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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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Top 5 Reasons to Sell Your Online Business Now

Sell Your Online Business

Running an online business can be wonderfully rewarding. It gives you the freedom to work when and where you want and, hopefully, the financial stability to meet your current needs and also plan a little for the future.

However, there will come a time when you desire change. But it’s always hard to know if now is the right moment to make a life-altering decision. It’s difficult to tell the difference between true stagnation and simple frustration or anxiety.

Consider these top five reasons for selling your business now to help you figure out if the moment has arrived for you to cash out and move on.

You No Longer Enjoy Running It

This one should go without saying, but so many people don’t consider this reason to be as important as it really is. Without being too morbid, we can never forget our time on Earth is limited, and that it can be taken from us at any moment.

There will always be things we enjoy doing more than others, but it’s our responsibility to weed out those things we don’t like and replace them with what we love. Your work is no different.

Ask yourself if you really enjoy running your online business. Do you still feel that same challenge pushing you forward? Or do you feel overcome with dread and anger every time you sit down at your computer? If you identify more with option two, then it’s time to move on. Simple as that.

“But what about the money?” a lot of people will say.

No amount of money is worth your happiness and well-being, so if you can’t approach your business with joy and gratitude, then cash out and begin looking for something else.

You’ve Got Other Projects To Work On

Hopefully, you’ve figured out by now that one of the great secrets of success is focusing on one thing at a time (and if you haven’t, well, you’re welcome). This isn’t to say that you can only do one thing, but it does mean you need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do at this current moment.

There’s a good chance your online business was once a side hustle, and there’s an even better chance that it didn’t become something more until you decided to treat it as your top priority.

So if you’ve found other projects you enjoy working on but don’t get the attention they deserve because of your online business, then it’s time to move on. And since you don’t want to ignore your company and wait for it to die, you can sell it and use the money to get you going on your next venture.

It’s Taking You Away From What Matters

Family needs to come first. To be happy and well, you need to make sure you’re spending enough time with those who mean the most to you. If your online business is preventing this from happening, you need to make a change.

It’s true that there’s never enough time. But work shouldn’t ever be the top priority. Even when you’re making good money, if you find yourself reaching the end of the day wishing you’d spent more time with your kids, partner or friends, there’s a good chance you’re working too hard.

sell your online business now

It’s Worth A Lot Of Money

Switching over to more practical, professional arguments, it could be time to sell your online business because your company is worth more now than ever. Get it evaluated, and if it’s worth enough, and you’ve got other things going on, then sell out while you can and invest the money in something else.

This one really aligns with the other reasons; you shouldn’t sell out only because there’s lots of money to be made. But if the business has matured and is making you money, and you find your interest and attention elsewhere, it might be time to cash in on your hard work and move on. Another thing to look out for is industry risk. If you’re worried about the direction of the company, selling out now could be a way to get maximum value before it’s too late.

Generally speaking, businesses are worth 2.5 times their yearly revenue, so use this as a jumping off point. But consider getting a professional valuation so that you can see what your business is really worth.

Growth Has Plateaued

This one is a bit tricky since businesses that are growing are traditionally worth more. But if your company has leveled out a bit regarding growth, and you don’t think you have the time or resources to jump-start it, then you might want to consider selling.

Overall, it’s much better to sell at this moment rather than when sales start going down. As revenues shrink, so does value, making it much harder to attract serious offers. If things have slowed, and you can’t or don’t want to speed them back up, consider selling and starting something new.

If you’re on the fence about selling your business, consider these top reasons why you should. If they apply to you, then it’s time to make a change. If not, stick it out and keep working. But be aware of when situations change so you can sell and move on before it’s too late.

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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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How to Identify Premium Guest Blogging Opportunities

how to identify premium guest blogging opportunities

I think you’ll agree that guest posting for business is one of the most challenging marketing strategies for entrepreneurs to master.  If you’re considering entering the world of guest blogging, you probably have trepidations and questions.

How do I start?  Is it worth the effort?  How can I identify the best guest blogging opportunities?

These are all excellent questions.  Smart and successful business professionals are constantly touting the benefits of writing for other quality companies to boost online exposure.  But choosing the sites to submit content to can be tricky.

In this post, I’ll give you the low-down on what guest blogging is and how you give yourself a leg up from the start.  Guest blogging is, essentially, the process of writing a post for someone else in exchange for publicity and a link (backlink) to your website.

Backlinks have, in the past, been a great method of building an online presence.  However, Google no longer likes guest posts whose sole purpose is to rack up links.  Guest articles need to be relevant and not stuffed with links to the same site over and over.  If your posts get too spammy, your site AND the site hosting your article could be penalized and appear further down the list of a Google search.  Not good!  So, the moral of the story is to keep it relevant.

Know Who You’re Trying to Reach

First and foremost, understand your target audience.  Who do you want to reach?  What are the demographics of your ideal client?  Once you have identified your niche, only write for sites with the readers in that specific group.  You can often find a site’s audience and customer demographics in their media kit.

At this point, it’s time to brainstorm and do a Google search.  Think of all the companies, blogs, and online magazines that have a similar target market to that of your business.  Ask friends and family to think up a few names as well.  You can also search the terms ‘guest post’ or ‘write for us’ or ‘submit your content’ and similar phrases.

Check out your competition.  Do they have an ‘as featured in’ or ‘as seen in’ section?  If so, voila!  You can also perform a reverse image search on Google of each competitor’s profile picture.  To accomplish this, right click on their headshot.  A menu will appear with the option to search Google for this image.  Now you know who they have guest posted for and who you should pursue.  Sneaky, huh?

Know the Important Numbers

Most blogging experts recommend you only consider writing for sites with a domain authority (D/A) higher than yours.  Some pros, like Brandon Gaille, suggest you should not guest post for anyone with a D/A lower than thirty.  Domain authority refers to a search engine ranking score based on a site’s links, age, popularity, and more.  All URLs are ranked from one to one hundred; the higher the number, the better.  Popular websites like Huffington Post have a score of ninety-eight while new sites will have a score of one.

You should also steer clear of businesses with a spam score of five or greater.  Writing for blogs with a high spam score will likely hurt your site’s performance on Google.  Both these metrics can be found on Moz Open Site Explorer.  You can research up to three sites per day on Moz before you will be required to open a free or paid account with them.  Simply type in a company’s URL, and you will get their D/A.  Their spam score can be found directly under the D/A.

Know What You Will Get in Return

You should get something beneficial in return for your hard work.  After all, there is no monetary compensation for guest posting.  Most business owners like you are looking for publicity and exposure to the hosting site’s audience.  But, will you get it?

Just because a large or popular company wants you to write an article for them does NOT mean you should.  Do they offer you a link to your site?  Do they give you a bio before or after the post?  How many words do they allow in your bio?  Do they link to any of your social media accounts?  How many words do they require per post?

You don’t want to put the time and effort into a fabulous post only to hear crickets after it’s published by someone else.  And the fact is, you’re not going to get much love if readers don’t have access to your bio, headshot, and link.  This is the truth even when you guest blog for a large magazine.  Although, with a popular site like Huffington Post, you may get some credit for being able to say you are a ‘Huff Post Contributor.’

Track the Stats

If you’re serious about expanding your guest blogging opportunities, I suggest you make a spreadsheet of potential websites with the following information:

Name and web address – the name and URL of each site

Same target market (as you) – this can be found in their media kit

Contact name and email – usually found under ‘contact us’ or ‘write for us’ sections

Domain authority –  the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer

Spam Score – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer

Offers byline/bio – the answer is no or the number of words allowed in your bio

Offers headshot – yes or no

Offers link – the number of backlinks you receive in your post or bio

Offers Social Media Links – the number of your social media accounts linked to your bio

Words per post – sites may provide this in their ‘write for us’ section

By filling out the columns, you will be able to narrow down your top candidates.  Some will stand out as the real front-runners.  Go after them first.  Putting in a little work up front could pay substantial dividends later and keep you from wasting hours every month on a flawed marketing campaign.

What I Decided to Offer

After completing my own research on guest blogging opportunities, I concluded there weren’t enough sites ‘compensating’ writers for their content in a meaningful way.  I was shocked at how many big blogs and magazines gave guests almost nothing in return for their work.  Further, I was more surprised at the number business owners who were willing to give their work away for almost nothing.

In response, I decided to accept relevant guest posts on my site here.  I have been asked to do this repeatedly in the past, but now I feel it’s the right time to open my blog to submissions.  I am offering writers a forum to showcase their expertise and help my readers, businesswomen over forty, create thriving companies that improve our world.

I hope you found this post informative and encouraging.  Do you have any advice for uncovering quality guest blogging opportunities?  If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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5 Hottest Franchise Opportunities for Successful Women

hottest franchise opportunities

In my practice, I work with women who express the desire to have more control and flexibility in their work hours and want to build something for themselves. I hear it over and over again, and it’s some iteration of this: “I work hard. If I’m going to continue to work my butt off, I want it to benefit my bottom line and not someone else’s.”

In a recent survey conducted by Franchise Business Review, (the leading surveyor on franchisee satisfaction) 90% of female franchisees surveyed said they enjoy operating their business. So, here are 5 of the hottest franchise opportunities for you to consider that cover the spectrum of industries and investment ranges:

1. Blo Blow Dry Bar

Blo is North America’s original blow dry bar. They launched the original ‘no cuts, no color’ concept. Their distinctive hot pink branding and cute slogans like “you’re not cheating on your hairdresser” and “so you say you want a blo?” attracts rabid fans. This is a hot beauty category that continues to attract customers with convenient and affordable blowouts. Additional revenue streams are provided by makeup and some other retail offerings.

The investment range is reasonable at around $300K “all in” for one location. It’s easily scaled, and as you add locations to your budding empire, you will begin to work less and oversee the managers. A super fun business to run if you don’t mind a staff of young artists.

2. Huntington Learning Centers

With a 40-year track record, Huntington knows what works. This tutoring center offers test preparation and subject tutoring.  The company boasts that utilizing their system, students improve over two grade levels in reading and math in just three months and an average of four ACT points or one hundred ninety SAT points.

The centers are accredited by the same organizations that accredit local schools, a recognition of excellence that few other tutoring companies earn. With a claim that their centers earn 63% more than their next closest competitor, this is an obvious must-see for anyone interested in giving back to their community and helping students achieve. The overall investment range is $125K to $225K, depending on your location and buildout.

 3. Just Between Friends

This is the dominant brand in the rapidly growing consignment sales event industry and the leading pop-up consignment sales event franchise in North America.

Franchise owners collect sellable items from consignors and hold at least two large (VERY large – like 20K square feet large!) consignment events a year. People seeking bargains purchase the items, and the owner makes a percentage of every item sold.  It’s a great win for all parties involved. Consignors can earn money back on unused baby clothes and gear, maternity items, and kid’s clothes in great condition, as well as children’s toys and games.

Investment in a Just Between Friends franchise starts at $14,900, making it very affordable. Franchisees hold a minimum of two events a year, which makes for an easy-to-manage, flexible business. It is excellent for anyone looking for supplemental income, and a good choice for the stay-at-home parents who want to generate more money – or even someone currently working and looking for a way to own his/her own company. This is a more or less ‘part-time work for supplemental income’ type of business.

4. Oasis Senior Advisors

Oasis Senior Advisors provides a free resource to seniors and their families to help them find senior living communities, whether that be an assisted living, memory care, or independent living community. The communities pay a referral fee (to the franchisee) that is typically 70%-75% of a community’s monthly bed fee.

Oasis franchisees focus on the model’s three simple components: Build an inventory of communities, then develop referral partners (social workers, hospital discharge nurses, geriatric professionals), and help families. This is a business you run from home, typically by yourself with no employees to start.  You are helping seniors and their families by providing an extremely valuable service during a time of extreme stress in their lives.

With a low investment of just $60-$80K, it’s one of the hottest franchise opportunities for someone wanting to work from home with no employees. I recently profiled a successful owner in my “She Owns It” series. You can find Connie’s story here.

5. Showhomes

Showhomes is America’s largest home staging provider with a unique five streams of revenue approach. It’s not your mother’s staging business anymore! Showhomes began in 1986 with the concept of transforming unappealing, vacant houses into fully-furnished, inviting, valued Showhomes. Now in their third decade of service to homeowners and their realtors, they’ve become America’s premier home staging service coast-to-coast.

Every major national media outlet in the U.S. has praised the work of Showhomes, and the company’s work has also been featured on The Today Show, HGTV, and the Travel Channel.

Related Reading: How to Write an Elevator Speech That Rocks

With an “all in” investment under $80K, this work from home model appeals to anyone who loves homes, looking at homes and improving the appearance of homes. You are required to have at least one employee to attend training as one of you will be sales and the other admin. You should also be prepared to network with realtors and home builders in your area. The homes you service will be the very cream of the crop in your market (the top 20%).