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Effective content is crucial for audience engagement. Companies are increasing their content marketing efforts, according to Smart Insights, creating a more competitive environment for online marketers.

  • More than 90 percent of companies are utilizing content marketing in 2017
  • 75 percent of companies increased their content marketing budget in 2016
  • 43 percent of companies increased staffing levels of their content marketing departments

Despite these figures, Smart Insights reports that approximately half of all content marketing strategies are not integrated with the rest of the business strategy. Add in the potential of marketing being in the “age of content shock” — or how the exponential increase in content production could result in content consumption increasing slightly and then inevitably plateauing — and it’s easy to see how the stakes have intensified for marketers.

With the right audience engagement strategies and tools, marketers can create valuable content that overcomes “content shock.” But it isn’t just a matter of quantity.  The graphic below clearly shows that we’re already far past the point of just doing “more.”

Effective audience engagement depends on a well-planned, well executed, and coherent approach that delivers the results you want.  Here’s how to achieve that.

Audience Engagement Strategies Create High-Quality Content

Quality is the most important aspect for content, whether it’s a blog post, infographic, video or podcast. Content should be unique, targeted and, according to Kissmetrics, “easy.”

  • Easy to Scan: Take layout into account for pages and articles. Readers tend to scan instead of reading pages, so use appealing typography and visual images to catch individuals’ eyes, which will cause them to read more. Content with relevant images receives 94 percent more views than content without relevant images.
  • Easy to Interact With: Create interactive elements such as quizzes, polls and online chat.
  • Easy to Load: A one-second load delay can drop conversions by 7 percent. Minimize bounce rates and maximize readers’ happiness by improving site speed. Minimizing image files and investing in a content delivery network can help.
  • Easy to Share: “Social sharing is, to a great extent, the highest level of engagement that there is,” Kissmetrics says. Try to integrate social media buttons to content pages to make this a simple step for visitors.
  • Easy to Monetize: Advertisers are struggling to turn a profit due to problems like few solutions for making money from mobile users and interruptive ads that have led to the increased use of ad blockers. One effective way is to integrate contextual ads into content, which automatically provide relevant and engaging banner ads.
Develop an Authentic Personality

Create content that aligns with your brand’s personality. For some companies, this means a fun, quirky style, while for others it means a more direct, concise approach. The Content Marketing Institute offers 10 tips for adding more personality into content.

  • Tell a good story to draw readers in, offering entertainment value while matching the purpose or mission of your content.
  • Elicit an emotional response to appeal to readers’ emotions.
  • Ask rhetorical questions to get readers thinking, instead of merely being fed information.
  • Use formatting like good paragraph spacing, bold type, italicized fonts and lists to make content pleasing to the eye.
  • Widen your vocabulary for more personality (but don’t overdo it).
  • Be interested in your topic, which allows your enthusiasm to be contagious to readers.
  • Read entertainment content to become a better writer.
  • Include fascinating facts to support why people read: to be entertained and to learn.
  • Write like you talk to communicate clearly and avoid jargon.
  • Build suspense to leave your reader hanging on your every word.

 Integrate a Timely Communication Strategy

Produce content on a regular basis to keep your blog, social media accounts and other content marketing channels fresh. Give your audience a reason to come back with new content, and remember that it is important to be seen in your audiences’ social media feeds and by search engines.

Use Social Media Effectively

Social media is a natural landing spot for your content. For each channel, you should ask some key questions that tell you the purpose of the channel, goals for your audience (do you want them to share, comment or register for something?), what type of content your audience wants, the right tone and how often you should post.

The content you post, as well as your tone and frequency, will look different for LinkedIn and Twitter, for instance. Evaluate how you’ll appeal to your specific audience on each channel and leverage the channel’s best practices.

Focus on Targeted Outreach

Find other places where you can place your content. From a guest post on Forbes to a sponsored infographic on a leading personal blog in your niche, there are opportunities outside of your channels that provide potential. Developing relationships with influencers in relevant topics can be a powerful strategy for getting your brand seen.

Utilize User-Generated Content

Ask for your customers and audience to participate in building content. You can run campaigns that call for pictures on social media, user-created videos that feature your brand and more. These types of opportunities can help motivate and engage your target audience better by getting them involved actively.

Track Impact of Engagement

Identify metrics on your website, social media accounts and more to gauge your effectiveness. Performance indicators not only inform what your return on investment is for your content marketing campaigns, but they help reveal ways you can improve. Track your success and test different things to capitalize on your ideas.

Online Audience Engagement Tools

Audience engagement tools offer an ideal way for marketers and small business owners to track engagement and/or communicate with customers. Here are some of the top audience engagement tools.

  • HubSpotThis social media tool allows you to develop a content calendar, automate posts and see a wide variety of data for your accounts. It’s one of the most popular tools of its kind for businesses of all sizes.
  • Zendesk: Improve relationships with your customers through this could-based tool. This customer service software and support ticketing system lets you gather customer feedback and address questions and requests for help. It is fully scalable.
  • IntercomIntercom is an integrated customer messaging application that has live chat, customer engagement and customer support features. It integrates with several platforms and tools, thanks to its flexible APIs.
  • MailChimp: Automate your email marketing campaigns for content efforts and more with MailChimp. You can schedule emails, use email templates, set up auto replies and track the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Outbrain: Outbrain is an advertising platform that places your content on premium websites. It produces 200 billion recommendations for consumers each month.
  • TweetDeck: This social media tool for Twitter lets you schedule tweets and track where your brand, industry or specific topics are mentioned.

Importance of A Marketing Education

Obviously, marketing is now more than ever an essential part of any business.  There should be someone on board, or at least under contract, who not only knows business but has a good understanding of the nuances of marketing.  But what if you’re a small company that doesn’t have that in your staff mix?

One answer is to work towards an  online bachelor’s degree in business administration that focuses on the marketing skills and tools graduates need to adapt and excel in the business world.  While there are many options, one that is particularly interesting is from Grace College.  Their GOAL (Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners) program is designed for students balancing personal commitments while pursuing an education.

The fully online MBA provides students with a strong foundation in marketing, accounting, finance and human resources as well as coursework in entrepreneurship. These programs can help graduates gain the skills needed in today’s marketing-intense world and pursue leadership opportunities in business.

Audience Engagement = Skillful Marketing

The cost of marketing takes an increasing bite out of the budgets of most businesses.  So it’s more important than ever to get it right, the first time.  Take the time to execute the elements of effective marketing we’ve pointed out, and your bottom line will thank you.

The post A Marketer’s Guide to Audience Engagement appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Happiness. We all deserve it. The pursuit of happiness is even enshrined in the US  Declaration of Independence. Each of us finds it in a different way: time with family or friends, the feeling of a job well done, spending an afternoon in the mountains, or with a good book. You would think there are as many kinds of happiness as there are people. In fact, there may only be three.

Three Kinds of Happy

Types of happiness, where they are found and their implications, are explored in the World Happiness Report  and in Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones of Happiness.  The report identifies six contributing factors:  caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Buettner says there are three drives that, when satisfied, can make us happy: Pleasure, Purpose, and Pride.  If you live in a culture that strongly encourages one of these, you are more likely to be happy.

Experienced Happiness: The Pursuit of Pleasure

Meet Lulu. At 40, Lulu has a wide circle of friends with whom she regularly goes dancing, hiking, or just hangs out, talking. Her friends and family, and the fun they have together, are the center of her life. Her job? Definitely secondary. Lulu is living a life of experienced happiness, also called positive affect. She lives every day to the fullest, focusing on maximizing joy, for herself and the people around her. Boettner identifies Costa Rica as the country and culture most representative of Experienced Happiness, which focuses on finding pleasure.

Endaimonic Happiness: The Purpose-Driven Life

Annett, a 35 year old mother of twin girls, is an archaeologist who also volunteers in her local community garden. She loves the constant discovery and learning in her career, and the way it contributes to our knowledge about our ancestors. She brings her girls to the community garden. Here they learn about the importance of nature, and the value in donating time to something important. Annett is living a purpose-driven life. Boettner says these people are most likely to answer yes to the question ‘did you do something interesting in the last 24 hours?’ Boettner identifies the Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark, as having a culture most representative of Endaimonic Happiness, which focuses on purpose.

Evaluative Happiness: Pride and Accomplishments

Last, meet Josephine, a 29 year old hedge fund manager. She loves her car (black BMW 5-series), her condo filled with works from edgy new artists, and her big bank account. Josephine is living the dream of evaluative happiness, which focuses on pride. Asked how happy she is, Josephine is likely to use a scale of 1 to 10. Boettner says Singapore is the classic example of this culture. It also resonates with many Americans.

The Secret to Happiness? Pursue your Happiness!

Your culture, your personality and your experiences combine to influence which type of happiness best fits you. The name is not important. What is most important is that you understand which one fits you best, and fill your life with it.

Oh, and the happiest countries? According to the 2017 World Happiness report, they are Norway Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

The post The Secret to Happiness? Choose Your Type appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Corporate Leadership Trainer Beate Nimsky, 66, has no problem presenting in front of 500+ people. She is a gun for hire, utilized by Ericsson, Europcar, Bosch, Siemens and Georg Fischer Automotive and other companies wanting to positively influence their mindset and culture.

As a child, however, Beate was silenced by her parents. Often. She carried this habit of shutting down into adulthood till a good friend pointed out she had “no voice” and was “asking too little of her life” so she made a decision to find it. Her voice. And use it.

“When I first stepped into leadership positions, I had to develop the inward courage to say what I authentically had to say,” Beate says. “When you know your own voice, you are not at risk of being controlled by other people’s expectations and judgments. It leads to profound confidence in yourself and your ability to be okay, no matter what.”

Today, Nimsky teaches corporate leaders how to connect with their authentic voice through her Right Voice for You program so they too can influence, inspire and motivate. Whether it’s a small team meeting or a large industry conference you’re presenting at, some of her top tips, include:

Never mimic another person’s message or delivery style 

Mimicry is always the reduction of your own energy, personality and choices. Find your own right voice and deliver your message in your way, without judgement.

Get clear on your message by asking yourself questions

What do you want to see different in your company? Your staff? Your audience?  Or is it your industry or your culture? Make sure the answer inspires you as it will increase your joy and your capacity to influence others when you open your mouth to speak.

Communicate that message, clearly and often

Talk to your staff about the meaning and values behind the company’s strategic direction. If the employees or audience understand your message and connects to the meaning, it’s easier for them to work hard, take action and be on brand for you.

Know what you want your audience to do with your communications

Talk to your audience as if they have already done what you’re asking of them. If you want to inspire a particular type of action, it’s always about knowing what you want them to do with the message, not the message itself.

Connect to the energy of everyone in the room

 Before speaking to an audience, get a sense of yourself and what kind of future you want to create in the world. Next, inhale the energy from behind yourself, move it up and out to the back of the room, then pull it back through every person in the room. Repeat.

Back yourself with positive self-talk

Firstly, prepare well. When it’s time to speak, tell yourself that ‘all I need is within me now’. Don’t go over the speech in your final minutes. Simply just be with yourself lovingly, knowing that everything you have to say will be there for you.

Engage your audience by asking questions about their future

Get audience members into their own experience with questions, such as: What would your future clients look like? What would you want to change for business to be x10 as successful 10 years from now? What will you do today to make that your future reality?

Use right words and examples for your audience

Your influence will depend on whether your audience is able to receive your message. Always be authentic with your message and be sure to use language, metaphors and stories that speak directly to the people, so they can receive it, fully.

Manage your stress and nerves

If you stay in the stress response, you will reduce your capacity to connect. Breathing oxygen into your anxiety will transmute it into excitement. Get excited about influencing people positively and your energy will carry both you and your message forward.

Know it’s okay not to be liked by everyone

You’re not going up there to be liked. You’re up there to deliver a message about the possibilities that others may not see yet. Remember, it is ok not to be the best fit for everybody’s box.

Understand that your courage to speak up is the contribution

So many people are afraid to speak publicly. Your courage to speak up is a wonderful contribution to the people sitting in front of you. If you talk about positive possibilities, then every word you share is a contribution because it opens up their potential and their world.

“Developing people’s ability to talk and present authentically inspires me,” says Beate. “It’s all about showing them how wonderful they truly are, creating the space for them to experience their true self and to change their beliefs about themselves and what they can or cannot do from a new range of possibilities.”

This guest post on how to be a leader provided via Beate Nimsky

Beate Nimsky is an inspirational catalyst for change, who works with CEOs, business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders in companies developing their leading abilities. She has been a pioneer in consulting and implementing value driven cultures in companies for more than 25 years.

She is a certified Right Voice for You facilitator, a specialty program of Access Consciousness, which she incorporates  within her coaching and consultations. Her new book Ask – And Create Your Life will be published in spring 2018.

The post How To Be A Leader Who Influences, Inspires, and Motivates appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Are you struggling to see the light at the end of your debt tunnel? You’re not alone. The average American household owes $15,654 in credit card debt, amounting to $905 billion nationwide. While some of this money includes households that pay off their balance each month, most households aren’t. The average household with revolving credit card balances pays $904 in interest each year.

According to the same report, since 2007, four major spending categories have all increased faster than the 20 percent income growth. Medical costs increased 34 percent, while food and beverages increased by 22 percent, and “other” expenses surged to 30 percent.

Are your arms up in the air wondering what you can do to get out of this mess? Do you want to get back and enjoy life without the constant stress of debt? You need a plan, not a wish, to make it happen. One such way is through debt relief assistance. These methods can slash considerable money off your overall balance in exchange for a percent fee based on your initial debt amount.

But as with any legitimate business, there’ll be fraudsters lurking in the shadows waiting to prey on unsuspecting consumers. To be sure you don’t get scammed, take a look at these tips for avoiding a debt relief solution that sounds too good to be true.

Ask About Their Success Record

Any debt relief company worth their salt will have a track record for delivering success. Don’t take a handful of positive online reviews and think you’ve made your decision. Look at the company’s website for more in-depth info. And if you can’t find it there, call and ask about how many customers they’ve helped to date, or the amount of overall debt they’ve resolved. Bottom line: many debt relief companies exist, but few have a proven track record of consistently delivering.

 Are They Legitimate?

An easy way to identify a not-so-legitimate debt relief operation is by what they promise or guarantee to make happen without even knowing any details or specifics about your debt situation. If they make too many promises that sound too good to be true, be careful. One national provider, Freedom Debt Relief, offers some tips on how to avoid debt relief scams on their site. Freedom states that you should  consider it a  red flag if they:

  • charge you a fee before they settle your debt.
  • promise to settle all debts for the same percentage reduction.
  • offer guarantees to make all debt go away.
  • tell consumer to stop communicating with creditors.
  • promise to stop debt collection calls and/or lawsuits.
  • guarantee to pay off all debts for pennies on the dollar.

Other red flags to watch out for include companies that ask for credit card or banking information prior to any consultation. No legitimate company would ask for anything without first learning about your situation and explaining their services.

Assessing the Good Based on the Bad

The more you’re aware of the common characteristics illegitimate and shady debt relief operations share, the better you’ll be at identifying the reputable ones. In general, look for companies that offer the opposite of the red flags above. This means the debt relief company you choose should:

  • Charge you nothing until a settlement is negotiated, but specifically not until the FTC’s three guidelines are satisfied:
  1. A successful result (settlement, renegotiation, reduction, etc.) for the customer must be reached.
  2. The customer must agree to the creditor agreement.
  3. The customer must make a payment to the creditor.
  • Communicates an estimated time frame for the settlements/renegotiations to be complete (exact timeframes will be hard for any company to give, but they should at least give you a general timeframe.)
  • Provide communication assistance to creditors, but don’t instruct you to stop your communications with them.
  • Charge a service fee range aligned with industry standards (15-35 percent)
  • Be accredited by American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and International Association or Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA)

Few people want outside help when it comes to getting ahold of their debt, but at a certain point only limited options exist. Debt relief assistance isn’t a get-out-of-debt-free card. However, it can empower those feeling trapped by assembling an actionable plan that, with some time, will have you on the road to saving again.

The post Three Simple Tips for Avoiding Debt Relief Scams appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Career regrets, whether we admit it or not, are part of the American Dream and its star-spangled ethos–an inseparable entity from the careers we choose. After all, they are how we get those white picket fences encircling the beautiful, sprawling front yard lawns; the two children, and the money to sustain these boons.

But as we plot the paths of our careers, we are destined for inevitable missteps, no matter how carefully we plan our quest. Even the best of us make miscalculations, mistakes, and sometimes even go so far as choosing the wrong careers.

Surprisingly, the biggest career regrets are not those formed in failing to climb the corporate ladder or make bigger paychecks, but rather the missed opportunities to take control of our destinies—both collective destinies and individual ones alike.

To ensure you don’t retire with feelings of rue, read the most common career regrets below and remember them during the daily grind—these gems of truth may pay off for you in the long run.

Not Continuing Your Education

Education is a very broad term, and it means many different things depending on with whom you discuss the topic. However, one thing is not debatable: Education is more accessible than it’s ever been, and there are more cost-effective resources available to learn today than ever before.

For instance, taking technology courses that provide you with webinar-based continuing professional education (CPE) credit and teach you how to leverage document management technologies to grow your skill set, can serve you long-term.

This will become especially true as software vendors provide more user certifications for the tools they develop.

How to Avoid the Regret

Although technology is increasingly the lens through which we learn, it will soon become the medium by which we not only learn our skill set, but demonstrate our skill set to others.

Take a coding class from Treehouse or learn to use marketing analytics tools to boost your web presence should you decide to go in to business for yourself (see the next entry).

Never Working for Yourself

The man is always going to take more of your paycheck than he or she deserves. Recent studies even suggest that if the per capita income of the average American 50 years ago was adjusted to today’s earnings, the median worker would be making over $90,000 annually.

The median income rests at about $32,000 per year.

How to Avoid the Regret

Document management for home use makes this possible for client-oriented consultants, freelancers, and more. Working for yourself and earning your own paychecks become more feasible when you have the efficiency of two people, and with only one pair of hands. Combine that with avoiding skyrocketing commercial real estate costs, and you have an easier path to startup success, whatever industry you decide to begin a business in.

Working Too Hard

Your life’s work should never be fully encapsulated by work itself. A significant body of research suggests working too many hours releases dopamine triggers in the brain also associated with habitual drug use—signifying that the motives behind “workaholism” are not to be glorified, but instead treated as a psychological condition.

There is far too much that goes in to life outside of work—love, relationships, family, crossing off items on the bucket list, etc.

Although hard work is an enormous merit, at a certain point it will only impede one’s happiness.

How to Avoid the Regrets

A shorter work week requires using the tools we need to become more efficient—not for greater economic output, but so we can live a better work-life balance, like the Scandinavian countries, who reputedly take as many as 3 months of paid leave per year.

Letting Bad Processes Keep You from Your Passion

Everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer, or movie star until they learn about the steps needed to embark on these career paths—all of which are extremely rigorous and demanding.

Modern office environments conjure feelings of drear not because the workers aren’t fit for the positions they hold, but because the processes of the office reduce most office activity to boring, trivial minutiae.

Have you ever heard someone say something like “I love my job, but the stuff that comes with it makes it hard to focus on the parts of it that I do enjoy”? Chances are you have, and you may have even chirped a similar expression yourself.

In most cases these feelings of minutia can be traced to trying to run 21st century businesses with 19th century mediums—paper-based documentation, and filing cabinets, which were invented over a hundred years ago by Edwin G. Seibels.

How to Avoid the Regret

If a thousand paper-based processes stand between you and helping a new client, your passion for customer service is going to dwindle.

If you fear a fax machine will leave blurred details on a document you send to an important vendor with whom you do business, the process itself will invoke fear, not excitement.

And if you send un-encrypted email attachments without an encrypted web portal, you’ll run the risk of letting client data be intercepted, and the fear of this alone is enough to stave off the enjoyment you entered the profession to acquire.

Avoiding Failure

Failure itself is not a bad thing. Taking chances produces discomfort, but this discomfort is the only way we can ever grow.

Most inventors and historically significant people understood this. These failures alone did not result in them having career regrets, but they did put their path to success in proper light.

Thomas Edison even said upon struggling to invent the light bulb that he had not failed, but rather found 10,000 ways that don’t work when it comes to, well, making a light bulb.

And Einstein constantly challenged his contemporaries to think differently, accepting the onus of social disgrace that came with it.

That said, failure remains something we should prepare ourselves for. If we go skiing without a helmet and intend to perform a back-flip, we aren’t adequately preparing ourselves to tackle new challenges with poise and confidence, because we are exposing ourselves to too much risk.

In the event of failure, permanent injury could be caused, or, even worse, death. Wearing a helmet cushions our falls and helps us feel safer in taking calculated risks. This is just part of career regrets when we apply the same concept to the office.

This precept applies to our careers. If we attempt to take big leaps of faith in career advancement without preparing ourselves for the event of failure, our growth will be stymied and we will end up worse than we were prior to taking the risk.

How to Avoid the Regret

Learning to use a document management system to cushion our risks in handling information can help us take greater risks as professionals. For instance, the mobile applications of these systems let us experiment with technology in client-facing contexts.

And the more we expose ourselves to this discomfort, the more rewarding it will be when clients get the service they need through that technology.

This guest post was authored by Jesse Wood

Jesse Wood is the CEO of document management software vendor, eFileCabinet. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations automate redundant processes, ensure security, and solve common office problems.

The post How to Avoid the 5 Biggest Career Regrets appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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In today’s day and age, web-design is a modern necessity and certainly an industry where the amount of work won’t run dry. Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe and North America, with thousands of companies relying on web designers to give them both a slick online presence and an easy way for customers to buy their goods. If you’re looking to enter the field of web design, the learning curve may be steep at first, but once you’re on the right path, all you have to do is to keep on walking to success. There are several important things that any aspiring web designer ought to know.

Entry Requirements

With degree inflation on the way, it seems everyone’s got a degree in just about anything, but you don’t always need qualifications to become a successful web designer. Companies and clients will be much more interested in your core skills. Broadly speaking, core skills in web design include some of the following:

  • User experience (UX)
  • Search engine optimisation, social media management and marketing skills
  • Visual design software skills
  • CSS and HTML coding
  • Skills in design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

You could take either a college or higher education course in a multimedia or web design related subject to boost some of the core skills you’ll need. Not everyone has the time to go to college, or the money to fork out on expensive courses, but it’s still entirely possible to learn almost all of these core skills through free courses on websites such as coursera, or through various free online video tutorials. Distance learning courses are becoming much more commonplace in the design education sphere – you can communicate with tutors from all over the world and from the comfort of your own home. If you’re already busy in a career and trying to transition to web design, a distance learning course could be the perfect solution.

Grow Your Portfolio

In design industries, future employers and clients will be looking at a practical demonstration of the skills you know to assess your employability. If you’re an aspiring web designer you should start building up a portfolio as soon as possible. Try applying for some apprenticeships or internships where you’ll be able to contribute to the industry and add these examples of your successful work to you physical portfolio.

Make sure that you don’t just leave your portfolio as is. Keep this important document well updated to reflect your growing skill set over time. Refine and update not only based on new work that you do but also to keep up with the latest trends and programming to show that you have knowledge.

Soft Skills

Once you’re bursting at the seams with technical know-how, you’ll want to focus on your soft skills in order to advance swiftly down that career path. Being a web designer requires you to be technically savvy, but without soft skills, you’ll fit in nowhere and won’t be able to deliver.

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are particularly valued in this field. When it comes to web-design, it’s not all about the back end. You’ll need to be able to communicate with your clients in ways that they can understand, as well as other creative directors and developers, on a daily basis. Speak about web design clearly and let your clients know that you understand every aspect of your field, but don’t try to come across arrogant and like you know it all, because others may get the wrong idea about you.

You’ll need to exercise excellent organisational skills, time management and diligence to keep on top of tasks. Acting professionally and developing a good work ethic will be just as vital as knowing which piece of code to input where. Just because you’ll be spending a lot of time behind a computer screen, doesn’t mean to say that it’s not impersonal work. A business sense will be crucial to getting clients on board or staying friendly with fellow members of staff.

Further Career Prospects

Become a successful web designer and you’re likely to learn many transferable skills. With enough experience, you could end up managing a whole team or you could move onto business management. Getting acquainted with the internet could allow you to branch off to other related careers to become the essay writer or the web content manager of the new year. If you love the job too and have learnt all there is to know about the industry, you could start up your own reputable web design business and be your own boss. The great thing about web design is that it naturally allows for some degree of flexibility and working from home or freelancing remotely can both be credible options.

Wrap Up

So in order to make a success of yourself in the Web Design field, make sure you can carry out the following:

  • Exercise strong creative skills
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Take a logical approach to work and develop problem solving skills
  • Work to deadlines and keep on top of tasks
  • Explain technical matters to clients in ways they can understand

Not only will you have to make good websites, you’ll have to learn to manage sites too. Planning, marketing and communication all fall into play here. Learn how to sell yourself as the perfect person for the job. As you’ll be working with businesses, develop a business sense from the get go, in order to give your career the head start it needs. Don’t forget that in this ever changing industry, it’ll be important to keep up with new tech in order to grow your career and be the best you can be.

This guest post was authored by Christina Battons

Christina is a web content expert from LA. Creative writer who is able to connect various thougts into a single theme. Christina loves to stay up to date on the latest content marketing trends. Her works have been published on theessaywriter.net and other resources. Connect with Christina on Twitter.

The post Become a Successful Web Designer: Education and Career Roadmap appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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35% of the total U.S. workforce currently freelance.

Boulder, CO, March 12, 2018– According a survey from FlexJobs, freelancers enjoy work on average more than their non-freelance counterparts. To demonstrate the various opportunities in the freelance job marketplace and help freelancers connect to jobs they enjoy, FlexJobs has identified the top 10 career categories and the top 30 companies hiring freelancers so far in 2018. These lists are based on an analysis of over 49,000 companies and their freelance job posting histories in FlexJobs’ database between January 1 and February 28, 2018.

The Top Five Careers For Freelance

Computer & IT, Accounting & Finance, HR & Recruiting, Editing, and Administrative are the top five career categories with the most freelance job listings in 2018. Kelly Services, Real Staffing and Kforce are the top three companies hiring freelancers. Examples of current diverse freelance job listings include data analyst, receptionist, project manager, bookkeeper, content designer, QA specialist, chemist, proposal writer, and HR specialist.

“The type of freelance job opportunities available in the job marketplace has grown substantially over the last decade, covering a wide range of industries,” said Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “The demographics of freelancers are just as varied, spanning generations, educational backgrounds, and career levels, but they share an important commonality, which is that they freelance because they value work-life balance and flexible work arrangements can help them achieve it,” Sutton Fell concluded.

The Top 15 Freelance Job Companies

Below are the top 15 companies, ordered from greatest to least, for the number of freelance job postings during the first two months of 2018.  The majority of companies featured on this list are staffing agencies and hire for a variety of positions. For the full list of 30 companies and the top 10 career categories with the most freelance job listings, go the the FlexJobs post

1.   Kelly Services

2.   Real Staffing

3.   Kforce

4.   Accounting Principals

5.   Randstad

6.   Ajilon

7.   Dahl Consulting

8.   Computer Futures

9.   Onward Search

10.  Robert Half

11.  Creative Group

12.  Aerotek

13.  TEKsystems

14.  Adecco

15.  VocoVision

According to a new study by WiseBrand, 42% of freelancers reach their earning goal within their first year of freelancing. 52% of those who reached their earning goal within one year earn above $75,000 per year.

Tips for Landing a Freelance Job

There are a number of different ways to find freelance jobs. Below are some tips to consider:

  • Figure out your freelance niche.
  • Set up a solid freelance foundation.
  • Consider your network.
  • Reach out to old employers.
  • Drum up new business.
About FlexJobs

FlexJobs is committed to helping people find a better way to work. As the leading online service for professionals seeking remote, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs, FlexJobs offers opportunities in over 50 career categories, ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time. FlexJobs also sets itself apart by providing job seekers with a better, safer, and more efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible jobs. Having helped nearly three million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has appeared in CNN, CNBC, TIME, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and hundreds of other trusted media outlets. 

The post FlexJobs Names Top Career Categories & Companies for Freelance Jobs appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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So you’ve successfully set up your freelance business. But do all businesses fall into the same basket? Or do people just arbitrarily interchange terms? The fact is that freelancing and entrepreneurship are two distinct, albeit very similar, things.

Both are part of the “process to financial independence”, with freelancing being somewhere at the halfway point (yes, if you’re smoothly sailing through the freelance waters you’re already halfway there, so congrats!).

Freelancing is a bridge between a day job and full-fledged entrepreneurship.

If your ultimate dream is to eventually set up your own business, then freelancing is a fantastic way to start because it lays the groundwork to springboard you to the next level.

The risk factor is considerably lower (the risk is limited to securing and retaining clients) than with full-fledged entrepreneurship.  And you can start earning straight away thanks to myriad resources and support for freelancers out there. It’s the most reliable form of non-employed income.

Now, let’s take a look at key differences between freelancing and entrepreneurship and which type of (ad)venture would be more reflective of your career aspirations, personality and lifestyle.

Freelancers trade time for money, entrepreneurs depend on systems that help them make money while they sleep

 The main difference between freelancing and entrepreneurship is in relation to time and money.

Seth Godin, a best-selling author, entrepreneur and a self-proclaimed agent of change, was quite to the point when he said:

“Freelancers get paid for their work. If you’re a freelance copywriter, you get paid when you work. Entrepreneurs use other people’s money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid when they sleep.”

As a freelancer you typically have a skill that you can exchange for money. This may be writing, designing, coding, etc. However, you only make money when you work.

As an entrepreneur, on the other hand, you depend on systems, automation and, hopefully one day, your own employees (you can hire other writers, designers or coders) that work without your direct involvement. If you take yourself out of the equation your business should still work.  Hence, you’re able to make money in your sleep.

 Freelancers sell their skills to established markets, entrepreneurs look for a gap in the market that can be filled

 As a freelancer you fulfil your client’s vision by offering your skills as a form of service. And that’s about where your responsibility for solving the world’s critical issues ends. You don’t have to do anything more, your job has been done.

As an entrepreneur you look under every nook and cranny in the search of your very own special place in the market. If you identify a need – a gap in the market – it’s your one of a kind opportunity to fulfil it. The more urgently people need your products or services turned into products, the more money you’ll make.

“Freelancing is simple and more direct, entrepreneurship is juicier and more complex”

These are the words of a man who dabbled in both worlds. Pardeep Goyal enjoyed both freelancing and entrepreneuring (this one a bit more, he admits) after leaving the nine-to-five corporate grind for good.

He says that introverted specialists tend to thrive as freelancers, but once you decide to upgrade your career path and take the entrepreneurial plunge, you’ll need to become more of an extroverted generalist.

This is because solid people skills will come in immensely handy when you finally decide to expand your empire by building a team (it’s always recommended to hire people better than you by the way). Being able to call yourself a generalist pays off, too, since running a little empire usually requires “fireworks of skills”.

It goes without mentioning that another significant difference lies in earning potential.

In the realm of freelancing, the only way to generate more income is to increase the price of your services. And even then your income has a ceiling because businesses and individuals are willing to pay only so much for the services you offer. In the realm of entrepreneurship there’s no income ceiling. Especially if you manage to hit the sweet spot and your business idea fulfils the right market need.

These insights on freelancing and entrepreneurship  authored by Katarina Matiasovska

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.


The post What is that thin line between freelancing and running your own business? appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Too much work.  Politics, both in the world and in the office.  Relationships that take constant nurturing.  And all the other demands of life.  All that means most of us have at least a few bouts of being over-stressed from time to time.

Stress, of course, isn’t the natural state of your body.  It can lead to all manner of complications and ailments, which can even ultimately end in death.  So it’s not a good idea to let stress go on with no response to eliminate or at least reduce it.  Hopefully, you’re not prone to handling stress with alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal) because both have their own brand of further negative consequences. That said, when there is too much stress in your life, what are some ways to respond to stress that are more healthy?Here’s some ideas to help in general, and some ways to handle typical stress-related symptoms.

Responding To Stress Naturally

When you’ve got too much stress, try these active responses:

  • Meditate.  No it’s not about chanting.  It’s about centering and relaxing.  It’s been proven to have tons of benefits.  If you’re ready to get serious about it and want to know more, check out the book review  we published recently about a truly awesome book full of great how-to tips.
  • Yoga and exercise.  Physical activity encourages your body to chemically counteract the negative chemistry related to stress.  Run, walk, climb the stairs, just get some exercise.
  • Pause.  Rather than let your mind and body go into “fight or flight” mode when you encounter a stressful situation, remind yourself to stop and consider what’s going on.  Evaluate your options and remember that this is just a relatively small point in time that will soon pass. You’ve got this.
  • Connect with nature.  A walk in the park or in the woods or even the desert can work wonders to re-center and calm yourself.
Responding To Stress-Related Symptoms

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., an Osteopathic Physician lists some ways that stress can affect your body and provides methods to manage it with herbal supplements and natural alternatives:

Symptom: Insomnia

Solution: Magnesium helps to relax the body while also easing anxiety. Melatonin supplements can help regulate sleep and wakefulness and Chamomile tea is great for relaxation and sleep.

Symptom: Low energy

Solution: Asian Ginseng, Vitamin B12 and Green Tea are all known to increase one’s energy levels.

Symptom: Stomach aches, Body aches and pain

Solution: Peppermint oil is good for stomach aches and occasional massages with essential oils and hot baths can sooth aches and pain induced by stress.

Symptom: Common cold and Infections

Solution: Echinacea and Astragalus, two herbs with immune-supporting properties, as well as Vitamin C and D can assist with common colds and other infections.

Too Much Stress?  Take Charge!

Just as you would any other conditions that affect your well-being, you can and should take an active role in responding to stress.  Whether it’s working controlling the stress or it’s common symptoms, you have choices that can make a huge difference in your health both short and long term.

The post Too Much Stress? Try These Natural Remedies appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Women’s voices are important now, more than ever, and these new books shine a light on some of the most influential female writers of the century. Whether you’re struggling to get past a new hurdle, searching for the courage to find a new beginning or just need a little inspiration to accomplish your goals, these true stories and the strong female voices behind them will give you the push you’ve been looking for.  Grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, and settle in for a relaxing read!

Rudy’s Rules for Travel: Life Lessons from Around the Globe by Mary K. Jensen

This new memoir takes readers on a trip as they join Mary and Rudy on their worldwide adventure. Rudy, a World War II vet, has certain rules for travel which come in handy as the married couple run into more than a few sticky situations during their daring honeymoon. A story about one fearless man and his comfort-seeking wife, Rudy’s Rules for Travel is an inspiring adventure about love and trying things that scare you.  

BRAVE by Rose McGowan

 In Rose McGowan’s first book, the actress and advocate puts it all on the table when it comes to the subject of Hollywood and their methods of exploiting her in order to build her career for their own gain.. As the glitz of stardom slowly became a dark reality for the actress, she decided to use her voice to stand up for herself instead of stay complacent, disrupting the industry as a whole. This painfully honest debut tells the inspiring story of a brave woman who refused to settle for anything less than she deserved.  

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

 From the author of the New York Times bestseller Swing Time comes a new collection of essays about our current social climate and Smith’s personal life. Covering compelling topics of social media, art and the issues facing our modern world, Feel Free is an engaging read that combines real-life experience and thought-provoking arguments to inspire readers to get involved in matters that are important to them and bring about change.

Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself by Linda Curtis

 Linda Curtis has never known anything but her strict religious faith in being a Jehovah’s Witness but after one encounter with a friendly face, her faith and way of life will be permanently shaken. Leaving her religion, husband and community behind, Linda will be forced to find her way in the world without anyone’s help. Shunned is a story of courage and strength, perfect for anyone feeling trapped in a life they hadn’t expected.  

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

 For Tara Westover, childhood in the remote mountains of Idaho was a constant routine of chores, mastering survival skills and physical abuse. After hearing about her brother’s successes in college, Tara makes the choice to leave home and seek out an education, setting off on a journey that will take around the world. A true story of self-invention and family, Educated is the memoir to help motivate your biggest dreams.

Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew

 For any young woman who is feeling lost in the world, Am I There Yet? is the guide to help you on your path to growing up conquering the world. Mari Andrew knows that finding your path in life is never easy and using her own life experience as a road map, this new release features the encouraging voice of a woman who chose the road less traveled and found her true self at the end of it.

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

 Kate Bowler thought she had her life completely figured out until an alarming diagnosis came to threaten both her life and faith. Clouded by religious ideas that positive thoughts can heal all, Bowler comes to terms with her cancer diagnosis and the fact that she couldn’t do anything to prevent it in this memoir.Everything Happens for a Reason questions what it means to really live when your days are suddenly numbered, encouraging readers to not take a single minute for granted.   

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins

 Young writer Morgan Jenkins tackles what it’s really like to be a black woman today in this debut series of linked essays. Feeling marginalized by both her gender and race, Jenkins details her place in influential events like the feminist movement as well as her daily struggles with things like body image and dating men who claim to not “see color.” One of the most anticipated books of 2018, This Will Be My Undoing brings an important insight into what it takes to reach true equality in our country—an essential read for all Americans.

The post Real Stories About Real Women to Motivate You appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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