Self Improvement

Business benefits of coffee

Whether you line up at Starbucks or you spend your mornings whacking the coffee machine in your kitchen because you refuse to buy a new one, coffee is part of many people’s lives. For some, it’s viewed as a crutch, and for others it’s a legal addiction. Either way, it’s not a bad thing, not at all.

Coffee offers a huge number of health benefits, along with a boost in your productivity. Join me as we look at all the ways it can help you and your business before diving into an infographic that further showcases the benefits of this wonderful brew.

The Hidden Power of Coffee (Infographic)

Once you’ve settled into a career, it’s time to start taking steps toward success. While it may seem like something small, coffee is a great start on that path. We all know it’s ability to wake us up, but it goes far beyond that.

Everyone drinks coffee, or at least, 64% of U.S adults over the age of 18 drink it. Here are some of the big reasons why drinking this brew cold, or hot, is a great idea:

  • You’ll live longer according to studies.
  • It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • It boots your attention span and your concentration
  • It lowers the risk of several types of cancer.
  • Coffee before an exercise helps you recover better

No matter how you slice it, a cup of joe is a good thing. Check out the infographic from On Blast Blog below for a deeper look into the magic of this delicious drink.


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Benefits of Working from home

The number of people working from home has dramatically increased over the last decade and a massive 4.2 million UK workers are working from home – that’s 13.9% of the workforce!

Many of us would love to sit in the comfort of our own home and watch the paychecks roll in, but in truth, working from home often has just as many cons as it has pros.

Whether you’re migrating away from the office or running an online business you’ll soon begin to notice some clear benefits and disadvantages of working remotely:

Skip to Advantages  Skip to Disadvantages

Advantages of Working from Home

Benefits of working from home

+ No Commuting Costs  The average commuting cost for a UK worker is £161Working from home means less or even no commuting – you can essentially give yourself a tidy payrise by ditching those long rainy journeys. Say goodbye to sky high fuel costs, parking tickets, train/bus fare and wear & tear on your car. Cutting down on the commute is also great for the environment!

+ Savings in Travel Time  By ditching the commute you gain back any time you’d normally spend travelling. The average daily commute time across the UK is 47 minutes. What would you do with the extra time? Another hour of work? An early morning workout?

+ Flexibility  Stepping away from the office environment allows you to set your own working schedule so that you can prioritise more effectively. On top of flexible working hours you also have complete flexibility over your working environment – whether that’s your home office, a restaurant, a coffee shop or even your local library.

Increased flexibility allows you to tend to personal matters at more suitable times including doctors appointments, calling utility providers, car MOTs, weekly food shops or family emergencies.

+ Less Stress and Distractions – The first 10 minutes of the day can be very stressful, you know the feeling:

It’s 8:45. You have 40 unread emails, your manager needs a report on their desk ‘ASAP’ and team members are in desperate need of your assistance…

The nature of the office environment makes it very easy for other people to set your agenda for the day based on their needs. Working from home removes these distractions and allows you to prioritise your own work.

A distraction in itself may only take you two minutes to deal with but studies have shown that it can take up to twenty minutes to regain concentration after you have been distracted. By working remotely you can limit the amount of distractions you encounter and therefore increase your productivity.

+ Proximity to Home & Family – With long days and equally long travel times it can be hard to be there for family. Working from home allows you to be closer to your relatives and gives you the flexibility to visit them at any time. This is especially important for parents and elderly carers as they can have the peace of mind that they are available if they are ever needed.

+ Improved Health & Fitness – With time saved on commuting and the ability to set your own schedule you can set aside time to focus on your well-being. This could be a workout in the morning/lunch break or even just a 5 minute walk to clear you head.

Working from home also means you have access to your own fridge and kitchen facilities; this gives more opportunity for healthier meals and snacks without the limitations of the crammed office fridge and faulty microwave.

+ No Workwear – In the office environment, it is often required that you dress in a certain way. Financing your workwear tends to be a costly, ongoing process that leads to you working all day in uncomfortable attire. Working from home gives you the ability to wear what you are comfortable with.

*Be careful though, dressing too casually can create an informal atmosphere which in turn can effect your quality of work. In short, find middle ground between a dressing gown and a full suit.

Disadvantages of Working from Home

disadvantages of working from home

Isolation/Lack of social interaction  Working in an office, you become accustomed to the day to day chat with co-workers, work related discussions and team brainstorming sessions. This is very different compared to working by yourself at home which can be quite isolated once you are removed from such a social environment.

 Difficulty in Separating Home from Work – When you’re working in the same place you are living it can be very difficult to separate home life from work life. In this respect, it is important to set up a dedicated area of your house that becomes your ‘working zone’ and use the rest of the house for relaxing, eating, family etc. Without these guidelines in place you can often find that work never stops which can be detrimental to your family life.

 Lack of Competitive Spirit – Let’s face it. Nothing feels better than doing a better job than your peers. Having the highest levels of productivity, creating impressive quality work. In fact, some of us rely heavily on the element of competition to motivate ourselves at work. A well fostered team environment can be a fantastic asset in driving people to generate results.

With this in mind, there’s a great deal of satisfaction and praise available for those that work hard in the office environment. Once you remove yourself from this competitive territory you’ll find that the only person you really need to prove your worth to is yourself.benefits of working from home

– More Distractions – Depending on your working environment at home, remote working can very often present it’s own form of distractions. This is especially the case if you are in the house with family members or even pets as interruptions can be very frequent and time consuming.

 Need for High Self Discipline / Motivation – Working from home is a real test of strong will and determination. With no managers keeping an eye on you and no team members looking up to you, you can essentially do what you want with your time. It is far too easy to turn on the radio, television or even a games console just to break silence which can greatly reduce the quantity and quality of your work.

One of the most common distractions when working from home is procrastinating by spending your work time on personal chores. To ensure you remain productive Ella Gascoigne from StartUp PR advises that you ignore your chores, keep the TV turned off and leave long chats with family until you are out of your specified ‘work hours’.

 Alienated from Company Developments  A lot can go on at the office in an average working day: morning meetings, company updates, team developments, successes, problems, changes to processes etc.

If you’re working away from the office for long periods there will be a great deal of information that you will miss out on. This can often alienate you from the rest of your team and you may even miss out on opportunities simply because you are not physically present.

 Limited Delegation Capabilities – If you work in a managerial role, you will appreciate how easy it can sometimes be to quickly complete big projects & large volumes of work by delegating responsibility around the team. When you step out of the team environment your team may need to set their own agenda of work each day.

Your knowledge of each individuals workflow may become clouded and delegating from a distance can lead to inconvenient interruptions rather than the quality results you could once achieve. In this respect, some jobs just aren’t suited to remote working.

Additional Expenses/Overheads  Despite the savings on commuting costs, working from home can have it’s own costs that would normally be covered by your employer. You may see an increase in your utility bills from extra use of heating or air conditioning. You may also need to purchase equipment that you would normally use in your office such as printers, scanners and other such equipment.

– Lack of Face to Face Communication  Some conversations need to take place face-to-face, if one of your team/co-workers is having personal/performance issues it can sometimes be very impractical and impersonal to try and resolve this over the phone.

Occasionally, these conversations can also be highly time sensitive meaning you shouldn’t wait until the next time you are in the office to address them. With this in mind, you should consider whether working from home will be detrimental to your effectiveness in your role.

 – Perception Despite the huge increase in the number of people working from home, some peers and employers don’t take remote working seriously. Family and friends may ‘pop in’ at inappropriate times and prospective employers may steer away from workers that they feel do not wish to be physical present at work.

Should I Work from Home?

When considering working from home, it’s important not to be put off by the disadvantages. However, it’s worth considering whether working from home would be the right fit for you. It is also worth thinking about which of these disadvantages would concern your employer if you were to propose the idea to them.

If you’re looking to improve your remote working effectiveness, Michelle from Making Sense of Cents shares some great tips on how maintain concentration levels when working from home.

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Many of us are slaving away our youth in return for the early retirement; hoping that we can put our feet up before we see the first sign of a grey hair. But what if you could have it all now? What if you had a powerful flow of income coming in month after month regardless of what you do with your time?

Your Activity

Close your eyes (I’ll still be here when you open them), take 2 minutes and imagine what you would do each day if you had the time, the freedom and the money?

A Reality Check?

If you’ve tried the above exercise, it may come as a surprise that this concept is much harder to visualise than you might think.

We are often restricted in that society preaches the importance of realistic goals. Dreaming of being an astronaut when I was eight was a harmless feat but sharing the same notion with my colleagues today could evoke a very different response. Why? Ambition scares people. Peers may feel jealous or threatened by your ambitious ideas and with this it doesn’t take us too long to convince ourselves that we’re not worthy of living such a magnificent dream.

But maybe, just maybe we should start to visualize these ‘unrealistic’ dreams; put pen to paper and work out what it would actually cost us to live them out. What would you need to do to work remotely from a coffee shop on the Tenerife coast? What would it take for you to quit your job so that you could spend more time with your kids? How much would you need to build your own home or take your family on the holiday of their dreams?

I Challenge You to Design Your Dream Life

Sometimes we are so good at thinking outside the box that all we can see in the road ahead is a slightly modified version of what we have now. So here’s my challenge, take it or leave it. You’re going to design your perfect lifestyle that you’d love to lead in 24 month’s time. And then… we’re going to add a little math.

Step One – Dare to Dream

Write down each of your material wants, the places you’d like to go and the activities you’d take in the life you would love to lead. Be detailed, be extensive, be specific, be generous to yourself, but don’t you dare be realistic! Which model of Ferrari? How many weeks in Peru? You’re the architect here, put some measurements on your blueprint.

Step Two – Calculate

Take the above list and price it up – don’t be lazy, it’s your life! For anything that can be bought on finance, give a monthly cost. For anything that needs to be bought outright; list the full price. Here are some examples:

Full Price Items

  • The down-payment on your dream house
  • The total cost to take the entire family to the Caribbean for two weeks

Note: The total of these items will create your Target Capital

Monthly Items

  • The mortgage repayments on your dream house
  • The finance on the car of your dreams
  • Estimated living expenses

Note: The total of these items will create your Target Monthly Income

Step Three – Compare

Take a breath, this won’t hurt a bit.

Let’s say by some ‘miracle’ we’ll be living our dream lifestyle in 24 months. Divide your Target Capital by 24 to get a Monthly Savings Goal.

If you plan on working for yourself, creating passive income or doing a lot of travelling in this dream life, I’d like you to deduct your working salary from your total monthly income. This will create your Sustainable Monthly IncomeIf you’re planning to continue working a salaried job in your blueprint lifestyle; no need to deduct!

Finally work out the following:

Target Monthly Income + Monthly Savings GoalSustainable Monthly Income = The Gap

This figure you’re left with is the gap. The gap between you and your  dream life. Now it’s up to you to close this gap; will your current income strategy take you close to this figure in the near future? If not, maybe it’s time to think outside the box and take things back to the drawing board. Don’t just wait for that 5% pay rise in twelve month’s time. Search for ways to create passive income; invent and invest!

If any of you have ever read the ‘4 Hour Work Week‘ you’ll understand why I’ve written this post. What would you do if time and money were no object?

The wealthy man spends less than he earns and invests the difference. The investments make more money and that money is reinvested. All is well as long as temptation doesn’t kick in; you consistently avoid buying luxuries, don’t buy a liability like a new car and steer clear of any unwise mortgages.

But the reality is there will always be a point in your life when you are tempted to ‘invest’ in luxuries or purchase something now that you should wait for. This is where you might consider the way of the balanced investor.

The balanced investor understands the need for savings and security, he understands the potential for big gains from high risk investments. The balanced investor also wants to enjoy the time and the money that he access to right now.

Asset Allocation

You’ve cut down on your expenses, increased your income, you have filled your emergency fund and now you are spending less than you earn. Congratulations – you can now set aside a percentage of your earnings each month to save and invest. The question you should be asking yourself now is, where do you allocate these savings? The balanced investor allocates his assets into three buckets…

1. The Security Bucket

Your security bucket is very important for the long term growth of your wealth. Your security budget grows slowly and steadily over time. This can be in bonds, cash ISAs and savings accounts. Investments into your security bucket provide an almost certain return on investment at a specified period of time. For example, if you put money into a bond you can lock it away for a set number of years and gain around 4% each year. You have a fixed rate of interest and a fixed period of time. This is a slow incline but it is safe and guaranteed.

2.The Growth Bucket

Your growth bucket is your allowance to invest money into higher risk investments for a greater and faster rate of return. This can be in stocks or shares. You could even decide to invest in real estate or into business ventures. Decisions made in the growth bucket should be tactical, calculated and well researched due to the risk of loss; you should be prepared to lose money here and you should be even more prepared to learn some lessons along the way. Ensure you can utilise compounding growth here by reinvesting any earnings back into your growth bucket.

3. The Dream Bucket

This is the exciting bucket; the treat bucket, the ‘do I deserve it?’ bucket. You can put money aside each month to save for a vacation, a meal at your favorite restaurant, a new car, a holiday home or a private jet. You can put as much or as little in your dream bucket; by placing money in here you are highlighting that this is money you will enjoy and will enjoy and will not regret spending.

So there you have it, this is the asset allocation of a balanced investor. Depending on your age, your goals and your financial awareness you can decide to allocate as much or as little to each bucket. The important consideration is that you are active in learning to benefit from growth investments whilst protecting yourself with an ever-increasing security fund. To hear a little more about asset allocation, check out Tony Robbins’ talk on Financial Freedom.

How are you currently allocating your savings? Do you feel guilty enjoying your money?

There are thousands of ways to make money in today’s economy; you can make money by dressing up as a hotdog, giving out leaflets, running admin tasks from the comfort of your bed or by starting your own business selling personalised cupcakes! Once you’ve chosen a good (and legal) idea, there’s virtually nothing stopping you from making a living from it. But the hard part is knowing which venture deserves your hard work and time.


To succeed in business, you have to be in business. Anon


The truth is that if you really want to make good money from a venture and you immerse yourself in the industry and invest all of your time and hard work into it, it is very likely that you will succeed. Sounds great right? Yes! Now what happens when another great idea comes along and you decide that you’ll spend half of your time on that and half your time on your original idea? Logic dictates that you will have half of the success from each of these… Tricky. And I don’t like to think about what happens when that next idea comes along; a third of the success from each. Is that acceptable? Am I maximising my revenue?

Cleansing Your Idea Stash

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart; I used to make and sell various items at school, take on various jobs whilst earning a side income from coaching. I’m a restless soul and If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in these years it’s that I’m never short of ideas but I am always short on time. From being a dedicated multi-tasker I’ve always managed to be just one or two steps away from success in my field of choice. So here’s my plan; I’m going to go through an ideas cleanse over these next few weeks. I have listed all of the commitments that are taking a large proportion of my time and am beginning to strip out ventures or projects that have the lowest long term value for me. For example; I have recently set up a copywriting gig on Fiverr that is becoming quite successful, however, it is clear to me that I can earn more from my time by using it for more important ventures so have decided to shut the gig down. But how can you decide which ventures to keep and which ones to let go of?

How to Choose The Right Venture

Anthony Robbins often says that you need to “ask the right questions to get best answers”. So to decide which venture will hold the most value to you, you should find the venture that provides the highest hourly pay and then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this side hustle/venture making you more or less than your hourly wage?

If you can make more money doing something else with your time then it may be worth reevaluating your priorities. You can always get your money back but you can never get your time back! This point is very important unless you can answer “YES” to the next two questions…

  • Is the side hustle / venture scalable? Is there potential to earn a lot more in the future?

If your idea can be molded into a profitable business then it may be worth putting in those hard extra hours in order to prosper in the future. A great example of this is a blog; the more work that you put into a blog the more value it creates. Your hourly wage will increase from there if you persist in adding more value each time you work on it.

  • Do you enjoy doing your venture? Can you see yourself doing the same thing in two years time?

If it is a scalable idea then rest assured that it will require hours and hours of your time every week. Estimate how many hours a week you will need to commit, then double it! With that in mind, you need to really enjoy the work in order to become financially independent. Could you see yourself doing the same work as now in two years? It may take that long before your venture starts to take off, you have to work hard and be patient!

Do you have more ideas than you have time? How do you decide on which opportunities to take up?


Study Abroad

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There's a lot to think about when you're moving abroad to study in a new country; is your accommodation going to be ok? Do...