Practicing Self-Care While Running a Home Business

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Self-care is essential, especially in the modern world where most of us feel stressed out at least some of the time. Self-care means different things to different people. But, it is basically putting yourself first sometimes. It’s committing time to take care of your mental and physical health and finding ways to give yourself what you need to be happy and healthy. 

When you run a home business, it’s hard to take any time for yourself. You might find that you’ve got no work-life balance at all. That your business has totality taken over and that you struggle to take any time off at all, let alone make time to practice self-care. You might commit any time you have to your business, thinking about it or worrying about problems even when you aren’t working. This can be damaging, both for you and ultimately, your business. So, let’s take a look at some ways that you can practice self-care when you work from home. 

Get Some Help

Running a home business doesn’t mean that you have to do everything for yourself. You could outsource work to other companies and freelancers. You can learn more about managed IT services and support, so that you have less to worry about. You could even hire an assistant, even if it’s just someone to help out when you are very busy. Explore your options, and don’t ever feel as though you have to do it all yourself because it’s your business. 

Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits. But, it’s often one of the things that go out of the window when we start working from home. Suddenly we don’t need to walk to the office, and we can sit and work on the sofa in our pajamas if we want to. But, failing to exercise doesn’t just affect your weight and fitness levels. It could impact your immune system, your mental health, your confidence and your mood. 

Do something for yourself by exercising. Practice yoga, Pilates and other mat work at home. Go out for a run or walk and head to the gym when you have time. 

Build an Online Support Network

Working from home can be lonely. Your friends and family might still be going out to work, and you might miss sharing your office with colleagues. Building an online support network can be a huge help. Join groups online, get to know people on Twitter, and try to make friends with other people in similar situations.

Take Time Off

Perhaps the best thing that you can do for yourself as someone that works from home is to take a day off — a whole day without checking work emails, replying to messages to checking in with your business. It’s even better if you don’t feel guilty about it. 

Schedule Daily “Me Time”

If you are struggling with your work-life balance, you never take time off, and you don’t make enough time for your friends and family, start scheduling it. Make plans and write them in your diary, you’ll be more likely to stick to them. Then, even on workdays, when you have nothing else planned, write some me time on your to-do list, even if it’s just ten minutes to read a book or enjoy a coffee.

Staying Social In Self-Employment

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Have you chosen the self-employment route? Congratulations on taking a step that will bring you independence and the thrill of owning your own business. You’ll learn a lot about running your own business, as well as new ways of working.

One of the issues that many people face with self-employment is loneliness. Working by yourself can mean that you lack the social interaction you get in an office space, but there are things you can do to help ensure you don’t miss out on the social side of work.

Want to stay social in self-employment? Take a look at some of the things you can do below.

Get out during the day

When you work from home, cabin fever can soon set in. Spending hour after hour in the same place can take its toll, leaving you feeling unmotivated and lonely. To stay healthy when working from home, it’s a good idea to get out and about during the day. Go for a lunchtime stroll, or try going outside for some exercise. While it might not be possible to leave your home office every day, try to get into the habit of getting out when you can.

Always take meetings off-site

Many people spend most of their days commuting by email or instant messenger; even phone calls are rare these days! But by meeting people face to face, it can get you out of the house and helps you get some beneficial social interaction. Whether you meet for lunch or for a coffee, it can be a good way to maintain that close contact with others and make your meetings more productive too. 

Try a co-working space

Co-working spaces are very popular as a way to help you stay self-employed while being able to share a space with others. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a traditional or co-working office, but you’ll get a great chance to network and continue to feel connected to others too. Some co-working spaces allow you to enjoy a flexible package, allowing you to pick and choose when you want to work near others, and when you want to work alone. 

Keep your evenings and weekends busy

When you work by yourself at home, your work/life balance can suffer. There’s always the temptation to keep working until late, but it’s important for your mental health that you know when to put your work down and finish for the night. Try to keep your evenings and weekends busy to help you find the right work/life balance when you’re a solopreneur. You also need to plan some vacation days – a break from work is important, and it will stop you from burning out.

Being self-employed comes with many great perks, but it’s important to find ways to combat the lonely side of the working alone. By maintaining the right balance, you can enjoy all of the benefits of working for yourself, without having to give up your social life.

Little Things You Can Do To Make Work Less Terrible

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Do you like going to work? Are you the sort of person who would show up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if you didn’t get paid?

The answer is, likely, no. 

And that’s okay. Not everyone loves their job. Sometimes it’s a means to an end: something you have to do to get to where you want to be in life. You might have a family, a mortgage that needs paying off, or something else that you want to do. Your work is merely something that lets you do all those things. That doesn’t mean you have to like it. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of things that you can do to make your work a little less terrible. Here are some ideas to help you survive. 

Move On

You’re probably more valuable than you think you are. Even though you might believe that CV continuity is vital for success or the role you have right now is the only one you’re suitable for, that probably isn’t true. That thinking, however, is what’s keeping you pinned down with those coworkers you don’t like or that job role that sucks. It’s time to think more of yourself, break free, and try a new environment. It’s incredible how much of a difference a change of scene can make in your life. 

Make Yourself More Comfortable

A tie that feels like it’s going to strangle you or work boots that give you blisters every day is no fun. 

The good news is that the market provides, and there are solutions to even the most difficult sartorial problems. 

Take ties, for instance. It turns that you don’t have to buy a traditional tie and then do it right up to your neck anymore to make yourself look smart. Stretchy “non-tie” ties look the part and allow your windpipe to remain open at the same time. 

There’s help on the shoe front too for all you people out there on your feet all day. The Tool Report recently detailed a bunch of aftermarket insoles for work boots, designs to get rid of foot pain and enhance your comfort on the job. 

Make A Pump Up List

Monday mornings: they’re no fun. However, you can make them a little more bearable by getting yourself in the mood with a pump up list.

Instead of rolling out of bed, putting the coffee machine on, and then stumbling out the door to catch the bus, try going for a brisk jog (or some other form of exercise) while listening to your favorite music. You’ll get a rush from both the activity and the music, helping to take some of the edge off the Monday morning blues. 

Swap Out Your Desk Chair For Something A Little Better

Desk chairs have a habit of getting on your nerves after a while. It doesn’t matter how much padding the manufacturer adds; it’s never enough. 

Fortunately, there are a bunch of ergonomic alternatives out there. The way that they work is a little different. Instead of all your weight going through your bottom, these chairs transmit it through your legs and knees instead. You sit in a more natural upright position without back support, which helps to keep the blood flowing and your joints limber. 

Take Your Lunch Break And Savor It

In some offices, the lunch break culture is toxic. If you spend more than fifteen minutes stuffing dry ham sandwich down your throat, you do not fit in. 

Lunch breaks, however, are essential. They’re a brief window of time in the day for you to recharge. Working three hours straight is already challenging. Working eight is horrendous: no wonder you dread going to work. A proper lunch break with some healthy food can make you more productive in the afternoon and could even land you that promotion you want. 

Be The Person Who Compliments Everyone In The Office

While you might not like your coworkers, you can at least disarm them with your charm and flattery. Look for opportunities to compliment them and build them up. They’ll be grateful for it. 

The next time you’re at the water tank, they might be the one who initiates a conversation with you instead of mindless grunting. Never underestimate the happiness that a small charm offensive can bring to a dull, dreary workplace. 

Take Exercise Classes On The Company Dime

A lot of companies offer their colleagues free exercise classes to keep them fit and healthy for work. These classes are great for meeting people, establishing new contacts, and generally helping yourself to feel better on those dull Monday mornings.

4 Ways To Make Your Business Stand Out

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If there is one thing that is important for your business, it’s branding. Business branding is something that goes beyond the logo of the business and a few flimsy business cards. It’s not the same thing as a logo, it’s so much more than that! Yes, the logo is important, but the branding you have will make your business stand out and bring the customers in – which makes it a vital piece of your business puzzle. 

You need the logo, but you also need to be able to show the world that you know your business value. This is going to help you to create a personality for your business and a brand identity that everyone will recognize. You want a stunning advertising campaign, too, and you can find help at kw2madison.com for that. We all know the Golden Arches, and the logo for the big companies out there. That’s come from a clever branding strategy behind it, pushing the name in front of everyone so that it stands out in the best possible way. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the ways that you can make your business stand out from the rest of the market.

You Need Purpose

Knowing the purpose of your brand is so important, otherwise you can’t even begin to look at the style and design behind the branding. You need a structured purpose and this will map out where your business is going. You should have an idea of why your business exists, as well as the impact that you want it to have on your audience. Once you know that, you can ensure that the customer experience is perfection.

Excellent Customer Service

People talk. It’s a fact – they talk to each other online, in person, in emails – they talk to each other and they’re talking about their experiences with brands. They recommend their favorite businesses and they discuss the things they don’t like about them. So, if you want to really stand out among your customers, you need to excel when it comes to customer service.

Be Unique

You can think – and be – bigger than any other companies in your industry, and all because you’ve decided to be unique and not copy what others are doing. Do things differently to your competition, and you’ll stand out because of it. Look for ways to remain ahead of the curve, even if that means regular reinvention of your business. If you keep your customers refreshed, you’re going to stand out from the competition.

Have Personality

Blog, vlog and post content to give your business a personality that’s separate to the professional exterior that you show off to clients. You need to be relatable, and you can do that with the right business personality. You could do this with your packaging and style, sure, but you need to give your business a face behind the magic.

These four options aren’t exclusive to make your business stand out, but they are going to help you along your way.

Why You Absolutely CAN Have The Career You Want

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Working is something we all must do. Some people work in careers that they absolutely hate; others are stationed in the perfect possible place. Those that work in jobs that they truly dislike are to be respected – all work is noble work, and sometimes you have to do the dirty work in order to get through the weeks and months. It is possible for those individuals to get out of that position and work in a place that they’ll love, however. It sounds impossible because we’re kind of placed into a particular part of society, but the mould can be broken. 

This sounds incredibly harsh, but if you spend multiple decades stuck in the same job that you hate, then that’s on you. Sometimes you have to stay put in places, but not for a horrendous amount of time. If you want a particular job in a certain field, then you can make it happen. Many of us have been told and condition into believing that we should stay in our lane. Don’t do that – you’re better than that. Even if it sounds like quite a challenge, you should attack where you are now and try to improve your professional life. Still sound a little far fetched? Well, here are some reasons as to why you, yes you, can get the career you want:  

You Don’t Have To Be Special  

Those that are in positions that they want to be in, and those making lots of money at the top are seen as better individuals in almost every aspect. It’s like they were born different from the majority. Nope. They’re exactly the same as you – they just went out and did something. They took risks, and they were rewarded. You can do just that. Nobody is special in this world – we’re all the same. 

There Are So Many Opportunities Now

Because of modern technology and the increased population, there are so many different avenues that a person could go down. Literally, all you have to do is search on Google, and you’ll be inundated with thousands of different jobs. Whether you’re searching for trucking companies hiring teams, or a recruitment agency that hunts for administrators, the results will be in front of you in a matter of seconds. 

Now, it’s not as easy to then successfully get these jobs, but the first step is right there in front of you. Social media also allows you to network and get in touch with all the right people.   

Education Is Available Everywhere

Heading back to school as a mature student has always been an option for people. Now, however, there are online courses regarding just about anything. If you want to grab an education from the comfort of your own home, then that’s entirely possible. There are also free lessons and video tutorials scattered around the web for you to take part in. 

The Biggest Barrier Is You

Most of us are trapped inside our own minds. When the idea of getting into something we want comes along, fear keeps us shackled. Now, for some reason, we’re scared of so many things that won’t even come to fruition. If you want something in life, all you have to do is go and get it. What’s the worst that can happen? Learn to batter those fears and live the life you want – there’s really no problem in front of you.

4 Reasons To Digitalize Your Business

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Digitization is the process of changing business processes with the advent of new technologies to appeal to new markets and create more value to their customers. 

Why should you digitalize your business?

The speed at which the world has adopted digital practices is a testimony to their effectiveness and business who fail to adapt are at risk of being left behind. One of the main reasons that businesses choose to digitalize their processes is to increase their profits, with companies who have adopted digital-ready networks growing revenue and profits up to three times more quickly than those who remain on legacy networks. But increased profitability is just one of the reasons why digitalisation is sweeping through the business world and the benefits can be seen across the board. 

  1. It helps companies to stay relevant
    Digitalization can be seen across all aspects of our daily lives, from the way we socialize online through social media, to the way we shop, the way we communicate via WhatsApp and email and the way we relax using games and virtual reality. To stay relevant, and appeal to their target customers, it’s important that companies digitalize too by maintaining a presence across their customers most used social media platforms and communicating through the channels their customers use most. Companies who fail to stay relevant can alienate their target markets, seeming outdated and not in keeping with the times. 
  2. It allows for personalization
    Social media, data and analytics have enabled companies to make use of personalization like never before. They can now create personalized offers and rewards based on their customer’s purchase history and they can predict what they may buy next helping them to maintain consistent sales during down periods and retain customers in a highly competitive market. In addition to offers and rewards, companies can speak to their customers on a personal level by making them feel as though they are heard and understood.
  3. It has enabled targeted marketing
    In the same way that social media, data and analytics has enabled companies to offer a new level of personalization to their customers it has also enabled them to be more accurate with their targeted marketing. Companies can now focus their budgets on highly specific targeted advertisements and place them in locations specific to their target market such as at the start of videos they may watch or on the side of website they may use. Whereas once an advertisement may have been placed in a magazine, now it can be placed on a social media site and shown specifically to a person of a certain age, and gender who has shown previous interest in competitors products or has made a similar purchase in the past.
  4. It helps companies to predict the future
    The tracking and analysis of customer data can help companies to predict future trends and market opportunities and branch out        into new areas in order to cater to their customer’s future needs. Amazon and Apple’s move into the healthcare sector is one example  of this.

 

Is Your Job Damaging Your Health?

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Your job may not seem particularly dangerous, but it could still be harming your physical health. Here are some of the hidden ways in which everyday jobs can take a toll on our health and what you can do to reduce the risks.

Work-related stress

Stress is often said to be the biggest killer. It damages our immune system, increases our blood pressure and can affect the ability to get to sleep. In the long run, it can lead to heart disease and strokes. It’s also been heavily linked with cancer. On top of this, stress is a leading cause of depression and anxiety.

Most people experience periods of stress within their jobs but if you’re constantly stressed it could be worth looking into ways of relieving stress. Exercise, meditation and listening to music are just a few proven stress-busters. Alternatively, it could be time for a holiday from work – or even a new job if you don’t feel this will help.

Sitting down all day

Many of today’s jobs involve sitting down all day, whether it’s sitting behind a desk or sitting behind a steering wheel. Sitting down all day can lead to weight gain through inactivity, which itself can lead to all kinds of health problems. Poor posture while sitting down can also lead to back problems.

Taking regular breaks from work to get up and be active can help combat weight gain, while ensuring that your chair/seat is properly adjusted so that you’re not leaning forward could prevent you getting a bad back. There may be treatment options that you can explore if you’ve already got a bad back from sitting down all day such as looking into a worker’s compensation back surgeon. As for combating weight gain, it could be a case of exercising more out of work hours and improving your diet (no more snacking at the desk).

Repetitive strain

Repetitive movements such as typing on a keyboard, scanning items on a conveyor belt or using certain power tools can eventually lead to permanent aching and numbness. This is known as a repetitive strain injury.  

Taking regular breaks from these activities can prevent an RSI occurring. If this isn’t possible, there could be ways of improving posture or ergonomics to reduce the risk of injury such as making sure your computer keyboard is level with your elbows when you type.

Loud noise exposure

Some work environments such as construction sites and music venues can be very noisy. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can result in hearing loss, which can often be irreversible.

Your employer may be legally entitled to provide ear protection in such environments. Always make sure that you’re wearing this ear protection as this could reduce the risk of hearing damage. If you’ve noticed that your hearing is already damaged, you may want to look into hearing aids.

Using dirty equipment

Equipment that isn’t cleaned regularly can become a breeding ground for germs and viruses. This could include POS displays and computer keyboards. Exposure to this dirty equipment could increase the risk of catching colds and flus.

Employees may sometimes be given the duty of cleaning this equipment, so make sure that you are regularly cleaning it.

How To Prepare Your Business For A Power Outage

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With so much of our world now reliant on electricity, a power outage can wreak havoc on our daily lives. In business, a power outage can mean a loss of earnings and leave you open to a surge of angry customers, so what can you do to limit the damage? 

Have a plan 

Preparing for a power outage begins long before the warning that one may occur and the key to managing one successfully is having a plan.

Audit your needs
Before you can create an effective plan you will want to audit your needs. What equipment do you own that relies on power? Can this equipment run off a backup generator? Do you offer any services which will be impacted by a power outage? Answer these questions to determine the impact that a power outage could have on your operations. 

Prepare back-ups
Having audited your business needs you can now begin to identify the areas in which you need to ensure that you have back up. This could include the need for a backup genset generator, a set of backup flashlights in areas without natural lighting, or even backup battery systems for things such as fire alarms and security systems. 

Educate your staff

Power outages can cause a feeling of panic and chaos, to help your staff remain calm you will want to show them that you have a plan in place and demonstrate the safety measures that you have taken. Teach your staff what they should do in the event of an outage, be that calling an emergency number or evacuating the building and practice how they should respond in the same way that you would a fire drill.

During the outage

The cause and duration of a power outage will influence how you should act if one occurs. Firstly, try to determine whether the outage is isolated to your building and then notify your electricity provider so that they can log the issue. Your electricity provider may be able to offer you some idea as to the cause of the outage and how long it will take to fix which may help you decide whether to send staff home or to wait for it to be turned back on. 

Turn off equipment
Turn off computers etc at the wall when the power goes out, this will stop them all re-booting at the same time when the power comes back on. You can then control the restart of your equipment to stop any overloading. 

Communicate to clients via other means
Although a power outage may have taken out your office computers you may still have access to your mobile phones. Try to keep your clients and suppliers in the loop by updating them on your status through social media and via email this will help limit expectations. 

After the outage 

Reboot slowly 

After a power outage, you may have certain equipment or programs which take a while to reboot. Conduct the reboot process carefully to avoid overloading any equipment. 

Replenish supplies

To ensure that you have everything you need for future outages remember to replenish supplies such as batteries and diesel for your generators etc immediately.

How to Cold Email for a Job

With today’s technology, finding a job should be easier than ever, right? In theory, maybe—but in reality, unfortunately, not so much. Sure, job posting sites make it super convenient to browse openings at companies and narrow down search results according to personal preference (industry, location, seniority level, salary, etc.), but that doesn’t mean that job offers are quite as abundant. In fact, with so many applications pouring in on a daily basis, companies usually don’t even have time to respond to all of their applicants, let alone set up interviews and meet them in-person.

And yet, technology can still be your friend during the job-hunting process—that is, if you know how to use it. If it feels like you’ve been looking for a job forever, it probably seems as though you’ve considered every option out there that could possibly better your chances, from submitting your resume to an online review site to maybe even lowering your standards. Are you looking for a new way to approach the job hunt? Cold emailing just might the tool you didn’t know you needed.

What Is a Cold Email?

You’ve probably heard of cold calling, and sending a cold email utilizes the same concept: A cold email is an email that you send to someone whom you don’t know personally. Not to be confused with spam, a cold email is an outreach method employed by professionals to achieve all sorts of goals—expanding a client-base, finding new collaborators or investors, and plain, old networking are all popular uses of the cold email. Another use, of course, is to find a job.

Finding Jobs Through Cold Emails

Unless you find a job posting that specifically says to email someone with your resume and cover letter, you shouldn’t outright ask for a job in your initial cold email. Why? Because you don’t want to put that much pressure on your recipient at such an early stage—it will make them less likely to respond.

For this reason, it’s important to dial back your request to something that’s more immediately achievable, like asking if they’d be able to meet for coffee or have time for a quick phone call to talk about their company or personal professional experience.

This part is a lot easier if you can establish some sort of mutual connection with the person that you can mention in the email. For example, maybe they’re a graduate of your alma mater or you got their name from a professor, family member, or colleague. (Hint: LinkedIn is a great way to obtain this info.)

Can’t find any personal connection? Make your own! Tell them where you found their name, why you want to talk to them (that’s not getting hired), and how you can relate to their professional achievements.

So, get drafting, and jumpstart your job search with a bold strategy that’s been proven to work. Good luck—and don’t be afraid to follow up!

 

Elder Care: 3 Smart Options For Your Career

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One of the most challenging and rewarding careers, caring for the elderly, may be just the right option for you. Of course, to know this, you need to find out everything you can about this type of career before you make your choice. Happily, that is something that the post below can help you to do. Read on to find out more. 

Range of options 

There is no one single career or job that covers all the care for the elderly. In fact, there is a range of roles that are involved in this process. These can be loosely divided into three areas, hospital care (including nursing homes), home care, and community care.

Hospital Care 

Of course, that means you need to decide which would be the most rewarding for you. Therefore, it is useful to know that those involved in hospital care, including doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, often specializing in the field of geriatric care. 

Obviously, for each career level, a different range of qualifications will be necessary, with a consultant doctor being at the very top of the field. Something that will include achieving a medical degree, as well as going through all the stages of a traineeship. 

For nurses, a degree and further regular learning are required to maintain a license. While there may be some assistant posts in a hospital setting that need just a certification course. 

Home care 

Home care for the elderly is the second option to consider here. In fact, some people find this much more rewarding because they are helping to keep the people they care for in their chosen environment. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that qualifications and certifications are involved when it comes to elder home care. In fact, in some states, those working in the sector will need to get their RCFE certification regularly renewed. This being a process that entails at least 40 hours of online or IRL classes. 

Happily, it’s not too tricky to find RCFE classes now. Especially as they run online options, meaning you can fit in around your work and other responsibilities. Something that will enable anyone working in this sector to renew their certification for their license runs out, and they are no longer able to work. 

Community care 

Finally, don’t forget that there is often community care offered to the elderly, as well. In fact, people in this field can range from volunteers to carers, to group leaders, and even medical and mental health professionals. Although to achieve a successful career in any of these roles, you will need the correct experience and qualifications. 

Of course, the value of community care for the elderly is enormous for many reasons. The first being that it provides access to help that many older people would not be able to get or afford on their own. 

Additionally, community care in the form of day centers and groups can really help to improve the lives of those it serves. In particular, being a brilliant antidote to the social isolation of the elderly and the accompanying medical and mental health issues this can cause. Something that makes it a sound choice indeed for anyone looking for a career in this field.