Country Farm Style House Plans For Simple, Enjoyable Living

Simple living means minimizing stress by minimizing the pursuit of conspicuous consumption and wealth for its own sake.  The decision for voluntary simplicity is often made for health reasons; as a philosophical or spiritual path; or to increase the amount of quality time which a person has to spend with friends and family.  Often the decision is motivated by a desire to save the earth; or by considerations of social justice.  As Duane Elgin put it, the decision for voluntary simplicity means being outwardly more frugal but inwardly richer – the exact opposite of how our society trains us to be.  The choice of simple living, for example, means choice of country farm style house plans rather than luxury building.  It means growing at least some of your own food, even if all this means is a few pots of herbs or jars of sprouts growing on a windowsill.  It means relying on public transportation whenever possible rather than driving one’s own car.  It means generating as little non-recyclable waste as possible. The beginnings of the philosophy of simple living go back to the Athenian philosopher Epicurus, who taught that the problems and worries inherent in living a sumptious lifestyle outweigh the pleasures.  Epicurus believed that anything beyond what is really necessary for life and simple comfort should be avoided.  In more recent times, movements such as the Shakers, Amish, and Mennonites have deliberately sought a style of life excluding wealth and technology.  Henry David Thoreau’s classic Walden was a statement against the non-sustainable lifestyle of mid-nineteenth century America.  Thoreau’s log home house plan life was an inspiration to Henry Stephens Salt in England, who popularized the Simplification idea in Victorian Britain; and to George Lorenzo Noyes in New England, who wrote about sustainable lifestyle and spiritual communion with nature.  In the early twentieth century the Vanderbilt Agrarian movement advocated sustainability and traditional agrarian values. The simplicity movement grew in the twentieth century, inspired by such authors as Richard Gregg, Gary Snyder, Ralph Borsodi, and Helen and Scott Nearing, who wrote about leaving the city with their bungalow craftsman house plans and their vision of a better life.   The hippie movement of the 1960′s was the first mass movement which advocated leaving the cities to return to the land.  The main spokesperson for simple living today is Duane Elgin, whose Voluntary Simplicity was published in 1981 and remains the bible of the voluntary simplicity movement.  Nowadays voluntary simplicity means reducing one’s need for bought items and services, and reducing correspondingly the amount of time sold for money.  Simple living means seeing that freedom results from giving up worrying about money, rather than accumulating more and more of it.  It means understanding that our society is headed for a fall.  Jared Diamond’s Collapse, which explains the historic reasons why previous civilizations perished and makes it plain that our own society is making the same errors, was a nationwide bestseller.  Clearly, simple living is an idea whose time has come.

3 Things People Get Wrong About Assertiveness

I’m running some workshops this week, on Influencing Skills and Dealing With Difficult People. In both, I’ll be talking about how to be assertive.But I’ll also have to be careful to warn the groups about 3 things that people often get wrong about being assertive.What do I mean by being assertive?A common definition is “standing up for your own rights while respecting the rights of others”. In practice, this means that you state clearly what you would like other people to do or how you feel about something they’ve done but, at the same time, you acknowledge that they don’t always have to do what you want and they have their own needs and feelings as well.So you don’t just let other people tell you what to do, or behave any way they want, without saying anything about it (which is non-assertive). But you don’t go around telling other people what to do or what you think with no thought for what they want (which is aggressive).The three things that people get wrong about assertiveness are:1. Thinking that assertiveness is selfish.Some people feel very uneasy about stating their feelings or saying clearly what they want from other people. They think it’s selfish, putting their wishes before those of others.This isn’t how I see assertiveness. As I mentioned above, it’s about accepting that you have just as much right as anyone else to express an opinion and to have your voice heard. No more right, no less. You’re not saying you’re more important than anyone else or that your wishes have priority, just that you have a right to state them.And, in any case… see the next point.2. Thinking that assertiveness will get you what you want.There’s more chance that you will get what you want if you are assertive. Why? Because people will know what you want. They won’t have to guess or read your mind.But that doesn’t mean you will always get your own way. People may still choose not to behave the way you want them to. After all, they can make their own minds up. They can be assertive as well.Don’t think, just because someone has not acted on the way you wanted, that assertiveness “didn’t work”. That’s not the whole point of assertiveness, it’s also partly about building your own self-esteem and confidence. Also, assertiveness isn’t a one-off thing, don’t write it off just because you didn’t get the result you wanted the first time.3. Thinking that other people will react well when you’re assertive.I blame some books on assertiveness for this. They often suggest that, if you’re assertive to someone, they’ll probably be assertive back and everyone will be calm and reasonable. That’s not what happens.Sometimes people react badly when you’re assertive, especially if they’re not used to it. Some people can get aggressive because they see you “standing up” to them. They’re used to getting their own way.Others can be confused because you’ve never done this before, it’s not the reaction they were expecting. They might get upset or try some form of emotional blackmail, telling you how disappointed they are in you or how you’ve let them down because you don’t want to do what they asked you.So it can sometimes seem that being assertiveness makes things worse, at least in the short term. You’ve got to be prepared for that and be prepared to deal with people’s reactions.So I would encourage you to be assertive but be clear about why you’re doing it and have realistic expectations about what it can achieve.

Careers in Chinese Medicine

Now that you’ve taken one of the initial steps in exploring the many unique careers in Chinese medicine, it is essential that you carefully research the field and discover this fascinating healing art by visiting your local acupuncturist or Oriental medicine practitioner.To get a general overview of careers in Chinese medicine, it is important that you review some of the credentials that are necessary to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine, commonly known as “TCM.” For instance, if you would like to become a licensed acupuncturist, it is a good idea to take essential classes now while you are still in high school or college so you can meet prerequisites to enroll in a Chinese medicine school. Additionally, it is equally important to evaluate the Oriental medicine college in which you’d like to enroll as some educational institutions offer a greater assortment of diploma and/or degree programs.Careers in Chinese medicine are diverse and include healing arts professions like Chinese medical massage therapists, acupuncturists, Chinese herbalists, doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Oriental medicine practitioners. Depending on how much time you would like to invest in achieving one of the careers in Chinese medicine, you should examine which course will meet your aspirations. For example, if you are seriously contemplating a career as a licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, you can anticipate up to five years of comprehensive training and education in clinical research in TCM, herbal pharmacology, TCM treatment modalities, TCM pathologies, and TCM classics, among others.Other careers in Chinese medicine like the Chinese Tuina (Chinese medical massage) practitioner can be attained once students have completed specialized training (often in less than a year) in Tuina, (energy medicine and bodywork techniques similar to acupressure). Upon completion of training, graduates are awarded a diploma or certificate.If you’re not squeamish, careers in Chinese medicine such as acupuncture can be a rewarding field of natural healthcare. Acupuncture programs often entail up to 3,000 hours of in-depth training in various Oriental medicine needling techniques, as well as education in the philosophies, principles and applications of TCM. As with most health care providers, careers in Chinese medicine (like acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners) commonly require State licensure, and annual continuing education to maintain licensure and/or certification to practice.Additional information regarding careers in Chinese medicine can also be researched at the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, where prospective practitioners can learn more about statistics and what educational requirements are necessary for professional (or someone you know) are interested in learning more about these or other Oriental medicine programs, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore careers in Chinese medicine [] near you.Careers in Chinese Medicine© Copyright 2008The CollegeBound NetworkAll Rights ReservedNOTICE: Article(s) may be republished free of charge to relevant websites, as long as Copyright and Author Resource Box are included; and ALL Hyperlinks REMAIN intact and active.

Online Tax Preparation – The Electronic Filing of an Income Tax Return

Nowadays, the internet has definitely become an indispensable element of all kinds of business across the globe. At the final period of the tax season, all earners highly consider the official procedure of income tax return filing a priority. While a number of taxpayers have found it trouble-free to file income tax returns, there are still those others who really feel perplexed and experience a very hard time to do so.Moreover, for an individual in a particular job having no assets at all, income tax return preparation will become a lot easier. At this time, services such as e-filing and online software and e-filing provides for tools that can definitely facilitate taxpayers by making their tasks easy, accurate, and fast. One best option is IRS’ Free File program that facilitates taxpayers in the preparation and online filing of their tax return for free. They can resort to online tax preparation and e-filing services in order to make their task completely easy. To do this, one can check out the IRS site so as to decide on an official IRS company or one can simply just look for it in the major search engines. Now if a taxpayer has knowledge on tax laws and is familiar with the preparation of income-tax-return file, then he or she can certainly do it himself or herself with the aid of online professional tax software.Furthermore, several benefits are available in using the internet as a means of tax preparation. After you have successfully entered the necessary information, the accurate computations are prepared by the built-in system. The related work will be completed online either sitting at home or office within few hours. For individuals who prefer to pay their taxes without having to consult accountants, online tax preparation is an advantage. Even professionals use this e-filing service because this software is certainly well-suited with most accounting software and also facilitates the importation of data from anyplace for tax purposes. Too, this can help you save time. These comprehensive tax payment solutions are provided both for the individuals and organizations. They are utterly efficient for filing income tax returns. Then again, for some people, these are merely easy-to-use tools of tax preparation and filing.When choosing for the best online tax preparation, one must ideally consider certain factors. There are absolutely several tax preparation software companies having customer service departments where they provide for online or offline (on the phone) support to their customers. But before you come to agree to their terms, you must check out first whether it is entirely free to access.See to it that the software you will have chosen is specifically essential to a situation. For example, those people who are self-employed will have to file their taxes in a different way and thus they must have an online tax program, focused toward their specific needs. With this, you have to look for tax preparation software online which incorporates all the necessary features you call for at a price that is within your reach.And finally, you must carefully read the print to ensure that the tax software remains up to date along with the tax laws ensuring that your return holds on to the latest standards. The ideally right online tax software for taxpayers is the one which completely provides the personal circumstances of the taxpayers in order to give them the most comprehensive and precise tax return and also provides them the utmost tax refund.

Collaborative People Management: A 21st Century View

SummaryThe study of management theory and practice is relatively new. It commenced around 1900. It included strong emphasis on, as it used to be called, “the human side of enterprise”. That’s no longer enough.21st Century DemandsThe people manager of today requires a very different approach: the manager needs to be collaborative.I’m not talking about some sort of “friendliness” or “good interpersonal relations”. We’ve tried that. It’s been found wanting. I’m talking about managers and employees collaborating effectively for the good of the business. The collaborative people manager puts the business first.Part Of The BusinessPeople management must enhance business results. It must do so clearly, precisely and measurably. It’s no longer enough – if it ever was – to “develop employees”, “provide satisfying and rewarding work”, “enhance employee personal and professional growth”, or to do all those “good for the employee” activities so highly promoted and favoured in the 20th Century.We must acknowledge the reality that employees are part of the resource we use to make our business successful. If they fail to do so, it doesn’t matter how well they create good interpersonal relationships, your business will never reach its full potential. As Ricardo Semler puts it, “They must go home proud of their work”.It All Begins With MarketingSound people management is an outcome of sound marketing. As my friend Bix Berry says, “Marketing isn’t everything, but everything is marketing”. Your marketing must be precise, specific and crystal clear. If not, your employees will lack a firm and clear foundation for their performance.Outstanding marketing depends on two essential elements• A crystal clear business focus• A small, very specific target market.To put it in 20th Century jargon; you need to know exactly “what business you’re in” and your “ideal customer”. Marketing creates the context for the collaborative people manager.And remember what Peter Drucker said. He was one of the most respected management gurus of the 20th Century. He said: “What business am I in? The question can be answered only by looking at the business from the outside: from the point of view of the customer and the market.”If you can’t define these issues with absolute clarity, you can’t expect your employees to help your business succeed. Your people management must support your marketing position.Staff Selection Is the First StepEmployees are a resource. Like any other resource, you need employees who’ll give you the business results you want. That’s the expectation you have about the performance of your computer system. You can reasonably have it about the performance of your employees too.To put it bluntly, you need the “right” people”. Without them, you won’t get the “right” business results. Exactly how you define “right” is up to you. But you must find them. And that’s what your selection process must be designed to do.Before you commence your selection process you need to be clear about exactly what on job performance you expect from each employee. You also need to be sure how you’ll measure that performance to determine whether nor not the new employee is “getting the job done”.There’s no place for slipshod, careless or rushed staff selection practice in the 21st Century. And staff selection must be focused on effective on job performance. Spend time choosing new employees. It can’t be done professionally without detailed analysis and preparation. It certainly can’t be done in a hurry. And keep the face to face interview in perspective. You can’t tell what anyone can do merely by talking with them.Systems Are The KeyHere are some “words to live by” in the 21st Century• The best thing a manager can do for an employee is to put systems in place that make it impossible for the employee to fail• If your systems are poor, your people will fail• A poor system will beat a good employee every time.This is what distinguishes the collaborative manager. It isn’t about “motivation”, “interpersonal skills”, “human resource development”, “interpersonal relations” or “understanding human behaviour”.These issues can be important. But your systems must lead to successful on job performance. All the “motivation” on the planet won’t compensate for poor systems.Two Key Aspects Of PerformanceBoth the collaborative manager and his or her employees need to know exactly what performance is expected. And they also need to know very clearly whether that performance has been provided.You need both performance systems and performance standards. A performance system is a method of working that ensures that employees will achieve the specific performance a manager wants. It’s a result-centred method of achieving performance.A performance standard enables you to measure whether the specified performance has been achieved.I repeat: regardless of what was seen as essential last Century, the essence of 21st Century people management is this: “If your systems are poor your people will fail”.A 21st Century Management PerspectiveClose staff supervision is out. There’s only one way that you’ll be able to manage your business effectively. It’s when employees are competent to responsibly handle all day to day routines. That’s collaboration. And that can happen only when you have excellent systems in place. Training is no longer enough. It probably never was!It’s no longer a manager’s job to become closely involved in employees’ work. It’s the employees’ responsibility to manage their own work. If they can’t do their job without your help, you can’t do yours. The collaborative manager makes it as straightforward as possible for employees to contribute to business success.And remember, the better the on job performance of employees, the more they’ll contribute to effective business results. The more they know that they contribute, the better the contribution that they’ll make.It’s remarkable how confident and accomplished employees become when they know that their job performance is both highly valued and clearly linked to business success.In the 21st Century, it’s the manager’s job to create the conditions for that accomplishment. “Amateur psychologist” skills are unnecessary.The 21st Century TeamIt’s a conundrum. We recruit individuals into our businesses. Once they’re in the business we measure their performance, at least in part, by how well they function as team members. Except in very small business, every employee is a member of at least two teams.We failed to acknowledge this automatic team membership in the 20th Century. We stressed team “building”. But the team exists. It doesn’t need to be built. It exists. The team is the basic human unit in the workplace. “Team development” matters far more then “team building”.We promoted effective team contribution by emphasizing the strength of interpersonal relationships between team members. The basic belief was that people who “get on well” together would work together effectively. Proponents of this point of view seem to know little about how successful sports teams work.Realistically, close interpersonal relationships can inhibit team effectiveness. Maintaining a relationship between team members can become more important than team achievement. This is particularly likely when “What’s best for the team?” threatens a relationship between members.The collaborative manager accepts that close interpersonal relationships are a result of effective team performance. They are not a prerequisite for it.The Technology ContradictionDr Tom Gilbert once told me, “Leon, we don’t live in The Information Age. We live in The Data Age. Information is data you can use.” Sadly, managers often confuse data with information.Today’s technology allows the collaborative manager to quickly and easily obtain really valuable business information. But you must take care that you don’t simply accumulate data for its own sake. It’s easy to unwittingly drown employees in data. Confusion replaces clarity when data is mistaken for information.The technology also enables you to specify your performance expectations in clearly measurable terms. And you can discover, on a daily basis if necessary, whether those expectations have been met. If necessary you can take remedial action promptly and effectively.But there’s a bigger advantage for using modern information technology effectively. Employees can receive virtually instant feedback on their performance. They can know “how well they’re doing” frequently and easily.In one of my client companies, they process car engine repairs using thirteen workstations. Today’s technology enables each operator to measure his or her own work. But it also means that they can assess operations at all other workstations too. The whole repair process is integrated for “perfect” performance.The collaborative manager understands how access to useful and valuable information can enhance employee on job performance and with it, “job satisfaction”. It also provides excellent opportunities for employees, both individually and as team members, to be responsible for routine performance without managerial involvement or intervention.George Bernard Shaw’s ViewGeorge Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright who died in 1950 at the age of 96. Perhaps his most famous work was “Pygmalion”. It’s the story of how a speech and grammar expert, Professor Henry Higgins, changes the life of a cockney flower girl by improving her speech and accent. He has her accepted into the upper echelons of British aristocratic society. It became the basis for the Broadway musical hit, “My Fair Lady” by Allan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.Shaw says simply; “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves. It’s how she’s treated.”The collaborative people manager understands this. Treat your staff as adult, trustworthy, dedicated contributors to business success. That’s what you’ll get.Treat them as lazy and difficult individuals without initiative or intelligence, that’s what you’ll get.George Bernard Shaw knew what he was talking about. You’ll get exactly the performance you expect from employees. You have complete control of that. You must “engineer” successful employee performance: not hope for it as an outcome of well-meaning psychological parlour games.Three Key WordsMany big complicated words invaded staff management in the 20th Century. They attempted to sum up people management for the 20th Century manager.They’re obsolete now. The three words that matter now are• Expectations• Consequences• Perception.Many years ago I read this profound statement in a book about communication. It was published by the American Management Association. This is the statement: “In the final analysis, what counts is not what people are told, but what they accept”.Employees have expectations. They assume consequences. They perceive all of this based on previous experiences and how they feel that they may be affected by new or altered situations. The collaborative manager realizes that his or her expectations, consequences and perceptions may be very different to those held by employees.The Collaborative PerspectiveThe 21st Century people manager is a collaborative manager. He or she…• Sees people management as an integral part of day to day business. It is not some esoteric exercise in relationship building or “pop” psychology• Knows that successful marketing is the overall context. People management will be truly successful only within that context• Accepts that successful staff selection is the first step. Staff performance starts with staff selection• Recognizes that systems are the key. If your systems are poor, your people will fail• Sees on job performance as the goal. Both effective performance systems and performance standards are essential• Understands that ultimately, employees must be fully responsible for all routine, day to day business matters without management intervention• Recognizes that effective interpersonal relationships at work are a result of effective team development not a prerequisite for it. Each employee is a member of at least two teams• Accepts that information is “data we can use”. Today’s technology enables both managers and employees to measure performance quickly and easily. It enhances employee self-management.• Learns from the likes of George Bernard Shaw. It’s how you treat employees that counts. You’ll get what you expect from your people. It’s “engineering” that only managers can create and control• Never forgets PEC: perception, expectations and consequences. They have a huge influence on employee response and reaction.ConclusionWe started studying people management about a century ago. We’ve tried lots of techniques since then. It’s time to discard those that are ineffective. It’s time to become collaborative.

Your Online Spa and How to Be Found Using Search Engine Optimization

Do you operate a day spa with an online presence? The Internet has truly become a potent and most effective venue to market and promote your business. Through the advent of the modern computer age, you can easily reach across a greater audience and more clients conveniently and effectively. Online operations for day spas are certainly a tried and tested formula.When you have taken your spa business online, it is imperative that you develop, design, and build a well organized and dynamic website. You must commission the best web designers and you must strive to write and post the best and most persuasive content. Think about it. When you are searching for and reading websites, you are focused on the good, interesting, and convincing ones. Apply the concept to your own online spa business.Because you want your online site to be effective and to reach across the target audience and readers, you need to make sure more people will find it. The Internet is an ever-expanding venue. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of websites competing with each other to grab the attention of the millions of readers all over the globe. In your own niche, there are also numerous websites and online businesses that compete with your own online site. How will you overcome and win the challenge? The answer lies in search engine optimization.When you optimize your website, you are formatting it in such a way that major search engines can easily find it and list it in their index of web pages. Google is the primary search engine you should target, as it is the most widely used. To do so, you must adhere to the search engines regulations and practices when it comes to search engine results listings.In search results, search traffic has a main influence to dictate search engine ranking. Websites that are most frequently visited are logically on top of the listing. Websites vie for the topmost listing because obviously, online users check out sites listed on the topmost of a search engine result page. To be able to come across and potentially reach more of your intended audience, you have to strive harder to land on that spot.Search engine optimization is not as hard as people think. If you have your own website, all you have to do is make your content ideal and convincing, featuring a decent volume and number of keywords. For example, your online spa should use important and popular keywords for your niche, like online day spa or Internet spa services.Aside from that, make sure your title tag is very catchy and convincing. Title tags say what your website is all about. It is necessary to compose and use the most persuasive titles because title tags are the titles appearing on search engine listings.Your Meta description is also important as that is the descriptive text that displays in the search engine listing underneath your title. Here is where you want to “sell the click”. That is you want to put some conservative, well crafted copy that will entice the searcher to click on the link and visit your site with out being “in your face” blatantly obvious.Inter-linking with other websites and even blogs can also do the trick. If you will spend even at least an hour finding and establishing links with other websites, especially those in your niche, you will be amazed at how search ranking your website will enjoy. Its usually as simple as picking up the phone and asking a webmaster to exchange links with you.If you have struggled with any of the terms in this article like Title Tag, Meta Description, Link exchange or Search Engine Optimization, I suggest you consult with a competent web design individual or company. Hopefully one you can get a reference on from a friend or business associate.

Attention Must Be Paid To Connect Our Minds, Bodies And Spirits

Think back to a time in your childhood when you felt gleeful, when you felt like you could stay in that place forever.Was it making angels in the snow, smelling cookies baking, when you came home from school, hearing a special story re-read to you by one of the most wonderful people in your life?
Or, perhaps, was it when you picked a perfect flower or a vegetable you’d planted as a seed, or when you sold your last cup of lemonade at your curbside lemonade stand, or was it holding your brand-new puppy for the first time or getting the exact gift you wanted for your birthday? How about when you were lying on the grass cloud-watching and wondering why they were moving like they did or who was moving them?Or, maybe, you have your own special memories tucked away.Can you feel right now like you felt back then? Memories like these make us feel good, satisfied, content, calm and connected to ourselves. When we take the time to recall them, they can change a day for us. When we share them at special times, we can enrich a relationship.We’re all searching for connections to ourselves and others, whether visual, physical, social or even ones we can just sense. Each of us individually is truly the only one who really knows what we need to feel complete and whole. When we speak about the mind, body and spirit connection, I think we are talking about aligning all parts of ourselves to be the very best we can be; perhaps, this also means we call in a higher power, or believe in something that we cannot see and, yet, we know is there. The miracles that show up in my life are, I believe, to show me that there is a spiritual component in my life. When I discover that the Universe is with me, I am excited and have to pay attention to that.The other night I drove into my garage and soon realized that I did not have my house keys. They were not in the drawer of my car where I usually keep them. I could neither get into the building nor into my apartment. I was stunned; it was after 11 pm. I certainly didn’t want to bother Lily, our manager, who is a wonderful, vital 86 year old. So I called a neighbor, who wasn’t home. Now, I had no choice. Feeling desperate, I dialed Lily’s number. Luckily, she was still up, reading. She graciously let me in, asked if my keys had any identification, which they didn’t and told me not to worry.I honestly couldn’t remember putting them in the usual place, but somehow I just knew I’d dropped those keys in the grass, before I’d gotten in my car. I realized I had not been paying attention; I’d disconnected from my mind and body.I went out at 2 am with a flash light to check. No keys. I started to imagine all the places they could have fallen out of my car.I even began to make a new key ring for myself, before I finally went to bed.The next morning at 10:30 Lily called with “good news.” A woman who lives in the building next to ours had picked my keys up in the grass the night before and had just brought them over. I thanked the Universe with a deep feeling of gratitude and acknowledged that I’d had another miracle in my life.Some people believe that they can manifest what they want. That definitely involves paying attention to how they direct their thoughts and connect to their knowingness.I know that some call attention by another name, mindfulness. I could say that before I drove away, I had been out of my mind. But before I went to bed, I was present again; I knew that my keys were somewhere in the grass. I know that our attention is the most powerful personal tool we have. Only when we pay positive, quality attention to something or someone do we create a connection.When we pay attention and stay in our minds and bodies, we have less drama and stress in our lives. We find more opportunities to feel good, joyful, content and whole. And we find more time to create new memories full of glee and wonder.

Rule the Digi World – 6 Simple Ways to Learn Digital Marketing on Own

Digital Marketing is a certainly vast concept like academics. Just like any other subject of school, digital marketing covers different aspects that are to be learnt one by one, back after each other. Certainly, when I say that digital marketing is vast to learn just like academics, you may assume that you need to walk down to a school or an institute to become a Master at Digital Marketing. Well, you need not to.Despite the fact that digital marketing has varied areas to be covered in learning, thanks to the internet that has made it so easy that one can master this art of e-business marketing even by sitting at home. Dedication, focus and a small kernel of confidence that you can do it by yourself are the key elements to learn digital marketing on your own. To make it easier for you, we are listing out the six best possible ways you can learn digital marketing by self, without a need to enroll in marketing schools or institutes.Hubspot Academy:On the web, Hubspot is the right place to look out for anything and everything related to marketing and sales. Hubspot helps one learn about the key components of marketing like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Paid Search, Email Marketing, Digital Display Marketing, Web Analytics and Reporting and Mobile Marketing. Plus, the advantage in learning digital marketing from the Hubspot Academy (online) is that the knowledge you gain is accepted and recognized at a global level. The academy has in store a treasure of sources like certification courses, documents, video tutorials etc. for you to easily learn from.While Hubspot makes today’s best source for online tutorials and certification courses, Alison’s Free Diploma in E-Business course is nowhere behind to impart similar knowledge to marketing aspirants worldwide. This course helps you learn about how to grow a business online, all about Ad sense and AdWords and the best ways to increase a website’s local reach. Similarly if you’re determined to learn just everything about social media marketing, Social Media QuickStarter is a right place for you as a beginner. Here, in every session, you get to learn all tactics of marketing related to LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.E-books on Digital Marketing:If you think that the online course programs take up a lot of your time and you want to master the art of digital marketing at the blink of an eye, then you may indeed need a source that gives you quick learning. E-books on marketing can do that exactly for you. From the very renowned marketing experts and authors, there are books for sale on the internet written specifically for reading lovers like you. Moreover, a recent survey report by Amazon concluded that E-books have become a popular purchase today among youngsters to enhance their skills and gain fresh knowledge.The advantage is through these books you get to learn marketing faster, without investing high. Another plus point is, you necessarily need not be connected to the internet always to learn marketing course through these e-books. While some books are available for purchase at a reasonable price, there are also e-books that are available on the web absolutely for free! All you need to do is download them, store in your PC and start off with your self-digital-marketing-learning.According to a survey of marketers, the below books have been marked best for people looking out for learning digital marketing by self:· Data Driven Content Marketing by Uberflip· The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz· Conversions, Not Campaigns by Marketo· Google Semantic Search by David Amerland· Social Media Data Cookbook by HootsuiteYouTube ChannelsIf you believe that you definitely need a teacher, someone who could orally explain you all, but don’t want to visit a school to do so, subscribe to a YouTube Channels that imparts marketing insights. Many marketers from across the globe start their channels on YouTube with an aim to give free classes to candidates interested in learning digital marketing by self. For instance, Social Triggers by Derek Halpern has many videos on all areas on marketing. He shares everything that can help a beginner gradually become a master in marketing. Likewise, another prominent channel is by Gary Vaynerchuck, name GaryVee not just talks about marketing but does it in a way that it motives listeners and keeps them engaged throughout the course.Webinar SessionsWhat about having a classroom atmosphere while learning at home? Yes, that is what exactly a webinar does. Many marketing experts from various nations take invest some of their precious time to conduct webinars and make the home-learning a class room experience. All you need to do is enroll for the webinar, book your seat and be there to learn through sessions along with many like you. While you are listening to the class, through the online platform you will be allowed to ask in your questions too. Among today’s popular marketing experts that conduct resourceful webinars, Anik Singal is a favorite of many.Blogs, Case studies & DocumentsIf reading keeps you focused and motivated and you believe that reading marketing guides, documents case studies, articles, blogs is your choice- then that’s an equally great option. For you we have listed out few best blogs of 2018 that you could bookmark and read every day.· Marketing Land: Digital Marketing News & Views· The Moz Blog: Search Engine Marketing· Kissmetrics: Digital Marketing Stats & Studies· Econsultancy: Innovative and Latest Digital Marketing· Content Marketing Institute: Content MarketingGroups and ForumsFor an informal and joyful way of learning your digital marketing, group and forums make an ideal place. Here, you get to meet people, share knowledge, experiences- which eventually adds to a practical experience. Plus, once you are done with learning you can also seek for work opportunities and kickstart your career into digital marketing. Digital Point, Traffic Planet, SEO Chat Forum etc. are a today’s few forums which are trending among marketing and SEO addicts.Wrapping upWhile we have jotted the best and handy 6 ways to learn online marketing, there are many more sources available on the web. If you are keen to learn digital marketing at the advanced level, it is best suggested that you take an expert advice to help yourself choose the right source online.

Do I Really Need a Business Plan for My Business?

Most successful businesses have created a business plan at some point, usually before their start-up.Why?A business plan is needed to address all of the central components to starting a business. It is essential to make sure that you, as a new entrepreneur have carefully thought through many if not all, of the important components of your business. Ideally, you need to do this BEFORE starting your business.What is a business plan?They are generally prepared for two reasons:1. To obtain financing for the business2. To help determine if essential components of starting a business have been considered.Often times with new entrepreneur’s (and sometimes even with the more experienced!) they overlook certain aspects of starting a business. So the business plan helps to ensure that most, if not all reasonable questions have been answered and strategies thought about.Although business plans are often considered optional – they serve a vital importance to entrepreneurs.Many aspiring entrepreneurs and even experienced entrepreneurs fail to recognize their importance. It is often considered an “optional” component of their business and should only be prepared when absolutely necessary.Not so!It is needed to address all of the central components to starting your business. It is essential to make sure that you, as an entrepreneur of quality, have carefully considered what you are offering, how you are offering it and whom you are offering it to.Although it may be tempting to say “I have everything in my head about my business” – could lead to a lack of clarity.Why?The idea of keeping everything in your mind makes it possible for you to:
forget certain things
remember things incorrectly or too modified to later be useful
misconstrue thought combinations that you had at one point but later revised
revisit ideas that you already have thought of and since dismissed…
Preparing a business plan will allow you to document what you know and have the permanent impact of writing it down.But this is complicated – Right?In the context of the larger corporate world a business plan is not only essential but required. Many formats of business plans are modelled after the layouts and inclusions used for larger public companies. The time frame and level of detail is much greater for large corporate entities as they are required for various interested parties (stakeholders). However, it is not necessary for smaller businesses, especially start-ups to prepare overly lengthy and complex documents.Your business plan need not be a time consuming, uncontrollable and over-the-top difficult process!How Can I, As an Entrepreneur Achieve This?Through the simple process of preparing a Preliminary Business Plan you will:
Engage in a key strategy that will help you to organize your thoughts
Help you to focus on your business intentions.
Apply a straightforward, step-by-step process to prepare one.
Obtain clarity about your business.
Why is it called a Preliminary Business Plan?Traditional business plans, like those used for large public corporations can be very complex and have the level of detail that is not required for most smaller, private businesses.A Preliminary Business Plan is shorter, designed more for the start-up of the business and it is easier to understand and prepare.Here are just some of the questions that it should answer:
Describe in detail exactly what your business is to be.
Describe whom your products and/or services are for.
How do you plan to deliver your products/services to your customers/clients.
What pricing do you plan to use.
If you have a product, list the major suppliers
Indicate whom your major customers/clients are likely to be.
What are the risk factors that you see for your business.
What current businesses pose as competition to your business?
How many employees do you plan to have in the company and at what point will they become active?
Have you completed one?
It will address all of the central components to starting your business. It is essential to make sure that you, as a new entrepreneur have thought carefully through and considered all that you need to BEFORE starting your business.A Preliminary Business Plan is a step-by-step method that allows you to organize your thoughts and WRITE DOWN your intentions through documenting them in a meaningful way. It also provides you with a document to provide to interested parties (for example, banks, investors, etc.) if the need arises.You need to prepare one, if you are:
An aspiring entrepreneur who is serious about properly planning a business and would like to discover if you need one for their new business.
An experienced entrepreneur who never has prepared one, but would like to learn how.
An aspiring entrepreneur who is skeptical, but would like to explore the process and know more.
Any entrepreneur who has heard about them, but are confused and would like some clear DIRECTION of what to do.

Alternative and Non-Bank Financing – Don’t Be Afraid!

The good news is that, despite the tight credit environment, there are many alternative and non-bank financing options available to companies that need a cash infusion, whether it’s to beef up working capital or help facilitate growth.However, the bad news is that business owners often shy away from non-bank financing because they don’t understand it. Most owners simply rely on their banker for financial information and many bankers (not surprisingly) have only limited experience with options beyond those offered by the bank.To help ease some of the fear that owners often have of alternative financing, here is a description of the most common types of non-bank financing. There are many struggling businesses out there today that could benefit from one of these alternative financing options:Full-Service Factoring: If a business has financial challenges, full-service factoring is a good solution. The business sells its outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance company (also referred to as a factoring company) at a discount-typically between 2-4 percent-and then the factoring company manages the receivable until it is paid. It is a great alternative when a traditional line of credit is simply not available. There are a number of variables to a program, including full recourse, non-recourse, notification and non-notification.Spot Factoring: Here, a business can sell just one of its invoices to a factoring company without any commitment to minimum volumes or terms. It sounds like a good solution but it should be used sparingly. Spot factoring is typically more expensive than full-service factoring (in the 5-8 percent discount range) and usually requires extensive controls. In most cases, it does not solve the underlying lack of working capital issue.Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing: A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have good financial statements and need more money than a traditional lender will provide. The business must submit all of its invoices through to the A/R finance company and pay a collateral management fee of about 1-2 percent to have them professionally managed. A borrowing base is calculated daily and when funds are requested an interest rate of Prime plus 1 to 5 points is applied. If and when the company becomes bankable, it is a fairly easytransition to a traditional bank line of credit.Asset-Based Lending (ABL): This is a facility secured by all the assets of a company, including A/R, equipment, real estate and inventory. It’s a good alternative for companies with the right mix of assets and a need for at least $1 million. The business continues to manage and collect its own receivables but submits an aging report each month to the ABL company, which will review and periodically audit the reports. Fees and interest make this product more expensive than traditional bank financing, but in many cases it provides access to more capital. In the right situation, this can be a very fair trade-off.Purchase Order (PO) Financing: Ideal for a business that has a purchase order(s) but lacks the supplier credit needed to fill it. The business must be able to demonstrate a history of completing orders, and the account debtor placing the order must be financially strong. In most cases, a PO finance company requires the involvement of a factor or asset-based lender in the transaction. PO financing is a high-risk kind of financing, so the costs are usually very high and the due diligence required is quite intense.The message I am trying to convey is simply that financially challenged business owners should not be afraid to consider alternative or non-bank financing options. It’s a fairly simple matter to learn what they are, how much they cost and how they work. Alternative financing is a much better option than facing the challenges of growth or turnaround alone. It is a known fact that the vast majority of business failures are due to a lack of working capital-but it doesn’t have to be that way.With a better understanding of these different types of non-bank financing, you’ll be in a better position to decide if they might be the answer to your financing challenges.