Whether you want to free yourself from the personal and financial restrictions of employment or you just want to supplement your salary with some extra spending money, working for yourself or starting and growing a business has never been easier — and there’s never been a greater choice of roles to choose from.
Below are several incredible freelance and small business opportunities in a variety of different industries you can start working on today.
Home & Remote Business Opportunities
What’s not to love about working from home? Zero commute, complete kitchen facilities, and maybe even the ability to work in your pajamas.
Here are some great business opportunities that will allow you to work from the comfort of home:
1. Professional Consulting
Those with an enviable track record in setting up or helping to grow businesses have easily-transferable skills they can use to make money from home.
Market yourself as a professional consultant who assists others in launching and building successful businesses through online sites like Clarity. Alternatively, you could also offer (and charge more for) in-person consultations, either going out to visit clients on their turf, or having them come to your home office (although you should probably get changed out of those PJs first).
2. Home-Based Child Care
Childcare is and always will be essential to many families, and daycare centers don’t come cheap. If you’re already spending the day keeping a watchful eye over your own little ones, why not pocket a little extra cash by undercutting the “pros” and providing childcare to friends and neighbors, too?
What in-demand skills do you have that you can teach to others? Business skills like consultancy are generally the most profitable, as you can charge much more for your time — but it’s usually harder to find clients, and many of your bookings will be one-off training sessions.
Other skills, from teaching languages to music to helping with reading or writing, are all easy to turn into businesses — and they can be reasonably lucrative and hugely rewarding, too.
What you can charge will depend upon your experience, location, and vocation you’re teaching; just don’t expect to make your millions this way. That said, most of your customers will visit on a recurring basis, so tutoring should at least provide you with a regular, reliable income.
4. Elder Care
Like childcare, care for the elderly is an essential service that will always be in demand. What’s more, those that need it often do better when able to remain in their own homes instead of moving into assisted living.
While certain elements of care require medical qualifications, helping clients with day-to-day tasks like shopping, cleaning, and cooking do not.
5. Private Chef
If you’re skilled in the kitchen but don’t fancy the long hours and stressful environment that’s synonymous with full-time restaurant work, you might want to consider working as a private chef instead.
Exactly what this entails will vary from job to job, but expect to mainly be dishing up quality cuisine to groups of friends and family at dinner parties. Just bear in mind that you might need to employ waitstaff to serve food and drinks and look after guests.
The gig economy isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, driving for Uber or Lyft are great ways to make a little cash. You can choose the hours you drive, and the app will automatically connect you to clients who need a ride.
Have you ever seen a piece of furniture on Craigslist that has potential if someone would just give it a little TLC? If you are particularly handy, you could go to thrift shops and garage sales, pick up items at low prices, refurbish them, and turn them around for a higher price.
This concept doesn’t just apply to furniture, either. If you have a good eye, you could scout for collectibles, oddities, and more. Auction sites like eBay can connect you with a wide audience looking for your items.
8. Makeup & Hair Styling
Proms, weddings, and other special occasions compel people to look their best. You can become an independent stylist and have people come to your home studio, or you can make house calls or work on-location. Eventually, you might consider opening up a salon or spa, but many independent artists love the flexibility of working from home and/or being mobile.
9. Pet Sitting
Just like in-home child care, pet sitting is an industry that you can tap into to make extra money. Many folks want the peace of mind knowing that someone is there for their fur baby, ensuring they’re comfortable and safe while they’re gone. Sites such as care.com help put potential clients in front of pet sitters in their local area.
If you have an extra room, casita, or property, you can use it to earn money when you sign up as an Airbnb host. You can list your space for free, and Airbnb does all the heavy lifting for you, making it easy to attract and host travelers. You can charge what you want, and Airbnb even protects you with property damage and accident insurance.
Online Business Opportunities
Online business opportunities also afford you all the benefits of working from home, but even better, many of them allow you to work from absolutely anywhere (which has never been easier or more fun, thanks to the ever-growing coworking industry).
Tommy Landry of Return on Now, explains this transformation. “One of the major changes to ‘how we work’ over the past decade is the massive shift toward free agency, i.e. freelancing, consulting, or running solopreneur-types of businesses,” he says. “While many older workers were taught to pursue security in the form of a full-time job, that is no longer the only way to make a living. In fact, it has become super easy to make the leap out to independence heading into 2019. You could consult or freelance in a number of areas from copywriting to marketing strategy, or run your own ecommerce business from your home.”
He also advises that no matter which path you choose, the smart way to “escape” your full-time job is to start making this transition while you’re still working. “I started my own business as a side gig back in 2009, while running marketing teams for local high tech companies,” he explains. “It took 2.5 years to build up the business enough to sustain a living income, and I went full-time in 2012. I’m living proof … if you want to run solo, you can do it with the right business model, a sound exit strategy, and a lot of hard work.”
11. Gig Work
Want a way to start making money in minutes? Sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and People Per Hour allow you to do just that.
Another valuable (but often overlooked) resource for finding freelance work is Craigslist. “Craigslist has a whole section devoted to Gigs you can join to make additional money,” says Carl Sednaoui, Director of Marketing at MailCharts.
Just bear in mind that these jobs aren’t scalable. What they are, however, is a great way to make a little extra pocket money by outsourcing your skills on your own terms.
Some sites are better than others — in terms of both opportunities and pay — so you should do your research to find the best match for your skills, abilities, and expectations.
It’s also well worth considering some sound advice from Foundr‘s Jeremy Noronha. “Go where your customers are, not where your competition is,” he advises. “Many freelancers who get started tend to hang out in the online communities with their peers and not their potential clients. The best way to develop and build the right relationships is to provide value in all the places your ideal clients spend their time.”
Some skills are more in demand than others. The rarer the skill (and the better you are at it), the more you can expect to earn.
12. Web Design
It can be tough to find great web designers and developers, and that’s why freelance web designers are highly sought after. As Ashley Faulkes, founder of Mad Lemmings explains, one of the biggest reasons behind this is the fact that the industry is overrun with cheap-yet-underskilled designers and developers.
“Web design and development has gotten a bad rap lately with so many cheap options available, but I still find clients who want a personal and professional touch,” she says. “You can start with the basics, and produce top-notch sites using online tools, or start with WordPress and good themes and page builders. Focus on quality and great communication and you will soon make a name for yourself.”
13. App Development
More than half of all web traffic is mobile. It may be competitive, but if you’ve got the skills, there’s big money to be made either in developing and distributing your own app or developing apps for others.
14. Amazon Selling
While the working conditions of Amazon’s own employees regularly come under fire, there are plenty of ways to make money through Amazon without being on its payroll.
Thanks to services like Amazon Fulfillment, it’s easier than you might think to sell products from home, since Amazon will pick, pack, and deliver your orders for you. The service can even enable you to import and export outside your home country.
Other opportunities include self-publishing ebooks (you can learn more about writing books that sell here) and affiliate marketing, which involves linking to Amazon products from your website, and earning a commission if a link is clicked and a purchase made.
15. Etsy Selling
Etsy is the platform for selling goods such as arts, crafts, jewelry, and much more. Basically, if it’s handmade, vintage, or just a little bit different, Etsy’s the place to find it (and sell it).
16. Course Creation
Sites like Udemy and Coursera allow you to market, sell, and profit from courses you’ve created yourself. Few of the courses are accredited, but that’s reflected in the price students pay.
They’re also far more popular than you might think. “Online courses are huge right now,” says David Hoos, Head of Marketing at The Good marketing agency. “They can be incredibly helpful to develop niche skills and businesses will often use them for professional development purposes. If you have a unique skill that you can organize and share, a course is a great way to do it!”
17. Virtual Assisting
Working as a virtual personal assistant takes minimal skill and is easy to get into, since there are always businesses looking for people to take on day-to-day grunt work without the cost of hiring an assistant in-house.
18. Influencer Marketing on Social Media
This one might sound like wishful thinking, but countless people are making substantial amounts of money simply by having a large and engaged social following.
Sure, it’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you, it takes time to become successful. That said, if you’ve got the right personality and patience, making money using your influence online is a very real possibility.
19. Freelance Writing
With the demand for digital content, you can position yourself in front of clients who need text produced for their websites or other collateral. The most popular freelance opportunities are in:
Content writing – Writing article content to drive traffic.
Copy writing – Writing sales copy to drive conversions and revenue.
In addition, you can even be more specialized within those functions. For example, you could focus on case studies or whitepapers.
Federal Business Opportunities
This might sound surprising in the age of corporate giants, but where possible, the U.S. government supports small businesses by contracting work out to local independents. This means there are always opportunities for the “little guy” to get their foot in the door with the federal government. You can view a forecast of contracting opportunities here.
Meanwhile, common federal business opportunities include:
This could entail constructing new government buildings or updating or maintaining existing buildings. Even simple janitorial work is understandably always in demand.
Opportunities are typically listed on job sites like Indeed and Simply Hired.
Security is, understandably, of extreme importance in government buildings. While this will include security measures like cameras and alarms, security personnel are often employed in order to screen visitors and patrol the interior and exterior of buildings at off-hours.
While you can provide security services as a sole contractor, the business is easily scalable by employing and finding work for others.
Consultants are experts in a specialist field who are employed to advise those with less knowledge and experience than themselves. Government consultants are no different.
Don’t expect finding work in this area to be easy, however. You’ll need solid proof of your ability to do the job, and you may well be required to have a degree — in some cases, even a master’s or Ph.D.
Other Business Opportunities
If none of the opportunities above sound like something you could leverage, here are a few other lucrative business opportunities that could be the right fit for your skills:
23. Personal Training
Health, fitness, and general wellbeing are big business. That means those with the skills to help others be their best are in high demand. That includes personal trainers, for one.
So how do you get started as a personal trainer?
Personal training is an unregulated industry, but that doesn’t mean your 3-year gym membership qualifies you to help others improve their strength and fitness. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause somebody serious injury.
You can read up on reputable personal training courses and what to do once you’re qualified, here.
24. Real Estate
In many states, you can complete the required training, become a licensed agent, and start a new career in just a few weeks or months. While it does require an investment of time, money, and effort, it can be well worth it. You can be your own boss, work a flexible schedule, and have the potential to make a lot of money. While there is no shortage of real estate agents in the industry, there’s still plenty of space for agents who genuinely want to do the best they can for their clients. Learn how to get a real estate license here.
25. Turnkey Businesses
Turnkey businesses offer an ideal startup model for those with limited time or budget, largely because the time investment is minimal.
Examples of turnkey businesses include storage units, laundromats, and automated car washes — basically, turnkey businesses are those that are largely self-sufficient and can almost manage themselves.
26. Trade Work
If you’re skilled in DIY and happy to compete on price while making a name for yourself, you can start leveraging your skills for cash right away.
Don’t know a hammer from a hacksaw? Then enroll in a course and learn. Skilled trades are one of the few industries in which demand outstrips talent. Whether you want to start out on your own, or begin by working for someone else, the pay is good, the work is rewarding, and job security is pretty much guaranteed.
A few trades you might want to consider include:
27. Lead Generation
Almost all B2B companies have a need for leads. What they don’t all have is the time to acquire them.
While there are numerous services offering up automated lead data, the quality of those leads is questionable at best. That means there’s good money to be made sourcing qualified leads for time-strapped, growth-focused companies.
AeroLeads‘ Pushkar Gaikwad has some good advice on how to do this. “Partner with local marketing agencies and provide them with B2B data, prospects and leads, based on their requirements,” he says. “You can gather such data using various free and paid online tools. Later you can start your own lead generation agency, too.”
28. Food or Coffee Truck
Running a restaurant or coffee shop is risky business, primarily because overhead is so high. Traditional brick-and-mortars are not your only option when it comes to managing a food or drink business, however. You can be super-successful for a fraction of the cost with a food or coffee truck.
Izaak Crook of AppInstitute agrees. “Food trucks are a fantastic way to showcase your culinary expertise without the overhead of opening a static restaurant — and what’s more, you can take your food on the road to different events and festivals to raise awareness of your brand,” he explains. “Create your own mobile app for your truck and help to build a loyal customer base through offering a loyalty scheme — and even offer pre-ordering so that punters don’t have to wait out in the cold whilst you prepare their meals!”
The key to any successful small business is knowing exactly who your audience is, how you plan to attract and serve them, and why they should buy from you. Start planning for your business today.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Original Source: blog.hubspot.com
One of the most exciting parts of becoming an adult is moving out of your old place and starting your own life. However, as is the case with most major life events, moving out comes with a lot of added responsibility. Part of this duty is knowing and understanding your budget when shopping for the perfect apartment, condo, duplex, or rental house. So how much should you really spend on rent?
The 30 Percent Threshold
The first step in deciding how much you should spend on rent is calculating how much rent you can afford. This is done by finding your fixed income-to-rent ratio. Simply put, this is the percentage of your income that is budgeted towards rent.
As a general rule of thumb, allocating 30 percent of your net income towards rent is a good place to start. Government studies consider people who spend more than 30 percent on living expenses to be “cost-burdened,” and those who spend 50 percent or more to be “severely cost-burdened.”
When calculating your income-to-rent ratio, keep in mind that you should be using your total household income. If you live with a roommate or partner, be sure to factor in their income as well to ensure you’re finding a rent range that’s appropriate for your income level.
If you’re still unsure as to how much rent you can afford, consider an affordability calculator. Remember to consult a financial advisor before entering into a lease if you’re unsure if you’ll be able to make rent.
Consider the 50/30/20 Rule
After you’ve set a fixed income-to-rent ratio, consider the 50/20/30 rule to round out your budget. This rule suggests that 50 percent of your income goes to essentials, 20 percent goes to savings, and the remaining 30 percent goes to non-essential, personal expenses. In this case, rent falls under “essentials.” Also included in this category are any expenses that are absolutely necessary, such as utilities, food, and transportation.
Let’s consider a hypothetical situation in which you make $4,000 per month. Under the 50/20/30 rule with a fixed income-to-rent ratio of 30 percent, you have $2,000 (50 percent) per month to spend on essential living expenses. $1,200 (30 percent) goes to rent, leaving you with $800 per month for other necessary expenses such as utilities and food.
Remember to Budget for Additional Expenses
Now that you’ve budgeted for rent and essential utilities, it’s time to make a plan for how you’re going to furnish your apartment. One of the biggest shocks of moving out on your own is how expensive filling a home can be. From kitchen utensils to lightbulbs and everything in between, it can be pricey to make your space perfect.
For the most part, furniture falls under the 30 percent of personal, non-essential expenses. Consider planning ahead before a move and saving for home goods so that you don’t go into major debt when it comes time to move out.
Be on the Lookout for Savings
If your budget is slightly out of reach for your dream apartment, try to nix unnecessary costs to see if you can make it work. Look for ways to cut down on utilities, insurance, groceries, and rent.
Utilities: Water, heat, and electricity are all necessities, but your TV service isn’t. Cut the cord on TV and mobile services that may not serve you and your budget anymore. Consider swapping out your light bulbs for eco-friendly and energy-efficient light bulbs to cut down your electric bill.
Insurance: Instead of paying monthly renters insurance rates, save a fraction of the cost by paying your yearly cost in full. If you have a roommate, ask to share a policy together at a premium rate.
Groceries: Swap your nights out for a homemade meal. You can save up to $832 a year with this simple habit change. When grocery shopping, add up costs as you shop to ensure your budget stays on track.
Rent: One of the best ways to save on rent is to split the bill. Consider getting roommates to save 50 percent or more on your monthly rent.
A lease is not something to be entered into lightly. Biting off more rent than you can chew can lead to unpaid rent, which can damage your credit score and make it harder to find an apartment or buy a home in the future. By implementing these best practices, you’ll hopefully find a balance between finding a place you love and still having room in your budget for a little bit of fun.
Sources: US Census Bureau
The post How Much Should You Spend on Rent? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Original Source: blog.mint.com
There were lots of fantastic questions on the last post so it made the most sense to lay it all out in the same place especially since there may be lots of folks who are considering long term trips right now.
Q – Have you considered renting out your home while you are gone?
A – Yes. There are some big problems with this idea though. First, there are 6 of us in 1,200 sq. ft. and we homeschool. The prospective money we could make off AirBnBing our home didn’t offset the cost/burden of moving out the school room set-up and our personal belongings. That, and in the time of COVID, the liability/risk factor is high. If someone got COVID, could they say it was because we didn’t adequately clean the home between renters? Lots of hassle. Very little reward.
Q – Does your health insurance cover you out of state? Will you get stuck with a huge hospital bill?
A – We have the worst, best insurance out there. We have an HSA which means we pay 100% of all medical expenses out of pocket until we hit our deductible (that’s the bad part). Once we hit our out-of-pocket maximum, our insurance pays 100% of medical and prescription drug costs for the rest of the year (that’s the good part). The out-of-pocket maximum is less than our emergency fund. This would be the same whether we were in-state or out of state but it’s something everyone should look into when traveling, particularly during a pandemic.
Q – Should you use the trip money to pay down your mortgage instead?
A – This is a hard call. We saved up money for a fall trip and my husband got some unexpected side jobs so we aren’t going into our emergency fund or stealing from another budget bucket BUT, I recognize this experience won’t be what it would have been had we not been knee deep in a pandemic. There will be no stops at amusement parks or zoos. There won’t be family dinners at fun restaurants. That makes me sad. But at the same time, I also recognize that I’m in a situation that is unlikely to happen again (please Lord, I HOPE IT WON’T!). I have a huge chunk of time to watch my kids fish in lakes and rivers and explore backcountry. I’ll pay my mortgage for two months longer to take advantage of this opportunity.
Q – Would you like to get into a debate about traveling during a pandemic?
A – As fun as that sounds… No. ; ) I understand that we all have strong opinions and I respect them but I’m not open for a debate. I’ll explain the finances related to traveling during a pandemic but not about the pandemic itself.
A couple more things I think are important when trip planning…
Double Check Your Insurance Coverage
Yes, look at your healthcare but also look at your home insurance and your car insurance. Are the limits right? Do you feel comfortable with your deductibles? Do you have enough insurance? Do you have roadside assistance?
Make Sure Your Affairs Are in Order
Yup. I’m getting morbid on you. Chris and I have very detailed wills. They outline what to do in lots of situations. What happens if we both die? Who gets the kids? Who is the executor? What are our health directives? It’s all there. Before we leave on big trips, we double check to make sure everything is still the way we want it and we call my mom to remind her where the information is. We don’t do it because we are morbid, we do it because the last thing I want my loved ones worrying about when dealing with loss is trying to figure out what to do with my kids or my house or my car. You should have this in place NOW but you should regularly revisit to make sure it’s accurate. Travel is a good reminder to double check.
The post Long Distance/Long Term Travel and Finances appeared first on Blogging Away Debt.
Original Source: bloggingawaydebt.com
Facebook-owned global messaging platform WhatsApp will be the newest entrant to India’s payments market now that it is in compliance with the country’s data-localisation norms. Entering the country with a beta launch in 2018, the payment feature will now be rolled out to its 400 million-strong user base once the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives the go-ahead.
Also ReadWhatsApp to work with partners in India to enhance access to financial products
This comes on the heels of the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) certifying to the Supreme Court that WhatsApp had now “localised five data elements” that were identified by the banking regulator and mandated them to store in India.
WhatsApp has said that it has spent “significant engineering time and effort” over the last seven months to comply with the guidelines laid down by the country’s banking regulator.
According to an official statement from parent company Facebook, “An independent third-party auditor, certified by CERT-in (the government agency under the IT ministry), has confirmed that WhatsApp’s payments feature satisfies the data localisation requirements under the RBI circular and frequently asked questions (FAQs).”
According to an affidavit filed by RBI in the Supreme Court, the central bank said it was satisfied with WhatsApp’s compliance with the regulator’s data storage rules and was good to go live on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform. WhatsApp Pay is already running a beta rollout with some users in India.
“More than four years ago, Prime Minister Modi launched this (UPI) ground-breaking initiative to provide Indian citizens with the ability to make digital payments to one another and to the more than 60 million Indian small businesses that serve local communities and the world,” said Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, in an opinion piece in The Financial Express.
Cathcart added that UPI is a world-class payments system, that can also anchor a broader suite of fintech applications like micro-pensions, digital insurance products, and flexible loans which WhatsApp can facilitate. “These powerful tools can build on the extraordinary success India has made in lifting millions of people out of poverty and build resilience to future economic shocks,” he said.
Also ReadHow a WhatsApp group metamorphosed into a telemedicine collective to combat COVID-19
Partnering for progress
As part of its efforts to further integrate with the Indian fintech space, WhatsApp has also become the platform of choice for both SMBs and large businesses to talk to their customers and grow through the pandemic. Payments is that last step in that journey.
“The launch of payments can truly accelerate financial inclusion by giving access to the users that need it the most. For your average rural women entrepreneur, the internet is synonymous with WhatsApp, making it seamless to use digital payments once made available on this simple platform,” said Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s India Head at the virtual Global Fintech Fest on July 22.
He added that WhatsApp would also work with partners such as banks and other financial institutions to give people, especially those in rural areas and from low-income groups, easier access to financial instruments like insurance, microcredit and pension. This will also accelerate the use of digitised payments by small and medium businesses.
Also ReadHow these social warriors are using WhatsApp to make a difference in people’s lives
“We will take risks, but we’ll do it with controlled pilots. And, based on user acceptance, we will invest and scale the solutions that deliver results," he said.
Bose also said that WhatsApp had been working closely with banks — including ICICI, Kotak Mahindra and HDFC — over the past year to explore ways to increase financial access to these individuals who were yet to enter the mainstream banking market.
In his opinion piece, Cathcart had stated that rapidly scaling UPI is the need of the hour and one of the best ways to strengthen India’s digital economy. “Today people can send money to their ageing parents isolated during this time of physical distancing. Migrant workers can support their families. Farmers can make sales outside of the market.”
He said that WhatsApp shares PM Modi's belief that “there has never been a better time to invest in India. With courage, ambition, and boundless potential, India can emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before—a leading democratic digital powerhouse that will lead the world through the 21st century.”
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.
Original Source: yourstory.com
The average office worker sends 40 emails per day. That’s 40 opportunities to market yourself and your business in those individual emails you send, every single day.
A lot of people treat their email signatures like an afterthought, which makes for a real missed opportunity. Those signatures are a chance for you to make it clear who you are, make it easy for people to reach you, and give people a place to go to find out more — either about you, about your business, or about something you’re working on.
So, if you’re just putting your name and a point or two of contact information in your signature, you’re not taking full advantage of the opportunity to connect and engage with the people you’re emailing. (Although you don’t want to go overboard, either. Jamming your signature full of links and information is just plain spammy and self-promotional.)
So what should go in your signature? Much of this will depend on personal preference, your organization’s brand and culture, and even the industry you’re in. However, here are some suggestions as you create your own:
What to Include in an Email Signature
First and Last Name
Affiliation Info (Such as Job Title and Department)
Secondary Contact Information
Social Profile Icons
Call to Action
Industry Disclaimer or Legal Requirements
Photo or Logo
1. First and Last Name
Just like with snail mail correspondence, your name should always be included so that the recipient of your message knows who it was from. This manifests in the email signature, often as the first line of text.
2. Affiliation Info (Such as Job Title and Department)
Closely following your name should be your affiliation information. Your affiliations could include your job title, your company or organization, and/or even your department. Your name should eventually be its own draw, of course, as you build a relationship with the recipient, but providing this information provides more context about the conversation and your role in it. In addition, affiliating yourself with a larger organization lends you more credibility, especially if it’s a recognizable organization. This helps you get the attention of your readers so they take your message seriously.
3. Secondary Contact Information
Secondary contact information is important, too, so that the recipient knows how else to contact you. Secondary information might include phone, fax, or any other method of communication you want to emphasize. In situations where you don’t want to cough up your direct line, you could take this opportunity to promote your personal website — a passive way to open the lines of communication without flooding yourself with outreach if you don’t want.
4. Social Profile Icons
Your social media presence is a major part of your personal brand because it helps you gain a following in your space and shows people what you care about. You can tell a lot about a person by what they post and how they portray themselves.
That’s why it’s a great idea to include links to your social media pages in your email signature. It not only reinforces your personal brand, but it also helps people find new ways to contact and follow you.
Even better? It can help drive traffic to your online content if you’re posting links to that content on social. So if you do include social icons in your signature, make sure you’re keeping your social profiles up-to-date and chock full of interesting, relevant content. (In other words, if you haven’t tweeted in six months, you may want to leave Twitter out.)
Why use social media icons instead of simply text links? Because icons are more easily recognizable for folks skimming your signature — and they’ll stand out from the rest of the text in there. According to research from NeoMam Studios, visuals shown in color increase a person’s willingness to read the rest of the content by 80%. That’s a huge advantage. Plus, icons are big space-savers in a place where you might be packing a lot of information.
Even if you have a presence on a lot of social media sites, though, try to cap the number of icons to five or six. Focus on the accounts that matter most to growing your business or building your personal brand.
If you do include a lot of social media icons, at least try to cut back on the other content if possible so your design isn’t too busy. Check out the example below, made using HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator.
5. Call to Action
One of the smartest things you can do in your email signature is include a call-to-action. The best email signature CTAs are simple, up-to-date, non-pushy, and in line with your email style, making them appear more like post-script, and less like a sales pitch. Choose a CTA that aligns with one of your current business goals, and update it when those goals change.
Here’s a great example from HubSpot’s former Social Media Manager, Chelsea Hunersen. She changes her text CTA depending on her current social media goals. A few months ago, she used it to drive people to HubSpot’s Twitter account.
Once she created a unique Slack channel for inbound marketers, she switched up her email signature CTA to point people there, instead.
Links to videos can be especially noticeable because in some email clients like Gmail, a video’s thumbnail will show up underneath your signature. Here’s an example of what that looks like from our own Emily MacIntyre:
6. Booking Links
If you find yourself emailing back and forth with colleagues and clients who want to book meetings with you, make it easy for them by including a link to book your calendar right in your email signature. Here’s an example from our own Bryan Lowry, below.
There are many tools out there that’ll help people book appointments. Bryan from the example above uses HubSpot’s shareable personalized booking link. If you’re a HubSpot Sales customer, you can share your personalized meeting link with anyone who you want to book a meeting with and let them choose from your available times. If you want, you can make it so the HubSpot CRM automatically creates a new contact record for anyone who books a meeting if one doesn’t already exist.
If you aren’t a HubSpot customer, one great meeting tool is Calendly, which is free for Basic and lets you integrate your Google or Office 365 calendar. YouCanBook.me is another booking tool that goes for $7 per calendar per month.
7. Industry Disclaimer or Legal Requirements
Some industries such as legal, financial, and insurance have specific guidelines on email usage and etiquette to protect private information from being transmitted. For this reason, you may want to look into what regulations your industry has in place and include a disclaimer in your signature about email transmissions. Mail-Signatures offers a number of email disclaimer examples, including this one:
“The content of this email is confidential and intended for the recipient specified in message only. It is strictly forbidden to share any part of this message with any third party, without a written consent of the sender. If you received this message by mistake, please reply to this message and follow with its deletion, so that we can ensure such a mistake does not occur in the future.”
8. Photo or Logo
An image is a great choice to spice up your email signature. If you want a personal touch so that recipients you’ve never met can associate your name with your face, consider using a professional photo in your signature. Alternatively, you can use the company’s logo to add more brand awareness to the email.
While not as common in email signatures and certainly not required, adding your preferred pronouns to your signature is helpful, especially when emailing individuals you’ve never met. It also takes ambiguity away if you have a name perceived as gender-neutral.
Now that you know the elements you should include, what does a great email signature look like? Here are some tips for creating signatures that are helpful and professional, including a few great examples. You can also use HubSpot’s free Email Signature Generator to make your own professional email signature template and easily add it to your email client.
How to Write an Email Signature
Emphasize your name, affiliation, and secondary contact information.
Keep the colors simple and consistent.
Use design hierarchy.
Make links trackable.
Use space dividers.
Include an international prefix in your contact number.
Make your design mobile-friendly.
1. Emphasize your name, affiliation, and secondary contact information.
As you might guess, your name comes first. Closely following your name, however, should be your affiliation and where else people can reach you.
Your affiliation could mean your job title, your company, your school, or a similar organization that you deem important to your recipients. Your name should eventually be its own draw, of course, but using a more popular brand name — and even its logo — ensures you get the attention of your readers and they take your message seriously.
Secondary contact information is important, too. You might not want to endorse your personal phone number, but you could take this opportunity to promote your personal website — a passive way to open the lines of communication without flooding yourself with outreach you don’t want.
Here’s a sample email signature that hits on all three things described above nicely. Kevin’s first and last name are accompanied by his affiliation with the University of Connecticut. He also promotes his personal website so his recipients have another outlet to see his work and contact him for more information.
Want to create a signature like the one below? Use HubSpot’s Email Signature Generator.
2. Keep the colors simple and consistent.
Branding is most effective when it’s consistent — and that includes your email signature. Adding color to your email signature is a nice touch that’ll help it stand out from the rest of your email. But if you do choose to use color, be sure to stick to one or two in addition to dark text.
Use subtle highlights to match your logo or branding, like Brittany Hodak does in her email signature, below. Notice how her social media icons are the same blue hue as the ZinePak logo.
3. Use design hierarchy.
Good design is all about presenting your information in an easily digestible manner. Because your email signature is likely more a list of information than it is a compelling story, you’ll want to use hierarchy to direct readers’ eyes to what they should be reading first.
Scale your name up to a larger font so that it attracts the most attention, like you would on a resume. Then, pick and choose information to bold and color based on importance so you can help guide people’s eyes logically through the design, as in the example below.
Image Credit: Envato
4. Make links trackable.
So you put a few links in your email signature, including your CTA and your social media icons. But is anyone actually clicking on them?
To figure out whether the links in your signature are actually attracting clicks and making an impact, you’ll want to make those links trackable — just like you would any other link in your emails.
Follow these instructions to easily make a tracking link that helps you attribute traffic to your website to your email signature. From time to time, you might switch up the format of your signature or the wording inside your signature to see what drives the most clicks.
5. Use space dividers.
Although you never want to jam-pack your email signature for too much information, there are ways to fit a lot of text into a compact area like this one without compromising design.
This is helpful for breaking up different types of information, like your name and contact information, your logo, any calls-to-action you have, or even a disclaimer.
Using space dividers within your design, as in the example below, is one great way to do this. You can also use glyph dividers, which is the vertical bar symbol (i.e., |.)
6. Include an international prefix in your contact number.
If you work with people around the world, don’t forget the prefix for your country’s code when you list your contact phone number. Many people overlook this if they aren’t used to dialing international prefixes themselves, but it’s really helpful for your international colleagues and clients to have it right on there. Here’s a list of country codes if you don’t know yours.
Here’s an example from Kit Smith, formerly of Brandwatch, a company that has offices in both the United States and Europe and works with international clients. Having the U.S.’s country code on their helps make it easier for folks in other countries to reach him by phone.
7. Make your design mobile-friendly.
According to Litmus, Apple’s iMobile accounted for 46% of all email opens in June 2018. Not only that, but mobile users check their email three times more often than non-mobile users.
The more people who read email on mobile devices, the more you’ll want to keep mobile users top-of-mind when you’re writing emails — including your email signature.
One major way to make your email signature mobile-friendly is to make your signature’s design easy to read and clickable for mobile users. This is where scale becomes really important. Make sure your text is large enough to read on small mobile screens, and that your links and buttons are large enough — and spaced out enough — for folks to tap on with their fingers.
Check out the example below, and note how much space there is between different clickable elements like the social media icons. These are great for tapping with your finger on a mobile screen so that users don’t accidentally tap on the Facebook icon when they meant to go to Twitter.
Image Credit: Canva
Finally, as with any part of an email, make sure your signature looks as good as you think it does by testing it with various email clients. Microsoft Outlook doesn’t recognize background images, for example, so avoid using those. Other email clients don’t load images by default at all.
Armed with these email signature best practices, you can create your own signature that aligns with your brand and brings your emails an extra touch of professionalism.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in [Month Year] and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Original Source: blog.hubspot.com