I’m a former Goldman Sachs analyst who raised over $8.5 million for my fashion startup. Here’s how I realized finance wasn’t for me.

Meg He ADAY credit: Bridget Badore
Meg He is the cofounder of fashion startup ADAY.

  • Meg He, 33, is the cofounder of ADAY, a fashion brand that creates sustainable professional workwear.
  • After leaving a career in finance and venture capitalism, He started ADAY with former Goldman Sachs coworker Nina Faulhaber.
  • This is what running her business is like, as told to freelance writer Claire Turrell.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and liked to set myself a challenge. At 15, I started selling vintage designer clothing on eBay. When I was applying to college, I applied to Merton College at Oxford University for economics and management as I was told it was the hardest course to get on to in terms of acceptance rate. But I did it. After graduation in 2008, I was hired as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

At Goldman, I met my future ADAY cofounder Nina Faulhaber. We both have strong work ethics and hit it off immediately. After two years working at Goldman Sachs, we both started working for different venture capitalist companies, and I later worked for Poshmark before taking time off to return to the UK in 2014. Nina and I always stayed in touch and bounced business ideas off each other, and my move back home became the trigger for starting ADAY.

Even while working at Goldman Sachs, I knew finance wasn’t the right industry for me.

When I looked around the room at my fellow analysts, I could tell they enjoyed the job more, were more motivated, and were better at it than I was. I had an inner ecommerce geek that needed to get out – I thrived on marrying insights with consumer psychology and behavior and I also loved the way fashion could make people feel empowered.

As businesswomen who loved to work out, Nina and I had the idea of launching a workwear collection that was as comfortable as gym wear. We spent 12 months travelling to fabric mills in Italy, visiting sustainable factories in Portugal and Los Angeles, and holding focus groups in the UK. In January 2015 we launched our sustainable fashion brand ADAY with a capsule collection of leggings, shorts, and tops, all made with recycled UV-protected fabrics.

While we had big plans, we started small. I had quit my job and then Nina quit hers. From networking and telling people about our plans, we raised about $200,000 to launch the brand.

Our first meetings were held in coffee shops, and we even took an investor conference call in a parking lot.

ADAY founders Meg He and Nina Faulhaber. Credit: Bridget Badore
ADAY founders Meg He and Nina Faulhaber.

We had just three full-time members of staff (Nina, myself, and a junior designer), and the former head of womenswear for Everlane as a consultant.

While we always had faith in what we were doing, it was comforting when we started to see our plans pay off. After a pair of our leggings sold out, we decided to launch more items like swimwear and to work on new fabrics, like moisture-wicking linen and fabric made from recycled water bottles.

Raising money to expand globally was a slow but steady journey.

In November 2017, we were able to raise $2 million in funding. Two years later, we raised another $8.5 million. This gave us the chance to expand to the US, and in the fall of 2019, we opened a 3,000 square foot office in New York, a store in San Francisco, and launched a travel-inspired collection.

But when the pandemic struck in March 2020, we had to go back to the drawing board. Our team of close to 30 people started working from home, we sublet our New York office, closed the store, and pushed back our product launches to 2021 and 2022. However, as more people were looking for comfy clothes to wear for working from home, our sales were still up, which thankfully gave us time to launch Made Again, where we rework over-ordered stock into new pieces.

My work schedule is always changing – I’m often most productive between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

I start each day by walking my dog around my neighborhood in New York. Then I have virtual meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with investors, potential partners, and staff. I block out two hours each day for deep work, where I fixate on a goal for the business.

As I compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I tend to keep my days flexible. I go to the BJJ academy five to six days a week and take strength and conditioning classes at the gym. At the moment I am training for the IBJJF World Master Championship in Las Vegas in November. My workouts change depending on how close I am to competing, so if I’m training for one to two hours in the afternoon, I’ll work more in the evening. I get a lot of my best work done between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The key to being a successful entrepreneur is to be honest about what you’re good and bad at.

If it’s not your skillset, hire someone to do it and don’t waste time trying to do it yourself. It’s also important to have a supportive network of people around you who understand what you’re going through. And if you have an idea for a business, don’t tell it to everyone. It’s like announcing a baby name – everyone has a different opinion, and not everyone’s opinion should matter.

While investment banking wasn’t for me, it did teach me a lot. The meticulous attention to detail working at Goldman Sachs is something I’ve never seen anywhere else. That commitment to excellence is something I always think about. When Nina and I are faced with a challenge, we’ll put in the work to make it A+++ because that’s the training we were given.

When we thought about launching ADAY, we were just two women who knew nothing about fashion design. Our experience in finance and venture capitalism taught us to be audacious and embrace being a more antagonist start-up to improve the standards of the industry.

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I sell custom camper vans for up to $100,000 and business is booming since the pandemic

Vanlife Customs
Dave Walsh founded Vanlife Customs in 2016.

  • Dave Walsh, 39, is a USMC veteran and custom van builder based in Denver, Colorado.
  • Since starting his company in 2016, Walsh says he’s had more clients than ever during the last year as van travel grows in popularity.
  • This is what his job is like, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Dave Walsh, a 39-year-old van builder from Denver, Colorado It has been edited for length and clarity.

Like any small business owner, I’ve tackled my share of challenges, but nothing compares to when COVID-19 hit in March 2020.

Without knowing if it would be days, weeks, or months, our work at Vanlife Customs (VCL) came to a screeching halt when Colorado issued a statewide mandatory lockdown and we were forced to close up shop.

After being closed for four weeks, our team of 12 reopened with a split schedule to adhere to social distancing rules.

Despite the lockdown, more people seem interested in buying custom vans.

Vanlife Customs
The JOMO model van.

Just before quarantine, we quickly listed two pre-built vans we had in the shop for sale. Both were snapped up within a week. Compared to flying or staying in hotels, the idea of social distancing in a van started to look a lot more appealing to people. It wasn’t long before our inbox was inundated with emails from people looking for a van to travel, live, and work in. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen an uptick in people looking for prebuilt vans along with a 10% increase in our custom work.

Vanlife Customs
Walsh constructing the interior of a custom camper van.

Prior to VCL, I served in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and was deployed to Iraq twice. I went on to work as a network and systems administrator at a series of startups in the Boulder area. After getting laid off in 2014, I spent a year hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, where I became a certified instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and paid the bills by hustling in my one-man handyman business.

In 2016, I launched Vanlife Customs from my backyard. Since then, everyone from families to digital nomads have come to us for one-of-a-kind camper vans. Due to the pandemic and increased popularity of van travel, we’re currently booked a year in advance. It’s a good problem to have, but I’ve had to learn to politely say no to people, which isn’t always easy.

Each custom build takes approximately 10 weeks to build and we work on 4 to 5 vans at a time.

Vanlife Customs
The $95,000 McAwesome Van by Vanlife customs, a sleek build with ample floor space and a walnut finish interior.

While every van is unique in design, they are all built on one of three vehicles: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, or Ram Promaster.

Our base price for a camper van conversion is $75,000 not including the vehicle itself, which the customer is responsible for providing. To date, the most expensive job we’ve worked on cost $110,000 which included a huge battery system and a pop-up sleeping area. For many clients, this is the biggest purchase they’ve ever made.

Vanlife Customs Jenny Powers
Inside the McAwesome Van.

Many of our clients have planned for this their entire life, dreaming of escaping the rat race and getting off the grid. They know exactly what it is they want in a custom van when they come to us. Some even design 3D online models using Google Sketchup while others come armed with a general idea and Pinterest boards and Instagram images for inspiration.

Building a custom van is like building a new home, except it’s on wheels.

Vanlife Customs
Standing desk featured along with dining table that converts to desk.

On top of the practical and functional elements such as water, heating, cooling and electrical systems, we also want to create an environment that’s aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.

We love getting unique customization requests as long as they’re safe and practical. We’ve created a fly fishing rod rack, a pull-up bar that attaches to the van’s exterior, and even a cowboy hat rack.

Vanlife Customs Jenny Powers
An exterior custom pull-up bar for an outdoor workout.

One request we always get but have to turn down is installing a shower, because in addition to taking up a lot of room, showers introduce humidity into the van and can cause mold. Instead we recommend a basic rinse station or on-demand camp shower attachment.

Recently, with more people looking to work from the road, we’ve also built stand-up desks, dining tables that convert to workspaces, and ergonomic seating and have added cell phone and WiFi boosters. There’s a huge misconception that living in a van feels like you’re always on vacation, but that’s simply not true. You may be able to work from wherever you want, but there are still going to be times you may need to pull over on a highway to get reception and take a work call.

A lot goes into the process from building out a custom estimate, discussing design plans, ordering parts, and finally doing the actual build out, but my favorite part is the day we deliver the finished van to its owner. Seeing the look on someone’s face when they see their dream van go from an idea in their head to being right there in front of them can’t be beat. It’s a day full of laughs, hugs, and tears.

To keep up with demand and our growing team, this fall we plan to move from our 4,800 square foot space into a 15,000 square foot space. By the end of 2021, we’ll have custom built our 100th camper van.

As for me, much to my wife’s chagrin, we don’t own a van. We do use one every year for a two-week vacation, but then I wind up selling it. Maybe one day when I have more time on my hands we’ll get one, but from the looks of my inbox, it’s going to be a while until that happens.

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The 11 worst mistakes when applying for remote jobs, according to recruitment experts

man conducting online interview with another man using laptop, holding a pen and paper
A lot of the job application process simply comes down to avoiding the obvious mistakes that can frustrate recruiters.

  • Finding a job is an elaborate process, from resumes and cover letters to interviews and offers.
  • There are key mistakes to avoid to keep a recruiter interested and improve your chances.
  • From spelling mistakes to online interviews, here’s what experts say is important to recruiters.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Finding a job isn’t easy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help you stand out from the crowd and really impress hiring managers.

A lot of the job application process comes down to avoiding the obvious mistakes that can frustrate recruiters in your résumé and during your interviews.

Business Insider España spoke to some recruitment experts to find out what makes and breaks a job application.

1. Using the same application for every job

If you’re using the same résumé and cover letter for every application, you can wave goodbye to your next job offer.

Companies want to know that you’re excited about working in a specific role with them, not that you just want any job.

Director of business and specialized tech and digital recruitment at Michael Page, Daniel Pérez, told Business Insider España that applying for jobs indiscriminately could make you look desperate and affect your credibility.

2. Treating online interviews like ‘face-to-face’ interviews

“Only the format has changed, nothing else,” Pérez said of online interviews. “If we asked interviewees to stand up, how many of them would be wearing pajamas? That tells me this person will only do the bare minimum.”

If you were going to an in-person interview, you’d make sure to look smart and presentable. That’s what an online interviewer is looking for too.

3. Not respecting private messaging etiquette

Private messages should be used as a last resort as they can sometimes give a bad impression.

“It’s as if you’re saying: ‘I need something from you, I’ve applied for this job, and now I’m going to bombard you with messages even though we’ve never been in touch before,'” said Aurora Pulido, a professional development coach.

However, the CEO of the talent institute TEKDI Juan Merodio said it could be an opportunity to show off your creative side.

“If you want to send a message, make it a short one-minute video where you introduce yourself and mention the receiver’s name, so they know it’s just for them,” he said. “It’s a game of attention: that’s what you’re trying to get.”

Pérez warned it was important not to get too enthusiastic.

“If you’re a bit too creative, it can come across as unrealistic,” he said.

4. Giving inconsistent interview answers

There is an endless number of questions an interviewer could ask – and it can be tough to find the right answer.

However, it’s likely the interviewer has already looked you up on social media, so it’s important to be consistent in your personal branding.

The social media manager at InfoJobs, Nilton Navarro, told Business Insider España consistency between your answers in an interview and your social media posts could increase your chances of securing a job by up to 60%.

“The first interview takes place on social media,” he said. “55% of companies look up candidates on social media before interviewing them.”

5. Using inauthentic or insincere references

A good reference can make or break a job application but it must be authentic and original.

If your referee describes you as “promising” or a “hard worker,” it might not be much help as other candidates will have very similar references.

“When I ring up a referee and ask them, ‘What would you change about this person?’ and they tell me, ‘I wouldn’t change anything, they’re an excellent candidate,’ that’s not very reassuring,” said Fernando de Zavala, an associate at recruitment consultant firm NGS Global.

An anecdote about you or a fair character assessment pointing out some of your biggest strengths (and weaknesses) might therefore be much more useful.

6. Using your resume bio to tell your life story

According to TEKDI’s Juan Merodio, you only have 20 seconds to get a recruiter’s attention. So if your résumé bio is too long, chances are it won’t be read.

Sticking to strictly relevant information is very important. You can still use storytelling techniques, drawing all the key points together and ending with a quick note such as “Send me a message on LinkedIn” or “you can write to me at the following email address.”

7. Lying on your resume

Irrelevant information takes up unnecessary space on your résumé. Formatting mistakes are also eyesores that can frustrate recruiters.

Lying on your résumé, however, is a recipe for disaster.

“Putting a lie on your résumé is never ever worth it,” said Lazslo Bock, current CEO of Humu who previously spent 15 years going through résumés at Google.

“Anyone who does it, including executive directors, will be fired.”

8. Leaving spelling errors unamended

From “identity” instead of “identify” to “manger” for “manager,” recruiters have seen it all when it comes to spelling mistakes.

In today’s day and age, they are unforgivable, especially as they are easy to rectify.

“A good résumé opens many doors,” Pérez said. “Know how to do it well and avoid spelling mistakes – I still see them these days and it’s inexcusable.”

9. Forgetting keywords on your résumé

Most large companies use tracking systems to go through résumés, scanning them for keywords. Including them in your résumé is, therefore, a vital stepping stone to an interview.

Active words such as “growing,” “driving,” and “leading” are important to include, as are any key skills that are relevant to the job.

“If there are certain keywords related to the job that recruiters are looking for and they don’t appear in the first 30 seconds they’re reading, they’re probably going to put it aside,” said Pérez.

10. Not ensuring you stand out from other candidates

Why are you the best person for the job?

They might not always ask you directly, but that’s what they’re trying to find out, and there are ways you can show them they should hire you.

Professional development coach Aurora Pulido said candidates could conduct a thorough assessment of their role, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses and outlining what they would do to change it in their first 90 days on the job.

“If you want to stand out from the other candidates, the bare minimum should be having a complete profile,” Pulido added. “LinkedIn is also a living document, so you can add things and give it personality.”

11. Not having a long-term goal

Recruiters don’t just want to know whether you’re cut out for the role you’re interviewing for. They’re also keen to learn about your career development goals and long-term vision.

“A willingness to learn, grow, and evolve is vital to assess whether you have a long-term vision and potential for growth within the company,” said Nilton Navarro of InfoJobs. “So it’s something to bear in mind at the recruitment stage.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 3 keys to ensure your resume gets past screening filters

Young woman trying to find a job online.
Your resume’s layout may lead filtering systems to discard your application.

  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are software used by firms to sift quickly through resumes.
  • Many strong candidates are shunted aside due to minor issues that lead ATS to filter them out.
  • These three steps will help you get past these bots.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you find yourself sending out dozens of resumes every week but you’re still finding your inbox is empty, it’s possible your resume is being filtered out by a type of software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

The use of these systems is on the rise, as companies attempt to filter out unsuitable resumes.

The problem is that 43% of resumes don’t pass the minimum requirements of the ATS, a study by TopResume found. They either didn’t recognize the resumes or couldn’t read their format, so they were discarded.

99% of companies listed under the Fortune 500 use this type of software, according to Jobscan.

While it may seem unfair, there’s a reason the software is used in the business world.

“Knowing how to work with these systems is critical,” job coach Stacey Perkins warns CNBC Make It.

The career coach outlined several essential steps to help ensure your resume gets through to human hands.

1. Go for the simplest format

Even if your CV is perfect, if it’s in the wrong format then it won’t get through an ATS.

An ATS will scan resumes from left to right. So if you go for vertical columns, it’s very likely that some of the information will be lost along the way. Perkins recommends a traditional horizontal format with data spread out and simplified in bullet points.

Many forms or online services accept formats like PDF, DOC, or HTML. However, if you’re unsure, it’s best to send your resume as a Word document. The job coach explains that the vast majority of HTMs recognize it perfectly.

2. Always include keywords

One of the reasons applicant tracking systems were developed, is that hiring managers found many candidates didn’t fit the job description.

when reviewing resumes, found that many of the candidates were not a good fit for the job in question.

ATS were partly designed as a method of automatically screening candidates so that resumes that didn’t fit the requirements at a given stage were simply discarded.

This means that if you want your resume to be seen by human eyes, you’ll have to work out what exactly it is that the recruiters want to see.

“Pay special attention to experience level, location, and skills companies are asking for,” advises Nagaraj Nadendla, senior vice president in product development at Oracle.

He’s in charge of designing these streamlining services. “If a job description specifies 10 years of experience and you only have five,” he says, “you’ll quickly get moved to the bottom of the pile.”

It’s important to study the job description and to look at 10-20 similar ones. List the keywords that are repeated in the job adverts and use these in your own resume.

Make sure you include the words and terms as they appear in the job offers. Avoid acronyms, abbreviations, or slang in another language because the software may not recognize it and therefore may not prioritize you.

Nadendla also suggests that each section should have between three and five of these keywords, but remember that it must still sound natural.

“Nobody is an expert in everything,” Nadendla says. “Be earnest and precise in what you’re good at.”

3. Talk to a human

Where applying for jobs is concerned, society has instilled in us the idea that asking for help is cowardly, when in fact it’s the smartest decision you can make.

If you fear your resume hasn’t made it past the bots, send a direct email to the person you know will be in charge of hiring you or to the company’s human resources department.

“You might be the best candidate out there,” Perkins says, “but if you submit a resume in the wrong format, your application won’t get read by anyone.”

It’s a good idea to attach a note to the email explaining your concerns (that you think you may be rejected by the system), your conviction that you are the ideal candidate, and to clarify that your resume was sent in the right format.

“If you don’t submit your resume in the right format, it’ll disappear into a black hole.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rihanna’s billionaire success is a testament to unbridled inclusivity – and a case study for CEOs.

Rihanna poses with hands under her face at Fenty Beauty launch in London
Rihanna’s financial success stems mostly from the businesses she’s built.

  • In August, Forbes reported Rihanna’s wealth exceeded $1.7 billion.
  • On September 24, the billionaire will be showcasing a diverse cast of models in a fashion show.
  • Rihanna’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in her business strategy is a lesson for CEOs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As a high schooler in the mid-’90s, Kailei Carr would shop at different drugstores looking for the perfect shade of foundation for her brown skin but left empty-handed. Even the darkest color available was at least three shades too light.

It wasn’t until years later that she found brands like MAC that included her shade. Still, Carr felt like her brown skin was an afterthought of mostly light options.

That changed in 2017 when the music mogul Rihanna debuted her Fenty makeup line, which included 40 shades ranging from mahogany brown to pearly white. And Fenty’s marketing featured people of color exclusively. Carr quickly became a loyal user.

“I wasn’t just included. As a Black woman, I was centered,” Carr, who is the CEO of the Asbury Group, a diversity consultancy, told Insider. “She captured a market.”

And it paid off. In August, Forbes reported that Rihanna’s wealth was $1.7 billion, the majority of which stemmed from her retail empire, which includes the $2.8 billion makeup company Fenty. Her lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty, promotes luxury and body diversity in equal parts. The Grammy-winning singer also dropped a skin-care line, Fenty Skin, last year.

Rihanna’s financial success with Fenty is a testament to the potential of inclusivity. In a time when representation is no longer optional, corporate executives are being pushed to show they value and respect people from all backgrounds and all skin tones.

“She saw the need, the opportunity in society, and she put a team together. She had the fortitude to create these products and do it in such a compelling way,” Carr said. “She centered inclusivity.”

Rihanna’s work will soon be making headlines again. Her third annual Savage X Fenty fashion show is happening September 24 and is set to feature a cast of queer, transgender, and BIPOC models. It will be the latest show of how much the business mogul prioritizes diversity.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article originally published in August.

Start with diversity and inclusion

Rihanna applies Fenty Beauty makeup to a model onstage
Rihanna applies Fenty Beauty make-up to a model in 2018.

Rihanna’s success comes down to priorities, according to Susan Harmeling, who teaches at the Marshall School of Business and is a cofounder of Equitas Advisory Group, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm.

“Diversity is everything to this brand and its success,” Harmeling said.

This is evidenced by the variety of products offered by Rihanna’s brands, the affordable price points, the inclusive and intentional marketing, and how she talks about her brands, Harmeling and Carr both said.

Savage X Fenty offers lingerie in sizes from extra small to triple extra large. Its tagline is: “Lingerie for every body.” And it offers lingerie at affordable prices, with items as low as $5. At Fenty, “flesh” or “nude” doesn’t just mean white.

“It’s about having a lens of inclusion at every level,” Carr said. “That’s what she’s doing that other leaders can look to.”

Diversity and inclusion aren’t simply noble causes; they’re also what customers, investors, and prospective employees are increasingly looking for, according to a growing body of research.

“Diversity is good for business, period,” Harmeling said.

Challenge the status quo

Before Savage X Fenty, Victoria’s Secret was the industry behemoth. It prioritized ultrathin, mostly white models with the occasional plus-size model or model of color.

Rihanna flipped the script with representation of plus-size models, transgender models, models in drag, models with limb differences, and models who are little people.

Business leaders should reconsider who their products and services primarily serve and look for opportunities to serve different ones, Carr and Harmeling said.

“Rihanna democratized beauty and lingerie. And if you democratize and humanize, what you’re doing is very pragmatic and very profit-driven because you’re expanding your market,” Harmeling said.

Build diverse and inclusive teams

Only 8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and even fewer are Black, but business leaders like Rihanna are changing that.

“I would suspect her team is very diverse,” Carr said.

Harmeling agreed, saying that great ideas in business often come from discussions among people from different backgrounds.

“Make sure you get a diverse team and consult with that diverse team about what’s going to work and what isn’t,” she said. “Diversity expands your market. That’s a win.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Setting aside ‘meeting-free’ hours may improve teams productivity and mental health

Black young businesswoman listening to discussion of lawyers during meeting at office
Some companies are implementing rules in their working day to prevent workers from burning out.

  • Remote working means longer working hours, more meetings on Zoom, and constant emails.
  • Companies like Dropbox or Slack have started to set a few hours free of meetings every day.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Remote working appears to be here to stay. However, as we all start to get “back to normal,” some companies are combining remote and office work.

The challenge now, of course, is to coordinate this new normal and to ensure that companies remain productive while their employees have a good work-life balance. Remote working has meant more meetings with more people, more emails, and longer working hours.

Therefore, some companies have decided to implement rules in their working day to prevent workers from burning out. One of these measures is the so-called “core hours,” when workers must be available for Zoom meetings, joint projects with other departments, or any other activity that involves teamwork.

These hours would be set between 10 am and 2 pm, or 1 pm and 4 pm, although it depends on the company. However, they wouldn’t exceed three or four hours a day.

The rest of the time would be hours free from any meetings, so employees can organize their working day and make better use of their time without being tied up in last-minute meetings.

This is nothing new, however.

A lot of companies have been doing this for decades – it’s a savvy way of avoiding afternoon meetings dragging on past the end of the working day, which can have a negative impact on teams’ personal lives.

But the pandemic has led many to jump on the trend.

Google, Dropbox, and Slack have set up meeting-free hours

Google established a week without meetings while companies like Dropbox and Slack have also set up a “meeting-free hours” strategy during the working day.

Laura Ryan, international human resources director at Dropbox, told Insider how a simple review of her calendar meant she was able to cut up to 15 hours of meetings per week.

Dropbox has implemented a strategy of “core collaboration hours,” in which it set aside certain hours just for meetings so employees could then freely and flexibly structure their working day as they wished.

This is something that companies such as Slack have also done.

“If you give people from 9 am to 5 pm to organize meetings, they will up with non-stop meetings all day. So they won’t be able to get anything else done,” vice-president of the Slack Future Forum Brian Elliot told The Wall Street Journal.

The Slack Future Forum is a consortium launched by the company to help other companies reflect on the future of work.

In Spain, a pilot program has been launched to trial the 4-day working week in order to improve work-life balance and productivity.

However, how the working day itself is organized – that is, the hours worked in the same day – varies depending on the sector and the company.

One example of a Spanish startup at the forefront of remote working and flexibility is Irisbond, a company that manufactures eye-tracking devices and technology.

Irisbond’s offices are designed as collaborative spaces for working in the cloud and using applications to communicate between team members such as Discord, Slack, and Google Meet.

In addition, their teams are self-organized and share results or the status of their projects only every two weeks, which slows down the flow of information.

When Insider asked Irisbond’s CEO and founder Eduardo Jáuregui about flexibility, he said: “The team can come to the office in the morning, go home for lunch, and finish the day from there. This makes it easier for everyone to have lunch with their family or at home.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to stop dwelling on regrets from the past year of the pandemic and turn them into a force for good

Close up of a mother and daughter having an appointment with the pediatrician
For many, the pandemic has caused them to miss time with loved ones and important events.

  • Missing out on events and time with loved ones during the past year has left people with ‘pandemic regrets.’
  • Psychologist Neal Roese says these feelings are normal and can be transformed into positive action.
  • To manage these regrets, make peace with what you can’t control and focus on what you can do in the future.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With so many Americans pausing during the pandemic to take stock of their lives, it’s inevitable that some are sifting through uncomfortable feelings of regret.

Whether it is lamenting a suddenly stalled career, mourning a much-anticipated vacation, or grieving time lost with loved ones, it’s hard not to recall the last 18 months more for the missed opportunities than for the achievements.

“Right now may seem like a time where there’s some excitement about new jobs opening up and new opportunities,” said Neal Roese. “Yet, we’ve also been hard hit by what seems to be a lost year, a year that we can’t make up.”

Roese, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School, is an expert in the psychology of regret, the topic of his book, “If Only.” He explains that regrets are a perfectly normal – even essential – part of being human. And regrets that have grown out of the pandemic’s circumstances can be a force for good if we contextualize and learn from them. However, if nurtured too long, they can have negative effects on our mental health.

Roese offers advice on how to manage pandemic regrets.

Look at the big picture

One of the main ways that people cope with regret is by reframing it. So if you’re feeling upset about how the past has unfolded, Roese recommends reframing your focus beyond your own experience to see the bigger picture. Regret by its very nature involves a short-term focus, where we tend to home in on a single decision, rather than a series of decisions.

And the broader context of the pandemic is that it is a once-in-a-lifetime event that has threatened the well-being of everyone across the globe. Because it has also impacted each of us so dramatically on an individual level – our jobs, families, health, and security – it is easy to lose sight of that larger view.

“Maybe, with the passage of time, we’ll be able to put it into perspective and see that this is one of the most unique, powerful, and consequential experiences that any of us will have,” Roese said. “Most major events in history are things we read about in books. But how many of us have actually lived through something as tumultuous as this?”

Pausing to take in the magnitude of the pandemic’s shared tragedy can help absolve regrets, he said.

“Giving yourself some perspective helps you understand that your experience is part of a larger system of interlocking forces and events,” he said. “It also makes moving forward easier.”

For example, if you are kicking yourself for having overspent on that delicious Saturday-night meal, it may help to take a step back and review it in the context of all of your non-necessity purchases over the past year. The value of taking a broader view is to see more clearly how single decisions fit with your overall life priorities.

Focus on what you can control and make peace with what you can’t

Looking back at the trials and tribulations of the past, people often blame themselves – whether circumstances were actually under their control or not. By obscuring this distinction, people are showing a very natural, and often unconstructive, illusion of bias.

“Like the gambler who blows on the dice before rolling, we assume that we can influence results more than we can, even for random events,” Roese said.

The illusion of control is one of a set of basic cognitive biases that affect each of us. It can be useful in helping us persevere in the face of tough challenges, but it can sometimes get us into trouble. Because the illusion of control involves a biased reading of reality, it can distort how our minds reflect upon difficult situations such as our pandemic work experiences.

For example, parents may feel mixed emotions, wishing they could have made different decisions to manage their job, remote schooling, and family responsibilities. But in reality, much of the burden was beyond their control – something had to give. The pandemic dealt a crushing blow to women in particular, with millions leaving the workforce as they shouldered the majority of caregiving responsibilities in the wake of school and childcare closures.

The simple recognition that the illusion of control can affect nearly all of us can be a pathway toward a reduction in self-blaming for any and every misfortune. It offers us the opportunity to reorient ourselves to those areas of life where we do have some control, such as interactions with friends, family, and close work colleagues.

“When we focus on those things that are within our control, we’re setting ourselves up for a healthier outcome,” Roese said. “If we can take some steps to correct, fix, or improve upon what we’ve been doing, we’re in a much better position.”

Look to the future

Roese also points out that that regret does have an important upside-it can help us see how we might change things for the better going forward.

“Regrets generate alternative pathways and actions in our brains,” Roese said. “They may also provide options to try in the future.”

He advises looking to the future as much as possible. “As you take stock, it’s key to shift your thoughts from regrets to opportunities,” Roese said. “Ask yourself: Of all changes, which were the positive forces in my life? Which can I continue? If you can draw lessons, that’s the best possible outcome.”

Ruminating on the past can also inhibit people from acting. And research suggests that people tend to feel more regret when they do not try something versus when they try and the attempt doesn’t work out. So Roese has a suggestion: find one positive action you can take immediately.

For example, many professionals have felt disconnected from their work and colleagues, or insecure about their productivity. Rather than dwelling on these feelings, a positive action might be opening up to others, including colleagues, with these struggles.

“By being vulnerable and sharing a personal detail, you are forging a stronger connection with another person,” Roese said. “That’s a recipe toward greater intimacy that strengthens everyone in a working relationship.”

Acknowledge that moving on may be hard

Roese cautions that we’re in a liminal moment. With the delta variant surging and the economy still uncertain, we’re not “done” with the pandemic.

Under this perceived threat, our psychological immune system switches on its defenses-and doesn’t switch them off. When a threat lingers, in other words, people get “stuck” in emotional narratives that make moving on hard.

“The pandemic multiplied this psychological experience many times over,” he said. “COVID is a long-running, slow-motion drama that makes it especially hard for us to cope.”

With emotional closure still far on the horizon, it is okay to not feel okay yet. It is also understandable that not everyone feels ready to reframe or learn from their regrets.

“With the distance of time, we can look back on an experience, see that we survived, and focus on moving forward,” said Roese. “It doesn’t feel like a lot of us have gotten there yet with COVID.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 free online courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion to sign up for right now that will make you a better leader

woman working on laptop
More companies are hiring leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been buzzwords in business for years, with few results. That is, until the summer of 2020 when the killing of George Floyd and a pandemic awoke leaders to massive racial injustice.

Companies have been hiring executives to lead the charge on DEI. Leaders are making huge financial commitments to empower Black and Hispanic communities.

If you’re a leader, manager, or a worker with goal of becoming a manager, it’s important to know how to navigate a diverse workforce and be an inclusive person. Insider combed through several popular learning websites to find several free courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion that can help make you a better leader.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article originally published in October 2020.

Managing a diverse team

DEI course 6
Instructor Vanessa Womack is a co-author of “The Female CEO” and the founder of Vanessa Womack consulting group.

Institution: Linkedin Learning  

Duration: 1 day 

Time commitment: 1 hour 20 minutes  

This introductory class is a great primer for managers with diverse teams. Students learn how to implement an open-door policy that encourages communication, how to work with multigenerational teams, how to identify negative behaviors that could derail your team, and using coaching tools to work with your direct reports. 

Sign up here>> 


Foundations of diversity and inclusion

DEI course
Laura Morgan Roberts is a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Institution: University of Virginia 

Duration: 2 weeks   

Time commitment: 8 hours   

This course explains how power and privilege play out in organizations, how companies can turn Black Lives Matter calls for action into new policies, how to have difficult conversations around race and power at work, and how to begin to root out bias in hiring practices. 

Sign up here>>

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

DEI course 1
Junko Takagi is the diversity and leadership chair at the ESSEC School of Business.

Institution: ESSEC Business School

Duration: 4 weeks 

Time commitment: 8 hours  

This course starts with an overview of key diversity concepts, like LGBTQ issues in the workplace, disability inclusion, and how to avoid ageism and sexism in the workplace. Learners then begin to look at their own thought processes to examine their own bias and prejudice, to be a better leader. The course also includes a number of case studies around specific issues in certain countries, like LGBTQ issues in India, and ageism in the US. 

Sign up here>>

Gender and sexuality: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

DEI course 3
Susan Marine is an assistant professor and program director of the higher education master’s program at Merrimack College.

Institution: University of Pittsburgh 

Duration: 4 weeks 

Time commitment: 15 hours   

This class gives students an overview of gender and sexuality issues in the workplace. It starts with clear explanations on the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality, explains key terms, and includes quizzes. Students learn common examples of gender and sex stereotyping and discrimination, in order to avoid them, as well as a section on how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Sign up here>> 

Diversity for dummies: making multiculturalism work

DEI course 4
Warren Chalklen is a diversity, equity, and inclusion online educator and the author of “Reconsidering Roots.”

Institution: Udemy  

Duration: 2-3 days  

Time commitment: 2 hours

This course explores the benefits of diversity in an organization, how to develop an action plan to better incorporate diversity into your company, and anti-bias training in several key areas like race and ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and religion. 

Sign up here>> 

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging

DEI course 5
Pat Wadors is the chief talent officer at ServiceNow, an American software company.

Institution: Linkedin Learning 

Duration: 1 day  

Time commitment: 47 minutes 

This course offers practical tips for engaging and retaining diverse talent, how to listen to your employees when issues arise, and how to encourage others at your organization to embrace a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Sign up here>> 

Understanding diversity and inclusion

Charles Calahan
The course is taught by Charles Calahan, assistant director of global learning development at Purdue University.

Institution: Purdue University

Duration: 3 weeks 

Time commitment: 3 hours per week 

The class focuses on unconscious bias, how to recognize harmful thought patterns as it relates to diversity, the different types of diversity that exist, and how to have an accepting mindset. 

Sign up here>> 

Unconscious Bias

Linkedin Learning
Stacey A. Gordon is a diversity, inclusion, and career strategist and the CEO of Rework Work.

Institution: Linkedin Learning  

Duration: 1 day 

Time commitment: 24 minutes  

In this short class, you’ll learn how to recognize and acknowledge your own biases to prevent yourself from making unfair decisis ons. The instructor explains some of the most common forms that a bias takes: affinity bias, halo bias, perception bias, and confirmation bias.

Sign up here>> 

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

A screenshot of a Purdue University DEI course

Institution: Purdue University via FutureLearn

Duration: 3 weeks 

Time commitment: 3 hours per week   

This course seeks to answer the questions: “How can we learn to embrace differences and celebrate them?” and “How can we explore and welcome diversity?” The course goes over the different types of diversity that exist (from gender to neurodiversity), unconcious bias and affinity bias, how to have difficult conversations around privelage, and how to be a more accepting leader. 

Sign up here>> 

Culture-Driven Team Building

University of Pennsylvania
The class is taught by Greg Urban, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Institution: The University of Pennsylvania via Coursera 

Duration: 6 months  

Time commitment: 3 hours per week   

This class is split into five-part series that includes lectures on how to lead a diverse team, manage conflict, and create a team culture of continuous learning. In addition, students will learn how to build their own emotional intelligence, a key to inclusive leadership

Sign up here>> 

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a freelancer living feast or famine to survive on US healthcare – and I’m scared of what comes next

woman on laptop
  • Years ago, people predicted the US would become a free-agent nation full of contract gigs.
  • But as a freelance writer trying to make it on US healthcare, I struggle to see the sustainability.
  • Unless something changes, our ability to achieve the American dream is significantly limited.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I never thought much about health insurance until I was T-boned at 50 mph.

The wreck totaled my car. It deployed all of the airbags, burst all of the windows on the left side, and displaced the entire engine from the nose of my Honda CR-V. If the driver of the other car had hit me just a few inches lower, I likely wouldn’t have been so lucky.

There had been mild pain in my back for about two months, but the crash increased it threefold. It was after this that I took my first real visit to a chiropractor and physical therapy clinic, but I only paid for two visits before I dropped out.

The reason? I’m a freelance writer.

US healthcare affects the freelance economy in a major way. A study in 2018 showed that more than 40% of all freelancers saw healthcare as their biggest concern for the upcoming midterm elections. In that same study, more than 41% of respondents claimed that healthcare benefits were the reason they chose to pair “side hustles” with their full-time jobs rather than go fully freelance.

There are roughly 56.7 million American freelancers today, many of whom are responsible for their personal healthcare costs and insurances. Without employer premiums, which offer discounted rates and bonuses, we’re entirely and totally on our own.

Even with Medicare and government marketplace programs, less than one in four freelancers reported buying insurance in 2019 – and 35% of freelancers choose to neglect healthcare due to high costs and steep premiums, which averages a whopping $484 a month for a single person. For families and married couples, that number rises to $1,230.

There are credit systems that help freelancers pay for insurance, as well as a few marketplace programs that try to make a difference. But writers operate on a feast-or-famine lifestyle, which is unable to accommodate exorbitant healthcare costs. Even published authors are unable to qualify for benefitted plans outside of the insurance marketplace.

Suppose my writing takes off one year, and I’m able to live comfortably. This means my insurance credits dry up, and I am liable for the entire sum tacked onto my taxes. Insurance credits, like taxes, flex with your income bracket. Their purpose is to help pay down insurance premiums.

For example, you might only pay for half the premium if your income falls below a certain threshold. But insurance credits aren’t the perfect solution you might be dreaming of. If you happen to make more or less than your declared income (which will never be exact for freelancers), you might be in for a nasty surprise. And if you happen to only have one good month in a 12-month year, your resources for healthcare are still shot.

Bear in mind that freelancer taxes are already impressively steep; the cost includes your income tax plus 15.3% charged for being your own boss. This means less money can be saved for healthcare purposes – plus deductibles, plus vital care that isn’t covered by the policy.

If I make less money another year, insurance credits kick in. I might pay less per month, but I’m still liable for enormous deductibles and higher premiums just to access the care I need. And if I happen to make great money only in the last month of the year? My credits are gone again, and I have the devil to pay come spring.

You might think that neglecting health insurance is an option. I did, for a time. But the pain between my shoulder blades reminds me that passing on quality healthcare is no longer doable.

According to statistics, healthcare averaged $11,000 per person in 2018. By 2028, costs are projected to rise to $18,000. Where I live, the cost of an ambulance is $500, plus $12 per mile until you reach the hospital. Insurance protects us in the event of cataclysm, but it won’t protect us from the costs that matter.

Writers aren’t employees. We don’t have set hours, we don’t report to anyone, and we certainly don’t have PTO. I can’t decide to leave work early on a Friday for a dentist appointment, or take vacation time for surgeries. If I can’t make the time, and if I can’t access doctors that require certain types of insurance, I go without.

I’m a freelance writer who chose to invest in healthcare for the long-term. Because of my field, and because I live alone, I simply can’t afford to be sick. I don’t have access to a spouse’s insurance.

Whether it’s due to scheduled deadlines or just paying the bills, downtime is a cost I can’t afford. But shelling out hundreds of dollars per month and having to pay thousands more in the event of an accident doesn’t seem like much of an alternative.

And if COVID-19 puts me in the hospital, my career is borderline finished.

Since the start of 2020, I’ve submitted more proposals and pitch requests than I can count. I spend two or more hours a day just trying to find gigs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize things are drying up. During a pandemic, it’s harder than ever to take the leap of faith into freelancing. As of 2020, 28% of freelancers stopped working due to contract cuts, failing job opportunities, and limited growth.

As less and less money gets saved, I get more and more worried about the future of my health in a world that operates with an employer-employee relationship.

A few decades ago, people were predicting that the US would become a free-agent nation, composed of freelancers and contract gigs. But self employment is not a growing trend. We are a small portion of the workforce that gets overlooked and underrepresented. There aren’t a lot of us saying anything about our healthcare woes, and as COVID-10 variants continue to circle, insurance worries will continue to grow.

Unless something changes with the way writers like me source and access insurance, our ability to achieve the American dream is significantly limited.

I don’t need much to be happy. Dollar signs and restful nights are a bonus, but not the end-all, be-all. In the end, the American dream is the pursuit of fulfillment, or what we were meant to do. All I need is my writing, my wits, and my health.

And if healthcare isn’t there for the latter, where will freelancers be in a post-COVID-19 world?

Read the original article on Business Insider

These creative-agency founders spent years championing diverse innovators – and landed deals with major international retailers. Here’s how they did it.

Ibrahim Kamara
GUAP’S founders: Jide Adetunji (left) and Ibrahim Kamara (right), with Kurt Geiger’s chief creative officer, Rebecca Farrar-Hockley.

  • Ibrahim Kamara and Jide Adetunji set out to celebrate creatives from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • The London-based founders used their platform, GUAP, to help showcase and nurture emerging talent.
  • Their work is gaining significant recognition. The pair told Insider how they’ve succeeded.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ibrahim Kamara and Jide Adetunji’s journey to showcase the work of underrepresented creatives in an industry that didn’t always make room for it has been an inspirational one.

In 2015, when the London-based pair founded GUAP, a youth-led media platform, they had no money. But their commitment to powering through – no matter the odds – helped countless young people get their big break and also caught the attention of renowned retailers like Kurt Geiger.

GUAP initially produced a magazine that bridged the gap between print and digital using augmented reality. It has since grown to incorporate events and an in-house creative agency.

Its name stands for “great understanding and power.”

Adetunji told Insider: “We noticed that growing up, there wasn’t a lot of focus in and around the industry. Most of the roles that you would be told to go into by your parents would be in accounting, finance, law – and we wanted to provide more tangible role models.”

Once the platform launched, the pair set out to discover budding talent, particularly from underrepresented communities.

“We wanted to be the place that shows other young people who are like us or from similar backgrounds or communities that anything is possible. That you can do creative arts as a career,” Kamara said.

To navigate their lack of finances, Kamara said they learned the skills they couldn’t pay for: “I used to shoot all the videos and Jide used to update our website.”

They also made many sacrifices. As they watched friends take holidays, buy cars, and enjoy expensive dinners, the pair kept telling themselves: “Our day will come.”

It was difficult in those moments, “because it takes a lot of conviction to fight social pressures and understand that immediate gratification isn’t always the best thing to strive for,” Adetunji said.

Another challenge was carving out a space in the media industry. “With what we’ve done, there wasn’t a template for us to follow,” Kamara added.

But the pair had faith from the beginning that their idea was going to work.

Diversity-related challenges in the industry were prevalent too, Kamara said, but they tackled it with a certain attitude: “We take accountability for everything that happens with us.”

He added: “If things are the way they are, we won’t say it’s because we’re Black.”

There may have been circumstances faced that their white counterparts did not experience, Adetunji said.

“I remember in the early stages when we used to do a lot of live music events, there were times that we had to fill in certain forms in order to get our line-up cleared,” he added.

“People would also say we don’t host hip-hop and R&B nights. That’s basically a nice way of saying, ‘we don’t want Black people music playing here,'” Adetunji said. “We felt all of those microaggressions but we never let it get to us.”

GUAP has enjoyed increasing success and recognition over the years. The company was recently signed by luxury shoe brand Kurt Geiger to launch its autumn/winter 2021 London campaign, which is called “Together, We Move.”

The future looks even brighter for GUAP, as the agency embarks on a long-term partnership with Adidas. “To have your vision and brand supported by the likes of Adidas and Kurt Geiger is inspirational for us and motivates us to keep doing what we’re doing,” Adetunji said.

For young creatives who wish to follow similar paths, Kamara shared some parting words of wisdom.

“A loss is only a loss if you haven’t learned from it,” he said. “Being true to yourself and trying to find yourself as early as you can will take you a long way.”

Read the original article on Business Insider