If you’ve ever considered making a living doing something besides working 40 hours a week making someone else rich, this article is for you.
“The only true success that exists is when we find a way to make a living doing exactly what we want. When you wake up every morning and create your day exactly how you dream it to be, that is success. When your passion and your work are aligned, when you would do your job for free because you like it so much, that is success.” ~ Eric Dubay
1. You’ll step out of your comfort zone. Way out.
And then you’ll find out that comfort is overrated, anyway.
2. You’ll get scared.
And then you’ll survive, and it will be impossible for the same things to ever scare you as much again.
3. Sometimes you’ll be uncertain.
When you’re uncertain, you can do one of two things:
- Stop and wait for inspiration to lead you to the next logical step, or
- Take a leap of faith and act, knowing that, even if you make a bad choice, you’ll survive and probably learn a heck of a lot in the process.
4. You’ll be tempted to bail out for something more secure. And you’ll get over it.
Job security is a myth. “Regardless of pension promises or signed contracts, the real fact of the matter is there is no ‘job security’ in working for someone else. If at any time for any reason the boss has a problem with you, the market goes south, your contract’s over, the clientele fades, the account goes red, or the business goes belly-up, then you’re high and dry on your way to becoming an unemployment statistic.” ~ Eric Dubay
5. You will doubt your sanity.
Yep. And so will most other people. But think about it: what has “sanity” has gotten them? What did “sanity” get you?
6. You won’t be able to please everyone.
There will be folks who are uncomfortable with what you are doing, and unfortunately, some of them will be people you care about. It’s okay; just keep your mouth shut and pursue your dreams without their approval. Pretty soon, you’re going to start noticing new people coming into your life whose hearts sing on your behalf.
7. You’ll learn just how brilliant and resourceful you really are.
And when you know that you can stand on your own two feet without any help—man, that feels great!
8. You’ll realize how much you have to offer.
No more crawling around on your knees begging for what you need because you feel like you have nothing.
9. You’ll start meeting other people who chose to pursue their dreams, too.
There are lots of cool people out here on the ragged edge. This is where the creators are. This is where the children are. This is where the visionaries are. This is where the John Lennons, the Ghandis, the Oprahs, the Steve Jobs, the Bill Gates, the Nelson Mandelas, the Tony Robbins, and the Abraham Lincolns hang out. You’re in good company!
10. You’ll learn how to be patient.
You’ll learn that the best clients, the best gigs, the best customers are all worth waiting for, even if it means eating Ramen noodles and couch surfing for a year.
11. You’ll learn to trust that your basic needs will always be met.
You survived your childhood in spite of all the stupid stunts you pulled. The universe isn’t going to let you die just like that.
12. You will discover the true meaning of faith.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1.
“Assurance!” “Conviction!” This means that your dreams are already here, even though you can’t see them, smell them, touch them, or taste them yet.
13. You’ll wonder why you waited so long.
You’ll find yourself bouncing out of bed in the morning, eager to get started on your list for the day. You’ll have a burning desire to contribute to the world, to uplift everyone on the planet through what you do, because you love it so much. And even though sometimes it’s rough, it’s so much better than being a wage slave, you’ll never want to go back.
Feature Image via actlikeasuccess.com
So on my business card and on all my platforms, it states that I offer content writing services and almost always I get the question … What exactly is content writing?
For those unfamiliar with some of the behind the scenes of webbing the two words don’t even go together. But, if you have ever browsed a website or a social media page you would have already been introduced to content writing. Content writing is a style of writing used on websites and pages specifically to promote a brand.
That brand represents something could be a product or a service or for conscientious businesses to highlight community service activities. It is even useful for individuals wanting to promote their skills or talent.
Basically, it is a type of marketing tool used to draw eyes to whatever it is the brand is wanting to put out there.
How Does It Work?
A huge part of content writing is SEO which is short for Search Engine Optimization. This allows persons to be able to find you when they enter some specific criteria in Google.
For instance, say you are a plumber in Kingston if someone should just Google plumbers chances are they won’t find … But if they should alter their search to Plumbers in Kingston you want to make sure your site is one of those to pop up on the first page of the search results.
Research says getting on that first page increases your visibility ten folds and if you are in the top three chances are you’re getting that business, those precious likes, and shares matters. Of course, you could do this by paying a ridiculous amount of money to Google for ads. But for one those ads are annoying and for two I prefer FREE and EFFECTIVE.
Getting there is possible with SEO and making use of Google crawlers (the bots that troll the internet collecting data). Using keywords that would link your site to whatever is being searched for is essential. This is where the right words (and a lot of them) becomes very important in getting your site on top of that list and inevitably noticed.
Why Content Writers Though?
This is almost always the follow-up question… It really is asking why do I need you? I mean you could just write a description of the thing yourself right? Well, not if you want to maximize the visibility of the thing you are promoting. See, just slapping on some generic description of the thing isn’t enough to draw people to your site or to help those bots find you.
According to greatcontent.com, a content writer turns a clients ‘brief’ or his/her specifications “into a finished product which becomes part of the target webpage.” Content writing is not to be confused with the traditional styles or forms of writing as it is specific to websites and social media.
Content writing is like product placement for the web and uses a different language altogether. It is methodical and time-consuming and takes a minute (2-3 months) before you start seeing any real results. It is not guaranteed either as information and interests aren’t static which is why it takes constant updating and writing to get there and which is why … 🎵youuuuu neeeeeeddddddd mmmmmeeeee🎵(Rihanna’s voice).
DECEMBER 27, 2012
By Alina Diznik
Using a virtual assistant can shave hours from your workweek, but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky, whether you’re starting or growing a business. Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs from home and focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. Websites that specialize in contract workers, such as odesk.com and elance.com, have thousands of listings for virtual assistants.
With the number of virtual assistants are growing, their expertise now runs the gamut, making it easier to find someone who fits your organization, says Jaleh Bisharat, vice president of marketing at oDesk.com, which is based in Redwood City, Calif. In 2012, oDesk had 25,000 postings for virtual assistant jobs, compared to about 2,500 in 2008.
Entrepreneurs can use virtual assistants for everything from making vendor or customer service calls to sending out thank you cards to prospective clients. It’s important to build trust, just as you would with a permanent employee. “They become a team member who just happens to work remotely,” Bisharat says. Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways you can use a virtual assistant to improve your business.
Bookkeeping: Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to a virtual assistant, says Kathy Colaiacovo, marketing director for the International Virtual Assistants Association, a Henderson, Nev.-based trade group. Many small businesses choose to share their bookkeeping systems with their virtual assistants who can then follow up on tasks such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills. “You will need to hand over some control [including] passwords and access to accounts,” Colaiacovo says.
Online Research: You can easily farm out Internet research to virtual assistants. Common requests include finding information on corporate websites, exploring new products and vetting potential employees or business contacts, says Sue Kramer Harrawood, president of Peace of Mind Virtual Assistance, an Orland Park, Ill., firm that provides companies with virtual assistants. Be sure to send clear instructions, along with user names and passwords so assistants can get access to specialty search tools or paid websites. Tristen O’Brien, an eBay marketing expert in Westfield, Indiana, asks his assistant to help him find blog topics, as well as occasionally proofread his blog [link: http://www.theebayentrepreneur.com] on eBay selling. “She researches what is trending and reports back to me,” O’Brien says.
Database entries: Whether it’s a slew of new business cards picked up at a conference or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for virtual assistants. Be specific about your needs and expectations, and make sure the virtual assistant has done this type of work before so there’s less room for errors, Kramer Harrawood says. “Follow up is a huge thing for business owners. Sometimes clients will fax or scan business cards to us, and [virtual assistants] will plug them into the database.”
Data presentations: Turning raw data into a clear PowerPoint presentation or summarizing research findings in a Word document can be a huge timesaver when prepping for meetings, says Rich Pearson, chief marketing officer at eLance.com, a jobs website for freelancers in Mountain View, Calif., who uses a virtual assistant himself. The data “comes back in a format I can share,” he says.
Managing email: To keep you from wasting time in your email inbox, some virtual assistants will filter your most important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf, Colaiacovo says. Such email management is easy to do remotely, but you need to provide guidance on how to pick out key emails and ask the assistant to copy you before sending out any responses to reduce the risk of errors.
Social tasks: Virtual assistants can be a good bet to handle tasks such as writing holiday cards or sending thank you notes, says Bisharat, who notes that social chores have become a very common assignment. Such tasks can become “all consuming” for business executives, she says, “but a good virtual assistant can take care of all of it.”
Travel Research: Virtual assistants are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out trip itineraries both for business and pleasure, Pearson says. The assistants can take advantage of the growing number of travel research tools and review sites on the Web. They can also deal with the hassle of navigating time zones when booking or researching international travel options by phone.
Scheduling: Because many scheduling tools are available online, virtual assistants are managing the calendars of many clients, says Kramer Harrawood. Tasks include dealing with meeting invitations from others, scheduling appointments with clients and helping to plan events. “It’s about being comfortable and letting go of that calendar” to a non-staff person working remotely, Kramer Harrawood says.
Chasing business: Prioritizing potential business opportunities can be challenging, but virtual assistants can help with the process. When deciding what to sell on eBay, for example, O’Brien asks his virtual assistant to look around for products that can be profitable to resell. “I give them quite a few websites to visit, and they take it from there,” he says. “They look for clearance items and other types of products.”
Industry knowledge prep: With limited time to keep up with industry news, some small businesses have turned to virtual assistants to keep tabs on the most important happenings. Many executives then use the industry information to update their Twitter feed or bring up interesting developments in conversation with customers and prospects. This helps “executives appear to have timely news,” Pearson says.
Photo Credit: robotlizz
By Ben Fanning
High employee turnover can be catastrophic for the CEO and their entire organization.
Losing top talent increases your rehiring and retraining costs, plus it reduces employee incentive to stick around.
If unchecked, employee turnover can gain momentum and lead to a mass exodus of your best talent and eventually create a “brain drain” …where those who can easily get another job do so.
In response, executive leaders often default to throwing money at the problem or making big, radical changes. These approaches are often disruptive to the business and do not generate a significant return on investment.
So if you’ve got 6 months to reduce employee turnover with a limited budget, how do you approach it?
That’s where my recent interview comes in with JF (Jean-François) Goldstyn, Chief Learning Officer at SQS Software Quality Systems and who has an extensive background HR and long tenure at Harvard Business Publishing.
Step 1: Identify the root cause for those who leave and also for those who stay
It’s critical to determine the root cause of employee turnover before you take action.
Many organizations adopt exit interviews to determine why employees quit, but an even bigger opportunity is to understand why your top employee stays in the first place. Then you can build a plan to reinforce what’s already working.
JF suggests one of the most proactive ways to execute this step is through stay interviews. These are interviews for uncovering the reasons your top talent stays at your company, so you can effectively craft a strategy to retain your best and brightest.
Another bonus JF says from stay interviews is that it “allows you to do early detection of at-risk talent”. Just scheduling a few stay interviews with your best employees can go a long way in showing them you care.
In a stay interview, you can try questions like:
- If you were contacted by a recruiter who offers same pay and title at a different company, what are the main factors why you would stay committed to your current job?
- What elements of your job would you like to increase? What elements would you miss if you took another job?
- What would you like to decrease? What factors make you sometimes dread coming into work?
Step 2: Implement a flexible approach based on the frustration of the employee
Once you identify the root causes for who leaves and who stays, you can begin to categorize and select an approach to address the biggest factors.
This allows you to vary your approach based on the employees’ main sources of frustration.
Here are three possible areas of focus to improve employee retention:
- Lack of career opportunities: JF mentions “shadowing or job rotation”. This gives employees an opportunity to learn about a different area of the company and expand their purview beyond the current job. This can reinvigorate their interest in the organization.
- More money: Review how they are adding value in their current position; then as JF says, “add job sculpting and new responsibilities and higher targets”. Collaborate with them to see how they add more value today and explain how that can lead to higher paying opportunities within the organization. You can also look beyond money and identify other forms of compensation like a more flexible schedule or additional training in an interest area.
- Don’t like their boss: One of the most common reasons for quitting is that an employee doesn’t like their boss. You can equip the employee with strategies to deal with an unreasonable boss. You can also try “identifying a different reporting structure (within reason) or pair them up with a mentor”. Of course, changing the reporting structure isn’t always possible; but when you at least have the conversation it can generate more goodwill and prevent your best employees from taking that next call from the headhunter.
Step 3: Give Your Time to Your Most Valuable Employees
Often, the CEO only gets involved when there is a big problem–perhaps related to the biggest employee issues. However, an important employee retention strategy is to ensure an allocation of your time to your best employees. This can be tricky because there may be a real race horse in the “less than best” too.
Yes, your time is valuable. Many leaders use this as a reason to limit their interaction with individual employees; however, consider the cost of losing your most valuable employees–those who add the most “value” to your organization. You may realize that giving your personal time to key employees is the most effective and important employee retention tool at your disposal.
JF suggests, “getting your senior leaders involved with coaching at-risk talent”.
Remember when you were coming up through the ranks and an executive took a personal interest in your career?
This can take the form of mentoring, coaching, or informal Q &A session; but the bottom line is when a senior leader shows any interest, it makes a big difference.
I am taking to heart the words of the legendary Bob Marley LORD I GOTTA KEEP ON MOVIN…This past year has been rough, hasn’t it? OH, BWOI I flat out had an existential crisis, I lost a job I absolutely loved (and was damn good at) and have had to do several temp jobs I appreciated (but hated doing). Then there was my business venture that I’m struggling to get fully off the ground. I was just really ready to see the back of 2016. So, fully embracing the start of a new year I welcomed 2017 with a sense of purpose and conviction. I just felt like something good is going to happen, like something good was in store.
Never mind its February and shittier not so nice things have happened I AM STILL pushing forward steeling myself, steadily focused ahead.
I mean what other option is there? I am not the rollover and die type, I know my infinite potential it’s something I carefully curated. I also know the things I am good at and I know how much of a benefit I can be to others. And seriously after spending a gazillion dollars on my education thus far I might as well earn from my skills nuh true? That kinda is the point of it all. So, encouraged by the outpouring of empathy and the kind words from friends and even strangers I feel empowered to try again and to continue trying.
The song ‘Freedom’ on Beyoncé’s album Lemonade comes to mind, it is honestly one of my favourite songs of hers. For many reasons, the message of perseverance and strength in the face of adversity has resonated so much with me. So, whenever I feel depressed and the anxiety monster bucks I sing to myself ‘I’m a keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves’.