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Finnegan Pierson - Blog

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4 Steps for Effective Machine Learning Data Direction

Machine learning is an exciting and advanced area of data science. It uses models powered by data that are refined over time, mimicking the way that humans learn, in order to deliver progressively more accurate data analyses. The data is guided through a process from collection to analysis by a director. This is a very important task, as including the wrong data in the models could lead to incorrect results. Here are four steps that you'll need to follow when directing machine learning data.

Step One: Gather Your Data

The process of getting data into the models is called the machine learning pipeline, which is often abbreviated as the ML pipeline. The first step in the pipeline is to gather together the data that you plan to analyze. This means identifying your sources, pulling the data from those sources, and then saving it to a common location. Data can come from one source or multiple ones. For example, if you're trying to determine customers' reactions to a new product announcement, you'll want to pull data from various online sources that all reference that product. Keep this raw data saved in a secure location to aid in the next steps.

Step Two: Prepare Your Data

In this step, you'll perform data cleaning. This involves filtering out any data that you don't want to be considered by the model. Start by listing out the parameters for the data that you do want to include. For example, you may only want to look at data that originates from a certain country or state, or that doesn't contain certain words or phrases, or that comes from reputable sites or verified purchasers. Once you've determined your parameters, then you just need to filter out all of the data points that don't meet those. Your newly-cleaned data is then ready for the next step in the pipeline.

Step Three: Standardize Your Data

In this third step, you'll standardize your data so that your model knows how to read it. This is different than cleaning, as you're not eliminating any more data at this point. Instead, you are standardizing your data through tasks such as grouping related words together based on their dictionary form. This is known as lemmatization. You'll also perform tokenization, or marking where individual words begin and end in text strings so computers can parse them correctly. The good news is that a lot of this work can be automated through the use of software, saving you and your time a lot of time and effort.

Test Model With Data

The last step is to take all your cleaned and prepared data and start plugging it into your model. You'll need three data sets for this: your training, validation, and testing sets. The training set is used first. This set teaches the model how to behave. Based on the results, you may need to adjust your model's parameters before moving on. The second data set is the validation set. This set is used to match the predictions made by the model with the actual data to ensure that the model is producing valid results. Finally, the testing set is, as the name implies, used to test out how well your model is analyzing real data. Once all three data sets have been plugged in and the necessary adjustments made, the final analysis can begin.

Machine learning in data science is an extremely powerful tool. The process of directing data through the pipeline from collection to full analysis is pivotal to ensuring that your results are valid and reliable. Identify your data sources carefully. Screen out the data that doesn't fit your identified parameters. Lemmatize, tokenize, and standardize your remaining data. Teach your model how to perform via the use of training, validation, and testing sets. And once all of that work is done, then you can sit back and enjoy the results of having successfully directed your data through the machine learning pipeline.

Publish Date: September 18, 2021 12:20 AM

Tips for Offering Great Customer Service

When it comes to running a business, there are a few aspects that are particularly important to pay attention to, and one of those is customer service. Now more than ever, the quality of customer service you offer can impact your business in a big way.

With the availability of so many platforms online, customers can post their thoughts about your business in a variety of places. Because of this, making sure that you are offering great customer service can make a significant difference in your business's overall success. If you are looking for some ways to help stay on top of your customer service game, here are some things to think about. 

Do Research To Better Understand Your Customers

One of the first things you should do when working to improve your customer service overall is make sure that you are doing plenty of research to better understand your customers. The more that you know who your target audience is, the easier that it will be to provide them with the kind of service that will best suit them.

Not only that, but it will also help you to better define your target audience in general, which can be great for developing effective marketing strategies. This can be true whether you are offering probiotics for adults or legal services. No matter what you sell or offer, the more that you know your customer, the easier it is to serve them properly. 

Be Quick and Friendly When Dealing With Customers

Besides doing your research, another thing that should be a priority when finding ways to offer the best customer service is to make sure that you are being quick and friendly. Promptness is important when it comes to helping customers and addressing their issues. Not only does it show them that you respect them and their time, but it also shows that addressing their concerns is a priority for you.

Along with being prompt, it is also important to make sure that you are maintaining a friendly demeanor with your customers no matter what the issue is. This shows them that you value them, and helps create a smoother and more positive customer experience overall. 

Use Social Media To Keep In Touch

Another way to help give your customer service a boost is to use social media to keep in touch with your customers. Some may think that social media is a chore, or simply another platform to maintain. However, it can be great not only for offering better customer service, but for learning more about your customers, as well. 

With social media, you can quickly reach out to customers that have posted on your page, and answer their questions about your products. This can help you to address small customer service tasks in a timely manner. Additionally, by sparking conversations and posting questions on your social media platforms you can gain more understanding of what your customers are truly interested in, and use this knowledge to strengthen your business. 

Reeducate Your Customer Service Team Regularly

If you truly want to offer great customer service, then it can be beneficial to help your customer service team brush up on the basics from time to time. This can be helpful even if your team is experienced or excellent at their jobs. Even the best customer service representative may forget basic procedures from time to time, or need a refresher on what is the most important to focus on. By taking the time to help them brush up on old skills and also learn some new ones, you can help ensure that your team is strong and functioning at the highest possible level. 

Some Last Considerations

Offering quality customer service is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business, especially in the age of the internet. While some may not know where to start when it comes to doing this, the reality is that it is often as simple as doing some research and keeping in touch with your customers. 


Publish Date: September 18, 2021 12:18 AM

6 Aspects of Machine Learning

People in a multitude of industries are beginning to see how beneficial machine learning is to their respective fields. Machine learning involves computer algorithms. These algorithms can enhance specific learning processes without the need for human intervention. Some of the most notable machine learning applications include self-driving cars, neurocomputers, digital assistants, embedded systems, and expert systems. Individuals are using machine learning to improve e-commerce systems, better their banking and investment decisions, build robots and drones, create effective advertising and marketing campaigns, and streamline certain medical processes. Check out this list of six aspects of machine learning.

  1. Neural Networks

Neural networks are a set of algorithms that behave like the human brain. These networks yield neuron-like structures that signal one another. Neural networks are ideal for image recognition because they can manage complex processes incredibly well. Note that these networks do indeed have their drawbacks. It takes time to train them since a plethora of layers are involved. Also, they need a great deal of power to function. Pieces of neural network hardware, also known as neural network chips, are ideal for artificial intelligence and deep learning processes.

  1. Linear Algorithms

One sort of machine learning algorithm is the linear algorithm. There are two kinds of linear algorithms. One kind is linear regression. It results in a line that produces an optimal fit through a set of data points. Linear regression is fairly easy to comprehend, but it has its limitations; it oversimplifies things, and it does not bring to light the complicated relationships many variables have. Logistic regression is another kind of linear algorithm. It represents a modification of linear regression since it applies linear regression to areas of classification, such as groups. Like linear regression, logistic regression is pretty easy to understand yet prone to oversimplification.

  1. Tree-Based Algorithms

Tree-based algorithms represent another kind of machine learning algorithm. There are three kinds of tree-based algorithms. One kind is a decision tree. It is used to match all applicable decision outcomes. It is not difficult to deploy, but it is not potent enough to handle complex data sets. Another kind is random forest. It averages out multiple decision trees. Random forests often create first-rate models, but they are not as easy to understand as decision trees; plus, they do not push out predictions very quickly. The final kind of tree-based algorithm is gradient boosting. It utilizes weak decisions trees for hard conditions. It performs exceptionally well; however, small changes can drastically alter its models. 

  1. Supervised Learning

Supervised learning is one branch of machine learning. It involves the use of labeled datasets for classification and prediction purposes. There are two elements of supervised learning. The first is regression; it is a technique used to determine continuous values. It yields an algorithm for forecasting, predictions, new insights, and process optimization. The second element is classification; it is employed to place novel observations into specific categories. Individuals will use a classification algorithm for image classification, fraud detection, customer retention, and diagnostics.

  1. Unsupervised Learning

Another branch of machine learning is unsupervised learning. It consists of learning algorithms that do not have labels. There are two notable components of unsupervised learning. Dimensionally reduction is one component; it facilitates big data visualization, meaningful compression, structure discovery, and feature elicitation. The other component is clustering. It yields targeted marketing, customer segmentation, and recommended systems.

  1. Reinforcement Learning

The last branch of machine learning is reinforcement learning. It prompts learning models to make a series of decisions based on trial and error. Just like in any reinforcement system, the models are rewarded for positive behaviors and punished for negative ones. People use reinforcement learning to cultivate real-time decisions, game AI, robot navigation, skill acquisition, and learning tasks. 

Machine learning has helped many people in several industries unlock the potential of their tools and systems. People will likely utilize machine learning in more fields as time goes by.

Publish Date: September 15, 2021 5:01 AM

How To Use IT To Improve Your Business Operations

Constantly striving to improve your business is one of the best ways to ensure that it stays viable. The good news is that IT can help you improve your company in a lot of ways. Here is a handy checklist you can follow that will help you give your business the extra boost it needs. 

Keep Financial Score

Very few small business owners know exactly how much money goes in and out of their business monthly, weekly, or daily. However, you must monitor this cash flow and keep track of your financial score. IT can help with this because cloud-based software that uses Kubernetes architecture is available to help you monitor your cash flow easily. 

Set Goals

Another crucial part of keeping your business alive is setting goals. You can use goals to help you plan new strategies for how you are going to move your business forward. IT can be helpful for this by increasing things, such as your cybersecurity. Better security means that your website is more secure, so people will stop by to visit, which means increased customer loyalty. 

Use High-Impact Marketing

It's easy to waste money on ineffective marketing. Fortunately, IT can help you find high-impact marketing techniques at a low cost. Start by testing out one or two marketing options, deciding if they fit your needs, and incorporating the good ones into your toolkit. One of the best low-cost, high-impact options that IT can help with is social media marketing. To reap the benefits of this, be sure to get your company on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

Master Business Presentations

Giving the perfect business presentation is one way to improve the performance of your small business. The key is to start by learning everything you need to know about good business presentations. Often, this involves opening with some wisdom that will captivate your audience and attract them to your business.

Additionally, IT can help you design the perfect presentation slides that aren't overloaded with information. That lets you keep everything relevant so you can seem professional while presenting. 

Monitor Trends

As you know, your business doesn't operate in a vacuum. What happens on a global scale can impact even the smallest businesses. Fortunately, IT can help you stay current on what is trending in both your industry and community. It is your job to see these trends, decide if they are relevant, and how you will respond to the situation. 

Sharpen Your Selling Skills

Obviously, sales are an important part of your business. That means you need to focus on improving your selling skills, whether you are the owner of a large corporation or a one-person shop. The key to doing this successfully is to clarify your business mission. IT can help you accomplish this task by showing what areas of your business excel and improve the ones that need work to help you meet your mission. 

Find Best Practices

Staying transparent is crucial in today's society. In this case, IT is often useful because it can help you test, monitor, and approve your processes, communicate with customers, and break down any silos. It's also great for helping you document your processes, so you don't have to worry about misunderstandings or miscommunication. 

Motivate Staff

Having motivated and talented employees is the biggest thing that can help you improve your business. Therefore, you need to determine what can help motivate your employees to do their best. Part of that means finding insights into your staff members and the problems they see with your company. While most managers and business owners prefer to communicate with their staff in person, some choose to monitor their staff via IT, providing unbiased insights. 

At the end of the day, IT can help you improve your business in many ways. By following these tips, you'll see noticeable benefits that can help you grow your company and stay viable in the world of business. 

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:45 AM

6 Tips to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

It may be daunting to tackle the three R's but focusing on reducing, reusing, and recycling, can minimize humanity's negative influence on the environment. But how can it positively affect the environment? What does it mean to reduce, reuse, and recycle? And how can you personally reduce, reuse, and recycle? Well, read on to have all your questions answered. 

Why Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?

Reducing, reusing, and recycling can prevent pollution, reduce waste that ends up in landfills, and saves energy. Working to make changes in your life that are more environmentally friendly can actually save you money and make your carbon footprint smaller therefore prioritizing the carbon cycle. But why is the carbon cycle important? The carbon cycle is the system in which all carbon is exchanged between all living things on earth. This means if the carbon cycle breaks down, all life will start to fail to exist. So making even the smallest changes in your life to prioritize the environment and the carbon cycle has a big impact on the world around you. 

What Does it Mean to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?

To reduce is to try to minimize the amount of materials you use that cannot be reused or recycled. This can pertain to batteries and certain kinds of plastics. It is also important to cut down on use of all disposable products even if they can be recycled. That means you want to focus on using items that can be reused. Even if the item can be recycled, it is important to use it as long as you can to prevent the need for another. You can also invest in items that are made to be reused indefinitely in place of disposable items. Finally, recycling is taking items that can be broken down to make something else and making them useful again. Like recycling old plastic bottles to make toothbrush handles. 

Tips to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

  1. Try not to purchase any disposable items especially if you can find reuable versions. You can use a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one or use silverware instead of plastic forks, spoons, and knives. 
  2. In times when you are not able to avoid using disposable items, make sure they are recyclable. You can also find items that are made from recycled materials. Always try to avoid plastic when you can. 
  3. When you go shopping, opt to bring your own bags. In a lot of areas of the world, it may even cost you extra to use bags that are provided by the store. If you do forget your bags and have to get paper or plastic ones, many stores have areas that you can return your bags to be recycled. 
  4. Try to replace paper products with items that can be washed and reused instead. Rather than using paper towels or napkins, invest in cloth napkins and towels. These can be more cost effective as well as good for the environment
  5. Try composting at home by investing in a compost bin. You throw your leftover food like orange peels, strawberry tops, or kale stems into the bin and through a process called vermicomposting, worms will eat your old food and turn it into a great fertilizer for your plants. Not only does it save a ton in gardening supplies, composting also minimizes the amount of waste you dispose of on a regular basis. 
  6. Thrifting your clothes, furniture, and appliances can save you money and reduce your consumption. You can also donate your items when you are finished with them so other people can get use from them rather than trashing your stuff. You can also update your electronics rather than buying the newest upgrade. 

Reducing, reusing, and recycling can make a huge difference in the environment while simultaneously saving you money. You can start with small changes in your everyday life and build up to larger investments. Even if it is just choosing to cut plastic bags or bottles out of your life, reducing, reusing, and recycling can change your life. 

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:44 AM

5 Small Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

All around the world, governments, corporations and other powerful organizations are putting their weight behind tackling the global warming crisis. So much of this change is coming from the top that many people wonder how or even if changing their own habits will make any impact. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, being part of that change gives you a powerful voice in how progress is made.  Here are five very simple steps anyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint and live more sustainably. 

  1. Educate Yourself

The most important thing you can do to make a difference is to learn. It's hard to find a workable solution for a problem you don't understand. Start with the basics: Get objective facts about how the global ecosystem actually works. You may wonder "why is the carbon cycle important?" Well, read some good free biology articles on Wikipedia to find out how everything we do has repercussions for the rest of the world. Think of yourself as standing on an island in the middle of outer space...because you are! Above all else, stick to the science and forget the hype surrounding these issues; this crisis will be solved by gaining critical thinking skills, not abandoning them. 

  1. Change Your Lighting Habits

Even though renewable energy, especially solar power, has made great strides over the past few years, the overwhelming majority of our energy is still generated by fossil fuels. Lighting our homes takes up a lot of that energy. Incandescent lights are attractive, but they're the worst offenders when it comes to efficiency, with 90% of their initial power going into generating heat, not light. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) produce the same amount of light for 1/4 of the energy input, so consider them as an option, along with halogen lighting. Simply turning off the lights when you leave the room can save enormous amounts of energy over the long term too. Remember, natural light is always best for your health, so whenever possible, open the curtains instead of switching on those bulbs. 

  1. Rethink Your Drive

According to government research, the transportation sector accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, accounting for 29% of America's total output. If you live in the city, it's easy to grab public transportation or ride a bike, but for the rest of us, it's time to think smart about our commute. Laying off the gas and brakes is a big fuel-saver. So is not using air conditioning when you don't need to. Remember not to weigh your car down with too many items, because every added pound of mass means more energy needed to move the vehicle. Keep these things in mind and your wallet and your world will thank you. 

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

You might not think that throwing away old items has an impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but it definitely does. New things have to be manufactured, and the industrial sector produces almost a quarter of our country's greenhouse gases. Go beyond just recycling and learn to find creative new uses for items you were planning to throw away. Take the Marie Kondo approach and don't buy things in the first place if they don't bring you joy or have a legitimate use. 

  1. Practice Sustainable Shopping

A grocery store is a place where you can make some of the greatest impacts of all.  Bringing your own bag instead of using paper or plastic is a good start. When you're shopping, look for products that have labels indicating a commitment to sustainability by the producer. These products will usually be noticeable for what they lack: extra packaging that does no good and creates plastic pollution. If you're shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star seal. The federal government even offers tax credits for efficient home appliances, so shop around for them. 

It's tempting to see yourself as only a small part of the solution to our environmental issues, but in this case, the small things are the big things. Learn all the simple steps that you can take to make the world a better place. 



Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:43 AM

7 Things to Do Before the End of the Year to Make the Most of it

It can feel all too easy to fall into habits. Becoming a creature of habit can feel a transition that happens without any warning or notice; however, you may suddenly notice that you have been doing the same thing every day. It may be time to add some change or variety to your life. If you are tired of your routine, here are seven things that range from massive change to small improvements that you can do to shake things up.

Pack up and Embark on an Adventure

If you are tired of your life and your home, you might need an adventure. For those needing a drastic change and the addition of thrill and excitement to your life, it may be time to ask yourself the key question, “Is it time to sell my house?” While owning a home can feel like roots that you cannot easily pull up, if you feel that you are ready to completely start over and embrace adventure, take the leap.

Take Charge of Your Finances

If you have felt overburdened and overwhelmed by your finances, this is the time to take back control. Sit down and write out all of your expenses and sources of income. Once you have this, set a budget and then you can start establishing goals. While it will take time and commitment to make lasting, positive change, this is the year to start that change.

Start a Daily Writing Practice

One of the things that may be getting in your way of living your best life is a lack of connection to what is happening around you. If you feel like life is happening to and around you, rather than with you, it is time to slow down and take stock. Slow down the pace of your daily routine with a daily writing practice. Whether you start journaling with prompts, start a creative writing project, write with no purpose or take time to write and reflect, this can be a powerful and easy way to invigorate your life.

Embrace and Embody Gratitude

A powerful tool that is often overlooked is gratitude. Learning to be grateful can help you appreciate what is around you and be more observant in your days. If you find that the days are flashing by, spending time appreciating your life and its daily activities can slow that feeling down. You can vastly improve your mental and emotional health, while also improving the lives of those around you when you start practicing gratitude.

Make a Concerted Effort to Help Others

Another great way to improve your life can also impact others. When you engage in work that supports and helps other people, it has a profound and immense impact on your life. Helping others can give you the perspective and clarity that you are missing in your everyday life. If you want to take back your life and relinquish the mundanity, consider lending a helping hand.

Prioritize Your Own Needs and Establish Boundaries

While helping others is an admirable and valuable practice, it cannot come as a sacrifice of your wellbeing. You may unknowingly be causing that draining, blasé feeling because you have sucked up all of your energy serving others. It is time to set some boundaries and stop putting other people’s needs above your own needs. You need to commit to the long journey that this change will bring but ultimately will leave you with a happier and healthier life.

Sit With Silence

In a world that is constantly bustling and buzzing, you can take back control of your energy and time by unplugging. This may feel like a drastic shift to your routine, but you can do it. Whether you go for a walk in nature without your phone or smartwatch or sit outside breathing fresh air without the disruptions of notifications, sitting in silence can give you the stillness you need to find perspective.

While changing your life may sound intimidating, you too can improve your outlook and experience. Whether you choose to completely change your life or take small steps toward living a happier and healthier life, it is time to make a change.

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:39 AM

Five Ways To Sell Your House in 2021

Selling your home can be stressful and an emotional experience, especially if you’ve lived in it for some time. But 2021 is a sellers’ market, and if you've been thinking of selling, now is a good time. Today with the internet and social media, you have a variety of methods to choose from to sell your home. Each process has good points and some not so good. Some methods will save you work, and others will save you money. It takes research to discover what is the best method for you. Here are four ways you can sell your house in 2021.

Contact a Licensed Realtor

Selling with a realtor is still the most common method. There are many benefits to working with a licensed realtor. Realtors will do a market analysis of your home and discuss what price point will work best for you. They’ll do the advertising and photography. Studies show that sellers using a realtor typically sell their homes for more than those without. Also, realtors manage the showings, negotiate any offers and help with the paperwork. The best agents will offer suggestions on how to prepare your home for sale.

Using a licensed agent may not be the right method of sale for you. Though there are many advantages to selling with a realtor, the downside, of course, is the cost. Sellers pay the listing agent a percentage of the sale price. They also pay the buyer's agent a commission. Depending on the home's sale price, these fees can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. To decide how to sell your house, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and do a little research. If you are comfortable doing some of the work yourself, a different selling method may pay off. 

Know that if you choose to hire an agent, you are, in essence, hiring an expensive service. Always Interview several agents before signing a listing agreement and make sure you are comfortable with the agent you choose.

Use a Discount Broker

Do an online search for discounted brokers, and you may be able to hire a qualified full-service listing agent at a discounted price. Your agent choices will be limited, but they will handle the advertising, paperwork, and negotiations. The services state they can do this because they get an abundance of leads online. If you contact a discount broker, you will most likely still have to pay the buyer's real estate commission.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Selling a home on your own will save you the real estate commissions, but you will be responsible for arranging everything. You are responsible for presenting to buyers, completing the paperwork, setting the price, negotiating offers, and hiring a title company to complete the closing. Potential buyers will contact you directly to arrange showings and discuss the property. You’ll do your own marketing, photographs, and property descriptions.

In some ways, FSBO is easier today since several internet home sale sites will advertise your property. But if you want your property to be available on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the service real estate agents use, you will have to pay for a Flat Fee MLS. 

Sell As-Is for Cash

There are circumstances where this can be a sound option. If you need to sell fast and need the cash,  you can contact one of these buyers. The downside is, you usually get less than you could by offering your home for sale with a realtor or FSBO.

Negotiate a Private Sale

You can also sell your home to a friend or relative. This will be a version of FSBO. It is best to hire a real estate attorney to handle the paperwork.

Today there are several ways that you can sell your home. The method you choose depends on your personality. If you are a hands-on person who enjoys meeting new people and can handle negotiations, you can go without a licensed real estate agent. Even if you’re more introverted with today's online services, it's easier than ever to sell your own home. Whatever method you choose, 2021 is a seller's market. 

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:37 AM

7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Daytime sleepiness can be the easiest way to ruin a day; however, many adults struggle to get the quality and quantity of rest they need. This can lead to a lack of energy, mood disturbances and cycles of sleepiness, among other things. While this is a common hindrance to having a good day, you can do something about it. If you want to improve your sleep and feel more alert throughout the day, here are a few essential tips.

The Right Mattress

One key reason why many adults struggle to get a good night’s rest is a direct result of their mattress. Whether your mattress is old and has lost its support or you don’t have the right mattress sizes, it may be time for an upgrade. If you want to improve your sleep, start with your mattress and look for a better option for your sleep circumstances.

Comfortable Bedding

Another aspect of your bed that may need an update is your bedding. If you find yourself getting overheated at night or uncomfortable, it may be time to replace your bedding, Whether you need a cooling fabric like bamboo or additional weight without trapping heat like a weighted blanket, there are plenty of options available to all different types of sleepers.

Cool Bedroom Temperature

Another reason why you may struggle to get a good night’s sleep is the temperature in your bedroom. The ideal temperature for sleep is in the sixties. This cool temperature triggers the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps you regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Reduce your temperature in your bedroom and enjoy the coziness of your new bedding and enjoy the benefits of idyllic sleep conditions.


While melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your pineal gland, there are times that your body may need some help. If you are struggling to regulate your sleep cycles or suffering from mild sleep disturbances, taking a melatonin supplement can help get you back on track. If your sleep cycle feels off, don’t feel like you need to grin and bear it when melatonin may be exactly what you needed.

Time Outside During the Day

Another way that your body naturally regulates itself is with exposure to the sun, nature and fresh air. Getting outside every day, even if it is just for a few minutes per day can vastly improve your sleep. Exposure to the natural cycles of light can help regulate your body’s natural cycles and set you up to achieve a better night’s rest and a more consistent schedule.

Late-Night Treats

For those who enjoy the occasional late-night treats, the indulgence can feel like a great way to wind down at the end of the day; however, this can disrupt your slumbers. Whether you are consuming sugary desserts or acidic, savory foods, food consumption before bed should be avoided. Not only does your metabolism slow down, making it harder to digest food, but it can also disturb your natural cycles. If you want to sleep through the night, cut back on late-night treats and stop any food consumption at least two hours before bed.

Liquid Consumption

Many people find themselves drinking water before bed to stay hydrated throughout the night. With an increased liquid intake comes a need to urinate. While this sleep disruption may be short, it can throw off your natural sleep cycle. In the worst-case scenario, it can leave you awake for hours after. While it is true that your body can become dehydrated overnight, you don’t need to chug water before bed. Scheduling water consumption throughout the day and monitoring your daytime water consumption can keep you hydrated all day and all night long.

For those who struggle with sleep, this can feel like a never-ending battle. While it can be frustrating, you can set yourself up for sleep success. Don’t let sleepy days and restless nights get in the way of you living a happy and healthy life when you can take charge of your sleep.

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:33 AM

Four Ways To Build a Closer Family Bond

It isn't easy to maintain meaningful relationships with your family members when juggling work and other responsibilities. Including family time in this mix is nearly impossible when you already have a full schedule for the week. However, it's crucial to add family bonding time slots so you and your kids don't lose touch with one another. Here are four ways to help you build a closer family connection.

  1. Plan Family Outings

If you want to create memories while spending quality time with your family, plan a family activity. These outings can range from making a trip to the local museum to going on a nature hike. Taking your kids out is a great way for them to burn off energy, get exercise, use their cognitive skills and practice their social skills.

Planning an activity doesn't mean that you have to leave the house. If you can't go out due to the weather conditions or any other reason, arrange an at-home activity instead, such as completing an online escape room. In order to escape this room, your family will have to combine their thinking skills and work as a team. Attacking this task together is sure to bring the family closer.

  1. Eat Dinner Together

Unfortunately, family meals have become a thing of the past. It's much easier for a family to grab fast food and eat in the car on the way home than it is to make a home-cooked meal. Parents tend to choose convenience food due to having a lack of time. If you and your spouse work and your kids attend school and after-school activities, it's much easier to go through a drive-thru than spend time preparing a meal in the kitchen.

Although cooking may be the last thing you want to do after a stressful day, making dinner is essential because it helps to keep the family bond strong. Sitting together and enjoying a meal allows you and your family to discuss topics such as the day's events. Make this a safe space for everyone to share ideas and participate in discussions. To make the time as meaningful as possible, ask everyone to turn off their phones or other electronics so they aren't distracted by calls, texts or notifications. 

If you don't want to spend the night cooking, consider other options. Using a crockpot works well because all you have to do is place the recipe's ingredients into the pot in the morning, and the concoction will be ready for dinner. Alternatively, you can cook and freeze food in bulk. This method allows you to thaw and heat your meal quickly. It doesn't matter what you're eating; the most important part of dinner is that you and your family can gather around the table collectively.

  1. Make a Bucket List

Encourage each family member to contribute a realistic idea that they would like the family to do in the future. These suggestions can be big or small. Perhaps you want to go to Disney World, and your child wants to play laser tag at the new arcade. Both are important and should be placed on a to-do list.

The most crucial part of the bucket list is that you have to carry out these plans. By doing so, you are letting each family member know that their thoughts and ideas are important. 

The more significant meaning behind making a bucket list is that dreams can come true. This lesson teaches children to set goals and work towards achieving those objectives, which can help set them up for future successes.

  1. Attend Important Events

Make an appearance at events that are important to your children, such as basketball games or school musicals. Attending these events shows your children that you support and care about them. Showing up and cheering your kids on is also a confidence booster.

Creating a closer bond with your family takes time and effort. You have to be proactive, make plans to go places, and engage in activities to ensure your family's relationship stays strong. Putting time aside for your family is well worth the struggle because these moments can create memories that last a lifetime. 

Publish Date: September 11, 2021 6:22 AM

6 Tips for Offering More Payment Methods To Expand Your Target Market

One of the best ways to increase online sales for your business is enabling customers to make purchases online, but this can vbe more complicated than you might think. There are so many online payment options available now, from credit cards to cash apps to ecommerce financing and you need to be prepared for customers to choose any of them. Here are six tips for offering more payment methods to expand your target market.

  1. Optimize Your Web Design

An ecommerce website needs to have impeccable design, no matter the screen it's being accessed on. You want your ecommerce site to be clean, easy to navigate and simply designed so your customers don't have any difficulty finding their way around and making purchases. Find ways to incorporate all common methods of online payment and make sure you use either adaptive or responsive web design. Adaptive design is a method of retrofitting your existing website with code that will enable it to be accessed on mobile devices if it isn't already. Responsive design is built into the code of a new website and is a method used to help the site detect the size and type of screen accessing the site and adjusting its size and layout automatically.

  1. Include Alternative Payment Methods

There are so many different ecommerce payment options available now that it can be overwhelming. However, you need to be prepared to include as many as possible without cluttering your layout or overwhelming your customers. This decision will depend on your existing customer base, the customers you're trying to attract and the type of business you're running. A fully online shopping platform will need to include every type of online payment method, while a brick-and-mortar store that has an online payment option won't need to include a cryptocurrency payment option, for example. A good rule of thumb is to include debit and credit card options, ecommerce financing, bank transfers and online payment gateways such as PayPal.

  1. Leverage Online Payment Gateways

One of the most versatile online payment options is an online payment gateway. These gateways, of which PayPal is one of the most well-known, process and authorize payment information when a customer checks out on behalf of your business so you don't have to perform those procedures yourself. These gateways tend to be very simple to incorporate into your website, as many are formulated as plugins and are compatible with most web hosts. These are also very popular payment options and most people have accounts with one or more gateways and are highly efficient at protecting and securing customers' sensitive data.

  1. Personalize the ECommerce Experience

Personalization can greatly assist you in expanding your customer base, particularly if your business model doesn't support a highly streamlined ecommerce process. Ensuring your customers have personalized web experiences means you can use their clicks to tailor their individual user experiences, which can improve the experiences your existing customers have and attract new customers. Personalization may also be leveraged to help customers choose their preferred payment options. You can design a list of options and a customer can choose one and save that choice to his or her account. You may also have options to allow customers to save their payment information for faster checkout during subsequent visits.

  1. Keep Things Simple

Aside from keeping your web design as simple as possible, you also need to keep your purchasing process simple. A large majority of customers already abandon their shopping carts for various reasons, and a complicated or lengthy purchasing process will likely increase that percentage. Simple, straightforward processes with as few steps as possible are the best processes for retaining customers, keeping them from becoming frustrated and boosting your sales.

Making the ecommerce process as simple and accessible as possible can greatly increase the size of your target market. In particular, making sure customers know how to use your online shopping and payment procedures and giving them the choice to utilize the payment methods they're most comfortable with will expand your customer base and improve your sales.

Publish Date: August 30, 2021 4:36 PM

4 Tips To Increase Spa Sales

Whether you manage a small, quaint spa with a few employees or a large, grand spa with all sorts of bells and whistles, one of your primary goals is always to increase sales. If you are brainstorming ways to grow your bottom line this year, try these four tips to help you get there.

  1. Focus on Online Sales

In this age of technology, online sales are extremely important to brick-and-mortar shops and businesses that are primarily e-commerce. If you are wondering, "What is ecommerce?", this is when services and goods are sold and purchased online versus in-person. 

Regardless of how your business is set up, focusing on online sales is a great way to boost your profit. This provides a simple and easily accessible way for your clientele to buy products. If they have to drive all the way to your store to make a purchase, chances are they will wait until their next appointment to do so or simply forget about the item they intended to buy.

Make sure your website allows all your goods to be purchased online. While you are at it, do an analysis of the site to make sure all the data is current and there are no updates needed to make the website more user-friendly. The easier it is for shoppers to use, the greater the chance of them making a purchase.

  1. Have Thorough Consultations and Record-Keeping

Perhaps your spa only offers massages. Or maybe you offer a variety of relaxing services, such as facials, manicures and hair care. Whatever services you provide, it is vital that the staff have a comprehensive consultation with each client they meet. Every client has different concerns and needs; by having a thorough consultation before starting the services, staff members get a better understanding of what products and treatments are beneficial for each customer.

However, all that information is not going to be very useful if there is nowhere to save it. Make sure there is a secure system to save consultation notes under each client's profile. This way, team members have all the previous recommendations and can discuss with the customer how the products are working and what other merchandise is beneficial.

  1. Offer Free Samples

Free samples are an excellent way to intrigue patrons to purchase your goods. If they get hooked on a product because of the free sample, they will likely come back to purchase the full-sized option.

If the samples are lower-cost products, consider giving them away for free as customers check out. Otherwise, if the merchandise is higher in cost, offer a free sample after the client purchases a product.

For example, perhaps you sell a high-quality anti-aging serum. While you do not want to give this expensive sample away for free, including it as a bonus for skincare purchases is a strategic move. If a customer purchases a cleanser and moisturizer for his or her face, include a free serum sample; since this person already likes your skincare line, there is a good chance they will purchase the serum if they like it.

  1. Educate Staff

Staff members are the driving force behind your in-person sales. If they do not have adequate knowledge of the products, they will struggle to make appropriate recommendations to increase sales. Therefore, it is essential that you properly educate your team members on the goods your spa sells.

Have an extensive onboarding process for new employees. This should include a detailed evaluation of each product: what it is, how it works, why it is beneficial and what other products go well with it. Make sure these details are updated with new products and terminated items are removed. Additionally, meet with staff to inform them each time a new product is added to the shelves.

No matter how much you want to increase revenue at your spa, these four tips can help. Implement them at your store to help increase your bottom line.

Publish Date: August 28, 2021 6:56 AM

4 Tips To Keep Your Business Modern

Technology is the basis of business within our society and for any business to thrive you need to adapt to the technology you have available. Keeping your business modern may be important, but it does not have to be overwhelming. There are a handful of actions that a business can take to modernize its operations. 

  1. Tap Into eCommerce

eCommerce is considered by many the future of many businesses, but what is ecommerce? eCommerce is when a consumer or business sells a product or service to a consumer or business. You can modernize your business by offering your product or service through an online platform to reach more clientele while keeping expenses down. By increasing the number of people who have access to your product or service, you are automatically increasing the chance of increasing your profits. Connecting with other businesses online such as marketing companies can also allow you to start making more quality connections with customers as well as increasing the traffic on your sites. eCommerce can be a smart first step for any company to utilize technology for their own gain. 

  1. Invest in Cloud-Base Solutions

Cloud-based abilities can increase productivity by making remote work more accessible. By utilizing the cloud, you can easily bring work with you anywhere, therefore, allowing you to connect with coworkers or clients at any time. This allows untethers you from your computer and enables you to use your cell phone to complete important work. Cloud-based services can also be a flexible solution to a company's technological problems. Cloud-based computing gives a company the ability to augment its technological requirements very easily. An example of this is if you need to change your bandwidth, you can simply downgrade or upgrade without affecting other aspects of your business. 

  1. Look Into Automation

Reach out to your coworkers or employees and ask if they are doing something repetitive or performing a task daily. These are tasks that you can easily automate to complete more efficiently while also giving your employees or coworkers more time to do something that actually requires their full attention or time. You can automate many different aspects of your business. There are programs you can employ that can take information from a completed service or successfully delivered product and convert it automatically into an invoice for the customer. As for social media, you can set up posts days and even weeks ahead of time that will automatically post on the day and at the time you specify. If you take a lot of notes, you can utilize diction software to convert speech and phone calls into meeting notes or memos. There are programs you can use to search and download all your attachments from emails. Your supplies can also be automatically bought and delivered on a schedule that you can create. There are so many technological health tips and tools available to save you time, and at times, money. 

  1. Utilize Real-Time Marketing Data

Because of the rise of social media and eCommerce, companies are able to track and analyze real-time data when advertising their product or service. Before this ability, the campaign had to be created and disseminated and by the time the data was collected and analyzed from the campaign, it was out of date and not useful to the company. Now, companies can get useful, real-time data on how a campaign is being received almost instantly. Social media sites even have services dedicated to ad campaigns and providing tools for companies to analyze the data. Because of how people shop now, it is very easy for companies to access data on their target markets. By doing so, they can determine what else their customers are browsing and for how long. There is almost too much information for companies to utilize. But that's what insight tools offered by social media sites are for: to determine what information is useful and how to track engagement efficiently. 

Publish Date: August 20, 2021 12:44 AM

6 Ways the Tech Industry Is Evolving

Technology is constantly evolving and changing in multiple ways. No matter what industry you're working in, technological advancements will affect your organization and the work it does. Here are six ways the tech industry is evolving.


  1. Cloud-Native Computing

Cloud computing has been a popular computing method for years now, but many programs currently housed in the cloud have been migrated there. Now, more programs and software tools are being created exclusively for life and use within the cloud, which is called cloud-native computing. Cloud-native programs are designed to fit seamlessly into the more flexible and modular infrastructure of cloud architecture, removing the need to adjust your programming or database architecture during migration. For example, developing a telecom billing software solution as a cloud-native program will enable your software to be more scalable over time than an on-premise or traditional cloud-based program.


  1. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Smartphones and other smart devices are increasing the connectivity of the world by allowing more devices than ever to connect to the internet. Devices connected to the IoT can provide users with the information they need and can also provide data collection algorithms with user information to better personalize the user experience. This aspect of IoT is particularly useful for marketing and advertising purposes, for example.


  1. 5G Connections

5G, the latest generation of mobile connection services, is the new standard for wireless networking across the globe. Each subsequent generation of mobile networking has made advancements in speed, consistent user experience, performance, efficiency, reliability, availability and network capacity. 5G further improves these aspects of mobile connection, but it also incorporates other devices besides smartphones to connect and take advantage of these advancements, playing a role in expanding access to and use of IoT networking.


  1. Robotics

Robotics is a popular tech sector due to its versatility and the myriad ways in which it can be applied. Robots of all shapes, sizes and uses are being developed for multiple industries, from heavy machinery to surgical implements. Robust robots can be utilized in construction and heavy industry settings to move or build unwieldy equipment, thus reducing the hazards to human life in those industries. Increasingly advanced programming, sensors and machine vision, along with more flexible and durable materials can be applied to assist surgeons and scientists in delicate operations and experiments, such as neurosurgery.


  1. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Machine learning and AI have been integral to many other evolutions in the tech industry over the years. These algorithms enable software, robots and other devices to work independently and learn to perform repetitive or time-consuming tasks. Computers are increasingly able to leverage AI algorithms to collect, analyze and mine data to create insights and perform predictive analytics. AI is also a useful tool to assist customer service and support departments. Chatbots fueled by AI are sophisticated enough to help customers with basic questions and problems, as well as to understand when a customer's issue is complicated enough that he or she needs to be transferred to an expert.


  1. Remote Connections

With the wide variety of mobile networking devices available to people, connecting remotely is easier than ever. Employees can work remotely with very little, if any, disruption of their workflows. Tools such as videoconferencing, softphone programs, cloud computing and VPNs all enable employees to work from home or on the go when they need to. Students of all levels can access e-learning solutions utilizing the same tools that people use for remote work. You can even leverage remote networking technology for telehealth. People living in rural areas or who need to visit the doctor while they may be contagious can see their doctors via video call instead of needing to physically go to a hospital or a clinic, for example.

Modern technology is advancing faster than ever before. It's important to keep an eye on trends that are relevant to your industry and consider how you can leverage technological advancements to improve your organization's ability to work and meet customers' needs.

Publish Date: August 19, 2021 1:04 AM

Top 5 Marketing Tips of 2021

Whether you are a new business owner who is just getting your company off the ground, or you're an experienced entrepreneur who has been in the game for decades, one thing is certain: marketing is more important than ever in 2021. Despite the increase in using technology, companies still need to strive to create human connections with potential and existing clients. Doing so means staying ahead of the digital marketing game with these top tips for 2021.

1. Create a Strategy for Your Marketing Needs

Ask any SEO consultants Toronto and they'll tell you that with every new year, you should reassess your marketing strategy to ensure it's still working for your business. Chances are there will be things you can tweak. Digital marketing is an umbrella that contains a range of types of advertising, all of which you need to be sure are working to meet your needs. They include pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and of course, website development. Create a clear idea, as well as a clear budget, for each section of your marketing plan. Consider your audience when doing so as well. While every business requires each type of advertising, some industries rely more on website advertising while others focus more on social media. 

2. Focus on Creating an Inclusive Brand

Inclusivity is at the tip of everyone's tongues. Consumers are more interested than ever before in how your business is, including people of all races and ethnicities, all genders and sexualities, and all abilities. People from all walks of life, but especially younger generations and minorities, are focusing on putting their money into companies that make them feel seen. Hire models of all shapes, sizes, genders, and ethnicities and blog about topics that are important in the world today. More than 40% of shoppers are actively shifting their business to companies that show diversity, and nearly 30% will stop supporting a brand completely if it isn't diverse enough. 

3. Make Voice Search Work for You

As of November 2020, nearly 112 million people in the United States alone use voice searches to find information on the go, and that number is increasing by the day. If you haven't already done so, 2021 is the year that you need to optimize your content for voice searches on Google. One excellent way to do this is by creating a FAQ and formatting it in the same way someone would ask a question. For example, "Where is a clothing boutique near me?" or "What are the store hours for ABC Business?" are common types of phrases that will help your content rise to the top of search engine results pages. Keep in mind that speed is important as well. A website that doesn't load information fast enough won't get any traction. More than half of Google users leave websites that don't load nearly instantaneously.

4. Research Your Target Audience Often

Invest time in researching your target audience on a regular basis. Your demographic will likely change how it searches for information and engages with content over time. If you aren't changing with these consumers, you're probably losing their business. As a starting point for 2021, consider that women are more likely to use Facebook, more than 50% of college graduates spend time on LinkedIn, and 71% of people in the 18-29 demographic use Instagram regularly. Of course, that can change over time. After all, an increasing number of people of all ages use TikTok regularly these days, and who's to say what the next big social media buzz will be?

5. Optimize Your Visual Content

Images and videos are essential for bringing in business, but they only work when they're optimized properly. Consider that many people are now searching Google by taking pictures of what they're looking for, such as a particular handbag, and searching via the image. Optimized visual content should have alt text in the image descriptions, include target keywords in the file names, and always have high-definition images. 

Remember, what's important for digital advertising in 2021 may be different in 2022. The best idea to ensure your marketing is working the way you need it to is to hire a professional and sit down with him or her periodically to strategize. 

Publish Date: August 10, 2021 11:17 PM

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