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Interview With Christopher Owens – Why Millennial Networking Is Different

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Christopher Owens

Whether you are at an event passing out your business cards or chatting with someone a few states away through email, you’re familiar with networking. The question is, what changed? With the growth of technology, there’s no denying that millennials network differently. Meetups are organized and advertised through networking platforms or social media and filled with people of similar interests. Relationships are built and groups decide to stay in touch more regularly than just bumping into each other every now and then. We connected with the Founder of LincSphere, Christopher Owens. He built the app to optimize power networking and make it easier to connect with others. In this interview, Christopher was able to pinpoint networking flaws and gave advice on how to grow and optimize your network.

What are some tips you can give for networking?

When you meet or speak with a networking contact, be genuinely INTERESTED in them. Ask a lot of questions and be curious. To be clear, DON’T ASK PROSPECTING QUESTIONS. Just learn more about them, not only as a professional, but also as a person. Your goal for this line of questioning is, “Is there any way I can add value to this person’s professional or personal life.” Of course you might be able to help them by selling your product to them, but you should initially place that idea to the side and focus on other ways you can help.  

From interacting with this person, see if there is any reason you would want to develop the relationship. Of course, if they want your product, you would want to talk with them further, but there are many other potential reasons for engaging further. Maybe they could be a good referral partner for you. Maybe you have the same hobbies or feel strongly about supporting the same causes. Maybe you could see yourself mentoring them or vice versa. But either find SOME reason for wanting to engage further, or allow yourself to let that contact fall to the wayside, at least for now (maybe that will change the next time you run into them). It is true that you can be too narrow-minded in your networking, only keeping the business cards of potential customers. But it is also true that you can be too unrestricted in your networking, keeping the cards of every single person you meet ‘just in case’.  When you do that, you will end up diluting your interest for networking in general, because you feel obligated to follow-up with contacts you have no real interest in.

What are common networking mistakes?

1) Talking too much and too early about yourself instead of asking questions and listening to the other person.

2) Not following up regularly with the people you want to build relationships with. There’s a statistic in sales that 80% of sales happen from the 5th to the 12th contact with someone. The same basic principle applies to building relationships in networking.

3) Not networking until you need it. Networking is the LONG game. It takes time and repeated contact to build a relationship usually. Sure, there are occasional times you will get instant gratification from a networking contact (someone wants to do business with you right after you met them) but those instances are the outliers. Start building your network when you DON’T need it and it will be there for you when you do.

What is the biggest difference between small businesses and startups?

Well, the best definition I’ve ever seen is from author Steve Blank, who explains that a startup is not merely a smaller version of a larger company. It is a temporary organization in search of a business model. In other words, a startup ‘isn’t quite sure what it will be when it grows up’. Startups are often creating new markets, trying to solve problems others have not tackled yet, or finding an innovative way to solve an old problem. So startups are always operating on a certain set of ASSUMPTIONS about who their customers are, what their problems are and what kind of solutions they are looking for. The startup, in it’s early days, is testing their assumptions and seeing how the market reacts. In the end they may find that the customer they are really servicing and the exact problem they are addressing are a few (or many) degrees away from where they started, and so they adjust course and change their business model to fit that. Or they could find that they were completely wrong about the problem they were solving and might shut down.

On the other hand, a small business is starting a company of which there is already a clear market, clear customers, a clear problem and lots of competition. There are FAR fewer unknowns in a small business. Their main issue is just how well they execute the processes and methods that have already been proven out hundreds or thousands of times by other companies.

How has networking changed for millennials?

Well I can’t speak from the millennial perspective, because I’m not one. But the main difference I see now from a decade or so ago is that there are so many more ways to communicate. Used to be you could meet someone in person, call on the phone, or email and that was it. Now if you reach out to a networking contact you can call, text, IM, email, Skype, connect on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn or a host of other applications. For the most part, this a great advantage over what previous generations had. Not only because of convenience and being able to find the right communication medium your contact likes to use, but also because anyone has a decent chance these days of connecting directly with celebrities or business thought leaders if you do it right. And then there’s how easy international communication is. You no longer have to have a lot of frequent flyer miles in order to have an international network. It’s an amazing time to be networking.

What is the problem LincSphere is trying to solve?

There are two problems, actually. The first is that most people are not organized at all with their networking relationships. They collect a bunch of business cards at events and those cards sit in a pile somewhere on their desk or in a drawer, not doing anyone very much good. There has never been a complete business networking CRM-like tool for easily coordinating all of the actions a person does or should do when building networking relationships, and so we wanted to provide that.

The second issue is actually the more important one. It is that most networkers treat networking as a kind of a self-interested prospecting game. Kind of like cold-calling in person. When done like that it’s kind of like hunting or fishing where the person is only looking for the opportunities immediately available. But the best networkers out there – the power connectors – approach networking more like farming. They are planting seeds, caring for the growth of those relationships and playing the long game. They know that the watchword of all networking is “generosity”. They help their connections without any expectation of a ‘quid pro-quo’ or tit-for-tat. They view it more like ‘karma’ in that they give help freely and just figure it will come back to them somehow. And LincSphere was specifically designed in all its features to promote that generosity mindset in our users.

When is the launch date?

Well as far as the iPhone goes, we ARE launched. The app has been out since summer 2016. We are working on building a web interface now and we’re also working to bring on investors so we can launch the Android version and do a lot more.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

My Honest Review of Flocksy’s Unlimited Creative Services

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Unlimited graphic design list

There are more unlimited graphic design services emerging every day. Flocksy stands out as one of the top competitors in the space. After this review, you’ll have a better understanding of whether Flocksy is the best design option for your business.

Flocksy Overview

Flocksy works on an unlimited number of designs and revisions for a flat monthly fee. Unlike many of the other unlimited graphic design services, they also offer copywriting and web development.

Flocksy

How does Flocksy / unlimited graphic design work?

Unlimited graphic design services are an alternative solution for those who need design help but do not need a full design team. They all have similar promises:

  • 24-48 turnaround time
  • Flat monthly rate
  • Dedicated designers
  • Money back guarantee
  • Lower cost than hiring an in-house designer

Who is Flocksy good for?

The unlimited creative business model that Flocksy provides is good for both big and small businesses. Some of these include:

  • Corporations in need of consistent blog content
  • Influencers and bloggers in need of social media design, thumbnails, and descriptions
  • Marketers who need press releases written
  • Entrepreneurs in need of a new website
  • Small businesses in need of advertising designs

Brands that use Flocksy

On Flocksy’s website, they mention that they’ve worked with over 1000 brands including Harley Davidson, State Farm, and Forbes.

Their portfolio also shows projects that they’ve completed for other clients. There are t-shirt designs, marketing materials, copywriting examples, videos, and web development done for both large and small organizations.

Flocksy pricing

Flocksy has two options for pricing. $995/month for the All Access Plan and $420/month for the Team Plan.

Flocksy review

What I like about Flocksy:

  • Manage your projects on their Project Management board
  • They have a custom team created for you on your dashboard
  • Project manager who manages all my projects
  • Image tagging to give revision notes
  • All services included in pricing
  • Support through email, chat, and phone

What I don’t like about Flocksy:

  • Offshore team may be difficult to communicate with without the project manager
  • Adjusting to designer and writer skillsets

Flocksy alternatives

Penji (Read our full review + special promo code!)

Kimp

Design Pickle

Kappa99

GraphicsZoo

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Are Standing Desks Worth It?

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For most working adults, being strapped to a desk for hours every day means dealing with back pains and other ailments like high blood pressure and excess body fat.

To save our lower back (and most likely, to introduce a new product in the market), furniture makers have come up with a solution – standing desks.  

With all the hype built around the table that allows us to work on our feet, the question remains – are standing desks worth it? Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages to help us make a stand.

Pros and Cons: Are Standing Desks Worth It?

We often hear the adage, “Sitting is the new smoking.” According to experts, sitting for long periods can be associated with health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease,  and even cancer.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that standing desks are making the rounds these days. In fact, it’s seen as a healthier alternative to the traditional version linked to ailments mentioned above.

Despite the perceived novelty of a desk that lets you stand while working, the idea behind the product isn’t as new as it seems. For instance, some claim that Leonardo da Vinci used a standing desk while painting. There are also accounts saying that this type of furniture was common among wealthy English households during the 18th century.

If these anecdotes were real, our forefathers must have also explored the idea of avoiding extended periods of sitting down. Which leads us back to the questions: are standing desks worth it, or are they overrated?

Pros 

Here are some benefits of a standing desk:

  • Improves energy 
  • Helps improve posture
  • Makes it easier to move, thereby keeping you on the go 
  • Helps avoid health issues linked to sitting for extended periods 

Cons

Below are some disadvantages of a standing desk:

  • Can be hard on your legs and feet, especially if you’re wearing high heels
  • Reduces privacy if used in traditional offices 
  • Can be more tiring if used for longer periods

So, are standing desks worth it? It depends on which of the pros and cons above are the most important to you. 

For instance, a standing desk might be an excellent choice for your home office since you’ll be wearing comfy slippers while working. However, it may be a different story if you’re acquiring furniture for an actual office where users wear less uncomfortable footwear.

On another note, a standing desk can be well worth it if you want to move more for health reasons. Standing encourages you to move now and then, avoiding a long period of being in the same position.  

Those who find it impractical to buy a new desk choose to get a desk converter instead. It’s a small table placed on top of an existing desk, allowing one to stand while working.

5 Standing Desks to Consider

If you’re looking for the best standing desk in the market, here are five fantastic options to consider:

1. iMovR Lander Desk

The people who designed Lander Desk from iMovR put a premium on ease-of-use. For one, it’s delivered to users “98% factory pre-assembled.” This means you won’t need tools to assemble the desk. Added to that, you can sync the hand controller to your smartphone for touchless controls.

Price: iMovR Lander Desk costs $1,049 on iMovR’s website.

2. UPLIFT V2

This product was chosen “Best Standing Desk” by Wirecutter twice in a row. A Certified Professional Ergonomist, this desk features a vertical height adjustment range, making it a good fit for users of all heights. It’s also quite sturdy, with a 355 lb lifting capacity. You can choose from more than a dozen variants – from walnut and rubberwood to ash gray and whiteboard. 

Price: UPLIFT V2 sells for $599.00 from their website.

3. Ikea IDÅSEN Standing Desk 

If you’re looking for an Ikea standing desk, IDÅSEN variant is a good option to look at. It’s a simple but reliable desk that’s designed to “outlast years of coffee and hard work.” Besides giving the user ample space to work on, it also features a solution to keep cords neat and organized underneath.

Price: IDÅSEN Standing Desk sells for $599 on Ikea’s website.

4. Fully Jarvis Bamboo

If you’re a conscious shopper looking for a desk made from sustainable materials, Jarvis Standing Desk is worth considering. The sleek and elegant standing desk is made from eco-friendly bamboo, coupled with the brand’s award-winning frame. It also has an LED-programmable handset you can use to adjust the height of the desk.

Price: Jarvis Standing Desk costs €579.00 or around $680 available on Fully’s website.

5. Varidesk Electric Standing Desk

Varidesk Electric Standing Desk features a quiet but powerful electric motor and four programmable memory settings. The heavy-duty frame pairs well with T-Style legs and a durable laminate finish. It comes in five variants: white, black, butcher block, reclaimed wood, and dark wood. The desk comes with easy-to-use tools allowing you to set it up in minutes.
Price: Varidesk Electric Standing Desk 60×30 comes at $650 on their website.

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Best Social Media Management Software For Marketers

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Whether you’re running a small mom-and-pop shop or a mega-corporation, social media has become a crucial part of marketing in this day and age. In fact, statistics tell us that 3.6 billion people worldwide are on social media in 2020. This number is even expected to swell up to 4.41 billion in 2025, so having a solid social media presence now will surely pay off in the coming years.

With those figures in mind, it’s no wonder that social media management software is on-demand among marketers. These systems help ventures maintain a consistent presence on the information superhighway. And more importantly, they power up campaigns, boosting engagement and trust. 

Here are some of the best social media management tools 2020 you might want to consider for your business.

Sendible

Sendible lets users efficiently craft tailored posts for each platform. For instance, your Facebook post doesn’t need to look like it’s just an echo of your post on Instagram. To do that, they offer a platform where you can plan your content and strategy in one place. Aside from that, the system also offers analytics where you can gain dynamic insights from your social data. This can help inform your future campaigns and gear them for success.

Pricing: Sendible’s most affordable package, Starter, comes at $29 per month, designed for solopreneurs. Their most popular option, Growth, costs $199 per month, which comes with seven users and 105 services. 

Buffer

Buffer social media is one of the most popular marketing tools available today. They promise to tell the brand’s story and grow their clients’ audience with a platform that offers publishing, analytics, and engagement capabilities. Aside from publishing content, they also allow users to measure performance, get insights, and create reports in order to grow reach and engagement. As a result, the system can help you generate more sales.

Pricing: Buffer offers two types of packages. The first one is for publishing posts and starts at $15 per month. The second package type is for social media analytics, starting at $35 a month. 

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is another popular social media management software used by ventures of all sizes. More than helping automate content, they strive to “build and grow stronger relationships on social.” And how do they do that? By helping clients understand and reach their audience and encourage community engagement.

Pricing: Their most popular package, professional comes at $149 per user per month. This comes with capabilities to publish, schedule, draft, and queue posts to ten social profiles. They also offer profiles, keywords, and locations monitoring as well as tasking and social CRM tools. The package provides competitive reports for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so if you’re getting traffic from those channels, Sprout Social is worth a try.

Zoho

Many marketers swear by Zoho social for shouldering a big chunk of their business operation needs. Its social media management software is only a part of its powerful suite designed to run the business, making the process a lot easier and more convenient. This suite includes an end-to-end CRM with capabilities for everything from project tracking to smart accounting.

Pricing: For its social software, the most affordable package comes at $10 per month, which includes a two-member access to seven channels.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite has been around since 2008. And in an industry where trends come and go in a snap, 12 years of experience counts for a lot. Like other players, Hootsuite allows users to manage their social media in one place, helping ventures make the most out of every channel. From finding and scheduling content to present analytics, they make social media management a walk in the park.

Pricing: If the budget is tight, you might find Hootsuite free to be a very useful resource sans the price tag. It allows users to manage up to three social media accounts and schedule up to 30 posts per month. If your marketing needs require a lot more, their most affordable package, Professional, costs $19 per month. It comes with unlimited scheduling for ten social media profiles for one user.

Later

Later prides itself as “the world’s favorite Instagram marketing platform.” This social media management software allows users to plan social posts and publish automatically. Added to that, users can also get tailored insights to improve their campaigns and reach more people. If you find it time-consuming to create posts daily, this platform enables you to schedule them a month in advance. This day, you’ll consistently have fresh content sans the hassle.

Pricing: If you’re looking for social media management tools free of charge, you’ll surely appreciate Later. They offer a free-forever package that includes one social set and 30 posts per social profile for one user. Despite the free offering, many users find their paid options worth it. In fact, their most popular package costs $16.5  per month and comes with more than one social set, 150 posts per social profile, and three to five users.

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