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business Archives - Page 3 of 5 - The SamplerThe Sampler
5 Common Mistakes Copywriters Make

These 5 Rookie Mistakes are Getting Your Work Overlooked

There is no blue print to the perfect copy but there are general things writers can avoid.  I found a great Foundr interview by esteemed copywriter Joanna Wiebe who gave some tips on how to write engaging content that really resonates with fans, customers, and followers. Here is what I took away from what Joanna had to say on common mistakes writers make:

Sounding Too Polished

The hardest thing for people to do is be themselves in every situation, especially when it comes to business. We have been conditioned to “sound” professional and it is killing our ability to connect with people. Talk normal.

Using “Obvious” Words

Personally, I cannot tell you how many times I see the words “motivating”, “resource”, “platform”, “lifestyle”, and “empowering”. If tons of other entrepreneurs and creatives are using them, you shouldn’t be using them. I have to say I’m guilty of doing this myself. Cracking open the thesaurus as we speak…

Being Simple and Straight To The Point

Being concise is great, but being “simple” may not always work in your favor. Straight to the point is can be dull and it typically will not catch someone’s attention. Wiebe wasn’t necessarily in favor of being long winded but the point she was trying to get across was this: Pack a punch with how you express yourself.

Trying to “Think” of Great Copy

Your best copy is not a thought in your head. Go out and look for words your followers are actually using. Look in forums, Youtube comments, and use words that come up in natural language.

Playing it Safe

Safe is boring and it won’t get you noticed. Joanna said it best- “If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not doing it right”

You can catch Johanna’s full Founder interview here.

How To Budget Fluctuating Cash Flow

Budgeting with a stable income can be difficult but budgeting on a fluctuating income can seem impossible. Freelancers, creative types, and artists know this life all to well. I came across a great article that gives great advice on how to budget on a variable income.

This article was originally published on Artist Hub

Author: Chris Enns

How To Budget on a Variable Income

‘Budgets just don’t work for me… my income is too variable.’
‘I can’t make automatic debt payments because… well… variable income.’
‘There’s no way I could possibly do jury duty… don’t you know that I have ​variable income.’

I’ve heard all the excuses many times, sometimes out of my own mouth. But it’s not true. You can do all the same financial stuff that every one else does. You just might have to figure out a way to do it that makes sense with how you spend money.

You’re spending it wrong

I don’t mean that you’re spending it in the wrong places. I mean that you’re spending it at the wrong time.

One of the hardest things about variable income is that you have no idea how much is coming in from month to month so how can you make any sort of plan?

Regular income earners know exactly what’s coming in every month, that way they can make decisions about how much to save, how much to spend, all that fun stuff.

You may not have any idea if this month is going to be amazing or an exercise in coupon clipping.

So what’s a freelancer to do?


Shifting the space time continuum

What if you could know on the first of every month how much you have to spend that month?

Then you could make a plan, right? If it was a lot, you would know that you could save some… maybe chip away at the old debt. And if it was a low month you would know to keep your eyes open for sales on ground beef.

Sounds pretty perfect.

Well, you can.. if you just shift your spending. Instead of spending money as it comes in, you spend what you make this month​, next month.

It’s a trick I learned from the good folks at YNAB. Every month you only spend what you made the month before. It’s still a variable amount, but suddenly you’re able to budget and know if you can afford to save/pay down your debt.


Making the transition

How do you make that transition? How do you handle months when you don’t make anything at all? Patience.

It took me around six months to be able to shift over from living “month to month” to a “live off last month’s income” format.

What you do is slowly save a full month’s income, and when that’s ready you make the switch.

On the month you switch tactics you live off the money you saved up, and then when the first of the next month comes around… you’ll have (hopefully) another pile of money ready to budget and spend.

You need how much you already spend in an average month. If you don’t know that already,  use this handy worksheet to figure it your budget.


Managing dry months

Whatever system (or lack of system) you use there are going to be dry times. But at least with this basic idea of living off last month’s income, you’ll be able to see those months coming. Actually, the dry month isn’t so bad because, remember, you’ll be living off the last month’s income. It’s the next month that’s going to be really rough so you will know to plan a lean time in advance.

Set up an emergency fund to get you through bad times and add a little bit it o it in the months you can afford to save.

Getting out of the uncomfortable comfort zone

You might be sitting there thinking: ‘That doesn’t sound easy at all.’.

Certainly transitioning to a live-on-last-month system takes a little effort to set up. But is it ‘easy’ to live pay cheque to pay cheque? Is it Is it ‘easy’ to deal with the uncertainty of every month wondering if you’re going to make it?

What’s ‘easy’ is assuming that things always have to be this way.

The hard truth is that with a bit of effort you can take control of your finances, however variable your income.

8 Simple Ways to Boost Your Most Important Relationships

Personally and professionally, relationships are at the center of who we are. Whether they are with a parent, spouse, or child, or your boss, team, co-worker, or business partner, your most important relationships are worth the time and care you put into them.

As a leadership coach and business consultant, I see the benefits of making your most important relationships a priority every single day.

Great relationships not only make working easier; they also improve productivity. Deeply connected relationships cultivate trust and mutual respect.

Relationships take effort and hard work, but like anything important in our life, they’re well worth preserving.

Here are some simple ideas to keep your relationships humming, at work and at home.

 

1. Make a dedicated time for those who matter.

Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it’s just 20 minutes, perhaps broken up into five-minute segments. Let those who are close to you know that you see them as a priority.

 

2. Attack the problem, not the person.

When problems arise–and they will–take the time to understand the problem and the person. Instead of spreading blame,  take the opportunity to learn something and practice solving problems collaboratively.

 

3. Be the most positive person you know.

Positive people are grateful people; they know the measure of how to appreciate others. They focus on what matters to them and they make what matters them important.

 

4. Never jump to conclusions.

Don’t respond to any situation until you have the whole picture. Nothing can cause more harm to a relationship than jumping to false conclusions, so let go of your biases and judgments. Learn to stay open-minded and work on getting informed.

 

5. Underpromise and overdeliver.

The best way to show people they’re important to you is to follow through on your commitments. Give more than is expected.

 

6. Communicate candidly and honestly.

A good relationship starts with good communication. Don’t let silence get between what you have to say to each other. Good communication has to be developed, and the process takes effort. Don’t stop talking when something needs to be said and don’t speak when someone else needs to be heard.

 

7. Be passionately appreciative.

Everyone wants to be appreciated. Don’t wait for perfection to strike; just appreciate and enjoy your colleagues, family, and friends for who they are.

 

8. Connect through service.

Too many relationships are built on each party wanting to get something out of the deal. But the only way a relationship will last is if you treat it as a place where you go to give, not to take.

Working on your important relationships is a way of life that’s worth pursuing–because the quality of those relationships is the quality of your life.

Source: inc.com

Top 8 Networking Tips You Should be Doing

8 Networking Tips That Will turn You into a Pro

Ahh networking. It’s one of those things we all hate to do, but it is becoming exponentially important with every passing minute. The business world has always been, and continues to be extremely competitive. Landing a job is even more challenging than it ever was. Trying to freelance or start your own business can be even more discouraging when you feel as if you’re not connected. When I took a leap of faith and launched The Sampler, a business resource for creative entrepreneurs, I quickly realized networking was going to be the lifeblood of its success. There’s no need for me to say “who you know” is more important than “what you know”, but alas I said it any way. I’ve made a lot of mistakes networking and felt like it was a complete waste of time for years. A good friend recommended I read a book called The Little Black Book of Connections that helped me see the error of my ways. After I made a few tweaks, it completely changed the way I approached professional relationships and made me money.

I’ve compiled 8 things I’ve done that have transformed the way I network and been profitable to my business.

1.) Go alone– It’s only natural to want to go with co-workers or friends, so you don’t feel like a complete outcast at a networking event. The only problem with going with friends is that you may end up only talking to them, having a few drinks, and then leaving…with little to no new contacts. The first time I went to a mixer by myself, I looked like a deer in headlights in some poorly lit corner in the back of the room by myself. I left after 20 minutes and didn’t talk to one person. The downside is that it sucks a lot at first. The upside is that it forces you to talk to people and surprisingly makes you look more approachable. Even if you fail miserably at your first attempt to network alone, keep doing it! It will change your life. I promise. Almost every profitable connection I made happened when I was by myself. Even now, when I go with friends I typically make 1–2 new connections. When I’m alone, I triple the number.

2.) Use compliments as an icebreaker- Who doesn’t love a good ego boost? Walking up to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation can be rough. Finding an icebreaker is difficult, but kind words will win every time. Compliment the person’s shoes or attire and ask them where they got it. Maybe a hair cut or tattoo. Everyone loves to talk tell people their tattoo stories. Conversation typically will flow easily from there.

3.) Try not to judge– I can’t tell you how many times I see professionals at networking events sizing up who they think is “important” and completely dismissing anyone else that they can’t immediately see value in. These people almost never get ahead. Of course you should focus your time on who is most relevant to you, but be a little open minded. The help I’ve received has usually come from the most unexpected places and from people I would have never thought had a connection I needed.

4.) Don’t wait until you need something– The worst kind of networking you can do is the kind when you are desperate. You’re in between jobs and need someone to hire you, you need last minute funding to make a quarterly deadline, or any other reason that has you in a pinch is not the only time you should be shaking hands, passing out business cards, and feverishly email stalking them after the event in hopes that you can get what you need.

5.) Don’t limit yourself to “networking events”– The best networking usually doesn’t happen at a facilitated event deigned specifically to network. I’ve gotten more business from a random conversation at Bevmo or from friends of friends than an after work mixer. Don’t wait for a formal event to strike up a conversation and tell the world what you have to offer.

6.) Don’t bombard the “expert” speaker– There may have been a public figure that was making an appearance at an event and you had to get on the first thing smoking to make it there. This expert’s contact information, or five minutes of their time is all you need right? Wrong. Chances are the industry expert that was asked to speak on a panel is probably the last person that is really going to help you…at least for free. If you want one-on-one time, sign up for their workshops or buy their books. There is a good chance a lot of your peers in the room will be extremely valuable to you. Get to know them.

7.) Follow Up– The money is in the follow up. If you remember any of the other tips above, you absolutely will not succeed without doing this one. Your relationships will only grow if you continue to stay in touch. Don’t be a business card collector and let them accumulate dust on your desk. Follow up with a coffee date and continue to find ways to stay connected to that person even if there is no immediate way that they can help you.

8.) Show value– A mistake I made when first networking is that I was constantly telling people what I needed from them or what could benefit me. People don’t care about what they can do for you, they care about what you can do for them. After connecting with someone at en event, send them articles related to their industry, or make an introduction to someone else that can help them even if you can’t. Constantly make yourself valuable helping other people and it will come back to you one way or another.

 

 

What “Stupid” People Are Doing Right

bertrand russel quote

Have you ever had a boss that made you wonder how they possibly made it this far in life, let alone ahead of you? What about that employee that was far from an over achiever yet somehow landed the promotion over you? Or how about the CEO who seems to not actually know what the hell is going on in the company more often than not. Have you ever felt like there’s an epidemic of less-than-qualified people running our lives, our businesses, and even our country? There’s a reason for it. The Kardashians, George Bushes, and Honey Boo Boos of the world seem to be winning, and they may not be as dumb as you perceive them to be.  Let’s not get carried away. I’m not implying that these people should be in the same classification as Einstein. I’m just saying they know something and are doing something right that some of us haven’t figured out yet.

 

I assumed that people perceived as “smart” had an automatic one-way ticket to success. It only made logical sense to me that “smart” people should be promoted, or in positions of power and leadership.  Rookie mistake. After years of failure, I finally got off my high horse and decided to study this specimen of the “dumb” population and take note of what they did to get where they are. Here are six qualities successful people tend to have regardless of intellect or societal status:
 

1.) They’re sociable– Highly successful people don’t have to be the most intelligent, most accomplished, or highest performing at any task. An old boss once told me “people hire people they like and they take care of people they like”. In retrospect I realize I had a tendency to be anti-social in the work place and in my career.  I paid the price with missed opportunities and promotions, because I didn’t participate in anything other than work. I didn’t join the company soft ball team, go with co-workers to happy hours, or pop into my boss’s office just to say hello. I didn’t make my presence felt on a personal level.

 

2.) They delegate – Sometimes the less you know works to your advantage. Brainiacs have a hard time letting go of control because they typically feel they can do the task better than the next person. Highly successful have no problem giving away things to do even if the task is not done perfectly to their standard.

 

3.) They ask for help– God forbid you don’t know how to do something. Asking someone for help can seem like blasphemy to some. I wasted so much time in my career and business trying to figure out how to do everything myself. I do mean everything. Even the most remedial task of organizing excel spreadsheets (why didn’t I get an intern sooner?). I never wanted to look incompetent by asking someone for help or admitting I didn’t know how to do something. That was the most counterproductive thing I could have ever done. Once I learned to ask for help, I took a lot of stress off of myself and things got done faster and more efficiently. Successful people are not afraid to make a mistake or admit they may not be strong in certain areas.

 

4.) They promote themselves– Shameless promotion is something I struggled with and to a certain extent still struggle with in small ways. I used to think bragging about your accomplishments to your boss or  constantly promoting something you do was annoying and douchey. I actually still think these things can be annoying and douchey but they are necessary. Nobody is going to care about something they don’t know about. Your boss is not going to remember you when the time comes for that promotion, if you’re hiding in your cubicle all day. Your business will not thrive no matter how amazing it is, if you don’t tell anyone and everyone about it. Speak up. Speak often.

 

5.) They act– Highly successful people don’t spend time over thinking and calculating every move before they do something. They make decisions quickly and take action towards their goals. If they miscalculated something or made a mistake they deal with it as it comes, but they key is action. You’ll always be one step ahead doing, than the person thinking about doing.

 

6.) They believe in themselves– Highly successful people tend to doubt themselves less than others no matter how crazy or stupid they may appear to be. People who spend a lot of time analyzing and overloading themselves with information have a tendency to doubt everything. Questioning things can be healthy but going overboard can stifle progress. A big problem I had was this constant feeling that I was never “ready”. My work never good enough to submit to a client. If I felt something could be better, I didn’t want to put it out to the word because it wasn’t “perfect”. I spent so much time focusing on what I didn’t have or didn’t know and kept me down mentally. I finally looked up one day and focused on what i did know and what i had accomplished. It changed my life.

 

The next time you come across a people that don’t measure up to your standards of what success should look like, ask them how they did it. They’re obviously doing something your not.

Business Advice: “Never go at it alone.”

No matter how brilliant, resourceful, or multi-faceted you are, there will come a time when you are simply just spread too thin. There is nothing more powerful and relieving than receiving help from those around you. This could be a simple favor from a friend or family member, hiring an intern, looking for investors, or finding a business partner. Whatever goals you are looking to hit, just remember to have some extra hands involved to expedite the process.

Quote of The day: “There’s no such thing as multi-tasking.”

Why Multi-Tasking Doesn’t Work When You’re Trying to Be Great

Ok. In all fairness, there is such a thing as multitasking when it comes to remedial things but multi tasking does not exist when you’re trying tackle things that are detrimental to your business or your personal life. Answering emails, while taking a phone call with Verizon about your bill, and posting on Instagram may work fine. Trying to make several important business or life changes simultaneously do not work the same way. We all have things that constantly move up and down on our priority list. Particularly in business, you may feel like everything is a priority. It’s not. When you feel overwhelmed because you realize how many important things you have to take care, take a moment to stop and single out one that trumps the rest. Once you find it, focus only on that one thing. Once you’ve tackled that, pick another and complete. Keep repeating the process. One step at a time.

Top 5 Best Side Jobs to Have While Launching Your Start Up

5 Ways to Make Extra Cash That You Probably Haven’t Considered

A lot of us have dreams of one day quitting our 9 to 5 to enjoy the free life of entrepreneurship. If you’re past the stage of just dreaming and have your business half way off the ground, you’ll find that it’s hard to juggle your day job and your passion project. There will come a point where you have to take a leap of faith and go all in with your business. There’s of course the problem of having to still be financially sustainable during those times, so we’ve put together a list of jobs that will keep you afloat until your business takes off.

  1. Substitute Teaching- If you’re a college grad then this is a great option for you. It’s a great way to make some supplemental income to keep you afloat and allow you the time to focus on your business with a flexible schedule. You’ll need a degree from a four year institution and pass an exam called CBEST, and you’re good to go. Once you have that, let the staffing agencies do the work to place you at schools in your area. Your placement is on a day-to-day basis, so you can decline or accept a sub teaching job whenever you want.
  2. Uber Driving– If you have a car that is halfway running this could be a great option. This is by far the easiest way to make money fast with the least amount of time to get started.  Uber drivers on average make anywhere between $15.00-$20.00 per hour and it’s always a great way to do some soft networking with people you would probably never meet in another setting. I’ve done this personally, and it really helped me through tough times when I was first starting out. You can sign up through my partnership code here.
  3.  Freelancing/Consulting– Are you really knowledgable on certain topics outside of your regular day job? If so, you could position yourself as a freelancer or consultant. People will pay for the information you have. When I was younger, I had gotten laid off of so many jobs that I had become an expert at resume writing because I was always on the job hunt. I realized people were really intimidated to write resumes and not that great at making their resume stand out. People had no problem paying me to write their resumes for them. Cha ching.
  4. Copywriting/Writing– Do you have a way with words? Great writers are hard to come by, and there are a number of brands, websites, corporations who will gladly pay someone to write copy for marketing materials, company websites, and other content for their businesses. Put your skill to use.
  5. Contact Database– If you’re a social butterfly, you could be making money doing it. If you’re the kind of person that loves to schmooze, you could be charging people to connect them to high-profile people you have access to. If startups are looking for contacts to other brands, you can introduce them and charge a finder’s fee.

These are just a few but in fact there are a million ways to make money. You just have to be resourceful. Starting your own business can be rough and you’re going to need alternative ways to generate income that don’t take up a lot of your time. When you’re ready to go full force with your dream, having the reassurance that you’ll be able to keep your water and power on is crucial. Live the dream! Good luck!

Tip of the Day: Include a Marketing Budget

Don’t Forget to Include a Marketing Budget

Marketing is one of the crucial elements that make your business go, but is often the most overlooked piece of a business plan. So many small business owners and entrepreneurs spend all of their efforts developing the product or service and nothing toward actually spreading the word about what they have to offer.  Your hard work will go to waste if no one knows it exists. Furthermore, you will most likely reach a point where free marketing just wont cut it. Put some money aside for paid marketing. Chances are you’re going to need it.

Magazine Goals: Hearst Invests $21 Million in Complex

Hearst Invests $21 Million in Complex

Hearst Corp. has acquired a minority stake in Complex, via a $21 million investment. Complex publishes a bi-monthly magazine and owns several other sites, including pigeonsandplanes.com, fourpins.com andfirstwefeast.com. (FishbowlNY)

Complex began as a print publication in 2002 and has since expanded into a multiple websites that now collectively reach 57 million millennial men each month while still publishing six times a year. The widely discussed Aug./Sept. issue featured Khloe Kardashian on the cover.(THR)

Hearst executive Neeraj Khemlani, who runs the company’s digital studios and steered this investment, will take a board seat at Complex. Complex started out in 2002 as designer Marc Ecko’s fashion magazine and now says it reaches 57 million visitors a month in the U.S. and generates 192 million video views a month.(Re/code)

The $21 million strategic investment is the latest of several Hearst has made recently in video-heavy digital media companies, including Vice Media and AwesomenessTV. The deals come amid a wave of partnerships between digital media upstarts and traditional media giants seeking to attract younger audiences that have migrated online. (WSJ)