How to Stop Daydreaming and Start a Business, Today

Starting your own business in the UK has never been easier. Thanks to the digital world that we live in, you don’t even need to have a warehouse in which to store your products if you’re ready to start making sales. There are countless options to help you get your venture off the ground, including affiliates, drop shipping and more.

However, just because starting a business is easier than it once was, doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges to consider. For instance, one of the biggest things that people struggle with when it comes to launching their own company is merely taking the plunge and getting started. If you’ve had an amazing idea in mind for months now, but you still haven’t taken that next step, here’s how you can start your business today.

Speak to HMRC and Get Compliant

HMRC needs to know that you’re going to be self-employed. With that in mind, it’s worth logging onto their website and finding out everything you can about becoming a sole trader or working as a limited company. It’s also a good idea to look at the free online training available for HMRC, which will give you the basics on what you need to know about tax returns, record-keeping and more.

While you’re at it, make sure that you’re compliant with everything that the government expects from you when you become a business. This means that you may need to check whether you need any specific trading licenses or insurance before you begin working with customers.

Think about Your Finances

Cash flow is one of the most important parts of running a business. However, managing your money starts long before you launch your company. First of all, you’ll need to open a business bank account. This is where all of the cash moving in and out of your organisation will go. It’s also where you’ll be collecting statements from for your accountant.

With your bank account sorted out, you’ll also be able to start seeking out a loan. For some people, the best option will be to go with a specialist business loan. However, it might be difficult to get this kind of loan if your company isn’t pre-established. You can speak to your bank about the opportunities available and go from there. Remember to compare your loan options to get the lowest price.

Get Insured

We mentioned insurance in the compliance section above because it’s an essential part of running a safe business. If you want to stop yourself from going bankrupt the moment a client decides that they have a problem with you, then you need insurance straight away. There are plenty of different options out there, so make sure that you read up on the basics of policies and find out what kind of coverage you need.

For instance, if you run a company out of your home, but you don’t see clients at your property, then you don’t need to insure yourself against customers hurting themselves when they meet with you. Speak with an insurance or business professional if you’re not sure what you need.

Refine Your Business Plan

With a little luck, if you’ve been daydreaming about your business up to now, then you’ve probably already got the basics of a business plan in place. All you need to do now is start refining it. That means figuring out exactly how much money you’re going to dedicate to everything from employees, to marketing and more.

You can also put goals in place that will help to guide and motivate you when the going gets tough. If you know how much you plan to charge for your products and services, you can predict where you might like to be 6, 12, and 24 months from now.

Get Your Support Ready

Finally, remember that only you can take the plunge and start your own business, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. There’s plenty of support out there to help you too. You don’t have to run out and employ people straight away, but you can certainly work with freelancers if you need to access some special skills that you don’t have yourself. Or you can look into just working with people occasionally when you need them most. For instance, you might have to find an accountant once a year.

As well as professional support, don’t forget to consider emotional and personal support too. Running a business is a lot harder than it seems, and you’re going to need people around you to help you thrive.

childcare.co.uk, granting parents a little window of freedom for ten years

We have three kids, ranging in age from 7 to 12 and it’s logistically been a nightmare over the years. A one point we did the maths and realised that it would take a gross salary of around £50,000 to deal with all the childcare costs every year (holidays, after school clubs and actual childminding for our littlest). Obviously that was a bit bonkers so my wife made the only sensible decision and restrained as a childminder herself. During her one OFSTED inspection she gained an outstanding rating, and was herself registered on the childcare.co.uk website.

because life is just as ironic as Alanis Morrisette would have you believe, we’ve actually been using childcare.co.uk from the other side recently. Due to a perfect storm of our regular babysitters going to Denmark and Australia for a year each, we’ve been a bit stuck locally. Although we love our children dearly, to be honest we can’t wait for the odd night out without the little darlings to come round as it can all get a bit tiring at times. I’m half convinced that they have worked out a complex routine for pestering us- some sort of rota or shared Google Calendar- because as soon as one has presented themselves to us at 10pm saying they’re too hot, another one is complaining of the cold, and the final one makes an appearance ten minutes later with a tummy ache.

As I’ve said, childcare.co.uk is great for finding well qualified childminders but it is also great for finding babysitters too. The filters are great, meaning you can find sitters who have been DBS checked, or sitters with SEN experience, paediatric first aid qualifications and pretty much anything else you could possibly either want or think of.

Where childcare.co.uk excels is the extra mile it goes in terms of safety. A babysitter I was looking at had a nice tick next to DBS check but also a red triangle that said whilst the sitter had stated she had been DBS checked, she hadn’t as yet uploaded her form, so be sure to ask her. It’s little things like this that make it easier to trust your kids to a stranger.

It took a matter of minutes to compile a list of half a dozen babysitters within a mile of our house who all seemed to fit the particular criteria that we were looking for. If only this sort of service had been available to my parents when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had to put up with Penny from next door babysitting and could have watched my taped off BBC2 collection of Hammer Horror movies without having to hover my finger permanently over the change channel button.

More useful still is a category I hope we never have to use and that’s the emergency babysitter one. There have been a couple of occasions where we’ve had trips to A&E with one child (nothing too serious!) and in an ideal world we’d both liked to have gone but since our parents aren’t that local, it hasn’t been feasible. This is where an emergency babysitter would have been a godsend.

It’s things like that, coupled with the review system (and a really high Trustpilot score) that make childcare.co.uk a great resource for parents!

What To Do If You’re Injured On Holiday

Being on holiday is supposed to be a time when you’re relaxed and enjoying your time off. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and it’s possible you could become the next victim of a personal injury incident.

Know what steps you should take if you’re injured on holiday so that you don’t have any regrets later on. Most importantly, take care of yourself and your wellbeing so that you can try to recover as quickly as possible. The better you handle the situation up front, the easier it’s going to be to get the proper help and assistance after the fact. If nothing else, remain calm and surround yourself with people who love and care about you during this difficult time.

Report the Incident

If you’re injured on holiday, your first step should be to report the incident to either the hotel or location where it occurred and to authorities. It doesn’t matter where it happened; you need to notify someone who’s in charge right away of your incident. Many companies will also have their own protocol for handling these situations, so you may need to stick around and get all the details sorted out.

Collect Evidence

You should also take time to document the scene and collect any necessary information for proving your side of the story. For example, take pictures of the scene and of your injuries, get contact details from eyewitnesses and write down specifics of what occurred. Otherwise, you may forget about these critical details later on once your memory begins to fade. You’ll want to collect this evidence so you can clearly relay all the facts to others in the future.

Take Care of Your Injuries

In addition, if you’re injured on holiday, then you should take the time to visit a doctor. Get a medical professional’s opinion on your physical and mental condition, so you have this information written down. Seek medical care even for minor injuries because you never know how much it’s going to cost you to get treated or if your condition may worsen over time. It’s a good idea to rest and make plans to return home if you’re hurt and need time to sleep and recover.

Contact A Lawyer

If you’re injured on holiday, then be sure you also contact a lawyer as quickly as possible. For example, the specialists at The Compensation Experts will be able to evaluate your situation and tell you if they think you have a personal injury case that should be pursued. You certainly don’t want the guilty party to walk away from the event without being held accountable for their reckless behaviour. This is a timely manner so make sure you seek advice and next steps right away and don’t put it off for the future.

Conclusion

You should now feel more prepared about what to do if you’re ever injured on holiday. While it isn’t the most pleasant experience to have to go through, there are steps you can follow to help ease the pain and your frustration. Use this advice as guidance so you can make sure your circumstances are properly managed.

How to make moving house easy for kids

Moving house can be just as stressful children as it is for the adults. Children have such vivid memories of growing up in a particular home that switching things up can be quite an emotional experience for them. Luckily, the experience of moving your life can be transformed into something positive with just a few sentimental and pragmatic gestures.

Get them to help out

While this might seem an obvious step in the sense that you might very need them to help out, encouraging them to join in makes the whole process less daunting. Showing them how to pack up toys and clothes helps to distract them from the bigger picture of moving into an unfamiliar house. It also teaches them that this is more of a practical venture than one of moving away from old memories. It’s also said that letting them do fun things such as wrapping items in bubble wrap will make the whole process less stressful.

Keep meaningful objects

Getting children to make a box or travel bag full of important objects keeps an aspect of familiarity with them. Helping them pack some objects that remind them of the current house and toys they use every day will help avoid the feeling that everything they know is now in a completely different house. Some people recommend turning it into a treasure box to add an element of fun to it.

Encourage them to imagine their new room

This step also encourages you to do some creative planning, too. There are going to be some more significant, more financial, legal steps to moving that will leave you feeling preoccupied. If you’re still hunting for solicitors in Bristol, for instance, then taking a few moments out of each day to plan the kids’ new bedrooms will give both you and them something to look forward to. It also reminds you to start thinking about the design of the rest of the home. Planning the layout of each room helps with the organisation of what to pack first and which objects belong in which removal truck. The promise of painting a bedroom a favourite colour or decorating with a theme will get kids excited about their new home.

Make saying goodbye positive

Moving out of a home with plenty of memories can be hard for anyone at any age. Teaching your kids to say goodbye in a way that’s fun not only makes the move easier on them but also easy on you. Talking to your kids about all the things you can do in your new house will get them looking forward to your big move, and what lies ahead. In the meantime, the promise of a takeaway might provide some short-term excitement in your new house.

Whether you use the reward of pizza in the new house or a brand new bedroom to get your kids enjoying the moving process, it’s vital that they become a part of it. Teaching them the fun in packing and bundling up old possessions not only teaches them to see the lighter side of things but also reminds you to relax during the process. A new life and a new home is an incredibly exciting process, so why not enjoy it as much as you can?

Five Ways to Update Your Look This Winter


For many, winter fashion is a big coat and whatever sweater is warmest in your closet. Parents especially don’t often get a chance to go out and invest time to finding the perfect new winter closet that helps them stay stylish, not to mention the fact that when you need to tackle both raising kids and work there is very little inclination to wear anything but your warmest, comfiest outfit.

It is time to change that.


You can easily be comfortable and enjoy a versatile closet throughout winter that will help you look timeless and effortlessly cool. All you need to do is follow these tips to make the magic happen:

Update the Fabric

Polyester, acrylic, and other cheap fabrics need to go. They can look cheap, they don’t stay in shape well after a few washes, and in the case with polyester or other plastic based fibres they ruin the environment. Tiny microfibres of plastic get washed down the drain and filtered right back into our water systems. We need to start choosing natural and innovative materials for both a better wardrobe and better environment.

The Power of Stylish Layers

The only viable way to stay warm and stylish in winter is to use the power of layers. An undershirt, under a dress shirt under a sweater under a blazer under a coat, will keep you warm. It will also add dimension and interest to your outfit, not to mention give you the ability to masterfully adjust your internal temperature throughout the day.

Get the Ultimate Winter Coat

Get the ultimate winter coat, and you will look incredible and finally stay warm for once. This means more than just thick materials. You need to choose a coat based on fabric type and construction. A wool coat can keep you warm, but if it is unstructured, it can feel just as cold as if you were wearing a springtime windbreaker. To ensure this quality of construction, you should turn towards online luxury retailers. There are many luxury companies out there that are well-priced, while still offering fabrics like Italian wool and UK-based production, such as the website www.gloverall.com.

Upgrade Your Shoes

If your shoes do not have a large enough wedge they need to be well made and waterproof. Otherwise your feet will get wet, which nobody wants.

Get Matching Stylish Winter Gear

Your hands, head, and neck need to be covered. If they aren’t you will feel the cold more acutely no matter how many layers you are wearing. Invest in a good scarf, hat, and gloves to stay stylish and keep that pesky cold away. If you want to minimise the bulk of your winter wardrobe, then try to choose thin, compact materials like cashmere. A cashmere scarf can be very thin and still provide plenty of warmth, for example.

The quality of the items you wear is critical. Better quality fabrics and designs can help you stay warm and look undeniably stylish with very little effort, so start investing in your wardrobe today.

Students How to Live Within Budget

When you are studying hard at college, there is typically only one thing that dampens the experience: money, or more precisely, the lack of it. When you go to college it may be the first time that you have had to be 100% responsible for your own finances, and so learning to budget it’s a vital life skill that you need to learn.

Course Costs

As well as tuition fees, there are often extra costs involved with studying that you may not have considered. Books, printing and field trips need to be paid for and are essential for you to be able to progress through the course; however, you do have alternative options.

You should be provided with a reading list, and so you can identify which books are critical, and which are available online or from the library. Some of the books will be on the reading list for several terms if not years, and older students may have copies that they want to sell. Rather than using the college facilities for printing, it can be more economical to buy an inexpensive printer with roommates and source cheap inkjet cartridges from Cartridge Shop and share the cost.

Food Costs

It is perfectly possible to eat nutritious and healthy food that does not cost a huge amount of money, despite popular belief. You need to eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to keep your mind and body performing at its peak. Junk foods are not only lacking in the vital nutrients that you need to thrive but are costly too.

  • Plan your meals

Planning your meals means that you can write a shopping list that you can strictly stick to and remain in budget. Impulse buys are typically high-value unhealthy choices.

  • Bulk cook

Whether you batch cook and freeze the extra portions, or share the costs with roommates, bulk cooking is more economical than cooking an individual portion as the cost per meal is less. If you have access to a freezer, use it! Not only will you save money, but you’ll always have access to a healthy meal when the cupboards are empty. Bolognese, stew, chilli and soups are great for bulk cooking and it means that you waste very little.

Social Costs

Other than education, college is a great opportunity to get out in the world and meet new people; however, the cost of gigs, drinking in bars, and going to parties can soon add up. You need to set yourself a budget for entertainment and leisure activities and stick to it.

Your friends may be having lunch in the cafeteria, but you can join them for a coffee. Saving money doesn’t have to be unsocial, it’s just about smarter spending. Look for alternative cheaper ways to catch up – meet up at a friend’s house, look for coupons, promotions and student discounts.

Your college years should be your best, but you don’t want the memory to be dampened by graduating with a mountain of avoidable debt. You are there to study and learn; to do so successfully you need to have the correct course materials, eat healthily and have downtime too, but not at the expense of excessive debt.

How To Make Your Household Broadband Family Proof

It’s a fact of modern life that your children probably already spend a large amount of time online. With the internet, every member of the household now has a device to browse the online, stream Netflix or play games. It’s also a fact of modern life that the headlines are full of reminders of the dangers of the internet – from cyberbullying and identity theft, to internet addiction and predators.

This can be worrying for parents, as they want to endeavour to keep their children safe online but can feel overwhelmed by the amount of web trends and apps that they are using. And for every fun game, app or social network that becomes popular, there can be negative impacts of the internet too.

How do you keep your family safe? We have some ideas that you should consider taking onboard to keep your family secure on the internet.

Secure your Wi-Fi network

Your broadband network allows your kids to access the internet from any room in your house. This can make it that little bit harder to keep an eye on them and see what they are up to. As well as this, if the network is not secure there is the danger of intruders either using your bandwidth or compromising your security and infecting your household computers with malware.

In order to combat this, you should know all about what speeds and bandwidth that your broadband provider gives you, so you can keep an eye on your usage and speeds. You should also ensure that your Wi-Fi is highly secure using a strong password on your router and enabling encryption to restrict access to it.

Teach your kids safe social networking etiquette

When your kids become old enough to use social media, it’s worth teaching them how to keep safe while using it. It goes without saying that you should be keeping an eye on their friend list, but there are other things to consider too. For instance, you should teach family members to restrict their personal information on the internet; never use their full names or addresses on their profiles.

You should also teach them not to talk about identifiable details on social media, such as holiday plans or weekend activities, and try avoiding checking-in to public places.

Ensure a safe gaming environment for your kids

You probably have a kid or two that likes gaming online. This can be a great hobby, but it also comes with its own dangers. Live online games allow people to interact with other people all over the world, and this can expose them to a variety of security dangers such as bullying and harassment.

To protect against this, ensure that your gamer children don’t reveal their identities while playing games, and you should always check out who they are playing with – if possible, you should make sure that they only play with friends and family members that they know in real life. Often, a lot of games and consoles offer parental controls, so you can restrict certain features, so always check if these options are available.

Securing your house

Even adding virus protections, parental controls and passwords to every device in the house, it can still be hard to secure the internet completely. You should have an open and trustful relationship with your children when it comes to the internet, so that if anything does happen that they can come and tell you of any issues. Being forewarned will help keep them safe while online.

If you’d like to educate your family a little more on broadband, including speeds and what they mean for your family, then Hoppy has created an informative video which you can watch below!

5 Characteristics You Need to Get Your Dream Job

From an early age, many people aspire to work in their dream job when they grow up. The current job market makes these visions more likely to become a reality, especially as there are new varieties of jobs emerging every day. Not only this, but more people than ever are starting to set up their own businesses, meaning the myth that you can’t do a job you love is quickly being banished. However, that isn’t to say it is plain sailing, as there will be bumps along the way to you settling in a job you have fallen for. Fortunately, there are some key characteristics that you need to get your dream job that are easy to master in your daily life.

Confidence

You may have an impressive skill set, but if you are not confident in yourself, it will be hard for employers to notice them. This is one of the biggest obstacles people face when applying for jobs, as confidence shows that you have the potential to bring new ideas to the table. If you want to effectively build your confidence and your self-esteem, there are some self-care tricks to follow that are easy to implement into your daily routine, such as starting the day right and repeating positive affirmations to yourself.

Resilience

As you go through life, you will find that you will come across many abrasive people and difficult work situations that test you. This is where having a thick skin can truly help you brush past such things with ease, rather than letting them affect your work ethic and enjoyment. As you work on your confidence, resilience will come in time, but you should always remember to keep your empathetic side as you get stronger, as this will make you a memorable and humble colleague.

Communication skills

Having the ability to work in a team is essential for most areas of business, as you need to collaborate with other employees and work towards your goals together. The best way to do this is by working on your communication skills, as this will help you and your colleagues thrive in a comfortable and productive working environment. However, it will also enable you to develop leadership skills needed if you want to work your way to the top.

Passion

When people are in a job they aren’t happy with, they can lack the passion for driving them to perform well and make money. It is something that people in their dream jobs don’t struggle with because it is what spurs them on in the workplace. It is also key when you are searching for a new, exciting job, as employers will be looking for people who are enthusiastic about their company and truly believe in what they are doing.

Proactiveness
In the job market, there are lots of people claiming to be passionate about a job, but who don’t take the time to show it. It goes hand in hand with the old idea that actions speak louder than words; employers are not looking for people to tell them how passionate they are, but to show them. Taking a proactive stance on your job increases your chances of success and ensure you stand out from the crowd when you deliver on results.

Three Simple Ways to Achieve A Healthier Lifestyle

Sometimes it takes only the smallest of changes to see a difference in achieving a healthier lifestyle. You don’t have to completely overhaul everything in your life to be able to achieve a more balanced and better lifestyle. If you set yourself one dedicated goal or thing to change then you’ll be more likely to achieve it. Trying to do too much at once might not be the best approach and you might find yourself giving up.

Find a healthy hobby

When it comes to trying out different fitness hobbies there is something for everyone. From simple and free things like taking up running, to joining a local club and taking part in team sports like rugby or football or joining some local gym classes. There’s something that can suit everyone’s lifestyle and budget. If running is something you fancy getting involved in, then all you need are a good pair of trainers and you can be good to go. If you’re starting from scratch, then using an app like couch to 5k could help! It’s great being able to see improvement and feel yourself being able to run faster and further as the weeks go by.

Kick the habit

If you’re a smoker then you know that kicking this habit can be difficult. However, there are things you can do to take steps towards quitting. Swapping out your daily cigarettes for an alternative such as e-cigarettes like these from Juul can help you start kicking the habit. Although you’re not giving up on nicotine completely, you are giving up the harmful toxins that come with cigarettes. You’d be amazed as how much better you might feel if you ditch the old habit and making a simple swap can really help. So, if you are looking to give up smoking, then alternatives might be the way forward for you.

The tech detoxes

We don’t always like to admit just how much time we do spend on our tech devices and whilst for most of us, it can be all part of the day job a lot of us also find ourselves spending a lot of time on them in the evening too. As the winter approaches and the evenings are darker, it’s likely you’ll be spending more time inside. Although the temptation might be to stick on some shows and spend the evening browsing online, why not set aside a couple of evenings a week to get together as a family and do something different. This could be playing board games, where tech is banished from the table, or cooking up some tasty treats together. Finding some ways to encourage your kids to get involved and not want to spend as much time on technology devices is a great way to help them have a break from it too.

Your Go-To Guide to a Family Trip to London

If you are planning a trip to London with all the family, you will not want to miss one iconic sight, famous landmark or interesting attraction during your visit. You will also need to learn how to navigate your way across the city effectively.

Ensure your visit to the English capital is memorable for all the right reasons by checking out the below go-to tips for a family trip to London.

Master the Tube

The Underground is the simplest way to move across the city during a visit, as the landmarks and attractions are rather spread out. For example, you might plan to have dinner at a restaurant in Whitechapel but have tickets to a play at the West End.

Black cabs can be expensive and taking the bus might not always be a reliable option, which is why you should familiarise yourself with the tube map before you visit. An Oyster card is the most affordable option for adults, while younger children can either travel for free or at a discount.

Book Tickets in Advance to a West End Show

Speaking of the West End, you shouldn’t visit the capital without booking tickets to a theatre show. However, it’s wise to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as tickets can sell out quickly. If you’re travelling with kids, you can treat them to one of the many children’s shows London.

Visit the Many Free Museums

Exploring London doesn’t need to be expensive, as there are many free museums to choose from, such as the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, which are both perfect for children.

For example, the Garden at the Science Museum is aimed for three to six-year-olds, as kids can have fun in the multisensory area that allows them to enjoy various sounds, reflections, shadows, and giant building blocks. Children will also love the incredible T. Rex at the Natural History Museum, while finding out how baby dinosaurs were born.

Grab a Cheap Bite to Eat at Covent Garden

Covent Garden never fails to disappoint as it regularly offers talented street performers in the piazza. It’s also the perfect place to grab a cheap bite to eat, as you can enjoy an affordable burger from the likes of Shake Shack, Byron, and Five Guys, to name just a few. There are also plenty of street food dishes to choose from for mum, dad and adventurous children, which start from as little as £3.70.

Take a Bus Tour

Save money on a trip to London by buying tickets for a bus tour for all the family. It will allow you to explore the capital at your leisure for one or more days, depending on the ticket option you choose.

It’s an affordable way to move across the city and visit the biggest and best landmarks it has to offer, such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, plus more.