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Your Brand Is Your Reputation: How To Build It

Ossiana Tepfenhart



Building reputation like blowing a bubble
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I forget who told me this, but someone very wise once said, “Your reputation is like a bubble. You can take a long time to make it big, but once it’s damaged, it’s no longer there.” This statement was told to me about how people view others, but I’ve always found it to be far more applicable to the world of business. 

Think about it. When you think of a major big box store, you tend to have a certain opinion pop up in mind. For example, Walmart is viewed as the all-American place where people go when they want to save money without having to dress up. Target is viewed as an upscale version of Walmart. And Kmart is viewed as the place you go when you need to buy something really quick. See what I mean?

Building your reputation is something that you need to take seriously, but how do you do it? Here are some of the best ways to maximize your rep and keep it carefully guarded. 

Choose good products!

No matter what type of industry you’re in, the quality of the product you’re peddling will always matter. It is the core part of your reputation and will be the first thing people think of when they decide to buy from you. 

Great products
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

People go to Porsche dealerships because they know Porsche makes quality cars. People go to Citizen for watches because they rock. If you choose good products that ship in a timely manner, your reputation will follow. 

Use quality photos and posts to market yourself. 

Did you ever meet a person who probably had the best of intentions, but dressed poorly and lacked self-awareness? You knew they probably weren’t a bad person deep down inside, but at the same time, the way they presented themselves made you averse to the idea of befriending them, didn’t it? 

The way a person presents themself is the way the he or she markets herself. With products, the way you present them will change the way people view them. Good photos, elegant marketing techniques, and the right presentation will build your reputation fast. Using bad photos, on the other hand, will break it.

Join the cool kids. 

In school, you probably remembered the lunch room where kids all sat with their respective cliques. There were the cool kids, the jocks, the geeks, and then the outcasts, right? In business, it’s kind of similar. Businesses tend to be aligned with similar businesses, sometimes to the point that they cross-promote one another. 

Hire an influencer
Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

What most people forget is that influencers and social media pages are also still businesses. Getting influencers to tout your gear or working with them on a special whitelabel collaboration is a great way to boost your reputation, especially among the trendy crowds.

On a similar note, it’s a good idea to avoid the “unpopular” kids in your realm. Associating with businesses that have a bad reputation, such as MLM businesses, can easily cause your entire company to tank. 

Address complaints properly, but don’t encourage bad behavior. 

One of the easiest ways to gain a good reputation among buyers is to learn the art of customer service. Good customer service will involve knowing how to professionally address complaints without having to harm your bottom line too much. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Address complaints promptly. Waiting one to two days, or worse ignoring complaints will cause your company to lose traction with customers. 
  2. Have your company’s policies written for all to see. It’s a good thing to have a return policy, a shipping policy, and a special gift order policy somewhere on your site. This way, people cannot argue over what your policies really are.
  3. Thank customers, but be firm if their demands are unreasonable. If you can’t give a customer a refund or a discount, tell them it’s against policy. Apologize and tell them when there’s nothing you can do. 
  4. If a customer writes a bad review without a real reason, politely and professionally explain the situation to as a rebuttal. Something along, “This person has never actually shopped at our store,” can work.

Encourage a community to form around your store. 

A good way to bolster your reputation is to encourage interaction among customers and encourage your clients to feel like part of a movement. Many dropshipping stores have gained a reputation by encouraging people to tell their thoughts on social media or starting a specialized page for fans to model their goods. 

It’s a small gesture, but when done right, can help you reach a new level of awesome in terms of reputation. 

Don’t be afraid to give back. 

We live in a world that’s increasingly focused on corporate responsibility. People don’t want to buy from companies they feel are greedy or self-centered. By choosing to give back to organizations you support, or supporting initiatives that help people live better lives, you show that your store stands for something. 

This gesture seems like a small one, but it’s important to remember your market. People are increasingly focused on corporate responsibility. If they can do more by spending with you, they will.

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5 Easy Ways To Start Getting Passive Income Without Paying A Single Cent

Ossiana Tepfenhart



Passive Income: 5 Easy Ways
Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

In the last few months, the world witnessed a serious plague destroy large swaths of the economy. COVID-19 basically shut down entire countries as it ripped through the world. It was then that many people realized how little they have in terms of an income safety net. 

I, personally, knew a bunch of people who found themselves in serious jeopardy because they didn’t have a way to make ends meet. That’s why I’m a huge fan of passive income. Unlike active income, where you have to work around the clock to make a dime, passive income can be made while you sleep. 

So, how do you earn money without having to work long term? It’s simple. You have to invest in or create assets that will make money for you. As someone who’s had to struggle with getting passive income started, I know how hard it is when you have no money to your name. So let’s talk about some ways that you make it happen!

Before I Begin: A Note About Passive Income

One thing I’ve noticed about passive income is that the main goal is to collect assets and help them work for you. This requires time (work), money, or both. If you don’t spend any money, then you’re going to have to work twice as hard to make sure that the assets you get are going to actually make you some cash. 

What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let the name fool you. Passive doesn’t mean “sit on your butt and do nothing.” It means that, if cared for, it will help earn you money when your job takes a nosedive.

1. Write blog posts and monetize them. 

Blogger success
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I am a huge fan of writing. In fact, it’s what I do as a living. Writing is a great way to add passive income—especially if you’re a fan of affiliate marketing. Having your own blog and writing posts about your favorite products can help you get some serious income without having to grind after you write it. 

If you’re not a fan of affiliate revenue, don’t worry. There are other ways to monetize you blog posts. Some sites, such as Medium, let readers tip you. If you have a serious following, getting a Patreon to help your followers support your work is a great way to make your fundraising even easier.

2. Do YouTube videos on subjects you’re good with.

Some people might say that the YouTube monetization route is dead, but I’m not so sure. It’s still very possible to earn a good income on this platform, and once again, if you want to add nitro to your income, having a Patreon helps.

YouTube passive income
Photo by CineDirektor FILMS from Pexels

The important thing to remember with YouTube is that you need to advertise, promote, and also optimize the content you want to turn into passive income. No views means no money. The more views and followers you have, the more money you can make. This route might not involve you spending money, but it still will involve a lot of work.

3. Write and sell books online.

Still feeling creative? Not a problem. Another good way to make an asset that will make money for you is to write and sell books online. Amazon’s book marketplace remains one of the most popular parts of its platform and publishing on it is actually fairly easy to do. 

Books online
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

You can literally write a book on anything and get it published. Much like with YouTube and any other form of content creation, you’re going to need to market it and help your fanbase grow. 

Once you start getting fans, you’re going to start seeing more money pour in…and eventually you won’t have to work as hard to promote your stuff. 

4. Create and sell an app online.

Though I am personally a “creative type” (read: I have the computer skills of a boot.) I do know that the app and software markets are massive. A single app can make you a lot of money, and while some might argue that the market’s flooded, I beg to differ. 

Create an App
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Every single day, I have read yet another story of an indie app maker or game designer who managed to create something that went viral. I mean, remember Flappy Bird? Though it was a free game, it still spread around the net like wildfire. 

If you have the coding skills and the graphics skills to do so, create an app and sell it on the market. You’d be shocked at how much money it can earn you, especially if you make a point of marketing it on your own. 

5. Store other peoples’ stuff in your home.  

Not feeling the whole “create something and sell it” vibe? I don’t blame you. It’s not for everyone and it can take a lot of work to actually kick off. Thankfully, there are other routes you can take to get your paws on that sweet, sweet passive income. 

You might already have considered renting a spare room as an Airbnb. That is, in fact, a way to get passive income. However, I’m not going to lie. Airbnb isn’t for everyone. I, personally, wouldn’t do it because I don’t trust random people in my place. But, there are other options.

Box storage
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

One of the newest ways to make it happen is by using an app called Neighbor. Neighbor is basically the “Airbnb” of storage. The way it works is simple: people pay you to store items for them via the app. You use your spare space to store the stuff. When the person’s ready to claim it, you bring it outside. 

Unlike with Airbnb, you don’t have to make their bed. You just have to let their stuff sit there. It couldn’t be easier if you tried.

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10 Tips For Teleworking With Zoom

Anna Ross



Teleworking with Zoom
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 crisis has sparked, it’s an interest in learning about video calling apps like Skype and Zoom. Most of us have used Skype, gotten disappointed by it, and moved on from it. Zoom is the new “hot program” on the marketplace today—and it’s basically like a more flexible version of Skype that also allows recording.  

Zoom has become a must-have when it comes to teleworking, and these days, everyone teleworks. New to teleworking, or just want to get better with Zoom? Here are some good tips to use (see our video and a full transcript below):

Concessionist on YouTube – 10 Tips for Teleworking with Zoom
  1. If you have an important meeting, hit “Record” to avoid missing a single note. It’s a lot easier than actually have to write things down. If your client decides to claim they don’t recall you saying something, you can then forward them the meeting video via Dropbox. Recording the meeting may help reduce some liability, but just make sure that your participants know that you’re recording the meeting before you do it.
  2. Get a better background by turning on the Virtual Background feature. Worried about people noticing your awkward home decor? Zoom has a virtual background feature that allows you to chat it up while using a white background…or the background of your choosing. Between the recording feature and the background, it’s easy to see how Zoom can be used to create awesome video chats for YouTube.
  3. Encourage the use of private chat if you’re in a meeting with a lot of people. A lot of meetings get very chaotic with everyone talking to each other. If you want to cut down on noise and also give people a way to discreetly ask questions, the private messaging function is a must. Just make sure your fellow meeting goers remember to choose the person the message goes to before they hit “SEND!”
  4. Use the in-meeting chat to send links, files, and other goodies relevant to your business. Rather than emailing everyone the goods ahead of time, dropping them in the chat while you speak can be an easier way to make sure that all the items you’re discussing can be easily accessed. If you want to double up on the sending, make a point of sending your digital goods to everyone’s email after the meeting. 
  5. Lock private conversations. Have a nosy coworker you’re worried about “dropping in?” Want an extra layer of security to your meetings? When hosting a meeting, add a password lock to ensure that people who don’t belong on your meetup don’t show up.

    Locking your rooms with a password is also a smart move if you don’t want to have a Zoom brigade happen. Zoom brigades occur when trolls crash a private meeting, flooding the room with lewd images or screaming obscenities into the microphone. Though rare, they do happen and password-protecting your room.
  6. Be aware of your camera and microphone. We’ve all heard of people who have been on online meetings, typed up stuff, and forced everyone to hear the clackity-clack of keyboards. Not cool! Worse are the stories of people who had online meetings nude, with the camera on. You can prevent this from being you by keeping an eye on your mute and video buttons. 
  7. Mute other meeting members to eliminate problematic noise. Having a hard time getting people to be quiet while you speak? Mute them all at once, and you’ll be able to make your meeting a lot smoother. 
  8. Use Zoom’s settings to make you look better. Zoom has a neat feature tucked away in its settings. It’s called “Touch Up My Appearance,” and it does exactly what it suggests. Workers who have a fondness for FaceTune will love this feature.

    This feature might seem superfluous to many, but think of it this way. When you’re at a meeting in-person, you want to look your best, don’t you? This is one way to fix yourself up on a virtual level. It makes sense to take advantage of it 
  9. If you are looking to gain a better grip on who’s paying attention, ask the audience to use the hand raise function in unison. It’s unbelievably easy to zone out in a meeting or to just leave the meeting on to make it look like you’re paying attention when you’re not. If this is an issue, the handraise function works well as a way to sniff people out. Those who don’t raise their hands aren’t actually there or just zoned out. 
  10. Keep numbers low if you’re noticing lag on your meetings. A lot of areas in the United States don’t have fast internet. In some cases, large meetings can increase the amount of lag that Zoom users experience. To prevent this from mucking up a meeting, keep the maximum amount of users in a single meeting to 15 or so unless it’s absolutely necessary. It helps!
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How to Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Venture

Anna Ross



Turn your hobby into a profitable venture
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

I remember back when I used to be a model. I wasn’t making much, but it was a status that always elicited a response out of people. The reaction I got from most guys was pretty obvious, but with girls, it was a little intriguing. 

With some girls, the reaction I’d get was one that was palpable. Sometimes, it would be raw jealousy and venom. Sometimes, it was more congratulatory. Most of the time, though, it was a click of the tongue and a “must be nice.” I never quite understood that slight envy I often saw. 

In reality, all I did was turn my hobby into money. Anyone can do that. We live in a world where we can turn hobbies into profit—modeling included. If you’ve been yearning to get extra cash, the skills from your hobbies can prove to be the best ally you have. Here’s how you can make money off your true interests, step by step.

Step 1: Learn your hobby inside and out. 

Before you can make a single dime off any hobby, you need to know the hobby well. You need to know what makes a person good at the hobby, top products in your hobby, what kind of attitudes people in the hobby tend to have, and how to be great at it. 

Without having a seriously solid foundation regarding your hobby, you won’t be able to make money off it. So, take at least six months to study your hobby thoroughly before you even try to make any money off it. Obviously, the more experience you have in this hobby, the better.

Step 2: Figure out how to profit off it. 

Everything can be profitable if you have a good target audience and something that can make them happy. Most hobbies will let you profit in one of five ways:

  • Affiliate Marketing. Do you know the best succulent planters on the market? Putting together a website that is devoted to helping people get the best goods for their hobby time is a smart idea.
  • Advice. If you know enough about a difficult hobby to be considered a master at it, this could be a good option. It works well with affiliate marketing, too!
  • Entertaining Reactions. We’ve all seen YouTubers and Twitch streamers make millions by just reacting to the craziness of online games. If you’re known fo having funny reactions and commentaries, this could be a viable venue for you. However, you will have to work hard to get your name out there and grow your fanbase.
  • Events. If you have a lot of friends in the hobby, throwing events is a smart way to make extra cash. 
  • Making Goods and Services. This is a popular choice with people who enjoy hobbies like candlemaking, soapmaking, woodworking, or DIY crafts. However, if your hobby involves something like coding, it can be a viable option too. 

Step 3: Figure out the supplies you’ll need. 

Every hobby-turned-career should start off as a side gig. When you’re first starting a side gig, it’s important to have the right supplies you’ll need in order to get started. Since you’re literally at the bare beginnings, you will not have to go for the fanciest tools. 

Your job is to figure out what you will need at a bare minimum in order to start your business. Having a free site, tools to do your hobby, and social media accounts are all you really need in order to kick off your own business in most cases.

You will have to take the thing you’re selling into account.  In some situations, like modeling, you won’t need a free site or eBay/Amazon/online store to get started. On the other hand, if you are thinking of selling candles you made, you might need an online store. If you want to be an affiliate marketer in your hobby, a blog would be best.

A lot of people want to add a large budget for advertising. If you can afford it, do so. However, it’s not necessary. When you’re first starting off, word of mouth and social media will do more for you than anything else. 

Step 4: Create content to advertise and sell your hobby-related services. 

Once you have the store and social media set ups you need, you will have to start selling your wares. Here are some good pointers to remember when you’re finally getting to the point where you’re ready to set out on your own:

  • Tell everyone you know about your hobby, your skill, and your products. People won’t know about your skills if you don’t advertise it—at least by word of mouth. You’d be surprised at who will want to step up and ask for advice. 
  • Good content will put you at an advantage against others. If you have a website, writing good articles and practicing SEO can help people get to your site whenever they search for things related to your hobby. If you’re doing item sales, YouTube videos, and other similar work, getting good photos and videos is a must. 
  • Remember that it’s still a business, even if it feels like pleasure. Evey if it is your hobby, you still have to treat it like a business. You need to avoid giving away freebies. You need to advertise. You need to grow your community. You need to remember that you’re going to have to work on less-than-awesome stuff to do the awesome stuff you enjoy.
  • Network, network, network. In most hobby scenes, you never know who knows who. Treat people accordingly and you maximize your chances at success.
  •  Remember that these things take time to build. Most people who tried their hand at making a living in their hobby make a little social media account, post occasionally for about a month, and then give up when no one reacts to their stuff. This is not a good way to go about things. This is not a race. Turning a profit is a marathon, and the longer you work at it, the better off you’ll be. 
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