beach getaway 1024x680 How a Weekend Away can Give you a Fresh Perspective; Two days is all it Takes
It can be draining to perform the same tasks day after day, even when they are profitable and your overall business plan is succeeding. When it comes to shipping, fulfillment, processing and just plain brainstorming, it can really take a lot out of you. There’s a saying that goes, “Even when all the news you hear is good, and things are on the up and up, something in your mental health could still pay the price.” Having a fresh perspective is necessary in the entrepreneurial world that without it, you may struggle. If you are managing a brand or product that is wildly successful, you may begin to obsess over tracking results, especially late into the evenings. The importance of spending time away is more and more relevant in the digital world, as we spend less time face-to-face and more hunched over laptops and tablets.

The writer who needed a rainy retreat:

A recent article from a well-known blog was about a literary agent in New York who worked from home. Whenever she stepped out, there was lots of noise, honking horns, and a sea pedestrians and traffic. She did realize how much it was really taking its toll on her day-to-day to activities. She was getting everything done, but her overall state of well being and outlook on her career was getting worse. When dealing with folks on the phone, she was becoming more irritated, and burning out quicker in the evening. She took a vacation to Portland, where she spent time cooking healthy food, hearing the rain overhead, and reading her favorite books instead of writing and producing. She claimed that upon her return, she was more rejuvenated than ever, and eager to tackle her daily tasks. The main difference was made in her outlook; when she saw the world ebb and flow without her running around trying to get everything done, she was well prepared when the time came to produce again. Back home, the noisy streets and deadlines didn’t seem as bad, she was able to retain some leftover peace.

Be careful when the going gets tough:

There are some sure fire signs that you are in emergency need of refuge. Don’t ignore them! When you begin daydreaming all day about your favorite vacation spot, it’s time to make the call to book it. When you begin to slump down over the keyboard and only wish you were at Cabos or the Grand Canyon, you’re headed for trouble! Especially in the realms of marketing and sales, reaching extreme burnout’s going to leave you in incredibly hot water; you do not want to react the wrong way in front of a potential client or new gatekeeper! These roles are the most susceptible to burnout, as dealing with people on the front lines all day can get tedious, especially during negotiation. Having time to get enough rest, the proper foods for fuel, and easing strain on your creative mind with just a two day vacation can really pay off in the long run. When you arrive back in the door from a trip to the San Juan or even just a close cabin jaunt outside they city, you’ll be well refreshed. Yes, you’re allowed to take your laptop, but beyond that, let the fresh air take over, and feel the chaos escaping you by the minute.

creativity lightbulbs 2 1024x682 Five things that can help you Revitalize your Creative MindWhen your mind isn’t creative, there are going to be many elements that suffer. Sure, you can just churn out the work that needs to be done, but your upper end of production is simply not being reached. To truly revitalize yourself could take many different activities and avenues, because your best work is not going to come through when you are not at your optimum output level. Putting the right things into your body and making sure you commit to truly taking care of yourself are  essential! Whether creating content or being on your best productive level, these tips are important for you to make sure your mind is sparking your brain to produce the valuable goods you know you can.

Food:

This is so mandatory in your mantra because the nourishment that our bodies thrive on is a key to brainpower that makes it be able to constantly produce. Just like the need for water, the need for energy food is dire in your system. Antioxidants found in berries are crucial, and the anti-inflammatory properties of them are beneficial. It has also been shown that eggs have properties that enhance memory, and salmon has a lot of ammunition such as iron and B vitamins for reasoning. Eggplant has also shown to enhance communication with brain cells and the molecules themselves that make up our systems; you’re always going to perform better with at least these types of foods as a starting point.

Exercise:

When your heart rate is up, a lot of things are going to happen. First of all, your creativity factor will rise just based on the fact that you automatically feel better about yourself once you start moving. There is a period after the initial rush where your muscles may relax enough to where you don’t actually feel productive. We believe that the best time to fester creativity is while you are getting the exercise! When the treadmill is rolling or the bike is cruising fast downhill, you’ll map out all sorts of new possibilities. Just like any element, it needs to be timed perfectly, but getting exercise is going to help you right off the bat.

Brainstorming:

When you are staring a large project down in the face and at the beginning point of its life cycle, its so important to take a crucial step back. Keeping your creative mind focused does involve starting with a blank slate, and seeing what you are capable of in the long run. During a moment in which you are not feeling fully creative, brainstorming is going to involve asking yourself questions. Where does your business go from here? Am I spending too much time on unimportant tasks? And if you are in the slogan or logo department, you can really benefit from brainstorming. Writing out huge flowcharts of ideas is always to your advantage, and you can take small elements from each new idea to build one large final idea. Another large part of brainstorming is going around the table asking all sales or creative personnel their opinions on any new ideas on the horizon.

Close Friends:

Just having someone to lean on that knows your true creativity is always going to help. Being through thick and thin with a close friend will absolutely help your creative mind. When someone that has known you a long time is helping you in the creative process, you’re going to always trump whatever elements you are facing. Looking at a blank canvas can always seem daunting, but when people that have known you through thick and thin come into the picture, the creative light may shine down on you sooner and in more abundance. Truly hearing what everyone that cares about you has to input on your situation will stoke your creative scale in a good way.

Close Friends and Peace/Down Time:

When you don’t have to be going full force and taking care of all your daily tasks, downtime and being away is one of the best boosts to creativity. Just ridding yourself of all the over stimulation and stress that daily life brings with it can really make you whole again. It doesn’t have to be a getaway in a different location, it can just be some time in a room with not as much light or relaxing music. Even though it is not as kinetic, and energy-laden as a brainstorming session, peace and down time is very essential to the creative mind. After being fully powered down for awhile in a zone where the daily pressures don’t manifest themselves, creating and being successful can sometimes reappear naturally after some downtime. Revitalizing the creative mind can be a long process, but these tips will help point you in the right direction.

business planning How to Break this Years Business Goals into Small Pieces

Every marketer or entrepreneur knows the feeling of having several large projects that need immediate attention and completion, the ones that are vital to the survival of your commerce. A new business plan, doing taxes, maintaining your creative content, and going over invoices are part of the vital stream of tasks to stay afloat daily. Then you will have others like business to business phone calls, reading articles and other content to stay up on important trends, and looking for applications and software to streamline your process down the road. At the beginning of the year is when you are always going to plan what you really want to make happen, and it can feel daunting. But there are a few ways to at least break all of these large goals into smaller pieces.

Initial Brainstorming: plugging in early

When you know you are going to have enough tasks to keep you busy for a while, one thing that will help off the bat is utilizing time increments or sessions to narrow down the work it will take for the finished product. One very good rule of thumb during this process is to take the list of things that need to be done and write just a short sentence about it, such as: “This is such an important part of my marketing process because it involves learning code like Java.” Then, you have the very important tree of information written down that involves what you have to do, even if it’s broken down into 20 steps. These little “micro tasks” can be as quick as jotting down important updates, to going back over things you have already completed to see if there are any comments or additional updates on them. This type of brainstorming really helps because it can take place over a long period of time and does not threaten your fixed regimen.

The Periodic Process Review

When you have different things to do that seem to be the mountain too hard to climb, there’s one great thing you can do that at least may keep you in perspective and have you re-evaluate how hard you need to work. Whether it’s over your micro tasks or the entire final product, it’s more than just checking things off that are done. You really can stand back, take a look at how your overall progress is going, and make room for more growth. It’s almost like having one tab open, opening another and zooming out a bit, but can be done. Beyond just what tasks did you accomplish, you are really sizing up what the next week or so may have in store. And most importantly, don’t get discouraged over the things that you didn’t complete; you’ll be motivated to get an extra strong cappuccino and knock it all out soon.

Truly Envisioning your Success: The Finish Line

One of the hardest parts about breaking your large scale projects down to size is the sense that you’ll never get everything done. You absolutely WILL, and it can all come down to one beautiful, discerning moment on the finish line. Completing the hard tasks always seems like it may not be worthwhile while you’re doing them, but they will be. While doing extensive market research, you can come across a lot of dead ends. Many stories and facts just link back to each other with no real worth, and everyone’s trying to replicate the same success. The new year is the absolute best time to line up your priorities and size up the items that will make you the most successful. The projects and finished goal of perhaps being featured by someone you admire, or emulating their success will keep you permanently fixated; 2015 would be stellar to really knock it out of the park in terms of goals.

 

madmen finalseason Tapping into Nostalgia; How Shows like “Mad Men” Gained Cult Following

Throwing back to a simpler time and era can be an incredibly excellent choice for a TV show. From looking at a vintage Pan Am Airlines button to seeing an old style AM radio in the basement with its flair and sheen, nostalgia is one of the best ways to gain a cult following. It is absolutely true that the characters in “Mad Men” were well thought out and especially dapper, but there is much more to the formula than just that. The real iconic element of “Mad Men” was that the advertising culture of the era had not yet really been explored, and what it was like to work then in New York or all of America. When ad exec himself Don Draper says in the show that you have to “identify the need beyond the need,” he is putting forth visually a slow film strip of what the person watching really wants.

In many circumstances, it’s comfort. As far as the current consumer landscape, who doesn’t want it? The feeling of coming home and having everything taken care of, the dog waiting for you, the perfect meal, and domestic partner waiting for you were all part of the cult success of “Mad Men”. Even though the wildly successful AMC show also portrayed these wonderful relationships going wrong at full speed, just seeing the beginning where everything is alright sets a tone for consumer desire. Immediately you are thinking of plush high heels, Jaguar cars, trips abroad, and the promise of comfort while perhaps looking for other upper end satisfactions. When Aaron Sorkin launched “The West Wing,” he really drew upon retro elements even just within office confines. While the main focus was on political pull and power, the story that was set up really presented well the ideas surrounding where everyone came from, and how they got to their present status.

From leggy sultriness to the pitches from the ad men, these were all aspects of nostalgia shows like this evoked. When all the magazines started writing about it, even those who weren’t bowled over right away were so very curious to see what Don Draper would do next. Pop art, Warhol influence, and the cluttered face of Manhattan blended so well in this show that the cult following only had to fester itself for about a year or so. What really happened to make “Mad Men” irresistible to all the viewers was the way in which it showed the characters struggling. The dresses, art on the wall, and tapping into times from ago were done very calculated; with the story of Don himself being another pinnacle backdrop. The cult following that developed around the show was not just about the visuals, campaigns and storyboards; but the flow of the way people acted back then. When things really start to unravel in your personal life and get crazy, it could have still been a wonderful time to enjoy plush green couches, scrambling Manhattan dwelling tension, and a few stiff martinis on a hurried lunch hour.

Once the holidays roll around, it’s a time in which gadgets are highly appreciated. This year’s batch of toys will be as good as any, full of high tech offerings. When the snow starts falling and you go to the airport to pick up relatives, you’re going to want to have some of the hottest new gadgets in your possession. Today, we’ll take a quick look at some of the coolest tech toys available this holiday season; any friend, family member, or business associate will be more than happy to find under the tree.

Beyerdynamic T-70 Headphones:

Crafted in Germany with the highest grade components and amazing voice coil technology, these are a gift of the highest sound influenced status to the audiophile in your circle. The standard ¼ inch adapter is gold plated, showing off just how tight these babies really are. Known to be about the most comfortable headphones on the market and one that really pushes soundscapes towards the bright level, these are simply divine. Reviewers told us that they heard things never heard before while test driving these, and were blown away.

Go Pro Silver 4 Hero Camera:

The features reviewers enjoyed most on this device were being able to swipe left to capture mode, and a quicker mode menu to cycle through. The touch screen does drain battery on this awesome machine, so its useful to have an on/off switch. The superview option gives great aspect ratio without too much distortion, and a Protune option for easing blur and edge appearance. Editor’s Choice by PC mag for the best action camera to date and hailed by many as the sleekest camera around for the price, it will be perfect as a companion gift to a vacation. What better way to document your trip?

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro:

Cnet reviewers said this was “easily the best new laptop of the year”, and this slim 13 inch gem will be a great companion as you travel far or just commute to class. Incredibly light, and with a core that core that allows for better operation even if not all the way cooled down, it’s a 360 degree foldback dream. At 2.6 pounds, its well designed, great for assignments, streaming video, and browsing. One reviewer stated that gaming hits the battery particularly hard, which usually tops out around a 7 hour life span; not surprising with the juice needed for today’s games. A nearly 4k pixel resolution screen, ability to fold to a kiosk type device, and out of this world keyboard design make it a huge favorite. You’re going to see many business travelers sitting next to you with this one during 2015.

Sony Playstation 4:

It’s been around for a year, but this is one gaming powerhouse. Titles like “Uncharted 4; A Thief’s End”, “Bloodbourne” and “The Order 1886” are exclusive to this platform, and a sleek futuristic design includes a blu ray disk drive, two USB 3.0 ports, and a digital optical audio out port. The sloped design really stands out letting us know it’s sheer one of a kind technology, and an 8 core AMD processor is inside under the hood. A 500 gb hard drive and 8 gb of RAM are part of this souped up playing machine that will have many people playing games instead of ice skating or sledding outside over the coming year.

Pebble Steel Smartwatch:

With a 1.26 inch display, durable waterproof construction, and a cool RGB notification light, this is a very over the top yet subtle at the same time gadget. Games, weather apps, productivity tools, firmware updates, and more are loaded into this little gem of wrist garb. At first glance, it does not seem colorful or flashy, but grocery lists, maps, and square type paying options are available on the Pebble. Sports scores and restaurant reviews are other super cool features you’ll see on this gadget for the holidays; in a few years the Pebble will have truly mind blowing capabilities. This year should be no problem finding the right gadget for people on your list, and you may even end up under the mistletoe in no time.

With the technology available to us these days, it’s no wonder that everyone loves to have apps for fitness. As we spend more time trapped in the cubicle and making sure our obligations are taken care of, the need for training and fitness apps has exploded. There’s nothing quite like listening to some tunes while you get a little cardio, burn previously acquired calories, and track your progress. When users were surveyed they reported that not having much time was their main hurdle, and apps that quickly got them to their daily goal were what they really wanted. We’ve picked three fitness apps that will keep you on top of your game no matter how full your platter is, and leave you looking healthy, lean, and ready to conquer whatever comes across your path.

Nike Training Club:

This totally free app has over 90 custom tailored workouts, and does not cost anything to install. Once you pick what workout is right for you, (Get lean, get toned, get strong, or get focused), you can also choose the longer 45 minute regimen or a workout from a pro like Maria Sharapova. The app is available for the iPhone and Android from Google Play, and a stellar option for click through workouts. This is one of the core apps that opens the door to you looking, feeling, and dealing with everyday life better; and the branding behind it is top notch.

Gain Fitness:

In the vast world of those who really want to improve in their fitness, this app is one of the truly customized that cuts to the chase and gets you shedding pounds and looking better. You just start with your ultimate goal, how much fat loss you want to achieve, and plug in where your location is, be it the gym or just where you live. There are great HD videos and as the trainer’s voice explains each unique exercise, which really gets you as close as possible to a real trainer. The application keeps track of your important performance history and just how many calories you have burned overall. Users really rank high the endless combinations and push notifications, citing this app as one that really feels like what a trainer would put them through.

Pocket Yoga:

The ancient art of stretching and breathing is so beneficial, some claim it changed their lives forever. Logging your exercises and taking notes of your progression are key elements of this app, a great one to partake in as yoga gets more and more popular by the day. Sun salutations, ultimate relaxation, and peace come at a price, but also leave you lean, mean, and looking fantastic. Within this app are three different difficulties, practices, and a stellar feature that tracks your future possibilities. Don’t you want to know how great you can look in the near future with some hard work? These days being on a mat in a new yoga venue is the coolest way to get limber, and more and more people will be following suit in the near future. Pilates and intense poses are sweeping the nation, and this app will educate all its Android users on how they can better themselves with yoga.

This season is time for merriment, warming up by the fire, great deals for shoppers, and also when romance blossoms. There are many tried and true cocktails of the season that we all know about; and they still have their time and place. We scoured the internet for some new ones to try that may be a bit under the radar; that should put a warm kick in your seasonal to do list. Aside from office parties, the usual festivities and your family, these could be a sweet few selections for your friends night out for pool or holiday karaoke. Here are 3 recipes that are begging for sampling during Santa’s season.

Apple-Ale Wassail:

Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom pepper nicely in this winter sipper. With a little more filling perhaps and less of a whiskey typed kick, the port flavors this one nicely and the recipe makes about 7 cups. The brown sugar and lemonade collide nicely, and this is one perfect by the fire flavor. After a successful gift buying spree or downhill sledding outing, it will get your thoughts aligned to the avenues of cheer. Maybe best sipped while watching a classic like “Polar Express.” Not only do apples keep the doctor away, they instill the charm.

The Gingerbread Martini:

A regular dirty or Cosmo is perfect for some instances, but in these holiday times may not quite measure up to what you really want to ring in some snowflake laden cheer. The ginger liqueur, optional vanilla bean garnish, and teaspoon of honey in this recipe will have you thinking about ski chalets, who’s been naughty or nice, and bobsled runs in no time. Norman Rockwell paintings back in the day depicted many having fun for the holidays, and we all envision that gingerbread village in our dreamy Christmas moods. Okay, well maybe not all the time, but this cocktail will have you in holiday mode within a few quick sips.

Jingle Juice:

Candy canes are always a symbol of the holiday season drawing near, and a legendary icon of the stocking stuffed treat many kids dream of on Christmas day. On the adult end of the spectrum, this orange juice and vodka cocktail will be a stellar kick to your caroling or carousing, and the additive or maraschino cherry juice will have you licking your lips in holiday glee. Almost reminiscent of a Mai Thai but possessing elements that are much more akin to the coming season, this drink takes the cake in many ways, the main being sheer holiday themed goodness. It’s already been confirmed that everyone in the office is ready for an ugly sweater party, it’s just about time to bring the goods to the table. The reindeer crossing is optional, but the festive spirit will prevail in many ways while you down this flavorful infusion.

You may be scrambling for some inspiration about social media methods, new trends that are taking place, and latest news on the most motivating factors in startups. Many business owners that I’ve talked to mentioned that in their most desperate times where they simply did not have good ideas, clear thought, or a clear plan of action, were inspired by reads such as these. Sometimes when you are looking at plotting up marketing methods, and researching new strategies, it takes a fresh perspective and the words of someone else to help you get back on track. Here are 4 books from this year that will help you stoke the creative fire and grow your business in the most innovative ways out there.

1) Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation

This remarkable and fresh read describes how the ability to innovate well has been shaken up a bit and lacking due to the massive advances that have taken place in technology, and how a clear vision is a bit tough to get ahold of. It is full of advice about how to survive in a very fast paced world, and how much you are going to have to adapt to stay lean, and quickly. It’s based on the premise that the advances in technology won’t be of much use if you are not willing to be ready for anything, and is intense to say the least.

2) The Big Lie; or Interpreting your Customer’s inner Life for Profit

Explaining the notion that customers really need to feel good on two different levels, this book discusses the importance of customers wanting to have not only their needs, but their dreams met. Full of backing examples, strategy to simply be leaner and better, and simply being all about what the smart brand must do to succeed these days, it investigates strategic value. In the realm of marketing placement, you will have to follow a path that has no confusion or contradiction.

3) Chicken Soup for the Soul; Reboot Your Life + 101 Stories About Finding a new path to Happiness

We are at a time where business owners are going to be well influenced by stories of change and walking in its path. It really focuses on what it feels like to be in a rut, and how to get out of it with grace and courage. Great writing; clear and concise tales of people that survived feeling down and out, and pulled a rabbit out of the hat in more ways than one. Feeling successful isn’t just about the bottom line, but the emotions you encounter at all stages of the game. As we all know the broth of soup revitalizes us during down times, so will reading stories of inspiration and numerous individuals finding ways to rise up and trump their own fears, and fears of what governs habits or the market.

4) Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times

Author of ‘The Power of Kindness’ gives us an in-depth of the most resilient people on the planet and the doses that life has given them. Truly finding your untapped energy as an entrepreneur may take a bit more than wit and will, this taps deep into philosophy, practical advice and reasoning, and has been heralded as genius. A dweller of Italy and also one who has studied Adolph Huxley’s lectures, he has much to say about the soul and how deep you can tap into it if you really need to.

cbssn logo We Need to Talk; the World of Sports from a Womans Perspective
As more and more people righteously desire to hear a woman’s opinion in sports, it has been long overdue to give the floor to some dynamic individuals, and have an hour long platform for women reporting on sports. This one is guaranteed to have substance, backbone, and voraciously inspiration in sports reporting. to take the floor in sports commentary. “We Need to Talk” will effectively give time once a week in TV land to provide role models for young women everywhere; and show that in the near future there will be many budding possibilities for other women sports anchors to enter the field.

Dana Jacobsen, Allie LaForce, Amy Trask, Lesley Visser, and Tracy Wolfson are the regular heavy hitting CBS correspondents on the beat, along with Andrea Kremer, who is an award winning journalist from the NFL Network. She specializes in health and safety, a subject that these days goes way beyond torn ACLs and stretching, into a wide plethora of topics that desperately need attention from the public. As athletes continue to push themselves to new heights of achievement, staying healthy and keeping up with new treatments available can be a full time job. The public is going to be very excited to hear these conversations about sports, from these authorities and role models that will portray the overlap of sports culture to everyday society.

A typical weekly format will touch base on the news of the day, social media segments, and the all important clip of one of the staffers talking about their personal relation to a story and how it affected them. With all the different types of people from many walks of life participating in sports and watching from home, there is also going to be an ultra important segment towards the end, “We Need to Listen”. This will focus on the opinion of someone outside the show for the week, and provide feedback on the issue. With an all-star female cast this show will certainly pave some new ground in the world of ‘women in sports’. Tune into CBS on Tuesdays at 10PM EST to catch all the latest highlights and sports news; football season is here and there’s bound to be plenty of fresh commentary from every yard line!

Google Hangouts logo SOB 101: Using Google Hangouts to Build your Business
What is now known as the ultimate tool to poke around the sphere of everyone on the web and get to know them better, Google Hangouts can boost your business. Some of the best aspects are the way in which it incorporates with YouTube, truly the number one portal that anyone goes to for streaming video. Businesses that are both located in the same building have massively enjoyed the ability to open a quick hangout and making sure that ideas are correct, enjoying the added feature of video as a quicker way to convey ideas. Even as modern and virtual as chat and text have become, the ability to really gauge someone’s facial expression who you are doing business with is priceless. Especially in the realms of sales and pre launch development, knowing that a client truly feels comfortable with what is happening is key.

Elements outside of the one-on-one realm:

There are differences between Google Hangouts that vary from a one on one Skype or other medium driven video chat. Let’s say that you are a business who’s major function and selling point is creating infographics. As the conversation progresses, a client or potential user could bring up a question, and you can even throw up the question on the screen. This is part of a very organic process, as conversations between developers, sales people and potential customers can spur buying signs out of even the most apprehensive individual.

When someone can log into Google Hangouts and see a “forum” of sorts instead of a hardcore sales pitch, they may make a decision to follow your business or idea for awhile before they actually make the decision to transact with you on the long term. Some have been a bit shy to jump on the Google platform because of what it takes just to keep up on Facebook and Twitter, but the rewards for those working it dutifully are absolutely there, and the network still ranks 2nd among many who have prowess in the scoring of media avenues.

Letting a prospect know you’d like to “hang out”

While some thought this aspect of Google Hangouts would only be beneficial in the personal coaching realm or beyond, there are so many instances where it just makes sense. Sometimes within the confines of contracts, raising capital and putting the finishing touches on a work project, the face to face connection can help. If you are dealing with a dynamic individual who shares your vision and is there to help you grow, hangouts can help you achieve what you need to in the long run. Having your own hangout in place can really help position your brand. Quite possibly one of the biggest benefits for any business about Google Hangouts is the free information at hand. You can learn about SEO, reaching your target market, hear success stories from a much more personal avenue, and always be a constant beacon to others looking for the same type of targeted knowledge.