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Martin Luther King Jr Day - A Day of Service

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off."

It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
- from http://mlkday.gov/index.php


Recently Discovered 1964 MLK Speech on Civil Rights, Segregation & Apartheid South Africa
http://www.democracynow.org/2015/1/19/exclusive_newly_discovered_1964_mlk_speech


MLK biography on Nobel Prize.org
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html

The King Center
http://www.thekingcenter.org/

MLK Research and Education Institute
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/

The "I Have a Dream" speech audio and video
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/19/us/king-speeches-never-heard/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

The "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence" Speech
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

"The Drum Major Instinct" Speech
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_drum_major_instinct/

MLK Day on Twitter
https://twitter.com/mlkday

MLK Now on Twitter
https://twitter.com/UnitedBlackout


Set New Writing Goals for the New Year


by Author Kelli A. Wilkins
www.KelliWilkins.com


Hi everyone,

It’s the start of another year, and everyone is talking about making changes and setting goals for themselves. And why not? We have brand-new calendars hanging on our walls that are filled with unexplored days yet to come.

But do you find yourself gazing at your new calendar and wondering, “How is it 2019? Where did last year go? I had all those plans…”

If so, don’t stress out. Not everyone accomplishes every goal they set for themselves. Take some time to look back at what you achieved last year and start thinking about this year. Evaluating your writing goals and setting reasonable action steps now will help you get on target for 2019.

Perhaps you took time off from writing and want to get back in the swing of things. Maybe your writing muse went on vacation to Hawaii and hasn’t come back yet. That’s okay. It’s fine to take a break from writing for a while—but not too long. (If you rest too long, you’ll rust!) Writing exercises, journaling, and freewriting story ideas are great ways to revive your motivation.

Keep in mind that everyone’s writing career and writing goals are different. Think about what you want for you. Do you want to finish the novel you started last year (or haven’t started yet)? Send out a dozen short stories? Enter a contest?

If you write magazine articles, are there any major publications you’re targeting? Start brainstorming ideas now, make a list of places to send queries, and check out potential markets for their latest submission guidelines. (It’s also time to be thinking 3 to 6 months ahead and plan those spring and summer articles.)

Write fiction? Have you found any new markets? Signed up for online market newsletters? If you’re published in one genre (say, romance or horror), are you going to expand your horizons and write a different type of story this year?

Is the writing part going fine, but you need to develop (or enhance) your online profile and/or marketing? Explore writing-related websites and blogs, Yahoo Groups, social media groups, and advertising opportunities for your work. Are your blog, website, and author page(s) up-to-date? Should they get a refresh (or a major overhaul) for the new year?

Make a list of all you want to accomplish in the next few weeks and months. Having a list of projects and priorities will help keep your writing objectives on track. For example, if you want to explore new markets for your short story, put “find new markets” on your list.

If you’re determined to write a new book, make a timeline for research, character development, plotting, etc. Give yourself a deadline for when you want to start writing and stick to it. Decide how many pages or chapters you want to finish each day/week/month. Little by little, your book will take shape, and you’ll be amazed at your progress.

No matter what your writing goals are, a little pre-planning will help you focus and allow you to flow from one writing project to another. Preparation also keeps you motivated and fends off writer’s block, because you always have “the next thing” to work on.

When you write down your goals, start your sentences with a positive statement, such as: “I will finish the rough draft of my novel by June 1” or “I will submit six articles to magazines.” After you’ve made the list, note what you need to do to get started. This could include setting aside specific times to write each day, getting writer’s guidelines, or sending out query letters. Then, pick one project (the most time-sensitive one, or your personal favorite), and get to work. Spend time targeting your goals now, and you’ll be on your way to success!

But keep a balance. Don’t let yourself become so goal oriented that you burn yourself out, stress yourself half to death, and let the writing life take the place of your real life. (Believe me, I’ve been there and I’ve learned.)

Family, friends, pets, neighbors, and having fun are all important parts of being alive. Make time for your writing, but also make time for yourself and those you love. (Yes, it’s perfectly okay to leave the husband parked in front of a movie and go write for two hours. But make sure when you turn the computer off, you focus on the present moment.)

Every new day is bursting with hope, possibilities, and opportunities to make this year really great. Set some goals for yourself. Write as much as you need to (or want to), and then sit in the yard and watch the world go by for an hour. You’re worth it!

If you’re interested in learning more about the writing process and want expert tips and writing advice, why not check out my online writing course? Fiction Writing for Beginners is designed for anyone who is interested in writing and needs practical advice on how to get started, PLUS motivation and encouragement to keep writing.

Thirteen easy-to-follow classes cover the writing process from start to finish. You’ll learn where writers get ideas, how to create characters, get expert tips on writing your story, and find out how to submit it for publication. Everything you need to know to start writing is wrapped up in this comprehensive and fun course.

Each class is self-contained and self-directed. This way, you can learn about a specific topic at your own pace, and not worry about completing the class by a certain deadline. Short writing exercises at the end of each class highlight the subject matter and get you writing.

If you’ve always wanted to write, Fiction Writing for Beginners gives you all the tools you need. Visit the course page and enroll here: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

Enroll today and start writing tomorrow!

Happy Reading and Writing!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
In January 2019 Kelli released the second half of her new flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

She also authored her first online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners, through Teachable. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Kelli’s historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI

Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.
Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/
FREE READS: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelliwilkins2/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelli-a-wilkins

Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/
Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins
iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Teachable Online Writing Course: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

Why Is In-Store Shopping More Popular Than Online Shopping?

Some people just love shopping. Some hate it like anything. But whether you like it or not, none of us can live without it. Food, home supplies, and clothes are things all of us need.

At least nowadays we have more shopping options. You can walk into your favorite store and take your time picking things you need. Or you can order a month’s home supplies with just a few clicks while watching the favorite TV show.

No matter how convenient online shopping is, it is still far behind in-store shopping.

This is clearly visible in the infographic below created by RedBrain. According to it, all big brands earn more revenue through their retail than online stores.

For instance, in 2017, Walmart’s in-store revenue was $461.9 billion while online revenue amounted to just $15.316 billion.

There are many reasons why in-store shopping is still more popular. The three most important are explained below.


We Can Use All Our Senses to Experience Products


There’s a lot more to shopping than just deciding your preferences, comparing specifications of different products, and hunting for the best deal. Before consumers buy something, they want to make sure in all possible ways that the product is perfect for them.

We want to know how comfortable this mattress is, how the fabric of that new shirt feels, how this perfume smells, or how well that jewelry looks on us.

Such information can’t be obtained online.


We Can Buy Urgently


If you suddenly find that the shirt you were planning to wear for tomorrow’s interview doesn’t fit you anymore, only in-store shopping can save the day for you.

When you need to buy something at the drop of a hat, online shopping is just not an option.


We Can Get Much Needed Advice


If you need an informed second opinion about a product or want to understand how a technical product fits your need, talking to a store employee in person can help you acquire the necessary information and make an informed purchasing decision.


Have a look at the following infographic to see how all of this holds true from major brands. Although ecommerce stores are becoming increasingly popular, people still prefer high streets and malls.

infographic



Infographic from RedBrain 

5 Practical Ways to Increase User Engagement on a Website

working people in an office
by Yazi

Building a successful website requires more than delivering high-quality content that is relevant to your visitors.

Knowing how to engage users on your website and to keep them coming back for more is essential for long-term success in an ever-changing landscape in the technology industry.

Once you understanding how to increase website engagement, move forward with your content and marketing strategies to maximize your online reach and the exposure your site receives.

1. Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Design


In the past, users often browsed the web using traditional desktop computers with standard web browsers. With the advent of smartphone technology, more users are browsing online with their mobile phones than ever.

Ensure your website is utilizing a responsive and mobile-friendly design before you begin promoting and marketing it to potential visitors and prospective customers.

Responsive design that is mobile-friendly ensures that visitors using any device whether it is a personal computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone are capable of browsing your website and viewing it properly.

2. Integrate Social Media Plugins


Social media has made it easier than ever for brands and followers to communicate and keep in touch. Implement social media plugins into your website, allowing users to easily share and redistribute content they enjoy with friends and family members.

Social media plugins work well to encourage engagement as they often do not require users to log in or share personal information in order to share content within seconds.

Implement social media plugins with your website's blog, incentivizing your visitors to share their favorite content on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

3. Create Original, Unique, and Engaging Content


When users visit your website and find content that has been written and shared thousands of times already, they are less likely to return or spread the message of your site and what it represents.

Crafting original, unique, and engaging content is key to building a following and momentum online. Research keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your website while brainstorming new ideas.

Publish in-depth write-ups on content you are passionate about that is difficult to find elsewhere online. The more your website's content stands out, the easier it is to attract new visitors who have a genuine interest in learning more about what you have to say.

4. Choose The Right Hosting To Cope With Surges


The ultimate UX faux pas is for your site to crash due to a sudden surge in traffic. One of the biggest ways to increase user engagement on the website and reduce dropouts is to choose a web host that is capable of handling your site's traffic and any traffic surges you mabe experience.

When a website takes more than a few seconds to load, users are likely to seek information elsewhere. In a world where information and results are available on a whim immediately, having a website that loads fast at all times is a must.

Websites that lag while loading have a much higher bounce rate compared to sites that load instantaneously. Choose a web host that has the ability to handle traffic surges, large websites, and even sites using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

If you don’t know how to choose the best and most suitable web host for your situation, do some research or talk to the service provider to find out what will be the most cost-effective choice. If you’re launching two or more sites, VPS hosting can be a suitable option as you need additional resources to handle multiple sites. For some others, cloud hosting might be more appropriate.

5. Implement Interactive Tools for Your Users to Enjoy


Increase the engagement on your website by sharing interactive tools and solutions for your users. Want to learn more about how your visitors feel about content or products you promote?

Use an interactive poll that shows immediate results. Live-streaming each week is another way to keep loyal followers interested in what you say and share. Create a sense of community with online forums and message boards that encourage engagement and registration.

Offer a weekly or monthly newsletter that provides users with exclusive discounts and promotions that are unavailable anywhere else online.

Conclusion


Having a clear understanding of how to properly increase website engagement is a way to boost your site's online organic visibility and your brand's overall reputation. With the right tools, create an online presence that is fast-loading, relevant, and offers content that leaves your visitors wanting for more.

About the Author: Yazi is an inspired writer who enjoys writing about personal growth, self-help tips, and women's lifestyle.


Costly Ecommerce Store Mistakes

If you have been running an ecommerce store for a while now, you would already know how certain mistakes can cost you big.

Undoubtedly, selling products online is not an easy task. From uploading wrong product images to the poor check-out interface, a single mistake can make you lose your loyal customers.

Thanks to the people over at subscriptionly.net this could be a thing of the past. Check out their infographic below to stay up to date with the current trends in the ecommerce world.

Meanwhile, let’s have a look at a few mistakes that you should avoid making.

Wrong Product Descriptions


It goes without saying that the product descriptions play an important role. Your customers cannot see and touch the product in person, so the only way they get to know more about it is with the help of product description.

Thus, if a cotton top is being labeled as rayon, or a 6-size footwear is being sized as 8, you’re surely going to lose customers by providing them a poor experience.

Including Products That Are Out Of Stock


So you are running an ongoing promotional campaign for discounted products. The products look great and are available at half the price.

But wait. Whenever someone clicks on the product, it says ‘out of stock.’ This tarnishes your brand image, and in some cases, customers do not return to your store as this kills their time.

Thus, it is highly recommended to keep your inventory in check and exclude the products which are out of stock. Further, make sure that your advertising campaigns are in line with your actual inventory.

Popups Are Irritating


After the customers land on your website, if they have to go through several survey forms to reach the product page, then chances are high that they won’t visit you again.

It is highly recommended to provide the best shopping experience to your customers and do not irritate them with something they are not looking for.

Complex Ordering Process


Last but not the least, make sure that the entire process of ordering the products is simple and easy. It is highly recommended to use the minimum text fields to display all the important information regarding the order.

Further, try to display all the information on a single page so that your customers don’t have to jump multiple pages to edit or modify their orders.

These were a few common mistakes that you need to stop making. Apparently, the ecommerce industry has evolved a lot over the last few years and there is no room for making a single error.

To learn about more tips and tricks for the ecommerce industry, check out the infographic below!

infographic

Infographic from subscriptionly.net

Local SEO Tips for Small Business

desktop
Image Source: Unsplash
by Maia Fletcher

For the uninitiated, any acronym is intimidating, and SEO is no exception. Fortunately for all small business owners, however, Search Engine Optimisation is a much easier beast to master than it may seem - and in this internet-driven day and age, your marketing strategy simply has to rise to that mastery. Eager to know how to improve website traffic and increase the amount of web results for your business? Read on: we’ve put together a list of simple-yet-effective online marketing tips to get you on top of everything SEO-related in no time.

1. Spend time building your website


It can be all too easy to overlook the importance of website construction if – as is the case with many small business owners – your time and energy is already stretched to the max. Believe us when we say this, though: your website is your main means of publicity in the Google era, so you’ll want to ensure that it’s well-designed, optimised for mobile use, and easy to find through a simple web search. We recommend going through a plugin like Wordpress – not only it the extension designed for beginners, it’ll speed up loading times for users. Developing a strong strategy for your website management will yield serious rewards in the long-term, so get started now!

2. Tap into the Google My Business scheme

Google My Business is behind those all-important results that pop up on the right hand of the screen when a search is conducted for local businesses. Registering is totally free and easy, and the significant upshot is that your business name, address, phone number, hours and other relevant business information will appear on the first page of results even before the searcher clicks on your website. Google My Business is a key component in making your company stand out for the local crowd.

3. Create a blog to run alongside your homepage website

These days, you’re mistaken if you don’t take advantage of all the possible media platforms on offer. In fact, launching your own unique business blog to advertise your services in an appealing manner could be the difference between a customer choosing your company over another. But whatever you do, keep consistent – no one will want to return to a blog that either hasn’t been updated in years or is simply missing the mark for relevance. If you need some help in the salience arena, consider getting some advice from a professional agency: though you might be cautious about shelling out for a few words of insider knowledge, the experts may just offer the specially-catered ideas that will help get your business off the ground.

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Image Source: Unsplash


4. Google Analytics is your friend

Another Google-specific tip: set up Google Analytics. You’ll need a Gmail account first, but from there you should be able to quickly and easily set up Analytics. You’ll subsequently be able to view (among many other stats) the number of hits your website’s getting, and whether the site visitor in new or returning. A cost-effective marketing strategy that permits you an essential omniscience, exploiting Google Analytics to your advantage will let you in on the adjustments you need to make to perfect your business’ SEO.

5. Be patient

Patience occupies an integral role where local SEO tips for small businesses are concerned. Most people just starting out with SEO are likely to feel frustrated with how long it takes for keyword rankings and traffic levels to improve, however even the most established website was unknown to begin with. This was the position of New Zealand’s SEA Containers, who entered an already competitive marketplace against well-established competitors but managed rapid growth through the successful implantation of local SEO optimisation. Popularising your site with in-store customers or through email is a good way to build up initial traffic, and your success is guaranteed to grow (however slowly!) from there.


About the Author: Gisborne-based freelance writer Maia Fletcher writes content on a vast array of topics. She is especially fond of local travel and business news. When not busy at her laptop, you’ll find her watching history documentaries or enjoying huge sashimi plates of scallops, ahi tuna and salmon! If you would like to connect with her, follow her on WordPress.

How She Does It: Patricia Mota, President & CEO of The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement


Patricia Mota of HACE
Patricia Mota, President & CEO, of,The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE).


Patricia is a passionate, innovative trailblazer, dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Latinos across various stages in their education and career. 

With over 10 years of demonstrated success in leading this personal mission via building effective programs and strategic partnerships, Patricia works to strengthen and expand the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement’s (HACE) mission, brand, and impact across the country. 

Patricia serves as the President & CEO for the HACE, leading strategy, fundraising & development, professional and student leadership programs, and expanding organizational reach on a national scale. Patricia strives to engage experienced professionals as mentors and advisors to create a multi-generational network to support Latinos’ career growth around the country.

About HACE


The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) is a national nonprofit dedicated to the employment, development, and advancement of Latino professionals. HACE is committed to helping Latinos succeed in every phase of their careers. For HACE members, achieving an entry level position is the starting point, not the goal. https://haceonline.org


HACE logo

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Patricia. How did you get started as an entrepreneur?


Patricia Mota: Great to be here, Deb. As a Mexican American woman, I’ve observed and experienced education and career-opportunity gaps firsthand throughout my life. These experiences have always been shocking and eye-opening to me, but I came to understand how common they are and how widely they affect the Latino community. I realized that, unfortunately, these experiences were not unique to me. I decided to dedicate my career to the advancement and empowerment of Latinos, and that’s how I landed at HACE. 

First, I served as director of membership outreach, then as senior director of strategic initiatives, and I now serve as president and CEO, a role I earned after leading significant growth for HACE’s partnerships and programming, as well as truly understanding the challenges and goals of the organization. I’m honored today to be in a leadership role at such an incredible organization that I hope will influence and champion Latino professionals across the country.


Deb: What have been some of your successes and challenges?

Patricia: At HACE, I’m extremely proud of how much the organization has grown. In my time here, I’ve helped to bring in more than $1.5 million in new partnerships, increased memberships by 67 percent, expanded our El Futuro High School Program and more, contributing to positive impact on over 25,000 students and professionals. 

I also launched the Mujeres de HACE women’s leadership program which has empowered more than 800 women nationally to grow professionally, break down barriers and succeed. Now in its 10th year, Mujeres de HACE is expanding to San Francisco and Atlanta for the first time. I know our partnerships with corporations across the country – including AT&T, JLL, ConocoPhillips, Nielsen, NBCUniversal, American Express and others – are making a real impact on people’s careers. 

However, we are still challenged with persistent biases in the workplace that limit Latino advancement, and there are not nearly enough Latino professionals in leadership roles. We are on our way to changing that, but we’re not there yet. 


Deb: What inspires you to do the work you do?

Patricia: The smart, talented and visionary Latinos I encounter every day are the people who inspire me to do this work. There are many obstacles in the workplace that keep people from being their full authentic selves, which is not only limiting for Latino people, but it can squash the potential for brilliant, authentic ideas as well. With HACE, I’m committed to changing that culture so that Latinos have the confidence and the tools they need to rise to the top and enact positive change on others.


Deb: What’s your vision for HACE?

Patricia: My vision is for HACE is to play a leading role in inspiring and enabling Latino success in the workplace. That means encouraging employers of all sizes and in all industries to build an intentional, organizational commitment to fostering Latino success at all levels. HACE believes management teams must dedicate themselves wholly to a diversity and inclusion ethos, not simply check a box. 

We’ve made great progress so far, but we’ve still got plenty of work to do to ensure Latino people are achieving their full potential. And this goal isn’t one-sided – it benefits companies, too. Meaningful, sustainable D&I efforts have been proven to bolster corporate performance and the bottom line.

Patricia Mota of HACE



Deb: Correct. It's a win for everyone. So, when it comes to small business, what advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

Patricia: I would tell young women who are early on in their career that, unfortunately, there are still hurdles they will have to overcome because they are female. There are moments I remember when I was passed up for a promotion or overlooked for an opportunity because I didn’t look or act a certain way. Sometimes, we just have to work harder. 

As a woman, you are held to higher standards, but you hold a set of incredibly important perspectives, and those voices and ideas are becoming increasingly more valued in the workplace. As they should be. Today, more and more companies and leaders know that diverse ideas lead to new ways of thinking, more informed decision-making and better business results. Businesses can no longer ignore those perspectives, so make sure your voice is heard.


Deb: What do you think are the top 3 traits an entrepreneur must have?

Patricia: I think the most important is to be yourself. For people with diverse backgrounds, there has historically been pressure to blend in and hide what makes you unique. However, it’s critical to bring your authentic self to work every day. I think the most successful people feel comfortable in their skin – they don’t need to spend time and energy hiding who they are. Instead, they can focus on their own development and success. 

The second trait is empathy, or a willingness to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. No two people see a challenge or a problem the same way. Often the best way to succeed and solve problems is to work with other people with different perspectives. 

Finally, don’t be too humble. Humility is important. But among Latino professionals, our culture has instilled in many of us the tendency to be too respectful and polite, sometimes in a way that can make us less assertive and less likely to stand up for our ideas. I encourage all entrepreneurs to be proud of your work and stand up for what you believe.



Deb: Terrific advice. Thanks for joining me today, Patricia. But before you go, please share, what you wish you could tell your younger self?

Patricia: In my role at HACE, I’ve witnessed the value of strong mentors in the development of young people. I’ve had many important mentors throughout my life who have positively impacted me in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. I would tell my younger self to always be cultivating those critical relationships, as I tell other young professionals today. In my role now, I strive to be that mentor for others. 

I’d also tell myself that progress and change haven’t happened as quickly as I would have hoped. Inclusion and diversity aren’t where they need to be. There are barriers in the workplace today that should be long gone – because of this, I’d tell my younger self to keep working hard toward these goals, and to be resilient in the face of adversity and obstacles.



New Year’s Resolutions are Like Going to the Dentist

by Chris Atley

Most people set New Year’s resolutions and they fail. It’s like going to the dentist. You have the best intentions to floss every single day after the hygienist reprimands you during your routine check-up, but you don’t. Then you feel bad for not doing it. Shame discussion to follow ;-)

Let’s tune into what’s really going on and how to make your commitments stick.

1. Their expectations are too high. 


They start of with great intentions, but they aren’t realistic. For example, to say you are going to work out 5 times a week when you haven’t been doing it all is a recipe for failure. The lofty goal becomes overwhelming and then you likely won’t go at all! Choose what is manageable and reasonable for you now. You can increase it later. Once you shift your environment to accommodate your workouts, it will be easier to shift more and add in more.

2. Most people aren’t even doing the above. 


They say they want to do something or achieve something and don’t map out what they need to do monthly / weekly / daily to make it happen. You must make a plan to achieve your goal. If it’s hitting an income goal, what do you need to do every day to make it happen? What is going to throw you off course and what will help you stick to it? What support do you need to have in place?

3. Making goals from fear. 


Check-in and look at why you’re really setting your goals. Are they based on “shoulds” or “have to’s” or maybe even coming from a place of Keeping up with the Jones’? If any of these apply, you’re coming from a place of fear (ego) not love (source). Check-in and make sure any goals you set are truly coming from your heart and are based on what you want to achieve.

My absolute favourite way to set goals is to take some time looking at the ideal lifestyle you want to have. Allow yourself to dream big and hand write (connects more powerfully to the subconscious), everything you would like to be, do or have in 2019. This will then help you to then set meaningful goals.

Also note that I said BE in 2019. Who do you want to become over the course of the year? How do you want to feel? This is the most important piece. The material stuff doesn’t matter in the end. For example, if it’s freedom, how will you know you’re free? How does that feel? What needs to happen?

I promised to circle back around regarding shame. You’re not a bad person if you don’t floss or hit your goals. Don’t listen to your ego. It just means something needs to shift internally in your decision making process in order to achieve your goals. Go curious instead of judging.

Where did you get off track? How did you talk yourself into it? What resources do you now need in order to stay on track? What beliefs do you need to add in or let go of in order to be the person you need to become who does achieve their goals? You can do this. I know with all of my heart you can.

Keep me posted xo


Written by Success Speaker & Coach Chris Atley, CEO of Chris Atley LLC ~ Decisions by Design. For complimentary success tips for business and life, please visit www.chrisatley.com.


Picture credit: CreateHer Stock

What to Do Instead of Making New Year's Resolutions

It’s a New Year and it’s tempting to create yet another list of resolutions.

But there’s a better way. How about giving this a try instead…

1. Decide What You Don't Want this Year

Years ago I wrote down a bunch of goals for myself. Needless to say, the sheer number of them ended up overwhelming me, and I didn’t end up getting many of them achieved.

So instead of getting lost in goals and more goals, start by deciding what you want to eliminate from your life. Not sure where to begin? Make a list of the things you don’t want to experience this year — or ever again.

I saw a joke that said, “my resume is filled with things I never want to do again.” Once you decide what you don’t want for 2015, what behaviors can you change right now?

How about things like getting out of a dead-end job, paying down credit card debt, or adding exercise to your life? It could be as simple as sending out a resume a day. Or networking with one new person a week. Or taking a daily walk, or picking a healthy food choice.

Decide what you want to release in your life, then pick one thing you can do to reinforce that.

2. Write it Down


Maybe you’re really not into journaling, and if not, that’s okay. But writing down what you don’t want will help you get your desires out of your head and into reality.

For instance, if you want to reduce credit card debt, list the actions you can take to get started. If you write down something like, “stop impulse buying,” you’ve identified something you can stop doing right away.

Instead of writing down a goal and having no idea how to reach it, you now have an action step to take.

3. Keep it Simple & Don't Dwell on the Past


Unfortunately, having a long list of things we don’t want can be just as oppressive as holding on to a list of goals we’re always stretching to reach. Keep it simple by starting with the items that you feel are the big irritations in your life.

It takes a while to get used to new habits. And in my opinion, it takes a hell of a lot more time than the 21 or so days it’s “supposed” to take.

Forget about what hasn’t happened in the past. That’s over now. Be willing to take baby steps. No matter how small the action, you’re still making progress.

Remember, we’re always reinventing ourselves, not only at the beginning of the year, but throughout our lives.


Copyright © 2015 - 2019 Deborah A. Bailey

Originally posted on DBaileyCoach.com

Picture credit: unsplash-logoBrooke Lark

Happy New Year

happy new year

Do These Three Things Before You Quit Your Job & Launch a Business

by Tiffany Rowe

If you want to achieve top-tier financial and lifestyle goals, you’re probably thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, so you can be self-employed and hopefully earn more.

While this is certainly one way to get where you want to go, keep in mind that building a successful business isn’t easy. It’s often very different to the dream and typically a whole lot harder than you can imagine. Unfortunately many entrepreneurs also end up losing a huge amount of money rather than making it.

It is possible, though, to hand in your resignation, walk away from a job you don’t like or are sick of and build the business that will make your dreams come true; you just need to take some important steps first, so you protect yourself and make success more likely. Read on for some of the most vital things you must do before you put up the “Open for Business” sign.

Research Extensively


Too many people end up with a business that doesn’t work because they don’t take the time to do research first. There are many elements to look into, but in particular you need to understand who your direct and indirect competitors are and what they offer to the target market.

Know how they sell their wares and at what price points. You need to know what kind of customer experience they provide, where they advertise or otherwise market their wares and the pain points they solve for people or benefits they provide. You should also get clear on exactly who they’re targeting their goods or services to. Once you have all this data, you will know how to ensure what you offer is different. This is the only way to stand out and gain traction.

Similarly, spend time finding out about the people you want to sell to. Who, exactly, are your ideal customers, and what are they looking for? Will there be enough of them to give you a decent-sized market? Where, when and how do these people like to browse and buy, and what kinds of work do they do? What about their family status and lifestyles? The more you know the better, as this will help you to tailor your business and its processes accordingly.

Get Educated


It’s certainly tempting to jump right into a business because you’re excited about the idea and about working for yourself, but you need to have knowledge about a variety of topics if you want to be a successful leader and manager. For example, you’ll need to understand things like customer service, finance, accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, technology and more.

There are numerous ways you can get the knowledge you need to set yourself up for success. One top way is to enroll in a relevant degree, such as an MBA or other type of business and/or management course. You might wonder how much does an MBA cost, but in truth this kind of preparation probably isn’t as expensive as you think and will also likely save you tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, in costly mistakes.

Network and Learn on the Job


Next, to give yourself the best possible chance of success, it’s also helpful to do some networking before you launch a business.

By making helpful connections in your industry, with related companies and entrepreneurs, you will have people there who you can turn to for advice or support. Plus, these people might end up becoming your partners, investors, employees, suppliers, customers, contractors or other key stakeholders as time goes on.

Wherever possible, try to spend time working in the sector you plan to open your business in. If you’re already employed in this field, that makes life easier, but if not, see if you can do some work experience or get a part-time or short-term role, so you can learn about the industry and how it works.

You may also want to spend time in a business that’s in a different industry but still doing things in a similar way as you plan to. For example, another firm may be disrupting a sector with technology like you want to or have a complete focus on customer service or the like. By working for a venture like this, you will pick up a wide array of tips which you can then implement in your own business. This will save you time, money and energy in the long run.


About the Author: Tiffany is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.

Picture credit: CreateHer Stock

This post originally appeared on DBaileyCoach.com.

11 Guidelines to Building a Prosperous Team

by Chris Atley 

I use the word prosperous, because building a team is of the utmost importance in creating a successful practice. It can really make or break your success.

If your team is unmotivated, it will effect how they interact with your patients, their decision-making, and their efficiency level. If they are motivated and connected to their job, they will make great decisions and will be a joy to be around. This in turn will affect staff productivity levels and the experience your clients will have, which directly relate to repeat business and your bottom line.

I share eleven guidelines with you on how to hire a great team, as well as how to keep them energized and motivated.

1.  Be clear on your criteria. What is important to you in an employee? Look at skill set as well as other criteria, such as people skills and trainability. For example, are they open-minded and keen to learn? A person who doesn’t have a lot of experience, but whom is motivated to be there will be a lot more valuable than a person who has a lot of experience, but lacks enthusiasm for the job. Therefore, the former being very trainable and the latter a red flag.

2.  Help them get motivated to their bigger WHY. It’s important that everyone on the team be aware and passionate about the bigger vision of the practice. Share it with them during their interview and make sure you ask why they want to work for you as well. Is it a means to an end or are they actually excited about the position? Pay attention to those gut feelings, especially when someone may “look” great on paper but seems to be “off” in-person. Your gut instincts are never wrong. You can probably look back at a time(s) when you didn’t follow your gut and it ended up backfiring.

3.  Know that people are going to make mistakes and that this is okay, especially when they first start working with you. There is a bit of a learning curve and expecting perfection is unreasonable at the beginning and along the way. A great rule of thumb is that you allow for mistakes, but they must figure out what went wrong right away so that it doesn’t happen again. If it continues more then three times, then it’s time to let them go.

4.  This is number three’s cousin. You did not hire your employees to become your friends. Of course being kind and respectful are of the utmost importance, but so is being the boss you need to be. You are the CEO (yes you are a CEO), of your practice and it’s important to communicate this so that the boundary lines are clear. I see this all too often with business owners – they are trying to fulfill some type of dysfunctional need deep down and don’t end up being the leader they need to be because they’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. You are running a business first and foremost and can have friends outside of work.

5.  Communicate all of the expectations upfront in terms of what the role includes along with timelines, etc. This will help to ensure everyone is on the same page from the beginning and will prevent friction in the future.

6.  Pay them what the position is worth. Don’t try to short change or find the best deal when it comes to paying your employees. Now this doesn’t mean you need to overpay what the position is worth, but be fair. From an employee’s point of view this shows they are respected and a valued member of the team. This all goes hand-in-hand with doing a great job and enjoying coming into work.

7.  Feedback Sandwich. I learned this in Toastmasters years ago, and it has helped me immensely with building my own team. If you want to provide constructive criticism on an issue, start of with praising something they are doing a well first, followed by what needs improving, and ending with more positive praise. People are much more open to accepting feedback if they feel valued and appreciated first.

8.  Help them be the best version of themselves. People operate at their best when they feel confident and valued. As above, give them praise. It doesn’t only have to be in the context of feedback. Remember to point out what they are doing well and how much you appreciate them. Give them an extra special token of your appreciation like a gift card, a plant or even a bonus. Do something simple like using their name when speaking to them. This is small, but makes people feel special and has a big impact. Say thank-you for their work on a daily basis. Treat them as you would like to be treated yourself.

9.  Manage your expectations. As a recovering Type A myself, this can be tough. Expectations are high and it’s a close cousin to perfectionism. Your expectations may not always be reasonable. Check in on this often. Are you trying to be perfect, and therefore asking your staff to do unreasonable things? Know that perfection either comes from not wanting to disappoint someone, or with wanting someone’s approval. It’s likely a parent, and it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether they are alive or not. Go with whomever comes to mind first. There is likely more work to be done around this, but having the awareness is the first step in changing it. Notice where this is popping-up with your clients and practice as a whole.

10.  Keep your own inner critic in check. This is similar to number nine, but differs slightly. The harder you are on yourself, the harder you are on your employees (and family too). It leads back to the perfection issue again, but shows up a little differently in this example. If you find you start to “nitpick” at your staff, take a look at your own inner dialogue. Are you operating from a place of positive, loving self-talk? Or are you operating from a critical inner voice where nothing you do is ever good enough? If the latter is happening, you may need to do some deeper work to shift this, but again having the awareness is a big start. You are likely looking at your employees with the same critical eye, where nothing they do ever measures up.

11.  Above all else, Be Who You Need to Be. Remember you’re only as good as your worst employee, and only as good as your best employee. You set the tone for the entire practice. The more secure and confident you are, the more this will affect everyone you come into contact with. From your employees, to your patients, to even your friends and family. Do what you need to do in order to stay positive first. If you’re worrying about money, get some help on re-writing your money story. If you don’t have enough time off, make the time. You will be in a better place to serve and lead.

Enjoy the team you build and watch your practice thrive and soar! Oh, and have a little fun too!

Written by Success Speaker & Coach Chris Atley, CEO of Chris Atley LLC ~ Decisions by Design. For complimentary success tips for business and life, please visit www.chrisatley.com.

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