Blog

Peer To Peer Lending

You may have heard of peer to peer lending but what is it?

Peer to peer lending involves lending money directly to people and businesses who need it cutting out the banks and passing more of the profits to the people who’s money is being used. Peer to peer lending also appeals to investors as the interest rates are typically much higher than the abysmal rates offered by banks on savings at the moment.

How does it work?

Peer to peer lending is really simple platforms match together people who require money with people who have money to invest. As an investor you can choose which platforms you use which offer a range of different levels of flexibility around which opportunities the money you invest is used to fund.

Who am I lending money to?

When you invest money in peer to peer platforms some allow you to choose specifically who you lend money to you. Most platforms lend to businesses but there are some that lend to individuals. A lot of platforms also do credit checks on the businesses and individuals that they lend to.

Is it safe?

As with all investments there is always a risk of losing your capital but peer to peer lending has a good track record, always check the individual platforms you are using to see there statistics. I also recommend only using platforms that are FCA approved or the equivalent in your country. Lots of the peer to peer sites also secure the loans they are making against assets to reduce the exposure. All investments come with their own risks make sure you know the risks and safeguards that are in place before investing any money.

How do I get started?

If you like the sounds of peer to peer lending and want to give it a try you can get started today. All you need is the money you are willing to invest and you can get started.

Some of the peer to peer websites I recommend and use personally are:

Funding Secure

Funding secure have a reliable track record and also allow you to choose which investments you invest your money in and how much you invest in each one. Their site is very clear and easy to use and they send you emails to let you know when new opportunities are available. They also offer an IFISA so you can make your investments tax efficient. Funding Secure also offer interest rates of over 10% on most of their opertunities which makes it very appealing.

You can also look at their statistics to see what their books look like.

If you sign up using my link and invest over £1000 you will get £25.

Lending Crowd

Lending Crowd also have a good track record. They also allow you the choice between an auto investment account where you just put your money in and they automatically spread it across a range of opportunities for you and ensure that there your money is well diversified, which is important when making any investment.

If you sign up using my link you will get £50 if you invest £2000 or more, terms and conditions can be found on Lending Crowds website.

Kuflink

Kuflink are a relatively new peer to peer platform, what makes them appealing is that they invest up to 20% of their own money in each investment opportunity, this makes the investments much safer and also increases investor confidence in the opportunities.

If you sign up using my link and invest £500 or more you will receive £100 which is an instant 20% return on your investment! Terms and conditions can be found on Kuflink’s website.

Other Platforms

There are also many other platforms available so if none of the above ones appeal to you then I would recommend searching the web and checking out some others.

When investing I would always recommend that you do your research and check out exactly who you are giving your money to and what they will do with it to check its safe.

Diversification

Diversification is always important when making peer to peer loans its always a good idea to spread your money across a range of different platforms and different opportunities within those platforms.

Further Information

Two blogs I highly recommend you check out that provide lots of information and review on peer to peer lending:

https://p2pblog.co.uk

Disclaimer:

The above article is purely for information purposes only, investments come with their own risks and you should always do your own research before investing. When investing in peer to peer loans your capital is at risk.

 

Freelancing

Freelancing is a great way to use your spare time to increase your income and use your skills to increase your income.

There are many different platforms available that match you with individuals that require items of work or projects completing and are willing to pay you for your time and skills to work on them. The best thing is that you can choose exactly the type of work that you want to do and also the size of the work you want to do.

Freelancing also gives you the freedom to work anywhere in the world all you need is a laptop and an internet connection.

So how do you get started?

1. Think about what skills you have to offer

The skills you have are what you are selling here so you need to think about what you can offer. Highly desired skills are currently in the tech space but there are opportunities in a wide range of areas from design through to translation. If you don’t have any skills in the desired areas but are interested in learning them you could also learn new skills. You may also be able to find some projects that are willing to let you learn on the job or you can offer to work for very little money or even free at first to build up your skills and portfolio of work.

2. Brush up on your skills

Once you have identified what skills you have to offer brush up on them. Its important to always keep your skills fresh and up to date so that you can offer the best service possible.

3. Put together a portfolio of work

Your portfolio is your CV in the freelancing world, people don’t have much information on you so you need to make yourself stand out from the crowds of other people who also want the freelance work. You do this by putting together lots of good pieces of work you have done in the past that demonstrate your skills.

4. Bid for work

Now you are ready to go and apply for work, you can do this by signing up on sites such as Upwork or Freelancer.com then start looking for opportunities that interest you and match your skills. Contact the people offering these opportunities and justify to them why they should choose you using your portfolio.

You can also find other freelancing providing platforms by searching online.

5. Complete the work

When you are successful in finding an opportunity that you are interested in and the person offering the opportunity gives it to you now you have to complete the work.

Ensure that you communicate clearly and set expectations early on with the person who has hired you, let them know how long the project will take you, when you expect to have each part completed and confirm the payment structure so everyone knows what to expect. Communication will be important throughout the work so ensure to check in with them regularly to ensure they are happy with the work you are doing and know how well you are progressing.

6. Reviews

Ensuring that the person who hires you has a good experience is very important as you want to ensure that you build up a positive reputation with each piece of work you do. Once a project is finished always ensure that you ask for feedback and get the hirer to give you a review which you can use to share with other people when you are looking for your next project. Overtime you can build up a series of reviews and use the feedback to improve the service you offer which will mean you can charge more money and be offered more work when looking for opportunities.

 

Comparison Websites

Comparison websites are really helpful when trying to get the best deal on things your already buying.

People most often associate comparison websites with car and home insurance but there are comparison websites out there for all kinds of things.

Uswitch is a good comparison website for Mobile phone contracts and often do better deals than even going direct! Uswitch also offer comparision for: gas and electricity; broadband and tv ; personal finance products such as loans and credit cards and a range of insurance products.

There are also other websites such as Money Supermarket, Compare The Market and Go Compare who all offer different comparisons on a range of products, always be sure to check all of the comparison sites as they often have different offers.

Once you have checked all the comparison sites you can also check the cash-back websites to see if they have any better deals, read our article on cash-back websites here.

Save Money On Your Mobile Phone Contract

Mobile phone contracts can be expensive, particularly if you want the latest handset with the best deal. But there is a trick you can use to save money and still have the latest handset and a deal that suits you.

But before I explain how to do this, you need to make sure you know what deal you need. So look at your recent months usage (this can be found on your bills) and see how much minutes, texts and data you use on a monthly basis.

So now the money saving part, did you know when you buy a contract with a phone and a SIM card your paying a premium on the cost of the handset? For Example lets take a look at this deal from EE:

Here you get the latest iPhone 7 32GB with 5GB of data, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes for £50.99 per month on a 24 month contract with an initial handset cost of £9.99.

That means your agreeing to pay £50.99 * 24  + £9.99 for the initial handset costs. The total of which comes to £1233.75!

Now if you were to purchase the handset alone that would cost £599 direct from Apple. this leaves you paying £643.75 over the 24 months for your data, minutes and texts. That works out at £26.45 per month.

On the very same site you can get the following deal for just £25.00

As you can see this deal offers 4 times as much data for £1.45 per month and not only that but your only in a 12 month contract which means you can change your contract in 12 months rather than having to wait for 24 months.

If you shop around and use comparison/Cashback websites you can save even more! Read my article here on comparison/Cashback sites.

 

*Disclaimer*

Offers correct as of 30/04/2017.

 

Referral Links

Referral links are a great way to make money from visitors to your brand, by posting links to products or service that are relevant to your brand this can be useful for your users to show them products and services they will be interested in and also allows you to earn a fee for referring them.

Most established companies offer referral links through affiliate schemes, these can be found by searching the company name followed by affiliate. 

Each affiliate may offer a different payment scheme some give a flat fee for each users you sign up and others give a percentage of earnings from the user you sign up. Be sure to read all the terms and conditions of the affiliate schemes you choose to use as if these aren’t followed you may not get paid and make sure the brands you promote are relevant to your own brand. 

There are also affiliate companies who handle affiliate schemes for multiple companies which can be useful for finding affiliate schemes. One is CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction).

Adding Ads To Your Website/Blog

Once you have regular views on your blog you can start to convert those views to money.

Serving ads to your users is one of the oldest ways to make money online, advertising giants like google allow you to set up Adsense which enables you to add adverts to your website/blog with ease and start making money. 

There are also a number of other providers who will pay you for having their ads on your website. Which you can find on the web.

These advertisements tend to pay either per click or per impression, be sure to read the terms and conditions to understand the payment structure of the advertisements you decide to use.

Always ensure that ads are relevant to your brand, this will help you and the advertiser as it helps the advertiser reach the right kind of people and shows your users content they may actually be interested in. 

Also try to ensure that ads are not to intrusive as this may lead to users using your site less or not at all!

Another less common way of making money through ads is through sponsors, you can ask companies and brands related to your brand if they would like to sponsor your website/blog. This will mean you will sell them some advertisment space on your website for a fixed period of time and they will pay you for this. 

Social Followings – Building A Brand

I’m sure everyone is familiar with social networks, but did you know you can use your followings to make money?
Advertisement is all about reaching people who would buy your products/services. Social media is one of the latest ways companies are using to reach people. After all nearly everyone is on social media right?

So how can you use social media to make money?

All you have to do is create content that interesting, exciting or relatable and gets shared lots. This over time will gain you followers. Once you have enough followers companies will be willing to pay you money to advertise their products/services through your social media.

Initially to build your brand the best way tends to be through your friends and family by asking them to share your content and follow your brand. Hashtags can also be a good way to grow your brand as people will use them to find content they are interested in.

Once you have an initial following, there are lots of different methods to help grow your social media following, one I like is offering a giveaway, particularly one relevant to your brand. The best way to market this is to ask people to share you post and follow your page to be entered for a chance to win a prize related to your brand. By giving away something which is essentially free to enter this means lots of people will be willing to share the post and follow your page. in addition to this as the item you are giving away is relevant to your brand this helps ensure that you attract the right kind of people to your page who will be genuinely interested in your future content.

You can also go down the root of targeted ads using google/facebook or even instagram with promoted posts by people relevant to your brand or paid ads that the platforms provide. Ensuring that you target the right people is very important, this can be done using the platforms targeting tools or by getting a promoted post to someone relevant to your brand. For example if your brand is all about fishing it would be a good idea to get a promoted post from someone well established in the fishing world.

Once you have attracted people to your website/social media site from targeted ads or promoted posts you want to ensure they come back. You can do this by having lots of engaging and interesting content and making it an easy as possible for them to share it with others. If your current user base share your content with others this helps you to get more genuinely interested followers and allows you to follow up with these users to keep them engages. Sharing on social media is one of the most powerful ways to get people to view your content so make sure its easy for people to share, having follow buttons and share buttons on any content you create on blog/website is very important.

Once you have an established following there are many different ways you can convert this to real money, read more here.

Tracking Your Money

Tracking your money is one of the key elements of your personal finance health.
Tracking incomings and outgoings allows you to see where your money is going and how much money you have left over each month. Having this information helps you to see with ease areas you can reduce your spending and increase the money your are putting into investments.

Another important reason to track your money is that it allows you to see your net worth and track how much it will increase by as time goes on. This allows you to see when you will hit key milestones and also help motivate you to keep on track.
You can also use a tracker as a modelling tool to see if certain changes were made to your investing and spending habits what the effects on your net worth would be.

Google sheets is a great place to start, they offer free spreadsheets you can access from anywhere, but MS Excel will do the job as well.

Outgoings

A good place to start is by listing down all your out goings, fixed or variable they all need to be tracked. You should also track your predicted outgoings at least 12 months ahead, this allows you to see if you have any upcoming bills larger than normal and means you can also plan to put money aside for these. Tracking your outgoings helps you to keep on top of your finances and lets you see where you are each month.

Tracking your fixed out goings is fairly easy as these remain the same every month. To track your variable outgoings such as credit cards you can usually find the way the minimum payment is calculated using your statement or by contacting the provider of the variable payment to find out how it is calculated.

Remember to also include costs like petrol and food costs.

Once you have all your out goings listed then you can begin listing your income, if you work a salary job this will be fairly easy. If your income varies then try to make a best estimate.

With this complete you should now be able to easily see your incomings and outgoings and this should allow you to add in things such as saving for holidays in a way which is affordable and manageable. If your outgoings are exceeding your income you can also look at what can be reduced in order to bring them inline. Alternatively you will need to look to increase your income.

Debts

You can also use a money tracker to help see your debts if you have any and track how much your debt is reduced by and also see when your debts will be cleared by. You can also keep track of key dates when promotional offers on credit cards end if you have these, then align these with your out goings so you can plan to put money aside to cover these. Seeing how much your debts will be reduced by can be a great way to see when you could be free from them and keeps you in control.

Savings and investments

You also need to track your savings and investments, this can help you to keep track if you have lots of different investments and also see what their expected growth will be. This will also allow you to see your net worth and expected growth of it so you will know when you expect to hit key milestones!

Cashback Websites

Did you know you can save money when even when you buy a product? 

This is where cash back websites come in for anything from a mobile phone contract to flights you can save money without having to haggle. 

Cashback websites offer savings that can add up to thousands of pounds worth of savings over the years. On individual purchases you can save anywhere from pennies to hundreds of pounds and it all adds up to savings you otherwise wouldn’t have got for the exact same things you would have brought!

Money
Cash Back Savings

Interested? So how do you get started.

Currently there are two main cash back websites, both are free to join as a basic member.

  1. Topcashback
  2. Quidco

Both have a lot of the same offers but they can vary sometimes so be sure to check both before you make a purchase.

Warning: Do not click through the link until you are sure which one you want to use as you may end up being tracked (more on this later). 

Current Accounts
Current Accounts

Some banks also offer cash back services when making purchases through them such as:

  • Barclays Blue Rewards
  • Halifax Rewards 
  • Natwest My Rewards

So ensure you check all of the potential options when making a purchase to ensure you are getting the best savings.

So how does it all work?

When you make a purchase with a business using a cash back site they pay the cash back provided for them referring you to use their services. Cash back sites then pass the money they have been paid back to you. This works well for both the business and the cash back site because its a cheeper way for the business to get new customers and make new sales and the cash back site can make money from referring you.

Businesses of all types are always looking to make sales and attract new customers, using traditional marketing methods can mean that they spend a lot of money on advertisement to make only a few sales. With cash back they are able to focus the money they are spending on customers who are actually making purchases and giving them money. 

Sounds great so how do you get started?

Once you have signed up to a cash back site anything you buy you should check if what you are buying is available through the cash back site as well. As previously mentioned make sure you check all the possible cash back options to find the best one.

Next you need to follow the link on the cash back website to the site that has the product or service you want to purchase. You need to make sure you use the links because this is how the cash back sites track you and ensure you get your cash back. Sometimes the tracking doesn’t work, if you have any issues be sure to contact the cash back site you used for help.

Once you have successfully made a purchase through a site the cash back should show up in your account on the cash back website you used. The time taken for this to show up and be available to withdraw can vary so be sure to check with the cash back site you are using and always withdraw as soon as you can. 

Warning: Some cash back sites have a minimum withdrawal amount you have to reach before you can withdraw money so be sure to keep any eye on this and withdraw as soon as you meet it. 

Now you can get started using cash back sites and making savings even when you spending money!

(All information correct as of 09/06/18)

 

Cyptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is everywhere at the moment, but what is it? Should you buy some? can you make money from it? read more below to find out.

With any financial decision you should always know what you are spending your money on and what value it has. Cryptocurrency is a very fluctuant asset at the moment and the price of it shifts regularly from day to day.

What is it?

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of online currency, intended to replace or work alongside the existing fiat money system. At the moment you can purchase cryptocurrency using fiat money from online exchanges such as Coinbase or from individuals using LocalBitcoins.

In theory these cryptocurrencies can be used to make purchases just as you would with regular cash, however at this time they are not widely excepted by businesses/individuals.

Just like exchange rates with foreign currencies the price of cryptocurrencies are not fixed and tend to fluctuate on a day to day basis depending upon news and supply and demand. Cryptocurrencies however tend to fluctuate much more than fiat currencies on a day to day basis.

Cryptocurrencies are held in digital wallets similar to real wallets where you have a balance which you can then send to other peoples wallets.

You can read more about what cryptocurrencies are and how they work here.

Can you make money from cryptocurrencies?

In a word, yes you can but like any investment you can also lose money. So be careful if you are intending to purchase some cryptocurrency, make sure you have a good understanding of the cryptocurrency you intend to purchase. Good things to look at are the technology behind it, how it works and what its performance has been in the past. It is also a good idea to read news articles related to the cryptocurrency you intend to purchase to get a good idea of what others think about it.

Trading cryptocurrencies is no different to trading fiat currencies, just like fiat currencies can go up and down in value so can cryptocurrencies so always be careful when purchasing.