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5 Reasons You Are Not Making Any Money Online (With audio version)
Alex Chris is a digital marketing consultant, author, and instructor. He has more than 18 years of practical experience with SEO and digital marketing. Alex holds an MSc Degree in eCommerce and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies in different industries. He blogs regularly about SEO and Digital marketing, and his work has been referenced by leading marketing websites. Connect with Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Although it is possible to make money online, a lot of bloggers or small business owners fail to do so.
The main reason for not making money online is because you think is easy and when you realize that it is a lot of work, you get bored and give up.
I am working online since 2001 and based on my experience, I can assure you that it is possible to make money online but it requires a LOT of patience and hard work.
In this post, you will learn the 5 main reasons why you are not making any money online.
Towards the end of the post, I will also outline some solid ways to follow that work for making money online.
1. You don’t have enough traffic
To make money online you need traffic, this is how the online business model works.
If you are selling a high-converting product you can make money with only a few visitors per day but if you want to make money from advertising you need a few thousand per day.
Without traffic do not expect to make any money online.
When we talk about traffic, in the minds of many people Google is the only way but this is not true.
There are many sources of Internet traffic you can use to meet your monetary targets but you need to know where to find them.
2. Your website/blog is too young
Don’t believe everything you read about making money online. There is no magic way to make thousands of dollars in a few months and there is no magic way to make money without doing a lot of hard work.
This also means that if you just started a website or blog you will not make money any time soon unless of course, you created an exceptional product or website.
From my experience, you need at least one year (usually more) of hard work before making any decent amount of money either from AdSense, affiliate programs, or through selling your own product.
3. You don’t practice good SEO
SEO is important for many reasons and if you believe that you can succeed online without following good SEO practices, then you are wrong.
Everything starts with SEO and I am not referring only to keyword analysis or content marketing but to the bigger picture which includes understanding your customers and using SEO to give them what they want.
The majority of webmasters still make mistakes with SEO despite the plethora of information about proven techniques that work.
4. You are not patient enough
They say that ‘patience is a virtue’ and when it comes to working online and expecting to make money from it, is more than true.
To help you understand how important is to be patient, take into account the following examples:
- It may take 3-4 months before you start getting any organic traffic from Google or Bing
- It may take a few months until you build a decent number of Facebook and Twitter followers
- It may take months until you get your first RSS subscriber or comment in your blog
The bottom line is that you need to aim for long term success and forget about any short term temporary results.
5. You created a website for the sole purpose of making money online
Creating a website for the sole purpose of making money online is a thing of the past.
A few years ago you could create a number of websites, publish a few posts, build tens of incoming links and make money with Adsense, Amazon affiliate, or other affiliate promotions.
It was a model that worked for a couple of years and some people who were clever and fast enough to understand this, made enough money.
This model does no longer works. You cannot start a website for the sole purpose of adding Adsense or promoting a particular product or anything similar to this.
Your website or blog needs to have a purpose that goes beyond making money.
You need to create something that adds value to the user by offering good content, free services, and incentives for the user to come and visit your web site again and again.
When you do that persistently for a number of months, the money will follow.
I know that it is difficult to understand this especially if you are a beginner to the online world, but take my word for it there are no shortcuts or overnight tricks.
How can you make money online?
I don’t want to pass the message that it is impossible to make money online, because it is far from the truth.
To close this post with a positive message here are some tested ways to make money – if you manage to combine some of these methods together then you can make a living online as well!
#1 – Creating a website in a niche you are really passionate about.
You create a high-quality web site with good content that offers value to your readers.
After some time you have enough readers and daily visits and you make money through Google Adsense.
#2 – Write a book or create an online course
Writing a book or creating a course about a topic you know very well and publishing it on Amazon (kindle book) or selling it directly from your website.
As an example, check out my SEO Course.
#3 – Create a mobile application
Create a mobile application and upload it to Google Play, Apple Store, Windows Store, and Amazon Appstore.
The application can be either free and gain from advertising or paid. To make money from advertising you need to have many downloads (at least 200,000) and many active users.
To sell your application you need to have a good marketing plan. The competition is tough and without a marketing strategy, it will be very difficult to make a decent amount of sales.
#4 – Sell your services online.
If you have the necessary skills you can sell your services online. This is not limited to IT or SEO or Internet Marketing.
Check out peopleperhour.com and upwork.com to see examples of services offered and wanted.
Speaking of online services you can check out our SEO audit services and our SEO packages.
These are the four main methods I have used successfully over the years and made a living online.
If you search more on the topic you will find other methods like selling on eBay or amazon, running an online shop, dropshipping etc.
I am sure that these methods work as well, provided that you stay away from ‘get rich overnight’ methods.
My best advice is to find out what is more suitable to your abilities (either technical or educational), study about it, find out what others are doing, make a plan, and don’t escape from it until you get the results you want.
I Tried The Billionaire’s Morning Routine and Made $3000
Juliet Collados is a Cornell University Plant Based Nutritionist🥑and a Personal Finance Junkie🌱
A couple years ago, a video went viral on Youtube called The “1 Billion Dollar Morning Routine”. It was made in partnership with Jim Kwik who is a multi-million dollar “brain coach” and American entrepreneur and it claims to explain the habits of some of the most successful people in the world…aka billionaires.
I had three initial reactions upon watching the video for the first time:
- This seemed super time consuming
- At the same time, this was not the bougie, Goop style itinerary I was expecting
- I was skeptical of how these items were meant to translate into (potentially) having more money in my pocket
Maybe I had listened to too many podcasts on manifestation and financial independence but, as they say, curiosity is made of doubt and inquiry so I decided that the routine was worth a try for a couple of weeks.
Boy was I pleasantly surprised with the outcome!
Just a little bit of background: At the time, I had an offer on an investment property and while I was already in a stable financial position to make that investment, I was also eager to make a little extra money on the side to help make up for some closing costs.
First, let me break down the actual morning routine for you, as presented by Jim Kwik in the video I linked above. Fair warning, it is lenghty:
- Wake Up Early
- Recall Your Dreams
- Make Your Bed
- Drink A Tall Glass of Water
- Take Vitamins/Probiotics
- Meditate for 20 minutes/breathing exercises
- 1–2 minutes of movement
- Take a cold shower
- Do Your Normal Routine (brush teeth, do hair etc)
- Make a tea
- Write in Journal
- Write “feel better” list
- Write “to be” list
- Read 20–30 minutes
- Make Smoothie
- Start Your Day
Like I said…this seemed time-consuming. When you finally get to the last step, that is when you are meant to actually start your day but just this list looked like it was going to take up the majority of my morning! Just the meditation and reading alone add up to almost an hour.
However, I persevered. Because of lockdown I was working at home and didn’t have to plan this around a commute, so I just set my morning alarm a little earlier to give myself an extra hour or two in the morning.
After diligently completing this morning routine for a few weeks, I came to some definitive conclusions of what I did not enjoy, what I did enjoy, and last but not least what led to an increase in my income.
Items To Pass On
To my surprise, there was only one item that I really did not find beneficial and that was recalling my dreams.
The idea behind recalling your dreams, according the Jim, is that it helps you recognize what your subconscious is doing through the day. This sounds kind of cool in theory, but for me personally I either just could not recall my dreams at all or they were so non-sensical I just felt like I was wasting time trying to assign some sort of meaning to them.
I am sure that some people would have far more success with this, but I personally did not find it beneficial.
Items That Were Beneficial Physically
I loved how this morning routine had a huge focus on physical health (and arguably mental health with all of the journaling).
Ensuring that I was hydrated every morning and moving my body was an excellent way to start the day, but the real kicker was the cold shower.
If you are familiar with Wim Hof at all then you have likely heard of the benefits of cold therapy. While Wim Hof is the face of cold therapy, there isn’t a huge amount of scientific evidence to back it up.
It is something, however, that athletes have sworn by and the little evidence that there is on the topic claims that it can improve circulation, deepen sleep patterns, spike your energy levels, reduce inflammation, and aid the immune system.
As painful as the cold showers were, I did in fact feel like a million bucks afterwards.
Money aside, this morning routine did leave me feeling physically in tune with my body not only in the morning but throughout the whole day which I believe led me to make better decisions throughout the day.
What Made The Financial Difference
Ok, so what made the big difference for me and led me to making extra money?
The journaling and meditation.
As corny as it sounds, taking that time every morning to zero in on my goals and dreams, what I was grateful for, and what I aspired for, really helped me to set my intentions for the day.
I quickly came to realize that perhaps one of the biggest differences between your average person and the unicorns that are billionaires, is perhaps that they prioritize their time differently. Personally, while I was completing this morning routine I found the following:
My priorities shifted — the number one was no longer “reporting to the boss” and instead it become allowing myself to dream and envision before anything else.
Is that all it takes? Maybe that’s where it all starts?
All of us have big visions for the future, but I often find that mine get lost in a sea of non-specific thinking and I lose sight of what I needed to do to make that vision happen.
On the one hand, I found that the meditation gave me time to dream and envision my ideal self, while the journaling gave me time to zero in on actionable plans.
My vision was to invest in more real estate to help me create passive income and eventually live a life independent of relying on a salaried 9–5 job. I decided that any extra income I am able to make on the side would obviously be helpful in covering some real estate costs.
My plan (that I created during my journaling) was to test out 3 different side hustles to see which was most profitable and determine which to pursue long term. These additional earnings would go towards savings for closing costs or down payments.
I ended up writing an entire article that details all 3 of the side hustles, but in short, I tried:
- upselling Ikea items which earned me $1155
- selling personal items which earned me $940
- furniture flipping which earned me $795
By setting time aside in my morning to focus on my goals I was able to create an easy and actionable plan that earned me an extra $2890.
Additionally, because I turned my side hustle test into an article, I have also been making money off of that. That article now has approximately 4,000 views and has earned me $172 and counting. While that isn’t any crazy amount of money, it is money that was created as a result of me practicing the Billionaire’s Morning Routine.
In total, I made an extra $3062 after starting to practice the Billionaire’s Morning Routine.
Although I was very skeptical at first, I appreciated that the morning routine forced me to put time aside for my goals whereas on any other day I would not have given these thoughts the time of day and I would have given priority to work.
While I can’t promise that you will automatically start making more money after trying this morning routine, I can say that it is a well-rounded routine that at the very least puts an emphasis on both physical and mental health.
5 Tips for Saving Money When You Have Low Income
MoneyNing was founded in July of 2007 by David Ning. David is a published author, entrepreneur and a proud dad. After two successful careers as an IT manager and the top salesperson at a business to business corporation, David’s frugal, yet driven nature allowed him to shake off the burden of the 9-5 to start several successful ventures. Aside from running MoneyNing on a day to day basis, David is a trusted advisor at the firm he previously worked full time.
Most of us want to save money so we can build wealth and plan for the future. We have goals we want to reach (like traveling) or things we want to buy (like a dream home). However, this can seem impossible when you’re surviving on a low income.
According to CNN, 25 million American households are living paycheck to paycheck. When money is tight, saving any amount can be the last priority on your list. You’re just trying to get by.
So how do you save more money when you’re making minimum wage? How can you reach your financial goals on a low income?
When it comes to finances, it’s important to not only think about the now but also the future. Even if you’re earning a minimum wage, you can still save little by little. Here’s how:
1. Tackle High-Interest Debt First
In order to start saving more, you have to tackle your debt head-on. Specifically high interest rate from personal loans, or credit cards, because they force you to pay outrageous fees and interest charges.
When paying off debt, you need an attainable, yet challenging plan to pay it off. Start by prioritizing your debt so you’re paying off the ones with the highest interest first.
Then, as you go forward, avoid accumulating any more high-interest debt, especially credit cards.
2. Cut Down Your Biggest Expenses
Trying to save money when you have a low income can be very difficult. Sometimes it feels impossible to cut down even a dollar or two every month.
Aside from the usual money-saving ideas, like cooking meals at home and canceling your cable bill, what more you can do? Instead of trying to cut back your small expenses, focus on the larger ones so you can make more of a significant impact.
For most people, housing costs tend to be the biggest part of their expenses. If you’re renting, consider downsizing to a smaller home or living with roommates.
If you own your home, take a look at whether or not refinancing your mortgage for a lower rate would be beneficial. You can also rent out a room or parking spot for additional income.
David’s Note: Make sure to understand the terms of a refinance though. What generally happens is that along with a reduced monthly payment, a refinance also extends the loan term. Be comfortable with the fact that it will take you longer to pay the loan off if this is the option you choose. Also remember to shop around for the best deal, because there are a ton of people willing to help you get a refinance and some will charge less than others for their services.
And I know Connie just said to work on the big stuff, but I argue that you need to cut out the small stuff too, especially if the costs are recurring like a cable TV bill. Do you absolutely need to pay for it? There are many ways to reduce the TV subscription costs, and it only takes minimal effort for a sizable benefit.
3. Take Advantage of Free Money
Take advantage of “free money” when you can. As a family with a low income, you may qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC). According to the IRS website, the EITC can be a large refund on your taxes, helping you keep more of what you earned. Sometimes even as much as a few thousand dollars.
You should also look into a 401K at work and see if your company matches up to a certain percentage of your contribution.
If they do, you should take advantage of it and start saving as much as possible. The company match is basically free money that will help you save towards retirement.
4. Keep Your Budget Lean
To save more, you have to take control of how much you spend. Choose the categories you want to indulge in and keep the rest of your budget as lean as possible. You’ll have to make sacrifices but it’s not impossible.
Just learn to spend in moderation. For instance; cut back on how often you dine out. You can still enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant, just not multiple times a week.
5. Start a Side Hustle
If you can’t cut costs anymore than you already have, consider diversifying your income by starting a side hustle to earn extra money. Aside from your full-time job, you can get a job on the side to provide another income source.
Many side hustles can be done right from your own home in your spare time. Think about what you’re good at doing, what kind of hobbies can earn money, or what you already enjoy that can be turned into a side job.
Popular side hustles include freelance writing, data entry, and graphic design.
Saving money when you make minimum wage is certainly hard but can be done. It’s important to understand what your priorities are, and create a values-based spending and saving plan.
Once you do, you’ll be smarter and savvier with how you spend money and ultimately, be able to save more.
Getting Out of Bad Loans- What You Should Know
In the West, we’re used to living above our means, by borrowing money to pay for what we can’t afford. Bad loans – or bad debt – is one of the most destructive behaviors we can do to our personal finances, yet many people don’t quite understand just what bad loans are, or how to identify one.
Most of the time, people would push away from finding solutions to their debt in hopes that it would fix itself. In reality, the only solution is to manage your debts of any size and to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.
In this post I’ll explain just what bad loans are, and actionable steps you can take to start getting yourself out of one.
So, What are Bad Loans?
To put it simply, bad loans are those that do not contribute to an increase in your net worth over time. On the contrary, they usually do the opposite, deprecating in value and dragging the rest of your fiances with you.
What is considered a bad loan?
Distinguishing a bad loan from a good one is not always clear as black and white. In general, a bad loan as mentioned is any type of debt that doesn’t increase your net worth. However, even a good loan can go bad if not paid off or if the payments are more than your income.
One’s financial habits hugely affect whether their loans are good or bad.
Some examples of a bad debt include:
- Spending money you don’t own by using your credit card and not paying the full amount on due date
- Using an auto loan to pay for a car
- Taking out a payday loan
According to a report from Lexington Law, America owed a total of around $870 billion in credit card debt in the Q4 of 2018. Household members who are not paying credit cards on time and letting payments roll over on a monthly basis contribute to the growing amount of household debt which is increasing at a staggering rate.
How does a bad loan affect your credit score?
Bad credit refers to a person’s poor history of not paying bills on time and is often reflected in a low credit score. Some of the causes of a bad credit score are defaulting on a loan, filing bankruptcy, and not being able to pay on time. If you are interested to understand it further, read more here.
Credit Score is commonly expressed using the FICO Score Model, where a score of 850 is considered a perfect credit score:
Having a poor or even average credit score can make your life a lot harder in many ways, from home rental, higher insurance premiums, to getting any kind of loans (home, car loans etc).
One of the less talked about ways a bad loan can negatively affect your credit score is by hurting your credit utilization rate.
A credit utilization rate is the amount of the available revolving credit you’re using that is relative to your total credit limit. It basically goes up and down based on the payments and purchases you’ve made.
To calculate your credit utilization rate, here’s a simple formula:
- Simply combine all the balances on all your credit cards.
- Add up the credit limits on your cards.
- Divide the total balance by the total credit limit.
- Multiply by 100 to see your credit utilization ratio as %.
Say you have three credit cards with different credit limits:
Card 1: Credit Line: $3,000, balance $500
Card 2: Credit Line: $4,000, balance $1000
Card 3: Credit Line: $8,000, balance $5000
Your total revolving credit would be = 3,000 + 4,000 + 8,000 = $15,000.
Your total credit would be: $500+ $1000 + $5000 = $6,500
Therefore, your credit utilization ratio would be: $6500 divided by $15,000, multiply by 100 = 43.3%
It is essential to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%. If you have a lot of bad loans, it’s probably because you’re using more than 30% of your available credit. This in turn can significantly lower your credit score.
There is no specific formula for calculating how much a bad loan lowers your credit score but typically, the higher the loan, the greater its impact.
How to Prevent and Deal with Bad Loans
The first thing in solving a problem is determining what it is — there are two ways you can deal with your bad loans:
1. Make a budget and stick to it
Not knowing how to manage your finances can lead to bad loans. Making a budget and sticking to it helps you manage your income and expenses.
One way to quickly optimize your spending is by following the 50-30-20 method. It’s a smart way to break down your household budget and help them reach their financial goals.
This is where you put 50% of your income toward necessities such as rent, car payment, groceries, the 30% toward your discretionary spending like buying new clothes or eating out, and the 20% toward your financial goals like paying your debt or savings.
Another excellent way to manage your finances is by meticulously tracking your spending. Doing so helps you set your budget and shows you where your money really goes. This helps you redirect the money you spent on not-so-important things to reducing your debt.
Always set and follow a realistic budget to help you make steady progress toward achieving your financial goals.
My favorite budgeting app is called Mint. It’s a comprehensive, easy-to-use app where users can sync their financial accounts.
- This free app guides you on your day-to-day spending by helping you by automatically categorizing your expenses
- It alerts you when you’re going over your budget
- It helps you reduce fees you may incur from your loans, and
- Since this app alerts you when you go over your budget, it’ll keep you abreast on your credit score as well.
2. Consolidate your loans
If you have numerous loans or ones with high-interests, loan consolidation might be a method that would work for you.
Loan consolidation is when you use one larger loan to pay off several small loans. It works by combining your different loan accounts into a single monthly payment with a lower interest rate.
There are two ways to consolidate debt:
- Get a 0% balance-transfer credit card.
This method works by transfering all your debts onto this credit card and paying the full balance using their 0% introductory promo.
Finder.com is a useful site that helps consumers compare credit cards based on their features. Check out which one works for you.
- Get a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan
Alternatively, you can opt for debt consolidation loans. These are used to pay off and simplify existing debt by consolidating multiple payments into a single account.
This option lowers your monthly payment with a long term.
You can use Wells Fargo’s Debt Consolidation Calculator, which is a great tool for determining whether debt consolidation is a viable option for you.
Of course, both of these options have risks tagged to them, so it is crucial to review and understand before you make a decision.
For example, if you’re consolidating your debt onto one 0% balance-transfer credit card, you can’t afford to miss your payments anymore. Balance-transfer credit cards reserve the right to cancel your promotional interest rate once you make a late payment.
With debt consolidation, it’s common to use a secured loan or home equity line of credit. The downside of this is that you may lose that asset in the event you can’t pay back the loan.
Whether you are trying to reduce or avoid your bad loans, knowing your credit score is always a wise move to make. It’s best to check your credit score at least once a year to keep tabs on how you are managing and handling your loans.
If you want to learn more about your credit score, you can check the USA Gov website to help you get your credit report, make corrections, etc.
If you’re already facing the challenges of having bad loans, start by evaluating the risks and opportunities for each loan you have. You can seek help from a financial adviser or underwriter to help you determine how and when to start eliminating your bad loans.
Avoiding bad debts can be obtained by making wise decisions about your financial future. Invest time in learning and applying the tips above to start gaining control over your finance in no time!
Bestofbudgets.com is a collaboration between two MBA graduates George Guillelmina and Kate Camillo. On there site they share best tips and resources on budgeting, saving money, and earning an income online.
8 Best Shopify Alternatives: E-Commerce Platforms for Online Business
Shopify is the go-to e-commerce solution for hundreds of thousands of small and midsize businesses. But it’s not the only option — far from it.
And, as any merchant who’s used its tools knows, Shopify is definitely not the cheapest e-commerce provider on the block. Satisfied customers would argue that you get what you pay for, but budget-conscious small-business owners can’t afford to ignore lower-cost competitors.
Before you throw in your lot with Shopify, check out this list of the most popular and merchant-friendly Shopify competitors on the market.
Top E-Commerce Alternatives to Shopify
In no particular order, these are the top alternatives to Shopify. Most require merchants to sign up for paid subscriptions, but some stick to the “freemium” pricing plan model and allow smaller shops to get by without a recurring monthly charge.
Bear in mind that not all fees inherent in e-commerce activity, such as shipping rates and import duties, are reflected in eCommerce site fees.
Unless otherwise noted, all of these Shopify alternatives offer basic security features like SSL certificates and basic inventory management capabilities.
However, not all have built-in, middleman-free payment systems a la Shopify Payments or free domain names (though an increasing number do). And customer support can vary widely by platform.
- Payment Options: All major U.S. credit card networks, PayPal, Stripe, and others; contact Volusion for a complete list
- Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing fees still apply
- Additional Fees: Various fees for optional one-off services (Quick Wins), such as Google Analytics training ($200) and image ad asset creation ($100)
- Web Hosting: Hosted
- Coding Required: No
- Ideal For: Smaller businesses looking for a professional, customized look and third-party integrations
Plans and Pricing
Volusion has three paid e-commerce plans, plus a customized Prime solution for enterprise customers. All begin with a 14-day free trial and offer unlimited products and storage capacity. A 10% discount applies to plans paid quarterly.
- Personal Plan: $29 per month. Personal supports phone and manual orders and integrates with drop-shipping solutions (direct shipments from the warehouse to the customer).
- Professional Plan: $79 per month. Professional supports bulk ordering and orders processed through fulfillment centers.
- Business Plan: $299 per month. Business customers get a dedicated customer success team, traffic growth consultation, and $150 in monthly Quick Wins credits.
- Prime: Prime pricing is customized. Users enjoy real-time support via Slack and can add multiple administrators to their accounts.
Although Volusion doesn’t have a free plan, its entry-level Personal plan costs about as much as Shopify’s basic plan.
The shop design process is pretty hands-on and requires no coding, so even the most tech-averse, design-blind shop owners have little trouble putting together professional-looking stores. However, anecdotal feedback from Volusion users suggests that this e-commerce website isn’t super user-friendly once shops are up and running.
Like Shopify, Volusion doesn’t charge transaction fees, which is a big advantage over the competition.
And there are no required or hidden fees other than the monthly membership fee, although Volusion pushes its paid Quick Wins services, offering monthly credits against them to merchants in higher-cost plans.
- Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and others; contact SquareSpace for a complete list
- Transaction Fees: 3% for Business plan users; none for Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plan users. Credit card processing fees still apply.
- Additional Fees: Additional fees for domains and email accounts purchased through SquareSpace (not required as part of any membership plan)
- Web Hosting: Hosted
- Coding Required: No
- Ideal For: Businesses of all sizes seeking all-in-one website builder and e-commerce solutions
Plans and Pricing
SquareSpace has four online store plans. All come with annual payment discounts — 30% for Business and 13% for Basic and Advanced Commerce.
- Personal: $12 per month when paid annually. Includes a free custom domain, unlimited data and storage, basic performance metrics, and up to two contributors (users).
- Business: $18 per month when paid annually. Includes unlimited products and bandwidth and integrates with specialized third-party apps such as OpenTable.
- Basic Commerce: $26 per month when paid annually. Includes unlimited products and bandwidth and a checkout portal on your own domain (rather than SquareSpace’s).
- Advanced Commerce: $40 per month when paid annually. Includes everything in the basic plan, plus abandoned cart auto-recovery, a subscription sales feature, and more.
SquareSpace isn’t just an e-commerce platform — it’s a full-service website builder that caters to small and midsize business owners. Many businesses use it to design professional-looking websites at low cost, without assistance from pricey developers or designers.
SquareSpace sets itself apart with crisp, attractive themes and an intuitive design process that requires no coding whatsoever.
Its Business plan is significantly cheaper than Shopify’s basic business plan, and higher-priced plans include value-added features — such as integrations with third-party cloud services like the OpenTable reservation platform — that many competitors lack.
Its Basic and Advanced Commerce plans also waive transaction fees for customers using third-party payment processors.
If you’re operating on a tight budget, check out SquareSpace’s Personal website builder plan, which starts at $12 per month. SquareSpace doesn’t offer sophisticated e-commerce tools at this price point, but it’s a good starting point for solopreneurs.
- Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and others; contact CoreCommerce for a complete list
- Transaction Fees: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, regardless of plan level. Fees apply to CoreCommerce’s CorePayments Processing solution only — other gateways have different fee structures.
- Additional Fees: 0.5% plus $0.10 per transaction fee for payments not processed through CorePayments
- Web Hosting: Hosted — a semi-dedicated server is available
- Coding Required: Not essential, but CoreCommerce provides coding support for an additional fee
- Ideal For: Larger companies and smaller firms looking for a fully customizable solution
Plans and Pricing
CoreCommerce has five plan levels. We can’t include every detail here, so check the company’s pricing page for the full picture. A 10% discount applies to plans paid annually.
- Entrepreneur: This is a free “teaser” plan that aims to get new CoreCommerce customers in the door. It offers unlimited products and all the features and capabilities of higher-priced plans.
- Basic: $29 per month. Includes 10 products and unlimited storage.
- Pro: $79 per month. Includes 300 products and 30 minutes of onboarding support.
- Business: $229 per month. Includes unlimited products, 60 minutes of onboarding support, and 30 minutes of monthly custom programming support.
- Enterprise: Customized pricing. Includes 90 minutes of onboarding support and 90 minutes of monthly custom programming support.
CoreCommerce is all about scale. While its smallest plan is designed for independent, small-time sellers, its largest plan has the firepower to support enterprise-grade e-commerce platforms. In between, there’s room for just about everyone else.
CoreCommerce has dozens of free custom themes and more than 100 integrations with leading payment gateways, logistics companies, social media platforms, customer relationship management solutions, and more.
It’s also customizable to a greater extent than most other e-commerce solutions, with far more optimization potential as a result. This is a key selling point if you have in-house developer talent or the budget to upgrade to a plan that offers monthly credit for programming support.
CoreCommerce is pricier than most competitors. Your plan level depends in part on how many different products you sell, so if you’re running a full-time operation, you’ll likely need the $79-per-month Pro plan at least.
That said, you get what you pay for — the term “feature rich” doesn’t even begin to describe CoreCommerce.
- Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square (in-person only), cash (in-person only)
- Transaction Fees: Varies depending on payment processor
- Additional Fees: Possible listing fees for Gold plan users
- Web Hosting: Hosted
- Coding Required: No, but theme codes are customizable
- Ideal For: Lower-volume sellers in creative industries
Plans and Pricing
BigCartel has three reasonably priced plans. Big sellers should take note of the Diamond plan’s 500-product limit.
- Gold: Free. Limit of one image per product.
- Platinum: $9.99 per month. Allows up to five images per product and additional features like bulk product editing.
- Diamond: $19.99 per month. Allows up to 500 products with five images per product, plus all the other features and capabilities of the Platinum plan.
BigCartel is an e-commerce solution by and for creative people. It claims nearly 1 million active makers, designers, musicians, and other artists as customers — an impressive portfolio in a notoriously volatile industry.
BigCartel is explicitly designed for lower-volume sellers — often craftspeople and artists who sell products made by themselves or by people they know.
Because you can’t sell more than 500 distinct products on BigCartel, the platform doesn’t have the scalability factor of most competitors and isn’t appropriate for larger enterprises with lots of goods.
On the bright side, BigCartel has lots of capabilities offered by higher-volume, higher-priced competitors. Custom store themes confer a professional, bespoke look. Paid plans come with custom domains, so you don’t have to direct customers to “yourstore.bigcartel.com.”
There’s more. A seamless Facebook integration lets you sell directly through the world’s largest social media network.
And a mobile app lets you take orders and process payments in person — a powerful capability for creatives who close lots of sales at trade shows, fairs, festivals, and similar gatherings.
- Payment Options: All major U.S. credit cards and more than 200 gateway options; contact Shift4Shop for a full list
- Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing and gateway fees may still apply
- Additional Fees: Nonrequired a la carte services may cost extra, such as dropshipping support ($9.99 per month)
- Web Hosting: Hosted
- Coding Required: No
- Ideal For: High-volume sellers and smaller sellers looking to scale
Plans and Pricing
Shift4Shop has four plans. All plans allow for unlimited products, bandwidth, and file storage, and charge no additional transaction fees for businesses using Shift4Shop’s payment gateway (Shift4 Payments).
- End-to-End Ecommerce: Totally free. Available to U.S. merchants only, this is Shift4Shop’s most generous plan, allowing unlimited users and no transaction limits. The catch: Plan holders must use Shift4 Payments, Shift4Shop’s in-house payment processor.
- Basic: $29 per month. Allows two staff users. Additional features include daily deals, group deals, and an affiliate program.
- Plus: $79 per month. Allows five staff users. Additional features include an abandoned cart saver, store credit, and a rewards program.
- Pro: $229 per month when paid annually. Allows 15 staff users. Additional features include pre-orders and shipment delivery notifications.
Shift4Shop (formerly 3dcart) is a feature-rich, premium e-commerce solution built for ambitious sellers.
The cheapest paid plan is about $30 per month, roughly in line with Shopify, but U.S.-based merchants can (and should) take advantage of an ultra-premium free plan (End-to-End Ecommerce) that offers unlimited users and a vast array of capabilities with no monthly fee.
Whichever Shift4Shop plan you choose, you can count on good value: unlimited products and bandwidth across all plans, professional-grade SEO, dozens of custom themes, comprehensive logistical support, clutch software integrations including eBay and MailChimp, CRM support, customer reviews, tax and accounting support, and much more.
With a dizzying array of payment partners (more than 200) and a slew of useful integrations — not just eBay and MailChimp, but also Facebook, Google Customer Reviews, and others — Shift4Shop is built for savvy sellers serious about maximizing their market reach.
- Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Square, and more; contact Ecwid for a full list
- Transaction Fees: None, but processing fees may apply
- Additional Fees: Nonrequired a la carte services may come with additional fees, such as online store setup ($100 and up)
- Web Hosting: Hosted or self-hosted, depending on which plan you choose
- Coding Required: No, but may be necessary to customize shops
- Ideal For: Smaller businesses looking for a lightweight, turnkey solution
Plans and Pricing
Ecwid has four plans, including a solid free option. All plans, including the free option, include unlimited bandwidth. There’s a roughly 17% discount for plans paid annually:
- Free: The free plan includes simultaneous selling, integrates with any website, and allows 10 products.
- Venture: $12.50 per month when paid annually. Includes an abandoned cart saver, mobile point of sale, built-in discount coupons, and other value-added features. Allows 100 products.
- Business: $29.17 per month when paid annually. Includes staff accounts and other advanced features. Allows 2,500 products.
- Unlimited: $82.50 per month when paid annually. Comes with all Ecwid features and unlimited products.
Ecwid is a lightweight e-commerce platform designed to integrate seamlessly with popular website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Weebly.
You can use Ecwid’s plugin to add a secure cart to an existing website or build a new store with Ecwid’s out-of-the-box Starter Site package, a single-page e-commerce portal with professional themes and a super-intuitive editor.
Ecwid also integrates with Facebook. The Business and Unlimited plans integrate with some other popular online marketplaces, including eBay and Google Shopping, as well.
Ecwid isn’t as easily customized as some competing online store builders. If you want to significantly alter the look and feel of your chosen theme, you need to customize the CSS code. That may involve a learning curve or paying a programmer.
On the bright side, Ecwid has a decent free version with unlimited bandwidth, simultaneous selling on multiple sites, and support for up to 10 products.
The free plan’s biggest drawback is probably the lack of advanced SEO (search engine optimization) tools, which is a problem for business owners relying on organic traffic directly to their stores.
The Venture plan, which costs less than 50% of Shopify’s base plan when paid annually and does include SEO tools, is fine for most small businesses.
7. BigCommerce Essentials
- Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Adyen, and more than 200 others; contact BigCommerce for a complete list
- Transaction Fees: None, but credit card processing fees may apply
- Additional Fees: PayPal transactions may cost extra — up to 2.9% plus $0.30, depending on the plan
- Web Hosting: Hosted
- Coding Required: No
- Ideal For: Growing businesses and established enterprises looking for a scalable e-commerce solution
Plans and Pricing
BigCommerce Essentials has four plans. All come with unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts. There’s a 10% discount on Plus and Pro plans paid annually.
- Standard: $29.95 per month. Includes online marketplace and social media integrations, single-page checkout, coupon and discount features, product ratings and reviews, and more. This plan allows up to $50,000 in gross sales on a trailing-12-month (TTM) basis.
- Plus: $79.95 per month when paid annually. Allows up to $180,000 in gross sales (TTM).
- Pro: $299.95 per month when paid annually. Accommodates up to $400,000 in gross sales (TTM).
- Enterprise: Customized pricing and a negotiable gross sales limit — contact BigCommerce for quotes.
BigCommerce Essentials — distinct from BigCommerce, which serves established companies — is built for growing businesses.
With dozens of free themes and an intuitive editor that requires no coding or specialized knowledge, BigCommerce Essentials makes it easy for lean companies to get their e-commerce operations up and running.
It also has an unusually large partner app network — you can download hundreds of useful apps, such as MailChimp and ShipStation, with a single click. Robust backend support sets BigCommerce Essentials apart from less feature-rich e-commerce solutions.
BigCommerce Essentials is pricier than many competitors, but the package speaks for itself. If you’re already an established e-commerce player, look into the fully customizable Enterprise plan option, which BigCommerce Essentials claims is always cheaper than comparable Shopify plans.
- Payment Options: U.S. credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Payments, Stripe, and many more; contact WooCommerce for a complete list
- Transaction Fees: None, but payment processing fees may still apply
- Additional Fees: Variable fees for premium themes and extensions — for instance, the customizable Powerpack bundle costs a one-time $69 fee
- Web Hosting: Self-hosted (requires an existing WordPress website)
- Coding Required: No, but may be necessary to customize out-of-the-box stores
- Ideal For: Growing businesses looking for scalable, fully customizable solutions and comfortable with the effort necessary to create bespoke online stores
Plans and Pricing
WooCommerce’s basic Storefront product is free to download, but pretty much everything else you need to run a functional online store carries recurring or one-time fees.
WooCommerce bills itself as “the most customizable e-commerce platform for building your online business.” Although WooCommerce is not markedly easier to customize than some other flexible competitors, the tagline reveals something about WooCommerce’s approach — namely, that it’s trying to carve out a niche among growing sellers looking for bespoke e-commerce solutions.
With more than 30 million downloads, WooCommerce claims to support some 28% of all online stores. Its basic package is free, which is obviously great news for frugal sellers.
And it’s built on the WordPress site platform, so it’s intuitive to use and boasts a built-in blogging feature — a nice addition to any content marketing arsenal (and one of the best marketing features of any option on this list). All you have to do to get started is download the free WordPress plugin.
WooCommerce’s Achilles’ heel is the relative inflexibility of its out-of-the-box Storefront platform. If you want to customize your Storefront, you need to spend a lot of time downloading and purchasing the right extensions.
These aren’t the only viable e-commerce software platforms for small-business owners. In fact, some of the biggest names in e-commerce aren’t on this list. I’m looking at you, Amazon. You too, eBay.
These are intentional omissions. Selling your products on Amazon and eBay — the so-called “Big Two” of online retail — is fundamentally different from hawking goods on any of the platforms listed here. If you think the Big Two are a good fit for your needs, check out our post on 10 eBay selling tips to maximize your profits.
I also failed to mention Etsy, the Internet’s best-known e-commerce platform for independent makers. If you make and sell your own products, an Etsy store can dramatically increase your visibility and reach — even if you continue to supplement it with a general-purpose e-commerce platform.
Ultimately, you know what your customers want. As you narrow down your e-commerce shortlist, keep the customer’s needs front and center.
Money crashers is a money related blog by Andrew Schrage and Gyutae Park and was started back in 2009. The money blog provides tons of information about personal finances, with an emphasis on credit cards and other money and finance related tips.
How to prepare for retirement emotionally
Retirement can be a shock to the system. It marks a significant change in lifestyle and will, at first, feel unfamiliar. Of course it will; gone is the dependable workplace routine, gone is the daily contact with colleagues, and gone is the financial security of a workplace salary. Suddenly, you’ve got new challenges to worry about, like living off a smaller income, having less human contact, and wondering what on earth to do with all the extra time.
Feelings such as loneliness, boredom and worthlessness may work their way into a new retiree’s thoughts. And the first thing to note is that it’s totally normal – you’re going through a significant and potentially unsettling change. The second thing to note is that it’s well within your means to live a happy and fulfilled retirement without letting those feelings overwhelm you. You simply need to prepare for retirement emotionally. This is what this article sets out to help you achieve.
Acknowledge that things will change
Change can be unsettling, particularly when you’re so used to living a certain way for so long – like spending the whole of your adult life working 9-5. The first step towards dealing with change is to acknowledge it and to accept that it will happen. Your life will change.
Acknowledging change is important because it grounds you in reality. Change isn’t good or bad in and of itself. It just is. If you’re a naturally anxious person, you may find that spending time actively acknowledging and accepting that your life will change after retirement prevents you from unrealistically idealising how great retirement will be, or fearing how terrible it will be.
Here are a few things to think about ahead of time:
You might feel a sense of loneliness
Most of us spend the majority of our adult waking hours at work. And we often end up knowing more about the lives of our colleagues than we do our friends! So suddenly finding ourselves without them is likely to be a lonely experience.
It’s unlikely that you’ll avoid this feeling altogether – recreating an office environment in your home isn’t particularly practical – but you can do a few things to help fill the void:
- Ask for their numbers or connect on social media before you leave so you can stay in touch.
- Arrange coffee dates with old colleagues every now and again so you can laugh and catch up on office gossip.
- Arrange outings or phone calls with friends or family who are available during weekdays.
- Join new communities with other retired people so you can make new friends who are available during the hours you are.
You might experience moments of boredom
Whether you had an office job or a vocational job, you probably spent your days focused on a particular task (or two). Things had to be done well, and they had to be done now. That pressure causes you to focus, and when you’re focused, time flies! Unless you really hated your job, chances are you were almost never bored.
But back at home, with no pressure to do much at all unless you want to, time tends not to move quite as fast. If you haven’t much going on to distract your mind, time can feel very slow indeed. And it’s in those moments that boredom can set in.
Feeling bored is totally normal – it’s hard to be busy all the time. Thankfully, this feeling is likely to dissipate as you become used to a less busy lifestyle. Remember, it will take time to adjust from working to retirement.
As always, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re not bored too often:
- Stay social
- Take up a hobby
- Learn a new skill
- Get into a routine
- Do the things you love at a slower pace
- Don’t fear down-time (it’s perfectly acceptable to just ‘be’)
You could feel a sense of worthlessness
Jobs give us a purpose. There’s a reason we’re there, and without us the organisation wouldn’t be quite as effective. Often, people rely on us – whether they’re colleagues or customers – and if we do a good job, we might often receive praise.
Being a valued member of an organisation can elevate our mood and self-esteem. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that stepping away from that responsibility and the praise that comes with doing a good job could cause us to feel less valued. That’s natural.
So how do we regain a sense of self worth? There are a many ways:
- Start a journal. Regularly write down three reasons the world is better for having you on it.
- Play an active role in your family – whether that’s looking after the grandkids or spending more time with your extended family.
- Take up charity work and give back to a community or cause you care about.
- Create something, whether it’s a painting, music, writing, or a new flower arrangement.
Plan ahead to calm the mind
When it comes to your mental health, planning ahead can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. It also makes you more likely to succeed at the task in hand! The earlier you consider the following points, the better you’ll be prepared for retirement and the less worried you’ll be about it.
Prepare your finances
One of the biggest shifts when reaching retirement is the change of income. Instead of working for a salary, you’ll receive income from your workplace or personal pension. And unless you’ve decided to retire early, you’ll likely be able to receive the State Pension too.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much income will I earn from my pension/s?
- Will I be eligible for the State Pension, and how much will I receive?
- Will I have any other sources of income?
- How much will my monthly outgoings be?
- Will I have enough income to cover my outgoings?
Once you understand how your finances will be affected, you can decide how best to manage your money. For example, you might want to increase your pension contributions while you’re still working, or adjust your expectations about the retirement lifestyle you’re realistically able to afford.
Think about your personal goals
There’s only one thing you shouldn’t do in retirement, and that’s nothing. Everything else is up for grabs! So write down all the things you’d love to do using the following method to find out which are most attainable (we’ve included some examples):
- Goal: Learn spanish
- Method: Sign up to weekly online classes
- Cost: £20 a session
- Timeframe: Once a week for 2 years
- Reward: A trip to Barcelona!
- Goal: Redecorate the house
- Method: DIY
- Cost: ~£3,000
- Timeframe: Daily for 3 months
- Reward: A dinner party with friends!
Interaction with other people is an important and rewarding part of life. And if you’re used to speaking with people at work everyday, you’ll really notice when they’re not around. So consider joining some communities well before you retire, so that by the time you do, you have a strong network of friends you can continue to talk to and do things with.
Communities might include:
- Local community groups
- Special interest groups
- Religious communities
- Book/film clubs
- Sports clubs
Ease yourself into retirement
Retirement doesn’t have to happen suddenly. You don’t have to leave your 9-5 job on a Friday and begin your retired life on the Monday. Instead, you can ease yourself into it!
Flexible retirement is when you gradually reduce your hours or days before permanently retiring from work. For example, you might go from a full-time role to spending a couple of years working part-time. Or you could spend a year working 9-2.
This method can reduce the shock of suddenly finding yourself without a job, and it also allows you to enjoy the final years of your working career with slightly less pressure.
You’ll want to consider how your finances will be affected by this method, but if you’re over 55, you could even supplement your income with your pension.
Combine your pensions
Finally, after all these years, your pension gets its chance to shine! But wait, how many pensions do you have again?
The average person works at 11 jobs by the time they retire, which means they could have picked up almost a dozen pensions along the way.