Weekend Favs May 25

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Weekend Favs May 25 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Meetingbird – Schedule meetings directly through your Gmail inbox.
  • involve.me – Create custom interactive content like quizzes, calculators, and forms.
  • FastCharts.io – Input data to create custom charts.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Consulting Sucks (Sometimes):  15 Ugly Truths To Ponder Before You Take The Leap 

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by Elaine Biech, author of “The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond“

The gig economy is roaring right along, and that means consulting work is more popular than it’s ever been. And the truth is there are many great benefits to becoming a consultant. In fact, you may even be thinking about taking the leap yourself.

But before you hang up a shingle, here’s a sobering truth: Consulting sucks.

Well… some of the time it does, anyway.

While consulting work is rewarding, fun, and often quite lucrative, no one should jump into it blindly. As much as I love consulting, it definitely has a dark side. And it’s important to explore some of the darker corners, so you’ll know what you’re getting into.

Here are some drawbacks of consulting:

1. As with all start-ups, failure is an option.

According to the Small Business Administration, half of all start-up businesses fail within five years. Responsibility for success or failure rests almost entirely with the person who started the business. Some of the reasons include mistaking a business for a hobby; asking friends and relatives for advice; mismanaging money; lack of a business plan; poor or no marketing; lack of pricing knowledge; inability to manage growth; lack of commitment; failure to set and revise goals; inability to develop, monitor, and understand financial statements; inability to balance business and family; and underestimation of time requirements.

A lot can go wrong with a start-up. You’re better off being prepared up front for the level of effort it takes to stay afloat.

2. You probably won’t strike it rich.

Even though many consultants charge over $2,000 a day, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll “get rich” as a consultant. Without an employer to share the burden, you’ll still have to set aside money for taxes and benefits like health and life insurance and retirement. On top of that, you can’t do billable work five days a week because you’ll need to allot time for preparation, marketing, and administrative work. You can definitely make a living doing this work, but don’t expect to make a killing.

3. You’ll give up the security blanket that is a regular guaranteed income.

One reason people go to work for companies is to have a guaranteed income. There is a lot to be said for the reassuring promise of a steady, predictable paycheck. But — oh no! — there is no such security for consultants. You are responsible for acquiring business, servicing clients to their satisfaction, and billing promptly to keep the cash flowing.

4. Clients don’t always pay on time.

Clients don’t always pay their invoices on time, or at all, in some cases. That means that you have to continuously generate enough work (and stay on top of billing) to maintain a steady cash flow in case money you counted on doesn’t arrive. It also means learning to live with the psychological burden of not knowing when (or even if) a check will come through — and, depending on your personality type, that can be a heavy burden.

5. You might be disrespected or viewed with suspicion.

There’s a lot of negativity around the consulting field, and you’ll have to have a thick skin to handle being called a “beltway bandit,” conman, pest, or worse. I’ve been called all three of these names! There are many charlatans out there, so in some cases the negativity is deserved. In addition, the profession lacks legal standards or legitimate certification. But there are also lots of great consultants as well; unfortunately, they must often fight a battle of trust due to poor ethics or overcharging by a consultant who worked with a client previously.

6. You won’t always win the client…

Imagine investing 10 hours to write a proposal that you later learn never had a chance because a candidate was preselected. It’s also common to lose a proposal on a technicality.

Clients choose to ‘go another way’ for all kinds of reasons. The disappointment never gets easier, but it’s best to take it as a learning experience and move on.

7. … and when you do win them, clients will exhaust you.

You’ll be working for clients who go to work early, have tight deadlines, and experience huge pressures. This often translates to doing 12 hours or more a day of sustained work for your clients — more if you take them to dinner after the workday. And depending on your client load, you could be working with multiple people inside several different companies each week and dealing with various personalities and sets of office politics. It can wear you down, which is why it’s so important to make time for self-care and relaxation during your time off.

8. Your client roster will stay in flux.

You may have 11 clients today, but that could change tomorrow. A change in the economic climate or the industry, or even a change in leadership, could end a project abruptly. This possibility means that you must constantly market yourself and network so you don’t end up with only one or two clients.

9. Any semblance of work/life balance may go out the window.

Consulting life may sound glamorous, but it’s really about long hours and a lot of work. Like most entrepreneurs, consultants spend 60 to 80 hours a week getting their business up and running during the first year and beyond. You’ll wake up for 4:00 a.m. flights and spend countless hours waiting in the airport. You’ll miss out on plenty of family dinners and often arrive home well after midnight. Weekends often aren’t free either, and you often devote them to catching up, making phone calls, and even traveling. (Remember, if you travel on a Monday, you will lose a billable day of work.)

10. Let’s be clear: Traveling will consume your life.

Your clients may live all over the country or the world, which means you’ll spend much of your time away from home. On the plus side, this means you can live anywhere as long as you’re driving distance to an airport.

11. Consulting is a lonely business.

Working for yourself can be an isolating experience. On top of that, there’s no one to help you when you’re overloaded with work. This is why some consultants choose to hire people, from an assistant to answer phones to creating a partnership with another consultant to complete the workload. This, of course, means taking on the burden of generating more income (to pay the second person) or facing the growing pains of expanding your business.

12. You’ll struggle to get good food and enough exercise.

You have to work really hard to eat a healthy diet and exercise while on the road. Instead of enjoying homecooked meals, you’ll be eating lots of poorly prepared restaurant food, and most of your exercise will consist of running through the airport to catch your flight.

13. Your social life will probably take a hit.

Traveling means that spending time with friends is harder to schedule and carry out. When you fly back into town on a Friday evening, it’s usually too late to make weekend plans for social activities. And if you do have something planned, you may need to cancel when a crisis comes up. It is possible to maintain an active social life when doing this work: You just have to be thoughtful with your scheduling and grab opportunities when you can.

14. You will miss your loved ones at home.

Being away so often for work places an obvious strain on you and your family. Though you can stay connected via Skype and the telephone, you will no doubt miss being near your loved ones and have to forgo at least some events you wanted to share with them.

15. Working from home can be distracting.

When they’re not traveling, many consultants work in a home office. This has some obvious pros, like enjoying privacy and working in sweatpants, but the biggest drawback is the constant distraction. Your mind will wander off to any number of personal projects. Your dogs will bark, and if you have kids, you can count on having them barge in when you’re on an important phone call.

Some aspects of consulting really do suck — and it’s best to know up front what you’re getting into. But that is also true of any job. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll have the energy to power through the demands and you’ll enjoy clients and your work. When you deliver outstanding work that you truly believe in and care about, you’ll feel great about yourself — and that great feeling makes all the rest worthwhile.

Even with all the drawbacks, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was the best leap I ever took. I never feel as if I’m going to work; I feel that I am going to play every day.

 

Elaine Biech is the author of “The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond“. She is a dedicated lifelong learner who believes that excellence isn’t optional. As a consultant, trainer, and president of ebb associates for more than 35 years, she helps global organizations to work through large-scale change and leaders to maximize their effectiveness. She has published 85 books, including the Washington Post #1 bestseller “The Art and Science of Training“.

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10 Key Steps for Building a Great Small Business Website

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By Allison Bowlus

Whether you are a freelance photographer, own a hardware store, or have another type of small business, a great website is essential for your company’s success. As a webmaster who has worked on building or marketing over 100 small business websites, I know what it takes to create great and engaging business websites.

If you are looking to build a new startup website or make your current site more effective, here are 10 key steps to getting started and helping your small business website compete effectively in the online marketplace.

1. Obtain a good domain name

Your domain name, also known as your website address, is often the entry point to your site. It is important that it makes a good impression for usability purposes, as well as for search engine optimization (SEO).

Here are some tips for coming up with an optimal domain name:

  • Make it easy to spell. Try not to use slang, made up, or extremely esoteric words.
  • Keep it as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and type correctly.
  • Use the proper domain extension. Try to always make it a .com domain name (as opposed to .net, .co, etc.) unless it is more appropriate to use another extension, such as .gov, .edu, or .org.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens. They are hard to remember and less elegant and memorable than word-only domain names, and may be misunderstood when vocalizing the domain name.
  • Make the address broad to facilitate future growth. For example, Amazon.com is a much broader website address than BooksOnline.com and allows Amazon to sell pretty much every type of consumer good instead of books only, as was its original purpose.
  • Ensure it is memorable. With so many websites on the internet, it is important that your website name is catchy so people will remember how to access it in the future.
  • Research the domain name. Google it to see if a similar website address already exists online, and search on USPTO.gov to make sure it does not contain any registered trademarks.
  • Check if the price is right. Determine if you can purchase your desired website address at a reasonable price since most good domain names are taken and will need to be bought from the current owner.
  • Avoid nonsensical names. Choose a name that conveys a meaning so that users will know immediately what your business is. Yahoo and Google are catchy names, but they were very expensive to brand, and your small business may not have the same budget.
  • Create an SEO-friendly URL. When appropriate, try to come up with an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location; for example, “www.LasVegasElectrician.com.”

2. Purchase secure, scalable website hosting with good tech support

A website host (or sometimes referred to as a website hosting provider) is a company that offers the technology and services necessary for a website to be viewed on the internet. You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that you store on your hosting account.

Hosting services can cost anywhere between $2 to $100+ per month, depending on the kind of technology and support you choose. You can usually get a discount if you purchase a yearly plan as opposed to a monthly plan.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a good website hosting plan:

  • Although you can get a “shared server” hosting plan for as little as $2 per month, I would typically advise against this. Shared hosting means you are sharing a server and its resources with other customers, which can make the performance of your site suffer. Also, if one of the other websites on your shared server is hacked, it is possible for your website to also be infected.
  • A “dedicated server” hosting plan is the most expensive option—cost can range from around $100 to $2,000 per month—but it would make your website perform the most optimally. Having a dedicated server plan means that the physical server machine is entirely dedicated to your site; therefore, all the resources are yours and it is more secure than a shared hosting plan, as long as the technology is optimal. However, it is much more expensive than what most small businesses usually are willing to pay. Once you have a very high-performing site, this may be what you need, but it is overkill for most early stage and small businesses.
  • The compromise I typically recommend is a “virtual private server” (VPS) hosting plan which offers the best of both worlds. The cost ranges from around $20 to $50 per month, which is affordable for the hosting services you will receive. A VPS is one machine that is partitioned to act as multiple machines, which gives it a similar affordability to shared hosting, with similar security and performance potential as a dedicated server hosting plan.
  • Make sure your hosting company has phone and/or chat support so you can be helped quickly if you have a problem. Email support can often take too long and become frustrating when a problem needs to be resolved immediately. Phone support is best, but chatting works well, too.
  • There needs to be an easy to use server interface like cPanel to access your server. You do not want to have to use terminal commands to view your server contents and make changes, unless you can afford to hire a professional server administrator to help you.
  • Check to see what kind of server security is in place on the server you are considering. You will want to be able to access your server via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). There should be daily backups being made of your server contents. There should also be an easy, one or two-click method to install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. Make sure the hosting company performs regular security maintenance. Ideally your hosting company has a published security protocol you can review so you know how they keep their servers safe.

Some popular website hosting companies include:

  • GoDaddy
  • DreamHost
  • Bluehost
  • InMotion
  • SiteGround

3. Prominently display a clear description of your business

It is important to let people know who you are and what you do right away so they don’t feel confused when they visit your small business website. Make sure your main homepage banner (also known as a “hero image”) and subsequent banners are visual representations of your services, and also that you have an introductory text blurb near the top of the page that describes who you are and what you do.

Additionally, make sure both your main and footer navigation menus have “About Us” page links easily accessible so people can click them and read more about your business in depth.

4. Implement the best content management system

A content management system (CMS) is a software program or application that is used to create and manage digital content. A good CMS will help you maintain your site, and you don’t need much technical knowledge to use it. You should choose a CMS that is designed for your unique needs; different systems are used for different reasons, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and budget.

The following are some popular systems with descriptions of their strengths and weaknesses.

WordPress: WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It has a vast, active support community and many useful plugins to extend the functionality of your site. (And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, it is easy to find a WordPress developer who can make one for you!) WordPress is also free and relatively simple to install. Most website developers are familiar with it so it is not hard to find an individual or agency that can work on your site. I normally recommend that small businesses use WordPress to create their websites, due to its flexibility and extensibility.

It must be noted, however, that WordPress’s biggest weakness is security—because it is so popular, hackers target it the most. Your WordPress site needs to be regularly maintained and secured so it is not hacked. Also, it is difficult to secure every single third-party plugin, so keeping your WordPress site secure must be an ongoing commitment through various best practices (checking to see if your plugins have been updated within the past few months, making sure it is a plugin provided in the official WordPress repository, deleting unused plugins immediately, etc.).

Drupal: Drupal is another popular CMS. It offers many of the same benefits as WordPress, including flexibility, ease of use, and a large support community. Notably it is a more secure CMS than WordPress (safer from malicious activity); however, it doesn’t have as many plugin or theme options, which makes it less extensible. For many years, the White House website (Whitehouse.gov) was run with Drupal, but has since switched to WordPress, which it still uses today.

Joomla!: Another popular CMS is Joomla! Out of the box, it has better SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities than WordPress; however, with the help of a few plugins, WordPress surpasses Joomla!’s capabilities.

Squarespace: Squarespace is a service you subscribe to monthly or annually that makes website and blog creation an easy “drag and drop” experience. It includes website design, development, software maintenance, metrics, domain name with annual purchase, SSL security, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth and storage hosting all in one package. It is especially suitable for creatives and provides you with top-notch design templates. If you are on a tight budget, need a simple and beautiful site, but cannot afford a website designer, this is a great service for you.

There is a much smaller learning curve with Squarespace than with WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, but it doesn’t have nearly as many extensibility options. However, if you have little or no technical knowledge and are looking for a quick and easy way to put up a website, Squarespace is an excellent option for you.

Wix: Wix is very similar to Squarespace, but it is a bit more user-friendly. It offers a monthly, but not annual, subscription and includes similar features. Wix is also a drag-and-drop builder—you can freely drag and drop elements anywhere on the page; in comparison, Squarespace is more structured in where you can drag and drop on the page. The learning curve to using Wix is even shorter than Squarespace, so if you need to publish a site quickly, this may be your best option.

Wix has a lot more templates than Squarespace to choose from, but once you choose a template, you must stick with it or be forced to completely rebuild your site. With Squarespace, you can change your template anytime without having to rebuild the entire site. 

5. Choose a good e-commerce platform

If you plan on selling goods and/or services through your website, you will need the right technology to do so. (If you do not currently sell anything, you may want to consider doing so since e-commerce could potentially increase your profits.) If you decide to allow users to financially transact with you online, you will need to choose the right platform for your business model.

Here are some popular small business e-commerce platforms:

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms—it can turn your WordPress website into an online store. Like WordPress, there are many plugins available, and it attaches to WordPress, which makes it extremely flexible. There are many free and premium themes pre-built for WooCommerce. (As a rule, it is better to use a premium theme from a reputable developer because it will offer better security and support.) If you are not tech-savvy, you will most likely need a WordPress developer to help you set it up and use it. WooCommerce also offers a very high amount of capabilities and scalability that your small business might need.

Shopify: Shopify is a cloud based e-commerce platform that allows you to create and customize an online store, and to manage products, inventory, payments, and shipping. It is not a WordPress extension like WooCommerce—it is a standalone platform that is hosted on the Shopify server—so if you have a main website, your e-commerce site would technically be separate from that. You can link to your Shopify account from your regular website built with WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc., unless your main website has a Shopify integration plugin.

Features include unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, discount codes, reports, and much more. The key benefits of Shopify are that you do not need a developer to set up a store, and everything on the backend is already set up for you when you subscribe. The downside is you do not have as much control or flexibility over your store as you would with WooCommerce.

Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus is Shopify, but with a higher level of customization, more staff accounts, and international e-commerce options. It also has a higher level of support. However, all of this obviously comes with a higher subscription cost, and it still does not have all the flexibility and customization abilities as WooCommerce.

Business Squarespace: Squarespace has an e-commerce subscription option, so if you chose Squarespace to build your site and have very simple e-commerce needs, you can choose this route. Business Squarespace charges a transaction fee, but this can be bypassed by upgrading your subscription to a basic online store. It includes a free domain, SSL security, SEO, abandoned cart recovery, discounts, real-time carrier shipping, and more. However, it has been noted it is not as user-friendly as Shopify. And like Shopify, it is simply not as flexible as WooCommerce.

Wix: Wix actually has a Shopify extension which is very user friendly. You will have to upgrade your Wix account and subscribe to Shopify in order to use it.

GoDaddy Online Store: GoDaddy has a relatively new e-commerce standalone subscription platform that is relatively easy to set up and use. Very little technical knowledge is required to launch your shop with GoDaddy Online Store. The templates are simple and clean, and somewhat customizable. Features include marketing and SEO tools, social media integration, appointment booking, SSL security, rapid page loading, and more.

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

 6. Create an interesting, memorable, and engaging website user interface

Make sure your small business website interface leaves a positive impression that drives results. You can do so by implementing the following suggestions:

  • Use beautiful graphics and easy-to-read fonts.
  • Make sure your graphics are compressed and optimized for fast loading. If your website is slow, search engines like Google will penalize your ranking.
  • Research the competition to see how they have designed and optimized their websites; implement similar components that will work for your small business website.
  • Research your target audience to see what they want from your site and make it easy for them to accomplish it.
  • Stay consistently on brand throughout your website design.
  • Design an intuitive navigation system which allows users to get to the pages they need quickly.
  • Publish easily accessible contact information.
  • Incorporate obvious call-to-actions (especially “buy now” buttons).
  • Create pages that are standard for small business websites, such as:
    • Home
    • About us
    • Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
    • Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
    • Management team
    • Contact us
    • Terms of use (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
    • Privacy policy
    • Additional pages relevant to your specific small business

7. Optimize your small business website for search engines

SEO is a set of practices you apply to your website to ensure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to search engine users. Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content is, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

  • Keyword research and implementation
  • Optimal website code
  • Fast loading speed
  • Being secure and having an SSL certificate installed; SSL is the standard security technology that ensures data passed between web servers and browsers remains private
  • Having a mobile-friendly site
  • Existence of high-quality backlinks (links on external websites with related content) that lead to your site
  • Having lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
  • Using internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
  • Using social media to link to your site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

SEO is an extremely important ongoing process that can mean the difference between showing up on the first page of search engine results pages (resulting in large amounts of free traffic to your website) or page 300 (resulting in no traffic).

8. Regularly create and publish quality content

Both content quantity and freshness are important to search engines, so it’s important that you create a plan to publish quality articles and/or blog posts on your site and on external sites that link to your site. If you want to rank highly in search engine results and encourage people to return to your site again and again, you will have to update your website with new and relevant content as frequently as possible.

In addition to static page content and articles, a great form of content to post on your website is testimonials. Asking for testimonials from your customers and then publishing them on your website is a great way to post fresh, high-quality content on your site that makes your small business more attractive.

Make sure your content uses an appropriate, on-brand tone that people will enjoy reading.

9. Install webmaster tools

Make use of vital data to help you analyze traffic and site performance by installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console (both preferably via Google Tag Manager), and Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools can be used to track the following types of information:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to your site
  • Number of views on each page of your site
  • “Bounce rate”—the percentage of users who come to your site and leave after having only viewed one page (Google algorithms give higher rankings to websites that have a low bounce rate, on the theory that visitors are spending more time on the site and find it valuable.)
  • Average time spent on site by visitors
  • Crawl errors on your site (errors that the search engines found on your site in crawling its content)
  • Broken links on the site
  • Keywords that lead users to your site
  • Backlinks to your site
  • Web page download time
  • Other information that can help you enhance your SEO

10. Implement a website maintenance plan

A website shouldn’t be created and then allowed to grow stale. In order to have a successful website that ranks well in search engines and doesn’t get hacked, you need to make sure it is properly maintained.

Here are some tips to create a small business website maintenance plan:

  • Check Webmaster Tools data at least once a month and have any vital errors emailed to you in real time.
  • Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so you can better cater to them.
  • Use performance data to optimize and fix warnings and errors.
  • Make sure all software is always up to date.
  • Run security scans so you know your website is clean of malware and hasn’t been hacked.
  • Use “split testing” to see if certain variations of your website help performance; for example, if you are selling a product, you might have two versions of a particular landing page with different images and wording—the split testing allows you to see which version has a higher conversion rate.
  • Follow my advice about SEO (see point #7), and continually publish quality content (see point #8).
  • Find on-trend and effective ways to market your business online.
  • Allow website users to provide you with feedback about your site.
  • Continue to check out your competition from time to time to see what they are doing with their online presence and see if what they’ve done can work for you as well.
  • Make sure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day and at least 10 days back.

Conclusion

As you can tell after reading this article, creating a great small business website may not be as simple as you first thought. However, if you follow the steps set forth in this article, your small business will have an excellent chance at succeeding in the online marketplace.

RELATED: How to Install WordPress in Under 30 Minutes

About the Author

Post by: Allison Bowlus

Allison Bowlus is a Webmaster who specializes in WordPress, graphic design, mobile-friendly website development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) advertising, user interface, e-commerce, and blogging/social media marketing. She is originally from Ohio and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, focused on Web Design and Interactive Media. She has been involved in building or marketing over 100 business websites. To find out how to drive visitors to your website, check out Allison’s article, Small Business Internet Marketing Strategy: Pay Per Click Advertising and Search Engine Optimization.

Visit my website: www.allisonbowlus.com
Connect with me on LinkedIn

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3 Reasons Why Getting Clear Is Important for Your Business

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Everyone goes through times in their lives where blue skies and sunshine are a rarity. Too many clouds and storms, whether they involve business or personal issues, become the everyday occurrence and keep people from achieving whatever they want to do.

There have been many times on this business journey of my own where fogginess and haze have sent me to the mat. Trying to kick out at a 2-count when being pinned with all of this stuff seems unbearable.

In taking a holistic view (meaning looking at the entire picture) of where I am, what has changed? Clarity. Getting very clear on what I want to do and where I want to focus my creative direction. Yes, I’m a writer, content writer, copywriter, ghostwriter and creative. That’s one element of my own life. Another one involves being a voice for the voiceless in the craniofacial community around the world.

But this is not to simply focus on what I am doing now. This is about clarity, about getting laser-focused on what you want to do. If you have a coach or mentor in your life, then I’ll bet you have heard them say on one or multiple occasions that you have to “get clear” on what you want to offer.

Here are three core reasons clarity is an important factor for your business:

1. You Stand Out From The Crowd

You cannot go anywhere on social media and not see people putting out content. Some may be good; others are meh. It does not matter, though, if it is good or not. What matters is about conversion. Does the content turn into sales? Does it attract and speak to people’s problems?

Not everyone can be a jack-of-all-trades. You become a master-of-none pretty quick. Theories abound about niching down and finding that sweet spot where you can deliver your mastery to those in need. Think of the millions of niches out there: cannabis, fitness, spirituality, relationships, finances, food, and on it goes.

Every one of these niches need people who can come in and put clarity around their products and services. If these businesses are not clear on what they do and solve to those seeking solutions, then they are not going to have clients and eventually will have to shut the doors.

Learning to stand out from the crowd is going to make you a powerful voice in whatever niche or field you are looking to dominate in all the time.

“It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” – Steve Maraboli

2. You Attract A Lot of Clients

If you wanted to apply one of those ancient universal laws to your business – for instance, like the very popular Law of Attraction – then you would understand what attracts people to you. Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest inventors, once said that if people understood energy and vibration alone and how that works then they’d understand a lot of how things actually work in the world.

Clarity brings out a new energy from your words and actions. You come from a place of total and unbelievable awareness where you look around one day and go, “Dang, look at all of the people who want my services.”

Trust me. This is one of those lessons that I have to come back to over and over again. People might know who I am and what I do from this or that space. Yet is it really crystal clear enough to a targeted section of people? Um, it’s still a work in progress.

In order, though, to actually move forward in business and have the level of success that I desire, then clarity must come into play. Clarity attracts clients. They solidly know what you do and what you offer. There’s no wishy-washy stuff taking place. Understand this core reason to achieve clarity and watch what happens to your very own business and brand.

3. You Begin To Believe In Yourself

There’s this ongoing idea around “imposter syndrome” that folks on the interweb love to discuss. Showing up online like you are a real go-getter and hotshot, but offline that’s not the same person…that’s a problem.

“Imposter syndrome,” to me, starts happening when a person stretches out of his or her comfort zone and it feels miserable. Instead of getting up at 11 a.m. after working a night shift job, you get up at 8 a.m. to get a head-start on tasks and obligations around what you do. Thoughts like “this will never work out” or “I’m never going to succeed and get out of debt” start swirling around your mind like a bunch of chattering monkeys.

Clarity, though, allows you the benefit of starting to truly believe in yourself. In his famous book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Norman Vincent Peale writes in the first chapter’s first line “Believe in yourself.” That’s it. Then the book goes on to describe different ways of building up your positive mindset through prayer, faith, action, and other real-life examples. Peale’s work may not appeal to you directly, but the mere thought of believing in yourself and your dreams is appealing.

“Clarity comes from action not thought.” – Marie Forleo

Find yourself getting clear on what you want and where you want to go and begin to truly believe in yourself and your abilities. There are lots of people who definitely need your services and work around the world. There might even be people right in your own town who do, too.

When tackling the issue of clarity for your business, take these three factors into account. Think about them seriously. Take stock around where this can be an effective place for you to succeed every single day.

Look for the sunshine and blue skies in your business. They are there. All you have to do is some sightseeing and all of it will pop out very clearly.

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Bitcoin (BTC) At $10,000 Still In Play, One Analyst Postulates

$10,000 On The Table For Bitcoin

According to a number of analysts, Bitcoin (BTC) is still poised to reach $10,000 in the near-term, despite the recent stagnation. In a recent tweet, Moon Overlord, a popular trader and analyst, noted that Bitcoin’s chart is still exhibiting clear bullish tendencies.

Overlord points out that BTC is still bullish, as it trades above key resistance levels at $7,000, $7,300, and $7,400; and continues to trade in two clear parabola patterns, which have both yet to go entirely vertical (signals the end of the parabolic trend). This, coupled with the fact that Bitcoin markets on BitMEX have recently seen their biggest periods of buying volume ever, lead Overlord to suggest that Bitcoin could soon break above the local resistance of $8,400 to $8,500, and then begin a rally to the $10,000 price point. That could be where the rally ends though, as quintuple digits are where BTC topped about one year ago. But, we can reaccess the situation once we get there.

Overlord isn’t the first to have made such cheery suggestions. Speaking to industry publication CryptoBriefing, Alex Mashinsky, an early developer of Voice Over Internet Protocol and founder of the cryptocurrency startup Celsius Network, divulged that he expects for BTC to soon touch $10,000. He looked to the fact that the long-to-short ratio on certain platforms was still short-heavy, meaning that there are those on the short-side that have yet to sell. Thus, he concluded:

“So I think we’re going to go above ten thousand before we see a correction. Because these guys are going to be squeezed out. We haven’t seen the pain yet. We have not seen them cover. They have to cover, and when they cover, they buy bitcoin.”

This is, of course, in reference to “short squeezes”. For those unaware, when shorts (bets on the price of BTC or other assets going lower) on futures exchanges close their positions or get liquidated, they are mandated to purchase the short-sold asset on the spot market. This theoretically causes an influx of buying pressure, resulting in a move higher if volumes are high enough. In fact, a massive short squeeze that took place over a number of days is what some analysts, like Willy Woo, believe are what caused Bitcoin to move above $7,000 and $8,000 is rapid succession.

And on the technical side of things, analyst Galaxy has opined that BTC is currently trading in a symmetrical triangle pattern, which studies state has a 60% chance of leading to a price breakout. If this breakout occurs, the analyst suggests that a move to $10,000.

Some have been a bit more cynical though. Just the other day, Bitcoin Bravado’s Jack, drew attention to a number of indicators and signals accentuating that BTC isn’t as bullish as some paint it to be. He exclaims that volumes are slowing, longs are consolidating at futures platforms, and that BTC has reached its “FAPFAP” bear market average level, which is an occurrence in the charts of gold, S&P 500, and even Bitcoin in its history that have always resulted in short-term corrections and bear reversals.

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

The post Bitcoin (BTC) At $10,000 Still In Play, One Analyst Postulates appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Analyst: Bitcoin (BTC) Short-Term Bullish, But Long-Term Chart Suggests Pullback

Bitcoin Could Soon Falter

Somehow, someway, Bitcoin (BTC) has managed to keep up the bullish momentum for upwards of three months now. The short-term would suggest that this may continue. As analyst Dave The Wave recently pointed out, the daily chart for the leading cryptocurrency currently has a “stunning technical set up.”

What Dave seems to be referring to is the fact that BTC is currently trading in a triangle pattern that exhibits a clear uptrend. What’s more, a medium-term parabola has continued to hold, and suggests that BTC could move to $9,000 and beyond by early-June.

Indeed, many analysts believe that BTC could move higher in the short-term, looking to triangles to back their calls. As Ethereum World News reported previously, analyst Galaxy recently pointed out that BTC is currently trading in a symmetrical triangle pattern, which studies state has a 60% chance of leading to a price breakout. If this breakout occurs, the analyst suggests that a move to $10,000. A breakout could occur any time within the next three weeks. Crypto Rand has corroborates this call, also noting that the triangle formation suggests a breakout to the $10,000 region, as there exists the next set of horizontal resistances for Bitcoin.

But as Dave points out, just because Bitcoin’s short-term chart is bullish doesn’t mean that it’s exactly poised to move higher. The analyst reminds us that long-term chart looks a tad precarious right now. More specifically, BTC may be overbought, as suggested by the negative MACD reading on the daily, BTC encountering resistance at $8,000, and the current consolidation pattern. And thus, Dave concludes:

The difficulty is the longer term charts show BTC currently in over-bought territory. The longer-term trumps the shorter term imo.

And interestingly, many agree with his sentiment that a drawdown could be inbound. Firstly, Bitcoin has yet to break above the key $8,400 resistance level for about two weeks now, confirming that the current bullish momentum isn’t strong enough right now. The technicals may tell a similar story.

Bravado’s Bitcoin Jack notes that Bitcoin recently reached its “FAPFAP” bear market average price level, which Jack claims signals an impending reversal, as he saw similar patterns in gold, the S&P 500, and Bitcoin in its history. What’s more, BTC is currently trading at the monthly and weekly resistances from July 2018, which the leading cryptocurrency was rejected from when it attempted to break out.

He goes on to draw attention to the fact that parabolic advances, like the one that digital assets across the board just experienced, always result in a 60% to 70% retracement, which would result in BTC heading back to $5,000 or $6,000. And, to top that all off, Jack bluntly points out that longs are clearly consolidating on BitMEX; volume has slowed, despite the recent rebound; the Bitcoin-backed exchange-traded funds are off the table; and altseason, especially for an asset like Ethereum, seems to be right on the horizon.

Title Image Courtesy of Icons8 Team Via Unsplash

The post Analyst: Bitcoin (BTC) Short-Term Bullish, But Long-Term Chart Suggests Pullback appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Mike Novogratz Gives His Support for Social Media Cryptos

Mike Novogratz Social Media Cryptocurrency

Galaxy Digital Founder and CEO Mike Novogratz recently shared his views on the rise of social media cryptocurrencies, particularly with news coming out about the launch of Facebook’s GlobalCoin in 2020.

Novogratz, who has been a regular cryptocurrency pundit and established Bitcoin bull, voiced support for the creation of social media cryptos, even if he doesn’t believe all of the projects will ultimately succeed to the same degree as BTC. In an interview with CNBC published on May 24, the billionaire investor claimed that at least one of the social media coins will succeed.

Novogratz explained,

“I think Facebook’s payment currency, I think Telegram’s gonna have one…You’re gonna see one of those payment coins work, and I think that has the chance to be a real currency.”

Earlier in May Novogratz stirred debate around the future and utility of Bitcoin when he claimed that the original cryptocurrency was reaching the end of its potential as a store-of-value digital asset. While Novogratz was commenting more on the lack of innovation left to developing Bitcoin, BTC enthusiasts questioned whether he meant the coin was no longer poised to be a dominant player in the sphere of cryptocurrency.

Novogratz updated his stance on Bitcoin in the interview with CNBC, reiterating that the coin constitutes a store of value–similar to a digital version of gold–as opposed to the transfer of wealth inherent in most currencies. However, compared to Bitcoin, Novogratz believes that Facebook’s GlobalCoin will be used primarily for payments, distinguishing it from the original cryptocurrency in terms of usability.

The Galaxy Digital CEO also gave his opinion that the ‘crypto winter’ for coin prices is largely over, and that cryptocurrency is entering the start of a bull market. Novogratz explained his belief that cryptocurrency investors, despite being burned in the severe valuation drop throughout 2018, will not be reluctant in their return to the market, telling CNBC,

“I don’t think it’s the case. And a lot of institutions never got in, so they felt kinda smart and now all of them say, ‘Wait a minute, now there’s more cover.’ […] Retail will come and go, and a lot of the guys who got burned won’t come, but there’s seven and a half billion people on the planet, there’s plenty of retail customers to continue to come in. ”

Novogratz is relying upon the entrance of institutional investors to continue driving the price of Bitcoin and altcoins higher, in addition to retail investors who either missed the initial collapse of the crypto markets or are still bullish on their outlook.

He also took time to declare his interest in network-based currencies such as Ethereum and EOS, which he referred to as ‘3.0’ coins. However, despite the innovation being developed by Ethereum and other similarly developed cryptocurrencies, Novogratz believes the competition in the space has become intensified in the race for Web 3.0 network dominance, and that it will likely be ‘years’ before a preeminent currency emerges.

The post Mike Novogratz Gives His Support for Social Media Cryptos appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Is Bitcoin (BTC) Basically A Tech Stock On Steroids?

There’s been a lot of talk about bitcoin being “digital gold”
but could a comparison be better made with high-flying tech stocks?

For crypto followers looking for an answer to the critics who say it isn’t backed by anything and no one really uses it to buy stuff, the digital gold idea is a handy riposte.

If bitcoin is indeed digital gold then it is the cost of
mining it that informs the measure of its intrinsic value, and that has been
variously calculated to be anywhere between circa $4,000 and $2,000.

However, Charlie Morris, the founder of data site ByteTree.com, thinks tech stocks should be the preferred candidate for similarities with bitcoin and he has found a persuasive pattern in the price movements of bitcoin and tech stocks to prove his point – with the comparator for both being network growth.

So if we look past the breakeven for bitcoin mining and unpack the metrics of the network the miners do the bookkeeping for, then we have a valuation approach that owes more to Metcalfe’s law (value is proportional to the square of connected users) than it does to a latter-day digital version of the labour theory of value or Austrian School “hard” money.

Like a tech stock “with extra vigour”

Talking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Morris takes the network approach, as do many others. “The more people who use it, the more valuable it becomes,” he explains.

But instead of likening bitcoin to gold he says the better match
would be with technology stocks, or at least a subset thereof.

“Bitcoin is an ultra high-growth asset that behaves just
like internet stocks, just with extra vigour,” Morris told the Telegraph.

He isn’t buying the scarcity school of thought that is often
seen as the critical value property of bitcoin in likening it to gold.

Morris thinks that perhaps as little as 5% of price appreciation is because of supply-side factors. The main driver of prices is the growth of the network and the demand that implies.

 “It was indeed
designed around the idea of gold, in that it has limited supply, but that’s as
far as it goes. By my calculations, the surge in Bitcoin is mainly attributable
to network growth – demand – with perhaps less than 5pc due to supply factors.”

If the digital gold approach is anywhere near correct then it is makes sense to divide the amount of gold above ground by the total supply of bitcoin to arrive at a figure of $333,000, assuming 100% displacement of the yellow metal.

Bitcoin network demand is on the up

Morris says a valuation methodology makes much more sense and
that means looking at transactions. Again, Morris is by no means unique in that
regard.

Others have done work on this, notably Willy Woo on the network
value to transactions (NVT) ratio, so Morris is not saying something new but
does draw out the parallel with “internet stocks”.

Looking at the value of transactions, Morris notes that bitcoin:
“is on track to see $600 billion transacted this year, a number that will soon
pass a trillion”.

He continues: “To put that into perspective, $18 billion of
Bitcoin changed hands in 2013, when there was a widely reported bubble, and
$576 billion in 2017, when there was said to be another bubble.”

The $333,000 valuation for bitcoin as digital gold, assuming
demand is constant and 100% displacement, is lofty indeed but the tech stock
valuation thesis could see a future price much higher still.

If bitcoin becomes the reserve currency of the crypto space,
if not, initially at any rate, the wider financial system, then the room for “network
growth” will be immense, assuming progress on scaling solutions.

With Facebook going all in on crypto, Amazon offering
blockchain as a service on Amazon Web Services and going Google beating a similar
path to name just three of the US giants, not to mention how the tech cold war
is likely to turbo-charge blockchain and AI development in China, it doesn’t
take much of a leap to see how bitcoin could find itself at the centre of the crypto-secured
digital money world.

Striking correlation

According to the report, Morris “pointed to a striking correlation between the price of the cryptocurrency and the share prices of technology companies, as measured by the Solactive Social Media index”.

Courtesy Telegraph

The two follow each other extremely closely which may also
be partly because the investors in stocks such as Facebook and Twitter overlap
somewhat with the same demographic of investors driving bitcoin buying.

However, the “tech stock” view may have a downside, given that the stockmarket by most measures is looking pretty frothy, with the bull market likely at or near its end.

Big tech might not be so hot from here on out, but bitcoin’s just getting started

So, could Morris’s line of thinking see the bitcoin price
follow tech stocks lower?

Also, how much further does the likes of Facebook have to grow? And Twitter and Snapchat, for example, have basically stopped growing.

And the cost of competing is rising. As Clem Chambers, Forbes contributor and chief executive of ADVFN and Online Blockchain recently put it regarding the computing power consumed by the bitcoin network, “don’t worry about bitcoin, AI will fry the oceans”.

The huge capital outlays are starting to eat into the profit of the tech giants, even before the regulators get their teeth stuck into the social platforms.

And it’s also assuming some tech stocks actually make a profit – hopefully no readers had any money in the Uber or Lyft IPOs because the VCs and private equity sucked all the value out a while back.

The truth is the market opportunity that bitcoin is
attacking is more fundamental than social networks – it aims to disrupt the
entire monetary realm and if it only partly succeeds it could be a network of
value transmission far greater  order of
magnitude than even the largest of tech stocks.

The post Is Bitcoin (BTC) Basically A Tech Stock On Steroids? appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Find the Bag, Find the Gold

Find the Bag, Find the Gold

On May 13th 2019, at the Consensus 2019 NYC Conference, BitcoinHD (BHD) presented the next generation consensus system to the whole world: POC, or Proof of Capacity.

Named after the core spirit of blockchain – Consensus
between participants in a network – the conference attracted community KOLs,
representatives from established organizations, investors and the world’s top
developers to gather and exchange their newest understandings and discoveries
about blockchain. As an enthusiastic member of the blockchain industry, BHD
attended the conference to present its POC consensus, to share, innovate and
create together with all the other industry peers.

BHD is a new type of cryptocurrency based on Conditioned Proof Of Capacity (CPOC). It uses a hard disk as a consensus participant, significantly lowers mining costs and the entry barrier for everyone. BHD’s mission is to create a valuable financial system that will change the way cryptocurrency is produced.

The innovative POC consensus and mining mechanism attracted much attention and interest at the Consensus 2019 conference. BHD set up an interactive game, ‘Find the Bag, Find the Gold’ on the exhibition floor. The community volunteers distributed BHD bags to visitors. There was a ‘golden treasure house’ hidden among the bags, and a ‘key to the world of POC’ which could open the ‘golden treasure’. All participants with a bag had a chance to win the potential ‘golden reward’. In 2008, the emergence of Bitcoin opened a treasure house of cryptocurrency and enabled many people to gain financial freedom. What will POC-based BHD bring us in future?

(visitor with ‘golden treasure’ bag)

BHD
is a new project based on a new form of consensus, just like BTC at an early
stage. BTC mining has become difficult over the years; BHD still has infinite
possibilities. Maybe these hidden opportunities match the way BHD named the game
at the conference: Find the bag, Find the Gold.

Media Contact:

Website: http://www.btchd.org/

Email: master@btchd.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@btchdcommunity

Telegram: https://t.me/BitcoinHDofficial

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/pWde3gn

The post Find the Bag, Find the Gold appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Square’s Jack Dorsey Ready to Hire Crypto Engineers

When he’s not silencing conservative speakers on Twitter, Jack Dorsey – the head executive of the social media platform – is known for praising bitcoin.

Square, Bitcoin and Twitter Form a Serious “Tech Trio”

Dorsey is now looking to incorporate bitcoin and additional cryptocurrencies into his secondary business, digital payment platform Square. He says that the staff of Square plans to “improve money” through additional bitcoin and crypto-based development, and the company’s new blockchain division known as “Square Crypto” is all set to make its first hire. Many analysts are now weighing in with hopes that this will lead to a fresh new wave of bitcoin innovation and adoption.

The cryptocurrency division of Square released the following message on Twitter:

We are close to making our first hire. So, let’s set some expectations. True to @jack’s founding tweets, we are building open-source projects that will make mass adoption not just possible, but inevitable.

Last March, Dorsey and his staff mentioned that they would be adding about three or four bitcoin and crypto engineers to work on “open-source contributions” full-time, along with a new developer. They also mentioned that they’d be willing to pay the employees in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies if they so desired.

No stranger to bitcoin and digital assets, Dorsey has often offered praise towards the daddy of all crypto, claiming that it would be the world’s single currency in approximately ten years. That’s an ambitious idea – everyone in the world using only bitcoin in less than a decade? Seems hard, but somehow doable.

In an interview with CNBC, he states:

The world will have a single currency. The internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin… It’s slow and costly, but as more and more people have it and buy it, those things go away. There are newer technologies that build off blockchain and make it more approachable.

Dorsey, of course, addresses two big problems that the currency has been facing as of late. For one thing, the transaction fees associated with bitcoin can often exceed the fees one will witness with other forms of crypto. This makes it a more expensive currency to use.

In addition, its blockchain speeds do not match those of Ethereum, EOS or other networks, which can often complete transactions in anywhere between a few minutes to a few seconds. Bitcoin, on the other hand, may require as much as 24 hours to fully complete a transaction.

Dorsey “Only Does Bitcoin”

Last February, the social media mogul was asked by a user on Twitter which cryptocurrencies he invested in. Dorsey responded that he “only had bitcoin.” When asked why, he issued more praise for the asset, claiming:

Bitcoin is resilient. Bitcoin is principled. Bitcoin is native to internet ideals, and it’s a great brand.

The post Square’s Jack Dorsey Ready to Hire Crypto Engineers appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

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