What You Can Learn From Freelancers Right Now

May 21, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. If recent global events have taught us anything about business, it’s that millions of people were ready to work remotely. Sheltering in place isn’t much different from what many freelancers were already doing.  For years, I’ve been writing about how freelancers are armed with the tools and best practices needed for productive remote work. And according to a recent freelance economic impact report by Fiverr, the future of our workforce may already be staring us in the face.  Related: New Study: Health Care Is Freelancers’ Biggest Concern Seven of 10 skilled independent workers surveyed indicated they are highly satisfied with their work, compared to just 54 percent of all U.S. workers. Companies like Twitter have already announced at least part of their workforce can continue working remotely on a permanent basis.   Here’s why freelancers are perfectly […]

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4 Ways to Determine If Now Is the Right Time to Launch Your Business

May 19, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Ideas for startups are often clouded in uncertainty during the best of times. In the midst of unprecedented global uncertainty, you might think it’s best to shelve any such plans for the time being.  In reality, it could actually be the best time ever to launch. With the growing demand for new ways to work and sell in light of health concerns and desire for new ways to access in-demand products, your startup idea could be just what’s needed. Here’s how to decide. Ask whether your business idea is in demand Over the course of the last two months, it has quickly become clear what type of gaps exist between what’s needed during right now and what’s actually available. Quick searches uncover where there are supply chain issues and a lack of domestic manufacturing for much-needed products and for services […]

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What Freelancers Can Teach You About Keeping Your Skills Sharp

Five tips all entrepreneurs can learn from freelancers. May 1, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.  A recent Upwork study revealed that freelancers are more committed to advancing existing skills and learning new ones and are generally more proactive about keeping their skill sets sharp and competitive than traditional workers. Related: How to Run a 6-Figure Freelance Business in 20 Hours a Week During the current crisis, freelancers everywhere have had to be particularly nimble and scrappy to keep clients and find new ones. Any entrepreneur can learn a lot from these fast-moving freelancers. Here are some examples. 1. Think strategically about your skill set and where you want to improve Freelancers can’t afford the time or the money to it takes to engage in slapdash continuing online education opportunities during this time. They need to be selective and strategic about where and how they spend […]

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5 Essential Ways to Help You and Your Business Thrive During Lockdown

April 13, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Right now we’re faced with one of the biggest challenges any of us have ever witnessed. How we react to the current pandemic will define our future. Most of us have been told to shelter inside and only leave to get basic necessities or if we have an “essential” job. COVID-19 will have most of us staying in our homes for weeks, if not months.   The new working and living arrangement dealt to us by the pandemic might feel OK to some of the introverts out there. But many others find themselves suffering after the first few weeks of confinement. Most people feel a little cabin fever and would like to freely leave home and just go somewhere — anywhere.  Related: 8 Ways for Your Business to Stay Ahead During the Coronavirus Outbreak Isolation and concern over the situation can impact our […]

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9 Billionaires Who Are Stepping Up During the Pandemic

These nine billionaires are proving its possible to do well and do good at the same time. April 3, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The headlines seem to be everywhere these days: billionaires running off to sequester themselves and their families in lavish bunkers, laying off hundreds of workers with little notice and generally removing themselves from the world community as the rest of us struggle to meet the challenges of the current pandemic.  The prevalence of these negative stories shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Dramatic news sells. Good news and more positive stories don’t seem to generate the same kind of buzz. This skewed perspective can lead to gloomy pessimism.  Related: A PR Checklist For Entrepreneurs Dealing With The COVID-19 Crisis In fact, there are lots of people doing all they can to help others in this crisis. That includes everyday heroes such as doctors […]

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7 Ways to Recover From Too Many Online Meetings During the Day

March 31, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As most startup founders and entrepreneurs can tell you these days, meeting hangovers are real. Right now people are meeting online for everything from work, to happy hours with friends, to therapy sessions or even working out. A large number of these meetings can seriously deplete your precious resources.  One of the primary obstacles to recovering from meetings is the time it takes to switch from one point of focus (the meeting) to another (deeper work). After a fruitless or stressful meeting, your productivity is drained as your resources are reallocated to deal with the resulting mental stress.  The end result is that it often takes longer to fully engage in the next piece of work — I’ve noticed it takes me half an hour or 45 minutes. Add in multiple meetings per week (sometimes per day), […]

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How AI Solutions Are Solving 5 Long-Standing Business Challenges

Five common problems and the companies that are solving them. March 19, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Although every business is different, even those in completely separate industries face some of the same long-standing problems. In recent years, artificial intelligence has become the technology that’s well-positioned to solve many of these business challenges.  Let’s look at five key challenges businesses face and how AI-powered solutions from specific companies are addressing those obstacles.  1. Fraud Handling more digital and mobile transactions gives customers what they want. However, it may also give criminals what they want — that is, an opportunity to grab sensitive personal and financial data. With stronger consumer expectations about transaction speed, companies are struggling to meet demand while ensuring each transaction is scanned for potential fraud.  Related: How Self-Learning Software Is Already a Huge Part of Your Life AI has become the only technology solution […]

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What is Grit, and Why Does It Matter When Hiring for Your Startup?

Look for the people whose will to succeed is one of their defining characteristics. March 11, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Many things go into making a startup successful, including finding the right people. When hiring it’s important to make sure your employees not only have the knowledge and skills to get the job done, but also that they have the grit to help take the company to the next level.  One of the best qualities a potential employee can have is grit. What does grit mean exactly? Someone with grit has the mental toughness to keep trying in the face of challenges and failures while keeping passion for the work they do. That’s the type of employee fast-moving startups need. Related: How to Poach Talent Politely Having a small business involves people doing multiple things and comes with varying trials and obstacles. Each person will […]

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Your Company Needs You to Put In a Full 8 Hours — of Sleeping

Chronic poor sleep is hurting you and your company. Here’s how to get enough of what you need. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The dangers that poor sleep poses to human beings have been well-documented, Entrepreneurs, in particular, are susceptible to those risks. We work long hours, are prone to stress, and carry loads of information in our brains. None of these habits are conducive to good sleep. Moreover, business owners are particularly eager to embrace a “too busy” status as a badge of honor or strength. We don’t stop to think about what it really means – that we aren’t efficient enough to get our work done in a reasonable workday. Noted entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk fell victim to this faulty thinking in a big way, as evidenced by an interview he gave to The New York Times in August 2018. In that interview, he […]

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How to Make Accommodations That Attract and Motivate Workers With Disabilities

Five simple, cost-effective ways to make your company a place all people want to work. March 5, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. With major corporations like Microsoft making an active effort to acquire disabled talent through inclusive hiring programs, it’s no surprise that more disabled people are entering the workforce. In fact, according to 2019 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 20 percent of people with disabilities were employed, which is an increase from prior years. Despite this positive change, a general lack of understanding around disabilities may put some of these individuals at risk for having their particular needs ignored. This is especially true for employees who struggle with disabilities that are not immediately visible — such as depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and others.  Related: These Strategies Help Entrepreneurs Combat Anxiety and Depression Although it might seem […]

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W-9s and Four Other Business Tax Forms Entrepreneurs Need to Know About

How to make sure you’re prepared this tax season. February 25, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Tax preparation is complex and often confusing, even when you’re filing individual income tax as an employee with a single source of income. When you’re a first-time entrepreneur, however, the complexity increases exponentially.  With so many income tax forms published by the Internal Revenue Service, and so much riding on getting your tax returns right, it’s important to understand what forms you’ll most often need and when to use them.  Related: 3 Ways Inventory Management Software Makes Tax Time Less Painful From W-9s to 8829s, let’s look at a few of the major tax forms U.S.-based entrepreneurs need to be familiar with and use on a regular basis.  The W-9: Getting information from independent contractors One of the best ways to get the specialized help you need for […]

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The Top Apps for Businesses in 2020

A recent report explores which new and legacy apps could help you grow your business. February 21, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Apps are transforming business today. They improve accessibility, offer convenient data storage options and help streamline operations, too. But apps are only effective if you’re using ones that are right for your business. If you’re not sure where to start, looking at what apps are most popular among other businesses could be a good place to start.  In its annual Businesses @ Work report, cloud identity company Okta releases an annual ranking of the most popular apps for businesses. The company analyzed data over the last year from customers that use Okta to log into their devices. Its clients range from startups to large companies with hundreds of thousands of employees across industries. The report tabulates the most widely used and the fastest growing […]

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9 Employee Education Resources Every Entrepreneur Should Know

And why the professional development of your employees is an investment worth making. February 17, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to,” Richard Branson famously said. With a rapidly changing world — and rapidly evolving technology — helping employees adapt and retrain to keep their skills marketable has never been more important.  A poll from the Stanford Center on Longevity found that 59 percent of professionals surveyed strongly agree with the statement that they expect their employers to provide educational opportunities to advance their careers. The strongest support came from younger professionals (18-29 years old), 71 percent of whom agreed with the statement. Workers want their employee education from you Interestingly, the workplace is one of the major areas where people expect this retraining to happen. More people (33 percent) expect their current or […]

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10 Must-Follow Company-Onboarding Techniques

Making new employees feel comfortable and useful is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4….. February 5, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Effective employee onboarding is about more than making them feel welcome. It can help employees feel like highly productive and valuable contributors to your mission and success from the start. Plus, when employees have a successful onboarding experience, they’re more likely to feel like members of your team, and this can contribute to employee retention.  Some of the best onboarding processes are unique, creative and a little bit unexpected. If it’s time to change up your onboarding program, you might find the inspiration you need from these 10 effective techniques.   Related: How to Improve Your Startup’s Onboarding Process 1. Get coffee During a new hire’s first few weeks with your company, have them get coffee individually with all of their future team members. This works […]

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Here’s What Employees Want From Their Leaders

Hint: It’s more than perks and privileges. January 29, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Many employers assume that team members want a good paycheck, health insurance plan and generous vacation time. While those are all important elements of any job, most employees look for more than these traditional perks from their leaders. If you want to build and retain quality teams of talented people, you’ll need to learn what matters most to them. According to the 2020 Global Culture Report by the O.C. Tanner Institute, certain problems plague employers and their employees across all industries. Researchers studied more than 20,000 employees and leaders all over the world and found that employee burnout is a growing concern. Nearly 80 percent of employees said they’re experiencing “some level of burnout” at work. This burnout shows that traditional leadership and employment styles aren’t working as well anymore. […]

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Starting a Business Isn’t What You Think. Here’s What to Expect Instead.

Find out if you are truly ready for the lifestyle changes that come with being an entrepreneur. January 22, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. According to recent research, 24 million Americans want to become their own boss by 2021, but they may not really know what they’re getting themselves into. Freshbooks collected data from more than 3,700 full-time American workers for it’s 2019 Self-Employment in America report. Many of them had recently become small-business owners or wanted to become one. It turns out many budding entrepreneurs have high expectations, but they aren’t being realistic.  The data shows people anticipate better work-life balance once they start a business. They think they’ll be healthier and less stressed. At the same time, they expect to earn more money and have more career certainty. This doesn’t always happen of course. If you plan to start a business, be cautious and […]

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How to Know If You’re Intimidating Employees (and How to Stop It)

Take a step back from being the scary boss. January 15, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You’re not one to intimidate employees. You lead by example, strive for a collaborative environment and value input from your staff. All of which is why you may be surprised to hear — or maybe just sense — that you intimidate your team.  There are warning signs: Everyone agrees with you, even when you’re asking for honest feedback; staff tends to quiet down when you walk into a room; or you see a quick look of nervousness on a junior employee’s face when you ask them to complete a task. A recent study by Hult International Business School showed about 34 percent of junior employees surveyed were likely to stay silent on issues of concern, even one of malpractice in the workplace. Further, researchers found 39 percent of survey […]

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Why You’re Hurting Your Bottom Line If You Only Care About the Bottom Line

Fixating unhealthily on profits could backfire, but there is a better way. January 8, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In business, the bottom line matters most. There’s no way around it; you need to make money to stay afloat, and so it feels natural to manage employees with money in mind. This may be doing more harm than good, however. According to research from Baylor University, entrepreneurs or supervisors who use a “bottom-line mentality” (BLM) were less effective. They often lost employee loyalty and respect.  The researchers surveyed 866 people, half of them employees and the other half their supervisors, and found that high-BLM supervisors tended to create low-quality relationships with staff members. Workers could feel their supervisors were focused on the bottom line rather than on effectively managing them as individuals. In turn, team members became disengaged and withheld strong performances. It turns […]

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5 Strategies to Keep Your Customers Long-Term in 2020

From flash sales to follow-ups, a handful of methods to ensure consumer loyalty in the coming year. January 1, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. With New Year’s sales happening all around us, it’s critical to implement customer-retention strategies that will keep your buyers loyal beyond peak revenue periods. After all, why should Amazon be the only retailer or e-commerce brand to grab so much of the sales? Your customer-experience strategy should also encourage customers to stick around long after January, and into the decade ahead. Here are five customer-retention strategies for long-term customer engagement in 2020 and beyond: 1. Focus on the user experience. Customers want to enjoy shopping, but they also want to get it done quickly. That’s why they want to partner with companies that understand their expectations. The takeaway here is that you’ll most likely keep customers coming back if […]

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How Burned-Out Workers Are Jump-Starting Their Careers

Plenty of professionals are resetting with mid-career internships. December 20, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The old tradition of sticking with one or two major employers over a lifetime and eventually retiring with a gifted gold watch to enjoy grandkids and travel is no longer the reality for most of us. Workers who fall within the younger end of the baby-boomer generation will hold an average of 12 jobs over their lives. For millennials, the numbers are even higher. Almost half of them will quit their jobs by 2021, according to a 2019 Deloitte survey. The simple truth is that most of us don’t like our first adult jobs enough to stick with them for decades. At some point, many of us find ourselves longing for a sea change in terms of position, job duties, industry or all three. But one way to effectively explore career […]

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