Is College Really Worth It?

When my parents were young, people usually went to college for a specific reason. They needed a certain degree to pursue the career that they wanted. Nowadays, things are very different, and the education system seems to be trying to push every single high school graduate into a four-year college.

To some extent, there is a stigma around not having a college degree, but for some people, it just isn’t the right fit. Some people don’t like the academic setting, and a lot of careers just don’t need it. If you’re trying to decide what you’re going to do once you graduate, or perhaps you’re thinking of going back later in life, here are some alternatives to the traditional four-year college:


Vocational School

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For anybody who likes working with their hands, college classes are going to be a bore, and you probably won’t get much out of it. If you want a career in the trades, you don’t need a college degree.

Instead, think about going to a vocational school. You’ll get practical hands-on training in whatever area interests you. You could learn to be a plumber, electrician, construction worker and much more. Once you’re qualified, you could find work that pays incredibly well, and you won’t have the debt of four years in college hanging over you either. You can also take on apprenticeship so you’ll be earning money and getting valuable job experience while you study.


Online Degrees

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Going to college for four years isn’t the only way to get yourself a degree. You can do a 2 year college degree, also known as an associates degree. In certain programs, all of the work will be sent to you to complete at home.

This is a much better option for people that want to return to education in later life because you can complete it in your own time while maintaining a job as well. It massively reduces the financial strain, and you’ll be able to learn the same skills that you could at a four-year college.



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So many graduates end up going to college because they don’t know what else to do, and people keep telling them it’s the right path. If you’re undecided, then why not take a year or two to work out what you want to do? There are plenty of volunteering programs that will cover the cost of accommodation and food while you give something back. It’s a great way to see the world and do something good while you work out what your next step is going to be.


Start Your Own Business

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Why spend four years slaving away at college, only to get an entry level job working for somebody else, when you could be the boss straightaway? A lot of high school graduates are deciding to take the plunge and start their own business. It’s a lot easier to do when you’re young because you have less financial responsibilities like a family and a house. If you fail, it isn’t the end of the world, and, you never know—you might become the next Bill Gates.


The Costs of Starting an Online Business

A lot of budding entrepreneurs make the mistake of assuming that running an online business will be cheap. Sure, you might save a lot on overhead, but there are still plenty of costs you need to consider.





This is usually the first cost that people think of when they’re thinking of setting up an online business. It’s typically not too much of a concern at first; most people imagine web hosting to be incredibly cheap these days. And it’s true that it’s definitely a lot cheaper than it used to be! But the problem comes when business owners get too eager to save money on hosting a website.

Because it’s possible to make pretty decent websites for free these days, as well as an increase in the use of social media, there seems to be a growing reluctance to spend that much on hosting. But really cheap web hosts are usually really cheap for a reason—they’re less reliable, not as quick, and don’t offer you a lot of space. Don’t skimp out too much when paying for web space.



The Domain Name


It’s true that the domain is usually a concern that goes along with picking the right web host. But this isn’t always the case; it depends precisely on how you plan to go about naming and branding your business.

For some, a business name will have appeared in their heads and the .com domain for it will be available. For others, finding a cute business name means looking through a list of “reserved” domains and making their decision based on price and availability. Some may even find that their desired domain name is taken by another party altogether, meaning they’ll have to look into negotiation.

In any case, reserving the domain name you want can be a complication and expense all of its own, quite apart from finding a good web host. It’s generally the first thing you need to consider, as it may have a big effect on what web host you can even work with.



Security Needs


A good web host should provide pretty strong security for their servers and, thus, your website. But there may be some areas in which you require added security that doesn’t come as part of the web host package. You’ve also got to consider the security at your end; if someone can access your computer remotely, they may be able to find information that allows them to enter your website or even view customer data. (The latter scenario could very well land you in some dangerously hot water.)

Don’t assume that you won’t be affected by cybercriminals or malware just because you’re “small fry” in the business world; you may actually be more of a target because of your small size! You need to be willing to invest in strong security for your website.



Technical Skills


So how skilled are you at actually creating websites? Can you design and develop them? If not, you may be tempted to save money and use one of those drag-and-drop website creators. But this would probably be a mistake.

Yes, it may save you a lot of money, and it may even save you a bunch of time. But you’re going to end up with a website you’re only half in control of – and it will also be a pretty slow and clunky thing that won’t be able to handle waves of traffic, should you ever get that level of success!

Hiring a web developer might not be as expensive as you think. Still, it’s an expense you’ll have to incur if you want to start a good online business but don’t have the skills to take care of this yourself. Sure, you could look into developing those skills yourself – but you may want to consider learning that in your own time and simply letting a professional developer get to work on your website in the meantime.

Remember that the most expensive developers won’t necessarily be the best; there are plenty of newcomers to the scene who can do great work for much cheaper. They’ll also greatly appreciate the opportunity!





Yes, you’re probably going to have invest in marketing. A lot of new business owners start to get a little gung-ho and convince themselves that they can deal with the marketing themselves. I’m not here to tell you it’s impossible; it really is possible to go viral and land yourself a lot of attention (and hits and sales) without the aid of an agency running an expensive marketing campaign.

But the problem is that achieving that sort of success depends on luck as much as it does skill. It may be better to leave it to the experts.

You’ve probably heard of SEO. Maybe you’ve even dismissed it as a mere buzzword. But without search engine optimization, you’re going to have a hard time getting visible on the sort of outlets that will most likely provide you with the most traffic: search engines.

So, it is a worthy investment, and some web development agencies will even take care of the digital marketing for you. Just make sure you check out any given agency’s reputation when it comes to delivering great results in the marketing department.



Content Creation


It doesn’t matter what kind of online business you’re running; you need to put some focus on content creation. The costs you’ll incur will be based on two things: the type of content you want to create, and the skills you already have for making that kind of content.

If you’re going to create most of your content as text content for a blog, and you have both the time and the writing skills to do this, then you could save a lot of money. Still, you should explore your options when it comes to writers – because there’s every chance there are better writers out there than you (sorry) who can actually dedicate more of their time to content creation than you can.

Video content is another matter. It can be more expensive and time-consuming (especially because you have to write it first anyway), but video content is definitely something you shouldn’t dismiss. Its growing importance means that you could suffer great opportunity costs if you’re not willing to invest in video creation.

Integrating Cloud Applications Into Your Business Model

Making money is a lot easier when there are multiple streams of revenue coming into your business. However, getting those revenue streams can prove tricky if you aren’t a hundred percent sure how to monitor, maintain and grow them.

If you diversify too much, then it can quickly lead to problems with spreading your resources too thinly, and before you know it, you’ll be struggling to try and manage those multiple streams of revenue.

However, with some clever planning and a bit of strategic thinking, you can integrate several different types of technology into your business in order to promote multiple revenue streams. For instance, one of the most popular ways of drawing in more customers is to add an eCommerce module on your website.

By integrating online payments, you can take orders from people online using internet wallets such as PayPal, cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin, or even traditional bank cards. But that’s just a simple methods of integrating technology into your business to expand your revenue streams.

To give you some more ideas to play with, here are a few suggestions that could drastically improve your business model.

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Letting Users Customize


One of the best ways to improve your customer relations is to let users customize their orders from you. For instance, if you sell custom-made toys or gifts, then letting users customize their order with a variety of colors, designs and messages is a fantastic way to get more exposure.

This is usually achieved with the help of a software developer that understands how to create web applications. It’s a simple use of cloud software that can be monitored on the business’s end and utilized by the user’s end. There are many other similar uses, but this is just a single example that can be expanded on.



Monitoring Users

Another method of improving and optimizing your business model is to monitor how your users are using your website and services. With cloud monitoring, it’s easy to keep track of what your users are doing and how they are doing it.

For instance, if you find they’re spending a lot of time reading product descriptions, then you may want to cut down the length of those descriptions in order to make your website more streamlined. If you find that your users are having a hard time accessing technical specifications of your products, then you’ll need to edit your website in order to remedy the problem.


API Monetization


Another fantastic way to integrate cloud applications and software into your business is to monetize your API, also known as an application programming interface. In basic terms, this is something used by your programmers and developers that help them interact with other applications or services in your business model. This is typically something that can only be done when you have a lot of useful or informative data to offer.

For example, a cloud application they use could collect data from your orders, or if you host a service such as a social media alternative then the API communicates with your data in order to produce specific results. You could use an API to show how many people are currently on your website or what the most popular products in your business currently are.

Keep in mind that monetizing something that gives away anonymous information must be stated in terms and conditions in order to keep consumers happy and informed.

Why Your Communication Skills Are Uber Important

Having amazing communication skills is one of the most important things you’ll work on in business. Whatever position you’re in, ensuring nobody misunderstands you is a must. You want everybody to be on the same page. Here are a few reasons why your communication skills are so important:


Employee Morale And Satisfaction

Keeping up employee morale and satisfaction is crucial if you want to avoid a high turnover of employees. Your employees are your ambassadors, so you really need to keep them happy. By communicating with them effectively, you can ensure they stay with you in the long-run.


Customer Service

Being able to communicate for customer service purposes is also important. You’re never going to be able to please everybody, no matter how hard you try. You need standardized customer service processes that come with this. Being able to relate to customers and make them feel good about choosing you again is so important.


Customer Engagement

You don’t just want to engage with your customers when they’re upset with you. You need to make sure you’re engaging with them daily on social media, and that means being able to communicate as effectively as you can!

Being able to communicate effectively is a must. It’ll make your life so much easier, and ensure everybody is on the same page. You don’t even have to be a natural born communicator. You can build up these skills over time with practice.

Take a look at the infographic below for more information on this:

credit to USC Online Master of Communication Management

The Secrets To Customer Happiness In The Modern Business World

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If all businesses could click their fingers and make potential customers happy then there’d be no competition in business; or there’d be intense competition, depending on how you interpret that. The point is that the mark of a successful business is one which has figured out how to make their clients happy on a permanent and consistent basis.

If your company is struggling to do so, then you’re going to struggle to form a loyal client-base and a steady profit. Still, it’s never too late to come back from the age. Here are some of the secrets to customer happiness in the modern business world.


Make things easy for them.


This first point can be interpreted in so many ways. As an example, you might want to put more payment options on the table. There are an abundance of electronic ways to pay for goods and services in the modern age that, if you don’t offer the ability to use all of them, customers may grow impatient while having to fill out long forms and input their credit card details. Make things easier for them and include PayPal or Apple Pay compatibility to your online shopping section.

In a more basic sense, you should make things easy for your customers with clean and clear content, a customer service team which resolves their issues in minutes, and products or services which arrive when they’re supposed to arrive. If your business fails on any of these fronts, customers grow impatient or frustrated, and that’s a bad mark against your brand.


Use all modern resources at your disposal.


Above all else, that means technology. You should be using digital marketing techniques to approach your customers because there’s something non-intrusive about the internet as a promotional billboard; customers don’t feel forced into seeing adverts.

They can find your company through using a search engine for related terms and seeing your business at the top of the result pages. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best things your business could be doing to lure potential clients from your target market to your company.

If you’re feeling out of depth then you could consider digital transformation consulting because experts could help your business realize what it needs to do to meet the needs of current day customers in terms of digital services. It’s all about understanding the way in which your industry and your specific business both fit into the modern age.

This might include using social media to make an impact on an external basis, but it might also include using Cloud servers and other digital tech to improve your organization’s services on the internal side. It’s important that your business runs like a well-oiled watch if you want to keep your customers happy.


Build a good reputation.


Customers want loyalty and reliability from businesses before they commit to using them in the long-run. That’s why it’s so important to provide a consistently impressive service to your clients. Don’t just make good impressions in your company’s early days in order to get some good reviews and build a strong foundation; keep on making good impressions so that your reviews remain good.

You want every customer to give you five out of five stars rather than neglecting the occasional customer on a busy day and letting their one-star reviews ruin your business’ overall online rating and reputation. Potential customers will want to see that your business consistently provides an excellent service before they commit to buying from you.