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How to Care for Yourself While Running a Startup

how to care for yourself while running a startup

As business owners, it’s easy to put the needs of others above our own. There is always somebody essential that wants or needs something – whether employees, clients, or even the dozens of emails waiting in your inbox. However, just because you have a demanding schedule, you don’t have to neglect self-care.

If you don’t make time for activities away from work, your mental and physical health will suffer – and so will your business. The healthier you feel inside and out, the more effectively you will be able to handle work responsibilities. Here are six ways to care for yourself while running a startup.

1. Schedule Me Time

The only way to stay consistent with self-care is to purposefully incorporate it into your daily schedule. Make it a priority to schedule some me time every day, even if it’s just fifteen minutes before you start work. Use this time to do anything that will make you happy and relaxed, whether that be journaling, doing yoga, practicing meditation, or just enjoying a good book. Keep this up every day, and you’ll spend more of your waking hours in a state of calm, as opposed to stressed and anxious.

2. Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is known to be one of the best stress relievers – helping to ease tension, improve your sleep quality, and boost your mood. But you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or tons of money at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Doing small chunks of physical activity throughout the week is enough. During the work day, use your breaks to get moving outside, even it’s just to take the dog for a walk. Commit to a fun outdoor activity that you love on the weekends – this will give you the balance you need between work life and your personal time.

3. Plan Your Meals

The foods you consume impact your cognitive thinking. A busy schedule, however, can make maintaining a healthy diet a challenge – sometimes it’s easier to just grab fast-food or order takeout. To avoid making poor food choices, prioritize planning your meals ahead of time. Having healthy meals prepared for the week will save you time during your busy workday.

4. Take a Break from Technology

We are all guilty of spending too much time with technology. Startup business owners find it especially hard to get away from technology when you have constant emails, demands, requests, and messages coming in. This is why it’s so important to set boundaries around the times when you will respond.

When you’re taking a break, the best thing to do is put your phone and computer out of sight so that you aren’t tempted to look at work messages. This will make it less tempting to think about your business 24/7 and give you a much-needed break from technology screens.

how to care for yourself while running a startup

5. Spend Time in Nature

Nature has a calming effect on the mind. The beauty and serenity of the outdoor world create a sense of peace you obviously don’t get in a working environment. Just getting outside during the week will rejuvenate your mind and help to relieve stress and mental fatigue. For additional benefit, try going barefoot – this has been shown to build muscle strength and reduce feelings of anxiety.

6. Plan a Weekend Getaway

Running a startup can be physically and mentally exhausting. If you can manage, make plans for a weekend getaway. Taking a few days to away in a new place will do wonders for your mindset and overall health. If you feel hesitant to take time off – keep in mind that it will be better for your business in the long run.

So, there you have them; six ways to care for yourself while running a startup.  Do you practice any other methods for your own self-care?  If so, please share them in the comment section below.

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10 Epic Reasons You Should Start a Business in Your 40s

Start a Business in Your 40s

One evening a close friend and I were enjoying margaritas. We talked about how at midlife, we feel like we’re not doing what we’re truly meant to do. We
still have a lot left to contribute to society. My friend has a couple of decades of experience building successful business partnerships and I have about the same amount of experience developing compelling content and marketing
programs.

Then a light bulb went off. We wondered if other women in their
late 40s, early 50s, felt the same way. After talking with a lot of our
colleagues and friends, they also agreed they feel like there’s something
else they should be doing.

And I’m proud to say that at 50-something, we’ve launched our baby, Bon
Faire. We help women over 40 use the skills they’ve accumulated either at a job or raising a family to take the leap into something new: taking an idea or passion and turning it into a business with the intent of doing good for society.

Some of our family and friends think we’re crazy. Why the heck would we
want to do start a business at our age? It’s hard work. There’s no guarantee.
What if we fail? We’re doing it for all those reasons because we’re not done…
we’re just getting started. We have valuable insights and wisdom to share,
and there are a lot of women who need our help. There’s no better time to start a business in your 40s or 50s…especially with the state of the world the way it is today.

What if every woman at this stage of life tapped into her power to do good? What if these ladies used their skills, experience, and know-how to launch a business with a social purpose in mind? Wouldn’t that be exactly what the world needs now?

If you’ve had an idea that’s been vying for your attention, here are 10 reasons why you should take action and start a business in your 40s or 50s:

1. You Have Life Experience

The mere fact that you’ve been on this planet for 40+ years means you’ve
experienced a lot in life. Just because you aren’t a billionaire or
have an alphabet soup of credentials following your name doesn’t
mean that you don’t have something of value to share with the world.
Because you do.

2. You’ve Already Done Hard Things

Whether you’ve been at a job for the past 25+ years or you’ve been
raising a family, you’ve learned how to navigate through the pitfalls
and trials that life throws your way. It’s a challenge to start a business in your 40s or 50s but we’re pretty sure you’ve made it through some tough times in your life.
This kind of character and tenacity is exactly what you need to make a
company work.

3. You Know a Lot of People

If you sat down and wrote a list of all the people you know, you’d be shocked at how long that list would be. These people are your network, which will be critical for you to leverage as you get started. Don’t be afraid to tap into this network because somewhere down the line, you’ll be able to help them too. Business is successful when people help each other.

4. You Know What You Want—and What You Don’t 

A key to success in business is clarity and focus. When you’re tuned into what you want, and what you don’t, you won’t be spreading yourself too thin by saying “yes” to everything you think will help you reach your goals. You’ll know what is right for you because you’ve “been there, done that” and likely don’t want to go through it again.

5. You’ve Failed Before

By the time you’ve reached your late 40s, you’ve made some mistakes. You’ve learned some hard-won lessons. And you also know you can’t stop. The willingness to try and fail is a critical characteristic you’ll need as an entrepreneur, but you’ve got that covered because you’ve been doing it your whole life.

6. You’ve Got More Money Now

To start a business in your 40s or 50s, you’ll need some capital. Luckily, you won’t need much if you start an online venture. You’re in a better place financially now since you’re likely not juggling the cost of starting a company with other major life investments like repaying student loans, buying a home or raising kids, though you may have some in college.

7. You Don’t Care What Other People Think 

This is probably the most liberating part of midlife: you don’t give a rat’s patootie what other people think of you. This freedom gives you the courage to take your passion and turn it into profit…even if that passion is painting ceramic frogs. When you were younger, you’d worry about what your parents or friends would say but now you simply don’t care, you’re ready to take the leap.

8. You Know How to Take Responsibility

You may have had to care for children, a friend, family members, or yourself. You know what you have to do to pay the bills so you’re not averse to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Taking responsibility and ownership will be an important skill you’ll need to ensure success.

9. Your Options Are Limitless 

Because of your network, knowledge, experience, and skills, you can start any kind of business you want. This is more challenging when you’re younger because you haven’t earned a lot of money, developed a set up transferable skills, or experience. At this stage of your life, you have more options on the path to entrepreneurship. You can start from where you are now and move forward freely.

Related Reading: 5 Innovative Franchises Under 100K

10. Your Time is Limited 

This is a good thing, especially if you procrastinate or are easily distracted by that shiny new object. You no longer have the luxury of the “someday syndrome.” Your time on this Earth is more limited than it was 20 years ago. You have an idea, a passion, a purpose and it’s just waiting to happen. All you need to do is take that first step.

Maybe we’re crazy. But we think you’re crazy if you allow society to tell you what midlife should look like, and if you believe that since you’re over a certain age you’re just supposed to sit back and fade away. You’ve got skills and value to contribute. And there’s still work to be done. Now, let’s get to it! Visit Bon Faire and take our quiz to see what kind of Bon Faire woman you are.

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5 Innovative Franchises Under 100K

franchises under 100k

I work with women every day who are dying to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own a business, but the time was never right… until now. The time is often right because a woman’s asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but sometimes it’s due to a layoff or she feels the universe is giving her a nudge.

Unfortunately for a woman in this situation, the investment parameter is usually tight. The most she could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping her get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the cash and profits just flow. Having 200K in available capital means the total cost to launch should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing costs to consider.

And at that investment level, (franchises under 100k) you are priced out of trendy brick and mortar stores where you envision yourself as the hostess having fun every day. Plus, that’s a delusion. No business is fun every day.

Simply put, at this price point your options are home-based businesses with no inventory or service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office offering some sort of service to entrepreneurs or homeowners. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘B to B’ or ‘B to C’ (business to business or business to consumer).

B to Bs generally require you to get out there and do business development – that’s code for networking your rear off and/or making cold calls or scheduling appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the public who can be picky. But those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and, hopefully, your phone rings with potential customers.

So, with that in mind, here are a few franchises under 100k that I think are great and maybe even fun to operate:

#1 Just Between Friends

This one gets the award for lowest investment with a franchise fee of just $17,900 and a technology fee of $1,500. Just between friends is a ‘pop-up’ consignment business. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find a space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft to stage your events) consignment sales two or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year.  Learn more about this opportunity here.

franchises under 100k

#2 Spaulding Decon

Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a Spaulding Decon franchise, you are offering meth lab, crime scene, and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy, ok? You’ll own a tremendously profitable business and as a bonus, you’ll hire EMT’s and firefighters to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in with a bunch of physically fit guys and gals wanting to make extra money?

This type of company is a good fit for public speakers, networkers, and workers who have empathy. You will be in close contact with families on the worst days of their lives. But you will be providing a needed and valuable service to your community.

#3 Senior Placement Referral Businesses

Referral companies offer a free service to families who have an elder or disabled person who needs more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their home. You’ll be providing value and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living facilities that you refer.

Like a realtor, you’ll learn the client’s needs and budget, go into your database and generate a report with two or three local providers that are good matches. Then you’ll tour the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty fee.  This industry entails plenty of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about what you can provide.

#4 Patrice and Associates (Recruiting with a Niche)

Patrice and Associates is the nation’s largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size and chances are they already use their services.  As an owner, you can start at home and hire one recruiter to come with you to training sessions. These businesses can scale easily by hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions and calling on your local large restaurants, hotels, and casinos to land their placement business.

You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up the career ladder. This can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone for as much as eight hours per day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars.

#5 Challenge Island

This is one of the only franchises under 100k offering after-school enrichment programs that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Challenge Island’s proprietary curriculum has earned countless accolades from schools, teachers, and parents.

You will hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do not lead a class of their own. To provide additional revenue streams you can offer to hold birthday parties, summer camps, and girl scouts events through a national partnership the company has with the Girl Scouts of America. This is a fun business and you can achieve a great return in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.

Related Reading: It’s Never Too Late for a Startup

There are many other franchises under 100k to consider. Make sure to fully explore the alternatives with an expert, like me, to identify the right one that will incorporate your interests and transferable skills.

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It’s Never Too Late for a Startup!

Never too late for a startup

Let Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Flourish

One of the most exciting things about the world of entrepreneurship is that initiatives are not bound by a retirement age. Business owners are often stereotypically seen as young twenty-somethings straight out of college (or dropouts in some cases), however, the spirit of entrepreneurship should not be limited by this perception. It can be argued that late-life entrepreneurship might be better than starting early since individuals can learn from their work and life experiences to make much more innovative and critical decisions of problem-solving.

So whether you want to start your own brand management or compete with marketing companies, know that it is never too late for a startup and here’s why:

1. Aspirations Do Not Have an Expiration Date

Shun the traditional ageist view that only the young can have aspirations of their own. The bottom line is that hopes, dreams, and aspirations do not expire and you should not let societal expectations hold you back.

Entrepreneurship provides you with an opportunity to give back something of value to your next generations – be a role model for your children and grandchildren. Contribute as much as you can while you can! Moreover, startups at later age also allow you to act as a mentor for the young people you will involve in your initiative, a chance to train those who will respect you for your wisdom and experience.

2. There Are Examples of Midlife Success

You are never too old to seek a new venture and the following people are prime examples of this statement. From the exemplary founders of Starbucks and McDonalds who were both in their 50s to Harland Sanders who founded KFC when he was 62 and Charles Flint who started IBM when he was 61. There are countless examples of success stories; people who did not let their age hold them back and polished their ideas to successfully launch businesses.

startup

3. In Today’s Era, There Are Endless Opportunities

Technology has penetrated the traditional framework behind startups in such a way that it is now easier than ever to take an initiative with a solid business idea. In today’s business environment, there are a variety of ways to enter the realm of entrepreneurship as long as you are taking up a relevant challenge and giving solutions for the needs of your consumers.

There are a plethora of options available for your startup venture, aided by the increasing involvement of digital technologies. The virtual world is inextricably linked to the business world and has emphatically altered the way we used to view entrepreneurship by reducing the bounds of time and space as well as organizational agility.

Things can be done, plans can be made and implementations can be carried out, all from the comfort of your home now. This can be even more effective if you plan to initiate an online business. The opportunities are truly endless.

Related Reading: How to Care for Yourself While Running a Startup

You can take it easy and enjoy a more leisurely routine. But if you envision something different for yourself as you enter midlife and beyond, know that the only thing holding you back is your will. All that is required is for you to have a clear vision of what you want to do and combined with initiative, it can take you a long way toward your own successful startup business!

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11 Powerful Podcasts for You; the Businesswoman Over 40

businesswoman over 40

As I have said many times before, I love podcasts.  I listen to all sorts too. Whether it’s a show dedicated to solving real crime mysteries or one intended to expand my knowledge on an exciting topic, I’m an avid listener.  But my favorite shows are about creating and growing successful businesses.  So, in my quest to add quality shows to my audio library, I thought I’d make a list of the most potent podcasts for you; the businesswoman over 40.

#1 About That with Marga Ortigas – This show is about professional and personal transitions at midlife and beyond. Guests discuss how they have successfully navigated life’s changes.

Favorite episode: Breaking Ground with mental health professional, Darby Latshaw

 

#2 Your Next Avenue with Richard Eisenberg – This inspiring new podcast focuses on the work and careers of people fifty and over.  The show is hosted by the Senior Web Editor of Next Avenue, one of my favorite media websites.

Favorite episode: Finding Meaningful Work with author Shawn Askinosie

 

#3 AgeWYZ with Jana Panarites – This weekly broadcast deals with the emotional topic of caregiving and provides resources to those struggling to balance work life and the duties of caring for an aging family member.  It’s perfect for the businesswoman over 40 who is tending to the needs of elderly parents.

Favorite episode: The Legacy with caretaker Maggie McClane

 

#4 The Second Act with Benita Adams – This one isn’t actually a podcast.  You can listen to Benita’s radio show or watch her on TV or catch episodes on YouTube.  Either way, you’ll be entertained by her stories and interviews with reinvention experts.  Check out Benita’s show in this video: What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

#5 Feisty Side of Fifty with Mary Eileen Williams – Mary dedicates her show to boomers and gen Xers who embrace positive change in all aspects of life and look forward to the years ahead.  It’s a real ‘life is just beginning’ type of podcast.

Favorite episode: Interview with Betsy Werley of Encore.org.  This show is especially poignant for the businesswoman over 40.

 

#6 Women in the Middle with Suzy Rosenstein – The host, Suzy, is a Master Certified Life and Weight Coach who’s areas of expertise are midlife and transitions.  Her podcast encourages “frustrated women to get excited about their lives again.”

Favorite Episode: Why You’re Miserable at Work and How to Change It

 

#7 Second Act Stories with Andy Levine – In each new show, (offered every other week) inspiring people recount their experiences of making a significant career change in pursuit of a rewarding professional life.

Favorite episode: Ready for Some Expert Advice? with author Marci Aloboher

 

#8 Forever Fierce with Catherine Grace O’Connell – Each week Catherine is joined by a co-host to discuss a wide range of topics that midlife women find quite interesting. The show can be heard live Tuesdays at 2 PM EST on LA Talk Radio or downloaded from iTunes or Stitcher.

Favorite episode: Interview with the woman who stood up to Tony Robbins on the #metoo issue: Nanine McCool

 

#9 Experience 50 with Mary Rogers – Mary is on the same mission as me; helping midlife women succeed in business.  So, I naturally gravitated toward her show.  If that’s the type of help you need, have a listen.

Favorite episode: Rebranding Midlife Women with Juju Hook

Related Reading: 25+ Terrific Gen Xer, Midlifer, and Boomer Blog to Love

#10 Advice to My Younger Me with Sara Holtz – I love the concept of this ‘pay it forward’ show. Older, wiser, more experienced guests discuss strategies to help younger women achieve career success.  This podcast is all about the things you wish you had known as a professional in your 20s and 30s.

Favorite episode: How to Have a Good Day with Caroline Webb

 

#11 Women Killing It with Sally Hubbard –  Sally is an investigative journalist who has created an inspirational broadcast that celebrates and features rockstar businesswomen.  They share what has worked in their careers and what pitfalls to avoid to thrive in any job.

Favorite episode: How to be Confident with Regina Huber

I hope I piqued your interest with a few of these podcasts for the businesswoman over 40.  Let them motivate you to reach for the stars in your quest for success.  If you have any suggestions for new podcasts we should listen to, please leave a comment below.  And, as I always say…

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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3 Signs You Are Marketing to the Wrong Audience

marketing to the wrong audience

Digital marketing is an expensive and risky venture for all businesses. Results take time and services do not come free. Due to the heavy upfront costs, many companies are quite hesitant to employ this to their means. Securing referrals and proving your worth in the business can be done. But these strategies take effort. Especially when competition is tough and you are new to the game.

Marketing, both actual and digital, play major roles in the profit drive of any company. Successful marketing campaigns drive greater returns and profits that their upfront costs.

In Singapore, more people are becoming active online, with growing interactions on social media sites. In 2017, more than 95% of internet users had at least one social media account and spent an average of 2.5 hours per day on their accounts. Half of the said users watched online videos daily. Product research and comparison are done online by 42% of Singaporeans before actually making final purchase decisions. These statistics show the huge digital penetration and usage in Singapore.

With the emergence and support of new technologies in online marketing, not all businesses get the same successful outcomes. Many still go through problems that hinder them from getting ideal results. One obstacle to success is marketing to the wrong audience. And this problem takes place almost everywhere.

Knowing your target audience is so important since it helps you implement and direct your marketing plans. For example, a company selling customized cigars had a mistargeted online strategy when they first launched their business. Their ads were directed at cigar users. They eventually found out their customers are composed mainly of the friends and family of cigar users.

How would you know if the effort, time, and money you are spending on marketing are directed at the wrong audience? Here are three signs to watch for to avoid burning your resources.

marketing

#1 Low Visit to Lead Conversion Rates

In online marketing, lead conversion rates are gold. The number of visits to your site is just a number and does not quantify anything if the visits do not convert to sales. Your visitors should become customers when your plan is working. If not, this is a hint that you may be barking up the wrong tree. To correct this, you may want to check how you are marketing your products. Do the customers really get what you are advertising? Or are there hidden details in your ads that confuse or deceive them?

Take, for example, if you advertise free shipping on all orders. Potential customers visit your site only to discover they have to order a minimum amount to get free shipping. This misleading ad can cause bounce rates instead of conversions. Pay attention to your marketing message and make sure your audience really understands what you are telling them.

#2 Low Engagement Rates

Likes, shares, and comments are measures of customer engagement. They provide useful indications of whether your content has successfully reached your audience. If your engagement rates are low, there is a chance that your content is not reaching your target audience. Either they cannot completely relate to your content or your content is totally irrelevant to them.

Related Reading: 8 Essential Social Media Podcasts for Women Who Love Business

 #3 Unsubscriptions Are As High As Subscriptions

After subscribing to your email list, many people may unsubscribe after a day or two. Another bad sign is when they download a free ebook or PDF file from you and then unsubscribe. If you are seeing this trend you may be attracting the wrong audience or not engaging them properly. You can try adding a step-by-step eCourse they can subscribe to and build a relationship with your customers. That way, you have a vantage point in interacting with them.

Success in online marketing does not merely depend on strategies alone; you have to be keen on the ongoings of your site as well. You may not be getting what you are supposed to for the amount you are spending on marketing. Always remember to pay attention to the details of your sales conversions.

 

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How to Write a Shareable Blog Post Quickly

blog post

Whether you own a business with a blog, you’re a freelance writer or a traditional blogger, learning to write a shareable blog post quickly is an essential skill that can be quite lucrative.  Even if you’ve never written a post before, knowing how to do so can break down barriers and provide opportunities to guest blog on other sites and grow your business.

Do you know how to create a shareable blog post quickly?  Your answer obviously depends on what I mean by ‘quickly.  After all, the word is a bit vague. Some people can crank out a post or two every day.  For others, like me, it’s a slower process affected by time constraints, professional obligations, and family commitments.  So, my definition of the word may be substantially different from yours.

Nonetheless, I would argue most writers would love to increase their output and improve the quality of their posts.  That is where the word ‘shareable’ comes into play.  Will your articles get the love, attention, and engagement they deserve? Will readers clamor to share your content on social media?  If you’re uncertain, consider what you can do to compose more shareable content and increase your writing speed.

Ramp Up Your Productivity

Personally, when I need to produce an article quickly, I use a time management method called the Pomodoro Technique.  I avoid ALL distractions and work on my post for twenty-five minutes.  Then, I take a five-minute break to perform other tasks.  I can answer an email, start a load of laundry, etc.  After my break, the process begins again.  After completing four rounds, I allow myself a more extended break of thirty minutes to relax, eat a meal or exercise.

This technique is amazingly effective, and I suggest using it throughout the entire process of creating your content.

Perhaps you’re saying, “I’ll just write shorter posts.  Then I can produce more in less time.”  Well, you can do that.  However, your site will not please Google if it’s packed with mini posts.  Google will respond by pushing you down the rankings.  Better to publish articles of at least 600 words.  And audiences share longer articles more often anyway.

Create a Catchy Title

I can’t tell you how many times I have read a strange, unclear, or incredibly long post title and ask, “What was this writer thinking?”  Of course, I don’t click on the link because I don’t want to waste my time.  That may sound harsh, but it’s hard to take bloggers seriously when they don’t understand or adhere to basic rules.

  1. The title should be a clear statement or question

  2. It should be relatively short – six to ten words is usually plenty

  3. Powerful and emotional words like ‘you’ or ‘free’ or ‘easy’ should be incorporated

  4. Numbered posts and how-to articles typically generate more interest

Chose a Relevant Yet Interesting Image

Another important aspect of a shareable blog post is the image your readers see.  You don’t have to break the bank to obtain eye-catching pictures for your content.  Plenty of free-to-use sites offer professional photos for you to upload to your blog.  Here are a few:

  1. Pexels

  2. Skitterphoto

  3. Gratisography

  4. Pixabay – now offers pictures and short videos

For example, this video was free for me to use in this post.

Use Images, Graphs, or Videos Within Your Post

Readers will likely find your content more appealing if it contains a little visual stimulation.  Include a relevant photo from the sites I mentioned above or embed an emotional Tweet or instructional video for impact.  People share posts that entertain and provide value.

Make the Words Stand Out (In a Good Way)

Most professional bloggers keep their paragraphs short.  They would likely tell you to vary the length of your sentences too.  Readers have become accustomed to this style of writing because they’re skimmers.  They simply love subheaders and bullet points.  So use them.

This brings me to another point.  I know it sounds boring, but use a large, standard looking font when you blog.  People can’t read tiny words on a mobile device and won’t stay on your post, let alone share it.  And if at all possible, use black lettering on white background.  You might think this is ho-hum, but you’ll look like a pro.  And that will result in social media shares.

Include a Call-to-Action At the End

If a reader makes it all the way through your post, you have kept their interest and provided valuable information.  It’s the perfect time to ask them to:

1. Leave a comment about your post

2. Join your email list or Facebook group

3. Follow you on social media

4. Share your post

Don’t ask your audience to complete more than one action.  Their time is important, and you’ll likely irritate them if you request too much.

Triple Check for Spelling and Grammar Errors

The following paragraphs contain affiliate links.  If you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Before you publish your content, edit it.  Then do it two more times.  Go through each paragraph line by line.  Does it make the grade?  Nothing will ruin the quality of a post like a series of typos.  You won’t look professional and neither will your work.

When I began my journey as a blogger, I wanted to hire a proofreader.  However, I could not afford one.  So, I purchased Grammarly.  It is an inexpensive program that edits my posts, Microsoft Word documents, and my emails.  I still rely on it to correct my work daily.  If you just can’t swing it at this time, ask a trusted friend or family member to review your article.

For Goodness Sake, Include Share Buttons

How can anyone pass along your epic post without share buttons?  Don’t make it difficult for your fans to sing your praises.  No share buttons translate into little attention or exposure to potential readers or clients.  Perish the thought!

Several plugins give writers the ability to place share buttons on their site.  After much research, I opted for Social Warfare.  This tool has helped my business grow with professional looking buttons that look great on desktop and mobile.

Related Reading: 7 Expert Strategies for Using Share Buttons

So, there you have it; my suggestions on how to write a shareable blog post quickly.  I hope you found them valuable.  If you follow these steps, you’ll be cranking out crazy good content in no time!

And please consider sharing this post. (There’s that call-to-action – ha!)

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.

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5 Steps to Avoid a Professional Midlife Meltdown

midlife meltdown

From time to time, we all experience feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or even exasperation in our jobs.  Most of us muddle through, knowing these feelings ebb and flow, as they often do throughout a long career.  But what should you do if those feelings persist and grow stronger with each passing week?  When you are longing for change and beginning to resent work, you might be on the road to a professional midlife meltdown.  In other words, you’re approaching career burnout.

You realize it’s important to be careful in this situation. You’ve probably known people who faced a similar dilemma and took leave, not only of their senses but their jobs as well.  These restless souls decided suddenly to resign and jump without looking.  Gutsy and a bit foolish, yes?  But that’s not you.  At least you don’t want it to be.

Well, what can you do to keep from going through this type of crisis? Let’s break it down. There are five steps you can take to avoid a midlife meltdown, thus saving your career, relationships, and mental state.

#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

As the old saying goes, “Perception is reality.” You don’t need anyone else to validate your emotions or tell you that you’re wrong.  There’s a reason for your angst or malcontent, even if you haven’t discovered what it is yet.  Let the feelings flow, and you may discover the cause of or solution to your problem.

midlife meltdown

#2. Add a Few Minutes of Mindfulness to Your Routine

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used by successful professionals to avoid stress, negativity, and frustration.  When you focus awareness on the present, it becomes impossible to dwell on the regrets of your past or the worries of your future.  Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are all popular forms of mindfulness.  Consider adding one or more of these activities to your daily regimen to stave off a midlife meltdown.

#3. Determine if the Situation is Temporary or Not

Once you have accepted and pondered the situation for a while, consider whether it’s a temporary irritation or one that’s bound to continue.  How long are you willing to tolerate the current state of affairs?  If your job is unbearable or you dread Monday mornings, it might be time to make a plan or take action and make positive changes.

#4. Investigate a Different Career 

Do you daydream starting a more fulfilling career?  If so, check out this epic list of potential jobs and resources: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck.  These positions take less than two years of education and pay a starting salary of 40k – 76K.  You may discover a more satisfying professional life is not out of reach.

#5. Plan to Become the Entrepreneur You’ve Always Wanted to Be

If, however, you long to start a side-hustle or become a full-time entrepreneur, you will need to do some investigation and devise a plan.  Do you know what type startups to consider?  If so, have you researched your competition?  How much money can you get your hands on to fund a potential business?  How long can you afford to go without a steady income?

All are critical questions to answer before leaving your current position.  Check out this basic guide from the Small Business Administration to help you start a business plan.  While some people don’t think a structured plan is critical to success, I firmly believe even a shortened version can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches throughout the first few years of your startup.

Following these five steps regarding your career can help you steer clear of a midlife meltdown.  You can have a satisfying professional life again.  But it will take patience, research, and commitment.  Let’s face it, anything worthwhile does!

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.

 

 

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7 Expert Strategies for Using Share Buttons

share buttons

Do you ever get frustrated trying to locate social media share buttons in an article or on a web page that you enjoy?  I know I do.  Then, of course, I quickly give up the search and move on with my day.  Honestly, it’s too bad.  That business or publisher lost out on some free exposure all because there were no readily visible icons on their content.

Believe it or not, though, there is some debate amongst experts as to whether sites should even bother with share buttons.  Some argue that readers rarely use them on desktop and even less frequently on mobile.  It all depends on what type of product or content you produce and whether or not you know how to use share buttons properly.

As a blogger, I can’t imagine marketing my posts without them.  However, we all should learn to utilize sharing icons effectively.  But what are the best practices?  After much research, I discovered 7 expert strategies for using share buttons.

  1. According to Coschedule, the upper left-hand corner of your page is the optimum location for placement.  This is because people scan pages in a pattern starting in the upper left area.  Buttons should appear ‘above the fold’ when someone clicks on your page or post.  Let me explain that; they should be visible immediately without a reader scrolling down first.

  2. As reported in research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, low numbers offer users negative social proof.  Meaning nominal sharing counts may suggest to readers your content is poor quality or weak.  Some social sharing tools can hide the number of times a post has been shared until a minimum number is reached.  I set my site so the counts aren’t displayed until my posts have been shared at least ten times.

  3. Don’t clutter the screen with too many buttons and overwhelm your viewers.  Many big-name blogs and online magazine like Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner, for example, offer four to six buttons at most.  And I’m guessing they’ve done their research on this topic!

  4. Share This recommends you display buttons in order of importance to your target audience.  What social channels do your customers prefer?  Do they like Twitter more than LinkedIn?  If so, put them in that order.  And it doesn’t matter if you have an active presence on a particular platform or not.  If your clients like it, give them the opportunity to share your content where they want to!

  5. Use standard buttons instead of custom buttons that match the colors and fonts of your website’s theme.  This can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to accept because they put a great deal of money and time into branding their business.  Then, naturally, they want everything on their site to match.  But if buttons blend in with page design, they will become invisible, and readers won’t see or click them.  As marketing expert Jeff Bullas states, “Use standard buttons that work.”

  6. Consider adding call-to-action text to your icons.  Some social sharing tools allow you to add words to your buttons.  Wordstream suggests you merely ask for what you want.  Saying, “Pin This” or “Share on Twitter” might be a great way of increasing social metrics.  You can try this method and test which strategy works best for your site.

  7. Using a floating share bar makes it easy for readers to click on their favorite icon at any time.  Floating buttons scroll with you down the page while you read.  The folks at Sprout Social believe this is why floating bars have become so popular.  I use them on the left-hand side on desktop and at the bottom of the page on mobile devices.

Related Reading: How to Use Hashtracking & Other Hashtag Lookup Tools

There is an abundance of choices for entrepreneurs regarding the use and placement of social share buttons on their web pages and blog posts.  Hopefully, you will implement a few of the expert tips offered here and grow your business as a result.  What do you think?  Should your share buttons stand out or blend in with your design?  Feel free to comment below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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9 Quality Pinterest Group Boards for Motivated Midlifers

midlifers

Midlifers really like Pinterest.  In fact, according to Ignite Social Media, 53% of Pinterest users fall between thirty-five and fifty-four years of age.  What’s more, 80% of all users are women.  So, it’s safe to say female midlifers are big fans of this social media platform.

However, Pinterest isn’t exactly social.  As a user, you will find little opportunity for networking, friending, or chit-chatting in general.  Instead, think of Pinterest as a search engine like Google.  That being said, you can make comments on pins, follow specific people or businesses, and join group boards.  People typically join Pinterest group boards to promote their business products or blogs.  Additionally, you can participate in other types of group boards based on your hobbies and interests.

What Are Pinterest Group Boards

A group board is substantially the same as any other Pinterest board. The only difference is that many people (members) contribute pins to it rather than just one person.  It’s important to note that you can follow a board without becoming a member.

The creator of the board acts as an admin who can add new members or remove members who don’t follow the rules.  The creator is the first person pictured next to the group’s description.  The description explains what topics are covered and usually gives instructions on how to become a member.

How Can I Find Pinterest Group Boards?

Before I give you my list of group boards for midlifers, let me explain how to find other group boards that pique your interest.  There are a few methods of discovering relevant boards.

  • First, you can go to the Pinterest website and type in a word or phrase you want to search.  People and boards with names containing your searched word or phrase will appear.

  • Second, look at your competitors’ boards to see which group boards they belong to and contribute to frequently.

  • Third, check out your analytics if you have a Pinterest business account.  Look at ‘People You Reach,’ then ‘Interests,’ then ‘Your Followers.’

  • Fourth, search Pin Groupie to find groups and learn vital statistics about each one.  This is my favorite method.  You can search by category, word, phrase, or description.  And it’s free to use.  Woohoo!

Here is a short YouTube video to help you learn to use Pin Groupie:

 

My Favorite Pinterest Group Boards

Happiness at Midlife is the group to check out if you need a mood boost.  Inspirational quotes and topics like romance and mental health are frequently covered.

Skin Care for Women over 40 is a large group dedicated to providing tips, products, and articles to midlifers seeking health and beauty advice.  This active board offers an abundance of DIY recipes for self-care.

Boulevard of Midlife Bloggers is a collection of posts by women who are professional and hobby bloggers over the age of forty-five. The group allows up to two pins submitted each day per member.

Mid Life Stride allows members to pin up to two items a day and asks, like most groups, for reciprocation.  Topics like goals, fashion, health, and empty nest are preferred.

Forty Plus Bloggers Supporting Each Other permits up to three pins per day to be submitted by members. Pins must be of articles and not items or services for sale.  To become a member, you must be a writer who is forty plus and willing to share other members’ content.

Midlife Ladies is brought to you by Kimberly at Fifty Jewels.  This group is comprised of about fifty women who contribute all types of content.  That is, as long as they are of interest to women who follow the group.

Food and Recipes for Over 50s is, of course, a group for pinners focused on preparing and eating food designed to appeal to the fifty plus crowd. Consider joining if you have recipes to contribute or you just need to prepare a tasty meal for dinner.

Interesting Reading: The Other F Word Director Shines a Spotlight on Midlife

Midlife Inspiration is comprised of a small yet mighty group of women focused on embracing and enjoying life after forty.  Pins on this board offer tips on everything from health to love to career.

Vintage Hippies 50+ is Pinterest’s virtual time machine.  Travel back to the sixties and seventies if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic.  Pins are meant to promote vintage hippie culture and lifestyle.

Well, there’s my list of quality Pinterest boards for motivated midlifers.  What do you think of my choices?  Did I leave out your favorite?  Let me know in the comment section below.

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.