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What Listening to Music at Work Does to Your Brain

Music has influenced human behavior practically since the dawn of time and it continues to influence both our lives and our feelings every day. Some people listen to music to gain inspiration, some listen to it to improve their mood, while some listen to it to channel their inner rage, when reality becomes too harsh to bear. Nevertheless, music helps people in various situations, but the question is why do we find music so appealing?

The main reason is that music affects our brains by stimulating the neurons (nerve cells) to produce dopamine, also known as a “feel good chemical”, which induces the feeling of pleasurable and rewarding stimuli. Simply put, it’s what makes you feel good, happy and motivated. That’s why listening to music in various situations can affect your mood, especially in situations that have a tendency to become quite stressful, such as working. Let’s check out what listening to music while working does to your brain.

Improves motivation and productivity

Listening to music helps people deal with repetitive mundane tasks much easier. Repetitive tasks, such as reading or answering emails, tend to become quite overwhelming even if they’re not complex by nature. As mentioned before, listening to music we like helps produce neurotransmitters that make us feel good. These feelings help people perform tasks more efficiently and with fewer mistakes, while giving them the sense of accomplishment.

source: Pexels

In short, music helps motivate people to complete tasks faster as their brain compensates them with a sense of reward. For example, if you finish your daily tasks faster, you’ll have more free time and your brain will make you feel good with a sense of accomplishment, while listening to music will motivate you to strive towards that feeling. Moreover, studies have shown that music also improves productivity, helping you be more efficient at your work. That’s why you will feel like spending $10 on creating your own playlist on Spotify is a good investment that will help you become more productive.

Escape from a noisy office

Crowded office spaces can get too noisy and therefore too distracting. Trying to eliminate the noise and focus on work can be next to impossible. As a matter of fact, your brain will try to make sense of the coworker chatter and other noises in the office whether you’re aware of it or not. This brain function takes a lot of energy. Not to mention that it increases the levels of cortisol in your brain, which is a stress-inducing hormone, and reduces the levels of dopamine.

source: Pixabay

This will make you less productive and more agitated at work. However, listening to music can help cancel out the noise and, although you might play your favorite YouTube or Deezer playlists in the background, unfortunately it won’t be enough to eliminate the noise completely. You can, however, plug in your in-ear headphones and eliminate the outside noise altogether. That way you can listen to your favorite music and focus on work.

Improves creativity and accuracy

Even if you’re good at something, listening to music can make you even better. As an example, surgeons always listen to music and playlists on Spotify, to help them focus and make them more accurate when performing complex surgeries. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study in which they found out that surgeons performed more accurately when they were listening to the music they preferred. Also, the music they didn’t prefer was the second best, while not listening to music was of no help at all.

That means that if you listen to the music you prefer you’ll be more focused, productive and less likely to make a mistake, even though you’re already good at what you’re doing. Furthermore, studies have shown that reasonable noise levels coming from music can inspire creativity during brainstorming and creative sessions. It seems that the ambient music playing in the background is extremely helpful and works best for your creativity, but only if it’s not too low- or too high-pitched noise.

Interferes with the learning process

With all the positive effects music has on our brains, one would think there aren’t any downsides. Sadly, when it comes to learning new information, listening to music can be too distracting and counterproductive. The main reason is that when learning new information, your brain has to process and memorize that new information.

source: Flickr

However, when you add music to the equation, your brains has to process additional auditory information alongside information you’re trying to comprehend and memorize. This multitasking activity in your brain may cause information to be stored inadequately or cause you to have trouble remembering what’s important.  This is especially true if the music you listen to contains lyrics. Therefore, if you’re about to learn something new at work, set aside your music until you learn it.

Music is one of the most creative inventions humanity has ever created. It influences our mood and emotions, while enriching our lives. It even helps us be more efficient, focused and productive at work, where normally some days, people are anything but. So, why not give in to the joy of music? After all, it makes our lives a lot better.

Oscar Waterworth – a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.

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Use Your Website To Increase Your Revenue

If you are not tapping into the power of eCommerce today, you are losing out on the massive potential that it brings to the table. If you have a desire to run a growing business, you need to use the virtual world to your advantage. There are no hours here. You can always be open for business, and people from around the globe can take advantage of all that your website has to offer. All you need to do is make use of the tools and resources that are at your ready disposal. There are also times when you need to provide your visitors with the information that they need to make an informed buying decision, such as that which is found with comparison shopping engine management. By providing a wealth of information, and a visually appealing and functional website, you can use your online presence to increase your revenue accordingly.

Put a Virtual Office to Work for You

With such a range of technology ready for you to implement today, you will want to make use of more than a few that are applicable to your business model. This can include automated email delivery to remote payment processors, and almost everything in between. Each of these features will enable your website to become easily accessible from virtually anywhere around the world. You might be a small business operating out of your home, but your website can give you the power of delivery traditionally reserved for major corporations. All you need to do is ensure that these resources are properly implemented into the scope of your existing website.

If you use a virtual office, your clients will be able to access you and your products at any time, day or night. It allows them to engage with you via such features as online chat, email, and phone just to name a few. You might not be physically in the office, but your virtual office can handle many of the requests that come in when you are away. If you run an eCommerce site, your virtual office can handle many of your daily tasks in an automated fashion that makes you more efficient and productive. This will allow you to spend your time dealing personally with customers, which is where your attention needs to be in order to retain a competitive advantage over other businesses in your field.

Offer Personalized Service

It is also important that you offer a level of personalized service to individuals who visit your website. This is the one disadvantage that is commonly associated with online commerce, as customers often feel alone when shopping in the virtual world. You can use modern technology to your advantage in this regard as well. Make sure that you or your staff is personally available to speak to customers as they need you. When there is an issue with an order, you need to be able to deal with it quickly, or you will risk losing the customer to another site. Offering a certain level of personalized service will go a long way towards making your eCommerce business successful.

These are a few of the many ways that you can use your website to increase revenue. Remember to focus on the customer and everything else should fall into line nicely.

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4 Hobbies You Can Turn Into a Stream of Income

Our Guest Post today comes from Heather Redding. Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer from Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys reading and running. Street photography is her artistic outlet and she likes to capture everyday little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

Enjoy!

While you may need extra money from a side hustle, you may not want to spend long hours working at a job that you find boring or uneventful. It’s not really a secret that doing something that you love is the best job there is. This is why monetizing your hobby into a side business may be a great idea.

There are several wonderful hobbies that you may enjoy doing and that you could use to generate some extra money. Here are a few excellent hobbies that can easily be converted into moneymaking side jobs:

1. Blogging

Blogs are increasingly popular, and there are a seemingly endless number of them available. You may not realize it, but many people actually hire a ghostwriter to write their blogs. Therefore, if you enjoy writing, you could easily partner with a blogger who writes about topics that you are interested in, and you could generate steady income by writing a few blogs per week for an established blog.

Another great idea is to launch your own blog. With so many options available these days you can easily build your own site and begin posting content. Make people notice your blog by stoking emotions and engaging your readers on social media. When you do this, you build a loyal following and encourage sharing online. As a result, your blog will have more pizzazz than you have ever dreamed.

There are different ways that you can generate income from writing your own blog. For example, if you develop a large following, you can sell advertising space on your website, or even promote products inside your blog posts. The larger your following is, the greater your income potential may be.

2. Photography

While some people enjoy writing in their free time, others enjoy taking beautiful photos of people, urban scenes, nature scenes and more. You may not realize, however, that you can monetize this hobby in multiple ways.

If you have excellent photography skills and can produce impressive images, you may be able to do portraits in an in-home studio or even offer wedding photography services. You can also sell your images online. Some websites allow you to copyright your images and then sell them online to businesses and others who might need them for marketing or other purposes. The more images that you offer for sale, the greater your income potential may be.

3. 3D Printing

If you have tinkered with 3D printing recently, you may be excited to take your hobby one step further. Whether you are into jewelry, toys or 3D printed artwork, you can use your passion to sell the products you make.

Nowadays, 3D printers are almost unmatched in their ability to create customized items. Therefore, selling unique and personalized items that are made to order is a great way to make some money on the side. You can create a line of your own products, and then sell these items on Etsy, eBay, and other e-commerce platforms. Hosting a booth at local arts and crafts show may draw even more interest to your 3D products. 3D printing is an exceptional way for you to turn your creativity and passion into a potentially lucrative side business with minimal upfront expenses.

4. Baking

While some of the famous TV bakers and chefs make it look easy to create impressive cakes and pastries, the reality is that this is more challenging than it initially seems. If you have mastered you cupcake toppings and know how to keep your soufflé from collapsing, why not offer your services to moms struggling to create birthday cakes or businesses in need of delicious snacks for their events?

You can get the word out and even offer samples of your products at local fairs and community events that allow you to set up a booth. Keep business cards handy at these events, and include a link to your professional baker’s website to further encourage others to place orders.

These are just a few home-based side businesses that you can pursue if you want to monetize your hobby. However, there are other hobbies that may easily be monetized as well. Focus on a hobby that you enjoy, and explore different ways to turn your hobby into a moneymaking side business.

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Advertising vs. Marketing – No, They’re Not the Same, and Yes it Matters

Advertising practices date back as early as the 1700s, when the first real estate ad was placed in a newspaper. Marketing is thought to have existed since the beginning of time in some form, but started evolving in 20-years cycles post World War II.

Neither concepts are new, that much is obvious. So why do companies still have a hard time differentiating the two in 2017?

The line between marketing and advertising was bound to blur at some point. Shrinking budgets and new ways to connect with audiences mean employees are wearing multiple hats to ensure business can keep going. Marketing departments begin absorbing advertising responsibilities to cut costs. Even sales and marketing are now interchanged more often than they used to be.

In spite of this sales/marketing/advertising musical chairs, it’s important to realize that advertising is NOT marketing, and marketing is NOT sales, regardless of who is handling what.

Companies would do well to take note the similarities and differences between the two if you want to get the biggest ROI for your efforts.

Marketing vs.Advertising – What’s the Difference?

Nowadays, it seems like you can’t venture out of bed without seeing an advertisement for something. They’re everywhere! From ads on social media or in apps to announcers interrupting your morning routine while listening to Pandora, most folks are exposed to dozens of ads before they even leave the house each day.

However, these ads don’t just happen by accident. For savvy companies, these ads exist only because of well-planned marketing strategies that place those specific ads in specific channels at specific times. You could say that marketing is the magical force pulling the strings behind every advertisement you encounter.

Simply put, advertisements are promotions for products or services for a company. Ads are often created around a central goal or message that is intended for a specific audience. However, for an ad to do its job, it’s up to marketing to decide who the ad should target, where it should be placed, and what it should say.

The Role of Human Nature in Marketing and Advertising

Advertising is a huge part of marketing’s responsibility, but it’s not the only responsibility. Marketing also encompasses branding and targeting, as well as managing the perceptions that result from them.

If you’re still having a hard time defining the ultra-fine line between marketing and advertising, you might need to look no further than how human nature affects each one.

For marketing to be successful, it relies on things like data, facts, and logic to create a strategy. The focus here is less on hunches and more on substantial evidence that it will work.

Advertising, however, uses creativity, cleverness, and artistry to get its message across via whatever strategy you’ve crafted. Advertising’s sole purpose is to promote a specific product or service, and often relies on design elements and witty copy to communicate its value to others. Logic and data are used to initiate the creative side, but in a way that’s obscured from the viewer, leaving nothing but a memorable message in place for them to enjoy.

As consumers, we’re often intrigued by eye-catching visuals, addicting tunes, or other attention-grabbing components. Focusing on data alone is, as MarketingLand’s Peter Minnium suggests, like clapping with one hand. You need both hard cold facts (the marketing side) and bursting creativity (the advertising part) to create a successful campaign. Neither will be nearly as effective without the other.

Combining the Strengths of Advertising and Marketing

Although advertising plays but a small role in marketing’s big picture, marketing’s success is often determined by its advertising.  If you want to see that success thrive to its highest potential, you need to clean up your marketing before advertising can do its job.

Start by defining your unique selling proposition (USP). In other words, what makes your company different, and why do these differences matter to your customers? You might have the lowest prices, or you’ve been in business longer than your competitors. It might be your rapid turnaround times or your ability to tailor every experience to the individual’s needs.

Try to avoid using generics like customer service and friendly, knowledgeable staff. At this point, those are expectations people have of every company, not differentiating factors (unless you’re Nordstrom or Zappos.com, of course). Make sure that whatever you tout as your bread and butter, you do it better than anyone else, and have made it difficult for others to copy.

Once you decide what you’re great at, make sure you communicate those features in your advertising. True, you’re promoting products and services in your ads, but your creative should speak for itself on why people should do business with you.

If you inject your brand voice in every ad and place it in front of the right people, advertising and marketing become one unstoppable, profit-building force.

Author: Ben Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Ghost Bloggers, a boutique writing agency focusing on helping small business clients take their websites to the next level. From social media topics to articles on niche industry issues, NoStop’s articles are written with style, attention to detail, and with the client’s audience in mind.

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Setting Up Your Home Office on a Budget: A How-To Guide

Retiring from the world of tightly crammed offices to set up a work-from-home station can be an extremely liberating feeling—especially for a writer. But if you’re working with a tight budget, you may be wondering how to set up your office without breaking the bank

Fortunately for you, the trial and error of many brave work-from-home writers has a resulted in a plethora of DIY blogs and work-from-home tips—which can help you set up a cozy workspace that fits cozily within budget. What can we say? Writers love to share!

If you’re looking to set up a home office on a budget, read on for some of our top tips. 

Think Outside the Box: Go Unconventional

While most workplaces are crowded by boxy and cubicles, one of the advantages of working from home is that you get to think outside the box. Leave behind your premonitions of what an office should look like, and think about what you actually need to be productive.

If you’re a writer, maybe you find that you work best when you can draw on nature for inspiration. If this is the case, try setting up your desk in front of a large window that lets in plenty of natural light (this will reduce your electric bill too). Or better yet, carve out a space for yourself on your patio where you can work outside on nice days.

The best part about having a home office is that you’re not chained to a desk. This means that you can invest in an office setup that works for you—saving you money in the long run.

Think Outside the Box part 2: Getting Crafty

As well as considering unconventional office setups, thinking outside the box also means: getting crafty. Look around and see what furniture, supplies, etc. you already have so that you can determine what you still need.

You’ll find that with just a little elbow grease (and a trip to your local hardware store), DIY home office hacks can help you personalize your space while saving you money in the process. You can find TONS of DIY home office projects online like DIY storage solutions and DIY desk ideas. 

Invest in the Right Tools

When setting up your home office, it’s essential you invest in the right tools that empower you to do work of the highest quality.

Software: For writers, choosing the right software is incredibly important, as this is where the magic happens. Many writers start off with outdated versions of programs, hoping to spare a little bit of cash. However, upgrading your home office with the new software can provide a huge payoff in terms of productivity; not to mention, avoid the tragedy of losing your work due to outdated programs crashing.

For starters, most writers will need to install the latest version of Microsoft Office. When you download MS Office, you’ll have access to some of the most powerful publishing tools on the market, including the latest versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Access, and more.

Updating your computer with current software will put your on an equal playing field with your competitors, and gives you the power to do work of the highest quality.

Hardware: Choosing the right hardware is essential when setting up a home office. To ensure you get the most bang for your buck, do your research. Even with a tight budget, it may be worth splurging on a newer computer to ensure that you’ll get years of use out of it before having to replace it.

Shop Deals

Keeping a lookout for deals can help you get the hardware you need without breaking your budget. If you live near a Best Buy, look through their open box deals. These deals offer some of the best electronics for a fraction of the retail price. If a product is returned by another customer, these items undergo Best Buy’s geek squad check to ensure that they are fully functional and then return to the shelves as an ‘open box’ deal for a much better price.

With these helpful tips you’ll be able to save money on your home office and carve out a space that works for you!

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7 Tips For Redesigning Your Website

The time has finally come to say goodbye to our baby and bring our old site into the modern age. This is never an easy task as sites usually require to be rebuilt from the ground up but in today’s ever-shifting marketplace – it has become a necessity. Implementing a new design usually requires quite a bit of handiwork before the actual site comes to life, this is the perfect time to consider the dos and don’ts of today and work in accordance with various norms to provide users with the best site possible.

1. Tone it down

First and foremost, tone it down. Gone are the days of bombarding users with images, popups, invasive fonts and so on. The dominating practice of today is the sleek and simple approach, giving users exactly what they asked for while everything else is out of focus in the background. Backlinks, ads, related products; all of these take a backseat to the product which should be the focus of the page and have all necessary information available close by.

2. Let it die

Sometimes it can be hard to let go, this is something we’ve put our hearts and souls into over the last couple of months, years even. While this is natural, it is important to keep an open mind and keep looking forward. Emotional attachment is natural, we’ve developed the same kind of attachment to a piece of pottery we drink coffee from each morning for pity’s sake, there’s no shame in it. However, it is important to cut ties and let the site evolve as we have – as people, as a company.

3. Think from the user’s perspective

A key point to keep in mind is that the users won’t be looking for the same kind of experience as the employees working on the site. Whatever we might think is important, in a vast majority of cases, our user base will put priority on completely different aspects of the site. Get rid of any unnecessary complications and information that could take up screen space, the UI needs to be repeatable to an extent that it is predictable, making navigation a breeze.

4. Big Brother it

Although Mr. Orwell didn’t probably have this in mind, we should take a few pointers from his book. It is important to keep a close eye on our visitors and users and jotting down what they like and do not like, what their time spent on each specific page is and what turned them off. By doing this, we can determine the best course of action to proactively improve the user experience and site design to better suit their needs.

5. Don’t oversaturate your user base

Although dishing out content is the recommended course of action, keep in mind that it is a fine line between making interesting content and swarming the user with flak. There is nothing more off-putting than being overwhelmed with information you never asked for, especially if it’s being presented aggressively on a site. This goes in line with thinking from the user’s perspective, if you’re visiting a page to buy object A, you rarely want to have to go through ads for objects B through Z before getting to the checkout page.

6. Tread carefully

All in all, building a site is like building a wall, you kind of need to know what you’re doing. Most businesses usually look for affordable solutions when building a website or redesigning a new one. The problem with that is that corner-cutting on business websites creation can lead to revenue loss for some of them. If unsure what to expect, be sure to take a look at professional pages done by firms like Nirmal Website Design, they have struck a nice balance between quality and affordability. This blend is exactly what every site redesign should encompass.

7. Figure out what customers want

At the end of the day, we come to the exciting world of analytics. Seriously though, as boring as the concept might seem, analytics are the best way for site owners to see the fruits of their labor and gather intel about everything from what sells to what draws the most attention, even taking into account what took the most time to load and what offers got taken up immediately. This will provide a baseline for future endeavors, and will help keep us fresh and on our toes.

The gist

Redesigning a website is essentially the rebranding of a company’s online presence. It is a chance to reinvent the company’s image from the ground up and attempt a different, preferably better, approach to building a presence online. Although the journey may be long and hard, we will always come out for the better. Change rarely comes easily and it rarely presents itself without pain, but it is a crucial part of life – and as such, must be embraced.

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How to Market a Carpet Cleaning Company Online

It’s easy to believe that online marketing is only for online businesses while brick-and-mortar businesses, or those servicing people in their home, must focus on other ways of attracting clients. However, the reality is that inbound online marketing is just as effective for large online businesses as it is for the small hyperlocal ones. It’s all about how you utilize the tools available to you to attract people to what you offer via Search Engines.

Our very own carpet cleaning company in Ottawa, 1CleanAir, is a prime example of this technique. We found that there was a greater ROI when marketing using Adwords and SEO to boost our presence online and attract customers.

As a carpet cleaning company, we didn’t have a clear idea of how to start, but over time, we’ve built an online marketing structure using the best tools for our goals and measuring the results. Want to market your own carpet cleaning online? Here’s what you need to do:

Set Clear Goals and Audience

It’s important to know what you want to accomplish with your marketing campaigns. Do you want to increase your monthly revenue? Do you want more traffic to your website? Choose something you can measure and be as specific as possible.

An example of this is:

“1ClearAir will have 20% more new customers in 2017”

Now, who is your audience? Are they mainly female or male? What is the age group? Create potential client profiles and market for those specific groups.

Educate yourself on your industry’s keywords

We learned that the best keywords will center around our clients’ questions and how they would search them on Google. It’s easy to err by choosing keywords that are too specific or too vague. The trick is to provide answers for the client, becoming an expert in our industry and becoming a reliable source to come to when it’s time to make a purchase. For your own carpet cleaning business, don’t be afraid of using keywords that will help the client solve problems on their own.

An example of this is writing content with keywords about cleaning your own carpet.

Market your business using Adwords and SEO

Use Adwords to get your relevant content out there for your potential clients to see. Use keywords and long-tail keywords to better connect with your clients’ searches, which could be simplified and use colloquial terms, like in our case “outdoor rug cleaning in Ottawa” Knowing these keywords and using them to your best advantage will help you rank much better on both Google and other search engines.

Measure your ROI

Google offers conversion tracking to best measure how many of your leads turn into purchases using your calls to action.

A simple formula for this is to take revenue that is a product of your ads, take away the costs, and divide by overall costs. Good ROI will be determined by your industry and the goals you set. Sometimes, ROI can be as little as 1%, but given the costs of online marketing, it’s likely that your ROI will be much higher than traditional marketing returns.

This way, by using online market research, keywords and search engine marketing, you understand your customer better and can track down the cost of obtaining each client.

 

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7 Useful Skills That Every Entrepreneur Needs

To successfully launch and grow a company, an entrepreneur needs a unique skill set as well as ample knowledge and patience. Almost every startup has its ups and downs, and very few follow a straight, upward path to profitability. If you want to increase the likelihood that your new startup will be successful, consider nurturing and refining these specific skills that can serve an entrepreneur well.

Ambition

To succeed with your startup venture, you need to have an ample supply of ambition to combine with your talent and vision. Ambition can give you the drive to work harder and smarter while remaining committed to your endeavor even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Ambitious people are generally willing and able to put in the extra effort to get the job done right, and they do not look for shortcuts along the way. You should mix your ambition with a clear plan of action so that you know how to act to achieve your goals.

Willingness to Learn

Some people stop educating themselves when they graduate college, but learning is a life-long activity. You should always focus on evolving and improving yourself, such as through books, articles, documentaries, seminars and more. Your industry is in flux regularly, and you need to stay updated in order to properly lead your company. You should be in regular communication with industry leaders, or you should at least be in touch with their blog post or other published works so that your knowledge remains relevant.

Assertiveness and Confidence

You need to instil a sense of confidence in others, and the only way to ensure that others believe in you and trust you is to have full confidence in yourself. After listening to what others have to say and after developing an educated stance on a subject, verbalize your thoughts with confidence and assertiveness. People often trust assertive people. When you feel unnecessary pressure to act against your will or instinct, put your foot down with a firm response that voices your opinions tactfully.

Creativity

The most successful entrepreneurs embrace creativity in themselves and in their team members. You cannot expect to run a successful business always walking the tried and true path. There will be times when you need to be a trailblazer by thinking outside the box. You can encourage creative thinking by always talking to new people, reading new books, ordering new meals at a restaurant you frequent, changing your office or living room layout and more. Keep your mind open to new possibilities, and always push yourself toward innovation by setting lofty yet attainable goals for yourself and for your team.

Ability to Listen

Communication is critical to the success of any business owner, and active listening is a vital component to effective communication. You must be a people-person, and you should have open, honest, two-way communication with your customers. If you are striving for success you will need to commit to providing a great customer service, which includes listening to what your customers have to say, especially complaints.

Always listen to what other people have to say, and avoid the rude inclination to interrupt others. Bothersome chatter and self-promotion can also be irritating to others and could reflect negatively on others. If you are talking, you likely are not listening to the thoughts and ideas of the other person. Know when to be quiet and focus on what others are saying, and focus on their non-verbal cues as well as your own for more effective communication. However, you also need to know when to speak up, such as when your team needs extra motivation to push forward.

Courage and Risk-Taking

It is not enough to simply think creatively as an entrepreneur. You also need to be bold and courageous enough to act on your innovative ideas. While some ideas will be clear winners, others may require you to stick your neck out there and to be gutsy. In the words of John Burroughs, “Leap, and the net will appear.” Never be afraid to take chances even when they seem far different than anything ever attempted before, but in the same token, you should research all options before deciding how to proceed.

Perseverance

Almost all successful entrepreneurs can describe a series of road bumps and hurdles they had to navigate over on their path to success. These individuals who accomplished their goals did not turn around or grow fearful when faced with a challenge. Instead, they remained patient and optimistic through various challenges. You cannot possibly succeed if you give up, so the best thing to do in order to succeed is to keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurs are often highly successful people, but the path to be successful is rarely easy. You need to have strong knowledge in your field, and you also need to develop each of these skills carefully. While they can help you to be a better business professional, they could also help you to enjoy a more meaningful, productive life.

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5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Wheel Bearings Need Replacement

Most car owners understand the importance of well-maintained tires for a safe and fuel-efficient vehicle. After all, a car simply cannot function properly without good, reliable wheels.

But while most owners perform the habitual checks on tires such as tire pressure, tread depth, and tire alignment, the wheel is far from a simple component. And often, one of the most crucial parts of the drive-axle and steering assembly that’s overlooked, are the wheel bearings. Nevertheless, wheel bearings are not only important in promoting efficient wheel rotation, but they also help keep the wheels on your vehicle while supporting the weight of your vehicle.

A set of steel balls housed in a metal ring called a race, wheel bearings are engineered to last 100,000 miles if properly maintained and regularly checked, regardless of whether or not they are the newer hub-assembly style bearings or the older-style bearings. It is recommended, though, that older circle bearings be regularly checked once they reach around 60,000 miles.

But like any other mechanical part of your vehicle (especially ones that rotate, rub and roll), wheel bearings will give way to wear and tear.

To know when it’s time for your wheel bearings to get looked at by an automotive professional, here are five tell-tale signs that your wheel bearings need replacement.

Odd Noises

Any mechanical part that rotates, rolls and rubs as much as wheel bearings do are packed with heavy multi purpose grease to lubricate them, reduce friction, and protect them. One of the main and most identifiable symptoms indicating that you may have an issue with your wheel bearings is an unusual noise coming from your wheel.

The noise will vary, but the most common sounds are cyclic chirping, growling, or rumbling noises. These can indicate that the seal (that keeps the grease in, and water and other contaminants out) has started to leak, which is causing problems. The sounds you hear can differentiate at certain speeds, getting louder or disappearing as your vehicle accelerates or decelerates.

Uneven Tire Wear

Another immediate and easily recognizable sign of faulty wheel bearings is uneven tire wear.

When wheel bearings start to fail, they begin to loosen within their housing, allowing the wheels to wobble slightly as they travel down the road. Also called “bearing play,” this particular type of looseness is not immediately felt through the steering wheel, but rather through a visual inspection of your tires. If the tires to your vehicle appear to be excessively worn despite regularly rotating your tires or routine wheel alignments and maintenance checks, then it may be time to have your wheel bearings assessed.

Pulling While Driving

Wheel bearings that are in near perfect condition allow your car’s maneuverability to feel tight, responsive and controlled. If you start finding that your vehicle has the tendency to wander, or feels less responsive or less precise than usual, this can be symptomatic of defective wheel bearings.

While the problem may not simply rest with the wheel bearings, as it could be indicative of a bigger drivetrain issue, it could certainly be the culprit. A professional mechanic can diagnose the problem and determine whether or not the wheel bearings are the cause of the problem.

Steering Wheel Problems

A related phenomenon to your vehicle feeling less responsive or pulling in a certain direction is the visible vibration or wobble felt through your steering wheel. When wheel bearings corrode, this corrosion transfers to the steering wheel, giving it the feeling of unwarranted pulling.

Wheel bearings are not the only cause of a loose steering wheel or one that has the tendency to pull. Feeling a pull in the steering wheel is a common symptom for other mechanical problems in the drivetrain and steering assembly. However, a vibration that’s felt at slower speeds and becomes noticeably worse as the vehicle accelerates is a good indicator that it could be a wheel bearing problem.

Issues With Braking

While the classic symptom of a bad wheel bearing is a cyclic chirping, squealing, or growling noise, an audible clicking sound as the vehicle accelerates is indicative of a problem with the wheel hub assembly, which houses the wheel bearings. Excessive runout due to severe looseness related to worn or damaged bearings can cause brakes to pulsate and pull when brakes are applied. Uneven wear on brake pads are also visible. If the problem persists and the wheel bearings aren’t checked and replaced, ABS failure may occur, which could be suggestive of a loose bearing clamp that will result in excessive movement caused by too much end play, damaging the internal and external sensors.

If any of these symptoms present themselves, they can compromise the effectiveness of your vehicle and may lead to further catastrophic failure if left unattended. While these circle bearings are often an overlooked component of the drivetrain assembly, proper maintenance of your wheel bearings is crucial to the longevity of your vehicle. Any long-term neglect of this component will result in the eventuality of your wheel literally coming off while driving.

By attuning yourself to these tell-tale signs, you can quickly and readily be prepared to diagnose the situation.

AUTHOR BIO

Hassanein Alwan is the Marketing Director for Mineral Circles Bearings. He boasts of more than 10 years’ experience in the bearing industry’s technical support division, sales and marketing, with expertise in strategic business development consultancy.

With a degree of Master of Science in Engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and an International Diploma in Business from the University of Cambridge, he started his career in Sweden as a Machine Safety engineer for Gröna Lund and as SAAB Aerosystems’ Aeronautical engineer. Today, he serves as a member of the Know Your Market Committee after joining EPTDA in 2013.

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Relocating to Australia

Many writers and others dream of traveling or even living abroad while they write for a living. However, getting a work visa or emigrating to another country can be more challenging than it at first seems.

One popular destination is Australia. There are a few things you will need to know before you consider it though.

Visit First

Although Australia is a developed country and the inhabitants speak English, the culture is much different than that in the United States. Before considering a move “down under” you should make some extended visits and make sure that will be able to adapt.

A Visa

The first thing you will need is a visa of some sort, and most likely a work visa unless you are of retirement age. In most cases this will be a temporary work visa, and to get one you will need to be sponsored by an Australian company.

Getting There

The flight to Australia will take you between 13 and 14 hours at best, so be prepared to strap yourself in for a long haul. There are a number of airlines to choose from, and only a few airports that offer direct flights. Depending on your endurance of cramped airline seats, you may want to fly to one of those cities first.

Leaving the United States

Before leaving the United States, there are several things you should wrap up, including your banking, various subscriptions, and loans. You should also grab copies of your medical and dental records, both physical and digital if possible just in case you need medical care before you are established as a patient in the Australian health care system.

You’ll also either want to store or sell possessions you are leaving behind. If you are storing them, be sure you have a long-term plan and that the storage is secure and insured. Consider carefully what you might ship as a part of your move. Many items, such as large pieces of furniture, may cost more to ship than they are worth.

Banking

The best way to handle your banking needs is to set your finances up in Australia before you move. Many major Australian banks provide migrant services to help you do just that before you even leave the states.

These programs not only make it easier for you to move your accounts, but to apply for other banking services like credit cards, savings accounts, and even loans and other services that will make your move easier.

Taxes

As an American citizen working in Australia, you will still have to file tax returns in the United States along with complying with Australian tax laws. You’ll have to be in Australia more than six months, and then you will need a Tax File number. The amount of taxes you will pay will depend on your income.

As long as the income you earn overseas is below a certain amount, you meet certain time requirements, or under certain other exemptions, you may not have to pay any taxes, but as long as you are a citizen of the United States, you need to file a return anyway.

Driving

Once you have been in Australia for between three and six months, you will need to get an Australian driver’s license. Of course, you should remember that they drive on the left side of the road, and that the laws for whether or not you can drive on a United States license will vary by state. Some will require an International Driving Permit, something you need to get in the United States before you go.

Living Arrangements

Depending on where you are from in the United States you may find rent and mortgages to be much more expensive than the United States, but if you are from a large urban area, rates might be comparable.

Of course, wages are typically a bit higher too. If you have the ability to do so, you may want to buy a home as soon as possible in Australia.

While you can buy a home, there are also private builders in Sydney who create amazing luxury homes suited to meet the needs of you and your loved ones. Investing in a home also makes you a more desirable resident should you move from visa status to applying for permanent residency.

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the things you should consider before relocating to Australia, it does cover some of the high-level basics. Before you make detailed plans, be sure to visit government sites that give you step by step instructions and have all the forms and applications you will need to plan your move.

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