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What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

SEM or Search Engine Marketing (also known as Search Marketing) is the process of getting traffic from search engines either organically (i.e. free) or paid (i.e. through advertising). SEM has two main pillars: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PSA (Paid Search Advertising).

SEO is the way to get free traffic from search engines and Paid search ads is the process of paying for your ads to appear on search engine results pages.

What is the main goal of Search Marketing?

The overall goal of SEM is to increase visibility in search engines by achieving higher rankings in the SERPS (search engine results pages) or top positions for ad placements. Higher ad positions and rankings mean more traffic and this has a number of added advantages.

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Components

As we will see later, each SEM component has a number of sub-processes and tools.

Why is Search Marketing Important?

Before getting into the details on what is SEO and PSA and how to use them to get more visibility and traffic from search engines, let’s quickly examine the importance of SEM for the success of a website or online business.

It is a fact that in today’s World the Internet is the source for everything we need to know, learn, ask, buy or do.

Whenever we have a question or looking for something, the first thing we do is to turn to a search engine (in the majority of cases Google) and type in our search query.

When we hit SEARCH, we expect to either get a direct answer to our question or a list of resources (and this list includes both ads and websites), that can satisfy our intent.

The majority of users click on one of the top ads or one of the first five organic results.

Search engines are working hard to improve the quality of their search results by presenting to the searcher those websites (or ads) that will keep their users happy and come back again for more searches.

To do that they have developed complex algorithms that take a number of variables into account before they decide which websites (or ads) to show in the top positions.

Search engine marketing is important because it’s the process to follow to optimize your website or ads so that they appear in the top positions.

Your goal is not just to have a presence in search engines but to show in one of the top 5 positions for the search queries (keywords), that matter for your business or website.

Did you know that the most popular search engine is Google serving more than 50Billion queries per month?

Search Engine Marketing Techniques

There are a number of techniques you can follow to improve your presence in search engines and to achieve higher positions for your ads. As mentioned above, these are grouped into SEO and PSA.

SEM Tools and Techniques
SEM Tools and Techniques

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing your website for achieving higher rankings in search engines for certain keywords. SEO principles can also help you create high-quality websites with good content and satisfy the user intent.

Until 10 years ago, SEO was about keyword stuffing, publishing mediocre content and building links but this is not the case today.

SEO has become more complex and to get it right, you have to take into account a number of parameters.

To make the whole SEO process easier, it is broken down into the following main sub-processes:

Why is SEO important?

Higher rankings, more traffic: If your goal with search marketing is to get traffic to your website without having to pay for ads, then SEO is the way to go.

As mentioned above, the websites that appear in the top 3 positions of the organic results get more than 60% of the traffic – This statistic alone explains the importance of SEO.

Organic Click Through Rate (CTR) Study
Organic Click Through Rate (CTR) Study

Search engine traffic is targeted: Open Google and search anything you want. The websites that appear in the top positions get thousands of visits from Google on a daily basis.

Depending on the keywords you used, they are probably making thousands of dollars in revenue (from advertising or selling their own products or services), because search engine traffic is highly targeted.

Unlike traffic coming from Facebook or other social media networks, organic traffic converts better since the users have a clear intent in mind before typing something into Google and it’s not just for curiosity or leisure.

Besides the traffic, SEO offers a number of other advantages and these can be summarized in the following:

Trust and recognition: Users trust search engines because they know that they have strict rules as to which websites are shown in the search results, and in turn they trust websites that rank in the top positions.

Trust does not only generate more conversions but it also increases recognition and brand awareness and this makes your digital marketing efforts in other channels easier.

SEO can guide you on how to create better websites: SEO is not just about search engines but it’s mainly about users. To have a fully optimized website for search engines, it has to optimized for users first and this is what SEO is all about.

Paid Search Advertising (PSA)

Besides getting organic traffic from Search engines, the other way to take advantage of the millions of users that use search engines on a daily basis and get targeted traffic to your website is through paid ads.

If you search Google you will notice that above and below the organic results, you are presented with Paid Ads.

Paid Ads Above Google Search Results
Paid Ads Above Google Search Results
Paid Ads Below Google Search Results
Paid Ads Below Google Search Results

This is what we mean by paid search advertising. Instead of waiting to achieve high rankings through SEO, you can pay your way to the top.

Of course, as we will see below, that’s not so easy. It gets more complicated when a number of advertisers are competing for one of the top ad positions.

The most commonly used model is the PPC (Pay Per Click), which means that you pay only when someone clicks on your ad and the most widely used PSA system is Google Adwords.

Google Adwords is owned by Google and it is the platform you need to use to show your ads on Google or Youtube.

How does PPC Work?

The way it works is simple but it gets more complicated when you are dealing with niches and keywords that have a lot of competition. Here is an overview of the process:

  • You create a Free account with Google Adwords
  • You set up advertising campaigns. Each campaign can contain a number of adgroups, keywords, and ads.
  • You specify your target audience i.e. which people can see your ads (you can narrow down your selection by country, time of day, user location etc).
  • You start the campaign and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • You monitor the results of your campaigns and make the necessary changes.

How much you pay every time someone clicks on your ad depends on a number of factors.

The system will give you in advance an indication of how much you will be charged per click but the actual amount is decided when it actually happens.

Adwords in an auction-based system. This means that the cost of each click and the position your ad will appear depends on ‘demand and supply’. Every time a search is made on Google, AdWords runs an auction for the available ad positions.

Advertisers that are willing to pay more, have higher quality ads that are most likely to satisfy the user intent, they win the top positions.

To make this easier to understand, let’s say that there are 10 advertisers who sell ‘engagement rings’ and want to have their ads shown in the first page of Google when people search for ‘Buy an Engagement Rings’.

Google shows 3 ads above the organic search results and 2 ads at the bottom. This means that there are only 5 ad spots on the first page but there are 10 advertisers.

Which ads will show on these 5 available positions?

This is where pay per click marketing comes into play. Similar to SEO, the Adwords system takes into account a number of rules before deciding where each ad is to be shown.

Some of the factors can be controlled by advertisers such as the price they are willing to pay per click, the quality of the ads etc, some are decided during the auction and some are only known to Google.

What you need to understand is that while Paid advertising is a great way to promote your website on Google, it’s not always as simple as setting up an account and run a campaign.

There is an optimization process in place and if you don’t want to lose your money without any return, it is best to leave this task to professional marketers.

Reliablesoft is a Google Adwords Certified Partner, which means that we are approved by Google to Run paid ad campaigns.

When to use PPC Ads?

When you want fast results – One of the disadvantages of SEO is that is takes time to work.

The competition is intense in all niches and it takes time to achieve high rankings for the keywords you want.

So, while working on your SEO and waiting patiently to get higher rankings and organic traffic, you can start a campaign in Adwords and get the traffic this way.

You will pay for the traffic but as long as the ROI is positive, then you have more to gain than lose.

You sell expensive products or services – PPC ads are not for every business. The costs of setting up a campaign and the costs per click are high and unless you sell products at a price that can make you profit, PPC is not the solution for you.

Your SEO is already working and you want better results – PPC and SEO can work together in harmony. It’s never the one or the other. If you already have some good results with SEO, you can increase your market share by running ads for the same keywords that generate organic traffic for your business.

Your run a virtual business – when you run a virtual business without having a physical presence and your only source of customers is the Internet, then you need to be make paid search advertising work for you.

SEO is a fantastic way to get customers but if your business depends on it, then it’s better to have PPC ads as a second way out.

For more information about Search Engine Marketing Read:

  • Difference between Adwords and SEO
  • Difference between SEO and PPC
  • Difference between SEO and SEM

Conclusion

No business or website can survive online unless it follows solid search engine marketing practices.

Search engine marketing gives you the framework, tools, and processes to gain more visibility in search engines either by getting higher positions in organic results or better positions for your ads.

The two main components of SEM, SEO, and PPC can work together in harmony and maximize your results.

In the online business World, it’s never the one or the other. Both are two powerful tools in your digital marketing arsenal, which you can use to boost your online presence.

If you are new to search marketing then what you need to have clear in your mind is that there are no shortcuts. In order to succeed with either SEO or PPC, you need to put the experience of the user on top of anything else.

Your first task is to make sure you have a great website that is functional and easy to use, then to work on your content and deliver the best possible result to your users.

Once you have this in place, your next step is to start working on your SEO and gradually work your way to the top of the organic results and if applicable, to start working on your PPC campaigns and maximize your Return on Investment (ROI).

Running successful SEM campaigns is not easy, it requires special skills, a lot of experience and hard work.

If you don’t possess those skills then it’s best to leave it to professionals. Save your precious time and time and at the same time increase your chances of getting the results you want in the fastest possible way.

 

Blog Source: Reliablesoft.net | What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

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Learn the 5 Tips to Navigate a Busy Gym

Here’s how to make the most of the busy season at the gym.

When the frantic pace of the holidays finally ends, many health-minded folks face a different kind of rush: the new-year crowds at the gym.

Come January 1, fitness clubs teem with people, including lots of new faces. The weight room suddenly feels congested, classes are full, and lockers (and parking spaces) are at a premium. Regulars whose routines are disrupted might feel frustrated by the flux of New Year’s resolution makers. Meanwhile, newcomers may feel intimidated and uncertain about where to begin — a combo that puts them at risk for quitting before they really get started.

We asked Boston-based strength coach Tony Gentilcore, CPT, CSCS, and David Freeman, OPEX, CCP, NASM-PES, national manager for Life Time’s Alpha program, for strategies to make going to the club in January a great experience, whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or an enthusiastic (but perhaps apprehensive) newbie. Here are their suggestions:

  1. Commit to a Schedule

Even if you have an established regimen, a crowded fitness floor may dissuade you from showing up. For old-timers and neophytes alike, now is a good time to double down on your commitment to yourself.

“It sounds pretty plain and simple, but just having a set agenda for the week goes a long way,” says Freeman. “Whether it’s three or four days a week, or Monday-Wednesday-Friday, these are your staple days that you’re going, regardless of rain, sleet, or snow.” Or crowds.

Gentilcore adds that newcomers may want to start on the conservative side to keep this commitment realistic. “Many people start like gangbusters and think they’re going to hit the gym five to six times per week,” he says. “Then they feel discouraged because they were only able to get to the gym two to three times. Prove to yourself you can handle two to three days for an extended period of time before you commit to more.”

  1. Fine-Tune Your Attitude

Impatience and irritation — with yourself or with those around you — can put a damper on an otherwise perfectly good workout. For the regular whose front-row spot in yoga has been usurped, or whose routine in the weight room has been unwittingly interrupted, patience and goodwill are key.

“Remember that you, too, were once a newbie,” says Gentilcore. “While it’s easy to roll your eyes at the influx of resolution makers, it’s a nice reminder that everyone started somewhere.”

Freeman teaches his clients that stress management is just as key to health as a movement, nutrition, and sleep. “Whether it’s meditation, time alone, self-reflection — whatever will allow you to be at peace, to be calm — that’s huge,” says Freeman. And where better to reap the benefits of your stress-management practice than when you’re waiting in line for the lat-pulldown machine at the club?

  1. Have a Plan . . . and a Plan B

If you tend to get overwhelmed by all the activity (or all the options), start with a simple workout agenda, says Freeman.

“Create a plan of execution before going into the club so you’re not walking around aimlessly saying, What should I do today?” he advises, noting that your plan can be flexible and still yield results. “Whether you’re running on a treadmill for distance, are on a stairclimber for distance, or on an elliptical machine for distance, you can still accomplish your goal in one way or another.”

The more experienced you are, of course, the more plan-B options you’ll have. “So the squat rack is being used. OK, let’s go with a goblet or landmine squats,” advises Gentilcore.

“Someone’s using the seated-row machine? OK, cool, revert to TRX or a chest-supported bent-over row instead.”

  1. Look to the Professionals

“It can be intimidating on the gym floor,” acknowledges Gentilcore. “Who knows what all those machines are for?”

If you’re new to working out, he suggests hiring a personal trainer to show you the ropes. “They can take you through an appropriate assessment to come up with a fitness plan that best meets your goals and takes into account your ability level and injury history,” Gentilcore says.

If personal training isn’t an option, Freeman recommends starting with group fitness programming. “I would rather someone have an instructor who’s guiding them — having them feel directed versus trying to figure things out on their own,” he says.

  1. Think Big Picture

The reason regulars are often cynical about the January rush is that the crowds tend to thin out come February and March. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year’s fitness-club newbie can become next year’s veteran — with the right mindset.

“Instead of ‘New Year’s resolution,’ I always ask, ‘Hey, what’s your New Year’s evolution? How are you going to evolve this year?’” says Freeman. “If you’re evolving, you’re learning.”

Freeman adds that setbacks are part of the process. “Through failure comes success. You have to go through those times to be able to really appreciate the reward when you get it. The resilience, the accountability, the responsibility — all these different pieces come in and you understand this is a journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 

BLOG SOURCE: EXPERIENCE LIFE | 5 Tips to Navigate a Busy Gym

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Helpful Tips On Creating Your Quit Smoking Plan

Have You Built a Quit Plan?

One of the keys to a successful quit smoking is preparation. A great way to prepare to quit smoking is to create a quit smoking plan. Quit plans:

The following steps will help you to create your own customized quit plan. As you move through the steps, keep a record of your plan and have it readily available during your quit.

Pick a Quit Date

When it comes to choosing a quit smoking date, sooner is better than later. Many smokers choose a date within two weeks to quit smoking. This will give you enough time to prepare. Really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke (e.g., a night out with friends or days where you may smoke at work).

Next Step: Circle your quit day on your calendar. Write it out somewhere where you will see it every day. This will remind you of your decision to become smokefree and give you time to prepare to quit smoking.

Let Loved Ones Know You Are Quitting

Quitting smoking is easier with support from important people in your life. Let them know ahead of your quit smoking date that you are planning to quit. Explain how they can help you quit smoking. We all need different things, so be sure you let friends and family know exactly how they can help.

Next Step: Support is one of the keys to successfully quitting. However, it can be hard to ask for help, even from the people closest to you. Review tips on getting support to make sure you get the help you need.

Remove Reminders of Smoking

Getting rid of smoking reminders can keep you on track during your quit. Smoking reminders can include your cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, and lighters. It may also help to make things clean and fresh at work‚ in your car‚ and at home. Even the smell of cigarettes can cause a cigarette craving.

Next Step: Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Give or throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Don’t save one pack of cigarettes “just in case.”

Identify Your Reasons to Quit Smoking

Everyone has their own reasons for quitting smoking. Maybe they want to be healthier, save some money, or keep their family safe. As you prepare to quit, think about your own reasons for quitting. Remind yourself of them every day. They can inspire you to stop smoking for good.

Next Step: Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Keep it in a place where you can see it every day. Any time you feel the urge to smoke, review your list. It will keep you motivated to stay smokefree.

Identify Your Smoking Triggers

When you smoke, it becomes tied to many parts of your life. Certain activities, feelings, and people are linked to your smoking. When you come across these things, they may “trigger” or turn on your urge to smoke. Try to anticipate these smoking triggers and develop ways to deal with them.

Next Step: Make a list of everything that makes you feel like smoking. Now, write down one way you can deal with or avoid each item on your list. Keep this list nearby during your quit. Having trouble with your list? Find examples of ways to deal with smoking triggers on our cravings page.

Develop Coping Strategies

Nicotine is the chemical in cigarettes that makes you addicted to smoking. When you stop smoking, your body has to adjust to no longer having nicotine in its system. This is called withdrawal. Withdrawal can be unpleasant, but you can get through it. Developing strategies to cope with withdrawal ahead of your quit can help ensure you stay smokefree for good!

Next Steps: Medications and behavior changes can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal. Many quit smoking medications are available over the counter. Make sure you have them on hand prior to your quit. While medications will help, they can’t do all the work for you. Develop other quit smoking strategies to use with medications. Remember that withdrawal symptoms‚ including cravings‚ will fade with every day that you stay smokefree.

Have Places You Can Turn to For Immediate Help

Quitting smoking is hardest during the first few weeks. You will deal with uncomfortable feelings, temptations to smoke, withdrawal symptoms, and cigarette cravings. Whether it is a quitline, support group, or good friend, make sure you have quit smoking support options available at all times.

Next Steps: Plan on using multiple quit smoking support options. Keep them handy in case you need them during your quit. Here a few options you may want to consider:

  • SmokefreeTXT: A mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States who are trying to quit smoking.
  • Quitlines: If you want to talk to a quit smoking counselor right away, call 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669).
  • Quit Smoking Apps: Mobile phone applications can help you prepare to quit, provide support, and track your progress.
  • Support Groups: Visit your county or state government’s website to see if they offer quit smoking programs in your area.
  • Friends and Family: Getting support from the important people in your life can make a big difference during your quit.
  • Medications: If you are using a quit smoking medication, such as the patch, gum, or lozenges, make sure you have them on hand.

Set Up Rewards for Quit Milestones

Quitting smoking happens one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Reward yourself throughout your quit. Celebrate individual milestones, including being 24 hours smokefree, one week smokefree, and one month smokefree. Quitting smoking is hard, be proud of your accomplishments.

Next Steps: You should be proud every time you hit a quit smoking milestone. Treat yourself with a nice dinner, day at the movies, or any other smokefree activity. Plan out your milestones ahead of time and set up a smokefree reward for each one.

Content provided and maintained by Smokefree.gov and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

 

Blog Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention | Build Your Quit Plan

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A Simple Step-By-Step Guide Designed To Help You Find The best Roofing Contractor who’s Right For You

Minor leaks with the season’s first rain. Major damage caused by an unseasonable storm. Whatever your roofing needs, large or small, you need a professional roofing contractor you can trust. You need a roofing contractor who will provide you with sound advice on roofing productsreasonable and understandable explanations of procedures, and, most importantly, solid results.

It’s difficult to determine the capabilities and reliability of a roofing contractor. That’s why this page was created – we have provided a simple step-by-step guide designed to help you find the best roofing contractor who’s right for you.

STEP 1: WHERE TO BEGIN

A roofing system is a complex combination of elements, the success of which depends on the quality of shingles, installation and overall construction. There are many ways to start your search for the roofing contractor who meets your individual needs. Referrals are obviously the best source for names of credible companies.

Ask friends and family members who they have used in the past. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce about roofing contractors who are active in the community. The Better Business Bureau, state and local licensing authorities, local trade associations and your local yellow page directory are also excellent sources of information.

Your insurance agent or adjuster is an excellent source. The very best source is their local references.

 

STEP 2: MEETING & EVALUATING POTENTIAL ROOFING CONTRACTORS

After you have compiled a list of possible roofing contractors, take time to evaluate each one carefully. A professional roofing contractor will be happy to provide any information you might require.

Many homeowners have been mystified by the seeming lack of interest and response from the contractors they call. It is possible you will have to wait a short period to hear from the most “reputable” roofing contractor due to the high demand of their work.

A roofing contractor is shopping for good jobs that will make a firm profit and bring future referrals. Many contractors have had experiences with unreasonable or dishonest homeowners. Therefore, they look for warning signs of customer problems during the initial job interview.

Set up a meeting to discuss your needs and their qualifications, and be sure to pay close attention to the attitude of the company representative. Good contractors take pride in their roofing work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of helping you with your roofing needs. If you feel confident that the contractor is truly interested in your project, ask for the company’s vital statistics – specific business information which will help you make your final decision.

• Business Name and Address – A good, professional roofing contractor will provide the company’s permanent business address and telephone number. These are essential when checking on the company’s previous business dealings.

• Experience – The training and experience of a contractor, as well as the age of his or her company, will help you determine their ability to successfully complete your roofing project.

• Insurance Coverage – A contractor should carry general liability insurance. Request the name of the insurance carrier and ask to receive a copy of their general liability insurance certificate. Beware of low bids which are a result of incomplete insurance coverage.

• Professional References – Your contractor’s past can help determine your future. Ask for credit references, banking information and a list of completed projects including the names and telephone numbers of previous clients.

• Company Philosophy – Discuss application techniques and workmanship guarantees. Does the contractor stand behind his work?

 

STEP 3: UTILIZING THE CONTRACTOR’S PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

Your contractor should have up-to-date knowledge on quality roofing products for your project. He or she is the best source of information, but you should play an active role in the product selection process.

Ask questions about different shingles such as brand names, life span, thickness, design, available colors and warranties. Selecting the best products is as important to your job as selecting the right contractor.

 

STEP 4: CONSIDER ROOFING ENHANCEMENTS

The perfect time to consider making upgrades and adding enhancements to your roof is when you’re having a new roof installed.

An airtight chimney cap is an upgrade you should consider if your chimney does not already have one, as these are a great way to help you save energy through your new roof installation. Some additional roofing elements to consider include improving your roof’s ventilation and upgrading your gutters.

 

STEP 5: UNDERSTANDING & NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT

Prior to drafting a contract, most roofing contractors will provide you with either an estimate or a proposal.

When a contract is presented, it should spell out the proposed work, payment terms and completion time. Read the contract carefully. Misunderstandings are the most common cause of contract disputes.

 

• Building Permits – What’s necessary? Consider local ordinances, costs, posting requirements.

• Start & Completion Dates – Including a plan of action in case of weather delays.

• Products/Materials – What will be used, brands, colors, etc.

• Project Inspections – Number of inspections, completion timetable, etc.

• Site Procedures – Work hours, clean-up procedures on the roof and around your home, safety precautions, etc.

• Warranties – Including both workmanship and product.

• Terms – Detailed as method of payment to include a lien waiver upon final payment.

• Liens – You should be aware that under the laws of most states, a contractor who does work on your home, or a supplier of materials for such work, has a right to place a lien on your property. Make sure all essential elements of your agreement are written down and understood by both parties.

• Right-To-Rescind – Providing the right to cancel the contract without penalty within a set period of time (usually three days).

 

STEP 6: SIT BACK & RELAX

A little well-planned research up front will undoubtedly save you a lot of time and trouble later on. Once you feel confident that you have the best roofing contractor, the best roofing products, and the best value – simply relax and let your contractor do his job.

Do, however, monitor the progress of your roofing project to be certain your contractor lives up to their superior reputation.

 

Blog Source: Andrus Brothers Roofing | HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT ROOFING CONTRACTOR FOR YOU

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Tips To Read Through Before You Head Out Shopping For A Tent

If you are thinking of choosing a tent, whether it be a first time purchase or an upgrade to a bigger, more modern tent, we believe that there are some tips you should follow to ensure your money is spent wisely.

The wrong tent, could turn your camping trip into a not-so-happy camping adventure.

Below, hopefully you will find some practical and informative advice to help you with your choice. Read through these tips before you head out shopping. Think about your needs in advance of paying out any money.

1.       Number of people using the tent

Always, always, ignore the concept that a 4 man tent, sleeps 4.   It does not. It might just sleep 3, but for a comfortable experience, 2 would be best in such a tent.

The specifications of say a 4 man tent, means that 4 people would be a tight fit, with no space for baggage etc.     So, a family of 4 should look at a tent that is a 6 person tent.  This will give your room for bedding and smaller areas to store clothes etc.     Should the weather be poor, that extra space will be a godsend with all of you in the tent.

Think of what space you will need in that tent, and what you want stored in the tent with you.

Think about the height of the adults who will sleep in it – very tall people are going to need to sleep without being curled up in a ball.   Know your measurements and that of the tent you are looking at.

With tents, size does matter.     

You might think that  a 4 person tent looks roomy when it’s empty.  And it does.   But then you need to think about the gear that is going in there – and how you will fit.    Are you going to be on self inflating mats?  Or stretchers?    That will make a difference.

2.       Conditions you will use the tent in

Some tents are better suited to different environments.

A summer tent will be lightweight material, have a lot of ventilation and not designed for harsh conditions.   A three season tent will be more likely able to survive heavier rain and winds, and provide protection from the cold.      It’s a good choice for your tent purchase.

True winter tents are probably not very common in Australia as our conditions are more mild.    But if you are planning on camping in snow, then your tent needs to be a winter tent – not a 3 season tent.       Shop carefully to get the tent that suits the weather.

If you are “fair weather” camper only, meaning you want to camp when its a calm and sunny day, your tent doesn’t need to be top of the range, but even the most perfect weather can change rapidly, so you need to think about your tent and how it would go, should a storm arise unexpectedly.  Some of the really cheap tents don’t hold up in poor weather as well.

3.       Ease of use

I have seen in the shops, this fantastic tent, with lots of rooms and storage areas – sleeps 10.    But how long did it take to set up?  Was a small army required?     You need to consider that when purchasing a tent.   The salesperson told me it took a long time and a group of them – and they were the experts!

You do not want to spend hours upon arrival at your camp location, trying to put a tent up (whether you are alone or have enlisted your unhappy children who just want to play, not pass you poles and pegs).

Ease of use is imperative.   

If possible, try and do it in the shop though this may not always be a realistic option.     It’s nice idea, but many tents we have liked and purchased, we haven’t had that chance to look at them in a shop.     We have had to do our research online and hoped for the best.

Remember also – the bigger the tent, the bigger the campsite you will need.

Some campsites are just not designed for big tents, and you will need to find a large, level spot, away from overhanging tree branches.

Not sure how to pitch the tent?  Then YouTube is going to be a great source of information for you. Search for the tent  you are thinking about purchasing, and see if there is a YouTube video showing it put up.

Look for independent reviewers as opposed to the manufacturer video (they have a vested interest in ensuring it looks easy).    A reviewer who is not associated with the company will point out the pitfalls more readily!  (Like we do here at this site)

4.       Materials of tent

Check closely what the tent is made of because that could influence your choice.

Tents that are canvas (cotton) are waterproof, but become very heavy when the water is absorbed.  They are long lasting though and don’t deteriorate as much as say, nylon.

Nylon/Polyester  is waterproof as well, but sunlight will cause deterioration over time.    With these tents, you must check that the seams have been sealed to ensure they are waterproof.

Need to know more about canvas vs. nylon?    All tips and a guide can be found here.

Many tents say they are waterproof, but we have found that the cheaper ones are not as waterproof as you hoped for.   Good tents will have rip-stop fabric.

Tent poles come in all sorts of materials.       We have upgraded some of our tent poles to better quality ones to ensure they work when we need them to work.

Also, look at the zips of the tent.  This is a key part of the tent, and is frequently overlooked, but should that tent zip fail, you could have things in your tent that you don’t want in your tent.

Check that the zip is a quality one, moves easily, doesn’t catch on fabric, and non rusting.

The fly needs to be be nylon waterproofed with polyurethane or polyurethane and silicone coatings.  A fly should ideally cover all of your tent including windows and doors to provide maximum protection from the rain.

Once again, much of the above is great if you can see it all in a shop.       But if you can’t, read up on the materials, and reviews.

5.  Weight

Will you need to carry this tent great distances?

Is it for car camping?   Some of the larger tents are extremely heavy to carry – even from the car to the campsite.     Can you manage this on your own?

Some family tents are so large when packed up in their bags, we could not fit them on our roof rack.

So check that out before you commit to purchase.  Plus you need some serious muscles to get that tent up on the roof of your car.

Whilst weight for car camping is not as big as consideration as weight when hiking, I believe you really need to look at your own capabilities about moving that tent around.

If you are hiking with your tent you will need lightweight tents, and that is an extensive area to cover, so you need to study hiking tents separately to this story.

6.    Ventilation

If you haven’t camped before in a tent, you may not be aware how horrendous it is to wake up in the morning to everything being damp.

Your clothing has touched the sides of the tent and now its wet..your bedding is damp and condensation is all over the tent.

That is why ventilation is paramount.

  • Look for well placed vents to minimise condensation issue.

To help minimise condensation in any tent, read the story  on how to stop condensation in a tent (or can you?)

 7.    Additional Features

What are you looking for in a tent, apart from the factors listed above?

Some points you might want to consider include:

  • Number of doors (2 doors are ideal – saves clambering over someone else)
  • Number of windows (important for ventilation – see point 6.)
  • Storage pockets (keeps the tent less cluttered, and key items easy to find)
  • Size of awning (added protection from elements)
  • Ability to purchase accessories to suit tent and your needs (eg. Extra large canopy, additional rooms)

“Work out what is important to you and your camping experience” 

8.     Flooring

For a family tent, that gets a lot of use, you need a good strong floor.   Ensure the floor is made of something durable.

The flooring should protect you and your belongings from any poor weather seeping in to your tent, but I would advise to use a footprint on every tent you use (ie. Footprint is a piece of  specifically designed and shaped fabric, or tarp that goes under your tent to protect it from the ground and will protect your tent from abrasions).

We have a story on Groundsheet/Footprint for Tents which will help you understand their importance – it will be an added backup to the flooring of your tent.

9.    Price

This is the big decision for everyone.  How much to spend on a tent?      We all have different budgets, but I will stress that quality costs.  

Buying cheap will cost you more in the long run, when the tent fails you.  Of course, not everyone can spend a huge fortune on a tent.

Sometimes the really, really cheap tents are cheap for a reason.

Think to yourself before you buy, “why is this tent so cheap compared to others with the same features?”      It might just come down to the materials, and manufacturer.

Another factor to consider, is  the conditions you expect the tent to survive in – if you are going to spend your time camping in extreme conditions, with ice, snow and high winds, then spend as much money as you can on that tent, because you will need a reliable piece of equipment to save you from misery.

When you decide on a specific tentshop around.     

Like everything, camping gear prices vary greatly between stores.

Watch out for sales too – tents can be discounted up to 40-50% by some manufacturers at certain times of the year.     We picked up our family tent in such a sale.   We couldn’t have afforded it at full price.  So we waited!

Depending on what sort of tent you are after, buying from overseas might be the best option.     This is especially so for some of the smaller tents, like dome tents.      Not all overseas retailers have big shipping costs to Australia either.   Once more, shop around online to find a retailer that sells what you want at the best price.

Purchasing from overseas does have some drawbacks of course, but the range of tents available to you increases if you don’t just consider ones locally.      That is why the next point is so important.

10.    After Sales Service

So you have purchased this great tent, and something goes wrong?

You go back to the manufacturer and they don’t want to know you……

That is why after sales service is more important than the service you got buying the tent.   Lots of places are very happy to sell you the tent, but they don’t want to actually see you again.

Before you purchase, read up on the manufacturer of the tent you are considering.   See what their website says about faults etc.

Read reviews on blogs and forums about people who have had experiences with the company.

So, look for manufacturers who provide warranties on their product, and stand behind the products they sell.       Read that fine print too, which states what any warranty does and doesn’t cover. Many of the quality manufacturers of gear are so confident in their product they give lifetime guarantees on their equipment. Look for a tent maker who stands by their product.   Once again, research on the internet will help you determine that.

We hope that the above helps you with making some choices on the tent you purchase. Remember, to read reviews and learn as much as you can before you buy your tent.    Forums and other websites are a great source of information.

Happy Camping.

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Know These Helpful Tips Before You Hire A Caterer Or Catering Company To Work On Your Event

While many great event venues have an executive chef or a banquet department on staff, many of the world’s most beautiful and unique venues do not offer catering services. While the additional work of hiring a private caterer or catering company can be a deterrent for some, great event planners are always ready to book the perfect venue even it if means calling on their professional network to get it done. Before you hire a caterer or catering company to work the event, it’s helpful to have some initial ideas about the catering menu and to have these tips in your back pocket.

Expert Advice on Menu Planning From a Catering Expert

“Establish a good balance with your menu,” suggests Stacy Ziegler, CPCE, CMP, first vice president of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) and director of sales at Bold American Events & Catering. Bold American offers full-service catering services to venues throughout the city of Atlanta, Georgia and organizes more than 500 corporate and social events each year.

“You can go riskier with your passed hors-d’oeuvres, side dishes, and dessert, but for the main entree, you need to remember you are feeding a diverse group of people. Most people like to recognize what they are eating. This doesn’t mean everyone has to be served plain chicken, but be cautious with something very exotic.”

The season of the event also matters. And event planners frequently hold discussions about future events during a completely different season. “Though you may be discussing your menu in the dead of winter, the actual event could be in June. Short ribs and mashed potatoes in January sound fantastic, but when your June event rolls around, you will want something much lighter,” Ziegler says. In the event, planning an event menu is about much more than the food choices themselves. But the next step is hiring the caterer to help you pull it off.

Expert Advice on Hiring a Private Catering Company

Perhaps you already have ideas for the catering menu in mind, the next step is to hire a catering company for your event. “Talk to your caterer about what they do best,” Ziegler advises. “They have a lot of experience with crowd favorites, and know what they can execute best.”

In addition to using your caterer as a food and beverage consultant as well as the catering services provider for your event, Ziegler also offers the following tips for hiring a caterer or catering company for the events:

Sample the Caterer’s Food

By sampling the caterer’s food, it will give you a chance to taste the catering and also to experience how it will be presented. This is also a great time to meet with the Chef and determine how flexible he or she is. All items can be adjusted to your own tastes, so make sure your feedback is taken seriously. Ask how the food is prepared.

Catering Pro Tip: Ask whether the catering is finished on site or cooked ahead of time and left in a hot box to stay warm. These different practices will have a great impact on the quality of the food when it’s served to your guests.

Check References

Even though you will most likely be given a list of very happy customers, there are still good nuggets of information you can learn if you actually take the time to check a caterer’s references. It’s an excellent way to gain insights about what the caterer does best. Good questions for references include: How many times they have used the caterer? What did you like best about their catering services for events? What is one thing you would change for their next event?

Request Past Event Photos

Catering pictures will give you a good sense of the caterer’s aesthetic. Photos of past events can give you insight on how their events are generally set up. Ask yourself the following questions: Do you like their service ware, use of spacing, and finishing touches? Is it the style you would like for your event? Lastly, viewing pictures of a caterer’s past work is also a great way to explain to the caterer what you like with references. What would you like to see repeated at your event?

Discuss the Available Services

Some caterers are more full-service than others, with the capability to provide linens, tables, chairs, florals, and evendécor. You can give them an idea of what you like and they can pull everything together for you and organize all the vendors. On the other hand, some caterers only provide the event food and food service, and you will be responsible for coordinating all your other items and vendors. Either way is fine, as long as the caterer’s services match your needs.

Review Everything in Person

In-person meetings are not only a great way to ensure that there is no miscommunication when it comes to important matters like the planned catering menu and the catering proposal, they are also a great way to get a better feel for your chosen caterer. For instance, in-person meetings can give you a chance to see the catering operation. Is the office clean? Are you greeted in a timely manner? If you have any hesitation during this process, be sure to fix it now and it may carry over to the event day.

Make Sure They’re Organized

If your proposal is timely and your sales manager is professional and flexible, that is probably a sign of good company culture. This is particularly important as those traits will most likely carry over into the team that handles your event. But beware: the opposite could also be true. If your proposal is sent to you after the date promised or there is a general sense of disorganization during the sales and planning process, it may be a sign that timeliness and organization aren’t an important value for the caterer.

Read the Fine Print

When it comes to signing off on your catering proposal, it’s important to review and understand every detail. Is your proposal all inclusive of everything you asked for? Is tax included? Will the price varies per person if your guest count goes up or down? How does the service charge for labor work? Will you be responsible for tipping the staff that evening? When you compare proposals from one caterer to another, it is important you are comparing apples to apples and understand all your costs associated with the proposed event.

Check with the Event Venue

Many venues have a preferred vendors list, which will likely include caterers for those venues that do not offer catering services. You may be required to work with one of the listed caterers, but even if you aren’t, it can be to your advantage. If you use someone on that list, they will be familiar with your event venues and all that goes with it from the rules to room setup. You may be likely to have fewer mishaps on the day of your event. Preferred vendors may also have other privileges that they can pass on to you.

Caterers who are not familiar with a venue may be cheaper at first glance, but you may have post-event charges from your venue because the caterer didn’t remove the trash as required or some other penalty for not understanding the venue policies.

Ask About Special Requirements

Good caterers will work with you on special requirements. Great caterers anticipate them. Either way, be sure to ask your caterer how they handle special requirements like dietary restrictions, on-site changes, and late additions. Even the best planners are usually faced with at least one on-site surprise. Will your caterer be able to pull together a gluten-free meal? If the welcome speech goes 15 minutes late, will the kitchen be able to roll with a new timeline? Flexibility and a can-do attitude from everyone involved in an event are crucial.

Know Who Is in Charge

Most times the person with whom you are working with during the sales and planning processes will not be your primary contact the day of the event. If you want to make changes or have questions that day, it is important to know your contact. Depth in the team will give you some assurance that if one person is missing during your event because of sickness or a conflict, there is still a whole team behind them.

 

Blog Source: The Balance Small Business | How to Hire the Perfect Private Caterer for Your Event

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Top Five Decorating Tips To Get You Started With Canvas Wall Art

Did you recently move to a new home or flat? Are you bored with your bare walls or dated decor?

In either case, canvas wall art is the perfect solution. It can transform any room in your home from blah to beautiful.

From  and inspirational quotes to trendy pop art and vintage movie posters, there’s canvas wall art to suit every taste.

How do you know what type of wall art will look best in your home? Here are our top five decorating tips to get you started.

1. Choose the Setting and Mood

First of all, where will you hang your new canvas wall art? The location in your home is just as important to consider as the art itself.

Will you hang your canvases in a hallway or stairwell? The master bedroom? Your home office or living room?

Family portraits displayed in a hallway or other common area can bring a smile to everyone’s face as they pass by. For your bedroom, you might choose a scene that’s soothing, restful, and intimate.

If you’re decorating your office, an inspirational saying or beautiful landscape can help you stay motivated. Canvas wall art (or a series of canvases) also look great in the living room or kitchen or above the fireplace.

The colours you choose also make an impact on the overall mood of the room. For example, reds, oranges, and yellows are vibrant and energizing. Blues, greens, and neutral tones are more calming.

2. Furniture Pairings

Before you select your canvas, you need to consider what’s already in your home. Is your furniture modern and funky, or more traditional and formal?

An abstract or pop art canvas would look great above a retro-style couch, but it would clash with an antique dining table. Vintage posters of wine and food would look terrific in your kitchen, but may not make as much sense in the master bathroom.

Whatever style of furniture and decor you have in your home, choose canvas art that complements it.

Trying to open up a small room? Choose a landscape, sunset, or any scene with a horizon. The canvas artwork will act as a “window” and provide instant depth to make small areas feel larger.

Would you like to add ambience to a small bedroom, library, or office? A grouping of small canvases will make the room feel comfortable and cosy.

3. Size Matters

You want to consider both the size of the wall and the room when selecting canvas wall art.

In most cases, larger canvases look good on tall, broad walls and open spaces. Too large a canvas on too small a wall can be overwhelming and make the room feel confining and cluttered.

On the other hand, canvases that are too small get lost on a big wall. Rather than adding to the ambience, it can make the room feel disproportionately empty.

If you’re unsure what size canvas to buy, try taping the wall with painter’s tape in the size you’re considering. Then step back and see how the size looks and feels.

Are you buying a canvas to hang above a couch or table? Any art placed over furniture shouldn’t be wider than the piece of furniture itself. Decorators recommend aiming for 75% of the width of the furniture.

4. Consider Mixed Media

One large canvas may make a beautiful addition to your home, but it’s far from your only option.

One scene spread across two to five panels can have an equally dramatic effect. You might also consider a series of panels highlighting your wedding day, a family holiday, or another similar theme.

The great thing about groupings like these is you can add other items to complement the art. For example, you could hang your lace veil over the edge of your wedding portrait. Or you could display ticket stubs or other mementos from a cherished vacation or event.

Want a more classic look? Try pairing your canvases with existing decor such as cabinets, clocks, or skeleton keys. Shelves, plants, and flowers also make charming complements to canvas wall art.

5. Configuration and Height

Are you considering a grouping or collage of canvases? Make sure you have enough variety in the photos you select.

Yes, your wedding dress was beautiful, but do you really need four similar portraits of you wearing it? What about mixing it up with photos of your cake, bouquet, or rings?

This way, you can create an elegant grouping without it feeling repetitive or overwhelming.

How high should you hang your canvases? The industry standard for “eye level” is 57 inches (or 144 cm) above the ground.

Does that mean that every piece of wall art you hang should be at that exact level? Not necessarily. Much depends on the height of your walls, furniture, and how many canvases you’re hanging.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to hang all your canvases side by side at exactly the same height. Create a few rows or follow a zigzag pattern across your wall to make the grouping more interesting.

Final Thoughts on Canvas Wall Art

Decorating your home is about more than just making it look nice. It’s your chance to get creative, share memories, and showcase your interests.

Feeling inspired? Ready to fill your empty walls with your own beautiful canvas wall art?

 

Blog Source: Blue Horizon Prints | 5 Tips for Decorating With Canvas Wall Art

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Important Things To Know About Telehealth

Telehealth has emerged as a critical tool in providing health care services. [1] The practice covers a broad range of medical technology and services that collectively define the discipline. Telehealth is especially beneficial for patients who live in rural communities and other remote areas where medical professionals use the Internet to gather and share information as well as monitor the health conditions of patients by using peripheral equipment and software such as video conferencing devices, store-and-forward imaging, and streaming media. The following information details important factors that are shaping this burgeoning field.

The Changing Face of Telehealth Law

Today’s competitive health care marketplace has created an environment where patients demand lower costs, higher service quality, and convenient access to services. [2] Telehealth is an innovative and valuable mechanism that provides patients with efficient access to quality services. Lowering costs and removing barriers to service access, are critical components in promoting patient wellness and population health. Convenience and cost-effectiveness are important commodities in the modern health care marketplace, as patients tend to avoid treatment that is difficult to access or too expensive. As a result, telehealth technology is emerging as a preferred choice among patients and providers. Telehealth has also attracted the attention of US legislators. They utilize this tool for improving the competitiveness of American health care services. This is especially important, seeing as health care represents 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, the resource has helped to define the role that lawmakers play in ensuring that patients benefit in a competitive health care market.

Reimbursement for Services Delivered by Telehealth

The laws regarding reimbursements change regularly as more service providers incorporate telehealth technology into their practices. Reimbursement procedures can vary by state, practice, insurer, and service. [3] Care providers need to understand several facts, regulations, and laws to navigate Medicare telehealth reimbursements. They must first scrutinize whether the distance between the facility (the originating site) and the patient is far enough to qualify as a distant site. The location must also qualify as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) per Medicare guidelines. Additionally, the originating site must fall under Medicare’s classification as a legally authorized private practice, hospital, or critical access hospital (CAH). For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranks the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center as a top facility in need of physician services based on these criteria. Care providers must also use proper insurance coding to be reimbursed for hosting services that use telehealth technologies. For now, collecting reimbursements for telehealth services remains simpler for practitioners who limit the scope to which they apply the technology.

Telehealth or Telemedicine?

The term ‘telehealth’ is gaining popularity among medical professionals, compared to the original term, ‘telemedicine.’ [4] Some medical professionals use the names interchangeably. However, telemedicine is a term that may apply to the application of any technology in the clinical setting, while telehealth more distinctly describes the delivery of services to patients. Telemedicine is a familiar term, but telehealth more appropriately describes the latest trends in using technology to deliver treatments to patients. Depending on the organization, service providers may use a different definitions of telehealth. Although the basic premise remains similar, the context may change according to factors such as organizational objectives, and the needs of the patient population being served. Medical experts do agree on one point; telehealth is an innovative way of engaging patients, and it is highly beneficial for both providers and patients.

The Road Ahead

There are several areas where telehealth medicine could make a significant impact. It could be used as a tool to remotely monitor patients who have recently been discharged. It may also help treat individuals with behavioral health issues who might normally avoid treatment due to its high cost, or to avoid any perceived public stigma. [5] The largest area where technology could advance medicine is in treating the chronically ill. These patients usually require many visits with several specialists who may practice at different and distant originating sites. To move telehealth forward, organizational leaders must present evidence to peers and patients that the technology offers value. In addition, care providers must work to transition patients from using telehealth services only for minor conditions (for headaches, colds, etc.), to accepting the technology as a viable replacement for costly physician office visits. Advocates for telehealth medicine must also develop quality controls, so that this potentially transformational tool can maximize its problem solving capabilities and its service effectiveness. To harness the benefits of telehealth technology, America’s brightest medical professionals (both experienced and up-and-coming) must make a concerted effort to incorporate the tool into their practices and make it a regular service offering. Today’s medical students — as they enter a world where telehealth is becoming more pervasive — can take part in what might be a monumental change in the way health professionals think about medical treatment.

Learn More

At Regis, we give you more pathways to pursue your goals in healthcare administration. As a dedicated leader of health administration education, we welcome ambition-driven, self-motivated professionals like you from all health care settings. Gain special insight into areas like management, communications, health informatics, and health policy through our Online Master of Health Administration.

 

Blog Source: Regis College | 4 Things to Know About Telehealth

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Top Questions About Starting A Career In Dermatology

Residency isn’t forever, and young dermatologists on the verge of starting their careers must make big decisions. At the 2016 CalDerm Symposium, a continuing education seminar offered by the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, a panel of experienced dermatologists offered insight and advice to dermatology residents about embracing their futures. They followed with more comments in interviews.

Here’s a look at how several of the panelists answered some of the biggest questions facing these young derms:

How important are mentors?

The University of California at Irvine’s Patrick K. Lee, M.D., is a strong advocate for mentors since they can serve as guiding figures throughout a dermatologist’s career.

“Most of us get where we are thanks to brains, hard work and insecurity, which is really what drives a lot of us,” he said to laughter.

As a result, he said, “you may be a bit hesitant. A lot of times you’re not sure what you’re able to accomplish. I really believe that mentors can really help shape you and see your potential.”

Dr. Lee, professor and director of dermatologic surgery at UC Irvine Department of Dermatology, says residency is the perfect time to search for a mentor, especially since official mentor programs may be available.

“Find the person who’s living the life you want to live and see if they’ll counsel you,” he advises.

“The best type of mentor is someone you feel like you have a good vibe with. They can help you in the right direction even if they don’t do what you want to do.”

Is a fellowship a good idea?

Dr. Lee addressed the sentiment that most residents are just trying to finish training to start making money. He advised those who are thinking of careers in teaching to consider fellowships seriously.

If you have any aspiration for academics, you will need a fellowship, he stressed. He recommended that everyone consider this option.

“The issue is that you may not know you have academic aspirations until you are done. I’ve had several residents who weren’t sure they wanted to go into fellowships at first and realized later they wanted to,” said Dr. Lee, who is the immediate past president of the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery.

A fellowship can lead you to your mentors, too, he noted.  “Many of us are still very close to those who trained us.”

He encouraged the audience: “If you have any inkling that you might want a fellowship, go for it.”

What about a dermatopathology fellowship?

Linda Wong, M.D., a Kaiser Permanente dermatologist in the Los Angeles area, is a fan of dermatopathology (“dermpath”) fellowships.

I would encourage you to do dermpath. It helps you to at least know what you don’t know, which is a very high level of knowledge to achieve,” she said.

“And it helps you judge and assess the accuracy of some of the results you get back, which helps you with the patients.”

However, in dermatopathology, “you’re not directly working with the patients so they get to like and love you,” she noted. This can sometimes lead to a higher legal risk she cautioned. “A patient may say, ‘I love my dermatologist,’ but if you’re just some name on a piece of paper, they may think, ‘Who’s that person? She must have been wrong.’”

Dr. Wong serves on the Board of Directors for the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery.

Should I go into private practice?

Jerome Potozkin, M.D., a Walnut Creek, Calif., dermatologist, noted that private practice is getting a bad rap.

“In general, people are afraid to go into private practice and feel they would be more protected by being in a large group,” he says. “People fear change whether it’s the ACA or whatever the Trump Administration has in store for us.”

But, he told the young residents, “doom and gloom is good for you guys. It will scare people away from private practice so you’ll have a lot of opportunities,” he says. “I’m really happy with what I do, and I love what I do.”

Should I hope to run the office myself?

Dr. Potozkin cautioned the residents that being in charge has pluses and minuses.

As a dermatologist, you can somewhat control your schedule in terms of seeing patients. You probably won’t be there in the middle of the night. But if you own your own business, you have two jobs. You have the job of being the provider of services and then you have the job of running a business.

“We don’t have the luxury of other fields where they can just leave work and not think about it. I have those days where I fantasize about what it would be like to be at Kaiser Permanente and not think about all those managerial things, staff and human resources.”

Who’s the best person to take charge of a clinic? “Someone who’s brave, independent, creative and wants to run their own business,” he says.

Dr. Potozkin also advises dermatologists to keep in mind three rules published in the Harvard Business Review:

1. Better before cheaper.

2. Revenue before cost.

3. There are no other rules.

Blog Source: Dermatology Times | Starting a career in dermatology: 5 questions

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Tips To Know Before Having A Massage To Avoid Awkward Moments, Wasted Cash And Potential Pain

Nothing beats a professional massage. It can soothe your body, mind and spirit by improving immunity, circulation and anxiety. You’ll even sleep better. But before you head off for your massage, there are some things you need to know. Avoid awkward moments, wasted cash and potential pain with these 15 tips.

1. Be on time, please

Your massage therapist wants to work on you for your entire scheduled appointment. But arriving 30 minutes late may mean cutting your time short to accommodate the next client. Most therapists will not work past their scheduled appointment time.

2. It’s okay to get butt naked, but…

While getting naked in front of a stranger may be uncomfortable, it’s totally normal for a massage therapist. They are trained professionals and undressing will lead to a better experience. Only undress to the point where you feel comfortable. And remember, you will be covered with sheets where needed.

That said, even if you are comfortable with nudity, that doesn’t mean your massage therapist wants to see your privates. Remember that they are trained to properly drape your body to avoid being too close and personal. They may be comfortable with the sides of your buttocks, but that doesn’t mean they want to see anything else.

3. It’s okay to ask for more or less pressure

Your massage therapist is happy to oblige your request for more or less pressure. They won’t take offense. In fact, they want you to tell them what you like and what you don’t like during the session. How else can they create the best experience for you?

4. No perfume or aftershave

While your perfume or aftershave may smell wonderful to you, it may be a bit overwhelming to your massage therapist. Since he or she will be working closely for about an hour, your perfume could irritate their noses. In addition, some clients may be allergic to perfume.

5. No, it’s not supposed to hurt

Some pain is necessary, right? Well, not really. While there may be slight discomfort during a stretch or when a tight muscle is worked on, it should not overtake the experience. If too much force is put on a muscle, the muscle tightens up more. The result is even more pain, possibly bruising and muscle damage. That’s why it is imperative to let your therapist know if something hurts or you need less pressure.

6. Let them know what ails you

If you have a health concern or condition, let your therapist know. if you’ve had a change in your medical condition since your last massage, let your therapist know that too. Telling them halfway through a deep-tissue massage that you bruise easily because you are on blood thinners may be too late.

7. You don’t have to talk

The objective is to relax. That’s why you’re there, and that’s what you’re paying for. So don’t feel that you have to make conversation with your therapist. But, on the other hand, if you need to speak — do so. If you want to speak because that makes you feel more comfortable, then that’s okay too.

8. Remember to breathe

Sometimes, without realizing it, we tend to hold our breath. But during a massage, particularly when the therapist is working out a knot, it’s crucial to breathe. In fact, it’s important to breathe fully and deeply. It’s especially important to oxygenate the blood supply to aid tense muscles. Deep and slow breathing, according to research, has even been reported as a complementary approach in the treatment of chronic pain.

9. Drink lots of water after your appointment

It’s particularly important to hydrate after your session. Like a workout, muscles become dehydrated after a massage, suggests Dr. Oz. You have to replenish all that lost water by drinking more. Then there’s metabolic waste, which is produced by muscles. When your muscles are tight or you have a knot, it constricts circulation in those areas. That inhibits the body’s ability to flush out waste. Drinking water post-massage allows the kidneys to effectively eliminate the new waste.

10. Have a warm pre-massage shower

For the best massage, have a warm shower first. Relaxing in a long shower loosens the muscles and will help relieve tension during the massage. In addition, feeling clean will mean less body insecurities. Plus, the therapist will appreciate your cleanliness — for obvious reasons.

11. Workout before your massage, not after

Massage or workout, which comes first? Definitely work out before, not after, your massage. Worked-out and exercised muscles will be tired and benefit the most from a massage. Working out immediately after a massage is not a great idea since you’re likely to stress and strain the muscles that were just relaxed. Plus, you’ll run the risk of being too tired and injure yourself. In fact, it’s best to wait about 24 hours before working out, suggests massagetherapy.com. Allow your body to heal after a massage.

12. Time your massage for the right time

There’s no perfect time to schedule a massage. But you still should consider the best time for you before booking an appointment. Consider what makes sense for you and your schedule. Some people feel invigorated after receiving a massage and prefer to make this the start of their day. Others use massage as a way to eliminate day-to-day stress, preferring to book at the end of a long day. You know your body better than a therapist, so trust your instincts.

13. Know that bodily functions may happen

While massages are sure to relax you, they can also improve digestion. That means an occasional stomach grumble or even flatulence. But don’t be embarrassed  — it happens to the best of us. In fact, it’s completely normal and happens a lot during massages. But just in case that’s a road you don’t want to travel, avoid high-fiber foods before your appointment. You may also want to hit the bathroom before your session. Ideally make sure you urinate before laying down. Nothing is worse than having to pee while someone works out knots.

14. Avoid eating before your massage

Enjoying a big meal before you have a massage stimulates digestion. Not to mention it may leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Your best bet is to eat a light meal about two hours beforehand to allow for digestion. Being uncomfortably full will just ruin your experience.

15. Drink coffee before, not after

When booking an early-morning  session, drink your morning coffee before — not after — your appointment. Drinking caffeine after your appointment can tense the previously relaxed muscles. Choose a caffeine-free herbal tea instead. Your muscles will thank you!

Massage is up-close and personal, and your massage therapist wants nothing more than to give you the best experience possible. So most importantly, get comfortable, relax and enjoy.

 

Blog Source: Alternative Daily | 15 Things You Need To Know Before Having A Massage

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