Why You Should Blog about Your Research

You can blog about anything: cooking, teaching, fashion, books, history, politics, sports, current events, science… your research… the list goes on.

Why should you start a blog about your research? Exposure.

What is it? “Blog, “short for weblog is a website or page that your regularly update with news and material relevant to you.

Some use blogs as online personal diaries or journals. Others use them to generate web traffic to their sites using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

Blogging about your research not only associates your name with your research on the internet, it also has a myriad of other benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at the top four reason you should blog about your research:

1. It will improve your writing

Writing is harder than it looks. You know this if you ever tried to blog or write outside your research area.

Here’s how blogging will improve your writing:

Establishing Routine – establishing a healthy writing practice that is both academic and creative is imperative for your writing to improve. What better way to practice writing than to blog? Write every day with the expectation that you will publish your blog at least once per week, at least to start. That gives you a whole week to write and polish one good piece of writing.

Experimenting With Forms – sometimes your research requires a narrative reflection to explain. Other times, it requires a more academic voice. By blogging, you can experiment with different types of writing and publish them on your website. Experimenting with different types of writing will also help you expand your audience (see #2).

2. You’ll learn to talk to a wider, more general audience

Academic blogs tend to focus on professional topics and research. Being able to talk about your research in plain, clear language will help you not just with writing, but with your public and personal interactions with other people.

Remember: the internet is global. If you optimize your blog and web page to get the most hits on google, you’ll reach the global public—and this can open up other possibilities down the road.

Embrace the public engagement that is blogging and learn to discuss your research in more meaningful ways with the whole world.

3. It’s great for your CV or resumé

Want a new job? Trying to land that research grant? Looking for new collaborators? The better your blog and the more interactions you have with other researchers and scientists, the more likely it is that you’ll already have opened those doors to collaboration.

Putting your highly respected, comment-laden, well-written blog on your resume shows that you’re serious about what you do.

Bottom line? Get exposure. Get feedback. Ignite your real-life and internet personas with blogging and market yourself as an expert in your field.

4. It will help generate new ideas

Blogging requires you to flex your writing muscles, write outside of what you know, and write credibly.

How do new ideas happen? You think. How do you think? You write. And write and write and write.

Writing forces your brain to digest new information, synthesize new information improve your thinking and voila! You have new ideas. All the time.

Here’s the best part of blogging: when you write something and someone—a stranger on the other side of the world, perhaps—engages with it or comments on it, you know you have something to say that others are interested in.

Have You Considered a Career as a Financial Therapist?

You’ve heard of financial planners. You’ve also heard of therapists. But have you heard of financial therapists? If you haven’t yet, you might soon. Because while financial therapy is a relatively new profession, more and more people are turning to financial analysts for help managing their anxieties about money and investments. Here’s a closer look at this up-and-coming line of work, along with what you need to know to pursue a career as a financial therapist.

What’s a Financial Therapist?

Crain’s Chicago Business describes this new breed of professional as “a blend of a therapist and financial planner, a professional who will ask you about your finances and your goals, but who will also grill you about your emotions before advising what to do with your money.”

Considering that concerns about money consistently earn a top spot on lists of things people worry about, this begs the question: What makes financial therapy different from “regular” therapy? New York-based financial therapist Amanda Clayman told LearnVest, “Financial therapy differs from general psychotherapy only in that it’s focused on enhancing financial well-being through the study of the emotional, behavioral, cognitive, relational, economic and integrative aspects of financial health. In practice, it integrates financial counseling and planning with personal counseling, marriage and family therapy, sociology, social work, and, of course, psychology. Also, good financial therapy happens in collaboration with finance professionals, such as tax experts and investment advisers.”

And while the field is small, it’s a growing one — with potential to help people suffering from many different kinds of money woes. Explains Time, “Do you have a budget but can’t stick to it? Did your financial planner tell you last year to raise your 401(k) contribution, but you still haven’t done so? A financial therapist can help you out of your rut. If you and your spouse can’t resolve disagreements over supporting aging parents or investing your retirement savings, a therapist can help break the logjam.”

And while financial therapy may fall into a different category than psychotherapy and financial planning, they’re inherently interconnected, says Clayton. “Good financial therapy often happens in a collaborative network of professionals. For example, when clients need more intensive psychotherapy I will refer to another mental health professional who does that type of ongoing work, and when a tax, investment, or financial planning need presents itself, I will refer or confer with an appropriate professional in those fields. We must all be very mindful to work within our individual professional training and scope of practice.” she told CheatSheet.

Becoming a Financial Therapist

According to Forbes, the Financial Therapy Association was established less than a decade ago. And while the profession has grown since then, the number of financial therapists are still vastly outnumbered by the numbers of therapists and financial planners. Because the profession is lesser-known, establishing yourself can be a challenge — particularly given that no license or training is currently required to practice financial therapy.

However, there are some things you can do to position yourself for success in this field. According to financial therapist Bari Tessler, the first step involves addressing your own relationship with money. “You must do your own work before you can truly help others. (This doesn’t mean you’ll ‘fix’ your money relationship once and for all — I believe our money relationship is always growing and evolving, and we’re never “done” with it.). Doing your own work is the best way to become intimate with the tools, emotions, and issues you’ll need to support others,” Tessler says.

Additionally, just because a particular degree or certification isn’t required doesn’t mean it’s not important. Financial therapists are usually trained as financial planners, mental health professionals or social workers. Recommends Time, “Those who aren’t financial planners should have some kind of therapeutic licensure, such as an advanced degree in marriage and family therapy, psychology, or social work.”

Says Clayton of the best path into a career as a financial therapist given the current lack of regulations, “Since this area of practice is really the intersection of two different fields, most financial therapists have a ‘native’ area of training and licensure, and then will add an additional credential that incorporates the other area of study. For example, I am a licensed social worker, and have an additional certification in financial social work. Some people do have dual degrees/professional accreditations, such as completing both CFP and clinical counseling programs.”

In other words, while no one degree or course of study will set you up for a career as a financial therapist, you will still need specific skills and training.

The takeaway? While financial therapy may be an off-the-beaten-track career choice, it’s becoming increasingly mainstream. And with good reason. According to Kahler Financial Group, “Financial therapy addresses a need that until recent years most financial and mental health professionals didn’t talk about or didn’t even know existed.” Financial therapists are on the front lines when it comes to bridging this gap and helping people holistically overcome their emotional and financial baggage toward real change.

How to Draft a Good Business Plan

If “start a company” is on your to-do list or you’d like it to be, you’ll need a business plan. Even the smallest businesses will benefit from a clear vision and strategy to help you get there.

Business plans include market research and details about your marketing strategies, intended audience, staffing, potential obstacles, and overall goals.

The first part? The executive summary. This critical piece of the plan gives you–and potential funders–the elevator speech version of what you intend to do: your products and services, a brief market analysis, your strategy, and your risk analysis.

Ready to get started? Great. Let’s take a closer look at these five strategies for creating the perfect business plan.

Pick a format

Format matters. You might need the traditional 20-30 page business plan if you’re going after big funding right off the bat. To get started, you may need a smaller version of your plan, or several smaller versions depending on your audience. A slideshow is a nice idea if you’re presenting your plan in-person to a potential investor, customer, or potential employee.

A one-page plan is the shortest version possible, and something you can use when you want that potential investor, customer, or employee to take something with them when they leave your meeting.

Business plan software or a good old-fashioned paper plan can do the trick, too. Most software offers templates that you can tailor to meet your intended audience’s needs.

Regardless of the format you choose, know that you may want to have a few versions. Need help? Ask for it.

Keep it short

And sweet, while you’re at it.

No one wants to read that 30-page plan, let alone 100 pages.

Write your business plan as a refined work-in-progress that you use to run and grow your business. A long business plan is a hassle. A short, clear one gives you a clear roadmap with room to grow and improve.

Your mission, vision, goals, obstacles, and strategy should be clear. Your purpose should be clear, too.

Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve

The secret to a successful business? A clear vision. What do you want to achieve as a company? Before you begin writing this plan, sketch out the vision and there or four key strategies that you’ll use to facilitate your vision.

The mission and vision are related. Your mission is the “why” of what you’re doing now. Once you’re clear on that, you need to develop the “why” of what you’ll do in the future. That’s the vision. That’s key. Investors want to know how they can expect to see a (big) return on their investment.

Identify your target audience

Easier said than done, right? You need to figure out the answer to this question: “For whom are you solving a problem, or offering a better solution?”

Once you determine your “for whom,” and you may have multiples, write your plan in language for them.

Here’s an example: if your company is developing technology that helps banks, but your prospective investors are scientists, and don’t understand banking language, adapt. Make your langauge accessible to your target audience–and your target investors.

Hard to do when they’re from different sectors, but worth your time.

Make sure it includes all necessary elements

Ready? At a minimum, your plan needs some iteration of these six things: an executive summary, opportunity, execution, team and company, finances, and an appendix.

Your executive summary includes your mission and vision, product or services, and basic information about the company and its finances. It should offer a one-sentence business overview, a problem, your solution, and your target market. It needs to be short, sweet, and concise.

Your opportunity section delves into the detail of the problem you’re solving, the solution, your intended audience, and how your product or service is unlike the competition. You’ll also detail more of your vision here. You may opt for a formal market analysis here, too.

A word of warning on formal market analyses: your target audience is never “everyone.” Be specific and broad at the same time.

Your execution section explains how you’re going to achieve your goals, and your team and company section describes who’s going to do it for you. Keep these sections clear, detailed, and concise.

Your finances need to include your current financial situation–and how you got there–your financial goals, a plan for getting there, and a respectful ask, if you’re making one. Don’t be afraid to use graphics to illustrate your points.

With a clear business plan, you can make your dreams realities. Remember: audience and purpose are just as key as clean language and a clear vision.