Ironically, graduating college made me fall in love with learning again. I like to think of the phrase “learning something new everyday” tactically. The world is now my school and I’m loving every minute of it.
With that being said, I am so thankful that I work for a company who puts continued education and interdependence first. I recently completed the Complete Digital Marketing Course on Udemy and would highly recommend it to anyone who is passionate about staying up-to-date on digital marketing trends.
I’ve always embraced having my own opinions about every persona across the U.S. & abroad (despite some backlash) and traveling alone is something I cannot wait to experience one day!
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
With that being said, this blog post by Izabella Zaydenburg, has been such a blessing in my life!
As I write this, I’m dangerously in the throes of wanderlust.
I say “dangerously,” because it’s the first of the month tomorrow and my rent is due within 24 hours. The only kind of travel I can afford is on Pinterest boards and in magazines.
Yet, I’m dying to travel. I live for long flights, meeting new people and trying as much new food as I can shovel into my mouth. I’m also all about doing it alone.
Adventuring alone, especially as a woman, gets a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain parts in the world I wouldn’t recommend traveling to solo, regardless of your gender. However, the amount of negative media surrounding solo female travelers is enough to put me off leaving town ever again.
According to the first “Taken” movie, every cute guy with an accent is out to get us, right? Not quite. In fact, there are tons of places in the world that are safe for solo ladies.
Going on an adventure with just your own two feet to keep you company is just as fun as going in a big group. Renew your passports, ladies, because it’s time to book some flights.
If you want to party, head to Phuket, Thailand.
Hard partiers might tell you Ibiza is the place to go for a good time. Unless you want Justin Bieber-level crowds, your best bet is a place that’s just as known for its relaxation as it is for its party scene: Phuket.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, home to five-star resorts, stunning beaches and, of course, an unrivaled party scene. Go bar-hopping with friends you make earlier in the day, or make new ones at one of the many clubs.
Also, don’t forget to try the street food. Your life will change.
If you’re looking to splash out, try Reykjavik, Iceland.
One of the scariest things about traveling alone is not being able to communicate with any of the locals. Plus, my awkward inner voice is terrified of insulting the locals because I’m not fluent in the native tongue. Iceland, thankfully, eases all those fears.
On top of being absolutely beautiful, most Icelandic residents speaks near-fluent English. If you’re not much of a nightlife junkie, Reykjavik (and all of Iceland, really) boasts hundreds of day tours paying homage to the majestic landscape of the country.
Crime is practically nonexistent here. Hear that, America?
The one caveat? Iceland is f*cking expensive. Your dining options range from “fancy as hell” to “three Michelin stars.” All those cool Nordic spa treatments will run you a pretty penny, too. What did you expect from the fourth most expensive country in the world?
If you’re looking for an adventure, New Zealand is your best bet.
For ladies who want to create their own “Lord of the Rings” epic, New Zealand is the place to do it. The variety in landscape — from volcanoes, to beaches and hills — makes it easy for even the pickiest female backpacker to find her happy place.
No need to splurge on a five-star resort here. The country has tons of hostels, which are perfect for meeting fellow solo travelers. You also don’t really need a car to get around, either. New Zealand is built for backpackers and even has devoted bus routes for the ultra-adventurous.
The only problem? Getting there. If you’re traveling from the US, it’s whole day’s worth of flying.
If you’re craving yoga time, hop a flight to Costa Rica.
If you’re uninspired by your local studio and want your sun salutation to actually have the sun as a backdrop, drop by Costa Rica.
This tropical paradise has a great mix of activities, regardless of what you’re in the mood for. Head to the beach, the jungle or the bustling city life of San Jose.
Plus, Costa Rica is equipped for tourists (even the ones traveling solo). You’re likely to meet other fellow yoga junkies at one of the many retreats in this Central American country, or other beach bums on their way to a bit of R&R.
If you want to find yourself, get your “eat, pray, love” on in Bali, Indonesia.
The best part about traveling to Bali isn’t the beautiful temples, awesome beaches and more yoga than you know what to do with — it’s the inexpensiveness. For real, you can get a beer for less than two bucks, a bottle of wine for around $12 and an apartment for around $170 a month.
BRB, moving there immediately.
But, really, there’s a reason virtually every girl getaway I plan mysteriously segues into a conversation about how much I want to go to Bali. It’s full of young backpackers and there are plenty of resorts, if you want to go the expensive route.
Stockholm, Sweden is perfect if you’re thirsty for style.
Ask any true fashionista, and she’ll tell you Sweden has hands-down the best street style of any country. There’s a reason so many models are from here: The country is filled with beautiful people and even prettier fashion.
Even if you’re not much of a street style guru, Stockholm boasts stunning architecture, excellent food (ever tried gravlax?) and was named one of the top 5 happiest places on Earth in the World Happiness Report.
Additionally, most people here speak English, which makes befriending locals way easy. Like most of Scandinavia, it’s one of the safest places in the world, so no need to always be looking over your shoulder.
Written by Chrissy Scivicque
Networking.The word alone strikes fear in the hearts of many.
It’s so awkward and uncomfortable! It’s so inauthentic! It’s just so…so…exhausting.
That’s why many professionals put it off. If you’re happily employed and your career is chugging right along, networking often gets put on the backburner. I see a lot of people who only start thinking about networking when they “need” something—like a new job, for example. But in order for someone to help you, they must first know, like and trust you. And that takes time!!
To help inspire you to get started networking NOW, I wanted to highlight just a few of the reasons it’s essential for career success. After all, if you aren’t convinced that it matters, you’ll never do it.
But before I jump into that, let me be clear about one thing: Networking is all about building authenticrelationships with real people. It’s not complicated. You’ve done it your whole life. Don’t turn this into something scary or awkward or uncomfortable. Networking can happen anytime, anywhere: In the grocery store, at a nightclub, online, at a volunteer event in your community, or at a local meeting of your professional association. It’s always about making a real human connection before anything else.
Okay…now on to the reasons!
The Hidden (Informal) Job Market
Networking gives you access to the hidden or informal job market, which is a helpful tool even if you aren’t actively job searching.
Allow me to explain this a little more. We’re all familiar with the formal job market: A company has an employment need so it creates a job description, posts an ad on the Internet, and receives a pile of resumes to fill the position.
The informal job market, however, always exists in a much more hidden fashion. Before a job is made public (and sometimes before it even exists) there are informal opportunities. Through networking, you have access to these positions that other people never even know about.
For example, a contact in your network knows a position is soon going to be available at her company because a colleague in her office is retiring. The HR department hasn’t even started recruiting for it, but your contact knows you would be a perfect match for the role. If your contact refers you for the job informally, you could end up at the front of the hiring line before there’s even an official position available.
You might not even been searching for a new gig, but let’s face it: It’s awfully nice when exciting new opportunities just fall in your lap. And if you’re a self-respecting, career-minded professional, you know that when a great career opportunity shows up, it’s worthwhile exploring—no matter how happy you are in your current role.
The 2013 Careerxroads Hiring Sources Survey shows that employee referrals are the number one way to get hired. Sure, it’s no guarantee (that same study shows that only about 1 in 10 people referred for a job were actually hired), but it still gives you a serious leg up on the competition. It’s up to you to close the deal though.
Networking also gives you access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. The people in your network will likely come from a wide variety of backgrounds, meaning they’ll offer a broad range of perspectives and possess a deep well of wisdom from which you can draw.
When you have a strong network, you have a support team—people you can turn to for guidance, advice or assistance. Together you can share best practices. You become as much a resource for them as they are for you.
In short, your network is a valuable professional asset—a resource that makes you smarter, more experienced, and more capable.
Connections = More Connections
Every person you meet has the ability to connect you to (potentially) hundreds more people. That means your professional network grows exponentially with each person you add.
A strong professional network can introduce you to potential future employers, potential clients, trusted service providers and more.
Need a new bookkeeper for your business? Turn to your network! (I just did this recently.)
Want to get a job at Google but don’t know where to start? Turn to your network! Who do you know at Google? Or who knows someone who knows someone at Google? Chances are pretty good that you’re no more than two or three degrees of separation from any company you want to be a part of.
The All-Important “Know, Like and Trust” Factor
Again, I want to stress the critically important role of the “know, like and trust” factor in all of this. The only way you’ll reap the rewards offered by your network is if the people in it truly know, like and trust you. Otherwise, it’s too risky. They won’t recommend you for a job because they don’t want to put their own reputation on the line for someone they aren’t absolutely certain about. They won’t connect you with their network because you could reflect poorly on them. And they won’t be willing to share their knowledge, offer advice or provide assistance if they don’t first like you as a person. We all already have too many demands competing for our attention—if it’s not at least minimally rewarding or enjoyable to help you, there’s no reason to bother.
So start the process of expanding your network NOW, when you don’t immediately “need” something. Deepen those relationships. Be generous and help others first. That way, if and when you need to leverage them, your professional allies will be eager to help.
Dealing With A SEO Scam? Here Are 5 Signs:
By: Mikala Morgan, Online Presence Strategist, Torapath Technologies
Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine who owns a small business was contacted via phone from an agency located in Dallas, TX, who claimed that they could “guarantee her business’s website to be ranked on the 1st page of Google in just 24 hours with a pre-packaged SEO plan.”
Sounds like a great opportunity, right?
Though this does sound like an easy, effective and quick SEO strategy to many small business owners… these standardized, overnight SEO plans are usually a complete scam.
So how do you know when a SEO agency and/or strategist is actually trustworthy or not?
Hear are 5 signs that you are most likely dealing with a SE-NO!
1. 100% Guaranteed First-Page Rankings on Google.
This is normally one of the very first signs of a scam.
Any experienced SEO professional will never “promise” anything and most especially not first-page rankings, because this is simply unrealistic with Google’s constant algorithm changes and updates.
Now of course every SEO agency and advertiser strives to keep up with organic search trends to keep their client’s websites as highly ranked as possible, maintaining a positive rank on Google requires ongoing optimization techniques and strategies.
2. A Pre-Packaged SEO Plan.
This offer should be another “SE-No-Brainer!”
Every website is different and therefore the optimization strategies should always be customized NOT standardized.
True SEO experts know that it takes experimentation with each individual site to actually be able to find the underlining issues of each site, whether these issues are on and/or off-site.
Using these pre-packaged plans could also put your business at risk of being blacklisted by Google. This means Google is basically treating your site as if it were spam and removing it from organic search rankings altogether, tragic!
3. They Claim To Be An “Exclusive Google Affiliate.”
Agencies and advertisers do have the ability to qualify to become an official Google Partner, which means that they have passed Google AdWords product certification exams and are up to date with the latest product knowledge.
However, being a Google Partner does NOT give an agency and/or advertiser exclusive or “insider” Google knowledge and capabilities.
If a company is claiming that they work exclusively with Google, it’s most likely a scam.
4. Initial Flat Rate To Instantly Publish “Ready-Made” Content On Off-Site Directories & Social Media.
This goes hand-in-hand with the the “pre-packaged SEO plan.”
These initial flat rates are normally to send out “spam-like” content from your site to other spam sites and social media platforms in an effort to gain quick backlinks!
More backlinks are not always a good thing if they are only from spam sites. The same goes for a lot of the ready-made content that these scam artists could potentially publish your site.
Google wants its searchers to find relevant, high-quality content. By publishing quick, irrelevant content that doesn’t actually appeal to searchers, your website’s reputation could feel the negative impact on Google.
5. They Offer “Competitive Roadblocking.”
Usually if they will offer some type of “competitive roadblocking plan” that guarantees your site’s keywords to appear organically BEFORE your competitors, it’s another sure sign of a scam.
Once again, anything guaranteed should trigger an alarm in your head. Especially since they are most likely guaranteeing you AND your competitors the same “special organic keyword placement.”
It’s simply unrealistic.
AND in a lot of these keyword situations, these scam artists will charge you for these SEO (organic) plans and actually turn around and use your money to run paid advertising campaigns on Google Adwords, without even having clue!
Always make sure to do your research and check the reputation of the agency and/or advertiser.
In need of an actual trustworthy SEO company?!
Optimizing your website AND business for search engines is a big part of what our Online Presence Team at Torapath Technologies does on a daily basis.
We build customizable plans that include quality content, reputation management and various optimization techniques to drive real traffic to your site.