Hoverboard: An Efficient Means of Transportation

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This may be the best news your inner child hears, well, ever: Yes, hoverboards are real, and yes, you may just get to ride one soon. In this day and age of modern technology and advancements, the process of transporting from one place to another has become immensely convenient, easy, and entertaining. Technological advancements such as hoverboards have become a fun alternative to the old method of walking. The reliance and dependency of common individuals on these technological advancements has certainly changed the way we go from place to place in our daily routine. Hoverboard is basically a “self-balancing scooter” and a form of two-wheel motorized gadget.

Working and Manufacturing

How these hoverboards work is fairly simple. Their stability is based on the principle of weight transfer. We can move forward on it by transferring weight in the forward direction, and brake or reverse by transferring weight in the backward direction but you must need to have speed under control. A couple pressure-sensitive footpads control the speed and movement of the hoverboard.

Because stepping on this board transfers some amount of weight in either forward or backward direction, the board starts to move which it makes the process of mounting and dismounting is a bit challenging and tricky. This makes the riders have a little difficulty to steady and balance the board, especially while they’re still in the midst of getting used to ride a hoverboard.

Balancing and steering the hoverboard stresses calf and foot muscles. Just like all the others motorized and non-motorized transporting gadgets, there is a presence of a fair share of risks involved, and there is a dire need of due safety measures that an individual must address before hopping on the hoverboard or any other scooters or boards.

Pros and Cons

The pros and cons associated with these technological advancements of hoverboard play a pivotal role in shaping and transforming our life and our daily routine. The benefits and pros of using modern technologies such as hoverboard overshadows the risks and disadvantages coupled with its usage.  But recently, the emergence of heat issues in these hoverboard has ringed the warning alarms and caution in the minds of hoverboard users. This ignited a spark of fear in the minds of the users and created an element of uncertainty.

The main reason for such issues, that quite often leads to minor accidents, is the usage of cheap batteries that are prone to leakage. Hoverboards are usually powered by large lithium ion batteries that can overheat or sometimes even explode under some conditions. But, most of these complaints and accidents are found in cheap and low-quality hoverboards that are available online.

The price of these hoverboards are usually under $300, but the presence of faulty batteries can cause the accidents probability increases immensely. There has been an active investigation going on, that the primary objective is to find which brands are prone to disasters and which brands are considerably safe. But despite all the risk and dangers involved, none can argue with the fact that these hoverboards are the modern mean of transportation which is efficient, enthralling, and convenient.

Cost Estimation and Specification

It’s probably best to buy hoverboards from leading manufacturers and brands, which eliminates the chances of heat issues and accidents to a great extent. The prices for scooters calling themselves hoverboards can start from as little as $300. Some of the infamous and widely popular big-name models include the likes of IO Hawk, Monorover, Phunkeeduck, Swagway, and Power Board. The price of these boards ranges from $400 to $1800, and the specifications and features vary with the price. Some special discount deals like black Friday also provide utilities to their customers.

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Going Beyond The DSLR at YouTube Space LA

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In this latest vlog post, I head over to YouTube Space LA to go beyond the DSLR camera. This was the promo email that YouTube used to entice me to attend.

There’s a world of next-level digital cameras that can help you record better audio and straight-up beautiful images. In this new class, you’ll learn the key features of cameras like the Canon C300, Sony FS7, and others. Get hands-on experience and then take your channel to the next level.

In addition to playing with some of the most expensive video cameras in the world, I experienced the blazing fast YouTube wireless speed by uploading a 1.2GB video file in just 1 minute and 7 seconds! I also got burnt by the YouTube fire pole and got ripped off by the YouTube claw. Enjoy!

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

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3 Things You Should Never Do When Looking For A Mentor

Posted from http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/3-things-you-should-never-do-when-looking-for-a-mentor/

It seems like every successful entrepreneur has had and endorses getting a mentor. Most people think of a mentor as someone that teaches them about business, but a mentor can actually provide overall life advice. Many times, life advice can make the biggest impact towards success in business.

A mentor can help shift your mindset from fear to growth, teach you financial strategies to save and invest, encourage you to take chances in business and lifestyle, and push you to maximize your potential. Their purpose is to help you grow, and for growth to happen you need to be pushed beyond your comfort zone.

Being a mentor myself, I receive messages and emails every week asking me to be a mentor. Talking to other successful entrepreneurs, I can see this is a consistent thing for them as well. Looking for a mentor is the right thing to do, but there are certain practices you should consider when doing so.

Below are three things you should never do when trying to get someone to be your mentor:

1. Ask “Will you be my mentor?”

Asking someone to be your mentor right away is a waste of your time. Anyone qualified to be someone that you should listen to will likely not answer that question. Think about it from the side of the mentor; they’re successful, very busy, and likely have many people they deal with on a regular basis that would love to be mentored by them.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

It is highly unlikely they are going to just randomly say yes to someone they don’t know. Instead of asking for something, try contacting them and giving them something. Research them and find out what they like or what you can do to help them. They will appreciate the gesture and now see you as someone of value.

2. Be uncommitted

The last thing anyone wants to do is invest time into someone that isn’t committed to the mission. Having a mentor is not a straight path to success. There will still be many ups and downs during your journey, but you have to trust the process. This is the same when trying to get someone to be your mentor.

Finding a way to give to someone is only the first step. You need to begin to follow-up and find ways to keep engaging, or else you risk being forgotten. Successful individuals are contacted all the time by people looking for handouts who quit the moment they don’t get it. Show your potential mentor you’re serious and are committed to helping them and you may find that they will start to take an interest in what you’re doing.

3. Be scared to invest

Whether it is time or money, a successful entrepreneur has likely invested lots of it to get to where they are. It would only make sense that they would expect the same from you. If you’re scared to invest money in your personal or business growth or can only invest a certain amount of time because of a job, relationship or your favorite TV show, then you can’t expect someone to invest in you.

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” – E.M. Forster

Finding a mentor is not something you can do in a day unless you’re willing to pay them. It takes time to provide enough value to them that they will become interested in working with you. So before trying to get the keys to the castle right away, remember to find ways to give, stay committed, and be willing to invest your time and money.

What are some things you’ve done to get a mentor’s attention? Please leave your thoughts below!

A Letter To My 50-Year-Old Self: On Grace and Getting Older

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Today, I turned a different age somewhere along the continuum of the roaring twenties. I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday and in some ways, I am quite humbled by the life I’ve been privileged to live with its many lessons and experiences, its mountaintops and valleys, and the trek in between the two. When I was 12, I didn’t exactly write a letter to myself, but I did write down all the things I wanted to do with my life. Looking back, I’ve done a good deal of those things and I’m grateful. When you’re 12, 20-something seems like a grown-up age, and you long to get there. But when you’re 20-something, 50 seems so old and so far away that you dread the thought. Maybe it is a thing to fear or just the thought that scares us. Then again, maybe it isn’t. You be that judge. But here is my letter to myself at 50.

Dear Self On Your 50th Birthday,

Today, you changed ages. You’ve entered that strange and beautiful group of people between middle age and elderly. You’re not super young, but you’re not old either. You’ve come a very long way from thirty. Congratulations!

I am certain you have grown enough to understand that life is precious and fragile. It must be lived boldly yet handled with care. You understand that it is not so much about you as it is about you living for something higher than you. I’m certain that you have accomplished way more than you imagined but your underlying aim behind all of those accomplishments was to make a difference in the world.

I think you have done that well.

Make your mark.

Everyone seems to have that common desire to make a mark on the world. At least at this age, some expect to have had this goal reached. Indeed, some people have done so long before now, while others are just getting started. But you have thought about your place in making a difference long before now. And you’ve reached a pinnacle that has you everywhere you want to be, doing the things you want to be doing at this age.

You are settled, strong, and gracious. You’ve found your happiness – that one thing (or maybe more) that gives you joy, that gets you excited even after decades of doing it. Your writing, your research, your speaking, your leading pushes you out of bed every morning, even after so much time. I’m certain that you have smiled at your successes, celebrated your achievements, cried at your pain, reevaluated your progress after failure, and even worried about one thing or another at some point. But you realize that every experience was a blessing in disguise even if the blessing came after the fact.

So you walk with your heart humbled and your head up. To see you doing so well in life, feeling so fulfilled and satisfied, brimming with meaning and the best excitement, gives me pride and great joy. You went through some very difficult times and crushing moments, yet you managed to stay strong and use the negativities to push forward on your path to where you are now. In a nutshell, you’ve done well. I have to pinch myself when I look at all of your accomplishments and especially the people who are impacted by your work.

Much deeper than gold.

You’ve developed a tough mind and a tender heart through it all. You know that your wealth, your fame, your success, and even your material gains are worth nothing compared to the joy you feel in your soul each night. You used to think of grace as some heavenly idea for a select few. But now you know what it is and how it feels to be perpetually in its grasps. You have learned that every step you’ve taken has been an exercise in grace. And you desire to live no differently.

You’ve struck that careful balance between work and play, career and family, goals and achievements. You’ve always wanted to move people with your words and research, and boy, you’ve done a good job. People used to not like it that you spoke your mind, told the truth, stood by your beliefs, and had no worries about the opinions of others. But most have gotten over that now. You’ve learned the longer you stick with something, the more respect you gain.

And then there is the part of you who has grown to be accepting. Accepting of everything – the good and the bad, the difficult and the easy, the favorable and disappointing situations, the news that brings joy and sadness. For a long time, you have chosen that path of gratitude that you spoke and wrote so much about when you were younger. You’ve stopped beating yourself up and stopped feeling like you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or anything else enough. You’ve learned to show yourself grace.

Embracing grace.

That grace doesn’t come directly from you exactly. You know, you used to be quite the perfectionist. But you’ve allowed yourself to be open to that grace that is unconditional, incomprehensible, unlimited, and wholehearted. You’ve pulled back the curtain and let in the light that comes from God above, that leads you into paths you never thought you would enter because you’ve stopped relying on the past to answer questions about your present or future and you’ve let go of what you could not control, and you’ve turned your focus to accomplishing something worthwhile not for yourself, but for the people around you.

You know what it feels like to be friendless, to be lost, to feel stressed and emotionally drained, to feel like things aren’t moving fast enough. You know what it feels like when everyone around you is shouting at each other and nobody is listening. You know what it feels like to let yourself go even in the midst of the unknown. You know what it means to love and to be loved. You have been someone’s hero and someone has been yours.

And you know that if you were to take a few days to thoroughly look back over your life, you would realize that God’s grace is not like man’s grace. It is so divine and flourishing that you are blown away when the sun shines on you. You have all people, so unsuspecting of your success, continue to have that heart that puts others ahead of yourself. You are living, working, and playing now because you have grown into a person who can do all these things because you are gracious and thankful for the experience.

Where you’re headed.

Yet you’re still the same person. You drink coffee for the good feeling. You eat chocolate for the good feeling too. You go to grocery stores just to buy snacks and look around for nothing in particular. You dress up because it is important even on odd days and you’re not afraid to just be who you are. You listen and you talk because you can feel people’s hearts that way. You love your old soul because that is where you get to understand people and show compassion and grace. You know what it was like to be 20-something and uncertain. You know what it was like to create your own path forward with not an inkling of an idea of what you were doing. You remember that it took you some time to get to where you are. And you’re not afraid to share all the personal horror stories because you’re happy to help even if you’re the example.

I am happy to see you where you are right now.

So bold yet humble, so free yet always striving to be better, so amazed by what you know and even more surprised by what you don’t. Yes, you’ve grown a great deal since the last time we talked. You’re not exactly striving anymore, just cruising in your life’s goals. Self-actualizing as they call it. You’re not getting old; you’re just getting older. You’ve grown up and you continue to grow and improve and make a mark on the world for good. And I’m crazy proud of you for that.

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How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog

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How to Create Consistently Valuable Content For Your Blog | ProBlogger

Doing something of value is a basic motive that drives us in doing pretty much anything in our lives.

Writing is a passion and there is a little art in every piece of content we create, irrelevant of the topic or the reason why we put the words in this sequence on the sheet in front of us. When we talk about blogging, we should consider the value of our texts, especially if we write professionally and there are targets to be reached. Even though blogging has been around for quite awhile, the number of people practicing it who can’t distinguish clearly what is the value of the content they create, how to effectively measure it and boost its engagement is concerningly high.

The art of blogging

Blogging may be considered an art, as it is a way of expression and no matter the topic people write about, they put a little piece of themselves into the materials they are working on. Writers put the words in a certain sequence and structure the information that is contained inside through their own perspective, thus creating a unique material.

Every professional can tell you that writing is the easy part of blogging. The harder one comes with defining the message and pinpointing the kind of value the content brings. The major problem with art and personal expression at all is that, usually, they cannot be interpreted in the same way by everyone or even by the targeted audience, if the message is not presented in an appropriate way. This is why before starting an article, we need to consider a few things such as:

  • What are the characteristics of our targeted audience?
  • What interests them?
  • What value do we, as bloggers, want to bring to them?

By doing so, we will save ourselves time otherwise wasted on unnecessary editing. Further, we will prevent anxiety and disappointment if the published material does not achieve the results we had hoped for during the process of realizing our idea.

Why should we concentrate on value so much?

Blogging is a process of continuous improvement that requires time, dedication and expertise on the topics we cover. For many people, it starts as a hobby that later turns into a secondary source of income and eventually a full-time occupation.

Bringing value to your readers is the only way to make a profession out of blogging. Simply put, if your words lack value for your readers, you won’t be able to build an audience and a community around your writing.

Speaking from the perspective of a journalist who transitioned to blogging, creating a valuable blog article for a specifically segmented audience is much harder than it may seem. For example, when you reflect the news, the way you present the information is pretty simple – deliver the message with maximum clarity and avoid manipulation at all cost.

When I transitioned to professional blogging, the difference became apparent immediately. I started writing in the manner of a reporter, but my target audience’s response was unanticipated. I was writing for a sophisticated audience of project managers in the IT sector, not the masses, and at first, many of the people reading my articles had more expertise than me on the topics I was presenting. As a result, articles that seemed perfect to me, were achieving a lot less engagement and a lower response rate than I hoped. Not to mention my drafts were getting far more edits than I was used to, which was not a pleasant feeling.

The value of a piece of content varies from one person to another

Identifying the value of an article is not always an easy task. Research by the Content Marketing Institute conducted in 2014 shows that roughly half of the B2B bloggers in the United States have trouble pinpointing the value of their content. This is not a surprise because even similar people may find different or no value at all in a given article.

In blogging, the value of an article usually consists of the information that readers take away and can apply at some point. A simple way of creating valuable content is to present actionable advice in a way that is easy to understand by the targeted audience. In other words, offer something that can make a positive impact on the way your readers live or work.

The article should be long enough to go in depth about the topic and yet short enough to keep the reader’s attention up until the end. When planning any form of content, we should be asking ourselves – what will the readers learn from the material and are we going to bring some kind of positive change to their lives with the article we are about to write.

For some topics, the value is easy to point out, while others need deeper consideration

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at the types of projects a tech blogger might undertake. In the first case scenario, she decides to write a review of a certain product. The value for her audience is going to consist of getting to know the advantages and disadvantages of the product, accompanied by advice on whether the product is worth buying, given from a person with first hand experience.

In the second scenario, that same blogger writes an article about a psychological factor connected to the way her readers work. In this case, giving them something of value might prove harder because the reader is provided with subjective advice on a topic that may be related to them.

Knowing that something is valuable is important, knowing exactly how much – even more so

Creating content of value is somewhat easier when you are not keeping up with schedules, because you have freedom to remodel the message of the material as many times as you need, and deliver it only when you have full certainty in its impact on your targeted audience.

Unfortunately, most professional bloggers must adhere to deadlines and maintain a predictable delivery schedule of content to their readers. Even if you know that your content is valuable, you need to know exactly how much and to whom at which time. This will allow you to focus on articles with high value to the majority of the readers and show you how to make more impact with your work on a regular basis. There are many indicators that can help you identify the most valuable pieces of content you create, focused in three categories:

  • Engagement metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • SEO metrics

Among the most important indicators of the value of your content can be found with the help of your website analytics. You do not need to track every single metric that Google provides, but you should target at least a handful of them like page views, time spent on the article, crawl rate, inbound links, and bounce rate.

Social media is of no lesser importance, as it is one of the largest sources of user data in the world. You should be keeping an eye on the reach and engagement of every article you post, as well as the advocacy on your page (comments, participation in polls and, most importantly, feedback).

When referring to SEO, the most important metrics you should follow consistently are your articles’ page rankings in the high-traffic search engines and the keywords that bring visitors to your blog. It is important to know how you rank for words or phrases that are common to the field you write about or the industry you often reference and plan for which ones you will aim to rank better.

Focus on creating more value instead of more volume

To create more valuable content bloggers should have a clear understanding of the details related to the spectrum of topics they cover. By selecting a niche and sticking to it, you will be able to attract more readers with similar interests. This way, you can deliver value to a larger percent of your audience with every post you create. As a result, you will retain a larger part of the visitors that come to your blog.

Focusing on quality instead of quantity will do you a big favor, because when the audience knows that they will get something valuable every time you publish content, they will be eager to read your every word before they’ve even seen the title .

Find an efficient way of working

Last but not least, you need to have an efficient way of work. Blogging is usually not a solo act and we often end up collaborating with different people to be able to consistently create valuable new content and grow the community of peers with similar interests.

The common misconception is that the creative process cannot help but be messy and uneven, that you can’t control inspiration. Although there is some truth to this, a growing number of professional bloggers have been experimenting in developing and adopting process management methods to assess and boost the quality of their work and improve the efficiency of their creative process.

More recently, the Kanban method, typical to the IT and manufacturing industries, has been making its way into the lives of a growing number of professional writers, especially those that specialize in technical blogging. The method began in production, was later adapted for software development, and eventually, started gaining popularity in other professional fields.

It is used to map the workflow of a person or a team on a white board. Each part of the white board represents a typical step of your process, whatever it may be. Tasks are hosted on individual sticky notes that move from the first stage, on the left side of the board, to the final completion stage, on the right side of the board. On the board, you can create a backlog that contains all of the ideas that you generate, but are unable to work on at the moment.

The great thing about Kanban is that it is very simple to apply and yet extremely effective in boosting the efficiency of your creative process because it removes the possibility to lose track of your work and helps you avoid multitasking.

How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog | ProBlogger.net

Blogging is a calling, a passion, an art, and a profession for many people across the globe. Creating value should be the main goal of every person who wants to turn their blogging from a hobby into a profession. Learning how to recognize and measure it is of utmost importance to every “pro” out there. Hopefully, by reaching the conclusion of this article, you have been able to find value in this article as well.

Alexander Novkov is Marketing Expert at Kanbanize where he specializes in content marketing and social media. Before getting into the tech world he was an economic reporter for the Bulgarian media OFFNews. Alex is passionate about creative writing and continuous improvement.

The post How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How To Become A More Efficient Freelancer: Tips for Staying Focused and Productive

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/F4Vby6HXN9c/how-to-become-a-more-efficient-freelancer-tips-for-staying-focused-and-productive

Side view portrait of happy casual young business dad holding newborn cute babe while working on laptop in home office interior. Cheerful working father using pc computer and nursing new born child

Unbeknownst to many, freelancing is a challenging career path. It’s easy to get fooled by the flexible hours, freedom, and a seemingly endless amount of “free” time that most freelancers seem to enjoy. But unlike colleagues in the 8-5 day job that have a guaranteed check every month’s end, freelancers need a lot more than the willpower to wake up every morning and go to work.

To make ends meet as a freelancer, you must cultivate sharp focus and discipline in order to stay productive throughout the day. Freelancers are more likely to get distracted by small things, especially when working at home. Loud TVs, household chores, kids, idle friends, and a long list of other distractions can easily break concentration and keep you further from your goals.

So, how can you stay focused and productive in the face of all these challenges? Read on for tips on how to grow and establish yourself as an efficient, high-achieving freelancer.

1. Set A Work Routine & Stick To It

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Setting a regular work schedule will help you separate work and play and become a more successful freelancer. A routine enables you to avoid burnout, sleepless nights, missed deadlines, and unproductive days when working as a freelancer. When making a routine, assign the toughest jobs to times of the day when you are most creative.

Though work schedules and routines vary, a typical routine should look something like:

  • 5:30 am: Wake up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 am: Emails, catching up on news
  • 7:00 – 11:00 am: Work
  • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm: Gym, lunch, social media, emails
  • 2:00 – 7:00 pm: Work
  • 7:00 – 10:00 pm: Family
  • 10:30 pm: Bedtime

Of course, this can be amended to fit individual lifestyles but, as a rule of thumb, always ensure that at least 60% of your day is committed to productivity.

2. Manage Distractions

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One of the major challenges of being your own boss is managing distractions, especially if you are working from home. Family, chores, TV, and the general temptation to lounge at home can keep you away from achieving your goals. Getting an affordable shared office space can be a good option to avoid such distractions, especially if it’s impossible to establish a No Distractions Zone in the house.

Apart from the physical distractions, you can also get hooked to unproductive internet habits. We all know the pitfalls of the cat video conundrum: once you watch the first cat video, you must watch ALL cat videos. Thankfully, there are tons of software you can use to block web-based distractions, including Cold Turkey, Self Control (for Mac), and the chrome extension, Stay Focusd, which gives you time limits to certain addictive sites.

Your phone can also be a source of distraction, especially after blocking yourself away from your computer. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” to prevent unnecessary distractions while working.

3. Make Time To Work Out

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Your work schedule should make time for some form of physical activity. Prolonged durations of sitting have been associated with numerous health problems, including metabolic syndrome and obesity. Working out, even in its simplest form, helps to rejuvenate the body and give you a fresh perspective of the task at hand. For instance, a 10-minute workout was recently shown to be just as effective as longer workouts of moderate intensity.

Physical activities also help to improve brain power and boost problem-solving skills, thanks to the rush of oxygen and nutrients into the brain when your heart rate goes up.

4. Reward Yourself 

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Cultivating a good reward system will not only help you breathe between tasks, but will also give you something to look forward to when working on a task. It acts as a good self-motivational system that can help you tackle the most difficult of tasks. Set small milestones and a reward for each completed milestone, for instance, a chocolate bar after every two blog posts.

Don’t forget to relax after a long day of work. Pour yourself a glass of wine or pop open a bottle of beer while reflecting on the day’s accomplished tasks.

There are so many measures different people take to become productive and focused as freelancers. The key is finding what works for you through trial and error and making it part of your daily freelancing ritual to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency when working at home.

Featured photo credit: freepik via freepik.com

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7 Ways To Engage Employees With Training

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/fbNHq5phc4Q/7-ways-to-engage-employees-with-training

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On-going employee training can be a natural aspect to overlook – especially when there are more pressing or urgent goals on the horizon. This goes both ways, for the employee and the employer. However, on-the-job or on-going training is a crucial part of growing your company by developing the skill set of your employees. Another reason to spend time training your employees is that it creates buy-in from them, especially when the training will provide direct benefits for their current and future work. 

With so many great reasons why employee training is so beneficial, it can be difficult to understand why some employees seem resistant to the idea. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to engage your employees with the idea of more training:

1. Make it personal

Typically, making something personal isn’t the best idea – especially in the workplace. However, when it comes to employee training, the more personalized you make training, the more likely your employee will respond positively to training. The best way to do this is to keep the learner at the center of the training. Pushing learning, especially learning curriculums that are of a one-size-fits-all variety, is a quick way to turn your employees off, and even results in an adverse effect on their work, with time lost and possible feelings of devaluation.

2. Ask your employees

Sometimes asking your employees can lead to a dead end, due to the circumstances, office politics, and so forth. Sometimes you need to intervene and make a decision that’s best for the company. Training can be like that too. Sometimes you might have an employee who is good at recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and other times you’ll have to step in and offer some guidance. Regardless of the type of employee, when it comes to training and self-improvement, it’s always a good idea to ask them first. After all, it’s important for employees to be engaged. For example, in various coding classes, there are many ways to help employees retain their training knowledge, while also being a win-win for the company. This doesn’t need to be a daunting thing at all. A simple conversation about personal development goals is likely a conversation that will leave you both feeling better and it’ll offer clearer insights into how your employee views their development while also giving you some key insights into what motivates them and what they see as important.

3. Career advancement

If your employee sees a clear path in their professional development through training, they’re much more likely to be invested in their training. This can be the outcome of higher wage or even a better position within the company. In some ways, this is dangling the carrot. You offer a potential reward, and they’ll do the work to try and achieve what they need to achieve in order to get that reward. Beware of making promises you cannot keep, as there’s nothing more demotivating than a broken promise.

4. Multiple formats

The advances in eLearning have been dramatic over the last few years. With sources such as Lynda.com and more, there has never been a better time to offer eLearning for your employees, which provides further training without breaking the bank. Combine this with a BYOD (bring your own device) or a working from home option, and you’ve got a compelling mix of learning and flexibility that will appeal to many people. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer in-house, in-person training too. There is still a lot of value to be gained from learning from each other one-on-one or in a small classroom environment.

5. Bake training into the culture

An excellent way to get your employees to respond to training is to make it a part of your company culture. This doesn’t mean superficially offering training or forcing unwanted or unnecessary training onto your employees; it means encouraging people to learn from each other, to make learning a priority and not a secondary act. Have a centralized knowledge base, one that is actively maintained and contributed to. Encourage discussion. Make problem-solving and helping a virtue in your company, not a taboo. Encourage questions, allow people’s curiosity to flow, and ask people to punch holes in ideas. This takes everyone to buy-in if it is to succeed. It’s not a one-off trick and it’s got to start at the very top.

6. Recognize experts when you have them

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate enough to have an expert on your team. No matter what they’re an expert in, an expert is always a great asset for a company – when their expertise are used correctly. There are many ways to utilize expert knowledge within your company, but simply recognizing when someone is excellent at something and having that information be known to the rest of your company, is a great way to start. They could hold a small discussion or a classroom style meeting. They could present some of their knowledge to the people who are most interested and in need of their expertise – the list goes on. Regardless of how your company uses this expert, merely recognizing this person will provide a boost in morale to everyone.

7. Rewards

The final idea on the list appeals to our most basic human selves: a reward for doing something good. Everyone enjoys a pat on the back now and then and a pat on the back with a gift card or dinner at a nice restaurant or a trip to a sporting event are all simple ways to reward someone for their hard work. These are best presented at milestones, big or small, and are an excellent way to affirm your employee for the job they’re doing positively.

Let’s get training for 2017!

Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via stocksnap.io

The post 7 Ways To Engage Employees With Training appeared first on Lifehack.

4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

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4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

This is a guest contribution from Sam Wright at techgirlblog.com

I’d had my technology lifestyle blog for little over a year when I began working with an influencer marketing platform, connecting brands and bloggers on sponsored collaborations.

Blogging in my region hadn’t become a true income source yet (that has changed in recent months and I like to think I had something to do with it) and a solid nine-to-fiver seemed the “safe” bet, especially as the platform would let me continue my blog.

One year on, I’ve had my job title change almost bi-monthly, I’ve stood in boardrooms and fought, almost to the point of tears, for bloggers, and I’ve also stood in boardrooms and been let down, almost to the point of tears, by bloggers.

The business of blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I’ve been lucky enough to wear both “hats”, that of the creator and that of the brand on the other side, fearfully giving up creative control of their identity to a blogger.

Playing these dual roles has taught me four key lessons that I now apply to my blog and my job. These insights have allowed me to better monetise my own platforms but also given me the ability to ensure income for other creators. These are my learnings and whether blogger or brand, I’m hoping they can assist you as much as they have me!

Content. Content. Content.

It seems like such a cliche but the truth is everything links back to the content you produce.

Good content builds your audience and invites engagement, which then makes you attractive to brands – who then become interested in paying you to create good content in order to get exposure for their product or service.

Creating great content isn’t rocket science but there are a few additional things I’ve learnt over the years. The first is that good content is subjective. I’ve seen things produced by other creators and thought: “what the hell is that?” and yet it has gone on to do incredibly well with their audience. I’ve also seen really bad content that has little to no creative flair that gets published, getting no response from the targeted audience and yet the brand is over the moon because they liked it.

Sometimes it is hard, as a blogger, to remember that you don’t create content for brands but for your audience. It shouldn’t be hard, but it can be. I have a day job, so for my blog it is easy for me to say no to something that doesn’t sit with me, but I know that when your livelihood depends on the income your little space on the internet derives, it could be easy to think you could twist the content to work. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t do it. All the money in the world won’t make up for the audience you’ll lose down the line.

As a creator myself I can say this with confidence: that audience means more to you than anything and if you’re true to your craft you’ll happily penny pinch to retain them. Long term it will mean less penny pinching because you’ll be far more respected than the blogger who chose to make the quick buck along the way.

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Report on EVERYTHING

Vanity stats, the stuff you think no one cares about and then the extra statistics you don’t even understand – make sure they all go in your closing report.

My biggest learning from a blogger’s perspective after my first year at an influencer marketing platform has been that sometimes the blogger in me gets far too caught up in the creative.

The business of blogging has two parts: Blogging and Business. Business needs a return on investment. Lots of eyeballs on some gorgeous flat lays isn’t enough and, in time, we’re going to see even the best creators fall away if they don’t begin to show an accurate conversion. Your blog post or Instagram photo is simply one section of a giant funnel leading the consumer to the point of sale.

Bloggers, when approached to work with brands, need to ask what the goal is and what the measurement criteria is going to be. Don’t do the job if you don’t think you can deliver – and when delivery time comes be sure to over-deliver: track links, track audience demographics, track the keywords they searched to get to the post you wrote. Every little detail is like a tiny golden nugget for a brand attempting to not only target the right consumer but also lead them to a point where they purchase a product.

I’m about to be a little bit controversial now but if I take off my influencer marketing hat for a minute and put on my blogger hat: I know how annoying influencer marketing platforms can be.

I realise that they constantly hound you to sign up with no real promise of reward. I know you think they take the power out of your hands. I feel you. But the truth is, these platforms offer a service to the brand on the other side that bloggers have failed at: they know how to accurately report on a campaign.

Rather than fighting ten bloggers to get any sort of statistic other than “it got 20,000 views”, “there were 35 likes”, “my monthly uniques are…” it is far easier for a brand to pay a fee to a platform to pull the data they need to build their digital campaigns. The truth is we, as bloggers, are selling ourselves short and not delivering on the costs associated with running content on our blogs.

Report on ALL. THE. THINGS.

Blogging is about community – start collaborating

Sometimes during the hunt for money to put food on our table or the obsessive need with growing our platforms I think we forget why we started blogging in the first place. I think we forget that we wanted to have a space to share with like minded people who think like us or feel like us or could relate to us in some sort of way. We forget the conversations with our friends that revolved around theme design or the concept art behind our latest blog.

You’ll notice that most influencer marketing campaigns usually involve more than one blogger or creator. That’s because a few bloggers reach a far larger target market than just one. I’ve learnt to take the business thinking and apply it to my blogging. Working with other bloggers on projects (even ones that don’t make me money) allows me to reach a new audience who might potentially be interested in my blog. It also allows the other blogger to reach my audience. Most importantly though? It makes me happy.

Even if you want to make your blog a fully-fledged business, it should still make you happy. It takes so much of your energy to create, it’s important you enjoy it. I enjoy working with other creatives (usually far better than me at what they do) because I am able to learn so much from what they do and how they work. There’s a reason we flock to a site like ProBlogger and it is because the only people who really understand the passion that goes into maintaining a blog are other bloggers.

It comes down to relationships

In one year I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve collaborated with some of the most well respected international media and advertising agencies both on my blog and at the influencer marketing platform I work at.

My boss is going to want me to tell you it is because of our amazing technology and the blogger in me wants to say it is because of the incredible, but small, audience I’ve built. There is no doubt that those things play a big role but I’m pretty sure there is one defining factor across that board that results in success: good relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

My blog readers trust me and because they trust me they come to me for advice or read my content for assistance. My “day job” clients trust me when I suggest our tech to better manage their influencer campaigns and report on them because I’ve been able to prove it delivers on what I say it does. My “blogging” clients trust me to look after a brand they’ve cherished, nurtured and built because they trust me (sometimes blindly). Those relationships aren’t made overnight. They’re like any other relationship and take time to nurture.

The first three things I learnt all link directly to the relationships you build: be it with other bloggers, your audience, with brands or even with the influencer marketing platform you might decide to sign up to.

In my time juggling hats I’ve realised the importance of people and of the connections we’re able to make. Ironically, the need to make those connections was the reason I started blogging in the first place.

Sam Wright is a lifestyle technology blogger at techgirlblog.com. She also heads up the software partners division at Webfluential – an influencer marketing technology company. 

The post 4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How To Kill Your Email Delivery by Making These Simple Mistakes

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The worst thing possible when sending out email follow-ups is to have them NOT inbox as expected. However, there are many other fundamental flaws you should avoid when running an email campaign to promote your content or products. Over the years, I’ve tested out many types of email marketing strategies and found some elements to work better than others. I’ve played around with different headlines, SMTP relays, body-text, keywords, etc., and I was impressed with the results. The most value information I gained from running these tests was how to optimize your email marketing so your messages get inbox and how to avoid some very basic mistakes. I was surprised what other factors will influence your email delivery other than a spammed follow-up message.

Here are 4 errors you can avoid to ensure you don’t kill your delivery rate…

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Buying a List

I’ve bought several lists in my blogging career and I would suggest not investing in purchasing lists. You have to remember, the core of email marketing is having an effective relevant niche-based list. However, that’s not the only problem you’ll face because you have to ensure all the email addresses are still valid so you’ll have to invest in cleaning your email list, which can cost anywhere from $500-$2000 dollars continuously over several months. However, keep in mind, many of these people have not given you approval to email them from your domain so you might run into problems sending them a message. The point is this…

Purchasing a list from a vendor will do nothing for you but increase your complaint rates. It will force your IP address to get blacklisted and going forward, you’ll have a difficult time getting regular email messages delivered through your account. In the end, you’re killing your deliverability and destroying your reputation at the same time. Here’s something else that happen to me…

I was using SMTP relays and when email addresses starting bouncing because of non-delivery, I was banned from using relays going forward. This hurt my reputation with many providers, etc.

Not Getting Approval

One of the biggest flaws in email marketing is NOT asking people for their permission before sending them follow-ups. These people are well aware of the blogs and/or websites they’ve subscribed to and will mark your message as SPAM if they don’t recognize your messages. Here something else you should know…

Not gaining the proper approval goes against the email CAN-SPAM, which outlines the regulations as they apply to sending messages to people. If these people mark your message as “Report as SPAM”, then you can be in a lot of trouble, depending on how many complaints you’ve generated. Protect yourself and your blog by asking for permission before sending people messages.

Sending Opposite Content

Here’s something I’ve seen happen over and over again. You’ll have people subscribe to your newsletter promising certain type of content, but send them something completely different. By doing this, you’re abusing the subscribers trust and you’ll lose them as loyal visitor if you start practicing this type of messaging. You have to be clear about your content and why people are joining your newsletter. If they’ve joined to receive a FREE eBook, then provide them exactly that, but you can always let them know you’ll be sending other relevant content. Next,

You have to keep consistency in your content when sending follow-ups. If your blog is on “link building”, then make sure everything you send is relevant. People subscribed to your newsletter because they want information on “link building” and have put their trust in you to provide it. Here are some more tips…

  • Know your objective
  • Remember what you promised them
  • Trust is the most important element between you and a person so don’t jeopardize it for anyone.

Low Frequency

Here’s something many of you probably don’t think about because you have a preconceived idea that sending too many messages will hurt subscription count. However, did you know NOT sending enough email follow-ups can have the same effect? When people sign up to receive newsletters, it’s a privilege because they could have joined your competitor’s newsletters. Remember, there is NO shortage of competition in your niche so people can find high quality information on several websites. As a matter of fact, your subscribers are probably part of several newsletters so it’s very easy for them to forget what blogs they’ve actually joined. This is why it’s important to keep your blog in circulation so they recognize the name each time they receive a follow-up. In the beginning, when I started my blog, I was nervous sending out follow-ups every week. I would send them once every 1-2 months and I lost enormous visitors. Why? Simple…

When I would send them a follow-up after 2 months, many of them forget my blog and thought it was a SPAM message from someone who purchased a list, etc. Instead of taking the time to read my message, they deleted it right away, which was a complete waste of a lead, hence, conversion. Here’s the lesson I learned…

Always keep a steady follow-up sequence and this doesn’t have to be difficult. Many ESPs like Aweber.com will allow you to schedule a follow-up sequence and once set-up, you’re hands off from the whole process. Each new person who subscribes will go through the same sequence and, over time, will automatically remember your blog. It’s a great way of building trust, loyalty, and credibility.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!