Business

How to use branded video to hack your customer’s brain

Has video massively increased your customer conversion rates? If the answer’s no, it’s because you’re not using it properly. That might sound overly bold, but instead of

8 ways to build a better working relationship with your manager

There’s an old adage when it comes to difficult relationships – they say “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family!” –

Why So Many Fail at Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to making money online, one of the most popular avenues is affiliate marketing, whether you have created a blog focusing on providing

10 Tips for Entrepreneurs Launching a Startup

Do you ever look back on childhood and wish you’d listened a little more to the advice you got from parents, loved ones or teachers?

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How to use branded video to hack your customer’s brain

Has video massively increased your customer conversion rates?

If the answer’s no, it’s because you’re not using it properly.

That might sound overly bold, but instead of thinking about us as pointing out errors – consider it a message wrapped up in a love for converting customers, maximising your productivity and fortifying your brand. You deserve to be successful at those things – and the chances are, your video strategy only needs a couple of tweaks to get it right.

The reason is simple:

Video is powerful. I mean, really really powerful.

Video marketing taps into more than one of the senses – it’s a chance to immerse your customer in your message. Video gives you a chance to really get into your customer’s brain and press exactly the right buttons.

We got a psychologist and a video marketer from Antes.me who offer video production services in Leeds into a room to discuss video marketing – then made a lot of notes. The following 6 tips and observations are direct from that conversation – with some hints around how you can apply the info to your own practice.

#1 – “People trust video because it’s hard to fake”

The idea of something being ‘photoshopped’ has really tainted people’s trust in static images.

So much so, studies into trust levels associated with brand created image have plummeted since around 2007.

And you know what? People are right. There are so many stock images available – and filters, tweaks and adjustments that can be very easily applied to make an average product look awesome.

People trust video – but the message is, it has to be authentic. There’s a balance to be struck of course, shooting a high-end product video on your phone might not be ideal – but neither is having Michael Bay come along and make a £5 million advert for you.

When you create video, do it well – but don’t over produce if you want to keep it ‘real’ and trustworthy.

#2 – “Video conveys the real person”

There are varying levels of trust that we put in different types of communication – and it’s all based around how much of an understanding we can get about the person sending that communication.

Harvard university have done a massive number of studies into empathy – a person’s ability to put themselves, metaphorically, in the shoes of someone else. The results show that the more we can empathise with the person who we see, the more we trust that person.

You can apply this in your own video by using real people to convey the messages you want to put out. Don’t be tempted to bring in models or actors – people can associate with ‘average’ folk – and when they do, they’ll trust you and your brand more deeply.

#3 – “People don’t misconstrue or misunderstand video”

There’s an old statistic about how words alone only communicate a 7% of what you’re trying to say – and that in fact, tone, inflection, volume and body language make up far more of the overall message.

Whether or not the numbers are exactly right doesn’t really matter – but what really does matter is the amount of email and web pages that really don’t hit the mark. Even the best copywriter in the world will struggle to get across the passion that a chef has about the signature dish he’s spent 25 years trying to perfect.

Words don’t convey a lot – and if they do, you need to use a lot of them, whereas ten seconds worth of video can make you laugh, dance, cry, want to eat or want to quit your job.

Your communication is clear with video, people aren’t going to misunderstand your intention. Nail the message you’re trying to get over – and deliver it with passion.

#4 – “The brain is lazy – and video is easy”

We have a desire for knowledge – especially when there’s some benefit to us gathering that knowledge.

That said, we also have busy lives and diminishing attention spans. So, as an example – you’re about to start a new hobby of oil painting – do you read a 400-page book on techniques? Or do you watch a 5-minute video about the steps you need to take to get painting?

95% of people would choose the video – because it’s easy. Sure, you might dip into the book later, but almost no one will go cover to cover before they pick up a brush.

Give your customers an easy option – then explain how they can find out more.

#5 – “Video appeals to all learning types”

There’s some professional disagreements about ‘learning types’ – i.e. whether we prefer to listen, watch, read or act out instructions that we’re given – but one thing cannot be disputed – there’s absolutely no harm in giving people options around how the consume your marketing messages.

Video is the only practical way of giving people all four options in one.

Video doesn’t have to just be someone talking into the camera, you can easily add in words, illustrations, explainer animations and much more – easily ticking the boxes for people who prefer reading, listening, watching or copying what they see.

#6 – “Video is still seen as innovative, so people want to share it”

The vast majority of marketing is still done with words and static images – making video the cool new kid on the block.

If you haven’t noticed already, people like to be the first to show you innovative stuff on social media – in fact, a lot of the time people are more bothered about how they look based on what they’re sharing – rather than what they’re actually sharing!

Interesting video is shared over 400% more on social platforms vs. written content.

Make yours short, snappy and engaging – and watch it fly.

What does all this add up to for you?

There are certain holy grail words in sales and marketing – and ‘trust’, ‘engagement’ and ‘understanding’ are up there with the best.

If you use your video marketing effectively, you’re ramping up your levels of all of the above things – ultimately boiling down to one thing – increased customer conversions – whatever that might mean to you.

Oh – and as if that’s not enough – it’s not just humans that love video either. Google’s algorithms see greater engagement with video than they do a lot of other content, and since Google is designed to predict what we want and give that to us – you’re going to see increasing amounts of video returned when you search.

Your customers love video.

Google loves video.

If that doesn’t make you love video – nothing will.

Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Time is so precious. We have to be efficient and productive in accomplishing our daily tasks. It is very easy if we only set our goals. However, there are various factors that affect our productivity. They hinder us to finish our work and achieve our goals on time.

Here are the 7 bad habits that kill productivity.

Multitasking

To be productive, you should focus on one thing. However, multitasking divides your attention. This only means that you are accomplishing numerous tasks at the same which is very impossible. According to Business Insider, only 2% of the world population are capable of multitasking.

The risks of doing multitasking include poor outputs and lots of failures.

s1 - Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Lack of Sleep

Sleep is very important at it restores normal body functioning. Without proper sleep, your body will not be productive. According to Harvard’s Healthy Sleep study, lack of sleep can affect mood and judgment, “ability to learn and retain information.”

Your mind needs recovery to work productively. The best solution is to sleep for at least 8 hours every night.

Procrastination

Procrastination is the mortal sin of productivity. According to Psychology Today, it is a kind of thinking in which an individual resists doing chronic difficult tasks and “deliberately look for distractions.” These distractions include impulsive web browsing and eating junk foods.

Procrastinators always want to the do the work later or tomorrow, until they panic and produce very poor outputs.

Too Much Use Of Smartphones

When notifications pop, we immediately check our smartphones. Once we touched our phones, we fall completely in its spell. We cannot control ourselves from checking emails, scrolling social media accounts, chatting with friends and watching YouTube.

Stay away from Smartphones, especially if it is not needed for your work. They distract you and prevent you from being productive.

Snubbing Your Alarm

Guilty? This is a seriously bad habit that most people possess. Setting an alarm means setting an exact time for you to wake up, not an exact time to hit the “snooze” button.

By hitting the snooze button, you are delaying time. This is considered as procrastination or laziness.

As much as possible, jump out of your bed when your phone or clock alarms. Do this until you get used to.

s2 - Stop These Bad Habits That Make You Unproductive!

Saving The Hardest For Last

It is a common misconception among individuals that they can save more time if they start working on the easy ones and reserve the hardest to the end of the day. According to self-control researcher Roy Baumeister, “the longer people have been awake, the more self-control problems happen.” Therefore, your brain works more actively during the mornings, perfect in accomplishing harder tasks.

No Structured Routine

You can be productive by following a work routine every day. Without a proper schedule, your mind is filled with unorganized thoughts. It is not healthy if you depend on your mood or the environment. Be in control of your productivity. Do things in order, again and again.

What do you think are the other bad habits that kill your productivity?

8 ways to build a better working relationship with your manager

There’s an old adage when it comes to difficult relationships – they say “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family!” – true enough, but it’s also highly unlikely you can choose your manager either.

We spend a lot of time at work – around 100,000 hours over the course of an average person’s life – and that’s a LOT of time to be spending with bosses you struggle to get along with. If you’d like to change your current manager/employee relationship – or you’d just like to make sure you’ve got the skills to keep your boss onside in the future, we’ve got you covered…

  1. Practice your empathy skills

It’s going to sound condescending to say this – but the company you work for doesn’t revolve around you. Now, we realise that you don’t really think that – but it’s important to remember that you’re one cog in a complex machine for your boss, the more you understand that, the more you’ll be able to put yourself in his or her shoes.

If you find yourself feeling short tempered or frustrated with your manager, take some time to think about all the metaphorical plates they’re spinning – when you realise how complex their role is, bundled upon all the life stuff most people take to work – you might be able to cut them a little more slack.

  1. Understand HOW to communicate with them

It’s easy to think of a boss or manager as just a job role – but they’re a real person with the unique likes and dislikes of anyone else. It’s going to pay off if you can learn what they are when it comes to communication.

For every person in the world who likes a brief overview of what’s happening on a project, there’s another person who likes a detailed PowerPoint presentation with annotated diagrams. If you can find out what your boss prefers and deliver your information in that way, you’re either going to stand out as someone who listens and applies that knowledge – or at the very least, someone who doesn’t annoy them!

  1. Understand WHEN to communicate with them

There’s a subtle difference to tip number 2 here – once you’ve worked out their preferred method of communication it’s really helpful to work out when it’s appropriate to communicate with them.

Now, don’t misunderstand, if you’ve been asked to call we wouldn’t suggest putting it off because you’ve got an inkling they don’t like Monday morning calls – but for non-requested communication you should act tactically.

Some people like to talk on the phone when they’re travelling, others prefer evening emails so they can digest them without distraction – then the next person is up and replying to emails at 5am. If you can work out when and how to communicate, you’re on to a winner.

  1. Show value

There’s every chance that your boss is someone who sees a lot of financial figures that relate to your company or department – and even though people matter an incredible amount to any good organisation – money and time also speak volumes.

It can be tempting to get your feet under the desk and assume that treading water will keep you afloat – but don’t be fooled, if you’re not contributing value of some kind then you’re likely to be a bit of a thorn in your boss’s side – something that’s never good for the relationship!

Reference your job description as much as you can and ask yourself if you’re ticking all the boxes to a decent level – if you’re not, up your game to make sure you stay onside.

  1. Make them look good

It might sound counter-intuitive to make your manager or boss look good rather than taking the praise yourself – but if they’re happy and you’re the person they’ve got to thank for that, then it’s highly likely that you’ll be happy too!

This isn’t just about passing praise upwards though – it’s also about showing some tact and discretion when you’re communicating with your boss with others around. You might not agree with everything that’s being said – but rather than shoot him or her down in flames (even if you’ve got good reason and the temptation is there!) hold off until you can pull them aside and discuss with them privately.

No one likes to lose face, if they know you’re not someone who puts up big challenges when their bosses are around, you’re building a strong working alliance.

  1. Show interest

It’s not always possible or preferable to be friends with your boss – but that shouldn’t stop you from being friendly. If you know it’s a special occasion or there’s something noteworthy happening for them outside of work – ask them about it.

Whether you’re small business owner or a top-ranking CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you’re still a human who for the most part will enjoy interaction with others. As long as you’ve sussed out how and when to communicate with your boss, some polite and interested conversation will go a long way.

  1. Offer your help and support

Although delegation is desirable skill for managers everywhere – it doesn’t mean they’ve got that skilled really dialled in! There are millions (no exaggeration) of people who don’t like to delegate – whether that’s because they feel they’ll do a better job or they just feel like they’re putting on you to ask.

There are few people who turn down the offer of support when the going is getting tough – if you’re the one asking then you’re scoring metaphorical gold-stars in the professional relationship stakes!

  1. Under-promise, over-deliver

When your manager’s asking you when you’ll have a report back to them – it can be tempting to dutifully reply with “lunchtime!” even though you know that’s going to involve living in an imaginary world where the phone doesn’t ring, emails don’t exist and your office has no distractions.

Rather than over promising then falling short – give a longer timescale than you truly anticipate. By doing so you’re setting the bar over which you’ve got to jump – and you can’t lose. Deliver on time and you’re recognised as someone who does what they say they’ll do – and if by some miracle you do get it done by lunchtime, you get to be the person who’s exceeding expectations…

Why So Many Fail at Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to making money online, one of the most popular avenues is affiliate marketing, whether you have created a blog focusing on providing the best electric bike reviews, or simply sending people to a voucher site. With so much opportunity available, it’s not unusual to see many people try their hand at affiliate marketing. Just as there is success, there can also be failures. While there is always an element of risk in any business venture, these risks can be minimised by ensuring that we’re using the correct procedures always. The reason why so many fall the first hurdle when it comes to affiliate marketing is due to the following reasons.

Not Having a Plan

When you get started in affiliate marketing, it’s understandable that you want to get started sooner rather than later. However, jumping in head first could mean that we’re not getting the results we’re looking for. Many people claim that affiliate marketing is a waste of time because they don’t see the desired results.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you only get out what you put in. As such, you need to ensure you have a plan when it comes to reaching your goals. While you can start out on a shoestring, there will be times when you must invest more if you’re hoping to achieve more sales conversions. Planning in advance will ensure that you’re aware of your goals and what will be needed to achieve these goals.

Relying on One Platform

If we’re used to a certain platform, then it’s easy to assume that we’re best suited to using this one platform alone. While we should be comfortable with the tools we use to promote goods and services, we may need to learn a few new skills to keep up in the industry. The evolving of technology means that the can be series of changes and trends that occur. If we’re not able to contend with these, then it’s likely we’ll lose traction as a result.

If we’re using social media platforms, then we need to understand how much popularity each platform has. While different platforms will be used for different products, we shouldn’t rely on one platform solely because we’re more comfortable with it.

Not Investing Enough Time

One of the most important factors of affiliate marketing is an investment of time. This could be time being invested into research, or the task itself. If we’re looking to be an affiliate marketer for the long-term, then it will involve a lot of work, and trying to take shortcuts will only hinder our progress.

That isn’t to say that your job can’t be made easier. There are several online tools available that look to make your marketing efforts that little bit easier. This includes social media software that helps with the timing of your posts, as well as keyword research tools that helps you target the relevant keywords. Investing in such tools means that you can automate several processes without losing that personal touch.

Overcomplicating the Process

When it comes to making money online, some will state that it’s the easiest thing ever, while others will look to complicate the process. While there are factors that need consideration in relation to affiliate marketing, it’s only as complicated as you make it.

If you approach affiliate marketing head on without preparation, then the process can be more complex, as you have no guidance or plan in place to help ascertain what goals are being met, and what practices are falling by the wayside. Similarly, we may be employing the use of several online tools that are cancelling each other out.

When embracing the affiliate marketing sector, we should be treating it like any other business. This means having a plan in place, and then putting this plan into action.

If you’re struggling with certain aspects of the affiliate program, then you may be able to find the assistance from the company direct. Many will offer a point of contact for any queries you may have, and some even have a forum where you can converse with other affiliate marketers and share tips and advice.

Undervaluing Online Relationships

If you maintain a blog, and have built a heavy influx of traffic, then this is half the battle won. However, it can be tempting to sway visitors who don’t make a purchase within the first few visits. Should you receive any questions or queries, you should approach them all in the same manner, regardless of whether they’re a repeat customer, or just someone that frequents the blog. Different people purchase items in different ways, so never assume that an online relationship has no value. Even if there’s not a monetary return, there may be other benefits to maintaining healthy online relationships, such as cross-promotion.

There’s plenty that can go wrong with affiliate marketing, but there are many of benefits if you’re able to sidestep the potential pitfalls associated with affiliate marketing.

Improve ecommerce site accessibility and improve conversions

Accessibility is something that isn’t given an awful lot of thought when it comes to web design, with the general consensus being that if somebody can access the internet then they can successfully navigate a web page / site. This is true for the most part, except in those cases where the website is just poorly designed. That being said, it isn’t always the case. There are plenty of people that may have difficulty getting around a website, and various reasons due to disabilities or age.

There are around 13 million disabled people living in the UK, and almost 57 million in the US. These are the two largest markets in the English speaking world, and their disabled constituents are being largely ignored by online stores.

Roughly 15% percent of the global population has a disability of some kind or other, and that is a lot of people that you could potentially be barring access to your ecommerce store. Is your business so successful that it can safely ignore roughly 1 billion people? No, thought not.

With this in mind we had a chat with team at SM Design Studio who are specialists in eCommerce website design, here is what they had to say.

Should you embrace accessibility?

The two largest organisations in the world, dedicated to setting and disseminating web standards, already actively advocate website accessibility and have been doing so since the 1990s. Who do we mean? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and WebAIM, from Utah State University.

For over two decades, the two largest and most influential web standards organisations have been telling the digital community that this needs to be happening, and yet most companies don’t give it a second thought.

We live in a world of increasing inclusivity, as we should, and it’s high time this extended to websites. Altruism aside however, there are other reasons to allow as many people as possible access to your ecommerce store. The bigger of these reasons, and one that no company can ignore, is that increased traffic ultimately leads to increased sales.

To make things easier, both organisations have resources that can help web designers build web designers build websites that are accessible by everybody. The W3C provides extensive WCAG 2.0 documentation that describes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 requirements and how to meet them.

WebAIM on the other hand, have a ‘section 508’ checklist that designers and developers will also find helpful.

Improving accessibility to boost profits may seem a little hard faced and cynical, but profits are not the only motivators. Actual good can come of moves like this and can make life a lot easier for many people around the world.

As an example, let us consider a blind person that lives alone. This person may need to make a purchase, and life would be so much simpler if they could do it online from the very literal safety of their own home. If the site they wish to make the purchase from is not accessible for this person, they will either have to try and find a site that can help them or they will simply have to go to a physical store.

If the item they wanted to purchase is a specialist item only available online, or is not available locally, then what? Is it right or fair that a section of society is effectively cut off from goods and services simply because of an accessibility issue? Of course not.

Naturally, as a business, the first consideration will be the loss of custom and if making accessibility improvements boosts profits and helps the end user then so much the better, don’t you think?

Providing for the blind and visually impaired

If you read the above and thought, “well, there isn’t much that can be done to make a site more accessible for a blind or visually impaired person”, you may be surprised to learn that there is a surprising amount that can be done.

Here are a selection of common problems that a blind person can encounter when trying to make use of the services offered by a particular website.

Screen readers don’t work as they should

Screen reader software relies on the website being visited to be fully compatible with the browser being used. This software allows the blind and visually impaired to either have text read allowed via a speech synthesizer or, alternatively, a braille enabled display.

The solution to this problem, for the site designer, is fairly straightforward and simply requires that site is designed to be fully compatible with as many mainstream browsers as possible.

Specially built browsers are outdated compared with ‘regular’ browsers

This becomes a problem because the majority of websites make use of many features of modern browsers to best display their wares. Trouble is, browsers that are specially made with the visually impaired in mind are quite a way behind the technological abilities of more mainstream browsers. The upshot of this is that content is not displayed properly, if at all.

A fix for this problem is quite simple, but require a little work. Most websites are responsive these days, and if they aren’t they should be, so adding support for these specially built browsers is an added ‘feature’ that should be considered. When the site script detects the use of one of these browsers, certain features could be toned down or replaced with something a little more user friendly for the visually impaired.

Neither of these challenges pose a particular problem for developers, so if a designer wanted to implement these steps then they could do so quite easily.

When you consider that the vast majority of sites don’t consider even the simplest of implementations, as outlined above, any designer that does is going to be flavour of the month as far as the site owner is concerned when those traffic stats start to ramp up.

Accessibility improvements could even form a part of an ecommerce site’s marketing strategy, to really gain an edge on the competition. Not only will the site designer benefit, but the store owner will too and the end user, the one that will really feel the benefit, goes away feeling satisfied and valued – as they should be.

Great ways to spend $1,000 that don’t involve a cellphone

If you were to jump on Google or Bing (yes, Bing) and enter “iPhone X” you will be inundated with page, after page of (likely) unwanted advice on exactly how you can pre-order the new iPhone so you can have the latest iteration in your hands as quickly as possible after launch. Forget the fact that we know have access to very nearly the sum of human knowledge in our hands, computers smaller than a child’s shoe that are infinitely more powerful than their predecessors that took up entire rooms, and all we use them for is viewing cat videos.

Why are that many search results even warranted? People have a sense of urgency over this phone because Apple are expected to struggle to keep up with demand, which is kind of ironic, as millions are expected to snap up a cat video player that has a starting price of $999, and when sales tax is applied that figure could easily well into the 4 figures.

While you are camping outside the store, freezing cold and possibly in the pouring rain, to buy something else that nobody really needs, it may be worth thinking how that $1,000 could be much better spent on debt reduction, emergencies and retirement plans.

Help eliminate your debt

The average family in the United States has $8,377 credit card debts, with the average balance on a student loan debt being $34,144. Instead of throwing 4 figures at a cell phone, what if you spent it on lowering some of that lingering debt? You may also want to consider looking at some of the best private student loans while you’re at it too, and try and avoid that kind of student debt in the first place.

Let’s say you have a credit card debt of $8,000. If you were to make minimum payments of 3%, at a standard interest rate of %15, it is going to take you exactly 172 months, or 14 years and 3 months, to fully pay off that debt. You will also have paid out $5,370 in interest fees. Now let’s say that you took the $1,000 away from Apple and put it toward your credit card debt instead, and continued to repay at the amounts stated above. You would be debt free 8 months sooner, and pay $714 less in interest.

That new emoji sharing device isn’t looking like such great value anymore, is it if indeed it ever did look like great value for money. New gadgets are great and everything, but there are more important things to think about.

Save up for your retirement

No phone is going to last until retirement, and with iPhone’s track record of easily broken screens, it may not even see out the year. However, if you took that money and invested it instead, in a low-cost ETF then you may see some actual value-for-money returns later.

If at the age of 30 right now, you would earn returns on that investment worth, roughly, 6% every year. If you kept that grand in there until you hit the age of 65, it would be worth $7,686.09. Double your investment and you are looking at a significant amount of money indeed. In fact, if you were to invest $1,000 every year, instead of buying something you quite obviously have no need of, then you would be looking at savings in excess of $121,000 when you retire.

Get an emergency fund started

Over half of families in the United States have under $500 stashed away in case of emergency. Putting the iCash into a bank account, and leaving it there, means that you will be prepared the next time that your car breaks down, there’s a burst pipe, your furnace packs up or the washing machine goes on strike. None of these things are cheap to fix, and having that money set aside is going to pull you out of a tight spot.

An emergency fund such as this will not only save you money, by removing the need to break out a credit card or take out a loan, but it will also provide you with peace of mind because you will know that their is a buffer to cushion the blow should something go wrong. It is though that an emergency fund should represent around 3 to 6 months of all household expenses, $1,000 is an excellent start and is infinitely better than it not being there at all.

So, what should you do?

In the end, it is entirely your decision whether you get the new iPhone or not, whether it is worth being in a debt 8 months longer, or if it is worth losing over $6,000 in interest over the next few decades. Only you can decide, only you can make that call. What is important, however, is that you understand the very real costs that come part and parcel of spending so much money on anything that is going to be obsolete 12 months later, with its manufacturer trying to force yet another unneeded version of it on you when that does happen.

You have the option of going through life with the latest phone, that’s your right if you have the money to spend, but it may well come at the cost of a greatly reduced retirement fund which is going to have a tangible impact on your future happiness – regardless of how sweet that phone looks. Or the one after it.

Great Ways to Earn Money If You’re out Of Work Due To Injury

Suffering a personal injury can affect people in many ways, the effects it will have on your physical and mental health are the most important but there is one other problem that many people don’t like to think about.

The financial impact a personal injury can bring can vary widely but while many people who suffer a personal injury will be able to claim compensation through this website.  In the meantime how will you earn money? That’s not a question that many people like to think about or will even consider but it is important.

If you have only suffered a minor injury or have recovered sufficiently from a more serious one then there are many ways you can still earn money while you’re out of work.

Now, of course, you should only do this if you feel up to it but if you do and you feel fit enough to work there is a variety of ways you can earn money. As long as you don’t exert yourself and work at a comfortable pace the methods we’ve outlined below can help you get active again.

Many people find working again improves their mood and mental health after suffering a personal injury and as a bonus, it will also help lessen the financial impact of being out of work.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn money while you’re out of work due to a personal injury in more detail below.

Freelance Transcription

All kinds of businesses and professionals require transcription services and while it’s not the most exciting job in the world many people do actually find transcription relaxing. Another perk of transcription is that it’s actually easy to pick up and learn, so if you don’t have any experience with transcription don’t worry.

All you need is a laptop or if you feel comfortable enough to sit at a desk then you can use a desktop computer and a program like Microsoft Word and you’re good to go. Freelance transcription is a great way to make some extra income while you’re out of work and there is a number of freelance sites you can use.

Freelance Writing

Blog writing is another much in demand freelance service and you can quickly find work using freelance websites like Upwork or Peopleperhour as well as by offering your services through sites like Gumtree and Craigslist. If you have experience writing, then this can be a great creative outlet for you while you recover.

But don’t worry if you’ve never written blogs or articles before because freelance writing comes in many forms. You could write reports, scripts, presentations or just general copy. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to freelance writing and with a laptop, you can do it from the comfort of your bed.

Freelance Photo/ Video Editing

This is a bit more of a specialist service but if you have experience with photograph and video editing software then by offering freelance editing services you can continue practicing your skills while you recover. Even if you only have some basic experience with editing you could still make some money and help lessen the financial impact of a personal injury.

Freelance Art/ Graphic Design

Creating art can very therapeutic and it’s also a great way to earn some extra income after you’ve been injured. Whether it’s drawing, painting or graphic design there’s a variety of ways freelance artists can make money online.

Logo and poster design, in particular, are very popular so if you have an artistic streak then join some freelance sites because you will probably find some clients quite easily.

Selling Online

Not all the ways you can earn money when you’re out of work due to a personal injury involve freelancing. One of the most popular ways to earn money and help boost your finances after suffering an injury is to sell things online.

If you have any clothes that are just sitting in your wardrobe or some video games, you no longer want to play you can earn plenty of money selling them online. There’s a number of ways you can go about doing this you can use sites like eBay or Amazon or even join social media shopping groups to sell directly to your local area.

If you’re the creative type then you could also create your own goods to sell on online, Etsy is the perfect site for this and as a bonus, and you’ll get to continue your hobbies as you work. Whether it’s sewing, knitting, painting or anything else if you can make crafts you can probably make money.

Renting A Room

If you have space and are able to then renting a room to people through websites like Airbnb can be a great way to make some extra income. The location you live in will play a big part in this, if you live in a big city or popular tourist destination then renting a room will be easier and you will earn more money.

Taking Surveys Online

OK, taking surveys is never going to be much fun, is it? But it certainly becomes more appealing when you get paid for it doesn’t it? There are a number of websites you can use to find surveys and sites like Reddit have their own forums dedicated to it.

Mysurvey.com is one of the most popular websites to use and it even as its own app you can use as well. So, if you’re not very mobile and don’t feel up to more strenuous activity then staying in bed with your laptop, tablet or smartphone while you fill out a few surveys per day can be a great way to make yourself some extra money.

So that’s a selection of ways you can make money online, it will lessen the financial impact of suffering a personal injury but more importantly also help improve your mood and mental health. However, make sure you don’t do too much and ensure you take enough time to recover.

 

10 Tips for Entrepreneurs Launching a Startup

Do you ever look back on childhood and wish you’d listened a little more to the advice you got from parents, loved ones or teachers? It’s easy to pick out the hard-learned lessons in retrospect – but as human beings there’s often no telling us at the time.

With that in mind, we’ve got good news and bad news:

The bad news is that there’s plenty of tough lessons still to learn – especially if you’re an entrepreneur launching a startup.

The good news? We’ve put together 10 tips that maximise your chances of getting it right at your first attempt.

#1 – Choose your attitude

Whether your a high flying tech startup or a small manufacturer of toilet posture stools such as the Squat Easy, you have to realise that you’ve got to want what you’re aiming for. Think about a goal and aim for it every day.

I’m sorry to tell you this – but the world owes you nothing. If you’re going to make this work, you’re going to need to get up every day and take fate into your own hands.

#2 – Be a leader

The chances are you’re going to have people working for you – so be a leader, not a boss.

The differences might just seem like words – so try to think about people who’ve inspired you in the past. What did they do that the typical hard-faced boss didn’t? The chances are they supported you, rather than managed you down a particular course of action.

Encourage free and creative thinking in your team. Support them to be the best they can be – and your company will soar.

#3 – Create the right atmosphere

It might sound like a cliché, but the very best work places are those in which everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger – or a family.

Studies show that healthy camaraderie creates the kind of work place that people want work hard in. You might not necessarily like your family or your colleagues all the time – but if you’ve got one another’s backs, then employees feel safe, supported and able to perform.

#4 – Reframe ‘mistakes’

Whoever came up with the term ‘mistake’ wasn’t an entrepreneur. When you’re in business mistakes don’t happen – you just need to pick up and do it again, learning a lesson along the way.

Every time you make what you consider to be a ‘mistake’ – note it down. Revisit it a week, a month or a year later and note down what this mistake actually led to. The best entrepreneurs have stumbled hundreds of times – but always picked themselves up, assessed – and kept moving.

#5 – Look after yourself

Starting up in business is hard work, you’re probably going to be working longer and harder than you ever have before – with the additional emotions attached to starting your own business too.

If you’re going to captain the ship, you’re going to need to make sure you’re fit for the job. Looking after yourself can be difficult – there’s a balance to be struck between heading for burn out and being a little lazy – neither of which will get you the success you want.

Think of it like this – when planning for an emergency, cabin crew on a plane will tell you to attach your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you drop, you’re no use to the people who are relying on you. Whatever it is you need to do to make sure you’re okay – do it, everyone around you will benefit as a result.

#6 – No quick fixes

The closest thing to a quick fix or magic bullet you’ll get in business is understanding that there’s no such thing as a quick fix or a magic bullet.

Sure, you can work smart where possible – but don’t think for one second that there’s a magic product or method around the corner that’s going to revolutionise the way you work or expand. Patience and hard work is the only route to the top – and neither are quick.

#7 – Action beats perfection

Perfectionism is something that’s often rolled out in job interviews as a seemingly smart answer to that ‘tell us about a weakness’ question.

You might think you’re dressing a good thing up as a development point – but actually, perfectionism is extremely caustic to a startup – and can probably derail the train quicker than shabby work.

Here’s a hard fact – it’s way better to put something out there than strive for a perfect product that never quite arises. Until you’ve got your business, presentation, product, sales pitch or anything else into the world – it’s just an idea – and ideas don’t pay the bills.

#8 – Do give up

‘Don’t give up’ they say!

Well, nice sentiment – but in business it’s likely only to have you fly your failing plane into a mountain. Be ready to give up on a plan if it’s not going well. There’s no shame – in fact, it’s better to retreat and live to battle again the next day.

#9 – Put in the hours

When you ditched the 9-5 you probably thought that being your own boss might mean a couple of early finishes here and there – maybe taking back those weekends that were getting absorbed by work projects.

Goodbye 9-5, hello 7-11. Being an entrepreneur is hard work and it’s going to have you sat up to the small hours getting things right and keeping the business in line. The only way you’re going to make it work is to put the hours in. Even if passing those smaller admin tasks to others is a possibility for the future, understanding every nut and bolt of the business is a really important foundation to make – even if it’s more than a little time consuming.

#10 – Ditch the image

‘Entrepreneur’ – that’s going to look great on your LinkedIn profile right? Don’t pretend you haven’t thought about it… but do realise that if you’re caught up with the idea of looking good as an aspiring business mogul – you’re probably doing it wrong.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t about being Richard Branson from the get-go, it’s about putting in a LOT of hard work for a prolonged period of time. It’s about doing it wrong, it’s about failing, it’s about working all the hours in the day – the champagne lifestyle comes much later.

Exploring the culture of SEO in the Online Gambling Industry.

The online gambling industry accounts for just under £5 billion of UK spending, enjoying a growth period in recent years that has reduced the stigma and opened up the market to new demographics who are ready to lap up the industry.

The majority of online gaming comes through slot games, instants and table game classics like poker, blackjack and most likely always will. The gambling industry and many internet based industries often lend themselves well to SEO based strategies.

The question remains how do you challenge the big casino names while possessing a lower budget. The likes of Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Sky Vegas possess authority that stabilises themselves at the top of the charts like immovable rocks.

The importance of SEO

SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation is the skill of putting your business at the front of the internet shop window. When many people go online they either have their favourite games that they will organically search for, or they will search for generic terms, such as ‘slots’ and pick from the first options that arises. Essentially, it’s better to be at the front of the shop window than nestled in the back.

For small businesses with smaller budgets it’s often difficult to spend money on something that doesn’t necessarily look tangible in the first instance. A negative digital strategy could be extremely detrimental to your business if done incorrectly but if successful could generate huge amounts of profits that wouldn’t normally be generated through means away from the internet.

Online gambling is at the mercy of the algorithms to get their page some top rankings, but SEO strategy is compiled of many nuanced patters and methods. It involves content marketing and generation, internal linking and a calculated strategy of outreach that directs domain authority and traffic through to your site.

The reason you will never be able to compete with the big guns of Sky and the like is because there authority already exists, smaller names in the gambling industry must rely on more of a snowball effect to rise to the top.

Scott Manford of WizardSlots.com said: “As a fairly new name in the industry it’s important to implement a solid digital strategy while not sacrificing the quality and quantity of you content, links and brand identity” “We’ve taken time to look into and employ a strict level of data and demographic analysis with our customers meaning that we constantly understand the types of content that our customers read and enjoy. Furthermore, we are constantly adding content and keeping things fresh and versatile. I

n the eyes of google this is paramount.” “Yes, there are short-term stop gaps that can help in the meantime like PPC and mass link-building but it’s better to create a ship with a solid structure from the start and gain the respect of google than throw mud at the wall and hope something sticks.” In respect of this here’s two SEO and customer tips to keep you shooting up those Google rankings.

Know your audience and hone your content

It’s pointless writing reams and reams of content if there’s nobody to see it. Do your research and find out what people and google likes and point your linking in the correct direction. A good content strategy involves writing unique content that’s fresh and interesting. Nobody wants to read keyword heavy manufactured text.

Create original and realistic industry outreach links

If your outreach links are leading to the wrong places then what’s the point.  Attempt to find links and original links that are relatable to your industry, or find the angle that matches your intent. Some links from external sources are good to create some attraction but you never know which one might deliver that authority that gives you the golden ticket.

Conclusion

SEO and the gambling industry go hand in hand and the further you work your way up the rankings the more money you will make. Achieving high rankings in the gambling industry is a subtle niche that is often hard to find but with trial and error, perseverance, and an expert knowledge of your industry it can be cracked.

How personal issues such as debt can affect your employees

Despite their best efforts to keep their personal issues and their working life separate, from time to time your employees may find that things at home can have an impact on their work. One of the most common outside influences that can have an impact is debt.

Debt is something that everyone may find themselves facing during their lives, and it can be a difficult thing to rectify, however with specialist debt help there is a way to make things better. We have dedicated this particular blog to how these personal issues, particularly debt, can have an impact on employee performance.

Personal debt in the UK

In the UK, it seems that personal debt is a rising issue, and one that most of us will have experience of at one point in our lives. Research carried out by The Money Charity in the UK shows that the average amount of debt per household (mortgages included) is on average £55,982. When you take away the mortgage, which of course is the most substantial amount owed, then you will see that the amount is still around the £7,118 mark for each household and this is something that is always rising.

For some, personal debt is something that is easy to manage and causes little to no feelings of stress for them on a daily basis. On the other hand, for some, it can be a source of constant worry, anxiety and concern. This is not only going to have an impact on  how they feel at home, but it can also cause problems at work too.

How debt can affect day to day work performance

With debt on the rise, and the likelihood that this could be a source of concern for your employees, there is a good chance that at some point debt may have an impact on their working day. There are a variety of ways that this can manifest itself.

An increase in phone calls

If the employee has creditors chasing them for payment, then chances are that these calls are going to be made during working hours. Not only may this mean that they are taken away from their desk to speak to them, but when they return, or if they ignore the calls, they are going to be a little distracted and not quite as focused on the task in hand.

A likelihood that they may take on another job alongside their current employment

Someone who has money concerns is likely to want to find others ways to raise funds. This could be by working overtime in their current employment. However, if this isn’t an option then they may look for extra work outside of their main employer. Whilst there is nothing to stop them doing this, if they are already working full time, then having this extra work is likely to make them tired and not able to give 100% to their current and full time role.

Lack of sleep

Being kept awake at night worrying about money is something that often happens for those in debt. If you have work the next day then this is going to have an impact on your focus, your motivation and of course your mood too. All things that can have a negative influence over your work, as well as how you interact with your colleagues too. All things that employers will want to avoid.

Poor attendance

Lack of sleep and anxiety or stress about debt is all going to catch up with the employee at some point. This may mean that they end up taking time off work ill. A high level of absence in a workplace is never a good thing, this will not only affect the employees work. But also will have a knock on effect for other staff in the team. This can lead to feelings of resentment, as well as a lack of team morale.

How you can help

Whilst it may seem bleak, particularly for the employee, the thing about debt is that it is something that you can get yourself out of and recover from. As an employer, you may think that it is not your place to become involved in debt matters, however, you have a duty to care for your staff.

There are a variety of ways that you can try to help them with their persona debt management concerns.

One of the simplest is to educate your staff about financial aspects of their life. This could be in the form of workshops or perhaps leaflets or even email newsletters. All of which teach them the right way to approach any debt issues that they may have.

Another way is to set up employee assistance programmes and ensure that debt advice is a part of this. This will mean that you need to find a specialist debt service that will be able to advise and guide any employees that call it. It will prove incredibly valuable as a way to help them cope with, and move themselves out of debt.

Finally, it is important that you, or your HR team are approachable. Sometimes a staff member is just going to need someone to talk to. If they don’t have that in the workplace then this could quickly have an impact on the way that they work. The person they speak to doesn’t need to be an expert in debt advice. They simply need to be someone who will listen and ensure that the employee feels supported through their issues.

Personal debt doesn’t always have to be a problem, particularly in the workplace. However, if, as an employer, you find it is, then it is important that you have some methods put in place to rectify it and ensure that your employees can start to live their normal life again.

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