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Who to Look?
According to recent research by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), corporate businesses looking to hire working professionals for new jobs find 10 new talents and skills to be defining traits amongst high performers.
Just one problem: The organization notes that this particular skill set is “scarce” and that most “employees lack the ideal mix of skills and competencies to achieve employers’ desired outcome.” This news is hardly reassuring for upper management or your HR department.
Increasingly, lower levels of management are making more hiring and strategic decisions that affect key stakeholders. Therefore, the workplace needs to make major shifts in corporate culture and strategic thinking amongst new hires.
Happily, certain types of job seekers looking to more meaningfully contribute to their organization and grow their careers may be better predisposed to mastering these new success skills and rules of engagement.
Keep the following seven traits in mind when interviewing new hires, to determine whether they’ve got what it takes to be defining members of your team.
1. Communication Skills
The umbrella term “communication skills” includes a trifecta of abilities, including the capacity to listen, write and speak. This is one of the top qualities employers look for in modern-day hires; it's essential for receiving, interpreting and giving direction. Likewise, a sense of social intelligence is also vital: Employees need to be able to understand where peers, colleagues and strategic partners are coming from, not just the words they’re saying, so they can better empathize and act on this information.
Chances are your employees will be simultaneously involved in several projects, tasks or initiatives. Therefore, the ability to juggle all with aplomb is a highly-valued skill. Effective multi-tasking is achieved when work is completed both efficiently and correctly, with a minimum of stress. Tomorrow’s workers must be well-equipped to juggle multiple tasks.
Enthusiasm is a valuable asset in new hires, as it shows the employee in question is passionate about the tasks he or she is performing for the organization. It goes hand in hand with positivity, and both can make a noticeable difference in what’s often a stressed, strained and/or hectic work environment. Plus, according to Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, positivity is not only contagious, but also has an impact on overall job performance, decision-making, creativity and turnover. A winning attitude can be invaluable and contagious.
Problem solving is a skill that sits somewhere at the nexus of creativity, level-headedness and logic. Those who exhibit it demonstrate a proven ability to objectively interpret incoming signals, and act both thoughtfully and with grace when a solution is needed. Workers with solid problem-solving skills aren’t just strategic thinkers; they should be able to keep a cool head when a situation arises and stay on task without the need for micro-management.
While not a single defining trait, solid organizational skills can be an asset to any worker. They indicate an employee is self-disciplined enough to gather the necessary information and data to keep his or her tasks both well-managed and on schedule — important traits for any leader. Powerful organizational skills alone do not great managers make, but they do help drive job candidates to be more professional, efficient and productive.
Integrity means being true and honest to oneself and others. It shows that someone knows his or her strengths and weaknesses, isn’t afraid to make mistakes or accept responsibility for doing so, and possesses a high degree of loyalty. Someone with strong integrity can be trusted to show respect, take responsibility and stand by the old adage “honesty is the best policy” — all a boon to your enterprises.
Chances are your open positions will require employees to cooperate and collaborate seamlessly with others. Therefore, you’ll want someone warm, friendly, easygoing and genuine — a solid team player can help bolster any winning lineup. With teamwork key to business success, look for candidates who are ready and willing to become a meaningful part of your organization.
Keyboard Shorcuts (Microsoft Windows)
1. CTRL+C (Copy)
2. CTRL+X (Cut)
3. CTRL+V (Paste)
4. CTRL+Z (Undo)
5. DELETE (Delete)
6. SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
7. CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
8. CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item)
9. F2 key (Rename the selected item)
10. CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word)
11. CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word)
12. CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph)
13. CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph)
14. CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text) - SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than 1 item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
15. CTRL+A (Select all)
16. F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
17. ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
18. ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
19. ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
20. ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
21. CTRL+F4 (Close active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
22. ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
23. ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened)
24. F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop)
25. F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
26. SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
27. ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)
28. CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
29. ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding menu) Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the corresponding command)
30. F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)
31. RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu)
32. LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu)
33. F5 key (Update the active window)
34. BACKSPACE (View the folder onelevel up in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
35. ESC (Cancel the current task)
36. SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROMinto the CD-ROM drive (Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)
Dialog Box - Keyboard Shortcuts
1. CTRL+TAB (Move forward through the tabs)
2. CTRL+SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the tabs)
3. TAB (Move forward through the options)
4. SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the options)
5. ALT+Underlined letter (Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option)
6. ENTER (Perform the command for the active option or button)
7. SPACEBAR (Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box)
8. Arrow keys (Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons)
9. F1 key (Display Help)
10. F4 key (Display the items in the active list)
11. BACKSPACE (Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box)
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Shortcuts
1. Windows Logo (Display or hide the Start menu)
2. Windows Logo+BREAK (Display the System Properties dialog box)
3. Windows Logo+D (Display the desktop)
4. Windows Logo+M (Minimize all of the windows)
5. Windows Logo+SHIFT+M (Restorethe minimized windows)
6. Windows Logo+E (Open My Computer)
7. Windows Logo+F (Search for a file or a folder)
8. CTRL+Windows Logo+F (Search for computers)
9. Windows Logo+F1 (Display Windows Help)
10. Windows Logo+ L (Lock the keyboard)
11. Windows Logo+R (Open the Run dialog box)
12. Windows Logo+U (Open Utility Manager)
13. Accessibility Keyboard Shortcuts
14. Right SHIFT for eight seconds (Switch FilterKeys either on or off)
15. Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (Switch High Contrast either on or off)
16. Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK (Switch the MouseKeys either on or off)
17. SHIFT five times (Switch the StickyKeys either on or off)
18. NUM LOCK for five seconds (Switch the ToggleKeys either on or off)
19. Windows Logo +U (Open Utility Manager)
20. Windows Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts
21. END (Display the bottom of the active window)
22. HOME (Display the top of the active window)
23. NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) (Display all of the subfolders that are under the selected folder)
24. NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) (Display the contents of the selected folder)
25. NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) (Collapse the selected folder)
26. LEFT ARROW (Collapse the current selection if it is expanded, or select the parent folder)
27. RIGHT ARROW (Display the current selection if it is collapsed, or select the first subfolder)
Shortcut Keys for Character Map
After you double-click a character on the grid of characters, you can move through the grid by using the keyboard shortcuts:
1. RIGHT ARROW (Move to the rightor to the beginning of the next line)
2. LEFT ARROW (Move to the left orto the end of the previous line)
3. UP ARROW (Move up one row)
4. DOWN ARROW (Move down one row)
5. PAGE UP (Move up one screen at a time)
6. PAGE DOWN (Move down one screen at a time)
7. HOME (Move to the beginning of the line)
8. END (Move to the end of the line)
9. CTRL+HOME (Move to the first character)
10. CTRL+END (Move to the last character)
11. SPACEBAR (Switch between Enlarged and Normal mode when a character is selected)
Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
Main Window Keyboard Shortcuts
1. CTRL+O (Open a saved console)
2. CTRL+N (Open a new console)
3. CTRL+S (Save the open console)
4. CTRL+M (Add or remove a console item)
5. CTRL+W (Open a new window)
6. F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)
7. ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the MMC window menu)
8. ALT+F4 (Close the console)
9. ALT+A (Display the Action menu)
10. ALT+V (Display the View menu)
11. ALT+F (Display the File menu)
12. ALT+O (Display the Favorites menu)
MMC Console Window Keyboard Shortcuts
1. CTRL+P (Print the current page or active pane)
2. ALT+Minus sign (-) (Display the window menu for the active console window)
3. SHIFT+F10 (Display the Action shortcut menu for the selected item)
4. F1 key (Open the Help topic, if any, for the selected item)
5. F5 key (Update the content of all console windows)
6. CTRL+F10 (Maximize the active console window)
7. CTRL+F5 (Restore the active console window)
8. ALT+ENTER (Display the Properties dialog box, if any, for the selected item)
9. F2 key (Rename the selected item)
10. CTRL+F4 (Close the active console window. When a console has only one console window, this shortcut closes the console)
Remote Desktop Connection Navigation
1. CTRL+ALT+END (Open the Microsoft Windows NT Security dialog box)
2. ALT+PAGE UP (Switch between programs from left to right)
3. ALT+PAGE DOWN (Switch between programs from right to left)
4. ALT+INSERT (Cycle through the programs in most recently used order)
5. ALT+HOME (Display the Start menu)
6. CTRL+ALT+BREAK (Switch the client computer between a window and a full screen)
7. ALT+DELETE (Display the Windows menu)
8. CTRL+ALT+Minus sign (-) (Place a snapshot of the active window in the client on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)
9. CTRL+ALT+Plus sign (+) (Place asnapshot of the entire client window area on the Terminal server clipboardand provide the same functionality aspressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)
Microsoft Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts
1. CTRL+B (Open the Organize Favourites dialog box)
2. CTRL+E (Open the Search bar)
3. CTRL+F (Start the Find utility)
4. CTRL+H (Open the History bar)
5. CTRL+I (Open the Favorites bar)
6. CTRL+L (Open the Open dialog box)
7. CTRL+N (Start another instance of the browser with the same Web address)
8. CTRL+O (Open the Open dialog box,the same as CTRL+L)
9. CTRL+P (Open the Print dialog box)
10. CTRL+R (Update the current Web )
The marketing mix is made up of the following elements, often referred to as “the four Ps”:
For a business to succeed, you need to:
Differentiation of your business from your competitors can be achieved through adjusting the elements to make your product/business more attractive. For example, if you wanted to market a high profile brand, you would focus on promotion rather than price.
Satisfying the customer’s needs or wants and in turn making a profit is your aim in providing a product/service. It is essential therefore that you get your product/service right.
There are various ways in which you can make your product stand out and be appealing. Use your senses in evaluating the product: ask yourself how does it feel and look.
‘Place’ is the mechanism through which goods and/or services are moved from the manufacturer/ service provider to the user or consumer. It is also referred to as distribution, channel or intermediary.
Successful distribution of your product/service is not only dependent on the delivery mechanism. You must also consider your customers – where is it that they would expect to go to find products/services like yours? It is therefore essential that you choose the correct distribution channel(s).
You need to know what your customers would be prepared to pay in order to price something effectively.
Compare your products/services with similar ones belonging to your competitors. This should give you some idea of typical prices in the market.
You will then need to decide upon a pricing strategy. For example, you might use cost based pricing where total costs are calculated and a mark up is added to give the required profit. Or you might consider differential pricing, where you charge different segments of your market different prices for the same service. The strategy you choose will have an effect on the success of the product. (For a further discussion of pricing strategies see the link at the bottom of the page.)
Whichever strategy you choose, you need to distinguish between cost and price. To maximise your profits, you should aim to charge the maximum amount that people will pay, while seeking to reduce costs and increase productivity.
Promotion is about effectively communicating with your customers so that they are encouraged to buy from you. You need to promote to both existing customers and prospective ones, which may involve promoting to each in different ways.
To promote successfully, you need to take the following into account:
When you have answers to the above, you are in a stronger position to decide what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and which promotional method(s) to use.
The ‘promotions mix’ is the combination of promotional elements you use to promote your product/service.
The various elements which can make up the promotions mix include:
You would choose the appropriate elements for your product/service and integrate them to form a promotional campaign.
Note: Sometimes you might see the marketing mix described in terms of the 'five Ps', to includePeople. Alternatively, the ‘seven Ps' also include Physical evidence (eg uniforms) and Process(the whole customer experience).
The business has to produce a product that people want to buy. They have to decide which ‘market segment’ they are aiming at – age, income, geographical location etc. They then have to differentiate their product so that it is slightly different from what is on offer at present so that people can be persuaded to ‘give them a try’.
Customers have to be made aware of the product. The two main considerations are target market and cost. A new business will not be able to afford to advertise on national television, for instance and would not wish to because its market will be local to start with. Leaflets, billboards, advertisements in local newspapers, Yellow Pages and ‘word of mouth’ would be more appropriate.
The price must be high enough to cover costs and make a profit but low enough to attract customers. There are a number of possible pricing strategies. The most commonly used are:
The business must have a location that it can afford, and that is convenient and suitable for customers and any supplier.
Because the company culture influences everything and everyone in it, a well-developed company culture creates positive changes across the board. Managers who have developed their company culture report improvements in many areas, including:
A well developed culture gives dramatic, sustained increases in productivity and performance. A 10% increase is minimal. While you can expect productivity to rise to somewhere between these two points, continuous improvement is the norm. Theoretically there is no limit—if you keep working on the culture.
High morale is a key to success. It is closely connected to trust, purpose, team loyalty, pride, and faith in the leadership—all qualities that improve as the culture develops.
Employees know cost control is important. As the culture builds, people take responsibility for costs. With widespread focus, administrative and operating costs drop well below industry norms.
Often the underlying reason for improving the company culture is profits. Because the developing culture creates across-the-board improvements, increased profits are inevitable.
The keys to safety are trusting, open relationships. In a safe work culture, people speak up openly about unsafe
situations, they don't stand silent when someone violates safe practices, they constantly look for ways to improve safety, and they take personal responsibility for creating and maintaining a safe workplace.
Supply chain efficiencies depend very much on cooperation between multiple functions and levels. As the culture develops, relationships, cooperation and communications improve. The supply chain becomes more efficient, streamlined and responsive to rapidly changing customer needs.
Injuries and Claims
This is a complex area, closely related to attitudes and relationships. As people see each other in new ways, lost-time injuries and worker’s compensation claims drop. Sometimes this is quite sudden and dramatic.
Along with a safer workplace, with fewer injuries and claims, come lower insurance rates.
As the culture builds, managers learn to better manage the quality of everyone's experience, inside the company, and with outsiders such as customers, clients, suppliers, and other corporate entities. Customers who like you, return more often, buy more, and recommend you to others.
When you have a great place to work—where people can satisfy their needs—they just don't want to leave.
It is common sense that there will be less absenteeism when people like their jobs. They also develop a new attitude
towards their fellow workers and to the problems that their absenteeism creates for them.
A well-developed company culture, clearly stated in promotional materials, is a powerful recruiting point. Companies with an open, participative workplace, where people enjoy working, and have broad opportunities for growth and creativity, attract top candidates.
At the root of morale are trust, a clear purpose, team loyalty and support, and faith in leadership and the success of the organization these increase as the culture develops.
When people can fulfill their desires around work they are highly motivated.
You will see a move away from adversarial relationships and towards cooperation. You will have few grievances and low workers compensation costs. I have clients where grievances dropped to zero.
Openness to Change
A striking increased openness to change and the desire to make things work. As trust and responsibility increases, employees initiate significant improvements in operations.
When the leaders show that they want everyone involved, people step forward in creative and productive ways.
Developing the culture trains managers in people leadership skills and gives them a clearer sense of their role. Many managers say that the culture development process was the most important experience in their career.
With improved openness and trust, people participate more in meetings so they become more energetic, focused, and creative.
Smoother mergers and acquisitions, with higher success rates. People get involved and make them work.
By definition, a developed culture increases cooperation, collaboration, and motivation.
Expect improved teamwork and communication between people, divisions, and levels.
The culture change process improves relationships between people, levels, and departments.
Problems are solved where they happen, or by those affected. They are not passed up to management.
When you ask a freelancer why he or she started freelancing, you’ll get answers like ‘I wanted to work for myself’, ‘I love being my own boss’, ‘I freelance for the flexibility it provides’ etc. At the heart of it, all those answers mean the same thing: they wanted to escape the cubicle nation.
While freelancers may indeed have escaped ‘imprisonment’ in a cubicle, they can’t completely escape all the things that made their corporate life difficult. Actually because you’re out on your own now (in freelancing), you have to do all the things that your colleagues in their respective departments do on behalf of the company.
In any case, you should know that there are elements that remain the same in both the corporate working life and when you are out of it, and prepare accordingly.
1. Salary/Rate Negotiations
In a corporate job, 9-to-5′ers get a fixed salary and structured pay raise. On the surface, freelancers are the exact opposite. They set their own rates and can raise them whenever they want. In reality however, regular employees negotiate their salary much like how freelancers negotiate their rates with clients.
The only difference is that 9-to-5′ers only do it when accepting a job or negotiating a raise; freelancers do it on a regular, client-by-client basis. So unless you have fixed rates stated on your website, you’re actually negotiating more on your rates than you ever did over your full-time job salary.
Freelancers boast of not having to be accountable to anyone but themselves. I beg to differ. We’re accountable to our clients. Sure, no one asks us what we’re doing with our time, or checks in on us throughout the day, but on the day of the deadline, the client expect to get their results from you.
Ultimately, a freelancer is accountable to his/her client. Miss a deadline and you can’t simply say ‘Oh sorry, I wasn’t able to meet the deadline.’ Explanations must be given and in most cases, a client is well has the right to dock pay due to your tardiness.
While full-timers report to their superiors, freelancers report to their clients. The accountability cycle is there – it’s just the names and designation of who we report to that has changed.
While you might not be completely responsible for a single project or deadline, working in a company gives you a bit of a safety net as far as taking the blame is concerned, when things go wrong. In a corporate setting, the manager takes the rap for a failed project regardless of which of his or her subordinates made the fluke.
In freelancing, congratulations, you get to shoulder ALL the blame regardless of your job function, when things go wrong.
4. Office Politics
Office workers deal with office politics and the different behaviours and personalities of their colleagues on a daily basis. From the passive aggressive co-worker to the know-it-all colleague, the limelight hogger to the boss’ pet. If you have ever worked in an office setting, chances are you have seen them all.
Freelancers see these characters every day too – only instead of co-workers, they experience them in their clients. Gather two or more freelancers together and the topic of client personalities invariably comes up.
5. Working After Hours
If you started freelancing because you wanted the flexibility of working your own hours or less hours, then it probably didn’t take you long to discover that you actually work more hours as a freelancer than you did as a full timer.
Even though plenty of people work after-hours in a corporate job, for freelancers, it’s basically a must. Freelancers often find themselves working nights and even weekends to meet deadlines. If they want to make a success of their freelance business, working long, hard hours is a requirement.
6. Getting A Promotion
In a corporate setting employees get promotions as recognition of their hard work and dedication. For freelancers, it’s pretty much the same, except they give themselves the promotion, or a break, or a raise, or a new gadget etc. Getting a raise in their rates, and handling bigger clients, etc are all part of that promotion.
7. Bigger & Better Opportunities
Whether it’s within the company or with another, corporate employees are always on the lookout for their next big break – be it a new designation, job, benefits or environment. Freelancers are the same.
We’re always on the lookout for our next big client. We’re always looking for bigger and better opportunities that’ll help us earn more. Just as no employee sticks to one company for his entire life, a freelancer doesn’t stick to that one client. It’s simply not in the nature of how a freelance business is done. Sure, every freelancer has clients who retain them but that partnership is not indefinite. Eventually they will move on to other clients.
So What’s The Difference? If there are so many similarities, are we just fooling ourselves into believing we’re better off as freelancers? Is making the switch from a corporate full-time job to a freelancing business just a change in the scenery?
The answer is no. There is a big difference between a full time corporate job and a freelance one:flexibility and control. In a full-time job, you don’t have flexibility. You can’t start work later if you want to go to the gym in the morning, you can’t take the random afternoon off and you certainly can’t just turn off your computer and leave work to go pick up your kids in the middle of the day.
By Samar Owais
Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Jordan Driediger, an entrepreneur, public speaker, and writer from Toronto, Canada. He is the CEO of his own company DM2 Studios LLC. He and his company are dedicated to support the creativity and inspiration in others.
The freelancer-to-client relationship is a tricky thing to deal with. Your ability to work with the various types of clients can make or break your freelancing career. To help you deal with this problematic area, here is a breakdown of the most common client characteristics that may curse your creative career.
Every client is different. Although we can find faults with each client we work with, we as freelancers need to overlook their strange tendencies, and learn how to interact effectively with them. I hope this guide will help you identify your client’s needs, and increase your success as a freelancer.
The Curious client can be a frustrating one. When you first meet them, you are thrilled that someone can be so interested in your work! They are generally hyperactive, very friendly, and very talkative.
Begin work on a project? you may be inclined to share the ins and outs of what you do with this client. Teaching a client is fine, especially if the work you are doing for them requires ongoing maintenance. However, as time passes you may find they take up too much of your time, and can beto be a hindrance to your productivity.
How To Handle Them
They want information. This type of client doesn’t just want to know what you’ve done but also how you did it. They will request meetings on a regular basis and guides on how you performed specific tasks. Once you start feeding them, they only get hungrier. With the Curious client, it is always beneficial to address the issue directly:
Say you’re busy. Let them know bluntly that your time is limited, and that you want to focus on the work they’ve assigned – they will usually understand and respect your time.
Set time limits. You should set end times for every meeting and every phone call you have with this person. This will force both of you to focus on the work at hand.
Become a consultant. When they start asking too many questions, offer them your services as a paid consultant. This way, even if you do talk for a few hours, you will get paid for your time.
Client never cease to amaze you with their lack of knowledge about your work. In their defence, they are usually part of an older generation. While they can be kind and patient, they bring with them a unique set of challenges. You cannot message the Oblivious on Facebook, because they don’t have an account. You cannot use your favorite movie scene as an example, because they haven’t seen it. Don’t try to show the Oblivious how to do something on the Internet, because you’ll get a 15-minute tale about how great their nephew is with computers.
How To Handle Them
They want to be reassured that they are being treated fairly. This client unfortunately has been abused in the past for their lack of knowledge, and is concerned that you will do the same. Be patient with the Oblivious. It may take extra time to communicate with them, but they can be an absolute joy to work for.
The extreme alternative is to exploit them and overcharge for your work – if you value your reputation, don’t do this. Do however:
Use terms and examples that they can relate to. Don’t bother with the long acronyms or technical terms that will only leave you with a confused and concerned client.
Use pictures and visual aids to illustrate your points. This is incredibly useful because it reinforces the authenticity of what you are saying, and promotes trust.
Write it all down. Work out a comprehensive contract with them to help them feel secure. They may not understand the details of your work, but they do understand a fair deal.
You can easily recognize a Know-It-All client because you will hate them shortly after meeting them. They are the ones who apparently know exactly how to do your job, yet for some reason hired you. They will interrupt you during your presentations, and not budge from a decision once it is made.
How To Handle Them
The Know-It-All’s desires are clear: they want control, and they want respect. Their need for control is usually a reflection on insecurity within them. You can easily win their trust with some basic psychology. If your client wants control, and demands respect, then let them have it. This client can be an absolute nightmare if they don’t get their way, so use these simple tactics to win their trust:
Give them an occasional compliment. A Know-It-All will be much more inclined to accept your proposals if their input and ideas are appreciated.
Pick your battles. Don’t fight on every little issue; save your strength for when the critical moments occur.
Don’t work for them. Sometimes the best way to win is to not participate. If a client doesn't respect you or your work, I recommend looking around for someone who does.
The Cheapskate =.=
Many clients today fall under this category. The Cheapskate is on a budget, and is willing to sacrifice time and quality in exchange for a lower price. They will always chose the cheaper option, which makes it easy for you decide what tools to use for their projects.
How To Handle Them
The Cheapskate just wants the product to work. Talk to them about quality and durability all you want –they just want the job complete with the lowest total cost to them. If you want to make them happy, let them know you saved them some money. This client can actually be great to work for if you are looking for a quick payday. The trick is to make sure the product reflects the price.
Do the work quickly. Time is your most valuable asset as a freelancer. This client just wants the job done, so that’s exactly what you need to do.
Get it in writing. Some Cheapskates are so cheap that they won’t even pay you. Be sure to sign a contract with them before beginning any work.
Start the estimates high. It doesn't matter if your prices are fair or not, this client will want a lower price. By beginning your estimates with a higher-end price, you can haggle with a Cheapskate and come to a win-win compromise.
The Dreamer doesn’t quite live on planet Earth. Their heads are filled with crazy ideas and big plans. Whether it is in style or in function, the Dreamer envisions his or her final product as being the best thing available.
How To Handle Them
Dreamers want their dreams to come true. This can be difficult if you are unable to live up to their high expectations. However, if you impress a Dreamer – they will absolutely adore you. Without discouraging their passion, you must bring the Dreamer back into reality. Letting them visualize and interact with your work can help them:
Ask them to show you examples. You may be hit with the line, "it is so awesome it doesn't exist yet!" but be persistent until they are able to think rationally.
Be straight forward with prices and time frames. Sometimes what the Dreamer wants isn't impossible, it’s just difficult. If this is the case, give them a solid price and time frame to do the work in.
Ask them about the details. Dreamers rarely fill in the blanks. While their end goals are usually incredible, sitting down with them and discussing the details can help both you and them get a good grasp on the scope of the project.
The Helper can be sweet at first, but can get in your way if not handled correctly. They are very hands-on people, who need to interact personally with your work. A Helper can be fantastic client to work for, provided you can keep them busy.
How To Handle Them
The Helper wants to be involved in the work. They carry with them a lot of enthusiasm that needs to be released in a constructive and practical way. If a Helper wants to assist you, then give them that opportunity. This gives you a great chance to practice your skills as a delegator and team player, as well as help expedite your work for this client. When working with a Helper:
Give them tasks. Letting them assist you with some of the simpler tasks of your job can save you time and money. Be sure to identify your client’s skillsets before asking them to preform a complicated task.
Ask them to research. Whether you use the information they find or not, research tasks can keep a Helper out of your way for a long stretches of time, leaving you the freedom to focus on your job.
Make noise. As unusual as this may seem: the Helper can be easily scared off by loud noises. If they won’t leave you alone, taking a phone call or turning on a power tool will most often cause them to give you some space.
Some clients are born Sprinters, and some are just forced to run to meet a deadline. The Sprinter always has time on their minds. They are serious when it comes to deadlines, and are often very busy people. They frequently think if a project can get done in one month; you should be able to get it done in three weeks.
How To Handle Them
For a Sprinter – time is of the essence. Their goal is to get projects done fast. This type of client is generally hard-working, so they expect the people around them to be the same way. When dealing with a Sprinter:
Proceed with caution. Sometimes it only takes an hour to negotiate your workload for the next month. Don’t get caught in a deal that leaves you stuck with an over demanding assignment.
Guard your deadlines. You will be held accountable to the time frames mentioned on your contract, so be realistic and flexible with them. The Sprinter may want you to complete work ahead of schedule, but don’t move from those deadlines unless you are comfortable doing so.
Pace yourself. When working for a Sprinter, follow the basic rules of productivity: stay focused, cut out distractions, take breaks, and stay organized.
The Underling is not allowed to make any decisions. They are clients who work under a strict chain of command, meaning they need approval before making most decisions. They usually have no clue what is going on, and are rarely prepared for the questions you have to ask.
How To Handle Them
What the Underling wants doesn’t really matter – what matters is what their superiors want. Ultimately, if the work you give the Underling pleases the ‘guys upstairs’, you will have a very happy client. They key to dealing with an Underling is to think like an employee. Strategically plan ahead for the "let me get back to you" mentality. When working for an Underling:
Ask questions in bulk. Individual questions get lost in emails and sticky notes. The best way to save yourself time and stress is to compile a sizeable list of questions you will need answered and submit them all at once.
Prepare for the lag. You know how news reporters always take a minute to respond to questions? This is exactly what you will have with an Underling. Ask questions ahead of time so you are properly equipped for the next phase of your work.
Don’t bother explaining. If you are working for an Underling there is a good chance their boss is the next type of client on our list. This means that the Underling just needs to know the highlights of the work you’ve done, because that’s all their boss wants to hear.
The Delegator hired you because they know what you’re doing, and expect you do complete your work with skill and professionalism. They won’t want to be bothered with the details or bogged down by long meetings; their credo is: "you do it lah".
How To Handle Them
They simply want a solid finished product completed within a reasonable amount of time. The work you are doing for them is usually just a small piece in a much bigger plan. Your work will have to speak on your behalf, because the Delegator isn't available to meet for the next two months. When working with a Delegator:
Respect their time. Delegators guard their time like they guard their very lives. When interacting with them, come prepared and keep it short.
Be direct and honest. Delegators loathe excuses. They are not interested in what tools used on a project, how long it took you, or what went wrong along the way; they want to know if the job is done, and if the product works.
Give them a document. This type of client can handle paperwork much better than they can handle human interaction (unless of course they have delegated the paperwork to someone else). By giving them a written report, you are able to keep them informed without taking up too much of their time.
Nellie Akalp is the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs incorporate or form an LLC for their new businesses. Connect with Nellie on Twitter or visit her free resource center.
Starting a business gives you the opportunity of running your own show. But many also assume it means the end of the 9-to-5 grind, or no more uninspiring projects. Yet, this rosy picture doesn’t always reflect the reality of being in charge.
That’s because, all too often, self-employed individuals are overworked, very stressed, and simply underpaid. If that sounds familiar, here are six ways you can be a better boss to yourself.
1. Invest in Things That Will Help You Do a Better Job
Self-employed individuals sometimes make absurd sacrifices to save a few dollars. Unfortunately, that old computer or software version may be holding you back. Don’t hold the purse strings too tightly when it comes to those expenses that could help you be more productive and satisfied on a daily basis. For example, take some time to see if there are new software or online tools that could help you get more done in less time.
2. Invest in Your Education
Great entrepreneurs are always learning. Don’t hesitate to invest in conferences, training sessions, classes, even networking events. You’ll be able to learn new skills, gain insight needed to expand your business, and make valuable contacts. Look for relevant industry seminars and conferences, local chamber of commerce events, even extended learning classes at a local college or community center.
3. Invest in a Great Benefits Package
When you’re self-employed, you get freedom and flexibility, but you lose the company-provided benefits package and other perks of a full-time employee. This means you’ll need to invest in your own healthcare and retirement.
For healthcare, make a list of what you want, then talk to an insurance broker about your possible insurance options. For many self-employed people, especially sole proprietors and partnerships, a high-deductible plan with an HSA is usually a solid bet from a financial standpoint. Depending on your business structure, you may find you can deduct most, if not all, of your insurance premiums for you and family members.
Consider joining an association or professional organization that offers group-based health coverage to members. For example, members of the National Association of Science Writers are eligible to participate in their group health and dental insurance. Of course, be sure to fully understand all the membership fees and dues before joining.
Additionally, as a small business owner, you have a range of possible retirement plan choices, from SEP to SIMPLE IRA plans. You may be hesitant to tie up money you might need for your everyday expenses. However, if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to get started on retirement savings now, even if it means just a small investment of $25 a month. Talk with a financial planner or CPA about the best retirement program for your situation and taxes.
4. Don’t Undervalue Your Services
Many new businesses charge the least amount possible out of fear that clients won’t pay more. Then, they worry what will happen if they ask to raise their prices. But when you set your pricing too low, you need to take on more clients and clock more hours to stay in business. What’s the result? You’re overworked and often end up with clients who don’t value your services.
At the most basic level, your business is all about earning the money you deserve for the value you bring to customers. As long as you do a great job of meeting your customer’s needs, you should be able to be compensated fairly and even raise your prices.
5. Invest in the Legal and Administrative Aspects
If you’re self-employed, then you are 100% responsible for your business. This means it’s up to you, and you alone, to make sure your business is compliant with any license and permit requirements. You should consider forming an LLC or corporation for your business. While the legal fine print may not be the most glamorous part of your business, it can be essential to your business and personal financial health. An LLC or Corp will protect your own personal assets from any company liability. So, if your company happens to be sued, your personal savings are shielded.
6. Reward Your Best Employee: You
Be sure to reward yourself when you have great moments, like landing a big client win or meeting a tough deadline. Your reward can be as creative as you’d like. Maybe even just a night off without the cellphone or computer.
Running your own business is not easy, so be sure to acknowledge each success. After all, you no longer have a boss to recognize your hard work so it’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired.
by Nellie Akalp1
The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.
A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the "best of the best" tend to share the following eight core beliefs.
1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of "troops" to order about, demonize competitors as "enemies," and treat customers as "territory" to be conquered.
Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers ... and even competitors.
2. A company is a community, not a machine.
Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by "pulling levers" and "steering the ship."
Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.
3. Management is service, not control.
Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they're told. They're hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the "wait and see what the boss says" mentality.
Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.
4. My employees are my peers, not my children.
Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can't be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.
Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.
5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.
Average bosses see fear--of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege--as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.
Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards.
6. Change equals growth, not pain.
Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change ... until it's too late.
Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don't value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.
7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.
Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.
Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.
8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.
Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.
Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.
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By SALES SOURCE | Geoffrey James
Every day someone asks me how much it costs to build a mobile phone application, a website, or an e-commerce site. As a co-owner of Crowd Interactive, and the CEO of an online 360º performance review service called ClearGears, I'm acutely aware of the costs associated with building and running online businesses.
Here are a few guidelines to help get your head around your overhead:
Informational websites are cheap, often free: You're in luck if your site is informative rather than interactive. You can build a Wordpress site in a matter of hours if you're not picky about design, and in weeks if you hire a designer. You probably do not need a web development company to build an informational site. You can probably hire one person to design and build your site.
Development is expensive: Mobile and web applications and stores are interactive and more expensive. Smart web development companies will bill for their services like a law firm--for time and materials. The more time it takes and the more people involved in building your system, the more it costs. Some companies will charge a fixed fee--and then they deliver late and lose money.
To build an online store or application from scratch expect a team of 4 developers to spend at least 6 months designing, implementing, testing and launching it. At $50 per person per hour, working full time each month, the monthly cost is $32,000 per month. In this case you would pay $196,000 over six months.
Development doesn't end: Development costs don't decrease after launching. They can actually increase. Consider Amazon.com, Zappos.com, or even Facebook. All of these companies spend millions each year on innovating and changing their site. Innovation aside, the changing nature of Internet--and how we access it--forces companies to constantly update their sites. As browsers and hardware change, your site must also change.
Business growth requires more development: When you first launch an online store the volume of sales might be low enough to handle sales with an email sent to one or two people. But once you start handling hundreds or thousands of orders and returns, you'll need a custom solution.
Customer service is expensive: The best online sites also have the best customer service. In fact, customer service may help you grow faster than a sleek design or adword marketing. Customer service is also people-intensive, so you will need to pay staff to answer phones, respond on the Facebook wall, and even write hand-written notes to new customers.
Success is expensive: By some estimates, Facebook spends over $1 million per month on electricity. While your business may not become as large as Facebook, you will have to consider the extraordinary people, hosting, power, and equipment costs that come with running a popular site.
With all these expenses, you're going to need to get resourceful.
Some strategies to reduce costs:
Some cost-reduction strategies to avoid:
Arshad Chowdhury, a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about improving life at work, is CEO of ClearGears, a software as a service business that replaces traditional reviews with real-time, social feedback. Prior to developing ClearGears, Chowdhury led two culture-first ventures: a web-consulting firm called Crowd Interactive, and a fatigue-management company called MetroNaps. For more insights, read Arshad's blog and follow him on Twitter.
BY ARSHAD CHOWDHURY
This article is written by a member of our expert contributor community.