Accepting Online Payments: 3 Easy Ways

Ask anyone – how would they want to pay their bills?

Most of them will nod their head for online payments, if not all of them.

It has become a norm these days to pay any bills online and amid this, if you think you can run your business without the option of online payments, sorry to disappoint you but you are wrong.

It is almost impossible these days to run a business without online payments options unless you are running a food cart business.

Why should you have an online payment option

You should remember that the ability to pay online is of great importance to your customers. For them, it is the most hassle-free and time-efficient way of paying for anything. So, don’t even think about ignoring this part.

But a question rises whenever someone decides to put up an online payment option on their site. How can I make my customers feel safe about the payment processor and how can I get the bills easily paid from them so that both mine and the customers’ time is saved.

Here are 3 ways you could do that

1.      Using payment links

If you are already communicating with your customers online about sending the payments and managing the rest, you can use payment links that are generated through the virtual terminal you use.

This is a secure way and a hassle-free way to make a payment for anything. However, the best part of using paid for links is you can send out the payment link for a fixed amount or you can let your customer put the amount.

2.      Using dynamic payment links

The dynamic payment links are fundamentally used to dynamically populate the payment funds according to the choice your client makes from your site.

Usually, you’ll need a web developer to help you with that but it is still cheaper than setting up an entire e-commerce platform.

With the dynamic payment links,your clients can easily make their very own choices/selections from your site without your assistance. This consistent payment stream will give you and your group additional time.

For example, say you are running a gym where you charge weekly. Your gym attendees may want to enroll for several weeks. So, with your dynamic payment cards, you can easily share them the link so that they can finalize their payments.

3.      An online payment button

Getting your payments from customers is not only an about the money. It’s about a lot more. So when you decide to send a few hundred bucks, you could get yourself an online payment button.

Providing your clients with this much flexibility of online payment definitely works better. It helps your client to build a better relationship between you and the clients. This will not only make it easy for you, but also for your clients.

Conclusion:You can choose either of them or manage a full-fledged payment option, it’s up to you

For more info, please visit: Internet Entrepreneur

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4 Tips On Cutting Losses In Real Estate

A wrong folder deleted in your laptop? Press CTRL + Z and it will be restored.

But same can’t be said for your investment that you lost in real estate.

That’s why it’s is better to have precautions before making any investment and know how to minimize the losses in Real Estate.

Here are 5 Tips that could help you cut the chances of losing your investment in real estate.

1.   Never run after your earnest money

Sometimes it happens that you decide to move ahead with a deal and spend a few grand– only to realize one day that the deal doesn’t make sense.

Most of the investors decide to go with it anyway because they don’t want to lose their earnest money. This is not a sound decision as there is no point spending more on something that is not of your use in the future or you think is a bad deal. Don’t run after the total amount you invested, let some of it go. Just exit from the deal.

In such cases, the “escape” clauses in the agreement can come to play. However, just because you can escape from a deal doesn’t mean you should do this all the time. This will have a negative impact on your credibility and soon you will become an investor who is not serious about the deals and always escapes from them. If this is the case, no one would like to make a deal with you.

2.   Let others approve the deal for you

Even though it’s your decision and you want to make your own decision, there are some deals or situation where you need a deeper look.

Let others know about your deal, only people you trust. A person to run through the deal and give an honest opinion will be your lender.

If somehow he/she thinks the deal is not good enough, he/she won’t even lend you the money. Here, your lender plays the role of your advisor who always knows what’s best.

3.   Know when to walkaway

You made a deal and you think it was a good deal as you’ve got the property at your preferred budget range. But after seeing the estimated rehab costs and other expenses, you may realize that making a profit will be tough.

So what you do? You walk away. Don’t stick with something that won’t do you any good.

4.   Ensure having several exit strategies

Sometimes your plan A might just be a waste. This is when your Plan B, C or D comes to play.

You need to have these many strategies to exit and it will depend on the property itself. For example, if selling doesn’t cut the deal then rent. If even renting doesn’t work well for your assets, you could also go with the lease option or land contract. There are literally hundreds of ways you can back off and you need to be prepared with all the possible ways you could take out the investment from your property.

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4 Reasons You Should Invest In Affordable Housing For The Long Haul

I was asked several times to explain the reasons behind my investments in affordable housing for the long haul. I thought, why should I explain to one person at a time when I can get it done once and for all.

So, here are my 4 reasons for investing in affordable housing and why you should also do the same.

1.   The wealth gap is still growing

There seems to be no stopping for the ever-increasing income disparity and wealth gaps.

Even though unemployment rates have decreased but there is no solid change or increase in median income. Consequently, the gap of riches between wealthy and poor is constantly increasing. In this stretch of two poles, the middle class is suffering most.

From the recent economic statistics, we can logically predict that more and more middle-class families will be diving into affordable houses as time goes by. Naturally, the demand for affordable houses will increase which is why I’m investing in them from now.

2.   Very limited supply

I have done some digging and as far as I can see, this type of asset has a tight supply. Besides, there are no signs that this assets’ supply will be increasing any time soon. This limited supply and increasing demand for affordable housing only mean one thing, increased rents.

In supply shortage and increasing demand incidents, assets tend to become more valuable. However, the increasing rents should be done wisely.

You should remember that the people who will be taking the places are middle-class families, looking to save a few bucks by renting an affordable/budget place. So, increase only a certain amount which you think is justifiable to keep up with the inflation and cost of living, don’t become a predator.

3.   New construction, even for affordable housing is expensive

It is true that the number of new construction sites is growing exponentially but the builders and investors don’t usually go with the construction of affordable housing.

These metropolitan constructions are mostly done to build either A or B+ category of apartments and homes with luxury amenities and finishing. Most of the builders for new construction are institutional investors. As they have a lot of capital to work with, they decide to target the upper class with luxury properties.

In this situation, concentrating on affordable housing may be a bad idea, especially when the demand for work forces will be adding a good sum to the cost of construction.

4.   Recession-resistant demands

Real estate is local, we all know that. We also know that the real estate market is cyclical as any other market.

The recent economic indicators indicate that we are a lot closer to the end of a cycle (the top of the cycle) and we should expect a downturn soon. But in the downturn of real estate, the affordable housing demand will stay strong,unlike other assets; which is another good reason to start investing in them.

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4 Real Estate Asset Investments To Help You Retire Rich

Real estate investment is easy and difficult at the same time. If you don’t get the hang of it, no matter how much you invest, you won’t be able to ensure a good retirement.

But once you start strategizing with market facts and data and start investing in the right assets, you will see yourself in a good position later down the road.
So, what are those “right assets”?

1.   Residential Rentals

For new investors, residential properties are the starting point for them.

At first, you should start small. Invest in small single-family houses, duplexes, triplexes, etc. Once you successfully invested in a few of them, you can now aim for small multi-family buildings that are between five to fifty units.

But remember to invest in class C/B type properties, they have a higher rate demand than D class or C- properties, and also, attract better tenants.

2.   Commercial Rentals

This type of assets is exclusive to real estate investors who have some experience with residential assets and managed to keep some financial reserves in order to dive into commercial rental properties.

These types of properties are mostly office towers, warehouses, cars washes, skyscrapers, strip malls, storage units, and some smaller storefronts.

To diversify your cash flow, you can also build up an office tower and rent or leases companies the floors for their office space. But keep in mind that these commercial buildings will have special management and safety requirements. So plan for that.

Some tips on commercial buildings, always try to sign multi-year leases. This will allow you to get stable cash flows and also ensure you can outlast any decline in rent. On the flip side, if your market is very competitive and the rent is ever increasing, you may have to stick with your old agreements and low rent for years.

3.   Mortgage Notes

Usually, one thing that each real estate investor would concur with is the time and exertion required to oversee rental properties. However, if you have constrained time or a lot of experience in real estate, investing in performing mortgage notes is certainly a decent choice. As the rental properties, mortgage notes also ensure a steady cash flow without any hassle or managing issue. These mortgage notes are widely available through the banks, brokers, and loan sales platforms.

While buying a mortgage note, you should consider the risk profile of the notes, all the assets backing the notes, and of course, the borrower’s profile. Before buying the notes, try discovering the assets of the notes and ensure that they are well-maintained or have higher resale values. While checking the borrower’s profile, focus on his FICO score and his debt-to-income proportion.

4.   ETFs/REITs/Real Estate Mutual Funds

If you are stuck with limited resources and time but at the same time have plans to put real estate into your portfolio and retire rich, some passive real estate ventures could work for you. A portion of the best aberrant real estate ventures includes real estate shared funds, real estate speculation trusts (REITs), and exchange-traded funds concentrated on the real estate industry.

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Signature & Chip vs. PIN & Chip

Transactions have been rocky at best since the introduction of EMV chips in Credit/Debit cards. Even after almost 3 years, business owners and consumers both are still confused about some of the facts regarding these cards.

Some even so confused that they decided to not make the shift. For any retailers smaller than the McDonalds or Wal-Mart’s of this world, shifting with the changes is a must to remain in business with a strong position.

There has been a lot of confusion about the EMV chip cards. One particular area is the difference between Signature & Chip and PIN & Chip.

When a customer pays for something with EMV chip-enabled card, they will use either a PIN or signature.

But what’s the difference?

Let me explain.

EMV Chip-enabledcards

What type of authentication, PIN or Signature, is needed for a transaction depends on the type of card. Some need signature and some require a PIN. That’s why, every time your customers make a payment, the type of authentication may change.

In most cases, the debit cards require PIN and credit cards require a signature. However, there could be some exception depending on the card issuer.

It is almost similar to magnetic stripe cards. The only difference is the way your customers insert the card.

Using Debit as Credit

There are a lot of credit card processing machines that allow the customers to skip PIN verification and let you shift to signature authentication like credit cards.

In this situation, the difference will be in the background process. It can also affect the interchange cost for the transactions. When the customer enters a PIN for the payment with debit cards, the payment will be processed under the Debit network. However, signature authorized payments are run through MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover. Due to the different networks, the rates for the different type of authorization may differ as well.

In general, the PIN authorized Debit cards are comparatively less expensive as the interchange rates are in favor. So if you are looking for a credit card processing machine, I’d suggest you get one with a PIN pad so that your customers have the flexibility to use a PIN instead of a signature.

The cost of processing EMV chip cards

The initial cost of processing an EMV chip-enabled card is almost the same as running the magnetic stripe cards.

Your interchange rates are the equivalent for comparable cards, however, that doesn’t really imply that your general expenses are the same. By tolerating EMV consistent cards, you’re sparing your business from the potential danger of being at risk for fake transactions – conceivably sparing you millions! Moreover, few payment processor providers make you pay the “EMV Non-Compliance” fees. Over the long haul, accepting the EMV cards is the best decision for any business.

Conclusion: Just because you don’t understand an update or advancement doesn’t justify not trying it at all. You know better that every invention, advancement or discovery is to make your life easier. So you should give it a try and figure out how the update or advancement can help your business and life.

For more info, click on Charle’s Blog

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4 Amazing Tips for First-Time Crowdsourcing Real Estate Investors

After Obama signed The JOBS Act (The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) at 2012, firms were allowed to market private investments openly to the public. This act let many individual investors become real estate investors and since then, crowdsourcing sites for real estate investments have started to increase.

Now there are more than a hundred real estate investment crowdsourcing sites with all great deals and high ROIs and all of these are making the new investors confused. So, let me tell you how you don’t get confused with all the offers and click-bait deals and find the right real estate crowdsourcing site for you.

Due Diligence Prior to choosing a Real Estate Crowdsource Investment platform

Don’t get flattered with the visuals and confidence pumping lines from a website. You should ensure that the site is legit and it is run by some all-knowing real estate experts and not by some profit sucking sales person that is just waiting for the commission they make.

You want the firm you are investing with to be by your side until you get your returns. And that’s why you need to ensure their commitment to professionalism. So take your time to know about them.

Look at your portfolio before making a decision

It’s imperative to see how much cash you’re willing to put in. While there are a few crowdfunding platforms that will turn away individuals who need to put the majority of their cash in one single project, most of them won’t even offer you that additional level of thought.

With a specific end goal to keep a diversified portfolio, it is advised that 10-20% of an investor’s portfolio is invested into commercial real estate.

Assess the risks

The level of risk is frequently connected with the kind of property you put your resources into. Generally speaking, investors are urged to diversify their portfolio with a specific end goal to limit risks and amplify potential returns, which is possible by understanding the distinctive asset classes in real estate.

While there is nothing amiss with putting resources into single-family houses, which some crowdfunding websites offer, this asset class conveys the most elevated measures of risk. Class-B, Multi-family, properties, and understudy the lodging edifices convey the least risk, as these assets still observe request in the midst of compression.

Always invest where you get constant cash flow

Money-making properties are brilliant ventures when the economy is solid and amid times when the economy is battling. In a recession, the primary market to endure a shot is extravagant real estate.

Continuously think like an experienced, not an actual buyer. An extravagant private pinnacle may be the place you need to live, yet it shouldn’t really be the place you invest.

During constriction, tenants and buyers will move to Class-B and C properties, making these sorts of investments solid during a difficult economy.

Also, when the market is tight, numerous newcomers select to return to class, making a steady requirement for moderate and the modern student housing developments.

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Strategies Developed by Top Firms on the Proper Use of Machine Learning

One of the problems with machine learning is determining a proper use case. Despite this, there are numerous major companies that use machine learning to boost themselves. And given the current recent expected growth of machine learning to become a multi billion-dollar industry, implementing machine learning into your company’s strategy is becoming increasingly important. Here are some strategies used by major companies.

Predicting the future by learning from the present

The retail company Target has been notoriously using machine learning to predict customers who may be pregnant. This has been so successful that they are able to determine which trimester the pregnant woman might be in based on what she has purchased. This is based on the fact that people who through their own motions when purchasing items and services. Recommending pregnancy related to products to a pregnant woman will more likely result in a purchase. In a similar manner, selling car insurance to a person who has just purchased a car is far more effective than showing that person new car advertisements. And this is where machine learning excels. It can be used to determine and recommend items to customers based on their current situation and needs, making it one of the best marketing strategies of the future.

Presenting a perfect preview

Twitter has perfected their thumbnails with the help of neural networks. Their problem was presenting users with thumbnails that took away from the actual object of interest of the image. And they have solved this, by using machine learning to crop and adjust images posted by its users and transforming them into interesting and attractive low-resolution preview images which include the object of interest. You can use Twitter to help you decide what aspect of images related to your brand will produce maximum engagement with your audience.

Customizing customer journeys

Another retail giant Alibaba has been using machine learning to deliver each customer a different experience when shopping on their site. Their recommendations for products, down to what they search and the results they get is unique for each customer based on their shopping history. The platform is designed to engage with the user and learn in order to make accurate predictions and understand what the shopper wants and needs.

Embracing a collective experience

Apple has recently patented a technique which uses machine learning to adapt their ecosystem in such a way, that the different devices can now offer an almost seamless experience. This approach uses machine learning across multiple devices to learn about a single user and cater to that user’s needs accordingly. Adopting such a technique can help users feel like they are using a single system spread across multiple devices instead of adapting to each device or app differently.

Machine learning for the future

Machine learning is paving the way for a smarter and more consumer-friendly future which allows business to adapt to the needs of specific users, however, we still have a long way to go.

For more info, please visit: Charles K. Carillo

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Risky Real Estate and Wholesaling

One of the many reasons for new investors to hesitate investing in the real estate industry is the fact that real estate markets fluctuate.

This means the overall real estate investing industry is subjected to a few factors that can manipulate the state of the market and influence its changes. Seems scary and risky, right?

This is the reason new investors hesitate to make their first move.

 

The Secret of Real Estate Industry

Well, the fact that the real estate industry is risky and the value fluctuates – is not a secret. However, what most people don’t realize is the fluctuation cannot affect you if you are an all-knowing investor.

I know that “all-knowing’ only works for supernatural, human can’t know everything but they can know enough to learn to draw a change.

 

Research, Monitor and Analyze

If you constantly monitor the market up close, I don’t think the fluctuation will cause you a lot of problems.

Even the assessment of the market can be your fortune teller and warn you about a downfall before it happens. So researching, monitoring and analyzing the data is the key to avoiding any unpleasant situations.

 

Getting involved with Real Estate

Now that you understand how the fluctuation of value is not that big of a deal,as people imply, you must be prepared to invest in Real Estate. Let me tell you how.

To be honest, there are a lot of ways one can start investing in Real Estate. I’ll talk about all of them someday. But today, I’m only going to talk about Wholesaling.

 

What is wholesaling?

The basic concept is what you see in the grocery store and wholesaling shops.First, you buy something, and then you sell it at a higher price. Seems like a retailer, right?

The difference between a wholesaler and a retailer is about the quantity they buy or sell. For example, a retailer buys 10 units of a product and sells them in a day for 2 units of profit each. On the other hand, a wholesaler buys 200 units and sells them in a day for 1 unit of profit.

Here, the retailer made a profit of 20 units on a day where the wholesaler made 200 units of profits each day, even though they profited less from each product sold.

 

Wholesaling in Real Estate

Wholesaling in real estate is somewhat similar.

You buy a few properties at a low price and then sell the properties separately for a higher rate. This is how it works and if I’m being honest, this is the best way to get involved in real estate if you don’t have the slightest idea about real estate.

Wholesaling might just be the best and less-risky way for real estate investment. The only obstacle I see is the fact that you need more capital than you would need for an individual buy. The other way is just selling the sales contracts, but if you are unable to sell the contracts, you will need to buy the property. So, I think Wholesaling is a great idea for newcomers who want to join the real estate.

 

For more info, please visit: Charles K. Carillo

 

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How to Avoid Mistakes in Real Estate Investing?

People make an awful lot of mistakes while investing in Real Estate. This is understandable because if it was easy, everyone would be doing this.

People often forget that real estate is only profitable when your investment strategy is solid. Without a good strategy, investing in Real Estate is like lending to a con artist. You know he should return but he won’t because you choose the wrong person to lend your money to.

Similarly, you’ll expect a good return from your property but eventually, you’ll understand that it wasn’t your best decision.

Here’s how to avoid such mistakes so that you don’t repeat the same mistake again and again.

Know what you are investing in

Avoid making mistakes like investing in the wrong property. Taking a wrong action with a property can ruin your career in Real Estate. That’s why you need to be extremely cautious about the property before making any move.

First of all, check the condition of the property. Decide whether you want to resell it, rent it or renovate it. Then look at the location of the property to determine a good market price for the property.

 

Planning &Budgeting

Planning and budgeting before you start. This is very important for newcomers in Real Estate because they often forget how a budget can influence your decision.

At first, plan your position and future actions. Where are you and where do you want to see yourself in next 5-10 years.

Are you here as a part-timer? What kind of property are you looking for to invest?

After you get the answers to the questions, now, it’s time to make a reasonable budget for your plans.

Depending on your plan, you’ll need to make a budget and the budget will then help you to target the properties and choose between them.

 

Know the Laws & Regulations

Most people are unaware that there are plenty of local laws and rules regarding real estate investment in particular areas. This means you’ll need all kinds of knowledge regarding real estate and how the market works.

If you could make up sometime for research or study on the local laws and regulation of real estate in your area, it’ll be a great help to you. However, if you don’t have time to study or research you can hire someone who already knows about this.

A lawyer will be a great addition to your team.

 

Think about the Future

Things don’t go your way all the time. Sometimes, you are just on your own.

Say, you bought a property with the intention of reselling or renting so that your cash flow is continuous. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get one for sure.

Some might not agree with your rate and some might not even like the property at all. In such situations, you’ll need to have a strategy like leasing or whatever. These plans are a must for you because you don’t know what can happen to the market. That’s why it’s better to have a plan B up your sleeve.

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Focus on Your Invisible Return on Investment to Evaluate Your Marketing Success

Numbers are very important for business.

Your total number of visitors, conversion rate, unique visitors, webinar attendees, Facebook likes, etc. are just number and yet they represent your marketing success to an extent.

Apart from these numbers, there are other invisible things that are important to your business.

Many people like to call them “Invisible Return on investment” or “Invisible ROI” for short.

This Invisible ROI needs your focus and by focusing on them, you can actually evaluate your marketing success.

The Relationships between you & your clients or visitors

One mistake that entrepreneurs often make is meeting with a bunch of people with an endgame in mind.

The endgame is him helping you with the publicity in his network or introducing you to other investors of a potential group of clients, etc.

Whatever the endgame is, this is not the best approach.

You shouldn’t have an endgame in your mind when you think of building a relationship with your clients. The reason why I’m telling you to not think about the endgame is when it comes to success, it centers on the mutual trust.

So, commit your money, time and resources to meet the right people, not for the right endgame. And when you do, you’ll see some good long lasting relationships which will reflect your overall marketing success.

The fans

Another mistake most entrepreneurs do is thinking of their customers like commodities.

No, they are definitely not. Stop thinking of them as your commodities and start thinking of them as your fans.

What happens when Elon Musk goes to an event? Does he treat the audience as their commodities or customers? No. The audience is his fans and this is what makes Elon Musk so successful. He is able to make a fan base, which has converted into success. But the fanbase is only possible when your visitors, audience or customers have a similar way of thinking.

If you have a big fanbase, this means you have that number of people around your business who share the same ides like you, they think like you, perhaps they’d even act like you in some incidents. This proves how successful your marketing has been so far.

Your awareness will tell you

Thanks to recent advances in communication technolog;brands and companies now can be omnipresent, which was nearly impossible for an emerging or even a hit brand.

But things have changed. You can now become the “expert-to-go” for a specific issue, which is a clear indication that your marketing strategy is a hit.

This is similar to the fanbase but this time, instead of the fanbase, your consciousness will reflect the success. You’ll know if your words or campaign is making any difference or not.

Conclusion: Don’t be hopeless if your relationships with your clients aren’t going too well. Don’t feel insignificant if you don’t have a strong fanbase yet. Don’t feel like a failure if your words can’t make a big difference yet.

Invest your money, time and resources well and you’ll soon be at the top of the chain. All you need is constant monitoring of the feats you achieved and the numbers. So buckle up to meet new people, make a new fanbase, push your words to the community and success will be just around the corner.

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