How to become a copywriter – tips & advice

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Now that you’ve got a better idea of what it means to be a freelance copywriter, let’s take a look in some more detail at how to become a copywriter. This advice applies whether you’re just taking your first tentative steps in copywriting, or you’re looking to grow your freelance business.

How to become a copywriter – the basics

Once you’ve learned the skill of copywriting by learning from example and practising, it’s time to make some money! The first thing you’ll need is clients. Yes, you heard me – before you even have a website in place, you need to get yourself out there and start working with people. If you’re still growing your business, clients aren’t going to come to you. There’s time to work out how to attract clients to your site later, but for now, you’ll want to see the first fruits of your labours.

The easiest way to get those first clients coming in is to register with one of the many freelance job sites out there. We’ve found that peopleperhour and Upwork are two of the best. It’s easy to get yourself a profile and start bidding for work, but it’s worth realising that this is going to be hard work. In order to win bids, you’ll need to play the numbers game at first.

Until you have some positive feedback, it’ll be difficult fighting off the competition, but don’t lose heart. Get some examples of your work up there, and take your time to craft attractive proposals that are tailored to each job – don’t just copy and paste! Many clients buy in bulk regularly from these sites, and with so many candidates out there, they’re skilled at spotting generic proposals. Use yours to stand out from the crowd.

Behave professionally and they’ll keep coming back

To become a copywriter, you need to act professionally from the beginning. Complete your work on time and to your client’s requirements. Also, remember to be personable when you’re talking over the project with them! A large part of repeat business is gained by being easy to work with and making it seem like nothing is a hassle. Do this, and you’ll start getting positive feedback.

Positive feedback starts a chain reaction – once potential clients can see that you’ve completed work successfully, on time and to a high standard, they’re much more likely to hire you. Make sure you get feedback, recommendations and testimonials from clients that you can use to attract others in the future.

Now what?

Now that you’ve got your first clients under your belt and you’re getting some repeat business, there are two things you want to do – secure your foundations, and grow!

Part of securing the work you’ve done so far is managing your time. Once you have a few projects on the go, it’s easy to get in a muddle. Deadlines cross each other, you mix up clients with the wrong projects – we’ve all been there. The easiest way to solve this is time management.

One tip for keeping everything in order is to steal an idea from the blogging community. Since it’s likely you’ll be doing some blogging work as part of your copywriting, you may as well make it work for you!

If you’re using WordPress for a lot of your work, download the Editorial Calendar plugin. It’s free and scores a huge five stars. Once it’s installed, you can use it to plan out your own blogging, which will come in handy later. However, it’s also a great way of planning out your working month.

Create draft posts for each of your copywriting jobs, and you can just drag and drop them around the calendar. These can be tagged or categorised depending on the client, topic and such, and you can remind yourself regularly of what work needs to be done.

Another tool we love here at Recruit Write is Meister Task. There are so many todo and project management web apps out there, and we’ve tried them all. However, Meister Task is intuitive, looks fantastic, and even has a built-in time logging function so you can easily invoice. You can have separate projects, each customised to suit your needs and the whole package works like a great combination of Asana and Trello. Best of all, it’s free!

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to be a copywriter, it’s time to grow your business. Next time we’ll cover how to improve your web presence and start attracting clients to you.

 

 

 

So, what does a freelance copywriter do all day?

 

You’ve probably had that conversation before. Someone asks you what you do for a living and you say, “I’m a freelance copywriter.” They scrunch their face, shrug and say, “So you just sit at home all day? Great, want to go for a coffee? I’ve got the day off!”

You sigh and stare off into the distance, thinking about how many deadlines you still need to meet…

Working as a freelance copywriter has lots of benefits, but it can be hard work too, especially without plenty of planning. We’re starting off a series of blog posts about becoming a freelance copywriter with an explanation of what copywriting is, and the basics of being good at copywriting.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some tips on planning and using an editorial calendar to track your work, how to adjust your tone of voice to suit your clients’ audience, and more!

What is a copywriter?

Copywriters, broadly, write promotional material. Whether it’s a brochure for holiday, a restaurant menu, an advertising billboard or a branded website, you can bet that the words used to explain and advertise the product or service have been written by a professional copywriter.

“Copy” is the name for the text written within all kinds of promotional literature. It’s an art form in itself, designed to make readers sit up and do something – the so-called “call to action”. Advertising is useless and promotion pointless unless it inspires the consumer to take action, whether that’s buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, downloading an e-book or becoming a member.

Why are copywriters important?

Copywriters are the heart of your promotional campaign if you’re a brand looking to engage with the public. Poor copy doesn’t just result in inaction, it can actively put someone off your brand – a killer reaction that you want to avoid at all costs.

How many times have you picked up a promotional leaflet and seen poor grammar or spelling and just slapped it down again in disgust or worse, laughed at it? You walk away remembering the brand for all the wrong reasons. For a while, anyway – it’s soon forgotten again amid the static of so many other brands looking for your attention.

Good copywriting, on the other hand, not only represents your brand well, but can invoke trust, engender good feeling, invite the reader to engage and, most of all, inspire them to take action.

How do you become a good copywriter?

Thankfully, you don’t need a qualification to become a copywriter (although some formal training in language can help, even if it’s just a short course or online training). What you really need is a fantastic grasp of language and an understanding of how words can inspire action.

You need to be able to get across an idea with the minimum of fuss, getting straight to the point. You also have to be able to modulate your tone of voice to suit your client. You don’t want a breezy, informal voice when you’re copywriting for a law firm. Equally, if your client is a fashion blogger who enjoys a light relationship with her readership, you don’t want to write in tedious, jargon-filled legalese.

Knowing the difference isn’t something you can necessarily be taught, although you can definitely pick up tips from others. Instead, the best way to learn to become a freelance copywriter is to read! Read blogs and other literature that reflects the client you’re working for – read their competitors’ literature,

and develop a sense of what’s working and what’s not.

Be prepared for hard work!

Working as a freelance copywriter is a fulfilling career, where you can be your own boss and adjust your workload to suit you exactly. However, if it’s to be a rewarding one, be prepared to put in a lot of time, effort and especially planning. We’ll touch more on planning in a blog post within the next couple of weeks, where we’ll share some tips on how to manage your time and plan your editorial calendar to make sure you deliver the best work you can!

 

The Pros and Cons of HR Software

Technology such as HR software has made huge advances in recent years, with the potential to add efficiency and productivity to the HR department. Recruitment software, or candidate management systems, in particular have improved, and mean that the whole recruitment process can be management online. The candidate journey can be tracked from start to finish.

However, as with all new technology, it’s worth considering the pros and cons before deciding to make the change to a new system or process. Here are the top benefits and drawbacks of CMS.

Pros and cons of CMS suites

Benefits

Faster pipelines

CMS can speed up the shortlisting process by almost 50%. As everything is streamlined and actioned from one central point, processes become easier, and with most CMS today you can move from advertising the job to booking the shortlisted candidates for interview. This can all be done online, with the ability to send emails, appointment dates and application forms online.

Better tracking of performance

CMS allows you to carry out A/B testing on recruitment ads as well as easy tracking of which ads perform better in different locations. With continued use, this means you can streamline your recruitment process even further. Customisable templates mean that you can upload new ads without copywriting each time.

Shortlisting improved

It can be easier to shortlist with HR software. Keyword matching, scoring and minimum requirements mean that the software can effectively weed out unqualified candidates before you ever see their CV, saving time that you can use to concentrate on creating a better shortlist and talking to candidates.

Reduces cost-per-hire

In today’s economy, businesses are watching every penny. Many of you will know from harsh experience that HR and recruitment often isn’t considered a profit-making part of the business (even though we all know this isn’t the case). If you’re feeling the squeeze in your department, CMS can reduce the overall cost-per-hire, saving money by increasing productivity and reducing manpower required for each hire.

Reduces HR workload

In many industries, recruitment is an everyday process. Turnover and lack of retention can mean that you never get to the end of that constant recruitment pipeline, and that eats into time you’d prefer to spend on other things. Reducing the time per hire means you can focus on employee engagement and training.

Drawbacks

Impersonal

CMS can be an impersonal mode of recruitment. Since most of the sorting work is done by the software and most appointment booking is done by email, it can be tempting to bring candidates to interview without ever speaking directly to them. This can affect the quality of your shortlist, and also the recruitment experience for the candidate.

Diversity

CMS can cause issues in terms of diversity of recruitment. As the software sorts by keyword or score, there is no personal touch that can ensure a balance of gender, race, ability, sexual orientation and the like. You might find that the original candidate pool was diverse, but the software has unwittingly sorted a shortlist that lacks proper diversity.

Human skills

Nothing beats experience when it comes to recruitment. Years of training and experience, coupled with an instinct for quality, mean that when you look over applications you can probably make good, snap decisions about your shortlist. If the software is doing this on your behalf, the impersonal nature might mean that you’re losing out on quality candidates for interview.

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Possibility for manipulation

Candidates are increasingly shrewd in a competitive marketplace. CMS systems can be “gamed” by candidates who have experience of them, or who have done their homework. Using predictable, high-ranking keywords can get them through the door and into that interview slot regardless of their actual suitability.

All of which means you could be missing out on some of the best candidates out there – they’ll never hear from you, because you’ll never see them.

Making the most of HR software

As with most things in the world of recruitment and HR, balance is key. If you decide to use HR software, we’d recommend doing so carefully. Streamline your processes by all means, and follow the candidate journey online – it will increase productivity, and the ability to track is key to shaping recruitment plans and forward planning, particularly for operational departments that rely on you for this.

However, we would advise a human element at every step of the process. Check random samples of unselected CVs, gauge the effectiveness of scoring, and compare the output of the software to your own decision-making to ensure that you know it is working as you need it to.

In the end, HR software is like all technology – when used as a tool to supplement existing processes it can be extremely beneficial in saving time and reducing cost, but don’t depend on it to do your work for you.

If you’d like more information on how we can help you to work with your CMS system to headhunt or shortlist candidates, contact us at Lyndsey@recruitwrite.com.

 

The era of Fakebook – fake news on social media

Some are calling this the post-fact era, and we’ve seen just how difficult it can be to tell fact from fiction recently. Events in the UK during the EU referendum campaign, and across the pond in the US presidential elections, have shown that while social media allows us to access more information than ever before, not all of that information is worthwhile.

Fake news on social media

In the not-so-distant past, our access to information was limited by the amounts of providers available, as well as the kinds of media we used. In the UK, terrestrial TV was limited to three channels for a long time, then a fourth and fifth were added in the 80s and 90s. Newspapers were prolific, but there was a different attitude to news back then. Competition meant that papers competed to get the facts – exclusives and ‘scoops’ were designed to draw in the readers, but they were based on accuracy and telling the truth. At least, before the tabloids emerged. Until that point, news was considered more accurate, but also more controlled – the public could only get their news from a relatively small number of sources, and so were dependent on the broadcasters and publishers showing us both sides of the story, which wasn’t always the case.

The growth of tabloids meant the public had access to more, cheaper papers and a culture grew where editors became accustomed to adjusting the truth to fit the headline, in the hopes of increasing readership. Concurrent with this was the explosion of satellite TV and 24-hour news services. Now broadcasters had more competition, and had to keep the viewers glued to the TV for longer periods.

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The growth of social media

In the 2000s, the arrival of the internet was trumpeted as a new wave of information, where users would have access to unbridled amounts of news from a variety of sources. We could find out things we never knew before, and would make up our own minds as to the truth. Reality could no longer be controlled by a small number of news moguls, and news would be back in the hands of the people.

Blogging became popular, first as a means of expression and next as a means of commentary. That lead to the growth of social media, with first Facebook and then Twitter emerging as the new pillars of media. While both platforms deny that they are in fact media outlets but instead a means of social engagement, it quickly became apparent that the majority of users were actually getting most of their news from shares on these sites. As of the third quarter of 2016, Facebook has 1.79 billion monthly active users, most of whom share news articles and headlines with their networks.

Clickbait and the art of gaining hits

The currency of the internet is ‘hits’ – the number of individual users visiting and viewing an article or blog. Bloggers and social media moguls were concurrently coming up with ways to game the system to increase views – Facebook and Twitter experimented with algorithms, with Facebook in particular perfecting a ‘news feed’ that curated content for users based on their previous shares, likes and engagement.

Meanwhile bloggers were learning the art of keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) that would increase their visibility on Google rankings. This lead to the rise of so-called clickbait articles – articles that might not be newsworthy in themselves, but which were written in a way that would garner interest and click-throughs.

Sites like The Onion and Buzzfeed took differing approaches. The Onion was a satirical website offering an intelligent but parodic look at the news, while Buzzfeed offered easily digestible chunks of content with headlines that exploited readers’ curiosity but which provided nothing substantial within.

Clickbait and politics

Recently, the number of clickbait sites and fake news on social media has grown to such a worrying extent that commentators have suggested they now play a role in politics. On both ideological sides of the debates in the UK and US, users were sharing fake stories about politicians, presidential candidates and others. It has reached a point where we no longer no what’s real and what’s fake, and many have realised that it’s time to do something about it.

Amid public pressure, Facebook has announced that it’s using its Facebook Ads platform to crack down on such sites, removing their access to paid advertising. Whether this will work or not remains to be seen, but it’s a direction that pleases some and worries others. While it’s obvious that the amount of fake news on social media is concerning, some are also worried that we could see a step towards a kind of censorship that, if mishandled, could lead to social media preferring one kind of opinion over another.

Perhaps the best approach is for content producers to take it upon themselves to do better?

Why copywriting is important

In an age of competing platforms and media, all vying for our attention, nothing beats well-written, informative and entertaining content. That’s why it’s so important for content providers to ensure that their content is top class.

If providers are unable to produce that content themselves, they should turn to the growing army of skilled copywriters out there who can produce it for them. Experienced copywriters will research articles and blog posts fully, altering their tone to suit the target audience and create lasting content that will bring visitors back without the need for tacky or false clickbait headlines and fluff content.

Do you want your site to be known for contributing to the ‘post-fact’ society, or do you want to provide solid content that delivers something of value to your visitors? That’s a question we’re all going to have to ask ourselves going forward.

If you’d like to discuss what we can do for you to make your website content sing and to keep those readers coming back, read more about our Copywriting services, or get in touch.

 

 

How to Spot a Bad Employee

Recruiting a new employee can be risky and there’s never any certainty that they will live up to expectations. The performance at interview and references are all you initially have to go on, so it is no wonder that many employees fail to impress! If you are concerned about the performance of a new recruit and are perhaps wondering how to fire an employee, these may be some telltale signs that you are making the right decision.

Always Late

If your new employee is constantly late for work, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes here and there; this is not a good sign. A good employee will make sure they turn up on time for work, although there may be the odd exception, whereas a bad employee will be late more often than on time.

Lack of Motivation

You should expect your employees to be ready for work and motivated while they are there and if not, they are not likely to perform well enough to help the business grow. Motivation is important in the workplace and a lack of motivation not only affects performance, but it can also cause other employees to become demotivated. If your employee shows a real lack of motivation, it may be worth considering whether they are right for your business.

Talk Too Much

No one expects workers to spend their entire day working, without lifting their head up to take a breath. However, there is a fine line between a bit of chat and an entire day spent talking about the new series of Big Brother or plans for the weekend. If an employee spends more time talking than doing work, this will not be good for business in the long run and will put others off their work too.

Don’t Help Colleagues

A good employee will support their colleagues. This may include picking up calls, helping with increased workloads or asking if they need a hand if they have spare time on their hands. An employee who is bad for business will only do their own work and won’t show any concern for their colleagues. This will quickly become noticeable to other members of staff and will cause resentment, which will affect the overall levels of morale in the workplace.

Spread Negativity

The right kind of employee will be positive, have a smile on their face and be motivated to achieve their goals. They will meet or exceed their expectations of their role, will be civil to others and won’t cause any disruption. An employee who spreads negativity is bad for the workplace and will probably adversely affect everyone they come in contact with. This is the last thing you want for a healthy, happy workplace!

If you spot these signs in a new employee, it may be time to use an HR consultancy to help provide advice on how to deal with a bad employee.

Types of Social Media Marketing and What to Post to Achieve Results

Types of Social Media Marketing and What to Post to Achieve Results

We all know that there are benefits for businesses who post regular content on their social media accounts, however, it can be difficult to work out what content to post. The purpose of posting on social media is to create a buzz about your products or services and as inbound marketing goes, it is becoming increasingly important. It is not a good idea to constantly post the same content (we have all seen it done!), as this offers nothing to the reader and most people will probably just ignore it. A more subtle approach is advisable, if you don’t want to instantly turn potential customers off. These are some different types of content to use on your social media accounts.

Business Updates

Social media is a great way to promote your business and there is nothing wrong with posting about your business, but make sure it offers something to the reader. For example, promotions you are running or a blog the reader can look at. There are millions of people using social media every day (Facebook alone has 1.65 monthly active users), so make sure your business updates will make the reader sit up and take notice.

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Emotional Content

We all relate to content which stirs up some kind of emotion; whether it’s laughter, tears, anger or shock, we like content we can somehow relate to. If we use ‘The Lad Bible’ on Facebook as an example; the page has a staggering 13+ million likes and the content is regular, and is usually funny and relatable to a certain age group. Another is Tony Robbins; he has over 2 million likes and posts motivational content, which empowers people. If your content fails to stir any emotional, it is very unlikely to be shared, which is the whole point in using social media marketing. Just don’t send your readers to sleep with your content; that is an emotion you might want to avoid!

Interactive

If your content gives the reader something to do; all the better. For example, a video to watch, a quiz to enjoy or a game to play. The more interactive your content is, the more popular it is likely to be, which means better results for your business! When people enjoy the content, they will tell others about it. How many times have you watched a funny YouTube video and sent it to a friend? This is how you can use interactive content to improve your business results.

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Relate to Customers

Take time to reflect on who your customers are and whether your content relates to them as after all, this is this group you want to attract or offer something to. If you are in the fashion industry, your target audience will probably be interest in content related to fashion, celebrities, entertainment; posting gardening tips or financial news probably isn’t hugely relevant. What would your customers like to read about? Your inbound marketing strategy should reflect this.

Images

Where possible, you should incorporate images into any content you post. A good image can make a piece of content stand out and thus, make it more likely to be read and shared.

Find out more about the copywriting and social media services offered at Recruit Write by visiting http://www.recruitwrite.com.

How to Become a Productivity Master Today

You can easily sit at your desk for 8 hours straight, but that doesn’t guarantee that you will be productive. Productivity is not really about how long you work for, but rather how much work you get done. You can get the same volume of work completed in 3 hours, as you can in 5, if you are focused and determined. Whether you run your own business or you work for an employer, your opportunities for success will be determined by how productive you are. It is not always easy but there are some simple measures you can take to become a productivity master today!

Remove Distractions

This is easier said than done, but it is one of the most important actions to take if you want to be as productive as possible. You may think checking Facebook or sending a quick text doesn’t take long, but it can easily take your concentration away from the task in hand and can cause a dip in productivity levels. It is a good idea to keep your phone off, or at least hidden from view and to refrain from checking it or your social media pages until after lunch or when you get home in the evening. A couple of seconds can easily spiral into half an hour and this can have consequences for how productive you will be. Most communication can wait, so don’t be tempted into getting into long, drawn out conversations. The less distractions you have, the more productive you will be. Don’t be afraid to refuse to attend meetings that you don’t believe will hold any value, as these can just take up a lot of unnecessary time.

Set Deadlines

At the start of the day, it is important to write a to-do list and also set yourself some deadlines for when you want to complete work. For instance, if you are writing a report and know you can complete it within two hours, make sure you put your head down for those two hours and don’t go over the deadline. You will feel better if you complete your list of tasks for the day and will learn to become more productive by setting your own deadlines.

Regular Breaks

It may seem that sitting down at your desk for 8 hours solid is the best way to be productive, but it is not physically or mentally possible to stay focused for this period of time. It is much more productive and better for your health, if you take regular breaks from your desk and particularly if you can get outside for some fresh air. If you aim to take breaks every couple of hours, even for just 15 minutes, you will find that you may get a new lease of life when you return to your desk. It is important to remember that we are not robots and we need regular exercise to stay motivated.

If you’re looking for the next step in your career, check out the banking and financial jobs we have available at Nationwide Jobs today.

Why Am I Not Getting the Interview?

If you are applying for jobs, getting an initial screening call but not actually being progressed to the interview stage, it is time to start considering the reasons why. If your CV has resulted in a call from the recruiter, a lack of interview is unlikely to be down to your experience. If you find that you are not progressing to interview, it may be down to other aspects. As a headhunter, I have dealt with many different candidates and have found that there are some aspects of the call which would put me off sending the CV over to my client. It is worthwhile remembering that personality is fundamental in recruitment and even if a candidate isn’t selected for a role, I would always consider them in the future if they have the right attitude.

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Lack of Enthusiasm

This is probably the number one reason why I wouldn’t want to send a candidate to a client, even if they have the perfect experience and skills for the role. If a candidate comes across as disinterested and unenthusiastic during the screening process, it doesn’t say much for how they will behave in the job or how likely they will be to stay. It is important to show enthusiasm for the role and the company during the process. If you don’t feel this way about it, it probably isn’t the right job for you.

Unresponsive

If you really want to get an interview for a job, make sure you respond to emails or telephone calls quickly. I would always consider candidates who respond to me, even if they are not interested in the role. If a candidate is unresponsive or they mess about during the process, I wouldn’t consider them for roles in the future, so it is always a good idea to respond to recruiters and to be honest.

Indecisive

It is important to know what you are looking for and to be clear about this before you start the application process. For example, if the recruiter tells you the salary and then you say the salary is an issue half way through the process, you won’t have much hope of getting any further. If there are aspects of the job you are concerned with, voice your opinions at the start of the process rather than half way through.

Candidates should always remember that their attitude could affect their future options too. It is important that candidates are happy with the job, but having a poor or indecisive attitude won’t get you far within your career.

 

*Guest Post* 5 Things to Avoid as a Manager

Every new manager wants to be the most impactful, pro-active, hands on manager there is, however, there is a lot of common mistakes that they make. A lot of these mistakes happen while the manager is still in the stage where they are gaining experience and learning the ropes. Being a successful manager is about being a jack of all trades, being able to manage people, emotions and workloads. A good way to think of this process is of a marathon, you just have to keep going no matter how far you have left.

In this article I will be going over some of the more common traps that new managers fall into and how you can avoid them.

Burning Yourself Out

One of the things that new managers tend to do when they move into the role is to try to take on a whole load of tasks and start implementing too many rushed decisions. This approach is similar to diving headfirst into a hay stack with needles. It should be avoided as much as possible; if you are a new manager, you should definitely take it slow and absorb the company as much as you can. If you have to consult other people in order to make informed decisions, do so until you are comfortable enough to control matters in your own hands.

Not Being Supportive Enough

As mentioned earlier, being a successful manager involves being a jack of all trades; I said this because as a new manager, you will have to interact with a wide variety of employees. Some of these employees will require help from you, whether it be some guidance, feedback, some personal issues or technical feedback, it will then come down to how prepared you are to help your employees out.

A large part of being a manager is similar to being a mentor; people will come to you looking for answers. Making yourself available for your employees is key to integrating in the team, a lot of managers get too tied up in their office with their work and forget to socialise with colleagues and their team. Getting to know your team is one way to gain trust and their support.

Failing to Define Goals

Making sure everybody is working towards a task is very important, employees that understand what they have to do and why they are doing something are much more likely to be productive throughout the day. Although it may not be your job to create a complete “to do” list for everybody that you are working for, make sure your team understands what the overall goal is. Depending on how many people you are managing, you can then delegate the micromanagement to the relevant managers of certain departments, which takes off the workload off you but allows a more designated person to take care of it.

Lack of Confidence

Sylvia Plath once said “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”, becoming a manager will lead to self-doubt at times due to the pressure involved, every decision you make will have a positive or negative impact and that responsibility is something you must have to deal with. Being sure in your actions shows not only that you are confident in your decision making, but also it reassures your team that you are ready to handle tasks that come your way. It’s hard to get people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.

Individual Needs

It is important to see the big picture in everything that you do, however, in some situations it is more beneficial to look deeper at what you can do from the bottom up. If there are issues that are rising within your team, rather than ignoring them, try to navigate to the root of the problem.

Making sure your employees are satisfied is essential to being a manager; a recent study from the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity.

Conclusion

To conclude, many of these tips will be learnt naturally as you progress through your managerial role. If you have not been on any professional management skills courses, it would be wise to attend some as they will help you gain a deep insight. This article should have helped you prepare for some of the obstacles that may come in the way of completing your marathon.

How to Deal with Difficult Customers

As much as we would always like to deal with happy, pleasant customers who pay on time, this is often far from this case. If you run your own business, you will come up against many different hurdles and one of these is dealing with awkward customers. Your ability to deal with difficult customers will help determine how successful you are and the type of customers you attract in the future. There is no pleasing everyone in business and it can often be disheartening when you need to deal with someone who isn’t quite as amiable as you might like. Unfortunately, this is an aspect of running a business which is often not transparent before you get set up, but it affects most business owners. If you come up against customers who are giving you a difficult time, these are some effective ways to deal with them.

Be Open to Changes

Although running a business would be a lot simpler if every customer was happy with the work you provide, first time; this is often not the case. It is likely that the majority of customers will accept your first submission, but it is important to be open to making changes, if necessary. Sometimes customers aren’t clear with their requirements or there may be miscommunication, but it is important to be open to change, if this is possible within your business. Those businesses who are prepared to edit work to suit their customers, are more likely to be successful than those who take it as a personal attack.

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Stay Professional

There are all sorts of issues which can arise with customers; they may be refusing to pay an invoice, they could be overly demanding or maybe there is no pleasing them, no matter what you do. Whatever the issues are, it is important to stay professional, as difficult as that may seem at the time. For instance, you have probably encountered the client who doesn’t pay or return emails/calls and it can be really difficult to stay calm, especially if you know they have read your correspondence. However, instead of allowing yourself to get into an uncontrollable rant; take time to think about what you want to say and ensure you stick to the facts at all times.

Set Processes

It is important to set processes with your clients and be clear with what you can deliver, as this is often the reason why relationships break down. For example, you should make it clear what you will deliver and the expected timeframe. You should also advise them on the payment process and when you will invoice/expect payment. If possible, it is also a good idea to send your terms and conditions to clients, so that everything is set out clearly and there is no room for confusion.

Know When to Walk Away

As a business owner, the last thing you want is to turn customers away, however, this is sometimes the only option. If a customer won’t leave you alone to get on with the job, they are not clear with their needs but are asking for constant changes or they are making you feel stressed or upset, it is not worth the struggle. Many people just don’t have the social skills to be able to deal with others in an appropriate manner and if you feel like a customer is making your life unnecessarily difficult, it may be time to end the business relationship.