Whether you aspire to be a writer, artist, designer, or go after another creative position, there are certain qualities that you must possess.
To be a truly creative individual, you need to have certain traits that will make your work original and stand out from the mould. Creative people share certain characteristics that make them unique, and set them apart from others. Read this article to see if you have what it takes to pursue a creative career.
Self-Assurance – Creativity requires the unwavering belief that your concept, idea or piece of work is worthwhile and up to your own standards. Creative work is extremely subjective, and is open to interpretation; unfortunately, not everyone will always agree with you or praise your talent. If you want to make it in this type of industry, you need to have passion and self-assurance in your aesthetic to accomplish what you set out to. You need to believe in yourself even if no one else does, since creative works often push the mould and require time for people to get used to them.
Inquisitiveness – In order to create something original, you need to challenge the status quo, and the way to do that is through questioning existing standards. Creative people question why something works the way it does, and challenge existing rules and ideas. They often like to take on challenges to experience something for themselves without believing others on their word. That is the only way they can find answers to their hard questions.
Originality – After asking specific questions, creative people come up with original ideas that feature innovative perspectives. Without breaking the mould, nothing creative would ever be made into being. This requires the ability to be flexible in your way of thinking and come up with alternative solutions to everyday tasks.
Risk-Taking – It is important to recognise the fact that many, or even most, creative undertakings are failures. Many new ideas don’t get understood by the general public, or unique suggestions to change the way things work don’t get embraced. However, creative people continue to take risks to propose possible alternatives to typical standards without being afraid of being misunderstood or undervalued.
Creative people share certain traits in common. One of the most typical characteristics that you need to possess be a truly original person is to be able to think outside the box and offer up new ways of thinking or doing something. Don’t be afraid to propose an original thought or idea, even if no one accepts it at first. Keep trying and eventually you will be recognised for your work.
If you have invested in a startup, or have simply been hired to manage the firm, you likely know that these ventures are risky.
Trying to launch a brand new company takes a great idea, initiative, structure and enough funds to get the company off the ground.
While most successful business owners share their stories, and explain what they did correctly, few share their mistakes. Below are three things that no startup should ever make.
Cut Corners – Be very diligent about learning all the rules and regulations about every aspect of the business before starting out. There are various legal and operational parts that are involved in running a company, such as finance, legal, human resources, technical, etc. For example, you may not be aware of the different taxes that UK business have to pay, and you may not pay all of them. However, this is very risky, and will most certainly catch up with you later. When the fees add up with percentages and fines, that alone can put a startup out of business. Refer to Gov.uk to learn about business taxes that you may need to pay.
Lack of a Business Plan – Some startup owners believe that having a novel idea is enough to become successful. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. An idea is a non-tangible thing that lives in the mind; however, establishing a company to transform that idea into a commodity is an entirely different ballgame. Therefore, startups need to have clear and precise groundwork for the firm’s establishment and growth. Many experts recommend updating a business plan annually to reflect the most pressing matters. Each plan should list specific goals, and monetise them. For example, stating that you would like to garner half a million dollar in profits by the second quarter or next year. Second, explain how you will realise those goals in terms of staff involvement and investments. Create priorities and delegate who will work on each task. Finally, set deadlines for the commitments, and check back every month to make sure you follow through on them.
No Marketing Strategy – In order to launch a startup, you need to create brand awareness so that the public knows about you. Therefore, you need to assemble a clear marketing strategy to advertise your services. From the start, you and your partners need to decide on an exact vision for your brand, and incorporate it in all your marketing materials. A big reason that new businesses fail is that they don’t have an exact vision for their company, which fails to provide a unique and memorable brand image. If potential clients cannot understand what you’re trying to sell, they won’t buy it.
Remember that when it comes to launching a new business, you will likely not be able to handle all areas needed for success. Don’t micromanage and bring on knowledgeable staff members, partners and investors that can help turn your dream into a reality.
An online reputation can make or break a company. With social media and directory sites providing opportunities for clients to leave their feedback about any organisation, managers have to be very diligent in checking and staying on top what is written about their brand online.
A negative post about a company can quickly go viral, and too many bad reviews on directory sites can lead prospective clients to take their business elsewhere.
If you are already facing negative comments online, there are ways to improve your online reputation with these steps.
Create a Google Alert – A google alert is a free online service that sends you an email anytime a subject you are interested in is mentioned online. All you need to do is to set up an alert with your organisation’s name and include your contact information to get updates anytime your firm is mentioned online. You can either get a daily or weekly email, or an as-it-happens notification.
Participate in the Conversation – A great way to try to regulate what is said about your business online is to participate in the conversation. Join social media sites and communicate with the people that are writing about your services or products. Take the time to write a “thank you” for a good comment or review, it will make the person leaving it feel appreciated. If you get a bad review, try to contact the person through a personal email or a phone number, if there is one. Discuss the review and see what you could possibly do to change the person’s experience and get him or her to update what was written online. If the individual is unwilling to do so, or you cannot get in contact, feel free to post an answer online for others to see.
Bury the Content – A strategy that many online marketing professionals employ to hide negative content is to bury it with good content. Although it is very difficult to get something removed from an online source, it is often easier to create more new information to hide the negativity. If someone leaves a negative post on your Facebook page, for example, create a contest or post new informational articles to push the post down and out of view. You can always enlist the services of a professional online reputation firm to help you manage your image on the internet.
A business’ reputation can be built or taken down by what is said about it online. The internet is a source that allows news, whether accurate or fabricated, to spread at the speed of light. In order to monitor what is being said about your brand online, you need to keep track of and join the conversation, taking measures to bury the content, if needed.
So you have optimised your site from top to bottom to attract the search engines.
But have you checked your website for broken links?
Broken links (or otherwise known as dead links) is when you internally link to another page on your website or externally link to another and it comes up with an error.
Not only is this massively frustrating for the user on the website – but it also attracts an almighty frown from Google.
There are quite a few causes of broken links. A page on your website can be moved and the URL changed, linking to certain pieces of content that no longer exist or externally linking to a site that is no longer there.
These errors can have devastating effects – should the user experience be rubbish, the user will leave your site.
Google clearly states to webmasters in its guidelines to frequently check for broken links. Should you ignore this advice and have many of them frequenting your website – you will be penalised on the search results.
Search engine crawlers will stop crawling that page once they encounter a broken link – so if you have a fully optimised page but a broken link at the start, then you have wasted your time.
How can I combat this?
Going through your website page by page and clicking every linked item is timely and would take you forever.
Instead there are many free tools out there which crawl your site for you and identify where these links are.
Online Broken Link Checker is a free tool that helps you out with finding these links and gives you the exact source code where it can be found.
Fix these broken links as soon as you can, the lost visitor on your website could be losing you a lot of business.
Many a pencil is left chewed on the desk when it comes to content creation.
Where do you even start?
Have you run dry with ideas and are struggling to come up with strong ideas?
Never fear – HubSpot have created a tool that now eliminates the fear of creating ideas for blog content.
Their aptly named ‘Blog Topic Generator’ comes up with five titles instantly with the three nouns you have given them and, voila, there are your blog titles for a whole week.
So with the categories you have on your blog – enter these into the content generator and all of a sudden you have something to work with.
The algorithm is not 100% perfect but should give you enough food for thought with regards to titles – and once you have one title this can stem into other ideas and all of a sudden after a few clicks, you have a month’s worth of content titles!
Social media has now become such a huge part of our lives that it is being used in ways I certainly never thought.
This morning on the bus to work I was reading the Metro and was reading a story involving a court awarding in favour of a woman divorcing her husband through Facebook.
As part of the proceedings, Ellanora Baidoo will send her husband a message once a week for three weeks until he acknowledges it.
In politics, the election is being touted as the first ‘social media election’. This is being reflected in politicians trying to reach out to voters through associating themselves with figures on social media with high followings, for example Nick Clegg posing for selfies with Joey Essex.
The Lib Dems have also made a parody of Uptown Funk in the hope of it going viral and trying to reach out to younger voters. With the dislikes massively outweighing the likes on YouTube, and with one comment reading ‘This is easily the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I saw Vanilla Ice in concert’, it may not have had the desired effect.
After the most recent debate on the television, polls were being measured on the social media response each speaker got as well as the previous traditional methods used.
The point I am making is that social media is now gracing us in every walk of life, especially in the marketing world.
It is now at the forefront of all communications we make and should be at the forefront of all communications your business is making.
Not on LinkedIn? It’s free, sign up today.
Does your company have a Facebook page? Set it up today, and set up your Facebook ads too.
Most of you reading this will already be affluent in this and will be utilising social media to the best of your ability.
However there will be a number of you who are yet to setup social media for your business. It’s not too late – and it is not the waste of time or money that you think.
In a survey on socialmediaexaminer.com, 92% of marketers indicated that social media was important for their business in 2014.
Not sure where to start with social media?
Don’t have the time or resources? Get in touch today
Expanding a business overseas can present many new opportunities; doing so can open new sales channels and provide more revenue.
In addition, it also makes your product or service global, creating a more prominent brand image and reputation. There are many other benefits to taking your business internationally, but there are just as many risks.
Usually, this choice requires a large investment, the returns of which are more uncertain than investing in your own country. Not knowing the client base, rules and customs of the country where you are planning to do business will only make the risk greater.
If you are considering taking your business overseas, use these tips to help you on your way.
Prepare to Invest – Just because you have a successful business in the UK, doesn’t mean it will be easier to set up shop in other countries. Prior to deciding to grow your organisation internationally, make sure you have sufficient funds to invest in this venture. For example, a writer for Entrepreneur shared that when he opened up shop in the United States, “user acquisition, legal fees, marketing and salaries” were some of the items that cost more there than in Europe.
Do Your Research – Taking the time to research each country’s rules and regulations when it comes to taking your company there is a given, but there are other issues to take into account before making a final decision whether to go overseas or not. Culture and language are another aspect to consider. Just because a product or a service does well in one part of the world, doesn’t mean that there is a need for it in another part. Furthermore, even if there is an audience base, would those individuals be able and willing to pay the price you need to make a profit?
Adjust Marketing Strategies – Many organisations that expand internationally believe that they can use the same marketing campaigns that they do in Europe, which is a mistake. Not only are there language barriers, but even once translated, a message may not carry the same meaning in another country. Pay special attention to subtle or hidden meanings, which may not make any sense to a foreign client base.
Growing your business through international expansion has many advantages and disadvantages. With the proper funds, plenty of research, a good marketing strategy and a little luck, this venture can be financially rewarding.
So you’ve developed a huge following on social media. You’ve developed lots of time, effort and money into getting that vast following – but are you reaching out to them?
It’s all well and good having either hundreds or thousands of followers, but if you’re not frequently communicating and engaging with them, what’s the point in them even being there?
Here are four ways to engage with your social media following:
1) Ask for engagement. ‘Like for this…’ ‘RT for that…’ It works! If you have a competition where the follower has to ‘retweet’ or ‘share’ to win, this instantly plasters your company name across the timeline of a new audience.
2) Participating in groups encourages further engagement. It is useful for discussion and debate and also a useful place to post your content. By posting in industry relevant groups you already know that you are targeting the correct audience.
3) Imagery is so important. With apps like Instagram and software like Adobe Photoshop giving you the ability to make images more attractive in such a short space of time, companies who are lazy with their images will pay the price.
4) Showing off a personality is very important as a business on social media. More and more often we are seeing companies having rap battle and squabbles over Twitter to try and gain followers and engagement. By showing you are not just a generic company Twitter, come across as a human being and less like a robot.
Interact with your followers: posting content, leaving it there with replying to feedback is such a wasted opportunity. An increase in interactions over time will definitely lead to a higher conversion rate.
They say word of mouth is the best sort of advertising any company can receive.
For example if you had a great stay in a hotel or had a lovely meal at a local restaurant, you are likely to inform everybody just what a great time you had, whether it is your friends or family, or work colleagues or neighbours you tell more people than you think.
This weekend I went to a restaurant for a relative’s birthday and felt I enjoyed it that much that I would visit TripAdvisor and inform the world of my wonderful dining experience.
Part of this process is clarifying the experience you had by reading other glowing reviews and knowing that other diners were given the same great experience.
Yet, on the very same day I visited this same restaurant it was given a very poor review and the staff got slated for their service.
This was the review that was left:
What surprised me even more was the response:
This leaves me in a quite difficult position, because I had such a great time yet they have openly heckled a customer that had a bad experience.
On the flip side, I used to work in a bar/restaurant and know all too well to difficult customers you encounter on a daily basis and made me question the age old cliché of the customer is always right.
After a closer look on TripAdvisor, this restaurant does not seem to be the only maverick of restaurants and hotels fighting back against unfair, poor reviews.
Take a look at this one here:
This slightly more articulate response than the previous example shows how you can turn a very bad review on its head.
What have we learnt from this?
Firstly, only take recommendations from people you trust – hearing it from people who you know well and have good judgement is the way forward as opposed to the critical keyboard warrior who may have either poor judgement or is the customer from hell.
Another handy tool on TripAdvisor is when you float over the reviewers name, you can see the balance of reviews they have previously given. If they mostly give negative reviews, you can probably guess the type of customer they are.
My advice is to stick to recommendations from people you know and trust, with the current trend of the troll and the keyboard warrior, sometimes the internet just cannot be trusted.