Work from home – live the dream

BEING your own boss.  It’s a dream that most of us have – shrugging off the shackles of the daily grind and work from home.  And the good news is, anyone can do it!  I know, because I did it … and if I can do it, so can you.

For me, the catalyst to leave the 9 to 5 existence was for family reasons.  However, I didn’t count on all the other benefits that have come with working from home.  Being able to spend extra time with my husband.  Giving myself a half day off every week to run errands.  Being able to stop for an hour to have a cuppa with a friend.  Being able to choose to work on a rainy weekend, then taking a little time on a sunny weekday to ride my horse.  I’m sure that you can think of any number of ways that your life would be richer if you had the freedom to work your own hours!

Without doubt, walking away from a regular salary is probably one of the most daunting things you will face.  However, thoroughly researching your potential business can help you gain the confidence you need to make the massive change in your life.

My tips for those who are thinking about starting a home-based business:

Do your research

Identify your market, and research potential clientele and the income that your business could generate for you.  Consider what demand you may have for your business, and what competition is out there.  Think about things you can do to set your business apart from everyone else.

Talk to an accountant

It is vital that you speak to an Accountant, before launching your new business.  An accountant will be able to give you guidance on the most appropriate way to structure your business and manage your cashflow.  Your accountant will also be able to advise you on what establishment and ongoing costs can be claimed on your tax, and what can’t.  It is important that you have a good understanding of how a business is run, from a “under the hood” perspective.  There’s a lot more to running a business than producing goods and/or services and selling them!

Talk to a business coach

Don’t be afraid to have a yarn to a business coach who can help you to decide what you want to achieve and then help you to actually do it.

Check with your local council

Depending on what sort of business you want to start, you may need to check with your local council to ensure that you are permitted to do the type of work you want to do from home.  For example, if you want to set up a panel-beating shop in your back shed – there’s the chance that Council will have something to say about property zoning.  If you’re planning on working in a home office (like I do), there’s generally nothing to worry about – but ask the question if you’re not sure.

Do your sums

New businesses generally take a little while to gather momentum, before your hoped-for income starts rolling in.  One of the things you should think about is whether you have sufficient cash reserves or another income coming into the household to cover your living expenses whilst your business is getting going.  Money pressure is one of the biggest stresses in life – make sure you have contingency plans if things take a little time to get rolling, so that you don’t hobble yourself before you start.

Hedge your bets

If you can, an excellent way to start a home-based business is to get it started part-time, whilst you are still working.  Whilst this wasn’t really an option for me due to the nature of my profession, you may be able to trial your business idea by working it on weekends or at night.  This can help you get a bit more of an idea of how it could work for you before making the leap.

Set yourself goals and guidelines

Set yourself realistic goals.  There aren’t too many business opportunities out there that can make you a million dollars in your first year, so be kind to yourself and focus on building your business steadily.

For most of us, starting our own business is the culmination of a dream.  It’s a means to getting us to where we want to be in life, and to achieve a lifestyle not generally available when you work for someone else.  By taking your time to think it through, do your research and implement your plans carefully, you are setting yourself up for success.  Believe in yourself, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve!!

Debbie Foale DipFS (FP), JP (Qual)Edendale ContractingParaplanning, Training & CompliancePhone: (07) 4123 3573 Mobile: 0422 813022
– By Debbie Foale

Lure Noisy Miners with fruit and nectar

ONE OF the joys of living on the Fraser Coast is being able to work in and around the garden pretty well 12 months of the year and be able to study and enjoy the multitude of wildlife and birds on offer, such as the Noisy Miners.

The simple selection and placement of trees and shrubs will open your garden to the splendours nature with the most prolific being birds.

One bird species that is frequent in this area are the Miner birds (not to be confused with the Myna bird).

Of the four varieties of Miner Birds the most common to us is the Noisy Miner  also known as the Micky or Soldierbird.  Noisy Miners are one of the most animated and aggressive species to visit the garden. They are especially noisy when a predator such as a goanna, crow or the household cat wonders into the garden and will fly around the intruder calling loudly and snapping its beak at it, which is possibly why it is also known as the Soldierbird’

Noisy Miners have adapted well to suburbia and our leafy gardens and green lawns.  They’re easily identifiable with their incessant chatter call of “pwee pwee pwee’”  or the chuckling “weedidit weedidit weedidit”.

Feeding mainly on insects in the upper tree covering they do enjoy fruit and nectar and will feed from a bird feeder placed near a tree.  While they’ll have a go at most fruits they are very partial to PawPaw.  Trees such as Banksia’s and Grevilleas are  a great way of providing shelter and nectar for our Miner friends,

These little blokes are real entertainers when it comes to bath time, taking in turns to dive bomb into the bird bath or even the family pool and then retreating to a nearby fence or tree branch whilst they preen and clean their feathers.

A close relative of the Noisy Miner is the Yellow Throated Miner. Almost identical to the Noisy excepting for a yellowish patch on the  foreneck and a more pronounced white rump. It is not unheard of on the Fraser Coast but lives predominantly in drier area’s to the west of the Great Dividing Range.  A keen eye is needed if you are to spot the difference.

Miner birds have been wrongly linked with the introduced Myna bird which is of the Starling family and considered a pest  in many areas.
The Myna bird was introduced into Australia from south-east Asia in the 1860s and can be found in many parts of the country.  They are a similar size to our native Miners but black to dark brown in colour with larger yellow feet  and have a bandy walk.

– By Don Watts

Don Watts of Maryborough attracts Noisy Miners (top) to his garden with pieces of fruit in a bowl. This is its cousin, a Yellow Throated Miner, which is more commonly seen in Western Queensland where this fellow was photographed by Jocelyn Watts in Charleville.

Don Watts of Maryborough attracts Noisy Miners (top) to his garden with pieces of fruit in a bowl. This is its cousin, a Yellow Throated Miner, which is more commonly seen in Western Queensland where this fellow was photographed by Jocelyn Watts in Charleville.

OMG! My computer crashed!

By Julie-Ann Bradwyn

HOW many times have we heard someone say “OMG, my computer crashed and I’ve lost everything”?

Any number of reasons can be the cause – from hardware failure to a power surge, virus the cat knocking the laptop off the desk.  I’ve heard just about every reason and no matter why, it has usually ended in tears.  The loss of emails and most of the electronic documents that we all accumulate over the years we can survive, but it is the loss of critical financial records and the irreplaceable photos of holidays, christenings, weddings and loved ones that really hurt.

Yet it is all so unnecessary and so easily avoided but few people know how.

These days, there are a number of options.  We can all buy a cheap USB stick just about anywhere, even from the local supermarket, to back up our data files on to, but truly, how many of us are diligent enough to do it on a regular basis?  Not I.

Then the other alternative is to buy a portable drive that is attached to the computer.  It has a greater storage capacity than a USB stick and is more robust.  Plus they often come with a program that copies the data from the computer and can be set to do it automatically.  The downside can be that they may only copy your data files, not your programs.  That can be a trap that many people fall into.

If you want to really play it safe, go the extra mile and buy some specialist backup software that you can set to run at a time of your choosing that copies both your datafiles and your programs.  It’s just too easy but so few people know it exists and how accessible it is.

You load it onto your computer like any other program, pick the frequency and time that you want it to run and then voila…., it creates a mirror image of your computer onto your external hard drive at the time you’ve selected.  Too easy.

Mine is set to run every Sunday night at 7:30pm.  By that time, I’ve settled down with a glass of wine to eat dinner or watch TV and I leave the software to do its thing.  It’s a great feeling to know that if my laptop crashes, all I have to do is get the backup loaded onto a new computer or the repaired old one and all of my photos, financials, programs and digital certificates will be back again.

Don’t be frightened off by the upfront cost either – $200 to $300 should cover a drive, the software and also a technician loading it if you aren’t confident to do it yourself.  You can even sometimes download a trial version of the software to try it out and see if you like it before buying it.

Backing up is something that we should all do and we all know it, but did you know how easy it can be?  There’s really no excuse not to.