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5 Easy Ways to Stay Focused Throughout Your Day

stay focused throughout your day

Increased efficiency seems to be the Holy Grail of today’s modern fast-paced society. It’s created a multi-billion dollar industry composed of countless smartphone apps and self-help books promising to increase your ability to get things done. It’s all frankly quite distracting!  Before you go spending your hard earned cash on that sort of thing, save yourself a few dollars and read the list below.

I believe at the heart of being efficient and being productive is the ability to stay on task. If you’re focused you can not only get things done quicker, you can then get a lot more things done. Pay attention in your office, or to your friends and you’ll soon notice the people who get the most done are the ones who start and finish things in one sitting. This is what the tech boffins in Silicon Valley mean when they say, “don’t work hard, work smart.”

So, here are my top 5 ways to stay focused throughout the day.

1. Keep a Tidy Workspace

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how neat your workspace is but you definitely should. Excluding your bed, you probably spend more time in your workspace than anywhere else on the planet. Keeping it tidy will improve your efficiency and reduce distractions.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind.” Well, this is the attitude you should apply to your workspace. Every item within your line of sight should be relevant to what you do. By all means, personalize your workspace, put up pictures of loved ones, have a few pretty plants, but don’t place them directly in front of you. Having an organized workspace will dramatically unclutter your mind and help you focus on the task at hand.

stay focused throughout your day

2. Get More Sleep

Sleep has been referred to as the single greatest performance enhancer known to humankind. Oh sorry, correction, single greatest natural performance enhancer. I’m sure Lance Armstrong and his friends have a few other performance enhancers up their sleeves. But for you and I, nothing has the power to improve our ability to stay focused during the day than sleep.

Study after study has proven that individuals who sleep better are more accurate in their work, better at retaining and recalling information, more efficient, and better decision-makers. Should you want more detail, the team at the Sleep Advisor blog often discuss the importance of a good night’s rest has on mental performance in much greater length.

3. Experience the Benefits of a Power Nap

Nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat the cognitive performance boost that a good night’s sleep gives you. One thing does come close, however, and that’s a power nap. A microdose of sleep taken during the daylight hours.

Napping has been shown to be particularly effective if you are attempting to learn new skills or retain information. Studies have shown that individuals studying languages have an improved ability to recall words if they take a nap shortly after a study session.

Throughout the course of the day we all experience peaks and lows in terms of energy known as circadian rhythms. We are thought to be our most effective around 11 am and then comes the post-lunch slump, or the postprandial torpor, a decline in energy in the early afternoon.

Many power through this slump with caffeine. But a more sensible option is to lean into it and have a nap. You will find that after you wake you will have a vastly increased ability to focus.  That’s what I call working smart!

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

4. Exercise More

Stress is one of the biggest impediments we all have to get things done. Worrying too often clouds our thought patterns and can lead to muddled behavior and sometimes complete inaction.

When we worry, the body releases a chemical known as cortisol into your system, also known as the ‘stress hormone’. Apart from sleep, the most effective way to combat elevated levels of cortisol is to engage in physical activity. This can be anything from going for a jog at lunchtime, lifting some weights or targeting a flurry of jabs at a punching bag.

You might be saying to yourself, “who has time to exercise during the day?” Well, I’d answer that exercise again falls into the category of working smarter. An individual who sits at their desk all day worrying – their system flooded with cortisol – will have less ability to focus on the task at hand than someone who gets up, goes for a run and comes back with a clear head.

5. Make Lists in the Evening

Some of the most focused people I know are also the most avid list makers. They make them in the mornings and in the evenings. I even have one friend who makes lists of lists. While that might be taking it a step too far, I do firmly believe the process of writing a list has an incredible power to focus the mind on what’s really important.

Take five minutes in the evening to list your duties for the following day and then highlight the number one priority. This will give you a great boost to how you start the morning. Achieving that top goal should come before everything else, before you check emails, return calls, before anything. Then once you’ve ticked that off, you can get to work on the rest of your goals.

Well, there you have it my friends – five ways to stay focused throughout your day. I hope you managed to make it to the end without getting too distracted. If you didn’t, then maybe hit the hay a little earlier tonight. Give it a go. You can thank me in the morning – but not before you check a few things off your list!

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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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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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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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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.

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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%).

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Trailblazing Sitcom Writer Talks Sex, Career, and Stars

sitcom writer

Pioneering sitcom writer, Susan Silver, thrived climbing over obstacles and breaking down barriers throughout her life.  Her often glamorous career began in the sixties when professional opportunities for women were limited to those of secretary or telephone operator.  However, with luck and tenacity, Susan landed the job of casting director for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Doggedly, in the Mad Men-esque environment of Hollywood, Susan eventually became a writer for the iconic shows The Partridge Family, Maude, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and others.

Within her memoir, Hot Pants in Hollywood – Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms, Susan recounts the fascinating, star-studded ups and downs of her life.  As a seasoned writer, she grabs your attention by opening her book with an amusing ‘vibrator girl’ story.  She goes on to name A-list celebrities whom she turned down and even describes a frightening encounter she had with a young Bill Cosby.

I recently interviewed Susan Silver about her intriguing professional and personal experiences and her tell-all book.

Jen Monks:  One of your first big breaks came when you were hired as casting director on Laugh-In.  Were you intimidated by the famous people you were supposed to recruit for the show?

Susan Silver:  No.  I don’t understand why, but nobody intimidated me.  I guess I was just too young to know any better.  And I could spot a star a million miles away.  If I saw somebody famous, I would run after them.  I even did that on my honeymoon.

JM:  When you failed to book a well-known entertainer, your boss intimated you should have offered the actor an inappropriate favor.  How did you handle this request at the time?

SS:  Sadly, that’s just the way it was back then.  I decided not to play into it.  You had to ignore it or laugh at it.  I thought he was joking and said, “No way!”  Then I walked out of his office.

In retrospect, it was kind of disgusting, but at the time I probably went home and complained to my husband.  Then I moved on.

JM:  How did such a young, inexperienced person find work on the most successful sitcoms of the seventies?

SS:  Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall’s (Laverne & Shirley) brother, was my mentor and manager.  He was a great guy and a dear friend.

I saw The Mary Tyler Moore Show and told him I wanted to work for them, and he got me on board.  They wanted women writers on that show which was unheard of in those days.  I loved that experience.  It was the best job with the best people.  Everyone worked well together and got along.

sitcom writer Susan Silver

JM:  Over the years you turned down dates with big-name celebrities, and lucrative job offers on Love Boat, Wonder Woman, and the second Newhart series.  Any regrets?

SS:  You have to read my book to find out.  I do wish I had said yes to Steve McQueen.  I turned him down first; then he turned me down.  It just didn’t work out.

As for the shows, it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted.  There were going to be too many hours involved.  I wanted more freedom.  I like to work when I want to, not when I have to.

JM:  After a frustrating experience writing for the Sarah Jessica Parker series, Square Pegs, you changed careers and worked for the Anti-Defamation League, the United Nations, and the Democratic party.  Why the shift from comedy to serious causes?

SS:  After twenty years of writing, we had a Writers Guild strike in 1989.  By then I was divorced and didn’t want to live in L.A. anymore.  I visited New York and decided I wanted to live there.

I networked and came to the realization I needed to return to my Jewish heritage of which I knew nothing.  I ended up booking speakers for the Anti-Defamation League for two years.

Then I worked with the U.N., and that was a difficult job for me for many reasons.  So, I became interested in politics.

JM:  You had a professional relationship with Bill Clinton and other influential people throughout your career.  How have you connected with so many powerful individuals?

SS:  I get invited to events. Friends take me to parties in New York City, where I live.  I always know or figure out exactly where to stand at an event to meet the most interesting people.

I’ve met almost every icon of my generation.  It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being friendly.  I have been accused of being pushy.  I never considered myself pushy: I thought of myself as open to new experiences.

JM:  You eventually turned your attention back to writing and penned editorials for The New York Times and had a long-running column called The Search for Mr. Adequate. Tell us about that.

SS:  I wrote the column for The New York Social Diary.  It was a little like Sex and the City for the baby boomer generation.

The premise is there is no perfect man, and after thirty-five there is no prince, and after fifty there absolutely isn’t.

It was a fun thing to do for four years.  I joined all the dating sites, and that was a nightmare.  But, overall, it was fun.  Just like most of the projects I have been involved in throughout my life.

Interesting Reading: Help! A Troll Stole My Content; And How to Stop It

Susan has gone on to teach comedy writing and currently hosts short radio commentaries on Robinhood Radio.  She continues to embrace projects that spark her creativity and claims she will never retire completely.

Although the veteran sitcom writer admits she didn’t realize the social significance of Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at the time, Susan Silver is proud of her contributions to them.  She should be.

What was your favorite sitcom of the seventies or eighties?  Feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.