Self Improvement Articles

Tips on Making Deeper Connections with Friends

Trying to develop meaningful relationships with friends can be tough these days. Superficial, disconnected communication has become the norm in today’s society. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to develop those deeper connections.

You’ll typically find most people crave meaningful friendships. The trouble is, it can be difficult knowing how to make them.

If you’re determined to make deeper connections with friends, below you’ll discover some great tips you can follow that can help.

Be Prepared to Open Up

One of the key elements of a deeper friendship is being open with one another. You can’t just expect the other person to be open with you and not give the same openness in return.

It’s impossible to maintain a deep connection with someone when you’re guarded. So, be willing to open up and talk about the things that are important to you. You don’t need to share all of your innermost secrets, but it is important to trust your friends enough to be open with them.

The more open you are, the deeper the connection you’ll make with friends.

Commit to Regular Communication

As you grow older, maintaining friendships becomes much more difficult. You have work and family life to juggle too, so it’s easy to let communication between friends slide.

If you want to benefit from deeper connections, you need to make the effort to stay in communication. If you’re connecting with the right friends, it won’t really feel like an effort either. It could be giving them a quick ring regularly. Ensuring you meet up once a week (if distance makes this possible) and just maintaining communication will really help to keep your relationship strong.

Spend Quality Time Together

You’re going to want to spend quality time with the friends you’re hoping to develop a deeper connection to. One-on-one time allows you to create memories, get to know each other better and enjoy each other’s company.

While it may be difficult, you’ll also want to focus on avoiding using your phone when you’re spending time together. It’s easy for technology to become a distraction and prevent you from developing deeper connections.

Be Honest and Don’t Avoid Difficult Topics

Similar to the earlier point of being open, it’s also important to be honest and not avoid difficult topics. Friends aren’t just there through the good times. They are also there to support you through any difficulties you might face. So, if things aren’t going well, don’t hide it. Be honest about how things are going and how you feel.

The more honest you are, the more your friends will trust you. This will also encourage them to be more honest with you. No deep connection can occur without you being honest and talking about the things that really matter in life.

There’s no doubt that it can be tough to maintain deep friendships today. However, if you follow the tips above, you’ll be able to start developing much deeper connections. Remember, it’s all about being honest and spending quality time together.

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What to Do When You Lose a Key Member of Staff (Including Yourself)

What to Do When You Lose a Key Member of Staff (Including Yourself)

If you have employees or contractors that work with you in your business, there will come a time that either someone leaves willingly, or someone leaves unwillingly. People find other opportunities and sadly people get sick, or you must let them go. That’s how life is.

Your business is no different. In fact, you may find someday that you can no longer perform the duties you’ve always done, for a variety of reasons, and you’ll have to find a way around it. Luckily, if you plan well you can avoid a disaster from happening and keep work going regardless.

Wish the Person Well

If you lose a key member of your staff because they’re moving on to new opportunities, thank them and wish them well. Hopefully, you’ve been given a chance to find a replacement with a two-week notice. Use that time to conduct an exit interview so that you can make the position better for the next person.

Tell Those Affected by the Change

If this change affects anyone, from other staff to customers, it’s imperative that you announce the results quickly instead of taking your time. The sooner people know, the less likely they are to be worried. You can also mitigate concerns by being open and transparent.

Get Recommendations for a Replacement

Sometimes the person leaving knows other people who may want the position, so ask them. If that’s not the case, when you announce that the staff member is leaving, mention the job opening and the unusual opportunity right away.

Study What Went Wrong

If someone leaves due to stress or another issue, you may want to figure out what went wrong so that you can make your place of business more attractive to workers who will stay long term.

Communicate the Departure or Issue ASAP

If you are the one who has to leave for some reason (even though it’s your own business), if you can recommend someone to replace you to your customers, they’ll be very appreciative. If someone else is going to do the work in your place through your business like nothing happened, let them know that too.

Don’t Place All Your Eggs in One Basket

You can prevent problems with losing staff if you have redundancies in place. It depends on how you run your business but if you have an office, train someone to take over for that other person when they’re sick or out of the office. That person can then be put in that position temporarily until you find someone, or they can be promoted. If you hire contractors, consider hiring more than one for each project and have each do only a small portion that can easily be handed off to someone else should they leave.

Document the Work Steps

If you do a lot of work for your business outside of management and planning, consider documenting all that you do so that it can be easily given to someone else to do. That way, when you’re ready to leave or if you get sick, you can hand off work to due to the step-by-step directions.

Set Up Redundancies

One way to deal with losing staff is not to hire one person for each project. For example, if you’re an author who retains editors, employ more than one – for example, one editor works part-time while another works full time. That way, the part-time person already knows what to do and can be called on if you have more work for them to do.

Systemize and Automate

The more things that can be finished using technology, the better for the stability of your business. Try to systemize and automate everything that you can instead of hiring staff to do it. That way you won’t be dealing with this issue for everything.

Hopefully, if you act on these suggestions, you won’t be caught off guard by someone leaving unexpectedly or lose your business if you must be away from it for a while. In most cases, you can keep on going without a glitch if you plan for contingencies while things are going well.

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What to Do When Clients Won’t Pay

Sometimes, even if you think you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll run into a client who had you do work that they have no intention of paying. But most of the time, the problem is something else. Often, it can be traced to poor cash flow and poor planning. Thankfully, if you react carefully you can usually get them to pay you.

Don’t Do More Work

If you are working on more deliverables for the client that is not paying, you’ll want to stop doing any more work for them until you make fair payment arrangements. If you keep working, they’re not going to be incentivized to pay, and you’ll just end up with them owing even more that they obviously cannot afford to pay.

Send Reminders

Whenever you create an invoice, make it so that it sends them reminders every three to seven days automatically. If it’s legal where you live, you can add an automated late fee to the invoice too. That way, not only will they get the automatic reminder but they’ll also see their bill getting larger.

Open Multiple Lines of Communication

Don’t just communicate via email; resort to sending bills in snail mail and sending SMS messages too. That way, they can see that they can communicate with you in many ways. You can also phone your customer to remind them when the bill is due and leave a message with alternative plan options.

Avoid Making Threats

While it is infuriating when you’re not paid – after all, you’re likely counting on that money – it does happen. It’s illegal for you to make threats to the person or to tell them you’re going to do something such as contact their employer. You also cannot legally out them to the world without liability concerns, so be careful.

Give Them Payment Options

When you realize they’re more than 30 days overdue paying, one way to get them to take notice is by sending them a one-time option to make payments on the amount owed. One tactic is to let them pay 75% of the bill, and you’ll zero it out if they do it by a certain time.

Sell Your Unpaid Invoices to a Bill Collector

You can find a bill collector who will buy the bills from you and then collect the unpaid bills. You can do this if you have iron-clad contracts and proof that they owe you the money. A bill collector may pay from 30 to 70 percent of the invoice, or they may take them by offering you half of what they collect.

Seek Legal Remedies

One way to deal with an unpaid bill is to hire an attorney who will work for you only to collect the money. In some instances, you may take them to the small claims court too. There are often many ways you can deal with this, including putting a lean on their property if you can prove they owe the funds.

Change Your Onboarding Process

If you have an issue with one client not paying, consider checking your onboarding process to ensure you get only paying clients from now on.

Create Legally Binding Contracts with Your Clients

Ensure that every single client you work with signs a contract with you, stating both of your responsibilities. Get an attorney to help you make legally binding contracts that work with your type of business.

Whenever you have an issue with a client, always look at your contract before you take any steps. Then, when you communicate with your client, bring up the contract so that they’re reminded of it, but always do it in a non-threatening way. After that, add methods to prevent the problem from occurring again to old contracts. Any repeat customer who has trouble paying on time needs to start paying upfront.

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Tips on How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Tips on How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property includes inventions and original work or products that are owned by your company. Intellectual property (IP) can sometimes seem intangible to some small businesses, but it does include written works, logos, products, design, systems and more. However, to ensure you are protecting your intellectual property, you have to actively work on it.

For some work, you’ll need copyright or a patent. Copyright happens the moment you create the IP, and you don’t really have to do anything else. If you prefer to apply for a copyright through the government for each thing you want a little extra information for, you can, but you don’t have to do it.

A patent will prevent other people from making your product, and it is required if you want to protect it. It happens with secret recipes, formulas, and other products – usually physical in nature. Patents are expensive, and the truth is, another company can still copy you and call it something else because it’s super-hard to prove. Also, when you do create a patent, you have to give your secrets to them.

Develop a Policy and System

To get something done right, it will help if you do it the same way each time. If you want to buy a copyright for each blog post you write, you can, but you don’t really need to. Instead, simply write that it’s copyrighted on each thing you create – whether a book, art, or something else.

Create Legal Contracts

When you work with others, especially creatives, you’ll want to ensure your business owns the copyright to their work. Put it in each contract that they sign so that they know any work they create is owned by your company.

Check Your Creations to Ensure Originality

When you create something or someone makes something for you, don’t assume it’s original. Even if no one meant to copy it, it can happen. Always check before you claim copyright that something is indeed original.

Hire an Expert

If you are dealing with a lot of products that need copyright and patent protection, you’ll want to ensure that you work with a good lawyer or another expert in intellectual property. Then you can simply let them deal with it for you.

Record All Your Evidence

As you are creating something new, document how you’re doing it – including timestamps on computers and other methods for proving the timeline of creation. This can help if you ever do need to go to court to prove your copyright.

Apply for a Patent Here and Abroad

If you’ve determined you need a patent to protect your IP, don’t assume it’s protected just by getting one in your own country. Check international laws regarding it to ensure you’re protected fully.

Copyright Your Material

Your art, writing, and thoughts that you put down are already protected, but for added protection you can apply online for about 35 dollars and up for copyright protection for your works. This is additional protection since works that require copyrights are already protected just because you say it is.

Prosecute Anyone Who Steals Your Intellectual Property

This is the primary key to protecting your IP. If you find out that anyone is violating your IP, you need to act each time – legally. If you don’t work to actively enforce copyright, you can lose it. That means if you think a new business is using your IP illegally, you need to ask them to stop via letter and hire an attorney if needed to enforce your rights.

No one wants to lose control of their own name, business identity, and product, but it does happen when unscrupulous people use someone’s intellectual property without the right to and you don’t call them to task legally if you can. Create a plan to protect yourself, and you’ll experience far fewer problems when word gets around that you don’t play when it comes to your intellectual property rights.

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