consulting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9821/all en-US 10 Awesome Jobs for People Who Want to Work From Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-jobs-for-people-who-want-to-work-from-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-awesome-jobs-for-people-who-want-to-work-from-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/298117862_35e14f0052_z.jpg" alt="work from home" title="work from home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people dream of working from home because of perks like not having to commute and being able to work in your pajamas. The good news is we're seeing more and more jobs that give people the privilege of working from home. Although there are stereotypical contract admin or call-center jobs that let you work from home, there are plenty of other at-home jobs that are way more fun. Read on to find out what they are.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Jobs-Moms-22948495">RELATED:&nbsp;8 Flexible Careers That Fit Moms Best</a></p> <h3>Etsy Store Owner</h3> <p>If you love making crafts and personalizing them, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.etsy.com/">Etsy </a> can be a possible career route for you. There are Etsy store owners that are making more than their previous day job and lovin' it! Of course, it's not all about being crafty. You'll also have to invest time into promoting your product on social media sites like Pinterest, taking great pictures, and coming up with search-friendly titles.</p> <p>It's free to join Etsy, but you have to pay 20 cents to list your item, and the site will take 3.5 percent sales from your listed price. Inc. magazine has a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/05/sell-handmade-crafts-on-etsy.html">great list of tips</a> on starting your own Etsy store.</p> <h3>Music Teacher</h3> <p>If you have a love for music (and the skills to boot!), teaching other people how to play an instrument or to sing might be a good career choice for you.</p> <p>What you can expect to make ranges from something in the teens to hundreds per class if you're famous. For example, Seth Riggs, a renowned vocal coach to the stars, charges $300 per session. To earn more money, you can choose to get certification and to build up a good track record.</p> <h3>Consultant or Coach</h3> <p>You can be a consultant on anything as long as you have the right expertise for the topic. One example is a consultant who helps business-school students with applicants. Famous ones charge each applicant $3,000 per business school. Basically, what they do is help students with their résumé, essays, and interviews.</p> <p>You can also coach people over the phone and the Internet. An example of coaching can be a career as a life coach, in which you advise and guide people to achieve personal goals. According to <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.lifecoach.com/faq/how-much-does-life-coaching-usually-cost">LifeCoach.com</a>, individual clients can be charged from $200 to $1,000 per month while corporate coaching will net life coaches about $1,000 to $10,000 every month.</p> <p>You can coach people on pretty much any type of topic, from dating to personal finance.</p> <h3>Graphic Designer</h3> <p>There's a decent demand for graphic designers, especially those in web design. In this field, it's preferable for graphic designers to have some sort of educational training, such as a bachelor's degree, says the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos090.htm">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>.</p> <p>The median annual wages for graphic designers was $42,400 in May 2008, according to BLS data.</p> <h3>Therapist</h3> <p>Another option for a career is an at-home therapist. There are positives and negatives to seeing patients in your home. Of course, there is always the issue of safety, so you'll have to be cautious with who you decide to take on as a patient. One of the biggest bonuses to seeing patients from home is you'll be saving on the cost of an office, the commute, and parking.</p> <p>To be a therapist, one must complete an undergraduate degree, preferably in psychology, then go on to earn a master's degree in the field. The median annual salary of an occupational therapist is $84,000, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=therapist&amp;l1=">according to Indeed.com</a>.</p> <h3>Artist/Painter/Sculptor</h3> <p>If you've heard of the phrase &quot;starving artist,&quot; you know that it's not going to be an easy career path. In fact, while you're busy trying to sell your paintings to a gallery or online, you might have to take on day jobs or sides jobs such as teaching art.</p> <h3>Social Media or Community Manager</h3> <p>Social media and community managers are all the rage right now, and many companies are hiring for that position since they lack the know-how. And how do you gain that knowledge? Simply by being an avid user! There aren't many quality classes on social media right now, so the best way to pick up the skills is to use the platform. Community managers have duties from moderating comments to thinking up ways to grow reader base and engagement. Interested? Well, the average salary of a community manager is $53,000, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=community+manager&amp;l1=">says Indeed.com</a>.</p> <h3>Writer</h3> <p>A freelance writer or novelist can always work from home. If you have a love of writing, you might want to try this out. Start by writing for small-time magazines or papers to build up your career. It's really important to network in this field because it's much easier to get your piece into an editorial publication if you know the editor. You can always opt for journalism school as a way of getting into the industry.</p> <p>If you want to write the next great American novel, you can either start on your own or wait for <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.nanowrimo.org/">National Novel Writing Month</a> in November to write alongside thousands. If agents aren't biting, you may want to publish your book online as an ebook.</p> <h3>Start-Up Founder</h3> <p>Have a great idea floating around in your head? Perhaps the next Spanx or another social media platform? If you work on your own start-up, you'll have the luxury of working from home. However, you won't have a salary and you'll be living off of your savings when you're starting out. But if it takes off, you may find yourself with a robust income!</p> <h3>Software Engineer</h3> <p>Software engineers have the luxury of working from home and get paid a great salary. Further, they&rsquo;ll never have to worry about a job since they are always in demand. These techies design and test different kinds of software like computer games and operating systems. The average salary of a software engineer is a hefty $90,000, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=software+engineer&amp;l1=">according to Indeed.com</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It is possible to have a great job working from home — just follow one of these career paths. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Job-Search-Mistakes-26730726">10 Ways You're Sabatoging Your&nbsp;Job Hunt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Career-Resolutions-2013-26565437">50 Small and Big Moves to Make at Work&nbsp;This Year</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Pack-Business-Trip-26294535">6 Best Packing Practices for Business Trips</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Job Hunting consulting etsy part-time jobs work from home Tue, 22 Jan 2013 21:10:51 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 967387 at http://www.wisebread.com Values-Based Consulting: How to Attract and Keep Clients http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/values-based-consulting-how-to-attract-and-keep-clients <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/values-based-consulting-how-to-attract-and-keep-clients-joanne-berg" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/values-based-consultin...</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/values-based-consulting-how-to-attract-and-keep-clients" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012365655Sm_Consultant.jpeg" alt="service crossword" title="service crossword" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="208" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/values-based-consulting-how-to-attract-and-keep-clients" class="sharethis-link" title="Values-Based Consulting: How to Attract and Keep Clients" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Whether or not you use the title of Consultant, chances are good that you are one.</p> <p>Here's the definition of a consultant: &quot;A person who gives expert or professional advice.&quot; No matter what your business is, I'll bet that you give expert advice every day!</p> <p>Every time you make a recommendation to a customer, you are acting in the capacity of a consultant. The important thing to keep in mind is not what you're doing, but what the other person is experiencing. For them to ask for, pay for, and then act on your advice, they need one very simple thing:</p> <p><em><strong>They need to trust you.</strong></em></p> <p>The fastest way to build trust, especially with a new or potential client, is to provide clear evidence of your professional values. Once you articulate and demonstrate those values, clients &quot;magically&quot; start asking for and follow your advice. As soon as they value your contribution, not only do they refer others, but they remain &quot;clients for life.&quot; <em>Remember that your best customer is the one you still have!</em></p> <p>Values-Based Consulting is built on a solid foundation of professional ethics, responsiveness, empathy and commitment. However, without one all-important value, the others won't matter: <strong>integrity</strong>. Here's how to demonstrate integrity even before your new client commits.</p> <p><strong>1. Prove that you are a bona fide expert within your industry.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Feature details of your relevant experience on your website, LinkedIn profile, and marketing materials.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Publicize your professional certifications and advanced degrees. You worked hard for these, so use them!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Highlight your continuing education on your website, newsletter, profile, fan page, etc. If you earn a certificate for taking an industry-related course, go ahead and display it. (Continuing education is a must to be a good adviser.)</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Remain consistent and authentic to your area of expertise.</strong></p> <ul> <li>Avoid the temptation to take an assignment for which you are not the best choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refer it to someone who is more qualified than you are and let the client know why.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Emphasize those areas you'd like to help them with in the future. You'd be surprised how many referrals this can generate!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Illustrate your values throughout your website and marketing materials.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Capitalize on social-proofing. </strong></p> <ul> <li>Ask for client testimonials and use them. When making the request, acknowledge how busy your clients are and offer to save them time by writing a draft so they can simply edit or approve it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Feature testimonials on your website and marketing materials.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Request recommendations on LinkedIn if it's appropriate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Publish client endorsements illustrating tangible results; they are worth their weight in gold. But don't rest on your laurels &mdash; keep them fresh and updated. Old testimonials aren't that useful. In fact, at the beginning of a new relationship, your testimonials (and referrals) from satisfied customers are the best evidence you have of living by ALL of your values.</li> </ul> <p><strong>How to demonstrate integrity after the sale</strong></p> <p>1. Communication is key. Ensure client satisfaction at regular intervals during your engagement, not just at the end when it may be too late to change course. Ask your client upfront how often and in what format they would like updates and/or reports.</p> <p>2. Be responsive!</p> <p>3. Deliver on time and on budget. If the project gets larger or more expensive, get clearance from the client in advance, not after the work is done.</p> <p>4. Be very cautious about suggesting solutions, which while legal, may be seen as less than desirable from an ethical standpoint. Your client may take your advice, but at some level you can lose their trust, and possibly their business.</p> <p>The important thing to remember about Values-Based Consulting is to articulate your values and show your clients and prospects that you're serious about living by them. You'll be glad you did.</p> <p><strong><em>&quot;Your customers will get better when you do.&quot; - Anonymous</em></strong></p> <p><em>What other ways do you demonstrate your integrity to your clients?</em><i><br /> </i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joanne-berg">JoAnne Berg</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business">Small Business Resource Center articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center consulting small business Thu, 05 Aug 2010 22:19:50 +0000 JoAnne Berg 169403 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 ways to spot a social media snake oil salesperson http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-spot-a-social-media-snake-oil-salesperson <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-spot-a-social-media-snake-oil-salesperson" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/confused-beauty.jpg" alt="Confused Beauty" title="Confused Beauty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="348" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Technology has given <em>you</em> plentiful opportunities to better your life. Especially if you're looking for work, even amidst the economic slump of the omni-stated recession, there are knowledge worker jobs opening up that didn't exist but a decade ago. Unfortunately, that's not to say all of these jobs are actually useful: just like pyramid schemes attract the greedy and fad diets interest the desperate, <strong>many social media snake oil salespeople are out there, ready to sucker you</strong>.</p> <p>Social media is about people being able to talk to each other easier through computers. Yes, Wikipedia has a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media">much more extensive definition</a>, but part of a slick sales strategy is dressing up what's old in new clothes. That's why even though there's an immense amount of value in word-of-mouth networks and empowering good causes through our machines, <strong>the tough thing is in distinguishing who's genuine from who's a quack</strong>.</p> <p>If you take a quick look on, well, <em>any</em> social network &mdash; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, you name it &mdash; you may have run across packs (appropriately) of people who dub themselves social media consultants, gurus, strategists, etc. All claiming to help you improve your online presence. Other variants like &quot;lifestyle designers/architects&quot; (derived from the teachings of one Tim Ferriss who in turn <a href="http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/">repackaged</a> the Pareto Principle) and other very trendy-sounding titles exist. They exist to sound impressive and sell <em>to</em> you, but as <a href="http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2009/02/my_article_in_businessweek_debunking_six_social_media_myths.asp">B.L. Ochman astutely declared</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>How many of them have actually created a successful campaign for clients using social media tools? I bet you'd be hard-pressed to find half a dozen with real track records.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's why, like sound science, it's important to do the research, be skeptical, and debunk fluffy claims before buying into the bull: <strong>substantiate <em>who</em> are you dealing with here?</strong></p> <p>Like so much self-help hogwash which obscures <em>actual-but-not-so-fast </em>solutions, the <a href="http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2005/08/28/kevin_trudeaus_snake_oil_empire.php">Kevin Trudeaus</a> of the social media world are here to sell you a false dream. Those scammers hate to hear it, but it's true. And here's <strong>7 ways you can spot them</strong>:</p> <h2>1. Buzzword-laden pig slop</h2> <p>If a hotheaded social media <em>whatever</em> comes to sell your company a &quot;comprehensive transparency strategy&quot; consisting of &quot;Web 2.0&quot; <em>this</em> and &quot;personal branding&quot; <em>that</em> and <em>can't</em> explain what they mean in simple English, they're full of it. And by &quot;it&quot;, I mean lies. It's unfortunate that scammers make the good souls look bad &mdash; just as a lot of crackpot pseudoscience misuses the established formulations of quantum physics. Like pig slop, it's a mess. And you deserve better.</p> <p><strong>Always insist on <em>substantiation</em></strong> &mdash; focusing on actions, disproving the fallacies behind the words, and showing there's followup to grand announcements. For example, if a social media usability firm (they really exist) is brought about because they say they can greatly enhance how your customers experience your product, don't just let them give you a feel-good keynote presentation and glossily-designed PDFs with &quot;The Master Plan&quot;: work closely with them to carry out small, lightweight tests and assure whether it <em>actually</em> has an effect. This may seem obvious; not so much if they're baffling you with buzzwords.</p> <h2>2. Lack of diverse interests</h2> <p>Case in point: I believe in the power of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding">personal branding</a>. But like &quot;social media&quot;, it gets thrown around a lot in an <strong>ironic attempt to camouflage <em>lack</em> of personality</strong>. There's now a cottage industry of of &quot;personal branding consultants&quot; who talk starchy like bad 80s cartoons; they try to sell &quot;Brand You&quot; packages on their websites and are shockingly one-dimensional. Specifically, they can't show what they've done for themselves outside of, well, elevating their profiles by trying to take your money. (It's like being <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famous_for_being_famous">famous for being famous</a>.)</p> <p>I'm not asking for a &quot;I got rich and these are my beautiful women and houses&quot;-type deal, although Donald Trump is a master of that &mdash; and what I'd consider a real personal branding &quot;live by example&quot;. He trumps (heh) some of it up to make it look more glamorous than it really is, but he's definitely one of the strongest personal brands without using that buzzword. Like how <strong>repeatedly calling yourself &quot;cool&quot; negates itself</strong>. If you find Trump disagreeable, how about Richard Branson or Felix Dennis? (Wild hair seems to be a commonality.)</p> <p>People who have interdisciplinary skill sets and&nbsp; unorthodox fields of interest are a great asset because they possess perspectives no one else does: there's <em>no</em> substitute for that variety of firsthand experience. There <em>are</em> legit personal branding helpers out there, but they don't sit around all day blogging about how to improve your personal brand. They involve other elements in the mix.</p> <p>If you're interested in getting a personal branding expert to help you, find out what else they do. Outside of work, as well as odd jobs they've taken on. But don't just rely on their friends, because of&hellip;</p> <h2>3. Inbred testimonials</h2> <p>Strength in numbers, right? It's no secret that when social media yahoos are struggling to attain credibility, they'll vouch for each other. One will write a foreword for another's book they haven't really read, and yet another still will put forth glowing praise that can be inserted in the author's blog sidebar.</p> <p>Again, like everything else I'm saying here, there are earnest examples of this being done, but they're rarities amidst all the soundalikes in the so-called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber">echo chamber</a>. Reverb gives a musical instrument space, but do you know what happens when there's too much of it? The signal becomes washed out and indistinct, and nothing stands out.</p> <p>I'm all for friends helping each other succeed, but the problem with &quot;imbred testimonials&quot; is that they don't include any <em>external</em> perspective, such as that from satisfied customers (like resume references you can verify).</p> <p>Even though Seth Godin (whose tight style has been copycatted from here to Mars) said, &quot;It's not about you. It's about them&quot; &mdash; <strong>it's really about <em>us</em>, meaning you <em>and</em> them</strong>. After all, it's not a relationship, and definitely not &quot;social&quot;, unless it goes both ways.</p> <h2>4. No failed experiments declared</h2> <p>Yes, no one likes to put their dirty laundry in the same place as a job pitch. But social media is unique, since <em>being human</em> (authentic, transparent, etc.) is at the heart of it. Since personality can be measured in qualitative and quantitative ways, you don't know until you test: social media snakes like to proclaim case studies of how X company did a great thing while Y company sucked, but how many risks of their <em>own</em> have they taken, then trumpeted about it &mdash; even if it was a miserable failure? And <strong>how can you trust someone to help you or your company's reputation who won't put themselves under the microscope?</strong></p> <p>This doesn't mean false modesty. It <em>does</em> mean acknowledging those mistakes as valuable data to be used towards future gains, as <a href="http://www.jimkukral.com/presentation-im-a-huge-failure-are-you/">Jim Kukral</a> and <a href="http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2008/11/the-making-of-p.html">Rohit Bhargava</a> have.</p> <h2>5. Long lists of stuff they haven't done</h2> <p>This one's a relevant tangent: ever see those blog posts that go &quot;50 Must-Have Social Media Tools&quot; or &quot;100 Must-Do Tips to Improve Your Personal Brand&quot;? Mostly, they're baloney. Lists are a popular blogging format to catch people's interests, but let's get to the core: <strong>ask the author if they're really tried all the tools/tips/etc. and can vouch for them directly</strong>. Probable confession: &quot;Uh, no.&quot;</p> <p>Understand it's great to compile info from different sources, and I grok flavor in headlines, but it shouldn't be sensationalist drama that gets you high on a social media sugar rush, then plunges you back down into despair. That's like those supermarket magazines that sell you a different diet every month. (If it was so good, why keep switching?)</p> <p>There's <strong>much more usefulness in <em>empirical context</em></strong>: someone who notes &quot;I haven't tried this yet&quot; or &quot;I got great results but only after I stuck with it for awhile&quot; while recounting <em>how</em> they're applying a tool or tip to their life.</p> <p>If the social media &quot;expert&quot; you want to hire has been spotted making thoughtless lists, beware.</p> <h2>6. Stupid simplicity</h2> <p>Whenever a trend exists by name, you can bet unscrupulous folks will try to capitalize. Ever heard of Shaolin Kung Fu? Whether it's through <em>Kill Bill</em> or Wu-Tang Clan, it's been a hot martial art term. Problem is, if someone wants to learn &quot;Shaolin Kung Fu&quot;, they first need to understand <a href="http://www.shaolin.com/StyleContent.aspx?Style=Styles">there is <em>no</em> single style</a>. Any &quot;teacher&quot; who insists otherwise is being deceptive.</p> <p>There is <em>no</em> single style to social media success. Some people can work it in a suit and tie, while others have to wear chicken suits. Some speak louder than Jim Cramer, others have a calming effect. And hey, it's okay to be low-key! Personal brands aren't for everyone, and personal brands are as diverse as the people behind them. This is why <strong>I hate seeing people forced to join social networks and mingling but getting no substantial benefit out of them</strong>.</p> <p>A <em>bona fide</em> social media maven (always look beyond labels) <strong>must be able to teach you how they get results, and how this will be applied to you</strong>. How concepts, even simple ones, are expanded into day-by-day actions. A programmer who creates cleanly-commented code is more prized than one who arrogantly dismisses the value of showing others the path, and fails to make their peers better.</p> <p>Mantras (and buzzwords) can boost confidence, but they're a mere hint of effective results. Like a map is not the destination, a word is not what it refers to. <strong>Don't rush into any communications plan without understanding </strong><a href="http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html"><strong>Wiio's laws</strong></a>.</p> <h2>7. Unshared egos</h2> <p>Social media is all about exchanging resources, be it knowledge or tangible goods. And notice how I didn't say &quot;big egos&quot; &mdash; if you're going to be a social media rockstar, you may very well have a big ego! I've a fave saying:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>If I'm good, it's because I've made you better.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Consider <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/magazine/02rubin.t.html?em&amp;ex=1188964800&amp;en=c39103cf9c12a7a8&amp;ei=5087%0A">Rick Rubin</a>, who recently produced Metallica's return to form, <em>Death Magnetic</em>. With his unkempt beard and piercing eyes, and stripped-down essentials approach to music, he's definitely got a distinctive personal brand. Yet he doesn't cast a shadow over the bands he works with: he channels them like a shaman so they are <em>better!</em> One specific way he does this is getting them to consider stylistically incongruous options. It may make the band temporarily uncomfortable, but as Rubin's landmark bridging of hip-hop and heavy metal has shown, he's a uniter, not a divider.</p> <p>Someone may be blasting out dozens of tweets a day on Twitter, but if they're not sharing their ego to brighten other human beings' day &mdash; and this comes <em>before</em> selling their services &mdash; then their motives are in doubt, because they want to succeed at your expense. That is an <em>opposite</em> of social media.</p> <h2>Snakes on a web</h2> <p>Perhaps it was a &quot;customer-centric research analyst&quot; your company brought in, who blathered on (with empty buzzwords as mentioned above) but left you no richer in financial and happiness terms. Maybe it was a &quot;pro blogger&quot; who sold you training DVDs on how to sell yourself on the Internet, only for you to find out their steps were too convoluted and impractical to follow. These are the snakes among us.</p> <p>One of the most beautiful things about social media is how it empowers <em>you</em> &mdash; if you choose to use it &mdash; with a voice you wouldn't have had in years previous. Just like the Wise Bread Team draws attention to consumer problems you should be aware of, the same awareness needs to be extended to those promising solutions, but are just full of&hellip; snake oil.</p> <p><strong><em>Have you ever had to deal with a social media snake oil salesperson? Do you have your own ways of spotting them? Let us know in the comments.</em></strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-spot-a-social-media-snake-oil-salesperson" class="sharethis-link" title="7 ways to spot a social media snake oil salesperson" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building brand branding buzzword cheat consulting expert fraud guru lie media personal scam snake social strategy Sun, 15 Mar 2009 01:10:45 +0000 Torley Wong 2931 at http://www.wisebread.com Rewriting the Definition of Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/definition%20of%20retirement.jpg" alt="retirement sunset" title="retirement sunset" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Retirement</strong> <em>[ri-tahyuhr-muhnt]</em>:<strike> The act of retiring or the state of being retired; removal or withdrawal from service, office, or business. </strike></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You go to school. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You get a good job/career. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You work for forty years or so. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In the meantime, you find a soul mate, marry, buy a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. The kids grow up and move out. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Then you retire. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Your life map is so clearly laid out in front of you; yet the last piece of the puzzle – <strong>retirement</strong> – is a fuzzy and often incomprehensible anomaly. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">With people living longer and striving for earlier retirements, the very definition of retirement is evolving. No longer is it merely a way to stop working and basically wait for death to come; that would take too bloody long and be a bore. Now retirement takes many different shapes and forms:</p> <ul> <li>Starting a new <strong>business</strong></li> <li>Part-time <strong>consulting</strong> or contract work for your previous employer</li> <li><strong>Travel</strong></li> <li><strong>Volunteering</strong> for, or even starting up charities</li> <li>Moving to a new part of the world to join the ranks of worldwide<strong> ex-pats</strong></li> <li>Investing in <strong>Property</strong></li> <li>Running a <strong>Bed &amp; Breakfast</strong></li> <li>Buying a <strong>farm</strong></li> <li>…whatever you can imagine</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Retirement is no longer conventionally retiring…instead, it is <strong>REENGAGING</strong>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Reengagement or not, retirement is still looked upon as the prize at the end of the road. You trudge through life, often suffering through hardships or careers you are miserable in, with the golden light at the end of the tunnel; the carrot dangling in front of you – retirement – to keep you going and getting out of bed every morning. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But with retirement increasingly taking the form of the activities listed above, there is but one question I must ask:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Why Not Now?</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not buy that Bed &amp; Breakfast now?</strong> Or that farm you always dreamed of owning? I know a couple who in their forties bought a raw piece of land, and turned it into a beautiful estate where they fulfilled their dream of owning horses, llamas, donkeys, and angora goats. They were not rich when they did this. They bought inexpensively, and built frugally. They pay for their dream by renting out two cottages on the property. They even have a third cottage for live-in help, who lives rent-free in exchange for managing the cottages part time. This allows them to instead focus their time and effort on enjoying their paradise. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not invest in property now?</strong> Instead of buying a house for you to live in and being cash poor for the next 20 years, why not rent an inexpensive place (if it is possible in your area) and use the extra cash to buy an investment property? Or two? You could quickly find yourself able to quit your job with the passive income from property, as a <em>friend of mine did at the age of 36</em>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not open that business you yen for?</strong> Or make the switch to freelance work in the same field you currently work in? Maybe simply redefining your work day and who your boss is could give you that jolt of energy and happiness you are searching for. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not travel now?</strong> Personally, I managed to find a way to travel in a financially sustainable manner, for as long as I choose. So far I have traveled and lived across Canada, the US (including Hawaii), and Australia, with a small stint in Asia. And I’m still going strong. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>I can’t afford that</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">I know, I know. Investing in property takes cash. You can’t buy that farm with peanuts. And you sure as heck can’t get on a plane with nothing but a wish and a prayer. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A steady stream of income and some cash in hand is required to qualify for the mortgage, get the business off the ground, or buy the plane ticket. And a cumbersome debt load may currently be in the way of it all.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">It is true that the Pollyanna approach of “why not now” could be unrealistic and offensive. I get it. So maybe you need to put a plan in motion to get to the point where you CAN realize your dreams – before you turn 55 or 65. For example, maybe you can:</p> <ul> <li>Outline an aggressive <a href="/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly" target="_blank">debt-elimination</a> strategy to get on your feet</li> <li>Stop spending money on the <a href="/the-retirement-latte" target="_blank">little things</a> that make little difference to your overall happiness</li> <li>Redefine what “home” means to you (by renting a much smaller pad and making due, or not furnishing the way your peers do, or not buying the toys you want and “need”)</li> <li><a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap" target="_blank">Sell off the things</a> that may help you get closer to your retirement dream and learn to live with less</li> <li><a href="/8-meatless-dishes-for-meat-n-taters-lovers" target="_blank">Stop cooking with meat every day</a>, and start using <a href="/soy-milk-tofu-and-veggie-burgers-for-pennies-anyone" target="_blank">dried beans</a> more often</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The above strategies are all things I personally did to make my dream of travel a reality. <a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap" target="_blank">I sold everything</a>, and own almost nothing. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have lived in a number of places from cold camper vans to off-grid yurts to shared rooms to full-blown five star cottages. Some places were a stretch to feel like any sort of home. (I compensated by living in beautiful locales where the idea was to enjoy the outdoors, not indoors). </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I am a solid omnivore, cooking with meat no more than twice a week (despite the fact that I love meat), and instead preparing healthy and delicious meals for a fraction of the price. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">My boyfriend in turn set out an incredibly aggressive one year plan to get out from under his massive debt-load and save the necessary funds to travel with me, by also making a number of hard sacrifices. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ultimately, it all depends on how badly you want the “retirement dream” you have created. Nothing is impossible, if you approach it creatively enough. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Having kids gets in the way</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">A common argument for not “reengaging” (or retiring) now is the kids. Common themes are the desire to provide stability, or needing to work long hours for the necessary money to provide for their needs. And although <em>these are valid things to consider, these obstacles too can be overcome</em>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have a friend who has twin baby girls, and who is also actively gearing her business to become a passive stream of income not requiring her physical presence, so she can satisfy her life-long dream of living abroad. The girls will (of course) come with her, and she believes that their experiences abroad will be far more educational and character-shaping than preschool and primary school ever could be. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Another couple I know took their two kids out of school for a year and home-schooled them, while they sailed around the Caribbean on a boat. They worked remotely using satellite internet connections to keep money coming in, and they ended up spending less money during their life abroad (including the cost of the boat) than they ever would have spent at home. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>The Big Question is:</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If retirement is really a reengagement, then what is your definition? What is your retirement dream? And what can you do now to get there sooner? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Courier New'">Let’s re-write the dictionary together.</span></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="Rewriting the Definition of Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living Retirement consulting freelance fulfilling dreams lifelong dreams property investment retirement lifestyle retirement living volunteering world travel Mon, 22 Sep 2008 05:07:23 +0000 Nora Dunn 2448 at http://www.wisebread.com