Famous Ashley Grant Appears on Uploading By CastMagic

Famous Ashley Grant Featured on Uploading By CastMagic Blog Banner

What’s up my bloggy friends? I’m so excited to share that last week I was featured on an awesome podcast hosted by my bloggy friends over at CastMagic in an episode titled “Write to Connect: Ashley Grant from RSS & GoDaddy on Engaging Audiences with Content“.

Please note - This post does contain affiliate links that provide me a commission if you buy a subscription with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Blain and Ramon of CastMagic welcomed me onto their show Uploading to dive deep into all things content creation. We kicked things off by chatting about my background, from how I got my start freelance writing back in 2007 to my journey writing for a variety of publications and businesses over the years.

One of the key topics we dug into was what makes a piece of great content. My biggest piece of advice? Write for your audience, not yourself. Think about what value you’re providing them and craft your content around answering their questions and meeting their needs.

Related: Start your own podcast for free today!

We also talked about the importance of infusing your own unique voice and story into your content, even when writing for a business. People connect with authentic stories, so don’t be afraid to get personal and share yours over and over. New audience members may not have heard it before.

Another hot topic was how to balance writing for SEO with writing content that truly engages readers. My take is that you need a blend of both – include the keywords and information people are searching for, but focus on showcasing expertise and fostering a real connection too.

Of course, we had to discuss how AI is transforming the content landscape. Using AI tools like CastMagic to repurpose your own unique content enables you to efficiently create a variety of content pieces that are authentic to your voice, as opposed to just using AI to generate generic, random content.

I had a blast nerding out about all things content with Blaine and Ramon. Be sure to check out the full episode below and subscribe to Uploading for more great conversations! And as always, keep writing to connect with your people.

Check out the full episode here:

Time stamps of the key takeaways from this episode

00:00 My accidental business card success story.
03:09 I started with a local restaurant story, and then pursued writing for various publications and websites, including famousashleygrant.com, RSS.com, Godaddy, and about.com.
07:50 Summaries at the beginning of articles drive attention. Bloggers are removing fluff to provide concise answers.
10:22 Emphasizes storytelling, audience connection for content.
13:20 Personal branding is about sharing your unique story to create a genuine connection with your audience.
19:45 Leverage CastMagic for content repurposing to save time and reach wider audience.
22:51 Google update targets spam content, domain penalties, unique AI-powered content creation.
24:38 Written and existing media need authenticity and can be used collaboratively for distilling thoughts.

What IS CastMagic?

CastMagic is an all-in-one transcription and AI-powered content creation platform designed for content creators and businesses. It offers a wide range of features, including transcription in over 60 languages, customizable AI-generated content outputs, and seamless integration with various media sources such as audio, video, YouTube, Vimeo, RSS feeds, and more. With CastMagic, users can quickly and easily turn their long-form content into valuable assets like show notes, summaries, blog posts, social media posts, and email newsletters. The platform caters to diverse use cases, from podcasting and YouTube content creation to meetings, coaching, sales, and customer discovery, making it a versatile tool for professionals looking to scale their content production efficiently.

Click here to get started with CastMagic and create show notes and blog posts from your podcast episodes in seconds!

Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low.

8 Benefits of Real Estate Investing


If you’re curious about real estate investment like I am, read this post to learn the top advantages of diving into real estate.

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Megan Isola. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Top Advantages of Real Estate Investing

Many people consider investing in real estate because it’s something tangible and understandable. Everyone needs somewhere to live and work, so investing in rental properties and other types of real estate might seem like a great way to grow your wealth since it’s fairly resistant to other market fluctuations. Veteran investors often diversify their investment portfolios to mitigate risk. For instance, if the stock market is down, it doesn’t necessarily mean the housing market is. 

Of course, investing in real estate isn’t for everyone. It’s a major financial and time commitment that’s not suited for individuals who prefer a more passive income stream. If this is the case for you, there are other ways to invest in real estate that don’t require you to hold physical property.  

However, if you decide to invest in physical property, you can expect the following benefits:

Additional income

When you invest in real estate, you can expect an additional monthly income. Whether you rent commercial buildings, houses, apartments, townhomes, or anything else, you can increase your monthly income without necessarily having a second job. Of course, being a real estate investor can feel like a second job if you’re handling all the tasks involved on your own, so that’s something to consider. 

When you purchase a rental property, you effectively become a landlord. If you want to avoid managing the day-to-day of your rentals, you can hire a property management company that can do it for you, but this will take a big chunk out of your income.


Most investors choose real estate because it tends to appreciate in value over time. While it’s certainly possible for any asset to depreciate in value, as long as you’re in the right location and continue with the proper upkeep of your property, you can expect its value to increase over time. More appreciation means more equity, allowing you to sell the property for much more than you purchased it for should you choose to. 

Hedge against stock market risks and inflation

The stock market can be volatile, so you don’t want to invest all your money into stocks even though they often yield higher returns than other investments like bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs). When the stock market is down, you can still rely on real estate because it’s less volatile and more predictable; as a landlord, you can predict how much you earn in rental income every month. 

Real estate investments can also protect you from inflation. Home prices tend to increase with inflation, allowing you to sell an investment property for much more than you purchased it for. 

Low Risk

Investing in real estate is considered relatively low risk compared to other more volatile investments like stocks. If you want the highest possible return on your investment without worrying about market volatility, you’ll prefer real estate over stocks. However, you shouldn’t put all your investments in one strategy. 

You should have a diversified investment portfolio that allows you to hedge against different risks. For instance, while real estate properties tend to appreciate value, they can depreciate. The area might no longer be safe or feasible for businesses, individuals, and families to pay a premium for it, forcing you to reduce your rental prices or how much you sell a home for. When and if this happens, you’ll want to have other investments to fall back on and help you recoup any losses. 

Working for Yourself

Many people earn their living from real estate investments alone. They become landlords or house flippers who solely work for themselves. Real estate investment has a low barrier to entry, allowing you to get a mortgage loan or residential hard money loan and begin investing as soon as you can afford the down payment and ability to repay the loan. This is easier said than done, but you can slowly build wealth over time in other ways before investing in real estate. 

Financial Security

A steady monthly income is great, but financial security is better. When you own rental property, you know where your monthly income is coming from. Your tenants are legally required to pay rent, and if they don’t, you can take them to court, so you’ll always have a paycheck coming your way. When you have a steady flow of cash, you can reinvest in your future, which may include retirement. 

Investing in real estate provides long-term financial security because it’s highly likely the property will appreciate over time. Of course, there’s no guarantee with investing, but doing your research about a location and property can mitigate risk. 

Potential Tax Advantages

Investing in real estate comes with some tax advantages if you own rental property. While technically, as a landlord, you’re self-employed, your income isn’t subject to self-employment tax, which is 15.3 percent of your earnings. You may also be eligible for tax breaks for depreciation, maintenance repairs, insurance, property taxes, and other business expenses.

Wealth Building 


Investing in real estate isn’t just about earning more money per month. Instead, it’s an avenue to building wealth over time. When you invest in rental properties, your mortgage payments are covered by rental income. However, you should always charge more than the base mortgage payment to earn additional monthly income. 

That additional income can be put away into a savings or retirement account and accrue interest, making it a relatively passive way to earn more money. Yes, there’s a lot of work involved for investors who have hundreds of tenants. However, if you only own a few rental properties, you don’t have to expect a maintenance concern or emergency every day of the week, allowing you to earn an additional income on top of your existing job salary. 

Should You Invest in Real Estate?

Investing in real estate is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in physical property. While there are benefits to holding property, especially rental property or homes you intend to fix and flip. There are other investments available if you’re interested in real estate. We recommend discussing your options with a financial advisor to help you make the right decision based on your financial situation. 

About the Author


Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. 

Everything You Need to Know About Packing for a Spa Vacation

Everything You Need to Know About Packing for a Spa Vacation - Blog Banner

Trying to figure out what to pack for your next spa vacation? This post might help!

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friends over at Oak Haven Resort & Spa. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Packing Essentials for a Spa Vacation

When it comes to rest and relaxation, there is nothing better than a trip to a spa. The next time you decide to treat yourself, plan a multi-day trip to your nearest spa resort to soak in all the best rejuvenation treatments they offer. You’ll come home looking and feeling better than ever.

To get the most out of your special spa getaway, you’ll want to make sure that you pack all the necessities as well as any extras to enhance your trip. Planning ahead will take the stress out of your vacation and let you focus on yourself. Spas will typically provide basic items for guests to use but you may wish to bring the things you are comfortable and familiar with. Some of these items you probably already have, but if you don’t own them they are easy to obtain from online sellers. Keep this list handy when preparing for your next spa vacation.

Tips and Tricks for a Spa Vacation

Every destination has its special hidden secrets that insiders know about. If you take a bit of time to do some online sleuthing, you’ll find out what the expert travelers know about top resort destinations and luxury spa resorts. Want to know how to prepare for a hot yoga class? Curious about what happens during a couple’s massage session?

You are one online search away from learning all there is to know about these and other top spa and resort offerings. With a little education, you will be better prepared to select the wellness sessions, fitness classes, and other opportunities available to you. You will fit right in and feel like a pro from the moment you arrive. 

Everything You Will Need for a Spa Vacation

To feel truly prepared for your upcoming trip to a spa resort, you will want to pack correctly. Consider factors such as weather and time of year as well as your intended activities. Beyond that, this handy list will help you get started: 

1. Loungewear

Loungewear is all about comfort – easy to wear, easy to clean, and easy to pack. Think about natural fibers and a loose, easy fit. Your chosen loungewear can be easily thrown on as an outfit all its own or worn over a bathing suit for a walk to the pool or beach. 

2. Layers 

Some spa destinations can be cool in the morning and evening. If this applies to the place you are heading to, consider packing a cardigan or light jacket. A long-sleeved shirt is another good option.

3. Slippers

A fresh pair of bedroom slippers are a must for going back and forth between treatment rooms. Slip-ons are the easiest to put on and take off. 

4. Flip-flops

Aside from slippers, you’ll also want a pair of cute, easy-to-don sandals to take you from place to place.

5. Reusable water bottle 

Go green with your favorite reusable water bottle! You’ll want to stay hydrated at all times so remember to pack at least one high quality for yourself. 

6. Workout clothes 

Many spas offer fitness classes to get the blood moving and keep the mind active. Sneakers, athletic socks, leggings, and a fitted top are great choices for classes like these. 

7. Bathing suit 

Even if you don’t plan to swim, everyone has a hard time resisting the hot tub. Pack your swimsuit, your favorite wrap, and your wet bag just in case. 

8. Toiletries/Personal Care Items

While many spas provide basics, some travelers prefer to bring their own favorite shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, etc. Especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

9. Electronics/Entertainment

Don’t get us wrong, the whole point of a spa vacation is to unwind and recharge. But, let’s face it, nowadays we all bring our cell phones with us. You might also want an e-Reader such as a Kindle or a bluetooth speaker for tuning into some guided meditations while you’re tapping into your inner zen. Don’t forget the chargers too! 

Related: Check out the post Planning the Perfect Spa Getaway 

The Art of Packing Light: Avoid Overpacking for Your Spa Getaway

While it’s tempting to pack everything you might possibly need for your spa vacation, overpacking can actually detract from your relaxation. Lugging around heavy bags and sifting through clutter in your room can cause unnecessary stress. Remember, the goal of a spa getaway is to unwind and simplify your life, even if just for a few days.

To avoid overpacking, start by laying out all the items you’re considering bringing. Then, critically evaluate each one. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” If you’re unsure, chances are you can leave it at home. Stick to the essentials on your packing list and resist the urge to throw in extras “just in case.”

Keep in mind that many spas provide amenities like robes, towels, hairdryers, and basic toiletries. Check with the resort beforehand to see what’s available so you don’t bring duplicates. If you do forget something, most spas have sundries for purchase or can direct you to a nearby store.

When it comes to clothing, focus on versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Neutral colors like black, white, and beige are easy to coordinate. Choose fabrics that are lightweight, quick-drying, and wrinkle-resistant for easy care and packing.

By packing light, you’ll have less to keep track of and more space in your bags for souvenirs or mementos from your trip. Plus, you’ll start your spa vacation feeling calm, collected, and unburdened by excess baggage – both literal and figurative. Embrace the art of packing light and enjoy the tranquility that comes with simplicity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Packing Essentials for a Spa Vacation

Packing for a Spa Vacation - Flowers and Towels

1. What should I pack in my carry-on bag for a spa vacation?

Pack your essential toiletries, medications, and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. This way, if your luggage gets delayed, you’ll still have your basics. Don’t forget to include any valuables or electronics you might need, like your phone, charger, and ID.

2. Are there any items that I shouldn’t bring to a spa?

Most spas have a dress code, so it’s best to leave any revealing or offensive clothing at home. You should also avoid bringing any food or drinks, as many spas have their own dining options. Leave any valuable jewelry or excessive cash in your room safe or at home.

3. What kind of shoes should I pack for a spa vacation?

Comfortable, slip-on shoes are a must for a spa vacation. Pack a pair of flip-flops for the pool or beach, slippers for walking to and from treatments, and sneakers if you plan on using the fitness center or going on any outdoor excursions.

4. Should I bring my own toiletries or will the spa provide them?

While most spas provide basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, if you have specific products you prefer, it’s best to bring your own. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

5. Do I need to bring a bathrobe or towels?

Most spas provide guests with robes and towels to use during their stay. However, if you prefer your own, feel free to pack a lightweight robe and quick-drying towel. Keep in mind that the spa will likely have laundry services available if needed.

6. Is there anything special I should pack for spa treatments?

If you’re planning on getting any specific treatments, like a massage or facial, you may want to pack any personal items that will make you more comfortable. This could include a hair tie or headband, contact lens case and solution, or your own facial products if you have sensitive skin.

7. What should I pack for workout classes?

If you plan on taking any fitness classes, pack appropriate workout gear like leggings, a breathable top, sports bra, and sneakers. Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated and a small towel if you tend to sweat a lot.

How Not to Forget Anything for a Spa Vacation

Now that you have the essentials, you don’t want to forget anything. Make a list with everything you need, then check it off as you pack. This will help you verify that you have remembered all your important items.

Depending on how long you intend to be gone, a large canvas tote bag, overnight bag, and small piece of luggage are probably all you need to bring. These should hold everything and even leave you some room to spare in case you do any shopping.

7 Tips to Write a Lease Agreement

write-lease-agreement- man-in-blue-long-sleeved-shirt-signing-paperwork

Thinking about becoming a landlord? Then you need these tips on writing a lease agreement!

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Ashley Nielsen. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Tips on Writing a Lease Agreement

When becoming a landlord, you should always provide your tenants with a lease that protects your rights and theirs. A lease agreement is a legally binding document with the terms and conditions of property rentals. 

Lease agreements benefit landlords because they ensure a tenant cannot disrupt other tenants with noise, treat the property disrespectfully, or cause others problems. Meanwhile, a lease also protects tenants by setting clear expectations about what the landlord is responsible for, including snow cleanup and trash pickup, while setting clear rules for how tenants can use their homes. Unfortunately, most landlords aren’t lawyers, so writing a lease agreement or a rental agreement can be difficult and downright confusing. Here are a few tips to help you write a lease. 

Start With an Outline

Outlining your lease will help you understand all the necessary components and pieces of information that need to be laid out for tenants before they sign. Each section should start on a new page with a header and have subheadings when applicable. The sections you should include in your lease are:

  • Leased Property: Information about the property, including whether it’s a house, apartment, or condo, along with the name of the landlord and the location
  • Duration or term: The duration of the lease, which can range from a month to a year or more. You can also include your policy for renewing the lease. 
  • Rent amount: The total amount the tenant will pay, including base rent and additional fees for pets or parking spots. You should also include when rent is due, the accepted form of payment, and any other information about what’s included or not included in rent. 
  • Deposit fee: The amount someone pays for the security deposit and how they can get a refund when there’s no damage at the end of their lease. You should also define what qualifies as damage to the rental. 
  • Utility costs: If utilities are not included in rent, you should define the typical cost of utilities or how tenants can set up their utilities with the power company. 
  • Late fees: Fees for penalties on late rent payments that should state when a tenant will be charged a late fee. You may choose to include a grace period, especially if payment dates fall on a weekend or holiday. 
  • Tenant Responsibilities and Rights: The legal rights of tenants according to the state should be outlined in your lease, along with the responsibilities they have to the property, including the use of the property, cleanliness, and following local health and safety guidelines. 
  • Landlord Responsibilities and Rights: Landlord rights and responsibilities when renting units, including maintaining the property, making repairs, and following all local laws. 
  • Lease Termination: Explains how someone can terminate their lease before the agreed-upon date. Most landlords define circumstances in which a tenant can cancel the lease, including paying any fees. Additionally, the termination section should cover what happens when the landlord chooses to terminate the lease, including situations when they can, like failure to pay, property damage, illegal activity, and other lease violations. 
  • Governing Law: The governing law is the section of the lease that states the law the lease follows, usually with a stipulation that the law overrides the lease if it’s incorrect without invalidating the entire agreement.
  • Additional Property or Community Rules: Many landlords choose to add additional rules for the property or community. For example, if an apartment complex allows dogs, they may have a rule stating that dogs cannot be near the pool and all residents must pick up after their dogs on walks. 

Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer

write-lease-agreement- man-and-woman-reading-paperwork

To write a legally binding contract, you must follow local and state laws regarding tenant rights. Many laws dictate the types of terms you can have in your lease agreement, and they vary, so you can check your local laws or hire a real estate lawyer to help you understand the types of information allowed in your lease. If you want to save time and hassle, you can hire a lawyer to draft your lease agreement for you or ask them to review the lease once you’ve finished writing it to ensure everything stated can be upheld in court. 

Specify Pet Policy

If you allow tenants to have pets with restrictions or additional rules, you must specify them in your lease. You can also cover your bases by specifying that you don’t allow pets in units and the consequences for the tenant if you discover they’re housing a pet. Your pet policy can be as strict as you want, including restrictions for types of dog breeds, number of pets, the types of pets allowed, and weight restrictions. Of course, you can also completely prohibit animals in the unit. 

Add Right of Entry Information

Every state has a Right of Entry stimulation that tells landlords how much notice they have to give tenants before entering their homes. Knowing this law can help you avoid a potential lawsuit, but you should also include it in the lease to ensure tenants understand the law and that you have the right to enter their apartment as long as you give them notice.

Specify What to Do in Emergencies

Emergencies happen after hours, and a landlord can’t be present at all times waiting for them. Instead, you can specify what tenants should do if they have a maintenance issue that’s an emergency, like a broken pipe or flood. Since you must be available to respond to these types of situations, you can give tenants an emergency phone number where they can reach someone for help immediately. 

Activity Restrictions

Landlords can include their code of conduct in their lease to help tenants understand what type of behaviors are expected of them. For example, you can prohibit loud music after a certain time or prevent tenants from allowing unauthorized pets to enter their homes. In addition, activity restrictions give tenants a clear idea of what they’re not allowed to do, helping to prevent them from lease violations. 

Have Clear Payment Terms and Conditions

Your lease might already state how much rent a tenant owes at the beginning of the month and the types of payments you accept. However, it’s always a good idea to add a page about payments to your lease to ensure they know where to look when they have questions. You can give them a page that discusses how security deposits work and how they can pay rent, along with instructions for how to pay rent online or after hours. 

Final Thoughts

Before allowing someone to move into your rental property, you need to set clear terms and conditions with them to ensure they’re following the law and know their rights while also protecting your apartment and your reputation. A lease is beneficial for landlords and tenants because it lays out the different expectations for one another to prevent misunderstandings down the line.

About the Author


Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 

Does Social Media Still Matter for Business Owners in 2024?

Does Social Media Still Matter for Business Owners in 2024 - Blog Banner

Should your business worry about social media these days? In this post, we’ll explore the answer.

Social Media in 2024: Experts Weigh in on Its Crucial Role for Business Growth and Success

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, we sought the insights of founders and directors to determine if social media retains its critical role for business owners in 2024. From fostering brand growth to leveraging interactive trends, explore the varied perspectives of twelve experts on how social media continues to shape the business world.

  • Fostering Brand Growth Through Social Media
  • Enhancing Customer Service on Social Platforms
  • Social Media Adapting to Consumer Trends
  • Discovering a Powerful Hiring Tool
  • Using Social Media as a Digital Window Display
  • Tech Companies Thriving with Social Media
  • Social Proof Boosting Credibility and Trust
  • Establishing Authority Through Valuable Content
  • Social Media’s Playing a Role in Business Strategy
  • Micro-Communities Driving Targeted Engagement
  • Quality Content Defining Social Media Success
  • Interactive Social Media Trends Dominating

Fostering Brand Growth Through Social Media

In my journey with NOW Media and aiding over 100 brands to carve their unique identities in the market, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of social media in establishing and nurturing brand growth. Social media’s ability to foster real-time interactions and build authentic connections with audiences is unparalleled. A prime example of its utility comes from our strategic Instagram campaigns designed to amplify brand stories and values. We successfully elevated a startup’s brand visibility, leading to a 30% increase in their follower engagement within just a few months. This case highlighted not just the reach of social media but its impact on engagement and community building, key factors for brand loyalty and growth.

Through the lens of specific challenges like content creation and algorithm shifts noted in our experiences, it’s clear that navigating social media requires both creativity and adaptability. Yet, despite these hurdles, the channel’s value in brand development and marketing remains irrefutable. The agility of social media platforms allows for rapid response and strategy pivots, ensuring that content stays fresh and algorithm changes are accounted for. This dynamism is essential for keeping pace with the digital-first consumer landscape, making social media an indispensable tool for businesses in 2024.

From overseeing NOW Media’s diverse service offerings, including photography, email marketing, and digital advertising, it’s evident that integrating social media with other digital marketing strategies amplifies overall effectiveness. 

For instance, coupling captivating brand photography with targeted social media distribution has consistently yielded higher engagement rates across campaigns. This symbiosis between content creation and social distribution underlines the central role social media plays in modern marketing ecosystems, illustrating its continuing importance for businesses aiming to make a mark in the digital age.

Nithin Koshy, Co-Founder, Now Media

Does Social Media Still Matter for Business Owners- guy scrolling on his phone

Enhancing Customer Service on Social Platforms

In my role as the founder and president of Raincross, a leading digital marketing agency, I’ve witnessed the evolution and enduring significance of social media as a tool for business growth. Given the wealth of experience I’ve garnered in areas such as SEO, digital advertising, and social media marketing, I’m confident that social media remains a crucial tool for business owners in 2024. One concrete example that underscores this belief comes from our strategic approach to leveraging social media for tourism and hospitality clients.

We discovered that after enhancing our clients’ social media presence and emphasizing customer service through these platforms, our clients saw a remarkable increase in repeat business and positive feedback online. By encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences and connect with the businesses on social media, we not only amplified our clients’ online visibility but also fostered a community of brand advocates. This strategy led to a tangible boost in engagement and, ultimately, conversion rates.

Furthermore, our approach toward collecting more emails through social media campaigns, rather than focusing solely on accumulating ‘likes,’ proved to be highly effective. By prioritizing email collection, we enabled direct and personalized communication with potential customers, resulting in a higher ROI compared to traditional social media engagement metrics. This strategic pivot highlighted the multifaceted value of social media not just as a platform for broadcasting content, but as a powerful tool for direct customer acquisition and retention.

These experiences clearly demonstrate the ongoing relevance of social media for businesses in 2024. While the digital landscape continually evolves, the fundamentals of connecting with and understanding your audience remain unchanged. Social media offers businesses unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with their target market, gain valuable insights, and adapt strategies in real-time to meet customer needs and preferences.

Kevin Watts, President & Founder, Raincross

Social Media Adapting to Consumer Trends

Technology is a fast-moving beast that we all try to keep up with as best we can, and one of the segments most deeply integrated with consumers is social media. The simple fact is, as long as it remains an important part of their life, it will remain an important part of business marketing and operations. 

One of the things we can’t predict is what that looks like in the future. It seems obvious that social media will remain a core part of our lives for a long while yet, but as we see things develop like AI and the metaverse, how we interact with our consumers through these channels could rapidly change. It is very much an audience-led segment of marketing that businesses consistently have to evaluate and learn. 

Nobody five years ago could have predicted that an app of dancing teenagers would become one of the biggest in the world, but lockdown happened, and TikTok became a suddenly important avenue for businesses to connect with consumers. Businesses have to keep on top of their social game because it’s where audiences are right now, so until they say otherwise, it will remain a vital part of any business plan.

Brett Downes, Founder, Haro Helpers

Discovering a Powerful Hiring Tool

Undeniably, yes! In my opinion, social media is a powerful tool for hiring. I’ve seen many examples where high-profile specialists were not receiving any suitable job offers from job search platforms, but merely sharing that they were open to a new career on their social media landed them a perfect job. The power of networking, as it is. Businesses bear many costs related to attracting talent and hiring. 

A good CMO I know had to fill a challenging role—Head of Performance for an edtech startup. She had all key employees in the company post a job ad on their Facebook profiles, and this alone brought many promising candidates into the funnel. Another example related to hiring is when we turned down a candidate because we had seen some alarming behavior from them on social media. If they had shown excellent results on the test task and interview, we would have still considered them for the role. But poor results coupled with ‘red flags’ convinced us that they would be a bad fit for the company.

Daria Erina, Managing Director, Linked Helper

Does Social Media Still Matter for Business Owners- images of faces on laptop

Using Social Media as a Digital Window Display

Social media is your visual merchandising, and it is essential to business growth and success. Just like a window in a store, social media is where people are likely to first see you, what might inspire people to browse, and ultimately, one of the first parts of the chain that leads to a new customer. 

Window displays are the beating heart of a business because they can convert an unsuspecting person and an unidentified audience member into a loyal consumer. We are now in a world where online shopping is as much, if not more, important than physical space shopping, so your digital window display (your social media) can be vital to the success of your business. People want to look without the pressure to purchase, even though that is ultimately where they are being led, and social media is your digital window display that allows the consumer to do that.

Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

Tech Companies Thriving with Social Media

It is still true in 2024 that tech companies need social media. Social media has helped businesses stay open and make changes during and after the pandemic.

As the market changes and technology develops rapidly, tech workers need to be easily found. Companies can communicate with potential customers immediately on social media, inform them about important events, and showcase their skills and experience. During the outbreak, businesses used social media to communicate, connect, and adapt, which was crucial when in-person meetings were difficult.

On Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, tech companies shared important news, discussed industry trends, and hosted workshops and other online events. With real-time social media, businesses could quickly adapt to market changes. This allowed them to adjust swiftly.

Because social media is constantly evolving, it was simple to connect with clients, receive feedback, and form communities. The ability for interactive dialogue made it easier to improve products and services based on customer feedback.

Tech companies cannot operate without the powerful and accessible communication channels that social media provides. This is especially true during pandemics. In today’s fast-paced digital world, companies need to connect, educate, and engage people in order to thrive.

Bobby Lawson, Technology editor/publisher, Earth Web

Social Proof Boosting Credibility and Trust

I truly believe it’s still just as important as it was in 2022/23, if not more so. Why am I saying that? Well, in order to generate leads or secure new prospects, you should maintain an active social proof, especially in the current digital age when consumers are researching and analyzing brands before making a purchase or engaging with a business. 

Having a strong social media presence can help build extra credibility and trust that otherwise would go to competitors who are more active online.

Tom Molnar, Creative Director, Fit Design

Establishing Authority Through Valuable Content

Absolutely. I’ve found that social media has not only been helpful in generating leads and sales, but its primary objective for my business has been in establishing credibility and authority. As I provide value for my clients by answering frequently asked questions, those posts become easy ramp-ups to a more engaged conversation with prospective clients.

Matthew Sanjari, Founder and Business Coach, PRIME Consulting

Does Social Media Still Matter for Business Owners- woman scrolling on her phone.jpg

Social Media Playing a Role in Business Strategy

Yes, definitely. In fact, according to a report by Statista, the worldwide social media user base is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025. This staggering number clearly shows that social media will continue to play a significant role in business strategies.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become powerful tools for businesses to connect with their target audience, build brand awareness, and drive sales. With the rise of influencer marketing and paid advertisements on these platforms, companies are able to reach a larger audience and increase their online presence.

Moreover, social media gives businesses valuable insights into customers’ preferences and behaviors. By analyzing data from platforms such as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, companies can understand what content resonates with their audience, which products are in demand, and how they can improve their overall marketing strategies.

Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency

Micro-Communities Driving Targeted Engagement

Yes, social media will still be an essential tool for entrepreneurs in 2024, particularly when it comes to utilizing micro-communities. These are specialized user groups with a high level of engagement that are passionate about the same thing. Through the identification and engagement of these micro-communities, companies can reach a highly specific audience with a higher likelihood of conversion.

For instance, our business discovered a small group of passionate supporters of sustainable fashion. To appeal to this demographic, we produced content that highlighted our environmentally-friendly procedures and offerings. This strategy raised our brand awareness in this neighborhood and resulted in a notable rise in sales from this market group.

Engaging with micro-communities also enables businesses to gain insightful input directly from their target market, which helps them better customize their offerings and marketing plans.

Alex Taylor, Head of Marketing, CrownTV

Quality Content Defining Social Media Success

Yes, the number of social media users is indeed still on the rise. Social media marketing isn’t going away anytime soon; it’s just evolving. Whether it’s Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, or other platforms, advertising on them will continue as long as people are using them. But this doesn’t mean the strategies for success won’t evolve over time.

In fact, they have already begun to shift. A few years ago, simply posting any photo might have sufficed for gaining some brand awareness. Nowadays, the focus is on quality content. To stay relevant on social media and to achieve more than just 100 views and a similar number of likes, investing in outstanding, unique, and quality-centric content is crucial.

Additionally, today’s social media brands need to embody a more human character. They should express feelings, opinions, and empathy, and demonstrate emotion and sympathy. Social media platforms are a key representation of your brand’s personality and the primary means of expressing your brand’s voice. For instance, an inappropriate tweet on Twitter could significantly damage your business overnight.

Therefore, if you aim to develop a truly successful social media marketing campaign, relying on outdated methods won’t suffice. The digital landscape and effective strategies have both undergone significant changes.

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

Interactive Social Media Trends Dominating

Absolutely! Social media is evolving to become even more interactive. The trend now is to focus less on posting and more on engaging. Content creation is increasingly being handled by digital creators, with audiences primarily watching and engaging through comments. This shift is recognized by companies, leading to a growing interest in platforms like WhatsApp.

Social SEO remains a hot topic in 2024. Social media platforms are increasingly encroaching on the domain traditionally dominated by Google, particularly among younger demographics. This trend is especially pronounced in Generation Z.

TikTok is continuously vying for the top spot in this arena and has introduced features like the Search Ads Toggle, which now shows up in users’ search results, akin to Google Search Ads. Additionally, it has launched the Keyword Insights tool in its Creative Center to simplify SEO efforts.

From my own experience, I’ve seen substantial exposure and lead generation for our business through LinkedIn. I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of social media this year and anticipate its continued growth in the years to come. Social media, in my opinion, is an invaluable asset for marketing and revenue generation in 2024 and beyond. Therefore, I believe it’s crucial for every business to leverage this resource to its fullest potential.

Henry Brook, Founder, The Page

The Enduring Power of Social Media: Navigating the Digital Landscape for Business Success in 2024

In conclusion, the insights shared by these twelve industry experts underscore the enduring significance of social media for businesses in 2024. From fostering brand growth and enhancing customer service to serving as a powerful hiring tool and a digital window display, social media continues to shape the business landscape in myriad ways.

As consumer trends evolve and new platforms emerge, businesses must adapt their strategies to leverage the power of social media effectively. Tech companies, in particular, are thriving by using social media to connect with customers, showcase their skills, and respond to market changes in real-time. Moreover, social proof generated through social media is boosting credibility and trust, while valuable content is helping businesses establish authority in their respective fields.

The rise of micro-communities on social media presents businesses with opportunities for targeted engagement and valuable feedback from their most passionate supporters. As the focus shifts towards quality content and interactive experiences, businesses must invest in creating unique, empathetic, and engaging content that resonates with their target audience.

Looking ahead, social media is poised to become even more interactive, with a growing emphasis on engagement over mere posting. The emergence of social SEO and the increasing influence of platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn further underscore the critical role social media will play in marketing and revenue generation for businesses in the years to come.

In light of these trends and expert insights, it is clear that social media remains an indispensable tool for business owners in 2024 and beyond. By staying attuned to the evolving digital landscape and leveraging social media to its fullest potential, businesses can foster growth, build lasting connections with their customers, and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Best Hosting Platforms for Podcasters Compared

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Debating about which podcast hosting platform is best? This post might help you choose!

A Quick Look at 10 Podcast Hosting Platforms and My Top Pick

Overwhelmed by podcast hosting options? I’ve got you covered. I researched 10 top platforms, comparing key features. Storage, analytics, monetization, distribution – I looked at it all. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, this guide will help you choose. From RSS.com to Transistor to Libsyn, I’ll break down the best hosts. And, my bloggy friend Joe Casabona with RSS.com sent me some videos comparing all of the top podcast hosting platforms which I’ve also linked below. Let’s dive in!

My Go to Choice – RSS.com

RSS.com is my number one choice for podcast hosting. It’s incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. You get unlimited storage and bandwidth. The analytics and insights are top-notch. There are multiple ways to monetize your show. Distribution to all the major directories is a breeze. You can easily create a public website for your podcast. Customer support is fantastic. And the pricing is very affordable, with discounts for students, nonprofits, and podcasters that choose annual billing. In short, RSS.com gives you everything you need to launch and grow a successful podcast.

The best part? You can start your podcast for FREE to check it out before you commit to buying a plan. Get started for free here.

Already have a podcast? Even better! You can switch to RSS.com and get SIX MONTHS FREE. Click here for that offer.

Blubrry vs. RSS.com

If you’re considering Blubrry vs. RSS.com for podcast hosting, here’s a quick comparison. Blubrry has been around longer and offers WordPress integration. However, their storage limits are quite low. RSS.com gives you unlimited storage and episodes. RSS.com’s pricing is more affordable. You get better analytics with RSS.com. Monetization options are stronger with RSS.com. And RSS.com has a more modern, intuitive interface. While Blubrry is a solid option, RSS.com delivers more value overall.

Buzzsprout vs. RSS.com

Buzzsprout and RSS.com are both popular podcast hosts. Buzzsprout has a free plan, but episodes are deleted after 90 days. RSS.com’s pricing is more straightforward and affordable. You get more storage and uploads with RSS.com. Analytics and monetization options are better with RSS.com. Buzzsprout’s interface is simple but lacks some features. RSS.com provides more tools for growth and customization. Overall, RSS.com offers better value for serious podcasters.

Castos vs. RSS.com

Castos and RSS.com are both solid podcast hosts. Castos offers WordPress integration and private podcasting. However, Castos is significantly more expensive than RSS.com. RSS.com gives you unlimited storage and episodes. You get more robust analytics with RSS.com. Monetization options are better with RSS.com. Castos limits episodes to 4 hours, but RSS.com has no limits. While Castos has some unique features, RSS.com provides better overall value.

Libsyn vs. RSS.com

Libsyn and RSS.com are both established podcast hosts. Libsyn has been around longer, but feels a bit outdated. RSS.com has a more modern, user-friendly interface. Libsyn’s storage limits are very low, while RSS.com offers unlimited storage. Analytics and monetization options are better with RSS.com. Libsyn nickel-and-dimes you for basic features. RSS.com pricing is more transparent and affordable. Unless you need Libsyn’s legacy features, and honestly even if you do, RSS.com is the better value for your podcasting dollar!

Podbean vs. RSS.com

Podbean has a free plan, but with limited storage and bandwidth. RSS.com’s pricing is simpler and more cost-effective. You get unlimited storage and episodes with RSS.com. Podbean’s analytics and monetization options are basic. RSS.com provides more robust insights and money-making tools. Podbean’s interface is decent but not as intuitive as RSS.com’s. While Podbean can work for casual podcasting, RSS.com is better for growth and professionalism.

Simplecast vs. RSS.com

Simplecast’s analytics are its main selling point. However, Simplecast gets very expensive as your show grows. RSS.com offers unlimited storage and episodes at an affordable price. You get excellent analytics with RSS.com without the steep costs. Monetization options are comparable between the two. Simplecast’s interface is clean but not as fully-featured as RSS.com’s. RSS.com is the better choice for most podcasters’ needs and budgets.

Spotify for Podcasters vs. RSS.com

Spotify for Podcasters is free, which is appealing to new podcasters. However, you get what you pay for. Spotify can remove your content without warning. They take a larger cut of your ad revenue. Analytics and support are limited. RSS.com is affordable and gives you full control. You keep more of your ad earnings with RSS.com. RSS.com provides better stats and customer service. For serious podcasting, RSS.com beats Spotify for Podcasters.

Spreaker vs. RSS.com

Spreaker also offers a free plan, but it too comes with limited features. RSS.com’s pricing is more affordable for what you get. Spreaker’s analytics and monetization options are basic. RSS.com provides more in-depth insights and revenue opportunities. One unique Spreaker feature is live podcasting. However, RSS.com offers video podcasting which Spreaker lacks. Spreaker’s interface is user-friendly but RSS.com’s is more robust. For most podcasters, RSS.com delivers greater value and flexibility.

Transistor vs. RSS.com

Transistor and RSS.com both offer podcast hosting for networks. Transistor is designed specifically for companies with multiple shows. However, Transistor is significantly more expensive than RSS.com. RSS.com’s Podcast Networks plan is more affordable and just as capable. Storage is unlimited with RSS.com but limited with Transistor. Analytics and monetization are excellent on both platforms. Transistor’s interface is well-designed but in fewer languages than RSS.com’s. Unless you need Transistor’s team member features, RSS.com is the better value. And, honestly, now that RSS.com is offering show collaborator options, you don’t really need the Transistor “team member features” anymore either.

Want an even deeper dive into these comparisons of the top podcast hosting companies? Check out RSS.com’s post The Best Podcast Hosting of 2024 – Compare Pricing & Features.

TikTok for Business – Insights from Industry Leaders on Leveraging the Platform’s Potential

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Should your business be on TikTok? I asked industry leaders to chime in with their thoughts. Here’s what they shared.

7 Reasons Your Business Should (or Shouldn’t) Be on TikTok

In the fast-paced world of social media, businesses are constantly evaluating their presence on platforms like TikTok. I’ve gathered insights from CEOs and marketing experts to explore this phenomenon. From aligning with strategic audiences to prioritizing content depth on other platforms, discover the top seven reasons these leaders have for either embracing or steering clear of TikTok for their businesses.

  • Strategic Audience Alignment
  • Expanding Brand Presence
  • Amplifying Reach Through Virality
  • Showcasing AI Features Creatively
  • Targeting Niche Investment-Focused Audience
  • Prioritizing Content Depth on Other Platforms
  • Demonstrating Product Value Visually

Strategic Audience Alignment

From my diverse background in technology, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing, I’ve learned the importance of leveraging various social media platforms to align with business goals and audience demographics. While the business I’m associated with does not currently have a presence on TikTok, this decision is driven by a strategic evaluation of our targeted audience’s behavior and our content’s nature. 

Our primary audience consists of startups and enterprise clients in sectors where the decision-making process relies heavily on detailed insights, strategic partnerships, and discussions that platforms like LinkedIn and specialized webinars cater to more efficiently. The intricate details of cloud communications strategies or D2C marketing approaches we specialize in often require a level of depth that short-form video content platforms like TikTok may not effectively accommodate. 

However, acknowledging the power of TikTok, we continuously assess its evolving landscape and its potential to serve as a valuable touchpoint for certain audience segments in the future. Analyzing trends and the platform’s expansion into various demographic groups, we remain open to adapting our strategy. For example, if leveraging TikTok can enhance our visibility or offer a novel avenue to engage with tech-savvy entrepreneurs or marketing professionals, integrating it into our multi-platform approach would be a strategic move, mirroring our adaptability in serving clients’ evolving needs in the digital ecosystem.

Gary Gilkison, Principal Analyst, Riverbase Cloud

Expanding Brand Presence

We at CarePatron recently hopped onto using TikTok because we acknowledge its relevance in reaching a wider audience. It’s an interesting avenue to offer informative yet accessible content with the help of its algorithm. It’s definitely challenging but significant in resonating with today’s SNS users, meeting our long-term goals, and simply strengthening our brand presence on all possible bases.

Jamie Frew, CEO, Carepatron

Related: Also check out the post “How to Get Famous On TikTok.

Amplifying Reach Through Virality

Should Your Business Be on TikTok Ken Fortney - Featured

As the founder of That Local Pack, a digital marketing and SEO agency focused on local service providers, I have a deep understanding of the importance of social media platforms, including TikTok, in driving visibility and engagement. Our business on TikTok serves a strategic purpose, leveraging the platform’s massive, engaged audience to amplify our reach and connect with potential clients in a compelling, visual, and timely manner.

The main reason for our presence on TikTok lies in its potential for virality and its powerful algorithm that can surface content to a broad audience, even those not following you directly. By creating content that resonates with local businesses looking to increase their online presence, we not only showcase our expertise in SEO and digital marketing but also provide value through tips, insights, and success stories from our clients. This strategy aligns with trends and preferences in content consumption, where users crave quick, actionable insights presented in an entertaining way.

From my prior experience as a Senior Content Marketing Manager at a leading tech platform, where my work significantly increased online visitors and engagement, I’ve learned the impact of adapting to new platforms and content formats. This background gives me a unique vantage point on utilizing platforms like TikTok. For instance, we’ve seen a particular TikTok campaign boost awareness for a local plumbing business by highlighting quick DIY fixes, driving significant traffic to their website, and increasing their service calls.

While I advocate for a multi-channel approach, TikTok offers a unique advantage for local businesses to create a personal connection with their audience. It’s not just about dancing or trends; it’s a platform where creativity, expertise, and even a glimpse into the day-to-day operations can help demystify SEO and digital marketing for our target audience.

In conclusion, our presence on TikTok is a calculated move to reach a segment of our audience where they spend a significant amount of time. It allows us to convey our message in an engaging format while positioning us as forward-thinking and in tune with the latest digital marketing strategies, essential for winning in the competitive local SEO space.

Ken Fortney, Founder, That Local Pack

Showcasing AI Features Creatively

Yep, our business is definitely on TikTok, and the main reason is to tap into the dynamic and creative community there, especially those excited about AI and productivity. TikTok gives us a unique platform to showcase Taskade’s AI features in action, like AI agents and automation, through engaging, bite-sized content. It’s all about connecting with the audience in a fun and relatable way, demonstrating how our tool can seamlessly fit into and enhance their daily lives and workflows.

This presence on TikTok is our way of keeping up with the trends and reaching out to a younger, tech-savvy audience that values innovation and efficiency. Plus, it’s a fantastic channel for visual storytelling, allowing us to visually demonstrate the impact of our AI-driven features, making it clear why Taskade stands out in the crowded space of productivity tools.

John Xie, Co-Founder and CEO, Taskade

Targeting Niche Investment-Focused Audience

My business hasn’t taken the leap onto TikTok. The primary reason is a strategic choice to concentrate on platforms where my target demographic—seasoned investors and potential homebuyers—spends the most time. 

While TikTok offers vast outreach potential, platforms like LinkedIn and specialized real estate forums align more closely with my goals of engaging a more niche, investment-focused audience. This approach allows me to tailor content that resonates deeply with their specific interests and needs.

Mike Wall, CEO, EZ Sell Homebuyers

Should Your Business Be on TikTok Mike Wall - Featured

Prioritizing Content Depth on Other Platforms

Our business’s absence from TikTok is a strategic choice, reflective of our focus on content depth and detailed engagement strategies that currently align better with other platforms. The fast-paced, trend-driven nature of TikTok doesn’t mesh well with our brand’s emphasis on in-depth, educational content. 

We’re all about fostering long-term relationships with our audience through detailed blogs, in-depth videos, and forums for open discussion. While we recognize TikTok’s value in brand promotion and audience engagement, we’re currently investing where our content can thrive and resonate deeply with our audience.

Cyrus Partow, CEO, ShipTheDeal

Demonstrating Product Value Visually

Our product inherently shines brightest when demonstrated. It’s one thing to tell someone about its features and benefits, but it’s another to show it in action, making them see its value firsthand. This is where TikTok becomes not just a platform for us, but a stage—a place where we can vividly showcase what our product does and how it seamlessly fits into the lives of our users. The dynamic, visually driven nature of TikTok content aligns perfectly with our need to demonstrate our product in a way that is both engaging and informative. 

TikTok’s format encourages creativity and authenticity, which are key in crafting compelling narratives around our product. Through short, captivating videos, we can demonstrate our product in various scenarios, highlighting its versatility and ease of use. This not only helps in educating our audience but also in building a stronger, more relatable brand presence. 

Should Your Business Be on TikTok Matt Goren - Featured

Moreover, TikTok’s algorithm is designed to push content to viewers who are most likely to find it relevant, making it an efficient tool for reaching our target demographic. The interactive nature of TikTok also allows us to receive immediate feedback through comments, shares, and likes, giving us valuable insights into our audience’s preferences and how they perceive our product. 

By tripling down on our TikTok efforts this year and integrating performance influencer marketing, we’re leveraging the platform’s strengths to not just reach but resonate with our audience. Influencers, with their ability to connect and build trust with their followers, can demonstrate our product in authentic, relatable ways, further amplifying its appeal. 

This strategic emphasis on TikTok is rooted in our understanding that in today’s fast-paced digital world, showing is better than telling. By bringing our product to life on this vibrant platform, we’re not just selling; we’re engaging, educating, and entertaining, which makes all the difference.

Matt Goren, Head of Marketing, Tom’s Key Company

So – Should Your Business Be On TikTok?

The decision to establish a presence on TikTok ultimately depends on your business’s unique goals, target audience, and content strategy. While some businesses thrive on the platform, leveraging its vast reach, virality potential, and creative opportunities, others may find their resources better allocated to platforms that align more closely with their niche audience and in-depth content requirements.

If your business can effectively showcase its products, services, or expertise through short, engaging videos, and your target audience is active on TikTok, it may be a valuable addition to your social media strategy. The platform’s visual nature and potential for organic reach can help you expand your brand presence, connect with younger, tech-savvy audiences, and demonstrate your offerings in a relatable and authentic way.

However, if your business relies heavily on detailed, educational content or targets a more niche, professional audience, platforms like LinkedIn, specialized forums, or your own website may be more effective in fostering meaningful engagement and establishing thought leadership.

Ultimately, the key is to evaluate your business’s unique needs, resources, and audience preferences. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each platform and aligning your content strategy accordingly, you can make an informed decision on whether TikTok is the right fit for your business. Remember, a well-executed multi-platform approach that adapts to your audience’s evolving needs and preferences is often the most effective way to maximize your social media presence and achieve your business goals.

10 Time Saving Tools Your Office Needs!


Need some time saving tools in your office? This post can help you with just that!

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Megan Isola. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Tools To Save You Time In The Office

The world of business is fast-paced and constantly changing. In any industry, time is a valuable, but limited resource. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to help employees save time and increase productivity in the office. These tools offer innovative solutions with a range of benefits. Leveraging time-saving tools allow professionals to optimize workflow, reduce administrative burdens, and focus on more impactful work. 

In this article, you’ll find a range of tools designed to save time in your workday, empowering individuals and teams to work efficiently and achieve greater productivity.

Collaboration tools

For remote and in-office teams, employee collaboration leads to improved innovation and positive work culture. Collaboration tools can help save time during the workday, streamline workflow, improve communication, and enhance productivity. Investing in collaboration tools provides instant messaging and video conferencing capabilities, allowing your team members to instantly and easily collaborate. These tools also centralize your information and documents so employees can easily find and access the information they need. Collaboration tools can also optimize project management and assist in employee onboarding by serving as a repository for discussions and decision-making. 

Robotic Process Automation

RPA tools eliminate repetitive, rule-based tasks, allowing employees to focus on critical and complex tasks. With robotic process automation, you cut manual data entry and reduce errors, saving your business money over time. RPA can also easily migrate your data from system to system, reducing the time it takes to extract, load, and transform data. 

You can also use an RPA to automate email management based on the defined rules you set and automate report generation by automatically collecting and processing your data. While we’ve highlighted a few ways an RPA can make your day more efficient, because of their flexibility and customization, there are limitless possibilities. 

Client communication tools

For any business, managing your client relationships is crucial to your company’s success. However, nurturing your connections to ensure each client is happy can take ample time, making customer communication management tools essential. These tools streamline your communication efforts into one platform, ensuring consistent messaging, branding, and formatting. You can also easily customize your messages and automate email, SMS, social media, and other coordinated communications, reducing the time it takes to build and send out campaigns. 

These tools also offer informative insights based on your analytics so you can adjust your campaigns for more successful communications. Because client communication tools streamline your communication process and reduce manual effort, it results in optimized efforts while saving time and money. 

Password manager

For any business, securing your password and encryption protocols is necessary. With many employees utilizing company passwords, password managers can securely store and manage your passwords in one place. With password managers like 1Password and LastPass, users with access to company accounts require a unique code, allowing them to auto-fill login information so you don’t have to pass passwords back and forth between employees. These tools also utilize a two-factor authentication system, preventing unauthorized access to your business’s private information. 

Screen recorder

Quality screen recording software is important to have on any work computer. These programs can help record step by step instructions that can be saved and used for a long time. These recordings are especially useful in training new employees on how to do day to day practices within the organization. Recordings can help save your employees time but not having to take time out of their day to mentor a trainee one on one and instead show them high-quality instructions. 

Digital signature tools

Another way to save time in the office is by investing in a digital signature tool. These tools eliminate the need to print, scan, and circulate physical documents. Enabling remote signing, optimizing document circulation, and improving document security can save your business time and money. You can also integrate your centralized document management tool with your workflow system to streamline the signing process while ensuring compliance. Adopting a digital signature reduces administrative hurdles, increases efficiency, and accelerates workflow. 

Time trackers

Investing in time trackers for employees is another way to save time in the workday by increasing your awareness of time prioritization, providing accurate time tracking, identifying areas for improvement, and enabling task prioritization and planning. Time trackers can also offer powerful insights into improving operational efficiency and project management while enhancing client transparency and reporting. Overall, time tracking tools allow for optimized time management and productivity while identifying problem areas where time is wasted. 

Organization tools


If you want to save time and maximize your work output, investing in organizational tools can help. Organizing tools save time in the office by improving efficiency, streamlining workflow, and reducing your day-to-day work clutter. These tools enable efficient information management, task and project management, calendars and scheduling, and file organization. They can also enhance collaboration and communication, system integration, digital note-taking, and reduce workflow distractions. Optimizing your work processes obtains a clear and organized work environment, enhancing productivity while saving time. 

Project management software

Another tool to invest in and save time during your workday is a project management software. These tools help streamline project management and execution by centralizing information while boosting your team’s collaboration. Project management software can also automate reminders and notifications about task completion and upcoming due dates based on your business need and provide visual timelines, reporting, and analytics to improve efficiency and ensure each team member is on the same page. 

You can also integrate your project management tools with your other business tools like time-tracking software to reduce the need to switch between your various applications. By leveraging project management software, you streamline project planning, resulting in improved efficiency, reduced delays, and optimized resource utilization. These time-saving benefits allow your team to focus on productive work, meet deadlines, and deliver successful outcomes more efficiently. 

Meeting scheduling tools

One of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in working in a remote team or with global offices is scheduling meetings. With various schedules to accommodate, finding the right time to meet can often be more challenging than the meetings themselves. Instead of wasting your precious time and energy trying to schedule a meeting, look into adopting a meeting scheduling tool to prevent frustration. 

Scheduling tools like Calendly, Doodle, and Google Calendar’s scheduling features streamline meeting scheduling by automatically showing you times when everyone’s free without having to go back and forth by email or needing to reschedule a meeting. 

Saving time and money at work

In the modern office landscape, time-saving tools are essential investments for boosting productivity and achieving better work-life balance. From collaboration and communication to project management software, digital signature tools, and robotics process automation, the options are abundant. Embracing these tools unlocks your potential for improving collaboration productivity, and time savings. With the right tools, you can conquer daily work challenges, accomplish more in less time, and achieve greater success in your work.

About the Author


Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. 

Book Review of Empire – A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business

Book Excerpt From Empire - A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business

In this book review, I’m sharing my thoughts on “Empire – A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business” by Kim Hendren.

This post might contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, my website will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks in advance for your support!

A Road Map to Success for Creative Business Owners

Kim Hendren has been a creative entrepreneur for more than two decades. She’s a Michigan girl turned Florida transplant, and is a multi-passionate creator. Her new book Empire – A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business serves as a road map to, well, starting a creative business.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy. While I did receive this book for free, all opinions are my own.

Who’s This Book For?

Anyone who has ever thought about starting a creative business. That is who Kim wrote this book for. Her goal is simple – help you take her years of experience, and put you on the fast track to launching a creative business of your own.

What qualifies as a creative business? It could look like selling:

  • Novelty t-shirts, totes, mugs – anything that can have something printed on it
  • Artwork (printed photographs, watercolors, mixed media on canvas, etc…)
  • Floral arrangements
  • Handmade goods (crafts, jewelry, garments, etc…)
  • Music
  • Websites
  • Graphics

You get the idea…pretty much anything that requires creativity that can be bought and sold – that can make up the basis of a creative business.

Related: Read my post 101 Ideas to Make Money From Home.

As she says,  “For the sake of simplicity, these steps are geared toward creative home businesses or small maker businesses…” Still, many of the steps can be applied towards any type of business.

Kim’s Steps for Success in Launching a Creative Business

Empire - A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business - Book Cover

1. Her first step is to “find your bliss.” In the beginning, she gives you a worksheet to come up with your perfect business idea. No complicated business plans – just a few questions to help you get clear on what you want.

The rest of the steps look like this:

2. Choose your business name

3. Choose a niche

4. Business colors & logo

5. Getting a domain

6. Setting up social media

7. Business bank account stuff

8. Legal things to know about

9. Expenses and making money

10. The difference between wholesale and retail

11. Options for selling

12. Pricing your stuff

13. Branding

14. Kim’s marketing strategies

15. Kim’s photography tips

16. Shipping & Supplies

17. Labels & printers

18. Manufacturer advice

19. Business ideas – if you’re stuck about what to do

20. How to gain knowledge

21. Battle cry – It’s time to build your empire, and where to go from here.

What Else is in the Book?

This book is about more than just the steps to launching a creative business. It also features checklists, worksheets, and her battle tested tips for everything Kim has gone through in running her own digital empire.

When you buy Empire – A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business, you’re buying more than a how to guide. You’re buying the brainstorming and testing Kim has worked on for more than two decades.

One of my personal favorite features of the book is the journal section of it. Why? Keeping a record of our journeys along the way helps us see how far we have come. It helps motivate us to keep going as we chase our dreams.

I won’t lie, running a business – especially a creative business – it’s hard work! There’s going to be good days and bad days and really crappy days. But, I know for me, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I love what I do, and wish I had a book like this when I was first starting out.

Empire - A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business - Book Excerpt Selling Options Page

Where to buy EmpireA Step By Step Guide to Starting a Creative Business: Grab the paperback copy of the book directly from Kim’s Website, or purchase the eBook on Amazon.

Sip of History: A Whiskey and Music Festival at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Sip of History_Banner

The 9th annual Sip of History on April 6th is a dog-friendly whiskey tasting festival with live music, food, and activities held at President Andrew Jackson’s historic Hermitage estate in Nashville.

Whiskey, Music and History Unite at The Hermitage’s Sip of History Festival

If you’re looking for a fun and unique event to attend this spring in Nashville, mark your calendar for the 9th annual Sip of History festival on Saturday, April 6th. This dog-friendly whiskey tasting event is held at the historic Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the 1,120-acre former home and estate of the 7th U.S. President.

What is Sip of History?

Sip of History is an afternoon celebration of Tennessee’s whiskey heritage, live music, food, and outdoor activities. From 2pm to 5pm, guests can sample whiskeys, wines and beers from over 25 acclaimed Tennessee distilleries, breweries and wineries. This year’s participating distilleries include heavy hitters like Jack Daniel’s, Nelson’s Green Brier, and Old Dominick, among many others.

The event features live music from singer-songwriter Sean Donovan, lawn games, food vendors, and special attractions for four-legged attendees. Dogs are welcome to join the fun, with a fenced dog park, pet treat samples, accessories for sale, and even an animal welfare non-profit on site.

Why Attend This Event?

Sip of History_Woman Handing Out Whiskey Samples

Beyond the whiskey tasting and music, a big draw of Sip of History is the chance to explore the beautiful grounds of The Hermitage. Your ticket includes access to tour Andrew Jackson’s mansion, the gardens, nature trails, and historic buildings and exhibits. You can learn about Jackson’s life and legacy through multimedia displays and living history tours.

The event celebrates Tennessee’s deep roots in whiskey-making, which dates back to the days of settlers like Jackson distilling grain on their farms and plantations. Jackson himself had a hand in distilling whiskey at The Hermitage during his retirement years.

Tickets are $75 for Hermitage members and $85 for non-members, with proceeds supporting the preservation of this National Historic Landmark site. Whether you’re a whiskey aficionado, history buff, or just looking for a fun outdoor event, Sip of History promises a great afternoon in Nashville.

Click here to get more details about the Sip of History.

I can’t wait to bring my Pampered Pomchis to the event in April!

Sip of History_Dog Attending the Event

A Little About The Hermitage

The Hermitage was originally a 425-acre farm that Andrew Jackson purchased from his neighbor Nathaniel Hays in 1804. Jackson, who had owned other farms in the Nashville area previously, bought The Hermitage (first called “Rural Retreat”) with the goal of operating it as a cotton plantation to generate income.

Over time, Jackson expanded The Hermitage into a massive 1,000-acre plantation devoted primarily to growing cotton as a cash crop. At its peak, around 200 acres were used for growing cotton plants, with the demanding labor performed by over 160 enslaved workers.

While cotton was the main crop, The Hermitage was a diverse agricultural operation. Other crops like corn, wheat, vegetables, and fruit orchards were tended to help sustain the enslaved workers and Jackson family. Livestock including hogs, cattle, and sheep were also raised.

After Jackson’s death in 1845, his son Andrew Jackson Jr. inherited The Hermitage. However, declining cotton prices, debt, and other financial troubles led him to start selling off portions of the land in the 1850s. By 1858 the family had relocated, signaling the decline of The Hermitage as a working plantation.

The Civil War brought further changes, with most of the enslaved population leaving or being emancipated. Agriculture on the land dwindled, and by the 1870s-1880s cotton was no longer grown and livestock/crop outputs were greatly reduced.

In 1889, the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (now Andrew Jackson Foundation) acquired the core 25-acre site with key buildings, establishing it as a museum and historic site that has welcomed visitors ever since. Today, The Hermitage encompasses over 1,100 acres of land with the original buildings, gardens, nature trails, and active farming operations growing crops like corn, wheat and soybeans.

Why Visit The Hermitage?

  • The Hermitage is Andrew Jackson’s former home and estate, spanning 1,120 acres in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a National Historic Landmark.
  • It first opened to the public as a museum in 1889, making it one of America’s first presidential home museums.
  • The property includes Jackson’s mansion, tomb, restored slave cabins, gardens, trails, and over 20 historic buildings.
  • There are exhibits and tours that interpret Jackson’s life and legacy, including the “Born for a Storm” interactive exhibit in the visitor center.
  • Special events and programs are held at The Hermitage throughout the year, such as the Sip of History whiskey festival, lectures, holiday events, and more.
  • The Hermitage highlights the history of slavery on the plantation through tours of slave cabins/archaeological sites and programming about the lives of the enslaved people.

Click here to learn more about visiting The Hermitage.