Planning for Educational and Career Success Starts with Research and Accountability

There has been a lot of social unrest lately — Ferguson, Baltimore, etc. — and most of the unrest seems to tie back to socioeconomic status and opportunities for advancement within society, among other things. Awareness has been raised about the seemingly limited paths to prosperity. But, what can I do about it? The truth is I probably cannot make much of a difference on a policy-making nor systemic level. I’m not an elected official and I don’t have the ear of many high ranking state or federal legislators. I also don’t have millions, or even thousands, of dollars that I can barter with in terms of campaign contributions. However, I don’t think change has to start in the halls of Congress. It can start in your own home or school, and then spread to other communities once progress has been shown. Median Wages and Earning Power Recently, I was watching Vice’s new series called The Business of Life. In episode 1 they mentioned that it takes people until 30 years of age to earn the median wage in America, which according Georgetown University is $28,031/year. There were also people talking about student debt, and the failings of many people to find gainful employment after earning a 4-year degree. As I was digesting this data, I began thinking about a few things: Wow! I could never afford my lifestyle earning $28,000/year. Imagine if I had to pay to student loans, and tried to afford my current lifestyle on $28,000/year. I wonder how many people actually look into earning potential for their careers before pursing that degree/career path. While thinking about these things,...

MBA versus Entreprenuership

With grad school admission responses being received around the country, and having attended an event recently where many people my age were in graduate school pursuing an MBA, I’ve been forced to reflect on my choice to forgo an MBA in pursuit of entrepreneurship. The Backstory Three years ago, at age 24 I quit my job. At the time, nationwide unemployment was over 9% nationwide, and pundits were talking about a prolonged recession. This is roughly still the case, but my life has dramatically changed for the better. And, I’d argue that I’m further along than most people who would have went through a full-time MBA program, because I have my own clients now, a professional reputation that’s been built over time, a stronger resume and the added savings vs. added debt ratio is in my favor. Entrepreneurship instead of a MBA Everything in life has Pros and Cons. The real internal debate should be whether or not you will enjoy the Pros and can form a solid plan to deal with the Cons. Pros Make your Schedule Flexibility – Potential to work when you want, where you want and with whom you want The potential to determine your own income and monetary worth Momentum – You own the accounts and the business. Each year things can get easier. Learn the skills you need to succeed (or fail) Cons Risking your own capital No steady paycheck Worse job benefits (no paid vacation, no dental plan, etc.) No 401K match (You have alternatives here, but they take some setup work) No “job security” Before You Take the GMAT I think...

How to Consistently Win New Business

While there is not a magic bullet that applies to every business, the best way I've found to win new business is to: 1. Convert strangers to friends 2. Convert friends into fans 3. Get your fans to talk about you to their friends (who are strangers to you before that conversation) 4. Rinse and repeat You can replace the word stranger with prospect and friend with customer, if you must, but I wouldn't recommend using that language as it will affect the way you treat...

65 Ways to Improve Your Internet Marketing for Under $65

When first venturing into the world of internet marketing, with the overwhelming jargon and rapid speed of change, many people just need a bit of direction and a helpful push to try something new. That's why I've created a list of 65 things you can do to improve your online marketing for under $65. They don't require a ton of time, talent or capital. Most of them are free, and anyone in a company can do them. Not just the marketing, PR, advertising types. Note: You don't have to do them all….today. Pick 2 or 3, and get started. It's About Creating a System It's the sum of all these parts that make up an internet marketing system that will help you be successful using the internet for business. Being relevant never hurt either. Future Plans for This List I plan to add links to related resources, but I wanted to get the list live, first. You can always Google anything you don't already know about. The List Research and listen to your customers Conduct a survey of past customers Ask your customers to review your products or services on popular web sites Ask a customer for a testimonial Figure out a new customer is worth. Use SpyFu to check on your competitors Do keyword research with Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator Improve your Web site's Page Titles Improve your Web site's Meta Descriptions Add more lists to your Web site. Get rid of the slow-loading Flash intro and “Enter Site” on your home page Add a form to your Web site. (free trial, request a quote, request...

Google’s Own SEO Report Card

Ever wonder what factors Google takes into account to rank a web page? Well, the Google Webmaster Blog just released a blog post with their own internal SEO report card for their own products. Check it out, and use the factors they evaluated to better your Web site's rankings.  If you're looking a Web site SEO Evaluation, email me at (craigrentmeester at gmail dot com) or click the link and fill out the form. They're free and full of...