9 in-demand skills to add to your resume (and where to learn them)

It’s a developer-eat-developer world out there. If you want to stand out from the pack, you’ve got to show potential employers that you are well-versed in the latest and greatest trends and technologies. These 9 skills are often mentioned in job post requirements, and mastering them will give you a good shot at beating those fools just touting their college degrees.

1. Master the intricacies of Microsoft Excel

Excel is pivotal to financial roles, sure, but knowing how to write complex formulas, create reports, and automate processes could also help you work smarter and speedier in most positions. Find out how spreadsheets can improve your life with eLearnExcel. The CPD-certified diploma you’ll earn is a recognized achievement that will prove that you’re more than just talk. A lifetime subscription gives you 24/7 access to eight courses and more than 280 lessons.

2. Build your own site with WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for website publishing, and one that many employers will ask you about—so get to know it with the 2017 WordPress Hero Bundle. It includes seven expert-led courses covering everything from monetizing your site to building your own plug-ins.

Pay what you want to get a sample of this bundle. Beat the average price to get all seven courses.

3. Learn to speak Spanish

Putting your bilingual abilities on a resume can certainly make you stand out, but it can also provide unique career opportunities for those who want to travel or work abroad. If that sounds like you, you’ll want to enroll in this Spanish mastery course ASAP. It covers four levels of instruction —beginner, elementary, intermediate, and advanced — via 109 hours of lectures and videos.

4. Take a crash course in product management

Whether you’ve got a product management gig, or you just need to learn how to shepherd big ideas from concept to launch, this product management course could help you navigate this increasingly vital skill set. Its 13 hours of content covers key decision-making, defining new products, building a business case, and lots more.

5. Conquer your fear of public speaking

Everybody knows that one of the most common fears people have is public speaking. It falls right next to sharks and spiders. All the more reason to master it, then. This Instant Public Speaking Master Class will teach you valuable strategies for coping with anxiety, developing an authoritative voice, and crafting strong job interview skills.

6. Get artsy with Adobe Creative Cloud

The Adobe suite of apps is pretty much the industry standard for creatives, but you don’t need to be a graphic designer or videographer to put it to good use. This Adobe Creative Cloud Essentials Training Bundle can help you add universal skills like photo retouching, typography styling, and video editing to your repertoire — or take you into advanced territory like poster design or illustrating caricatures.

Buy now: A $1,197 value for only $29.

7. Understand site numbers with Google Analytics

The truth is, you can create a great product, devise a brilliant marketing strategy, and spend tons on advertising, but if you don’t know your audience, it can all be for naught. That’s why professionals use Google Analytics to learn how users engage with a site and what keeps them coming back. Stay in the know by enrolling in this Google Analytics Mastery Course, which provides seven modules covering conversion tracking, report generation, and lots in between.

8. Become an SEO guru 

The entire e-commerce ecosystem lives and dies by Google’s search algorithm. Smart companies optimize every stitch of their content to be palatable to the Google crawlers, but it can be difficult to know exactly what those bots are looking for. Wield that sacred knowledge with the Complete SEO Course. With more than 122 lectures and 15 hours of content, it’ll school you on Google’s standards and can help you increase any website’s search rank (and customer base) exponentially.

9. Learn how to code

Knowing even the most basic coding skills is like having the keys to the secret locked doors of the internet. Coincidentally, many of those doors lead to high paying jobs, so it would behoove you to work on those web dev chops, post haste. That’s where the Complete Web Developer Course comes in. With 28 hours of instruction on HTML, JavaScript, MySQL, and more, it can help give you the skills needed to build impressive websites — and an undeniable resume.

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If You Teach Your Child These 3 Languages, You’ll Basically Be Raising a Future CEO

Hint: It’s not English or Spanish!

Learning different languages can be wildly beneficial for children in terms of development and cultural exposure, but with so many languages to choose from, which is the best for your child? A new study has narrowed it down for you.

If-You-Teach-Your-Child-These-3-Languages,-You'll-Basically-Be-Raising-a-Future-CEO

The Centre for Economics and Business Research and Opinion conducted the study in partnership with Heathrow airport. Experts analyzed how language can impact children’s lives and the role it plays in everyday life. They also determined which ones tend to lead to the best career opportunities as an adult.

“We believe that language learning is hugely beneficial for children’s development and it’s a real investment for the future,” said Antonella Sorace, professor of developmental linguistics and director of bilingualism matters at Edinburgh University.

The study involved a survey of 2,001 parents with children under the age of 18, along with another survey of more than 500 business leaders.

So which languages took top spot? Results indicated that children should be learning French, German, and/or Mandarin if they want to be successful within the next 10 years and maximize their employability. Proficiency in a second language opens the door to new markets for businesses and allows them to create new relationships with prospective partners.

If-You-Teach-Your-Child-These-3-Languages,-You'll-Basically-Be-Raising-a-Future-CEO

Aside from being able to speak another language, the academic and interpersonal skills that can be gained from learning a new language are important as well. “Children who are exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people, and other points of view. They also tend to be better than monolinguals at multitasking and are often more advanced readers,” said Sorace.

A vast majority of parents surveyed in this study (85 percent) believe it is important for their children to learn a second language, and about one in four believe it will enhance their child’s career opportunities and boost employability. However, 45 percent of parents surveyed admit that their child or children cannot speak a second language.

If you want your child to stand out from the crowd as first-tom job hunters, brush up on the habits of parents of successful people—and, of course, make sure they learn one of the three success languages!

7 Steps To Money Success

Jun 20, 2017 8:23 AM
Shutterstock

We all desire a self-defined level of financial comfort. For some, this might mean having the ability to pay the bills and have no debt. For others, the dream of elaborate mansions and fancy cars stoke their imagination. In a world where many navigate a rocky financial landscape with little to no financial knowledge, the challenge of attaining financial comfort can be difficult or impossible—leaving far too many simply wishing for happy outcomes. There’s a stark difference between wishing and putting plans into action.

The challenge exists for planners and consumers alike to develop a thoughtful, meaningful and values-based plan that is understandable and approachable. There are vagaries of financial decisions because so much depends on future events.

  • What will the markets do?
  • Where will interest rates be?
  • Will I have significant health costs?
  • What will be the cost of college in 16 years?
  • How much will I really need in retirement?

It’s little wonder why there is so much difficulty and confusion in trying to pin down all these variables.

Before you throw up your hands in surrender, it is vital to consider, decide and plan—simply because not doing so puts in you in an undefinable jeopardy. If you have been hitting the wall, unable to make important decisions, change, and improve your life (financial and otherwise), you will be thrilled to know that help has arrived.

Robert Goldmann has published a book “Act From Choice” (Clarity Publications, LLC) a self-management handbook to help you turn thoughts into action in a way that is positive, approachable, and foundational. This book is a guide for real action. It offers a step-by-step approach for improving your life using methods that work.

We are creatures of habit. Some of those habits are good; we brush our teeth, take in good food, get sufficient exercise and sleep. Some habits—not so good. We skip items that need our attention, and we have figured out how to bury the urgency. We need to understand where our habits help us and where they create roadblocks on the route to achieving our desires. “Act From Choice” brings the reader through these habitual impulses and sets the stage to understanding the concept of self-management—defined as the setting for the action of taking control of your life.

In this mind-blowingly complex topic, Robert Goldmann explains it simply and approachably for everyone to pick up and work towards a more empowering life.

The idea is simple: We make choices constantly; what to eat, what to buy, what to save, where to go—but when you inject the idea of choice, we turn up the amplification on the fact that our mindfulness in making decisions can pilot us to greater life satisfaction and happiness.

Robert’s Seven Steps from his book are:

  1. Identify what it is you do, and how you do it.
  2. Pick an objective for what you want to do instead.
  3. Identify the considerations that motivate you.
  4. Decide whether to commit.
  5. Commit to an action.
  6. Train your awareness.
  7. Plan.

The most wonderful aspect of this work is that every step of this guide has been considered from all angles and offered to the reader with kindness and humanity that will assist you in all aspects of life.

Money is one aspect of the bigger picture of life’s confusions and complexities. We stand in the way of our true happiness and success by allowing our unconscious habits to rule our actions and thereby our outcomes. Whether it is about your finances or your life, “Act From Choice” will help you if you’re willing to look inside and make active decisions and hold the truths close to your heart. I know you want to. I know you can.

Job Openings Are at Record Highs. Why Can’t Middle-Class Americans Find Work?

A man sells clothes on the street

A man sells clothes on the street because he can’t find a job — despite a high level of job vacancies. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Jobs, jobs, jobs — this is what we’ve been promised for years now. Job creation and economic growth were a lynch-pin topic for President Donald Trump, who has promised jobs to those in economically disadvantaged areas. Those promises helped win him the White House, despite the fact that the unemployment rate was below 5% upon his inauguration. But we know a lot of people are still struggling.

Millions of middle-class Americans are still out of work, despite the fact that we have the highest number of job vacancies on record. The latest economic reports show as of June 2017, there are more open jobs in the economy since the turn of the millennium. That means there are jobs out there, but for some reason people aren’t getting them. Why not?

There’s a complicated mix of reasons. Some people have grown so despondent that they’re permanently out of the workforce. Others aren’t qualified for jobs in the new growth industries, such as tech or health care. And some people did the math and found they’d be better off on government assistance than working a job that pays peanuts. Plus, some employers — many of which are complaining about a lack of qualified, dependable workers — aren’t willing to put more skin in the game.

So why can’t Americans who want jobs find them, despite millions of openings? To get the answer, we have to first dig into the economy’s anatomy.

America’s job openings

A "now hiring" sign at Chase
A “now hiring” sign is posted at Chase. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Job vacancies and job openings are exactly what they sound like — open jobs waiting to be filled. These positions represent needs from employers, and as such, employers advertise them as jobs to be filled. As mentioned, these openings are at the highest levels on record, which goes back to the year 2000 when the government started keeping track.

The number of openings is sourced from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. The data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show as of April 2017, there are more than 6 million job vacancies in the U.S. economy. There are still more people out there who are unemployed — 6.9 million — but the 6 million figure is a signal of economic strength.

Compare that to July 2009 (deep recession), when there were around 2.4 million openings, for some perspective. But why, if there are so many openings, are employers unwilling to dip into the pool of 6.9 million unemployed people?

The ‘skills mismatch’

graduation
There are jobs, but people don’t always have the necessary education. | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for UCLA

The answer, it seems, is a “skills mismatch.” What does that mean? In a nutshell, those unemployed Americans out there don’t have the required skills or experience to be successful in the open positions. For example, an out-of-work coal miner is going to be a bad fit for a Silicon Valley tech company — probably for several reasons.

A report from Reuters says the skills mismatch is the primary motivator behind slower hiring. But is that truly the case? Or are employers reluctant to bring on more workers for another reason?

Reluctance to raise wages …

$100 bill
Businesses are reluctant to raise wages. | Paramount Pictures

The skills mismatch is a very real issue. But a much more obvious issue is the fact that many employers are reluctant to pay workers more. Labor, like any other commodity, is subject to the rules of the free market. When there’s a shortage (as there appears to be right now), prices go up. But businesses don’t want to increase spending, and as a result they are allowing positions to go unfilled.

It’s not merely a matter of not being able to find quality employees. It’s that businesses are reluctant to pay more for them.

… Or offer training

Teacher training students In catering cutting onions
A teacher trains students in the kitchen. | iStock.com/bowdenimages

If you have millions of workers who don’t have the skills needed to fill your positions, one option is to train them. But that’s something fewer and fewer businesses are offering these days. More jobs than ever require college degrees, and many entry-level positions expect you to come in with some sort of certification or experience. This, of course, is at odds with the “entry-level” designation.

What we’re seeing is an offloading of training costs from businesses onto workers. This makes sense, logically, from an employer’s perspective. But when everyone’s trying to avoid training or educating? You’re left with a growing skills mismatch.

Employers still think it’s a buyer’s market

Job applicants lined up for interviews
Job applicants line up for interviews. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

If employers are unwilling to pay more for trained applicants, train potential workers, or do anything to help close the skills gap, then what do they expect? The problem is rooted in the fact that businesses were able to get away with paying people considerably less in the post-recession period. Because jobs were scarce for so long, people were willing to work for smaller salaries. It’s the reversal of what we’ve already mentioned. When labor was in high supply, it could be purchased for cheap.

But now, there’s a shortage of labor because more people have jobs or don’t want them. It’s making it harder to attract workers with the right skills, leading many businesses to throw their hands up and say it’s impossible to find decent applicants.

The key point: There’s a labor shortage at prevailing wages

A man walks away from an interview during which he was probably offered a job paying $10 per hour
A man walks away from a job interview. | Foter.com

The fulcrum point of all of this is many employers simply aren’t offering attractive enough compensation packages to get the people they want. Yes, there’s a skills gap out there. But even that can be solved with high enough incentives.

What we’re seeing is there’s a labor shortage at the current wage levels. So if wages were to go up, we’d expect to see more people enter the workforce or be incentivized to earn the necessary degree, certification, or training to get the skills employers are looking for.

That brings us to another question: Where and what are these positions employers can’t seem to fill?

Where are the jobs?

A nurse working in an Indiana hospital
A nurse works in an Indiana hospital. | Mike Simons/Getty Images

As a report from Pew Research says, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary doesn’t include state-level data. As a result, we can’t determine what specific states have more openings than others from that report alone. But we can look at regional numbers, which show the South and Midwest are where the most open jobs are.

“The South had the most job openings in April of any region — nearly 2.2 million — though the openings rate there (3.9%) was slightly below that of the nation as a whole,” Pew’s report said. “The Midwest had the nation’s highest regional openings rate (4.4%), followed by the Northeast (4.1%); the rate in the West lagged behind at 3.6%.”

As far as what types of jobs are going unfilled, Pew’s data show it mostly comes down to two specific industries: professional and business services, as well as health care and social assistance.

‘Full employment’

A construction worker hammering away
A construction worker hammers away. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With the unemployment rate at sitting at 4.3% (as of June 2017), we’ve hit or come close to “full employment.” This is a term used by economists to describe a period during which everyone who wants a job has one. The remaining 4.3% of unemployed are “structurally” or “cyclically” unemployed. There is always going to be some people in the economy who aren’t working for one reason or another. Perhaps they were laid off, quit, or are seasonal workers.

Full employment is a good thing typically. This is one of the reasons the labor market is tight and why employers are having a hard time finding workers (at the wages they’re offering). What does it mean for you, the average American? Theoretically, it means you’re due for a raise.

The good news? There’s pressure on wages

A cashier rings up a customer's purchases at a Walmart
A cashier rings up a customer’s purchases at a Walmart. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When the labor market is tight and employers can’t get people to work for the wages they’re offering, what are they supposed to do? The answer is to offer higher wages — and keep raising them until people start to bite. If we’re sitting at or near full employment, we would expect to see this “pressure” on wages produce raises. We’ve seen some evidence of that but not as much as we’d like.

The problem, it seems, is a lot of employers are willing to let the 6 million unfilled jobs sit there rather than offer higher wages to fill them. That is why we’re seeing the discrepancy — why we have a record number of job vacancies and why we have millions of unemployed people who aren’t interested or, as employers say, aren’t qualified.

Campbell’s Sales Slump Shows Healthy Food Trend Entrepreneurs Should Watch

Campbell’s Sales Slump Shows Healthy Food Trend Entrepreneurs Should Watch

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The Daily Caller



Adapting to Trends Boosting Expectations for Slumping Campbell's Soup

Campbell’s Soup released their quarterly earnings decline and sinking sales figures Friday, and warned that the company’s 2017 sales figures could take a dive as a result.

The company recently boosted its advertising campaigns, but Reuters reports that a decline in consumer demand for condensed soups, broths and juices hurt sales. Campbell’s shares fell over 5 percent Friday morning, and the company is now predicting its overall sales to be down about 1 percent.

Net sales fell from analysts’ original expectations of $1.87 billion to $1.85 billion. The company earned 59 cents per share, missing analysts’ predictions by 5 cents.

However, it isn’t all bad news for the soup conglomerate, as the company raised its adjusted profit expectations for 2017 from $3.00-$3.09 per share to $3.04-$3.09.

The decline in sales for high sodium products like condensed soup may not come as a surprise to those paying attention to sales trends for organic products. These trends tend to go hand-in-hand with consumer preferences for healthier alternatives to mass produced foods.

Some 58 percent of consumers prefer organically grown food to conventionally farmed alternatives. Consumer demand for fresh, organically produced food continues to show exponential growth, rising nearly every year by double-digit percentages, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Organic food is available in over 20,000 stores across the U.S., including nearly 75 percent of conventional, chain grocery stores.

The trend to turn to organic food is largely due to consumers’ concerns regarding their heath, the environment and the treatment of livestock, the USDA reports.

Is Adapting to Trends the Answer?

Campbell’s Soup has tried to break into the organic, healthy market, creating its own fresh food unit in 2015 to sell vegetables, refrigerated health drinks and salad dressings. Despite the effort, however, their business isn’t booming, and is plagued with troubles after a less-than-stellar carrot harvest and a protein shake recall hurt sales figures.

Campbell’s Soup Photo via Shutterstock

50 Handmade Business Ideas You Can Start From Home


50 Handmade Business Ideas You Can Start From Home

There are plenty of home based business ideas out there. But if you’re looking for something that will let you exercise your creativity and work from home with supplies that are easily attainable, then a handmade business might be for you. Here are 50 handmade business ideas that you can do right from your own home.

Handmade Business Ideas

Greeting Card Maker

Design your own greeting cards from home using paper, stamps, stencils and your own artistic talents. Then sell your creations online.

Beaded Jewelry Maker

You can also design and create your own jewelry using beads and other supplies you can easily pick up online or at a local craft store.

Dressmaker

If sewing and making larger garments is more up your alley, then you can also create your own line of dresses or other clothing items to sell online.

T-shirt Designer

Even easier, you can sign up for an account with an online service like CafePress or Redbubble and upload designs that you can have printed on t-shirts and other products.

T-shirt Customizer

Or you can get more creative and actually customize t-shirts with names or other items for specific customers.

Scented Candle Maker

Candles are also popular products for people to purchase on sites like Etsy and Amazon. You can purchase some basic supplies and make your own scents and designs right from home.

Toiletries Maker

Likewise, you can mix a few basic ingredients, along with scents and other customizable materials, to make handmade soaps, lotions and other hygiene products.

Abstract Painter

If you’re more visually inclined, you can start your own at-home painting studio and sell your original creations online.

Illustrator

Or you could make a living selling illustrations to customers online.

Letterer

People will also pay for artwork that features calligraphy or other artistic lettering. Or you could even offer this as a custom service.

Print Seller

For those who create any sort of visual art, from paintings to illustrations and more, you can also print out copies of your work to sell online at more reasonable prices.

Custom Portrait Artist

You can also offer custom artwork to online customers who want portraits drawn or painted of them or their families.

Graphic Designer

For more tech savvy entrepreneurs, you can also offer a variety of different products that you design using your computer or other tech tools.

Paper Goods Seller

Paper goods like invitations and notecards can also make for popular handmade products that people can purchase online.

Handbag Maker

You can get really creative with different materials and styles by designing your own line of handmade bags and purses.

Hat Designer

Or you could make hats out of yarn, fleece, fabric or other materials.

Scarf Maker

Scarves can also make for great handmade products to sell online.

Hair Accessories Designer

If you want to make a larger variety of products, you can create a line of hair accessories ranging from small pins to decorative headbands.

Tie Dye Artist

Tie dye is a popular method of decorating anything from t-shirts to fabric shoes. You can experiment with different colors and patterns in your home or yard and then sell the products online.

Custom Embroiderer

You can also customize a variety of different fabric based products by starting your own online embroidery business.

Cross Stitch Artist

Cross stitch is a similar artform to embroidery. But it can be a bit more involved. You can sell cross stitch hoops and other pieces of handmade art using this technique.

Knitter/Crocheter

If you’re more of a knitter, you can create a variety of different products to sell, ranging from scarves to large blankets. And you can do the same with crochet.

Plush Toy Maker

Or you can make kids’ toys from fabric, stuffing and a variety of different materials that you can find at regular craft stores.

Clay Sculptor

Sculpting is another popular method of making handmade products. You can buy clay and other materials that don’t require a kiln or any other specialized equipment, so you can make your finished creations right from home.

Studio Photographer

You can also start your own creative business as a photographer, taking pictures in a home studio or even your yard and then selling them online.

Picture Frame Maker

Then you can also sell handmade frames that you create from plastic, wood or other materials. Or you can even have customers send you photos or artwork so that you can create a custom frame around it.

Tech Case Customizer

Tech accessories like phone cases are in high demand right now. So you can purchase plain versions and then decorate them using various supplies.

Basket Weaver

For more old-fashioned entrepreneurs, you can also start your own business by selling baskets online that you weaved by hand.

Gift Basket Service

Or you can start your own store that sells gift baskets with handmade baskets and other products inside.

Yarn Spinner

You can also sell products that people can use to make their own handmade items. With a few pieces of equipment and materials, you can spin your own yarn and then sell it to crafty customers online.

Fiber Artist

Or you can use yarn, wool and other fibers to make woven wall art that you can sell as a finished product.

Quilter

If you’re interested in creating larger handmade products, you can make your own quilts with fabric, fiber and a sewing machine.

Pattern Maker

For seasoned sewers and knitters, you can also create unique patterns that you can sell to other crafters online.

Scrapbooker

If you want to help people preserve special memories, you can start a scrapbooking business where you offer patterns or even custom pages.

Stencil Artist

Or you can design stencils and similar products that scrapbookers can use to make their own creations.

Rubber Stamp Maker

Similarly, you can carve stamps out of rubber and sell them to scrapbookers or other creative minded customers.

Bead Maker

Or you could make beads out of clay, glass or a variety of other materials and sell them to jewelry makers.

Natural Dyer

If you sell any kind of natural fiber or fabric products, you can dye them using items you may already have in your kitchen, like avocado skins and turmeric.

Book Binder

If you want to sell books or journals, you can actually create your own covers and binding using basic materials from any craft store.

Wood Carver

Large wood products like furniture might be a little too involved for many home-based entrepreneurs. But you can carve smaller products like knick knacks out of wood with just a few supplies.

Candy Maker

You can also make your own candy products right in your own kitchen and then package them for sale.

Alterations Service

If you want to start a handmade business that’s more service oriented, you can offer to alter clothing and other items for customers who send their items right to your home.

Ornament Maker

For more festive entrepreneurs, you can also design and craft your own custom holiday ornaments to sell during the season.

Doll Clothing Designer

If you want to make clothing but work with smaller pieces of fabric and other materials, you can make clothing to fit popular dolls and then sell those pieces online.

Pet Accessories Maker

Or you can make clothing and accessories made for dogs, cats and other pets.

Online Gift Shop Operator

If you want to make a variety of different products, you can actually start your very own online gift shop with all of those different categories accounted for.

Ebook Author

For seasoned crafters, you can actually write your very own book with instructions or ideas and then publish it as an ebook online.

Eguide Seller

Or you can create smaller craft related eguides and sell them on your website.

Online Course Creator

For more in-depth instructions, you can make online courses dedicated to your craft of choice.

Handmade Blogger

Or you can start a blog about your handmade business and make money through ads, affiliate links or other methods.

In Honor of Fathers Day, 25 Travel Accessories for Men

25 Travel Accessories for Men


25 Travel Accessories for Men

If you’re in the market for some masculine travel accessories, you’re in luck. There are plenty of different products out there that work great for male business travelers. Here are 25 of them.

Travel Accessories for Men

Lifewit Men’s Leather Briefcase

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Lifewit Men’s Leather Briefcase

If you’re taking short trips and mostly just need to transport your work gear, an over-the-shoulder bag like this leather briefcase might work just fine. This leather bag retails for between $130 and $300.

Renwick Shoulder Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Renwick Shoulder Bag

This shoulder bag from Renwick offers another classic option for business travelers. It retails for $17.99.

CaseCrown Laptop Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men - CaseCrown Laptop Bag

This CaseCrown messenger bag offers another option. It’s made specifically for laptops and comes in a few different sizes, starting at $29.99.

Kopak Slim Business Backpack

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Kopak Slim Business Backpack

Or you could opt instead for a backpack to hold a variety of different items. This slim model is made specifically to fit most laptops, but can also hold some other belongings. Price starts at $36.99.

Targus Rolling Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men -

You could also go for a rolling bag like this one from Targus. It’s sized to hold laptops and other items. And it retails for $44.95.

HSEOK Laptop Sleeve

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Targus Rolling Bag

While you travel, you’ll need a way to keep your laptop protected. This HSEOK laptop sleeve features a masculine design and starts at $16.99.

Rivacase Tablet Case

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Rivacase Tablet Case

Likewise, a tablet case like this one from Rivacase can be essential if you travel with a tablet device. This product starts at $14.90 and comes in a few different sizes.

ProCase Tablet Stand

25 Travel Accessories for Men - ProCase Tablet Stand

You might also find it helpful to have a stand for your tablet so you can easily work on the go. This ProCase tablet stand is made for Samsung tablets and retails for $17.99.

RAVpower Portable Charger

25 Travel Accessories for Men - RAVpower Portable Charger

This portable charging station will allow you to charge your devices even on the go. The product starts at around $20 and features a sleek, masculine design.

Treblab Connectivity Headphones

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Treblab Connectivity Headphones

If you need to do any video or voice chatting while you travel, some good headphones with a built-in microphone can be a big help. These start at $39.99.

Philips Noise Cancelling Headphones

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Philips Noise Cancelling Headphones

Or if you just need to drown out the distractions around you, consider some noise cancelling headphones like these from Philips, which retail for $114.95.

Roll Up Electronics Organizer

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Roll Up Electronics Organizer

To store all of your electronics without taking up a ton of space in your suitcase, you could use something like this roll up organizer from Patu, which starts at $12.99.

MLMSY Toiletry Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men - MLMSY Toiletry Bag

For all of your shaving supplies and other toiletries, consider this hanging toiletry bag from MLMSY. It comes in a more masculine style than many other toiletry bags and costs just under $13.

Squeeze Pod Toiletries

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Squeeze Pod Toiletries

Or if you’d rather just purchase the travel sizes of the toiletry products you need, these squeeze pods offer a simple solution at $12.99.

Travel Bottle Set

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Travel Bottle Set

You might also find a set of travel size, TSA approved bottles like these helpful. This set is fairly masculine and costs $16.95.

Parker Travel Shave Kit

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Parker Travel Shave Kit

Or you could go with a dedicated shave kit like this one from Paker that retails for about $100.

AmazonBasics Garment Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men - AmazonBasics Garment Bag

If you need to travel with a suit or other garments that you need to keep wrinkle-free, a garment bag like this one for $7.99 can be a huge help.

LapGear MyDesk

25 Travel Accessories for Men - LapGear MyDesk

If you need to get any work done while on a plane or waiting around the airport, a lap desk like this one can be a big help. This LapGear product starts at $16.99.

ProCase Travel Case

25 Travel Accessories for Men - ProCase Travel Case

You could also use a multi-purpose case like this one to hold toiletries, electronics or any other number of goods. This ProCase organizer starts at $11.99.

Waterproof Travel Pouch

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Waterproof Travel Pouch

If you plan on doing any hiking or exploring while you travel, having a small case like this one to hold your essentials can be a big benefit. This one starts at $8.99.

Travel Portfolio Bag

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Travel Portfolio Bag

A portfolio bag like this one can provide another option for keeping your phone, wallet and other important items easily accessible while traveling. This one ranges from $9.99 to $21.78.

Caseling Travel Storage Case

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Caseling Travel Storage Case

Or if you need a case that’s really durable, this Caseling product has a hard exterior to protect your breakable goods. It retails for $14.99.

Master Lock Luggage Lock

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Master Lock Luggage Lock

No matter what types of accessories you choose, you’re going to want to make sure they’re all secure in your bags. So you might want to purchase a TSA approved lock like this one from Master Lock, starting at $6.98.

Accuweight Luggage Scale

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Accuweight Luggage Scale

You’ll also want to make sure that your bags don’t exceed any airline weight limits. And this Accuweight luggage scale, priced at $6.99, can help.

Travelmate Neck Pillow

25 Travel Accessories for Men - Travelmate Neck Pillow

This memory foam neck pillow can help you make your travels more comfortable as well. It retails for $13.65.

Traveling Man Photo via Shutterstock

7 Best Product Stories to Inspire Every Entrepreneur


7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur

Sometimes the best way to market your business involves having a really good story behind your product.

There are some great examples out there of entrepreneurs getting really creative in their efforts to solve problems and create new products. Here are some unique product stories to serve as inspiration for your own ventures.

Inspiring Product Story Examples

Goat Mug

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Goat Mug

This uniquely shaped coffee mug was inspired by — you guessed it: goats. The story that inspired the product happened way back in the 13th century.

According to the tale, a flock of goats discovered a bush full of berries and immediately became full of energy. The shepherd, trying to replicate that energy, took some of the berries and decided to brew them.

In the minds of Goat Mug’s founders, the goats never really got enough credit for essentially discovering coffee. And so the Goat Mug, which is an ergonomically shaped vessel that resembles a goat’s horn, is an homage to them.

But it’s not a useless product that just relies on an interesting story. The mug also comes with a crossbody strap and wrist attachment so you can easily enjoy your coffee on the go.

Bubble Wrap

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Bubble Wrap

Today, you know Bubble Wrap as the protective packing material that’s also fun to pop. But that wasn’t its original purpose.

Inventors came up with the concept for Bubble Wrap when trying to develop a new type of textured wallpaper. They essentially sealed two shower curtains together.

But once the wallpaper idea didn’t work out, one of the inventors had a brainstorm during a flight that the material could be used to protect products during shipping and transport.

TRX Training Bands

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - TRX Training Bands

These popular pieces of workout equipment came to be thanks to a Navy SEAL with a unique set of skills.

According to founder Randy Hetrick, all SEALs actually learn how to sew so they can repair their own equipment if needed. So when he was out on a deployment, Hetrick used those sewing skills to create a product that would allow him to stay fit when he didn’t have access to a gym full of equipment.

He made the first prototype with an old jiu-jitsu belt and some surplus parachute webbing. From there, he discovered the versatility of the product and refined the actual process and materials a bit.

Play-Doh

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Play-Doh

The iconic Play-Doh substance wasn’t originally meant to be a kids’ toy. In fact, it was originally made by a company called Kutol as a wallpaper cleaning substance.

At the time, coal was the most popular way to heat homes. And so homeowners needed a lot of wallpaper cleaner. But as the need for that product waned, the company needed another way to make money.

The solution came from an unlikely source. The owner’s sister-in-law ran a nursery school and was looking for a cheap way to make Christmas ornaments with the kids. She found out that the wallpaper cleaner worked for this purpose. And of course, it was fun to play with.

So Kutol took out the detergent from its wallpaper cleaner and added some almond scent and coloring, since the product was initially white. And thus Play-Doh was born.

Warby Parker Glasses

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Warby Parker Glasses

Warby Parker set out to disrupt the eyeglass industry for one reason — glasses are too expensive!

One of the company’s founders discovered this the hard way. He lost his glasses on a backpacking trip and, being a student, couldn’t afford to replace them. So he spent the first semester of grad school squinting through classes.

When the founders figured out the high prices resulted from low competition, they knew they were on to something.

Smile Squared Toothbrush

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Smile Squared Toothbrush

Smile Squared is a company that donates toothbrushes to children in need whenever one is purchased.

The company’s founders adopted their oldest child from Guatemala and then did some volunteer work in a dental clinic in Guatemala City. That’s where they learned about some of the serious dental problems children around the world, including in the U.S., face due to not having access to proper dental tools.

So they set out to solve that problem while also offering quality products.

Innocent Juice and Smoothies

7 Best Product Story Examples to Inspire Every Entrepreneur - Innocent Juice and Smoothies

Innocent is a juice and smoothie brand that started in a particularly interesting way. The product itself isn’t what’s notable though. Instead, it’s the way the company’s founders officially went into business.

Early on, they started by selling their juice at a music festival just to make some extra money. Then they put up a sign asking buyers if they should quit their jobs and just make juice full time.

There was one bin customers could put their empty containers in if they thought it would be a good idea, and another for those who didn’t think so. By the end of the festival, the response was pretty overwhelmingly positive. So the founders quit their jobs the next day.

Inspired Photo via Shutterstock

Apply These 10 Secret Techniques from This Famous Chinese Entrepreneur


Success Tips from CEO Yang Yang

In your 20’s and think you need to spend a few years in the working world before striking out with a small business of your own? Or perhaps you’ve got a fairly simple business idea — like reselling fashions or other items on eBay and think it just can’t be grown into a huge thriving business. Well you may be wrong on both counts.

One hard working young entrepreneur in particular who’s business had very humble beginnings exemplifies the role hard work and determination can play in business success. To help today’s youngsters be successful in an often unforgiving and always challenging business climate, Small Business Trends spoke to highly successful entrepreneur Yang Yang.

CEO of Dese Enterprise, Yang Yang, aka the ‘Boss In White’, was born and raised in Beijing. Starting from humble beginnings selling on eBay in 2004, Yang Yang quickly developed a flourishing business comprised of AMEClubwear.com, Pinkbasis.com and Cuteshoesforsale.com. The driven CEO now employees 80 people.

Yang Yang owes much of her success to commitment and study. The CEO obtained her undergraduate degree from Beijing University and went on to complete her Masters in Cambridge, UK.

“Now I can look back and clearly see that the reason I did so well was because of all the studying and extra work they [her parents] made me do”, says the Boss In White.

Success Tips from CEO Yang Yang

If you’re a millennial interested in starting your own business and being your own boss, take a look at the advice the incredibly successful Yang Yang gives to kindred entrepreneurial spirits.

Always Give Yourself Deadlines

“Give yourself a deadline on everything,” Yang Yang says. “A lot of things have no deadlines. Setting a deadline will help you finish your task faster.”

Reward Yourself When You Reach a Goal

“Reward yourself when you hit a goal, she ads. “Set a goal and when you reach it buy yourself something nice this will keep you motivated.”

Avoid Being a Perfectionist in Business

“Don’t be a perfectionist,” Yang Yang says.”In life everything is a balance, only you can decide if something is up to your standards. Sometimes trying to do something perfect may waste your time.”

Balance every aspect of your life and business, get the work done to the best of your ability the first time and don’t second guess yourself,” she ads. “If you always work hard and don’t cut corners then this is easy to achieve and you will be happy with your work.”

“A good example of this is when we take product pictures we can always go back and photoshop the background to make it look cleaner,” she explains. “Or you could clean up the background before you shoot and not have to go back at all. The background might not be as perfect as if you photoshopped them all but it will keep you from having to do double the work and remember you’re selling the product, not the background.”

Be Well Groomed and Always Present Yourself Well

“Be well groomed,” Yang Yang urges. “When you walk into a room your personal appearance is the first thing a client or customer is going to notice. Wear a nice outfit, when you look and feel good you tend to work faster.”

“I am very lucky because I can just pick something from my website, and have new clothes all the time,” she says. “You don’t need to wear new clothes every day but you should always spend five minutes before you leave the house and look in the mirror.”

“Make sure clothes are nicely prepared, buttons are buttoned, the collar is straight, skirt or dress is not wrinkled, no breakfast stain on them lol,” she xplains. “Always make sure your hair is looking good and it doesn’t look like you just got out of bed.”

“A good rule is to always be over dressed than under dressed!” she ads.

Don’t Waste Time Commuting to Work and if You Do Commute, Spend Your Time Well

If you really love your job, then try to live as close as possible to your work office so you don’t waste time on the drive,” Yang Yang says.

She ads, “If you can’t live close, then take advantage of your time traveling to and from the office. You can list ‘how to’ books on tapes to learn a new skill, or simply to relax in the little bit of alone time that you have in the car. If you take the train or bus to work the same applies, use this time to your advantage and don’t let it go to waste.”

Give Yourself Long-Term Goals

It’s important to have a long-term goal to work towards,” Yang Yang says. “Do you want to be rich? Do you want to help people? Or do you see yourself living at home with your mom when you’re 40 waiting for the meatloaf to be ready?”

She ads, “The point is, if you don’t want a lot out of life then you don’t have to put a lot into it, but if you are like most of us and want to be successful then you need to plan ahead. Only you can decide how your life will end up so make sure and give yourself some options.”

Dress for Success

Here Yang Yang has one simple rule. “Dress for Success,” she says. “I always say it is better to be overdressed!”

Study and Work Hard for Exams

“Write your way to success,” Yang Yang advises. “You can’t just decide you want to go to Harvard or in my case Cambridge and expect to get in if you haven’t been preparing for years. I was lucky that my parents pushed me to succeed in school from a very young age. I always had straight As but my parents still made me study and work with tutors every day.”

“I could never figure out why and would always complain that I didn’t have free time to relax or play with friends,” she explained. “Now I can look back and clearly see that the reason I did so well was because of all the studying and extra work they made me do.”

Find Your Passion

Finding your passion is easy — just think about what you enjoy doing in your free time for fun,” Yang Yang says. “I loved to shop for clothing and walk through the Fashion District downtown to see all the new styles and trends and was able to turn this into a job buying wholesale and reselling online.”

The question she poses to every entrepreneur? “What makes you happy?”

Network, Network, Network!

“Networking is a necessity,” Yang Yang insists. “One of the most important things about running a successful thing is networking. For my industry, it’s even more crucial than other types of businesses since I purchase items for resale every day.”

She explains:”The reason I am so successful is because I don’t have any buyers — I do it all myself.”

“Over the last ten years, I have developed personal relationships with the owners in order to buy direct from them, where my other competitors buy from sales reps,” she ads. “Making a great impression and keeping that relationship is key.”

Image: BossInWhite.com

Close Deals Faster With These 5 Steps

 

The first thing I would look at in any sales process is how to shorten and simplify it. I focus on this because of the countless times I have seen buyers demonstrate a sensitivity to time.

Whether filling up the gas tank, checking out a gym membership, shopping for an outfit or for groceries — time is on your buyer’s mind. “How long will I be here? Am I going to get stuck with someone I don’t want to spend time with?”

 

Basically, the sales process is finding out who the buyer is, what they want to buy, why they want to buy it and what you can do to fulfill that want. The ultimate goal should be to finish the transaction, get the prospect to take action and give you something you value in exchange for something your prospect values. This is where most people panic, freak out and become most uncomfortable — which indicates a lack of knowing what you are doing.

Here are five steps that will bring you massive success in sales and help you close deals faster:

1. Set your intentions up front.

The goal of the greeting is to introduce yourself, make a good impression and put the buyer at ease. If you don’t have a relationship with the client you don’t want to waste their time trying to make a great impression. If you do know them, you don’t want to waste time with small talk and not getting down to business. What we want to do is use this step to open the door to the reason we are there: To move the prospect into a buyer.

2. Bring price up before the demonstration/presentation.

After your greeting, you want to start out by outlining price, well before you get to the presentation or demonstration of the product or service. Tell the customer the price up front, so that you can spend the rest of the time explaining why it is priced that way. People are going to resist you. You have to be great at building the value of your product or service so that it exceeds the value of the customer’s money.

 

3. Periodically check for a close.

The close is the critical exchange point. It is the point when you quit selling, get the buyer to take action, and an exchange occurs — they obtain something you have and you obtain something they have. You must constantly be checking for opportunities to use a close to move forward. This reinforces your concern for your time and the time of your prospect. And remember, no one wins when you don’t close!

4. Simplify objections.

There are only four reasons your customer won’t buy: money, time, stalling or the product. You remove the variables and simplify the transaction. Of all four of these, the one you get the most is product. It’s not about money or time — they are not sold on the product. The economy is not a factor, the customer’s intelligence is not a factor — you simplify the objections so you can control your responses to them.

5. Introduce management.

I call this technique the “third-party touch” where you introduce anyone other than yourself. It could be management, a co-worker or an administrator in your business. This shows transparency, which builds trust with your customer and confidence that they are being well cared for. If the manager is unable to see the customer in person, have them send a quick video message to the prospect.

The pro closer becomes more successful due to knowing their game — they can adapt when necessary and correctly control outcomes. The lack of commitment to practicing, drilling and rehearsing this skill is the biggest missing ingredient in people getting what they want in life. These are not skills you are born with — you have to develop them!