Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

How Important Is Personal Branding

Personal branding – is it even relevant? This is a question I often get asked. When mentioned branding – it is by default associated with a product or company, never with an individual. Why is that? Don’t we all have a certain image that is perceived by the outside world? Would you agree that you are known for certain things based on how you interact? If the answers to the questions are “yes” then every individual is a brand on its own. Whether you are a business, a product or an individual we all need our own identity, in other words a brand statement. Whether you chose to consciously work on it to develop it or it gets formed by default is a choice every business and individuals have.

Personal branding has been a topic of discussion for few years now and it has started to gather momentum. This is the time of specialization, gone are the days when you were valued because you could do multiple things. Social media has made things very transparent; at a click of a button people can have even information about you. It is time that we start paying focused attention on our personal brand statement. It is a way to create that trust and dramatically improve conversion rate. Whether you use your personal brand to consult, freelance, or drive more traffic and trust to your company, it’s vitally important to establish one to stay competitive.

Here are some steps that will help you start developing your own personal branding:

Step 1: Know thyself (your expertise)

Before you establish your expertise, you need to decide on what you want to be known for. General statements like “human resources” or “finance” is not enough – you need to figure out what is your niche. There are tons of people competing for the same; hence carving out your niche is the only way you are going to stay ahead of your competition. The potential audience might get smaller with the niche but it will be the relevant people. Specificity is a trade of volume for significance.

Step 2: Let people know

The best way to let people know about your area of expertise is to do it through content marketing. Writing and publishing relevant content will help you build your online reputation and will also come in handy for people to know you. You can do it by starting your own blog, writing as a guest blogger and also publishing in Linkedin. Remember consistency is everything, so make sure you are posting content at least on a weekly basis.

Step 3: Align your social media profiles

Social media is the engine which is fueled by content. Pay attention to the details of your social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and make sure they’re consistently in line with your personal brand standards. Make sure to post updates regularly (at least once a day for Facebook and LinkedIn, at least a few times a day for Twitter), and don’t be afraid to re-post your older content for your new followers.

Step 4: Learn to be a story teller

Just being online is not enough to create your brand. People need to hear your stories, gather enough material through case studies that you can share. Stories are a very powerful way of sharing your message, expertise and building the trust. Look for events where you can speak and share. This will help establish you as an expert.

Step 5: Your network is your net worth

Get out of your comfort zone and start putting that hand out to meet more people in your area of expertise. Look for events both offline and online where you can share your knowledge, interact and build your branding. Don’t just join a group, participate. Make those connections with anybody who can be valuable to you. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.

As with everything, it takes time and effort to build your brand too. Stay consistent with your efforts, pay attention to how your audience is responding to your content and make changes accordingly. Rome was not built in a day, so be patient but above all be consistent. Get in touch with me to get your 60 min FREE analysis

 

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Discover your brand

We are all familiar with brands and we are always endorsing some brand or another throughout our day.We are extremely loyal to our brands specially that enhances our status symbol. For some of us who work are working to build the brand we work for and as entrepreneur you are working to make your brand more and more visible.

Have you ever stopped to think what about “YOU” as a brand. What does “YOU”stand for ? Better yet what would you want “YOU” to stand for? Have you ever made conscious effort to work on it? Watch the video to get a better clarity.

Discover your brand

 

 

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Business Mindset Tip #1

HAVE IDEAS THAT FEED YOUR MIND

Success needs hard work and comittment. It needs us to dig deeper within and give everything we got. It also needs us to be focused and resilient. Not to mention it needs us to have laser focus and prioritizing.

Everyone wants to make money and be successful, very fewhow to (1) want to work hard. Remember when you are looking for the idea, look for the one that feeds your mind and not your body. The one that feeds your mind will keep the passion ignited.

Case in point, Steve Jobs, Apple was the idea that kept feeding his mind, even when the body was weak and frail. That is the reason he has the legacy he has.

 

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Create the business you want by connecting and collaborating

I was visiting a friend two days back and her 8 year old son asked her innocently – “mom why are you always working”? She just smiled and chose not to answer because it was too hard to explain an 8 year old what it takes to an entrepreneur.  When you are building your own business, there are no perfect times when you need to work; you work every chance you get, at least mentally. Of course it also depends on how badly you want to succeed. In my opinion, if your “WHY”, the reason behind is loud and clear, it does not matter “HOW” much you have to put in.

One of the key traits that every entrepreneur needs is to have the desire to hustle. You need to be able to see things before anyone else sees it and then carve a path for it. Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and then go after it. You need to have the ability to be uncomfortable and open yourself to vulnerabilities because through that will come your biggest creativity and success.iStock_000012148264XSmall-300x300

You cannot shy away from hustling and networking. These are very crucial elements of your success as an entrepreneur

Here I would like to share a story of personal experience. I landed in Costa Rica in July 2015, after living in Canada for over 14 years. I knew no one in Costa Rica and did not know Spanish as well, which is the language most commonly used in Costa Rica. I had started writing my book before I left Canada and hence I kept myself busy with the book and finished first draft in 7 months. Most often I would work from home and sometimes go over to a cafe to get a change of place. I had learnt how to say my destination to the taxi driver and order my coffee in Spanish. As my book started to get into editing and publishing, I knew that it was essential for me to work on the next steps, which is promoting the book and get myself established as a speaker. I reached out to people through networking, referrals, referral of referral, any chance I got to create an opportunity, and I did.

I could not afford to give the excuse that I am new so I cannot make it because my dream was way stronger than my excuse.

Today, I have over 10 opportunities that I am working on; all are outside of my book promotion. These are actual paid speaking assignments, teaching in university, marketing consulting work. It is not a rocket science, you can do it too. Just have to stay focused, consistent and persistent. You need to have the right mindset and be result oriented than excuse oriented.

If you are an entrepreneur and are struggling to carve a path for your business and need help, feel free to reach out to me. I will teach you how to network, connect and create the results you are looking for.

 

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Power Of Affiliate Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Are you still thinking of implementing an affiliate marketing program in your marketing mix?  I think it is about time to wake up and smell the coffee. If you are an online retailer, does not matter what size of company you are, it is critical you understand the power of affiliate marketing and grab on to it as soon as you can. There has never been a better time to be an online retailer. Revolutions in data and analytics have brought new insights to online companies, allowing even small online retailers to make a profit on what they sell and on what they don’t sell. Sounds impossible? It isn’t.affiliate-banner

Affiliate marketing is essentially a commission-based online referral system; company uses ads, banners, or links to refer customers to the products and services of another company. In exchange for that virtual reference, the referring website receives a fee or percentage of the sale. This multibillion-dollar industry is expected to grow to $4.5 billion by 2016, and is expanding most rapidly of all in the mobile e-commerce, according to Forrester Research. While affiliate marketing is clearly on the rise and cashing in on the fact that it is estimated global e-commerce sales exceeded 1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a report by eMarketer. All big online retailers offer it right up front on their websites.

To get started in affiliate marketing does not require any special tools or techniques beyond those of a regular e-commerce site, but to do it right and in a way that offers a service above and beyond the competition, affiliate marketing does require a company to know itself. One of an online company’s greatest resources is information on how people arrive at their website. What keywords bring customers to your virtual front door? Google Analytics –the analytics provider of choice for 49% of all the websites in the world– provides this information for free, as well as data on what customers search for on a site, how they navigate through a site, and even how they leave a site. This treasure trove of information tells you what people want but can’t find at your store, what products were close but not quite the right fit, and what things they explored, but didn’t find motivating enough to buy.

It is just a matter of using the analytics to your advantage. Find a way to compile all this information, and you will get a clear idea on how your site and your potential customers interact, and will become the basis of your affiliate marketing choices. This is a great way to acquire new customers at a fraction of cost that you would normally spend on doing marketing. Customer acquisition is evolving; you cannot afford to be left behind. Understand the power of affiliate marketing and get your lead pipelines flowing.

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Building Your Business Under Pressure

Only an entrepreneur knows what it is like to be an entrepreneur. There are more challenging days than happy days, there are more lonely days than not. There are times when the day does not seem to get over, and then there are days you wish you had more than 24 hours. Some days you surely feel like throwing in the towel and go back to the ordinary way of living and some days you question yourself – are you really on the right track? Do you really want to do this? How long before some door cracks open? I know the pressure is enormous – some days it feels like your head will burst. So how do you keep your sanity and still carry on?

I am sure there are a lot of you who feel the same way but have no way of expressing your feeling to anyone as people who work a regular job do not get it, because they think you have the best life, you get to work your own hours and still complaining. I am no different than you, I feel and go through the same way and have figured out my own way of dealing with this pressure. Here are some of the tips that have helped me to deal with the pressure:

Acknowledge the reality

Thumbs-UpSmiley-512We can handle the situation better when we accept there is a situation, same is with this. The pressure is a byproduct of working for oneself. So it is better to accept this reality. As in any work, there are some pros and cons and entrepreneurship is no different. Once we have accepted this reality, it is easier to then work on it. It is always efficient to deal with the known than the unknown. Once you know this fact, you now have to think of ways that keep you productive and on course.

Creating a system

gearFor me personally, I like to start the day with gratitude. It helps me keep the negatives away and focus my mind to recognizing the things I have. Also, I like to watch something motivational before I start my work. I do that as it puts me in the right frame of mind. This is a system I have to keep me on course when I am all by myself working staring at the same wall, sitting at the same place for days together.

Motivation booster

We are all human and we have our good days and bad days. It is normal to lose our motivation and it is almost impossible to stay upbeat all the time. To keep my motivation high, I watch and read. I take the time to read books that either increases my belief like biographies of successful entrepreneurs, some of my favourites are Screw it let’s do it by Richard Branson, along with positive mental attitude books like Think and Grow Rich, Compound Effect and not to forget spiritual like Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen. I also like to watch Tedex videos as it not only inspires me but also teaches me communication skills.

Support Group

team-icon-4590263I think this is a very crucial element for every entrepreneur. You need to find a support group where you can meet people like you who are going through the same struggles. It not only helps you get belief that you are not alone, but you can get ideas from them on how to handle certain situations. This can be in person as a networking group or online.

Take breaks

icon_12712It is important for us to replenish our souls. An axe when used to cut trees without stopping to sharpen it will get blunt and won’t be productive. Same way, your mind which is the most important power house you have needs to discharge and recharge. Do the things that make you feel good, for some it could be exercise, for some it could be music, just going out shopping or taking a day trip somewhere. You know it best. Just remember to forget all work and reach out to the soul and nourish it and refuel it. In the hunt to do excel, we sometimes forget to be kind to ourselves.

Hope I have been able to help you with some of the tips. Should you need more help and need help elevate your business to the next level, feel free to email me and I will be happy to help.

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Rise of Women Entrepreneurship

If there was ever a better time for women to take up entrepreneurship, it is now. If there is anything good that has come out of the roller coaster ride of the economy, it is the fact that it has pushed women to start their own entrepreneurship journey. And boy have it woken the giants within – you better believe it. Here are some data that supports my claim.Women-Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise around the world, according to a recent study. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report released in November 2015 reveals that female entrepreneurs have narrowed the gender gap by six percent since 2012, with women ages 25-34 leading the way.

According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, for which Scorpio Partnership consultancy surveyed about 2,600 high and “ultra-high” net worth entrepreneurs from 18 countries, the researchers found that almost 90% of women entrepreneurs expected their companies’ gross profits to increase or remain stable in the next year. More specifically, 61% expected profits to rise, compared to an average of 58% among all entrepreneurs.

Women have been found more trust worthy – they come with the perfect mix of heart and brain. While the business world runs with data and numbers, you cannot ignore the human aspect and people involved. As we all know its people who move products not the other way round. This is probably why more and more women are gaining success. Women have always been able to find that fine balance of people and purpose. Here are some statistics that will blow your mind:

Women Owned Business in the United States

  • More than 9.1 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.4 trillion in sales as of 2014.
  • Women-owned firms (50% or more) account for 30% of all privately held firms and contribute 14% of employment and 11% of revenues.
  • Over the past seven years, the overall increase of 8.3 million (net) new jobs is comprised of a 9.2 million increase in employment in large, publicly traded corporations, combined with a 893,000 decline in employment among smaller, privately held companies.

Businesses Owned by Women of Color

  • 9 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S.
  • These firms employ 1.4 million people and generate $226 billion in revenues annually.

Million Dollar Businesses

  • One in five firms with revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned.
  • 2% of all women-owned firms have revenues of 1 million or more.

High growth firms

  • Women-owned firms exceeded their own expectations regarding growth. Compared to men, women were less likely to expect rapid firm growth, but were more likely to actually see rapid growth.
  • High growth women-owned firms were more likely to be owned by teams, more likely to be in high-tech industries, more likely to be incorporated, and less likely to be home-based. They tended to have owners with higher credit scores and more education.
  • Gender differences exist even among firms with high growth potential. Women business owners of high growth firms had less startup experience and industry experience than their male counterparts, and their firms had fewer employees, less intellectual property, and were less likely to be in high-tech industries.

This is just the tipping point as there is so much potential still untapped. There is tremendous power in women entrepreneurship and some of us are losing out. Stop being a spectator, become a player.

You can do it. If you need help, contact me to get a copy of the book Sheroes Next Door that will really help you get motivated, inspired but above all feel confident of yourself.

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Instagram for your business

Are you a business owner and not using Instagram to market your business yet? You cannot afford to NOT take advantage of Instagram’s current popularity. Find out what and how you can unleash its power.

Not sure if you know that Instagram recently hit a staggering 400 million users. Ironically, many businesses still do not understand the marketing potential of the social media site. If you are one of them and are not using it yet for your own business, you could be missing out.

Tips to help you use Instagram marketing

As we spend more and more time on social media sites (recent studies have shown that the average user is now spending 46 minutes a day on Facebook), so it’s no surprise that social media marketing has become a must-do for most businesses today. It is natural that we spend our time and energy using Facebook for marketing. However, not too many businesses are realising the potential of Instagram. When used properly, it offers an amazing opportunity to give your brand exposure and attract traffic to your business website at a much faster pace and lower cost. Here are tips to help you unleash its power.

1) Getting an account on Instagram

When you first set up your Instagram account, make sure you add the link/ URL of your main website. It will help as your username will hyperlink to your profile page where it is prominently displayed. Try to choose an Instagram account name that’s as close to your business name as possible, so that your brand, that you are trying to build is easily recognised across all social media platforms.

2) Building Instagram followers

Instagram is all about followers, if you don’t have any then no one is going to see your posts! So when you get started, you can use your existing facebook list to see who is on Instagram and start from there. If you can master this tool you will be surprised how quickly you can grow your followers in no time.

3) Power of hashtag

With around 55 million posts uploaded to Instagram every day, it’s important to find ways to stand out. This is where adding the right hashtags to your description can really catapult your visibility. Hashtags allows anyone looking for information on the topic will see your posts too.

So make sure you are keyword savy about your product’s features, and search to find out what other people in your industry are using. For example, if you sell designer clothing, you may want to include ‘dresses’ and ‘luxury’ as your hashtags. Think about seasonality too – use popular festive keywords around Christmas, or join in events relevant to your industry, such a national day for your product, or a big international conference.TIPS & HACKS

4) Strategize and stretch your Instagram content

When it comes to Instagram, it is all about what you post. In other words, it’s all about the content. It is hence important to have a strategy on what you post. Also, when you post on Instagram you have the option to automatically share it to your linked Facebook and Twitter accounts too. This means that your visibility can explode in a very short time, driving even more traffic to your website and spreading the word about your product or brand.

5) Be influencing 

Affiliate marketing always works where you ride on someone’s credibility. A clever strategic way to build your Instagram page is to align your business or product with an influencer. This should be someone that your customers can relate to, or an industry figure they trust.

You can do this through shout outs to help you gain a new audience that you may not have otherwise been able to reach. A co-hosted webinar with an industry leader can help expose you to a wider audience, and give you an all-important reputation boost too.

6) Be a relationship builder

Know what your ideal customers are looking for, make sure you deliver it. Use language they will relate to, and share content that will interest or help them. Make your business and brand popular and friendly, and give them a reason to follow you and engage with you. Instagram is a brilliant opportunity for you to build relationships with your customers – but first you need to be really clear about who your audience are (and what they need).

Like anything else, it works when you are consistent. Make sure that the tone and manner of the type of content you share looks and sounds like it comes from the same brand, and don’t dip in and out of Instagram. If you start posting daily or weekly, make sure you keep it up to build trust and keep your fans keen.

7) Engagement is everything

Engaging the audience is an art and you can do it in Instagram. Instagram now has more users than Twitter. So this means that your audience are more likely to see your image posts than your tweets while they’re on the way to a meeting, for example.

So why not take advantage of this inside knowledge and give them a mention? Make your fans feel like a valued customer – if nothing else, it will raise a smile on their commute to work!

Do what works for you

While there are some basic rules to successfully using social media that apply to all platforms and all users, only you will know what your customers are looking for and will engage with on Instagram.

So don’t be afraid to play around with your content and frequency of posting until you find a balance that works for you – and then stick at it, and make sure you use these tips to unleash the power of Instagram marketing and give your business a boost.

Want help getting started with Instagram? Contact Subarna Gupta and let me know what you need.

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Tips on working from home

It’s been over 3 years that I have been working out of my home office. It is a privilege and I really do not take it lightly. I enjoy every moment of it and count my blessings for the opportunity. As in anything, it comes with some pros and cons and if we do not pay attention, it can really take down your productivity. If you watch the trend, more and more people now have the flexibility to work from home if not a full week at least few days of the week. Then there is a large number of people like us entrepreneurs, start- ups, mompreneur who are working from home.

Here are some common best practices for working from home. Whether you have recently transitioned from employee to business owner or work often from your home office, you’ll love these work from home productivity tips.bbb9baa7-4051-4ab9-8262-6788e96d9ec3

Dress for office

The way you dress affects the way you feel. It will also get reflected in your work. The best thing you can to feeling professional is pulling off the pajamas and slipping into something business casual or more professional.

For example, my biggest productivity killer is staying in my pyjamas all day. However, dressing in comfortable, business casual clothing helps me get my day started. Plus it can make you feel the part and in return you will act the part.

Set office hours

You need to be disciplined about your working hours when you work from home. This will make or break your productivity and effectiveness. Often times, entrepreneurs who work from home think that they can do chores, and spend time with friends all throughout the day. If you want to improve your focus and attention span this is not the way to go. However, setting and sticking to office hours will maximize productivity and make it easier to tell your friends no to impromptu hangout sessions.

Creating a to-do list

I personally make my to-do list every day. It helps me staying on track and stick to my schedule. The other thing I do is to set time on my phone – allocating time slots for certain projects, which makes me stay on time and not let any distraction come in my way.

Step outside

Sitting in the same space for hours, staring at the same four walls all day without interaction can easily make you feel drained and isolated. Getting some fresh air, taking breaks, and leaving your home office for lunch or just a walk will help you refreshed.

If you’re not convinced, stepping outside can boost your energy levels (it’s a scientific fact). “Inhaling fresh air helps clear your lungs and enables you to take deeper, longer breaths of air — which increases the amount of oxygen that’s transported to your body’s cells. Increased oxygen in your body translates to greater energy and clarity of mind (Livestrong).”

Go offline

Without anyone monitoring with you self-discipline is key. Put your mobile devices in Airplane mode if you need to work on something that requires full attention. Social media can be a biggest killer of time, monitor how much time you’re spending on social media. I prefer keeping phone’s ringer off and pre-empt common distractions to avoid wasting my day. Limit time waster activities to breaks and after work hours to get the most from your work day.

Switch it up

I feel trapped sitting at the same place and looking at the same walls for days. I love switching my work places to a nice cafe be it Starbucks or some other cozy cafe with minimal traffic. There are a lot of perks to working from home so take advantage of it! If you’re sick work from your living room sofa, if your restless take your laptop to Starbucks for the day, and if you want to take a trip the world is your office. A change in scenery or a comfortable location can make you more effective.

 

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How to set up your blog

Blogging is not about having an online diary which you can use to reveal your mind to the world. It is a very powerful and low cost tool to create your brand an authority in the subject that matters to you.  Everyone is an expert at something, what you need to do is to hone in on the target audience you want to address and let the world know the subject matter of your expertise. Blogging has made the concept of being an expert, or authority in any industry, much easier.0c81a9b0-526a-4cac-9771-1a2f6434bb9e

It is actually changing the way content is being created across the Internet. Here are some numbers for you to understand the power of blogging:

  • 48% of Technorati’s Top 100 Blogs Are Managed With WordPress
  • 6 Million Sites Depend on WordPress
  • WordPress-Related Keywords Score 37 Million Searches Per Month
  • 40 Translations of WordPress
  • 22% of New U.S. Registered Domains Run on WordPress
  • com Gets More Unique Visitors Than Amazon (Us)
  • 6 New WordPress.com Posts Every Second
  • 29,000 WordPress Plugins and Growing Daily
  • 46 Million Downloads of WordPress.org

Based on the numbers above, you can see that WordPress and blogging is not to be taken lightly and it means serious business.

Setting up your blog and brand

First thing you need is to create a blog. As long as you want to use the blog for your personal branding for online resume try and secure the domain name which is actually your first and last name (for eg: my domain name is www.subarnagupta.com ). This will also help you ran higher in the search results. If you already have an established business or brand that you would like to setup a blog for, this can easily be done by adding a fresh WordPress install to a sub-directory of your site. (i.e.brandname.com/blog).

For some of you who have never done blogging, the idea of downloading software and setting up etc can be a bit overwhelming. However there are great tutorials available on YouTube and if you just follow it, you will be good. Best of all, setting up your blog is free. The only thing you will need is a domain name, web hosting and the latest free version of WordPress.

Build you authority through blogging

Once your blog is live, it’s time to put its powers to work! If you aren’t currently ranking for your name in search results, it may take some time to gain the necessary backlinks and authority to get your site to rank. The important thing is to be patient when tracking results — SEO takes times, but it’s well worth the investment. Here is a resource that has helped a lot of people and its worth taking a look. He has helped many secure nearly the whole first page of rankings for my personal name “Zac Johnson” in Google. Follow these steps and integrate them into your personal branding or online business efforts to see maximum results.

1.Create A Blog That Provides Value

Anything you blog, it should be of high quality and must provide value to the reader. This will also ensure that your readers keep coming back for more and it in turn creates stickability. This is what will matter most for your brand and reputation.

2.Use The Power Of Social Media

Everyone is on social media — over 2 billion users to be exact. This means you should be creating a social profile for both your personal and business name. Social networks are also a great way to rank for your name in the search results, as Google ranks sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest much higher and faster than other sites.

3.Contribute Content To Other Niche Sites

To become an expert in your industry, you must expand your reach and presence as well. A great way to do this is through the use of guest blogging and writing high quality content that can be posted on other sites. The sites you are writing for get high quality content and you will gain exposure, along with a potential link back to your site.

4.Share Your Expertise And Gain Media Coverage

News and media sites are always looking for new content and expert contributions. Sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc continually reach out to experts and provide them with mentions, references and quotes in exchange for their time. A great way to approach this would be to contact editors who are already publishing articles to these sites and seeing how you might be able to provide them with a reference and get a possible mention or link back in their next article.

5.Produce High Quality Content

In addition to writing content on other sites and getting media coverage, you should also focus your efforts on creating ebooks, guides, and infographics that people would recommend and share with others. After following these blogging best practices, you will start to see not only your blog rank higher in the search results for your personal or brand name, but you will also gain exposure and become a trusted industry authority.

In addition to the impact of each of these methods, they are also very cost effective. Nearly all of these practices can be put in place with little to no money; just your time, effort and expertise is required and most importantly willingness to learn.

Take action today and become an authority within your industry, while also dominating the search results for your name in the process!

 

 

 

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