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Negotiating Better Pay May Be Getting Easier + How to Easily Stay Ahead of the Game

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Salaries were once a taboo thing to discuss. Yet, with unemployment at a five-decade low and the gig economy requiring people to compare salaries, attitudes are shifting in the conversation, according to The New York Times. Keeping salary information secret favors managers who want to pay people less, say experts. More information about salaries may benefit workers, giving them wider room to negotiate better pay.

This is great news for those who in the past have been cheated out of a fair wage because they didn’t understand how to play the negotiation game. But it doesn’t only take negotiation to get top dollar; there are other tricks to the trade. Here are four ways anyone could use to get ahead of the career game:

  1. Know Your Strengths and Capitalize off of Them. Don’t try to be something you’re not or learn new tricks overnight. Stay in your lane and become stronger. The stronger you become, the more value you will have in the workforce.
  2. It’s Never Too Late to Intern or Volunteer. As adults, these can be such humbling terms, but it can still get your foot in the door. Just look at Chris Gardner. Not only did he become wealthy, but his rise to riches also led to a movie based starring Will Smith & Jayden Smith
  3. Building Your Connections. Who you know is just as if not more important than what you learn. Being authentically connected to others in your field of interest can open up a world of opportunities. One rule of thumb is never settled or compromise for relationships but do, however, seek to build solid ones.
  4. Create Your Own Platform. Don’t underestimate your ability to build an empire. Many successful entrepreneurs and professionals created their own jobs. Combine all of the above and consider investing them in your own enterprise.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

T-Mobile’s Dream of Telecommunications Domination Is Almost Complete + How to Create Mental Toughness While Pursuing Your Dreams

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T-Mobile received verbal approval from the Federal Communications Commission for its $26 billion deal to buy Sprint but still awaits the blessing of the Justice Department. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he’ll back the merger based on concessions by the third- and fourth-largest U.S. telecommunications companies, which include pledges to invest in new wireless broadband service in rural areas and to sell Sprint’s prepaid cellphone brand. While the FCC is expected to make a formal announcement within weeks, the Justice Dept. has yet to weigh out antitrust concerns.

Dream chasing isn’t for the faint at heart. It can take years before one sees the financial payoff of what was once an idea. T-Mobile is probably patient on the outside, but internal it is jumping for joy. It took them a few years to get to this point, but I’m sure they will be relieved at the fruits of their patients.

When building a business, your goal has to be more than money, or you will ultimately fail. Your drive has to be based on principle, change, and something greater than yourself. Here is how to stay mentally tough while pursuing your dreams.

Personal Development. The road to success is paved with character and growth. Personal development is one of the key drivers that sustain you on the path of your dreams. Trustworthiness, keeping your word, and dependability are imperative to any industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or painter, lawyer or doctor, these traits and non-negotiable and forever transferable to success.

Take Breaks. To get there, you must rest one mile at a time. The grind is overrated. Reflecting on how far you’ve come energizes you for the road ahead. Burnout is a danger to your accomplishments and leads to a failure by default.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs popularized this quote from an ad in The Whole Earth Catalog. It read Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. We come to a point when we are happy with a level of progress and think we’ve learned everything. Accepting the truth that we never stop growing, and there is no limit to our success gives us the ability to keep going. To continue, you must never settle. You must always seek new ways of fixing things and solving problems. Discover new opportunities and be open to learning more.

Faith. Steve Jobs also mentioned faith throughout his journey. Believing so deeply in an idea that you make it come to life. Belief takes ideas and materializes them; and when you realize you can actually make something come to life, the sky becomes your launching pad, not the limit.

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Retail Wars Are Getting Real Competitive + How to Stay Competitive in the Marketplace

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Walmart has announced plans to offer next-day delivery on about 220,000 of its “most frequently purchased” online items, after rival Amazon promised free one-day delivery for Prime members. The retail giant says the offering, which applies to orders over $35, will reach about 75% of the U.S. by the end of the year. The more limited inventory makes Walmart’s offer more of a competitor to Target’s Restock than Amazon, says TechCrunch. But retailers need to get a better handle on their inventory and demand for fast delivery before making such moves, execs and analysts told The Wall Street Journal.

Competition is fierce no matter what the genre is and as it relates to these entrepreneurial streets, you have to make sure that you are staying ahead of the competition so you won’t get Walmart’d by your Amazon… So what can you do? Luckily, Marketing Donut has come up with Ten ways to keep ahead of the competition:

  1. Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering, and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.
  2. Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now – is it lower prices, more flexible or premium service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.
  3. Differentiate. It’s essential to give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than a rival. Your USP should tap into what customers want, and it should be clear and obvious – no-one should have to ask what makes you different.
  4. Step up your marketing. Improve your market positioning statement. Make more effort to tell people who you are, what you sell, and why they should buy from you. It doesn’t have to be expensive; marketing can range from posters in your window and leaflet drops through to viral campaigns on social media.
  5. Update your image. Simple steps such as painting the front of your premises can make your business look more modern and inviting. But also look at business cards, social media presences, your website, branded packaging, clothing and so on. Does your image reflect your USP?
  6. Look after your existing customers. They will be your competitors’ target market. Provide better customer service by being more responsive to their needs and expectations. If feasible, consider offering low-cost extras such as improved credit terms, discounts or loyalty schemes – remember, it’s cheaper and easier to keep customers than to find new ones.
  7. Target new markets. Selling into a greater number of markets can increase your customer base and spread your risk. Consider whether you can sell online or overseas, for example. Are there groups you’ve never targeted before who might be interested in your offer? Remember the benefits of market segmentation and don’t waste time marketing to people who won’t be interested.
  8. Expand your offer. What related products or services might your customers be interested in? You might even consider diversifying into another area – many bars and restaurants have successfully offered business networking events, for example.
  9. Be the best employer. Skilled, motivated staff underpin vibrant, growing businesses. But attracting them means more than paying a competitive wage – people are often more impressed by a good working atmosphere and benefits such as flexible working and structured career development.
  10. Look to the future. Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that are happy to stay still. Keep up with developments in your sector, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology and – crucially – have a clear idea of where you want to be in one, three and five years’ time.
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The Daily Digm (News)

Google to Introduce Privacy Tool to Limit Access to Private Information + How to Limit Thieves from Your Private Info

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Google could unveil new privacy tools that restrict the use of tracking cookies in its Chrome browser as soon as this week, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous people. The new tools would give users more information about how they’re tracked and allow options to limit cookies. The change likely signals a commitment to privacy, but also enhances Google’s dominance in the ad market as other digital-marketing companies lose data-collecting power, The Journal says. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have already introduced cookie tracking restrictions.

This is bad news for advertisers but good news for consumers. While it may seem like a convenient way for marketers to get consumers what they’ve been looking for, the truth of the matter is that with identity theft on the rise, the less information that is out there about you, the better.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. Many experts suggest you monitor your credit report regularly to keep track of your current and closed accounts, negative items and/or credit inquiries. However, this may not be enough to combat the sophisticated identity thief who knows how to circumvent many of the safeguards.

Cybercriminals are smart and patient. Many understand that after a data breach, the first thing many consumers do is opt into a 90-day initial security monitoring period, which alerts creditors that they may have been a victim of identity theft. That is why some savvy fraudsters will wait, avoiding the initial detection period before using and abusing your information. This means that you must remain vigilant even after you place a security alert with one of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion)

You have the right to dispute information on your credit report if you think it’s fraudulent or inaccurate, as well as the right to stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts. But not all accounts are treated equally. Understand your liability in the event of identity theft or other financial fraud, and for how long any available grace periods protect you.

Your liability for the unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to only $50, and if you report it before a loss has occurred then your liability is zero. If your ATM or debit card is lost or stolen, your liability for unauthorized transactions depends on how soon you report the loss to your financial institution. In some cases, you may face unlimited liability for fraud if you do not report it soon enough. Ensure that you’re keeping close tabs on your cards at all times.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, you are not liable for any debt incurred on fraudulent new accounts opened in your name and without your permission.

The following are ways to keep your privacy private:

1 – Regularly check your credit report to ensure all information – including your full name and any variations, current and past addresses, Social Security number, birth date, spouse’s name, and the names of current and previous employers – is accurate. Any misspellings of your name or unknown addresses could indicate that you may be a victim of identity theft. While it is suggested that you view your credit reports at least once a year, it is good practice to review your report once every quarter, if not monthly. In addition to ensuring your personal information is accurate, to keep surprises at bay, look at closed accounts, verify negative items, and make sure there are no unauthorized credit inquiries on your report.

2 – Review your bank account online every three or four days instead of waiting for your bank statements. With limited rights in the event of fraudulent bank account activity, it is imperative that you note any discrepancy and report it immediately.

3 – Add credit monitoring alerts to your credit report. Alerts notify you of any changes to your credit report. This is the most effective way to identify potential fraud and stay proactive in the fight against identity theft.

Each year, cybercriminals become more and more cunning. By taking proactive precautions, you can stop them from defrauding you and have peace of mind that your information is safe. The adage of “better safe than sorry” applies in this case. Make sure you‘re doing what’s necessary to protect yourself and minimize the impact of identity theft.

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