Hustle to Earn: How to Start Making Money as a Freelancer

Hustle to Earn: How to Start Making Money as a Freelancer

A lot of people ask Google the same question over and over again: how to make money as a freelancer?

Well, there is no general rule that applies to making money as a freelancer, nor is there a formula that you can follow and succeed.

One thing is certain, though everyone who has knowledge in doing something and has the skills to use the Internet and freelancing platforms can make money.

How much you make really depends on how well you adapt to the whole process of freelancing and how well you do what you do.

The first thing you need to do is change the way you think; making money while freelancing may seem distant and impossible but, if you start looking at your knowledge and skills as valuable resources not everyone has, you will soon realize that there are people out there willing to pay for your services.

The Good and the Bad

All of this sounds really nice, doesn’t it? But, it is not as easy as it seems (making money never is) and you will have to put in a lot of work if you want to start making some serious money that can have an impact on your budget. The good news is that there are many freelancing platforms out there on which you can create your profiles and apply for jobs free of charge.

Most popular freelancing platforms such as UpWork offer you great possibilities to find clients, offer services and start earning money online right away, even if you are a beginner. You can easily find projects you want to work on and start collaborating with clients, always showcasing your skills in the best possible light to make sure you impress them with your work. By managing to do that, you can start making money in no time.

Suddenly, all the complications you had in mind before will disappear and you will find yourself out there on the market, trying to get a piece of the cake.

The bad news is that you are not the only person in the world that came up with the idea of working as a freelancer. Freelance platforms are highly competitive markets that are overwhelmed with workers and there is a slim chance that you have unique skills that somebody else doesn’t have already.

If you do things randomly and without a properly organized plan, you will be swallowed by the competition and it will be fairly difficult to find someone who will hire you to do a job. Still, don’t let these bad sides of freelancing discourage you; it’s an undeniable fact that you will have to make an effort in order to earn money freelancing, as with any other job, and here is how you can do it.

Research Your Competition

Before you even start applying for jobs, you will have to find out what you’re getting into. No matter what jobs you intend to target and what skills and expertise you have, you will not be the only one, and there are probably many successful people who have been doing the same thing for a while.

This is why you will have to learn from them and find out what the strategies of your successful and influential competitors are, that is, how exactly they manage to stand out from the crowd and how you can prepare to beat them.

  • When applying for a job, make sure that you don’t ask for high fees. Since you are a beginner, nobody actually knows how good you are in your field of work, which is exactly why they won’t feel the need to pay you a considerable amount of money.
  • Approach all interactions and proposals with simple, plain English that everyone can understand, as a lot of people, are not native English speakers and they don’t speak the language fluently. Therefore, make sure you follow this rule and avoid any potential language barrier.
  • Finish all the jobs you get on time. This is of paramount importance since the satisfaction of each and every one of your clients should be your primary concern because, if you manage to impress them, your work will be rewarded, not to mention that you will get better feedback, which is excellent for your portfolio.

Send Personalized Proposals

There are many people who send pre-written proposals that show a lack of interest. These people are usually spammers who look to send as many proposals as possible, without even reading what the projects are about or even thinking about them for a moment.

Make sure that you read all of the job offerings that you’re interested in and send a personalized message explaining your skills, your approach and what you think about the project, as well as providing the reason why you are the right person for the job.

For a beginner, this is basically all you need to know. Over time, you will learn more about how freelance platforms work and how people on them behave. For now, all you need to do is stick to these simple rules, apply for low-paying jobs in the beginning in order to make a name for yourself and remember to always be persistent.

After a while of practicing your skills, start aiming for better jobs to get more people to know about our expertise and you will most certainly start earning money around the clock.


From Site to Success: 3 Creative Ways to Increase Conversions and Customer Value

From Site to Success: 3 Creative Ways to Increase Conversions and Customer Value

Increasing conversions and locking in more lead data and paying customers is simply one of the best ways to improve your bottom line.

Landing pages and call to actions with your site content are two of the best ways to accomplish this.

While the concept of landing pages and call to actions are nothing new, how they are built, tracked and used to engage with an audience is always a changing process.

In this article, we are going to take a look at three creative ways businesses and brands are using landing pages and call-to-actions to improve conversions and lead generation.

It’s one thing to read about actionable tips, and it’s another to see them in motion. To make this article even more effective, we’ve provided real life examples of each.

1. Live Support Chat Windows

Have you ever been to a website or landing page and had a support window popup in the bottom corner? If you have, it no doubt got your attention. These little popup windows are a great way to engage with your audience and allow them to ask any questions they might have. This type of engagement is perfect for any site or landing page that ultimately leads to a much larger sale or recurring customers.

You can see a live example of support chat windows in action on this house cleaning company website. After being on the site for a few seconds, you will soon see the popup ask if you need any help or have questions. Most live support chat services will not only provide the solution, but they will provide customer data and transcripts of all previous engagements as well.

King of Maids homepage screen shot

2. Heatmaps and User Recordings

If you really want to increase conversions on your landing page, you need to know what visitors are doing when they get to your site. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of heatmaps and visitor recordings.

Heatmaps will allow you to see where users are clicking their mouse cursor on your site and user recordings will actually record a playable video of a user’s screen while they are navigating through your site. Click and lead stats are great, but to truly understand how your audience is using your site, heatmaps and user recordings are the required.

You can see a real screenshot of heatmaps in action through the image below. This case study was done to show how banner blindness affects advertising on various different sites. Heatmaps and user recordings would be ideal on landing pages to see what distractions take place that might be making the user leave the site and not complete the ultimate call to action.

Example of how heatmaps work on nngroup website.

3. Last Chance Popup Windows

Two of the best chances you have for making an immediate impact on a user when they access your site or landing page, is right when they visit and when they are about to leave. These are two key times you should be using to your advantage. A great way to accomplish this is through popup windows and screen takers, which can both be setup for when someone first gets to your site or landing page, or when they are about to leave.

BloggingTips has an excellent case study on various sites using this same technology and how they are using it to greatly improve their email signups and coupon promotions for their company. Right when a user visits the site or is about the leave, a screen takeover like the one below might appear, giving one more opportunity to the site owner to capture a lead from their site visitor.

Screen shot of homepage for ProBlogger.net

Increasing Conversions Is All About Split Testing

No matter what type of methods you are using to collect data from your audience on landing pages and websites, it’s all about testing new methods and comparing the results.

Support chat windows are a great way to reel in high-paying customers that might be indecisive about making a big purchase while pop-unders and takeover screens are a great way to make a quick introduction. Heatmaps and user recordings should be used in all cases, as they will ultimately lead the site owner or marketer know how people are using your sites.

Try each of these methods with your own landing pages and sites to see which might work best for you and your audience.


The Amazon Effect: How You Can Keep Up With the Beast

The Amazon Effect: How You Can Keep Up With the Beast

Amazon has announced it will open more brick-and-mortar stores soon.

The E-commerce giant is growing, and it is rapidly expanding into new territory.

How will businesses keep up?

By looking at proven approaches, businesses can keep up with the ever-changing retail market.

Changing Strategy

Although Amazon is steadily rising and on top of the charts, it continually changes and stays on top of the trends.

Jeff Bezos first started Amazon in the Internet revolution, about three years after it was made publically available and has been gaining traction ever since. Now Amazon is a trendsetter in the E-commerce market and retail market as a whole and is at 100+ billion dollars annually.


Amazon has evolved to include multiple facets, such as:

  • Amazon Kindle: An e-reader which connects to Amazon’s Kindle Store for downloading and/or purchasing ebooks and more.
  • Amazon Alexa: Amazon Alexa is a voice-activated platform which allows users to ask a question, play music or listen to audio, and carries other multiple and useful functions.
  • Amazon Echo: A wireless speaker and voice command device. This compares to Siri, but can be used in spaces such as offices and homes on a speaker device powered by Amazon Alexa.

Similarly, alongside its U.S. website, Amazon has expanded to separate retail websites for over several countries, which has expanded the user-base for those countries allowing convenient access to Amazon services to people internationally.

Also now available is AmazonFresh which allows select areas to order online not only fresh produce but multiple other products found at supermarkets; saving time. Trying strategies in different niches such as this can kick start new cash flow.

Create Goals

Amazon’s founder chose the name Amazon due to the definition meaning “exotic and different,” he planned his store to be just this and along with it, the “biggest store in the world,” just like how the Amazon (River) was the biggest river in the world. Within three years, Amazon became a publicly traded company and was well on its way to becoming the world’s largest retailer.

Take the Right Risks

Although the founder of Amazon was the youngest Senior Vice President at his Wall Street investment company; he took a risk. Seeing that web usage grew by 2,300 percent in 1994, Jeff Bezos went full-time into opening his business, soon to become the giant today known as Amazon. Taking risks in opportune moments are the best tell-tale signs of success in endeavors.


To grow a company, acquiring another company can not only boost sales but also create more opportunity. In 2013, Amazon’s founder purchased The Washington Post for 250 million dollars. Likewise, Amazon owns more than a dozen companies such as Alexa.com, a big-data site which collects information on Internet user’s browsing habits and gives analytics based on their usage as well as site rankings.

Another site which is known as IMBD.com, is one of the biggest movie sites, and since acquisition to Amazon, includes services to purchase DVDs and Blue-ray discs through Amazon directly, which is a great way to generate sales.

Invest for the Future

Amazon continually reinvests its earnings back into the company. Regularly doing so has increased company margins especially with the increase of new fulfillment centers for quicker shipping all across the U.S.

Also, services like Amazon Prime with a loyal user base of 50+ million and Amazon Kindle are growing on a regular basis both of which have required much investment to implement. Making sure to invest in your company can assist in growing and advancing it in the future.


New to the scene is Prime Air which has been long awaited. This will give buyers the ability to get an order within 30 minutes or less of a purchase. As stated on Amazon.com, “It looks like science fiction, but it’s real. One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.” Developing such technology has given Amazon a big push over its competitors.

With an expected record-breaking trajectory by 2026, Amazon will be increasing to possibly the trillion-dollar level in revenue as experts are predicting. Being a company which meets consumer’s needs and of which provides a way for businesses and individuals to sell products easily and conveniently as well, has kept Amazon growing and expanding.

Adding new and updated features has constantly kept consumers returning. Businesses who follow this model can consistently have an easier time keeping up.


Better Than Coffee: 14 Podcasts That Will Inspire Your Mornings

Better Than Coffee: 14 Podcasts That Will Inspire Your Mornings

Even these 14 successful entrepreneurs from YEC need help to stay motivated day after day.

To recharge their innovative spark, they turn to these podcasts about business and life.

Coming from prestigious publications and the leading minds in business, these podcasts discuss everything from current events to business strategies and stories about testing your limits. Some have even inspired the entrepreneurs below to start their own series.

1. Masters in Business

One of my favorite business podcasts is Barry Ritholtz’s Masters in Business on Bloomberg. It’s somewhat industry specific, but his roster of guests is outstanding. Every week, he sits down with one of the titans of the financial industry and has a thoughtful, entertaining, “Marc Maron WTF”-style discussion about how they got to where they are and what influenced them along the way. – Dusty Wunderlich, Bristlecone Holdings

2. The Rich Roll Podcast

The only way to get better is to experience pain, get uncomfortable, and to go to places you don’t want to go and improve. In The Rich Roll Podcast, bestselling author and ultra-endurance athlete, Rich Roll, discusses all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward-thinking minds. This podcast is beneficial for anyone seeking self-empowerment to become your best, most authentic self. – Anthony Pezzotti, Knowzo.com

3. Entrepreneur.com’s Ready For Anything Podcast

I was recently on Entrepreneur.com’s Ready For Anything Podcast hosted by Linda Lacina, and it was awesome. It has engaging discussions with great guests, and it also gave me ideas for my own company’s podcast, Content Sutra. – Shane Snow, Contently

4. Past Present

The Past Present podcast features current events discussed by historians. It’s a unique way to keep up with hot cultural topics, but also challenges your thinking with sharp intellectual discourse. Plus, it’s loaded with history tidbits — great for cocktail conversation! Past Present invigorates my thinking, stimulates my creativity, and gives me great conversation starters for the next networking event! – Erica Easley, Gumball Poodle

5. All Business With Jeffrey Hayzlett

The insight and “no holds barred” approach you get with Jeffrey Hayzlett’s All Business podcast is unparalleled. He interviews some of the top minds in business. It’s real talk with real business leaders. In addition, by featuring a range of disciplines, you get to tap into a vast array of experience executed in different industries, which rounds out your own knowledge base. – Jaycen Thorgeirson, UviaUs

6. 500 Startup Founders

Two words about this podcast: concise and relevant. It aims mainly at those of us who interested in scaling our businesses in a slow and sustainable manner. What makes this podcast different is that each stream has a run-time of 20+ minutes. When you’re commuting somewhere, you’re barely on the move for longer than 30 minutes, so I like that the podcasts are in bite size chunks. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja

7. Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

I like Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast. They bring in divergent thinkers in business (and outside of business) who provide interesting perspectives about their unique path to success. I love hearing insights from a variety of accomplished people, and Stanford really does a great job at curating the best people with the best thinking. – Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot

8. Mixergy

Mixergy is my sugar candy for encouragement as an entrepreneur. Andrew Warner’s take listeners through his guests’ journey while sharing business strategies along the way. I’ve discovered many things that have helped me to grow my business. After I was a guest on his show, I was inspired to start my own daily podcast, “Facebook Sales Strategies,” and we are now on episode 180+.– Kim Walsh-Phillips, Elite Digital Group

9. Online Marketing Made Easy

Amy Porterfield’s podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, is bursting with value and actionable advice. Each episode is a full training session with resources and often a download. It’s a must-listen for entrepreneurs, especially those with online businesses. – Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

10. Roderick on the Line

While Roderick on the Line isn’t directly business-related, it can teach you a lot about growing as a person. Each episode is mostly comprised of roaming anecdotes about life, drug addiction, alcoholism and more. Ultimately, it’s about being a functional, respectful, and thoughtful adult. Being a better business owner will be a by-product of being a better human. This will (weirdly) help. – Matt Alexander, Need

11. The Foundr Magazine Podcast

The Foundr Magazine Podcast is my go-to podcast for business inspiration. It includes insights from some of the most successful and hard-to-reach entrepreneurs today. Nathan Chan, its Editor-in-Chief and publisher, offers ideas for how business owners can build sustainable, personable companies. Did I mention that it’s free? – Clayton Dean, Circa Interactive

12. Business, Life, and Coffee

I regularly enjoy Business, Life, and Coffee with Joey Price. That podcast takes an open discussion approach to unique perspectives on building and managing businesses by hearing it first hand from successful entrepreneurs. It allows the focus to shift to the strength of the entrepreneur being interviewed, and you really get value from that individual. – Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

13. This Is Your Life

All business owners are leaders, and I feel that most of us don’t seek enough leadership development. I started listening to Michael Hyatt’s “This Is Your Life” podcast several months ago. So many of his thoughts on leadership are incredibly relevant to small business leaders such as myself. Give him a listen, and let me know what you think. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online

14. Entrepreneur on Fire

Entrepreneur on Fire is a great podcast for entrepreneurs and business owners. It interviews successful business owners and asks them very direct questions about personal and business growth. It’s great to hear the growth experiences firsthand. – Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics


Building the Future: 8 Tools to Foster Entrepreneurial Skills in Students

Building the Future: 8 Tools to Foster Entrepreneurial Skills in Students

Do you think any of your students are going to be the next Arianna Huffington or Steve Jobs?

That’s ultimately up to them to determine, but there are ways that you can foster an entrepreneurial attitude.

Introducing students to tools that will foster their creativity, critical thinking, and money management will help get them into an entrepreneurial frame of mind.

There are a number of different tools out there that you could use to foster entrepreneurial skills in students. I’ve assembled eight of the most interesting ones for you today.

1. Prezi

Students make countless presentations, so why not make it more interesting? Prezi is like PowerPoint’s cooler, younger cousin. Prezi allows for such creative flexibility as a path tool that allows you to structure linear presentations that move around the screen and zoom in and out on specific elements.

They’re much more entertaining to watch and require more creative planning. A tool like Prezi shows students a nontraditional way to write a presentation, a very useful skill for grabbing an audience’s attention. Prezi Collaborate also allows up to ten people to co-edit one presentation, great for group work.

Prezi homepage screenshot

2. Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a tool that enables students to create in-class questionnaires and quizzes. The tool is compatible with a number of devices and utilizes a game-like atmosphere. Students can learn to gather feedback and analyze data; skills that will come in handy for market research, customer feedback, user experiences, and many other metrics.

Kahoot! homepage screen shot

3. Cold Turkey

There is a good chance students won’t be the biggest fans of this one, but it’s for their own good. The cleverly named Cold Turkey is a tool that allows you to block applications, websites, or the entire Internet in order to keep you focused. Because let’s face it, most of us need help focusing.

I have 14 tabs open in my browser right now. Learning to train your focus and crunch down on a project is an extremely useful skill that I’m still learning.

Cold Turkey homepage screen shot

4. Bite Club

OK, this is a game with a premise that is weird, hilarious and engaging. It also teaches students about running a business. Basically, in the game you’ve graduated from Vampire University with $20k in loans, with an added $4k credit bills. You now own and run a “day club” for vampires and are in charge of managing staffing, sales and finances.

This game takes you through 45 years of long-term savings. The club setting and serving of blood to patrons may make the game inappropriate for young students, but high school students should get a kick out of it. Bite Club homepage screen shot

5. Venngage

Venngage is an infographic software with a library of pre-made templates. Many educators have introduced infographics into their classrooms because of the opportunity for cross-subject skill building.

According to the 2008 Cisco Report, multimodal learning methods that are learning methods that use both visual and textual teaching styles increased students’ retention of both basic skills (such as learning chemical symbols, individual learning through reading) and higher order skills (critical thinking and problem solving).

Having students work on infographic will engage not only both their visual and textual skills but also their data visualization skills. These cross-subject skills are critical for small business owners, who often need to wear different hats.

Venngage homepage screen shot

6. Skype

Skype may be old news, but using it in the classroom will introduce students to the nuance of communicating via video chat. Skype is also a great tool for inviting guest speakers from around the world, introducing students to a wider scope of connections. Odds are your students have already used video chat on more than one occasion, so why not introduce it to the classroom setting?

Skype homepage screenshot

7. Pinterest

There’s a stereotype that Pinterest is for girls, but let’s just toss that idea out the window, alright? After all, a study conducted by Lise Eliot at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science shows that children, male and female, only realize that they should be playing with “boys’” or “girls’” toys after they’re three years old. So let’s try to unlearn that and focus on how awesome a tool Pinterest is for finding inspiration, information, infographics and more. It’s also a great way for students to share their work with others.

Pinterest homepage screen shot

8. Unstuck

Sometimes we all need a little help. And students can really end up feeling the pressure. Unstuck is an app that will help you out with you’re stuck with a problem.

It asks you questions about your problem and then categorizes the kind of “stuck” you are and provides ideas for overcoming the problem. It won’t solve all of your problems but it will give you a little nudge in the right direction, and that can be a valuable lesson in tackling problems one small step at a time.

Unstuck homepage screenshot

Ask Students What Tools They Use

I’m a relatively young person and I still fall behind on the latest apps my younger siblings use. I think it’s worth it to ask students what tools they use on a regular basis and to look for ways to incorporate those into your classroom activities. After all, that’s how you encourage innovation, by identifying gaps where new technology and approaches can be used to achieve even greater results. That’s at the heart of entrepreneurship.



Trouble With Business Credit? 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Score

Trouble With Business Credit? 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Score

Building your business credit can be a lot more challenging than building your personal credit, as if that wasn’t already hard enough.

Having a good credit profile for your business isn’t just about keeping its finances in order.

Not only does it help you qualify for a business loan, it plays an important role in building your overall credibility since its available to the public online.

That means potential customers, investors and partners can check your business’s financial standing.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a finance whiz to build good credit; it’s just a matter of taking a few simple steps that improve your business credit over time.

The successful entrepreneurs below from YEC share the 10 tips that keep their finances in good graces.

1. Pay On Time, Every Time

With your existing business credit, even if that’s just one credit card, make sure you pay on time, if not early, every month. This shows you are responsible with credit and stay on top of your obligations. – Angela Ruth, e-Cash

2. Correct Inaccurate Data Reports

Order a business credit report and carefully review the data. Experian, Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet, the three major business credit bureaus, all claim to carefully vet their information in their reports, but sometimes their data is incorrect. It’s up to you to correct the mistakes on your company’s credit report by contacting the bureaus and providing evidence disproving their information. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

3. Automate Your Payments

To build up your business credit, you need to make timely payments. Take away the stress of remembering when bills are due by automating as many payments as possible. Also, try to set up payments to directly bill your credit card. That way, you can review one statement at the end of the month instead of several smaller bills. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

4. Limit New Accounts, and Don’t Close Old Ones

We often get pulled in by the big signing bonuses of corporate credit cards, but opening new accounts does have a small but noticeable effect on your creditscore.

Even worse can be getting a hard pull on your credit without getting approved for the card. The other is to keep your unused accounts open. If there is an annual fee on those cards, close newer cards rather than the older ones. – Fan Bi, Blank Label

5. Use Credit as Debit

Use your business credit cards as debit cards. Pay as many of your expenses as possible using credit cards or lines of credits, then, at the end of the month, take the balance back to zero. Don’t allow the debt to grow; pay everything off on a monthly basis to show responsibility and repayment capacity. – Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

6. Ask for a Raise

Credit utilization, the percent of credit used out of total credit available, is a major factor in your credit score. When paying down debt isn’t an option, sometimes increasing your total credit can be. Rather than adding more accounts, ask for increases in credit lines, credit cards and other debt-financing products. – Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

7. Reduce Your Perceived Risk

You simply need to show that you’re a safe bet for lenders. The most important part of this is to pay on time. If you have a pending payment, make it on time or early. If you can’t pay, contact your lender and talk about your options. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand. Most lenders will work with you to establish a reasonable schedule. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting

8. Arbitrage for Airline Miles and Cash Back

One of the keys to building stronger business credit is to leverage your credit cards to generate airline miles and cash back. You should look for every opportunity to pay with your perks-based credit card over using cash or check. For instance, the American Express Plum Card offers 1.5 percent cash back with no cap. The more you use the card, the more you’ll earn and your credit will improve over time. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

9. Don’t Carry Debt

If you have any debt, make sure to pay it off. Whether it’s your personal finances or your business finances, carrying any kind of debt will make it hard to improve your credit, and before long, you could find yourself in a situation in which you’re unable to keep up with payments. If you aren’t terribly organized, either get in the habit of paying early or paying the moment you spend. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

10. Personally Guarantee the Debt if You Have Good Credit

Let’s face it, startups are unknowns to lenders. But, chances are, you’ve been building credit as an individual long before you started your company. Start small with unsecured credit lines with a bank you personally do business with, and personally guarantee it. When they see diligent and timely payment behavior, they will increase the lines automatically.


Content Connects: How Top Brands are Using Blogs to Grow Their Customer Base

Content Connects: How Top Brands are Using Blogs to Grow Their Customer Base

Starting a blog or adding it to an existing website has quickly become one of the most effective ways to improve search rankings, outreach and increase visitors or customers coming through your site.

While it’s extremely easy to setup a blog, if you don’t know what type od content to create or how to market it, you might as well not even have one in the first place.

In this article, we are going to provide you with some real life examples of how brands and businesses are using blogs to increase their customer engagement, outreach and conversions.

At the same time, you’ll also gain a better understanding of how to come up with creative and valuable content for your audiences.

Creating Valuable Content in a Niche Focused Business

One of the biggest problems many brands and businesses have when it comes to creating a blog for their sites is coming up with content ideas. Many brands might think their business model is too generic or are simply at a loss for how to create content for their sites.

A perfect example of how this can be done can be seen at induron.com, which is a supplier of protective coating materials. While at first you might think the product is quite generic and that you may be limited on the amount of content you could possibly come up with.

However, all you need to do is take a look at their blog to see how they are providing valuable content for their audiences.

I’ve listed a few example of blog post titles and concepts from their site below.

  • From the Other Side of the Desk – An article focused on how individuals can come in become part of the company sales team.
  • AquaClean: The Chemistry Behind the Product – Content created to provide the story behind individual products and why they were created.
  • How Induron is like the National Champions in College Basketball – A unique article that relates the company with basketball, which brings in a whole new audience and focus to the site.

These are just a few examples of how literally any brand or product can use a blog to both promote the business, spread awareness and also use other common interests to reach new audiences.

Providing Guidance, Tutorials, and Resources Through Blog Content

For most brands and businesses online, it’s all about increasing sales and bringing in new customers. A great way to accomplish this is by creating original tutorials, guides, and resources for your audience. The benefit here is that not only will your content be helpful to your existing audience, but it can also rank in the search results for multiple keywords and reach new audiences.

By creating valuable content and getting it to rank in the search results, this allows you to reel in new potential customers by getting them to read your resources and guides, getting them to trust your site, then ultimately signing up as a new customer.

For this next example, let’s use infographicdesignteam.com, a site that builds custom infographics and ad copy images. Like many other sites, IDT is using their blog to create content to reach new a audience, but also provide value to their existing audiences as well.

Here are a few examples of the type of content you will find on their blog.

  • Why Infographics Are Popular among Youngsters – This article not only provides value to businesses or brands looking to reach a younger audience, it also shows them how to use infographics (IDT’s main service) to market to these audiences effectively.
  • Top Six Tips to create “About Us” page – Not every piece of content on a blog needs to be focused on sales or the site business. This type of article is of pure value, and while it might not be pushing sales or products, it will reach new audiences who may ultimately come back and purchase their design services.

Something else you might notice about the InfographicDesignTeam site and blog is that they both follow the same site design. The benefit here is that even if the content isn’t created with the sole focus of lead generation or bringing in new sales, all site visitors are aware of the site they are on and the option to request a “free quote” is available at the top of all pages.

How to Create Blog Content That’s Ideal for Your Business

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, blogging is one of the most effective ways to grow your reach and branding online as long as you know how to create content that’s right for your audience.

Through each of the examples above you should now have a better understanding of how to create content for your audiences. If you are still having struggles, be sure to answer the questions below, as it should help put you in the right mindset for blog content to find your audience’s needs.

  • Do you offer a product or service that can be better described through a blog?
  • Before making a purchase, what is your audience searching for online? (and how can you provide it to them)
  • Are there specific audiences that best fit into your target demographic? If so, what could you write about to reach them? (ie: Using hobbies and interests within your content)
  • Why are you creating a blog in the first place? Make sure all of your content relates to your end goal.

No matter what type of brand or business you currently have, it can definitely benefit from a blog. The good news is that there are plenty of tools and resources to help you along the way.

Take some time to come up with creative ideas for new content on your site and also take a look at what your closest competitors are doing online, there’s a good chance they might already have a blog on their own site.


What to do About Those Pesky Millennial Job Requirements

What to do About Those Pesky Millennial Job Requirements

My guest on a recent episode of “The Curated Experience,” a weekly podcast to explore customer experience topics, was Darren Ford.

Darren is the CEO of ProCulture Consulting and author of “The Millennial Challenge,” a book designed to help managers connect with younger talent in their business organizations and unleash its potential.

Before you think this is another think-piece about Millennials, I promise there’s a reason for it.

That’s because when we talk about Millennials, we invariably talk about what differentiates them from other workers, what motivates them, what kind of culture they thrive in.

So when we talk about Millennials, ultimately what we’re trying to understand is personality and what that means in the workforce.

More important, we need to know what that means for customer service.


Flexibility is one of the defining characteristics that Darren talks about, and that can be a real challenge in the call center, or for that matter, in other operational spheres, whether they’re customer-facing or not. Call center managers know to tell how complicated it can be to afford flexibility to potential hires, and clients who tell me about difficulties with attrition and turnover blame the Millennial problem child.

The thing is, I wonder if that’s true. Apart from the fact that they’re digital natives, younger workers are just like their counterparts in the workforce, even if they have a stronger expression of the same traits.

Millennials are shaped by the connectivity that mobile technology made possible, and they may have led the way with a cultural expectation of immediacy and fluidity in business, but by and large, their elders have adopted the same technologies and navigate them with the same idea of personalized experience.

If the differences based on technology now are diminished, so are some of the differences based on that lack of flexibility. Changes in the call center depend on technology too, and they’ve helped to deliver new models for self-scheduling or remote work shifts.


For example, according to one 2014 study, two-thirds of firms with cloud-based operations had the capacity to have employees work from home, even if almost half (46 percent) of all call centers surveyed didn’t actually have any workers who really do. But those numbers about shifts are already shifting, and fast. As for good or bad, remote work is taking off.

Consider the millions of young people in this election year who, on behalf of their chosen candidates, are logging into that “virtual call center” from wherever they are and phone-banking all over the world! If that’s their experience as volunteers who are passionate about something, their next question is going to be why they can’t do the same thing at work. It’s a good question. Managers need good answers too.

Further, the fact that some employees are Millennials may simply mask the reason for why a client has an attrition problem that’s cutting into margins. Let’s look at flexibility and the problems of commuters. IBM Kenexa, which provides talent analytics to help make hiring decisions and tests millions of potential hires each year, finds that commute time is a critical retention factor for call-center and fast-food jobs.

That’s not a “Millennial problem.” It’s a problem for single mothers juggling day care schedules, older workers working two jobs and trying to route them efficiently, or teens in their first high-school job. What Millennials may be doing, as a function of their visibility, their demographic heft, and their vocal nature, is making call center managers and other employers see their staffing challenges in a new way.

Millennials aren’t the only ones who expect flexibility when they’re on the operations site either. It’s hard to make a case for the fact that a semi-retired grandmother can’t decide when she needs to take a restroom break for herself, or that a proud 40-something father can’t swap shifts to attend his child’s graduation. You may want to roll your eyes about Millennial entitlement, but the reality is that they’re already asking about a better workplace for elder counterparts who want the same in their own lives.

Here’s another thing for call center managers to think about: Flexibility isn’t always measured by what is tangible. It doesn’t end with the new initiative for employee self-scheduling, or the new break-time policy that lets people head to the patio or cafeteria at the same time and develop some camaraderie, although the latter is important for Millennials who care about culture, just as your other workers do.

That flexibility also is measured in the way managers interact with their employees, and in the way, their concerns are heard rather than dismissed. It’s true that call center operations run on a lot of one-size-fits-all scripts and protocols, and there are reasons for why that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is a culture so rigid that your employees themselves feel like interchangeable, faceless units of production.

If managers are wringing their hands about how to deal with those pesky Millennial expectations about being unique individuals, whose procedure questions are important and whose process observations matter, and who, of all things, want there to be some meaning and purpose in their work experience?

It’s time that the same managers admit the obvious: That’s been true of all of their employees, all this time. What’s different about Millennials, and in this respect, it may be the only thing different about Millennials, no matter how exotic we’ve made the breed, is that this time, you’re paying attention to it.


No, Millennials are not creating a whole new world, and if we were smarter about it, maybe we’d wish they would. But they are transforming that same old world, and in the call center, that means an opportunity to take a fresh look at the people who deliver the customer experience that ultimately is what you’ve invested in, and why they’re there.

So as call center professionals, maybe the smartest thing to do about your “Millennial problem” is also the first thing you should do: thank them.


5 Signs of a Bad Manager

Think you have a bad manager hovering over your shoulder? Or—worse—do you suspect that you might not be the best manager you could be? The reality is that no manager is perfect, and it’s a skill that will take a lifetime of practice in order to get better. In some cases, a bad or good manager is subjective, but in other cases it’s pretty clear when a leader isn’t up to par.

Here are some of the biggest signs that you or your boss might need some major improvement. It’s never too late to get better at management—unless of course those poor skills have already tanked the company.

Take the action action that needs to happen, whether it’s you who needs an overhaul or you need to start looking for another job with a better leader at the helm:

1. Micromanaging is the go-to approachMicromanagement

Nothing kills a business and employees’ spirit like micromanaging, but sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. Many people think they’re genuinely “helping” or that nobody else can do the job quite as well as them. If you spot this in yourself, it’s kind of like being an addict—you probably won’t get better on your own.

2. They embrace “do as I say, not as I do”

A great manager leads by example, so if they’re always late, don’t follow the dress code, aren’t sure where the team is on a project or otherwise drops the ball on the regular, watch out. There will of course be times when even great managers slip up, but if this is the MO of a manager, then their heart isn’t in it. And if theirs isn’t, why should anyone else’s be?

3. They’re not qualified

Whether it was nepotism that put them in this role or the hiring manager had a crush on them during interviews, not all managers deserve their position—yet. If you think that’s you, then it’s time to buckle down and earn that spot no matter how you got it.

Of course, this is assuming that you think it’s a feasible goal. If it seems too challenging or you’re in over your head, it might be better for everyone if you sought a transfer to another position lower down the totem pole while you hone your skills.

4. They’re a meeting addict

There are many ways to foster a successful company, but being addicted to meetings just for the sake of it isn’t one of them. Meetings are often big time wasters, they can be expensive and time consuming to pull off, and some people always tend to hog these precious minutes (or even hours). It’s a sign of poor time management and a symptom of a manager who’s using fluff to make it seem like something important is happening.

5. They don’t treat everyone fairly or equally

Whether it’s rampant racism or sexism, or simply the fact that the manager seems to have a “pet,” this is one of the toughest management issues to deal with. If it’s clear to you that a manager doesn’t see everyone as equals, it’s probably obvious to everyone else. This destroys company morale, makes the manager look unprofessional and will slowly poison the company. If you spot this tendency in yourself, it’s time to consider how to handle it.

There are many ways to become a better manager, but fixing what you’re not doing well can go a long way.


Pack Your Bags: 10 Great Startup Cities That Aren’t San Francisco

Pack Your Bags: 10 Great Startup Cities That Aren’t San Francisco

When most people think of startup cities, Silicon Valley and San Francisco come to mind.

And sure, they’re home to many great engineers, tools and advisors that can help your startup along the way, but San Francisco is far from the only hub where entrepreneurs can go to succeed.

Here are 10 other cities around the world that are helping drive startup growth:

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv has quickly become a great resource for tech startups in particular, mainly thanks to great minds from Tel Aviv University. In fact, it boasts the highest density of tech startups of any city in the world, giving birth to a wide variety of successful companies:

Companies launched in Tel Aviv Israel
With a mature startup ecosystem, the city has on hand all the important team members and tools startups need to succeed, including angel investors, mentors, venture capital firms and employees.

New York City, USA

Many international startups are choosing NYC as a gateway to access the US market, thanks to the city’s array of tools and resources that help drive startup success.

Built In NYC, for example, is one such community that helps people find jobs with startups, plans startup events, and offers other resources. Having Wall Street close by also has its advantages – making it easy to find venture capital firms and angel investors.

Even better, for entrepreneurs who work from their laptops, is that NYC is full of friendly co-working spaces to set up shop and meet like-minded individuals.

Beijing, China

China might not be known for encouraging innovation, but steps are being made to change that, turning Beijing into a desirable hub for local startups.

The government is offering new support for enterprises by setting up a VC fund for startups, focusing on the seed stages. The Ministry of Science and Technology also provides consulting and financial services for high-tech firms.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is one of the most educated cities in the United States, with about 55 percent of people having at least a college degree. And if you can’t find the talent you need in Seattle, look no further than the suburbs (Bellevue and Everett), where startups are also planting roots and and finding success:

Washington State cities population and education graph

As a hub for innovation, Seattle has served as a launching pad for hundreds of successful startups, such as Zulily and Cheezburger. It also saw 110.40 percent deal growth in 2015, and 26.37 percent average growth since 2012.

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw has a much stronger entrepreneurial history than many of its neighbors, making it an attractive locale for top companies such as Google. It’s also great for entrepreneurs on a budget, the capital city of Poland is cheaper to live in than most European capitals.

Warsaw also sponsors Bitspiration, the biggest conference for startups in Poland, along with many other events, meetings and organizations encouraging their growth. The country boasts several startup success stories already, such as LiveChat (IPO) and Allegro.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is home to four top engineering schools that are annually churning out computer science graduates with innovation in mind. It’s also a cultural melting pot, filled with affordable talent and cheap rent for startups on a budget.

The city’s potential has also attracted the attention of venture capitalists, firms invested Canadian $295 million last year. If you’re looking to find an up-and-comping startup city to grow your startup, Montreal is full of resources and opportunities.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado has beginnings in 1952 as the U.S. government’s hub for nuclear innovation. This important role has only accelerated its growth in innovation since. The city also has all the on-demand talent a startup needs, with 69 percent of the labor force having at least a BA:

Population and education graph in Bolder, Colorado
Boulder’s startup density is six times the national average, higher than any city in the US. In terms of per-capital venture capital, it’s outranked only by San Jose and San Francisco.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is making major strides to attract international talent and grow their local startups. One method is Startup Amsterdam, an initiative to keep start-ups and investors informed and help connect them.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has launched a similar initiative on a larger scale to nurture a strong startup ecosystem in Europe.

The city has also attracted Startupbootcamp, a global network aimed at accelerating startups, and plans to host a variety of high profile startup events, such as Disrupt TechCrunch and Wearable Wednesday.

Paris, France

Paris is known as the home for a wide variety of startups, including artificial intelligence companies and businesses concerned with the sharing economy. The face of the historic city is quickly changing, mostly thanks young people’s disinterest in corporate life.

Unemployment is high among college graduates, leading many to start their own businesses instead. One in four graduates from HEC, a prestigious business school, are starting their own companies. Sigfox, BlaBlaCar and TheFamily are just a few startups gaining success in Paris, demonstrating its viability as a city for success.

Sydney, Australia

As a Sydneysider, I’m not exactly impartial, but if you live in Australia, Sydney is the place to be if you have a startup. Two-third’s of the country’s startups work in Sydney, and the city has produced many successful companies such as Campaign Monitor, Freelancer.com, and Atlassian.

In today’s global market, there are a lot of great places around the world where your business can grow and succeed. Louder Online has several offices around the world which makes it easy to us work diverse customers as well.