Marketing for Educators

photo-1432821596592-e2c18b78144f
As the child of two educators who both ran successful side businesses, I know how important it is to leverage your skills and strengths on your terms and schedule.

You may not know that I seriously started pursuing my teaching certificate. After graduating with a journalism degree and a business minor and working in the journalism field for several years, I started the process of obtaining my post-Bach certification in elementary education.

Before I completed my student teaching, I was offered the job of my dreams combining my journalism degree and education classwork at an education-related non-profit. I love what I do.

I also love helping educators supplement their income with side businesses. After years of consulting one on one, I developed an ecourse to be able to reach more educators who want to grow their business.

This course will give educators (and anyone else interested in marketing a side business!) the confidence to apply their current skills and convert classroom teaching experience (which is really selling when it comes down to it) into growing a business.

Most marketing information and courses are aimed at people who have a different skill set than educators and more time on their hands. Everything in this ecourse can be done after school hours or on the weekends, which is exactly when you will be working to grow your business any way!

Over five lessons you will learn the basics of marketing your product or service including homework assignments to move you along in the process.

You can check out the ecourse here. If you’d like to register to take the course, email me at aurora@jacreativegroup.com for a $5 off code!

Work From Home? Make The Right Space

pexels-photo-245032

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

More of us are now able to work from home, be that because of new policies in our jobs, we work as freelancers, or we are starting up a brand new business.

There are many positives of working from home: it can be more comfortable and quiet, you do not have to spend money on commuting to the office every day, you can work in your pajamas.

There can also be negatives, too: you solely have yourself for company all day and may find it difficult to bounce ideas off other people, it is easy to get distracted by housework and chores and you may find yourself procrastinating online as there is unlikely to be the same filters on your home internet compared to the filters at the office.

If you do work from home, an essential aspect of that is allowing yourself a comfortable, not cramped and decluttered space to work in. This is easier said than done, as your work space at home may be in the spare room where lots of things are stored. Your space may be in the closet under the stairs which could be pretty small, dark and uncomfortable or your space could even be in the basement which has a tendency to get drafty and cold pretty quickly.

So, you will need to take steps to ensure your space is creative, prevents your attention from being diverted and is as comfortable as you can possibly make it. A first step that you could do is tidying your space up. Store everything that is irrelevant to your work away somewhere which is safe and unreachable during your working hours. Make sure your space is set up correctly for you (a desk, comfy chair, a good quality shredder which you can get from websites like paper shredder pros, good lighting, and that your computer is set up in a good position for you). Then, make sure you will not get distracted by something as simple as looking out of the window – if need be, close the curtains and shut the window to prevent any noise from filtering in.

Another task you could do for when you are working at home is to set yourself working hours, as you would in you were working in an office. Also, do not answer any text messages or phone calls unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not answer the door unless you are expecting someone. If your work does not require internet access, then turn off the internet router until you are finished working.

Working from home can be extremely beneficial for people who have busy family lives or extenuating circumstances which can sometimes mean they can only work part-time in other jobs. More employers are seeing, and reaping, the benefits of employees working from home and it can also be seen an extremely modern and evolving way of working – meaning that more companies are starting to allow employees to work from home at a very fast rate.

Advertisements

What is a social signal?

pexels-photo-209151

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When people speak about advertising or promoting a business they usually turn to the internet. The internet has no real boundaries and you reach the entire world, almost anyone can get noticed and there are thousands of different platforms and communities you can use to engage your customers. Simply put, it’s a great place to advertise your business.

However, unlike a local shop or retail store, there are different strategies and tactics if you want to successfully reach a wide audience. A retail store can use flashy banners, local promotions and large signs to promote their business locally. They could even utilize the internet or list themselves in a local business directory, but that doesn’t really work when you want to establish an online presence.

Think Digital
Instead of treating your online presence like a location on a map, think of it as a point on a really large chart, and that point has to connect to other points (people). When you connect with people, communities and websites, your influence spreads giving you and your business a web of connections.

To do this, you have to connect with communities and people that are related to your industry. For starters, you can’t advertise your computer products to people that don’t know much about computer hardware. Similarly, you shouldn’t advertise fashion to people who don’t care about fashion. You have to target your advertising by first connection with communities on Facebook, Reddit or specialized forums and websites.

There’s also the term “social signal,” something that has gained popularity over the years to help with your business’s exposure, but what is a social signal? You can find out more at the link there, but it’s essentially how your website is ranked according to likes Twitter messages and mentions.

Stand out From the Crowd
To make your business stand out, you need to be able to engage your customers. For starters, when you are setting up social media accounts for your business, you need to respond to questions, queries and mentions whenever possible. Retweeting on Twitter is a powerful tool that will spread someone’s message across all of your followers. If an influential person in your industry decides to retweet one of your messages about a new product that you have, then you’re almost guaranteed to get a lot of attention for it.

You can also stand out from the crowd by partaking in discussions about your products or the industry. Communities like Reddit have lots of smaller communities (known as subreddits) which engage in discussions about very specific topics. Some companies make it their niche to focus on customer service and providing excellent feedback and support to their fans. Representatives of a company will often scour communities and forums to look for mentions of their brand, and then personally answer questions or give assistance to someone that needs help with their products or services.

Copy Google perks for your business

mac-freelancer-macintosh-macbook-40185

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When people sit down and think about what sort of company culture they want to achieve, or be part of, most people think about Google. The Google culture makes prospective employees want to work there. A desirable company culture isn’t just a matter of being wacky or fun or quirky or innovative. It is about maximizing productivity and collaboration. It is about being professional and looking professional. It is about empathy for your employees, customers and suppliers. 

Be Empathetic Toward Your Staff: One of the greatest things about Google is the way they view their staff, and let the staff excel. For example, they allow their employees to spend 20 percent of their time working on personal projects. Of course, you may not be able to afford your workforce such an opportunity, not exactly like this, but you could allow them the freedom to use their ingenuity on side projects that benefit your company. Google ‘s passion project options is where things like Gmail and Google news came from.

Be Professional: Running a business is one thing, making your brand as professional as possible is another. What’s more, it doesn’t take a ton of money to be professional. It could be that you use virtual meeting rooms, or upgrade your telephone system using VoIP phone solutions, or have a user-friendly website. How people perceive your business is what they believe. So if they are greeted by a professional phone service, not just an automated maze, they will remember that. If they stumble across your website and fall in love with the brand, then you’re well on your way to success.

Offer Food: We know you probably can’t do what Google has done, in the sense that you don’t even have the space to have free cafeterias to offer their employees free food and drink, but you can do something. Consider buying fresh fruit for your staff to make healthy snacks available. These could be protein bars or nuts or breakfast bars. Do breakfast or lunch once a week or once a month. Not only will this let them know they are valued, but it will stimulate their minds with foods packed with energy.

Lounge Areas: When you think about Google’s offices, you think about all of the perks that they offer their employees. They have recuperation pods, and areas you can grab a quick nap, or places you can go to have your creative spark reignited. We’re not suggesting you can mimic this, but having area with some neat Ikea furniture and freshly painted walls could go a long way in giving your employees somewhere to relax, share ideas, bond and communicate. All of this will create a healthy vibe in the office.

Four ways technology has changed business models

hands-coffee-smartphone-technology

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Business is just one of the areas of life that have been totally transformed over the last few years in particular. Many companies don’t just rely on technology these days, they are totally co-dependent on it. Countless opportunities have now up that were simply never available in the past. 

Technology Leads Business
In the early days of computers, technology would aid already existing businesses. Advances like email made communication easier, while the first websites were created for companies already in existence. With the widespread success of the internet, tech-savvy entrepreneurs sensed an opportunity like no other. Now, many of the top performing companies in the world are based solely on technology, evolving at a rapid pace. Many businesses hire data center designers to create storage systems that act as their nerve center, and other firms specialize in particular areas of technology. Businesses now have to keep on top of any changes and be ready to move with the ever-changing times.

Increased Flexibility
Though the traditional 9 to 5 working day is still king for many companies, flexibility in working is essential for many modern businesses. With the advent of smartphones, employees have access to their emails wherever they are. This is a revolution that has been both celebrated and scorned. While the working day used to end at 5, many people find it harder to switch off from work knowing that they are contactable 24 hours a day. While technology continues to move apace, modern employment practices often struggle to keep up with this warp speed.

Distance Has Become A Minor Concern
The improvement in communication means that companies halfway across the world are able to do business much more easily. Skype conferences even make it seem like everyone is right there in the room. Employees no longer have to all be under the same roof, but instead are no longer restricted by distance. Again, this presents a challenge for traditional businesses as many employees are calling to work from home to have increased flexibility in their own lives.

Business Models Constantly Change
In the past, a business model could be printed in a textbook with very little need to be updated over the years. Now, they are constantly evolving. If a business is based solely on technology, sometimes the challenge can be to make sure they actually turn a profit. Many online businesses that we would think would be the most successful, struggle to turn their popularity into tangible financial success.

With signs that things are only starting to speed up even more, technology has provided endless opportunities, but challenges have also sprung up everywhere. Just like Darwin’s theory of natural selection, it will be a survival of the fittest and only those that continue to evolve will survive.

Expansion planning

keyboard-1905884_1280

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The business isn’t the product or service you sell. It’s not the brand or the name or the marketing. Down to its core, the business is the people who make all that function. So, hiring and keeping the best people you can is the easiest way to create a stronger business.

The all-important job description
When you’re creating a new role, you need to spend a lot of time on thinking of the job description for the business. Not just to make sure the right people are applying, but to better understand what the position needs. You should know the competencies, not just the hard skills, involved in the job. You have to clearly fit them in the existing hierarchy, including making clear the relationships between that position and the business. 

The focus on culture
Don’t forget to highlight not just the defining elements of the role, but the defining elements of your business. Make sure you properly identify the most positive attributes of your company culture. What about the culture makes employees happy? Is it a focus on their future? Is it an integration of team-building and cohesion? Is it allowing more autonomy in how people do their jobs? Make sure you’re pitching the business as well as the job. Get them believing in the company early.

The perks you offer
You’re not going to be able to get better employees for free. The perks of the job absolutely need a place to shine. If you want long-term employees, for instance, then you might need a small business 401k plan to show that your business is a safe place to plan one’s future. If you want to create a place that allows better work-life balance, then you should be open to considering flexible working schedules and maternity/paternity leave beyond the norm. A simple paycheck isn’t enough to entice the very best.

The flexible approach to hiring
If you want a better chance at getting long-term employees, you need to cast a wider net. Some of the other methods of finding staff have distinct certain advantages. If you incentivize existing employees to refer new team members, then you are making valuable use of word-of-mouth just as you would in a marketing campaign. If you get out to networking events with the intentions of scouting new talent, then you have the opportunity to create a more personalized pitch to appeal to the individual. Don’t just rely solely on jobs listings.

If you want the very best people, you have to make yourself the very best employee to work for. From understanding what exactly you need from your team to being able to offer them a place that caters to their needs. Treat employees as well as you treat customers and you’ll get the best you can.