8 Simple Motivational Tips to Get Ahead in Business

When I started my first online business – self motivation was a bit of a problem. I hadn’t been someone who’d had problems meeting deadlines or getting work done in previous jobs when I was working for someone else – but with no clear deadlines in place for a lot of what I was going to do – it became harder. Self-motivation is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to setting up your own business – but if done right, it could help you take a step up to the next level.

If you’re looking to get motivated so you can make your business-life a success, hopefully these 8 simple tips will help you like they did me.

1. Do the hardest task first

A lot of people start small to build up momentum. While this can work, I found that I was often really just putting off the hardest, most important tasks. Do them first, then they won’t play on your mind for the rest of the week, and your other (easier) tasks should fall into place.

2. Find a dedicated workspace

It’s all very well working from home – but try not to work in front of the TV or in a room you use for loads of other things. That’s an in-built distraction factory you could do without. I actually started renting a little remote office-space in my local area. I didn’t use it all the time – but when I knew I needed to completely cut out distractions I’d work from there. It made it feel like I was going to work again, which I think gave me the will to act a bit more professionally and get more done.

3. Have a clear plan

Plans are important. If you know exactly what you’ve got to do that week – you’ll be able to stick to it much more easily. Don’t simply do tasks as and when they come – not only is it easier to forget things, it’s also easier to ignore important stuff.

Work through your plan in order, even if you don’t really feel like doing one of the tasks when you get to it. Doing it and not putting it off will actually make you feel better and increase confidence, making the next tasks even easier.

4. Take regular breaks

Working solid through the day isn’t a great idea. Give yourself a break to walk around and get a drink. Just make sure the break isn’t something like watching a bit of TV, where a few minutes could turn into a few hours of procrastination. Grabbing a bit of food and a drink is fine, but don’t use your breaks as an excuse to do something major that’s going to take more than 5-10 minutes. When you’ve built up a head of steam in your work, you don’t want to lose that because you’ve been doing something else for too long. But you also don’t want to burn-out through being too overworked.

5. Avoid distractions

This one kind of ties into a couple that we’ve already looked at – but distractions are bad news.

I used to take my laptop to the local coffee store and do some work there. While I thought the change of environment and extra caffeine was helping me – I was wrong. There was always something going on, something to look at, and something to interact with – and plenty of noise, too. Coffee shops might be fine when you’ve got a few light and easy tasks – but not if you’ve got serious work that needs doing. Leave them as a treat towards the end of the working week when you tie up some loose ends, rather than a regular thing.

If you’ve got a roommate – make sure they know when you’re working so they don’t disturb you. Switch the TV off, and avoid social media. If you use it for work, fine, but there’s a fine-line between productive social media marketing and an excuse to procrastinate. Don’t log-in to your personal accounts.

6. Hold yourself accountable

Tell people what you’re going to do so that they’ll hold you to it. Since you don’t have a boss – give yourself other people to make you accountable to.

7. Listen to music at the right time

You probably don’t want to be listening to music if you’ve got something important to think about. But if you’re on to your easier tasks and what to lighten the mood and give yourself a change of pace – some music could do the job. But don’t let the music become a distraction.

8. Meditate before you get started

5-10 minutes of light meditation at the beginning of the day really helped clear my mind from distractions and get me in a relaxed mood for working. I was no meditation expert – I just looked up a couple of newbie guides online – but it helped get my head in the right space for work and it’s something I continue to use regularly. Give it a try for a week or two, even if it’s not something you’d normally go in for.

 

About the author

These tips were by Keith Elton. Keith has years of experience in the business world and enjoys sharing his motivation tips with those new to the industry. He also recommends looking up some motivational quotes online if you’re looking for even more inspiration.

Cleanse Your Work Palate: What to Do In-Between Jobs

Being laid off or getting fired are, unfortunately, common events that many people will have to deal with at least a few times over the course of their professional career. While you may feel remorse for friends and family members when this type of event happens to them, you can feel a sense of panic or extreme stress when it happens to you.

Of course, some people who are currently out of a job may have quit on their own accord, and this may have been because of poor management or another similar type of issue. In any case, this professional gap can be stressful, but you can more easily navigate through this tumultuous time without scars by following a few tips.

1. Keep Calm and Focus

After losing or quitting a job, you may understandably feel confused or even hurt. It is normal to feel these emotions, so embrace them for a short period of time. During that period, consider everything from meditating to working out, blogging and more to get your mind off of the pain. You can and should spend time reflecting on what may have gone wrong in your previous position so that you can learn from it.

However, you should not dwell on negative emotions tied to those life lessons, but let them go so that you can move on with your life. Embrace this break from a work routine by spending more time with friends and family, relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the resulting reduced stress levels. After all, this break is only temporary, and you may soon find another job. By adjusting your line of thinking so that you focus on the transient nature of this break, you may be able to relax and enjoy a sense of calmness.

2. Enjoy Your Free Time

When you are not working regularly, you may have many hours in your day to enjoy at your leisure. Think of this time as a vacation of sorts that you can use to regroup and focus on your physical and mental health. Use it to reconnect with loved ones and to focus on nurturing these relationships.

You can explore new hobbies or interests that you have been meaning to try, such as taking dance lessons, cycling and more. If you have the funds to do so, you may even travel without concern about getting back to a job. Your trip will be much more relaxing than it would be if you had the stress of job responsibilities looming over you.

3. Make a New Financial Plan

A lot of individuals out of work for even a few weeks may begin to feel financial stress related to a lack of incoming funds. While you may want to enjoy your time off of work, practice moderation so that you can avoid overspending. Consider reducing your personal expenses so that you can conserve your savings. For example, you may cut back on cable TV, your entertainment expense, restaurant meals and more. You may also find a side job that can offset your lack of full-time income.

This could help you to stretch your savings for a longer period of time and reduce the financial strain that you may be feeling. If you are offered COBRA health insurance, consider the benefits associated with taking advantage of extended coverage for as long as it is available to you.

4. Get Back on Track

It is easy to get lazy when you have ample time to yourself each day. You may find yourself sleeping in regularly, spending hours watching TV and more. However, this can create boredom and may even lead to depression.

To prevent it, make a to-do list of items that need your attention around the house. Focus on improving your skills by working toward a new certification. Attend professional networking events and job fairs. You could even volunteer for an organization that supports a cause that you feel strongly about so that you feel productive each day. Another smart idea is to revise your resume and update your LinkedIn profile accordingly.

5. Start Looking for a New Gig

Many people will take a few days or even longer than week to enjoy their time off of work and regroup after quitting or losing a job. That is perfectly fine; however, you do not want to spend too much time taking it easy. The sooner you start looking for a new job, the sooner you may be able to start working and get your career and finances back on track.

While looking for job postings online, you should also network with personal and professional contacts to learn about jobs and to potentially get your foot in the door. If you are out of a job for an extended period of time, ensure that you follow forums, blogs, trade journals and more so that you can keep up with industry changes that may be relevant when you interview for a new position.

Tomorrow is Another Day

Regardless of why you are currently out of a job, your lack of gainful employment can seem like a stressful setback. You may even take your lack of income and your employment issues personally, and this could lead to depression. When you follow these important tips, however, you can navigate through this rough patch more comfortably, and you may more easily find a great new gig that takes your career to the next level.

Author Bio:

michelle_lauryMichelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.

Are You Working with the Right People?

As you run your small business, think about all the different people that come into your life on a regular basis. You have employees, vendors, customers, those pitching their products, and many others.

With that in mind, how do you know if all these people have your best interests at heart One of the ways to go about learning more on someone is by background checks.

No, you do not need to spend time on a background check with everyone entering your life.

That said doing some research on those who will matter to you is not a bad idea.

What Should You Look for in a Background Check?

If you move forward with background checks, what exactly should you be looking for Well, the answer to that depends on how these individuals will incorporate into your life.

Here are a few examples:

  • Vendors – Hiring the right vendors to assist your small business can be a tricky proposal at times. While you may very well be on a limited budget, you still want quality products for your business. The best thing to know about vendors is if they’ve had any run-ins with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and others. Always know who is supplying you with the products you need to run your company.
  • Customers – Often, you’re not going to delve into your customer’s backgrounds. Sure, you want to know what their spending habits are etc. but that is often going to be about it. On the flip side, if you’re a gun shop owner, you want to do background checks on those purchasing weapons. If you spot any red flags, make them know so the wrong individuals do not end up with weapons.
  • Partners – It is not uncommon for small businesses to look for partners. That is even more the case when financial times get tough. That said a background check of a potential partner is but one of the things you want to do. Even when you find out about their background, you must decide if working with them would be the right call.

Among the factors to consider:

  • Who will have primary control of the business or will it be 50-50?’]
  • Can you see yourself having joint ownership with one or more individuals? For some owners, sharing the fruits of their labor with others is something they’d rather not think about.
  • Will working with another manager or managers be an issue? Some individuals will find over time that their managerial styles will clash. Always iron out ahead of time what your expectations are and understand their goals too. By knowing all you can about how they’ve run their companies, you will be better prepared.

By doing a background check when you deem it to be appropriate, you are much more likely to find out what you need to know.

In some cases, that information can prevent you from making a bad business decision.

To set your brand apart from competitors, knowing those you are working with is worth your time.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

Are You Ready to Move into the Flexible Jobs Market?

2017 might be the year when flexible jobs explode. For many looking to wrest some control back over their working lives, this could be the year. Flexible jobs give people the ability to have more control over when and where they work. For some this means cutting down from full-time, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working, while for others it means taking their job and moving it to the spare bedroom. Initial results are showing higher levels of job satisfaction and higher rates of engagement and productivity within the work itself.

Flexible Jobs with Potential

According to Forbes.com, there are 20 jobs above all others which are primed to be the top flexible jobs of 2017. These are:

  1. Statistician
  2. Product Manager
  3. Physical Therapy Assistant
  4. Operations Manager
  5. Operations Analyst
  6. Office Manager
  7. Occupational Therapy Assistant
  8. Nurse Practitioner
  9. Nurse – ICU
  10. Medical Director
  11. Information Security Analyst/Manager
  12. Genetic Counselor
  13. Front-End Developer
  14. Financial Analyst
  15. Data Scientist
  16. Client Services Coordinator
  17. Business Process Analyst
  18. Business Development
  19. Account Manager
  20. Account Executive

With 63% of employees believing the 8 hour work day will soon be a thing of the past, it is worth considering if flexible work is right for you. The main considerations are financial and practical. Can you afford to work less? And can your job be done from home? Or can it be shared? Then you have to see if your company is willing to enter into flexible working arrangements. Reduced work, for example suits those with savings, stable income from a partner, or a second job/side hustle to fall back on or build up. Those on low wages with financial insecurity cannot afford the less work option, but may be able to wrangle a work from home remote position if it improves productivity for your employer.

Can You Go 100% Flexible?

For the above, it is mostly about reconstructing or renegotiating jobs you are already in. For many, this is not an option. The first decade of the 20th century saw an explosion of jobs relating to the Internet. So far, the second decade has seen working patterns fracture and become more flexible with more jobs being related to servicing online needs or performing everyday business tasks and services online. The so-called gig economy has been around for a long time, but it seems more prevalent now and has allowed many people fired from work to instantly get back up on their feet and move forward with their lives. Instead of applying for a steady stream of jobs, many people are able to brainstorm how to turn their situation into a job or at least a steady income be it driving people around or delivering items.

Make no mistake, the flexible lifestyle of a freelancer can be stressful. You do have the ability to work when you want, as you want, but each gig is not always well paying, and they may be hard to obtain too. You need tremendous self-discipline and the ability to go out there and make things work for you. Furthermore, whether a freelancer or a remote worker, flexible work needs a lot of organization and an ability to ignore distractions. Strike the right balance, work hard, and it can be a very rewarding lifestyle.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Job Boards Make Their Pitch for the Best Candidates

talented_candidateJob boards continue to be a mainstay for both companies looking to hire, and candidates seeking employment.

With so much competition within the recruiting landscape, how is it that job boards are holding their place with more than 40% of hiring activity taking place on them?

Here are some of the reasons why job boards continue to lure some of the more qualified candidates and the employers who need them….

  1. They Automate the Searching

Job boards are set up for automation.

When candidates input their information into fields and upload their digitized resumes, it makes it easy for the backend software to categorize and filter results for employers.

Recruiters can then input their own search terms and be presented with a list of matches that are actually rated for them.

Candidates may be rated as 100% matches, excellent matches or other, which results in a short list that happened almost virtually without any work by the hiring employer.

This is a great improvement over other hiring centers like social media, where the employer needs to make a great many decisions and filter candidates for them.

As the article, “4 Reasons Job Boards Continue to Lure Quality Candidates” notes, job boards have a major role in bringing in top-notch applicants.

  1. They Remain Current

In the past, when a candidate dropped off their paper resume to an organization, the papers would have been filed until a job opening occurred.

When a vacancy did appear, the resumes would then be sifted through for qualified candidates, but by then, many of those job seekers would have already found employment.

Job boards, on the other hand, always remain current.

After a candidate uploads their resume, they usually have the option of reporting their status as “currently seeking,” “under contract,” or “no longer seeking.” This allows them to keep their information on record, but to no longer receive job offers that they won’t be interested in.

On the flip side, employers can keep their job offers current, taking down job postings that have been filled, or instantly uploading new vacancy notifications.

  1. They Save on Footwork

Job candidates love job boards because they can actively and intensely search for jobs from the comfort of their own homes.

There’s no hunting down companies, knocking on doors or making awkward phone calls to friends asking if they know anyone who is hiring.

When times are tough and a person is unemployed, it’s comforting to know there are so many possibilities right at their fingertips.

  1. Searches are Private

If a person becomes unemployed, they can rely on job boards to give them thousands of employment options; some of which may fall outside their career description.

A candidate may be willing to accept a lower paying job or one that they don’t necessarily want to advertise to friends or family, simply to get through a tough financial time.

Job board searches are private and they don’t discriminate against seekers who are willing to set aside higher career goals in order to keep the lights on.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes about recruiting and the job market.

Is a Career Change in the Cards?

are_you_readyChanging careers can be an exciting but scary prospect.

If you have been feeling burned out at your current occupation, it may be time for a change to give you that excitement for your career. However, you may not want to start all over back at entry-level in your new career either for pay or for responsibility.

The key is to consider industries that hire people changing careers and utilize their current knowledge in a new way.

Consulting

Consultants are in high demand, especially from companies that are seeking to grow and expand. Use the knowledge you have gained in your previous field to help others. This is an ideal career choice if you once loved your job but were tired of some aspects.

Your knowledge comes at a good price, especially if you were in a management role or other high-level position.

Information Technology

As the following article shows, another of the industries that hire people making a career change is computer and network security or information technology. You often don’t need a special degree since many departments prefer to train you on their own.

A background working with computers, especially if you know a little coding, could be enough to get your foot in the door.

Even though you may start out in a lower position, you often see higher salaries because of the industry. It is easy to promote up in the ranks if you have good basic skills and learn quickly.

Online Media and Marketing

If you have a background that is compatible, you will find a wealth of jobs in this industry. From journalism to advertising to public relations to web design, there are many aspects of your former career that can give you the edge over the competition.

The key with this industry is to look for an online version of your prior job.

For example, you can find jobs in IT management working from a remote location. If you worked in sales, transfer that knowledge to internet marketing.

Teaching

More people are involved in virtual learning than ever before. This allows you to use your background to teach others online.

Traditional colleges offer online classes and often look for teachers dedicated to that aspect rather than having one teacher manage both physical and virtual classrooms.

Other educational sites hire people to write and teach courses as part of programs they offer to businesses.

The subjects are vast and can be generalized like how to be a good manager, or they may be specific to an industry. You often can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.

Making the Change

Before you quit your job, find out what options are available in a new career. Consider using some of what you have been doing in your current job to give you an advantage over others. Don’t forget to consider volunteer experience as well as your previous career.

It’s never too late to find a job that you love, so don’t hesitate to switch careers.

Just make a game plan and know where you are going.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and careers.

Is Big Data in Your Career Plans?

If you’re ready to make a career change, big data could be the answer. Not only does a career in big data offer job security, it also offers a number of different career opportunities.

When it comes to career success, here are a handful of opportunities big data provides:

Big Data Career Outlook

It’s always important to know your future career path has plenty of job security that goes along with it. Fortunately, big data is in it for long haul in terms of job growth and security. In fact, according to PC Mag and Wired, the world produces over 2.5 quintillion tons of data every day.

Likewise, it’s estimated that 94% of all data collected on a daily basis is in the digital format. This includes data from search engines and social media.

Google processes close to 4 billion search engine requests each day and, between content and photos, Facebook processes 500 terabytes of data every day.

As for the future of big data, well, the outlook is amazingly strong. By the year 2020, there’s predicted to be 40 zettabytes of data – that’s more than 400 million gigabytes.

With plenty of opportunity out there, the question is which big data career paths are most promising?

Business Intelligence Analyst

As the following article looks at, along with the 6 career opportunities provided by big data are also business intelligence analyst positions.

Analysts need to have a clear understanding of all things big data and database technology. This includes analytical processing, data reporting, stored procedures, and the ability to develop a company-wide data analyzing plan.

If you’re aiming for a career as a business intelligence analyst, you can likely expect a starting salary in the $90,000 range.

Data Modeler

As a data modeler, you’ll be required to address data quality control issues with management as well as clients. Other job responsibilities include creating and analyzing data flow models.

Because you’ll likely work directly with IT teams, having strong communications skills is also a must.

Data modelers work with many complicated data sets, which means organization and problem solving is a top priority. Most data modelers have starting salaries in the $85,000 range with plenty of room to grow.

Portal Administrator

As big data continues to expand in business environments, the need for portal administrators is on the rise. The main responsibility of portal administrators is to manage access for users within a business. In addition, administrators also make sure enterprise web environments are available for all users.

Enterprise web application is a large part of being a portal administrator, so it’s important to have knowledge of web application systems, services, and corresponding technologies.

As a portal administrator, you can likely expect a starting salary in the $95,000 range.

Database Administrator

Big data requires massive storage centers, which is where database administrators come into play. Database administrators maintain company databases.

In addition, administrators also monitor backup infrastructure protocol and ensure all data is recoverable after disaster strikes. Salaries for database administrators typically start at $92,500.

When you’re ready to change careers, consider some of the big data opportunities above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including big data and job-hunting.