Open Courses: Changing the Higher Education Scene

Want to take a course from M.I.T., one of the most revered technology schools in the world? You don’t have to have almost-perfect SAT scores, you don’t have to have a 4.0 GPA, you don’t have to pay the $50,000 tuition – in fact, you don’t even have to be enrolled as a student. Sound too good to be true? M.I.T. has put its entire course catalogue online so that anyone who wishes to check out class lectures, class notes, assignments and other materials will be able to via their computer.

Online education continues to change the way educators and students envision higher education and M.I.T.’s open courses are just one of the many ways that traditional ground schools are adapting to advances in technology. Due to the expansion of online education, OpenCourseWare Consortium, a non-profit organization committed to advancing global education opportunity, was created to give students worldwide the opportunity to access higher education courses and relevant material.

M.I.T. isn’t the only prestigious ground school to get involved. Stanford, Tufts, Yale, the University of Michigan and Harvard also offer many, if not all, of their courses online for free. So, why give away something that many students pay so much for? “My deep belief is that as academics we have a duty to disperse our ideas as far and as freely as possible,” says Rebecca Henderson a business professor from M.I.T. and Harvard.

Sharing the world’s knowledge is the goal of OpenCourseWare Consortium. Obtaining copyrights from more schools and then delivering the material effectively as well as long-term funding are issues which are still being dealt with. Initial funding came from the private sector by way of affluent schools and organizations like the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. But, say Consortium directors, “relying on philanthropy is not sustainable.”

To address sustainability, copyright issues, and course effectiveness of the Open Education movement activists, educators, and scientists will converge in Barcelona for meetings on education, accessibility, and trends in Open Education. Open Ed 2011 and the Drumbeat Learning Freedom and the Web Festival will convene to address the future of education and the Web and the “decisions needed to make open education a reality” as well as ‘impact and sustainability.”

Mary Lou Forward, executive director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is planning to attend both meetings. Unequal access to education is one of the most prominent reasons OpenCourseWare was developed, bringing free education to the masses is a concept that is always on Forward’s mind. “What I think about all the time,” she says, “are ways to bring education to people.”

While open courses don’t provide actual course credit or an eventual degree to students, they are used by many to self-learn or to find areas of study that may interest them in their eventual degree track. Additionally, open courses give underprivileged students or students with traditionally little access who may be incapable of attending college an opportunity to study and learn exactly what their peers elsewhere are studying.

OpenCourseWare hopes to eventually make national and worldwide higher education courses freely available to students and learners across the globe.

Finding Home Based Business Leads Efficiently

Running a business from home has become the modern trend for many. They are eager to get out from under bosses and extensive work schedules. However, it’s important to know that you can’t just quit a job. You need to have something already lined up first. Start searching by finding home based business leads. This short guide will be your toolbox for finding work that you can do quickly and easily.

Finding leads is simple. First, however, you need to know what kind of jobs are out there for you. It is certain that no matter what interest you have you, you will find a business that will allow you to use it to your advantage from home. Those who are interested in the medical field and writing are already set. There are thousands of jobs to be done from home for these fields. This does not mean you have to have an interest in these fields to be successful. Taking time out to research will dig up interesting opportunities for you.

After doing research, you have probably found a few businesses you are interested in. Now it’s time to find out how legitimate they are. Use a business verification site to determine how true they are to their word. These sites have reviews from customers, and employees alike.

Look for legitimate job leads in other ways too. Start with social networking sites. These have recently boomed in popularity. They bring together job seekers, and recruiters. They are looking for people who will be able to perform specific tasks from home. Keep in mind that some time is needed before you will start getting leads. Patience is key in this situation.

Check out social networking sites to get leads. These have boomed in recent years. They have become home to recruiters, websites, and other media. They are whole new way to interact with the anonymous world. Recruiters use social networking sites to find others who are looking for legitimate work from home. Their jobs may not be what you are looking for, but they might lead to others. Pay close attention.

Another source of information is to check out blogs. A lot of people blog about their job hunting experiences. They will more than likely have leads plastered on their blogs. They may not have worked out for them, but they may work just fine for you. You can gain plenty of insight from these regular bloggers.

Home based business leads are much easier to find than one would think. You need to understand that most of the time, they are not going to just fall into your lap. It will take time, research, and most of all, patience. If you keep all of these things in mind, you will be successful from home before you can blink.

Home-Based Business and Taxation Benefits

Any home based business gives you the luxury of working from the comforts of your home. Apart from this, you also have plenty of other benefits from this situation. The major benefit that stands out from the rest is the tax benefit.If you run a business from home, consider yourself blessed since you get various tax deductions. In fact you can claim a major portion of the money that you spend on your business.The money that you spend on your business is tax deductible. But you should remember that, depending upon the place you live, tax laws can be different. Therefore you should contact your local government to know about the tax deductions you are entitled for as a home business owner.Various tax deduction claims:You may be able to claim the following expenses related with your business.o Home insurance expenditure
o Payments made for outsourcing
o Expenses related with property taxes
o Money spent on maintenance and repair of your business assets
o Expenses on the dedicated Internet and telephone connections, exclusively for business purpose
o Electricity expenses related to business only
o Rent money
o Expenses on mortgage interestYou can also claim the tax deductions for that area of your home that you use for your home based business. You will need to check with the local authorities about the maximum tax deduction limit for the area meant for your business purpose. Make sure that you use the said area in your home only for business purposes. That will enable your business area to qualify for tax deductions.Indirect expenses claim: You may be entitled for the deduction of the indirect expenditure that you incur on your business. These expenses may include: the office equipment purchased in connection with your business such as computer, printer, cartridges, stationary etc; expenses incurred on advertising; expenditure on business travel. If you incur losses in your home based business, you can claim deductions on them.Restrictions: For availing the above-mentioned tax benefits, some restrictions have been imposed. The following guidelines of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should be kept in mind: if you are claiming tax deductions for using some portion of your home for business, you should meet certain requirements; there may be cap on the deductions claimed in this regard.There may be some exceptions on the restrictions, for example if you are using your home for storing inventory and product samples.Complications made simpler: There is no doubt that tax calculating is a tedious and complicated task. And claiming tax deductions for business is no different. But you can take comfort from the fact that if your home based business meets all the requirements under the tax laws of your country, you can turn these complications into a simpler exercise and enjoy the benefits.

Here Are the Top Legitimate Home Based Businesses For 2010 and Beyond

Is it possible that there are legitimate home based businesses that hold well in recessionary environments and will continue to make money in any economic environment? The answer is a definite yes, and in this article, we want to look closely at two home based businesses that can thrive regardless of the economic conditions.But, before we do that, lets look closely at why these businesses always thrive even in the toughest economic conditions.To begin with, they are based on a desperate need. The need is apparent and very urgent as compared to just an ordinary want. To give an example, a cold drink may not be an urgent need while a need for a Dentist to remove one’s tooth may turn out to be very urgent. When you have a product that answers an urgent need, there is really no selling that takes place as long as you are in contact with the right audience.Secondly, a legitimate home based business that will work well in any economic environment must be based on a product or service that the market is willing to open their wallets and pay for. Its not every desperate need that people will pay for. For example, there are sometimes desperate needs for information online but, people may not necessarily pay to get it.So, a research on the PPC search engines must clearly indicate a strong willingness on the part of the target market to pay. Although other factors do come into play in the choice of business, the above two factors are critical.Now, what sort of legitimate home based businesses will meet this criteria?The information business environmentInformation has continued and will continue to be one of the most important forms of business that will thrive regardless of economic conditions. Why is that?To begin with, we are living in the information age where people sometimes desperately need information to solve urgent problems. This, combined with the growth of doing business through the internet has made it easy for entrepreneurs to cash in big time.However, not any information product will make it. You need to focus only on developing information products that people have a desperate need for. Its got nothing to do with your passion or even what you know. Its got everything to do with what the market needs and will pay for. If you have achieved some meaningful success online and you want to create a product that teaches others how to do it, think again. You may not make it.Pure product salesIf you have chosen your product right, selling physical goods may be one of the most recession resistant businesses you can ever start. Clearly, there are certain types of physical goods that will always enjoy a healthy demand regardless of economic conditions.But, what sort of products are we talking of here?Well, look at products that people cannot do without especially if such products have a proven record of solving the problems for which they are intended. Probably the most known products in this area will include product fore acne, weight loss etc.In terms of your actual strategy, you can either sell the products on eBay or even develop your own site or sell them from home through network marketing. Better still, you can combine all these into one solid business approach.Now, there you have it, two credible businesses that can make you a dependable income.

Home Based Business – Some Cool Ways to Build a Hot Cash Inflow

The home based business is currently one of the most popular forms of alternative income sources. You can actually make a money tree by using broadband internet services to connect with a vast cross section of clients. The greatest benefit of online businesses is that you can implement your own terms without having to answer to a boss.The other great advantage with work from home opportunities is that they come in a wide range of wealth builders options. All you need to do is to spend some quality time surfing the various websites to hit upon the best ideas for a home based business that should suit your type.Problems of searching online business ideas and their solutionHowever, if you are opting for a home based business for the first time, do not take the high-blown claims of the various on-site work from home business ideas on their face value. Since the web resources do not know your personal hobbies, business preferences and target income level, you may find their online work ideas not up to your taste.Hence, you would do better to opt for home based business statistics. This will narrow down your online search for home based business and provide you a list of home based businesses with records of how people are faring in those particular categories. From this, you can form an idea about the best ways to make money online.Various kinds of legitimate work from home jobsBy matching your likes and dislikes with the profile of various online businesses, you can come across a wealth of online business opportunities that you can adopt. The commonest of these are outsourcing, internet marketing, affiliate programs, blogging, opening online stores and digital product creation.This is not all. You can come to learn the best tips and tactics about how to use various online marketing strategies to generate the highest profits. Here is a list of some of the topmost home based business plans you could gather on the internet:* You can get free tips about the secrets of writing and publishing articles that will make money on internet.* You can learn free ways to use your video camera strategically to build a steady cash flow through video marketing.* You can learn the tactics of using chat rooms and forums to maximize thee net-revenue of you online businesses.* You can pick up the techniques of using free e-zines for creating an inflow of substantial money.* You can know about the right way to use pod casting and RSS feeds to make a money tree.* You can learn about how to perk up the revenue streams for your online business through effective blogging strategies.Success Tips:The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.-Vince Lombardi

So You Want to Start a Home Based Business?

This week I received a phone call from a dear friend wanting advice on working from home. My friend lost his job last year due to cutbacks. He was forced to take a “so called” early retirement, even though he was not even close to retirement age. This seems to be the norm these days. People are being let go from positions they’ve held for years and are looking for ways to regain the lost income.My friend, knew that my company had evolved from a home base start and needed some pointers about how to get started in his new vocation. Here are a few of the questions asked and what I shared. Perhaps, you too, are facing a job or career change and considering working from home as an option. If so, I hope you find some of my responses helpful.Question:What is needed to start a business from home?Answer:First step is to check with your local township and state to see what types of license or permits may be needed. If you are going to be selling product, you may need to obtain a Resale Tax license so that you are not paying sales tax on product you purchase to resell. You will want to determine a name for your business. Most states require that you file for a “DBA” license or permit (doing business under an assumed name). There are fees associated with licenses and permits and the cost will vary from state to state. Your county clerk’s office is a good starting point for gleaning valuable insight into what your particular state/county/or township may require.Question:Will I need to pay quarterly taxes to the IRS from my earning, or can I just pay at the end of tax year?Answer:This is a question for an accountant. When setting up a home based business, I strongly urge you to contact a local accounting firm to assist with financial planning. An accountant can provide insight about whether you will want to be a sole proprietor, a Limited License corporation (LLC), or and INC. I personally opted for a LLC and hired an attorney to draft the necessary paperwork. Again, there are annual license fees involved for both LLC and INC businesses.Question:What expenses can I deduct with a home-based business?Answer:This will depend on your business type. My friend’s new company will provide a service which edits copy and offers “political ghost-writing”. There is no inventory involved and home office space is limited to one room of the house. When I started my business, it involved inventory and an office. I needed a place to store the stock I would be shipping as well as a packing area. The dedicated business areas within my home were tax deductible based on the square footage used. Any square footage you claim is usually depreciated over time and may affect any capital gain you might earn if you sold your home. For this reason, it’s important to work with your accountant to determine how a home business could affect your home equity.Here are some of the things I was able to deduct when I started my home business. You will want to consult with your accountant and/or legal firm based on your business type:1) A portion of my waste disposal bill. There was plenty of garbage related to business operations.2) The land and cell phones since they were used for business. I opted to have a separate land line installed just for business use.3) If you have a web site, you can deduct the fees associated with your internet connection. This also includes any fees assessed by your web hosting company.4) Don’t forget to deduct advertising costs. This includes business cards, search engine ads for your web site, newspaper ads, or ads placed in trade publications. Do you plan to give away printed material, product, or samples to advertise your company? You will want to deduct the related expenses.5) I was able to deduct a portion of my annual heating and utility bill based on the square footage of the home space I claimed as work related.6) Do you plan to accept credit cards or have a business banking account? All of the fees charged for the use of these accounts is deductible. This includes any PayPal fees that might be assessed and deducted from payments you received for services or goods.7) If you are mailing or shipping product or printed materials, keep all your receipts. This is also a deductible business expense.8) Office supplies, packing materials, cleaning supplies (after all, you do need to clean your work area), mileage and gas relating to work, licenses and permit fees…. all of these are business expenses you don’t want to overlook.9) And don’t forget about your business equipment! Your laptop, desktop computer, printers, copier, desk, print cartridges, and fax machine (if used for business) should be listed as business expenses when filing your tax return.10) Finally, don’t forget about business related software purchases, service maintenance for equipment, insurance for your car and any liability or additional home insurance you have to cover business equipment and stock.I have only covered some of the expenses that may be valid business deductions. If considering working from home, link up with an expert in your local area. The best thing I ever did when starting my company was to find a good accounting firm (and I’m not talking H & R block) and a specialized business attorney. You will also find a wealth of information and assistance at your local bank. My bank assisted with setting up my credit card gateway payments and business checking/savings accounts. You will be surprised at the many free services banks offer new businesses.

Home Based Business – Working With Your List

When you start building your home based business one of the main things you will need is a list, a list of people who are interested in your product or services that you have to offer. Without a list, basically your online business will not succeed and you will have just wasted your time and money in setting up your business.To build a list you will need to have a squeeze or landing page with an opt-in box for your visitors to enter their details. Once they enter their name and email this gives you an indication that they are interested in what you have to offer. The more people that enter their details, the bigger your list becomes. This is where your home based business starts to grow.If you have watched any videos on YouTube about list building for your home based business, then you may have herd the saying, the money is in the list, this is not completely true. The money comes from the trust of your list, if you gain your lists trust then you will start to make money, they will start to buy from you because you have gained their trust and feel like you are someone they can relate to.To gain your lists trust, don’t just keep sending them emails with just sales pitches, because if you do, you will lose their trust. Try to send emails offering some great free content and tips, tips on how you can help them in building their home based business. A good way to gain trust is for you to do a video, when they first join your list, introduce yourself, let them actually see who you are, this way they can put a face to the person that is sending them emails.Another good way of gaining your lists trust is to try to find out what they are looking for, send them a survey, asking them what they really want. An example would be something like 10 questions on how you could help them with their home based business. Once you get their replies, then you can put together products or services to suite their needs.Once you gain your lists trust, they then become more responsive to your regular emails. Your open rate will increase and your sales start to increase, which in turn brings in more profit. Another good thing that happens is your name starts to get known around other websites as a person who cares about their subscribers and is someone willing to help. This is because people will talk about their experience on the social media websites. This in turn then brings more people to your home based business website, who then subscribe to your emails. Working with your home based business list is very important.Let me finish with asking you this simple question. If you were to go into a shop wherever it may be, and the sales assistant was very polite and helpful in showing you the product you were interested in, but at the same time not very pushy, you know what I mean, he was not pushing for that sale, would you go back to that shop at a later date if you were looking for something else?My answer to that question would be yes, I would go back, in fact I do go back to the shops I use, and the reason is that I know I can browse without the pressure for a sale. That’s why it is so important to build a relationship of trust with your list in your home based business.

Property Management Services: Which Ones Should Owners Outsource?

With interest rates so low, now is a great time to invest in rental property. Owners who purchase a multi-family rental property, however, will often find that property management for this building is itself a full-time job. The last thing owners want is to lose money on their investment while incurring endless headaches and frustrations along the way. For this reason, it often makes the most sense for owners to instead outsource many services to an experienced property management company. Some of the services that owners should consider outsourcing include:

Collecting Rent
Collecting rent from tenants quickly becomes a stressful and time-consuming process when tenants are slow to make payments. Frustrations on both sides can cause the tenant/owner relationship to permanently sour, leaving owners to scramble to find a replacement tenant and risk losing money until they do. A property management company can serve as an independent third-party, removing relationships from the rent collection process. Since these companies have experience with this service and can usually devote more time to the process than owners can, they typically achieve higher collection rates.

Conducting Inspections
Owners need to make sure that their investments are holding up, which is why inspections are such a crucial part of overseeing a property. When a property management company completes these inspections, it is able to recognize and address small issues before they grow into larger problems. Regular inspections also show tenants that the owner is concerned with property upkeep, which deters neglect or abuse. Along with periodic inspections, there are also circumstances that require specialized inspections. An experienced property management company will know when and how to bring in a contractor to perform an inspection. Such inspections could be to investigate unusual leaks, smells, or noises reported by tenants. Owners who choose to handle these inspections themselves could incur higher costs and even fail to address the problem because they did not call the right inspector.

Legal Advice
Property owners must consider many legal issues when renting their properties. When is the owner liable? What problems need to be addressed prior to move-in? What conflicts might arise before the tenant moves out? Owners without the legal acumen to address these questions could be putting themselves at risk of elevating their liability. A property management company will have a more thorough understanding of the law and be able to provide advice or refer owners to a trusted legal professional.

Outsourcing rent collections, periodic and specialized inspections, and legal guidance can help an owner reduce costs and liability while improving the overall condition and value of the property. It is worth noting, however, that these are just some of the many services that an owner is better off outsourcing to an experienced property management company.

The Five W’s of Real Estate Training


Who can and who should take the real estate training or course?

Practically anyone who wants to make a career in the property industry can choose to go for the training. If one feels that they can carve their niche in the property sector and have what it takes to excel in the profession, a good real estate course will be of crucial importance.

Amid the current financial recession when all industries appear to be toppling, property industry is still somewhat stable. Although there is an evident slowdown in the industry, yet it is growing. So the requirement for real estate professionals has not eroded and every property company needs a property professional. Today, when career opportunities in other professions show a great deal of saturation, the potential of real estate industry is slowly dawning upon people who are now taking up real estate training courses to enter this vast field of opportunities.


What are the real estate training courses about?

Real estate of course! Every country of the world has its set real estate laws and ordinances. These laws may vary largely from country to country, and also from city to city within in a country. This is one reason why it is important for a real estate professional to not only become aware of, but also have a deep insight into his region’s property laws and regulations. The real estate training courses consist of a series of classes or lectures which cover anything and everything about real estate in your region. The courses are designed, handled and delivered by the area’s real estate experts with vast experience of the local property market. The most common things covered in the property training are the property laws governing your area’s real estate industry, your responsibilities as a real estate agent, and the types of real estate present in your zone of operation. The courses are also designed to hone your buying and selling skills as a property agent.


Where are the real estate training courses available?

Probably not far from you. These courses are gaining popularity around the world and many established property companies and agencies have taken this initiative. Not only established real estate companies, but also experienced property professionals have started educationg people about the property business and its ethics with a special focus on the latest real estate trends of their own region’s property industry. So it’s very probable that after a brief search, you’ll be able to find a property company, agency or individual offering this course near your house or somewhere else in your city. And if you don’t, there are numerous real estate training courses available online in which anyone can enroll with ease. All it takes is a little online search and you’ll come across innumerable options. Most people consider online course more convenient than the classroom study as you can study at your convenience without having to rush for taking classes. It saves you the time and hassle of the traditional classroom study. Many online universities and institutions have even started bachelor and master degree programs in real estate development and management.


When can you enroll for the course? How long does it take to complete?

It depends on various factors. Your choice between online and classroom study, the mode of training, and the trainer’s discretion, all these factors come into play. The best way to find an answer to this question is to visit the trainer in person if it’s an offline (classroom) course, or to visit the website of the trainer if it’s an online course. The websites of educational institutions bear all the details of the courses they offer including the course objective, outline, duration, and choice. One trainer may offer more than one property training course at a time designed for different individuals as per their requirements, suitability and market exposure.


Why should you take this course?

Well, we’ve already discussed it in the 1st answer. One definite answer to this question is that the property market is still booming when the other industries appear to be falling down in the current financial recession. As the industry is expanding, there’s more and more room for real estate professionals in it. Taking a real estate training course can help you make a career in this booming sector and excel professionally.

How To Succeed At Online Product Creation The Easy Way

Product creation could be a frightening subject for a lot of Internet marketers to face. Some folks who get in the game with the intention of making a full time income are completely ignorant as to how an online business operates. One of the most profitable ways to create online cash is by creating a product that others are happy to pay for.

Product creation is legitimate method of generating money through internet marketing but many entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start by imitating their Internet marketing gurus by creating information products on Internet marketing in hopes of getting rich the way their heroes did. The problem is that they usually don’t know what they are doing and enter a highly competitive niche with very little marketing experience or connections.

Here are a few tips for effective product creation that may help you get on the right track:
Start by finding a profitable niche with low to moderate competition. If you conduct some rudimentary market research and keyword research, you’ll find many opportunities in areas that will surprise you. Amazon and eBay are two great places to brainstorm for product ideas.

Developing Your Product does not have to be a difficult project. You can find experts in the right field for your niche and pay them to write the material while an artist designs the packaging and website or blog. You can outsource the entire product creation part of the project after you conduct the research and testing to ensure profitability.

Sales and marketing strategies should be created while developing the product and learning about the market. Some experienced marketers use pay per click to drive traffic to their offer page; some folks outsource the entire marketing campaign to affiliates through ClickBank or other affiliate programs.

Product creation does not need to be hard, particularly when the merchandise is electronic. E-books, videos, audio and multi-media products sell very well. They are distributed immediately to customers electronically. Once you have a good feel for a niche market, try to service your customers with associated products and upgrades. If you want to earn money online through product creation, you must understand supply and demand. The majority of new online marketers fail miserably because they go after highly competitive markets or forget to research their chosen niche properly. You have to create your products according to the needs, wants and desires of the prospective customers.