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Why your company should stop focusing on growing

Rushkoff says, “There’s a need to optimize the digital economy. Not for its extraction value or its conversion into capital but for the circulation of money [in the right directions].”

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Expert has an interesting perspective

Doug Rushkoff has been referred to as a kind of Media Theorist. He spends much of his time studying the human condition as it applies to our digital lives and dreams of how we can use cyberspace to maintain and create a spirit of empowerment.

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Podcast host Jodi Avrigan recently spoke to Doug Rushkoff and they riffed on a number of topics including why companies should concentrate on doing what they do best and stop succumbing to boardroom and investor pressure to keep growing.

Stop growing and start living

An early advocate of the internet, Doug Rushkoff could confidently say he’s seen it all or close to it. What he sees as the current [and destructive trend] of companies that are told to expand rather than do what it is they do best.

Says Rushkoff, “We need to optimize the digital economy. Not for its extraction value or its conversion into capital but for the circulation of money [in the right directions].” In other words, in a perfect world Rushkoff envisions companies making their millions or billions and putting that money back into the company or at the very least putting those profits back into the hands of the people that are doing the work. At least some of it.

Growth, growth, growth

In terms of growth Rushkoff cites Walmart as an excellent example of abuse: they rushed to open so many stores that ultimately there are no longer enough people to sell to. And now Walmart is closing stores.

The website Edhltd.com postulates this even further when author Edward D. Hess (Distinguished Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Management at Emory University) states, “Most companies can tolerate incremental growth or growth to replace unprofitable customers fairly easily over time. But successive years of high growth challenge the competencies and risk tolerances of most companies.”

So the issue of growth is really two issues: The first is to ask at what pace or rate should you grow and secondly what is your capacity and risk tolerance for growth?
Another way of thinking is that if you make a good living painting and selling 5 paintings a year why stretch and paint eight a year and risk the quality suffer at the expense of making a profit?”

Sustainability

Platforms that extract more from their platform than they facilitate was another topic-in-real-time and Rushkoff cited Uber as a good example. Rushkoff feels the Uber driver/operator is just a resource with no plan in place to protect them or incentive for long-term career growth.

Rushkoff refers to it as looking for ways to optimize one’s business (especially if it’s smaller). Part of it has to do with what he calls “boundary-investment.” Which is simply investing in way that the money comes back to you.

Real vs. virtual communities

New technology will create a lot of growth. Internet economy in particular has the ability to make money in many different ways. What has happened though is that Wall Street noticed how much was to be made with the internet and suddenly THAT is the priority.

Twitter is an example say Rushkoff. Twitter can no longer just be a platform that is able to send 140 characters from one phone to another. After making billions of dollars Twitter must concentrate on making [even more] money. All at the expense of a great app. Why? Because extraction is now the focal point.

Says Rushkoff in the interview, “The original internet was not created to make a whole lot of money just so the founders have nothing to do. It was created with the intention to make money doing what you love and turning it back into the community.”

Another twist on this concept again comes from Edward Hess, who points out, “By growing at high rates for several years – yes, you will capture market share but also you rise on the business food chain and come into the sights of very big, well-capitalized, highly-efficient and well-managed competitors.”

The takeaway

The key point: As you grow, your competition changes. As you grow, you become both a threat and a target. 

All in all a great interview. Check it out. Ol’ Gar’ gives it 5 stars. And the read the book by Doug Rushkoff as well (Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus).

#Growth

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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Business Entrepreneur

Business pro tip: when pricing your product, think like a photographer

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) On of the growing pains associated with starting your own business is knowing how much to charge for goods and services. Use these helpful tips one photographer uses for pricing a photo and get the ball rolling!

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More than a thousand words

A picture may say a thousand words, but a photo doesn’t just tell a story. A simple photo can be an excellent example on how to price your next business product.

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Photography blogger Sarah Petty wrote her method of pricing a simple 8×10 inch photograph for as advice for her fellow photography business owners. But her advice can actually be applied beyond the world of studios and darkrooms. Here’s how to think like a photographer whenever developing the cost of your next good or service.

Step One: Know thyself (and know thy client)

Your first step in knowing your next price for your next best selling item or service is knowing what type of business you run. This is solved by answering the simple question: are you a high volume seller with lower prices or lower volume seller with higher prices?

This question can be answered by looking at your sales for the past month. Are your trends indicating your customers prefer a more personalized, boutique approach to the things they purchase from you (with higher prices), or do you move a lot of product (with lower prices)?

When you understand what type of business sales trend you’re following, move onto step two.

Step Two: Understand your sunk costs.

A sunk, or fixed cost, is the price to manufacture or deliver a good that will not change (unless reacting to the market’s inflation). What is the basic core cost of manufacturing the product you intend to put in your store? That amount, your cost of goods sold (CGOS), is the baseline from which your ultimate price will come from. Now to step three.

Step Three: Look at your other overhead for producing your product.

So you know your CGOS, so all you do now is just add what money you want to make off that? Wrong. You’re forgetting that you’re not just making that product. You are maintaining a store or electronic storefront, you’ve got office space, human resource costs, and other things that may slip by whenever you’re trying to develop your price for your next big thing. This doesn’t mean you’re charging a customer a month’s rent for consultation fee, of course, but knowing that you’re going to need a comfortable cushion whenever figuring this product’s cost out. According to the federal Small Business Administration you should allocate a portion of the profit “to each service performed or product produced” and this cost should be calculated annually. Finished, now to step four.

Step Four: Profit!

Finally, after factoring your CGOS and your overhead, now you can decide what you want to make by selling. Petty personally uses the approximation of making 4 or 5 times her CGOS plus her overhead per item. Whatever the ultimate cost is, it has to be able to lend you the ability to live comfortably in order for you to be able to manufacture more in the future.

The next time you have to develop a price for a new product, don’t forget to step into the world of photography for awhile. You’ll be saying cheese all the way to the bank.

#KnowYourPrice

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Business Entrepreneur

The pros and cons of listing hobbies and interests on your resume

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) All resumes are not created equal but they should all follow the same rule of thumb when it comes to listing hobbies and interests.

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Relevancy matters

An “Interests or Hobbies” section of a resume is often a question of debate for job seekers. In general the consensus is clear: interests and hobbies are okay – if they are relevant.

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An interest or hobby section can help round you out as a candidate, and can help you standout, but it can also come with some costs. Let’s weigh some of those pro/cons.

Advantages

  • They help distinguish you from other applicants. Especially in applicant pools where the qualifications are similar – this can help you standout and make you unique in the applicant pool.
  • They create talking points for interviewers – and can help humanize you. They give places to start up conversation and generate positive “buzz” about you with the hiring manager.
  • They show-well roundedness and versatility – often hobbies or interests can indicate skills that are transferrable or represent growth potential.
  • Can give indications of fit and alignment with company culture – and can indicate how you will mesh with a team.
  • Express desirable traits like dedication, persistence, and passion.

Disadvantages

  • They pigeonhole you – they may cause an employer to limit how they think you will fit in with the team.
  • They could indicate things that are distracting – so for example, if you list “traveling”, your employer may worry that you plan on vacationing a lot or may be unavailable.
  • Expressing too much interests may trigger to employers that you don’t have enough balance, or that you have priorities that may conflict with work.
  • Expressing involvement with organizations that run counter to the organization you are applying for may eliminate you as a candidate.

Think before you list

Although weighing the pros and cons are important, there are a couple of things to ask yourself BEFORE you list an interest. Consider going through the following questions:

1. Is it relevant? While it is ok to list one or two side hobbies or interests, most of what you list should be relevant to the job you are applying for – blogging for tech if you are applying for IT, or leading a volunteer team if you are applying for a manager position. Don’t throw around random information in an attempt to fill space.

2. Is it controversial? In general, be wary about listing political associations, or membership in controversial issue groups – gun rights, abortion, immigration, etc. (Of course, if you are applying for a position that is political in nature, be careful about listing involvement in organizations that are politically to what you are doing!)

3. Is it dangerous? Probably best to not mention you engage in UFC fighting, real sword play, live action jousting, base jumping, etc. You don’t want employers to think you are expensive to insure, or worse, may not come to work alive one day.

Least important goes at the end

When including this material in your resume, be sure to consider how you present this information. Be brief – and do not list more than 2-3 interests that you can clearly connect to the job. Place them at the end of the resume – so you don’t fight with more important content like experience or education that hiring manager MUST see. Label the section correctly – consider “activities and interests”, “areas of interest”, or “other” depending on all the information you are listing. Key point – keep it brief, avoid irrelevant fluff, and indicate interests to stand out, not push yourself out.

#HobbiesNInterests

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Business Entrepreneur

How to determine your freelance rates based on data, not your gut

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Setting freelancer rates can be quite the tricky business. This tool does arms you with the data you need to grow your business

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The bulk of my professional career has been spent as a freelancer. The designation of “freelancer” has taken me on an interesting path that allowed for projects and opportunities I didn’t even know existed.

While I’m grateful for each and every opportunity, I now look back on some of these experiences and realize that I was vastly underpaid. For the most part, this is my fault as someone paying for a service is looking for the lowest possible rate and I never bothered to bargain out of fear of losing the role.

It was even at a point where I dreaded being asked my hourly rate because I didn’t know what the norm was. There was always a fear of charging too much and getting dropped for someone cheaper, or charging too little and looking inexperienced.

We recently talked about knowing your worth and how we freelancers often under charge for our services. Luckily, as this career path becomes more and more popular, there are now more resources devoted to helping us know what to charge.

Such a resource comes in the form of Freelance Rates Explorer. Created by Bonsai, this online tool gives users the ability explore rates from 40,000 freelancers worldwide.

“There are many sites like Glassdoor that offer salary data comparisons for full time employees,” said the tool’s developers. “However, there isn’t a site like this dedicated to provide insights on freelancers rates. We had this data, so we built the Rate Explorer to make it easy for freelancers to compare their rates in the largest publicly available rates database on the Internet.”

In order to find the standard rate for their field, users will input their role (either development or design), their skills (full stack, front-end, back-end, DevOps, iOS, and Android), experience (in years), and location. The Rate Explorer then generates a bar graph based on the answers and will show the most common hourly rates based on the number of freelancers and the rates range.

Bonsai also offers proposals, contracts, time tracking, invoicing and payments, and reporting. All of this is designed for freelancers.

As for the Rates Explorer, seeing the numbers calculated right in front of you may make you realize that you’re vastly underselling yourself.

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