Category Archives: Work & Money

How to Make Your Digital Journey Savvy and Successful

.There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize that traditional advertising just isn’t enough to get noticed. Not if it’s industry domination they’re after, anyway. If you want to expand your influence and leave your competitors in the dust, you need to bring your brand into the online world. By accessing simple, savvy strategies, you can make sure that your internet marketing process is a successful one. Below you’ll find just a few tips and tricks that can get your company’s digital journey going and growing.

Know Your Target Market Well

Your first step to success in the internet marketing sector is knowing your audience. When you know who your target market is, you will know which tools you can use to connect with and then convert them. There are several key questions you can ask to gain a clearer understanding of your specific market. Here are some of them:

  • What is the gender of your target audience?
  • Where do your current clients and prospects live?
  • What is the education level of your audience, and what types of occupations do they have?
  • What types of goods and services are your potential customers most excited to buy?
  • Do the majority of your customers buy online or do they prefer shopping in-person?

Build Your Website

Your website is much more than just your online store. Your website is your introduction to the world. It is where potential customers will learn about your brand and what you stand for. It is important for your website to inform your audience about who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

But just because your website is more than merely an online store, you still must make sure that the e-commerce portion of your website is as streamlined as possible. A simple and easy to navigate website will help convert your traffic into sales. Making use of minimalist graphic design elements will make your product pages more visually appealing and engaging, without overwhelming your visitors.

Spread the Word

Now that you have your online home all set up and ready for business, it’s time to get the word out. While industry domination may be your ultimate goal, your hometown can help jump start your online presence.

A tried and true web optimization strategy is to have your web address printed on advertising materials. If you hand out business cards, appointment cards, invitations, or newsletters, having your URL printed on them can help convert real-life prospects into online customers. Be sure to also include any social media accounts that you use for your business.

Niche marketing services can help those just starting out or taking their humble online business to the next level. Specifically, it can be a good idea to work with a team of professional digital advertising experts who are skilled in helping individuals within your field. For example, say you work in real estate and sell property regularly. A high end marketing company such as LuxMark would provide you with customized web design and development services. For more information about these type of services, and how they can ensure your business is advertised effectively, visit luxmarkint.com.

Begin Your Digital Journey Today

While you may think there is a right time to bring your business online, truth be told, no company, business, or product can gain traction without an online presence today. Instead of delaying your company’s progress, begin your digital journey with the help of the tips in this article today.

Insurance Areas That are Worth Splurging On

When you have a family, it is very easy to get focused on balancing your budget and cutting expenses wherever you can. At the same time, though, when you have a family, you have an obligation to make sure that you are taking care of your family properly through any means possible. One of the best ways to care for your family is with insurance.

There are many different types of insurance that you may have. In general, insurance of any kind is an expense that is well worth it. However, when it comes to specific types of insurance, there are some that are worth splurging a bit more on than others. Here’s a look at a few insurance options and where to save and where to splurge.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is important to keeping your family healthy. You may be limited in your insurance options. The chances are that you or your partner, spouse or child’s other parent have insurance coverage through an employer, which is used because it is the most affordable option available. When it comes to health insurance, you should consider your family’s health before deciding to splurge.

While it may be nice to have a policy that has low deductibles and out of pocket expenses, this type of policy usually costs more each month. If you are mainly using preventative care services and only go to the doctor for other issues a few times a year, it is rarely going to be worth it to splurge on a low deductible/out-of-pocket expenses policy. The bottom line is that if nobody in your family has a serious, chronic health condition, then you should save as much as possible on your health insurance costs.

Car Insurance

Car insurance is actually one type of insurance where you can really customize it to meet your needs and your budget. There are many ways to get discounts, and you have a lot of control over pricing. The key is to work very closely with your insurance agent to construct a plan that meets your budget and needs. You may want to save by avoiding extras, like rental reimbursement, and splurge by lowering your deductible, so you can actually afford it should you ever get into an accident.

Life Insurance

This is one type of insurance many people don’t have. It isn’t something that will really benefit you directly because it only pays out once you have died. However, it will help your family, and everyone should have it. Life insurance can help with burial costs, paying off debts and even replacing lost incomes. You don’t have to splurge on it, but do get enough that it will be beneficial to your family after your death.

When it comes to insurance, it may seem like you are throwing your money away. There are many types of insurance that you may never even use, like car insurance, and others that you aren’t required to have, like life insurance. However, insurance is there to provide a piece of mind. While you don’t really need to splurge on any type of insurance, you should make some room in your budget for it. In addition, you should make choices carefully and ensure you get the best coverage for your money.

Understanding the Wide World of Health Care Careers

As health care evolves in modern society, the roles of health care professionals also are changing. New and revamped degree programs are developing to meet the culture’s needs. A career in health care today is not just about being a doctor, a nurse, or an office manager. It can also encompass working with advanced technologies to provide better patient care or filling new niches in the area of public health. Today, multiple levels of degrees in public health and health care informatics can be earned completely online. This means that you have more degree and career options than ever before.

Why Invest in an Online Degree?

Today’s online degrees are just as respected as those earned from traditional universities, and there are many reasons why an online degree might be right for you, including:

  • No commuting costs
  • Fewer expenses for study materials
  • Flexible schedules
  • Better time management between learning, family, and work

If you live in a rural or remote area, distance learning can make it possible for you to further your education as easily as someone living in a large city. Some online classes are even free and are designed to help you finish basic required courses at no cost. Distance learning opens up a myriad of opportunities for a large number of potential students, no matter where they live.

Online Degrees in the Medical Field

Technology plays a large role in the curricula of today’s degree programs, as well as in the means by which students earn degrees at all levels. As population demographics change, students taking fresh online courses can be prepared to meet the needs of today’s society. From undergraduate programs, to completing a doctor of nursing practice program online, online degrees can cater to students of all levels and ages, and at every stage of their career. Two other fast-growing fields that offer many career options are public health and health care informatics.

Master in Public Health

The field of public health is the science and art of forging healthy communities through research, education, and promotion of healthy lifestyles. Public health focuses on preventative health rather than illness treatment. This field has grown a great deal, perhaps in part due to the large role that public health professionals play in emergency preparedness and response.

A master’s degree in public health is a multi-disciplinary professional degree, and in the United States, anyone with an accredited undergraduate degree may pursue it. Areas of focus include culture, communications, public health biology, and informatics. This degree is available online, and you can also learn more about the online MPH degree from USC.

Health Care Informatics

The field of health informatics is a developing specialization that blends technology, communications, and health care to improve the safety and quality of patient care by creating better communication between patients’ various caregivers. Informatics also plays a key role in health care reform. This field has seen remarkable growth in large part due to the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). You can earn this degree online as well as use the Internet to learn more about a career in health care informatics.

The medical field is changing, and so are the careers and specializations within health care. Two modern expanding work options are in public health and health care informatics. Both fields are growing, and subspecialties within them allow for interesting careers that accommodate many interests. The Internet has a plethora of information on both, and degrees in both areas are also available online. This makes it easier for you to decide your best personal path.

Master’s Degrees in Library Science: A Gateway to Career Opportunities

Library science professionals remain in demand. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects only a 2% growth for the profession in the next decade, the relative stability of the field is still good news. Additionally, there’s some compatibility between the library and information services field and other vocations, such as archivist, curator or museum worker. These fields will average about a 7% growth in the next decade, according to the BLS. With these statistics, it’s a wise idea to consider advancing your education by earning a master’s degree in library science.

Types of Graduate Degrees in Library Science and Related Disciplines

Courses of study that offer master’s degrees at their conclusion are the most common form of graduate education programs. Depending on the school, you might earn a Master of Arts (M.A.), a Master of Science (M.Sc.), or a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). The American Library Association (ALA) website mention other kinds of degrees in the field, which include the Master of Library Science (MLS) and the Master of Librarianship.

However, some programs take a slightly different approach to pedagogy. You may find programs that offer a Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS). This degree typically focuses on not only library science curricula, but also leadership and business management pedagogy. One example of this is the USC MMLIS, a course of study housed in the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Students learn topics such as business administration, marketing and management. The focus is of these curricula is to train professionals in leadership, outreach, advancement and similar skills.

Accreditation Means Opportunities in the United States and Abroad

Depending on the country and its governing body for libraries, the degree you earn in the states may be recognized. For example, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), a body in the United Kingdom similar to the ALA, has formed reciprocal agreements with the ALA, the Library Association of New Zealand and the Australian Library and Information Association. Should you relocate to the UK, this may assist you in finding employment. However, you should check for specific requirements in your country of interest.

The Next Steps

First of all, you’ll need to research each school’s admission requirements and ensure you gather the information they request prior to applying. Keep in mind that you will likely need some letters of recommendation and a statement of personal intent, in addition to transcripts from your undergraduate or other coursework. Finally, you’ll need to submit relevant test scores, such as those for your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if you’re not a native English speaker.

The next thing to consider is how you plan to pay for your educational investment. Student loans are a common method of financing degrees. However, no matter what vehicles you select to foot the bill, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). U.S. News and World Report offers some additional sound advice, such as checking with your employer for tuition reimbursement programs. Lastly, paid assistantships and scholarships are other options that you don’t have to repay.

Increase Your Employability With Advanced Education

With continued employment prospects in the library science fields, and growth in related vocations, now may be the perfect time to pursue advanced education. Master’s degrees in these disciplines may come in a variety of forms, but the end goal is to get you ready for higher positions of responsibility, including management, collection development, advancement and directorships. Opportunities may open up both in the states and abroad as a result. With the right preparation and funding, you’ll graduate with more knowledge and better employment prospects.

4 Strategies to Make Your Startup a Success

Anyone will tell you that starting a business can be a risky process. Many startups fail and some people have to try several business ideas before finding the one that works. However, there are many potential benefits to starting your own business so taking the risk can be worth it. While there is nothing that can guarantee your startup will be successful, there are a few things you can do to give your startup the best chance to prosper.

1. Follow Your Passion

Growing a startup into a successful company is a challenge in any circumstances, but it’s nearly impossible if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing. Before starting your business, you should ask yourself if the industry is really something that sparks your passion. If the answer is not a resounding “yes” you should take a step back before investing more time and money into something about which you are ambivalent. Nearly every successful entrepreneur will agree that part of the reason for their success was their passion for the company and drive to make it succeed.

While part of making your business work is a being passionate about your idea and industry, the balancing point is being realistic about the market. If your passion isn’t something that you can reasonably monetize, it’s probably not the start of a profitable business. Likewise, if the market is already saturated with companies relatively similar to the one you want to start, you might not be able to garner a large customer base.

2. Form a Partnership

It may be ideal to form a business partnership to help your startup succeed. This could mean a financial partnership with one or several investors, or a creative partnership with someone who shares your passion and brings additional ideas to the table. When forming a professional partnership, it’s important to make sure it’s done in an official way. When your startup takes off, you don’t want to risk arguments over shares or lawsuits over intellectual property. Before any official paperwork on your business is filed, make sure the legal documents regarding your partnership have been drawn up and signed.

You can also consider creating an informal “partnership” with potential investors and clients. Using a funding site such as Kickstarter is a great way to engage your potential customer base and get a head start on advertising your business. Additionally, it allows you to raise funding for your startup costs from a large pool of potential investors. Of course, it’s essential that you understand all the terms and conditions of using a funding site and know what you are agreeing to provide your investors.

3. Be Patient and Persistent

Starting a business and bringing it to fruition is usually a slow process. While there are stories of overnight successes, this is not the way most profitable companies achieved their status. A large part of building a company from the ground up is doing the boring but necessary work of figuring out legal requirements, filing necessary paperwork, creating a financial structure and accounting setup and figuring out your marketing and expansion plans.

Part of being patient involves finances and your own personal investment in the company. In most cases, starting up a company involves a large amount of capital and it can be years before your business is bringing in enough income for you to take a normal salary. You should ensure that you have enough financial stability to survive during the time before your business is consistently turning a profit.

4. Learn From Others’ Success

One of the best ways to prepare and help your startup succeed is to learn from other successful companies. Hampton Creek is a great example of people who followed their passion and persevered to make their business a success. Their ability to build a successful business based on a pea-protein egg substitutes should serve as inspiration and encouragement for you to follow your own passion.

Starting a company can be an exhilarating and frightening endeavor. Before you commit yourself to the risks, be sure you are passionate about your idea. You should also make sure the market is reasonably favorable. Form partnerships if desired. Patience is important, especially financially because it can be years before your company is stable enough to pay you a salary. One of the best places to find encouragement and inspiration for your dream is in the success stories of other companies. You can learn good strategies and see the steps other people took to create a profitable company.

3 All Too Common Issues Women Face in the Workplace and How to Dismantle Them

The number of women in the workforce is steadily increasing. According to the United States Department of Labor, as of 2015, 57 percent of women and 69.2 percent of men over the age of 16 are a part of the nation’s workforce. As women continue to pursue more meaningful careers, it is crucial that we understand what makes a safe work environment — for all of us. Here are three all too common issues women routinely experience in the workplace. By beginning to dismantle them, more companies can create spaces where women are comfortable and respected.

Microaggressions

Microaggressions are subtle comments or actions that draw attention to one’s marginalized status; for example, as a female or a minority. Comments such as, “You’re not like most women,” or “You’re a pretty good sales associate for a girl,” are examples of microaggressions. Statements like these make it clear that the speaker thinks less of women than they do men.

Rather than calling attention to someone’s gender, get in the habit of giving compliments or feedback that are gender-neutral. Something as simple as, “Great job on that project. I can tell you worked hard on that,” is an excellent way to give feedback based on a person’s accomplishments. By focusing on someone’s strengths or giving constructive feedback without bringing gender into the conversation, you can go a long way to avoid microaggressions and implied sexism.

Gendered Language

The English language is dominated by male-based terms. In the workforce, prime examples of this include policeman, fireman, and mailman, to name a few. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is one of the many ways in which our language affects the way we view the world — or a particular profession.

Gender-neutral or female-oriented language can help to fight the subconscious male favoritism in our everyday language. When talking about employees, sending out memos, or addressing a group, use terms such as “the individual,” “he/she,” “we/us,” or “employees,” while avoiding terms like “you guys.” By focusing on inclusive language, you will create a powerful shift towards a more female-friendly work environment.

Open-Door HR Policies

The human resources department is responsible for making sure that all employees are treated fairly. It also ensures that the company and its employees follow proper policies and procedures. Human resource professionals are trained in conflict resolution, sexual harassment awareness, and combating discrimination.

When a company implements an open-door HR policy, they are giving their employees the freedom to walk in and voice a complaint, suggestion, question, concern, or personal issue. It is also a way for a company to protect its marginalized employees.

Feminist advocate Jennifer Dziura recommends filing a complaint with HR as soon as a sexist comment or action occurs. If you should experience sexism in the workplace, it would be well within your rights to contact your company’s HR department. By calling attention to a problem, you will have an influence on your company’s progress towards becoming a female-friendly workplace.

Before starting a new job, review potential employers to determine if they are female-friendly, like this Assurant review. As Jane Park of Julep says, companies are mini societies. “There are many ways that rules of a company impact our lives more than the rules of a government.” So make sure that your mini society is a place where you and your coworkers can thrive. Start off on the right foot with an employer who knows the importance of making the workplace female-friendly.

5 Steps to Paying for a College Education

It’s no secret that the cost of a college education continues to rise with each passing year. For the 2015-2016 school year, the price for a moderate in-state education was $24,061. The cost of a private education came in at $47,831. Many parents hope to be able to pay for their child’s college. However, if you have less than $100,000 in savings by the time they are approaching the gates of higher education, you may have to find other sources of income to help fund the four years of your child’s bachelor’s degree program.

Over the last four years, college and university enrollment has fallen 6 percent. But those numbers don’t have to slow down your child. With early financial planning and smart strategies, you can conquer the rising challenge of paying for college. Here are some tips how.

Start Saving Early

It’s never too early to begin building your child’s college fund. Invest your funds in a financial plan designed just for this purpose, like a 529 plan. This investment program lets you contribute tax-free and earn a high interest rate. Each state has its own 529 plan and your child doesn’t have to use the money in the same state it was invested in, so you can start setting aside money for college long before they know where they want to attend.

Carefully Choose the Right School

If there isn’t a fat college fund waiting for your child, cost will be a factor in the search for the right school. Academic programs, extracurricular activities, and campus life are important considerations that come at a price. Because of this, it’s important to prioritize what they need from a school.

If a student burns through their college fund too quickly, they may have to transfer to a less expensive school. And credits don’t always move seamlessly from one school to another. Make sure that you can afford your child’s first choice school ahead of time so that they don’t lose credits that have already been paid for.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are scholarships available for nearly every area of interest, so there’s no excuse for passing up this source of free money. While academic success is one way to score a scholarship, there are also those that base their awards on a student’s location, family background, field of study, or talents and hobbies. There are several websites that collect and organize scholarship opportunities. Search for those that fit your child’s unique situation and begin applying.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wait until your child’s senior year to apply for scholarships. They can begin submitting applications as early as their sophomore and junior years of high school.

In addition to scholarships, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is a must for any prospective college student. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, fill it out anyway. A few thousand dollars a year in financial aid is well worth the effort of applying.

Reconsider Housing Options

Dorm living may seem exciting, but if your child is attending school close to home, it can be an unnecessary expense. If your child isn’t attending school close enough to stay at home, other living options like a shared apartment (maturity level permitting) can help save money before adding room and board to your total college expense.

Earn Some Extra Cash on the Side

If you’re still struggling to meet the financial obligations of your child’s education, you may want to look into a part-time job or other flexible employment opportunity. Consider selling Amway products for extra funds or handmade trinkets and keepsakes on Etsy. You can even clear out the garage and list items for sale on eBay. There are plenty of money-making opportunities out there that are flexible and fun enough to feel more like play than work.

Paying for college is a major challenge, but there are ways to get it done. It may take some hard work, penny-pinching, and sacrifice from both you and your college student, but that degree in their hand will be worth it.

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Retail Sales Associate

Retail sales associates have various tasks they must complete in a shift. In addition to handling sales, they are responsible for keeping shelves clean and stocked, arranging displays, and offering advice to help customers find the right product for them. Retail sales jobs can require you to work long or irregular hours and navigate stressful customer interactions. But don’t let all that scare you away. There are plenty of positive aspects of the job, too. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of taking on a job as a retail sales associate.

Retail Can Be Flexible

There’s a reason why people who are in school, working more than one job, or trying to make extra money while they find a career path choose to work a retail job. Retail can be flexible. Some retail sales jobs offer the benefit of working around your schedule so that you can plan your life around your sales gig. Additionally, no two days are ever the same when you work in retail. Your coworkers change, the customers change, and the dynamics change daily. For someone who gets bored easily, this is an ideal job.

Save Money With Exclusive Discounts

One of the biggest advantages of working in retail is the employee discount you receive on store merchandise. If you work for a store you regularly shop at, saving money with your discount can maximize your budget. The only problem you may run into is that deals may be too good to pass up. You don’t want to spend the majority of the money you make at the same place you earned it.

Earn a Commission

Self-motivated salespeople have the potential to earn more as a commission-based sales associate. While fast-paced and often competitive, commission-based sales give you a piece of every sale you make, guaranteeing that the more sales you make, the bigger your paycheck. This is a benefit for employees and employers alike as everyone goes home with a bigger slice of the pie.

Limited Education or Experience Required

You don’t need a college degree or previous experience to apply for a job as a retail sales associate. As long as you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can begin work as a retail sales associate. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply for a retail job if you have a higher education degree. While not mandatory, a degree may warrant you a higher starting salary or even a management position.

Slow Advancement

One of the biggest drawbacks of retail sales is that advancement within a company is slow and difficult. There are limited managerial positions in the retail world and the job mostly requires associates to do the hard work. Other types of work have many different paths where you can take your career, but it can be hard to advance out of a retail sales associate job.

Limited Income Potential

For salaried and commission-based associates alike, the income potential of retail is lower than many other jobs that require more specific education or training. The average retail associate earns about $10.60 per hour, or about $22,040 per year. However, most sales associates do have potential to earn bonuses, profit-sharing proceeds, and sometimes commissions.

Some of the leaders in retail include Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot, Target, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Verizon Wireless offers the best paycheck, averaging $40,000 per year for retail sales associates. If you can navigate customer relations, are skilled in client interaction, or can handle cash, you may want to consider a job as a retail sales associate.

Branding Your Business with Fashionable Office Supplies

Brand recognition is one of the most powerful and important aspects of building and running a successful business. By branding your business, customers and potential customers will come to know and recognize your business’ brand simply by seeing your color scheme, logo, or mascot, and they will be more likely to associate your company with the products and services they might be searching for, or might seek out in the future.

While advertising on the radio, TV, and internet is important for building brand recognition, you can also expand your company’s reach in the community and foster the recognition you need to compete by using branded office supplies, like pens, notepads, personalized packing tape, and other items that can bear your company’s insignia.

Customizing Your Supplies Online

You may have worked diligently to ensure that your company’s logo, color scheme, and mascot stand out among your competitors. It is important that your office supplies bear the exact image that you worked so hard to perfect.

When you seek a printing and branding company to create your branded office supplies, you might not have time to mail them a copy of your business branding images, but do not want them to recreate your images, logo, and color schemes from nothing. Using the above website, you can upload a depiction of the images you would like included. The website provides the function for uploading the image quickly and without any charge. You can then proceed with ordering the amount and sizes of tape rolls and other supplies that will fulfill your business needs.

Choosing the Amount of Office Supplies

Part of running a successful business involves making sure that you have enough supplies on-hand at all times. When you run low on things like tape or boxes, you risk getting behind on production and shipments. You can use the online guides to figure out how much tape and other supplies you need to order and how soon you may need to reorder for your needs. The table also shows you how long the typical roll is and how wide the tape is once it is applied to the packaging.

Building a company requires that you promote your brand. By branding your business, you can get your image out there and make sure that customers associate your color scheme, logo, or mascot with your brand by using customized office supplies.

3 Ways You Can Start Earning Cash Online

Are you completely unhappy with where you are in your career? Don’t worry, there are many people who find themselves in the same situation, and it’s easier now to make a change you’ll love than it has ever been before. The incredible power of the internet has opened up new avenues for money-making and career-building so that you can start earning cash online without all of the pressure and anxiety that go along with a formal job interview. The internet offers a vast amount of opportunities for employment; it all depends on your specific skill set.

Here are some worthwhile ideas to consider, whether you simply want to earn some extra cash or start an online career.

1. Become a Blogger

Blogging has been a fast-growing field over the last several years, first with writers and other creative types looking to build an online form of expression with added perks, and then those in other fields began to see how they could make blogging work for them. Today, there are countless blogs out there on more topics than anyone can imagine. While blogging can be a great way to earn an income online, it does take some time to keep it updated with fresh content and promote your work, at least at first. But if you build a blog that develops a following and garners impressive numbers, those numbers can turn into advertisement inquiries, brand partnerships and sponsorships, and even some exciting life opportunities.

2. Become a Survey Taker

You may have never heard of this before, but becoming a survey taker is a very real way to make money online. There are various websites out there, like Crowdology that are actually willing to pay people to take online surveys. Some tips to keep in mind when looking at this option, however, is that because not all surveys pay out the same, it would be in your best interest to investigate which survey sites are willing to shell out the most cash. Otherwise, survey taking is a very easy way to make some cash in your spare time.

3. Buy and Sell Things

The proliferation of online classifieds and auction sites has made it possible for many people to make a living by buying and selling things. Anything, really. These people scour various sites where items are being sold and purchase them at or below market value. They then resell those items for a profit. It can be quite a lucrative business if you know what you’re doing, and it’s best to only buy and sell items that you have knowledge about so that you can get the most bang for your buck.

Working for yourself and on your own terms doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. You just have to know how to make it your reality, and the internet is loaded with opportunities to start earning cash online.