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How to Create an Efficient Contact Page That Boosts Your Productivity

posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/cmiXTLmAj7A/

Boost productivityAs you know, most blogs have a contact page. It’s one of the first pages we create when we’re building a new blog. We want people to be able to shower us in praise, offer us lucrative advertising and book deals, and beg us to create wonderful products for them, right?

Okay, so that might be stretching things a little. But we do want people to be able to get in touch with us. Blogging is about connecting with people after all.

It’s easy to add a simple form to a contact page using a WordPress plugin such as Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms (my personal favourite). But what you might not realise is that a contact page can become a burden.

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A simple contact form

In the early days of a new blog, a contact page might generate a handful of emails each week that you can read and respond to in no time at all.

But as our blogs grow, those emails can become difficult to handle. When my blog took off several years ago, I found myself spending so much time dealing with contact form emails that it began to have an impact on my blogging.

The biggest problems I noticed at the time were:

  • Readers sending me urgent questions I felt pressured to respond to immediately.
  • Readers sending me the same questions over and over, which forced me to choose between writing the same response over and over or not responding at all.
  • Not being able to distinguish between important and unimportant emails. I had to click through every contact email to see what they were about, then go back and process them in order of most to least important. Each email got handled twice.
  • Customers asking me to do things they could do themselves through my ecommerce system. For example, asking for another copy of the eBook files they’d lost, not realizing they could log in to the store at any time and download them.

Today I can handle my contact page requests in a single ten-minute block each morning. For the rest of the day only the highest priority emails come to my attention.

But you don’t need an overflowing inbox to take the steps I’m about to recommend. You can turn your contact form into an efficient productivity right from the start.

Setting Expectations

No matter how big your blog is, the first step is to remove the expectation that you’ll respond immediately. I live in a time zone (the east coast of Australia) where most of my contact form submissions happen while I’m asleep and are waiting for me in the morning.

On my contact form I have a simple message:

“Thanks for contacting me! I’m located on the east coast of Australia, GMT+10, and check my contact form submissions once per day, so please be patient and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

That message immediately lets people know I won’t respond straight away. If their problem is super urgent, they’ll ask somewhere else to get a faster answer. And that’s fine. But they won’t just stare at their inbox, getting angry because I’m ignoring them.

Darren takes it a step further on the ProBlogger contact page. He makes it clear that not all emails will get a response. He also makes it clear which emails he won’t respond to.

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The ProBlogger contact page

By setting these expectations, Darren and his team can reduce the amount of email they receive, and give themselves more time to focus on the emails they do  handle.

Triaging Contact Emails

One of the first steps I took in dealing with my contact page emails was to set up an inbox rule that moved them all to a specific folder. That stopped them cluttering up my inbox, and meant I could process them in batches once or twice a day.

Unfortunately, having dozens of emails with a subject line of ‘New contact form submission’ wasn’t any more efficient.

Different emails have different priorities. An advertising request won’t have the same priority as a question from a reader. The challenge is to sort them by priority so you can deal with the important ones first – especially on those busy days when you can’t get to them all.

My solution was to add a drop-down list to my contact form that let the visitor choose a reason for contacting me. Here’s the list of ‘reasons for contact’ I’m using at Left Brain Blogging.

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Let visitors tell you why they’re contacting you

All of the WordPress plugins I mentioned earlier will let you create a drop-down list.

Another option is to use a “Subject” field for the visitor to tell you why they’re contacting you. But you may end up with too many generic subject lines (“I need help!”), which doesn’t help with your triage.

This simple change had an immediate impact on my efficiency. On busy days I could action the customer service requests first, and leave general questions for later in the day or even the following day. And while it could mean leaving an email unanswered, my next tip will help you avoid that problem.

Answer Questions Before They’re Asked

At some point you’ll run out of time to process every contact email you receive. The obvious solution is to reduce the email load. The fewer emails you receive, the fewer emails you’ll potentially ignore.

Any question you can answer before a person even submits the contact form is a win-win situation. They get a fast answer, and you save time not having to write an individual answer. But to do that, you need to apply several steps together.

The first step is to identify patterns in the requests you’re getting. By processing your emails in batches you’ll quickly recognize questions that get asked again and again..

The second step is to answer those questions right there on your contact page. By adding a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, you’ll be able to provide answers to them all. At Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn has built up an extensive FAQ on his contact page because he receives so many similar requests.

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Pat Flynn’s contact page FAQ

If a question needs a more detailed answer, take a few minutes to write a blog post and then link to it from your FAQ. The extra content on your blog could even help with search engine traffic.

If you’ve set up a “reason for contact” drop-down list in your form, you can use conditional logic to display different FAQs based on whatever reason the person selected. Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms both have this capability as a paid feature.

The final step is to add a note to your contact page encouraging visitors to search your site’s search function. They might not realize you already have blog posts that answer their questions. (You may also need to make your search box easier to find.)

Outsource

No matter how efficient you get at handling contact emails, there will come a day when you won’t want to deal with them yourself any more. You may decide your time is too valuable to be answering basic requests. Or you might just be sick of dealing with all those emails.

There’s no shame in this. Most blog-based businesses hit a natural ceiling at some point, unable to scale beyond what a single blogger can achieve each day.

At this point you’ll probably start look at outsourcing it to a staff member or virtual assistant. But unless you’re already doing what I’ve suggested in this post, your outsourcing could end up being messy and inefficient.

To give it the best chance of success, get your systems in place before you outsource. For example:

  • Set expectations about response times so you can hire someone to perform the job at a specific time of day. Having your VA process all contact emails at 7am means you’ll only have a few leftover exceptions to deal with you sit down at 8am.
  • Set up a “reason for contact” drop-down so you can route each request according to its subject line. If a customer has a support request for the product they purchased, route it to your customer service ticketing system for your team to handle. And have requests for information about your sponsored post rates routed directly to you so you can follow up on it personally.
  • Use FAQs to defer requests and reduce the amount of emails you receive. It will reduce the number of hours your VA or staff member spends handling those emails.

Where to Start

In this post I’ve given you tips and strategies for turning your contact page into a productive tool so you can run your blog and your business more efficiently.

But what’s the best way to implement them all? Here’s what I suggest.

  1. Add a note to your contact page that you’ll be processing your emails only once a day (to set expectations).
  2. Create an email rule that automatically moves all your contact emails to a folder, and then set time aside each day to batch process them. Start keeping notes on the requests that keep cropping up, along with those you’d rather not receive at all.
  3. Add a “reason for contact” list to your contact form so you can prioritize emails when you’re batch processing them.
  4. Start adding FAQs that answer the most common questions to reduce your email load.
  5. Review your “reason for contact” list and FAQs regularly to control the amount of email you’re receiving. Whenever it feels like you’re answering the same question again and again, add it to your FAQ.
  6. If you’ve made things as efficient as possible but you’re still handling too much email, look at outsourcing.

Hopefully these tips will help you save time and improve your productivity. But if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

Do you have a contact page on your blog? How are you handling the enquiries? Any tips you’d like to share?

The post How to Create an Efficient Contact Page That Boosts Your Productivity appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


By |November 7th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients

posted from https://www.dumblittleman.com/client-refusing-to-pay-invoice/

One downside of being an entrepreneur is clients who pay late or not at all. Small business owners are most likely to face this problem. It’s usually because they are unsure about how to pursue these clients.

Are you a small business owner tired of having your invoices ignored? These tips can help you deal with a client refusing to pay an invoice.

Contact the Client

email clients

Email your clients and remind them that you haven’t received payment. If they don’t respond within a week, then send a follow-up. The person responsible for invoices might have been out of town, had an emergency or accidentally deleted the message. You can also try contacting them via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

However, if these methods yield no results, then it’s time to place a phone call.

Talk to the client. You may need to call every day for a month and act like an absolute pest, but hey, you need the money. Make sure to leave a voicemail each time, explaining that the invoice is past due and you want to resolve the issue. This is a good time to ask if there was a problem with the service or product you provided. If the answer is no, then they should have no problem paying.

Offer Options

Sometimes, clients put off paying their invoices because (1) the payment method is inconvenient or (2) they’re having trouble with the payment system. In this case, often all they need is a friendly person to reach out and guide them through the process. If there is a problem with the system itself, offer another way they can pay you.

The client may also put off paying their bills because they’re having financial trouble. Be flexible in this scenario by working out a payment plan (a certain amount per month over a certain time period) or requesting a good faith payment now and the rest later. When you’re understanding with your clients, they’re more likely to stick around.

Settle for Less

If worst comes to worst, you can discount the bill. They’re likely to jump at the chance to pay less for the service and you’ll get money in your pocket sooner than the alternative. You may want to avoid potential future invoicing headaches by dropping the client, though.

Hire a Collection Agency

Emails, phone calls, and reminders have gone unanswered. In this case, business to business collections is a possible solution. A professional collection agency could contact the client and attempt to get your payment. This type of agency deals exclusively with business debts.

As long as your debt is business-related, then this type of agency can be your next best option. If you’re hesitant to go that far, a warning letter from a lawyer generally elicits a speedy reply.

Small Claims Court

small claims court

Small claims court allows you to present your case directly to a judge. Some states, such as Michigan and Nebraska, don’t allow lawyers in small claims court. If you live in one of those states, then it’s mandatory for you to represent yourself. But, in most states, legal representation is an option.

The cost of hiring a lawyer for small claims court is usually not cost efficient, so most people choose to represent themselves. However, using an attorney instead of a debt collection agency can result in a quicker resolution to the outstanding debt and the preservation of your business relationship.

Each state sets its own limit for the maximum amount you can request. The limit can be anywhere from $2,000 up to $10,000. Check with your state to see if your claim is eligible. If your claim exceeds state limits, then you need to file your case in another court.

See Also: How to Sue in Small Claims Court

Moving Forward with Problem Clients

Once the client has finally made the payment, you may want to make some adjustments to how you bill them in the future. For example:

  • Ask for a pre-payment or retainer, especially for larger projects.
  • Make them sign a contract before getting started. That way, if they go AWOL, you have a more straightforward route in place to go after them.
  • Ask for payment based on project milestones rather than dates. This makes sure you’re paid in full before the project is finished.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, you’d get every invoice paid in full and on time. in reality, however, you have to take action against a non-paying client. So, don’t hesitate to ask for the money you’re owed; you’ve already earned it.

The post Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients appeared first on Dumb Little Man.


By |November 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Four Tips To Ditch Your Smartphone Addiction for Good

posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/pickthebrain/LYVv/~3/qQ_PEBn2O6Q/

You're reading Four Tips To Ditch Your Smartphone Addiction for Good, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How to Get Rid of Your Smartphone Addiction

The modern world has brought to us an unparalleled quality of life that our ancestors could have never dreamed of. Instantaneous communication with other people, information at the click of a button, and on-demand movies are just a few of the offerings on the modern buffet table. For most people, all or most of these conveniences are accessed through their cellphones. There's no problem with this...until it gets to the level of a compulsive behavior (i.e. an addiction).

Why Cellphone Addiction Is Overlooked

Many people think addiction only comes in the form of a pill or a powder, that is mainly through external substances. Parents have a good laugh amomg and say “Hah, hah, he/she just can't put down his phone no matter what!”. It seems innocent at the outset, but compulsive behavior is just one step from addiction (which is the end result). Addiction is addiction regardless of the behavior or origin. Addictions still work on the neurotransmitter system within the brain. There are many neurotransmitters but the main one involved in behavioral addictions is dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for reward-motivated behavior. Certain activities release more dopamine than others. These are activities related to sex, food, drugs, etc. The Internet is a big stimulant of dopamine because the Internet contains a lot of novelty. Social media, shopping, porn, email - these are all novel experiences only found on the Internet. To us humans, novelty is rewarding because it tells the brain on a subconscious level, “hey, this might be useful for your survival”. New information releases dopamine. This is very good because our ancestors would not have made a majority of discoveries without this tendency to seek out novelty. As of November 2016, over half of the world's population accessed the Internet through a cellphone. What does this ultimately mean? Cellphone addiction is inherently an Internet addiction, which is turn is driven by novelty seeking. Smartphone addiction has no physical effects like drug addiction, so all's well - right? Wrong.

Why Smartphone Addiction Is Detrimental to Your Self-Development

You're dedicated to self-improvement since you are reading this article. One of the easiest ways to destroy your self-improvement efforts is to be addicted to your smartphone or the Internet. Smartphones provide an endless assortment of stimulation. Games, Internet, chatting, text, the list of goes on and on and on. But here's what no one is saying: you are essentially wasting time. You aren't doing anything inherently productive. You can spend an entire day spiraling down the Internet-based rabbit hole making absolutely no progress on your goals, whatsoever. Eventually, you will question where the time went - because you spent it on a smartphone. This is especially dangerous to kids and teenagers, who have a greater tendency to develop addictions and compulsions because their brains are still growing at a fast clip. If you're trying to get better at a skill or manage your time better, being addicted to your smartphone will absolutely destroy the chances of that happening. You may not think you're addicted, but if you experience separation anxiety or withdrawal - those are strong signs that you are.

4 Tips to Stop the Madness

The Power of Habit - Habit Loop In the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg states that for any habit, addiction, or compulsion you have, there is a cue, a routine, and a reward. In this case, the cue is hearing or seeing your cellphone ring or buzz. The routine is picking it up and fiddling with it. The reward is the sense of satisfaction from using your phone. All of these cascade to build up to smartphone addiction. Use these four steps to hijack the “habit loop” before you can even start it.

1. Remove the stimulus

There's a saying that goes: “cut the head off of the snake and the body dies”. This is true for smartphone addiction. Out of sight, out of mind (in a way). If you have trouble with your smartphone use, keep it out of sight. Since it's out of sight, there's a lower chance that you'll reach for the phone. Put the phone in a lockbox until you are finished with work. This will train your mind to associate "work" with "not touching the smartphone". 2. Buy an alarm clock For many people, the first thing they do is reach for their phone...because their alarm rings and they go and turn it off. Since the phone's in your hand, might as well check the news right? You are already starting the first five minutes of your day with a phone in your hand, mind you when the subconscious is still largely active. What impact will this have on your psychology? Bypass all of this with an alarm clock. When the alarm sounds, turn it off - not your phone.

3. Delete certain applications

If someone who's heavily addicted to prescription medication can't throw away the bottle - they can at least throw away the pills. In this case, you can't really throw away the “bottle” (phone) but you can throw away the “pills” (apps). Instead of seeing an app and clicking on it (like a knee-jerk reaction), you can remove the cue entirely. That way, you won't have to wrestle resisting the urge to go ahead and use the application. In order to do this, you first have to have the willpower to actually delete the application from your phone. That take some degree of self-discipline. Then again, if you have a smartphone addiction - your sense of self-discipline may be compromised in that area.

4. Revert to a flip phone

This is a “final solution”. If you find it hard to do all of the above, then you can return back to a flip phone (pejoratively known as a “dumb phone”). Flip phones contain no shiny apps, no ability to rapidly connect to the Internet, no ability to play high fidelity games. Flip phones are also workhorses. Their battery life is longer than the average smartphone. Besides, you won't be alone. Millions of people around the world still use flip phones and they function perfectly fine. To wrap this up, it's quite clear that cellphone and smartphone technology has changed our landscape to a significant degree. As we progress further into the 21st century, the numbers of people who have a smartphone addiction will increase. You don't have to be one of them. By using the techniques here, you can break your dependency on smartphones and get on the high road to high achievement. It's a much better path to take and your future self will thank you.

You've read Four Tips To Ditch Your Smartphone Addiction for Good, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |November 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Bruce Willis Net Worth

posted from https://wealthygorilla.com/bruce-willis-net-worth/

Introduction Bruce Willis is an American actor, producer, and singer. Let’s be honest, most of us known him as John McClane from the hit ‘Die Hard’ series. Yet, he’s still appeared in over 60 films, and built a very successful acting career. We won’t list all the films he’s been in, we’ll just get straight […]


By |November 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

7 Ways to Generate Money with Your Website or Blog Content

posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JohnChowDotCom/~3/px7CsmXhjGI/

Starting a website or blog on the internet is one of the easiest things you can do today. Thanks to the power of WordPress, now anyone can get started with a blog of their own. All you need is to register a domain name and set up a shared hosting web account and you are ready to go. Best of all this will only cost around 10 bucks a month, and with some time and effort, you can have a legitimate business on the internet.

However, it’s important to mention that there are currently over a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today. What this means is that there is a lot of competition out there that you are going to have to compete against and try to rank ahead of in the search results. If you want to create a successful blog that serves a purpose, it’s important to make sure you choose the right niche. For this to happen you are going to need to focus on high-quality content while also promoting your site in an effective way. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be for you to create such content and then market it to the right audience. To learn more about this you can refer to my how to start a blog guide which will set you off in the right direction.

Once you have all of this in place, you can then start focusing on how to make money with your blog. Be sure to try each of the four recommendations below, as they have been proven methods to help some of the top bloggers and site owners in the world today generate millions of dollars in the process.

Google Adsense

Google AdSense is the program created by Google to serve advertising on websites and blogs around the internet. The great thing about Google AdSense is that they basically do all of the advertising for you. The site owner just has to place a line of code on their website and Google will do the rest. Site owners will then be paid on a per click basis for any ads that appear on their site.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the concept of earning a commission every time a new lead, sale, or specific call to action is sent to an advertiser’s website. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that there is no inventory that you need to hold, there is no upfront investment cost, and you also get to partner with some of the biggest brand names in the world today. One of the largest and most successful affiliate programs in the world right now is through Amazon.com.

Selling Direct Ads

Once you’ve created a website or blog that is getting a decent amount of traffic, you can then explore your options with selling your own advertising right on the website. The benefit here is that you are going to earn 100% of the revenue generated from these campaigns, versus earning a percentage of the total order amount as with the two scenarios mentioned above. Once selling advertising on your website, be sure to work with the advertiser to keep them happy and make sure they are seeing a long-term ROI.

Create a Product or Course

If you have a specific expertise within any niche market, along with a great following, it might be in your best interest to start an online course or create a product of your own. Again with this scenario, you were going to earn 100% of the sale, while also building a powerful brand in the process. Also, with this method, you are going to be owning the customer information and can continually make money off this audience for life. When going with this option always focus on creating the highest value possible for your audience.

How to Make the Most Money with Your Website or Blog

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make money with a website or blog. Also, don’t forget that there are a billion active websites on the internet today that you are going to have to compete against. For you to actually make money with your own website or blog, you are going to have to provide the best value possible to your audience so people have a real reason to visit your site.

When creating content, always think about the final solution that you are providing to your audience and how you can give them a call to action to act upon as well. If you have any monetization methods that match with this solution, it’s a great way to incentivize your audience to take action, while also earning some revenue in the process.

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!


By |November 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

10 Business Success Lessons from Bill Michelon

posted from https://wealthygorilla.com/bill-michelon-success-lessons/

Bill Michelon is a well-known businessman with an impeccable track record in areas, such as business consulting and marketing. He has spent more than a decade helping aspiring entrepreneurs realize their business ambitions through advisory services. His abilities have helped elevate him to the status of a respected thought leader. Over the years, Michelon has […]


By |November 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

If You Want to Expedite Your Success, Learn How to Learn

posted from https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/if-you-want-to-expedite-your-success-learn-how-to-learn/

Learning how to learn has been one of the most important skills I’ve acquired in my life. I learned how to learn in the Dojo (Karate School) and it has led to continued success.

  • I knocked an opponent out in less than 15 seconds to become a bare knuckle Karate Champion
  • I became one of the top break dancers in the country
  • Turned an advertising agency into a multimillion dollar business in less than a year
  • Made AdAge’s coveted 40under40 list

The single thing that led to each of these accomplishments was knowing how to acquire the necessary skills so that I could learn the craft and increase my chances of succeeding.

I focused on developing a new skill every year

I’ll show you how this works in the context of my career and entrepreneurial ambitions.

I’m currently the Global SVP of Search and Content Marketing for the MullenLowe Group.

I slowly gained the skills to get me here. My plan was to develop a new skill every year that compounded to make me the best at digital marketing and eventually become a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

  • Skill one: Video Editing: First I picked up a book called Final Cut Pro For Dummies. I read and took action on the lessons. Soon I learned how to shoot and edit videos and started my own film production company.
  • Skill two: Website Design: Then I figured if my clients liked me for film, they would love me for website design. Because of this, I read many articles online which would teach me how to build a website.
  • Skill three: SEO and Social Media: The following year I learned SEO and Social Media marketing to help me increase traffic to the websites I was building.
  • Skill four: Learning to fail: The following years were hard because I had to buy my business partners out and close my video production company. I learned that I didn’t know enough about business to run my own. Learning this skill was not planned but that’s how life goes.
  • Skill five: Learning to recover: I then got a job and found a company that would pay me based on my skills.

“There’s no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled. If you don’t study, if you don’t work really hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day, you’ll never be able to communicate with people – with your artistry – the way that you want….” – Will Smith

Once I got to the agency world, I learned that most of the people didn’t have the breadth of skills that I had. This made me confident in my client recommendations, confident that I could solve their problems and the results included making them millions doing digital marketing.

The point is that my skills built up overtime toward the goal of being good at digital marketing. The compounded value presented itself in financial reward (my salary), rapid career growth and the satisfaction knowing I helped CEOs and CMOs of major brands find success in digital.

If you are looking to succeed in business, a sport, or your career; then learn the following four tips which will help you be a superstar:

1. Pick a skill

First, chose a skill that aligns with one of your bigger goals. For example, I want to be a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) one day, so I am slowly building those skills over time like I explained above. Video lead to website design which led to SEO and Social Media. Once I learned the hard lesson that I didn’t know how to run a business that became the new skill I started learning.

Action Step: Pick a skill that aligns with a bigger goal. Overtime, you build up skills that compliment each other and help you accomplish the bigger goal.

2. Deliberate Practice

In William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well he says, “ The only way to learn how to write is by writing.” He is absolutely right. Repetition is the mother of all skill. I learned to fight by fighting. I learned how to edit videos by editing videos. Set some time aside to practice your skill everyday. If your skill is learning to code then use it to build a project that forces you to code everyday. It’s important that you put time into deliberate practice.

Action Step: Put time on a calendar to develop a skill. Find a group of people to practice with and exchange notes. Practicing with other people can help keep you motivated.

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

3. Keep Doing

Confucius said, “I see and I forget. I hear and remember. I do and I understand.” Once you have gained a decent level of aptitude in your selected skill, keep on doing. Chose another skill complementing the one you are developing. This way both skills develop over time and you get a deeper understanding of each. If you are learning how to code then learn SEO. They compliment each other well and people who know how to code don’t necessarily know how to optimize code for search engines.

Action Step: Pick another skill and repeat step two. This time keep in mind how you can apply what you learn in skill one to skill two.

4. Earn while you learn

Getting paid while you learn is the best. Once you are adept enough in the skill you are learning get someone to pay you to apply that skill. This will not only motivate you to keep learning but you are getting paid to practice. I’ve done this with every digital marketing skill I’ve acquired. I learned Local SEO by getting paid to building the Local SEO product for a company called LocalVox. This worked out because I knew general SEO well and I learned how to learn so I knew I could learn Local SEO quickly.

Action Step: Find someone to pay you as you learn your skill.

The repetition of learning a new skill every year teaches you how to learn. You will slowly build up your own tricks and process to make acquiring and retaining new skills easier.

What is a new skill you desire to learn? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com


By |November 5th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

5 Strategies to Get Over the Fears Holding You Back

posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/pickthebrain/LYVv/~3/_DVVlDm6SqE/

You're reading 5 Strategies to Get Over the Fears Holding You Back, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

conquer the fear of new beginnings

How often do you feel like you are your own worst enemy? You frequently may find that what stands between you and the life of your dreams is... you. I have been a psychologist in Los Angeles for over three decades, and I've designed several strategies that can help you to get over the fears and resistance that keep you from living a life you will love. But, first, I want to explain why you feel this fear and resistance in the first place.

Fear drives all of our decisions. It's a biological fact, and it comes from evolution. If human beings weren't a fearful species, we wouldn't have survived for long in a world where many other creatures were bigger and stronger than us. We were afraid, so we were careful, and we survived. Fear also kept us in communities. We were afraid of being cast out of the tribe — and thus starving to death — so we learned to behave in a way that made others like us and want us around.

Fear-driven motivation worked well over thousands of years of human evolution. The first step toward breaking free from these fears is to thank your early-human ancestors and recognize that the voice in your head that's telling you to stop, slow down, and be rational comes from their reality, not yours.

As soon as you formulate a vision for what you would love, that fearful voice starts questioning its validity, and your authority and ability to pursue it. That voice is trying to keep you safe. Thank it, then set it aside to refocus on your vision.

Remember: the real purpose of life is to truly live.

Dismissing that warning voice won't come easily. Choosing your heart's desire over fears and insecurities may be a daily struggle. But moment by moment, day after day, choosing your dreams over your fears is the most important choice you will ever make.

You must allow yourself to feel all of your feelings. Denying that you're afraid won't do any good; instead, you will be helpless to make a change. Acknowledging "what is" will help you take the power out of self-doubt. Then you can move forward by trying these five strategies to help you combat the fear and resistance holding you back:

1. Start Right Now

"There is no time like the present" becomes truer the older you get. Every moment is a potential starting point to create the change you want in your life. Knowing you're finally on the path will feel exhilarating and will help drive you farther forward. Start now by taking one small step toward your goal. That small step can be number 2, below.

2. Create a Workable Plan

Break your goal down into manageable steps. If your dream doesn't seem "realistic," it may be because you're trying to do too much all at once. Even "unrealistic" goals can be achieved if done one small step at a time. Find a quiet moment to sit down and write out a plan to achieve your dream, one step at a time. If it still seems unworkable, break down each step further.

3. Be Flexible

Even when you're working on a project of your own choosing, it can sometimes feel like you're being forced to do something you don't want to do. This is when procrastination can happen. It's your counterwill — your instinctive resistance to being told what to do — at work. To overcome your counterwill, build some flexibility into your plan. If you've always wanted to write a book, for example, give yourself flexibility about what time of day or where you write, or what order you write chapters in.

4. Be Proactive and Resourceful

Part of being a good steward to your life and your dreams is anticipating your needs. Educate yourself about the challenges you may come up against as you work toward achieving your goal. Then build a structure that will help you overcome these challenges. If money is a challenge, for instance, don't push off dealing with it. Be proactive about it. This may require some creativity and persistence.

5. Let Go of Notions of Success and Failure

Stressing out about your progress or worrying what others think detracts from your focus on what you love. You can experience life only one moment at a time, and, by living fully according to your heart, you cannot fail, no matter the outcome, because you are living a life you love.

Whether your goal is to write a novel, build a home, or travel around the world, you can make your dream real once you overcome the fears and resistance holding you back. Afraid to start? If you read this article, you just did.


Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT, has over 35 years of clinical experience as a renowned psychotherapist, speaker, and author. In her work, Dr. Brandt reveals positive paths to emotional health that teach you how to reinvent and empower yourself. She emphasizes the mind-body-heart connection as a key to mental, physical, and emotional wellness.

You've read 5 Strategies to Get Over the Fears Holding You Back, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |November 5th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

How to Help a Partner Struggling With Clinical Depression

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You're reading How to Help a Partner Struggling With Clinical Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

When I first met my wife, I had no idea that she had a history of clinical depression.  Of course, she had told me about it before we were married, but I did not really know what that meant.  I had not had any previous exposure to serious depression in people.  By the time we were dating, she was already on a mix of anti-depressants. At the time, the effects of depression were not immediately obvious to me. The first time we experienced a major loss together was in the first year of our marriage. It was the first time I really got to see what she was like when dealing with depression, on top of dealing with grief.  Within the first couple of months of being married, I got my wife pregnant.  It was not exactly a planned pregnancy, but we were ecstatic nonetheless.  We started making plans for our first baby, and had fun picking out names, going back and forth tossing around different combinations of names until we could agree on some. Then, half-way through the second trimester of her pregnancy, my wife had a miscarriage.  It was devastating, to say the least.  We thought we were in the safe zone, since we had passed the first trimester.  We had already told our families about their first grandbaby and had gotten them excited, and now we had to call them and tell them the shocking news.  It was more than we could stand. My wife was still taking college classes at the time, trying to finish her degree.  The grief was overwhelming, and she fell into a depression.  She could no longer get up to go to class.  She dropped out of all her classes half-way through the semester.  All she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep.  When she was awake, she was like a zombie, and would break out in tears intermittently throughout the day. We have been married seventeen years now.  It has been seventeen years since we lost our first baby.  Nothing has come close to that experience since then, but my wife still has her ups and downs.  She still struggles with depression.  We have been blessed with two beautiful girls since we lost the first one, but we never forget our first baby. Even through our first loss and my wife’s struggle with depression over the years, I still love my wife and care for her deeply.  Over the years, I have learned a lot about clinical depression and how to deal with it.  So what do you do when your partner is dealing with serious depression?

Depression is not their fault

When dealing with clinical depression, most of the time, it is not the person’s fault.  It is not something they can change on their own.  It’s not something they did to bring it on.  They can’t just pretend it’s not there, or wish it away.  It’s not all just in their head. After our oldest daughter was born, my wife fell into post-partum depression.  This is often caused by the abrupt change in hormones in the body, and is somewhat common after a woman gives birth.  This can be one type physiological trigger.  There could be environmental factors as well that trigger depression. Often times, clinical depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.  Anti-depressants work by trying to correct those imbalances, making it easier for synapses to connect.  In many cases, as in my wife’s case, this kind of chemical imbalance is and can be hereditary.  There is a long history of clinical depression going up my wife’s family. It does no good, then, to place blame on your partner, or get angry at them for not being able to change their mood like you can, or to get out of bed and be productive.  If your partner has been diagnosed with clinical depression, then you have to understand that it is not their fault.  There is nothing they did to bring it on, and there is nothing they can do to just “snap” out of it.

Get professional help

Clinical depression is a serious illness, and it is not something you can change with herbal supplements or teas, for example.  Some of those over-the-counter solutions may help with minor or occasional cases of anxiety, but they should not be relied upon for serious illnesses.  The first thing you need to do is see a psychiatrist – not a psychologist or therapist, but a licensed medical doctor. If your partner has not seen a psychiatrist yet, it may be time to consider taking him or her to one.  A psychologist may refer your partner to a psychiatrist, if they suspect there may be a chemical imbalance in the brain that needs to be addressed.  Only a psychiatrist can write prescriptions for medicines that can help with the chemical imbalances, and will work with you to find the correct dosage. When my wife got pregnant with our first-born, it had only been a few months since the miscarriage, and she was still dealing with the subsequent depression.  We discussed our options with her psychiatrist, and we decided that the benefits of her not feeling depressed were greater than any risks the medications might pose during the pregnancy.  Thus, she went back on antidepressants during her second pregnancy.  Our daughter was born strong and healthy.  You and your partner must make these kinds of decisions, with your doctor.

Help your spouse take their prescription medications

One of the symptoms of clinical depression is feeling a complete lack of motivation to do anything.  It almost borders on apathy.  Part of this lack of motivation applies towards seeking treatment, and taking any prescribed medications.  That is why it is important for you to be supportive and take your partner to a psychiatrist, pick up their prescriptions, and help administer the correct dosage every day. Anti-depressants do not work overnight, and they must usually be taken for extended periods of time, if not for the rest of their lives.  There is no short term solution.   Counseling and therapy can help you and your partner deal with issues as they arise, but in the long term, the medication prescribed by the psychiatrist must be allowed to work. These kind of medications are not the kind that can be missed.  Since they affect the chemical balance in the brain, even skipping one dosage can make a person feel off.  Every morning, I take out my wife’s prescribed medications in the right dosage, and personally hand them to her, along with a glass of water to help her swallow them.  Make it easy for your partner to take their medications on a regular schedule, and do not give them an excuse to miss taking it.

Finally, be patient, understanding and loving

Dealing with a depressed partner is difficult, under any circumstance.  Dealing with constant, clinical depression can be especially challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow the guidelines above.  There is help.  There will be ups and downs, particularly when the doctor is trying to find the right mix of medications and the right dosages that work. Through it all, remember why you love your partner, and be patient.  It does get better.  Just because your partner is struggling with depression and may be taking medications does not mean that they won’t know or remember anything you do or say.  They will remember, even when they are feeling better. While they are feeling depressed, your partner may even say things or do things that hurt you.  This is when you have to be strong, and just let it slide.  Let it go. Realize they are not in their right mind, and continue to show them you care and will not hurt them.  This is when you must find strength in the love you have for your partner, in the love that brought you together in the first place. Encourage them to get up and do things with you, even though they don’t feel like it, but don’t force them to do anything they don't want to.  Invite them to go on a walk with you around a park.  Nature and fresh air can lighten a person’s mood.  Offer to cook them a meal, or give them a massage.  A massage can release endorphins, which enlightens the mood. Most importantly, just be yourself – don’t be patronizing.  Depression is a long-term illness.  Just because you may not be suffering from depression does not make you better than your partner, and it does not make your partner any less of a person.  It just means they need help – your help, as well as professional help.  We could all use some help once in a while.

You've read How to Help a Partner Struggling With Clinical Depression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |November 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Basic Car Repair Everyone Should Know

posted from https://www.dumblittleman.com/basic-car-repair/

Most of us agree that car repair can be costly. Every time you take your automobile to a repair shop, you are forced to part with some amount of money.

There are different categories of car repairs. Major repairs need to be handled by people who are well-trained in handling various issues that affect cars. The other category is the minor repairs. Although you can seek the services of a mechanic, you can do most of them on your own.

Here are some of the basic car repairs that you can handle to save money.

Changing oil

Oil ensures that your car engine operates smoothly and lasts for long. As a car owner, you need to check the oil levels of your car on a regular basis.

You can change your car’s oil without seeking help from experts. In fact, it is one of the fundamental skills that any car owner should have.

Changing your car’s oil involves a few steps. First, you will need to remove the drain plug. Secondly, unscrew and empty the oil filter. After that, fix the plug into its original position, remove the filler hole cap then pour fresh oil. It’s as simple as that!

Jumpstart a car

jumpstart car basic car repair

You don’t need specialized training to know how to jump-start your vehicle. Any car enthusiast can do this simple task and save on the repair costs.

It is necessary to jump start the car if its battery dies. All you need is another vehicle whose battery has the same voltage as yours. The good news is that most car owners are always willing to help each other to solve this problem. The first step is to connect the jumper cables from a Samaritan’s battery to yours. While doing so, ensure that both the vehicles are off.

Changing spark plugs

We all know the critical role that spark plugs play in a car. These are small but essential devices found in the cylinder. They are responsible for powering your car.

Your car’s spark plug can wear down once your vehicle covers a specific number of miles. Once that happens, you need to know how to fix it on your own.

Locate the exact location of the spark plug, remove the connecting wire and then remove the faulty spark plug. In its position, put the replacement then fix the plug wires to their respective positions.

Changing a flat tire

changing flat tire basic car repair

This is another necessary basic car repair practice that you need to know. Since you’ll never know when and where you will have a flat tire, you need to be prepared. Changing tires is always classified under life-saving skills.

First, you will have to lift the car off the ground using a jack stand. After that, remove the lug nuts and then the flat tire. Put your spare tire into position and wrench the lug nuts back to their place.

Changing brake pads

Brake pads can be the only thing that will stand between you and what would have been a nasty accident. This is because brake failures cause most accidents, so you should ensure that your brake pads are always in excellent condition.

Changing brakes is not an expensive or complicated process. You can do it and save money on car repair. The procedure of changing brake pads is almost similar to that of changing the tires.

Once you remove the wheels, remove the slider bolts and the older brakes. Fix the new brake pads and secure them in position using slider bolts

Changing car battery

A car battery can die when you least expect it so be sure to routinely check the state of your battery. This will help you know if you need to get a replacement soon.

To change your car battery, remove all the covers then disconnect the negative cables. Shift the clamp from the battery post and then disconnect the positive wires. Remove all the screws and replace the old battery with a new one.

Removing scratches from the car

Although it may appear to be a minor aesthetic problem, it can end up costing you some good amount of money. After all, you would like your car to have the best appearance and would pay any amount to achieve this goal.

Did you know that getting rid of scratches is another basic car repair that you can do at home?

To execute this task, you need to find out the depth of the scratch first. Secondly, sand-scratch and clean the area. Apply some rubbing compound on the scratch. Use the same compound to polish the area and then wax it. With these steps, the scratch will be eliminated.

Replacing the wipers

Do you really have to pay an expert to repair your windshield wipers?

Save yourself from this unnecessary cost by executing the repair on your own. The poor performance of your wipers is likely due to broken blades. To repair them, simply lift the wiper from the windshield and press the small tab to allow the blade to come off. Replace both wipers and you’re good to go.

Replace air filters

Most car owners tend to overlook air filters but they are as important as the other parts of a vehicle. The filters protect your car’s engine from dust and other solid contaminants.

Their effectiveness tends to degrade with time, which makes replacement inevitable. To do that, you need to find the exact location of the air filter and then remove it. Clean the air filter housing before you insert a new filter in it. This basic car repair can save you a good amount of money.

From the article, it is clear that you don’t have to attend any class to perform basic car repair and maintenance. The tips above can help you save money that you would otherwise spend on a mechanic to handle your car’s issues.

See Also: Necessary Steps When Teaching Your Teenager to Drive

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By |November 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments