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6 Strategies to Advance Your Career in 60 Minutes

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How to Advance Your Career in 60 Minutes

Getting ahead at work is a challenging objective for many professionals, especially those with significant responsibilities outside the office. Many of us have read excellent advice on how to get ahead – taking courses, attending seminars and networking.

But that begs the question: when am I supposed to do all of this work?

The answer: the strategic lunch hour.

Leaving your office for an hour is an excellent way to advance your career. It doesn’t require getting up earlier (though that helps!) and it doesn’t require burning the midnight oil either.

 

6 Strategies to Advance Your Career in 60 Minutes

Let’s start with wellness. If your physical and mental health fall apart, you will have no capacity to achieve greater results and handle increased responsibilities. Check out these 6 great strategies to advance your career in your lunch hour.

 

1. Exercise

Exercise has a laundry list of benefits. For ambitious professionals, consider these this discovery. Researchers at Kings College London studied 9000 people to determine the benefits of exercise.

The result: exercising at least once per week improves memory and cognitive function.

In the long run, the same research found that exercise prevents cognitive decline.

Whether you take a walk or visit the gym, exercise improves your ability to think and perform on the job.

 

2. Meditation

Meditation is becoming more and more popular in the business world. As The New Yorker reported in 2014, meditation can be used for a variety of purposes including increasing performance at the office.

Whether you are running a growing media empire like Arianna Huffington (who advocates for meditation in her book Thrive) or seeking political change like Congressman Tim Ryan (author of A Mindful Nation), meditation can be helpful.

Finding time and space to meditate during a busy work day is a challenge.

Given those restrictions, I suggest using a guided meditation recording. Tara Brach offers free guided meditation recordings, some as short as ten to fifteen minutes, which you can copy to a mobile device and use over lunch.

 

3. Nap

Sleep and rest are indispensable for success. If your performance declines during the day, consider a nap instead of another cup of coffee. According to Health Ambition, a 20-30 minute nap can help improve your alertness.

Finding a place to nap can be challenging, especially in the middle of the day. A short nap may help you perform better at that next big afternoon presentation if you`re feeling tired.

A growing list of companies – including Google, Nike, and Ben & Jerry`s  – provide facilities for employees to catch a nap during the day. Alternately, you may be able to book a room at a nearby gym (or even a study room at a library) to get some rest.

 

4. Actively Study A Book

Reading a book to advance your career is a tried and true career advancement tool. For the best results, read with a pen and notebook in hand. After all, many business and personal development books include exercises and worksheets.

Those resources will only improve your career if you do the work.

Not sure what to read? I suggest reading time tested classic business books to improve your career: “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker.

Tip: Reading is also a great way to enhance your leadership. Reading an Ron Chernow’s excellent biography of Washington inspired me to write: Career Hacks From Young George Washington.

 

5. Attend a Webinar Presentation at Your Desk

Do you struggle to find time to attend educational presentation and seminars? While there’s nothing quite like attending an event in person, webinars (i.e. web seminars) are an excellent alternative.

For example, the Project Management Institute offers webinars to its members covering a wide variety of project management topics. For greater breadth, consider the webinars offered by the American Management Association – there are over 200 archived web events.

To get the best results from the webinar, close all other programs on your computer and focus on the presentation. For improved results, ask the presenter for advice on how to adapt the ideas to your context.

 

6. Go to lunch with someone in your network

Sharing a meal with someone in your network is an outstanding way to grow your career. There’s a reason one of the world’s most famous networking books is called, “Never Eat Alone.” Over the course of a meal, you learn about a person’s interests and goals.

You may be pleasantly surprised at how you can help each other: a simple introduction email can work wonders.

A working lunch can take longer than an hour, especially if you have to travel to the restaurant.

Do yourself a favor and make a reservation ahead of time. If possible, find a restaurant that is relatively quiet – going for lunch at a loud restaurant will make conversation difficult.

 

In Conclusion

In conclusion, your lunch hour can be a very productive way to aid your career, rather than just doing nothing at all. To recap, here are the 6 strategies to advancing your career in your lunch hour listed again:

  1. Exercise
  2. Meditation
  3. Nap
  4. Actively study a book
  5. Attend a webinar presentation at your desk
  6. Go to lunch with someone in your network

What productive things do you do in your lunch hour? Leave a comment below.

Bruce Harpham, PMP is an experienced professional with outsourcing and financial risk management experience. To receive a free copy of the Career Advancement Toolkit which gives you 10 ways to boost your career, join the Project Management Hacks Newsletter.

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Entrepreneurship

Can You use a Credit Card to Start a Business?

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Can You Use A Credit Card to Start A Business

It’s not unusual to think about credit cards when it comes to setting up a new business;

They’re a quick, easy way to get money and can be paid back at a reasonable rate when you may not quite have the cash flow.

It’s a move that’s being made more and more often as banks make it more difficult to take business loans. It’s now thought that the majority of small businesses use credit cards to help finance their business. And with good reason too.

One of the main reasons is that most people looking to start up a business won’t necessarily have business credit meaning a loan is out of the question.

This means that people turn to their personal credit cards to get things off the ground. While this isn’t a bad move, in fact, you can earn some pretty hefty rewards by doing this. You will be personally liable for any debts that may amount.

 

How to Get Great Deals on Credit Cards

However, you can get some good deals with credit cards.

There are a number of sign-up bonuses available with certain credit card companies; while you’ll also pick up things such as air miles. Which may come in handy for your business further down the line.

Tons of companies are now offering this. So for many who are looking to fund a business, it makes perfect sense to look towards a personal credit card. You can find more out by visiting a card’s website and is becoming one of the first port of calls for start-ups these days.

That’s because it’s so hard to find capital. If you’re new to business, it’s unlikely you’re going to qualify for a bank loan, so a credit card at least offers some form of protection.

 

Shop Around

One major thing to do if starting up a business is first finding a credit card with the lowest possible interest available. If a person has generally gone through life with good credit, it stands to reason that a good interest rate will be negotiable.

This is ultimately vital because, while a personal credit card can be great for starting a business, it can also affect your life. A large sum of money on a credit card may damage credit scores and even if bills are paid on time, it can stop the acceptance of mortgages or other loans.

That’s why it’s key to get the best possible deal, and only fund a business with credit cards if in a good position to do so.

Ultimately, if you need to get your business off the ground though, it’s going to be by any means necessary.

While a bank loan may be a better option or things such as crowdfunding or investors; if none of these options are available, there’s no reason why your great idea for a business should suffer.

If it’s ultimately going to make money in the long run, using a personal credit card to fund a start-up is a generally accepted way of going about it.

It has its perks and you can pay the balance back over time, just as you would any other loan or money lending. It could be just the sort of small investment needed…

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Entrepreneurship

The Jet Set: How to Make Money from Your Travelling

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How to Make Money from Your Traveling

There’s something widely appealing about just packing everything up and jetting off into the sunset. Leaving the job behind, the rent, the utility bills and exploring what the world has to offer. One problem, money.

It’s one of the main things holding people back from exploring the world for six months, and it really doesn’t need to. More people than ever before are making money as they go, and that doesn’t necessarily mean just getting behind a bar a few nights a week either.

We’re talking digital, laptop in on your lap, mojito in your hand, overlooking the beach.

 

How to Make Money from Your Traveling

So, don’t let the thought of money ruin the chance to travel the globe, take one of these pretty simple steps and make your dream a reality. Your boarding pass awaits…

 

1. Work Freelance

One of the most common ways to make money while on your travels is to simply work freelance. So many jobs these days lend themselves to working remotely, while you may also be able to transport your business to all corners of the world.

Careers such as graphic design, writing, even consultancy jobs can be done electronically, while the likes of Skype, email, and Whatsapp make communication available instantly.

Most jobs will allow you to work on the go in at least some aspect. You can fit your earnings around your rest days traveling, while if you’re a creative and make arts and crafts, you can spend your downtime building and making, and spend the weekends selling at local markets and craft fairs.

Markets all over the world are generally open to welcoming new stalls, particularly if you’re offering something different to the usual, and you can make some serious money.

Setting up a stall at markets popular with tourists is usually a good way of making money, so it’s worth searching for your local market once in a town.

You can then pack up and move on to the next one during your travels.

 

2. Spend Wisely

Of course, to make and save money you also have to spend wisely. Most of us would rely on a credit card while traveling, so get one where you can maximize your rewards.

There are dozens of cards out there tailored towards travel, so make sure you check out a rewards calculator to estimate how much you can likely earn from a card.

Ensuring you can pay the money back is key though, so it is worth combining this method of making money with one of the others on this blog. Earning air miles will certainly enable you to save money on any flights you might take further down the line on your travels.

 

3. Create A Blog

There are tons of fantastic travel blogs out there which offer fun and informative information on where they are in the world. Think you can do better? Then start a blog and see for yourself.

There’s money to be made from blogging, with businesses often keen to feature. You may not be offered money, but rather a product, which will at least save you money further down the line when needing to buy the items in question.

Advertising and promotions can make you serious money, all from telling people exactly what you’re up to in the world. It’s easier said than done though. Monetising a blog requires hard work, persistence, and regular posting – again, easier said than done!

Success won’t happen overnight, so it’s important to start working on a travel blog well in advance of heading out on your adventures. What’s more, if you can find a niche and make your blog stand out, even better.

 

4. Sell Your Snaps

If you’re snap happy when away from home, you may be able to make some money from them. There are dozens of sites on the market that will give you commission for photos you submit that sell.

For example, Alamy allows users to upload photos to the site and if anyone, or any business, was to purchase the photo you’d earn 50% commission. Likewise, sites such as Fotolia, Bigstock, and Shutterstock will also give you a commission for any photos sold via their sites.

It’s becoming more and more popular for business to use images like this instead of regular stock photos, as they’re a little more personal and give consumers a consumer side of the coin.

In some cases, a business may then contact you directly having seen your photos and commission you to do some work independently, then the big bucks really come rolling in.

 

5. Teach the Language

One of your greatest assets is your language and many countries are crying out for teachers of English as a foreign language.

If you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time in a country, you can organize to become a teacher and make money while you discover a whole new world.

So many people have found teaching the English language fulfilling while traveling, whether that be one on one tutoring or to entire classrooms.

Before you head off traveling, you’ll need to get an accreditation and of course, the sooner you research where you can teach, the more likely you are of getting a position. You can make some good money from this, although there are also other avenues you can take when it comes to teaching.

If you’re particularly sporty, you can take your knowledge to other parts of the world and teach youngsters how to play various sports.

Soccer is naturally one of the more popular coaching roles, and many who have played the game as a youth themselves will take up this in the likes of China, USA, and African nations.

Other teaching opportunities include art, computing and specific trades such as building, plumbing, accounting and more. Essentially, if you’re trained in a particular area which would benefit other parts of the world, there may be opportunities to teach it.

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Entrepreneurship

6 Mistake to Avoid When Launching An Email Marketing Campaign

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6 Mistakes to Avoid When Launching An Email Marketing Campaign

When it comes to launching an email marketing campaign, there are loads of potential pitfalls to watch out for. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us simply have to learn by a process of trial and error and hope that the mistakes we make don’t prove to be too disastrous.

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some of the most common errors made by those piecing together an email marketing campaign – take a look at where so many people fall down, and try to avoid making these mistakes in your own efforts!

 

1. Failure to Identify an Audience

This is a mistake made all too often in the world of marketing in general. No matter what it is that you’re promoting – be it a product, an event, a course, or anything else whatsoever – there must be a target audience in mind.

The demographic you’re aiming for should inform pretty much every aspect of the marketing campaign, and it’s something you’ll have to keep in mind from the first draft all the way through to the completed product.

When you’re putting together your marketing campaign, think carefully about who you’re targeting. How old are they? What’s their income? What are their hobbies – all of these sorts of questions (and a whole lot more besides) should be constantly at the forefront of your mind?

Once you’ve identified your audience, you can tailor your content to suit the demographic. This means adopting the right tone of voice, utilizing appropriate imagery, color schemes, and much, much more.

Failure to identify an audience will mean that your campaign will lack structure and direction, and probably won’t end up striking a chord with your ideal customers or recipients… so think carefully, do your research, and get it right!

 

2. Incorrect Grammar & Spell Check

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine how you can miss a grammar mistake, having so much correction tools. Grammarly is a good example of this field instant improvement.

But, honestly, it’s really naive to think that apps and tools can polish up your letter so qualitative as the professional writers could make.

Lots of young entrepreneurs and business newbies used to hesitate with their written letters proofreading (or rewriting) by experts, without taking into consideration the fact, that these services make a huge difference.

When it comes to e-mail marketing, being creative sometimes is not enough. And remember, if you think that your primary letter is perfect, it is the first sign that you extremely need it to be revised by professional.

 

3. Making Your Message Too Impersonal

Another common error when it comes to a marketing campaign is all about the tone and wording you use in your messages. Nobody likes to feel as though they are being spammed by online junk mail, which simply flies into their inbox and doesn’t speak directly to the recipient.

Conversely, personalized, customized and tailored content pretty much always delivers far more effective and positive results… so you should absolutely be bearing this in mind when working on your campaign.

There are plenty of tools you can use to make sure your emails utilize the name of the recipient you’re targeting, and this can make a significant difference to how the mail is received (and whether it gets opened at all or tossed into the trash folder).

Also, small customization techniques such as setting up separate mailing lists for potential customers from different regions, backgrounds, or age brackets also leads to higher conversion rates, too.

 

4. Being Too Clever

When it comes to launching a successful email marketing campaign, often less really is more. Make sure your pages are clean, concise, and not overloaded with data, images, or things like unnecessary videos.

The main reason for this is that today’s web users prefer uncluttered spaces which allow a message to come across clearly, and people have only a tiny fraction of the patience they once had for loading times.

Even a lag of a couple of seconds is more than enough to get the average web user to lose patience and click that ‘back’ button, so keep your campaign simple, speedy, and easy to receive.

 

5. Not Being Creative Enough

On the flip side of the previous point, it’s all well and good keeping things simple, but unless your campaign stands out from the crowd, it’s not going to make the impact you want.

There are tens of thousands of campaigns doing the rounds at any given time, and if you want your potential customers to sit up and take notice, you’re going to have to think a bit outside the box.

This could be as simple as coming up with a memorable tagline or kicking off your email with an image that will stick in the recipient’s mind.

Get your creative team to work on something which immediately grabs the attention, and keep honing the imaginative aspect of your campaign until you get it right.

 

6. Lack of a Follow Up

Gaining new customers and a wider clientele is the entire reason you’re running an email marketing campaign.

As such, when the responses started flooding in, make sure you have systems in place to deal with them efficiently and with the same tone and warmth, you established in the initial contact.

A good follow-up is vital for your conversion rates, so don’t miss the opportunity to make it all worth your while.

 

Summary

Here’s a quick recap on the mistakes to avoid when launching an email marketing campaign:

  1. Failure to identify an audience
  2. Incorrect grammar & spell check
  3. Making your message too impersonal
  4. Being too clever
  5. Not being creative enough
  6. Lack of a follow up

Have anything to add to this article? Leave a comment below.

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