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Why You Should Buy a Soundbar for your 4K TV

As televisions evolve, so do all of the equipment that go with it. You bought a 4K television because you wanted a crystal clear picture with bright and bold colors. It follows that your sound quality should also be top-grade. This is why many people have started to buy soundbars for their home entertainment system.

What is a Soundbar?

A soundbar is a one or two-piece system that functions as speakers for your 4K television. They’re specifically designed for people who are not able to install freestanding speakers for their television. Additionally, the sound output quality of just about any soundbar is infinitely better than you’d get with your traditional television speaker system.

These devices are designed to fit seamlessly into a very compact and slender space. Soundbars generally only use two cords when you hook them up to your television. This eliminates the problem of clumsy cords hanging out the back and around your entertainment system.

Most soundbars also play the sound back to you in surround sound. This allows you to immerse yourself in your show without taking up the usual space that a traditional surround sound system would. There are several speakers built along the entire length of the soundbar. You can set them and choose which output you want to use.

Deciding Between a Soundbar and a Sound Base

When you start searching for a soundbar, you’ll notice very quickly that there is a subcategory called a sound base. Both of these devices perform the same action. They give you crystal clear and uninterrupted sound quality. However, a sound base is designed to sit on a shelf or TV stand. They’re durable enough to support your television’s weight. Additionally, a sound base can’t be mounted on a wall as a soundbar can.

Why Get a Soundbar?

If you’re thinking about buying a soundbar, you obviously want better sound quality than your typical television speaker will give you. You’ll get greater clarity, a richer sound, and an overall better experience when you use a soundbar. Additionally, soundbars also support:

Dolby Atmos

dolby studios dolby atmos
Via dolby

Dolby Studios released Dolby Atmos to take their viewers listening experience up to the next level. They added layers and layers of sound to a traditional listening experience. This layering was made possible because the rich sound comes from above the listener. Any sound you hear can travel in a variety of directions. In turn, you get a surround sound experience that’s better than ever before.

DTS:X Sound

To get the most out of your 4K television, you want to be able to experience the sound that comes with your UHD-Blu-rays. This is known as DTS:X sound. A soundbar can take this clear audio and magnify it, so you get full room-filling sound. Additionally, it can help to project it around the room. It turn, you’ll get a viewing experience that matches your 4K television.

Types of Soundbars

There are generally two different types of soundbars available. They both perform the same task of enriching your audio experience. The mounting system is what makes them different.

Traditional Soundbar

A traditional soundbar is designed to sit right in front of your television. Some companies are designing them to blend right in with your television to increase the overall aesthetic appeal. They’re very slender in build. This makes them easy to set on a smaller television stand without a problem.

Wall-Mounted Soundbar

wall mounted soundbar type
Via expertreviews.co.uk

The second type of soundbar available is the wall-mounted soundbar. This is a great alternative for people who want to hang their 4K television up on the wall. Mounting your soundbar on the wall creates a clean and sleek look. You get mounting hardware included when you buy your soundbar. This allows you to install it yourself quickly and easily.

Reasons to Invest in a Soundbar

There are several reasons why people choose to purchase soundbars for their home entertainment systems. They include:

  • Aesthetics: A soundbar can add a clean and modern look to your entertainment system. They’re designed to be sleek, space-saving, and they appeal to people who like the more modern design.
  • Audio Projection: As we mentioned above, soundbars can project the audio up toward the ceiling of your room. This will cause the audio to come from all angles when you use the soundbar. You’ll be able to immerse yourself with clear, room-filling sound.
  • Sound Quality: People want their sound quality to match their new 4K television quality. A soundbar gives a sound quality that is unmatched by traditional television speakers. This includes the speakers on your new 4K television.
  • Subwoofer: If you’re after that deep bass sound, you can purchase a subwoofer to add on to your soundbar. You can also find a soundbar that comes with an additional subwoofer included. This will let you experience the entire range of sounds each time you use it.

When it comes to buy soundbar, there are several important benefits that come with this purchase. It’s important that you shop around and compare various options, so you’re sure that you find the correct soundbar to suit your needs. If you do this, you’ll get a sleek addition to your home entertainment system that gives you sharp, clear, and rich room-filling sound quality.

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The post Why You Should Buy a Soundbar for your 4K TV appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One

If one of your loved ones has a drug addiction, you know that the road to recovery is typically a very long, challenging, and heartbreaking journey that the entire family will go on. You may get so overwhelmed that you decide to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.

However, this can cause more damage to you, your loved one, and your entire family. If you’re not sure what to say to a family member in this situation, we’ll give you several useful tips so you can help your loved one start and stay on the journey to recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Before you can help your addicted loved one, you have to understand the addiction itself. Perhaps they started their drug addiction because all of their friends were experimenting, they were curious, or they wanted to numb themselves to emotional pain.

Although drug use doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is going to abuse drugs, the line between recreational user and drug addict is often blurry, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a single point where it goes from recreational use to addicted.

help addicts

However, if drug use is starting to cause issues with relationships or in a work environment, your loved one could be slipping toward addiction. Common risk factors for drug abuse include:

  • A family history of addiction
  • Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect
  • Mental health disorders
  • Early exposure and use of drugs

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

There are several physical and behavioral symptoms that come with drug addiction. While each drug comes with separate manifestations, and symptoms vary depending on the drug, a few common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in the sleeping patterns
  • Sudden changes in how much money they’re spending

Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction

There are several things that you can do to help support your loved one as they fight their drug addiction.

1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction

The first thing you want to do is to educate yourself about drug addiction, the signs, symptoms, and the addiction process. Drug addiction is extraordinarily complex, but educating yourself will give you the tools you need to recognize the signs of addiction and how it affects your loved one. You’ll learn how to recognize that your loved one is struggling and needs help.

2. Offer Your Support

A lot of the time, someone who has a drug addiction doesn’t understand how much they mean to their families and how much their families love them. Talk to your loved one as soon as you notice a problem. Don’t watch and wait for them to hit their rock bottom. Let them know that you know there is a problem and that you’re going to be there to support them.

3. Open the Lines of Communication

Family members and friends worry that opening up the lines of communication can lead the loved one with the addiction to take drastic steps. While this may be true in some cases, it can also go very well. When you start the discussion, keep these points in mind:

  • Wait until the person seems sober. They’re less likely to lash out, and the can understand logical thinking more clearly. They’re also more likely to be honest with you and have a conversation.
  • Set up a time to talk when you have more than five minutes alone together. You want to have a two-way conversation where you can discuss your concerns and understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling.
  • Emphasize to your loved one that you care for them and that worry about their well being is what is motivating you to talk to them.
  • If they deny that there is a problem, table the discussion for a future date. You’re not trying to convince the person that they have a problem. You’re trying to let them know that you believe there is a problem and that you care.
  • Most importantly, know that there is no quick fix for addiction. The recovery journey is going to be a long and involved process.

4. Get Everyone United

It won’t be beneficial for anyone involved if people are not on the same page. Addiction can make people manipulative, and everyone has to present a united front. You’re all there to help your loved one. The easiest way to do this is to have all of their friends and family current and willing to offer support.

5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment

rehab center

It’s almost impossible for someone with an addiction to stop on their own. The best drug rehab treatment centers can be wonderful places for an addict to start the healing process. Treatment centers are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you find and choose the best rated rehabs for addiction treatment. They’ll be able to get counseling to help them deal with the cause of their addiction as well as learn life skills to help them cope without drugs.

6. Stand By Your Loved One as an Ongoing Recovery Process

Rehab isn’t an instant fix. There simply isn’t an instant fix for drug addiction. It’s critical that your loved one feels like they have your full support throughout the recovery process. Encourage them to seek ongoing care, attend meetings, and join a recovery support group. Your family can attend a support group for families of addicts and go through a recovery process.

Drug addiction can be a devastating and scary time for both the family and the person with the addiction. However, recovery is possible with the best drug rehab treatment centers. Additionally, these six steps can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them on their recovery journey.

The post 6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

The post How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs

When it comes to fleas, prevention is much easier than trying to get rid of an infestation once they take hold. Fleas can spread rapidly from your dog to the surrounding environment and this makes it that much harder to get rid of them.

A single flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and the majority of the flea population thrives in grass and carpet. Only around five percent of the fleas present get on your pets.

There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your home, pets, family, and yard stay free of fleas.  But, what is the best way to get rid of fleas on dogs?

Do Regular Checks

regular checkup

You want to routinely check your pet for fleas at least once a week. Check under your pet’s legs, in and around his ears, and close to his skin. If you see small black moving dots, it’s a good indication that your pet might have fleas.

Groom Your Pet Routinely

Whether your dog has a long or short coat, you’ll want to set up a grooming routine. You can do it for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a week. This should be enough time for you to check your pet’s coat for fleas that may be hiding under its coat.

This routine grooming can give you time to bond with your dog, too.

Clean up Your Yard

Your yard or garden may be the root source of your flea infestation problem. Take steps to get rid of fleas in your yard and ensure that it’s a clean and safe place for your pets.

Fleas like moist and warm shaded areas with a lot of organic matter, like dead leaves or compost. Mowing your lawn and picking up debris will give fleas fewer places to live.

Get Regular Veterinarian Checkups

Not only are regular checkups good for your dog’s health, but they can also help to catch any flea problems early on. The earlier fleas are detected, the earlier treatment can get started.

Don’t Use Old Flea Preventative Products

Certain preventative products can be expensive. This extra cost is why people like to hang on to them past their expiration date. However, once a product expires, it can lose its effectiveness.

Treat Fleas All Throughout The Year

Although fleas like warm and moist environments, they can survive all throughout the year. A good preventative measure is to give your dog an oral flea medication like Comfortis for dogs. A lot of these products last one month, and they come in a soft chew so your dog won’t have a problem digesting them. They help to prevent fleas and they also kill any current infestations.

Use Citrus to Repel Fleas

If you don’t like the idea of using a medicated product to help protect your dog from fleas, try the natural route. Did you know that citrus is a natural flea repellent?

You can take a freshly squeezed orange or lemon and rub the juice into your dog’s coat. This will be safe for them to lick off and it’s effective in repelling fleas. Simply reapply it as needed.

Use Essential Oils

You can make a flea deterrent spray to put on your dog and to spray around your house using essential oils. All you have to do is mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one quart of fresh water and four or five drops of essential oils.

Flea repellent essential oils include lemongrass, cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and citronella. Spray this around your home and on your dog to repel fleas and freshen the air.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

If you find fleas on your dog or in your home, there are several easy things you can do to get rid of them.

1. Do a Deep Clean

You can deep clean your home to help control any fleas. Make sure you pay special attention to carpets, furniture, and areas where your pet likes to play or sleep. Using a citrus-based cleaner is a good idea.

2. Bathe Your Dog

flea prevention

Fleas don’t like water as it makes it difficult for them to hold on to your dog’s coat. Bathing your dog at least once a week can help you control the flea infestation. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to their shampoo or buy medicated shampoos.

3. Spray Your Yard

When you’re taking care of the fleas inside of your home, you also want to make sure you treat your yard. You can buy specialized sprays and apply them to your yard and around the outside of your house to kill any fleas. This can help prevent your dog from bringing them back inside and undoing all of your hard work.

Fleas can be a big problem that you need to prevent in any way you can. Our eight flea prevention tips can help ensure that you don’t have to go through all the hard work of stopping an infestation. This also ensures that you enjoy a happy home and a healthy dog.

The post Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Finance A Startup Business

After telling your boss to go to – well, you know where – and coming home to explain to your wife what you had just done, you sat in your man cave and processed both reactions: your boss was shocked and your wife was seriously mad.

You’ve got this, so you assured her. But, is that really the case?

Yes, you have a wonderful business idea that will surely take off, but she brought up a very important point:

How are you going to finance it?

Don’t fret as we share with you the best tips on financing your business.

Business Investors

business inventors People invest in businesses every day when they purchase stocks, but you aren’t ready for your initial public offering just yet. You need somebody who is willing to put his or her money into your idea, which is an entirely different beast.

Your first step is to write a business plan that details your idea. You will be asking people to give up their cash, so you must keep this in mind when you write your plan. Think back to your business courses in college.

You likely learned that there are many sections of a business plan and all are important. You must include an executive summary first that briefly encapsulates all aspects of your vision. Next is your company description which should include your corporate set up and business goals.

After that, describe in detail your product and/or services and how they will make money. The fourth section is your marketing analysis. Section five should explain your business startup and growth strategy and how you plan to implement it. Sections six and seven, meanwhile, are your management and financial structures, respectively.

Investor options include angel investors, crowd funders, and – believe it or not – your competition.

Angel investors are wealthy people willing to put their own money into business ventures. Some will put a ton of cash into a new venture while others will invest just a tiny sum. You can have one or many angel investors banding together and forming a group.

Angel investors do more than just give you moolah; they can also take a stake in your company which means they will expect investment returns. Many will take a management role, too. They can give you crucial advice while you’re still starting out.

Crowd Funders

For the independent entrepreneur who doesn’t want anyone else involved in managing his startup, crowd funders are another option. It leaves you 100% in charge.

Just like GoFundMe, there are a lot of available online crowdfunding websites for businesses. You will need to find a website the best one that can help you raise money. Remember to be realistic about this financing option.

While there are success stories about people reaching their funding goals, they don’t mean you’ll surely experience the same thing. For you to be successful, your plan must be full proof and others must become impassioned by your idea.

The benefit is this money is yours to keep with no strings attached. This is another reason why so many business startups try crowdfunding.

It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you may still receive donations which you can use for your startup and for networking with others in your niche. This can bring you to investment by your competitors.

That isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Many people in your industry might be interested in giving you a helping hand. Competition is healthy and when you’re on your feet, you can divest out and be on your own. Don’t forget about microloans and grants, either.

Growing Your Entity

Once you are up, running, and turning a profit, think about venture capital to grow your business to greater heights. Venture capitalists are people who invest in existing entities to give them the boost they need to reach their next plateau and then go beyond it.

Many people think that venture capitalists only invest in technology companies, but this isn’t the case.

Many businesses receive funding from VCs, as they’re called, including biotechnology and other science companies, food service, retail, and beyond. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber have taken advantage of VC financing in the past, too. amazonChris Sacca is one venture capitalist who helped put Instagram and Twitter (among others) on the map. Born in Lockport, New York, Sacca founded Lowercase Capital which has had its hand in financing and managing numerous businesses.

Experts in business growth, Sacca and his team helped owners design and implement growth plans. And when you look at Sacca’s record, you’ll realize VC is a wonderful tool once you’re established. It’s full of visions which are usually successful.

Your wife will calm down eventually and you don’t ever need to worry about your boss again. In the meantime, write a comprehensive business plan and seek out the money you need to get your venture off the ground. There are plenty of financing options available whether you are just starting out or planning your growth. So, keep your mind open and good luck to you!

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

The post How to Finance A Startup Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men

Dressing sharp and looking smart doesn’t always mean having to burn a hole in your pocket with brand names. It’s actually useless without the proper know-how on how to style and carry yourself. Check out these very simple and doable fashion hacks for men that will have you looking extra dapper in and out of the workplace.

Love the Blazer

Although a suit is always a good choice, a blazer is an essential piece to any wardrobe because it’s so versatile. A well-fitting blazer is a fast way take a plain outfit to business casual, and the dark blue, smokey charcoal, or gray blazers are perfect for sitting and doing desk work. You do want to make sure you have a good fit and that your blazer’s shoulders align with yours.

Pro Tip: Make a fist and put it between your buttoned blazer and your stomach. If it fits properly, you shouldn’t have any problems. If it’s too large, you’ll have a lot of extra space, and if it’s too small, you’ll have trouble making a fist.

Shoes Make the Man

The wrong pair of shoes can derail a well-put together outfit very quickly. The trick is to strike a balance between good-looking and comfortable. After all, you’ll wear them for hours at a time. Depending on the environment, a boot can be your go-to if you’re not wearing your dress shoes. A good boot can handle different weather conditions, and it pairs very well with most business attire.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your boots don’t have scuff marks in them. Contrary to popular belief, people do look at your shoes. Take a few minutes and condition your boots with shoe conditioner or leather conditioner if they’re made of leather. It’ll remove the scuff marks and make them look new.

Use Moisturizer Instead of Hair Gel

Gel works wonders for helping your style your perfect hairstyle, but it comes with two pitfalls. It’s very easy to use too much and get hair that feels crunchy and looks unnatural. Gel can also strip your hair of natural oils leaving you with a dry, damaged mess. Swap it out for hand or face moisturizer. It’ll still give you styling help and holding power while protecting your hair’s natural oils.

Pro Tip: You may be tempted to use a handful of the moisturizer to get it to hold, but less really is more. You need a pea-sized amount or a dime sized amount at most, and you want to rub it between your palms and then apply it to your hair for a frizz-free, natural look.

Don’t Underestimate a Good-Fitting Pair of Pants

good fitting pair of pants

You may be tempted to live in jeans, but most business professionals have to have several different pants styles at this disposal. Whether it’s a pair of dress slacks, green chinos, or a wool slack, a good fit is essential. Your pants should fit snugly around your thighs and hips and end short enough so you can show off most of your shoe. They should also fit snug to your groin area without constricting you.

Pro Tip: When you’re shopping for pants and you’re not sure if they’ll fit well or not, measure with your elbow. If you can fit from your fist to your elbow inside the waistband of the jeans without them being too large or small, they’ll most likely be a good fit.

Use a T-Shirt

Did you know that a t-shirt with a blazer tossed over the top is considered casual business wear and it’s suitable for a lot of offices and professional settings? Make sure your t-shirt’s bottom falls between the middle of your belt and the middle of your zipper and that the shoulder seam lines up with your shoulder.

Pro Tip: If your t-shirt shrinks, you can restore it to it’s original fit quickly and easily. Take the shrunken t-shirt and place it in a bowl or bucket of warm water and a few teaspoons of hair conditioner. Wait five minutes, take it out and stretch it back to the original size.

Have a Power Tie

men fashion hack tie

We recommend having several different ties on hand, but if you only want one or two, go for darker colors with subtle patterns or a solid color. It’ll work well with anything you match it with, and this includes busier or brighter patterns. It lets you dress it down by adding a leather jacket over your dress shirt, so it’s versatile as well.

Pro Tip: Your tie should reach your belt buckle and go no lower when you tie it. Also, be aware of your tie’s width. If you want to be safe, go with the modern 2.5-inch width. However, it has to be proportionate to your lapels, so if they’re wider, your tie can be as well.

Match Your Socks

Yes, your socks are mostly hidden for view. Yes, it’s rare that anyone will see more than a flash of them as you go about your day, but that small flash can undo all of your fashion-conscious efforts. Pick out socks that complement what you normally wear, whether it’s in everyday life or at the office.

Pro Tip: When you’re trying to decide what color socks to wear, consider your pants and what color they are. Generally, you want to match your pants or go a shade darker or a shade lighter. If you’re good, a contrasting color that compliments your shoes and pants is a safe bet.

Stay On Top Of New Styles

new styles

Sign up for a men’s clothing subscription. Box subscriptions have been flourishing awhile now ranging from beauty products to sweet treats to meal deliveries. In similar manner, you get a box of clothing goodies especially curated for you. You’ll get clothing items ranging from shirts, jackets, pants, and accessories. On one hand, you’ll get clothes that fit your style, and on the other hand, probability is high that you’ll stumble on a new style you’ll like. It’s win-win.

You can also discover new styles that fit your taste and lifestyle by keeping an eye on social media like Pinterest and Instagram. These two platforms are an excellent source of styling inspiration.

Pro Tip: Use hashtags to come across new ideas. Want to try out a navy blazer? Try searching with the #navyblazer hashtag.

These eight fashion hacks for men are easy and quick ways to keep you looking sharp and well-dressed. They can help you make a good first impression and give your confidence a boost all in one go.

The post 8 Genius Fashion Hacks for Men appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy

Bad news.

There’s really no such thing as the most secure browser.

Want proof?

In a poll in 2013, Firefox was voted as the most secure web browser. However, in a hacking contest in March of 2014, Firefox was deemed as the least secure after it went down to four zero-day exploits.

Because you can’t really rely on one browser to protect you and your data, it’s critical that you know how to make your favorite browser the most secure browser for you.

Here are some steps you can follow:

Check your browser’s default setting

The most convenient way to start using any device, including browsers, is by its default setting. It is, however, not the most secure way.

In fact, it can expose you to a lot of potential threats.

With your browser’s default configuration, hackers can easily access your program and even make internal changes without you knowing.

Creepy, right?

The best solution to that is to configure all your browsers as well as your operating system before use. Doing that can greatly increase your security.

Use only one browser when dealing with sensitive activities

use only one browser

Your computer probably has multiple browsers installed and that’s actually a good thing. It means you’ll be able to dedicate one browser for one activity only, limiting the risk of compromising your sensitive data.

Think of it this way:

You can use one browser to pay your bills or purchase something online. You can use a separate browser for researching and random browsing.

This way, if someone hacked the one you are using for general web browsing, the other browser won’t be compromised.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that using separate browsers will automatically protect your data. You also have to play your part to make your browser the most secure browser.

It can also help if you can make a complete browser comparison first before deciding which ones to use.

Update your browser

Security holes will keep on popping up as more and more security threats emerge. One of the few ways you can protect yourself is by updating your browser.

Make sure to follow your vendor’s instructions when updating your browser. If your operating system no longer supports newer browsers, it’s time to get that updated as well.

Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have an auto-update feature by default. If yours isn’t enabled, check if your computer’s firewall is preventing the auto-update or someone else has configured it the way it is.

Get an antivirus installed

A good anti-virus remains one of the best ways to stay protected on the internet. Just make sure that the one you are using is real as a fake antivirus software is already a security threat on its own.

And if you already have one, keep it up-to-date. Using an expired antivirus is more likely to put your security at risk.

Now, listen closely.

While you might think that the antivirus that came with your computer is enough to protect you, it actually isn’t. You see, free antivirus programs aren’t that comprehensive.

It can only provide limited protection and it can only detect certain threats. It has lower and slower scanning performance, too.

The bottom line?

Don’t skimp on your antivirus program and be sure to keep it updated.

Be careful in installing plugins and extensions

Extensions and plugins might look harmless but they can be extremely dangerous. They have access to your every move online. And because they know everything, you can just imagine the damage they can create.

They know what you’ve been searching and they can capture your passwords. These extensions can even insert advertisements in the pages you visit.

One problem with extensions is that they frequently require access to everything. For example, an extension that’s meant to make changes in Google.com will require access to everything related to Google.

Most of the time, that includes your email and Google account.

To stay safe, use fewer extensions and plugins as possible. If you aren’t using the ones already installed on your computer, uninstall them and stick with the ones you use frequently.

If you are planning on adding more, make sure to read the permissions they require.

Use pop-up blockers

turn off pop up blockers
Via hotComm

Ads and pages that pop out of nowhere aren’t just annoying; they can also be dangerous.

By using a pop-up blocker, you’ll be able to prevent those ads from installing harmful malware on your computer. They can also prevent your screen from cluttering.

Now, if the website you are trying to access needs you to temporarily disable the blocker, remember to reactivate it once you are done.

Turn on fraud protection

There are tons of untrustworthy websites on the internet. If you aren’t careful, you can inadvertently visit one of those phishing sites and expose your sensitive information.

Phishing sites are sites that are made to look legit and trustworthy so that they can get your personal details. This includes your credit card number and password in your cached data.

To stop that from happening, always turn on fraud protection. It can blacklist known phishing sites so you won’t be able to access them.

See Also: 7 Top Tips to Avoid Being Caught in a Phishing Net

Be careful with auto-complete features

Being able to log into your email or any of your accounts without typing your login details sound convenient. However, in terms of safety and security, it’s a totally different story.

Just think about what can happen when your laptop or device gets stolen or lost. It’s like giving away your personal login information to everyone.

For protection, always turn that feature off. You can do that by accessing your browser’s setting.

If you are using Chrome, for example, you can open its Setting window, select Advanced, and make the necessary changes in the Manage Password section.

In case you are using Firefox, access the Options window, select Privacy, and look for History. Once you are there, select Firefox will: Use custom settings for history and disable the Remember search and form history option.

These changes don’t take a lot of time. In fact, you can complete them in less than a minute.

See Also: How To Maintain Your Privacy Online

 

The post 8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Christmas Quotes about Love and Family that will Lift Your Spirits

Do you need inspiring Christmas quotes and cards to send out to your loved ones this holiday season?

Friends, throughout the year, our minds are filled with thoughts of improving our businesses,  boosting our productivity and focus, and ultimately creating success. It does get wearying and holidays are the perfect time to pause awhile, take stock, and turn our attention outward to all our blessings and all the people surrounding us.

Send out these inspiring Christmas messages to the loved ones in your life. It’s not about expensive gifts, rather, it’s the simple thought of being remembered that often counts.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas!

quotes christmas

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. – Roy L. Smith

christmas quotation

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

christmas blessing quotes

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. – Janice Maeditere

christmas-quotes

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things. – Thomas S. Monson

christmas greetings quotes

Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united. – Norman Vincent Peale

christmas-quotes-for-family

Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving. – B. C. Forbes

family christmas quotes

The only blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. – Helen Keller

famous-christmas-quotes

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling. – Edna Ferber

quotes for christmas cards

Like what you see? See more Merry Christmas Images.

The BEST of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a HAPPY FAMILY all wrapped up in each other. 

xmas quotes

God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it. – Pope Francis

merry christmas wishes quotes

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. – Dale Evans

christmas quotes

Please visit SayingImages.com for more Christmas Quotes, Messages and Greetings.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

The post 12 Christmas Quotes about Love and Family that will Lift Your Spirits appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business

If you are aware of the developments in technology, then you have probably heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI). For a lot of people, it’s too complex or high-tech so they don’t really pay a lot of attention to it.

In fact, even small businesses don’t think much of AI. They believe that only big tech companies like Apple and Google can utilize it. However, that’s not true.

AI has numerous benefits for small businesses. It’s something you cannot ignore if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

Today, open-minded businesses have started using AI to create a business logo, respond to emails, comb the Internet for leads identification, help customers with chatbots and a lot more.

If you have not seriously considered AI automation for your business yet, then the following 5 reasons can surely convince you.

Enhanced Bookkeeping

There are plenty of AI tools designed specifically for bookkeeping that you can use. While many offer help with the basic data entry tasks, some are more advanced and can easily perform many roles. You can use it in reading and preparing invoices, set invoice reminders, release payments on schedule and more.

So, instead of expanding your accounting department, you can invest in an AI bookkeeping program which is more affordable and highly useful.

Lead Nurturing

No matter how skilled your sales reps are, they will always have limitations.

For starters, one can handle only a certain number of leads at a time. Secondly, they need a certain amount of time with every lead to learn about their personality, pain points, opportunities for connection building and many other aspects that are required for their nurturing.

However, with AI automation you can take the entire process to the next level and benefit from increased productivity.

An AI program designed for lead nurturing can read and respond to the emails of your prospects using a list of set messages and the Natural Language Processing technology. It can also go through the past conversations you have had with your leads to pinpoint important bits of information. Most importantly, it can work 24/7 since it can function without human intervention.

Online Customer Support

A number of studies have found that customers find it more comfortable to inquire about the services or products of a company through messaging, especially via online chat as opposed to voice calls. However, hiring a full-time customer executive can be expensive for a small business. Again, this is where AI automation can be a great option.

chatbots

Not only AI-powered chatbots are highly popular today, you can also find some highly affordable options easily. You can install one of these on your website so that when your customers need some information, it will be readily available. In addition to that, having AI-powered chatbots can also make your website more attractive.

See Also: How To Boost Your Business with Influence Marketing Chatbots

Cheap but Quality Branding

Usually, it’s hard to find quality and affordability at the same place. However, AI automation seems to have changed that.

This is because it can help you with your company branding in many ways and at modest pricing. There are companies like Tailor Brands that offer an entire suite of branding tools- from logo creation to social media banner creation at a fraction of the price that you would pay to a graphics designer.

Intelligent Personal Assistants

You are probably already familiar with virtual personal assistants, such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Corona. Today, a new range of similar assistants is emerging and they are even more intelligent and more suitable for businesses. For instance, there is Amy from x.ai that can arrange meetings for you or Pana that can arrange your travel.

amy intelligent personal assistant
Via slideshare.net

AI has matured enough today that it can be utilized in different ways in every industry. It’s now easily available at affordable costs, too. If you haven’t considered using one for your business, it’s probably the right time to reconsider your strategy.

 

The post 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider AI Automation for Small Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier

What are the campgrounds near me? What should I bring to a camping trip? Are there camping hacks I don’t know about?

If you’re asking yourself or the all-knowing Google these questions, then you’re most likely new to camping. Camping is fun but it can take a lot of planning, patience, and work, particularly if your family is big. Without the right strategy, it can easily turn out as one of your worst outdoor experience. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make camping more fun and less stressful.

Below, we’re sharing with you 10 of the most useful camping tips you can use to make your life in the campsite a little easier.

Use sage to keep bugs away

sage camping

Admit it.

Although camping is a great way to explore nature, it’s not always the best idea, particularly when bugs start bugging your campsite.

So, to keep those annoying insects from ruining a good campout, you can toss a bundle of sage into your campfire every now and then.

Now, you’re probably wondering: What if I’m not allowed to create a fire in your campsite?

There are other fragrant plants you can use to keep bugs away. Basil, lemon balm, and citronella can repel mosquitoes once crushed and rubbed onto the skin.

Make a Swedish torch

swedish torch camping
Via pinterest

Now, if you don’t want to create a huge campfire, you can just create your own Swedish torch. It makes an excellent and efficient campfire for cooking.

You just need a log and make three crisscrossing cuts that are almost to its core. Pack some fire-starters inside it and once it’s lit, you can practically forget about it. The cut you created through the log will allow air to naturally ventilate your fire, allowing the log to burn from the inside out.

And you know what else?

A Swedish torch can also double as a cooking surface. You can use it to hold cast iron pans.

swedish torch
Via thehomestead.guru

Do a makeshift lantern

makeshift camping lantern
Via adventuretogether

Camping lanterns are great in keeping your camping area well lit. But, once you place them inside your tent, it’s a whole different story. Most of them are way too bright, which can be blinding to look at.

To diffuse the light and make it softer, you simply strap the light to a gallon of water. Make sure to point the light towards the water to make this hack work.

Make DIY fire-starters

When you’re camping, it only makes sense to bring at least two types of fire starters to the trip. You wouldn’t want to spend the night at the campsite without a fire to keep you warm or cook your food, right?

One of the easiest DIY firestarters you can make involves just a few pieces of cotton pads. Dip them in wax and allow them to dry on a piece of wax paper. You can tear or cut them before lighting.

diy fire starters camping tips
Via preparednessmama

Another great way to create your own firestarter is to gather a few pieces of old cardboard. Cut them into 3×3 pieces, dip them in wax and then let them dry. They are easy to stack, so you won’t have any issues packing them inside your bag.

Pack your own emergency kit

mini camping emergency kit
Via pinterest

Accidents can happen anytime, so make sure you are prepared. Instead of packing a big kit, prepare a smaller one which you can take with you anywhere you go. Make sure it can fit a small compass, pain reliever, whistle, adhesive bandages and flint and steel.

You should also pack a few antibiotic ointments in your kit. You can cut up a straw and fill its pieces with the ointments. Seal their ends with a heat sealer or use a lighter to melt and close the ends.

mini first aid kit ideas for camping
Via pinterest

Put your eggs in a mason jar

eggs in a mason jar camping tips
Via khnutrition

The idea might sound bizarre but it’s actually one of the most brilliant camping tips, particularly if scrambled eggs are your favorite breakfast.

Before leaving for the trip, crack your eggs into a mason jar and keep it in your cooler until it’s time to cook the eggs. Just remember to shake the jar vigorously before you pour its content into your pan. Enjoy a no-fuss scrambled eggs in the morning with less work and less mess.

See Also: Five Clever Tips for Stress-Free Family Camping

Store your spices in Tic-Tac boxes

tic tac boxes spices
Via Good Housekeeping

Now, if you worry about your scrambled eggs tasting a bit off, you can keep a few spices in tic-tac containers. These boxes are just the right size to hold enough spices to make your food taste like it just came out of your own kitchen. Plus, they also have snap-tight lids which keep the spices from getting all over your camping tools.

Protect your toilet paper with an old coffee can

camping hacks toilet paper inside coffee can
Via pinterest

If your toilet paper gets soggy, it’ll be practically useless and having a roll of toilet paper you can’t use is a lot worse than not having one at all.

Agree?

So, instead of relying on a paper bag to keep your toilet paper fresh and dry, take an old coffee can and use it to hold your toilet paper. It’s the perfect size and it comes with a lid for extra protection.

Hang up pots and pans using a belt

camping tips pots and pans
Via experienceonstar

Since there’s not much space on your table or in your tent to keep all of your camping tools, you have to be a bit more innovative. Get a belt and wrap it snugly around a tree. Attach a couple of S hooks and use them to store some of your essential kitchen tools.

Make individual coffee bags

Listen:

If you are one of those people who can’t function well without a cup of coffee, this is one of the most helpful camping tips you can’t really miss.

With just a coffee filter, dental floss, and ground coffee, you’ll be able to get your daily fix of caffeine even if you’re in the middle of camping.

individual coffee bags camping tips
Via inspiredbarn

How?

First, you need to get a coffee filter and fill it with about 2 ounces of ground coffee. Hold the bottom of the coffee filter (where the coffee is) and twist its top part to create a pouch.

Secure it with a few inches of dental floss.

Each time you need to drink coffee, you simply need to place your coffee bag in a mug and add in water. It’s actually similar to how you prepare your tea.

See Also: Camping Outdoors: A Perfect Health Booster

We hope the above camping hacks will prove useful to you on your next trip. To find out the best place for your next adventure, check out an online campground finder like this one.

 

The post 10 Brilliant Camping Tips To Make Camping Easier appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games

Who doesn’t like to win in an online casino game with a huge winning potential?

Everyone wants to do good with online slot games and earn the maximum while dreaming about what to spend their winnings on. Online slots are full of fun and excitement, even for those who are not interested in winning them. They’re one of the best pastimes and once you get on a winning streak, there’s no way you won’t develop a liking for them.

Let’s look at some of the simplest yet effective tips that can help you win big at top online casinos like EuroGrand Casino.

Understand the odds

It’s important to understand slots odds before strategizing to win. For instance, a 20-symbol 5-reel slot game has 1/3.2 million winning chance whereas a 20-symbol 3-reel slot game has 1/8,000 winning possibilities.

This is because a 5-reel slot game has comparatively more winning combinations than the 3-reel version. Hence, there’s a considerable difference in terms of odds in these types of online slot games.

Play only at reliable casinos

reliable online slot game casino

Though you may find various online casinos to play at, it’s important to sign up with a licensed one only. Look out for a casino that offers high-quality games. Make sure that you like its atmosphere and enjoy playing on its platform.

A good online casino should offer a wide range of slot games, should be fully licensed and should process withdrawals quickly. Furthermore, it should also offer other prominent online casino games, like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, bingo and so on.

Money Management

It is very important to manage your money well while playing these online games. At times, people get so confident that they bet everything on a single spin; there’s no bigger folly than this. Please note that there is no guaranteed outcome in online slots or any other online casino games.

The game’s outcome can change anytime and cause you losses. That’s why you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Be cautious while placing your bets. Winning from a spin is just a possibility and there’s no certainty in it. There are various ways you can place your bets and use your money to play these games.

Before making any deposits, it’s important to know which would be the best currency to play online games.

See Also: Top 5 Strategies To Maximize Your Online Casino Profits

Have Fun

online slot games fun

 

You should play online slot games not just to win but to have some fun! Hence, it’s important to never take any losses to heart and stay relaxed while playing casino games. Although it’s important to pay extra attention while playing jackpots or tournaments where you’re expected to play quickly, you should never let it get to you.

Furthermore, never take your wins too seriously. These games are for your entertainment and enjoyment alone. The moment you start playing them for a livelihood, they lose their charm and lead to an unhealthy gambling behavior.

Conclusion

A lot of people play online slot games regularly. If you are one of these people, knowing and implementing the above-detailed tips can be immensely helpful in gaining an upper hand over the casinos.

The post Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Productivity is an interesting thing.

Some people keep themselves busy all day and consider themselves productive. In reality, however, they focus on so many different things that the end result isn’t satisfying.

Others prefer to analyze their behavior closely so that they can see what they’re doing wrong and what can be optimized. That’s the right approach if you want to ditch some bad practices and succeed with your ventures in all aspects.

Our online habits make a great example.

What you do while working on your laptop or when you’re just using the Internet can kill your focus. To change that, you first need to define those time-wasting activities that affect your work productivity and start doing something about them.

Browsing without a purpose

online habits

It’s a common scenario to have many tabs open in your browser while working. Every now and then, you’d open a new one, read something and then distract yourself. After some time, you’ll find it hard to get back to what you were doing. That leads to hours of wasted time when you review what you did each week.

How to fix that?

If you really want a quick solution, then install and activate a software that blocks access to certain platforms. You can also do that to your browsers if you want to do some work that doesn’t require research.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do this for you and even notify you when you’re using certain websites too much. Some tools will even let you set limits as to how long you want them to block things so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Not being selective enough

If you don’t know what you need to do and why you’re doing it, you’ll end up indulging in many unproductive activities. Watching random YouTube videos, clicking spammy links, reading newsletters, and checking unimportant notifications in your social media can eat away your focus, energy, and time.

It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary things so that you can concentrate on the essentials. This will help you double your results when working. Apart from that, taking the steps below will also help you have more peace of mind.

Here’s what you should say ‘no’ to when online:

  • Unsubscribe from any site or service sending you their newsletters or offers. From now on, if you need anything, simply type the web address yourself and see what’s new.
  • Block ads from appearing on websites. You can do that by installing an ad blocker as an add-on. These differ depending on your browser, but each is effective enough.
  • Turn off notifications on Facebook and other social media networks you’re using daily. Go to the Settings tab and see what you can block, disable or remove. This way, there’ll be no more pointless news in your feed and you won’t hear alerts from your phone all day.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Letting email become a distraction

Email is a powerful communication tool. But, if you don’t manage your inbox well, it might cost you time and compromise your focus on a daily basis.

To change that, set some limits. You can choose not to open your email first thing in the morning and do it twice a day instead. Open it right after you’re done with your most important tasks for the day and check it again in the late afternoon when your mind is clear.

Not knowing when to unplug

bad work habits

You can’t be productive online when you’re connected 24/7. Your mind needs a break from technology and the best time to do that seems to be around two hours before bedtime. That means not just ditching all devices from your evening ritual, but also not thinking about them. This will take some discipline and time.

In the beginning, you might crave checking Facebook when in bed or using your laptop right before that. Remember that devices can keep your brain activated long after you’ve put them away, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

To change that, unplug every evening after you’ve done all that you had to. In addition, don’t grab your phone or start checking sites first thing in the morning. Be distraction-free in the morning, so you’ll experience the solitude of the early hours. You should get online only when it’s time for work.

These practices will help you change not just your online habits, but your whole daily schedule. You’ll have more time for yourself as a focused mind gets things done in a shorter time.

See Also: 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

The post 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life

You despise yourself because of your imperfections. You loathed your skin color, your monolid eyes, your body shape—almost everything about you. That’s why you try really hard to get rid of them.

However, although a lot of people are already appreciating you, you still can’t be happy.

Why?

It’s because you don’t know your real flaws, the flaws that you have within you. They are those things that make you feel like you don’t belong in your own body.

Now, to address those issues, here are 15 tips on how to live a fulfilling life.

Be good to yourself

love yourself

If you will not be kind to yourself, who else will?

You need to take good care of your body because that is your temple. You need to protect it against your detractors and the only way to save yourself from them is to love yourself. Always remember that you should be the first person who should accept you for what you are.

See Also: 5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

Create a support system

No matter how hard you try to be good to yourself, if the people around you like to disparage you, it’s still of no use. If you have a set of friends who always keep pointing out your flaws, distance yourself from them.

It may be hurtful to leave them, but it will be more painful if you will stay. You don’t need people who keep on giving up on you. You need people who will stay despite your shortcomings.

Dissolve feelings of shamefulness

You are ashamed of yourself because you think that you are not worthy to be loved and appreciated. You think that people will always point out your defect that’s why you just chose to hide it.

But, remember this:

Your skin color is beautiful and your scars are part of your journey. It’s society’s standard of beauty that must be forgotten.

Embrace your differences

You are born like that because you are special. If you will try to acquaint yourself with how society accepts every human being, you’ll end up being lost in the ocean of masked individuals.

Your differences make you unique, so you should own your individuality. If you are going to get rid of it, how would people distinguish you?

Focus on the positive side

Don’t think that your imperfections are the reasons why you failed. Everything happens for a reason and the reason is that you deserve much better.

If you will just look closely, you will realize that there’s a bright side in every situation. Don’t focus on the bad things that you forget how great life is. After all, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

Stop rating yourself

When you rate yourself, you’re creating a standard that needs to be met. If you will set criteria every day and you’re not able to achieve them, you’ll end up dissatisfied for no reasons.

Rating yourself isn’t healthy. It will stop you from accepting your strengths and weaknesses as a person. It can even make you feel insecure about yourself.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

Appreciate the little things

Self-fulfillment isn’t always about getting a huge recognition; it’s also about being able to appreciate the small triumphs that you have. As what Frank Clark said, “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”.

If you will change your focus, you will discover that small things could actually make you smile.

Don’t give up on yourself

The reason why people couldn’t reach for their dreams is simply because they’ve given up on them. You are what you are dreaming of. So, if you choose to give up on your dreams, you are also giving up on yourself.

If you’re tired, take time to rest. Consider the rejections you encounter as lessons and not as failures. It’s not yet the end, so just turn the page to the next chapter of your life. Learn to trust yourself and you will surely make it.

Ditch the standard of perfection

Nobody’s perfect. You can’t fix yourself no matter how hard you try to make it better. Break the standards of society by accepting the fact that you shouldn’t live to the expectations of others. You are beautiful in your own way. The people who told you that you are not might also be like you.

Don’t let other people define you by your imperfections. Be a good person and let your personality and attitude speak up for yourself.

Turn your weakness into strength

Forget the notion that your weakness is the reason why you fail. In fact, you can make it as one of your strengths.

With the right mindset, you will learn to turn the things that you’re not good at into something that will make you productive. Give yourself the chance to be able to let the things that you’re scared of encourage you to focus on your main goals, and not to mind the situations that will stop you from achieving them.

Always be thankful

be thankful

You’re alive and you exist. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?

There are things that you forgot to be thankful for because you’re more focused on something that is big. You have so many blessings in your life but you fail to notice them.

Like what Oprah Winfrey stated, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”.

Choose a realistic mantra

There are mantras that aren’t even achievable. If you can’t choose a mantra, you can actually make one. The mantras that you will create should make it easier for you to tap into your true spirit and self.

For example:

“I am in control of my actions and emotions.”.

This is great for people who find it hard to control their reactions to unexpected situations.

Face your life’s drama

Problems are necessary to help you grow as an individual. Whether you like it or not, you need to face the dilemmas that life is giving you. How you direct your life has an important role on how your life would end up.

The challenges you encounter allow you to discover the real you. How you deal with each problem says a lot about you as a person. You’ll also know your limits once you have an idea of who you truly are.

Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparing yourself to others is like comparing an apple to an orange. They might be fruits but they’re not the same type. Even an apple is different from another apple.

If you will compare yourself with others, you will end up feeling disappointed with yourself. So, don’t hate or love your imperfections. Instead, accept them with all your heart.

Accept constructive criticism

Criticism should help you develop and improve yourself without changing who you really are. Take note that not everyone who gives comments on you wants to make you feel bad about yourself.

Sometimes, the negative statements people say to you don’t really mean that they hate you. It may seem like it, but they’re concerned about you. If ever you encounter this type of critics, smile and be thankful.

Just like the lyrics of Jessie J’s song, “Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars”, you shouldn’t let your true self get lost just to feel that you belong. If you think that you don’t fit in, learn how to stand out. You are uniquely beautiful in your own way.

You don’t need the validation of someone to have a more fulfilled life. It doesn’t matter if they’ll love or hate you. What matters the most is that you’re embracing the real you and that’s the most beautiful gift you could give to yourself.

 

The post 15 Tips On How To Live A Fulfilling Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Work is meaningful and essential. Work is a part of life. It’s utilizing our talents in order to get something in return. It is a give-and-take process that benefits both parties for the betterment of society.

Through work, you get to feed yourself and your family, pay the bills and get to buy your wants and needs. It is a comfort to the people who have it because it is the answer to their needs.

Unfortunately, not all jobs fit everyone. Some are unfortunate to land a job they dislike while others simply fall out of love from their jobs. This makes it harder for them to work efficiently.

The Common Factor That Makes People Hate Their Jobs

There are a lot of factors that make people hate their jobs.

For some people, it’s the imbalance in their work and personal life. For others, it’s the overwhelming workload and the toxic people they need to work with. The list can get long but one thing is present in all these factors- stress.

Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure or danger around you. It produces hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that activates the ‘flight-or-fight’ response of your body. Every day, we encounter stress. However, too much stress can have negative effects on your health.

Here are the common types of stress at work and how to manage them.

Time Stress

time stress

This is the most common type of stress at work. You usually experience this when you think there’s not enough time for you to finish a task. Panic sets in and you struggle to finish as many things as you can. You rush until you get burned out, do all of them half-way or, worse, not get any work done at all.

How To Manage Time Stress

When facing time stress, it is important to manage your time and get your priorities straight. Filter your tasks so you can easily see which ones you need to do first. You can use the Eisenhower matrix for this.

Here’s how:

Do First. Tasks in this category should be your first priority. Anything that is placed here should be done as soon as you’re able and not later than the day after tomorrow.

Schedule. This could be important tasks but are not so urgent. These kinds of tasks are either important scheduled meetings or an article with a set deadline.

Delegate. Tasks in this section are not important but still urgent. It could be a follow-up call to a client or a request for your presence for a presentation. These can be transferable to people you can trust, though.

Don’t do. Tasks in this category are neither important nor urgent. You can either do it when you have nothing else to do or not do it at all.

You can use this method if you like prioritizing things the traditional way. However, with today’s technology, you can use apps like Evernote and Toggl to boost your productivity and manage your ideas and time easily.

Anticipatory Stress

anticipatory stress

This stress is associated with the feeling of anticipating the future a little too much. You anticipate so much that uncertainties of what could happen in the future overwhelm you.

Here’s How To Deal With Anticipatory Stress

Be Positive. The best way to deal with anticipatory stress is to not let fear get the best of you. Positive visualization of outcomes helps by cutting off the negative stream of thinking. Meditation and calming yourself down can also help you from stressing yourself out.

Be Prepared. Face the unknown and tackle it head on by visualizing both the best and worst case scenario. If you think that something is going to go bad in the near future, be prepared and formulate back-up plans that you can use.

Be Brave. Anticipatory stress is mostly caused by the thought of failure. In order to combat failure, prepare yourself by visualizing possible obstacles in your path. Take those obstacles as challenges and see failure as a chance to learn and grow.

Situational Stress

situational stress

Situational stress happens when everything starts to go out of your control. It appears suddenly and you will have no clue on what to do. It is the time when you think that everything is going smoothly but suddenly, in a blink of an eye, everything goes downhill.

It could be a time when conflict suddenly erupted near you and you are caught in the middle of it. Or it could be the time where your boss suddenly mocked you in front of many co-workers.

Getting Over Situational Stress

Everyone reacts to situational stress differently. You can act out based on your behavior or on how your automatic response work in specific situations. In a sudden eruption of conflict, you either join the conflict or back away.

Be Self-Aware. The most important point is to be self-aware in whatever you will be doing. Being aware of yourself, your actions and with everything around you, will help you think of a solution despite the stress you are under.

Be Calm. Keep hold of your cool and use your head instead of your temper or emotions. Keeping calm lets you assess the situation before doing something that can negatively affect you, your reputation or your job.

Be Patient. Be patient by hearing each side of the conflict before deciding how to solve it. Meet them halfway in order to come up with a peaceful end to it. If you are dealing with situational stress with your boss, hear him out before reacting.

Encounter Stress

encounter stress

This stress involves the feeling of being overwhelmed by meeting new or too many people. All of us can be overwhelmed by a lot of people, whether we are introverts or extroverts.

It might be because you don’t like them or they don’t like you, but you have to interact with them. It might also mean that it’s the first time you’ll meet them and you worry about how they will react or how they will perceive you.

Handling Your Encounter Stress

Practice People Skills. In order to be able to manage a lot of people well, practice or even perfect your people skills. Be confident with interacting with them, so that you can take control of the situation. You’ll be calmer knowing that you can handle any problem that can arise.

Be Emphatic. Empathy is understanding another person from their point of view. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will make you understand them deeper and feel what they are feeling without judging them. It’ll avoid possible conflict and strengthen relationship bonds at the same time.

Breathe. Whenever stressed, it is important to breathe. Deep breathing has the ability to reduce stress in the body. This signals the brain to calm down and the brain sends the message all over the body.

Other Stress Management Techniques

Write. Studies show that writing about your feelings or anything that makes you happy reduces stress. Take time, relax and write anything you can think of.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

It is very important for you to be able to take care of your well-being in order to continue doing what you love and sharing what you can do to everyone. Equipping yourself with a healthy body, engaging mind and a positive attitude will make you go a long, long way.

See Also: 4 Ways To Reduce Stress Inside and Outside of Work

 

The post 4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations

If you’re planning a European getaway sometime soon, you need to start considering arranging a cheap car hire for your trip. It will give you the freedom to explore, save you time on your trip and you won’t have to worry about your own car being stolen or damaged.

But, as you’ve no doubt discovered, car hires can sometimes prove to be a confusing process. Some cities are more suited to be explored in a car than others and that will depend on what time of the year you are traveling. There are, however, some staple cities across Europe that always offer an enjoyable holiday and hidden gems to discover by car on a budget.

Here are the top ten wallet-friendly European car hire destinations – plus some top tips on saving money while you’re there.

ROME

the colosseum rome

Total Cost: £178.09 | Car Hire Cost: £10.21

Three places to go: You must visit the historical masterpieces while you are here. Great choices include the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Vatican.

Money-saving tip: Entry to lots of Rome’s museums is free on the first Sunday of each month.

BARCELONA

Total Cost: £176.26 | Car Hire Cost: £10.86

Three places to go: The architectural delights of Antoni Gaudí (you’ll see his work all over the city), unparalleled views from Montjuïc mountain and Raval, Barcelona’s literary quarter, are some of the places you shouldn’t miss here.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the overly-touristy areas and explore a side street. You’ll find quality food at good prices.

PISA

tower of pisa italy

Total Cost: £165.18 | Car Hire Cost: £10.32

Three places to go: Head to the world’s most famous architectural mistake, the Leaning Tower, the beautiful Duomo (cathedral) and enjoy some quality natural gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli.

Money-saving tip: Book your trip to the tower online. You’ll be able to skip the lengthy queues.

MADRID

gran vía madrid

Total Cost: £157.16 | Car Hire Cost: £9.14

Three places to go: Enjoy cheap tapas from street vendors, visit the expansive 19th-century park Buen Retiro and take a stroll along the Gran Vía, Madrid’s main thoroughfare.

Money-saving tip: Save money on food, gifts and lots more by taking a trip to one of Madrid’s flea markets. El Rastro and Rave are two of the most popular.

LISBON

Torre de Belém

Total Cost: £150.58 | Car Hire Cost: £15.28

Three places to go: Don’t forget to visit Torre de Belém (Lisbon’s Gothic tower and a UNESCO world heritage site), Ler Devagar (the city’s cultural centre) and São Jorge Castle (11th-century castle with an archaeological museum).

Money-saving tip: The Lisboa Card gives you free entry to 28 museums, monuments and places of interest. It will also get you discounts on local services and shops.

MANCHESTER

manchester united stadium

Total Cost: £148.12 | Car Hire Cost: £7.87

Three places to go: Be sure to visit one or both of those world famous football stadiums, Manchester Art Gallery and John Rylands Library, a late-Victorian architectural wonder.

Money-saving tip: Free walking tours taking in the best of Manchester run every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Be sure not to miss them.

MALAGA

gibralfaro castle
Via travelguidemalaga

Total Cost: £131.96 | Car Hire Cost: £5.02

Three places to go: The Picasso Museum, Gibralfaro Castle and Tivoli World, a family-friendly theme park, should never be out of your list while you’re in Malaga.

Money-saving tip: Avoid the Costa del Sol’s toll roads by downloading a sat nav app that helps you steer clear of the hassles.

BIRMINGHAM

birmingham oratory
Via birminghamheritage

Total Cost: £130.39 | Car Hire Cost: £9.01

Three places to go: Visit the Bullring for shopping and Birmingham Oratory and St Paul’s Church for a taste of the city’s architectural past.

Money-saving tip: Download the Bullring’s PLUS app to get free parking at the retail center.

TENERIFE

la laguna tenerife
Via holaislascanarias

Total Cost: £129.29 | Car Hire Cost: £13.10

Three places to go: Take a cable car to the summit of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, visit La Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife and enjoy a couple of hours in Malpaís de Güímar, a natural park.

Money-saving tip: Many of Tenerife’s best museums are free to enter all day on Fridays and Saturday afternoons.

ALICANTE

santa barbara castle alicante
Via Expedia

Total Cost: £110.93 | Car Hire Cost: £7.83

Three places to go: Climb up to Santa Barbara Castle, browse the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and do some snorkeling on Tabarca Island, just off the coast of Alicante.

Money-saving tip: Mercado Central is Alicante’s most popular food market, offering cheap meat, vegetables, bread, dairy and sweets.

Now that you know where to go, how can you ensure you get a cheap car hire deal no matter where you go?

Here are some tips you can use:

  • Book early

As with most things, booking ahead can save you some serious cash. If next year’s holiday is booked and your dates are locked down in your diary, why wait to sort the car hire? Do it now while you’re thinking about it and save some money in the process.

  • Do you really need a luxury vehicle?

When booking a car hire, it can be tempting to take out a high-end vehicle and imagine yourself zooming around picturesque mountain roads in the latest high-performance car. Unfortunately, such vehicles are often more expensive than their rather more run-of-the-mill brothers and sisters.

Ask yourself if you really need something swish. When you’re on a holiday, what probably matters most is space. There should be enough for your stuff and for the people coming with you. Opting for a standard vehicle that suits your needs could be a much more affordable and practical option.

  • Understand the extras

Some car hire deals look cheap but once you look under the bonnet, they are actually a little more expensive. To avoid getting tricked, make sure you know exactly what your deal will cover before you book.

  • Get your arrival time right

Give your car rental provider an accurate idea of when you’ll be picking up the car. If your flight is delayed, your reservation could be cancellled, especially if it’s at a busy time. This is annoying but it could also incur additional costs. If you can get in touch with the car hire check-in desk to let them know you’re running late, do so.

  • Make sure any pre-existing damaged is logged

When you hire a car, you’ll usually get an inspection form before you drive away with it. This form will detail any damage that’s already on the car. If you spot some damage but it’s not on the form, make sure it gets logged immediately. Otherwise, you could end up paying for damage you didn’t cause. And, of course, make sure you take care of the car when you’re exploring the city.

Hiring a car can transform a holiday. Giving you the freedom of the open road, it allows you to get out and explore. Next time you choose a car hire, do your research, follow some top tips and you’ll be well on your way to bagging a great deal that won’t break the bank.

The post Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit

Most people have to work hard in order to live their dreams. However, all we see and celebrate is their success because the hard work is usually not done in public. So, when you are struggling in the shadows, wondering why success is not coming fast enough, it’s easy to want to quit.

Don’t.

The successful people you admire are there because they resisted the temptation to quit.

Before looking at the tips below on how not to give up, let’s get one thing out of the way:

No one is suggesting that you stay in a dead-end career which takes you nowhere. If you’re quitting because there is a better opportunity, then, by all means, go ahead. The quitting that does not help is the one where you leave just because you’re not getting results instantly.

Every time you want to quit and take the easy way out, just tell yourself that success doesn’t come overnight.

Things Don’t Get Easy Just Because You Switch Places

There is a misconception that if you don’t like something, then you can switch places and things will get easier. This is a fantasy. If you quit without introspecting and looking deep inside yourself, you may actually be moving with the problem.

In the beginning, you will enjoy the instant gratification which comes with moving. However, as time goes on, you will realize that you’ve solved nothing. The same problems you thought you ran away from in the last situation will suddenly appear.

If you quit just because of the instant gratification you feel when you move into something new, you’re sacrificing your long-term goals. The reality of life is that wherever you go, you’ll always be faced with challenges. It’s better to work on the challenges of something you have already started, rather than quitting and starting on a new set of trials in a new goal.

See Also: 5 Barriers That You Need To Cross To Achieve Success This Year

See the Bigger Picture

not giving up

Every time you want to quit, tell yourself that if success were easy, everybody would be successful. Most people quit because they forget to draw the bigger picture when they start on a goal. Some have drawn the bigger picture, but forget it in the face of challenges.

Always remember that journeys leading to success are often long and grueling. Take the disappointments you meet along the way and if you fall, stand up, dust yourself off, and get moving.

One thing you will have to accept is that success comes at different times for different people. Admit that you’ll see people you know reaching their goals before you do.

While this can be difficult sometimes, you should always try to celebrate with them. Instead of seeing their success as highlighting your failures, take it as proof that achieving your goals is possible.

See Success as a Journey, Not a Destination

Success happens in incremental steps. It is a result of everyday small, smart choices. If you do this consistently and never quit when the going gets tough, you’ll start to see the results of your perseverance.

Making smart, small choices every day starts by taking big tasks and breaking them into smaller units. Working on smaller tasks will help you to see your progress. Take reading a large book, for example. Breaking it into chapters seems more doable than finishing the whole book right away.

You’ll also see incremental results if you are consistent. A good example here is your daily exercise routine. Consistently working on your fitness for twenty minutes every day is better than trying to do a two-hour workout once a week.

Successful people are patient. They understand that progress takes time. For example, if you decided to write a book, writing just two pages a day results in 60 pages a month. That makes over 300 pages in half a year. That’s a very long book by any standards.

successful people

No one has ever said that success is easy. If it were, everyone would be successful.

See Also: Stumble, Success, Stumble, Success – 11 Simple Steps to Improve Your Life

The post How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Working From Home: Is it Worth it?

We’ve all fantasized about trading in our demanding office hours, gossiping coworkers, and overbearing bosses for a work from home gig. But, how do we get past the anxieties that come with the transition?

Nip those fears in the bud and get ready to pursue the career of your dreams with some of the information below.

Why is Working from Home So Great?

work at home

Working from home has several benefits besides the ability to make a living in your pajamas. You’ll find that trading in your traditional work can yield great benefits such as:

  • You’ll save money from commuting to work. You can reinvest the $50 you throw in your tank each week into something that you love. You can even use it to buy an equipment for your new home office.
  • Working from home can cut out your lunch expenses as well as a few inches off of your waistline. You’re more likely to prepare and eat healthy lunches if you aren’t heading to the food trucks parked across the street from your office.
  • You can say goodbye to the guilt that comes with having to reschedule outings with friends or missing your kid’s recital because you set your own hours. You’re able to start work whenever you like and put it away just in time to catch a yoga class and a chance to focus on you.

Sounds Perfect, Right?

Not so fast.

There are a lot of great things about working from home, but if you’re seriously considering making the switch, then you need to prepare for its drawbacks.

Check them out:

Discipline

Were you the first to quit a new instrument, dance class or sport after just a couple of days? Do you still allow your gym to take $20 out of your bank account each month despite the fact that you haven’t stepped inside of a gym since the last year?

Discipline is a key factor to successfully working from home.

Work/Life Balance

While working from home can definitely benefit those that seek control over how much work dominates their life, managing a solid work/life balance can be tough for true workaholics.

If you don’t have a dedicated and closed off workspace, you’ll be constantly reminded of how there’s always work to be done. This could easily lead to burnout if you fail to set boundaries between work and your personal life.

See Also: Keep Calm and Don’t Stress: Recognizing and Preventing Job Burnout

Financial Instability

Unless you’re working for a larger company, most self-employed individuals or freelancers that work from home have to acknowledge that their funds will fluctuate. There could be times when you go an entire month without receiving a check and you’ll have to find a way to keep yourself afloat financially in the meantime.

What’s Right For Me?

work from home

It’ll take a lot of self-reflection to figure out if working from home might be ideal for you. Check to see if any of the situations below affect you.

You might flourish with working from home if:

  • You’re self-motivated and you don’t need a boss to stand over your shoulder to ensure that work is done.
  • You have six months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account, just in case you come upon hard times.
  • You don’t mind doing self-employment taxes or advertising.
  • You’re not dependent on a healthcare plan provided by your traditional employer.

You might fail at working from home if:

  • You’re not self-motivated. If you need a kick in the rear to help you get started on a project, you might be better off with a more traditional setup.
  • It would put you or your family in financial trouble.
  • You’re not very good at managing stress. It would only make you more stressed to have the extra responsibility on your plate.
  • You prefer structure set by an outside source.
  • You enjoy being able to wheel your chair over to the next cubicle to chat with your coworkers.

Tips for Making the Change

If you’re determined to work from home, you’re going to need help to manage the transition. Here are a few tips to keep you from giving up on your dream to work from home:

  • Make an effort to get out of the house and see your friends or loved ones 2-3 times a week. When you first start working from home, it can be tempting to just throw yourself into your work 24/7, so that you can make your dream come true. Unfortunately, working all the time can and will lead to burnout.
  • Stick to a morning schedule. You’ll be far more successful if you can create your own structure that you can amend at any time.
  • Take inventory of your pantry and fill it up with non-perishable goods in case you run into some financial trouble. Having five or six boxes of stovetop macaroni and cheese can be a lifesaver if you’re running low on cash.
  • Most importantly, perform extensive research on what you’d like to do! If you want to be a freelance writer, you’ll need to read up on all of the different niches and decide what best fits your skill level and financial needs. There’s also plenty of successful individuals that do freelance graphic design, data entry work, virtual assisting or call center work for a company that doesn’t mind if you work from home.

See Also: How to increase productivity while doing ‘Work from Home’?

Get Started!

If you think that you’re cut out for the challenges that come with working from home, start thinking of when and how you’ll begin your transition. If you plan well, you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of working from home in no time!

The post Working From Home: Is it Worth it? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps

You’ve developed some goals- serious, life-changing goals. You’re feeling pretty bad-ass about the future. When you think about making these things happen, you feel exhilarated and energized.

But, perhaps, you are a little intimidated, too.

If that is the case, you could read another self-help book and listen to yet another podcast to get motivated. Or you could try something a bit different by time-traveling to the past to gain wisdom and plan your next move.

Dwelling in the past? Isn’t that super backward and negative?

The good news is that you can use the “how” of past success to move towards future success. Past success provides important clues about how you operate when you’re moving in a positive direction.

How do you usually overcome obstacles? How do you cope when things get rough?

Even if your previous achievements are very different from what you want to do next, they can still provide important clues as to how you can best tackle the next phase. Plus, it can be inspiring to remind yourself that you have and you can accomplish great things.

Here’s how you can do this amazing success strategy.

Write Down Past Successes

writing goals

Take a moment to revel in previous triumphs. Relive the glorious days and be shameless.

Write down all your earlier accomplishments, even the tiny ones you think don’t matter. Think about milestones completed, bad habits broken and times when you truly shone.

My personal example is quitting smoking. I used to smoke a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes a day, wasting brain power and dollars trying to get my next fix. I am proud to say that in 2005, I stopped smoking for good. I didn’t think I ever could do it, but it’s been twelve years!

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

Analyze How You Made Past Goals Successful

Get analytical and deconstruct these past achievements. What did you actually do to make those things happen? What did you have to not do to make things happen?

Be as specific as possible.

What did you tell yourself in order to meet the goal? How did you manage setbacks? What environment(s) helped you to become successful? Who inspired and supported you?

Also, if you are feeling brave, write down all the things that didn’t work.

For example, when I quit smoking, I found the following strategies helpful: reading books about the science of addiction, staying away from “triggering” scenarios and tracking daily progress. What didn’t work: feeling guilty and ashamed, nicotine gum, acupuncture and reading about ill-effects of smoking cigarettes. And watching those anti-smoking ads only made me want to smoke more (go figure!).

See Also: How to Set Personal SMART Goals To Succeed

Develop Strategies Based on Previous Successes To Accomplish Future Goals

thinking strategies

You now have a picture of what has worked for you in the past, so similar tactics are likely to work in the future. This is the premise of “Solutions-Focused Counseling”, a technique whereby you identify “the differences that make a difference”. You recognize what you have been doing right, rather than dwelling on seemingly insurmountable problems and obstacles.

With that in mind, write a list of strategies that will provide the best chance of future success. Here are some ideas:

  • Proximity: What environment(s) will help you thrive? What needs to change in your daily life?
  • Self-Talk: What phrases and stories do you need to tell yourself on a regular basis?
  • Tools and props: What types of gadgets, if any, will help you meet your goal? What apps/newsletters will keep you on track?
  • Support: Who will you ask to check on your progress? What will you require of your groups/social circles? How can family and friends best demonstrate their support?
  • Heroes: Who do you find inspiring? What lessons can you learn from their success?
  • Inspiration and motivation: What resources will keep you motivated during setbacks? What types of books, podcasts or CD’s seem to get you going on bad days?

By now, you will have a list of future goals, past achievements, past goal strategies that did and didn’t work and potential goal strategies for future success. You will also have a greater sense of what makes you tick and what things will make you more likely to be successful.

So, go start doing these things today!

The post The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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You Need To Stop Telling Women Where To Breastfeed

Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see stories of women who get shamed in public for breastfeeding their babies. These stories often involve outrageous circumstances. For example, there are women who shop at lingerie stores who ask to feed their babies in the fitting rooms. Instead of being allowed, they are often redirected to an alley.

There’s also a hashtag trending on social media: #IPumpedHere. This hashtag highlights the degrading conditions in which women are forced to prepare meals for their babies upon returning to work.

In reality, however, women are allowed to feed their babies or pump almost everywhere in the United States. How is that possible? Read on.

The United States Is The Lowest Rated Developed Nation For Breastfeeding Policy

breastfeeding policy

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed for at least 12 months. The World Health Organization, on the other hand, recommends two years. For those who can’t and won’t breastfeed, formula milk makes a great and safe substitute but it’s not the best for growing babies.

There are many reasons why women in the United States make the decision not to breastfeed. One of those reasons is the negative reactions women who decide to breastfeed in public gets.

There are laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public in 49 states. There are also laws at the federal level protecting a woman’s right to pump when she returns to work.

Unfortunately, these laws only cover women who work at businesses with more than 50 people and limited to one year after the birth of a child. Because of these and many other issues, only about half of babies in the United States are breastfed until six months of age.

Laws For Breastfeeding In The Workplace

When mothers return to work, they will often need to pump at least twice a day. This helps keep their milk supply up. Without pumping, their babies will not be able to get the amount of breast milk they need to be healthy and to grow. Preventing women from pumping can also lead to pain and discomfort.

Federal law requires that companies with 50 or more employees follow these guidelines for working mothers:

  • Provide adequate break time for pumping for up to one year after baby’s birth
  • Provide a space, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump with a locking door
  • Employers are not required to compensate employees for this time
  • Provide electricity and refrigeration for pumping and storage

Why Support Mothers In The Workplace?

mothers in the workplace

The biggest reason to support mothers in the workplace is that it is the right thing to do.

When women have options, they are going to be able to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. This, in turn, will lead to stronger families. In addition to that, keeping women engaged in the workforce longer allows them to grow faster in their careers instead of having to start over from the bottom every time they take a break to have a child or care for an aging parent.

Women do the majority of the unpaid caretaking and it can take a significant toll on their earning power in the long run. And if you still need more reasons to support women in the workforce, the United States won’t be able to compete in the global economy with other industrialized nations if we keep marginalizing the talent of women and forcing them off to the sidelines when they don’t always want to be there.

See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

Breastfeeding Mothers, Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights and being vocal about exercising them is going to be important. Don’t be afraid to talk to your company about your needs because you might find that they are more willing than you think to accommodate you with a pumping room and break time.

If you are going to be breastfeeding in public, and you will be breastfeeding in public more than likely, be ready to confront and diffuse any uncomfortable situations. Remember that you have the right to breastfeed your baby and no one has the right to tell you not to.

The post You Need To Stop Telling Women Where To Breastfeed appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Tips To Making Your Resume Cover Letter Stand Out

You know what they say—applying for a job is a job in itself. Albeit a little negative, the saying is correct—it does take a lot of energy and effort to search and apply for jobs. In this day and age, it’s likely that you will be submitting at least 20 or more applications in an average job search. And when each job requires your resume, an online application (complete with questionnaire), plus a stellar cover letter that’s tailored to each and every job listing, it’s easy to see why the process gets exhausting.

Although it might be tempting to just write a generic cover letter for each of these job listings, you could be sabotaging your job search. The average number of people who apply for one position is around 118. So, how do you put your name at the top of the stack out of the dozens of people applying for a job? Although there’s no surefire trick that will help get you each and every job, having well-written and tailored job materials will always increase your chances of getting a call back for an interview.

So, what are the key components of a cover letter and what should you say in them? How exactly do you write a great cover letter?

Here are a few tips on writing an effective cover letter that will help you land your dream job.

What Does a Good Cover Letter Consist Of?

A good cover letter will accomplish the following four things:

1. Have correct formatting.
2. Tell your prospective employer who you are.
3. Tell your prospective employer why you’re qualified for this job.
4. Tell your prospective employer why you’re more qualified than other applicants.

See Also: 16 Worst Resume Mistakes

Now that we know what the components are, let’s break down each section.

Get in Cover Letter Formation

First things first, you have to make sure that your cover letter format is correct. You will need to have your name and contact information in a centered header at the top. The first line will be the date you’re writing the cover letter and will be left-aligned. Underneath your date, you will put a space, and then you will address the person you are writing the letter to (the person listed in the job ad) and put their position name if known, company, and address.

See the example below.

In addition to your name and your prospective employer’s name being correctly formatted, you also want to be sure to keep your cover letter all on one page. If your prospective employer sees more than one page, it’s likely they are not going to read it. So, even if you really want to mention that you won the sixth-grade science fair, you probably won’t have the space to do so. Be sure to sign your letter with a “Sincerely,” add a space below, and then put your first and last name.

Tell Them Who You Are

Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to your prospective employer, and, if you’re lucky enough to get the job, then this will be the introduction to people you could potentially work with for years. You definitely want to make a good first impression, and to make a good first impression you need to properly introduce yourself. In the first paragraph of your cover letter, say your first and last name and write exactly what position you are applying for (there could be several positions open in the company).

After that, you will want to give the employer your “elevator speech” on paper. The HR team or the hiring manager will be blazing through these cover letters to see whom they can eliminate right away so it’s crucial to stick to the important facts quickly. Say why you’re qualified for the job right away. Name your years of relevant experience, your string of internships, or anything else that is relevant. Be brief and professional. You want to be as succinct as possible.

Write Why You Are Qualified

cover letter

After you’ve introduced yourself, the next one to two paragraphs are going to be about why you’re qualified for this position in particular.

It may be uncomfortable, but this is your time to brag. You don’t want to come off as too much, however. For example, something like this would be fine: “I believe that my experience working on several different types of publications, experience editing in both AP and Chicago Manual of Style, and my ability to collaborate with writers make me qualified for this copyediting position.” But something like this might come off as too braggadocious: “I believe I would be able to enter your position with relatively no training as I have already mastered everything that was listed in your qualifications on the job ad.”

If you can also put your achievements in quantitative terms, do so. An example would be: “As Sales Manager in X Company, I was able to raise our annual profits by a total of 20% for 2016.”

Key tip: Use language directly from the job ad in your cover letter. If the job description says that you must be an expert in using Specific Program XYZ, then specifically state that you are an expert in using Specific Program XYZ.

Write Why You’re Most Qualified

So, you’ve already established that you’re qualified for the position. Now is the time that you need to write about why you’re more qualified than anyone else.

Why would you be good to work with? Have you never missed a deadline on your own account? Do you go above and beyond? Are you always the first one at the office? What is it about you that sticks out above all the rest? Write that in a short paragraph and then you’re ready to close it out.

At the end of your cover letter, you will need to add just a sentence that says something along the lines of, “If you have any questions about my work history or would like any more information, please contact me at _____. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

And then you write a signature and you’re ready to send that letter off.

Be Sure to Proofread

resume proofreading

Lastly—and this can’t be overstated—it’s so important to have someone give your cover letter a read and ensure that it is 100% grammatically correct and doesn’t contain any spelling errors. It’s really difficult to catch your own errors, and you don’t want to re-read it after you hit send and discover that you misspelled something in the job title or accidentally wrote the name of the wrong company.

Do yourself a favor and have a trusted family member or friend read over your letter, or consider hiring the services of a professional editor to do the job.

Writing cover letters takes a lot of time and effort, but once you get that call that says you got the job, you will be glad you took the time to do it correctly.

See Also: What I Learned From Reading 1,000 Resumes

 

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Happiness Techniques From Around The World That Can Change Your Life

When we look back across our lives, it is often the most prominent of events and landmarks that we remember: a kiss, a birthday party, a new job, or a sporting achievement. Yet it is the way we live our day-to-day lives that truly defines who we are and how we feel. Happiness breeds happiness, and it is important to start with the fundamentals.

All around the world, ordinary people and famous achievers alike have developed ways to buoy their daily experience for thousands of years. Whether due to the local climate, religious and cultural tendencies, or just a chance habit that caught the imagination of others in that region, every place has its own techniques to share on how to make regular life just that little bit nicer.

So let’s take a look at things folk from around the world do to give their day that tweak it needs, and how you can adapt these ideas to your daily life.

Japan

The Japanese have a relatively new ‘tradition’ to reconnect with their souls. It’s called ‘shinrin-yoku’, or forest-bathing, and was developed in the 1980s in an atmosphere of suffocating cityscapes and omnipresent technology.

shinrin yoku

To practice shinrinu-yoku:

  • Go for a walk in the forest, or a wooded area of your local park
  • Take time to think about every sound you hear while you walk
  • Appreciate the smells and the texture of the trees
  • Reconsider your existence in the context of our ancient natural world.

Hawaii

The Hawaiians have a particular method for dealing with problems in everyday relationships: ‘Ho‘oponopono’. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a colleague at work whom you feel has done you wrong, Ho‘oponopono is a means of figuring out things by yourself rather than responding rashly and making things worse.

Allowing resentment to build will ultimately hurt you more than the person to whom it is aimed. Instead:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Find ten minutes to think things through
  • Be grateful for what you have
  • Forget your own needs for a moment and consider the other person’s point of view
  • Express your own feelings calmly
  • Work towards mutual forgiveness.

Norway

‘Friluftsliv’, or ‘free air life’, is the Norwegian practice of spending time in the outdoors. Aside from the benefits of fresh air, subjecting yourself to decent amounts of natural daylight can help you to regulate your sleep and stay in touch with the natural rhythms of the world around you.

free air life norway

If you spend most of your time indoors:

  • Establish a morning and/or evening ‘outdoors ritual’, such as walking the dog
  • Use every coffee break at work as an opportunity to get some fresh air
  • If it’s warm enough, eat lunch outdoors; otherwise, take a stroll through the park before you eat indoors
  • Look beyond the borders of your town. It’s usually easy to find a national park or natural area to visit on the weekends.

Germany

If the Norwegians are all about heading into nature by themselves to ‘re-connect’, Germans are more about reconnecting with each other. ‘Gemütlichkeit’ is that particularly German manner of celebrating togetherness with a frothy beer, a song and a dance.

To get some of this goodness in your own social life:

  • Be careful not to take the people you live and work with for granted
  • Never miss a chance to raise a toast
  • Take time to greet people properly and say meaningful goodbyes, even if you see them every day.

Spain

The famous Spanish siesta is an endangered animal. Sadly, even as experts more frequently recommend an afternoon nap to boost workplace productivity, many business managers are concerned that lost time and energy is bad for profit margins.

spanish siesta

To take a healthy, effective siesta:

  • Nap for no more than thirty minutes
  • Sleep in an armchair or sofa rather than a bed
  • Make sure you do it regularly and not just as an occasional treat.

See Also: Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

France

We are a generation of multi-taskers – but often, allowing our work and personal lives to overlap means doing a bad job at both and truly enjoying neither. A little daily ritual to demarcate the various areas of your life can help you more accomplished and relaxed. The French do this by taking a small drink between work and the evening meal: the apéritif.

apéritif france

To leave work behind for the day:

  • Change into a new set of clean clothes as soon as you get home
  • Switch off work notifications on your phone
  • Pour yourself a drink of something special – it doesn’t have to be boozy!

Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil

In 1909, the French Society of Hygiene told us: “Yerba mate raises morale, sustains the muscular system, augments strength and allows one to endure privations.” What they did not mention is that drinking this special tea in the company of friends is also good for the soul.

To tap into the South American ritual of mate-tea drinking:

  • Always offer a drink to everyone in the room when you’re brewing up
  • Try to establish a ‘tea tray’ culture for meetings at work
  • Try the real thing – yerba mate can be found in lots of health shops and some regular grocery stores.

Turkey

‘Keyif’ is all about idle moments of relaxation and contemplation. Remind yourself to take a couple of these each day – the manner of doing so is different from individual to individual.

To identify your moment of mindfulness:

  • Slow down – take the long route from A to B, and never be in more than a hurry than you need
  • Pay attention to what makes you happy, be it the sound of the breeze in a tree you walk past each day, or a particular seat in a café that makes you feel calm
  • Try watching a few ASMR videos for some ideas on how the mundane can become almost transcendental.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnian people like to break up their morning with a slow coffee, brewed in a special pot and served with sugar or candy. It’s thick and tasty like Turkish coffee, but just as important is the symbolic side: taking time to discuss the day’s events or a business proposition.

bosnian coffee

  • Enjoy tea or coffee as an experience in itself, not something to fuel you while you work
  • Use your coffee break to talk to other people, rather than staring at your phone
  • Look into buying a Bosnian coffee set online – it will change your life!

See Also: How to Supercharge Your Afternoon With a Napuccino (aka a Coffee Nap)

Nigeria

‘Ubuntu’ is the philosophy of putting the community ahead of the individual. Individuals become stronger in a healthy, happy community.

  • Try asking questions or listening rather than interrupting when you think somebody is wrong
  • Consider the benefits for your group as well as yourself when making decisions
  • Look at each group task as an opportunity to learn or to teach.

Try just a handful of these happiness techniques from around the world, and you are sure to see your quality of life improve!

 

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How to Create and Maintain Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are limits we set for other people regarding their behavior towards us. Establishing personal boundaries means stopping other people from pressuring us to do what we don’t want to do or put up with things we don’t want.

There are people in our lives that can violate our personal boundaries and make us feel uncomfortable, used and emotionally drained. Many of us put up with poor treatment by others because we are afraid to make them feel angry or lose their friendship. We might also feel guilty for standing up to other people and telling them no.

If you often feel like that and have difficulties building and keeping personal boundaries, there are a few things you need to practice.

Get Comfortable with Negative Emotions

Standing up for yourself and saying no to people very often gets a negative reaction from them. That is something to be expected and you need to realize that them getting mad is not your problem and that you cannot allow your boundaries to be violated just for the sake of avoiding negative emotions.

Even though people may get angry at first, they will soon realize they were asking too much from you. And if they don’t realize that and still hold resentment, that is not your fault. You should feel free to let them go.

Don’t Reward Poor Treatment by Giving People What They Want

When people learn that they get what they want from you even when they treat you poorly, they will be encouraged to continue doing that. By standing up for yourself and not giving them what they want, you’ll be teaching them that their behavior is not only unacceptable but also doesn’t get them anything positive. We have the power to guide how other people treat us by our reactions to their behavior.

Feel Free to Say No

say no

You may be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or appear selfish by saying no. However, you need to realize that saying yes when you mean to say no causes you to hold unnecessary resentment towards other people. That isn’t healthy for you and your relationships.

Saying no to someone doesn’t mean you are a bad or a selfish person. It means you are being honest about your feelings and desires.

See Also: The Courage To Say No

Make Yourself Unavailable

You can stop other people from violating your boundaries by making yourself unavailable physically or emotionally. Don’t answer their calls and messages or tell them you are busy. Don’t react when they try to get something out of you and don’t participate in conversations that make you feel bad about yourself. Often, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from a situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Know What You Want

To be assertive and to establish clear boundaries, you need to know what you want from people and what your values are. You need to be in touch with your own wants and feelings to be able to communicate them and recognize when they are being hurt or violated. Be introspective and ask yourself if there are things that make you feel bad or uncomfortable but you do them anyway because you feel pressured by other people.

Don’t Try to Change People

People who violate other people’s boundaries usually lack self–awareness and that’s why it’s difficult to make them change their behavior. They see nothing wrong with it.

If someone can’t understand that their behavior is unacceptable even when you explain why, there’s nothing you can do about it. Trying to make them change is a waste of time and energy.

Practice Self-Care

practice self care

Practicing self-care involves taking care of your health and body, taking alone time to relax and pursuing activities that make you feel happy.

When you practice self-care, you become more tuned with your own feelings. You learn to value and cultivate your own well-being. The more you practice self-care, the less likely you are to put up with people and behaviors that are not healthy for you.

See Also: Neglecting Self Care: The Biggest Mistake I Made (And How You Can Avoid It)

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How To Become A Social Media Influencer

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. Even as far back as the 1700s, the Royal Family was singing the praises of Josiah Wedgwood’s pottery. To this day, Wedgwood is still a household name.

Building a brand takes a lot of work and until very recently, the best way a brand could build a customer base was by paying a celebrity to endorse a product. This created a shortcut to word-of-mouth advertising as a celebrity served as a stand-in for all the small person-to-person recommendations that would ordinarily be used to build buzz around a brand.

There was a time when people trusted celebrities, but that time has passed. Now people rely on regular people to give them recommendations about goods and services. This has led to a rise in a brand-new phenomenon: the social media influencer.

Social media influencers have a few common traits

social media influencer

  • The social media influencer is a person who was not famous initially but may become famous.
  • It is a person who built a social media following around a particular topic over time.
  • Influencers are typically seen as more authentic and trustworthy than celebrities.
  • Influencers are more likely to interact with their audience than celebrities.

Whereas celebrities are handed down from Hollywood and we don’t generally get much choice about which ones become or stay famous, social media has given rise to a new democratic way to decide who gets to become famous. Influencers aren’t made famous by being discovered by Hollywood – they become famous by being genuine and building up a following over time.

This, of course, means that you can set out to become an influencer as a job. That’s right. The next time your mom tells you that you are spending too much time on your phone, you can tell her that you are working on your next career as a social media influencer.

See Also: The Millennials’ Mania Over Social Media

Here’s how to get started

be a social media influencer

Decide what you are passionate and knowledgeable about and start building your following online within that community. If the community does not yet exist, all the better- that means you get to guide it!

Stay authentic and always interact with others when possible.

Once you have built a significant following on a topic, look for brands in that space that may be open to influencer marketing. Pitch them an idea on how you would market their product on social media.

Of course, it’s not a traditional career path and it is constantly changing. This means you will need to be able to change directions whenever you discover something isn’t working.

When social media influencers first came on the scene a little over a decade ago there were basically no rules. That meant that you could take a payment to say something nice about a brand or a company and never have to disclose it. These days, there are rules in place that prevent that from happening.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to make sure that viewers know when they are seeing an advertisement. This is why when you are scrolling through twitter, you will often see #ad or #sponsored. Influencers must make it clear when they are in a contract with a company or with a brand so that there is no confusion about the fact money has changed hands.

Following the rules is only one part of the equation, though. You also have to remain authentic and believable in order for your services to be viable as a form of advertising. One of the major changes that has taken place over the evolution of social media influencers is that advertisers are no longer moved to write a check based on your follower count – they are looking for actual quantifiable results. That means you will have to be able to turn your Instagram #ad posts into an actual pipeline for sales.

See Also: Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media

As you embark on your new career as a social media influencer, remember to be authentic and to always follow the rules. Nearly three quarters of teens think that YouTubers are more relatable than celebrities, and 88% of people trust online recommendations as much as in person ones. There’s a lot of room for the role of the social media influencer to grow. How will you take advantage of the evolution of the social media influencer ?

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10 Proven Ways To Build Your Personal Branding in 2018

Admit it or not, if you want to do business, you’d want to do it with other people- not companies. Putting up a strong personal branding allows you to reach out to your clients more which, in effect, can dramatically boost conversion rates and sales.

But, how exactly do you build a personal brand?

Honestly, there’s no single formula that can make you successful overnight. It will take a lot of hard work and commitment before you can make it big in this kind of business. But, to help you out, below are 10 easy yet proven ways on how to build your personal branding.

Ready?

Get a logo

If you want to build a personal brand people can easily identify, you’ll need a logo. It’ll be the visual representation of your brand so you have to pay close attention to how you’re going to make it. You can go simple or complicated, depending on your style and the people you want to connect with.

Logotypes are highly effective, despite being simple and plain at times. You can create your brand name and print it on your preferred typeface. This choice can save you time and money, especially if you don’t have enough moolah to spend on hiring a good designer.

While designing a logo used to be a costly and time-dependent process, logo makers have come a long way in recent years, and are rapidly overtaking humans as the go-to tools for creating affordable and eye-catching logos.

Be you

In creating a personal brand, it’s understandable why a lot of people work so hard to impress their target audience. After all, the more you impress them, the more they are likely to patronize your brand, right?

Well, that isn’t always the case.

You see, consumers prefer to see the real personality behind a brand. And if you come across as NOT authentic, they are likely to leave you. So, show your true personality. Use social media to bring forth an honest profile your consumers will be able to relate with.

Make friends online

When it comes to personal brands, having influencers around can be one of your greatest assets. These people can share your brand, stories and posts to their respective target audience and this can greatly extend your reach.

Apart from that, you should also be more active online. Join forums that are related to your niche and engage in online conversations that are relevant to your business. Create a personality that people trust. Take advantage of social media in making your presence felt online.

Meet friends offline

Although online influence is essential, you can’t just limit your connections within the boundaries of the Internet. Go out and actually meet people offline. Attend local events within your industry and start building friendships with everyone you meet. Expanding your circle and networking means expanding your influence.

Start a website

If you want to make a name online, there should be a place people can go to if they want to know more about you and your brand. This is where a website plays a major role, particularly the About Me page.

There are tons of tools you can use to create a decent website. You can get them for free or for a fee but make sure to get only what you’ll need. Purchasing complicated tools and not using them will only be a waste of resources.

Provide your consumers with value

Your personal brand should reflect the true you, but it shouldn’t be all about you. Instead, focus on your audience and what they really want. Create content not just to satisfy their needs but to keep them coming back for more.

Make sure to provide them with something unique so you can set yourself apart from your competitors. Research about what your readers are interested in and what products and services they are talking about more. Finding areas of unique perspective will put you one step ahead of the competition.

And don’t forget to be relevant. Be your consumers’ source of information and you’ll easily grow your authority in the industry.

Work consistently

Being consistent can take a lot of work and commitment but it’s one good way to ensure the growth of your personal brand. If you are inconsistent, you’re just likely to confuse and bore your audience to the point that they’ll look for something better.

Be focused

The initial stage of building a personal brand can be discouraging, especially if you only have a few followers. If you want to make it big, don’t focus on the number and pay more attention to your purpose.

Talk as if you are speaking to hundreds of people. Write as if the whole world is reading your content. You’ll be surprised with how this kind of dedication and focus can change your business.

See Also: Finding Out the Best Time for Posting on Social Media Sites

Learn how to say no

In your quest to establish authority, it’s likely that you’ll meet other people and businesses that’ll want to work with you. Before you actually agree, think first. Make sure those people and businesses are in line with your brand, vision, and personality.

Your work, as well as your actions, will reflect your brand so be careful in what you do and what decisions you make.

Just give it a go!

Although preparation is key, too much planning can get in the way of you actually starting. In fact, if you wait too long to get started, you may end up not starting at all.

So, don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you start. With your limited resources, start building authority, reach out to people and be consistent with your job. After all these things, success will surely follow.

In Summary

Building a personal branding isn’t that easy, particularly with so many people aspiring to create their own. If you want to be successful, you have to know exactly what you want to achieve.

Be you in creating your personal brand but remain relevant and focused on your consumers. Take advantage of technology and use tools that can make the process a lot easier. Be consistent and don’t wait too long before getting started.

 

The post 10 Proven Ways To Build Your Personal Branding in 2018 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Pictures and Pennies: How To Make Money From Photography?

Imagine yourself on top of a mountain. As you look around, you see the world around you. You know that this is a particularly special moment and that this will not last forever because you’ll have to go down eventually.

Is this the kind of experience you’ll want to relive over and over again in your living room?

If yes, then you’re not alone. A lot of people bring out their cameras or phones to take home with them an experience that they’ll never forget. Some of these people even make a living out of taking pictures of special moments.

They are called photographers.

Being a photographer is a demanding job. Photographers are not always present in elite fashion shows and high-class photo shoots. Sometimes, photographers have to make their way into several fields within in the industry. With this, how exactly can they make money from photography?

We all know that there are a lot of photographers who make a lot of money in the field of fashion and stock photography. Famous fashion photographers include Annie Leibovitz, Todd Anthony Tyler and Mark Getty. These people easily make six-figure incomes or even possibly seven figures.

Now, before you even pick up your camera, know that the field of photography is highly competitive.

It’s extremely difficult for entry-level aspirants who want to make it big in the photography scene or just simply earn an earnest living. However, fashion isn’t the only field in photography. The area is amazingly broad and you can find your niche in one of those specializations.

To get started, here’s how to make money from photography.

The Basics

make money with photography

First off, take photos of people and events.

For example, photographers are always a must when it comes to weddings. If this is your chosen niche, remember that “people” should be your priority if you want to make a living.

Why? Because people will hire you to photograph them and not mountains or landscapes. They want photos of actual living individuals and the events they want to be a part of.

Of course, another thing to take note of is your happiness. Photography is capturing special moments on film. Making money out of something you love is a commodity for most people and that is the reason why a lot of photographers enjoy what they do.

Being more passionate about your “art” can make all the difference between moving on and giving up on your dream.

See Also: 7 Steps On How to Figure Out Your Career

Fine Tuning your Craft

Now that you’ve decided to go more realistic and practical by photographing people, you can try practicing on your portraiture. Most individuals want a photographer to capture the best images of themselves.

With more experience and practice, you’ll be soon mastering your craft which means increasing your reputation. More recognition means more projects and this can mean more income.

Continuing Professional Growth

how to make money wit photography

As mentioned earlier, you have to be happy in what you’re doing to be successful. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you’ll get tired of doing it and it’s perfectly normal to feel that way.

However, those who have a genuine passion for what they’re doing will find any means necessary to keep on perfecting their art. Don’t be afraid to branch out into your chosen field.

There are lots of fields within photography. The important thing in choosing one is that it goes with your heart and happiness.

New Breed of Photographer

Although mainstream and traditional photographers frown on these “new breed” of photographers, there’s no denying that they make a lot of money. These photographers don’t come armed with professional cameras, tripods, lightings or anything like that. Instead, they come with iPhones and selfie sticks.

These people are social media photographers. A relatively new field of photography, a lot of people are engaging in this lucrative practice. These people are being paid to create images and share them with their followers.

Top companies such as Nike, Sony and other corporate giants shell out vast sums of money to encourage more people to choose their products. These companies often provide fare, allowance and time to these people just to do their jobs. They get to travel all over the world and make a buzz on the social media platform they’re in, more preferably, Instagram.

You could say that this job is easy and that they’re living the dream. However, the work that comes with this is also difficult. Gathering a lot of followers in a few months time is extremely difficult and requires superb dedication.

Takeaway

Photographers are unique individuals that get to share and experience the rarest moments in the world. They get to capture it on film and share it with everyone else to see. In a way, photographers are like painters who also rely on skill to deliver their masterpiece.

However, no matter how beautiful your masterpiece is, without any income, you won’t be able to survive. Although there are several ways for people to earn money from photography, it will only get tricky if they’re not happy with what they’re doing.

The post Pictures and Pennies: How To Make Money From Photography? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What to Look for When Buying The Best Dog Food For Small Dogs

Buying food for toy breeds is not as straightforward as just choosing the most popular at the pet store and taking it home. Small dogs have special dietary requirements as they tend to be sensitive to certain food. It’s also more difficult to feed them due to their small size and high metabolism.

Toy breed dogs can only eat small amounts at a time so they need to eat several times a day to keep their blood sugar within normal range. The food needs to be packed with nutrients and calories to ensure that your little dog is getting enough of the things it needs to stay healthy.

While this may sound daunting, here are some guidelines on what to look for when buying the best dog food for small dogs.

Ingredients To Look For

dog food

Quality ingredients are the most important thing when deciding which food to buy. Just like with human food, you want the ingredients to be as natural as possible so that they can provide the best nutrition available. The main things to check for in dog food for small breeds are protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Protein

When checking what’s in the food you’re considering, protein is the first thing to look for. Protein should be the main ingredient so it should be first on the list. It should also be a high-quality source of protein and something you can recognize. Look for chicken, turkey, or lamb.

Sometimes, game meats will also be used, such as bison or venison. These are good as they are not usually inflammatory and they can be tolerated by dogs with sensitive tummies.

Anything ambiguous, like “by-product”, should be avoided. This is often what’s left over and considered unfit for human consumption after butchering the best meat off of an animal. It can also be a mix of animals from various sources.

Meat meals are also a good protein source. Meal is meat that has been dried to remove the water but still contains the same protein content.

Fat

Dogs are unlike humans in their digestion and they can take a quite high-fat diet and still be healthy. Just like with protein, you should look for reliable fat sources. Chicken fat is a good one but any recognizable source would be acceptable.

Fats that are not defined, such as “animal fat”, can be accumulated from all over the place and from various sources so the quality cannot be verified. Preservatives are often added to them to make them last longer as fat turns rancid when exposed to air.

Along with fat, the food you buy for toy dog breeds should also include fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Some of the vitamins small dogs require are fat soluble, which means they need to have these fatty acids in order to absorb them.

As a general rule, there should be 1g of fat for 2g of protein in good dog food for small dogs.

Carbohydrates

In dog food, carbohydrates are often used as fillers to add bulk and calories. These are often referred to as vague descriptions, such as “grain by-products” or “cereals”. There are also some grains that small dogs, like Shih Tzus, are often allergic to. Examples include corn, wheat, and soy.

However, there are nutrients in high-quality carbohydrates. So, look for lists of vegetables, preferably fibrous ones, like potatoes, squashes, turnips and whole grains like oats.

Things To Avoid When Looking For Food For Toy Dogs

Apart from knowing what to look for in a good dog food, you should also know what should be avoided as much as possible.

As previously mentioned, wheat, soy, and corn are common allergens. They can cause upset stomachs and skin irritations. Along with these, look out for artificial preservatives, like ethoxyquin, BHT, and BHA.

Of course, some preservatives are needed or else the food would go off in storage and transport, but these can be in the form of Vitamin E and Vitamin C substrates known as tocopherols or ascorbates.

There are also some ingredients that must not be given to small dogs and Shih Tzu. These are toxic and can cause organ damage and even death in some cases. These include anything with caffeine, such as tea or coffee, chocolate, onions, fruit seeds or pips, grapes or raisins and macadamia nuts.

Size and Shape Of Dog Food For Small Dogs

Small dogs have small mouths and jaws to match. This means that you can’t give them big chunks of food as they’ll struggle to bite and chew properly. A lot of toy breeds also have compressed snouts and flat faces, like the Shih Tzu, and this makes eating messy and not so easy.

There are specialized foods, mainly dry food, that’s made up of small, bite-sized pieces called kibbles. They’re the perfect size and shape to fit into small mouths and small jaws. Size and shape should be a consideration when picking out the best dog food for small dogs.

Snacks and Treats

food for toy dogs

The recommendations for food should also apply to the treats that you give your small dogs. Since they can only take in small amounts of food at a time, they are often prone to hypoglycemia. You need to give them a couple of snacks between meals to keep their blood sugar normal. These should be small snacks that your dog can eat quickly and are full of nutrients and calories to keep them going. Just like with meals, avoid snacks that have lots of chemicals, preservatives, and allergens in them.

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)

For extra peace of mind, look out for the AAFCO stamp of approval. The AAFCO test and monitor animal food to make sure that it has the right composition of nutrients and can provide your dog with everything it needs and everything the food claims to provide. It also ensures that there is nothing harmful in there so you can feed your dog with confidence.

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How to Cover your Unexpected Round-the-World Travel Expenses

No matter where you go, how you go or how many days your stay will be, you can easily spend more cash than you thought you would when traveling. Unexpected travel expenses can cost you more than you would spend if you just stay at home.

Expenses for airplane tickets and hotel rooms are obvious. But, what if you end up losing your baggage? Or someone gets sick?

There are several unexpected travel expenses that can fast spike the total price of your trip to an uncomfortable height. Thankfully, there are some effective and easy ways to cover them. Below are great tips you can use when planning your next trip.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is not really common among people. But, it only takes a bad fall on your trip or a motorbike accident to make you regret your decision of not getting a travel insurance.

Policies are available for a cost as low as a night’s lodging. If you have more money, you can consider increasing your deductible and just use your insurance for real calamities.

Unplanned Upgrades

travel expense

There will be times when the train you expect to take you from one spot to another gets delayed for 12 hours. There will be times when you miss your bus and have to buy a nicer class ticket so you can stay on your schedule. In some cases, getting tour buses will be so difficult that you’ll need to spend your last $50 to buy a one-way flight back instead of waiting.

The best way to cover such unexpected travel expenses is to find reasonable offers online for cab or taxi services or get cash advance online.

Baggage problems

A lot of travelers just do not pay attention to their free checked baggage allowance once they find tickets with amazing prices. They’ll only realize the problem when they are hit with excess baggage fees.

To avoid this, always double check your airline’s website before packing your suitcase. This will keep you away from extra charges.

Lost luggage problems are a very common scenario today, too. If your baggage doesn’t show up, go to the airline counter to file a report. They may provide you a bag of essentials and ask you to share your contact details. Remember that the longer your luggage is lost, the more compensation the airline will provide. A payday loan could cover this travel problem.

See Also: Things You Didn’t Know That Occur While Traveling

Medicine and doctors

doctor consultation

When traveling, your routine changes tremendously. You’ll eat and drink a lot of new things, too. So, you have to go see your attending physician and consult him about your travel plans. If you don’t, you can end up spending tons of cash for expensive medicines, like antiseptics, sunscreen, and allergy pills.

To cover these expenses, you can pack a few medicines in your baggage. If your airline won’t allow it, look for discounts and buy extra packs whenever you see a good deal on your way. A small town without any drugstore can sell these essentials at a high price.

Lodging Fees

And finally, you should be ready for certain fees connected with lodging that are frequently hidden and unexpected for many travelers. Before signing your final payment, ensure that you have a clear understanding of how much you are going to pay for the whole stay.

Ask the hotel management to provide the list of extra payments that are not included in your stay rate. Also, be ready to cover extra charges, like open bar, internet, and room service fees.

To avoid all those inconveniences and prevent awkward situations during the arrival, include those expenses in your travel budget.

Conclusion

Every time we plan a trip, we often forget the smaller, less pressing stuff. Just keep the above-mentioned points in mind next time you are planning or saving for an overseas trip.

When taking a trip anywhere in the world, you must be prepared for unexpected travel expenses. This way, if something comes up, you won’t end up feeling stressed, frustrated and broke.

See Also: 5 Important Tips Before Traveling Overseas

 

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Integrating User Experience Design and Internet Marketing Successfully

There was a time when having a website was the new thing in marketing. In 2010, there were just 255 million websites worldwide. That number nearly quadrupled to 966 million in just six years.

As a marketing professional, this trend tells me two things: websites are a major factor in strategy planning and websites have to deliver more in order to rise above the crowd.

At first glance, you might say that I have only to worry about the first and leave the second to website designers. However, website designers tend to focus more on how a website looks than how it works and that can be problematic for marketers when the website design has a negative impact on the user experience or UX.

As Steve Jobs said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” That is exactly what it means to have a website with good user experience or UX.

A Marketing Approach to Your Site’s UX design

The UX was not always a big issue, which is why there is a divide between marketing and website design. People, back in the day, were more patient and willing to overlook a cumbersome website if they could get otherwise inaccessible information.

That is no longer the case today.

Now, users have higher expectations when it comes to website performance. Since they have a wider option of obtaining what they want from other sources, they are more likely to leave a site if it has a negative UX design.

The factors that influence website UX include accessibility (loading speed, working links), usability (navigation), findability (SEO), value (content relevance and credibility) and desirability (design and layout). When a website lacks one or more feature, it results in a negative UX.

How does this impact on marketing?

Well, consider that the average user in 2017 will wait only a few seconds for a page to load and about 80% of users are less likely to use a website with poor UX. This means fewer conversions and that’s not good from a marketing perspective.

Marketing and UX Pairing

The question then is how marketing can improve the UX. The answer is simple: the two sides have to work as a team.

Sales and marketing professionals routinely deal directly with people, unlike website designers. As such, they have an in-depth knowledge of what people want and need when they visit a particular site.

For example, if you sell clothes online, the people that go to your site need to buy clothes. How can you provide them with a solution to their problem? The answer is to make it easy for them to find what they want.

Marketing professionals can provide valuable insight into buying behavior and psychology, which may not make much sense to web designers. On the other hand, marketers have no idea of the principles behind website design. They may know how to sell but not how to present it to the user effectively.

In other words, marketing and UX design have to forge a working relationship. Below are some brilliant ways marketing and UX design can boost your site’s conversion rate together.

Coordinate marketing efforts

marketing campaign

One of the biggest challenges for many companies today is coordinating different marketing campaigns to benefit the company as a whole. One study shows that nearly two-thirds of companies identify marketing silos as a barrier to communications, productive and effective execution of a cohesive marketing strategy.

Collaboration with the UX design team can break down these silos and improve communications because it establishes a common ground to work on. Working with the UX design team makes any breakdown in communications among marketing glaringly apparent, so it necessitates agreement among them on major goals. When there is a cohesive message and approach, the UX design team can produce a better website. It’s a win-win situation.

Carry out user testing

Marketers may know people but, ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. UX design teams have access to information that reveals how users actually interact with the website through user testing tools. These provide valuable insights to marketers about what the users want so they can refine their marketing campaigns and maximize conversion.

This, in turn, will guide marketers on what they need the UX design team to fix on the website so that they can improve and create the ideal UX. This entails a certain measure of trial and error but it is a very effective method of designing the perfect website in the long term.

designing the perfect website

Unify campaigns across different channels

Websites often serve as the anchor for campaigns and the average company uses about eight different channels for their marketing efforts. While marketing strategies for each channel optimize user response, they don’t necessarily dovetail neatly into your conversion funnel.

You need to make sure your email campaign is in line with your mobile app so that they end up generating leads or sales for your company. The best way to do this is to design your website to be the pivot or hub for different channels so most of your leads can conveniently navigate across channels.

Actionable plans

Now that you know how marketing and UX can work and complement each other, your next step is to take action. Here’s how to do that:

Do initial research

Designing a site for a kick-ass UX all begins with gathering information about your user. You need to find out who they are, what they care about and where they come from. You also need to know how they spend their time before you can even think about your site design. Learning about your target audience is essential for success in developing your website UX. After all, it is the user experience.

Monitor users

Your initial user research will give you a good idea of how to design your website. However, until you take it out for a test drive, it is just an idea. Once your site goes up, you should monitor how users are actually interacting with your site and use tools to monitor and analyze their behavior.

Before you do that, take note of your own expectations on user behavior to serve as a benchmark for future observations. This will prevent you from “hindsight bias” and help you figure out gaps in your user research.

Do a survey

According to TermLife2Go, after you have observed your users and identified certain behaviors you want to understand, do a survey to get the answers from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Most of e-commerce websites are doing actionable plans to enhance users shopping experience. They send specific questions to ask why users bought an item or why they clicked on a certain option. Your intention is not to be nosy, but to increase your understanding of how your users think. That way, you can improve the website UX as well as your marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

A marketing approach to website UX is simply about integrating two important elements of your conversion funnel. If you can manage to do this successfully, it will maximize your marketing efforts to an incredible degree.

See Also: The 5 Internet Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2017

 

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How To Get Rich Quick

Money is a part of life. Whether we love it or hate it, money is a necessity. It provides food, shelter and health care. It also gives us freedom, opportunity and decision-making flexibility. In addition to those, money allows us to pursue our passions or philanthropic desires.

As much as we may wish it weren’t the case, money plays a huge role in our lives so the attainment of wealth is often on our radar.

During my own journey to wealth, I learned a few distinctions that deepened my relationship with money and allowed the idea of getting rich quick to be a real possibility. Of course, with these terms, there are qualifiers.

Getting rich quick can often refer to a scam or gamblers mentality. That’s not what I’m referring to. Becoming rich is not an event that happens to you. It’s a process that takes place over time. Whether that time period is short or long, that depends on your approach.

I became rich quickly and I was the most unlikely candidate – a high school dropout, blue-collar mechanic. I had a light bulb moment when I realized people could get rich on purpose- not by accident or luck, but by educating themselves how. If they could do it, so could I. And I did.

Let me clarify by saying nobody can tell you how you are going to achieve it. This is an entrepreneurial step and you need to take personal responsibility for it. But, yes, you can learn how to get rich quick and there’s a process you must go through.

You must change how you think about money.

The average person looks at the average income around them. They work hard to earn that because it is their obtainable reality. They believe that to gain greater wealth, you must have to work harder, be smarter or luckier. But, working hard is not a determining factor at all.

The fundamental ingredients of how to get rich quick are: believing, purpose, knowing for yourself and following through no matter what.

Believing

how to be rich

When you make the mental leap of believing that getting rich is possible, your mindset has shifted. Once you know great wealth is obtainable for you right now, THAT is the golden first step. Every person who has ever obtained wealth quickly has accomplished this belief first.

Purpose

HOW you choose to obtain your wealth is the responsibility of every entrepreneur. There are so many different types of business vehicles and you have to pick one that aligns with your passion, that excites you and that motivates you. You must be working towards a vision.

Know for yourself

Most importantly, you have to see the numbers from any venture and know for yourself that there is an opportunity for wealth. You don’t have to invent the opportunity.

I was a mechanic working crazy hours to barely make ends meet when I saw a presentation for a Network Marketing opportunity. I didn’t know the industry at all but I saw beauty in the product offering AND the business model. It ignited something in me and I knew that it deserved my time and would absolutely lift my income. I did the math and saw it for myself. A couple of years later, I was a self-made millionaire.

Following Through

how to become rich

To become rich quick, you must believe it’s possible, keep your eye on that goal, follow through and it’s yours. If you’ve already decided it’s too hard to make a lot of money or you believe you don’t have the time to invest, then you’ll never see the opportunities that are right in front of you.

The number of times I’ve seen people give up right before I know they’re about to crack is so frustrating. You must be steadfast in your focus and productivity. Otherwise, you’re not really in it to win it. Commit half-heartedly and you will achieve half-hearted results.

There’s not a right or wrong way to make money. At the beginning, I didn’t have the idea, the means or the knowledge to create a venture of my own. I just had the mind shift that I COULD and the opportunity I saw wasn’t a mass produced product with a small profit, requiring huge sales. I saw a high-value product, offering high-profit with great leverage and I made a killing.

To me, that’s a great way to make money quickly in business. It’s not the only way or right way, it is just ONE way.

With lessons I learned from that business and a fire in my belly, I later went on to create my own business venture which was valued at US $170 million in its fourth year. And again, it was based on a high value, high profit product which was loaded with leverage.

That is a great equation for a successful business that has the possibility of creating wealth quickly.

See Also: Five Steps To Turn Doing What You Love Into A Successful Business

Part of the fundamental process of getting rich quick is to understand that thoughts create things. Believe it can be, find the opportunity, do the sums, follow through and you will achieve it.

See Also: You Can’t Miss Your Boat

 

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5 Steps to Loving Yourself and Living Happily Ever After

We are conditioned to feel crap about ourselves.

You never hear people say “Yes, I think I’m great!” or “I love that about myself, I think it’s really cool,” or “I just really make myself laugh.”.

It just sounds a bit weird that it’s more socially acceptable to mock yourself, put yourself down and bemoan your shortcomings. It’s almost cool to appear to be broken, dysfunctional and miserable.

The trouble is that we’re forced to conform to other people’s ideas of what we should be rather than be accepted for who we really are.

We’re spat out of school after being shoehorned into categories and graded like goods on a factory production line. And then, as adults, our insecurities drive advertisers to constantly prey on our self-loathing. We’re continually led to believe that we’re too fat, too stupid, too short, too insecure, too lazy and too unproductive. We constantly compare ourselves to others and consistently find ourselves inadequate.

As adults, we continue to feel like children being told off for being too slow or too messy or not trying our best. Rather than it being our parents or teachers putting us down, we let others do it — the media, our bosses, friends and even more destructively, ourselves. We never stop bemoaning ourselves to the point that we allow those negative voices to cause us misery and permeate our whole lives.

Part of true mature thinking is to own and deal with these thoughts. You need to take control of the ones that are valid and to own the constructive criticism.

It was Mark Twain who said: “The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”.

And, he was right. You will spend your whole life with yourself. The quality of your relationship with yourself will have a direct bearing on the quality of your life as a whole.

It’s probably a strange thought that you are in a relationship with yourself. For many people, they are themselves and, in a haze of introspective emotion, they can’t see beyond a two-dimensional representation of their existence. It’s a childish state that many of us remain locked into.

But, to really develop, you need to separate from yourself, develop some sense of objectivity and become your own best friend. You have to distance the childish voices and impulses and to cultivate a mature view of yourself. You need to be able to look down at yourself with compassion and ultimately love and care for yourself.

Having the inner strength to talk yourself through things, the capacity to self-soothe, to be entertained by yourself and to find yourself interesting is incredibly powerful. To be able to look after yourself, respect your own point of view and be confident in your own thinking is liberating and empowering.

I’ve learned that if I can love myself, forgive my own shortcomings and try to live a happy and fulfilled life, then I can have more resources to be the person I want to be to others. It may sound selfish but if I’m unhappy, tired and drained, I’m no use to anyone. I’m less good as a parent, as a partner, as a worker and a friend. Any positive influence I can give has to start from within and if I’m not right within myself, then I’m wasting my time.

So, what are the steps to loving yourself?

Learn to love yourself from the outside – become your own best friend

love yourself

Try to remove yourself from your immediate emotion and look at yourself objectively. Of course, we all need to feel emotions and be in the moment. But, being able to separate from them and simultaneously retain a sense of balanced objectivity is a valuable skill.

Sometimes we get so involved with our inner feelings that we can’t make progress. Strong emotions can cloud your judgment and having a two-dimensional sense of yourself where you are with your emotions is often detrimental to your well-being.

Become your own best friend. Recognize your emotions and try to nurture a loving and supporting view of yourself so that you can give pieces of advice and comments that are parallel with your inner self.

This sounds more complicated than it actually is. But, think of it this way:

We all have a feeling side and a thinking side and it’s just a case of recognizing and synchronizing the two to work harmoniously.

There are a number of ways to develop this way of supportive thinking. Daily journaling or keeping a diary is a good start as it helps you to reflect on the day’s events. Spending five minutes a day on reflective writing can kickstart your inner voice and allow you access to an inner dialogue that will comfort and support you.

Once you have a sense of your inner voice, nurture and develop it. Converse with it and talk to it. Having an inner dialogue can bring you closer to yourself.

See Also: Are You Your Own Best Friend Or Your Own Worst Enemy?

Spend time alone and learn to enjoy your own company

How often do you actively do things alone? There’s always a pressure to be seen with other people or to feel as if we are “Billy no mates”. However, spending quality time with yourself is extremely valuable and underrated.

So many people seem terrified of themselves and clearly don’t like being alone and can’t stand their own company. They constantly fill every waking moment with entertainment and chatter to avoid confronting themselves. To them, a moment alone in contemplation would be a horror.

But, you can’t avoid yourself. It’s impossible and the sooner you learn to love your own company, the better. As with any relationship, it takes time and effort to make it work. There may well be times when you drive yourself nuts but also times when you start to find an inner peace and acceptance that’s priceless.

Have a go at simply scheduling time to do stuff on your own. You can try going for a walk, shopping, going to the cinema or a concert. Even allowing yourself to daydream, sitting with your eyes closed and listening to music is a great way to spend quality time with yourself.

Maybe meditation would work well for you. Any activity that allows you to concentrate on your inner thoughts and feelings is valuable in nurturing your inner relationship.

Develop self-acceptance and compassion

self acceptance

We all instinctively spend a lot of our time comparing ourselves to other people. We are actively encouraged to do this at school and work and our performance is constantly scrutinized. On social media and in advertising, we are incessantly bombarded with images and ideas about how we should be. There’s little wonder that so many of us are full of self-loathing and feel inadequate.

In the past, we were only able to compare ourselves to people within a much smaller demographic. We didn’t have access to media, the internet and travel, so we were able to see ourselves a little more objectively.

Today, the context is essentially the whole world. Inevitably, we are exposed to the best of everything — the fastest, tallest, slimmest, most beautiful, best designed, most efficient or most stylish. It’s hopeless and demoralizing trying to compete with all of those.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. That’s not to say that we can’t have aspirations and dreams for development. However, learning to love our individuality is one of the most important steps to loving yourself. There’s little point in looking at what other people have or haven’t got. There will always be someone who is better and worse than you.

We need to learn to measure and celebrate our progress in terms of our own personal achievement. What really matters is that we are slightly better today than we were yesterday and not that we are better than someone else. Comparing ourselves to others ultimately erodes our self-confidence and kills our self-esteem. By all means, be ruthlessly competitive with yourself.

If we can learn to cut ourselves a bit of slack and accept that life is going to be a bit rubbish sometimes, then we will find that we’ll be much happier and much more accepting of your own limitations.

See Also: Self-Acceptance: The Key To True Happiness

Find your flow activity

All people have a gift or a skill that they are better at than others. It can be something that they love or something that gives them enormous satisfaction and pleasure. Sometimes, it feels so good that it’s almost like a guilty pleasure. When our brains are in what’s called “in flow”, we are in one of the most satisfying and fulfilling states that the human mind can be in.

Sadly, many people go through life without finding their flow activities. They never get to spend that quality time developing their skill, feeling positive about their achievement and being one with their purpose in life. If you don’t know what your flow activities are, then think about the last time you lost track of the time of day. It’s when you got so absorbed in doing something that nothing else mattered. You were just happy and at peace with yourself.

These activities are fundamentally precious to your personal well-being so you should schedule more time doing them.

Care for your mind and body

Ultimately, learning to live with and love yourself is about respect and taking the time to listen to your inner voice. It’s incredibly hard to attune yourself to the depths of your inner workings if your outer layers aren’t being looked after properly. This makes it important to look after your physical well-being, too.

Starting to make positive choices about food and exercise can have far-reaching effects on your mood and happiness. Just by being proactive about healthy eating, making informed choices, and respecting your body is a mindset that can spill over into other aspects of your life. Keep in mind that there is an incredibly strong link between physical and mental health.

If everything above just seems far too difficult and complicated, start by simply taking control of your body. Learn to care for your physical health more fully. Start to exercise and be deliberate in your eating habits. Small changes can have a big impact. The very act of deciding to take care and to regain physical control can have positive repercussions way beyond those small first steps.

In Summary

The bottom line is that you are the only person responsible for your life. You can’t escape yourself. It’s the one relationship that you can’t break off. You can’t divorce yourself, sack yourself or dump yourself. However, you can reinvent yourself so you can become better and stronger. You are stuck with yourself for life and the sooner you come to accept, love and respect yourself, the happier and more fulfilling your life will be.

 

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10 Easy Steps To Buying A New Mattress

You’ve decided to get to bed early. You unplugged all your devices, made the room temperature comfortable and turned off the lights.

An hour has passed and you’re still wide awake, tossing and turning in a modern reenactment of the Princess and the Pea. After a couple more turns, you managed to get to sleep – only to wake up feeling crappy with an aching body.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about proper sleep hygiene. The right mattress counts, too.

Now, if you are wondering how and where you should start, here are 10 easy steps to help you find the right mattress.

Check your mattress

Ideally, you should change your mattress every 9 to 10 years. However, if you are constantly waking up with pain in your lower back, neck and shoulders, you should make the replacement sooner.

The presence of lumps and sagging are telltale signs you need to buy a new mattress. Frequent sneezing, while you’re on your bed, is a bad sign, too. Household allergens can accumulate on your mattress over time and if you don’t act right away, you can end up with allergies that can give you more than just poor sleep.

Know what you want

There’s no universal rule when it comes to mattresses. You should stick with your own preference to ensure your comfort.

Take note of what you liked in your past beds and consider the things you didn’t find comfortable. This is particularly important, especially if you’ll be buying your mattress in a physical store. A lot of salespeople can talk you into buying the most expensive mattress that’s nowhere near comfortable.

Assess your sleeping style

sleeping position

One of the most important things you should consider when buying a new mattress is your sleeping style.

  • If you are a side sleeper, you should find a mattress that can provide adequate support for your hips, shoulders and other pressure points.
  • In case you are a back sleeper, the best mattress for you is one that can support the natural curve of your back and spine. When lying flat, you should be able to insert no more than one finger between the mattress and your back.
  • For stomach sleepers, pick a mattress that can prevent your lower back and stomach from bending downward as it can cause tension and pain.

See Also: Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type?

Do your research

Before making a purchase, make sure you do your research first. Ask your friends and family about what type of mattress they are using and know their experiences. Check reviews online and see how well certain mattresses last. You can also visit manufacturer websites to know what materials they are using for their products.

Set a budget

The most expensive price tag doesn’t guarantee the highest comfort. In finding the best mattress, it’s actually more about your body type, sleeping style and preference.

You can find a lot of quality mattresses under $1000. Some of them are even priced lower. When shopping around, make sure you do your research first so you won’t fall victim to tempting sales pitch.

Shop around

Once you are done with your research, it’s time to explore. Go to local showrooms and browse mattresses online. Get a feel of the different brands and see what you like and don’t like. Take note of their prices as well as other information you might find important.

While shopping around, be careful not to make any commitment yet. You are likely to encounter a lot of salespeople but don’t feel pressured into making a purchase until you are ready and sure.

Take the time to test the mattresses

test the mattress

Your body needs at least 15 minutes to fully relax. Use this time to test each mattress.

Lie down on your typical resting position and see how well the mattress can support your body. Take note of the areas that are making you feel comfortable as well as the parts that are making you feel awkward. You shouldn’t experience any numbness or pain. Mattresses can be firm, soft, or in-between.

Don’t be afraid to ask

When you don’t have enough time to test all the mattresses or you just want to be clear about your choice, don’t hesitate to ask the salespeople. Although they are trying to make a sale, you can still get accurate information from them if you ask the right questions.

Take, for example, a mattress’ motion separation. You won’t be able to determine if a bed has good motion separation if you’re testing it out alone. The same goes for temperature regulation as well as a mattress’ foundation.

Read the fine print

Shopping for a good mattress doesn’t end with price or materials. You also have to be aware of the guarantees, returns and warranties. Be clear about what is and isn’t covered so you’ll know what to expect.

Keep your mattress in shape longer

Now that you’ve found the perfect mattress for you, protect and extend its life so you can have more nights of good sleep.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Routinely clean your mattress at least twice a year by flipping and rotating it.
  • Strip the cover of the bed and vacuum its fabric covering. Make sure to vacuum the entire surface area to ensure that there are no pet hair, dust or cracker crumbs left.
  • If there are any stains, wash them with a mild detergent and water. You can also use an enzyme-based cleanser. Be careful not to saturate the mattress and make sure its’s completely dry before you make your bed.
  • You can deodorize your mattress by sprinkling a bit of baking soda over it. Let it sit for a couple of hours before vacuuming.
  • Expose your mattress to fresh air and sunlight. This is one good way to eliminate bacteria.
  • Replace and wash your beddings once a week.
  • Use a disinfecting spray on the mattress as well as the box spring to get rid of bad bacteria.
  • Invest in a good mattress cover. It will protect your mattress from dirt and stains.

See Also: 10 Things You Never Knew About Bed Bugs

 

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Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type?

If you have been frequently waking up with back pains and a bad mood, it’s probably your mattress to blame.

In general, we spend as much as a third of our lives in bed so it’s only right that we invest in the right mattress. It should be able to give you both comfort and support so your spine, ligaments and muscles can relax during the only time your body gets to relax.

So, should you get a new mattress? Check out these telltale signs:

  • If your mattress is already sagging, it’s high time you give it a rest. Over time, springs can break down, fibers can wear out and foams can get softer. These things can mean lack of support to your most vulnerable parts.
  • The presence of lumps can mean uneven density and this can lead to uncomfortable pressure points.
  • Ideally, you should replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years. If yours is more than that, you’re compromising your sleep.
  • The presence of more pains and aches than you had before you went to bed is a clear sign you already need a replacement.
  • Most mattresses can accumulate allergens, particularly mold, dust mites and mildew. If you find yourself sneezing whenever you get close to your bed, consider assessing your mattress.

See Also: 10 Things You Never Knew About Bed Bugs

What Is The Best Mattress?

The best mattress is the one that will work best for your body type. As your body has its own contours and needs, you have to know exactly what your options are. There several types of mattresses you can choose from.

Here are some of them:

Memory Foam

memory foam mattress

The memory foam, particularly the visco elastic foam, is conceptualized by NASA scientists. It’s patterned from the material that was supposed to absorb the effects of G forces during the take-off process.

Compared with other mattresses, this one is special in that it follows the contour of the sleeper’s body. It helps distribute weight to eliminate pressure points. This makes memory foam great for those who suffer from back problems and other body aches.

There are different formulations when it comes to memory foams. There’s the standard memory foam that is temperature sensitive. There’s also the plant-based memory foam which is more breathable and has a faster response. The last type is the gel-infused type which is commonly marketed as a cooler.

Latex Mattress

latex mattress
Via uratex

Latex mattresses are more expensive than other types because of their materials. Despite the cost, this type has one of the simplest constructions. They are highly durable and can last for over 15 years. They feature low-pressure support and can contour to your body’s shape without the heat or chemical odors. latex mattress provide great bounce, responsiveness and cooling, too.

Waterbed

waterbed
Via waterbed-deals

Waterbeds can provide average pain relief. They are designed to mimic conventional beds but with low heat and odor complaints.

There are two main types of waterbeds: the hard-sided and soft-sided. Both feature a water chamber which can either be waveless or free flow.

Airbed

airbed
Via intexcorp

Airbeds are nothing like the ones you use for camping. This type comes with an adjustable air chamber which works as its support system. The good thing about airbeds is that you can adjust their firmness according to your body’s needs.

Specialty foam mattress

tango mattress

This type is a bit unique in that it uses one or more types of foams. It can either be latex, polyurethane, memory or gel. Specialty foam mattresses come in different densities and shapes to ensure you get both comfort and support. If you are wondering what specialty foam mattresses look like, check out this two in one mattress.

How To Choose A Mattress Properly

Know how old your mattress is

In general, if your mattress is already 8 years old or older, you should consider getting a new one. Take note that this doesn’t apply to all types of mattresses since there are some that can extend beyond that time.

If you are unsure about how long your mattress type should last, you should decide based on your sleeping patterns. If you’re restless or you find yourself frequently waking up in the middle of the night, just go buy a new one.

Determine what type of mattress you’ll need

The type of mattress you’ll need will depend on your preference, body type and sleeping positions. Consider the following:

  • If you sleep your side, you’ll need a mattress with lots of pressure relief. It should be able to support your body weight and conform to the shape of your body.
  • If you are a stomach sleeper, choose a mattress with a firm top surface. It’s the best one for support.
  • In case you like sleeping on your back, invest in a mattress that can provide support while keeping your spine in its proper alignment.
  • If you tend to toss and turn at night, go for an innerspring mattress with latex, memory foam or pocketed coils. These materials are great for isolating motions, like when you don’t want to disturb your partner with your movements.
  • If you like a lot of the features of the different mattresses and can’t make up your mind, pick a hybrid style mattress. This type can provide the motion isolation feature of memory foams and the buoyancy of a mattress with an innerspring core.
  • For allergies, stick with mattresses that are resistant to dust mites and molds. Pick foam and latex since they have inherent antimicrobial properties. If you choose an innerspring mattress, you can enclose it in an allergen-resistant cover to make sure you don’t wake up sneezing at night.

See Also: Have a Child with Skin Sensitivities? Here’s How to Deal with it

Set your budget

Mattresses don’t go cheap, particularly those in the luxury end of the market. The good thing is that there are lots of options now that will enable you to find the right mattress at the right price.

In choosing, keep in mind that expensive doesn’t always have to mean better, but don’t go ultra cheap, too. Since the quality of your sleep will depend on your bed, make sure you don’t skimp on your mattress.

 

The post Do You Have The Right Mattress For Your Body Type? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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30 Best Inspirational and Motivational Quotes of the Day

One thing that successful people share is that they are driven to set goals and meet them every time. There are various techniques that you can employ to feel inspired every day and one of them is getting positive reinforcement from the best motivational quotes.

You can surf the internet for websites that specialize in quotes or you can download a daily quotes app to deliver the best motivational quotes to you on a daily basis. We are rarely ever apart from our mobile phones so it makes sense to use it as a tool to get our daily dose of inspiration.

daily quote app iphone

We’ll share this little tidbit with you. Apparently, there are three things that make inspiring quotes highly effective.

First of all is the measure of self-selection. You see, in general, not all people are drawn to those quotes and anecdotes. However, when one feels an extreme connection, it triggers a self-dialogue that pushes us to try harder.

Haven’t you ever read a quote and thought, “This is it. This is my quote! The universe is sending me a message.”

happiness quote

Another factor is good wordsmithing. It’s relatively easy to say a motivational piece. But, once you add good rhyming and arrangement of words, the message becomes a lot stronger and more appealing for us.

Work for a cause,
Not for applause.
Live life to express,
Not to impress.

Finally, in addition to those two things, motivational psychology plays a big role, too. Humans are highly aspirational. We tend to look to others for inspiration. We look up to successful and credible people and we follow what those people say. Think Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, or Nelson Mandela.

How To Choose A Good Motivational App For Your Phone

There are tons of motivational apps you can download on your phone but not all of them can keep you engaged. The best daily quotes app should be able to stimulate your senses so you can stay motivated to improve your life.

It should also have the following features:

  • Gives you the option to set your goals and track them
  • Has a friendly user interface
  • Contains a wide range of quotes from famous and successful personalities
  • Has no typographical errors
  • Has beautiful imagery
  • Features sharing options
  • Sends notifications
  • Has the option to customize and save your favorite quotes
  • Provides the opportunity to come up with a list of goals

One great example of a daily quotes app that has these add-on features is Motive. You don’t just get your daily dose of inspiration, you can also use it as a tool to easily track goals and to-do’s. It is Inspiration and Productivity all in one handy little app.

Here are some example quotes that you can get from motivational apps. Is there any one quote that resonates with you in particular?

30 Inspirational Quotes That Can Change Your Life

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

motivational quote

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
– Chinese Proverb

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

inspirational quotes

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis

“ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.” – Andre Maurois

inspiring happiness quotes

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Herman Cain

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

fear of failure quotes

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” – Zig Ziglar

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” – Mia Hamm

motivational productivity quotes

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

“Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” – Tom Hodgkinson

“Happiness is not having what you want. It is appreciating what you have.” – Unknown

inspirational happiness quotes

“Whatever you decide to do make sure it makes you happy.” – Paulo Coelho

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” – Denis Waitley

“If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

failure quotes

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” – William Feather

“Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” – Anonymous

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.” – Anonymous

inspirational motivational quote

“Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.” – Alexander Kjerulf

“Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.” – Unknown

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Unknown

inspirational happiness quote

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.” – Robert Kiyosaki

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

inspirational motivational quotes

If you’re feeling stuck in your career growth or feeling depressed with how things are going in your life, that one special quote heard at the perfect time can be just the very thing to shake you out of your funk. So pay attention! Be inspired and do the work.

 

The post 30 Best Inspirational and Motivational Quotes of the Day appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Top 10 Best Mobile Accessories To Carry With You 2017

Whether you are frequently outdoors for business or you simply like traveling, bringing some essential gadgets with you can help ensure not only your comfort but safety, too. However, with so many items to choose from, picking out the most important ones can be tricky. You can end up spending a lot of hours just packing your things.

As a guide, here’s a quick list of the gadgets and best mobile phone accessories you can carry around for your trips.

Phone Power Bank

anker power bank

Despite carrying a lot of advanced features, mobile phones still don’t have an infinite battery life. You’ll have to recharge them from time to time. Since charging points aren’t always accessible, carrying a phone power bank now becomes a necessity.

Devices, such as the Anker Astro E1, are great since they have high capacity despite being the size of a candy bar. They can recharge an iPhone 7 and 6s twice and can add around 80% of battery life to an iPad Mini.

If you are looking for a super fast charging feature, you might want to consider the KMASHI Portable Power Bank. It has two USB ports so you can simultaneously recharge your gadgets.

Flash Drive

flashdisk

Your battery isn’t the only thing that’s limited. Even your phone’s storage may need an upgrade, especially if you like taking pictures and keeping videos.

The Samsung 32GB Bar Flash Drive promises durability, thanks to its high-quality metal casing. It even has a key ring, so you’re less likely to lose it inside your bag. Apart from the high-speed data transfer, the flash drive is also water proof, magnet proof and shock proof.

When you’re on the go, taking gadgets that can keep up with you is a must. Featuring a 115MB/ sec, reading speed, the PNY Turbo Elite Flashdrive is something you shouldn’t miss. It has a capless design with an integrated loop so you can easily attach it to your bag.

Mini USB Cable

mini usb

Leave the long USB cables at home as they can easily get tangled in your bag. Instead, invest in mini USB cables, such as the Startech Micro USB Cable. Although it’s only 6 inches in length, it can support high-speed USB data transfer. Another good option is the one from Griffin.

Mobile Hotspot

mobile hotspot

Most phones now support hotspot mode. Unfortunately, however, they may not be able to support a handful of devices. They also have less security options.

Instead of using your phone, you can invest in devices like the Verizon Mifi. It only weighs 3.3 ounce, which is just right for your backpack. It has an 8-hour battery life and can support up to 10 devices.

Power Splitter/ Surge Protector

belkin surge protector

A power splitter and surge protector may not sound like a must-have item in your bag- until you have to charge multiple devices at the same time. The Belkin Surge Protector has a number of USB and AC ports to accommodate your different devices. It comes with a 360-degree rotating plug for your convenience. The Anker 10-port Hub also makes a good choice. It utilizes a high-power 60-watt adapter for protection and stability.

Headphones

bose headphones

Whether you’re in a flight or just walking around the city, blasting your favorite music can make the activity more worthwhile. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones is a great option for music enthusiasts. Apart from the good audio performance, it also has the ability to collect noise data and cancel them.

For something you can easily tuck inside your gym back, try Lohi Bluetooth Headphones. It’s made from a sweat proof material and is extremely comfortable to wear, thanks to its soft silicone gel surface.

Bluetooth Speaker

wireless bluetooth speaker blkbox

If wearing headphones isn’t up your alley, your next option is to bring a Bluetooth speaker so you can still enjoy your music from anywhere. Modern Bluetooth speakers are more compact and convenient to carry around. They are now wireless and comes with really innovative features and eye-catching designs.

Beats Pill, for example, only has a height of 2.5 inches and weighs 1.6lb. It has a battery life of 12 hours and can connect to devices that are as far as 30 feet. Blkbox Pop360 is another great device. Apart from the excellent sound performance, it has a built-in LED and rechargeable batteries that can run for 5 to 8 hours.

Organizer

grid it organizer

If you tend to carry a lot of things in your bag, two things can happen. You’ll either get big and weird bulges in your bag or you’ll end up with lots of tangled and jumbled cables. With so many things going on inside, you might even find it hard to find some things inside.

The Grid-It Organizer is one of the best investment you can make if you are a tech enthusiast. It can firmly hold a number of devices. It’s made from elastic bands so you can tuck in any size and shape of gadget. It even has a sleeve which you can use to keep your laptop.

The organizer has a handful of color choices and sizes to fit your preference.

Smart Watch

apple smartwatch

You can easily go without a smart watch. However, considering how much time and effort it can save you from having to open your bag and fish out your devices, it may actually be worth it. You can answer calls, send text messages and check on your email even if your phone isn’t around. Samsung Gear S Smartwatch makes a good option for those using Android devices. For iOS, it’s the Apple Smart Watch.

GPS Tracker

tile mate phone finder

With so many devices in your bag, it’s only right to ensure its protection. One of the best ways to do that is to get a portable GPS tracker, like the Spy Tec Mini Portable GPS Tracker.

Tile Mate is a good option, too. It’s smaller than most GPS trackers and easily hooks to anything you’d like to keep track of. It comes with an accompanying app to make tracking a lot easier. The app automatically keeps a record of where it has last seen your valuables.

If you like daily deals, check out this online store for the best mobile phone accessories.

 

The post Top 10 Best Mobile Accessories To Carry With You 2017 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Get The Best Deal From Your Local Used Cars Dealership

Do you need tips on how to buy used cars? Do you want to buy used cars from Pueblo Co or some other state or area?

If you think buying used cars is easy- think again. Even the most experienced car shopper can feel intimidated about making a deal once in a while. Apart from hidden mechanical problems, there’s title-washing and price-gouging that can take the deal off of the favor of the consumer.

Should you buy online or local?

The only time you should consider buying online is if there is NO reputable used car dealership near you. This is after you’ve asked your relatives, friends, and colleagues at work for their recommendations.

You can also turn to Google for help. I live in Colorado so when I was doing my research, I googled for “used cars pueblo co“. Just change the area to the place where you live and you’re sure to get hits. You can try these search terms:

  • used cars + your area/state
  • used cars for sale in + your area/state

If you come across a local dealership with good online or friend reviews, choose buying from your local dealership. Just like buying any personal item — like clothes or shoes — it’s difficult to make purchases without seeing your choices in person and taking them for a test drive. And with a sizable amount of money at stake, it’s important not to suffer later on from buyer’s regret.

Tips and tricks for buying a used car

Be one step ahead

When negotiating, dealers often take the reign. You’ll immediately be asked what kind of car you are looking for, how much your budget is, and when you are likely to seal the deal. Answering these questions right away won’t put things in your favor.

Instead of divulging all this information, keep things to yourself and look around first. Know as much information as you can about the cars available like weak points, price, and typical cost of repair. The more research and groundwork you do, the less likely you’ll buy on impulse.

Request for the car’s service records

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to ask for service records. The availability of a car’s service records is an indication of how well the vehicle is maintained. These records can give you an idea of its past problems and repairs done. They can also let you see the history of the car.

This is an essential step since not all dealers are transparent enough to let buyers see the faults in their vehicles. Keep in mind, however, that missing service records don’t readily mean problems.

Check for the car’s safety tests and VIN

Apart from repairs and mechanical issues, it’s also a good idea to check for the car’s records regarding state safety and emission tests. These tests are mandated by the state law so make sure to double check.

Checking the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), on the other hand, can give you reports regarding title problems, accidents as well as ownership. Such details can help you make your final decision. You can find a car’s VIN stamped on its plate.

Do your research before going to the dealership

car research

The first step in negotiating for a used car is to know how much others are willing to pay for it. There are tools or forums you can find online that can give you an idea of how much a car is worth in different conditions. Once you have an idea, you can start setting your floor and ceiling rates.

Your floor rate should be 5 to 10% lower than the average selling value of the car. The ceiling rate, on the other hand, is the highest price you are willing to pay to get the car.

See Also: 15 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Bring a professional like a mechanic you trust

bring a mechanic

Before setting your heart on any particular car, make sure to bring a trusted mechanic with you, or a friend who is crazy knowledgable about cars. In this situation, it pays to have an expert opinion. You won’t only be inspecting your potential purchase, you’ll also find out if your dealers are trustworty and reliable.

See Also: How to Find a Good Mechanic in the Age of Social Media

Be alert when the sales dude starts talking monthly payments

There are a handful of things dealers can do to make sure you let go of the limits you’ve set. They can ask you how much you are willing to pay per month as well as your maximum spending limit. These things are actually in their favor, since these information can help them conceal the bottom line price of the car. Answering these questions can make you end up paying more.

Be firm with your budget

Present the dealer with your floor rate. Explain politely that you know the actual cost of the car since you did your research and met with several dealers already. Say that you won’t be signing any papers until your figures are met.

To get the best deal, you have to wear them down and be firm with your budget. At times, one of the best ways to win a negotiation is not to negotiate at all.

Get a breakdown

On top of asking for the car’s bottom price, you also need to ask for its breakdown to see what you’ll actually be paying. When buying used cars, you should expect to pay for certain fees, like registration and tax. If there is something you can’t understand in their list, don’t be afraid to ask and clarify.

Do an actual test drive

To know if a car is really for you, take it out for a test drive. It’s also a good way to check if the dealer is really telling the truth regarding the car’s condition. Apart from that, test-driving the car gives you enough time to actually focus on it.

When test driving, pay attention to as many details as you can. Dealers aren’t likely to repair any damage or issues in the car if they can’t easily be seen, especially problems underneath the car and under the hood.

To start, check if the car is easy to get in and out from without hitting your head. Make sure there’s enough headroom and legroom so you can be as comfortable as possible when driving. Take note of the seats, too. See if they can provide enough support for your back and if they can easily be adjusted.

Use your nose when test driving. You shouldn’t be able to smell gas or burning oil. There also shouldn’t be any problematic noises. Test the headlights, brake lights and turn indicators to see if they work. The brakes should be fully functional and not squeaking every time you use them. Double check the heater and air conditioning, too.

In case you still aren’t convinced, you can always consider having the car checked by a good used car inspection service, especially if you weren’t able to bring in a mechanic with you in the beginning. It can cost you an extra fee but it can alert you of problems most untrained eyes can’t see. You can consider it as part of your investment.

For first time buyers of used cars, Pueblo Co has several accredited auto maintenance and repair shops that offer thorough assessment services. You won’t have a hard time finding one that can help you check and double check the car you’re aiming for. See if your local dealership offers the same service.

Good luck and we hope you find a gem!

 

The post How To Get The Best Deal From Your Local Used Cars Dealership appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Can Employers Do For Employee Appreciation Day?

Your company is full of assets, I know. But there is one asset in particular that puts the soul into your business and without it you would be overrun and, almost certainly destined to fail. That asset is, of course, your employees!

Showing your employees your appreciation for their hard work and emphasizing how important they are to your company is vitally important for employee morale. After-all, by increasing their self-worth, you’re also increasing job satisfaction and motivation.

One great way to show your employees how much they mean to your business is by celebrating Employee Appreciation Day this 3rd March.

Although it’s not considered an official day in the US, there are plenty of employers who do follow it and make it an “official” day for their company. If you struggle to engage with your employees on a regular basis because of busy schedules, then use this day, along with other employers and business owners around the world, to show your employees how valued they are.

Celebrating the day is easy too, so you needn’t worry about it causing too much fuss or taking people away from their work.

Here are some simple and fun ideas for you to give back to your employees, wherever you are in the world.

Early Finish

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March every year. This is the perfect day to let your employees finish up a little earlier. You can, for instance, let a 9-5 worker go around 1pm so they get a half day off and an extended weekend. Although you might “lose” half a day of working time, you’ll certainly gain productivity elsewhere, as this UK study shows.

Office Lunch

office lunch

By far one of the simplest ways to show appreciation to your employees is by providing lunch over an extended period. It’s not very often an entire company will be able to enjoy their lunch time together, so for a couple of hours, just turn off all phones and let everyone enjoy a lunchtime together.

An office lunch is also perfect if it’s too late to make preparations for an elaborate gathering. You can simply call your local restaurants and get delicious food delivered.

After Work Drinks

after work drinks

Often, your employees won’t be very happy if they don’t get a chance to unwind. Arranging an after-work drink is an easy and effective way to allow your employees to get some free, relaxing time to unwind and socialize with fellow workers.

Put together a kitty so every employee can get a drink or two on the business and allow everyone to have some fun while feeling appreciated. Come Monday, they’ll be feeling motivated and ready to go.

Team Building Activity Day

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to boost team morale is through a team building activity day. Not only will this feel like a fun holiday for your staff, but it also builds essential skills for your employees such as team work, making it a win-win situation for your company.

You might want to research your employee’s interests first though, as although you might enjoy extreme water sports, not everyone else will. There are, however, hundreds of choices when it comes to activity days with everything from paintballing to escape rooms. Each one has its own merits and all are perfect for showing-off your employee appreciation.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

 

The post What Can Employers Do For Employee Appreciation Day? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Best Valentine’s Gifts For Her This 2017

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and if you are a man who hasn’t figured out the best Valentine’s gift for her yet, now is probably the right time to narrow down your choices. Deciding on the last minute isn’t only stressful but it can also put you at risk of buying the wrong gift. For Valentine’s Day, you want your partner to feel as special as possible.

To make sure you impress your loved one, here are 6 awesome Valentine’s gift ideas you should consider this year.

If you’re still dating…

Camera

If your girlfriend likes keeping memories, a good instant camera won’t fail you. Polaroid-style instant print cameras make a great choice since they have a vintage feel and they’re very portable. She can easily take her camera with her during trips. She can even take pictures of your special day together.

polaroid camera gift

In case your girlfriend is into photography, you can give her something fancy, like a complete camera bundle. You can buy the items separately and just bundle them on your own or you can pick a store that sells camera-related products in packages.

Make sure that there’s an SD Card, tripod, extra battery and a case apart from the camera.

New makeup

Girls can’t resist makeup. Whether it’s another bottle of her favorite foundation or a set of limited edition lipsticks, you won’t have a hard time making her smile this Valentine’s Day.

When choosing makeup, make sure you know what your girlfriend’s skin type is. The right shade counts, too. These things are very important to consider, especially if you are planning to buy a face makeup. The last thing you want to happen is to buy an expensive foundation that’s several shades off.

For a safer choice, stick with an eye shadow pallet. Most pallets come with several shades she can use for work, special events and date nights. There are also lipstick pallets that go on sale during Valentine’s Day.

makeup valentine gift

Pro-Tip: Ask her sister or friend to help you choose the right brand or shades if you’re unsure.

If you’re newly married…

Jewelry

Diamonds are women’s best friend. This, however, doesn’t mean that any kind of jewelry won’t make a good pal. Women like jewelry because they can add style and spice even to a plain and simple outfit.

Pearl jewelry, for example, makes a good choice since it reflects innocence. It can complete a woman’s classic look and may even produce a calming effect. The nice thing about pearls is that they come in a variety of colors and even sizes. Pick one that can reflect your partner’s unique personality.

valentine jewelry

Heart-shaped jewelry is also a good valentine’s gift. You can pick out the right metal and stone depending on her preference or personality. As for the base, find one that fits your budget. Gold is more durable and long-lasting but it tends to be expensive. Silver looks stylish and it’s more affordable.

A romantic getaway

Just because you’ve already tied the knot doesn’t mean that you can skip the romantic trips you used to take back then when you were still dating. The nice thing about being married when you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day is that it gives you more time to spend with your loved one. You should know her a little bit more, too.

You can go hiking, or book a vacation outside of the city or even out of the country. Imagine yourself sitting in a tropical beach on a warm and balmy day.

romantic getaway

There are tons of packages available during Valentine’s Day so you won’t have a hard time finding one. The problem, however, is that a lot of people tend to book on the same season. To save yourself from the stress, decide early on the trip you want to take and book right away.

Apart from booking the trip, it’s a good idea to add in a few surprises, too. You can plan a romantic dinner or pack her favorite bottle of wine. You can call for room service and bring her breakfast in bed.

If you are already married for several years…

A planner

Whether your partner works a 9-to-5 job or she’s a full-time wife/mom, a planner would surely be a great help. It can help her keep track of important things, like your kids’ school play, meetings or due payments.

planner valentine gift

Apart from helping her remember things and plan her time better, a planner can also decrease her stress level. She can use it as a journal for venting out feelings. Planners are great for keeping memories as well. She can use it to track habits, too.

To make a simple planner more romantic this Valentine’s Day, sneak in a few surprises before you actually hand her the gift. You can block out specific dates in the calendar and plan something special for those days. You can write sweet notes on it, too.

At-home spa

If taking your wife on a spa getaway isn’t feasible, you can try recreating the same experience at home. A foot massage is the ultimate way to pamper her, and the Electronic Foot File with Diamond Crystals from Amopé makes it easy to give her a spa quality foot treatment in the privacy of your own home.

Amopé Pedi Perfect Foot File with Diamond Crystals
(The Amopé Pedi Perfect Extra Coarse Foot File with Diamond Crystals can be conveniently found at Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond for less than $50.)

Add some candles and lotion and you have everything you need for a romantic night in. And the best part? This gift lasts long after roses have died and will become a staple in her beauty routine.

In preparing her home spa experience, make her as comfortable as possible by setting the right temperature. Don’t forget to put out warm fluffy towels, a clean robe and pair of slippers, too. Spritz some lavender scent in the air. You can even add some rose petals to make her feel that she is really in a spa salon.

home spa valentines

This special day, make your beloved feel pampered, special, and loved. Remember… Happy wife, happy life.

Good luck and may your Valentine’s Day celebration be memorable and unforgettable.

 

The post 6 Best Valentine’s Gifts For Her This 2017 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Smart Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Develop Their Own Mobile Apps This 2017

You won’t believe how much a mobile app can change your small business.

Over the years, more and more people are getting hooked on mobile purchases. Did you know…69% of millennials purchase from their mobile phones and this projection is expected to increase up to 2020. In addition, 62% of smartphone users have made at least one mobile purchase in the last 6 months.

At this rate, it won’t be a surprise if mobile apps become more than just an extra treat for consumers, but a necessity. No matter how big or small your business is, this is something you have to take advantage of.

If you’ve been considering how to boost traffic or sales, here are 7 of best reasons to convince you to create mobile apps for business this year.

Increases visibility

Compared with a browser bookmark, an app is constantly present on a user’s smartphone. Because of this presence, your business is easily visible to your customers. With good content and a pleasurable user experience, the potential for users to be looking at your products and brand every day is high.

Another good reason why you should spend more effort in building your brand through a mobile app is because a lot of people spend more time browsing mobile apps than visiting websites on the internet. One good reason is that people tend to have less patience when they are reading texts online so an app that can make it easier for them to skim and scan products and services can help boost your sales.

Engages customers

People who are too busy with work and house chores prefer apps that can save them time and make tasks easier. People who dislike missing out on sales want to get updated on the latest discounts and special offers. For people who dislike getting caught up in traffic jams and rush hour, an app that can give them a frictionless shopping experience can spell good news.

By giving people exactly what they are looking for, they are likely to remain interested in your brand. However, for you to achieve that, you need to know exactly who your target audience are. Once you are able to recognize the values and needs of your consumers, you’ll be able to give them a more valuable shopping experience.

Gives you an edge over competitors

Having your own mobile app can give you a leg up on your competitors. However, for you to maintain your lead, you have to develop an app that will differentiate you from the rest.

Start off with an application strategy. Know how your app will work for your business and how it can level up customer experience. Another factor you should consider is your app’s seamless integration. If your customer will purchase an item from your company, you need to make sure that the product gets delivered on time and in good condition. The customer also has to be reassured about how safe their information will be once they make a purchase through your app.

Integrating your mobile app to function with social media can give you an opportunity to expand your audience and promote your brand better. It will also give you the chance to get honest feedback from real customers and interact with them.
Keep in mind that it’s important to generate a good experience from the start as a bad mobile experience can be hard to undo. Once a customer has uninstalled your app, it is difficult to get a second shot.

Boosts sales

boost sales

Most people today do their shopping online since it’s easier and more convenient. Case in point, mobile commerce is now a third of all US ecommerce.

This is not too surprising given how a mobile app gives more accurate information on the things shoppers want to buy, allowing them to make comparisons first before making a purchase. According to recent statistics, 80% of shoppers use a mobile phone instead of a brick and mortar store to look up prices, research product reviews, or look up store locations.

By taking advantage of these needs, you’ll be able to dramatically boost your sales.

If you partner your mobile app with a mobile website, you’ll be able to reach 6.7% more customers, which translates to additional revenue. You can also get the service of a mobile app developer that can get your app in multiple languages so you can also attract international buyers.

Enhances customer service

Compared with the traditional way of addressing customer concerns, your business’ mobile app can make it easier for your staff to resolve customer concerns. The faster the concerns are addressed, the happier and more satisfied your customers will be.

For one, the app can help you easily segment your customers’ requests to the proper departments. This means that, once assigned, your customer support agent can easily retrieve all the information related to the customer’s complaint, including the date of purchase, location and even the records of his other transactions. As a result, your agent can solve and close the ticket faster.

In addition, you can also set your app to automatically send acknowledgment messages and create ticket IDs. For customers, one of the most annoying things a business can do is to make them feel like their concerns are invaluable. Waiting for a response is another story.

Makes marketing easier

The constant presence of your app in your customers’ smartphones conditions their minds to get used to your brand. They’ll be able to recognize your brand from almost any place they go.

A mobile app also gives you a more unique and direct way of reaching out to your customers. Sending push notifications, for example, can easily grab their attention which can then increase your sales. You can also post the day’s special deals as well as discounts to attract customers.

Apps generally have built-in data analytics and metrics which you can use to assess your existing marketing strategies as well as the recent buying trends. You can use these data in optimizing your marketing and internal operations.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

Encourages customer loyalty

loyal customers

As your customers get used to seeing your brand, it becomes a lot easier for you to earn their trust. This trust will make them more comfortable to buy your products instead of the items sold by your competitors.

The experience your customers get from your app can also establish loyalty. If you can give them a top-of-the-line shopping experience, you won’t have a hard time keeping them engaged and interested in your brand.

See Also: 4 Tricks To Turn Your Buyers Into Loyal Customers 

As we usher in the new year, it’s clear that as business owners, we simply can’t ignore our customers who are mobile users especially as they continue to use their smartphones with more eCommerce intent than ever before.

 

The post 7 Smart Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Develop Their Own Mobile Apps This 2017 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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