How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary

The job market is a competitive place, and you need to be tough if you want all the payment you deserve. In the business world, it’s certainly the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. If you accept whatever payment you’re offered without complaint, then your managers will think they can keep your wages down. If you speak up for yourself, on the other hand, you can get the raise you deserve.

With that being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach your boss about getting a raise. If you’re obnoxious or belligerent, you’re more likely to earn a dismissal than a bump in pay. The key is to be strong but respectful. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare to broach the subject with your boss.

Determine What You Need And What You Want

Before initiating a conversation, you have to form a categorized list of your demands, separated into what you’d like to have and what you absolutely need. Perhaps you’d like additional paid time off and stock in the company. These belong in the “like to have” category. But then it’s the wage increase and improved benefits that are truly necessary if you’re going to continue at the company. These go in the “absolutely need” category, and will be the cornerstone of your negotiations.

Do Some Market Research

Nothing will boost your chances in negotiations like solid proof that your demands are legitimate. If you come armed with statistics showing typical salaries for people in your position, you’ll force your boss to take your petition seriously. With just a few hours of research online, you can compile all the data you’ll need.

Consider How Much Power You Have

Before you sit down to talk, you need to determine whether or not you’re negotiating from a position of strength. If you have another job option or are willing to quit, then you can be bolder about insisting on your key demands.

Have A Salary Range In Mind

Have a general idea in your mind of what kind of a raise you’re looking for. You don’t need an exact figure, but you should have some sort of a range to aim for.

Originally published to nicholasfainlight.net.

Stretching Exercises for Beginners

Muscle health is vital for maintained mobility. Age and injury can derail range of motion leading to pain and loss of flexibility. Stretching can help fend off these results. By keeping muscles long and limber enables the body to enjoy activities later into life. This can be accomplished by stretching.

Static vs. Dynamic Overview

Two techniques of stretching are static and dynamic. Static stretches involve holding a pose for a period of time, while dynamic stretches are centered around body movement.

The Scoop on Static Stretches

Static stretching is what typically comes to mind when one pictures stretching. A body part is stretched as far as it can comfortably go then held. Regular static stretching helps with flexibility and range of motion.

Arm Crossovers

Stand with stomach pulled in and feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch the left arm across the chest. Bend the right arm and use the forearm to clamp the left arm in place. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Reach to the Sky

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift arms out in front, palms facing and fingertips lightly touching. Twist and bend down to touch the left hand to the right foot. Reach the right arm up towards the sky. Hold 5-10 seconds. Return to start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Dynamic Stretching Details

Dynamic stretching involves moving the body through a range of motion. Athletes use these to warm-up. This type of stretching helps prepare muscles for strenuous activity.

Leg Raises

Lying back side down, stretch arms out to form a ‘T’ with the body. With palms flat against the floor, stretch legs outward with feet together. Pull in the stomach to raise both legs slowly into the air. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.

Side Leg Raises

Lie on the right side of the body. Legs should be stacked left on top of right. Support the head with the right hand and place the left hand on the left hip. Keeping the right leg straight, slowly raise it as high as comfortable then slowly lower back down. Repeat 10 times then roll over and repeat on the opposite side.

Originally published to nicholasfainlight.org

OVERRATED BUSINESS TIPS TO FORGET

EDITWherever you go, people provide unsolicited guidance on how to grow, run, or start a business. Out of the pointers they offer, some are valuable, and you must observe them. However, others are misinterpreted, outdated, or just plain wrong for the business you’re running. Here are some overrated business tips to forget.

1. YOUR SERVICE OR PRODUCT MUST BE UNIQUE

Businesspersons are often advised to outline what makes them stand out. However, it is not necessary to find an exclusive approach to achieve corporate success. A subtle change may improve the entire experience.

2. CUSTOMERS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT

Do you need to make the customers happy? Yes. However, if your main goal is to please people, you may end up in a world of unnecessary suffering. It’s best to pay attention to the things that bring you a long-term profit, not the things that take your energy and time.

3. DO NOT START A BUSINESS WITH YOUR FRIEND

Many people think it’s a bad idea to start an enterprise with a friend, but that’s not true—friends whose expertise supplements each other may build a thriving business. Establishing a company may be straining to the relationship; however, the benefits of operating with a person you trust may be worth it.

4. PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS ON FACEBOOK

Companies have acknowledged that paid advertising is the only path to increase your Facebook image, which is still one of the world’s best social platforms. However, it is not always the top place to use up your advertising budget. There are other more effective means to reach your audience for a much lower price per lead, for instance, on platforms like Pinterest.

5. CONCENTRATE ON YOUR SITE INSTEAD OF BUILDING THE BRAND

It is important to have a brand that reverberates with ideal customers. However, investing all energy and time in the “perfect” site is not how to make it.

6. NEVER REJECT AN OPPORTUNITY

It is tempting to “do it all” and take all opportunities that cross your path at the beginning of your business. Saying “yes” to all opportunities in your corporate encounters will stifle your time and dilute your brand.

7. GATHER AS MUCH CASH AS POSSIBLE

Each business needs cash to start and grow; however, not all businesses must seek that through financiers. While funding may help some companies grow significantly, other lifestyle corporations are at an advantage without it.
Finally, despite all the advice that entrepreneurs receive, they should filter what is right for their business.

HOW TO BALANCE PROFIT AND PURPOSE IN BUSINESS

Entrepreneurs need to build business empires while still staying committed to their purpose. A significant number of business people struggle to commit to their purpose while still keeping their enterprises profitable. Businesses need to demonstrate their contribution to humanity while still growing their profit margins. Here are ways businesses can balance profit and purpose.

Go Green

In the past few years, many businesses have shown their commitment to adopting more sustainable production methods. No matter the size, every organization can play a role in reducing its environmental footprint. Surprisingly, the current generation prefers to buy green products. Therefore, companies that will demonstrate high sustainability credentials will gain numerous customers who want to buy green.

For instance, manufacturers can reduce carbon emissions by sourcing closer to home. When raw materials are transported for short distances, it helps cut both transport costs and carbon emissions. Besides, leaders who have a passion for conserving the environment can shift to renewable energy sources.

Find an Inspiration

Walk away from your comfort zone and start doing something new that challenges you. Learn from these things and find inspiration in them

Leverage Technology

Technology is changing every aspect of life, including how consumers interact with brands and how they buy products and services. For example, online sales have doubled in the past five years. Additionally, organizations are using machines to understand customer needs better. This means that businesses must stay on top of the latest innovations to remain competitive in their respective industries.

Share Your Success

Entrepreneurship is a murky journey characterized by ups and downs. Therefore, successive entrepreneurs should consider sharing their experiences with novice business people. When you balance profit and purpose, your impact is significant and tangible, and more consumers will want to be associated with your business.

Understand Your Purpose

Purpose goes beyond providing high-quality goods and services to consumers. It also means that your business prioritizes the common good of the community. For example, some companies such as Unilever have already developed a unique living plan to track their progress of minimizing their environmental footprint. Business leaders should devote time to learn about societal impact and how to improve it.

To change business operations to meet new expectations requires exceptional and visionary leadership. In today’s versatile business world, leaders who will adopt agility will be in a better position to achieve long-term success.

Social Security Basics to Know

The following Social Security basics will make it possible for people to maximize their benefits when it comes time to retire:

What Types of Benefits Can Someone Receive?

An American can collect retirement benefits from Social Security, but there are also other types of benefits. A spouse will be eligible for spousal benefits if they collect less than 50% of their spouse’s benefits from Social Security. To qualify for divorce benefits, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. In addition to that, the spouses cannot be married to other people. Widows and widowers can collect survivors’ benefits that entitle them to the full amount of the deceased person’s benefits. If relatives were dependent upon the deceased person, they could claim these benefits as well.

What Affects the Amount that People Can Receive?

To receive the maximum amount, a person needs to work for at least 35 years. If someone works for less than 35 years, his or her benefits will be lower. For example, people can begin to receive Social Security benefits after they have worked for 10 years, but they will not receive their full benefits if they do not work for at least 35 years.

What Age Is the Full Retirement Age?

Those born in 1960 and after have a full retirement age of 67 years. Those born before 1960 have a full retirement age of 66 years. Some people will have a full retirement age of 66 years and some months depending on the month to celebrate their birthdays.

When people reach the full retirement age, they are entitled to receive their maximum benefits. These benefits will be reduced by 30% if they claim their benefits before reaching 65. If they wait until the age of 70 to claim their benefits, they will receive the full amount they are entitled to receive, plus 32% more each month.

When people begin to take their Social Security benefits, the amount they receive in their checks will remain the same unless there is an adjustment for the cost-of-living increase.

In addition to the benefits above, people may be entitled to receive the $17,166 Social Security bonus. This bonus applies to retirees every year, but they must find out about the available strategies for taking this bonus before they can do so.

The Best Morning Workouts to Start Your Day

Morning workouts are a fantastic way to kick off your day. There is no specific time for working out, but people are likely to reap more benefits by working out in the morning. Additionally, it is daunting for many people to work out in the evening due to family priorities and tight work schedules.

Working out right away after waking up might be the ultimate solution to keep you motivated and energized throughout the day. There will be temptations to snooze the alarm to avoid working out before going to work. However, if you make daily exercise a habit, you will feel more confident, energized, and motivated.

Here are the best morning workouts to kick off your day.

Swimming

Swimming is enjoyable. Numerous people don’t know that swimming is a full-body workout that uses muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance systems. Swimming is also a suitable exercise for people with any form of injury. The bouncy of water hinders body resistance, and this is essential if you have back problems, knee issues, joint or ankle point. Water-resistance helps strengthen muscles without straining, like in strength training or running.

If you are a novice swimmer, you can start by walking in the water. Though it’s low resistance, walking in the water will help ease nagging injuries.

Walking

Walking is an underrated form of exercise. If there is something everyone should incorporate in their fitness routine is walking. If your job’s nature doesn’t keep you active, walking might be your ultimate morning workout.

Walking is a low impact physical exercise suitable for seniors and people with knee or joint pains. Also, it is the least expensive form of exercise which doesn’t require any equipment. You can start slow and increase your duration and time as you progress.

Yoga

Yoga is a moderate-intensity exercise that pushes the body to its limits. Yoga is a unique physical activity that works on cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and flexibility. A morning yoga workout helps people to stay relaxed throughout the day.

Stretching

Stretching is another low impact and highly beneficial morning workout. Stretching helps loosen up stiff, sore, and tired muscles. Besides, stretching helps prevent pain on the knees, spine, and other joints.

Leaping Across A Professional Rut

Everybody has hit a rut from time to time. Any length of professional practice of any activity will result in hitting physical and mental walls. How do we break through those walls? How do we climb out of our ruts? As professionals, we must be capable and aware of recognizing ruts and how to respond to them.

One of the first ways of leaping across the struggles of daily performance is to mix up how you may do things. Mixing up your schedule, figuring out new ways of looking at the same issues, or even integrating new technology into the routine — these are all effective and efficient ways of getting through a tough spot.

Realize in the midst of our professional careers, we are not alone. There have been a multitude of others that have come before us who also have struggled with the same issues. Utilize their experience! Read up from experts who have suffered burnout, been stuck in ruts, and somehow figured their way out of them. Start by reaching out to friends, family, or colleagues, when comfortable, and try to see how they would approach the problem. Recognizing those who have gone before us, and those that go through it with us, is integral in breaking out of ruts.

An outline, game-plan, or goal sheet is another productive way of breaking old habits or worn patterns. It allows you to chart out big ideas and see the whole picture in a way that might have not been seen before. Try putting new ideas into your outlines and see how that changes things. You won’t be able to break out until you’re ready to break in new ideas and thoughts. Take an active effort in seeing things from a new perspective.

Recognize that life works on a spectrum. What you may consider “bad” other individuals consider “great” — it is all relative. Use that relativity as your jumping point across your rut. Start small, and do what you can do at that moment. Take small steps, and steps that you know will lead you to your end-goal, no matter how long it may take. Leaping takes a bit of faith, however, that’s exactly what getting out of a rut takes. A leap of faith.

6 Communications Skills of Influential Leaders

Nicholas Fainlight - Communication

Excellent communication skills and impeccable leadership go hand in hand. Influential leaders connect with their audience at an emotional level. Their words are full of encouragement and inspire people to unleash their full potential.

Here are the secrets of effective leaders.

1. Know Their Audience

You can only communicate effectively after identifying who you are speaking to. Influential leaders know their audience, which helps them to choose the most suitable communication style. Identifying their audience doesn’t mean telling them what they want to hear. It means they relay essential information that the audience ought to know.

2. They Have Mastered Body Language

Effective leaders can tell people’s reactions to their message through body language. They are experts in picking on cues such as body language and facial expression because they understand that this is the only feedback they will receive from their audience. Great leaders use feedback to tweak their communication style.

3. They Are Listeners

Great leaders devote time to listen to the grievances and concerns of their audience. They listen and come up with the best response to their queries or grievances.

4. They Are Clear

Being precise in your communication increases the chances of the audience understanding faster. Great leaders explain things in detail to eliminate room for assumptions.

Whenever great leaders are delegating duties or asking for help from someone else, they strive to provide actionable, simple, and clear instructions. It is imperative to prepare thoughts in advance to provide essential details. Additionally, deliver these instructions in a friendly, calm way.

5. They Are Optimistic and Respectful

Everyone expects leaders to be respectful, but that is not always the case. Focusing on respectful, transparent, and fair communication within a team is an effective strategy for cultivating loyalty and enhancing team performance. Don’t be tempted to use your status over your team or use fear or coercion as motivators. Instead, be honest and humble even when dealing with your juniors. Desist from being an autocrat and instead be a cheerleader who inspires people to be creative and quick problem solvers.

6. They Don’t Blame Others

When things go south in an organization, effective leaders don’t blame their team. They admit their mistake right away and focus on rectifying it in the future. They are accountable for their words and actions and are always striving to be better versions of themselves.

Obtaining a Mortgage with Poor Credit

Lenders don’t necessarily have a credit score that will disqualify someone for a home loan. They are all entitled to set the limit for a minimum credit score to whatever they like. Because of this, it isn’t unusual to find that a borrower cannot obtain a mortgage loan with a credit score below 500. If these borrowers take some time to increase their scores, they may be able to qualify for one of the following loans below:

FHA Loans

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, so when people take out these loans to purchase their homes, lenders see them as very good risks. These loans are also excellent for borrowers because it is easier to qualify for them even if they have lower credit scores. The following qualifications are required for FHA loans:

  • A credit score of around 580. People can be approved with a lower score if they can offer a down payment of at least 10%.
  • The borrowers must purchase the property as their primary residence.

VA Loans

VA loans are designated for former and current members of the military, and they are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Qualifying members of the military and their spouses may be able to purchase a home without having to offer a down payment. If the future homeowner is going to apply for a loan with Rocket Mortgage, he or she will need to have at least a 620 credit score.

USDA Loans

The United States Department of Agriculture backs USDA loans. These loans are specifically for the purchase of homes in rural areas within the United States, and they don’t require that future homeowners offer a down payment. In most cases, borrowers need to have at least a 640 credit score, and they must also meet the income requirements to qualify.

Conventional Loans

The necessary credit score, income and down payment will all vary for conventional loans. In most cases, people can expect to be asked to provide a 620 credit score before they will be approved for a home loan. They can also qualify for a home loan with a score that is a little lower than 620 if they are also earning a high income and will be able to offer a higher down payment.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Gym Membership

The average gym membership costs around $40 to $50 a month, according to CNBC. However, millions of Americans don’t use the gym membership they are paying for. Luckily, there are five things an individual can do to make the most of their membership.

1. Stay on a schedule

Skipping workouts is one way to waste hard-earned cash on a gym membership. It’s important to come up with a time that is able to be adhered to and then commit to going. Whether it is a few days a week after work or every morning for an hour before school, putting it on the calendar will help make it stick.

2. Try out the classes

Some people prefer to go about their own way at the gym. However, different classes offer new workout techniques, and taking classes is a wonderful way to socialize with others. Yoga and Pilates classes are also a fun way to learn some new moves. Shy or nervous individuals can also grab a spot in the back until they are more confident with the instructions.

3. Enjoy the swimming pool

Many gym-goers forgo one of the best amenities of a gym- the swimming pool. Swimming is a wonderful low-impact workout that works muscles throughout the whole body. It’s great for the joints and will burn a lot of calories in one session. It’s also a very refreshing activity to start or end the day with.

4. Ask about the equipment

Too many gym members pass up equipment because they don’t know how to use it and are too embarrassed to ask. Don’t be shy! The staff is there to help gym members understand the equipment. Most gyms offer personal trainers who are more than happy to show members around, and some gyms offer a free session with a trainer after the person signs up for their membership, according to Shape.

5. Let your insurance company know

Many health insurance companies offer amazing discounts or incentives for members who do what they can to stay healthy. Some offer discounts for memberships at certain gyms and fitness centers while others offer discounts on monthly premiums.

It can be hard sticking to an exercise program, but the payoff is worth it. Living longer and staying healthy is the best trade-off that anyone could ask for!