Software testing professionals working in office

Robot Framework – Things You Must Know About

Things you need to know about Robot Framework are listed as a Question & Answer session

It is quite sure that we dreamed of building and operating or simply operating a robot at some point in our lives. With that dream or its remnants subtly embedded in our consciousness, the term robot framework may like a framework that helps you build or operate robots. Isn’t it? However, this is not the case, the term has nothing to do with any robot, although it sounds similar.
This framework has a certain amount of automation involved, which allows developers to develop and set automatic tests for testing their complex computing solutions. Although popular, this concept still stirs doubts in minds of professionals who may be considering QA Analyst as a career option or those who may be planning to pursue this course.

Question and Answers on Robot Framework

Wally Tauriac, one of the popular trainers on Robot Framework Test Concepts and a Software Engineer and Test Analyst for over 40 years of experience with several fortune 500 companies, sheds light on the importance of this framework and its implementation benefits in an online interview with Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com.

Ben Xavier: What is Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test tool. It integrates with some common tools, such as Selenium, Appium, SAPGUI, Excel, and Python. These tools enhance its ability to provide a robust test framework for different application platforms.

View the below video 

Ben Xavier: How do you use a Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test framework tool. It uses the keyword-driven testing technique approach for its process design. Its capabilities can be extended by the integration of test libraries, such as, Selenium which is implemented by either Java or Python.
Robot Framework has its own set of Libraries known as standard libraries. But Selenium provides a library that can be referenced by a Robot Framework. The diagram above is a sample of a simple Robot Framework test script. The second line demonstrates an import of the Selenium library. The keywords OPEN BROWSER and CLOSE BROWSER come from the Selenium Library. Execution of this Robot Framework script would launch the Chrome browser and link to the home page of the Google website, and then the browser would close. A test results report is automatically generated.
Ben Xavier: How do I use Robot Framework in Excel?
Wally Tauriac: Excel is one of the test libraries that integrates with the Robot Framework test tool. The Excel library provides Robot Framework keywords that support reading, writing, and updating Excel and comma-delimited (CSV) files. The design of the Robot Framework supports the use of the Excel library keywords to process Excel data in a type of function called Suite Setup.
Figure 1 below is a graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that make up a script. The test case file is the main process, and then the Resource files can be called or imported by the main process. The resource files support browser actions, variable definitions, and reusable functions, respectively. In Figure 2 you can see that the variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management.

graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that makeup a script
Figure 1
In Robot Framework variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management
Figure 2

Figure 3 can be useful in appreciating a graphic picture of several Robot Framework test component file combinations. The green boxes represent the main test case file. The blue boxes represent resource files providing reusable data for Robot Framework execution. The red box is where one or more Excel test sheets are invoked to drive the testing. Then each row of the main sheet describes a test case for Robot Framework to process.

A graphic representation of several Robot Framework test component file combinations.

Figure 3

Ben Xavier: How do you open the Robot Framework RIDE?
Wally Tauriac: First, RIDE stands for Robot Framework IDE. This is a tool known as the RF integrated development environment to implement automated tests for the Robot Framework using a GUI editor.
To open or launch RIDE requires launching Windows Explorer. Go to the folder where the RIDE is installed. Locate the executable and Right-click, and then select ‘Send To’ Desktop to create a shortcut. Once a shortcut is created on the desktop RIDE can be launched by double-clicking the icon. Otherwise, you would need to double-click the executable from within Windows Explorer.
When the tool is launched it will look something like the diagram below.

Screenshot of RIDE tool launched

When a new test case is requested, the screen shown in the diagram above appears. From here a Robot Framework script can be defined. The minimum is to specify Robot Keyword statements where the line numbers appear. Otherwise, more Robot Framework functionality can be utilized by defining setup and teardown code that can be processed before and after general code at the line numbers.
For those of you who are used to high-level IDE functionality, this is a good tool. I prefer to use the native Robot Framework coding features from a generic IDE like PyCharm for Robot Framework code development.

Ben Xavier: How to create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework supports scalar, list, and dictionary variables. Variable names consist of the variable type identifier ($, @, &, %), curly braces ({, }) and the actual variable name between the braces. A list variable starts with “@” with a variable name inside the braces. (e.g. @{vname})
Ben Xavier: How do I create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Define a variable in the Variables section of an RF test case or resource file. An example of the syntax is: @{List} Item1, Item2, ItemX
The variable must have two spaces before the data assignment.
Sample definition and reference of Robot Framework List variables:
Robot-Framework-List-variables
Ben Xavier: How do you use RIDE Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: This editor is available with Robot Framework which helps in writing and executing test cases. The editor is easy to install and use. RIDE simplifies writing test cases by providing framework-specific code completion, and syntax highlighting. Creation of project, test suite, test case, keywords, variables, importing the library, executing, tagging the test case is easy to do in the editor.

Ben Xavier: How to run a Python Script in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework was built using Python. So, it fits naturally with the Python environment. Python can be defined to run in Robot Framework. There are at least two approaches – a Run Process keyword or referencing Python internal function names.
The Run Process keyword is a simple keyword from the Robot Framework Process standard library. As an alternative, all function names in Python programs can be referenced within a Robot Framework script as keywords. This approach also requires a Resource reference in the SETTINGS section of a Robot Framework script.

Robot-Framework-settings-Resource-reference

Ben Xavier: How do you write Robot Framework test cases?
Wally Tauriac: There are two file types associated with Robot Framework scripts – the test case file and the resource file. The test case file is the main file and is sufficient for a Robot Framework script. The test case file contains up to four sections labeled: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, and KEYWORDS.
Details writing the test cases depend on whether you are using RIDE or another editor, such as PyCharm. In general, it requires specifying some settings to import libraries and resources, identifying, and required variable definitions, specifying some keywords to indicate a process flow, and defining reusable functions to reference in the test case flow.

Robot Framework screenshot

As said before, a Robot Framework test case includes up to four sections: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, AND KEYWORDS. The example below demonstrates three of the four sections. The SETTINGS section is referencing a library reference and a resource file reference. It also references two SUITE keywords which execute browser keywords to Open the browser at the beginning of the test run, and a Close browser at the end of the test run. Several variables are defined in the Variables section. The Test Cases section assigns a test case name Valid Login. The remaining keywords provide test functions for the test case.
Ben Xavier: How to write test cases in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: To write a test case using RIDE, right-click on the project. Click New Test Case. Enter the name of the test case and click OK. There are three tabs shown for the test case created − Edit, Text Edit, and Run.
Otherwise, like PyCharm, under the project, you can create a robot file. Double-click to open it and begin defining the sections and then the settings, variables, test cases, and supportive keyword functions.
Ben Xavier: How do I read a file in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: The Excel library for Robot Framework supports reading XLS, XLSX, and CSV file extensions. It contains the necessary keywords to process these files.
The most important keyword from the Excel Library is the OPEN EXCEL statement. In the Test Case file, it is important to provide a Library statement referencing DataDriver. If that statement references an Excel or CSV file, the DataDriver will automatically read each row or record in the file one at a time. Otherwise, the OPEN EXCEL statement can be referenced in a Robot Framework Resource file.

What’s Next?
If you are interested in learning the framework and its implementation, you may join the online course on Robot Framework offered by Wally Tauriac on the top rated e learning platform – Guruface.com. This course is specially designed for those who want to improve their knowledge in automated testing by employing various features and functions of Robot Framework and exploiting its ability to integrate with Python, Selenium, and Excel.

Online Courses

How to Keep Your Enrollees Hooked to Your Online Courses

Creating a value-packed online course and marketing it effectively is one thing, keeping your students “hooked” to your course is another.

I know for a fact that there are a lot of online instructors that struggling with this challenge. And the worst part is, it isn’t that easy to remedy either. I know this to be true because just like my community of digital marketers and content developers, I too have a handful of online courses that I enrolled to, yet I haven’t completed yet.

If you’re struggling with making your online courses “stickier”, then allow me to share with you some tips to help you with just that.

Let’s hop right in:

1. Make your content relatable.

There are a couple of ways that you can make this happened. However, for the most part, talking about your students’ problems would usually do the trick.

The more you rub their problems to their faces, the more they’ll want to read because they will want to hear how you’ll propose to solve their problems and make their lives better.

Have you ever wondered why “life-hack” type articles tend to get shared countless times on social media sites? It’s exactly because of that reason. Because the audience can relate to what is written in the post, they end up wanting to devour every line in the article. Of course, when they realize that your material is value-packed, they’ll share it with their community as well.

2. Ask them questions.

This strategy will work best if you take the time to get to know your audience first. That’s why buyer personas are such a goldmine. Not only does it help you create a product that your audience will love, but it also helps you create a marketing strategy that best captures your audience’s attention.

Why am I talking about buyer personas, though?

Simple.

That’s because before you decide to follow the strategy of asking your audience’s questions, you need to have a clear idea of what their struggles are.

Simply asking them random questions won’t cut it. You need to ask them questions that they can relate to. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting space in your online course.

Imagine having an online course about how to freelance online where the audience you’re targeting are the newbie freelancers — those who are oblivious about how the entire thing works.

You then ask them a question at the beginning of your curse saying, “Are you wondering which platform you should focus on to look for clients?”

As you can probably imagine, the sample question we asked is relevant to the audience. Simply because there are bajillions of places online where they can fish for jobs, yet they aren’t certain which platform will give them the best results.

As soon as they read the question, they’ll know that you know exactly what they’re going through. It sends them the right message. It tells them that you have a clear understanding of what their situation is, and you’re about to help them with it.

3. Ask them to interact with you.

Don’t just ask once, keep on dropping the call-to-action on several chapters of your online course where it makes sense.

Here’s the thing, there are times when your students need help with understanding what they’re reading. It isn’t realistic for you to expect that they’ll fully understand what you’re teaching in your course, even if you’ve tried your hardest to write everything in layman’s terms.

If you’ll ask them to interact with you by joining your Facebook group, or straight up ask them to send you an email, then they’ll have someone to turn to if they’ll have questions about your course.

This is important because other students would just stop going through the entire course if they find a couple of areas in the material that are hard to understand.

If you’ll give them a means to interact with you, however, then they can simply ask you if they have any questions. This makes the learning process for them easier, plus you’ll also manage to build your own community of like-minded individuals that you can monetize on later, or build relationships with.

4. Use different forms of content.

You can use charts, images, videos, or infographics. Do not limit yourself to thinking that you should only use text-based content.

You can even use webinars if you’d like to. Webinars make it easier for you to build relationships and familiarity with your audience. Imagine running a weekly webinar for everyone who enrolls in your course.

You can tell your audience to read chapters 1 – 5 within the week, then you’ll all meet in a webinar to discuss the chapters. This makes it the perfect time for them to ask you questions, share their success stories (or frustrations), or for everyone to empower everyone.

When you have an online course as amazing as this, then your audience will have a better understanding of your materials since you’re taking the time to meet with them in a webinar every week.

5. Add humor to your course.

You can use Memes, Gifs, or you can share one-liner jokes that would make them snicker.

Sprinkle these in your course, and you’ll have them craving for each succeeding lines of your course.

Humor is important because it gives your online course a “light” feel to it, making it easier for your students to digest the ideas.

When you deliver one-liner jokes, your students will tend to have a positive state of mind while consuming your materials. This makes the learning process a bit more pleasant for them. This will result in them having a better stamina when consuming your materials.

What’s next?

What are some of the tips that you can share with our community of online instructors when it comes keeping their students enrolled in their online course?

Please take the time to share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

project-management (2)

Project Management PMP Certification : Getting Your Employer To Pay

Having a Project Management PMP certification shows that you meet a foundational framework of knowledge but how do you get your employer to pay for your certification?  Here’s a few tips on how to convince your employer to pay for your Project Management certification.  

Your New Skill & Knowledge Can Save Your Employer Money

You have to paint a picture of how the certification will help you be an even better employee, whether it’s a class that will hone a particular skill that you use on the job, or provide you with a greater understanding of the inner workings of the industry.    The simplest and most powerful way to do this is to show them their expected return on investment.  Explain to them how you will be able to add more value thanks to your training, say for example, “With my PMP certification, I will be able to create more stability and reduce risks in our projects – and both of these are key goals of our organization.”

Support your justification of why your employer should pay for your Project Management PMP Certification by speaking to how you being certified will help your employer avoid becoming one of these four 2015 statistics

  1. One in six IT projects have an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  1. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail. (Source: Geneca)
  1. Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. (Source: Standish Group)
  1. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source:PricewaterhouseCoopers)

 

Also be sure to let your employer know that having employees with specific and pertinent certifications can help distinguish the company from less-certified bidders and bring in new accounts.  Whether one believes in the intrinsic value of PMP certification or not, the economic reality is many major companies and entities are simply demanding it.   If your company has bid on a government project over the past several years – be it federal, state or local, or even with a Fortune 1000 company, they have likely encountered the PMP certification requirement.  So for example if your business sub-contracts to Government or a larger company, it’s of value to those that you are certified in Project Management.

Further remind your employer certification programs are a great way for them to ensure that their employees’ skills don’t become dated and go stale.   For example Project Managers (PMP) certification requires continued learning and earning a specific amount of PDUs per three-year certification cycle.  By recertifying employers are assured that the skills of their employees remain fresh.

Research the Time and Cost

It’s very important to assure your employer that when they pay for your PMP Certification training and you are in the course it will not take any time away from your current work.   For this point, do some research into the cost and time taken for this certification? Answer questions such as:

  • How much will the exam(s) cost?  
  • Are there any training courses involved? How much will they cost? (contact us here at Guruface and learn the price for live online instructor led compared to prerecorded courses).
  • Do I need any books to study from?
  • Do I need to take any time off?
  • How long will it take me to complete? This can show the company when they can get the benefits of it.

We of course can help you with many of these points however once you know this information, you should be able to prepare a final dollar amount for the certification.   That makes the decision making process clear and complete, you have a better chance to get the approvals required with a clear view of the cost to your employer. Be mindful here at Guruface we offer two e-learning options, live instructor led training and prerecoded courses where the course costs are slightly lower.     Regardless of your schedule, we know you are busy and have learning options that can adjust to your schedule.

2 Things That are Preventing you from Succeeding as an Online Instructor. And How to Get Over Them.

Online Course

This article isn’t like the usual posts that I’ve been publishing. The ideas aren’t THAT specific, nor are they actionable.

However…

While this post might not be an actionable “How-to” guide, I promise you that reading this might be one of the most important things that you’ll ever need to do, as you try your hand at becoming an online instructor.

We’re going to talk about your struggles — whether you’ve articulated them in your mind’s or not. These struggles are debilitating and have caused countless others to give up on their dreams. More than just the problems, however, we will also talk about the solutions, and some ideas about why you shouldn’t be paralyzed by any of these problems.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Self doubt. “I’m not an expert enough.”

Others find themselves asking the question, “Do I even have the right to publish this course? I don’t think I’m an expert enough in this topic.”.

Does this question sound familiar to you?

Look. You need to understand that the main qualifier for someone to create an online course is not whether they’re the most knowledgeable about the topic. You need to realize that it’s all about value — value for your audience, that is.

Just because someone is knowledgeable about a topic, doesn’t mean that they can create a value-packed course for their audience. They could be teaching irrelevant aspects about the topic, since they didn’t do enough research to determine what specific aspects of the topic they’re audience are dying to learn about. Or, they could create something that’s overwhelming because they’re teaching every  nook and cranny about their topic, when in fact, their audience are just looking for a very specific segment about it.

The other question would be… Will these experts even take the time to create the course? What if they’re working 9 – 5s and are not in the position to create any? What if they feel that creating a course isn’t worth their time since they have a lot of things to take care of in their personal life?

In the situations I described above, your audience ultimately becomes the losers — and we don’t want that to happen, do we?

If you feel at 100% that your course will help solve your audience’s problems, then you ought to create, and publish it. You don’t have to know everything about the topic, you just have to be knowledgeable enough about the things that you are teaching, to make sure that you aren’t leading your audience astray.

Try picturing out 2 online courses. The first course is created by an expert, but the audience couldn’t quite understand the course because the expert used too much technical jargon. In short, the audience got very little to no value from the course.

The second course, however, is created by someone that knows just enough about the topic. The language used in the course is in layman’s terms, so the audience were able to learn a lot from the course. This has led to the audience’s lives changing for the better, since they are now equipped with the knowledge that they needed to solve their problems.

As you can probably imagine, the second course (despite it being created by someone who knows “just enough”) has provided more value to the audience than the course created by an expert.

That being said, do not let the whole “not being an expert enough” rabbit hole impede your success.

2. This is too overwhelming. Where or how do I start?

You’re right, creating an online course has so many facets to it, that it can be quite overwhelming to imagine. You have to write the actual course (you can outsource it if you want to, but I’d advise against that), you have to think about marketing, you have to create a compelling cover design,  and you also have to iron out the payment processing details, etc…

Because of how huge of an undertaking it is, people tend to get confused about how or where to start, and how to stay committed in completing the course.

If left unchecked, your being confused and overwhelmed can kill whatever chance you have on creating the course. In most cases, it often causes others to procrastinate, or give up on the idea altogether.

So, what exactly do you do? How exactly do you get over the hurdle of feeling overwhelmed and confused?

I have 1 advise to share to you… Just focus on the next right thing.

I learned about this tip from listening to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

The idea is for you not to keep on looking at the end result.

You need to stop comparing where you’re at right now in the process of creating your ebook, to how the entire thing should look like once it’s completed. You’ll only be frustrated and overwhelmed since you have a long ways to go.

Instead of constantly comparing, you just need to focus on doing the “next right thing”. If you keep doing this, you’ll surely inch closer to your online course’ completion everyday. You’ll avoid having those days where you don’t end up working on your course because you got overwhelmed (maybe even discouraged) at how far off you still are from completing it.

When using this strategy, you just need to plan one, time and set goals on your drawing board. Once you’ve created your game plan, then it’s all about doing “the next right thing”.

You can evaluate once every 2 weeks or maybe once a month, but don’t keep on checking in on where you’re at everyday.

What’s next?

What are some of the things that you think are preventing instructors (or publishers) from creating their online courses? After having worked with several entrepreneurs, the two struggles that I shared above seems to be on the top two of their list.

Are your struggles different? If they are, please share them in the comments section below.

Project-Management

Program Management Act of 2015 HR 2144 = PMP Certification Smart!

Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015” (HR 2144) makes Project Management Certification, PMP and CAPM, a smart move!

In 2015 legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that will make significant improvements to program and project management policy in the U.S. government. Presented by Congressmen Todd Young (R-IN) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the “Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015” (HR 2144) is a key initiative that will enable the Government Efficiency Caucus of the U.S. Congress to implement leading practices in project and program management across the U.S. government.

Among those reforms included in the legislation are:

  1. Creation of a formal job series and career path for program managers in the federal government.
  2. Development of a standards-based model for program management consistent throughout the federal government.
  3. Recognition of the essential role of executive sponsorship and engagement by designating a senior executive in each agency to be responsible for program management policy and strategy.
  4. Alignment of cross-government approaches to program management through an interagency council on program management.

Many of these reforms are influenced by Project Management Institute (PMI’s) research, which shows that organizations that invest in formal approaches to program management improve outcomes, accountability and efficiency. By adopting program management standards organizations increase collaboration, improve decision making and reduce risk. Research also shows that utilizing proven best practices and standards reduces wasteful spending and increases the efficiency of managing a program. In addition, organizations can expect to see significant improvement in their project completion rates and do so within budget.  
There will be challenges to migrating federal agencies to adopt a program and project management offices practices, but Guruface is here and will be offering live online and prerecorded courses in Project Management leading to PMP and CAPM certification.   

Project management makes sense for government agencies because it not only reduces capital expenditures, but also provides transparent assessment and real-time access to the state of a program or project.  Additionally, with the diminished budgets that so many agencies are experiencing, reducing total cost of ownership and focusing investments on the execution of core strategic issues are a bigger priority today than ever before.

It’s worth noting being a Project Manager in Government ( the public sector) can be very different than in the private sector. This holds true if the project manager is working directly for the government or as a private contractor performing work for a government agency.  The public sector has a much different culture than the private sector, and this can create special issues for the project manager and barriers for the project.   

All organizations experience change in leadership and management, but in government there is a built-in process to enable regular change, namely elections. Many agency heads are elected or appointed by elected officials, and this happens every two or four years. When the leaders of an organization change, they often make more changes that ripple through the organization. This could include turnover within the upper and middle management level–and even a shift in the primary mission of the agency. Just something to be aware of in exploring the new opportunities ahead with the new  “Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015” (HR 2144) initiative to adopt Project Management Practices Government-wide.   The U.S. demand for Project Managers is expanding by more than 12 percent, resulting in almost 6.2 million jobs predicted in 2020, according to PMI’s 2013 Talent Gap Report.  Expect much of that growth to be in Government and with Government subcontractors.  Guruface is here to offer busy professionals multiples paths to get trained and certified in Project Management.

 

How to Get Positive Online Reviews for Your Course

Positive online reviews

The other day, I was reading a sales copy for an online course that was meant to help me succeed at running Teespring campaigns. I couldn’t help but give the shirt selling industry a closer look since I’ve been wanting to give the industry a shot.

Everything about the sales copy was great. It has a compelling headline, the problems that the sales copywriter mentioned are spot on, he/she focused on the benefits rather than the product’s features, and he/she even used several other copywriting best practices.

At that point, I was almost ready to click the “Buy Now” button. But before I bought, I wanted to check on what the others had to say about the online course first, just to make sure that it isn’t all sizzle without steak.

Interestingly enough, after scrolling at the bottom of the page, I couldn’t see any testimonials or reviews about the course. I even tried Googling it for reviews yet I still couldn’t find any reviews about it.

Being the paranoid buyer that I am, I decided to hold off from buying the course. After all, I couldn’t ascertain whether or not what’s in the tutorial is of real value, or if it’s trash.

Now here’s a question for you… Do you think I’m the only ones paranoid about buying anything online? Do you think I’m the online one who wouldn’t buy if I don’t see any reviews validating the product’s quality?

I’m sure you realize that there are probably millions of other buyers like me who’d rather check out a product’s review first, before buying.

That being said, if you don’t want to miss-out on any potential buyers of your course because you don’t have any positive online reviews, allow me to share with you 3 tips that can turn things around for you:

1. Give free access to your course to a limited number of users, in exchange for reviews.

I’ve learned this strategy way back when I used to hang-out at WF (WarriorForum).

I noticed several sellers giving away their products to the first 5 – 10 users in exchange for reviews. True enough, I do see the users sharing their positive online reviews. The sellers will then edit their sales pages a bit by inserting the reviews/testimonials of the users.

* Important point –  asking for reviews in exchange for the free access to your course is one thing, but you can take it a step further by asking them not just for positive reviews, but also for shares. That way, your online course will get more visibility and free word-of-mouth endorsements from others.

2. Ask for positive reviews within your course.

Before you even think about using this strategy, you need to make sure that your online course can add real value to your subscriber’s lives.

Here’s the thing, this strategy greatly banks on the idea that your subscribers are having a blast going through your course. While consuming your content, they need to have the, “Oh man, this is such a goldmine!” mindset. It’s during these situations when you can strategically insert a call-to-action asking them to leave a positive review or a testimonial if they felt that the course is of value to them.

Have you ever enrolled for an online course before? One that you thought was really helping you understand the ropes of what you’re trying to learn? How do you think would you have felt if the author asked you (nicely) to leave a positive review if you enjoyed the course? Wouldn’t you reply saying, “ABSOLUTELY!”?

* Important point – don’t think twice about asking for positive online reviews within your course, if you know that your course is a real problem solver.

Rest assured that your subscribers won’t think badly of you if you asked for reviews since they are in a state of being grateful to you for helping them solve their problems.

3. Run a contest. Make the reviews part of the contest’s entry requirements.

If your course managed to gain a bit of traction and now have several enrollees, you can then run a contest that’s strictly for them.

Your contest can be about anything. However, the important bit is that you need to make adding a positive review about your course, as one of the requirements for them to join the contest.

There are several things that you need to consider to be successful when using this strategy:

a. Your contest’s prize should be worth having.

If your audience doesn’t like your prize, then don’t even wonder why they aren’t joining. The best question to ask yourself when trying to figure out what prize to give is, “What’s in it for me?” This is the question that most of your audience are asking themselves. If your prize is a satisfying enough answer to this question, then the chances are good that they’ll join your contest.

b. Make it easy for them to join.

Asking them for a positive review shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for your audience. However, in addition to that, if you ask them to blog about your course, and buy 3 of your other courses just so they can join your contest, don’t expect them to join. If joining becomes too much of a mission for them, they’ll end up becoming overwhelmed.

c. Create awesome copy.

On one of my first paragraphs, I talked about how the writer used some of the best practices of copywriting. You need to do the same when telling others about your contest, otherwise, your message won’t be compelling enough. Here’s a good resource about learning the tricks of the trade in writing a compelling copy.

* Important note – be sure to state your contest’s mechanics clearly. Otherwise, your audience might find a way to game the contest. What’s worse, others might feel cheated because you weren’t able to award them the prize due to technical reasons.

What’s next?

Using these 3 tips alone will you get a handful of testimonials or positive online reviews. You can then add them to your sales page to give your copy that extra “Oomph!”

If there are other strategies that you’d like to share about getting more reviews, then please do share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo Courtesy – © tashatuvango / Dollar Photo Club

ProjectManagementCertificate_MAIN

The Value of Project Management Professional Certification

Have you been thinking about getting a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification?   Most people are surprised to learn of the real value a PMP and that’s perhaps best brought into clear understanding when compared to the MBA (Masters Business Administration).

In 2015 the average total cost of North American programs (MBA)  is about $222,000(1). The national average salary for MBA working as marketing directors and chief financial officers was $118,654 and $128,201, respectively(2). Hence with an MBA degree, you can expect to about  half per year of what that MBA degree cost you.

Contrasted this with the PMP Certification where the median Project Practitioner salary in the U.S. is $108,000(3). The cost of PMP Certification course here at GuruFace is less than $1,000 hence you can expect to earn 100X more per year than what the PMP cost you.

And though most MBA degree programs are 2 years,  there are accelerated MBA degree Programs that enable you to earn and MBA degree in as short as 12 months. Nonetheless this is still an a great deal of time for a busy professional.  A typical PMP program leading to certification at GuruFace will take about 2 months time.

Viewing it from a very general ROI (return on investment) perspective, the amount of money and time needed to invest in an MBA compared with what is needed in money and time for a PMP, the difference on your return on investment can be dramatic.

The MBA degree and the PMP certification are different and thus have different goals and requirements.  The PMP certification reflects the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and project management skills. Though the PMP is a certificate and not a degree – you can’t go get a PMP certificate by directly taking a test — there are time-in-service requirements as well as education requirements specific to the PMBOK before you can take the certifying exam depending upon your education and experience in the field.  If you have approximately two years of education, 7,500 hours of project management experience and 35 hours of education in project management which you can get here at GuruFace, you may take the exam. Alternatively, you can take the exam if you have a four-year degree, 4,500 hours of experience and 35 hours of education in project management, again which you can obtain here at GuruFace.

Certifications like the Project Management Professional (PMP), have become popular because they demonstrate to employers you’re ready to manage their services and other projects in the areas of  schedules, costs, performance, quality, risks and procurement with a focus on profitability. Project managers start with a detailed plan, thinking through every aspect of the job. The then implement the plan while controlling the overall effort to get desired results, all while adjusting and navigating through the inevitably roadblocks and snags that come with projects.

Who recognizes the PMP certification?  Major companies and government agencies worldwide recognize the PMP certification. Several Fortune 1000 companies demand that all of their employees or subcontractors that are engaged in project management activities should be PMPs. In other words, the PMP certification has become a market differentiator.

 

  1. http://poetsandquants.com/2016/02/20/how-much-does-an-mba-really-cost/
  1. What Is The Average Salary For An MBA Graduate? | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031215/what-average-salary-mba-graduate.asp#ixzz42gqZGXS8
  1. https://www.pmi.org/learning/PM-Network/2015/global-job-report-salary-data.aspx

3 Ways Your Experience Can Help You Sell Your Services – Marketing Online Courses

Here are 3 ways you can help people gain from your experience, monetize your knowledge and skills.

1. Create an Expert Guide

Set up a website or a blog, pour all your years of experience into a nice content guide, and start promoting it on social media and other marketing channels. The first baby step (read: giant leap) you have to take is to create an awesome guide. Make it as simple and appealing as you can.

GuruFace Comment: Starting a blog where you talk about your experience is a great way build an audience and market your courses hosted at GuruFace.   You will need to update the blog approximately 3-5 times a week to keep people coming back to you. After setting up a blog the next step is to set up a social network centered on your blog (and courses at GuruFace). This means going on a creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. Tools like Social Pilot, Buffer, and Hootsuite will enable you to efficiently distribute your blog content to social media, and soon you’ll be reaching many different audiences and promoting your courses.

2. Make Ebooks and Courses

 

It is very simple these days to make an ebook or design your own online training course for free. No matter what field you are in, you can address several audience pain points using ebooks and online courses. (highlight to tweet)

GuruFace Comment:  PDF ebooks are easily created on any computer you own.  Your ebook can be a syllabus outline with brief description of your courses at GuruFace.  Once created, you can share an ebook on your blog, in emails, and in social media. PDFs are readable on computers, tablet devices, and even smart phones.   Using an ebook as a very easy and inexpensive way to build your audience and database of people interested in your experience and courses hosted at GuruFace. Consider writing one to give to people for free and get your message out to people and introducing them to your courses at GuruFace.

3. Create Videos and Webinars

YouTube isn’t the only place where you can monetize your videos—you have Facebook, Vimeo, DailyMotion, at your disposal, too. Make a cool video once a week, and earn passive income for the rest of your life! How’s that for a working retirement plan?

GuruFace Comment: We have a GuruFace channel on Youtube and will absolutely promote your video wherein you’re describing your courses hosted at GurFace.  YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. This gives you a great opportunity to reach people interested in your experience and courses hosted at GuruFace. So if your training videos are on YouTube, people searching on YouTube, or regular Google search can find them.

 

How Can You Boost Sales Of Your Online Courses Using Content Marketing?

MoodleNews.com writes: How do you spread the word about your online courses and grow sales?   There are plenty of modern digital options out there: affiliate marketing, digital advertising, SEO and so on. All of these options help to generate exposure for your brand and awareness about your offerings –  and you should be using them – but eyeballs on your ads do not automatically lead to sales.

Content marketing, in the most simple terms, is generating something of tangible value (in this case content – like an eBook, infographic, etc.) for your target audience that they can use to improve their lives, businesses or practice.    Content marketing is booming in the information age because ads don’t work as well as they used to.

Content marketing is an important way of generating trust in your brand; it makes people more likely to commit to buying from you than if they simply see advertisements or come across your website. While it is definitely more slow-burning than other advertising methods, it can create an aura of trustworthiness around your brand that makes people feel they are buying from a genuinely helpful, interesting and knowledgeable source. It’s an integral part of today’s marketing landscape and is used by companies small and large to build their image as a source of good things.  The article continues @ MoodleNews.com, click here to continue reading

GuruFace Comment: Content marketing is the production and dissemination of interesting content centered around your courses for the purpose of generating inbound leads to your course.   This content could be in the form of videos, e-books, blogs, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, podcasts, webinars, infographics, Q&As, reviews—whatever makes the most sense to bring attention to your course.

Getting started in content marketing is easy, and you do it right away on Twitter for example.   Let’s say, for example, you are trying to promote new course on Twitter.  You can tweet each day about a certain topic covered in the course along with a link to your Guruface Course Page. In one quick step you’ve made it that much easier for users to access your content and enter your conversion funnel.

One of the most useful features of Twitter is the hashtag. It can be especially helpful when looking for the best audience to share your content with online. Each hashtag acts as a unique sort of hub, where people gather to talk about specific topics or events. By simply inserting a particular hashtag into a post, a user can tie their activity to every other Twitter user who is talking or posting about the same topic. Identifying and tracking the hashtags most relevant to your Course will give you access to entire pools of new prospective consumers you might not have otherwise found.

Investigating hashtags such as #[Course Subject] would be a great first step toward connecting with those users who are most interested in your course offerings.   Twitter has a great page on how to get started in content marketing on their platform. Content Marketing on Twitter (click).

3 Reasons Teaching Online Courses is the Best Way to Make Passive Income

Phil Ebiner for “How to Win at Teaching Online”  writes: Teaching online courses has changed my life, along with thousands of other normal people like you who started teaching online courses. Starting out from scratch, I’ve been able to build a successful brand – including a website, YouTube channel, and student base over 125,000.  Teaching online has been so amazing for me that I was able to leave my full-time job to focus on teaching online. Not only do I get to spend my days doing what I love, but I make more money than ever before doing so.

GuruFace comment: We’ve excerpted 3 of Phil Ebiner’s key reasons why teaching online courses is the best way to make passive income.

#1: The highest hourly rate you’ll ever be paid

Most people spend their days trading hours for dollars. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. worker makes $25 per hour. Is that somewhere around where you land? Now, imagine making $1,000+ per hour of work?  That’s what’s possible with teaching online courses. Because most of the work is up front, and you can continue to sell courses for many years, the hours you spend making a course can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. For me, even simple courses that take 20-40 hours of work to create have gone on to make tens of thousands of dollars in income, which translates to an hourly rate in the $1,000 range.

#2: Ultimate scalability

Online courses are digital products. Most are video-based courses that students pay to access and view. It hardly costs you anything to allow another student to access this same material. So whether you sell a course to 10 students or 1,000 students, it doesn’t cost you more (aside from the time spent promoting your course). This is so different from other product or service-based companies. Imagine if you were a live yoga instructor. Maybe you can fit 20-30 students in your yoga studio. But after that, you’ll need to pay for a bigger room. Or you’ll need to teach more classes. If you taught a yoga class online, you can open it up to any number of students at practically no extra cost or effort.   This is why teaching online courses is so great for making passive income. Once you create the course, you can continue to sell it without much work.

#3: $100 Billion industry in 2015, expected to grow in 2016

According to Forbes, the 2015 online course market was going to be over $100 billion. The growth of this industry continues to trend upwards, and it is still the perfect time to get started with teaching online courses. With new learners from around the world starting to purchase online courses, the market will continue to rapidly grow in 2016. Currently, Udemy, one of the most popular online course marketplaces, has over 9 million students from 190 countries. The top 5 instructors have earned a combined $13,410,792 a of July, 2015.

GuruFace Comment:  If you’ve ever wanted to sell educational courses online — but simply couldn’t master the technology, marketing, or delivery – GuruFace is here for you. We help teachers, instructors, & trainers build a business online selling prerecorded courses and conducting live streaming courses.  We help you create your course materials, develop a course plan, and a marketing plan. That’s what really set me off on this. Our strength is the marketing component we bring to you in creating your own landing page, SEO & emailing strategy.

There are other platforms out there that will allow you to set-up courses and to sell them. No matter what option you choose, there are always trade-offs. In some cases you can get started rather quickly, but you don’t get to keep much of the revenue from your sales.  You should also consider your long-term goals when it comes to selling courses and with whom to partner. For example, if you built-up a substantial customer base but are selling on standard popular third party platform like Udemy, your customers aren’t really your customers, but rather the parent company’s customers. You will not have this problem with GuruFace, your customers are yours and we’re here to focus on helping you grow your business.