training http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/867/all en-US Here's How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000089208971_Large.jpg" alt="Spending on herself to advance her career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Never underestimate the value of investing in yourself. Many professionals seem to miss out on the importance of it. People are more likely to treat themselves to a new outfit or a nice dinner out, but when it comes to increasing their knowledge and business skills, somehow there isn't room in the budget.</p> <p>Some of the most successful individuals in the business world believe in the power of investing in yourself. Brian Tracy,&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qdHt4l">bestselling author of over 70 books</a>, said, &quot;Here is a rule that will guarantee your success, and possibly make you rich: Invest 3% of your income back into yourself.&quot;</p> <p>Similarly, Warren Buffett, one of the richest and most respected businessmen in the world, said, &quot;Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you.&quot; (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy?ref=seealso">6 Pearls of Career Wisdom From Brian Tracy</a>)</p> <h2>Does It Actually Work?</h2> <p>The idea of investing in yourself is not just motivational, business fluff. It truly can be the tool that helps you to make more and advance in your career. If you are constantly growing your skills in your field, you are constantly becoming more valuable in your field, and becoming an important asset for your company. Your employer will want to pay their top employees more, and if they don't, another company surely will.</p> <p>Asking for promotions or getting hired in a better paying position is easier to do with more experience and knowledge you gain. A common misconception is that your college degree is all you need to succeed. If you earn your degree and secure a good position, then you cannot just rely on experience alone to move you up the ranks. In fact, you might get passed up by younger professionals who have more up-to-date training.</p> <p>On a personal note, my husband has been pursuing a degree over the past few years and has earned several IT certifications. Similarly, his salary has increased over $20,000 in those three years. I truly believe my husband's increased salary is directly related to investing his time and money to learn as much as he can. Not only has he become more knowledgeable, but he has also become more confident in his craft.</p> <h2>How Much Should You Invest?</h2> <p>There is no set rule of how much you should invest, but Brian Tracy's idea of 3% of your income is a good principle. Of course, you can always invest more. Some companies even offer reimbursement for tuition and certifications, making it easier to invest the 3%.</p> <p>How much is 3% to the average professional? If you earn $55,000, you should aim to invest $1,650 back into yourself each year, or $137.50 each month. That may seem like a daunting number if you are on a tight budget, but if you are able to earn $58,000 the following year, you will have almost doubled your investment.</p> <h2>Knowing What to Invest In</h2> <p>You should invest in building the knowledge and skill set that will get you to your next promotion or pay raise. Don't make the mistake of investing in the next big, profitable thing. For example, when real estate was a hot market before the crash in 2007-2008, it seemed like everyone was a real estate agent on the side. When the real estate market crashed, many professionals were safe because they had their full-time jobs, that was completely unrelated, but they had spent all of their time learning to be real estate agents, rather than growing in their full-time field.</p> <p>If you are not sure what certificates, training, or education you should invest in, think about the position in your company that you would like to have. The next step is to ask coworkers in that position what special training and certificates they have. If possible, ask your boss what is needed to move up to the next position in your company. If those two suggestions do not work, look at job listings for positions you would like to have. What are the qualifications needed and desired?</p> <h2>Ideas for Investing in Yourself</h2> <p>Here are just a few self-investment ideas, and how to grow your knowledge and experience:</p> <ul> <li>College degree;</li> <li>Certifications;</li> <li>Seminars and workshops;</li> <li>Books;</li> <li>One-on-one consulting with top experts in your field;</li> <li>Classes and courses in related business areas, such as social media marketing, communication, productivity, and accounting.</li> </ul> <p>Investing in yourself doesn't just stop with learning new skills, though. Improving your physical and mental health will directly affect your workplace performance. Investing in areas that inspire your creativity, such as learning a new language or taking a graphic design course, could also put you ahead at work. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career?ref=seealso">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a>)</p> <p>If you want to grow in your career, then you have to grow as a person. Make yourself a valuable employee at your company by developing expert skills that set you apart from the rest of your coworkers.</p> <p><em>How do you invest in yourself each year? Have you seen a difference in your income?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student">How to Succeed as an Online Student</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-the-graveyard-shift-and-make-lots-of-money">How to Survive the Graveyard Shift (and Make Lots of Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-jobs-proven-to-make-you-live-longer">5 Jobs Proven to Make You Live Longer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Personal Development education extra income invest make more money professional growth training Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1689531 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000081164455_Large.jpg" alt="looking for free or cheap education" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You have no skills, and no experience. Nightmares of a life cooking fries at a fast food chain weave in and out of your dreams. But don't give up yet. There is an escape from your fry-littered nightmares. Education can be the golden ticket that jumpstarts a lucrative and fulfilling career as a corporate manager, editor, or web developer.</p> <p>Let's stop for a moment before you rush headlong into a student loan nightmare. While college can equip you with useful skills and certifications, the high cost of education has led to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">student loan crisis</a>. For those who choose to enter public service careers, student loan debts can be forgiven. For everyone else, you might want to consider that some high-paying companies&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/18/penguin-ditches-the-need-for-job-seekers-to-have-university-degrees">no longer require a college degree</a> as an application requirement.</p> <p>Here are other ways to continue your education without spending much &mdash; or any &mdash; of your hard-earned money.</p> <h2>1. Podcasts</h2> <p>Seek out educational podcasts on topics that could potentially help you find a job down the line. Colleges like Stanford, Oxford, and Yale create recordings of their professor's lectures and post them online for free. You can find a large collection of free podcasts in the iTunes U portion of the iTunes store.</p> <h2>2. Free Educational Videos and Lectures</h2> <p>Not fond of just hearing a voice drone on about this war or that economic concept? Rather than listening to podcasts, you might want to try to locate educational videos. These are excellent for the more visual learners out there.</p> <p>Recently, I started listening to lectures by famous fantasy novelist and Professor&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2FCD81A6FE4280AC">Brandon Sanderson on YouTube</a>. It's a great alternative to taking a formal writing class.</p> <p>Informative webinars like TedTalks can also be found on a variety of educational topics. You might also find webinars with professor guest speakers on the resources pages of university websites. In fact, Pepperdine University has some&nbsp;<a href="http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/resources/videos-webinars/">great webinars</a> presented by their professors on business topics like company culture and big data.</p> <h2>3. Training and Learning Websites</h2> <p>Web development, freelance writing, and a variety of careers require the individual to develop specific skills. In order to help individuals acquire those skills, free educational websites have been created.</p> <p>Codecademy offers free interactive HTML and web development courses. With determination, hard work, and access to a computer, you can quickly acquire the skills to land a job in tech.</p> <p>Freelance and writing blogs offer informative guides to help you learn to write high quality articles for various news outlets and websites. They also tend to write guides on how to find freelance gigs, how to approach editors, and how to utilize marketing to find success.</p> <h2>4. Audit or Sit In on College Courses</h2> <p>Want to take a class, but lack the funds? Auditing or sitting in on a course might be a good alternative.</p> <p>With auditing, students are required to attend class, do non-graded work, and the course audit goes into a student's official transcript. Some universities do charge a fee for the ability to audit a class, so make sure to check that before showing up.</p> <p>Sitting in on a class allows a student to attend the class without paying a fee. The student will probably need to attend regularly and complete all non-graded work. You will need to check with the college and professor first about a sit-in possibility.</p> <h2>5. The Global Freshman Academy</h2> <p>Recently, Arizona State University created a series of online courses called&nbsp;<a href="http://asuonline.asu.edu/about-us/newsroom/asu-and-cerego-partner-power-personalized-learning-environments-global-freshman">The Global Freshman Academy</a>. The academy allows individuals to take their freshman courses with only a $45 processing fee. It's essentially a way to audit educational courses. If at the end of the semester, the student passes the course and they wish to earn the credits, the student can choose to pay for the credits. Whether or not you plan to attend college, it's a cost-effective way to gain knowledge and dip your toes into higher education.</p> <h2>6. Tuition Assistance Programs</h2> <p>If you dream of a profession that requires a college degree, your best bet might be to apply for a job that has a tuition assistance program. In order to retain employees for a longer period of time, many businesses offer to pay for a portion of a student's educational fees. If you have to work at a retail or food service job, you might as well make it one that will help you acquire an education.</p> <p><em>Have you scored any cheap or free education? Share with us in the comments! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student">How to Succeed as an Online Student</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/united-world-college-study-abroad-for-way-less-than-you-think">United World College: Study Abroad For Way Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Education & Training cheap classes college education free education training videos Mon, 14 Mar 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1671107 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Reasons Not to Save for Your Child's College Fund http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-not-to-save-for-your-childs-college-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-reasons-not-to-save-for-your-childs-college-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7509475092_063e763f2e_z.jpg" alt="graduation" title="graduation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since I had my son, I have often heard from family and friends that college is going to be extremely expensive, and it is best to start saving now. After much research I decided that I wouldn't put too much into a college fund. This may be against the usual advice of saving for the future, but here are some sane reasons why parents should not pump too much money into their children's college funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college">How to&nbsp;Save Money for College</a>)</p> <h3>1. A Large College Fund Can Lower Financial Aid</h3> <p>This is mostly due to how financial aid offices calculate need. Most public schools use the FAFSA, and many private schools use a combination of the CSS/PROFILE and their own formula. Regardless of the method used, generally parents and students have to list their assets, and more savings means less need. So it is actually possible for two families with equal incomes to receive different amounts of financial aid, and the family with less savings would receive more. Retirement accounts are usually excluded from these calculations, so it is to the parents' advantage to sock away more for retirement rather than a child's college fund. The calculations also usually count a student's assets fully, so if you put a college fund under your child's name, then that would hurt your financial aid numbers as well.&nbsp;</p> <h3>2.&nbsp;Working During College Can Be Beneficial for Students</h3> <p><a href="http://www.bls.gov/osmr/pdf/ec080020.pdf">Research from the U.S. Department of Labor</a> (PDF) showed that young adults who had to work and pay for at least part of their college actually did better in school than those who did not have to work. This is not that surprising since the kids that had to work and study at the same time are more invested in their education and are generally more disciplined to be able to manage work and school. Those who had to work probably valued their education more than those who didn't. Additionally, these students who had work experience usually fare better after they graduate in their job searches because any job experience is better than none in the eyes of employers.</p> <h3>3.&nbsp;College&nbsp;Isn't the Right Choice for Everyone</h3> <p>There are currently many college graduates with no marketable skills who are not doing better than those who pursued an apprenticeship in a trade. If parents put away a lot of money in a college fund like a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/section-529-plans">529 plan</a> and later find that their children no longer wanted to go to college, then they would have to take a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-penalties-for-early-retirement-withdrawals">tax penalty</a> to take the money out for other uses. I think it is best to wait and see what a child's pursuits and talents are before deciding on that college is the best path.</p> <p>My son will be college bound in about 15 years. I don't yet know what he will do, but if he decides to go to college, we will definitely support his decision. For now we are putting in $100 per month into a 529 account. In 15 years it will grow to a significant amount, but it probably will not be enough money for four years of college given the rate of increase in higher education costs. However, we're not that worried about it because ultimately I think that young adults should start taking responsibility and shoulder at least some of the costs of college. I think the whole point of raising and educating children is so that they can be independent and survive on their own, and it would be good for my child to learn that as soon as he is able.</p> <p><em> What do you think? Are you currently saving a lot for your children's future college costs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-not-to-save-for-your-childs-college-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training Family 529 savings account college fund training Mon, 09 Jul 2012 09:49:59 +0000 Xin Lu 939434 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Genuine Ways To Execute The Brand Promise http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-genuine-ways-to-execute-the-brand-promise <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/4-genuine-ways-to-execute-your-brands-promise" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/4-genuine-ways-to-execute-your-brands-promise</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/4-genuine-ways-to-execute-the-brand-promise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015140878Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have witnessed the brand promise of a prominent local corporation executed flawlessly at one location and fumbled ridiculously at another site. For years, face-to-face, phone, and online experiences fell far short of perfection. Its tagline&mdash;meant to imprint a positive message in the minds of community members&mdash;made me smirk more than smile.</p> <p>Because of the company&rsquo;s domination in my local market, I repeatedly found myself in the undesirable position of having to access its services. On one occasion, rather than search for another source, I resigned myself to close supervision in order to prevent disaster. However, I was astonished and pleased to see genuine execution of the brand promise.</p> <p>Having seen what works (and what does not), my starkly different experiences made me think about how businesses can keep their brand promises. Successful execution starts with the mindset that the promise is meaningful and relevant for the long haul, not empty words that keep shareholders and stakeholders happy for a fleeting moment. After the foundation has been laid, take these actions to keep the promise alive.</p> <p><strong>1. Precisely Determine the Brand Promise&rsquo;s Affect on Day-to-Day Activities</strong></p> <p>Relate the brand promise to common interactions and scenarios. Let everyone, customers and employees alike, know what to expect when they initiate transactions, respond to requests, and perform certain tasks. Design protocols for these customer touch-points, and communicate them widely via your website, in-store signage, employee manual, etc.</p> <p>Specific areas to cover might include:</p> <ul> <li>Response times for certain types of inquiries;</li> <li>Lead times for order processing, product deliveries, and project completions;</li> <li>Product return policies;</li> <li>Timing and frequency of communication alerts.</li> </ul> <p>Having highly visible operating standards can be scary, but such communication helps customers and employees discern between unreasonable and reasonable expectations. Plus, managers can readily distinguish an actual service failure from a perceived sleight, and take appropriate action quickly.</p> <p><strong>2. Embed the Brand Promise in Employee Documents</strong></p> <p>Make sure the brand promise appears in key employee documents&mdash;job descriptions, training materials, performance reviews. Trust that employees will commit to memory each of the specific deliverables that the brand promise encompasses. But don&rsquo;t stop with statements posted on the website or engraved on a plaque at the office. Integrate actionable items into communications with employees about their job duties.</p> <p>Spell out the brand promise in ways that employees can apply on a daily basis using these methods:</p> <ul> <li>Develop job descriptions that detail position requirements and performance standards consistent with your tagline. As a result, employees can focus on doing their work tasks correctly, rather than trying to remember and follow brand-promise guidelines that may not seem relevant to their job functions.</li> <li>Train employees to interact with customers, vendors, and colleagues. Conduct role-play sessions to illustrate how you would like your promise to be interpreted and applied in various situations.</li> <li>Design performance evaluations to measure adherence to work standards, which should be synced with your brand promise.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Hire Smart, Dedicated, and Genuine People</strong></p> <p>Hire people who have the credentials and capabilities needed to excel at your company. But don&rsquo;t extend offers to those who merely pass your screening hurdles. Search for candidates who are enthusiastic about executing the brand promise.</p> <p>Look for people who have demonstrated these characteristics in previous positions:</p> <ul> <li><i>Insightful</i>: She intuitively understands your business model and brand promise, and has clarity about what they mean for complex problems. (Nevertheless, you should detail requirements to ensure consistency among all employees and adherence to expectations in murky situations.)</li> <li><i>Receptive</i>: He is eager to grow professionally and personally, not just at the start of his career but throughout his working years. Though confident in his abilities, he is willing to consider and learn new ways of doing business, particularly as technology and mindsets change.</li> <li><i>Innovative</i>: She brings new ideas to the organization that fulfill the brand promise with personable and fresh, rather than robotic, approaches to managing customer relationships.</li> </ul> <p><strong>4. Listen, Ponder and Act Appropriately</strong></p> <p>Encourage your <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/customer-ideas-to-ignore-1" target="_blank">customers and employees to express appreciation and concerns</a>. Make contacting your business really easy, whether someone wants to give a positive review, ask a question, or lodge a complaint. Then, listen.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t react quickly just to quiet a concern. Consider complaints from the customer&rsquo;s perspective and your employee&rsquo;s point of view. Evaluate whatever information is presented in order to determine whether your company has lived up to its brand promise or failed to deliver.</p> <p>Craft and execute your plans to include:</p> <ul> <li>explaining to the customer what actions you intend to take;</li> <li>acknowledging any shortfalls in the behavior of your employees;</li> <li>bringing any broken promises to the attention of your staff; and</li> <li>making adjustments to your operations, policies, and communication styles that will allow your organization to stay true to its brand messaging.</li> </ul> <p>Acting appropriately rather than reacting to momentary pressures allows you to advocate for those who want to do the right thing but not just anything the customer wants. If your employees know that you will protect them, then they will be doubly committed to executing your brand promise in each and every customer interaction.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-genuine-ways-to-execute-the-brand-promise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center brand promise branding employee management employee motivation hiring small business training Sat, 12 Nov 2011 00:06:14 +0000 Julie Rains 781127 at http://www.wisebread.com Countering: What To Consider Before An Employee Gets Another Offer http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/countering-what-to-consider-before-an-employee-gets-another-offer <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/countering-what-to-consider-before-an-employee-gets-another-offer" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/countering-what-to-consider-before-an-employee...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/countering-what-to-consider-before-an-employee-gets-another-offer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013796669Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have any truly great employees on your staff, there will come a day when one of them comes in and tells you that she&rsquo;s received a better offer. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean you&rsquo;ve already lost one of your stars. While an employee may be coming in with the intent to give notice, she&rsquo;ll certainly listen to an offer to match whatever makes that new job so great.</p> <p>That means the next move is yours and you may not have a lot of time to make it. You can ask for a little time to see if you can put together a decent counter-offer, but most of the time, your employees will want to be able to give notice and accept the new gig as soon as possible. You need to know what moves you&rsquo;re willing to make before the topic ever comes up in discussion.</p> <p><strong>Do You Even Want to Make a Counter-Offer?</strong></p> <p>For many of us, the immediate reaction is definitely &ldquo;yes&rdquo; because of the expense and hassle of a change up. You&rsquo;ll have to find a replacement and train him &ndash; and you may be shorthanded in the meanwhile.</p> <p>But unless an employee really is something special, the price of keeping him may actually be too much. Hiring and training a new hire is a one-time expense while a raise gets more expensive over time. Worse, an employee that has gotten a counter-offer once may use an on-going job hunt as a way to guarantee regular salary increases down the line.</p> <p>Weigh the actual costs &ndash; in advance &ndash; and decide whether you&rsquo;re comfortable replacing a given employee or if you&rsquo;d really prefer to keep her on.</p> <p><strong>Find Out Why Your Employee Went Looking</strong></p> <p>The reason one of your employees has a new job offer in hand may not be because of the money. If it&rsquo;s even partly due to the work environment or a personality conflict or perceptions of company health, a raise or better benefits isn&rsquo;t going to satisfy most workers for long. You may discover issues that need to be overcome to keep the rest of your staff satisfied. Those solutions may not involve pay raises or enhanced benefits. They may even help your company propser in the long run.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s another reason to keep truly excellent counter-offers in reserve. If you offer raises to every employee who announces they intend to leave, you&rsquo;ll build a reputation among your staff as a pushover. But if you only rarely make such moves, you will reinforce the value you place on the employees who really do stand out in your company.</p> <p><strong>Decide What Your Upper Limit Is</strong></p> <p>When you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to replace someone who is leaving, it becomes critical to determine exactly how far you&rsquo;re willing to go to keep even the best employees around. Putting a dollar amount in writing long before it becomes a question means that you&rsquo;ll be better equipped in a negotiation. And make no mistake: a counter-offer can be a situation that requires <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/the-negotiation-comfort-zone-how-to-improve-your-negotiation-skills-thursday-bram">great negotiation skills</a>.</p> <p>When you have an upper limit in place, you have more certainty during negotiation, and you&rsquo;ll be better equipped to recognize <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/a-new-approach-to-negotiating-the-fairness-strategy-">fair outcomes</a>.</p> <p><strong>Everything Needs to Be In Writing</strong></p> <p>Once you know what move you want to make, it&rsquo;s important to put it in writing.</p> <p>If an employee comes to you and you need to make a counter-offer quickly, it may not seem necessary to write down what you have in mind. Just the same, ask for the fifteen minutes necessary to write up your thoughts. It doesn&rsquo;t take much time and it will keep negotiations manageable and impress upon your employees that there is a policy in place.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/countering-what-to-consider-before-an-employee-gets-another-offer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a">5 Powerful Reasons Companies Should Offer More Wellness Programs to Keep Their Employees Healthier and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center counter-offer employee retention employees hiring negotiation new hires small business training Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:27:23 +0000 Thursday Bram 677377 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Investments for Greater Productivity http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-smart-investments-for-greater-productivity <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-smart-investments-for-greater-productivity" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-smart-investments-for-greater-productivity</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/3-smart-investments-for-greater-productivity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011680834Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A faster computer might help you work faster, or it might help you get on Facebook faster. So if speedier laptops for everyone aren't the answer, what is?</p> <p><b>1. Training</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/should-you-spend-money-on-education-1" target="_blank">Training </a>is perhaps the easiest and smartest way to increase productivity. If you can get training that increases your skills and those of your employees, then everyone can be more productive. Remember, productivity means the ability to produce value; in this case, the value is the role each employee plays in the company.</p> <p>Your sales team gets some training that helps them to make more sales. Your management team learns new techniques for handling employee conflicts and streamlining the systems. Your writers learn how to do better work in less time.</p> <p>Good training, given to the right people, and applied effectively, will make you and your team sharper, better, and able to produce higher quality work in less time. You'll also run faster and jump higher...</p> <p>Did you catch those three requirements, though?</p> <ul> <li>Good training</li> <li>Right people</li> <li>Applied effectively</li> </ul> <p>The first two keys are obvious; the last is where we typically goof up.</p> <p>Let's say you just sent your head of sales, Jen, through an intense, high-quality sales training weekend. She comes back blazing, full of ideas and energy, ready to go. Within hours of her first day back, she's pitching ideas your way... and you're getting overwhelmed.</p> <p>&quot;Hey, Jen,&quot; you say, &quot;those are great ideas. Let's think about them. Right now we're in the middle of XYZ-excuse and we just can't handle anything else.&quot;</p> <p>Stifle your employees when they're charged up after new training, and you're throwing that money and time into the trash. If you want the investment you made into training to be a smart investment, give them room to implement what they've learned.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> <b>Getting Personal Productivity Help</b></p> <p>Take a long, honest look at your work space, your filing system, your office organization, your supply closet, your accounting system, your policy and procedure manual (what? you don't have one of those?), your set-up for maintaining company property like fleet vehicles, equipment, and expensive tools.</p> <p>Are you grimacing yet? Hm. You must be one of those stereotypically and chronically disheveled, overbooked, unorganized entrepreneurs.</p> <p>It's painful, I know. But help is out there.</p> <p>If you do get yourself some of that help, and get yourself operating at a higher level of productivity, you will see what we like to call a trickle-down effect. Yes, it's real. How seriously are employees going to take company mandates to be organized and orderly, meet deadlines, quit wasting company time, and be more productive if the man or woman in charge isn't doing any of those things?</p> <p>Start by getting professional help or training for the basics of productivity:</p> <ul> <li>decluttering;</li> <li>organizing;</li> <li>scheduling;</li> <li>setting up systems.</li> </ul> <p>Then carry the concepts out to how you set up and run your entire business. Take the time out from &quot;working&quot; and invest it in setting work up to operate in a productive way. The moments you spend, and the money you might have been making in them, will end up boosting your productivity and that of your entire team.</p> <p>If you do it right &ndash; setting up systems, training employees, finding organized ways to handle the material stuff of the business, and sticking to the routines and rules you put in place &ndash; you'll only need to maintain it to keep that productivity level up.</p> <p><b>3. Hiring Someone to Do the Things You Shouldn't Be Doing</b></p> <p>Pop quiz: if disorganization is fatal flaw #1 for entrepreneurs, what's fatal flaw #2?</p> <p>Micro-managing.</p> <p>Actually, maybe micro-managing is fatal flaw #1 and disorganization is simply a symptom of it. At any rate, when you &ndash; business owner, CEO, entrepreneur, manager, whatever &ndash; are trying to do another full-time job or two on top of what you're already doing, you're wasting time and losing money.</p> <p>No matter how productive you are, there are limits to your productivity. You can do some things, but you cannot do everything. Neither can your employees. Expecting you or your employees to take on more than is realistic leads to frustration, stress, burn out, and, yes, lower productivity.</p> <p>If you're spending hours a day keeping the books when you should be developing the products, hire an accountant.</p> <p>If your best developer is answering customer complaint calls because no one else is there to do it, hire an assistant.</p> <p>You'll spend money, yes. Salaries are hefty. But you need to have an adequate work force if you're going to get the job done, and freeing yourself and your key employees up to do the work you're supposed to be doing &ndash; the core, important work &ndash; means that you'll all be doing more of that work.</p> <p>Result? Increased productivity.</p> <p>Increased productivity? More money.</p> <p>You can thank me later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-smart-investments-for-greater-productivity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1">Basic Tips for Investing in a Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center investment organizational skills small business training Thu, 25 Aug 2011 22:22:22 +0000 Annie Mueller 658260 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Incorporate Video into Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/11-ways-to-incorporate-video-into-your-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/11-ways-to-incorporate-video-into-your-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/11-ways-to-incorporate-video-into-your-busines...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/11-ways-to-incorporate-video-into-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012137541Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I started my online business in 2008, using video for your online business was new and experimental. Fast forward to today and video is absolutely everywhere and then some, even those with no real business are cashing in on fame and fortune thanks to mega popular <a href="http://youtube.com/" target="_blank">YouTube</a>.</p> <p>Although everyone seems to be tuning into the importance of video, it&rsquo;s still a daunting thought for many business owners who aren&rsquo;t quite sure where to add video to their online brand. But it&rsquo;s not so hard. Here are 11 ways to make use of video.</p> <h3>1. Use video to entice people to sign up for your newsletter</h3> <p>By far the biggest way to drive sales to your business is through a mailing list or a newsletter. But getting people onto your mailing list is not always easy because nowadays, everyone has some sort of &lsquo;free&rsquo; offer to entice people to join. More and more people just do not consider these freebies very valuable any longer.</p> <p>Video is a great way to entice people onto your newsletter because you&rsquo;ll be breaking away from what everyone else is doing and showcasing yourself and your company in a very real and engaging way.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: John McIntyre recently created a personal development site called <a href="http://makelifegobang.com/" target="_blank">Make Life Go Bang</a> that features a video of him sharing 50 reasons to sign up for his newsletter. This interesting method means people won&rsquo;t join just for a freebie and also helps them quickly connect with his mission and personality.</p> <h3>2. Better engage with your blog posts</h3> <p>More and more people are using video in blog posts to present their products and services in a more visually appealing way. Video can often be more engaging and entertaining than a printed article.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: David Siteman Garland from <a href="http://therisetothetop.com/" target="_blank">The Rise to the Top</a> and Andrew Warner from <a href="http://mixergy.com/" target="_blank">Mixergy</a> are two of my favorite video bloggers because their passion shines through in every video they produce. By taking time out to interview interesting people, they&rsquo;re helping other entrepreneurs and start ups learn the ins and outs with stories that inspire and motivate.</p> <h3>3. Create a dedicated video page</h3> <p>While using video in your blog posts or to entice newsletter subscribers is a great start, you can take things further by displaying all of your videos with one dedicated page on your website. This will lower your bounce rate with new visitors and help people filter through your interesting content better.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: Entrepreneur Pat Flynn has a great dedicated video page on his blog <a href="http://smartpassiveincome.com/" target="_blank">Smart Passive Income</a> that works with the Wordpress plugin <a href="http://tubepress.org/" target="_blank">TubePress</a> to bring all of his recent Youtube videos right onto his website. It&rsquo;s an easy way to showcase his videos and keeps his readers engaged with his content for longer periods of time.</p> <h3>4. Add video to your about page</h3> <p>To help connect with new visitors, why not create a video demonstrates your personality and company vision to share on your about page? It will be a welcome change from static images found on most other about pages and will give people a real glimpse into who you are in a very short time.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: Michelle Ward, the <a href="http://whenigrowupcoach.com/" target="_blank">When I Grow Up Coach</a>, uses video on her about page in this way. As a business owner, you want to ensure you attract the right customers and by sharing a snippet of your personality &ndash; or your company&rsquo;s mission &ndash; right on the about page, you&rsquo;ll engage the right people while saying goodbye to those who wouldn&rsquo;t be the right fit anyways.</p> <h3>5. Sell more on your sales pages</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re serious about selling a service online, video can help attract and convert potential customers on your sales pages. By giving visitors the chance to learn more about what you&rsquo;re selling and your motivation behind it, you&rsquo;ll see a higher interest rate, more people willing to share your message, and more customers at the end of the day.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: <a href="http://taragentile.com/" target="_blank">Tara Gentile</a>, creative business coach, uses video often on her sales pages to entice potential buyers to get to her know better and decide if the product is the right fit for them. Of the benefits, she says, &ldquo;I know my enthusiasm and passion is what helps to sell a product. I can spend hours writing copy, crafting headlines, or perfecting prose, but 3 minutes in front the video camera says more than I can ever hope to with written words. Video makes the intangible, tangible. And that, inevitably, converts more sales.&rdquo;</p> <h3>6. Excite on your product pages</h3> <p>We live in a world in which stunning photography is the norm &ndash; even amateurs with cell phone cams can produce images the equal of those shot by professional photographers. That means having wonderful photos of your products isn&rsquo;t going as far as it used to.</p> <p>Use video on your product pages to show people exactly how your items work, their key features, benefits, and also to give people a closer look into what life would be like by owning them.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: Catherine Choi of <a href="http://soyoungmother.com/" target="_blank">So Young Mother</a> uses video to feature her diaper bags, lunch boxes, and <a href="http://www.soyoungmother.com/products/cooler-bags" target="_blank">cooler bags</a>. Whenever I visit her website, I always take a moment to view one of her videos because her video marketing is so engaging &ndash; as if she&rsquo;s right there in person explaining her product details to me.</p> <h3>7. Master the YouTube stream</h3> <p>YouTube recently announced their videos get <a href="http://thenextweb.com/google/2011/05/25/youtube-hits-3-billion-views-per-day-2-days-worth-of-video-uploaded-every-minute/" target="_blank">over 3 billion views a day</a>, and all those eyeballs need to go somewhere, so why not toward you? You can easily embed YouTube videos on your website and take advantage of the crazy volume of traffic YouTube gets daily, exposing new audiences to your message and increasing your brand awareness over time.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: Mashable wrote a great post about <a href="http://mashable.com/2009/06/01/youtube-brands/" target="_blank">5 brands killing it on YouTube</a> but one that stood out to me most was <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/homedepot" target="_blank">Home Depot</a>. Sharing their expertise with YouTube watchers means people will continue to think of them anytime they want to change their kitchen cabinets or replace their tiled floors. Maybe you can share your expertise in the same way?</p> <h3>8. Stream live for more interaction with fans and customers</h3> <p>By making yourself fully available for questions and chats live, you&rsquo;ll win people over continually because you&rsquo;ll become known as someone who cares deeply about your customer&rsquo;s needs and wants.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: Even though <a href="http://garyvaynerchuk.com/" target="_blank">Gary Vaynerchuk</a> has built a multi-million dollar business stemming from <a href="http://tv.winelibrary.com/" target="_blank">Wine Library TV</a>, he still jumps on <a href="http://www.ustream.tv/user/garyvee" target="_blank">ustream</a> to chat with fans and followers. This good will encourages people to get to know him better and increases his likeability and brand.</p> <h3>9. Brighten up your digital products</h3> <p>If you sell virtual products, such as business tools and training, video is the perfect medium to use to better connect with your customers and explain things that sometimes text just cannot.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: While I&rsquo;ve tried a lot of virtual products that include video, Danielle Laporte&rsquo;s <a href="http://whitehottruth.com/shop-adore/the-spark-kit/" target="_blank">The Spark Kit</a> includes an incredible amount of beautifully made videos &ndash; frequently interviews with experts and some of her flying solo &ndash; that share insightful tips and inspiring nuggets.</p> <h3>10. Add some magic to your support area</h3> <p>Many companies use video in their technical and customer support areas because it cuts back on customer emails and phone calls considerably. Whether you sell something physical, virtual or service based, you can use video to answer frequently asked questions, demonstrate how to use specific features of your products, and much more.</p> <p><b>Real business example</b>: My invoicing and time tracking system of choice, <a href="http://www.getharvest.com/" target="_blank">Harvest</a>, does a great job of showcasing tons of different help queries in their <a href="http://www.getharvest.com/help" target="_blank">support area</a> with video. I&rsquo;ve found that by taking a moment to filter through their pages, I have less need to email with questions, which is quicker for me &ndash; and cheaper for Harvest.</p> <h3>11. Cut down on training time for new employees</h3> <p>By creating training videos, easily done with screencasting software, you&rsquo;ll connect with your employees in a deeper way and clarify all aspects of the work you need done very simply for them. In addition, you can reuse videos any time a new employee is brought on board, freeing you up to work on more important matters.</p> <p><b>Real business example:</b> As I expand my team, I can clearly see the benefits of recording training videos and sharing them with new employees compared to alternatives such as email communication or live training sessions online. I use <a href="http://www.telestream.net/screen-flow/overview.htm" target="_blank">Screenflow</a> on Mac to record my training videos and this eliminates confusion over little details and ensure my people are quickly up to speed when they sign on to work with me.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/justine-grey">Justine Grey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/11-ways-to-incorporate-video-into-your-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-100k-jobs-you-can-do-online">8 $100k+ Jobs You Can Do Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center marketing small business training video video support web marketing YouTube Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:54:30 +0000 Justine Grey 629994 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Your Summer Internship Program Legal? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-your-summer-internship-program-legal <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/is-your-summer-internship-program-legal" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/is-your-summer-interns...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-your-summer-internship-program-legal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005660190Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With summer just around the corner, some owners may be in the process of offering internships to college students. Internships can offer many benefits to both the companies and the interns. However, too often owners overlook the legal requirements for internships and can get into trouble with state and federal authorities for violating labor laws. Here&rsquo;s what you need to know.</p> <h3>Do You Have to Pay Interns?</h3> <p>Many companies look to summer interns as free labor. They often use interns to fill in for employees who are on vacation or to handle tasks that would otherwise require hiring additional help. Or they believe that the &ldquo;training&rdquo; they provide more than compensates the interns for the work they do. However, using unpaid interns this way may be in violation of the law.</p> <p>Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an intern <i>must</i> be paid just like any other employee unless you meet the following six criteria, which are found in the U.S. Department of Labor&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf">Fact Sheet #71</a> and reiterated here:</p> <ol start="1"> <li>The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;</li> <li>The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;</li> <li>The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;</li> <li>The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;</li> <li>The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and</li> <li>The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.</li> </ol> <p>By meeting all six criteria, the intern is <i>not </i>an employee and need not be paid. If you fail one or more of these criteria, the intern is your employee and must be treated like any other employee in terms of minimum wages, maximum hours, and other legal requirements.</p> <h3>How to Structure Your Internship</h3> <p>Here is a list of to-dos that will help ensure an unpaid internship program meets the six criteria to help you avoid law violations and other problems:</p> <ul> <li>Find out whether your internship can be coordinated through a local college or university. (You can also use the school&rsquo;s Jobs Office to find a suitable intern.) Working directly with a school may require you to write a formal evaluation of the student&rsquo;s performance and submit a grade for the work performed. This will help show that you are offering training similar to an educational experience.</li> <li>Put the internship terms and conditions in writing. The internship agreement should reflect the six criteria (e.g., that the student understands that there is not necessarily any job offering at the end of the internship). While having an agreement is no guarantee that the government will look favorably on your unpaid arrangement, it certainly helps.</li> <li>Designate a mentor &ndash; you or an employee &ndash; for the student. The mentor/supervisor will oversee the student&rsquo;s activities, provide feedback, and turn the internship into a learning experience for the student.</li> <li>Fix the term of the internship (e.g., six weeks or two months). This will avoid any inference that the arrangement is a trial period for a prospective employee.</li> <li>Check with your insurance carrier to determine what type of coverage is appropriate for your intern. If the intern is unpaid (i.e., not an employee), is workers&rsquo; compensation required?</li> </ul> <p>If you plan to use an intern this summer, decide whether you&rsquo;ll pay the student. If you want to offer an unpaid internship, then be sure to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in labor laws to avoid any problems. Have your attorney review your proposed actions, internship agreement, and other aspects of the internship.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-your-summer-internship-program-legal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student">How to Succeed as an Online Student</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center education FLSA internships labor laws small business training US Dept of Labor Fri, 13 May 2011 21:10:53 +0000 Barbara Weltman 536680 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Succeed as an Online Student http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3279012290_fd04548bb0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re considering online studies, don&rsquo;t underestimate the workload, discipline, and communication skills needed to succeed. Here are tips on excelling as an online student.</p> <h3>Choose courses carefully.</h3> <p>Make sure that you have the time to commit to classes, especially if you are pursuing a degree. Don&rsquo;t let the lure of flexibility fool you into thinking that you can easily fit studies into an already full schedule. Some classes may take a few hours each week; others may require several hours weekly plus extra time to complete projects. And, beware that new degree programs and courses may be particularly difficult as content and technologies are in the process of being perfected.</p> <p>If you are interested simply in learning a specific skill rather than earning a degree, consider online classes through the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-frugal-resource-the-community-college">community college</a> or <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/11-sources-of-free-or-low-cost-training-julie-rains">specialized training</a> offered by professional associations.</p> <h3>Become familiar with online learning technologies.</h3> <p>Try to do this before class starts or as quickly as possible after the session begins. Some tasks, such as uploading assignments to a designated location on <a href="http://www.blackboard.com/">BlackBoard</a>, can be intimidating on a first try but simple after you've done them a couple of times. The less exertion expended in mastering online tools, the more effort you can place on learning course content.</p> <h3>Read recommended materials.</h3> <p>I know this advice may seem incredibly obvious. But many lecture-format classes require students simply to show up and listen; even if you complete the reading according to the syllabus, having an instructor provide you with context and give explanations makes it easier to glean pertinent information from written materials. Many online classes require students to react to materials in forum discussions, which is difficult if you haven't done the reading.</p> <h3>Participate in discussion forums.</h3> <p>If you are the first to post in the forum, you can share basic observations to start the conversation; but if you arrive later in the discussion thread, then you&rsquo;ll need to offer deeper, unique insights.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t presume that classmates share what you might perceive as cultural norms. Framing comments with mentions of professional and personal life experiences, or sharing these experiences when introducing yourself at the start of each course, can help classmates to understand your perspective and avoid antagonizing them.</p> <p>Finally, don&rsquo;t be a hit-and-run poster who visits the forums just once a week, makes comments, interacts with no one, and then exits. This approach may mean that you comply with course requirements but doesn&rsquo;t really advance your knowledge. Even if you are an expert in a topic, you can learn from the uninformed perspectives of newbies. Just getting insight into what other people understand about a topic is useful &mdash; you can then tailor your communications in class forums and outside of these forums more effectively.</p> <h3>Turn in assignments on time.</h3> <p>Online classes may place more emphasis on projects rather than tests so you&rsquo;ll need to plan your workload carefully. While you might be able to cram for a final exam, most people can&rsquo;t wait until the last minute to get topics approved, find credible sources, compile research, and collaborate with project partners.</p> <p>Try to turn in projects ahead of time so that if something unusual happens &mdash; a snowstorm-induced power outage or even a brief loss of broadband &mdash; you&rsquo;ll still meet deadlines. You might be able to fudge a turn-in time in the offline environment but, online, time-stamped submissions of uploaded research papers and PowerPoint projects make it difficult to hedge on when you actually turned in an assignment.</p> <h3>Serve as project manager.</h3> <p>You can influence the direction of projects and add to your leadership skills. If you don't think you can handle planning and leading projects, be an active participant by contributing your talents, completing project tasks on time, and helping the project manager with compiling components into a finished report.</p> <h3>Create a portfolio of your projects.</h3> <p>Showcase your knowledge and skills. Some potential employers and clients may not fully grasp that an online degree is just as valuable as one earned in a traditional setting. The portfolio is evidence of your work, and can help you land deals for similar projects and serve as a point of conversation in interviews.</p> <p>I experienced the demands of online learning when I earned a graduate-level Certificate in Technology and Communication at <a href="http://online.northcarolina.edu/">The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill</a>, a longstanding brick-and-mortar institution of higher learning. And, recently, I spoke with a 20-something female about her degree studies at the <a href="http://www.phoenix.edu/ ">University of Phoenix</a>, well-known for its online programs. Despite the differences in our backgrounds and universities, we had similar encounters as online students.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/united-world-college-study-abroad-for-way-less-than-you-think">United World College: Study Abroad For Way Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-mentorship">The Power of Mentorship</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college">How to Save Money for College</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income education online classes training Tue, 09 Mar 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Julie Rains 5666 at http://www.wisebread.com Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman running near water.jpg" alt="woman runnning near water" title="women running near water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How are your resolutions to get fit, exercise more, and lose weight going? If you need a nudge or some encouragement, check out my doable-with-a-busy-schedule approach to getting results. </p> <p><strong>Quick Start Guide</strong></p> <ul> <li>Start doing some form of exercise every day (walk around the block, take the stairs rather than the elevator); try to do more intense workouts at least at couple of times weekly (ideal is 3-5 times/week). </li> <li>If you haven’t already, set an achievable goal. You might decide that you’ll lift weights 3 days per week or walk 1 mile every day or run 20 miles per week. Or, you can aim for improving your mile time, or 100 yard freestyle time, or cycling speed. Still yet, you might want to sign up for a community walk, 5K, or charity bike ride. </li> <li>Try <a href="http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/fitness/workouts/strength-muscle-training/weight-training" title="http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/fitness/workouts/strength-muscle-training/weight-training">weight training to lose weight</a> (it can increase your metabolism) and build strength, which helps to <a href="http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/physical/sports/147.html" title="http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/physical/sports/147.html">avoid injury</a>. </li> <li>Get gear (clothing, shoes, equipment, and supplies) from local shops; you may pay more but you’ll be more likely to get the right gear the first time and you should be able to get training advice and/or tips on local groups that offer training support. </li> <li>Schedule your workouts as if they were appointments or business meetings, especially if you always seem to be pressed for time. </li> <li><a href="http://runningtimes.com/blog/?p=19" title="http://runningtimes.com/blog/?p=19">Rest</a>, eat well, and drink plenty of water. Your body needs to recover in order to become stronger. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Track your progress</strong> from month to month (or whatever time period seems reasonable to you) by measuring your: </p> <ul> <li>Weight and/or body size (chest, waist, thighs)</li> <li>Resting heart rate (when you get up in the morning) </li> <li>Heart rate after climbing a bunch of stairs or running a mile or whatever activity you choose</li> </ul> <p>These measurements should decrease though you may gain weight from having extra muscle or even increase in body size if you started with a thin body, based on my observations. (Consult a medical professional or trainer if you&#39;d like personalized information on body changes). </p> <p>To me, much of the exercise battle (besides finding time) is feeling confident about what you’re doing; if you need help putting together an exercise program, ask for help from an athletic friend or someone who works at the shop where you bought your gear, hire a trainer, buy a book on training, or check out <a href="http://www.activetrainer.com/" title="http://www.activetrainer.com/ ">an online training plan</a>. To get you going and speaking intelligently about training regimens, here&#39;s some <strong>athletic lingo:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_training" title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_training">Interval Training</a>: sets of sprints (going really fast for say 30 seconds to 2 minutes) with short periods of recovery (time to catch your breath before doing another sprint); others may describe interval training as  hard work for several minutes followed by recovery</li> <li><strong>Endurance Training</strong>: running, walking, swimming, or cycling for long distances, which may range from one to 100 miles depending on the sport, your fitness level, and goals</li> <li><strong>Strength Training</strong>: building stronger muscles by lifting weights, which I like to do through resistance training using non-free-weight-type machines (such as Cybex or Nautilus brand equipment)</li> <li><strong>Splits</strong>: your time at specific intervals of a race; for example if you are running a 10K, you might get mile splits telling you how fast you are running each mile so that you can increase your pace or relax a bit in order to conserve energy for the end of the race</li> <li><strong>Pace clock</strong>: a time-measurement device found on swimming pool decks indicating time within each minute in 5-second increments (usually with 1-second hash marks); for more <a href="http://www.wsumastersswimming.org/workouts/lingo.html" title="http://www.wsumastersswimming.org/workouts/lingo.html">swim-related lingo</a>, see this Masters Swimming site </li> <li><strong>5K/10K</strong>: distances of approximately 3.1/6.2 miles, usually for a foot race</li> <li><strong>Century/Metric Century Bike Ride</strong>: 100 miles/62 miles (give or take a few miles, depending on road layouts) </li> <li><strong>Drafting</strong>: riding close behind another cyclist, letting the other person block the wind in order to conserve energy (you are supposed to take turns being the lead person)</li> <li><strong>Open water swim</strong>: swimming event or training activity not held in a pool but rather in a lake, river, or ocean </li> <li><strong>Grade</strong>: steepness of trail or road that you are running or cycling </li> <li><strong>SAG support</strong>: people in motorized vehicles (often vans) who follow cyclists and provide support if someone needs help (has a flat tire or just gets tired); see Wikipedia for more <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycling_terminology" title="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycling_terminology">cycling terminology</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.marathonguide.com/training/articles/HeartMonitorTraining.cfm" title="http://www.marathonguide.com/training/articles/HeartMonitorTraining.cfm ">Heart-rate based training</a>: training based on heart rate and using a heart monitor (seems lot a lot of math while sweating but apparently this method is helpful to many people) </li> <li><strong>Road/Mountain/Hybrid Bikes</strong>: types of bicycles made specifically for the road, trails in the woods, and a mixture of surfaces (asphalt, ground, gravel), respectively </li> <li><strong>No Drop</strong>: bicycle rides where the pace is set for the slowest rider and/or other riders will wait at intersections for the slower riders</li> <li><strong>Taper</strong>: reducing your workout load and/or intensity before a competitive event in order to prevent your body from being tired on race day and have peak performance</li> <li><strong>Personal best</strong>: your best time for a particular type of race (5K road race; Century bike ride) or your best time for a specific race that follows the same path every year  </li> </ul> <p>For those of you who have set a goal to <strong>participate in a community athletic event</strong>, here are my steps to success: </p> <ul> <li>Find events in your area by visiting <a href="http://www.active.com/">www.active.com</a> or looking for flyers at bike shops, gyms, and sporting goods stores</li> <li>Look at race results from prior years to judge competitiveness of an event; don’t let speedy people deter you but it is helpful to get an idea of what times are within a normal range and/or when rest stops may be closed and SAG support ends. </li> <li>Register for events in advance in order to get a slight discount (usually $5 on a fee of $15-20) and guarantee a space in the event, if participation is limited</li> <li>Sign the waiver, which seem scary but nearly all well-organized events will require you to sign a waiver indicating that you have trained for the event and understand the risks associated with participating</li> <li>Get your registration materials, such as your race number (attach to your shirt with safety pins provided) or ID bracelet, cue sheet with directions and turns (bicycle rides), and goody bag with an event t-shirt (if included in race fee) and promotional items</li> <li>Have fun!</li> </ul> <p>Whatever you do, be persistent even when you get waylaid by outside obligations; you&#39;ll be amazed at the cumulative, beneficial effect of exercise.</p> <p><em>These ideas are based on my experiences as an AAU swimmer, high school track team member, occasional runner, and wannabe faster cyclist.</em> <em>It is helpful to get professional training advice or even consult a physician before starting your own regimen. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions">Switching Addictions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-habits-science-says-will-make-you-smarter">5 Habits Science Says Will Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">How to Run Your First 5K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-getting-the-best-morning-workout">7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Health and Beauty cycling exercise interval training running training training regimen Wed, 16 Apr 2008 02:11:18 +0000 Julie Rains 2007 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Become an Expert http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-an-expert <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-become-an-expert" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/389551020_a630456dd2.jpg" alt="Learning chess" title="Learning chess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This article is not about how to fake being an expert, so it's not some quick, easy thing you can do and then be way better at something tomorrow. It's about actually becoming an expert, which will take time and effort. You can spend the time and effort, though, and fail to become an expert. Here's how to spend it and succeed.</p> <p>Just to be clear, this is about becoming an expert at <strong>doing</strong> something. People use the same word to describe being an expert <strong>about</strong> something, but this is about doing.</p> <p>At any skill that's difficult, becoming an expert will take a long time. The thing is, not becoming an expert takes just as long.</p> <p>Old joke:</p> <p><em>Q: Do you know how old I'd be, if I spent the next twenty years learning how to play the piano?</em></p> <p><em>A: The same age you'd be if you spent the next twenty years <strong>not</strong> learning how to play the piano.</em></p> <h2>Developing expertise</h2> <p>So, how do you become an expert at doing something? The answer, of course, is &quot;practice,&quot; but there are two complications.</p> <p>The first is that you can't really practice until you can do your activity, at least at some minimal level. That's one place where all the other activities besides practice come in: taking a class, reading a book, watching someone else do it. (There are also activities that are too dangerous to just jump in and start practicing on your own &mdash; clearing unexploded munitions, for example.)</p> <p>The second is that there's useful practice (deliberate practice) and then there's all the other things you might do that are easier than deliberate practice, but that don't help you develop expertise.</p> <h2>Deliberate practice</h2> <p>Deliberate practice is just this:</p> <ol> <li>performing your skill (or, more typically, a piece of it)</li> <li>monitoring your performance</li> <li>evaluating your success</li> <li>figuring out how to do it better</li> </ol> <p>and then repeating that sequence again and again.</p> <p>That's it. That's how to become an expert. Most experts have done just that, for hours a day, for years.</p> <p>Most of the information here is based on K. Anders Ericsson's paper <a href="http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf">The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance</a>. That paper has data for violin players, piano players, chess players, gymnasts, runners, tennis players, and swimmers. The domain doesn't seem to matter &mdash; deliberate practice is the key developing expert performance.</p> <h2>Not deliberate practice</h2> <p>Deliberate practice isn't a lot of fun. What's fun is actually doing whatever it is you've learned how to do. You will even get better at your activity through just doing it (because to some extent you will be monitoring, evaluating, and figuring). But <em>just doing your activity won't make you an expert</em>, even if you do it a lot.</p> <p>Becoming an expert takes deliberate practice, and deliberate practice is what's described above.</p> <p>Everything else is <strong>not</strong> deliberate practice:</p> <ul> <li>Taking a class (although some classes might include some deliberate practice in them)</li> <li>Attending a lecture</li> <li>Reading an article or a book</li> <li>Watching an expert perform</li> <li>Teaching</li> <li>Most especially, actually performing your skill isn't deliberate practice</li> </ul> <p>Now, any of those activities may be useful, but their use is largely in <em>improving your monitoring and evaluating skills</em>. When you're still trying to learn how to tell if you're doing well or poorly, a teacher can be a big help. If you're starting to feel like you're really getting quite good, watching a real expert can help you re-calibrate your self-evaluation.</p> <h2>Spotting deliberate practice</h2> <p>Once you've been made aware of the difference between &quot;practice&quot; (i.e. just doing your activity) and &quot;deliberate practice,&quot; you'll begin to spot deliberate practice all over the place:</p> <ul> <li>A musician playing scales</li> <li>A kid playing the same level of a video game over and over again</li> <li>A child learning to walk</li> </ul> <p>Actually, small children do this all the time. If you want to understand the acquisition of expert performance, just watch a child learning to walk, learning to talk, learning to make something work. You'll see deliberate practice in its purest form.</p> <h2>Becoming an expert writer</h2> <p>Happily for me, writing for Wise Bread is giving me a chance to develop some expertise as a writer. There's an internal cycle where I write something, read it, evaluate whether it clearly says exactly what I want to say, and then try to make it better. That is, my ordinary write-edit-rewrite cycle amounts to deliberate practice.</p> <p>There's also an external cycle where I post it to the web and see if the comments show that people understood it and found it useful. That external cycle isn't deliberate practice, but it helps me get better at the monitoring and evaluating steps &mdash; it makes my future deliberate practice more effective.</p> <p>That's it in a nutshell: Develop expertise through deliberate practice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-an-expert">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classes-that-can-pay-for-themselves">10 Classes That Can Pay for Themselves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/crappy-practice-is-a-waste-of-time">Crappy practice is a waste of time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development classes deliberate practice expert expertise practice training Sun, 07 Oct 2007 11:04:20 +0000 Philip Brewer 1260 at http://www.wisebread.com Switching Addictions http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/switching-addictions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000061360910_Large.jpg" alt="man running sunrise" title="man running sunrise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hi, my name is Andrea, and I read <a href="http://www.runnersworld.com/" target="_blank">Runner's World</a> magazine.</p> <p>[Hi, Andrea].</p> <p>I started reading it a couple of years ago. At first, it was just a glance or two when I was at Barnes and Noble trying to pass a cold, rainy Sunday. Then I started looking at it more carefully, actually reading the articles and analyzing the nutrition charts. After that, I maybe tried a few of the lunges and ab crunches. Finally, I bought and issue and took it home. I was hooked. I even started subscribing, and I read it religiously for two years.</p> <p>What I love about Runner's World are the inspirational stories and columns that seem to come standard with every issue. And these are my guilty pleasures; pleasures, because I feel inspired by the stories of the struggles and victories of people who have faced much harder circumstances than I have, and guilty because despite the inspiration, I never quite seem to get myself in gear.</p> <h2>The Shame! The Joy!</h2> <p>Because I'm not a runner, I hide my issues of Runner's World from everyone save a few people who already know me well enough not to laugh. It's sort of my Chicken Soup for the Lazy-Ass Soul.</p> <p>It was the Warmup article in the March 2007 issue of Runner's World that really made me think. &quot;Home Run&quot; introduces us to Brent Ion, a marathoner who is also a part of a homeless advocacy group in Palm Beach County, Florida. Brent started a running group for the homeless citizens of Palm Beach County, hoping to reach people with drug addictions and teach them about how structure and discipline can lead to accomplishments and self-confidence.</p> <p>Homeless people who have joined Ion's group, known as the HomeTeam, have found that running and marathon training has helped them overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol. Even though many of them admit that they only joined because each HomeTeam member gets a free pair of sneakers, these people have overcome meth, cocaine, and alcohol addictions as a part of their training and friendship.</p> <h2>Switching Addictions</h2> <p>Something that isn't mentioned in the article, however, is the idea of switching addictions. There is such a thing as a positive addiction. I know this, because once in my life, for a very limited time, I was addicted to running.</p> <p>When I say that it was for a limited time, I mean really limited. When I got addicted to running, I was in high school. I started running around the inside of my school after class was out. A lot of sports teams did this when the snow got too deep outside, and I sort of went at my own pace and pondered the meaning of high school life. It wasn't too bad &mdash; I found that if my mind wandered to other things, I could run a mile without feeling it.</p> <p>After a few weeks, I was feeling pretty good. And then one day in gym class during our jogging warm-up, I experienced a runner's high. It felt GREAT. I had never had one before, and it was so exhilarating. Even though we were supposed to be lifting weights that day, my P.E. teacher allowed me to just run laps around the gym for the whole hour. The strange thing was that I didn't want to do anything BUT run, and the elation that I felt when running stayed with me for a long time.</p> <p>About a week later, my appendix burst, and that pretty much put an end to my running career. It took me a long, long time to be able to climb the stairs again without seeing spots, and I never really started running again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Such Thing as a &quot;Good&quot; Addiction?</h2> <p>But back to the addicts in Runner's World. Brent Ion, the guy who headed up the group, started running in 1998 to help him kick his addiction to nicotine. From what I can tell, it seems that Brent traded one habit for another - he took up a positive addiction in lieu of a negative one. And all of his recruits seem to be doing the same thing.</p> <p>Running as an addiction isn't a new idea.&nbsp;Other people have managed to form different positive addictions. Many smokers find that their nervous fidgeting can be calmed by crafty undertakings.</p> <p>Of course, calling yourself a &quot;running addict&quot; can be construed as annoyingly cutesy, or a sign that someone has an exercise addiction. If someone can't stop running, then that's not a good thing either, but my guess is that exercise addiction is more rare than, say, alcoholism. And it's probably not a stretch to say that people who replace a bad addiction with a good one, like running or knitting or whatever, probably have the need to keep participating in their good addiction, less they feel the pull of the old, bad addictions too strongly.</p> <h2>Moo-lah</h2> <p>Thus, addicts have an impetus for remaining active, or crafty. The best part, from my standpoint, is the money saved.</p> <p>The best part about a positive addiction (or a replacement habit, or whatever you want to call it) is that the replacement habits are usually inexpensive. Unless you go from, say, cocaine addiction to model train obsession, then you're probably saving a bundle.</p> <p>The cost of smoking varies depending on how much you smoke, but a conservative estimate of the yearly cost in cigarettes alone is upwards of $1,700 a year. And that's among the cheaper addictions, really. Alcoholism is an even more expensive addiction to suffer from, even before counting the cost of healthcare associated with treating the disease.</p> <p>Running, juggling, knitting, bird watching, obsessive Scrabble playing; these habits are virtually free after initial investment of maybe $100 or so (knitters: stay away from the alpaca yarns &mdash; that's where they getcha).</p> <p>I don't have any truly health-threatening addictions, unless you count caffeine and sloth, so I'm hoping to replace sloth with running. I went for my first run last night. Maybe &quot;run&quot; is a bit of a stretch. I went for my first &quot;jog for a block, walk and gasp for a block,&quot; but I'm hoping to turn it into an addiction if I can.&nbsp;</p> <p>I should mention that I obviously don't advocate that people with very serious drug addictions merely get up and start running all over the place. Even more common addictions, such a nicotine, can be helped immensely through medication and medical intervention. And they always say that you should start an exercise program only after consulting your doctor, so consult away.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switching-addictions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-starting-or-jumpstarting-your-exercise-regimen">Tips For Starting (Or Jumpstarting) Your Exercise Regimen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-getting-the-best-morning-workout">7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">How to Run Your First 5K</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty addiction alcoholism drug abuse exercise jogging juggling lazy nicotine quit smoking race Runner's World running sloth training Tue, 06 Feb 2007 18:28:56 +0000 Andrea Karim 252 at http://www.wisebread.com