According to numerous studies, including one published in an article in the Business Insider, “your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion. And, because perception is often reality, what you wear not only communicates who you are in the minds of others, but also influences your level of career advancement.”
What this essentially tells us, is it that not only does being properly put-together force people to see you as someone who has it all figured out, but when you take pride in what you wear, the external perception turns into an internalized sense of capability, power and competency. So, needless to say – what you wear and how you accessorize is more important than you might have ever thought, with fall just around the corner, it’s time to talk business. Business attire, that is.
The one that says it all
We could think of countless clothing options that will send just the right message, whether you work for yourself, are in charge of a great number of people, or you’re one of the worker bees trying to climb the corporate ladder. There are superiors to impress, power to exude for those working under you and showing potential clients and investors that you are the perfect person for the job. However, in a sea of professional and chic clothing options, there is one that still reigns supreme, and we have a feeling this will be the case for a very long time – the power suit.
You can opt for a slightly oversized version, which is super chic and shows that you are both in control and not too uptight. Then, there is the pastel pantsuit, perfect for the beginning of fall as it exudes equal parts of femininity and power. Now, once we enter the colder fall months, this period will call for more serious and truly scientifically powerful hues such as navy, black and grey. Make sure it fits perfectly, so you don’t look slouchy as this is often associated with frumpiness; make sure it’s perfectly pressed and crisp, and with the right blouse, possibly something with a bow neckline. Just take care that you stock up on formal blouses and classic white shirts since these will save the day every time and mesh with everything you’ve got.
That perfect dress
When it comes to dresses in the office, this tricky area must be approached with the utmost care. You don’t want it to be too short or tight as that might send a signal about a lack of professionalism and knowledge on the dress code.
Now, if the dress in question is purple, all the better, as ultra-violet (hence all similar shades) is the official color of the year, and since according to Pantone it represents power and change, what better way to incorporate it into your wardrobe than with a dress that will dazzle at work and send all the right signals, not to mention awakening the femme go-getter in you.
There are days when things at the office are pretty low-key, which is the perfect time to bust out the ultimate business casual power combo. All you need for a killer office appropriate yet stylish outfit is a pair of dark wash jeans – emphasis on the dark – a quality cotton tee, and a larger than life cool blazer. You can elevate the look with classic pumps or give the feet a rest with flat oxfords, which are both sensible and sharp, and with a great simple tote on your shoulder, you are ready to go.
Now, as a busy woman who is always on the go, you probably don’t have all the time in the world to browse through countless boutiques, so the wisest and most time-saving things you can do for your style is to turn to a great online clothing store which offers a variety of garments, from blouses, blazers, tees and even outerwear and kill several style birds with one stone.
The young professional
No piece of outerwear says “I’m a pro” like a classic trench coat. This little number elevates the simplest of outfits. It’s also sharp and smart, but also currently (and always) on trend and on point, which makes it the smartest work and life outerwear investment you’ll ever make.
The cool girl factor
Since most companies nowadays have loosened up the dress code to a certain extent, a motto leather jacket has become to office attire what the little black dress is for formal events – a foolproof item. Depending on what you choose to wear on that particular day, your outfit can become edgier or more casual, and this kind of versatility this jacket provides is always welcome.
A jumpsuit is one of the easiest things you can pull out of your closet, perhaps even a garment that is easier to style than the mighty dress. Just make sure the fabric is a bit sturdier and doesn’t crease, that the pattern isn’t too loud or too busy. A black jumpsuit with white stripes is always a safe bet, and it looks great with any of the aforementioned pieces of outerwear, and if the dress code allows it, you can even rock it with tennis shoes.
Speaking of shoes
So, classic pumps, flat oxford, loafers, leather flats and leather tennis shoes along with camel ankle boots will get you through the fall without compromising your sense of style. The era of sky-high stilettos is over, so don’t torture your feet when there are so many chic office-friendly options out there.
Every busy woman needs a good big bag that can handle everything she throws at it. A solid leather tote is your best choice, although news on the street is that leather backpacks, which are super sleek and chic, are the new business tote, so if you have room for two investments of this variety, go for both.
Sophia Smith is an Australia-based beauty and style blogger. She is very passionate about the latest fashion trends and graphic design projects. Sophia writes mostly about beauty- and fashion-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Viva Glam Magazine, How to Simplify, Whytt Magazine and Carousel.You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook Twitter Google +
Looking for the magic pill to achieve ”work-life balance?” Unfortunately, there is no such magical thing, but by incorporating some of these strategies into your own life, you’ll find it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship with family while finding time to pursue your passions and business goals.
Every entrepreneur struggles to find a balance and being a parent makes that struggle ten times more difficult. Working moms are amazing jugglers who execute multiple roles. You have to acknowledge all you’ve accomplished. The spirit of doing all the things and doing it every day is the driving force that keeps you running on the road to successful work-life balance.
Manage your time and learn to say no
Time management is one of the biggest challenges working moms face. Focus on the essential tasks first. Learn to say no to least important tasks and simplify your work. Using a calendar broken into categories of task importance to manage both professional and personal priorities will be helpful. Split it up into four groups: Urgent/important, urgent/not important, not urgent/important and not urgent/not important. Get it the habit of jotting down a to-do as it comes up and prioritizing its importance early on.
Have a Plan
All mompreneurs use planners to balance their work and family life. Some use paper organizers and some prefer apps and software. The good news is that you can keep both personal and work appointments on the same calendar to avoid a clash. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different systems. Play around with apps like Asana or Trello and see what best works for you, what makes you more efficient and organized. Toggl is another helpful tool that allows you to keep track of hours to maximize productivity and efficiency. It allows you to see break down your schedule according to specific tasks and projects and then provides you with weekly and monthly summaries.
Business startups can be challenging, so you need to remain optimistic while facing failure. You will encounter a plethora of difficulties balancing your work and family simultaneously, but do not fall into despair. Remind yourself that you have the potential and you can do it. A positive mindset will help you visualize your goals. A positive attitude is priceless.
Replace the word “perfect” with “good enough”
Most moms want to be the perfect mother, perfect wife, and a perfect entrepreneur – all at the same time, but chasing this perfectionism takes the joy out of motherhood. While making your work life perfect, you somehow lack in making your family life perfect, so isn’t it better to balance both with “good enough” rather than “perfect”?
Make time for family
Family time can relieve stress, develop positive behavior and help you lead a healthy lifestyle. All these things will be beneficial in the startup world when you are struggling to remain positive. Organize family camping trips, game nights, walks to the park, and build a quality relationship with your family. These are little things that are worth your valuable time and you will never regret it.
Make sure you’re also awarding yourself some “me” time. Challenge yourself to work a little bit more the night before so you can reserve the following day for extra long naps, a movie marathon, trying out a new recipe, a much deserved shopping trip, or whatever it is that leaves you feeling recharged.
Don’t let mommy guilt destroy your morale
When receiving unwanted parental advice whether it’s direct or passive, pay no attention. Do what works for you. Internalizing the “shoulds” and “should nots” in your life can create unnecessary hurdles in your success.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s difficult to find time to be alone. When you are struggling to balance your work and family, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you can manage everything. Things will get better with time. Find some self-reflection time for yourself.
It is possible to balance motherhood and a successful, exciting career. It takes dedication, passion, patience, and self-love.
To all the mothers tackling their own businesses or juggling a high-power career with kiddos, keep inspiring!
Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinson for more updates.
Valuable Things That Business School Won’t Teach You
Sure, it’s great to have on your resume if you went to a highly esteemed business school, but that isn’t what makes the difference between a good and a great employer. The corporate rat race can be a winding and difficult road, but the qualities that will carry you through the tough times are essentially the same as they are in any other field: focus, gratitude, humility, and patience.
These are the timeless traits that will make you into an effective force no matter what you choose to do with your life. There are plenty of people with distinguished qualifications, but they fail to ever become a force to be reckoned with because they lack these qualities.
Here are some skills which are essential for your future success, things that school can’t always teach:
While MBA programs are quick to emphasize things like presentation skills, it is rare that the focus is on listening skills. Listening makes up half of communication, so it must not be overlooked. Some people may think speaking is the most important part of the equation, and assume that listening is simply for the weak or incompetent, but nothing is further from the truth.
Listening can make you a better leader, as you are taking in more information before making your decisions. If you do not listen to your team, you are simply unfit to steer the ship in an effective way because you are choosing to only view the situation from one perspective: your own.
Learning to Work Together
This is a skill that goes hand in hand with listening skills. You need to be able to work synergistically with those around you, whether they are employees or coworkers.
While you don’t need to be friends with everyone outside of work, learning to work effectively with all types of personalities is a must for success. Many companies today are making great strides in regard to managing teamwork via project management software. This is something for a business owner to consider if the team as a whole is struggling.
Focus On Goals
Without setting your sights on something tangible to accomplish, you and the team will be improperly oriented for success. Setting goals will amp up focus and morale, and lead to incredible results. Sure, simply aiming to “do well” in whatever you do is a noble mindset, but when it comes down to the reality of directing a business, you need to put more concrete concepts of success in mind.
It’s a good idea to have a goal that is challenging but still attainable. In much the same way you wouldn’t go to the gym and immediately try to bench press 300lbs, you do not want to place the bar too highly in your business endeavors.
Think of goals as periodic stretches of your company’s ability, just as you would add weights slowly to a bar. These challenges will be engaging to those participating, while also expanding everyone’s abilities in the process. There’s no discovering the potential of a company without strategically pushing the limits.
Utilizing Latest Technology
They likely go over different technologies in business school, but the landscape of what’s possible changes every single day. Automation is a facet that can readily be applied to your business model to stellar results.
In the past, long despised duties like accounting or billing required valuable man hours. Fortunately, high quality AP automation software and inventory software are now options instead, which hold enormous potential for saving money, time, and stress.
When people are churned out of school with an MBA, many times they are regarded as rude, condescending, or otherwise too casual. Be careful not to overestimate how much other people care about your MBA.
Business veterans will tell you there is a standard of manners and grooming which are unspoken yet entirely crucial. Being mindful of the importance of etiquette
can go a long way.
Keep in mind that there are many people worse off than you, no matter how much a certain situation at work is bothering you. If you saw one of your peers get promoted, don’t be mad that it wasn’t you. Instead, look at the situation realistically and be honest with yourself. There was probably a perfectly feasible reason why that person got the promotion and you didn’t. Perhaps they were there longer, or emanate helpfulness in a way that you don’t. Instead of being mad, simply assess the situation and learn from it.
Nowadays, when people enter their first job, many times they convey a sense of entitlement, which is disconcerting to other people. Nobody likes a person that comes in to the office expecting everyone to owe them something, they do not.
You need to remember that even the highest ranking CEO’s once needed to earn their keep early on. Don’t assume that just because you graduated from school that the education ends there; learning is a lifelong process and it always will be.
Gil Artmoore has spent the past two decades working various roles in IT departments for many businesses, small and large. Recently, he started writing out the things he’s learned, experienced, and witnessed in the small business/tech world during his career. He is eager to share his insights with the rest of the world.
10 Tips On Starting A Home-Based Business With Your Spouse
With extreme inflation impacting each household, savings are at a constant drop. The annual increment in your income is never enough! Under such a scenario, who would mind a source of extra income? Starting something of your own becomes an interesting opportunity to keep the money flowing. Isn’t it?
This is a great opportunity for all those who dream of setting up a home-based business. Now the perspective that we bring here is about venturing into this space with your spouse. How would you like that? Does anyone dream about co-managing a business with their partners? Agreed, that it is a great risk. Even when your partnership at home works well, doesn’t mean that you could be great at doing business together. Frankly, it can go either way.
So before you take the first step, it is advisable to understand the pre-requisites of a business that you share with your spouse.
For those who are starting the venture and one partner acts as a silent partner, it still seems manageable. However, in case both of you are acting partners, it is a lot to think about. If you feel that you will not be able to deal with the constant scrutiny or deal with the others’ presence day in and out. Think through this idea again!
- Are You On the Same Page: Why do you want to start the venture? Do you both agree on the aim? Are you working towards the same goals? Have you thought everything through thoroughly together? This includes your budget, who you’re with for your business electricity (you should be with the cheapest option), how you’re going to advertise your business, etc. Even a slight misalignment of the goals can cause great rifts between the greatest working partners. And, your marriage can be at stake here.
- Think of a Business Plan: Each business requires a plan to begin with: outlining your investments, your competitors, your target areas, and the defined ways to achieve them. If you’re not sure what to do but you are confident you want to start a business from home, you could have a look into some products to sell on shopify? Once you outline the draft, you could take opinion from a business consultant to understand the viability of it all. Make sure that your plan includes security. This is something most home businesses forget about and so their resources get stolen and they can’t do any work. Make sure you have planned for a home security camera alarm system.
- Separate out the Family and Business Matters: Howsoever smartly you begin your business with your spouse, family matters will keep cropping up. Shut that door, then and there. You need to understand that both issues have different requirements and space in life
- Define Roles: Define yours and your spouse’s role, along with the role of your support staff. Outline the KRAs and Competency parameters. You will need all of these to align roles appropriately.
- Communication: Keeping lines of communication open is a pre-requisite. Do not shut doors on each other’s’ ideas. It will lead to mayhem. Give each other both: the required space and opportunities to express, whenever desired.
- Act as a Team: You are a team, so act like one. Especially in front of your customers.
- Plan for Contingencies: Always start a business upon planning for contingencies. You must always have a Plan B. Help each other out whosoever’s fault it is.
The abovementioned tips will surely come handy if and whenever you decide to launch a business with your spouse. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best business ideas in this context:
- Home Based Dealership: You can initiate a clothing business by bringing in traditional/low priced outfits directly from the merchants and reselling them online/physical store. You are effectively benefitting the merchant by removing multiple channels of sales. Enhancing their profit and yours too.
- Manpower Services: You could well open an employment services firm that deals with blue collared workers or some white collared jobs as well. Connect with few companies or factories, requiring a regular inflow of works men on a contractual basis. You can then advertise your services to regions with high density of works men like welders, craftsmen, mechanics etc.
- Home Tutoring: This is one of the most chosen for, home-based businesses by women everywhere. It is the sheer nature and joy that something like this brings about. The educated women of today are dealing with several responsibilities, both at home and work front. In cases wherein they are unable to do a full-time job, outside of the home, they can easily tutor children. This could be done through one-on-one classes, batches of classes at their own home or home tutoring by online/offline means. There are several online portals that assist students seeking home tuitions with tutors having the desired qualifications.
- Freelance Writing: Both you and your spouse can be great freelance writers. You can choose to expand your team of writers, as the work grows. Initiate by reaching out to companies that outsource a lot of writing work, from their website content to regular blogs, and articles.
- Creative Gifting Solutions: Home-based entrepreneurs like these use the easily available material to create creative gifts for children’s parties, return gifts, gift baskets etc. You could try and research on the net, to learn few essential tricks and identify cheap marketplaces to order the raw material from.
- Home Baking: Ok, who wouldn’t want a piece of cake? Why not bring in your spouse for helping you with the piling orders. Let one of you look at the inventory of material, manage the orders, and deliver them. While the baking expert can create marvels through his/her baking skills.
- Graphics Designing: Graphic designers help us all by designing the flyers advertising our businesses, informational pamphlets, advertisements etc. For home entrepreneurs like ‘home bakers’, a product catalogue will come in very handy. Wherein, clients can have a look at the different kinds of bread, cakes, and pastries they can order from.
- Virtual Assistant: Employers worldwide are looking for virtual assistants to help them with day to day planning. You can organize meetings, respond to emails, enter the data or update their social media accounts.
- Transcriptionist: You just need the gifted power of ‘listening’. Listen to the audio file and write what you hear. You could be working for a lecturer giving online lectures or a speaker. Just type in the speech in the desired language, without any grammatical and factual errors.
- Corporate Trainers: Sitting at home, you can work as a corporate trainer and guide employees of a company on a chosen topic. It could be a team building session or a session on improving their communication skills.
These are some of the ways and means wherein you can involve yourself and your spouse in fruitful home-based businesses. If you keep in mind the tips shared in the article, it will be a smooth course for both of you. You could then take your pick from amongst the given ideas of business.
Monica Gill is self-driven person currently associated with SmileTutor the best maths tuition agency in Singapore. She is passionate about writing and collecting new books. She loves traveling whenever she needs time off of her busy schedule. Her favorite holiday destination is Hawaii.
Three Types Of Insurance Every Entrepreneur Needs
As an entrepreneur, you are probably used to dealing with uncertainty. Starting a new venture in an undefined market with an untested customer base is the epitome of uncertainty. Most may not know it as you do, but that is the very uncertainty that defines life. You may have also figured out as an entrepreneur that you must hedge your bets against potential loss. Picking the right insurance policy is very similar to picking the right venture. It means that you minimize the chances of irreparable loss if the unthinkable happens.
All too often entrepreneurs are dramatically slowed down by “black swan” events. Here, we will discuss the three types of insurance you will need as an entrepreneur to protect your ventures, your family and yourself.
Two things are certain in this life: death and taxes. Now while we can manoeuvre taxes and perhaps hope they get lowered, death is of a permanence we cannot control.
Life insurance is a partial answer to the puzzle of death. As an entrepreneur, your family may depend on you as a breadwinner. As you are not employed formally, you may not have the luxury of company-sponsored insurance schemes. Taking up life insurance is therefore a must.
You may opt for either term life insurance or permanent life insurance. The former, as the name suggests, is for a period. Perhaps 20 years. After the term lapses, you get paid a lump sum. Permanent life insurance is only payable after you die. It is paid to those who survive you. In both cases, the money paid out goes a long way in covering funeral expenses, federal death (estate) taxes and creditors.
Do note one major factor. Depending on your type of entrepreneurship, it might be a smart idea to opt in for AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment insurance). The problem with life insurance is that it only pays out when you die.
Imagine you are in an accident and you survive but are left maimed and unable to work. If you died, your family would be well off – but you did not, so now you are at risk of transforming from the breadwinner to a financial burden. This is where AD&D comes in. According to Meetfabric.com, entrepreneurs who are involved with riskier businesses or hobbies such as extreme sports, driving, construction and a few others are the ones that would benefit most from AD&D.
The chances are you losing an eye-ball to your office stapler are pretty low, so AD&D is not for everyone. But if you are one of the more risk prone people out there, then it is an important option to consider.
In other words, when you walk out of life, your insurance walks in.
As an entrepreneur, chances are you own a car. Driving a car without auto insurance is illegal in most states. Therefore if you have no insurance, do not hesitate to visit a website like One Sure Insurance and consider getting a quote. Some states, however, only require third-party auto insurance. This covers only the damage to the other car and any harm to passengers in the other car. However, some states require you have comprehensive auto insurance. This covers both your vehicle and the other vehicle. This also includes occupants of both cars.
For an entrepreneur, this is unavoidable as you probably move around a lot. You also must manage your expenses as a costly accident could cripple your finances. Imagine having to pay for someone else’s car and whatever medical bills that other person concocts.
Auto insurance also applies to commercial vehicles. Again, this could either be third party cover or comprehensive cover. One thing to note is if you have third party auto insurance and your car gets totalled or stolen, the insurance company will not compensate you. That is why comprehensive auto insurance is highly recommended. Finding out what requirements your state has on auto insurance is the first step to getting the right auto insurance cover. It may also be helpful to visit the Auto Finance Online website if you need a financial hand with buying a new vehicle, such as a caravan.
Finally, health insurance is a must for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a stressful field. There can be crushing amounts of uncertainty and unrelenting pressure as you build your business. In such a scenario, you do not want to fall ill and not have health insurance.
Health insurance allows you to walk into a hospital, receive treatment, and leave without paying a thing. The cover also allows for medical checkups. While most people get health insurance through their employer or their spouse/ partner’s employer, there are policies available for entrepreneurs.
These are often termed as self-employed health insurance covers. You can purchase these polices from most insurance companies that offer health insurance. The average cost as per a 2016 Department of Health and Human Services survey was $106 per month after subsidies. This gives a rough indication of how much it would cost you. Factors that will push this figure either up or down include copay arrangements, level of cover, inclusions and exclusions, among others.
While insurance often seems like an unnecessary expense, statistics bear it out: 100% of Americans will die; 100% of Americans will fall sick in their lifetime; 100% of Americans who drive will have at least a 1% risk of having an auto accident in their lifetime. With such statistics, it is easy to see why everyone needs these three types of insurance, and not only entrepreneurs.
For the last 22 years Brandi Zeledon has worked for major firms analyzing market data, interviewing world-class entrepreneurs, and studying global finance. With the massive demand for accurate, potent, and game changing information out there, she decided to start her Bulletproof Financing blog. By combining her passions for finance and writing, she has now found the perfect medium to continue her career.
6 Ways to Develop Leadership Skills Through Self-Awareness
People who are self-aware are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to continually work to improve their behaviors and become better leaders. Leaders are people whom we look up to and strive to emulate. By ignoring your weaknesses, you guarantee that you will struggle with them for the rest of your life. That’s where self-awareness and leadership development come into play.
Are You Self-Aware?
Be honest with yourself. Do you set a good example for your team? Would you want to work for someone like you? Do you set a bar for your colleagues? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you should ask yourself why. If you can’t come up with an answer immediately, you are not self-aware.
Self-awareness affects the functionality of the brain. To be self-aware, you must actively think about your every action. This can be difficult at first but it is important to solving problems that negatively impact your leadership skills.
1. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Use this exercise to practice self-awareness. As you go throughout your day, actively think about what you are doing. Ask yourself if you are performing a task correctly or if you need to improve. Mentally log, or better yet, write down the skills you need to improve upon as well as your strengths. At the end of your day, sit down and take an inventory of these items.
You should have two lists; strengths and weaknesses. Take a good look at your strengths. Your goal with your strengths is to maintain them. Your weaknesses are leadership behaviors to improve upon.
2. Admit to Your Weaknesses
First, it is important to admit to yourself that you need help with the items on your list of weaknesses. Once you know you need improvement, work on setting short-term and long-term goals that will help turn your weaknesses into strengths.
3. Set Short-term Goals
Your list of short-term goals should include any items that you can fix immediately or within the coming days or weeks. For example, if you don’t acknowledge the contributions of individual team members, saying “Thank you!” or “Great job!” will help you acknowledge team members immediately and will improve your team’s morale.
It’s not enough to simply change the behavior for one day. It needs to become second nature to you; A habit. Don’t check anything off your list of weaknesses until it is something you do naturally without thinking about it. You must be consistent before moving on.
4. Set Long-term Goals
Long-term goals are goals that will take a significant amount of time to improve upon. Expect to spend several months to years to complete these. There may also be several short-term goals that you have to accomplish before you tackle a long-term goal. Just focus on keeping your momentum.
An example of a long-term goal might be your ability to solve problems. This skill is more complex than taking a moment to say thank you. Solving problems takes improving several smaller skills in order to complete your goal. It also involves changing how your brain functions.
Set smaller, short-term goals within your larger goals. You could, for instance, try using a solving puzzle or game in order to improve your cognitive skills. Games and puzzles help you develop a strategy. Developing a strategy is an exercise that becomes easier with practice and will help you achieve your long-term goal.
5. Ask Others for Advice
If you are stuck or have no idea what you can do to improve a skill, ask for feedback and advice. If you have a role model in the workplace, ask he or she how they handle a problem you struggle with. More often than not, he or she will be more than willing to help you figure out a way you can fix the problem.
Don’t be afraid to ask your team members for their feedback as well. They may see weaknesses that you were not able to see on your own. Ask them for their suggestions. Once they realize that improving your leadership skills is beneficial to their success, they will provide you with constructive criticism to help you improve those unknown weaknesses.
6. Reassess Your Progress
Self-awareness is a skill that a person must work on actively every day. Doing so ensures that while you are improving your weaknesses, your strengths remain strong. Every week, sit down to assess your goals from the previous week, add new goals, and check off those that you have achieved.
Self-awareness is a worthwhile investment in your time that will hone your leadership skills. In no time, you will find that self-awareness helps you to excel in the workplace and will open up a world of opportunities.
Author Bio: Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. As a freelancer, she understands the importance of productivity at work. Connect with Riya on twitter, @sanderriya.