TIME Careers & Workplace

The Most Overlooked Aspects of Creating a Lasting Morning Routine

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Waking up early sets the tone of “making a choice” for the day

“Those that get up at 5 a.m. rule the world.” – Robin Sharma

Those who know me, know that I love my morning routine. I’m always making adjustments to it, and at its core it revolves around waking up early (before sunrise), working on something important for 90 minutes, and then hitting the gym. I recently shared my most recent routine in a blog post about creating new habits.

Today, I want to share a couple of things about my routine that I’ve neglected to mention in previous articles. These two aspects have enabled me to create a morning routine that has lasted several months, and it’s through my morning routine truly becoming habitual that I’ve seen massive benefits. I hope that these two insights can help you, too.

Why wake up early in the first place?

Before I jump into those two key insights that helped me, I want to share some of my thoughts about why you might want to wake up early at all.

Firstly, I’ve observed that many of the most successful people wake up early. In fact, I don’t know anyone who consistently wakes up before 6 a.m. who isn’t doing something interesting with their life. Some of the top CEOs are well known for waking up super early, many of them at 4:30 a.m.

Additionally, I feel that waking up early sets the tone of “making a choice” for my day. If I leave it to fate as to when I roll out of bed, then I feel like that’s the outlook I’m taking in general. On the other hand, if I choose to get up early and do amazing things in those quiet hours, that’s when I feel like I’m grabbing hold of my life and controlling where I go. That’s the choice I want to make.

Finally, I’d like to ask you – are you working for someone else and have the desire to create your own startup? If that’s the case, then do you leave your “startup building time” to the evening? Why do it after 8 hours of work? You’re going to be exhausted and struggle to be motivated.

I advise you to think about what is a higher priority for you—your dream of a startup, or your work for someone else? Perhaps start working harder on yourself than on your job. When I started Buffer whilst working 5 days per week, it was the choice to work an hour first thing in the morning each day when I was freshest that made a huge difference.

So, if you’re thinking about starting an early morning routine, here are two things that took me a while to notice:

1. Craft your evening routine to get enough sleep

two-tips-evening-routine-simple

One of the most important things I’ve found when I have attempted to keep up an early morning routine for several days and weeks in a row is that if I let my daily sleep amount get much below 7 hours for too many consecutive days, I will burn out sooner or later.

The best way I have found to counteract this is to decide how much sleep I need (for me it’s about 7.5 hours a night) and then figure out the exact time I need to be in bed. Once I’ve done this, I set up a 30-minute winding down ritual (for me, it’s going for a walk) that allows me to disengage from the day’s work and not have work in my head when I hit the pillow.

The key thing I’ve found is that in order to wake up early over a sustained period of weeks, this evening ritual is just as important as how much I think about my morning routine.

2. Wake up early on weekends, too

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Another key aspect I’ve found to having a consistent early morning routine over a long period of time is to pay particular attention to the weekend as well as the week. I certainly believe that allowing imperfection and some slack at the weekend is important, but I personally made the mistake of having a weekend wake-up time that was too divergent from my week day wake-up time. Only once I started to think about the weekend, I hit a chain of many days of early mornings.

Once you’ve decided when you want to wake up during the week, I recommend that you don’t wake up much more than 1 hour later at the weekend. This also probably means that you still need to go to bed quite early on Friday and Saturday night. The problem arises when you wake up several hours later on Saturday and Sunday, and then want to wake up super early again on Monday.

The most likely thing is that Monday will be a little later, and Tuesday too. Perhaps by Wednesday you are back to your early morning waking time, but you will not feel that magical state of gliding along, having several days in a row of early mornings and productive quiet hours.

If you don’t try to wake up at a similar time at the weekend, it is similar to giving yourself jet lag every weekend. By waking up at a similar time at the weekend, you don’t stretch your body, and therefore you can achieve long term consistency with your morning routine.

This article originally appeared on Buffer.

Read next: 5 Best Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day

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TIME Careers & Workplace

185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome

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Next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases

The Muse logo

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Led

Handled

Managed…

Responsible for

Most resume bullet points start with the same words. Frankly, the same tired old words hiring managers have heard over and over—to the point where they’ve lost a lot of their meaning and don’t do much to show off your awesome accomplishments.

So, let’s get a little more creative, shall we? Next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases with strong, compelling action verbs that will catch hiring managers’ eyes.

No matter what duty or accomplishment you’re trying to show off, we’ve got just the verb for you. Check out the list below, and get ready to make your resume way more exciting.

You Led a Project

If you were in charge of a project or initiative from start to finish, skip “led” and instead try:

1. Chaired

2. Controlled

3. Coordinated

4. Executed

5. Headed

6. Operated

7. Orchestrated

8. Organized

9. Oversaw

10. Planned

11. Produced

12. Programmed

You Envisioned and Brought to Life a Project

And if you actually developed, created, or introduced that project into your company? Try:

13. Administered

14. Built

15. Charted

16. Created

17. Designed

18. Developed

19. Devised

20. Founded

21. Engineered

22. Established

23. Formalized

24. Formed

25. Formulated

26. Implemented

27. Incorporated

28. Initiated

29. Instituted

30. Introduced

31. Launched

32. Pioneered

33. Spearheaded

You Saved the Company Time or Money

Hiring managers love candidates who’ve helped a team operate more efficiently or cost-effectively. To show just how much you saved, try:

34. Conserved

35. Consolidated

36. Decreased

37. Deducted

38. Diagnosed

39. Lessened

40. Reconciled

41. Reduced

42. Yielded

You Increased Efficiency, Sales, Revenue, or Customer Satisfaction

Along similar lines, if you can show that your work boosted the company’s numbers in some way, you’re bound to impress. In these cases, consider:

43. Accelerated

44. Achieved

45. Advanced

46. Amplified

47. Boosted

48. Capitalized

49. Delivered

50. Enhanced

51. Expanded

52. Expedited

53. Furthered

54. Gained

55. Generated

56. Improved

57. Lifted

58. Maximized

59. Outpaced

60. Stimulated

61. Sustained

You Changed or Improved Something

So, you brought your department’s invoicing system out of the Stone Age and onto the interwebs? Talk about the amazing changes you made at your office with these words:

62. Centralized

63. Clarified

64. Converted

65. Customized

66. Influenced

67. Integrated

68. Merged

69. Modified

70. Overhauled

71. Redesigned

72. Refined

73. Refocused

74. Rehabilitated

75. Remodeled

76. Reorganized

77. Replaced

78. Restructured

79. Revamped

80. Revitalized

81. Simplified

82. Standardized

83. Streamlined

84. Strengthened

85. Updated

86. Upgraded

87. Transformed

You Managed a Team

Instead of reciting your management duties, like “Led a team…” or “Managed employees…” show what an inspirational leader you were, with terms like:

88. Aligned

89. Cultivated

90. Directed

91. Enabled

92. Facilitated

93. Fostered

94. Guided

95. Hired

96. Inspired

97. Mentored

98. Mobilized

99. Motivated

100. Recruited

101. Regulated

102. Shaped

103. Supervised

104. Taught

105. Trained

106. Unified

107. United

You Brought in Partners, Funding, or Resources

Were you “responsible for” a great new partner, sponsor, or source of funding? Try:

108. Acquired

109. Forged

110. Navigated

111. Negotiated

112. Partnered

113. Secured

You Supported Customers

Because manning the phones or answering questions really means you’re advising customers and meeting their needs, use:

114. Advised

115. Advocated

116. Arbitrated

117. Coached

118. Consulted

119. Educated

120. Fielded

121. Informed

122. Resolved

You Were a Research Machine

Did your job include research, analysis, or fact-finding? Mix up your verbiage with these words:

123. Analyzed

124. Assembled

125. Assessed

126. Audited

127. Calculated

128. Discovered

129. Evaluated

130. Examined

131. Explored

132. Forecasted

133. Identified

134. Interpreted

135. Investigated

136. Mapped

137. Measured

138. Qualified

139. Quantified

140. Surveyed

141. Tested

142. Tracked

You Wrote or Communicated

Was writing, speaking, lobbying, or otherwise communicating part of your gig? You can explain just how compelling you were with words like:

143. Authored

144. Briefed

145. Campaigned

146. Co-authored

147. Composed

148. Conveyed

149. Convinced

150. Corresponded

151. Counseled

152. Critiqued

153. Defined

154. Documented

155. Edited

156. Illustrated

157. Lobbied

158. Persuaded

159. Promoted

160. Publicized

161. Reviewed

You Oversaw or Regulated

Whether you enforced protocol or managed your department’s requests, describe what you really did, better, with these words:

162. Authorized

163. Blocked

164. Delegated

165. Dispatched

166. Enforced

167. Ensured

168. Inspected

169. Itemized

170. Monitored

171. Screened

172. Scrutinized

173. Verified

You Achieved Something

Did you hit your goals? Win a coveted department award? Don’t forget to include that on your resume, with words like:

174. Attained

175. Awarded

176. Completed

177. Demonstrated

178. Earned

179. Exceeded

180. Outperformed

181. Reached

182. Showcased

183. Succeeded

184. Surpassed

185. Targeted

More from the Muse:

Read next: 4 Changes That Will Make Your Resume Incredibly Powerful

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TIME advice

Career Advice You Should Never Follow

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"Don’t be a job hopper"

With so much career advice floating around the interwebs, some of it is bound to be total bollocks. (It’s Christmas season, of course I have Love, Actually quotes on the brain.) Luckily we here at Levo don’t just trust the haphazardly doled-out opinions of self-appointed “leadership experts” and other dubious characters. We go straight to the top—men and women who have worked their way to massive career success—and ask them. What strategies actually worked for them? Which career buzz phrases should be ignored completely? Here are a few pieces of career advice that you should never follow.

1. “Always have a five-year plan.”

Haven’t you heard? Five-year plans are out, pivoting is in. Having tangible goals is awesome and necessary, but trying to plan out the next five years of your life is neither. The best opportunities are often those that you don’t see coming. Being too stuck to your “five-year plan” inhibits you from taking opportunities as they arise, and pivoting in new directions.

2. “Don’t be a job hopper.”

There are worse things to be. Namely, the quiet loyal workhorse who never leaves or makes the money she deserves. It’s a new economy people, job hopping is becoming the norm. These days, employees who stay in companies for longer than two years earn 50% less over their lifetimes. So yes, be gracious and respectful to each and every one of your employers, but certainly don’t stay in a position for fear of being labeled “a job hopper.”

(MORE: Career Lessons from Your Favorite Kevin Spacey Characters)

3. “Follow the money.” / “Just do what you love and the money will follow.”

Equally bad advice, from opposite ends of the spectrum. Following the money with complete disregard for your interests is a surefire path toward a soul-sucking career doing something you hate. It may not even be the best financial move in the long term. On the other side of that coin, doing what you love with the expectation that financial success will miraculously follow is naive and ridiculous. As Kate White always says, think about where your interests and talents intersect with the greatest potential for financial success, and head toward those points of intersection.

4. “Don’t be too grabby. Let your work speak for itself.”

This is the kind of advice your Middle Eastern grandfather who owned a small business 40 years ago might give you (not from personal experience or anything). Even if it means well, it is just not true. Remember that episode of New Girl? Jess wants to be vice principal of her school: “I’m just hoping, you know in a few years, I’ll have enough experience that Dr. Foster will consider me for Vice Principal.” Coach asks, “Why don’t you just ask for it?” Jess says, “You can’t just ask for a promotion, you know, you have to earn the promotion with years of hard work.” Coach laughs. Please, don’t be Jess.

5. “Don’t waste time applying to jobs you know you won’t get.”

We just published a great piece from the Personal Branding Blog that addresses this very topic. Just because you think a particular job is a reach or you’re not the ideal fit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. Within limits of course—don’t start applying for wedding photographer assistant positions if you want to be a pharmacist (unless you’ve always cultivated a secret passion for photography of course). Every job you apply to is an opportunity to tighten up your resume, hone your interview skills, and build confidence, which is never a waste of time.

(MORE: One Piece of Career Advice You Always Should Ignore)

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

5 Email Habits of Very Productive People

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Here's how to practice good email hygiene

Ping! Check email. Ping. Check email again. Ping. Check. Ping. Check. Ping. Check.

If you’re like most people who sit in front of a computer all day, this probably sounds like you: When you’re not currently replying to an email, you’re looking to see if you have any new ones. Then when something new does come in, you read it, debate how to respond, then deem it too time-consuming for the moment. “I’ll get to that later,” you think. And if there’s nothing new, you’re nervously wondering why. “Is it because my inbox is full?!” So you keep checking back every 15 seconds until something pops up—in the meantime deleting all the junk mail that has since clogged your inbox.

HEALTH.COM: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

But a life tethered to your email means those other projects you want and need to do—be they big reports or personal tasks—can get postponed by days, weeks, or months. Not to mention, a new Canadian study found hyperchecking your email can make you (surprise!) more stressed. So we asked five people who have a barrage of emails to answer to tell us how they tame their inbox.

Read on for their strategies to deal with the deep, dark email crevasse.

Set designated “reply times”

“I do many quick checks of email throughout the day to see if there’s something high priority and urgent that has come in, but I only allocate two times a day to fully deal with the email that has accumulated. By batching all of the heavy duty email processing into bigger chunks, I can be much more efficient and reduce the feeling of constantly switching tasks.”

—Jacob Bank, computer scientist and co-founder and CEO of the Timeful calendar app

HEALTH.COM: 12 Unexpected Things That Mess With Your Memory

Pick and choose what’s key

“I respond to priorities as soon as possible, and keep correspondence clear and super positive. Knowing that I’ll still never get through all the emails, I prioritize people who are asking for help and opportunities that support my intention. I’m also not afraid to use the “!” for high priorities or dramatic effect.”

—Tara Stiles, yoga instructor, author of the Make Your Own Rules Diet ($25, amazon.com), and W Hotels’ fitness partner

Email only the quick things

“Email works for quick day-to-day correspondence, but when I have something important to discuss or decisions to be made, I pick up the phone. It is always better to hear the person on the other end—the inflection in their voice. Emails can often be misunderstood.”

Bobbi Brown, makeup artist and Health‘s contributing beauty and lifestyle editor

HEALTH.COM: 13 Ways to Beat Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

Sort all your stuff

“I have found that treating my online mail just like post office mail works wonders. I created folders: Everything from mom folder, workout class folder, celebrity clientele folder, house folder, summer cottage folder, medical folder, kid folders, etc. With emails organized into categories, I can easily do my three steps…find, take action, or delete. You’ll also need to unsubscribe from junk. The volume of junk email is tremendous and spending time deleting each one is taking precious time away from you. Finally, prioritize emails that need attention that particular day. I hit reply and drag them to the corner of my desktop if I can’t get to them at that moment, otherwise I use my other rule, don’t leave an email request—answer asap.”

—Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer, author, and founder of Sunday Set-Up, a healthy eating club

Respond—don’t mull

“I try to respond to emails as soon as I see them because otherwise they can get pushed further down the inbox and may be ignored. I recommend you be responsive but not superfluous. By responding quickly and writing short, non-flowery emails, you can create an image of efficiency and attentiveness. Even short words like “Thanks” or “Got it” will help you build a culture of trust and signal that you are on top of your inbox.”

—Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, Health’s contributing medical editor, and cofounder of Tula Skincare

HEALTH.COM: 10 Nervous Habits That Hurt Your Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME Careers

Get Motivated With 2014’s Inspiring, Unforgettable Quotes

2014 has been inspired, from Maya Angelou to Robin Williams to Sheryl Sandberg

With the year coming to a close, there’s no better time to look back at the words that moved us, made us laugh and inspired us to do more. From the encouragement of big name graduation speakers, to sound TED Talk advice and remembering those who are no longer with us, here are 11 examples of words of wisdom from the pages of Entrepreneur.

  • “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” Maya Angelou, Author and Activist


    Read more:
    10 Inspirational Quotes From Literary Legend Maya Angelou

  • “And some of you – and now I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped – have not gotten the job you really wanted or have received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know the disappointment of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” – Jill Abramson, Journalist


    Read more:
    Ex-NYT Editor Jill Abramson on Resilience

  • “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” - Robin Williams, Actor and Comedian


    Read more:
    10 Inspirational Robin Williams Quotes

  • “Getting from point A to point Z can be daunting unless you remember that you don’t have to get from A to Z. You just have to get from A to B. Breaking big dreams into small steps is the way to move forward.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Author, Activist, COO of Facebook


    Read more:
    Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice to Grads: Banish Self-Doubt, Dream Bigger and Lean In, Always

  • “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, because you know what you can do if you grab the wrong one? Drop it and pick up another one!” – Steve Ballmer, Former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the LA Clippers


    Read more:
    3 Life Lessons From Steve Ballmer’s Rousing Graduation Speech

  • “I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Writer


    Read more:

  • “If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business — it’s that simple. Companies have a responsibility to make a difference in the world: They owe this to their community, their staff, their customers, everyone. The amazing part is that doing good is also good for business — what are you waiting for?” – Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

    Read more: Richard Branson’s Top 10 Tips for Succeeding at Business

  • “Let’s keep it real: most of us, especially most of us entrepreneurs, get caught up in what we perceive to be the highs and lows of our professional lives. We pop champagne, buy fancy toys and celebrate when it seems like one of our ideas has “won,” but we become dark and depressed when it seems like an idea has “lost” or “failed.” The truth is that neither reaction is sustainable. Being an entrepreneur or a business person is a journey that will have inevitable highs and lows, but will never actually end.” – Russell Simmons, fashion and lifestyle entrepreneur and founder of Def Jam Recordings

    Read more: Russell Simmons: 3 Simple Ways Meditation Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur

  • So I guess what I’m saying is you gotta ask yourself, why are you playing the game?– Matthew McConaughey, Actor


    Read more: Low on Drive? Watch Matthew McConaughey Deliver This Rousing Ode to Purpose

  • “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” – Joan Rivers, Comedian


    Read more:
    Honoring Joan Rivers: 12 of the Trailblazing Comedian’s Wisest Quotes

  • “Being open and observant of people and the world around you is really important. People have the same desires and needs online as they do offline. The way that people are stays constant. You can change the format, make it easier for them to communicate or use photos instead of words but human necessities never change.” – Caterina Fake, tech entrepreneur, founder of Flickr and Findery.

    Related: Lewis Howes On Being Confident: ‘Own Who You Are’

    This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

TIME advice

How to Use the Holidays to Advance Your Career

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Get clear on what you have to offer

Often during the holidays we have some extra time on our hands. Without work, college, or other distractions, we can take the time to catch up on our year and look ahead to next year.

For me, the most important goals for the coming year are always career oriented. I find when I’m happy with my career, personal development, and overall professional growth, everything else seems to come into place. I see more friends, have more time to exercise and focus on hobbies, and am just happier.

Here’s how everyone can make the most of this holiday season to get ready for our careers in 2015:

1. Get serious about LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, the worlds largest professional network. It’s very easy to be intimidated by this network if you aren’t already using it, but you shouldn’t be intimidated and you should be using it.

I know many people, including myself, who get multiple opportunities a month from LinkedIn. Whether they’re new job openings, freelance contracts, or connecting with other professionals, having a full and complete LinkedIn profile does wonders for your personal brand and can do wonders for you career, too.

When you sit down with your LinkedIn profile start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What’s my biggest career accomplishment to date and how am I highlighting it?
  • What do I like about other people’s profiles and how can I bring those qualities to my own profile?
  • What is my goal with my LinkedIn profile? For potential employers to find me, to bring in new client leads or to keep up with my professional network?

Once you answer those questions be sure to take action and include your biggest accomplishment, include elements you like about other people’s profiles and anything else you think can help your profile stand out. Having an amazing LinkedIn profile is easier than it seems.

2. Write down your ideal career situation.

A lot of us have ideas of what our dream job would be like, who our dream company is, and what it would be like to be there. But have you ever really written it down?

Take a minute to write down your ideal career situation and be very specific. Where are you working, what are you doing, what does an everyday look like, and why does this job make you happy?

Writing it down is different from just thinking about it because it forces you to get really clear on what you want. Once you have your perfect situation written down, you will start to see little steps that you can take in 2015 to slowly, but surely, get there.

(MORE: How to Rock the Job Search During the Holidays)

3. Get clear on what you have to offer.

Have you ever made a big list of all of your skills, knowledge, and other things that you bring to the table when you work somewhere?

Getting clear on this will help you advance your career in many different ways. It helps you figure out which job posting are really for you, it helps you know what you can offer clients, and the skills question always comes up in interviews.

Make sure you have this list on hand when you’re doing career-related things. It keeps you on your path of working on the skills you are best at.

4. Set goals for 2015.

Finally over the new year, I love to set goals and resolutions. Napoleon Hill said, ”A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a deadline for these goals. They give you something to work toward. Make sure your goals follow the SMART plan:

  • Specific: Instead of ‘get a job’ try ‘land an entry level position with company in X industry.’
  • Measurable: Make sure you can determine whether or not you’ve accomplished the goal.
  • Actionable: Can you take small steps to get to this goal?
  • Realistic: Taking into account your current situation, how likely is it you will achieve this? Big dreams are amazing–but it takes small accomplishments to get there.
  • Timely: Set a deadline–don’t be scared of the timeframe, let it motivate you.

I’m all for lofty goals that blow your mind when you accomplish them. I would say just start with the really small steps to get there.

(MORE: Merry Stress-mess: How to Not Go Crazy During the Holidays)

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Build a Million-Dollar Business in 1 Year (Yes, Really)

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You have to think about one thing—and one thing only—from the start

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Some people go their entire lives without earning a million dollars, so it sounds crazy that some businesses might be able to achieve this milestone within their first year. But it is possible. Plenty of businesses have achieved this goal, and you can too!

Pay attention to the following tips and use them to help power up your revenue growth:

1. Find a growing market

One of the easiest ways to build a million-dollar company in such a short period of time is to find a growing trend and ride it to the top. Take the example of Micah Adler, CEO of mobile app developer Fiksu, which grew from less than $1 million to $100 million in just three and a half years — with only $17.6 million in venture capital — following its 2010 launch.

Related: Looking for Stable Business Ideas? Here Are 12 Types of Companies With Healthy Cash Flow.

Certainly, Adler’s success comes in part from building great products, but it also comes from his timing. In 2012, just two years after Fiksu’s launch, mobile-app development represented $19 billion in revenue and was experiencing annual growth of more than 60 percent a year. Finding a growing market of your own like this can put you on the fast track to massive revenue growth.

2. Think monetization from the start

It seems strange to think about objectively, but some startups start without any obvious monetization strategies. Twitter is one example of this phenomenon, but there are countless other companies out there building up their free user bases, hoping that inspiration — and, consequently, financial stability — will strike along the way.

If you want to grow a million-dollar company in your first year, you can’t afford to think that way!

Most profitable companies operate from one of two models: either they sell a lot of inexpensive products to a lot of people or they sell a few big-ticket items to a more limited buyer list. Neither model is easier or inherently better than the other. What’s more important than choosing is having a defined plan for monetization. Knowing how you’ll make money from the start will prevent wasted time spent hoping that something profitable will come together for you.

3. Be the best

There are plenty of mediocre products out there, but the odds are good that these companies aren’t making a million dollars or more during their first years. If you want to hit these big potential profits, you’ve got to bring something to the table that wows customers and generates buzz within your marketplace.

Related: Field a Team of ‘A’ Players at Your Startup

How can you tell if you’ve got a “best in breed” product? Look to your current customers. If you aren’t getting rave reviews online or positive comments sent to your inbox, chances are your clients aren’t as ecstatic about your product as they need to be to hit your target sales. Ask your existing customers what you can do to make your product better and then put their recommendations into place. They’ll appreciate your efforts and will go on to refer further sales to you in the future.

4. Hire all-stars

Hitting $1 million in revenue during your first year is no small feat, and you certainly aren’t going to achieve this goal with a team of underperformers. Yes, hiring these people will be cheaper and easier, but you’ll pay for this convenience when your end-of-the-year sales numbers come up short.

Instead, you need to hire all-stars, and the fastest way to do this is to ask around for referrals. Pay particular attention to the sales hires you make, as these key employees stand to make the biggest difference in your business’s bottom line. Get them on the bus and then encourage them to do whatever is necessary to close deals (pro tip: a good series of incentives won’t hurt!).

5. Consume data

Finally, if you want to shoot for the revenue moon, you need to be absolutely militant about gathering data and acting on it. When I approach a new marketing project, I prefer to work in short sprints of a few weeks or less where we’ll try something new, check the statistics to see how the changes impacted revenue and then either commit the changes or try a new test.

Do the same with your growing company. You have a veritable gold mine of information just hanging out in your Google Analytics account, so put it to good use by identifying your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and running tests designed to push these metrics even higher. If you aren’t able to carry out these tests on your own, bring on a rock-star analyst who can help you make sense of your numbers. When every penny counts towards reaching your $1-million-a-year goal, you’ll find these employees to be worth their weight in gold.

Growing a company to $1 million in revenue in your first year isn’t easy, but it is possible. Stick to the tips above and be ruthless about profitability — even if you don’t hit this particular goal, you’ll earn the strongest sales results possible for your unique company.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Metrics for Business Leaders

MONEY working in retirement

This Is the Toughest Threat to Boomers’ Retirement Plans

Most employers say they support older workers. But boomers don't see it, and age discrimination cases are on the rise.

As the oldest boomers begin to turn 70 in just over a year, an important workplace battleground already has been well defined: how to accommodate aging but productive workers who show few signs of calling it quits.

Millions of older workers want to stay on the job well past 65 or 68. Some are woefully under saved or need to keep their health insurance and must work; others cling to the identity their job gives them or see work as a way to remain vibrant and engaged. At some level, almost all of them worry about being pushed out.

Those worries are rooted in anecdotal evidence of workers past 50 being downsized out of jobs, but also in hard statistics. Age discrimination claims have been on the rise since 1997, when 15,785 reports were filed. Last year, 21,396 claims were recorded. Not every lawsuit is valid. But official claims represent only a fraction of incidents where older workers get pushed out, lawyers say.

One in five workers between 45 and 74 say they have been turned down for a job because of age, AARP reports. About one in 10 say they were passed up for a promotion, laid off or denied access to career development because of their age. Even those not held back professionally because of age may experience something called microaggressions, which are brief and frequent indignities launched their direction. Terms like “geezer” and “gramps” in the context of a work function “affect older workers” and erode self-esteem, write researchers at the Sloan Center.

These are serious issues in the context of a workforce where many don’t ever plan to retire. Some 65% of boomers plan to work past age 65, according new research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Some 52% plan to keep working at least part-time after they retire. In a positive sign, 88% of employers say they support those who want to stay on the job past 65.

But talk is cheap, many boomers might say. In the Transamerica survey, just 73% of boomers said their employer supports working past 65. One way this skepticism seems justified: only 48% of employers say they have practices in place to enable older workers to shift from full-time to part-time work, and just 37% say they enable shifting to a new position that may be less stressful. Boomers say the numbers are even more dismal. Only 21% say their employer will enable them to shift to part-time work, and just 12% say their employer will facilitate a move to a position that is less stressful.

These findings seem at odds with employers’ general perceptions about how effective older workers are. According to the survey:

  • 87% believe their older workers are a valuable resource for training and mentoring
  • 86% believe their older workers are an important source of institutional knowledge
  • 82% believe their older workers bring more knowledge, wisdom, and life experience
  • Just 4% believe their older workers are less productive than their younger counterparts

The reality is that most of us will work longer. The Society of Actuaries recently updated its mortality tables and concluded that, for the first time, a newborn is expected to live past 90 and a 65-year-old today should make it to 86 (men) or 88 (women). The longevity revolution is changing everything about the way we approach retirement.

Employers need to embrace an older workforce by creating programs that let them phase into retirement while keeping some income and their healthcare, by offering better financial education and planning services, and by declaring an age-friendly atmosphere as part of their commitment to diversity.

For their part, employees must take steps to remain employable. Most are staying healthy (65%); many are focused on performing well (54%), and a good number are keeping job skills up to date (41%), Transamerica found. But painfully few are keeping up their professional network (16%), staying current on the job market (14%) or going back to school for retraining (5%). Both sides, it seems, could do better.

Read next: How Your Earnings Record Affects Your Social Security

TIME Careers

The Biggest Résumé Mistakes You Should Avoid

resume-heading
Getty Images

Please don't go for the 'if you can't dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with nonsense' approach

Answer by Heather Spruill on Quora.

Here are my main complaints:

Readability: Formatting that doesn’t help me read the content. If my eye doesn’t know where to go, either because you’ve crammed too much onto the page, or haven’t broken up your information into digestible sections, you’re making it hard for me. I have hundreds of resumes to review. If you’re throwing obstacles in my way before I even get to the part where I’m thinking about whether you’re a fit, you’re only hurting yourself. Use formatting to organize the data. Present a polished, readable product.

Organization: Content that is arranged in such a way that I have to work really hard to figure out whether you’re worth contacting. There are many ways to organize information about your experience – there’s a point where I’m going to want to see something chronological, and something that speaks to the relevant experience that qualifies you for the job. It’s fine—and often helpful if it’s thoughtfully done—to organize experience into relevant categories rather than listing individual responsibilities in a strictly chronological account of your life at work. Somewhere, however, you’ll need to list your prior employers, tenure with each, and jobs you had there. I need that part of the story. And I need to be able to easily differentiate your summary of skills from your work history. When you get too far afield with organization, and give me a non-linear, haphazard collection of facts, I begin to wonder if you’re a good fit before I even know what you can do.

Relevance: Content that seems arranged for some other kind of job than the one for which you’re applying. Your best bet is to hand me a document that demonstrates that you’re the most appropriate candidate for the position. If you give me an unedited data dump of everything you’ve ever done or thought, you’re leaving me to analyze you and do that work for you. I’m tired. Give me what I want, and spare me the details about your paper route, big projects that have no relevance to this position (or frame that information so its relevance is immediately apparent), and highlight the experience that makes you a good fit for my open position.

Substance: Content that’s all jargon with no indication of the scope or depth of your experience. In the interview, it’s going to become very clear that you either know what you’re talking about or you don’t. Please don’t go for the “if you can’t dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with nonsense” approach. Instead, tell me what I need to know:

  • What did you work on?
  • How responsible were you for the design, execution, and outcome?
  • What was the scope of your responsibility?
  • How much technical skill did you have/need to do that job?
  • How much independent judgment did you exercise?
  • Did you progress to successively more responsible positions/assignments?
  • How well did that prepare you for the level of responsibility involved in the job to which you’re applying? Close match? Stretch? That’s what I’m asking.

When an entry-level applicant includes, “responsible for any and all aspects of…” on their resume, I assume that isn’t the case—they weren’t developing the policy, they didn’t have the authority to act independently…save me having to decipher, and be accurate. “Processed inbound customer requests” is not the same as “responsible for any and all aspects of customer service for the XX department.” Your boss determined the course, and you followed it—there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the same thing.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the main issues with résumés?

MONEY Jobs

Here’s What To Expect From The Job Market in 2015

There should be good news for job seekers in 2015 as the US economy continues to rebound.

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