Freelancing Isn’t Free – The Ultimate Guide to Being Your Own Boss

Freelancing Isn’t Free – The Ultimate Guide to Being Your Own Boss

Cutting ties with a full time job and striking out as a freelancer will elicit a mix of emotions from most people. You might feel elated at being able to control your own professional destiny, but also anxious about the uncertainty that comes with the self-employed lifestyle.

To get to grips with being your own boss quickly and effectively, take onboard the following pieces of advice that every freelancer needs in their toolkit.

Image Source: Pexels

Take tax into account from day one

In the rush to launch your freelance career, it’s easy for certain aspects to slip through the cracks, and thinking about tax is not always a priority at this point.

However, if you don’t get up to speed with your obligations to the IRS as soon as possible, you could find yourself in hot water.

So how can you find out what self-employment taxes are all about? Well, on this beginner-friendly guide you’ll learn the ins and outs of what you have to pay and when you have to pay it. There is also guidance on how to reduce your tax liability.

The most useful tip in a tax context is to make sure you set money aside to cover your tax bill when the time comes. Don’t just dump all of your earnings into your personal account and spend every last penny, as you’ll end up without enough spare money to pay the taxman.

This is particularly crucial if you’ve previously been used to tax being taken out of your paycheck before you’ve received it.

Track expenses & keep receipts

Talking of tax, another vital aspect of being a freelancer is making sure that you keep hold of the right documentation when you make business-related purchases and incur expenses related to your job.

A deluge of different deductibles are available for self-employed people to harness, but you can only use them if you have pristine records of what you’ve spent. We’ll talk a little more about how to do this in a moment, but suffice it to say that the less organized you are in this area, the more you’ll end up paying when the tax return deadline rolls around.

Claiming back everything from the costs of using your personal vehicle for business purposes, to purchasing equipment you need to work effectively, is a possibility. You just need to know what deductibles are out there for you to grab a hold of.

Open a business account

Earlier we mentioned that it’s not a good idea to put money you earn from freelancing into your personal bank account, and that’s not a way of preventing you spending it all; it’s also about the admin side of being your own boss.

If you want to scrutinize your expenses and get a sense of your earnings over time, setting up a business bank account which you only put to use for professional purposes is wise.

With a business account, you can also have a separate payment card to take out and about with you, letting you pay directly for goods and services that are related to your work rather than putting it all on your personal plastic.

In addition, an account that’s linked to your business can limit the liability you face when it comes to the financial repercussions of your operations. This matters more for those who are trying to set up a whole firm to lead, but could be relevant for freelancers in some scenarios as well.

Seek expert advice

Whether or not you are intimidated by the prospect of working for yourself and taking on all of the financial and administrative burdens that come with this, you still stand to gain a lot from hiring a certified accountant to assist you.

CPAs are able to cater to the needs of lots of clients, from freelancers to small businesses and beyond. So from filing tax returns to tackling invoicing issues, accountants will be a boon in all sorts of scenarios.

Over time, you’ll become more familiar and comfortable with what it takes to work as a freelancer. But for the early stages, being able to call on a finance professional to aid you will minimize stress and avert potential disasters.

Active Ingredients by a Proactive Innovator

Sytheon

Sytheon, the ‘Most Outstanding Personal Care R&D Company’ for 2021, has become a jewel in the crown of active ingredient development. Serving consultants, contact manufacturers, and beauty brands, it reassures its clients that their end users will be receiving the best quality products that come with a pedigree of the best possible accreditation. Having been published in the British Journal of Dermatology and many other peer reviewed publications in dermatology journals for one of its key products, Sytenol® A (Bakuchiol), Sytheon’s efforts are leading the way in the creation of better, more effective skincare products.

An innovative and research-based company working to develop high-performance active ingredients, Sytheon serves the personal care industry with ingenuity and tenacity. Its portfolio contains a width and breadth of active ingredients that is unrivalled in its sector, and its dedication to further development and betterment is unparalleled, taking inspiration from nature and building for excellent performance at every turn. Fundamentally, its work is empowered by scientific and clinical validation, with in-depth trials conducted with the most rigorous oversight before any of its ingredients leave the lab in order to provide its clients with the utmost peace of mind when seeking skincare improvement products.

Improving the health and beauty of skin is what Sytheon is all about. This is made possible, first and foremost, by the principles that form its very foundations; Sytheon holds to values of safety, stability, differentiation, and performance. The core pillar of safety ensures that it keeps oversight in mind in its work, refusing to test on animals and working in close collaboration with toxicology experts, preparing exemplary dossiers under REACH registration and compliance standards. Additionally, its stability has been lauded by peers and clients alike.

When it comes to standing out from the crowd – its value of differentiation – it accomplishes this by establishing a series of scientifically backed and clinical studies to give its work the accreditation it needs to be thorough, comprehensive, and reliable. The result of this has been comparison to existing gold standard and peer reviewed work, the likes of which many of its competitors cannot come close to; furthermore, its studies align with the texts in those journals, lending it further credibility for peers and clients.

The performance aspect of its work speaks to how its client’s end users have consistently positive things to say. These products do, in essence, speak for themselves, and clients directly benefit from this by way of the good reviews and commendations that their products will receive because of only using the best ingredients in their work, serving beauty brands, contract manufacturers, and consultants alike. Receiving clients through UL connect inquiries, direct contact through its website, trade shows, webinars, and referrals from existing clients, Sytheon is dedicated to giving its industry a tour de force in what the best quality service looks like.

No matter how big or small the problem, Sytheon will always go above and beyond to help a client resolve it. This is made possible through its exemplary and world-class team, each of whom are singularly qualified and incredibly experienced when it comes to their work, ready and waiting to help a client. Additionally, with the provision of formula guidelines, prototype formulas, and technical problem-solving advice, Sytheon takes all guesswork out of the process in order to allow clients to make truly informed decisions regarding the active ingredients they seek to purchase.

Sytheon, has made this possible by building up a team based on outstanding standards of communication. Each employee at its core is the reason for its success, and each employee applies themselves with an incredible level of hard work and talent in order to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to them, always keeping up a dialogue with the rest of the team. Therefore, the atmosphere at Sytheon is one of trust, camaraderie, and professionalism, where everyone knows what is expected of them and everyone is there to lend a hand to their fellow staff member should they need it.

When recruiting, it is very important that a new staff member is able to fit in with this culture. Key attributes such as self-motivation, drive, enthusiasm, and team spirit are what it is drawn to in an applicant, as it’s easy to train skills – it’s harder to train attitude. It is due to this focus on maintaining an excellent internal atmosphere that it was able to stand tall during the course of the pandemic. Despite the challenges – which were myriad – Sytheon rallied together in order to withstand the difficulties faced by it and the worldwide corporate ecosystem as a whole, refocusing its strategies into virtual and online services, which grew over 50% in 2020.

It thanks every single staff member for their hard work and perseverance during this time, excited to announce that it forecasts this growth period will continue to be on the rise throughout the rest of 2021. Moreover, it encountered an added benefit to remote work that it didn’t anticipate. The time spent away from office, and the lack of travel time for its employees, meant that much more was getting done than it had been, and it has seen a spike in productivity as people are able to reach their workstations easier, faster, and with far less hassle.

With its first product, Synovea® HR, clinically proven to the 2-4-fold more effective than Hydroquinone, it has made a splash in the marketplace that it is determined to continue long into the future. With many large companies using Synovea® HR in their products, and establishing a new gold standard, it has become synonymous with products that brighten and even out skin tone to great effect, growing in popularity by the day. Secondly, its Sytenol® A product has also become vastly popular, with a slowly increasing growth in use by its clients since it was introduced in 2010. Able to provide a product with less side effects, better stability, and clinical results comparative to retinol, it found itself and its products research being published in the British Journal of Dermatology for its excellence, a milestone that has helped it springboard forward to greater successes. With a move on the cards to a bigger, better facility in New Jersey, Sytheon is excited to see what the future holds, planning to move into the Asian market with a new office opening in Singapore in 2022, and even into the pharmaceutical market with its sister company Symbionyx.

For further information please visit sytheonltd.com

What to Look for When Hiring a Local SEO Agency?


Image source: Unsplash

Almost every business that uses a website understands what search engine optimization (SEO) is, and why it is so important when it comes to generating foot traffic and online sales. However, some smaller businesses might not realize how important a more local SEO may be for them.

But what is a local SEO agency, and how does it differ from a regular SEO?

Keep reading to learn more about local SEO vs regular SEO agencies, and how to look for the perfect agency for your business.

What Exactly is Local SEO vs Regular SEO?

Regular SEO works on making sure you appear across the nation or the globe when people search for things similar to your website’s focus. This may seem like a great option, but it isn’t always.

Think about a local business that does not ship its products. It wouldn’t do them any good to appear in searches by people in New York if they were only in Seattle unless someone was specifically looking for places in that state.

However, with local search engine optimization services, you can make sure your Seattle business appears in the city it should, and not halfway across the country.

6 Questions to Ask Your Local SEO Agency

You don’t want to just pick any local SEO agency. If you do, you risk finding someone that you spend a lot of money to hire, only to find out that they do nothing to help your business.

Therefore, before you hire any agency, it is worth asking a few questions to make sure they know what they are talking about and are the real deal.

  • How do you handle research?
  • Are you willing to share your rankings and traffic information?
  • Does your agency offer any additional services?
  • What do you consider client success?
  • How do you handle organic ranking?
  • How long until I can expect to see results?
  • What metrics do you focus on the most?

What to be Wary of With SEO Agencies?

On top of asking the questions above, there are some warning signs to look out for when picking out a company.

These will ensure that you can look for any red flags and make sure you get the best company for you.

Make sure they aren’t lying. A lot of agencies make promises they can’t keep to bring in more customers. One big lie that some bad companies will say is that you will never lose ranking. As nice as that sounds, Google changes its search engine features roughly 600 times a year, and a loss in rankings will happen at some point. How well did they interview you? The interview process should be a two-way street. They are losing money helping difficult companies as it takes money and they get no results. If an agency is willing to take anyone in, it shows that they aren’t a company that will personally work with you to get work. Instead, they will use cookie-cutter methods that aren’t beneficial for anyone.

Conclusion

Many people are trying to get into the SEO field, and may not have the skills necessary to promote business the way they should. Before you invest any money into a company that is meant to help you, make sure you understand what you are looking for.

First off, decide whether a local or regular SEO agency is for you, then, make sure you go in with the proper questions to determine tier validity.

Doing this will make sure your business gets promoted the way it should, and you will see benefits in foot traffic in no time!

Extended Detection and Response Against Advanced Threats

Cyber Security

Having been accredited as ‘2021’s Leading Unified Threat Detection & Response Platform’ for the USA, Fidelis Cybersecurity is a dynamic and innovative company leading the emerging segment of extended detection and response (XDR). The Fidelis platform enables its clients to respond proactively to advanced threats including cybercrime and nation state espionage. By combining deception networks with detections from endpoints, networks, and the cloud in its Active XDR platform, Fidelis Cybersecurity helps you fool adversaries into spending time and cost on fake assets while alerting defenders of their presence.   

Fidelis Cybersecurity is dedicated to helping the world become more resilient with each new client deployment. The company has made itself a front-runner in the modern world’s cybersecurity field. When it was founded in 2002, Fidelis cut its teeth on detecting attacks within organizations all over the world.

With deception, detection, and response capabilities integrated in single platform, Fidelis Cybersecurity is an innovator in its field working to ensure full visibility, early detection, and fast risk assessment and response across hybrid on-prem and cloud environments. This is particularly relevant today as public and private organizations alike face existential threats including ransomware from cybercrime groups who are extorting them for access to their own information and systems and threatening to release their private information publicly if a hefty ransom is not paid.

Fidelis Cybersecurity combines rich asset discovery, multi-faceted threat context, and risk management to reduce the number of avenues available to cyber criminals for attack and infiltration, and to secure the safety of the organisation’s present and future. Fidelis platforms improve security team efficacy and efficiency by automating risk identification, threat detection, investigation, and response. The company continuously innovates to enable safe digital transformation with market-leading and compliant cyber security solutions that provide full visibility and control over adversarial moves on the network from endpoints to cloud.

Long ahead of the latest trends in cybersecurity, Fidelis Cybersecurity established itself as a trusted platforms for security analysts, operators, and incident responders worldwide. They know Fidelis platforms will help detect and stop threats before they impact business operations. While this recognition is based in the USA, Fidelis has established a reputation for stellar technology including machine learning and AI on the global stage. The company enjoys partnership with government agencies, commercial clients, and enterprise level businesses worldwide. Part of the reason it has accrued as much attention as it has is due to the unique integration of deception technology with detection and response, spanning endpoints, networks, and the clouds to form an integrated active XDR platform.

This platform enables customers to take an active stance against cyber criminals so when they do get past perimeter defenses, Fidelis will help quickly detect and stop these threats in their tracks. This ‘proactive cyber defence’ approach is tailorable to a client’s needs and can be applied either as a comprehensive service or deployed as an open platform that leverages integrations with a client’s existing security tools and environment. Therefore, Fidelis Cybersecurity can fit itself seamlessly around any of its client’s existing systems.

In addition, Fidelis Cybersecurity acquired CloudPassage in May of 2021. Another step in its continuous evolution, adding a pioneering cloud security and compliance platform underscores the company’s commitment to ensuring that it keeps up with the changing and dynamic industry it finds itself in. That way, its customers can more effectively neutralize advanced threats and cybercrime and develop alongside the progress of the wider cyber security industry. In short, the integration of this entity’s software and innovations has allowed Fidelis Cybersecurity to further enhance the operations of its XDR platform as businesses migrate more to the Cloud.

Crucially, whilst such innovations and moves are good, they also present challenges to cyber security to which this company and its peers have been elegantly rising. Fidelis Cybersecurity ensures customers can deploy security to match their enterprise environment, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid systems, without losing the effectiveness or speed. Through its work, Fidelis is dedicated to the continuous push towards better and more effective cybersecurity services. It also is important to note that Fidelis Cybersecurity is committed to ensuring that nothing gets lost along the way. In short, it knows that much of the good will it has cultivated in its industry is due to the quality of its platform and the impressive detection and deep inspection capabilities it provides, and so it strives to keep these as high fidelity as ever and working well alongside industry changes.

Moreover, being a collaborative and purpose driven organisation, much of its strength has come from its staff. Fidelis Cybersecurity employs some of the brightest and dedicated minds in their fields. It prides itself on a team that is goal oriented, objectively optimistic, determined, tireless, productive, empathic, candid, and forward-thinking, and it is endlessly proud of the work that they do. It wishes to take this moment to extend its thanks towards its team for their determined work during the last 18 months, allowing Fidelis Cybersecurity to pull through the pandemic’s challenges and meet its opportunities, all whilst learning new ways to engage with its clients and expend its successes by pivoting to a global, fully remote workforce.

With digital transformation being such a huge business initiative for so many clients across the globe, Fidelis Cybersecurity knows that security that works on premise and in the cloud is more important than ever in securing the future of the enterprise. Combining the capabilities of its Fidelis Elevate and Fidelis CloudPassage Halo platforms, Fidelis is able to deliver market-leading visibility, detection, and response for hybrid and multi-cloud environments, something that will be continually improving long into the future, allowing comprehensive risk management that will change how cybersecurity responds to evolving threats long into the future.

For further information, please visit fidelissecurity.com

Safe and Secure

Business Security

Businesses are always looking for new ways of being secure, in order to protect property, product and staff. When it comes to finding the best methods of maintaining high standards, Dacha SSI stand above the rest of the crowd. We take a closer look at their impressive record, and dig a little deeper to see what draws such an astonishing array of businesses into their orbit.

Put simply, security is a matter of controlling who and where a person can go within a premises. In the 21st Century, this has become an essential service, not only for the protection of the people on site, but to ensure that the valuable data that is stored by businesses cannot be accessed without permission.

The security of these locations is something that the team at Dacha take very seriously, and the service that they provide reflects this. From the initial on-site visit through to the ongoing maintenance of a product, the team are committed to ensuring that their customers have peace of mind that their property is safe.

No two businesses are the same, so the team offer a wealth of security options that are uniquely suited to often unique situations. The team can provide Small Standalone systems through to Small Distributed Systems controlled from a single point through to large Enterprise Systems. With such experience behind them, it’s little wonder that the team has achieved such remarkable success.

While the team are responsible for the installation and maintenance of some of the most secure sites in the UK, they are determined not to rest on their laurels. New and emerging threats in the security game have forced services to innovate in order to deliver a service that satisfies the needs of customers. Much of the work that the Dacha team undertakes is in taking these innovations and finding ways of applying them to the ways in which their customers operate.

This means that customers who use the services proposed by the Dacha team are some of the best in the business. They include car park management, which assigns spaces to staff and visitors, locker management so that staff and visitors can have their own secure spaces to keep items or share as part of a group, and visitor management which ensures that full compliance can be kept with site rules, even before a visitor comes onto the premises. Dacha doesn’t just act as a security service; the team collect the data that businesses need to be proactive in how they make themselves secure.

This proactive approach applies to the team’s innovative AI-based CCTV system, which protects and helps businesses through Smart Presence™ and a dynamic video view. This only brings relevant video to the operator’s attention while alerting them of threats before events occur. AI opens the doors to a more sophisticated security that can search for objects, events, and similarity by image. This makes it easier to find evidence with fewer resources.

Of course, one of the most valuable attributes at the heart of Dacha is its specialism in intruder detection. This can be integrated into the other systems that Dacha provides, creating a comprehensive security structure for a client’s premises. Each system is bespoke fitted to secure the building with monitoring facilities that can advise the keyholder of any activation or fault that occurs.

When it comes to security, Dacha have the whole thing sewn up. It’s little surprise that they’ve achieved such success, with solutions that are ideally suited to the needs of their clients.

For further information, please contact David Canty via email at [email protected]

How Text Messaging Can Enhance Your Business Communication

How Text Messaging Can Enhance Your Business Communication

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/texting-mobile-phones-hands-two-1490691/

If you think text messaging is a marketing tool that belongs to the past, you need to think again.

There are numerous benefits of using texts for communicating with your leads, customers, and in-house teams.

Let’s take a closer look at precisely how text messaging can enhance your business communication.

Text Messaging Is One of the Best Marketing Methods

Even though many companies place more focus on emails for marketing these days, text messages can actually be a much more effective way of communicating with leads and customers.

In fact, many studies have shown that marketing emails only have a 15% to 22% chance of being opened and read, often because they’re mistaken for spam and fail to reach people’s inboxes, whereas studies show text messages used for marketing have a very high open rate, of around 98%.

The reason is most people carry their smartphones with them and always check their phones whenever they hear the sound or feel the vibration of a new text being received. That means texts aren’t only opened more than emails. They’re also opened quicker.

So, text messaging can be a great tool for marketing, especially when you’re promoting time-limited offers. And the good news is, there are several ways to send a text message from a computer, so you can easily set up a system for text marketing.

Text Messaging Enables You to Get Immediate Responses

Following on from the last point, studies show that it takes people just 90 seconds on average to respond to a text message.

On the other hand, studies show it takes an average of 90 minutes for people to respond to emails. So, not only are texts opened quicker than emails. You can also get responses much quicker.

While not all of your marketing texts may need responses, many texts that your company sends to customers, leads, clients, and employees will require responses. You can get those responses much quicker when you use text messaging as your preferred communication method.

Text Messaging Enhances In-house Team Communication

Texting isn’t just for communicating with customers. It can also be used for in-house purposes.

With text messaging, you can plan events, set up meetings, and contact field staff easily. You’ll be able to send messages to multiple employees, keep a record of all the messages that are sent, and keep track of who has received your messages and responded.

Your teams will always have their phones with them. So, as with marketing, text messaging can be an effective communication tool for getting people to open and view important messages quickly.

In turn, all of your employees can enhance their communications.

Text Messaging Is a Great Tool for Providing Better Customer Support

Today’s customers want more and more options for communicating with customer support agents. The more accessible you make your customer support team, the easier you make it for your customers to get in touch and receive answers to their questions or quickly get issues fixed.

While you shouldn’t solely provide text messaging as a customer support communication method, when it’s used in addition to methods like email, telephone, and chatbots, text messaging can be an effective solution.

Customers particularly appreciate getting texts after they have spoken to a customer service agent about a problem when the texts update them about the status of their issue and inform them of when the problem is fixed.

Final Thoughts

It should now be clear just how much text messaging can enhance your business communications.

So, if you’re not yet using texts to communicate with your employees and customers, it’s about time you considered doing so.

Software for a Marvellous Future

Project management

Marvelution is a software company that simplifies Jenkins Integration in Jira and is predominantly focused on saving time for its clients. Built by Mark Rekveld, the firm has gone from strength-to-strength recently, culminating as it is recognised as 2022’s Leading Open-Source Software Development Specialists –Netherlands in the Corporate Vision Awards 2022.

Based approximately 20 kilometres outside Amsterdam, Marvelution is a software development shop that grew from an open source software hobby project and focusses on the Jenkins Integration for Jira app. The goal of the app is to make the integration of Jenkins in Jira as easy as possible whilst providing insight into the results of Jenkins and its relation to Jira issues.

Jira software is used for issue tracking and project management by more than 180,000 customers in around 190 countries, and Mark’s pioneering app has seen approximately 3,000 installs, and counting, to date. Some of the organisations that have used Jenkins Integration for Jira at some point in time have used it for bug-tracking and project management. These include big names, such as IBM, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, and the National Bank of Canada.

“I built Jenkins Integration for Jira initially to solve my own problem,” explains the firm’s Founder, Mark Rekveld. “I felt the integration process between Jenkins and Jira was inefficient and I thought there must be an easier way to work with Jenkins builds in Jira. Turns out I was not alone.”

Mark has a senior software engineer background as well as being an experience designer and solution architect, creating and building from small open source software to large enterprise applications. Mark initially focused on Java software development following gaining a Bachelor’s degree in informatics and his company started out as a way for Mark to share his coding work with the world. What began very much as an interest for Mark has since grown into a small, yet highly successful, company that provides software development consulting and development of its own software be it open or closed source.

“It has never been one magic thing,” he elaborates. “It is many little things I have added over time which I have learned with the help of the Jenkins and Jira communities.”

Thanks to the help of the Jenkins community of Jira users, Mark has steadily improved Jenkins Integration for Jira. What began very much as an umbrella open-source project in 2007, has led to a journey of success stories. The initial app for Jira for Hudson integration, one of Mark’s very first projects, launched on the Atlassian Marketplace in 2009 then, in 2013, Jenkins Integration for Jira went live on the Atlassian Marketplace. Such was its overwhelming success that Mark was able to establish Marvelution as a company in its own right in 2015.

Regarding clientele, Mark tells us that anyone that develops software using Jira and Jenkins is a potential customer. This can be from the smallest one-man hobbyist to the largest international corporations, banks, and governments.

“I try to be as open, honest and direct as possible with customers and treat all of them the same no matter the revenue they generate,” Netherlands-based one-man band Mark elaborates, “I still do all the development and customer service myself. I’m active in the open-source community and, more generally, I enjoy coding to solve problems. “This is a reason I personally deal with all support requests; I like helping users as they help me build things I’m happy with.” By putting his customers first, he has developed software that truly helps those around him. He has become a shining example of what it means to be client-focused.

Recently, Mark’s company was recognised for its hard work by being bestowed with the prestigious accolade of 2022’s Leading Open-Source Software Development Specialists – Netherlands by Corporate Vision and, whilst Mark’s biggest challenge is making sure the cloud app, Jenkins Integration for Jira, can accommodate the ever-growing demand. He has no definite plans regarding the future other than to keep having fun developing new features and assisting his dedicated customer base.

Mark concludes, “I shall just continue to focus on turning my hobby into a company and keep providing software development services, next to supporting the existing open source projects, that have made Marvelution into what it is today.”

For further information, please contact Mark Rekveld or visit https://marvelution.com 

Influencer Marketing and Protecting Brand Values

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become a commonly used alternative to traditional advertising and a great way to increase brand awareness and consumer reach in an authentic way. Although this can be extremely useful and cost effective in building your brand in moments, it can also do the total opposite, so how can you get the balance right? 

Matt Woods, Founder and CEO of digital and influencer marketing agency AFK, explains best practice ensuring you hit the mark every time. 

 

The influencer phenomenon

As a former content creator, I have worked and supported other creators in securing partnership deals. The millennial generation are becoming the world’s leading spenders and they trust user generated content – particularly when the creators champion and align with their interests. It is great to see how many brands have recognised that influencer marketing works for both performance and branding goals. In today’s world, the importance of user generated content as a way to reach audiences is growing all the time, especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach and persuade audiences using conventional media. It comes to no surprise that Gen Z name video games as their top entertainment activity (26%), followed by listening to music (14%), browsing the internet (12%) and engaging on social media (11%), leaving TV behind (Variety, 2021).

Whilst it can pay big dividends, it can be hard for brands to be open to new advertising methods and trust them with the values of their brand that has been so carefully built. Wanting to help other people navigate the space and having many years of experience, I founded an influencer management agency which has had the opportunity to grow over the years with the growth of interest in the area and we now work with over 180 exclusive content creators. The agency allows us to bring a level of collaboration to influencer marketing so that you, as brand owner, can be certain that your brand is protected and use the campaign to reinforce your brand values.

 

Importance of the right strategy and influencers

When utilising these exciting marketing methods, the most important thing is developing a creative strategy that utilises the right influencers on the best platforms to deliver the desired results and reach the target audience. As a brand looking to execute an influencer marketing campaign, influencers who align with the goals and values of the business are key. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy as it sounds to find the right influencer which is where agencies can come in and do the necessary research required. Agencies are investing globally in expertise, contacts and tools to reach the right influencers and deliver the right strategy to drive growth for brands. 

The increase in influencer marketing has led to the development of a range of softwares that can help brands identify the right fit for them. Using a combination of software that checks the influencer’s proven track record, conducting a content analysis and a brand safety check as well as checking the demographics and engagement analysis will ensure your brand is protected.

 

Protection of brand guidelines

A common fear that is highlighted by brands time and time again is that influencers will fail to adhere to the brand’s values and guidelines and will deviate from the key messaging. Influencers need to be provided with clear brand guidelines to make sure that businesses are represented correctly, influencers should also be screened to ensure alignment with brand values. Throughout the campaign day-to-day communication and reporting with the influencer must be managed to ensure messaging is consistent throughout. With these safety measures in place, through the brand and their agency, they have certainty that their brand is protected. 

There are so many examples of when this has gone wrong due to a lack of research, thought and the influencer no being the right fit. Although this happened 5 (!) years ago, we all remember when YouTube influencer Logan Paul posted an extremely disrespectful and distasteful video of an encounter with a Japanese suicide victim and as a consequence, lost out on numerous brand partnerships. 

 

Keeping influencers on track

When investing time and spending money, we all want to see results. Yet, considering that product timelines shift constantly, internal approvals can be a long process and messaging can change, it can be a lot of work to keep influencers on board and keeping up with an everchanging schedule. Influencers also often wish to contact you at any time, day or night, and on platforms your business may not have access to. This is where agencies and project managers are a vital resource. They assist in managing time by taking over the responsibility of keeping up the communication, ensuring timelines are adhered to and above all, reviewing content, making sure it is on-brand and in keeping with the key messaging. 

There are so many media platforms that brands need to be aware of at this time, this is another area where working with a dedicated team can prove extremely useful. Twitch, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even campaigns in the Metaverse are important for brands to reach the right audience and raise brand awareness so that we can help you manage this constant communication flow. From experience, good communication is one of the most important parts for a successful campaign as it gives you the opportunity to show influencers that they are valued and feel engaged with your brand. 

 

Influencer marketing is a great way to advertise your products and reach the right audiences but there is a lot of work behind it. With AFK, myself and my team are working to bring stability and predictability to the industry. Digital agencies like AFK are professionalising the industry, which is crucial to moving the influencer marketing industry forward.

Why Your Health is the Key to Your Success in Business

Health-Wealth

Entrepreneurs pull out all the stops when it comes to getting their businesses off the ground. The early days can involve long days, sleepless nights, and stress on the mind and body. It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur to put in 20+ hour days, ignore mealtimes and forget about what it feels like to really switch off.

Does that sound familiar to you? Are you putting in long hours but not getting the return that you deserve? If so, the problem may be a lack of self-care. While this term can come off a just another trend, it is far from a fad. The importance of self-care should not be ignored or disregarded, especially since the longer you do so, the harder it will be to get back on top of things. Let’s take a look at how your physical and mental health can impact your business and its path to success.

 

Physical Health

When you set up as self-employed you have deadlines to meet and customers to reach out to and the stress of having a to-do list as long as your arm can force you to neglect your normal routine. It can be tempting to stay in the office and get a takeout five nights in a row instead of going home to get some rest and enjoy a home-cooked meal. It might seem like the right thing to do at the time but the effect of not getting enough sleep and not eating healthy meals can be detrimental to your focus, energy, productivity, and overall health. Lack of sleep – in the more serious cases – can cause heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can also cause weight gain and a weakened immune system, which puts the body at risk of contracting all kinds of illnesses.

Lack of sleep and poor diet choices will leave you looking physically rundown. You could have dark circles under your eyes, poor skin, and you might even experience side effects that include hair thinning and poor circulation. All of these factors can lead to you being forced to take time off work. No one will want to do business with someone who looks physically drained so why not give yourself the best chance at success by looking after your physical health now? It is essential to realize that there is not a one size fits all solution to prioritizing your health. You need to find a series of daily habits that work for you and support your goals. Get out to exercise more, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and make sure you look the part each day you show up at the office.

 

Mental Health

Poor mental health can be the single cause of your business not reaching its full potential. The effects of not looking after yourself mentally can ripple through every facet of your operations. It’s important to know that there are solutions to every problem you’re facing so don’t compromise your mental health and the success of your company. If you’re struggling financially, it’s time to get your finances in order first so you can free up funds to put into your business. This might mean taking out a personal loan to get your own finances in order but the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that you have extra cash to play with will make things so much easier.

If you’re dealing with a personal issue at home, try to talk things out with your loved ones so it doesn’t seep into your work life and cause even more problems. If you feel alone and anxious about the future, why not join an entrepreneur networking group? It’s a place where you can share ideas, give advice, and make long lasting connections with people who are on a similar path to you.

If you don’t give your mental health the attention it deserves, your productivity and output will suffer. Deadlines will become near impossible to meet, you’ll find it hard to concentrate, and your motivation to succeed will dwindle. Give yourself the best chance of reaching your full potential by taking breaks, asking for help when you need it, making new connections and spending time outside in nature when you can. All of this will boost your productivity in the office and take you one step closer to your dream of being a successful business owner.

Deploying Technology in Trucking to Win Loyal Customers

Truck

Having a sound transport system is vital to the operations of many, if not all, businesses. This has caused the commercial fleet industry to expand rapidly, increasing the competition within it. Improving the quality of services to attain customer loyalty is essential in order to secure a place in the industry. You can do this by investing in advanced fleet dash cam systems if you own a fleet. Below, we explore how such technology can let you win loyal customers. 

 

Performance: Enhanced Services

Fleet dash cam systems have long since evolved out of the basic record-and-store model. Sophisticated solutions in the market come packed with several capabilities due to the integration of various technologies like AI, GPS tracking, cloud storage, etc. These can let you retain your customers by allowing better fleet performance in a number of ways:  

 

1. Better Routing

Customers value timeliness. However, ensuring quick deliveries goes beyond looking for the shortest route. Unpredictable traffic jams and faulty roads can delay deliveries, impacting your reputation and turning away first-time customers from enlisting your fleet’s services again. 

Having GPS integrated into vehicle monitoring systems lets managers analyze all the available routes through real-time traffic information. If congested roads are spotted on time, the driver can be instructed to change their course. On the other hand, dash camera systems let you assess the condition of the road when needed, allowing you to store the information for future references and direct the driver to a better route.   

 

2. Reduced Idling

Drivers can cause delays in deliveries by taking unnecessary stops. As drivers realize their location and video can be accessed by fleet managers anytime, the likelihood of them idling will decrease. In addition, integrating GPS systems can record and confirm the time at which a vehicle reaches the designated site. This enhanced visibility over your operations lets you ensure that your trucks reach their destinations at the optimum time, making sure your customers face no delays.  

 

3. Safe Deliveries of Products

Having inward-facing cameras has two benefits. Firstly, it ensures that the driver is not indulging in reckless behavior like drinking while driving. Secondly, it deters any potential break-ins as such systems can be set up to start recording if they sense motion in a parked vehicle. These features ensure that products get delivered to the customers as safely as possible. 

 

4. Better Control Over Interactions With Customers

Letting drivers know they are being monitored ensures that they stay on their best behavior when interacting with customers. This, along with quick service and a record of the arrival times, lets your customer service remain on top. In addition, in the case of a customer filing a complaint like having to deal with a driver who has consumed alcohol, you can swiftly analyze the video evidence and take measures to compensate the wronged party.

 

Ethics: Safer Employees and Safer Community

With increasing awareness, customers have begun valuing companies that are transparent in how they stay true to their claimed values. Over half of the consumers in the US alone say that they have stopped purchasing from companies that they perceive as unethical. In contrast, three in ten consumers are seen to support companies on social media that they perceive as ethical. 

Large vehicles are not as easy to control, so trucking businesses need to prove that they take employee and community safety seriously. Here is how advanced dash camera and tracking systems help you do that:

 

1. Safer Drives

Ethical operations of business entail making the security of employees the topmost priority. Fleet dash camera systems are vital for trucking businesses to ensure that their drivers remain safe. More than 40% of users report a considerable decrease in safety incidents since employing fleet tracking solutions to monitor driver behavior. This does not mean having an eye on all footage all day long but rather integrating intelligent systems to monitor the fleet.

Advanced fleet dash cam systems offer smart in-cab cameras that can detect signs of exhaustion and alert the driver audibly so that they can focus, pull up, or inform managers of their condition to get a replacement. Access to 360-degree footage further ensures that you can fight against wrongful claims made against your drivers in case of accidents, as video recording provides undebatable evidence.

 

2. Quick Response to Emergencies

As GPS integrated systems let you have access to the exact location of your vehicles, you can dispatch technical help quickly in case of any driver requesting mechanical or technical assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Not only does this further aid in making quick deliveries, but this feature further lets you ascertain that no driver gets stranded in an inhospitable landscape, further enhancing the security you provide to your drivers.

 

3. Ease of Driver Training and Performance Tracking

Training drivers is essential to let you make sure they drive patiently and safely. Dashcam systems can allow you to track driver performances and habits down to the bits that need correction. GPS systems can further be programmed to record the maximum speed attained by each vehicle, letting you pinpoint if a driver is driving too fast. Finally, drivers themselves can figure out areas that they need improvement in through features such as post-incident analysis. The better training you impart, the more you will be playing your part in ensuring that your fleet vehicles drive safely on the road.

 

4. Safer Communities

Working towards a safer community should be among the core values of any business. Holding your fleet members to high standards of driving quality lets you work towards maintaining and enhancing the safety of entire communities. When you employ tracking systems, you can hold drivers accountable for their actions. Ensuring this accountability is vital to playing your part in making your business operations safer to keep your surroundings secure.

 

Endnote 

Getting new customers is more expensive than maintaining existing ones, so businesses must ensure that their performance stays consistent and improves with time. Advanced dashcam systems allow better visibility and control over fleets, letting trucking businesses provide the best services possible. In addition, deploying such technology ensures that vehicles are driven as safely as possible. If you own a commercial fleet, investing in sophisticated dashcam systems may be necessary for you to secure a stronghold in the market. 

Modelling the Future

AI & Data

With the title of ‘Most Innovative AI & Data Science Start-up’ in 2021 for the region of Qatar under its belt, AGDS Computer Systems has made itself a cornerstone of industry. Critically, its algorithm creation and deep technology solutions are shaping the future of Qatar and the world, providing governments and internationally concerned entities with the technologies needed to appropriately respond to the trials of the pandemic.

ADGS was founded in 2015, based in Qatar. Fundamentally, its purpose was and is to funnel investment into new and niche deep technologies, from their research and development to their promotion, sale, and commercialization – specifically regarding the field of emergent behaviour. This usually means replicating biological systems that use artificial intelligence, applying it to cybersecurity, healthcare, and business intelligence. In terms of the ADGS Computer Systems’ client base, it is a widespread and varied roster that spans a multitude of different industries, but primarily it serves government organisations, the military, and intelligence organizations.

Large entities such as airports, healthcare, and banks also frequently contract its work, as being a very flexible company with a deep scientific knowledge, it competes with the largest companies such as Oracle, IBM, Accenture, and KPMG in its industry. This, crucially, has allowed it to secure its place in the pecking order of a competitive field in which developments and keeping oneself up to date is key, offering customers lower costs and better adaptations, with higher reactivity and flexibility.

Furthermore, it thinks of its staff as a family. This community and group-minded atmosphere allows it to cultivate a healthy and productive working environment full of team players who are excited to push the limits of ingenuity, where every voice is listened to and valued. In addition to this, its recruitment process prizes candidates who display a high intelligence quotient, seriousness and professionalism, creativity when it comes to problem solving, and an interest in mathematics and computer science.

Its recent developments have caught the eye of heavy hitting entities all over the world; for instance, the development of PANDEXIT, a product that uses a unique combination of AI and ABM – agent-based modelling – emulates the social dynamic of an entire population in order to run simulations. These simulations specifically have been built to mirror certain scenarios that impact a population during a pandemic, allowing the development of a pandemic propagation model that is incredibly granular, and invaluable to officials.

This also has allowed governmental officials and institutions to react to different variants of Covid-19. Through use of modelling technology, it can forecast how each variant will act in a population and how it travels, keeping an eye on what factors and variables need to be strictly controlled in order to decrease risk as much as possible. Its simulations are uniquely clear, working to a demonstratable level of detail, and with each element of it carefully designed to replicate a naturalistic scenario that accurately mirrors the modern social workings of a specific country or region.

This, previously, has been a solution that was sorely lacking in governmental organizations. In tandem with the granular nature of the programme that allows it to ascertain such an in-depth insight, allowing it to make predictions at 30 to 40 days with a unique level of accuracy. Due to the in-depth and dependable nature of ADGS’ work, it has become the company of choice for several high-profile clients. Most recently, it has been selected by one of the major international airports in order to develop most of their future AI systems, one that will be able to handle a wide range of different solutions – and one that will ensure the client is working with streamlined and smart software. This will be something that arranges everything from predictive maintenance to predictive asset replacement for the airport and its staff, as well as covering platform attribution, energy saving, and more.

AGDS has managed to secure its place in its niche due to the relative difficulty facing deep technology in Arab nations, and its dedication to bucking this trend. By working hard to change the region’s attitude towards it, it is client by client achieving a regional shift in attitude, showing how much deep technology can benefit a population’s leaders in the provision of accurate modelling. This allows rules and regulations to be fundamentally informed by how it will impact a population. Therefore, to leaders of industry and governance alike, it is an invaluable tool to have on side – and AGDS is continuing this push to reach yet more authorities in Qatar.

Should a client be intrigued to learn more prior to getting in contact, it encourages them to go to its website; here it has a multitude of different resources that are available for them to peruse, from videos to specific details and press information about their work, all of which has been designed to be user friendly. AGDS, despite being a relatively new company, has come a long way in achieving its goals and making itself the cutting-edge new solution for the modern world. Its algorithms, informed by the best and brightest and their innovations, build futuristic applications that are supported by its ability to make itself a business partner to its clients.

This speaks to AGDS’ customer service acumen as well as the excellence of its technological solutions, the proof of which can be found in the strength of its partnerships – with bilateral cooperation agreements with renowned laboratories all over the world, as well as universities and foundations, its influence is growing by the day. AGDS is the company that systems integrators reach out to when specialist systems are needed. With systems that are top-of-the-range, integrated, and fit-to-purpose, it works hard to ensure that the data a client will glean from its work can always lead to direct, actionable results.

In a similar manner, its work in essence wishes to make computers more effective at serving humanity. This, AGDS hopes, will create a future in which technology becomes an active partner in bettering the world through an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and how certain stimuli will affect their behaviour, connecting computing power directly to human activity. Although it knows there is still a long way to go in terms of the promotion of this approach, it is confident that the market is experiencing a tone shift; one that has been made especially prevalent by the last year or so.

Over the course of the pandemic, people have had to rely more than ever on technology. From intrapersonal communication to governmental liaising, business deals, and more, everything has had to pivot online, making computed solutions to modern problems a more important field than ever before. Moreover, when one considers what Pandexit does and how much it is tailored specifically to make government and official lives easier when considering the impact of rules and regulations, it becomes clear just how much algorithm creation and deep technology will be important going forward.

For further information, please contact Christophe Billiottet or visit adgs.com

Efficient Industrial Motors

Technology-driven manufacturer

Adventech is the technology-driven manufacturer of the Maxeff Electric Motor Generator which can be built to the customer’s system’s needs and can be used in almost any kind of machine or system, such as driving compressors, water treatment plant pumps, conveyor belts, hydraulic systems, stage blowers, and cooling tower fans. The company is committed to developing innovative, efficient technologies and devices which save energy costs and are kinder to the planet. Recognised by Corporate Vision as the Most Innovative Tech-Driven Motor Manufacturing Company 2021, we take a closer look.

In a world that is facing a climate crisis, energy shortfalls and excessive waste, Adventech’s Maxeff technology works to be part of the solution, replacing conventional motors with technology that consistently produces real, dramatic reductions in energy consumption.

Over 50% of the world’s power is consumed by electric drive motors, with anywhere between 15% and 30% (or higher) of power being wasted. The Maxeff motor aims to resolve this issue by capturing reactive energy and reconverting it into leading inductive energy to either be utilised within the motor itself so it doesn’t have to call so much power from the grid, or to create enough power to feed external inductive resources. Maxeff also requires substantially fewer amps to do the same work as any standard motor.

Similar to other electric motors, Maxeff features an induction motor circuit. Unlike traditional models, it has a built-in, all-in-one induction generator circuit. Its two-circuit design uses the same magnetic field, rotor, and stator to produce more shaft power than similar induction electric motors. Where a standard motor would require a 200 kVA generator to start, a comparable Maxeff will start on a 100kVA generator. And combined with the available add-on of Maxeff Soft Start, it can start and stop without experiencing high amp draw and temperature.

Maxeff motors use electromechanical contactors and a sequence of internal automated connections to power the built-in electrical and mechanical soft start. Maxeff, combined with Maxeff Soft Start, allows the motor to receive grid power at only a third of its nominal HP, roll automatically to 66%, and then to full HP. The unique feature reduces the inrush current and allows Maxeff motors to ramp up smoothly and progressively. This revolutionary soft start sequence allows Maxeff motors to be started from generators half the size required by standard motors.

Soft start also allows start, stop and restart as often as needed without overheating or incurring excessive peak demand charges. This option is available on all Maxeff motors – All customers have to do is request it.

Adventech also offers Maxeff two-speed motors which come in speed ranges of 3600/1800 rpm, 1800/900 rpm, 1200/600 rpm, and 900/450 rpm. This can be constant torque or constant HP design. In applications like condenser fans, a two-speed motor can be easily controlled without VFD or any electronic components. The speed switch system can be controlled by PLC or manually. When you don’t need full air movement, you can switch to low speed then back to full speed as your systems require it, allowing for enormous energy savings.

Normally, low-speed motors are not used much because of their poor power factor. Maxeff low-speed designs have the same efficiency and a higher power than any market premium efficiency high-speed motor. They should be used to increase airflow anytime possible in order to save energy.

In 2014, one of Adventech’s customers, Smelter Services Inc. purchased three 200 HP Maxeff motors. They had aluminium furnaces with 125 HP motors and undersized turbine fans, which required replacement with 200 HP motors. This normally would have required changing cable sizes, contactor sizes, and motor starter sizes, but alternatively, they chose 200 HP Maxeff motors and mounted them in the place of the old 125 HP, which didn’t change anything else, not even the breakers. Since the install, the 200 HP Maxeff motors have been cooler while drawing fewer amps.

Additionally, the plant has a 1 mega-watt contract with its power company; with the 125 HP motors, they had no trouble reaching their contract power consumption. After replacing only three 125 HP motors for 200 HP Maxeff motors, the company received a fine for never reaching its 1 mega-watt contract level. So, once a month, the plant now opens the vents on the fan housing to force an overload into the motors for an hour – It reaches the 1 mega-watt to get out of the penalty zone and saves power all month long. In February 2017, the plant purchased four more new Maxeff motors for a plant extension.

Meanwhile, MI Metals in Oldsmar, Florida is an aluminium recycling plant, which, like many manufacturers, faced growing production on already limited power constraints. In its location, the step-down transformers and the power lines in the area are maxed out. Increasing kVA would require changing miles of power lines and installing bigger transformers. In the meantime, production was calling for more cooling capacity to handle hot aluminium bars coming from the furnaces and extruders. To address its problems, MI Metals replaced 15 of its existing motors with Maxeff motors, which reduced the kVA by 50% at each replaced fan. Then, it added 15 new fans while staying under its amp/kVA restraints.

Indeed, the Maxeff concept is something that has never been done before. The world sees electric motors as they have been seen for the last 50 years, but Maxeff is truly revolutionising this.

For further information, please contact Ron Ballman or visit www.adventechinc.com