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Thursday, November 12, 2015

9 Reasons to Switch Careers as Soon as Possible

NOVEMBER 09, 2015, Sujan Patel, ENTREPRENEUR & MARKETER

The median tenure at a single job in the U.S. is four and a half years, and it’s been said that a person will change careers five to seven times during their lives. So if you feel the itch to make a change, it’s perfectly normal -- and it can actually revolutionize your success.

What constitutes a “career change” is a bit vague, but I like to think of it as taking a job in a new industry so that you can continue to develop your personal and professional skills. With that in mind, here are nine reasons to switch careers as soon as possible:
1. You didn’t choose your current career.
There are a lot of reasons to take a job in a particular industry. If your reason had to do with desperation, a family connection or a random circumstance, you may need to switch careers soon. Think about your skills and what you truly enjoy. Don’t be afraid to consider off-beat careers either -- being a forester isn’t as common as a banker, but it may be the perfect fit for you. You deserve a career you chose on purpose.

2. The economy hit your field hard.

A job in finance was lucrative in 2003. By 2008, not so much. If an economic or technological change has negatively impacted your current field, a change may be in order whether you were looking for it or not. Think about what type of work you can do that would leverage your current skills in a new way. When you make the choice now, you avoid a possible panic situation later if you’re laid off or let go.

3. You’ve developed interest in an emerging industry.
Whether you’re 30 or 60, there are an amazing number of careers available today that weren’t even dreamed of when you were in college. If you’ve developed an interest in a new industry that is growing quickly, this is a great time to jump in. A career in an emerging field will allow you to grow quickly, learn entirely new skills and reignite the fire you may have lost with your current work.


4. You hit a ceiling.

Anyone can hit a ceiling in advancing his or her career. Sometimes another job in the same industry will help you break past it, but other times, you need a complete career change. The good news is that great leadership qualities will help you manage in any field, so you can quickly find a new way to put your skills to great use.


5. You need significantly more money.
Sometimes, the career field you thought you wanted turns out to not work on a financial level. In your current field, you may get small raises over time, but if you need, or want, significantly more money, a career change is in order. Money can’t buy happiness, but it is an important part of living life. There’s no doubt that some careers give you better access to money than others.

6. Your talents don’t match your field.
Are you in information technology, but struggle to keep up with technological advances? Or are you a teacher who struggles with high-intensity personal interactions? If your talents don’t match the field you find yourself in, switch careers as soon as possible. Try taking personal and career assessments to find a field that is a better match for you.

7. You have a major change in perspective.
Marriage, divorce, a new child or even a trip overseas can completely change your perspective. The CEO of Esquire Magazine, Phillip Moffitt,left his career to pursue more meaningful and new work options when he was 40. Major changes in your perspective can make it vital that you change careers. Consider what works for your new situation and make it happen.

8. The challenge is gone.
If you’re no longer challenged by your current job or you’re bored with your current field, a career change could be the spark you need. Too many people spend years in boring and unfulfilling jobs simply because they don’t know what to do next. Don’t waste 40 hours a week. Instead, look at yourself and other industries to find a role that will allow you to be challenged and continue to grow both personally and professionally.

9. You’re burnt out.
You’ve given your all to your current company and industry, and now you feel like there’s nothing left to give. There are some situations a week of vacation can’t fix, and burnout is one of them. Your best option is to switch careers as soon as possible. You’ll find yourself with new co-workers, new challenges and new things to learn. It’s the perfect solution for burnout.

Switching careers can be intimidating, but you’ll find dozens of skills that are directly transferable. Don’t delay. If you’re in one of these nine situations, switch careers as soon as possible.

What other factors would cause you to switch careers? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Almost Effortless Ways to Become a Morning Person

Chris WINFIELDEntrepreneur and success coach

OCTOBER 30, 2015

Do you have a "love-hate" relationship with the morning? Yeah, yeah, you already know that getting up early can make you more productive, focused and motivated -- which is why successful entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies like Tory Burch and Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo) wake up before the sun rises.

The only problem is . . . you absolutely hate getting out of bed any earlier than you have to. Sound familiar?

If you love the idea of creating a success-propelling morning routine but hate the thought of facing the day once your alarm clock sounds, don’t worry. Here are simple strategies you can follow that will make climbing out from under the covers and starting your morning much easier . . . and even somewhat fun.

1. Start the night before.
Many studies have linked motivation levels with REM sleep (which stands for rapid eye movement and is the part of sleep when you dream). If you’re not getting high-quality rest, with several REM cycles, your motivation and energy will lag when it’s time to get up in the morning.

One way to overcome this is to develop a pre-sleep routine that sets you up for quality rest. Here are some strategies entrepreneurs use to fall (and stay) asleep:
Limit your caffeine intake. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, admits that he used to drink caffeine all day long, but he now limits consumption to one-to-two drinks, max, so he'll feel less “wired” and sleep better.

Step away from the electronics. The brightness of your phone, tablet or laptop screen right before bedtime can negatively affect your body’s sleep patterns, which is why Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, keeps her cellphone in another room . . . a habit she started after “passing out from exhaustion.”

Read a book. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reads an hour nightly (mainly biographies, historical books and intellectual periodicals) to help him fall asleep easier.

It’s also beneficial to create a sleep-inducing environment. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, turn the face of the alarm clock away from you and use a white noise machi
ne or fan if you live in a loud neighborhood.

2: Figure out why becoming a morning person is important to you.
It’s difficult to make any type of change without first knowing why that particular change is important to you. Why is getting up early important to you? Why do you want to be more productive in the morning? Do you believe that establishing the perfect morning routine will finally help you lose weight and get into shape, giving you more confidence and energy throughout the day?

Or, maybe you view getting out of bed before the crack of dawn as the way to find time for things that make you feel good, like reading, writing, or meditating?

Once you know why you want to get up early, you'll find that that change is easier to do.


3: Don’t hit the snooze button.
How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning? Once? Twice? Five times? More?

Although it might seem that getting a few additional minutes of sleep every time the alarm goes off is a good thing, the opposite is actually true. Hitting the snooze button makes you feel more tired. It screws up your sleep cycles, so you wind up dragging your feet all day long.

On top of that, when hitting the button is the first action you take in the morning, you are starting your day off by procrastinating. This sends a message to your subconscious mind that you don’t even have the self-discipline to get out of bed in the morning. Not a great way to start your day. 

So, how do you get out of the snooze button habit? Consider placing your clock (or phone) away from the bed so you actually have to get up to turn it off. Another suggestion from the Sleep Junkies is to glue your snooze button so it no longer works. That will certainly stop you from using it!

4: Change your morning routine slowly.
Trying to completely overhaul your mornings, by (for example) getting out of bed at 4 a.m. when you normally sleep until noon, can make it difficult if not impossible to stick to your new routine.

Instead, work at making small changes that you can build upon. Taking this route makes you more mindful and gives you higher levels of enthusiasm. It also increases your focus, makes you feel calmer and helps you learn the right way to go about making changes that stick.

For instance, if you normally wake up at 7 a.m., then aim to get up at 6:45 tomorrow. Once you master that, get up at 6:30. Move your getting-up time back only 15 minutes at a time, and before you know it,you’ll be an early morning person…almost effortlessly.

5: Choose morning activities you enjoy so you'll stick with it.
It’s hard enough to get out of bed at the crack of dawn and when you wake up to do activities you don’t enjoy . . . your new regimen can feel like torture.

That’s why you should create a morning routine that is filled with activities you actually like, those things that make you feel better about yourself and improve your direction in life.

A few of the activities that I get the most out of in the early morning hours include stretching, meditation, writing Morning Pages andgratitude lists and spending quality time with my family. Create your own list of things that you look forward to when you pop out of bed to make it easier for you to get up and face the day.

There you have it: five ways to make your mornings easier and more productive. Now, all you have to do is try one (or all) of them. Who knows? Your love-hate relationship may turn out to be 100 percent true love, as you realize that you’ve finally found “the one” . . . the perfect morning routine for you!

To learn more ways to make your mornings productive, check out The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Powerful Morning Routine.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What the New Equity Crowdfunding Rules Mean for Entrepreneurs

Kendall Almerico, Crowdfunding Attorney

NOVEMBER 02, 2015

The SEC has finally released rules for Title III of the JOBS Act, the equity crowdfunding law. Nearly three years and seven months after the potentially game-changing bill was first signed into law, equity crowdfunding will be available to startups and small companies in 180 days. Yes, we get to wait another half a year before anyone can actually use equity crowdfunding, but at least now we know it will happen.

For those who have run out of Ambien, the hundreds of pages of new rules will provide a welcome sleep aid. But for professionals who plan to use these rules to help companies raise new capital, it is required reading. Bring on the Red Bull.

What does this mean for entrepreneurs? Will startups be able to actually use this law? Let’s take a look at what the new SEC rules say about key provisions, to answer those questions:


1. The JOBS Act says a company can raise up to $1,000,000 with Title III equity crowdfunding. Did the SEC expand this?
Despite the hopes of many of us that the SEC would pull a regulatory rabbit out of a hat and raise the ceiling to $5 million, the limit on what a company can raise through Title III equity crowdfunding remains at $1 million. If a company wants to raise more, there is always equity crowdfunding’s prettier cousin, a Regulation A+ mini-IPO to consider

2. What can members of the “crowd” invest?
The law limits investors to (a) the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of the lesser of their annual income or net worth, if either the annual income or the net worth of the investor is less than $100,000 and (b) 10 percent of the lesser of their annual income or net worth, if both the annual income and net worth of the investor is equal to or more than $100,000.

In both cases, Investors may not invest more than an aggregate amount of $100,000 in one year. The SEC actually tightened up the amounts that can be invested by each individual, which is not good news for entrepreneurs.

3. What happens if a company does not raise its goal amount?
Like many rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns and Regulation A+ mini-IPOs, if a company using the new equity crowdfunding law does not raise the full amount of their funding goal, they do not get to keepany of the money raised, and they lose the out-of-pocket up-front costs. This important provision means setting a realistic goal will become an important part of the equity crowdfunding process for entrepreneurs.

4. Can companies afford to use Title III equity crowdfunding?
The biggest news from the new SEC rules is that the proposed requirement of a full financial audit has been dropped by the SEC for companies using the equity crowdfunding law for the first time. Requiring a startup to spend tens of thousands of dollars on an audit made no sense. The SEC removed that burden, and now a company using the law for the first time must only have reviewed financials to raise more than $100,000, and lesser financial disclosures when raising less than $100,000.

There are still substantial costs, however. Legal fees, compliance costs, funding portal fees, broker-dealer fees and marketing expenses can add up. Without entrepreneurial minded attorneys offering affordable services and innovative businesses offering compliance services for a reasonable cost, equity crowdfunding would still be out of reach for most young companies. Luckily for startups and small businesses, both of the above exist, and will make this law affordable to use for most entrepreneurs.

5. What information has to be disclosed?
A company has to disclose to investors, and file with the SEC, the price of the securities, the method for determining the price, the target offering amount, the deadline to reach the target and whether the company will accept investments in excess of the target.

Companies also must provide a discussion of the company’s financial condition, a description of the business and the use of proceeds from the offering, information about officers and directors and owners of 20 percent or more of the company and annual financial statements.


6. What liability will a company and its officers have under equity crowdfunding?
Equity crowdfunding involves the sale of securities, and not just pre-selling a gadget like on Kickstarter. There are federal and state laws that govern the sale of securities, and if you do something wrong, your company (and its officers and directors) can be sued, and in some cases, could go to jail.

The bottom line is simple: Tell the truth. Under most securities laws including the equity crowdfunding law, being 100 percent truthful and not making misrepresentations of any kind are the keys to not having to bang out license plates in the prison yard with Bernie Madoff.

7. Are the shares sold through equity-crowdfunding liquid?

No. Much like most shares sold through private placements, the shares of stock sold in equity crowdfunding cannot be sold (in most circumstances) for at least one year. There is no marketplace or exchange for these shares, and in all likelihood, never will be unless a company registers with the SEC and becomes a public company.

Will equity crowdfunding work under the new SEC rules? Some may disagree, but I believe there is a workable model here that startups will be able to use to raise capital.

Like every new law, how usable it will be depends on a number of factors. But the reality is that an opportunity like this for startups to raise capital has never existed before, and rather than criticize the law's shortcomings, some of us will work within the laws and rules to find ways to help companies raise funds online in a way they never could before.

About Me

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Cathy Harris is an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Self-Publishing and Business Coach.