Photo Challenge: Easy Being Green

A Controlled Burn

I'll take this gray rain
to soften my jaw, rounded 
shoulders hang low and honor 
the loss of a old heart 
that held mine.

I'll take this gray rain
to smooth my brow, while
rising to meet the ash 
easing to green, almost
but not quite.
….
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. I take these photos with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high-tech.)

It IS Easy Being Green!

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Spotlight Interview: Liane V, Top Instagrammer, Musician, Actress, and Model

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Spotlight Interview With Top Instagrammer And Musician, Liane V

Liane Valenzuela (better known as Liane V) built her social media empire six seconds at a time. One of today’s top social media influencers, Liane V got her start as she amassed a massive audience on Vine with short form comedic skits. Though Vine is no more, she had over 4.6 million followers on the platform.

Now posting to over 3.5 million followers on Instagram, Liane V keeps plenty busy outside of the confines of social media, too. A musician, actress, and model, she’s taking the entertainment industry by storm.

Get an inside look at Liane V’s journey, process, and why she brought her parents along for the ride on social media.

Mediakix: How did you develop an interest in music and how did you begin creating?

Liane V: I developed an interest in music at a young age, I was in choir and band when I was younger. My family would always karaoke and we also owned a DJ company. I would film and perform cover songs along with my dad, which eventually led to performing comedic skits.

Can you tell me about your journey to becoming a social media influencer and entertainment sensation?

I understood how important social media was and believed it was a great way to share my personality with my audience. I had a few friends that were very active in the social media world, so I collaborated with them using the Vine app. I made comedic skits every day with my friends and family. Within 7 months I accumulated a million followers.

What are some of the major obstacles you’ve encountered in your career on social media?

One of the major obstacles I’ve encountered in my career in social media is finding the right management that understands my brand and my vision. I’ve learned how important it is to build a team that can guide me through the business side of things. Juggling my music as an artist and social media is a challenge, but I’ve learned how to do both!

Liane V interview Instagrammer musician

Most people hate seeing their parents on social media. How did you come up with the idea to get your parents involved in your content and why do you think it was such a success?

I’ve grown up always involving my family. It’s a part of my culture. I believe it was a success because you rarely see parents that are willing to be a part of making funny skits!

You have the ultimate squad. How have the people in your life influenced your work?

My friends have influenced me to step out my comfort zone and not worry about what people think of me and the crazy ideas I have.

As an influencer, how do you decide which brands to partner with?

I only work with brands that would make sense with my brand. So, I choose to partner with brands that would look organic to collaborate with.

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

My greatest accomplishment so far is performing at the White House in Celebration of Filipino American History Month.

Liane V Interview

What has been your most surreal experience since becoming a part of the mainstream music industry?

The most surreal experience was when I heard my music play on the radio the first time. I was driving down Highland in Los Angeles and grabbed my phone to start recording myself and the radio. I almost ran a red light, but I was so excited and happy!

Lightning Round: Song you last listened to? Favorite album so far this year? Dance style in three adjectives?

Bruno Mars – “That’s what I like”

Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

Fun, sexy, silly

What can your fans look forward to from you in the next year?

New music and new videos!

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Also See Our Posts On:

Spotlight Interview with Top Instagrammer and Celebrity Artist Hayden Williams

What Is Influencer Marketing?

What Is An Influencer On Social Media?

Top Viners: Where Are They Now? [Infographic]

The post Spotlight Interview: Liane V, Top Instagrammer, Musician, Actress, and Model appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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Why Offering a Free Trial Might Be Dangerous For Your SaaS Product (And How to Figure It Out)

For some reason, people tend to be equating SaaS companies with free trials.

I find this pretty bad indeed.

Here’s why:

It’s true that many software companies see outstanding results with the free trial business model, but it doesn’t imply that everyone should use it. That’s just silly. Every single business is different, and the same strategy never fits all.

Force fitting a free trial system in your business can be really dangerous.

In this post, I’ll cover three of the most common scenarios where a SaaS company should NOT offer a free trial. Take a look through them and see if any describes you.

Scenario #1: The Product Doesn’t Deliver Results in a Reasonable Period of Time

“Do not offer a free trial when your customer can’t get a complete picture of how your product benefits them during a reasonable free trial period.”

– Wayne Mulligan, Co-founder of Crowdability

I couldn’t agree more with Wayne.

Let me explain:

The only purpose of offering a free trial is to remove the risk barrier, right?

Think about it. Companies offer free trials to show their prospective customers the value they’ll get if they decide to buy the product – they just want to alleviate all doubts and help their users make an informed decision. That’s it.

If your product doesn’t show the value within a reasonable time frame, a free trial simply makes no sense.

For example, if the user needs to gather accurate data to measure the value of your software, and he or she can’t get such data within the trial period, then that trial is worthless.

Also, it could be that your customer needs to contribute sensitive data to your system to evaluate it properly. In this case, the free trial won’t be helpful either.

In both examples, the trial period is simply not enough.

Now you might be thinking: “Why not just extend that period?”

Fair question. For some companies, it might be a viable solution. But the truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all depends on your current situation and many other factors – like your sales cycle and working capital.

To help you out, I’ve listed below three of the most comprehensive guides on the topic. I’m sure they’ll get you on the right path:

Scenario #2: The Product is Too Complicated

Listen:

NEVER assume that your prospective customer will even attempt learning how to use your product. If the process isn’t obvious or – at the very least – simple, they won’t see the value.

In simpler words, if your product is too complicated, a free trial will probably not work for you. Why? Two main reasons:

  1. Without training, enterprise-level software tends to intimidate users, making free trials generally ineffective.
  2. Complicated processes tend to cost more money. Unless you have deep pockets, getting people to use your product for free might not be viable.

And when I say, “complicated,” I mean your product lies into one of the following categories:

  • Your product has a complex integrated process. For example, when you need the help of developers to integrate your product into your client’s website or when people require extensive training to use it.
  • Your product involves upfront implementation work.
  • Your product needs third party integration to demonstrate a complete flow.

Companies like Marketo and Infusionsoft understand this concept very well. Both companies offer practical solutions, but they understand that people won’t get the most out of their products if they don’t know how to use them properly. So rather than offering a free trial, they offer free demonstrations.

In fact, Infusionsoft goes beyond your “typical” demo. Instead, you can decide whether to explore the product’s key features on your own, reserve a spot for a live webinar and Q & A session, or even schedule a customized tour from a small business expert.

infusionsoft-demo-options

This kind of attention helps you get a clear feeling of the product’s quality and its value.

Anyways, the bottom line is this:

If your product is too complicated or requires extensive training to deliver its full value, try with free demos. This model might work better for you.

Scenario #3: The Free Trial is Giving Away All The Value

Look:

Be careful about measuring results by focusing on user acquisition. I mean, if those users don’t turn into paying customers, they’re worthless. Savvy companies always bear this in mind.

If you want to increase your bottom line through free trials, you need to integrate the process in your sales funnel first and measure results by sales, not users.

The key lies in this simple, yet neglected concept.

Marketing expert and evangelist Trish Bertuzzi has worked with many SaaS companies, and she makes a fascinating point in his article on Why Free Trials Don’t Always Make Sense:

“…For some applications, there’s very little value delivered beyond the free trial period. If it’s a solution that helps manage a task done once per year – for example, arranging the annual user group conference – why would the prospect actually pay for the solution once that task is done?

In this case, the SaaS company is essentially giving away the full value of its solution. A free trial can attract users, but not many paying customers.” – Trish Bertuzzi

Her recommendations include:

  • Offer a “sandbox demo” – letting your prospective customers try your product in a controlled environment might increase the effectiveness of the demo.
  • Create an explainer video – explainer videos are proven to work extremely well for SaaS companies and – sometimes – a clear video is enough to explain the benefit.
  • Money-back guarantees – if the free trial model doesn’t fit your business, you can still offer a money-back guarantee to reduce the risk involved in the purchase.
  • No-obligation contracts – if your customer doesn’t get what she or he expected from your product, that customer could end the relationship without any problem. This reduces risk and entices more people to buy.

Many startups tend to imitate what other successful companies are doing, but remember, what works for others might not necessarily work for you. If a free trial model isn’t profitable, better rely on different strategies.

Don’t Take My Word For It – Test It Instead

If your business lies within one of the three categories outlined above, a free trial model will probably make no sense for you, BUT it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it at all.

I mean, there’s no way to know for sure unless you test it. Every business is different, and your results may vary. So please, don’t follow my advice blindly. I’m not trying to stop you, but to “awaken” you – never do things just because “you’re supposed to.”

The fact you’re running a SaaS company doesn’t mean you should offer free trials nor copy what your competitors are doing. Better trust on your own testing.

It’s the only way to figure it out.

What do you think? Are you going to test it? What other tips do you have? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments! Brutal or otherwise.

About the Author: Josue Valles is a freelance copywriter, professional blogger, and business writing coach. He’s on a lifelong mission to help businesses find their voice and to turn boring ideas into brilliant stories. If you’re interested in working with Josue, you can email him at josuevallesp@gmail.com.

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Beacon Roofing Supply Announces Settlement of Litigation Against SRS Distribution, Inc.

Beacon Roofing Supply Announces Settlement of Litigation Against SRS Distribution, Inc.

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Jose Aldo Doubts Mayweather-McGregor Will Happen

From many indications the controversial proposed fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Conor McGregor will eventually happen. Jose Aldo, former UFC rival of Conor McGregor, however has given his valuable two cents predicting the fight won’t happen.

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Samsung Gear S2 Vs Gear S3: Best Hybrid Smart Watch For Men & Women

Samsung Gear S3 contains a 1GHz dual-core processor and 768MB of RAM.

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A Referral Program that Benefits Both the Referrer and the Referred

southern_referral_program250px

Southern Pest Control is offering a Double-Sided Escalating Referral Program that will reward $50 to $250 for those who refer a friend, neighbor, family member, acquaintance or client that becomes a Pest Control or a Pet Lovers’ Service Plan client. In addition, the homeowner you refer will receive a $25 discount on the purchase of the Pest Control or a Pet Lovers’ Service Plan.

As a Bonus, receive a free specialty service on the 5th and 10th referral.

Referral Program Terms and Conditions

  • Person being referred must be a new customer
  • There is no limit to the amount of referrals and rewards
  • To be eligible for $100, 3rd referral must be submitted within 365 days of 1st referral
  • Referral info must be submitted prior to service being performed or client purchasing Pest Control or a Pet Lovers’ Service Plan

Referral Program Video

Simply complete the online referral form or call today (800) 627-0577.

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Veyron's Successor Bugatti Chiron: A Velvet Powerful Rocket Ship Car With 1500 HP & 261 MPH

The Bugatti Chiron is only the swiftest and high raised production in a sports car.

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What Are Your Legs Doing? (Half-halt Help)

 

How are the half-halts coming? Does a breath and a light thigh pulse work? Or are your legs exhausted by the end of the ride? Is your horse dull to your leg aids? And by that I mean, have you nagged him into a stupor? (There I go blaming the rider again.)

This first question is deceptive: Are your legs and seat soft in the saddle? Can you tell? It isn’t as easy as it sounds because it’s instinct, once our feet have let go of the earth, to grab on with our legs, thighs tight, and calves tense. It’s a reflex and if we’re a bit timid, then even more so.

Be clear: Instinct and intuition tell us to hold on with our legs. It’s the wrong thing to do, but we come by it honestly. Not that it matters to your horse.

The problem with tense legs is that it means that your sit-bones aren’t deep in the saddle, but rather suspending you slightly above the saddle, making a disconnect between you and your horse. To maintain that position, your shoulders want to come forward and your knees want to hold. As your balance changes, your horse might slow up, thinking you aren’t stable. He’s right, but you might not be aware of much of this. You’re busy using your horse as a ThighMaster –and rock hard thighs is not the message of lightness and relaxation you mean to send your horse.

Surprise! Your horse doesn’t want to go forward. We’ve been taught to kick. Or we’re frustrated, so we kick. There’s no response, because it all feels bad to your horse. So you kick harder; your leg never rests. If that doesn’t work, you try spurs (not the real purpose of spurs, by the way) and a whip (not the real purpose for a whip, either.) So, you complain that your horse is lazy and won’t go forward.

At least you have kind hands. Well, you don’t. If the rest of your body is tense and fighting, your hands are doing the same, which means you’re hurting his mouth. No wonder he isn’t moving forward. And you aren’t breathing in any more air than a chicken. But some jerk has told you that you can’t lose this fight because if your horse doesn’t respect you, all is lost. So you double down.

What do I see from the ground? Your horse is mirroring you. His back is tense and his neck is stiff. As you kick, your thighs tense, pushing you farther out of the saddle. With that extra weight on his withers, he resists more. None of this is good, but worst of all, as your aids get stronger and bigger, I begin to see his ribs tense, and the muscle that runs from his armpit to his flank seizes up. He’s defending himself by tensing his ribs. Defending himself from your leg and your seat. He has no idea what you are asking now; he’s isn’t breathing either.

This was never your intention. You know your horse is sensitive enough to be bothered by flies. He probably feels your legs more than you do. There was an instant where things started to snowball to adversarial; so quick you don’t remember making that choice. A rider is always cuing either relaxation or tension.

Finally, do your horse a favor and show some real leadership. Just stop. Release the reins. Say Good Boy because you attacked him like a mountain lion and he had more patience for you, than you did for him.

Consider doing yin yoga. Become familiar with the Butterfly Pose. Sitting or laying down, soles of feet together, and let your knees open; breathe and let gravity do the work. It will feel tight but you’ll just sit with that. Let an eternity pass. Like two whole minutes.

Your horse doesn’t care about yoga, but if you were inadvertently giving him a halt cue with your thighs (you were), then you need to be introduced to the muscles he feels all the time.

Next ride, if your horse is safe, and naturally, you have your helmet on, begin your ride at the walk without stirrups. Feel your legs long and let your sit-bones move with your horse’s back. Let your hip flexor, or more specifically, your psoas muscle, become fluid and soft. The front of your body opens and your heels hang directly below your shoulder, perfect. Feel your feet heavy and your ankles soft.

As your horse walks, your legs flow with the movement of his flank. It’s a slight sway that travels from your sit-bones through your waist, up to your shoulders, and down to your toenails. You could carry an egg under your knee without breaking it. You don’t move more than your horse does, but most of all, you don’t brace your legs against his movement.

When you finally do put your foot into your stirrup, you’ll notice that it feels constrictive. Yes, a stirrup does make a foot brace a bit, but your job is to continue as if you weren’t using a stirrup. Let your weight be on the outside edge of your foot, almost bow-legged. Your leg should feel as light and loose as a bird wing on his flanks.

Now the process of asking your horse to respond to your leg can begin. He’s gone dead on his sides because the pressure never stopped. Now use tiny cues. Inhale and ask him to walk on. If he moves one step and stops, reward him. Refuse to demean him, and yourself, by nagging.

Ask for a bit more. Jiggle your ankle but don’t use muscles. Let the movement feel like a buzzing bug to him. Think energy, not force. Then reward him again, for giving you a chance to do better.

This is about successive approximation. He’s still waiting for you to kick hard and that trust needs healing. So you reward anything that is an approximately the direction you want to go, while refusing to fight. Once he starts walking, follow his body naturally, but stop cuing. Trust him to do his job without nagging. Let him stride on; let your legs rest. In a few strides, just using your sit-bones, ask for longer strides and when he does that, stop cuing and let him carry it on. Now the two of you are conversing politely.

In order for a horse to be responsive to your leg, your leg has to do less. It’s counter intuitive –just like everything else about riding.

….

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro

 

 

 

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NBA News: Derrick Rose Willing To Embrace Triangle Offense

A day after New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said that players need to embrace the triangle offense in order for the New York Knicks to be successful, Derrick Rose indicated that he’s prepared to be committed in the triangle offense

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