How to Build Your Virtual Business: Creating an Online Presence
15 March

How to Build Your Virtual Business: Creating an Online Presence

Whether you’re just starting out with your new business, or you’re a well-established hub who’s looking to expand, creating an online presence is essential to success today. With current trends focused so heavily on the web (online shopping, reviews, networking, etc.), creating a captivating virtual business can truly make or break your brand.

“Whether you are a local restaurant with ten years of industry experience or a startup that hopes to revolutionize commercial-grade cookware, taking your brand online can positively impact your company.” – Forbes.com

So, you know you need to have a successful online presence, but how? I mean, how many of us are truly web-design gurus here? Even if you’re fairly handy with technology and can fumble your way around web design templates, you’re still not likely to be a closet design genius.

Creating an online presence that works for your company can be a stressful and frustrating time – but it doesn’t have to be. By equipping yourself with the right tools, you can ease some of the tension and confusion around designing your virtual business. Let’s take a look at how to simplify the process one step at a time.

1 – Take Stock of Your Brand for Your Virtual Business

The first step you need to take when expanding your virtual business, is to take stock of your brand. What do we mean by this? Look at what you have developed on site so far and take note of your key items. Do you have items that are top sellers, or products and services that are popular locally? Look at your business or brand strengths and incorporate them into a plan. Be sure to note all things you wish to achieve with your online business. This will give you a basic outline for building your business on the web.

2 – Familiarize Yourself with Web Lingo

It may seem daunting, but one of the best ways to ensure online success is to do a little research on what’s out there. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with terms like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Analytics to help you build a solid platform that’s ripe for virtual traffic. Understanding the basics of virtual marketing techniques can help you decipher what avenues will be best to represent your individual business needs online.

3 – Be Consistently Present

Once you have decided which online presence is best for your virtual business (social media, web pages, blogging, etc.), you need to get to work. By that we mean, you need to be consistently present online. If you’re blogging, make sure you’re producing pieces daily. If you’re on social media, share relevant information frequently (at least once a day) to get your brand out there. Staying consistently present is key to developing an online presence.

4 – Drum Up Traffic

A successful virtual business requires a steady flow of traffic to your site or interactions with your posts. How do you do this? You build a following. And how do you do that? Well, in addition to being consistently present as we noted above, you need to drum up some interest in your virtual business. This can be done in a number of ways, depending upon your specific business, but some of the easiest and most common ways include:

  • Running promotions or contests (“Like and share this post for a chance to win!”)
  • “Online Only” sales and promo codes
  • Offer referral discounts for friends and family of current clients
  • Interacting with your customers/clients frequently and personally online

5 – Track Your Progress

Lastly, as with anything in business, it’s always important to track your virtual business progress. Keep logs of what type of promotions worked best or what posts generated the greatest attention. Doing so will help you see how your target audience is reacting to your online presence and will give you the tools to tweak your approach as you go.

Keep in mind that all businesses are unique to their own existence, so no one single approach will work for everyone. The best advice? Do your research, keep track of what works (and what doesn’t), and stay at it!

Top 5 Telecommuting Opportunities: Making Money from Home
1 March

Top 5 Telecommuting Opportunities: Making Money from Home

If you were asked to sit down and create a list of your top priorities for your dream job, what would top your list? Would it be a generous salary? A padded benefit package? Flexible hours? Surprisingly, it would seem a significant portion of the workforce shares one particular wish-list item: telecommuting.

When it comes to career goals, a vast majority of the workforce today has a similar mindset. In fact, according to one study reported on Forbes.com, 85% of the workforce in the U.S. specifically seeks employment that allows them to work from home or on the go.

In addition to that statistic, the study also found that another large portion of the population would actually leave a current employer if a similar opportunity arose that allowed them more telecommuting freedom.

“74% of employees said they would quit their jobs to work for an organization that would allow them to work remotely more often, even if their salary stayed the same.” – Forbes.com.

With so many individuals going after the same career goals, it’s not surprising that actually finding those epitomical positions can be a little tricky. If you’ve ever done a search for “work-from-home” jobs, you’ve likely come across an endless stream of too good to be true scams. So how do you find the real deal?

Rest assured, telecommuting and work-from-home jobs really do exist – even those with sustainably high salaries – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look (or what to look for). Taking some of the guess-work out of it for you, we have compiled a list of five of the top telecommuting opportunities, complete with excellent compensation:

1 – Virtual Assistant

Since nearly all businesses operate (at least partially) through an online networking presence today, it makes sense that a large portion of them would need online assistance. These jobs generally help executives and management stay organized with schedules, correspondence and other tasks, but with the flexibility of handling them all from home. Depending on the specific tasks and workload, some virtual assistants can make upwards of $50/hour or more.

2 – Translator

Can you fluently speak a second language (or more)? You might be a great candidate for translator work! Translators work on an as-needed basis usually, but there are specific companies searching for a full-time translator or interpreter to keep on staff.

“The national median wage for this career was $46,120 in 2016, although the top 10% of workers earned an average of $83,010.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.

3 – Social Media Management

With the social media world booming, there is big money to be made for those who can maneuver their way around the backside of online media accounts. With companies competing fiercely for a viral presence, it makes sense that they would be willing to lay out some highly competitive wages for someone who can deliver impressive social media followings.

4 – Freelance Writing

If you want complete freedom of schedule and you’re good with the written word, freelance writing might be for you.

“More than ever, writers are needed to formulate news articles, create content, and come up with the creative ideas that fill the pages of nearly every site on the internet.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a salary average for freelance writers since there are so many variables involved (research, length, experience, etc.). According to GlassDoor.com, however, freelance writers who utilize sites such as Upwork have an average base pay of $22-50 per hour of work.

5 – Web Development

Web development is in high demand today, and also lends a flexible work-from-home opportunity for those with qualifications. Since most people don’t possess the skills to create a truly seamless and eye-catching online presence on their own, many will choose to hire someone to help them.

Basically, all you need (in addition to the obvious training and know-how) is a computer and some dependable internet connections and you’re equipped for this position.

“Even better, the national median wage for web developers was $66,130 in 2016, with the top 10% earning an average of $119,550.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.

All-in-all, careers which offer the flexibility of working on the go or from home, are at the top of the list for those seeking employment today. Those positions are definitely out there, you just need to know where to look!

7 February

Marketing 101: 5 Essential Steps for Jersey City Small Businesses

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Marketing for small businesses may seem like an endless and confusing concept, but there are some basics that can help simplify the process for anyone. In fact, if the idea of marketing your brand or product has you believing you should leave it to the professionals, rest assured, it’s not as complicated as it seems.

Many small business owners simply don’t know the basics of getting their brand out there and are lost as a result. By learning just a few fundamental steps, your small business can boost sales and generate buzz with the best of them. Sound too good to be true? It’s really not. Optimizing the marketing tricks of the trade for your business boils down to a few key components:

1. Know Who You’re Targeting

For starters, the most important aspect of business marketing is understanding who makes up your client base. In other words, your “Target Audience.” Is your product or service focused on a local audience or is it a national or global product? What generational group (Boomers? Millennials?) is most involved with your product or service? Knowing who you’re going to be targeting is the first step and shouldn’t be too difficult to pin down. Chances are, you already know your target audience.

2. Create a Platform to be Seen

So, you know your target audience – now what? Now you need to be seen (and heard). A good marketing 101 rule to keep in mind: “people need to hear or see your message at least seven times before taking any action” (Forbes.com). How are they going to see your message? Set up a website. Create social media pages (Facebook is a great place to start if you’re not familiar). Register with local organizations (set up at community events, register with local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, etc.). These are all essential to being seen.

3. Run Specials and Promotions

Once you have established an online presence and set up local connections to your community, this is when the marketing fun begins. You can grow your online audiences (and convert them to physical customers and clients) by running promotions, sales, special events or any other form of meet and greet that entices potential customers to check out your business. Try running “Like and Share” contests on Facebook which ask users to like and share your posts for a chance to win a free service or product. Doing this will help expand your presence both online and in the community by generating buzz and giving way to a greater audience for future promotions. (Remember the rule of 7!)

4. Utilize “Brand Ambassadors” (i.e., Family and Friends)

Another great (and simple) way to spread the word about your business for a minimal cost is word-of-mouth. Having family and friends lend a hand with your networking and marketing efforts can be a fantastic resource. Forbes suggests having t-shirts and swag created with your company logo to hand out at any opportunity, but there are endless ways you could utilize swag to create buzz. Family and friends wearing your company logo on a t-shirt all over town can boost interest as well as other items you can hand out during events (think pens, small notepads, portable chargers, coffee mugs, etc.).

5. Be Consistently Present

We can’t stress this part enough: an online presence can make or break businesses in all genres today. No matter what your target audience looks like, the vast majority of the world’s population will first turn to the web when researching any form of service or product nowadays. You need to ensure they can find exactly what they’re looking for (you!). This is done by continually updating your online presence with new promotions, new ads, new photos, new ratings and anything else that will begin to build once you’re out there.

As a general rule, the best way to build your brand is to network and be seen. Add your presence on any and all relevant platforms (local events to websites and social media) and utilize your family and friends to help spread the word too. Remember, customers will be looking online for what they need, so make sure your business is seen and give them a reason to choose you! That’s marketing in a nutshell, folks.