How to Get People to Dig into Their Pockets for a Good Cause

So you have a great cause that you really believe in? It may be saving the rainforest, promoting zero waste, funding education for underprivileged children… It could be anything.

It’s great that you want to gather the money for that cause but unfortunately, you may quickly find out that others don’t believe in saving the planet as much as you do.

It’s difficult to get people to dig deep into their pockets, and donate money for charitable goals. That’s why you have to make some extra effort to get people to put money where their mouth is and keep the donations flowing in.

You’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to flip your donors upside down to get some money out of their pockets. There are other, more traditional methods that will ensure you get the funds you need. Let’s see what you can do to get people to donate.

Create a Buzz Around the Event

There’s nothing more engaging than a good storyline. People just love a good story. That’s why you should make sure to create relatable content that will get people to donate for your cause.

Then you can promote it via YouTube, email and social media. One of the great campaigns about saving the rainforests, for example, motivates people to donate by showing a regular person with an ordinary life we can all relate to, and elaborating on how and how not to help the rain forests.

With a great sense of humour, that’s a necessary part of every successful commercial.


How many times have you checked your phone today? 20, 30, 100 times. In fact, you are probably looking at your phone right now and reading this post. An average person looks at their phone 80 times a day.

We stare at our phones while we eat, drink coffee, when we wake up in the morning and before we go to sleep at night. But what if I tell you that there’s a way to turn this smartphone obsession into your benefit?

It’s simple, really. All you have to do is to set up a text-to-donate campaign. Just use one of the mobile chatbots to send a bunch of text messages to numerous numbers and tell people about your charity.

Then ask them to send a message to a certain number to donate. When they do, the chatbot will automatically send them a thank you note confirming that their donation is received.

Hosting a Themed Event

Themed night event

Forget about a boring suit-and-tie galas, why not host a themed event and get your guests to show up dressed as Tarzan and Jane? Ok, that might be a little bit far-fetched, but a 60s-themed party might be just the thing to get more people interested in the goal you support.

Nothing like a hippie commune party to get people to give away their possessions for the greater good.

You can also choose to get them involved in a different way. Host a Strictly themed event and your guests will be more than just entertained. Seeing how much effort you have put in to putting the show together will make them want to be a part of it, and get them to reach for their pockets.

Direct Mail

You may think that snail mail is an ancient technique that should be left behind alongside pigeon mail and fax machines, but nothing can be further from the truth. Well, as the popular meme says, brace yourself, ’cause according to the Blackbaud Institute, the number of donations that comes through the direct mail is almost 90%.

This means that direct mail is not only alive and well, but also that the vast majority of donations come through direct mail. The easiest way to get donations via direct mail is to send a letter explaining your campaign alongside a payment slip that people can easily use to make a payment to your account.

And then sit back, relax and wait for all those donations to come in.

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

If you want your donors to keep coming back and donating money to your organisation, you have to show your appreciation again and again. Why not send them a personalised thank you note, or give them a shout-out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

By remembering to thank your donors, you will ensure for recurrent donations and build a loyal community of your supporters.

Getting people to dig into their pocket and contribute to a good cause might be tougher today than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s mission impossible.

With these few tips you will undoubtedly get people to care about your goal as passionately as you do, and they will gladly give away a part of their earnings to support it.

Do You Need to Have Branded Promotional Material?

Many business owners struggle with the various options of marketing and promotion offered on the market.

Fighting for your piece of the pie sometimes means hearing a lot of different information about various ways of attracting customers, and the problem is that you can very often find opposite opinions. It can happen very often that the info you receive isn’t based on research and lacks data-checking.

Precisely for this reason, we have decided to explore one of the most common marketing tactics used by companies and offer you more insight into its importance and relevance.

Branded promotional materials don’t fall into the category of the newest marketing trends. When it comes to exploring new ways of advertising, most people turn towards social media and various Snapchat filters and blue badges.

Although the dominance of the digital world can’t be ignored, there is still a lot of value in the physical, especially when it comes to items like stands used to promote your company that attract your customers and create a more personal connection.

What Is the Outcome of Sharing Branded Promotional Material?

Social media flyers on the table

Before we dive into this marketing tactic, let us see what the research says – how big of an ROI do these materials have? Well, as it turns out, a much bigger one than everybody thought.

A study done in 2012 has brought to light some significant info – as many as 87% of people keep promotional materials for more than a year and almost 80% have opted to work with the said business again.

This research also highlights that the return of investment for branded promotional materials is as high as TV or printed media. We might add that it is also far less expensive.

How Can Branded Promotional Material Help My Business?

Now that we have established the impact this marketing tactic has, let’s break down what it can actually do for your business. There are many benefits of using branded promotional materials, but we will focus on the most important ones. First of all, it helps your brand become more recognisable.

Seeing your logo and slogan on various products is one of the cheapest ways to get your message across. It is also a one-time investment that keeps bringing attention and awareness.

The best example is a T-shirt that a typical customer wears plenty of time in different settings, spreading your brand’s visibility without giving it a second thought. Another huge benefit is also the relationship you build with your customer.

Instead of asking for something from them, you begin your interaction by giving them something. They will be far more likely to buy your product or service, and you can start building the relationship and transforming a lead into a loyal customer.

What Kind of Promotional Material Should I Use?

Another research done on this topic shows that the most popular item when it comes to branded promotional materials are wearables. Like we said, this means mostly T-shirts, but also sweatshirts, scarfs, hats, etc. Other popular items include writing objects and drinkware.

Although any promotional material can help you, it is best to gift items your customers will use. Some of the typical examples are umbrellas, key chains, phone cases…

The last item that grabbed everyone’s attention was the fidget spinner, that became so popular even the Fortune 500 companies started using them to promote their businesses. Based on your industry, you should research the needs of your customers and then offer them something that adds value.

One important thing to consider – your materials shouldn’t be of poor quality. Giving someone a pen that stops writing after two days, or a shirt that loses colour easily, will not help your business at all and it can only hurt your brand.

Is This Kind of Advertisement Alternative to Online Activities?

This marketing tactic, although very useful, isn’t an alternative to other ways of reaching your customers, especially when it comes to your online presence. You should invest in up to five different ways of attracting your clientele, and incorporate branded promotional materials as one of them. Don’t neglect your presence in the online world or you can expect a significant decrease in revenue.

Every marketing strategy should be about giving your customers what they want and building a strong relationship with them. No approach is universal or has a guaranteed success rate.

You should incorporate this tactic into your established business practice and use it as a way to further improve your position on the market. Invest in promotional materials that convey the core values of your product and company, and that are of good quality.

Research the needs of your customers and offer them something they didn’t even remember to ask for. This way you will be ahead of competition and your budget will thank you for it.

How Best to Use Social Media to Promote a Local Business

Many people think that social media advertising is for big businesses only. “Why would I need a social media page, I’m just a local barber”, they say. But the truth of the matter is that in today’s digital age, every business no matter how big or small needs a good and effective social media strategy. Studies have shown that 29% of people use social media to find products to buy. That’s why it’s important to attract and engage people through social media. If you want to know how to leverage the power of social networks to attract new clients, this blog post is for you.

Identify Your Target Audience

people walking on grey concrete floor during daytime

The first step in creating a killer social media marketing campaign is determining the target audience. Before you even sign up for a social media account, you must consider who it is that you will be talking to and adjust your posts to meet their needs. Since your business is focused on the local audience, feel free to add expressions or slang that’s typical to the area you live in. Or mention local sites and landmarks that you think your audience will love. Also, identifying your target audience is essential if you are thinking about paying for social media ads. Every social media channel provides the opportunity to direct your ads to a certain audience targeted by gender, age, location, etc. This is particularly important for local businesses that can select to promote their business in the designated area.

Use Social Networks to Answer Inquiries and Complaints

Many people use social media as a perfect tool to ask questions about goods and services or to submit a complaint. In these situations, people are counting on an immediate response. That’s why every local businessman should make sure to answer all questions and complaints that arrive through social media ASAP. In many cases, your social media page is your first contact with the potential buyer. If you don’t leave a good impression online, they will likely turn to another company.

Engage Friends and Followers

Social media is all about communication and making connections with people. And this communication can go both ways. That’s why, to run a successful social media marketing campaign, you have to make sure to engage your followers to the fullest. This means keeping an eye on what they do and sharing their thoughts and opinions about your brand on your own social media page.

On Facebook, you can achieve this by organising quizzes, with free samples or discount coupons as rewards. Or by sharing other people’s experiences about your brand.

On Twitter, you can retweet other people’s tweets about your business.

Or join the LinkedIn business group and engage in discussions. Since your goal is promoting a local business, make sure that the people you engage with and groups you are joining have an impact on the local population.

Plan a Social Content Calendar in Advance

silver-colored iPhone 6 on white spiral nitebook

It’s not always easy to find content that will fit perfectly into your social media profile. Sometimes it just seems like no matter how many materials there are on the net, there’s simply nothing worth sharing with your audience. To avoid this last-minute scraping through the web, create a social content calendar and stick to it. There are many online social media calendars like Buffer and CoSchedule that you can use to organise your schedule. They let you pick which content you want to post, when and on what social network. Some of them even offer a scheduling option that will allow you to schedule your social media posts weeks and even months in advance.

Share Photos and Visuals

People are visual beings, and a good image, infographic or any other type of visuals is more likely to capture the attention of your audience than a block of text. Use the visuals to grab attention and intrigue your audience. You can use Pictochart to create awesome infographics or use Canva for visualising your quotes and important updates.

Don’t Forget About Paid Advertising

Though it’s important to improve your organic reach as much as possible, that doesn’t mean you should totally forget about paid ads. Most social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer the possibility of paying for ads to expand your reach. For just a few dollars, you can transfer your message to a much wider audience. And the best part is, you can target people in your area specifically, if you want to opt for promoting your business locally.

Hope these tips will help you make the most out of your social media marketing campaign. If you are still uncertain about the best way to use the marketing power of your social media pages, make sure to sign up for a social media training course, where they will teach you everything you need to know about how to use social media to promote your local business.

Top 5 Work and Travel Destinations

The number of digital nomads has exploded in recent years – with more people realising the benefits of leaving behind their 9-5 job and embracing their love of travel whilst earning money on the road at the same time.

And why wouldn’t it be? If you desire, you can work from a new office every day – on a beach surrounded by swaying palm trees, in the historical centre of a medieval walled city, or even on the side of a mountain (provided there’s good wi-fi – more common than you’d expect)!

Here are five best destinations in Europe to spend a few weeks as a digital nomad.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

The Portuguese capital has become one of the top destinations for expats and digital nomads alike in recent years, with an increasing number moving to this vibrant, beautiful, and hilly city each year.

Of the cities on this list, it’s the one with the best weather – the Mediterranean climate guarantees a lot of sunshine year-round. It’s a great place to work outside in an affordable café or restaurant, where the coffee is good and the wi-fi speeds are excellent. The thriving digital nomad scene means it’ll be easy to meet people you share something in common with at meetups.

Crime rates are low, English is widely spoken, and it’s one of the most affordable capital cities in Western Europe. When you want to get away from your laptop, Lisbon offers great surfing opportunities and has a varied nightlife scene too, from chic and upmarket bars to hedonistic clubs.

Lisbon is an especially popular base for travel bloggers. What also makes it so popular is the chance to pop down to the Algarve and get a bit of sun in, also while working.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

The highest-ranked city in Europe at #7 according to Nomad List’s best cities for digital nomads, Berlin is a popular destination due to its rich culture, great nightlife scene, and the progressive attitudes of its residents.

Germany’s capital is a very safe destination, and the level of spoken English is excellent, making it a really easy city to settle into.

The only downside the digital nomad life in Berlin is the cost. It’s the most expensive city on this list. Perhaps not a great destination to start off your digital nomad career, but after a few years’ of experience, it can be a rewarding and exciting place to live.

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

There are a number of reasons to set yourself up in the Romanian capital. There’s excellent variety when it comes to restaurants, foreigners are almost always greeted with smiles and made to feel very welcome, and most importantly, the crime rates are extremely low. This will be a weight off your mind when lugging about expensive equipment like your laptop and camera.

The cost of living is low, and rent starts at just below $500 per month. You can find over 15,000 entire places to choose from on Airbnb.

The internet speeds in Bucharest are more than suitable for online work, 27Mbps according to the Nomad List. Amazingly, 9 of the world’s top 15 cities with the fastest internet are located in Romania. Bucharest is a fine choice, but if you fancy a smaller city, Cluj and Timisoara are excellent options too.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn has been popular with digital nomads for a number of years due to a wealth of reasons. The cost of living is cheap, Estonia has the 2nd fastest public wi-fi system in the world, and there’s a large community, so it’s easy to make friends and socialise in the hours when you’re away from your laptop.

However, the most convincing reason for a digital nomad to come to Tallinn is the digital residency visa programme that the city launched in 2014, meaning that anyone can base their business and finances in Estonia, regardless of their birth country.

Putting working to one side for a moment, Tallinn is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, and has UNESCO World Heritage site status. Its compact city centre hosts magical Christmas markets during the winter, while you can get out of the city to quaint, sandy beaches during the Summer.

Prague, Czech Republic


Prague is often compared with Budapest, and the cities are often regarded as similar due to the cost of living, intriguing architecture, and modern infrastructure.

Prague is ranked lower than some other European cities like Budapest and Belgrade on the Nomad List’s list of best cities for Digital Nomads, but due to better racial and LGBT tolerance in the Czech capital, it seems a safer place to go.

In terms of meeting other digital nomads and your social, Prague has several coworking spaces and social events, as well as an excellent nightlife scene and a number of foreign tourists visiting throughout the year. Good internet is available across the city, and there are a number of perfectly situated cafés in beautiful medieval squares.

For most of the year, the weather is good, but for a couple of months, you’ll have to tolerate temperatures just north of 0 degrees.

The Importance of Customer Service in Business

Excellent customer service is crucial for improving client satisfaction and loyalty. And the researches have shown that businesses are 14X more likely to sell a product to an existing loyal customer than a new one. Therefore, it’s fair to say that customer service can make or break a business.

But why is customer service so important?

Deals with Complaints

Deals with Complaints

First of all, customer service helps you deal with complaints. Regardless of how good your product or service you provide is, the odds are that you are going to have some negative feedback from your customers.

Collecting this negative feedback and using it to improve your product or service is of vital importance for keeping your customers satisfied.

Strengthens Brand Reputation

You know what they say about reputation – “it takes years to build it, but just moments to ruin it.”

The way you communicate with customers and reply to complaints, speaks a lot about your brand and reflects your ethics and values. In today’s age, many people rely on online reviews when deciding on a company, and receiving a negative review can destroy your carefully built brand.

To keep your brand’s reputation intact, make sure to provide the best possible customer service to your clients.

Increase Customer Retention

The better the customer service, the more likely it is that people will continue to use your goods and services. Great customer service results in maximum customer retention because it provides the notion of having someone to rely on and builds trust between you and your customers.

Okay, now that we all agree that customer service is very important for running a business, let’s take a look at a few ways to improve your customer service.

1. Know what You are Offering

two man doing shake hands

A key step in providing good customer service is knowing your products and services inside and out. Some clients may encounter a problem while using your products and services and they will need a little bit of guidance on how to solve them.

To help people in a most efficient way, and solve problems that they encounter, it’s important to have customer service that knows every aspect of the product. Having a customer service that’s more confused than the customer that reaches out won’t help at all.

2. Train a Team of People

Providing customer support can be difficult because you have to talk to a lot of people who can be confused, agitated or angry. But customer support team has to treat everyone with respect and can never let their emotions get the most of them.

That’s why you need a well-trained dedicated team of people for the job. You need a group of skilled professionals who know which questions to expect and how to best answer these questions. Also, your team has to be able to answer people’s enquiries in an eloquent and friendly manner. Be rude to a customer once, and you’ll never see or hear from them again.

3. Use the Advantages of Technology

Are you still relying on phone calls to provide customer service? Well if you are, it’s about time to try new stuff and expand your service. Though phones remain an important channel of communication, people are much more likely to reach out to you via email, social media channels or company website.

That’s why it’s important to have a social media manager on your customer service team. Social media management is not just about expanding your reach and engaging your followers. Your social media page can host your first encounter with your customers.

That’s why you have to make sure that your social media management team is equally knowledgeable about customer service as it is about marketing and promotion.

In order to answer the needs of your clients in a timely fashion, make sure to have a person in charge of email requests and complaints. This person should enable notifications and reply to inquiries as soon as they arrive.

Another way to provide customer service online is through chatbots on your site. Chatbots provide the best of both worlds. They combine the anonymity of online communication with the immediacy and the human tone of phone conversations. That’s why chatbots are a favoured form of communication for many users out there.

Let’s Sum Up!

It doesn’t matter if you have the best product or service in the world, the lack of good customer service can completely ruin your company. So make sure to provide your customers with an awesome customer service and enjoy the surge of happy, loyal clients.

The Multiphase Omnishambles of my 40th Birthday

I am not exactly what you’d call a miserable bastard. I am not far from one, though. As my significant other likes to put it – a borderline miserable bastard.

As such, I am not a big fan of birthdays, especially my own. Sure, I don’t mind having a few really good friends over for a nice meal, but anything more than that and it’s quite likely I’ll get annoyed.

A few years ago, with my 40th approaching, this birthday-averse nature of mine led to a multiphase omnishambles of a month which (much to my surprise) ended in quite a nice party, actually.

The following are not actual entries from my diary (I don’t have one), but I figured they make for a nice literary device.

Phase #1 – I’m feeling a bit blue

About a month before my 40th birthday

We get old. I get it. I’ve never had a problem with that.

I have been in a loving marriage for almost 15 years now. I have two kids who seem to be turning out to decent people (mostly thanks to my wife).

Sure, my knees and back take turns slowing me down and I have a bit of a paunch, but I’m mostly healthy.

I finally made that leap and started my own marketing agency (it’s still early days).

I know that a birthday is an arbitrary point in time. I know that there is not much difference between turning 40 and turning 39 or 41.

So, why am I feeling down?

I don’t think I’ll even celebrate my birthday. Maybe everyone will forget about it.

Phase #2 – The crisis is over

About 25 days before my 40th birthday

Crisis over. Not feeling blue any longer. Feeling a bit silly. Probably shouldn’t, but do.

I might actually invite a few really good friends over for a few drinks. We’ll have a little birthday meal, down a few bottles, talk well into the morning.

It will be nice.

Phase #3 – About those few friends…

About 24 and a half days before my 40th birthday

Talked to the missus about those few really good friends and she told me that’s not the best idea I’ve had. Today, not in general. I think I get it. It is a round birthday and I might want a bigger thing.

When I really think about it, there are quite a few people we don’t see as much and I actually miss them.

I told you I wasn’t a complete miserable bastard.

I might start looking for a place to organize the party.

Phase #4 – Behind schedule

About 20 days before my 40th birthday

I should really start looking for a place to have the party.

Phase #5 – Behind the schedule part deux

About 15 days before my 40th birthday

I should REALLY start looking for a place to have the party.

Phase #6 – A Eureka! moment. Or is it?

About 15 days before my 40th birthday, while looking for venues for the party

Hmmm… I got something here; I really think I got something here. What if I make this party a bit about my new marketing agency also? Invite a few business contacts from the past, the cool ones?

Nothing too pushy or daft, just letting them know I run my own agency now.

I’m there, they can talk to me.

I’m a nice guy, not a miserable bastard at all.


Phase #7 – Yes, a Eureka! moment

About 15 days before my 40th birthday, a few moments later

Talked to the missus. She likes the idea. It might actually be a good idea.

Phase #8 – F**k

About 15 days before my 40th birthday, another few moments later

F**k, how am I going to find a venue now!? Oh, and catering and all that. And letting people know and getting everything organized. Argh.

Wait a minute. Event planners. Yes, those wonderful, wonderful people who make parties materialize out of thin air.

What was the one we used… Ah, yes. Kevin Rowe Events and the team. Better give them a call.

Phase #9 – A spectacular sight of relief

About 15 days before my 40th birthday, twenty minutes later

They can actually do it. They can actually save this miserable bastard from himself. It’s going to be a close one with the invitations and all, but they can actually pull it off!

Phase #10 – S**t

The day of my 40th birthday, 9 a.m.

S**t! This is a bad idea. It will feel forced. Friends and business contacts in one place. Half birthday party, half this agency promotion thing. Who do I think I am?

Oh, and David. David is going to try and chat up one of the business contacts, I just know it. Is it too late to do a dry party?

Oh, my cousin Emma. She’s definitely going to try and chat up one of the business guys.

This is the worst idea ever.

Phase #11 – Well, this went well

The day after my 40th birthday, 3 a.m.

Well, this went better than I thought it would. The friends and the business folks really got on well. People might actually be nice. David wasn’t that bad. Emma… well… Emma is legally considered force majeure; you can’t really do anything about her.

But it went really well. The food was great. The band was okay.

I think I’ve even managed to set up a few promising meetings.

Wait, what’s that sound?

‘Emma! Emma! No, don’t… He’s trying to close up and go home! Ah, for f**k’s sake Emma… ‘

Home Upgrades that Will Boost the Value of Your Home

Selling your home is a complex and tiring process, but the biggest problem is that you can’t always get as much money out of your buyers as you’d like.

That’s why lots of homeowners who are planning to put their homes on the market in the near future start investing money in their property and actually trying to raise its value that way.

The point is, of course, ultimately making more money, and these home upgrades could do wonders for your home and the entire sale process. So, if you too are thinking about selling your home soon, here are a few upgrades you might want to check out.

Fix the Curb Appeal

Beautiful house entrance with trimmed grass

This is the first thing potential buyers notice when they come to your place – what’s more, if your curb appeal is anything less than perfect, they might not even get out of their car and actually walk inside your home!

Therefore, most people invest time into boosting their curb appeal and making sure it’s spotless. The best thing about this project is that it’s easier to handle than it seems. All you have to do is mown your lawn and trim your hedges regularly, as well as fix your front door and repaint your fence. This way, the buyers will fall in love with your place even before seeing all of it, and that’s always good.

Mind the Paving

Beautiful black gray and white paving

Once the potential buyers understand how amazing your curb appeal is and decide to give your home a chance, they’ll want to explore the rest of the outdoor space as well. Having a spacious backyard is instantly going to make your property appealing, and regular maintenance is going to make it even more attractive.

Don’t forget to pay attention to your paving, though, and opt for only the best choice of stones for this project – cobblestones, pebbles and gravel are all amazing options, so just find the stones that suit your garden, and you’re good to go.

Build a Deck

Deck with great view to ocean

All buyers are looking for cosiness and comfort in a new home, and nothing says cosy like a nice little deck behind the house. This space is perfect for spending your free time, hanging out with your family, entertaining your guests and even organizing barbecues and dinners.

Building a deck is therefore always a great idea, and you could probably do it on your own too, but be sure to consult an expert first, just in case. After all, this is the area where kids usually spend lots of their time, so it needs to be absolutely safe and protected against all weather conditions and other dangers.

Update the Kitchen

Update the Kitchen

Most people love being in the kitchen, and homebuyers are no different. They have a tendency of hating places that feature small, stingy and old kitchens, and simply opt to buy a home with a modern kitchen instead. So, don’t be afraid to dedicate some time to your kitchen and update it a bit.

Install some new cabinets, upgrade your appliances, add more storage space, build an island and lay some new tiles – most of these things are easy to handle on your own, so you’ll actually save some money in the process as well.

Upgrade the Bathroom


This is another space all potential buyers are going to check out, so you’d better be prepared. Updating the entire bathroom could be a bit pricey, especially if you wish to install a spacious bathtub, a new vanity and a few state-of-the-art fixtures, so plan your budget carefully and try to respect it as much as you can. At the end of the day, you don’t have to update every corner of the bathroom, but it needs to be clean and decluttered if you wish to attract more buyers.

Replace Old Windows

Replace Old Windows

Old homes are usually perceived as cold and unpleasant, and the biggest reason why that’s the case is those old windows they feature. No matter how big they are, they’re probably not as efficient as they should be, and that creates problems with regulating indoor temperatures no new owner is going to want to deal with.

So, replacing your windows might boost the value of your home more than you can imagine, particularly if you opt for those double-glazed windows that come with a number of various advantages.

In the end, most people don’t realize that you have to spend money now to make money later, and lots of them aren’t willing to do it.

But, if you don’t take these home upgrades seriously, you won’t be able to ask for more money when selling your home, and you might end up not selling it at all.

So, investigate these ideas, see which ones suit you the most, and start investing your money and time into them as soon as possible.

Getting Yourself and Your Home Ready for Winter

Every part of the year has its advantages, but we can’t all be in love with every single season. Me, I’m a guy who likes winter – scratch that: I love winter!

And I especially love winters in Dublin, because the streets look amazing, the air is crisp and you can get warm and cozy with a pint of Guinness basically at any corner.

However, winter also requires some preparation and I like being on top of my game, which is why I’m getting myself and my home ready for the winter a month or two in advance.

If you’re just like me and don’t like being surprised by the first snow, here’s what you need to do in order to welcome winter adequately.

Check the Insulation

House cover in snow

Winters in Ireland are tough – to be honest, the weather here can be tough all year long, with all the wind and rain – which is why you need to be 100% sure your home is ready for it. Checking the insulation is first on my order of business and I know how important being protected against the harsh winter conditions is.

I actually realized a couple of years ago that my home isn’t as cozy and warm as it should be and started looking for a reason. After some time, I understood that my insulation isn’t effective at all, so, a couple of days later, the problem was fixed.

Using foam board insulation, I managed to elevate the temperature in my rooms quite significantly, and this is something you too can do on your own, so there’s no reason to avoid this project.

Check the Fireplace and Chimney

Brown Beside Fireplace Near Brown Wicker Basket

My fireplace is one of the most interesting and visually attractive features in my home, and something I love a lot, particularly in the winter. It’s located in the middle of the living room and I just love sitting in front of it and catching up on the latest John Grisham (a very guilty pleasure).

ut, if you want your fireplace to keep you warm from November to March, you have to give it some love first.
I know that cleaning the fireplace is tiring and boring, but it’s just one of those things you have to do, whether you like it or not.

n the end, if you want to use it all winter long, you have to make sure it’s spotless. The same goes for the chimney too – hire a chimney sweeper to check if everything’s all right before the winter comes. Remember to do that every year and you’ll be able to enjoy the fireplace in the years to come as well.

Start Moisturizing

Man face wet

Look, I know this isn’t something every guy likes doing, but it just needs to be done. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of teasing from my friends at the pub, but when the winter comes, guess whose skin is perfect – mine, not theirs! Moisturizing is an important part of skincare and something you need to do all year long, but it’s especially important in the winter.

No matter where you live and how old you are, the wind, snow and cold are going to attack your face, dry your skin and mess it all up – unless you do something about it first, of course.

I thought this was a bit funny several years ago, but I got quite used to using a moisturizer and now can’t imagine welcoming winter without it. It makes my skin smooth, fresh and younger, but it also protects me against the low temperatures, and that’s something I love more than anything else.

f I am really looking for a splurge, I will sometimes look into a treatment at Auralia. Long since have gone the times when men were be ashamed of taking care of themselves!

Fix Your Beard

Well dressed man with a beard

Once you reach a certain age, you simply stop paying that much attention to the way you look: you have other things on your mind and you just want to feel comfortable in your own skin. Nevertheless, you can’t look scruffy if you’re a professional running his own business, so you have to take care of your facial hair even in the middle of winter.

Since Dublin winters are quite cold, I prefer trimming my beard instead of shaving it completely. This way, I still look elegant, manly and professional, but I’m not as cold as I’d be if I shaved my face morning after morning.

Also, frequent shaving can irritate your skin and cause acnes in certain cases, and that’s definitely something you need to avoid in the winter.

As you can see, preparing yourself and your home for the winter isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you take care of your health and maintain your living space all year long, you won’t have a problem adapting to the cold weather.

Consistency is the key, both in housekeeping and personal hygiene, so don’t neglect your skincare, even if you don’t think that’s the manliest thing in the world.

The Perks of Setting up a Business in Dublin

Starting a business, any kind of business, can be daunting or outright scary. I know this from personal experience. That is exactly why I wasted far too many years working for and with others, despite the fact I carried most of the load and could have spent that time building my own company.

At one point, my dislike for working for others overcame my fears and I realized that the time was right for me to finally start my marketing agency. I have always read that Dublin is one of the best places in the world to start a business and I decided to put this to the test.

Unfortunately, despite my sudden burst of enthusiasm, I had no idea how to actually do it. I had never been much of an entrepreneur and I tended to tune out when people spoke about the business side of running a company.

I know there are plenty of people out there like me and that is exactly why I wanted to write this – A quick guide to starting a business in Dublin if you’re not really sure how to start a business in Dublin.

Am I a Company? Am I a Trader?

Man standing

Before we go any further, I should confess to something – my best friend is an accountant and she made my life so much easier from the get go. And I do mean get go. You HAVE TO find a reliable accountant before you even start thinking about starting a business.

They’ll help you make the first major decision for your business – should you start off as a sole trader or a limited company straight away? Because my friend, how you register your company will become very important as soon as the first invoices start rolling in.

Basically, when you’re a sole trader, your business is tied to you as a person and it entails less red tape and fewer expenses. When you start a limited company, you become a shareholder in a corporate entity and it’s a whole different beast.
I myself wanted to go company straight away, but my friend advised me to get things going as a sole trader. You can read more on this here, by the way.

Once you decide, you have to register your business name with the CRO and find out about the taxes you’ll need to take care of in the future. You can find pretty much everything on this here.

Finding the Money

Regardless of how small you start off, you will be needing some money to get things going. I myself had the foresight to put something aside over the years and I didn’t have to take out loans or look for alternative funding.

For those of you whose situation is different, don’t despair. Dublin and Ireland, in general, are among the very best places in the world to start a business and a lot of it has to do with the availability of funds for new entrepreneurs.

The Local Enterprise Office is the perfect place to start, if nothing else then for the enormous amount of advice and tips you will get from the lovely people who work there. Despite the fact I wasn’t looking for any additional funding for my company, I got in touch with them and they helped me immensely. The good people at LEO really know their stuff.

I could write a 3,000 word article on all the other programmes and grants that are available for entrepreneurs in Ireland, but that is a story for another occasion. Instead, I’ll point you in the direction of this extensive list of funding options for Irish businesses.

Finding Office Space

Office Space

Depending on the type of business you are starting, you will have more or less choice when it comes to finding the best office space. For instance, I was perfectly capable to work from my parents’ house for the first few months and later from my apartment.

Of course, once you start meeting with clients and getting a bit of traction, you might need more and this is where coworking spaces come in. Dublin is great when it comes to coworking spaces – I worked from CoCreate for a while and also from The Brickhouse (really cool, although a bit more expensive).

The important thing is not to rush it and go renting out office space from the very start. Until you bring on more people, you don’t really need an office.

Of course, this doesn’t hold water if you are starting with a couple of people already. If you do need to get office space, make sure to do your research. You don’t have to be located at the IFSC or the Docklands.

Take Advantage of Software

Settings button on the screen

Okay, this one’s not really Dublin-specific, but I feel it is so important I would be remiss not to mention it. Namely, one of the best things about starting a business these days is the abundance of software that is available for pretty much every aspect of your business (especially if you are in the digital arena).

You name it, you’ve got it – lead generation software, business analytics software, HR software, project management software, CRM software, etc.

For a new company with a limited number of customers and accounts, much of the software can be free or really, really cheap. This often helps you keep your overhead low until you grow a bit and start bringing in more revenue.

Another tip – shop around, there are often small players who are doing stuff as well as the big, expensive companies, but at a fraction of the price as they are trying to carve a space for their company in the marketplace.

Closing Word

In this article, I covered the very basics that should leave you with a company that is registered and can operate legally. I intentionally left out hiring people and finding your first customers, because these require special attention.