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Why You Should Stop Seeking the Perfect Work/Life Balance

1019_4229348There has been a great deal of focus on creating work/life balance for entrepreneurs — more so for female entrepreneurs — over the past several years. The quest for this Holy Grail often leaves its seekers unsatisfied. The truth is, you’ll never permanently achieve this balance. Trying to do so may cause even more stress than the actual imbalance you’ve been experiencing.

Here’s why you should set aside your search for perfection and settle for “good enough.”

Your Ideals Will Never Be Achieved

When you think of work/life balance, what do you picture? Maybe getting up extra early and working on your business, then taking the kids to school, having a coffee with your best friend, working some more, then taking your kids to soccer practice after school with energy to spare. Continue reading “Why You Should Stop Seeking the Perfect Work/Life Balance” »

5 Practices to Simplify Your Marketing

285_2917838Despite what you might think, marketing does not have to be a time vampire. Sure, I live and breathe marketing, but I’ve honed my craft to take minimal time and be as easy as possible. Here, I pass on five hints to help you get more done with your own marketing in less time.

1. Do It Ahead of Time

This is probably my biggest time saver. I use smart tools like Hootsuite to write and schedule my social media updates ahead of time, and WordPress to schedule posts on a regular cadence. That way, if I’m out of the office, I don’t have to stress about getting it done in real time.

2. Keep a List of Blog Ideas

Creativity doesn’t always strike when I want it to, so I keep a spreadsheet for each client, and when I think of a possible topic for a blog post, I record it there. Then, when I sit down to write, I have plenty of fodder for my content. This is also great for me to keep track of links or ideas that my clients send. Continue reading “5 Practices to Simplify Your Marketing” »

How to Prep for Black Friday

975_4312952Even if you’re not in retail, Black Friday represents a great opportunity to promote your products or services. Whether you run a B2B or B2C business, your customers are already in the shopping frame of mind, and by offering some irresistible deal, you can boost sales at the start of the holiday season.

Choosing That Amazing Deal

Your Black Friday deal should be better than any promotion or sale you offer any other time of the year. After all, if people are willing to camp out overnight to snag a cheap television, shouldn’t you give them just as compelling a reason to buy from you on the day after Thanksgiving?

Make sure your offer isn’t one you offer any other time of the year, and make it a good one. Continue reading “How to Prep for Black Friday” »

Have You Checked These Tasks off Your End-of-Year List?

1019_4692227With holiday parties and vacation days looming in the coming weeks, it’s easy to forget about those important details that need to be taken care of in your business. But the end of year marks a deadline for many important tasks related to corporate compliance. Put these to-dos on your task list and make sure to check them off before December 31.

  • Review Your Expenses

You might not log into your accounting software weekly and review your expenses, so you may have a pile of items to categorize. This will make tax time in April go much smoothly. Use the IRS’ business expense list to simplify the process and make listing your business expenses on your taxes easier.

  • Update Your Marketing Plan

January will be here before you know it. How do you want to market your business differently this year? Now is a great time to assess what worked and what didn’t in 2014 and tweak your plan for next year. You might, for example, want to put more effort into guest blogging and cut back on your advertising spend. Continue reading “Have You Checked These Tasks off Your End-of-Year List?” »

Must-Have Global Tech Tools

Many companies seeking to grow and expand have begun to look outside their locality and towards the global market. While these expansions might offer great opportunities, it also offers many challenges for business owners especially when handling overseas employees and customers. In order to make this transition as smooth as possible, you first need to address three primary issues:

  1. Human capital – there are numerous laws and regulations in different countries that you will need to follow if you intend to go global. Do your research beforehand when drafting up employee contracts so your benefits parameters are in-line with the law of that country.
  2. Technology – you will need to figure out how to centralize all of your systems so that they are usable in other areas where technology is not as advanced.
  3. Joint Ventures – in order to broaden your reach in these foreign markets, you might consider partnering with pre-existing foreign companies in your market. While these ventures can come with a great deal of risk due to potential fraud issues, when done properly it can present opportunities for effective expansion.

To make managing your global presence easier, there are numerous tech tools that can help you with collaboration, project management, localization and more. The infographic below lists various tools you can use to help manage your expansion and presence.


5 Marketing Tools I’m Grateful For

vegIn honor of Thanksgiving this month, I wanted to share the marketing tools I’m loving right now. These are tools that you should check out, since they’re free or extremely affordable, and help you do more in less time.

1. Canva

If you’re like me, you’re not visually talented. I can’t design an infographic to save my life. Nor do I have the budget to pay a designer to design one. I’m thrilled that I stumbled onto Canva. I assure you: you don’t need a drop of designer’s blood to create appealing images for blog posts, social media, your site, email, or whatever. To the left is an example I created for a client. Most images are free, but some are $1 each. Pretty impressive for 10 minutes and $1, eh?

2. Social Buzz Club

I’m lucky in that I meet a lot of people in the marketing industry. I was fortunate enough to meet Laura Rubinstein a few years ago. She’s the co-founder of Social Buzz Club, and once you hear about it, you’ll want access.

When I write content for me or my clients, I want it to get the widest exposure possible. So I log into Social Buzz Club and post a link. Other members can then get points for posting my content. But here’s why it works so well: I can only ask others to post my content if I post theirs and I have enough points. So it’s this amazing community of likeminded social influencers sharing one another’s content.

To this day, Social Buzz Club remains one of the top referrers of traffic to my site. There’s a free Basic account, but I spring for the Premium account for $197 a year. For that, I get more social accounts I can share with, and unlimited shares.

3. MailChimp

I like simple email marketing, and MailChimp delivers. Because I manage several accounts, including Egg’s and clients’, I like the fact that I can log in and then select which account I want to manage. The templates are easy to manage and update, and you can view how your email will look before sending it off.

I used to only use the free account, but upgraded recently so that I could get autoresponders set up for my free ebook download. I think I’m paying $20 a month (it’s based on the number of subscribers you have).

4. Google Drive

While not technically a marketing tool, I wouldn’t be able to survive without Google Drive. This is where I write posts for clients, and then share them for review. I work with a team of writers who can share their work and let me edit it online. I always hated emailing documents and then trying to keep track of which document was the most recently updated.

I got a new computer recently, and I made a conscious decision to keep nothing on my desktop. So I installed Drive for my computer and house all my documents there!

5. PRWeb

While I’ve gotten away from distributing as many press releases as I once did, I still love my old standby, PRWeb. The company, now owned by Vocus, makes sending press releases out a breeze. You can select what cities you want to focus your distribution in, as well as the industries. This targets which websites get your release, and helps your release get more reads. I also love the social sharing features on the release itself: anyone can click to share my releases on social sites lke Twitter and LinkedIn.

So these are the marketing tools I’m grateful for. What would you add to this list?

5 Successful Women Who Left Law to Follow Their Passions

609_3698782This is a guest post from Eva Hibnick.

I recently wrote a blog post about 10 lawyers that left the law to follow their passions which was well received by the legal community. The post was meant to inspire dissatisfied lawyers and show them that it is in fact possible to be successful in other industries. I decided to make these kind of lists into a more regular series in which I profile lawyers who have gone on to do amazing things outside of the law.

Below is a list of 5 talented women who have successfully used their JDs to pursue alternative careers.

1) Safra Catz / UPenn Law

Safra was most recently named as the co-CEO of Oracle and was previously the CFO who reported directly to the CEO Larry Ellison. After graduating law school she became a banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. She is the 2nd highest paid female executive in the world.

2) Lauren Leto / Wayne State University Law

Lauren came up with the idea for Texts from Last Night, a site that allows you to anonymously post text messages you receive, during law school. She is worth $10 million dollars. The site led to a book and a television series. Continue reading “5 Successful Women Who Left Law to Follow Their Passions” »

4 Situations Where Being an Entrepreneur Should Be Your Side Gig

379_2870759Even if you’ve long dreamed of starting your own business, it’s a wise idea to think about whether this is the perfect time in your life to jump in with both feet, or whether you should ease into it. There are certain situations — like the following examples — when it’s better to start a business alongside whatever else you’ve got going on. Then, when you’re raking in the profits, you can make it a full-time endeavor.

Scenario 1: You’re in College

Do me a favor and erase the images of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs out of your head. While it’s absolutely possible to start a business while in college, you should never forsake your opportunity for a college education in hopes that you’ll strike it rich like these icons.

If you do start a business while earning your degree, do so in a balanced manner. Never let your company interfere with you attending classes or affect your grades. That means you’ll probably have to go slower in launching and growing your business than you’d like, but trust me: having that college degree in hand is a great backup plan should your business not be everything you hoped it would be. Continue reading “4 Situations Where Being an Entrepreneur Should Be Your Side Gig” »

The Panic Attack That Saved My Business

1019_4267538There I was, stopped at the intersection outside my office’s parking lot. I had been at this very spot hundreds of times before, but this time, my body shut down. I couldn’t breathe, my heart raced, the walls of the car were closing in on me, and I couldn’t move a muscle. I truly, honestly felt that I might die.

After a minute (that felt more like an hour), I finally managed to pull the car over. Panting for air, soaked with sweat and tears, I called my husband and cried for help.

This wasn’t the first time my body had failed me. Several years ago, I broke my nose and ribs after collapsing in the bathroom. My ten year-old daughter heard a thump and rushed in to find me lying on the floor. I really didn’t know what to tell her when she asked what happened. After countless medical tests, the diagnosis was a single word: exhaustion.

The easy answer is to blame work stress for both incidents. Yes, when I pulled out of the parking lot that day, I had just been told that my company – the business that I had put everything into for the past six years – was on a collision course with failure. Our topline growth numbers were phenomenal, but we were also hemorrhaging cash and things needed to change fast if there was any hope of saving the business.

I thought about my employees. I thought about my kids and their future. I was baffled about the fact that I had already launched and sold a successful business in the exact same industry years before – why was it so much harder the second time around? Embarrassed didn’t begin to describe the shame I felt. I didn’t want to let my husband down. I was mortified at what my colleagues, competitors, neighbors, and anyone else would think.

The old me would have said I just needed to buckle down…if I worked a little harder, put in a few more hours, I could turn the ship around. But with that panic attack at the intersection, I realized that I had been putting both my business and my well-being on an unsustainable course and it was time to pull over and re-evaluate. Continue reading “The Panic Attack That Saved My Business” »

Why You Haven’t Achieved Your Business Goals

775_4596217Frustrated because you haven’t accomplished what you wanted to with your business? Instead of pointing the finger at everything from the economy to your lackluster clients, you might need to turn that finger around and point to yourself. As the owner of your business, you’re the one responsible for making your goals a reality. If that’s not happening, it might be due to one of these reasons.

You Think It’s Not Your Job

If you’re not holding yourself accountable for achieving your goals, who do you think should be responsible? Even if you have a team to help you work toward your goals, it’s still on you to stay on top of people and move your team toward those objectives. After all, no one cares as much as you do if they achieve those goals or not.

You Haven’t Created Steps to Achieve Them

Goals don’t happen by magic. They require an action plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be. And in that plan are steps and tasks. You might be responsible for some of those tasks, while others on your team might be able to handle others. But the key is outlining what needs to be done to achieve those goals, then follow up to make sure each person stays on track. Continue reading “Why You Haven’t Achieved Your Business Goals” »