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10 No-Brainer Ways to Save Money

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Sometimes all you want to do is make a few simple changes and see instant results. Realistic things that you can literally do without thinking about them. If that’s you, this post, 10 No-Brainer Ways to Save Money is right up your alley!
Best 10 No-Brainer Ways to Save Money
There is a mass amount of information about how to save money out there. Some of it requires a change in habits that is more of a long-term goal and you may be asking yourself, “Yes, but how can I save money NOW without really doing much? I don’t have time for all the ideas out there and need immediate results. I’m on a tight budget.” If this is you, here are 10 practical and easy ways to save money without even thinking!
Brew your own coffee and bring your own lunch
Break up with the drive-thru habit. You may enjoy it and it may seem simple, but have you ever waited in line for 10 minutes? You could have brewed a cup at home in less time than that and it would have only cost you pennies. Drive-thrus of all kinds, like the ones at fast food restaurants, are just a bad idea. They seem to save you time, but in the long run, they cost you so much in your budget and really don t save that much time. Likewise, they are worse for your health, which ultimately gives you less time…here on Earth!
Make a grocery list
This is pretty simple to do and will save you so much time and money when you go shopping. Also, if you can, shop alone. Bringing extra people usually means extra things end up in your cart.
Follow your favorite brands on social media
You will often get coupons and special deals just for doing so and you won’t have to do much but wait for them to pop up and snag them when they do. So easy!
Borrow and get things free
Borrowing saves you money by not having to purchase things that you may only need one time and it also keeps the clutter down at home. Likewise, stop paying for things you want. Here are 15 things I don’t spend money on.
Stay organized
Being organized in many aspects of your life saves you money by allowing you to not buy duplicates of things you already own and staying on top of your important events. Miss a birthday? Chances are you’ll spend much more being late than having things all ready to go before hand.
Pay your bills on time
By paying your bills on time, you will avoid late fees which can up to hundreds of dollars wasted over the course of a year. Likewise, paying your bills late will affect your credit score, which makes for higher interest rates in the future. Set reminders on your phone or computer if you need to be reminded.
Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer
Just a few degrees can save you lots of money in your electricity or natural gas bill. Hesitate to turn on the heat or air conditioner as long as you can. Bundle up in sweaters if you are cold or drinking a cool beverage if you are hot can help.
Sign up for rewards programs
These usually only take a minute to sign up for and can save you many dollars down the road and even earn you free items.If shopping online, look for coupon codes for free shipping or percentages off before you click pay.
Skip out of network ATMs
Those little fees can add up to big money lost very quickly. If you have trouble remembering where your in-network ATMs are, ask your bank if there is an app that you can download on your phone that helps you locate one with GPS based on your location. Many banks provide these now. And as a second tip, do NOT go overdraft. This is a biggie.
In my banking career, I’ve personally seen people go in the negative over a $12 charge and overdraft due to overdraft fees by $500 and the bank refused to waive all those fees!The list goes on and on and on….you can walk instead of taking your car. Go to the library instead of buying a book. Rent a movie instead of buying the movie or going to the theater.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that lead to the most savings for you. I remember when I first started saving money, the first thing I cut out was fast food. I didn’t realize that our family spent $300/month on fast food alone! Crazy, right. That’s an insane amount of money going down the tubes. Just start wherever you are at and don’t get overwhelmed.
Anyone can save money by changing up a few things. Things so easy that require barely any commitment or change at all. What are the things you do to save money without even thinking about them?

Do you have any creative money saving tips you’d like to share?

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15 Ways to Hook Readers into Your Blog

This post is based on episode 35 of the ProBlogger podcast.
With so many blogs out there (not to mention all the other types of websites), you’ve only got a few seconds to convince a first-time reader that yours is worth coming back to.
So how do you do that? By hooking them quickly with your blog’s design and content. And here are 15 ways you can do it.
1. Provide ways for people to subscribe, follow and connect
You might think this is so obvious it isn’t even worth mentioning. But despite there being so many options available – email, RSS feeds, social media and so on – you’d be amazed how many bloggers don’t provide an easy way for their readers to stay in touch.
You should start by working which option works best. I prefer email simply because it gives me complete control. You only need to look at what’s happening with Facebook in Australia at the moment to see what can happen when you rely on a platform you don’t control.
Once you’ve decided what method works best for you, embed it into your blog’s design as much as possible. While we have links to our various social media channels on our blogs, we have multiple places where we ask for people to subscribe – in popups, in our design, and even at the end of our blog posts.
Which is a nice segue into my next point.
2. Ask people to subscribe in your content
One of the best places to ask for your readers to subscribe is when they’re reading your content. It’s the equivalent of casually bringing up during a conversation, and chances are people will be more than willing to agree – especially if you’ve just provided them with useful content.
When Twitter first arrived on the scene, we ran a number of posts on Digital Photography School about how to use it. And it was the perfect place to ask people to follow us. “We’ve told you all about Twitter. Why not try it yourself? You can start by following us and seeing how we use it.”
3. Make a good first impression with your blog
When people come to your blog for the first time, they’ll want to know what it’s about and whether it’s relevant for them. If they can’t figure it out, they’ll quickly move on.
And I mean quickly, as in a matter of seconds.
So make sure they can quickly get that information from your blog’s design, title, tagline, categories and navigation areas.
Speaking of design…
4. Pay attention to the design of your blog
While your content will ultimately be what keeps your readers coming back to your blog, its design is also important. People will quickly judge whether your blog is professional, relevant and on-brand for them by what they see.
And as I said earlier, if they don’t like what they see they’ll quickly move on.
So make sure your blog is easy on the eye. Use images, headlines, subheadings and formatting to make your posts look inviting. And keep your paragraphs relatively short so they aren’t faced with a wall of text.
And don’t forget about those people reading your blog on mobile devices. How does it look on your phone? Are the images too big, forcing people to scroll for pages just to get to your content? Or is the balance of text, images and white space just about right?
5. Build anticipation
Think about the blogs you’ve subscribed to or follow on social media. Can you remember why you subscribed in the first place? Chances are it’s because they were providing great content, and you didn’t want to risk missing out on any more of it.
A great way to build this sense of anticipation on your blog is to write a series of posts that cover a particular topic. And at the end of each one, explain what you’ll be covering in the next post. There’s a good chance your readers will come back and/or subscribe to avoid missing on what you’ll be covering next.
Another way you can do it is to have a type of post that comes up regularly. For example, every Friday on Digital Photography School we give our readers a challenge: “Go away and take a photo on this theme. Then, come back and share it.” We have some readers who come back every week to read those posts (and only those posts).
6. Link back to earlier posts
If a reader has just finished reading your post on a particular topic, chances are they’d be happy to read about it some more. So if you’ve written posts about that topic in the past, you should definitely provide a link to them. The more useful content they find on your blog, the more likely they’ll subscribe.
You can link to these posts as part of the conversation you’re having with your reader. Or you can create a “Further reading” section at the end of your posts that provides a list of links. There are even tools and plugins that can do this for you automatically, pulling in other posts in the same category or even your most popular posts.
7. Create a sneeze page
If you have a lot of posts that cover a particular topic, then you might want to consider creating a “sneeze” page for that topic.
A sneeze page is one where you provide a list of all the posts (or perhaps the most popular ones) that cover that particular topic. It’s kind of a one-stop shop for newcomers that brings all the information they need into one place, such as our Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials for Beginners page on Digital Photography School.
But while it can be great for your readers, it can be great for you too. Chances are you have a lot of great content buried deep in your archives that people may not know about. A sneeze page allows you to bring these posts back to the surface, so to speak.
8. Use social proof
Just as people are more likely to consider eating at a restaurant that’s full of diners, people are more likely to read your blog if you have lots of people commenting on your posts and following you on social media.
So make sure you show how many comments each post has, how many followers you have on Facebook, and how many people have subscribed to your emails. And if you’re still building up your numbers, try highlighting whatever interaction you’re getting.
Speaking of interaction…
9. Encourage people to interact
People are much more likely to come back to your blog if they’ve interacted in some way, whether it’s leaving a comment, voting in a poll or entering a competition.
So make sure you encourage people to interact at every opportunity. At the end of your posts, ask your readers what they think about the topic, or perhaps the idea you’ve come up with. WordPress has a number of plugins you can install that will let people know when someone has responded to a comment they made.
And of course, you should be responding to everyone’s comments as well.
10. Get personal
People are more likely to connect with you if they think of you as a person rather than a brand. So to try to be as personal as you possibly can.
It can be as simple as including a photo of yourself, which I do a lot on ProBlogger. But you can also do it be sharing personal stories about yourself, and showing that you’re just as much a human being as your readers.
You can take it one step further, and create podcasts or videos so people can hear your voice and even see you ‘live’.
11. Remove the date from old posts
Some people will judge a post by how old it is, figuring that unless it’s relatively current it can’t possibly be useful.
And in some cases they’re right. On ProBlogger we talk a lot about blogging tools and techniques, and what worked a year ago may not work as well (if at all) today. And so showing when those posts were created is important.
But on Digital Photography School we often talk about concepts that never change. I still refer to a post about aperture that I wrote more than a decade ago.
If you have similar evergreen posts you may want to consider hiding when they were written so people aren’t put off by it.
12. Give people an incentive to subscribe
A great way to convince people to subscribe to your blog is to give them something in return.
One option is to offer a free PDF booklet or guide to anyone who subscribes. Unfortunately, some people will subscribe to get their freebie and then immediately unsubscribe once they have it.
A better option might be to provide an ongoing benefit, such as a free course on a particular topic that’s delivered through a series of emails. That way they’ll be more likely to stick around for a while.
13. Work on your About page
One of the most highly read pages on any blog is the About page. People use it to figure out:
what your blog is about
who you are
whether you know what you’re talking about.
So make sure your About page makes these details clear.
It’s also a great place to show a little personality so people will think of you as a person rather than a faceless brand and be more likely to connect with you.
14. Target different readers with different messages
Not everyone arrives on your blog in the same way or for the same reason. And so you may want to tailor your message depending on where they’ve come from and what they want.
There are some great tools out there that let you deliver a different message based on whether they’ve arrived from Google, Twitter, Facebook or somewhere else.
For example, on ProBlogger we use OptinMonster so we can tailor our call to action based on where people have come from. And as people coming from Google often leave again very quickly, our calls to action for those visitors tend to be a little stronger
15. Pay attention to where your traffic is coming from
If a particular post or page on your blog is getting a lot of traffic (perhaps because it’s getting a lot of media attention or has gone viral), make the most of it.
At the very least, make sure it includes an invitation to subscribe to your blog. (If it doesn’t, add one.) You may also want to create a “Further reading” section so you can bring more of your posts to people’s attention.
You may even want to create a follow-up post and then link to it.
Time to start hooking those readers
What are you going to do to start hooking readers on your blog? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

Best Video Conferencing Software for Small Business

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With more and more meetings taking place virtually, video conferencing software is more important than ever. There are tons of tools available to facilitate video calls. And many offer unique features like screen sharing, HD video calls, and file sharing. So it’s important to learn the options and consider which platforms best suit your team.
But before you can find the best video conferencing solution for your business’s needs, you must understand what is offered. Here’s an explanation of the video conferencing industry and some of the top options available.

What is Video Conferencing Software?
Video conferencing software is a tool that facilitates virtual meetings and collaboration. Teams can use them to chat one-on-one, facilitate internal meetings, or even host seminars or outside video calls. Some of these programs are available in a simple web browser. Others require specialized programs or downloads to access premium features.
Compare These Video Conferencing Services
Take a look at this list of video conferencing service providers. Each has a range of features that sets it apart. Our overview provides information on collaboration tools, free version versus paid plans and more.
1. Zoom Meeting
Zoom offers a fully-featured video conferencing solution that has both free and premium versions. You can use Zoom for one-on-one meetings, group calls, webinars, and even as a phone communication system. The free plan offers unlimited one-on-one calling and up to 100 participants. But you can enjoy higher participant limits and premium features like recording, social media streaming, and branding with a premium plan.
Additionally, Zoom makes it easy for video conferencing from home with clients or people outside their organization. The platform amassed more than 200 million daily users in 2020. So it’s likely that the people you want to meet with are already familiar with the platform. And even if they haven’t used it previously, it’s easy to download onto a desktop or access via web or mobile app.
2. GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting is a platform for video meetings and web conferencing built specifically for business users. There are various plans available for businesses of various sizes, with pricing starting at $12 per month. The company also provides an array of features to make meetings more productive. These include screen sharing, recording and transcripts, mobile video meetings, and integrations with VoIP systems and professional conferencing equipment.
Additionally, GoToMeeting provides an array of communication solutions outside of its simple video conferencing tools. There are solutions for webinars, employee training, and solutions tailored to specific roles like IT professionals and educators.
3. Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting provides web conferencing software perfect for both online video meetings and webinars. The business is known for providing secure video conferencing tools that are protected through encryption. And all of the features of Zoho Meeting are designed with international compliance standards in mind. So this may be one of the best video conferencing options available for those who need to communicate with team members or clients around the world.
The video conferencing solution features options like screen sharing, recording, chat, RSVPs, and monitor controls. And plans start at just $2.50 per month for companies that just need to host small meetings. There’s also a free plan for those that just need limited features. Additionally, Zoho offers a wide array of other SaaS tools for business users. So you can sign up for services like CRM, project management, and bookkeeping. Then you can access all of those items with one account for a more streamlined experience.
4. Google Meet
Google Meet is a free video conferencing solution that’s easy for new and returning users to access. All you need is a G-Suite account to set up a meeting. Then you can send a code to other participants so they can join a call right away. No need to download extra software or navigate a confusing sign-in process. Additionally, since so many people are already familiar with G-Suite tools, it’s likely to be a popular option with those inside and outside your company.
Despite being a free tool, Google Meet does provide some interesting features. For example, participants can knock to enter meetings, raise their hands to speak, change video chat background, and even enter breakout rooms. The tool also offers captioning in various languages and dial-in options from multiple countries.
5. Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco Webex Meetings provides a free and fast solution for video conferencing. The free plan offers calls of up to 50 minutes with up to 100 participants. However, there are also premium plans available starting at $13.50 per month. With all plans, users receive easy to use features like screen sharing, recording, transcripts, messaging, and file sharing. Cisco Webex Meetings can even integrate with calendars on Google or Microsoft to make it easy for each user to schedule conferences and receive reminders.
One of the features that makes Cisco Webex Meetings stand out is its ability to integrate with a huge array of other platforms. The video conferencing software solution integrates with Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Box, and so many others. This allows each user to avoid constantly switching between platforms and take advantage of the features they already use with other tools.
6. RingCentral Meetings
RingCentral Meetings offers a communication and video conferencing platform for businesses of all sizes. You can use the tool to send messages, host video conferences, and make phone calls. Some plans even come with an open API for businesses to personalize the experience to their specific needs. Plans that include the video conferencing service start at $24.99 per month. But the company also offers a free plan called Glip by RingCentral, which offers employee messaging and video calling.
In addition to the variety of options available, RingCentral Meetings also provides mobile apps for all the major platforms. And users outside the organization can easily join meetings without an existing account or software download.
7. Skype for Business
Skype for Business is a popular instant messaging and video calling service from Microsoft. It is integrated with Microsoft Office 365. But you can download it as a standalone platform as well. It’s also available as a mobile app on all the major operating systems.
Skype for Business is a simple and easy to use video conferencing service for teams that only need basic functionality. It is available as a free download and can accommodate up to 50 people in a call, with features like screen sharing available. But Microsoft reserves its more advanced features for Microsoft Teams.
8. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is also integrated with Microsoft Office 365. But it provides a wider array of communication and collaboration features than Skype. Users can host video meetings, upload and share files, instant message, and integrate the tool with their calendar and other tools. Basically, Microsoft Teams is meant to be a hub for all of your company’s internal communication.
Small businesses can easily set up group or individual threads within Microsoft Teams. Then you can go from chatting to video conferencing with just one click. Microsoft Teams is free for Office 365 users. And there are various plans available depending on the size of your team and type of features needed.
9. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a simple messaging app provided by Google. It was once part of Google+, but has since become a standalone platform. You just need a Google account to sign up. And the platform is free for basic calling. You can chat with up to 100 people or set up a voice or video call with up to 10 people.
Though small teams can certainly use it for meetings, Google Hangouts is designed more with individuals in mind. So many of the features are meant to be fun, like photo sharing, emojis, stickers, and gifs. But there are also useful options like mobile apps and device syncing.
10. Adobe Connect
Adobe Connect is a suite of software products designed for remote workers. The platform provides a versatile solution for meetings, webinars, and even training sessions. Those who want to host client meetings can personalize the experience with custom branding and presentation tools. There are also huddle rooms for team members to gather and share ideas in real time.
Essentially, Adobe Connect provides a completely customizable service based on the size and needs of each user. There are solutions available for those in specific industries. Or you can contact the business directly to design a plan that suits your business’s needs. There’s a free plan available for calls with up to three participants. Higher volumes start at $50 per month.
11. BlueJeans Meetings
BlueJeans Meetings provides a voice and video conferencing tool that’s available online and in various desktop and mobile apps. Offered by Verizon, BlueJeans provides a comprehensive command center that users can leverage to keep track of meetings, gather feedback, and communicate with participants.
Small businesses can use BlueJeans to host internal meetings, communicate with clients and partners, and even host virtual events. Pricing starts at $9.99 per month for unlimited one-on-one calling and up to 50 total participants.
12. Jabber
Jabber is a product from Cisco that provides a unified collaboration platform. It offers instant messaging, voice and video calls, desktop sharing, and mobile apps for on-the-go users. You can set up various threads for different projects and departments. Then use those groups to collaborate on documents or easily hop on video calls to brainstorm.
Since both tools are offered by Cisco, you can also easily connect with the video conferencing tools of Webex Meetings. So a business can use Jabber to easily manage internal communication and then quickly hop over to a more fully featured video conference room if needed.
13. U Meeting
U Meeting is an online and mobile tool designed for business communication and distance learning. Participants can join from anywhere. And calls can feature up to 200 participants, with up to 12 featured on the screen at a time. Conference rooms are encrypted for added security. And you can even use the tool to host webinars and lectures.
When a host schedules a meeting, they can protect it with a password and then send the link to participants via Outlook or Google Calendar. Then participants can easily join by clicking a link or entering the meeting ID in their browser or U Meeting app.
14. ClickMeeting
ClickMeeting offers a tool for video conferencing, online meetings, and webinars. Users can access the software without a complicated installation process. And there’s even a free version available, which includes basic webinar functionality for 30 days. Paid plans start at $25 per month and include advanced features like breakout rooms, file storage, private chat, and polls and surveys.
ClickMeeting is most popular for webinars and larger client presentations. But the features can also work for smaller team meetings as well. Users can also break up large events into smaller sessions to provide more personalized information to attendees. Additionally, there are specific solutions designed for things like product demos, online courses, and huge online events. So if you have a specific purpose in mind for your video conferencing solution, ClickMeeting could make it easy.
15. BigBlueButton
BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing solution. It’s specifically designed for online learning. But many of the features may also be applicable for businesses. For example, the platform includes real-time audio and video calling, chat, presentation slides, and screen sharing.
Additionally, since BigBlueButton is an open source tool, there’s a large community of developers creating integrations and solutions around it. The online conferencing software allows easy customizations and integrations with the tools you already use thanks to a simple API. As such, it may be one of the best options available for developers or those who have the ability to code new solutions or integrations on their own. It’s also likely to be helpful for businesses that need tools for training or education, since it’s built with teachers and students in mind.
16. Lifesize
Lifesize is a video conferencing solution built with remote collaboration in mind. The solution is known for providing clear HD video and audio meetings thanks to a global cloud network and secure data centers. Lifesize also provides seamless integration with other communication tools. So you can set up a conference room with quality video and audio content while enjoying the functionality and features of other scheduling and collaboration tools.
There is a free plan available for individuals that includes up to 10 participants and native desktop and mobile apps. There are also premium plans available starting at $12.50 that offer a centralized management platform and meetings with hundreds of users.
17. Intermedia AnyMeeting
Intermedia AnyMeeting provides video conferencing platforms for businesses of all sizes. It’s available both on desktop and mobile devices and is made to be easy to use. Attendees can even join meetings without downloading extra software. They can either click a link or call in using a conference number and a dedicated pin. Features include screen sharing, integrated audio, and transcripts. There are solutions for both online meetings and webinars.
In addition to the basic features, Intermedia AnyMeeting can also be integrated with other video meeting solutions like Outlook, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. There are also pro features available, including custom branding, meeting notes, and remote control options. There’s a free version available. But the pro plan runs for $12.99 per user per month. And you can access a 30-day free trial to try out the premium versions.
18. ezTalks Meetings
ezTalks Meetings is a simple tool for video conferencing and webinars. It’s free to sign up. And you can even use an existing Google or Facebook account to access the platform. It offers chat, video, and audio communication. And you can even set up rooms, share files, and collaborate with a virtual whiteboard. The platform also allows you to set up different rooms for specific purposes. Then the host can access controls that limit the number of users in each room and authorize presenters.
In addition to the actual video conferencing software solutions, the business also provides a variety of hardware solutions. These include cameras and audio equipment designed to enhance the quality of audio and video calls even more. The free version of this tool is just meant for quick meetings of ten minutes or less with two participants. And premium plans start at $10 per host monthly and include features like call recording, online storage, and unlimited group meetings with 100 or more participants.
19. StarLeaf
StarLeaf is a global collaboration and video conferencing platform. It’s designed as an enterprise solution. So there are tons of customization options for specific industries and business needs. The platform is available on both desktop and mobile devices. And you can use it for large virtual conferences or small weekly meetings. Since it’s an enterprise grade solution, security is also a major priority. It is compliant with HIPAA, ISO/IEC 27001, and NCSC Cloud Security Principles.
There’s a free version available with unlimited one-to-one calling and meetings of up to 20. And premium plans start at $14.99 per host each month. Premium features include things like unlimited file sharing storage, a central admin dashboard, and reporting and monitoring. There are even options for integrations with popular business platforms and an API for those who want to personalize the experience even more. And you can even invest in hardware solutions designed for conference rooms and spaces of all sizes.
20. Join.me
Join.me is an online meeting solution that offers all the basic features you may need to host video calls and training sessions. You can host video and audio calls via internet, phone, or VoIP. And the platform also offers screen sharing and mobile apps so users can participate from anywhere.
Join.me is now part of the GoToMeeting family. So many of the features are now integrated with the company’s other tools. But the tool still exists on its own to support users who just need the basic functionality. You can simply start a meeting on the platform and then share a link with team members or clients so they can quickly join you. They don’t need to download specific software or purchase any new tools to attend a meeting or presentation, making it perfect for those who just need a quick way to close deals or get a point across.
Video Conferencing and the End of Adobe Flash
Many websites and programs have used Adobe Flash to play videos, games, and animations in the past. However, the feature shut down at the end of 2020.
At this point, many video conferencing systems don’t use Flash to facilitate their video content. So the change shouldn’t have a huge impact on everyday users.
Additionally, Adobe launched its Connect video conferencing solution as part of its transition away from Flash. This option does not use the old technology. It instead uses its own HTML client for participants to connect with one another.
Video Conferencing Software during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Remote work was already on the rise before 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic certainly led to a major increase in video conferencing participants. In fact, about 58 percent of employees worked remotely at least sometimes in 2020. And about two thirds of those remote workers would like to continue doing so in the future.
Since so many companies had to quickly pivot to a remote work model, they needed to adapt with video conferencing solutions. These video and audio tools allowed companies to facilitate collaboration between teams and clients and maintain some sense of normal. These tools helped show some companies how possible and beneficial a remote work model could be — pandemic or not. In fact, 83 percent of employers considered their transition to remote work to be successful. Many even realized how much money they could save by allowing employees to work remotely and enjoyed how this model allowed them to bring in talent from all over the world.
So while the coronavirus pandemic did lead to an influx of users on platforms like Zoom and Cisco Webex, many of them are likely to stick around.
Why does your business need a video conferencing solution?
Businesses can use video conferencing solutions to facilitate calls and meetings with individuals in other locations. They can host conversations between team members in different offices or those who travel or work remotely. Some businesses may even find that video conferencing software solutions allow them to adopt remote work models permanently. Additionally, companies can use video and audio calls to communicate with clients, investors, and others outside their teams.
What businesses need a video conferencing tool?
Nearly all businesses can use video conferencing software from time to time. However, those with remote teams, traveling employees, and multiple offices are most likely to use them for internal communications. Additionally, those that work on client based projects can utilize them to communicate outside their teams.
What features to look for in video conferencing software?
The exact features you prioritize when looking for the best video conferencing software really depends on your business’s specific needs. However, here are a few that are relevant to many companies:
Number of participants: Each video conferencing software has a different limit for how many people are allowed on a call. If you’re just using video conferencing for your small team, you only need a small limit. If you plan to communicate with larger groups, make sure your software choice can accommodate.
Chat: Video conferencing solutions are often part of a larger communication platform. And this adds extra functionality for a lot of teams. You can quickly chat with someone to make sure they’re ready to jump on a call or share notes afterward in written format.
Screen sharing: Video conferences often require some kind of demonstration. The ability to share your screen allows other participants to clearly see what you’re doing.
Presentation features: There are also more advanced presentation features like slides available on some video conferencing services. These are likely to be especially relevant if your company plans to host trainings or meet with clients via video.
VoIP integration: More and more companies are using VoIP solutions to host voice calling as well. Keeping your video conferencing software and voice calling service under one umbrella can help you simplify things.
Recording: If you plan to share any of your video conferences after the call is complete, look for software that offers recording. This is especially relevant if you plan to use the conferences for trainings or webinars that may offer repeatable value.
Notes and transcripts: If you want to share highlights from meetings afterward, a transcript feature can help you share the information with those who couldn’t attend. Some tools also offer a notes feature that highlights just a few important points so you don’t have to sift through everything.
Branding: For companies that use video conferencing tools to communicate with clients or potential customers, branding may be useful. Some video conferencing services allow you to integrate your logo, color scheme, and other elements into the interface. This simply provides a more professional appearance.
Speaker tracking: On video calls with multiple participants, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of who is speaking when. Speaker tracking does this automatically. Usually, it highlights the user or puts their image larger on the screen.
Mobile apps: Some solutions are just available online or on desktop apps. While these may work for those who only communicate using computers, they’re not ideal for a mobile workforce. For those with traveling teams or who may need to communicate with mobile clients, look for tools that offer iOS, Android, or other mobile apps.
HD video: Video quality is one of the most important elements when choosing between video conferencing services. You don’t want your company to look unprofessional with grainy video or fall behind waiting for screens to load. Many services offer HD video. But the actual quality may vary. So it may be worth trying out a few options to see which ones meet your quality needs.
What is the best free video conferencing software?
The best video conferencing software may vary depending on your specific needs. However, a few of the most popular include Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, which is free with a G-Suite membership. These options all provide basic video calling and communication features. And their wide popularity make them an easy choice for communicating with users outside your organization.
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How to Supercharge Your Ability to Learn Any New Subject

February 18, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For many, the exercise of organized learning ends when we graduate.
We are then thrown into our professional lives where we spend most of our waking hours working on projects in service of the business we’re helping to build. On those occasions that we do watch a movie or pick up a book, we do so based upon the recommendation of a friend or colleague, generally with the intent to either entertain or improve ourselves in some small way.
When we reflect back on what we’ve read, watched and listened to over the prior year it is usually a patchwork of disparate topics with no unifying theme or thread. It should come as no surprise that long-term learning is often little to none. In fact, think back on the books you read over the last year. Can you name them all? If so, you’re in the minority. Can you summarize them? That would make you rarer still. If you can actually remember discrete facts from them, you’re extraordinarily unusual (and very lucky).
Almost everyone would prefer to be able to remember what they read better and understand it more deeply. Fortunately, this is possible and it leverages a concept many might be already familiar with: immersion learning. Popular for learning languages, it is an educational approach to teaches by placing a student directly into the environment. Significant amounts of research support its efficacy. But its utility extends far beyond just the learning of languages. In fact, with some adjustments, you can create something that approximates an immersion learning opportunity for yourself on any subject you want to learn. It requires a willingness to go deep rather than wide and a commitment to a far more methodical approach than most are accustomed to. But it’s not hard and anyone can do it.
And who knows? Putting the effort into continuing education, far past your college years, might have the unintended benefit of fattening your wallet in ways you never saw coming. A new survey conducted by Invoice2Go, found that 60% of people have been inspired by their time in quarantine to contemplate completely new career trajectories.
Here’s how to re-learn learning…
Related: How This Online School Is Turning Small-Business Owners Into Public Relations Pros
1. Determine your target subjects
I focus on the breadth of topics with the only unifying theme being that I am deeply curious about them. Some of my syllabi over the last several years have included ancient Greece, cryptocurrency, modern Russian history, private equity and the rise of the major modern tech platforms. They can be closely tied to your business or not at all, they simply must be subjects about which you wish to learn deeply. Teaching yourself something that you’re not interested in is like trying to fill a leaky bucket, no matter how much information you pour in it’s never really going to stick.
2. Finding the best books 
Do your research. Find the twelve or so books that you believe will most effectively build your knowledge on the subject you wish to learn. When you have settled on these books, look at how long each of them takes to listen to as an audiobook (Amazon helpfully lists this for you) and add up all the hours. Most audiobooks are about 10 hours to listen to (and generally you read faster than you listen), so your overall commitment will be about 120 hours.
Related: 41 Entrepreneurs Who Are Writing Books This Year, and When You Can Read Them
3. Plan your year
I commit to reading one book a week. That means I can do one subject every three months, or four subjects a year. Figure out what your cadence will be and build a schedule based on that. Once you understand the total number of hours your “course” will entail you will know exactly how much time you must allocate a day to reading or listening to the books. This discipline is key here — you need to carve out that time every day and account for it in your schedule.  
4. Finding the best audio/visual guides
Even though there is no substitute for books it is worth rounding out your learning process by having your other senses play a part. Almost every subject has a myriad of other forms of art and entertainment that have covered it. If you’re doing a course on ancient Rome, go ahead and watch Spartacus and Gladiator. Even though these are fictionalized versions that can play fast and loose with history the point here is immersion and they can help you provide visual context to what you’re reading every day.
5. Take notes on everything you read
If you really want to retain the information from each book it is imperative that you highlight and take notes as you read them. Even if you never revisit those notes again (and for some, you likely will not), the mere exercise of note-taking will help synthesize the information you digested in your head and more deeply implant it into your memory bank.
Related: 5 Reasons To Invest In Self-Improvement And Skill Development For Entrepreneurial Success
Pulling it all together
Ultimately this is a commitment and requires real work. You are essentially designing your own continuing education program. Done well, the amount of learning that takes place can be as deep and impactful as any course from your schooling.
More importantly, it provides a means to scratch that itch to learn about the subject that has always intrigued you but you’ve never really understood or had the time to enroll in a formal class. None of my businesses deal in blockchain or cryptography but I used this methodology to become conversant in some of the basics so I am prepared if and when that technology does enter my professional realm. Similarly, I used it to improve my leadership skills, something that directly impacted my day-to-day management.
Learning does not need to be confined to your career and in fact, you do yourself a great disserve if you allow it to. Study a diverse range of subjects and embrace your inner polymath by using these simple steps and unlock deep learning for your entire life across any subject you so desire.

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How To Make Your Content More Accessible For Readers And Watchers

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By Amine Rahal, entrepreneur, writer and CEO of IronMonk, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and CMO at Regal Assets, an IRA company. 

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Content marketing is vital for your business’s success. But even the best, most informative content won’t amount to much unless it’s accessible to a broad, diverse audience. 
The fact is, not everyone has the same abilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of Americans are living with some type of functional disability. Your content strategy should reflect that — otherwise, you’re bound to alienate a huge portion of your audience.
As the founder of two full-suite digital marketing companies, I always strive to be inclusive and mindful of everyone’s needs. In this article, I’ll share a few of my top tactics for building more inclusive and accessible content that everyone can enjoy. 

Clean Up Your On-Page Structuring
What’s good for accessibility is good for search engine optimization (SEO). Those who practice good, clean on-page SEO ensure that the page is neatly organized, easy to read and void of distracting or hard-to-read elements. If you can do the same, you’ll make it easier for a wider audience to grasp your content while also improving your site’s standing with Google’s PageRank algorithm.
Here are a few of the easiest ways you can improve your content’s accessibility standards while also boosting your rankability:
• Nested HTML headers: It’s important that you utilize H1, H2, H3 and sometimes H4 headers and subheaders to break up your text. Make sure that they’re properly nested so that H2 follows H1 and so forth.

• Bulleted and numbered lists: Bulleted lists (like this one!) make your content easier to read and let your reader know where to look for key takeaways.
• Short paragraphs: Keep your paragraphs limited to no more than four or five visual lines. This makes it easier to skim and is more accessible to the visually impaired.
• Descriptive anchors: Your anchor text should describe what the link refers to, not simply “Click here” or “Learn more.” This removes ambiguity if the audience is using an assistive reading device. 
For on-page tips and techniques beyond the basics, I recommend checking out the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG outlines countless ways you can improve the layout and structure of your content to make it more accessible.
Include Closed (Or Open) Captioning In Your Videos
Closed captions are written transcripts that can be opened or closed by the viewer, whereas open captions are permanently on-screen. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing — which includes about 11 million Americans — depend on captions to read your video content. 
Fortunately, major video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo let you upload closed captions via .srt files. These file types can be easily created (and automated!) using services like Rev, Sonix or Temi. With YouTube and Facebook, you can turn on auto-generated closed captions, but these aren’t always the most accurate. 
For Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn, I strongly recommend using Gary Vaynerchuk’s open-caption style. This signature style includes bold captions embedded at the bottom of the video against white or black horizontal bars, which makes them easily visible.
Write Alt-Text Image Descriptions
If you’re incorporating images or infographics in your content, you need alt text to go with it. Unless your image files include alt text, screen reader devices will use the word “image” to refer to it and provide no further description for the visually impaired. 
The key to writing rock-solid alt text is to be as descriptive as possible. Don’t merely write “A graph displaying economics data” in your alt text box. Take it a step further by writing “A graph comparing GDP per capita across European countries.” Be mindful, however, that you’re limited to 125 characters.
Use CamelCase
Hashtagged content needs to use camelcase. If you write your hashtags without capital letters at the start of each word, your hashtags can be virtually indecipherable to some readers. For example, instead of #midnightflashsale, a hashtag in camelcase will read like #MidnightFlashSale — no double-takes or squinting necessary!
Offer Transcripts And Notes For Audio Content
Not everyone has the ability to listen to your podcasts or watch your YouTube videos. Offering a downloadable transcript of your show can make it a lot easier to share your content with the hearing impaired. That’s why I also recommend converting your .srt closed captions into PDF or Microsoft Word documents and including a download link in the content description.
At the same time, it can be tiresome to read through endless pages of text. Part of the beauty of podcasts is that they lend themselves well to passive, and not active, consumption — they can play in the background while you’re doing just about anything and you can still retain most of it. 
So, I recommend keeping your show notes and transcripts “passive” as well. Don’t merely offer a one-to-one transcript of your content. Instead, include jot-form notes that distill all the main takeaways and key points so you don’t lose your reader’s attention. 
Create With Everyone In Mind
Accessible content is good, rankable content. Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process. As a starting point, simply optimize the on-page layout of your text, include captions and alt text, write transcripts and clean up your hashtags. For good measure, I also like using TextOptimizer and Hemingway Editor to make sure my prose is tight and easy to follow. 
Accessibility isn’t just a fad or a phasing phase. Now more than ever, businesses and consumers consider inclusion a core brand value. If you want your business to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, consider taking action to make your content inclusive and considerate of everyone.

Lessons Learned from a Lousy 2020

February 18, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a teenager, I remember loving Robert Schuller’s “Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do”. At the time the actual title did not mean much to me then but, well…that perspective has changed.
As I reflect on the year we’ve had, I can’t help thinking about how the many leaders that have emerged due to the way they responded to the crisis. Their courageous acts have resulted in countless lives being saved.
While this may be difficult to imagine, many valuable lessons can be gleaned from 2020. Here are three that stuck with me…Related: What Will Happen In 2021? Here’s What People In 1921 Predicted.
1. Prioritize 
This year we were all forced to stay at home during the lockdown which yielded the unexpectedly positive side effect that was spending quality hours with loved ones while taking time to stop and smell the roses (and sighing with relief that, indeed, you still have your sense of smell).A friend told me that she and her husband actually sat on their front porch and admired the beautiful view they had from their home, which is something they hardly ever did. Prior to the lockdown, they were both busy New York attorneys that left home early in the morning and returned late at night.  
In times of crisis, attitude really is everything: A survey of 2000 Americans, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Crockpot in January, found that those who take their time, and considered themselves “laid back”, not only adapted more easily to life at home, but were also more likely to see the light at the end of the quarantine tunnel versus their self-described “quick working”, higher-strung counterparts. 
2. Perspective 
This year it became apparent to leaders, both in government and private organizations, that it is not enough to talk about issues of equality but rather to invest in employee training to tackle unconscious bias.I spoke with Nathalie Molina Niño, an investor who spent a considerable amount of time in 2020 advising female entrepreneurs on how to obtain PPP loans to support their businesses, on her takeaways regarding last year’s racial unrest. 
“Communities of color, as with all economic downturns, have been most impacted—with the biggest difference in the COVID-recession being that we’re also overrepresented among the dead,” recounts Niño. “This is why I’m more convinced now than ever, that abolishing all forms of modern-day redlining (like the PPP policy) should be top of mind for anyone leading in the next economy. ” 
Related: The Hottest Franchise Categories of 2021
3. Persevere
The headlining heroes of 2020 were, of course, the healthcare workers who stood strong and continued to do their best to save lives even when protective devices they needed were not available. Yet the year’s stories of resilience weren’t just in the hospital hallways, but the marketplace, as well.Persevering could mean keeping your spirit alive while shutting down a business or riding the emotional rollercoaster that comes with pivoting a company. The story of Elle Wang, the founder & CEO of Emilia George, is a great example of the latter. The pandemic hit 3 months after she launched her premium clothing line. With all public places closed, her fabric mills stopped production. 
 “It seemed other than crying,” recalls Wang, “the only other option was to pause or close the business before we ever had a chance to build it.”
In April, at the peak of the pandemic, they realized there was a shortage of masks so they decided to re-purpose the fabrics that were meant for clothing to make Covid coverers and, after the product received instant recognition, received a letter from the National Institute of Health, requesting 100,000 stat. They prioritized the order and delivered it in 1.5 months. Wang maintains one of her proudest moments was when Dr. Anthony Fauci donned their life-saving aide at a Senate hearing. Their brand has since grown, expanding to stores like Neiman Marcus and others.
“If you can just persevere for a little bit longer, you may end up somewhere you never ever imagined,” advises Elle. “Cry, it’s fine, as long as you keep hustling.” 
Related: 5 Ways to Make This Your Best Year Ever
While none of us knows what lies ahead as we enter the second month of 2021, I know we can do this much: Hope for the best, hold our loved ones dear, treat people with dignity and when the going gets tough? The toughest persevere.

How to Form Better Habits as an Entrepreneur

Ingrained habits are ridiculously hard to stop; practicing a habit continuously reinforces it, making it harder and harder to break away from the pattern. And starting something new requires a surplus of focus, attention and willpower. So how can you do it?
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February 18, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For better or worse, our habits define us and, if significant enough, can shape our future. The habits we practice every day, whether big or small, eventually add up as the sum total of our behavior. They impact our decisions, our actions and even our internal thoughts and feelings. Good habits can make us smarter, more physically fit and better at our jobs, while bad habits can make us stagnate — and possibly sabotage our own careers.
Accordingly, being able to positively change our habits (i.e., introducing new good habits and eliminating old bad habits) is one of the biggest keys to long-term success, no matter how you define that success. Of course, the issue here is that changing habits can be very difficult. Ingrained habits are ridiculously hard to stop; practicing a habit continuously reinforces it, making it harder and harder to break away from the pattern. And starting something new requires a surplus of focus, attention and willpower.
Related: 8 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs
So how can you do it? How can you form better habits as an entrepreneur?
Understand the anatomy of a habit
Your first job is understanding the “anatomy” of a habit. Why do habits form and what do they look like?
You can think of habits as unfolding over four mini phases:
An initial prompt. First, there’s some kind of initial prompt. Something serves as a trigger that makes you want to do something. For example, you might pass a coffee shop on your way to work that reminds you of those delicious cappuccino drinks you love. Or you might hear a tone or feel a vibration whenever you get a new email.
The craving. Next, the prompt triggers a craving. You see the coffee shop, so you start thinking about the taste of a cappuccino. You hear the ringtone, so you start feeling anxiety about what the email could be—and the fact that you should probably answer it immediately or something bad might happen.
The action. In response to the craving, you’ll take an action. This is the heart of the habit. You pull into the coffee shop drive-thru to place your order. You pick up your phone and pull up your email.
The reward. Finally, you experience a reward, usually in the form of released “feel-good” chemicals in the reward center of the brain. You might taste something sweet or feel a deep sense of relief by checking your email.
Related: 10 Habits That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life
These four phases can serve as a blueprint that can help you analyze and eliminate your bad habits — or construct new habits from scratch.
Breaking a bad habit
Let’s look at breaking the bad habit first.
Eliminate or modify the trigger. Your first job is to change the stimulus — the triggering event that begins the cycle. In some cases, this is easy. For example, you could simply turn off notifications when you get an email. Other times, this might be more challenging; for example, you may have to take a new route to work.
Introduce an unpleasant response. Even after changing the trigger, you might have to deal with a residual feeling. Or you might not be able to change the trigger at all. In these cases, introduce an unpleasant response to the trigger. This is more of a mental exercise; for example, can you learn to see the cappuccino as something unhealthy or gross?
Make it harder to take action. Habits are hard to continue if they demand extra physical or mental exertion. For example, you could hide the mail icon on your phone so you can’t check your email as impulsively.
Make the reward unsatisfying. Finally, you could make it unsatisfying to complete the habit. For example, you could start to order decaf to reduce the pleasant rush you would otherwise feel from a caffeinated beverage.
Starting a new habit
So how can you start a new habit?
Give yourself an automatic prompt. Everything starts with a trigger. Set up something automatic, like a ringtone, or leave visual prompts for yourself, like sticky notes, to start.
Make the prompt attractive. Start inducing a craving within yourself. Find a way to make the notion of engaging in the habit attractive.
Reduce friction. Make it easier to do the habit. Purchase better tools or equipment to make the job easier or start the habit with someone else to add social pressure.
Reward yourself. Finally, take the time to reward yourself. Some habits, like physical exercise, come with a natural reward of their own. Otherwise, you’ll have to back up the habit with a reward for yourself, like a small piece of candy or another type of indulgence.

Whether your goals are to exercise every day, stop responding to every email automatically, guest blog more consistently, or something in between, these tenets can help you break your bad habits and start new ones. This doesn’t mean the process will be easy, but you’ll at least have a framework that can drive your decisions and behaviors in the future.

5 Stressors In Your Workplace And How To Deal With Them

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Even the most halcyon of offices can run into stressful times, and it’s the responsibility of the leader to get their team through it. Times like these, though, are far from peaceful: the fallout from COVID-19 has made managing workplace stress a seemingly impossible task. With no end to the pandemic or its effects in sight, managers need to refocus on how best to help their team through the wreckage. 

Even the most halcyon of offices can run into stressful times, and it’s the responsibility of the … [+] leader to get their team through it.
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Each workplace is different, but business is business. There are a few common sources of on-the-job stress that every business leader needs to know how to combat. Here are some of the most pervasive: 
1. Tight Deadlines
Everyone knows just how brutal an impact tight deadlines can have on mental health. A study from jobseekers platform CareerBest found that tight deadlines were the leading cause of workplace stress, with nearly twice as many respondents selecting it than selected the next most common response. If the research on the impacts of tight deadlines is settled, why then do so many workplaces still implement them?

The short answer is that it’s hard to push back against a decades-long norm: as projects crop up, the incentives are high to finish them as quickly as possible. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to break that trend. Set schedules very early on in the planning process in order to make sure that no one feels crept up on by onerous deadlines. Most importantly, always prioritise the wellbeing of your workers over early or ontime project completion—too much of the latter will cause some vicious burnout in the long term. 
2. The Shift to Remote Work
Last year, workers were expected to embrace remote work almost overnight. While the virtual commute undoubtedly comes along with some benefits, the whiplash many employees experienced continues to be felt to this day. Mental and behavioral health provider Pathways found in a survey that half of all workers experience stress related to remote work—is your business doing enough to combat that?

The key to making remote work work for your employees is balance. While every office needs some degree of continuity, do your best to accommodate the preferred working styles of each of your employees. Some of your employees may prefer Zoom calls while others opt for Slack chat. Any method is fine so long as no one is forced into using platforms or workflows that cause them anxiety on the job. 
3. Low Morale
This one should be self evident: how could any business possibly keep morale high in times like these? Traditional office pastimes have been curtailed, growth is erratic, and meetings are now more characterized by fatigue than they are by collaboration. 
There’s no easy answer here, but there is one thing you shouldn’t be doing: bemoaning the circumstances. As tough as things may be, you still have a bevy of tools at your disposal for keeping your team motivated. Defining your purpose and setting goals are perhaps the two most important stepping stones to strong morale, and they can be done just as easily over a Zoom call as they can in person. Adapt to what you’ve been dealt instead of waiting for things to change—who knows when they will, if ever?
4. Not Enough Time Off
The lull in vacations and travel associated with COVID-19 has also meant a general decline in the usage of vacation days—a troubling omen for workplace stress levels. Employees need regular breaks in order to stay satisfied, calm, and productive. If members of your team are nearing some critical points of overwork, talk to them about taking some time off. Even consider expanding your business’s time off policies in the hopes that those in need of a break will finally take one. 
5. Bad Tech
Every employee knows that no relationship between technology and job satisfaction could ever be simple. Bad tech can slow down work and cause more problems than it solves, inducing high levels of stress in the process. A study from customer service technology developer Verint, though, paints a rosier picture of the impact technology can have on work: 72% of workers with low stress levels attribute that at least in part to technology lightening their workloads. 
The simple takeaway here is that you should never dive head-first into adopting a new technology. Try it out, get worker feedback, and search for better options before you marry your business to it. The best tech should streamline existing processes and alleviate workplace anxiety in the process—if it can’t do that, it’s not worth your money.  
Workplace stress may be ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable. Taking the right steps now can put your business on the right path for years to come. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it for your employees.

Rishi Sunak’s Last Chance To Do Right By 2.3 Million Self-Employed Covid Victims

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As Rishi Sunak puts his final touches to the Spring Budget, due on 3 March, will he finally offer support to millions of self-employed workers and self-business owners hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic but denied help so far? Don’t bet on it: the Chancellor has so far proved remarkably – and inexplicably – unmoved by the plight of the roughly 2.3 million Britons who are missing out on help because of the small print of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
New research from the Resolution Foundation underlines the seriousness of this plight. In January, some 14% of those who were self-employed prior to the pandemic had been forced to stop work entirely according to the group, up from 11% in September and 9% last May. A further 27% had seen their income drop by more than 25%.
Despite such desperate figures, huge numbers continue to find themselves ineligible for support from the SEISS, the scheme that was supposed to help them. The Resolution Foundation reports that some 29% of self-employed people they have lost income during the pandemic, but have been unable to claim a grant from the SEISS.
This is familiar territory. Groups such as Excluded UK have done important work uncovering exactly who has fallen through the cracks – chasms might be a better word – of the SEISS. They include 1.2 million people earning less than 50% of their income from self-employment, 700,000 limited company directors, 225,000 self-employed workers with profits of more than £250,000, and 200,000 of the newly self-employed.

In his defence, the Chancellor has repeatedly pointed to the generous support packages provided to others who have suffered during the pandemic, while arguing that it is not possible to help everyone.
Yet that argument simply does not hold up to scrutiny. Sunak might be forgiven for having overlooked certain groups in the rush to respond to the pandemic – but his repeated refusal to intervene once the problems were pointed out is indefensible.

The truth is that the Chancellor has taken some arbitrary decisions about who he thinks deserves help. He has ruled out supporting self-employed people previously earning higher incomes, for example, even though no such caps apply to the support given to employed workers. He has decided not to help company directors who pay themselves through dividends, even though doing so has always been entirely legal from a tax perspective.
The worst argument of all is that it is somehow too difficult to help these people. The Resolution Foundation’s report outlines straightforward measures for helping each of the groups missing out.
The Chancellor could, at a stroke, drop the requirement that self-employed workers earn more than 50% of their income this way, the group points out. He could also get rid of the £50,000 rule, but limit monthly support to £2,500 a month, which is how it works for those in employment.
As for newly self-employed people, while it might have been difficult to assess their income a year ago, when they had not filed a tax return for the 2019-20 financial year, that is no longer the case. So, the SEISS can now easily be extended to them. Company directors, meanwhile, have the records to demonstrate what dividend income they used to receive.
All these changes could be announced in a fortnight’s time, hugely relieving the stress and financial damage faced by people who have simply been unlucky enough to fall on the wrong side of the Chancellor’s arbitrary decision-making. And it is not as if Sunak doesn’t know how to make changes to the SEISS. He has already had to tweak the rules after discovering the Treasury had paid out £1.3bn to self-employed people who had not actually lost out during the crisis – adding insult to injury for those excluded from the scheme.
Will the Chancellor finally do the right thing? We will find out on 3 March.

5 activities to improve the well-being of your team

With the new home office modality, companies have to know how to play their cards properly, in order to be more productive and profitable.
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February 18, 2021 4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Activities should incentivize your team and promote their comfort.
More than 51% of companies have offered wellness activities to their teams.
All activities can be done remotely.
With the new home office modality, companies have to know how to play their cards properly, in order to be more productive and profitable, that is, they have to properly manage their production process, apply continuous improvement methods, modernize, and to the extent of where possible, innovate to generate added value that differentiates them from the rest. However, to be successful, it is necessary to prioritize the needs of employees, since they are the basis of any organization.
According to the report ” The Future of Work in Latin America ” , produced by the specialized Human Resources platform, Runa, executives are fighting to increase the benefits for their employees. More than 51% have offered activities that promote well-being in their employees, in areas such as: stress management (63%), physical activity (39%) and financial well-being (35%).
“Regardless of the role they play, all employees are an important part of the gear that makes your company move forward, so it is necessary to establish activities that encourage your team and allow their comfort,” says Courtney McColgan, CEO and Founder of Runa.
McColgan, shares five activities that you can offer to your team remotely, so that they maintain their levels of productivity and satisfaction:

Stress management activities: Yoga classes or relaxation exercises at established times can work to relieve the load of stress, release tension and clear the mind of your work team, use platforms that allow the connection of your entire team , from This way they will be able to interact at a distance in sessions of 10 to 15 minutes.

Physical activities: Inactivity from sitting for 8 continuous hours in front of the computer can reduce physical health, with overweight problems, poor posture and even headaches; Therefore, dance, stretching or muscle strength and balance classes can be of great help to maintain health.

Nutrition activities: The body is the engine that drives us day by day, so a good diet is essential, therefore, providing the advice of a nutritionist who provides guidelines on how to improve your health through proper nutrition will help you to stay healthy and productive.

Financial wellness activities: Workshops or courses that encourage them to maintain good financial health is essential, so their worries about expenses at home will be reduced effectively.

Psychological help: The uncertainty about the future can be a great torment for your team ; outings with friends; the return to the office and the vacations, at the moment are not viable, so it can lead to anxiety and stress. Psychological help these days represents a great contribution to the health of employees.

Encouraging the feeling of belonging, generates in employees a state of satisfaction, in addition to ensuring the optimal operation of the company and consequently the achievement of established objectives.
“Many times motivation is related exclusively to financial incentives but this is not entirely true, there are other ways to increase the satisfaction and productivity of your employees,” concludes the CEO of Runa.