The Benefits of Putting Your Brand on Social Media

With approximately 240 million people using social media nationwide, there’s a good chance that your niche customers and clientele are using at least one social network platform. Having a presence on these platforms is a great opportunity to get your brand in front of them.

Let’s look at a few of the benefits of marketing your business in a continuously growing digital community.

1) It establishes credibility.

With a whopping 81% of shoppers researching a brand or product online before making a purchase, it’s important that your business has an established online presence. When a potential customer or client sees an active social media platform from a company that regularly posts updates, it reassures them that you’re a legitimate business and not another internet scam. If you haven’t updated your website or social media platforms in a while, customers or clients may think you’ve gone out of business, or lacked legitimacy from the start.

2) It builds brand awareness.

The U.S Small Business Administration states that there were 31.7 million small businesses at the end of 2020, proving how competitive it can be for a business to thrive. Social media can communicate your brand’s distinguishing factors that set your business apart from the competition. There are multiple formats of content you can share on your business profiles, including images, videos, and blogs. Social media platforms typically operate with similar features that allow users to share your content, thus exposing more potential customers to your brand. If creating content for your brand seems overwhelming, hiring a social media coordinator could be worth looking into.

3) It encourages engagement.

Interacting with your clients across social media platforms allows you to strengthen your customer relationships and build a loyal base of followers. Personalizing your responses to questions, concerns, and comments can show that your business genuinely cares about their experience. Once your customers feel connected to your brand, they will be more likely to use your service or shop your store.

73% of marketers have found that social media has been either “somewhat effective” or “very effective” with their brand. If you haven’t thought about integrating social media as a functioning tool of your business strategy, today is a great day to start.

What Qualities and Skills Make an Effective Leader?

As you experience life, you come to realize that everyone reaches various stages and milestones at different times. And when you reach a crossroad or have a big decision to make in terms of your career, you often turn to more experienced individuals for mentorship, usually in the form of a leader.

Leaders may come in various shapes and forms, but most of them share the same core set of qualities.

Communicate efficiently.

Open, honest, and clear communication is crucial to the success of any business. By setting an example of transparency and demonstrating the will to listen, you can encourage your team members to follow suit and build a sense of trust.

Effective leaders take the “open-door policy” to another level by learning how to adjust the way they interact with different team members and show genuine interest in their ideas and concerns. To do this, ask engaging questions or schedule time to check in with your team members on a regular basis.

Motivate others.

Being motivational towards your team members should include encouraging growth in both their personal and professional lives, from learning new skills to sharing exciting developments.

If you take the time to train your employees on new activities, you may inspire them and help them adopt newfound confidence in their abilities. Empower them instead of giving orders.

Once you’ve taught your team members valuable skills and more efficient practices, you can encourage them to take on new and challenging opportunities, while offering them guidance along the way.

Have empathy.

Being empathetic means more than being a nice person – it means understanding motivations, trying to find valid solutions to problems, and putting yourself into others’ shoes to help understand where they are coming from. From a workplace perspective, this can give insight into your employees’ ideas or how they made certain decisions.

Empathy is one of the greatest workplace assets you can have in terms of productivity and profitability. By being empathetic toward your team members, you can help create and foster a more open and collaborative work environment.

These are just a few of the characteristics required to become an effective leader. Other attributes may come with time, experience, and introspection. Are you ready to begin your path to improving your leadership skills?

Establishing a Personal Brand at Work

When the term personal brand is used, people tend to think of politicians, executives, or even celebrities. The concept of a personal brand has expanded to include all kinds of trades and positions, no matter the industry. Implementing one for yourself may help to advance your career.

So where do you begin?

What is a Personal Brand?

While it can have various definitions, a personal brand boils down to your distinct professional reputation. This includes the skills and values that you can offer to your employer, and is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

A personal brand is a roadmap of your desired career trajectory that can be used to make the decisions that will help you along the way. This can help adjust any preconceptions that your coworkers and supervisors may have of you while putting you in a position that could lead to promotions/advancements where you might’ve been overlooked upon before.

Here are some ways you can begin to solidify your personal brand:

1. Offer to take on new challenges/opportunities.

If you want to progress in your career by establishing a personal brand, maintaining your status quo isn’t going to help. The next time a new project is introduced that’s in the direction of projects you’d like to move towards, offer ideas that you think could be beneficial, or offer to take responsibility for some of the tasks that it entails. Showing interest and initiative can leave the door open for future opportunities.

2. Speak up.

It can be difficult for others to realize your full potential if you aren’t making yourself known. By voicing your opinion and sharing occasional personal anecdotes, your authentic self can shine through. This may encourage others to open up and help foster a creative and communicative environment for everyone.

You should also consider having a discussion with your supervisor. If you inform them of your career goals, they may be able to offer advice and feedback. They’ll appreciate having an employee that is actively working to improve and taking initiative on projects and tasks.

3. Be consistent.

Once you start taking these steps to build your personal brand you’ll want to be patient and consistent. A good reputation is achieved when evidence of a positive pattern can be observed by others. Self-improvement takes time and evolves as you continue to grow and learn about yourself. Maintaining consistency in your work and attitude will help your coworkers and supervisors trust in your abilities.

Personal brands can help you take your career to the next step while also making you feel more confident. It’s never too late to start on a journey of self-improvement.

man in business clothes looking stressed while staring out a window

Job Stress & Health

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress and your health are directly related.

Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved for longer periods of time, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear-and-tear to biological systems. Ultimately, fatigue or damage results and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease increases.

Stress sets off an alarm in the brain, which then responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused and hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration, and tense the muscles. This response (sometimes called the fight or flight response) is important because it helps us defend against threatening situations. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at work or home. While responding in primarily the same way, the levels of intensity do vary from person to person.

Many studies have looked at the relationship between job stress and a variety of ailments, especially in the last 20 years. Mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach and headache, and disturbed relationships with family and friends are examples of stress-related problems that are quick to develop and are commonly seen in these studies. These early signs of job stress are usually easier to recognize. Comparatively, the effects of job stress on chronic diseases are more difficult to see because chronic diseases take a long time to develop and can be influenced by many factors other than stress. Nonetheless, evidence is rapidly accumulating to suggest that stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders.

Early Warning Signs of Job Stress:

  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Short temper
  • Upset stomach
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Low morale

Stress, Health, and Productivity:

Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil.  In these cases, management feels they must turn up the pressure on workers, however, this can end up setting aside health concerns in order to remain productive and profitable in today’s economy. Contrary to this belief,  recent research findings are stating quite the opposite.  Studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs—all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line.

Recent studies suggest that policies benefiting worker health also benefit the bottom line. A healthy organization is defined as one that has low rates of illness, injury, and disability in its workforce and is also competitive in the marketplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research has identified organizational characteristics associated with both healthy, low-stress work and high levels of productivity. Examples of these characteristics include the following:

  • Recognition of employees for good work performance
  • Opportunities for career development
  • An organizational culture that values the individual worker
  • Management actions that are consistent with organizational values

Finding ways to balance work life and the stressors that come with it are far and wide with options. It can be as simple as taking a walk and getting some fresh air during your lunch break or even encouraging a friendly office-wide wellness competition of sorts. The most important part is finding the method that works for you, and then being consistent with it.

couple with young child playing

Is Your Emergency Fund Ready?

Emergencies are unpredictable, but the money you set aside to cover unexpected expenses (usually big ones) can help.

Along with paying off debt, an emergency fund should come before other financial goals like saving for a down payment on a home, funding your child’s future college, and even investing for your retirement.

Planning Ahead

Conventional wisdom suggests keeping your emergency fund in a place that’s safe and readily accessible (like a savings account). But with interest rates so low, why set aside money you hope to never use in an account where it’ll earn little to no interest?

A safe approach would tread the line between reasonable liquidity (knowing your money will be there when you need it) and growth (earning enough interest to at least keep pace with inflation).

The Cost of Financial Safety

The first step to determining how much money you should be saving will require you to determine what your household spends in a typical month. Next, separate the costs of the necessities from the non-essentials. Lastly, take the monthly cost of your necessities and multiply it by at least three. Industry experts recommend saving enough money to cover at least three to six months of living expenses.

Taking the Next Steps

Financial wellness can bring you peace of mind and help you live well today and plan for tomorrow. That’s why it is important to be proactive in regards to topics like these. Finetune your emergency fund plan ahead of time to relieve yourself of the stress, in case that emergency fund is needed down the line.

The 3 Most Important Reasons to Invest in Dental Insurance

Over the last year we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on staying healthy. We’ve washed our hands to the tune of happy birthday, worn face masks in public, and stayed home instead of going out. But when was the last time we focused on our oral health? Science has shown that problems that begin in our mouths can have an impact on the rest of our bodies.

But aside from daily flossing and brushing, taking care of our teeth and gums can be expensive. Dental insurance can help you cover the cost of keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

So, what else can dental insurance help you cover?

1) Emergencies

Dental pain is often a double-edged sword. There’s the physical pain – and for those without insurance – the pain of a hollowed-out wallet.

If you find yourself experiencing tooth pain, there’s a chance it is the result of something left unattended for too long and now requires major restorative work.

Most dental insurance plans offer deep savings on major restorative dental work and cover all or most preventative care which can help you avoid dental emergencies in the future.

2) Prevention

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit a dentist at least once a year for an exam and cleaning.

You may not always know what dangers could be just around the corner for you and your pearly whites—but a dentist can. Minor issues can lead to bigger and more costly ones down the road.

But the good news is that costly and painful dental problems can often be avoided with regular visits to a dentist and maintaining an oral hygiene routine at home.

3) Orthodontia Coverage

According to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, roughly 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces. But perfectly straight teeth can come at a hefty price.

The cost of dental braces can range anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 (not including any other orthodontia services that may be required to help you achieve perfectly straight teeth).

And while not all dental insurance plans cover orthodontia, the ones that do can save you thousands, making you or your children’s path to a great smile a lot less painful.

Keeping Your Smile Bright

Dental insurance can help you and your family maintain your smiles for years to come. Tackle dental emergencies knowing you’re covered, address concerns before they become problems, and prevent future issues while saving on your out-of-pocket costs.

5 Ways to Help You Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

The holidays are going to look a lot different this year due to COVID-19.

Every year millions of Americans pile into each other’s homes to celebrate the season with food, family, and football. That urge has never been stronger than this year. With millions of people working from home and many states enacting safer-at-home measures, Americans are feeling the financial, physical, and mental health effects of living in a coronavirus-infected world.

But in addition to practicing social distancing, there are several things you can do to remain healthy while minimizing the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 (or any illness).

1) Consult local, state, and federal guidelines and restrictions before traveling.

According to the CDC, “travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” And as COVID-19 cases continue to spike throughout the country, many experts are urging Americans to avoid holiday travel.

Many states are imposing new limitations on gathering sizes, extending mask mandates, and even issuing mandatory quarantine periods (or negative COVID-19 test) for people traveling from other states. If you or your loved ones are considering traveling internationally during the holidays, please be sure to make sure the country you are traveling to is granting entry to travelers from your point of origin.

2) Embrace video chat.

Technology can help us feel connected to our loved ones when we can’t be there in person—something that has proven to be essential for so many people this year.

Video calls have skyrocketed in popularity this year professionally and personally. Zoom did its part to bring people together safely by lifting their 40-minute limit on free meetings for Thanksgiving Day this year.

Consider using video chat services or avoiding in-person contact altogether through the holidays if you or a family member are at a high risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

3) Do your holiday shopping online.

You may want to consider skipping the check-out lines this year and put your health first by shopping for gifts online.

Traditional brick and mortar stores will still be dangerous areas despite heightened cleaning measures. The CDC has listed “Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving” as a higher-risk activity.

Due to the anticipated surge of online shoppers this season, many big-name retailers have announced changes to their traditional holiday sales such as online-only sales, online pick-up options, and more.

4) Wear a mask around others.

Studies continue to affirm the effectiveness of wearing a mask in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And both local and federal government branches have cited the importance of wearing a mask when around other people who do not live in your home. So if you find yourself going out in public or spending time with friends and family, consider wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.

5) Find the right health insurance coverage.

Modern medicine has yet to fully discover the long-term effects of COVID-19 but there are many health conditions scientists can already link to the virus.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “COVID-19 symptoms can sometimes persist for months. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems.”

Having health insurance coverage for you and your family can help cover the cost of both major and preventative medical care – and now is the best time to get coverage. The annual individual health Open Enrollment period began on November 1 and runs through December 15.

This is the only time of year to enroll in ACA-compliant health coverage unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event.

5 Most Common Long-Term Disability Claims

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, it is estimated that one out of every four Americans will find themselves diagnosed with a disability prior to retiring at the age of 65. Additional studies show that less than half of individuals and families have enough money saved to sustain their living expenses for even one month before feeling the financial strain— illustrating that a long-term disability diagnosis can not just be devastating for the individual but also financially devastating for their entire family.

In short, no one plans to become disabled. And yet, it can happen to anyone at any time and the chances of it happening only increase with age, lifestyle choices, and even the type of work we do on a daily basis.

Popular Long-Term Disability Claims

But while the majority of people may imagine someone who struggles with a long-term disability as wheelchair bound, the fact of the matter is that long-term disabilities can manifest in a host of different ways— some visible, some not.

Below are the top five long-term disability diagnosis types by category according to our own research and the CDA’s 2013 Long-Term Disability Claims Review:

  1. Musculoskeletal/Connective Tissue Disorders and Conditions

According to the CDA’s 2013 Long-Term Disability Claims Review, nearly one-third of all long-term disability claims are due to musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders. These are best described as issues related to neck and joint pain as well as back and neck issues; muscle and tendon problems; foot, ankle and hand disorders as well.

More specifically, the following are among the most commonly diagnosed musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders and conditions:

  • back pain
  • degenerated disk
  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • rheumatism
  1. Nervous System-Related Disorders and Conditions

Most nervous system disorders are common and can be helped or managed with treatments such as physical therapy and/or medication. Nevertheless, with some being generative, working full-time or even part-time can prove extremely difficult.

Below are a few common nervous system related disorders:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Epilepsy and Seizures
  • Shingles
  1. Cardiovascular/Circulatory Disorders and Conditions

According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), it is estimated that an average of one person dies every 40 seconds in America due to cardiovascular disease. But for those individuals who experience cardiovascular issues and require surgeries and rehabilitation services, the time spent recovering can have a serious impact on their livelihood— limiting them from earning a paycheck as well as increased difficulties managing day-to-day activities.

  1. Cancer and Tumors

Studies estimate that 41% of men and 38% of women will develop some form of cancer within their lifetime. And while hereditary factors and lifestyle choices can play a part in determining one’s risk factor, there is no fool-proof way of determining if or when you will be diagnosed with cancer.

If a cancer diagnosis or tumor does occur treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries can leave your body sick, exhausted, and bedridden among other things. During this time, it may be difficult or impossible for you to keep up with your job duties.

  1. Mental Disorders

Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental disorders that can affect one’s ability to work. Though the systems may not appear physical (though they can), mental disorders are nothing to be brushed off. If you experience lingering or worsening symptoms of depression or other mental disorders for a period of two weeks or more, talking to your doctor may prove helpful.

Most disorders can improve over time with the proper medical attention but leaving them untreated can lead to worsening symptoms that can have an effect on every facet of your life and limit you from living your best life.

Planning For The Future

Just because no one can predict the future, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still plan for it.

When Depression Strikes And When To See A Doctor

When the air gets cooler and the trees start to lose their leaves, the holiday season is never far behind. It is a great time for family, friends, good food, vacations, and enjoying each other’s company. But what happens when you can’t seem to find your holiday spirit?

If your spirit is lacking this season, it could be a sign of something much more important.

Depression doesn’t strike when it is most convenient for you, sometimes there is a reason for it and sometimes there is not. In fact, it is not at all uncommon to develop depression symptoms during the holiday season.

But not all cases of depression are the same and therefore, it is important to know when to reach out to your doctor and discuss what you are experiencing.

Know The Signs of Depression

How do you know when you are displaying symptoms of depression?

One of the largest misconceptions regarding depression is that people who suffer from it are sad all the time and in some cases, may want to commit suicide. What many fail to realize is that depression is much more than that.

Depression is different in that it can creep up on you without you even noticing it. Symptoms that might be described as being in relation to a bad day may continue to linger for multiple days or weeks before you even realize feeling off.

According to Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain.
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness.
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide.
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

If you should experience any of these symptoms, or a combination of them for a period of two weeks or more, it is advised to consult with your primary care physician.

1 2 3 4 17