You probably know that there’s a mysterious number tied to your identity called your credit score. I say it’s mysterious because like most people, you probably aren’t sure exactly how it was determined, what it means, if it’s important, or what you can to do make it better (and why you want to)!
When it comes to managing your personal finances, it’s important to understand why your credit score matters and why it’s important as well as what you can do to improve it (or ensure it stays high if you already have a good one).
Your credit score (or FICO score) is a number that tells the bank how risky it will be to loan you money. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get a loan. Similarly, the higher your score, the lower the interest rate you’ll be eligible for.
FICO is the company that specializes in “predictive analytics” – they look at your credit history and try to predict how you will behave, financially. Here’s the thing – you can learn about what affects your score and what you can do to improve it, but there’s not an exact formula for figuring it out; you’re never going to be 100% sure how FICO came up with the number. The exact science is a bit of a mystery. Fortunately there are factors to consider and behaviors you can model that will help you improve your score.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Your credit score matters most when you are buying a home or a car and need to get a loan. If your credit score is higher, you will get a lower interest rate, so over time the purchase will cost you less. The bank allows you to pay less interest each month because they believe you are financially responsible and you will be able to repay the loan without defaulting (missing a payment). When your credit score is low, the bank hikes up the interest rate, charging you more interest, because they fear you may have trouble making payments. They are trying to protect themselves, but it’s kind of backwards, isn’t it?
Basically, you get rewarded for being more “responsible” (if you have a higher score), by paying less interest. It’s worth paying attention to the things that factor into creating your score and trying to get it as high as you can.
THE 5 FACTORS THAT ARE USED TO CALCULATE YOUR CREDIT SCORE
According to FICO there are 5 factors that are used to calculate your credit score. Let’s explore each one, what they mean, and how you can influence your rating in these areas.
Your payment history refers to your past behavior paying your bills. Payment history makes up about 35% of your credit score (the largest amount!). If you always pay student loans and credit cards on time, FICO will reward you with a higher score in this area. FICO looks negatively at late and missed payments and if you have these on your record, FICO lowers your score. Here’s where the mystery lies – you never know exactly how much one late or missed payment will affect your score. The best way to improve your credit in this area is by making consistent, timely payments.
FICO is looking for you to have ample credit available to you, but the catch is that you shouldn’t be using nearly all of what’s available at any given time. Credit utilization is measured both individually by card and also across multiple cards, and it makes up 30% of your FICO score. There’s no hard rule here for how much credit you should have and use. In the past it was recommended not to carry a balance higher than 30% of the available limit on any one card for an optimal credit score. That’s still a great practice, but it’s not guaranteed to help you get your score as high as possible. There are several factors in credit utilization that play into your score:
How many credit cards do you have?
Are any of your cards maxed out? If not, are you using half of what’s available to you? Less than 30% of what’s available? Less than 10% of what’s available?
How much do you owe on each of your cards?
What’s the total amount that you owe on all of your credit cards?
Since there’s not an exact formula to get your score as high as possible, the best practice for credit utilization is to carry low balances on the cards you have (and to still have credit available to you, should you need it).
LENGTH OF CREDIT HISTORY
The length of your credit history plays into your FICO score at about 15%, and longer credit history is better than only having a short history. This is an important component and one that many people mistakenly overlook when they are trying to clean up their credit. For example, if you have an old credit card that you opened ten or twenty years ago but haven’t used, you should continue to keep this credit card open (with a zero balance) rather than closing it out completely. By keeping a card you have had for many years you increase your length of credit history, which positively affects your FICO score.
New credit accounts for 10% of your FICO score, but opening lots of new cards does not lead to an improved score (in fact, it will likely result in the opposite because it sends the message that you need additional money that you don’t have). The best practice for new credit is to open new cards only when you need them and pay them off right away.
The final component of your credit score is based on the assumption that you have a good credit mix. If you have a good credit mix then you have a variety of types of loans and you are able to repay them all. There are 2 types of loans: revolving and installment loans. Revolving loans (for example, credit cards) aren’t based on a predetermined amount for a loan, these loans allow you to make charges, pay them off, then make charges again. Installment loans are loans that you get in a lump sum and make payments on each month (such as a student loan). If you have both types of loans and pay them off in a timely manner with no late payments, that’s great! It’s not recommended to go out and get loans to increase your credit mix since it’s only 10% of your FICO score.
Credit scores are confusing and since there’s no perfect formula to getting the highest possible score, it’s important to take these 5 factors into account as you build your credit as an adult. Not sure what your score is? I recommend using annualcreditreport.com once a year to pull your report for free. There are a lot of sites out there to choose from – this one is reliable.
Stay tuned for the next post about credit: What NOT to do when you are trying to improve your credit score.
In the past few weeks a colleague and beloved team member said goodbye to her mother. A dear friend buried her father. Another long-time friend shared that she was wrestling with severe depression, and another was diagnosed with leukemia. A revered client is contemplating divorce after twenty plus years of, as he says, “an unmitigated and enduring loyalty to misery,” and one of my bestest of buddies is seeking help for her daughter’s eating disorder.
This is life.
My brother and sister-in-law along with several of our closest couple friends recently did the “going-off-to college” shopping sprees. They will all be empty nesters in four weeks. One of my friend’s daughters found a job in San Francisco and is finally off the family payroll. She’s living in a closet for $1600 a month with four other young women, but hey, she’s doing it on her own. Another client and now cherished friend is getting married this December and he’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him. And despite it driving him crazy when I say he deserves this kind of giddy, I sincerely believe he does.
This is life.
We read so much about others’ great accomplishments and triumphant feats, that I often see the quieter side of success being dismissed. Living a life that invites over three hundred people to attend your memorial service to celebrate your positive influence on their journeys. Beating an illness. Choosing a healthier path. Raising kids. There’s no trophy or bonus buy-out or Wall Street Journal headline touting your merger with another, getting your child settled in a first apartment or teaching yourself how to stay steady in choppy waters. But it is the very definition of living a good life. Finding joy in the tough days, making a difference in the days of others and choosing to step forward when others are standing still or your own feet feel stuck.
Whatever you’re trying to accomplish with your blog (be it establishing your expertise or making money), getting your content shared more frequently will help you achieve it. It’s certainly frustrating to work hard on creating interesting, entertaining and/or educational articles and putting them live, only to see them go unnoticed by everyone but your most ardent followers.
Part of building up your blog’s popularity is simply about making better content, but that’s not even close to being the whole story. You also need to make basic concessions to how people think and navigate the messy online world. Very often, a simple tweak is enough to make the difference between a flop and a big success — and with the following 5 tips, you can make your next blog post much more shareable:
Provide more sharing options
This will probably sound extremely obvious, because of course it is, but people overlook obvious things all the time (it’s just part of the human condition!). If you want people to share your blog posts, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so in whichever fashion they happen to prefer — for instance, linking to them on Twitter, or emailing them directly to others.
Make sure that your post has all the appropriate direct sharing links, so a reader can share to the platform of their choice with a single click. It’s also useful to make different parts individually shareable: for instance, you could allow the reader to share a specific subsection, or even a highlighted quote. The more options you provide, the more likely they are to be used.
Add some attractive imagery
Images stand out, drawing in attention and lending valuable context about the topics being addressed and the tone being met. If you’re used to simply hammering out large paragraphs and setting your posts live without featured images, that’s something you need to address immediately, because a post with a crisp image is much likelier to be shared and opened.
If you have the equipment and the skills to take (or make) your own high-quality images, do so (that’s great for brand identity), but you don’t have to: in a pinch, royalty-free pictures will do: if you don’t want them to be totally generic, you can tweak them slightly, perhaps adding color and text overlays so they feel more like your images.
Spice up the title
I’m certainly not saying that you should fully embrace the clickbait model of making your titles enigmatic or incendiary to lure people in under false pretences, but there’s a lot to be said for giving your titles some extra polish to make them easier sells. Try to keep the length down, and focus on simple ideas (building around the main keyword).
Aim for a tone that will suit the preferences of your target audience. For instance, a piece about machine learning in online retail could be called “The Ecommerce Benefits of Machine Learning” or “How to Boost Online Sales With Machine Learning”, depending on the expertise of the anticipated readers. Or even “7 Ways to Use Machine Learning to Sell More”, because listicles always go down well. Try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
Play off trends
Trends are fantastic for driving shares, whether they relate to pop culture, set events, or seasonal shifts — by working trends into your blog post, you can make it a lot more likely to attract attention at a time when so many people are searching for them. Ephemeral content is particularly suited to this: blog posts that are designed to work at a particular time, concerning things like fun ways to spend the summer.
If you’re struggling to find anything suitable, don’t be afraid to get a little contrived. Instead of writing “How to become more courageous”, you could write “How to develop the courage of [courageous character in pop culture]”, so anyone searching for that character might find your post — but, most importantly, a reader who knows someone interested in that character would be more likely to share it with them.
Include actionable tips
When someone’s reading your blog post, there are various reasons why they might choose to share it, but there are two that are the most likely: they might think it would entertain someone they know, or they might think it would be useful to someone they know. And if you want a piece to be optimally useful, you need to include actionable tips.
If you have a piece that contains a lot of insight into a topic but doesn’t give the reader anything they can actually do to benefit from it, then it will be much easier for them to forget — and they won’t see it as worth considering for people with busy schedules. If you work various simple tips into your post, and highlight them properly (why not make them individually shareable as well?), then you’ll achieve many more shares.
Top-notch blogging is hard work that often goes unrewarded, so don’t let your great content just fade away without being seen. Try these tactics for enhancing the shareability of your work, and you’ll start expanding your following. Good luck!
We often hear terms like pre-employment assessment, skill testing and even interviewing used interchangeably. While they may have similar high level goals, such as identifying a suitable candidate, they are fundamentally different methods of achieving those goals. It’s important to know the difference because each evaluation method will produce completely different outputs. Moreover, in some cases it might make sense to combine one or more of these methods.
Dr. Hamilton distinguished between each candidate evaluation method with ease and clarity. It’s worth listening to the entire episode but, otherwise, I have summarized some of the key points in this article and added my own thoughts as well.
Skill testing is all about understanding whether someone can do something or knows something. It can be a simple task, a range of complex tasks or demonstrable knowledge. It’s possible to test for almost any skill because you can simply watch people perform tasks.
Dr. Hamilton gives the simplest of examples: “if someone is going to have to weld metal, you want see them weld metal”.
This is why résumés and interviews are inherently poor methods of validating skills. They are focused on what candidates claim they can do, not what they can actually do. Instead, it’s far more compelling to see how people perform. Literally. Moreover, it’s far simpler.
Skill testing is context-dependent, and therefore subjective in nature. But it’s also capable of being objectively assessed, which means it can be pass/fail. Confusing, right?
Let’s take a writing test as an example. The style of writing you test depends entirely on the job. It could be anything from creative writing to technical writing. So the test is bespoke. At the same time, it is usually possible to objectively determine whether a candidate performed well. To use Dr. Hamilton’s welding example, either someone knows how to weld metal or they don’t.
The opposite is usually true of pre-employment assessment.
Pre-employment assessment: what is it?
Pre-employment assessment is focused on predicting how people will behave in certain scenarios, not what they can do. They explore key personality traits based on an understanding that someone’s personality can predict their behavior. Most personality assessments are based on the Five-Factor Model, which asserts that there are five personality supertraits:
Openness to experience
Therefore, if we gain an understanding of someone’s personality, and particularly these five supertraits, we will have a good chance of knowing how they will react in different situations. Unlike skill testing, this doesn’t mean someone can do the job. But it may shed light on how they will do the job.
Pre-employment assessment: does personality change?
Now here’s the tricky part. While skills can be taught, many people think that personality is fixed. However, that isn’t entirely true. Studies have shown that personality can, and does, change over time. While most people don’t change in a fundamental way, it is possible to change behaviors and habits, according to Carol Dweck. And it’s those very behaviors that are relevant to how someone will perform in a job, not their personality per se. That’s why two people with different personalities can perform well in the same role.
Whether we believe personality is fixed or not, it is not something that can be measured in binary terms such as pass/fail, like an Excel test. It’s who we are and, if we subscribe to the theory that personality changes over time, it’s who are are at the time of assessment. This means that the outcome of a personality assessment can’t be viewed as “good” or “bad” in isolation, it can only indicate potential suitability for a specific job. Conversely, someone can be good at Excel.
This is where it gets interesting. Let’s start with the dictionary:
A test means “a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use”.
To assess means to “evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of”.
An interview means “A meeting of people face to face, especially for consultation”.
Tests and assessments sound fairly similar. They are ways of measuring ability or quality. On the other hand, an interview is a discussion. Technology also makes it possible to conduct one-way interviews using video, which are essentially discussions without real-time interaction. And yet, the most commonly used method for making hiring decisions is interviewing. For some reason the notion that skills and behaviors can be evaluated without skill tests or assessments – but through a discussion – has become the norm.
Maybe it’s because of a lack of resourcing. Maybe we trust our intuition more than third party methods. Or maybe it’s a lack of awareness. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense because interviews don’t predict performance. They typically focus on understanding what someone did in the past or discussing what they claim to be able to do, without proof.
Can interviews nevertheless play a valuable role in the hiring process? Interviews should be used to get to know a preferred candidate after their skills and behaviors have been validated. Only candidates who have already demonstrated they can do they job should be interviewed. That would allow for a much more valuable interviewing experience, and a far better use of everyone’s time. Unfortunately, that is not normally the case.
Can we combine skill testing, pre-employment assessment and interviewing?
A strong hiring process will combine reliable insights about a candidate’s ability to do the job and their expected behavior with high-quality human interaction. In theory, this could involve a skill test, some form of pre-employment assessment and an interview. It very much depends on the type of role, and the candidate experience the company wants to deliver.
Hiring is not a “one size fits all” endeavour. Every situation is different. But understanding what each evaluation method can achieve and, more importantly, what it will not achieve, will go a long way to helping companies build hiring robust processes.
In the last couple of decades, the practice of yoga has become synonymous with weight loss and fitness thanks to its growing popularity. This ancient Indian practice is known for its many uses when it comes to physical, mental, and even spiritual growth and improvement. In fact, if you are looking for workout options that work on your body’s physical and mental well-being, there is no better option than yoga. However, one question that many people have is, ‘Does yoga work for weight loss?’
In a single word – yes. Yoga certainly has a host of benefits to offer those who are looking to lose weight and keep it off. Let’s take a look at how Yoga can aid you in shedding those extra pounds.
Reduces Stress Levels
Stress is one of the biggest hindrances in a weight loss journey. The main reason for this is that stress triggers cortisol production in the body, encouraging you to eat more sugary and salty food. Over time, increasing stress levels lead to poor eating habits that prevent you from losing weight. Additionally, such stress is responsible for the stubborn belly fat that won’t come off easily.
Yoga is a lifesaver when it comes to lowering stress levels or being more mindful throughout the day. With regular practice, you’ll be able to lower your stress levels and boost your weight loss.
Improves Muscle Mass
If you think muscle mass can only be gained by spending hours in the gym, think again. Yoga helps your body become more flexible with time, and it also makes you stronger. Advanced yoga poses make for a great workout as they engage important muscle groups and unlock their full potential.
In fact, many modern exercise programs and even workout videos employ elements of yoga to help you with a lean muscle workout, read more about muscle building yoga programs.
Everyone wants flat bellies and toned abs. However, it feels practically impossible to get these without specialist training and guidance. With yoga, you’ll find that your goals of getting toned abs become much simpler. Surprisingly, it’s not all about the crunches! Yoga poses that engage the core muscles are extremely helpful when it comes to tone abdominal muscles and to keep a check on your midsection.
If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods during the day, such poses will certainly help you strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Improves Sleep Patterns
It is a well-known fact that restful and adequate sleep is integral to weight loss. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it may be hindering all your efforts in the gym and kitchen. With yoga, your body and mind are in a restful state, aiding you in emptying your mind and falling asleep easily. Additionally, people who practice yoga regularly as less susceptible to problems like insomnia.
Regularly practicing poses like Balasana and Adho Mukho Svanashana can aid you in falling asleep faster and more restfully. This goes a long way in aiding your weight loss efforts by providing your body with the right rest and recuperation.
Helps Burn Calories
Yoga may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to aerobic exercises. However, the more active forms of yoga such as hot yoga are excellent and aerobic in nature, making them the right choice for a calorie-burning workout. A yoga workout may sound daunting at first, but it is easy to undertake at any fitness level.
Restorative yoga, on the other hand, may not be ideal for breaking into a sweat. However, it still has a great deal to contribute to your weight loss efforts.
Helps You Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is very important when it comes to mental, spiritual and even physical development. This2016 studyfound that individuals who were able to develop a habit of mindfulness with yoga were more successful at resisting unhealthy foods. They were also less likely to indulge in comfort foods. The main reason for this is that mindful people can recognize what is good or bad for the goal they’ve set and act accordingly.
With regular yoga practice, you’ll be able to identify harmful eating and behavioral patterns for what they are and consequently, work on diminishing the effect they have on you.
Yoga can help you in more ways than one on your weight loss journey or towards your health goals. However, with that being said, it is necessary that you practice regularly and with the right guidance. It is best if you can go for a class and get instructed by a certified professional. However, if you aren’t able to do so, the next best thing would be to invest in a good-quality home workout video that is specially created to help achieve your fitness or health goals.
Some will say that being a mom is a fulltime job, others will say that it’s their purpose, while some will argue that it’s a little bit of both. All moms have their own take on their parental role, their responsibilities, and their desire to lead a fulfilling life both as a mom and an accomplished professional individual. Sometimes, it may feel as if you’re not up to the task of either, especially when your youngling goes through those milestones such as teething or first ear infections, and your boss wants the proposal done yesterday.
Fortunately, moms everywhere have come up with a slew of strategies to reach a fine balance between both. One can indeed fuel the other, and with the right planning and a little bit of creativity, you can make the most of both of these roles and enjoy them to their full extent – yes, even when the flu strikes!
Don’t play the guilt game
Way too often, moms blame their desire to have a career for missing out on certain moments that seem irreplaceable in your child’s life. The truth is, even if you were to spend every minute of your day at home, you’d likely miss some of them while you’re taking care of all the chores around the house, too, or while your spouse is spending time with your baby. Guilt gets us nowhere. Instead, try focusing on how you’re contributing to your child’s future as well as present with your professional goals. First off, you’re ensuring financial stability for the family, you’re able to save up for a college fund, send them to an amazing kindergarten, and you’re setting a real example for your kids to be independent, hard-working, and loving.
Quality childcare for your kids
When you’re handling those projects at work, and you know your child could use some more quality time with stimulating games and interaction with other kids, then you can start setting up their schedule in addition to your own. One of the best solutions is to let them join a playgroup with their peers and spend quality time playing, learning through games, and bonding with other kids. This is especially important for toddlers, at their most sensitive developmental age when it comes to cognitive advancement, developing motor skills, and the like. So, while you’re at work, your little ones can spend that time learning and playing with their friends.
Organize special family time
Quality time for your youngsters comes in many shapes and forms. Now that you have their childcare all set, you should also make time in your busy schedule to connect with your kids. Most moms can set aside their weekends for those special bonding sessions, for camping trips with the entire family, or picnics in the nearby park. If the weather won’t allow you to spend more time outside (and preferably away from those screens and digital gimmicks), you can head to your favorite restaurant for a family lunch.
Then again, sometimes staying at home can also give you time and space to bond with your family. You can cook together, make those extra special fudge brownies, and play fetch with your pooch. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant to inspire true bonding and build a stronger relationship with your kids.
Add some flexibility to your work
On the other side of the spectrum, your superiors need to show plenty of understanding and care for your priorities. As a mom, you’ll need to have the freedom for those unexpected trips to the doctor (once again, those ear infections can be quite a pain in the neck), and to stay at home and care for your kids if they get sick, or even if you’ve been just too busy spending extra hours at work.
In such situations, discuss flexible work hours with your boss. Perhaps you can work from home on certain days and attend meetings via Skype. You also need to set clear boundaries that work stays at work – no more late correspondences from home, when you should be reading a bedtime story. By all means, be in your full-career gal mode when you’re at work, but at home, don’t miss out on those special family moments.
Ask for help and support
Delegate! In every aspect of your life where you feel you need a hand, don’t be afraid to seek help and support from your family as well as your colleagues. Maybe someone can take over your shift when there’s a special occasion at school, or a parent-teacher conference. Then again, maybe the grandparents can step in from time to time and bond with their grandkids while you invest a little bit more time to wrap up an important client presentation. Maybe you can set up a carpooling system with other parents to have more time on your hands for self-care.
Essentially, balancing a packed schedule on both fronts can be more of a burden than a challenge when you avoid asking for support. Make sure you have a trusty backup system, and you’ll be able to nurture both of your roles in harmony.
Juggling momhood with your career will always come with unique challenges just for your situation. Use these tips to brace yourself and prepare yourself for them, and you’ll enjoy both of your roles even more!
Blogging can be a fun way to dedicate your free time to writing about something you love. Maybe it’s your passion for food, yoga, your career or being a mom — whatever it is, blogging allows you to explore your topic and share your knowledge with the world.
But what if you could take this a step further and start earning money doing something you love?
You’ve probably heard of bloggers that have made their millions through their efforts — well, this could be you! Okay, maybe not millions, but it is definitely possible to supplement your income through blogging. And after time (and depending on the route you want to go down), you may find that your blogging income soon surpasses that of your day job.
Want to learn how to grow your blog into a business? Read on to find out how to make money doing something you love.
Invest time in developing your blog and brand
First things first (before we get down to any money-making) you’re going to have to spend a bit of time and money on your blog. This is essentially getting your blog ready to monetize. People won’t want to read your posts or buy your products if your blog looks badly made or messy — even if your content is amazing.
There are a few things you need to develop and maintain if you want your blog to be taken seriously as a business.
One of the key features you’re going to hone in on is your branding. Your blog’s branding needs to be consistent, and this means maintaining the same tone of voice and style across your whole blog, blog posts and any promotional work you do (such as social media and email marketing).
Maintaining a consistent tone of voice shouldn’t be too difficult; you’re probably naturally writing in your own tone of voice anyway. That’s what makes writing a blog so fun — you get to be as informal or enthusiastic or dry as you like because it’s yours. Editor tools like Grammarly can also help you out with spelling and grammar so that you can streamline your style even more.
The challenge will probably be with the design aspects of your brand: such as color schemes, fonts, imagery, or logo placement. It might be fun to experiment, but don’t get carried away in trying lots of new fonts and styles across your website, and definitely stay away from garish clashing colors.
Create some branding guidelines for yourself: stick to a color theme made up of around three core colors. Pick the fonts (again, no more than three) that you’re going to use across your blog. Nail down your logo — you’re going to be using it a lot, so make sure it’s memorable and unique.
Top tip:Canva is an awesome online graphic design tool that can help you to do all of this and more — for free!
Promote your blog through social media marketing
Now that your blog is prepped and ready for action, it’s time to get your blog out there.
Social media is a great opportunity to promote your blog and bring in new readers. Post regularly to gather followers and engage with them in an informal and entertaining way. If you’re worried about finding the time to post regularly, you can use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer to write and queue your posts in advance.
Pick your preferred social media platforms depending on your subject matter and target audience. For example, if you’re writing a business or career-focused blog aimed at professionals, then LinkedIn and Twitter are strong channels to promote on. If your blog is very visual — for example, you write about food and love taking photos of your creations — then platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for showcasing your blog.
Basically, you need to play to your strengths, as well as take into account the interests and habits of your audience. This infographic is awesome — it helps to understand the audience characteristics of each social network so that you can tailor your marketing.
Forge connections through email marketing
Once you’ve generated some interest in your blog through your social marketing, you should be aiming to solidify your connections and build meaningful relationships. You don’t want one-time blog visitors — you want (and need) repeat visits and engaged readers, especially if you’re planning on making money through your blog!
Email marketing is an excellent method of connecting with your readership and leading them back to your blog. It’s a way of speaking directly to your readers, and showing them that they mean something to you — that you value their interest and loyalty.
It’s easy enough to integrate a pop-up to your blog to allow visitors to easily subscribe for regular updates. You can entice them in offers of insider gossip, rousing CTAs and exclusive offers (if you end up selling products or working with other e-commerce brands).
There are plenty of eye-catching, effective pop-ups available that can help you generate conversions and build that all-important email list. Just make sure you don’t overuse pop-ups, as this can negatively impact user experience.
When you’ve gathered a list of subscribers, you can begin your email marketing strategy. Using an email automation tool can help you to easily design attractive email templates which will capture your customer’s attention and draw them to your site. You can appeal to your readers with a number of different email types: informative newsletters, seasonal content, mini updates and exciting promotions.
By sharing part of your blog’s story through email, you are establishing trust, nurturing an emotional connection with your readers, and creating a loyal community around your blog.
Passive income: monetizing your blog the easy way
There are many different ways that you can make money on your blog once you’ve developed your brand and gathered an engaged audience.
Affiliate marketing is an obvious place to start if you want to start monetizing your blog without necessarily having to open up an online store.
By enrolling in an affiliate marketing scheme you can earn passive income, by sharing links on your site to another business’s products. If your readers are interested in the product and click on the link you’ve posted to buy it, you will earn a small percentage of the profits.
Avoid being too spammy with affiliate links — you don’t want to scare readers away. Be as authentic as possible: try to keep to products and sites that you really like and use yourself. If you’ve built up a loyal following who will take your recommendations, this can be a really profitable passive income.
There are various other options for monetizing your blog:
Banner advertising & cost per click ads (an embedded ad on your blog linking to a retailer’s website)
Sponsored posts (blog posts in which you are paid to mention a brand or product)
Blog sponsorship (a big brand will sponsor your blog — normally reserved for high-traffic influencer blogs)
If you choose to take part in any of these forms of passive income, make sure you read up on FTC rules and regulations — you don’t want to get penalised because you didn’t disclose that a link was affiliated.
Active income: leveraging your own talent
If you want to go one further than passive income and dedicate more time to your blog, why not think about active income?
if you’ve got a talent or topic that your blog is centered around (perhaps your love of making jewellery or baby clothes), you could start selling products from your blog. Ecommerce platforms have now made it super easy to add ecommerce functionality to your blog so you can set up shop and start selling whenever you like!
If the idea of making and selling your own products is making you panic already (where are you going to find the time?!), then have a think about dropshipping and print on demand. Instead of making and keeping product in stock, you can partner with a third-party supplier who does all the heavy lifting.
Your products don’t have to be physical either — you could offer digital products on your blog such as recipes or ebooks.
Making money from your blog doesn’t have to be difficult. If it’s something you really love doing, then investing a bit of time developing your blog won’t seem like a hardship — and it will pay off in the long run.
Are you still trying desperately to lose that 5-7 summer pound weight gain? Too many drinks, snacks and barbecues? Do you ever feel compelled to skip “girls night out” because you know you’ll break your diet? Do you find yourself stressing out over calories, figuring out which diet to choose, or how long to spend on the treadmill in order to burn off those cookies?
Well, stop that! It’s proven that stressing out, worrying about every little thing that goes in your mouth and depriving yourself will make you do worse rather than better.
We are creatures of habit. We will, generally, eat the same thing for breakfast each morning, take the same route to work and plop the same groceries in our baskets. If you want to lose weight, or become healthier, it’s going to involve changing your habits rather than looking for a quick fix. And like all habits that stick, you’re going to want to feel good about them. The motivation for sticking with it has to be bigger than the sacrifice, you’ve got to enjoy the journey.
What happens when we put ourselves on a diet we hate, finding ourselves hungry, craving chocolate, or downright miserable? We’ll eventually binge. We’ll sneak in “cheat meals” and feel bad about it, and then spiral into a mess of bad decisions. We vow that the diet simply didn’t work, and or even worse, we are failures and don’t deserve to be thin. You beat yourself up, give up for awhile…until you get fed up again, and try the next latest greatest diet. And so the billion dollar cycle continues. Yes you heard me, of course you are not alone, that’s why there is so much money spent on losing weight. e do it over and over and over and over again expecting a different outcome. Isn’t that insane?
Listen…there are tons of wonderful meal plans out there. People find success on the keto, whole 30, weight watchers, calorie counting, vegan, paleo and gluten-free diets. The list goes on and on! They all work, and they all don’t work. If you change your relationship with food and pick a “way” that feels right to you, then you are motivated to see it through. Some of them are a way of life and others are a jump start for a healthy way of eating long term. The most important part of gaining food freedom is that the “why” is way bigger than the “how”. If you are excited about the outcome, the food you are eating and have a support system, you will see success. You want to gradually instill better habits and feel great about what you accomplished.
Think about what you’re eating right now. What can you do to make some changes that you’ll feel better about? Do some research, and see what fits your lifestyle. Maybe you don’t have to give up carbs or that glass of wine quite yet. Many people feel they are all or nothing people and can’t just do it in moderation. You know yourself, for me, I would rather have a small taste. I am a very social eater and like to be part of the party. I would rather control the amount that I am eating and not give it up. Take time to really think about what would be successful for you. You want to seek out the most sustainable way to lose weight. And in order for it to be sustainable, you have to feel good about it.
It’s also proven that stress and unhappiness can make you pack on the pounds. So if you’re going to adjust your way of eating, you might as well be happy about it. Think substitutions and sustainability, replacing so-so choices with good, healthy ones–don’t think of it as depriving yourself. And it really is okay, once in awhile, to snack on those cookies or have that beer.
So tell me, what decisions can you make today? What can you do this week to help you feel great about your food and your body? Comment below!
Get Your Free Start-up Kit Today!
The Becoming Your Best Self- 6 Pillars to a Prosperous Life Start-Up Kit is a favorite amongst our community, so we know you'll enjoy it!
It’s no wonder email marketing has become such an essential fixture in any robust marketing strategy – it is without a doubt one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Consider how Content Marketing Institute reported that 77% of B2B marketers use email marketing as a content marketing tactic, while a study by BtoB Magazine found that 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for generating revenue.
Email marketing can help companies both connect with new customers and encourage existing ones to re-engage. What’s there not to love?
Unfortunately, email marketing isn’t as simple as typing a quick message and sending it off. Conversely, it takes skill, experience, and a bit of creativity. And email marketing is not just about generating the email either – it involves getting people to sign up to receive your email in the first place too.
If you’re looking for some expert advice on how to improve your email marketing game, read on. We’ve put together a list of 4 pro tips to ace your email marketing. Instead of highlighting the usual tips about how to write an email, we’ve specifically chosen tips you may not have thought of yet.
1. Start Using Effective Pop-Ups
The first step you need to take with email marketing is to build up your email subscriber list. After all, there’s no point in writing the world’s best email copy if you have no one to send it to! Perhaps the easiest way to start racking up emails on your subscriber list is to use an email list builder. Specifically, you can use a pop up on your site to encourage users to sign up.
The pop-up, however, needs to be professional-looking and captivating. If it’s not, you run the risk of turning customers off from your business. That’s why it’s so important to spend time crafting your pop up. It should have the right colors, fonts, and of course, messaging. It’s well worth dedicating your energy to, as the result of creating an effective pop up is more quality signups.
2. Avoid Spam Filters Like a Pro
It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare – finding out their carefully crafted email has ended up in the spam folders of countless customers. That’s why it’s essential that you implement certain measures to stop this happening in the first place.
MailChimp gives some fantastic tips on avoiding spam filters like a pro. They recommend that you:
Use a double opt-in method
Don’t use purchased, rented, or scraped lists
Add a signup form to your website or provide your customers the option to sign up for your list when they make a purchase from your store
Make it clear to your customers what the emails will entail and how often they will be sent
Don’t wait too long before contacting your subscribers
Treat your email campaigns as an extension of your brand
3. Develop Your Knowledge at Industry Conferences
There’s a lot to learn about email marketing, let alone marketing in general. One of the best ways to increase your knowledge is to attend industry conferences. And we don’t just mean conferences specifically about email marketing, either. You can learn useful marketing and sales techniques from other business divisions.
For example, at call center conferences and events, you’ll learn the art of how to present an irresistible offer to your customers, and also how to turn a “no” into a “yes.” These are key tenets to a great email! The best marketers are always growing their knowledge of all things business, so if you’re serious about strengthening your email marketing, put yourself out there and learn some new skills from other professionals.
It’ll certainly give your company an edge if you start incorporating innovative strategies into your email marketing campaigns that your competitors haven’t yet thought of.
4. Don’t Assume Your Customers Want to Receive Your Emails All the Time
We are all dealing with overfilled inboxes. So put yourself in your customers’ shoes when working out how often to schedule your emails to them. As wonderful as your emails may be, your customers probably don’t want to receive email correspondences from you too much.
You should only send emails on a need-to basis. What that means will vary from company to company, so look into what is optimal for your customers. Better still, you can give your customers the option to choose how often they would like to receive your emails, and what types of emails they are happy to view.
Get Your Free Start-up Kit Today!
The Becoming Your Best Self- 6 Pillars to a Prosperous Life Start-Up Kit is a favorite amongst our community, so we know you'll enjoy it!
Get this– Money is the second leading cause of divorce in the US (behind infidelity). Many sites have articles, upon surveys, upon polls that list out startling stats that are enough to make you cry. Most cite high amounts of debt and lack of communication on money as being the drivers behind the sinking ship.
The American Psychology Association says 40-50% of marriages end in divorce (and there is some wiggle room due to permanent separation while remaining married). Ugh, that’s depressing!
Now you may not be married right now, but it’s likely that your future may include formal vows (let’s leave out the “obey” part mmmkay). So put on our practice pants and get to work on being a team player when it comes to money!
Here are four tips to help couples getting on the same page when it comes to money, both earning and spending.
ASK FOR HELP
Now for some of you, this may not be so simple, but no one ever got anywhere when they went 100% solo. Everyone needs someone to bounce ideas off of, a different perspective, or just a good game butt slap. Hey, you appreciated someone’s help when they saw something that you didn’t right? (Hint, your fly is down.)
So when you’re stumped on your budget (read this post if you don’t have one) or need to think of a plan to raise extra funds to fix your car’s grinding noises. Ask for help. Ask and be prepared to listen. Then say thanks. If you ask them for help then maybe they will ask you for help with something = win/win.
Think about it, when someone asks you for sincere help (not the “hey can you fix my stapler” kind of help) you feel pretty good about yourself and your relationship. This simple tactic can be used for so many things; definitely something you should become comfortable with.
Everyone has goals, well almost everyone. Some days it feels like just putting on pants is a good goal.
Share your goals of what you want your future to look like. You want to own your own home, share it! Do you want to own a 1970 Ford Mustang with a Boss 302? Hey, maybe your significant other has an Uncle that works at a car shop in LA that works explicitly on old 70’s muscle cars. BUT you wouldn’t know that unless you share right?
Now, your goals may not have anything to do with saving money, but I’m pretty sure you will need money to reach some of your goals. Maybe you find out that you both want to go on a vacation to Bora Bora? Say hello to a joint travel vacation savings account. I highly recommend a high-interest online savings account with 1.9% APY. That’s 20x higher than the national average.
Sharing your goals still means that you need to be smart with your money. So go ahead print out that picture of that bungalow over the water, bust out your crayons and make a money thermometer (you know, like the fundraiser type thing from grade school), post it on your fridge and get to saving.
TALK ABOUT IT
So from the other tips, you may have noticed a trend… TALKING about money. If you didn’t get that hint, go back and reread it, I’ll wait. You back? Cool. Let’s continue.
When you don’t talk about something, something that is plainly there then it gets somewhat awkward doesn’t it? Only when you start communicating and doing it often do things get easier.
Traditionally (aka our parent’s generation) talking about money wasn’t a polite topic of conversation. Maybe you grew up in a household where money was a sore spot?
When you avoid something, it grows. We are not ostriches. We can’t stick our head in the ground and ignore money issues… because they don’t ever go away without action.
Yes, it may be weird in the beginning, but it will get easier, just as everything does with practice.
DO A MONEY CHALLENGE
These can be a lot of fun if done correctly. It is fun to have a goal, a goal that maybe you think you can’t achieve. But then it gets turned into a game… guess who shows up with a full tummy of Wheaties? YOU!
Do a No Spend Month
Cash only envelope challenge
Eat just what is in your pantry
Save all your $5 bills that you get
Cut 50% of your subscriptions (you won’t notice, trust me)
Whatever you decide to do keep it lighthearted. No one likes a sore loser (or a lousy winner). In fact, you don’t even need to have a winner, set it up as a team challenge!
Whatever you decide to do to help you and your honey get better at this thing called money management, know that nothing is set in stone. If one thing doesn’t work after some decent effort and time then try something different. Just keep trying. GOOD GAME!
Get Your Free Start-up Kit Today!
The Becoming Your Best Self- 6 Pillars to a Prosperous Life Start-Up Kit is a favorite amongst our community, so we know you'll enjoy it!