Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a freelance content writer focusing on personal finance, real estate, and lending.

Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, CBS News, and Kiplinger.

She previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as well as several national non-profit organizations.

Posts by Lauren Ward:

by Lauren Ward on March 17, 2017

Increased Interest Rates from Fed, Plus More to Come in 2017

After meeting for two days this week, the FOMC announced the first fed rate increase of 2017. The federal funds rate, which is the overnight rate for banks lending to one another, jumped from 0.75% to 1%. The FOMC statement cited strengthening economic indicators as the basis for this decision, including employment, household spending, and business fixed investment. The Federal Reserve plans to make future rate hike decisions based on “realized and expected economic conditions” and plans on continuing gradual increases. Most financial experts predict two more increases of the federal funds rate in 2017, but the reality depends on how the economy continues to fare. Normalizing Interest Rates Interest rates have been historically low since 2008, when the Great Recession went into full swing and the Fed attempted to stimulate borrowing by driving rates down to 0.25% — effectively zero. Since then, small business owners have enjoyed lower-than-normal interest…

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by Lauren Ward on

Forget Extracurriculars: Start Your Business Right Now.

Many people dream of becoming their own boss one day, but it's never too early to start working towards that goal. Whether you need money for books or simply have the entrepreneurial itch, it's entirely possible to start a business while still enrolled in school. Read on for college startup ideas, tips for college students, and a few potential pitfalls to avoid as a student entrepreneur. The Many Advantages to Starting a Business in College You might not have access to the same resources once you graduate, so take advantage of the following while you can: Business Grants If you need capital to get your business off the ground, look for a business grant to use as funding. Unlike a loan, there's no accrued interest and you don't have to repay the funds. The SBA offers a search tool to find applicable grant programs you can apply for but you may…

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by Lauren Ward on March 13, 2017

Legal Structure Matters – Should You Incorporate Your Business?

Getting started with a new business venture is exciting, but it also comes with a lot of tough decisions. One of the most important choices is how to organize your legal business structure since it will greatly affect your bottom line come tax season. There are several options and the best one depends on the size of your company, whether you have business partners, and how much of a liability your business poses. You can also choose structures that strategically protect multiple partners or shareholders. An LLC is a popular option among first-time entrepreneurs, but you should definitely explore all of your options to pick the one that maximizes tax benefits while minimizing your personal risk. Check out the pros and cons of each legal business structure: Sole Proprietorships are Simple A sole proprietorship is hands down the easiest way to start your business. You and the business are one in the…

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by Lauren Ward on March 1, 2017

This is How You Turn a Hobby Into Your Main Hustle

These days, more and more people are turning to side-jobs to help supplement their income-- Indeed, the gig economy is alive and well. If you’re smart about how you approach your side hustle, you just might end up being more successful at it than your “regular” job. Here are some ideas on the best ways to turn your hobby into a business: 1. Want to Start a Business on the Side? Start Giving Lessons Think outside the box about a skill you have that others may want to learn: Everyone has a talent! It may sound cliche, but it's true. You don’t have to be a Spanish tutor to make some extra money teaching others (but hey, that works, too!) Tutor students in academic areas, or you can teach adults new skills. Rent space at your local community center and advertise locally for an evening flower arranging class. Or lend your talents through…

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by Lauren Ward on March 15, 2017

Small Business Loans with Bad Credit- Here Are Your Best Options

Bad credit doesn’t make you a bad person, but it can become a problem when you need business financing. Unfortunately, loans with no credit check simply don't exist! Instead, you might be wondering how to get a loan for business or if there are any business loans for bad credit... The short answer is YES: There are still plenty of ways to get funding, even if you can't qualify for traditional loan options. Explore different small business loans for bad credit below: Finding the Best Term Loan The traditional way to borrow money for your business is by visiting the local bank or credit union to apply for a term loan. However, if you have poor credit this may not be the best option. (Even if you were approved, you’d likely be subject to hefty interest rates.) Your best chance is to approach a financial institution with which you already have a positive working relationship, whether that be through your…

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by Lauren Ward on January 24, 2017

6 Bad Habits to Break for Gigantic Business Growth in 2017

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, the New Year is the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate how effectively your business is growing. In fact, you may have developed several bad business practices without even realizing it. Whether it’s because you’ve always done things a certain way or you’re handicapped by a knowledge gap, overcoming these barriers to success can increase both your market share and revenue. If you’re wondering how to grow your company, check out these six tips for breaking bad business habits. 1. Business Owner Burnout: Don't Let It Happen To You It’s no secret that much of a young company’s success relies on the founder’s work ethic in the earliest stages. But when 80-hour work weeks go unchecked for too long, your business can actually begin to suffer. In fact, research on work-life balance dates at least as far back as Henry Ford in…

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Ditch Your Banker: Find The Best Loans Through Alternative Lenders

by Eric Goldschein on May 25, 2017
The world of lending has shifted. No longer are banks the sole gatekeepers of capital, which is good news for… Read more

Business Owners: 5 Truths Your Banker Doesn’t Want You Knowing

by Jackie Lam on May 10, 2017
When looking for the best banks for small business loans, Bank of America and Wells Fargo may come to mind. However,… Read more

An Epic Guide to Business Credit Cards, Charge Cards, & Lines of Credit

by Eric Goldschein on February 2, 2017
If you’re a small business owner, you know how important it is to always have extra capital on hand so you… Read more

A Complete Declassified List of Tax-Exempt Fringe Benefits

by Amy Fontinelle on January 30, 2017
With all the uncertainty surrounding Trump's tax plan, tax saving tips for small business owners are as important as ever. Finding… Read more

Hero Companies Who Are Helping Small Businesses Succeed

by Caitlyn Rose on January 19, 2016
These are challenging times for small businesses. Luckily, however, the news isn’t all bad. Read on to learn about three… Read more

Bank Turn You Down For A Business Loan? Here’s How You Can Get Alternative Funding

by Caitlyn Rose on January 7, 2016
If you're like most small business owners, your first stop for financing needs might be your local bank. Unfortunately, the… Read more

Corporate Bylaws: Why Your Business Can’t Function Without Them

by Ronis Gracie on December 10, 2015
While “corporate bylaws” may sound like something that only giant companies need, the reality is that every corporation has to… Read more

An In-Depth Look at How Invoice Financing Works

by Ronis Gracie on November 30, 2015
As a business owner, you probably experience a multitude of small frustrations each day. But perhaps one of your biggest… Read more

Minorities, Women, and Veteran Business Owners – Get Extra Funding Here

by Ronis Gracie on May 15, 2017
Keeping a business afloat can certainly be a challenge, particularly during rocky economic times. No matter how poor sales may… Read more

Complete Business Funding Glossary – 2017 Edition

by Ronis Gracie on March 1, 2017
When you were a kid, you probably had a special group of friends who stayed together no matter what. You… Read more

A Complete Guide to Business Loans for Funding a Bar

by Ronis Gracie on January 16, 2017
One of the most exciting and rewarding types of businesses to operate is a bar. Whether you run a neighborhood… Read more

New Ways to Get Money Out of Your Business That You Might Not Have Thought Of

by Ronis Gracie on November 17, 2016
You have finally reached that milestone you have anticipated for so long: Your business is making a reliable profit. As… Read more

Infographic: The Rise of Marketplace Lenders

by Caitlyn Rose on January 12, 2016
Sooner or later, most small businesses will require an infusion of cash. The need might arise almost immediately during the… Read more

Bank Turn You Down For A Business Loan? Here’s How You Can Get Alternative Funding

by Caitlyn Rose on January 7, 2016
If you're like most small business owners, your first stop for financing needs might be your local bank. Unfortunately, the… Read more

5 Types of Grants For Women-Owned Businesses

by Caitlyn Rose on December 29, 2015
If you are a woman thinking about starting a small business, you are part of a growing trend. Since 1997,… Read more

Your First Small Business Loan: What You Need to Know

by Caitlyn Rose on December 16, 2015
When you set out to find the first loan for your small business, you’ll probably have many questions but few… Read more

Interest Rate versus APR: What You Need to Know to Price a Loan

by Ronis Gracie on December 8, 2015
Small business loan terminology is complex, and many of the terms are similar enough to be confusing. Two such phrases… Read more