So you want to be a Digital Marketer?

March 22nd, 2019

By Jon Kelly

 

Back in the old days, Digital Markting wasn’t a career people thought about getting into. Even now, you likely don’t hear five year olds, in circle time at Kindergarten, saying they want to be an SEO or social media marketing professional when they grow up. But, for those who are interested in marketing, business and technology, SEO in particular, can be a very solid career choice.

And yet, you can’t get a 4-year degree in SEO. So, how do you get started?

There are a variety of courses, webinars, articles, podcasts and videos on the market promising to teaching aspiring marketers how to be a top-notch professional. As an industry that has been around for over 20-years, it is also one that is always in motion. Fundamentally, how an SEO professional got a site to rank 20 years ago is similar, in theory, to how to get a site to rank now; however, some of the tactics are different.

Today’s up-and-coming professionals have a lot of resources to build their own skills from; however, there is more to SEO than what you can learn from an article or podcast.

In SEO, every website a professional encounters is a new experience with a new set of goals, potential problems and obstacles, keywords, targets and successes. An SEO professional continues to learn what the search engines need from a website to rank it appropriately, figure out what is missing, and strategize how to get it to the top.

It’s actually not that complicated.

A search engine’s only objective is to show the right results to the right person when they conduct a search. In fact, according to Google’s Quality Rating Guide, “good search engines give results that are helpful for users in their specific language and locale”.

The job of the SEO professional and team is to ensure the website is properly optimized for the search engine (back end and front end).  Since the search engines want websites to offer the best in related content and user experience, the SEO professional has to take that into account, too.

SEO moves beyond a formulaic approach because of the target user and what they’re looking for.

In a competitive industry with a range of target markets, SEO can become complicated fairly quickly.

For those who are thinking about getting into SEO as a career, what you might lack in experience, you can make up for in personality.

To decide if SEO is a career that’s right for you, we’ve put together a list of personality traits that can help.

Analytical – The best SEO professionals love to dig into the analytics, the data and the numbers to continue to move strategy forward. They consider it like a treasure hunt, always on the lookout for a new piece of data that is going to help them either solve a problem, or grow the business. Google analytics, Google search console, Tag Manager, Spreadsheets, etc. — those are your friends.

Being analytical is a personality trait; however, it’s also a skill you can acquire. To ensure you have what it takes, it’s important to understand how analytics and reporting works and to see if you have the mindset to look out the numbers and determine a plan of action.

A variety of Internet marketing academies and online learning centres offer training in reading and analyzing website analytics. A good place to start would be Google Analytics Academy offered by Google.

Creativity – Over the years, SEO has moved beyond simply keywords, meta tags and titles. Today’s SEO professionals have to have an in-depth knowledge of best marketing practices, brand and call-to-action strategies. Clients will want to know more than just how many people are visiting a website. They want to see conversions, sales and results. There is a fine balance between brand, design and SEO and a top SEO professional will have the instincts to find the winning combination.

You don’t need to be a creative designer to be an SEO professional. But, you should have a good concept of the elements that go into a website, colour, branding, and website best practices from a visual standpoint. Sure, design is subjective. But, if you can clearly articulate key creative elements and objectives, you’ll have the upper hand.

General marketing courses, courses on brand, and learning the basic principles of website design are great skills to have.

Strategic – Google search “SEO strategies” and over 80,000,000 results will come up. Many SEO professionals will follow a strategy laid out by those who have come before. But, a top SEO professional has the instinct and savvy to look at a business, their target market and their goals and can then determine the best approach that is specific to that business.

Can you learn strategy? Experience in working with SEO strategies within a variety of industries for a variety of target markets can help a person have an innate instinct as to what will work and what will not work.

For those that are new to the industry, you can give yourself a head start by learning and reading from top SEO professionals. Discover what has worked for them and what might have failed. Learn from others. And trust sound SEO principles in your decision making until you have the experience to let your instincts guide you.

Communicative – An SEO professional cannot live in the numbers, data, code and content. They have to come up for air and communicate the strategy, tactics and results with their team and often the client. An SEO professional has to speak two, well maybe three, languages. Programming, SEO and Client. Being able to translate the jargon to client-speak effectively is a great skill to have.

A person can learn to be a good communicator. Take English courses or business communication courses to ensure you have the appropriate reading comprehension and writing skills to appropriately understand and communicate. If you’ll have to be communicating orally, you can take a course such as toastmasters which helps you articulate your ideas verbally.

Then practice. As you gain more confidence in your skills and knowledge, you’ll likely find it easier to get your pointacross.

Learner – SEO and the Internet is constantly evolving. Plus SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every industry, every business, every website requires new thoughts and ideas. Those who love to learn will find success in this industry. Staying up-to-date on industry trends, constantly learning about what’s worked and not for others, and staying in the know is not only helpful for an SEO professional, but essential.

How can you do this?  Read. Listen to podcasts (like MOZ’s). Watch youtube training videos. Attend workshops and conferences. Take notes. Find a mentor. The more open you are to learning new ideas as well as the tried-and-true concepts the more successful you will be.

Competitiveness – Having a healthy dose of competitiveness can help an SEO professional. Think about it. Line the top competition up and put them at the starting line of a race. There can only be one winner. It’s a long-game race which means the results can change at many points throughout the course. If you’re constantly thinking about what you can do to get ahead, you will have an edge. Competitive people generally keep one eye on the prize and the other eye on those who are also vying for it. It’s that approach that not only keeps you on track, but propels you forward.

What is SEO and is it a career that’s right for you?Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to affect the online visibility of a website or page in a search engine’s unpaid results.

It’s a fast-paced career that requires a person to be equal parts researcher, treasure-hunter, idea-guy, content creator and planner.

Do you have the skill set?  Can you update a website? Can you read basic HTML code? Can you write? Are you good at coming up with headlines? These skills might get you further than a certificate or degree.

Can you be client-facing? A personable person with good communication skills, who is able to front-face a client can be more important sometimes than practical knowledge. If you can talk big-picture in a way the client understands you might be far more valuable than someone who can only speak jargon.

Certifications? Going out and getting certifications shows that you are keen. Google analytics, adwords, Bruce Clay SEO training, Moz course etc. will demonstrate your ability to learn.

So how do you get started? Ah, there is always that vicious circle of jobs that require experience; however, you need a job to get experience. The great thing about SEO is you can hone your skills on your own. Can you develop a website or blog that targets a specific market with specific keywords? Use that to your benefit. Make it into a case study that shows what you know but can also demonstrate your initiative.

Like with many careers in the tech-industry, seniority doesn’t always count for everything. While experienced professionals have a leg-up, if you can come in, learn from them, have a good idea and put forth the effort and work to make it successful, you can be successful sooner.

In addition, clients and business owners often have unrealistic expectations. You might tell them it will take six months to get results; however they might call you in two weeks asking where all their new business is. A lot of your job will be managing expectations.

There are a lot of misconceptions about SEO in terms of skill, how hard it might be, the time it takes to see results and what needs to be done. You may find yourself managing clients in a way that goes beyond your typical SEO job description. You may find yourself having to clean up after clients or their employees who are ‘trying something’ because they know.

then, you have to manage expectations within your own company and it might involve stepping on toes. Can you properly communicate your required changes and edits to a programmer or web designer without them feeling like they’ve failed? Often,  you’re coming in and out throughout a project with a ‘change this’ or ‘change that’ approach with the best interests of the project in mind. Getting them on board the SEO train, helping them understand that SEO can enhance their quality work rather than replace it is key.

So with the right skills and the right personality, you could be well on your way to a successful SEO career. If you’re willing to stay up on current trends, while relying on tried and true business practices, if you like figuring out how things work, if you like going through stats and uncovering hidden opportunities, if you’re able to recognize the fine balance between SEO requirements and business requirements then yes, SEO is right for you.

Jon Kelly has been involved in digital marketing since 2004. He currently works for 1stOnThelist.com, an award-winning Internet marketing agency based in Vancouver, Canada. When he is not helping people with their website, he enjoys learning about cutting-edge technologies like crypto-currency and artificial intelligence.

 

7 Books Every College Student Should Read for Self Development

March 21st, 2019

BY MIAH ELIAS

 

One needs to acquire as much knowledge as possible to change his or her mind and thoughts. Education is the first and foremost step to initiate that change. Since childhood, we are acquiring knowledge from everything and everyone around us. Our self-improvement starts right there, knowingly or unknowingly. In every sphere of life, we face obstacles. When we get older, our previous struggles might feel simplistic, but the challenges of life are never easy. Self-improvement helps to lead a good and honest life. It helps to overcome the issues and fears in life. Getting ready for the life struggle filled with responsibilities become easy this way, especially for a college student. A college student who is now in that phase of life where he or she has faced a lot of emotional struggles and has a clear about his or her intellect. It is he who is responsible enough to understand the struggle he will face to get his or her dream job and build a career to be economically stable. Self-improvement tips make us an updated version of ourselves each passing day. Other than life experiences, we have inspirational assets in the form of books. These books leave an impact on self-improvement. Let’s have a look at a couple of hand-picked shortlisted books for self-improvement.

 

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

 It is a book on ambition, setting a goal in life, and achieving success. So, relevant for college students who are yet to decide the goal. It explains why setting a goal is necessary and what should be the right steps to reach the goal successfully. The explanation of the indifferent attitude and lack of ambition is so on point. This book will enlighten. It provides tips on good habits and principles. It shows the way to become a good human being and also asks to believe in oneself.

 

  1. The Power Of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

 If we lack something in today’s world, it’s positive thinkers. We tend to raise eyebrows in disbelief if someone utters something positive as if it is next to impossible. So, what will be better than a book on making us believe in the power of positive thinking! This book inspires us to hope and dream big. It tells us to improve our relationships. However, the biggest lesson it gives is how to be kind on ourselves.

 

 

  1. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

 If you want to make a list of the best books 2018 , you must include this one. It’s a book with the right amount of humor and very informative. It forces to judge one’s intellect and ideologies but in an entertaining way. It discusses discipline, freedom, and responsibilities. It breaks the stereotype rules of leading a good life and human nature. It logically questions science and faith. It provides food for thought.

 

 

 

  1. It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

 If you tend to study or work crazily sacrificing your sleep, peace, family, me time, then wait for a second and read this book. If you are a college goer and is ambitious enough to become an entrepreneur even then this book is for you. This book works wonder on over-ambitious people. It teaches us very well that being ambitious is fine, but losing peace over it is not rational. The dream will still be possible achieving without being extremely enthusiastic. It teaches us to take things easy.

 

  1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

 College students and their habits is a world-famous topic. There is hardly any parent in existence, who are not fed up of their child’s wrong habits. This book hits the bull’s eye by highlighting the stubbornness of habits in a positive way. It explains the power of good habits and what positive changes those habits can bring in our lives. It teaches how to transform life and brings self-improvement.

 

  1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

 The biggest obstacle is when others don’t receive us the way we are. It can shake us within. It becomes hard to accept when the behavior which is normal for us is abnormal for most of them. It destroys every drop of confidence we have in ourselves. We fail and feel shame to be ourselves and stop living our life on other’s terms which eventually makes us unhappy for the rest of our lives. This book screams the importance of self-discovery and makes it loud and clear that every individual is unique.

 

 

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 This book is a good option for testing one’s intellect. We often mistook ourselves as rationals, but we always tend to be biased. It is a common problem not only among college students but also for adults. Sometimes the bias is so dense that it makes us blind. It hampers our decision-making ability. After reading this book, you are obliged to judge the whole process of our thinking and how we choose things.

 The more we make peace with the fact that in every stage of our life, each challenge was and will be tough. However, we fought and fought hard and won those challenges. We will continue winning in the future as well. We will see progress in ourselves, and that’s self-improvement at its best. Doing this needs motivation, and the books above might work as that much-needed motivation for you college-goer. These can also be a guide in taking the right steps. Self-improvement is an infinite process, and it is never too late.

Byline: Miah Elias a Pro blogger, specialized in online earning strategies and Guest blogging. He is skilled in creative writing, guest posting and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced. You can check his blog – Guestpostoffer.com

 

 

Identity Theft Protection Tips for Students

March 20th, 2019

By David Gutierrez

Identity theft rates are rising universally, with 16.7 million Americans having suffered from it in 2017 alone (8 percent more than a year before). College students, living in unfamiliar environments and having to act fully independently for the first time in their lives, are among those most vulnerable to this danger. Educational institutions are already starting to teach their students the basics of how to defend themselves using all kinds of manuals, like this easy-to-grasp Identity Theft Protection Guide by Andy Michael. But what can you personally start doing today to ensure your safety? Here are a few of the most basic tips.

1. Protect your identification numbers

An average American has many numbers defining who he is: credit and debit card numbers, numbers of driver’s licenses, PINs and so on. But the most important of all of them – and the most sought after by identify thieves – is your Social Security number. Having it compromised can result in no end of trouble, so be very wary when you use it. Only share it when it is absolutely necessary and just if you are entirely sure the reason you are asked to do it is 100 percent legitimate. You may even want to commit it to memory to prevent anybody from ever seeing it.

 

  1. Don’t use public Wi-Fi

Or at least do it with VPN. Public Wi-Fi can be extremely convenient, but it is just as dangerous as well. When you use it, all your actions on the Internet are open for everyone to see, including your email access, what sites you browse and what passwords you use. VPN helps you protect yourself – it creates an encrypted connection, making all your activity invisible for hackers.

3. Don’t overshare

It may be a tough sell for students living an active social life, but disclosing too much information about yourself on social networks can come back to bite you. Dedicated identity thieves often study social media profiles of their prospective victims and bundle information about them for later use. They are especially interested in things that can be used to form security questions (e.g., “Your mother’s birthday” or “Your favorite movie”).

4. Keep an eye on shoulder surfers

Identify theft doesn’t have to use a high-tech approach. Good old shouldersurfing shoulder surfing – i.e., looking over your shoulder when you type in the PIN number at an ATM or enter a password on your smartphone – is often more effective because people don’t associate tech-related dangers with the physical world. Taking into account that students are constantly surrounded by unfamiliar people, this item is especially important.

  1. Be properly paranoid about your private information

Don’t just leave your credit cards, driver’s license and suchlike lying around. Colleges are by definition social places visited by all kinds of people. Your trust in your roommate may already be misguided, but even if he is an impeccably honest person, his friends and acquaintances may be less trustworthy.

6. Protect your devices from malware

Viruses, keyloggers, Trojans, spyware or malware for short can get installed on your device without your knowing it and siphon your personal information to its creators. There are no surefire ways of protecting yourself from it, but you can significantly decrease the likelihood of infection. Use well-reputed antivirus software, refrain from opening suspicious emails, don’t download files from sketchy websites, and you will probably be alright.

Of course, these tips don’t cover all eventualities – but following them can significantly improve your chances of protecting your personal information from identity thieves and frauds. In addition to that, just use your common sense – it is better protection than any number of high-tech tools.

 

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

     

 

5 Ways to Use Technology for a Successful College Career

March 19th, 2019

BY ANTON LUCANUS

 

College is one of the best times in life to take advantage of the developments of technology. You have the internet at your fingertips and tons of services to help you succeed. Take these tech tips to excel in your academic career:

Google Drive and Google Docs

 Google will make every single college project a million times easier. With Google Drive and Docs, you can work in real time with other people on your team. These platforms are great for writing and editing papers, as well as sharing files with classmates.

Not only are they great for projects, but they will make your study game a million times better.

 Photo, Video and Graphic Editing Software

 These tools are especially important if you are majoring in something creative like design or journalism. Take a look at Adobe creative cloud for the best editing software. Either way, these tools can elevate your editing and creative skills. These tools don’t cost a lot when you look at how much use you will get out of them. They will be tools you can use in jobs and projects down the line in your career as well. These items have been tech trends for years for good reason.

Web Development Platforms

 Are you looking to showcase a portfolio, apply for jobs effectively or make a great class presentation? You should look into sites like Wix or WordPress to build a website template. This is a great way to showcase your ability to pull together information and present it in a digestible, innovative way.

These platforms also will come in handy after college when you are applying to jobs and internships. Being able to add them to your resume will make you stand-out from other post-college candidates.

Amazon is Your Best Friend in College

 

Where else can you get books at the best prices? Amazon is the easiest and most effective way to get the best deals on expensive classroom materials. You really can’t go wrong with the ease and effectiveness of Amazon. Amazon also is a great place to order things you might not have the time to drive or walk to the store and buy. Getting the discounted Amazon Prime for students might be the best decision you have ever made. If you’re looking for additional side income, Amazon is also a great place to sell en masse. You’ll need to learn the art of marketing, sales, and online business – but if done right you can earn some handy income on the side of studies.

 Online Tutors

 Do you struggle with some subjects? Good things there is a pool of online tutors that can work with your schedule and help you online. This is a great way to get help in an easy way that is way less of a time commitment. There are tutors who might have far more expertise than others in your class. You might get better grades than ever with the help of an online tutor. Online tutors will come in handy especially if you are in a specific class that you can’t find tutors for in your geographic location.

These are  technology tips that will drive your college career towards success. Take these tips when looking to initiate success in the online tech space.

Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals

 

 

 

How to Make College Facilities More Student Friendly

March 18th, 2019

BY SAMANTHA BROWN

 

A practice that’s trending all across the globe is to transform traditional college environments to an all new modernized space.

Modern students seek much more from their higher education set-up than they did before. While degrees and academic participations are important, they are no longer the only goal in their lives. It’s absolutely refreshing to witness new-age students focusing on becoming the next big name in the Silicon Valley, and realizing that an ornamented degree isn’t all it takes to reach there.

Nevertheless, we cannot undermine the value of higher education, nor can we risk bypassing it. But, with changing mindsets and preferences, the model or plan of a higher education curriculum is also changing drastically and how!

What we need are upgraded technologies that can pave way for an interactive learning environment, where students have, besides all resources at their display to augment their learning, all the modern equipment to ensure they don’t face any discomfort while attending classes.

In order to revamp the structure of your University, you need to bear a few things in mind.

Ensure your Classrooms Are Well Protected

What this requires is the use of sturdy blinds, preferably privacy shades, which can be effortlessly installed on the windows of the classroom. This needs to be done to ensure there are no distractions and no scope for heat, cold or dust that can disrupt the learning experience. Examples of good privacy shades are room darkening cellular shades, faux wood blinds, Venetian blinds, wooden shades.

No Distractions for Students

The learner’s focus should not be compromised under any scenario. Instead of letting the teacher or facilitator ensuring students are focusing on the subject under study at all time in the classroom, an environment needs to be created where there are minimum distractions. A student’s attention can waver when the window is open, so it’s essential to have the windows protected through blackout curtains or shades. Install app operated motorized smart blinds that are available in a wide variety of costs, colors and designs.

Students are seeking real world challenges

The line between a student and a professional is getting more and more blurred with time. The primary idea behind an innovative campus is to create a culture which includes the vibes of a professional world. Providing ample opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurial activities is the key. Offer the real world’s most complicated problems to the sharpest minds on campus, and that’s what will keep them coming back.

Break the walls and take it easy

Taking immense inspiration from Steve Job’s innovation Centre in a garage, recent studies have shown that an open, relaxed and flexible environment contributes significantly towards sharpening the thought process and bringing out the most out-of-the-box ideas. A pale and serious classroom environment with geometrically aligned desks and a strategically positioned whiteboard and a stringent time table is gradually going out of fashion and for good. Modern learning spaces should emanate an easy-going vibe and a more informal setting to give the students physical and mental flexibility to express themselves.

Don’t add on to the pile of books but let your libraries be

Anyway when we talk about libraries in today’s times, we refer to a lot more than the syllabus books. A library can include rare manuscripts, journals and vintage literature which is hard to find over the internet. And, of course, we can’t forget the online sources. A library which also has categorized online materials easily available is sure to be a hit. Moreover, all students and even professional to some extent are emotionally connected to libraries, irrespective of what source of knowledge they use. Thus, a well-planned library which strikes a great balance between the traditional and contemporary is a brilliant idea.

Offer beneficial support to students with great ideas

For students with crystal clear goals, a vision or an entrepreneurial idea, suitable backing including finances is a huge asset. A university can play a massive role in offering the same. Organize events and provide platforms that give these young geniuses an opportunity to pitch their ideas before authorities who might be interested and would be happy to collaborate. Connecting current students with successful alumni is a great way of doing this. When students are sorted with the knowledge aspect, colleges can help in providing resources to take the next leap.

Invest on robust cyber security

As it remains the pivotal factor, campuses are going digital in a major way, and that’s how students like it to be. Thus when majority of the infrastructure and functionality lies on digital platforms, you can’t ignore or underestimate the perils of cyber threats. Leading edge cyber security is one of the most fundamental measures or investments for today’s colleges. With such valuable resources and student data uploaded on digital platforms, college networks are always on the hit list of hackers.

Plan your infrastructure like an urban planner

A thriving and successful community lies on 4 pillars – inspiration, resilience, good health and great connections. Thus, when you are thinking about a thriving college campus which is at par with modern standards and expectations you need to build and support these characteristics.  Also, it is important to understand that all the above pillars are connected and dependent on each other in some way or the other. Thus to create a happy and vibrant atmosphere within the campus, this is crucial.

Time and tide waits for none, and it is only wise and obviously logical to move ahead with it. Changing trends are and will always be a debatable topic. But, as universities, you are offering a service, and you need to keep in mind what your potential customers (students in this case) are seeking for their betterment.

 

By-line

Samantha Brown is a freelance writer who specializes on carrier guidance, she is also motivational speaker and author

Despite High Costs Students Believe 4 Year Degree Is Worth Pursuing

March 15th, 2019

BY DELECE SMITH-BARROW

The Hechinger Report conducted a survey in collaboration with the APM Research Lab and APM Reports’ Educate team. To view the full results of the survey, visit APM Research Lab.

With the cost of college steadily rising, and student debt continuing to overwhelm millions of borrowers, it would make sense if young adults questioned the value of a bachelor’s degree. But more than half of them still believe it’s worth the price.

“Cost is all about what you truly think the value of it is,” said Anthony Bernazani, a 34-year old graduate of a community college and a four-year school, George Mason University, both in Virginia. Bernazani, a defense contractor, believes that because of the job opportunities, salary and intellectual gains that can come with a degree, “the value that you get out of it is worth the cost.”

Despite the weight of student loans, borrowing for a bachelor’s degree offers a return on investment that will last a lifetime, higher education experts say.

Chart showing the breakdown of different demographics regarding how they feel about whether college is worth the cost

With a four-year degree, “on average you make two-thirds more than high school graduates do,” said James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit group that works to improve college access and affordability. “You’re only about half as likely to be unemployed. It is worth borrowing money.”

It’s that idea of long-term gain over short-term pain that may be spurring young adults to keep borrowing, even as national student loan balances increased by $15 billion in the last quarter of 2018, according to the Center for Microeconomic Data at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Related: Americans don’t realize state funding for higher ed is falling, new poll finds

“I think people recognize, especially young Americans, that if you don’t go to college, you don’t have a lot of opportunities and avenues available to you,” said Rachel Fishman, deputy director for higher education research at New America, a think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.

And compared to a certificate or an associate degree, on average, “the bachelor’s degree still performs better over someone’s lifetime in terms of return on investment,” she said.

Considering these statistics, she’s surprised more young adults don’t believe a four-year degree is worth the cost.

Starting a Successful Business in College – On a Limited Budget

March 14th, 2019

BY EMMA BONNEY

The number of successful businesses started by college students in their parent’s garages is sometimes s strong enough motive for many to start their own businesses – starting from college. You may have a great business idea, but you don’t have money. What do you do? Starting a company from 0 and with almost as many finances is not a talent with which you are born, is a learned skill. However, jumpstarting your own business before you even finish college might be facilitated by school networks and resources, even when the budget is tight. Keep reading below for a little guidance and smart tips to use on the way.

Create a customer base

You may have an idea, but before starting your business per se, you should research the market and see if your idea might be of use to anybody. In other words, you should create a customer base before putting money and efforts into your idea. To find out how the market will react to your enterprise, products and services, you need to sell and test a product in the market. Measure how much success your prototype has and this will offer you a better idea on your customer base. Having sales before having a successful business is a thing that most small entrepreneurs should look forward to, but so many, unfortunately, neglect.

Tempt potential clients with an inexpensive prototype

If you want to test how successful your product or service will be locally and not only, you have to create an inexpensive prototype and test how the market reacts. Having the actual final product in hand helps for sure, but in most of the cases, this is not feasible or even essential. You want your audience to understand the simple logic behind the product or service. Most of them will be able to understand how it is supposed to work and how it might come in handy. Expose some key features they might help you differentiate your product from your competitors’, several photos of how the product is supposed to look in the sale stage, these will be enough to your customer base.

Hire affordable branding services

You will, of course, have to put some efforts in branding. This will help you build an enterprise that will be easy to recognize in the market by the visuals alone. The logo, the motto, the colors, these will all matter, ultimately. But since you’re a student with not that much money to spend on branding efforts, you should look into affordable and reliable branding tools. The specialists at Tailor Brands automated branding tools explain that you should search for tools that are able to deliver state-of-the-art, customizable logo services at affordable rates.

You will be tempted by these tools more when you find out that the whole process takes under five minutes and the results, as those who already tried such tools say, quite impressive, quality-wise. Remember that your branding efforts should be consistent enough to help you create a strong brand image on the local market and to allow you in the future to compete with your bigger competitors.

Use crowdfunding to fund product development

In the product development phase, you might feel the lack of appropriate finances more than until now. Given the fact that you already have some feedback from your customer base, and you have already tested the market readiness, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. Inform your fellow students and also your professors. They may be interested in contributing to developing a great product and helping a small college student-owned enterprise start off.

Before you start your Kickstarter campaign, make sure that you handle the following.

  • Read the Kickstarter rules and make sure that you fully understand them. Get accustomed to the requirements and check if you meet those as you go.
  • Have a business plan already designed before you launch your Kickstarter campaign. In fact, the crowdfunding part should be mentioned in your business plan.
  • Get an editor to review your business plan before launching. They should also review your website content and make sure that it is error-free, as well as your crowdfunding project.
  • Create a presentation video. If you want to boost your funding chances, try to create a presentation video for your idea. People will feel more engaged and tempted to contribute to your goal. See if any colleagues of yours have the necessary experience to help you with this.
  • Have a plan B. While funding is highly possible through platforms like Kickstarter, there is no guarantee that yours will have the anticipated success. Have a plan B, just in case. Your safety net plan could be anything, from a college fundraising event to borrowing money from your relatives.

A bit about myself:

Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.

College Majors that Won’t be Replaced by Automation  

March 13th, 2019

 

BY BRETT CLAWSON

With new advances in the field of AI (artificial intelligence) coming about every single day, people around the world are rightfully concerned about whether AI can one day replace human workers in different occupations. While it’s true that jobs such as carpenters, telemarketers, and bank tellers are at risk, many other occupations are safe from the robots. This article will highlight five of those career paths. It will also reveal college majors that high school and college students should consider if they want a job where they won’t get replaced by technological advances.

Creative Endeavors (Dance, Visual Arts, Creative Writing, etc)

While technology has enabled photographers to make their pictures better, allowed independent musicians to make music that rivals their peers on major labels, and let first-time authors bypass the gatekeepers in the publishing industry to publish their books, some AI experts have wondered whether computers can actually create art themselves. The good news for those aspiring artists is that the creative output of computers has been less than stellar. Yes, computers can “draw a picture of a tree”. But what machines lack is imagination, creativity, and the improvisational skills that the average artist possesses. So if you want to go to art school, major in dance, or read and write great books, your livelihood will probably not be replaced by AI.

PRE-MED

Most of the tasks that a physician performs in their work could be automated by machines. But what a robot can’t do is make difficult decisions about patient care, have a good bedside manner, or deal with the complexities of human psychology. Plus, there could be legal consequences if a machine makes an error that costs a patient their life. For all of these reasons, pre-med students can rest easy knowing that their future profession is safe from automation.

Education
Technology has certainly changed how many of us learn new skills. With the proliferation of online courses and even online college degrees, some people fear that robots could teach children in school in the next few decades. But education majors need not worry so much. Investopedia reports that schools will always need humans to teach and answer the questions of students. This need is so strong that many school districts across the country are trying to figure out how to recruit teachers. So if you’re an education major at your college, you won’t have to worry about machines taking over your job when you graduate.

 

Social Work/Psychology

When technology eliminates many occupations, displaced workers will need a lot of compassionate support. For this reason alone, therapists and social workers will be in demand. Machines can’t beat humans when it comes to empathy, complex social interactions, and intuition. Therapists have these skills and qualities, so their work will be even more valuable in the coming decades. Social work and clinical psychology students can approach their studies knowing that their work will help a lot of people whose very livelihood got taken over by machines.

 

Kinesiology/Exercise Science

Bernard Marr of Forbes stated that people with higher-than-average physical skills may survive the automation of America’s workforce. Marr says that as humans, we love to see athletes perform amazing physical feats. This will probably not change in the coming years as machines become able to do more and more things. Even if scientists created robots that could play basketball, football, or soccer, we would still want to see humans perform physical feats on the field that we couldn’t do. Kinesiology and exercise science majors can enter a field where they could help amazing athletes do their thing on the field or court without worrying about their jobs disappearing due to technological advances.

Byline:  Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.

 

 

In-State vs Out of State: Which College is Right for Me?

March 12th, 2019

 

BY JORI HAMILTON

Graduating high school and heading off to college is an exciting life milestone. But you have myriad choices ahead of you as graduation approaches — what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

While some choose to enroll in a trade school or take a gap year to travel, for about 69 percent of high school grads, a four-year college or university is the logical next step. Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, however, you still have more decisions to make: Should you apply to an in-state school or one that’s out of state?

Different Types of Higher Learning

As you slog through college applications, you may be overwhelmed by your choices. Furthermore, you might feel pressured to apply to the same school as your best friend, or to your parents’ alma mater. Ultimately, your college choice should be about what’s best for you rather than your loved ones.

If you’re looking for an educational opportunity that focuses on real-world skills rather than academic learning, you may want to consider trade school. Also called vocational schools, trade schools provide hands-on training in a particular field, such as nursing, automotive technology, and cosmetology. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Resource Center, around 9 million people were enrolled in a trade school in 2017.

But that number pales in comparison to the more than 18 million students attending traditional college, in both the private and public sectors.

In-State Benefits and Pitfalls

When it comes to deciding what colleges to apply to, cost is often a major decision factor. No matter if your top school choices are public or private, tuition is much higher if you’re not an in-state resident.

Location is another factor to consider: You may find that the adjustment into freshman year is easier if you’re close to home. And if your first apartment is just a short drive from your parents’ home, you can save money on laundry while checking in from time to time, giving your parents peace of mind. You may also want to stay close to your support system, especially during stressful times like midterms and finals.

Another benefit to attending an in-state school is knowing what you’re getting in to, especially if your top choice in-state school is close to your childhood home. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to visit the campus often and determine if it’s a good fit, and to get to know your way around. You’ll also have firsthand knowledge of what you can expect weather-wise and will likely already have the appropriate clothes for the weather.

Choosing an Out-of-State School

But what if the idea of adventuring into the unknown is just what you’re looking for during your higher-learning journey? In that case, an out-of-state school might be the way to go.

Out-of-state schools tend to be much more expensive, but the additional cost may be worth it if the school is the right fit. Some schools even give an edge to out-of-state students, and data indicates that schools across the U.S. are accepting more students from out of state than ever before.

What’s more, you may be eligible for an out-of-state tuition waiver, or you can take part in a reciprocity agreement program at a school in a neighboring state. The Midwest Student Exchange, the New England Regional Student Program, and the Western Undergraduate Exchange are three of these reciprocity programs.

If you’re making an interstate move for college, you’ll need to plan efficiently and pack only the essentials, such as linens, towels, and local weather-appropriate clothing. As you’ll likely be living in a dorm your freshman year, you won’t have much space to work with, so pack light. You can always pick up dorm essentials from a local shop once you arrive at your out-of-state school.

Cutting College Costs

No matter which school you ultimately attend, there are numerous ways to save money during your college years. Bring as many essentials with you as possible from the outset, whether you’re going to be living in a dorm or your first apartment. And when shopping for household items, including dishware and bedding, don’t overlook thrift shops and second-hand stores, which carry a variety of gently used items at budget-friendly prices.

Eating out is one of the biggest drains of your bank account, no matter what school you’re attending. Financial experts claim that college students spend about $11 billion per year on snacks, beverages, and fast food. Cook at home in your apartment as often as possible in order to cut back on food spending, and consider buying your favorite snacks and drinks in bulk.

Final Thoughts

While exact figures vary between specific schools, a public, in-state university is your top option if you’re looking to save money on tuition. Enrolling in an in-state school also means that you have more friends and family to rely on if things get stressful.

However, if your dream college is several states away, don’t let distance stop you from achieving your goals. There are many reasons why an out-of-state school might be the best choice for you, from particular educational programs to lower tuition costs thanks to an exchange waiver. It also might be worth it if the company or industry you ultimately want to work for has a strong recruitment presence in a different state.

Ultimately the choice is up to you to decide. After all, finances and affordability are just one of many factors to consider when attending school. When it comes to making the decision on where to attend college, balance is key.

BY JORI HAMILTON

 

Bio: Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwest who is passionate about education and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori

 

Bacterial Infections: How to protect your health  in college

March 11th, 2019

BY MELISSA BURNS

During college, we’re mostly focused on so many activities that we forget to take care of ourselves. From classes, exams, studying, other activities to spending quality time with friends and family, most students are simply not paying attention to their health. And who can blame them? College life can be pretty stressful, exhausting, frustrating and fast-paced.

But, in your last few years of studying right before you start pursuing a great career, it’s vital to focus on your health as well. So, how can you protect your health in college and prevent bacterial infections to fully enjoy your last years as a student?

Healthy eating

Taking care of your health should always start with your nutrition. Your body needs to be strong to fight those numerous bacteria and viruses that can’t wait to attack your body. So, the stronger and healthier you are, the lower are the chances of getting ill or catching bacteria. Make sure you eat as healthily as possible. Include more fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Also, avoid junk food as much as you can. Sure, it might seem like a great option to save time and go eat at that fast food restaurant near the campus but it will negatively affect your health.

The best way to ensure you eat healthy food is to prepare your meals ahead. This will also save you some money and you can use it for activities which will make you feel better, such as gym, going to see a great movie with friends or sit outside on a bench, drink coffee and read a book.

Proper treatment

 Unfortunately, many students will ignore their fatigue, cold or even temperature so they will not go see a doctor or take adequate medicine. You might think that it’s unnecessary or a total waste of time to focus on your health when your schedule is already so booked. But, if you’re experiencing any of these mentioned symptoms, it means your body is weak right now. Moreover, it will be even weaker after a virus or bacteria is done with it.

Luckily, there are plenty of helpful medicines that can help you get better. For instance, with an Azithral 500 dosage, you can cure different types of infections caused by various bacteria. If you’re unsure of the nature of your health issue, you can always consult a doctor or pharmacist to get the best care for yourself.

Physical exercise

 The same way your body needs healthy food to stay strong, it also needs to be active. Physical activity is what will prevent many health issues and problems to occur later in your life. Student years are the perfect period to start making these healthy decisions. If you’re not into sport or outdoor activities, try to walk more often or even ride a bicycle whenever you can. Our body needs at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity of moderate intensity. This minimum will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep your body weight at a healthy level.

Those who are currently not physically active should start working out slowly. Pushing your body to limits it can’t perform at the moment can result in severe injury. Also, try to choose an activity that makes you happy. It can be walking, cycling, jogging, weekend hiking, gym, swimming or anything else.

Taking care of yourself is not that hard at all. The problem is we’re not used to making those healthy choices for ourselves so all of this might seem overwhelming. However, if you replace that one hour of television with a gym, you will not lose your precious time. Decide which habits are good for you and keep them, and get rid of the ones that are bad for your health.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at burns.melissaa@gmail.com