Working from home

The Truth About Making a Career Change to a Work at Home Business

Far too many people grow frustrated with their regular job and want a change. The lure of building their own work at home business is strong, but most people do not understand the reality of making this type of career change.

If you want to be an entrepreneur and start your own home-based business instead of going to work for someone else for the rest of your life, look before you leap. The vast majority of businesses fail in their first year, something most people cannot afford. If you do not want that to happen to you, learn the right way to make a career change to a work at home business that will succeed.

Do Not Give Up Your Day Job

Although it might seem exciting to tell your boss goodbye and forge out into the world of business right away, this is a very poor decision for most people. If you have a very large financial safety net and perhaps a patient significant other with a sizable income, you could do this, but most people should start building their work at home business while still working outside the home.

Weeks or even months of research must happen before starting a home-based business. You could take a night class in entrepreneurship, website design, freelancing, or another topic of interest. Or you could learn everything you need to know on the internet. The important thing is to understand the reality of this type of career before you rely on it.

The Truth About Working at Home as a Business Owner

All the hype surrounding work at home opportunities puts the focus on high profits and working from anywhere with an online connection – even a tropical beach somewhere. You may achieve these things eventually, but it requires a lot of time and hard work to get there, or a lot of savvy business sense, investment money, and a healthy dose of luck.

The dream is real, but it is also a distraction from all the day-to-day grinding you will have to do to achieve it. A nearly infinite number of different company types exist, but they all come down to selling a service or product that someone actually wants. Figuring out what you are going to sell is just the tip of the iceberg, and it can be a challenge all on its own.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), nearly 540,000 new small business are launched every single month. A full 30% fail in the first two years of operation, and by year five, 50% of them are gone. While there are tons of reasons this is true, a big part may be that people just did not know what they were getting into.

Commit to a Lot of Work for the Long Haul

You might be sitting at your desk or on your couch right now thinking, “That won’t be me! I’ll be in the 50% that succeeds!” You absolutely can succeed if you start with the right education, tools, resources, and plan. Most of all, you need a commitment to doing what it takes to succeed for a long time even if you do not find that success right off the bat. This is another great reason to keep your day job and regular income while you build a new venture.

Entrepreneurship relies on passion. Choose a business type, product or service, and work style that you feel great about. That does not mean you will spend your days full of glee and happiness. Things get tough, but you can get through tough work times better if you have a fundamental enjoyment and appreciation for the work you do.

How long is the long haul? There is no way of predicting when you will succeed exactly, but if you do not have a plan and SMART goals to help you achieve on some sort of schedule, you will probably end up part of the sad statistics.

Woman working at home


Business Plans and SMART Goals

Find a business plan template or instructions online and make one for your new company. These are necessary if you want to secure a small business loan, but they help even privately-funded ones start right and progress. The main components include basic information about the type of business, information about products or services offered, the target market analysis, your unique selling point (USP), funding sources, and financial estimations for the future. You need to know what you are selling to who, how, and how much money you can expect to make.

SMART goals focus on specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive things you need to achieve. Instead of saying, “We’ll be making lots of money in six months!” you need to say, “We will increase our profits from our rainbow toe sock line by 20% before September 2019.” Then you need to track the goal and do what it takes to achieve it.

Create a Home and Office Divide Mentally and Physically

One of the reasons for at-home business failure is the inability to separate home time from work time. This is especially true for people who also take care of small children while they are supposed to work during the day. While working at home can be an amazing opportunity for stay-at-home parents to bring in some extra money, they need to create a physical and mental division between the two to get anything done.

The best scenario is a home office with a door you can close to get work done away from family life. If you do not have that, you need to protect your time. It is possible to train your family, except the youngest children and babies, that no one can bother you from 1:00 pm till 3:00 pm every day unless there is fire or blood. Create similar time slots throughout the week and come up with a way of letting everyone know you are unavailable for disputes over toys, making snacks, or having chats about homework or what your spouse did at their job during the day.

The Right Hardware and Equipment is Necessary

Any desktop or laptop computer that gets high-speed internet can help you start and run a home business. You might even be able to run one from your phone these days, although it might be awkward to do so. A dedicated work phone allows you to always answer with the right greeting instead of, “Hello? Gina is that you?” if you are expecting a call from your sister and a business contact at the same time.

The types of equipment, computer peripherals, mobile gadgets, furniture, and storage options you need depend on what type of work at home business you own.

Affiliate marketer? A home computer with internet access is good enough. E-commerce store owner? Add in storage shelves or bins for inventory. Freelance designer or artist? Invest in the best drawing tablet, camera, and graphic manipulation software you can buy.

For Life-Changing Money, Change Your Life

In the quest to be part of that 50% of small business that survive more than five years, only the strong, dedicated, hard-working, knowledgeable, and adaptable companies survive. Working from home requires a change in your lifestyle, schedule, and attitudes toward everything from continuing education to how and when you spend family time.

The internet is on 24 hours per day, every day of the year, and is not disappearing any time soon. You can reach consumers on the other side of the globe and market to people in diverse financial circumstances you may never have dreamed of reaching with a conventional business. Taking time off completely for a US or religious holidays may not work going forward if you want to stay engaged with your market. Your plan to show up for every single soccer game or piano lesson could suffer. These things would be just as impossible if you had a regular, real-world job too.

Starting your own work at home business may require more work and longer hours than you ever put in before. You might wonder at this point what the point is after all. Home business marketing pushes the idea of easy living and the freedom from a strict schedule. They show people lounging on the beach sipping daiquiris and occasionally glancing at their profit charts soaring on their smartphones.

When you make a career change to a home-based business, it is still work. The benefits come after the effort, and they are many. You get to do something you love every day. You can make your own schedules and change them whenever you need to, as long as all the work gets done. You can achieve financial comfort and independence on your terms and have something you can pass down to future generations. You will never get all these things if you stay working for someone else all your life.


Delivery Trends 2019

6 Delivery Trends To Know in 2019 and Beyond

As customers increasingly demand faster delivery, retailers, restaurants, and couriers need to work to maximize the efficiency of last-mile delivery and to provide convenient options in order to stay relevant. This article outlines some of the trends shaping the delivery industry both today and into the future.

eCommerce and the World of Deliveries

The eCommerce industry is expanding, with delivery options replacing traditional retail shopping. The current state of the delivery world is one of continual improvement, with next-day delivery options overtaking traditional two- or three-day delivery windows in 2018. Click and collect options have also grown in popularity, making up about a third of online orders. Meanwhile, it has also become possible for some large retailers to deliver orders within two hours of purchase.

However, there is still room for improvement, as 2018 saw a higher rate of failed deliveries. Another negative trend is the rise of serial returns, due to a culture of returning clothes after using them once. These issues result in expensive losses for retailers and eCommerce companies.

6 Current and Future Trends

  1. Real-Time Tracking

Shipping companies are turning to smart technology for tracking purposes, to help improve their last-mile delivery logistics. This smart technology uses the Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, and electronic logging devices (ELD) to track shipments in real time. Smartphone apps make tracking more accessible to consumers. For example, SMS or email alerts can notify shippers and customers of each phase of a shipment, so they can know when to expect the arrival of a package, or if it gets lost.

Consumers and shippers can both receive SMS alerts, email notifications and even Google notifications for every movement a shipment makes. Combined with the upcoming mandate, the use of smart tech to track last mile logistics will grow. Being able to track a package is extremely important to a customer. It is important for them to be able to know when a package is supposed to arrive or even if it gets lost.

As parcel delivery becomes more popular, last-mile tracking will likely continue to grow.

  1. Third-Party Delivery

A growing number of retailers are taking advantage of third-party delivery options like pick up and pack companies, which handle the delivery logistics for them. These courier services are particularly suited for smaller eCommerce companies, enabling them to offer personalized delivery to the customer on the same day.

According to Technomic, the third-party delivery industry was worth $7.1 billion by the third quarter of 2018, and this will likely continue to grow. Independent shops and restaurants will have to embrace these services to stay relevant, and they risk becoming invisible to consumers if they do not offer delivery options, or if they do not appear on delivery apps. 

  1. Delivery Drones and Robots

Autonomous vehicles and their ilk, including trucks, drones, and delivery robots, are becoming more important. These technologies can improve last mile logistics, allowing the delivery industry to continue to grow and become more personalized even in the face of labor shortage issues. Autonomous delivery vehicles can help maintain high reliability and provide same-day delivery in urban or even rural areas.

Currently, the main obstacle to the growth of this industry is the existing regulation affecting the trucking industry. However, in a few years, regulations may change to enable the wide-scale use of driverless delivery services. Autonomous vehicles and delivery robots are still being developed and tested, but eventually, they will significantly cut the cost of delivery by eliminating the need for labor, which accounts for around 60 percent of overall costs. Furthermore, driverless technologies can work around the clock and allow for faster delivery.

Recent trials include the Amazon Prime Air drone service in the UK and Alibaba’s G Plus delivery robots, which can carry packages weighing up to 20 pounds and uses sensors such as radar, stereo vision, and ultrasonic to help navigate real-world conditions.

  1. Locker Pick Up

In some cases, the more efficient option, compared to delivering packages directly to the customer, is to provide secure, self-service lockers from which customers can pick up their orders. Some couriers offer customers a choice, with locker pick-up presenting the most secure option, mitigating against lost or stolen packages. The customer receives a password via SMS or email, which opens the locker. It is also more cost-effective for the delivery companies, which can deliver multiple packages at once to a single location. An example of this system in practice is Amazon Locker, which offers more than 2,000 locations in over 50 cities.

  1. Mobile Merchants

While most shoppers (around 65 percent) use the internet to research products before they buy them, the most effective way to sell a product is to place the product and the information right in front of the consumer. As delivery becomes the norm, replacing stationary, physical stores, drivers may begin replacing traditional retailers, selling products directly from trucks. As driverless trucks replace the traditional role of the driver, truckers will have to adapt, becoming merchants and handling the logistics of sale and delivery, rather than the actual driving.

However, there are a number of challenges involved with the mobile merchant system, including regulations, payment and accounting processes, the burden of risk for unsold merchandise, and the practical logistics of handling returns.

  1. Same-Day Delivery

Same-day delivery is becoming standard practice for many retailers. Consumers are willing to pay extra for faster delivery, especially same-day delivery. However, for same-day delivery services to be attractive, the cost must be reasonable, at around 7 or 8 percent of basket value. Same-day delivery is not only relevant to individual online consumers. For example, the Coca Cola express delivery service allows restaurants to receive deliveries within three hours of placing an order.

A Look to the Future

The future of last-mile delivery is one of great opportunity for retailers and customers alike. Postal operators are likely to grow in 2019 as they take advantage of international markets and increased demand for package delivery. As new technologies develop and the retail, restaurant, shipping, and eCommerce industries adopt these delivery trends, we are likely to see more fast, autonomous, and cost-effective service.


Uber Ipo

Lyft Releases Its First Earnings Report, Uber Prepares for IPO as Rideshare Drivers Strike Worldwide

This Week In Mobility – May 10, 2019

This week, Uber’s IPO is finally here as Lyft releases its first quarterly earnings report as a publicly traded company. In other news: Is Elon Musk out of his mind?

Lyft First Quarter Earnings Report is No Surprise

Lyft is officially a publicly traded company, and posted its first quarterly earnings report showing a loss of $9.02 per share. We’ve reported before about Lyft’s lack of revenue and falling stock prices, so it’s no surprise that the company’s first report was less than stellar.

Can Lyft and Uber prove to investors that there is money to be made in the rideshare industry? While many financial experts are skeptics, evidence shows that Uber and Lyft are transforming the way the world deals with commuting. Even US government transit authorities are using rideshare companies to avoid having to replace aging vehicles and handle other issues.

So yes, there’s money to be made, but investors shouldn’t expect the same quick returns they get from other publicly traded companies that are already profitable.

Rideshare Drivers Strike Just in Time for Uber’s IPO

On Wednesday, drivers from both Lyft and Uber logged off their driver apps and banded together to protest mistreatment from rideshare companies worldwide.

Because rideshare drivers are considered contractors and not employees, they are not able to benefit from basic employee rights such as minimum wage, Social Security (for US drivers), and other benefits.

The timing of the strike is a precarious one for Uber, as it is in the midst of setting share prices and preparing for today’s IPO. While it may seem like business as usual for Uber, the strikes may be why experts believe that prices will fall around the midpoint of their sale price range of $44 to $50. In addition to the strike, the recent NYC driver hiring freeze has hit both Uber and Lyft pretty hard in terms of future growth.

Uber and Lyft are the world’s largest rideshare companies, and many drivers work for both organizations.

Love Using Bird? Now You Can Buy One of Their Scooters

E-scooter rentals are doing so well that micro-mobility company Bird is betting that you’ll want to buy your own.

Bird announced Wednesday that the Bird One scooter, expected to be ready for sale this summer, will sell to anyone who wants to buy their own for $1,299.

Sound ridiculous? After you recover from the high price tag, it’s important to note that e-scooter rentals are booming worldwide. California-based Bird is making a smart move by taking advantage of their current popularity and announcing the scooters are now available for sale.

Back in April, Bird rival Lime announced that their scooters have weathered more than 50 million trips since they launched in 2017. But sharing scooters isn’t always ideal for some. Yes, expensive scooters are definitely a gamble. There’s a big jump between a $15 scooter rental and a $1,299 investment in an electric vehicle.

But handling the worldwide commuting crisis is going to involve risky moves from companies like Bird who are willing to experiment with new ways to get people around.

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry and Elon Musk Go Head-to-Head

Is Elon Musk a visionary or just plain crazy? Autonomous car experts are abuzz this week about Elon Musk’s latest claim: that Tesla will have a million fully autonomous “robo-taxis” on the road by 2020.

Technology publication The Next Web pointed out that “there isn’t a single consumer-facing vehicle with level five autonomy in production today.”

So yes, visionary seems a little far-fetched in this situation. Elon Musk is a highly intelligent guy, but he is a businessman. His Tesla taxi idea has legs, given the fact that Tesla owners are already renting their cars out on Turo.

A million fully autonomous Teslas making money for owners while they sleep by 2020 is not happening. The Tesla Network will take a little longer than a few months to get up and running. For now, Tesla owners will continue to recoup their investment in their vehicles by sharing them 11 days a month with “less fortunate” drivers.

On Demand Logistics Company Flexe Raises $43M

Logistics is quietly coming up in the on demand industry as a way for retailers to make money delivering goods. With heavy hitters like Amazon investing in their own delivery network, smaller retailers are looking for ways to compete.

Venture capitalists recognize the importance of competition, and are investing in ways to help retailers without deep pockets deliver items as efficiently as possible.

Tuesday, on demand warehouse startup Flexe announced a $43M Series B funding round to help companies with “‘pop-up’ storage space” needs. The company compares itself to Airbnb.

Instead of finding rooms for vacationers like Airbnb, Flexe finds temporary warehouse space for companies to efficiently move products to consumers. This model is wonderful for growing ecommerce companies that don’t have physical warehouse space or distribution partners where they need them.

Image Credit: Picture Lake


Freelance work life balance

Achieving Work-Life Balance as a Freelancer

Freelancing offers unbeatable freedom in your career, but this flexibility comes with a major downside. It can be very difficult to maintain a sensible work-life balance, as boundaries become blurred and professional priorities soak up time which should be spent on relaxation and leisure.

Although there’s a natural desire to work as many hours as possible to keep income flowing, this isn’t sustainable in the long term. Without some downtime, your work will begin to suffer – not to mention your happiness, and even your mental health. How can you set about building a better equilibrium? Here are some ideas.

Create a Work Area

If you’re fortunate enough to have an actual office to work in, this is already a great start in separating your professional and personal lives. If not, it’s essential to set aside an area as a designated workspace. Even if this is just a particular chair at your dining table (not your usual one for mealtimes), defining a location for your work helps you to make the mental switch when you enter it. Crucially, try and keep this work area solely for professional use – for example, avoid using the same room as an office by day and a TV den by night.

Get Out Occasionally

This may seem like a direct contradiction of the previous point, but it’s useful to vary your work location occasionally if possible. Working from home can soon start to feel like imprisonment, with negative results for both work and leisure. Consider taking your laptop to a coffee bar or public park if this suits your line of work, but also make sure you arrange plenty of out-of-hours activities that give you a change of scene for a while.

Dress for Work

Even though today’s workplaces are increasingly relaxed, most people still make the effort to dress for work when heading out to the office in the morning. If you’re working at home as a freelancer, the temptation can be to stay comfortable in your pajamas or sweatpants, but it helps to establish boundaries if you change into something more formal. This doesn’t need to be full office wear, but few people are at their most productive in nightclothes, and changing back into casual clothing later acts as a natural marker for the end of the working day.

Segregate Your Technology

Smartphones are incredibly useful for the independent worker, allowing easy note taking, research, and communication wherever you happen to be. However, there’s a clear downside to constantly carrying your work in your pocket: it becomes impossible to fully relax. Ideally you’d have separate devices for professional and personal use, but this isn’t always cost effective.

Instead, if your device allows it, set up separate profiles for work and rest. When you’re working, you probably don’t want to see the Netflix icon on the same screen as your spreadsheet program, for example. Similarly, during your downtime, you don’t want your to-do list to be constantly in your gaze reminding you of fast-approaching deadlines.

You could also consider a smartphone that supports dual SIM cards, giving you separate numbers for work and personal use. This way, you can divert your professional calls to voicemail outside working hours.

Social and Family Boundaries

When you work from home, family and friends often assume you’re available for them at all times. You can expect demands to be placed on you which would never be made if you had a traditional job. It’s important to make it clear to everyone that work time is work time, and that anything that isn’t truly urgent should wait until after hours, just as it would if you were working outside of home.

Have a Realistic Work Schedule

Freelancing offers the flexibility to work extra hours to meet a deadline, or to organize your work around other responsibilities. However, it’s important to schedule reasonable work hours and manage your workload so that pulling a twelve-hour shift is the exception rather than the rule.

Replace Your Commute

Putting an end to the daily commute is one of the great joys of the freelance life. However, even though a long journey to the workplace is a huge inconvenience, it at least acts as a natural boundary at either end of the work day. Try and think of an equivalent that you can fit into your routine – maybe a short walk or a few stretching exercises, just to establish natural bookends to your professional hours.

Don’t Forget a Hobby

Lastly, many people become freelancers by turning a talent into a profession. Unfortunately, this often involves the destruction of a hobby at the same time. What was once a joy and a way of letting off steam is now the activity that’s paying the bills. If this applies to you, it’s essential to find a replacement, so that you have the opportunity for stimulation and diversion outside of your freelancing duties.

The freedoms a freelancing career provides are worth nothing if burnout damages your work and health. Establishing some solid boundaries will help you keep a happy work-life balance so that you can enjoy the unparalleled benefits of freelancing without it taking over your entire life.


Entrepreneur budgeting

10 Smart Budgeting Tips for Freelancers and Gig Workers

Freelancing and gig work is bigger than ever before, and that is good news for young people and others who want to earn extra money. Whether you view freelancing and short-term gig assignments as a source of additional income or a replacement for a full-time job, you need to budget your money carefully.

Careful budgeting is important for everyone, but it is even more critical for gig workers and freelancers, who do not have a full-time wage to fall back on. Here are 10 essential budgeting tips freelancers and gig workers can use to stay in the black all year long.

  1. Establish a baseline. Before you can establish a budget, you need to know how much you spend. Track your spending carefully to set the baseline for your new budget.
  2. Track your income. Freelancing and gig work income can be notoriously uneven, and it is often feast or famine. Track your income carefully to get a sense for how much you can earn and use that in your budgeting.
  3. Err on the low side of the income scale. If you overestimate your future income, you could end up with a serious shortfall. It is better to err on the low side and be surprised by a good month than the other way around.
  4. Set up a separate bank account for your freelance and gig work. If you have a full-time job and use your gig work for extra income, be sure to keep those funds separate. This will help with taxes as well as budgeting.
  5. Put money aside for taxes. The self-employment tax is a fact of freelance and gig work life, and you do not want it to take you by surprise. Estimate what you owe and set money aside for future taxes. If you earn enough, you may need to pay estimated taxes on a quarterly basis.
  6. Lower your expenses. The lower your expenses, the easier it will be to stay within budget. Look for ways to reduce your expenses and keep more of your freelance and gig work income in your pocket.
  7. Keep your receipts. One of the perks of being a freelancer or gig worker is that you can write off some of your expenses. Keep your receipts, sort business spending from personal and take advantage of those write-offs come tax time.
  8. Start a retirement fund. It is never too early to save for retirement, so look into your options. Retirement plans for freelancers and gig workers are among the most generous around, and contributing to one could lower your taxes and help you save for the future.
  9. Establish a line of credit. In a perfect world, your freelance and gig work income would always cover your expenses, but the world of self-employment is not a perfect one. Establishing a line of credit you can draw on can make the lean months easier – just do not abuse the privilege or get yourself in debt.
  10. Focus on your most profitable clients. In the beginning, you may have no choice but to take every job that comes your way, but as you establish yourself you will have more freedom. By focusing on your best and most profitable clients, you can grow your business and build up your nest egg.

Budgeting is no easy task, and being a freelancer or gig worker can make things even more difficult. Without a full-time income to fall back on, you are responsible for every penny of income, and you need to make the most of those dollars. The budgeting tips listed above can help you enjoy the fruits of your labor, so you can enjoy the work and still put food on the table.


Airbnb interior design tips

8 Interior Design Tips to Maximize Airbnb Long-Term Rental Returns

Long-term rentals can be a fantastic source of secure revenue for an Airbnb host. Securing more or repeat long-term rentals will depend on how customers enjoy the experience at your Airbnb property during their stay. When it comes to encouraging return customers, your property design may have a lot more to do with it than you might think. Find out how these simple design choices can help you maximize returning clients. Plus, find out what host management companies are and how they can help, too.

1. Choose Functional Furniture

Choosing stylish furniture pieces can attract renters to your listing. But if you want them to keep coming back, make sure your furniture choices are functional. Especially for long-term renters, functionality could be the defining factor in whether clients return. Comfort is a top priority when it comes to seating and bedding, in particular. Opt for sectional sofas that can be easily rearranged or comfortable recliners.

Anything that is adjustable to suit an individual’s needs is a great choice for maximizing comfort and encouraging a return visit. Save your style and flair for decorative items instead. When it comes to furniture that customers will be using daily throughout their stay, comfort should always come first. Practicality is just as important, too. Long-term renters will want plenty of room to store their clothing and toiletries.

2. Provide Proper Lighting

Dim lighting can look very trendy, but your customers likely won’t find this feature too pleasant after several nights stay at your place. Again, functionality is key. You can add a dimmer for your client to use at their discretion. However, the option for functional lighting should always be available. Include pot lights and chandeliers wherever possible. Choose LED bulbs over traditional bulbs. They last longer and are much brighter. Avoid anything with a yellow tint when it comes to lighting. Another great tip is to include a bright reading lamp somewhere in the space.

3. Choose Practical Window Coverings

For the windows, remember that most people welcome light in the day but prefer total darkness at nighttime. A simple way to achieve this is to opt for sheer curtains with blackout curtain overlays. Your renters can maximize natural light during the day, without compromising privacy, and still have total darkness at night. Versatility and practicality are essential to maximize comfort and encourage customers to return – especially for extended stays.

Another option is to choose privacy blinds. These can offer both partial lighting or blackout options. They are also a sleeker window covering that is much less cumbersome than curtains. This can work perfectly for a minimalist chic design.

4. Choose Durable Floor Coverings

When it comes to the floors, choose a material that is durable. Think bamboo wood flooring or tile. The idea is to have a floor that looks warm and inviting, but can also stand up to various tenants. Damaged floors can turn renters off, and you can’t change the flooring every time a new renter visits. Durable floor options will help you maintain the aesthetic of your property. They can also maximize your spend.

You can also try vinyl flooring. It’s easy to install and very cost effective. The only flooring option you may want to avoid is the carpet. Carpet flooring can hold in dust and be allergenic for some individuals. Plus, they stain, and regular maintenance can be costly.

5. Opt for Neutral Paint on the Walls

Lighter shades of paint maximize both light and space. This will not only help your place appear larger and brighter, but it’s a timeless look that doesn’t need constant updating. The idea is to be very easy on the eyes. If a renter is staying in your place for months at a time, the last thing you want is for them to get fed up of staring at bold walls or colors. Instead, limit colorful choices to wall décor if you want to spice things up a little.

6. Make Sure Kitchen Tools are Functional

You can get creative with tabletop décor and accents. Just make sure functionality remains your top priority when selecting kitchen tools. Remember, your clients need to cook and use the kitchen as they would at home during a long-term stay. Include the basics like pots, pans, spatulas, a whisk, serving cutlery, dishes, bowls, cups and glasses, knives, and serving platters. A nice touch would be to include wine serving options like a decanter. Practical items like a blender and dishwasher can also come in very handy for your renters. Long-term renters are much more likely to use the kitchen daily since they will be setting up camp for so long. If the kitchen is as easy to use as their own, they are much more likely to return.


7. Avoid Controversial or Profane Artwork

Stay away from anything that may be offensive or vulgar. Keep your artistic choices limited to items that do not represent any cultural, religious or political ideologies. And of course, stay away from any pieces that poorly reflect other cultures or nationalities. You don’t know who will be staying at your rental property. Make sure it is welcoming to anyone and everyone.

8. Avoid Personal Items

To make customers return, make your rental space feel friendly and inviting, like your client’s very own home. Think of how realtors stage a home to make it more appealing. They want consumers to feel at home without feeling as though they are in your home. Avoid leaving behind any personal items like photographs of you and your loved ones. You want your clients to feel welcome in your space, not as though they are invading it.

What is a Host Management Company and Why Should You Hire One?

A host management company provides services to help Airbnb hosts manage their rental properties. With various individuals staying at your home, it can be overwhelming to manage. A company like this can help keep you organized and on track. Plus, they can help you earn more money from your properties.

Host management companies have loads of experience when it comes to Airbnb rentals. They can help you with everything from décor to management to listing creation. This can be particularly useful to you if you don’t live near your property or have several properties to manage at once. Remember, all it takes is one bad review for your rental income to suffer. A host management company can help you maintain a stellar reputation. They will ensure your properties are clean and prepared for the next visitors. They can take care of necessary repairs, too. This can take a tremendous weight off your shoulders and help you maximize your rental income.

Getting clients to return for long-term stays at your Airbnb properties is directly related to they feel when they are living in your space. Make design choices that maximize functionality and comfort. If you don’t know where to start, turn to a host management company for help.


Glovo courier

Lyft & Uber NYC Hiring Freeze & Toyota Launches Venture Fund

This Week In Mobility― May 2, 2019

This week, Uber & Lyft freeze hiring in NYC, Barcelona-based delivery service Glovo raises more money in Series D round, and data collection becoming more difficult for mobility companies in public-private US partnerships.

Uber & Lyft Freeze Hiring for New York City Drivers

New regulations passed in New York City in February spurred a hiring freeze for Lyft and Uber drivers in New York City. The new Taxi and Limousine Commission regulations require the companies to pay drivers $17.22 per hour after expenses.

Uber was the first to freeze hiring on April 1, with Lyft following suit on April 15.

The new law helps drivers earn competitive wages and decreases congestion in a city with some of the worst traffic in the world. Current drivers will likely make more money because of the decrease in competition.

However, less ridesharing vehicles on the road make it harder for customers to catch a ride when they need one. This regulation could keep new customers away and stifle ridesharing growth overall. With both Uber and Lyft still in the red since their inception, the future growth of the industry may hinge on the ability to attract new customers in spite of regulations that limit the number of drivers on the road.

On Demand Delivery Company Glovo Raises $168M

Barcelona-based Glovo doubled their amount of capital in their latest Series D round, which included $168M in investments from Lakestar, Drake, Korelya, and Idinvest.

The company was founded in 2015 and delivers various consumer goods in as little as 20 minutes to several urban areas in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

Glovo is similar to Postmates because customers can request to buy items from stores not included on the app, but doesn’t focus as heavily on food delivery. The company also doesn’t deliver in the same markets as Postmates and doesn’t have any plans on expanding into the US anytime soon.

Companies like Glovo are doing a great service to provide delivery services to busy city dwellers and those that are home-bound, as well as reduce traffic congestion in areas like Barcelona.

Postmates Expands to 1,000 New Cities

On demand food delivery company Postmates increased the number of cities it services from 2,500 to 3,500 across all 50 US states.

Postmates is the fourth-largest food delivery service behind DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. The company was recently valuated at $1.85B and is one of many set to go public this year.

While Postmates doesn’t have the market share of Uber Eats or DoorDash, new initiatives such as Postmates Unlimited and Postmates Party have allowed the company to significantly increase its earnings provide consistent revenue for the company.

Postmates Unlimited provides free unlimited deliveries on orders over $15 for $9.99 per month. Postmates Party, which represents 12% of all Postmates orders, lets customers get free delivery from restaurants that nearby customers are also ordering from.

Despite only capturing 10% of the food delivery market, Postmates new private valuation and service offerings make it a better option for investors looking to get in on the ground floor of a new offering.

Toyota Launches New VC Fund Aimed at Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics

After heavy hitters in the AI and machine learning space announced new venture funds, Toyota announced its newest venture capital fund, Fund II, for autonomous vehicle and robotic startups.

Toyota’s Fund II comes after Qualcomm and Baidu announced similar investments earlier this year. Toyota will add another $100M to the pot through its investment arm Toyota AI Ventures, pushing the total amount of available dollars for startups in this space to $700M. Qualcomm’s startup fund is also $100M, while Baidu’s growth-stage fund totals $500M.

Toyota AI Ventures states companies participating in Fund II will gain access to guidance and resources from Toyota’s 350,000 partners, affiliates and employees in addition to working capital.

Toyota AI Ventures began investing in the industry back in July 2017, with a $100M cash injection into the industry that helped several companies like Joby Aviation and Nauto raise additional investments from big investors like the Softbank Vision Fund and Greylock Partners.


Mobility Trip Data Collection Becoming a Top Priority for Government

As public-private partnerships become more prevalent, collecting data on these trips become increasingly important for government officials to measure the effectiveness of these programs.

The latest e-scooter pilot program in Portland, OR is requiring companies to collect an unprecedented amount of data.

Last week, three companies (Bolt, Lime and Spin) received permits to participate in the year-long program. The new program required companies to provide an in-person technology demonstration that proved they could provide the recently-developed Mobility Data Specification standard (MDS) data to city officials.

MDS gives governments the ability to access real-time data about rides taking place in their jurisdiction. In addition to providing information to the government, the technology allows two-way communication to help riders understand the rules of the road.

While this new standard is a great way for governments to understand the impact of mobility services on their cities, it also raises serious data privacy concerns and may make it difficult for smaller players to take advantage of these government programs that provide stable income.


10 Autonomous Vehicle Startups That Are Making Waves

Not every startup has the resources and know-how to enter the autonomous vehicle sector. With complex technology and intensive research requirements, self-driving platforms require substantial investment and even more dedication. While large companies like Google’s Waymo, Toyota, and GM Drive work on the latest driverless technology, these plucky startups are giving them a run for their money by developing cutting-edge software and up-to-date self-driving systems.

1. Zoox

While many engineers were fitting sedans and crossover SUVs with autonomous systems, Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson of the Stanford Center for Automotive Research decided to build their own unique autonomous vehicle. Quietly launching Zoox in 2014, the two men set about developing a streamlined custom self-driving car. The company’s ambitious designs won it $790 million in backing from Lux Capital and Atlassian founder Mike Cannon Brookes.

2. Bossa Nova Robotics

Other startups concentrate on road-ready vehicles, but Bossa Nova decided to use autonomous car tech to make warehouse robots more efficient and effective. Bossa Nova is the brainchild of David Palmer, a former executive for FedEx, and Sarjoun Skaff, a robotics engineer from Carnegie Mellon University. The two men have developed a system that uses computer vision and facial recognition software to help guide helper robots around big box stores like Walmart. The firm recently completed a $29 million funding round led by Cota Capital.

3. Arbe Robotics

This Israeli startup combines the machine learning expertise of CTO Noam Arkind, the business acumen of CEO Kobi Marenko and the programming skills of COO Oz Fixman. Arbe is laser-focused on developing high definition 4D radar, a technology that has origins in military drones and helps self-driving cars navigate streets safely without a human operator. Arbe has been popular with investors since it launched. It has raised over $20 million, most recently completing a $10 million funding round led by Fausto Boni’s 360 Capital Partners.

4. Nuro

In 2016, Google engineers Jiajin Zhu and Dave Ferguson decided to launch their own autonomous vehicle startup. The company designed a tiny autonomous delivery van to transport groceries, dry cleaning and packages. Nuro recently partnered with Kroger to fulfill same-day grocery delivery and is expected to roll out an entire battery-powered delivery fleet by the end of the year. Investors have given their stamp of approval to the industrious little vans by pumping more than $90 million into Nuro’s coffers.


In 2016, the two-man team team behind left lucrative careers in Baidu’s Autonomous Driving Unit to launch their own self-driving startup. The team quickly rolled out their own auotnomous vehicle system, testing their cars in California and China. After successfully debuting a fleet of autonomous cars in early 2018, the company attracted substantial investment from Chinese VC firms like Legend Capital and Morningside Venture Capital. In 2018 alone, has received over $200 million in investments.

Pony AI test vehicle


6. DeepMap

Mark Wheeler and James Wu had years of experience at Google Maps when they decided to quit in 2016 and start their own mapping startup. Knowing autonomous vehicles would need accurate, up-to-date maps, the two developed high-definition mapping software accurate to the centimeter. Backed by big names like Accel, DeepMap has raised $92 million. The company recently inked a deal with Chinese car manufacturer SAIC Motor to include its technology in SAIC’s new autonomous vehicles.

7. Aurora Labs

After years of working on automation for homes, pets and banking, Zohar Fox decided to turn his attention to self-driving cars. Together with VC maven Ori Lederman, Fox started Aurora Labs in 2016. The company developed its own machine learning tool to help autonomous vehicle systems predict, detect and manage faults without outside input from humans. The Israeli company, which recently completed a $8.4 million Series A funding round, plans to to branch out into the US in the coming year.

8. Voyage

In 2017, University of Nevada researcher MacCallister Higgins saw an opportunity in the startup market for a new autonomous vehicle company that caters to the elderly and disabled. The company’s self-driving vans and sedans were deployed in retirement communities in California and Florida in early 2018. The company also made headlines when it lured tech executives Justin Erlich and Drew Grey away from Uber. Voyage has the backing of Jaguar Land Rover, which raised $15 million for the company in early 2018.

9. Brain Corporation

Founded in 2009 by a pair of neuroscientists, Brain Corporation has developed BrainOS, an autonomous platform that powers self-driving cleaning robots and floor scrubbers. The company’s robots use LIDAR to safely navigate around airports, hotels and big box stores. The company has attracted a bevy of investors, including SoftBank and Qualcomm Ventures, the VC arm of American telecommunications conglomerate Qualcomm.

10. Nauto

The brainchild of Princeton neuroscientist Frederick Soo and Stanford professor Stefan Heck, Nauto was founded in Palo Alto in 2015. The startup has developed tech that helps to reduce collisions caused by distracted driving. The system is designed for commercial drivers and features an advanced collision warning system and in-car collision avoidance training. Nauto has raised more than $170 million from big investors like Softbank and Greylock Partners.

As autonomous vehicles advance by leaps and bounds, these startups are getting the jump on emerging technologies. By relying on well-monied backers and their own technical expertise, these companies are able to use financial capital to fund complex research and transform the modern transportation sector forever.