What is the Best Career Advice?


Almost all the time, fresh graduates do not really have a clear idea about what they want to do, how to successfully fulfill it and how to sustain it. In reality, almost every person has the same dilemma.

This article aims to help these people map their way to a better future with the best career advices there are.

What do you really want to do?

Oftentimes, the degrees we earned at school do not match the profession that we enter in or practice after graduation. I cannot emphasize more the importance of determining your chosen career path before you choose which course to take in college, but it is also undeniable that several factors may affect your choice along the way. And there is nothing wrong about this. In fact, this is very normal. If you ever find yourself in confusion, the following suggestions might help:

Determine your strengths and weaknesses. List each and every one of them. The famous saying that you must do what you love may sound cliché but it works all the time. Most often than not, what you actually love doing will manifest in your strengths. Focus on these.

Doing what you’re most interested in and what you’re most passionate about is always a good plan. This becomes your foundation to success.

How to successfully fulfil it?

A lot of inspirational messages have been shared by successful people and great leaders in the world. Uber executive, Matt Wyndowe practically summed it up in one sentence – shoot for the moon. “To be successful, don’t follow the pack. If you want to win, don’t hedge.” This should be your primary mantra that you would keep reminding yourself whenever you’re in doubt, you’re discouraged, or feeling at a loss. Have a goal.

Your character, attitude and perspective will also play major roles in fulfilling your career objectives. In Wyndowe’s post about his thoughts in general career advice, he has wrote several items about these three. “Be likable”. Whatever attitude you’ve been brought up to, you must always be willing to adjust and learn about how to improve your attitude within your chosen career and life in general. In his words, you must also be humble because arrogance can be a cause of brutality. Self-discipline is a must in this category. Widening your perspective and opening your mind make a significant positive effect in your way to success. In his post, Matt noted that successful people listen. You must remember that you do not know everything. Listen to what others have to say, discuss with them, learn from each other. He also wrote that you’ve got to give trust to get trust. Adjust your view on trust accordingly. Everyone deserves a chance to prove their worth.

Two other important items are wisdom and good judgment. To be a successful leader, you must accept that you are not always right and extract wisdom from it. Your industry will be very challenging so you must have to be always prepared for anything that could happen. Study the trends and alternatives well.
Also, having good judgment does not happen overnight. You will gradually master this as you go along. But you can start with creating a best team. Choose the right members because as Matt has said, “you will only be as good as the people you will recruit”.

Basically, the major ingredients in fulfilling your dreams is a balanced mixture of your personal character and professional knowledge or skills. One’s character is already a given but it can always be built better and stronger throughout your life. Strive to build it in accordance to what is right. Professional knowledge and skills are powerful tools. Take good care of them.

How to sustain it?

In Matt Wyndowe’s post, he talked about the Pareto Principle. In order to stay successful, you must keep in mind your mission and objectives. “Always look for the 80/20. 80% of the value is delivered by 20% of the product or service. Focus on that 20%.” Being consistent is a key.

Matt also talked about the traits of a good leader. In order to stay successful, regardless of your position, be clear and fair. He mentioned to “put on the cloak of leadership”. Successful people do not put other people down. Instead, they serve as inspirations and motivators to their employees or teammates and to other people outside the organization as well. Do not lose this trait.

Keep surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. Matt suggested to always strive to hire people better than you are. Excellence is something that should thrive in your organization all the time. It is also healthy to surround yourself with people you look up to, those leaders whose traits have motivated you. Lessons from these persons are always a treat.

Lastly, you must learn exponentially. Learning is a never ending process. Do not ever get tired of this.

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The 4 Types of Insurance Every Business Should Have

rubber stamp with inscription INSURANCE

You never know what could happen. Business may be doing great one day and the next, your office has been obliterated by some disturbance – be it natural or man-made. To protect your assets, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommend these four types of insurance policies that can help your business survive most kinds of disaster.

1. Business Interruption Insurance

If there’s been some interruption to your business due to fire, hail or any other circumstance as stated in your policy, then Business Interruption Insurance will cover any lost earnings. It also covers expenses like your payroll and utility bills, and any other expenses that’s associate with running your business. To determine the amount covered, the insurance company would base it on your business’ financial records. Some policies will even cover the extra expenses as needed to get back on your feet.

However, some coverage may not be payable for a certain number of days so you have to discuss this closely with your agent. Should there be a waiting period, then you have to make sure you have enough funds to tide you over.

2. Property Insurance

Property insurance takes care of you and your business if there’s been theft or damage to your property and equipment. If you are the owner of the address, then this insurance policy will cover the physical structure as well as your assets. Check to see if you are eligible for the Actual Cash Value or replacement cost. If ACV is possible, then you might have to get an update policy if there’s been significant changes to the property or the environment since the last time an appraisal was made.

If you are on lease, then the coverage will be for the contents only.

There are three types of insurance policy that you need to be aware of. These are the Basic, Broad and Special. Speak with a licensed insurance agent to determine which of these three is best for your business situation.

3. Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Sometimes, accidents at the workplace or during the course of the job happen. To protect your business from such claims, you will need Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Such policy will take care of your employees’ medical and rehabilitation costs as well as lost wages.

4. Liability Insurance

This is the insurance policy you need to cover you and your business in the event of: a) bodily injury, b.) damage to others’ property, c.) personal injury, and d.) false or misleading advertising.

Also called the Commercial General Liability, this insurance policy will take care of should you be sued for policy compensatory damages, punitive damages and general damages.

Some of the items for discussion with a licensed professional with regard this policy include: the scope of coverage, availability of extra protection and whether or not the premium will be impacted by the addition or reduction of employees.

Of course, three out of four of these policies may not be applicable if you’re running an online business without an office. But generally, you should have at least one insurance policy to make sure you have a fallback should some things go wrong with your source of income/alternative income.

Like all things business-related, make sure to discuss policy coverage and plans with a licensed adviser.

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Why is Intellectual Property Important for Your Business?


If the truth be told, nothing is 100% original. One is merely an updated or revised version of the other. This goes the same way in business. Given this state of things, is intellectual property now a thing of the past? I personally don’t think so.

Intellectual property is defined as an intangible object that refers to the generation of ideas for products and/or services. There are three subtypes of intellectual property and these are the patents, the trademarks and the copyrights. Each of these is independent of the other. To summarize what each covers, just remember that trademarks offer protection to brands, copyrights to written content and patents to inventions.

The importance of IP is that gives great value to research and development. It’s not just because of the money you might get but because you feel a strong sense of accomplishment as you are fully compensated for your creations.

As an entrepreneur, you should be able to identify the areas of your business covered by IP so that you can take proactive measures to protect it.

How can you patent an invention?

There are steps that you can take to make this possible. The first of which is to take advantage of free resources like www.google.com/patents to see what’s already out there. If, for example, you find your invention in the search results then that’s patented. Otherwise, you can create your own patent. An attorney needs to be consulted, though, if you find related references but not the exact invention as what you’re planning.

Know that getting a patent can take two to three years, with the search of patent lasting about two weeks.

How can you get a trademark?

A trademark is your brand. It is the name, phrase or logo that your customers can identify you with. Even scents and sounds can be trademarked. A trademark is different from a domain name or a business name registration. Even if you own a domain name that does not mean it’s trademarked to you. The same goes with your business name registration.

Only with federal registration can you get a trademark, and you can use the definitive TM symbol that would tell other companies that your logo, name or phrase is protected. After five years of owning the trademark, you can already make it incontestable by filing the appropriate documents. You will also have the ability to sue others for trademark infringement.

How do you get a copyright?

Earlier, I mentioned that a trademark pertains to the name, phrase or logo that customers can readily associate with you. But a copyright is much more inclusive in the sense that it covers books, songs, movies, web content, photography and choreography too.

Unlike trademarks, copyrights are often registered at the Library of Congress. They last the lifetime of the author plus another 70 years.

If you have more questions about intellectual property, consult an attorney or a licensed professional.

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How Much Should You Charge for Your Products/Services?


So you have an outstanding business plan that extends to a marketing plan. The next step is to put a price tag your products and/or services. If you’re going off the standard market price and make it too high, chances are your brand won’t sell. Do it otherwise then yes, you’ll be swamped with orders but there will only a very small profit of margin. You might not even be paying yourself right. It is important that you strike a balance between too high and too low pricing in order to make sure you are building a great business.

So what goes into a price?

Well, you have the costs of production (or your skills if you’re offering services), the value you provide, competition and of course, a reasonable profit. In reality, there is no perfect price because it really depends on an understanding of your value and how much your customers are willing to pay for that value. You have to come up with a price that gives you profit because you will use that as basis for sales projections, calculation of profit and the establishment of a break-even point.

If you still don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you put a price on your offerings:

Check out your competition

You will get an idea on pricing based on your competition. Use your competitor’s price as a reference point and then if you’re offering better products or services (maybe an upgrade) then you can charge a slightly elevated price. That can be justified. But if the case is otherwise, then you must reduce your price a bit.

How much is the total cost of the product?

You must include the production cost (including the labor, packaging, materials/inventory and shipping). There should also be a percentage of your overhead expenses like administrative costs, legal, accounting, and marketing and so on. After which, calculate the profit margin and that should be anywhere between 30 and 300 percent.

The profit margin will depend on who you’re selling to. If it’s wholesale, you might have to double the labor and material cost. For retail, double the amount you’re charging for wholesale.

Perceived value vs. actual value

It’s about mind conditioning so your customers would think that your brand is more valuable than that of your competitors. For this to happen, you have to invest in a professional to study the psychology of your target market so that you can target in very strong marketing techniques.

So basically: (labor + materials) x profit margin = price

Further below are some of the no-no’s when it comes to the topic of pricing.

First, never compete for the lowest price because that’s never going to take you anywhere. Remember, people pay based on perceived value. If you value your products/services too low, they would never get to trust your brand or equate it with quality. This takes us to the second no-no, which is to never be afraid to charge premium because if your brand is really good, people will be absolutely willing to pay what you charge.

Third, don’t be afraid to offer discounts. There are many kinds of discounts that you can offer without affecting your brand’s image. In fact, you might even be boosting your image if you offer down-the-road discounts. It’s always easier to start with a high price and then just come down using discounts than the other way around. If you look at how people think, you will find that offering discounts periodically will be a far better marketing technique than reducing your prices across the board.

Lastly, pay attention to how your target market responds to your pricing. You can add more value later on by adding freebies or discounts.

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Successful Business Idea 101: Setting Goals


Behind every successful business ideas is a set of goals that have been planned out since the birth of the business idea. Every person you’ve met, every book you’ve read could have told you this already so it shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. But do you know that there is a science to goal setting that will drive you to effectively set goals? And it all starts in your unconscious mind.

When you’re sifting through information, selecting the best seven, and then deleting the rest, that’s your unconscious mind at work. It will absorb, generalize, and even distort the information in order to fit your needs. The result will be in a format that is useful and extremely comprehensible for your conscious mind to act on. You have full control over your unconscious mind because you can dictate the premises that you want it to operate on. When you set down guidelines for your unconscious mind, you’re setting goals.

Here are some considerations when setting goals:

1. Since the unconscious mind is the main player when setting goals, you have to feed it with positives. This means that you must focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

2. Create specific goals. For example, if you want to increase your sales, you have to specify the percentage that you want, when you want to have that done and what steps along the way you want to complete.

3. Having a timeline of your goals is as important. This is because you want to train your unconscious to identify urgency, which will help you overcome distractions and get on with your goal.

4. Next, you have to make your goals measurable so your unconscious mind will know exactly when you’re moving in the right direction. Having a set of guidelines to measure your progress will also tell you if you’ve already achieved your goal and if it’s time to move on to the next goal.

5. Your goal must also be realistic. This means that it must be physically and technically achievable in your lifetime. For instance, to realize your goals, you can start by making some smart investments today by shifting to more affordable yet equally effective options in running your business.

6. Also, your goal needs to be ecological. An ecological goal means that it must not only be good for you and to the people around you, but to the environment too. You need this because your unconscious mind will always protect your body so you cannot expect it to be cooperative in reaching your goals if you’re aiming for something that is not ecological in the first place.

7. Your goals are yours alone. They’re your personal drivers to success so you cannot expect your unconscious mind to help you with the goals of other people. Now what if you have partners and you have to set goals that include them? If you and your partner are in mutual agreement, then the goals will likely work well. Otherwise, you may be able to achieve some goals while your partner lags behind.

8. Focus on your goal with care and diligence, which translates to repeat it daily. Remind your unconscious of your goals, and you can do that by keeping a journal.

9. Last but not the least, take action! Your goals will remain goals if you don’t take action.

Now, your unconscious mind know exactly what it is looking for. It will direct any information, ideas, thoughts and experiences to your conscious mind next for consideration. This way, opportunities would just seem to “turn up” because you know your goals.

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