Are You a Good Team Player?

From the time you started kindergarten, you have probably been learning the value of being an effective member of a group. Groups tend to be made up of a variety of personality types with some being leaders and others happy to follow along. Some groups naturally work well together while others are out of balance with one or two members carrying way too much of the workload. Once you have become a team member in your job, you should realize the importance of each and every team member contributing what they can to create viable solutions.

Are you the person who is so anxious to get a project completed that you want to handle each part of the job by yourself? If so, you may be holding back the creativity of others and missing out on the ideas and efforts that will result in a more effective outcome. The basic idea for creating teams in the first place is to complete a project faster and with the best possible solutions. Working together should produce more creativity, not stifle it.

Are you content to sit back and take orders while another team member leads the charge? You are a valuable member of the team with unique ideas and talents. Put your ideas out there and be willing to do what is needed to ensure the final result is the best one you as a team can produce.

Thanks to modern technology, you don’t even have to be in the same room to work with a team. Data backup systems that store files in the cloud make it possible to access your data with any mobile device or computer with an internet connection and share it with others. This option gives companies more options for grouping together various employees and partners to include the greatest variety of talent possible.

Consider your greatest strength when you are working with a team and think about how you can use it to enhance progress with the project on which you are currently working on. Chances are that if every member of the team makes the effort to make a meaningful contribution, your talents will combine to do a really great job. It should be an act of participation, not one of taking charge or following in another team member’s footsteps.

A group project is a great opportunity for you to spread your wings and venture out into other areas of interest that you don’t typically get to try. Where there is a need, determine what you have to offer and you may even surprise yourself by your newfound capabilities.

Looking at group work as an opportunity instead of a challenge can make the difference in how the project progresses and how you feel about the experience once it is over. Enter with the confidence that comes from knowing your abilities and having a willingness to apply them.

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Dealing With Negativity When Working From Home

Doing what you enjoy. Setting your own schedule. Getting paid what you are really worth. These are just some of the reasons that more and more people are opting out of the nine-to-five type of jobs, choosing instead to start working from home. These and other benefits make being a location-independent entrepreneur an attractive option.

But it can be difficult to get your loved ones to see things that way.

So you may have found a way to earn money without having to dress up and clock in, but your family and friends may think you’re just chasing a pipe dream. You may hear more people asking when you’ll get a “real job” than people asking about how well your business is doing. Constantly hearing things like this can be dangerous for you as an entrepreneur.

Even if those close to you look down on your endeavors, it’s possible for you to overcome it and succeed. Take heart with these helpful tips for handling the negativity.

• Do not retaliate. Sometimes it can be very tempting to respond to negative opinions with some of your own. Resist the urge. Not only does negativity breed negativity, but some of the people you come down on could be dealing with problems of their own. Plus, you never realize that you hurt someone very close to you until after it’s too late – like your best friend or your spouse.

• Explain your side of things. People tend to have bad thoughts about things they don’t understand. To those who know you, watching you leave a seemingly solid job to strike out on your own may seem totally illogical. Try telling them about what you do and why you made that choice. The more they know, the less likely they will be to put you down.

• Smile. Of course, smiling is good for you – it takes fewer facial muscles than frowning. It is also a good way to disarm others who may be giving you problems over working from home. And smiling can also help to pick up your spirits, which definitely contributes to keeping you going forward.

• Stand behind your decision. While you want to avoid confrontation with the people you love, you also need to support your choice to work for yourself. Even if you agree with them simply to avoid trouble, you may ultimately believe what you’re being told – and if you do that, you will be less likely to do well as an entrepreneur. Believe in yourself, even if your friends and family do not.

• Keep going. Getting caught up in how your loved ones feel about your business can drain time and energy that you need to put towards your work. While you shouldn’t cut off your friends and family, make sure that you are focused on your business. Chances are that if those close to you see that your efforts are paying off, they will quickly start singing a different and more delightful tune.

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Being a Better Employee

No one wants to go into work and be hated by their boss. It just makes your life miserable, especially since you spend so much time at work. It’s better to be the golden employee. To be the first person that they come to when they have a promotion or another job offer. It is possible to get on your boss’s good side. There are several actions you can take today to get you there.

1. Know What The Company Needs

Day in and day out, you are dealing with your company. You know every single flaw and bug in the system. Well it is time to come up with a solution to those problems and present them to the manager. For example, in your company, scheduling meetings is extremely difficult. There is no simple line of communication available. So you suggest something such as Highrise CRM to make everyone’s lives easier. Your boss will be proud that you took the initiative to find a solution to a problem rather than just complain.

2. Do What Needs To Be Done

If you’re someone who constantly needs to be told what to do, rather than finding the next problem to solve, your boss is likely to feel like he’s babysitting you. You need to be able to identify what to do next on your own. If there is something that everyone else is ignoring, now is your opportunity to step up to the plate and get it done without being told. Of course you should check in with your manager now and again to see what he needs from you, but you still have some freedom to choose what is next. Your boss will see that you have a good work ethic while everyone else is standing around.

3. Know Your Job and Industry

You need to know your job title inside and out. If you’re a Graphic Designer, you need to know everything there is on it. Study it in your free time if you don’t know everything (which you likely don’t). Know the latest technology that is out there. If your job is managing your company’s software, you better be reading articles dealing with software. Regardless of what you do, you just need to know how to do your job. Your boss will notice that you’re an expert in your field.

In the end, being a good employee is about being prepared and caring. If you want to keep your job, you have to prove that you deserve to be there. Knowing your company, your job, and your boss, will help you maintain your position and even move up a few levels. If you’re interested in even more tips, Forbes wrote an article regarding your employee status.

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Becoming A Bookkeeper

The career of a bookkeeper is for those who love organizing data and calculating numbers. If you are considering this career, it may be because you love the line of work, but do not want (or are unable) to pay for the education to become an accountant or a CPA, in both money and time. Most bookkeepers manage payroll, the ordering of supplies and materials, and the creation and issue of financial statements. Overall, they keep track of all financial transactions. They may be employed by a person of any profession, whether it be a single accountant or an entire company or organization.

For most bookkeeping jobs, no serious education is truly needed. In fact, for most positions, only a high school diploma is needed as a minimum. Those who choose to keep this as their highest education usually partake in classes mainly geared towards mathematics, computers, and accounting. Some individuals may choose to pursue an associate’s degree to acquire formal training. Certification is also available to those who may want to stand out from the crowd and become more professional. For certification, a minimum of two year’s experience in the field is needed. While high school is needed only as a minimum, it is certainly wise to pursue further education or training. This will not only help you appear to be more well-rounded and professional, but it will help develop your skills as well. There is no such thing as being too prepared or knowledgeable on a single subject, especially when it comes to your career.

If you do choose to pursue further education before entering the field, afterwards, you may find yourself wondering how to surface yourself from your student loans. In fact, depending on the education that you received and where you received it from, you may be looking at a massive amount of debt from loans. In this, you are not alone. Many people face this challenge, and it is not uncommon not to know where to begin. The first thing to consider is grants. Many people are unaware of the fact that grants are not exclusive for paying off tuition; they are also available to help pay off debt after school. There are various ways to receive assistance to pay off your loans, if you meet certain qualifications. For instance, if you choose to work for a federal or state corporation or organization, you may qualify to receive assistance from the federal government. This is known as loan forgiveness. Bookkeepers who manage data and finances in this line of work and show dedication towards making payments on their loans (usually a minimum of 120 payments) will qualify for receiving this grant. There are also a number of volunteer organizations that will exchange your hard diligent work for a grant to help pay for your student loans. If you can afford to dedicate one or two years to a certain charity organization, you may qualify for a stipend from Americorps to assist you in your payments.

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Make Your New Year’s Financial Resolutions Now And Stick To It!

Like everybody else, it’s that time of the year when we swear to discard or shelve some bad practices and improve our lives. A research by the University of Scranton says about half of Americans do make New Year’s resolutions at the start of each year. And the good news is that research also says that about 59% of people who made resolutions for 2014 say they kept them. 46% said they were able to maintain their pledges past the 6-month mark. (Source: Time.com)

Among these resolutions, money-related goals are some of the most popular, including launching a home business where you can work from home. Mostly it’s got something to do with saving up more for retirement or paying off debts to avoid bad loans and spending less. These are good laudable goals and they’re actually much easier to achieve. A Fidelity Investments recent survey says so. It seems 42% of respondents surveyed found it a whole lot easier to save up and pay I.O.U.’s than losing weight or smoking less.

No matter what kind of changes you’re aiming at for 2015, no doubt, it can only be for a better you or a better lifestyle. Here are 4 easy ways to improve your chances of success

1) When you make your New Year’s resolutions, resolve to do them : Those who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve them than those who don’t express their goals. Another University of Scranton study says that after six months, 46% of those who wanted to change their lives and made a resolution to do so were successful compared to just 4% of those who wanted to change but didn’t put it in any resolution form. ( Source:Huffingtonpost.com)

2) Be specific: When you make goals that aren’t too clear, you may be setting yourself up for a failure. Define your goals. Get to be as specific and definite as you can. Instead of saying you’ll save up for 2015, set it down on paper that you’ll put $200 in the bank every month to achieve a goal of $2,400 by year end.

3) Keep track of your progress by having a log: Seeing how you’re progressing on a periodic basis is a great motivator. Research says the more you keep track of your performance the better you’ll do at sticking to your goals. According to a Fidelity Survey, about 67% of those who set a goal find progress to be a great push to go on.

4) Get a good friend to share your goals with: If your goal is to save up, let someone close to you know about it. Let him or her know how much you’re looking at to achieve in savings by the end of the year. Then ask him or her to call you every first week of the month to make sure you’ve put in what you said you’d put into the bank.

They’re really 4 simple ways to help make your lives not only better but perhaps happier! Good luck

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How To Choose The Best Fireproof Gun Safe

When you think how to store your gun safely, you need to take into account many things and the fire protection as well. Each year more than 400 000 residential fires happen so it’s a good idea to make sure your new gun safe provides good protection.

As with doing any other kind of shopping, choosing a right fireproof gun safe you need to consider many features, including the size, material, locking mechanisms, easiness of installation and the amount of money you are willing to spend. Maybe you are looking for the one that has removable shelves if you need to store more than one gun or other valuables together with the gun.

There are many choices out there, but we are going to indicate just most popular ones. Don’t forget to read the reviews and ratings on the websites of online sellers; they are very useful in helping you to decide. Fireproof safes are usually rated by the time they can withstand the extreme temperatures. Models usually offer between half-hour to four hours protection.

One of the great budget options is to buy a small fireproof gun safe, if you are planning to change its location in the house and store just one handgun. It can be easily hidden from the eyes of children or visitors.
However keep in mind that their protection lasts for about half-hour, in case you need more, you have to shop for the ones that are heavy and have thick steel doors and walls. Such materials as sheet-rock and ceramic wool blanketing are most common in fireproofing. Brands to consider include: SentrySafe, Stack-On, Paragon and others. First Alert offers UL classified 1-hour resistance up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit while maintaining an internal temperature of less than 350 degrees.

In case you possess a really big collection of weapon, there are models where you can fit up to 30 guns; check out brands like Browning, Liberty Gun or Winchester. If you want to protect your gun both from fire and water, choosing a fireproof safe that has water resistance as well can be a smart idea. SentrySafe and First Alert offer such safes at really reasonable prices, starting with $50.

As for a locking mechanism, mechanical locksare recommendable in most cases as they are much more durable than electronic ones. Always make sure that the lock is UL rated, because those that are not most often come from China and have a really poor quality. If your budget isn’t too tight you can opt for a fancier idea: biometric grade locks.

Safes with them only will open after they recognize your fingerprints, the shape of your hand or face, or the structure of your retina. Retinal scanner is more preferable than fingerprint-based, because fingers can get cut or burnt easily. There are models that offer two kinds of locks, and there are some even with three, offering better protection for the weapon.

You see that the choice is really big and you have to weigh a number of factors while shopping. You need to pay attention to the warranty policy as well, in case some parts will need replacement or if it will stop functioning right.

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Protect Your Home From Theft

More than 1.5 million residential burglaries occur every year in the United States, according to the FBI. Thieves target electronics, jewellery and other valuables, resulting in an average dollar loss of $2,079.

Thieves often hit us when we least expect it and take away what we value most. In many cases sometimes individuals can even get hurt. Also, with identify theft becoming a larger problem, thieves often steal personal information.
All the above may sound extremely scary, but fear not, there are measures that you can take to reduce the risk of your home being invaded by thieves and also your valuables or personal information being stolen.

1. Get a home security system

A security system for the entire house is an obvious choice when it comes to securing your home. Security systems are used in commercial, industrial and personal properties for an extremely long time and it’s proven that a functioning alarm system can significantly deter potential intruders.
Alarm systems serve a single purpose, burglary protection or combination systems which provide both fire and intrusion protection. If you are serious about protecting your family or home, a home security system is a must. Most of the time, these systems do not cost a fortune and most security companies will only charge a monthly or annual monitoring fee.

2. Secure your window and light up your surrounding

Broken and cracked windows are a clear invitation for intruders. When an intruder can find a weak spot in your home, they will utilize it to their advantage and unfortunately, to your disadvantage. If you have any in your home, replace or repair them as soon as possible. Even broken windows on a second or third level put you at risk, as thieves can and will find a way up there. It’s also smart to keep obvious valuables away from windows, so as to not tempt thieves on the prowl.

Shining light unto areas alike main door or side windows can deter intruders from breaking in as it makes them very obvious targets. Motion sensing light can be an energy efficient way of scaring off intruders as they turn on even to the slightest of movements. The disadvantage of motion sensors is that even an animal can trigger the sensor. Hence opt for heat-sensing lights, which only turn on when human body temperatures are detected.

3. Protect your valuables with a safe

There are many methods to protect your valuables at home like hiding it behind a fridge or in a wardrobe, but these methods are very risky ways of protecting your valuables. In the case of an unfortunate break in, you want to be able to protect your valuables IN your house. A safe is an extremely safe way of ensuring that your valuables are protected. There are many kinds of safes, but I recommend either an underground safe or a mounted safe. An underground safe is one of the best options as it provides a safe place for your valuables and can be very elusive.
Underground safes can be hidden out of plain sight which is one of its main advantages. It also can’t be taken away with ease. A wall mounted safe has the same advantage of not being easily taken away but are usually less elusive. Either way, ensure you get a safe which has a valuable rating of either equal or above the intended stored items.
With that I hope that this article has helped you secure your home and prevent those not-so-nice intrusions.

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