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6 Tips For Creating Your Dream Job

6 Tips For Creating Your Dream Job

We live in an information age. We are the founders of the future. We have so much information  constantly at our fingertips, and the capability to reach an amazingly immense amount of people at any time, it is no wonder that people have discovered how to utilize this capability to create innovative career opportunities.

In 2015, 45% of U.S. employees were able to work from home, and that number continues to rise. It is an ideal situation for many, whether you are a young entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom. The flexibility is valued. From one business owner to another, here are some basic startup tips for anyone looking to begin an online business while striving to be able to work from home.

1. The Why

This is the most important aspect of any business. If you do not go into creating this business idea with a firm, objective purpose then it does not matter how much time and effort is put into the company. It will dissolve. Your team and yourself will have no direction and the company will fall to the wayside. People don’t necessarily buy the product, they buy the ‘why.’ What does your company stand for; what makes your product or service fulfilling?

2. Building & Design

Now that you have the why figured out a general business idea/plan it is time to start building. The tech industry has grown exponentially, especially in city centers like New York. Tech based startups are creating new jobs and opportunities at a rapid pace because the need is there. Everything is online now, so a business needs to be embracing things like social media, marketing, and analytics. These are all necessary platforms for a business to succeed and acquire new clients/customers, as well as monitor what is working and what is not.

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Things as simple as the time of day that something is published or shared can make or break a sale. Creating a website that is easy to navigate, showcases the product or service, creates a platform for added interaction with the customer through social media and is grounded in the analytics that will help guide future decision making.

Some of us are not artistically gifted, so creating a website that looks professional and will attract the customer we have in mind may not be doable without help. If so this will be your first real purchase, and it is extremely worth the time and money. It does not matter how good you are at what you do or how amazing your product might be, if the platform you are showcasing this on does not portray just that customers are not going be interested.

A well designed website goes a very long way. You have 5 seconds to get a user’s attention or you’ve lost them so make it count.

3. Marketing

Marketing is a process that takes time and can involve hours of research for a plan to be effective. There are so many different marketing avenues you can take, and each are more or less effective depending on the business using them. This is yet, another example of how analytics will help you navigate what works for your business. This is all trial and error.

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Just because the tech industry and online business is blossoming does not mean that it is easy. There will be failures, try, try again.

Your brand along with goods and/or services is a key feature that you will be marketing. Your online presence will work while you’re asleep, while you’re on holiday, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Maintaining a solid, persistent online presence is the key ingredient to a successful branding. Once a marketing strategy is in place, advertise.

4. Advertising

Being timid when it comes to self promotion will not get you far. Promoting yourself online requires some finesse. You can easily hit the wrong note or appear arrogant if all you’re talking about is yourself, so be sure to involve others in the conversation.

Once your product/image is developed and your marketing strategy is in place, present your product or service to your audience. Social media is the most common and inexpensive route to take, but there are also so many others.

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Communicating your brand with potential customers can be done through print, radio, internet ads and even television. The price varies and the reach varies as well. Like with everything else being, aware of who your audience is through analytics and marketing will help you make the most educated decisions as well as trial and error.

Every step of the way test and measure everything. You can’t grow if you don’t change what isn’t working. If you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results then you will never know.

5. Legal and Financial Considerations

If you plan to advertise online (which you most likely are and SHOULD be), whether you’re buying ads on search engines or direct marketing through email understanding some basic rules is important.

Understanding the federal advertising laws to Internet advertising and marketing, complying with the law when developing online ads, things like CAN-SPAM that creates criminal prohibitions against those who knowingly transmit spam through others’ computers without authorization as well as help with navigating sales and eCommerce and utilizing those resources.

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Do your research on what works and what doesn’t, what is legal and what is not and what you can afford to make happen right away considering both time and cost.

6. Drive

What it all comes down to is the drive and ambition of all of those involved, the ‘why’ has to be united. Start ups lose money often before making any, so keep in mind that you won’t always be able to monetize all of your projects even though they were successful.

It may seem backwards, but if you are going into building your business, your brand, in an avenue that you find fulfilling–looking at money as a resource instead of a goal may be the best way to approach your endeavors.This “goal” creates a space that keeps the drive behind the initial reason for starting the business. The fulfillment stays the focus.

There are no foolproof books on how to build a successful online business, especially with the pace of change. The best way to learn is by doing so take the necessary steps and do. The opportunities are endless.

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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