GooglyFish: Blog GooglyFish: Blog https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/ Copyright by GooglyFish en GooglyFish Mon, 20 May 2019 12:58:56 -0400 7 Hidden Costs Associated with Investing and Owning Properties Property ownership in Australia is a goal many aspire to. By 2015 there were 9 million dwellings, and this speaks to the desire to own property. But owning property is perceived to be a capital intensive and risky venture. Here are some of the hidden costs that can come with property ownership that you need to consider.

  1. Insurance

Your property is an asset, and in the spirit of protecting the asset, you will find the need for insurance. Several insurance packages may apply to you depending on what kind of property owner and investor you are.

  • Landlord’s Insurance

If you plan to rent out your property, you will find landlords insurance indispensable. If you plan on being a landlord expect and account for delinquent tenants. When those who rent your property vanish in the middleof the night without paying rent, it leaves you with a revenue gap in your pocket.

Rent default is a clause that seeks to compensate you in case a tenant defaults on their rent. You can also claim compensation in the event of an unexpected death of a tenant. If you rent out your property and the tenant obtains a hardship order, the rental default clause will compensate you.

Landlord insurance will vary from plan to plan, and it's the details you need to pay attention to. The cost of a policy might be a factor in determining which policy to go with. However, you must consider how well the plan will protect you.

When there is damage to your property, building insurance will compensate you for full or partial loss to it. Contents insurance is also essential for a landlord whether you are renting out a furnished space or not. In the case of the former, the policy will cover all that you own. With the latter, the policy covers only that which you own and not the tenant’s.

  • Home Owner’s Insurance

As a homeowner, you need to protect yourself from liability and also cover your valuables. Public liability cover is critical in case other people are injured while on your property. Such a scenario will open you up to a potential lawsuit and unless you are covered, you face potential financial ruin.

Contents insurance protects all the items that belong to you and aren’t considered a part of the structure like carpets for example.

  1. Property Management

Being a landlord is not an easy task as many people think. While the appeal of passive income is ideal, the work that goes into keeping up with the property is not anyone’s cup of coffee. Enter property management professionals.

If you don’t have the time or are not inclined to personally handle rent collection, hire a reputable entity such as Roseberry Raineandhorne Property management firm to do the collections for you. When the inevitable late payment, bounced cheque or non-payment occurs, you do not have to chase the tenant around for it. Property managers can also help you keep up with repair and maintenance issues if you do not want to be involved in that minutiae.

  1. Vacancies

Every landlord dreams of receiving a steady income from their property. But the harsh reality is that no property that is open to tenants remains fully let all the time. Whenever your property experiences vacancies, it means that you will haveto pay out-of-pocket for expenses until you find new tenants.

To shield yourself from always footing this bill, you will need to establish an emergency fund. For many would-be landlords, this is a hidden expense that most do not learn of until it’s too late.

  1. Inspections

When you want to invest in property, the cost of inspection falls both ways, and you need to anticipate it. As a buyer, you will need to conduct independent inspections to unearth any hidden issues with the property you need to buy.

Inspection of a property you want to buy will help you negotiate wisely. As a seller pre-listing inspections help you to gain credibility with prospects and know how to price the property accurately. You will have to foot this expense no matter what side of the transaction you're on.

  1. Landscaping

A surprising cost that many first time property owners encounter is the landscaping charge. Your property might have a lawn or other greenery that needs tending regularly. When you’re shopping for the property, this may not have seemed like too big of a deal, but when you have it, you will begin to realise how much of a regular charge it can be.

Outsourcing landscaping duties is an option for many, but it quickly adds up. You need to consider if you can keep up with this amount for your space to not fall into disrepair.

  1. Maintenance and Repair

As long as you own property, it will inevitably require some repair work and maintenance. For both landlords and homeowners, these costs are a crucial part of whether their investment will make financial sense or not.

It is advisable to invest adequately in repairs and maintenance to avoid incurring bigger loses down the line. Create a fund to take care of costs that are unplanned for and which might place a financial strain on you.

  1. Taxes and Fees

There are several taxes, and levies charged by the government when you buy property. Stamp duty applies to your property investment, and it will be charged as a fixed percentage or according to scale. As a landlord, you will need to pay tax on your rental income. Property taxes will be due from every property you own while the land tax will depend on the size of property you own and what you use it for.

Conclusion

Owning property in Australia is an aspiration today as it was decades ago. What you must understand is that there are more costs on top of the purchase price of any property you might have your eyes on. Consider these costs before making the purchase decision as they may add up and strain you financially.

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7 tips to have a diversified investment portfolio One of the best ways to understand how investing works is to study the differences between various kinds of investment vehicles and to compare how those vehicles produce value. Many investors, for example, are confused by different kinds of bonds. Some investors don't know for sure exactly what a bond is or how one works. With the details of basic investing as confusing as they can sometimes be, it shouldn't be surprising that advanced topics like diversification, strategies or allocations are as well.

The good news is investing is very much like any other activity. The more you study and practice, the better you get. Like sports, investing is built on a foundation of basic fundamentals which have been proven over time to produce the best results for the largest plurality of participants. Learning those fundamentals is the best way someone new to the market can gain the highest level of proficiency the fastest while avoiding the pitfalls new investors face.

So what is the best way for a new investor to be certain they are diversified?

Hedge

It is axiomatic that some investments perform well when others lose ground. The best example of this is when one investor shorts a stock and another goes long. One expects prices to rise in order to secure gains while the other is betting the price will drop so they can return borrowed shares at a profit. While it doesn't make sense to buy and short the same stock, it does make sense if heterogeneous investments can be offset against one another in order to protect against adverse market moves.

One of the best examples of a hedge is buying a hard asset like gold to offset potential losses from inflation. As most investors know, your gains must exceed inflation and taxes or you are losing value. The value of gold often tracks closely the value of whatever currency in which it is priced, meaning that if inflation rises, the price of gold will often follow.

In this case, even if an investor's stocks lose value from that inflation, their gold position will help offset those losses, leaving them in position to take advantage of later gains in the stock price without having to make up for the virtual losses instead.

Income vs. Growth

The time horizon for an investor usually governs their allocations of income and growth investments. Early in a portfolio's existence, growth is the priority, as it is important to produce wealth before it can be exploited. This means a new investor should buy heavily in growth vehicles like small cap stocks. Some financial advisors recommend at least 80% of a portfolio be invested in growth stocks and similar investments to start.

Later in an investor's career, as their wealth accumulates, their proportion of growth investments to income investments should begin to shift. Income investments include bonds, annuities, bond funds, certificates of deposit, dividend stocks and money market funds. These are investments that usually maintain their price but throw off regular payments to the investor. A bond, for example, is paid for by the borrower in the form of interest and sometimes a small portion of principal.

Income investments are only tangentially affected by ups or downs in the overall market, and represent a much larger pool of capital than stocks in general. Because of this, investors looking for a way to diversify will very often offset their stock and growth investments with income-producing vehicles like bonds. This way, even if they have adverse price changes in their stocks, the income from their bonds and other income-producing investments is likely to offset them.

Cash

Like income investments, cash can act as a hedge against changes in the market. Cash is key to any investment strategy that relies on timing the market. While some brokers and financial advisors recommend investors avoid moving in and out of investments too often, sometimes it can be lucrative, especially in various kinds of distressed debt strategies.

Cash should be set aside in a vehicle like a money market fund where it can be accessed immediately. This is also known as a "liquid" investment. Money market funds are minimal income investments, so they can be used to diversify against an equity-heavy portfolio.

Tax-Advantaged

Investments like government and municipal bonds should be considered for any portfolio that needs income. Some of these kinds of bonds generate tax free revenue. They can be used not only to hedge against equities, but they can also be used to offset potential losses in commercial paper like corporate bonds or capital for partnerships and start-up enterprises.

Sectors

On the equity side, the equivalent to matching tax-advantaged government bonds with commercial paper like corporate bonds is to invest in different sectors of the stock market. One way to do this is by spreading equity positions between large and small companies. Another way is to invest in different industries like mining, technology, health care and construction.

Real Estate

With the exception of equity investments in the construction industry, real estate can act as a hedge in your portfolio very much like gold and other hard asset investments. Like gold, real estate tends to appreciate in an inflationary environment, and it can also throw off income in the form of rents and leases. Real estate investors could be described as Pumped on Property and well they should be.

Unlike other kinds of investments, real estate requires considerable management time, so make certain you have the extra capacity to manage your properties before you make any expensive moves.

Venture Capital

As your wealth grows, you'll find some opportunities will present themselves that don't fit neatly into other categories. Entrepreneurs may approach you for relatively small amounts and may offer you equity positions in their start-up companies. Some of these companies may have developed valuable assets like patents or copyrights in the process of getting started. Some may even have considerable sales already. These investments are extremely high risk, naturally, but they can also produce outsized returns. Treat them like small cap equity positions and hedge accordingly, and you may find a diamond or two in the rough.

Diversifying is essentially the process of protecting one investment with the income from another. While it might seem that you are trying to avoid losses in your equity portfolio, the truth is your equity positions are hedges against your bonds and income investments. Properly managed, the offseting advantages should lead to success.

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5 reasons why traveling and moving to another country has fantastic benefits for your health Everyone likes a good vacation. It becomes even better when that vacation is in a foreign country. When traveling to a new country, you get a chance to experience cultures, climate, landscapes, and many other things. Every location in this world is unique in its way. Therefore, there will be a lot of learning going on as you travel through the cities and countryside. However, have you ever asked yourself the effect that these experiences have on your health? If you contact a migration company Perth, you will notice that there are various health gains that you will make when you travel abroad. Here are some of the most significant ones.

It reduces stress and depression levels

Travelling has a therapeutic effect. It revitalizes the brain and makes the body to feel rejuvenated again. As you see some of the geographical features that you have never seen before, you will be making the body to gather new strength that helps you to fight depression and stress. Out will notice that after going through various cities, you will not be thinking about the things that used to stress you anymore. In addition to that, your mind will be eager to learn new things and forget about the past.

As you encounter new cultures and languages, it will be like you just landed in a new world, and the old one is gone. This makes the brain to focus on the current situation and the good things that it brings. You will notice that after some time, your mood starts to change and all of a sudden, you want to be happy. That is how you get rid of stress and depression.

It boosts your brain health

The brain is the most active organ in the human body. It is always working whether you are asleep or awake. Because of this, it is good to take good care of your brain. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most overworked organs. Some people rarely think about mental health until the symptoms catch up with them. This is not a good thing because too much damage will have been done by that time. According to scientists, traveling abroad can help you to boost mental health in many ways.

Sometimes, all that you need to trigger activity in the brain is a new experience. For instance, as you try to understand the unique cultures that you are surrounded with, you will be putting your brain to the task. It will be working hard to understand the new environment, and that is how you end up making it stronger. Several trips abroad will leave you feeling sharper and more focused. You also will notice that when you travel often, you tend to boost your memory. The best part is that you will not be consuming any medications or going through endless therapies.

It shifts your perspective

Have you ever heard people saying that they found themselves when traveling? It means that the experiences that they went through changed their attitudes, and helped to see them differently. One thing that traveling does is that it takes you off your comfort zone. Two things are likely to happen when you leave this zone; you will either be uncomfortable, or you will enjoy a new sense of comfort that you have never experienced before. Regardless of how you feel, it is helpful because it means that you will be looking at things differently.

Shifting your focus makes you a better person. To start with, you will analyze situations by looking at them from a different angle from the one you are used to. When criticizing cases, you will base your argument in a broader perspective, and therefore, it will be easy for you to find solutions when you travel. After several trips, your mind will have shifted, and that is how you become superior to those that do not travel. It is a learning curve that you only get to experience when you go through various conditions some of which may be conflicting.

It boosts your immune system

The immune system requires several triggers to be stimulated. The purpose of this system is to protect the body from disease-causing organisms. If you stay in one place, your immunity will be based on disease-causing organisms that you find there. However, if you move to a different location, you will encounter new threats. There will be new pathogens attacking your body, and this is the reason you contract colds and coughs. Although it may be discomforting, it is a good thing because it means that your body will be developing a new way to fight those pathogens. By the time you get back to your home country, the body will have learned how to find more diseases than those found locally.

It reduces the risk of heart diseases

Traveling expose you to a lot of activity. You will always be moving from one place to another in search of services. For instance, you will be rushing to the airport to get on the plane on time, looking for a taxi, looking for accommodation, traveling to see new locations and many other things. All these activities keep you active for the better part of your stay in a foreign country unlike when you would be holed up in your office or apartment back home. This activity is good for cardiovascular health because it boosts the circulation of blood and reduces cholesterol. Therefore, people who travel to foreign countries are less likely to have heart diseases than those who never go.

We can all agree that the benefits of traveling abroad have a broad impact on our health. If you have never had a foreign trip, you do not know what you are missing. However, before you travel make sure that you have made all the necessary arrangements. You should start by identifying a good travel agent to book your flights and arrange for accommodation in a foreign country. Make sure that you have enough money for your trip too.

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Top Reasons Why You Should Use a VPN While Traveling

These days, in most locations all over the world, the internet is easy to access. In this generation, it has become an incredibly valuable necessity, be it in booking flights and accommodations, posting a status online, or opening an important email.

So, whether you're traveling for extended periods of time for a business trip, or a holiday, you'll be needing it

However, you have to be aware of the dangers that come with traveling. For example, you have to be on guard with your safety online. Many risks come from using the internet in a foreign place. Think about it? you're no longer using a password-protected work or home network. Instead, you're connected to public or semi-public wifi networks found in train stations, hotels, cafes, and airports. That's why it's crucial that you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) such as ExpressVPN while you're on the road.

Safety and Security

A VPN ensures your connection's privacy. That way, no one can fish critical information on the emails that you're sending, your bank and credit information, as well as your browsing history.

Having a VPN blocks a Wi-Fi network provider from getting personal information from you using your search history. Some of these providers are often shady and unsecured? they will take your information and sell it to advertisers. So having a VPN ensures that you'll remain private no matter where you may be.

Access blocked websites

Due to government censorship, not all countries in the world have access to all sites on the internet. Their government uses their power to keep specific information to themselves, holding a certain amount of control over the types of content they want their citizens to see.

For example, in China, they have what most people call as "The Great Firewall of China." Interestingly enough, the country’s citizens, as well as foreigners, couldn't access popular sites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, BBC News and CNN. For this reason, VPN is a must-have tool when you are traveling in China.

For Entertainment

Due to copyright agreements, large media streaming companies such as Pandora, Hulu, and Netflix couldn't stream their content outside of the US. As a result, most movies have restricted access in countries such as Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia and the UK. It's because once your user login IP address is read, it’s traced back to the country of origin.

A using a VPN service has the power to manipulate your server's IP address, therefore allowing access to Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix. Although you might still to configure your device, the effort and cost are worth it.

Prevent frozen bank accounts

Every traveler's nightmare is to have a frozen bank account. It's indeed a stressful situation to be in, especially if you're miles away from home, and you're unable to access your cash while you’re in a foreign country.

Using a VPN can help you in this tricky scenario. If you're in a remote location, you can use it in doing online banking from your device. It's especially true when you're withdrawing money on a foreign country such as India, and you're normally based in the UK. If this happens, there is a possibility that your bank will flag and freeze your account. So, you have to call them personally and explain the situation.

Another smart way to avoid this situation is to call your bank ahead of time, preferably before you fly to a foreign country. Tell them the exact locations and dates you're particularly traveling. Doing so avoids the possibility of your cash being frozen on the spot.

In Conclusion

Using a VPN saves you from the unnecessary stress and hassle while traveling. However, it's worth noting though that not all VPNs are created equal. Choosing the right VPN is challenging? but once you do proper research online, you'll eventually come across the most reliable and best VPNs out there.

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How to Get the Best Out of Your Instagram Profile with the Help of Effective Graphic Designing You cannot disagree with the fact that a particular Instagram account is zero without any images. Businesses are using Instagram in order to capture the attention of potential customers as well as followers. According to www.brandwatch.com, 75% of the Instagrammers are not from the US. However, this is something impossible if there is no beautiful and engaging content in the profile. Even if all the posts are designed by you, you always have the opportunity of learning how you can improve. It is crucial that you have a sound knowledge about various tips that are related to graphic designing so that you are closer to creating posts, which the followers are going to find within their feed every single day.

Given below is a list of the interesting graphic designing tips that you should definitely keep in mind if you want to gain more followers and attract your potential clients.

The font choice is extremely important

The font that you are choosing for every individual post is something that is extremely crucial. Even if you are deciding to make use of typography in all the posts, it is going to be of equal importance of the images that you are posting. If your font choice is poor, it is obvious that the customers are not going to take the post seriously at all. However, if the fonts that you are choosing are great, it is going to drive engagement as well as generate interest in all the posts.

It is not an easy task to find out which font is going to work the best for your posts, but you should definitely avoid Comic Sans and Papyrus. If your post is heavy, it is a great idea to play with the contrasting styles of font. The size of the words that you are selecting as well as the tense is going to make a huge impression.

Try to keep the simplicity intact

Most of the graphic designers do not know that simple designs are known to work in the best manner. As the saying goes, anything less is considered to be more. When the images are getting overloaded with a lot of unwanted information, it becomes difficult for the followers to understand what is important and what is not. The posts that are heavy with texts are known to benefit from the white space. You can also minimize the filters and effects to make the posts look elegant and classy.

Ensure that your posts have relevance

The images that you are posting should have relevance with the type of story that you are narrating to the target audience. It is true that you will get a lot of time as well as an extra place for the posts that are offbeat, but you should ensure that the photos that you are sharing are related to the goal of your brand. The potential clients should also be able to gain proper knowledge as to why you selected a particular design and on basis of that, they are going to hire you.

Eliciting emotional responses

Eliciting emotional responses in the followers is capable of leaving much more than lasting impressions. The font that you are choosing and the colors that you are selecting are responsible for compromising the matter of the image. The bright colors that normally include yellow or red are associated with positive emotions that include joy and excitement. Colors like grey and blue signify the opposite. It is your duty to consider the response that you are interested in eliciting and on basis of that, you have to make the different stylistic choices.

If you are trying to represent something dark, ensure that you are not using flashy and bright colors and similarly if you are representing a happy theme, ensure that you are not using dull and dark colors. On basis of the choice that you make, you are going to elicit the responses from your audience.

Contrast and color matching

The contrasting and matching colors within the posts are responsible for adding a lot of interest to each individual design that you are creating. For instance, you have the option of matching the font along with the background color in the image. The contrasting colors, as well as background elements within the posts, are going to help all the elements to stand out and assure that the post is more cohesive. To know more about Instagram and graphic designing, you can visit https://gramblast.com/.

The connection of the colors

It is your responsibility to minimize the color correction exactly like the filters. However, it is considered to be useful when it is used in a correct manner. Decreasing the saturation ensures that the look of the image is going to be more washed out. On the other hand, if you are increasing the saturation, it is going to make the colors look more vivid. Moreover, whether you are increasing or decreasing the saturation, it is going to give a unique look to the photo. You also have to consider as to how the color correction is affecting the response that you are looking to gain from your audience or the potential clients.

Taking care of the consistency

You can never argue with the fact that consistency is undoubtedly the key, which is going to help in giving the brand a unique and cohesive identity. This is why you should ensure that your designs are consistent. In order to ensure this, you have to use consistent layout, proper choices of color correction, font choices, etc., for ensuring that the brand is capable of living up to the unique identity that it has. In addition, the followers should be capable of recognizing you as soon as they see your post. All the images are known to narrate a story and the images that you are sharing should be capable of contributing to the overarching story.

Conclusion

If you follow all the tips that have been mentioned above, you can be assured that you are going to get the best from your Instagram account. However, ensure that you are not overdoing anything as that can be crucial for you.

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What You Need to Know About Managing Up

Your relationship with your boss can have a big impact on your job satisfaction and career. Even if there seem to be some flaws in their management style or your personalities clash, you can still work together successfully if you learn the art of managing up.

The more skillful you become at helping your boss to plan and organize activities, the more valuable you become to them. You’ll probably be happier and more productive at work as well.

Take charge of your career and maximize your opportunities by learning how to manage up.

Doing Your Job Well

Managing up starts with paying attention to your own performance. If you consistently meet and exceed expectations, your boss will be more likely to value your feedback and trust you with greater responsibility.

These strategies will help you shine:

  1. Clarify priorities. Understand your boss’s priorities, so you’ll know where to devote your time and efforts. Start your day by blocking out time for your most urgent and important tasks.
  2. Leverage your strengths. You’ll perform better if you make your strengths work for you. Try to structure your job so that your activities align with your natural capabilities.
  3. Fulfill commitments. Deliver what you promise. Meet deadlines and complete projects, especially when your work affects what your boss and colleagues are trying to accomplish.
  4. Continue learning. Acquiring new knowledge and skills shows your boss that you care about your work. Shadow another employee at the office or sign up for a training course.
  5. Stay upbeat. A cheerful presence makes it easier to deal with workplace stress. Take a deep breath and smile. Look for the humor in challenging situations.
  6. Add value. Evaluate your performance on a regular basis so you can track your accomplishments and share them with your boss. Set ambitious goals and find areas of your job where you can excel.

Interacting with Your Boss

Even if your boss plays favorites or lacks strong communication skills, there are many things you can do to build a healthier relationship.

Try these techniques to bond and connect with your boss:

  1. Adapt to their style. It’s up to you to adjust to your boss’s habits and preferences. Observe how they communicate with others and notice the differences between you. You may want to practice acting like them in minor ways until it feels more natural.
  2. Be supportive. Remember that your boss is human and you’re on the same team. Empathize with the pressures they face. Focus on finding ways to make them look good and make their job easier.
  3. Provide updates. Keep your boss informed about what you’re doing. Let them know when you’re making progress. If you need to report a setback, be prepared with at least one proposal for how to fix the issue.
  4. Respect their time. Show your boss that you value their time. Write up an agenda before you meet with them and sent them a list of action items afterwards.
  5. Anticipate their needs. Try to provide your boss with answers before they have to ask the question. Monitor the company calendar and their schedule to see what meetings and events they have coming up. Be proactive about collecting and creating relevant information and reports.
  6. Socialize occasionally. While your primary focus needs to be on work, having fun together can enrich any business relationship. Attend office parties and outings. Chat about hobbies, vacations, and your families.

Use managing up to help you develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your boss. Your work life will be less stressful, and your career will grow.

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What Will You Do When You Get Promoted Without a Pay Raise? You’re excited because your boss tells you that you’re being promoted, and then you feel let down when you find out that your salary will stay the same, even if you are already earning a high salary as a lawyer or doctor. Does it make sense to do more work without receiving more money?

Accepting a promotion without a raise can be a smart career move, and a growing number of employees are doing it. Almost 40% of companies frequently award promotions without pay increases, and 64% of workers are willing to accept them, according to a recent survey by the staffing firm Office Team.

What will you do if your boss offers you a new title without adjusting your paycheck? Prepare yourself by studying this quick guide.

Weigh the Consequences:

  1. Gain experience. Moving into a more senior role enables you to pick up new skills, knowledge, and contacts. You may have a greater voice in company decisions, and you may be able to focus more on the tasks you find fulfilling.
  2. Broaden your options. These new experiences will add to your qualifications when it comes time to look for your next position. You may keep rising in your current company or find yourself being courted by recruiters for openings elsewhere.
  3. Earn recognition. Any promotion is usually a sign that you’re performing well, and your boss appreciates your efforts. You may value positive feedback just as much as financial compensation.
  4. Consider related costs. It’s easy to see the benefits of a promotion, but there can be challenges too. You might have extra expenses if you need a more formal wardrobe or eat out more frequently. Think about your life balance as well, especially if you’ll be working longer hours.
  5. Avoid dead ends. While it’s usually wise to accept a promotion, there are some exceptions. Talk with your colleagues and investigate the background of the position to ensure it’s really a move up for you.

Negotiate the Offer:

  1. Understand the context. Find out why the promotion lacks a salary bump. Maybe it’s company policy to adjust salaries at year end only or maybe there are legitimate issues about fair compensation.
  2. Know your worth. Research average salary ranges for comparable positions in your industry. You’ll be able to negotiate more effectively if you know what it would cost your company to hire an outside candidate for the same job.
  3. Ask for a raise. You may want to take the initiative to ask for more money yourself. It’s reasonable to expect your boss to be willing to discuss the possibility under most conditions. On the other hand, you could look like you’re out of touch if you ask for a raise when you know the company is having financial difficulties.
  4. Seek other benefits. Keep in mind that compensation can include much more than salary. You may be able to gain other valuable perks like flex time, training, or free parking.
  5. Schedule a review. If you’re still seeking a salary increase in the near future, talk with your boss about creating a timeline. Maybe you can agree on a plan for you to reach a few specific milestones within six months to qualify for a 5% raise. Ask for a written contract to summarize your discussion.
  6. Decline gracefully. If you do need to turn down your promotion, try to be diplomatic. Let your boss know that you remain committed to being a valuable employee.

A promotion without a raise can still be an opportunity to advance your career. Keep your long-term interests in mind as you consider the impact on your personal and professional life and negotiate the most advantageous deal possible.

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What’s Wrong With Busy Work?

We like busy work. It’s always at least a little bit less painful than the task we know we should be doing. At the same time, we feel at least a little productive.

Cleaning behind the fridge is normally less than inspiring, but it doesn’t sound half-bad when the other option is doing your taxes.

It’s important to be aware of when you’re avoiding your real work for busy work. You’ll actually be happier if you make the most of your time each day, and you will be able to safe time to focus on other things such as your health and wellness.

Consider these examples of busy work:

  • Deleting old emails
  • Unplanned house cleaning
  • Learning when you should be doing
  • Organizing files

Busy work is any activity that provides less value than what you should be doing, such as:

It gives the false impression that you’re being productive. We can feel pretty good about doing busy work. We’re active and feel like we’re accomplishing something. No one can say that cleaning out your desk drawers is a completely useless activity.

  • However, it’s not a pressing activity. It’s probably not the absolute best use of your time at that moment.
  • Busy work gives the illusion that you’re productive, but it doesn’t make the boss happy or pay the bills. It doesn’t make progress toward your goals.

It’s a form of procrastination. When engaged in busy work, you aren’t being completely useless, but you’re avoiding your real work nonetheless. Recognize that busy work is just a way to procrastinate in a way that seems justified.

You’re failing to do what’s meaningful. Ultimately, busy work prevents real progress from happening. You might be active, but you’re not effective.

  • Using your time wisely is the key to success and progress.

Avoid busy work and accomplish more today with these strategies:

  1. Plan your day. This shouldn’t take long. Five minutes is plenty. You can choose whether you do this in the evening or first thing in the morning. Make a list of high-priority items that need to be done before the end of the day.
  • There are many apps available that will allow you to create a schedule and set reminders. You’ll always know what’s on your schedule, even if you’d like to forget.

Pick out the three most important items. Ensure that you’re using intelligent criteria for choosing these items. These should be items that will move the needle, not just be items that feel good to do. In fact, the most important items will often be the least appealing.

  • Busy work is about avoiding discomfort. Choose your tasks based on usefulness, not on how enjoyable they seem to be. Average people plan their lives around comfort. Avoid being average.

Get started early. Avoid waiting as long as you can to get started working. Create a little momentum and use that to carry you through the day. If you have a productive morning, the rest of the day will be productive, too.

Before beginning any task, ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time at this moment?” Asking that question and allowing yourself to be guided by the answer is the solution to avoiding busy work. It can be that simple.

Busy work will waste your time and keep the achievement of your goals off in the distant future. Take control of your day by keeping busy work at bay. You already know what you should be doing. The key is just doing it.

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8 Tips for Thriving at Work as an Assistant

Being an assistant is challenging and exciting, but no one ever said it was easy. The responsibilities can be significant and widely varied. However, there are several things you can do to thrive in your assistant job.

Remember that your primary obligation is to help your boss to do well and to look good doing it. Keeping that in mind is the real trick to success as an executive or celebrity assistant.

Try these tips to help yourself by helping your boss:

View the situation from your boss’s perspective. Look at the challenges your boss faces each day. What can you do to help ease that burden?

  • What do they need that they might not even realize?
  • By what criteria are they judged?
  • What does your boss do well?
  • What do they do poorly?
  • Somewhere in the middle of all that you can find a place to make yourself more valuable.

Overdeliver. Consistently get things done at a higher level than promised and quicker than promised. Give yourself some room to work. If you promise a report by Thursday, but deliver it on Wednesday, you’re a hero. If you promise a report on Tuesday, but deliver it on Wednesday, you’re a bum.

  • Underpromise, and it will be easier to make yourself look like a superstar.

Focus on making your boss look good. Make your boss look good and they’ll be happy. If the boss is happy, you’ll be happy, too. Avoid doing anything that will embarrass your boss in front of others. Help to hide their weaknesses and allow their strengths to shine.

  • Always be aware of how your words and actions reflect on your boss.

Request feedback. Find out how you’re doing. Ask if they would like things done a particular way. Ask how they would prefer you do X, Y, and Z. Your boss is certainly busy, but request time each week for a feedback session, which is important for any business.

Keep your boss informed. Whether things are going well or you’re facing challenges, let your boss know what’s going on. It will either ease their mind or give them a heads up, so they’re not blindsided down the road. Bosses don’t like surprises, so keep them to a minimum.

Be discreet. As an assistant, you have access to information that would be quite impressive around the water cooler. You won’t last long if you can’t be discreet and keep a secret. Engaging in gossip might be fun, but it’s never productive. You can only hurt yourself and your boss.

Ask your boss for advice. Everyone likes the feeling that comes with being asked for advice. It means that someone values and respects your opinion. Your boss will be more helpful and respectful to you if they view you as a protege. It can help your relationship with your boss and your career.

Do more than you’re asked to do. Find ways to help your boss. Executives and celebrities can be incredibly busy. They appreciate all the help they can get. Look for ways to be helpful above and beyond your job description.

Take care of your boss, and they’ll take care of you. Remember that you were hired to make your boss’s life easier and to help them get more done. The more effectively you’re able to accomplish that goal, the happier your boss will be with you. You’ll also greatly increase your job security.

Help your boss to become a superstar and you’ll be viewed as one, too.

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How to Create Effective Processes as an Executive Assistant

Much of an executive assistant’s day is routine. There may be daily or weekly graphs and reports to generate, phone calls and emails to screen, travel plans to be made, and meeting notes to record and distribute. Not to mention things related to money and finance.

Anything that is done regularly should be considered for optimization. Optimizing something you do once a year isn’t as fruitful as optimizing something you do each day.

Creating effective processes helps you and your boss. You can get your work done faster and more accurately, while creating enough breathing space for yourself to take on more significant responsibilities. Everyone wins.

Use these methods to get more done in less time and make yourself indispensable:

Focus on the most important tasks first. Developing a process for making a great pot of coffee is a worthwhile endeavor, but it might not be at the top of the to-do list. Look at the most important processes.

  • What are the things that have to be done correctly?
  • Also, consider the things that have to be done regularly.

Go through the current process step by step. Go through the current process you’ve been using and record the steps. Avoid judging the process just yet. Simply do everything the way you normally would and take careful notes.

Ask yourself what can be streamlined. Take a look at what you’ve just done and ask yourself how the process can be more efficient. Are there steps that can be combined or removed altogether?

  • If you have questions, ask them. It might be that you’ve been wasting your time on certain things that simply don’t matter.

Revise the process and again question if improvements can be made. Make your changes and run through the process again. Look for ways to further improve. The key is to get excellent results with a minimal amount of time and grief. It might take several iterations to find the best process.

Look to delegate some or all of the responsibility. If you have your boss’s ear, you may be able to move this responsibility to someone else’s plate.

  • Avoid using this strategy to just lessen your overall workload. You’re simply working yourself out of a job. Instead, use the additional free time to take on more important tasks and make yourself even more valuable.

Record the final process but consider keeping it to yourself. Once your process is perfected, write it down for future reference. Remember that it’s your process. You might not want to make it public. Do you really want someone else to be able to just slide into your shoes and do your job?

  • Be valuable and indispensable.

If you’ve saved time with your revised process, look for the most effective way to use that time. Continue to make yourself more relevant to your boss and company. When it’s time to cut back, you’ll be one of the last people they would consider letting go.

Rely on the process but avoid being a slave to it. As you continue to do the task over and over, you’re bound to find new ways to streamline it even further. Go ahead and do just that.

  • As new technology and job requirements develop, it may be necessary to go back and take a hard look.

Processes are a part of any job. Streamlining and perfecting a process is a skill that can make you more successful and valuable to your boss and company. Make your life easier by doing your job better and quicker. Your career will benefit.

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How To Close Your Business

We often talk about in business starting or creating a company, but there's another side to that coin. It's not something entrepreneurs often think about, but many times there comes the point where you want to close your business. Perhaps you had a revenue amount that you wanted to achieve before you cashed out and started on another project of interest, or maybe you've been doing it for years, and it's time to get the business off your hands since no one in your family is interested in taking it over.

Whatever the reason for closing your business, there are a few things you have to make sure you keep in mind as you proceed in unwinding the company.

  • Co-Owners: If you have any partnership and you're looking to move out of the day to day, it goes without saying that you have to speak to any co-owners. Use the articles of organization and make sure you create a written agreement that will dissolve the company or sell it to your co-owners or someone else who will assume your part of the business.
  • Accounts Receivables: If you're a sole proprietor, and you're looking to close your business, make sure your accounts receivable are all paid and up-to-date before you inform anyone that you will be closing the company. Once you have all your payments, you can then notify your clients that you will be closing the business.
  • Notifications: Once you've gotten all of the revenue sorted, you need to close your accounts with any creditors. You'll also want to complete dissolution papers and file those with the state where your company is located. If you have a rented office or business location, this is also the period where you will notify your office landlord and anyone else with whom your business is associated.
  • Protect Your Tradename: When you're in the process of making notifications, you still want to protect your brand name and image. Cancel any licenses, permits or registrations that are in the name of your business.
  • Team Members: One of the toughest things to do, especially if you have an excellent team of people working with you, is to inform them that they will be losing their jobs. The best thing to do is to give as much notice as possible so people can prepare. If possible, offer severance packages, and make sure that you comply with the U.S. Department of Labor's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act depending on the size of your business.
  • Financial & Regulatory Obligations: If you have an inventory of any kind or assets, you'll want to liquidate everything. You'll also want to make sure that you are compliant with the state and federal tax authorities. Don't forget to cancel your Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. For additional information about closing a business with the IRS, you can find that information here.
When you close a business, there's a lot of work to be done, and many details to make sure are tied up. There are several resources that you can use to ensure that you have everything covered from a business and regulatory standpoint. One of the first places to visit would be the Small Business Administration, which has a great regulatory and compliance checklist for closing businesses. Another excellent source is NOLO, which also has a list for companies, which are more geared toward the business side of things.

Author of "Not Your Father's Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact" (Free Digital Download available at http://notyourfatherscharity.com/free-resources/ )

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Some Unnecessary Small Business Expenses to Avoid

When you start a business, you have to be extra careful with how you spend your capital. There are many ways for small business owners to increase their profits. Reducing their costs is one of the simplest and most effective ones. A lot of the times, entrepreneurs would add costs to their budgets that they don't necessarily have to make. It might appear to them that these are necessary expenses when that's not the case. They can add many of these expenses once their business has established.

Expenses That Small Businesses Should Avoid

Excessive Advertising

Yes, advertising is quite important for businesses, but excessive advertisement is not. It still makes sense for large businesses to go full-on with advertising because they have the budget to do so. However, when it comes to small businesses, they must do intelligent and selective advertising only. Their first course of action should be to identify the advertising channels that work best for them. Just because you are a restaurant at the corner of a street does not mean you have to use awnings, vinyls, neon signs, and all other types of materials for advertising purposes. Pick the ones that work and skip what doesn't.

Too Many Work Hours

You don't necessarily have to follow the trends of your competitors to compete with them. It does not matter how good they are, even the best ones can make mistakes at times. Many business owners choose to keep their premises opened for customers for long hours. They will open the business early in the morning and close it late at night just so they can serve more customers. However, one must do cost calculation before taking such a step? What if you are getting only five customers in the first three hours of the business and five more at the last two hours?

Now imagine the cost of utility, wages of your employees, etc. Are you covering the costs of keeping your business opened for five additional hours with only 10 customers? Even if you want to continue this way, you better test it for a week only. If the response is cold, you should quit this practice as soon as possible.

Pursuing the Best of Everything

The idea sounds great but is not the way to go about doing business when you are in your early stages. You should spend your money on things you need, not the things you want unless you have the budget to do so. If you are renting space for your office, you should look for a place that you can easily afford. Going for the best location in the most commercial area will cost you a lot of money. You can save your money even when it comes to internal equipment. Why buy new couches, seats and brand new computers when you can do with high-quality used equipment?

Why go for a printer with fancy looks and capacity to print hundreds of pages in a minute when you won't ever need that many printouts at a time? Go with simple and beautiful when it comes to decorating your office. You don't want to spend your budget on things that are not going to yield any benefits for your business.

Hiring IT Staff

IT is integral to any business today, tech or non-tech. However, it does not mean you have to have an IT team on board. One of the beauties of modern technology is that it allows you to outsource a lot of the business processes. The best thing about outsourcing business processes is that you can save a lot of money by doing so. Managed IT services are a perfect way for you to save IT costs while benefitting from expertise of the best professionals of the industry. Rather than paying thousands of dollars to three or four IT people, it makes more sense for small businesses to outsource their IT processes for a small monthly fee.

The good news is that you can outsource almost anything IT-related. From basic helpdesk to on-demand data officers, IT outsourcing can cover a lot of ground for you.

Unnecessary Debts

Taking loans when starting a business is imperative for your growth and to have enough cash in hand to support your operations. However, there are more ways to fund your business than you might realize. Many small business owners follow venture capitalists and conventional banks when it comes time to fund their businesses. However, crowdfunding has emerged as an amazing funding option for startups and small businesses. The good thing about crowdfunding is that you do not necessarily have to offer equity to the investors in your business. Sometimes, you can just reward them with a sample of your product.

Hiring Only Full-time Employees

If you own a small business, you might want to consider hiring interns. Interns can benefit your business in many ways. First, you do not have to pay them the salary of a full-time employee. Second, you can ask them to do a lot of the mundane tasks that otherwise affect the productivity of your full-time employees negatively. While it might not be the best practice, in some countries of the world they have free internships as well wherein you do not have to pay your interns. However, that's not the right thing to do, and you should compensate their work to keep them motivated.

Conclusion

You should consider avoiding these expenses if you are a small business owner or about to be one. You can always take advice from those who have their own businesses to figure out what's necessary and what's not. Keep yourself up-to-date with new technological advancements. Taking advantage of modern software and hardware solutions can help you save a lot of money. Take the example of a printer with duplex printing option. You could cut your paper costs in half by printing on both sides of the paper. In the end, look into your current setup and operations to see what some expenses are that you can easily live without.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at http://www.funded.com

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Breaking Down Sales and Marketing

Revisiting the Sales and Marketing Conversation

Back in October 2015 we shared an article called "5 Ways Marketing Departments Help Salespeople Catch Butterflies." Recently a tenfold article was shared with us, titled "What is the Meaning of Sales & Marketing and Their Advantages?" and, I have to say, it does a pretty awesome job of breaking down the differences, responsibilities, and links between sales and marketing roles. Why revisit this now? Because it has never been more apparent that the relationship between sales and marketing is still just as misunderstood as ever, especially with advances in marketing technology.

Setting the Record Straight

Many in the business world, especially those who rely on sales and marketing for success, don't actually have a concrete grasp on exactly what sales and marketing are. Yes, the two are linked, but they are not one and the same. Sales departments rely on marketing; marketing departments and strategies exist to feed sales (notice I didn't say "make" sales). You wouldn't engage in marketing if you had nothing to sell, and your sales strategy would be much less informed and successful if not for your marketing efforts. Yes, many old-school salespeople (or go-getter small business entrepreneurs) are quite capable of drumming up business on their own, and may even have some tried-and-true marketing tactics up their sleeve - but few have the time, skill, or technological resources to effectively capitalize on the true potential of their market.

A common mistake made by older, more established businesses is to assume that salespeople are skilled at marketing and that marketing people are skilled at making sales. In some cases this may be true, but certainly not across the board. While trying to conserve capital, many of these companies will attempt to combine their sales and marketing departments, essentially tasking their employees with two job descriptions, and that's usually a bad move. It's no accident that more recently established companies, tech giants, and organizations that employ a large number of millennials are killing it with their marketing efforts.

Breaking It Down

As the tenfold article explains, some of the key responsibilities of a sales team include:

  • Follow Up
  • Relationship Building
  • Closing
  • Retention
The mark of a great salesperson is the ability to cultivate a personal relationship. Many consumers who have stayed loyal to the same brand, dealership, or salon for years will say that they appreciate the personal attention they receive there. It is not a marketing employee's responsibility to follow up with a salesperson's existing customer once the lead has been handed off, nor is it their responsibility to convert a lead to a sale, "close the deal," or make sure the client remains a client for many years. Short of having an outstanding relationship with a skilled salesperson, product quality and excellent overall experience are the main things that will bolster client retention.

On the marketing side, primary efforts are:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Conversion (from anonymous to known)
  • Retention
It is not a salesperson's job to generate awareness or buzz about their brand, product or service. If they are expected to use their energy to make sales by nurturing leads and relationships, then how can they also be expected to have the time to do the leg-work up front that brings those leads to the table in the first place?

The marketing department creates awareness, builds engagement by creating information that will invite audience members to take action, and targets and tracks engagement by motivating audience members to provide contact information or initiate a free trial or consultation (converting them from a cold prospect to a known lead or potential buyer). It is important to note here that the retention function of a marketing department doesn't really overlap the retention efforts of a sales team.

On the sales side, client retention refers more to the salesperson's efforts to use the client relationship to continually check in with the client, attempt to engage them in further discussions about additional products or services they may be interested in, and seek referrals to the client's friends and family members. On the marketing side, however, retention refers to maintaining a higher level of consistent engagement (through targeted marketing based on buying preferences, interests and history) so that the customer relationship doesn't end at the initial purchase. Those email newsletters you receive after becoming a customer somewhere are not random - they have a purpose and are often tailored to things you've viewed or expressed interest in. A sales team simply doesn't have the insights, time, or often the resources to execute these types of strategic campaigns.

The Fine-Tuned Coexistence Of It All

The ideal sales and marketing relationship is a symbiotic one. Marketers and salespeople work together to determine what consumers need and how to deliver it. Sales and marketing should motivate, inspire and feed one other. They should collaborate and coexist. In the hierarchy of the business food chain, sales and marketing should not be seen as rivals or equals, but counterparts. One truly cannot exist without the other, but their skill sets are not the same - especially today, where advances in technology require the modern marketer to have a very specific, honed, and competitive set of skills that most sales people simply do not need to have.

For this reason many marketers are introverted, analytical, and deep-thinking individuals. Whether they're crunching numbers and analyzing data, compiling reports on trends and conversion rates, or writing awesome ads and creating beautiful websites and collateral material, they are required to intensely focus on what works, what doesn't, and adjust their creative efforts accordingly. Usually a marketing department will have creatives, analysts, and more tech-oriented people (who dive into the numbers and algorithms behind advanced marketing tools).

In contrast though, many salespeople are extroverts - they light up a room, they have excellent "people skills," can easily relate to others, and have the ability to pick up on social cues that might actually help them close a sale. Oftentimes salespeople have a broader focus, preferring to spend their days with appointments and meetings - activities that build relationships - rather than sitting behind a desk doing what a marketing department does best. For this reason, many salespeople have administrative assistants to help them with follow-up, paperwork, appointment setting, phone calls, proposals, and calendar management. This type of functional assistant role is less widespread in the marketing realm.

Share Your Thoughts

Be sure to read the full article (and let us know how it compares to our post ) for additional insights on the relationship between sales and marketing teams. Join the conversation: in your experience, what have been some key components of a successful sales and marketing partnership?

Join the conversation: in your experience, what have been some key components of a successful sales and marketing partnership? What do you wish you could find in a marketing and sales relationship that you don't have today? For additional business insights and expertise, visit 25 Hours Consulting for all of your content development needs at http://www.25hoursconsulting.com/.

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Why A Small Shop Is Better Than a Chain Store

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a small, independently owned pharmacy. I know that's quickly becoming a rarity, but I'm glad I did. I've been to the chain store pharmacies, and I have to tell you that I often leave feeling like less of a person than a dollar sign. In other words, my experience with the large chain pharmacies and other types of retail stores are that they're usually impersonal and there's room for improvement for the level of customer service.

What's Better Small Shops?

When I go to the large pharmacies that are associated with a nation-wide store, there's usually one--maybe two--people working in the pharmacy. So, inevitably, I'm waiting on a line to drop off my prescription. Once I get to the counter, no matter what the medicine, I'm told that I have to return in at least an hour, at which point something that should take a few minutes (and used to), becomes a multi-hour exercise. I don't know about you, but sometimes when I've picked up a prescription, the medicine is for someone who is not feeling well and the sooner they get the medication, the quicker they will feel better. I don't think that big pharmacies understand how vital quick-turnaround is to people.

When you return to one of the large pharmacies to pick up your prescription, you're back online waiting to get to the single person who's working the counter. And, even if you've arrived past the hour, you may be asked to wait some more, so hopefully, there will be a seat available for you.

However, when you go to an independent pharmacy, the experience is different and better. When I picked up my prescription recently, I waited FIVE minutes. About five or six professionals were working in the pharmacy, who were personable and made it a point to get to know me as a person and not a dollar bill. The person who waited on me also asked me if I preferred to have my prescription delivered, which is not typically a service available at the large stores in my area.

The Best Reasons to Patronize Small Business Owners

My experience with the pharmacy is but one example of why I prefer to patronize and do business with small shops and you should as well. One of the best reasons to go to mom and pop shops is because they provide people jobs. As I mentioned earlier, the larger chains don't care if you wait in line for twenty minutes or more because their priority is not you, but their bottom line. However, because small stores understand that they have to differentiate themselves, they hire workers to provide excellent customer service. The Small Business Administration has reported that small businesses add more net jobs than do large companies.

There are other reasons to do business with small stores and shops.

  • Small businesses are not bureaucratic. Typically, if you're doing business with an entrepreneur who owns a small shop, you're dealing with the decision-maker. The larger the company, the higher the chances that your experience will be done to benefit the corporation--and not you, which includes bureaucracy. In other words, good luck finding a manager to speak to you if there's a problem. But, with a small business, if you need special assistance or are not satisfied with a product or service, you'll be able to speak with the decision-maker who can quickly make sure you're happy.
  • Keeping it in the community. When you do business with a small store, more of the money you pay for products or services remain in your community. For instance, a study done for Chicago found that for every $100 spent at a small business in that city, $68 remained whereas when customers patronized chain stores, only $43 stayed in the community. Larger companies have to pay immense amounts of overhead, which means more of the revenue made is going to the corporate office.
  • Looking for Broader and Unique Products. If you want to purchase more products that are not the usual, if you patronize a small business, the chances are higher you will get to see a broader array of product offerings. As an example, before record players and records came back in style, small shops were selling them. These businesses were even selling record players when everyone was predicting the death of the vinyl record. It was after some time that the big box stores got in on the act and realized that people wanted to listen to recordings.
  • Personalized customer service. As was mentioned earlier, when you do business with a small shop, you're a person and not a number. That means that when you keep going back to the store, the more you build a relationship with the people who work at the shop, the higher the chances are that you're going to get service that is personalized to you. For instance, let's say you take the time to chat with the pharmacist who takes the time to get to know you. If he or she knows who you are and your medical needs, don't get surprised when someday that pharmacist makes a recommendation for a better medicine you should address with your physician. In other words, you're doing business with real people who want to get to know you and service your specific needs.
Next time you're thinking about going into one of the national chains, take a few minutes to stop into one of the smaller shops in your neighborhood. I bet you'll discover better service, more diverse products and you'll be making a positive contribution to a small business owner who's hiring more people than the large chain store.

Author of "Not Your Father's Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact" (Free Digital Download available at http://notyourfatherscharity.com/free-resources/ )

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/why-a-small-shop-is-better-than-a-chain-store/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/why-a-small-shop-is-better-than-a-chain-store/ Editor Wed, 04 Apr 2018 04:11:51 -0400
5 Business Lessons I Learned From My Mom

Who would you expect to be Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran's most important mentor? Barbara says in her new podcast, Business Unusual, that her mom was her best teacher when it came to business.

I've been fortunate to have had several mentors (I always have at least one coach, usually more), and I value them all. But Barbara's podcast got me thinking. How did what my mom taught me influence me in my business?

My mom wasn't a businesswoman, but she should have been. She managed money like a champ. She worked miracles with a small budget. She was a supermom before the term was coined: she worked a full-time job, she cooked, she canned, she cleaned, she even sewed many of my and her own clothes!

The woman was a dynamo, even as she continually battled depression. There's no telling what she would have accomplished without that constant companion.

Even though she didn't have her own business, my mom's way of being in her prime has been valuable for me in my businesses. So, in honor of all that was good in my mom, I'd like to share them with you. I hope they provide equally valuable lessons for you in your business.

Lesson #1: Be kind to people.

My mom was known for her kind and gentle ways. Connections were very important to her. As a result, people always turned to her and had good things to say about her. In your business, your reputation precedes you. When you're kind, you inspire positive reviews. People turn to you. You deepen and strengthen relationships, which are at the heart of your business. Treat the people around you well.

Lesson #2: Follow through on your commitments.

Skipping out at the last minute just because you don't feel like, or blowing people off because you've had another offer just was not an option for my mom. Commitments once made had meaning, and they were to be honored. I've always valued that teaching. The trust that you build with people, whether it's with clients, team members, or colleagues, when you do what you say you're going to do is priceless. Another relationship builder!

Lesson #3: Work hard.

A cardinal trait of my mom's was her ability to work. And work. This energizer bunny seemed to never stop. I attribute my willingness to work hard to my mom's example. Business success takes work. Pretending that it doesn't, or listening to someone telling you there's a shortcut, only slows you down. When you recognize the value of working hard, when you are willing to do the work, you are closer to accomplishing your goals.

Lesson #4: Persevere even when things get tough.

Mom stuck by projects. She found a way to get them done. She didn't see gender or past experience or current skill set as obstacles. She pushed right on past them and focused on the outcome. From her, I learned that if you want something badly enough, never give up on it. That includes your business, and your impact. Find a way to move through tough times. Get support from a mentor - it eases your way.

Lesson #5: Know when to quit.

Um, I thought you just said to persevere, you might be thinking. The key is to know when to chill. This one is more like an anti-lesson: my mom never knew when to quit, when to step back. That backfired at times. So I've learned the value of knowing when to quit, even if only temporarily. In your business, when something isn't working, it's important to be able to step back and consider, why isn't this working? Is there an easier path? Is there an adjustment I can make to what I had in mind that would actually be better?

Most of us are surrounded by people with gifts to give. My mom was a gift in many ways to me. And now, to you. Class dismissed.

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.

Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com for free resources for you and your business.

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/5-business-lessons-i-learned-from-my-mom/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/5-business-lessons-i-learned-from-my-mom/ Editor Mon, 19 Mar 2018 04:10:42 -0400
Why I Would Never Look for Venture Capital Start-Up Funding

Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me about a young entrepreneur who was spending a lot of time looking for venture capital and start-up money for an app he had developed. I suggested that the entrepreneur should forget the financing and use his own money or borrow that of his friends or family. In the businesses I've created, I've always bootstrapped it, and my suggestion, if you're an entrepreneur, is that you think about doing the same thing.

Let's start with the most obvious reason not to waste your time looking for venture capital money.

How about the reality that 99 percent of startups for VC money won't get it?

When I was developing my businesses, a few people suggested I look into venture capital money, but I never really paid it much thought because I wasn't willing to go through the exercise, which would have been a waste of my time. I much preferred to bootstrap it and get started on making money than trying to be the 1 percent or less that gets financing. I calculated my odds and having a less than 1 percent chance of success was not worth it and would waste valuable time.

I wasn't willing to give away any equity stake in my businesses.

I knew that I would be successful in my companies. If you're an entrepreneur and you think otherwise or doubt yourself, do yourself a favor and get a job. But, let's assume for a moment that I had instead decided to go down the VC route. Provided I got funded, it would have required that I give up a stake, perhaps even a controlling interest, in my companies. I don't know about you, but my ideas and solutions are mine, and I don't want to give away that decision making ability to anyone, even if it meant an infusion of millions into my businesses.

Bootstrapping taught me to be creative and innovative.

I've gone through the experience of lean days, especially as we started to take off, where I had to meet overhead costs and payroll, and there was not much margin for error on the revenue side. There were times when I went whole stretches not drawing any salary whatsoever. In fact, one of my fun moments when I get a business to a sufficient level as the CEO is to joke that the chief executive can finally get paid. One of the biggest lessons in bootstrapping is that if you're committed to succeeding in your business at all costs, then the pressure to make money is going to push you--hard--to figure out a way to monetize your idea well, and prioritize how you use the money and resources that you have on hand.

I like developing a start-up and growing to scale on my timeline

If you get venture capital (again, not likely), you're going to be pushed to expand to scale quickly. I happen to be one of those entrepreneurs that enjoy growing and developing a business from nothing to something big. I like learning all of the ins and outs of the work I do. More importantly, as an entrepreneur, bootstrapping allowed me to test out ideas and pilot programs to see what worked and what didn't. When you get VC money, you get little room for experimentation because the pressure is on to get the money and profit into the investor's pockets and that means having to scale quickly.

Venture capital firms are not all they're cracked up to be.

Years ago when I was thinking about investors--for about a minute--I came across an article by the Harvard Business Review, and it talked about the myths of venture capital firms. A few of the realities were that entrepreneurs had to do their due diligence because not all VC firms were created equal. A selling point of VC's is that they can provide the mentorship, expertise, and advice they might need to take off. Not true. Another critical myth was that companies that had VC money were going to have spectacular financial returns. That was also not true, and in fact, VC companies underperformed the market.

It pains me when I hear young entrepreneurs thinking about looking for venture capital money. Please, if you're reading this and this is you, my advice to you is simple. Don't waste your time. Your time and energy are better spent diving into your business and figuring out the path and solutions to bring what's in your mind to the market.

Author of "Not Your Father's Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact" (Free Digital Download available at http://notyourfatherscharity.com/free-resources/ )

 

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/why-i-would-never-look-for-venture-capital-start-up-funding/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/why-i-would-never-look-for-venture-capital-start-up-funding/ Editor Fri, 09 Feb 2018 04:09:16 -0500
The Four Factors That Control Your Managerial Effectiveness

In deciding what makes an effective manager, there are four main factors to consider and not all of them are directly controlled by the manager concerned. They are, YOU, YOUR JOB, THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH and YOUR ORGANISATION.

You

You bring your own knowledge, skills, abilities, talents and experience to the job you do as manager and these things will have an impact on how effective you can be in your role. Managers with greater experience can often remember the mistakes they made as a newbie and so appreciate how their now-seasoned skills can improve their job performance.

Your job

The actual position you hold and the work you do in its duties and responsibilities will affect your ability to be an effective manager, since it may be either a good or bad match for your skills and abilities.

The people you work with

Other employees have a major influence on managerial effectiveness. People are important if a manager wishes to achieve the work he/she needs to do. To a certain extent, effectiveness is measured by how well the manager concerned is able to motivate people and coordinate their efforts to achieve best performance. However, in many settings, a more realistic appraisal of management work is that managers are dependent upon their employees to get work done, so effectiveness will be determined by the skills, abilities and willingness of those people.

Your organisation

Organisational structure and where you are within it will affect the amount of authority you can wield and the responsibilities you are expected to be able to handle. It can also specify limits to what is achievable. Also, your organisation's corporate culture, with its unwritten norms of conduct and methods of working, will influence your ability to be an effective manager.

So it is not enough to simply improve your knowledge of management techniques to improve your effectiveness. These techniques must be tempered by an understanding of these four factors in order to become practically useful in the corporate workplace.

Oliver Chapman is a 46-year-old British Life Coach and personal development expert living and working in Vietnam. He is married with one son. He has become interested in creating a community of women and LGBT people that can help them to achieve their life goals. He is currently endeavouring to build an online platform by contacting Influencers to support his mission of creating "Olly's Dream School". You can check out his home website at http://www.ollysdreamschool.com.

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/the-four-factors-that-control-your-managerial-effectiveness/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/the-four-factors-that-control-your-managerial-effectiveness/ Editor Thu, 04 Jan 2018 04:08:21 -0500
10 Profound Insights From Impactful Entrepreneurs

Wouldn't you love to have Seth Godin, Marianne Williamson, and Prince Ea give you advice about your impact?

You can!

Those are just three of the impactful entrepreneurs I've interviewed on the Work Alchemy podcast. And every time, I ask them: what advice would you give an entrepreneur who wants to make a difference, to contribute more, to have more impact?

So here are 10 profound insights from the famous and not-so-famous, all impactful entrepreneurs and leaders. (Note: slightly edited to make the conversion from conversation to the written word more easily understood, but it's as close as can be):

  1. Look inward. We were put on this planet with gifts, talents, a perspective that no one has. It's our obligation, our duty, to find out what that is, to do that. Loving, serving, or giving or all 3 is why we're here.
~Prince Ea, rapper, filmmaker, speaker, activist
  1. Don't wait. Get started. Be brave and jump. But admit when something's not working. You'll find a way around obstacles.
~Kate Groch, educator & changemaker
  1. Don't see your business as separate from your spiritual life. Business plays an important part in the world today, so it's important to recognize your ethical responsibility. How will their life be affected by your business? Positively? If you take care of that domain, if you water those roots, blossoms will emerge.
~Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher, lecturer, author (& all-around sage)
  1. Put your creativity first. First in the day. It only takes 10 minutes a day to play with what it is that I love most to do. It may not look like anything to do with your business. It will open more magic for you than any single thing you can do.
~Katie Hendricks, conscious living and loving trainer & author
  1. I would love it if people would be able to identify people they love in their lives who they love and admire, and turn that same intensity on themselves. Bring as much admiration and open-eyed joy to yourself. Then say, now let me look around my business to see what small change could I do to effect positive change.
~Indrani Goradia, nonprofit leader dedicated to empowering women around the world
  1. In my integrity cleanse, I decided I will ask myself every time I take an action, I stop and check, what's truest for me? I don't just agree with people idly anymore. I only say what I think is true. That's quite challenging! Sometimes what you have to say is not socially welcome. It does immediately begin changing your social world in a way that takes you to the people you love, and then your business becomes the people you love. It's a poorly kept secret that people who love each other in business do better.
~Martha Beck, life coach (the original), speaker, best-selling author
  1. Two things: 1) Check your broadcast. What are you broadcasting to other people? Start with what I call the power lead. Start conversations, emails, meetings, phone calls by saying something positive and meaningful. Those sentences can set the tone for the conversation. 'Meaningful' creates social connection, one of the greatest predictors of long-term happiness. 2) Before you read any emails in your inbox, write a 2-minute email to someone thanking them for something they've done recently, why they're important to you, praising them. It tells people they matter to you. It also communicates to your brain how robust your social support is. That alone will change the rest of your day.
~Michelle Gielan, national CBS News anchor turned positive psychology researcher
  1. You're not creating something, you're steward-ing something. Something wants to come through you, to be born, to express itself. Think, 'how can I steward that, ease the path for this thing', instead of 'how can I be me'. You happen to be the vessel. It can't happen without you. With any shift you can make from create/manufacture to steward/guide, more wisdom comes from looking at it that way.
~Susan Piver, meditation teacher, bestselling author
  1. Here's my simple 3-part formula for social media success that's in alignment with your values and your available resources: 1) content - tell the story of your brand, yourself, making of your product, and also putting the spotlight on your customers; 2) engagement - respond to people, proactively start discussions, proactively reach out to people, and 3) conversion - ultimately, the purpose of business is to make money/profit, and it's challenging for women to own that piece. Ask for the sale, include a call to action. Have that 3-part system permeate your emails, social media. Integrate your personality into your communications, your heart, your love - that's a wonderful impact on the world at large.
~Mari Smith, marketing expert, keynote speaker, brand evangelist, author
  1. Don't worry about the larger world. Start with 10 people, 5 people. Change 5 people. If you can change 5 people, you're on your way.
~Seth Godin, author, speaker, marketing sage

You can listen to the full podcast episodes for even more insights for your business: subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher - over 100 episodes already and more on the way!

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.

Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com for free resources for you and your business.

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/10-profound-insights-from-impactful-entrepreneurs/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/10-profound-insights-from-impactful-entrepreneurs/ Editor Sun, 10 Dec 2017 04:07:25 -0500
7 Ways to Get Maximum Marketing Results at Any Time

Here is something many entrepreneurs need to understand when it comes to marketing: there is no such thing as guaranteed results.

There are too many factors about your marketing campaign that no one can control. Among them, there is the behavior of the overall market, competitive pricing, demand for offers like yours, current events, and others.

It would be anti-ethical for any marketing agency or freelancer to guarantee ABC results if you invest XYZ amount of money. But it does not mean that there are not ways to get the most out of your marketing budget (according to the circumstances).

Here are seven ways you can maximize your marketing efforts - whether we are in a recession or a booming period.

Do Not Confuse Marketing with Networking

If you are marketing your business, you need to understand the difference between connecting and communicating with your community and sharing / promoting your business.

Do not take to social media or networking events to present your sales pitch right away. People do not like it when you sell stuff to them. Instead, connect first by hearing about their problems, and communicate with them in ways they can solve those problems.

There will be time for you to promote and share on social media and at networking events. But you need to build a relationship first. That way, your audience would not feel like you are selling to them, but that they are taking advice. Because they trust you.

Market Efficiently

I am a firm believer in A/B testing. It is the best way to keep your marketing campaigns rolling and not waste your budget.

You do not want to throw money away with marketing that is not appealing to your market. That is why it is imperative that you constantly test your letters, ads, and emails to see what is getting the attention of the market, and what is persuading them into buying.

Cut What Does Not Work

Once you start testing your marketing efforts, you will know what to keep and what to drop.

You do not need to be everywhere at once. You need to be where your market wants you to be.

Do not waste your time on Facebook if the people are not responding. Stop sending letters if there are no sales coming from them. And please, do not waste two million dollars on a TV spot that won't produce any ROI.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

I believe both inbound and outbound marketing have a place and are beneficial to every business. But they have their place in the marketing process.

Outbound marketing should be the focus when you are starting out. You need to let people know that you are there to help them. Thus, you should be sending emails, making phone calls, and making the first step to connect with the market.

Once you have set up a reputation for your business, then inbound marketing takes over. Because people will be looking for you. They will look at your website, your blog, and your social media channels.

So, do not disregard either marketing strategy. Just place them correctly according to the level of growth of your business. Outbound marketing when you are looking to prove yourself, and inbound marketing when you have an established name in the market.

Cold Calling as a Marketing Tactic

Most people are afraid of cold calling. Honestly, I believe "terrified" is a more proper term.

That is the reason many dismiss this tactic from their marketing strategy. But I think cold calling is as practical a marketing tactic as any of the others.

You need to make that first connection. And if the market is not coming to you, you might as well go to them.

And cold calling is not as bad as people make it out to be.

All you need is a good script and some thick skin (to handle rejection). And after a couple of times doing it, you will feel comfortable approaching targets and converting them into leads.

Hire Professionals

You can divide any marketing campaign into three facets: strategy, content, and design.

If you have experience in marketing planning, website design, and copy and content writing - then, by all means, go for it. Although I would recommend getting a critique from a professional on each, just to go safely.

But, if you are marketing your business, and have no prior planning, writing, or designing experience, your best bet is to hire professionals for each endeavor. They will know what to do to present your product in the most appealing way possible to your market.

There is also the choice of learning things yourself, but if time is not on your side, then I suggest hiring the professionals anyway until you can take over after getting some marketing seasoning.

Plan Your Marketing

You might have expected this to be tip number one. But I wanted to make sure you understood some things before we got into time management.

But now that we got the small details explained, here is a template to develop a weekly marketing schedule:

Mondays: Market research to find targets

Tuesdays: Prospecting

Wednesdays: Content marketing

Thursdays: Automation

Fridays: Website updates

Every day: Networking on Twitter and LinkedIn

Make sure to separate (at least) an hour every workday to do your marketing. You can perform a marketing task each day to keep your efforts moving. Also, make room for at least half an hour of networking - online or in person.

Juan Israel Ortiz is a direct response and digital marketer specializing in business-to-business. If you have any questions or would like to hire Juan to work on your next marketing project, send him an email to juanisraelortiz@brandanddeal.com.

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/7-ways-to-get-maximum-marketing-results-at-any-time/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/7-ways-to-get-maximum-marketing-results-at-any-time/ Editor Sat, 04 Nov 2017 04:06:31 -0400
10 Things for Choosing the Best Company When Purchasing Products & Services

For a daily shop-o-need cycle, a small investment to 'try-out' the new and be in 'trend' is perfect. But, what about bigger and larger decisions for your office or which window blinds to invest in while renovating a home or which agency to trust your SEO campaign or which chat software to install for your customers or which builder will give you a dream space. The large investments demand a trusted partner, and here, we are sharing the top things you should give importance to before reaching the decision.

1. How big is the team? - Let's continue working with the above examples if you are looking to get a Hanas Blind installed, a small team is OK, but to purchase one or two floors in a commercial building, trust a builder with a larger team. Your need should define the team size. Why? A bigger team means, more people, more ideas and a better-managed team at both micro- and macro-level. But, in rare cases, a bigger teams can mean, more chaos.

2. What are the skill sets? - Once again, this is a basic requirement - the company or team you wish to hire should have the necessary aptitude to deliver. If you are looking for someone to drive your digital marketing campaign, knowledge of online marketing tools is a must - even if it's a start-up. A person starting a business may be able to meet the demands of the profession, while an established player's creativity has been tested, time and again, and they can be result-driven as per requirements.

3. What kind of experience do they have? - A wannabe entrepreneur may not have the experience, but their creativity may not be a match to the seasoned players. Once again, it all boils down to what you need! Creativity in decorating your home is welcome, but a seasoned player who knows the ins and outs of building bye-laws is required when you build a commercial space. Keep in mind, however, there is always an overlap between real-life knowledge and bending of rules to stand over the head and shoulders of others.

4. Have they worked for your industry before? - This question may not be applicable to personal purchases but to hiring agencies and personnel chosen for a job. Knowledge of the industry easily translates into a team well-versed with the challenges and benefits to focus on your industry. Don't be hesitant, ask for references from old clients or customers, and if possible check-out the work they have done earlier. However, they should not compromise on the value you and your company represents.

5. Are they open to communication? - Communication is not all about speaking, it is also about listening. It is a two-way street - you have to articulate your ideas and dreams clearly. And, then you have to keep your mind open to the suggestions of the agency you want to hire. In the initial talks, you can gauge, how attentive they are when listening, and how clearly they state their ideas to you. A good agency or company will be judging you on these parameters.

6. Are they discussing achievable deliverables? - Once again, the line between the two is so thin, that is quite possible for you to be misled. When discussing the deliverables, say the increase in traffic from an SEO campaign, are they just saying, "Trust us, we will increase the traffic." Or are they concentrating on telling you - 1x growth is possible in the next six months if these steps are implemented. The latter may come back and say, results were not achieved, because of lack of support, but then they will have to back-up each piece with evidence giving you an unbeatable experience for the future.

7. What are people saying about them? - That's why word-of-mouth references and online reviews are so very important. These are genuine experiences from people who have associated with the company, and are either bowled over or are filled with anger. The fact is most agencies and sellers working can deliver good to outstanding results. But, there will always the ones that fell short of expectations - people messed up, planning was not right, communication stalled, etc., etc. Talk to as many people as you can to gauge the average success and failure rate.

8. What is their demeanour? - Do they smile often while speaking to you, even while making the presentation to you? Are they relaxed while communicating or are all of them tensed up? Share incorrect information or demand an outdated process, do they agree while secretly rolling their eyes? Or do they stand up and correct you, sharing with you the reasons why your ideas need to be ditched? Any intelligent person knows they need a person who smiles, is relaxed and is not averse to telling off their clients, in a reasonable manner. You may have heard of arrogant geniuses, with no manners, but those men and women are few and far in between, and if you are working with one of them, then you should be ditching this write-up and spending time on benefitting.

9. What are the services included? - Take in writing the services included and not included. If you planning an SEO campaign for the first time, you need to study the industry, ask questions of the experts, even the silliest one and get them answered in a cohesive and comprehensive manner. These are to be discussed before finalising or signing the deal. As was mentioned earlier, there can be no compromise on the communication between you and the person who you are dealing with

10. What is the proposed budget? - This has been saved for the last, for the simple reason, you know the heart of a purchase rests on the cost. You may be a person will pockets as deep as the Pacific Ocean, but even you would not want to waste your money on things which do not bring value - in terms of beauty or functionality to your home or office. Ask for the costs to be incurred, and please opt for a smaller or cheaper option, if you are in doubt about payment.

In conclusion, hiring an agency or a company may be a part of the shop-o-system, but that system rests on the shoulders of responsible salespersons, account managers and clients. Yes, you have to be careful while choosing a company, but your contribution is just as responsible for the final success.

Service is the heart of every industry. It is also the basics which help it survive the competition and bag the good projects. But, before you judge the services of a company, you need to first identify one to partner with for your needs. Magnum Window Styles is one such company in Delhi NCR offering the best products and service to its clients searching for Window Blinds, Rods and Floorings for both the residential and commercial properties.

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Uncategorized https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/10-things-for-choosing-the-best-company-when-purchasing-products-services/ https://www.googlyfish.com/blog/10-things-for-choosing-the-best-company-when-purchasing-products-services/ Editor Wed, 04 Oct 2017 04:05:20 -0400