The Alpha Advantage

The latest buzz about alpha males has spawned workshops and books geared toward both women and men who want to become more "alpha" in business. How can being more alpha help female entrepreneurs?

"Women need to stop waiting to be recognized and go after exactly what they want," advises Christopher Flett, author of What Men Don't Tell Women About Business: Opening Up the Heavily Guarded Alpha Male Playbook. "First, women need to stop competing to get on the 'guys' team. The only team in business now is profitability. Second, women need to stop attacking each other and speaking ill of others in the workplace. Finally, women need to stop inadvertently giving up their power to alpha male clients and colleagues."

Through his online program, Ghost-CEO, Flett offers guidance to women business owners, providing them with on-demand, downloadable coaching sessions. Women typically look to build consensus and make sure everyone's included, he says. "Alpha males call this 'henning.' By having this focus, [women] make concessions intended to bring people together, but instead, they give up their power."

"Women shouldn't be victim to today's business cultures," says Maria Bailey, founder and CEO of BSM Media, a $2 million marketing and media company in Pompano Beach, Florida, that helps companies connect with and market to moms. "If you act [as if] there is inequality, then you get inequality."
Bailey says two men can argue over business one moment, then be found on a golf course the next. "[But if] two women disagree, they both stew over it for weeks, taking it personally and getting emotional," she says.

Bailey, 44, thinks women get too emotional about business in general. "We fall in love with our ideas and companies," she says. "Look at how few women entrepreneurs have an exit strategy. So many women call their companies their babies. What woman would get rid of her baby?"
Nathan Kwast, managing member of BecomeAlpha, a global organization that "teaches the arts and sciences of social dominance," believes that women don't understand the "power of neutrality." Says Kwast, "[Women] mistakenly believe that blind aggression and displays of dominance are necessary to attain power. They choose being perceived posi-tively over grabbing for power, when, in reality, they can have both."

What can women entrepreneurs learn from alpha males? "Men are great at getting to the point and not internalizing issues," says Bailey, who learned long ago never to cry at work. "[Crying is] a sign of weakness," she explains. Instead, "When I feel upset about a professional issue, I always ask myself, 'What would a man do?' And then I ask myself if it's me creating the situation or really a situation to worry about."

Donald Trump Has Mastered These 5 Psychological Tactics to Get Ahead

For many people, it’s surprisingly easy to dismiss “The Donald” as a moronic blowhard. From his bombastic remarks to his over-the-top lifestyle, he often comes off as little more than a rich bully pandering for attention. But is he really?

You don’t need to be a genius to make millions, but billions is a very different story. Billions is not an accident, and I don’t believe for a moment that his success in the presidential race is either. Rather, I believe we’re seeing a master class in showmanship from a very intelligent businessman.

Here are five psychological tactics that Trump is using to rocket himself to the top of the polls:

1. Make people underestimate you.

Making yourself seem smart is easy. Read lots of books, learn to speak eloquently, dress well — if you look and act the part, most people will take you at face value. But tricking smart people into thinking you’re an imbecile, even though you’re secretly brilliant — now, that’s hard.

Why would anyone want to do this? Because it gives them a rather useful advantage over their opponents, and Trump is a strategist at heart. He knows that if his opponents don’t take him seriously, all sorts of great things can happen: they may not prepare as well for debates, work as hard to win certain states or pay attention to what they’re saying as carefully as they should.

Takeaway: What looks like a mistake may be nothing but a feint, and if your opponent fails to keep their guard up because they don’t see you as a threat, you can mop the floor with them before they know what hit them.

2. Know who you're speaking to.

Trump’s wealth comes from real estate, which is an industry that involves constant negotiation. One of the first and most important facets of negotiation (not to mention politics) is to understand, as deeply as you can, the people on the other side of the table.

There’s an enormous amount of demographic data on voter turnout out there, as well as a massive number of blogs and social-media outlets available for data mining and sentiment analysis. Suffice to say that Trump knows who he’s speaking to, what their hot buttons are and how to get them riled up.

Beyond that, he says what’s on his mind (and more important, what’s on the mind of many Americans), and doesn’t pull any punches. To put it simply, he seems very real and very human.

Your typical politician is the exact opposite: they’re polished, careful and very much politically correct. Many of them come off as sleazy, cold and corrupt, with plastic smiles and limp handshakes. Politicians have a bad rap for a reason, and a great many people have learned not to trust them.

Takeaway: If you want to win, you need to know your audience, and gain their trust.

3. Be polarizing.

Did you know that Howard Stern is worth somewhere north of $500 million? Do you know how he made that money? By pissing lots of people off. Advertisers pay based on the number of viewers or listeners for a show, and Stern learned early on that the people who hated him actually listened to his show more than his fans.

Trump is no stranger to show business, and he understands this principle well. If you try to please everyone, you please no one. But if you try to please a specific group of people, you will absolutely make others angry, and that can be surprisingly good for business.

Takeaway: Taking a stance that will make some people angry is great — it gets you more attention, more press coverage and more fans (or in Trump's case, voters).

4. Ask for more than you want.

Anyone who has ever haggled for something knows that the first offer is nothing but a starting point for negotiations.

Trump gets this, and his opponents clearly do not. He throws things out there that seem ridiculous if taken at face value (build a wall, throw out all the "illegals," etc.), but if you keep in mind that he’s tossing out starting points, that changes things dramatically. Trump is almost certainly happy to accept far less than his opening offer, but he wants to control the range.

Takeaway: The person who makes the first offer gets to control the psychological range of the haggling, much as the person making the first move in chess gets to set the initial direction of the game.

5. Use misdirection.

Trump is loud, brash, and seems to get riled up fairly easily. I’m pretty sure it’s nothing but a carefully orchestrated act. In fact, watching Trump, I’m reminded of watching videos of con artists and mentalists such as Apollo Robbins.

Takeaway: The ability to control what people focus on puts you in a position of immense power. You can throw people off their game, send them on wild goose chases or rob them blind. In the case of Trump, you can lead your opponents and the media around by their noses while winning over the masses.

At the end of the day I believe that Trump is a brilliant showman and businessman, and there’s a ton to be learned from watching him spin his web. But there’s a great difference between being the CEO of a company and the president of the United States.

A president is an envoy, a representative of the people and a diplomat above all else. Who we put in that office tells the rest of the world a great deal about what we value, the type of behavior we respect and how seriously we should be taken.

Is Trump the right person for that role? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was written by

Entrepreneur Contributor

 

Rebirth of Email Is Coming in 2016 – Really?

Email marketing was ignored, under-resourced, and declared uncool and dead during the rise of social media.

email marketing

Now that leased media is morphing into paid media, and paid media is morphing into blocked media, brands are returning to permission-based email marketing to find that it has new synergies, powerful new capabilities, broader integration, and fresh blood.

Prediction #1: We’ll see many more positive media stories about email marketing than negative in 2016.

It has always been the workhorse behind eCommerce, but now email marketing has become a driving force behind content during the meteoric rise of content marketing. Thanks to advancements in personalization, dynamic content, and predictive analytics, email newsletters have become “the new homepage,” in the words of Contently’s Jordan Teicher.

The Rise of Mobile

Email marketing has also become central to mobile strategies. Reading email has been a top activity on smartphones for a long time, and the growing adoption of responsive email design is boosting smartphone conversion rates to make the most of this opportunity. This holiday season has been a breakout one for mobile shopping and the momentum will carry into the New Year. Beacons, geofences, mobile bar codes, and app behavior triggers will further intertwine email and mobile in 2016 and beyond.

Prediction #2: The majority of email opens will occur on mobile devices in 2016.

Prediction #3: The majority of brands will use responsive design for their marketing emails in 2016.

The Integration of ESPs

Email marketing is also benefiting from broader integration across business functions, thanks to more than $6 billion in acquisitions of major email service providers (ESPs) over the past few years by Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Adobe, and others. Rather than experiencing a wave of consolidation, where ESPs buy other ESPs, the email industry is experiencing a wave of integration, where ESPs are being melded into customer relationship management, digital marketing, and enterprise resource planning suites.

Prediction #4: Another major ESP will be acquired in 2016 by a software titan.

Together, these advancements have elevated email marketing’s stature and put it on a clear path to achieving the 1-to-1 marketing paradigm, as brands are increasingly empowered to facilitate customer journeys and maximize lifetime value. But it’s not just that it’s getting well-deserved attention again—email marketing is actually kind of cool again.

Whereas the email industry suffered an exodus of talent to social media and mobile during the mid-2000s, now there’s an influx of new talent, most notably from the world of web development. This fresh blood is driving the industry in a new direction, one where emails don’t always act like simple gateways to landing pages.

Sometimes the email will facilitate more of a customer interaction before the clickthrough to the destination, whether it’s through hamburger menus, email carousels, embedded video, or live Twitter streams—and sometimes the email will be the destination itself, where subscribers can take action or convert without leaving the inbox.

Pioneered by innovative companies like Rebelmail, interactive email experiences will bring new energy to the industry over the next 12 to 18 months as familiar web experiences make their way into the inbox.

Prediction #5: The first brands will offer checkout experiences that are fully contained within emails in 2016.

The cumulative effect of all of these developments is that email marketing will experience a second coming of age during 2016. It will be a time of accelerating competitive advantage for brands that are committed to investing in high-ROI subscriber-centric strategies. And it will be a dangerous time for brands whose resource-starved email strategies have never matured beyond batch and blast.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Blogging Tips in MarketHive and Elsewhere

For all you budding Bloggers here in MarketHive. Once you have posted your article, display the post and use the Share buttons to send it around the Internet … Use StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc.. I also use Buffer, as it allows me to share it once and then it sends it Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn all at the same time. I mention this as I see many posts with 0 views and this means that you have not even shared it once to your own social media accounts.
 
 
 
How to Blog Almost Every Day
  1. Read something new every day. …
  2. Talk with people every day. …
  3. Write down titles and topic ideas in a notepad file. …
  4. Maintain a healthy bookmarking and revisiting habit. …
  5. Find 20-40 minutes in every day to sit still and type.
  6. Follow an easy framework. …
  7. Get the post up fast, not perfect.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Why Lawyers Become Bad Leaders

Why Lawyers Become Bad Leaders
Or…Stop putting lawyers into political leadership, Congress, Senate, Presidency!

Lawyers rank low in terms of perception as being honest and ethical, yet make up a majority of US presidents and half of Congress. Does the study of the law result in bad leaders?

There is also a mismatch between the traits associated with leaders and those associated with lawyers. Although what constitutes effective leadership depends on context, certain qualities are rated as important across an array of situations. The best-documented characteristics cluster in five categories: vision, values (integrity, honesty, an ethic of service), personal skills (self-awareness, self-control), interpersonal skills (social awareness, empathy, persuasion), and technical competence (knowledge, preparation, judgment).

Not all of those qualities are characteristic of lawyers. For example, they tend to be above average in their skepticism, competitiveness, autonomy, sense of urgency, and orientation to achievement. Skepticism, the tendency to be argumentative, cynical, and judgmental, can get in the way of what President George H.W. Bush famously dismissed as the ”vision thing.” The need to ”get things done” urgently can lead to impatience, intolerance, and a failure to listen. Competitiveness and desires for autonomy and achievement can make lawyers self-absorbed, controlling, and combative.

Lawyers also rank lower than the general population in interpersonal sensitivity and resilience­—their difficulty in accepting criticism. Lacking ”soft” interpersonal skills, they tend to devalue them and see no reason to acquire them.

Another problem arises from what researchers call the ”paradox of power.” Individuals reach top positions because of a need for personal achievement, so they often don’t focus on helping others achieve. If left unchecked, the ambition, self-confidence, and self-centeredness that often propel lawyers to leadership roles may sabotage their performance once they get there.

If you're a lawyer, you've heard it before: Americans don't much like you!

A recent Gallup poll finds that less than a fifth of Americans rate lawyers highly or very highly

in honesty and ethical standards, above members of Congress and car salesmen. According to a Pew Research Center poll, honesty is the most important leadership trait.

Although honesty is not a characteristic commonly associated with lawyers, Americans place lawyers in leadership roles  in much higher percentages than other countries do. According to one study, only one nation, Colombia, has  a higher share of lawyers in the national legislature. The legal profession has  supplied a majority of U.S. presidents, and in recent decades, almost half of the members of Congress. Although they account for just 0.4 percent of the population, lawyers are well represented as governors, state legislators, judges, prosecutors, and heads of corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations.

What explains that paradox?

The distinctive influence of American lawyers reflects several factors. First, the centrality of law in American culture. The country's longstanding tendency to frame questions of social policy and morality in legal terms has  elevated lawyers to positions of authority. As de Tocqueville famously noted, "In America there are no nobles or literary men, and the people is apt to mistrust the wealthy; lawyers consequently form the highest political class  and the most cultivated circle of society."

Because lawyers functioned, in de Tocqueville's words, as the "American aristocracy," many upwardly mobile individuals who  aspired to public influence chose law as their career. As law became associated with positions of influence, those who  were  interested in leadership increasingly saw it as the occupation of choice. President Woodrow Wilson captured prevailing wisdom when he noted: "The  profession I chose was politics; the profession I entered was the law. I entered one because I thought it would lead  to the other."

Law and politics are what researchers call "convergent professions" because they require similar functions; skills in investigation, drafting, procedure, and oral advocacy work to the advantage of lawyers who  seek public office.

It is ironic, then, that the occupation most responsible for producing America's leaders has focused so little attention on that role.

Rarely have lawyers received training for governance. Although leadership development is now a $60-billion worldwide industry, it is largely  missing in legal education. Even the minority of law schools that include fostering leadership among their objectives rarely offer courses in the subject. Only a fifth of large  law firms have formal leadership-development programs. An Amazon search yields  some 74,000 leadership books, but only a handful focusing on lawyers.

Two reasons the occupation that produces so many of the nation's leaders has  done so little to prepare them may  be that the field  of leadership studies has  only recently emerged, and that its reputation has  been tarnished by pop publications. "Leadership lite" includes classics such as Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun and Toy Box

Leadership: Leadership Lessons From the Toys You Loved  as a Child.

Another obstacle to preparing leaders is the assumption that great ones are born, not made. Yet contemporary research suggests that most leadership skills are acquired. And decades of experience with leadership development indicates that its major capabilities can be learned. In effect, as James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner note in The Truth About Leadership, "the best leaders are the best learners."

There is also a mismatch between the traits associated with leaders and those associated with lawyers. Although what constitutes effective leadership depends on context, certain qualities are rated as important across an array of situations. The best-documented characteristics cluster in five categories: vision, values (integrity, honesty, an ethic of service), personal skills (self- awareness, self-control), interpersonal skills (social awareness, empathy, persuasion), and technical competence (knowledge, preparation, judgment).

Not all of those qualities are characteristic of lawyers. For example, they tend to be above average in their skepticism, competitiveness, autonomy, sense of urgency, and orientation to achievement. Skepticism, the tendency to be argumentative, cynical, and judgmental, can get in the way of what President George H.W. Bush  famously dismissed as the "vision thing." The need to "get things done" urgently can lead  to impatience, intolerance, and a failure to listen. Competitiveness and desires for autonomy and achievement can make lawyers self-absorbed, controlling, and combative.

Lawyers also rank lower  than the general population in interpersonal sensitivity and resilience— their difficulty in accepting criticism. Lacking "soft" interpersonal skills, they tend to devalue them and see no reason to acquire them.

Another problem arises from what researchers call the "paradox of power." Individuals reach top positions because of a need for personal achievement, so they often don't focus on helping others achieve. If left unchecked, the ambition, self-confidence, and self-centeredness that often propel lawyers to leadership roles  may  sabotage their performance once they get there.

A case  study in the limitations of lawyers as leaders involves the role of Ted  Olson and David Boies in bringing the federal case  challenging California's ban on same-sex marriages. The case  arose after California voters narrowly passed Proposition 8, amending the state Constitution to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. Olson and Boies,  two of the nation's most accomplished lawyers, were  hired by a political strategist and a Hollywood producer to challenge Prop 8. Boies  and Olson knew that leaders of gay-rights organizations were  opposed to a federal challenge but did  not consult them before filing suit.

In justifying their decision to proceed, Olson told The New Yorker, "There are millions of people in this country who  would like to be married—in California, in Arkansas, wherever. Some couple is going to go to some lawyer, and that lawyer is going to bring the case. And that case  could be the case  that goes  to the Supreme Court. So, if there's going to be a case, let it be us. Because we will staff it—we've got 15, 20 lawyers working on this case, and we have the resources to do it, and we have the experience in the Supreme Court."

It was hardly a disinterested decision. Olson and Boies  clearly had something to gain from being lead  counsel in a case  of such prominence. Many gay-rights leaders were  furious, and a joint statement by the American Civil Liberties Union and eight prominent gay-rights organizations condemned the lawsuit. The odds of success were  weak because the "Supreme Court typically does not get too far ahead of either public opinion or the law in the majority of states," the statement said. "We lost the right to marry in California at the ballot box. That's where we need to win it back."

The controversy over Boies  and Olson's actions continued once the federal trial judge in the case issued an order specifying topics for the parties to consider. He identified a wide  range of matters in which gay-rights groups had expertise, and three of them attempted to join the lawsuit as interveners. Boies  and Olson blocked those efforts, in order to retain exclusive control over the litigation.

They got lucky.  The sympathetic trial judge issued a factually well-supported ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. Then California's governor and attorney general declined to appeal the ruling, leaving the defense of Prop 8 in the hands of activists who  had put it on the ballot. That paved the way for the Supreme Court to rule  that the

activists lacked standing to challenge the lower  court's ruling. The result was to let the decision overturning Prop 8 stand, and to grant same-sex couples the right to marry in California, while avoiding a decision on the constitutional question.

Although the outcome was a happy one, there is much to dislike about the process by which it was achieved.

Boies  and Olson pursued a high-risk strategy against the advice of groups that had the greatest expertise and stake in the outcome. Most observers believe that a low-risk strategy of challenging Prop 8 at the ballot box would have been successful, as polls  suggested that California voters had changed their views on the ban. Such a strategy would have exposed the gay-rights movement to less risk of an adverse Supreme Court precedent while  accomplishing the same result.

That is not to deny the accomplishments of Boies  and Olson as litigators, the advantages of having a prominent conservative like Olson supporting gay marriage, or the social commitments that underpinned their actions. But it is to underscore the difference between effective lawyers and effective leaders.

A quality of successful leadership is the capacity to work collaboratively. The most-effective leaders are those who  can see past their own ambitions and desire for limelight. In Peter Drucker's phrase, accomplished leaders "think and say 'we.'" Enduring legacies are left by those who  transcend personal needs and consult widely  in pursuit of common values.

 

Deborah L. Rhode is a professor of law at Stanford University and director of its Center on the Legal Profession. Her most recent book, Lawyers as Leaders, was published by Oxford University Press.

How Entrepreneurs and Lawyers Think Differently

8 Ways To Diversify Your Freelance Income

Want more stability in your financial life? Here's how freelancers can create a more reliable income through diversification.

growing an income

Perhaps whoever coined the phrase "don't put all your eggs in one basket" was a freelancer, because, well, that's one of the biggest financial mistakes freelancers make. If you make all your freelance income from one client, what's going to happen when that client loses their funding? Certainly nothing good. But, if you make your freelance income from ten clients, when one client loses funding, you'll only be out looking to replace ten percent of your income.

There's more than one way to put your income into separate "baskets"–here are eight ways that freelancers can diversify their income for a more reliable paycheck.

Work with multiple clients. If you happen to land a client large enough to pay your entire salary, it may not be the best idea to work only with that client. Keep a few other clients on the side so that if something does happen, you're not wondering how to pay for groceries. The more clients you have, the more reliable your income will be—just make sure you can manage them all. Along the same lines, freelancers should continually be marketing their services so there's a potential client to contact when a current one falls through.

Write a blog. Whatever it is that you do, you can earn a little extra side money by sharing your first-hand knowledge. One way to do that is through blogging. While creating a successful blog takes time and effort, it's a good way to add an extra income source. And if worse comes to worse and you don't make any money from your blog, you at least have a great website to show potential clients that you know your stuff.

Write an eBook. Many bloggers expand their income through eBooks. While a blog earns money through advertising, eBooks are ad-free and earn income through the sale of the book itself. Many readers prefer getting their information through eBooks because the form is much easier to use and typically offers more information than a typical blog.

Teach a class. Another way to earn extra income by sharing the knowledge you have of your field is through teaching a class. While you can go the old fashioned way and actually teach a local class, you could also teach online for an even farther reach. Using a platform like Udemy or Open Learning, creating an online class is easier than you may think. There is a big time investment involved—though if you already have material like a blog or eBook on the same topic to work with, it's much easier to get set up with an online class.

Sell a digital product. There are many more possibilities of diversifying your income without selling an eBook. If your expertise lies in graphic design, for example, you could create and sell graphics such as clipart or templates for businesses to use for marketing materials. There are a lot of possibilities here, including stock photos and templates for different software programs.

Sell physical goods. While it takes a bit more of a financial risk, you could also sell physical products, ideally related to your area of expertise. Graphic designers and photographers, for example, could sell their designs on t-shirts and other items through a company such as Cafepress. If you created an eBook, you could could sell a physical copy too.

Use affiliate links. Many online stores pay for the links that send them traffic, it's called affiliate linking. If you have a blog or social media network with a large following, you could earn a little extra by using affiliate links. Popular sites with affiliate links are Rakuten Affiliate (formerly LinkShare) and Amazon Associates, though there are many more.

Expand your services. Having a niche area is a great way to show that you are an expert, instead of the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none kind of freelancer. But there is such a thing as being too narrow. One way to diversify your income is to start offering more than one service, ideally, something that's similar to your primary focus. For example, if you are a copywriter specializing in blog posts, it's an easy step to also start offering landing page content or e-mail marketing. The best way to expand is to offer another service that caters to the same business as the first. If your target audience for your first service is businesses, but for the second is families, it will be tough to market properly. Instead, try adding a service that your current and past clients might consider adding.

Freelancing, and the unpredictable income that comes with it, can be pretty scary. A great way to lessen the fear and create more stability is by adding other revenue sources. The first and biggest way is to work with a wider number of clients. But, by offering things like a blog, an ebook, online courses, digital or physical products, affiliate links or additional services, you can create a more reliable income that comes from a variety of sources.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for free? How did it turn out?

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


Should Freelancers Ever Work for Free?

You've just been asked to work for free, perhaps with a promise of "great exposure." What should you do?

working for free

Whether it comes from a family member or even a potential new client, most freelancers have been asked to work for no pay. Perhaps the request was from a family member that doesn't realize the amount of time put in to the request, or from a client who would like a trial run before hiring a new freelancer. But should freelancers ever work for free?

The question has stirred up debates among freelancers, some insisting it's necessary to work for free in order to get started, others saying that it devalues the work and brings the price for that work down. There's merit to both sides of the argument – here's what freelancers should consider when they're asked to work for free.

Value matters.

Say you are ordering at a restaurant you've never been to before, and you want a really great pizza. There are two options on the menu– a $5.99 value pizza and a $15.99 deluxe pizza. Which pizza do you think is better? Most consumers will say that $15.99 pizza is better, because there's a value associated with price.

The more an item is priced, the more value people will associate with it. Most will automatically equate that $5.99 pizza with a greasy one-topping pie, and that $15.99 with a topping-filled tasty dinner. The same thing applies to things that are free. When you give your work away for free, it can send a message that you are a low skilled freelancer, because there's little value associated with something that's free.

Since free things have little value, freelancers should never work for free, right? Well, not necessarily. Whether or not a freelancer should do some work for free depends largely on the situation. Here are some examples:

When you should work for free

  • When you are a new freelancer, and you have no portfolio, you may need to work for free so that you have samples to show paid clients. This is just temporary – a few free projects to show what you can do. Don't place free bids for clients actively seeking freelancers; instead try seeking out a nonprofit and volunteering, creating a product for yourself (like a blog or logo) or opportunities such as guest posts that double as a marketing tool.
  • When you work in exchange for marketing. Sometimes, you may not get paid in monetary form, but through exposure. A prime example is the Huffington Post. While they have some paid writers on staff, they publish a lot of guest posts for free. Many writers have grown their business exponentially after guest posting for a large site like Huffington Post, because it offers a big boost in their credentials. That's not to say every freelance writer should write guest posts for free, but for some it is a great marketing tool.
  • When you trade services. Say you are a freelancer writer that needs a new logo, and say you meet a graphic designer that needs to update their website copy. There's certainly nothing wrong with trading services.
  • When the person that's asking is your mom (or someone equally important to you). There's undoubtedly some people in your life that you owe. Just be sure to set a limit and decide how far to extend family freebies (or if you want to do them at all).

When you shouldn't work for free

  • When you have a solid portfolio. I've come across this many times – a potential client asks for sample work done specifically for them, despite having very similar work in my portfolio. Charge for that work. If you are creating something that the client will be able to use, they should be paying for that service. When asked to do a test trial for free, politely tell them your rates for that work. Point them to your existing samples, and mention that it does not have to be long term if the first project doesn't work out. Again, when you offer work for free, you lower the perceived value of your service.
  • When the client reaches out to you for something like a free guest post, that should be a warning flag. That's sort of like asking for a gift, it's not exactly polite or good business practice. If they like your work enough to contact you, they should like it enough to pay you.
  • When your work isn't going to be connected to your name. Make sure before sending out any guest posts or similar "free" marketing efforts that you know how it is going to be used. If you create a guest post or cartoon that isn't linked back to your website, you've wasted your time. Take the time to write down exactly how your work is to be used and make sure both parties agree.
  • When the work isn't "evergreen." Sometimes, you may not get paid right away, but will reap rewards over time. A classic example is starting your own blog. You won't get paid one lump sum like blogging for a client, but those blog posts will continue to earn advertising revenue long after you've completed them. If you do need to create a portfolio, a great way to do so without working for free is to create a blog that has potential to earn you money down the road, long after you've completed it and are getting paid clients.

Most freelancers, at some point, are asked to work for free. For the most post, free work should act as a red flag. When freelancers offer work for free, it devalues their services. Time is valuable, so freelancers shouldn't work for free, at least not often. But, in a few cases, working for free can be a good marketing tool, and may be necessary for freelancers who have no portfolio.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for free? How did it turn out?

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


From Hopeful Work At Home Mom to Entrepreneur

Article By Rita Taketa – I've been a successful Work At Home Mom for 18 years, beginning when there was little career work available at home besides telemarketing. After working for several different companies being in charge of multiple operations, I now have plans to expand my business-to-business professional services with virtual agents.

work at home mom business and entrepreneur

I've been steadily working from home for 18 amazing years. In the beginning, however, it was not a popular decision. The pay was poor and the quality of work was mainly telemarketing for the consumer-to-business market, or some other type of odd tasks that were not rewarding.

I started on this journey after I had my second child. I had been working for a marketing firm as a supervisor handling inbound and outbound calls for clients in the restaurant industry. I had a great deal of responsibility with data and order entry, managing our team, training, and being responsible for the entire company phone system, which was my first introduction to Telephony Software & B2B Marketing.

As much as I enjoyed my career, I had a nine-year-old son at home to care for as well. I always felt torn between being a mother and a working women. I had already been through the route of daycare and before-and-after-school care and all of the challenges that go along with being a working mom. I felt guilty when I was not with my child, and yet I needed to work to help provide for my family, just like the balancing act that we all face today now that most families need two incomes to stay afloat.

Research on the internet afforded me to learn more about working from home, but there wasn't much of a selection to choose from except telemarketing. I started working with a company that produced customer satisfaction surveys for a national tire company. It involved evening and weekend work, so I was able to work my day job but bring in a little extra money. As I worked on different projects for the company, gaining more experience and confidence, I was asked to do more projects in different markets. Eventually, I started doing surveys for a vast array of markets including insurance.

Networking, researching, and trying different work-at-home tasks allowed me to transition into a full-time career working from home as a business-to-business professional. I serve as an extension of a company's inside sales team as an appointment setter, lead generator, and customer service representative. I've worked as an independent contractor for many years, so I took my experience and branched out with my own company to accommodate the needs of businesses in supporting their sales and marketing efforts. My goal is to expand by hiring virtual agents to help with my growing client base.

I chose a rewarding career path that has allowed me to be home with my family (which was my ultimate goal), raise my children, do meaningful work, and make a good living right from the comfort of my home office. Work At Home Mom = a happy mom!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


How To Manage Time Off for the Holidays when you are Self-Employed

'Tis the season to be jolly…and busy! Here are six tips to help you enjoy the holidays. 

work at home

The holiday season is here – and hopefully, amid the big dinners, shopping, decorating and parties, is, somewhere in there, a break. But taking some time off is a bit different when you are self-employed. For one, there's often no one to pick up the slack when you take a vacation, and you probably have to plan ahead so there's no slack in the budget either.

Keep Family in the Loop

Before you plan your time off for the holidays, chat with your family. What days will your spouse have off from work? Does little Johnny's Christmas play fall during the hours you would normally be working? Will you go on any special family outings, perhaps to pick out the Christmas tree or visit Santa? Knowing all your families activities ahead of time will help you plan how much time you'll need off, and when.

Stay Organized

Organization is an essential quality for a work-at-home-mom, and it certainly comes in handy when you are preparing for time off. Create task lists that outline what you need to accomplish both before and after your break. Block out time on a calendar so you know what you need to be working on and when. Find a system that works best for you – just remember to stay organized.

Notify Consistent Clients

You probably don't need to notify clients when you are taking a national holiday off – but if you plan on taking the whole week off or a few extra days, be sure to let your consistent clients know ahead of time so you can make sure you'll both be prepared.

Set Up an Automated Email and Phone Message Response

Whenever you take a vacation, it's a good idea to set up an away message in your email so no one gets upset when you don't respond right away. And if you use a phone for business calls, change your voicemail as well if you don't plan on picking up for business calls during your time off.

Arrange Extra Work Time Before and After

Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to make up for the time you take off. Plan extra slots of time both before and after the holidays. Schedule when you'll take care of the extra work, so you're not stressing about when everything will be done. Ask for help with the kids and housework if you need.

Embrace Technology

Thanks to technology, there are a few ways to be present without actually being present. Schedule social media posts during your time off – try a social media management system such as Hootsuite if you haven't already. The scheduling feature makes it easy to ensure there isn't a big lapse in posts while you're away. If you use a blog to promote your business, most platforms will allow you to schedule entire posts as well.

Holidays should be spent enjoying time with family – not worrying about work. With some organization and planning ahead, you can take some time off without a drastic impact on your business. Chances are, you started working from home so you could spend more time with your family – don't let your work interfere with enjoying the season with your loved ones.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


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