Why Starting a Business Blog is Important – 3 Tips For a Big Buck Business Blog

Let’s take a quick look at blogging for business. So many folks believe that blogs are simply the domain of the myspace generation, little online journals to record and share mundane life facts that no one in the “real” world could possibly care about. If we are being honest, and you speak to MANY business owners a bit beyond the Generation X age, their ideas of what a blog really accomplishes are a bit out of touch. So if that is you…read on as we examine some quick and easy reasons why jumping into the blogging game COULD be the best investment your business can make!

Search Engine Visibility

Quite simply, a blog has SO much more potential to be found in the SERP’s in rapid fire turn around time. Why? They are topical, relevant and time stamped, and the search engines undoubtedly want to keep fresh information constantly at the fingertips of their “customers” – i.e. – folks browsing the web. Add in the dynamic elements of blog posting, the dedicated blog search engines that ONLY track blogs and RSS feeds, and you have a recipe for getting YOUR message out front of your audience quickly.

Participation in Your Message

The number one thing that blogs build, in my opinion, is participation. They bond your clients, or potential clients, to your message in ways that NO boilerplate ad, commercial or mailing can do. They provide a forum, both literally, and even figuratively, for your audience to interact with your words, message, and ideas. Polls, comments, user submitted materials, you name it – a blog helps you move to the ground floor where the conversation is really taking place!

Humility

A blog will make you HUMAN as well. Look at Mark Cuban for example – his blog, NOT written in the most terrific or poetic style, has made HIM one of the most popular entrepreneurs (and blogs) in the world. People identify with people they can touch – and if you are there, informally, sharing your thoughts, feelings and failings with the masses, people will go out of their way to show their support. For NEW business, and old businesses alike, if you are NOT blogging today….you will REGRET it tomorrow for sure..:-)

What Are Stock Market Options? For Those New to Investing

When you buy a stock in a company you are buying a part of the company. Now to make this article easier to understand I am going to describe a company that I will use as an example.

Company XYZ

1000 stocks in total for the company

Cost of each stock is $1.00

Now if I buy 1 stock out of the 1000 out there I will own 1/1000 of the company. Well a stock option is different. When you buy a stock option you are not buying any of the stock. What you are buying is the option to buy that stock at a certain price later. You might be thinking that this is a horrible idea because you no longer own any of the company. However, the great part of purchasing a stock option is the leverage you get with it.

If you purchase 100 stocks from company xyz and the price of the stocks then rise to $1.50 and you sell all your stocks you just earned $50.00

not bad but…..

If you had purchased just 1 stock option (each option is for 100 stocks) which would have cost you $14 and the price of the stock had then risen to $1.50 each and you use your option would have then made $435.65.

I know which I would choose

Now the reason that this stock option will earn you so much more is because you can purchase more for the same cost and for every dollar that a stock price rises the price of an option (the amount you can sell it for) will rise exponentially. For example if the stock price rises $1.00 then the stock option price might rise $5.36 so less change has to occur to make profits.

Now since I am talking about stock I must warn you that every caution should be taken when investing. In fact there is a lot of risk in the stock market you need to carefully consider each purchase you make because you can lose money. You should only invest with money that you can afford to lose. Of course your goal is to profit but you can never tell which way the stock market will be swinging on any given day because if there was then we would all be billionaires. There are other methods of making money online from home that offer more security, perhaps not quite as much profit potential, but still allow you to earn a profit from your house.

7 Great Tips For Finding a Freelance Designer For Your Project

Hiring a freelancer can be an intimidating venture for anyone who owns a small business or for anyone looking to partner up on a project. If you have never done this, your first thought is to go to a site like Fiverr, O-Desk, Upwork and Freelancer.com.

However, I would be very careful about hiring from these places. If price is important to you these sites might be of some value. However, odds are you are going to hire someone that is not from the US and might not understand the nuances of your specific market.

What should you pay for a freelance designer?

It comes down to two things – experience and location. If you are hiring someone in the U.S. and are looking for someone who is a senior level designer with years of experience expect an hourly rate to be somewhere in the range of $60/hour and up. Lots of designers also work for flat fee but keep in mind, designers are like any other business they need to make a profit off of their work. We have many tools, training, and software expenses that we need to stay on top of and those things come with a price for us.

You could hire a more junior designer from somewhere in the neighborhood of $35/hour but be prepared to do more managing of the designer and hand holding through projects.

I have seen several companies hire a “cheaper” solution for the design projects only to find:

  • They are half way around the world and are working on your project when you are sleeping. When you are awake, they are sleeping or nowhere to be found.
  • You have to wait 24 hours to get quick changes made which can be frustrating.
  • Sometimes are language barriers and cultural differences which lead to several glaring spelling errors or poor choice of imagery.
  • You cannot just call them up on the phone. There are small windows of time during the day or your evening to have a discussion.
  • The Designer didn’t understand something and now you have to wait another night/day before those changes can be done.

What is the key difference between a local vs international designer?

It can be valuable to have a designer locally or one that you can call up and have a screen share with to go over your changes to help you clearly communicate what you are looking for. You also can get things done quicker and last minute if they are just a quick call away and are at least in the same time zone.

Several years ago a client I was working with ran an advertising campaign in the States. It was very successful, so the client decided to run it over in Europe -

And It failed. MISERABLY…

What they did not realize at the time was the messaging for that same ad that worked so well in the United States had an entirely different meaning in Europe. Just hiring someone to translate the text for you will not always work. What they should have done was hire a consultant that knows the overseas culture before publishing the ad.

Their mistake was simply not having the right person who understands all the nuances and cultural differences that were lacking.

You ideally want to hire someone that you can have a relationship with for any projects that come up. Someone dependable and knowledgeable in areas that are weaknesses for you. You should think of the Designer as an extension of your team and someone that can help you craft your brand alongside you.

This is the number one reason why copywriters and marketers team up with Art Directors and Designers. Working together as a team helps make whatever project they are working on stronger because they compliment each other’s skill set.

If you are a business owner or just looking for someone to help round out your areas of weaknesses (for me it’s copywriting and development – and why I often team up with Copywriters and Developers)

Here are some helpful guidelines to help you hire the Best Freelance Designer for your project(s):

  1. Ask other business owners/friends/family if they have any resources for people that have worked for them. This is great because you already know the work process from your reference – no one would recommend someone they were not happy with and will give you some insight on the freelancers pricing. Social media is also a great place to reach out to associates/friends for their input and recommendations.
  2. Use a tool like LinkedIn and LinkedIn Profinder to find freelancers. Profinder is a great way to start conversations with Freelancers.Once you submit what you are looking for you’ll get up to 5 contacts from designers looking to help you out on your project. You also might get direct contacts from designers on LinkedIn that you should check out.You can always delete your connection with that person if it doesn’t work out. It’s just a tool to opening a door to meet great local designers who you can even meet in person to see if you are a good personality fit. And yes, personality fit is important. If they are to be an extension of your team (even if it’s only you in your business) make sure you like not only their style of design but also feel comfortable with them as a person too.Other great resources are Coroflot, Behance, and Dribble.
  3. If you find someone online, look at their portfolio (if it’s visual or read their sample copy). As the designer a lot of questions. Point out specifics and ask what their role in the project was. Ask if the design was mostly their idea or if they had a lot of input from the client or team that they are working on. Ask if they research the images or were they given to them. If it’s a drawing, ask if they used other art to put it together or if it was original. It’s always great to ask more questions to get insight into the designers brain and process. The other key is if you don’t like what you see or read in their portfolio, don’t expect a different outcome for your project. Stop right there don’t proceed with this freelancer!
  4. Talk to them on Skype or in Person. Getting a visual on someone is important to see if you have a connection with them. The better they understand you, the better chance your project will be a great success.
  5. Get references from the designer and CHECK THEM… Yes, it’s a pain in the tush, but it’s important. Find out what other say about their work experience. You’ll be happy you did.
  6. Start out with a small project first to see if it’s a good fit for what you are looking for. Consider this a trial run – however, expect to pay for this – Freelancers don’t work for free (well at least the good ones don’t).
  7. Don’t lowball the designer. Expect to pay at least $35/hour for a junior designer and at least $60/hr and above for senior level. Remember, you really do get what you pay for. Consider working on a flat fee but expect to pay more for anything that is out of the original scope of the project. Designers don’t like to feel like they are being taken advantage of and can hurt any future relationship you might have with them.

These tips can really save you time and headache when hiring a freelance design consultant. Happy Hiring!