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Insurance Policies for Independent Contractors

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First of all, getting sick, hurt, or being sued is something that no one wants to happen. However, in business and life, this stuff does happen. That’s why insurance is a necessity. Paying your medical bills out of pocket is always a painful job. For employees, this is almost always solved by using company insurance. As an independent contractor, you are the company. This is where finding a solid policy comes into the picture. A good policy can save your business and your health. There are three policies for the self-employed and independent contractors that are cost-effective and budget friendly: 1. Health Insurance Exchange Plans: This plan was designed to meet with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Under this act, individuals, families, small business owners and freelancers can purchase a customized and affordable health package. The most important part of this plan is the provision of subsidy in cases where the independent contractors’ total taxable income is between 122% to 400% of the federal poverty level. This subsidy will reduce your premium amount up to 10% of your gross income. And, you are free to cancel or amend this plan at any time without any additional costs or penalty. 2. National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU): This association employs more than 100,000 agents in the USA. These agents guide you to select the best plan according to your needs and budget. NAHU provides services to everyone from Fortune-500 companies to small business owners and the self-employed. With NAHU, you can enjoy different benefits and savings, personal development & training, user-friendly apps and even wellness programs. 3. eHealth Insurance: eHealth insurance is one of the best health insurance solutions available for independent contractors. On the eHealth Insurance web portal, you can compare prices and benefits of the many different health plans available. There are…

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Top 3 Tasks to Outsource for Your Small Business

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Top 3 Tasks to Outsource for Your Small Business Retaliate1st grew through hard work both internally and externally. We spent most of our first year using freelancers and a team we had to outsource to. We wanted to share some of the critical elements we chose to outsource. Bookkeeping and Invoicing Nothing can eat up the time of a small business owner quite like keeping the books, crunching the numbers, and invoicing. Chances are you started your business because you had a talent or passion for your product or service. Unless that passion was accounting, hand the books to someone else. As you grow, keeping the books will only become more complicated and time consuming. Instead of letting record keeping eat up a huge percentage of the time you could be putting into pulling the big levers on your business, outsource the task to a CPA. If you need help with the day-to-day numbers, tracking, and invoicing, you can easily find and train an employee or intern to do this for you. Graphic Design and Your Website If there’s one area where small business and solo entrepreneurs make a huge mistake it’s in doing their own graphic design and website building. Learning a “little about SEO and websites” will give your business a site that looks terrible, is extremely time consuming to build, generates no sales, and projects a very unprofessional image. Free site creators give you a website that looks like it was made for free. Doing your own HTML or CSS usually looks like an amateur did the site… at best. Remember that designers and developers go to college for 4+ years to learn coding. This is not something you can become an expert in by reading a For Dummies book over the weekend. Doing your own graphic…

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How to Get Your Site Featured in Google’s Snippet

By | Digital, Marketing, SEM, SEO | No Comments

How Do You Get Your Site Featured in Google’s Snippet? Getting to the top of Google’s search pages is no longer enough to dominate your completion. While good SEO keeps your site on the first page, and well-written ads keep you atop the PPC results, there is a newcomer in the search world: Snippets Snippets Google wants to help searchers. It’s what launched them to become the dominant search engine that they are today. Anyone who remembers the frustrating search results on Yahoo, Lycos, or Dogpile will attest that Google simply delivers better search results. With mobile and “question” searches rising, Google has changed the game again. In almost any search you’re now bound to find a snippet of info, often enumerated, in a small box between the final PPC ad and the first organic listing. Below is the snippet that appears for the search “How to Get More Leads:” Snippets Are Quick Answers Google puts up snippets with the best info available. This allows users to get the answers they’re looking for without clicking the link. However, since the snippets tend to display only part of the info, the links inside of the snippet box tend to be clicked a lot. Google can source simple, direct answers from their own knowledge base. But, most business or product related queries are sourced from third party sites, i.e., your web site. Imagine the potential traffic that would result in an SEO strategy that lands you in the top 3 of the PPC ads, with a featured snippet, and then the top organic search result. How to Get a Featured Snippet The problem is that getting your site featured isn’t easy. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And, with snippet results being so new, we’re not even exactly sure how Google pulls…

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Does a Sole Proprietor Need Business Insurance?

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Does a Sole Proprietor Need Business Insurance? Are you self-employed or running a business as a sole proprietor? You may have employees, or simply be working on your own, but even solo, you are still considered a business. It is in your best interests to strongly consider investing in business insurance. Professional Liability Insurance This is the first place you should look. If a customer or client files a lawsuit against you for not fulfilling professional obligations, this insurance will help protect you. The insurance company will often take care of the payout if your customer wins in court. There are limits, as with all policies, but facing a business lawsuit without at least professional liability insurance puts you on the hook for the costs, even if you have to pay out from personal assets. Do You Service Clients? Most sole proprietors and self-employed business owners service clients. If you perform services, such as home improvements, office cleaning, landscaping, computer services and consulting, auto repairs, etc., you’ll need insurance. Some states require it by law, so check with your state law guide. Get with your lawyer to assess risk of potential lawsuits, then choose a coverage that fits your need. Remember, it only takes one lawsuit to bankrupt a small business, especially in the early years. While investing in insurance will cost a bit up front, it could literally save your business later. Do You Sell Products from Home? If you sell products rather than services, you may not need professional liability insurance because it doesn’t protect you from issues resulting from defective or harmful products. Do You Have Employees? If you employ anyone, you’ll need to strongly consider workman’s comp insurance. Even if you’re running a small business among friends, accidents can happen. In a service business, injuries occur…

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Do You Really Want More Clients and Customers?

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Do You Really Want More Clients and Customers? If you’re running a small business, or are a solo entrepreneur, you probably spend much of your time thinking about how great life would be if you could only get a few more clients, get a few more customers, or land that one big account. But, before you go big time, you should take a moment to make sure you’re ready to scale your small business up. From Barley in Business to Busty to Death It happens all the time. A small business is doing ok, but the cash flow isn’t exactly overwhelming. When you run an online or service based business, especially if you’re running the show alone or with a small group, this can be a frustrating time. Then, all the work, all the banging your head against the wall, and all of the planning takes a turn. You hit the tipping point. Whatever you want to call it, your business goes from scraping by to breaking through. Now, it doesn’t have to be breaking through to super-stardom. Even if your business grows 20% suddenly, that can translate to a lot of extra income. And a lot of extra work. Are You Ready to Grow Your Business? Take a minute to assess your current work load, productivity, and efficiency. If you have a few customers or clients and you’re behind on orders or fulfilling service agreements, you’re probably not ready to grow. Getting more contracts might help your bank account, but it will not magically cure your productivity issues. However, if you are consistently knocking your work load out of the park, you might be ready. If you work with a team, make sure everyone is on board. Having a key employee bail during a growth surge can leave you…

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How To Get Better Targeting on Your Organic Traffic

By | Content, Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Website | No Comments

Everyone wants free traffic. Organic traffic is the best traffic. It is free and it is natural – like the food and its good for you. There is a way to further benefit from organic traffic and that is to optimize the targeting on your organic reach on social media. If the targeting is laser focused then there is a much higher chance of converting that free traffic into a paying customer and making money. Savvy marketers are increasing their organic traffic, but optimizing the targeting on their organic social media reach. Retaliate1st provides our guide to growing your organic traffic. Targeting To Grow Your Organic Traffic Better Targeting on Organic Social Media Reach Much like you can target your ideal audience with paid facebook ads, you are now able to do something similar with organic posts. This could help you reach much more of your audience through non-paid ads. It’s still not going to reach everyone, but it will expose your messages to many more people than are seeing them now. Not everyone who follows your page will want to see every post you make, nor will the be interested in all of your news and events. But, when you target your audience for your posts, you can reach those who have: Liked, shared, or commented on similar posts in the past Took action on similar posts in the past Have interests that match your news/event/post Are in the demographic you’re targeting While it’s important to target the best possible audience, the best part about this is that you can now leave out those who won’t be interested in what you’re saying this particular time. This increases the juice of each post, gaining more engagement with your audience. Paid Engagement Posts These do cost a little money to boost,…

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3 Ways to Use Pinterest to Increase Leads and Sales

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Studies show that Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world. Almost 3,500 pins are posted every minute. And, not only does Pinterest have a huge, active audience, it also has consumers with a buyer’s mindset: They’re 10% more likely to buy than users that come from other social media sites Pinterest drives more than 300% revenue per click than Twitter, and nearly 30% more than Facebook So, why aren’t more of use utilizing Pinterest as a lead and sale generation source? Usually it is a misunderstanding of the power of Pinterest. How To Use Pinterest For Lead Generation Profit from User Generated Content Some clothing retailers are putting user generated content to great use by utilizing contests. Before and after’s, or “favorite products” for the holidays. Users take pics, turn them into pins, and share them on their boards along with their email address. One company saw a 23% increase in re-pins, and that led to an increase of 44% in revenue per click Pins as Social Proof Your business can never build too much credibility online. Reviews, testimonials, and awards go a long way to helping your business’ reputation. But, what’s even more powerful is user generated content. Many companies are using pins of their customers using or wearing their favorite products. What a beautiful way to use “live action” testimonials of people just like you…   The company then re-pins, using a “shop now” call to action. This has led to click increases of 25% or more. Encourage your customers to pin pics or videos of themselves using your products or enjoying your services. This is powerful social proof, and allows your product to be displayed in the real world, by real people. Reward Referrals Create custom welcome messages for traffic that…

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3 Tips To Increase Your Email Open Rates

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Email is still the number one channel for driving sales for e-commerce business. For many years marketers have touted the decline of the channel, but it is still here. It is still getting strong. With new tools such as AppBoy, Marketo and HubSpot, the abilities for customizing and refining campaigns is endless. However, the original principals of email marketing still hold true. Retaliate1st list their guide to increasing your open rates. How To Increase Your Email Open Rates Don’t Send Unnecessary Mail As business owners and growth hackers, we subscribe to a ton of mailing lists. We consume info at an amazing rate. Some of the lists are better than others, and though we love to learn, we all know that there are those businesses that send garbage email blasts. It annoys us, but we stay subscribed. Then they do it again. We unsubscribe. They lost a warm lead. Don’t be like them. Keep your mail marketing messages to the most important. Do not simply send out blasts because you think you should. New product, really exciting news, a big re-cap of the latest info, discounts, sales, or free stuff? Send it. Short emails pushing half-hearted promotions because you either feel you haven’t emailed enough, or you want to generate a few extra sales? Don’t send it. Personalize Your mail Yes, we all know that it’s auto-generated, and most customers realize that at this point. However, seeing our names in the subject is a powerful attention grabber. Dear Customer, or Hey Business Pro are horrible ways to start an email. Hi Jennifer or Good Morning Darryl are going to get your email opened, and will get your first few lines read. You can further increase your open rate by adding “Re:” before the personalization, even if it’s the first email in the chain. This…

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How To Use Instagram For Lead Generation

By | Creative, Digital, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media | No Comments

Instagram is still considered by many in the pay-per-click marketing word, to be the new kid on the block. With newness comes a bit of fear, so many small and medium businesses have been hesitant to stray from using only Google and Facebook PPC. But, it can be a huge lead booster if utilized properly. Here’s why? Using Instagram To Create Leads For Your Business Visual Marketing is a Dominant Force Content marketing rules, and will continue to be the most useful form of marketing for years to come. As the internet becomes more available in non-PC forms, phones, tablets, watches, etc., the need to turn to non-text content will be essential. You can do this with visual content, and Instagram is the perfect place to put your best visuals to work. Simply, visual attractiveness in an ad or in any piece of content that has the goal of increasing conversions, leads to more opt-ins, engagement, leads, and sales. It will also get you more shares, and that increases each campaign’s reach exponentially at no cost to you. Using high-quality, bright pictures, you draw the attention of your followers, and can help lead them on the path to purchase. Instagram Videos Now with videos in the Instagram feed, you can really skyrocket your leads and sales through the social media site. Video content on Instagram gets more views, shares, and likes. It stops scrollers in their path. Once you become known for putting out good video, you’ll be well on your wall to dominating your market online. Young, Money-Spending Graphics In Television, for years the most coveted demographic was 18 – 54 year old males. Now, it’s men and women 18 – 34 (with 18 – 54 being not far behind). Instagram is custom made, literally, for those in that demographic….

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The Three Reasons Your Landing Pages Don’t Convert

By | Creative, Culture, Marketing, SEM, Website | No Comments

Landing pages are still the most important pages on your website. They are the funnel that allows you to convert your ad traffic and social media traffic into paying customers. landing pages are the pages that showcase your value proposition, your product and close your leads. These landing pages are the life blood of your business. At Retaliate1st, we specialize in developing landing pages that convert, that achieve their goal. We want to showcase the landing page mistakes we continually see, so that your business can thrive. Why Your Landing Pages Don’t Convert Too Many Options Barry Schwartz wrote about the paralysis that sets in in many shopping situations in his book the Paradox of Choice. He uses the example of a man shopping for shampoo at a grocery store. He is faced with hundreds of choices – for dry hair, for brittle hair, for oily hair; olive oil base, coconut oil base; flower scented; and just about every color imaginable. This leads to frustration, and often people with either simply leave the store, or buy the closest option and later be unhappy with it. Now, take a look at your landing pages. Are they leaving your customer in the isle frustrated because there are so many options they’re not sure which to choose? If so, narrow it down to one choice (two, maximum). What’s the goal of your landing page? Email opt-in? Make sure the opt-in form is easily accessible, easy to read, and has a strong, clear call to action. Do you want phone calls? Make your number big and visible and clickable. Would you take either a phone call or a web form opt-in? Make it clear that either option gets them the same result: contact, free estimate, discount, services, etc. Too Many Visual Distractions It can be tempting…

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