I'm not one to pick resolutions, it's always seemed weird to me that at the beginning of the year we start new and can reinvent ourselves. That at the stroke of midnight, we somehow get a magic restart. Why not reinvent yourself whenever you need too or start a new goal each day or each week? Why not just strive to be a better version of yourself every day?
One of my clients recently mentioned that she picked a word for the year, to sort of define what the year would mean for her... and that resonated with me. It's like a guiding principle to help keep things in perspective as you reinvent yourself or start new goals. What a concept! I had heard it before, but for some reason, never took to the idea until now.
This year, I've decided my word is "balance". It's not a word I've felt really worked for me, especially in the past year and half. I'm one of those people that works to find balance, it somewhat feels out of reach. Not sure if you can relate. Between all of the things that the world throws us at us, how are we suppose to achieve any sort of balance in life? This year, I think it's something good to work towards and I really feel like it's time.
I'm talking balance of all aspects of my life- work, relationships, health and self-care, travel, all of it! I know it's going to take some work, but I'm up for the challenge.
If you have a word for the year, I'd love to hear it and the reason behind it!
And thank you to Nancy Dilts from Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting for sparking a little creativity.
With all the competition out there, how do you stand out in a crowd? How do you get more views and leads to your company’s website? Many companies have embraced the power of blogs, writing about their businesses, their employees, and things that matter to their brand. How do you know if writing blog posts is right for your website?
What goals are you trying to reach with a blog? Is it to build your online brand? Is it to inspire your potential customers? Or maybe to make a connection with your consumers and seem more accessible and not a faceless corporation. Think about what you would like to achieve and consider if a blog will help you reach that goal.
Blogs can establish online branding. By creating lots of content on the same type of subjects, the more of an expert you and your business can become. Soon people will seek out your blogs to find the latest recommendations or information your company is talking about. Becoming an authority in your market helps to become recognizable, building your online brand.
Reaching people through the power of inspiration. Write blogs about inspiring topics that are important to you and your company. Talk about what your employees are up to and their latest successes. Talk about what your company is doing to help other people, like fundraisers or causes you may be a part of. People love to be inspired and to see that companies they are supporting are doing great things for their communities.
Blogs can personalize your business. By writing blogs, you can show off your company’s personality. People love to feel like they are a part of something. If you are reaching out to customers in a way that they feel like they can connect with, then you’ll create interest and potential loyalty to your business.
Now, with all the positive aspects of creating blogs, are there any downsides? There are always multiple sides to everything we do. Blogs can potentially be a lot of work and are time consuming to actually create the content for, but don’t let that stop you from putting out content. A few things to think about on this front. You should pick a schedule that you can live with and can live up to. If you have limited time, don't worry about writing a weekly blog, instead try out a one time a month schedule. Figure out what works best for your company and the time you have available. Whatever you choose to do, you should absolutely create your own content and don’t link to an external blog. The blog should be incorporated into your website, so that all the traffic drives to your site.
Considering all the pros to writing your own blog, you may also be thinking that writing a blog is just one more thing to stack on my already full plate. If you are in need of assistance and professional guidance, contact Spotlight Business Solutions to see what is right for your business. We’re always happy to help!
-Guest Article written by Kelli Brewer.
Starting a business from home while sharing childcare duties with a partner is already a challenge. There are countless articles, blogs, and hashtags devoted to organizing and managing remote work while parenting children with someone else — but what if you are a single mother? The constant advice given about splitting childcare duties with a partner may not apply in your situation, especially if you have recently separated from your partner or are starting the divorce process, which is overwhelming on many levels.
Single moms can do more than survive their work hours while trying to entertain small children. Read through these tips from Spotlight Business Solutions to learn how to better manage your unique work-life balance as a single mom who is starting a business from home.
Transfer Your Skill Set
Many single working mothers have successfully transferred their corporate skills and other talents to their startup or entrepreneurship endeavor to spend more time with their young children. This is especially true during the pandemic, which has seen a rise in COVIDpreneurs — entrepreneurs who have used the time at home to develop ideas into money-making ventures. Working as a freelance consultant is often ideal for a single working mom who wants to build a successful business from home. Additionally, flexible hours mean you can get jobs done and still be available for your kids when they need you.
For example, if you worked in the medical field, consider writing for medical sites or blogs that translate medical information to simpler terminology to make it easier for people to understand. If you have a background in finance, look into consulting, tax preparation, or other roles that allow you to start a remote freelance business using the skills you have.
You can also refine your skills by going back to school, which can increase your chances of making more money and advancing in your career. Universities like WGU allow you to earn a degree online, so you can complete your education from home while juggling parenthood and business ownership. Degrees like accounting can put you a step ahead from the competition and give you the skills needed to qualify for top positions in business and finance.
Complete Your Legal Paperwork Online
If you’re a COVIDpreneur starting a business from home, you’ve likely already signed your name to dozens of documents. If you haven’t begun to file papers yet, complete this checklist of requirements before the launch of your business. Tips to remember include choosing a catchy name for your business, purchasing your domain name or website address, registering your limited liability company (or other small corporation) with your state, and paying your yearly dues.
Know When to Hire Talent
You may have received advice concerning hiring web designers and digital marketers to begin expanding your business's reach. Hiring these professionals can free up your time for your kids, but refer to your business plan to ensure that you hire the right people at the most effective time. If you don’t have a solid website with regularly published content, you probably don’t need a digital marketer’s help just yet. Similarly, if you understand marketing but your website is a little untidy, consider hiring an expert to elevate your site’s look to a more professional level before you show it to potential clients. Either way, Spotlight Business Solutions can offer you expertise in website design, social media marketing, and a range of other services for your business.
Recruit a Trustworthy Sitter or Nanny
Single moms may find it difficult to care for children in the early stages of starting a business, especially if their children are at home with them all the time. If you notice that you’re feeling frazzled while balancing kids’ activities, crafts, and mealtimes with your new venture, consider hiring help. Even asking a part-time nanny or a teenaged neighbor you trust to stop by for a few hours a week can be lifesaving to parents with no outside assistance. Any of the children’s grandparents who live nearby may be willing to babysit on a regular schedule as well.
Find a Mentor
When branching out on your own to start a business, especially in our disconnected digital age, a mentor is worth her weight in gold. Find one through a network or reach out to someone you know. When possible, look for single parents who can understand your unique position.
An old friend from high school may have just started an online business, or perhaps an acquaintance posts regularly on social media about success with her startup. Reach out to ask for any notes or advice they are willing to offer.
Starting a business from home, whether you wish to freelance, consult, or develop a solid client base, can be done with perseverance and time management. If you go slowly and steadily, you can soon reap the rewards as a COVIDpreneur with a dependable source of income you can count on and continue to build from your home.
Spotlight Business Solutions is dedicated to helping business grow. For more information about our marketing and design services, give us a call at 651-373-1185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As the new entrepreneur of a budding business, you may have entered your field because of a novel idea or great service you want to share with the world. You may even have confidence in your management abilities, as well as the organizational and people skills to successfully take your business to new heights.
However, very few entrepreneurs are proficient in accounting and bookkeeping, nor do they have the time to take on all the financial duties running a business requires. According to Wasp Barcode, only 40% of owners claim to be very or extremely knowledgeable when it comes to their general understanding of accounting and finance, and 82% of businesses fail due to cash flow problems. Despite these numbers, many small businesses don’t hire an accountant or bookkeeper.
While limited funds may have you convinced that you can do without professional accounting services, hiring someone to help you take on the financial organization of your new business and prepare taxes correctly can set you up for success in the long run.
Avoid Common Accounting Errors
When business owners have too many irons in the fire, accounting errors are bound to happen at some point. Issues with data entry can have serious consequences, such as:
Hiring a professional accountant who is aware of the best accounting practices, has a deep understanding of accounting programs, and has a well-established system in place to quickly detect errors can take the responsibility off your shoulders. This will allow you to focus your attention on other areas of the business.
Get the Most Out of Your Tax Return
If you want to spend less time trying to sort through your taxes and ensure you come out with the best refund possible, hire a small business tax accountant to prepare your taxes for you. These professionals can take care of every step of the process, ensuring you are benefiting from every deduction available to you, filing your taxes, and offering advice on how to better your tax strategy for the future. According to AllTopStartups, because accountants know the ins and outs of taxation, they will be able to save you from any penalties and fines.
Enlist Help With Payroll
If you have a full-time accountant taking care of the general finances for your business and filing tax returns, he or she may take care of payroll for your company as well. To make managing payroll easier, consider investing in an online payroll service to help streamline the process and improve your employees’ experience.
When searching for the right payroll software, look for a service that includes automated payroll, calculating your employee’s wages while factoring in any other circumstances, such as overtime, insurance deductions, benefits and bonuses. Employees will also appreciate having an online portal to access using their computer or phone to easily see and download pay stubs, tax forms, or other reports. This also saves you the hassle of having to track down and provide information to your employees any time they need to reference their pay.
Streamlined payroll is incredibly important because it helps your employees feel appreciated. Paying your employees on time will encourage them to keep working hard, and this will benefit your business in the long-run. Your employees are the lifeblood of your company, so you should ensure they are satisfied.
If you’re not as adept at handling finances for your business as you are at managing your employees and strategizing ways for your brand to grow, a professional accountant is an invaluable addition to your team. Ensure your business is on the right track financially and free up more of your time to take care of other critical areas of operations.
Does your digital marketing strategy need revamping? Spotlight Business Solutions can handle all your web design, social media marketing, blog writing, and SEO needs. Call 651-373-1185 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation!
Article courtesy of Kelli Brewer.
Got a small business and struggling to keep up with what to do with your social media channels? It can be a challenge to figure out what you should be doing with it all, especially on top of your already mounting tasks to keep your small business running. Not to worry, here are a few tips to keep your social media accounts fresh and enticing by expanding your reach to target audiences to increase your sales.
For more insight on how to reach more customers and for creating exciting content, contact Spotlight Business Solutions to keep your social media current and engaging.
This post comes straight from Melanie Schmidt with Minnesota Title. Melanie has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to your home and title insurance, so be sure to check out their site after you read the guest blog:
1.The title company does not work for your real estate agent. We are separate companies. Sometimes people think that the title companies closer is an assistant to the realtor or part of the brokerage, this is not true. We function as a team of course but the Title Company is it’s own entity. They clear title, handle the funds and conduct the closing, acting as a 3rd party throughout the transaction.
2. You can choose your title company. And you should! If you are buying a new home, you are in charge of who does the title work and provides your title insurance. Make sure you choose a good one with a solid reputation and knowledgeable staff. One that has in-house examiners and multiple locations are some things to look for. Your realtor may recommend a few options for you and can guide you towards ones they enjoy working with, but the decision is ultimately yours.
3. Title Insurance is more important than you think. All lenders require you to have lender’s title insurance but you also need owner’s insurance. This is a one time fee that protects you for the duration of the time you own the home. Unlike home or car insurance which focus on possible future hazards, title insurance safeguards against loss from hazards and defects already existing in the past.
4. Paying all cash does NOT eliminate the need for title insurance. An all-cash transaction does not eliminate the risk posed by unknown title defects. An owner’s policy protects you against possible loss or damage from a covered title defect. A title claim could arise at any time, even after you’ve owned the property with no problems for many years. How could this happen? Someone else might have ownership rights that you don’t know about when you make an offer to buy a property. Even the current owner might not be aware that someone else has a claim on the property. In the case of an overlooked heir, even the person who has those rights might not know they have them.
5. More people use their title insurance than you think! According to the American Land Title Association, title insurance policyholders have filed over 730,600 claims to date. In 2018, the title industry spent over $615 million* defending the property rights of its policyholders and compensating their losses due to covered title defects. Ask yourself this, is a one-time payment (1-2% the cost of the home) worth it to protect the biggest investment of your life? The answer is always YES! 😊
For more information, visit Minnesota Title!
This month, we welcome another guest blog from Kelli Brewer who has put together helpful resources on how to start a business or find a work-from-home job.
With more and more companies offering opportunities for remote work, you might be interested in telecommuting. And if you’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship, you may even be thinking about starting a home-based business! If you’re ready to start applying for remote jobs, or you’re eager to get your new company off the ground and market your services with Spotlight Business Solutions, these resources can help you with everything from networking online to setting up a home office.
Land a Remote Job
Wondering how to find a job that will allow you to work from anywhere? These resources are packed with tips for remote job seekers!
Launch a Home Business
You don’t necessarily have to find a company that will let you work remotely — if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you can start your own!
Guidance for Veterans
Veterans often have unique concerns when looking for work. In these guides, you’ll find tips on translating your military experience to a new remote job.
Whether you want to have more control over your schedule or ditch your long commute, working remotely can change your life for the better. You can secure traditional employment or launch your own business from your laptop. With these tips, you’ll be ready to take your career online!
Ready to polish up your company’s virtual presence? Spotlight Business Solutions can handle everything from social media marketing to business blogging! Fill out the contact form to schedule your free consultation.
Photo via Unsplash
People love stories. That’s why a lot of us read books, watch movies or binge watch a favorite TV series. It’s a way for all of us to connect. The emotions that come with shared experiences can be universal. Everyone wants to feel something. To feel connected. The power of storytelling is an engaging way to interact with and include your customer base.
As part of your social media presence, sharing your company’s personal stories and experiences, while asking others to engage with you, can be appealing to people. If the subject is relatable, they will want to reach out to feel like they are a part of something. You can connect with your audience by telling your story:
Find stories that will appeal to people who might actually use your products or services. Hearing personal stories like these, can inspire your customers. Pose a question to them at the end of your story to get them involved. For example, after a heart-felt story of what motivated you in your business, ask your followers what they are passionate about.
People remember a company that has a personal story. On multiple occasions, I’ve heard others talk about how they bought something from a small company that makes their own t-shirts where the owner is a mother with a new small business, or this newlywed couple that started a company inviting other couples to design their own wedding rings with them in their own personal workshop. The story you tell doesn't have to be lengthy or overly complicated if that's not the real story. Just tell YOUR real story, and people will find they can connect with different aspects. Have a cat in the office? Talk about how the cat came to be in your office or home. Lots of people have pets and like hearing about our furry friends. Show that your company and employees are personable human beings, and that you’re not just a faceless, corporate entity.
It's also important to talk about your employees (if you have employees) and what they provide for your business. Do you want them to gain experience? To have a friendly and fun work environment? People love to hear about good working environments. Try featuring your employees and their stories of working for your company. Maybe have them talk about what they have learned working for you, what projects they are doing, or why they picked that career.
You could also talk about where you are located and your presence in that community. If you have a cause you support, share that as well. People love to hear about what charities are being supported, and will be more likely to utilize your company, or even talk about your company with others about it.
Engaging customers with relatable stories allows them to feel like they have something to contribute, by sharing their own similar stories. And once you’ve got them interested in your story, you can use it to include your business services. If you can resonate with your customers, the engagement will follow.
This month, we are excited to feature a guest blog from The Divine Group. The Divine Group been doing brand photography for many years and we wanted to get her input on how you can get great social media photos to engage your audience. Here's what they had to say:
As a brand photographer, I get asked, "What images should I use for my social media posts?"
Although every brand is different, here are some basic ideas that translate for most personal brands.
1. Photos that you can turn into graphics!
To create these- you will want to shoot your subject (your products, yourself, your subjects) on a blank background. I recommend white because it's versatile and easy to add text and logos too.
Position yourself off to the side so you can add in text later and make graphics to announce your new products, courses, or services!
2. Action photos of yourself or your products!
These are great tools for storytelling and can be used to talk more about what you do or what your product does.
How to create them-
Hiring a brand photographer will be the most efficient way to get these images from a time standpoint. A good brand photographer will help you create the shot list and set up the session so you get what you need.
Financially, if that's not an option, pairing up with a friend or fellow business owner is the next best thing! Have a content creation day where you go out and take imagery for each other. Don't have a business bud? Ask a friend or a partner to help you out.
Doing it yourself can work great for product brands, but be more challenging when it comes to showing your face. You can buy a tripod for your phone with a timer and set up self portraits in a location with great natural light.
Keep in mind, each brand is different, and a lot of my clients hire me to do specific imagery and then they create some of their own, especially if you like creating content. If it's something you loathe, hiring it out and having a friend help can make life as a business owner a lot easier.
Have more questions about what images to take? You can always reach out, happy to help! Check out The Divine Group for more information.
This week, Amy met with Aaron Forsman with Forsquare Consulting, LLC. Aaron and his wife Nicole, own and operate a local event planning business, but they don't stop there! They love helping people plan their important events from baby showers to weddings, but wanted to continue helping them after the event by guiding them in to the next phase with insurance and family/retirement planning. Whether you need auto, home or life insurance, family and retirement, or income planning, they can make sure you have the right coverage for you!
Amy Lauria, the president of Spotlight Business Solutions, has been working as a social media marketing and website ninja since 2005.