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Mamma Musings

Balancing a Degree with Family Life: A Guide

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Taking a course or qualification can help to boost your career and self-esteem. However, how do you focus on your own education when your kids are still in school? Balancing family life with your new commitment to education can be highly fraught. This guide will help you to understand the best ways that you can both gain a qualification for yourself and ensure you can still spend time with your family. 

Take an Online Degree

Online degrees are some of the best options for mature students who want to focus on their family life. This is because you can conduct online degrees from anywhere in the world, ensuring that you do not have to leave your family home or go away for months at a time to complete your qualification. Instead, you will be able to submit your assessments, watch seminars and lectures, and use college resources from the comfort of your own home, leaving you to spend more time with the people you love. For instance, Merrimack College’s online M.Ed. in High School Education can help you to achieve the qualifications you need for teaching without living on campus.  While perhaps not available for online degrees, if you do decide to go college. It can be well worth checking out if any scholarships are available such as those available from Nancy Etz

Look for Childcare Facilities 

If you have a small child and want to be able to take them with you to your lectures and seminars at a physical college, you should also look for childcare facilities on campus. It can be hard to find a babysitter to cover all of your lectures and to ensure that you do not miss out, many college campuses’ have free care facilities for young children, which let you drop them off and pick them up around your degree schedule. 

Find Family-Friendly Accommodation 

If you are going away for your education, you should consider finding college accommodation options that are family-friendly. Rather than having to leave your kids at home, there are many colleges that provide self-catered flats and studio flats for parents. These ensure that you do not have to live in accommodation that is difficult for families, such as shared housing or student flats. 

Have Good Time Management Skills 

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However, one of the major steps that you can take to balance education with your family is to grow your time management skills, allowing you to free up time to spend with your kids. The most effective ways to do this include making a schedule, where you can allot time for both work and play, allowing you to find convenient time blocks within which to do work towards your degree. Having a routine also helps, as this will ensure that you are able to spend a regular amount of time with your kids on a daily basis.

Involve Your Kids

Kids love to be involved in whatever their parents are doing, and this applies to college too. Rather than bar them from your degree activities, why not spend time doing homework together, or let them help you to think of ideas for projects or assessments that you are working on? This will then help to prevent any resentment that your kids feel towards your degree and show them what you are spending time on.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors, Mamma Musings

Top Tips for renovating your bathroom

You will have seen lots of our renovation ramblings on the blog over the last couple of years. Have finally (almost) come out the far side I though I share so tips on what worked and what didn’t! We ended up doing 2 bathroom projects. A total renovation and a new one. It’s funny a lot of people I have spoken too have said that one of the most neglected room in their homes was the bathroom which is ironic considering its such a frequently used room!

So here are my top ten tips for renovating your bathroom.  Hopefully this will be useful and do leave comments below if you have any others:

  1. Plan, plan, plan – by this I mean discuss your plans with the relevant trades well in advance and especially before you start buying anything. For example you may want to move a radiator or bath but this may not be possible logistically so talk to the plumber, the electrician etc well before you commence. Also worth considering here is the relevant regulations affecting your refit. Your plumber should be well versed on these and be able to assist and provide advice and guidance. One of the things I love to do is reseach, anybody that knows me knows how much research I like do to when I take on any project.  See fro examples resources like bath remodel Houston can really help.
  2. Features – bathroom tend to be one of the smallest rooms in the house so use what you have a feature. For example you could go for electric radiators which are not only functional but can serve a nice and also very useful feature.
  3.  Storage – if like me you have a strange habit of accumulating all sorts of lotions and potions consider your storage needs up front!
  4. Lighting – consider your lighting needs well before you start any tiling and don’t go over board! (im looking at you Dada Fairy!!)
  5. Showers head/ brassware – these parts particularly the shower head maybe used multiple times a day so buy the best you can afford. Have a look at quality places like Insignia Shower Outlet  Somebody once told me when renovating the bathroom buying the best your budget can stretch to is critical.  These rooms get a huge amount of use so do look for quality. Its so worth it.
  6. Layout – really consider the flow of the room at the outset particularly given the space may be small.
  7. Tiling – Shop around there can be huge variances in prices and quality so take time to visit plenty showrooms and even take them home to get a sense of how they will look in your own space.
  8. Colours – As tempting as it is to go for the latest fad or popular colour, id suggest keep the sanitary ware neutral and jazz it up with the coloured accessories as they can be changed far more easily and cheaply. At the moment im loving Moroccan styled bathrooms. Its the beautiful use of different textures that I have fallen for. Timeless and elegant.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Six Top Goals To Aim For In Life

Every single person in the world has a goal. Whether it’s a big goal or a small one, a goal is a goal. Something to aim for, to feel inspired by, and to spend life trying to achieve is what we need to find our purpose. You should always feel as if your goals matter, and whether you are writing your goals on a bucket list or you are merely noting them down for later in life, you should consider how your goals are going to pan out.

The key is knowing what your personal goals are. Your dreams and ideas are going to be so different from the dreams of others, and you need to be able to own those dreams and feel like you will be able to achieve something amazing because of them. If you want to be able to move forward in life, keeping an open mind is vital. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of six of the top goals that you could have in life.

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Pic Credit: Pexels

Mo’ Money, Fewer Problems

Most people put wealth as a goal, and why not? For some, the addition of a boosted income is one that allows them to live marginally more comfortably than they do right now. You may not want to be a multi-millionaire, but to have enough cash to buy that luxury house for sale or a new car can really make a difference. For some people, more money equals fewer problems because they can finally make ends meet. If money is your goal, you need a plan to build your wealth.

An Exciting New Career

Have you considered that a goal in your life should be to further your career? If you are currently working a job that you hate, you have the power to change that. Not only is a new career going to help you to unlock your wealth goals, but it can help you to move freely around the world and meet new people.

The Best Education

Some so many people go back to school in later life, and if this is a goal that means something to you, then grab it with two hands. An education is a key to so many new things, and you deserve the very best. Don’t let things stand in your way.

A New House

Property ownership – at home or abroad – is a life goal for most people. The chance to stop spending dead money on rent and move into a house that they’ve worked for is a goal that should be put at the top of the list!

The Chance To Explore

Travel, adventures, exploration. How can there be a vast world out there and no desire to see it? There is so much to see and do – make a second list of all the countries and cities that appeal to you the most!

Plenty Of Love

Lastly, your life goals should be topped off with as much love as possible. You don’t need marriage, but you do need to think about surrounding yourself with great people who love you very much!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

7 Productivity Tips for Mothers Working from Home

To work or not to work? This question is not a question anymore for most of the young mothers worldwide. An unstable economic situation and the modern set of values push women with young children to work almost as much as family men do. 

Data provided by the Office for National Statistics in Britain showed that the number of working mothers has been growing steadily. Over the last 20 years it has reached 71,1% in 2019. In the U.S., the majority of children grow up in families where both parents are employed, either full-time or part-time.

The answer to maintaining a satisfactory work-life balance for a stay-at-home mother can be a “home office”. Many women use it to the full extent. But how can you keep your efficiency on a maximum level, when there are so many distractions around? 

We’ll tell you! Read on to find helpful productivity tips for the most popular remote occupations.

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Pic Credit: Unsplash

1. Find the Right Job 

There are three different types of jobs that you may do from home: full-time, part-time and freelance. 

If you have a toddler or a newborn, it’s better to choose freelance. Even if you have outside help, your child under 3 years old will hardly understand that mama needs to work. Children at that age are constantly craving your attention. 

However, if your child is of kindergarten age or you have a babysitter and a separate nursery, you may try to find a job with fixed hours.

2. Use the Education and Skills You Already Have

You heard a lot of inspiring stories about women who managed to change their occupation or start a business during their maternity leave, right? Be careful: such things happen, but not often. If you have a good education and reliable experience, the best thing you can do is to try and adapt this experience to work-at-home mode. 

Let’s take academic writers as an example. These are highly educated women with MA’s and PhDs who can easily use their skills and deep knowledge to work remotely on a flexible schedule. You can most probably find them here – https://essaypro.com/term-paper.html. You can get a high-class help with your term paper from them, either for yourself or your child. 

3. Choose the Most Popular Remote Professions 

We’ve already mentioned academic writing as a good remote profession. There are several other jobs that are more adaptable to remote job mode than others. The following ones are just the top of the iceberg.

  • Freelance journalist/editor;
  • Translator;
  • Tutor;
  • SMM/Content Manager; 
  • Sales Manager;
  • Programmer/Developer;
  • Data scientist;
  • Recruiter;
  • Project manager. 

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    Pic Credit: Pixabay

This list can go on, as more and more companies allow their employees to work from a home office. 

What does it have to do with productivity? It’s simple: the better the job you have, the more you get paid for it. Then, your motivation gets higher – and motivation is key to being efficient!

4. Plan Your Schedule Carefully  

This is the most obvious piece of advice, right? But planning your schedule doesn’t mean writing down everything that you WANT to do. It’s about planning only what you HAVE TO do. 

  • Reserve time for things like visits to the doctor and to children’s educational activities, then insert the working hours. If you have fixed hours, do vise versa. 
  • Find time for relaxation and recreational activities. Include them in your schedule. 
  • All these plans should be have to be written down. You can use a calendar, an online planner like Trello or a simple paper daily planner. 

5. Delegate 

Be realistic: doing everything on your own is a dream that is unlikely to come true. Don’t try to be a superwoman and delegate.

  • Start with setting your priorities. If you value your time with the child most of all but don’t like cooking too much, use pre-made food or find someone to help you in the kitchen. If you love cooking, but hate cleaning, find a cleaner, and so on. 
  • As for finding the money for all the personnel – find a balance. Hire as much help as you can afford – and work as many hours as you really have. 
  • There’s also an option to find volunteer help – a father can do more housework than usual sometimes, and grandparents can take their grandchildren for a walk, for example.
  • Kindergarten is also a great option for older children.

Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Whereas if you try to be a genius of multitasking, it surely won’t. Multitasking is bad for your brain, remember that. 

6. Use Your Natural Productivity Peaks 

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We all have our productivity peaks during the 24-hour cycle. Ignoring this fact is a bad idea.  Though there’s a lot of advice on starting your day early to reach maximum efficiency, it’s not suitable for everyone. Don’t try to break your natural cycles for fashion. It can result in burnout and health problems.  And if you have no choice but to adapt to your baby’s sleeping schedule, consider postponing work for better times or hiring a sitter. 

7. Forget About Perfectionism 

Last, but not least. And it doesn’t mean that you can do your job with less precision or forget to feed the baby. Just don’t worry too much about not being on schedule to wash the floor or dust the shelves. Set the priorities and do some things really well. All that’s less important can be done less than perfect.

To Sum Up 

Productivity for a mother working at home starts from setting the priorities and making the right choices. Careful planning is a job half done. Remember to be realistic and not try to carry the world upon your shoulders or reinvent yourself during maternity leave. Take only as much work as you can handle.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

To Thine Own Self: Dressing To Be Who YOU Want To Be

Learning to be comfortable in your own skin is a lengthy practice. We can incorporate numerous components into our lives like being healthy and ensuring that we are as happy as we can be, but when we look at ourselves in the mirror, sometimes we don’t like the person staring back at us. We’ve all got issues, especially with our own looks, but we’ve got to remember that we have control over our style and our image. Sometimes we can feel that we have to dress in a certain way, but the key is really about dressing to be the person that you want to be. So what are the ways to do this?

Statement Pieces

It’s something to consider that as you evolve your style that one beautiful statement piece can completely elevate your dress sense. It doesn’t have to be anything complex; it can be a great pair of sneakers or sunglasses to completely change a basic and underwhelming outfit into something that distinguishes you from everybody else. When you are choosing statement pieces, think about items that can change with your style. It’s so easy to go for the trendy items, but when you start to invest in statement pieces that are inherently you, this can dress up any bog-standard outfit.

Be Confident

When you are expanding or downsizing your wardrobe, you must remember that it’s supposed to be a reflection of who you are. It can make you or break you. And as easy as it is to follow the trends and what the fashionistas say you’ve got to think about what a specific outfit says to you. Becoming more like you can be about staying away from the norms. You don’t have to follow the herd, and when you are trying to be courageous with your outfits, it’s about taking that leap. Try something; you might like it!

Be Simple

Simplicity is vital. When fashion dictates that everybody should be wearing leather or suede not only is it expensive to follow these trends, but it’s exhausting! You’ve got to dress for the person that you want to be and live the life that you want. This means that we shouldn’t overthink it but also get into the habit of decluttering. Decluttering your wardrobe is the perfect way of decluttering your life. Going back to basics with neutral coloured clothing and a handful of shoes gives you a far better foundation to build upon.

Get Inspired

Who inspires you? Or maybe there isn’t anybody out there that you take inspiration from. Sometimes we could do with going back to the drawing board to get a few ideas. When you are looking for a way to become unique sometimes, you’ve got to go to the various fashion accounts on Pinterest just to give you a starting point. Getting inspired by other people can give you a new direction to go in, or you may just want to emulate that style but when you are dressing to be who you want to be you’ve got to make sure that you are being true to yourself.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Musings

Is Buying Gold Nuggets a Good Investment for Your Family’s Future

Gold nuggets are widely considered to be excellent investments for the future, so the short and simple answer to the question as to whether they are a good investment for your family would be yes.  Investing is a minefield and unless its an area you are very familiar while the potential for returns is high so is the potential for huge losses. If you do need the help of an expert there are many of them out there however my advice is if you are investing your hard earned money and don’t personally have the expertise yourself, financial consultants like Jason Vanclef are the way to go.

It is too risky to try to do this without some expert input.  A Financial Consultant is an experienced, trained professional who can help you either personally with investment decision or in the corporate world they can be the ones advising on for example mergers and acquisitions or improving the overall return for a companies shareholders.

Back to gold – which I find totally fascinating….I have pulled together the following at a basic level to help with initial decisions.

How Do You Know What You Are Buying is Original?

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Pic Credit: Pixabay

There is only one way to be absolutely sure if a gold nugget you are buying is really genuine and not some man-made, artificial lookalike, and that is that there is a requirement for the nugget/nuggets to have a Certificate of Authenticity from Orocal accompanying them.   Just in case you are not aware, Orocal is the premier name in the natural gold industry, which is why its certificates of authenticity hold the highest value in the business.

As all gold Nuggets by Grant come with the Orocal Certificate of Authenticity, buying from them directly would definitely be a way to make sure that whatever you are buying is genuine and will have actual investment value down the line.

Nuggets By Grant is able to source its gold directly from mines in Alaska, Canada and Australia, mainly due to the close connection Grant has with Orocal, which is another reason why the company has managed to maintain an excellent reputation in the business.

Nuggets By Grant has a very dependable and friendly customer support team, so talk with them first to know what size and kind would be right for you, before investing.

The Grades to Avoid

When you are investing in gold nuggets, it is important that you pay attention to the grade. Common grade and melt grade nuggets are the ones to avoid, even though they are certainly not duplicates.

The problem is that whether the gold price is appreciating or depreciating, the common grade and melt grade nuggets do not fare nearly as well as jewellery-grade or investment grade gold nuggets.

What are Collectible Grade Gold Nuggets?

Aside from the common, melt and jewelry/investment grades, gold nuggets also come in collectable grades, which is an inbetweener grade with variable value.  Collectable grade gold nuggets have slight mineralization from the host rock, which gives it an aesthetic appearance. While they are not as high-value in terms of pure gold price, they do have excellent collectors’ value, setting them only next to jewelry grade nuggets in terms of price.

When you see a gold nugget which is so beautiful, big and rare that it looks like something that should belong to a museum, it probably already is in a museum! If by any chance it’s not a fake, and you can afford one, rest assured that you have landed on a gold mine, in more ways than one.

Museum grade nuggets appreciate both with the value of gold, as well as in their potential collectors’ value, as long as they are authentic of course. Have the nugget lab tested if you are making a significant investment in one though, just to be sure.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

The People Your Company Needs

We think it really is pot luck whether your business makes it through or not. A business becomes successful because the right idea is backing it, and the right processes have been put in place to make sure that a business can be successful. But as a small business who is just starting out in business, how are you ever going to know what is the right and wrong thing to do? This is exactly why we think it’s far harder to run a business than it is to do any other job. Although you might not see it as a job, it’s a job that you’re stuck with for the rest of your life. If the plan you have doesn’t form success, you’ll have wasted all the time and money you put into it. This alone is enough for someone to be so motivated to make their business be one of the ones that’s successful. So if you feel like you’re not making all of the right choices for your business at the minute, it might be that you just need to know who the right people are to bring into your business. The right people can mean the difference between finding success for your business, and finding a new job to do. We want to make sure that your expenses are as small as possible so that your income is as big as possible. If you keep on reading, the following people might help you to do just that. 

Your Employees

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Your employees are your biggest asset without even realising it. Your employees are the bread and butter of your company, but we know that they’re going to be people who you take for granted. In fact, you might spend most of your days having a good moan about something silly an employee has done, because of course you can do it better. But the reason you started hiring these employees is because you couldn’t cope with the work that your company was throwing at you. So, without realising it, you have this group of people, or perhaps just one person at the minute, who is readily available to do anything that you want them to do so that they can get their paycheck at the end of the month. There will no doubt be an employee improvement area that you need to focus on. You would be a fool to think that they go through every day without doing something wrong. Perhaps they’re coming in with the wrong working attitude. Perhaps they’re coming in and getting parts of their job wrong, delaying a customer’s order. Or perhaps they’re not gelling with the team that you have. All of which might not be their fault. It’s so easy to jump to blame the employee for being poor at their job, but how much have you supported them? Have you given ongoing training? Have you simply asked them if they were OK at the start of the morning? If you can say you have done everything and more for your employees and they’re still not thriving, they might not be right for the job. You are well within your rights to get rid of employees if they’re not right for the role! 

Marketing Specialists

Now to someone who is external for your company, but almost just as important as any other person that you could utilise for your company. Marketing is pretty much the most vital part of your company if you want to focus on growth. Marketing is the way that the rest of the world sees your company. You can reach out to parts of the world that you would never have hoped to, if you market right. For example, trading between countries to Australia is far harder than it is for the UK and the US to trade between Europe, for example. Australia is at a disadvantage is the sense that it is on the other side of the world to most of the countries it could trade with. However, marketing bridges that gap. People in the UK would not have the connections they do to Australia if it were not for marketing. Making use of marketing is done by using a range of different techniques, rather than just focusing on the cheapest. For example, so many small businesses only use social media as a way of connecting to the world, when methods such as SEO and PPC can give such a better reach than just focusing on social media. Social media marketing is effective but we truly believe it’s only effective when used in conjunction with other methods. To make sure you’re using the right marketing methods you need to be able to work with a company you can jel with. Flicking from company to company prevents continuity. If you can get the same company to work for you they will be able to understand your needs and create campaigns that are far better for you. 

Investors 

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Investors are key if you feel like your business is going downhill. Investors are someone you might have reached out to when starting up your business. You will usually come to a deal with how much money they’re going to give you, and the percentage stakes that they’re going to take away from it. There’s no reason why you can’t reach out to investors again if you need ways of boosting the income of your business. Perhaps you have a new project that you need funding. Or perhaps you know your company is on the brink but you need to have some money invested to follow through with an idea that you know will boost profit. You need to be careful with this one because there’s always going to be the chance that you won’t be able to give the investors back what they have put in. You’re signing a contract which promises them their money back and some more on top of that, which is just like taking out a bank loan. So, if you know the investment is going to boost the profit of your business, you need to make sure you have a good pitch to put forward. You need to sell yourself and your business in order for them to want to put their money into your business! 

Business Analysts 

A business analyst might be essential if you really feel like there is no way out for your business. If you have been struggling for a while now and you can’t figure out why, bringing a business analyst in can help you to see a side to your business that you didn’t know existed. You can get tunnel vision when you spend the whole day thinking about the different elements of your business and why they might not be working. It’s literally enough to drive you mad. Because what’s worse, it’s hard to admit the faults in something that’s your own. If you truly believe in what you’re doing it can be hard for you to admit what might be wrong. Business analysts are impartial people who can bring a business back from the brink. They have built their own expert skills in business and are ready to share that knowledge with you. All you need to make sure is that you can find one that has expertise in the area that you specialise in. For example, if you can get a business analyst who used to be a fitness instructor running their own personal training business, and you now run your own gym, they’re predisposed to be a good analyst for you. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

The Benefits Of Using Vacation Days

In the US, it’s common for employees to turn down the opportunity to take vacation days. As the infographic below suggests, this could have a negative impact on both employers and workforces. If you run a business, or you’re an employee, and you haven’t taken time off for as long as you can remember, it’s worth taking a look at this intriguing image in more detail.

Around 53% of employees in low-paying jobs and 80% of workers in mid-high paying jobs have access to paid vacation time. Despite this, uptake is relatively low. Only 16% of traditionalists take vacation days, with the figures higher among millennials (44%) and generation X (53%). In the US, people in the North East are most likely to take advantage of paid leave. 

In 2015, 55% of Americans didn’t use their vacation allowance, with employees forfeiting the equivalent of $61.4 billion worth of benefits. The average worker took just 16.2 days off work. The most common reasons for not taking time off were planning to roll days over to take a longer break and having too much work to go on vacation. 

Many people might assume that spending more time at work is beneficial for employers, but research suggests that taking time out can actually be mutually advantageous for bosses and employees. Vacations can boost morale, health and wellbeing and make employees more productive, which also benefits the organization. Using vacation time can also contribute to national economic benefits, including $160 billion in total sales and $21 billion in tax revenue. 

To capitalize on the benefits of employees taking time off, employers can actively encourage workers to book vacations, introduce measures to promote a healthy work-life balance and enable employees to completely disconnect from work once their out of office email response is active. 


Infographic Designed By Norwich University

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Stop Avoiding Social Media; It Could Be What Saves Your Brand

Right from the outset, savvy entrepreneurs saw social media as an inexpensive tool to get their messages out to customers and build their brand. These platforms allowed them to communicate with their audience in a way that wasn’t possible before. 

For starters, they could use demographic information to target their advertisements better. Moreover, they created content that presented their firms in a more comprehensive light, explaining to clients what they were really about. 

A lot of entrepreneurs, however, avoided social media – at least in the early days. It seemed like a gimmick and wasn’t really relevant to their operations. How could they use it to make money? The answer wasn’t obvious. 

It turns out, though, that there are several ways that companies now use social media. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter help with sales, internal communications with employees, customer feedback, ratings, telling the brand story, and sharing information about products and services. Thus, these platforms provide practically every outreach service that you can imagine. 

The trick, as the following infographic points out, is to do it correctly. When it comes to social media marketing, there are some tried and tested techniques that you need to follow. It is nothing like traditional branding activities, so you’re not going for the hard sell. 

The best place to start is with education. It would help if you learned about how to use these platforms and offered training to your team. Once you have all the right skills in place, you can use social media to improve your marketing ten-fold.


Infographic by University of Alabama Birmingham

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

What Running A Good Business Actually Looks Like

Being in business can be a lot of fun. Doing your own thing and being a business owner takes a lot of work, but it’s incredibly rewarding too. It’s nice to be able to create something of your own and do a lot of good with it. But, in order to do that, you have to focus on the idea of doing good. And that means running a good business. These are the three key values your business should operate on to do that.

 Integrity

 If you want to be able to build a good business, you need to make sure that you are moral. You have to be in it for the right reasons. You should care about the kind of business that you’ve built and that you’re creating something that does good in the world.

 Relatability

 At the same time, your audience should be able to relate to you. If they are going to connect with your business and want to buy from you – no matter whether you’re selling a product or service, you need to speak to them. So make sure you connect with your audience.

 Honesty

 Finally, it’s important for you to be honest. And this means operating in the most honest way possible. Don’t trick your audience and don’t do anything that could be considered illegal – like white collar crime. If you’d like to learn more about white collar crime, just take a look at the infographic below.


Infographic Design By USC

 

Note: This is a collaborative post