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Job Security Is A Myth: Be Your Own Boss And Live A Fulfilling LifeJob security is somewhat of a myth; no job is truly secure. The concept of job security sounds wonderful but is heavily misleading.

Although definitions vary, Collins Dictionary defines job security as “assurance that you will be able to work in your job as long as you please and will not become unemployed.”

Under this definition, at-will employment where an employer can terminate you for no reason doesn’t count as job security. Laws exist to prevent unlawful termination, but such laws become irrelevant when your boss can fire you without reason.

Technically speaking, there’s no such thing as job security because nothing is guaranteed – not even self-employment. However, the freedom of self-employment creates the space for you to be more fulfilled in your life.

If fulfillment is what you’re looking for, here are 4 ways self-employment can help:

1. You get to be the expert in your industry

Working for someone else means doing your work according to someone else’s terms and conditions. You might be an expert in your industry, but that doesn’t guarantee anyone wants your input.

When you have a job, you get paid to do grunt work for someone else’s business; work that often defies best practices, common sense, and reason.

Getting a regular paycheck looks like “job security” but it’s not. In fact, working for a paycheck until you retire might turn you into a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode in frustration or anger.

For instance, if your background is data security and you get hired to install a VPN for every staff member, that’s where your job ends. Your boss won’t want your opinion on the VPN they’ve chosen. If they didn’t hire you to be the expert, they probably don’t want an expert.

Being self-employed means you’re the boss. You determine how you’ll perform the work for your clients. If they want something that doesn’t make sense, you can be straight with them and offer a better, expert solution.

If you’re a web developer, you can design pages that maintain a good user experience and bypass the latest trends. If you’re a social media marketing expert, you can explain to your client that paying for likes and shares isn’t an effective strategy. Whatever you do, you can do it with full expression.

2. You’ll have more time to yourself

Statistics show that 143 million Americans aged 16 years and older commute an average of 25.4 minutes to work each day. That’s 45% of the population! Such a quick commute sounds like a dream for the 10.8 million people whose commute lasts an hour (or more).

Being self-employed automatically increases the time available to you. Without a commute, you can add more joyful activities to your day like yoga, a home workout program, and a morning routine. Without a commute, you’re also less likely to become involved in an automobile accident and have to deal with expensive car repairs.

3. There’s no guilt for taking time to learn new skills

It’s awkward when your boss asks you to perform a task you don’t know how to do. Sometimes you can’t be sure if they’ll understand that you don’t know how to do everything. When this happens, the only way to get that task done is to learn it on your own.

If the task is urgent, you’ll need to use company time to figure it out. It’s easy to feel guilty for wasting time learning something you believe you should already know. You don’t get paid to troubleshoot – you get paid to work!

Although your boss might be great and understand, it’s hard to shake the guilt. When you’re self-employed, you can take all the time you want to learn anything you need to know. You get to earn your paycheck doing what you love to do, and it’s always on your terms.

4. You’re free to refuse unreasonable requests

We’ve all had bosses that made unreasonable or impossible requests. The stress that comes from having to become Superman overnight is damaging. When you’re getting a paycheck in exchange for performing tasks, you can’t refuse without consequences. When you’re self-employed, you can.

Unlike your boss, when a client makes an unreasonable request, you can be honest with them about what doesn’t work, and create a better solution together. You’re not stuck engineering a creative workaround that won’t work anyway.

Building A Tattoo Business: From Portfolio To Administrative ActionIf you’re trying to build a successful tattoo business today, you have to know how to do more than ink up someone’s arm. A tattoo shop is just like any other business in that it requires you to excel in marketing, sales, customer service, and a variety of other aspects of business. Specifically, you must understand how to develop and optimize your website for maximum exposure.

4 Website Optimization Tips

Website optimization is something many people dedicate their entire professional careers to, so it’s clearly not something you’re going to master in a few minutes. Having said that, there’s some low hanging fruit you can take advantage of as you build your tattoo shop and seek to elevate your brand.

1. Aim for Minimalism

One of the fundamental goals of modern website optimization is to remove as many distractions as possible so that visitors have a better chance of capitalizing on conversion goals.

Today’s best websites invest in minimalist designs and layouts with lots of negative space and simplistic icons and elements. Thankfully, it’s easy to make a tattoo website highly visual. While some textual content is fine (especially for SEO purposes), visual content should comprise the majority.

2. Perfect Your Portfolio

People are coming to your website because they want to see your work. Sure, there are some other reasons for visiting, but this is the primary focus. As such, your portfolio needs to be the focus of your website, not an afterthought.

As a tattoo artist, you’re probably familiar with physical portfolios, or photo books. It’s easy to design photo books online and place them in your storefront for clients to look at. But you have to understand that there are key differences between a photo book that clients view in a shop and a portfolio that’s found online.

Theoretically, an online portfolio has unlimited space. This means you should include as many angles as possible to showcase the details of individual tattoos. It’s also helpful to offer sorting features that allow visitors to filter based on the type of tattoos they’re interested in.

3. Integrate Social Proof

After viewing your work, the second thing visitors want to know is if you can be trusted. The number one way you can build trust on your website is to incorporate elements of social proof.

Social proof elements include things like reviews, testimonials, endorsements, statistics and data points, awards, recognitions, and online ratings. The more positive social proof you can provide, the more comfortable your audience will feel trusting you.

4. Collect Leads

Your website is great, but it’s not often that someone clicks on your site, sees your contact info, and immediately gets in touch to schedule an appointment. In most cases, there’s a significant delay between the time someone views your work online and makes a decision. If you aren’t present in this “in between” time, you’ll probably lose the sale to another tattoo artist.

In order to stay in touch with visitors after they leave your website, you need to find ways to collect leads. Opt-in forms are the preferred method. They allow you to collect names and email addresses for future contact.

Turn Your Website Into a High Converting Asset

If you want to be successful with your tattoo venture in today’s marketplace, local traffic isn’t enough. In order to drive serious business to your company and create a profitable brand, you need to build a national reputation. Your website will play a significant role in accomplishing this goal, so make sure you’re pouring enough energy and focus into it.

How to Write a Product Review Blog Post That ConvertsSavvy online shoppers spend a lot of time researching products before they make a purchase. Part of this process involves reading product reviews. From a marketing perspective, learning how to craft compelling and insightful product review blog posts will prove to be tremendously valuable.

The 4 Best Tips to Crafting Quality Review Posts

As a blogger, you’ll occasionally come across an opportunity to review a product and write a blog about it. In a time where shoppers are always looking for proof to validate a purchase decision, review posts from unaffiliated, third-party individuals are highly attractive. If you do a good job with these posts, you shouldn’t have any trouble generating some traffic and building an audience.

Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers fail miserably with their reviews. They either don’t know how to review a product, or do a poor job of contextualizing their experience in an honest and clear format.

In order to help you write high-converting posts, here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind:

1. Prove Yourself

The very first thing you have to do is prove yourself. Why should readers believe or trust anything you say as the reviewer/blogger? If you’re just some guy off the street, do they really have any reason to think your opinion matters on this subject?

Let’s say, for example, that you’re writing a review post on a cloud accounting solution. Who do you think people are more likely to trust – a small business owner, or a video game blogger? Clearly, the business owner is more likely to have interacted with the product in a meaningful way.

Stick to products that fall under your realm of expertise and make it a point to prove yourself to your audience each and every time.

2. Use Real Data and Examples

Any blogger can make up some subjective claims about a product and throw them into a blog post. Savvy shoppers see through this and want reviews to feature as many objective statements as possible. The Snoring HQ blog does a good job of this, frequently providing ratings and actual results in posts – like the SnoreRx review. The more statistical claims you’re able to include, the more believable your review will be.

3. List Both Pros and Cons

One of the biggest challenges the average blogger has when reviewing products is that they don’t want to say negative things about someone’s product. As a result, they choose to focus on the positives and tend to gloss over the negative qualities when they find them. Try not to do this!

“Always try to fight the natural resistance and mention every negative aspect you’ve stumbled upon,” one blogger advises. “This will strengthen your brand and also ensure your readers know that you’re an honest source of information.”

This review of the Sonos One is a good example of a post that features both pros and cons, even when it would be easy to only focus on the pros.

4. Use Your Own Voice

One of the appealing things about reading a product review blog post is that they’re typically raw and unfiltered. This is why shoppers click on reviews, rather than blatant advertisements or branded landing pages.

In order to get the most out of your review posts, make sure you’re using your own voice and letting your personality shine through. It’s okay to express some humor or show a lighter side. People want to see this and will engage with you more.

Give Your Readers What They Want

When someone clicks on a product review post, they’re looking for a clear, systematic, honest opinion of the product at hand. This isn’t the time to get carried away and start plugging your own blog or brand – that will happen naturally. Instead, give your readers what they want and watch your blog experience organic growth.

10 Unique Tips for Promoting Your Websites’ SEOThe standard in SEO for a business website is to create content and build links inside it. Most people who spend money on SEO employ this tactic.

But it’s not the only way you can make SEO work for your site. Dozens of other solutions can promote SEO within your website and boost your search rankings.

1. Update Your Website

One of the most essential criteria for Google’s SEO algorithm is quality. If the content you write and your other web page content is of low quality, your search rankings will inevitably suffer. You’ll also have a more difficult time converting customers.

Spend a little time updating your website. Create a fresh, contemporary design and offer clear-cut navigation.

2. Speed Things Up

The time it takes for your web pages to load — both on mobile and desktop — can have considerable bearing on your website’s success. Very soon, Google plans to update its algorithm to include speed as a crucial criterion for your search rankings.

The average website visitor will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. If your bounce rates increase, you’ll have a harder time ranking high in search engines.

3. Allow for Online Appointment Booking

A sneaky way to generate more links when you’re a service-based business is through online appointment booking. Not only does this increase the likelihood of Google correctly categorizing your website, but every time someone books an appointment online, he or she will visit your website and earn you points.

One of the most user-friendly free appointment booking websites is Yocale. You can set up appointment booking according to your industry, and input information about your business. Every time someone books an appointment or uses the information on the Yocale page to get access to your site, you’ll gain another point for SEO.

4. Get a Google Plus Page

Google Plus is one of the forgotten social networks, but in terms of increasing website SEO, it’s a gold mine. When you connect your Google Plus page to your website, you instantly create higher online visibility.

Your site’s information is cached, and it’s more likely to be cited in response to relevant search queries. Just be sure to fill in your profile completely.

Every bit of information can be critical for giving your website full visibility in accordance with search engines’ demands.

5. Link with Social Platforms

Don’t forget about the power of other social platforms as well. According to Impact Bound research, 76 percent of marketers report unbridled success when they used social media to help boost their SEO.

Social media is one of the best ways to share content and get more interaction on a certain post. By connecting your website with various social pages, you can get a lot of mileage with organic search.

These links help search engine crawlers identify credible websites and connect keyword phrases with search queries.

6. Maximize Video Use

Video is not only an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also quite useful for SEO. Given enough videos posted on your website and affiliated social accounts, you can improve your page’s ranking on SERPs.

According to Marketing Land, 62 percent of all Google searches are for videos. What’s more, videos get 50 times more organic page ranks and 41 percent higher click-through rates than plain text.

So try to generate a variety of entertaining, informative, but overall useful videos for your target audience. Post them to your website, YouTube, and social networks to earn more search engine attention.

7. Experiment with Voice Search Function

Voice search function was named as one of the top priorities for smart devices today. Most people utilize voice search on their devices, and you can take it a step further by optimizing your website for voice search functionality.

Use long-tail keywords that are most likely to be spoken out loud so the results can be routed back to your website. This means you’ll use more common language in the keywords you optimize on your site’s backend.

8. Get on Google Places

If you’re a brick-and-mortar organization, local SEO is among the most important metrics to use. Filling out your company profile on Google Places is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to improve your local SEO.

Since about 85 percent of customers have searched online for a local business at one point, this localized attention will be invaluable for your business.

9. “Steal” from Competitors

You’ll learn a great deal about effective SEO in your industry based on the success of your competitors. Monitor their actions regularly and borrow their ideas to use as your own.

This doesn’t mean you should mirror every single thing your competitors do, but it will give you a starting point that’s better than starting from scratch. You don’t have to be completely original to be good at SEO.

10. Create Content People Will Use

Link building is currently the most effective way to bring SEO back to your website, but if the content you’re trying to link back to isn’t something your web visitors will want to use, you’ll be back to the drawing board in no time.

Work on content that’s worth a backlink. Definitive guides are among the most successful SEO tools. You’ll get a lot more backlinks to guides that go in-depth on a certain issue rather than simply skimming over the surface.

5 Tips for Better Product PhotographyFirst impressions are everything online, and the product images you choose to use on your ecommerce site will have a significant influence on how people view your products and your brand. And while you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take product photos, you do need to understand some basic principles for success.

5 Tips You Need to Try

You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into product photography to get it right. Any ecommerce business owner can excel in this area by understanding a few key principles and leveraging tips like these:

1. Get the Right Equipment

“The first thing you’ll need is a camera,” videographer and photographer Tyler Kapper says. “Consumer DSLR cameras are getting more affordable every year, so if you plan on taking lots of products photos, it may make sense to invest in a good digital camera. But, if that isn’t in your budget right now, an iPhone can do the trick.”

You’ll also want to invest in some backdrops or light boxes as well, which makes it easy to take high-quality, distraction-free images (particularly of smaller products). If you’re on a budget, you may even be able to make one for just a few dollars.

2. Use Plenty of White Space

Want to know the secret of creating compelling product photography in 2017 and beyond? Use as much white space as possible.

Gone are the days where busy backgrounds and lots of colors were the norm. You need to model your product listings after this page from Jacob Time. Notice how the majority of the page is made up of negative space, which focuses the visitor’s attention and makes the product images pop off the page. There’s a time and place for getting more intricate, but in most cases, simplicity is preferred.

3. Play With Colors

The colors you choose in your product photos have a significant impact on the way your products are perceived by the marketplace. For example, some colors promote a sense of peacefulness and tranquility, while others heighten senses and create urgency. By studying color theory and being strategic with the tones you select, you can design much more intentional pages.

4. Balance Natural vs. Artificial Light

Lighting is one of the most critically important aspects of photography. Just as bad lighting will ruin a picture, good lighting can turn an average image into a stellar one.

Whenever possible, you want to leverage natural light. Shooting product photography in a well-lit room during the early afternoon generally gives the best results, but it all depends on the location and orientation.

When using artificial light, you have a little more control over one significant element: shadows. You can create hard shadows by making sure the size of the light source is small (in comparison to the size of the product). Soft shadows can be created by ensuring the light source is larger than the product being photographed.

5. Use as Many Angles as Possible

One of the shortcomings of shopping online is that customers aren’t able to touch and feel products before they make a purchase. One way you can overcome this is by providing pictures from as many different angles as possible. This product page from Bose is a good example of how a variety of angles can be strategically implemented.

Get Product Visuals Right

Elements like product descriptions, features, and customer reviews matter, but it’s no secret that product photos and visuals get the bulk of a visitor’s attention. If you want your listings to have higher conversion rates and better sales numbers, it’s time that you give product photography the sort of attention it commands. When you get this aspect right, everything else will fall into place.