5 Ways to Generate High Quality Leads for Your Business in 2019

Generating leads for your business is important. After all, more leads means more chances for conversion, which leads to a boost in sales for your business. In fact, according to Hubspot, 69% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority. But are the leads you’re generating converting?

If the answer is no, it might be because you’re not generating high quality leads. You want to focus on attracting high quality leads because they’re the people most likely to become paying customers. But how do you do it? You can’t spend all of your time interviewing each visitor to your website to see if they’re serious about spending. Luckily there are a number of tactics you can use to generate high quality leads and some of these tactics can even do the work for you —  24/7 — with little effort on your part.

Get ready to generate more leads that are interested in buying, check out these 5 ways to generate high quality leads.

1. Use an Exit-Intent Popup

Did you know that over 70% of people who leave your website will never return? That’s a ton of potential high-quality leads you could be missing out on. So, how do you prevent your website visitors from abandoning you without giving you their information? The answer is to use an Exit-Intent popup on your website.

An Exit-Intent popup tracks when a user is about to leave your website and sends them a targeted message at exactly the right time that convinces them to sign up for your email list. That way, instead of losing that visitor forever, they’re now one of your email subscribers that you can directly message any time you want to promote new content, introduce a new product, or announce a sale for instance.

It’s not difficult to add an Exit-Intent popup to your site. You can use a tool like OptinMonster to create an eye-catching popup in minutes with their drag and drop builder. OptinMonster also integrates with all of your favorite email marketing services like Constant Contact and Mailchimp so you can easily create an email list that’s full of engaged high-quality leads for your business.

2. Offer Content Upgrades

It’s safe to assume you’re already creating content like blog posts to attract users on the web to your site, but not all of those readers are high quality leads. In order to separate your blog readers who just want to consume your free content anonymously from the ones who’ll be more likely to become paying customers, you need to offer content upgrades.

A content upgrade is simply a freebie that you offer to your visitors in exchange for their email address. When a user says yes to your content upgrade, you know that they’re interested in what you have to say and they value your expertise, this makes it easier to turn them into paying customers in the future.

See more examples like the one above, in this content upgrades resource guide.

You can use a free tool like Canva to easily create checklists, mini ebooks, calendars, templates, and more that your site visitors will be dying to get their hands on. Just make sure your content upgrade is relevant to your business. You can also offer a few different types of content upgrades so that you can get customers to segment themselves. For example, if you offer training for aspiring bloggers and virtual assistants, create a content upgrade for each. Then you’ll be able to tell which products/services each of your visitors are interested in.

3. Guest Post on High Quality Publications

Want to broaden your reach and attract leads that have never even heard of you before? Another easy — and free — way to generate more high quality leads is to guest post on high quality publications. By guest posting on other popular blogs and publications, you’ll be able to introduce your business to a ton of new potential leads. The fact alone that you’ve landed a spot on a blog that that new audience loves and trusts is enough to convince them that you’re a thought leader in the industry too. You’ll get a link back to your website and a whole new audience that you can convert into leads and eventually paying customers.

Wondering how you land a spot guest posting? First, search the internet for blogs that are related to your niche. Make sure the blogs and publications you choose get lots of traffic and seem to have an engaged online community. Study their blog posts and come up with some topic ideas you think their readers would be interested in. Then it’s as simple as sending an email or filling out their guest posting application. Don’t forget to read the site’s guest posting guidelines too so you craft a perfect post that gets accepted every time.

4. Add a Contact Form

A simple contact form on your website isn’t actually as simple as it seems, it’s actually a powerful website element that can generate high quality leads for your business. Just adding your email address or phone number to your website requires users go through an extra step in order to get in touch with you. So, instead of contacting you, they’ll pass and move on to another site.

Instead, the visitors to your site need a quick and convenient way to contact you, which is where a contact form comes in. Users who contact you through your form will identify themselves as higher-quality leads; they’re interested enough to reach out.

You can use a tool like WPForms to easily build a great-looking contact form for your website. You can create an awesome contact form in no time using their drag and drop builder and you have the ability to fully customize the form to your needs. For instance, you can add fields to your contact form that ask visitors to state their budget for a project or the yearly revenue of their company to help you further qualify leads.

5. Add a Live Chat Option

Want to generate high quality leads on your website even when you’re not around? You can do that if you add a live chat option to your website. Having a live chat system that’s available 24/7 will allow your website visitors to get answers to their questions immediately, and the faster they get answers to their questions, the faster you can turn them into customers. In fact, according to Invesp, 77% of customers won’t make a purchase if there’s no live chat support.

Adding a live chat feature to your site is simple when you use a tool like Olark. With Olark, you can easily identify and engage with qualified leads using their features like automated messaging that can send messages based on customer behavior for instance, custom pre-chat surveys, and in-depth reporting.

Start Getting More High Quality Leads Now

What are you waiting for? With these easy-to-implement strategies that you can incorporate today, you can start to drastically increase the quality of your leads. Higher quality leads mean that you can stop wasting your time on users who’ll never convert and instead enjoy more sales for your business and stronger relationships with your customers.

6 Workplace Design Tips to Transform Your Office Space

Being in a single space for at least nine hours a day can prove to become a little bland for your employees while working in the office. It doesn’t have to be though! Spending a little bit of time to spice up your office space for the new year can create an overall healthier work environment.

This is something home-based entrepreneurs know all too well. When first starting your side hustle or business, you will likely just be working from a desk, but over time you can customize your workspace to be a place where you actually love being in, and making it your own.

Over the years, I’ve gone through this process plenty of time — whether it be when I was just a kid running my business from a room in my parents house, to moving into our new place, rebuilding after Sandy, and all of the temporary locations in between.

Either way, if you are going to be spending a ton of time in one specific room or location, you might as well make it a fun and professional place to get work done!

To get started, take a look at these top tips to create a new workplace design for 2019.

1. Flexible and Modular Office Furniture

A big trend of 2019 is to take advantage of modular furniture that can be reorganized for group brainstorming or team meetings. Find some office tables and chairs that can be reworked into larger tables for group meetings, or can be broken up for smaller one-on-one brainstorming sessions.

You can also work with companies to build commercial fitouts to make an office space work within the dimensions of the rooms and open spaces you already have. While it might cost a little more money to get this done, it will make for a more professional look and feel over the life of your work area.

2. Focus on Activity-Based Team Projects

Make sure you have spaces for team-building activities. Try to incorporate spaces like lounges, conference rooms, and multipurpose workspaces to increase collaboration and boost productivity. There will always be a need for privacy, so be sure to try and seamlessly blend open spaces into your workplace design without leaving your employees to have to struggle to focus because their desks are right next to the busy activity areas.

3. Design for Employee Wellbeing

It has been proven time and again that our surroundings affect our wellbeing. Considering most professionals spend a good chunk of their day at the office, it is integral that these office spaces focus on human wellbeing.

Do this by ensuring your lounges and restrooms are away from individual workstations to help get your employees moving around. You can also integrate a new trend called biophilic design that combines nature into your workspaces, such as plant walls and windows.

4. Think About Visual Appeal

While functionality is great when thinking about your new workplace design, you also want to make sure the overall look is visually appealing. Millennials specifically enjoy coming to a workstation that promotes inspiration and creativity.

5. Integrate Technology

Our lives revolve around technology, and with computer systems and software playing a huge role in most workspaces, it only makes sense to try and think about creating your workplace design around the technology you will be using on a daily basis. Consider integrating wireless charging stations, interactive displays, and even tabletop touchscreens.

6. Get Your Team Involved

You know your employees best, so why not get them involved? This will allow your team to both ensure the office redesign will fit their needs as well as make them feel like their opinion is welcomed and appreciated.

Ultimately, the way you design your home office or work space is going to come down to what you want to accomplish with it. If you are going to be working in this area by yourself 95% of the time, there is no need to have additional chairs or clutter for guests who are never going to be there.

On the flip side, if you are having clients and guests in your work space quite often, you will want more of a open and free feeling.

This is where the advice and recommendations from fellow co-workers and employees can definitely bring some new ideas and direction to your working space.

What Will You Include in Your Workplace Design?

Start the new year off right with a strategic new workplace design that will offer a healthier and more productive work environment.

What trends will you incorporate into your redesign?

Don’t jump in head first. Contemplate what would work best for your team and then consider these top trends of 2019 that will create the most impact for your team. It will prove to make this year your company’s most successful year yet!

9 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert in 2019

Now is a great time to bring in an SEO consultant. In the past, you could maybe get away with DIY SEO, but that time is over. The field has now gotten so complex that SEO is a whole career path in itself.

Are you considering hiring a local SEO consultant? Here are some of the key questions you should ask.

1. Do They Have Years of Experience?

Ideally, when you employ a search engine marketing consultant, they should have years of experience in the industry. Some so-called SEO experts rely on outdated or inappropriate techniques that could actually harm your website’s ranking rather than help it.

A good SEO specialist can implement different kinds of strategies depending on the situation. SEO is not a “one-size-fits-all” line of work. You need to use pick appropriate strategies for certain kinds of businesses.

A good SEO specialist will have experience doing SEO for multiple industries. And they’ll be able to implement a strategy that’s tailor fit to your business. Read more about such expertise from a Harrisburg SEO marketing agency that has been working with local clients for years now.

2. Do They Have a Passion for Learning More?

The world of SEO is constantly in flux. This means a good SEO consultant should have a genuine interest and passion about learning more about the industry.

When you have a good knowledge of SEO trends, you can predict what’s going to happen. Then, you can use that knowledge to give your clients an edge over the competition.

A good SEO specialist should have so much knowledge about their field that they can come up with multiple methods to accomplish any one goal. Of course, this takes experience, but to truly have an edge, you need to have passion as well.

3. Do They Have Good Communication Skills?

It’s no use being the most passionate and experienced SEO consultant in the world if you don’t have the right communication skills. When you hire an SEO worker, don’t underestimate the importance of communication skills.

Many companies make the mistake of hiring the best “on paper” candidates, only to find they’re very poor at communicating. This can result in an SEO strategy that doesn’t really suit your needs.

4. Are They a Good Fit for Your Company?

Sometimes, being a good communicator isn’t enough. Your SEO specialist also needs to be a good fit for your company culture.

It’s sometimes better to work with the slightly less qualified candidate if it seems like their personality will mesh well with your company. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit in well with your company culture, it could result in a lot of problems in the future.

For example, they could end up leaving the company within a short frame of time. This is undesirable because you’ve wasted time, energy, and money training this person. Hiring someone who doesn’t fit into your company culture could also result in workplace arguments, leading to huge losses of productivity and motivation.

When you interview a candidate, you should always make sure they have the skills they’ll need to do the job. But you should also make sure they get on well with the people they’ll be working with during their time at the company.

5. What Tools Will They Use?

Do you have any specific pieces of tools in mind for your SEO specialist to use? In this case, then you should ensure they have experience using those specific tools. Or you should be prepared to give them the necessary time to learn how to use them.

If you aren’t sure what the top SEO experts and bloggers are using, all you need to do is take a few minutes and read through any of the top SEO blogs in the market today. Names like Neil Patel, Brian Dean, and others are always discussing the latest methods and tools they are using to achieve their results.

Examples of good SEO tools include programs like Ahrefs, Long Tail Pro, or Moz.

6. Do They Have an Understanding of Marketing?

Some SEO specialists are great when it comes to doing SEO, but have a poor grasp of marketing. Ideally, you want your SEO specialist to have a good knowledge of marketing theory and techniques. Understanding the psychological aspect of marketing is just as important as making sure your website contains all of the keywords you need.

SEO content not only needs to make your page show up on Google, but it also needs to keep readers’ attentions once they enter the page. A good SEO specialist can create a page that’s not only a hit on Google, but is also great from a marketing perspective.

7. Do They Have a Proven Track Record?

When hiring a search engine optimization specialist, you need to look for someone who has a proven track record for getting the job done.

What results have they gotten for their clients on previous jobs? Do they have a proven record for increasing sales? Or getting the page ranked higher on Google?

Whenever you do an interview, make sure you focus on previous results. SEO knowledge is easy to come by these days, but actually getting results is not easy to fake. Make sure you ask for references and also follow up on them.

8. Can They Work Well With Your Web Developers?

A good SEO specialist will have full knowledge of all things SEO. They should be able to work very closely with your web developers to implement things like HTML tags.

Since your web developers will need to work with your chosen SEO specialist on a daily basis, you should be prepared to ask your web developers what they think of your chosen candidate. You might even want to include them in the interview process.

9. Do They Appreciate What You’re Trying to Achieve?

The ideal candidates need to understand exactly what it is your company is trying to achieve. SEO should be a central part of your digital marketing strategy and there should be very clear set goals.

For example, maybe the intention is to turn people who click on your website into paying customers. In this situation, it’s no good getting thousands of clicks if nobody is actually buying anything.

Take Your Time Hiring a Local SEO Consultant

Getting the right local SEO consultant can take time. It’s important you don’t rush into things too quickly.

Take the time to find the right candidate. You’re looking for someone who is not only skilled and knowledgeable about SEO, but also someone who’s a great fit for you and your company.

Need more tips on marketing? Then check out our marketing blog!

7 Ideas and Benefits for Using Machine Learning for Your Business

Machine learning technology has made major advances in the last decade.

Highly adaptable new AI is changing the way businesses make decisions.

Aside from the smart technology you might be seeing and using today, there are plenty of new and creative technology innovations making waves daily. Everything from smart chatbots, software creation, customer support, and diagnosing business and marketing trends — all with the sole purpose of accomplishing more, and removing the ‘human’ aspect and cost from the business.

These advancements in technology are allowing business to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and automate processes that previously required employees — and sometimes included  weeks or months of additional training before actively taking on a new job. Machine learning also removes high-cost areas for business, such as employee insurance, human resources, and office space.

We’ve put together a list of the top seven benefits of machine learning to show you how your business can use AI.

1. Replaces Manual Data Entry

Filling out standard forms is an important rote task companies must complete. Small business AI is able to instantly fill them out with a high degree of accuracy.

This saves you money on data entry clerks and speeds things up. Data entry will always be needed, making it an automated process is a great way to upgrade.

2. Detects Spam

Small business owners have a lot of hats to fill. Wasting time sorting useless emails from important ones shouldn’t be one of them.

Machine learning tools are great at filtering out previously identified spam emails. They can also use context cues to block new ones.

3. Improve Cyber Security

Machine learning is tailor-made for identifying patterns. When properly directed they can process huge amounts of information and find commonalities between network intrusions.

This makes it easier to prevent them in the future. You can also use AI to help develop new strategies for defending against attacks.

4. Upgrade Your Customer Service

One of the best ways you can use AI for small business is to improve your responsiveness to customer needs. Machine learning algorithms can analyze past interactions and help you better understand what they want.

Not only does this keep your customers happy, but it also lowers your cost to do so. It can make suggestions about their future needs and help you cross-sell other products to them.

5. Analyze Your Financials

Major accounting teams are expensive and take a long time to run through things. Identifying fraud requires a line by line examination of thousands of transactions.

Machine learning tools can quickly scan massive volumes of transactions. It eliminates much of the grunt work involved and lets specialists focus on possible incidents. When properly calibrated it can even predict situations that will create a high potential for fraud.

6. Identify Existing Tools

One of the most interesting features of machine learning systems is their ability to make recommendations. They can process your existing business needs and identify other tools that will help you.

These can include financial tools, databasing tools, and many others.

7. Benefits of Machine Learning Education

If you want to experience all the benefits of AI in your business you have to properly train your staff. Just having data is nothing if you can’t process it.

Make sure your analyst works to learn more about using machine learning tools. This allows them to pick out the best tools available and customize things for your needs.

Leverage Your Existing Assets

The benefits of machine learning speak for themselves. AI can save you money, streamline your operations, and help with your marketing efforts. Make sure your competition doesn’t leave you behind.

If you liked what you saw here, read some of our other articles on entrepreneurship and business planning

Become a Lead Generating Machine: Creative Ideas to Generate Lucrative Real Estate Leads

65% of business owners state that their biggest challenge is generated leads. If your real estate company belongs to this 65%, you might not know how to fix the issue.

Generating leads for a real estate company is often confusing. Should you fixate on cold calling? Or should you make use of social media instead?

Below you’ll find some proven strategies that’ll help you generate more real estate leads. With the help of these tactics, you should be able to fix your current lead generation problems, before it’s too late.

Let’s begin!

Reach Active Buyers Using AdWords

You can use AdWords to reach people that are actively looking to buy a home. For instance, if someone types in ‘buy homes in Seattle,’ you can use AdWords to market to this individual.

To succeed with AdWords, you’ll need to consider the kinds of keywords your target market will type into Google, when looking to buy a home. You can either come up with a list of keywords yourself, or you can use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner to help you.

When you target a particular keyword, AdWords will only charge you if someone clicks on your ad. But, the amount you pay per click, is going to depend on how much competition there is for the keyword in question. If a lot of other advertisers are also targeting the keyword, your costs will likely be higher.

Setting up AdWords campaigns isn’t easy, and you might want to bring some experts onboard. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a company that has experience on how to approach PPC for real estate pros. Such a company will know how to overcome some of the common hurdles that affect real estate pros that are looking to set up a PPC campaign.

Use Facebook Ads to Reach Certain Demographics

With Facebook Ads, you can target certain demographics that might be interested in buying a home.

Take a moment to think about your past clients and try to identify any common demographic traits they had. Did they belong to a certain age range? Did they have a certain kind of job? Had they experienced certain life event?

Once you have a list of common demographic traits, create a Facebook Ad campaign that targets individuals with these traits.

Keep a close eye on the response that’s your ads are generating. If you find that results are poor, you may need to adjust your targeting settings. You might also want to consider split-testing the images you use in your ads.

Demographic and geographic targeting on social media can prove extremely useful when trying to sell real estate or generate leads for a specific property or location. For example, if you were to target audiences looking for real estate in the Cayman Islands, you might want to already target audiences that live in the Southern US (who like the climate), and those who have higher financial means, as they would be more likely to make the purchase for personal or investment purposes.

Start a Blog to Rank for Local Long-tail Keywords

There are many different ways to attract audiences online, but one of the most consistent and valuable have been through organic search results.

The problem with this method, is that it can take a lot of time and work to achieve the rankings and traffic you are looking for.

However, take a look at any of the top real estate blogs and you will see the massive content and search traffic that now have in place.

Another benefit to starting a website or blog for your real estate business, is that it’s a lot easier to rank for local audiences and keywords than you might think.

The more specific and niche targeted your content, the more likely you are to rank at the top of Google in smaller localized and niche markets.

Use YouTube to Promote Video Tours

People that are interested in buying a home will enjoy watching a video tour of a house that is in their desired area. Thus, if you can create video content based on the homes you have in your portfolio, you’ll be able to appeal to this kind of audience.

Pay close attention to how you title and describe your videos. Make sure you provide an accurate account of the location and specifications of the home. This’ll help your videos rank for the kinds of terms your target market will type into YouTube.

Once you begin to see some initial results, you may even want to use YouTube Ads to improve the visibility of your videos.

Ready to Generate Some Real Estate Leads?

If you’re currently struggling to generate real estate leads, the tips in this post should help you turn things around.

The modern marketing landscape provides a wide range of lead generation opportunities. This can make it hard to choose a specific marketing method, and it’s hard to say ahead of time, what is and isn’t going to work.

Thus, the only thing you can do is experiment with everything that’s on offer. In doing so, you should eventually hit upon a tactic that delivers results.

Interested in how you can drive more traffic to your real estate website? Check out this post to get some tips on what you can do!

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference for Brands in 2019?

When it comes to marketing, every method is the same as long as it yields results, right? Actually, there’s a variety of ways to market and a difference depending on what techniques get used.

But what are the key differences between inbound vs outbound marketing? And is one better than the other when it comes to generating interest that converts to sales?

This ultimately all comes down to what you are trying to promote to an audience, how that market can take action, and also how you can measure your results as well.

As we all known, online advertising is much easier to set up and track, versus offline advertising. The good thing about ‘inbound’ and ‘outbound’ marketing methods, is that they can also be tracked in the same way.

Learn more about inbound vs outbound marketing, and see which techniques can bring the most success to your business.

Understanding Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing techniques focus on giving customers (or potential customers) information and letting them decide how to execute a plan or suggestion. That means presenting consumers with information in the form of blog posts, social media and even a white paper or other free downloads that would inspire them to purchase something.

Inbound marketing ideas range from making use of your website to curating other viral content that folks take interest in. By combining your own ideas with that of other people, you’ll gain attention in what you have to offer.

It sometimes takes a while to build up viewers for this type of marketing. However, many people view this as working smarter, not harder, and believe that a focused effort on this type of marketing pays off in the long-term.

If you like the idea of appealing to folks but not doing a hard sell, inbound marketing is a form of promotion to consider for your business.

In the eyes of Google, it’s also important to make sure that your content not only delivers a message — but also that it’s one of the most in-depth and detailed articles out there. If you are going to focus your efforts on inbound marketing and writing content, put in the time and effort to make sure they each have at least 1,500+ words of content per article.

Know What Outbound Marketing Involves

In contrast to inbound marketing, outbound marketing involves traditional methods that have long been staples in the business world.

Some of these forms of marketing include:

  • Cold calling
  • Ads on TV, billboards etc
  • Focuses on the product

Many people gravitate toward this type of marketing simply because it’s what they’re used to. The idea of approaching customers and trying to make a sale with folks who might not necessarily express interest is not a concern for those who use outbound marketing techniques.

Outbound marketing has a place in today’s world of promotion. For example, it can prove useful for branding and making a company’s name known but isn’t always the best option when it comes to gaining long-term customers.

You can read more now about the differences between inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. Knowing how to apply marketing to your company’s needs makes a difference in how well it can work.

What Today’s Consumers Want

Many consumers today are wise when it comes to marketing and what someone’s selling. They fully expect to get upsold and asked to buy the most expensive option on the market.

With that in mind, it’s better to appeal to an individual’s intellect before anything else.

One of the best ways to do this (and encourage sales in the process) is through content creation. If your company doesn’t already have a blog and make use of search engine optimization with content, you’re missing out.

Blogging and SEO go hand-in-hand with attracting the right kinds of consumers who actively seek your products and want to purchase from you. Since more consumers are on social media now more than ever, posting and discussing information on there does wonders for increasing company growth.

Another factor to consider is how well cold calling works when most people don’t want to pick up their phones anymore. Many people screen calls with caller ID or even block unknown numbers from calling.

You’re likely to get ahead more using techniques that get your product and services in front of folks, but don’t force them to read more if they’re not interested. If you’re curious about how blogging can help your business, check out a previous post on this here.

The Key Differences Between Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Now that we’ve discussed the two types of marketing, what are the key differences between the two?

In general, inbound marketing drives the customer to you. You can do this through written content on your blog or website, social media outreach, and even engaging folks on a forum or other public form of communication.

While you might not make a sale right away, you’re developing a relationship with folks interested in what you have to offer. That is considered more important when it comes to marketing than trying to make a quick one-time sale.

In contrast, outbound marketing generally means you go to the customer. You’ll do this by cold calling, going on the radio or making a TV commercial, and even engaging in print advertisements.

Many of your outbound marketing methods are old-fashioned and direct. The focus is on the product and what it does, rather than the individual and what they need. If you’re concerned about approaching people in a laid-back fashion, this isn’t the method you’d use.

Can You Do Both?

Now that you know the difference between the two marketing methods, you’re likely asking yourself, “is it possible to do both?” The answer is yes.

Use outbound marketing sparingly, and to help establish your company’s brand. This allows people to know what you’re about and to get your name out there.

When you want to cultivate meaningful connections and show how your products or services can change someone’s life, use inbound marketing. This allows people to learn more about your product and how you can help them succeed.

There’s no reason not to do both. It just depends on your company and how you’d like to reach people and have them remember you.

Discover More

Now that you know the differences between inbound vs outbound marketing, you can see how to apply them to your business for success. Choosing to blog or utilize social media instead of cold calling can help push your business to new heights as you reach a large number of people.

Does your company have a social media plan? If not, check out our blog post on the importance of social media marketing, and see how having one can grow your business even more.

13 Side Hustles You Can Use to Fund a New Venture in 2019

A buzzword floating around for a while now has been “side hustle.” Many entrepreneurs are turning to side hustles as a way to increase income without signing onto massive commitments. This approach can potentially have more flexibility than part time work, allowing entrepreneurs to gain needed income or experience, without over-stressing their routines.

For entrepreneurs looking to fund an initial venture, side hustles may be the perfect solution. As there are a wide variety of side hustles out there, we asked entrepreneurs from YEC to share the kinds of side hustle they think are worth considering, along with how to get started. Here’s what they said:

1. Do Something Automatable

To fund my initial venture, I started selling cell phones on Amazon. I was able to do this because I could ship all of my inventory to Amazon and they would handle all the shipping and returns using their Fulfilled by Amazon service. The key is that your side hustle needs to be automatable. I found suppliers, placed orders and then shipped the inventory to Amazon and I’d call it a day.

– Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. Try Flipping as a Side Hustle

An entrepreneur I follow is a big proponent of flipping as a side hustle. This doesn’t mean houses, it means anything you have at home that you don’t need, what you’d find at a garage sale or anything you can make a profit on. Apps like Offer Up and others make it extremely easy to list things and sell things without having to tell everyone you know what you’re doing.

Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting

3. Do Something Related to Your Venture

You only have so many hours in the day and you want to be using as many as possible to move your life, goals and dreams forward — so don’t squander them working in a completely different direction from what you actually want! These days, you can side hustle in just about any field or industry, so pick one that is going to help get your venture off the ground and prepare you with useful skills.

Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

4. Monetize Your Expertise

Monetizing expertise is the easiest way to build a profitable side-hustle — or even a primary hustle! Everyone is an expert at something, and expertise can be monetized. Figure out what you’re best at, then figure out who needs that skillset. Whether you consult, give speeches, create sponsored content on social media or share another way, there is an audience willing to pay for what you know.

Brittany Hodak, The Superfan Company

5. Consider Which Category Works Best for You

Undertaking a side hustle can branch into two separate categories: financial reserves and learning opportunities. Paid contracting or freelancing gigs and training opportunities, combined with savings and a frugal lifestyle, help with self-funding a business. Learning opportunities are volunteering and participating in startup communities, building a network for scaling a business quickly. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

6. Rent a Room via Airbnb

Airbnb is a great side hustle for extra cash. Whether you have a room or two at your house you’d like to post on the site or invest in purchasing a house solely to rent out, you can make quite a bit of money. Type in your city or neighborhood in Airbnb and check out your competition. Which places have the most and best reviews? What can you do to differentiate?

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

7. Drive With Uber

Uber is a great side hustle. Anyone with a car can take advantage of. By providing just a few trips before or after your work day, you’ll have more extra cash in your bank account to put into your new business venture.

– John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Start an Affiliate Marketing Site

Starting a business requires a huge amount of energy and dedication. Chances are, you won’t have a lot of energy left over to do something you don’t enjoy. That’s why starting an affiliate marketing site can be such a good fit. Choose a topic you are passionate about that also has sizeable niche of consumers that are interested in it.

Thomas Smale, FE International

9. Sell Things on Facebook Marketplace

Got some stuff lying around your house that you don’t want anymore? Put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. You could even go hunting for some great finds at charity shops or garage sales and resell them for a profit right from the comfort of your own home.

– Blair Williams, MemberPress

10. Do Anything That Gives You Free Time

One of my side hustles was working at the front desk of a hotel. I worked the slow shifts and used all my downtime to build my business on my computer. I understood every piece of spare time was valuable to me. Even mowing lawns as a teenager I would listen to Tony Robbins’ CDs. Stay away from anything too physically or mentally intensive so you have the energy to moonlight when you get home.

Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

11. Become an Amazon Prime Seller

It’s surprisingly easy to become an Amazon Prime seller. Considering that there are 100 million Prime members, with the right Prime product, you can make some decent cash. One trick is finding a product that is selling well and no one is selling it with a Prime tag. You will then differentiate by selling the same product with a faster delivery.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

12. Start Freelancing

The ideal side hustle brings in money while providing the flexibility you need to grow your main venture. Freelancing fits the bill and you can leverage skills you already have, especially if you have technical expertise — developers are always in demand. However, make sure the side hustle is worth your time; focusing on growing your business might provide better returns in the long run.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

13. Do Something You Actually Enjoy Doing

A side hustle offers people the unique opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed of. Many people, for example, turn to blogging because writing isn’t the most lucrative career path. Whatever you choose should be something you enjoy because it will ultimately be added work. Your side hustle should embrace the cliche of doing what you love so you never have to work a day in your life.

Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

Take these Expert Tips and Start Implementing them Today

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through some expert tips on how to start making some extra money on the side, it’s time to implement these changes into your own business and daily efforts.

Also, if you enjoyed this expert round up, I highly recommend you check out another one on BloggingTips.com which asks 83 online marketing experts the question “How Do I Start a Successful Blog?“. If you don’t already have a website or blog of your own, follow my guide to get started with one today.

Developer To-Do List: The 8 Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2019

What are the best programming languages you need to know in 2019?

People who are new to coding will find that there are a ton of programming languages to learn. Of course, you want to start with the easiest programming language.

However, at the same time, it’s important to realize that you don’t need to code in order to have a website or blog. WordPress has made the process of creating a site or making a blog extremely easy — with little-to-no coding or design skills ever required.

Surprisingly, there isn’t an easy answer to find the best programming language to learn. This article will break down all of the basic programming languages.

Which one is the easiest programming language? Read on to find out which programming language you should start with.

Best Programming Languages to Learn

In order to decide which programming languages to learn, you should have an idea as to why you want to learn to code.

Are you starting a new affiliate marketing business? Maybe you want to jump to a more lucrative career. Programmers often start at six-figures, making it one of the more lucrative jobs.

Some programming languages are great if you’re planning to create an app, while others are great for building a website. The best programming language to learn is the one that you can grasp easily and apply in your work right away.

1. Python

If you want to start with an easy and versatile programming language, start with Python. It is a very popular language and would be the best programming language to learn for almost any application.

Companies are migrating to Python to handle data management to building web applications.

2. JavaScript

The best programmers love and hate JavaScript. They love it because it allows you to be creative in creating websites. On the downside, it’s virtually impossible to solve bugs in your code when things aren’t working.

Overall, JavaScript is used to develop programs online, making it a widely used program.

3. Ruby on Rails

Developers love Ruby on Rails and many consider this the best programming language to learn. It’s used quite a bit in website development, and you’ll see it on the backend of sites like Air BnB and Hulu.

The reason why developers love it so much is because it’s intuitive and fun. Many people will tell you to learn this language first.

4. PHP

Facebook, WordPress, and Yahoo! Are run on PHP. If you’re looking to develop WordPress websites, PHP is the language to learn.

It’s not intimidating for people just starting out to code to learn PHP. If your dream is to make money through affiliate marketing sites, then this language would be a good one to learn.

5. C++

This is a programming language that’s been around forever. It’s been around for so long, it’s considered to be a language that’s obsolete.

While it is a legacy programming language, it’s still very useful. It’s alive and well in assisting engineers to solve complex mathematical equations in an instant.

It’s also used to develop games, and system software. As you can see, this programing language is alive and well.

6. C#

In the corporate world, you’ll see a lot of companies that use Microsoft’s .NET framework. Pronounced C-Sharp, this language is meant to make development easier to learn than other programming languages from Microsoft.

If you want to develop games, you’re definitely going to need to know both C++ and C#.

7. SQL

What does SQL stand for? Structured Query Language. What does that mean? It’s a language that’s used to extract, update, and delete information in databases.

While some people view SQL as an old and cumbersome way to communicate with databases, but it’s the best way there is.

You’ll see SQL used in WordPress sites and projects that contain large databases.

8. Swift

Swift is one of those programming languages that not many people know. If you plan on developing an app, you’ll want to be familiar with it. This is the programming language that’s used to drive iOS apps.

If you want to fast track your learning, this is a great language to know. Think of this way, there are millions of iOS devices out there, from phones to watches. This presents a great opportunity for you to get your business out to a larger audience or join a company that develops apps.

How to Learn to Code

You know which programming languages you want to learn. How should you go about learning? There are many options to learn to code. The most common ways to learn is to go to school for a degree, programming boot camps, and teaching yourself.

No matter where you start, you should read a few books about the history of computer programming. This will give you a background on the various programming languages and how they evolved. One such book is “The Art of Computer Programming,” which by many is a book that has shaped computer science.

There are also algorithms in there that are tied to Babylonian tablets from 3000 years ago.

If you want to learn Python, you can learn with a few good books and videos that are available online. There are also courses where you can learn Python and data science, which can help you take your skills to another level.

There are blogs, books, course, and more that you can use to learn just about any programming language. Most programmers are self-taught, and it is possible that you can do the same.

If you’re serious about learning to code, you’ll need to be disciplined about learning.

The best thing you can do is to set up a schedule to study your chosen programming language.

Start Your Programming Adventure

In 2019, you want to have the best opportunities in front of you. Whether you’re building a business or want to give your career a fresh boost, programming languages are great to know.

You can create customizations on your websites, build apps, or do anything your imagination wants.

Want to know more? Check out this article on building a million dollar website.

Offline Marketing: Why It’s Still Important and How to Use It In 2019

The average small business invests 1 percent of their yearly profits in advertising. For a business earning $500,000 in revenue each year, that’s $5,000 spent on advertising.

That may seem like a lot. But consider the many different advertising options out there. That money goes fast.

That, along with the popularity of the internet, may be why so many businesses are beginning to overlook offline marketing. Instead, they are investing only in online tactics like SEO, content marketing, and social media ads.

The internet continues to become more integrated into our daily lives. Yet, offline marketing is still essential for businesses of any size and in any industry.

Keep reading to learn why offline marketing is still so important and how you can use it alongside digital strategies to strengthen your brand and increase sales.

Why Offline Marketing Is Still So Important

Online marketing strategies are certainly important. But offline continues to perform for local and national businesses for a reason: clients still need it.

Maybe these clients don’t use the internet. Or they need something more concrete to hold onto. Either way, they look for offline marketing pieces as a way to connect with businesses.

Here are a few of the reasons why you should still be using offline marketing as a part of your marketing plan.

You Still Meet Clients Face-to-Face

The internet has made it possible to connect with people around the world and around the clock. But for most industries, that doesn’t eliminate face-to-face meetings with clients and customers.

Meeting face-to-face is a chance to connect with clients on a more intimate level. If you do it right, you’ll leave a lasting impression. This is essential to building a lasting relationship with that customer.

The chance of selling to an existing customer falling somewhere between 60 and 70 percent. In comparison, the chance of selling to a new customer is 5 to 20 percent. When viewed in this way, those old, loyal clients are important.

You could send those clients an email after your meeting. But the delay between the meeting and when they read this email could be extensive.

This gives clients time to change their mind, forget about you, or even find a new company. It also requires your client to be at a computer often, which may not be the case.

Offline marketing is a great alternative in this situation. While business cards may seem old-school, they are as important now as they ever were.

They give customers something they can hold onto and remember you by. They can place it wherever they choose, and every time they see it, they’ll think of you and your services.

Read more about the many reasons why business cards are still so important here.

You’ll Target the Rest of Your Clients

Mobile devices that connect to the web are more prevalent and cheaper ever before. Yet, 11 percent of Americans still aren’t using the web.

Some of these non-internet users are older and never learned to use the web. Others have no interest in using it.

Still more blame the high costs of WIFI, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. It’s cheaper to stay disconnected.

If you’ve given up offline advertising completely, you’ll be missing out on these clients. Depending on the nature of your product or services, this could be a big loss.

Even if it isn’t a big loss, targeting these customers can only increase your potential pool.

You’ll Strengthen Your Local Following

With the onslaught of online businesses in recent years, it can be easy to get lost on the web.

If you’re new to a popular niche, it can be almost impossible to grow a following on the web alone. Consider just how many online clothing boutiques exist. Trying to market your new brick-and-mortar boutique alongside multi-billion dollar online stores will feel impossible.

That’s where offline marketing comes in. Use it to target local customers as you begin to build brand awareness. You won’t have to worry about getting lost in the competition because local competition will be far less prevalent that web competition.

Flyers, mailers, and billboards are still incredibly important to market yourself locally. These tactics have yet to surpass even the best online local marketing strategies for increasing traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

You’ll Get a High ROI

Many offline marketing strategies still offer a very high ROI (return on investment) compared to online tactics. This is due to a combination of lower costs for print media and their success. Many online marketing tactics are more expensive, harder to track, and even more difficult to target customers with.

For instance, direct mailers are offline marketing techniques sometimes overlooked by new businesses. Yet, they continue to have an incredibly high ROI.

A successful direct mailing campaign can provide a 1,300 percent return on your investment. That’s $1,300 in sales for every $1 that you spend on printed direct mailers.

How to Use Offline Marketing

While the same offline marketing strategies that have been in use for decades remain popular today, they have changed quite a bit in that time.

New ways of implementing offline strategies allow you to integrate them with online strategies, keep them relevant, and increase your ROI.

Blend Digital with Offline Media

Your offline marketing strategy doesn’t have to exist entirely on its own.

One great way to upgrade traditional offline marketing tactics is by blending them with modern approaches. This allows you to create a seamless marketing plan. Do it right, and it will go from the internet to the real world and back, keeping clients connected to your brand at all times.

For instance, if you are a retailer selling products direct to customers, you likely list products on your website. You may even have a mobile app that allows your customers to shop while they are on the go.

If you also have a brick-and-mortar retail location, you can integrate QR code scanners. Simply add them to your printed in-store signage. Customers can scan them to see other products related to the ones they’re shopping for that may not be in store.

You can also integrate codes into catalogs or other mailers your business sends out. These are great for letting local customers who already love you know that they can also shop online.

Update Your Online Strategies to Keep Up with Offline Ones

Offline marketing tactics that blend seamlessly with online ones are great. Some offline strategies stand alone, like billboards or other signage. But you’ll still need to update your online strategies to keep them relevant.

For example, you need to make sure that your business’ address and contact info are correct online. This includes listings on Google, Yahoo Business, and similar platforms.

If a customer sees your billboard and Googles your business, they’ll get the address. They’ll be able to visit your store right away.

This also shortens the amount of content that goes on your offline marketing pieces. You won’t need to stuff your signs with your address or phone number. This leaves more room for other important information or eye-catching images.

You’ll also want to put effort into improving your local SEO strategies. In conjunction with signs and mailers, this is great for reinforcing your brand. It also helps you to stay connected with your clients both online and off.

Nail the Details

Larger offline strategies, like billboards, are well-known. But it’s the smaller details that set the best businesses apart.

From custom stationery to holiday cards sent to loyal customers, these smaller offline strategies won’t necessarily win you new customers. But they will help improve your relationship with existing ones and help you continue to build a winning reputation.

When choosing which smaller print marketing tactics to utilize, you’ll want to consider your audience.

Younger clients may move often, making mailers tough to use. But all age groups love to save money, making print coupons or deals a winner with any demographic.

Other old-school offline tactics, like newspaper ads, radio advertisements, and television commercials all remain popular with certain demographics as well.

Some offline marketing strategies will cost you just about nothing but can leave a big impression. You and your employees’ body language can have an effect on sales, as can your knowledge of your products, and your friendliness to customers.

Putting Online and Offline Marketing Strategies to Work

You want to do everything you can to make sure that your business gets noticed. That’s why you need to be investing in both online and offline marketing strategies.

Designing a billboard or business cards might not be too complicated. But if you don’t have experience with digital marketing, your online strategies will take more work.

Whether you need help setting up your website, implementing SEO, or need help branding yourself on social media, I can help.

Check out my services today to see how I can help your business grow on the web.

Quick Tips on How to Get a Commercial Loan to Grow Your Business

Making the decision to take on debt for your business isn’t one that should be taken lightly.

What if you’re considering applying for a commercial loan to help you finance your dream brick and mortar office or store?

We know that you want to understand the best possible options before you make a final — and expensive — decision. You may feel that a commercial real estate loan is the right choice, but want to learn more about the process.

In this post, we’ll tell you what you need to know to get the funding your business deserves.

What Is a Commercial Building Loan?

Before we discuss the requirements and specific benefits of a commercial loan, let’s make sure you’re clear on what one is.

In a nutshell, a commercial real estate loan is an arrangement between a place of business and a loan provider.

These providers can be banks or private lenders. Many people elect to get their loans from commercial financing companies.

This is because smaller businesses especially struggle to get loan approval from a bank.

In the case of commercial real estate loans, you’ll use the money the lender provides to you in order to finance the construction of a brick and mortar store, office, or general place of business.

You can also use the money from your commercial real estate loan to upgrade and renovate a property you already own.

It’s important to realize that a commercial loan is made to a business, not to an individual. This means that the loan payment will actually be given to a corporation, a trust, or a limited partnership (to name just a few examples.)

Of course, since the payment isn’t being made to a person, but rather to a company, it can be tough to prove you have strong credit and are in good financial standing.

So, depending on the lender, you may need to elect a few principals — people who are the company’ owners. You’ll then give the lender your credit history, and other financial information.

In some cases, the property itself may serve as the collateral.

Standard Commercial Loan Requirements

Now that you have a better grasp on what a commercial loan can help you with, let’s talk about the requirements you need to have.

First of all, in most cases, you’ll have to show that your business occupies at least 51% of the building you want to purchase.

You’ll need to give the lender five years of your tax returns, an independent property appraisal, and a business plan. You’ll also need to provide them with a certification from the state that proves you’re a corporation.

In some cases, you may need to give specific financial reports. You may also need to show the lender a projected cash flow. This helps them to know you’ll actually be able to repay the loan.

You’ll also need to seriously consider your commercial real estate loan down payment.

These down payments are a percentage of the total amount of the loan.

You’ll need to be able to pay these upfront in order to get the loan you want. So, when you’re looking at your options (more on that in a minute) ensure the percentage is one you can afford.

The good news is that there are lots of ways a commercial real estate lender may be able to work with you. This will increase your chances of getting the loan you desire. Check out this article from Assets America to learn more about selecting the right broker for your needs.

Types of Commercial Real Estate Loans

If you want a commercial real estate loan, the good news is that you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

There are five main types of commercial loans.

The first is an SBA7(a) loan, which is actually backed by the SBA itself. These are the most popular loans, and can go up to $5 million. In most cases, they carry interest rates of anywhere from 5-8.75%. You’ll pay them back over a period of about 10 to 25 years.

You may also consider a CDC/SBA 504 loan. This is also backed by the SBA, and it doesn’t have a maximum borrow amount. You’ll need to pay a minimum down payment of 10%.

Often, people think of this loan as two loans. This is because it’s, in addition to being backed by the SBA, also backed by a Certified Development Company (CDC.)

Their low down payment makes them a popular choice for young businesses.

You could also choose a traditional commercial mortgage loan issues by a bank. The down payment can be anywhere from 15-35%. They’re tougher to get than other types of loans, but they offer low-interest rates.

In some cases, you may choose a commercial bridge loan. This is a short-term option, and you’ll later refinance the loan into a long-term mortgage. The term is anywhere from 6 to 36 months in total.

Finally, you might want a hard money loan.

This is also a short-term option. Once again, you’ll later refinance and turn this loan into a mortgage. This is the best choice for those who need money as soon as is possible.

Is a Commercial Loan Right for Your Business?

We hope this post has not only explained what a commercial loan is, but also helped you to determine if getting one is the right idea for your business.

Looking for advice about how to pay off loans and business debt? Want to learn more about the different types of business loans available to you?

No matter what kind of business you’re in, or your financial situation, our blog can help you to grow.