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 more than 13,000 health insurance plans available on the site. In addition, more than 200 licensed registered agents are also available. Most noteworthy, this is helpful because researching thousands of plans, all with their details, can be time consuming.

Furthermore, health insurance plans do not cover diseases like cancer, diabetes and in addition, heart attacks. This makes eHealth Insurance a viable option mostly for routine medical checkups.

No matter how small the area, how small the client base, or how small the business, before long, someone will post a negative review about you. Now, large companies expect this. Because of the sheer number of reviewers, they can withstand some a negative review. However even one negative review can sink a small, medium, new, or local business.

What’s worse, often those negatives are fake. They come not from dissatisfied customers, but from competing businesses or former employees. Sites like Yelp, despite their endless videos and text detailing their mysterious algorithm for ferreting out fakes, do little to police this problem. This means that anyone with a wi-fi connection can, in a few keystrokes, cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Negative Reviews 2

News sites like the Huffington Post, the NY Times, The Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal have helped expose another disturbing aspect of online reviews. All have cited instances where bad reviews were posted before a business had even opened! This happens more frequently in highly competitive industries (restaurants, home improvement contractors, tech gear, etc.)

Don’t let a negative review sink your business. Here’s how you can fight back:

  1. The Pen is Mightier

Getting angry and ranting online is a big no-no. It will only make you look worse.

But, posting a sane, measured, well-written response on your website, blog, Google, Facebook, and in-response to the negative (if the review site allows replies) allows you to swing public opinion back in your favor.

Don’t be afraid to flood the few negatives with positive articles, blogs, videos, and reviews from your happy customers. This is the best, fastest, and most effective way to drown even the most virulent of phone negatives.

This Infographic Shows How Reviews Impact Your App or Business

This Infographic Shows How Reviews Impact Your App or Business

You’ll have to be consistent when doing this. It may take time, but if you continually hit back with positivity, you gain the respect of potential customers. Hiding from negatives makes you look guilt in the court of public opinion. But, respoinding rationally, with facts – even if you must state that this person was never a customer – shows that when a problem, real or fake, pops up, you deal with it head on. This will put future customers at ease, knowing you don’t duck problems.

  1. No Figting

Whatever you do, do not get angry and start a war of words. Ranting, rambling responses make you look terrible. Even if the review is clearly a fake – a personal attack, written by a non-customer, or posted by someone with an ax to grind – you should respond in a well-organized, calm manner.

This actually makes the fake review seem even more obviously phony.

  1. Spread the Positive

Want to bury negatives in positivity?

Contact your customers and ask them to review you online. You can offer an ethical bribe in exchange for a review (not for a positive review, that’s where you can get into trouble). But, if you target customers you already know are thrilled with your product or service, this is a safe play.

There are few things more powerful for fighting negative reviews (and boosting sales) than a genuine positive review from a real customer.

  1. Be Consistent

Never stop asking customers to review you online. The more positives posted, the less impact negatives have. Humans tend to be attracted to the negatives (with negative reviews being read far more than positive), but if a few bad ones are floating in a sea of good, the impact is lessened. It’s hard to argue when there are 49 Five-Star reviews and only 1 One-Star.

Most business owners fall into one of two categories: those love and embrace social media, and those who loathe the very mention of it.

It can be confusing for the small, local business owner because the articles that spew the virtues of social media are seemingly never-ending.

The Social Media Landscape

The Social Media Landscape

The truth is, traditional Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.) methods won’t generate enough leads to support your business.

But, having a presence, even a small one, on these sites is an absolute necessity.


  • It Puts a Face on Your Business – This is becoming increasingly more important both online and off. Study after study have shown that people want to do business with other people, not faceless corporations. Interacting with people on Facebook or Google + is a perfect way to make your business real and relatable. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online. (
  • It Powers Up Your Home Shows – If you use home shows, trade shows, or any other large event to generate leads, there is no better place to promote them, and link your company to the big shows, than on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • It Makes You Likable – Getting “Likes,” comments, or shares is now being used as a signal of credibility by Google in their search results. It’s not a huge impact, but it’s an increasingly important part of the puzzle. Interaction with your customers makes you more trustworthy to Google, and helps your site move up in the rankings.
  • It Adds Credibility with Your Customers – We all want to be with the in-crowd. More likes, shares, and “friends,” leads to more trust. If most of your competitors have 200-followers on Facebook, and you have 5,000, potential clients pick up on this. It’s subtle, but it has a huge impact on making you appear trustworthy because there’s strength in numbers. Studies show that over 50% of consumers have based their decision to buy on a recommendation from their social network.

If in doubt on what social media channels to use, you can always refer to the Ogilvy Guide on how to use social media:

Ogilvy's Guide To Social Media

Ogilvy’s Guide To Social Media

Without Concrete, Measurable Website Goals, Your Site is Nothing More Than a Brochure Sitting Online. 

website goals 2

In the early days of the internet, brochure sites were all a business needed to succeed. You put up a cheap site with Home, About Us, and Contact pages. If you were really cutting edge, a page that allowed users to purchased directly from your site.

The build it and they will come days are long dead. It’s now a must that your company’s site delivers value and information to your potential customers. This means that your site has to actually have an objective. And, that objective (or objectives) must be met if you are to sell products, generate leads, build credibility, or sell services online.

SMART Goals - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time based.

SMART Goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time based.

A Site With No Website Goals is a Site That Sucks

When someone wants to lose weight, they go on a diet. Most people make vague proclamations like “I want to lose weight,” “I want to get healthy,” or “I want to tone up.”

Then they proceed to fail.

How do you measure these website goals?

If you have a lot of weight to lose, you’re in it for the long haul….and you can lose steam along the way unless you have specific, measurable goals to shoot for.

The same goes for your website. Why do you have one? Why did you invest a good chunk of cash in building a site?

  • Because everyone told you that you should have one?
  • Because you want to show off your work (before and after pictures and videos, etc)
  • Are you simply listing your services?
  • Are you looking for more leads?

There is no wrong answer. And, in most cases, you’ll have multiple objectives. Though, one will always be dominant. For most businesses, that is generating leads or sales.

Choose the Most Relevant Goals for YOUR Business

You can have more than one goal (which can be placed on other pages on your site), but, there should be a primary goal. As mentioned above, that is usually to increase leads or sales.

Ideally, you want to bring people to your site from Google with a combination of organic (free) and Pay Per Click (paid ads) traffic. Once a customer lands on your site, you need to make sure it is set up to achieve the goal of turning them into a lead and getting them ready to be sold.

How To Map Out Your Website Goals

How To Map Out Your Website Goals

Accomplish this with high quality content that shows them what you do, how you do it, proof that you’ve done it successfully, and why they should choose you for the task.

  • From there, you can add your secondary goals. For example, if you want to give yoru scuomers visual proof that your service or product is the best, you’ll want a great portfolio page where you show off your best before and after work.
  • You will also want to build your credibility (review videos and testimonials), places you have been featured (newspapers, TV, magazines, trade papers, etc), and good reviews you’ve gotten from sites like Yelp or Angie’s List.
Build a Website Funnel to allow you to achieve your goals.

Build a Website Funnel to allow you to achieve your goals.

This can be spread out over a Reviews Page, your Blog and throughout your site. When you have multiple objectives, it is best to give each a specific page or blog post. A common mistake is to attempt to stuff multiple goals into a site’s Homepage. This is a hold-over from the days where users actually typed in a URL to reach a website. Now, they’re much more likely to find you through search, and will land on various pages on your site. Your Homepage can house your main objective, but give secondary and tertiary goals their own page. This will make your site user-friendly, and Google will reward you with higher page rankings.


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