Essential Skills for an Ecommerce Entrepreneur

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is not an easy task. Many have tried and failed miserably. But, don’t let this fact discourage you. The reason they failed was the lack of skill and ideas. If you are not satisfied with the skills you possess, or are not sure what to improve in order to become a successful entrepreneur, despair no more. Listed below is the list of 5 “must have” skills you should acquire in order to become a successful entrepreneur and create a name of your own.

Web basics

No one expects you to know all about the Internet and its code, but learning the basics will greatly improve your chances for success. Get familiar with web technologies, and learn how they work. Try and learn all about HTML, CSS and FTP. Read guides and tutorials and find out as much useful information as you can. These are the basic skills you need to acquire in order to run a successful eCommerce, so learn as quickly as you can.

Marketing guru

One of the highest earning professions in the world is a marketing guru, and at the moment, there is a serious demand for such skilled people. Knowing a thing or two about marketing is not enough; you have to dig deep and know all the secrets and little things that can help you promote your product tomorrow. You have to start from scratch and work your way towards perfecting this skill. Without traffic, you have no leads and no sales. It doesn’t matter how amazing the design of your website is, if you cannot generate leads by implementing a proper marketing strategy, you’re doomed.

SEO Expertise

Another skill that was proven useful almost every time is search engine optimization. If you are able to utilize Google’s infinite potential and use it at your own advantage, there is no stopping you from selling or launching your product. This is especially important for eCommerce businesses, for most of their sales will go via Internet. Work on improving your customer base, and try finding new ways of advertising your products and services. Having good connections is very important in this business, so be creative and see how you can benefit from others by creating collaborations. Mutual benefit is the best way to fast development.

Self-teaching

One of the best traits of every successful businessman is the ability to adapt to and learn new techniques and abilities. One way of doing so is by attending online courses or watching tutorials on how something is done. Another way of doing it is by reading other people’s guides and lesson notes. There are plenty of awesome guides and information online, and all you have to do is look for uq past exams notes. There you can find notes on almost any subject, thorough analysis and legal studies of cases and projects, accounting notes, as well as essays and summaries on many different topics. Use it at your advantage, and educate yourself in any field you choose to master.

The ability to solve fresh problems

Each day, you will face many different problems. Some will appear out of the blue while others will stack up and wait for you to handle them. As a future successful businessman, you have to be able to take care of these problems on the go. Use your intelligence and creativity and work on solving all your problems as soon as they appear. If you disregard them, you will get overwhelmed before you even realize what is going on. If something can be done today, don’t leave it for tomorrow.

These 5 listed skills are your most powerful weapon. Use them wisely and improve them with each passing day. Remember to apply them to your business. It is only a matter of time before you score a significant deal, one that will put you on the track to success.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

The Evolution of Content Marketing: What We Can Learn From the Past?

Content marketing is one of the most popular long-term marketing strategies that, if done right, can significantly increase brand awareness and brand loyalty. It’s a highly effective tactic. It costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while at the same time creating 3 times more leads. Content marketing comes down to offering people relevant info related to your industry on a regular basis. You do promote your brand through content, but the emphasis is not on advertising, but instead on providing value for those who consume the content. The ultimate goal then is to slowly and spontaneously turn your audience into your customers.

This strategy has been around for a long time, although it’s gained real significance on a global scale just a decade or two ago. Let’s have a brief look at the history of content marketing and then we’ll try to point out to a few valuable lessons it can teach us.

Pre-internet era

It’s possible to trace the roots of content marketing to as early as 19th century. It was far from being as widespread as today, but a few standalone examples have showed the way to the marketers of the future and basically relied on the same principles as content marketing nowadays.

In 1895, Deere & Company started publishing The Furrow Magazine, which provided farmers with valuable pieces of advice and information on topics related to agriculture. And by 1912, it had more than 4 million readers. This was a great marketing move for a company that produces agricultural tools, machinery and equipment, and has done wonders for the image of the brand.

Other early examples of this kind include Michelin’s Guide from 1900, Jell-O’s booklets of recipes from 1904, as well as Procter & Gamble’s radio drama soap campaign from 1930s. All these were a huge success, but these content marketing attempts were still just isolated examples rather than a trend. This has all changed with the emergence of the internet.

Online opportunities: 1990s-2010

The trouble with content marketing was the lack of channels for such a long-term marketing effort. Anything more than a few inches of a printed page or a 30-second TV ad was simply too expensive for most companies. And for content marketing to be done right, you need your own channel where you can regularly publish new content that normally has to be long enough in order to be really relevant and informative.

With the emergence of internet, the circumstances have changed radically. People started using the power of blogs and social media – channels that are basically free and that you can use to publish an unlimited amount of content. This event is often referred to as “democratization” of content marketing. It has opened the door for the real expansion of this marketing strategy in the last decade.

The golden age: 2010 – ?

The explosion of online channels and opportunities has resulted in the explosion of content marketing as well, since 88% of B2B companies reportedly used it in their marketing efforts in 2015. Today, more than 2 million blog posts are published every day and this has resulted in a lot of noise and poor-quality content.

Thus, in order to stand out, it has become extremely important to deliver first-rate content, and both brands and top content marketing companies have recognized this. Moreover, Google’s algorithm updates guarantee low rankings for low-quality and short-form content, which has put additional emphasis on creating top-class, long-form articles that provide real value.

Another novelty that 2010s have brought is the way content is promoted. Companies have realized how useful influencer marketing and paid ads are. Furthermore, the amount of content produced every day is such that you have to invest in promotion in order to be noticed, no matter how good your content is. This has been reflected in the fact that companies today spend a lot more money on promoting the content than on creating it.

Lessons to be learned

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Source: burst.shopifycdn.com

When we look at the history of content marketing, one constant becomes obvious immediately. The most important condition for this type of marketing to be successful is simply providing purposeful and interesting content that answers your audience’s questions. This is becoming more essential as the amount of available content grows.

Another constant is the necessity of careful targeting and narrowing your niche. You can’t and shouldn’t let the topics become too dispersed or completely irrelevant for your products and your industry. Stick to what you do and know best and tell stories that will not only benefit your audience right away, but that will also do good things for your business on the long run.

Furthermore, you ought to take advantage of the fact that content marketing has been “democratized”. It has apparently always been effective, but it was too expensive to be done properly. Today, you have all the necessary tools at your disposal basically for free and a multitude of channels ready to be utilized. And with careful targeting and distribution of the content, the resources you’ll have to invest in promotion can also be minimized.

At the end of the day, the ultimate message is to not be afraid to employ new strategies and put innovative ideas to work. Stay in touch with the latest trends and take chances. Some particular rules and practices applied in content marketing are going to change constantly and you have to be familiar with them and put them to use. Currently, these trends include the use of videos, strong links with journalism, as well as employing latest technological tools to analyze your content and feedback. So do your homework, see what works for you and include it in your strategy starting from today.

Guest author Meaghan is a web designer who is also quite passionate about digital marketing. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics and collaborating with other bloggers. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.

Self-Employed Game Designers: A Reality?

Game development is a lucrative business that attracts a huge range of consumers. Triple A titles like the Call of Duty series can pull in millions of dollars without much innovation at all.

Game developers – the people behind the keyboards creating these interactive blockbusters – are in huge demand. With the big developers already full of talent, however, many may be looking to develop their own products. Whilst the methods to creating a home business are well established, the question is what do modern game designers need and is it possible to be successful?

The Foundations

For most people, becoming a game designer isn’t much more than having a passion for video games (or even just creating worlds), a creative edge and dedication. Game development was once the pastime of those with creative or computer skills with little professional recognition. However, many colleges offer games design courses nowadays to provide bespoke qualifications to those looking to get into the industry.

Having the correct equipment to match your ambitions is crucial, too. Higher end titles will require a powerful computer to complete rendering tasks. The less graphically intensive ones, less so.

Success Stories

Self-employed game developers often resort to the indie – independent – games market to get their products out there. Platforms, such as Steam, allow users to upload their games and offer them to a rating system, whereby enough positive feedback will get the game onto the fully paid store. These indie games are often lauded for combining creative storytelling with friendly and accessible interfaces.

Independent games can be a huge success story. One of the most popular video games in the world, Undertale, is an indie game, and has sold 1.2 million copies.

Modifications

Games like Undertale, Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress have become incredibly popular and made their owners a lot of money. A huge part of their success has been providing the people who have purchased the game with a lot of power to modify and craft their own games from these source products, often whilst collaborating with carefully nurtured communities.

The Future

Big companies have had their heads turned by the advent of self-employed developers and indie gamers and are now trying to muscle their way in. Microsoft paid $2.5bn to acquire Minecraft and its parent company, MoJang. For the developer him or herself, the big institutions of the video industry and becoming involved in development scheme. Sony SM are nurturing developers on a no obligation basis, for example, offering skills to those promising enough.

Game development is a big business with a huge pull for programmers and creative minds everywhere. With the opportunities offered by the internet such as online publishing, would-be developers need not turn to the big publishers for their break. Self-employed game design is today.

3 Ways the Internet Can Make Your Life Easier

Are you someone who uses the Internet in some capacity or another? If so, include yourself among many people nationwide doing the exact same thing.

That being the case, the amount of Internet usage of course varies from person to person.

Someone who meets a lot of people on a regular basis can use the worldwide web to get more information on them.

In conducting a background check, you learn more about each person you meet. So, are you ready to have the Internet play a role in making your life easier?

Put the Worldwide Web to Work

Remember these three ways to put the worldwide web to work for you:

  1. Searches before meeting people

As mentioned, doing online searches can benefit you in ways you might never have known before.

For instance, are you getting back into the dating world? If so, you want to make sure that the person you agree to go out on a date with is who they claim to be.

A fair number of people behind computers are not always honest with those on the other end of online dating. As a result, the latter can be victims in more ways than one.

When you do a background search of the person you are contemplating going out with, you are more informed. By knowing their name, you can plug that into the computer and start searching away.

Another example would be if you are considering rooming with someone.

As many Americans look to save money these days, the idea of having a roommate or two has picked up.

Once you have a potential roommate’s name, do a quick online search of them to make sure they check out. In doing so, you will feel better about your decision to go with them or move on to someone else.

  1. Securing your family

When you have a family to protect, you will do anything it takes to keep them safe and sound.

With that in mind, you can use the Internet in more ways than a background search to protect them. As valuable as that search is, it can’t help your child when he or she is sick or injured (see more below).

That said medical emergencies with kids do not always come at the best times of the day. As a result, you can’t always get in touch with your family doctor.

There are online medical sites offering basic tips to care for a child with various symptoms. As such, you can make them more comfortable until they can get in to see your doctor.

Such online information can also prove quite valuable in a medical emergency. Sites provide info on dealing with everything from the flu to if your child ingests poison.

By using the Internet at a moment’s notice, you could improve your child’s condition, even save their life.

  1. Knowing your rights following a vehicle accident

Unfortunately, many American families will be in vehicle accidents this year. With that being the case, it is important to know where to turn for both medical and legal help.

When it comes to the former, those injured in your family may need long-term physical rehab to recover. Countless medical facilities offering services in the rehab business are online with informative websites waiting to assist.

Once you have done some searches of those in your area, you can whittle them down. From there, decide which one best suits the needs of the person or persons requiring them.

With your legal rights, what happens if a family member is in a serious accident where the driver leaves?

With a hit-and-run accident, you could end up footing the bill. That is unless you get their license plate and/or have an eyewitness.

In a license plate lookup following a vehicle accident, you can pin down a responsible party.

When it comes to the Internet, these examples are but a smidgen of how the web can make your life easier.

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

Is Your Social Media Profile Secure?

With people spending more and more of their lives online – it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. Sharing almost every aspect of your life might have been commonplace – but you could also be putting yourself at risk.

While social media has become a great place to share and communicate with friends and family – it has also become a place where criminals target the unsuspecting. This is becoming a growing problem. People who came to the internet late in their lives might already have a sense of reluctance to share absolutely everything – but those who have grown up with it might not be aware that they could be sharing too much. We’re going to look at a few simple security tips that should make your social media profile more secure.

1. Don’t share too much

Sharing parts of your life can be great fun – but some people take things too far. Do you really want people knowing where you are all the time? Leave a bit of mystery in your life – it could actually protect you. Simply advertising when you’re not at home or even making it really obvious where you live or work are not the greatest ideas. Use some common sense. By all means, share photos and enjoy yourself – but try and keep some things private in your life.

Remember when you need to reset a password because you lost it? Oftentimes they’ll ask you when your birthday is or what your pet’s name is. This is the sort of information people freely share on social media. That means you’re giving this secure information away for free. Don’t do it.

2. Make sure you know all your “friends”

Having as long a friend list as possible has almost become a competition between some people. It makes you seem popular – but that’s not really the reality. Try and rise above this sort of behaviour. Only accept someone as a “friend” if you really know who they are. This means what you share should only be seen by people you know.

Of course, you can’t control how your friends use their accounts, so make sure you really only have people you can rely on in real life. A good question to ask yourself is – would you stop and talk to that person if you saw them in real life? If not – why are they on your friend list? You’ve got to get away from the desire to have thousands of friends and realise that some things (like your security) are more important.

3. Don’t share access of your account

Some people share their password and let their friends log in for them. This is a huge mistake and could be asking for trouble. Make sure it’s only you that has access to your account. You should also log out when you’ve finished – especially on public computers like those in libraries or at college.

4. Vary your passwords

Some people use the same password for everything. While this can make things easier to remember – it also means losing access to one account could spell disaster. Make sure you vary your passwords and change them regularly. Don’t write them down, either.

About the author

Keith has a strong background in advising people on security issues. He’s been writing about tech and social media for a number of years. In his spare time, he also writes for a private tuition service based in Singapore.

Why the Internet of Things is for Your Business not just Your Home

Businesses should be looking to exploit the interconnected world in which we live. Thanks to the Internet of Things, or IoT for sure, many homeowners have thought about an interconnected home where devices talk to one another and can be controlled remotely by those with access to the system. These include turning lights on and off, opening the garage door or preheating the oven en route home. Smart businesses have not only got on the act in terms of creating and selling IoT products, but exploiting this technology for the benefit of their own businesses. In a world of integrated devices, it’s never been easier to grow a dynamic, responsive business.

Integrated Work Spaces

As we’ll explore below, some businesses can work purely online with no physical presence. However, many businesses from retail to manufacturing need a physical bricks and mortar presence. The IoT is perfect for creating smarter workspaces by allowing businesses to better control lighting and heating for example. This includes creating fake nighttime lighting programmes to give the appearance of the offices being used or more focused security lighting.

Integrating Diverse Employees

Many service and some product-based companies can actually work purely online now. The IoT allows for companies to design or access online work platforms such as Slack or Trello as well as communication tools like Skype. The former allows businesses to build a range of chat channels and personal conversations, Trello is a pinboard for tasks and checklists, and Skype is the most famous chat and video conferencing app. Information can also be shared using cloud storage services which allow for a need to know access to particular photos, files or data across a wide range of devices and locations. In doing so, if well organized, the data flows better across verticals and separate work groups and divisions. If you know the term, Big Data, then this is how it was accrued – services and products can send real-time data back while it is easier for separate departments to access and process the said data then share their results across the company.

The Flexibility to Expand or Contract

Not all of the staff accessing the above IoT applications need to be full-timers. Access can easily be gained or removed on a needs basis. Furthermore, there are a huge number of gig and freelance websites and services such as UpWork, which allow businesses to quickly sale up with new PAs, new writers, designers, delivery drivers, and sales reps as needed. Each freelancer takes care of their own financial arrangements, and as work is paid on an item by item or hour by hour basis, if there is no work needing to be done, there is no expenditure for the business.

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.

Are You Taking Advantage of All the Internet Has to Offer?

If you’re not much of an Internet user, how could you truly know what you are missing out on?

That said even those with little or no use for the Internet will oftentimes come around, knowing that finding that information they require ASAP is likely on the worldwide web.

From your professional needs to those in your personal life, there’s a good chance some of what you require in terms of details, data and more can be found with a simple click on the Internet.

Yes, you may have to do some digging for a number of informational items you seek online, but the rewards can prove well worth it.

With that being the case, are you prepared to fully take advantage of all the Internet has to offer you?

Where to Begin Your Search?

When you are turning to the Internet for informational needs and more, where exactly are you best suited to begin?

For starters, most people begin the search by turning to Google.

Although there are other search engines out there (Bing, Yahoo etc.), Google clearly controls the search engine market. As such, it is not uncommon for an individual to type in a keyword or a few keywords on the Google search page to get going.

If your search does not initially lead you to what you want, don’t give up. In some cases, being off by a word or two can throw your search efforts amiss. Try and be as clear as possible in what you are trying to find.

While many businesses use Internet search for myriad of tasks they’re looking to complete, so too does the general public.

 Need to Look Someone Up?

Maybe you’ve come across someone and you’re just not sure about them, something seems odd. You can easily go online and do a public records search. There are services online that allow you to access all sorts of information about people.

These companies out there are specifically geared towards providing consumers with searches for personal use

In using such companies in your search tasks, do your best to find out the following ahead of time whenever possible:

  • History – How long has this particular public records search company you are considering using been around? Do they have a history of getting the job done for consumers? While some people will go out of their way not to be found in such searches, these types of companies are oftentimes quite effective at providing consumers with the details they seek;
  • Customer service – Given some of your public records searches will prove challenging at times, you want to work with a provider who is adept at offering good customer service. Do they have dedicated customer help available, customer service that is more than just a slogan?

Lastly, are their search offerings available on more than just your standard desktop or laptop computers?

In today’s digital age, millions of consumers are busy day after day on their smartphones, and tablets. As a result, having public records search capability across various digital platforms certainly helps both the public records search company and of course the consumer.

When the time comes for you to do a public records search, where will your first turn take you?

By turning to a public records search provider, there is a very good chance that you will find what you are looking for sooner rather than later.

Best of all, many of these types of services are affordable, typically providing you with countless reports, reports that can be searched in a safe and secure manner

So, are you ready to let the Internet begin searching for you?

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