No cost or low cost business tools to help you succeed online

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If you are in business for yourself, or if you want to be, it is quite possible that you want more clients AND that if you service your existing clients better you’ll retain more of them. What a lot of small business owners out there don’t realise, are that there are some fabulous NO COST or LOW COST services out there right now which you can get using which will save you TIME and/or MONEY. Like the sound of that? Good, well then read on…

Please do take a moment to read through these and even more importantly IMPLEMENT THEM because they could be the difference between more sales, or hours saved in any given day, week, month or year.

IF YOUR OBJECTIVE IS TO… Accept money online

Want to start accepting money online? Think it will cost you the earth to do so? Wrong! Simply follow these two quick and easy steps.

STEP 1 – Register for a paypal account – TO DO IT CLICK HERE NOW: https://www.paypal.com/nz/mrb/pal=U5ZECN29EGGAE

What is it? Think of paypal as having another online bank account. You can accept m*oney into this online account, and pay for things from this online account. You can also link this account to an offline account (i.e. your normal personal or business bank account).

What does it cost? Free if you set it up yourself, however per transaction charges do apply.

IMPORTANT NOTES ON THIS – Even if you already have a paypal account for personal use (i.e. to buy on ebay!) we strongly recommend you get a separate account for BUSINESS. Just like your normal bank accounts, if you keep business trading very seperate from personal trading, it is much easier for your accountant or book keeper (or you) to administrate your books at the end of the BAS quarter or tax year

STEP 2 – Register for Freshbooks – Raise invoices and accept money online: https://thecreativecollective.freshbooks.com/signup/

What is it: FreshBooks is an online invoicing and time tracking service that saves you time and makes you look professional . Through it you can easily create, send and manage invoices, Track time (for you and your staff), Send invoices by email or US post, Accept payment with PayPal, Authorize.Net and more, Automatically send invoices and late payment notices, Create robust reports and import/export your data.

What does it cost? You can sign up for a free no obligation account for 30 days here:
https://thecreativecollective.freshbooks.com/signup/ and have a play with it and thereafter there are a variety of packages available starting from $14.95 per month for up to 25 active clients, $27 for up to 100 active clients and $39 for up to 500 clients.

IMPORTANT NOTES ON THIS – Prices quoted are in US dollars.

Congratulations, once you have created these two quick and easy steps above, you are now in the position to create and issue invoices to your customers/clients and accept money online via credit card! How good is that?!

OBJECTIVE 2 – IF YOU GET TOO MANY DISRUPTIVE PHONE CALLS TO GET ON WITH THE JOB AT HAND… Have someone answer the phone, every time so you don’t miss out on valuable business or opportunities (live phone answering service)

Now that you have your accounts sorted out, let’s move on to getting those phone calls answered every time by a live person, even if you’re busy taking classes so you don’t miss out on any new business or opportunities. If you really want your business to grow, you need that professional front and a live answering service is the cheapest receptionist you’ll ever employ!

I have used a live answering service company in Australia called http://www.AllTel.com.au for the past 2 months and found them to be okay. Plans start from $29aud per month for 20 calls answered. Each excess call is charged at $1.50 on this plan. The number of calls you can receive within a monthly plan increase with the plan you go on, and the amount you pay for each excess call decreases. Just think though, what could missing just one call mean for you? A lost parent who could have been a registration? 3 terms of registrations? 3 years of registrations?

Calls are answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and each call that is answered by the service will be (if you request it on set up) emailed and texted to you immediately so you can screen calls and get back to them in priority order. This allows you to ‘chunk’ your time, making you more efficient.

IF YOU WANT LIKE TO Enjoy cheaper phone calls

I know many people are on to this already, but in case you’re not, here’s a great way to enjoy free (that’s right free!) phone calls to other people who have the same service set up. All you need is a headset with a microphone (from $20 from most electronic stores)

Skype – Make free PC to PC calls from your computer – yep free calls to other people on Skype and great rates to phones and mobiles across the world. And the sound quality (well most of the time) is excellent, too – keep Skype running all day and it’s like you’re in the same room as the person you’re talking to. Download the f*ree software (yep, free!) here: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/download/skype/windows/

GoogleTalk – Another free way to talk online is Google Talk (of course they’re on the bandwagon too!) Check it out or download it here: http://www.google.com/talk/

Put a human face to your sales proposition – Record and upload videos online

The video medium is one of our newest and most powerful marketing formats.

If you can make a point of recording yourself on camera interacting doing what you do best, or finding an even more creative way of displaying to viewers whether they be prospective clients or existing clients WHO YOU ARE, and WHAT YOU DO, this can become a powerful marketing resource in your marketing arsenal.

So here are your options to achieve this:

STEP 1 – Create footage

1) Record yourself on a home handycam/video cam or similar

2) Record yourself on a phone or camera with video capability – note it will be important to check that it is of a quality that will work online

3) Get some tips from You Tube on how to produce great footage: http://au.youtube.com/t/yt_handbook_produce

STEP 2 – Upload footage online

This depends what your goals are. Here’s our recommendations:
For posting: If you just want to get a video clip online and share it with friends via email or on your own blog, Vimeo wins for its speed, ease-of-use, and simple playback functions. It also lets users download the original file, and features some light community features (note that a new version is launching very soon). One of the few sites I used that I never had a problem with. Alternate choice: Videoegg.

For viewership: If you want to step up to more community features and get widespread viewership of your viral clip, YouTube gets the job done with a lot less hassle than vSocial or Grouper.

For editing: If you want to alter your video online in any way–through editing, remixing, or combining your clips with those from other users–then head on over to Jumpcut and don’t look back. Jumpcut really offers the first leap forward in online video sharing, and is worth a look even if you have no use for editing features (its full-fledged community is launching “very soon”). Alternate choice: none, yet, although Motionbox looks to be a potential competitor.

www.youtube.com – Founded in February 2005 Youtube has quicky become the pre-eminent technology when it comes to watch and share original videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips on www.YouTube.com and across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email.

Others you might like to see include:

http://video.google.com

Don’t worry – more help is at hand….

On a final note if you liked these tips and would like to be sent out more useful tips, upcoming events and other special offers for my services, register to be on my database here:

https://thecreativecollective.com.au/html/cms/34/sign-up-to-our-newsletter

If you would like to receive RSS Feeds in the form of informative articles on tips and tricks related to succeeding online and your marketing strategies, sign up to my blog here and you’ll receive an email each time I, or one of my magnificent team members make a new post (on average monthly) go here: http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=2251782 .

And finally if you would like to become a fan of our company on our Facebook page click here: http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Maroochydore-Australia/The-Creative-Collective/20953928836

Happy researching and reading!

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