6 Tips On How To Effectively Respond To Customer Complaints

Simply put, the backbone of a company is its customers. The lifespan of your business depends on how you value and communicate with your audience, so you can’t afford to turn off a customer with poor interpersonal skills. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to stay on top of responding to customer complaints, as well as understanding what it is that may be causing them annoyance.

Customer complaints can be stressful, time-consuming and simply irritating, but how you respond to these issues will help your business’ reputation greatly.

Below are 6 tips on how to effectively respond to customer complaints.

1. Don’t Get Too Crazy With Over-Automation

Adopting automation technology may be tempting because it frees up time, but it is not always the best answer for customer interaction. Each customer prefers different modes of communication such as phone numbers, live chats and emails so that they can reach out to you. When it comes to a customer having an issue, there are many who prefer the experience of talking to a live person instead of an automated robot that may not be equipped to handle varying degrees of issues.

2. Take Your Time With Each Customer

Get rid of the idea of having a “script” when customers call. Moreso, don’t assume that you know what your customers want when they call, and thus try to rush to give them a solution to get them off the phone. This type of service can irritate your customer and cause them to feel as if you aren’t listening to them. To avoid losing or aggravating your consumer, invest in “Effective Listening skills” courses for your customer service team, or have weekly meetings about how to improve their skills in this area. The goal is to make sure that your team is taking the time to listen to the customer, understand their specific problem, and offer a solution.

3. Have A Reliable Web Service Provider

If your website is constantly crashing or glitching, especially during a time where your business is offering an exclusive sale for a certain amount of hours, it can be a point of contention for your customers.

Although no online system is perfect, to be on the safe side, look for a reputable web service provider that offers fast page loading time and a reliable, round-the-clock uptime.

4. Never Leave Your Customers Hanging

With the assistance of technology, Everyone wants to have things as quickly as possible. For a business, having a fast turnaround time is a must in order to stay successful. Having a speedy response draws new customers to your business, leading to you gaining long-term customers. Whether it’s on Instagram or your website, respond promptly to your customers’ questions and feedback.

5. Value Your Customer Service Team

Your customer representatives are the first line of communication that your customers receive. They are the face of your business and the ones who interact with your consumers the most.

As the business owner, it is your job to make sure that your customer service team not only has top notch skills, but also are rewarded for their efforts and treated well within the company. Find ways to motivate them to go the extra mile to satisfy your customers. Have weekly team building exercises, have rewards in place when goals are met, pay them well and check in on their mental health. By taking care of your employees, you will also attract top talent to your organization if you build a reputation treating your employees well. Happy employees lead to happy customers.

6. Incorporate Changes From Customer Feedback

Let’s say that multiple customers have called in with a complaint about not receiving a shipping confirmation from your site and your customer service team has said that they will look into fixing these issues in the future. Well, now it’s time to follow through with your word. After all, if you complained about a mishap and were promised a change that doesn’t actually happen, wouldn’t you be a bit peeved? In this case, it would be wise to get with your IT team to make sure of any bugs with your online systems and if they are, get them fixed at once.

It is on you and your team is on you to listen carefully, draw connections between complaints, and determine which course of action is needed to correct the issue.

Seven Habits To Make You Happier At Work

Work can be a struggle for even the happiest, most outgoing people. The stress and demands of the workday can wear many down and make life more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. If you struggle to get motivated at work and generally feel worse there than you do anywhere else, there are a few things you can do to improve your mood and productivity. Here are seven habits you can form to make you happier at work.

Move Around

Stress is sneaky and can affect you in unforeseen ways. One element of stress is the way it can “pile up,” making you more and more stressed as you sit at your desk, clicking through your workday. To help mitigate stress and avoid feeling anxious at work, you should take frequent breaks.

Moving around helps pump blood through your system and is healthy way to activate your brain and muscles, which keeps stress at bay and keeps your body feeling healthier and happier. Whenever you start to feel stressed or worn down, simply move around the office or take a quick walk outside.

Block Out Response Times

One of the most focus-destroying tasks is responding to e-mails, especially those which are non-essential. You can help yourself focus more readily by blocking out time to respond to such e-mails, improving your concentration and giving you a more robust and concentrated workday.

Cutting out time to scroll through e-mails and respond to those which are important but not urgent will give you a natural little break throughout the day while letting you get important work done. Blocking out time will also give you incentive to finish other work first so that you can check your e-mail and respond to inquiries.

Curate a Playlist

While not every work environment is suited to listening to music while you work, popping in your headphones and listening to some of your favorite songs will go a long way in improving your mood and making you more productive.

While your comprehension may wane while listening to music, your general endurance and ability to focus on one task for a longer period will improve. If you work in an environment where listening to music is not frowned upon or out of the norm, consider making a “focusing playlist” and listening to it while at work.

Eat And Drink Regularly

Other undervalued tasks at work are eating and drinking. Eating and drinking give you the needed energy and nutrients to focus on the task at hand and work out your problems in a timely and controlled manner. Eating will also stave off hunger before lunch, which is guaranteed to put you in a better mood throughout the day and help you focus.

Hunger pangs can often distract workers and keep their mind on other things (like lunch) but eating and drinking throughout the day will mitigate these and allow you to concentrate. It’s never healthy to ignore your hunger at work, as this can actually lead to stress and panic attacks more readily.

Exercise Before Work

Many workers enjoy a nice cup of coffee, or multiple cups, before they arrive at work. While there’s nothing wrong with a cup of joe a few times a week, caffeine dependence can have negative effects on your body.

Instead of drinking a cup of coffee everyday before heading into work, you should consider stopping by the gym to exercise or simply taking a walk or jog around your neighborhood. Exercise will get your endorphins running and make you more alert and awake before you go into work, and it will also have multiple positive health outcomes on your body.

Always Clarify

One of the easiest ways to improve your life at work is clarify any task you’re given. Your managers and coworkers may mean well, but misunderstandings can still arise that complicate your workflow and make you less productive.

To avoid the stress of such misunderstandings, you should always double check instructions and never assume anything you haven’t already been told. Being upfront with your colleagues and bosses may seem a tad rude at first, but it will ultimately pay off down the road when you know exactly what you’re doing and how to do it.

Delegate Whenever Possible

Not every employee is in a position to delegate tasks that mean less to them or that they’re simply not suited for, but if you’re in a role which allows you to delegate, you should take full advantage of that position. Workers today are incredibly specialized, and odds are there’s someone at your workplace who can do the job assigned to you in a quicker and more efficient manner.

You should find multiple colleagues who are great at other tasks and, at the very least, ask for their help or input on objectives you don’t fully understand, or you’re not perfectly suited for. Asking for help is free and will greatly help you with the task at hand.

Seven Ways To Impress Your Boss

The research is clear: one of the most important aspects to a successful career is building healthy relationships. This is especially true when that relationship is between you and your boss. When you’re not on their good side, it can be difficult to get ahead in your company and secure promotions. But what does impressing your boss actually entail? How do I know if I have a good relationship with my manager? Well, read on! Below are seven proven ways to set yourself up for workplace success.

Challenge Yourself

The most successful people in the world are those who take risks and challenge themselves to do things they never thought possible. Stretching yourself to go above and beyond what is expected of you will make an excellent impression on your boss. When faced with a stack of work, those who are able to complete it in three days instead of seven come across as the most committed employees.

Be Consistent

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for an employee or a manager to consistently deliver on expectations; if you only occasionally meet your obligations, that will not go unnoticed. The difference between someone who always sees their commitments through and one who does so inconsistently is impossible to ignore, so be sure to show consistency on the job. When you’re constantly delivering the best results with no excuses, your hard work will be noticed by those around you. When this happens it can motivate and inspire others to get on board too.

Carry Yourself With Confidence

No matter what, you should always make sure that you are on top of your game. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by what your coworkers are doing or what the managers have said. When you arrive at work each day, take a moment to take in your surroundings. Think about how you look and feel in your clothes, and make sure you are 100% presentable. Also, try to think positively and don’t focus on what you don’t have. Making an active effort to push negative thoughts out of your head will allow you to stay focused on the tasks at hand and gain greater respect from those around you.

Take Initiative

Initiative is a strong indicator of success. Those who are creative and take initiative tend to be more successful in life. When you finish an assignment, do you wait to be told what will happen next? Or are you the type of person that looks for a new task or problem and fixes it before anyone else can see it themselves? Those who take initiative are constantly looking around their environment – they know where everything is in case something needs tending too.

Solve Problems

There are a thousand things in every organization that need fixing, but the average person won’t make an attempt and then complain about how this job is dumb. Achieving greatness means getting up to fix something when you’re not 100% satisfied with it. If you figure out a difficult problem to fix in your company then people will always remember you for it.

Set The Bar High

A fantastic employee not only performs well and encourages others to do the same, but often does this by their example when no one is looking- an admirable trait that any leader would want in a team member or themselves! They also bring enthusiasm with them every day which can lighten up even the most difficult days at work. A great measure for how successful someone has been at achieving this is if they are able to encourage other people around them while doing the work too. Going out of your way and setting an excellent example just makes things better all around.

Love What You Do

Working with someone who loves what they do and is always enthusiastic can be very exciting. Working alongside a person who does not enjoy their job, but tries to find the good in it anyways because of office politics can feel crushing after awhile. It may be easy to say that you would never let someone like this get the best of you, but it’s an unspeakable truth that we often cannot control who we work with. Maybe it’s time to be your own best advocate and let your employer know what you would like to get done, what you want to learn, and what you would like to change. If you’re not happy with your job then find a position that would do you better.

Your boss might lead many different teams within the organization, which means she needs her employees’ support more than anything: make sure that when faced with tough decisions or difficult situations, you are supporting your boss rather than undermining her authority. You can build a great future for yourself by setting a positive example and demonstrating your value to the company.

10 Tips On Running A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign For New Entrepreneurs

Crowdfunding platforms have grown in popularity ever since their rise in 2009. In fact, crowdfunding projects in North America alone generate an average of around $17.2 billion per year! The crowdfunding market is also forecasted to maintain a 16% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) per year, which means, if you plan on running a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll be a droplet in an ocean full of goals and timelines.

So, with so many campaigns already out there, how will you be able to set your campaign apart? Or maybe the better question is: how should you run your campaign for it to come out successful? Listed below are a few helpful techniques and strategies to help you push your crowdfunding campaign to greater heights.

Research, Research, Research!

As with any worthwhile endeavor, some added knowledge and research are bound to brighten your perspective. If you’re done researching for the product or service you’ll be pitching, you’ll have to do more for the actual campaign strategy you’re going to use. This means stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture. The following are a couple of important points to research on before taking any step forward:

  • Identify your target audience. You can’t appeal to everyone, so it’s best to focus on your chosen demographic. Research what they might like or dislike. Relying on hard facts and data is key; it’s best not to assume traits or preferences. Learn their language and use it to write good copy. Set rewards that will cater to them.
  • Look into your options for crowdfunding platforms and weigh the pros and cons of using each one. There might be some more suited to your niche than others, so make sure you widen your options. The platform you choose will be what manages your tracking and your goals, so make sure it is aligned with how you imagine your campaign should be presented to the public.
  • Research about other campaigns. Which ones failed? Which ones succeeded? What are the factors that set these groups apart? Once you’ve connected the dots, you’ll gain more insight on what elements you can add to your approach.

Build A Community Before Launch

Even before actually launching your campaign, you can already build interest and grow a community that is sure to support you once you’ve cemented your next few steps. Owning a blog or having an account with a huge following on social media are usually huge pluses when it comes to forming interest prelaunch, but if you’re going to start from scratch, using channels such as questionnaires, surveys, newsletters, and even teaser splash pages will be enough to gain a following.

Market On Social Media

The wider your reach, the better. On social media, everything can spread like wildfire. It’s all about using the proper content, timing, and a lot of hard work. Frequent and consistent posting and engagement is key, after all. Utilize hashtags to your advantage, and invest in using ads. Make sure you use what you learned during your research phase, for example, taking into account hashtags your target demographic uses, or which social media platforms they are abundant in, and which clusters, groups, or organizations they surround themselves with. If you can, partner up with influencers who can speak to your target audience about your campaign.

Make Use Of Multimedia

Videos are a great medium for communication, as they are more efficient to digest than blocks of text and pictures. This is why your videos, especially your main explainer video, should be eye-catching while being concise. The thumbnail and the first 20 seconds of your video are all it takes to create that first impression, so make sure these already give a gist of what your campaign has to offer. Take note that you don’t have to personally edit and shoot all your videos. Hiring professionals who can do this for you will be well worth it.

Host Events And Giveaways Every So Often

Most of the time, during the middle of a campaign, a slump occurs. To get the community back on track with support, you can host virtual events, complete with freebies and giveaways! This will get people talking about your campaign again, and will end up giving you that needed boost.

Share Your Personal Story

Sharing the story behind why you choose to push through with this campaign will be a huge factor when it comes to gaining people’s trust. Introduce yourself and your plans, and show people how passionate you are about the project. Tell them your budget, your game plan, the whys behind your decisions. All these little details will help build their perception of you and your campaign, and when expressed in a way backed by earlier research, can be compelling enough to help nudge them onboard.

Communicate Openly

Sharing your story is only half the battle. Once your campaign has launched, your backers and supporters will expect you to give updates every now and then, especially after the funds have been raised. Transparency is key to build trust, especially in the world of crowdfunding.

Listen To Feedback

Listening to feedback, whether it’s before launch or during launch, is essential. Your target audience is directly giving you information on what they need, after all, the least you could do is hear them out. Some of their ideas have the potential to make your product or service better… or worse. Talk to your backers, create healthy discussions. Give them that yes or no, and the reasons why. Make a poll if you are torn on deciding certain aspects.

Follow Through On Promises

Finally, you should follow through on any promises made during the course of the fundraiser. Not only does this build more trust with your community, this gives you more credibility. This will be very useful if you set out to push through with more endeavors.

6 Tips For Digital Nomads Who Want To Travel The World

Well first, what is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is a person who works online while traveling the world. 

While Most people probably think that digital nomads are individuals who work on their laptop while sipping a martini on a beach resort, that’s not exactly the complete truth. 

The simple concept of a digital nomad revolves around creating the perfect work-life balance. 

The nomadic lifestyle can add more adventure, fun and excitement than the average person can probably find at a traditional office job. Digital nomads have the freedom to explore new countries, experience new cultures, and meet various people around the world.  The “work part” of the nomadic lifestyle involves working remotely, or online, to make enough income that will allow the ability to continue experiencing the excitement of exploration and adventure in the countries you choose to visit.

Many people are looking around, searching for the perfect answer on how to travel the world as a digital nomad and how to do it well. If you have the right tools and the right frame of mind, you can make traveling and working coexist with each other in the way that you’ve always dreamed.

Scroll down and check out this blog post about 6 tips on how to travel the world as a digital nomad hopping from one place to another.

1. Begin With Short Vacations.

Start with  a trial run. If you can, take a one or two week vacation from your job. During this vacation, you should be travelling to a new place. Unlike a standard vacation where you relax, though, this vacation will require you to do some work. Get started on writing for your new freelance project, or try creating a new product for your small business. 

Keep in mind that when practicing with a shorter vacation, the focus should be on being productive rather than vacationing. The test runs are meant to help you understand if you’ll have the motivation to work as a digital nomad. A digital nomad is a part-time traveller and part-time worker.

2. Have Your Finances And Documents In Order.

Perhaps the biggest tip before you become a digital nomad is to make sure that you already have money saved and that you already have an active income, atleast . Active Income is where you trade time for money such as freelance writing. 

.If you are traveling aboard, you never know which money issues you can run into. Whether that is credit card issues or differing laws about taxes for running a business in each country that you visit. In this case, you will want to already have insurance for your business, and yourself, if you are working abroad, or at least be well versed in whatever documentation that you  need in order to pay any potential legal fees.

Make sure you also have limited debt and a steady income  before you start working on your own and traveling. It will make your new life as a digital nomad easier.  

4. Live Out Of A Suitcase For A While.

Since they are always on the go, most digital nomads practice a life of minimalism. It can be expensive to bring every single possession that you own around the world. Practice living out of a suitcase while at home. Put all of your everyday essentials that you need in the suitcase and, for at least a couple weeks, only use the things in the suitcase. Can you do it? Did you cheat and add something else? Did you miss anything? Many digital nomads feel exhausted living out of a suitcase. Over time, they begin to miss certain products that they had before they left. Or, you may feel too “constricted” with this minimal lifestyle. Make sure you re-evaluate this choice to see if you can handle it. 

5. Join Local Groups.

Digital nomads can often be lonely. To build a sense of community, sign up for digital nomad Facebook groups, meetups and coworking spaces. You can also join digital nomad groups in your area to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle from digital nomads in your community.

 6. Create A Set Schedule.

You may think that the nomadic lifestyle means that you get to wake up and do whatever you please with no schedule, but doing this can actually get a bit chaotic (even for nomads). Are you a morning person or a night owl? How do you want to balance your work and travels? 

Some digital nomads work for two weeks and then take two weeks off. Other digital nomads work daily for a couple hours each day. Some treat it like a 9 to 5 job, making sure to take evenings and weekends off.  You need to find the schedule that works best for you and your daily lifestyle. Remember, it is half travel and half work. The work never goes away. 

Bi-Weekly Resource Round Up Vol 8

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and getting outside, I know we all have been. We’ve been working on providing the option to let clients work with just one team member and are planning on releasing the option in the near future. If you have any feedback on this or would like to be notified when it’s released, let me know.

Sam Ryan
… and the rest of Team Flocksy!

Featured Team Member Design of the Month:

Here is a flyer design mockup created for a client by Flocksy team member James.

All custom illustrations/brand designs/marketing materials on Flocksy are created completely from scratch by one of our extremely talented graphic design creatives.

Start a graphic design project today and see results in just hours!

Five Great Ways to Take Care of Your Customers on Instagram

by Flocksy writer Matt Gladstone

There are certain best practices to follow when using social media, however, as engagement and interaction don’t just happen; your brand must be careful to provide a space where these components are possible and foster an environment of appreciation and responsiveness. Here are five ways to better interact and provide care for your customers on Instagram.    continue

6 Tips For An Efficient Office And Business

by Flocksy writer Matt Gladstone
Businesses of all sizes are doing everything in their power to create efficient and highly organized work environments for their employees.  continue    

Office Managers, How To Take Yourself To The Next Level

by Flocksy writer Sophia
Whether you have just been promoted or are looking to improve your skills, this guide will help you become the best office manager you can be.    continue

6 Best Practices to Increase Instagram Engagement

by Flocksy writer Matt Gladstone

Instagram is a great place for businesses to post content and make their audience aware of new products and services. It’s also a great place to interact and engage with their audience but starting engagement and improving it are two different things entirely.   continue 

How To Keep Working Remotely In A Post-COVID-19 World

The Coronavirus pandemic pushed employees out of the office and into their own homes for work. While not everyone embraced the challenge, most of us eventually began to enjoy telecommuting. Gone were the hurried mornings, rushing through breakfast and rushing off to work through rush hour traffic. Mornings during the Covid era came with breakfast at the table and setting up your workspace in the comfort of your own home.

You settled into a routine, found yourself more productive, and have proven to the powers that be that you are responsible enough to work remotely. Now you wonder how you’ll ever return to the rat race. You’re not alone.

Here are a few things you can do to state your case to convince your employer to allow you to keep working remotely in in a post-COVID-19 world.

Assemble Your Facts & Talking Points

Before you schedule a time to speak with your manager to discuss telecommuting on a permanent basis, let’s get your ducks in a row. You’ll need to be able to show how productive you have been, the benefits to the company, and how this would work after everything has returned to normal.

As soon as you know that you want to continue working remotely, start jotting down your talking points. Also, check online to find out all the benefits of working from home. Look for resources that specifically address your industry. Some of those positive outcomes of telecommuting include improved employee engagement, improved work-life balance, financial savings for the company and employees, and happier employees overall.

Apply These Points Above To Your Experience

Tailor those facts and talking points to your specific situation. Focus on your time during this past year when you were working remotely. Make note of your work accomplishments, positive feedback from your employer and co-workers, and examples of your ability to effectively collaborate with your team and clients.

Establish A Plan For Working Remotely

Figure out ahead of time what telecommuting would look like for you. This way you will be able to address any concerns and questions before they arise. Think about these things the work schedule you plan to propose, digital tools you’ll use for collaboration and security, and even a trial period to give remote work a try.

Ensuring Productivity And Security When Working From Home

You must be able to demonstrate how you have been able to be productive from home. Put together a list of your achievements during this past year from home. If you have closed more deals or taken more calls, for example, this needs to be documented to present them with the statistics.

Think about projects you submitted on time or early, new clients you have brought on board, how you have controlled the budget or saved the company money and have any positive feedback that you received in writing to show. You should also be able to show that you can work securely. One suggestion is that you utilize a VPN to keep client and company data safe.

Show How Responsive You Are And How It Benefits The Company

Make sure that you have been online, responsive to emails, and present for meetings. Not just present but involved and contributing to the team regularly. Give the organization ways that telecommuting benefits them, include time that can be directed towards projects instead of commuting.

Meet With Your Manager

Once you have amassed all that you will need to make a convincing argument, it’s time to set up an in-person or virtual meeting. Have your supporting documents ready and start with, “I’ve been telecommuting for 6 months and in that time, I’ve been able to…” and list your accomplishments. Discuss how your team has worked well together virtually with specific examples.

Go over all your talking points and then present your request, “I would like to continue to telecommute once everything has opened up again.” If you see that there is some hesitation, offer to address any concerns. Once the conversation is over follow-up with your request and talking points in writing.

There is a chance that you can make this temporary remote work situation a permanent one. But remember that even if you have put forth the most convincing of arguments, your employer may decide that everyone must come back into the office. We wish you the best of luck in getting the perfect situation worked out for you!

The Hunt For The Perfect Remote Job

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world choose remote work each year. Whether you’re a blogger, a freelancer, or you run your own startup, the underlining motivation behind why we all choose remote work is the same, freedom!

Some of you want to travel the world. Some of you just don’t like being told what to do. Either way, whether you’re considering a remote job or are already a remote worker looking for better opportunities, this guide is for you.

Ready to take remote jobs more seriously? To get you started, here’s a curated list of tools and resources that we think are worth a look:

Prioritize Incentives: The Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Simply put, digital nomads have figured out how to leverage technology to change where they live and work so they can travel indefinitely. The world is their office and country borders are essentially meaningless to them through the ability to work remotely anywhere in the world.

Digital nomads travel for a variety of reasons. Some do it because they need to and others do it for the love of the lifestyle. Some are traveling for work and others are on permanent vacation.

On the positive side, many companies are now willing to support the lifestyle choice of employees who travel. The thought behind it is great: let your employees go while still being able to trust them and retain your key talent.

The negative side, however, is that remote freelancers need particular skillsets to manage themselves efficiently. This is especially true when the work entails constant supervision of incoming opportunities.

In the end, the successful remote worker is a hard worker, generally very dedicated and proficient in self-management. But like anything else, remote workers have to be prepared for the level of discipline their work entails.

How To Find Remote Jobs

Once you’ve put in the work and crafted a resume that showcases your skills and experience, the best way to land remote jobs is to network. Find connections in the community or professional circles that relate to your work and aim to set up casual conversations, whether that’s in person, over the phone, or on social media.

While networking is definitely key, a number of remote job sites and channels also exist to connect people who have the skills you’re looking to fill, such as UpWork and Remote.co.

One of the most important components to building a career and being happy is also making sure you are happy with where you are. This might mean moving to a different country for a work opportunity. This might mean switching from a role you hate to one you love. This might mean going back to school.

Build Your Online Network

When you quit your job to become a remote worker, one of the things that you might want to consider is building up your online network.

Having a strong online network is beneficial when you’re looking for your next job. But it’s also a great tool for staying in touch with your friends and family — it gives them something to keep in touch with when you’re gone for a few weeks.

Landing The Job

Once you’ve found your dream remote job, you still need to figure out how to convince your boss to give you the opportunity.

First, look for remote opportunities that offer a reasonable salary—and one that’s not too far removed from what you’re making at your “traditional” job.

When you’re talking about your first remote gig, don’t expect your initial income to reflect the entirety of the pay grade. Especially if you’re new to the workforce and moving from school or are an entry-level worker. Opportunities will arise for bringing added value to your work. You can count on these opportunities to flow in and, in staying vigilant, make the most of them.

Next, make sure that the remote role you’re applying for is one that you feel you would be good at. This can make it a lot easier for employers to offer you the opportunity. Show them that you’re willing to give it 100% of your time, even if it means staying up until 3 am doing an assignment.

You have to make it known that you’re going to be 100% committed to the role—and that you’re not just doing it because you don’t want to come into the office.

And finally, figure out what makes you stand out as a candidate when you’re trying to land a remote role. Do this by adding relevant skills or experience to your resume and introducing yourself in a way that makes you difficult to forget.

It may mean posting in communities, or it may mean making an effort to speak up at networking events. Take that extra step and make sure you show up and show your worth.

And when all else fails? Know how to make a good impression. When you’re presenting yourself and your message, [it should be], ‘You will be hard-pressed not to hire me because I will rock your socks off and you will want to keep me forever.’

But don’t go overboard. Just make it clear that you will offer something unique that they can’t find anywhere else.

Things To Consider Before You Quit Your Job

Before you quit your job to become a full-time remote worker, make sure that you think through some things. Here are three tips that will help you when thinking through your career options.

Consider your lifestyle. Are you willing to give up that security, or are you willing to give up some things in order to give yourself more freedom? If you’re working on something that you’re passionate about, you might be willing to make sacrifices to get there, but don’t think about what’s going to happen to your social life.

See if you can fit your current lifestyle into your new job. Will you be able to maintain your current daily routine? If not, maybe that’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Do you need to save up for that vacation? Can you stretch your savings out in advance? Start planning now. How much time do you want to be away from your job?

Will you be able to work full-time? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your time? Plan for those times. Don’t burn your bridges — it will be hard to get those skills back when you’re ready to return to a traditional job.

The Takeaway

Whether you’re looking for your first remote job, or you’re hoping to make the jump into a full-time remote job, it can be a daunting and uncomfortable task.

While not every option is going to appeal to you, the possibilities are endless.

Think about the type of work you do for a living, and what part of the job is the most enjoyable. Then, look at what remote opportunities are out there.

And remember that even if it takes a little while to find a remote job, your diligence will be worth it in the end.

Your Business Problems Solved In Ten Steps

If there’s no such thing as perfection, then there’s surely no such thing as a complete disaster. Every business problem has a solution. To find the best remedy it’s usually a matter of keeping your head, assessing the situation, then proceeding with your remedy confidently. No matter what steps you take you’ll need your co-workers and team members involved.

They probably have as much stake in finding a solution as you do. They also probably have their own ideas, so listen to what they have to say. Below are ten reliable steps to completely solving any problem in business. Use the process and enlist the help of your colleagues. Once you think it through and have the best plan, implement your solution and get your business back on track.

Step 1 Recognize You Have A Problem.

Be it financial issues, a love-life, health concerns or political situations, no problem can be solved unless you first acknowledge you have one. A great line in Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed, finds Martin Sheen saying to Leonardo DiCaprio, “We deal in deception here. What we do not deal in is self deception.” The same holds true for your business.

You can spin whatever tale you must (hopefully no more than a little advertising braggadocio), but you must be clear headed about your own business and how well it’s working. If you have a problem you have to face it head on, with no illusion about its depth or reach.

Step 2 Find The Root Cause.

At the heart of every problem lies a reason for its existence. Maybe the reason comes from outside; maybe it’s internal. It could be something systemic that you thought was working but is now getting in the way. If it’s a person, or persons, who are they? Do you need to be diplomatic, or can you move quickly to solve the issue? Dig deeply until you know what’s really going on. Don’t accept surface answers, and don’t be afraid to make hard choices if they’re necessary.

Step 3 Be Confident About Solving Your Problem.

You have to feel deep down that you can solve whatever problem is bothering you. If you don’t feel that way at the beginning, then get enough information or help until you do. Don’t shy away from the problem, because you feel you’re not up to it. Maybe you’re right, and you don’t have the resources to handle what’s happening.

If the problem is happening within your work environment, however, that means the same energy fueling your problem is available to you. People are going to look to you to fix whatever’s wrong. Show them you intend to meet the problem squarely, and they’ll be with you through to the end.

Step 4 Get Help From Your Colleagues.

You’re going to need help to solve any serious problem. Get your team members involved early. Tell them about your assessments and what you think must be done. If they agree, you now have allies. If they disagree, listen to their objections. They may provide contrast to help you judge your own approach.

Step 5 Consider The Problem Quietly Before Proceeding.

Sometimes it’s wise to keep your own council. You shouldn’t say everything that comes to mind, even if it seems like the best idea. Think about your problem deeply before going public with your plan of action. Get away by yourself, and let a little quiet time give you perspective. Further reflection will give your thoughts better foundation. Moreover, people respect your ideas more if they think you’ve thought it through.

Step 6 List Your Options.

It’s always good to state your options formally. Once you’ve put them in writing or said them out loud, thoughts and ideas take on a life of their own. An opinion carries more weight once it’s been presented. Sometimes it even changes the dynamic. How many times have you heard a sentence that started with the phrases, “Now that I say it out loud….” or “Now that I read if for myself…”? When you see your options listed or hear them spoken, it gives them focus. That clarity allows you and everyone else to decide which course of action is actually the best.

Step 7 Brainstorm For Ideas With Colleagues.

Your co-workers are your best sounding board. They’re with you everyday, so they know the nature of the problem. Work with them to get on the same page. That involves listening to their opinions and throwing every card on the table. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you one hundred percent or not. What’s important is to have ideas honestly discussed. Once you’re moving in the same direction, your plans and your actions will both be stronger.

Step 8 Keep Other People’s Solutions In Mind.

If you listen to people but don’t really consider what they say, you’ve wasted their time and yours. When you brainstorm, your group will have many excellent ideas, many of which may not be your own. Use those suggestions, and take the best ones to heart. The good thing about a great idea is anyone can use it to their advantage.

Step 9 Assert Your Position.

Once you’ve decided where you come down on a problem, stand your ground and move comfortably from there. Remember that your process considered every angle. Be confident that you came to a reasonable conclusion after weighing the facts and finding the best solution.

Step 10 Accept The Solution And The Results.

Stand by your decision and live with the consequences. Unless it’s an intellectual exercise, never second guess yourself. Hard problems require hard choices. Even if you made the wrong choice, you’ll still need to remain clear to deal with the aftermath. Most problems in business don’t go away after being addressed only once.

Your goal is to move the needle and turn things around until the full situation improves. People who see a good work environment often fail to realize the finely crafted landscape took time and effort to construct. Hopefully these ten steps help you take that approach to your business and get you the results you need.

6 Ways To Keep Your Next Meeting From Being A Time-Waster

We’ve all had the experience of sitting in a work meeting, trying to keep our eyes open and thinking about all the things we still have to do. The fact is, meetings are so often unproductive. They take time out of the work day, distract workers, and can break up your work day in a bad way.

But they don’t have to be that way. There are many ways to turn your meetings from unproductive time-wasters to important places of growth and development.

Try these tricks next time you have to schedule a meeting and you’ll see the difference.

Be Strict About The Time

Being strict about the timing of your meeting, from starting on time to sticking to a time limit, is the first way to shift your meetings so they’re productive. It’s completely appropriate to not allow people to participate if they are more than 15 minutes late. At that point, they could simply distract from the flow of the meeting, rather than contribute to it.

You should also aim to keep your meeting on a strict time limit. 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb for most meetings. Keeping it short will keep it from wasting valuable time that your employees could use to complete their assignments.

Send Materials In Advance

At least 48 hours before your meeting, you should send out your agenda and any materials your employees will need to participate in the meeting. That gives them plenty of time to come up with some pertinent thoughts and ideas to contribute to the meeting. It’ll also help you skip any time used to catch people up and will lead to a more meaningful discussion.

Decide Who Comes

Have you ever had the experience of sitting in a meeting, asking yourself, “Why am I here?” Many times, we overpopulate our meetings with people who don’t actually need to be there. By adding more and more people to the meeting, you have more of a chance to lose control of the room and distract from work that could be getting done.

Instead, keep your meeting to about seven to nine people. Of course, this recommendation depends on the size of your team. If you have a team of 15 people who all need the information you’re relaying, you should obviously invite all of them. But whenever possible, cut down the attendee list for a better result.

Prepare Your Agenda Ahead Of Time

One of the easiest ways for a meeting to become unproductive is to lack an agenda. Without an agenda, your meeting will be like hiking in the wilderness without a map: aimless, wandering, and directionless.

What you should get in the habit of doing is developing your meeting agenda well in advance of the meeting. This is some of the crucial information you should send out in advance. It will help your employees know what to expect and keep your meeting on track.

Focus On After The Meeting

Your preparation for the meeting doesn’t end with the meeting. After the meeting, you still have things to do. Once your employees leave the meeting, if they forget everything that was discussed and decided, then the meeting was pointless. That’s why you need to put some of your attention to the time after the meeting.

During the meeting, decide on the things that need to be done. Be clear about the expectations, who will complete the tasks, and when there will be follow up. Not only will this help engage your employees, it will give the meeting purpose. It’s also a way to prepare for your next meeting where you will follow up on those action items.

Following the meeting, send a follow-up and details or a summary of the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, let your employees know that you’ll be doing this so they don’t feel like they have to take notes, as that can distract them from what’s being discussed. Shortly after the meeting has ended, like later that same day, send the follow-up and summary of the meeting, highlighting any action items that were discussed. This will give your employees a way to reference the topics discussed and something to refer back to if they have questions.

Give Them A Way Out

Have you ever been invited to a meeting that was mandatory but that conflicted with another obligation or that was taking place on one of your busiest days? Those are the meetings where you’d be so distracted thinking about your other tasks that you might as well not be there. A good practice to get into is giving your employees a way out of attending the meeting if needed.

Because you’ll be sending out a meeting summary, your employee may not need to attend the meeting if there’s a better use of their time. Be flexible and cognizant of the weight of your employees’ other tasks. If those projects are more important than the 30 minutes you’ll spend in the meeting, let them bow out. It will pay off in the long-run as they accomplish their projects well and on time.