THREE AREAS OF PERSONAL FOCUS FOR GREATER SUCCESS

By: Kamal Hylton

Although most of us don’t do it very often, ever once in a while its good to stock of where we are in all phases of our lives in order to achieve greater success. No matter your current position in life, whether it be professionally or personally, everyone can benefit from a little fine tuning.

Here are three areas I personally work on everyday.

FACING FEARS/PRESSURES HEAD ON:

overcoming-fear

Overcoming fear/pressure is arguably my biggest hurdles, as it is for a lot of people no matter their level of confidence or what they show on the outside. Dealing with fear/pressure is purely mental and the brain is the most powerful part of our bodies, controlling everything we do and playing a key role in dealing with fears or pressures. For this reason, the best way I’ve found dealing with issues stemming from fear and/or pressure is to rely more on instincts and what feels right without overthinking. The technical term for this is called rapid cognition, but in plain English it refers to relying more on your experiences and feel without getting bogged down with too many facts, figures and data.

BECOME A BETTER COMMUNICATOR:

Unknown

Social media without a doubt has enabled communication to be faster and easier. Something that I’m grateful for, especially with it being such a big part of my job and a reason for me taking this course. That said, speaking from personal experience, social media has also turned me into a bad communicator. For this reason I’ve personally taken drastic steps in order to become better at communicating. For example I keep all my social media activity work related and for clients, allowing me to easily separate myself from it whenever I feel the need. To fill this void I’ve take more of an interest on reading books on a variety of subjects instead of surfing the web, writing entries of my thoughts into a notebook and instituting tips and new elements into my life slowly. Resisting the urge to jump on Twitter and Facebook at every moment was difficult in the beginning and my not be for you, but sticking to this has actually helped me become both a better communicator face-to-face as well as a better overall writer.

BECOMING MORE BALANCED:

meditation-business-woman

As someone that likes a set routine, slowing things down and changing things up has been a difficult area of improvement for me. Many of us are guilty of getting too wrapped up in work and careers, taking work home with us or committing to a lot of overtime, however it’s also very important to realize that that can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to take time out for yourself and enjoy life, whether it’s through a new hobby, sparking up an new friendship/relationships, finding a cause bigger that yourself through volunteer work or something else entirely.

Advertisements

Top 3 Revenue Earning Fields within Health and Wellness Industry

By: Kamal Hylton

For people of all different ages and walks of life, the health and wellness industry has gone far beyond simple weight loss and has branched out into many different directions to become become one of the biggest revenue generators. As a society, we are now more aware and cognizant of what’s going into our bodies and our overall goal has changed from just looking better to having a better quality of life.

As a result, there are many job opportunities in related health and wellness fields and these are the Top 3:

FARMING, AGRICULTURE & AGRI-FOOD

images

Being at ground zero of anything within this field can be very rewarding in more ways than one. Firstly, there is having a more general positive perspective and knowing you are partly a source of naturally and locally grown. The there’s the financially aspect, as the agriculture industry is solidly in the top ten within Canada. According to the Government of Canada website, the country is a top ten exporter of Agricultural goods worldwide, with over 750 companies generating a combined revenue in the $20 billion dollar range.

All of this points to numerous job opportunities across the country, especially with the demand for organically grown foods, more people turning towards vegetarian/vegan living and being aware of foods with MSG, hormones and pesticides. When it comes to Canada, outside of traditional farming in the country’s heartland, significant profits are being made from farmer’s markets, rooftop greenhouses and stronger ties between local restaurants and local farms.

EXERCISE, SPA/MASSAGE & MEDITATION

Another field with rising job opportunities is anything to do with the body. When looking at the top programs being taken in college/university, one that keeps popping up is Kinesiology – the study of the mechanics of body movements. This has spawned multiple careers in exercise, with instructors now teaching a wide range of classes that include yoga, mixed martial arts and boxfit. In terms of body relaxation and injury recovery, spa and aromatherapy has been proven to help with quicker recovery from injury or ailments such as arthritis. Another big area has been meditation, not only as a way of relieving stress but as a coping mechanism for those with certain mental health issues. The days of just wanting to lose weight are changing, the goal trending now towards feeling better and living longer.

ADVANCED DRUG RESEARCH, ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE & NATURAL REMEDIES

drug-development-drugsdb_com

The other major revenue generating field within health and wellness is alternative medicine and natural remedies within advanced drugs research. When it comes to experimental drugs, people are far more hesitant these days to use certain pills, creams and/or injections of drugs that they can’t effectively research or even pronounce. This has become more prevalent with some drugs that have been shown to have serious immediate side effects or far more scary delayed side effects when taken over time.

This issue has also come up in sports when discussing steroids and HGH (Human Growth Hormones). The stigma surrounding it, and use of it by high school athletes, has turned people to looking at natural remedies, consuming “superfoods” and progressive technologies/sciences with inversion tables and cryogenic chambers as ways of keeping the body fresh.

Entrepreneurs Spotlight: T By Daniel

By: Kamal Hylton

As a followup to my last blog on Government Programs and the Positive Rebellion of Being Self-Made, I had the opportunity to speak with a success story of The Starter Company program. Renata Lewis is a co-owner on T By Daniel along with her husband Daniel, one of the fastest growing local businesses within the City of Brampton. Having started the business in 2011, the Lewis’ have been honored with Brampton’s 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and grew it from a mere concept to a real self-made business.

“We always wanted to be entrepreneurs. From before we got married, both of us knew we wanted to run our own business and it was just a matter of finding a product or service that we were going to do. I was 22 at the time and the most I knew about tea was from tea bags, camomile, peppermint, sage and all those medicinal herbs.”

“We thought this was a cool concept, saw there aren’t many of these tea shops out there and decided to go for it! Putting our spin on it by blending fashion and other things we enjoy, our goal has been to share tea with our generation. People like us that enjoy the beverage but were never really exposed to it in this way.”

Being young business owners, it would’ve been easy for Renata and Daniel to turn T By Daniel into a strictly online store and widen the focus to cater to customers all over the world. So it’s refreshing to hear Renata speak about a business that has put so much focus on their local market, become entrenched within the local community and create a trendy downtown space.

“My mother gave me really good advice about starting local. Make sure that your neighbor knows you sell tea before people in British Columbia or New York know that you sell tea. That grounded us and helped us put our focus within our city of Brampton. We got involved with the Board of Trade to network ourselves within the business community, started attending a lot of the events hosted by the city and little by little began to grow and be part of bigger events like the Brampton Farmers Market.”

It’s clear that self-made people are a different breed and being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. However speaking with Renata, she has some useful advice for those interested or curious about venturing on their own.

“First and foremost anything is possible, it just depends on your dedication and how much work you’re willing to put into it. People have this idea around entrepreneurship that it’s a glamorous life where you get to make you own schedule, but you’ll actually never work harder when you’re an entrepreneur. That may not be encouraging but its real.”

“If you go in with the intention of wanting to be rich, you won’t survive. You have to go through some years of some serious hustle, wear the same pair of pants for two or three days etc… You won’t be able to go shopping, live where you want or drive the car you want but it’s all worth it in the end because it will pay off over time.”

COM0011 – Government Programs and the Positive Rebellion of Being Self-Made

By: Kamal Hylton

What do world-renowned chef/Food Network star Rachel Ray, hip-hop/fashion icon Russell Simmons and tech creator Kevin Rose all have in common? They became self-made people that either never attended college or were college dropouts. I don’t point this out as a way of saying a college education isn’t useful, and there are many people just as successful with a college degree behind them, but it does show that in both business and life there are an increasing number of people stepping away from the  traditional path of employment in order to forge their own way to success.

Whether it’s coming up with unique ideas or putting their spin on a tried and true industry, more small businesses are popping up. Just take a look at the tech industry, the entire west coast of the United States has become an entrepreneurial mecca with all the major cities in California as well as Portland and Seattle dominating the small business landscape.

Within Canada, and specifically Ontario, the government has recognized this movement themselves and are flexing its financial muscle through two notable programs in order to foster this growth. I recently had a chance to speak with Roshani Raj, Youth Entrepreneurship Representative at the Brampton Entrepreneurship Centre, who explains the two programs and their ultimate goal.

“The City of Brampton administers two provincially funded grant programs geared towards youth with the goal of creating sustainable local businesses in the years to come. There’s the Summer Company program for students (up to $3000 of funding) and the Starter Company program for mature clientele (up to $5000 of funding).”

Digging deeper into the topic of entrepreneurship and being self-made, the reason for this rising trend goes beyond making millions and has much more to do with creating roots and a long lasting legacy. There’s a positive rebellion building in today’s society against answering to authority and is found most prominently when looking at the job market, an aspect of these government programs that is quite common according to Raj.

“I interact with youth day in and day out. With a lot of them I do see the spirit of not wanting to adhere to conventional norms, making references to people like Steve Jobs and others that didn’t complete a formal education. This isn’t to denounce education in any way, I feel it’s very important, but the mindset of youth is changing towards building unique career paths and not going with the typical 9 to 5 job. I feel many youth are very creative, want to be innovative and live life on their own terms rather than being measured against or answering to someone else.”

After speaking with professionals and young business owners about these programs, I ultimately believe the investment the government is putting into the area self employment is smart on multiple fronts. It helps boost the local economy with local goods and services, gives people more control in a more open job market and most importantly shows that as these programs prove themselves successful more young people will consider entrepreneurship.

COM0011 – Risk Assessment, Corporate Responsibility and Finding a Social Media Voice

By: Kamal Hylton

One of the major challenges in marketing for business is developing a voice for a brand. The ability to strike a delicate balance between corporate professionalism and authentic uniqueness can be difficult, but especially risky when factoring in the power of social media.

For a small startup looking to make its mark or a company that has developed a game changing product or service, all it takes is one perfectly timed post on the big social media platforms to propel said business to the next level. However there is a flip side to this coin, as it only takes one poor post to set off a domino effect that can lead to major financial losses, a spoiled reputation within the industry and potentially a business up in smoke. Assessing all of the risks and outcomes, the best course of action to avoid all of those potential pitfalls is to think before pushing send or as the old saying goes “measure twice, cut once”. This certainly isn’t new advice but it’s often taken for granted or ignored. One tip I use as a safeguard in my work as a social media marketing consultant is to write and go over my posts in a word processor before posting on social media. Although this is a little more time consuming, it’s a small price to pay considering the alternative.

This leads to the topic of customer interaction. Successful companies on social media use these platforms as a way to engage, ask/answer questions and listen to consecutive feedback that can be implemented to make themselves better. Simply put, nobody wants to be inundated with sales material and promos throughout their feeds or be made to feel like they’re interacting with a robot spitting out scripted responses from a playbook. To truly make an impact and grow a customer base organically it’s just not enough to respond in a timely manner, but there has to be a genuine back and forth that makes them feel valued and cared for. A good way to approach this is to take a few moments to come up with a well thought out and honest response before answering any questions or engaging with customers, as there are no prizes being given out for quickest answers nor are there bonuses being given out for meeting a quota.

The difficulties and pressures that marketing teams face is understandable when growing an online presence of a corporate brand, but that’s no excuse to putting emphasis and value behind things that don’t matter. For corporate social media to be successful it’s much simpler than we tend to make it:

  1. Properly assess all risks and outcomes before posting
  2. Take the time to think and be thoughtful with answers
  3. Ask the questions you actually need answers to
  4. Listen to constructive feedback and take emotions out of it
  5. Keep social media feeds as a genuine platforms/don’t use social media as just another sales tool

Let me know your thoughts. How important is a companies social media voice to you? What do you feel is the best way for companies to deal with customers on social media? Do you have any positive/negative experiences to share?

Reference Material:

Five Tips for Corporate Social Media Responsibility – http://bit.ly/1XtAyPj

How the voice of the People is Driving Corporate Social Responsibility – http://bit.ly/1TMniqY

COM0011 – Can Snapchat Become a Primary Social Media Tool for Small Business Marketing?

snapchat-logo

By: Kamal Hylton

When it comes to how useful a social media platform is to the business world, I zero in on how effective it is at interacting with an audience, sharing ideas and/or getting a message across.

During the current era of social media boom, the impact of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn on big business have made a clear impression. However it has made an even bigger mark on small businesses, startup companies and given local entrepreneurs marketing power and global reach like never before. Twitter have allowed owner/customer relations to blossom and build productive long-term relationships through short and simple messages, Facebook has enabled startups to unleash detailed marketing campaigns that are professional quality at little to no cost, Instagram is tailor-made for video or image marketing equal to any big advertising firm and LinkedIn has done away with the old rolodex in its ability to keep up with contacts and find like-minded professionals.

That said, one social media platform I personally can’t wrap my head around as a “go to” tool for small businesses social media marketing is Snapchat – the video messaging app that allows viewers to see short videos up to 10 seconds in length before being deleted permanently.

Being a writer/social media marketer on behalf of a media company, part of my job is to help startups acquire and sustain an online following. Typically these are companies with little to no advertising budgets or are in fields like healthcare, data security and employment services that although important aren’t exactly sexy or exude excitement like the music or art industries nor do they have the ability to get a big star like Justin Bieber or Drake to do a social media takeover of their brand. When it comes to Snapchat, I’ve found it hard even suggest as a primary tool to our clients simply due to its premise and main selling points not making sense for them. There are some good selling points to Snapchat that I’d love to use for specific projects like the “Discover” feature, giving companies a 24 hour channel of videos and short articles. The easy way Sanpchat can be used to promote specific events is also a plus, its immediacy perfect for pop up giveaways or the creation of citywide treasure hunts all in the name of publicity.

The issues I’m presented with in regard to Snapchat could come down to demographic  or nature, with more than half of Snapchat users under the age of 25 and companies I tend to work with not catering to the flashy nature of the app. It could also be as simple as Snapchat still being a new tool that hasn’t reached its full potential enough to make it a primary social media pillar like the others mentioned. Whatever the case, right now I can’t recommend Snapchat for a company right out of the gate in the same vein as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

I’d love to hear from you (especially if you are a regular Snapchat user). What makes Snapchat appeal to you? How could a small business make best use of Snapchat? How do you see Snapchat evolving in the future?

Reference Material:

Snapchat for Beginners: 6 Ways To Use It For Business –  http://bit.ly/1TOdR8F

Making Sense of Snapchat for your Small Businesshttp://bit.ly/1TqZ31q

Guide to How Snapchat is being used todayhttp://read.bi/1UjutWv