Toll-free vs. vanity numbers: what’s the difference? [TEST ARTICLE]

Your business has gotten big enough that you have customers, prospects, employees and vendors scattered across the country. You don’t want long-distance fees discouraging them from calling you. 


Getting a toll-free number for your business is the logical next step. But now you’ve got some complications to sort out. Do you want an 800 number? Or, do you want a vanity number, like 800-BEST-BUY?

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs vs vanity numbers whats the difference/

The Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers

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You probably know that remote workers are becoming very common in many industries. Some industries are using remote workers to help change the way that people do business. There are many benefits to hiring remote workers and it might be practical for your business depending on your needs. Take a look at the benefits of hiring remote workers below so that you can consider if this will be a good move for you to make. 

Remote Jobs Attract Good Candidates

Many of the most skilled young professionals enjoy having remote work opportunities. If you want your business to attract good workers, then offering remote work opportunities will be beneficial. Young professionals see remote work as a convenience and this could help your business to thrive moving forward. Considering remote workers will also allow you to choose from a larger pool of potential employees since they won’t have to commute to your physical location. 

The lack of a commute is one of the most appealing aspects of taking a remote job. It saves potential employees a lot of money on travel expenses. If you want to appeal to the new generation of professionals, then it is best to offer remote work opportunities. The days of jamming dozens of people into cubicles in an office seem to be coming to a close. 

You’ll Need Less Office Space

Hiring remote workers can actually help you to save money on office space. You won’t need quite as much office space if several members of your team are working from remote locations. This could allow you to downsize your office and you could save money on rent. Being able to rent out a smaller office could save you a lot of money each year. 

Working Around the Clock

Remote work is great because you can hire people in different time zones. You could potentially ensure that you have people working around the clock if you plan things out properly. While you’re sleeping at night, a remote worker in a different time zone could be chipping away at the project that you’re trying to finish up. It’s a good system that has served many people well. 

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Tips for New Real Estate Investors

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If you’re just now getting into real estate investment, then it’s a good idea to try to educate yourself. If you understand how to make money as a real estate investor, then you’ll be able to make smart moves right away. Take a look at the tips below so that you can have a good experience with your initial real estate investments. The tips will examine how you can make money from properties and you should feel more prepared to jump into these types of investments after you’re finished reading. 

Operating Rental Properties

One solid way to make money through real estate investment is to operate rental properties. You could buy low-cost homes and rent them out to families. This could see you make a profit on your initial investment faster than you might realize. If you can rent these properties out for many years, then they will prove to be a steady stream of income. 


It’s possible to make money by allowing your real estate assets to appreciate as well. Sometimes a property will go up in value as the market changes. You might have bought a house at a low point in the market and will see your investment appreciate by many percentage points. Once enough appreciation has accrued on your estimated home value, you could try to sell it off to make a tidy profit. 

Consider Investing as an LLC

You might want to avoid investing in real estate using your own name. If something goes awry, then you could wind up going bankrupt. Many real estate investors choose to protect their personal assets by forming a limited liability company (LLC). This allows them to invest without having to worry quite so much about the ramifications. 

Most of the time, you’re going to have to take on some type of mortgage to invest in a property. Doing this as an LLC will help you to protect your personal assets in the event that something goes wrong. You’ll still lose the money that you invested, though. Approaching real estate investment intelligently will allow you to make moves without having to fear sacrificing your personal finances to such a high degree. 

from Moss Sidell | Real Estate Attorney

The Types of Leadership

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There are many different approaches to leadership that you could use. Some leadership styles won’t be a good fit for certain people. Many leadership styles are more appropriate for particular business types as well. Take a look at the types of leadership listed below so that you can figure out which style is the best for you. 

Orchestrating Leadership

Orchestrating leadership could be considered a very standard type of leadership. These leaders work to ensure that everyone is engaged in their work and they help people to realize their full potential. They are like conductors overseeing an orchestra and they make use of all of the different instruments to create a symphony of business. Orchestrating leaders are good at assessing potential and making use of people’s talents. 

Question-Based Leadership

Question-based leadership involves questioning how things are being done and debating certain topics. These types of leaders use questions to help their team figure out the best paths to follow. A leader like this might be able to help a team realize their true potential by constantly challenging them. This leadership style won’t work well for people who don’t like to debate. 

Guru-Style Leadership

A guru-style leader is going to approach a leadership role as a master in a particular area. This leader knows the ins and outs of the industry that they are working in. They use their knowledge to help lead others down the right path and they can help to teach the people working under them. If you know a lot about your industry, then this might be a solid leadership style to make use of. 

Mentor-Style Leadership

Mentor-style leadership is all about taking people under your wing and teaching them about various aspects of business. If you want to nurture employees or team members to become better versions of themselves, then this leadership style is great. It can help employees to grow into management roles and being able to make great use of your teams will be helpful. Mentor-style leadership typically works best when you’re overseeing a small team. 

Steady Leadership

Steady leadership is going to be a style that doesn’t change very much over time. You’ll be the steady leadership presence that provides the foundation for the company. This type of leadership involves using sound management practices while providing consistent direction. If you need a simple leadership style to help you oversee many employees, then this is a good one to choose. 

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How to Save on a New Construction Property

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Buying a new construction property might sound appealing, but it could also wind up being very costly. The price of new builds is rising and this can make it tough for people who just want to live in a brand new home. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to save money on a new construction property. Keep reading to get the advice that will help you keep more money in your bank account when buying a new construction property. 

Ask for Standard Finishes

Asking for standard finishes will help you to save money on your new construction property. When you’re touring properties to see what a construction company can do, you’re going to be looking at high-end finishes. Standard finishes should cost quite a bit less than the fancier finishes and going this route can save a bit of cash. It’s also smart to ask what comes with a standard finish because some companies will include more options such as air conditioners in a standard package. 

See If Using a Preferred Lender and Title Company Can Help

Some construction companies have lenders and title companies that they prefer to work with. There are situations where you might be able to save cash on the house when you agree to use the preferred lender and title company. Some people have managed to save as much as $10,000 by going this route. It’s certainly worth asking about to see if they will lower the price somewhat. 

Negotiate Based on Your Situation 

Sometimes negotiating will work out in your favor if you look at things intelligently. If you’re buying a new home in a subdivision, then you might have good negotiating power. If many homes are still yet to be finished, then you’ll have to deal with construction noises for months if you decide to buy the home. Also, the company might need money to stay liquid so that they can complete the project and this will give you the ability to get a better price. 

You can also do a bit of research about the construction company to see how they have done in the past. Some people even manage to speak to past clients to see how their homes turned out and if they encountered any problems. It’s possible to use all this information to negotiate a favorable deal. Even if you only get a small amount of money taken off the price of your home it’s going to be worth it. 

from Moss Sidell | Real Estate Attorney

Improving Your Business’ Customer Service

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Offering excellent customer service will help your business to become more successful than ever. Consumers care about having a good customer service experience and you should try to put effort into making sure that you’re doing all that you can to provide it. Take a look at the following ways that you can improve your business’ customer service experience. These tips should allow you to make changes that will put your business in a better position. 

Always Strive to Make a Good First Impression

You should always strive to make a good first impression. When you’re interacting with customers at your storefront, it’s imperative to always greet them with a smile and to be as helpful as possible. Interacting with customers online or through social media is also an important part of the modern business world. Always work to put your best foot forward and do everything that you can to meet your customer’s expectations. 

Personal Touches

In the modern era, the customer service routine can feel very robotic and automated. These tools can be useful, but adding a personal touch to customer service will help you to stand out. If someone needs assistance, it can be a good idea to call them to help sort things out yourself. They will appreciate the effort and that human connection just might keep them coming back to your business in the future. 

Apologize for Mistakes

Mistakes will occur sometimes when you’re operating any type of business. If you made a mistake on an order or if the customer encounters another type of problem, then it’s best for you to own up to those mistakes. Your customers will appreciate how willing you are to make things right. You can turn a bad experience into a positive one if you commit to having positive customer service interactions. 

Put in Extra Effort to Help Customers

Putting in extra effort to help customers will allow your business to truly exceed customer expectations. When customers need help finding an item, you should take the time to assist them. If you don’t have something in stock, then you should offer to order the item and you should follow up on things once it comes in. It might also be beneficial to provide regular customers with special thanks for continued patronage. 

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Must-Read Books for Real Estate Investors

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It’s a good idea to always try to stay on top of current trends when you work in the real estate industry. Real estate investors also need to understand certain things so that they can approach investments intelligently. Take a look at the following must-read books for real estate investors. These books will give you a lot to think about and they could help to fuel future investment successes for you. 

The Book on Flipping Houses by J. Scott

If you’re a real estate investor who is actively involved in flipping houses, then this is the book for you. You will be able to learn about how to streamline the process of flipping a house. This book comes from the perspective of a professional house flipper who has a successful system in place. Recognizing the methods used in this book could help you to become a more efficient house flipper yourself. 

The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner

Investing in rental properties is a great way to create a steady stream of income for yourself. This book goes into great detail and explains everything that you need to know about the process of investing in rental properties. If you use this book as a guide, then you’ll have a simpler time becoming a successful rental property owner. You can look at this book as a perfect resource for beginners to the world of rental property investment. 

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

You’ll find this book to be incredibly useful if you’re trying to build up your personal wealth. This book is all about building up your wealth by investing in certain assets. It isn’t entirely about real estate investment, but a large chunk of the book covers real estate investment since those are some of the best assets to have in your investment portfolio. If you want general financial advice, then this is a book that you should put on your reading list promptly. 

Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate by Doug Marshall 

Understand that investing in commercial real estate is quite different from other types of real estate investment. If you invest in this type of real estate, then there are many intricacies that you will need to know. Learning about the basics of commercial real estate investment will help you make smart choices at the start. If you use this book properly, then you should be able to maximize your profits from commercial real estate investments. 

The Intelligent REIT Investor by Stephanie Krewson-Kelly and R. Brad Thomas

Of course, getting advice will also prove to be important for REIT investors. REIT investment is a path that works excellently for those who don’t have a lot of time to handle the little details. You can use this book to help you navigate your initial forays into REIT investment. It’s well-written and very easy to understand, so it makes a perfect resource for those who are just getting started. 

from Moss Sidell | Real Estate Attorney

The Importance of Your Personal Brand

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Developing your personal brand is going to be a very big part of your business success. If you don’t understand how to develop your brand, then you won’t be able to connect with your customers as much as you would like to. Working on building a brand identity will help you to become a much more successful business. Keep reading to examine the importance of building your personal brand. 

It Sets You Apart From the Competition

One of the best reasons to work on building your personal brand is that it sets you apart from the competition. If you come across as being too similar to your competitors, then what reason do consumers have to choose your business? Your brand identity will allow you to stick out and people will be able to look at your products or services while understanding what makes you unique. Even if your brand identity is mostly about marketing, it’s still going to stand out in people’s heads. 

There are many different businesses out there doing similar things. Large companies like Apple are successful partially because of building a very strong brand identity. They are just one of many companies making phones, computers, and other technological devices. It’s the branding and the perception of the brand that makes that company so different and successful. 

Having a Brand Can Make You More Credible

When you have a strong brand, it’s going to make your business seem more credible. People are more likely to pay attention to a business that has strong branding. They will want to look at what you have to offer and more people will give you the time of day. You can improve your personal brand by going to conferences, conventions, and trying to improve your presence in the industry. 

Branding Helps You Get More Opportunities

Branding can even help you to get more opportunities. As your brand continues to grow, so will your presence in the industry. This can lead to opportunities for you personally and you can wind up becoming a strong voice in your community. You can expand your network of contacts and will eventually be able to charge more money for what you do based on how credible your brand is. 

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Why Home Inspections Are Essential for Buyers

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Home inspections are so important when you’re looking to buy a home. If you don’t take the time to get the home inspected properly, then you might encounter various issues. Take a look at why home inspections matter so much by reading the information below. It will help you to remain vigilant about getting a property inspected before you decide to move forward with purchasing it. 

Potential Problems with the House

Foregoing inspections might be seen as a way to make your offer more appealing to sellers. The problem is that this could wind up causing you to buy a house that has problems. For example, an inspection could reveal problems with the wiring of the house or you might find out that asbestos is present on the property. Having an inspection performed is the best way to protect yourself as a buyer and you should never purchase a home without one. 

If you do buy a house without having it inspected and you wind up encountering problems, then you’ll be left to take care of things yourself. At that point, you’re the new homeowner and you’re going to have to fix any underlying issues with your home. This could have been avoided by having the inspection done and you might have been able to get a better price on the home. Never rush into a real estate purchase without thinking things through. 

Consider Ordering an Inspection Before Making an Offer

It might seem like a waste to order an inspection before you even make an offer on a home. However, this can be the smartest way for you to go about doing things. It might cost some money to get the inspection performed, but you’ll be able to figure out if the house is worth your time. You’ll either affirm that the house is the right one for you or you’ll learn why you should keep on searching. 

Find an Inspector Who Works Fast

Some people avoid inspections because they don’t want to lose out on a house. If you’re trying not to lose to a competing offer, then you should work with your real estate agent. They should have relationships with inspectors who can perform inspections swiftly. This will allow you to get the necessary information while still getting your offer in before any deadlines that you’re worried about. 

from Moss Sidell | Real Estate Attorney

How (and Why) to Mitigate Distractions While Working From Home

Eliminating distractions while working from home — especially with kids running around belting Frozen II and housemates doing mid-day workouts — might not be entirely feasible. However, it is still possible to mitigate distractions. After all, they’re hurting you — and your business — more than you might realize. You might have heard the popular statistic that you need an average of 25 minutes to get back to your original task after a distraction.

But there’s more affecting your productivity than that. We looked through some of the research behind the psychology of distractions and found some interesting insights:

  • Distractions have a demonstrably negative effect on our ability to perform, even when the distractions had little significance.
  • People who consider themselves at multi-tasking may be worse at moving from task to task than others.
  • Even if you attempt to “move on” to another work-related task, you may find yourself distracted by the first task of your day.

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper into the studies and find some better strategies for managing distractions:

1. Too Much Information Has a Detrimental Impact on Performance

In one UK study, researchers had volunteers carry out problem-solving tasks in a quiet environment—then tested them while they were “bombarded with new emails and phone calls.” Even though the volunteers didn’t have to respond to any of these messages, simply being aware that they were taking place had a significant impact on their ability to concentrate.

The result was that performance suffered. The average IQ dropped by about 10 points.

The conclusion is that not only are interruptions distracting, but if you allow distractions to weigh on your mind in even the slightest way, they can have a detrimental impact on performance. Given that volunteers didn’t have to respond to any email or phone call and still found them distracting, we can only imagine the impact distractions have on us when the emails and phone calls do need responses.

So try having an open dialogue with those you live with and creating a chart that hangs outside of your workspace where it will be seen that alerts housemates of your current work status. It may include options such as “available,” “busy,” “in a meeting” or “do not disturb unless facing a MAJOR emergency”.

2. Switching Between Tasks Takes Up More Energy Than You Think

A 2009 study at the University of Minnesota found the existence of what they dubbed “attention residue.” They defined it as the delay that occurs when someone sets aside one task and takes up another.

It turns out that the mental task of switching gears takes more energy and attention than we might have thought. And that led to some interesting conclusions, including the “surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability.”

That’s right: even experienced multitaskers aren’t as good at switching between tasks as they might have thought. In fact, they may even be worse than the population at large.

This should lead most people to reconsider their approach to multitasking and asking the following questions:

  • Am I really a good multitasker, or do I just multitask often?
  • How long does it take me to “switch gears,” and do I often put off work because of the energy required to start a new task?
  • Where are some areas in which I might combine activities to minimize “switching gears” and improving my overall concentration?

These questions will help you identify some of the habits that may be leading you to lose concentration as you move from task to task. So whether you claim to be a good multitasker or not, try scheduling out your day in the early morning to help limit the amount of times you have to switch tasks and accommodate for the needs of those you live with.

3. The First Problem You Focus On Tends to Get Most of Your Brain Power

They call it “cognitive fixation.” If you like to multi-task, you may find that the first activity during your day is the one that retains most of your attention later on, even while you’re attempting to give 100% of your attention to something new.

This is evidence in favor of the strategy of attacking your most important tasks first. If you were to work on a big work project in the morning and only take on lighter menial tasks later in the day, part of your mind will continue to work on that “big” work project that you started off with. This can work to your benefit, so long as you’re aware of the effect and schedule your day accordingly.

4. Distractions are Disproportionately Affecting the Young

Millennials and Gen Zers—those most affected by the digital lifestyle—are also the groups that report the highest rates of distraction, with a rate of 74% identifying themselves as frequently distracted. This suggests something other studies have observed; the multi-tasking demands of the digital lifestyle have a detrimental effect on our ability to concentrate, which means that strategies for reducing social media usage may have long-term benefits for personal productivity and concentration.

One other reasons many of us may be suffering from distraction issues: using multiple devices at the same time can negatively affect self-control. So try to limit the number of devices you have within your reach while working from home. Allot yourself windows of time during the day — if needed — to check on certain devices.

5. Attention is a “Limited Resource”

Not only is our attention limited by the time we have in a day, but our energy is subject to the demands of being a living, breathing being. We simply don’t have as much energy to devote to willpower and attention as we’d like to have.

One study, as reported by Psychology Today, found that distractions eat into about 2 hours of our daily work lives. Given that our attention is a limited resource, the strategy of working on the most important task of the day as early as possible—while we still have the concentration to do it—may seem most effective.

One Reason to Use Distractions to Your Benefit

This post paints a very dire picture of the impact of distractions on our life. But if you can manage them effectively, you can sometimes use them to your benefit as well.

One study at Carnegie Mellon found that the regions of the brain that handle your decision-making process will still be in use even when you’re consciously focusing on something else. That means that sometimes, actively seeking distraction when you’re stuck on a problem can be a great way for you to relax, loosen up, and allow a solution to suddenly pop into your mind while you’re thinking about something else.

Otherwise, if you want to be productive while working from home, try to keep the distractions at a minimum (as much as possible), schedule out your day, and focus on your most important task of the day as soon as possible. Your calendar will thank you.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs Distractions While Working From Home/