How Can Therapy Help Small Business Owners?

Small businesses are booming even amid the pandemic. That’s mostly thanks to the movement to support more small, local enterprises. More people are also supporting black-owned and women-led businesses. These ventures continue to generate more jobs for workers even now in a time of crisis. 

 

From an outsider’s point of view, operating a business seems to offer big rewards. It’s true because owning a business does come with its perks. You get to be in full control of things; your work hours and pacing are up to you. Plus, you can hire a team who will help you achieve your goals. 

 

However, these rewards come at a cost. Especially when it is your only source of income, it can be challenging for you to keep your business up and running. Work can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing since you have to worry about not only yourself but the welfare of your employees. Unless you have a self-sufficient system in place, it’s easy to find yourself working seven days a week. 

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Yes, it’s important to pay attention to your business, especially since it is still small. However, you have to take good care of yourself as well. When you ensure your well-being, you are better placed to deal with the challenges of being a small business owner. To help you cope with the stresses of managing an enterprise, you can try consulting with a therapist. Read on to find out how therapy can help small business owners!

 

Therapy Will Help You Manage Your Work-Related Stress

 

Every job out there implies some level of stress. As a small business owner, you are even more prone to work-related stress. Many entrepreneurs consider their ventures as their babies, so they are much more invested in their jobs than regular workers. The stresses of managing a business can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It can lead to anxiety, burnout, depression, and other pressing mental health concerns. 

 

As a leader, you understandably have more things on your plate. If you’re building your business from the ground up, you may feel like you have to be hands-on with every single detail. However, taking too much work will overwhelm your body. If you are not healthy, you might not see your business flourish. So, it is essential to manage your stress as early as possible. If your normal hobbies do not alleviate your stress, therapy may help.

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A good therapist can help you gain a better understanding and perspective on your stress. They can provide you with an unbiased view of your business. With this insight, you can work together to find the major source of your stress. Knowing the source is important before finding solutions. Upon learning the root cause of stress, you can then proceed to develop coping mechanisms. With consistent sessions and transparent thoughts, you can deal with stress a lot more easily.

 

Running a small business, especially by yourself, is hard. There are always many things demanding your attention. As the owner, you may choose to be involved in multiple roles. You often have to wear multiple hats at once. Marketing, operations, accounting, and finance—these are all departments you have to involve yourself in. So, the stress can understandably pile up. But while stress is unavoidable, you can learn to manage it well. With the help of therapy, you can get the support you need to handle your work-related problems with more ease. 

 

Positive Mental Health Means Positive Feelings At Work

 

There is growing evidence that positive emotions contribute to success at work. Having positive feelings means that you are generally happy with what you do. You feel more engaged to take on different tasks and focus well on these. Goals are also clearer when you have positive emotions. You can align yourself with the right strategies to achieve these milestones. Sounds good, right? To reap these benefits, you first have to tend to your mental well-being.

 

When you opened up your small business, you also signed up to become the captain of a ship. You need to steer yourself and your crewmates to success. All the more so that you need to have positive emotions towards your work. Having a good outlook towards your job may come easy to you since you did decide on which venture to undertake. However, the challenges of sustaining a small business may catch up to you and sow seeds of negativity. 

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Therapy can help you recall why you chose to become an entrepreneur and realign your goals. Then, you may have considerably more positive emotions towards your work. Your therapist can provide you with actionable advice regarding this topic. Therapy can help with your professional and personal growth, too. So you must find a therapist with whom you can be comfortable. It’s like having a professional practitioner you can discuss your small business with. You can discuss problems and find solutions together.

 

Again, your mental well-being directly impacts the success of your small business. That also includes the lives of the people who depend on your venture for their livelihood. When your emotions are all over the place, your critical thinking skills are affected. You may not be able to make the best decisions for your business. Fortunately, therapy can help you become someone who manages your emotions well.

 

In Conclusion

 

Being a small business owner is a dream come true for many people, so if you’re already an entrepreneur, congratulations! Good job for pursuing something aligned with your passions and values. But in your pursuit of growing your business, don’t forget to tend to your physical and mental well-being. You can only reap the fruits of your hard work if you have a sound mind and a healthy body. 

 

When things get tough, remember that help is available. Don’t bottle your problems all to yourself. With therapy, you can get the support you need to see your small business succeed. Your therapist has your best interests at heart, and they will help you become a person fit to lead an enterprise. 

Why Therapy Is Crucial For LGBTQ+ Business Owners

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Building a business isn’t easy. You need to go through the eye of the needle before you even get it up and running. And it gets even more challenging to keep it stable. After all, you’re not just in charge of your business. You’re also responsible for the livelihoods and futures of your employees.

That’s almost every single entrepreneur’s story. But it gets even more difficult than it already is when you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community. From unfounded doubts to offensive insults, gender-based discrimination persists today. You may be wondering why things have to be like this. And perhaps you’re stuck thinking about what you can do to protect yourself, your business, and your employees.

Therapy can help you through this. With your therapist’s aid, you can lay out your emotions, worries, and experiences. In turn, they can guide you through the thorough process of understanding and working out these things. With your effort and their guidance, you can healthily handle these factors in your life.

Climbing Up The Mountain Of Entrepreneurship

There’s a lot of groundwork to cover when trying to start and manage a business. From securing funding to processing permits and documents, it’s always an uphill battle. However, the climb is even steeper when you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

We’ve come a long way in being open about sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE). But we’re still so far from letting those in the LGBTQ+ community life without the fear of discrimination. And often, this negatively affects LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs sometimes have a more difficult time securing capital, acquiring licenses, and hiring employees. And they even encounter issues with prospects and clients simply because of their SOGIE.

You can let this all out to your therapist. They will listen to your experiences and help you sort through your emotions regarding those things. Whatever you have to say, your therapist will be there to listen with open ears within provide a safe space. 

It may not be easy to open up. It may even be painful to relive unpleasant experiences. However, remember that your therapist will be there with you every step of the way. Their top priority is your well-being, and you can tell them when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When things get hard, remind yourself that this is for you and your health.

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Fighting Gender-Based Discrimination

As an LGBTQ+ member, you may experience untoward bias both inside and outside the business circle. You may find that every day, you face discrimination and prejudice because of your SOGIE. As if not identifying as “straight” somehow means you’ve gone wrong somewhere, even though you didn’t.

These unjust treatments can put pressure on you. On top of that, there’s the heavyweight of running a business on your shoulders. These things may take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. By talking to your therapist, you can address these factors that negatively affect your health. They can help you tackle these concerns one by one and all with your well-being in mind.

Your therapist can also help you deal with self-esteem and identity issues. After all, they’re there to help you in your journey to empower yourself. Talk about your worries and concerns, so they can guide you in processing those experiences and the emotions that come with them. Don’t be afraid to share your circumstances with your therapist because they’re there to help you feel better.

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Tackling Mental Health Conditions

The business sector and LGBTQ+ community both bear a lot of pressure. Being part of both, you’re most likely experiencing an overwhelming amount of stress. That could often lead to mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, emotional turmoil, panic attacks, anger issues, and many others.

Seeing a therapist can help you recognize and understand these concerns. They’ll discuss with you the possible causes and triggers for them. And, of course, they’ll help you process them healthily so you could move forward towards your best self.

It’s not going to be an easy step, but remember, it’s for your well-being. Again, don’t hesitate to let your therapist know if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They’ll help you move through things at the pace they think is best for your growth and healing.

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Moving Forward With Advocacy

Your therapist always has your best interest at heart. That entails helping you move forward with more control over your life and choices. They’ll guide you in developing a healthy lifestyle that works best for your job as an entrepreneur. And, of course, they’ll help you pick up healthy coping mechanisms.

But your therapist’s job doesn’t stop at helping you cope. They’re there to help you empower yourself, and that means they’ll be there with you to explore your self-advocacy. They’ll also help you learn how to communicate your thoughts and emotions to express yourself better.

This stage is crucial so that you can move toward your goals with a clearer and healthier mind. And your therapist will be there to help you equip yourself with the right coping and empowering mechanisms. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about the changes you want to happen in your life. And don’t hesitate to tell them the improvements you want to happen in the LGBTQ+ community and business sector. Their goal is to take care of your well-being. But for them to succeed, you should discuss these changes.

To Wrap Up

It’s not easy being a business owner. But it’s even more difficult when you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Aside from the pressure of managing your own business, there’s the added stress of discrimination. Talk to your therapist, so you can healthily process these things.

Your therapist will help you deal with the steep climb of being an entrepreneur. They’ll also be there to help you battle gender-based discrimination and the mental health conditions they may cause. Your therapist will do all this with your well-being in mind. They’ll be there to guide you to take a step forward while feeling empowered and being aware of your advocacies.

It won’t be an easy journey, especially since there’s still a lot that needs to change in our society. But your therapist will be there with you the entire way. And remember, this is all for you.

Why Business Owners Need Business Counseling

Why do we need business counseling and who needs it? Read on to find out more.

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I used to work as a marketing specialist in a multinational company in San Francisco. It was a typical 9-to-5 job that required me to meet various people who wanted to avail of our nutritious yogurt products a few times a day. Then, as soon as the clock ticks five o’clock, I would be out of the building with the rest of my team.

Now, despite my hardworking skill, I could not ever be on the same level as the people who make our products possible. That is especially true for those who work in the manufacturing side of the business, i.e., factory workers, plant managers, chemists, engineers, etc. Since the factory was running 24/7, it was common for them to work for 12 hours every shift.

Of course, everyone was well-compensated in the company, so we would not hear anyone complaining. However, there could be times when people could feel mentally exhausted due to the amount of work that they needed to get done every day. To ensure the employees’ mental stability, the company gave everyone – including us – access to multiple counselors with whom they could talk anytime.

I admire that a lot about the company. The bosses were conscious of what their employees might need, you see. Not all companies were like that, and I would know because I worked with a few before coming here. The only thing that I found odd with the setup was that business counseling was not provided to the higher-ups.

In truth, I learned about it through my coworkers when they were gossiping about how one of the executives had a long-standing untreated depression. It only became known when she tried to commit suicide by jumping off the building the other night. Luckily, one of the janitors went to the rooftop and managed to talk her out of it. It was a major hush-hush within the company, but everyone was still aware of it.

Horrified, I asked how it came to that point. That’s when my colleague whispered that it’s because they were not talking to counselors like the rest of us. For some reason, the bosses might have assumed that the executives were invincible physically and mentally, which was not always true. They were also humans who could be vulnerable to stress.

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Moving On To A Different Pasture

I only stayed in the yogurt company for a couple more years. I left not because of the lack of mental help for the higher-ups but because I had wanted to start my own coffee company for a few years now. I finally had enough money to buy land where I could grow and harvest coffee beans. I could even roast and pack them in the same property.

The hiring process was long and tedious, I must admit. Aside from finding people who loved coffee, they had to know more about it to become an asset to my company. As soon as the job positions were filled, I went on to hire three new counselors. They would serve as HR personnel and mental health advisers to everyone, including the other executives and me. I even went above and beyond and decided to make a business counseling visit mandatory for all.

Reactions, Reactions

My decision was met more waves than I imagined, especially when I told my other friends in the industry about it. They had been handling more businesses than me, but they never thought of giving their employees 30 minutes to talk with a counselor every week. The strongest opposition I heard was, “That’s preposterous! You will be paying both the counselor and the worker to chitchat!”

Others were mainly concerned about the possibility that my employees might think of me as a weak person for welcoming business counseling in the company. Some even voiced out, “You lead a chill life. What do you need it for?”

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Did their words offend me? No – not one bit. I was honestly more surprised than offended by such comments. I had no idea that the stigma around mental health was still at large up to this point. I thought it already went away, and we managed to move past that as a society years ago. However, judging by how many of my friends judged my decision in front of me, it was clearly not the case.

So, I schooled them. I told my former boss, who had depression but did not have access to mental help. I saw a few of them grip the sides of their seats as I informed them of that person’s suicide attempt, which could have been prevented if the CEO thought of extending mental help to everyone.

“You are all correct — I am okay right now; there is nothing wrong with me for now. But who can guarantee that it will still be the same tomorrow or the day after that? I have a startup company that has barely kicked off the ground; the stressors are yet to come! So, how can you tell me that hiring counselors to give my employees and me regular business counseling is an awful choice?” I uttered before walking out.

Focusing On What’s Important

Although I held no grudge against my friends, I decided not to talk to them for a while. I wanted to focus on my business; I did not need their negative thoughts to affect me. That’s especially true when the business counseling benefits that my company offered were paying off. Everyone was happy and motivated, so it did not a surprise that the launch of our coffee products turned out to be successful.

Then, one day, my friends went to my house. I braced myself for whatever crazy idea they might spew regarding my company decisions. But to my surprise, they all sang praises about my regular business counseling idea.

One of them said, “We’ve spoken to some of your employees, and we heard about how happy and consistent everyone is at your company. It’s never like that in ours. Can you recommend counselors to us?”

I let out a breath of relief before ushering them to the dining room to talk about my counseling experience over dinner.

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Make Life Dreams Come True

“Make life dreams come true,” my dad said. But I realized its importance after quite some time. Now I know that to make life dreams come true, patience and sacrifice are key. I wish you, too, could make life dreams come true.

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I used to hang out with the wrong kind of teenagers. You know, they were the ones you would see at the back of a building, bullying someone. If they were not doing that, they were either drinking at the park or finding a way to steal items from stores.

That part of my life started during middle school. I was tired of being on the receiving end of bullying, so I decided to join the bullies. All I had in mind back then was that befriending those kids would stop the humiliation that I experienced in other people’s hands for years. I did not account for the fact that I had to become one of them if I did not want to get kicked out of the group.

How did you make life dreams come true?

I began drinking at the age of 15. I could still recall the first time that I got drunk with my newfound friends. One of them had a fake ID and used it to buy a big bottle of whiskey at the convenience store. When I saw what’s in his brown paper bag, I initially tried to refuse because no one drank alcoholic beverages in the family, and I did not want to get caught by my mom. However, they said that they wouldn’t talk to me again if I said no, so I had no choice but to do it.

I hated the taste of alcohol every time, but I kept drinking when they told me to keep drinking. I just learned to pack a toothbrush and used it before going home so that no one in the house would know what I was up to.

Turning Point

So when did I realize I had to make life dreams come true?

The turning point in my life happened on my 18th birthday. My friends called me to say that they had a surprise for me. Of course, I was excited, so I went to the mall as instructed. When I arrived, they told me to pick three items that I wanted, and they would get them as my presents. I chose a bag, a belt, and a pair of pants. My friends even made me try them on to make sure that they were the correct sizes.

But when we were on our way to the cashier, they veered to the left and went straight to the exit — with the unpaid items. I watched in horror as the alarms by the door went off, signaling that someone just tried to get out without paying for something first.

My friends got apprehended at once. I thought I was already saved, but then one of them pointed at me. Another pair of guards appeared behind me and directed me to their office.

Our leader told us not to admit to anything once the manager left us alone to contact the police. The others agreed readily, but I did not answer because that’s not what I wanted to do. Even if I did not plan that shoplifting, I was still an accessory to the crime, and I was so guilty about it. Besides, I felt the need to get out of the group before they could ruin my life. My family would undoubtedly know about my wrongdoings anyway, so there was no other way out. When the police came and informed us that the mall administration wanted to press charges and prosecuted as adults, I pled guilty.

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My so-called friends bore holes at me with their dagger stares, but it was okay with me. I knew it would happen because I broke the pact. I stood by my guilty plea even in front of the Judge and was ready to go to prison. Of course l, I was sad that I would have a criminal record and that I could stay in jail for two to five years, but again, I had no other choice.

I was already spacing out as I assumed the Judge was about the adjourn the hearing when I heard my mom gasp and cry loudly behind Me. Then, my lawyer grasped my hand to congratulate me, increasing my confusion.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

The lawyer smiled at me. “The Judge practically wants to give you a second shot in life. He saw your sincerity when you admitted your mistakes. Instead of giving you jail time, you only need to do community service and promise to attend counseling sessions.”

I honestly could not believe it. I was so sure that I had to delay all my plans for my life to repent for my since in prison, but I would not have to do that anymore. I could not stop thanking the Judge for letting me get away with a lighter punishment. Out of glee, I vowed to meet him again in the future as a better man.

Getting Counseling

The first thing I did was work with the counselor that the law enforcement provided. I had no idea what it was initially, but the mental health professional allowed me to see that I got sucked into that dark side of life due to my insecurities. He helped me work through as many of them as possible and let the Judge know in the end that I was already good to go.

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Since my parents were still upset about the pain and humiliation I caused them, they refused to pay for my college tuition. I understood them, so I asked the counselor if I could do any work at his office. From being a part-time janitor, I became his part-time assistant for two years.

When I had the chance to go to college, I decided to study psychology. It felt so right to do that; it was a dream that I never knew I had.

12 Years Later

I found myself standing in front of the same Judge who gave me a life-changing verdict 12 years ago. This time, though, I was already a 30-year-old man with a Ph.D. in psychology and a certification in counseling. More importantly, I came as a friend, not as a defendant.

I saw how the Judge’s eyes widened when he recognized me. Then, his surprised look turned into something that resembled pride and admiration.

“Sorry it took so long before I could fulfill my promise, sir,” I said, grinning.

“No, you are just right on time,” the Judge replied. “What are you doing with your life now?”

“Well, I just passed my licensure exams. I’m a licensed psychologist and certified counselor now. To thank you for all you did for me, I’d love to offer my services to juvenile defendants.”

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The Judge shook my hand firmly. “Say no more, child. You’re hired!” he announced.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asking For A Job Counselor’s Help

I had always wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and become a businesswoman. Mom kept this childhood album filled with my pictures, and many of them were of me standing beside my lemonade stand, selling Girl’s Scout cookies, and basically learning how to hustle.

However, before I graduated from college, I dealt with mild anxiety. Around that time, my mother’s business was not going too well due to the Great Depression. She still wanted to give me the capital for the café that I wanted to put up, but I felt the need to decline her offer because her business needed it more than I did. Instead, I looked for a job and became a junior marketing executive.

The Great Depression ebbed away months after that, and Mom’s business picked up. Again, she offered money to help me start my dream business. Still, I didn’t accept it because I saw potential in gaining experience in the marketing agency before opening my café and other future businesses.

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Five years later, I was already a senior marketing executive. I had twice the amount that my mother initially offered for my business startup; I also got enough knowledge and experience to make sure it would click. The only problem was that I was scared of it becoming an awful decision I would ever make. After all, businesses came with lots of risks, including losing my 401k and medical benefits.

Unsure of my next steps, I consulted a job counselor.

What does a job counselor do? 

  • Improve an individual’s self-confidence
  • Help a person gain clarity about their careers or possibly new endeavors
  • Encourage individuals to use or develop their skills

What is job Counselling? 

 Job counseling is a form of counseling that people receive when unsure which career path to take.

Do career counselors work? 

 Yes, career counselors manage to help their clients. Still, their effectiveness depends on the clients’ willingness to follow their advice.

How can I get free career counseling? 

 Colleges and universities typically offer free career counseling to graduating students. Otherwise, you may look for free career tests online.

How do I decide on a career? 

  • Assess your skills and education.
  • Create a list of jobs that will fit your skills.
  • Decide on which jobs you want to try more than anything.
  • Gather information through friends, colleagues, and family.
  • Make a choice and identify your reasons for choosing that particular career.
  • Figure out how you can have that career by creating an actionable plan.

What do career counselors look for? 

  • Personality type
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Possibility of furthering your skills and education

Who needs career counseling? 

 Career counseling is ideal for everyone, irrespective of how many years of professional experience you have.

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How do I find a career I love? 

  • One of the first ways to find a career you love is by taking various aptitude tests to figure out your skills and strengths. You may see the suggested trades at the end of every test. Although they are not always 100% correct, knowing a field you will most likely excel at is nice.
  • It is not wrong to jump from one job to another during the first few years. That is better than sticking to a position that does not make you happy.
  • What are you most curious about? Curiosity does not kill the cat all the time – it can lead you towards the best career, too. Follow your interest and see what happens.

How do I prepare for a career coaching session? 

 Before your career coaching session begins, you need to fix your mindset and believe that your career will succeed after all the coaching you’ll get. Though it’s still 50:50, thinking that it will happen may put the odds in your favor.

In case you expect the session to be effective overnight, try again. Career coaching is not like a drug that can take effect after a few hours, regardless of your activities. Its effectiveness depends on your efforts to make it happen. The more you listen to your coach, the faster your life can change.

You should also make peace because honesty is and will always be the best policy – even in career coaching. There is no point in hiding your weaknesses to the coach, considering you are paying them to help you overcome those.

Furthermore, keep in mind that you have signed up for the session because of specific goals. Try not to forget these goals, especially when the situation seems challenging and want to give up.

What questions do career counselors ask? 

  • How are your leadership skills?
  • Can you work independently? How do you fare in a group setting?
  • What roles have you taken on in your previous jobs?
  • What have you learned from your previous jobs?
  • What is the best learning method for you?

What happens in a coaching session? 

 During the first session, the coach may ask you to fill out a questionnaire. Their goal is to assess what aspects of your life you wish to change and what things may be preventing you from doing that. Though the coach expects you to answer the questions truthfully, it’s okay if you can’t answer all of them at once. That’s what coaches are for – they are supposed to help you gain clarity on your goals.

You can also expect your new coach to try various techniques to make it easier for you to make the much-needed change happen. Every session can only take up to 45 minutes, but you may want to free up an hour or so before and after the session so that you can process everything.

How do I prepare for my first coaching session?

When your first coaching session looms, you should prepare by doing the following:

  • Charge your devices, make sure your internet connection is stable and fast, and update your Skype app early or whichever application you will use for the session.
  • Plan about how you will coach people and what your topic(s) should be. It is irresponsible to talk on top of your head because you will most likely forget vital ideas by doing that. Jot down your plan in a notebook if you must.
  • Give your clients time to reflect on everything you have talked about. They may not absorb it all at once, so they should get a few days before the next session begins.
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Final Thoughts

After a few counseling sessions, I asked my bosses if I could do half of my job from home to put up my dream business finally. As I was laying out my plan, I still worried that they would say, “Heck no!” To my surprise, they were more excited about my new venture than I imagined. As long as I could do all my tasks on time and attend conference meetings, they would let me whatever I wanted. Thus, on June 6, 2014, Sweet Cups came to life and served every coffee lover in Upper Manhattan 24/7.

How Import/Export Entrepreneurs Safeguard Their Mental Health

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I had been in the import/export business for a few years now. It started when I saw how much my best friend earned from exporting clothes and toys from China and selling everything on Amazon. She already had an excellent job with an even better salary, but she became more well-off because of that. So, I asked how she did it and connected me to her suppliers. A week later, I was already waiting for the shipment of tiles and other construction materials that I wanted to sell in town.

My experience with this kind of business was pretty smooth, considering I was a new entrepreneur. It was all thanks to my best friend, who showed me the ropes immediately. She did not have a mentor when she started, so she incurred some losses and almost had a mental breakdown.

Here are some tips to safeguard your mental health when you become an import/export entrepreneur.

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Find Out All The Fees From The Beginning

The first thing you need to learn about the import/export business is that it requires you to pay more fees than when you have a local business. After all, if you are the manufacturer, you have workers, machinery, and facilities to spend every month. If you have a supplier, they will undoubtedly add interest to their rates, regardless if they claim to offer the lowest prices. Advertising your business and setting up a website for it is not free of charge either. More importantly, the shipping rates increase depending on the distance between you and your clients and the products’ size and weight.

Now, not every fee may be disclosed to you, primarily if you deal with “wise” people who will try to milk as much money out of you as possible. They tend to mention an amount to make you feel like you have found an incredible price; however, upon checking out, you realize that tax is not a part of that rate, so you also need to pay for that.

The key is to ask suppliers about all their fees after-tax deliberately. That will make it easier for you to determine if you are genuinely getting an excellent deal or if someone wants to rip you off. 

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Avoid Sticking To A Single Product Or Source Of Products

One mistake that rookie importers make is that they only focus on one type of goods or buy products from a single source. Some assume that it is a wise move, considering they can save on shipping fees since everything comes from one manufacturer. Others aim to get the items at a wholesale price; that’s why they buy the same products in bulk.

The problem with placing bulk orders is that the goods may get spoiled in some way. After all, it is not only foods that have an expiration date – if you try to sell a product today, and an upgraded version of it comes out tomorrow, your items on-hand will technically be a thing of the past a day after that.

As for sticking to a single source of products, there will be times when your supplier cannot provide your orders. It is not always their fault, considering awful weather can delay shipments, and power outages can slow down the production process. Thus, you should have two or more backup suppliers to avoid issues with your clients. 

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Strike A Deal With Trustworthy Clients

Furthermore, entrepreneurs need to be a little pessimistic, mainly when you are exporting goods. Though it sounds awful, you cannot trust that someone will genuinely want to order thousands of pieces of your goods until they wire transfer the full amount to your bank account. Many newbies have been too eager to please their clients, so they agree to the order-now-pay-later scheme. In the end, some people back out even when the products are ready, causing the entrepreneurs to go bankrupt.

If you are wary of striking a deal with folks that you have never seen in your life, there are a couple of options for you. The first one is to sign up for Alibaba US or similar websites. This is where you can upload product details and photos for all the buyers to see. When someone takes an interest in your goods, you can safely communicate through their app and conduct the transaction.

As mentioned above, you may ask your potential customer to pay first before sending the products to them. It is possible to let them pay you half upfront if they want some leverage, too, but any amount below that may put you in a sticky situation.

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Final Thoughts

Importing and exporting goods is a great way to generate income. You can practically find clients everywhere, call your suppliers for orders, and wait for the products to arrive at your doorstep. However, you need to make sure that you know the ins and outs of this industry and only transact with trustworthy folks. Otherwise, your efforts – and money – will go to waste.

 

Efforts That Our Family Made To Keep Dad’s Business From Sinking

As a professional writer, I had never been of much help to my father’s restaurant. I took a part-time job there for a few years while studying, yes, but that’s all. Dad did not mind that, considering he knew that my heart was elsewhere.

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Source: pexels.com

Nevertheless, when I overheard my parents talking about possibly closing the restaurant after a year, I couldn’t help but ask why loudly. Though Mom helped out there a lot, it was Dad’s bread and butter. He would not think of letting it go for no reason.

Then, they explained that the business was no longer attracting new customers. “They patronize new restaurants now. They don’t want to be in our diner.”

Although I was not a business expert, I knew that Dad’s diner won’t sink once we:

Revamp The Restaurant

The first thing on our list was to revamp the shop. Ever since its opening in 2000, its aesthetics had never been updated. It would have been passable if it was supposed to have a rustic vibe, but that’s not the case. It merely screams outdated, which is perhaps keeping even the local customers from coming into the restaurant.

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Source: pexels.com

I asked my father to close the diner for an entire week. He did not want to, but it was necessary to get the renovations done quickly. Besides, it would be cool to keep the new design a mystery to people.

With the windows blocked, the workers started removing the vinyl tiles and replacing them with cool porcelain ones. We also had the couches reupholstered on-site and repainted the walls, tables, and the massive bar. Then, we changed the pendant lamps with modern styles.

When I brought Dad to his diner after the renovations, he almost did not recognize it. After all, his once-outmoded restaurant looked chic and stylish all of a sudden. Before I could even say it, he uttered, “I can already imagine how many millennials we can attract aside from the usual middle-aged folks!”  

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Source: pexels.com

Review And Improve The Products

While the renovation was going on, I split my time between that and reviewing everything on the menu with the entire family. Since my father knew his customers best, I told him to underline every dish that had been ordered the most in the last few years. Then, I asked him to be honest and encircle the ones with the least favorable reviews.

After some deliberation, Dad said that his cheesecakes and pasta needed some improvement. Hence, I invited my best friend, who happens to be a chef, to come over and teach my father how he could achieve that. It only took him two days to perfect those dishes and was already eager to present them to his diners.

Update Business Website

Despite my father’s outdated establishment, he had a web developer create a website for him and fill it with information about the restaurant. However, when this person went away three years ago, Dad did not have time to look for someone else to fill in the position. It meant that the site went from page two to page 22 of the search results without my father realizing it.

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Source: pexels.com

 When I learned about the website, I immediately checked it out and consulted another friend of mine to see how we could revive it. Their suggestion was to alter the photos, reword the texts, and perhaps add blogs with SEO in mind.

I went to work at once and told Dad to cook his best dishes at home so that we could do food photography. Since it wasn’t my cup of tea, I hired a professional to do it, and the end products would undoubtedly make your mouth water. After that, I took a crash course in search engine optimization before changing the texts, writing blogs, and uploading the new images.

The more we updated the website, the more it started ranking high whenever we typed related keywords in the browser’s search box.

Create Social Media Pages

One thing that my father never knew his business needed was social media presence. He thought that having a website was enough to entice potential customers to visit the restaurant. It might have been true in the early 2000s but not anymore. Most people would use social media to see if any of their friends went to this place and learn their opinions about it.

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Source: pexels.com

Therefore, I dedicated an entire Wednesday to create business pages for Dad’s diner on Facebook and Instagram. I used the same pictures that were previously taken and turned them into ads for marketing purposes. I also decided to create Yelp! And Trip Advisor accounts and asked the regular customers to write their reviews regarding the business.

Final Thoughts

Our efforts to keep the restaurant from sinking paid off well. Folks waited in line to get inside once we revealed its new look. To my father’s delight, his improved dishes received glowing feedback, too. The turnout was undoubtedly better than expected, and it’s now one of the must-visit local businesses in the state.

 

The Importance Of A Strong Brand In Pandemic Times And Always

 

 Source: goodfreephotos.com

 

Apart from just being a notable logo, great branding improves a company’s value, offers employees a chance to be motivated, and it helps to get new clients more comfortable. Right now, as we face a viral pandemic that we never saw coming, strong branding has never been more critical, particularly since most consumers are more focused on what they see online, which means that the appearance of the brand and how it is advertised tremendously influences their choices. So what is branding exactly? It is everything.

 

What is a brand?

It is actually a representation of everyone’s perception of a company’s performance, advertising, reputation, service, and logo. When all of these are harmoniously working together, you can say that a company’s brand is generally healthy. Let’s go right at it and respond to this big question: why is branding essential?

 

It creates trust. 

Normally, consumers would most likely buy from a shop that looks neat, classy, and legit. Families, on the other hand, are more comfortable leaving their babies in a credible childcare facility. Similarly, businesses with freshly created business cards, t-shirts, and other images are more convincing to consumers. People who pass by the shop or see them online can conveniently identify the company as a trusted business that is good for the family and the community as well. When they go to the website, and they are able to get their answers from an online customer service agent, or simply by searching through the site, they can easily relate to the brand and will depend on it.

 

Source: ybierling.com

 

It supports marketing. 

Advertisements are another essential component in branding. Logos added to packaging, clothes, and printed material to market the business help spread the word and stand out from the rest. Some companies that cater to adults and children also print their logos on loot bags and other stuff related to parties, offering a favorable impression to parents and kids that go to birthday celebrations and other events.

 

It enhances recognition.

A logo is one of the significant parts of a brand because it is what consumers immediately see. A logo design should be simple enough to be unforgettable but strong enough to convey the company’s desired goal. Many online businesses have emerged in the wake of COVID-19. The competition mostly lies in the uniqueness of their logo and how well they conveyed its meaning to the consumers.

 

It strengthens financial value.

Businesses who engage in the stock exchange and public trading have a much higher value compared to their actual assets. Much of this value is because of the branding of the business. Indeed, a credible and robust brand almost always assures future business. Regardless of whether a company is transforming into an IPO or just borrowing money when it is seen as having a higher value, it is beneficial for the business owner. The more effort a company does to strengthening its brand, the bigger the financial returns. It is well-placed for any future expansions.

 

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It engages its employees.

A lot of employees not only want to work, but they also want to have something to work on. When they have knowledge and understanding of a company’s mission and vision, they are more engaged to work towards achieving the company’s goals that the company owners have set. When you have a company that boasts of a strong brand, it can motivate not only the owner but also the employees to make good and work hard for the success of the company. It instills inspiration and passion.

 

It brings in new clients.

Word of mouth is a powerful means of helping businesses bring in more clients. When the company logo is unique and memorable, people will remember it and talk about it with their friends, which is what generates almost half of the customers in a business. The most successful companies, whether big or small, have one thing in common. They have proven themselves to be leaders in their specific niche by creating a strong brand, which ultimately started with a strong logo.

 

 

Surviving The Pandemic As A Small Business Owner

 

Source: bbc.com

 

Undoubtedly, small business owners are hit the hardest from this current global crisis. Those with large-sized businesses have an edge when it comes to survival. Small businesses, on the other hand, thrive only with a cash flow good for three months the most, so when a pandemic like this happens, it affects not only the small-time entrepreneurs but also includes the employees that work for them. Are you a small business owner? How can you survive through the pandemic? The answers are not easy, but below are some points to consider and plan for the next three months.

Take advantage of the resources offered by the government and from financial institutions. 

Governments worldwide are obliged to help its people, and for small business owners, they are doing this through initiatives that can help them thrive and survive day by day. Be updated with how your government can assist you in cutting costs. Other institutions, including banks and credit unions, also have a social obligation. If you are a member of several markets, you can seek support options in those markets. For instance, find information about this from the US government while communicating and seeking resources from a market you’re a part of in the neighboring countries.

 

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Create a 3-month plan for your business and your finances

Almost all small business owners have similar expenses, like shop rental, utility bills, and employees’ wages, among others. Talk to suppliers, or loaners, or whomever you need to pay for the coming three months and see what you can do to spread out the expenses. Most likely, options are already set up, or perhaps there will be an understanding between both parties, as they are also eager to keep your business. You should be vigilant in deciding which payment plans are suitable and appropriate for your business.

Also, you might want to check your finances. Talk to a close friend or confidant about helping you find ways to control your spending and maximize what you have for the next three months. What expenses need to be paid within three months, and what are those that are not very urgent? Are you using business money to support your family, the elderly, and others? You should be able to have a transparent conversation with your institutions regarding short and long-term goals for the business.

Seek feasible and better opportunities

It’s not bad to put some capital on events, but this is also an eye-opener for those that are contemplating how their business is doing. Will your business plan survive the pandemic? How will your customers adjust moving forward? Digitalization is very important nowadays, and you can use it for advertising your products.

 

Source: myventurepad.com

 

Do not be too anxious.

All of us get worried when money almost runs out, but keep in mind that you must care for yourself and avoid getting too anxious, as this will do you more harm than good. When you’re stressed and filled with anxiety, you lose your appetite, and you forget to do healthy practices. Continue to eat the right food, get enough sleep, and find ways that you can relax. Show your employees that you can handle yourself and that you are capable of resolving problems that concern the business as well. Your staff will get their strength from you.

Keep a positive mindset – you will need it to be able to think soundly and focus on finding solutions and ideas that will help the business adapt to the current situation. If necessary, step back and reevaluate, seeking advice from people that you trust. Be hopeful. There will be better days.

 

 

 

Sex Slaves – We Will Help You Heal

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I had to be a part of the 2019 Ethics Conference, which discussed Human Trafficking. I did not want to go, but my boss, who is also my mother, told me that we needed a specialist (and that would be me) to know more about the mental health issues and effects surrounding people who have been victims of human trafficking. And so, the good girl that I am, I attended the Ethics Conference.

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