Science Says: The Most Surefire Method for Producing Brilliant Marketing Ideas

Stephanie Peterson | 421 Comments

Science Says: The Most Surefire Method for Producing Brilliant Ideas

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Do you find yourself running low on ideas for new product designs, marketing strategies, website content?

Do you scramble to come up with each “new thing,” worried that your well is running dry with each one?

Good news! It’s not. Really.

But you just might be doing something to hinder your ideation process right now. (It’s kind of a delicate flower, you know? But more on that in a moment.)

It’s normal to think that ideas, or “insights,” come to us only when the stars align. That there’s no consistency to it; it’s never a repeatable event. But if you’re like most people, you’re wrong.

To quote an academic paper by neuroscientist Dr. Mark Beeman, published in 2009 by Current Directions in Psychological Science….

5 PayPal Alternatives for Small Online Businesses

Stephanie Peterson | 411 Comments

PayPal Alternatives for Small Online Businesses

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Fed up with PayPal?

You’re not alone.

PayPal has gathered a lot of hate from the small business community in the last several years.

Of course, the majority of PayPal users don’t run into serious problems. (With the exception of one very irritating phone call, I’ve never been affected myself.)

But the things PayPal has been accused of by other loyal customers is disconcerting enough– randomly freezing accounts, holding money hostage, providing extremely difficult customer service, even advising one merchant’s buyer to destroy a $2,500 antique violin

One thing that might help you breathe at least a little bit easier despite all this controversy is that PayPal has claimed to be fixing these issues as of late.

Sure, that does provide me with some solace because, fact is, a lot of customers prefer to pay with PayPal. And I feel I’ll always need to use them in some regard. (They’re simply too much of a giant to avoid. Which is, ironically, also what makes them so dangerous.)

But all in all, I’ve been taking great care not to keep all of my eggs in the PayPal basket.

And if you feel the same way as I do, I hope you’ll find my recommendations for alternatives to be a helpful guide in your search….

Get More Done in a Day (5 Quirky Ideas You Haven’t Heard Of)

Stephanie Peterson | 366 Comments

Get More Done in a Day

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Frustrated by how long it takes to accomplish things? I’ve personally had such a struggle with this, defaulting daily to that miserable cycle of stress and disappointment.

I have gotten better over the years! That is, in changing the way I work to be more efficient, and in accepting that even trivial tasks can take time. But I’m always interested in new productivity strategies for knocking out more to-dos in a day.

Unfortunately, most of the advice out there is just the same stuff parroted over and over.

(Most recently, everybody’s been echoing the study about ambient noise improving creative work. You should absolutely try it out if you haven’t already, but I won’t add to the repetition any more than that!)

If you’re with me on wanting to be more productive– but sick of reading the same advice again and again– you’re going to love the following list of quirky little tricks I’ve put together for you today!

Of course, different things work for different people, so it’s always a matter of experimentation. But you never know what small thing might turn out to make a world of difference….

5 Things Every Online Business Owner Must
Know How to Do With Code

Stephanie Peterson | 395 Comments

5 Things Every Online Business Owner Must Know How to Do with Code

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Not long ago, President Obama expressed that computer language courses should become a requirement in American public schools, striking up a debate about whether or not everybody– young and old– ought to be learning how to code these days.

As business owners, our work-lives call for us to be resourceful and self-sufficient well beyond most conventional jobs, so naturally you might be worried that lacking these skills could handicap your business, or worse, send you falling behind the times.

But truth be told, the way I see this playing out is much less dramatic.

Not everyone has the personality to enjoy or excel at coding– just like not everyone is cut out to be a biologist or creative writer, despite these subjects being required learning in schools. So if you’re a busy entrepreneur with no genuine interest in computer languages, you have my permission to cut yourself some slack!

Only those with a real passion for code will completely master it, whereas beginner-to-intermediate level web and app development can be easily and inexpensively hired out (if not purchased in the form of existing software, apps, themes, and plugins), freeing you up to focus on the work that’s truly most valuable for you to be doing.

Rather than invest a major amount of time into learning how to code, my personal suggestion would be to opt for basic familiarity instead. Because just a few well-chosen nuggets of technological wisdom can go a long, long way when you have a website or blog to tend to….

Someone Will Probably Try to Steal Your Idea. Here’s What You Need to Know

Stephanie Peterson | 420 Comments

Someone Will Probably Try to Steal Your Idea. Here's What You Need to Know
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Copyright (or “intellectual property”) law here in the US is an odd thing. It’s unfair, easily. But then, complete fairness is far too subjective, ambiguous, and expensive to achieve on a grand scale, so the best we’ve got to work with are some hard-and-fast rules.

Fact is, if you have a truly great idea, someone is bound to want to steal it.

Sometimes the culprit is just blindly naive about the whole thing. In this category, I’d place anyone who sees your design as just another DIY challenge on the internet, or the type of blogger who creates “knockoff” tutorials to recreate others’ products. Often, these bloggers and their readers have Etsy shops of their own, where these copied items end up.

Other times said person is knowingly and deceptively trying to channel your work’s success into their own pocket (these are the ones we really, really hate, of course).

In 2011, Urban Outfitters was said to have ripped off an Etsy seller’s bestselling jewelry design. In her rage, the artisan wrote a Tumblr post showing the sameness of the necklaces. It soon went viral and set the handmade community abuzz with fighting words for big retailers like UO. But the Etsy seller never did take legal action, and Urban Outfitters went on selling the item… here’s some reasons why….