Designing Your Best Work Life

Many people in the corporate world start off with the intention to only work the standard hours yet somewhere along the way, they become completely consumed by a never-ending To Do list. Suddenly they find themselves leading a life that is based on trying to survive rather than thrive. This constantly switched-on mode can start to wear thin very quickly and wear them down just as fast.

I have worked in the corporate world for over 22 years as a consultant for various large companies. I was soon spending so much time and effort in the workplace jumping through hoops and doing whatever it took to climb the corporate ladder that my personal well-being began to suffer greatly.

Each time I planned a well-deserved break, I found myself getting sick. My body soon stopped running on the adrenaline high of corporate life, and my immune systems began operating at critically low levels. Somewhere along the way I had lost my connection to the reason why I was working so hard.

Today I run a successful business that still requires dedication and commitment, but my physical, mental and emotional state is nowhere near where it as when I was in the corporate world. What I learn from this experience is that there is no point having a great job with matching salary if all you are able to do at the end of the day is collapse onto your couch.

So here are my four steps to reconnecting with what is important to you and designing a work schedule that works for you.

STEP 1: CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK
Breaking your thought pattern is the first step towards designing your best work schedule. There is so much social pressure to be part of the rat race, and you should analyze whether succumbing to this thought pattern is working for you. Ask yourself these questions:

Are you willing to live on the edge?
Are you willing to substitute happiness for monetary gain?
Do you want to leave behind a legacy?
Do you want to travel and work from wherever you are in the world?

Your answers will form the basis of your blueprint of your ideal work life.

STEP 2: THINK LATERALLY
You have your own unique abilities. Learn how to make them work for you. If you are an accountant and you are crushed with deadlines at the end of each quarter, then plan your life in a way that allows you to work hard during those times and keep normal work hours for the remainder of the year.

The Internet has made traditional jobs much more flexible. If you are a teacher and do not want to be tied to a classroom then consider online teaching. A computer and an Internet connection is all you need. You can design your life around your workload so that you are only working the number of hours you want. Remember, this is your life and you call the shots.

STEP 3: SCHEDULE IN WHAT REALLY COUNTS
There was a time a couple of years ago when I did not schedule a break for 15 months and ended up severely ill. So before you schedule anything else into your calendar, make sure you schedule what really counts first. This includes events that will make a positive difference in your life such as:

Time for yourself to unwind, relax and recharge.
Vacation time. Long breaks should be a minimum of two weeks twice yearly and mini breaks such as weekends away should be scheduled every two months. Studies show that people are more likely to remain happy when they schedule in frequent short holidays than infrequent longer ones.
Family time and date nights.
Time with friends. Schedule the next catch up in before the night is over so that it does not get lost in the work life.

STEP 4: START SMALL AND SLOW
Start the ball rolling slowly so you can easily notice things gaining momentum as you make your schedule work for you. For instance, you could set a goal of winning 10 clients and turning away any extras because you know you do not want to dedicate more hours to work. Dedication to your personal wellbeing and who you are as a person instead is what will guide you towards creating a schedule that works for you rather than against you.

Make More Sales By Being Contrary

Here’s something I’ve been playing with, and my results have been pretty good, too.

A few months ago a friend was launching a big product with lots of cash prizes for the top affiliates. I knew there would be tons of affiliate competition, with every affiliate trying to out-do the others with bigger and better bonuses.

How to compete?

I decided not to.

Instead, I thought about what every affiliate’s bonus pages would look like: Highly polished, slick, professional, lots of graphics, videos, etc.

Odds are they would all start to look very much alike, right?

So I thought… what if I did something different?

What if my page looked like something you might get in the mail – black and white sales letter, using the Courier typewriter font, very old-school looking…

And what if, instead of a highly polished professional photo of myself, I used one where I just woke up? Or one where I just finished exercising, or just finished the yard work?

In other words, I looked like the guy next door and not some slick marketer.

Taking this thinking to the next level, I decided I didn’t want to spend time or money on creating a bonus. Everyone else was doing that, so why should I?

Instead, I would hold a live class. The homework would be to go over the program before class. Then in class we would implement, step-by-step, what was in the program. And I would record the whole thing, so people could just follow along.

In case you’re wondering – it worked beautifully. My sales were a very decent 5 figure number, and my commissions were half that plus bonuses.

And one more thing – I cheated, too. I had my virtual assistant run the class for me. She got to learn some great new skills, and I put less than 2 hours into the entire project.

The takeaway: When you have a lot of competition, it’s time to stop directly competing and find another way.

If they are using tons of graphics and slick videos, you go with a 1980’s black and white typewriter look.

If they are offering bonus packages filled with 5, 10 or 20 products, you offer no products (I offered hold-your-hand training, which in my opinion is worth far more anyway.)

You get the idea.

Do you know what would work even better than that?

MAILING the actual letter. Yup. Talk about old school. If you collect real addresses of your BUYERS, you might consider doing this on big ticket items.

I know marketers who do this. They are few and far between, and they are KILLING it. They only mail to buyers, which greatly improves their conversions. They use a service to send out the mailers for them. And they make more on one of these mailings than most successful marketers earn in 6 months.

Which brings me to my second idea… if you don’t already have the mailing addresses for your buyers, start collecting those now.

When you have a sizable portion of them (at least 200, preferably 500) approach a marketer with a product your list would love. Make sure there is plenty of profit in that product. Take the sales letter, adapt it to a black and white mailer (cheap to produce) and send it to your buyers.

See what happens. Tweak, rinse and repeat.

You can easily DOUBLE your income using this method.

Know why? Again, because it’s contrary. It’s different. Almost no one is doing it.

Your customer gets maybe a half dozen pieces of mail in a day. Two are bills. Two are sales flyers from local businesses. One is a catalog.

And then there’s that mysterious white envelope. Yeah, it’s going to get opened. Yes, it’s going to get read.

Business Package Become A Casualty

Every holiday season, from late October through January, finding a reliable courier or shipping company can become a nightmare. Time sensitive packages are not always given top priority by the big courier services because of their high demand for deliveries during the holidays.

Businesses who rely on courier services throughout the year know the holiday season will become a problem for them due to the overwhelming of daily consumer shipments. Whether it’s a gift being delivered across the country or a medical lab needing sensitive packages transported a few miles away, all packages are treated the same. That means without proper care!. How many times have you seen “FRAGILE” on a package only to receive it smashed. It almost seems some courier services enjoy damaging packages. They think tossing it into the back of the truck is careful. Or rolling it like a bowling ball is fun. Well, not to the medical labs, dental offices, hospitals or other businesses that hope their package is treated with care.

Unlike a consumer who can pre-schedule their package to be delivered, many businesses do not have that luxury. Flexible delivery dates are not part of the business world. Too often a special delivery package needs to be sent within a few miles. It could be within a 100 mile radius or just a 10 mile distance. No matter how far, the package needs to get there NOW.

Don’t wait for your packages to have these issues with your existing courier service during the holiday season. One reason why this happens is they hire temporary drivers and those drivers might not be familiar with the area. And more than likely, they are paid by the hour, so what’s another hour or two on the road to them it’s more money! Managing time-sensitive packages like medical supplies, medial lab tests, or legal documents can get lost easily during this busy season. Local same day courier services are small enough yet large enough to give you the personal care for all same day deliveries.

Isn’t it be time you find a local courier service that is reliable and doesn’t hire temporary drivers? If your business has packages that need to be delivered within 100 miles, ask your business friends on who they use for their deliveries and if they are satisfied. Be sure they have a solid reputation with medical labs, hospitals, pharmacies, dental labs and other businesses that require sensitive packages to be delivered on-time. Many businesses require same day delivery!

How Penetration Testing Tools Can Help Secure Your Business Operations

When it comes to online selling, one important thing you should remember is that there will always be customers who will abandon their shopping carts. For one, there are consumers who visit online retailers merely for research and do not really have an intention to finish a transaction. There might also be issues that hinder them from completing the purchase. These may include poor user interface, hidden or high shipping costs, or a lengthy checkout process. Another issue that online merchants have to face is security.

If you work hard for your money, then it follows that you simply won’t hand it over to an online entity promising to exchange a product or service for it. Consumers want to feel secure when they are making an online purchase. Your buyers want to make sure that the exact item they purchased will be delivered to their doorstep.

At the same time, they’d want their credit card information as well as other sensitive data kept secure. As an online merchant, you’d want to keep cart abandonment to a minimum. That is why it is worthwhile to invest in website design and SEO and offer the best pricing, shipping and payment options. But merchants should never put customer safety and even their own network security as an afterthought. One significant step toward guaranteeing your network’s and your customers’ safety is PCI credit card compliance.

From there, several things can go awry if you remain complacent. Although many would like to think of the Internet as a true democracy, it is still far from that. The truth is that it is somewhat akin to a public market place where there are legitimate businesses plying their wares alongside shady sellers and even pickpockets biding their time, waiting for an unwitting customer to make a false move.

It doesn’t help that these baddies are shrouded by the veil of anonymity and even geographical distance. A proactive approach that online sellers use and even enterprises which rely on an IT infrastructure, is to enlist the services of specialists in penetration testing tools. Hackers have, rightly or wrongly, gotten a bad rap for compromising network security and even stealing sensitive information. Indeed, many of these hackers have made a living out of these illegal deeds.

However, some have reformed their ways and now help organizations pinpoint weaknesses in their network infrastructure through network penetration testing. Through this test, a business can learn its vulnerabilities and put into place the necessary remedies that will reinforce security. With the aid of these experts, you do not have to watch at the sidelines.

Maximize the Potential of Your Business Presentation

Business presentations are a collateral reflection of who you are. A glimpse of your personality could be seen in the ways and the content of your presentation.

The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, deliver your sentences, tackle tricky questions with confidence and successfully convey your message, speak volumes about your personality.

Still, there are much more ways in which you can support your business presentation to reach its maximum potential.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SUPERPOWER

A positive way to keep your audience attentive to you is to show them that you are worth their time and trust. Rather than speaking about your achievements and future goals, speak about your credibility because if even little points will exist with which the crowd will not feel connected to then the tables will instantly turn.

Talk about your goals within the first few minutes of the presentation

Choose your presentation design which corresponds with your goals, which should be introduced to your audience as early as possible. This will help your audience to correlate what you are expressing with the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you want to achieve.

Never underestimate the impact of a powerful image/quote

A business presentation is usually a collection of fertile ideas, knit together as one to illustrate a larger picture. So, the smart use of different images/quotes to introduce different ideas will supply more power to your presentation. Vocalizing the quotes or speaking few important words out loud will bring your presentation to life, especially if the presentation has numerous bar graphs, bullet points, and pie charts.

GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE THE POWER TO BRAINSTORM OVER YOUR QUESTIONS

One of the unbeatable ways to make your presentation more interactive is to begin it with a question which you, yourself will answer. Like you can start with “I asked myself what all can my team will be able to do and contribution for making this project a success?”. So, based on this question you can build up your presentation. Be alert to all the questions from your audience as they are icebergs of curiosity. The more you will suffice your audience, the stronger their trust will grow in you.

Be ready to tackle tough questions

Always be confident and logical at answering the questions from the audience. There will always be questions whose responses if given without solid facts and coherence, will put your image down in your crowd’s eyes. If you know your topic as well as you’re your audience, then always keep your business binary clean and do not ever shelve any question from the audience.

KEEP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS READY IF NOBODY ASKS YOU ANY

It could be a possibility that your audience is shy or somewhat hesitant to ask you questions about your presentations. Always remember, if you face this kind of a situation, then always compose a question to yourself because ‘zero curiosity’ turns into ‘zero interest’ overnight.

Take your crowd on a final journey

Always take your crowd on a final journey before you wrap up the presentation. Highlight all the important points and tell the crowd how they will be productive if given proper attention by the appropriate crowd.

Keeping the immense support in mind which we get from the PowerPoint presentations, one should also be able to support her/himself equally well during the closing moments of the presentation because humans invented the PowerPoint and not vice versa.

Global Greenhouse Sector

What exactly is a Greenhouse? It is a name given to a structure with roofs and walls made primarily out of a transparent substance like glass. Within a greenhouse, plants that need regulated climatic conditions are cultivated with an aim of healthier output. These buildings vary in size from smaller sheds, to larger commercialized structures. In this current scenario, greenhouses are part of modern-day farming which is focused towards protected cultivation of plants in an enclosed shelter, without allowing any type of damage to the product as well its nutrients.

People who love home-grown veggies and fruits will definitely prefer a greenhouse. This is due to its ability to provide an effective method to cultivate plants protected from the harsh external environment. Greenhouses are usually equipped with clear or glass-plastic walls that enable them to preserve heat, while also allowing light to enter. The resulting situation brings the ideal factors for cultivating many kinds of plants.

Quite a number of commercial glass greenhouses are categorized under innovative production houses for flowers and vegetables. The active greenhouse market trends are surely leaned towards modern facilities. The inclusion of heating, lighting, screening installations etc., are needed for the automated growth of plants. Moreover, various techniques are implemented for ensuring a significant decrease in production risk before the cultivation of a particular crop.

Smart Greenhouses

To meet the needs of the sector, greenhouses are produced for high dependability and performance. These types of structures offer valuable data regarding a material’s stability, composition, response to wear and tear atmosphere and external factors. Greenhouses thus contain applications for different types of processes like food production and scientific research.

For instance, the smart greenhouse is an innovation in farming and is a climate managing, a self-regulating procedure that is perfect for plant survival. It helps to create a micro-climate environment which is like a new climate in a restricted zone. This zone is created by the use of sensors and various applications. The smart greenhouse contains different components like monitoring system, actuators, and control system. The concept of smart greenhouse aims to ease growth situations for plants and creates an autonomous growing process.

Extended Growing Season

Plants grown in a greenhouse are not subjected to the same degree of temperature differences which is needed for plants cultivated in an outdoor garden. Based on latest trends, greenhouses trap radiation that comes from the sun into its insides and enables the retention of heat within the enclosure. The controlled climate that is achieved in a greenhouse helps farmers to lengthen the growing season of plants which may not survive the colder climate outside of the greenhouse. This allows consumers to buy locally cultivated vegetables, flowers, and fruits which are out of season.

Control over the Produce

People without a garden are bound to buy their food at the groceries or farmers’ market. On the other hand, commercial farms usually use toxic pesticides and chemicals, to enhance the living situations of crops and improve production. When businesses try to prepare a greenhouse industry analysis, the first aspect that they learn are the crucial advantages that are connected with the implementation of greenhouses.

A test conducted by an environmental group revealed several vital facts. It found trace amounts of toxic stuff over the produce even after the harvest. Greenhouses help farmers grow their own food to gain absolute control over their environment. This process produces tasty and fresh food without the risks of toxic chemicals, which can potentially be hazardous.

Food Boost from Plant Isolation

A greenhouse maintains the plants in isolation, preserved safely from the external world comprising pests, rodents, and insects, along with other animals. According to the research gathered by big universities, gardeners must isolate their plants by using a greenhouse which is sealed and caulked. An efficient greenhouse with absolute isolation and tightly sealed, along with expertly managed air flow which offers protection from insects, pests and even from diseases should be preferred by the farmers.

What to Remember When Choosing Office Chairs

Posture is very important because it allows our spine to be aligned properly. When there is a problem with our posture a lot of things can happen. Poor posture may cause misalignment of the spinal cord which in turn can lead to several problems like osteoporosis, headache, stiff neck, back pains, and it can even lower down confidence. This is why it is important to carefully practice good posture and use tools that will allow you to have continuous good posture. For instance, choice of seat is important to ensure you maintain good posture practice.

If you work in an office, you’ll most probably be seated the whole day except for the occasional bathroom break or during your lunch break. If this is the case, you need to ensure you have a good seat so you are seated comfortably all throughout the day. An orthopaedic office chair will definitely help your back during the long hours in the office as it is specially designed to meet your postural needs. This chair has the right measurement to ensure you are not just maintaining the right posture but you are comfortable at work as well.

Good orthopaedic office chairs are usually 16 to 21 inches from the floor. Making sure of this height is essential because this allows your feet to be planted firmly flat on the floor. There should be 2 to 4 inches space between your knees and the back of your chair when you sit down. This allows free movement and comfort. It is essential to always be comfortable while sitting down the whole day so you will not experience any body pains and you can complete your tasks without discomfort.

The most important thing to ensure when choosing and orthopaedic chair is its lumbar support quality. This will allow not only comfort but ensure you lumbar area will not be stressed since it will be supporting your upper body weight the whole day while you are seated. Adding support and comfort to lumbar area will prevent any postural problems and discomfort. Strain on your spinal cord may also cause slipped disk or dislocation which can be very painful and will cause greater problems when it impedes veins in the spinal column. It helps if there is good cushion on the chair for maximum comfort. Foams too soft are not ideal. Having a firm padding made up of breathable cloth can be comfortable at the same time while ensuring good postural alignment.

How To Develop A Business Strategy For Your Home Business

It has been found that tested theories and frameworks still form the foundation when developing a strategy for your business. To develop the right strategy for your business you need to do the following things:

Identify a product or service to sell

This is the first step in developing your business strategy. You need to remember that there are thousands of products and services that you can sell; however, for you to compete effectively with other businesses, you should ensure that your product is unique and better than other products in the market.

You need to think for you to come up with a good choice. To be successful in your efforts, you should go for products that you like and you enjoy selling. It’s recommended that you choose a product that you are able to visualize yourself selling it.

Experts recommend that you should be able to see yourself selling the product or service for the next five or 10 years.

For you to settle on the product or service, you should ensure that there is real demand for the product or service at the price that you are interested in charging.

You should also ensure that the demand is high enough for you to make a profit. The demand should be concentrated such that you are able to advertise, sell, and deliver the product at a reasonable expense.

Identify your customers

There is no way your business will be successful if it does not have customers; therefore, you should ensure that you identify the customers who will buy your product or service.

The right customers should have the ability of buying the product at the price that you will be selling at. This means that you should be able to tell whether you will be targeting the poor, middle class, or the rich.

You also need to ensure that the product is valuable to the customer. Here you need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see whether the product will be of value to you.

Identify how the product will be sold

Once you have identified the right product and the right customers, you should determine how you will sell the product.

You can decide to sell the product by yourself or you can hire other people to do it for you. You also need to determine how you will promote your product or service. Here you can promote using word of mouth, or other ways such as TV, radio, or social media.

How to Reply to a Freelance Writing Gig Ad

If you search online every day, you will find hundreds of ads seeking a freelance writer. Along with these hundreds of ads, come many people wanting the gig. There could be hundreds of applicants that want to work the gig, but the person looking only needs one person. This is why it’s important to stand out when you reply to an ad.

When you reply to an ad, make sure you give the person exactly what he is looking for. If the ad says it wants your resume, samples, and a cover letter, make sure you send all three of them. If you don’t follow the directions, you have a pretty good chance of not getting the gig.

When sending your resume, make sure most people won’t have trouble opening it. Send it as a Word document or in text form. You don’t need it to be fancy. You need it to give information about your knowledge and skills.

The samples you provide should be some of your best work. It should also be relevant to the topic you’ll be writing on for the gig. People want to know how well you can write for them, and the only way to show them that is to give them a sample of that writing.

The cover letter is probably the hardest part. You should never copy and paste your cover letter. It should always be unique to the gig you’re applying to. You should start with something intriguing about yourself. You can then go into the reasons you are perfect for this gig. Don’t make it too long because people won’t read it all. You need to state what’s important and end it with a polite conclusion, which is usually information about how you can be contacted.

Always Be Professional

Don’t take shortcuts because the only person you’ll be hurting is yourself. The first impression you give people looking for a freelance writer is through an email. It could be your only shot at getting the gig, so put your best forward first.

When you receive a reply, don’t get lazy. Respond with the same professionalism as you did with the first email. People can turn you away at any time, so don’t risk it by not responding to their emails with the information they need to make a final decision.

Now that you have this information, go out there and start to apply to freelance writing gigs. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of work coming in to bring in a decent income.

Building a “Successful-Product Pyramid”

Basically, businesses that are into tangible products are on a dead end today. It is because they don’t have an idea on how to create a successful product. Most of the businesses today only adds more features on a certain product and increase its price. They market it as new products even if it is only an improvement of the latter.

It is true that we are lacking enough minds to create a successful product, but deceiving the public is not something that businesses should do. The richest man in the Philippines once said that you have to be honest with your customers if you want them to stay and be loyal in your brand. Well, how can you expect them to stay and be loyal to your brand if you are not giving them what they deserve?

If you wanted to build a successful product, here are some of the important things that you need to know.

Put Innovation as your Product’s Foundation

When creating a product, you should always put innovation as the foundation because in the end, everything comes down on how your product is unique from the others. It is really hard to create a unique product and it is also the reason why every company spends a lot of time, effort and money to create a new product.

Instead of wasting time thinking of adding new features on an already existing product, think of a new product. It will take time, but you don’t have to release new products on a regular basis. You can always add features and tell them that it will be a new addition to the products. You don’t have to add features and increase the price of the item.

Your Product should be Functional

The term “Functional” is not only for electronic products. It can be applied to all the other products on the market today. Let’s say that you already have an idea on what to product, the question is how can you make it functional? You cannot sell an idea. Your idea should be functional if you want people to buy it. If your product will not live up to what you are claiming, it will never be successful no matter what you do.

If you think that the idea of the product is good enough or the design, it should be functional first. It should be a step by step process. You can determine the functions of a product unless you innovate first. You cannot make a design unless you do the first two.

Think of an Attractive Design

Don’t overdo the design because you are not selling a product just because of designs. Make it look attractive and make sure that the functions will not be affected in any way. This is the last step in the successful product pyramid. Even if it is only about the design, it plays a very important role in the marketing of the product.

Many business owners and Filipino billionaires know about this, but only a few are using this. It should be done by business owners if they want to make a successful product.