borrowing pitfalls

Common borrowing pitfalls you need to avoid

09 May, 2017

Individuals earning and being taxed via the PAYG system are finding that the ATO has done away with a lot of the rules that once allowed opportunities for tax savings. One of the few remaining strategies available to minimise tax is to claim interest as a tax deduction. To help you stay on top of your game, we’ve compiled a list of common pitfalls you need to avoid when borrowing.


Negative gearing: borrowing to invest

You’ve probably heard the term ‘negative gearing’ used in relation to investments. ‘Gearing’ is just another term for ‘borrowing’, and depending on the structure of your finances, investments may be geared positively, neutrally or negatively.

A positively geared investment produces more income than it’s costing you in interest. The opposite is true with negative gearing – the cost of the loan is higher than the income the asset is producing. Why would you choose to structure an investment like this? Simple: any shortfall incurred in this way is tax deductible, meaning the ATO will cover up to 47% of the cost, depending on your marginal tax rate.

This only applies to loans used directly to buy an income-producing asset (e.g. property or shares) which adds to your annual taxable income. Money used for superannuation contributions or insurance bonds, therefore, is not included.

It’s important to understand this, otherwise you could end up in a situation where you’ve borrowed money with a loan on which the interest is non-deductible, and the funds you’ve invested won’t be accessible for another 30 years.

When determining whether loan interest is tax deductible, the ATO will examine the purpose of the borrowing rather than the asset mortgaged.

One common scenario where this can cause issues is if you have a low debt on your home and you decide to move to a new place and rent the old one out. The loan on your new home isn’t eligible for a tax deduction, even if you secure it against the existing property, because it’s being used to purchase a new residence rather than an investment.

In this case, it’s generally better to sell the original property (which will incur no CGT) and purchase the new one with a minimal loan. Then, any loans you take out to purchase additional property as an investment (or to invest in shares) will be tax-deductible.

Find out more about other costs associated with an investment property which are tax deductible.


Borrowing for the right purpose

It’s not just with mortgages that it’s easy to trip up. If you take out a loan and can’t clearly show that the money redrawn has been used to fund your investments, the ATO may refuse your claim for a deduction and hit you with additional penalties. In one well-documented case a woman was fined 25% of the claim because she didn’t have sufficient evidence.

Line of credit loans can also present a potential borrowing trap as they are not typically assigned to a particular purpose and can be accessed by the borrower in small amounts as and when needed. Again, the interest on this type of loan will only be tax-deductible if you can show that the money has been used directly for an income-producing asset.

As an example, let’s say that Matt and Sandra own their home outright and take out a $200,000 line of credit loan for an investment property. To reduce the amount of interest on the loan, they put their salaries directly towards paying it off and then use their credit cards (which offers a fixed interest-free period) for day-to-day living. When the payment is due on their cards, they use the loan to cover the cost.

Because they are using the loan to make payments for private credit card purchases, even though it originally funded the investment property, the interest will not be treated as tax-deductible by the ATO. To benefit from a tax deduction on the loan interest, Matt and Sandra would have to use a portion of their salaries to repay the principal while keeping enough money aside to cover day-to-day living.


Capital gains tax events

Many people are still in confusion regarding capital gains tax (CGT), particularly when it comes to giving property or shares to family members. Just because no money changes hands, it doesn’t mean that no CGT is due. Aside from your family home, which is exempt from CGT, the disposal of any asset – whether or not sold for cash – will trigger a ‘CGT event’ which means you are liable for paying tax on any gain during the time you have held the asset.

Where an asset is passed on to a family member, the ATO will treat it as a sale at the current market value. This could result in a hefty tax bill if the value has risen considerably while you’ve owned it, so make sure you’re aware of the implications before you make any such transfer.


Borrowing pitfalls summary:

  • Claiming interest as a tax deduction is one of the few remaining ways for individuals to minimise tax when borrowing, but it must be done correctly for the deduction to be allowed
  • When the cost of interest on a loan used to purchase an asset outweighs the value of any income, we say the investment is ‘negatively geared’ and the shortfall may be claimed as a tax deduction
  • This is only true if the loan was used directly to purchase an income-producing asset which will add to your taxable income (so superannuation and insurance bonds are excluded) and if you have sufficient evidence to show what the money was used for
  • Capital gains tax applies to disposal of assets even if you give them away to a family member, so make sure you know how much tax you’ll be liable for before you take any action


income tax australia

The basics of income tax in Australia

08 May, 2017

If there’s one thing in life that’s unavoidable, it’s tax. And the least avoidable of all the taxes is, arguably, income tax. From the moment you’re born to the day you stop working, all your income – whatever form it may take – will be scrutinised by the ATO to make sure you’re paying your fair share.

The other thing you can be sure of is that tax rules will keep evolving to slowly squeeze more and more of our hard-earned cash out of us. Fortunately, the government is upping its game when it comes to welfare and services to make up for the slice of our income we lose out on.

But before your start blaming your poor finances on the tax system, ask yourself a couple of questions. Have you bothered to educate yourself on the tax system and ways that you can minimise your tax? And have you then done anything different as a result?

While tax may be unavoidable – a bit like getting old – we can take certain steps and follow good advice so that it has less of an effect on us.


Minimising vs. evading

Let’s be clear that we’re not talking about any underhand dealings here. Tax evasion (or avoidance) is illegal and involves falsifying documents and using other illicit means to avoid paying your fair share. If the ATO find you guilty of any such attempts to escape taxation, expect to be hit with heavy penalties.

Tax minimisation, on the other hand, is a case of using the tax system to your advantage so you reduce the amount of tax you have to pay. It is perfectly legal but does take a fair amount of preparation and knowledge, and preferably some sound legal advice.


Australia’s progressive tax system

The tax system in place in Australia means that the more you earn, the higher the percentage of tax you pay on those earnings. Below a certain threshold, and income is tax-free.

Here are the marginal tax rates for the 2016-17 financial year:

Taxable Income Tax on this income
$0-$18,200 0%
$18,201-$37,000 19% over $18,200
$37,001-$80,000 $3,572 + 32.5% over $37,000
$80,001-$180,000 $17,547 + 37% over $80,000
Over $180,000 $54,547 + 45% over $180,000

A Medicare levy of 2% is added to the rates above to form your total income tax bill.


Forms of income tax

If you work for an employer, any income you receive above the minimum threshold will be subject to income tax. This is automatically deducted from your pay using the PAYG (Pay As You Go) system, so there is little for you to worry about but also little you can do to minimise the tax you pay, aside from salary sacrifice schemes.

As an employee you may have access to various benefits, such as a company car and superannuation contributions, offered as a salary package. This means your employer pays you an agreed salary but you choose to reduce the amount you receive as wages in order to take advantage of other benefits. You can read about salary sacrificing in more detail here, but the main benefit is that your income is lower so you won’t lose as much of it in income tax.

Other sources of taxable income include investment properties, share portfolios and superannuation earnings. And that’s just income tax – there are many other types of tax to deal with, especially if you get into property and investing.

The fact that you’ve read this far in an article about income tax is great – it shows a desire to learn and that’s what’s going to push you to a new level of money management where you are in control and making your money work for you.

Keep browsing to discover more about how you can achieve this wonderful goal.


To recap:

  • Paying income tax is inevitable if you’re earning a living, but there are ways to manage your finances to minimise the amount of tax you have to pay
  • Tax minimisation means you’re taking advantage of the tax systems in place – legally – to pay as little tax as possible, whereas as tax evasion (or avoidance) involves illegal tactics to avoid paying your fair share
  • A lot of preparation and some good legal advice will be necessary for you to truly minimise your taxes
  • Australia’s progressive tax system means the more you earn, the higher the percentage at which income tax is applied. Below a minimum threshold you don’t have to pay income tax on your earnings
  • If you work for an employer they will automatically withhold income tax at the applicable rate through the PAYG system, but you may be able to enter into a salary sacrifice agreement whereby you receive certain benefits instead of a salary, thereby reducing your income tax bill



17 Ways to make extra cash working with kids

07 May, 2017

Many savvy stay-at-home-mums and mumpreneurs are finding ways to make some extra cash while still looking after their kids. But you don’t have to be a parent to make money in the baby and child industry. Here are some ideas that could inspire your next business or make you some additional income in your free time.


1. Birthday party organiser

If you know what kids love to do, have good organisational skills and can stay cool under pressure (because there is a lot of pressure to make the party just right), this could be the role for you. Perhaps start off with parties for your own or a friend’s children and see where it takes you.


2. Face painter

Kids love getting their face painted, but the problem is they won’t sit still for long. With this in mind, it could be a good idea to practice on adults until you can complete the job in just a few minutes. It goes without saying that you should be able to build a good rapport with children, too. Offer to do a couple of friends’ parties for free and use these as an opportunity to network and potentially get some paid bookings. You can charge upwards of $30-$40 a session, depending on your experience and talent.


3. Pregnancy belly painter

Along the same lines, but not requiring quite as much haste, is the new trend of painting pregnancy bellies for maternity photo shoots. This requires true creativity but could earn you $40-$60 an hour.


4. Children’s entertainment

It takes a special kind of person to do this, but if you seem to have that magic touch that kids love you could become an entertainer. It might involve dressing up in costumes, performing magic shows or putting on some other kind of performance. Kids are very honest critics though, so you’ll know exactly what they think of your efforts.


5. Mobile party entertainment

Jumping castles are a popular addition to garden parties but need to be supervised by an operator when they’re hired out. All that’s required of you is to set it up and make sure everyone is jumping safely – not a bad way to earn some extra dollars at the weekend. Of course you will need to get the right insurance just in case there’s an accident.


6. Family day care

Child care centres often have long waiting lists or are not easily accessible, but one popular alternative is family day care. Having smaller groups means children get sick less often (so less time off work for mum and dad), plus kids can form stronger relationships with each other and their carers.

Legal requirements apply to this kind of work. For a start, you’re not allowed to have any more than four children under school age in your care at any time. But it can work well for mums who want to stay at home with their own kids and have an income at the same time. Find out more about starting your own family daycare in Australia here.


7. Nanny/babysitter

If looking after someone else’s kids all day, every day seems a bit too much, perhaps you could offer your services as a nanny or babysitter on a more casual basis. This lets you choose your own hours so you can work around other commitments. As a nanny you may also have the option of staying in the family home, which means you won’t have to pay rent on your own place. For casual babysitting you can expect to get $10-$20 an hour depending on how many children you’re looking after and how old they are.


8. Pram doctor

People spend hundreds of dollars on new strollers and prams so they want to get as much life out of them as possible. You can help with this as a pram doctor by repairing a flat tyre, stitching some torn material or re-greasing moving parts so they work more smoothly. There may be more complicated tasks as well, but if you’re generally quite handy with fixing things you could give it a go.


9. Nursery consultant

First-time parents-to-be can put an awful lot of time into planning the perfect nursery for their new arrival. Nursery consultants help with this by offering their interior design skills, acting as a personal shopper or helping to assemble flat-pack furniture. The job description can be as broad as your talents, really.


10. Car seat hire or installer

Two in three car seats are not fitted properly, according to recent statistics. Car seat installation specialists are there to help new parents (or people with a child visiting) make sure that they are installing their car seat or capsule safely and correctly every time. You’ll need to get qualified to do this; find out more at Children Restraints.


11. Tutor

Children of all ages sometimes need a bit of extra help. You may be able to provide private tutoring to younger children who need to catch up at school or to high school students studying for a particular exam. Depending on requirements and specialisations, tutors can earn $10-$50 an hour.


12. School drop driver

Busy working parents often don’t have time to do the school run every day, and if the kids are old enough to look after themselves at home, they may just need someone to help with transport to and from school. Demand may be higher in more remote areas where public transport isn’t available.

If you think this could be a good way to boost your income, you’ll need to have your own car, the right level of insurance, a clean driving record and police clearance to work with children.


13. Driving instructor

Towards the older end of the scale, children start learning to drive. Parents don’t always have the time or the inclination to help with this, so qualified instructors can earn around $60 an hour from giving driving lessons or supervising learners. Whether it’s in your own car or the family’s car, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct insurance and follow any government regulations.


14. Sports coach

This is a great one if you used to play in a school sports team yourself as you already have some knowledge of how the game is played. Speak to local schools or sports clubs to see if they have any coaching positions available. This kind of work is commonly paid on an hourly basis, but larger clubs might have salaried positions available too.


15. Sell baby products

An industry this big provides countless selling opportunities, whether it’s organic cotton blankets with personalised embroidery or themed baby clothes. Try selling at local markets or online with platforms like eBay and Gumtree.


16. Children’s photographer

If you have a passion for photography and a good dose of patience to go with it, consider offering your services for newborn photo shoots, birthday parties, cake smashes and family photos. Good photos are something that people are willing to invest in, but you could start off by doing some discounted sessions to establish your portfolio.


17. Teen independence workshop

Parents want the best for their teens as they make the transition to independence. This is why there are workshops set up for the purpose of teaching life skills such as money management, cooking and finding a rental. It’s also possible to take on a mentoring position where you help teens who perhaps don’t have other adult role models in their lives.

As you can see, from the fun to the more serious, there are plenty of ways that you can make a living by working with babies, children and teens. Have you found any inspiration in this list?



make extra cash

8 Ways to make extra cash if you love animals

07 May, 2017

People love their pets, and often devote as much time, attention and money to them as they would a child or loved one. This means the pet industry is a huge niche where there is the potential to make extra cash if you love animals.

If you like the idea of working with animals, here are some ways you could make some extra cash:


1. Dog walker

Dog walking is easy, requires very little (if any) outlay, and will help you get some exercise while you make extra cash. The only requirement really is that you like dogs. To advertise your services, print some flyers or list an ad online for your local area. You can expect to earn around $10-12 an hour as a dog walker.


2. Pet sitter

When pet owners are away they like their pets to feel at home. This has given rise to an increasing demand for pet-sitting services which bypass the need for a conventional boarding kennel.

You can be completely flexible with the days and times of year that you take on this kind of work. You may offer to look after pets in your own home, but many people combine it with house-sitting so it can even be a way to get a cheap holiday or save on rent for a while.


3. Dog/cat groomer

You might need some form of training if performing this service for certain breeds, but you could offer a general dog wash service with a clipper trim and nail clipping without any prior experience. There’s the potential to earn $20-70 extra cash per dog, depending on the services you offer.


4. Crate hire

If people bring a new puppy home, fly their pets interstate or take a dog to the vet they will need a crate. However, it’s expensive to buy one outright – especially if it’s for a one-off use – so pet owners look to rental services instead. You could invest in a crate or two and then advertise them in local pet shops, vet clinics or boarding kennels. To give you an idea of costs, airlines usually charge $50 to rent one of theirs to transport an animal.


5. Pet photography

If you already own a good camera and have an eye for a perfect shot, there is money to be made photographing pets. You could do this in a studio, in a more natural setting, or even at dog shows and events.

Start by attending some expos, shows and other events with your camera to get some practice. You could offer to send owners your snaps for free if they give you their details, but let them know you also offer pet photo shoots. You can earn anything from $200-$500 for a one-hour session once you’re properly established.


6. Pet burial

Many vets offer a burial or cremation service but with these the pet is usually buried in a public pet cemetery. Often, owners would prefer to have their beloved animal buried in a special place at home, but it’s doing the burial itself which puts them off. By offering this service you take away that emotional pain but still allow them to have their pet buried in a place that’s easy for them to visit. Do just check any council requirements before commencing this kind of work.


7. Pet transport

Advertise a pet transport service in your local grooming salons, doggy day cares and boarding kennels. You’d be surprised how many people use these services but don’t have time for the travel, for example if their office is in the opposite direction from home. They also may be put off by the idea of getting fur and dirt in their car and will happily pay someone else some extra cash to shoulder this inconvenience. You could also offer an airport pick-up and drop-off service if you live close to one.


8. Pet products

Pets these days are treated to their own special clothes, collars, novelty bowls, furniture and homes. Whether you sew your own little kitty outfits or make modern dog kennels for contemporary homes, there is a lot of money to be made from people who want their pets to have the very best. If you decide to go down this route, here are some tips for getting started with buying and selling.


make money selling online courses

Make money selling online courses: 6 tips to get you started

05 May, 2017

The online course industry is really taking off at the moment. From marketing to web design to knitting, people are hungry for knowledge and willing to pay for it, which is why now is the time you can make money selling online courses.

The market was worth $107 billion in 2015 according to Forbes – almost doubling from the previous year – and shows no signs of slowing.

So, if you’re looking for ways to grow your income and you own a camera of some sort (we’re guessing you do) then keep reading to find out more about how selling online courses can help you make money.


Tip 1: Look for a topic that has already been made into a course

We’re starting with the one that makes the least sense, but here’s the theory:

You think you’ve come up with a unique idea that nobody else has thought of yet? There’s a reason WHY nobody else has done it – there’s no demand. If there was, someone else would have cottoned on already.

The internet is pretty huge and the chances of finding a completely unique idea that’s in high demand are almost non-existent. Unless you’ve got some seriously good research to back up your idea, go for something that has already been made into a course and just put your own spin on it.

You needn’t worry about the competition you’ll face as there is room for more than a few fish in this enormous pond. Competition = demand, and that’s a good sign however you decide to make money.


Tip 2: Don’t try to get it perfect first time

Perhaps you’ve checked out the competition and found all kinds of flashy, professional videos and you’re wondering how you’ll ever compete.

The fact is, everyone who creates online courses to make money has to start somewhere. And quite often that’s with a whiteboard and a webcam in their spare room.

It’s more important to focus on the quality of the content than the quality of your video, as it’s your content that will get people hooked. Once you’ve started making a bit of money you’ll be able to afford a more professional recording environment and video editor.

Worrying too much about how your course looks means you’re losing out on potential revenue, so just get on with the recording and put something out there.


Tip 3: If you can’t think of a topic, just think of a problem

If you’re wondering what on earth you could teach that people would pay good money to hear, it’s as simple as identifying a problem that people face.

People invest in online courses that help them solve a problem. It could be learning a new piece of software or mastering a musical instrument. Anything from parenting to accounting can be covered in a course, as long as it addresses a need for information.

So all you need to do to create a course that will sell is identify a problem that people need to solve. Try asking around your friends and family, or searching online groups and forums in an area you’re familiar with to see what people are asking about. You just have to listen to the questions everyone is asking.

If you can create a repeatable course to address these issues, problem solved!

And before you say “But I know nothing about X, Y and Z”…


Tip 4: You don’t need to be an expert to make money

Some of the most successful online course creators started off knowing relatively little about their subject, but they taught as they learned and learned as they taught.

In fact, learning as you teach can help you structure the course in a logical way for your subscribers, since you’ll encounter many of the same questions as they do as they learn.

All you need to do is find books, ebooks, articles and videos on your chosen topic and study it intensely until you feel confident enough to start creating your course. Don’t feel that you have to be an expert before you start as you can keep educating yourself along the way.


Tip 5: People will pay for a course even if the information is out there for free

The information in your course may be freely available on the web, but people will pay for convenience. That’s the convenience of not having to filter through hundreds of websites to find the information you need, the convenience of not having to figure out which ones are legit and which are junk, and the convenience of having the information presented in clear, digestible chunks by a real person.

For those who are short on time but have a bit of cash to spend, an online course is the obvious choice.


Tip 6: Start small

Your first course doesn’t have to cover EVERYTHING you know about your chosen topic. It’ll take ages to create, especially if you’re still learning the ropes, and not everyone is after something that extensive.

Try breaking down your topic into smaller sections and doing a course on each one. That way people can choose to buy just one individual course that relates to their needs, but you have the chance to promote other modules they might be interested in.

You can start off with a small offering, for example three videos and an accompanying worksheet or template, and build it up from there. This approach is also the quickest way to start making money.

So, why not give online courses a try if you’re looking for ways to generate more passive income?



teaching online

Teaching online could be your ticket to real financial independence

05 May, 2017

Creating educational courses online has stormed to the top as a method to earn a very good income without the often futile grind of climbing the corporate ladder. Rather than commuting each day to a dull or dead end job that you grow to hate, teaching online lets you spend flexible time on subjects that are a real passion for you.

Many people have already successfully made the transition to an online career. Not only can it replace your current salary, it can often can lead to even more residual income as thousands of new students find your various materials that you previously posted on your website or channel.  There are a host of advantages to entice you to strongly consider such a venture and here are several of them:


Teaching online covers a huge variety of subjects

You may wonder what you can teach online. However, if you do a little web-surfing, the number of areas you can find where people are sharing their skills are nearly endless. The topics can vary from hobbies – music, cooking, crafts and photography – to more intense subjects such as computer programming, graphic design or carpentry.

You don’t have to be the very best expert on what you teach—you simply need to be knowledgeable and passionate about it. Teaching online has brought success to many who didn’t previously have experience with teaching.

Because there are so many potential viewers online, even a very narrow niche of knowledge can prove to be wildly sought after by enough people to make your online work very profitable. For example, you may know how to make or bake a certain kind of delicious food that others would like to try in their own kitchens.

While you may initially attract a limited amount of students, it is very common for online teachers to wake up and discover one day that their viewer-ship has suddenly jumped dramatically due to the far reach of the internet. Your online revenue can, in turn, suddenly jump long after your work has been published.


Your pay can greatly increase over time

In a normal job, you often exchange your time for a certain hourly rate. For example, if you are paid $25 per hour, the company will pay you $25 for that hour only one time. However, when teaching online, you can be paid over and over again for that same hour if you spend it creating a successful online course. It is not uncommon for online teachers to eventually earn more than a thousand dollars per hour after posting a well-received segment that took less than one week of work to finish. Now that’s one way to make an easy living!

Of course, it will be difficult to return to a regular job after you experience that big wave of income from a successful online course. The good news is that the exposure gained from such a breakthrough hit will translate to followers who will often eagerly return to view your next set of material, multiplying your income once again. These same courses often are viewed for many years, producing yet more passive income. The internet is what makes this possible for so many new teachers who may never have been able to do so before.


The internet classroom has unlimited seating

The cost per viewer of each additional student is minimal. Aside from further promotion that you may wish to undertake, you will spend no more time creating a course that a handful of students watch versus one that is seen by thousands.

Obviously, when you go to a gym and attend a fitness class, the class size is limited by the four walls to maybe 20 or 30 people. If the gym wants to expand, they must add a new room or move to a bigger facility. Either that or the fitness instructor must schedule more classes. With the digital age, these two problems are eliminated for online teachers. The internet classroom can quite limitlessly grow with time or with a little more promotion.


The online course market is $100 billion and growing

Forbes reported recently that in 2015, the online course market reached $100 billion and is still growing.  New students continue to find that online learning is convenient and cost effective. So there is still plenty of room for more teachers and courses to develop in the coming years.

Udemy, a very popular hosting website for numerous online courses, boasts 9 million students from some 190 countries throughout the world. By mid-July, 2015, their top 5 instructors garnered more than $13 million in combined income.

Some estimate that about 1 billion people now have jobs that require advanced education. There are another 1 billion who seek to advance their careers and will pursue further education to meet that goal. Just a small fraction of these potential students are necessary to create massive revenue growth. It would not be unlikely for a site like Udemy to grow from 9 to 90 million users given that perhaps a billion people will seek some type of education, online or otherwise.


Sites such as Udemy and Skillshare can rapidly advance your new courses

As a testament to the power of the internet for learning, Udemy is already a large partner of online instructors who wish to harness a larger market. Udemy has a platform that is well developed for getting huge traffic to online course materials. Not only is it a great marketing site for online teaching, it already has the payment and subscriber system established. It truly is a “plug and play” website for your new online teaching career.

If you do not know how to do online marketing or simply do not enjoy the promotional side of the business, Udemy is the place for you. Regardless of whether you use this service, you own your course materials and you are free to host your courses elsewhere.  You can then build even more revenue by diversifying the placement of your course content.


Tools now exist to create your own instructional website

If you are willing to do your own website, there are online applications that make it easier to host your own instructional materials. Some popular ones are Teachable and ZippyCourses. These tools are installed on your own website so that you don’t have to create your own billing and subscriber software.  Additionally, they quickly make your website both attractive and professional in appearance.

Internet success stories have emerged where individuals have started online schools such as BitFountain that took in more than a million dollars without the two original partners ever having to give up their travelling lifestyles. The flexibility of teaching online is highly sought-after and allows you a more balanced lifestyle than traditional teaching or most other careers.


Subscribers will buy online courses despite free internet sites

Sceptical thinkers understandably believe that online courses cannot be very well subscribed if other internet sources can be found that do not charge any fees. However, experience has borne out that plenty of customers can be found who will pay for well organised content rather than have to search through numerous free sites that do not clearly and succinctly teach the same information. This is especially true with an online instructor who backs up the course and is available to help with questions on course materials.

A paid online course can be popular because followers would rather be presented with an enjoyable paid presentation by a quality instructor rather than search for hours through questionable YouTube channels and tedious websites only to find that the information is not well assembled in any convenient place. The bottom line is that people will always pay more for convenience and quality.


Teaching online can positively impact the world

As mentioned above, sites like Udemy allow some instructors to gain students from over 190 countries. This one unique aspect of the internet creates tremendous power for you to potentially spread positive learning experiences to places you would otherwise never dream of reaching. People from every continent can simultaneously view your material. This exciting benefit alone can give a meaningful purpose to your instructional work that was never before possible.


You don’t need to be an internet celebrity to make a nice living

While you will become more well known when people begin viewing your online courses, it is by no means necessary to be famous. In fact, plenty of regular everyday people have greatly surpassed the income that traditional teaching can provide once they started teaching online. Many of the happily successful online instructors have done so without previously being labelled a guru or having any notoriety whatsoever.

In fact, in this extraordinary growth segment of the internet, a lot of the current online instructors who decided one day to voice their knowledge through cyberspace are just ordinary people—maybe people that are just like you!


freelancing on Upwork

How to make money by freelancing on Upwork

05 May, 2017

If you have a skill and a little time on your hands, did you know there is money to be made by freelancing, and there’s a place where thousands of potential clients are listing jobs right now? We’re talking about freelancing on Upwork, a global freelancing platform formally known as Elance-oDesk.

Now perhaps you’ve heard bad things about Upwork which have put you off giving it a go. Or maybe you tried finding work on one of its previous incarnations and had no luck or ended up working for next to nothing.

Even if you’re completely new to the concept of finding freelance work online, here is a guide to understanding how Upwork operates and how to get yourself established and earning decent money on there.

Until you’ve tried everything covered here, don’t rule it out as a potential revenue stream.


Understanding the system when freelancing on Upwork

Many freelancers steer clear of Upwork because they think it’s too complicated to use, overflowing with low-paid workers, or too difficult to break into as a newbie.

None of these are entirely true.

Yes, it can be tricky to secure your first job, but there are various things you can do to make this easier (we’ll cover these later on). There are plenty of freelancers willing to work for very low rates, but there are also clients willing to pay more for the best talent – which makes freelancing on Upwork so much lucrative.

The whole purpose of Upwork is to connect people who need stuff done with people who can do that stuff. Of course, Upwork takes a cut of each payment but the percentage decreases the more you work with a particular client.


It’s all about trust

Upwork wants freelancers to be able to build long-term relationships with clients, but it takes trust to make that first step. Therefore, the platform is full of features and algorithms that aim to help build trust between clients and freelancers, as well as giving users trust in Upwork itself as a credible place to find freelancers or get hired.

Their transparent feedback system and hourly work payment guarantee are just two examples of this.

In order for you to climb the ranks quickly and get the best-paying jobs, you need to focus on two things: building your credibility and staying relevant.

There are no tricks or gimmicks required here; just common sense and some of your time.

Factors that contribute to your reputation include:

  • A professional photo
  • Your job history
  • Your job success
  • Ratings from past clients
  • Client testimonials
  • Scores on relevant tests
  • The quality and clarity of your profile, description and cover letters

When it comes to writing your profile, be specific about the skills you can offer and make sure they are relevant to today’s market.

The more specific the skills and services you list, the more likely you are to get picked up by exactly the right clients.

So instead of saying you’re good at writing, for example, list the kinds of writing that you have experience in. This could be copywriting for product descriptions, SEO article writing, or ebook writing. This helps the client see that you can deliver whatever they’re after in today’s market.

To learn more about freelancing on Upwork, check out our other article here.


freelancing career

4 reasons to kick-start your freelancing career on Upwork

05 May, 2017

After two online work marketplace giants – oDesk and Elance – merged in 2015, they relaunched under the name Upwork to create an even larger platform for individuals who enjoy a freelancing career.

These platforms have earned a bad reputation in some circles due to the abundance of overseas workers offering crazy low rates, but Upwork has taken steps to address this and there is still a lot of potential for Aussie freelancers who want to get some extra work.


Getting your freelancing career started on Upwork

Starting a freelancing career can be a little overwhelming at first because of the sheer volume of jobs posted on the site (around 3 million a year, they say). You can filter these by category and keyword, but still, many of those that appear in your results may not be relevant. Others may simply be too low-paid.

However, there are plenty of great work opportunities to be found if you can get to grips with the system and hold out for the right ones to come along.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just applying for a job and having it handed to you on a plate; you’ll need to put some time into setting up your profile and showing that you have the required skills.

Many freelancers find that the biggest hurdle is the first job, as many recruiters are wary of hiring someone with no experience or reviews on the platform. But once you complete a few projects your rating will build and you’ll find new clients are less reluctant to hire you.

It’s then that Upwork really comes into its own; where else can you find hundreds of clients actively looking for someone with your skills to start a project straight away? No networking, socialising, marketing or posting to tons of job sites required.

Upwork is a great place to kick-start your freelancing career (or make some cash on the side) for many reasons, but here are four scenarios where it can be particularly handy:


1. You need money and you need it NOW

If you’re time-rich and cash-poor, it’s easy to get work on Upwork by dropping your rate. This isn’t ideal long-term, but the great thing is that you’re only committing to one or two projects at a time and can raise your rate at any point for subsequent jobs.

So if you’re strapped for cash and just need something coming in to your bank account, consider this approach.

Once you gain more experience, don’t be afraid to raise your rates. It may put some clients off, but you should be comfortable with the level of income you’re making. You may even find that setting your rate higher attracts a better quality of client.


2. You can afford to hold out for the very best jobs

On the other end of the scale, if you’re not desperate for income and are confident charging higher rates, you can afford to be more selective. Set a rate you’re comfortable with and stick with it. You may not get as many jobs, but those you do get will pay well.

In the meantime, keep honing your skills and optimising your profile, and be deliberate in your approach to applying for jobs. You can check out your competition by searching the ‘Freelancer’ section rather than the ‘Jobs’ section of the site.

Do be aware that you may still need to drop your rate to secure your first few jobs while you get some ratings to your name. It’s tough to get hired at a high rate when you have zero feedback from other Upwork clients.


3. You’re wondering whether to launch your own website

If you’re new to freelancing and don’t have much experience, Upwork can be a good place to begin. It will let you get a feel for the market you’re in and the kinds of services you are able to offer. Just as importantly, you’ll discover which types of work you really enjoy doing and which tasks are really not worth it.

You may settle into the Upwork way of doing things, but if you’re planning to set up your own business to offer your services directly, Upwork is still a good source of experience and client contacts to get you started.

Think of it as a filler that lets you keep earning while you figure out what you really want to do.


4. You want to better understand the market and develop a niche

You can even use Upwork for research without ever earning a penny on the site. If you’ve decided that freelancing platforms just aren’t right for you, you can still tap into them to access a wealth of information.

Search for jobs in your area of expertise and find out what kinds of things clients are after. When it comes to finding clients independently it’ll help if you have a specific niche you’re appealing to, and Upwork can help you identify exactly where the demand is.

You can also check out your competition there and see what other freelancers are working for and how they are pitching their services.

Regardless of which stage of your freelancing career you find yourself in,  you’ll find ways to make money and gain insights on Upwork. Don’t be put off by all the negative press you might see; give it a go for yourself and you might be surprised how much you can make if you go about it right.


Your freelancing career on Upwork – the key points:

  • Starting a freelancing career is easier than you might think, thanks to a huge platform such as Upwork, but you’ll need to start by setting up your profile and adding plenty of detail about yourself
  • If you’re in need of some fast cash you can lower your rate so you win more jobs
  • Alternatively you can set your rate high and be more selective about the work you do
  • If you’re in the process of setting up your own website, Upwork can act as a filler and provide you with valuable experience and contacts
  • You can even use the site just to do market research and find out what clients are really looking for


maximise your uber income

Seven ways to really maximise your Uber income

01 May, 2017

If you’ve been driving for Uber for a while but are unsure whether it’s really worth continuing, it may simply be that you need to change the way you go about it. There are several habits that can really eat into your profits when you’re driving to make money, and there are other things you can do to cut back your costs here and there and maximise your Uber income.

These things all add up, so here we’ll take you through seven areas where you might be able to squeeze a few more dollars out of each shift, even if you’re just offering ridesharing services part-time.


1. Hourly Guarantees

When Uber want to get their best drivers out on the roads because they anticipate high passenger demand they offer hourly guarantees as an incentive. They’d rather pay you that little bit extra if it means you’re ready to pick riders up when demand hits, because keeping wait times low is a great way to maintain customer loyalty.

Guarantees often focus around large events where there will be big crowds of people travelling to and from a particular location. So if you live in a town or city that has a big sports stadium or convention centre you may find plenty of opportunities to take advantage of hourly guarantees.

In this case Uber is encouraging drivers to be available around bar closing time over the weekend.

Note that you need to click the link to sign up and then enter your information if you want to opt in. If you don’t do this you won’t receive the guaranteed rate.

You must also meet additional criteria in order to qualify for this particular guarantee:

  • Opt in
  • Have a 90% acceptance rating for the whole week
  • Achieve a rating of 4.7 for the guarantee period
  • Complete at least 4 rides during the 2-hour guarantee period
  • Be in driver mode for at least 108 minutes of the 2-hour period.

Guarantee blocks can be longer or shorter and the criteria will vary accordingly. If several blocks are available, as in this example, the criteria will apply to each one individually. You may qualify for some but not others in any given week.

Uber will make up any shortfall as a bonus in your pay. So say, for instance, you worked Thursday from 1am-3am and picked up 4 rides but only made $40 from these, Uber would add an extra $10 to give you the guaranteed rate of $25 an hour.

Guarantees can change every week, and may only apply to certain areas in a city where demand is expected to be highest. Uber won’t pay you extra to wait around in your suburbs for a fare when everyone is pouring out of the bars downtown, for example.

Planning your driving hours around guaranteed hours can make a big difference to your paycheque each week.


2. Surge Pricing

Anyone who has travelled as a passenger with Uber will be familiar with the joys of surge pricing. When demand is high in a certain area, Uber raises standard prices to encourage more drivers to get out on the road, or to work longer than planned. This is all with the aim of minimising passenger wait time, and riders agree to pay a higher fare than usual in return.

Blocks where surge pricing is currently active will show up in different colours on your map according to the rate of increase.

While surge pricing is a great way to boost your driver income, that doesn’t mean you should just chase surge areas. Sometimes surges only last a few minutes and you could find that by the time you get there the price has dropped back down to normal. In the meantime, the area you were previously in may have experienced a surge which you missed out on.

So how can you maximise your Uber income from surge rates without chasing the surge? The answer is to learn where they commonly occur and at what times of day, and then be in those areas at those times. If you’re waiting for a ride, you may as well park up somewhere that you think a surge is imminent. There is likely to be high demand for rides just before a surge hits, anyway.

 Also, keep in mind that surge maps aren’t updated in real-time; only about once a minute. It’s therefore possible to pick up a rider in what is shown as a surge area, only to find that prices are back down to normal. Equally, you may get what you think is a normal fare but later discover that surge pricing was applied – the map just hadn’t quite updated to reflect this.


3. Fuel costs

As an Uber driver, your biggest expense will be petrol. There is no way around this cost, but there are plenty of ways you can help reduce it bit by bit so more of the money you make stays in your pocket.

To begin with, there are various mobile apps available which will show you which petrol stations are selling the cheapest fuel in your area. This means you don’t have to waste time and fuel driving around to check which one has the best rates on any given day.

You’ll need to do your own calculations to work out how far it’s worth driving in order to save one or two cents per litre of fuel. It might be something like 1km for every cent saved, but it’s worth knowing because otherwise you can end up spending more money driving to get cheaper fuel than you save on the fuel itself.

Also make sure you sign up for any free fuel cards available so you can collect points and claim rewards and discounts when they’re available. It all helps.

Next, take a look at your driving style and habits. Do you gun it around town, always first off the mark at the traffic lights? If so, try a more gentle driving pace and notice the difference it makes to your mileage from a full tank.

If you keep your engine idling between trips so you can heat or cool your car, this is also costing you in fuel.

Finally, be conscious of the amount of time you spend driving without a passenger, whether it’s driving around trying to find a hotspot or trips to and from home to feed the cat. Any non-essential trips without a passenger are costing you money, so do what you can to minimise them.

If you live in the suburbs but want to head to the CBD to get the best fares, for instance, try to pick up a passenger who’s heading in that general direction so the journey isn’t dead mileage for you.


4. Events

We’ve touched on this already, but here’s more detail on how events can boost your ridesharing driving income. Because there are so many people in one place at one time, often having travelled from out of town, there is usually high demand resulting in surge pricing and hourly guarantees.

The kinds of events to look out for include:

  • Sporting events
  • Conventions
  • Trade Shows
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Marathons
  • Parades
  • Political Rallies

And really anything else that draws big crowds to your city.

Uber sends out weekly emails notifying drivers of upcoming events. A single concert one night may not draw out-of-town crowds but a big festival that lasts a few days is more likely to attract people from further afield.

When there’s a big event spanning several days for which Uber is offering a lot of guaranteed hours, you may consider taking time off from your regular job to pick up as much driving work as possible. If you live in a smaller town, it could even be worth travelling to where these events are happening and booking a cheap room for a few nights – the demand can be that high.


5. Local knowledge

There’s one thing experienced drivers will always have over new drivers, and that’s local knowledge. The longer you drive for, the better you get to know peak times of day and areas that will have most passenger requests. These small things can all add up to maximise your Uber income.

You will learn how things work in your town or city as you gain experience driving there, but here are some general rules to consider:

In the mornings, passengers are often looking for rides to the airport from hotels. Hang around large apartment complexes to pick up commuters on their way to work, especially where several are clustered together housing thousands of residents.

In the late afternoon people will start heading out of their offices back home, so fares will peak in CBDs and office complexes. People who work at tech companies, particularly those on short contracts, have a higher tendency to use Uber.

In the early evening you’ll have people heading out of their homes to restaurants and entertainment venues, then later in the evening they’ll need a ride back home again. Universities can also be a good place to pick up groups of students off on a night out. At closing time, make sure you’re in the nightlife hotspots ready to transport people home as they leave restaurants, bars and clubs.


6. Bad weather

Another way to maximise your Uber income is simply to drive when other drivers don’t want to, and believe it or not, that’s often when it’s raining. Perhaps they don’t feel as confident driving during storms or they’d just rather not get wet, but bad weather will prompt more passengers to order a ride, especially for short distances that they would otherwise have walked.

Greater demand and fewer drivers means rainy days are a great time to increase your earnings, often with lots of surge pricing. Keep a few umbrellas in your car to help passengers stay dry walking to and from your car, and you’re more likely to get five stars and a tip from them too.


7. Taxes

Taxes are a complicated business and we won’t go into any detail on the topic here, but we will say this: If you’re driving for Uber and you’re not currently claiming any tax deductions, you’re almost certainly missing out. It can be as simple as a fixed rate per km if you log your trips properly, and this can make a serious difference to your profits.

Check the ATO website or speak to a financial advisor if you’re unsure what you are allowed to claim as a tax deduction for your driving expenses.


A summary of ways to maximise your Uber income:

  • As a new Uber driver you may not be earning much but there are several ways to cut costs and maximise your uber income so your profits increase
  • Plan to drive when guaranteed hours are in place
  • Take notice of surge trends: when and where do surges tend to occur in your town or city?
  • Minimise fuel costs by downloading an app to find the best prices, avoiding aggressive driving, and minimising time spent driving without a passenger
  • Large events often result in surge pricing and guaranteed hours, so it can be worth travelling to a nearby city or taking time off work to drive for these
  • Demand is usually higher when it’s raining, and fewer drivers work during bad weather so this is a good chance to pick up extra rides
  • Check your eligibility for tax deductions so you’re not paying more than is required



make money on uber

Make money on Uber: Here are 10 tips for you to make more!

01 May, 2017

Uber has really shaken up the taxi industry in recent years – not just here in Australia but in countries all over the world. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a great use of technology to digitally disrupt an industry that had become too complacent, or it’s a terrible invention which is making life difficult for those who have worked hard to establish themselves. If you already make money on Uber, you’re probably in the first group.

But whatever your opinion, you can’t deny that Uber is proving to be an innovative way for pretty much anyone who owns a car to make a living (or just top up their regular income).

So if you’re already an Uber driver or are considering becoming one, here are ten tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of it:


1. Try before you drive

Wouldn’t it be great if, before you started a new job, you could interview the company’s current employees and find out what they really thought about working there? Well with Uber, you can. Take a few rides yourself before signing up as a driver so you can ask questions (and check out the competition).

You might want to find out things like:

  • What laws affect you as an Uber driver?
  • Do you make a decent wage?
  • What challenges do you face?
  • When do you make the best profits?
  • Do you like this kind of work?


2. Advertise stuff as you make money on Uber

The ridesharing industry has given rise to a new type of advertising; there are now companies that will pay you to use the latest tech products in your car as a way of advertising them to customers.

CoPilot is one such site which provides different product packages and gives drivers free training too. Doing this can potentially increase drivers’ income by hundreds of dollars a week.


3. Check your insurance

Uber provides its own insurance but you should check with your personal insurance provider to make sure you’re not invalidating your policy by using it to make money on Uber commercially. Fortunately, many insurance companies are now offering policies just for ride-sharing drivers so you can be sure you’re covered if you do end up in an accident.


4. Keep business records

It might be tempting to pocket all the cash you earn on Uber, but it needs to be declared for tax purposes. The good news is that some of your mileage and vehicle costs are tax deductible, but you’ll need to keep detailed business records as evidence of these costs.

Don’t wait until tax time to try and work out what you can claim as a deduction; keep your records organised throughout the year so you can calculate your deductions without too much hassle. It’s worth the extra work as it could shave hundreds or thousands of dollars off your tax bill.


5. Give a bit extra

You might have read stories about drivers competing to provide the most elaborate perks for their customers in order to improve their ratings. All of this comes at a cost of course, but it doesn’t hurt to keep a case of water and some individually wrapped snacks in the back of your car. Having something to offer your riders can help improve their experience and increase your chances of that all-important five-star rating.


6. Don’t drive aimlessly

You’ll have time to fill between fares when it’s quiet, so make sure you have a book or something else to occupy you. Just driving around for the sake of it is unlikely to improve your chances of finding a fare and will just waste your fuel.

The only exception is if you’re surrounded by other drivers, in which case it may be a good idea to move to a quieter area.


7. Get your tunes right

It might seem petty for a rider to mark a driver down purely because of their music choice, but it happens. Keep a diverse selection of tunes to hand so that even the most demanding of customers can be kept happy.


8. Don’t hang out in the suburbs

If you’re hanging around waiting for a fare, make it somewhere busy. Suburbs aren’t where the profit’s at, plus they can be hard to navigate since all the streets look the same. Do, however, balance this with tip 6: weigh up the length of the trip back to a high-traffic area against the likelihood of getting a good fare from where you are now.


9. Plan around surge times

Driving during surge times can make a big difference to your profits, so plan accordingly. If all the bars downtown shut at 2am, be there to get the best fares. Also know the best places to wait during rush hour to optimise your fares.


10. Get educated

If you want to make money on Uber, you’ve probably gathered there is more to it than just signing up and getting behind the wheel. There are so many variables to consider, it can be difficult for new drivers to know how to maximise their profits.

One way to overcome this difficulty is to invest in a training course designed specifically for this industry, for example the ‘Maximum Ridesharing Profits’ course. You should see this as an investment in your education as the insider tips and techniques you learn in the course can help you cover the cost of the course itself in just a day or two of driving.

One thing’s for sure: there is money to be made in the ride-sharing industry if you approach it right, so it’s certainly worth considering as your next source of income.