By Suzie Cheel & Des Walsh
Walking onto the beach this morning we saw this sand castle and Des said: “It’s holding out against all odds,” as the waves crashed in.
The next moment the top was gone yet the base remained.
In the United States, today is a day for stopping the usual work, gathering with loved ones, and expressing our thanks.
Wherever you are, whatever your plans today, know that I’m including you in my list of “things I’m grateful for this year.”
This blog is a labor of love that sprung from Liz Strauss’ generous and creative intellect, and I’m so thankful to be part of the Successful Blog team.
You, our faithful readers, commenters, and supporters, are a diverse and energetic group of entrepreneurs, business owners, and aspiring business owners, and we love you.
Here’s wishing you and yours a warm and abundant Thanksgiving.
Health insurance can be costly, and with unpaid medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., it’s not something you can afford to skip out on.
Before quitting your job, take a close look at what types of benefits you’re receiving, especially if you have a family, and make a decision from there.
Questions to ask about your current job
It’s not just a matter or whether or not your job provides health insurance, but a matter of how good it is.
Are your family members covered at an affordable cost? What type of plan are you covered under? What is your monthly payment compared to your deductible? In addition to health care coverage, do you receive dental and vision insurance?
And let’s not forget about sick time and vacation time.
Some companies offer a very competitive paid time-off plan, including holidays, sick time and plenty of vacation time. Is this something you’re willing to give up in addition to your salary and health insurance benefits?
Is Money Everything?
Most people are focused on their salaries. But, the reality is you can find a way to live off of a wide range of salaries.
If you do end up in a catastrophic situation without a good benefits plan in place, you will most likely go bankrupt even if you were making a decent living. Medical bills crush many Americans year after year because they’re not properly insured.
According to the article saving on family health insurance, it’s very rare that companies provide full benefits to employees and their dependents.
If you work for one of these one-of-a-kind companies, you’ll definitely want to think twice about quitting.
On the same token, some employers only offer plans to their employees and not to any additional family members. If this is the case, you’ll have to get your family members on a private health insurance plan of their own.
Is Work Benefiting You?
Though you do have to consider a wide array of things when looking for a job, including salary, benefits, paid time-off, expected weekly hours, travel and job duties, it’s safe to say that benefits should rank towards the top of your considerations.
Employers can pay anywhere from a few thousand dollars per year for an individual plan up to $15,000 per year for a family plan.
If you factor that into your yearly salary, you’re most likely getting paid a decent amount more than you thought. If your employer is also contributing to a 401(k) plan for you, that should be factored in, as well.
Quitting a job is a tough decision.
Many factors need to be thought about in-depth before a decision can be made.
Don’t think lightly about benefits, though, as good packages from employers can be extremely hard to come by.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. New to the city, she enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring the area. She writes on a variety of topics including health insurance, small businesses and personal finance.
Google Analytics is the Ferrari of analytics platforms. It’s fast, sexy, and can super-charge your marketing.
However, most entrepreneurs and small business owners are just sitting in the car, afraid to leave first gear.
A recently released white paper from Formstack pulls together some interesting stats about how marketers are really using (or not using) Google Analytics. One that stood out to me is that only 33% of marketers track ROI via Google Analytics. Perhaps that’s because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of tracking only the surface, vanity metrics.
Want to know how many unique visitors we got last week? Sure!
Want to know which page on our website leads to the most conversions? Uh…hang on a second…
If you actually have goals set up in your Google Analytics account, congratulations, you’re in the 40% minority!
It’s time to dive deeper into those numbers and turn them into useful, actionable information.
The infographic below offers a path to improve your use of Google Analytics. One crucial step is knowing how to A/B test your landing pages and take advantage of tools like Google’s Content Experiments to see what’s working.
Try testing different versions of your headline, main content, design, call to action, and forms (like your sign up, subscribe, or purchase forms). Sometimes a small shift can make all the difference when it comes to conversions.
Are you using the free tools at your disposal to step up your marketing?
In a day and age when the economies of a number of countries are on shaky ground, having a solid business degree behind you enhances the chances of getting a good job, perhaps one day being your own boss.
The biggest challenge for some is deciding just where to go for that degree. Should they look for a quick two-year degree at a community or junior college, should they go to a four-year school or should they opt for a college or university specifically geared towards the business world?
Once that decision is made, the key then becomes focusing in on a generic or specialized business degree.
Educating Yourself on the Business World
In order to put yourself in position to get the business degree, consider the following factors:
With many economies still up in the air at the present time, reinforce your business profile by getting the right business degree sooner rather than later.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and running a business.
Coupled with the mass adoption of smartphones and mobile devices, platforms like Instagram and Vine allow social brands to take advantage of videoÂs popularity with online audiences.
The days of expensive, drawn out video production are gone. Video is easier than ever to create, publish and share.
If you think video is something that should be added to your marketing strategy but donÂt quite know where to start, read on for some inspiration.
I just found BartÂs Fish Tales on Instagram. Fish Tales uses 20-second video to produce the worldÂs shortest cooking show featuring recipes, tips and tricks on how to make great sustainable fish dishes.
On Vine, Home Depot has a variety of 6-second videos that show followers Âwhat it takes to go from to-do to doneÂ. HereÂs a great one that shows us how to plant an easy-to-care-for kitchen counter herb garden.
PowToon publishes video on YouTube that shows viewers how to use their animated presentation tool to produce demos, business presentations, social media clips, etc.
GoPro encourages people who use their camera to tag their own videos with #GoPro, creating a wealth of user generated video content the brand shares online.
Video isnÂt out of reach for you.
While thereÂll always be a space in the market for professionally produced video, the reality is that todayÂs easy-to-use tools and video-friendly platforms make it possible for SMBÂs that couldnÂt afford the medium a few short years ago to give it a try.
Go ahead! There are any number of ways video can be used to advantage in your marketing – share your mission, create a how-to, show off your customers. What do you have to show us?