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How a trusted consultant can help a business grow

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The right consultant for the right business is key to a company’s success

Starting a business is a daunting endeavor. Even if we know the nature of our business, running a business is a different matter. Even if you are the best at what you do, and you produce the best widget, it does not mean you’ll be the best at selling widgets.

Even in the entertainment industry, where I made a career for a time in my life, I was constantly reminded, even the most talented of visionaries don’t make it if they don’t master the business of entertainment. If we want to attempt to make a livelihood out of doing what we love, we need to know the rules of business, and that’s where often a consultant comes in. then of course, if you have proven your prowess in your business and can share want to impart mindshare to others so they can follow your successful model, then there is another matter of how to start a consulting business.

 

 

For those who are pursing the former and nto the latter of these two business goals, remember; while you have been busy refining your craft, business consultants have been studying up on how to make a business successful. Consultants come in all varieties, from those who apply their knowledge generally, to those who specialize in a niche area of business.

 

For instance, I once worked for a public relations firm that dealt specifically with home furnishings companies that dealt directly in specialty bedding, i.e., memory foam mattresses. Who would’ve thought that there was such a narrow-focused set of consultants in this small category of home furnishings?

 

First, there is the question of how you go about finding the right consultant for your business. This can be accomplished a myriad of ways. A great way to start is by looking at companies in your space that are successful at what they do. Then, either reach out to them directly — which can be awkward if you are a competitor — though in some businesses this could be a great networking exercise.

 

Ask the owner of the business whom they relied upon to give them sound advice when they started the business. If you are hesitant to ask for help in this way, you may be able to research the company in other ways, such as by looking on their website to see if they have a press area, where often the press contacts listed on these press releases may be helpful.

 

Often public relations firms work with venture capital firms and other investment partners to help businesses achieve their business goals. Therefore, PR firms often will have leads to consultants in your area of commerce.

 

Another way to find a consultant is to attend industry networking events and conferences. Though we all love to hate business conferences, still they remain a great source for connections on many levels. You may find somebody in the exhibit hall who is just waiting to give you advice, or run into someone at a sponsored breakfast, lunch or reception.  There’s always opportunities to meet and greet other people in your industry.

 

The advantage of some of these conferences is that many of the attendees are from other markets, so they will not feel you are a competitor, and they may be more willing to share their knowledge.

 

A consultant can do many things for a business. Of course, one obvious benefit is that a consultant relieves you of the task of having to learn another profession, such as marketing, PR and management, so that you can focus on your actual product or service. This will buy you not only time but peace of mind.

 

It is a known fact that people are more productive when they can focus on one thing, and if you are scattered and attempting to multitask, particularly on matters outside of your core area of business, it will prove to be a distraction that slows you down.

 

A business consultant does not have to be a life commitment, though you may choose it to be. Some business consultants will guide a company through its startup phase, and then they are available on her hourly or project basis, as needed. Others are like a business partner. You can retain them through a contract for a certain number of months or years, which gives both parties a sense of investment in the success of the business.

 

Once you have found a consultant who is a good fit, make sure to utilize that resource. Often entrepreneurs have a tendency to try to do it all themselves. Remember that you hired this person for their expertise, and don’t hesitate to use him or her for it. Even what may seem to be petty matters in the operation of your company may have a solution that you don’t have the experience to know, but your consultant does.

The ideal relationship is one where you trust your consultant and are not afraid to share your concerns. Think of them like a therapist, but instead of your psyche, they are treating your business. They need to know everything about your business. Withholding information only puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to getting appropriate advice.

 

The beauty of using an experienced consultant, is that they have seen it all before. The hope is that they have also solved it all before. If you have done your due diligence and spoken to references, who speak highly of your consultant, then you can feel confident in their advice.

 

One thing to avoid is making your consultant simply your sounding board, when you’ve already made a decision. If you are not prepared to hear something different or a new approach for doing something, then you are wasting your time and money with a consultant.

This is not to say that you should blindly do everything your consultant says. You and you alone will always be the most intimate with the vision of your business; so if your gut is directing you one way, and your consultant another, weigh all the information as objectively as possible, then take off your hat as the creator and look at the issue as a business person.

 

While sometimes making the best business decision may seem to restrain you creatively, always remember what I was taught in Hollywood, it is not show art, it’s show business.

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TechThought

Artificial Intelligence Just Might Save the World

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AI is not just a sci-fi movie plotline, it could be the future of healthcare, among other things

The words “artificial intelligence” conjure up fear in many people. We’ve all seen the science fiction movies, where the robots develop minds of their own, and then turn on their human creators. While even in this writer’s lifetime, we have seen the advent of many technologies that could never have even been dreamt of decades ago, still, this idea of a rogue robot acting on its own will is as far from reality as unicorns.

Visionaries like Blake Rubin have been clearing the bad name Hollywood has given artificial intelligence, and new fantasies about robots have evolved. These imaginings include machines that cannot just vacuum the floors or do the menial chores that humans dislike, but also crunch data in ways that the human mind and even present-day computers could not their hard drives around.

These computations are not just theoretical mathematic equations like those that scientists spend years trying to decipher — though those types of problems could easily be marked off the “to-do list” of AI machines, the analysis that AI promises could be world changing in innumerable ways.

For starters, AI holds the potential for curing disease. This is not one of those overstated, sensational assertions of hyperbole that pharmaceutical companies or research institutes make and then must temper with disclaimers that the findings are speculative or based on insufficient numbers of study subjects; this is logical projection based on the actual state of AI today.

In May 2018, the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program will embark on a health data collection effort involving more than 1 million participants in the United States who volunteer to input their health data, including genomics, health history, electronic medical records, and lifestyle information, into a massive database that will be available for researchers globally.

This data will comprise the largest health database in history. The studies and possibilities that this data mine represents is mind-boggling. Instead of researchers, doctors and other healthcare practitioners treating diseases based on generalities, eventually they could manage disease treatment based on an individual’s biographic makeup. The results of this effort promise nothing short of being astounding.

The idea of such enormous data sets leads one to wonder how possibly this much big data could be stored, accessed and made useful, and that is where machine learning comes into play. Vibrent Health, the creators of the platform upon which the All of Us study is built have utilized cutting-edge artificial intelligence that learns and sharpens its analytical abilities with each piece of data it ingests.

Just like with humans, but at a much faster rate and with many times more complex data sets than a human mind can handle, artificial intelligence learns about study participants, and each time they or another participants enters data, the app draws correlations, tests theories, streamlines less useful data and offers conclusions. Using parameters programmed into the app, it identifies the most valuable discoveries and imparts them on its human custodians.

This is only one example of how artificial intelligence is not just benign but benevolent. While many decry how technology has robbed society of its humanity, in this case, technology just may save it.

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EducationScienceSTEMTechThought

SciFest in DC brings STEM to life for future innovators of all ages

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Free expo of world’s leading STEM organizations inspires and educates youth, teaching through hands-on experience

 

The 5th USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo in Washington DC was an incredible event, packed with more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits, attracting more than 350,000 people over the weekend of April 7-8. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center was packed to the rafters with budding explorers, adventures, scientists, and other proud geeks – the rock stars of the next generation, jockeying for a front-row view of the demos, experiments, and exhibits featuring the world’s leading scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, high-tech corporations and STEM organizations.

It was a good thing and a bad thing that the event was free. No one can argue that access to STEM education is essential to attracting the best minds from all walks of life, regardless of economic ability; so in that respect, the fact that anyone and everyone could go to the Sci Fest was awesome. The downside of this is that it is hard to predict how many bodies will show up when there are no ticket sales; hence, the exhibit halls were crowded to capacity, which ultimately limited the ability of anyone and everyone to get access to the exhibits.

Despite the shoulder to shoulder mobs, we made our way through to experience in a number of the participatory exhibits. My son and his bestie were particularly engaged by the Razor USA demo of the latest Razor Hovertrax self-balancing hover board and Razor’s new Turbo Jetts, with a miniature powertrain and LED light-up wheels powered by an integral generator.

In Razor’s case, it was more of a feet-on demonstration, where the exhibitor allowed my son one foot on the Hovertrax to test out its self-balancing technology, eliciting a genuine, “Wow,” followed by, “I want one!” At least in the case of Razor, it is actually possible for my son to own and master such a machine, whereas getting to ride in the stealth helicopter on display by Lockheed Martin was a bit more pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

Other interactive exhibits included robots and drones that attendees could control and run through obstacle courses or execute tasks. There were many opportunities for kids to conduct experiments with electricity – with safe supervision – kinetic motion and other forces that produce energy, and to learn about chemical interactions and their implications in all matter of uses, from medicinal and nutritional to industrial and agricultural.

While the multiple floors and seemingly endless exhibit halls presented an overwhelmingly exhaustive array of exhibits, in a few hours we were able to partake in and observe enough of the attractions to inspire and stimulate the minds of two curious boys, who walked away from this festival excitedly chattering about how they would create and build their own inventions one day, and that, is exactly what this festival is all about.

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AutomobilesBusinessLifestyleThoughtTravel

The share economy teaches us a lesson we learned as toddlers

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Letting others use our stuff, sharing experiences and our space with strangers is creating new livelihood and a new of life for those who care to share

All aboard a Boatsetter yachting experience in Marina Del Rey, California, where boat owners host guests for a private cruise experience for an evening or overnight

Our parents told us it was good manners to share our toys when we were kids. Taking turns and letting others play with our treasured possessions kept things peaceful on playdates. As we got older though, most of us stopped this practice. We lived by, “What’s mine is mine and yours’s is yours,” that is, until recently.

With the dawn of the share economy about a decade ago, when people began to accept money to share rides and even their homes with others, society started to look differently at personal assets, regarding them as opportunities to enhance our lives, both monetarily and personally.

The truth is, there’s plenty to go around, and in an ideal world, if we just let others use our things when we aren’t using them, then no one would be without. Imagine the resources we could save by not buying stuff that we only need occasionally.

Consider the freedom of using things for which you do not have to assume risk and responsibility or need to store, maintain, register or license. It seems so logical, but until five years ago, there was no such thing as a share economy. Now, you can share just about anything, and just like when we were kids, everyone wins.

Uber was the first ride share service to take off. This innovative company built an app that allowed just about anyone with a street-legal car to connect with riders who would pay drivers for sharing their ride. The idea was to give transportation to people who were already going your way, and those passengers would compensate you, essentially sharing the cost of the gas and upkeep on your car. It was such as great idea, ride share companies like Lyft, Opoli and others soon got on board.

An Opoli driver takes a client out for a ride in style

Of course, it ended up that more cars, not fewer, ended up on the road, and Uber and the others became basically cheaper and less-regulated taxis. But the sharing economy was born, and a new mentality emerged, whereby society began sharing all sorts of things, and sharing opened up new realms of possibilities and experiences that continue to evolve into a new way of living for tens of millions of people.

Not only does sharing eliminate the need for ownership of expensive things that we only use occasionally, it provides unique opportunities between people of all backgrounds, and in some cases it can be an equalizer between the have and have nots, and it can open up new markets where none existed.

Airbnb allows people to sublet or share their homes, providing a new source of income for hosts and opening up affordable travel to people for whom the cost of hotels was prohibitive. In some cases, Airbnb might be the only accommodations in remote areas where there are no hotels, bringing visitors to previously off-the-grid destinations.

Airbnb allows anyone with extra space to rent it out to strangers, and visitors can find affordable accommodations in cities or places where no other lodging is available

Even travelers with ample budgets often opt for Airbnb accommodations, preferring the privacy of renting of an entire home, the experience of staying embedded in a cool neighborhood, or the companionship of residing with a host, who might share a cup of coffee in the morning or even take guests on a shopping outing, site-seeing tour, surfing adventure or other paid experience.

Soon riffs on home sharing evolved, like Boatsetter, a peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace which connects boatowners with guests who want to enjoy an adventure on the water. The owners can invent experiences in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Barcelona, where boatowners host guest on experiences such as deep sea fishing, whale watching or a Live Like a Star party boat ride on a yacht or even a sleepover on a boat with breakfast included.

Though not quite as glamourous as a yacht cruise, TravelCar, which has a fleet of hundreds of cars available in Los Angeles and San Francisco, offers users the opportunity for travelers to rent a car at a discounted rate from a private owner, usually while the owner is traveling. The host receives a portion of the rental fee and gets free airport parking and a car wash in exchange for lending out their vehicle, and if they host as part of TravelCar’s monthly program, TravelCar provides routine maintenance, such as oil changes, wiper fluid, and tire rotation.

Of course, you don’t have to own a home, boat or even a car to be part of the share economy.  Pavemint allows those with parking spaces to lease them out short- or long-term. In Los Angeles, where the company recently launched, already hosts with more than 4,000 parking spaces have signed up to loan out their driveways and unused office building parking lots. Besides bringing in a little spending money to the hosts, utilizing empty parking spots and offering guaranteed parking to visitors has helped boost business in city neighborhoods, like Hollywood, where safe parking – or any parking — is scarce.

Pavemint allows those with a parking spot to let others use it for the hour, day, week or longer

The success of Uber, Airbnb and spinoffs has spawned many other types of share services, particularly in large cities, where companies vie to be the Uber of their lot, like Bird, a Southern California company that rents stand-up electric scooters through a mobile phone app, allowing riders to find and activate scooters that are at depots throughout Santa Monica, Venice and other neighborhoods in Los Angeles and San Diego, for a cost of $1 per ride and 15 cents per minute.

Then there’s LimeBike, a smart bike sharing company with more than 35 regional locations in cities and college campuses across the US including  Seattle, Washington D.C., Dallas, and Miami. Even Uber, through its subsidiary Jump Bike, has gotten into the two-wheeler share space, offering hosts the opportunity to lease out their bikes in San Francisco, with a fleet of 250 bikes and growing, and plans to soon to expand into other cities.

Bike rentals by the hour or day allow tourists to cruise like locals

With all sharing propositions, there are pros and cons, for both hosts and users. While hosts and their properties are supposed to meet certain standards, sometimes they all short. Likewise, guests and leases are bound to rules of conduct and care that they do not always follow. There are risks to personal property and personal safety in some cases, that both parties accept, which is stated in the fine print of the terms of service to which they agree before participating in the service.

Not only are there risks of letting others use our things, but there are risks to sharing our identity and financial information when we participate in the share economy. According to cybersecurity expert, David Thomas, CEO of Evident ID, “While the sharing economy makes services and goods more accessible than ever, it also asks users to interact with people they do not know and may not trust. That’s why it is important to understand the level of verification and security a sharing economy provider has in place for its community.”

While there are isolated horror stories, with the extreme of Uber driver murders and reports of Airbnb thefts and vandalism, for the most part, sharing works. The benefit of sharing is not just new sources of passive revenue for property owners and wages for many people in need of flexible hours – the old retort when someone in LA claims to be an actor, “Really? What restaurant?” is now, “Really? Uber or Lyft?” – it is also a cleaner environment, a healthier lifestyle, accessibility of affordable transportation and accommodations for travelers, and the advent of new ways for us to interact with each other as a society.

When our parents encouraged us to share as kids, our playdates were more enjoyable and peaceful, and everyone was happier. It has taken us generations as a society to learn that truth that we accepted as young children. Sharing is caring. When we share, we all benefit, in untold and immeasurable ways. As we continue to invent new ways to share, we expand our economy and our minds, and we might not just make some extra money but make a new bestie.

 

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BusinessLifestyleMoneyThought

Choosing a winning lawyer

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The best legal advise you can get, is to get a good lawyer

There’s a joke in the legal profession that the person who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client. Indeed, the legal field is, to say the least, very complicated to navigate on one’s own. Lawyers have pretty much solidified their place in our lives, despite Shakespeare once prophesying that in order to achieve societal harmony, first we must, “Kill all the lawyers.” Once we have accepted this reality, of the necessity of having doctors of jurisprudence argue our disputes, there is the matter of finding a good lawyer to fight your fight.

Referrals 

For starters, heed this wisdom from experienced litigants, who concur that how you choose your lawyer is often a reliable predictor of your case’s success. The best referral is from a personal or professional acquaintance who has had a winning experience with a lawyer. In order to get a referral, it may be embarrassing to confide in others that you need legal help, but chances are they have been there themselves, and if you’re lucky, they may have someone good to recommend.

Ratings

If no one you know can refer you to an attorney, utilize some of the online sites to locate and check ratings on lawyers, similar to Yelp – which can be a source in itself, though a low-credibility one due to their pay-to-play business model. One of the more popular rating sites is Avvo. While all review sites contain fraudulent reviews, generally they still can provide some insight if read with a discriminating eye. Usually you can spot a fake review by either its effusively enthusiastic narrative with no critical comments, or its overly nasty and negative invective that might have been written by a sore-loser litigant who was actually beaten by the lawyer they are reviewing; so check out the middle-of-the road reviews as well as the top and bottom reviews to get the fairest assessment of the lawyer.

Trust

When it comes to the in-person or phone interview part of the hiring process, it’s important that you have a positive rapport with your would-be attorney. Many attorney’s will offer a free consultation, so take advantage of this meeting to feel out the attorney’s manner and tone.

Trust will be a crucial part of your relationship with your attorney, so you must feel that this is a person you can trust on both a personal and professional level. If an attorney suggests ethically or legally questionable strategies, such as hiding money in a bankruptcy proceeding, then run don’t walk away from that attorney. If a lawyer has a shady modus operandi, you can bet he or she will be shady in business practices, including in client-attorney dealings.

Communication 

One of the biggest complaints clients express regarding attorneys is that attorneys do not return calls in a timely manner and are unresponsive to their emails; so ask an attorney candidate what his or her response time will be when you call or email, i.e. , calls are returned within 24 hours. Make sure your attorney has the bandwidth to give your case proper attention. If it was hard to get an appointment because their office was too busy, chances are they will be too busy to return calls and to give due attention to your matter.

Experience matters

Just as you would with a doctor how many times he or she has performed a procedure you must undergo, ask your attorney what his or her experience is in the pertinent area of law and how many cases they have handled like yours. You would not want a doctor to be doing his first surgery on you, just as you do not want to be an attorney’s first case in a particular area of law.

Make sure they have ample experience and a favorable win record in the proper field. While a family law attorney may have an excellent record in custody matters, they may never have tried a personal injury case, defended an DUI, or filed a bankruptcy, so search for a specialist, such as personal injury attorney tampa, for the best results.

Just because you have a trusted friend or acquaintance who is a lawyer, this does not mean he or she can handle your case.  Even if a lawyer friend offers you services pro bono, if that lawyer is a wrong fit, it is not worth any savings you might realize, if you lose your case because they did not give qualified advice.

Fees 

Often the deciding factor in hiring an attorney is price. Fees will vary widely depending on the experience of the attorney. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 an hour to $650 an hour, depending on the expertise your case requires. Make sure in your retainer agreement with the attorney that there is an understanding of how they bill, such as in 10- or 20-minute increments. Many attorneys will require an upfront retainer that can be a couple thousand dollars or $20,000, depending on your type of case. If you are not able to reach a settlement, and as trial approaches, an attorney may require a retainer of over $100,000 if they expect your trial to last for several days or longer. Attorneys know that after trial is over, it is very difficult to collect fees – especially if they do not win the case – so that is why they collect payment upfront.

It is hardly ever the case that the hiring a lawyer is not an expensive endeavor. If worse comes to worse, and you have to use legal intervention to settle a dispute, the least you can do is choose your attorney wisely so that you have the best chances at a favorable outcome.

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Education

How to Teach Children Financial Literacy

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Fiscal responsibility is not  taught in schools but essential for children to learn

Nearly one quarter of US states receive a failing grade when it comes to teaching kids personal finance in schools. Twelve states don’t attempt to teach it at all. This could be one of the reasons that only 35% of credit card users don’t carry a balance and pay off their bill every month, and that only 1 in 3 Americans is saving for retirement. We don’t expect kids to learn how to read, write or drive without instruction, but another essential life skill, money management is ignored for the most part.

As children come of age to receive allowance or earn money, parents should take the initiative to supplement their kids lacking personal finance education at school with lessons at home. Use these tips to determine how and where to start.

  1. Check Out Your Schools – Visit your school to see what (if anything) is being taught about personal finance or if personal finance is required to graduate high school. Once you have this information, you can determine your next moves to ensure your kids know how to manage money when the time comes. With a majority of U.S. high school students failing to learn about money, there’s a good chance your children won’t either.

 

  1. Leave Books To The Adults – There are thousands of books available on finance and managing money, but don’t waste your cash buying these for your kids. Kids learn best by doing, so sitting down with a book that explains percentage rates, credit, loans or budgeting won’t leave a long lasting impression. They would learn more from watching movies like “Moneyball” or “The Big Short”.

 

  1. Use Teachable Moments – Each we are faced with numerous financial decisions that you could use as a “teachable moment” for your children. The next time you are grocery shopping, show your child how to compare prices and brands. If you’re paying bills, let your child sit with you and see how you manage money.

 

  1. Look Differently at Chores & Allowance – While a majority of parents agree that kids should be doing chores and receiving an allowance, some parents feel money shouldn’t be the reason kids help around the house. It’s those parents who should look at chores and allowance differently. Think of it as a child’s first job and a parents first chance to teach them everything they need to know (work ethic, direct deposit, budgeting, opening bank account, taxes, etc) before they head off to get a real job someday.

 

  1. Learn As Family – Many parents don’t like to talk to their children about money because they believe they aren’t knowledgable enough. If you are one of these parents, jump in and learn with your children. You’re never too old to learn, erase bad habits or set good examples. Plus doing it with your children could be fun!

 

  1. Practice What You Preach – If you already practice good personal finance habits, congratulations! If not, this is a great time to start. In either case, practice what you preach to your children since the greatest influence on your child is you.

 

  1. Understand, No One Is Perfect! – Let’s face it, if everyone was great at managing money there would be little National Debt, no bankruptcy and everyone would have a savings account. So except these facts and do something to get better at it. I believe we are so afraid of what our children will think about our bad financial status that we forget how the current situation could be a great lesson. Don’t let your pride get in the way of teaching your children how NOT to make the same mistakes.

 

  1. Don’t Quit! – This might be the hardest thing of all. Being good at money management is a never-ending process. However your kids are going to be faced with hundreds of thousands of financial decisions in their lifetime, so you never get to the point where you can stop teaching, supporting or guiding. Quitting now only puts them on a path to be living back with you when they are older, full of student loans and moving from job to job.

 

Gregg Murset is CEO of BusyKid is the first online chore chart where children can earn, save, share, spend and invest real money wisely. Formerly known as My Job Chart, BusyKid is easy to use, revolutionary and allows kids to receive a real allowance from their parents each Friday. No more points or trying to convert imaginary money.

 

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BusinessThought

Three Traits all Successful Entrepreneurs Should Have

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How thought leaders live and work leads to success

 

As an entrepreneur myself and as a consultant to entrepreneurs, I have seen common characteristics in those who have excelled and succeeded in their industry space. No matter if their business is food or fossil fuel, successful founders and leaders all have these same three characteristics that help them to accomplish their goals.

Diversified interests – diversification is a term often heard in the financial world, when it comes to investing in the stock market. It is also a valuable strategy in investing in yourself. The most successful entrepreneurs are not all work and no play, and they are not single-minded. Not just in work, but in their personal lives, these individuals pursue varied interests that expose them to many different people, philosophies, and challenges. Hobbies often highlight analogies that can teach you skill sets and habits that you can apply on the job. For instance, an executive who takes up mountain biking will learn how to look ahead to see obstacles and avoid them and to know the right time to follow or pass those in front of them.

Mind and body wellness – Mindfulness has become the catchword of the psychology community, meaning an awareness of what you are doing and its impact on yourself and those around you; but it is also a philosophy that works in achieving professional objectives. Likewise, a fit and healthy body can enable an entrepreneur to have the stamina needed for the rigors of success, which can be equally physically taxing as mentally demanding. A mindful entrepreneur feels good about their work, without the drain of guilt and negativity; and giving back to others offers a fulfillment that bolsters mental energy. Integrity and honesty is the best policy not just in life but in business, because a clean conscience gives you more mental energy for creativity and free-flowing thought.

While sitting in front of a computer may seem to not take much energy, it can zap a body of valuable strength.  Ergonomists and the medical research community have declared, “Sitting is the new smoking,” with an excessive sedentary lifestyle leading to a host of diseases, from musculoskeletal problems to diabetes and heart disease. Successful entrepreneurs keep physical active and ensure themselves a healthy diet, and they get plenty of exercise and sleep to keep their physical body — the vessel of their creativity and productivity — in top shape.

Communication skills – language and self-expression comprise the building blocks of every entrepreneurial interaction. To express an idea, motivate employees, attract investors, network with other business leaders, or simply organize one’s day, communication skills are required, and the finer and more sophisticated the skills, the more precise and effective the results. The most respected and successful entrepreneurs are practiced communicators, in written and spoken word, and they invest the time to learn the best ways to reach their stakeholders and utilize the many varied channels of communication – including social media — at their disposal.

A polished LinkenIn profile for instance is not just an essential tool for entrepreneurs to offer a quick glimpse of their background and achievements to interested parties but also an illustration of their ability to communicate effectively in the digital world.  A well-managed online presence will pay off in many ways, such as when a potential client or investor conducts  online research as part of their due diligence before doing business with an individual or company.  For instance, when searching for the female entrepreneur trainer Grace Lever one would come upon a Grace Lever review via her online videos and professional profile, offering a curated first impression of the entrepreneur her training program, The Doing Academy.

While success is never guaranteed based on a single idea or company concept, the most successful entrepreneurs possesses the characteristics of diversified interests, a dedication to mind and body wellness, and expertise in communication which give them an edge on the competition and help them to stay strong, optimistic and primed until they in fact achieve the level success they seek.

 

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HealthLifestyleThought

Working out with your mate leads to better body and mind connection

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From Soul Mate to #SWOLEMATE: Benefits of Working out with your Sweetheart

by Denise Locsin

Looking for a way to bond with your sweetheart? Turn your soul mate into your Swolemate! Studies show that couples that workout together enjoy a deeper connection, are more physically attracted to each other, and have improved confidence. The benefits of regular exercise goes well beyond weight loss and a fit body. The greater benefit is a boost in your love life as you experience a richer, more emotional bond with your honey.

I learned this first-hand the year I was married to (my now swolemate) Danny Locsin. Danny and I we weren’t always swolemates. Our exercise routines differed greatly both in style of workout and intensity…but we noticed that when we worked out at the same time and in the same vicinity, our relationship was better. On the flip side, when life got too busy and we didn’t make time for even an evening walk together, our relationship felt fragmented and we were more irritable with each other.

To understand these effects, let’s think physiology. Our bodies have energy, and when you exercise, that energy escalates. If you and your swolemate are both exercising, the high vibrational energy from both of you meet in the middle and naturally become in sync. Your brainwaves, heartbeat and energy become cohesive over time, as long as you both feel safe.

One of the most exciting benefits of exercising with your sweetheart is that they begin to see you with a new lens of attractiveness. When you exercise, the physiological effects mimic the same effects of romantic attraction: sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and a flood of feel good hormones to the brain.

Here is the secret: the chemical benefits of exercise lasts well beyond the workout. The magic of exercise doesn’t happen during the workout it happens after and has an accumulated effect over time.

How do you get that benefit? Start simple and do something enjoyable like evening walks, 20 minutes together in your home gym, take a dance class, or do a home fitness video together. Most importantly remember to accept each other’s fitness level and ability. Each person must feel safe without judgment or criticism. Your goal is showing up and doing your best. Focus on the benefits of connection and energy and you just may see a wonderful benefit of weight loss and a fit body.

Today, Danny and I have been swolemates for 28 years and counting. We are both fitness trainers and we teach couples as well as families how to enjoy a richer bond with each other through exercise.

ABOUT DANNY & DENISE LOCSIN:
Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.
After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.
For More Information Visit: http://yokebar.com

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Eat & DrinkLifestyleThought

Sex instead of cardio, and other confessions of LA People

honest survey

Honest Tea puts Angelenos to the test, and what they revealed is (not) so surprising

Have you ever wondered just how honest people in Los Angeles are? What about men vs women in L.A.?

Well, Honest Tea conducted its annual social experiment in LA this week, asking people to share a refreshingly honest truth in exchange for an ice-cold iced tea at a local pop-up. In year’s past, people were asked to pay with cash, on the honor system. This year there was a twist, rather than paying with cash, a refreshingly honest truth served as currency. And people revealed some interesting insights about Angelenos.

Some of the LA confessions including refreshingly honest truths like “I spend extra time in the bathroom so that I can watch all the snapchat stories I’ve missed.” A therapist admitted that he had more issues than his patients. A woman shared that she sabotaged her boyfriend’s diet. Overall, most people consider themselves addicted to Instagram, they work out just so they can eat junk, and prefer their pets over people.

Here are some other topline stats around who paid with honesty and who did not, the difference between men and women, and the types of truths people revealed.

  • When put to the test, 72% of Los Angelenos were honest
  • 70% of men were honest vs 75% of women were honest
  • Los Angelenos are most honest when it comes to their health, followed by relationships and social media.
      • Health – 41%
        • “I have had a gym pass since November and I’ve only gone 10 times”
        • “I eat chips after the gym 90% of the time”
        • “I use sex as my cardio. Thus, I never do cardio”
        • “I make sure I look good when working out in case I meet the love of my life”
        • “I go to the gym in the morning so I don’t feel guilty drinking at night”
      • Social – 25%
        • “I love to Insta-stalk”
        • “I love picking fights with random strangers on Facebook”
        • “I have social media anxiety”
      • Relationships – 32%
        • “I talk to my dog more than my boyfriend”
        • “Me and my partner are close enough to admit when it’s too hot to spoon”
        • “I take long showers to have free time from the kids”
        • “When my mother said I would be just like her, I thought she was lying”
        • “Sometimes I feel like I will end up a cat lady”

Honest Tea conducts this experiment every year with the intention of encouraging a little more light-hearted honesty in our everyday lives. The company plans to release the Most Honest Cities in the U.S. in early August, after popping up in 15 major cities across the country.

 

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Lifestyle

Watch That (Body) Language: The Importance of Nonverbal Cues

body language

By Brandi Britton, OfficeTeam 

“I speak two languages, Body and English.” — Mae West

Mae West had it spot on. This iconic actress was the queen of sharp one-liners as well as smirks and sideways glances. In fact, body language sometimes speaks louder than words, which is why administrative professionals need to master the nonverbal cues they’re transmitting — both consciously and subconsciously. Equally important is knowing how to read the subtle signals of the people you encounter daily.

Here are some tips for projecting and interpreting various forms of body language.

It’s not just what you say…

The successful administrative worker is a consummate pro. Even when you think the other person is wrong, such as a verbally abusive customer, you should be the adult in the room and respond calmly and professionally. What’s more, when you take the high road, many times your tone causes others to reconsider their words.

As a job seeker, an energetic tone of voice is highly effective for making a positive first impression. Whether on the phone or during in-person interviews, your words and vocal inflections should work together to let hiring managers know you’re enthusiastic about their company and tackling whatever tasks come your way. 

Put on a good face

To rid your face of negative expressions during a job interview, practice having a friend lob you questions and videotaping the session. Does your smile reach your eyes, or is it isolated around your mouth? Are you fidgety and nervous or calm and confident? Is your eye contact confident or self-conscious? The more you practice this scenario, the more you’ll be able to control your facial expressions during the actual event.

At the same time, pay attention to other people’s faces to pick up on important nonverbal cues. Let’s say you’re planning an office event and suggest to your boss that it be held at a nonconventional venue. If they say “okay” but look down or away, it could mean they aren’t totally on board with the idea. This is a sign you should ask a follow-up question or make a different recommendation.

Shakedown

Whether greeting a new acquaintance or a longtime client, one of the most important nonverbal communications is the initial handshake. You want to strike a happy medium between the death grip and limp fish.

Take a stand

Convey a sense of presence and professionalism with your stance. This means no slouching or other ways of making yourself small. Stand or sit up straight, square your shoulders and lift your head. This body language communicates that you consider yourself an equal member of the team.

Dress the part

As part of your interview preparation, research what you should wear. Peruse the organization’s website and check out their social media. Is the prospective employer’s dress code jeans-and-hoodie casual or suit-and-tie formal? If you know former or current employees, ask them for advice.

A good rule of thumb for interviews is to dress one notch above a company’s normal dress code. So, if the tech startup you’d like to work for has a casual work environment, opt for business casual.

Be good with your hands

When talking to upper management or listening during a meeting, what are your hands and arms doing? Biting nails, twirling hair, tapping fingers, cracking knuckles, touching your face, running the back of your hand across your nose — all these gestures are distracting and detract from your professionalism.

Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalf.com/officeteam. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.

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