How To

Auto Added by WPeMatico

How To Make A Vision Board That Works

You’ve probably seen the idea of a vision board on the internet a couple of times now. Most articles show you how to make the board, but not how to actually use it. I don’t want your board to be just a decorative piece. I wrote this post to help people realize their dreams through making a vision board because there may be some things I think you haven’t thought about. Read this post and let me show you what I mean!

What Is A Vision Board?

A vision board goes disguised under a bunch of names, but it all amounts to the same thing. You might have seen mood board, dream board, vision map, and goal board passing by. And I’m sure you can think of a few more synonyms.

What it essentially is, is a collection of (mostly) pictures, but you can also use a quote or anything else that inspires you and resonates with you and your goals. So it’s a visual representation of the goals you want to accomplish. Your goals are what create your vision as this is the route you aim to take for your life.

A vision board can then be seen as a mixture of goal setting, visualization, and for some, affirmations as well.

Why And How Does It Work?

A vision board works because of multiple reasons. The first and most important is that it creates pathways in your brain. These pathways are formed through daily repetition and it could be seen as forming a habit for the future.

When you look at your vision board and visualize everything that’s on there, you are tricking your mind into believing that it already has the things you’re visualizing. The more lively you can see these things in your mind’s eye, the more effectively you are creating those brain pathways. In a sense, a vision board allows you to program your mind.

When you have, over time, established these brain pathways, you will be more receptive to spotting opportunities and thinking and behaving in certain ways that correspond with your vision. If you hadn’t programmed your mind, you may have never spotted these opportunities.

Your mind truly has incredible power, so why not leverage it? That’s what a vision board is about!

A few bonus reasons to get you in the mood for creating a vision board:

  • People are visual creatures and thus, will respond better to a vision board as opposed to a sheet of paper filled with goals
  • If your vision board truly resonates with you, you will see an increase in intrinsic motivation
  • It’s a fun way of focusing on what you want in life; writing down your goals in a notebook can be pretty boring and does not spark a lot of creativity

But Before We Start Creating Our Board

how to make a vision board that actually work

You can’t make a vision board without a clear vision. So let’s start there!

Here’s a quick guide to creating a mission & vision with goals. Take the time to write down a set of goals, and of course, your mission & vision. They should really encompass what you want to achieve, from within. Whether this is based on the relationships in your life, your career, health or finances, it can be anything. As long as it offers value for you to be focusing on that aspect of your life.

What you shouldn’t do is make your board about superficial things like getting an expensive car, an exotic animal like a tiger (pretty sure it’s illegal in most places), or getting a chiseled body. Once you acquire those things, you will only be happy with it for a little while. Then, the race starts all over again.

So instead, make it about how you would want to feel when realizing your vision. Don’t settle for ‘happy’. Define happiness, be precise. You can do the same for success or any other generic term. Also, think about the growth you would experience on your journey to realizing your vision. Where are you now and where would you like to be? Fill in the gap!

We’re almost ready to begin creating our board. There’s just one last thing.

Make your board represent you. If you’re an ambitious person this means that you might want to make several boards for different aspects of your life. Of course, you can also divide your board into sections or even put everything at random on one board.

The most important thing is that your board, as a whole, should resonate with you. After all, you’ll be looking at and dreaming about it every day!

Let’s Make Our Board!

What you’ll be needing

  • Your vision, (mission if you see fit) and a clear set of goals
  • A bit of time to get in an arts and craftsy kind of mood (unless you will be doing it online, which I wouldn’t recommend)
  • Images (quotes and affirmations) that resonate with you, your vision and your goals, collect them! You can really pull these from any source you like
  • A nice picture of yourself to put in the middle of the board (optional, but recommended)
  • The actual board. You can use a board made of cork, a big sheet of paper, a whiteboard with magnets, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Decorations (very optional)
  • Music that will get you in the mood!

Creating The Board

Now you should have everything you need to create your vision board! Make sure that every picture you’ve collected gives you a feeling of ‘yes, this is what I want and I will definitely strive to get it!’. Then lay your pictures out on your board without actually sticking them to it. Just get a feel for what you want your board to look like.

Do you want to create categories or subjects (health, relationships, etc.)? Do you want to write down the goal and stick a picture under it? The options are endless and it’s all up to you. Make your board clear, structured and inspiring in the sense that you can make sense of it.

Managed to find your ideal layout? Good! Now make it definitive by sticking all the pictures, quotes, and affirmations to your board. Place it somewhere you will see it easily multiple times a day. This could be on the wall of your living room, bedroom, your office or in the kitchen, for example.

How To Make The Vision Board Work

making a vision board that actually works

You’ve now made your board, but we’re not finished yet. The last thing you need to do is learn how to effectively use the board to manifest your dreams into reality!

So, we’ve established that a vision board works because of the influence it can have on your unconscious mind. Simply glancing at your board a few times a day will probably not help you an awful lot. Instead, I encourage you to just spend a few minutes, 3 to 5 at a bare minimum to ponder in front of your board. Doing this when you wake up and before going to bed are the most effective times of day.

Spend these minutes visualizing and really feeling the desire, intention and positive emotions that you associate with your board. This, in a very basic form, is invoking the Law of Attraction. This is the real magic behind a vision board! I can’t urge you enough to emphasize these sights in your mind, feelings, and emotions, because these are what make a vision board work!

If you would like to dive a bit deeper into the mechanics of this, I recommend you go through How To Apply The Law Of Attraction To Realize Your Dreams. This offers more details and a case study of how this has been applied successfully. It can really help you to get the most out of your vision board.

That’s it! These are all the things you need to know to create a vision board that works. With this, our ways part, for now. I wish you all the best with creating your vision board and hope you will realize your dreams by using it. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will have some positive impact on your life.

I hope to welcome you once again in the near future. All the best!

The post How To Make A Vision Board That Works appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Write Impressive Blog Titles – 5 Best Mental Hacking Ways

What do the readers observe when they first come across your content? Obviously, it is the title.

Simply speaking, a relevant, on-point content name can lessen half of the task. However, it works only when you do things right.

The fact is – there’s something you can do to identify the readers’ way of thinking by adding values.

Have I elevated your curiosity level enough? Let us delve in.

Take Advantage Of Digits and Numerals

Firstly, let us get our concentration on an essential plus trendy method of title-writing.

Men are prone to figure-based content headings. They always want some fixed and flexible solutions for everything. As you have the article concept on your hands, illustrate the raw format.

  • How many solutions are you going to provide?
  • Are you sure that you can convince the viewers with the number?
  • Are you providing more value than your competitors?
  • Do you think each point is unique? It will be a hassle if you apply the same tone repeatedly.

Ask yourself the above questions. Study similar content titles. You will get the solution for sure.

Now let me advise on the number determination process.

The rule of thumb is – “Not too less, not too much.”

Let us check out an example.

From the following titles, which will get more clicks?

a) Learn Yoga – 50 Effective Steps
or,
b) Learn Yoga – 9 Most Simple Hacks for Beginners

You got it. Definitely, the second one will get hits.

Odd-Number Psychology – Another Brain-Game

Some popular SEO tools may suggest you use odd numbers in the title.

Actually, there is no secret.

The entire odd-number thing works, evolving the people’s mind frame. It is all about grabbing the reader’s interest at first sight.

Therefore, we can say you cannot overlook the odd-number marketing strategy.

Power Words Can Do Wonders

come up with a good title

Human psychology is everywhere. Marketing is nothing but the proper study regarding it.
Without analyzing people’s mentalities, marketers cannot lead the way for a long time.

Before writing every web content, I need to think about the people reading it and what they will think.

  • Will they read through the end?
  • Is the title eye-catching enough?
  • Will people click it after the first search?

Though I am not a student of it, I am analyzing enough psychology already!

From here, the concept of power words grows. Check out the following listing below:

  • Best
  • Fun
  • Perfect
  • Unique
  • Brilliant
  • Genius
  • Cool
  • Free
  • Excellent
  • Effective

Can you relate to this? If you notice any of the above words in a headline, will they develop your interest?

Funky words like these are powerful enough to persuade the human thought process.
Copywriters and the digital marketing field are applying their utmost effort into real engagement-induced power words.

Why not try it on our content titles?

Manage The Overall Friendly Tone

It is essential to write with an embracing tone. However, what point does it make if the title is not welcoming enough?

Putting the writer’s emotion on the title makes it impactful on the reader’s eyes. Hence, optimistic/sentimental vibes are necessary.

However, avoid over-complicating it.

This is because we all love to maintain simplicity at its best.

Be Aware Of The Cheap Mental Tricks

Do not just write to grab false attention. Offer the actual value on the title of what you are going to present.

Following the mediocre web portal’s hack may work once or twice. They attract the visitors’ focus by designing absurd and flashy headlines.

Like:

  • Lose 3 KG Weight in 24 Hours
  • Lose 10 KG Weight in One Week
  • Speak in English- Native Accent in 7 Days
  • Earn Money Online- $50 Per Hour by Simple Type-writing Jobs

Are these titles familiar to you? We call it scams.

Nevertheless, people are not dumb as they think. Yet, some may fall victim to these cons. Well, that does not work forever.

The writer’s honesty supports the reader’s engagement to a great extent.

Don’t you think so?

Be it 5 or 10 genuine tips, provide it with care. And, do not get afraid to put it on the title.
Sooner or later, you’ll get your desired results.

Consider Using A Headline Analyzer

We, the writers, need both manual and digital suggestions. However, the bots cannot beat the human in emotional approaches.

Keeping both the affairs in mind, I would recommend using a Headline Analysis tool after your primary title buildup.

What will they provide you?

  • The Title Score
  • The SEO score (Mostly in Premium)
  • Word and Character Count and relevant suggestions
  • Clarification, readability, and improvement advice

For this article, my first title score was 76. That is good enough. Mostly, we consider going for the score 70 and above.

Well, there is always scope for improvements. So, I took the chance and the risk has been paid off.

The current one obtains 82 out of 100. It is not a really bad score. What do you think?

The Title Itself Can Determine The Readers’ Psychology

how to come up with a good blog title

Creating a blog from scratch is quite thrilling. For aspiring bloggers, countless blog concepts and content plans are spilling over the web.

Thus, it will help if you adapt baby steps to shine.

You’re probably thinking, ”Do I actually need to put that much effort into just writing a title? Are you kidding me!”

The answer is yes.

It is worth giving a shot, and after a few practice sessions, you will make titles like a pro.
Let us wrap up for today, folks! Happy days!

The post How To Write Impressive Blog Titles – 5 Best Mental Hacking Ways appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Add Affiliate Links To Instagram

Affiliate marketing on Instagram is a good way to earn some money while doing what you love. It isn’t something that requires a whole lot of time but needs some amount of knowledge regarding the platform and affiliate marketing as well. Instagram allows users to use affiliate marketing using affiliate links on the platform. But before we see how to add affiliate links to Instagram, let us understand what affiliate links are first.

What Are Affiliate Links?

adding affiliate links to instagram

Affiliate links are a vital part of a digital affiliate program. An affiliate program is a company’s strategy to use influencers as marketers in promoting their product or service. The companies strategically find Instagram users that are in some of the other way relevant to their product or service.

For example, a company selling vitamins may approach a health blogger to promote their product. Once they find a suitable candidate, they provide affiliate links to them. These links are the source of commission earned by the chosen influencer.

Whenever a follower clicks on the link and buys a product or service, the company provides a commission to the influencer. Depending on the company’s goals, the commissions may be provided based on the number of clicks or leads generated.

Now that we know what is meant by affiliate links and how they play a role in affiliate marketing, let us now discuss ways to add affiliate links to Instagram.

Adding Affiliate Links

Affiliate links on Instagram are perhaps the most ideal approaches to inactively bring in cash on the stage. This showcasing system permits anybody with a developing and draws in after to adopt Instagram. There are many ways you can add affiliate links to Instagram; however, only a few of them provide you with significant income. These methods of adding affiliate links to Instagram are given below.

Adding Affiliate Links In Your Bio

Your Instagram bio is by far the most promising location to add affiliate links. As people visit your profile page, they will likely be interested in reading more about you. This will enable them to understand you better. While doing so, they will surely land on the affiliate links. Curious to see what you are promoting, they will end up clicking on the link and land on the company’s website.

If you are getting your commission based on the number of clicks you achieve, then this will earn you a lot of money. The only prerequisite for this to work is that you must be active on Instagram and have many followers.

Adding Affiliate Links In Your Posts

how to add affiliate links to instagram posts

Whenever you post a picture try to find something that ties to promoting the products or services from the affiliate program. This will enable you to add affiliate links to your picture posts as well. End the caption of your post with an affiliate link. This will increase your chances of gaining money via the links. But there is only one problem with this – the affiliate links are lengthy and ugly.

They are, for quite some time, loaded up with unusual characters and numbers; and to the accomplished eye, a link is an affiliate interface. You would prefer not to leave this connection crude, as it’s a tremendous mood killer and numerous individuals would not trust tapping on a terrible link as they wouldn’t know what’s in store. Luckily, several plugins will shorten the link yet redirect followers to the original website.

Adding Affiliate Links In Your Stories

Adding affiliate links to your Instagram stories is yet another effective way to earn money. But two requirements must be met before you start jumping up and down with joy. They are:

  • A Business Account With Facebook Is A Must

This condition is important because only those who have access to Facebook Business accounts can use the link-out feature and Instagram analytics to track their progress. What you need to do to transform your page into a business is just make a page on Facebook for it, confirm, and interface them together. If you plan on utilizing ads later on, this will likewise be useful so the snappier you do this, the better.

  • Followership Of 10,000 Is A Must To Access The Link-Out Feature

Sadly, though you may have access to Facebook Business accounts, you won’t be able to use the link-out feature if you don’t have 10,000 followers. This isn’t acceptable as a considerable lot of you would not have such a page. So try to increase your followers first or simply buy a page with the required number of followers.

Adding Affiliate Links To Instagram Ads

To be able to use the Instagram ads feature, you must be able to access the Facebook Business account as mentioned previously. Once you acquire the access and interface it with Instagram, the Facebook Ads director will permit you to publicize story posts that have an affiliate link. However, you may need to invest a few bucks in it first.

These are some of the most effective ways in which you can add affiliate links to Instagram. As mentioned in the article, some of them require a few conditions that need to be met. So choose your method depending on what requirements you can accomplish.

The post How To Add Affiliate Links To Instagram appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Overcome Burnout And Stay Motivated

Even if you love your job, it’s normal to feel burned out from time to time. Statistics show that almost two-thirds of employees deal with burnout once in a while.

Even if you’re working from home (which is the setup of most people during the pandemic), you’re still not exempt from stress and exhaustion. In fact, 40% of those who reported feeling burned out experienced it during the pandemic specifically.

Whew.

But just because it’s “part of life” doesn’t mean you just have to let it linger.

There are several ways to cope with work-related burnout and stay motivated.

Here’s how.

Find The Source

Just like a health condition, if you only keep on treating the symptoms, you’re not going to recover.

It takes determining the root cause of the problem so you will have a clear treatment plan – one that specifically targets your illness.

Job burnout can be caused by different things. Among the most common reasons are:

  • Unclear job expectations. Have you always struggled with unclear instructions from your boss? Are you unsure about what your role really is? Then that could be fueling your burnout. When you’re not sure about your degree of authority or what your manager wants from you, you can be uncomfortable at work.
  • Life-work imbalance. If you’re getting more tasks that you can handle, and it’s taking away your personal and family time, you’re most likely to feel burned out.
  • Lack of control. When things go out of our control, we become extremely anxious and exhausted. The inability to make decisions affecting your workload leads to stress and eventually, burnout.
  • Lack of support. Do you feel alone at work? Does it seem like you don’t have anyone to turn to when you need help? Workplace isolation is a real thing and leads to other problems, including depression.
  • Unchallenging work/job extremes. Maybe you’ve gotten so familiar with your job that you no longer find it challenging. Or, it could also be the other way around – it’s too overwhelming and your skills and knowledge don’t match. Both of these scenarios can cause burnout.

Set Boundaries

Establishing healthy boundaries at work can greatly keep you from experiencing job burnout.

Yes, saying “no” to your co-workers, especially your superiors, is hard. But sometimes, you have to. Ideally, you want to establish your boundaries by the time you start working for a company by giving them clear expectations during the interview.

But if you haven’t done that, it’s fine. Start as soon as you can. For example, do you work on weekends? Do you check your email beyond office hours or when you’re on vacation? Know what works for you to stay productive and avoid burnout. Then, let them know.

Rearrange Your Working Environment

how do you overcome burnout by rearranging work environment

Sometimes, it’s not the people who are toxic. It could be your environment!

Many studies suggest that our physical environment impacts our mental health. That is why many companies these days are investing in designing office interiors that look less of a traditional office but more like a cozy, inviting coffee shop.

Here’s how you can rearrange your working environment to boost your mood and fight burnout:

  • Keep it clean. A filthy desk will only leave you feeling stressed.
  • Add some greens. Research shows it can boost employee’s morale, which positively affects their productivity.
  • Make it “personal”. Make your desk an extension of yourself by adding a few decors that increase your mood, such as your family photo or souvenirs from your recent travels.
  • If you’re working from home, the more freedom you get when it comes to re-arranging your desk. Choose a spot in your home where it’s most peaceful and decorate it as you please. Turn it into something that will make you look forward to entering each day.

Improve Your Time Management Skills

Most often, burnout is the result of poor time management.

Imagine spending more time on less stimulating tasks, getting distracted with emails and social media, and spending more time on activities that would have rather taken less time to complete.

Learning time management skills is one of the best things you can do to become more productive and fight stress and burnout.

Here are some tips that help you take control of your time at work:

  • Use time management solutions like time-tracking apps, to-do lists, and software that allow you to prioritize important tasks and get more organized.
  • Know your limits. As much as you want to finish it all in one day, you’re not superhuman. You get tired and emptied. Let’s face that. So instead of fretting over the work you haven’t completed, celebrate those that you successfully did.
  • Learn to delegate. Instead of trying to squeeze in some tasks in your daily schedule, assign them to someone else.
  • Schedule social media. You may be unknowingly spending more time on social media than you thought you are. Be mindful of how you spend your breaks.
  • Take a rest and blow off some steam. Even the simplest tasks can get tremendously dragging when you’re tired and stressed. So whenever you feel like you’ve been squeezed of all your juices, take time off and blow off some steam. Relax, take a breath. Recharge your batteries.

Create Healthily Routines

how do you overcome burnout by being healthy

A healthy body is a healthy mind.

Establishing healthy routines is equally important to the other tips mentioned above. When you’re not physically healthy, your mental state is affected.

So sleep well, eat healthy, work out, practice mindfulness through yoga and meditation, etc. All these habits incredibly boost your mood and help you ward off symptoms of fatigue, stress, and burnout.

Easier said than done, right? Well, it is. Note that it takes a few weeks to establish a habit. The first few days might be the hardest. But once you get into the tune, everything becomes smooth and easy.

Overcoming job burnout can be done in many ways. By applying these tips, you will feel a lot more energetic, motivated, and most of all – happier at work!

The post How To Overcome Burnout And Stay Motivated appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Protect Yourself From SMS Scams

Smartphones and cell phones have changed the way we communicate. We can instantly send and receive messages through wireless calls, text messages or SMS, email, and social media platforms. With the advancements of technology, there are advantages and disadvantages—and sometimes danger.

SMS scams or text scams are prevalent in this age of smartphones and cell phones. Many scams are SMS marketing; some are more deceitful.

SMS marketing is sending promotional campaigns for marketing purposes via text messages. These messages are meant to communicate time-sensitive offers, updates, and alerts to potential or established customers.

Businesses use SMS marketing because it is one of the more effective forms of communicating with customers when done correctly. When done incorrectly, these can be viewed as unwanted messages and solicitations that bombard people regularly.

SMS scams are a problem because more and more people are using mobile banking and online shopping, making them easier targets for scammers and fraudsters. There are different types of scams people need to be aware of.

identifying a fake text message

  • Spam SMS messages usually notify the receiver that he/she won a prize and ask them to reply with personal information, including bank or credit card details.
  • Phishing is a method used by scammers by sending messages that pretend to be from a reputable company or someone the receiver knows and asks them to verify something with their personal details like passwords or bank information.
  • SMS spoofing is when the scammer sends text messages carrying the name or number of a well-known brand or company.
  • SMS Malware attacks are mobile malware scams that send out unsafe links. Some scammers will use specific tactics to get people to do something they aren’t aware are dangerous.
  • Family emergency is one of the most common ruses. The message will say that the recipient’s loved one got into an accident or is in trouble and needs immediate financial help. In a panic, the victim will then send what is being asked of them in the hopes of helping their loved ones, not realizing they are being duped.
  • Refund scam. The message will tell the victim that they will receive a refund from a service provider but need certain information for it to be processed. Using the information provided, the fraudster will gain access to the victim’s account. Do not respond to these types of texts and do not give away personal information right away.
  • Reactivation scam. The message will tell the victim that their account has been compromised and asks them to text a code or reset their password through a suspicious link to reactivate their “account.”
  • Prize scam. The scammer sends the victim a text message saying that they’ve won a prize or holiday getaway from a contest they didn’t enter. The text will also contain a link where the victim will input their personal information that the scammer will use to their advantage.
  • Parcel delivery scam. With online shopping and delivery becoming more prevalent today, scammers can now send fake messages imitating official couriers but will ask for additional information or extra charges from the recipient to ensure the delivery of their packages.

If you receive these text messages or anything similar, here are some ways to avoid falling into these SMS scams.

how to know a fake text message

  • Be on the lookout for unusual or unknown numbers. Most brands and companies will use verified numbers or use less than ten digits. If the number seems iffy, ignore or delete these messages or best to block.
  • Check for grammatical and spelling mistakes. All companies and brands use copywriters and editors to create marketing messages. Scammers will often make spelling and grammatical errors. This may seem simple, but it’s the easiest way to identify SMS scams.
  • Double-check messages. Recall if you’ve entered a contest or if there even really is one from a particular brand or company. If there isn’t, then it is definitely a scam. Report it to the proper authorities or the company itself so that they can warn their other customers of such activity.
  • Don’t click any links. If you received any SMS that contains a link, don’t click on it, as it is designed to steal information or spread malware. But do regularly change or update passwords of your online accounts or emails to make it more difficult for hackers to access these.
  • Don’t trust text messages that contain your name. Just because a text message has your name doesn’t make it genuine or legitimate. Chances are the scammer got your name from social media or other sources.
  • Verify the authenticity of the company or the sender. If you do not recognize the name of the company or brand that sent you the text message, do some digging to check if they have an official website or social media channels or if the company really exists.
  • Always verify the messages you received. Check with your relatives or friends if they are indeed in need of any assistance. Report these fraudulent messages to the telecommunication carrier you are using or your local government agency handling fraud cases.

Protect Your Information At All Times

Being alert and suspicious go a long way to protecting yourself from fraudsters who are taking advantage of technology to fool people out of their money. Verify details before establishing contact with anyone over the phone, SMS, or online.

The post How To Protect Yourself From SMS Scams appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Choosing A Compatible Career Path In 5 Steps

Choosing a career path is rarely easy, especially for the youngsters living in the era of growing automation. There are so many factors to consider and challenges to deal with that young specialists might get dizzy. In addition to requirements, pressures and fears follow every person looking for the best job opportunities.

All in all, you will devote a lump of your time to a career. It’s sad to look back one day and realize that your efforts were applied to something that doesn’t inspire you. What’s more, the rapidly-changing world is hard to predict – will your future profession be in demand?

It is impossible to know all the risks, but still, the decision must be made anyway. Let’s discuss some crucial points that will help you make fewer mistakes and choose a career that suits you perfectly.

Mind your skills and plans

The role you choose in a certain industry must fulfill two major conditions. The first one is its correspondence to your current skills and educational background. The second one is a challenge and an opportunity to develop and gain new skills.

These might seem mutually exclusive statements, but they are actually not. Think about your talents and things you would like to enjoy at work. Then think about the skills you would like to have. You will never feel bored at the job that fits you and provides room for growth.

Ask yourself:

  • Which professional activities relevant to your background are the most satisfying?
  • What would you like to avoid in the workplace?
  • Which new skills can make you grow?

These questions will help you decide what you want. This is the first step to make since your answers will show you the right direction and narrow the search down.

Know your worth

The best employers value candidates that clearly realize their worth. It is essential to be objective here – try not to overestimate or underestimate yourself. If you already have working experience in the chosen field, then you have the advantage of upgrading your salary. Do salary research, read surveys, and ask fellow professionals about their compensations.

Update your CV regularly

how to pick a career path updating cv

All of your professional and educational achievements must be recorded in a CV. Make sure to update it throughout your life – this will present your successes to the employer. And with a regularly updated CV, you will have a better picture of your current expertise and the roles you enjoyed the most. The past is the key to your future.

Study the job market

It is crucial to know the job market situation before you start searching for career options. It means that you should find out what the market is like for people with your level of education, professionalism, skills, and experience. You should find everything about the salary levels for your position and companies that hire people like you. Also, check the statistics and pool of available vacancies. Large websites for job search like LinkedIn or Indeed can help.

Don’t make fast decisions

picking a career path

Take your time and consider all options carefully. Be analytical and thoughtful – never rush into a decision. When the decision is made, stop regretting the rest of the options. Instead, focus on your goals and get ready to accept the challenges of your job.

Conclusion

To make a wise career decision, analyze yourself and the market. Think about your strong sides and figure your worth out. Think about your skills and plans – which direction would you like to choose for further development? Then take a close look at the current situation in the job market.

Find vacancies for your position and study the requirements. Reading resumes of other candidates (your competitors) is also a great idea. Never rush into fast decisions – sift through all options, not to miss the best one. Good luck with your career choice!

The post Choosing A Compatible Career Path In 5 Steps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways To Manage Money When You’re Broke

Having financial stability can be empowering—you can get your needs and indulge your wants without anxiously waiting for the next paycheck. It also allows you to prepare for emergencies and other unexpected circumstances. With the pandemic affecting the livelihoods of many, it is critical to stay on top of your finances to remain secure in these uncertain times.

As the old saying goes, better late than never. Taking charge of your finances today is a step towards a more financially secure tomorrow. Here are five easy ways you can effectively manage your money.

Make a savings plan

Many people are overwhelmed with the idea of how to start saving up. A savings plan helps break down the process, making it easier to commit to actually doing it. Decide on your overall saving goals, and then figure out ways to work towards those. Make sure to note down any milestones to help track your progress.

Once you’ve established a savings plan, open a savings account with a reputable bank to keep your money safe as you save up. Review your progress each month. If there were instances where you weren’t able to stick to the plan, try to make small adjustments to make it easier for you to meet your goals.

Stick to a budget

budget when you're broke

One of the biggest reasons why people end up broke is that their expenses end up exceeding the capacity of their means. To avoid falling into the trap of overspending, create a monthly budget for yourself.

Take note of your monthly income, and then list all your expenses within a month: groceries, utility bills, transportation, and the like. From there, decide on how to portion your paycheck. As the month passes, remember to stay within your allotted budget. Unless there is a sudden and urgent need, other expenses should be deferred.

Track your spending

Picture this: you check your bank account and find that your funds are dangerously low. However, when you think about where you spent your last paycheck, your mind draws a blank. Reckless spending can leave you broke without an exact reason as to why you are.

The best way to avoid this is to track your spending dutifully. It can be as simple as a money tracker in your planner or a spending app on your smartphone. By regularly recording your expenses, you’ll have a better idea of where your money is going and how to keep your spending in check.

Map out your purchases

budgeting when you're broke

An effective way to stay on budget is to plan all your purchases. Small but frequent shopping trips can add up, and big-ticket items can drain your savings in one go. At the beginning of each month, make a note of the purchases you’re anticipating in the coming weeks.

Additionally, consider paying in installments for more expensive purchases. Installments are helpful for budgeting as they spread out large payments into smaller, more manageable sums over a longer period of time. These sums are paid off regularly, making them easier to plan for in your monthly budget.

Lessen “vampire” expenses

Vampire expenses are recurring fees that end up consuming the bulk of your savings. These can include subscriptions to streaming services, gym memberships, and postpaid phone plans.

Revisit your recurring expenses and ask yourself if you really need these services. If so, are there any cheaper or free alternatives? Can you downgrade your plan to one that better fits your budget and consumption? By pruning your recurring expenses down, you’ll end up with more money for essentials or to add to your savings.

Never End Up Broke

Making the right decisions with your money now can make all the difference later on, especially if you find yourself in a pinch. With commitment and dedication, these tips can help you break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and bring you closer to your financial goals.

The post 5 Ways To Manage Money When You’re Broke appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing – Follow These Simple Tips

In any search engine optimization package, keyword stuffing is very important. However, it can also harm a website when not controlled properly. Not only will you see a huge drop in your already ranking website, there will be an interest rate drop among your readers or visitors as well. Search engine crawlers will see your website as a spammy one.

But what can one do to avoid the overuse of keyword stuffing? Here, we provide some very simple but useful tips to keep stuffing of keywords under control. While we benefit from keyword stuffing, we also have to make sure that we use it carefully. This is where it becomes more difficult for some SEO analysts. So, let’s get started with these SEO tips to avoid overstuffing of keywords.

Understand A Few Terms

understanding keyword terms

Before we go ahead with the tips and tricks to avoid keywords stuffing, we need to know a little bit about this topic. If you already know these terms, you can skip this section and jump to the next one. But if you are not familiar with these yet, read on.

Keyword Stuffing

When we use our focus or primary keyword repeatedly in our content, it is known as keyword stuffing.

Keyword Density

The percentage of our content that consists the keyword is known as keyword density. Like if you are using a keyword 10 times in a 1000 word post. Then it will mean that you have a keyword density of 1%.

Keyword cannibalization

When we use the same focus keywords on our different web pages or posts, then it will be known as keyword cannibalization. It is a very common issue in keyword stuffing.

Tips To Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Here are a few tips to avoid keyword stuffing. If you follow these tips, you will never face issues with overstuffing.

#1. Focus On Focus Keyword

You have to focus on a single keyword for a single page. Avoid using the same focus keyword for different pages because both pages will try to rank on the same search query and it will lead you towards keyword cannibalization. So, if you want good keyword stuffing, then you must focus on a focus keyword in a single web page or web post.

#2. Keep Density Under Control

You have to keep keyword density under control. Most of the time the preferred keyword density is around 1% to 2%. If you are using more than this recommended density, it will be called overstuffing.

#3. Get Help From Secondary Keywords

Focus keywords are important but secondary keywords are also useful. It will be of great help if you use secondary keywords in your content. You will require less usage of focus keywords, so there will be less keyword stuffing. In the end, it will be a great way to get a good search engine result page ranking with fewer keywords used.

#4. Use Keywords Smartly

What do you mean by using keywords smartly? Using keywords smartly means using a variety of keywords. Rather than just using a few keywords, try to use LSI keywords and secondary keywords. If you want to be a smart keyword user, then you have to use different keywords with different properties. Keywords with “near me” or location will help you a lot. You will get a good ranking without even using overused keyword stuffing.

#5. Write As Long As Readers Want

avoiding keyword stuffing

Long content will help you engage the audience in a better way. Almost everyone knows this trick. But do you know that long content will help you avoid keyword stuffing as well? So if you also want to overcome the issue of keyword overstuffing, then you should definitely write long content. It is valuable in terms of user experience, too.

Google has announced that user experience will be considered more seriously while ranking websites on search engine result pages. With this, you can get your website ranked higher with long content and genuine keyword stuffing.

#6. Use Text Optimization Tools

We are not here to discuss keywords research or keyword density checking tools. This guide is about text optimization with related words to the keywords. Fortunately, there are many related words to your focus keywords. Using these related words and optimizing your text is very important. Hence, you must use some text optimization tools to figure out some related words.

Keyword stuffing is one of the major concerns in search engine optimization that every SEO individual needs to focus on. You can use it for a good ranking on any SERPs. But if you overuse it then it will just kill traffic on your website and search engines might also flag the site. Nonetheless, keywords are still relevant and helpful to increase visibility. That is why we have provided you with these keyword stuffing tips to avoid overuse.

The post How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing – Follow These Simple Tips appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Anxiety Buster: A Three-Step System To Help You Get Rid of Panic Attacks

Have you been struggling with anxiety? Then tell me if this sounds familiar:

  • You’re on edge – and on the verge of tears – almost all the time and you don’t know why.
  • Sometimes, you get really jittery and lose focus, even if you’re in the middle of a task at work
  • You’ve had times where you thought you had no control over your body. You had a bubbly feeling in your stomach, and you were gasping for air with every breath. And maybe you even got so nervous, you worried you were going to die.

If you’re suffering from panic attacks, these sensations might seem incredibly familiar to you… but when you really think about it, they just don’t make any sense.

In your mind, you know you are safe – and yet you feel like your life is in danger. Your anxiety levels skyrocket and you see it coming: your next panic attack. You hope it wouldn’t be in public and that people wouldn’t notice… but they might. You panic even more, your mind racing and you’re out of breath.

I can totally relate to how you are feeling.

Having dealt with anxiety before, I know it’s not an easy feeling. But in the past two years, I’ve discovered a three-step process that has helped me bust my anxiety and get rid of panic attacks for good. Today, I’d like to share this system with you.

Step 1: Allow yourself to feel the fear

Panic attacks are a clear sign that you’ve been suppressing fearful emotions in your day-to-day life. Instead of allowing yourself to feel the fear when it hits, you try to hide it and as your mountain of fear grows, it becomes harder and harder to suppress – until it eventually triggers severe anxiety or panic attacks.

During a panic attack, you lose control of your emotions and all that built-fear is finally released. As such, you can think of panic attacks as a cleansing mechanism of your body to get rid of excess fear.

Now, of course, panic attacks are not a particularly pleasant experience – and I can imagine that you want to find less stressful, healthier ways to deal with your emotions.

That’s why, the next time you feel on edge (or have a full-blown panic attack), try to lean in to the fear.

If you’ve never let yourself feel your fear before, it can be scary. You might even start shaking or hyperventilating, and you might worry that your life is going to end. I’ve been in that mind-space before, and I can tell you: a panic attack won’t kill you.

No need to obsess about your health, just try to breathe as calmly as possible, and let whatever happens happen.

Step 2: Let your anxiety spread through your entire body

getting rid of panic attacks

Your anxiety, no matter how bad it seems, is only a temporary state. You might feel like your panic is endless, and you might be so trapped in your emotions that you lose track of time and feel threatened in the present.

But even during a panic attack, you might be able to remember that you once felt differently, whether you were happy or angry. And to get out of your present, uncomfortable state as quickly as possible, you need to let your anxiety spread through your entire body.

You can also turn this into a game: see if you can feel your anxiety in your hands, wrists, and elbows. See if you can make it spread up all the way up to your shoulders, to your heart and chest and into your stomach. Take it from your stomach through your liver and kidneys to your pelvis. Gently shift your fear from your pelvis to your thighs and down your legs – all the way to your feet and into the ground.

Keep focusing on your breath as you relive all the thoughts that contributed to your fear, and you’ll soon notice that your panic begins to fade.

Step 3: Let go of your panic and open up to the next emotion that comes your way

It’s important to avoid staying trapped in your panic and fearful thoughts. Therefore, once you have fully felt all the negative emotions, mentally prepare to let go of your fear. You can visualise your panic dissipating, with the waves of fear gently moving on and away from your body.

Extend a warm welcome to the next sensations that come your way – whether they’re a feeling of relief, exhaustion or happiness.

You’ll feel much better afterwards – and gradually your panic attacks will become less and less frequent until they disappear altogether (at least that’s what happened for me).

Final thoughts

get rid of panic attacks

This simple system has changed my life – through it, I’ve been able to overcome my anxiety without medication and I’ve been panic-free for the past six months. I am sure you can get similar results if you apply this anxiety-busting system regularly. But if you are having a rough time, or if you struggle with severe anxiety and depression, do reach out to doctors, counsellors or therapists in your area to get professional help.

The post Anxiety Buster: A Three-Step System To Help You Get Rid of Panic Attacks appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Prepare Your Data For Industry 4.0

A new industrial revolution is coming, and no, it won’t look the way it did 100 years ago. Industry 4.0 is on the way, and at breakneck speed.

Industry 4.0 is set to completely remake the way that products and inventory are created. Big Data programs, advanced machine learning, and reliance on IoT (the internet of things) will push manufacturers and distribution warehouses into the next area of development for the business world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will dramatically decrease the amount of time spent between development, production, and shipments while introducing efficient, low cost, and high-quality products to the global market.

As the newest stage of the industrial revolution, the effects of Industry 4.0 are anticipated to take the world by storm. In less than 5 years, the market for Big Data and IoT is expected to grow to a whopping $25 billion. But the industry did not become what it is today without foundational building blocks from the past.

The first industrial revolution (also known as Industry 1.0) took place between 1760 and 1830. This time period was known as the Mechanization era as communities began to experience rapid growth from automated machines and tools, steam and internal combustion engines, and the refinement of iron and steel metals.

first industrial revolution
Via medium.com

Industry 2.0, called the Mass Production era by some, was a time period between 1870 and 1914. Occurring just before the first World War, this season of development focused on efficiency and productivity more than ever before. The assembly line was developed and carefully refined. Railroads and telegraph lines enhanced shipping and communication. The age of steel and iron began to give way to stainless steel and early plastics.

Our most recent stage of development in Industry 3.0 took place between 1950 and 2002. This era is called the Digitalization age for many reasons, but specifically because of unique integrations between IT and manufacturing processes. Computers, nuclear power, and other advances made it easier than ever to develop and ship inventory.

Today, Industry 4.0 is taking a step further by integrating data into the Interconnectivity Era. The goal of this rapidly developing technology is to fully automate warehouses and assembly lines by feeding machine learning programs an enormous amount of Big Data. This will cause a boom in both production and shipment, and will increase communications with Smart technology.

preparing for the fourth industrial revolution

There are three basic requirements to ensure successful integration with Industry 4.0: Smart communication, Smart devices, and high-quality Big Data. Not having the right information on hand will cripple the development process, and prevent businesses from utilizing their full potential.

Leveraging the benefits of Industry 4.0 must always begin with good data management, both inside and outside of a company. Business leaders should prepare their data to adapt to the many changes of the Interconnectivity area with solid strategy.

Begin the data preparation process by using the following steps.

Prepare an effective data structure

Evaluate your current structure, and look for ways to optimize while moving ahead. Investigate types of data structures such as:

  • Stacks
  • Queues
  • Linked Lists
  • Trees
  • Graphs
  • Tries
  • Hash Tables

Focus on reliable and credible data flow

Spend the extra time and money to complete an extensive data audit. What data is going where, and to whom? Optimize the flow and reception of information as necessary.

Upgrade your products and your processes with the future in mind

Purchasing Smart products for implementation in manufacturing processes can gently ease the requirements of Industry 4.0 into budding companies.

Connect all departments in the company with some form of data

Ensuring that data between departments is clear, open, and error-free will support a healthier environment for Industry 4.0 transitions.

Require that Industry 4.0 data be provided from all suppliers

A single missing link between internal data fidelity and external company partners greatly devalues the many benefits of Industry 4.0.

The Interconnectivity Revolution may still be in a nascent state, but the future is rapidly approaching. Start preparing your Big Data to take advantage of Industry 4.0 and all its benefits.

Source: Part Solutions – What is Industry 4.0?

The post How To Prepare Your Data For Industry 4.0 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Boost Your Personal and Professional Spirits During the Pandemic Crisis?

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are tough times, aren’t they? The pandemic has shaken the world, no one is spared. It has revolutionized the way the globe was operating, prior. All of us, in our personal and professional lives, are living a life never experienced before. But do we have a choice? No, we do not. For us to keep safe and alive, we will have to live the ‘new normal’.

That is where keeping our spirits high comes into picture. Since the new normal is hampering our lives, it does take its toll on our mental and physical health. Let us not let the pandemic lower our spirits. We have a precious life to enjoy and we shall do so! There is a lot of capability within us that we, sometimes, do not even know. It is just a matter of reinventing our inner self to fight against the outer worldly crisis.

How is the Pandemic Affecting Our Lives?

The pandemic is having different kinds of knock-on effects on our lives. The implication that it is showcasing range from being physical to emotional to financial to social. There is a lot of turmoil going around in different ways, some of which are mentioned below:

On a Personal Level

  • Feeling isolated as not being able to socialize and move around freely
  • Lower business returns and more of financial hassles
  • Economic setback with unavailability of all desired items
  • Poor cash flow on a personal level
  • Illness and loss of dear ones

On a Professional Level

  • Work from Home (WFH) regime is a different way of working
  • Unable to meet team members/seniors regularly and have more interaction
  • Less availability of guidance and more of self-work and independent functioning
  • A cultural shift in the mindset
  • Unavailability of seamless internet connectivity

And there could be more…

However big the number of issues is, it is up to us not to let ourselves down and keep our spirits strong, happy, and positive. Though everyone has their own way of dealing with these concerns, here are some tips that can help a great deal in elevating your spirits.

Key Tips to Lead a Happy and Satisfied Personal Life, Amidst the Pandemic

improving life satisfaction

  • Feel blessed that you have such a nice life. There are ups and downs in everyone’s lives and everyone must deal with that. But the very fact that God has given you a life to cherish demands our gratitude.
  • Look at people who are more troubled than you, who have lost their near and dear ones, are dealing with severe financial crisis, unable to feed their family, far away from their families. Such cases must make you feel that you are in a much happy space as compared to them. This should make you thankful in return.
  • Do these regularly – exercise, pray, meditate, eat good food, sleep well, spend quality time with family, perform your hobbies regularly, even if virtually. These regular activities shall keep boosting your inner self and keep you positive and strong.
  • Leverage the virtual world by regularly keeping in touch with family and friends all over the world. Everyone is in the same state of mind; hence, discussing and spending time shall surely help.
  • Keep telling yourself – ‘This too shall pass, ‘happy days are here again’, ‘every dark cloud comes with a silver lining’, and ‘think positive, be positive’, among others. The world out there is filled with such encouraging quotes. Though these may sound theoretical, embedding them in your mind shall work. Read good books, since no wonder why, they are our best friends.
  • Help others in need – be it by giving money, food, clothes, advice, or whichever way you can. Serving others will bring about a great sense of satisfaction, which will help you overcome your own set of worries/concerns/anxiety.
  • Keep in touch with what is going around in the world, but do not get too engrossed into it. Going deeper into what is happening around the world, especially in the pandemic may let you further down. Instead, watch happy and cheerful digital stuff that can lift you up.

Points to Ponder for a Successful and Stress-free Professional Life, in the Pandemic Times

  • Ensure a systematic internet connectivity plan in place so that you are continuously connected with your seniors and teammates.
  • Attend your virtual office as if you are present in person – dress well, get upright and smart, be confident, show your eagerness to work virtually.
  • Set up an area at home that will serve as your workplace daily. This makes you feel you are at your official location, giving a professional touch.
  • Ensure a healthy work-life balance. Keep focused hours for work and, at the same time, give time to yourself and your family.
  • Keep exercising, walking, and taking breaks in between. Sitting continuously in front of the digital media can cause harm.
  • Remain updated with what is happening on the professional front, in the organization. Keep in touch with your colleagues, even if it is not work specific. This way, you shall feel more connected and a part of the entire community that is living your life, work-wise.
  • Do not hesitate to contact the relevant person whenever you feel you are stuck. Working virtually does not mean you are disconnected. Keep a rapport with all. Wish your colleagues on their special days, congratulate them on their achievements, and just chit chat with your favourite people. These activities help you not to get grinded in the daily routines.
  • Take part in video conferencing calls and be heard. Show your opinion and clear all your doubts. Be interactive – this helps you feel as if you are a part of the office activities and there is a similar world that is working just like you.

Praying for a Pandemic-Free World

praying for the pandemic free world

As we keep ourselves up and running, the one thing that can help us all is to pray together to the Almighty to give us a pandemic-free globe soon. There is so much pain and worry that we have been witnessing; it is time God looks at us and bestows blessings in the world. Stay blessed, stay positive and be happy with what we have – life is too precious to be wasted!

The post How To Boost Your Personal and Professional Spirits During the Pandemic Crisis? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Use Link Signals to Improve Search Engine Rankings

In the digital age, a business’ website is a treasured asset. But before customers can shop at a business online, they need to find it first. SEOs devote their career to making that happen, and here’s what they can tell you: while there are a large number of factors to consider when it comes to modern search engines, links continue to reign supreme.

SEMRush lists different link signals as 4 of the top 8 ranking factors in search results. Meanwhile, a study by Backlinko found that the average #1 Google Search has 3.8x more backlinks and 3.2x more referring domains than #2-#10. According to MOZ, links are credited for 28% of Google’s ranking factors when conducting local organic search. That’s greater than any other individual factor.

Many Sites Have no Links at All

Despite the importance of link signals to the visibility of a website, not every business is taking advantage of them. 94% of all web content lacks a single external backlink. These pages are like islands; isolated from the rest of the web. Your business needs to take action to be sure it isn’t part of that archipelago. Customers rarely want to traverse virtual oceans to find what they need. If you find that this is the case with your own website, don’t worry: you still have time to build inroads to the main continent.

Quality Over Quantity

improving your website ranking

As you build your external connections, proceed with caution. Increasing your number of link signals is important, but you should never leave quality off to the wayside. Not every link signal is a good one. Google penalizes websites who use doorway pages meant to funnel users to a different page than they clicked, thin affiliates that use content from another site without adding value, so-called “unnatural links” like text advertisements that are not tagged as sponsored, or other dishonest tricks that seek to increase their site’s ranking without also increasing its quality or relevance to a user.

Google does not want to allow spam to have a positive influence on rankings, and working with spam can bring down a good site’s reputation. Connecting your page to many poor-quality links places it in a “bad neighborhood” of the virtual world. If you set up shop in a rough part of town, don’t be surprised when potential customers are scared to walk in.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait – And Do it Right

improve your website ranking

Instead of resorting to deception, it’s better to increase your link signals’ quality and number simultaneously. These ways don’t all have to include putting more links on your site; some of them relate to the content of your website as well. For example, domain age works in a website’s favor; it shows that the website has stood the test of time. Content that answers questions is valuable; posts discussing the “what” or “why” of things get 26% more links than videos and how-tos. Long-form content tends to receive more shares than short articles do.

As for improvement methods tied more directly to links, there are a few different ones. The more likely a link is to be clicked by a user, the more value it has, so locate the best links in the body of your content instead of the footer. Consider what words people would use to search for your website: high-ranking sites require 4x the number of referring domains for popular keywords as they do for less common ones. Follow links always rank above Nofollow links because the former vouches for the linked site’s authority.

These are just a few places to get started. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain a high-quality website and provide external backlinks to websites of equal or better quality. So long as your page and the external backlinks it attracts have good Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T), you will be able to climb in Google’s search rankings.

In the words of Ann Smarty, Brand/Community Manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com and MyBlogU.com, “Links help Google to associate your page (and your brand) with other concepts and entities in the niche…. So when building links, pick sites and context you want to be associated with.”

Source: dirjournal

The post How to Use Link Signals to Improve Search Engine Rankings appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Use Viral Marketing to Make Your Blog Viral

You probably know that a lot of examples of viral content comes from social media. One of them is this world-famous tweet by Ellen DeGeneres:

oscars viral selfie
Via Twitter

This photo got so famous that it was revamped by many mainstream media outlets. Even the creators of The Simpsons made their own version of this tweet:

oscars viral selfie simpsonized
Via Twitter

From these two examples, it’s easy to see why social media content has more viral potential. Social media platforms have the necessary tools to share and spread information, which sometimes helps content go viral even within a few hours.

But what about blogs? Does blog content have viral potential?

Let’s try to answer this question with an example.

You’ve probably heard about BuzzFeed – one of the biggest internet media companies. Its website is essentially a big blog broken down into multiple topics, including politics and entertainment.

If we take a look at the performance of the articles on the BuzzFeed website, we’ll see that most of them have absolutely great engagement rates, although most of them are simply blog posts:

buzzfeed article performance

So, how do blogs like this make it to the top and acquire viral potential?

What should you do to achieve results like this?

Let’s take a look.

Diversify Your Blog with Different Types of Content

Of course, if you only put articles with plain text on your blog, it won’t go viral any time soon. This is because the content preferences of the internet audience have changed over the years, and now they prefer more dynamic types of content.

For example, you might have noticed the rapid growth of video content over the past few years. And today, 72% of consumers say they prefer watching a video over text when it comes to receiving information from brands.

Since we’re talking about blogs, you cannot give up on text articles completely, but you can make them more engaging by adding videos.

Neil Patel’s website is the perfect example of how a blog that’s using this strategy can achieve viral success. His article that contains only one video is already performing better than the one that just has text in it:

neil patal website performance

neil patal performance website

Video content is versatile and can suit any blog. For example, if you have a website about learning English, apart from educational articles, you can upload podcasts for learning English, as well as training videos.

Apart from videos, you can also diversify your blog with interactive content. For example, BuzzFeed is using quizzes, which are mostly responsible for the website’s success.

So, to increase your blog’s viral potential, you can combine text and interactive content in one article. For example, you could start your blog post with a short quiz, which would considerably increase interest in your content and engage your audience right from the start. Besides, because of the uniqueness of interactive content, more people will be interested to share it, contributing to your blog’s virality.

Keep Track of the Viral Trends

The viral potential of your blog also depends a lot on the topics that you choose for your articles. Every industry has its viral trends, and it’s important to stick to them if your goal is to make your blog viral.

Which viral marketing tricks can you use to stay in line with current popular trends in your industry?

  • Set up notifications for industry-specific keywords. Go to Google Alerts and create an RSS feed aimed at a certain keyword. As a result, you’ll get email notifications of a story related to this keyword. You can also benefit from this strategy to optimize your content for SEO because it will help you get the list of the top-performing keywords in your industry.

digital marketing

  • Check trending sections on social media. For example, on Twitter, the list of trending topics is updated every day, and you can pick the topics that have been trending for a while and include them in your blog content plan:

social media trending posts

  • Follow trendy blogs and news outlets. You can also subscribe to them and receive daily newsletters about the hottest topics in different industries. For example, theSkimm sends its subscribers newsletters about the key events that happened in the last 24 hours across different areas of social life:

daily skimm

On social media, you can also follow different hashtags to see which content people have been sharing over the past few days, so that you can determine current viral topics and use them in your blog.

Listen to Your Social Media Followers

If you often post on social accounts about the updates on your blog, then your social media also has the potential to increase your blog’s virality.

However, you need to remember that the blog post’s potential to go viral will depend on your social media followers, since they’ll be the first to share it. If the topic of the blog post is interesting to them, it will be more likely for the post to go viral.

You can predict your audience’s interest by using social data – the information that your followers share on social media about their content preferences and interests.

For example, if you go to the Twitter Analytics tab, you’ll see your audience’s interests right away:

twitter tab

Tapping into these interests and using them when writing your blog posts can significantly increase your audience’s interest in them and make your followers want to share them with others, potentially increasing the virality of your blog.

Over to You

Viral marketing is a popular strategy, but it doesn’t guarantee you instant popularity. Not only does viral marketing require constant data mining and analysis, but it also takes time before all your efforts become fruitful.

Nevertheless, it’s worth giving it a try if you want to improve your blog’s visibility. Hopefully, our tips will help you prepare a more consistent viral marketing strategy that will bring your blog the popularity it deserves.

The post How to Use Viral Marketing to Make Your Blog Viral appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok

The popular teen dance and lip-sync social media platform is becoming something bigger.

With millennials making up a greater share of the social media platform’s user base, marketers and business owners are suddenly looking at TikTok from a fresh perspective.

But why should your business care?

Here’s what Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Products at Shopify has to say: “TikTok is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the US alone.”

TikTok offers businesses looking to reach customers with a stronger purchasing power an attractive platform for reaching their target audience.

How can TikTok help you beat your competitors?

using tiktok for marketing

With over 800 million active users, TikTok might be your best shot at getting ahead of your competitors. With its enviable user base that has over 24% of the platform’s user base aged between 25 -34, the platform has become one of the best platforms brands that can leverage to reach customers with the strongest purchasing power.

Previously known mostly for viral teen dance, challenges and lip-sync videos, the platform now has videos spanning every niche possible. DIY videos, beauty tutorials, styling, and fitness videos are now popular on the platform.

Another great advantage of the platform is its unique algorithm that allows users with low follower count to achieve viral status on the app, which is something other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram do not offer.

Aside from providing a huge opportunity for brands and businesses to increase awareness and reach for free, TikTok also offers other ways for brands to drive traffic from the platform.

Below are five ways to get ahead of your competitors by driving traffic from TikTok:

Add a Clickable Link in Your Bio

Adding a link in your TikTok bio is a great way to convert users who find your current content interesting to leads. You can, with the link in your bio, drive traffic to your website or landing page. You can add a call-to-action in your product post captions to direct followers to the link in your bio. This is a great way to turn your TikTok viewers into leads.

However, only selected TikTok accounts have access to the link in the bio feature by default at the moment because the feature is still undergoing beta testing.

To confirm if you’re among the selected, click on the “Edit Profile” on your profile page. If you find a “Website” field, then you’re good to go.

Can’t find the “Website” field? You might get the feature if you join the TikTok testers program. Here’s how to join:

  1. Go to your TikTok Profile
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Click on “Join TikTok Testers”
  4. A new window will open and you’ll be asked to sign in with your email address
  5. After successfully signing in, you’ll receive an update on your TikTok app
  6. Update the app and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to add a link in your bio

Still can’t find the website feature after joining the testers program? This could be due to the country you’re in or your follower count. You’ll get it soon as TikTok is gradually rolling out the feature to all its users.

Craft a TikTok Content Strategy

To grow and nurture customer engagement with your brand, you need a custom content strategy as great content can help attract leads for your business.

Choosing your core topics, establishing a posting schedule, using TikTok Live and engaging with your audience are some of the best practices when it comes to content strategy.

Work with TikTok Influencers

tiktok for marketing

Just like influencer marketing on any other social media platform, working with TikTok influencers can help get your brand’s message in front of your target audience to generate leads and increase the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing efforts.

Take advantage of TikTok Challenge

TikTok challenges can be organic or sponsored and they provide a great opportunity for you to increase your brand awareness and lead generation on the platform.

Taking part in a viral challenge can put your business in front of thousands of your potential customers. Your business needs to add TikTok challenges to your lead generation tools to appeal to younger audiences.

You can get started with TikTok challenges by participating in already popular challenges or by launching your own TikTok Branded Challenge.

And finally,

Use TikTok Ads

The easiest way to generate leads on TikTok is by using the official paid ads. The platform’s ads are designed to help businesses reach their target audience with ease.

You can take advantage of TikTok ads to increase your brand awareness, collect customer insights, and drive traffic to your landing pages.

TikTok continues to be one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. With the right strategy, the platform can be used to increase brand awareness and for generating tons of leads for your business, which can help you stay ahead of your competitors.

You can use any of the above-listed tips, from adding a clickable link in your bio to using TikTok ads, to get ahead of your competitors.

And remember (awesome) content is KING. Capture the attention of your target audience and you’re set to reap massive returns.

In closing, here’s a reminder of the five ways to get ahead of your competitors by using TikTok.

  1. Add a Clickable Link in Your Bio
  2. Craft a TikTok Content Strategy
  3. Work with TikTok Influencers
  4. Take advantage of TikTok Challenge
  5. Use TikTok Ads

There you have it: How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok.

What are your thoughts on driving traffic from TikTok?

The post How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Set Up Your Digital Productivity Space – Top 10 Tips

When you work from home, it is important to set up your workstation properly to have the same convenient space that you would have at the office. But what about the digital space? This should be no less important to have your notifications under control, have regular breaks, and keep your documents organized in a way that does not require you to look for them for a long time.

That’s why we bring you 10 tips on how to organize your digital workspace, loaded with helpful productivity tools and suggestions that will serve you well even when this home-office era ends.

Keep your documents clean and organized

Do you have a system to organize your files in folders? If not, it is a good time to get one. Yes, no one wants to spend that much time moving files and inventing an organization system but when you finish, we believe that you will find everything in its place and that will help you to have all your thoughts in order as well.

If you can’t put aside time for that right now, here are some helpful habits for file management that you can apply right away:

  • Delete every file you receive as soon you don’t need it anymore.
  • Organize the files you create in folders right away, when you come back to the old file place it in the right folder as well. This will only take a second, but in a two-week period you will notice how systematic your order begins to run your documents.
  • Have an archive folder for old work. If you don’t like to delete the file right away, put in an archive folder, so that you can find it later.
  • Use numbers or symbols in the document names to keep important ones on the top.

When you do have some free time on your hands and want to dive into organizing, start by revising what you have (folders and documents) and archive everything you don’t need. Give your files and folders clear names.

Did you know that almost 42% of employees complain that they can’t find files quickly enough, due to incorrect naming? So, don’t be amongst them. You can also set your folders in an intuitive hierarchy to quickly find the path to the documents you need.

Unsubscribe from the documents in the cloud as you would from unwanted mail. If the document owner wants you to see this document again, they can re-send you the permission. Alternatively, when you work in the same office, share files with colleagues temporarily.

How’s that possible? Take a look at an innovative feature called ad-hoc introduced in the Collabio Spaces app. This technology allows to co-edit files, but keeps the original only on the owner’s device.

Dedicate certain time for document organization, if you do it regularly, for example on Monday morning or Friday evening, it will take you no more than 5 minutes!

Digitize everything

Now that you have a perfect system for digital document organization, why not add your paper documents to it? It can take a mind-blowing amount of time to find a paper document you need among others.

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, employees spend 4.3 hours on average each week just searching for relevant papers and documents, which only adds to their stress. With this, it’s obvious that paper clutter is not as trivial as it seems.

Make sure you choose a right name for your documents when you scan them and you will never have to waste time going through piles of papers again. Many of us do not have a scanner at home but that is not a reason to stop digitizing your documents.

You can use mobile scanners that are so advanced and evolved by now. Moreover, you can even use text recognition, not just PDFs but text documents or specific fragments of them. See how OCR (optical character recognition) works in Scanner App, CamScanner or Collabio Spaces.

The good news is that with the invention of e-signature and digital signature, we will hardly have to print out paper documents anymore.

Back up your documents

digital workplace strategy tips

Have you ever been in a situation when your computer burns out and you hope to save all the data accumulated on it? Believe us, it is not pleasant, especially when a business is pending and your hard drive needs to be restored.

Modern technology is very powerful and quite reliable, but it still fails us regularly due to hardware or software issues, not mentioning the possibility of being hacked. It is a good idea to have a flash drive or an encrypted folder in a cloud or a company’s in-house server so that you can backup data regularly and make another useful habit of it.

Keep your digital desktop clean

Are you the type to have a minimalistic desktop space, clear of folders and documents?
Instead of saving every file to the desktop and having to stare at that mess, try to create shortcuts to your most used folders and refer to them once you need to find a document.
If you are the type to have all your go-to materials at sight, just make sure you delete or archive whatever you do not use anymore and make space for new files to come.

Technology helps you succeed in this! Some modern office suite apps completely manage your documents within itself, allowing better control over them and shedding you of that clutter on the desktop.

Don’t mix professional and personal files

Another good way to organize is by separating personal items from work. If you use the same device for your work and personal affairs, separate them properly. Make sure your shopping lists and family photos are in different folders from your work documents. Avoid any unpleasant surprises when you are presenting an assignment that instead of your highly professional presentation, it’s your photos from your vacation popping up.

Beyond creating different folders, your can use different software for your private life and your business life. For example, you open Mozilla Firefox only to take care of your domestic duties. When you have all your bookmarks, passwords and browser history exclusively there, it will make much easier to close one part of your life and concentrate on another when you need to make that switch.

Use gadgets only for your work!

By separating your personal and work gadgets, it will be even easier to “turn off” one part of your life and fully tend to another. If you use the same phone for both, try, for example, to use different messengers. It will become easier to manage notifications and stay focused.

If you’re afraid to miss an important call, while also being distracted by social media notifications, turn off the internet connection for a while and focus more on your job. By using off-line tools for collaboration, you can keep working together with your team.

The previously mentioned ad-hoc technology brings professional co-editing of documents to your phones as well. Now you can collaborate with your mates on the go, for example on the train, while you are traveling to meet a client.

Automate what you can and find shortcuts

Have you ever wondered why some of your colleagues are much more productive than others? Below we uncover some of their secrets:

  • Automate most parts of the job. Use tech tools to manage tasks and create alerts, for example, to send a follow up e-mail. Jira, Basecamp or Asana are the leaders in task tracking.
  • “Outsource” your work from the Internet. Do not try to reinvent a bicycle, you will only waste your time. Office suites provide helpful templates for different purposes, which can reduce the amount of work you’ll need to do dramatically. All major apps offering these are — Google Docs, Microsoft Office or Collabio Spaces.
  • Don’t ever do the same thing twice when it could have been done just once and copied infinitely. If you find yourself sending the same answer to different people, save its draft and just make adjustments.
  • Use technology to eliminate work. For example, you can use client management services to collect and keep clients’ contact information or use automated email marketing systems that send messages and collect statistics for you. Hubspot, Zoho, Salesforce or another CRM of your choice can help you to keep everything in one place.

Collaborate safely and conveniently

When it comes to collaboration, there are several aspects to consider. We already spoke about the confusion that can be created by sharing documents in cloud and how to deal with it, but there is more to know.

Stop putting documents you need to co-edit in mail attachments. It uses up space in your mailbox and then it occupies space on your computer when you save all the versions of the document. If you need to collaborate with someone, whom you can only reach online, put the document in cloud, in case you need more people to edit the same thing.

This way, you will not end up with multiple versions of the same thing. Also, use track changes, if your cloud editor allows it, so you will quickly know who made what changes and can ask them about it if necessary.

When you use cloud to collaborate, the whole team can only be as efficient as the strength of the internet connection of each member. Besides, when your upload your data to a commercial cloud, you have to trust the service to manage and protect it. That is why we recommend to consider other options as well.

For example, ad-hoc collaboration is conducted offline and you only need a hotspot to run it. Here is how it works: let’s say a team leader creates a document, for example, “Meeting Agenda”. He shares this document with the rest of the members so that everyone can make edits simultaneously. By the time the meeting is over, there will be just one version of it, saved to the team leader’s device.

Communicate fruitfully

Bad communication in the company can be a source of anxiety and may result in poor work conditions. Remote work can make it even harder to communicate with your colleagues. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this difficulties:

  • Prefer video chats to phone calls and phone calls to text messages. Hearing the tone of the voice and seeing the face expressions will significantly decrease possibilities for miscommunication.
  • Use technology to transfer work processes you normally hold offline to an online space.
  • Presentation matters. Make sure you have your space in order, you’re presentable in your appearance, and there are no domestic noises to interrupt your video call.

Have a rest from your work!

digital workplace strategy tip

Finally, when your work digital space is sorted and functional, get some rest from it. It is good to set some regular alerts for breaks throughout the day, a regular 5-minute break to make a tea or meditate will go a long way. Make a ritual of having a cup of coffee with a friend or favorite colleague to chit-chat and talk about something besides business.

Try not to eat in front of your computer since it is not beneficial for your gut health. Lunch should be the time when you enjoy food and, preferably in the company of others. It’s definitely not that time when you spill soup on your keyboard.

If you can, make a habit of turning off notifications on your work phone after working hours and enjoy uninterrupted personal life. After all, we work to live, not the opposite!

Which of these recommendations did you find the most useful? Do you have tricks of your own that help you to organize and keep order of your digital space? Feel free to share in the comments below!

The post How to Set Up Your Digital Productivity Space – Top 10 Tips appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Diets & Modern Human: How Staying at Extremes of the Spectrum Ruins Lives

Why are modern humans obsessed with the idea of diets? Why is everybody having this undying desire to feel special? This obsession leads us to follow a diet or a certain health guru, convinced it would guarantee transformation of some sort. As such, we ignore our natural instincts and let an illusion of perfection corrupt our inherent self.

This fantasy, a chimera in your brain, affects both your reality and subconscious. The constant fear of eating the wrong food, anxiously checking labels, and always living on the edge – ask yourself, is this what you wanted out of your health journey?

A lot of young people with a quest to look a certain way, feel healthy, or even mask one of their many addictions, fall into the deep pothole of extreme diets and fad eating protocols. This appetite for health and attention is one of the biggest reasons why 70% of the youth is suffering from at least one form of an eating disorder or a mental health issue.

So, what awaits us at the end of this arduous pathway? Let’s dive deep:

The Fat Phobia

It was at the beginning of the early 1950s when commerce products were introduced to the consumers. And, one such product was the vegetable oil and margarine (hydrogenated fat), which marked the start of the “fall of the fats”.

Soon, people were fed with misleading information about the good fats, animal protein, and some cooked fats, such as butter and ghee. Even though companies had profit and health both in mind, this “shun fat” movement made people paranoid about their health.

They started taking their calories seriously, eating less fats, and dwindled between diets like a pendulum. It was a journey to find a diet that lets them incorporate no fats at all.

The Body Dysmorphia

body dysmorphia

Is the mirror in your room a foe? You may have borderline image dysmorphia. People are not aware of the fact that our brains are 48% cholesterol. There are numerous studies proving that lack of fats and cholesterol in the diet often leads to a condition called body image dysmorphia. An individual suffering from this condition has a distorted sense of existence and often projects their physical insecurities that do not even exist or are ideally not worth mentioning.

Physical attributes become an obsession and a person’s sanity may start to fall apart. For instance, a skinny girl might not feel highly of herself and strive to get even leaner, or an overweight individual thinks he is at a healthy weight. There are also instances when one obsesses over diets, diet plans, and fats in the food. Hence, this malfunction in the brain can warp reality that makes those who suffer from the condition struggle even more.

Disturbing Behavioral Patterns

Notice the youth. Do they seem strange? Ask about their daily calorie intake and the replies shall leave you baffled. The modern human is delusional, often reaching out for that illusion of perfect health. Switching from one diet to another, ridiculous fasting protocols, practices, such as keto, veganism, fruitarianism, and only-seeds diet have wreaked havoc on their bodies.

A study by Harvard University states that lack of certain nutrients like cholesterol causes fits of rage, extreme tattooing, anger issues, sexual abuse, drugs, and even depression. The biggest pharmaceutical weapon- the anti-cholesterol, is often regarded as the culprit behind these self-sabotage tendencies in elderly people or young adults on these medications.

Cognitive Distortion

Cognitive distortion impedes rational thinking and sabotages the doer mindset. A distorted sense of reality, unrealistic goal setting, and negative thought patterns are some of the visible symptoms. People with cognitive distortion find themselves trapped in their erroneous perception of reality.

Myelin, the intricate web of nerves coating the central nervous system, is a thick layer that protects the brain. Myelin needs fats and cholesterol to function properly. People who follow strict diets and focus on the exterior image lack dietary fats and HDL (good cholesterol) in their meals.

The prolonged absence of fats starves the myelin and this triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. Depression, anger issues, and irrational thinking start to unfold. For instance, observe long-term vegans and their speech issues.

Eating Disorders

eating disorders

The cataclysmic events, with their roots in one’s childhood, eventually results into some form of an eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia, and behaviors to recoup the self-sabotage activities, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative overuse, social media, and sexual activities are the connotations that no one likes to talk about.

Past trauma and extreme diets are some of the detected prime culprits. Statistical data on bulimia nervosa shows that 1.7%-2.0% of adult women and 0.5-0.7% of men, globally, suffer from a lifetime eating disorder and visit rehabs to counter relapse. Moreover, the data also states that 17% of the recovered subjects are likely to relapse.

People who suffer from an eating disorder escape frontline diagnosis and are confused with people who are simply losing weight due to stress or some kind of workload. Psychotherapy and complete support from family members are some of the surefire ways to help the patients.

Amenorrhea & Body Hair Epidemic

As much as you would love to admit how social media created unusual gigs, it is equally disappointing to see that it glorifies absurdity as well. Some of the bizarre online activities that gradually became a trend are: fat acceptance (even if it kills you), body hair, acne acceptance, beauty DIYs, and loss of menstrual cycle. Yes, you read it right – loss of period.

A lot of influencers online take this as a normal biological process and regard it as a way to achieve greater consciousness. The medical journals diagnose this condition as amenorrhea. A condition, quite similar to anorexia, wherein the subject loses their period due to malnutrition, as well as malabsorption, and develop body hair. This condition reaches its severity when the individual is declared infertile or incapable to procreate.

There is a strange war between the obvious and some hoax, an altercation between the inner body signals and deep indoctrination. The modern human, unlike hominids in the paleolithic era who listened to their survival instincts, prefers listening to half-baked information.

The extreme diets, the severe health protocols, and all this for what? This is only to shed the skin we are supposed to be in and don something that is totally strange to our real self – both biologically and spiritually.

The post Diets & Modern Human: How Staying at Extremes of the Spectrum Ruins Lives appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Keep Motivation High in the Era of Office Shutdowns

As people are preparing for their third month of work-from-home, the office is beginning to seem like a more attractive place. Struggling to balance work with the other priorities like the virtual education of children, staying healthy, and other personal commitments has left many employees feeling burnt out and drained.

Few thought it would come to this, but a growing number of people are missing their physical place of work. The office, a subject of countless TV shows, movies, and other media depicting it as a mundane necessity in modern life, is increasingly missed by workers. The disconnect between colleagues, the lack of a clear boundary between work and home, and the feeling of isolation are challenging individual motivation and team spirit.

For those who are experienced in remote work, these aren’t necessarily new difficulties. However, in the novel reality brought on by the pandemic, the challenges of remote work are amplified. So what can be done to raise motivation levels and team spirit in these days of the home office? Read on to find out.

Eliminate the technical glitches

As a first priority, it’s important to eliminate the challenges that are in your direct control, namely your technical set up. Whether it’s your internet crashing, being forced to use an inconvenient teamwork app, or issues with hardware, technical issues can make an already challenging situation all the more difficult.

Investing time, and potentially money, in making sure that you have the right set up will save you countless future frustrations. This could mean a number of fixes and improvements to your remote office, including:

While you may be telling yourself that you can just push through technical difficulties for a couple more weeks until your office reopens, that quick return might not be in the cards. It’s difficult to tell what will happen in the coming months. However, it’s best to be prepared for an extended shutdown or even a second shutdown at some point in the future.

Connect with your team

stay motivated while working from home

Months ago you may not have looked at your office relationships in the same way you do now. Before the shutdown, many people dreaded going to the office and having the same boilerplate conversations. Many of these same people are now craving any type of social interaction.

The desire to connect with colleagues isn’t a surprise. In fact, there’s a strong link between having friendships at work and the level of employee engagement. So recreating social interactions while working remotely is crucial.

Working remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t create opportunities to catch up and spend time with colleagues. Many businesses are turning to virtual happy hours in order to create space for social interactions.

One good practice is to schedule a recurring happy hour a couple times a week at the end of the work day. Each team member can take a turn leading the team in an activity – cooking, exercise, drawing, or anything else that comes to mind. In this way you’ll be able to spend time together doing something outside of the normal work routine.

Set clear boundaries

One of the most challenging things about the remote home office is the lack of clear boundaries between your work and your personal life. Whereas, previously, you needed to get in your car or hop on public transport to travel to a completely separate work environment, now you’re living in it.

This can easily lead to overdoing it- rolling out of bed and jumping on the computer to start work. Then working throughout your waking hours without a clear endpoint. This situation can easily demotivate you and lead to a feeling of burnout.

In order to maintain the right balance, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should be available 24/7. Try the following approaches in order to clearly divide your personal life from your work:

  • Share your working times with your colleagues, and ask that they do the same with you. In this way, you’ll hold each other accountable.
  • Start your day as you would if you were going to the office. Wake up, stretch, exercise, read the news, have breakfast, or whatever other routine you’d normally have.
  • Get dressed for work, and change clothes for your downtime. It may not seem like much, but these small external changes can set the right tone for your day.
  • Don’t try to work 8 hours straight and take breaks when necessary. In the office you’d likely have normal interruptions in your day – chatting with a colleague, going out for lunch, buying a coffee, etc. Try to replicate some of these by setting standard break times.
  • If possible, separate your working space from the space you normally spend your time. In this way, you’ll be able to more easily transition from work to downtime.

Creating the right balance takes some trial and error, so give yourself time to experiment.

Take care of your health

working from home motivation

It’s no news for anyone that mental health and physical health are directly related. Despite this fact, many people are still deprioritizing their physical well-being. This is particularly easy to do during the present crisis when social distancing measures have you locked up at home.

Taking care of your health through proper diet and exercise is more important than ever. While you may have had some physical activity each day in your daily routine (for example, walking to the office), working from home eliminates much of this.

Be realistic and try to create a routine that you’ll enjoy and follow. When it comes to healthy living, you’re more likely to fail if you set goals that are too ambitious. Start off with something small, like a daily walk and one more piece of fruit a day, and build from there.

Building healthy habits is difficult to do on your own. Try to form a workplace support group with your colleagues. In this way, you’ll be able to motivate each other and create a feeling of accountability.

Final thoughts

As with any larger transition, the current switch to remote work has left many people feeling lost. At a time when so many things are out of our control, it’s important to take proactive action where we can.

By taking steps to create a comfortable remote work set up, connect with your colleagues, set clear boundaries, and maintain your health, you’ll be well on your way to transitioning from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving.’

The post How to Keep Motivation High in the Era of Office Shutdowns appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stop Being Offended by Everyone (in just 13 steps)

It seems like you can’t do or say anything nowadays without someone being offended by it. It’s gotten out of hand, and I want to help.

Are you sick of getting your “feathers ruffled” every time you go on social media, talk to a certain relative, or hear some BS on Zoom? Do you want to maximize the amount of time in your life that you’re filled with joy rather than rage? Then this article is for you.

I’ve found that the easiest way to stop doing something, is to start doing something else. So bookmark this page and begin reading it the minute you feel yourself getting “offended.”

These insights take less than 3 minutes to digest, and will help you transmute the emotional energy of offense, to attract more positivity into your life and radiate it in the world around you.

So, someone said or did something that “offended” you…

1. First, recognize that your being offended is your choice. And just because you are offended, does not mean you are right.

2. Take several deep breaths, and allow yourself to feel any emotion that arises, processing it internally without reacting just yet. Every emotion is a valid one, if you are feeling it. Then choose to be “the boss” of your emotions by silently repeating this mantra: “I am calm when wronged.”

avoiding taking things personally

3. Stop and consider the source. Is this coming from a human being with whom you are generally aligned or not?

4. Discern, as best you can, whether what was said or done was on purpose (with malice or ill intent) or unintentional (accidental or as a result of lack of knowledge).

5. Hover above the situation, see yourself getting triggered and ask yourself, “Why am I offended?” Is it because I’m “supposed to be”, or because I actually am?”

6. Locate the part of you that feels victimized. Recognize that this is where a wound exists, and this is why you’re more vulnerable there.

7. Instead of “going off” on someone, send loving energy to where you are broken. Be compassionate with yourself that there is obviously more healing to do on that subject.

8. Listen to the opposing perspective; you will either learn something new that enlightens you to take a step in the direction of their view, or the contrast may further deepen your commitment to your own belief. Both have a great outcome.

9. Drop your ego or desire to direct, control, or change other’s beliefs. Release the need to gain a specific outcome. Then, laugh at how ridiculous it is to waste another precious moment of your life policing someone else’s thoughts.

10. If you can, wait at least 24 hours before responding. And when you do, use “I feel” statements like, “I feel hurt that you said…” as opposed to “You hurt me when you said…” with your focus being peace and understanding. If peace and understanding is not being reached, and the other person challenges back demanding more explanation, you are not required to further defend or explain. You are allowed to say, “It’s just how I feel,” and leave it at that.

avoid taking things personally

11. Remind yourself that we are a collective, and that the person that “wronged” you is from the same Source as you. We all have the same “cosmic DNA”. So hating them is hating you.

12. See the lesson brought to you from this resistance as a gift, and be grateful that it came to you, because it revealed a deeper truth within you. Vow to move towards love and acceptance on this and all future “offenses.”

13. Remember that sitting in the energy of offense does not feel good, and you love yourself enough to choose to feel good as much as possible in your life. You get to decide.

Notice how none of these steps involve you making the other person change?

Why?

Because we can only control the space within us and 3 feet around us – how we react, how we accept, and how we choose to deal with perceived adversity.

I’m not saying that the other person isn’t wrong as hell. They probably are in your humble opinion, but it’s not your job to change someone else. It’s your job to be the happiest, most loving version of you possible, for as much time as possible. And walking around with disdain for everyone that is not in agreement with you has gotta be getting old by now, hasn’t it?

…There, I said it. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you’re not offended.

But then again, if you are? Remember, that’s on you.

The post How to Stop Being Offended by Everyone (in just 13 steps) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Successfully Pay Back Your Online Installment Loan

In these uncertain times, sudden unavoidable expense or financial emergencies are the stuff of nightmares. Instead of having zero options, installment loans help tide you over and allow you to make payments over time.

According to Leap Credit, online installment loans are, ‘a specific amount of money you borrow and then pay back within a certain time frame with a fixed payment every week, two weeks, or month.’

Now, while receiving a lump sum is always relieving and gratifying, some borrowers struggle to finish payments on their installment loans. To help you get set up for success, we are sharing these effective tips on how to successfully pay back your online installment loan. After all, the faster you are out of debt, the better.

Double Your Payments

The longer you have your loan, the more you’ll pay in interest fees. You want to minimize this, and doubling up on payments can help. Pay more than your lender requires you to. For example, say your loan terms require you make a single monthly payment. Instead, you could give them a payment every two weeks. If your loan requires two payments a month, pay them every week. Contact your lender and confirm that they’ll apply the payments to your loan without penalizing you before you do this. This is very important because some lenders don’t allow you to make extra payments without penalties.

Make Extra Money

online installment loan payment make extra money

If you’re worried about having enough money to pay back your loan, start trying to make extra cash. You can put any extra money you make toward this loan. Start by seeing if there is anything you can sell online, or you could take a jump into the gig economy. Services like Uber, DoorDash, and Lyft are thriving. What’s even better, you can work at your own pace on your own time without any pressure to meet a set amount of hours. As your money starts to stack up, send it straight to your loan company to pay down your balance quicker.

Ask About Discounts

Did you know that some lenders will give you discounts on your interest rate for different reasons? If this isn’t the first loan you’ve taken out with a company, you could get a discount for being a repeat customer. Automatic debit signup is another way to get a discount, or you could go paperless. Although this discount most likely won’t be huge, anything can help. You may have to contact customer service to get these discounts, but they can add up over the life of the loan.

Create a Payoff Plan

When you first get the loan, you should create a realistic payoff plan. Write it down or put it in a digital format. Write in when you have to start repaying your loan and when the payment is due. Set reminders in your digital calendars. This will help ensure that you don’t miss a payment, and it’ll also ensure that you don’t overdraw your account because you forgot about it. Stick as close to this payout plan as possible. This could mean you cut out a few frivolous expenses until you pay it off. However, it’ll be worth it.

Know Your Loan Terms

You should have absolutely no doubts when it comes to your loan’s terms. You have to have a good understanding of what the lender expects in terms of payments. Know when you have to pay back the loan by, how much interest the loan carries, and whether or not the lender will let you extend a payment deadline if something comes up. If there’s a grace period, you want to know what it is. These loan terms shouldn’t change throughout the life of your loan.

Round Up Your Payments

online installment loan payment

If you can’t afford to double your payments every month, make a point to round up your payments. For example, say your loan has a payment of $275 per month. You could pay $300 instead. This isn’t a lot of extra money, but it’ll add up over the life of your loan. If you have a year loan period, that extra $25 can shave a month off your loan term with $25 leftover. This will be really helpful if you make two payments a month because you’ll pay it off much quicker.

Set up Automatic Withdrawals

The last thing you want to do is forget your payments. Even one missed payment can have a negative impact on your credit score. You can avoid this by setting up automatic withdrawals from your checking account. You do want to make sure you have enough money in there to cover the cost of the loan payment, so you don’t overdraw yourself and incur more fees.

Cut Back on Luxuries

Most people have subscription services that they can pause or cancel for a few months. If you can, you can take the money you’d normally spend on these services and use it to pay off your loan quicker. Even a few dollars will really help you chip away at the balance until you pay it off. Once you pay it off, you can easily resume your services without an issue.

Go With a Reputable Company

You want to get your installment loan through a reputable company that has no hidden fees and straightforward terms. This can help ensure that you pay off your debt with as minimal fuss as possible, and it also improves your chances of having a responsive customer service team in place if anything should come up. Do your research when you start shopping around for companies and comparing reviews. You can use the Better Business Bureau to check a company’s reputation. This will help you find companies that offer competitive rates.

Bottom Line

Now you know several tricks how to pay installment loans. You can use this information to decide whether or not this type of loan is right for you or not. These tips will help you maximize your savings while getting your finances on track while paying back your loan. Pay it off as soon as you can to help offset the higher interest rates. Save up for an emergency fund, and improve your financial health with smart money decisions.

The post How To Successfully Pay Back Your Online Installment Loan appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Calculate and Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate

Regardless of what business you are in and by whatever name you call it – attrition, defection, or anything – customer churn is real. Every business has to deal with loss of customers and lose some revenue. Understanding what causes this customer churn is important. When a client or customer chooses to stop doing business with your company or stop using your brand products or services, it is called customer churn.

Customer churn depends on the type and nature of business or company. Some of the various ways it can be called in parlance include:

  • Cancellation of product or service subscription
  • Closure of customer account
  • Non-renewal of service agreement or contract
  • Cancellation of user agreement
  • Switching to a competitor program or offering

How to Measure Customer Churn Rate

Customer churn rate can be measured in these following ways.

  • Total number of customers lost in a specific period of time
  • Total percentage of customers lost in a specific period
  • Percentage of recurring business value lost
  • Business value lost

It is also necessary to note here that churn is inevitable. No matter how amazing your service is or useful your products or how great your marketing strategy is, you will have to face customers who want to leave. But this doesn’t mean you can’t prevent churn. Maintaining a good churn rate is possible and that is what is recommended.

Customer Churn Rates as per Industry basis

  • American card companies churn around 20 percent per annum
  • 5-7 percent customer churn rates are reported for software-as-a-service companies

While some customer churn rates are great for one business, they are terrible for another.

3 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn

Customer Onboarding

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer onboarding

Customers will look for better options if they do not understand the product too well. Any questions in the initial introduction can blow them away. The most important being the customer’s first experience and when that is good, they will want to continue with the business. A clear onboarding process is necessary to better a customer experience and reduce customer churn. The onboarding is the most important step in the process. Customers think of leaving only when they are unsatisfied from the beginning.

Meet Customers’ Expectations

Promising a lot of things to a customer and failing to deliver is one of the quickest ways to lose one. Close to 35 percent of customers stop doing businesses after a single negative experience. Unmet expectations and dissatisfaction are big reasons for customer churn. Consistently meeting customer expectations is important. Being honest to your customer about what they can expect is necessary.

Listening to what customers have to say about the product is also crucial. If they have any suggestions or improvements, finding out the same from customers is just as essential. 16 percent of customers post on social media when they face a negative interaction with a brand. And close to 60 percent of customers are heavily influenced by social media comments on brands and companies.

Provide Awesome Customer Service

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer service

A survey by Zendesk revealed that 42 percent of respondents found that they had a major frustration with customer service departments. Customer service is one of the major reasons why customer churn happens. Listening carefully to customers’ feedback is one of the best ways to retain customers.

When customers voice their complaints, listen to their exact problems, and find solutions. Even loyal customers can defect if the service is bad and they are being taken for granted. No one likes it when we must wait on a customer desk call for more than 20 minutes to clarify a simple doubt. Sometimes, customers face technical issues which can be sorted through an awesome customer service.

Bottom Line: Maximise Profits by Reducing Churn

A lot of businesses fail because customers are not happy with the customer service. If a customer threatens to close business, then it means the product needs to be explored to the full potential. A call with the customer success manager can make it simpler to resolve issues. Great customer success education should be the beginning of the customer journey.

From customer onboarding, it is important to maintain a great rapport with them. Through the right customer engagement tactics, customers can understand how the product fits into their success strategy.

The post How to Calculate and Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Real Estate SEO Tips: How to Maximize Your Google Visibility

Like other sectors, real estate is increasingly grabbing customers’ attention by coming up with ideal websites that run with proper SEO strategies. SEO has emerged as a successful way to boost your site’s ranking on Google and earn more leads and conversions in your online real estate business.

Today, the majority of buyers rely on Google searches to buy properties. If you want your CRE website to reach the top on the searches, you should leverage the effective marketing strategies. SEO is one of the best digital marketing concepts that can assist your real estate business to gain more benefits and lead online competition ahead. Because SEO matters a lot in hitting your business goals, you must try it in your real estate business.

Best Ways to Optimize Your CRE Website to Boost Google Visibility

Nowadays, the business has the boast of achieving the top position in the search results, which led them to develop an effective SEO strategy to earn the best results. But the question arises from where you should start? How to come up with the best SEO strategy? Here we have come up with a few tips that will assist you in optimizing your site and maximizing its visibility on Google.

#1: Kick-Off the Keyword Strategy

real estate seo keyword tips

Let’s start with the basics. The keyword strategy is the first step for effective SEO. There are a few things that you should consider while strategizing your move. Here, we have mentioned a few essential points of any keyword research and strategy.

Head keywords: When it comes to keywords strategy, the head keywords should be a priority. Generic competitive terms push your website on the Google search and help it to rank high for a specific keyword. For instance, you can consider the “1031 exchange” to “Miami office” and other possible variations that a user usually searches for.

Higher Valuable Terms: Such keywords include your company or brand name. These keywords also play a significant role in helping your site to rank higher.

Long-Tail Keywords: It includes the keywords that relate to a particular category of CRE company. Long-tail keywords include more characters than other keywords—for example, Washington DC Office space for rent, etc.

#2: High-Quality Content

There is no doubt that high-quality content is the core part of SEO, without which you can’t fulfill your dream to rank your site high on Google or other search engines. Therefore, we would highly recommend you to check out the health and wealth of your web content; after all, they are essential for the implementation of SEO strategies that are considered as the smart move towards the success of your real-estate business.

Content is not only limited to text. It also includes images, videos, and graphics. So, it would be best if you prioritize them. If we say clearly, the thing you should focus on for your CRE website is mentioned below. Check it out.

  • Proper company overview
  • Full-fledged property descriptions
  • Only add the original content to your site
  • Content should be relevant to your industry
  • Original news articles
  • Company’s latest updates and news

#3: Optimization of On-Page Elements

CRE website involves several SEO elements that one should always consider. If we say clearly, then on-page elements like the meta titles and meta descriptions of CRE websites are essential to be optimized so that Google can easily understand the page’s content. SEO optimization of on-page elements is necessary as it helps Google to place your site on the relevant searches and further improves the ranking.

Meta Title: In this field, you can describe your company and what you do. The thing which you need to remember is that the meta titles should be around 50-60 characters. Google displays the meta title of up to a maximum of 65 characters. Meta title example: Commercial Real Estate | Company Name | State or City

Meta Description: It allows you to elaborate on the description of your page and the company. The maximum meta description length is 50-160 characters. Along with this, another thing which you should focus on is the geographical area from where your real estate business operates and serves that rendered as target keywords.

Optimized Images: When it comes to SEO optimization, then it is essential to optimize your images correctly using correct file names and ALT tags. But why is it necessary? According to a study, it is mentioned that 63 percent of the people who look at Google images visit the host website, whereas 17 percent of that traffic belongs to the first image. Because website images have a higher CTR, they are also optimized correctly to earn more points in SEO rankings and Google visibility.

#4: Focus on Quality Backlinks

Another CRE SEO tip on our list is to focus on quality backlinks. It is the best way to boost the site ranking on search engines. In this method, you can get other websites to link back to you. Backlinking is considered a part of traditional SEO, but it still works great with today’s websites. But when it comes to quality backlinks, there is a need to develop engaging content that should include something relevant. If your content is not attractive, then people will not provide a link to your site, and your chances for improving ranking will decline.

Why SEO?

real estate seo google tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a popular and widely used practice of improving your site’s ranking in Google search results and other search engines. If we say in simple words, then SEO maximizes your business’ visibility on Google and other search engines.

SEO involves several strategies that digital marketers or business owners implement to gain the best results. But at the same time, the process can take months or over a year to offer the desired results. Although it takes a couple of months, if the strategy is implemented properly, it can bring you powerful results, including increased website traffic and Google visibility.

Significance of SEO in Real Estate

“Is SEO important for your real estate business?” Let’s take a look.

  • Google statistics clearly show that around 63K searches are performed on Google every year
  • 33 percent of people click on the first results, and hence businesses always strive to reach on top of the Google search results
  • 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engines

With the above statistics, one can easily conclude how essential SEO is in maximizing business visibility on Google. All these data show that if your business website ranks on top position, then you can easily earn more points in conversions, leads, and sales.

In simple words, you have to focus on several ranking factors that include choosing the right keywords for the meaningful impact and bringing more traffic of property buyers to your platforms. It can make you a better competitor in the online world.

Final Thoughts

The blog has covered everything you need to know about maximizing the Google visibility of your website. So, what are you waiting for? If you are also on the way to boost the ranking of your CRE (Commercial Real Estate) website, then this blog is for you. We hope that you find this helpful enough to learn more about SEO.

The post Real Estate SEO Tips: How to Maximize Your Google Visibility appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Launch And Optimize A Corporate Blog Generating Leads

Blogging became one of the most powerful tools for leads generation. Today, content plays a big part not only in entertaining but also in making sales. Though, there is a long way between just a reader, aka follower, and a qualified lead. How to make that way shorter? Read on to find out more about optimizing corporate blogs for generating inbound leads.

Keep Readers Interested

lead generation blogging

Modern readers are demanding and unforgiving of lapses. Your texts have to be informative, provide value, and be catchy at the same time. No matter what you need to tell your potential customers about, make it interesting. Think on how to present information in an easy and captivating way.

It can be a good idea to lead the narration by using a specially created character or even just one of the members of your team. It all depends on the field of your business, a platform you use for blogging, and purposes you want to reach.

Veterinarian communities can speak through a cat or a dog character who knows about pets’ needs and speak to people in order to explain the animals’ needs. Use your imagination and try to create a friendly atmosphere inside your blog.

Make A Content Strategy

To keep followers active and convert them into customers, you need a content strategy. It should include different types of posts including entertaining, advertising, and informative ones. The blog becomes popular when followers associate themselves with themes you explore. Try to understand what worries your customer and answer those requests in your blog.

If you can’t do it on your own, organize a poll and ask people what kind of content they would like to see in your blog. This way you would kill two birds with one stone. The polls not only push you in the right direction but also increase activity, and show readers you care about their opinion.

Also, content has to be added in your blog on a regular basis. Make a schedule and stick to it because regularity keeps readers involved and interested. What about style? You can tell stories and communicate in any manner you like, but most readers usually like a soft and unostentatious style of narration.

Encourage people to communicate and share opinions more, ask what they think about your latest article, and that will bring results. Communication is key to generating leads.

Let People Communicate

blogging lead generation

How to make followers communicate more? It depends on the services or products you offer to the clients. The following techniques are universal and work well for any area. We talk about useful advices, discussions, and answers to frequently asked customers’ questions.

If people see feedback and feel like their needs are important to blog creators they may become your inbound leads. Make sure your blog has all options for active readers to communicate with you. There have to be options for leaving contact details, which you can use for marketing goals. To generate leads, ascertain that your site makes it possible to:

  • order a call;
  • register a trial account;
  • sign up for updates or webinars;
  • join live chats service;
  • download interesting and useful materials in exchange for contact details.

You can also organize contests with valuable prizes and use chatbots to get more leads. Read on to know more about this method of leads generation.

Contests

Contests are maybe one of the best methods to turn readers into customers and get new leads. If you sell goods, make your followers vote for one of three products, and then offer a discount on “a winner”. Do you want to invite more potential clients into messengers?

You can use chat bots for that purpose. In order to participate in such contests and win the prize, users have to answer a few questions and click the messenger button. The type of contest has to match your platform, goals, and interests of the audience. Photo caption, giveaways, and “comment to win” contests are multi-purpose solutions.

Analyze Leads Behavior

Even if you are satisfied with the number of qualified leads and the followers’ activity, it’s important to analyze users’ behavior. View stats, analyze it, and change a strategy according to that data. It’s the only way you will be able to improve the results of leads generation and achieve greater success.

Author’s Bio

Karl Murphy is a professional journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he’s launched his career and over its course, Karl was contributing to the popular publications for men. He’s passionate about eSports, so now he develops his blog, csgo-bettingsites.com.

The post How To Launch And Optimize A Corporate Blog Generating Leads appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around

We were two mature adults in our mid-60’s, both grandparents, both with divorces behind us. We’d met through a dating website, and this was just our third date, each an innocent daytime picnic or lunch. I saw a spark dance in her eyes and asked, “What are you thinking?” And she startled me with this: “I’m thinking … this is what love feels like.” Huh? How does that happen? And how can you experience that yourself?

It’s Never Too Late

My experience doesn’t just pertain to Baby Boomers. The lessons I painfully learned can be embraced by anybody at any age. I’m sharing my revelations in hopes that you might avoid the kind of heart-breaking mistakes I made throughout my life.

And here is the bottom line, right near the top: Keep an open mind!

I know! That’s so easy, right? Everybody knows that. Sorry, but no, they don’t. Especially males, although females aren’t immune to shallow thinking, either. Here’s what happened to me.

The Problem

to love again

I grew up in Southern California in the Sixties, land of the Beach Boys, sunshine, and millions of blue-eyed blonde girls with beautiful tans and tiny bikinis. Yes, please, I’ll take one of those, and could you throw in pink lips and long eyelashes? What’s not to love?

The problem is, when it came to love, all my choices were based on these parameters, in exactly this order:

  1. Hair color (blonde)
  2. Eye color (blue)
  3. Body shape (voluptuous)
  4. Face shape (roundish)
  5. Content of her character (she likes me)

I was not unusual in this approach, given that it was Southern California and I was young. And I think I can safely say that women at that time and place weren’t all that different, although their desired qualities in a potential mate might vary slightly.

The bottom line (we might have several bottom lines in this story) is that our priorities were all wrong, and it took me 65 years to figure that out. What really matters is the person on the inside … their brain, heart, emotions, likes, dislikes, personality and, most important of all, at least from my point of view, their integrity.

That woman in the first paragraph of this story turned out to be the finest human being I have ever met. And how lucky am I that she loves me?

How the Problem Wreaks Havoc

I’m not happy to be disclosing some of the following, because it doesn’t reflect well on my decision-making, or intelligence, for that matter. But for the reader’s sake, I will admit that I made the same mistake over and over and over again. I added various twists to my mistakes, but they were all basically the same mistake. I chose romantic partners for all the wrong reasons.

My first choice was a woman who loved physical intimacy all the time, anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, I later learned she also loved it with anybody. My second choice was based on my desire to have a family, so I chose a woman for whom that also was a priority. It seemed like a sound decision, but I realized much later that a healthy couple needs something much stronger to bind them together than just the children.

Rebounding from that divorce, I foolishly went back to my primitive urges and chose a younger, beautiful, and intelligent woman. That blinded me to the obvious fact that she was a diseased alcoholic. And my fourth choice was even more “retro” – a blue-eyed blonde with money. To my great surprise, that didn’t work out either.

The Solution

I would love to tell you that after a series of heartbreaking experiences in romance, I suddenly came to my senses and had an epiphany that led me to finally get it right. I’d also like to say that it’s possible for anyone to find the perfect romantic partner who’s capable of changing your life forever. But those would be lies.

The bottom line (that’s three so far) is that I got lucky. I stumbled upon a perfect woman who doesn’t even know that she is perfect. But I will take credit for one tiny little moment that led me to what now feels like eternal happiness.

This woman and I were exchanging messages on a dating website, and we still hadn’t met. She eventually sent me a photo, and that’s where my lifelong mindsets surfaced once again. After looking at her photo, I responded honestly that she really wasn’t “my type.” I then proceeded to foolishly explain my type as blonde, blue-eyed, and a moon-shaped face (none of which described her).

how to love again online dating

She should have dropped me right there and then. In point of fact, she did write, “I think you’re dumb,” but we continued to write to each other anyway. She later shared that she simply enjoyed writing to me, although she felt (correctly) that I had a lot to learn about women.

Here’s the tiny part I take credit for: When I sensed she was about to permanently sign off, I wrote to tell her that I would like to meet her. I didn’t realize until later that I was at a turning point in my life. My priorities were beginning to shift.

And that led to what has become, truly, the love of my life.

It can happen to you, no matter your age or gender.

The bottom line (yes, that’s number four) is that you need to get out of your own way. Don’t be stuck in a mindset that probably hasn’t changed much since your high school days. Getting to know someone involves far more than swiping right or left or quickly looking at a photo. You might be surprised by what you learn about yourself and the person you are getting to know.

What does love feel like? I just used a bunch of words to scrape away at these amazing feelings deep inside of me, hoping the collective sentences would offer a glimpse, a taste of this epiphany.

But maybe my Lady Love said it best when she told me simply: “Love feels like a warm blanket wrapped all around you.”

The post How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Keep Your Office Polite Even When Your Opinions are Radically Different

These are tough times. A pandemic is upon us; social issues are dividing us; and partisan politics is inescapable. Chances are that opinions on some of these problems may differ, extensively, within your workplace. Does that mean you can never have a casual lunch with colleagues in the break room again? Must we always avoid those who don’t share our perspectives to keep the peace?

Fortunately, the answer is no. If you’re willing to take the lead and model some patience, tolerance, and empathy, you could broker a successful and lasting truce among the people at your job. Here are a few suggestions to maintain a happier and more harmonious atmosphere when you’re on the clock.

Employ the “tell me more” technique

In Kelly Corrigan’s memoir, Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say, she suggests those three words to not only encourage the people in your life to open up, but to also give yourself the opportunity to listen. If someone brings up an upcoming election or a controversial article she read at the lunch table, instead of automatically shutting it down to prevent conflict or biting our tongues to avoid disagreement, we could just say “tell me more”.

It may be hard at first, especially if the person who is speaking is negative or irritable, but those simple words can really soften people up. Everyone likes to be heard; everyone appreciates respect. Prompting others to “tell me more” doesn’t mean you have to listen to a three-hour soliloquy; it just means that you’re willing to hear them out and that you’re interested.

When discussing differing opinions, find at least one thing to agree with

what do you do if you have a disagreement with someone at work

One of my pals at work is the polar opposite of me politically. The two of us have no problem discussing any topics, however, because we both know that nothing is all black or all white. We respect each other as intelligent, well informed people and often find ourselves saying things like, “well I’ll grant you that” or “that’s certainly true.” When practicing the “tell me more” technique, you can probably find at least one tiny thing your speaker says on which you could comment positively.

Is the topic climate change? Perhaps you could offer something as simple as, “Well the weather has been crazy this year.” Arguing about an election? Try offering, “It just seems like everyone running has something wrong with them.” Such statements, though not exactly worthy of a Nobel peace prize, are nonetheless bridges to those around us. Keep them generic, simple, and true and they’ll have remarkable results.

Model how to communicate and disagree professionally

People who work together usually mind their manners quite well when they are involved in their everyday tasks or teams. They are busy; there may be quotas; time is money. If you want to have friendly conversations with your coworkers at break or over lunch, you need to interact with consistent professionalism throughout the day. Show them how you can communicate a difference of opinion without judgment or rancor. Be aware of your tone. Assume the best about someone who might be making a mistake.

Instead of, “You’re doing that wrong,” try “We’ve found it usually works better like this.” Know that most people are just like you: doing their best and, sometimes, having a bad day or experiencing personal distractions that make their work a little less than optimal. When people know you are sensible and even-keeled they frequently offer you the same treatment. Such behavior is much more likely to extend to down time when it’s practiced all the time

Have a go-to phrase that changes the subject

Even when polarizing events aren’t in the news, conversations among coworkers can sometimes get heated. It may be a project that’s not going well or someone who is not pulling his weight. Whatever it is, however, people get ticked off about it. This is when investing in getting to know your colleagues pays off. In my work place we have numerous older employees who have grandchildren. Whenever words get raw in the break room, I just throw in something like, “So, Chris, how are those grandkids!” or “John, isn’t your daughter-in-law pregnant again?”

If you don’t know your coworkers very well, you could use another statement that is suitably neutral like, “Thank God the weekend’s coming up!” (even if it’s only Monday.) Or tap into everyone’s love of sports, “How ‘bout them Knicks?” The idea is to have some kind of bait ready; anything that will turn the conversation in a better direction. Others will almost always appreciate it and follow your lead.

Don’t be afraid to close down a conversation or excuse yourself assertively

disagree with someone at work

This goes along with (4) above. I’ve used my safe phrases (yes, I have several) numerous times early in conversations just to avoid the possibility that things might go south. There are certain people among my colleagues who just can’t resist the opportunity to bust one another’s chops and I refuse to be in the middle of that. Sometimes, however, the best played safe phrases fail.

When that happens I have literally said to people, “Hey, guys, it’s time to get back to work.” Or “Let’s not do this.” Pair those remarks with getting up to leave and throw in something like, “Hey, Bill, can you help me with something in my office?” Those tactics always work for me. If you’re not confident enough to execute them, however, simply excuse yourself. Don’t run away, but make sure people know you’re leaving. A simple and straightforward “I’m going to go” is enough. No one is allowed to intimidate or frighten you.

Over my numerous careers I have always found that everyone appreciates good manners, even the most curmudgeonly. You don’t have to be fake or a doormat to get along with your colleagues. You do, however, need to be aware that you’re not the only one on the job. That means you need to offer some consideration for others and not just vent about everything or everyone who irritates you. Practicing some patience and being polite is guaranteed to improve your productivity and work experience, whether in the break room or the board room. You will almost certainly find it does the same thing for everyone else.

The post How to Keep Your Office Polite Even When Your Opinions are Radically Different appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Have A Growth Mindset About Money

More than 75% of Americans have at least one financial regret, and is it any wonder? We’re taught from a young age that talking about money is taboo, and the result is that throughout most of adulthood we have no actual idea how to deal with our finances. People are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, not saving enough for retirement and emergencies, and the result is always catastrophic. Debt continues to grow, and we rely on credit cards to get us through the tough times. But what if there were a better way to handle our finances and make small changes that will add up in the long run? If you can apply a growth mindset to your finances, you might find yourself in a better financial situation sooner than you think.

Money Troubles Abound

having growth mindset to your finances

With our economy in a free fall, there has never been a more relevant time to talk about money troubles. Whether you’ve lost a job or you’re just unsure of the future, the way you spend and save now could impact your life for years to come.

As of this year, American consumers owed more than $14.15 trillion in household debt. This is everything from mortgages to credit card balances to student loan balances, and it adds up quickly. In student loan debt alone, Americans owe more than $1.64 trillion. Credit card debt has skyrocketed to an all-time high of $1 trillion. Americans just aren’t prepared for everyday life.

Part of the problem is that wages have stagnated while the cost of living has ballooned out of control. For decades raises have barely kept up with inflation, while the cost of living has overshot normal wages by a significant amount.

Most Americans have decided that college is the only way to beat the system, but that often leaves them with a crippling debt load they later find they can’t afford as they try to juggle paying rising rents, minimum student loan payments, and healthcare premiums. This, in turn, has sent an entire generation back to their parents’ basements to try to regroup, which further exacerbates the economic situation. For those who are unfortunate enough to have any sort of medical needs, making ends meet is just not a financial possibility in many cases.

Currently, a third of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, while even three in every ten low-wage earners are able to save at least some of their money but don’t. Student loan borrowers often find themselves regretting choosing a more expensive college than they needed, and 42% make at least one late payment a year. 35% of credit card users only pay the minimum amount instead of paying the full balance every cycle.

Applying A Growth Mindset To Your Finances

how to have growth mindset to your finances

Most people apply a fixed mindset to their financial situation – they feel they are helpless to change it, that they know all there is to know about their finances, and that challenges can only lead to failure or financial ruin. When you instead start to apply a growth mindset to your financial situation you realize there’s a lot you don’t know about finances and that you have plenty of room to learn and grow. Setbacks become opportunities for growth.

Financial mistakes and problems happen, and it’s your responsibility to learn from them and do better next time. Start by listing all your debts and their corresponding interest rates. There are a couple of things you can do here. The snowball method is probably the easiest – start by concentrating on paying off the smallest debt first. Keep paying minimum payments on all your debts so you don’t go into default, but find extra money each month to go toward your smallest debt. Once that one is out of the way, apply all that money to your next smallest debt until it is paid off, and keep going from there. Before long you will be debt-free and have the ability to focus your attention on other aspects of your financial life.

There are tons of apps out there that can help you keep track of your finances and expenses and make cuts wherever you can. Saving is also going to be a major component of your financial strategy, as emergency savings prevent you from having to go into debt in the first place.

Learn more about having a financial growth mindset from the infographic below.

Growth Mindset
Source: Money Hacker

The post How To Have A Growth Mindset About Money appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities

If I were to ask you to name the person who has inspired you the most, your first choice might be a celebrity. It also might be a professional public speaker, a successful business person, a spiritual guru, or some other public figure.

But in reality, the people who make the biggest, and most lasting impact on our lives are probably ordinary folks. They might not even consider themselves to be inspirational.

And that’s good, because it means that each of us could potentially impact other people’s lives for the better. There are people around us whose lives are falling apart, people who are looking to someone like you and me for help and inspiration.

So, what does it take to inspire others?

Here are the four characteristics which I believe to be the most important. These are qualities that have nothing to do with social status, education, cultural background or financial standing; just our humanity.

Authenticity: The Secret of Lasting Inspiration

Although these four qualities overlap, for me, authenticity has to take the first spot, because more often than not, inauthentic people let us down, badly.

Imagine you are listening to a well-known motivational speaker. You are captivated by his story, awe-struck by his charisma. It feels good to be in his presence. You wish you were like him. You follow him on social media. He becomes your idol and your role model.

Until it comes to light that such stories of courage and fortitude, which you found so inspiring, were all made up. Your idol’s reputation is in tatters, and followers like you are left distraught and disillusioned. How do you feel now? Not good, hey?

Thankfully that sort of thing doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The thing is, we can feel equally let down by lesser-known people if what they’ve told us about themselves turns out to be untrue, so it’s best not to fall into that trap ourselves.

You might think your life story lacks excitement and drama, but that’s not a problem. To be truly inspirational, we don’t have to make up a story; we just have to be ourselves, warts and all.

Your life story is unique, with episodes of pain and happiness, failure and success: you don’t need to embellish, or belittle it. You just need to tell it as it is ­- others going through a similar experience need to hear it.

Empathy: showing genuine interest inspires trust

empathy qualities of an inspirational person

It is not your story per se that inspires, but the emotional connection it creates. Because, as John Maxwell points out, “you develop credibility with people when you connect with them and show that you genuinely want to help them”.

There are times when it’s right to share your own story with others, though they are more likely to be inspired if they can see how it relates to their experience and aspirations.

When people’s experience is the same as, or similar to our own, they feel we understand what they’re going through. Showing empathy could mean having to disclose something about ourselves. However, just being in touch with, and owning the feelings associated with our memories, can often speak louder than words.

To be inspired, your audience (be it just one person, or a crowd) need to feel that they matter and that you are genuinely interested in them as individuals. The best way to convey this is by actively listening to them. And I don’t mean just listening to what they say. If you’re connected emotionally, you’ll get insight into what they truly want to tell you.

So, be fully present – listen and be attentive.

Vulnerability: It Can Be Painful, But Inspiring

To inspire others, we need to come across as human, regardless of whether the conversation we’re having is on a personal level or in a professional capacity.

As mentioned above, if we want to connect with others on an emotional level, we might need to reveal a little of our true self. I realize this goes against the grain for those of us whose natural inclination is to put barriers around our emotions. However, (as a metaphor) safety barriers are usually stiff and unyielding, behaviours that are not particularly attractive or inspiring in us; so it pays to loosen up.

Now I’m not saying that we should make our mistakes or indiscretions public. Nor am I suggesting that we wear our hearts on our sleeves, or give vent to emotional outbursts. What I am saying is that it is okay to show emotion when relating our own story, or when we’re feeling the pain in other people’s stories.

A word of caution: pretense is off-putting and potentially offensive. Fake emotions have no place here, nor do crocodile tears. Genuine vulnerability, on the other hand, can be a powerful inspiration.

Being vulnerable means that we expose ourselves to the possibility of being hurt: this takes personal courage. Some see it as a weakness, but if tears come, let them. Don’t be embarrassed: “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful” (Brene Brown).

Boldness: Ordinary But Inspirational Acts of Courage

qualities of an inspirational person boldness

Some of the most inspiring people I’ve known are those who have shown courage and integrity. And I’m not thinking about heroic acts that get splashed across the media. Instead, I’m thinking about ordinary people who dare to face life when everything around them is crumbling. Such as:

  • People who persevere through multiple failures;
  • People who survive abusive and toxic relationships;
  • People with reason to seek revenge, but choose to forgive;
  • People who stand firm in the face of persecution or injustice;
  • People who stand up for others when they can’t do it for themselves.

Is this courage? Yes, both physical and moral.

It was Mark Twain who said: “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare”. But I think if we look into the lives of ordinary people, we’ll find that moral courage isn’t as rare as he imagined. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what we have to despite being afraid.

So, what’s the source of such courage?

For some, it’s an inner compulsion; perhaps driven by love, a sense of fairness, philosophy, or religious belief. What’s yours?

My courage comes from believing that I am never alone, because God is in me, and with me, at all times.

Inspired? Now It’s Your Turn

That’s it – the four essential qualities that could help you inspire other people. How many of these do you possess?

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Boldness

You certainly know your life story; you just need to have confidence that relating relevant parts of it can help others get through similar experiences. Being empathetic might require practice, but you can start by being genuinely interested in people, even if that entails making yourself vulnerable.

So be bold. Go for it. At least make a start. Who knows, you might find that you enjoy it so much you will want to make a career of it. If you do, then possessing these four qualities would be an excellent foundation that will put you ahead of the pack.

Finally, a word from Mother Teresa, one of the most ‘ordinary’ inspirational people of all time: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” That’s inspiration at its best.

The post How To Become An Inspiration To Others: 4 Essential Qualities appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress

One of the few things you will experience in life is emotional stress. Inevitable as it is, the question is how to get through heartaches and let go of the things that cause us stress. While we try to move on and forget everything that reminds us of the past, the process has never been easy. After all, the art of letting go is not without challenges.

There’s nothing wrong with being hurt when people do things that are, well, hurtful. However, it doesn’t mean that we should just sit idly and suffer. It is also an undisputed fact that we feel greater distress when the offense comes from the people we trust. If you want to move forward and reclaim your sense of peace, this article offers some tips.

Distancing

It is good to distance yourself from people or things that cause us pain. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they do things that hurt your feelings, walking away from the toxic relationship is the best step. The mistake most people make is that they get blinded with love, and they find it difficult to let go. However, the more we see them, the more we want them back in our life. This is why distancing ourselves from whatever causes us pain is a great way of letting go of things that hurts us. Always remember that in most cases, out of sight is out of mind.

Be thankful

Be thankful for what happened and don’t get stuck with the question of why it is happening to you. Talk to yourself whenever you get hurt and find out why it’s good for you to be apart from that thing. Whether it’s heartbreaks from your partner, see the good reason why you had to leave and don’t keep on reminiscing on why it must happen.

Focus more on yourself

focus on yourself

Focus more on yourself rather than thinking about the past. Find something you love doing and get attached to it, find your purpose, and don’t worry about the stressor. When you’re addicted to what you love doing, you spend time doing it and you forget whatever might be hurting you.

Focus on the present

Practice focusing on the present and not the past. The more you learn to live in the present and not the past, the more you’d be stronger in life. Accept the fact that whatever had happened in the past can’t be changed, but the present can be worked on just to get a brighter future. Holding onto the past will do nothing but steal your present and shatter the future.

Understand the situation

Understanding that the person or thing causing stress was never meant to be yours (maybe you just lost something precious, or someone you ever loved so dearly just broke up with you). Believe that the very best will come your way with ease; if it were ever meant for you, it wouldn’t cause you pain and stress.

Don’t complicate issues

Be gentle with yourself in the process of letting go if you haven’t been through it before. You need to understand that it takes time to heal from your pain. Don’t rush it because it’s a step by step process. If you go hard on yourself, you’ll only get hurt even more.

Eliminate the stress indicator

Eliminate whatever reminds you of the bad experience or stress you are going through—eliminating works when the stress indicator is something materialistic, human or emotional. Take out whatever reminds you of bad moments that cause stress pending the time you get over the stress.

Make friends

letting go of stress

Don’t be afraid to make new friends. Friends, especially the real ones, have a way of cheering us up whenever we’re down. Your friend can help you get over stress by taking you out for brunch or dinner: you laugh together and get a nice time out. It is an undisputed fact that stress and emotional breakdown always want to make one distant himself/ herself from the social world. However, the best you can do for yourself is to make new friends. The good times spent with friends have a way of relieving pains.

Move on

Don’t expect apologies if what is causing you stress is human. Sometimes we get to hurt ourselves more with expectations. When people hurt us, we wait for them to apologize. Expecting apologies and not getting it makes you feel worse.

The takeaway

Whenever you are stressed or troubled, don’t give in to the pain. Your peace of mind should be the priority. Always remember you need to be stronger than ever and never let anyone/anything be in control of your emotions and happiness. You are the perfect person to handle stress and emotional pains.

The post How To Let Go Of Things That Cause You Stress appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Make Your Photos Look Retro

It’s interesting how with all the advancements we’ve made when it comes to photography, old school still has its appeal. We’ve moved from using film cameras to relying on the digital ones attached to our phones, and yet we find ourselves looking for that vintage charm.

And it honestly comes as no surprise. Through the years, trends have been regularly taking a cue from decades past; what used to be in fashion becomes passé, before it comes full circle and finds itself becoming hip again. The same holds true for photography styles and filters.

What’s great about giving your photos that retro look these days is that it’s now much easier than picking up an analog camera and reverting to film. All you have to do is snap the shot and edit — read on and we’ll show you how.

Use a Vintage Filter

make your photos look retro

The most obvious tip is definitely the easiest. The birth of Instagram as a social medium paved the way for filters — and we suggest that you take full advantage.

What’s great about going with filters is that it’s literally as easy uploading your image on an app, tapping on a few buttons on your screen, then sharing your photo wherever you please.

Using filters also gives you the benefit of consistency. If you’ve got multiple images you want to edit while maintaining the same vibe and look, all you have to do is run all of them through the same filter.

Getting your hands on great filters is just as easy, too. Aside from having a number available for use through Instagram’s own editing feature, your app store should be chock-full of free photo-editing software apps available for download.

One you can try is Instasize — aside from having over 80 filters you can choose from and play around with, the app also comes with editing tools you can use to further tweak and polish your images before uploading to your social media. (Click on through for some vintage filters worth trying out.)

See Also: How AI Makes You A Better Photographer

Give yourself some Light

Shooting in well-lit areas or making sure you have a strong light source won’t give your images a vintage look, but it will definitely make editing your visuals much easier.

Think of your images like a sheet of paper, and filters as light-colored markers. If the sheet of paper you choose to use is dark, chances are the colors of your markers won’t pop. The same goes for visuals — the lighter the photo, the more your filter will pop.

Play with Saturation and Contrast

making your photos look retro

One way to make sure your images look retro, no matter what year or decade you’re trying to encapsulate, is to edit your visuals to make them look like prints.

Unlike digital photos, prints tend to lose detail over time. Just look at some older photos or polaroids you might have lying around your house. Notice how the colors might have changed since the time you took them, with the edges possibly becoming faded. That’s because photo paper and chemicals age, leading to prints eventually losing structure and contrast.

Luckily, there’s no need to let time do all the work. You can cheat the look by adjusting the contrast and saturation of your shots. Reducing both can make your photo look hazy and washed out, both of which are perfect for that aged, vintage effect.

Go for Grain

Noise usually gets a bad rap, especially when you’re trying to get a decent shot with low lighting. The opposite is true when it comes to vintage photography, though.

Older photos naturally have some noise or grain because they were most likely shot using subpar cameras, in less than ideal settings. These days, grain is great — especially when you want your images to have that rugged, weathered feel. So bring on the noise! Go to your photo-editing app of choice, add some on, and see if it works with what you’re trying to achieve.

Frame your photo with a Vignette

Vignettes are commonly seen in prints when the camera lens doesn’t focus on the entire visual and causes the edges of the image to stay underexposed. Some photographers do this on purpose to dramatically focus on their subject. Others are like you — looking to embrace the retro look in the digital social media age.

Like every tip here, achieving the look is as easy as running your image through a photo-editing app and adjusting the settings accordingly. One warning when it comes to this tip, though: vignettes tend to make your images look dark… literally. So if you’re going to slap on a vignette, make sure it adds some flair to your photo without taking away from the vibe you’re trying to achieve.

CONCLUSION

One thing to keep in mind is that even if the goal is to look vintage, you have to do so in a way that still looks modern.

What we’re trying to say here is that as tempting as it is to take all the tips here and just apply them all in one image… remember to be mindful of your editing decisions. At the end of the day, you want visuals that are on-trend. Or better yet, stunning enough to set the trend.

So spend some time checking out what celebrities, influencers, and Instagram photographers are up to. See how you can copy their style, or better yet, learn from their visual tweaks to amp up your photos.

The post How to Make Your Photos Look Retro appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Design An SEO Friendly Website That Ranks Well

In today’s world, having a website is essential for the success of your business. It used to be all about brick and mortar stores, but now it’s all about being present online and having a website your audience can visit whenever they want. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. You have to focus on quality and SEO in order to attract more potential customers and increase your conversion rates. After all, Google has to choose how to rank websites somehow, which is why SEO is crucial.

Find the right keywords

to design seo friendly website

Finding the right keywords is the first step to success when creating a website that will crush SEO. Keywords help your website show up higher on the first page of Google when your audience types in something related to what you’re offering. The point is to think like your consumer. If you were looking for the kind of services your company offers, what would you google?

From here, you can use the help of advanced keyword software that will help you see how strong or weak certain keywords are. This will help you determine which ones would be the most effective to use on your website. The more general the keywords are, the harder it will be to rank high on Google.

At the same time, you don’t want to go with anything too specific, because it is not likely people will be googling that specific phrase daily. It’s best to find a middle ground because that is more likely to be something your audience is googling naturally.

You can also choose PPC to help your website rank higher. Even though you should reach the SEO stars with organic traffic, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a boost. With paid advertising, you will have to bid on certain keywords relevant for your business so that you can use them to show up in the top Google results. The more you invest in PPC, the higher the return investment is likely to be. However, make sure you really know what you’re doing and that the risk will pay off. You don’t want to lose your money.

Maintain one voice

If you want to speak to your audience, you will need to maintain a uniform voice through your whole campaign, including your website. This means that you will need to figure out what kind of message you are sending to your audience. Are you a company with family values? Do you take on social responsibility? Or will your services and products just make your audience’s lives more fun?

Once you figure out what you want to say, use all available channels – including your website – to say it. This sends a message to people and to Google that you are a serious company who knows how things work. Being a professional in any field is likely to attract more website visitors and guarantees better ranking results. Make sure that high-quality content and services are offered along with your message and professionalism to increase your conversion rates and sales faster.

Trust a professional

design seo friendly website

Building, running, and maintaining a website takes up an enormous amount of time. For a beginner, things seem even more intimidating and complex because they’ve never done this before. If you want a peace of mind and more time to do other things in your business, turn to a professional who knows what they’re doing. In fact, this is a trend in many first-world countries like Australia, whose excellent tactics have made them world leaders in many fields.

What most small to mid-size companies in Australia do is hire the best SEO agency in Sydney. This way, they don’t have to worry about anything regarding the digital marketing campaign. All they have to do is tell the agency what their goals and target group are.

Then, it’s up to the experienced professional to give them the SEO results they require. Because the agency has done this many times before, they’ll have no problems delivering the promised results. Meanwhile, the owner of the company – you – gets to manage and stay on top of all other areas of business. Use this time to really master your manufacturing process and prepare for more sales than ever before.

Use UX design

When it comes to SEO friendly websites, you have to keep in mind what the audience wants to see and how they’ll interact with your website. You may know what the website is all about and how to use it, but not everyone is so tech-savvy. Good SEO also means using UX practices. In other words, it means putting the experience of the user as your top priority.

To do this, you will have to put yourself in your user’s shoes. Make sure the website has fast loading speeds to avoid dissatisfaction and impatience. If your website doesn’t load completely in the first few seconds, the visitor will bounce and Google will rank you lower.

As well as that, make sure it’s easy to navigate. Don’t overstuff it with text and put everything on the main page. This will just make it confusing and most people will simply leave.

One of the most important rules to remember is to optimize your website for mobile phones. Most people today use their phones instead of their computers for browsing. This means that your pictures, videos, and text will need to load nicely on the small screen. In fact, mobile optimization is a very important ranking factor, so you can’t neglect it under any circumstances.

See Also: UI/UX Design for Users with Dyslexia

Conclusion

As you can see, developing an SEO and user-friendly website doesn’t have to be impossible. There will be a lot of planning involved, but if you stick to it, your efforts will surely be rewarded. Interacting with your audience will be easier than ever and you’ll surely manage to reach all of your goals. We’re confident your website will be amazing and that your audience will be eating out of your hands soon enough.

The post How To Design An SEO Friendly Website That Ranks Well appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Become Great by Managing Procrastination

One day, a teacher entered her classroom and placed a glass jar on the table. She put two large rocks into the jar until no more could fit. She asked the class if the jar was full and they all said, “Yes.” She responded, “Really?”

She pulled out a pile of small pebbles, added them to the jar, and shook it slightly until they filled the spaces between the rocks. Then she asked again, “Is the jar full?” The students agreed that it was. Next, she added a scoop of sand to the jar. She filled the space between the pebbles and asked the question again.

This time, the class was divided: some felt the jar was obviously full, while others were wary of another trick. Seeing this, she snatched a pitcher of water, filled the jar up and said, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiement show you?”

She continued, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning. The sand and water represent the “small stuff” that fills our time. Now think about this: what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?

I don’t know who first told this story, but it’s been bouncing around the internet for awhile. It’s a great representation of the problem so many people face in their lives. How do I stop wasting my time and energy on relatively unimportant activities and focus on what really matters? How do I become great?

Don’t Balance, Curate

achieving greatness

People have been talking about work/life balance for a long time. There are two problems with that concept. First, balance doesn’t lead to greatness – it leads to trying to juggle too many things and ending up feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.

And second, in my decades of work as a therapist and then as an executive coach, I have never met a single person who had a truly balanced life. It’s a myth, and an unhelpful one at that.

So I’ve stopped talking about balance and focused instead on helping people to curate their lives. Just like a museum curator, you have to figure out what your life’s “exhibit” is about. Then you have to work at three tasks:

  • Eliminate the activities that don’t belong in your exhibit.
  • Learn to be “just good enough” at the activities that are necessary but relatively unimportant.
  • Focus your energy on your greatness.

None of these tasks is easy. Many people have difficulty saying no. More people have difficulty accepting mediocrity in some things they do. But without developing those skills, you’ll never have the energy to achieve your greatness.

Becoming Great

Greatness requires three ingredients: talent, opportunity, and fierce dedication. You don’t have much control over your talents – those are gifts. You have limited control over your opportunities, based on the circumstances of when and where you were born, what your family was like, etc. But you do have control over how you dedicate yourself to what really matters.

There are one, two, or maybe even three areas where you have the potential to be great. First, figure out what those are. Do experiments – try stuff out and see whether you’re any good at it and whether you love it. Sometimes it helps to think about the legacy you want to leave. When you figure it out, then dedicate yourself to your greatness goal.

See Also: 50 Ways to Strive for Excellence in Life

Resilience

Greatness requires resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failure. Here’s an example: April was in college when she started her first business providing IT consultation, and she poured her heart into the business. In fact, she dropped out after two years so she could work full-time on the business and she gave it everything she had. She ate ramen, lived in a basement, and worked like a fiend.

The business failed. April barely skipped a beat. Within a few months she had decided to go back to college – and start another business. She took the lessons she had learned from her first failure, did it better the second time around, and created a business that is still thriving. That’s resilience.

Managing Procrastination

Greatness also requires the ability to manage procrastination. Even when you’re committed to a big greatness goal, there may be times when you just don’t feel like doing what you have to do. Sometimes you need to cut yourself some slack and take a little break. But other times you have to give yourself a kick in the pants to get back on track.

Fortunately, psychologists have done a lot of research on how to motivate yourself. Here are two techniques that have proven effective. The first is giving yourself rewards.

In the hundred-plus years that psychologists have been studying human behavior, one finding is by far the most consistent. If you want someone to do more of something, reward them when they do it.

There are all kinds of complexities about what constitutes a reward for whom, how big the reward should be, what reward schedule works best, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, and so on. But we know for a fact that reward is the most powerful tool for modifying human behavior – our own and others.

So one way to get yourself to do what you need to do is to create a reward for yourself. If I work on this difficult task for the next ninety minutes without fooling around, I get to have a cookie, or take a walk, or listen to a podcast, or whatever. If I get this big project finished by Friday, I get to go out for a drink and a good dinner on Friday night. You get the idea.

achieve greatness

Punishments also affect behavior, but they are much weaker tools than rewards. For example, some people set a goal for themselves, with the threat that if they don’t reach it they have to send a substantial financial donation to an organization they loathe.

Maybe this has worked for them, but frankly, I cannot imagine myself doing it. In my opinion, based on both professional expertise and personal experience, rewards are the way to go.

Another effective tactic is breaking down the task. Sometimes, a challenge just seems too daunting. The goal is too far off and the path seems impossible. It becomes increasingly difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you really want to achieve the goal.

The trick here is to break the task down into small, manageable chunks. All you have to do right now is complete the first chunk – don’t worry about the rest of it. That way you get to feel as if you are making progress. You may even want to create a visual graphic for yourself, like the image of a track on the treadmill screen that shows how far you have gone.

The good news is that curating your life is its own reward, because achieving greatness feels amazing. And although curating is not easy, it is doable.

Author Bio:

GAIL GOLDEN MBA, Ph.D. is the author of CURATING YOUR LIFE: Ending the Struggle for Work-Life Balance (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, April 8, 2020). She is the Founder and Principal of Gail Golden Consulting, LLC, an international management psychology consulting firm, helping business leaders and organizations hit peak performance by drawing on her unique cross-background perspective as a licensed psychologist and an MBA-holding entrepreneur.

The post How to Become Great by Managing Procrastination appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Earn Extra Income from Real Estate Without Buying Property

Making money in real estate doesn’t necessarily equate to buying and owning a second home. There are many ways in which you can start earning additional income with a very small initial capital. Here are the 5 best strategies to make money from real estate without buying a property.

Rent Out Your Home During the Holidays

One of the easiest and most straightforward ways to make money with real estate is to become a short-term rental host. The establishment of Airbnb.com in 2008 turned homesharing into an entire industry. Nowadays, there are dozens of homesharing platforms which allow regular people to list rooms or entire homes for renting on a daily basis. Some of these platforms include HomeAway, VRBO, Booking.com, and, of course, Airbnb itself.

This means that you can list your home as a short-term rental for the duration of your holidays. Instead of worrying about the safety of your property while you are away, you get to make money from it. Furthermore, you don’t need to spend almost any money to implement this strategy. Your home is already furnished with all items necessary for a comfortable stay.

Becoming a host is really easy. All you have to do is to read through the terms of a few homesharing platforms and choose the best option for your particular case. As a beginner, you should select a website which charges fees based on actual bookings rather than listings. Then, you need to create an account, list your space with an attractive description and appealing photos, and start hosting.

Before you decide to become an Airbnb-style host, make sure to check the local laws with regards to the short-term rental industry. Many major markets have adopted strict rules and regulations in an attempt to control the spread of the vacation rental industry. You might need to obtain certain permits and pay taxes in order to operate legally.

See Also: 8 Smart Tips for an Amazing Short-Term Rental Experience

Rent Out a Room Traditionally

make passive income in real estate

Airbnb is not the only way to make money from your home. If you have an extra room or two, you can rent them out on a long-term basis. This strategy is particularly good and profitable in college towns and busy cities with high rental rates. In these locations, students and recent graduates are looking for affordable renting options, so they will be attracted to your space.

An important benefit of this strategy is that you don’t need almost any initial capital to get started. The only money you might need to spend include those for buying some basic furniture in case your space is not ready for a full-time tenant. When choosing the furniture, go for durable items which will last for years rather than pretty pieces of questionable quality.

If you decide in favor of this way of making money with real estate, remember to set up a very detailed screening process. You are choosing not only a tenant but also a roommate. Ask for recommendations from employers, previous landlords, and even flatmates. Check the applicants’ credit history. Meanwhile, make sure that you don’t discriminate against candidates as that’s illegal.

Go for Real Estate Crowdfunding

You don’t have to let outsiders into your home in order to earn extra income from real estate without buying a property. Another strategy which has gained a lot of attention in recent years is real estate crowdfunding. This is just a fancy name for a relatively straightforward concept. What crowdfunding real estate property entails is investing money in large real estate projects with other regular people like you from all around the globe.

Fundrise, founded in 2010, was the first real estate crowdfunding platform. Its success inspired the establishment of many others, including Realty Mogul, RealtyShares, and RealCrowd. The best thing about this strategy is that you can get started with as little as $500. Crowdfunding has two other important benefits when compared to buying an investment property.

First of all, it requires zero knowledge and experience in the real estate business. All you have to do is to conduct some online research and choose the best platform. You don’t have to worry about selecting a profitable market, buying a positive cash flow property, or managing a rental. Second, this is a passive real estate investing strategy. Once you’ve chosen through which website to invest, you will start receiving dividends without doing any actual work.

Invest in REITs

Another way to make money from real estate – both in the short and long term – is to buy shares in real estate investment trusts (REITs). Actually, REITs are the traditional form of real estate crowdfunding, which are also known as eREITs.

Investing in REITs is very similar to investing in stocks. You buy shares in entities that own, manage, and finance income-generating real estate assets. With this strategy, even small individual investors can get access to enormous projects worth millions of dollars. Through REITs, you make money in the short run in the form of dividends, as well as in the long term in the form of capital gains.

However, before deciding to go for this strategy, you should know that conventional REITs have significantly larger expectations in terms of initial capital than real estate crowdfunding platforms. Most trusts require a minimum investment of a few thousand dollars. If you can afford this, then REITs are a true source of passive income from real estate.

Get a Real Estate License

making passive income in real estate

The last way to make money in real estate without buying an investment property is to get a real estate license. In simple words, this means to become a licensed real estate agent.

Whereas being an agent is not a source of passive income, it is definitely a great way to boost your income. Being a part-time real estate agent is absolutely feasible as many homebuyers and sellers prefer to visit properties for sale in the evening or during the weekend.

A major benefit of buying and selling homes is that you will become an expert on the real estate industry and the local housing market. If you realize that you really enjoy real estate, the transition to an investor who owns actual income properties is as easy as it gets. Not to mention the commission you get from each transaction.

See Also: How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

With real estate the sky is the limit. You can earn additional income without ever buying and owning an investment property. Just try one of these 5 best strategies.

The post How to Earn Extra Income from Real Estate Without Buying Property appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Handle Burnout And Toxic Stress In The Workplace

Whenever you’re stressed, your cortisol levels, which is also known as the stress hormone, increase 2-5x from their normal state. However, not all stress is equal. Humans can experience two types of stress: short-term or chronic. The difference?

One has a clear endpoint while the other never ends. An instance of short-term stress would be worrying about meeting a deadline. Why? A deadline is a tangible goal with a clear endpoint, ultimately challenging your cortisol to excel toward it.

On the other hand, chronic stress is permanent, and will eventually rewire your brain. Your brain is in survival mode when you’re under chronic stress, causing you to focus less on higher-order tasks which provides no outlet for your increased cortisol. Overall, stress in the workplace can go on to make you feel burned out.

What Is Burnout?

work stress burnout

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies burnout to be a consequential syndrome caused by workplace stress, with symptoms of feeling exhausted, being mentally detached, and having poor performance. Interestingly enough, 51% of the American workforce have felt burned out more than once and 57% say stress generates feelings of being paralyzed.

Meanwhile, 43% of employees are invigorated by stress, which may be why 64% of U.S. workers feel stressed or frustrated while at work at least once or more on a weekly basis. Moreover, 77% of American professionals and 84% of millennials have felt burned out at least once. What are the causes?

In the U.K., employees have many theories that create a recipe for office stress. 44% report high-pressure environments contribute to their work-related stress, 38% say it’s due to a lack of support from management, and 30% say their leadership’s unrealistic expectations are what stresses them out.

In addition to those, 1 in 3 U.K. employees say technology is to blame. 45% say technology increases their workload, 33% say it gives them tighter deadlines, and 29% say it makes them feel socially isolated.

Technology is a double-edged sword, though, as mindful use of it can decrease your workload. Tech that helps you work smarter, not harder, such as messaging bots, Grammarly, Slack, and more can decrease your workload and, subsequently, your stress.

How To Cope With Workplace Stress

burnout and work stress

Although it has somehow become normal for stress to exist in our places of employment, it is survivable. In fact, burnout is best treated by making simple lifestyle changes.

Take it from Jacky Francis Walker, a psychotherapist and the man behind The Burnout Bible, who once said, “Someone on the brink will probably begin to feel emotionally numbed or mentally distant. Like they don’t have the capacity to engage as much in the ordinary things of life.” Saying this, here is how you can spot the signs of impending burnout, and what you can do to steer clear of stress.

The biggest red flag you’re on the road to experiencing burnout is that you have this unshakeable feeling your work quality is diminishing, and that you’re not showing your full potential. The first thing you should do in this case is to get to the root of the problem. As a tip: overwhelming time constraints, working for a company whose values are misaligned from yours, and oppressive work environments are often to blame for burnouts.

Furthermore, it’s important you establish a routine and prioritize each day you have on the clock. Having a routine that’s predictable can help you so that when stress does strike, it’s still manageable. Creating a list of tasks is also a great way to prioritize the things you need to accomplish on your day-to-day. 

By doing this, you know what to expect when you go to work as unpredictability can often cause you stress. In your lists, strive to have a semblance of balance that’s long-term rather than trying to cram everything into a single day’s work.

Bea Arthur, who is another psychotherapist and the Founder of The Difference, once said, “You know what is urgent in your life, like seeing your family and friends more… Even if the work is still there when you get back from vacation, you’ll come back better.” Keep this in mind as you reorient your workflow to preserve your mental state.

Lastly, here’s what you can do to reduce your stress hormones. You should work these tips into your daily routine as this is the best approach to staying stress-free long-term.

51% of Americans deal with burnout by talking to friends or family. In other words, socializing is among the best ways to reduce your cortisol levels since isolation will only increase your stress hormones. Sleeping is also important. Stress causes trouble sleeping and that, in turn, leads to stress — which is why 50% of Americans fight burnout with sleep.

On the other hand, 44% of Americans use exercise to combat their burnout and stress. By engaging in physical activity, you can reduce your cortisol levels. Similarly, any form of meditation or conscious breathing will help to slow down your heart rate and decrease the negative effects of cortisol. 30% of Americans fight burnout through regular meditation.

Most importantly, seek help whenever you’re feeling stressed — in the office or out. Support increases your resiliency toward stress; and the earlier you seek help, the more likely it is you’ll be able to avoid the complications it brings.

See Also: How to Relax After A Stressful Day At Work

Contrary to the norm, burnout isn’t inevitable. Read more below for more on chronic stress in the workplace.

Burnout and Toxic Stress
Source: Online PhD Degrees

The post How To Handle Burnout And Toxic Stress In The Workplace appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide

Social media marketing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing and PR. If you don’t use social media platforms to promote your business, then you are missing out on quite a lot. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use social media for PR.

Build Your Brand’s Personality

It is extremely important that you know who your audience is in order to be able to create the content that they will enjoy and make your digital marketing campaign suited specifically for them. In other words, if you don’t know who you are posting for, then you can’t expect to attract a dedicated audience on your social media accounts.

Do as much research as possible about who you want to target. It is also a good idea to segment your audience to have several groups that you will be posting for. On the other hand, you might want to focus only on one of the groups if you want to create a more personal relationship with your followers and make your audience more uniform.

Once you know who you will be writing for, you will need to decide what elements you will be incorporating into your content to make it shape your brand image in the right way. Branding with the help of content is still considered one of the most effective ways to give your brand a personality instead of simply making it look like a soulless corporation.

It is crucial that you make your social media content personalized and personal at the same time. Personalization will make it more appropriate for each of your audience segments.  Making it personal will also make your content more individualized, relatable, relevant, and attractive to the majority of social media users.

See Also: 5 Instagram Tools That Can Boost Brand Performance

Start and Participate in Conversations

use social media for pr

Starting and participating in conversations on social media is a great way to reach out to your potential collaborators and followers while also building valuable connections.

Conversations can be initiated in different ways: posting action-inspiring content, creating polls and surveys, replying to posts and to comments under the posts, and so on.

However, if you don’t have enough experience to write good text that starts conversations, you could hire a professional writer from a reputable or recommended company. A professional writer will know how to do their job well to meet all the objectives you set for them while also being efficient with their work.

Every social media platform will require a different approach from you, so you need to keep in mind the specifics of each of the platforms:

  • Instagram: You can create polls, questions, and quizzes in your Instagram Stories, but you can also reply to posts and comments.
  • Twitter: There is an option to make polls, but you will have to reply to tweets most of the time.
  • Facebook: Creating high-quality content that motivates readers to write comments is one of the most effective tactics.
  • Other: Pin often and create interesting boards on Pinterest, upload insightful videos to YouTube, and repost and comment a lot on Tumblr.

Put Energy and Value into Your Content

Energy and value in content are both very abstract concepts, but they are actually essential for your social media content to be actionable. Here are some things you should definitely do:

  • Motivate Your Followers: Motivating your followers should not be something they come to hate eventually because you are being too clingy, but rather something they anticipate because it makes them do the things they have been procrastinating with. In other words, motivational content is the one that promotes hard work while also showing that you want your followers to be better in every way possible.
  • Inspire Your Followers: Inspiring your followers is also important, and even if it seems like it is the same thing as motivating your followers, it is actually quite different. Inspiration comes more on the creative side while motivation is more technical. You need to be an example and a role model that will show your followers that everything and anything is possible.
  • Make Valuable Content: Lastly, always create valuable content. If your content doesn’t bring value to your followers, then they won’t want to follow you. Everyone is looking for something they will either enjoy in terms of entertainment or something they can get knowledge from in terms of education. Consequently, choose your strategy and create either entertaining or educational content.

Create Your Own Opportunities

using social media for pr

Last but not least, stop thinking about where you can find new opportunities and start creating them for yourself. There are numerous ways you can do this, but here are some of the most effective ones:

  • Start Live-Streaming: By live-streaming regularly, you will be able to significantly improve engagement and brand awareness among your audience. Some of your followers will be looking forward to your next livestream if you create a schedule when you go live every week or month. In other words, this is probably one of the best ways to establish a better connection with your audience.
  • Create A YouTube Channel: A YouTube channel will not only help you build your community on that platform, but it will also allow you to post your videos on other social media platforms. Right now, video content is in-demand (and it will likely be even in ten years because of how much viewers enjoy it), so you need to use this situation to get through to all of your followers.
  • Be as Creative as Possible: Being creative is the key to success. If you find unique ways to approach a subject or to create your next piece of content, you will notice that there are many people who find such content useful. Stay out of the crowd and you will attract more people to what you do.

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

Final Thoughts

To sum up, improving your PR with the help of social media marketing is not as difficult as it seems. Just follow the advice and tips in this article and try to combine these tactics to create a more effective digital marketing campaign.

The post How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Improve Your Business’ Email Response Time

Promptly responding to the emails you receive is crucial for an array of reasons. For one, it builds trust with whom you’re communicating with. If popular media has convinced you that “email is dying,” I encourage you to think again. In fact, email is doing the exact opposite. By just next year, about 126.7 trillion emails will be pushed out annually. About 90% of the people in the country reported relying on email communication in 2017 alone.

Saying this, email responsiveness is important because it’s in demand. 46% of Americans open their inbox as soon as they wake up – even before they turn to social media, check the news, or make a Google search for what’s on their early morning mind. Additionally, 35% of email traffic warrants an answer. 23% of those require quick answer. Yet, that expectation is not met on average. Let’s get more specific.

When emailing a business with inquiry, 11% of clients expect to be answered within 15 minutes. Given slight more leeway, 19% of clients expect an answer within 1 hour. 14% of clients will wait 4 hours before getting antsy. 1 in 3 GenX and Boomers expect to be replied to within an hour or less.

Despite that, the response time, on average, is around 42 hours. What does this imply?

Think about it this way:

Time is money. For every minute you don’t respond to your customer’s email, the more disinterested they grow. When you fail to give them what they want in a quick manner, they’ll feel frustrated and annoyed. Response time is a nonverbal cue to your business-goers. They’re more likely to zone in on these nonverbal cues if you don’t address them with swiftness.

email time

On a more positive note, responding to inquiries within an hour makes you 7x more successful in qualifying the lead than others who take 2 hours to respond.

What Customers Want

Remember: the customer is always right. Always.

But how do you know what they want (outside of a quick response)?

I’ll tell you.

80% of people say friendly service, convenience, and knowledgeable help are the most essential components in making a positive client-business interaction. Once you meet their expectations, the individual client is 80% more likely to continue using your business. They will go on to spend 67% more than they would’ve before having such a delightful interaction.

In other words, customers just want to feel heard and valued by the places they spend their money on. Here are a few things you can do to improve your business’ response time.

To begin, you must encourage your entire brand to rethink about electronic mail communication. Email is far from dead, so encourage each employee with email access to work toward a response time goal catering to the aforementioned client expectations. Furthermore, suggest that your team organizes their inbox to minimize their rate of electronic chaos. By doing so, this employee will be able to find what they’re looking for much easier and quicker, allowing more time to focus on replying to customer inquiries.

Furthermore, emphasize the importance of apologizing in the scenario your team member falls behind in client communication. A simple apology can buy goodwill; however, lengthy excuses are unnecessary and distract from the original inquiry that was made. The last thing you want to do is have your client focus on your brand’s non-responsiveness.

Set a standard that outlines when you’d like your team to get back to clients. You can do so by creating an email policy. It should outline how vacation responses are covered or how many emails (at maximum) can sit in a shared inbox.

Another method would be to schedule specific times in the day check the inbox. By setting clear expectations with your team, you will indirectly train your clients on when to expect a reply. This will leave them feeling less frustrated in the case of delays.

email responsive time

Quick replies are also helpful. They can help you make scripts to respond to frequently asked questions. This way, you don’t have to continue rewriting the questions you’re asked the most.

There are many other ways you can work with your employees to improve your email response times. Just be sure to measure your progress along the way so you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Furthermore, be sure to maintain that human touch in your approach to electronic mailing. Including a bit of human and personalizing your message can go a long way with those on the other end of your text – especially if you frequently use pre-written scripts.

Time is money, and being responsive is critical. Below, you can find more information on the importance of email responsiveness and how to improve your response strategies.

See Also: Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity

Please include attribution to Time To Reply with this graphic.

The post How To Improve Your Business’ Email Response Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Choose The Right Apartment Insurance Policy

Apartment insurance is not exactly something a lot of people enjoy talking about but it is actually something which is very important and is often ignored. Apartment insurance, also known as renters insurance, covers a lot of things when you have issues with your apartment. If you don’t have this policy then you risk losing your belongings should something go wrong with no kind of compensation.

This is what makes choosing the right renters insurance policy quite tricky. Don’t worry though as we have put together some advice that can help you to make the right decision. Keep reading to find out more.

Choosing The Company

choosing the right apartment insurance policy

One of the most important things that you need to consider when picking out apartment insurance for your home is the company that you are going to buy it from. Some insurance companies put their customers first while others try to get out of paying out any kind of money when something goes wrong. It might be worth taking a closer look at the company and reading some reviews. If you know someone who is happy with their current policy, ask them for a recommendation.

Checking What Is Covered

Just like with other kinds of insurance policies, you will find that renters insurance can cover a variety of things. Some policies will cover more than others and this can be risky if you don’t read the policy carefully. Standard policies should cover personal property, personal liability and medical bills and temporary living expenses.

Within these categories, there are certain things that you will want to look for. You might want to get some extra coverage for your expensive items including electronics or jewellery.

Reading The Terms and Conditions

choose the right apartment insurance policy

When was the last time you read over the terms and conditions that came with your insurance policy? This is a big mistake that many people make when buying a policy and it can be quite risky. The terms and conditions are something which you are agreeing to when you buy a policy and sign a contract. This means that you will be held to this contract should anything happen and you need to make a claim.

Some of the terms can include exclusions that you aren’t covered for as well as deductibles. The best advice that we could give you is to spend time reading over this and make sure that you are choosing the right policy for you.

Comparing Prices

Our final tip for those who are on the hunt for a new apartment insurance policy is to make sure that you are comparing prices. Of course, you shouldn’t always just go for the cheapest option as this can sometimes indicate that the policy is not as good as you are hoping.

A good way to compare prices to compare the type of cover at the same time. A certain policy could be more expensive but it could also save you money in the long-run should something happen. Don’t forget to compare prices as this can often be key to choosing the right one for you.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a new apartment insurance policy then you should make sure that you spend some time looking for one that will cover everything that you need. Whether you are adding on extras or going for basic coverage, time spent researching should come in handy.

Follow all of the advice that we have given you in this article and this should help you to come to the right conclusion and find the best policy.

See Also: Explaining The Importance of Insurance For Renters

The post How To Choose The Right Apartment Insurance Policy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art

We all know just how important the logo is for any company or brand. You don’t have to listen to me rant on and on about the importance of the logo, how it is supposed to be memorable and evergreen and everything else. You know it better than I do.

That is why a lot of companies pay a hefty amount to a logo design company to make the logo as relatable, relevant, and sometimes mysterious as they can. Your company’s logo is supposed to tell your story. People should relate to it. It should have the right colors and geometry to be easily understandable and memorable.

It’s not like sitting down on your desk, drawing a circle, using a font to type in your company or brand’s name and voila! You have yourself a logo.

Oh no, no, no!

It takes much more effort than that.

That is why a lot of people must have told you to use a logo design service instead of doing it yourself. You may be good at business, sales, marketing, but if you are not on the up and up with the logo design world, you just might end up with an average logo that looks like a hundred others.

This is what happens when you use free logo maker websites and software. A totally uninteresting, uninspiring and boring logo that no one wants to look at.

So, the question is, whether you are a company or a logo designer, how do you ensure that your logo is not among the hundreds of logos out there that all look the same? How do you ensure that your logo stands out and catches the eye of the audience?

By……..wait for it…….turning it into art.

SAY WHAT NOW?

Yes, you heard me right. There are a million different ways that you can turn your logo into a piece of art that people will talk about for decades to come. It is difficult, but totally possible. Later in this article, we will discuss how you can do that and what are the elements that you will need to incorporate in order to do so.

But for now, let’s talk about how to begin. It’s not like you have a clear idea about designing your logo. So, experiment with various logo templates to get yourself warmed up first. It can also be the starting point of your journey towards making a killer and memorable logo design. It can give you an initial idea of where to begin and just might give you further ideas that you can adapt and incorporate later on.

Do you have a logo maker tool that’s handy? Is there an online app? Make a few logos and circulate them among your friends and colleagues to find out what they think about them. They can suggest any edits that they think you might need. Getting your peers on your side is something that you really need.

So now that we’re done with the warm up exercises, let’s dive into the world of logo designing and see how you can make your logo stand out.

Do you know what a Visual Double Entendre is?

A double entendre is a figure of speech or anything else that can convey two different meanings. Simple as that. A visual double entendre is the same thing but the double meaning is conveyed visually. Some of the world’s most renowned logos use this element to increase the engagement level of their logos and people all around the world remember these logos for their wittiness.

Take for example the Amazon logo. Now who doesn’t know Amazon? At first glance, the logo has an arrow that goes from the ‘A’ in the beginning to the ‘Z’ in the middle and it looks like they are saying that they provide service with a smile. The thing that a lot of people miss is that the arrow is pointing from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, meaning that they have everything that you might ever need or want.

visual double entendre amazon logo

Another great example is the Baskin Robbins logo that uses the curves of the letter ‘B’ and the straight line of the ‘R’ to show their audience just how many flavors they actually have.

The Importance of Colors

One of the most essential decisions that people tend to make about their logos is the colors that they want to use. You might think that it is an easy decision, but it’s not.
You may or may not know this, but every color conveys a deep meaning that resonates with the audience and if you don’t get it right, you just might end up losing your audience instead of gaining one. Colors can communicate various messages and ideas.

For example, red is the color of danger, but it is also the color of excitement and Coca Cola has used it to great effect.

coca cola logo

There is a rich palate of colors that you can truly explore before selecting one or more for your logo. Because once you have a logo, you might not be able to make a lot of changes to it, much less change it for something else. The colors that you use can either grab the audience’s attention and pull them in or they can push them away. The best thing about the color palate is that it is completely up to you. You can even choose a gray scale logo if you think it works.

Avoid the Cliches

Just like every other industry, the logo design industry is also prone to various trends and fads that come and go. What a lot of good businesses do is to follow these trends and fads and generate a logo according to them. What they don’t remember is that trends last for a little while and then fade away.

It doesn’t mean that you stay away from every new thing that enters the market. Study them, do your research on them, but also make sure that you don’t jump on the bandwagon for the pretext of keeping up with the times. It accomplishes nothing more than a bunch of similar looking logos created by different people.

Own Your Logo

Everyone owns a logo, right? So, what am I talking about here?

When I say ‘Own your logo’, I mean that instead of taking into account the latest trend and going for it, you should do your research about the company or the brand. Get to know their products and services, their background story, and then come up with something that reflects those things. That will resonate more with the viewers and they will relate with it instantly.

As an example, let me show you the Evernote logo.

evernote logo

If you look at it, it is just an elephant head which has got nothing to do apparently with the app. Or does it? Remember anything about elephants and their memories? Now check out the way the trunk is curled and the way the ear is marked/folded. That is something that the viewers can immediately connect with.

Say It with the Fonts

Sometimes you don’t need to put so much effort into the colors and the design of it. Sometimes you can do it all with the typeface. Give your simple and minimalistic logo a creative and unique font to make it awesome and super memorable. As an example, I will have to go back to the Coca Cola logo. The font became so famous that a lot of other companies started stealing it and using it as their own typeface in their logos. Now that is the kind of uniqueness that every logo designer is going for.

Go Negative

Yup! You heard me right. You can use the negative space in your logo to create illusions and tricks just like a logo with a double entendre. Instead of talking about it, let me just show you what I mean.

Do you see the hidden arrow between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’? Now if that is not an ingenious idea, I don’t know what is. The use of negative space in the FedEx logo is amazing.
Now that you know how negative space can be used, check out the NBC logo and see if you can figure out how they have used the negative space.

This one is pretty easy, right?

Summing It Up

Knowing these things can greatly help a logo designer, whether you are working in-house or as a contractor. You can show your client just how much effort you have actually put into the logo and blow their minds away.

See Also: Building Your Personal Brand: 3 Ways To Stand Above The Noise

The post How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

3 Ordinary Steps on How to Live an Extraordinary Life

We’ve all been sold the dream that our life will play out like the stories we consumed as a child. A place where everything works itself out at the conclusion of a 30-minute TV episode.

Not every road to success looks as glamorous as it does on a Friday night’s silver screen.

So, if we want to live extraordinarily, we have to ask ourselves:

How we do get there? How do we really, I mean really, start to achieve a life that we can look back on and say “I lived”?

Define Success

What does success mean to you?

Does it mean hopping from city to city and rubbing elbows with start-up founders at roof-top parties?

Or maybe it means watching your children grow up and spend time with them on your terms?

how to live an extraordinary life

Maybe your goals are somewhere in between or you might not even know your goals.

That’s okay. That’s why I love Brian Tracy’s method.

My man Brian knows how to get the human mind to be honest with oneself. He found that in 30 seconds, you pretty much know what your goals are as if you spent 3 hours on the topic.

Visualize what you want in each area of your life 5, 10, 15 years from now. Although that’s hard to do, try to do this for each area of your life. And be honest with yourself when you think about the following areas in your life:

  • Business/career
  • Family/relationships
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Social life/community

Literally, take 30 seconds for each area. Write your top 3 current goals. Write them as if you’d already accomplished them. Do it on paper, in present tense, in the first person.

The key thing is, identify the goal in each area of your life that has the biggest impact.

See Also: 20 Qualities for A Successful Life

What Are You Willing to Lose?

To pick something up, you must put something down.

Let me say that in a different way.

If you want to start something different, you will inevitably spend less time doing something else. One cannot ‘create more time’ without shaving time down from something else.

I’m willing to listen to a man who gives away 97% of his wealth to charity and can still be a multi-billionaire. I’m talking, of course, about Warren Buffet.

His method is simple.

Take your top 30 goals. Now, cut them down to 5.

It’s hard, right? Those other 25 goals, those are your secondary goals that come in a close 2nd place, right?

Not at all.

Warren Buffet suggests that these are your ‘avoid at all cost’ goals.

I’m not going to lie. This exercise hurts for me to even attempt. So I combine Brian Tracy’s method and do top goals for each area of my life.

The point being, realize that you will never have enough time to do everything you want to do in your life. And that’s okay.

Because living intentionally (having a laser focus on a handful of things) will create more happiness for you. More happiness than lulling around, attempting a basket-full of things in your life.

See Also: Do You Have Too Many Goals? Here’s How to Prioritize Them

The Actions You Can Take Daily

live an extraordinary successful life

The next step is to start breaking down those big ideas into actionable steps.

It needs to be dead-brain simple. Your goal may be to climb Mount Everest. But you sure wouldn’t slap that on your to-do list. It may look something like:

  • Write out why I want to climb Mount Everest.
  • Read first-hand accounts of people who have climbed Mount Everest successfully.
  • Watch documentary about failed explorations and what went wrong.
  • Find local mountaineer group to get more general knowledge.
  • Hike local mountains to understand scale of difference.
  • Maintain exercise regiment targeting muscle groups needed for climbing.
  • Set date for Mount Everest excursion.

I’ve never climbed a mountain. I am guessing that it’s better to take action than to hope that one day a Mount Everest excursion will waltz itself into your life.

The real question is this:

What kind of life are you going to live from here on out? Are you ready to live an extraordinary life?

The post 3 Ordinary Steps on How to Live an Extraordinary Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking

Skin aging is an inevitable process. Despite that, there are a couple of things you can do to slow down the process and keep that youthful glow.

Read on to find out how to keep skin young-looking:

Breathe and relax

Gone are the days when people used to have ample amount of time to relax. Such things are rare now. Whether we are at home or at the office, we hardly get any rest these days.

So, it is quite important to take out at least 5 to 10 minutes of time from our packed schedule. And, we need to do that on a regular basis.

During that 5 to 10 minutes, simply do nothing. All you have to do is to sit, breathe, and relax your mind and body. Stay away from all the humdrum thoughts. Just keep on doing this for a month and surely, you would see the change in your skin and body.

Get enough sleep

keep skin young looking

Beauty sleep is necessary.

We splurge a lot of money on buying expensive cosmetics. But, what if we spend some time daily so that our body gets the necessary hours of sleep?

It is said that at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep is necessary for an adult. It rejuvenates our body and also our mind. And honestly, healthy and young-looking skin is impossible without a healthy body.

So, sleep well and get ready to ditch your bottle of anti-aging cream forever.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep

Stay hydrated

Water is life and this is not a mere adage anymore.

When we drink sufficient amount of water every day, our skin cells rejuvenate and stay hydrated. In fact, drinking the right proportion of water is important for keeping our organs functional as well.

So, make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

From now on, do not drink when you only feel thirsty. Rather, keep drinking a glass of water every hour.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Bring in positivity

Often, people think that slathering expensive creams is going to save their skin. But, it has also been seen that bringing in a positive change in lifestyle can bring out the same effect, too.

When we look at the negative aspects of our life, the difficult phases become more critical and uglier. Negativity rises exponentially and there is literally no end to it.

With that, it is extremely important to lead a life filled with positive and motivating thoughts. Always look at the brighter side of any situation. When your mind stays positive, your body feels awakened, too.

Eat more foods with antioxidants

When oxidation occurs in our body, free radicals are created. These unstable molecules are enough to damage skin cells. In fact, oxidation is the biggest reason behind skin aging.

So, if foods that are enriched with ample amount of antioxidants are taken, those things can be prevented.

Make sure that your diet contains fruits, seafood, carrots, green tea, pumpkin, grapes, milk, dry fruits and nuts.

Stay fit and look fit

how to keep skin young looking thru yoga

Sedentary jobs often take a toll not only on our health but also on our skin. Digestion process gets hampered by constantly sitting in one posture. And, this thing eventually damages our skin profile.

So, in order to look young, it is important to stay active. If you start jogging regularly, it would heal your entire system. In fact, doing yoga also helps a lot. When the entire system becomes rejuvenated, skin looks healthy and young.

Say no to your gadgets

In today’s busy life, the importance of mobile and other gadgets is infinite. If we constantly look at them, our eyes and the surrounding skin might start to look tired and baggy.

But, what if we keep those things off our life on a daily basis?

It is the simplest of all the tricks. From this day on, when you go to sleep, make sure you are not using your gadgets or mobile devices when lying on your bed. When you wake up, you’ll notice that your skin will look healthy and plump.

Lastly, it is not possible to bring about these habits in your lifestyle overnight. But, with constant effort you can make them happen. Knowing how to keep skin young-looking isn’t enough. You also have to exert effort.

The post 7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Simple Steps to Achieve Laser-Like Focus

Does focus elude you? Do you multi-task at the cost of focusing on your more important projects? Have you ever wished that you could have laser-like focus?

Well, as we all know, there is medicine for this type of need. But I think even people who take focus-enhancing medicine will attest that unless you have a good process and discipline, you’re still not going to have great success with just a pill.

Here’s how you can achieve laser-like focus using the strength of your mind.

Eliminate Distractions

writing down insecurities

Plan your day. This will allow your mind to be free from worry because you’ll know that you’ve scheduled your most important tasks according to priority.

Clear your desk and do it quickly. Don’t get caught up. Just remove distractions and leave the sorting for later.

See Also: 5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity

Close all unrelated computer programs and eliminate noises. No TV, radio or any device that will ruin your focus. Consider getting noise canceling headphones if you work around noise. The caveat is if you are doing physical work that doesn’t require mental concentration, then use music for energy if it helps you.

Also, don’t answer the phone. That’s what voicemail is for!

Set Visual Reminders

Some people are very visually oriented and creating visual explanations helps them more. If that is you, then create some type of visual reminder of the task you are working on. It can be a little yellow sticky note right on your computer monitor or a big poster in bold red letters.

That works well for me. I highly recommend it even if it feels silly. You can also use it as a muse if your work is creative-based.

Create a Hook to Super Charge Your Interest

Many times, we have to work on things that we aren’t excited about. If that is the case, then just buck up and find a way to get interested. Focus on the benefits of completing your work. That’s why you’re doing it, right?

Tell yourself that you like it. It can help to even be silly about it. Find ways to make it fun or sexy. Find ways to make it exciting.

If you’re already working on something you’re passionate about, then focus on that and exaggerate your excitement.

Set Mini-Deadlines

Chunk the work into pieces. Plan it out on paper and use timers to stay on schedule.

See Also: 7 Super Effective Tips to Meet Deadlines Without Going Mad

Take Frequent Mini Breaks

Get up and go to a different location to stretch. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Check your progress against your daily plan. Do this when you start to feel stuck, frustrated or when you just need a break. You’ll come back rejuvenated and with better focus

Relaxed Discipline

Stay on task but don’t be harsh, critical, and stressed. This will block creativity and productivity.

Be relaxed in your approach to your work.

How?

Commit to this: “It’s ok if it’s not perfect. It’s even OK if I fail. As long as I try and keep making forward progress.”

Be disciplined in a firm way, but without harsh judgment and pressure. Supervise yourself, watch out for procrastination tendencies, and gently bring yourself back to the task if you find yourself losing focus.

What are your secrets for staying focused? When was the last time you had great success with focusing on one thing versus trying to multi-task?

Written by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements.

The post 6 Simple Steps to Achieve Laser-Like Focus appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move

Whether you’re moving a town over, a state over, or across the country, leaving everything familiar can be overwhelming. Maybe you had an unexpected obligation pull you away, or you got an offer for your dream job. Don’t panic. As long as you have the right attitude and our tips, you’ll find yourself settling in a new city just fine.

Download Local Apps

moving in a new city

Spend a little time researching the local area and figure out which apps are useful and popular in your new city. You could find public transit apps, restaurant ordering apps, on-demand grocery delivery services, and more. Chances are, every service in your city will have a mobile app. These apps can make it convenient to travel or exist for the first few weeks.

Join Organized Groups

From kickball leagues to nonprofits, even if you don’t normally go join activities, joining an organized group is an excellent way to meet new people. Start with something you like or a hobby, and search for a group. If you’re an animal lover, check out the local humane societies and shelters. Better yet, try something you’ve never done before. Being new at something lets you connect with other newcomers.

Start Off on the Right Foot

A move, no matter the size, is stressful. However, you don’t want to start your move out on the wrong foot. Don’t try to do it yourself. When you search online, make sure to add in your location. For example, search Google for reputable long distance movers in Dallas. These movers will ensure your pending move goes smoothly, and they’ll coordinate everything. In turn, this frees up your time to concentrate on your new city and everything you have to do when you get there.

Stay Somewhere Comfortable

For at least the first six months, concentrate on staying somewhere comfortable. You don’t have to be in a rush to find out the best bars, restaurants, or areas in the city. Instead, work on creating a safe space around your home. Pick out a few different areas and learn all about this. Maybe you want to live with a relative or friend for a few months before branching off on your own. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable, do it for six months.

Mark Out Important Properties

When you get to your city, you’ll be able to settle in better if you mark out where the local stores are in your neighborhood that can meet your needs. Look for your new go-to grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, drug store, and coffee shop. Once you map everything out and know right where it is from your home, your new city will start to feel more like home.

Look for Co-Living Opportunities

settling in a new city co living space

If you’re not quite ready to live by yourself, check into co-living spaces. Most co-living areas give you your own bathroom, kitchenette, and studio apartment. There is a larger family room, living area, and kitchen for all of the other inhabitants. Co-living facilities offer fun events, mixers, and outings. This will help you make new friends, and most co-living spaces are geared toward a certain demographic like young professionals or families.

Say Yes

You’re in a new area. This is why you have to start saying yes to everything to help you find your life essentials. Going out and going to events will help you find a few friends, a best friend, and activities to keep you entertained. You won’t find this sitting home waiting for it to come to you. Join events, go to date nights, galleries, wine tastings, or whatever interests you, and meet people.

Give Yourself a Year

At the bare minimum, give yourself a year in your new space. Settling in a new city takes time, but it should eventually feel like home. Anything you find yourself doubting yourself or where you’re at, remind yourself that you’re still in transition. Moving is hard, and leaving everything is harder. But, you deserve to give yourself a year before making any judgments.

Keep in Touch

inviting friend in a new city

You may have left your old town, but don’t forget your friends, connections, and family there. Make an effort to keep in touch with them. Go back to see them every once in a while. When you get comfortable, invite them out and show them the city. You never know, they may even fall in love with it and decide to move out by you.

Set up Dates

Before you move, go to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to see which connections live in your intended area. Send them a quick message and ask to meet up once you get moved in. Ask your current friends and family if they know anyone in your area. You may just be surprised at what you find.

Know Your Transportation Options

Many small or rural towns don’t have public transportation, but larger cities do. It’s important that you learn about your new transportation options. Find out about bus transit lines, subway systems, ridesharing services, and bike-sharing programs. It may take a little trial and error to find the best routes to your work or around the city, but it’s worth it.

Look up the Area on Reddit

Almost every city has an area on Reddit. To find your particular city, look under reddit.com/r/cityname/ and see what comes up. Look through the historically popular questions, and ask any burning questions you have. Reddit will tell you about potentially unsafe areas you want to avoid, opportunities to meet people, and how friendly the locals are. What’s even better, you’ll get honest answers.

Bottom Line

Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, but there are several things you can do to help the transition process go smoothly. When you’re settling in a new city, just remember to take it slow. You’ll eventually find your routine, and it’ll feel like home.

See Also: 7 Things to Consider When Moving to a New City

The post How to Get Familiar With Your New City After a Long-Distance Move appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Clean Wood Bathroom Cabinets: Top Tips You Can Try

Wood cabinets are the superstars of the cabinet world. They are elegant, classy, and extremely good looking. This is why many homeowners choose them over other materials for their kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

But everything pretty comes with one rule – you must maintain it.

Regular maintenance is the only way to protect the charm and ensure longevity. When it comes to bathroom wood cabinets, this becomes a rule.

Bathroom cabinets are subjected to the most wear and tear along with consistent moisture. Neglected cabinets can, thus, get ruined in no time. We all know what that can lead to.

Don’t worry, though.

Maintenance is not an arduous task as long as you do it regularly. It involves daily cleaning with safe ingredients and disinfecting whenever the need arises. In this article, we shall help you with the best tips on how to clean wood bathroom cabinet.

Let’s begin.

Use soap and warm water.

This is the easiest way to clean your bathroom wood cabinets.

Mix mild dish soap with warm water and use a clean sponge to wipe the cabinets down. One teaspoon of soap is enough for a cup of water. You can increase the quantities based on how many cabinets you have.

This combination is useful for everyday cleaning. However, you must be sure not to use too much water. Use just how much is needed for gentle wiping and then use a dry cloth to wipe down one last time. This will remove all the unnecessary moisture.

Use vinegar and water.

how to clean wood bathroom cabinets with vinegar

Mix equal quantities of vinegar and water. Use a soft cloth or cheesecloth to wipe the surface of the cabinets.

Vinegar is safe to use every day since diluting it with water makes it a mild solution. It also safeguards the finishing of the cabinets.

However, some homeowners may not like using it due to its strong odor. In this case, you can always fall back to soap and warm water for daily cleaning and restrict vinegar to once a week.

Use baking soda and water.

how to clean wood bathroom cabinets with baking soda

Baking soda is quite mild and makes a wonderful cleaning agent. All you have to do is to make a paste by mixing just enough water and then use a cloth to clean your cabinets.

While following this cleaning method, though, you should be very careful. Baking soda, despite being mild, is an abrasive. Being harsh while cleaning can tarnish the wood. Be gentle and don’t rub the paste in too much.

If you are unable to remove a particular stain, rubbing may make it worse. We advise you to apply the paste and leave it for 20 minutes instead. Wiping it down will be easier this way.

Get a wood cleaner.

If you would rather buy a product to keep your cabinets clean, we recommend a wood cleaner that’s soap and oil-based. These cleaners are specifically formulated for wood and, thus, do the job really well.

Also, apart from knowing how to clean wood bathroom cabinets, you should also know how often you should clean them.

Ideally, you won’t need to clean the cabinets every single day with these. Regular cleaning, maybe once a week, would be enough.

The best method to clean your bathroom’s wood cabinets totally depends on the usage. If you don’t use the bathroom regularly (happens when you have multiple bathrooms at home), you can stick to cleaning once a week or so.

Bathrooms that are used every day must also be cleaned every day. Make sure you regularly check the insides and keep them clean, too. You can use the same aforementioned solutions. Under no circumstances, though, should you use strong detergents or abrasives.

What are you waiting for? Choose a method and start cleaning your cabinets!

See Also: How to Effectively Remove Mold From Your House

Author Bio:

I am Sharon. As a professional, I am a content writer. I like to write about interior design, gardening, home improvement, and all new things. I also like to share new stuff, knowledge.

The post How to Clean Wood Bathroom Cabinets: Top Tips You Can Try appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact

The rise of social media in the last decade has altered the way we live, work, buy, and do business.

Millennials and Gen Z that have the most purchase power spend most of their time online. This is why it has become indispensable for organizations to have a robust presence on social media platforms.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept that has really caught on. It is perceived to be more personal as it comes from individuals whom customers trust.

Due to the massive expansion in the influencer market, authentic content created by influencers has taken the center stage.

Before diving in to understand how to measure influencer marketing impact, you must know that influencer marketing is not just about selling.

Marketing through influencers has become synonymous with creating a community of like-minded target audiences and growing it organically. That is the reason why brands commission influencers to create scalable content that has the power to spike interest among the target audience. In fact, consumers trust online influencers far more than a newspaper ad or a radio commercial.

What is Influencer Marketing?

influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a means to bridge the gap between social media users and your brand.

Influencers on social media are individuals who boast a substantial following and are considered subject-matter experts among their niche. Built on trust and face value of the influencer, this type of marketing could help you in many ways, including increased brand recognition.

You must select influencers by conducting a thorough study. Based on your end goal and budget, you may choose from various mega, macro, and micro-influencers to promote your products or services.

See Also: From Baby Bump to Social Bump: The Rise of Mom Social Media Influencers

The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Consumers

Influencer marketing may not bring immediate results, but it definitely ‘influences’ online users to subconsciously explore the product, if not buy it.

Whether you choose an established actor with a following of over 7 million or a micro-influencer with high engagement, your influencer marketing plan is bound to impact prospective customers.

Here are some of the most prominent results of influencer marketing:

Brand Exposure

Influencer marketing helps create brand awareness and exposure. This could be highly beneficial for new brands.

Perception

Marketing programs created with influencers can help create a brand image among users. For this reason, choosing influencers that speak the language of your brand is a must.

Sparks curiosity

Influencer marketers can spark interest among the target audience by just giving a sneak peek through their profiles.

Builds trust

Influencers are regarded with high respect and considered experts in their field. So, they help build trust by being a representative of the brand.

How To Measure Influencer Marketing

how to measure influencer marketing qr code

The ultimate goal of marketing is to generate sales and the same is true with influencer marketing. Setting online goals and measuring their success is naturally the first step.

What you want to do is analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) of the influencer. These KPIs could include the number of followers, reach, impressions, traffic data, etc.

But, more often than not, the real dilemma arises when you need to analyze the offline effect of an online campaign.

But there is a way around this too!

You can make a dynamic QR Code and use it to measure the offline success of a digital campaign.

How does that work?

Have influencers share coupon codes or discounts in the form of a QR Code as well.
This QR Code can be saved to Apple Wallet or as an image and then, later on, used at a store.

Once the salesperson scans this code, the sale gets attributed back to the influencer campaign.

The data gets stored in the linked program, which you could further use to analyze the overall impact generated on all offline mediums.

Influencers are here to stay. Therefore, the world of influencer marketing will keep evolving.

See Also: How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition

The post How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Deal with Toxic Relationships?

Dealing with toxic people can be challenging, especially when you are not even able to identify their toxicity. Instead of helping you evolve, these energy vampires bring you down and make you feel less confident in your abilities. The interesting thing is that most “victims” do not even see through what these individuals are doing.

So, they get up caught into this circle of unidentifiable pain, unable to make changes and always feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and emotions. It’s important to mention that toxic partners or friends can be highly manipulative, meaning they can affect your life in ways you might not identify as manipulation. They can play with your mind without you knowing. So, great job being here – that means you are taking the first step in the right direction.

Here are some ways in which you can deal with this toxicity.

First step: admitting it is true

deal with toxic relationships

The first thing you must do when you are in this situation is to realize the problem that you’re having.

Without admitting the cause of your pain, you will not be able to solve anything. To do this, you must accept that it affects you first. Denial is a pain in the bum, so make sure that what you are thinking of is actually true. Here are some ideas that you could work with, in case you might be in denial but might have not figured it out yet:

  • Be patient and kind with yourself – if you are not sure where you stand or if you’re experiencing denial, being patient and honest with yourself will help a lot. However, don’t be too harsh, it will only aggravate the negative feelings you might be feeling.
  • Avoid ignorance and understand how it differentiates from denial. With ignorance, you know that something is going on but choose to ignore it. With denial, on the other hand, you deny the fact that something might be going on. Make sure you have someone close to talk to about your issue.
  • Remain calm. Try to meditate, do yoga, take a walk, and think about it. Do not overthink though! Relax as much as you can.

You should not get stuck, keep on moving

Toxic people will make you feel that you cannot do better than them. You must wake up! This is not the best that you can do. Usually a great way to detect whether someone is doing this or not is to ask yourself: how many (other) friends/family members are you still engaging with? Do you contact people who used to be in your life regularly now? And if not, why so? Has this toxic person influenced you in one way or another?

Understand that this feeling might come from fear and it is usually promoted by an inferior
complex. If you think you are not good enough to accept what is best for you, you might be more inclined to search for those toxic relationships. This happens because as people, we find it challenging to get out of our comfort zones, so staying in the safe areas (engaging with people who make us feel the way WE feel about ourselves) is easier than accepting healthy people in our lives.

Make sure you do not continue this ongoing circle. Contemplate on your emotions and always ask why. What is the reason you are thinking whatever is that you are thinking? What is the reason you are engaging in the same addictive behaviors that you are engaging in? Even if questioning ourselves can be challenging, not doing it makes us ignorant. So, start questioning everything.

Take responsibility for your actions

It’s important to understand that, even if you let other people help you, they will not be able to change you. You are the only person who can do that, so start taking responsibility for your actions, emotions, and thoughts. Yes, it’s true that toxic people can easily get to you, but it would be false to say that you cannot choose the way you react. You have the freedom to do it; and that is because you create your own reality.

So, if you realize that there are some issues going on with someone in your life and would like to withdraw, start making active changes. Do not wait for someone else to intervene. There are two questions we need to ask ourselves when something affects us negatively.

  1. Do I like the situation that I am in or would I need to change it to feel better? And if I don’t like it;
  2. How can I change the situation which I find myself in?

Look for the reason

how to deal with toxic relationships

If you can understand the reason why certain things happen or why some people cross paths with you, it will be easier to understand their situations and change yours. Whenever two people meet, there is a reason for it – nothing is coincidental. Why do you attract these types of people? Are you looking for something you do not have in your own life? Often, people around us mirror what we fear the most, so ask that question as well – do you fear becoming toxic, addicted, dependent? Also, what do you think their life lesson is? Why did they have to cross paths with you? What could they learn from you?

Maintain boundaries and be specific

When you finally realize that some people are toxic for you, you will want to make changes. So, the first thing you should do is draw boundaries. Being able to communicate properly is important, so try not to make the other person feel guilty. When expressing yourself, use “I” statements – for instance, “I feel that this relationship does not bring me the benefits that I thought it would”, or “I do not feel prepared to continue seeing you”. Do not put the blame on them for how you are feeling, ever. That will make them defensive and unable to communicate with. If, however, you choose to use personal statements, they will not be able to invalidate that.

See Also: 5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

Conclusion

Our lives are highly influenced by the people we choose to spend time with, so make sure you are choosing healthy relationships within your life. Make sure you truly connect with your peers/partner and understand that they are not your responsibility. Good luck!

Author bio
Emma Johnson is a digital marketer and a blogger at best essay writing service and professional college essay writers company. She is also perfect at writing and talking about self-improvement, social media and communication. Find Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

The post How to Deal with Toxic Relationships? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Build A Minimum Viable Product

In the era of constantly churned out applications, the only thing that can make you stand out from the crowd is a Minimum Viable Product.

An application is hardly ever a one-person job. It is a lot of people coming together and putting their heads together to create a product that will, in turn, be accepted by the market.

There is always this risk hanging on top of your head, one that implies what if your application isn’t as great as what you believe it to be. For dispelling all your doubts and reducing the risk of your investment, it is a good idea to create an MVP.

An MVP is a product that provides the basic core functionality to its users without any of the sophisticated trimmings on top.

Every big application in the market once started as an MVP. Amazon initially started as an online marketplace that only sold books. It later diversified into the e-commerce giant it is today.

At the same time during the E-revolution, there were hundreds of websites that began but then failed, never to be heard about again.

Your MVP is what creates your initial user base which can be further worked upon once you know your product is feasible enough to survive in the market.

An MVP is also important to secure funding for your project as an application requires manpower and resources, which are both next to impossible to get without adequate funding.

But there is no point in building an MVP if you’re planning to go in guns blazing. A successful MVP is a collection of right steps taken in the right direction in the absence of any kind of preconceived notions.

So here is a guide on how to build a minimum viable product.

Do Your Research

build a minimum viable product

The leading problem with most MVP is the startling lack of research. A product can be built simply by sharing the wireframes with your developer and them creating a running application.

However, just the existence of an application is not the basis of a successful application.

Research needs to be carried out. Your target audience needs to be defined and their needs understood. Your product also needs to be useful to them and add value to their life.

You also need to carry out competitor research that clearly states how you are better than what exists in the market. Even in the absence of a direct competitor, just the fact that your product is the new kid on the block will not be of much help.

Your Idea Needs Definition

It cannot be stressed enough but your product needs to add value in your customer’s lives. Your product needs to have the intention behind every aspect of its working.

Understand the functions that are part of your application’s core functionality. Don’t add features just for the sake of bulking up the application.

Decide On The Design And User Flow

building a minimum viable product

Once you have managed to figure out the ideal market, it is time that you begin to design your application.

Everything you do should be done with the user in mind. It does not matter what you think about it as long as the users are happy.

Begin with designing user flows (User Journey maps are good, too) to describe the stages of the process. That would help you chart the path that a typical user would take while completing a task on your application.

This in-depth detailing is essential as it lays out the necessary steps that are required to be taken by the user. It also allows you to improve their experience.

See Also: Integrating User Experience Design and Internet Marketing Successfully

Decide on the features

You have finally completed building your process. Now, you move on to in-depth detailing. You determine exactly what are the features that you want your application to eventually incorporate.

See the process list and then jot down the features that you believe will work with them the best. Prioritize these features next.

Once you have finished organizing the features, define their scope for the first iteration of your application. Then, you’re good to move on to the next step.

Build the MVP

Welcome to the final step of your journey, the actual iteration of your dream. Remember that your MVP is not a low-quality render of your final application. Yes, it is stripped back but by no means is it anything less than what you have decided to release in the market.

An MVP is not the end goal, a full, functioning application however is. Once you have an MVP, it is time to test it. You now need to test it with real audiences to ensure that there are no kinks in the product.

Your customer perception is the only thing that can make or break your product. It is essential that you take their views into account before figuring out whether or not your product is market-ready.

The post How To Build A Minimum Viable Product appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party On a Budget

Throwing an epic party doesn’t have to mean emptying your bank account. After all, it should be about creating lasting memories and not the amount of money you and your partner spend. To plan the most awesome engagement party on a budget, here are some tricks you might want to try.

Use Candles

budget engagement party

Candles are the tiniest and cutest decorations one can ever have! They are traditional, symbolic, and fulfilling.

Using candles instead of lanterns cuts your budget in half and still gives all the romantic feels. If you decide to use candles for the table decorations, you don’t even need to do other table decors. One or two candles and a few flowers are enough to throw super positive vibes. You can also try balloons to decorate the walls. The best part of using candles is that it pairs well with any lush arrangement.

Have an Informal Dinner

There are many people whose only concern is to have a lavish dinner at engagement parties. Well, if you want to provide that, you can do so without compromising your budget.

There are many eating options available that are delicious and cost-effective. You just need to think out of the box and try varieties.

Instead of cumbersome menus, arrange some seasonal juices, light appetizers, and moving snacks. You can also avoid serving champagne and settle with cocktails or mocktails.

If you want to get rid of the whole dinner stuff, you can arrange the party after dinner hours. After all, it’s your engagement party and not theirs. The choice should be yours.

See Also: An Easy Guide to Food And Wine Pairing

Try Local Entertainment

Try to find local artists who can perform at your engagement party. There are many talented people out there who genuinely wish to be heard. They need a platform so give them a chance.

If you want to cut your budget even more, simply share your best playlist and opt for some light music. It will give your party a personal touch and keep the mood upbeat throughout the time. You can also request some of your close friends or family members to set the pace.

Invite Wisely

Always remember that this party is just an engagement party and not your wedding. So, you don’t need to invite everyone. Keep the extra ones on the list of wedding guests.

Make your engagement exclusive for your near and dear ones. Keep it more intimate and throw a small party. This step alone can literally cut your cost a lot.

If you invite wisely, you can even spare a few more bucks for decorations, wine, and food. Don’t forget to invite fun people who judge less and dance more.

Pick an Inexpensive Place to Throw the Party

engagement party on budget

A restaurant or farmhouse is definitely one of your best choices to throw a party. But if you really want to cut the cost, then try having a cozy party in your home or backyard. This way, you can save the entire budget of the place. You don’t need to pay the rent, allowing you to utilize that amount in other activities.

These are some of the best tricks you can apply to make an engagement party on a budget possible. If you have any other ideas, you can share them here with us. Let us know and help other people plan their engagement party.

The post How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party On a Budget appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Deal With Employee Resistance During Agile Implementation

The modern workplace is a combination of people from different generations who have varying workplace ideals. Some people prefer to strongly believe that the traditional method is the best way to work. The younger generation, meanwhile, mostly believes in a flexible work environment that is more inclined towards ‘agile’.

With vast differences in the way of working between individuals, it can be a tough problem to introduce the agile way of working. Before we talk about employee resistance in the workforce to become agile, let’s see how agile benefits the organization.

How Agile Triumphs Over Traditional Way of Working

employee resistance workplace

The traditional team typically consists of a manager under whom you can see different employees with numerous roles like Java developers, analysts, testers, etc. The functioning of this traditional team will follow the hierarchical approach, where the manager sits at the center and has total control of the whole operations.

On the other hand, agile teams are self-managed, where cross-functional working among different teams is the key. Instead of a single person sitting at the top and giving out orders or supervising the work, the team players also take part equally in the decision-making process. They decide who the best fit for the role is and determine the tasks everyone needs to play.

In the end, everyone is involved in the project as a whole instead of just having a partial vision of the project from their working scope. This also improves the accountability of the team members. It will motivate them to get involved better in the project and improve their performance, as well as the project results.

The Need for a Flexible Workforce

According to the workplace trends prediction by Dan Schawbel in Forbes in 2017, he pointed out that there is going to be a high demand for a flexible work environment and that the organizations will face pressure from the young employees to embrace flexibility.
Also, he pointed out the flexibility is the top employee benefit over healthcare in the years 2015 and 2016, but only one-third of the organizations are implementing it seriously. Further, the organizations that do focus on agile systems do so to align their working to match the customer needs.

The reason for some organizations that don’t enforce an agile way of working can be due to the traditional mindset of top management. However, one of the most common reasons is the fear of resistance among employees.

Employee Resistance towards an Agile Approach

While implementing agile in a workforce, things don’t go as planned. Some may face unexpected resistance from certain sections of employees, which could affect the performance at the initial stages. There can be clashes, miscommunications, and issues between employees due to the resistance from some.

This behavior is mainly due to the employee’s misinformed notions about agile practices. The employees may have difficulty in accepting the new changes in the working systems when they don’t understand how they can be benefited from it. For some who are familiar with the same system, it can be difficult to come out from the years of familiar working methods and embrace the new system of agile.

However, such resistance from employees doesn’t mean the end of agile. With a few help from the top management, the employees can be convinced to look at all the advantages agile brings.

Here are a few ideas to overcome employee resistance and bring a coordinated agile way of working in the organization.

• Anticipate and Manage Resistance Before It Crops Up

When you break the news about the changes in working methods, you’ll have an idea of the people who will oppose them the most. There can be a few who are on the fence – not very happy about the change but open to accepting it. But the few who are steadfast against the agile implementation may easily turn those people, too.

To avoid the increased resistance, talk with the managers and identify the few people who are totally against the opposition and address the issue with them first. When you can neutralize these few instances, then you can minimize and manage the resistance from other employees easily.

• Avoid Overnight Transformation

Understandably, you want to incorporate the agile systems as soon as you can. But, asking the employees to wake up one day and suddenly start working the agile way isn’t going to work.

It is necessary to incorporate the agile processes incrementally. Start slow and ask the employees to make a few changes. Once they become familiar with it, proceed to the next level. Break down the agile implementations into different phases and gradually ease the employees into it. This will give them a practical idea of how much an agile system helps them to complete their work efficiently. It’s one way to lessen employee resistance, too.

• Be Open to Address Questions

Employees will have many questions in their minds about how this implementation could influence their work life. It is the responsibility of the organization to answer the questions in the best possible and convincing way. It is their duty to encourage more employees to be open towards agile.

You can have an open session with the employees. Let everyone have their chance to ask questions or even just to talk about how they feel. This is a crucial primary step to show the employees how much you care about them and make them understand that the first people who would benefit from the new system is them – the employees.
If you have any people in the organization who have previously worked in the agile environment, you can also encourage them to talk about its advantages and let the employees see how it can impact their work life.

• Address the Gaps in Technology

You need to provide the employees with the required technologies if you expect them to stick to agile. The agile system depends a lot on the flexibility of the employees to work from anywhere they want and includes the freelance workforce, too. When your technology doesn’t support your intentions, then the employees will crawl back to the only other working system – the traditional way.

When you have decided to implement agile, it is vital to do property research and analysis on the technologies your organization has and the additional ones it may need. You can either slowly start including some before you implement agile or break the news of agile with the good news of the beneficial technologies.

• Include Routine Checks and Weekly Assistance

employee workplace resistance

Not all employees can understand the essence of agile easily. They may get some doubts once they start working. Therefore, there should be someone in the organization they can talk to and clear their doubts.

After implementing agile, make sure to include routine checks to see if everyone is working properly. The checks should also identify employees who are struggling to change their way of working. Offer them unlimited assistance until they are entirely comfortable to work with the agile system.

There are no do-overs when it comes to agile implementation. When you do it, make sure that you are doing it right. Employee resistance is a part of any change. Making the employees see the new system’s advantages lies with the organization. If that’s done successfully, then the agile processes can revolutionize the organizational performance.

See Also: Redefining Office Culture To Boost Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

The post How to Deal With Employee Resistance During Agile Implementation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

After discovering a property representative, preparing your home for sale, and staging the house, you and your realty representative require to create remarkable real estate listing descriptions.

The initial step that 42% of purchasers require to buy a home is to look for listings online. 95% of purchasers utilize the web to eventually discover a home in their search.

You might lose these purchasers permanently if your listing pictures and story do not mesmerize home hunters browsing online. One research study revealed that listings with one image took over double the time to offer than listings with 20 pictures.

That’s why you and your realty representative need to develop the very best property listing in your location.

Here are some of the best ways to do that:

No Smart Device Pics Allowed: Your Photos Should Be Sensational

Imagine that you’re really in the market for a brand-new home. There are two homes on the very same street, comparable flooring strategy, and rate point. However, they have hugely various pictures.

According to CBS News, homes marketed with a leading quality expert listing images offer for 47% more than homes with low-quality photos. Images can likewise assist your home sell 32% faster.

Online users invest 60% of their time taking a look at the pictures on a realty listing page, and 20% on residential or commercial property information and the listing blurb. That indicates that if your images do not blow purchasers away, then there’s a likelihood they’ll never see your home.

How to Get Great Listing Photos

real estate listing description

Whatever you do, don’t take your listing pictures yourself.

Your property representative must contract out your listing images to an expert photographer who will modify and improve every photo or take the pictures themselves.

To find the right contractor for the job, you need to do your research. Inspect websites with impartial evaluations like Yelp or Angie’s List to discover leading professional photographers near you or you can just delegate the task.

Whatever is in the image ought to be brilliant and noticeable

For interior shots, you must be able to see the view out of all windows. Professional photographers can accomplish this using specific techniques.

The picture needs to make the area look big as possible

Do the images all look cropped or was a large-angle lens utilized? All photos must be shot with a large-angle lens and the space must never feel confined.

Images need to be straight

All images must be level. Your photographer can go free-hand or he can use a tripod as long as he’s able to make every shot appear straight and perfect.

The order of your listing images is crucial. You should go first with the dining space, living space, and household space. After those areas, you can cover the master bedroom and the other rooms in the house.

Another smart method to encourage a prospective purchaser to come to see your home personally is to leave “Easter eggs” or little within jokes or concealed messages of home functions in the listing description. These should not be noticeable in pictures.

Tips for Composing the Perfect Listing Description

creating real estate listing descriptions

The listing description is your only chance to discuss anything about your home that purchasers can’t see in the images. For that, you need to:

  • Utilize words most likely to appear in search engine result
  • Display high-end and brand-name functions like your Viking range
  • Point out superb features of your community
  • Promote special services

Your representative will compose the listing blurb for you. However, you can ask to see it before the listing gets released online.

How to Compose a Fascinating Listing Title

Some property representatives will publish your home on sites like Craigslist. These sites use a “list view” which suggests that you’ll require an appealing title for your listing. Many property representatives will do this for you as part of their marketing strategy. However, it never harms to come up with some recommendations.

Unlike other marketing platforms that arrange by image, a list view sorts just by the listing title. It’s less likely that potential purchasers will click through to your listing if your claim is not as good as the other titles before and after yours.

One method to do that is to use power words in your listing title. We’ll compose 2 noting titles together, one with power words and one without.

Title A: Good home for sale in SF Bay Location.

Title B: New: Zen Retreat With Sensational Views in Laurel Heights

Can you think which listing title has the power words? That’s right — Listing B is a terrific example of what your listing title should look like.

We utilized the power word “brand-new” to get the attention of the purchaser. If a listing is brand-new, it’s most likely something she hasn’t seen before. It produces a sense of seriousness.

We utilized the power word “zen” to stimulate harmony and serenity. This power word falls in the “joy” classification, which is what every potential purchaser ought to feel when she discovers an appealing brand-new listing.

We utilized the power word “sensational” to stimulate a sense of splendor and to make the purchaser wish to click through to see pictures right now. “Spectacular” falls under the “charm” classification.

How to Utilize Buzz Words in the Listing Blurb

Buzz words or power words appeal more to purchasers than other generic words like “relaxing” or “adorable” since they paint a picture of your home. Inspect out these listing descriptions from an expert real estate copywriter if you ‘d like a couple of examples of well-written listings.

If you desire your listing to stand out in search outcomes, you’ll wish to utilize local keywords.

Prevent Buzzkill Words

Throw away words like “charming” or “relaxing” and expressions like “priced to offer.” These words have ended up being white noise in property listings and do not suggest anything to potential purchasers.

Instead, be as particular as you can about your home. Even if you do have a comfortable den, consider what makes it healthy.

Do not state: The home has a relaxing den off the living room.

State: The den is the ideal area to unwind with a cup of tea as the sun shines in through brand-new Pella windows.

You also need to check the listing blurb over and over to get rid of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Any error in spelling or grammar can suggest that the real estate representative invested little time producing the listing.

Leading representative Caponigro informed us that terms like, “this will not last” are absolute no-nos. It appears that any listing that has 100 or more market days!

Keep a careful eye on different terms like “en suite”, “wrought iron fence”, and other similar terms. They might quickly (and incorrectly) be noted as “on suite” or “rod iron fence”. These little mistakes can send out purchasers running for worry of more significant errors in your home.

Your listing should never break the Fair Real estate Act which indicates that there shouldn’t be discrimination in gender, race, background, color or specific location.

Display Community Distance

Throughout your listing blurb, you need to make it clear that your home is located in a secure area.

Walkscore is a tool you can utilize to assist in determining what hotspots are instantly available to your home. The machine has a brand-new function called “Time Travel Map” which reveals to you how far you can stroll, drive, bike or take public transit in your location within 20 minutes. It will likewise show you how walkable the place is and the popular areas close by.

Other good ideas to keep in mind are: pure beach gains access to, fast highway gain access to, charming coffeehouse, and hassle-free shopping mall near to the property.

Reference Swanky Appliances and Cool Style Characteristics

This is among the locations in your property listing where you can best assist your realty representative. Caponigro asks all of her customers to supply her with a “function sheet” that details whatever the home needs to provide.

You can produce a function sheet for your real estate representative. It may consist of details regarding restrooms and spaces, lot size, square video, and so on. You may also want to include unique functions, like a double automobile garage, white wine cellar, kitchen area island, and any upgrades you have done.

Purchasers value high-end home appliances in a house, so you need to drop high-end brand names regularly.

If you have any high-end cooking area devices, windows, lights, home security systems or heating/cooling systems, make sure to include them in the listing.

Did a well-understood designer style your home? Current upgrades are as essential to your home’s worth as they are to purchasers. Market brand-new marble or granite countertops, a rejuvenated restroom, cooking area, yard, and any other high-end touches you included.

See Also: How to Decorate Your Home

Your Remarkable Property Listing

Above all, make sure that the listing records what you enjoy most about the home. The more distinct the description is and the more eye-catching the images are, the quicker it will be for your home to sell.

See Also: A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State

The post How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action

After discovering a property representative, preparing your home for sale, and staging the house, you and your realty representative require to create remarkable real estate listing descriptions.

The initial step that 42% of purchasers require to buy a home is to look for listings online. 95% of purchasers utilize the web to eventually discover a home in their search.

You might lose these purchasers permanently if your listing pictures and story do not mesmerize home hunters browsing online. One research study revealed that listings with one image took over double the time to offer than listings with 20 pictures.

That’s why you and your realty representative need to develop the very best property listing in your location.

Here are some of the best ways to do that:

No Smart Device Pics Allowed: Your Photos Should Be Sensational

Imagine that you’re really in the market for a brand-new home. There are two homes on the very same street, comparable flooring strategy, and rate point. However, they have hugely various pictures.

According to CBS News, homes marketed with a leading quality expert listing images offer for 47% more than homes with low-quality photos. Images can likewise assist your home sell 32% faster.

Online users invest 60% of their time taking a look at the pictures on a realty listing page, and 20% on residential or commercial property information and the listing blurb. That indicates that if your images do not blow purchasers away, then there’s a likelihood they’ll never see your home.

How to Get Great Listing Photos

real estate listing description

Whatever you do, don’t take your listing pictures yourself.

Your property representative must contract out your listing images to an expert photographer who will modify and improve every photo or take the pictures themselves.

To find the right contractor for the job, you need to do your research. Inspect websites with impartial evaluations like Yelp or Angie’s List to discover leading professional photographers near you or you can just delegate the task.

Whatever is in the image ought to be brilliant and noticeable

For interior shots, you must be able to see the view out of all windows. Professional photographers can accomplish this using specific techniques.

The picture needs to make the area look big as possible

Do the images all look cropped or was a large-angle lens utilized? All photos must be shot with a large-angle lens and the space must never feel confined.

Images need to be straight

All images must be level. Your photographer can go free-hand or he can use a tripod as long as he’s able to make every shot appear straight and perfect.

The order of your listing images is crucial. You should go first with the dining space, living space, and household space. After those areas, you can cover the master bedroom and the other rooms in the house.

Another smart method to encourage a prospective purchaser to come to see your home personally is to leave “Easter eggs” or little within jokes or concealed messages of home functions in the listing description. These should not be noticeable in pictures.

Tips for Composing the Perfect Listing Description

creating real estate listing descriptions

The listing description is your only chance to discuss anything about your home that purchasers can’t see in the images. For that, you need to:

  • Utilize words most likely to appear in search engine result
  • Display high-end and brand-name functions like your Viking range
  • Point out superb features of your community
  • Promote special services

Your representative will compose the listing blurb for you. However, you can ask to see it before the listing gets released online.

How to Compose a Fascinating Listing Title

Some property representatives will publish your home on sites like Craigslist. These sites use a “list view” which suggests that you’ll require an appealing title for your listing. Many property representatives will do this for you as part of their marketing strategy. However, it never harms to come up with some recommendations.

Unlike other marketing platforms that arrange by image, a list view sorts just by the listing title. It’s less likely that potential purchasers will click through to your listing if your claim is not as good as the other titles before and after yours.

One method to do that is to use power words in your listing title. We’ll compose 2 noting titles together, one with power words and one without.

Title A: Good home for sale in SF Bay Location.

Title B: New: Zen Retreat With Sensational Views in Laurel Heights

Can you think which listing title has the power words? That’s right — Listing B is a terrific example of what your listing title should look like.

We utilized the power word “brand-new” to get the attention of the purchaser. If a listing is brand-new, it’s most likely something she hasn’t seen before. It produces a sense of seriousness.

We utilized the power word “zen” to stimulate harmony and serenity. This power word falls in the “joy” classification, which is what every potential purchaser ought to feel when she discovers an appealing brand-new listing.

We utilized the power word “sensational” to stimulate a sense of splendor and to make the purchaser wish to click through to see pictures right now. “Spectacular” falls under the “charm” classification.

How to Utilize Buzz Words in the Listing Blurb

Buzz words or power words appeal more to purchasers than other generic words like “relaxing” or “adorable” since they paint a picture of your home. Inspect out these listing descriptions from an expert real estate copywriter if you ‘d like a couple of examples of well-written listings.

If you desire your listing to stand out in search outcomes, you’ll wish to utilize local keywords.

Prevent Buzzkill Words

Throw away words like “charming” or “relaxing” and expressions like “priced to offer.” These words have ended up being white noise in property listings and do not suggest anything to potential purchasers.

Instead, be as particular as you can about your home. Even if you do have a comfortable den, consider what makes it healthy.

Do not state: The home has a relaxing den off the living room.

State: The den is the ideal area to unwind with a cup of tea as the sun shines in through brand-new Pella windows.

You also need to check the listing blurb over and over to get rid of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Any error in spelling or grammar can suggest that the real estate representative invested little time producing the listing.

Leading representative Caponigro informed us that terms like, “this will not last” are absolute no-nos. It appears that any listing that has 100 or more market days!

Keep a careful eye on different terms like “en suite”, “wrought iron fence”, and other similar terms. They might quickly (and incorrectly) be noted as “on suite” or “rod iron fence”. These little mistakes can send out purchasers running for worry of more significant errors in your home.

Your listing should never break the Fair Real estate Act which indicates that there shouldn’t be discrimination in gender, race, background, color or specific location.

Display Community Distance

Throughout your listing blurb, you need to make it clear that your home is located in a secure area.

Walkscore is a tool you can utilize to assist in determining what hotspots are instantly available to your home. The machine has a brand-new function called “Time Travel Map” which reveals to you how far you can stroll, drive, bike or take public transit in your location within 20 minutes. It will likewise show you how walkable the place is and the popular areas close by.

Other good ideas to keep in mind are: pure beach gains access to, fast highway gain access to, charming coffeehouse, and hassle-free shopping mall near to the property.

Reference Swanky Appliances and Cool Style Characteristics

This is among the locations in your property listing where you can best assist your realty representative. Caponigro asks all of her customers to supply her with a “function sheet” that details whatever the home needs to provide.

You can produce a function sheet for your real estate representative. It may consist of details regarding restrooms and spaces, lot size, square video, and so on. You may also want to include unique functions, like a double automobile garage, white wine cellar, kitchen area island, and any upgrades you have done.

Purchasers value high-end home appliances in a house, so you need to drop high-end brand names regularly.

If you have any high-end cooking area devices, windows, lights, home security systems or heating/cooling systems, make sure to include them in the listing.

Did a well-understood designer style your home? Current upgrades are as essential to your home’s worth as they are to purchasers. Market brand-new marble or granite countertops, a rejuvenated restroom, cooking area, yard, and any other high-end touches you included.

See Also: How to Decorate Your Home

Your Remarkable Property Listing

Above all, make sure that the listing records what you enjoy most about the home. The more distinct the description is and the more eye-catching the images are, the quicker it will be for your home to sell.

See Also: A Simple Guide to Selling A House in New York State

The post How to Develop Property Listings that Make Purchasers Take Action appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy

The working world is in a constant state of flux. We have come a really long way in the last 150 years or so in terms of employment law and workers’ rights. In the grand scale of human history, we’ve barely stopped sending our children to work in factories. The 40-hour week was only adopted in the USA in 1940. Despite all this progress, why are so many people feeling burned out?

As quickly as we industrialized, we’ve digitized. We no longer work menial jobs en masse. Over 80% of Americans work at a desk, sitting down in air-conditioned buildings. Despite that, there’s still an underlying feeling of exhaustion, sadness, and a lack of work-life balance.

Technology is a double-edged sword

Computers and the internet were instrumental in securing a 40-hour week as they reduced the time it took us to do our work. 60 hours of work can now be easily done in 40 with computers. At the same time, the omnipresent tentacles of technology means that it’s harder than ever to switch off.

Being successful in your career and working hard is a virtue. But you can increase your output and your health by learning how to switch off from work properly and creating a safe retreat for yourself.

The concept of switching off is quite ingrained in some cultures, while others still promote the idea of constant work. Some people are suited to that always-on, always-working lifestyle, but for most of us, this is a fast track to burnout.

Setting Up Your Home for Success

switch off from work

To be more successful in our lives, it’s easy for us to look at productivity gurus and sleep-hacking entrepreneurs for answers. But for a great deal of the workforce, what works for these people won’t work for us. Perhaps the most important place to start is at home, because a cozy home has associated health benefits.

Unless you’re in a senior management position and above, you’re unlikely to have much say over how your office is set up. You can make suggestions, but there’s no guarantee these will be obliged. For example, lots of office workers want more ’breakout’ spaces, informal work areas, and access to green space whether that’s just a view of a park from the window or an actual place where they can take a time out and regroup.

You can make changes at home to foster a sense of belonging, calm, and restoration. You need a space to return to that is entirely separate from work.

If there are any similarities between the two places, it becomes harder to disassociate the two. We’re not talking exclusively about the interior design as it’s unlikely your home’s interior looks anything like your office. Rather, it’s how you spend your time at home and steps you can take to create a greater sense of peace.

So, How to Switch Off From Work?

The first thing you can do is to stop checking work emails outside of work. Technology has created this ‘always-on’ work culture. There are some roles where you do have to be accessible at all times, but for most roles, you shouldn’t be expected to be always on.

A good way of doing this is not linking your phone to work emails. You can only look at them when you’re at your desk. Leave the work emails at work because your personal time is your personal time. You’re not receiving extra salary to check those emails and reply to them outside of work.

This isn’t possible for everyone though. We can easily feel pressured to be available outside of work. So what else can we do?

Other countries have downtime ingrained into their cultural fabric. Let’s discuss a few examples.

Everyone knows the Danish art of ‘hygge’ now. A word to describe a unique cozy and special moment. This can be something as simple as having an open fire going, putting on your favorite pair of thick socks or playing a board game with loved ones.

The Spanish have something called ‘sobremesa’. This refers to being at the dinner table, having finished your meals, just sitting and chatting with your family and friends. Spaniards have perfected this art. This social behavior is key to their national identity with Spanish diners often talking into the early hours of the morning. The key thing here is family time.

‘Tech Sabbaths’ are being advocated by the Jewish faith and more, where all screens and tech are put away for 24 hours a week. The Japanese have an expression that translates to “too little tea,” referring to someone too busy to stop and drink a cup of tea now and then. In Croatia, they have a word — “fjaka” — which refers to the joy of doing absolutely nothing.

Some things you can do to embrace these qualities is setting some time aside to have a hot drink in the evening, without your phone or a screen. Just take 10 to 20 minutes to sit and enjoy your drink.

Candles and open fires, these foster a sense of relaxation. If you work at a computer all day, read a book in the evening. Staring at screens isn’t good for our health.

See Also: How Your Home Affects Your Mood (And What To Do About It)

How To Make Your House a Home

to switch off from work

What you do in your downtime is one thing, but the settings you do it in is another. Here’s how you can make your house feel like more of a retreat:

  • Personalize – Make your house feel like a space that’s catered to you. Lots of modern design trends have created these minimal spaces that don’t have an identity, like your home has been copied and pasted from Pinterest. Put your stamp on your space with treasured pictures, memories, and things that reflect your values and your personality. It gives more a sense of ownership and strengthens your sense of personal identity. Being in touch with yourself can improve your mental health.
  • Declutter – Organizing our homes is one of the most tangible steps you can take to decluttering your mind. It’s so easy to put off but every time we do it, we feel so much better. The Marie Kondo effect has seen people embrace a decluttered life. Let go of things you don’t need. Let go of things that serve your home no purpose. This brand of minimalism isn’t about living by your bootstraps, but only bringing things into your home that add value to your life.
  • Snuggle – Make your home a retreat. Comfort is key to this. Get candles and warm lighting to create ambiance. Pillows, blankets, slippers and warm, comfy clothes to wear create this stark difference to the office that we mentioned earlier. You want work to feel like the furthest place in the world when you get home. This helps you to switch off and reclaim some work-life balance.

See Also: 5 Features to Achieve a Peaceful Home

These are just some things you can do to reclaim your time and add value to it. This isn’t about shying away from duties and work. This isn’t about rejecting the working world, either. This is how to switch off from work so you can make yourself a better and more valuable worker.

A happy employee is a productive employee. Taking yourself as far away from the working world as possible, outside of office hours, is a way of making yourself more productive, more personable, and more satisfied during office hours.

The post How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Identify A Narcissist At Work: Nailing Down The Key Factors

Crossing paths with a narcissist is not rare. In the USA alone, 6% of the general population has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That is not a small number. Now apply the same number to the estimated population of the world and you have 450,000,000 people having the disorder.

So, tell me, how common would it be to encounter a narcissistic coworker? Quite common, no?

Dealing with a narcissistic individual at work can be mentally taxing. It will begin to take a toll on you alone since the mental condition of the narcissist will never waver.

However, knowing who the narcissist is at your workplace involves a lot more than your gut feeling and the uneasiness you feel when being around them. Since identifying a narcissistic coworker can be a real ordeal, here are some signs you can look out for.

They are control freaks

Pathological narcissists crave control. They would never let go of a situation where their ‘leadership’ tendencies are compromised. Such individuals are prone to controlling and leading operations, especially when they know they will be in the spotlight.

And no, it is not always your manager. Hunting for a narcissist using this trait can be confusing. However, know that there is a difference between leading and dominating. Once you know how to differentiate between the two, you will know who is a narcissist and who isn’t.

They love to blame

the narcissistic coworker

They are never wrong. When narcissists are called out for their noxious attitude, they tend to shift the blame to the offending party.

To them, life works like the UNO reverse card. Whenever they are stuck facing a situation where they have to face criticism, they start playing the blame game. They would come up with the most ridiculous of excuses to prove they aren’t wrong.

If a co-worker gives them negative feedback or criticizes them, they believe they are entitled to lash out and blame them for feedback, not themselves. That’s because they can never be held accountable for their actions.

Toxicity surrounds them

Passing judgmental remarks, throwing tantrums, and ridiculing others in the workplace — for what? Only to hide their measly self-conscious selves. But they don’t showcase what lies at their core.

They indulge in criticism and personal attacks to hide their own insecurities. It only creates a toxic environment for the entire workplace.

If you see a narcissistic co-worker trying to put you down and shoving their ego in your face, you should not give in but stand strong against their toxic nature. The moment you give in to their emotional attacks and threats, you will forever stay a victim of their abuse.

See Also: 5 Really Useful Tips For Dealing With Toxic Bosses At Work

They exploit and take advantage of you

It is common for a child to toss away the toys he gets bored of. But for a grown-up working in a prestige organization to do the same? How would it feel?

Well, narcissists will only approach and befriend you if they seek some sort of benefit from you. Soon, they will set you aside or just walk over your good deeds. They only ask for help because they have an ulterior motive.

Once you are of no use to them, you will be treated like a nobody despite your help and care for them. Narcissists never feel guilty to behave as they do and there is no possibility for them to feel bad about it.

The world revolves around them

a narcissistic coworker

It’s all about them. The pleasure of narcissistic people lie in their need to enjoy talking only about themselves. That satiates their narcissistic tendencies. Your opinions and contribution at work won’t matter.

Bombarding others with their achievements and disregarding what others have to share is a common trait as well. If you think your coworker is not giving you enough space and suffocates you during meetings, then you are likely working with a narcissistic coworker.

When they feel someone is more vocal and interesting than they are, they will sever ties immediately. Only they are meant to be in the spotlight and nobody else matters.

Do these red flags ring a bell and seem a lot similar to your situation at work? Now that you are well aware of their narcissistic traits, you will know how to ignore them and pave a separate path. Always remember, never feed a narcissist’s ego.

The post How To Identify A Narcissist At Work: Nailing Down The Key Factors appeared first on Dumb Little Man.