Earning Money as a Freelance Researcher

Access to the internet makes everyone seem capable of learning what they need to know on their own. However, the sheer volume of information available online—not to mention the knowledge which remains exclusively offline—means there’s a premium placed on finding exactly what you need to know and making sure that information is accurate.

This is where becoming a paid researcher becomes a potential opportunity to earn income. By knowing how to cut through the irrelevant noise, isolate reliable sources, and search for the truth, graduate students can make some decent money and gain valuable experience in the process.

Let’s take a look at the important things to know and know about before getting started:

Tools

While much of what you do as a freelance researcher will be done online, there’s a good chance you’ll also find yourself visiting traditional libraries and archives. This is especially true if conducting historical research on behalf of a client, particularly if it involves finding information about a local community, building, or individual from the past. With this in mind, it’s important to have a few tools available. The first is a document scanner you can use on your smartphone. This enables researchers to digitize book pages, newspaper articles, maps, and other pieces of information they find in hard copy format. Another useful tool for freelance researchers is a compact laptop for quick data entry and on-the-go digital detective work.

Resources

The first stop for most research – both paid and unpaid – is Google. The right recipe of words can lead you down the right path. But since the internet is full of unreliable sources full of conjecture and – sometimes – outright lies, those earning money via research need to be more selective about where they get their information. While by no means impervious to error, academic databases and journals are where key sources of reliable, peer-reviewed information can be found. The content produced by reputable news agencies is another valuable source of accurate accounts and trustworthy information.

Tips

Most subjects, no matter how esoteric, have articles and books devoted to digging into the details. Accessing these condensed sources of information can save researchers a lot of time and trouble, but those being paid to get to the truth about a topic need to avoid relying on a single source of information. Always make an effort to get to the primary sources on which the information found in articles and books is based. Personal accounts, contemporary journalism, scientific data, and legal documents are just some of the primary resources worth uncovering.

Finding Clients

Learning how to be an expert researcher is one thing, but finding people willing to pay for that service is another. Graduate students can start by putting fliers and posters up on campus. Billboards found in most university buildings are seen by hundreds of people every day, many of whom are going to consider the benefits of paying someone else to do research for them. Word-of-mouth generated from this base group of clients can lead to other opportunities as well. Affordable online advertising is another avenue to consider.

Getting Paid

Most people don’t carry cash anymore and checks can potentially bounce. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with a service like Paypal or Venmo. Create an account and have clients make their payments that way. Send invoices once you’ve collected the information they want, and wait until the money is safely in your account before handing your findings over to them. Money in an online account can be transferred to your personal bank, making them ideal for doing research on behalf of anyone anywhere.

Gaining Experience

Doing professional-grade research on behalf of clients can give grad students an incredible amount of relevant experience. You’ll most certainly need to do similar research of your own in pursuit of your master’s or doctoral thesis. Years of conducting paid research on a wide variety of subjects will introduce you to the tools, techniques, and resources which will be used to get your advanced degree.

It might seem like everybody is capable of learning anything thanks to the internet, but doing so requires a specialized ability to weed through the irrelevant and unreliable. This is a skill that can be used to earn income, so why not give it a shot?

4 Pressing Health Questions Answered

How hard is it to get a straight answer these days? One would think with the vast array of information available online, anyone would be able to find reliable sources on health issues quickly. Yet, in reality, it’s never been more difficult to tell medical facts from fiction. If you’ve got a pressing health concern, but don’t know where to go for help, then this blog is for you. Here, we’ll tackle four common health and healthcare issues and explain them in plain English:

Is Diet or Exercise More Important?

There’s a reason why diet and exercise are linked so closely. It’s because both play a major role in weight loss and overall health and wellness. Unsurprisingly, though, sticking to a diet while also exercising regularly is hard. It’s much easier to do one or the other. So which one is more important? The bad news is that they’re both vital to long-term health and fitness. While it’s true that you can’t outwork a poor diet, dieting without exercising can lead to its own set of problems.

Can You Trust Online Diagnoses?

In short, no, you can’t trust online platforms that purport to give diagnoses based on a person’s description of a problem. At the end of the day, professionals can only determine so much about a health issue based on a cursory review. For instance, knee pain could result from a myriad of issues ranging from a pulled muscle to cartilage damage to multiple sclerosis. Self-diagnosis is dangerous because it can lead people to think they have –– or don’t have –– a condition when the opposite is the case.

How Often Should You See a Doctor?

Any time you experience pain or notice any sort of physical abnormality, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. However, even if you “feel” healthy, you should still make it a point to visit your doctor at least once a year. There are a number of serious conditions that don’t always manifest in obvious ways. Thankfully, doctors have access to sophisticated lab equipment like 10ml serological pipettes that will allow them to identify potential issues and provide you with cogent health advice!

Do You Really Need Health Insurance?

Yes –– everyone absolutely needs health insurance! Of course, health insurance isn’t cheap, but it’s vital to have all the same. Without it, individuals may have to pay thousands out-of-pocket for vital medical care. So just because you’re young and relatively healthy, it doesn’t mean you can forego this vital service. (Consider, for instance, that the average hospital stay costs over $10,000.) It’s not fun to think about, but insurance can help you get through a health struggle with minimal stress and cost.

Help the Planet and Your Pockets! Eco-Friendly and Creative Ways to Save Money

If we asked you what are some of the major issues of our society nowadays, what would you say?

We’re almost 100% certain you’d mention the economy and the environment, and you’d be right to say so. These are two well-known issues that affect most of us, but what some of us might not know is how to start fighting them. Thankfully, we have some answers for you!

Many people think that switching to organic living would be expensive. If you try to make optimal or smart use of the available resources, you may not only be able to conserve them for a longer time but also save money in the process. 

Keep reading and learn six creative ways to save money as well as our planet.

1. Eat Fewer Animal Products

Many people believe that being a vegetarian or a vegan is way too expensive and, for that reason, they continue to buy animal products on a regular basis.

Our challenge for you is that next time you go grocery shopping, you compare the prices of the vegetables and fruits with the price of meat. Quite different, aren’t they?

You don’t need to go fully vegan but eating less meat will help save the planet and your money.

2. Take Shorter Showers

Yes, we know how relaxing it feels to take a long, hot shower. But do you really need it? Even cutting your shower time by two or three minutes every day makes a difference – in the end, it all adds up!

And since we’re on the topic of showering, think about this: do you ever use the hot water tap without also using the cold one? If not, turning down your water heater is also a good idea. 

3. Grow Your Food

Your ability to follow this tip depends on how much space you have available at your place. If you have a small backyard, why not start planting vegetables that grow well in the weather conditions you live in?

If you live in a small apartment, don’t worry, you can still grow something you probably use on a daily basis: herbs! 

Not just vegetables, there are many other things that you can make at home to save money rather than to go out and purchase. Who knows growing your food or making your own beer to save some dough could turn into a fun hobby for you and your family. 

4. Shop at Second Hand-Stores

Fast fashion is one of the biggest producers of waste there is, with 85% of textiles ending up in landfills every year. Furthermore, this industry uses colossal amounts of water (it takes 2700 liters of water to produce one single cotton shirt) and emits 5% of global CO2 emissions.

The good news?

There’s a rising number of clothing stores where you can buy second-hand pieces that are both unique and affordable! 

5. Start Using Your Bike Again

The effects of global warming have become increasingly evident all over the world over the past years and one of the biggest contributors to this major issue is car pollution.

Considering the amount of gas that our cars emit, this isn’t hard to understand.

Yet how many times have you used your car when you could have perfectly ridden or even walked there?

Using your bike (or your feet) will help you reduce your eco-footprint, save money on gas and stay active. What else could you ask for?

6. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle

Single-use plastic is completely 2000 and late and we all know that by now.

So if you still buy plastic bottles, it’s time to change that! By purchasing a reusable bottle, you’ll help reduce the demand for single-use plastic and you’ll be saving money by drinking tap water instead of the often overly-priced bottled water.

Do You Know More Creative Ways to Save Money and the Planet?

The tips we mentioned above are some of the most popular ways of helping the environment while also saving some bucks. But the truth is that there are plenty more creative ways to save money and the Earth!

Do you know of any? If so, let us know in the comments below.

And while you’re here, why not join our group and learn more about living a sustainable life?

Reasons Why A Well-Planned Sales Strategy Guarantee Business Success

Planning and creating strategies are necessary for any business. In fact, creating good plans for sales and marketing are assets that can contribute to the value of your company. But the aspects you take into consideration, and that go into planning, are as important and will to a large measure determine how effective your plan will be.

Here are the things that you should be aware of and take into consideration when you make a sales strategy for your company so that it does not cause your business to weaken, and increases sales tremendously.

Make Sure Your Sales Strategy is Backed by Facts

Too often, companies create sales strategies that are based on hope s and dreams. They have ideas about how big the market is for your products and services, and the amount of effort it will take to gain customers, many of whom must be wrested away from competitors. Using accurate assumptions in your sales strategy helps you to accurately manage your resources and your company’s expectations as well. Make sure that any assumptions you utilise are verified and backed with factual information. If there is any doubt, check things again. 

Pay Attention to the Current Environment

Is your business area growing, shrinking or remaining steady? Each situation will call for a different approach to sales. You should be sure of the status of the marketplace and also take into account the overall business environment, and this data should be included in your sales strategy.

Put the Right Sales Team Together

Your sales team is the point of contact with your clients in terms of getting them to buy your products or services. Make sure that they represent you well and are dedicated to making your business successful. Do not settle for the group you have simply because you employ them.

Whoever you have on staff should be the person you would pick and any conditions. If you do not have faith in them you will always second guess their decisions and abilities. This will cause your company to miss its goals and give you way too much extra work trying to manage them. So if needed, rebuild your sales team with the right people.

Provide Continuous Encouragement

Salespeople are generally Type A personalities who need constant reinforcement and emotional support. Give them good salaries and perks like the best health insurance and good bonuses. You should work closely with them, so they see that you are there and to understand when any of them is feeling down. Also ask their input on the sales strategy and allow them to provide input. If you create the right environment around their input and give them bonuses when they are right, what they say will likely increase sales.

Make a Full Commitment

When you decide to move on your sales strategy, you should go at it aggressively. To do this, you must have the right team, and the resources required. If you cannot execute on the sales strategy as planned for any reason, rethink the plan. Making a half-hearted effort will not only cause failure, it will also demoralise your team. Instead create a strategy and plan that your team can win with and make sure they have the tools to get it done.

Be Prepared to Make Adjustments Fast

Even great sales strategies need fine-tuning, and you should expect that large portions of your plan might need to be modified or scrapped once it is put in practice. Rather than continuing to try and make something unworkable, work, make quick adjustments that ring better results. The faster you do this, the less momentum and enthusiasm you will lose with your sales staff.

Your plan can be great, but if you do not do all of the other things relating to implementing your great plan, sales will suffer. So take the time to do everything needed to get your sales flying. 

4 lessons from the Navy SEALs for a better life

The U.S. Navy SEALs are one of the world’s most elite special forces units. Oftentimes, the SEALs are tasked with executing the most difficult missions in some of the most challenging conditions all around the world. The acronym for SEAL actually stands for United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team.

Thus, whether you’re looking to join the world’s toughest special forces unit or just trying to get a leg-up in life, here are some things that we can learn from the Navy SEALs.

1. Make your bed everyday

During the 2014 University of Texas commencement, Admiral William H. McRaven; SEAL and ninth commander of the U.S Special Forces had this brilliant piece of advice to give; make your bed every day.

This is a deceptively simple habit that has been ingrained in soldiers all over the world. As part of their morning routine, soldiers are required to make their beds. Doing so instills a sense of discipline in yourself while also helping you achieve the first task of the day.

From here, you’ll be able to gain the momentum to continue throughout the day. Whether it’s meeting clients or showing up for work on time, making your bed sets the standard for the rest of the day. Also, if you’ve had a particularly bad day, coming home to a neat and well-made bed can be a source of comfort.

2. Build up your mental strength

For those brave enough to attempt it, BUDs or Basic Underwater Demolitions Training lasts about 24 weeks where candidates undergo some of the most grueling tests imaginable. From sleep deprivation to brutal water competency tests in freezing water, less than 30% of candidates attending training pass selection. 

With such an intense training regime and a nigh-on impossible selection, there should be no doubt that SEALs are some of the toughest soldiers in the world. Successful candidates have stated that mental fortitude and tenacity have gotten them through BUDs training.

While the outside world may not be as brutal as BUDs training, being able to face up to mental hardship and challenges are essential if you want to live a happy, sustainable life. Athletes in top ranks of football odds have also to endure similar tests, that make the body and mental resistance to maximum.

In life, there will definitely be times when you feel down and out. Whether you’re stuck in a dead-end job or things just can’t seem to work out, all you have to do is to persevere and keep on going. At the end of the day, your success is determined only by you and you alone.

3. Recognize failure as a part of life

As anyone who’s ever been in the military will tell you, uniform inspections are a part of life and failing an inspection will likely result in punishment. This is no different during BUDs and candidates who fail uniform inspection are ordered into the freezing ocean to get good and wet. 

After that, they will be forced to roll around on the beach until they’re covered from head-to-toe in fine white sand i.e. resembling a sugar cookie. In his speech, U.S Admiral William McRaven states that “some days, no matter how much you prepare, you’ll just end up a sugar cookie”.

He uses this to illustrate the fact that sometimes failure is just a part of life. Even if you’ve done your best and give it your all, failure is unavoidable. Stand up, clean yourself up and keep on moving forward because that’s just how life is. When we accept failure as a part of life, we’re that much more ready to deal with setbacks. 

4. Never ever give up – don’t ring the bell

The previous 3 points have built up to this; never giving up even in the face of impossible odds. Throughout SEAL training, candidates are actively encouraged by their instructors to throw in the towel and quit the course. When a candidate quits, he has to ring a brass bell in the middle of the compound.

Given the harsh training conditions, it’s no surprise that nearly 80% of candidates drop out from the course or fail. Instructors intentionally make quitting easy in order to weed out candidates who lack the mental toughness to become SEALs.

Those who remain until the end are usually running on sheer willpower alone. This illustrates how only through perseverance and persistence are we able to achieve our dreams. Giving up may be easy but it also prevents us from reaching our goals.

While you may not be parachuting onto the battlefield or infiltrating deep behind enemy lines, the lessons imparted by the Navy SEALs can also be brought in the real world. Discipline, tenacity and courage will help you succeed in life.

This post was written by Benjamin Lee.

Things to Save For

Most adults are commonly concerned about their expenses and budgets. Money is a big topic in most marriages and households. Why is this the case? For starters, you and your family need money to survive, so it is a major responsibility to take on. If you have children, they rely on you for their existence and everyday living. Again, this is a major task. It is a responsible thing to do to be proactive and save your money as much as possible. Save money for known and upcoming expenses as well as the possibility of unforeseen sudden expenses that may be thrown at you and your family. Below is a list of things you should save for.

Unexpected Expenses

Life can throw curveballs, so you need to save for these sorts of events. Things can happen with your home that you may not expect. Repairs such as a leaking roof, sewer problems, plumbing issues, air conditioning or heating repairs, gas leaks, appliance replacement are all examples of things that could come up unexpectedly but are also inevitable for all homeowners. Same thing goes for car owners, cars come with financial baggage. You could come upon repairs that can cost a pretty penny. If you get in an accident than you will need to remedy the situation. These are two large areas of concern but things like legal fees, parking tickets and driving violations, health expenses and emergency room visits are all things that could come your way that could cost a lot and should be planned for.

Savings

Every family saves for the unexpected as well as the expected. Every adult needs to save for their retirement. This can be done many ways through various financial instruments like 401k, brokerage accounts and general savings accounts.  If you have a job with a business, you most likely are given the option to contribute to your 401k directly out of your paycheck which makes it easier. Besides retirement, you need to think about education expenses for either yourself or your children. If you would like to continue education that can be costly so would require savings. If you have children, they will most like go to college or maybe even an accredited high school that would need to be saved for. Besides these two responsible savings topics, you may also want to save for family fun. Things like vacations or events could be saved for so you can enjoy them.

Bottom line is that you need to think about money and make sure you have your bases covered in the event these things come your way.

How to Budget Around Essential Expenses

Even for experienced professionals, forming a budget can be difficult. Indeed, determining how best to save money and avoid unnecessary costs is something that nearly everyone struggles with from time to time. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of forgoing essential expenses when creating a personal budget and face terrible consequences as a result. Though it may be difficult, it is possible to form a working budget that accommodates everything a person needs to live a happy, healthy life. Here are a few tips you can use to accomplish this for yourself:

Define “Essential”

These days, many people don’t know how to separate things that they want from things that they need. While it’s not easy to pass up fun products like fancy air fresheners or novelty coffee mugs, the reality is that if you’re working on a tight budget, you can’t afford to spend capital on frivolous items.

On the other hand, it’s also important not to go over-the-top and to cut out a service or product you truly need. Some of those expenses –– such as ones related to living arrangements or food –– are obvious. However other essential services, like medical costs or health insurance, may seem less necessary when a person faces financial trouble. Skipping trips to the doctor’s or forgoing certain important preventative tests, though, could leave you vulnerable to a number of potentially dangerous health conditions like STDs. (You can visit samedaystdtesting.com for more information on this subject.)

It may take some time, but making these tough calls and setting the parameters of a budget now will save you time and money moving forward.

Eschew Name Brands

Groceries, prescription drugs, clothes –– these are indisputably essential items. However, smart budgeters can manage their expenses more effectively by avoiding “name brands” that come at a premium. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice style for substance in this regard.

Pick up a Side Hustle

If you’ve got free time, then you have a myriad of options to supplement your income. Signing up for a rideshare service, taking surveys for cash, –– even walking neighborhood dogs can help you earn extra cash quickly

Look for Long-Term Value

Essential expenses aren’t likely to go away with time. After all, people will always need somewhere to stay, food to eat, etc. Capable budgeters can use this knowledge to their advantage, though. For instance, it’s often possible to apply for a mortgage on a home purchase that actually costs less than the rental payments of an equivalent property. Finding opportunities to exploit long-term value can help you get out of debt and make budgeting easier with time.