Benefits of working from home

woman-working-in-home-office-16Being an entrepreneur can come with many perks — you get to turn your creative dreams into reality, be your own boss, and turn your passion into a career.

Another exciting benefit is the ability to work from home. While working from home may not be for everyone, some people truly thrive on this opportunity. Whether ‘home’ for you is your bedroom or a coffee shop, the freedom to choose when and where you work is a huge plus to being your own boss or a solopreneur.

Choose Your Own Hours

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it may seem like your job never really leaves you. There is always something to work on or a new idea popping up in your head; a time constraint cannot be put on innovation. One great benefit of working from home is the ability to choose your own hours. This flexibility gives you more freedom within your schedule to spend your time how you please.This allows you to save time (and money!) commuting to work, which is great for people who have felt like they’ve wasted hours in the car every week. Picking your own work hours also gives you the opportunity to work when you are most productive, which leads us to our next benefit.

More Productive

Working from home allows people to be more efficient with their time. You are able to create the environment in which you are most productive. Maybe you work best in your home office with complete silence or by going down the street to your local coffee shop. When you’re allowed to choose how and where you work, it leads you to be more productive. When working from home, you’re not watching the clock and counting the minutes until 5 o’clock. This means that you do not distract yourself with meaningless tasks like scrolling through Facebook or making a grocery list to simply pass the time. When working from home, your time is more valuable to you and you are more efficient.

Time with family

Perhaps the most important benefit of working from home is being able to create your ideal work/life balance. This allows you to allocate your time in a way that lets you spend more time with your family or friends (or even yourself for that matter). Dissatisfaction with work/life balance is one of the most common reasons people quit their job. The ability to determine how you spend your time, without the hassle of corporate rules, causes you to be a happier, more productive person.

Independence

Working from home also fosters a sense of independence and responsibility. You are capable of deciding when and how things should be done without having to factor in a dozen other people around you. There is more time to focus on yourself and what your personal work goals are. As a small business owner, being independent is extremely valuable because you will not always have someone to guide you every step of the way. Being able to dive into something and figure it out alone shows determination, hard work, and strength.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Five books to read by the pool this summer

5367fba77a03c265There’s no better time to cross some books off of your reading list than during the summer. It’s a great chance to brush up on some business knowledge or find some inspiration for how to better yourself and your business strategy. Check out these five books when you are leisurely reading by the pool or on the beach this summer!

Thinking, Fast and Slow

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, is a look at two systems that outline the way that people think. One system is a slow, logical strategy, while the other is fast and emotional, hence the name of the book. It offers great insight into how and why we make decisions in both our business and personal lives. Understanding the thought process behind making decisions can help prepare you to make better decisions for your business in the future. If you are struggling with understanding your decision-making process and want to learn to make smarter decisions, check out this book.

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The ONE Thing

The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, provides advice on being able to drown out the noise and distractions of life and instead placing your focus on something more specific. It teaches you a process to understand your priorities and go after the most important task in a situation. It has appeared on many best sellers lists and is a great tool for anyone struggling with ranking their priorities. Sometimes it may seem like you have too many things going on at once which can cause you to feel overwhelmed. This book can help you understand what you should focus on in order to receive the greatest return. Figuring out how to order your priorities is extremely valuable for any small business owner.

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You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

Everyone wants to make money, right? I mean that’s probably one of the main reasons why you started your business in the first place! Maybe you have struggled in the past with figuring out how to take the correct steps to earn money or maybe you have a little voice inside your head that has been holding you back. This book by Jen Sincero provides an entertaining account of how to reach financial success. It is a relatable, down-to-earth look at overcoming your fears when it comes to money. If you are looking for some entertaining advice, check out this book and follow her tips to watch your bank account grow!

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Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant is a moving account of how to cope with the unpredictability of adversity. It provides inspiration on how to recover from unfortunate situations and how to become more resilient. In life, there are often periods of time in which it feels like nothing is going your way. As a business owner, you have probably experienced your fair share of struggle. If you are in the first stages of starting your business, the advice from Option B will seem especially valuable for keeping you motivated during hard times. This book can help you gain a better understanding of how to deal with hard times and how to stay positive.

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Barking Up The Wrong Tree

If you’ve ever been curious about the science behind success, check out this book by Eric Barker. Understanding why some people are more prone to success can often be frustrating and confusing. Barker dives into interesting examples of how different levels of success are achieved by different people. If you are looking to understand why you haven’t been successful in the past and want some advice on how to be more successful in the future, check out this book.

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About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

4 Hot PR Tips for Summer

laptopbypoolSummer is on the horizon, and the weather shouldn’t be the only thing that’s heating up.

While the summer may feel like a chance to take a vacation from work, the season is actually a great time to rethink your PR strategy and try out some new tactics. Check out these tips to help you stay on top of your PR game during the dog days of summer.

Embrace the Season

Summer is often people’s favorite time of the year. Kids get a break from school, you can hit the beach, or host a barbecue. The possibilities are endless! Embrace this era of opportunity by  finding out what summer events are happening in your area. With all the festivals, concerts, and shows occurring during the summer, you never know what attraction could connect you to potential customers. Use these events as an opportunity to meet new people or find a way to connect your business. Whether you’re partnering with the event and getting your name on the marketing materials, or you’re just attending as a guest, use these summer events to your PR advantage.

Have fun

Summer should be fun, so don’t forget to have fun with PR! No matter what your business is, find something summer related that makes you happy and incorporate it into your strategy. If you own a restaurant, create a summer themed menu to draw people in. Your creativity will be appreciated by your customers and people will tell their friends about their great experience. Attend events where you can promote your product service so you can gain more exposure and enjoy yourself at the same time.  Don’t let the summer be a bummer!

Make a Plan

Summer can be an extremely busy time for everyone. People can easily get distracted or run out of time to accomplish the things that they want. To fight this issue, create a detailed calendar for the summer. Mark any important dates like holidays or events happening in town to use as a reminder. This will prepare you for any surprises or obstacles. Remember– you can never over plan or be too prepared! Also, considering the timing of your posts is crucial. Make sure they are relevant to what is currently happening. This will make them more popular and relatable.

Be Social

A crucial part of maintaining your brand during the summer is by staying active on social media. Summer is a social season, so don’t neglect your social media presence during this time. Interact with your online audience and make them feel valued. You can also incorporate summer themed words into your messaging by using summer related puns, create graphics, or run fun contests. Don’t forget about using hashtags either! Ask for engagement from your followers. If you own a store or restaurant, run campaigns where people are invited to post pictures of their visit to your business. You can also create a friendly, conversational tone by posting a tweet like “My favorite summer treat is _____. What is yours?”. Invite your customers to join the conversation!

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Summer content marketing tips

If you’re like most people, the first things that come to mind when thinking about summer are vacation, beach and relaxation. It’s safe to say that content marketing doesn’t make the cut.

While summer may feel like the time to take a break, content marketing is just as important during the summer as it is during the rest of the year. Creating and generating content that leads back to your business will help raise brand awareness, increase your search engine rankings and ultimately get your brand in front of possible leads.

If you need some motivation, here are some content marketing tips for your summertime strategy.

Stay consistent

The best way to stay fresh on people’s minds is to continue posting content on a regular basis. It takes time for your target audience to recognize your brand, and consistency is key to increasing that recognition. Even if you’re planning on taking a summer vacation, you can easily create content and schedule it ahead of time with one of the many social media scheduling platforms out there.

Summer themed

You can use the season to your advantage by tying it into your content marketing strategy. Consider writing a blog post on the ‘Best business reads for the beach’ or adding some fun summer ideas that incorporate your product or service into your email newsletter. Staying on theme will make your brand relatable and pique more interest from your audience.

Partner up

Summer is a slow time for everyone. Consider partnering up with another brand with similar goals to create content that both audiences would benefit from. You could do an Instagram giveaway with each other’s products, or could even have them write a guest blog post for the company blog. It’s a win-win for both parties involved!

Guest appearances

Referrals from others are an easy way to get new business. Try to see if you can guest blog for a popular website, or even be a guest on a podcast. It helps your business’ credibility to have others promote you every once in awhile.

Recycle

If the summer ends up making you too busy to crank out new content every week, at least recycle old content to make sure your content marketing efforts don’t go stale. Repost old videos or reference past blog posts, but try to add in a summer twist so that it makes sense to the current reader.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities and helps run the newly launched Startup Over Coffee, a crowdsourced map of local startup resources. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

The pros and cons of brand collaborations

HR-and-Branding-–-The-Perfect-PartnershipCo-branding is not a new concept, but it’s one that’s seen a lot of popularity in recent years due to the increased reach brands have on social media and online.

Strategic collaborations can be a smart way to raise brand awareness, reach new customers and explore new opportunities. But before you partner up with another brand make sure you’re aware of both the pros and the cons of doing so:

Pro: Double the audience size

Teaming up with another brand means having access to a whole new audience. While the brand you partner with doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry, you both need to have the same target audience and similar brand lifestyles. An example of this is Red Bull and GoPro partnering up for the “Stratos” space jump stunt. Although one is an energy drink and the other is a gadget, both brands target an adventurous and active audience, so collaborating on a thrilling space jump was a great way to reinforce each brand’s image. Through co-branding, both you and your partner brand can come out of it with more business and new followers. A win all around!

Con: Less creative control

Partnering up with another brand essentially means you’re now part of a team, and with that comes less control and independent thinking. If you’re not partnering with the right brand — one with similar brand perspectives, target audience and marketing strategy — it may result in differing creative ideas. Before you decide to co-brand with a company, make sure you choose your partner wisely and both parties are on the same page when it comes to strategy and creative direction.

Pro: Combined budgets

In addition to doubling audience size, you’re also doubling the amount of money you have to spend on the campaign. This is especially beneficial if you’re a small business partnering with a larger, well-known brand. If you’re able to land a collaboration with a bigger brand and they’re willing to provide a good amount of the marketing budget, make sure you’re putting in your share of the legwork.

Con: More time and effort

While all new campaigns or projects require a lot of time and effort, co-branding is an additional amount of work. From brainstorming new ideas to cross-promoting on social media, working with another brand can be time consuming, especially if there are multiple brands involved. To minimize the stress or confusion that can come along with co-branding, make sure there’s a game plan set in place before you begin the campaign and that each party knows what they’re responsible for.

Pro: Creates new opportunities

If you’re a business that’s just starting out or you still have a small audience, co-branding can help put your brand on the map. Partnering with a bigger brand can help establish your reputation and reach a wider audience as well as opens you up to more collaborations. Having an established brand work with you on a social media campaign, a giveaway or any other collaboration can help persuade other brands to reach out to you for future projects.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities and helps run the newly launched Startup Over Coffee, a crowdsourced map of local startup resources. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

 

How to set up a landing page in Unbounce

Marketing campaigns of all kinds — email marketing, white papers, webinars and anything else that requires capturing contact information — require a landing page. That’s where Unbounce comes in.

Unbounce helps create high-converting website and campaign pages through its simple, customizable landing page development platform.

If you’re unfamiliar with Unbounce and want to integrate it with your website, here is a quick how-to for creating a landing page for WordPress.

1. The first step is to make sure your WordPress page and the landing page are connected. You can do this by using a redirect. On the page you created for the campaign within WordPress, use a WordPress redirect plugin such as Quick Page / Post Redirect Plugin and activate it to be used on your pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. On the page in your website, you can apply the redirect to the page into Unbounce where you want it to go. Make sure you set it as a 301 Permanent.

 

3.The URL for the campaign is created in the Unbounce landing page. This is the URL that you will set in WordPress to have it redirect.

 

 

 

4. Now go into the Unbounce page itself. After you set up your dialog box you will need to set up the Goal for the landing page which, in this case is to capture the data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Now this is the important part: setting up the confirmation dialog box. Make sure you set the CLICK ACTION in the right hand menu to Download File and set it to the PDF that you want to be downloaded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it! You’ve just set up an Unbounce landing page for your website. Now you’re all set to generate leads and convert website visitors through all your future campaigns.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Startup Over Coffee is now live!

The folks who brought you PR Over Coffee have released a new startup resource, Startup over Coffee, a map of many entrepreneurial resources available for startups in the Austin, Texas market.

Why Austin? Well, for one thing, we got our start in Austin!

More importantly is Austin’s rapid rise among the nation’s top metro markets to become a dominant player in the world of startup ecosystems. Austin came in at #1 in the CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Places to Start a Business in August. Austin cracked the top 10 on the 2016 Kauffman Index, which measures the entrepreneurial vitality of the 40 largest metro areas on the country. Austin also hit #1 on the Forbes list of The Cities Creating the Most Technology Jobs 2015.  

One of the most important aspects of the success of Austin’s startup scene? An incredibly diverse, mature startup ecosystem made up of all kinds of businesses, organizations and media.  

Claim your spot on the Startup over Coffee map!

This map is meant to be crowdsourced and maintained by those who make up the Austin startup scene. Regardless of whether you own or operate a coffee shop or coworking space, we want to democratize the map’s content in order to make it as up-to-date as possible.

For any organizations who are already on the map and would like to claim their pin, it’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click your organization’s pin (you must represent the organization to be approved)
  2. Click ‘More Info’
  3. Click ‘Claim Place’
  4. Sign-in (you will need to create a MapMe account)

Any businesses that support the Austin startup scene who want to put their pin on the map can easily do so by following the instructions found here.

Don’t just take it from us!

Our friend and local startup expert Paul O’Brien said this about the Austin startup scene:

Austin thrives because of its the convergence of technology with design, art, music, architecture, gaming, and the experiences that we love. Austin lives to work and our entrepreneurs are in coworking spaces, office parks, working from home, and in coffee shops throughout the city; connecting opportunities with talent, resources, and ideas.

Want to help?

Startup over Coffee is our attempt to capture the richness of that startup ecosystem and share it for anybody who is looking for a way to plug-in, network and contribute to the Austin startup community. That’s why we need your help!

We will be adding new startup ecosystems in cities across the U.S. so stay tuned for more. Next up? The Denver & Boulder startup scene! Want to see your city added sooner? Let us know at: info@PRoverCoffee.com and we’ll get to work on it.

 

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