The last and possibly best power bank you’ll ever need.

3 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

What if you never had to worry about power outages? The EcoFlow Delta Pro home battery backup makes that dream a reality. By wiring the system directly into the home’s circuit breaker box, the system automatically reroutes power to the battery backup in case of an outage. Consumers clearly love the EcoFlow design and business model as the company has attracted over 1,300 backers on Kickstarter so far.

Eli Harris co-founded EcoFlow in 2016 along with key partners at Guangzhou Penghui Energy, SCUD group, Chunjia Assets, Delian Capital, and a factory for industrial design tooling named ESID. These industry-spanning partnerships allow for complete vertical integration of EcoFlow’s supply chain as well as four million dollars in startup capital in addition to the crowdfunding investments of almost $1 million so far.

As the climate continues to change, a growing number of consumers and businesses are striving to promote environmentally sustainable actions, particularly in regard to energy consumption. The innovative EcoFlow battery gathers energy from a variety of sources, including renewable energy, to allow the customer to charge the battery in the most convenient way for them.

The battery comes with a specially designed solar panel that rotates to harvest solar energy at the optimal angle throughout the day. On cloudy windy days, the battery still charges outside with internal wind turbines that generate power directly from the breeze. For indoor charging, simply plug the battery into a wall socket, and the proprietary X-Stream technology achieves a full charge in only two and a half hours.

EcoFlow Delta Pro works in travel situations by connecting to a car charger or any leading level two charging station. The revolutionary technology that connects the battery to the charging stations is the first of its kind, and that innovation adds significant value to the EcoFlow brand. Charging station availability has dramatically increased in recent years, and online services specialize in helping consumers find their nearest charge.

At this point in the carbon timeline, dramatic climate change is inescapable. What we do from here forward will determine the extent of the catastrophe. Business leaders like Eli Harris and the brilliant minds at EcoFlow set a shining example of how to combat crises with the power of technology, industry, and human ingenuity.

As the climate change threat becomes more visible every day, people working to make positive changes — no matter how incremental — provide the boost of hope needed to keep improving our world.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

Bitcoin sees a spike in price as Amazon shows interest in digital currency.

2 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

“When a simple job ad appears to spark resurgence in the value of Bitcoin, it shows how the crypto world is salivating for every nugget of news about the future use case for digital currencies.

Amazon To Dip Its Toe Into Crypto World

Although Amazon has scores of openings for blockchain specialists, it was the listing for a digital currency and blockchain product lead that has led to heightened speculation that crypto currency payments could be integrated on its platforms.

Given the might of Amazon Web Services, it isn’t surprising that the tech giant wants to be at the cutting edge of new payments technology and establishing a new digital currency is likely to be on the agenda. But the expectation that payment may also be accepted from  the current crypto kids on the block has also led to a spike in their value.  Over the past 24 hours Bitcoin has risen by 11%, Ethereum by 8% and Dogecoin by 11%.

Crypto fans are also hanging on every word of Elon Musk and his hint that Tesla could start accepting Bitcoin again is also behind the crypto bounce. The suspension of Bitcoin as a means of payment for Tesla cars sent the crypto world reeling in May, but in a debate with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Mr Musk indicated that could change given mining has reached a tipping point, with much more renewable energy used instead of fossil fuels.

Crypto assets are also largely following sentiment in financial markets. The sharp fall in stock markets around the world a week ago, was mirrored in the crypto world, and the rebound came as fears  receded about the impact of new variants on economic recovery.

The sensitivity of crypto coins and tokens remains stark, and given the uncertain landscape ahead, with central banks looking to develop their own digital coins, investors should be wary of speculating with money they can’t afford to lose.’’

Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown

About Hargreaves Lansdown

Over 1.6 million clients trust us with £132.9 billion (as at 30 April 2021), making us the UK’s largest digital wealth management service. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that allows you to leverage the power of influencers. Through influencer marketing, small businesses can reach an audience they might not have been able to find otherwise and have their message shared with people who are more likely to buy their product or service.

This is what influencer marketing entails, how to hire legit influencers for your campaigns and smarter ways to create successful campaigns.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy that enables your company to tap into influencers’ online networks for promotions by offering them items that they would want in exchange (or by paying them) to spread your message to their followers.

Influencers are hired to create original content (images, videos, blog posts, etc.) that highlight a brand’s products or services in a positive light.

Whether you’re launching a new product or just looking to promote your existing line, influencer marketing has proven to be a very effective way for companies to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

Why is influencer marketing beneficial for businesses?

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, for every $1 that brands spend on influencers, they are getting an ROI of $5.78. That’s one of the reasons why influencer marketing is considered so beneficial for businesses.

According to Statista, “Influencer marketing is on the rise, which is made apparent by the recently released figures indicating that value of this specific market more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, growing from 6.5 billion to 13.8 billion U.S. dollars in the three years alone.”

Related: It’s Time to Redefine the Influencer

An insider’s tips for successful influencer marketing campaigns

As a lifestyle blogger and social media influencer for the past decade, I’ve worked with hundreds of top brands and retailers on campaigns. From collaborations with chains like Safeway and Ulta Beauty to working with major brands like Olay, Reebok and Dove, I’ve done more influencer marketing campaigns than I can count. Whether I’m crafting sponsored blog posts, hosting an event in a retail store, creating YouTube videos or doing Instagram promotions, the types of campaigns I’ve done have varied greatly. 

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this experience, it’s that the companies who seek to establish long-term partnerships with high-performing influencers tend to be the most successful. For example, I’ve been hired by Walmart on repeated occasions — from health and beauty to food and wine promotions, they’ve worked with me on a variety of influencer marketing campaigns.

It also helps to hire influencers with proven track records and stellar recommendations. As you’re researching influencers, find out who they’ve worked with before, evaluate their previous content and even ask for case studies if they’re available. The more information that you can gather, the easier it will be to determine if a particular influencer is worth investing in.

In addition, don’t expect a one-time post to yield outstanding results. You’d be wiser to work with an influencer on a series of campaigns if you hope you get the most success. It’s best to test the efficacy of an influencer before committing to repeat campaigns with them. In essence, assess how well they perform the first time by analyzing the outcome. That will help you decide if they are worth re-hiring for future campaigns.

Here are 5 key tips to think about:

  • Did the influencer’s original content align with your brand guidelines?
  • Did they publish content on the agreed-upon date?
  • What was the engagement outcome (likes, comments, shares, views)?
  • Did they drive website traffic, app downloads, or generate sales (I recommend using a trackable link or affiliate program for this)?
  • Did their audience resonate well with the content?

It’s a lot like the rule of thumb in traditional advertising, which says that it takes at least three times for a person to see an ad before they consider making a purchase. So, you can apply this thinking to influencer marketing as well. It makes sense: The more often that an influencer promotes a particular brand or product, the more trust that is engendered in their audience.

Related: Is Influencer Marketing Really Going to Die in the Next Few Years?

How to find and hire influencers

If your company is just getting started with influencer marketing, I’d recommend working with an established influencer network.

Similar to how modeling agencies work, influencer networks have a database of legitimate influencers and access to key data on their niche, location, audience demographics, engagement ratings and more. They can help you run your entire influencer marketing campaign — from recruitment of the influencers who are best-suited for the job to overseeing content creation, communicating with the influencers, analyzing data from the campaign to even handling payments and 1099 forms.

Each network operates a little differently. Some provide flat-fee compensation to influencers, whereas others pay on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis (which incentivizes the influencer to work harder to drive traffic). So depending on your budget and objective, it’s worth researching each of the networks to find the best fit for your business. The best part is that influencer networks truly take the hassle out of the process. For this reason alone, it’s worth considering using an influencer network to assist you with your influencer marketing campaigns.

If you’re considering utilizing influencers in your online marketing strategy, figure out what your goals and objectives are, establish your budget and timeframe and then think about who you’re trying to reach. This will help you figure out the best plan of action for which types of influencers you want to work with.

Related: This Restaurant Owner Went Viral for His Response to An Influencer Who Wanted to Eat for Free

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

VTubers are becoming wildly popular in the online world.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As VTubers rise in popularity, so too do the number of VTubers looking to make a name for themselves. A VTuber is defined as someone who has created their own online channel and uses it to upload videos that people worldwide can watch. They often use a virtual avatar as their identity, hence the name VTubers. Many VTubers have become successful without ever revealing their true identity or location. These faceless creators make millions of dollars each year, with no one knowing anything about them except what they choose to reveal on live-streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube.

What gear do you need to become a VTuber?

VTubers need to invest in a high-end computer with lots of storage space and a powerful graphics card. You need a webcam that tracks motion and attaches to your computer.

The most popular VTubers use a blue screen and green room setup, which essentially consists of walls with one color on them in the background of their vlogs, so that when they move around it appears as though everything is happening inside an empty virtual space.

Related: 6 More Ways You Can Use YouTube to Reach Your Intended Audience

How much does it cost to become a VTuber?

The range of how much it costs to become a VTuber is from about $500-2000 depending on the camera, lighting and computer equipment. Getting started with VTubing is fairly easy because there are plenty of tutorials available online to follow along or get a general idea about what vloggers need to produce quality content. You can minimize the cost by using your phone to VTube instead of an external motion-tracking camera.

Facerig, Luppet and VTube studio are software programs VTubers use to edit their vlogs. They allow you to create a virtual mask of your face that VTubers can use for videos.

What are the pros and cons of being faceless?

Many VTubers will say there is a lot less pressure in becoming an online personality because you do not have to worry about what people think or react to. If they don’t like it, then they stop watching or unfollowing. But the downfall could also be that VTubers need to make their content interesting not to bore viewers, which can lead them to feel stressed out when trying to keep up with daily vlogging schedules.

The VTuber, vlogger, and vblogger communities are very welcoming to new virtual personalities because they represent a mix of people from all over the world who live in different cultures. The global community is open-minded about their perspectives on life which can then be shared with other faceless creators around the globe.

Related: Here Are Some Quick and Easy Tips on Growing Your YouTube Channel

How do I earn money as a Vtuber?

Brands have started partnering with VTubers because they offer a cost-effective way for companies to reach their target audience by giving them relevant content that will impact their wants and needs.

One of the key things that virtual creators can do when they start blogging or VTubing is to create an editorial calendar for themselves which will help them stay focused on their goals and objectives. The secret sauce needed by every successful faceless creator is consistency with quality content mixed in with creative flair, something different than what was done before.

VTuber success stories often focus more on the number of subscribers they have rather than their monetary earnings. For a younger VTuber, marketing oneself or having a sponsor creates many opportunities, such as getting invites to parties and paying social media bills. Naturally, the more popular you are, the more sponsorship requests you will receive.

Ways to be successful as a faceless creator

Share the things that matter because VTubers are constantly seeking authenticity. Watch VTubers with a lot of subscribers and see what they do. Seek out feedback to improve your skills, or ask for help if you need it. Create content that will interest others, but keep yourself interested too.

Fans can relate to the vlogs from a first-person perspective and commonplace daily routines that are shared. VTubers represents what we all want to be: young, creative and successful in a way that is not possible offline.

If you’re looking for a way to make money and have fun doing it, I recommend trying out VTubing. You can create your own avatar, dress them up and then start streaming content relevant to your interests. This allows you to monetize in new ways and lets people see you as something more than just their everyday selves or what they are currently wearing.

Related: 9 Ways Brands Can Explode Their Sales With YouTube

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ok, I admit it. I’m a control freak.

Not only am I a control freak, but this trait has served me royally in my career as it helped to rapidly propel me up the management ladder, which made me become even more of a control freak. A control super freak, if truth be told. I was a sought-after program manager, brought in to turn around failing projects and underperforming departments. I was considered an expert and was highly paid for that skill and expertise.

But then my career growth stopped. I had topped out.

Don’t become a victim of the Peter Principle

What had helped me grow quickly was now a limitation. There is a limit to what we can control, and as soon as a job exceeds that limit, it makes it hard for us to have that same level of impact. I found this out the hard way, like most people that struggle with the transition. I kept getting bigger and bigger projects with a wider span of control until it got to the point where I was leading teams to where I had no expertise in what they were doing. I now had to trust them, give up control and have faith in their abilities.

But I didn’t want to do that. It went against everything I believed in about myself and what made me successful. So I tried to focus on becoming an expert in these new areas so I could have the same level of control and the same level of success as before.

The result was failure, disastrous failure.

Project overruns, budget overruns, disappointed clients, all of which tarnished the reputation that I had built. I had become a victim of the Peter Principle, promoted to a level beyond my competence, and set up to fail. While it wasn’t that much comfort to me, I realized it wasn’t just me who struggled with this transition; according to Gallup, companies promote people with the wrong talents 82 percent of the time, which can have a devastating effect on your projects and business success.

Related: 5 Habits of Leaders at the Top of the Ladder

The five levels of leadership 

the challenge is that there are five levels of leadership. Level one is the informal leader, someone who, although not having the position, looks to step up and take control of the situation, providing direction and some guidance. Level two is the hands-on leader, a leader that directly contributes to the success and is heavily involved and hands-on in producing the results, often carrying the team on their backs. Level three is the expert leader. This leader is still hands-on to some extent, helping to shape the project, leading from the front, and guiding the team with their subject manager expertise and knowledge. Level four is the engaging and enabling leader. At this stage, leadership changes. It’s not about your contribution to the results; it’s about your ability to engage teams, build teams, and set them up for success even if they work in a field outside your expertise. Level five is the aspirational leader. This is the highest level of leadership. The focus here is on creating the culture and building an environment and organization for sustainable success.

Each level has its own challenges and difficulties, but the biggest and most difficult transition is from expert leader to engaging leader. In all the other transitions, it’s just about doing more of the same but on a bigger scale, but the jump from level three to level four requires a change of skillset. In fact, you almost need to forget the skill that got you level three and now trade It for a new set of skills. You also need to realize that control is an illusion and that you need to focus on building influence.

Develop the people skills that you will need to engage, empower and motivate people working in an area where you have limited knowledge and expertise. You have to hand the control to your teams and have faith in them and faith in your ability to lead them. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you need to let go of your ego, forget your IQ and focus on your EQ to get the most out of your teams.

It’s no longer about your contribution. It’s about engaging your teams, setting them up for success, and giving them the space to achieve it. The sad reality is that too many either don’t have the skills or the confidence in their skills, and they double down on trying to have control. This is where we see the emergence of micro-managers. They want to know everything about every aspect. It’s their way of trying to keep control and shape the outcome.

Related: How to Leverage Emotional Intelligence and Empathy for Maximum Success

Don’t be the hero. Make the heroes. 

Even if it worked, which it doesn’t, it’s not a scalable approach. There is a limit to how many people you can micro-manage, and your career is now directly restricted to your span of control. You have set your career ceiling at the level three expert leader level.

There is a solution, and that is you need to understand what your new role is. It’s no longer about being the hero. It’s about creating more heroes, teams of heroes. It’s about sharing control and allowing others to thrive. If you can do that, you can transition from the role of expert leader to become an engaging, inspiring leader and continue the climb up the leadership ladder.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s probably not news to anyone reading this, but it bears repeating: CTV (internet-connected TV) apps are poised for a boom, similar to the take-off in mobile apps after the release of the first iPhone. And where there are apps, there are ads  you’ve already seen how ad-based programmatic has been incorporated into nearly every free smartphone app out there, and CTV is seeing similar growth. According to Pixalate, over-the-top (OTT) and CTV apps that support programmatic advertising have grown by 232%  impressive numbers for a sector whose user base and viewer counts are still in their infancy.

Entertainment-video content leads installs 

Let’s start with the obvious: Looking at Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Tizen, entertainment-video content is the absolute leader in app installs. (Entertainment video content here refers to channels made by the streaming platforms, such as Netflix, YouTube, etc.). According to 42matters, Amazon Fire TV has a 20.04% share, Apple TV has 19.86%, and Tizen has 40.7%.

However, Roku, one of the most popular OTT device makers, is a leader in faith-based channels  18.91%, representing nearly 5,000 apps, the biggest vertical, followed by entertainment. The surprising popularity of faith-based channels can be explained by one core factor   local churches and faith organizations are finding streaming to be an effective way to get their message across to their members. At VlogBox, we often receive the requests for development of this specific sector; however, without considering monetization opportunities, which is quite obvious.

At the same time, if you’re looking for the fastest growing vertical on Roku, that’d be Kids & Family, which saw the number of apps rise by 4.5% from 2020 to 2021, nearly double the growth in screensavers, at 2.6%. A few things have caused this: the myriad of talented kids’ content creators looking to both establish themselves and gain experience with platforms other than YouTube, and the ease of creating a channel. While that category has the lowest app share currently, at 8.2% of total apps, its current growth trends will have it moving up soon enough. 

Related: The Crazy Numbers Behind Netflix’s 20 Years of Success

On Apple and Amazon Fire TV, the numbers are similar: Games and lifestyle apps make up the next largest share vertical following entertainment. Cooking shows, exercise programs and home decor are as popular as the rapidly growing field of CTV games  across Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, these two categories range between 14% to 16% of all apps. According to Samsung, 2.8 million out of the 34 million active Samsung TVs users have their games consoles connected. Thus, Xbox or PlayStation will see the sense in utilizing native ads in Samsung’s UI and AVOD on Samsung TV Plus.

The pandemic’s impact on CTV-app growth

One of the core reasons that may cause the growth of CTV apps as a whole is  you guessed it — the pandemic. Nielsen pointed out last year that viewing time on CTV devices had reached over a cumulative 3.5 billion hours a week. And those numbers are continuing to rise, even as pandemic restrictions wear off, vaccinations kick in and the world slowly reopens to a post-Covid future  with many offices adopting a “half-week” schedule, time spent at home will still stay above pre-pandemic levels.

But viewing time isn’t the only impact. The economic backlash from the Covid-19 pandemic has been harsh for many people, with the International Labour Organization noting that a staggering 114 million jobs have been lost worldwide. This has created a higher demand for different types of CTV content both for viewers staying at home, experienced publishers and newcomers, as well as advertisers targeting specific audiences. With the variety of monetization models available on CTV platforms, including SVOD, AVOD, product placement or merch, it’s getting easier to start generating additional income  or even to take on video creation and streaming full-time while advertisers are seeing a growing number of inventory.

Related: The Future of Work Is Hybrid

Technological development shouldn’t be discounted either; as those local religious organizations on Roku have learned, making a CTV channel and launching it on a platform has become a breeze. In large part, that is due to the plethora of CTV-app-development companies, and to the refinement of the already existing OTT-channel development and analytics dashboards. 

The future of CTV-channel development looks bright 

With these factors in mind, it’s easy to see why CTV-channel development and advertising are seeing speedy growth. Add to that the constantly growing market share of CTV in households as a whole (80% of U.S. households have at least one OTT device), and suddenly CTV-app development is looking just as promising as mobile-app development, and shares much of the same processes. 

As for the future, games, kids’ content and lifestyle are all exciting and rapidly expanding verticals across CTV platforms. Best of all, these verticals are poised for what I like to call an “Angry Birds” moment, with current growth trends making that moment more likely sooner, rather than later.

Related: China Is the Next Boom Market for Connected TV Advertising and Over the Top Marketing

That means that enterprising game studios, video-content creators and app developers can take a chance on pulling off the same success as earlier trailblazers did on mobile and YouTube. And of course, for advertisers, that means there might be quite a number of unicorns to choose from in terms of sponsorships, partnerships, ad buy negotiations  even product placements, all of which are cheaper compared to linear TV and even large YouTube channels. Considering that CTV ad spend is forecasted to more than triple by 2024, it’s just the right time for marketers to really consider the verticals that may be defining their strategies going forward.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I’m often asked by other entrepreneurs how I grew my public-relations business and how I gain new clients. There are several examples I can share, but I usually start with one answer they don’t expect. I talk about the importance of attending networking events. 

What’s great about networking events is that they work for you no matter if you’re a new business or one with a long history. You can be a novice or an expert, yet you potentially have the same opportunity to meet meaningful contacts as every other person in the room.

Before I walk into a networking event, I pump myself up with a simple thought: There’s one person in the room that I’m supposed to meet. That person may someday in the future refer me to someone who becomes a client, or he or she may directly become a client themselves. The hard part is figuring out who in the room it is that I need to meet. Further complicating the task is that I’m only going to stay an hour or two at the event. Meaning, I need to be efficient to meet as many people as I can before I leave.

To meet your goals and get the most out of networking events, here are eight networking tips that have worked for me and can work for you, regardless of if you’re new to networking or consider yourself an expert. 

Related: 5 Tips for Stress-Free Networking

1. Network like you’re snorkeling

If you’re snorkeling and you swim out in a group, you might scare away the fish instead of attracting them. In comparison, if you go off on your own and remain still, the fish will come to you. If you’re uncomfortable walking up to strangers, plant yourself at a waist-high bar table in a traffic-heavy area of the room and people will start introducing themselves to you.

2. Look for people standing by themselves at a table or along the wall

Everyone attending a networking event is there to meet people. If you don’t know where to go or whom to talk to, look for people waiting for someone to walk up to them. They’ll appreciate that you took the first step.

3. Follow the KISS Method

Not that kind of kiss! KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. You’re not trying to get a date or impress anyone, so don’t worry about having a smart pick-up line. “Hi my name is…” is a fine opener. Have a simple back-up question like “Have you been to this event before?” or “Are you excited for the big sports game this week?” to try and get a conversation started. Don’t talk about work; that’ll come soon enough on its own. Just try to make a personal connection when first meeting someone.

Related: 5 Tips for Authentic Networking in a Co-Working Space

4. The shorter the better

The point of a networking event is to talk to as many people as possible, so don’t stay with anyone too long. Five to ten minutes should be the max. If you’re only talking to one person, invite him or her to join you in walking over to a bigger group. If you’re already in a bigger group, it’s often easy to pivot your body to welcome others in or get someone else in your line of sight and quickly take a few steps towards him or her to move into the next closest group. No one will be offended that you didn’t say goodbye, especially if he or she is in the middle of a conversation with someone else when you slip away.

5. Focus on the connection, not the sale

No one is going to buy what you’re selling during the networking event. Your goal is to make a connection so that you can follow up with the person after the event. Let him or her talk as much as possible. The more you learn about the person, the stronger the connection and, likely, the more he or she will like you.

6. Collect business cards selectively

It’s not a contest to get or give out the most business cards. You’re only looking for cards from people you think you might want to talk to again. The reason may simply be that you liked talking to them, or you hope to do business with them, or that they might be a good referral source for you. After you take someone’s card, write down something from the conversation on the back so that you can email the person about it later. It can be a favorite sports team or something the person said about his or her kids. 

7. Give out business cards thoughtfully

Every card you give out might get you added to another email list or result in you getting calls where they try to sell you on their product. If you someone asks for your card, you likely need to give it out of courtesy. That doesn’t mean you need to offer your card to someone if you have no interest in talking to the person again.

Related: How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth

8. Shake hands with the important people

 You don’t need to know the person or even have a conversation with them. If you see an elected official, the event host or an important business leader in the room, be sure to shake his or her hand. Just walk up when he or she is talking to someone else, put your hand out and say it’s nice seeing him or her at the event and walk away. He or she will assume you’ve met in the past and that he or she simply forgot your name. After a few events of doing this, that person will start to recognize your face, and before you know it, will be walking up to you and striking up a conversation.

Networking is a long game, not about closing a sale immediately. The best networkers are consistent and repetitive, but not pushy. Going to the same event month after month, saying hello to the same people and ultimately getting remembered should be the goal when attending networking events. It’s only once you’re truly remembered that the people you build relationships with are more likely to really pay attention to what it is you do, and only then will they work to figure out a way to work with you because they finally feel like they know (and trust) you.

And most importantly, smile! You’re supposed to be having fun at these events! So get out there, relax, shake hands and enjoy the experience.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In-person networking events are returning as more and more people feel comfortable gathering indoors with larger groups of strangers. To some, networking is easy and fun, but to others, it’s an uncomfortable chore. As someone who has utilized networking to grow my successful public-relations consultancy, here’s a primer on networking and how you can get the most out of these events.

When identifying the kinds of networking events you’ll want to attend, the first place to start is understanding what type of people you’re trying meet. If you’re a residential-insurance professional, you may find potential leads at any event, but if you’re only focused on medical professionals, you’ll want to be more selective about which events you attend. 

Once you know the kind of people you are trying to connect with, you’ll need to identify the kinds of events that will provide opportunities to meet these people. One way to do this is by looking at your local industry associations. Sometimes, members get to attend these kinds of events for free or at a discount, but many groups have non-member attendee rates or even offer free attendance your first time so that you can try it out and see how you like it. Another great source to find events are local Chamber of Commerce websites. Some cities also have citywide networking-event calendar websites, which provide details on several events occurring each month. 

Next, you need to decide which type of event you’ll enjoy the most. Do you like a formal agenda, or do you prefer to wander around a room on your own starting conversations with strangers?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to select the best kind of networking events that will meet your personal preferences and business goals. Here are some of the most common types of networking events.

Related: 5 Tips for Stress-Free Networking

Structured networking

If you like a formal structure, a great organization to consider is LeTip International, the world’s largest privately owned business-leads organization. They have more than 250 chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada and are credited with hundreds of thousands of business referrals per year. Basically, it’s a weekly meeting where a chapter of 20 to 40 people follow a structured meeting format, which is proven to generate business leads as the other members of the group essentially become your sales team or referral source.

Lunch events

Luncheons also tend to force more structure as well. While you’ll still meet new people, the networking portion tends to be more compressed, giving you less time to talk to people before you sit at a table and eat while often listening to a presentation. If you’re sitting with the right people on either side, you may be able to make a great and relevant contact to grow your network. If you get stuck sitting next to people who don’t interest you, it’s essentially lost time. Once the presentation or lunch is over, people tend to leave very quickly, with little networking, as people need to return to work, so it’s important you arrive early to meet new people at these types of events.

Breakfast events

If you prefer more schmooze time, breakfast events or happy hours might be best suited to your style. Breakfast events tend to have people wandering the room carrying small plates of breakfast foods or sitting briefly to eat and then getting back to the networking. Some morning events also have some formal component to the event as well. For example, sometimes everyone goes around the room giving their 30-second elevator pitch before resuming the mix and mingle part of the event. While every group is different, there seems to be more salespeople attending breakfast events, rather than the actual business owners.

Related: How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth

Happy hours

Happy Hours tend to have almost no structure. While some may have the host speak to the group for a few minutes welcoming everyone or thanking sponsors, most often it’s a full event of mixing and mingling. A lot of people will carry an adult beverage around with them, and sometimes a small plate of appetizers as well. The people who attend these types of events will depend on the host organization putting on the event, but attendees will tend to be more decision makers or small-business owners.

Ticketed events

Another networking opportunity would be larger events like an awards event or training presentation where your company buys a full table. In this scenario, the networking usually occurs before the presentation or people are seated. Before you sit down with people you already know, work the room. Look at nametags (if people are wearing them) and walk up to people that you want to meet.

Which events are a match for you?

In the end, it’s pretty simple. Pick the type of networking event that you will enjoy and return to events where you liked the people as people  not as sales leads. I built up my own successful business this way, attending on average two happy-hour events a week for several years. The repetition and being viewed as a trusted regular led to several referrals that grew my firm into what it’s become today.

My only warning is that networking is about the long game, not the short sale. The strategy took at least a year, during which I went to the same events month after month, talking to the same people again and again, before I started getting some client referrals. Networking successfully is a strategy that takes an investment of time, but has the opportunity to pay off in dividends when done right.

Related: 11 Networking Tips When You’re Crunched for Time

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

Using your company’s home page to collect data from current customers helps increase the percentage of prospective visitors who end up purchasing.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most companies have a website because their ultimate goal is for customers to make a purchase. Yet a teeny fraction of the people who visit your site, (as little as 3%, from what we’ve seen through our business) will open their wallets. Rather than pouring all your resources into making everything perfect for that 3%, the smarter approach is to convert the other 97% into regular buyers. 
Related: 5 New Consumer Buying Habits That Can Transform Your Business

Discovering customer intent

Business leaders often turn to task completion numbers as a key performance indicator to get a sense of what’s happening with customers. But metrics can sometimes make you feel like you know what’s going on even when you don’t. 

Let’s say someone wants to see what it would cost them to have an item shipped to their location. They might put an item in their cart to see the final price. You then assume the visitor to your site is going to buy the product, but all they wanted was a sense of the total cost.

Based on our company’s experience there’s about a 70% chance that, if somebody can finish the primary task they came to your site to do, they’ll move on down the funnel to the next step. If you can figure out what they actually came to do, and help them do it in an omnichannel way, then the odds of them buying are far higher.

Related: If You’re Only Listening to Your Buyers, You’re Doing It Wrong

Figure out what visitors came for and how to help

Discovering intent requires you to get data directly from your visitors. There are different ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to have them do an exit survey using a customer experience tool. Throw these out for a random sample, yet not to everybody/every time they visit the site. Ask who the visitor is, what their intent was and whether they were able to accomplish their task. The responses should give you a good indication of what patrons are looking to achieve.

Once you have this information, it’s time to triage and prioritize. Drill down deeper into the quantitative data to figure out what the specific pain points are and make strategic decisions about how to help. Your info isn’t going to be the same as another company’s data and there’s no cookie-cutter way to react to this information. Helping visitors could mean redesigning the site so items are easier to find, streamlining the checkout process, adding products, building an FAQ page and suggesting related options. Keep in mind that you’re not necessarily going to make shifts unless there are enough visitors who are demanding the same change. 

It’s important to remember that just collecting data is not enough. Maybe you have many people answering the survey, but they are misusing your site and aren’t actual shoppers. Perhaps some of your visits come from bots. Make sure you understand the information well enough to take these issues into account. 

Related: 5 Recommendations To Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Buyers

There’s never been a better time to hear your customers

Each patron is going to come to your site to do something specific, whether that’s to see if something is in stock, leave a review or find which of your brick-and-mortar stores is nearby. If you can gather information from your visitors, then you can analyze that data to learn what their intent is and properly encourage them to make a purchase. 

Pay attention to the regulars already spending money on your site, but it’s also important to use customer surveys so as to develop strategies and therefore convert casual visitors into buyers. Over time, this effort will translate into the huge growth you’re after.

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

The way people work has changed.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The corporate world has changed more in the past two years than in the past twenty years. It took a pandemic to make people realize that you don’t need to travel for work two hours a day to sit in front of a computer that is connected to the internet anyway.

It is no longer possible to attract people to work at a full-time job in a corporate office because people have realized that the idea of a “safe and secure” job is just a dream that can collapse at any time. There is no need to work at a specific location in a specific city because we all live in the global village called the internet. 

If you have expertise on a specific skill, you can remotely work for the best companies in the world at command earnings that compete with anyone in the world with the same skill. And the best part is that you can work on a contract basis.

Related: 11 Best Websites for Freelancers to Find Jobs and Make Money

So what is preventing people from becoming freelancers and quit their day job (if they are fortunate to have one)? The lack of a personal brand.

The full-time corporate world operates on slightly different rules where you can jump from one company to another based on your personal network and influence. But in the freelance world, having a personal network is not enough, you need a personal brand.

Building a personal brand doesn’t mean becoming popular. A personal brand is built when you add value to people’s lives through your content, sometimes without charging anything for it.

If you want to build a strong personal brand as an influencer, you need to start with blogging. Write a few articles a month about what you learn, what you know and what you have experienced. Writing is the best way to let the world know that you exist.

Related: Here are the Advantages of Working as a Freelancer

Once you start writing, you will see that opportunities will come your way. Start helping out people with your content and then with free consultations. There are a ton of freelancing opportunities in the world, and you can become a specialist in one category. Let’s say, for example, you are an SEO expert. Start writing about SEO on your blog, share them on social media and post videos about what you know. 

Research companies that you want to help and maybe create an SEO audit report for them and cold-email it to them. If you add value first instead of asking for an opportunity, an opportunity will come your way. 

You cannot demand heat before you throw in the piece of wood. Set up a calendar that shows your available times and let people book a free 15-20 minute consultation call with you. This is how you add value and then get a sale, without asking explicitly for the sale.

Freelancing makes you an entrepreneur where the product is yourself. This is the first step in your long journey of building something for yourself, that eventually becomes greater than yourself. 

Freelancing also requires professional relationship skills, sales skills and the skill of adding more value than what you are getting paid for. This skill is vastly different from the skill of being an employee.

If you are not in a full-time corporate job right now, it is time to start freelancing instead of trying to find a job in the post-pandemic, new world order. 

If you are already in a corporate job, you need to start freelancing as a side-hustle as soon as possible. Even if you are just building your brand and doing free consultations, it is more than enough to start with because it creates the foundation for your future freelancing journey. 

You might have friction getting started in this journey if you are an employee or have been one. Because the typical mindset of an employee is to look for security and “something guaranteed” for every piece of effort that you put in. Getting started with your freelancing career is the first step in dealing with career and professional uncertainty.

I cannot tell you what opportunities you will get once you start building your personal brand. But I can say with conviction that once you start, you will start getting opportunities.

Related: 18 Freelance Sites to Find Your Next Gig

We are now available over telegram, Click here to subscribe to our telegram channel to receive regular updates straight to your phone.

Copyright © 2014 - 2021 Intellixa | All Rights Reserved