Four Ways To Leave Your Comfort Zone And Help Your Career
Most people out there only feel safe within their comfort zone, but what they don’t know is that their routine is most likely what’s holding them back when it comes to their careers. There are many people out there who achieve amazing things and become extremely successful, while others stay trapped living one day over and over again through the most of their lives. Not to say that it’s wrong to live a simple life, but if you’re looking to get more out of it you might consider breaking the routine and doing something completely different. This guide will help you to look beyond your comfort zone and help your career by doing the things you never thought you would.
Acknowledge the Problem and Stop Doubting Yourself
Every once in a while we get offered a chance that both excites us and terrifies us. Maybe it’s too risky, or it requires us to make a huge step we don’t think we’re ready yet. However, you should know that such opportunities won’t be popping up forever and you’ll likely regret if you don’t go for one of them. This is why you need to start thinking positively and stop doubting yourself, or else you’ll only ever see the worst potential outcome in front of you. For starters, do something unconventional, surprise yourself and your family. Go for dance lessons, or even start building your own treehouse, and in time you’ll see the positive effects it had on you.
Change Your Daily Routine
Your day to day routine is probably arranged in such a way to match your current lifestyle. If you really want to make changes in your life, this routine has to be changed, or else you won’t be able to really leave your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change though to be effective. Start implementing small changes right now and in time you should feel more confident about taking a turn and doing something completely different. Once these small changes become integrated into your routine, it will become easier for you to aim for the bigger changes. This will not only positively affect your private life but also your productivity, since comfort is a productivity killer.
Stop Being Afraid of Failing
A failure at something new can actually be a better thing than success at something you’re already accustomed to. I used to be terrified of starting to kick-box and I absolutely sucked at it when I did, but it still completely changed my daily routine. There were no more sleepless nights, nor could I ever sit at a computer after training. In time, I got better at it and I made many friends over there who helped me get through it and learn. This can be applied to almost any activity. You always wanted to surf? Go do it! Don’t just wait for your life to pass you by, you’ll be a much better person if you at least try to do the things you sometimes imagined you’d do. And if you don’t like it – just back out and no harm done.
If You’re Stuck – Consider Moving
Relocating can be a game changer and it’s definitely something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Consider what’s keeping you in your town and if it’s possible for you to organize the move to another location, the one where you’d be able to start over. I always wanted to live in Anchorage, Alaska, and even though I never moved there I still keep working towards that goal somewhere in my mind. If you’re more of an adventurous type, with the help of removalists you can be quick about it and just move in one month. Rent a storage to keep your surplus stuff safe and just move there with only the most necessary things.
If you push yourself every day to try and do new things you’ll be able to leave your comfort zone and live a more satisfying life. It will also make your career more interesting, as you’ll start looking at it in a different way. Whatever it is that you’re unsatisfied with in your life, you should go on and try to change it. Compromises are great as long as you don’t make them with yourself, and trying new things will teach you that there’s more to life around you than going to the office and later watching TV. Surprise yourself, surprise your family, and you’ll soon lead a more fulfilled life than you thought was possible.
Leila Dorari is a freelance writer and self-improvement enthusiast from Sydney. Currently, she is spreading the word on useful tips and tricks that can skyrocket one’s career odds. In her spare time, she is either window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.
The 4 Best Cities for Women-Owned Businesses
While raw employment numbers have fluctuated wildly over the last ten years, the number of women who own their own businesses has continued to rise. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of female entrepreneurs in the United States grew from 5.4 million to 7.8 million. It’s now 2017, and today that number is estimated to be closer to 11 million. In other words, since 1997, the number of women-owned businesses in the US has more than doubled.
Furthermore, women-owned businesses are also growing faster than the national average. Since the great recession, the US job market has grown by a measly 1%, while women-owned businesses have grown by a whopping 18%. That said, opportunities for women differ greatly from city to city. If you’re looking for new opportunities for yourself or your business, consider these four stellar cities for women-owned businesses.
Gold — The Best City in the North East
The first city on our list should come as a surprise to no one. As the largest and wealthiest city in the country, New York is officially the best city for female entrepreneurs. In 2012, female entrepreneurs in New York received more than 140 loans from the US Small Business Administration. These loans totaled $42,281,500 and exceeded the amount given to every other state in the country. Many first-time entrepreneurs struggle to amass the necessary capital for manufacturing, inventory, and marketing. As such, these small business loans represent the tremendous opportunities available to female business owners in New York City. That said, a business loan is only the first step toward success.
Thankfully, New York’s female entrepreneurs know how to carry out their business plans. During the same time period, New York’s women-owned businesses brought in more than $104 million in revenue. If you’re thinking about doing business in New York, consider visiting one of the many resources available to female entrepreneurs and business owners, including the New York SBDC and the Women’s Business Center of New York.
Silver — The Best City in the South
Without further adieu, the best city in the south for female entrepreneurs is… actually a tie. Until very recently, Houston was without a doubt the best city for women-owned businesses. At a state level, Texas had the highest growth rate for women-owned businesses, and at a city level, Houston received a large number of SBA-backed loans. However, this legacy has been up in the air since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August of 2017. This massive storm dumped nearly 52 inches of rain on the Houston metro area and is expected to cost more than $190 billion to repair.
That said, the runner up for best city in the South is Atlanta, Georgia. Like Houston, Atlanta also has a high growth rate for women-owned businesses, and in 2012 the Small Business Administration granted more than $18 million to 19 female entrepreneurs. Last, but not least, Atlanta’s women-owned businesses also reported nearly $30 million in revenue during the same time period. Atlanta’s top five industries are agriculture, film, energy, automotive, and tourism. Resources include the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative of Atlanta.
Bronze — The Best City in the Midwest
While the first spot was a relative no-brainer, the midwest isn’t quite as predictable. Step aside Chicago—the best city in the midwest for female entrepreneurs is actually Columbus, Ohio. In 2012, women-led firms were granted more than $4 million in SBA-backed loans and made more than $42 million in revenue. Columbus has also been called the best city in the country for working mothers. This is all thanks to a low cost of living, a low unemployment rate (4.2%), a great school system, and short commutes. That’s not all, though.
Columbus even has a growing tech industry. One of the driving forces behind this trend is the Battelle Memorial Institute, a massive research center that works with several government organizations, including the United States Department of Energy. This influx of federal dollars also supports a variety of private women-led tech businesses. Popular resources for female entrepreneurs include the Women’s Small Business Accelerator of Central Ohio and Tech Columbus.
Honorable Mention — The Best City in the Southwest
Now, let’s turn our sights west of the Mississippi River. In the southwest, Denver, Colorado takes the title of “best place for female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses.” Boulder, one of Denver’s largest suburbs, actually contains the highest concentration (4.2%) of women-owned small businesses in the entire country. It also receives more SBA-backed loans per 100,000 residents than any other city. As a whole, the Denver metro area isn’t far behind. 3.22% of Denver-based businesses are owned by women. In addition, the female to male earning ratio is also higher than average at 87%. Resources include LifeCrafters Consulting and the Women’s Business Development Center.
Haley is from Gilbert, Arizona. She loves reading and writing just about anything under the sun. In her spare time, you can find her exploring outdoors or sippin’ on a craft brew.
How Organizations Can Motivate Employees
The first thing that comes to mind when the topic of motivating employees is mentioned is usually a pay rise. Still, that’s not the whole point and although money is an important part of the deal, it can’t compensate for some other issues that can kill productivity. There are many different things that can hit the right button and spark motivation, but the catch is to find what works for each and every member of your team. The crucial thing to realize is that no matter how dedicated and hard-working your employees are, it’s only logical that they can’t expect them to burn with the same zeal like you. Still, there are several tips that can help you create an enthusiastic and committed team, and you’ll be surprised at how some of them are simple and easy to use.
This should be the first step towards motivating your employees. A lot of managers actually don’t know how to communicate with their employees and they believe that some things go without saying. For example, the fact that you’re not complaining about your employees’ work isn’t enough to show them that you’re satisfied with them. A recent survey has revealed that only 42% of employees are satisfied with rewards and recognition they get. You need to show your appreciation and tell them to keep up the good work. It’s usually much easier to communicate with your staff through email or various messengers, while real, face-to-face communication is neglected nowadays. Although it’s efficiency can’t be denied, this approach is too sterile and faceless, which is why you need to talk to your employees in person as this builds rapport and the feeling of mutual trust and loyalty.
Organize work efficiently
A creative mess isn’t exactly a successful method for running a business. It’s of vital importance to delegate tasks and keep track of how the work is progressing. When your employees know what exactly is expected of them and how much time they have to finish a task, they’ll be able to prioritize work, eliminate pressure, and be more efficient and productive. A reliable online project management tool can make all the difference, and help your organization run like clockwork. This can be particularly useful for organizations that have remote employees because managing people who aren’t physically present can be a huge challenge.
Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Happy employees are productive, and one of the most important factors that affect happiness is the relaxation time during which people can rest and pursue their hobbies and interests. If there’s no healthy work-life balance, employees will be stressed out, tired, frustrated, and unproductive, not to mention that all this will affect their health which will result in more sick days. A comprehensive research study has concluded that happy workers take only one tenth the sick days of their unhappy coworkers. Besides the moral reasoning that has to do with employees’ well-being, there’s also a financial aspect because sick days are expensive for employers. So, it’s very important to encourage people to take breaks, limit staying over time, offer flexible schedules, and make sure that they take their vacation. All these steps will prevent burnout and boost productivity.
Keep your employees updated
Leaving your employees in the dark about the things that happen in the organization is something that will make them frustrated and insecure. Since they’re contributing to the success of your business, they deserve to know how the decisions you make will affect their future. Remember that they’re the ones who go through thin and thick together with the company, so make sure that they are part of all the important events. If you don’t inform them on a regular basis what your plans are, and what goes on in the company, you send them a message that they don’t matter to you and that they’re just a replaceable cog in the wheel.
Motivate them on an individual level
Not every member of the team is the same, and different things and incentives motivate them. You need to get to know your employees, understand them, and find out what works for them. It’s essential to link each individual to the success of the whole team and make them realize that their unique role in the team greatly contributes to the company. There are no small parts in this whole process, and you should make sure that your employees are aware of that. Building strong relationships among the members of the team can be a game-changer, so encourage team-building activities as much as possible.
Nobody can’t deny that a pay rise or various fancy perks can make your employees very motivated and productive, but you should also work on another, more personal and psychological level if you want to create a winning team.
Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find her luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase your expertise and receiving recognition. She is a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog “http://bizzmarkblog.com”.
Simple Hacks to Improve Your Home-Office
The relatively recent explosion in the number of people who are self-employed or who work from home for an employer has been both sudden and surprising. All kinds of issues have arisen. Schedule a visit with a qualified electrician to ensure the electrical safety of the domestic circuits for those working from home
One of the main issues which have driven this rise in an at-home-workforce, is, of course, the availability of high-speed internet connections which has allowed for improved communications in ways we only dreamed about a few short years ago.
The use of the internet is of course what allows most self-employed people to manage their businesses from home; even dog walkers and craftspeople need the internet to advertise and network.
How to improve your home office
If you’re the only person using your home office and it’s not for meeting clients or offering services, then you can please yourself regarding style and productivity
Looking at your desk is the first and most important aspect of ensuring your home office is comfortable. Do you have enough electrical outlets for a decent PC and speakers? If not, it’s vital that you don’t use unsafe power boards and extension cords around your workspace. It would be much safer and more convenient to consider having extra sockets installed by a professional.
Too many wires and sockets around a desk can be not only a fire hazard but also a tripping hazard, and even though you work from home, you still need to consider your safety!
If you’re in doubts about your electrical appliances or sockets, don’t hesitate to book an electrical safety check. That will not only give you peace of mind but could also help to lower your insurance premiums. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so you need to know that everything is in order!
Make sure your lighting is up to scratch
A surprising amount of people use insufficient lighting in and around their homes, and their home offices are no better! A good desk lamp is vital in addition to a good quality ceiling light; this will make all the difference to your working day.
Don’t be tempted to use cheap or poor-quality fixtures or bulbs, the quality won’t be reliable, and again, the cheap fittings can pose a fire hazard.
Purchasing an ergonomic chair and the best possible mouse and keyboard will ensure that you will be comfortable, suffer no repetitive strain injuries and will thrive throughout your working day.
Approach things professionally
There’s no point in setting up a stylish and beautiful home office if it’s not productive. Ensure you have the very best internet access possible and if you need to, invest in a signal extender. Your attention needs to be on the details to ensure you’re able to perform to your best ability.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in your home office, so you need to know décor matching your design style and that space is safe and comfortable!
Alana started her business as a side job in college and has worked as both a seller’s and buyer’s agent for residential transaction before moving onto commercial real estate. Having discovered her passion for writing, she converted her website ‘realtordouglas’ into a blog to offer her expertise in all real estate matters to her readers.
5 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Start Blogging
Whether you’re a self-made entrepreneur or an aspiring individual on your way to reaching your goals, blogging may be the last thing on your mind. Your mind may be so focused on other things, such as managing your work that you don’t believe there’s even enough time to get a blog off the ground.
However, there are infinite reasons as to why you should start blogging and why it can be beneficial to your day to day life. Today, we’ll explore five of the main reasons why it could be one of your best ventures yet.
I’m not going to save the best till last. Starting a blog gets your name out there into the big wide world and will give you the opportunity to meet and connect with new people that may not otherwise have found you or your business.
You may have nailed everything about your business, including your website, your service or your product but if there’s no one to use them, your business is guaranteed to fail. Blogging can help bridge the gap between you and your customers.
Prepare for Marketing
As an entrepreneur, it will feel like most of your life is spent behind a computer screen tapping away at your keyboard. When trying to promote your business, you’ll find yourself creating blogs, articles and other forms of marketing content.
What better way to practice these skills than creating blogs first-hand for a purpose. You’ll be able to find out what word count works best and what techniques work with your customers. You can use tools such as Easy Word Count and Resumention to help with this process.
Boost Your Levels of Professionalism
Running and managing a business is all about being professional. Whether you’re in a meeting with a potential partner, dealing with customers or writing content, it’s vital to your success that you remain professional.
Starting and managing your own blog is a great way to practice how to mix your brand image with this essential level of professionalism so you can find the right balance that works for your business.
Fortunately, there are several tools that can help. For example, Paper Fellows is an online editing tool that can guide you through editing your content. Likewise, online tools such as Cite It In can help you add certain professional elements to your work.
Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing is such an important business skill, and the chances are that you use the art more than even realise. Consider how much website content you create, how many emails you write, how many product descriptions you develop and all the other writing in between.
Writing a blog can help you improve and practice your writing skills so you can carry out these tasks even more effectively. You’ll learn new ways to form sentences, new tones of voice and how to write properly. Using tools such as State of Writing and Academadvisor, you can follow the resources to help you hone your skills.
Enhance Your Attention to Detail
When trying to run a business as an entrepreneur, your ability to pay attention to the details in your work is crucial and will, at the end of the day, be the make or break of your business. Whether you’re trying to design your user experience or crafting a website page, detail is the key to success.
By creating and writing your own blog, you can train your ability to pay attention to the details, helping you reach these levels of success. Using online resources such as UK Writings and Academized, you can help to improve your grammar writing and proofreading skills respectively, helping you to be the best you can be.
As you can see, starting a blog for yourself can be extremely beneficial when it comes to improving your skills as a writer, a networker and marketer, all the essential skills you’ll need to be a successful entrepreneur. Keep practicing to be the best you can be!
“Gloria Kopp is a journalist and a content writer at Big Assignments. She writes columns at Engadget, Microsoft and Australian Help. Besides, Gloria is a paper writer at Best British Essays where she contributes her reviews for students and educators.”
I think most people can relate to the feeling. It’s Monday morning… again. The iPhone alarm is blaring in my ear, my next vacation is a whole three months away and I already have 10 e-mails in my inbox that need “urgent attention.”
Then I’m running to catch the subway for my morning commute pushed up against 2,000 of my closest New York City neighbors on the downtown J train. Clutching my coffee and day dreaming about what I’m going to do the minute I can escape the office later that evening… and I haven’t even reached my stop yet.
Those days got me thinking. Why am I wasting my life waiting for the proverbial “bell” at the end of each day – the moment where I can clock out and get my life started after a full day of just going through the motions? If I added up all those hours on those five days a week year after year, that’s a whole lot of my precious, short life I’m essentially pressing the delete button on. And for what?
It started innocently enough. I started following every female location-independent entrepreneur I could find on Instagram or Facebook. Suddenly I was e-mailing old business school professors and talking to friends that were running their own companies. Each day a new travel, business or motivational book popped up on my door step after another late-night binge session with Amazon Prime.
My fascination with the idea of starting my own business and traveling the world, sipping cider in a London pub or eating noodles on a Thailand street corner, quickly became an obsession.
I stopped noticing the shoves from angry impatient commuters pushing their way through the platform on Monday morning because I was listening to podcasts and audible books, taking notes in the leather-bound journal I kept in my handbag.
And before I could even drop my laptop at the door of my apartment I was watching TED Talks and scheduling Skype calls with potential new clients or business partners. The bug had bit me and I knew there was no coming back from this. I was officially an entrepreneur.
The more I listened to the success stories of people once like me, looking for an escape from the 9-to-5 to run their life on their own terms and see corners of the world I’d only dreamed of, the more I thought – “what’s stopping me from doing that?”
I was just as educated, smart and scrappy. If they can do it, so can I, right?
And as I write this from my Airbnb in sunny Portugal in my yoga pants without a high heel or suit in sight, I can tell you for certain. You can do it, too.
There’s no greater feeling than knowing you are in the driver’s seat of your life. If I’m feeling inspired and want to work until 5am, go watch the sunrise over Florence, stop for an espresso and then stroll back to my apartment to sleep all day – well, I can do just that. The only person in charge of me and my business is me. And no promotion, raise, paycheck or pat on the back from a superior can give me that.
Have you thought about starting a business to trade in your briefcase for a backpack? I share more about being an entrepreneur while solo traveling across the world in my blog, Anna Out of Office.
Anna Lee Grymes is the Founder of Spare Marketer LLC, a full-service marketing company specializing in the real estate industry. Her life’s passion is travel and she has built her business around doing just that. While working in the demanding finance industry on Wall Street in NYC she realized she was going to need a lot more than three weeks of vacation to see the world. So, Anna built her business around location-independent living, quit her corporate job, and can be found running her company anywhere from a hammock in Bali to a pub in Dublin. And she blogs about it all on www.annaoutofoffice.com. Anna is a Jacksonville, Florida native and graduated with an MBA from the University of Florida. Learn more about her life on the road less traveled on Instagram and Facebook.