These 6 Companies Have Some of the Best Possible Employee Benefits (Yes, They’re That Good)

Many people overlook the importance of a company's benefits when searching for a new job. It's easy to focus on the salary and title, but job seekers should remember that benefits make up about 30% of compensation. In fact, three-fourths of employees would stay with a company for their benefits package.

Intrigued? Inspired by Glassdoor's recent feature, check out some of the incredible benefits these companies offer. 

As a global communications platform, Fuze prioritizes allowing teams to work anywhere and stay in touch with their software. Employees can work where they perform best, even if it means at home. Plus, the company offers unlimited vacation days!

This company specializes in loyalty marketing, so it's no wonder that they keep employees loyal as well. Workers get unlimited vacation days, 100% paid medical coverage, catered lunches, and a month-long sabbatical after three years. Plus, it's a dog-friendly office!

It's no surprise that military and government workers get top-notch benefits. Two to four weeks of paid leave and ten federal paid holidays adds up to generous vacation time. Employees may also receive professional education, life insurance, or even home loans. Their competitive pay and matching 401(k) are nothing to scoff at either.

Brunswick manufactures exercise and recreational products, which reflects in their company culture. Their "Be Your Best program" allows workers to earn redeemable points for completing their fitness goals. Standing and treadmill desks ensure that they are always active even when working. Plus, their gracious paid time off allows employees to relax after long periods of work and exercise.

Last year, TQL celebrated their 20th anniversary by holding a week-long party that included everything from skydiving to rock climbing. Their CEO even chose two workers to have a helicopter tour with him. Plus, the company offers 401(k), tuition assistance, and professional training programs. 

Since the company focuses on well-being, provides employees receive health care for themselves, their dependents, and even their pets. Workers also receive professional development opportunities, a generous retirement plan, financial wellness resources, and a flexible program to accommodate a work-life balance. 

Awesome, right? Possible salt in the wound that they're all hiring, too. 

Is you need to subtly drop a hint to your boss that your company's benefit game needs to be 'upped', feel free to casually press that 'share' button -- it's a win/win.

These Top New York Attorneys Have Mastered the Art of Differentiation

I took to the [virtual] streets of New York City again in a quest to find more professionals in saturated industries that differentiate with a fierce value proposition. The formula is simple: Pick a big city and a crowded industry, and highlight top talent that is earning that title through their ability to differentiate. This time, I sought out a dense field, attorneys, with over 175,000 resident lawyers in the state of NY.

Differentiating through their individual expertise, digital branding, content narrative, or specialized services, these attorneys & respective firms are setting the 'bar' (pun intended), which will hopefully inspire you to think differently, whether you're in a crowded industry or not. 

#1. Jon Avidor -- Startup.Law

Differentiator: [Startup]Law as a Service

With fee offerings like subscription-based pricing, fee deferrals, equity compensation, and flat fees, Startup.Law is laser-focused on targeting those in the startup and venture growth sector. Their 'formation-to-exit' strategy allows them to assist clients with launching profitable ventures and accelerating business growth.

Expertise: corporate formation & governance, M&A, real-estate private equity, priced equity financing

The boutique firm is embedded with SilverTech Ventures (the tech arm of billionaire investor Larry Silverstein) and is known to service a limited client list by referral only. Founder Jon Avidor is best known for his work with white-shoe M&A leader Sullivan & Cromwell in NYC and tech powerhouse Goodwin LLP in Silicon Valley representing companies like Goldman Sachs and Replay Technologies in high-profile transactions.

#2. Len Gray -- Gray Legal

Differentiator: digital empowerment 

From their trendy domain name to their highly digital web experience, Gray Legal defies the stereotypical 'legal' website, while still evoking a trust with the visitor. It elicits the type of response that makes you say, 'Hey, I'd like to grab a drink with these guys & gals.

Expertise: corporate, IP, employment, commercial, fashion & entertainment

Partner, Len Gray, is all too familiar with the pain points of legalities when it comes to starting your own business, having founded two companies on his own. After working in Big Law, he took all of his knowledge and created a modern "digital legal firm" for the new age CEO. His biggest selling point? Gray Legal aims to be a 'full-service' boutique for their clients, handling the areas of law they're most likely to encounter in their first few years.

#3. David Sorin -- McCarter & English Attorneys at Law

Differentiator: client intelligence 

McCarter & English distinguish themselves by providing business analysis and client intelligence as part and parcel of their legal counsel. They monitor industry changes that can impact their clients' business goals and make sure their client-first philosophy is part of every strategy and business recommendation they make. They're trend hunters -- and that's really cool. 

Expertise: venture capital financing (VC), intellectual property (IP), cyber, data privacy 

With approximately 400 lawyers in powerhouse cities like Washington, DC, Boston, and New York City, McCarter & English Attorneys at Law have been in business for over 170 years and their vast legal experience shows in the services they offer.

#4. Dmitriy Ishimbayev -- Ishimbayev Law Firm

Differentiator: packaged payment plans 

Offering payment plans for startups requiring legal services, the Ishimbayev Law Firm differentiates themselves by providing packaged law services to meet the needs of their target market. 

Expertise: startups, cryptocurrency, IP, corporate, internet & technology, franchise

Founder Dmitriy Ishimbayev's accolades speak for themselves - being named a "Super Lawyer Rising Star" by Thomas Reuters, a distinction reserved for only 2.5% of all attorneys in the New York Metro area. His model provides clients with a packaged-style payment plan, perfect for the CEO on a tight budget.

#5. Matthew Murphy -- Murphy Bova LLP 

Differentiator: client empowerment as a service

The team at Murphy Bova LLP want to be more than just legal counsel. They want to be your business counselor and empower you to grow your company to exceed your expectations. Think of their approach to business development and client relations as client empowerment as a service.

Expertise: entity formation, equity agreements, franchising, debt & equity financing, M&A, venture

Murphy Bova focuses on not only protecting their clients' legal interests, but also facilitating in closing business transactions. They work with everyone from entrepreneurs and startups to small businesses and high-growth companies to assist with both their legal and business needs.

#6. Bill Samuels -- Scarinci Hollenbeck

Differentiator: cost-effective solutions and alternative fee agreements

The team at Scarinci Hollenbeck understand their clients' top priorities are results and price. To this end, they offer alternative fee agreements and cost-effective solutions to ensure they're maximizing their efforts on behalf of their legal clients.

Expertise: corporate, environmental, IP, labor & employment, litigation, trust & estate

Bill Samuels is a seasoned intellectual property attorney who devotes his practice to tailoring strategies and protection plans to achieve each respective client's goals and business objectives. As such, he's armed with deep experience in strategy development, defense, enforcement, and maintenance of intellectual property protection plans. 

#7. John Benemerito -- Benemerito Attorneys at Law

Differentiator: ease of legal understanding on hyper-focused markets

Benemerito Attorneys focus on exceeding their clients' expectations while making the legal process easy to understand (which can be quite difficult, to say the least). Their down-to-earth approach makes them a 'go-to' for startups and entrepreneurs.

Expertise: IP, immigration law, real-estate

Benemerito Attorneys at Law focus solely on working with entrepreneurs and startups. Their clients are from a range of industries and range from bootstrapped startups to multi-million dollar companies. 

#8. Matthew Moisan --. Moisan Legal

Differentiator: client alignment and providing diverse core competencies

Moisan Legal's competency depth is a true strength. They offer a deep range of services to their clients, who are some of the top entrepreneurs in the region. You can tell Moisan genuinely cares about the startups they work with.

Expertise: entertainment, licensing, IP, contract, VC financing, M&A

Based in Manhattan, Moisan Legal represents companies and individuals who challenge the norm, demand creative thinking, and value strategic planning. Their clients span every stage of the traditional tech stages within a variety of verticals. 

#9. Sarah Corstange -- Corstange Law Group 

Differentiator: fee transparency

Working in immigration law for startups and small businesses, Corstange highlights on up-front pricing, which is a huge selling point. Startup founders and small business owners won't be surprised by rising legal costs for their immigration cases, thanks to an easy-to-understand fee schedule.

Expertise: Immigration law

Corstange Law Group offers creative immigration solutions for founders, employees, and investors throughout the startup lifecycle. Clients span a wide variety of verticals including Adtech, Edtech, Social Media, AI/VR, E-commerce, Fintech, Medtech and range from bootstrapped solopreneurs working in the proverbial garage, to global companies seeking growth capital. 

Understanding how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market is critical for business success -- successfully navigate those waters here and just imagine how much easier it will be in a niche category. These 9 show that not only is differentiation possible, it can be a crucial selling factor when building a thriving product, business, or brand.

These Top New York Attorneys Have Mastered the Art of Differentiation

I took to the [virtual] streets of New York City again in a quest to find more professionals in saturated industries that differentiate with a fierce value proposition. The formula is simple: Pick a big city and a crowded industry, and highlight top talent that is earning that title through their ability to differentiate. This time, I sought out a dense field, attorneys, with over 175,000 resident lawyers in the state of NY.

Differentiating through their individual expertise, digital branding, content narrative, or specialized services, these attorneys & respective firms are setting the 'bar' (pun intended), which will hopefully inspire you to think differently, whether you're in a crowded industry or not. 

#1. Jon Avidor -- Startup.Law

Differentiator: [Startup]Law as a Service

With fee offerings like subscription-based pricing, fee deferrals, equity compensation, and flat fees, Startup.Law is laser-focused on targeting those in the startup and venture growth sector. Their 'formation-to-exit' strategy allows them to assist clients with launching profitable ventures and accelerating business growth.

Expertise: corporate formation & governance, M&A, real-estate private equity, priced equity financing

The boutique firm is embedded with SilverTech Ventures (the tech arm of billionaire investor Larry Silverstein) and is known to service a limited client list by referral only. Founder Jon Avidor is best known for his work with white-shoe M&A leader Sullivan & Cromwell in NYC and tech powerhouse Goodwin LLP in Silicon Valley representing companies like Goldman Sachs and Replay Technologies in high-profile transactions.

#2. Len Gray -- Gray Legal

Differentiator: digital empowerment 

From their trendy domain name to their highly digital web experience, Gray Legal defies the stereotypical 'legal' website, while still evoking a trust with the visitor. It elicits the type of response that makes you say, 'Hey, I'd like to grab a drink with these guys & gals.

Expertise: corporate, IP, employment, commercial, fashion & entertainment

Partner, Len Gray, is all too familiar with the pain points of legalities when it comes to starting your own business, having founded two companies on his own. After working in Big Law, he took all of his knowledge and created a modern "digital legal firm" for the new age CEO. His biggest selling point? Gray Legal aims to be a 'full-service' boutique for their clients, handling the areas of law they're most likely to encounter in their first few years.

#3. David Sorin -- McCarter & English Attorneys at Law

Differentiator: client intelligence 

McCarter & English distinguish themselves by providing business analysis and client intelligence as part and parcel of their legal counsel. They monitor industry changes that can impact their clients' business goals and make sure their client-first philosophy is part of every strategy and business recommendation they make. They're trend hunters -- and that's really cool. 

Expertise: venture capital financing (VC), intellectual property (IP), cyber, data privacy 

With approximately 400 lawyers in powerhouse cities like Washington, DC, Boston, and New York City, McCarter & English Attorneys at Law have been in business for over 170 years and their vast legal experience shows in the services they offer.

#4. Dmitriy Ishimbayev -- Ishimbayev Law Firm

Differentiator: packaged payment plans 

Offering payment plans for startups requiring legal services, the Ishimbayev Law Firm differentiates themselves by providing packaged law services to meet the needs of their target market. 

Expertise: startups, cryptocurrency, IP, corporate, internet & technology, franchise

Founder Dmitriy Ishimbayev's accolades speak for themselves - being named a "Super Lawyer Rising Star" by Thomas Reuters, a distinction reserved for only 2.5% of all attorneys in the New York Metro area. His model provides clients with a packaged-style payment plan, perfect for the CEO on a tight budget.

#5. Matthew Murphy -- Murphy Bova LLP 

Differentiator: client empowerment as a service

The team at Murphy Bova LLP want to be more than just legal counsel. They want to be your business counselor and empower you to grow your company to exceed your expectations. Think of their approach to business development and client relations as client empowerment as a service.

Expertise: entity formation, equity agreements, franchising, debt & equity financing, M&A, venture

Murphy Bova focuses on not only protecting their clients' legal interests, but also facilitating in closing business transactions. They work with everyone from entrepreneurs and startups to small businesses and high-growth companies to assist with both their legal and business needs.

#6. Bill Samuels -- Scarinci Hollenbeck

Differentiator: cost-effective solutions and alternative fee agreements

The team at Scarinci Hollenbeck understand their clients' top priorities are results and price. To this end, they offer alternative fee agreements and cost-effective solutions to ensure they're maximizing their efforts on behalf of their legal clients.

Expertise: corporate, environmental, IP, labor & employment, litigation, trust & estate

Bill Samuels is a seasoned intellectual property attorney who devotes his practice to tailoring strategies and protection plans to achieve each respective client's goals and business objectives. As such, he's armed with deep experience in strategy development, defense, enforcement, and maintenance of intellectual property protection plans. 

#7. John Benemerito -- Benemerito Attorneys at Law

Differentiator: ease of legal understanding on hyper-focused markets

Benemerito Attorneys focus on exceeding their clients' expectations while making the legal process easy to understand (which can be quite difficult, to say the least). Their down-to-earth approach makes them a 'go-to' for startups and entrepreneurs.

Expertise: IP, immigration law, real-estate

Benemerito Attorneys at Law focus solely on working with entrepreneurs and startups. Their clients are from a range of industries and range from bootstrapped startups to multi-million dollar companies. 

#8. Matthew Moisan --. Moisan Legal

Differentiator: client alignment and providing diverse core competencies

Moisan Legal's competency depth is a true strength. They offer a deep range of services to their clients, who are some of the top entrepreneurs in the region. You can tell Moisan genuinely cares about the startups they work with.

Expertise: entertainment, licensing, IP, contract, VC financing, M&A

Based in Manhattan, Moisan Legal represents companies and individuals who challenge the norm, demand creative thinking, and value strategic planning. Their clients span every stage of the traditional tech stages within a variety of verticals. 

#9. Sarah Corstange -- Corstange Law Group 

Differentiator: fee transparency

Working in immigration law for startups and small businesses, Corstange highlights on up-front pricing, which is a huge selling point. Startup founders and small business owners won't be surprised by rising legal costs for their immigration cases, thanks to an easy-to-understand fee schedule.

Expertise: Immigration law

Corstange Law Group offers creative immigration solutions for founders, employees, and investors throughout the startup lifecycle. Clients span a wide variety of verticals including Adtech, Edtech, Social Media, AI/VR, E-commerce, Fintech, Medtech and range from bootstrapped solopreneurs working in the proverbial garage, to global companies seeking growth capital. 

Understanding how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market is critical for business success -- successfully navigate those waters here and just imagine how much easier it will be in a niche category. These 9 show that not only is differentiation possible, it can be a crucial selling factor when building a thriving product, business, or brand.

Do You Freelance? This App May Be Able to Save You Thousands (Every Year) 

Being a full-time freelancer is difficult for many reasons - providing for your benefits being one of them. Many self-employed workers struggle with expenses that companies usually offer - sick days, vacation, retirement, health insurance, and so on. Additionally, you incur all of the work-related costs: computers, software, clothing, travel, and more. Given, there are deductions for some, but coping with finance-related stress causes corporate workers to lose 12.4 days of productivity due to presenteeism (present, but too stressed to work) and 3.5 days to absence each year.

One can only imagine how much freelancers need to fret over finances.

Show me the money

Companies such as Everlance hope to ease this burden by making it easier for freelancers to deduct travel expenses from taxes. The company's app uses your phone's GPS to determine when you're driving and calculate car trip mileage. You can label which trips are business-related to generate tax-ready reports. Plenty of side gig apps such as Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Wag, GrubHub, and Postmates all require a lot of driving.  

CEO Alex Marlantes got the idea after receiving a 1099 tax form for a summer-long Uber gig. Marlantes and co-founder Gabriel Garza were surprised that they couldn't find any suitable solutions to help freelancers with money problems. 

"We were extremely confident that we were on to something here," said Garza. "It was evident that there was a clear problem without any solutions available [for freelancers]." 

Freelancers can save $540 in taxes for every 1,000 miles they travel. According to the their site, the average user deducts $6,500 each year. That's a ton of moula. 

Everlance boasts a whopping 300 million registered users and records over one million miles & expenses every day -- it's available for both iOS and Android (free version tracks up to 20 trips per month and premium has a $5 monthly cost). 

With one-third of Americans doing freelance work and 67% of millennials saying that money affects their productivity at work, this was certainly a problem just asking for a solution. I'll be pretty curious to see how the roadmap continues to evolve especially with commanding a user base of that scale.

Kind of makes you look forward to driving, doesn't it?*

*sorry for all you public transportation folks. Maybe the next app will be EverTransit...

These Top NYC Accountants Reveal How They Stand Out in a Saturated Market (of Over 58,000 Peers)

Whether you're a startup founder working on your first product or a small business owner contemplating your next customer acquisition strategy, how you differentiate will have huge impact on your business. And an unrefined strategy here could jeopardize long-term survivability, especially if you're building a brand in an already crowded market vertical.

As a case in point, search for public certified accountants via the New York State Education Department website and you'll find over 58,000 accountants listed as of January 2018. Talk about market competition. How do you possibly target new clients or stand out from the rest? I interviewed three accountants that are leading the pack in New York to extract how they're succeeding in a market filled with competition.

#1 -- Proactive, Practical Innovation -- Jody Chesnov, Rosenberg Chesnov

Chesnov explained that their financial and advisory services firm focuses on delivering innovative and practical solutions to their clients. Not only do they provide a wide range of services, but they also proactively monitor metrics to quickly identify trends (not something you typically think about your accountant doing). A customized workflow is also developed for each client, which can be incorporated in-house.  

Takeaway: 

Don't run away from innovation--embrace it. You don't need to hit home runs with evolving your product or service offering, but those 'base hits' will absolutely keep you relevant and ahead of the curve. 

#2 -- Owning a Niche -- Christopher DeMayo, Withum Audit Tax Advisory  

DeMayo shared that their firm differentiates through focusing on servicing the startup sector and emerging growth sector. Instead of adopting a 'spray and pray' approach to customer acquisition, they define their specific target market for maximum efficiency and growth opportunities--and they own it.

Takeaway: 

Even if you can provide a variety of services to many types of clients, be laser-focused on a niche, own that category, and solidify yourself as a 'go to' expert. 

#3 -- Providing a Complementary Service Suite -- Erenik Nezaj, Nezaj & Co

Nezaj takes a highly personalized approach with their clients, which is a driver to the firm's growth. By intimately understanding their client problems, they are able to develop complementary services to support voids that exists for any finance team.

Takeaway: 

Get in the habit of spending more time studying customer pain points -- both those that exist today and any that can be anticipated. Once you know the problem, finding a solution is easy. 

If these accounting firms can develop a unique positioning for themselves in a market sector rife with competition, there's no reason savvy entrepreneurs, startup founders, and small business owners can't do the same. By thinking differently, defining their market, and proactively innovating, there's no telling how much a business can accelerate their growth potential.

Differentiation should no longer be a barrier, so don't let it be. 

The Exact Amount of Money it Takes to Make a Person Happy Just Got an Update

You've probably heard that studies have shown an income of about $70,000 to $75,000 leads to the most happiness. A new study expands that research to provide a more complete picture of how much cash is required to make us not only happy day-to-day, but to provide more overall life satisfaction.

"We found that the ideal income point is $95,000 for life evaluation and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being... this amount is for individuals and would likely be higher for families," explained Andrew T. Jebb, a doctoral student at Purdue University. "That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness, but we now see there are some thresholds."

Jebb is lead author of the study published recently in Nature Human Behavior.

The research essentially confirmed past studies that found around $70,000 was an ideal income for providing day-to-day happiness in the United States, but it also expanded the work globally using data from the Gallup World Poll. 

The researchers found that while regions with lower living standards and costs of living like eastern Europe and Latin America reached peak happiness at a lower amount of income, the global average still worked out to between $60,000 and $75,000.

But again, this is just a measure of how much income is associated with the highest levels of day-to-day happiness. For the first time, the Purdue study also attempted to capture what income level provides the highest level of life evaluation or life satisfaction, which is more of an overall assessment of how one is doing over the long-term.

Turns out this higher level of overall satisfaction is a little more expensive. In Canada and the United States, an income of $105,000 provides the most life satisfaction, while globally the ideal average income is $95,000.

The study found that exceeding these income thresholds actually seems to reduce levels of happiness and satisfaction.This could be because higher income earners are more driven by material gains and social comparisons that can ironically lower those levels.

"The small decline puts one's level of well-being closer to individuals who make slightly lower incomes, perhaps due to the costs that come with the highest incomes," Jebb explained. These findings speak to a broader issue of money and happiness across cultures. Money is only a part of what really makes us happy, and we're learning more about the limits of money."

Think Like Richard Branson With This Creativity Hack

I woke up one morning with a little less hatred for my alarm clock than usual. Because I was going to get to spend that day at the Virgin Co-lab Innovation event in Sydney with the one and only Sir Richard Branson

We're talking about a 66-year old businessman worth $7 billion who, at retirement age, is taking on Elon Musk with the new Virgin Hyperloop One. So you'll forgive me for assuming this is a brash guy who's got all the answers. 

Well... I was wrong. Like, TOTALLY wrong. 

Branson is a man of questions. He passed up several opportunities that day to take the microphone and pontificate, saying he'd much rather hear what the rest of us had to say. 

Since then, I've thought a lot about my thought process. If Sir Richard's humble curiosity has made him the visionary leader he is (and I firmly believe that's true), how can I emulate that?

Spoiler alert: I did stumble across a creative thinking technique that feels very Branson-esque, which I'll walk you through below. 

But first, a bit about leadership.

Listening to the child inside

There's a formula most of us follow in our lives. As we get older, we exchange our more "frivolous" interests and ideas for ones that are more sensible. We gradually shed our sense of wonder year by year, until we think we know just about all there is to know about anything worth knowing about. 

If there's one person who calls BS on that, it's Sir Richard. A man with childlike curiosity that transcends his age, never lacking in vigor, drive, and passion, Branson is proof that fully-formed adults have the courage to challenge expectations and explore what could be. 

And it was clear from my conversations with other Virgin employees that his attitude has a multiplier effect. 

The lesson? Leaders who are openly curious about the world around them inspire that same curiosity in others. If you want new solutions to an old problem, you're gonna need some seriously inquisitive minds on it. 

The secret to thinking like Sir Richard is asking "why" (a lot)

Holding on to your inner child helps maintain curiosity and desire to always learn and develop. Trouble is, most of us lost touch with our inner child years ago. (Why don't they ever call??) 

So imagine my excitement when, shortly after the Virgin event, I strolled past one of our engineering teams as they were conducting a root-cause analysis after an outage. Using a technique called "5 Whys", they dug deeper and deeper into the problem, uncovering new layers and insights. 

That was the ah-ha moment. 

"5 Whys" is simply a fake-it-till-you-make-it way to re-learn the kind of curiosity people like Sir Richard never unlearned in the first place. 

Let's say sales are down. You start by asking "Why are sales down 20% over last quarter?" If the answer is the post-Holiday slump you see every year, then you follow with the question "Why do we see a post-Holiday slump every year?" And so on. By the time you get to the 5th "why", you've understood the problem robustly and probably have a few ideas for solutions. 

You can use the technique to better understand opportunities, too. "Why would anyone choose to stay in a stranger's house instead of a hotel?" might prompt thoughts around cost savings, experiencing a city in a more authentic way, etc. Daisy-chain 5 or so "whys" together, and you'll have some pretty exciting ways to pursue that opportunity. 

If you've never tried "5 Whys" before, give it a go. Channel your inner Sir Richard and practice being comfortable - excited, even! - with not having all the answers.