3 Tech Upgrades That Will Raise Your Property Value

If you’re looking to make some good money off of the sale of your home now that the housing market is exploding, you might as well take advantage of this as much as possible by doing what you can to improve your property value above what it already is. One great way to do this is to install some desired tech into the home. But not all tech will bring a great return on your investment.

To help you in figuring this out and getting the most out of your investment, here are three tech upgrades that will raise your property value. 

Build In A Smart Assistant

The team at SafeWise.com shares that one of the most wanted tech upgrades that buyers desire in a house is to have a voice activated assistant.

Because so many people use smart assistants through their phone on a daily basis, having this as part of their home just makes sense. A smart assistant can help you with things like making lists, researching, calling people from your contact list, reminding you of things, and so much more. So if there’s one tech upgrade that will be a huge perk to many people who are currently looking to buy a home, a voice activated smart assistant is it.  

Update Your HVAC With A Smart Thermostat

Tech is arguably put to best use when it makes your life easier and saves you money. And this is just what you can come to expect by installing a smart thermostat to control your HVAC system.

Not only can you tout the savings that any potential buyer might be able to gain from purchasing a home with a smart thermostat, but you can also share how much more energy efficient their home will be by using this system. If you so choose, Valerie Kalfrin, a contributor to HomeLight.com, shares that your smart thermostat can adjust your energy usage based on how prices for energy are changing. With this feature, you can save a lot of energy that would likely cost you more than you may be used to. 

Secure The Property With A Video Doorbell

While buyers can do a lot of research about a neighborhood before they move in, they can’t really be certain about how safe they’ll feel in this new home until they’re living there. 

To help put their minds at ease and sell them on a more convenient lifestyle, RealtyTimes.com suggests installing a video doorbell on your home before putting it on the market. This can serve to make potential buyers feel safer in the home immediately upon buying it and can be a selling point for security whether they’re in the home or away for whatever reason. 

If you’re wanting to update and upgrade your home with some sought-after tech before putting it up for sale, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you choose which tech to include.

5 Things No One Warns You About When You Have Kids

Having children is a unique challenge in life that can feel overwhelming, exhausting, and lonely at times. There are thousands of blogs, vlogs, and advice columns online for new parents, and when you’re expecting your first you are definitely going to receive a ton of unsolicited advice from friends and family. But even still, there is plenty that no one warns you about when you have kids— here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind.

Transitioning To A Crib

If you sleep with your newborn in your bed, eventually there will come a time to transition to a crib. One thing you probably haven’t been warned about though is what a nightmare this can be! Transitioning to a crib is stressful for both the parents and the baby, and can take much longer than you expect. Be patient and let the baby cry it out as much as possible, but be warned that this will break your heart a little bit. 

Sleep Deprivation

Sure, you’ve heard that you’ll lose a lot of sleep with a new baby in the house. But the level of exhaustion you will experience is truly unlike anything you’ve felt before in your life. And this extends well beyond the newborn phase and into toddlerhood and childhood. Make sure to get sleep whenever and wherever you can, and don’t be afraid to hire a babysitter every so often to get some extra shuteye. 

You Become A Different Person

When you have children, one of the things that may surprise you is that you might become a totally different person than you were previously, to the point you’ll barely recognize yourself. You will become so nurturing and protective and will feel emotions you have never felt before. This is all normal! Just make sure you give yourself time to adjust and practice self care whenever you can. 

Picky Eaters

Some kids are just picky eaters no matter how adventurous you try to get them to be. Try not to blame yourself, and don’t be too hard on them or punish them by withholding food. Instead, you can offer small rewards like dessert or a small toy in exchange for them trying new foods. 


Most people know going into parenthood that having children is going to cost a lot of money, but are still surprised by how much it actually does cost. Food, diapers, furniture, clothes, and school are all things that add up. Not to mention you might have to move to a larger home or more safe neighborhood. Not to say these costs aren’t worth it – they definitely are – but being prepared for them will definitely help you in the long run. 

Just because no one warned you about some of the challenges of parenthood doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared for them! Consider these 5 things and you’ll be ready for anything your children throw your way.

3 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Getting Into A Car Accident

While no one ever wants to get in a car accident, accidents on the road often aren’t things that you can really see coming in the moment. But although accidents are going to happen, there still are things that you can do on a regular basis to help reduce your chances of getting into a car accident, especially one that you’d be at fault for.

To help you see how this can be done, here are three ways to reduce your risk for getting into a car accident. 

Anticipate What’s Ahead Of You

The best way to be a safe driver is to be a defensive driver. What this means is that you anticipate what’s going on around you and that you always look to protect yourself from mistakes or missteps done by other drivers. Essentially, you never give another driver the benefit of the doubt or assume they’ll do something until they actually are doing it. 

One great way to put this into practice, according to the staff of EHS Today, is to always be looking about 10 to 12 seconds ahead of your car when you’re on the road. By keeping your vision up and looking at what’s happening this far ahead of you, nothing will ever take you by surprise when you’re behind the wheel. 

Lower Your Speed, Especially At Night

Even if you’re in a rush to get somewhere, whoever you’re meeting would rather you get to your destination in one piece and be late than to not get there at all. For this reason, it’s vital that you keep to the speed limit at all times. 

According to Jeff Bartlett, a contributor to Consumer Reports, lowering your speed is especially important when you’re driving at night. If you’re going over the speed limit at night, you’re likely out-driving your own headlights. This means that by the time you see something that’s in front of you and requires a reaction, you likely won’t have time to react properly. So to keep yourself and others safe, try to lower your speed at all times. 

Ensure Your Vehicle Is Operational

Many times, accidents aren’t necessarily caused by something the driver does wrong but by a malfunction of the vehicle itself. And while sometimes these things can take you by surprise, with proper maintenance, you can keep these kinds of issues from happening. 

The best maintenance you can do to help keep your vehicle operational, according to Beverly Mertz, a contributor to Harvard Health Publishing, includes things like having quality windshield wipers, keeping your tires properly inflated, having working lights, and keeping your windows and mirrors clean.

If you want to reduce your chances of being in a car accident, consider using the information presented above to show you how you can do this in your own life.

3 Pieces Of Tech You Shouldn’t Forgo With Your Next New Car

While all you really need for your car to run is an engine, having the latest tech in your car can make the whole driving experience more enjoyable and more comfortable. So if you’ve been driving a car that doesn’t have some of the best tech available on the market today, you may want to look into some of these things as you prepare to get a new car in the future.

To help you with this, here are three pieces of tech you shouldn’t forgo with your next new car

Improved Safety Features

The safety features available on many newer vehicles can help you feel much more secure when you’re behind the wheel. Things that used to cause accidents due to human error can now drastically be mitigated thanks to the safety features included in more modern vehicles.

According to Matt Bubbers, a contributor to The Globe And Mail, features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control can all give you an extra line of protection when you’re out on the road. And while it might take some time to get used to these features, by having them on and running while you’re driving, you should be able to become a more safe and conscientious driver. 

Larger Screens On The Dashboard

While it’s best not to look away from the road at all when you’re driving, sometimes you have to check things like your speed, your navigation, and any notifications your vehicle might be giving you about its operation. So when something like this happens, it’s good to be able to clearly see the information you need as quickly as possible.

To assist you with this, Keith Barry, a contributor to Consumer Reports, shares that many newer vehicles are adding tech in the form of larger screens on the dashboard. This makes it much easier to check on what’s going on with your car and get your eyes back to the road so that you’re minimally distracted. 

Voice-Activated Assistant

Just as taking your eyes off of the road can be dangerous, taking your hands off the steering wheel can be dangerous, too. Luckily, the new tech of voice-activated assistants make it so you can take care of whatever business you have without lifting a finger.

Eric Griffith and Alex Colon, contributors to PCMag.com, share that while many newer cars are coming equipped with voice-activated assistants, you can also add this to your current vehicle the same way you add a virtual assistant in your home. With this feature, you can take care of things like making calls, listening to texts and emails, creating lists, searching online, and much more. 

If you’re wanting your new car to feel like a big leap forward for you as far as technology goes, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how this can happen for you.

John Branca Harvard Interview and Common Contract Terms

Very few people on earth enjoy looking through long, complicated contracts, especially not most entertainers. Entertainers would rather be on stage or working on their next great idea. At the same time, it’s incredibly important to have a thorough understanding of a contract before you potentially sign your life away. An entertainment lawyer can help with this, but it is still helpful to know some common terms that may appear in your contract. 

1. Exclusivity

Also known as a talent holding deal, exclusivity in a contract means that you agree not to perform similar services for another agency while you are under contract. Many contracts for actors have geographical restrictions. For example, you may not be able to shoot a television show in Los Angeles while also acting in a movie in New York at the same time. 

This can also apply to musicians who may sign a contract to regularly perform at a venue or open for another musician on tour. Pay close attention to exclusivity terms in your contract, and tread carefully to avoid violating these terms. Violations can lead to a termination of your contract, and it may make it more difficult for you to get work in the future. 

2. Merchandising

If you are acting in a hit new TV show or lending your voice talents to a video game, you may see a merchandising clause in your contract. This means that your face may appear on T-shirts, or your voice might be used in action figures and the like. Merchandising can be a tricky addendum to a contract, so if you spot this anywhere in your contract, it’s important to consult a lawyer. 

3. Back-End Payment

Back-end payments are sometimes slipped into contracts inconspicuously, and it can leave entertainers disappointed and struggling financially. Back-end payments mean that you will be paid after your work is done instead of upfront. This benefits an agency, of course, but it won’t help you in most cases. 

4. Term of Agreement

This refers to how long you are bound to this contract and agree to these terms. Some terms of agreement are as little as a day, while others may be months or years. Take time to understand and think over the term of the agreement in your contract, and make sure that it works for you before proceeding. 

Contracts are sometimes made complex on purpose to trip up entertainers, which is why it’s almost always a good idea to have an entertainment attorney take a look before you sign it. 

Issues In a Relationship That Should Act As Warning Signs

Relationships have truly been put to the test during the pandemic with mass lockdowns. There are people that have seen their significant other more this year than ever before. Remote work can make it feel impossible to escape the home and find that true work-life balance. Issues in relationships were truly emphasized due to spending so much time together. The fact that alcohol consumption skyrocketed is no surprise as people tend to drink when bored. The following are issues in a relationship that should act as warning signs it is time to end it for good. 

Infidelity Whether It Is Emotion or Physical 

Physical infidelity has become different as some people cannot leave their homes due to autoimmune compromised issues. People that live with those that are older might not want to risk bringing back the virus into their home. Emotional cheating can occur with the number of dating apps that can easily be joined and started for free. 

Physical cheating has also changed with dating apps as not all people meet out at a bar. There are a number of ways to track the location of a partner via a car’s GPS or location on an app like Snapchat. Partners should always be able to explain where they have been unless keeping a secret for a family member/friend. 

Substance Abusive With Your Significant Other 

A telltale sign that a relationship is unhealthy is when there is substance abuse occurring. People that drink daily together enable each other while another person might see this as abnormal. Substance abuse issues really came up over the last year or so. People had nothing else to do as they would normally blow off steam by going in public. There are those that couldn’t leave their homes due to being exposed to the virus or testing positive themselves. You might have to enlist the help of a Raleigh criminal attorney if arrested for possession of DUI.

Arrests Stemming From Your Relationship

Arrests stemming from a relationship of any kind is a relationship you need to evaluate. Domestic violence charges can be given to both parties depending on state law if there is mutual combat. An arrest could be due to substance abuse which is discussed above. There is no reason not to hire a criminal defense attorney regardless of the charges. The last thing that anyone wants is time incarcerated especially during this time. Jail time is much different now with quarantines and health checks happening frequently.  

Constant Fighting or Bickering Over Small Issues

Constant fighting is not normal and can be something that creates resentment over time. There are couples that fight a lot but it is more important to communicate issues with each other. Bottling up emotions is immensely unhealthy and usually will come out in a larger fight down the road. Bickering over small issues is something you need to start getting over. There should be mutual respect where you can communicate clearly with one another honestly.

Above are warning signs that your relationship is unhealthy and might be better off ending. Take time to evaluate your relationship to see if any of these issues could occur in the future.

5 Ways To Make Loyal Customers

If there’s one thing better than happy customers, it’s loyal customers. Loyal customers are what keeps your company generating revenue and attracting new customers to your business. So what is it that makes customers loyal? 

Take a look at some of the best tips for increasing customer loyalty and ultimately driving your sales. 

Put Your Customer First 

A customer-driven business focuses on making customer service a top priority. Most consumers agree that’s they deserve good customer service anywhere that they’re a customer. If they feel that they are poorly treated, it won’t be very long until they find a competitor who treats them better. Some of the best ways to put your customer first are thanking them for their business, getting back to them when they have inquiries, and being friendly. 

Send Personalized Content 

If you’re still trying to lump all of your customers into one type of consumer, then you’re doing it all wrong. Mass marketing doesn’t work anymore. Your customers need a personalized and targeted approach that makes them feel like you’re talking directly to them. Sending out personalized content that includes their personal preferences and information is the best way to get their attention and make them feel like you’re listening. 

Personalized content can be anything from sending out a happy birthday message with a coupon code to congratulating them on a new business venture. The more you know about your customers, the better that you can personalize your approach. 

Loyalty Programs 

If there’s one thing that people love, it’s a good deal. Most customers claim that they are loyal to their favorite companies because they offer rewards for being loyal. Rewards programs aren’t just standard at this point— they’re expected! People are more inclined to keep buying from you if they know that they’re racking up enough points for a good deal later on. 

If a customer has the choice between two competing businesses, usually they opt for the one that has the loyalty program!

Automate When Possible 

Depending on the size of your company, manually trying to keep up with every customer is pretty much impossible. Automation is the best way to make sure that nothing falls between the cracks. Technology does the heavy lifting for you so that you don’t have to worry about setting reminders for yourself.   

From marketing to follow-up emails, automation is the best way to ensure that you optimize your workflow. 

Strive To Be The Best 

At the end of the day, the best way to create loyal customers is to give them a product or service that they can’t get anywhere else. Strive to be the best you can be at whatever you do, and you can’t really go wrong!

Providing Security For Your Brick And Mortar Business

Living in a digital age, it’s easy to turn your mind towards the cyber security steps your business needs to stay safe.  However, running a brick and mortar business creates a different sort of safety situation.  

Running a retail store presents a different set of security needs.  A more tangible approach to safety must be taken.  If you’re looking for ways to secure your brick and mortar establishment, take some time for research.  

Here is a brief compilation of a few ways you can take action to provide a safe and secure store location for yourself, your employees, and the customers.  

Nuts and bolts security

The physical security of your store is vital to the long term success of your operation, and there are plenty of ways to get the job done.  High tech deadbolt locks and high quality shutter doors are your first line of defense against after hour intruders.  

Window locking systems and high tech security glass can also be helpful when setting up security for your shop.  Making your building hard to get into is a great way to deter trouble.  

Signage can help 

You may doubt the power of a sign, but security signage is a simple and effective way to help deter a possible crime from being committed.  A big sign stating the property is under surveillance is not comforting for someone looking to do damage.  

Other sign statements that work well are “Protected By Video Camera Systems” and “You May Be Under surveillance.”  Letting unwanted visitors know that your establishment is serious about protecting the property can be very effective.  

Surveillance camera systems 

Not all businesses have the need or ability to stay open 24 hours a day, so you’ll need security in place for the times when there is no staff around.  Installing security cameras can really help you sleep more sound at night.  

When you have the ability to look in on your store at any time, you can appease any anxieties that plague you.  You can also attach your surveillance systems to 24 hour security services that will send authorities to your store if there’s ever an alarm triggered.  

Proper lighting as a deterrent

Providing proper lighting in the right places inside and outside of your business can work wonders for securing the store.  In your parking lot, you should have ample lighting, so there’s no room for crime under the cover of darkness.  

On the inside of your establishment, there should be lights on at all times.  Leaving a few lights on inside of your store when you leave for the day could help to avoid any trouble in the future.  

Hire live security guards

Not all places are best served by live security guards, but it is a viable and useful option for securing your brick and mortar business.  Hiring a trustworthy security company to protect your premises will assure that no trouble goes unnoticed.

5 Different Types Of Air Dryers And How Your Business May Benefit From Them

If you operate a clean room or another type of facility that has compressed air, you may likely benefit from an air dryer.  It all starts with knowing how they work. Compressed air is dangerous because it contains moisture which at the correct temperature can condense into an extremely harmful liquid that will easily contaminate your equipment and products or even lead to frozen pipes or other serious and costly issues. 

There are several different types of compressed air dryers out there that can help you and prevent you from ever having to deal with issues, but sometimes the variety can get overwhelming. Here are five types of air dryers that you may be able to benefit from.

Desiccant Dryers 

Desiccant dryers work best for extremely low temperatures. If your business is located in a place where it gets very cold, or you have to keep your facility cold to best produce your products, this may be a suitable type of air dryer for you.

Refrigerated Dryers 

Refrigerated dryers are probably the most common type, but this doesn’t mean they are the best option for all facilities. They are very reasonably priced, which is a big plus, but they don’t operate well at all under extreme conditions and, in fact, can sometimes make situations worse if the temperatures are too low. Just be aware of that before choosing this type of dryer. 

Membrane Dryers 

Membrane dryers are becoming increasingly popular because they require zero electricity and also operate much more quietly than most other dryers. They are more expensive, though, so if you are trying to keep costs down, you may want to be careful. 

Deliquescent Dryers 

Also, electricity-free, deliquescent dryers are extremely economical. Of course, this comes with a price, however. But just think about all of the money you’ll save on electric bills and the good karma that will come from reducing your footprint, and you may go with one of these.

Gas And Liquid Dryers 

For facilities that deal with dangerous or very exotic liquids and gases, drying is of utmost importance. Luckily they make specialty gas and liquid dryers for exactly these types of businesses. If you work with such gases as hydrogen, butane, landfill gas, or anything of the sort, it is a smart choice to invest in one of these types of dryers in order to safely remove the toxic moisture from the air. 

Once you decide which type of air dryer is best for your specific facility, you will not only be able to provide a safe and healthy working environment for yourself and your employees, but you will also have peace of mind that your products will be well protected.

3 Tips For Helping Consumers On Their Digital Journey

Before the Internet, people had to interact with their customers face-to-face and on their own terrain. But not, your customers don’t even have to speak to anyone within your organization before they decide to do business with you. However, if you don’t have any type of contact before consumers are ready to make a purchasing decision, there’s a good chance that their business might go to someone else.

To help you increase the chances of them working with you, here are three tips for helping consumers on their digital journey

Create Helpful Content

The first step on a consumer’s journey is to gather information about what their problem is and what possible solutions are out there for them. Knowing this, you should try your best to create helpful content that gives them the information they’re searching for.

According to Dummies.com, it’s wise to both create content that will be helpful for your audience as well as placing that content in an area where they are likely to see it. But to do this, you have to already have a great understanding of your customers. If you don’t have this, you can’t expect to be able to create content that will be helpful for them in the first place. So before you start creating videos or writing blogs that you mean to be informational, make sure you know exactly what content should be included and what will resonate best with your target demographic. 

Be Active On Social Media

For many businesses, one of the best places to reach potential customers is through social media. Depending on what your product or service is and what type of people you’re trying to sell to, the actual social media platforms that you’ll want to use will vary. However, your strategy for using each social media platform will basically be the same.

Ideally, Patricia Maranga, a contributor to Social Media Examiner, shares that you as a business will want to be as active as you can be on each chosen social platform by using the platform the same way your target audience does. This will increase your chances of being seen and remembered.  

Make It Easy To Make Decisions

Once your audience is ready to make a purchasing decision to be the solution to their problem, you want your product or service to be the most obvious choice for them. But to get to this point, you’ll want to make this decision to be as easy as possible. 

To do this, Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman, contributors to the Harvard Business Review, recommend that you make it easy for consumers to get to your product pages and then navigate through the purchasing process in as few clicks or pages as you can manage. The more streamlined the process is with limited distractions, the more likely you are to get a conversion. 

If you’re wanting your business to be more helpful to consumers on their digital purchase journey, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do this.