The Best Metro Areas to Live and Work in the South

Over the past few years, families and working professionals have flocked to cities in the southern United States. Consistently, Southern metro areas have been ranked as some of the best cities to live in the US, combining job opportunities with great standards of living. Discover how southern cities are leading the way and why they’ve become the best places to live and work.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is an area with a long history and way recently ranked the best big city in the southeast. Not only can the city be a great career move, it also provides a welcoming and friendly community. Whether you’re moving here on your own, or have a family in tow, there’s plenty of ways to keep entertained. The area is made up of tight-knit communities, which combine old history with new innovation. Enjoy the many museums and parks surrounding the city, or hit up the great bars and restaurants that make up the city’s nightlife.

Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta area is among the fastest-growing cities in the country. It’s the 24th best city in the country for jobs and for those starting their career, Atlanta was ranked in the top 10 cities for recent grads. It’s the home of sixteen different fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Company, as well as prominent startupsThese successful industries have also created a robust downtown and nighttime scene. In fact, Tripadvisor ranked Atlanta’s nightlife as #1. For newcomers with families, Atlanta’s robust housing market encourages them to stay. Everyone can stay and enjoy the history of the city, its many museums, year-round sporting events, and the beautiful trails and parks surrounding the city.

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond has consistently ranked well in terms of industry and livability. The city provides many opportunities in a wide range of fields from information technology to healthcare. Besides its thriving job market, Richmond keeps its residents entertained with great parks, historic districts and a rich art scene. The downtown is also great for residents, with great bars and restaurants for a night on the town.

Whether you’re looking for a successful career, great nightlife or a good place to raise a family, consider these southern cities. Each area has continued to develop and grow its industries, allowing newcomers to stay and enjoy the area.

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How You Can Make a Late Career Change

Sometimes you need to change the direction your life is going. Maybe your job isn’t fulfilling, you need more time for your family, or you would like to try increasing your salary. After you’ve done some soul searching and personal examination to make sure this is the right path for you, all you have to do is start. Here are some tips to help you get started on changing your career.

Make a Gradual Change

Just because you are planning on changing your career doesn’t mean that you have to change your career all at once. Many of the new careers you may be considering take some extra schooling, training, or it might just take time to find a position. If you quit your job as soon as you plan to pursue your new career, you will have no funds during the extra months to years of training and job hunting.

Almost no one is prepared with all the funds and training they need to make that switch immediately, so staying on your current job while taking night classes or doing online school to train for your new job is best. When you’re ready to start your new career, you can switch to part time in your current career until your feet are completely under you.

Taking time to make a career change also gives you the time necessary to do it right. You can take time to really investigate what career you want to switch to, make a plan, and save money if necessary.

Gain the Right Qualifications

You need the right qualifications to make your resume look good for future employers or build a portfolio. Do plenty of research about your desired career. Call or set up a meeting with someone who is currently in the career you would like to have. They can give you valuable advice about what skills are in high demand in the career and how to get started. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Most careers require some training or school, so look for programs for your desired career. Online schools have a lot of advantages that in-person programs don’t. If you have an extremely busy life, doing school online gives you more control over your schedule. Often, online schools can also be more easily accessible and cheaper as well.

Believe That It’s Possible

The fastest way to fail in switching to a new career is giving up. Maybe you don’t think you have the skills or can’t learn fast enough. Maybe you think that no one will want to hire you. But that’s simply wrong. You are still at the prime of your life, and some mid-life change is inevitable and maybe even necessary. Late-career changes happen all the time, and if you know that a career change is what will be best for you and your family, there is no reason to stop.

Regardless of the reason you are changing your career, making a late-career change can be extremely intimidating. But it can also be extremely thrilling. Take this chance to change your life for the better.

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How to Make Your Product Listings Sell Themselves

When you post your product listings online, you may wonder if anyone will ever actually buy them. Putting your business products online can be terrifying. But you can attract your audience’s attention to your webpage and get them to buy your products. Here’s how.

Use Visuals

One way to get people to buy your products is to use visuals such as professional photography. People want to know what they’re buying, and they want to see all the options. If you’re selling stainless steel water bottles, for instance, and you have ten different colors and three different types of caps, you’re going to need images of all the designs so that your customers can pick which design they like. For other products, such as clothing, you may need to include charts so that your customers can buy the right size. Nothing is more frustrating than buying a product that did not live up to your expectations. You want to give your customers a good experience on your webpage so they will buy your products and giving them visual information that will help.


But you have to provide more than just visual information. Your customers will not be able to glean everything they want to know about your product from just a few images. They will have questions, and if their questions go unanswered, they likely won’t purchase your product. In fact, 53 percent of consumers are likely to abandon their purchase if their questions go unanswered. Therefore, on your product listings, you need to include frequently asked questions about the product. You may not be able to think of every question your customers could have, but by providing as much information about the product as you can, you build trust with your customers.


Establish Credibility

Building trust with your customers is important because, without credibility, you will not have anyone want to buy your product. To build credibility, you need to make sure your website is easy to use on all devices and is professional. You can include testimonials about your product as well. Establishing your image as a trustworthy, professional business will help your customers trust your products and keep your business operational for years to come.


Selling products online can seem overwhelming, but with a little work, you can sell your products. Using visuals, providing information, and establishing your business’s credibility will enable your business to thrive.

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3 Essential Things You Need to Expand Your Business

If you’re planning to take the next step in your business, congratulations! This is undoubtedly an exciting time for you. But expanding your business will often mean you’re facing a new set of challenges. It’s important to prepare yourself for this by securing the necessary essentials for success. Here are the top three.

A Good Marketing Plan

In order to expand your business, you’ll need a good marketing plan. It will be incredibly difficult for your business to expand without one. By using a good marketing plan, you’ll have the direction you need to bring your business dreams to fruition.

As you create your marketing plan, you should set some short-term and long-term goals. As you measure your progress, your performance will improve. You’ll be able to see the ways in which your plan is working, and the ways in which it needs to be revised.

Efficient Shipping

Efficient shipping is a necessity if you want to expand your business. If your current shipping process is inefficient, you’re likely to lose time, money, and customers. In today’s world, many customers are used to receiving their orders within 24 hours. They can be turned off by having to wait more than a few days or pay more than a few dollars for the shipping of their orders.

There are many factors which will impact the efficiency of your shipping. One of these important factors is your choice of truck drivers. It’s important to make sure your truck drivers are compliant. If they aren’t, you could be at risk for a number of liabilities.

Dependable Employees

As you probably already know, it’s nigh impossible to run a successful business all by yourself, let alone expand it. Spreading yourself too thin will leave you tired, burned out, and unable to expand your business in the way you planned. As you plan to grow your company, you’ll need to surround yourself with a loyal support team.

As your business expands, your workload will increase, so it’s a good idea to hire a few more dependable employees who can take some of that burden off your shoulders. Hiring competent employees will free up time for you to focus on making your business as good as it can be.

Give yourself the best chance for success in your business by arming yourself with a good marketing plan, efficient shipping methods, and dependable employees. These are three essential items you won’t want to go without in the future of your business.

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Becoming Your Own Boss: What to Take Into Consideration Before Starting Your Own Business

There are several different jobs you can take on during your professional life. It’s no doubt that you usually start off small and have to reach your way to the top. However, that’s not always the case. If you have that streak of independent ambition, you might choose to become your own boss. Working for yourself can be a very empowering and enjoyable experience. Before deciding to work for yourself, there are some details you should take into consideration before starting your own business.

Type of Business

You may have a business in mind already, or you might be starting to brainstorm exactly what you’d like to do. According to Franchise Gator, franchise businesses are available in a variety of industries and come in two types, business format franchises and product distribution franchises. This is a great way to build a successful business off an already developed brand. However, maybe an already established brand is not right for you and you want to develop your own business from the very beginning. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you have a passion for.

Your Financial Situation

No matter what, it’s evident that money is needed to start a business. If you don’t have the money necessary to start up a business, becoming your own boss might not be the best situation for you right now. There are certainly challenges to overcome, and you’ll need to prepare yourself for any rough patches in the early stages of your business. Take into consideration that most businesses don’t always take off right away. That being said, it’s a good idea to have enough savings put aside for any unexpected expenses that will likely come up.

The Time it Takes

If you’re very career-minded, you probably have enough time set aside to make your dreams of starting your own business happen. According to Secret Entourage, if you have a family, home and social life, you might not be too thrilled with the amount of time it takes for you to get started with your enterprise. Expect long hours at the beginning while everything gets up and running. Once business does pick up, you’ll likely still be working some long days during the busy time of year or when your company demands extra attention in order to boost sales.

When making the decision to start your own business, there are several details you want to keep in mind. It’s important to choose the right type of business to start, consider your financial situation and costs as well as the time it will take to build your dream. Making these decisions early on can help make your business dreams become a reality.

Need help building your business? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help!

What You Should Think About Before Taking a New Job

Are you tired of your old job? Do you enjoy your job, but there’s a tempting offer on the table? Or are you just in need of a better one? Regardless of the reason for starting a new job, the decision to take a new position should not be taken lightly. These decisions can be the key to your success, or the start of a downward spiral. In order to make sure you choose wisely, consider the following.

Your Long-Term Goals

What are your long-term goals? Do you want to move up in a company? Do you want to start your own company? Is there a specific industry you want to work in? Depending on the answer, you may want to reconsider your choices. If you want a high paying position in a large corporation, you will probably need to start at the bottom and work your way up. Leaving now could burn important bridges. On the other hand, if you want to start your own company, joining a small company could give you valuable experience. You can also prepare yourself for a consulting position by working for a variety of companies.

You need to consider how your new job will help you reach your goals. If you don’t have any long-term goals, you need to set them. People who set goals are far more likely to achieve them than those that don’t set goals.

Work-Life Balance

What is the work-life balance compared to your current job? The job might pay more, but does it require more of your time? Is it really worth a few extra thousand dollars a year to be putting in that many more hours? Unless you really love your job, most people find happiness in having quality time away from work. You want to find a position that respects that. Ask the company recruiter for the contact info of someone with a similar position. Ask them what they think about the work-life balance.


Perhaps the most important thing to consider is why you are taking a new job. Why are you making this transition? Is it for the money? Is it for a more enjoyable experience? Is it to work with friends? You need to be honest with yourself. Once you leave a job, it’s usually very difficult to get that same job back. If you’re going to go through with it, you need to know why.

Once you’ve considered all these things, it’s time to act. Make your decision and stick to it. Make sure that you listen to your heart. You don’t want to make a decision that you’ll come to regret. At the end of the day, if your heart feels good about something, you’re going to be happy.

Here’s another article you might find helpful: 3 Tips for Living a Successful Life

How to Make Better Use of Your Employee Training Program

There are many advantages to optimizing your employee training program. You can increase productivity as well as employee retention. Work function can become more efficient, and profits may also increase. Here are some suggestions on how to make your employee training program more effective in order to improve business overall.

Make It Goal-Oriented

Creating specific goals with your training program is an effective way to make the most out of it. Rather than have employees train with a vague approach, key into specific aspects of the job so that you can gauge their interest in relation to the job. Take, for instance, truck driver training. While there are many aspects to this job, there are some things that are specific to the task, like dealing with loneliness on the road. Establishing learning goals like these will allow your employees to engage with the material better, so be sure to have clear goals in sight and checkpoints you can monitor as your employees are going through training.

Adopt a Hands-On Approach

There is nothing more effective than a hands-on approach to employee training. In the case of a truck driving job, for example, there are many benefits to using a simulator in your training program. Logistically, there are many steps involved in a safety training course, such as location scouting, hiring a qualified educator, safety reviews, et cetera. Consider applying an employee training software that can provide a simulation aspect in your training program. This is a safe alternative with jobs that could be potentially hazardous. These kinds of hands-on training tools help with building skills, acquisition of new knowledge and reduction of costs, and they can be used many times.

Be Open to Feedback

Your employees know their work and themselves best. While employee training is important, another way to make it the most impactful is by collecting feedback from your new workers before and after training. Prior to the training, conduct a short survey to see which areas the employees have questions about, what they feel the most confident with and the areas of improvement they see for themselves and the company. After the training, conduct another survey to see what the employees learned from the training and which elements they think could be improved so that they can conduct their tasks better. These forms of communication between employee and management are effective ways of making the most out of employee training.

When used effectively, an employee training program can ensure that your company retains only the most qualified individuals for the job. It can also help identify areas in your business that need improvement for the success of everyone involved.

How Your Small Business Can Reach Local Customers

If you are a small business owner or manager, then you know that you need to reach local customers. You need to do it at a reasonable fee because you do not have the budget of larger corporations. You also need your ads to resonate with local residents to cut through all the thousands of ads that they are bombarded by daily. Use these tips to reach more local customers and watch your small business thrive.

Get Involved in the Community

Networking within your community is essential to your success. Join the local chamber or the local business development programs and take an active role in their programs. Scrape together the funds to sponsor local activities for youth. Offer your facilities or equipment to local organizations for a mention in their advertising. Supporting local charities and nonprofits keeps your business at the forefront of your customer’s mind while forming positive connections.

Create Ads That Target Your Local Audience

Geotargeting is essential to master if you want to see your local business thrive. Start by making sure that you know the demographics of your local area. Use your geographic location in your advertising as often as possible. If you are going to use PPC advertising and social media advertising, then ensure that your ads are showing to shoppers in your area. You may also want to set geofences so that you send an advertisement to customers when they are leaving a neighboring business or when they drive down the street near your business.

Be sure that you use words to describe your business and products that your consumers will use. Use local photos whenever possible. Employ slogans that people in your geographical area are familiar with in your advertising. By using effective geotargeting strategies you can better reach your local target audience.

Give Outstanding Customer Service

Your level of customer service is vital to your success as a local business. Impress customers and they will tell their friends and family, and that is word-of-mouth advertising that you cannot buy at any price. Each happy customer tells an average of three other people about how pleased they are with your company. If you make a local resident unhappy, they will tell many more. Therefore, you must hire and train your crew to take care of customers.

Think about what your customers want and how you can provide it to them. Take your customers’ opinions to the next level by making it easy for them to leave reviews for your company.

Putting these three tips into practice with your local advertising to help grow your local business.

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How Make Your Commute More Pleasant

For many of us, commuting is the least favorite part of our workday. Studies have shown that our commutes are growing longer, clocking in at just over twenty-six minutes as of 2015. This is a lot of time to spend behind the wheel, and workers are increasingly thinking outside the box when contemplating the easiest way to get to work.

Give Yourself More Time

Experts agree: for all too many of us, the daily commute remains stressful. One source of stress is the hurry involved. The temptation to sleep later is not worth the stress involved when your trip is delayed by unforeseen accidents and traffic jams. There are many benefits to leaving early, including less traffic to navigate. You will also impress your boss when they see you come in early. You will also enjoy the relative peace and quiet of being first in the office.

Bike to Work

Bikes are an increasingly popular option for commuters. Eschewing the car saves money on gas and as well as upkeep and repairs. It can be a relaxing way to get to work as well. Instead of endangering your health—and heart—with the stress of driving, you can get to work and get exercise at the same time. However, be safe. You should follow safety guidelines before making it a regular part of your commute. Wear clothing that allows you to be seen by drivers. Be aware of drivers around you, especially those unaware that they are sharing the road. Finally, always wear a helmet—no exceptions!


Many major cities have now designated special carpool lanes, making carpooling a desirable alternative to going it alone. These highway lanes are usually less crowded and free of fender benders. There are other advantages to carpooling. If you are not driving, you can read the paper or even catch some needed shuteye. Conversely, you can enjoy a conversation with your colleagues and arrive to work in a better mood. Carpooling is also an easy way to go green; fewer cars results in fewer emissions and cleaner air.

There is no need for a stressful commute. Consider these and other alternatives to the solo morning grind. Not only will you be more productive in the office, you will be happier overall. You may even add years to your life, so try some of these tips today!

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How You Can Help Your Employees Progress in Their Career

As a boss, you should mentor your employees so that they can climb their way up the ladder like you did. Besides just giving them general encouragement, you should show that you’re invested in their career track and that you believe in them. These tips will help you to guide your employees as they move through their careers.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Your employees can’t expect to grow if they’re forced into the same routine. Promotions and career opportunities come to people who take charge, but sometimes, they need these opportunities shown to them. You could offer more responsibilities to whoever chooses to claim them. Don’t try to force any particular employee into taking these responsibilities because you don’t want to be showing any obvious signs of favoritism. When it’s time to choose someone for a promotion, focus on those whose records show they’d be up to it.

Be a Mentor

Mentors don’t see their work as a mere means of making money. They also want to make others feel good and show them that they can become great. While you’re not in a classroom, you can still use mentoring skills. Opportunities like performance reviews can give you a chance to be a mentor. Employees should talk about career planning with their managers in order to help you get a sense of how you can assist them. No career plan is going to be perfected on the first or tenth try, but conversation and collaboration help to result in assurance that someone is following a good trajectory.

Provide Real Feedback

Some bosses have a difficult time giving criticism because they don’t want to come across as being hard on their employees. However, not providing feedback can mean you seem like you’re disinterested in your employees and their performance. You don’t want to be nit-picky or cruel, but you do want to give them continuous, honest feedback. This is even more true if you realize that an employee’s work performance has greatly suffered and you want to intervene. They might be struggling with something and feel like nobody cares. Show concern for them without making it all about the work. You want them to be at their best, not for your sake, but for their own.

You probably see yourself in your employees in at least some ways. You can remember being in their shoes and how much you appreciated having others to lead you in a way that showed they really cared about you. Try to be this person for your employees, and they’ll be able to point to you as a key part of their professional journey.

Here’s another article you might find helpful: The Importance of Creating a Safe Environment in the Workplace