to protect your finances and handle risks. It protects you from unpredictable losses, damages, or injuries, empowering you to manage risks and control your financial future.

The company responsible for providing insurance is known as an insurance company or, for short, an Insurer. The one seeking to be insured is called a policyholder, which is the person who buys the insurance policy. The policy covers the organisation, person, or product, referred to as the Insured, the entity protected by the insurance policy.

In exchange for this payment, the insurer promises to pay the insured if a loss covered by the policy happens. Even though this loss is not only a financial one, it must be measurable in money. Also, the insurance deal usually involves something in which the covered has an insurable stake, shown by ownership, possession, or a relationship already in place. 

This differentiates insurance from gambling; whatever is being insured must have a direct link with the policyholder. For example, you cannot insure your neighbour’s house or cars because, in the case of damage, you do not have anything to lose in that accident. This financial security is a crucial benefit of insurance, providing reassurance about your financial stability.

Are Online Banks Trustworthy?

Are Online Banks Trust worthy

Online banks are financial firms that provide banking services mainly or totally through the Internet. Their services range from account opening to bill payments and CD investments. 

Online banks operate 24/7 and offer lower fees, fewer time limits, higher savings and CD rates, and cashback rewards.

The main drawback of Online banks is their exclusive virtual operation: Customers will be unable to deposit or withdraw cash due to this. Some online banks offer ATM services, like Capital One 360, blending physical and virtual operations, widely recognised as online. However, these developments still do not entirely remove the doubt many still have about online banks. 

In this blog post, you will get a very definite understanding of how online banks handle security and if you can trust an online bank to keep your earnings.

FDIC’s role in bank security

In 1933, Congress inaugurated the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to keep the country’s banking system stable and the public’s trust in it. This was an urgent and highly needed move because, in the 1920s, spanning into the early 30s, a national bank failure resulted in a severe loss of many American savings. 

The FDIC has been saddled with the responsibility of Insuring financial institutions, bringing accountability, and increasing customer protection. Part of the duties is to make significant economic issues easily resolvable. Since its inception, the FDIC has proven its capacity over the years by changing the US banking security trajectory. 

Aside from federal government funding, the FDIC collects premiums from its members to cover expenses and compensate depositors at failing banks. The bank deposits the money into a Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF), with banks paying based on insured deposit balances and risk levels.

Related blog post: What are online banks? Features, Drawbacks & Reputable Banks.

A Mortgage: Its Meaning? Pre-approval, Types and Examples

“Mortgage” is a word coined from an old English word used in French law, “death pledge.” It is a type of loan that “dies” when it is either fully repaid or if the borrower defaults.

A mortgage - Title Image

What Is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan used to purchase or maintain real estate. The borrower pays the lender over time in regular payments that cover the principal and interest. Mortgages help individuals and businesses buy real estate without paying the entire purchase price upfront. A Borrower is to repay the loan and interest over a given number of years, after which they own the property free and clear. 

In order to secure a mortgage, a borrower must apply through a lender of their choice and have met the requirements of the lender, some of which are:

  • A required down payment
  • A good credit score 
  • A series of paper processes

Having completed a thorough process, the borrower, if found worthy, is then granted the loan to perform the intended purpose of applying for the mortgage.

How mortgages work

Most mortgages are paid in a specific amount over a period of time, with regular payments staying the same but with different proportions of principal vs. interest. Most mortgages are usually paid over a period of fifteen to thirty years, and in the event that the borrower refuses to make payments as agreed, the lender can foreclose on the property acquired. In a foreclosure, the lender may evict residents, sell the property, and use the sale money to pay off the mortgage debt. 

Mortgage: How mortgages work

When a buyer is applying for a mortgage, some of the required documents of interest are bank statements, tax returns, and employment documentation, A credit check is also done in order to validate the buyer’s ability to repay the loan. Following a document review by the lender, a loan amount is determined along with an associated interest rate. Buyers can apply for a mortgage before deciding on a property to buy through a process called pre-approval. This can provide you with an advantage over competing purchasers by demonstrating to sellers your seriousness and readiness. It also helps prevent delays and unpleasant shocks during the financing process.

What is a pre-approval? 

Pre-approval is a conditional commitment from a lender to lend you a certain amount of money for a home purchase based on the accredited paperwork. It usually lasts 60 to 90 days, depending on the lender and market conditions, and is not a guarantee but a strong indication of your borrowing power and eligibility.

The process of preapproval begins with an application to a lender or a mortgage broker, where you will need to provide some documents that prove your income, assets, credit, and debt. The lender will ascertain the validity of your information, check your credit score, and then give you a pre-approval letter, which will contain the loan amount, interest rate, and the conditions that surround the offer. Comparing different lenders and their preapproval results will help you make the best decision.

Why do you need preapproval? 

  • It provides an advantage by narrowing down the search for a property, which provides the buyer with a realistic budget and pricing range.
  • It may increase your chance of getting approved by sellers, who favour buyers with preapproval over those who do not. 
  • The closing process can be fast-tracked because paperwork and verification have already been completed. 

What to do with a preapproval

After you have successfully gotten pre-approval for a mortgage, you can confidently start reaching out to sellers. With your pre-approval letter as a bargaining tool, your real estate agent can begin to search for a property that meets your taste and budget. 

A pre-approval does not close the deal and is liable to change depending on factors like income, inspection, debt, or market conditions. Major financial changes, such as changing jobs, could affect your pre-approval status. Once you find the home of your dreams and have an accepted offer, submit your final loan application and documents. However, Stay in touch with your lender and update them on any changes that might affect the approval. 

Mistakes to avoid during pre-approval

Pre-approval for a mortgage can be a rewarding process. Still, it’s crucial to avoid potential mistakes like getting pre-approved for more or less than needed, only getting pre-approved by one lender, assuming pre-approval is a guarantee, changing financial situations, or disclosing relevant information. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure a successful transaction.

What is the reason for securing a mortgage?

A mortgage is very helpful because the price of acquiring a home is always beyond the realistic earning capacity of most households. This allows individuals, groups, and families to acquire a property with a relatively small initial payment of about twenty percent of the purchasing cost. If the buyer defaults, the property’s value can cover the remaining percentage provided by the lender or mortgage broker.

Types of Mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are three examples of government agencies that offer potential buyers access to mortgages through various programs that are tailored to meet the needs of particular groups of people.

Below are a few types of mortgage options:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages: Also known as traditional mortgages, a fixed-rate mortgage’s interest rate is predetermined and does not vary over the loan period.

This mortgage plan shields the borrower against rising interest rates, and the predictability of payments simplifies budgeting and financial planning. Qualifying for a fixed-rate mortgage is easier for lower-risk borrowers than for higher-risk borrowers. 

  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs): An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a house loan with regular interest rate changes based on benchmark performance. ARMs, also known as variable rate or floating mortgages, have ceilings limiting annual interest rates and payments. ARMs are suitable for individuals who plan to maintain the loan for a limited period and can tolerate future interest rate increases.
  • Interest-only mortgages: An interest-only mortgage requires instalments covering only the interest part of the mortgage’s balance for a certain period of time, as opposed to paying both the principal and interest. These payments with only interest might be needed for a fixed period of time, offered as an alternate option, or prolonged throughout the whole loan term, requiring the return of the principal balance at the loan’s completion.
  • Reverse mortgages: They are designed for homeowners who have already clocked 62 years or more and are designed to convert part of their home’s equity into cash. These mortgages can be borrowed against the value of the property and receive the money as a lump sum, fixed monthly payment, or line of credit. The entire loan balance becomes due when the borrower dies, moves away permanently, or sells the home.

How to compare Mortgages

In the past, mortgages were mostly available through banks, credit unions, and loan organisations. However, in today’s expanding market for mortgages, we now have nonbank lenders such as Better, SoFi, and Rocket Mortgage. 

If you want to gain insight into how mortgage rates work, try out an online mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments. This estimation is based on the type of mortgage, the percentage of the down payments, and the interest rate. It can also check the cost of the property you can afford. 

Can I get more than one mortgage?

It is only normal for lenders to give you an initial mortgage before you can secure another mortgage. The additional loan is usually called a home equity loan. Technically, there is no restriction on the number of sub-mortgages you can get as long as your equity, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio are intact. 

Artificial Intelligence: history, impact and future expectations.

Artificial Intelligence- Blog Title Image

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence(AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a speedily emerging branch of computer science and engineering that develops intelligent computer programs capable of doing activities that generally require human intelligence. It includes various methods and approaches for simulating human-like thinking and decision-making processes. Widespread tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have made an impression on many as the foremost AI tool.

History of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a rich history that dates back to antiquity, but significant developments occurred in the 20th century. The term “Artificial Intelligence” was adopted in the 1950s, and researchers began exploring the possibility of creating machines that could exhibit human-like intelligence. The Dartmouth Workshop in 1956 marked the birth of AI as a field of study.

Symbolic reasoning, skilled systems, and initial attempts at handling natural languages were the main topics of AI research in the 1960s and 1970s. Though development was slow, there was an “AI winter” in the 1980s when funding and interest fell due to unrealistic expectations. 

With rapid progress in machine learning and neural networks, the 1990s saw a rebirth of AI. In particular, the invention of the backpropagation method boosted neural network training dramatically.

At the beginning of the 2000s, AI applications became a reality with inventions such as speech recognition, image recognition, and self-driving cars. The growth of extensive data and enhanced processing power have accelerated the development of AI technology.

Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Society

Artificial Intelligence has transformed areas such as finance, health care, and entertainment during the last two decades. Deep learning is a stream of machine learning that has demonstrated exceptional effectiveness in a variety of operations, including visual and speech recognition.

Today, Artificial Intelligence is quickly evolving, with continuous research in fields such as learning through reinforcement, AI that is explicable, and AI ethics. AI’s impact on numerous facets of human existence is hopeful and challenging as it becomes increasingly integrated into society.

Relevant AI development

1. TensorFlow: Developed by Google

TensorFlow is a free, open-source machine learning toolkit that is frequently used for many AI tasks, including deep learning. Its adaptable design allows developers to develop and condition neural networks for tasks such as image and audio recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and others. TensorFlow’s popularity is due to its scalability and hardware compatibility, which make it appropriate for both production and research applications.

2. PyTorch

Another popular open-source deep learning framework, PyTorch, is maintained by Facebook’s AI Research Lab (FAIR). It has a sizable fan base because of its simple design, which makes it simple for researchers and developers to build sophisticated neural networks. PyTorch’s dynamic computational chart and strong community backing have made it a popular choice for AI research and quick prototyping.

3. IBM Watson

IBM’s AI suite, Watson, provides a collection of AI services, applications, and tools tailored for businesses and industries. Watson aids enterprises in areas such as chatbots, virtual assistance, sentiment analysis, and picture identification by harnessing AI, machine learning, and NLP capabilities. Its cloud-based infrastructure assures accessibility and scalability, which makes it easier for businesses to incorporate artificial intelligence into their operations.

4. Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services

This collection of AI APIs, as well as pre-built models, can be accessed on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Cognitive Services are designed to make AI incorporation into applications easier. They include vision, speech, language understanding, and capacity for decision-making. Developers can use these services to include features like sentiment analysis, speech-to-text, facial recognition, and language translation in their applications.

5. Google Cloud AI Platform

Google Cloud’s AI platform provides a wide range of AI tools and services, enabling developers and data scientists to develop, adapt, and deploy machine learning models at scale. The platform offers robust APIs, AutoML capabilities, and infrastructure support, making it suitable for various AI projects, including computer vision, natural language processing, and recommendation systems.

6. OpenAI GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer)

GPT is a revolutionary language model developed by OpenAI. It employs a transformer-based architecture that has demonstrated outstanding performance in natural language understanding and generation tasks. GPT models have been used for diverse applications, such as chatbots, language translation, text generation, and question-answering systems, significantly impacting the field of NLP.

Is AI taking the place of humans?

As AI continues to transform businesses, there is a widespread belief that the workforce landscape will undergo significant changes. Companies are increasingly adopting intelligent machines, leading to the displacement of human employees in various sectors such as manufacturing, service delivery, recruitment, and finance. This shift has resulted in a potential scenario where human workers might be pushed towards lower-paid positions or even face unemployment. As a result, there is speculation that the workforce of 2040 could be radically different from what we recognize today. 

Artificial Intelligence vs Human Intelligence

AI is progressing rapidly, surpassing human capabilities in various tasks. As a result, we are becoming increasingly willing to rely on technology for our intelligence. This growing trend suggests that almost any task could be automated in the near future, putting job security at risk as machines take on more responsibilities. However, contrary to generally held beliefs, we see the influence of AI in the workplace differently. The presumption that AI will replace human labour is based on the assumption that AI and humans have identical attributes and skills, which is untrue. While AI-based computers excel at speed, precision, and logical thinking, they lack instinct, emotions, and understanding of culture, which are attributes that people possess and contribute to our success.

Artificial Intelligence vs Human Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is acknowledged for having the capacity to learn and make judgments; it differs from human intelligence. It mimics human movements, emotions, and voice, and it is helpful in organizational settings by finding patterns to maximize job-related trends. Unlike humans, AI is not weary and can continue functioning with continuous data intake. Under closed management systems that are not subject to outside influences, AI excels at lower-level, repetitive jobs. 

Amazon, for example, used AI algorithms to oversee assembly lines, even dismissing real workers. AI outperforms human workers in repetitive work due to its precision and efficiency in sticking to tight protocols, stressing its ability to increase production.

Human talents go beyond AI’s capabilities because people can imagine, foresee, feel, and make decisions in dynamic settings. This allows them to tackle short-term and long-term issues without relying on constant external data, as artificial intelligence does.

This distinctive form of intelligence is authentic intelligence and is vital in open management systems. Teams and organizations engage with the external environment in such contexts, necessitating the ability to react to abrupt changes and skewed information sharing while maintaining creativity to establish a vision and future strategy. For efficient management, the constant change of open systems demands authentic intelligence.

Augmented Intelligence (AI3)

While AI1 (Artificial Intelligence) and AI2 (Authentic Intelligence) appear diametrically opposed, they are complementary. Each sort of intelligence provides particular talents to meet performance needs in businesses. Individual talent is important, but teamwork produces the best results. As a result, a collaboration of talents from AI1 and AI2 will form the future of smart work. This combination of skills results in Augmented Intelligence (AI3), which makes it possible for firms to be more efficient, accurate, innovative, and proactive in how they operate.

Augmented Intelligence

The Future of AI

AI’s future presents enormous promise for beneficial improvements, such as enhanced access to knowledge, educational opportunities, healthcare, and transportation. It will result in the emergence of technically proficient individuals dedicated to discovering answers. However, ethical concerns about AI’s growing influence, which include issues such as bias, discrimination, privacy, and data protection, are not something that we should overlook. Accountability for erroneous or biased outputs and their consequences for human actions is also a concern.

In the following years, more advanced generative AI models, such as DALLE2 and better versions of GPT, will be available. AI will become more prominent in numerous businesses, helping multiple departments and improving consumer interactions. 

Unveiling the Shocking Secrets to Financial Success

Principles of financial success

Introduction to Financial Success

Many people strive for financial success, yet it often remains elusive to a significant portion of the population. Beyond the conventional advice of budgeting, saving, and investing, there are lesser-known but influential secrets that can significantly impact one’s financial journey. 

This blog post will unveil some shocking secrets to financial success, exploring unconventional strategies and mindsets that can lead to financial abundance.

20 Shocking Secrets of Financial Success

1. Embrace Risk and Invest Wisely:

While conventional wisdom suggests avoiding risks, financial success often requires calculated risks. 

Shocking secret: Investing in assets with higher growth potential, such as stocks or real estate, can yield substantial returns over time.

2. Cultivate Multiple Streams of Income:

Financially successful individuals don’t rely solely on one income source. They proactively seek opportunities to create multiple streams of revenue. 

Shocking secret: Side hustles, freelancing, or passive income ventures can significantly boost your overall earnings.

3. Delayed Gratification:

In a world of instant gratification, delaying consumption and prioritising saving and investing can be a game-changer.

Shocking secret: By practising delayed gratification, you can leverage the power of compounding to grow your wealth exponentially.

4. Seek Knowledge and Continuous Learning:

Financially successful individuals invest in themselves through education and self-improvement. 

Shocking secret: Acquiring knowledge about personal finance, investing, and business can lead to more informed decisions and lucrative opportunities.

5. Leverage the Power of Networking:

Building meaningful connections and networking with like-minded individuals can open doors to valuable partnerships and opportunities. 

Shocking secret: Your network can be your net worth if you cultivate genuine relationships within your industry or community.

6. Overcome the Fear of Failure:

Fear of failure often holds people back from pursuing financial success. 

Shocking secret: Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and use it to fuel your determination to reach your financial goals.

7. Protect Your Assets:

Financial success involves not just growing your wealth but also safeguarding it.

Shocking secret: Insurance and asset protection strategies can shield your hard-earned money from unexpected setbacks.

8. Focus on Value Creation:

Rather than solely seeking profit, focus on creating value for others through your skills, products, or services. 

Shocking secret: The more value you provide, the more financial rewards you will likely receive.

9. Avoid Keeping Up with Others:

Comparing yourself to others and trying to match their lifestyle can lead to financial strain. 

Shocking secret:

  • Live within your means.
  • Avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Focus on your financial goals without comparing yourself to others.

10. Mindset Matters:

A positive and abundant mindset can attract financial opportunities and abundance. 

Shocking secret: Cultivate gratitude, visualise your financial success, and believe in your ability to achieve your goals.

11. Create a Solid Financial Plan:

Develop a comprehensive financial plan outlining your short-term and long-term goals and specific strategies. Review your plan frequently, and make changes as needed.

12. Be Mindful of Debt:

While certain types of debt, like a mortgage or student loans, can be considered investments in your future, high-interest consumer debt can harm your financial well-being. Minimise and manage your debts responsibly.

13. Save for Emergencies:

Life is full of unexpected challenges. Keeping a certain percentage of your income for some months will make a difference, especially during rainy days.

Finanacial success keys- Emergency funds

14. Automate Your Savings and Investments:

Take advantage of automation to ensure that a portion of your income goes directly into savings and investment accounts. This helps you stay consistent with your financial goals.

15. Monitor Your Expenses:

Track and review your expenses regularly to identify areas for reduction or more conscious spending decisions. Little savings over time can add up to big savings. 

16. Consider Tax-Efficient Strategies:

Consult with a financial advisor to explore tax-efficient investment tips to help you minimise your tax liabilities.

17. Be Patient and Disciplined:

Financial success is a journey that requires patience and discipline. Avoid impulsive decisions and stay committed to your long-term goals.

18. Know Your Risk Tolerance:

Understanding your risk tolerance is essential in making investment decisions. Please don’t invest in assets that keep you up at night worrying about their volatility.

19. Give Back to the community:

Practising philanthropy and giving back to the community can be personally fulfilling and create positive karma, potentially leading to unexpected financial opportunities.

20. Review and Adjust Your Goals Regularly:

As you progress on your financial journey, periodically review your goals and reassess whether they need adjustments. Your financial strategy should vary as life does.

Conclusion

Financial success is not solely determined by luck or circumstance but is often a result of unconventional strategies, mindset shifts, and continuous learning. Embrace calculated risks, invest wisely, and diversify your income sources. Practice delayed gratification, seek knowledge, and leverage the power of networking. Overcome the fear of failure, protect your assets, and focus on creating value for others.

Adopting these shocking secrets to financial success and additional insights to enrich your financial knowledge can pave the way to a more prosperous and fulfilling financial future. Remember, achieving financial success is a journey, and these lesser-known secrets can be the catalysts that propel you toward your ultimate financial goals. Embrace the journey, stay persistent, and celebrate each milestone on the path to financial abundance. 

10 Essential Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Freelancers

10 Essential Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Freelancers

Photo Credit – DC Studios by Freepik

Introduction

Outsourcing freelancers has become a common aspect of working in the ecosystem of business practices, an effective strategy to save costs and increase profit. However, ensuring quality and efficiency when working with freelancers requires careful consideration and planning. 

In this blog post, we will discuss ten crucial factors to consider when outsourcing freelancers. These factors will help you maximise the value they bring to your projects while maintaining high standards.

Benefits of Outsourcing Freelancers

Outsourcing Freelancers can be beneficial to your business for reasons such as: 

1. Access to Specialised Skills

Outsourcing freelancers allows businesses to tap into an enormous pool of specialised skills and expertise that may not be readily available in-house. Whether it’s web development, graphic design, content writing, or digital marketing, businesses can find skilled freelancers who excel in their respective fields.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Outsourcing freelancers can be more cost-effective than hiring full-time employees. Businesses can save on expenses related to benefits, office space, equipment, and other overhead costs. Freelancers often work on a project basis or at hourly rates, enabling businesses to scale their workforce according to their needs. 

3. Flexibility and Scalability

Outsourcing freelancers provides businesses with greater flexibility and scalability. Businesses can quickly onboard freelancers during peak periods or when handling specific projects to meet the demand. Conversely, when the workload decreases, they can reduce freelancer engagements without the burden of long-term commitments.

Consider Reading – 9 to 5 or freelancing: How do you balance the two? 

10 Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Freelancers

1. Define Clear Project Requirements

After outsourcing freelancers, define clear and detailed project requirements. This will save you a lot of time and money.

  • A comprehensive brief ensures that both parties have mutual insight into the project scope, objectives, and deliverables, minimising the risk of misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

It is good that you also include your Success metrics, like

  • Timely project delivery
  • Quality of work
  • Client satisfaction and long-term business impact 

Having your success metrics written down will help you and the Freelancer focus on holistic outcomes rather than just short-term gains. 

Also, identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) will vary from business to business and even from project to project at enterprise-level companies. 

2. Assess the Freelancer’s Expertise and Experience

Thoroughly evaluate the freelancers’ expertise and experience related to your project. 

  • Check their portfolios, reviews, and past work to gauge their abilities.

Hiring freelancers with relevant experience increases the likelihood of delivering high-quality results. You can also take advantage of recruitment venues like  Online job boards, Fiverr or UpworkNewspapers and Magazines.

3. Review Work Samples and References

Ask for work samples and references from freelancers, especially those related to their previous projects and client satisfaction levels. 

These samples and references provide valuable information to assess the freelancer’s reliability and the consistency of their work quality.

For large or long-term projects, consider assigning a small test project to evaluate the freelancer’s performance and compatibility with your team’s workflow. 

This minimises the risks associated with committing to a freelancer without prior experience.

4. Create a clear Service Agreement

A service agreement is a written agreement or contract between a service provider and a client. This document provides protection for both the provider and the client. Verbal agreements can be unrealistic and unreliable. 

It is a legally binding, written document/contract that regulates services between a service provider and a client and provides necessary protections. This kind of agreement usually outlines the nature of the work to be done and the price of the work being done and tends to give assurances for both parties to avoid future problems. It also usually includes the contact information of both parties.

Here’s a link to a sample template. It includes what’s needed to complete a project and the obligations of each party in the contract.

5. Set Realistic Deadlines

It is vital to agree on realistic deadlines when working with freelancers, considering the project’s complexity and scope. 

Let’s take the example of a Photography Company that outsources Photography editors. In this scenario, if there is a large batch of photos to be edited, discuss with the freelancer the amount of time they need to complete the editing process effectively. So they don’t end up with an overwhelming number of unedited photos, leading to dissatisfied clients or customers. 

Hence, it’s crucial for both parties to have a thorough understanding of the expected delivery timeframe and to communicate openly about any potential challenges that may arise during the project. By doing so, you can maintain the quality of the work while meeting your business’s requirements effectively. You might want to check out this blog post, “How to Set Realistic Expectations When Outsourcing Creative Projects.”

6. Communication and Availability

Open and effective communication is vital when working with freelancers. Establish preferred communication channels and ensure the freelancer is available for updates and clarifications throughout the project.

Embracing remote work technologies and project management tools will facilitate seamless communication and coordination, bridge geographical gaps, and maximise productivity.

7. NDA and Intellectual Property Rights

When outsourcing critical or proprietary projects, consider having freelancers sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect sensitive information. 

Additionally, clarify intellectual property rights to ensure you retain ownership of the work produced. When sharing sensitive information with freelancers, implement robust data security measures, such as encrypted communication channels and access controls. Regularly review and update these protocols to mitigate potential risks. 

intellectual property - 10 Essential Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Freelancers

8. Budget Considerations

Cost-effectiveness is a significant advantage of outsourcing; avoid choosing freelancers solely based on the lowest bid. Quality often correlates with pricing, so strike a balance between budget constraints and the freelancer’s capabilities.

9. Cultivating a Collaborative Environment

When outsourcing freelancers, it’s vital to foster a collaborative environment. Consider freelancers as an extension of your team, ensuring they feel valued and integrated into the project. 

Engaging them in discussions and team meetings and providing the necessary resources enhances their sense of ownership and commitment to your project’s success.

10. Feedback and Performance Evaluation

Provide constructive feedback throughout the project to help freelancers improve their work. Additionally, a performance evaluation system should be established to identify areas for improvement and celebrate successful outcomes.

If a freelancer’s performance doesn’t meet expectations, analyse the root causes and implement corrective measures. Continuous improvement is crucial to refining your outsourcing strategy. 

Consider reading- Boosting Your Freelancer Productivity: Essential Tips and Tools for Success. 

Bonus Tip

Fostering an environment of mutual respect, trust, and continuous improvement is important to creating a network of dependable freelancers for your business needs.

Conclusion

Outsourcing freelancers can be a game-changer for businesses, offering access to specialised skills and resources. To ensure quality and efficiency, defining clear project requirements, assessing freelancers’ expertise, setting realistic deadlines, maintaining open communication, and implementing feedback mechanisms are essential. Considering these ten factors, you can maximise the value freelancers bring to your projects while maintaining high-quality standards and achieving success in your ventures. 

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR SEO: Ways to rule Google’s rankings in 2024.  

Introduction

Search engine optimization (SEO) is still an important part of harnessing internet productivity for your business or personal brand because it increases the number of visitors to websites, blogs, and social media pages. Google’s ranking criteria have been speculated about a lot, and while some of them are true, most of the information out there is unverified. 

According to Statista, in the first month of 2024 alone, there were about 5.35 billion internet users. The data amounts to more than 66 percent of the world’s population. In addition to this report, 5.04 billion of these numbers are active social media users. This proves that ranking on Google’s web search is very important for visibility because it is the easiest way to be discovered by someone who has no prior information about the business or brand. 

In this blog post, we will discuss various simple techniques that anyone can apply to increase the visibility of their website and stay at the top of Google’s ranking. 

TOP 7 Points to optimize your Google ranking 

Google search - Google’s ranking algorithm prioritizes users. 

Photo Credit – rawpixels ‘freepik’

1. Google’s ranking algorithm prioritizes users. 

Creating content that is very relevant, simple and easy to understand is still very important for Google’s ranking because Google’s algorithm does not just consider all the latest AI tools that you are planning to use if they are not going to take into account that Google prioritizes its users. 

  • A trending subject matters to Google’s ranking algorithm. 

If you are just starting your website, then it will be essential for you to find a topic that is trending and attracting a lot of public attention in your niche and make posts about it. An excellent way to do this is to find very recognised websites that are in your niche and make content similar to their recent posts. This will ensure that when the topic is searched for, your posts will come at the top of the ranking, and if you are able to create content that is engaging, then the reader will have a great first impression of your post. 

  • Increased engagement matters for Google’s ranking

Readability is an essential factor for Google’s ranking algorithm. Does the website contain simple and easy-to-understand grammar? Does the blog use words related to the topic of that particular blog post? Keywords are very important, and distributing the keyword throughout the text and in headings, as well as the SEO title, still holds a very important place in Google’s ranking algorithm. 

  • Images and alt text on images matter. 

Images are easier to comprehend than texts because they convey more details than most texts do. A lot of pictures in a text naturally sell the idea that the post is very engaging and would be easily understood by the reader. Adding alt texts to the images makes it possible for the algorithm to recognize what the image speaks of, and in extension, someone searching for an image can find the website or blog by clicking on the picture when it comes out in a Google search. 

2. Improve the time it takes to load the website.

To begin with, nothing turns users off other than a website that refuses to load very quickly. A website with a slow load time will lose traffic over some time. After which, Google’s ranking algorithm will not suggest the page when readers search for a related topic on the internet. A simple step to fixing that is; 

  • Use high-standard quality, low-size images. 
  • Minify Javascript and CSS files
  • Enanble browser caching
  • Don’t stuff the page with Ads.

3. Use relevant backlinks to increase Google’s ranking

Adding links from reputable websites is a plus for Google’s ranking algorithm. This increases the website’s visibility, reinforcing its authority and trustworthiness before Google’s algorithm. It is even greater authority if you can get prominent websites to link to your website. This will definitely increase the visibility and make users perceive the website as a strong contributor in that niche.

4. Content-Length matters for Google’’s ranking

Reports from research show that the average Google result on the first page of Google has about 1400 words. This proves that creating content that covers the breadth of the topic written on is more likely to rank higher and will be more visible than short-form content. This does not mean that you create lengthy, irrelevant posts but rather that you create a post that covers the length and breadth of the topic you have written about. 

A very strategic technique is to write in parts and link the parts to each other in the post. This way, the reader can stay on the website longer by reading other blog posts related to the subject of interest that they clicked on. 

5. Keyword Prominence in the post 

A trick to ranking with a keyword is to ensure that the keyword features in the first paragraph of the post. This is important to ensure that the website’s post ranks on the initial page of Google Suggestions. Most people do not go past the first page of the suggestion when they search for a keyword. 

Google's ranking- the importance of keyword

Photo Credit – Fabrikasimf on freepik

6. Encourage your visitors to review or share the blog post 

According to Search Engine Land, 88% of customers trust online users’ recommendations just the way they would trust a personal recommendation. Getting your readers to comment and share the post on their social media pages is a great way to make others see the blog post and click on it because they trust the judgment of their friends or relatives. 

7. Take advantage of SEO tools to improve your ranking on Google.

The tool alone is not magic for Google’s ranking algorithm; however, access to data is a core aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) and a perfect SEO tool or AI tool that has access to a lot of data is definitely a great advantage for a key ranking on google. Good SEO tools come with a price tag or subscription package, and some of them offer freemium packages- they have a free version and a more intricate version that comes at a cost. A few examples of SEO tools that can cause a groundbreaking revolution in the trajectory of your website visibility are;

SEO tools help make the job faster and easier. Instead of trying to analyse keywords, content length, plagiarism tests, and many other essential checks all by yourself, the tool compares all these data together. It creates a structure that improves the visibility of the website or blog post. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, mastering SEO techniques is essential for maximising visibility in Google rankings amid a vast online landscape. As Statista highlights, with over 5.35 billion internet users in 2024, ranking on Google is pivotal for brand discovery. Key strategies include prioritising user-centric content, leveraging trending topics, enhancing engagement, optimising images and load times, and fostering backlinks from reputable sources. Moreover, emphasising content length, keyword prominence, and encouraging user interaction further solidifies ranking potential. By utilising SEO tools like Semrush and Yoast SEO, one can efficiently navigate the complexities of optimisation, ultimately securing a prominent position in Google’s rankings.

NOTABLE CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Revolutionary Impact, Pros and Cons. 

REVOLUTIONARY IMPACT OF NOTABLE CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Introduction 

According to CoinMarketCap, there are at least 2.4 million crypto-currencies and 735 exchanges, and the cryptocurrency market has an estimated market valuation of $2.4 trillion. This data changes almost constantly, but one thing is constant: the valuation of most notable cryptocurrencies has only grown higher and higher since its inception, and it does not plan to take a downward turn. 

Notable cryptocurrencies range from Bitcoin to Litecoin, Tether, SOL, and Ethereum; amidst an enormous number of cryptocurrencies available, one could find it challenging to decide whether to leap into the crypto world. A list of notable cryptocurrencies might be a great place to start because of the security they offer and their popularity. However, a fundamental knowledge of the working principle behind these notable cryptocurrencies will be able to give you an idea of what to expect and also look out for when divining into the world of the unknown in cryptocurrency. Let us take a look at a few of them. 

Notable Cryptocurrencies, working system and revolutionary Impact

  1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin (BTC) is a revolutionary cryptocurrency with a market value of over $1.3 trillion. Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown creator, introduced it in 2009, and since then, Bitcoin has grown in fame, use and worldwide acceptance.

In its inception, Bitcoin had no recorded cost price because no one was willing to place a premium on it. However, the first-ever sale of Bitcoin was on October 12, 2009, when a Finnish developer, Martti Malmi, who worked on the project, sold 5050 BTC for $5.02, making a single unit worth $0.0009. 

In May 2016, a single Bitcoin sold for around $500. As of the first quarter of 2024, one bitcoin is worth between $65,000 and $70,000, depending on the volume of the trade in the day. 

Introduction to Cryptocurrency, FIAT money, and stablecoins

Meaning of the word “currency” 

As you are introduced to the world of cryptocurrencies (FIAT, stablecoins, etc.), it is important to understand the fundamentals of money and how currency works around the world. 

Start your Crypto Journey today leanr about FIAT money and Stablecoins

Money and currency are not the same thing, at least in theory.  Money is not always something you can touch, but currency (FIAT money) is a real thing that can be used to buy things. People think of money as numbers, while coins and bills are called currency. A physical object is presented at the point of transaction. This difference will interest only some people, so it will not be the focus of this blog post. However, for the sake of this blog post, we will consider money and currency to be the same term.

Money is a recognised medium of exchange made with the intention of creating a platform for people to buy or sell their products and services easily. In former centuries, the system used to exchange values was the barter system. A crop farmer may need a tuber of yam; this means he will take a portion of his crop products in exchange for yam from someone who needs the crop products and is willing to give out a tuber of yam. 

The batter system failed to achieve an effective means of exchange because it couldn’t effectively unify the desires of the exchangers. Most exchangers will not find the person who desires their product or service and is willing to provide their exact desire for exchange. This inconsistency led to the invention of currencies, which have evolved over several decades until now. 

What is FIAT money?

What is FIAT money

Photo Credit – 8photo by Freepik

The term ‘FIAT Money’ sounds very technical; however, there is no need to panic; it just refers to a form of currency the government issues. Every day we buy, sell, or do both with FIAT money, like the USD, Pounds, Euros, and many others. The drawback of FIAT currency is that with it, the central bank has so much power and control over the economy; this is due to the fact that they can control the extent to which FIAT money can be produced. This is what makes FIAT currency different from cryptocurrency.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency, unlike the FIAT money that the central bank issues, is a digital currency. These currencies, as opposed to the common currency (FIAT Money), are not tangible, and the government does not have direct control over them. It’s operation is Internet-based and is not reliant on the authority of the central bank or government agency to regulate it. 

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