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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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!

From Jessika Jake: Dealing With Difficult People in the Workplace

This is an excerpt from an original post by Jessika Jake.

jessika-jake

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“It’s interesting to track the legal precedents that have been set (though also, in my case, promptly forget them and not bookmark them), but I will tell you this: Any good (and law-abiding) company will have a policy against bullying and aggressive behavior. If you are bringing up a complaint and get patted on the head with “Now, now, it’s just a personality clash,” change the topic to the inarguable, observable behaviors that are being demonstrated. Below is a partial list from ChangingMinds.org’s list of aggressive body language.

  • Facial signals – frowns, pursed lips, sneers, snarls, and stares
  • Stiffness – tensing up, clenching fists
  • Invasion – Invading personal space, false friendships
  • Insulting gestures, large gestures – chin tilts, arm thrusts, exaggerated movements, banging on tables, etc

In addition to aggressive body language, there is also verbal aggression. For an overview, read this Wikipedia entry, which notably highlights:

Workplace aggression can have devastating effects on an organization’s employees.[5] For example, it has been found that targets of workplace aggression report lower levels of well-being.[5] Other studies have shown that aggression in the workplace can cause the victims of such behaviors to suffer from health problems.[26]Bjorkqvist, Osterman, and Hjelt-Back even found that targets exhibited symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as anxiety and depression.[6]

aggressive behavior

New Course Published: The Essentials of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Learn How to Give Constructive Feedback, Build Effective Teams, and Continuously Improve

*Get $5 off the course*

In this course, you’ll develop communication skills, learn specific feedback methods, and see examples of leading group meetings, giving performance reviews, giving real-time constructive feedback, creating a collaborative team culture, and implementing systems that lead to continuous performance improvements.
• Learn to Be a Better Leader with Great Feedback Skills
• How to build trust and between people in a professional setting
• Communication skills for giving effective feedback
• Specific feedback methods and examples of them in action
• Building towards continuous feedback culture (e.g. people operations and analytics)

Master One of the Most Important Skills for Great Managers and Founders
Your ability to give, receive, and use feedback is one of the most critical skills in business and in life–and that’s borne out by research. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review in 2016, internal trust is the #1 predictor of team effectiveness. This course on feedback and team communication is relevant to all professionals–for senior managers, shift leaders, new team members, startup teams, and freelancers.

Communication Can Only Create Positive Change If It’s Done Well
Ideal for a professionals in all industries, organizational structures and sizes, and geographies, in this course you’ll learn how to build trust, how to work with a variety of personalities, how the world’s leading companies attract and retain top talent, when and how to use information that you’re receiving in the form of feedback, and a lot more.

This interactive training series starts with a section on building trust within teams, offering specific, actionable strategies that you can start using right away. This section includes a variety of tools–from formal psychology analyses to fun, collaborative games taught at comedy schools to foster on-stage communication. You’ll learn what these tools are, how to use them, why to use them, and specific step-by-step methods for building team trust.

In section two, you’ll learn communication skills that will help you, your team, and/or your partners and clients exchange feedback to improve outcomes. You’ll learn what good feedback looks and sounds like, what growth-oriented communications are, how to solicit feedback, and how to steer conversations so that you can be a stronger leader or manager. These communication skills are 100% necessary if productive feedback is going to be possible.

In section three you’ll learn specific forms of feedback e.g. how to use group feedback sessions effectively, how to use digital mediums (e.g. messaging apps or email) for feedback, how to be a good coach or mentor, how to lead performance reviews and performance improvement talks, and more. You’ll get specific step-by-step methods for implementing these strategies so that you’re supported with an easy-to-follow structure as you build your skills in this area.

Then, in section four, you’ll see the feedback methods you’ve learned put into action with examples and role-playing exercises performed on screen. This will enable you to see what you’ve learned in action so that you have a learning reference available to you any time you need it.

In the final section, you’ll learn the foundational principles of people operations and people analytics. You’ll start to build your knowledge of continuous feedback methodologies which have proven to be the most effective and rapid prescription for improving performance in a fast-changing world. These methodologies are being used at top firms like Google, Proctor and Gamble, and others.

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From World Economic Forum: Why the most successful businesses have strong values

most successful businesses

“By using a behaviour-based lens instead of a checklist, LRN’s PEI study demonstrated that companies with the highest levels of ethical behaviour are the ones that have placed values at the centre of their organizations.

Among high-performing companies, two-thirds are increasingly focusing on values instead of rules. That compares with one in three of the lowest-performing companies. In fact, the highest-performing organizations in our study have elevated human values to such an extent that more than 90% of those values have become part of the company’s brand appeal. In 70% of high-performing organizations, values have also become a business enabler, providing a reference point for the tough decisions, and in turn leading to better decision-making.”

most successful businesses

 Want a peak at our values and ethics here at Eazl? Visit us on Instagram!

The Well-Balanced Ego (Excerpt from The Confidence Code)

*Find the full course here and grab a $5 coupon while you’re at it: http://bit.ly/palmer5*

In this excerpt from our course, The Confidence Code: Self-Esteem and Empathy w/ Palmer Jones, Palmer describes how an ego that is too big or too small can hold you back in your life and career. Listen to what Palmer says about getting your ego in check and having empathy for others.

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Content That Will Fuel Your Soft Skill Power

soft skill power

For the next couple of weeks, I challenge you to spend some time developing your soft skills. According to recent studies, soft skills have moved into the top listed skills that employers are looking for. Beyond helping you get hired, possessing soft skills will help you be a better manager, get you better results when you work on teams, and help you get where you want to be faster.

Here are a few pieces of content we’ve created that will help you skill up:

  1. 5 Ways to Feel More Empowered Today
    We, at Team Eazl, have been thinking about what role we want to play in the world of education because, really, it isn’t about us. It’s all about you and feeling empowered in your career. Whether you are a professional in the traditional workforce, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer, the more you know about how to build a good life for yourself through your career, the better. The less encumbered and “in the dark” you are about how things work, the more capable you are to truly have control over your life.

successful content

2. Build Your Digital Networking Muscles
It seems like all that anyone talks about anymore –whether in entrepreneurship or a traditional career path as an employee– is networking. And with good reason! Many are terrified of the idea of reaching out to a stranger. Plus, digital networking has added a whole new element to the mix.

successful content

3. From the vaults: FAMILY + BIZ Month: Tools for a Holistic Approach to Work
This compilation posts of self-empowerment, productivity, and self-development content we’ve created in the last couple of years will give you the fuel you need to develop your soft skills, which are some of the most powerful skills you can possess.

successful content

 

Have any favorite soft skills resources? We’d love to hear about it! Tweet at us

soft skill power

Be Your Own Inspiration in 2017

be your own inspiration eazl

If you know someone who deserves a shout out (even if it’s yourself), fill out one of the forms below and we’ll see if we have a way to make it part of our ongoing movement of appreciating those who do the hard work.

Be a featured entrepreneur
Be a featured marketer
Be a featured professionals

Why submit one of the forms above?

  • Inspire others and share your experience
  • Increase your brand reach
  • Deepen your relationship with the Eazl team for potential future partnerships

There’s no denying the celebrity worship culture that exists in our world today and it bleeds over into the celebrity entrepreneur world as well. How many articles have we read about Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg, and Gary Vaynerchuk this year? How many MORE of the same will we continue to support with our clicks and our bandwidth?

It’s honestly exhausting that all of our praise goes to just a few at the top.

We want to spend the beginning of this year recognizing those who work hard without personal branding being the focal point of their hard work. These people should be appreciated and they have some lessons to teach but we don’t know who they are because they are too busy trying to provide value in whatever way they can to the world and communities around them.

And some of them are trying to tackle complicated issues that don’t come with instant success or gratification.

For the next few weeks, I –and the team here at Eazl– will be spotlighting people in our community (both physically and online) who we think are doing great things and deserve a shoutout. Some of these inspiring individuals are entrepreneurs and others are contributing their talent to companies.

I want to make sure we are encouraging the people around us to spread the love instead of supporting those who are already clearly supported in their work.

Be on the lookout for content that encourages you to be your own inspiration for the next few weeks and happy creating in 2017.

#GivingTuesday: You are Responsible for Your Community

giving tuesday eazl

At Eazl, we believe that it is each of our responsibility to contribute to our communities to make them better, thriving places to live. We believe that money is a tool for getting good things done and there is nothing more important to give to nonprofit organizations (beyond your time and skills) than your financial support.

That’s why we’re supporting Dreams for Kids of Chicago this #GivingTuesday.

Most nonprofits survive off of large donors and government subsidizing but that doesn’t mean the distribution of your own wealth isn’t helpful. You might not be able to give a lot at the moment, but it’s never too early to start having a relationship with organizations in your community and building up your donation amount over time.

I know that you’ll be successful and prosper if you care about building on your skills and making yourself a valuable member of society, so I have no doubt that you’ll be able to reach that list of big donors someday.

 

FAMILY + BIZ Month: Tools for a Holistic Approach to Work

family biz month

We’re celebrating FAMILY + BUSINESS month from November 21 to December 21 and it’s all about life-work balance and building prosperity for your family unit. Take advantage of these tool and resources that we gathered up for your motivation and end of year planning.

  1. The Confidence Code: Self-Esteem and Empathy w/ Palmer Jones
    The softest skills can be the hardest to build, but building them is a smart investment. Recently, the Harvard Business Review published a study which found only .05% of business leaders made it to the top while being strongly disliked by their peers. In this fun, new video course with actress Palmer Jones, you’re going to learn how to:
  • Communicate more effectively with your voice and body language
  • Fearlessly face the unknown
  • Use character development techniques to build your emotional intelligence

You can grab a $14 coupon for the course here.

2. New Research on Stress, Anxiety, DNA, and the Likelihood of Getting Sick
This research should show us all why we need to be more empathetic to others. A great lesson for both yourself in your career and to share with your family.

3. The Growth Mindset Meditation
The Growth Mindset has changed the way that successful businesspeople, educators, and social scientists approach challenges. Pioneered by Stanford professor Carol Dweck and her book “Mindset” her research-backed idea is that you can actually grow your brain’s ability to learn and solve problems.

This guided “meditation” integrates findings from multiple business leaders and educators on how to apply the growth mindset when approaching problems. We suggest you use this whenever you’re facing a frustrating issue, you’re feeling stressed at work, or you need to cultivate more power to approach challenges in your professional or personal life.

4. Jenise Harmon on the Power of Saying “No”
In this interview, Jenise Harmon describes how saying “no” helps boost confidence and open new doors. This interview appears in the Maximizing Your Personal Productivity section of Eazl’s Advanced Management Training course.

5. Charles Hugh Smith on Accrediting Yourself
Charles Hugh Smith is an economist, author, and blogger with a readership of over 20mm worldwide. In this interview excerpt, he explains how it is empowering to work on “accrediting yourself” as your career progresses.

This interview appears in Eazl’s Career Hacking course.

6. Paul Klipp on the Ultimate Productivity Recipe
After implementing the Getting Things Done, Pomodoro, and multiple other productivity techniques, Paul Klipp delivered a hybrid productivity and personal organization recipe that has become massively popular across the world.

His recipe has been upvoted over 3.5 thousand times on Quora and has led Paul to speaking engagements with Ted and other conferences around the world. When he’s not helping software developers and product teams optimize their productivity, he runs Kanbanery, a cloud-based personal organization app.

7. On the blog: Can You Really Make a Living Doing What You Love?
“Finding a way to make a living doing what you love is not all that complicated or difficult…and it’s certainly easier than spending multiple decades at a job, a company, or in an industry you don’t really like.”

READ THE BLOG POST HERE

8. On the blog: How We Made $100k in Our First Year of Business
“Entrepreneurship is certainly an emotional and exciting journey. It can be fun and the freedom is great, but it also takes a ton of work and dedication and there’s a lot of pressure when funds are limited. You might know know the feeling.

Davis and I have worked together on businesses before and none of them have worked until Eazl.”

READ THE BLOG POST HERE

Whether you are currently running a family business, starting a business, or trying to balance career and family, you can use these tools and resources to master work-life balance and creating prosperity for your own family unit.

Do you have any tricks of your own for balancing work and family? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!