From HubSpot: Are Notifications Driving Us Crazy?

This shared post is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more, the smart way!

notifications

“As it turns out, there could be a downside to all of the benefits mobile technology provides. We might be able to work from anywhere on our smartphones or tablets, but such mobility and accessibility come at a cost — and too much technology could actually be making us less productive.

In this post, we’ll explore how notifications impact your brain and your mental and physical health, and what you can do with your devices to help minimize the negative impacts of the little red dot.”

notifications

Bandwidth Allocation (Productivity) in Theory and Practice

This free video is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more with a month of helpful content on scaling yourself in July.

In this video, you’re going to learn about why maximum productivity is important.

This video is an excerpt from the Maximizing Your Personal Productivity section of our Advanced Management Training.

Advanced Management Training is an MBA in a box! You’ll learn hiring, mentorship, communication & persuasion, productivity hacks, negotiation & leadership skills, + more.

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From GOTO: Scott Hanselman on Scaling Yourself

This is a shared video from GOTO as a part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more. 

Scott Hanselman is the Principal Program Manager at Microsoft in Portland, Oregon.

Created for developers, by developers, GOTO Conferences are focused on bringing the best minds in the software community and the most interesting topics to light.

As information workers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More blogs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second.

Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools and filters to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug. Is ZEB (zero email bounce) a myth or are there substantive techniques for prioritizing your life on the web?

Come see Scott’s famous “Scaling Yourself” talk, adapted to take only 15 minutes of your time!

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How to Make a Good Hire on Upwork

This post is part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more.

working virtually upwork

Outsourcing parts of your business is something that has the potential to completely change your company or freelance practice. It can accelerate your growth and free up your own time for tasks that use your talents if it’s done right.

I’ve found Upwork to be a quality source for freelancers and it’s worth learning how to make a good hire there. A couple of our virtual assistants and project team members were found there and we now have a process for making sure we hire the best person for the job.

  1. Don’t write a crap job description
    The first step to making a good hire on Upwork is making sure your job description reflects exactly what you need well. You’ll attract better candidates that way.

What qualifies as a “crap” job description:

  • Copying and pasting another company’s job posting just because the title of the position is the same. There is NO WAY that you are looking exactly for what another company is looking for. Do the work and really put the time and effort into communicating what YOU need because bringing someone else on, virtual or not, is a big decision.
  • Not putting in the time and neglecting to include enough information. If you only provide a few sentences about what you need and don’t include enough context, you’re going to attract candidates who will submit the same kind of low quality work.
  • Only focusing on personality/work style or skills. You need both hard and soft skills to make this important partnership work.
  • Sounding like a jerk who is looking for a subservient person. Actually, scratch that. If you sound that way, you probably are that way and it’s better for everyone that you don’t take the good candidates’ time so they can work for someone else who is a better manager/human being. Good work relationships are about mutual respect. Get in the mindset that you are looking for a team member.

A good job description includes:

  • A list of the top skills required to perform the job, including any technical skills
  • The length of the engagement
  • Performance expectations
  • Information about your company and/or product
  • How and when you will make your decision
  • What the work dynamic will be (communication via email or phone, teamwork required, whether you prefer someone who can work during the work week*, how you like to work, when the work needs to be completed, weekly time budget, etc.)

*There are a lot of freelancers who have full time jobs during the week and make extra money on the weekends with Upwork. Keep in mind that these candidates won’t send deliverables until the weekend. In many situations, this could work. Just keep in mind that a full time freelancer is quite different than someone who hasn’t yet made the move to quit their day job. Personally, I prefer someone who can make progress WITH me during the normal work week and I don’t turn my email off on the weekends so I’d rather not see updates from a VA on Saturdays and Sundays.

  1. Use your interactions with the candidate as measurement
    Don’t stop at their portfolio or reviews. Take advantage of the messaging capabilities of the platform and get a little back and forth going before you make a decision to hire or hop on Skype for a short interview. You’ll be surprised on what you can pick up from a texted conversation if you just pay attention.

Ongoing messaging is a great way to assess:

  • Timeliness– If it takes a while for the candidate to get back and you are moving forward with other potential team members, they might not be the most reliable. You need someone who is reasonably responsive and candidates will be the most anxious to get back when they are looking for new work. Not a good sign if they lag in these early stages. I usually look for an Upwork freelancer to get back to me within 24 hours and that’s what I expect once I’ve hired them as well. 
  • Intelligence– Blatant misspellings, sentence structure, and grammar mistakes will help you initially weed out the less talented. It doesn’t matter if what you need them to do doesn’t involve writing. Smart people read and develop writing skills from reading so a person with poor writing skills might not be that interested in learning and that is not a good hire, especially in the virtual world when they will be working independently and will have to figure some things out on their own.
  • Personality– Do they anticipate what you need to make your hiring decision by including details? Do they seem equally concerned about finding a good fit? Are they humble? Does their level of formality fit what you are looking for? Or simply, did you enjoy interacting with them?
  1. Don’t settle for the first applicant
    You’re going to find a better fit for you if you use a pool of applicants, first weeding out the ones you can tell you don’t want to hire based on their initial message to you, their portfolio and/or resume, and their reviews.

Then, after messaging back and forth with the remaining candidates, pick two or three that you 1) feel are the most capable for the job, 2) enjoyed interacting with the most, and 3) were the most timely.

  1. Take advantage of Skype
    Especially if the job will involve some interaction via phone or Skype, schedule a quick Skype call with your top two or three picks. There is a lot you can tell about a candidate in even just ten minutes.

Tip: Even if you will only require correspondence via email or text for the actual, it could also be a good idea to get your candidates on a video call. Once you make that personal connection, your hire will feel like they actually know you and will feel more accountable.

Do you have any tips for hiring freelancers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Being an Entrepreneur is Hard

Being an Entrepreneur is Hard

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

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If you’re reading this, share your self-employment experiences with me. I want to get to know you!

Thanks for watching.

Equity Crowdfunding Event in Chicago

Equity Crowdfunding Event in Chicago (Local Investors Event)

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

LOCATIONS MENTIONED
mHUB

CONTENT MENTIONED
Career Hacking Masterclass
Advanced Management Training
Guerrilla Marketing Book

MUSIC
CGI Snake by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://chriszabriskie.com/divider/ Artist: http://chriszabriskie.com/

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If you’re reading this and have been paying attention to equity crowdfunding, I’d love to know your thoughts on it.

Thanks for watching!

These Brands are Killing It on Instagram

these brand are killing it on instagram

I love finding branding and marketing inspiration on Instagram and I’m loving the platform in general these days because the user experience is a lot more enjoyable than the toxic environment on Facebook. You can find out more about how we feel about THAT whole sitch here.

In my feed, I like to see posts from a mix of different kinds of companies because, as a marketer, I’m constantly paying attention to what other marketers are doing well. If you are a marketer or a small business owner, you might know what I mean. And I’d LOVE to see what profiles you’ve been following for ideas and inspiration. You can leave a comment below or Tweet at me and I’ll check it out your favorites.

Lately, I’ve been feeling an intense amount of marketing love for a few companies in particular.

  1. Moondeli
    Moondeli makes healthy tonics that can be added to nut milk, coffee, juices, and smoothies. Their ingredients feature some of the highest quality, most potent rainforest plants like turmeric, maca, and cacao.

Their branding enforces the “alternativeness” or, shall I say, traditional kind of health products they sell. (I always think it’s funny to call ingestion of ingredients that have been known for their health properties for hundreds and hundreds of years “alternative” just because we’ve made advancement in medicine. You can have both, you know?)

With Moondeli’s branding suite, you really do feel like you’ve been pulled into a community and an experience that centers around beauty and natural health. From their logo and typography to the corresponding symbols on their different products, they’ve created something that is attractive; something that possesses all of the right elements to get their target market’s attention.

 

<<photos of packaging on my IG account>>

They invest a lot in their photography as well. They are consistent in their themes, layouts, and colors -a ton of the flatlays feature crystals with a color palette of pinks, blues, greens, and greys. It’s that kind of ethereal feel that is earthy yet coming on trend. It’s just pretty and fun to look at.

🌑💜💭✨ #energytonic ✨ #almondmilk ✨ #amethyst ✨ #intentions

A post shared by 🌕 M O O N D E L I 🌕 (@moondeli) on

 

Something else they are doing right? User generated content. They’ve created a culture where their community feels so connected to Moondeli’s product, strangers are tagging away and the company ends up with a ton of free, beautiful content to fill their Instagram feed and build their credibility. Not only that, but it also seems that the community has taken cues from the company on what the aesthetics of a photo featuring a Moondelli product should look like.

And it’s in the customer’s interest to create a photo that Moondeli might share because it might help them grow THEIR OWN audience.

See what they did there?

Stunning capture by the radiant @sidneybensimon 🙌🌞💙✨#gratitude #plantmedicine #love

A post shared by 🌕 M O O N D E L I 🌕 (@moondeli) on

 

Finally, I love that Moondeli breaks down the barrier and rids the customer of the burden of HOW IN THE HECK to use their products. They frequently give tips on on new uses and include recipes in many of their posts. There’s also a recipes page on their website. This serves the purpose of eliminating hesitation to purchase because the viewer already knows specific ways they will use the product.

Enjoy some more of Moondeli’s eye candy and check out how I used some of their products here.

  1. Ox and Otter
    Shiyana of Ox and Otter is a ceramicist who runs her entire business with just an Instagram account (over 90k followers) and a SUPER SIMPLE website that currently features all of her sold out creations. Think about that next time you get caught up opening accounts and building elaborate websites when you should be focusing on your product.

 

My favorite handmade indulgences all in one- 🌿Pottery 🌿Rings 🌿Body Care

A post shared by Shiyana (@oxandotter) on

Shiyana creates beautiful, one of a kind ceramic mugs and bowls and is a self-described Ceramic Artist Glaze Witch. What’s fun about Ox and Otter is that you are following HER -the creator of the beautiful pieces that you might someday get to purchase if you can catch a mug in your cart before they all sell out. Since you see her often, posing with her Black Wave and Midnight Rose works of art that happen to hold coffee, you feel a much stronger connection with the brand. It’s that feeling of friendship that social media is so capable of creating between a person and their stranger-followers.

Ox and Otter has a look that users are clearly responding to, so Shiyana is smart to focus on creating variations of the same kind of design, “milking” what is already working for her.

One thing that I love most about Shiyana’s content is the amount of effort she puts into her photoshoots. Rest assured, there WILL BE color coordinated nail polish that compliments the mug on display and everything from her makeup and clothes to the background reinforces the branding. Really, it’s just her taste that is very unique, beautiful, and focused.

 

  1. Liberated Heart
    With the ultimate summer/festival wear, Liberated Heart is also tapping into the witchy, celestial vibe that Moondeli and Ox and Otter have done so well. They operate mainly between their Instagram Account and website.

When the brand launched in 2013, it gained a cult following and became a  leader in festival fashion and, after that an additional surge in attention when model Candace Swanepoel was photographed wearing one of their dresses. Then, the company focused on engaging the influx of commenters on their Instagram photos, which really paid off for them.

I think that Liberated Heart manages their ratio of content expertly. It’s a good mix of straight product promotion to sell specific items for their catalog and themes like desert scenes, palm trees, beach frolicking that support the branding so well.

Weekend setup vibes ✨✨✨ @lisadanielle__

A post shared by LIBERATED HEART (@liberatedheart) on

 

  1. Room Service Vintage
    I used to shop at Room Service for most of my furniture and a lot of my decor during the time I lived in Austin, Texas. I continued following them for years after I moved because I love to torture myself with vintage steals that I can never have because they don’t ship.

Room Service uses their Instagram account to sell the pieces they post by allowing a 2 hour hold on items. They even keep the posts updated with their “sold” status and it obviously works well for them.

Cherry Blossom Pink Recliner with Cane sides, 42″ t x 25″ w x 28″ d, $149.00 -SOLD-

A post shared by Room Service Austin, Texas (@roomservicevintage) on

Their photos aren’t that fancy and there aren’t any posts created “just for looks” -this is a purely functional account. It simply a catalog and they get enough high quality pieces in to be able to develop leads on Instagram.

It’s these little tricks that can work for small business -something you might want to keep in mind if you deal with one-of-a-kind retail.

 

Do you have any favorite non-major brands that you follow on Instagram for inspiration? I’d love to know what you are paying attention to. Tweet at me or respond in the comments below.

Jeff Bezos Has Too Much Power

Jeff Bezos Has Too Much Power

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

LOCATIONS MENTIONED
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Athletic Association

CONTENT MENTIONED
Direct Brain/Computer Integration is (Really) Close

Manufacturing Consent

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If you’re reading this, tell me how you feel about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods.

Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow!

What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

RECIPES
Mango Buckwheat Porridge from Simply Quinoa:
Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers from Oh She Glows:
Moondeli Recipes

PRODUCTS:
Moondeli Bliss Booster

CONTENT
Brant Wickersham on Emotion and Vulnerability
Yoga with Adriene

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Career Lounge
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This is What it Feels Like by Banks
Imagination by Gorgon City
Empire Ants Ft. Little Dragon by Gorillaz

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If you’re reading this, tell me how you eat healthy during the work week or what gives you energy to be productive!

Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow!

From Brant Wickersham: Why Emotion Is Okay

This is an excerpt from an original blog post on The Inquiry of Excellence blog.

brant wickersham
“Vulnerability is often overlooked and ignored.

For longer than I can remember, I’ve heard that men are designed to be tough. From a purely genetic and physiological sense, it is easily understood. Men have higher levels of testosterone than women and can naturally build muscle at higher levels than women. The issue that I find in this statement, however, is not its association with muscle or the physical nature of being a man, but that it’s also been attached to the mental side of being a man.

brant wickersham

It’s frowned upon to cry, frowned upon to be seen as weak, and on top of that, the least manly thing you can do is to always be that moody friend.

Naturally, we are susceptible to emotions, but men have been trained into thinking that emotion is not a factor to personal development.”

brant wickersham