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Establishing Your Professional Direction

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a long-rooted worker or even just an intern, it’s very important to establish your professional direction at an early stage. It’s a good tactic to ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”. For some, the motivation comes from supporting their family, for others it’s more about having income to fund a lifestyle they’d like to have. If you can’t figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing or if the “why” just doesn’t excite you then it might be a good idea to go back to brainstorming and think about what would motivate and excite you. If you can’t identify why you’re even doing what you’re doing, then you likely won’t go far in mastering many aspects of your field.

After figuring out the “why”, it’s time for the “what’. “What is my mission with my company?”. Are you trying to serve a huge number of clients or are you trying to maintain a standard of quality and have potentially less business? Are you serving a passable meal at an extravagant location or the best meal someone’s ever had out of a food truck? These are questions that need to be pondered deeply in order to set a certain and consistent direction in your career path. Once you feel confident in this area, you’re already ahead of much of your competition.

Now that we’ve figured out the “why” and “what” of the equation, we need to set some goals for our business or career. Some questions to ask ourselves here are “What would be a sufficient amount of income for me?” and “Why is that number compelling?”. Many people mentally shut down once they’ve made enough income to get by. It’s as though they don’t have a reason to push to the next level because all their needs are (seemingly) met. This is why it’s so important to keep thinking of things that motivate you to keep growing and keep you hungry for more refinement. We don’t reach our full potential living in our comfort zones and that goes both individually and professionally.

With the basic mapping of our direction and our motivational reasonings set, the only step left is carrying out our endeavors with purpose and spirit. The goal is to wake up one day and think to yourself “It’s incredible that I’m getting paid to do this”. While that might sound a bit idealistic or even unreachable to some, a little endurance and fortitude in your arsenal can go such a long way in aiding your efforts.

Staying Motivated In the Workplace

Staying motivated in the workplace can be difficult at times. Everyone has moments or even entire days where they feel like they cannot conjure up the motivation to get anything done. We’re people after all and we can get depleted both mentally and physically. If you feel like you’ve hit a motivational plateau in your life, this piece may be able to lend itself to new perspectives and practices to help push your reset button. While much of the advice pertaining to motivation might seem like common sense or even come across a bit clichéd, there’s often a reason for that. Many of these methods are not necessarily difficult ones to understand, but rather they take mindfulness and effort in order to produce a noticeable difference in your drive when it comes to getting productive things done.

One thing you can start actively working on is discipline. Many times, what people think is a motivational issue is actually a problem with self discipline. We’ve all had times where we procrastinated on a big project, watched Netflix for hours in a day, ditched a workout routine or skipped a healthy meal for junk food. Discipline isn’t a one and done thing, it’s something that you have to constantly work on and cultivate. As a way to test your current level of discipline, try setting a very specific meal-plan, sleep schedule and workout regimen for one whole week and try and not deviate from it. Take note of any points where you felt like giving up and use it as an indicator that you might need to spend some extra attention in the category to refine yourself. And just as a rule of thumb, being on a set diet/sleep regimen has numerous benefits that manifest themselves not just physically, but mentally as well so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start here!

Next, let’s touch your social sphere. The people you keep around you are hugely influential on what you’re going to put focus on and what you’re motivated towards. Ideally, it’s best to keep those around you whose goals are at least slightly similar to yours and with who have some crossover in the same interests as you. If you’re an aspiring athlete and you’re constantly around partiers who drink and partake in vices all the time, you probably won’t achieve your goals or grow your motivational drive very optimally. Expanding on that example, if you’re an athlete trying to make it, you might want to be around other people who are taking sports seriously, or at the very least keep active and encourage you to do the same. This mindset of keeping compatible people in your social sphere directly correlates to efficiency at work and the drive to want to better yourself and achieve those things that will make you feel truly fulfilled.

Finally, we’re going to briefly examine time management. It can be all too easy to get sucked into a leisurely activity, especially if it’s engaging like a TV show you’re invested in or an immersive book. What you need to do is start setting limits on these activities and understand that while overindulgence in relaxation will feel great in the moment, it will ultimately serve to work against you in the long run. If there’s something you need to get done or work on and it just seems like a big wall, try segmenting it if possible and work on it a little bit each day rather than trying to take it on all at once. For example, a lot of people want to start working out, but they put if off due to either not knowing where to start, being confused on the specifics of certain workout/diet and just about everything in between. Instead of working yourself up and building this task into a something intimidating, try instead to break it down and start with a couple quick, simple workouts and some minor meal adjustments per day that are easy to learn stick to instead of jumping face first into it. Doing it this way has a higher success rate since you don’t have to do as much while you’re just starting out and gives you a lot of room to build up and be more efficient as time goes on. Obviously the example I provided was geared towards exercise, but this mindset can apply to anything that involves pesky tasks that you’re not inherently motivated to do. By managing your time and keeping the workload small each day, it’s easier to keep your motivation high enough to complete what you need to do now, while keeping some in the tank for the next day.

Setting Up Your Yelp Page Properly

 

For businesses, Yelp is one of the most important sites to have a good standing with as it can literally make or break the traffic that comes through to your establishment. Today, we’re going to cover setting up your Yelp page, as well as maintaining it and how to publicly answer any complaints if you come across them.

Setup:
As far as setting up your actual page and information, it’s fairly simple. Just go to their site and search for your business to see if someone has already put it on there. If no one has, then click this button that says “Add your business to Yelp”. Fill out the forms with any pertinent information relating to your business and double to check for any mistakes, as this will be viewable to anyone searching in your area immediately after you submit it. Once you’re finished, hit “Add Business” and that’s it! You’re done!

Maintaining Page and Responding to Reviewers:
As simple as it may sound, maintaining a good status on Yelp with at least 4+ stars is directly correlated to how much people are liking your service and the vibe that’s given off when interacting with any of your staff. The nicer the staff is, the less of a chance you have of someone writing a bad review. If you take a look at some unfavorable reviews from other Yelp pages, you’ll notice that many times the low score and complaints given have to do with rude staff members interacting with customers poorly or negligent service that makes the customer feel unheard. Basically, make sure your staff is polite and attentive at all times and that if something gets messed up, they remain cool and sincerely apologize to the customer. If good customer service is made a priority, then even in the even of a mistake, the customer is less likely to remain angry and take it to your Yelp page to write a damning review. As far as responding to certain negative reviewers, you need to make sure that your tone constantly remains empathetic and understanding, even if they are being indecent or unreasonable. Always give off the vibe that you are there to help make things right if they happen to have went wrong. People will see your responses to any reviewers highlighted and boosted to the top, so it’s crucial to keep your tone consistent and pleasant. Don’t let personal frustrations translate to the response – it’s really not a good look and will dissuade potential future customers from coming to you.

10 Motivational Quotes to Help You Manage Your Time Better

Sometimes, all we need to pick us up is a good quote that hits us just right. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years. Hopefully, they will spark something within you as well!

1. “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

2. “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

3. “The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.” – Chris Guillebeau

4. “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.” – Evelyn Underhill

5. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

6. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot” – Michael Altshuler

7. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

8. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” -William Shedd

9. “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” -Calvin Coolidge

10. “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” – Victor Hugo

How to Increase Traffic to Your Website

Forum Marketing

One efficient way to pull some people onto your site is by forum marketing. This is when you find a forum that is relevant to your field (try searching “[your field] forums”) and actively engage people in them. Every time you post on the forum, your signature (which you should be including your links in) will be displayed and be viewable to any participant or viewer of the forum. A good amount of members might be enticed to click on your links and thus you gain more traffic. It’s good idea to have quality posts and not spammy or low-effort submissions.

Writing Articles

Writing articles for your site is another very useful way to get traffic flowing over. Simply pick a topic that relates to your product or field (it can be a loose relation, just make sure what you’re writing is enticing) and make a page-long article or so. If you’re new to this, look at any popular site that hosts articles and follow their layout as a template to get started. Don’t forget to include certain keywords that would help in displaying your site on a Google search, as this can be extremely beneficial.

Ad Swapping

After you’ve gained some traction and have at least a few hundred or so regular clients, it’s probably a good time to take the next big step, which is to gain traffic by using ad swaps. For this method, you need to find someone/a company with a similarly sized operation and field as yours and “swap” promotional pieces; you promote their website to your base of customers and they promote yours, making it a “swap”. This is an excellent way to earn loads of new clients who will already have an interest in your field. There are some websites that act as a broker for this, but many of them do request
payment.

Facebook and Instagram Ads

While this one may not be new information, I do urge you to think about advertising on these platforms, due to their effectiveness in providing visibility to your ad and site. What I mean by this is: the way that these have integrated ads and sponsored messages is very seamless and gets your message out there, but whether or not people resonate with your ads is on you. If you feel confident in your ad campaign, this could yield some serious traffic to your site!

10-Step Financial Checklist: How to Better Prepare Your Finances for the New Year

 

With the end of the year approaching it can be a bit daunting to get your business affairs in order for the new year. That’s why we’ve created a 10-step financial planning checklist on how to better prepare your finances for 2019.

 

Get Organized

Even during the busy holiday season you need to take the time to get organized. Take time to declutter your practice. Get rid of old papers and files by shredding, do a deep clean and steam clean your carpets, order holiday cards and write thank you notes for you employees and loyal clients. Don’t wait until the new year to start organizing!

 

Run an Inventory Check

Depending on your accounting methods, you may be eligible to claim additional deductions on your inventory. You don’t want to miss out on these potential savings before the year ends.

 

Annual Review

Now is the best time to get a full review of your business. How did your employees perform? What were the best sales tactics and what treatments/packages sold the most? Be sure to sit down with each of your employees as well to get a better insight into what they think worked successfully or didn’t throughout the year. Also, take into account any holiday scheduling and request their schedules for next year to begin mapping out your hours.

 

Review Policies

After speaking to your team be sure to take their feedback into consideration and integrate with your current policies if deemed necessary. It’s important to review your policies each year to ensure your customer service (and revenue stream) remains 5-star year round.

 

Donate to Charity

A charitable contribution is not only good for the soul, but also your small business finances. You can donate either money or goods to claim additional deductions during tax season.

 

Be Tech Savvy 

Now would be a good time to review your website to ensure it’s up to date and no edits need to be made. How up to date is the software you are currently using? Do you need to consolidate any software or systems? There may be a more cost effective system out there that can save you money (and headaches) by combining your current systems into one. Explore all of the options!

 

Employee Check Up

Never a fun task, but take a moment to review your employees. Which employee performed the best? Who didn’t? Does someone deserve a promotion, pay raise, a demotion or possibly even being let go? What about holiday bonuses? Be sure to read up on another article on how to thank your staff.

 

Make Purchases

Another tax deduction hack! See what supplies your business needs before the year ends. It can be office supplies, new equipment or upgrades, even vendor payments.

 

Reconcile Your Books

No matter when your financial year ends it’s a good idea to begin reconciling your books before January. For example, if any expenses need to be discussed with a fellow team member you want to ensure they are around and not on holiday vacation.

 

Planning is Key

Have you reviewed your current marketing strategy? What worked? What didn’t? Did any promotions work better than you anticipated? Take everything into consideration as you strategize and begin mapping out your sales and marketing plan for the new year.

4 Exercises to Keep You More Focused

 

We have all had moments where we can’t seem to focus even if our lives depended on it. This can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes even demoralizing. In this article we will teach you 4 exercises to help keep you more focused.

 

1. Ask yourself why

It’s important to know why you’re doing something and what the end goal provides in order to stay vigilant on the task. If you’re starting to feel scattered and unmotivated when it comes to getting a big project done, the first thing you should do is ask yourself this question and remember what you’ll get from completing it effectively.

 

2. Don’t procrastinate (especially on the early stages of a task)

Many people would argue that the end-portions of a task are where you need to be the most disciplined and unrelenting (and they’re totally not wrong). However, I firmly believe that the emphasis on diligence and eliminating procrastination is infinitely more helpful when channeled towards the beginning stages of a large, daunting task. This isn’t to say that you should slack off towards the end of what you’re doing at all, but rather that getting into the swing of things earlier often makes it easier and more natural to do things efficiently towards the end. You’re going to set yourself up for a difficult time and a less optimal outcome if you try to and wait until the last moment before dumping all of your energy in.

 

3. Take breaks

Nothing gets us in a mental funk quicker than doing the same thing for long periods of time with no time to recharge. Whether your task spans for a day or weeks, it’s incredibly important to take proportionate breaks to reset your perspectives on things and keep your focus sharp as possible. Often times the most effective tools to employ in long winded tasks are the simplest ones.

 

4. Try meditation

No, meditation is not just for hippies and yes, it does actually work – it’s also consistently backed by science. This is something that could benefit you tremendously and takes no preparation or money to do, only a small window of time and a place to sit. The benefits are even more pronounced if you’re stressed and overloaded from work life. I urge you to look into it during some free time, but the basics go as follows: Sit comfortably and straight, breathe a steady rate but not with too much thought, pay attention to your thoughts without interrupting them for examination, relieve tension in your body and focus on your breathe in and out for at least 10-15 minutes and increase the time slightly with each passing session. This is a lot like a workout and takes a bit of practice to notice the effects, but it’s been proven to help reduce stress and increase your productivity!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics

 

You may have been hearing this term thrown around recently, and that’s because it’s debatably one of the most important things your company can do to ensure that traffic is coming through to you online. To break down its most essential parts, Search Engine Optimization means streamlining your website and any key terms in a way that leads people to your website when they’re Google searching. Many people make a living off of optimizing websites for google searches, but the basics of this topic are easy to understand. If at the end of this introduction you feel like it would be a good idea to hire a professional, then don’t hesitate to do so! This is a common job that companies typically outsource to get done.

 

When Google began, they ranked links/sites that were referenced or searched the most by other websites higher up, because theoretically this means your site was “better” than others of a similar topic. Nowadays, Google searches work in a similar way, but with a bit more subtleties and distinctions. Links that are referenced on sites with “authority” hold more weight, I.E. Wikipedia, Facebook and the like. Basically, to appear higher up on the search page, you have to convince the search engine that your website is the the most popular site from the search terms submitted. If you do some Google searching of your own about these optimizations, you might land yourself onto programs or websites that will help “boost” your company to the top of the page, but DON’T BE FOOLED! Google’s algorithm will eventually pick up on it and undo your ranking.

 

The first step to SEO your website is to work out what keywords are being displayed on your home page. Think of detailed searches that people might type in order to find a company like your own, preferably some that would be in the least amount of competition with other companies.To be clear, you will not be pulling huge traffic right away and the safe approach that we’re using is to help get you more traffic and higher rankings in the search page in the long term. Once you figure out what search terms people are using the most to find you, you need to make sure that your site layout is allowing Google to find what it’s displaying (no hidden text and make sure that the more important things are higher up on the page, etc).

 

Next, look for articles that pertain to your field and create a section on your website with some factual information on it that can be used to refer it to an ‘authority’ site, such as Wikipedia (if applicable). This can be a huge help to start boosting your rankings, but you need to make sure your entry falls under the acceptable guidelines of the site.

 

There is quite a lot to Search Engine Optimization, more than we can cover in just one article, but these quick tips should help you get better acquainted with SEO and assist in getting your site higher up in the rankings without too much effort!

Turning Social Media Followers Into Customers

 

 

Almost everyone is on social media these days and it should come as no surprise that marketers have been working overtime figuring out how to capitalize on it. Specifically, on how to turn social media followers into customers. Places like Instagram and Twitter can be an absolute gold mine where you can flourish and grow your brand if the right steps are taken. If you already have a fair amount of followers, this article is for you (we will specifically touch on how to grow your following in a future piece)! It’s borderline wasteful to not tap into your social media following to acquire potential customers, so here’s a few basic tips to get you started.

 

1. Offer customers value in your description or “bio”. Tell your potential followers (and in- turn, your potential customers)  why they should have ‘liked’ your page and what they will be getting as a consequence of that ‘like’. Make sure they know right up front what’s in it for them if they decide to follow your page. For example, if you’re advertising your brand as a place to buy tech equipment online, it might not be the best idea to start posting adorable puppy photos. This will confuse your message and would cause most people to unfollow you due to the irrelevant nature of your posts. Using good judgment, this step should be a walk in the park.

 

2. Do your research! As your following gets larger, put some of your time towards finding out who your followers are, as well as what they’re into. See what they do for work, what occupies their mind and just get a general understanding of what kind of person they are and how you can better serve their wants and needs. This is crucial for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it’s good to humanize your connection to your base/following. Give feedback on something they’ve posted and engage with them. A comment doesn’t take very long on your end and can leave quite the lasting impression on potential customers – don’t ignore this step! Secondly, if you didn’t have an accurate depiction of your average customer, you can now begin to come up with one and this will help you tremendously in terms of how to fine tune your product/service to optimize the efficiency of your operation.

 

3.  Listen attentively to feedback!

Followers love to talk and engage with both your brand as well as your other followers. Take note of the things they say, especially if they seem reasonable and able to be improved on. If you catch multiple people saying similar things on a particular picture or comment thread, it’s a good idea to go to the drawing board and see if anything can be improved on. It’s also worth noting that when you do listen to the feedback of your followers or community, they will notice even if they do not vocalize it. This can lead to a very positive relationship with them and it could set you up for some very good momentum which will certainly aid in future sales of your product or service!

4 Simple Self Improvement Hacks to Increase Your Productivity

 

Running a successful practice requires certain skills and a healthy state of mind, but taking care of your physical health can massively increase your daily productivity as well. Here are a 4 simple areas of self improvement to increase your productivity during the week.

 

1: Caloric Intake

When getting into shape, many people might think they’re eating better, but more often than not, eating better doesn’t mean that you’re eating effectively. Factoring in calories when it comes to fat loss is one of the most important parts of dieting and lifestyle change. To put it into perspective, a typical restaurant-style caesar salad can stack up to 1,000 calories or more! That’s more than 2 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s. While the content of what you’re eating is definitely important, how much you’re taking in is what will determine the number on the scale at the end of the week. To help with this, there are plenty of downloadable apps for your phone that track both calories and nutrients, making the process significantly easier! Try out MyFitnessPal FREE calorie counter to monitor your daily caloric intake.

 

2: Fruits, Vegetables and Vitamin Intake

On a similar note, getting sufficient daily vitamins is another very crucial part to a healthy body and mind. While supplements and over the counter fixes can be convenient and sometimes helpful, the best way to get vitamins into your system is through real fruits and vegetables! Your body recognizes and breaks down everything from natural produce in a very effective way in comparison to a pill or capsule. This is because the vitamins and minerals in most multivitamins are not identical to those you obtain from natural foods. There’s likely many nutrients you’re missing out on because our body cannot synthesize all the ones from said pills. There also isn’t as stringent quality control on vitamins and supplements as we’d like to think, making the end product vary greatly from what’s advertised. If possible, organic is always the way to go!  

 

Related Article: 5 Powerful Body Language Tips for Powerful Leaders

 

3: Walking and general cardiovascular health

There are near countless benefits to walking, from losing weight and improving overall health to improving bone/muscle function. It even lowers blood pressure and is an excellent de-stressing exercise that anyone in any age group can do. Some could argue that the mental benefits of relaxation felt after a good session is just as rewarding as the physical benefits. If you’re not very active start with some basic stretches and short walks then gradually increase the duration over time. Your body will get used to it and eventually you can step increase to a jog or even a sprint!

 

4: Mental Health and Stress Factors

In today’s world, it’s just as important to take care of our mental health as it is our physical health. Not many people know this, but stress and mental exhaustion can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as headaches, heartburn, stomach issues and insomnia. It’s no joke, and our mental health should be a top priority. One thing that many people have found helpful is breathing exercises and mindful breathing. If you’re resilient to accepting the practice, I urge you to try this the next time you’re stressed: Take a moment, breathe deeply and purposefully in and out while keeping your focus on nothing but your breath for 30 seconds to a minute. This has been clinically proven to help people relax and realign their mind when stresses are high. Stick with it and you will see the positive effects it has on managing stress in your daily life.

 

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