5 Reasons You Should Focus on Creating Passive Income

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No matter what stage of life you’re at or what industry you work in, you’ve likely heard the term “passive income” before. Many people are already generating passive income, but might not refer to it in that way. Passive income can be a variety of ways you make additional money, but the general idea is that it’s something you worked to put in place or create so that you’ll regularly get money back from it with little to no effort on your part. Passive income could be anything from a book you’ve written that you receive royalties from, a program or webinar you created, or something else that people are regularly purchasing. Real estate is also a common source of passive income, as are stock investments. If you’re still deciding about whether you should pursue a type of passive income, here are a few reasons it’s something you should focus on in the near future.

Your time is valuable

First of all, one of the biggest reasons you should push for generating passive income is because your time is valuable. When you’re spending time working in order to make more money, you’re spending a significant amount of time doing something you’re probably not really passionate about in order to make ends meet. Consistent, passive income means you have to spend less time working to make money and actually invest your time in more valuable ways.

Focus on other goals

Once you have more of your valuable time back, you can begin focusing on other goals. Whether passive income accounts for your entire income or just part of it, you’re giving yourself more time to focus on pursuits you actually enjoy. Teach yourself a new language, start a project you’ve been putting off, or travel somewhere exciting. Even just relaxing and spending time with family is a good idea!

Additional income

If you’re still working full-time, passive income gives you the chance to generate additional income. Having some additional income makes it easier to pay your bills or save for a larger purchase you want to make. You’ll appreciate this extra income, especially when you’re putting in minimal work to generate it. You avoid having to get a second job to generate more income and can instead rely on your passive income.

Financial security

If you put enough work into creating your source of passive income, it’s likely that you could meet or exceed what you make at your full-time job. Working toward the goal of generating passive income that you can live off of gives you financial security and peace of mind in case you’d ever lose your regular job.

Freedom to travel

Finally, passive income provides you with the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want. Maybe you don’t love traveling, but you also have the freedom to live somewhere different and not be tied down to whatever your full-time job is. You can find a place you’ve always wanted to visit or live and head there. If you’re generating enough in passive income, you don’t have to stress about finding a new job that pays enough for you’re living expenses; you’ll cover those in passive income.

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5 Ways to Create a Strong Remote Team

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There’s no doubt that it can be incredibly challenging when creating a remote team for your company. While there are plenty of benefits for remote workers and they can still be incredibly productive, it can definitely be an issue to make them feel connected to in office workers and even to other remote workers. By ignoring cultivating strength in your remote team, you risk losing these employees or having them not be as productive and collaborative as they could be. Here are some concrete ways you can create a strong remote team for your business.

Foster communication

The best way to create a strong remote team is to give your remote workers the tools they need to communicate with each other and with your in-office workers. Creating an easy channel for communication makes connecting as a team much simpler. Let them know that you expect them to communicate with one another and collaborate on projects. Using apps and other features online to make chatting, video calling, and screen sharing as easy as possible, and encouraging this behavior, helps you strengthen your remote team.

Share responsibilities

You need to show all of your employees that they’re on an equal playing field and whether or not they’re in the office doesn’t affect how much they’re responsible for. If you foster communication successfully, it’ll be easy to assign a project to your remote team and let one of them take the lead on it. Make sure the team shares responsibility so no one is slacking off or being left out.

Schedule check-ins

When you have remote workers, it’s important that you regularly check-in with them. You might already have weekly check-ins, but it’s also a good idea to schedule extra time with them. Anyone who works in the office can simply grab you when they have a question, but those working remotely may find it harder to connect and ask a question for a quick answer. Let them know the best way to reach you throughout the day and even share your calendar with them so they know whether or not you’re in a meeting.

Utilize team building

Try to incorporate team building activities into your team. Do online activities, videochat in remote workers when something’s happening in the office, and find times you can all meet face-to-face. Even if you have remote workers in another state or country, consider finding at least one time throughout the year that all employees can have travel expenses covered so they can converge in one location. Even simply meeting your remote team in person can help strengthen them.

Give them trust

While it can understandably be difficult to trust workers you cannot monitor throughout the day, you need to give your remote team your trust. Avoid checking in on them constantly or micromanaging them; if it isn’t something you’d do to someone working in the office, do not do it to your remote team. Give them ample opportunities to provide feedback and trust that they’ll get their work done, until they give you a reason to not trust them.

4 New Ways for Philanthropies to Raise Funds

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For philanthropies, raising more money is always an important part of what the organization is focusing on throughout the year. While many philanthropies are fortunate enough to receive grants and large donations from people who support their cause, others are not so lucky. While it’s important that charities find ways to raise enough money to continue functioning, it can sometimes seem like they’re running out of ideas on how to do so. It’s normal to see various fundraising events every weekend, asking people to participate in a 5k run, buy some product, or some other common fundraiser. However, there are actually plenty of other ways to raise these funds; here are a few creative tips you can utilize in the coming year.

Ask for monthly donations

A method of fundraising that’s become increasingly common is having donors sign up for monthly donations. Instead of receiving a one-time donations, people are becoming more likely to set up automatic giving each month. Make sure your charity has this option available and advertise it in any mail you send out, online, and on your website. People want to donate, but often forget to send a check each month, so giving the option of donating a customizable amount each month after giving their information once is a great way to increase giving.

Use social media

There are plenty of websites and apps out there, like GoFundMe, that make raising money for various causes easier than ever before. People want to be able to donate to causes they care about as easily as possible and doing it online takes a couple of minutes, if not less. Another benefit of using social media for raising funds is that it also makes it easy to spread awareness of the cause your organization focuses on. You can share information on your website and other social media channels and include a link for people to donate.

Focus on Facebook fundraising

Social media in general is a fantastic resource for fundraising, but Facebook in particular makes this process simple. More and more often, you probably see people posting links for others to donate to a specific organization, often for the poster’s birthday or some similar event. These fundraisers can be organized through Facebook Fundraisers, a method that’s increased in popularity and made it incredibly easy for nonprofits to get donations. Facebook is also a great way to engage with supporters of your organization and spread news and events.

Take advantage of mobile opportunities

Another newer way to increase fundraising efforts is by utilizing mobile networks. Many charities allow people to simply text a number and donate a certain amount of money that’s added to their phone bill or through their accounts connected to their phone. People love convenience and having a simply way to donate, so being able to send a text and donate is an attractive option.

6 Tips for Attending a Business Conference

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Attending a business conference can present a tremendous opportunity for you to meet new people in your industry and successfully network. However, if you’re not normally an outgoing person, you may need some tips on the best way to network. By following a few suggestions, even the most timid professional can have a fun and productive time at their next business conference.

Volunteer at the conference

Even before the day of the conference, there are things you can do to help yourself make the most of the experience. For instance, you might consider volunteering in some way. By contacting the event organizer and volunteering to act as a presenter or greeter, for instance, you can stand out among the other attendees. This will help you meet the other guests.

Reconnect

Additionally, this is the time to reach out to past business acquaintances. If you know they’re going to the conference, use this opportunity to reconnect. They may be interested in meeting for coffee or drinks.

Attend sessions

Once the conference begins, there’s much to do, starting with the orientation. Even if this isn’t your first conference, it’s a good idea to attend the orientation, because it will help you manage your time more wisely. You won’t be able to attend every session, so it will be important to pick and choose the lectures that most interest you. Don’t forget to schedule in some breaks or you may stretch yourself too thin.

Talk to speakers

While you may be eager to learn, taking notes on every lecture you attend, don’t forget that networking is just as important. If you’re unsure where to get started, begin with the guest speakers. These individuals were chosen for their knowledge and expertise, so don’t be afraid to approach them. Mingle with the other guests, too. You may come across some conversations that will let you express your own expertise. By engaging in various conversations, you’ll meet more people and others will remember you at the next conference.

Follow up

Even after the conference has ended, there are still ways you can continue benefiting from the event. Reach out to the new contacts you made at the conference. Send them an email, connect on a social networking site, or give them a call. This can help you develop new business relationships.

Share with coworkers

You can also share the experience with co-workers who didn’t get to attend. Show them your notes and share your photos. This may convince them to attend the next event, or they may come to you with challenges that the conference prepared you to handle. Either way, using your new knowledge will help your organization and show management the value of a business conference.

The Importance of Being a Role Model to Your Employees

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There’s no doubt about it; when you provide a good example of what it takes to be a quality worker, your employees are much more likely to follow your lead. A company only benefits from having a leader that talks the talk and walks the walk. When you decide to be a role model for your employees they will take notice. Here are some things you can do to make sure you are providing the best example possible for your employees.

Hold yourself accountable

If you accept responsibility for your actions, your employees are likely to as well. This creates a trust between them and you, and if a mistake has been made they feel more comfortable confiding in you because they trust in your ability to handle situations accordingly. If you’re having an off-day, apologize. If you made a mistake, own up to it. If the company hits a rough patch, don’t resort to blaming others, lift them up instead. If someone is busy trying to hide a mistake the business will suffer.

Pay attention to others

Service leadership is a type of leadership that focuses on the needs of others. This makes your employees feel like they matter and that transfers to excellent customer service and a more dedicated work ethic. If they like working for you and feel valued, they will do what they can to support the growth and maintenance of a successful business.

Stress management

During a crisis, it is important to handle your stress accordingly. If you present yourself in a calm manner, your employees will reflect it back to you making it much easier for everyone to recover and get back on track. Stress drastically impacts productivity and harm people, so it’s important to instill stress management in your employees.

Get creative and inspire

A leader can be a positive role model by being open to coming up with and hearing innovative ideas. If you promote creativity but proceed to micromanage, you may make your employees uncomfortable with sharing their ideas as they might not feel confident enough to suggest something out of the norm. Inspiring them to think out of the box can lead to positive breakthroughs, not only personally, but for the business itself. A great leader knows that strength resides in numbers and can pull a team together to have a productive and positive experience.

Use These 6 Tips to Limit Distractions While Getting Work Done

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Thanks to technology, there are more distractions than ever before while you’re trying to get work done. Many people do most of their work from computers, from which they can access the internet, chat with coworkers, or browse interesting articles. Most people also carry smartphones, which are constantly ringing with emails, phone calls, texts, and app notifications. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to lose entire hours to these devices and realize you’ve accomplished nothing. However, there are some great ways you can face as minimal distractions as possible while working.

Schedule your day

The first step you can take to minimize distractions when you need to get tasks done is carefully scheduling out your day. Set aside time at the beginning of the week to plan out your schedule for each day. You may have to adjust it as other priorities come up, but planning out your day as specifically as possible helps you focus on what needs to get done every hour.

Ditch the smartphone

One of the biggest distractions is your smartphone. Know when it’s time to set it aside and focus on what you need to accomplish. Instead of keeping your smartphone on your desk, put it away in a bag or drawer or somewhere else that you won’t be tempted to look at it every few minutes. Even if you’re just checking a single message, you’ll likely also check any social notifications you have, some emails, and plenty of other distractions. Avoid using your smartphone as much as possible when trying to concentrate on a task.

Utilize extensions

There are plenty of extension available on your browser, especially if you use Google Chrome, that can help you stay focused. Some extensions block specific websites for set amounts of time or won’t let you access sites until you complete whatever you’re currently working on. Other extensions keep track of how much time you’re spending on each task, so you know if you’re completely your work efficiently.

Ignore email

Thanks to technology, you can check your email at all times and often receive push notifications while you’re focusing on something else at your desk. Avoid the temptation to check your email while doing something else; if it’s an email, it can wait. Consider turning off email notifications and closing the window so you only check it at set times. Encourage people to schedule calls with you instead of sending multiple emails back and forth to discuss something.

Change your workspace

Many people can get bored by where they’re trying to do work and become distracted since they do not have fresh scenery. If possible, move to other locations to get work done. Investing in a standing desk and using it intermittently is also helpful when trying to regain your focus. Take time to invest in decorating your office space in a pleasing manner and regularly change it so you have new views and surroundings. If you work at home, make sure you have a quiet, designated area to work in so you do not get distracted by home responsibilities.

Minimize socialization

When you’re working, it can be incredibly tempting to message your coworkers, friends, or family. You might find yourself chatting to the person sitting next to you or running into someone in the hallway and spending a considerable amount of time discussing your weekend with them. While these socializations are important to a healthy social and professional life, it’s also important that you recognize there’s a time and place for them. Keep long conversations to breaks or outside of work hours. Focus on work while you’re there.

4 Unusual Ways You Can Help Yourself Achieve Success

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There are the usual lists of ways to achieve success and be productive in your daily life, career, or whatever pursuits you’re focusing on at this point in your life. You always hear people mention the importance of putting in extra hours, creating a solid personal brand, or some other buzz word. While these pieces of advice are good, there are other, more unconventional ways you can achieve true success.

Get rid of bad habits

The first step you need to take in truly achieving success is doing away with your bad habits. While procrastination is something everyone can recognize as bad, there are other habits that may not seem as serious, but can still erode your path to success. Small issues like not getting enough sleep or not taking care of yourself. You might also suffer from self-doubt or be in denial about a bad habit. Take time to truly evaluate what you do and be honest; identify your bad habits and work on getting rid of them.

Create milestones

People always talk about the importance of setting goals and working toward them. At this point, for most people, goals do not mean much. We’ve heard the word “goals” over and over and it’s easy to tune it out. However, if you plan out milestones you want to accomplish, your future plans begin to look a lot different. Plan out what you want to achieve and how you’ll go about doing so. View your milestones as small steps to make along the way to an end result instead of some large overarching goal.

Take small steps

Like I mentioned above, creating milestones means starting a series of small steps to take as you work to accomplish these milestones. Carefully plan out each milestone along the way and what you need to do every day to get where you want to go. View these milestones as a journey toward something great. The experience you gain along the way is invaluable and can benefit you in plenty of ways.

Pursue unusual opportunities

Finally, take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, even if they don’t seem conventional. You never know how a decision or choice you make can affect your future, so taking every opportunity that comes your way can help you move further along your milestones. If there’s something you find interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily align with your career, go ahead and try it out. You might take a path you never expected or make invaluable connections.

5 Sustainability Tips for the Office

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Now more than ever there is a growing desire to embrace more eco-friendly living and thankfully businesses are looking to do their part as well. It can be a little overwhelming when trying to figure out how to get started so we’ve put together a list of the best tips for creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly workplace.

Start a team dedicated to maintaining a sustainable office

A group of people designated to maintaining a sustainable office can get a lot more done than just sending out a memo. The team should be assigned projects such as putting together a recycling program, stocking up on green cleaning supplies, and making more energy-efficient options available for appliances. They can also engage other employees hands-on, providing them with the information they need to do their part in creating the most efficient office environment possible.

Create a challenge for everyone to participate in

Introduce a monthly challenge to the office to get everyone in the spirit. A type of challenge could include going a month without using plastic utensils and offering a small gift card as a prize. Or, you could encourage employees to use reusable coffee mugs when getting their caffeine fix.

Turn off all electronics at night

This includes lights, computers, and any appliances that could use energy while no one is using them. Make sure that the last person who leaves the office turns off all the lights. Better yet, set everything on a timer so you don’t have to worry about someone forgetting to turn off something that takes a lot of power.

Invest in office products that are better for the environment

There are all sorts of products that can have less of a negative impact on the environment from recycled office materials to more energy efficient computers. There are options for everyone no matter the size of the budget and any switch is better than no switch at all.

Research green power sources

Solar and wind energy are more available now than they ever have been and businesses both small and large can make the switch. If this is out of budget you can look into your energy provider and see if they offer a more sustainable energy plan.

There are many other ways to make the office more sustainable such as going paperless, adjusting the thermostat to run less, and even adding office plants and utilizing natural light to clarify the air and conserve energy. Don’t be afraid to get creative and applaud your employees for doing their part!

The Rise of Influencer Marketing

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To understand the rise of influencer marketing, it’s first important to have a grasp on what “influencer” means. Social media influencers are celebrities or simply those online users who have amassed a large following. Typically followed by at least 100,000 users, these individuals use their reach to promote the brands and products they care about and can often make a career out of this type of marketing.

Influencers are on the rise

Although they have been around as long as social media itself, influencers are really just starting to gain attention for what they can provide. Big corporations and even small business owners are partnering with influencers to help market their products or services. By way of an example, Cristiano Ronaldo partnered with Nike and helped the company generate almost $500 million in revenue.

How does Nike know it was Ronaldo and not just the popularity of their brand that generated that revenue? They tracked Cristiano’s activities and the responses he garnered. In 2016, he posted a total of 1,703 times. Those posts generated 2.25 billion responses in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Looking closer at those posts, Ronaldo mentioned Nike in 347 of them and those posts alone resulted in 447 million interactions. This means Cristiano provided Nike with $499.6 million in media marketing.

Every business can afford an influencer

While the partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Nike might be an exceptional example, there’s a social media influencer to fit every budget. From micro and medium-sized influencers to top name celebrities, everyone is getting in on this game. Since it benefits both sides of the partnership, it’s easy to see why it’s taking the place of more traditional methods of marketing and advertising.

An influencer is approachable, too. In traditional marketing, consumers get little more than a hard sell. In influencer marketing, however, the celebrity can interact with other users. He or she can explain why the brand they’re representing is their top choice and what they like about it.

The reason this works so well is because people emulate their idols and want to be just like them. If Ronaldo Cristiano wears Nike, so will his fans. Combined with greater accessibility, the ability to share a love for a product drives consumers to that influencer’s brand of choice. Even where they may not realize it, consumers are drawn to products promoted by people they admire. Compared to a system of pay per click advertising, it’s easy to see the big draw of contracting with influencers to sell your products.

 

Important Facts About the Facebook Issue and How to Keep Your Information Safe Online

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Recently, Facebook has come under significant fire for a data breach within the last couple of years. This issue is particularly concerning as more and more companies have their data compromised. Any business from a gas station, to a department store, to an online shopping center or site has experienced issues with hackers acquiring users private data. While some data breaches may be more serious than others, such as bank information or social security numbers being stolen, any invasion of private information is unsettling, especially with a company as large as Facebook, where many people feel safe using the platform.

What happened?

People in America and Britain learned that a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, linked to President Trump’s campaign in 2016 was able to collect private data from over 50 million Facebook users. This breach of privacy is bad enough, but lawmakers learned that Facebook failed to notify users about the data breach.

The data firm was founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, both supporters of President Trump. The firm used the information it gathered to identify American voters for specific criteria and then influence their behavior in the 2016 election. Though it’s under debate how much these efforts actually influenced voters, the main issue is that Facebook failed to notify users that their data had been compromised. Lawmakers in Britain are currently looking into concerns of fake news and Russian interference that led to Brexit occurring in 2016 as well.

Facebook was already under scrutiny because of fake news and trolling by Russian sources, so this coverup of the data breach is only adding fuel to the fire.

What steps are being taken?

As Facebook moves to make up for failing to release the information on the date breaches, lawmakers are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before Congress. Their initial silence raised red flags and brought the issue rapidly into the spotlight as more and more people demanded answers. People are searching for whose responsible for this error and other are even questioning the purpose of continuing to use Facebook.

Facebook higherups have begun breaking their silence, but there are still plenty of questions about what happened and what needs to be done to prevent instances like this one from reoccurring. It remains to be seen what happens now.
How can you protect yourself?

As this issue becomes public knowledge and people and businesses are scrutinizing their own privacy and security preferences, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your personal information is secure, whether you’re simply using sites online or you’re running a business that holds others’ private information.

If you’re responsible for a business that’s storing private information, the best step you can take is simply keeping your security up-to-date and frequently check its strength. If you do not have someone in-house capable of this step, find a contractor or company who can do it for you. The investment is certainly worth it if it means it keeps private company and consumer information safe.

If you’re simply concerned about how to keep your personal information safe online, there are a few steps you can take. Remember to only give private information to sites that are labeled as secure and always use a secure browser. Avoid saving passwords or credit card information and regularly update your passwords for different accounts. Finally, monitor your credit score and accounts to detect any fraud early on.