Should Freelancers Ever Work for Free?

You've just been asked to work for free, perhaps with a promise of "great exposure." What should you do?

working for free

Whether it comes from a family member or even a potential new client, most freelancers have been asked to work for no pay. Perhaps the request was from a family member that doesn't realize the amount of time put in to the request, or from a client who would like a trial run before hiring a new freelancer. But should freelancers ever work for free?

The question has stirred up debates among freelancers, some insisting it's necessary to work for free in order to get started, others saying that it devalues the work and brings the price for that work down. There's merit to both sides of the argument – here's what freelancers should consider when they're asked to work for free.

Value matters.

Say you are ordering at a restaurant you've never been to before, and you want a really great pizza. There are two options on the menu– a $5.99 value pizza and a $15.99 deluxe pizza. Which pizza do you think is better? Most consumers will say that $15.99 pizza is better, because there's a value associated with price.

The more an item is priced, the more value people will associate with it. Most will automatically equate that $5.99 pizza with a greasy one-topping pie, and that $15.99 with a topping-filled tasty dinner. The same thing applies to things that are free. When you give your work away for free, it can send a message that you are a low skilled freelancer, because there's little value associated with something that's free.

Since free things have little value, freelancers should never work for free, right? Well, not necessarily. Whether or not a freelancer should do some work for free depends largely on the situation. Here are some examples:

When you should work for free

  • When you are a new freelancer, and you have no portfolio, you may need to work for free so that you have samples to show paid clients. This is just temporary – a few free projects to show what you can do. Don't place free bids for clients actively seeking freelancers; instead try seeking out a nonprofit and volunteering, creating a product for yourself (like a blog or logo) or opportunities such as guest posts that double as a marketing tool.
  • When you work in exchange for marketing. Sometimes, you may not get paid in monetary form, but through exposure. A prime example is the Huffington Post. While they have some paid writers on staff, they publish a lot of guest posts for free. Many writers have grown their business exponentially after guest posting for a large site like Huffington Post, because it offers a big boost in their credentials. That's not to say every freelance writer should write guest posts for free, but for some it is a great marketing tool.
  • When you trade services. Say you are a freelancer writer that needs a new logo, and say you meet a graphic designer that needs to update their website copy. There's certainly nothing wrong with trading services.
  • When the person that's asking is your mom (or someone equally important to you). There's undoubtedly some people in your life that you owe. Just be sure to set a limit and decide how far to extend family freebies (or if you want to do them at all).

When you shouldn't work for free

  • When you have a solid portfolio. I've come across this many times – a potential client asks for sample work done specifically for them, despite having very similar work in my portfolio. Charge for that work. If you are creating something that the client will be able to use, they should be paying for that service. When asked to do a test trial for free, politely tell them your rates for that work. Point them to your existing samples, and mention that it does not have to be long term if the first project doesn't work out. Again, when you offer work for free, you lower the perceived value of your service.
  • When the client reaches out to you for something like a free guest post, that should be a warning flag. That's sort of like asking for a gift, it's not exactly polite or good business practice. If they like your work enough to contact you, they should like it enough to pay you.
  • When your work isn't going to be connected to your name. Make sure before sending out any guest posts or similar "free" marketing efforts that you know how it is going to be used. If you create a guest post or cartoon that isn't linked back to your website, you've wasted your time. Take the time to write down exactly how your work is to be used and make sure both parties agree.
  • When the work isn't "evergreen." Sometimes, you may not get paid right away, but will reap rewards over time. A classic example is starting your own blog. You won't get paid one lump sum like blogging for a client, but those blog posts will continue to earn advertising revenue long after you've completed them. If you do need to create a portfolio, a great way to do so without working for free is to create a blog that has potential to earn you money down the road, long after you've completed it and are getting paid clients.

Most freelancers, at some point, are asked to work for free. For the most post, free work should act as a red flag. When freelancers offer work for free, it devalues their services. Time is valuable, so freelancers shouldn't work for free, at least not often. But, in a few cases, working for free can be a good marketing tool, and may be necessary for freelancers who have no portfolio.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for free? How did it turn out?

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


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Why Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without Some SEO

internet marketingWhy Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered a critical element of any Internet marketing strategy. This is important because there is so much which can be gained from SEO in terms of Internet marketing and advertising.

Failure to optimize your website for search engines can result in a considerable loss in terms of free advertising which is essentially gained from ranking well with search engines.

This article will provide insight into what SEO is and will explain why Internet marketing requires at least some degree of SEO.

SEO optimization is a strategy in which a website is designed to obtain favorable search engine rankings from popular search engines. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways and optimal SEO strategies combine a variety of different strategies to complete one well orchestrated SEO campaign.

http://brian-walters-online.com/flyers/WP-setup-and-blogging.pdf

There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website.

This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms.

The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage.

This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keyword into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website.

Another area of concern which is very important for those who are interested in SEO is inbound links. Inbound links are essentially links which reside on other websites and direct traffic to your website. These links are considered important because many search engines place a value on inbound links because they are essentially an example of one website recommending another website. However, when obtaining inbound links it is important to do so from other websites which rank well with search engines because many search engines consider the rank of the original website when determining the value of the inbound link.

Now that we have briefly explained some of the main concept of SEO, we will illustrate why it is important to optimize your website in the first place. SEO is so important because most Internet users highly value the results of search engines and are likely to only visit to ranking websites when they search for a particular keyword. Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant content first and are therefore not likely to visit websites which do not fall on the first or second page of search results.

This means websites which rank well essentially are receiving a great deal of free advertising from search engines that place their website in a key position. Website owners who do not invest time into optimizing their websites miss out on a great deal of potential web traffic.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive
http://brian-walters-online.com/

http://briansmarketing.net/

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Essentials of Marketing

Essentials of Marketing

Many people are puzzled when it comes to marketing, what is it you need to do. Marketing involves getting your message across to you potential customers, usually in the form of words, audio, pictures or video or combinations of the foregoing.

The tools you use can be in the form of email, circulars, advertisements, recorded messages, blogs, social media and radio or television. The changes in technology combined with the rise of social media, puts more emphasis on videos and shorter blogs due to screen sizes of mobile devices, however email and blogs remain important when it comes to the written word.

Not everyone has access recording studios to produce videos, however anyone with a bit of practice can produce a blog. The written word has been around for thousands of years and has stood the test of time, so if you are a marketer it is an essential skill you need to develop.

Where do you start you might ask. The first step is to gather information on the subject you plan to write about. Quite often this can be a challenge, if you for example,have just joined an existing online business, because you are also learning yourself. One way would be to write a kind of online diary of your experience to share with others. Another way is to read other members blogs and then rewrite them in your own words to reflect your opinion. One thing to avoid is cutting and pasting large sections of text and claiming them as your own. If you do copy text verbatim always acknowledge the source.

The first few blog posts are the most difficult and you should aim to write at least 200-300 words. About a year ago I carried out some research that blogs containing 600- 1000 words were the most effective, and whilst this might be true I am beginning to have some doubts, because it can depend on the screen sizes of your potential customers devices. I for one do not like reading emails on an I-phone in portrait mode.

David Ogden
Helping People Help Themselves
Http://markethive.com/david-ogden

 

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Preparing for a New Start

The New year is now only days away and if you New year's resolution was to set about improving your financial situation by starting up an online business, then there is no time like the present to get started.

Many people find it useful to find a mentor, I did myself many years ago and it was money well spent. A mentor will guide you and help you avoid the pitfalls which will trap the unwary. So where do you find a mentor? Well you can search online using Google, however most mentors charge to help you and how do you know that you are going to get along with their method of mentoring.

MarketHive can provide a solution for you, the site has been developed over the past few year by a group of entrepreneurs many of whom will guide you with free advice on how to become successful online. The advantage of using MarketHive is you are not limited to just one mentor and the chances are you will discover other people with similar interests to yourself.

MarketHive is an intuitive site with a FaceBook like look and feel, however it has been built from the bottom up to support budding entrepreneurs with a range of essential tools to maximise your marketing efforts.

David Ogden
Helping People Help Themselves
Http://markethive.com/david-ogden

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Planning your Life

Today is the shortest day of the year, Christmas is nearly upon us and the year end is in sight, so its time to start thinking about new year resolutions and start planning the year ahead.

Take some time this holiday season to carry out a personal view of your own achievements during the past 12 months.

One year ago we were living in Cyprus, I was working as a sailing instructor and we were planning on building our savings and improving Jay Education, little did we realise that 12 months later we would be living in the UK.

We certainly did not not expect to move to the UK, as we managed to get Jay accepted in a private English School in Paphos, however planning ahead, job opportunities are limited. I also discovered that because I had been working in Cyprus we could move to the UK without having to pay for a visa. We applied for a Family Pass in the spring and were somewhat surprised when it was granted. We did the maths and although the cost of living is higher in the UK we would save on school fees and it might open up a path for Jasmin and Jay to apply for British Citizenship. The biggest drawback was the weather.

We chose to live in Derbyshire due to the fact that is a reasonable cheap place live and generally still maintains British values with some beautiful countryside. Returning to the UK after a 15 year absence is a definite shock, on a visit to Nottingham seeing a sign in Polish enforcing no drinking in public places. We are still struggling to open bank accounts,paying over the odds for car insurance and cannot apply for credit as we have not borrowed money. Values have certainly changed, no longer is a man's word accepted as his bond.

Looking ahead to the forthcoming year we have some challenges, the first being my son who lives in Manchester and was diagnosed with a brain tumour around the time we arrived in the UK, an operation to remove it ended up in failure and he is now partially blind and facing an uncertain future, with no prospect of work and mounting debts. Some good news came last week when he was accepted for social housing, however the apartment is an empty shell, so we need to see what we can do to help make it habitable. This will mean both Jasmin and myself need to find jobs to bring in extra income in order to recoup money spent on moving to the UK, helping my son and building up a reserve so Jasmin and Jay can travel to the Philippines to visit their family, they have not seen for some two and half years.

One part of my plan for 2016 is to expand my MarketHive system, which keeps me in touch will fellow entrepreneurs and allow me also to help people understand what they need to do to earn money from online business opportunities.

So now its your turn, work out what is important in your life and get it down on paper, if you like share your thoughts on MarketHive, make a positive move to improve your situation.

David Ogden
http://markethive.com/david-ogden
Helping People Help themselves

 

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Britians Last Deep Coal Mine Closes

Britians last deep coal mineThe closure of the last deep mining pit at Kellingley Colliery  in Yorkshire, yesterday marks an end of an Era in the UK. I live in in what used to be a coal mining area  in Derbyshire, there is still plenty of coal beneath the ground, however it is uneconomic to mine, because countries such as India and China have lower production costs, probably due to lower safety standards and wages, together with state subsidies

The UK government plans to shut down all coal powered power stations within the next 10 years and it is ironic that once again it is China who will benefit from a building contract for a new nuclear power station.

Yes coal is a dirty fuel, however,  clean power such as solar and hydro power are also having subsidies reduced dramatically from the 1st January, which will make them less economical viable, for example a small hydro plant in a river in a Yorkshire village has just come online to supply some 40 houses. It will pay for itself in 10 years, however anyone planning a similar plant will need to wait 100 years for  payback.

Mining has been a way of Life in the UK and it is sad to see it coming to an end, with the reserves underground  miners thought it was a job for life but now have to seek other ways of earning an income to support their families.  Nowadays the problem is that many job only offer the minimum wage and these are usually snapped up  by foreign workers from Europe who are used to lower wages.

Miners like many others will either have to start looking further afield for work  or take stock of their situation, examine  what skills and interest they have and find a way of monetising them.

A few people who possess drive and enthusiasm might turn to the Internet as an alternative way of working, however it is a different kind of hard work, learning a new trade and there are traps in the way of the unwary in the form of Multi Level Marketing (MLM)schemes which promise a lot but from which few people can earn a living. If you want to earn a living online, it is easier to do so via an Affiliate system, earning a percentage of selling products and services.

Getting started working online can be a daunting prospect, and can raise  many issues, so most people seek advice from entrepenuers who have been successful and are willing to help others succeed in a selfless manner.

I am connected to one such group of people called MarketHive, I was asked to explain this the other day, it a mix of a social media for entrepeneurs to share business and marketing ideas, like a Facebook for business but  on a more professional footing such as LinkedIn. In addition MarketHive provides tools and widgets, to make the likes of WordPress better and enable anyone to get their message to the market place or customer via blogs, video or email

David Ogden
Helping People Help Themselves
MarketHive.com/david-ogden

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Affiliate Marketing Success

affiliate marketingAffiliate Marketing Success

As an affiliate marketer, your main objective is to sell the products and or services offered by your partner merchants. Unless you can do this, you can never hope to make a significant amount of money with affiliate marketing programs. So how do you boost sales? All things being equal, you have to increase your site traffic before you can get more sales. By the law of averages, the more people that are in the know of the products you are offering, the more products you will sell.

Here are three tips that can help you boost your site traffic:

1. Optimize your site for the search engines, SEO. The most successful sites on the Internet are the ones that are seen the most. There are many ways to achieve increased visibility on the Internet, but the best method is that of search engine optimization. A future article details how to help with SEO. In general, the purpose of SEO is to help your site get higher rankings on the search engines. If you have ever used a search engine, such as Google, you will notice that any keyword search will return thousands, if not millions of results. Most people won't bother to browse through page after page of results; they will prefer to look into the sites already shown on the first page. Statistically speaking, the sites listed on the first page will get the highest amount of traffic, putting those sites in a better position to make money.

2. Provide fresh content. Your site must be constantly updated if you expect your visitors to keep coming back. Your site must have useful content, as well as tools that will help your target audience. Make your site as easy to navigate as possible, and be sure that your links work the way that they should. There is nothing more frustrating than a “broken” website, and once your site has been labeled as such, chances are slim that people will want to come back.

3. Build an online community. Join some forums and meet people. Build relationships with your potential customers. You are able to put a signature file in many of the forums so be sure to put a link to your site in your signature. Make your visitors feel welcome and appreciated, and they are likely to come back. Be interested in solving their problems and they will thank you with their business.

More help about Affiliate Marketing

Making your affiliate marketing program work is really not that much different from operating a traditional business. The only way you can keep your customers is to treat them right. As long as you treat your customers with respect and exert effort in trying to meet their needs, you will find that they will be more than willing to help you with yours.

Affiliate marketing is greatly promoted on the internet as the answer to new found wealth. When in reality almost ninety percent that join up as an affiliate earn less than a hundred dollars a month. The Affiliate marketer isn't hurting though because everything they offered was geared to make sure they always win. It's best to remember that the ninety percent who are receiving little value financially are the financial life blood of the marketer.

They purposely design their website "squeeze" page to lure the gullible into believing in the dream of making lots of easy money. Offering free this and free that to help make the small investment required seem like a real deal. Now in all fairness there is the ten percent that achieve that higher income. However, they succeed because they know it's a highly competitive arena and understand what internet marketing practices it takes to succeed.

Many times the more successful affiliate marketers offer a free website as part of their road to wealth package. Oh, they keep their word all right. They will provide easy access to getting a domain name, web hosting, and the installation of the free website. However, it's usually a one-page website designed and optimized to benefit the affiliate marketer not the new affiliate. On top of that the marketers don't care if the new sign up understands what he is doing.

There's no "Before You Start" manual offered explaining established internet marketing technique. Even the hosting, which is an additional cost, is often also owned by the affiliate marketer. Those ten percent who are doing will either have enough capital to have well designed websites made or know how to make one themselves. To succeed as an affiliate, you must have a good website.

In order for an affiliate to earn income from their new one-page website they need one crucial thing. Customers! And on the internet that only happens if you get "traffic". This is when the small investment ends and the novice finds out that they have to again dig deep into their wallet. To make things worst most free websites have the HTML code search engine optimized to benefit the affiliate marketer. The internet newbie doesn't realize this having no understanding of the mechanics of websites.

Also even though they have access to the websites control panel it's meaningless. They have no way of making changes to their advantage unless they already own and know how to use an HTML editor which most folks usually don't. The novice affiliate is pretty much forced to use pay per click advertising to generate any traffic to their sight causing again more drain on the finances. The point being made here is that being an affiliate can be very profitable but it's not an accident.

Anyone who wishes to improve their income by being an affiliate needs to be patient and do their homework. Don't be sucked in by promises of wealth. One doesn't have to be a webmaster but they do need to understand how affiliate marketing works. There are hundreds of digital eBooks and paperbacks available to assist one on their research in this area.

There's also reputable software products that are specifically designed to assist the new affiliate in their endeavor to be more profitably productive. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of the American dream of moving on up. Go for it. Just be careful so that when all is said and done it doesn't end up being an expensive nightmare instead of a dream come true.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive
http://brian-walters-online.com/

http://briansmarketing.net/

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Starting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Starting an Affiliate Marketing CampaignStarting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Some business owners opt to start an affiliate marketing campaign as part of their overall marketing strategy. In most cases the affiliate marketing campaign is only a small portion of the overall marketing strategy but there are some business owners who opt to rely exclusively on this type of marketing. The main purpose of doing this is to save money while still achieving valuable advertising.

However, once a business becomes more successful they should consider being more proactive and combining affiliate marketing with other types of Internet marketing such as placing banner ads and orchestrating an email marketing campaign. This article will take a look at what affiliate marketing is and will provide insight into why this is popular and how it can be used effectively.

An affiliate marketing campaign is essentially a situation where other website owners place ads for your business on their websites. These website owners are known as affiliates. It is important to understand how this type of marketing works. In general the affiliates are given code for your banner ad to place on their website and given the freedom to promote their own website as they see fit. In promoting their website they are also attracting attention to your website because of the banner ad directing visitors to your own website.

One of the most appealing elements of affiliate marketing is the affiliate is only compensated when he produces a desired result. This means the business owner is not obligated to pay the affiliate unless the affiliate is successful. Success may be defined as generating traffic to the website, resulting in a sale or even resulting in the Internet user registering on your website or filling out a survey.

The compensation for affiliates is generally based on cost per click, cost per lead or cost per sale. Cost per click and cost per lead are usually paid in terms of a flat fee which is awarded to the affiliate each time an Internet user either simply clicks through the banner ad on his website or performs a specific action after clicking through the ad. Cost per sale may result in the affiliate being awarded a flat fee or a percentage of the sale depending on the agreement between the business owner and the affiliate.

The most effective use of affiliate marketing is to actively seek out affiliates with a proven track record of promoting the businesses which they support. Most affiliate programs are open to anyone with a website and it is not necessarily damaging to allow those who are not particularly knowledgeable about marketing to run your banner ad but it is far more worthwhile to seek out affiliates who are quite adept and generating website traffic to their own website. This is important because the more visitors they receive each month the more likely your website it to receive interest from visitors who click on the affiliates banner ad.

Another aspect of affiliate marketing which can contribute to success or failure is the design of your banner ads. It is important to remember affiliate marketing is viewed the same way other types of marketing are viewed and care should be taken to create banner ads which will be appealing to your target audience. This means everything from the colors of your ad to the size and style of the font should be carefully considered to create an appealing advertisement.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive
http://brian-walters-online.com/

http://briansmarketing.net/

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From Hopeful Work At Home Mom to Entrepreneur

Article By Rita Taketa – I've been a successful Work At Home Mom for 18 years, beginning when there was little career work available at home besides telemarketing. After working for several different companies being in charge of multiple operations, I now have plans to expand my business-to-business professional services with virtual agents.

work at home mom business and entrepreneur

I've been steadily working from home for 18 amazing years. In the beginning, however, it was not a popular decision. The pay was poor and the quality of work was mainly telemarketing for the consumer-to-business market, or some other type of odd tasks that were not rewarding.

I started on this journey after I had my second child. I had been working for a marketing firm as a supervisor handling inbound and outbound calls for clients in the restaurant industry. I had a great deal of responsibility with data and order entry, managing our team, training, and being responsible for the entire company phone system, which was my first introduction to Telephony Software & B2B Marketing.

As much as I enjoyed my career, I had a nine-year-old son at home to care for as well. I always felt torn between being a mother and a working women. I had already been through the route of daycare and before-and-after-school care and all of the challenges that go along with being a working mom. I felt guilty when I was not with my child, and yet I needed to work to help provide for my family, just like the balancing act that we all face today now that most families need two incomes to stay afloat.

Research on the internet afforded me to learn more about working from home, but there wasn't much of a selection to choose from except telemarketing. I started working with a company that produced customer satisfaction surveys for a national tire company. It involved evening and weekend work, so I was able to work my day job but bring in a little extra money. As I worked on different projects for the company, gaining more experience and confidence, I was asked to do more projects in different markets. Eventually, I started doing surveys for a vast array of markets including insurance.

Networking, researching, and trying different work-at-home tasks allowed me to transition into a full-time career working from home as a business-to-business professional. I serve as an extension of a company's inside sales team as an appointment setter, lead generator, and customer service representative. I've worked as an independent contractor for many years, so I took my experience and branched out with my own company to accommodate the needs of businesses in supporting their sales and marketing efforts. My goal is to expand by hiring virtual agents to help with my growing client base.

I chose a rewarding career path that has allowed me to be home with my family (which was my ultimate goal), raise my children, do meaningful work, and make a good living right from the comfort of my home office. Work At Home Mom = a happy mom!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


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How to gain more MarketHive subscribers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?

How do you increase your number of MarketHive subscribers, or "children" if you will?

I think LinkedIn is one of the best ways to accomplish this.  It seems at though, I may have finally cracked the LinkedIn code to do this, well sort of.  Today, I got 12 new invitations to connect with me this morning in my inbox, and I have added 981 connections so far this month.  This is a fairly rapid increase, that I believe few people are currently doing now, on LinkedIn.  

In addition, all of those new connections have been invited to join MarketHive.  (I am currently getting nearly a 1% response rate on invitations to MarketHive). I am actively trying to find a way to increase that percentage, but it is resulting in nearly one new MarketHive sign-up per day.

I don't know how many entrepreneurs realize that their first level connections are already in their sales funnel?  Everyone looking to market on LinkedIn needs to think this way.  Ok, it may not be exactly the same, but it is very close to it.  Everything depends on what you do with those connections.  

Some kind of automation is needed here for sure.  The manual way of messaging in LinkedIn will take you nearly forever to send a message to thousands of first level connections.  Btw, the LinkedIn limit for invitation requests per day is 40 maximum with a free account or a paid account, (Sales Navigator has a limite of 100 per day).  There is a limit of 250 messages per day to your 1st level connections on all LinkedIn accounts.  If you do that every day manually, that is a very time consuming process, for sure!

I am in the process of setting up a step-by-step training program on how to use LinkedIn to promote Markethive.  I may also expand it to a complete LinkedIn training as well, depending on the level of interest.  In any case, this is something anyone can do.  It can be done, even with a free LinkedIn account.  With additional low-cost automation software solutions, the process can be greatly accelerated.  

All for now.  Thanks for your interest.  

Best possible sucess in all your endeavors!

John Lombaerde

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