Also, a new feature automatically sends faxes with photo quality images enabling users to place their signature on the cover or body pages of outgoing faxes.

Three Tips to Expanding the Space in Your Home

Posted By: on April 4, 2015

If your home seems to have shrunk, for whatever reason, there are things that you can do to make your home more spacious. Maybe you have expanded your family or maybe you just need more room for your belongings, either way there are different things you can do to make your home bigger.

You don’t have to get a whole new addition put on your home to make it bigger, but that could be the best choice too. If a home addition is in your future, you should find an experienced company that works with your needs and wants. However, if an addition or remodeling just isn’t in your budget, here are three ways to expand the space in your home.

Get Organized

Even the smallest house can fit everything you own if you know how to organize it. There is a place for everything, or there should be. The first step in getting organized is to look at what you own and what space you have to work with. Book lovers can benefit from tall bookshelves that are attached to the wall, where all books can have space that is off to the side.

Maybe instead of an addition, you could use another closet, especially is you love clothing. Get shoe racks that are built in, and other organizing shelves and spaces to keep purses and other items off to the side and organized.

If you have a lot of stuff in storage, see if you can get rid of any of it. If it’s always boxed for no one to enjoy maybe it’s time to let it go. For the items you do keep in storage, get clear plastic totes so you can easily recognize what’s inside.

Add Some Color

Color is an amazing thing. Not only can it affect your mood, it can also make you think a room is bigger than it really is. Lighter colors are more likely to make a room look bigger than dark colors. Add accent colors to a white or cream colored room to give it a few focal points that will be pleasing to the eyes.

Lighting is also an important key. Lighting your room, whether it’s a bright, pale or dark color, can make a huge difference in the look of the room’s size.

Probably the best way to get your smaller living space to look larger is by utilizing an open floor plan. When rooms meld together it makes each of them appear larger since they are interconnected.

If you own your home, maybe look into removing a wall or two to help make more room. This will be a lot less work than putting in an all new addition, and it will still give you the extra space you want and need.


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3 Steps to Easy Rental Income

Posted By: on March 26, 2015

rental income

Rentals can be a great source of mostly passive income. As a landlord, you have responsibilities to both your property and the people who live there. It can be a daunting task, but by following the suggestions here, you can make your life as a landlord much easier.

Screen Your Tenants

When you are looking for tenants, you really can’t just settle for the first people that can sign a lease. You need to decide what requirements you have in a tenant. Make a list of the things that make good tenants; decide what is important to you. You could consider some of the following items:

  1. A clean background. This means your prospective tenant should not have a record of any criminal charges, especially felonies, or any other negative records.
  2. Good references. Your tenant should be able to give you three strong, reliable references. Make sure at least two of those are from old landlords.
  3. Zero Evictions. The tenant you want should have absolutely no evictions. There are no good excuses for evictions, ever.
  4. Income. Look for a tenant who can provide income information that verifies they get at least three times the monthly rent in income each month.

You might want to add other requirements, but these four absolutely must be included. Your goal of making your life as a landlord easier will be more quickly reached once this screening is implemented. You will shocked at how many possible tenants will be excluded; you will be pleasantly surprised at how much easier being a landlord will be.

Hire Professionals

You need to know your own limitations; are you a plumber, electrician, handyman?  There are reputable professionals available to you in every community. Make use of their skills when it is time for a repair. Often times, they will be able to make the repair more quickly and less expensively than you are able. Remember your time is valuable; spending it making repairs adds to the cost of those DIY projects.

Also, once you find a good professional, make use of them again; keep their information handy. Building a repeat relationship with a professional is a great way to make sure your repairs are done correctly. You may also get discounts because you are a repeat customer.

Protect Yourself Legally

Rentals can literally cost you your own home unless you are prepared. There are many legal issues that may send you to court and cost a pretty penny to resolve. Some states have landlord rights laws; you should always check the laws in your own community. Pay particular attention to repairs, deposit refunds, rights to enter the dwelling, and termination or eviction.

You may also wish to form an LLC. This allows your personal property to be protected, which will provide you with peace of mind. It’s much easier to be a landlord when you aren’t worrying about being sued and losing everything that you have worked so hard to build.

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Some people may think that if you slap together some graham crackers, a piece of chocolate, and a marshmallow, than a S’More has been created, but they would be wrong. Yes, they would have something Read On »

Thinking Business? Think Big, Clean, and Green

Posted By: on March 25, 2015

green business

As great as it is to have good business ideas, it’s almost more important to make sure that you can implement them realistically. What that translates to today is that you have to think big, clean, and green. And that doesn’t mean you have to start with ideas that fit in those categories – what it means is that once you have your idea in place, you have to make sure that you’re going to advance them toward those concepts. It may be a slight change in perspective for you and your business partners, but it’s one that’s well worth pursuing.

Thinking Big                                   

Thinking big doesn’t mean starting big. It means that you should keep in your business plan the idea that you can expand rapidly. Find resources that talk about scalability and you’ll get the idea. There have been thousands upon thousands of businesses that could have succeeded wildly, but because they couldn’t expand their order of operations quickly enough when the time came, they went bankrupt instead. If they had planned on success at any point in the formation of their business plan, this would absolutely not have happened. Business timelines now can look like the infamous ‘shark fin’.

Thinking Clean               

Waste products are a very important consideration when it comes to your business, especially if you need to dispose of medical waste. There are government regulations, local ordinances, and community guidelines you’ll have to follow every step of the way. If you know in advance what kind of cleaning you’ll be having to do, what kind of waste products your business will have, if there are going to be any issues with sewers, pipelines, riverbeds – make sure you know all of that beforehand, especially if you’re renting or buying property in an unfamiliar area. Talk to as many people as possible before making decisions about business location.

Thinking Green

Environmental concerns are another big part of modern business plans. If you’re going to be producing anything, find out if there is a ‘greener’ way to do it. It might be purchasing green equipment initially, or it might be things like solar power. If you dig deep enough, you may even find that there are tax breaks that you can get in your area, simply for having energy efficient appliances and computers. If your business is going to be in an area with open land around it, consider that you could emphasize your balance with nature by having great landscaping. If building, you can potentially use more environmentally friendly raw materials as well, such as different kinds of wood or structural material. It’s truly fascinating how many new business owners are approaching the idea of environmentalism, and it’s a big draw for new customers.


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8 Reasons You Need to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement

Posted By: on March 24, 2015


Prenuptial agreements, or pre-nups (as they’re commonly abbreviated) have historically received a bad reputation. Popular culture has long represented the pre-nup as a wealthy man’s protection against so-called “gold-digging” women, but in practical application, nothing could be further from the truth.

Far from being some kind of firewall for assets, a prenuptial agreement aims to anticipate any disputes that may arise in the event of a divorce or separation, and preemptively resolve them by finding mutually agreeable terms in advance of marital disharmony. This kind of advanced conflict resolution benefits the entire family.

Here are 8 reasons you should have prenuptial agreement:

  1. You have more money

Let’s get the stereotypes out of the way: if you have considerable wealth by comparison to your future partner, a prenuptial agreement ensures that you control your wealth’s future.

  1. You have less money

On the other hand, if you are the least wealthy of a future pair, a prenuptial agreement can keep you from feeling trapped in your relationship, and ensure that you will be financially protected in the event of a divorce.

  1. You earn more

If you are the primary earner in your family, a prenuptial agreement ensures you’re protected from alimony exploitation. It also lets you discuss fair distribution of income before any conflicts enter the picture.

  1. This isn’t your first marriage

If you have children from a first marriage, pay alimony to a previous spouse, or you have assets you need to protect, a pre-nup will protect all the members of your family. When people die assets become an issue of dispute, and without previous arrangements, family members can be left out in the cold.

  1. You’re a business owner

Without a pre-nup your spouse may end up as sole or partial owner of your company if you die. This can be problematic for your offspring and/or any business partners you may have. It can even be problematic for your bereaved spouse, who now has the burden of running a business they never wanted.

  1. You know how you want your estate handled

Estate management is the bread and butter of a prenuptial agreement. Regardless of the circumstances, it enables both partners to determine facets of their individual estate that are most important to them, and to have the final say in what will happen to those facets. This is especially useful for family heirlooms, and property.

  1. Your future spouse has debt

If your marriage ends and your spouse has debt, that debt can become your responsibility quicker than you might expect. Signing an agreement that releases you from another’s debt responsibility is not only smart, it’s essential.

  1. You’re going to quit your job

Planning to raise kids, a dog, or even just take some time off after marriage? Because choices like these affect your long-term wealth and day-to-day income, it’s important to protect yourself from financial disaster by legally agreeing, in advance, that financial burdens caused by any such life choices will be equally distributed.


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2 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier

Posted By: on March 23, 2015

Your home is one of the places you and your family spend the most time. If you work from home, you’re spending almost all of your time in your house. It’s therefore extremely important that your home be a safe, healthy environment. You may not have considered it before, but the home is actually one of the places that can most deeply affect your health. If you’re not taking into account your and your family’s health needs when you consider the condition of your home, you may be living somewhere that could make you sick.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Every year more technologies are developed to make your home safer, cleaner, and healthier. Needing to keep your home a good environment for your health is something we must all consider. Read on for ways to make your living space healthier.

Clean Your Air Ducts

Particularly during the winter, when your windows are closed and your heat is on, the air inside your home can quickly become old. While this isn’t a problem in terms of oxygen supply, it is a problem for people with lowered immune systems, allergies, or sensitive respiratory systems. Dust mites, pet dander, and more can accumulate in the air ducts of your home and continue to be cycled through indefinitely. This can result in otherwise healthy people feeling fatigued and unwell.

The solution is air duct cleaning. When you get your air ducts cleaned, you removed the pollutants you have been inhaling (sometimes for months or even years). You make your air safer to breathe, promoting the health and wellness of the entire family.

Get Your Home Tested

When you moved in to your home, you may or may not have had it tested for lead and radon.  Whether or not you had it tested then, if it’s been long enough, it’s best to have it done again. If you have an older home, lead paint may be on your walls, windows, and doors. Inhaling lead is dangerous to your health. For children in particular, lead inhalation can be extremely damaging. It can stunt growth, cause anemia, and create or exacerbate behavioral and learning issues.

If you don’t smoke cigarettes, you may think your lungs are safe from cancer. However, living in the wrong home can be just as bad for your lungs as smoking. Radon inhalation is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind cigarette smoking. 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States are caused by radon homes.

Don’t let yourself and your family fall victim to dangerous inhalants like lead and radon. Get your home professionally tested for both to ensure it’s a safe environment.


These are just two of the many ways to improve the environment of your home. You can make your home a health haven for you and your family with a little time and research — many health-related home improvements aren’t particularly expensive when done smartly. Invest in the health of you and your family.


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4 Training Tools For a Successful IT Career Change

Posted By: on March 17, 2015


A career in Information Technology (IT), is appealing to many people for several reasons. First of all, most jobs within the field pay well and provide as much job security as can be hoped for, in the changing tides of today’s business world. Because IT is an absolute requirement of all businesses except lemonade stands, there is an unending demand for IT professionals in the job marketplace. So even though competition might be fierce, there are usually many jobs available in a given area of the country.

There is also an excitement and an allure to working in IT – it is a field perceived to be at the very cutting edge of technology, and a force that drags the company along with it into each new age of business. Both fledgling career seekers or those contemplating a switch to the IT field can use these valuable tools to help move their careers forward.

Get Appropriate Training

Assuming a self assessment has been conducted, and the selection of which part of the IT field is most appealing is done, the tech training experts CBT Nuggets recommends taking some specific courses in that area which will add to depth and industry knowledge. This is also a great thing to have on a resume, as it demonstrates interest,  initiative, and willingness to learn. Most courses are now online, which makes them very convenient to undertake and easy to fit in to any schedule.

Build an Online Portfolio

This can be a priceless aid in getting that dream job. According to Gayle Laakmann McDowell at Forbes, job-seekers should build an online portfolio that chronicles accomplishments and provides a body of information about a candidate far beyond what might be seen on a resume. It is also a poorly kept secret that most employers don’t really look very closely at resumes anyway, so an online portfolio can be a much more effective way of showcasing a candidate’s work. Don’t think that this needs to be stuffed with IT achievements–it can be unrelated to work altogether, but it should demonstrate qualities that would make employers keen on hiring. Online portfolios are scanned by job recruiters, and they can be an invaluable resource for job openings.

Conduct Your Own Background Check

All job-seekers should conduct a background check using a tool like EKnowID. A prospective employer is definitely going to run a background check, so prepare and be one step ahead. If anything turns up that is out of the ordinary, it won’t come as a shock when it’s discussed during an interview.

Use Online Tools to Prepare for Interviews

Not  everyone is able to think quickly on their feet. It’s probably best to be as prepared as possible for an IT interview. This means anticipating the questions an interviewer might ask, and rehearsing responses to them. Sites like and provide hundreds of the most commonly asked questions that might come up during an interview–helping to ready answer for them. By rehearsing responses frequently, they will appear more natural and prepared during an interview. Avoid fumbling around for answers and prepare in advance.

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4 Tips for Choosing an Accountant

Posted By: on March 17, 2015

Keeping your business on track will highly depend on the accountant you hire. The key to keeping track of the money coming in and going out is having the right person to help you do so. The financial records for your business are an ideal way to keep track of how well you are doing. Knowing tips that can help you hire the best accountant for this job is extremely helpful if you’re in the market for one. 

Tip #1: Check Credibility

You will want to ensure the person that you do choose for this job has the necessary expertise. It’s ideal to check with the right accounting association to determine if the person you’re interested in hiring has completed the right training. Additionally, you could contact the college that’s listed as the place where this person attended school.

Tip #2: Get References

It’s a great idea to ask for at least two or three people who can vouch for this person. You should get the full name, address and contact number for each of these people to ensure you are able to make the contact that you want. It’s also a good idea to get the email for any of these individuals, as well. Be sure you ask for people who aren’t a family member or close friend because this could affect the type of reference that you receive.

Tip #3:  Check Past Employment

One of the best ways to understand how well this person has done in the accounting business is by taking a close look at past employers. You should look at the company this individual has worked for and the amount of years of employment. This can alert you to any potential problems, such as short-term employment or being fired for not doing a job properly.

Tip #4: Consider the GPA

One way to help you determine if this person is an ideal fit for your business is by looking at the grades of this individual. The average of the grades this person made while taking accounting courses is known as their grade point average (GPA). The higher this number is, the better for you and your business. They didn’t need to have a 4.0 all the way through college, but they should have had at least a 3.0, especially in relevant courses.

By doing your research and learning about any potential accounting employee, you can find the best person to suit your needs. The key is to take your time and not to rush into hiring a person quickly. The time and energy you put into this project is sure to render huge dividends for you, and you’ll be much happier with your decision in the long run.

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4 Necessary Accessories for Keeping your Hot Tub Hot

Posted By: on March 17, 2015

Do you enjoy unwinding after a long day by soaking in a hot tub? Millions of people love using these devices to relax and the way to make the most of them is by having the right accessories. This will help sure that your hot tub continues to work well and efficiently for years to come. Knowing the right accessories to purchase can keep your hot tub toasty warm and looking good as well.

Cover Removers

You won’t have to worry about using your hot tub and getting the cover off if home alone if you have a cover remover. This item makes lifting it off a breeze and can be easily done by one person. The advantage of choosing this item is that it’s simple to install and can even contribute to the life of your hot tub.

Hot Tub Cover

Of course, you’ll need to protect your hot tub, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. This means you need a high-quality cover that can significantly decrease the possibility of damage happening to your unit. Furthermore, the cover will help keep debris out of your hot tub and assists in regulating the water temperature at all times of the day, year-round.

Accessory #3: Hot Tub Steps

Being able to get into your heated oasis safely is critical. By purchasing heavyweight steps that can provide easy accessibility, you can make the transition from the ground to the hot tub much easier. Be sure to measure the space from your floor to the height of your hot tub to guarantee the most accurate fit.

Towel Bar

Why not make it as easy as possible for you to use your hot tub? Install a towel bar so you can hang your towels for easy access when getting out of the hot tub. Consider choosing a towel bar that will match the exterior of your tub for the best possible look. This accessory can complement the area when it’s color coordinated to match the entire ensemble.

Selecting the right accessories can make a world of difference in usability. Make sure you make the right choices!

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5 Common Workplace Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Posted By: on March 13, 2015

workplaace injury

Safety regulations for workers have come a long way over the past few decades, but work related injuries and deaths are still much more common than you’d expect. In fact, according to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) more than 4.1 million individuals suffer from a work-related illness or injury, and every day more than 12 people die while they’re on the job. With numbers like these, it’s important to know which activities cause the common injuries. Here’s a list of the top five, with tips for staying safe while you’re making your way.


  • Falling

A preponderance of workplace injuries are caused from slipping, tripping, and otherwise making acquaintance with the floor. It sounds silly, but slip and fall injuries can cause concussion, broken bones, muscle strains, and even death.

Prevent a fall at work by wearing non-slip foot wear (or at least shoes you are confident walking in), and always make sure your workspace is safe by, clearly marking uneven floors, replacing burnt bulbs, and ensuring that cords, wires, boxes, and other hazards are stored safely.

  1.   Repetitive Motion

Simply sitting at a computer for 8 hours can cause long lasting physical damage. Conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, are known to be caused by the repetitive act of typing.

While interacting with a computer at a desk may be an essential part of your job remember that it’s important to use equipment that is designed to be ergonomic, and to take frequent breaks. Also, focusing on your overall posture, will help prevent lasting damage.

  1.   Driving

Cars kill more people each year than plane crashes, bear attacks, and probably lots of other things too. The point is, it’s no surprise that driving is a dangerous activity to engage in at work. Especially given the amount of people who get paid to drive: think EMS workers, the fella who installed your cable internet, your plumber, your pizza delivery gal, the fine folks who keep municipal transport going, not to mention the long haul trucker stocking grocery stores across the nation.

So, when you’re driving on the job, stay away from your phone! It’s statistically factual that drivers who are texting perform no better than drivers under the influence of alcohol. And don’t exceed the posted limit for your vehicle type. Trucks can’t take turns as safely as cars, it’s physics. If you feel tired or have taken medication: don’t drive! These measures can save your life, and the lives of others.

  1.   Lifting

Musculoskeletal injuries are probably the most common work related injuries. From pulls to strains, slips and pops, dislocations, and ruptures: all manner of injury can be attributed to improper lifting practices.

So remember: always lift from your legs, never use your back. If something appears to exceed 50 lbs, use a piece of equipment like a dolly or a forklift to help you move it safely.

  1.   Operating Equipment

Many workplace injuries are sustained in environments where heavy machinery is being used on a daily basis. While equipment training is certainly the responsibility of your employer, keep in mind that protecting your body by following best practices is ultimately your responsibility.

Never work with heavy machinery if you are drowsy, unwell, or if you feel nervous or uncertain how to operate it safely. Tucking away loose clothing, hair, and other stray objects can save your life. Follow regulations closely, and always know emergency procedures by heart.

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4 Tips For Becoming a Successful Landlord

Posted By: on March 12, 2015

Renting a home or apartment to a tenant sounds like an easy way to make money, but there is more to being a landlord than simply collecting rent every month. Between drafting a rental agreement that everyone can agree upon and keeping up with repairs that are beyond the means of the tenants, being a landlord is a lot of work. And yet, there are some surprisingly simple things that landlords can do to make their jobs easier. Here are just a few things that people should keep in mind if they are considering renting out property to tenants.

Treating Landlording Like a Business

According to Brandon Turner, VP of Marketing and Communications at BiggerPockets, far too many landlords see their property investments as hobbies. They don’t put nearly enough thought into their rental properties, especially since the rent they receive is passive income. The truth is that landlording is a business, and it should be treated as such. Landlords don’t have to be in constant contact with their tenants, but they should keep one eye on their property and make improvements and repairs when they deem it necessary. They should also periodically check in and make sure that the tenants are satisfied and that everyone is holding up to the rental agreement.

When a landlord treats an investment property like any other business, amazing things happen. Tenants treat the landlord and property with more respect, property value increases, and everyone involved is more satisfied with the arrangement that they have.

Drafting a Rental Agreement

Drafting a rental agreement can be a major headache for landlords and tenants. Some experienced landlords can do this easily, while others find that they need some extra help. Fortunately, there are online services such as this one that can draft a customized rental agreement that will ensure that all parties are satisfied. A landlord only needs to fill in the agreed-upon details, terms and clauses online, and a customized document is delivered for all parties to sign. The landlord and tenants still have to decide on all the small details, but much of the hard work is completed automatically from the comfort of the landlord’s home.

Choosing the Right Tenants

One of the things that trips up many landlords is leasing to bad tenants. These tenants may damage the rental property, regularly pay the rent late or maybe not pay the rent at all. Since evicting a tenant is a costly and lengthy process, landlords need to screen out potentially bad tenants. Good tenants will have a stable income, no recent evictions or felonies, and good references from their previous landlords.

Landlords can choose their tenants, but they need to be careful about rejecting potential tenants for the wrong reasons. Kevin Perk, co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC, a real estate management company suggests avoiding personal questions and keeping all rental applications as neutral as possible. Tenants can be asked about their previous addresses, income and references, but they should never be asked about their marital status, their ethnicity or their religious background.

Treating Tenants with Respect

The key to a good business relationship is respect, and that especially goes for a landlord-tenant relationship. Landlords can and should expect their tenants to hold up their end of the rental agreement, but they should be given the benefit of the doubt as long as things are running smoothly. A rental property is a tenant’s home for the duration of a lease, and it should be treated as such. As long as a tenant is treating a landlord and a rental property fairly, then the landlord should do the same.


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