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Branding – How Do YOU Appear on Facebook?

brand-identity-logo-explained1By Terry D Kozlyk

Late to the party, many small and medium size businesses are discovering Facebook as a tool for promoting and branding themselves. In the past few years, the term “branding” has been a hot business topic, created by the media hype around advertising using social media. But I never fully understood the term “branding”, its implications and the practice, until I started actively participating, reading and writing on my Facebook timeline.

My main reason for exposing myself to the world of Facebook, was simply to understand how it works. I wanted to see if there was merit in using Facebook, as over a billion users worldwide were doing. Whether I connected with my classmates from 30+ years ago or not, was furthest from my mind. What I did discover was that not only is Facebook a powerful branding tool for business but how individuals are unwittingly using it to create a personal brand that may come back to haunt them.

There was much that I didn’t know about Facebook. But by “LIKE-ing” a few people I knew, a few more from my club and hometown classmates, I began to build a repertoire of scrolling real-time news. It wasn’t more than a year of regular weekly readings, that the light finally came on for me. Clear as day, I realized how several of my “friends” have casted, stereotyped, say “branded” themselves, and NOT in a good way. I saw a pattern from their postings, that I could have easily used to describe or introduce them, if I was ever asked. I began to label and think of them, specifically by how frequently and what they posted on their timeline. They have managed to “brand” themselves.

I began to detect a consistent pattern with many. Is that how I want to be described or thought of? There was the person that would post just family pics of events with their grand kids. This is commendable, but maybe in a closed family Facebook sub-page; not your general friends list. There was the person who posted pictures that made me wonder, “What am I missing here? Why is this picture being broadcast? It’s just a picture!” All it proved was that they knew how to take a picture and how to post to Facebook. Nice, I thought. They have a heartbeat. There was the friend who spoke of deep inner feelings. Sure; just thinking out loud perhaps, but maybe don’t be posting into words. People will sense you are emotionally unstable and incapable of dealing with everyday life. Then there was the world traveler that would post pictures daily from across the globe. Obviously not current and just drawing from years past vacations. Then there was the person who posts 10 times per day. Well, that person clearly does not have a life and needs constant attention. Some may come across as activists. That’s when I discovered I can UN-follow these while still leaving them in my friends list. And believe me, I did.

branding-marketing-sellingSo before you write on your timeline, and then click POST, ask yourself the following 4 questions.

1) What is the purpose of my post?

Are you hoping to inspire, inform, motivate, instigate or call-to-action someone? Are you sharing an experience with a picture hoping to get some feedback from others? Or are you just blowing off some steam, perhaps getting onto a soapbox and ranting about an incident that happened to you? Are you hoping for support or sympathy? If you are writing in the “heat of the moment” and saturated with emotion such as anger or vindictiveness, then close your laptop and go for a good walk or other physical activity. Yes, writing can very good therapy, so continue writing, but do so in your personal journal, not your Facebook timeline. No one is interested in reading your thoughts repeatedly.

2) Am I comfortable with others repeating my comments attached to my name?

This is more inline with the “gossip session” or water cooler talk, when others may talk about you behind your back. We can’t control gossip about us, so make sure it is gossip you are comfortable having proliferate about you. Hearing your comments in the third person may make the hairs on the back of your neck standup.

3) If this was my last post, would I want to be remembered by it?

Think legacy. What do you want to leave behind for others or society in general? In what light would you like others to talk about you?

4) Is there any value to my post?

Sometimes we get carried away and when others look at our post, they ask themselves, “So what? Why are you telling me this?” This is more along the lines of the “What’s in it for me?” question. If not, then write your post so it will be of value to others.

Today, more than ever, most people reading something are looking for specifics that will bring them value, knowledge or absolute riches. They just don’t want to be an audience, giving their precious time to you, the aspiring author who is going to write the next best seller which will turn into the #1 movie of the year. If not, then your post is simply “noise” and your contacts may not only “un-follow” but also remove you as a friend completely.

brandRemember, when you are posting on Facebook, you are talking to the world. Statements will never be retracted or deleted. Your post may even proliferate and haunt you with someone re-posting on other social media. Even if deleted, people who have already read your post may remember you by that lasting impression you gave them. People can make their minds up about you very quickly and can stereotype you as an activist, anti-whatever and just plain dangerous to have around. Don’t place yourself in the “court of public opinion”. Also, some potential employers hire social media consultants to compile a social media profile of you. Seeing pictures of you volunteering your time with a worthy charity in a developing country is a good thing. But pictures of you getting blasted at the bar on the week-ends, well, not so much.

Facebook is a powerful social media tool. It levels the playing field between a lowly individual and a multi-million dollar company. Done right, you can project as good as the big companies. Use it to showcase your strengths, ambitions and accomplishments. Use it to inspire and summon others to their cause. Use it to stay connected. Use it to develop and advertise “your brand”. I hope my experience with Facebook and tips above will help you “brand” yourself in the best possible light. As a test, you can connect with me on Facebook and practice what I shared above.

Terry is a freelance speaker, writer and the principle content creator and curator (CCC) at TDKtalks.com

His video, audio and written content is disseminated through his website, Slideshare, iTunes, and Ezine Articles.

Terry, a dynamic speaker who listens to his audience, is personable, energetic and passionate about connecting with people. His presentations can be thought-provoking, motivating, inspiring or just entertaining.

Be sure to read Terry’s other articles at http://www.TDKtalks.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Terry_D_Kozlyk
http://EzineArticles.com/?Branding—How-Do-YOU-Appear-on-Facebook?&id=8881934

 

 

Dats Jus Swift Presents: The Lagoon Giveaway

Leigh Langston:

Add your service or product to the  Billion Dollar App today and you might be chosen to hang with me in Hawaii!!!

Yes, I am one of the “friends”.

I’m so excited!

Originally posted on The Billion Dollar App :

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I just wanted to take a sec to thank all of you for your love and support.  I am super excited about The Billion Dollar App and I’m well on my way there y’all.  I just need a push from all of you!!! Get all your friends, families, and coworkers together and leave your footprint.  I will select one of my entries (from anywhere around the world) at random to receive an *All Inclusive vacation for 6 days/5 nights* (for 2) joining me and my friends in Kapolei, Hawaii!!! Tag a friend now and follow ya boy!!!

We will be at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club in Kapolei, Hawaii!!!

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marriott-ko-olina-beach

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The Billion Dollar App is a Global Directory. I want to add 1,000,000,000 businesses and people to it by 2019. Leave your footprint. Own a piece of internet history!!!

The Billion Dollar App Is Available Free:

Google PlayStore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app_swiftbar.layout&hl=en

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The Way Not To Run A Business

bad business

There are just so many poorly ran businesses out there and it is really sad to see. Running a business for many is their dream and to see people struggling is not at all nice. There are some fundamental points that these people need to bear in mind and if they do then the chance of success is much higher than it would have been before.

Too many people jump into running a business thinking it is a simple way to make money very quickly, I am afraid things don’t work like that in the real world and a company has to have a long term vision for the future if there is any chance of success.

We are in a period of economic hardship and people are struggling to fund businesses and thus jumping into a new one without a plan is a recipe for disaster.

I am not saying don’t start a business bust make sure that you have all bases covered before going for it. This article will highlight things to bear in mind when looking to start a business.

Poor Website

We live in the internet age and a company cannot afford to have a poor website, it is as simple as that. There is just too much competition out there and falling behind online is genuinely the worst thing a business can do nowadays. You have got to keep up with the market you are held within and if you can do that then the chance of profitability is much higher.

You have got to make sure that your website is well designed and well hosted. Check out Jaguar PC for web hosting and do a little research in regards to web-developers, there will be many high class freelance workers out there.

Competition is very high and you have got to be willing to go that extra mile to secure the online client base needed for long term prosperity in the modern era. The days have gone when business was done by word of mouth, what you offer has to be showcased online and in a way that is universally palatable.

Poor Product

You have got to have a strong product, if you have a strong product then you are much more likely to secure the clients you need. A business is all about profit and thus it is essential that you invest the right amount of time and money in the product you provide.

Try and be innovative, if you can do this then you again give yourself a further advantage over your market rivals. Just do a little research and make sure you cover all the bases.

Poor Leadership

You have got to have strong leadership, if there is strength and drive at the top you will be able to inspire your workforce to perform for you and get the job done to a high quality.

Interview rigorously and only hire the best, this is one of if not the most important way to run a successful business.

David writes a variety of articles about various topics. He worked at a London newspaper for a while before pursuing his own career as a freelance writer.

Dangerous Black Woman: Tangela Walker-Craft

Tangela with 4 GoPillows

My name is Tangela Walker-Craft.  I am a native of Lakeland, Florida. I’ve been married to my husband (Ernest Craft, III) for 21+ years. I’m a wife and homeschooling mother to my 11 year old daughter.  I’m also a patented inventor and business owner.

After my daughter was born, I breastfed her for two years.  Due to my own breastfeeding needs, I invented and patented the BEST multipurpose breastfeeding/travel product that a mom or caregiver could ever have –The GoPillow!  I had the idea for the GoPillow! because my daughter was born with a head full of black, silky hair.  Each time I would breastfeed her, the back of her neck along the hairline would perspire and my arm would be damp.  I decided that I needed an arm cover of some kind – not just for breastfeeding, but for cradling my baby.  I told my
husband about an idea that I had.  He and I began playing around with various versions of an arm pillow.  My husband drew a rough sketch of the pillow that I wanted and my aunt was able to sew a rough prototype for me.

The original intent of the pillow was for cradling babies for breast or bottle feedings.  I knew it would be an excellent travel pillow.  The idea for adding the privacy blanket came later.  It was added after I was caught in a crowded area during a rainstorm at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  My husband took off his shirt and gave it to me so that I could nurse my daughter more discreetly.  We realized that a privacy blanket or cover would separate my pillow from any other nursing pillow on the market.  The blanket turned the pillow into a multipurpose wonder!

I filed for a patent.  I went through prototyping, fabric sampling, packaging selection, etc. and finally incorporated my company and got the GoPillow! ready for market.  The pillows are professionally manufactured and packaged.  I founded Simply Necessary, Incorporated (simplynecessary.com) to market and distribute the GoPillow! via TheGoPillow.com.  I run Simply Necessary, Incorporated and take care of my daughter full-time.

In addition to marketing the GoPillow!, as a way to utilize my Creative Writing degree and share my ideas and experiences with other families, I became a Tampa Bay Parenting Examiner for Examiner.com, an online news outlet.  I currently write under four titles for Examiner.com.  I draw from my experiences as a wife, mother, business owner, and former Language Arts teacher for my articles.  I provide tips for helping families enjoy life.

Twitter:  @TangelaWCraft

How To Save Money At The Grocery Store

Everyone wants to save money while food shopping. For some time, there has been a persistent myth that it has been impossible to eat cheap while still eating well; quality and nutrition have always associated with high cost. However, this traditional idea could not be further from the truth. It is possible to save quite a bit while grocery shopping, even without performing the time consuming task of coupon clipping.

grocery-shopping

Watch What is Being Shopped For
Though coupons are indeed a wonderful way to save money, many simply do not have the time to complete such an undertaking. Because of this, a shopper should pay attention to how they are shopping at the grocery store. When making a shopping list, consider whether a certain brand of an item is really necessary. It is unlikely that name-brand products actually taste or perform any better than the non-name-brand products. While store brands are almost universally cheaper, sometimes this is not the case, be sure to compare all prices of similar items. Also keep in mind that, at most grocery stores, more expensive items are kept at eye level, while cheaper items are near the top or bottom of shelves. Always scan for the cheapest price of a certain item both above and below the item at eye level. In addition, frozen and canned foods are usually much cheaper than their fresh counterparts. While it is certainly true that for some dishes canned goods would ruin the taste, this is not true for all, or even most recipes. Buy canned and frozen whenever possible. When buying fresh goods, avoid pre-washed or pre-sliced produce; these are far more expensive than the cost of the goods themselves.

Watch Where Shopping Takes Place
Not all grocery stores are the same. Many grocery stores cater to clientele willing to spend more for a higher quality food. These “premium” grocery stores are nearly all marketing, and their markup isn’t worth spending when similar quality can be found around the corner at the budget supermarket. One should also consider buying in bulk whenever possible. Bulk shopping clubs offer excellent discounts for buying large quantities. This is especially useful for canned and frozen goods, but, depending on the amount of people being shopped for, may not be appropriate for many fresh goods. An online grocery store is also an excellent option. Online grocery shopping has expanded a great deal in recent years, and offers a diverse selection of foodstuffs that can be bought from the convenience of someone’s home. In addition, price comparison and planning is much easier using an online grocery store.

Start the Savings at Home 
Extend your savings by making a few small changes at home. Always be sure to plan shopping trips. Have a list of the items needed in hand before heading into the grocery store. The shopping list should ideally be planned around recipes that have been scheduled in advance. By planning meals and regulating shopping, a economically minded individual is able to drastically reduce waste, which translates to less money spent on the next round of shopping. In addition, brown-bagging lunches and cutting down on expensive pre-cooked and processed foods can be an excellent way to reduce extraneous spending.

Times are tough, and a shopper must be aware of how to properly save money if they are to succeed at shopping frugally. Following the above tips will offer shoppers an excellent start to reducing their grocery bill without sacrificing the quality of the foods that they buy.

Eileen Saw writes helpful resources on saving money and efficient ways to shop for essential household products. She currently writes with advice from the good people at RedMart Online Grocery, Singapore’s premier online grocery delivery service.

The Funniest Responses for Annoying Telemarketers

telemarketer

Nothing is more annoying than having constant contact from someone you simply don’t want to talk to – that is, unless that person gets paid to do it! Telemarketers might be simply doing their job, but it can cause pesky disturbances and interruptions do your daily routine or leisure time. If you have a company that repeatedly calls you or your family, it is important to take steps to prevent those people from continuing to reach out to you. Though it might be more effective (and polite) to take the high road, there are few things more satisfying than returning the favor of annoyance through a prank response to their incessant calls. Next time a telemarketer gives you a call, try one of these funny tips to give them a taste of their own medicine. Who knows – they might learn a lesson from your response, and take your phone number off of their calling list.

Give them the Automated Message Treatment

One point that can be especially hilarious is to respond to the phone call as if you were an automated calling system. This tip can be even more convincing if you have the ability to mimic a robotic accent when you answer the phone. If you recognize the caller ID as a telemarketer, you can begin the prank from the second you have picked up the phone. In your monotonous voice, say something like the following example: “Welcome to Acme Automated Services. For Product Services, press 1. For Billing, press 2. To speak to a customer service representative, press 3.” If the telemarketer falls for your prank and presses a number, try repeating your original phrase, or mixing it up with more options. See how long the telemarketer plays your phone game – and try not to giggle while doing it.

Act Like You Know Them

In the mood to startle a telemarketer? Try pretending that you are convinced that they are your old friend from high school. A warm and friendly “Wait a minute, is this Brian?” followed by chatter that simply cannot be interrupted can throw a telemarketer off of their game. Bringing personal details – especially when supported with a touch of manic frenzy on your part – can not only annoy the telemarketer, but cause them to feel nervous or worried about your verbal behavior.

Follow Seinfeld’s Advice:

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld offers a great idea for dealing with a difficult telemarketing call. The irony is classic, and it succinctly makes a fantastic point about why the work that telemarketers do is inappropriate.

Telemarketer:  “Hi. Would you be interested in switching over to TMI Long Distance service?”

Seinfeld:  “Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later.”

Telemarketer:  “Uh, sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.”

Seinfeld:  “Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home.”

Telemarketer:  “No.”

Seinfeld:  “Well, now you know how I feel.”

Intensive Pranks: YouTube Favorites

Take a cue from fantastic prank calls that have been recorded and made public on YouTube. Crank callers who have truly mastered the art of pranking telemarketers offer a lot of humor in their examples, though it takes a lot of guts and commitment to pull off the kinds of pranks that these tricksters do. Even if you don’t work up the courage to use these examples the next time a telemarketer calls you, just listening to these examples might help you relieve some of your frustrations caused by these callers.

What If the Pranks Do Not Stop Telemarketers from Bothering My Family?

Unfortunately, the only way to really stop telemarketers from calling you is to do the legwork: finding out which companies are calling you, and both blocking their calls as well ask asking to be removed from their call lists.  If you actually want to find out more information about the telemarketers that are interrupting your personal time and family dinners, employing a service such as reverse phone search Australia can help you with your targeted investigation. Nobody deserves to be bothered with unwanted calls, so whether you take the humorous approach or attempt to do something a bit more serious, take action to prevent these telemarketers from continuing to call.

9 Legitimate Online Jobs and a Few Illegitimate Ones

Wouldn’t it be nice to stay at home with the kids while you earn money too? That’s a dream come true for a lot of parents. And it’s not only about spending time with the kids, it’s also enjoying the flexibility of your own schedule. If you choose to take this route, be glad to know that there are plenty of online jobs out there. However, you also need to know what the legitimate ones are to avoid being scammed.

how-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant

1. Writing/Editing Jobs

This one is quite popular as writers work best in the environment they are most comfortable with. Plus, companies are more than willing to look for writers/editors who work from home. There are plenty of writing opportunities online. You can choose to write blogs, articles, eBooks and other types of content.

You can get started on sites like oDesk and other similar.

2. Virtual Assistant Jobs

Being a virtual assistant is another popular job in this list. Here, you act like an office assistant except you do everything online including data entry, typing, calling, transcribing and many more. This is a good job to have but you will work on a daily shift schedule.

3. Transcription Jobs

There are different types of transcription jobs online. But the most common are medical transcriptionists and audio/video transcriptionists. If you have a medical background, you can work on medical records for a healthcare company. If you don’t, you may enjoy typing down everything you hear from an audio or video recording.

4. Computer Programming Jobs

Computer programmers need not be in an office to work and create programs. If you have a thing for computer programming, you can look for companies that look for freelance programmers or those companies who are open to telecommuting programmers. You can easily develop programs or websites from home as long as you have the required tools.

5. Customer Service Representative Jobs (Call Center Industry)

Call centers are outsourcing employees and are hiring people who can work from home. Why not? It saves them overhead costs. Usually, CSR jobs online handle outbound accounts, meaning you will be the one calling the client. Calls can be for the purpose of marketing, informing customers or selling.

6. IT Support Jobs

Yes, even companies that offer tech support to customers look for their tech support representatives online. This job is about answering queries from customers regarding technical issues, often over the phone and email.

7. Reselling Jobs

If you have experience in sales, reselling jobs should suit you well. Reselling is the act of simply reselling the goods from another seller, with the seller’s permission of course. This is a good way to earn money. It’s like running a business without forking out cash.

8. Online Tutoring Jobs

Online tutoring is another popular job online. You can either do home tutoring about a certain subject or go for English tutoring where you teach people to learn English.

9. Website Designer Jobs

Last but not least, website designers will have a lot of work opportunities online, from designing websites to simply designing custom logos and banners for companies.

Illegitimate Online Jobs to Run Away From

While there are great work-from-home opportunities online, there’s a lot of scam jobs as well. Some of these jobs that you need to avoid are:

  • Data Entry Jobs – There will be hundreds of job listings for this, but be careful, this job can just be about posting ads or copying/pasting thousands of things into various places. Even if you manage not to go mad doing this, you won’t get paid much at the end of the day. And often, once you complete the job, the client doesn’t pay up.
  • Multilevel Marketing Jobs – This is a job headed nowhere. You are asked to recruit marketers and market to them so they would go on board. And your fellow marketers and recruits are doing the same. All of you won’t enjoy a good earning potential on this one.
  • Ad Posting Jobs – Be warned that these kinds of jobs don’t pay you to post ads, they only pay you when people click on the ads – something you rarely have any control over.

In addition, please avoid jobs that will ask you to buy something or sign up for something before they give you a job. No serious employer will make you do that.

Azalea is a passionate and experienced writer. You can connect with her at newInternetOrder.com – where online business is taught to normal people. In her spare time, Azalea is interested in action-packed movies and harnessing positive vibes for a well-balanced lifestyle.

Memoirs: Why You Need To Write One

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Image by Antonio Litterio

 

Sue William Silverman led a double life. Although she appeared to have a normal life, she was actually suffering from sexual addiction. It wasn’t until she began to write down her thoughts that she realised how writing a memoir could change her life… for the better.

She saw how jotting down ideas on the page became a therapeutic way of confronting personal demons that for years she simply could not face. Everyone has a story to tell, which can not only help one resolve one’s own issues, but can also help others deal with their own struggles as well.

The Past Today

Writing a memoir takes the writer through a personal journey of past events based on a central theme. The goal is to seek an emotional truth from the past so that a better understanding of the present is possible. The events themselves are not as important as the writer’s interpretation of those events.  By unpacking these events and revealing the truth, the audience is able to better understand the writer as a human being.

Connect With Others

Writing a memoir helps the writer connect with an audience.  Posting memoirs on a personal blog, for instance, extends one’s audience and allows for direct feedback from others who may have experienced a similar past.  The philosopher Martin Buber argues that we only understand ourselves as a result of the relationships that we form with others, and that we would be acting with distrust if we assume that one’s past events defines the individual (I and Thou).

Helping Others

Writing a memoir helps others. Revealing one’s past and connecting with others through open and ongoing dialogue sets the stage for developing a support system that can be therapeutic. Confronting past events, organizing these events in the mind, then articulating them to others becomes a reciprocal and iterative process that emerges through informal dialogues. As ideas are shared, trusting relationships form which reinforce the notion that when we help others, we help ourselves.

Your Future Self

Writing a memoir helps realise the future that one desires by accepting the relationships that are being formed. Buber’s notion of the I-Thou recognises how human beings remain interdependent, and that this interdependency permits others to not stereotype individuals based on their past. Thus, the future self becomes an aggregate of continual relationships that collectively help form one’s personal identity.

Sue William Silverman was not able to face her past without formally collecting, reflecting on and articulating her past in the form of a memoir. Memoir writing can help individuals face the past in order to better understand the present.

It can also be a way of sharing ideas with others and forming relationships that act as a support system for pursuing the future self.  Regardless of one’s past, the process of reflecting upon and articulating past events, before sharing this process via informal dialogues, takes the writer on an emotional journey to seek the truth.  Tell someone your story today and begin to experience your future self… because it’s worth it!

 

Benjamin L. Stewart is an enthusiastic blogger and a proud member of the GKBC Writing Academy.

Why I Have Issues With Secret Santa

There are both advantages and disadvantages to working from home especially at Christmas. Whilst lonely workers like me miss out on the festivities and parties we at least escape the potential nightmare of Secret Santa.

badsanta

In case you have been living in a cave Secret Santa is a gift giving procedure favored by many offices and schools. Participants draw the name of a colleague at random and anonymously give them a gift. There is usually a limit set on the amount to be spent. The idea is a good one in principle as it prevents people being dragged into buying gifts for everyone and the price limit ensures that nobody is financially challenged by the purchase.

Embarrassment

You may well ask what could possibly be wrong with this game. Well for one thing I was once a victim of a variation of Secret Santa that proved to be embarrassing. Everyone in my office drew a name out of the hat in the usual way but we were told that the presents had to opened at the staff Christmas party in a local hotel restaurant and that each recipient had to stand up and hold their gift above their head so everyone could see what they had. Naturally many of my colleagues saw the massive potential for hilarity in this and deliberately bought gifts which one would not normally put on public display. The gift I received was a thong much to the enjoyment of the complete strangers on an adjacent table.

Public Airing

It should always be born in mind that Secret Santa gifts are rarely opened privately and that some people do not enjoy being humiliated. I wasn’t bothered by waving a thong in the air but the young office junior nearly died of embarrassment showing the entire restaurant a packet of condoms and a sex toy! The low price limit on the gifts does usually mean that the items purchased are of a humorous nature as it can be difficult to source anything worthwhile for £5. Let’s face it with that budget a quality watch or a nice piece of jewellery is out of the equation! The price limit simply means that most of the gifts are of no real interest to the recipients and merely get shoved in a drawer somewhere which seems rather a waste of money to me.

Strangers

Not sticking to the budget appears to be rather frowned upon too and so if you do want to find something nice for the person concerned you face a bit of a mission. As most people are generally already struggling to find suitable gifts for family and friends this just another problem to add to the pile. Life would be made much easier if you knew the person you are buying for well but sod’s law dictates that you always draw a complete stranger from another department about whom you know nothing.

I just wonder if a lot of effort and embarrassment could be saved if Secret Santa was abandoned in favor of a charitable donation or a pooling of funds to finance a night out. I don’t think many people would miss the gifts although I could be wrong because I still have that wretched thong!

Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her shop.

13 Situations Where Someone Better Have Insurance

When disaster strikes, is good to know that someone has your back. While friends and family are there to help you pick up the pieces emotionally. It’s the insurance company that helps you recoup financially. No matter what kind of business you run or what you might do in life, it always pays off to be prepared for the unexpected. Here are some examples of the good, the bad and the strange that has happened in the past.

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Side swiped is One Thing, But Melted?

There are a few things that people are super protective of in life. Kids and pets are one thing, and cars are something completely different. Imagine parking your car in the city for an hour and coming out to find that the new concave skyscraper that was built near by melted and warped exterior of your shiney Jaguar. While the company picked up the tab for the repairs, this also lends itself to comprehensive insurance.

140 Car Accidents, In One

There can be a lot of things that distract us from the attention that should be spent on driving. Couple those distractions with some extra dense fog and you have the 140 car pile up that occurred in Texas. This is why it pays to have auto insurance, especially an uninsured motorist policy.

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to expect. In the instance of catastrophic structural failure, it’s a good idea for everyone involved to have some measure of coverage. From the contractors who build the bridge, the motorist who drives over it, to the county who commissioned it in the first place. When a bridge collapses, it’s hard to know what’s at fault, let alone the best way to protect your health and property.

Like Wild Fire

Homes and business should always have some sort of property insurance in case of fire. For residents in more heavily wooded areas, especially those prone to forest fires, and extra level of insurance may need to be purchased.

Sinking Fast

Much like fire, flooding can also be a big issue for home or business owners. Whether it be from a pipe leaking or bursting to heavy rains and flooding from a storm, having water damage protection keeps you from going through the wringer.

Burgled

Sometimes, for whatever reason, people get desperate and resort to theft. Burglary and larceny can be terrifying for business owners and homeowners alike. While security measures can help to prevent theft, its insurance coverage that helps to recover the loss.

Under the Weather

Sometimes people get sick. While a missed day of work due to head cold isn’t the end of the world, hospitalization due to pneumonia is nothing to sneeze at. Health insurance is ever important here, especially for severe illness. For a business owner, it’s important to have a cost effective health plan that works for both your business and your employees.

Of Power Tools and Heavy Machinery

All the training in the world fails to a moment of carelessness or distraction. While workers comp takes care of employees who may have been injured, it doesn’t help fix the machine if it was damaged. Even normal wear and tear can take a unit off line. Having a policy in place to protect your equipment is just as important as the building itself.

Lightning Doesn’t Have to Strike the Same Spot Twice

The adage goes that lightning doesn’t strike in the same spot twice (which isn’t true) but it also doesn’t have to. Lightning can arc from one place to another causing massive damage with a single bolt. This happened to a Massachusetts resident when a bolt arced and caused several thousand dollars of damage to three different vehicles. All the more reason to protect your property as well as your business.

Protecting Prized Possessions

Sometimes you become attached to a thing, it might have sentimental value or monetary worth, in either event it’s important to protect it. Take for instance a San Francisco cocktail party where a punch bowl spilled into a grand piano. Fortunately, the coverage on the piano picked up the $10,000 repair and cleaning bill to fix the piano.

Installation… Error

Sometimes, people don’t always read the instructions. Sometimes, there’s a stain on the one side so you have puzzle them out from the pictures and your rudimentary knowledge of Swahili. Ordering and putting something together can be costly in of itself. If it’s done wrong however, that’s a whole other mess on your hands. Many contractors are bonded to protect themselves from this potential backlash.

He’s a Quack!

People don’t always see eye to eye on matters, especially when health is involved. Should a Doctor make the wrong call, or a patient be unsatisfied with the result of treatment, malpractice might come into play. Doctors offices shell out a small fortune to have medical malpractice coverage.

Dearly Departed

Sadly, we all come with an expiration date. While this varies for everyone, the end result is the same. By investing in life insurance, your family is protected in the worst case scenario. While it can be a bit gloomy to think of, it’s still a very important matter to consider.

It’s easy to see that there’s a great deal of things that can go wrong in life, more so when you’re running a business. While there’s an extensive amount of coverage out there and available to you, making sense of it all can be difficult at best and down right impossible at it’s worst. Having a reliable policy admin system in place can not only help you keep track of everything, but insure that your business and assets are protected in every way possible.

William Toth is a freelance writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who has been published across the web for a multitude of topics, some of which include: manufacturing, engineering, and technology.  Pioneering companies like InsPro Technologies specialize in protecting their clients assets through state of the art policy administration systems. 

Help! I Have No Money To Spend This Christmas

Christmas-Lights

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving, and a time for families and friends to gather together to exchange gifts, eat, drink and be extremely merry. Its a time when children’s dreams are realised seeing them finally get the new, up to date toys they’ve been desperately asking for in the months leading up to Christmas. If you have children (and even if you don’t) many of us want Christmas to be a special time of year. For many people this can be extremely expensive – luxurious presents, fridges bulging with food, Christmas parties and so much more.

The build up to Christmas can be a truly magical time of year and whilst all of this is lovely- it can all be too much, especially for families on a budget. The fairytale image of Christmas can soon diminish in a puff of smoke when the harsh realities of life swiftly bring us crashing back down to earth.

So does this mean you should perhaps miss out on having a lovely Christmas altogether? Not at all! What this does mean is that you can eagerly look forward to having an amazing day with your family and friends without breaking the bank, and here is how!

1) The giving and receiving of gifts

The biggest temptation is to splash out on lavish gifts that we probably can’t afford and probably shouldn’t buy, especially if we are buying for children, its very easy to get carried away! Instead you should research the things you intend to buy beforehand to enable you to get the best price available whilst remaining sensible. You can create a fantastic pile of gifts for the children to open on Christmas morning and some have memorable experiences without spending a fortune.

Being organized helps – you’ll often finds sales in the approach to Christmas (and indeed after Christmas in preparation for the following year) so shop in sales, you”ll be amazed how much money you can save. Also keep a look out for things like voucher codes to save you money off of all your online purchases, where possible. Voucher codes are fabulous even if you just save on the delivery costs, it makes it all worthwhile! If you have a group of grown up friends, why not suggest doing a secret Santa present swap so you have less presents to buy. Take your kids on big days out (Santa’s grotto, ice skating, snow man building etc) so that they have lots of memories throughout the whole season showing them its not all about the gifts, its about spending time as a family creating memories you’ll treasure forever.

2) A Christmas meal shared is a Christmas meal enjoyed!

When I have visions of a family sitting down to their Christmas dinner, I tend to envisage a huge table filled with a banquet of meats, potatoes and vegetables with glasses of wines and spirits flowing freely amongst the gleeful guests! To me, this is what Christmas is all about, eating, drinking and being merry. A massive family Christmas dinner is truly lovely – however it can also be expensive. This year, why not suggest that everyone gets involved with the dinner preparations. Asking your friends and family to help with the meal by bringing the starters, dessert or wine can really help to reduce the expense. I’m pretty sure that your guests will be relieved that you have advised them what to bring along rather than having to worry or second guess what you might need. Leaving you all to have a lovely, busy, family filled Christmas meal without having to worry too much about the cost.

3) Think ahead, plan ahead

It can seem like the last thing you want to do, but imagine how much easier this Christmas would be if you were really organized and ready for it? Purchase items like wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards and even a new Christmas tree in the January sales. You’ll find all sorts of items reduced throughout January so you can save yourself a small fortune buying these items then. You can simply store them away in the cupboard until next Christmas. It can seem like a chore to shop for Christmas items when the festive season is literally just over and done with but it really can make your next Christmas so much easier to arrange and far less expensive for you (and your family budget). Of course now you have all of these items, your Christmas budget will not be quite so restricted as it has been in previous years, so it really is a win-win situation!

My name is Nicola and i have interests in technology, health & fitness, interior design and family matters.

Autumn: It’s The Perfect Time To Network

Who doesn’t love the Fall? It is the perfect time for BBQs, picnics and seeing the leaves change in the mountains. But did you also know that it is the ideal time for networking? Don’t think the only thing you can do during the Fall is rake leaves – there’s actually a lot you can do for your small business. Try some of our helpful tips, and soon you’ll be networking all summer long.

Be prepared to network. Its easier to be prepared to network than you might think it is. You’ll need three things:

One thing you’ll need is an “elevator speech” that describes what your company does and what you do. An elevator speech is both short and sweet, aim for a few sentences long and something that is a bit catchy and memorable. Yes, you’ll want to practice this and even try to write a few drafts of it to actually get it exactly the way you want it.

Elevator Speech

You’ll also need to carry a few business cards and/or your cellphone where you go while you are having Autumn fun. Don’t neglect the importance of being able to hand someone a business card, even though lots of folks do like to exchange info electronically. They may not have their cell  handy, and you might want to jot something down on your business card for them.

Have the attitude that you are open to network – wherever you go. Now this doesn’t mean you are thinking about business 24/7 while you enjoy your kid’s football game. But if you wind up chatting with one of the parents and it turns out they need a product or service you offer, the opportunity is there for you – and you don’t let it pass you by. Just be open to the possibility.

Networking

Now that you know what you’ll need to be prepared to network, let’s talk about some of the opportunities that may come your way. Autumn is one of the most social seasons we have during the year. Few can resist the call of the more mild weather months. Lots of us spend time outside enjoying enjoying cooler weather. Even those who log long hours in the office, are trying to get out early on Fridays to enjoy the weather before winter comes again.

Here are a few places you may connect with people to network:

  • On vacation. I was once quite surprised while taking a vacation about a thousand miles away, to be seated across from someone who lived only a few towns away from me! Don’t laugh, because this sort of thing can happen. But even if geography doesn’t smile on you while you are on vacation, more and more businesses are doing business nationally and even internationally. That great couple you meet on a cruise could lead to a business connection. Or the family you get to know at the next campsite could turn out to be a business you wind up partnering with for a project.
  • Athletic events. Fall is one of the busiest times, when charity walks, community athletic events and kids’ sports plan events. This could be the ideal way you connect with someone who turns out to be a helpful business connection. Whether they are someone who is interested in your products and services or they are someone who can be a good resource for you, these events are often filled with people connected to your local community.
  • Kids’ camps. Whether your child goes to sleep away camp or day camp, chances are you will get to know the other families with kids at this camp. Many who send their kid to camp send them to the same camp year after year. So probably you will see them each and every year, it is a great way to get to know people. This could lead to successful business connections for you.

Enjoy the Autumn weather – and be open to the business connections that come your way!

 

Lawrence Reaves spends finds great joy in networking.  He is always looking for new ways to connect with people.  You can follow him on Google+

6 Surefire Ways To Make Extra Money Fast

money

Whether you need extra money to pay off debt, deposit into your savings account, or simply make ends meet, there are many ways you can get started earning cash today. These businesses do not require any special skills or knowledge. In addition, you can start on a shoestring budget because they can be advertised inexpensively via fliers and free Craigslist ads.

Here is a list of some of the best business ideas to get you started:

  1. Dog waste removal: Yes, it is a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it and it pays well. People just don’t have the time or desire to pick up dog waste. Make fliers and put them up on bulletin boards or telephone poles at popular dog parks around the area where you’d like to operate. Pet stores and veterinarians’ offices are also good places to leave business cards or fliers.
  2. Christmas lights installation: If you aren’t afraid of heights, this is an excellent quick cash business that is easy to start. Many homeowners don’t have the time or desire to spend their weekend dealing with Christmas lights and would be happy to pay a professional to handle it. You can make very good money installing Christmas lights, and once you start getting clients the word will spread like wildfire and you should have plenty of business to stay busy for the season.
  3. Hauling: If you have a truck or a trailer, hauling is an excellent way to make money quickly. Make sure you check into the fees at your local dump so you can be sure not to undercharge your clients. In addition, get a list of any items that the dump will not accept so you don’t get stuck with items that you cannot dispose of. One of the perks of having a hauling business is that you will often end up with items that you can sell. Metal items can be sold for scrap instead of taken to the dump, for example.
  4. Buy and sell Craigslist items: Check Craigslist for items that people are giving away for free. Contact the seller right away and go pick up the item.  If the item needs any cleaning, painting, or repair that you can do yourself, this will increase your selling price when you re-post. Take good, clear photos of the item and list it for sale in the appropriate category.
  5. Dog walking/sitting: You can start this business by posting fliers at parks, pet stores, and veterinarians’ offices. In many areas, dog walkers are so busy that they actually have to turn away new clients.
  6. Lawn mowing: This is a classic business model that works for kids and adults alike. If you already have a lawnmower and a truck or trailer, you can get started making a very good hourly rate by mowing lawns. During the Fall you can add raking and leaf removal to your services.

These are all easy businesses to start and they will generate cash quickly. The best thing to do now is choose one and get started.

 

By Craig Timmins

Thanks to Craig from SellCell.com for providing these practical ideas to help earn yourself a few more bucks. You can also trade in old iPhones with Sell Cell to make even more money for yourself this Christmas time.

 

How To Successfully Create A Brand

brand

Brand is a buzzword that constantly resides at the tip of marketers and business’s tongues, and has quickly become an essential for any company wishing to achieve continued success. With the definition of branding varying from company to company, businesses looking to develop their brand should be aware that it is largely a personal concept that is likely to change as the company grows.

Mature companies that have existed for decades have continually worked at building their brand so that it looks like a subtle evolution of products and services rather than a sudden change, which has meant that branding has evolved to become a driving force behind many aspects of, and changes within, a business.

Even the smallest of businesses should transform their products, company, and services by creating a complete brand that is attractive to potential and existing customers. When focusing on brand creation, businesses should be aware of the following to ensure that a long lasting, successful brand is created.

Branding Takes Time

Don’t expect your brand to develop and complete overnight. In fact, businesses should expect it to take years to perfect the branding formula that suits your business and attracts the correct customers. The larger multi-national companies that have apparently flawless brands have spent years developing and changing and many do still continue to find faults.

It Will Constantly Grow   

You shouldn’t expect for your branding to be instant or to ever really be complete. A brand should constantly be growing and developing as you introduce changes to the way your business runs and the products you provide. Although your brand is constantly growing, you shouldn’t be making huge overhauls on a weekly or monthly basis. Instead, you should be making minor tweaks in appropriate areas to ensure that your branding appears faultless and professional.

Always Do Market Research

From the development of other areas in your business, you will already be aware of the benefits of conducting market and industry research, and this is still an important step when focusing on brand creation. By looking at how other competitive businesses brand themselves, and how customers and target audiences react to brands, you can develop a personalised branding that is exclusive to your company and received well by individuals.

Be Creative

The point of completing marketing and industry research is to discover what works and what people like, not to find successful brands and copy them. Although it can be incredibly useful for a small or young companies to model themselves on larger businesses and brands, eventually the brand created should be able to stand alone and become an ‘original’ branding idea.

Creativity is an essential for companies wanting to create a brand that withstands time and helps them stand out from their competitor and progress toward being industry leaders. An original idea or concept can help boost your business from offering standard supplies to becoming well sought-after.

It’s Worth the Money

There should be no doubt that brand development is worth the money, as successful creation of a brand will mean that your business sees a significant increase in profit and if done properly, revenue should continue to rise as the brand evolve.

Treat it Like its Forever…

…despite the fact that it’s probably not. You should approach your brand conception like you will never change it. This is purely so that your company creates the best brand possible; rather that skipping important parts with the excuse that it’s likely to change, and therefore delivering an incomplete profile for the company.

 

Beth Stubbings is aware of the importance of a strong brand for a business. She would recommend New Business to small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for more help and advice on brand creation and other areas of business management.

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