importance of softskills

8 Important Soft Skills For Career And Your Personal Growth

8 Important Soft Skills For Career And Your Personal Growth

A hard skill like programming, marketing, and campaign management, SEO/SEM marketing, data mining, and mobile development may help you ace a job. However, soft skills will help you grow in a job. The term soft skills stand for personal traits and habits that shape your relationships at the workplace.

In 2017, a study by Harvard student David J. Deming concluded that jobs demanding soft skills or social skills have grown by 12% between the years 1980 to 2012 in the US alone. Another study by Deloitte Access Economics suggests that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of jobs by 2030. Recently, the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey suggested that recruiters are keen to hire people with soft skills. However, they see a large gap in this area. Now you may think, why are soft skills important for any business organization? What are the soft skills important to excel in the career? Read this post to know the answers.

Soft-Skills

Importance of Soft Skills in Any Organization

Soft skills are important for any business organization for a variety of reasons.

  • They help build human connections, which drive an organization.
  • They help convince and retain customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders within and outside the organization.
  • These skills will help build strong and vibrant workplaces.
  • They will help individuals in career progression and promotion.
  • They are hard to automate and no business in the world can survive without them!

Having known the importance of soft skills in the organization, it is quite obvious to think about the type of soft skills to excel in an organization. Read the next section to know the answers.

Top 8 Soft Skills to Excel In Your Career

According to LinkedIn and Monster Jobs, the following are the top 8 soft skills that will help you excel in a career and build strong interpersonal relationships.

  1. Effective Communication

    Verbal and written communication is the key to excel in the workplace. Communication skills boost your chances of building stronger relationships with your colleagues. They help minimize errors and maximize productivity at the workplace. If you can communicate how, what, when, why, and where effectively – there will be fewer worries, and more productive ideas coming your way.

  2. Adaptability

    However, hard you plan, there are unforeseen risks and challenges in every project. In such situations, your employers expect you to pivot, and find a suitable solution. According to Joel Garfinkle, the author of Getting Ahead: The Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next, the workplaces are rapidly changing. Employers are on a constant lookout for people who can quickly pivot the change to salvage the situation and keep the work going.

  3. Problem Solving

    The challenges are bound to arise every now and then within the organization. It entirely depends on how you would like to approach it: would you complain or would try to find a solution? If the answer is second, there are chances that you make the best impression on your manager or the top management. If you choose to complain, perhaps, you are losing on opportunities that may come your way. Knowing how to tackle a problem will make you the employer’s favorite. And remember, successful businesses are always lead by problem solvers!

  4. Teamwork

    TeamworkThere are all chances that you have heard lines of Julia Carney’s famous poem Little Things “ Little drops of water make a mighty ocean”. If you consider the workplace as an ocean, you can see that it is made of people with diverse skill sets and talents. The quality of work improves only when people use their skills and talents in collaboration to focus on a common goal. Knowing this, most employers always prefer team players who can contribute to healthy office culture.

  5. Creativity

    Employers hire people who show exhibit creativity. Have you wondered why many businesses fail to make a mark after a certain time period? There can be several reasons, however, the lack of creativity can be one of the key reasons. One of the biggest examples being Nokia, which was the pioneer of mobile phones but failed to make an impact due to a lack of creative ideas. The businesses that fail to present creative ideas quickly fade into oblivion. As said before, these businesses are made of individuals who drive this creativity. So, you can understand how important this skill is? Creativity does not always mean presenting exceptionally brilliant ideas during team meetings, rather it can also be demonstrated through your approach towards certain problems, people, and conditions.

  6. Conflict Resolution

    Conflicts are bound to arise in any workplace because it is made of different individuals. It all depends on how one navigates through these conflicts. Employers always prefer people who are good at conflict resolution. Being able to resolve disagreements constructively and amicably is a key leadership trait. The people who possess this trait are perceived as an asset to the organization and they help build and promote a healthy workplace.

  7. Negotiation

    A good negotiator makes a good leader – is a common conception. And yes, it is true to a large extent. A good negotiator is the one who understands the situations and makes the right decision. For instance, one of the team members may approach you for extending a deadline. Next, a client may be pushing you for quick delivery. The boss wants to cut down a marketing budget by 10%, which may affect your output. All these situations require different negotiation skills. Some people may choose a one-size approach to all situations. This approach may work in some instances but fail most times. This is because some of these negotiations need to be competitive, others are constructive or collaborative depending on the situation. So, the decision to be competitive, constructive, and collaborative, entirely lies with you and depends on the situation you are in.

  8. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

    Empathy is a soft skill that cannot be taught, but it comes from within. However, you can cultivate it with time. Empathy forms the base of emotional intelligence. By practicing empathy, you can improve your awareness of people and their situations. This facilitates deep understanding and helps you build stronger relationships at the workplace. With the workplace becoming increasingly divisible, this trait will earn you a lot of respect and attention at your workplace.

How Can You Acquire Soft Skills?

Many of the soft skills listed in this post are inculcated in childhood, still, you can acquire them with time. You can practice the following habits and enrich them.

  • Improve your communication skills, both written and spoken
  • Be solutions-oriented rather than problem-driven
  • Observe your colleagues and build an attitude that helps you interact with them effectively
  • Observe their body language and try to pick the positive traits from them
  • Practice patience and improve your listening skills
  • Try to understand your colleagues and the situations they are in for effective navigation through work-related and personal problems

Every small effort made towards building, acquiring, or sharpening these skills will help you in a big way. Although you can also acquire these skills by observation and self-practicing, still, joining various soft skill courses online will help. Today, these courses are offered by different organizations and online learning platforms like Guruface. The tailor-made courses at Guruface help participants to strengthen their communication skills as well as build strong interpersonal skills. They are designed to bring out the best in learners. Both organizations and individuals can attend these courses to increase their chances of success.

interview questions on UFT for SAP testing automation

All Important Questions on UFT for SAP Testing Answered

Important Interview Questions On UFT For SAP Testing Answered

Flexibility, scalability, and efficiency are a few factors that drive the demand for SAP among businesses. Having said that, the SAP implementation is never easy and the businesses considering it needs to focus on multiple factors including the testing effectiveness of solutions.

Over the years, various testing tools have gained popularity among SAP business owners group. Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is one of the most popular amongst them. What are the other popular SAP testing tools? Why UFT is the best tool for SAP testing? This discussion between Wally Tauriac, Software Engineer and Test Analyst with over 40 years of experience in several fortune 500 companies and author of SAP test automation using HP UFT; and Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com aims to answer these questions.  And also tries to cover all other important questions that you may have in mind regarding the implementation of QTP/UFT for SAP applications.

Questions and Answers on QTP/UFT for SAP Automation Testing

1. Ben XavierWhat are the tools used for SAP Testing?

Wally Tauriac: The top five test tools used for SAP testing are:

  1. Worksoft– known for being a code-free solution, compatible with SAP Fiori supportive, and ALM and Agile.
  2. RightData– SAP HANA migration, good for high validation testing, and supports a validation builder tool.
  3. Testimony– eliminates the manual efforts around test case delivery, execution, and updates for SAP testing.
  4. Micro Focus (QTP) UFT– has been around at the top of marketing supporting SAPGUI testing known as a feature-rich tool.
  5. eCATT– intended to provide the testing support needed for a SAPGUI application.

As I mentioned, UFT is still strong in the functional testing market.

2. Ben Xavier: Why use UFT over other tools for SAP testing?
Wally Tauriac: UFT has been around for a long time and therefore supports multiple versions of SAPGUI, multiple browsers, multiple operating systems, with continually growing functional services to meet customer needs.

3. Ben Xavier: What are the business benefits of SAP Test Automation using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are several benefits to name, whereas I believe the following benefits of UFT have contributed to their quick adoption among SAP business owners.

  • Ease of use – the programming language is VBScript which is easy to learn and use
  • Easy to record new scripts ready for execution
  • Easy to identify and define application test objects
  • Capable of identifying hard-to-detect test objects that are not common to applications
  • User-friendly IDE for customizing test object validation and verification
  • Easily adapts to various commonly known test frameworks

4. Ben Xavier: What are the career possibilities of SAP automation testing using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are 100s of jobs available for UFT knowledgeable individuals to test SAPGUI applications around the country. The roles are known as Quality Assurance Analyst, Tester, Automation Engineer, QA Engineer, and others.

5. Ben Xavier: How to modify an SAP Portal script?
Wally Tauriac: SAP Portal scripts are one of many supported protocols in UFT. SAP Portal is similar to web UFT scripts. The following image is an example of what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like.

what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like
An example of a UFT SAP Portal script

If you have more time, here is a video that provides a detailed understanding of how this example was developed in UFT.

 

6. Ben Xavier: How do we modify a SAPGUI script?
Wally Tauriac: SAPGUI applications are challenging test objects for test tools. But UFT can adapt to what SAPGUI requires for a test script. Here is what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI.

what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI
Example of a UFT test script for SAPGUI

For more details regarding viewing and modifying a UFT script for testing SAPGUI, here is a video that is part of my training course on UFT for SAP Testing, published on Guruface.com.

 

7. Ben Xavier: How do we test SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: The UFT IDE is the normal tool used for running UFT test scripts. This includes SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications which are two of many UFT protocols. Because UFT coding syntax is supported by the VBScript language, it is an alternative way that UFT scripts can be executed. And a third method of executing UFT scripts is using its sister product called ALM or Quality Center also owned by Micro Focus.

Do You Want to Learn and Implement QTP/UFT for SAP Testing?
If the answer sounds Yes, you may join an eLearning course on QTP/UFT for SAP Testing by Wally Tauriac on Guruface.com, which is one of the fastest-growing and top-rated eLearning platform. This course is specially designed for those who want to learn or master the art of developing effective ERP test scripts using Unified Functional Testing (UFT).

 

eLearning Course on UFT for SAP Testing
The course is designed to bring UFT or
QTP together with SAP Portal and
SAPGUI application testing activities.UFT-for-SAP
Buy The Course Now!

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.

 

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!

Online Instructors

4 Mistakes Online Instructors Make that Ruin their Career to Oblivion

4 Mistakes Online Instructors Make that Ruin their Career to Oblivion

Just last night, I received a phone call from my friend Jeff. He was looking for someone to talk to about his frustrations. The thing with Jeff is that he has been creating courses for the last eight months now, yet he only has a handful of enrollees. I found this to be a bit surprising since he is one of the best online instructors that I know.

Since Jeff and I go way back (we’re basically like brothers), I obliged and met with him at a coffee shop near our place for breakfast.

As Jeff and I started talking, I couldn’t help but ask him about his marketing strategy to increase awareness about his online courses.

After hearing his answer, I was mindblown!

He said something along the lines of, “I don’t take the time to market my online courses. I know that if I just keep on making high-quality courses one after the other, people are bound to learn about them since they provide massive value.”

I cannot even begin to describe how debilitating this kind of mistake is.

It is mistakes like these that frustrate the heck out of online instructors, which ultimately leads them to quit their career. The sad part is, they’re not even aware that they’re doing something wrong.

That’s the kind of problem that we’re trying to remedy right now.

I’m going to share with you some of the most critical mistakes that online instructors make. That way, if you find yourself doing any of these, then you can stop immediately and start doing the things that you should be doing to succeed.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Waiting for inspiration to strike.

Just last week, I was listening to a podcast about how writers can stay productive. While there were several quotes shared during the podcast, there was one quote from Stephen King that caught my attention.

I can’t quite remember what the quote was word per word, but it was something along the lines of, “Beginner writers wait for inspiration, while the rest of us just go to work.”

Stephen King’s quote is powerful isn’t it?

It gives us a clear picture of how even for seasoned writers, the process of writing isn’t all roses and daisies. Even for them, it requires hard work, dedication and a solid enough backbone to be able to drag themselves to write, even if they don’t feel like it.

This is contrary to how beginner online instructors view the process of creating their online courses.

A good number of them tend to think that they should first feel inspired; otherwise, they ought not to waste their time trying to put the course together.

Now here’s the question that I’d like to ask you, “Whose ideas do you think is worth absorbing? Is it the newbie online instructors? Or is it Stephen King?”

2. Using the “Publish and Pray” approach.

What is the “Publish and Pray” approach, you might ask?

It’s simple. You basically just publish your online course, then do nothing else but pray that it gets the traction that it needs.

Look. I’m not against people who pray. In fact, I know how important it is, and I value prayer a lot!

However, you need to realize that the successful online instructors do more than just pray. They also put in the hard work to market the heck out of their online courses, to make sure that their audience knows about the existence of their course.

Considering how noisy the internet is, you can bet your family’s jewels that your online course will only get ignored if you don’t take the time to market it.

3. They price their online courses too low.

I’ll admit that pricing your online course can be a bit tricky. Price your product too high, and no one will want to enroll. If you price it too low, however, your audience might think your course to be worthless. After all, why would anyone price something so low if that something is value-packed, right?

If you’re struggling with the same thing right now, here’s what I urge you to do.

You need to look at how much of your resources you’ve spent creating your online course (and yes, your time is a resource too), how your competitors are pricing their products, and how much value your online course can bring to the audience should they take action on your tips.

While there certainly other factors that you can look into when deciding how much you’ll price your course, the points that I shared above is almost always good enough to point you in the right direction concerning how much enrolling to your online course would cost.

4. Focusing on writing about the things they like. Not about what their audience needs.

I get it. There is certainly value in aligning your course’s modules on the things that you are passionate about, after all, if you aren’t writing about the things that you like, then there is a good chance that you’ll get burned out in no time.

We don’t want that, do we?

However, while you may be correct in writing about the things that you are passionate about, you need to realize that you are creating an online course not so YOU can learn, your online course is for your target audience — you want THEM to learn.

Since that is the case, then shouldn’t you also give emphasis on the things that they want to learn about? Isn’t it right for you to figure out where their knowledge gap is so that you can create an online course that can address it?

Friends, why don’t you do this instead? Why don’t you look for an overlap between the things that you are passionate about, and the things that your audience are wanting to learn? That way, you can be certain that there are people dying to enroll to the course that you’ve created because your target audience needs the information in your course.

Do you have any tips for online instructors?

What are some of the most debilitating mistakes that you’ve done as an online instructor? Please take the time to share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Freelance Writing Gigs

How to Use Facebook to Start Getting More Freelance Writing Gigs

According to Facebook, they have about 1,650,000,000 monthly active users as of March 31, 2016. That’s way too many zeros to ignore, don’t you think?

The fact is, if you know how to market your writing services on Facebook, you’ll never starve as a writer – ever!

I know. You’ve probably tried selling your services on Facebook, haven’t you? And I’d bet that you haven’t gotten a single lead (let alone client) out of your marketing efforts.

Trust me; you are not alone.

I know several other freelancers that are struggling with the same thing as well.

If you are in fact getting little to no results out of your marketing efforts on Facebook, then allow me to share with you the exact strategies that I am using when looking for more freelance writing gigs on Facebook.

Let’s hop right in.

Google’s Web Store + Facebook fan page

I’d like to start with this tip right off the bat since I’ve gotten several clients from Facebook by using this strategy alone.

The game plan is quite simple. I just go to Google’s Web Store to uncover apps that the people in my niche would use. From there, I put together a list of these apps so I can look for their pages on Facebook. Once I find their page, I then take the time to comment, share, or engage with their audience so I can learn more about their business and their community.

After about a week or so of nurturing my visibility in their page through commenting, sharing, and liking, I’ll then send the business a private message asking if they’re looking for someone who can help them with their content.

* Important note – I do not just ask the prospect the question, “Do you need someone who can help you with your content?” I feel that the question sounds generic to the point where it looks spammy.

I tend to be very specific. I tell them things like, “I noticed that you haven’t updated your website’s blog posts since (the date since they last published). Are you currently in need of…” This kind of question clearly shows the prospect that you’ve done your homework, and that you aren’t just sending canned messages to everyone.

Be active on communities.

By “communities”, I’m talking about groups or fan pages.

There are several routes that you can take when using this strategy; you can straight up interact with groups that talk about how/where to get freelance writing jobs online, or, you can connect with groups that are all about the niche that you specialize in.

I’m a huge fan of the latter, however.

I’d like to be in niche specific groups since the kind of leads/clients that I get from these groups are of better quality. The topics that they want me to write about are things that I am familiar with, so it becomes easier for me to write their articles.

Invest in networking.

Not many freelancers understand the concept of networking. For them, it is just an idle “hi” or “hello” to other users. They have no clear idea of what it is, or how to even start.

The good news is, while there are in fact several important points that you need to consider to make sure that you’re networking the “right way,” we can pretty much sum the whole thing up in one line. And that line is, “How can you help them?”

Think about this statement when networking with other Facebook users, and I guarantee you that you’ll get better results out of your efforts.

Other freelancers tend to think about, “How do I approach this person so I can benefit from him?” when “networking” with others. It’s because of this that a good number of freelancers end up pitching their services even on their first contact with the other users when they should be focusing on learning more about the needs of the other person.

Look, you’ll need to be a bit more strategic when connecting with the other users, otherwise, you’ll just be spamming them with you first email pitch.

Why don’t you do this instead? Why don’t you ask the other user about what he does in the current company that he is connected with (or the business that he is managing), then ask him how you can help make things better for him?

That’s a pretty good strategy to get the other person to open up to you. Once they’ve opened up to you a bit, you can then strategically pitch your services to them.

Interview

Interviewing other users is also an effective means to turn them into paying clients.

Here’s the gist of the strategy.

All you need to do is reach out to the other Facebook users in your niche, and tell them that you’d like to interview them. Doing so will make them feel that they are important to you and that you value them.

For the most part, I have found that majority of the people that I pitch interview requests are almost always happy to oblige — unless they’re busy or something.

While you can certainly offer to interview someone for free, you might want to be a bit more selective about going about this.

After all, depending on how you want to run the interview, it can be quite time-consuming.

Instead of pitching an interview request to some random person within your industry, you ought to check the individual’s number of followers or his/her position in the company that he is connected with (among other things).

You need to be a bit more selective about who you choose to interview since your goal for connecting with them isn’t merely for the sake of interviewing them, one of your main reasons for doing so it to establish relationships, and win more customers.

As you can probably imagine, there is a world of a difference between the kind of chances that you can get when it comes to closing new clients, if you’re interviewing someone at the executive level, or someone in the frontlines.

When you’ve built a relationship with executives, they can quickly bring you more projects themselves, or they can refer you to their contacts.

What’s next?

Have you been using Facebook to get more freelance writing gigs? What are some of the best strategies that you can share with the community?

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

client referrals

6 Things You Need to Know When Asking for Client Referrals

Six Tips to Know Before Asking for Client Referrals

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.
2. Ask when you are praised for your effort or output.
3. DO NOT ask when you have unfinished business with your client
4. Be careful with the timing you ask for a referral.
5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.
6. Be confident when asking for a referral.

You’ve heard it haven’t you? You’ve heard others say how powerful of a tool client referrals can be when growing your client base.

I for one would attest to that. I’ve been using referrals for quite some time now and it has helped me get more clients, even without me having to do my usual client acquisition strategies/methods.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to ask for client referrals, then this guide is what you need. The tips and ideas that I’ll share with you will help drastically increase your chances of getting your clients to say, “Sure!”, when you go for the big ask.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.

Don’t make your client referral ask sound like you’re begging.

If you’re reaching out to them telling them that you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, so you’d appreciate it if they’ll refer you to their community, you’re doing it wrong — terribly wrong!

Instead of going the “pity-me” approach, ask in this manner instead, “Hey (your client’s first name), is there anyone you know who might need my services?”

Asking in this manner will make you sound like you just want to help others solve their problems.

2. Ask when you are praised for your output. No matter how small of praise it might be.

This strategy has worked wonders for me.

Whenever I ask for referrals immediately after my client praises me, they almost always respond very positively.

I mean, when I ask on a normal scenario where they haven’t praised me or anything, I tend to get a, “Sure Jim. I’ll help you”, reply. However, whenever I ask for a referral where my clients have just praised me, they reply with, “Absolutely Jim! You’re the man and I’ll be more than happy to tell the world about how awesome your work is…”

The difference in their replies are like night and day.

Follow this strategy and you’ll never get a negative reply from your prospect clients.

More importantly, they tend to take action on your referral ask immediately in scenarios like these. I know this because minutes after they’ll tell me that they’ll refer me, they’ll get back to me saying 2 – 3 of his/her contact will connect with me today or within this week to discuss the possible opportunity.

Isn’t this strategy amazing?

All you need to do is provide solid work (just like you normally would), then you’ll manage to get more clients.

3. Do not ask when you haven’t completed your work, or proven your worth yet.

If you’ve heard of others saying that they ticked off their client because of their referral ask, then you need to dig deeper and learn about how they asked for the referral, and when they did it (among others things).

Here’s the thing, just like in most things in life, there is a right way of asking for referrals, and the wrong way.

Of course, asking for referrals when you have not yet established how “referral-worthy” you are is a terrible mistake.

This mistake is so wrong in so many levels, mind you.

In your client’s point of view, when you ask for referrals even if you haven’t shown him your work could mean that your just interested in getting more projects.

That’s a big “no no”.

You need to show your existing clients that you are focused on their project alone, and that you aren’t thinking of any other clients but them. You need to make them feel confident that you are giving their projects your best efforts.

4. Be careful with the timing.

It goes without saying that if your client isn’t in a good mood, you ought not to ask for referrals. Asking for referrals when your client is seeing red can cause you all sorts of problems. Enough said.

5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.

Having a meaningful relationship with your clients (or to everyone for that matter) almost always pays.

When you’ve reached a point where you can chat, or laugh with your clients casually, there’s just no reason why they would take offense in you asking for referrals, right?

However, as you can probably imagine, you’ll only get to a point where you can have an established enough relationship with your clients if you are consistent in giving them quality results.

It will only happen if you’ve won their trust, and they see you as someone who has genuine concern for them.

6. Be confident when asking.

There are a lot of misconceptions about asking for referrals.

Most freelancers think that doing so is beneath them, and that their clients might get turned off because of them asking.

They can never be further from the truth.

Look. Even if you ask seasoned freelancers (and business) who are worth their salt, they’ll be upfront in telling you that they are keen on asking for referrals.

They have a totally different mindset about it.

They rarely worry about blowing off a relationship with their clients because of referrals, because they know that it rarely happens.

Not asking for referrals is a mistake that most beginners make. I know this because I had the same mindset as well during my first few months in freelancing online.

It was only when I heard a podcast about the techniques on asking for referrals that I ended up trying it. And guess what… it works! It actually works quite well!

In fact, I’ve been trying to ask for referrals whenever I can from my clients, ever since my first success with the strategy.

Here’s the kicker… I don’t ever remember anyone getting annoyed at me for asking for referrals. In short — I didn’t have any burned bridges because of me asking for referrals. Not a single one.

What’s next?

Have you been asking your existing clients for more referrals? What are some of the techniques that you’re using to get them to say “yes”, and to increase the chances of them taking action in their commitment to helping you with referrals?

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

Online Freelancer

Limiting Beliefs that will Ruin Your Career as an Online Freelancer

If you’ve read your fair share of articles about how to succeed as an online freelancer, you’d have learned by now that while there are bajillions of successful freelancers, there are just as many who failed miserably — maybe even more.

Of course, none of us wants to end up becoming the latter. I know I wouldn’t. I hope you feel the same way too.

After having helped several online freelancers take their career to the next level, I now have a better idea of what made some of them fail, and what made others succeed.

The good news is, I’m going to share with you the kind of limiting beliefs that the freelancers who failed had, so you can peg them to kind of self talk that you have. Should you uncover that some of these limiting beliefs are inside you, you can then do whatever it is that you need to do to get rid of them.

* Note – Be honest when assessing yourself, otherwise, you’ll just undermine your success. Remember that we aren’t just here for mental exercise. Our goal here is to help you truly succeed at becoming an online freelancer.

Let’s hop right in.

1. I’m not good enough.

For the past 4 – 5 years, I’ve been taking the time to read/study almost everyday to hone my craft. I’m doing this because I know exactly where I stand. Not only is English my second language, but I didn’t graduate as an English major as well. In fact, the course I took up way back in college has a lot to do with machine design and metal fabrication — in short, I didn’t learn much about the English subject when I was still studying.

Look. I’ve been doing my due diligence to study and improve my craft for the past 4 – 5 years, yet I still feel that I’m not good enough. And quite frankly, if the other writers are going to be honest with you, I’d bet that a good number of them feel the same way as I do.

What I’m trying to drive at here is that feeling of not being good enough will never disappear.

You need to learn how to live with it.

You need to accept it as something that you’d probably have to wrestle with almost everyday.

However, you also need to realize that it isn’t always true.

Instead of allowing this self talk to ruin your career, use it as a means to fuel your hunger to succeed.

Here’s a tip. Instead of telling yourself that you aren’t good enough, why not let your clients judge that for you?

Just give them your best. Proofread your piece 5 – 10 times if need be. Whatever you do, stop lingering on the idea of you not being good enough. Just do what you need to do. And give it your all.

2. I should always do what pleases my clients.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for pleasing my clients. I am all for making them feel that I value them, and over delivering to blow their minds off.

However, there are times when the client’s requests are unreasonable. In situations like these, you need to be professional enough to tell them about it, and possibly decline the project (or request) if you feel that you won’t be compensated enough for the task.

Here’s the thing, if you’ll just suck it up and do the task even if you feel like you’re not getting enough value from it, you are bound to feel burned out and “used”.

You need to realize that for you and your client to have a successful working relationship, you both need to feel happy about the collaboration. You need to feel that you are respected and compensated enough, and he/she should feel that he’s getting enough value from what he/she is paying you.

3. Never turn down a project.

Don’t treat your online freelancing career with an eat-all-you-can-buffet-like approach. You need to learn to refuse projects, otherwise, you’ll end up getting spread out to thin.

Assess yourself. Are you still able to operate effectively with the amount of projects you’re working on? Or are you having to compromise on the quality of your work for the sake of meeting all the deadlines?

If you’ve been doing the latter, then I urge you to revisit the idea of letting go of some of your clients.

There are 3 things that I’d like to point out when declining projects, or letting go of some of your clients:

  • Continue to nurture your relationship with your clients. Do not simply let go and forget about them. Remember that it is more costly to win new clients, than to have your existing clients to order from you.
  • Be honest. Tell them that you’d like to decline the project for now since there’s just too much on your plate. I always make it a point to tell my would-be clients that I wouldn’t want to give them a half-baked output so I’d rather decline for now. Be sure to end your conversation with them in a positive note.
  • Give them an idea of when you’ll be available. Ask them if they’d like you to leave a slot open once you have several openings available.

While I’m telling you to decline some of the projects that are headed your way if you can no longer manage them effectively, there is also another route that you can take — outsource the task.

Should you decide to outsource some of your tasks, be sure to tell your clients about it.

Remember that your clients are hiring you based on the quality of work that you produce. If the quality of work they’ll get is very different from the sample output that you’ve shown them, it can cause all sorts of problems between you and them.

What’s next?

What are some of the limiting beliefs that you’ve been struggling with right now?

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

Effective Cover Letter

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter that Will Get Your Hired. – Part 3

Note – We’re in our 3rd and final installation of our “How to Write an Effective Cover Letter” series. If you missed reading the previous posts, you can read the first post here, and the second one here.


If you’re reading this, then you must’ve enjoyed reading the first 2 posts that I shared about writing an effective cover letter.

Great! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading them.

However, I hope you weren’t JUST reading. I hope you took the time to implement the ideas, otherwise, you’d have missed out on a lot of opportunities — job opportunities at that.

Remember that our goal here is not just to give you techniques on how to write an effective cover letter — this isn’t just a mental exercise. More than equipping you with the knowledge, my goal is to REALLY help you get more jobs.

Of course, I won’t be able to do that if you won’t act on the things that you’ve learned. That being said, don’t just be a learner, but be a “doer” as well OK?

Let’s proceed to our last 3 tips.

1. Keep ’em short and crisp.

Ideally, I would keep my cover letter’s length at 3 – 4 paragraphs. I feel that anything more than that might be a bit too lengthy.

However, this also depends on the kind of information that your prospect employers are asking on the job listing that they posted.

If I see something generic, where they aren’t asking for any information in particular, I just make sure that my cover letter contains these 6 things:

  1. My rates.
  2. My portfolio
  3. The best method that they can contact me in.
  4. How they can benefit from me.
  5. My scarcity element.
  6. My special hook (like freebies).

Imagine. If you’re looking to hire someone; won’t you feel that all the information that you need about the applicant is within these 6 points?

That’s what we’re trying to accomplish (see article number 2).

I know that the points may seem a lot. However, if you’ll be very careful with your choice of words, I promise you that you’ll be able to add all of these in a 3 – 4 paragraph cover letter.

2. Mention someone famous in their industry.

When you mention familiar names on your cover letters, the person screening it will tend to think that you’re quite knowledgeable about the industry. They’ll think that you are “one of them”. Look up the term Homophily, and you’ll understand why this technique will increase your chances of getting hired.

When I tried applying for a content marketing project, I mentioned that I’m an avid follower of Neil Patel of Quicksprout.com, or Brian Dean of Backlinko.com.

My having mentioned the names of these influencers will almost often strike a cord to the one reading my cover letters. I know this to be true since more often than not, my prospective employers would reply telling me that they’re a huge fan of both influencers too.

Of course, at this point, they’ve already considered me as a strong candidate for the job, otherwise, they won’t even bother replying.

If you’d like to take things further, instead of simply saying that you’re an avid follower of the influencers, you can tell your prospects that you tailor your output based on the kind output that these influencers are publishing. You can then add more weight to your words by adding your portfolio.

Here’s a thought. Why don’t you try putting yourself on the client’s shoes this time.

Let’s say that your business is all about internet marketing, and you’re looking for a writer to publish blog posts consistently on your website.

You then read a cover letter where the applicant said something along the lines of…

“If you like reading the articles over at Backlinko or QuickSprout, then you’ll love my articles too! I tailor my write-up’s quality based on their writing sstyle. These are some of my previous works…

– Article 1

– Article 2

– Article 3”

If your samples are in fact what you say they are (their qualities are tailored based on the quality guidelines of the influencers), then I promise you that you’ll be way ahead of other applicants!

* Note – use this strategy if you’re walking the talk. If you feel that your output isn’t on the same level as the quality of work the that influencer you quoted is publishing, don’t even bother using this.

3. Insert a testimonial from your previous clients.

Have you ever read Robert Cialdini’s, Six Key Principles of Influence? I have. And it was such a game changer for me.

One of the things that really caught my attention was his point about social proof.

The idea is, people will tend to do things that they see others are doing. For example, when you’re in a crowded place, and you saw the people around you looking at the sky, you will tend to look at the sky yourself.

Such is the power of social proof.

Social proof is the reason why most ecommerce sites take the time to show the number of sold inventory of their products. Because their web visitors can see that others are buying the product, it makes it easier for them to make the decision to buy the product themselves.

In your case, adding a short testimonial from your previous clients will tell your prospect client that other businesses are using your service — and they’re happy with it.

The testimonial will act as your social proof.

Do you have any tips on how to write an effective cover letter?

We’re at the end of our How to Write an Effective Cover Letter series. At this point, there’s nothing left for you to do but to implement the tips that we’ve talked about across all 3 posts.

If you’ve applied some of the tips and are reaping results from it, please take the time to share your experience in the comments section below.

Also, if you found this post valuable, please take 3 seconds of your time to click the “Share” buttons. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Cheers!

Effective Cover Letter

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter that Will Get Your Hired. – Part 2

Note – this is the second installation of our, how to write a cover letter series. If you missed reading the first part, you can click this link to read it now.

How have you been doing with your job application lately? Have you been getting better results from implementing the tips that I shared on the previous posts?

If you did get a response from your prospective clients from having used the tips, then please be sure to share your story in the comments section below.

For now, allow me to continue with 3 more tips that you can use, to help make your cover letters even more effective.

1. Give them the information they need to make the hiring decision immediately.

One of the things that annoyed me when I was hiring people was the fact that their cover letters were lacking.

I reviewed some cover letters where I felt that the applicant was a good fit for the job. However, they didn’t include some samples of their previous work, or they didn’t include how much they would charge for doing the tasks that I described in my job post.

Of course, because I didn’t have all the information that I needed, I couldn’t make the decision to hire the applicant right. I would have to send them a message, wait for them to reply, then be able to make the decision at that point.

It’s a bit of a hassle, isn’t it?

I would have been able to hire the applicant, but because the information he shared in his cover letter isn’t complete, I would have to wait for him to reply to my questions. And depending on the timezone, I almost always end up getting replies 12 hours to 24 hours after.

If I found it to be quite annoying, I promise you that you prospective clients would most probably feel the same way as well. Heck, you’d probably feel the same way yourself.

So instead of compelling your clients to click the next applicant to review what they have to offer, I urge you to include ample amount of information on your cover letter that would enable your prospective clients to make the decision right then and there.

For the most part, these are the things that they would most certainly need:

  1. Your quote/fee for doing the described task.
  2. Your portfolio so they can have a solid grasp of the kind of quality that they can expect.
  3. Your best contact info. You can add your Skype name, phone number or your email.

Those points are the basic ones, of course. You also need to review their job posts to see if they’re asking for other details to be able to make the decision.

2. Use positive scripting.

A pro salesperson won’t ask you whether or not you’ll buy what they’re selling, they’ll give you a choice instead.

They don’t ever go to you asking if you’d like to buy a car, they’ll ask whether you’d like to buy the blue, or the red one.

Because of how they’re positioning their questions, it becomes harder for their prospective clients to say “no”. Instead, their prospective clients end up choosing from the options that the salesperson has laid out.

I’ve read this strategy from Zig Ziglar’s book, “Secrets of Closing the Sale”. If you’d like to learn how to sell your services to your prospective client’s, then I suggest that you give that book a read.

At this point, I hope you already realized why I’m talking about how pro salespeople position themselves when selling their products — “YOU” are a salesperson yourself.

If you integrate the way they’re positioning themselves when selling to their customers to how you craft your cover letter, you’ll surely be able to improve your cover letters.

So here’s the strategy, instead of ending your cover letter with something generic like, “I hope to hear from you soon”, you can end with something like this, “you can connect with me via Skype (add your skype name here), or you can reply to this email”.

Notice how on both options, you’ve already expected your prospective client to get back to you. You’re just giving them an option on how they can connect with you.

3. Add a scarcity element in your cover letters.

If you’ve had your fair share of reading sales books, then you’d have probably read by now that the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain.

It’s because of this that adding an element of scarcity in your cover letters can boost its effectiveness. Simply because it helps compel your clients to hire you immediately, instead of taking the time to review the profiles of the other applicants.

Here’s the game plan…

In the first few lines of your cover letter, you’ll have to talk about the benefits that they can experience from hiring you. Give this your best shot. Make it very clear to them why you are the best person for the job.

On the last paragraph of your cover letter, you’ll then give them an option on how to best contact you. You’ll then add something that says, “I have ample of time available right now since I’ve just finished a huge project. I may have a new project coming along next week, however, so please get back to me if we have an opportunity to collaborate. I’ll be more than happy to save you a slot so I can prioritize your work.”’

Note – You can also add that message as a “P.S.” to your cover letter.

As you can probably imagine, adding a sentence like that will somewhat compel your prospective clients to act immediately on your application.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you add the scarcity element to your cover letters. The thing is, even though your clients feel that you’re a perfect fit for the job, a good bit of them would understandably still want to check out what other applicants have to offer. Of course, if they find someone who they think might be better, there’s a good chance that they’ll end up awarding the job to the other prospect.

What’s next?

Are there ideas, or tips that you’d like to share that would help our readers close more jobs using their cover letters? If you answered with a “yes”, then please share them in the comments section below.

* Note – I’ll be publishing the third, and the last installment of our “How to Write an Effective Cover Letter…“ series this Monday, May 16. Stay tuned!