I realize that the title of this post implies an article specifically about business marketing success—and, it is—but I’ve discovered that these tips can actually be applied to almost any career path. So, for all you soon-to-be and recent graduates, pay attention.
Finding a job after college can be a daunting prospect—especially after hearing for the past four years about the economy’s current state of decline. However, finding a successful job after graduation is not as allusive as the stats make it out to be. Here are a few trade secrets I’ve gleaned from business friends as the keys to their success.
When you hear success stories and see others rise to the top of the field, it can seem like magic. However, success right out of school is actually the product of years of preparation and a lot of hard work.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the competition out there is stiff. If you aren’t on your best game, you shouldn’t expect to be rewarded. The world pays you for the value you can offer. Thus, the best thing you can do to ensure success right off the bat is to start early. Learn as much as you can.
Though most people will tell you that college is there to prepare you for a job, its primary function is to teach you how to think. That is why it really doesn’t matter what your major is. Yes, it’s true that some majors have better job rates. And certainly for technical careers you would be wise to pursue a technical major. But for all the other jobs out there, employers are looking for candidates who can think and work hard. Any four year degree should be able to tell them that. Thus, what is really important is how you spend those four years.
Did you do any internships? Did you study outside of your assigned homework and curriculum? Did you start your own company out of your dorm room?
Those who take their futures into their hands and proactively seek opportunities to learn and grow in their prospective field will have a much higher chance of both landing a job out of school and finding success there.
In a presentation to recent college graduates, LinkedIn founder and entrepreneur, Reid Hoffman, explained that when we look for career opportunities we are really looking for people. This is because people are inextricably connected to these opportunities.
We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And in many ways this rings true. Even the most qualified candidates are going to remain in low or underpaid jobs if they don’t nurture their professional network and seek opportunities to connect with people. Therefore, in conjunction with my previous advice, start early to develop your professional network and begin meeting people. You never know who the “right” person is going to be for you. So don’t limit yourself.
Talk to people whether you have a job or not. If you don’t have job, you might meet someone who can launch your career. If you do have a job already, instead of sitting on your laurels, use networking as a chance to boost your career and open doors to your ambitions. Just as no man is an island, neither does his success come autonomously. People are the key to your success, as much as you.
Why is it important to be able to brainstorm effectively? Well, brainstorming is the foundation for all creative and innovative ideas. Being able to look at a problem and find a solution that not only solves the problem, but does so in an ingenious way can make you an invaluable asset in any business or company. When you can think outside the box, come up with a multitude of high-value ideas, and generate fresh and innovative content you’ll become an essential member of any team.
Today, I’m going to help you become a brainstorming genius. How, you’re wondering..well, I’ve compiled 6 of my favorite tips, tricks, and techniques to help you come up with the best ideas and keep them flowing.
1. Make a Daily Inspiration Checklist
Come up with a series of blogs, online newspapers and magazine that you take time to look at every day. Go through each of these sites every day to discover what’s going on in the world, get inspired, and keep yourself informed. Write down anything you found interesting, informative, or helpful.
Here are some sites that I use for daily inspiration:
500px: Here you’ll find photos taken from creative individuals around the world. Spend time browsing through cool, quirky, and creative images.
Creative Market: If you’re a designer or just looking for ways to incorporate beautiful design into all aspects of your daily life, Creative Market is a great resource and inspiration site. You’ll find posts like: 7 Tips for Staying Creative and Models for Decision Making, as well as resources for creating beautiful designs like illustrations, graphics, Photoshop Add-ons and more.
COLOURlovers: If you’re looking to get inspired when it comes to color palettes and color schemes, COLOURlovers is your go-to resource. Find thousands of palettes created by others and create your own plattes as well.
Design Taxi: This blog, updated daily, features photographers of the week with inspiring images, posts on creativity, inspirational product branding and identity designs, intricate typography, and art. I like browsing this site for inspiring design work that makes me laugh and inspires me. It’s pretty much a site that you can get lost in for hours just discovering cool and quirky design.
Gawker Website Family: Discover the coolest when it comes to recipes and food with FoodGawker, arts and crafts with CraftGawker, and the latest in fashion and style trends with StyleGawker.
Hacker News: Discover the latest in Start-Up and related news. Are you a designer, developer, or tech junkie who loves knowing the latest in the start-up world, here you’ll find the latest news!
Pinterest: This is a great source of visual inspiration and you can search for anything related to design, photography, or even branding.
StumbleUpon: Select your favorite topics and interests and you’ll get to randomly stumble onto sites related to those ideas.
2. Utilize the SCAMPER Brainstorming Approach
The SCAMPER brainstorming approach can be credited to the creative minds of Alex Obsorn and Bob Eberle, to help people look at an existing product, service, or idea that needs improvement or has a problem. It’s meant to be a comprehensive system that allows you to look at a situation from multiple perspectives and determine a solution or future branching ideas. The idea is to look at the existing concept or thing and then ask yourself questions related to the words signified by SCAMPER. For example:
Substitute: What could you change or substitute out of this idea to improve it? Can you change your attitude toward it? Can you approach this situation from a different perspective?
Combine: Can you utilize multiple people to find a solution? What resources could you bring together to improve this product? Can you combine this product with something else?
Adapt: Is this problem or idea like anything else? How can this product stay relevant with changing times? What are the different contexts we can place this idea or product into?
Modify: How can we change this idea? Is there a way or reason to change the look, feel, and dynamic of the product? What can we take away from this? What can we add to it?
Put to Another Use: Can someone else than the traget audience use this product? Who else can benefit from this idea?
Eliminate: What can we take away from this idea? How can we remove certain elements of this product?
Reverse: Can someone else help fix a different part of this problem? How could we reorganize this idea to make it better?
All of these questions will not apply to every scenario, so it’s important to think of each word that SCAMPER stands for, and then think about how those words each mean something specific.
Uniquely designed backpack inspired by the Pangolin animal. Cyclus is a Colombian based company that designs, manufactures and comercializes fine designed quality accessories, made principally out of tire inner tubes.
Retractable layers close with magnets
Design Award Winner in Colombia (Lapiz de Acero 2010)
Padded adjustable shoulder straps
Airflow back channels for comfort and ergonomics
If you like it put a ring on it, these ring calendars are a very neat addition to your office or bedroom wall, simple and smart. The rings sit on the wall bracket and you can spin them daily to indicate date, month and date. The largest ring measures 38cm and the calendar is 45cm in height, once put together.
Originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames during the 1940s with the production of three-dimensional moulded plywood to fit the contour of the body. Today, the same design is now available in the latest state of the art material “Carbon Fibre”.
Functionality in aesthetics is embedded in the gene of every Cattelan Italia design. This is distinctively in display in the science-inspired contour of the DNA Bookcase. Its slender, minimalist yet sturdy steel construction boasts 13 shelves set on each side in a swirl that mimics the unique figure of DNA. Whether you are a fan of genetics or not, the bookcase’s interesting shape is sure to draw attention to any living space or study while keeping books neat and tidy in style.
When it comes to customer outreach and interaction, email marketing is critical. The problem? It’s easy to do it wrong. Before you start sending a barrage of messages to every user on your list, review these five simple steps for effective email marketing. Nailing the basic stuff is 80% of the work.
1. Understand the spam rules
Just because you’re promoting a noble cause—your design work, for example—doesn’t stop your messages from being flagged as spam. For the full story, you can read about the CAN-SPAM act to gain a deeper understanding of the law, but put plainly, you may only send bulk emails to those who have given you permission. This typically means that they’ll need to check a box when signing up for your site or service. Keep this in mind before you email your whole database of registered users without asking.
2. Make it easy to subscribe to your emails
Given the strict spam rules, your top priority should be to get signups for your email list. You should have an email signup form wherever your customers are, whether that’s on your website, blog, Facebook page, or in your store. The easiest way to gain new subscribers is to ask them whether they’d like to receive an email newsletter when they first sign up. The problem? This adds one more step to registration process, and studies show that each additional step can turn potential signups away.
Alternatively, you might provide a link for users to join your newsletter when you send them a registration verification email, or else present a checkbox to sign up when they make their first purchase. Regardless of the methods you use, always provide a brief sentence that tells users how signing up for the newsletter will benefit them.
Finally, make sure that your subscribe form is short and to the point. Start by collecting the pertinent information and you can always send an email later on asking for more details. A single button or checkbox is a fine place to start.
While the gold rush is mostly over, websites of all types are still paying plenty of money to enhance their rankings in search engine results. After all, ranking for high-volume keywords can provide thousands of referrals per day, which can lead to sales and other income-generating events. In other words, while SEO has taken some flak in recent years, it still serves an important purpose for every website seeking to sell something.
Although the general nature of SEO is more well-known now than it was five years ago, many mysteries still abound. Many companies believe they need SEO services, but are a bit unclear on what they’re getting out of them. Yes, SEO tactics are designed to boost your rankings for important search keywords, but that’s not the ultimate goal. When you pay for SEO services, you should have one goal and one goal only in mind: to increase sales. If an SEO campaign doesn’t increase your sales, it’s not worth your while.
In other words, you need to see one of the most basic business principles at work: return on investment. How can you determine what you’re getting out of your SEO campaign? And how can you best set yourself up for success with SEO? Here are a few tips from many years of working with big companies to boost their rankings and increase their revenues.
Work on revenue share (at first)
Many companies now prefer to hire full-time employees for SEO work. This has been a boon to the industry, giving jobs to many people who eked out a freelance existence previously. On the surface this seems to make sense. SEO is not a one-and-done task. Since there are thousands of companies vying for the top rankings on the most lucrative keywords, SEO has become an ongoing process. Who better to handle an ongoing process than a full-time, in-house employee?
At the same time, an in-house employee has few incentives beyond doing a good enough job to not get fired. In other words, while you might get good work out of an in-house employee, and hiring one might enable you to control your costs, you probably won’t get elite results from one. A freelancer, particularly one working on revenue share, will be much more motivated to produce elite results. Since the freelancer makes money only when you do, he or she will necessarily produce a profit.
Since many veteran SEOs require a retainer, chances are this means going with a lesser known service. But that can be an advantage, too. Those with a lesser-known reputation will be willing to try new tactics, and will certainly be ahead of the industry learning curve. So you have a motivated and incentivized SEO working to make you money, because that’s what makes him or her money.
(Caution is still necessary, though, which will be covered below.)
Constantly monitor analytics
If SEO is an ongoing job, you should be able to see the results in relatively short order. This doesn’t mean instant gratification, but it does mean that after the initial load period, you should start to see results change regularly. While the SEO should be checking analytics for feedback, you, the person who hired the SEO, should do the same. It’s the only way to determine whether the relationship is working.
This means checking not only traffic and conversion data, but also sales data. A program like Intuit accounting software QuickBooks can help greatly here. Not only will that allow you to see your sales growth, but you can break it down to sales growth directly from search traffic. Again, it’s sales gain you’re seeking, not just rankings increases. Rankings increases without sales increases is just noise.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t check your rankings analytics. Rankings and sales are often related. But ranking No. 1 for a keyword that doesn’t convert well isn’t as impressive as ranking No. 4 for a term that converts at a 50 percent rate. But in order to mete out that data, you have to constantly check rankings and sales analytics to ensure you’re on the right track.
Require regular activity reports
In the past two years, Google has lowered the hammer on shady SEO practices. Much of what was common four years ago is absolutely forbidden today. This is yet another reason to hire an SEO on a revenue share basis rather than on retainer: when you hire someone on retainer you guarantee them payment, and outdated SEO tactics can lose you far more money than you pay the SEO.
It is not unreasonable to ask your SEO to detail all tactics. A freelance SEO might find that unfair; what’s to stop them from hiring someone in-house to duplicate those tactics? But as we discussed above, the revenue-sharing freelancer will be more cost efficient overall.
Requiring weekly or even daily activity reports allows you to stay on top of the situation and make sure that the SEO isn’t doing anything that might harm your business. It is also advisable to run regular backlink checks, using tools such as Majestic SEO, so that you can ensure that your SEO isn’t doing something shady and not reporting it.
As Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify. This is incredibly important when hiring any freelancer, especially an SEO.
These days, virtually anything can be solved using a mobile device. It’s a digital age, where technology has to keep up with the demands of a more mobile society.
Over the last 10 years, technology has grown at an exponential rate— where we now have smartphones, tablets, phablets, and laptops that are taken and used everywhere over Wi-Fi networks; bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, adds to the abilities of these devices.
Whether for GPS navigation purposes, creating to-do lists, scheduling appointments, monitoring emails etc., mobile devices have become a necessary component of everyday life. And it doesn’t end there.
Now, our smart devices can digitally do our errands. Why run around town when you can just click a button? Before long, doing your errands online will be commonplace. Believe it or not, the trend is already making its way:
1. Daily Scheduling
We anticipate having devices that come pre-programed with a calendar that syncs with our various online social accounts. When the date for an occasion arrives, a gentle digital chime serves as a reminder.
But now, there are new programs that go above and beyond the calendar function.
Cue automatically connects existing calendars by connecting events to relevant phone numbers, contacts and addresses. By tying account info together, Cue helps keep up of daily obligations, etc. — both at home and at work. Cue’s mission is to turn “…the accounts you depend on, like email, contacts and calendar, into an intelligent snapshot of your day.” With less to keep up with, more important things can be given attention.
-Cue is available for iOS devices on CueUp.com.
Wunderlist helps create a better to-do list for business, shopping or just keeping up with daily life. More than 4 million people using Wunderlist and it continues to grow in popularity.
-Wunderlist is available for free for Android, Windows and Mac devices on wunderlist.com.
If you are a designer, the fonts you use influence the opinions of your viewers. Choosing the right font for a project is essential. Sometimes you want a font that’s easy to read. Other times you want a font that’s more fun or fancy.
However, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a designer or even into typography. New fonts are fun for everyone!
Check out the brilliant new fonts below.
Core Circus is a fun font, one of which has vertical stripes to shade in the characters. The characters in this family can also have a bold shadow that really makes them pop. Core Circus has 20 fonts in its family.
Voyage is a vintage, cursive script. There are 3 fonts in this family. The characters are smooth and inviting. There are light and bold options.
Rolling Pen is a gorgeous, light script that emulates an ink pen. This font family has 5 fonts. The thin lines make this font a delight to read.
Negative Space creates an interesting visual effect for the human eye to fathom. By taking advantage of the negative space, designers are able to create something that captures the imagination. Negative space logos must be simple, clear, memorable, and clever. Today we gathered inspiring examples of negative space logos that’ll grab your attention and bring a smile to your face.
Cloud migration: If the image brings to mind flocks of birds making their way across the world, the metaphor is apt – as long as you replace the birds with the endless packets of data that businesses manage on a daily basis.
Moving data into the cloud makes it easy to access from anywhere and use in new, creative ways. However, companies need to create robust migration strategies that ensure they have all the tools they need, all the security available, and an implementation plan that will not leave employees mired in confusion. Here are several tips on how to properly begin:
1. Create a Checklist of Must-Haves:
Departments will feel far more comfortable with a move toward the cloud if they are involved in the process from the beginning. Company leaders should ask what the big concerns are and what tools departments must have to accomplish their tasks. In HR departments, cloud recruitment and candidate databases are a common requirement. In customer service, the same is true of client data and issue resolution workflow. In the end, companies should have a checklist of all department needs they can use as guides to create a full cloud system.
2. Become Server-Centric:
When migrating fully to the cloud, servers become some of the most important hardware around. Whether you are using a vendor’s server or are planning on investing in your own hardware, study on the latest offerings in data storage, cloud properties, power requirements, safeguards, and other features. How scalable do you need your servers to be – and how easily upgraded?
3. Research Your Vendors for Extra-Dependable Service:
For most companies, cloud computing involves trusting a host or vendor for cloud management. Software as a Service (SaaS) can be a perfect solution, but every vendor is a little different and you need to do your due diligence before making any decisions. Does the SaaS system have all the tools you need? Is there 24-hour, complete customer service? Do vendors have plenty of security features and additional power sources to ensure that connections to servers are never lost? These questions and others like them are vital to good migration.
Like many tech junkies, photographers are also technology enthusiasts. Finding the right gift for a photograher isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. For photographers, the best gifts are the ones that will make their life easier. Any kind of gift that provides comfort, increases productivity, speeds up their work or simply makes them smile is ideal. Today we collected twenty-five awesome accessories and tools for photographers. If you have a family member, friend, or a loved one who’s a photographer, this gift guide is for you. Happy gift shopping!
Leather Camera Strap by Wood & Faulk
The perfect compliment to your favorite camera, this fine leather wriststrap was made to keep your old friend safely tied to you. It is only suited for a lug mount, so make sure your camera is compatible. Has protective tab built into the construction to protect your camera from any marring.
Camera USB Drive
This camera flash drive is a fun and convenient way to save all of your important documents whether you are at the office or at home.
Minox DCC 5.1 Classic Digital Camera
State-of-the-art technology and optical systems behind the nostalgic look provide images of brilliant quality. It has a Minoctar 9.0mm lens (42mm in 35mm format) with a 4x digital zoom. Pictures are stored in the camera’s 128MB internal memory, or on a SDHC memory card up to 16GB. Functional controls have been unobtrusively integrated in the body, including a 2″ TFT color monitor. The camera can also capture video at 320 x 240 pixels for up to 60 seconds per clip. Power is reliably supplied by a replaceable Lithium-ion battery that is charged via a USB connection.
Web design used to be about flashy, bright colors, attention-getters and flash animations that were full of movement and activity designed to be extremely noticeable. Front-end design standards have come a long way since those days, with flash quickly becoming a thing of the past and the professional standard for becoming more sophisticated than it has ever been.
The list of best practices for designing a web page in 2013 is long, but there are two staples of a well-designed page that every developer can start with:
These are the two pillars of sophisticated and modern web design. If you pay attention when visiting different sites, you’ll notice that the ones with a really clean and polished look and feel, will almost always exhibit these two qualities.
Subtlety and minimalism show that you aren’t trying to compensate for bad content or be flashy in an effort to get unwarranted attention.
Instead a subtle design tells visitors that the content speaks for itself and doesn’t require a whole cast of bells and whistles to make it more appealing or interesting. It’s the best way to construct a framework for content that you know people are going to be interested in.
So how is it usually done? Let’s look at a few areas where subtle patterns and minimalism come into play.
The general rule of thumb is that when aiming for a minimalist color scheme, you want to use a lot of white, gray and maybe a little black. Hard colors like deep blue, neon green and bright yellows are definite no-nos and shouldn’t be used outside of a few obscure exceptions.
Depending on the feel of your site, the background should provide a soft, pleasing pattern to frame your content. This is where the idea of subtlety really comes into play. While most text boxes should just be white, or a very light gray, your background can go a little darker with some texture added. For a whole collection of these textures check out subtlepatterns.com.
With a design inspired by vintage bicycles of the Far East and Europe, this step-through bicycle is built to last. Modern features include three-speed internal hub, front hand break and rear pedal brake, full front and back fenders, rear carry rack, comfortable leather saddle, swept-back handlebars with leather grips, cream-colored tires, and a kickstand.