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Kick The Habit Of Being A Yo-Yo Entrepreneur: Keep Your Day JobToo many entrepreneurs yo-yo back and forth between running their business and working a full-time job. They feel pressured to go “all in” because that’s what other entrepreneurs told them to do. However, they end up in survival mode, and their savings account gets drained to pay the bills.

What if quitting your day job to focus on your business is bad advice?

If you’ve given up your day job to pursue your business but find yourself struggling to survive, it’s not a sign of failure. Research is clear: It’s better to keep your day job while starting a new business.

Research proves you should keep your day job

In 2014, two management researchers studied the decisions and outcomes made by over 6,300 entrepreneurs over a 14-year time span. Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs were 33% more likely to succeed than those who didn’t.

The researchers said that entrepreneurs who keep their day jobs “benefit from the ability to learn about the quality, potential, and feasibility of their business idea” while they build it. In other words, having a regular source of income pays the rent and puts food on the table while you figure out how to run your business.

Starting a business without an existing source of income is like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. If you aren’t ready to jump, don’t jump.

Stop the swing and get stable

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you need a day job. Don’t wait for your dream job, though. The faster you get into action, the sooner you’ll have a paycheck. There’s no shame in being an entrepreneur with a job. Having a job doesn’t mean you’re a bad entrepreneur; it means you’re responsible and have the guts to do whatever it takes.

Having a day job will give you confidence and peace of mind, knowing your rent, food, and other bills are taken care of. You’ll never build your business if you’re stressed out about paying rent or having your car repossessed.

Get committed to your goals

No matter what strategy you use, only intense commitment to your goal will produce results. You’ll have to do things you don’t want to do. This includes getting up early in the morning to maximize your waking hours, and ditching habits that give you an excuse to quit. Habits like quitting at the first sign of rejection, or quitting when you don’t like having to change the way you work with people.

You have to be more committed to your goals than to your habits to achieve success. To illustrate this point, consider the goal millions of people fail to achieve year after year: weight loss. It’s not complicated and there are systems that work, but old habits destroy progress.

Nutrisystem, the world’s most well-known weight loss system with a track record of success acknowledges the need for personal commitment to reach a goal: “One of the biggest mistakes that people make when dieting is reaching their goal weight and then reverting back to their old habits. Needless to say, this is exactly why so many people gain the weight right back and become yo-yo dieters.”

The system doesn’t get you results automatically – you have to create your results by changing your habits.

The same can be said of entrepreneurship. You have to be more committed to your goals than your habits if you want to be stable. To stop yo-yoing between survival mode and your business, you need a consistent source of income. For most people, that’s a day job.

We’ve all read plenty of “rags to riches” stories of entrepreneurs who made it big by starting with nothing. These stories are inspiring, but not always completely true. You don’t need to ditch your stable income and struggle, just to have a good story to tell.

Beliefs are habits, too

If you’re not sure you should keep your day job, perhaps the first habit you need to break is believing that having a day job is wrong. Keeping your day job ensures your survival and can even help you learn how to run your business.

Being in survival mode is scary. Keep your day job and spend your free time working on your business instead of stressing about money. Don’t concern yourself with the opinions of others. You don’t need to build your business in a fortnight.

You Can’t Survive in These 3 Industries Without an Investment in ContentWe hear about the need for content marketing on a regular basis. You may have even committed some of your marketing budget to producing content that engages your audience.

But depending on the industry you’re in, content marketing may be even more crucial than you realize.

Three Industries Where Content Really is King

You write a blog post here and there. You occasionally team up with other websites and write guest blog posts. Perhaps you’ve even tried your hand at visual content and gotten your creative team to design some infographics and memes.

But when it comes down to brass tacks, do you truly accept that content marketing is one of the keys to long-term success? If you operate in one of the following three industries, it’s nearly impossible to deny the connection between quality content and success in digital marketing.

1. Real Estate

It used to be that homebuyers drove around and sought out for-sale signs in yards. Today, most of the initial stages of shopping for a new home take place online. That’s why so many real-estate agents and brokers invest time and effort into arranging for perfect listing photos.

“But having great photos on a website won’t guarantee a sale or even get prospective homeowners in the door. The key is to use content marketing and social media to nurture your leads,” digital marketing expert Brian Hughes explains.

“Prospective buyers may start searching 12 or 18 months out. They want an agent they can trust. Today, this trust is built just as much through content as it is through referrals and reviews.”

2. Law

What’s the first thing you do when you have a problem? If you’re like most people, you’ve been conditioned to open your Internet browser and type a few words into the Google search bar.

Do you know what all legal clients have in common? They have a problem or an issue. In order to get that problem or issue solved, the first thing they do is run a web search. From a law firm’s perspective, the key to attracting potential clients is to produce quality content that answers questions and addresses relevant pain points.

The significant word in that last sentence is “quality.” Thin content doesn’t do an attorney much good. You need meaty content that offers substantive value to the reader.

Here’s an example of “meaty” content from Marks & Harrison. Notice the length and variety of stylistic elements. These are some of the items that make the content valuable.

3. Finance

This might come as a surprise, but content marketing is an essential in the finance industry, as well. In fact, leading companies in this field excel at content marketing to such an extent that finance has the highest average attention time and second-highest engagement rate across the board.

American Express is one of the top examples in finance. It’s done a tremendous job developing its OPEN Forum, which is a community blog that provides concrete advice for small business owners, one of the company’s key audience segments.

Not only does the OPEN Forum give American Express a chance to feed its core business, but it also builds thought leadership with online readers and enhances trust in the brand.

Recognizing the Need for Content

It’s challenging to be successful in almost any business today without making an investment in content marketing. It’s all but impossible to thrive without content if you’re in one of the three industries cited above.

Not only does content improve your search ranking and online visibility, but it strengthens your relationship with the audience and builds trust between your brand and consumers. So isn’t it time you recognized the need for content, and invested the appropriate amount of resources?

ecommerceThanks to the variety of resources and information online today, almost anyone can launch and grow an ecommerce business with very little experience. However, certain issues tend to trip up many inexperienced entrepreneurs when their ecommerce business starts to grow. One crucial issue is inventory management.

Six Tips to Help You Along

Managing inventory is easy when you’re selling only a few units a day. When you start to move hundreds or thousands of units per day, though, keeping on top of everything suddenly becomes a lot harder.

Small issues can so easily blossom into major errors and the results can be serious. If you are currently at a critical juncture, where inventory management could make or break your ecommerce operation, the following tips may help get you back on track.

1. Collect Lots of Data

Efficient inventory management depends on accurate forecasting. The key to that is making sure you have access to the correct data.

To be honest, this is something most ecommerce business owners don’t do a good job of, so if you want to get inventory management right, you need to collect and organize the right data so you’re in a position to understand what’s likely to happen over a given sales period.

2. Stay Organized

An organized warehouse is an efficient warehouse. Whether your warehouse is a massive 25,000-square-foot commercial space or the spare bedroom in your apartment, organization is essential. Make it a point to clean up and reorganize all your inventory at the end of every single workday, if you can.

3. Centralize Inventory Control

Inventory management is fairly simple and straightforward when you’re selling via just one channel. Things get substantially more complicated when you add further channels and sales platforms.

If you want to make sure you stay on top of order processing and avoid under- or over-selling, you should invest in inventory management software that centralizes inventory control. Centralization of inventory across an array of sales channels means you won’t have to worry about losing track of on-hand levels of stock.

4. Build Good Relationships With Suppliers

It’s impossible to be skilled at inventory management if you don’t have solid relationships with your suppliers. Not only do good relationships eventually help you negotiate lower minimums and better deals, but they can save you in a bind.

“A good relationship isn’t just about being friendly. It’s about good communication,” entrepreneur Casandra Campbell points out. “Let your supplier know when you’re expecting an increase in sales so they can adjust production. Have them let you know when a product is running behind schedule so you can pause promotions or look for a temporary substitute.”

5. Reduce Returns and Exchanges

Do you know what really messes up inventory management? Returns and exchanges. They mess up inventory levels and create nightmares for accounting and restocking.

Some customers are naturally going to return items, but you should do your best to avoid situations that lead to frequent returns. This includes educating customers better prior to purchases.

6. Perform Regular Audits

The final tip is to perform regular audits. The more you audit your inventory, the less likely you’ll arrive at the end of a quarter or a year and find yourself trying to deal with major discrepancies.

Audits also help with monitoring internal theft, ensuring proper valuation, and reconciling accounts. Performing spot audits every few weeks will keep you in line.

Always be Alert

In order to be successful at inventory management, you can’t allow yourself to sit back and relax … ever. You need to be alert always, and cognizant of what’s happening with sales, suppliers, customers, warehouses, and everything else that goes into this crucial facet of running an ecommerce business.

How are you doing on this front?

How Work Retreats Can Drive Content StrategyContent development is at the heart of business promotion and conversion, but it’s easy to hit a rut when you’re churning out ideas day after day. What can you do to increase creativity and push your team towards new ways of thinking? Your best option may be to get out of the office and go on a work retreat.

Of course, not just any retreat will do – a ropes course isn’t going to help you develop content ideas – but there are high-value ways to get out from behind your desk. These 5 tips can help you make the most of your out of office experience.

Plan Properly

One of the main reasons that work retreats flop is because companies simply call up a site and book a pre-designed package, rather than developing something that meets their specific needs. For a great retreat, an internal team member should be in charge of the planning. They’ll not only handle all the travel arrangements, but also develop activities that address your brand identity and project needs from an internal perspective.

Share Your Purpose Early

Your team knows they’re going on a retreat, but do they know why? Do they know what the plan is? Instead of springing the retreat’s orientation on staff when they arrive, define and share the purpose early.

When staff members know what to expect from the retreat, they’re more likely to arrive with new ideas to discuss. Even if they only process the topic subconsciously, you may be surprised how that early orientation to the retreat program makes the whole experience more productive.

Make Fun Productive

Work retreats often fall on one of two ends of the spectrum – they’re all play because they’re focused on “team building” or they’re just an excuse to do work trainings somewhere else. The best retreats, though, fall somewhere in the middle; they’re an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas, bond as a group, and learn new things.

Hands In 4 Youth, a conference and retreat center, suggests engaging in team building activities – for example, happy hours or corporate retreats. They share that when your team feels connected, they’re able to better work together to solve problems and come up with fresh ideas.

Learn Something New

You need to develop new content, so why not spend some time learning a new skill or system that could inspire your work? For example, what if you used some of the retreat time teaching staff to use HARO, a journalistic tool that stands for “Help A Reporter Out.” Staff can practice searching the 350,000 registered journalists, learn about niche beats, and find sources for unusual topics that may inspire their own content writing.

Pave A New Way

When writing marketing content, you always match your content to a channel – but are you overlooking paths you could cover? Use your retreat to physically chart your channels, envisioning them as roads or paths that you take to your customers, and then figuring out where those might merge or form a new junction. When you visualize your content in this way, you see the many possibilities that are still out there.

It doesn’t matter where your retreat takes you, as long as the final stop is success. Instead of being destination focused, keep your eye on the company’s endgame and think creativity. Let the work be play and the ideas flow. When you arrive back in the office, your team will be producing at a whole new level.