Credit Reports:

Your credit report data can be viewed by employers, credit card companies, insurers, and landlords, so make sure they see accurate information.

Other Sections


Home & Mortgage


Credit Cards

Credit Reports




See How Easily You Can Get Your First Home Loan

Ever wondered what to give the "Person Who Has Everything"? A Gift Basket could be just the thing. Have you been from shop to shop and thought "Yes This is It" and then discounted the gift because it wasn't really what you wanted.

My best friend has everything and when I say everything, "I Mean Everything". She has either been given or purchased every conceivable gadget available in the last 5 years. She loves to shop. One of her motto's is "Shop Til you Drop, Spend Til the End". And she lives by that rule!

When it comes to gifts for my friend -- she is "The Hardest Person to Buy For". Oh did I tell you, she even has a kitchen sink on her car key tag !

It was while looking for a present for my friend that I thought "What About A Gift Basket". I was in a specialized shop and the sign said "For the Person Who Has Everything" and the light turned on.

I'm not sure if you are aware but these days gift baskets have changed. No longer are they the old style cane baskets (although there are some very attractive cane baskets available on today's market). Today Gift Baskets came in all shapes and sizes. In fact, it is basically up to your imagination as to what a "Gift Basket" should be. You can use old shoes, buckets, calico bags, pot plant holders in fact anything that holds what items you purchase to fill the basket with.

Gift Baskets are lots of fun to create and very easy to make. Gone are the days of saying... oh I'm not creative enough to make a professional looking basket. Anyone can make a professional looking basket -- as long as you have some imagination and a willingness to give it a try.

If you are stuck for a present for that "Person Who Has Everything" then a Gift Basket is for you!

Firstly decide on a theme or if you aren't sure then write down the interests of the recipient ie. golf or tennis, shopping etc. You could even base it around a coming event. Once you have made the list, work your way through it until you find something that stands out that would fit into your Gift Basket "theme".

For today's basket lets say your friend loves to entertain and one of her favorite meals is "Italian" food.

You could choose a selection of baskets for this theme; today we will use a large pasta bowl as our "basket" or a large cooking pot. Our basket needs to be large enough to hold the goodies that we are going to purchase so that we can then turn this into a Professional Looking "Gift Basket". If neither of these ideas appeals to you, let your imagination take over and choose something that fits into your theme selection.

Next take yourself down to the local supermarket or deli who specialize in gourmet foods. Set yourself a budget as to what you want to spend and then go about buying non-perishable items to fill the basket. Speak to the shop attendant to ensure that the items you are purchasing fit into your theme. Buy different colors and types of pasta to give variety of color and shape to your basket.

Next take yourself to a department store or kitchenware shop and purchase some really great utensils to go with the other items that you have purchased.

You could also add an "Easy Step by Step Guide" if they need cooking help, or send them to a "Cooking Lesson" for something extra.

Once you have gathered these items, it is time to begin to assemble your gift basket.

Depending upon the type of basket you have chosen you may need to fill the bottom of the basket with some shredded paper, as this will give the basket height. Place the items in the basket to give a layered effect. Layering items at different heights in the basket makes the overall design more pleasing to the eye.

Use small pieces of tape to hold items in place. Next wrap clear cellophane around the outside of the basket and tie the top with wired ribbon or curling ribbon to match the color scheme of your gift.

To finish off our basket make a gift tag and tuck a small item into the ribbon around the basket to give a professional look.

Congratulations, you've done it... "A Present For the Person Who Has Everything" -- A Gift Basket!

Copyright Donna Hamer

About Donna: Donna Hamer is the author and publisher of 101 Gift Basket Ideas. For a Free 5 part Mini Course on how to create your own "Personalized Gift Baskets", visit

We've all felt stress in our lives. And we're left wondering what's the best way to try and deal with it.

Some exercise, others veg out in front of the TV, I however have discovered the amazing zen of charm bracelets.

Charm bracelets are both a way to collect memories without large obtrusive knick knacks everywhere and is also a fun hobby for people that like collecting things.

It's almost like a treasure hunt looking for new charms to add to your collection and display like a trophy to everyone you come in contact with for them to admire your work and your chance to tell them all about the history of each charm.

See, it's not just about collecting the charms simply to collect them, it's about what they mean to you.

Much like someone that gets many tattoos, there's a story that goes behind them and a memory of when they got it.

It's the same with charms, there is a certain story, a certain reason for having the charms you have and everytime you look at them, they remind you about the things that are special to you.

You can collect charms that remind you of a trip you went on, of a certain belief you have, or a special time in your life. And best of all, these can all be worn on your wrist.

You can even make multiple bracelets for different periods in your life or for different moods.

It's a relzxing, almost theraputic hobby that will help you relieve stress and live your life with great joy and happiness. And all those memories are a short glance away.

I would reccomend this hobby to anyone, and once you've got you're very first charm, you'll know what I mean.

The charms are endless just like your memories. Carry them with you always.

Copyright Juliette Adams

About Juliette: Juliette is the nation's leading expert on the creation of charm bracelets and rare charms. Her site is

One of the biggest and hottest growing trends in the art of tattoo design is Hawaiian arm or leg band tattoos. As this trend goes a lot of people think to themselves, well of course." At least that is what I said to myself at first. You can hardly drive more then 10 minutes on the freeway in southern California where I am from and not see a big SUV like a Lincoln Navigator or a Cadillac Escalade and not see a Hawaiian sticker. Things with flowers designs, or turtles, dolphins. Ya see it started off with the sticker and then the car seat covers with hibiscus flowers everywhere and it just grew from there.

This trend of Hawaiian design has then met it's match with the whole tribal tattoo movement. Tribal tattoos have been the hottest thing in the tattoo world since sliced bread or the old school WWII era Hula dancer. You see these influences have been all around us for a long time my grandpa even has one of those Hula Girls tattoos still. Granted it is a little saggy and faded now but he still has one on his forearm nonetheless.

So the whole tribal tattoo and the growth in interest for Hawaiian designs have combined to make a hot and growing market for Hawaiian tattoos. This is really an up and coming thing and it not huge yet. However many tattoo artists are spotting the trend and jumping on it already.

Of course there is a lot of controversy on this subject also like anything. If you look on the internet there is a controversy about getting Kanji and Japanese Tattoos also. Anytime you try and take the designs of a culture and do not depict them accurately it creates a sense of bastardization or what I call the "Disney Effect" towards the culture. I mean how would you feel if you were in China and someone said, oh you should try this hot new restaurant out it serves this great food that is really American. They have fried chicken and apple pie that is the best." Well, at first you would be excited right? Sure it would be nice for a good home cooked meal if you have been out of the US for a long time. However once you get there you see the place has really tacky and awful reproductions of 50's art and the all the food tastes kind of strange. It would probably bee kind of close or resemble what you were thinking of but it would be missing something or a few key ingredients. I bet this would leave you feeling a little sad and like your culture was not totally understood.

Well, I can not speak for you and maybe you will feel different but I was pretty sad when after staying in Japan for 3 months I was invited to a 1950's classic hamburger joint. When we got there it was Elvis with a funny accent playing on the jukebox and when my hamburger came it had a fried egg on top of it with teriyaki sauce. WOW what a surprise that was for me. I kind of felt weird about being in the place that had tried to recreate something from my own culture.

So, the same controversy rolls on in the world of tattoos. Anytime you get a tattoo design from another culture just make sure you go with a professional. Do not have your friend trace out some Kanji in a book for a tattoo and don't go and rip some design of the internet because it states that it is Hawaiian. Go to a real custom tattoo designer and have them do the research and come up with some designs. After all this is going to be on your body for the rest of your life and since Hawaiian arm band tattoos and leg tattoos are typically big it will be a significant investment in pain, time and money to get the thing done. So you should consult with a professional and get top notch work done.

Copyright 2005 Chris Ryerson

About Chris: Chris is the owner and webmaster of where you can find custom tattoo artists waiting to design a tattoo for you. Either a Hawaiian Arm Tattoo or some other tattoo design.

This success mistake has cost me so much money that I'm almost embarrassed to tell you.

"So Mike, why are you telling me?"

Because I know that if you can steer away from this success mistake, it can help you improve your income and change your life. That's my goal.

Here's how this came about:

Yesterday, I was reading a book about investing from the very successful money manager Peter Lynch.

Even though he was talking about 'investing', he zeroed in on a success principle that so many people miss.

I did.for 7+ years and it cost me a fortune.

And it caused me a bunch of stress.

What's so interesting is that Warren Buffett used this same success insight to become the 2nd richest person in the world.

Here's the deal:

I used to be so 'short-sighted' and wanted immediate gratification.

If my new 'business idea' didn't work out in 30-60 days, I quit.

Then I'd try something else and, after a week, I went onto something else.

This downward spiral happened for a while because I was 'ruled' by a short-term vision and the desire for immediate gratification.

This is how 98% of the world operates.

THIS is why only 2% of the world live their dreams.

Here's what Peter Lynch was saying and what Warren Buffet knows.

Also, Michael Dell knows this, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Oprah and others all know this.

***One of the biggest 'secrets' to success is taking the LONG-TERM VIEW.

(Let me say that again)

***One of the biggest 'secrets' to success is taking the LONG-TERM VIEW.

When Warren Buffett makes an investment, he's looking 5-15 years out, sometimes more.

All great entrepreneurs understand that in order to WIN BIG they must take the long-term view.

3-years, 5-years, 15-years, 20-years+.

You need to give yourself time for your idea or business to grow.

Most people never do this - it's unfortunate. AND it's also never too late to start.

You need to EXPAND your horizon.

Change your perspective.

You need to take the NEXT STEP today and keep in mind your long-term view. Not necessarily a specific long term goal, but a longer term VIEW.

There's a season for everything.

Take the time to plant the seeds, water them, and be patient for your harvest.

Stay disciplined.

I know you can do it.

Copyright 2005 Mike Litman

Resource box: If you're scattered, if you procrastinate too much, and if you want to 'rev up' your income, see Mike Litman's site at:

Only about 20% of your copy is going to get read. The rest will simply be scanned. I'm sure you've heard the statistic before. It's nothing new. While it might sound frightening or frustrating, it's a fact of copywriting life. So what do you do next? Give up? What difference does it make if only about 20% will be read anyway?

It makes a world of difference. Especially if you understand that there are some sections of your copy that are practically guaranteed to get read. If you know what these are and work to reinforce them, you'll see your conversions increase dramatically whether your copy is geared toward online or offline promotions.


Headlines have always been and will always be the most important section in any copy. They are the first thing to get read and have the greatest impact on whether any of the other copy gets read. Those stories you've seen floating around the Internet about marketers who have made minute changes to a headline and tripled their conversion rates are true. It happens all the time. In fact, it's happened to me.

Headlines and sub-headlines can guide your visitors to read deeper into your copy. If you set up a structure of progressive headlines (, you'll have a better shot getting your point across. Pay a lot of attention to your headline. It's the powerhouse of your copy.


Captions started with newspaper journalists. When they would run a picture with a story, they would add a few words underneath to explain what or who the picture was of. People got into the habit of looking for the captions in order to relate the importance of the image with the information they were receiving. This still holds true. Captions in advertising pieces are highly read. Don't waste the space!


When you scan something -- an article, a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a website -- what do you read? Almost everyone reads the first sentence of each paragraph. These sentences are vitally important in order to get your potential customers interested enough to keep reading. If you create exceptional first sentences, one of two things will happen. One: The prospect will be more likely to continue reading the copy. Two: The first sentences in each paragraph will be enough to convince him/her to buy.


Just as with the first sentence in each paragraph, people also almost always read the first entry in a bulleted list. If it hits home, they might keep reading. But, knowing that you have their attention for at least one second, always make sure your first bullet point is extremely powerful and enticing.


Writing a direct mail or Web sales letter? The PS is another hot spot. Take advantage of this real estate. Repeat offers, remind readers of bonuses, reinforce guarantees or recap limited-time offers. This section is the final pitch before your reader either acts or trashes your copy so make it count.

Have you noticed something about these five sections? Why do you think they are virtually guaranteed to get read in any piece of copy? They are unusual. They are limited. They stand out. They are eye-catching.

You only have a limited number of headlines and sub-heads in copy. They are almost always offset by bolding or underlining so they easily catch the eye of the reader. Captions only appear when there are images. They do not appear all throughout the copy. First sentences are also rare. Only one sentence in each paragraph can be the first one. This tells the reader to keep going or jump to another section that might be of more interest. First entries in bulleted lists are unusually formatted and catch the eye of the reader. PS's? There's only one, and since it's the last thing on the page, most often, it stands out too.

These rare elements give you five guaranteed shots at building curiosity, promoting benefits, generating interest and closing sales. If you haven't done it before, now is the time to review your copy to be sure you're making the most out of these opportunities.

Copyright 2005 Karon Thackston

About Karon: Karon Thackston is a veteran copywriting pro who specializes in SEO copy. Learn how to write SEO copy that impresses the engines and your visitors at Get more tips on incorporating keyphrases into your copy with Karon's latest e-report "How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)" at

I began the journey of owning a home based business several months ago. Like many others, I found the task of marketing my business overwhelming and frustrating. Without marketing, you don't make sales, and without sales, you can't profitably run your business.

After spending countless hours on the computer and throwing many dollars down the drain, I learned one very important thing: You must combine mass marketing with a personal touch.

There are many great marketing tools you can use to achieve mass marketing including pay per click engines, placing ads, buying leads, banner advertising, and exchanging links just to name a few. While these methods can produce positive results, they lack the personal connection many new business owners need to build a true customer base.

On the other hand, personal touch methods such as emailing your family and friends about your new business can be a great way to start spreading the word, but this approach may not help you reach enough people to give your business the jump start it really needs.

So where did this lead this flailing entrepreneur? Message boards.

I initially visited message boards to get help with my marketing dilemma. In the process, I realized this was not only a place to exchange valuable information with other home business owners, but this was also a great place to market my own online business.

Not only did I find plenty of message board group members willing to give information, I found many interested parties for my own business. Soon, I realized that not only was I becoming a more educated marketing guru, I was introducing my new business to many new friends (and customers).

By joining message board groups, not only will you find a new outlet to advertise your business, but you will also build credibility among your peers.

Follow these simple steps to begin utilizing message boards to market your home business today:

  1. Visit a search engine and do a search on message boards.
  2. Click through to the message boards and search for forums related to work from home and/or your specific type of business.
  3. Join a few message board groups. (Note: Some message board groups will allow you to post without being a member, but membership increases your credibility).
  4. Post information about your business. Remember to give specific instructions about how to reach you including email address, Web URL, etc.

Message boards are an efficient and effective way to reach a targeted market with direct contact, and, best of all, they are free. As you will soon see, these message boards are quite powerful as there are thousands of subscribers who receive posts from message board groups in their email boxes each day.

Start joining message board groups now and take your home business to new heights!

Copyright 2005 Leslie McGuirk

About Leslie: Leslie McGuirk is a CPA and holds a Masters of Business Administration. For additional information on home business and marketing ideas, subscribe to or http://visit If you are interested in getting a free website to market your own home business, visit

Too often, when we say we are "taking care of business", we think about the paperwork, the accounting, the inventory, etc... the trivial things that are important to get done in order for our business to run smoothly and efficiently. While necessary, they are not the most important.

We need to change our thinking about what "taking care of business" means. We need to make sales in order to have a profitable business, and we know without our customers or consultants, we don't have a business. They are our lifeblood, they are what keeps us moving forward, and meeting their needs should be our primary mission.

Without consultants or customers, there are no sales. Without sales, there is no revenue... without revenue, there is no business and we might as well go back and get a j.o.b. It is crucial that we take care of our customers and consultants. CRM (customer-relationship management) is a buzz-word in "big business". Many large corporations have implemented systems and technology to supposedly create customer care. Some have been successful, many have not.

Most of these systems simply give the illusion of customer care, but have failed miserably in actually providing it.

How many times have you been through the "round robin" of "press 1 for this" and "press 2 for that", only to spend an hour or more and never actually speak to a live person or get your problem solved? You hang up in the phone in frustration and vow never to spend money with XYZ Company again. This approach to customer care continues to baffle me as to why large companies believe this is effective. How can they possibly think that customer relationships can be created and nurtured by a recording?

Are those who make these decisions that far removed up the "corporate ladder" they can't see this isn't customer care at all and having the opposite effect?

Each and every one of our customers and consultants should be made to feel like they are our most important one. If we don't take care of them, someone or some other company will. Small and home businesses have an incredible opportunity to take back customer care and relationships the way it is supposed to be. We are in an incredible position to "take care of business".

Technology is wonderful. Without technology, there would be no internet and many of us would not be in business. However, there is no technology on this earth that can replace human connections. Technology will never replace our customers knowing that there is someone who truly cares about their needs.

So, how about you? Are you taking care of business?

Copyright 2005 Patty Gale

About Patty: Patty Gale is a successful entrepreneur who specializes in personalization and customer care for all her clients. She exchanged her suits, hose and heels for working at home in her "jammies" and is on a mission to empower other women to do the same. She can be reached at: or

10 Classic E-zine Advertising TipsKen Hill

1. Target your advertising.

The more targeted the e-zine is for your offer, the greater your response will be for your proven ad.

2. Track your ads.

Don't leave your ad campaigns to guesswork. Use ad tracking to show you exactly which e-zines and ads are most profitable.

3. Run your ad for multiple issues.

You'll get a better response, and possibly save money as many publishers offer special deals on bulk advertising.

4. Spend lots of time writing your headline.

An effective headline will successfully grab your reader's attention and target your audience.

Your winning headline will also get people to read the rest of your ad, leading to more traffic and sales.

If you're new to writing headlines, and need some help check out my "9 Power Packed Headline Formulas" at:

5. Don't try to sell your product from your ad.

Write your ads to create interest and get people to visit your site.

From here, your powerful sales page will do the selling for you, and you'll be able to get people to join your e-zine or mailing list for successful follow up.

6. Don't use all caps in your headline.

You'll appear like your yelling at your reader, and your ad will come off as amateurish.

7. Include a "call to action."

At the end of your e-zine ads, include a call to action that tells your reader what you want them to do next (i.e., visit your site or subscribe to your e-zine).

8. Don't be cute or funny with your ad.

You might put your reader in a good mood, but don't count on that translating into more visits to your site or more sales.

9. Offer something for free.

Provide an incentive for visiting your site such as a free ebook, sample chapter, or trial.

10. Subscribe to or view the archives of the
e-zines you would like to advertise in.

You'll be able to see the quality of the content provided, how many ads are published in each issue, and you'll get a good idea of the products those readers are interested in by the ads being run.

Copyright 2005 Ken Hill

About Ken: Ken's articles have been published in numerous e-zines and web sites all over the net. Keep up to date on his latest articles, and get more new valuable tips by visiting him at:

11 Creative Ways You Can Use AutorespondersShery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

1. Pick 4 or more articles you've written that have a common theme and put them in an autoresponder series. Announce it on your site as an e-mail course on the go.

2. If you have a page for related links, create a related links file and put it on autoresponder. This can be a one-page e-mail containing 15-50 links that are of interest to your visitors. Put your own promotional texts or blurbs at the top, middle and bottom of the e-mail.

3. Create a fun or trivia quiz, put it up on your site and put the answers in an autoresponder that your visitors can request. This way, you'll know the people who took your quiz.

4. Write reviews of books, music, e-books, sites, software or anything you can think of and put each review (or related reviews) in an autoresponder. If what you are reviewing have affiliate programs, use your affiliate links in the autoresponder.

5. Run a contest on your site or e-zine, then have your visitors or subscribers send their responses to your autoresponder. This way, you won't have to worry about manually sending them a confirmation receipt.

6. Create a frequently updated autoresponder and let your visitors and/or subscribers know about it. You can put in weekly tips or links to useful resources in the autoresponder and a reminder to the people who request it that you update it every week or on a regular basis (e.g. tell them to request for the same autoresponder again a week from now). You can use this method instead of using autoresponders with limited follow up messages.

7. If you've written 20 or more articles and you have them on separate autoresponder accounts, create a master list for your articles. In this master list, list the titles of your articles, their autoresponder addresses and their short descriptions. You can then just promote this master list.

8. Put excerpts or free chapters of your e-book, book or paid e-mail courses in an autoresponder series, then include your follow up sales letters at the end.

9. If you're selling your own products, put your testimonials on autoresponder, along with the description of your products, an excerpt or a free chapter. This will increase your credibility.

10. Keep track of people who download your free e-book, e-report, or free software by putting their download links in an autoresponder. When you promote your free product, you can just promote the autoresponder address.

11. Put links to your hidden pages on autoresponder. A hidden page could be the affiliate page where you have all the graphics, text links, promotional articles that interested affiliates can use. Let people know they can have free access to your affiliate page by requesting the autoresponder. This way, you can have a list of people who are interested in becoming your affiliates.

Copyright 2005 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About the author: Shery is the developer of creative, motivating and fun e-mail courses for writers at She also authored the e-book that lets you create your own original and profitable E-mail Workshops, eCourses and Tutorials in only 3 days. Visit for more info.

Running a contest for your e-zine subscribers or web site visitors is one way you can generate interest and give more exposure for products or services you want to promote.

A contest could be as simple as spotting a word or a set of words within an e-zine's issue or searching for a graphic on a site. A contest can run for one issue, or it can last for a month or more.

If you plan to run a contest, make sure you have a "contest management response system" in place.

This could be as simple as an automated e-mail receipt to let your participants know their entry has been received.

Run a contest that asks your participants to send their responses to specific e-mail addresses. Then create an automated receipt confirmation for each account. Include a link to your products, affiliate links, or services in your confirmation receipt. Every time someone enters your contest and sends her entry, she receives a confirmation message. Thus, you've just exposed your products to your contestant.

Encourage multiple entries and your contest participants get exposed to your promotional texts multiple times.

Ok, what about contest prizes?

If you publish an e-zine and you sell advertising space, you can give away free ad space to the winners.

If you have your own product, or a product you have resell rights to, you can give away free copies of it to your winners.

If you have a service, why not put that up as a prize?

In any case, though, let your prospective contestants be interested in the prizes. Yes -- put the complete prize descriptions, along with the contest mechanics, on autoresponder too.

And then include links where they can purchase the prizes. Hey, some people might not want to wait to win your contest! So it's good to cover all bases.

Run a contest that lets autoresponders handle entries and confirmation receipts and you'll have a promotional tool that can bring in profits for you!


Copyright 2005 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About the author: Shery is the developer of creative, motivating and fun e-mail courses for writers at She also authored the e-book that lets you create your own original and profitable E-mail Workshops, eCourses and Tutorials in only 3 days. Visit for more info.

For many people, interviewing is not a natural act any more than going on a blind date is. You are asked a bunch of questions about your work. You answer them. They ask a bunch more; you answer them. Youre graded on your performance (you receive a job offer or not). Yet interviews are predictable processes and as such can be planned for

What does an employer want to know about you?

  • Do you have the skills to do the job that needs to be filled?
  • How will you fit in with my company?
  • If I hire you, are you someone I will need to worry about?

How does this get determined in an interview?

  • By asking questions about what you have done and how you did it or decided it should be done.
  • By asking behavioral questions that will give an employer a sense of the scope of your experiences
  • By asking concrete questions to ascertain your knowledge
  • By observing your body language or physical response to questioning to observe whether it is consistent with a successful person.

The fourth way (observing body language or physical response to questions) is particularly interesting because it is not skill or experience based and is completely subjective and emotional. AND it is part of the decision process.

And want are firms trying to find out about you? Leadership. Honesty. Trustworthiness.

You can practice with a friend or family member but they may not be much better than you. So how do you practice you presentation and get immediate feedback in order to improve your presentation and demonstrate these attributes?

Toastmasters ( offers people an opportunity to practice how to speak throughout their program. Whether you answer extemporaneous questions off the cuff for 1-2 minutes in Table Topics ("Its warm! Its summer! People start to go to the beach and spending time outdoors. Tell us about a time you had fun at the beach, Jeff." Notice that you only find out when you will speak at the end when you hear your name) or by doing actual 4-6 minute speeches, Toastmasters offers concrete opportunities to get used to being "on the spot" as happens in an interview. It also gives you an opportunity to observe others and learn from them and from the evaluations that are given.

There are Toastmasters clubs throughout the world. To find one, you can go to

Copyright 2005 Jeff Altman, Concepts in Staffing

About Jeff: Jeff Altman has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is also co-founder of Your Next Job, a networking group focused on assisting technology professionals with their job search, a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist. For additional job hunting or hiring tips, go to

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at (If youre looking for a new position, include your resume).

I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that 98% of businesses are small businesses. That bodes well for the entrepreneurial spirit that has made our nation great. The bad news is that 80%, that's right, four out of five new businesses will fail in their first five years.

After years of building my own companies and consulting growing businesses, I've come to the realization that too many business owners can't see their business through an objective eye, which often leads to their demise. It takes an incredible amount of intense drive, determination and a strong ego to breathe life into a business and create products from scratch, but it's also that same ego that won't let a business owner be objective about what their business needs to succeed. The business is up and running at light-speed and management doesn't have the time or willingness to stand back and take a real look at what they have created. They are too close to the problems to see them. Just like a proud parent, they have spent sweat and time creating this "baby," and they refuse to believe that it might be less than perfect.

I call this the "business parent trap." It is in this trap that business owners often create and introduce products that would not test out in the marketplace. There's an attitude of "Hey, it's gotta be great because I thought of it."

I've found that there are usually two basic things wrong with a business: the product (the Baby) and the management (the Breath).

So how do you assess your business? Are your employees going to tell you that you're headed in the wrong direction? Not likely. Occasionally a consultant will be brought in to review the company's performance in a given area. Unfortunately, when management does bring in a consultant, they often are really looking for affirmation not straight-forward constructive criticism. Sadly, some consultants are more than willing to "affirm for a fee."

If you're going to succeed, then someone needs to tell you if your baby's ugly or you've got bad (corporate) breath. So here are some blunt yet truthful thoughts for your business, and perhaps you:

GET OVER YOURSELF: Know yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself...then Get Over Yourself. You're really not the smartest person in the world. You built the business and know it better than anyone else, but no one else really cares how much you know.

SPECTATOR SPORT: Conversation with you should not be a spectator sport for others. Remember that there's a huge difference between listening and merely waiting for your turn to talk. You hired your employees and perhaps a consultant because you assumed they had brains, so let them use them. Ask questions and listen to answers.

JUST ANOTHER PRODUCT Realize that even though you think that your new product or service is the greatest thing since the flip-top beer can, the world just sees one more product and must be convinced. You created this product and you know every function of it, but customers do not buy functions, they buy only benefits. Whether your product is a high tech internet service or office furniture, you must show how it is uniquely beneficial to your customer. Functionality makes your products work, Benefits make them sell.

PAPER WEIGHT: If you have the high tech inventive skills to create a product, chances are that you don't have the skills to market and sell it. Many small business owners think that marketing and sales are the simplest part of their business, so it is almost an afterthought. There is only one reason that inferior products outsell better ones; and that is successful marketing. Think of your marketing plan as the complete story book that sells your product. If your story book is a best seller, then your product will be a best seller. Without the right story that will build sales and distribution, your wonderful product is just another paper weight head for a land fill.

STAND BACK: Your competitors are not all stupid. Guess what? They think their babies are cute too, and they may tell better stories that make them look even better than yours. So stand back and look at yourself and your baby and try to look through the eyes of a disinterested party, because believe it or not, the world is a disinterested party.

Remember, there's an 80% chance that you will not be in business in 5 years. As busy as you are, and successful as you think you are, you must set your ego aside and realize that there are things beyond your control. Successful companies know that the secret to success doesn't lie in knowing everything; it lies in knowing what you don't know, and finding those who do.

I wish you good luck and great success.

Copyright 2005 Steve Baker

About Steve: Steve Baker is a business advisor who has founded successful start-up companies and specializes in market development. He founded a company that did $500 million the first year and he was sued for $1.4 Billion. He speak on How to be a Successful Failure, and he is the author of the award winning book, PUSHING WATER UPHILL With A Rake; Memoirs of a Successful Failure. He lives in Colorado where he is an avid poor golfer. He can be reached through his website

Make your products sell quickly by adding a lot of bonuses. You could get the free bonuses for little or no cost by joint venturing with other businesses. You could go to the "freebies" directories and find things. Then you could ask the legal owner's permission to use the item as a free bonus for your product.

Keep your loyal customers happy because they are your future profits. Give them discounts and free gifts as often as possible. If you are thoughtful and loyal to your customers, most of them will be your customers forever. They will make up about 80% of your business and profits.

Test different web site color themes to see which combination will sell your product better. You can also test the size and style of your web site text. For example, red usually signals: stop, anger, excitement, love, sex, fun, etc. Another example, blue usually signals: relaxation, authority, coolness, etc.

Promise your readers an end result or outcome in your ad. You must give them a solid guarantee that your product will solve their problem. For example, you could say, "I personally guarantee you will get over your shyness in 10 days or less or your money back."

Increase the perceived value of your free things or bonuses by including the retail dollar amount the freebies would normally sell for. For example, you could say, "Bonus 1# Marketing Tips Newsletter (a value of $120)." Another example, "Get 7 Bonuses With A Retail Value Of $345! That more than pays for your purchase!"

Give your customers free shipping. If you can't afford that, you can give free shipping to customers who buy over a certain dollar amount to raise profits. You could also charge other businesses for inserting ads in your product package. This will make up for your free shipping losses.

Copyright 2005 Ed Hammen

About Ed: Ed is the owner of a couple of websites that provides valuable information on how to retire early by using your computer in the comfort of your own home.

Cash advance loans are a quick and hassle free way of obtaining some much needed cash. The loan is generally meant to be repaid in the short term.

Cash advance pay day loans is helpful for those people who have run out of money before the end of the month and need some assistance to sustain them until their next paycheck.

A cash advance agency will usually pay between $200 to $1000 in increments of $50 or $100. When you repay your loan there will be a fee charged depending on the amount of money loaned.

Choosing the right cash advance agency requires shopping around to make sure you are getting the best deal. Not all agency offers will be equal. When selecting a firm for cash advance loans you need to find out the following items:

Will the amount of money you receive be enough to cover your immediate financial needs?

What fees and interest rate will be charged after obtaining the loan?

How long with the loan approval process take and how long until the money is made available for you?

Usually such companies have instant approval and can provide instant money since most of their customers require the cash in a hurry. A majority of cash advance services will not check your credit history before making a loan.

Using cash advance wisely

Misusing cash advance loans can be deadly for any individual and can increase their debts and ruin their credit ratings. Cash advance is meant to be short term, convenient loans to get people out of tough situation and not as long term loans. They should be paid off with the next pay check.

Those people who are unable to pay the loans when they are due will be paying a huge chunk in interest fees. If you know you will not be able to fully repay the loan by the due date, cash advance might not be a good choice and can lead you into a cycle of debt accumulation.

If you require a long term loan, you should look for other sources for acquiring this loan.

Many people still find it a valuable source for obtaining much needed cash. Even though there is a fee to pay to borrow the money, it might be helpful for people who are in an emergency. If the costs of the loan are offset by the benefits, such as keeping your phone line or your electricity from being cut, then payday cash advance loans become a viable option for many families.

Now you can even apply for online cash advance. Borrowing money has become even easier. Cash advance payday loan agencies work hard to make the process of borrowing money easier for their clients and to reduce the amount of red tape surrounding the loan process.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

Many individuals have been helped by consumer credit counseling to take control of their finances and to eliminate debt. Consumer credit counseling can work for you by teaching money management skills which can help you throughout your lifetime.

Consumer credit counseling can help you better understand your credit situation. It can help you understand the costs associated with misusing a credit card and make you a more informed consumer.

Consumer credit counseling is especially useful for people suffering from huge debt burdens. They can benefit from consumer credit counseling as it can help them find a way out of their present financial crisis. If you have a weak credit history and low credit ratings, consumer credit counseling can show you ways to repair your credit.

By making an appointment with a credit counseling agent, you can get all of these advantages and find out what more the agent can do for you.

Many debt management companies provide consumer credit counseling agents to advise and help individuals find a way out of debt. Debt management agencies help you reduce and consolidate your loans by negotiating with your creditors. Their credit counselors are the ones that teach their clients better ways of avoiding debt in the future and to find ways to saving money to pay back their current debts.

When selecting a debt management company, be sure that they have qualified credit counseling personnel.

Their teams of expert and experienced credit counselors, who have wide knowledge in the finance field, can help the layperson better understand their credit situation and how to improve their financial standing.

The consumer credit counseling agent will first understand the situation you are in. Then they will formulate ways in which you can save more money, become debt free and start on your way towards financial freedom.

These are just some of the things consumer credit counseling services can do for you:

  • They can teach you how to better manage your household expenses.
  • They can help you deal with harassing collectors.
  • They can teach you understand relevant financial issues surrounding your credit.
  • They can advise you on how to reduce your debt burden.
  • They can help you avoid situations where you may have to declare bankruptcy.

The counselors can work with you to create financial plans such as a savings and budget plan, and help you find ways to sticking to them. Comprehensive plans can lead you to better manage your cash inflows and outflows.

Taking some time for consumer credit counseling can help you get rid of your debt problems and start you on your way to a secure financial future.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

For reasons that escape me now, I kept sort of a diary during my first full year of working at a home based business. It was nothing close to being a complete daily diary, but was more of a collection of scribbles about things that I felt were worthy of note at the time. Since quite a bit of time has passed since then, I decided to revisit these notes.

In no particular order, here are some of the things that I had made note of.

Choosing the the beginning, my enthusiasm was very high (perhaps too high?) and I was chasing off on several different home-based business opportunities at the same time (exhibiting the "dog in a meat market" syndrome, I suppose) and not focusing my efforts enough to be successful at any single one of them. I finally reigned myself in and focused on a single work at home business opportunity.

In other notes I find reference to emotional and/or psychological issues that I experienced and are probably typical for most people when starting a home based business. When working at home a person can, at times, experience a feeling of isolation which is probably brought on by the lack of interaction of a work force environment.

There were also periods of doubt in the early going...did I pick a viable business opportunity? I doing the right things to develop my business?...when will I start making a profit?, and so on.

Many of the entries in my so-called diary had to do with the proverbial "two steps forward and one step backward" thing and the ever-looming temptation to become discouraged. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, it is now obvious that as long as you have more steps forward than backward you will eventually get ahead! Isn't hindsight wonderful?

Other entries reflect the fact that relatively minor events can seem huge in the early stages of developing a work at home business and can really contribute to an emotional roller coaster ride. For example, if you are just starting out and you have two customers/clients and you lose one...that's a 50% drop! However, if you fast-forward in time to the point where you have hundreds of customers/clients and you lose one...that's just a mere fraction of 1%! Same event, just at a different point in time.

Looking back on it now, some of the stuff I recorded now seems humorous, but I'm pretty sure that I was not amused at the time I made the notations.

Copyright 2005 Kirk Bannerman

About Kirk: Kirk Bannerman operates his own successful home based business and also coaches others seeking to start their own home based business. For more information visit his website, Proven Work At Home Business, at


In the Pre-Budget Report of December 2003 the Chancellor Gordon Brown announced proposals to levy an Income Tax charge from 6th April 2005 in those circumstances where the transferor of an asset retains and interest or continues to benefit from that asset. In the instance of real property, the 'benefit' envisaged is the transferor continuing to reside in the property he/she has allegedly given away.

How the Charge Applies

The Government refer to such assets as 'pre-owned assets' and, broadly speaking, its intention is to tax the 'annual value' of such assets as a benefit-in-kind on the former owner still enjoying the use of the asset. The annual value on which the charge is based will be the open-market rental for a property or a fixed percentage of the capital value of most other assets to which the new charge applies. Any amounts which the transferor pays for the use of the asset - rent for example - will be deducted from the annual value in arriving at the taxable benefit.

The charge will also apply if a person provides the funds to purchase an asset which they go on to enjoy the benefit of after 5th April 2005.

Rationale Behind the Charge

The charge is intended to counter many Inheritance Tax planning schemes, but unfortunately, it will also impact many innocent and unintended victims. Thankfully, the legislation has included some exceptions to the application of the charge. The charge will not apply if;

The asset was gifted before 8th March 1986

The asset is owned by the transferor's spouse

The asset is, in fact, still caught by the 'Gifts with Reservation' rules and as such Inheritance Tax applies instead (hence, the Income Tax charge will not be levied on top).

The asset was sold at an arm's length price for cash (even if to a connected party).

The transferor of the asset had themselves inherited it and their ownership had ceased as a result of a Deed of Variation affecting that inheritance.

The transferor's continued enjoyment of the asset is merely incidental or has arisen only as a result of an unforeseen change in family circumstances.

The annual taxable benefit (after deducting any contributions by the transferor, where necessary) does not exceed 2,500.

The Inland Revenue have also confirmed that the charge will not apply in most cases where a taxpayer has funded life insurance policies held on trust. Finally, there is also an 'Opt Out' option whereby the transferor can opt not to pay the charge provided the asset is included back into their estate and therefore consequently being subject to Inheritance Tax.

The Implications of the Charge

Most of the Inheritance Tax Planning techniques usually involve a widow or widower having continued enjoyment of their former spouse's share of the property and thus it would appear on first inspection that in the majority of cases the charge would not apply as the transferor themselves would not be around to continue to enjoy or benefit from the property.

However, a problem seems to arise where a couple own their property as joint tenants prior to commencing their tax planning strategy and subsequently changing their ownership title to tenants in common. Where the widow or widower formerly owned the property as joint tenants they had a share in ownership of the whole property. This means that the new Income Tax charge could conceivably apply to their continued occupation of the property after their spouse's death.

A possible consequence of this for the future might mean that instead of acquiring property as joint tenants which has been the general rule, the wise policy would be to own the property as tenants in common instead. But how many people are aware of this distinction? Will legal advisors be prepared to explain the tax implications of acquiring property with the different legal titles?


How far will the new charge impact on current Inheritance Tax Planning schemes? As yet, it is too soon to tell, as the rules have not been fully fleshed out and as yet, it is too soon to say with any certainty what will happen and which schemes will be affected.

But it seem fair to argue that the current Labour Government is doing its utmost to tax its citizens at every possible turn. Inheritance Tax avoidance schemes - indeed any tax avoidance scheme -are not unlawful. Planning for the future does not mean that people are engaging in tax evasion - which IS unlawful. But the policies being employed leave an uncomfortable impression of an angry parent chastising their child simply for being astute and planning for the future!

Needless to say, the whole approach leaves a somewhat bitter taste in one's mouth.

Copyright 2005 Janine Byrne, LLB (Hons) LPc.

About Janine: Miss JsByrne holds a Bachelor of Law degree with Honours & a post-graduate diploma in Legal Practice. Also gained qualification in Wills Writing & is the owner/author of and DYW Wills & Estate Planning Newsletter

There are numerous reasons why people choose to start a home-based business. Some of those reasons include:

1. Dissatisfied with their present employment situation.

2. Out of work due to being laid off or downsizing by their employer.

3. A need to be home more with young children, an infirm family member, or aging parents.

4. A yearning to be their own boss.

Whatever your particular reason for exploring a home-based business, there are a few common steps you need to take in order to launch your business.

First off, you need to come to grips with realistic in your expectations. Far too many folks read advertisements that are hype and imply quick money, and lots of it, from a home-based business start-up. It will certainly take a year, and in some cases it may take up to three years, before you begin to truly make a significant profit from your business.

I have helped a large number of people start up their own home-based businesses using the Internet. Over time, I have come to recognize two of the most important factors for identifying people that should NOT start a home based business. If a prospective entrepreneur says something like...

"I'm broke and need to make some money, fast!"


"I want to start a home-based business, but I don't want to spend anything on it until after I start earning some money." is certain that they have not addressed reality and, with that mindset, they will most certainly fail.

It takes a lot of time to successfully market and promote a new business. If you are planning a home-based business in order to spend a lot of time with young children or care for the elderly, a full-time business (and income) may not be a realistic objective.

Second, spend some time researching your business idea. Make sure there is truly enough of a market for your product or service. It's easy to fall into the trap of having a hobby or passion for something that you like to do and just assuming that you can turn it into an economically viable business.

Third, learn as much as you can about small business. There is a wealth of information available on this topic and the US Small Business Administration is probably as good a place to start as any. Just go to and navigate to the sections dealing with home based businesses.

Fourth, write a business plan. It is your roadmap to reaching your objectives. There are numerous articles on the Internet and in libraries that can assist you in developing your business plan as well as addressing the many other issues involved with starting and operating a business from home. As a starting point, here are a couple of Small Business Administration website locations that should prove useful:

And last, but not least, seek the advice of a tax professional. Your first reaction may be that you can't afford such expenses right now; but, in reality, you can't afford not to seek such advice from the very beginning of your home business start-up. They can advise you about ways you may be able to reduce the amount of taxable business income at the end of the year. Paying for an hour or two of consultation with a tax professional at the beginning will probably save you much more than that amount later on down the road.

I never cease to be amazed at the number of people that seem to think that some magic is somehow created when you put the words "home based" in front of the word "business". It's still just happens to be based in the home.

Copyright 2005 Kirk Bannerman

About Kirk: Kirk Bannerman operates his own successful home based business and also coaches others seeking to start their own home based business. For more information visit his website, Proven Work At Home Business at

Why is it some people are incredibly successful at utilizing the power of the Internet in their marketing while others can't seem to figure out the winning formula?

How often do entrepreneurs and salespeople look for that next magic formula to build their business and increasing revenues, never quite making any of it work? Many people make it much more difficult to succeed than it need be while others know exactly what to do -- and they do it.

Ask anyone who has effectively integrated the use of the Internet into their overall marketing strategy and they will tell you success in building your business, both online and off, is about systems. Simple as that.

Developing and utilizing systems is nothing new. Yet, the great search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and getting rich quick continues.

The place you'll find more gold than virtually anywhere else is in doing something many people just don't find appealing. It is in developing and maintaining a solid database. Unfortunately, many people don't find database management sexy enough. So they continually buy into that next secret formula.

Fact is, with a well-groomed database you can increase your revenues and decrease your marketing costs. You can build customer relations and keep your name fresh in the minds of your market by keeping in touch. This establishes excellent position within your market.

Most people would be amazed at how simple it is to build an incredibly profitable database by applying a few simple strategies. Remember, simple is not always easy. It will take time, commitment and focus.

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to your database. Depending on your industry and what you sell you may be well served to focus on the few dozen or few hundred who want to buy from you rather than thousands who don't care about what you offer.

On the other hand, there will be situations where building a massive list is exactly what you need to do. Especially if you have mass quantity products you are selling at a very low price. Then you may want to go for the numbers.

Driving traffic to your site is an ongoing process as is building and maintaining your database. If you are serious about using the Internet in your marketing you need to lay the groundwork to optimize your opportunities.

  • Develop a fully operational web site
  • Have a way to capture contact information such as a sign up form
  • Give people a reason for leaving their contact information such as an Ezine, free report or ebook, an article of interest to your target market or anything that is of benefit to the reader
  • Develop a series of content driven messages that address your customers' needs
  • Keep your name in front of your market consistently without being annoying
  • Write and distribute articles to various online resources that are pertinent to your market
  • Create a byline that contains your web address
  • Do not make the articles a hard sell. Rather, provide information that positions you as a resource before you are a vendor
  • Develop a list of forums and discussion groups you can participate in
  • Commit to the long-term.

By focusing on developing a solid database and providing incredible value to your market you can and will achieve success in your business. Guaranteed!

Copyright 2005 Kathleen Gage

About Kathleen: Kathleen Gage is an award winning keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. She is the recipient of the Utah 2004 Giant Step Award for business creativity and success. Access Gage's FREE eBook Street Smarts eMarketing Tips Guaranteed to Jump Start Your Internet Presence to Put You Miles Ahead of the Competition at

Not having enough money for a comfortable retirement tops the list of financial concerns among aging Americans, according to a recent Gallup Poll. It even outweighs peoples' worries about having a serious illness or accident.

With statistics showing that Americans can expect to live 20 or more years after reaching retirement age and our longevity continuing to inch upward, these fears could be well founded.

Three out of 10 American workers haven't saved at all for retirement, and among those who do, many have not saved enough, according to another study. The study showed that three out of 10 workers age 55 or older have saved less than $25,000.

Many of us plan to work past the normal retirement age. But at this rate, we may not have a choice. Some of us in the Baby Boom generation can expect to work beyond age 65, whether we want to or not.

There is an alternative to having to work full-time until we're in a wheelchair. It's also a smart choice as we get past age 50 and want to slow down a bit, but still stay active and
stimulated. And that's to gradually make the transition from working full-time as an employee to being in business for ourselves on a contract or per-project basis. By planning ahead,
you can gradually turn your job skills into a "microbusiness" while you are still employed.

If you have worked in a specific industry for 10, 15 or more years, you are ideally suited for this type of transition. You can set up a home office in a spare bedroom of your home,
get the equipment you need and gradually establish your business.

When the time comes and you want to make the change, you can do it on your own terms often by negotiating a contract with your existing employers for 50 percent of your time. There are other ways to make the change, such as
negotiating with your employer for a reduced work week, or working from home as a "teleworker" for a few days a week.

Still others have begun their private practice by moonlighting doing a few projects for other clients on the side at night or on weekends in the year leading up to their departure, and
building up a clientele that way. Provided such work isn't prohibited by your full-time employment contract, it's another smart way to get started.

Enjoy The freedom

Being your own boss means you get to choose how hard you work and how much you are compensated. If you want to earn extra cash for an upcoming trip or purchase, you can work a few extra hours per week or take an extra project. If you want to take four weeks off and visit friends in Florida, simply plan ahead,keep your clients informed, and off you go.

Perhaps that's why people over 50 are much more likely to be self-employed, according to a study commissioned by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The study showed that 16 percent of people over 50 were self-employed, compared with 10 percent of the general workforce. Plus one-third of self-employed seniors were first-time entrepreneurs who began their business after turning 50 and spending many years working for other people.

Being in business for yourself especially after a lifetime of being an employee for a larger organization is the next best thing to being financially independent while still earning a living.

You can scale back your hours worked per week to ease into retirement. Or work in bursts of activity to earn extra money for special purchases or travel. And the best part is it often doesn't even feel like "work" anymore.

Copyright 2005 Barnaby Kalan

About Barnaby: Barnaby Kalan is an award-winning copywriter and direct marketing consultant who also helps people launch and build their businesses. His book, Outsourcing Yourself, reveals the safest, smartest ways to turn your current job skills into a six-figure income as a self-employed freelancer or consultant. For details, visit

One of the most effective ways to help your staff succeed is to provide regular, consistent coaching throughout the year. A Progress Review is a specific kind of coaching discussion, tied to the employee's Annual Objectives and Standards. It is an informal discussion in which the manager coaches the direct report to meet any unmet goals that are below target, and praises him or her for goals that are being met. Conducting progress reviews are a very important role for being an effective leader or coach. It is suggested that each of your direct reports receive a progress review discussion from you at least 2-3 times per year.

An outline of process for conducting a Progress Review is below:

1. Refer to the annual objectives and standards previously developed. Give a copy to the employee.

2. Ask the employee to review his or her progress to date.

3. Praise the employee for all on-target performance.

4. For below-target performance, ask the employee for suggestions to improve. After all the employee's suggestions have been made, contribute any additional ideas you may have.

5. Revise and change the standards or objectives where necessary.

6. Set a date for the next progress review session.

If you schedule progress reviews with each of your direct report at designated intervals throughout the year, you will find that it helps you remember to conduct these very important coaching discussions. The end result is that your staff will be more productive, and you will be an excellent leader. Don't put them off! Schedule progress reviews today!

Copyright 2005 Susan Cullen

About Susan: Susan Cullen is President of Quantum Learning Solutions, Inc., based in New Jersey. She has over 15 years experience in Organizational Development and is considered an expert in the use of blended learning methodologies for lasting organizational change. For more information go to or you can reach us at (800) 683-0681.

Definition of affiliate marketing:

Affiliate marketing is taking someone else's product or service and advertising it using your own affiliate website or link in order to make money. The owner of the website/product/service will pay you a percentage of each sale generated through your unique affiliate link or website. Sounds a bit confusing, but in reality is a very simple process with a win/win situation for all parties involved and a fun way to make money online.

How to get started:

You have two options to consider when doing affiliate marketing, whether to have a website or to simply advertise using your unique affiliate link. Many affiliates will create an informational website to be used as a basis for related affiliate links. This can be a great option, due to the fact that you would only need to advertise one website in order to make money.

To go this route, think of something that you are passionate about or something that is a hot topic right now. Once you have determined your theme you need to decide on a website name. To find ideas and keywords to be used as a URL, or domain name, I would recommend using to find appropriate popular keywords related to your theme. It is good to use a popular keyword as your website and domain name so that you will rank higher in search engines.

Once you have your theme and have chosen a name, you need to register your domain name and obtain website hosting. I recommend using Yahoo for your website hosting needs. They offer a free domain name and website builder that does not require knowledge of html when you purchase website hosting. They also allow you to pay monthly rather than having to pay a year in advance which helps you save with upfront costs.

Your next step would be to build your website and fill it to the brim with great information related to your theme. A great and easy way to do this is to get articles from free article websites like the ones listed below:

Then, once you have a great website full of information about your theme, your next step is to work on search engine optimization. Do a search on Google for SEO and you will find lots of free information on how to do this. You also need to offer a free newsletter so that you can establish repeat visitors.

When your informational website is complete and fully optimized, submit it to all of the major search engines. Google's "submit a URL" can be found under "About" Google. This is the main one and the best place to start. Yahoo charges a fee to submit your website to them so this would be something you could do later.

Now you are ready to start adding affiliate links to your website so you can earn money! Sign up at these free websites and find appropriate websites to affiliate with:

Also, add Google Adsense to your website for added revenue. Advertise using Pay Per Click such as and Continue to add a page of information to your website daily. The more information you have, the higher your chances of ranking with more keywords on the major search engines. Have fun maintaining your website and watching your traffic...and your revenue grow! Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money and your earning potential is almost endless. Affiliate marketing is something you can get started doing today to earn money online.

Copyright 2005 Monica Faircloth

About Monica: Monica Faircloth is a freelance writer and a work at home mentor as well as the owner of:, and

Many students start becoming consumers of credit when they get their first student credit card in college. Student credit cards can give them a highly convenient way of making purchases; however this is also a time of great responsibility as they start their first endeavor into money management.

You need to be careful when using your student credit card. This is the time you start building your credit report which will come into play when you start needing money to buy a house or a car. It is very easy to misuse credit in college. Usually it is very expensive being a college student nowadays and it can be hard to keep track of bills and pay them on time.

However a student credit card can also be very convenient. It can teach you better money management skills. If you work hard you can start building a solid credit score. Students can also avoid carrying around cash. Many student credit cards offer protection incase the card gets stolen or lost.

There is much choice for students when it comes to selecting a card. The first thing when choosing a student credit card is to find one with a low APR.

Many student credit cards will even allow you to accumulate points from your purchases which you can redeem for DVDs, books, CDs and other cool rewards.

If you misuse your student credit card and keep making late payments, you will be under a huge debt burden when you graduate and need to buy a home or a car. Student credit cards are not a student loan. Consider them as high interest loans which you should pay off immediately.

On the other hand by properly managing your payments, you can have a good credit score when you graduate. If you make your payments on time, you can also avoid the interest charges. Be careful of the late fees on your student credit card.

Student credit cards generally have low interest rates but they might have a smaller maximum credit limit.

If you are a college student, you may have received a lot of student credit card offers through the mail. Credit card companies want you to get hooked on their card early in life, so that you remain their loyal customer in the future.

Online applications have made it very convenient to apply for a student credit card. In addition the Internet can let you shop around from a wider selection of cards right from your home. Usually it is a secure way to apply if the online site has a secure server.

You can qualify for a student credit card if you are at least 18 years of age.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

Everyone can be put at a disadvantage if they have poor credit. Lenders are less likely to loan to people with a poor credit history, therefore it becomes a huge handicap for people looking to buy on credit.

If you want to buy your car or house on credit, poor credit can be a huge obstacle. Even if you are approved for the loan, it is hard to secure competitively low interest rates in the industry.

Anyone with a Fico score under 600 is usually considered a person with poor credit. Many people end up with poor credit due to misuse of credit cards. People are usually uninformed about how late payments can negatively affect their credit report. In fact a lot of bankruptcies in the United States are caused by mishandling of credit cards.

Fixing Poor Credit

Tired of being rejected for loans? Tired of sky-high interest payments? It is time to repair your poor credit.

One way you can fix your poor credit is to try to regain control over your debt situation. There are many agencies that can provide debt consolidation or complete debt elimination services. Once you are able to make your debt payments in time, you will reduce the deductions taking place on your credit score.

Poor credit can be caused by not properly planning your expenses so that you do not have enough money left over to pay your bills on time. By creating financial plans such as a household budget and a savings plan, you can get control over your expenses. Proper organization can help you get rid of your poor credit.

Credit cards available to people with poor credit usually have lots of fees such as an annual fee and a high APR. However these cards can give you the chance to start repairing your credit. With a good credit score you can become eligible to lower interest rates and fees on any loan you take out, therefore it is certainly very desirous to start fixing your poor credit.

If you need money in an emergency and are hindered by your poor credit, you can look into a cash advance payday loan. Cash advance agencies usually do not carry out credit checks. However these loans are meant only for the short term and could cost you dearly if you delay the repayment.

Good credit is not built in a day. It will take persistence on your part to repair your credit. With a good credit you can finally be able to buy the house or car of your dreams. You will find many more doors open to you after you have fixed your poor credit.

Even with poor credit you may find agencies willing to loan to you. Search the advertised offers from home mortgage companies, auto dealers and credit card agencies where they say they will provide loans even to people with poor credit.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

12 Tips For A Successful Affiliate ProgramKen Hill

1. Look around at other competing businesses that offer affiliate programs, and think of ways that you can make your affiliate program more attractive.

2. Pay your affiliates well for their efforts.

If you're thinking about offering a 10% commission for sales of your product and a competing business is paying a 50% commission for referrals, you'll lose affiliates to your

3. Make your affiliate program more lucrative by offering residual commissions.

This is an excellent choice if you offer a product that is paid for on a residual basis such as webhosting or access to your membership site.

4. Offer lifetime commissions.

Your affiliates will see the power of lifetime commissions, and work hard to promote your business and send you more sales.

5. Make your affiliate program two-tier.

Reward your affiliates by giving them a commission on the sales of people they refer to your affiliate program.

6. Don't leave your affiliates out in the cold.

Provide your affiliates with lots of sales items that they can use to successfully promote your products.

Some items you could offer your affiliates:

- e-zine ads (sponsor ads, classified ads, 2 liners)
- signature file ads
- sales letters/solo ads
- brandable ebooks
- sample recommendations
- email courses
- your articles that they can reprint with their affiliate URLs in your resource box.

7. Be quick to respond to your affiliates' emails.

An easy way to lose your affiliates is to not respond to their questions in a timely manner, or to not respond to their e-mails at all.

It shows that you don't value them, and since their are tons of other affiliate programs, you would be losing potentially very good affiliates to other businesses.

8. Provide your own tips and advice.

Follow up with your affiliates with tips and strategies that they can use to increase their commissions.

9. Reward your top affiliates with higher commissions and bonuses.

You'll be able to achieve more sales over the long term because your top affiliates won't jump to another affiliate program where their efforts are more appreciated.

10. Publish an affiliate's newsletter.

Your affiliate's newsletter will help you to share your tips with your affiliates, and keep them going in the right direction.

You could also use your newsletter to keep your top affiliates excited about your program.

Some effective ways to do this are:

- Share what your top affiliates do to earn big commission checks.
- Showcase their sites and tell why their sites sell.
- List your 5 or 10 highest earning affiliates for the month.

11. Track your affiliates' sales accurately.

Your affiliates will find out if they send you customers and you don't credit them with their commissions.

Your affiliate program will lose credibility and you'll end up losing your affiliates as word gets around.

12. Participate in affiliate marketing forums.

Share your valuable advice and expertise with the members of the forums you participate in.

Include your signature file that promotes your affiliate program, and always follow the rules of the forums you join.

Copyright 2005 Ken Hill

Resource box: Want To Start Your Own Profit Driving Affiliate Program? Power packed solution has what you need. Includes affiliate program software, shopping cart, ad tracking and easy e-zine management. Automate your online business today at:

Here's a quiz question (Not trick question):

What attracts online success?

Success is attracted to speed.

Speed attracts success.

In fact, because I want to get this message across to you as fast as possible, you'll find grammatical errors because it's not been proof read yet. I just thought of this and you're reading it right now after this tip was manifested from my mind.

Do you know that ...

There are millions of other people having the same ideas you have in mind this instant on how make money on the internet?

Let's say, you saw an opportunity in an online niche market.

Maybe, you think that writing an ebook about 'A Guide To Breed Persian Cats' would be a profitable info-product to sell online.

If this is true, do you think that you are the only person who found or realized this potential?

I doubt it.

On the internet, it's not the big that swallows the small, but the fast that beats the slow.

If you delay your online income stream ideas you have in mind, it's just a matter of time before someone else around the world 'steal' it away.

Those who had pioneered the profitable online niche will be the leader of the market. And the leaders will take home big fat checks each month.

The more time you delay from launching your excellent ideas you have, the higher risk you are exposing yourself from 'losing' it to someone else.

Here's another example:

Have you notice that when a product is 'hot' in the market, you'll see many marketers promoting it as an affiliate?

If you are promoting the same product, do you think you'll get more sales if you are the first one who promotes it or the 10th person to do that?

It's a no-brainer question. The earlier you get to promote it BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE, the higher your chance of getting more sales.

In a nutshell, speed is very important to be successful online.

So, if online success is attracted to speed, how are you going to use this to your advantage?

Always use leverage to save your time whenever you can because the LONGER TIME you take, the SLOWER you'll start your online income stream.

Like, instead of me thinking on how to write more business tips or create marketing content, I've purchased Viral Article Tool Kit that allows me to use the content in it. This way, I save time by using other people's time and knowledge.

Viral Article Tool Kit package includes 199 prewritten articles and 900 business tips that you rebrand or rewrite for your own use for free.

Or you can always hire a ghost writer if you do not have enough time to create content for your website.

But the most important part is to be able to absorb internet marketing knowledge and information as much as possible at THE SHORTEST PERIOD of time.

This can be done by using speed-reading strategy. I've recently tested it and it works.

If you like a recommendation from me, I'll recommend 'The 16-Minute Speed-Reading Audio Program' because I've used it personally.

You can now DOUBLE your reading speed for all of the internet marketing ebooks that you have. Go to:

Now that you realized that speed is very important to attract online success, don't you feel an urgency to start making money online today?

Copyright 2005 Patric Chan

About Patric: Patric Chan is a direct response expert, internet infopreneur, marketing strategist and author. At the age of 24, he had achieved many extraordinary results in the internet marketing world. He had joint-ventured with many famous internet marketing experts in product creations and selling online.

There's good news for public relations execs, marketing professionals and even one-man-band entrepreneurs: journalists are surfing your sites looking for news.

It's true - while some PR people spend months trying to win over cynical reporters in order to wrangle a company profile or CEO interview (and get nowhere), an army of journalists are proactively hunting for facts, figures and interview candidates.

Now the bad news: these same journalists say most online press rooms suck. Big time. If you're thinking to yourself: 'We don't have a press room,' chances are you're missing out on important media opportunities. If you're thinking 'What's a press room', you need to act fast.

In an ideal world, a press room is a vibrant, constantly updated section of your corporate website including company backgrounders, executive profiles, news releases (with a comprehensive searchable archive), media mailing list and - perhaps most importantly - clear and concise contact information if journalists need to get in touch.

Want to see a great press room? As usual, Google pulls it off by keeping things nice and simple:

If you haven't got the time or resources to put together a world-class press room like that, here are a couple of strategies that can help you in the short-term. But keep in mind these are suggested as temporary measures - an accessible, professional press room is no longer a luxury for a company that considers itself professional, it's an absolute necessity.

Blog It!

Sign up for a blog at one of the big free providers such as Blogger ( These services are template based and you can have their standard layouts look and feel like your own site in a jiffy. To be honest, even if you use the standard template, change the title and give it the odd tweak here and there you've still covered the important bases.

Then place a link on your corporate website to the new blog (perhaps label it as 'News Blog' or plain old 'News Room' or 'Press Room') and you're ready to promote your news. Be sure to include full contact details in the blog's bio section - remember, journalists are always on one deadline or another and they want your input NOW! If you're worried about spambots gathering your email address, include them as 'name <-at-> domain dot com'. If a journalist can't work that out you probably don't want to hear from them anyway.

Once your blog is up and running, turn it over to one or two key members of your staff. Have them post news releases - and shorter news updates - to the blog as often as possible. The beauty of this solution is that you get free XML/RSS feeds thrown in via the Blogger engine. If you don't go for Blogger, be sure to check on XML/RSS feeds before you select a suitable service.

The Single-Click Press Room

Even if your corporate website is a few pages of plain HTML a friend knocked together as a favour and you're unwilling to make any drastic changes to it in order to add a press room, you can still provide visitors with a full list of your press releases with the addition of a single link to your main site.

First of all, ensure you're making full use of one of the free press release distribution services. For the sake of this example I hope nobody objects if I use our own, ClickPress (

Enter your company name in quotes as a search term - for example: "Vegetarian Society". Hit search and you will be presented with the results: press releases about or including references to your company. Click on the link below for a live example using "Vegetarian Society":

A search for "Your Company" will look something like this:

Copy that URL (with your own company's name, of course) and there you have it. Well, almost, you still need to add it to your site. Add a link to the URL, label the link 'Recent Press Releases' and every time you add a new press release to the news distribution site it will be included in the dynamic search - you've got an automatic, single-click press room.

Contacts, Contacts. Contacts

Perhaps the most regular criticism made by web-savvy journalists is a lack of media contact info on most corporate sites. If you do nothing else to your site you should add a few lines explaining who journalists should contact at your company and how they should do it.

If you're worried about spam, encrypt email addresses as explained above or include them as a graphic rather than a hot link. Provide a landline number and explain between what hours someone will be available to take calls (and be sure to include your time zone, unless you're happy to field calls at three in the morning from a journalist half way around the world).

There are a wealth of additional cost-free additions you could make to your site to make it media friendly (a press release mailing list hosted by Yahoo! Groups or Topica perhaps), so be sure to check out what other companies are doing.

Best place to find them? In the results of a news search engine, because they're the ones that have secured media coverage thanks to a proper press room.

Copyright 2005 George Hopkin

About George: George Hopkin is a freelance journalist and CEO of ClickPress (, a free press release distribution service which distributes content to some of the world's most influential news and web search engines. ClickPress is a propery of Pressventures, a provider of free and fee-based services to PR professionals.

Reel them in!

Think for a moment about newspapers. Have you ever heard the phrase, "the headline screamed...?" This will probably give you an image of a headline that says, "Town demolished by flood", or, "Strange virus discovered in water supply". Doesn't it make you want to read on, to find out the details of the story?

For the purpose of your headline, you do not have to proclaim disaster in order to get attention. In most cases, you won't want "disaster" mentioned in connection with anything having to do with your business, unless you fix disasters! You also don't have to be overly clever or humorous. The direct approach works best, and is appreciated the most.

When prospective clients are at the door, invite them in. Here are some steps to help you put together a winning headline, and create not just a reading audience, but a buying audience.

Define your target market.

* Who is your target audience?

* What are the hopes, dreams, wishes, and needs of this audience?

* Who do you think would buy from you? Are they business people, teenagers, or married
couples? Are they spiritual, health-conscious, or disorganized?

* Why is your product a good fit for this market? Provide a hook.

Targeting your target market.

* Speak directly to your audience, as this is the market that will purchase from you.

* Use specifics. "Tired moms", "time-challenged business owners". Let them know you are talking right to them. Generally, retired people will not be interested in the trendiest t-shirts for the in-crowd at the local high school. Aim for your audience.

By boiling your business down to its essential parts, you will be better situated to make sure you are reaching the right audience, and grabbing their attention. A buyer needs to feel right away that you are talking directly to them and that you can improve their life in some way, or else they will give you neither their time, nor their dollars.

On the web, you generally have only one opportunity to not only get someone's attention, but to keep it. If you lose them at the headline, you have just lost your opportunity to convince them why it is such a great idea to do business with you. Grab their interest. If you don't, it's doubtful they will come back again, and you may have lost a great prospect. Make your headline count.

Copyright 2005 David Geer

About David: Visit David Geer's Web site for eBusiness marketing information and resources

When you step into a room, you get one free moment. In that moment colleagues and clients are making assumptions of who and what you are all about. If your visual integrity does not reflect your capabilities, it may take many further meetings to undo that first impression.

Call it impression management, style or good grooming, the business professional knows the power of a positive image. Savvy business style requires more than an expensive suit! Details from your shirt to your shoes, and your hairstyle to your accessories can reveal an approachable, professional harmony or compromise your credibility in the blink of an eye.

In todays highly competitive market, your image is an investment. Whether corporate or business casual, suitable clothing enhances your personal silhouette, colouring and reflects your current business environment. Business casual does not mean weekend wear. Good quality separates can stretch your wardrobe and still polish your professional look.

William Thoroulby was the Marlboro man; he became one of Americas first male image consultants. His favourite phrase was "you are what to wear." Something to seriously consider...

Copyright 2005 Shelley Brown-Williams

About Shelley: Shelley Brown-Williams is a professional speaker, author and the founder of The Style File Image Consulting System Inc. Visit or email for more information.

Are you unable to pay your bills? Pick up your phone and call your creditors; you will be surprised at the goodwill most creditors and collectors give the persons who bothers to pick up the phone and make an agreement.

You should not loose your night sleep or turn into a nervous wreck because of your inability to pay some bills. In most cases you do not even need help from others to solve the problems, a phone call to the bill collectors is usually enough. Yes, you will feel embarrassed when you call some stranger and tell them that you are unable to pay your debt and you will most likely feel like a beggar. The short moment of embarrassment is however, a low price to get your financial issues straightened.

Here it was you should do. Find your invoice that you are unable to pay, if you have more than one invoice and are unable to pay all of them, choose the invoice with the lowest amount. Find the phone number to the invoice issuer, you will most likely find the phone number at the invoice, and call it. One important notice: you will most likely be transferred between two or more people before you reach someone who can help you. Be prepared to explain your situation more than one time and be prepared to be waiting on hold for a long time. Surprisingly many people give up because of these small, maybe irritating, details. Do not give up; explain, wait, repeat, wait, etc. Accept that this is how it works and don not get frustrated, your mission is too important.

When you finally reach someone who has the authorities to help you, be humble. Explain the person that you have some economical difficulties this month and that you are unable to pay your debt. Note that you will have a much stronger case if you are able to pay some of your invoiced amount immediate. Here are some of the possible outcomes of your conversation:

1. You will not reach any agreement. You most probably fear this outcome. You should not; nothing has changed. Your situation has not been worsening, but you have eliminated one solution.

2. You will make an agreement to pay your invoice later. Most probably, you will have to pay a fee due to the delay.

3. You will make be able to split the invoices into several smaller invoices.

You should know what kind of deal you want before you make your call. However, be prepared to accept a deal that is poorer than your suggestion. Most important do not accept a deal that you are unable to fulfill.

Why does this usually work? There are many reasons, but I will give you three:

1. Your creditors want the money, and they see that they will get the money faster if they cooperate with you.

2. The creditors are humans too, and they have no intentions to make your living hard. Most people do not realize this.

3. You are practicing engagement. You are telling your creditors "I have difficulties now, but I do not ignore you". Nobody want to be ignored, especially not when it comes to money.

There are still a lot of possible solutions if you do not succeed to make an agreement, but you should always try the simple solutions first. I wish you good luck.

Copyright 2005 Fredric Johnson

About Fredric: Fredric Johnson is a contributing writer for Pluto Loans (, an information site on loans and credits.

Don't you just hate junk mail that screams at you about supposed secrets to success that can be yours for a mere $9.95, $19.95, $99.95 or whatever? Well, here are some real "secrets" for you -- and there's no price tag attached.

Ever wonder how other companies keep their sales momentum going? Smart marketing and communications programs are critical. Here are three key marketing strategies you can put to work for your business.

1) VISIBILITY Awareness is where the selling process starts. After all, it's hard for someone to buy from you if they don't know you exist. Or let's say you're Apple Computer. Your name may be well known, but you need to let people know about your newest product -- the iPod.

Advertising creates visibility on a broad scale, but it may not be right for your company. To find a tactic that fits, start with these questions. Who's your audience? How can you get your company in front of them? What can your company spend? What return are you looking for?

2) CONSISTENCY Brand and brand management are major buzzwords in marketing and communications. But what do they really mean? If you're a company like Target or Goodyear, it can mean complex product naming schemes and identity standards

For many other businesses it boils down to consistency. Determine your message, look and tone and then stick with it. It's a way to increase cost efficiency, plus it's easier to make an impression if you look and sound the same over time.

3) REPETITION Forget everything you've heard about the evils of redundancy. The truth is that human beings learn through repetition. In this highly saturated environment it can take seven or more repetitions for a message to sink in.

Copyright 2005 Clairvoyant Communications, Inc.

About Claire: Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years' experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire's monthly e-newsletter, Communiqu, at Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail:

Your investment club will need to decide what type of entity you're going to adopt for business purposes. You'll have to decide whether you're going to be a corporation, a general partnership, or limited liability partnership. Each of these business models has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Corporation. Most investment clubs will avoid becoming a corporation. This is because corporations are taxable business entities that require knowledgeable accounting skills to make them run smoothly and in accord with government regulations. A corporation generally means a lot of paperwork. This paperwork can be avoided by choosing another business model for your purpose of running an investment club.

General partnership. This type of business model requires less paperwork and knowledge about taxes and other financial issues. Most investment clubs choose a general partnership as their choice of a business entity. A general partnership has nominal paperwork and costs associated with it because the taxes are passed to each partner's tax returns. This type of business model will let you accomplish what you need to do to run your investment club with the least amount of tax influence.

Limited liability corporations. This type of a business model is much like the general partnership but it gives individual members of your investment group a bit more liability protection. Keep in mind that this type of business entity can be expensive and will need more paperwork.

Members of your investment group will have to decide which of the above business models works best for your club.

You will have to make a decision one way or the other since establishing a business entity is a requirement for tax purposes.

Copyright 2005 Robert Smith

About Robert: Robert Smith owns a full info site about investment clubs. Check out his site at

When an employer decides to conduct an interview with you, there are certain things that they are looking for from you. Naturally, you are likely to focus on these things during an interview, but you should remember all of the tips in this manual because following those tips is what is going to make the employers see all of those things in you.

Since everybody wants to have a leg up when it comes to an interview, it naturally seemed to be appropriate to let you in on what the employers are evaluating you on during an interview. So here is that list.

Your Enthusiasm : Employers want to know that you are willing and eager to be a part of their company. Being fully stocked with knowledge about the company is a sure fire way to show your enthusiasm.

Your ability to speak clearly : If you approach an interview mumbling and speaking slang, a prospective employer will not see you as a professional.

Showing your teamwork skills : You should show an example of your ability to work as a team during your interview.

Leadership skills : You should show your leadership abilities by approaching your interview with an offensive train of thought.

Problem solving ability : Employers needs to know that you can handle yourself when a problem arrives.

Work related experience : You definitely want to show that you have some experience in the field already, so that the employer knows that you will not be overwhelmed.

Community involvement : Employers love to see that you have done volunteer work. It shows that you take pride in your community, and a willingness to be a team player.

Company knowledge: Again, this stipulates that employers like to see that you have done your research about their company. It shows that your interest in working for them is sincere.

Flexibility : Employers want to know that you are able to go with the flow. It proves that they can depend on you later.

Ambition and Motivation : Ambitious people are generally motivated enough to make great improvements in the company as they are working their way up the ladder. Ambition usually means more money for the company.

People skills : Your ability to get along with others is very important to an employer. They need to know that you won't ruffle any feathers when you are hired.

Professional appearance : Nobody wants a slob working in their office. Be certain to dress appropriately for the job that you are applying for.

Ability to Multitask : This is getting to be a very necessary skill in the workplace. Most days, you will be required to multitask. Even if you are not, employers need to know that you can do it without freaking out on them.

Computer ease : These days, just about every company in the world is running on computers. The ability to work a computer with at least minimal amount of ease is important. It is best to keep a leg up on the most common software like MS Office, Quark Express, and Linux.

Reliability : Employers want dependable and reliable people to work for them. Your ability to arrive on time is a good place to start when trying to prove that you possess this quality.

Copyright 2005 Robert Smith

About Robert: Robert Smith owns a site that will teach you how to prepare for your job interview step by step. Check out his website at

"We don't have any competition. We're a truly a one-of-a-kind company." I've heard that line from clients for years. I wish it were true, but it's simply not. In fact, it wouldn't matter if you held a monopoly on your particular product or service; you'd still have competition. How? Because your competition doesn't come from a singular source.

There may be no other businesses that sell the product or service you sell, but you still have competition. Once that's understood you have a greater advantage when it comes to copywriting. You can recognize the other options your customers have before them and can position yourself as the only logical choice.

Know Who Your Competition Is

Competition comes from a variety of sources. Yes, there are those who sell the same things you sell, but there competition comes in other forms, too.

The Same But Different

Charitable organizations are a good example of "same but different." Your group may be the only one raising funds to save the purple spotted toad of northern Antarctica but that doesn't mean you'll receive a flood of contributions from everyone you call. Why? Because there are a million and a half other charitable organizations out there all vying for the same money from the same people.

None of these other groups is trying to raise funds to save the purple spotted toad of northern Antarctica, but they are trying to get individuals to donate to their causes. That makes them all your competition.

How do you get around this problem? Assuming your traffic generating efforts or your mailing list is highly targeted, you'll want to make a strong case for this little toad. In your copy, let the readers know why the purple spotted toad is important to the environment (he's the only toad in existence that carries antibodies that can cure cancer). Tell them why the world would be a much sadder place without our bouncing little friend. (In addition to being the only purple toad in the world, this guy is the only food the frosty wilder beast will eat so he's vital to the food chain).

Just like with any other type of copywriting, list the benefits of the purple spotted toad. Why is he important to nature, how will the ecology suffer with his demise and what will happen to the rest of Antarctica if he becomes extinct? All of these are vital to convincing your audience that they should favor you with their contributions instead of some other organization.

Everyone In the Search Results

Go to your favorite search engine and type in "copywriting course" (without the quotes). What do you see? There are a lot of options listed on the search results page. Are all these products the same? By all means no!

Some are live workshops, others are e-courses, some focus strictly on one type of copywriting leaving all others by the wayside, some are correspondence courses while others are downloadable. But because they all appear in response to the query "copywriting course," they all have the potential to take sales away. Even if your site falls into the coveted #1 position, the others on the page could potentially grab some of your sales.

So how do you get surfers to click on your site's listing? Your title and description have to be first rate.

If your copywriting course has a specialty (sales letters, search engines, catalogs, etc.) say so. Choose the most powerful benefit and a way to set yourself apart (your USP) and use those in the tags for your search results along with your keyphrases. Simply having keywords in your title and description might get you ranked with the engine but it sure won't entice anybody to click to your site.

Other Options

There are options and substitutes for practically everything in the world. If people don't want to pay for a computer and Internet access so they can send email, they can write letters or call their friends and family. If customers decide the cost of groceries is out of control, they can plant a garden and eat a vegetarian diet. There are even alternatives to cars: taking a cab (as most do in New York), bicycling (very popular in London) or walking (great exercise). All of these alternatives can be competition for you.

To overcome the pull of other options, when you write copy be sure emphasize why those other options really aren't viable. The sheer act of writing letters takes time in and of itself. Then you have to mail the letter and wait. If the person wants to respond, they have to get motivated enough to sit down and write a reply and mail it. Then you wait again. The phone? Yes, people could use the phone to talk like they always have, but what about when you want to show the person you're talking with something? A picture of your new grandchild or your new car can't be shown over the phone. You get the idea.

Drop the egotistical viewpoint that you have no competition and take a good, hard look around. Once you've realized that there is always an alternative to buying what you offer, you'll be in a better mindset to write copy that outlines why yours is the only option the prospect should consider.

Copyright 2005 Karon Thackston

Resource box: Tired of endlessly searching the 'Net in hopes of finding the latest copywriting techniques? Need an up-to-date directory filled with the best ways to learn copywriting? Visit today for the widest collection of the most popular copywriting resources available.

So you have entrepreneurial aspirations, but you're stuck in a job working for someone else. You wake up, commute to work, work hard, pay your bills and then come home exhausted. You repeat the pattern for another four days, becoming increasingly tired as the week progresses. By the time Friday night comes around you are absolutely shattered requiring every second of your weekend just to recover! And just as you start to feel as if you have your life back, your alarm clock goes off on Monday morning, you drag your feet out of bed and you repeat the cycle. Does this scenario sound all too familiar? Is this the way you want to spend the rest of your working life?

Controlling your thoughts.

So how do you start to break this monotonous existence? You do so with a single thought. It is said that each one of us has 60,000 thoughts a day, 55,000 of which were exactly the same thoughts as we had yesterday. So I am going to place a simple thought in your mind right now:

" You have the potential to create a profitable business that you are truly passionate about, that fulfils you creatively and that delivers a lot of good in the world. "

If that message resonates with you, you may like to re-read it and hold the thought in your mind for a second time. Really try and experience the meaning in this message. Not just intellectually but emotionally as well. You may also like re-think this thought again tomorrow. And if it feels good tomorrow, you may like to add it to your habitual thoughts.

Give your new thought some support.

Once you have held the thought of running your own business in your own mind and you are comfortable with it, you need to start expanding the dynamics of the thought. Ask yourself the following questions:
What sort of business would you like to run?
Would it be a full time business or just a part time one?
What would you call it?
How much time would you like to devote to it?
Who would be your target market?
Who can you get involved to help you get it started?

Take some action.

Once you have a few answers for the questions above, you've got to take some action straight away! Start off small. Get some business cards printed up ( will give you 250 colour business cards for free!) and you may also like to register a web site domain name (you can register web names from as little as 2.59 per year through Once you've got the ball rolling you can start thinking about the bigger action steps that you will need to take.
Seek out other business people.

Take a look at your social network. If all your friends and family are employees, chance are any conversations about work will be about the 9-5 grind. If this is the case, start adding a few small business people to your social network. Buy them lunch, ask them questions about how they started out in business. I am sure that you will find plenty of inspiration as well as some words of advice about how to run a business. You may also like to consider joining up with groups so you can network with like minded individuals (Toastmasters is excellent start and for online Networking check out

The most important consideration.

One of the most important things to consider when setting up a business is to choose a business that you are passionate about. There are so many different ways you can make money so you might as well do something that excites you.

Copyright 2005 Damien Senn

About Damien: Damien Senn is a Life and Business Coach as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. He helps professionals, artists and entrepreneurs create compelling futures. He is the author of the 'Senn-Sational Success Journal' and has developed his own coaching model called the 'Senn-Sational Success System'. For your free life coaching tool 颽 things to do before you die', please click the following link:

Any time you make changes in your life you are going to be met with opposition from people who would prefer you to stay exactly as you are. Sadly, these people are often the ones that love you the most; your family, friends, partners and even work colleagues. However, in your moments of entrepreneurial seizure, the greatest opposition that you will experience (particularly if you're a seasoned employee) will come from within yourself.

What's your great business idea?

They say that each one of us has an unwritten book lying within us. It's my belief that each of us also has a great business idea lying in the depths of who we are as well. However, the reality is that very few of us actually dig deep enough to uncover this aspect of self. Of those who do, fewer still are prepared to inject the passion and enthusiasm necessary to bring these ideas to life.

Understand your entrepreneurial process.

If you hold aspirations of transitioning from paid employment to running your own business, I think it is important to understand the mental and emotional process you go through when you experience moments of entrepreneurial inspiration. When you get a business idea, do you immediately think of all the ways you could make it work or are you someone who automatically sabotages yourself by thinking of all the ways it could fail?

Pushing through entrepreneurial sabotage.

If you are someone who experiences entrepreneurial sabotage, start to note down your habitual opposing thoughts. Here are some examples of sabotage you may already be familiar with;

- if the business idea was that good, why hasn't someone thought of it before?
- how can I start a business - I don't have any money?
- what will people think of me if the business fails?
- I'm too old / young to start a business.
- how can I start a business if I don't have a business degree?

Once you have an awareness of your own internal resistance you can start to counteract it. You may like to try experimenting with the following self empowering questions:

- how can I start this business using none of my own capital?
- what partners do I need to attract to make this business a success?
- how can I communicate my vision to attract a skilled workforce?
- who successfully runs a similar business?
- what would I have to do to imitate their success?

Leap of faith

Establishing any kind of venture requires a 'leap of faith' as there are no certain outcomes in business. When you are starting out spend most of your time focusing on 'why' you want to run your own business rather than the 'how'. The how will follow naturally once you understand the why.

There is never a 'perfect time'.

If you are waiting for the perfect moment to launch your business you'll be waiting a very long time. The only perfect time to start a business is right now. If you've got a great idea that you are passionate about, don't delay! Immerse yourself into it right now! You don't need any money to start planning and visualising your dream. If you can feel, touch and taste it, all you have to do is get out there and start sharing your vision with as many people as you possibly can. And if you do it effectively and with passion you will attract the right business partners and customers.

To quote Goethe, "whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!"

Copyright 2005 Damien Senn

About Damien: Damien Senn is a Life and Business Coach as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. He helps professionals, artists and entrepreneurs create compelling futures. He is the author of the 'Senn-Sational Success Journal' and has developed his own coaching model called the 'Senn-Sational Success System'. For your free life coaching tool 颽 things to do before you die', please click the following link:

For the sake of your long term survival and your short term profitability online, you've got to think of your business as more than just one or more products or services. Getting customers is the hard part, so the best strategy is almost always to gain their business long term.

Ask yourself or find out from your subscribers what wants and needs they have in common. It's commonly known that the online environment is especially suited to this because it costs you nothing to keep in touch with them. When done correctly, these contacts can be very profitable to you for a long time.

What's not as well understood is that for this very same reason, your survival may easily depend on how well you execute this strategy. When online businesses get more out of their traffic by doing this, they're willing to pay more for the traffic and so the cost of traffic increases overall.

And it doesn't matter whether the traffic is free or not. Because when it's free, there will be more businesses out there willing to put in the time to get this free traffic, which leaves less of it for you, at least for the time you put in. All other things being equal, if were to continue to get the same amount of traffic, you would have to put in more time.

And on-line businesses WILL be doing more of this as word gets around that this kind of strategy is the way to go. So your survival online will increasingly depend on how well you do this.

For those reasons, opt-in marketing done correctly -- where relationships with your prospects and customers are a top priority - becomes more important every day. These relationships are not much different than any other. They require time. They require the trust of your opt-ins. And they require that the opt-ins see more value in what you send them than most other things they run into online or in their inbox.

That last part can be pretty tricky without the personal element. As an individual, even if you do have people working for you, you're able to use this to your extreme advantage. When you throw this into the mix, everything you do carries more value - both to you and your subscribers and customers. It becomes easier for you to develop trust and establish credibility this way. These are important because as a marketer, the highest level you can attain is that of a trusted advisor.

You personally become be most important element in your marketing when your subscribers rely on you for your recommendations and your guidance.

All of a sudden, the role you take on with your list allows you to take on a whole new perspective in your daily life because if you're tuned in, many things in your work or life outside of that could be informative or serve to illustrate a point to your subscribers. This is stuff your readers just can't get anywhere else!

When the sight of your email in your subscribers' inbox triggers the idea of you as a person in their minds, you'll naturally get more of your emails read -- which translates directly to more sales. This happens naturally. Your messages will have more of an impact because the readers
aren't putting up their defenses as they normally would. The message can be taken at face value.

You might think you have to be an expert to attain this kind of position. You really don't. You can still bring value without overstepping the bounds of your knowledge. Anyone can use these elements to build these highly profitable relationships in their list.

Although I'm limited to what I can show you in this article, I cover these things in more depth in my ebook "How to Win More Customers That Buy More Product More Often," which is completely FREE. You'll find the link in the resource box below.

Copyright 2005 Laurence Baker

About Laurence: Laurence Baker is the author of "How To Win More Customers That Buy More Product More Often," presenting a solution to the biggest obstacle in making more sales on the internet -- a lack of trust. To download a FREE copy, visit

Lack of trust for online businesses, being the biggest problem marketers have, also translates to the biggest opportunity.

The power in this lies in the fact that affiliate programs have given us easy access to a huge variety of products and services that we can present to potential buyers, opening up an endless number of possibilities.

And really, you're not limited to affiliate products. Many businesses would be happy to compensate you for bringing them sales.

But too many people have no reason to believe that out of the multitude of marketing messages they see every day, yours is one they need to pay attention to. You have to provide them with something they'd have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Usually, the easiest, most effective, and most permanent way to first is to earn their trust -that something they'd have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Here's the key thing you must remember...

Your readers can only benefit from you and you can only benefit from them to the extent that they can trust you!

These days, not many marketers handle this well. Not because they don't know enough, or don't have certain skills, it's just that, their focus is in the wrong areas.

That's where you come in. You can grab an early advantage, but marketers will always adapt. It's part of the process. And when they do adapt, it won't be as easy to stand out anymore.

Not only that, but the ones who don't take advantage of this aren't likely to survive. So the sooner you take advantage of this, the better.

Everyone has the ability to earn trust, that is, if they're worthy of it. By following these tips, you'll put yourself in a position of influence with your subscribers... and that's a powerful thing!

1) Keep your focus as narrow as it has to be for you to bring the most value. In other words, focus on those areas where you have something unique to contribute. What your readers will probably read elsewhere... let them read elsewhere.

2) Find ways to over deliver, exceeding people's expectations. This creates the element of surprise. People will tend to remember this, and by association you. That means better recognition and more influence -- a recipe guaranteed to make sales.

3) Make your subscribers feel like they know you. By doing this, you make it much easier for them to trust you. It's like adding a third dimension to your marketing. It helps to complete the picture. And no matter how many people you write to, always use a personal, one on one type of style. It should sound like you're talking directly to them.

Let yourself show through in your marketing, including your opinions, insights, stories, humor, etc. and your intentions will show through, whatever they might be. If that's a bad thing, then you're reading the wrong article.

4) Don't try to please everyone. This is the biggest mistake you can make. You'll forfeit anything interesting or unique about your marketing if you do this. In other words, you lose your edge and your marketing becomes ineffective. Don't worry about the subscribers that drop off. You're better off connecting with a smaller group on a deeper level.

5) Through your actions, you have to demonstrate to your subscribers that you don't sacrifice their best interests in the name of profit. Become their trusted advisor. Do what you can to steer them in a direction that's right for them, as individuals. Educate them to be able to make better decisions on their own.

These are powerful elements, and yet most marketers make compromises or loose sight of them because they see them as a conflict of interest with other profit seeking motives. The problem is, these things will lose their power when any one of them has been compromised. And earning the trust of your subscribers is never a conflict of interest.

The benefits of a responsive list are tremendous. To start with, you'll make more sales with more profit in each sale. Then, word-of-mouth marketing, always the most effective method, becomes easy, and even more effective. You also put yourself in a position to sell bigger ticket items. Translation - a lot more money from a lot less effort.

If you have a passion for or enjoy learning about the things that your market values, then developing the kinds of relationships you need to make these sales won't seem like work at all.

All the while, you'll be growing and becoming more influential.

All of these things will work together to build your influence at an exponential rate, and your income is sure to follow. Essentially, if you use your power wisely, you'll continue to have more of it in the future.

And that's for the long run, because these relationships will still be there no matter what might happen with your business in the future. In fact, these relationships really ARE your business.

Copyright 2005 Laurence Baker

About Laurence: Laurence Baker is the author of "How To Win More Customers That Buy More Product More Often," presenting a solution to the biggest obstacle in making more sales on the internet -- a lack of trust. To download a FREE copy, visit

Difficult People: Understanding WHY, not WHATSusan Dunn, MA, EQ and Life Coach

What makes another person difficult? When we don't understand where they're coming from. They yell at us in an argument when we want to quietly reason; or they disengage when we want to talk it out. They say they want a vacation
and then plan a full agenda while you it was sitting on a beach veging that you wanted. People don't make sense. That makes them difficult.

The success of relationships depends how you deal with the other person's "difficultness." You can learn some action-points (when X does Y, do Z), in which case you're basically book-bound, or you can learn how to figure out what's going on at a deeper level, so that you can apply
your knowledge to the myriad of situations you'll be confronted with in real life that will never fit what you learned in the book or seminar, with the host of people you encounter, all of whom are difficult unless you have an
identical twin.

I'll admit I have an edge here. Not only because I study and teach emotional intelligence, but because I have an identical twin sister. Identical twins have the same genes. We tend to think of genes in terms of physical things, and IQ, but they relate to EQ as well.

We're aware that genes determine that X can be a great basketball player. He's over 6' tall and athletic. Genes also allow Y to be a physicist. She's got an IQ over 150, conceptual ability and a knack for numbers.

However, in perhaps the more important aspects of life, your personality and temperament, we're talking about the emotional workings of the brain, or the emotional brain. The neocortex is where we think, analyze and reason, and our IQ is largely determined at birth. The limbic brain is the seat of the emotions, and if people's IQs vary, so does their EQ - how they work emotionally. But our EQs are not set at birth; we can always develop our emotional intelligence.

Our understanding of the functioning of the brain has escalated tremendously in the past few years with the new research tools. We can't peer into the brain and see cognitive intelligence, but we can see what happens when emotion happens in the brain. For instance, brain scans show that the emotional parts of a neglected orphan's brain work differently than a "normal" baby's, i.e., one that's been well care for and had its emotional needs met.

That having been said, you aren't likely to find someone who functions emotionally the same way you do. Close with an identical twin, but even then there are fluctuating hormones and individual past experiences ("nurture") which influence our emotional makeup. And it's emotion that motivates all our behavior.

So accepting that no one else works quite the way you do is the beginning. The unhappiest people I know - and I'm a coach who works with people around EQ - are those who think the world should be a certain way, the way they think is right, and that they can't be happy until everyone does it that way, their way. It's almost easier to be with someone insensitive and not tuned in, than the intense individual convinced they have a message for you, and you'd better listen up, right?

So what's the same about everyone, and what's different? We all want pleasure, and to avoid pain. The catch is, we all use different means for getting pleasure and avoiding pain, and we each define the concepts differently. That's way to "relax," Alison plays two sets of tennis, and Sharon goes to the day spa.

If you want to figure someone else out, then, you need to move to the meta level. We can understand "meta" better by examples than definitions. It comes from the Greek "with,
after, or among." You can see the problem already. It can also mean "change or transformation," as in "metamorphosis," changing shape, like the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. It also means "more comprehensive, or transcending," and that's what we're after. (And in physics it means something else.)

Now in emotional intelligence, we work on applications: Learning the facts or theory, and the applying it to situations in your life non of which will ever have been covered in the lesson in class, if you know what I mean. For instance, let's take "people want pleasure and not pain". Why, then, does Emily spend 14 hours a day at work and then pursue a graduate school program at night and on the weekends? This would be your definition of "pain". Emily has a different definition of "pleasure." The plot thickens.

Here's another example of getting it at the meta level.

Harry said when he retired he wanted to get away from it all. He retired to Comfort, Texas (great name isn't it, and a place where many people retire), bought 12 acres of land and turned 11 of them into a natural habitat. He can see the stars at night, and hear the birds during the daytime. He putters around the house listening to music, reading, spending time on the Internet. His social life consists of his wife and occasionally his grown children. He rarely leaves his land.

Martha, too, wanted to get away from it all when she retired. She bought a house in an active retirement community in Alabama's Gulf Coast, and bought a catamaran. She fills her days with volunteer activities, entertaining on land and on sea, daycaring her grandchildren after school, and taking commercial cruises every several months, traveling all over the world on group tours.

What's up with that? Harry have been a primary care physician, his days filled with people, demands and crises since his medical school days. He wanted what he called "peace" - no people, nothing he had to do.

Martha had lived with someone like Harry, rather isolated as a full-time homemaker who did bookkeeping part-time from her home. She rarely saw people, and they entertained infrequently because of her husband's demanding schedule and reclusive nature. In retirement, when her husband died, Martha wanted lots of people and activities, and getting out and going places.

They both said they wanted to get away from it all, yet one fled to exactly what the other was avoiding. The meta level would tell you they wanted to get away from - what they had been doing before. Since each "before" was different, each "after" was different. So while they were doing different particular things, at the meta-level, they were doing the same thing.

It's the common thread. They both wanted to get away from it all, but they each had their own definition. Was it different from your definition? Each person's definition is uniquely different; how different, you'd be surprised.

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but it's more complex than that. Each of us lives in our own little planet, and it's in our heads!

And by the way, if understanding what's going on with other people doesn't interest you, that's a given as well. I find all the time in training EQ coaches, that some people are interested in insight and meta-cognition, while others aren't at all. Some want only the WHAT, and not the WHY. Either route can take you to home base. However, getting the WHY allows you to navigate by the stars, while only knowing the WHAT keeps you map-bound.

It may be easier to accept that other people are different, that to accept that YOU are different. We're all after the same thing, but our means of getting it, and the particulars of what it looks like, could hardly be more different. If you're the kind of person who seeks to understand the "why" of other people, look to the meta level. Find the common thread.

When you see something different, ask yourself how it's the same. And if you don't understand at any given level, inquire. I remember planning a vacation with a friend some years ago. "And let's not get a car," she said. "I'm sick of all the hassle."

At the time I had a job 20 minutes from my home where I sat at a desk all day, ate lunch in the building cafeteria, and then went home and stayed home, as my husband was on-call most of the time. It wasn't until years later, when I took a job in marketing (which is what my friend did at the time of the vacation) and was in my car all day and night that I understood just what a hassle "a car" can be.

Now when someone asks me to take a "vacation" with them, I check it out. If I'm after Broadway shows and fancy restaurants and they want to climb mountains and wear Birkenstocks, we're in trouble. Using your EQ means understanding the emotions that are our motivating factors and learning to work with them.

Copyright 2005 Susan Dunn

About Susan: Susan Dunn, MA, EQ & Life Coach, ttp://, coaches individuals in emotional intelligence for life improvement, and trains and certifies EQ coaches. She is the author of "How to Live Your Life with Emotional Intelligence," and "How to Develop Your Child's EQ." She offers Internet courses, ebooks and individual and group work. She trains and certifies EQ coaches. For more information about coaching, or about this fast, affordable, comprehensive, no-residency program, e-mail For free ezine, email and put "ezine" for subject line. Visit the best ebook library on the Internet

Like preparing a great meal, interviewing requires preparation. Get good ingredients and give yourself time. Prepare the food on the plate to make the meal attractive. All of these go into a great meal. Taking the time to prepare for an interview will give you a huge leg up on your completion.

1. Schedule interviews at times that work for your metabolism. Are you a morning person? Why would you accept a 6PM interview? If you are a person who functions best in the afternoon, try not to accept early morning appointments. If you are a person who needs to be conscious of their blood sugar, try to schedule your appointments at times when you are at your peak. If forced to accept one of your less ideal times, have a quick bite prior to the interview to avoid "fading." Avoid overeating.

2. Give yourself extra time to get to their offices. There are few things worse than getting to an interview late.

3. Arrive at the office building 7-10 minutes early. If it is summer, you want to wait in the lobby to cool off; no one likes shaking sweaty hands. If its winter, warm up; you don't want someone's early impressions of you formed by shaking a cold hand. Take a few minutes in the lobby to get focused on what you will say. Allow a few minutes to get through building security so that you actually arrive at your interview on time and ready to go.

4. Properly introduce yourself to everyone you meet by saying. "My name is __________ and I have a 1:30 interview with ________________."

5. If you are asked if they can hang your coat, accept the offer; if offered a beverage, accept a beverage. You don't have to drink coffee or tea. Soda, bottled water or water is fine. Thank whoever helps you. Declining the offer may be rude in some cultures.

6. Take your seat in order to face the greatest number of entry points into the room so tat you can see someone approaching you. Being startled is not a good way to start a meeting.

7. If you are given an application, complete it and complete it accurately and neatly. Do not attach your resume and write, "See attached resume." An application is a legal document and failure to complete it accurately can be grounds for termination.

8. If you are not sure about the month you started a job or your exact salary, write "approx" (for the word approximately) next to the item. If asked, indicate you are not absolutely certain of the exact month and don't wish to deceive anyone. Obviously, if you can ascertain your salary or starting date prior to interviewing, do so; for some people, the date or salary may be so far in the past to make it impossible to determine.

9. Write legibly (or as legibly as you can). This may be the twelfth application you've completed, but it is the first of yours that they've seen. In many professions, sloppiness is seen as a flaw.

10. When you hear your name announced, stand, and smile, shake the hand of your interviewer and immediately size them up as a person. Are they smart (or not). Aggressive (or not). If you were meeting this person socially, I'm sure your instincts would be right. Unfortunately, because people think interviews are important, they think they have to feel the interviewer out. Doing that is a mistake. Hard and fast impressions of you will be formed during the next ten minutes that will be difficult to change. If you tend to be right in social situations about the people you meet, trust your instincts in professional ones, too.

Using these ten steps as a check list will get you started better than your competition. What you do after that is up to you.

Copyright 2005 Jeff Altman

About Jeff: Jeff Altman, Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is also co-founder of Your Next Job, a networking group focused on assisting technology professionals with their job search, a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist. For additional job hunting or hiring tips, go to

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at (If you're looking for a new position, include your resume).

Starting a business to operate on the internet alone can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be daunting. Many resources are available to assist you, but information overload can cause paralysis and keep you from moving forward.

Keeping it simple is often the best way of maintaining the momentum necessary to get your business started. Every year, several thousand people develop an interest in "going into business." Many of these people have an idea, a product or a service they hope to promote into an income producing business which they can operate from their own homes. If you are one of these people, here are some practical thoughts to consider before hanging out the "Open-for-Business" sign on the web.

Whether you're selling products and services or providing resources and downloads, you need eye-catching content for your Website. You might run a wonderful advertising campaign; develop viral marketing tools and attractive affiliate programs. But unless your Website is rich in content, the traffic that results from your efforts will only be transient. Content that is useful, valuable, informative, educational or just plain entertaining can attract and retain an audience better than anything else. Admittedly, designing a web site can be a complex task, Site aesthetics are important and image and design are probably the first things to register in consumer awareness, but content is the most important part of the online merchandising and sales process.

Write powerful and instructive sales letters by letting it all flow out. Write down everything that enters your mind as you are writing your sales letter. You can edit it later. If you just sit and start writing everything you know about your product or service and how it will benefit your customer, you will be amazed at how much information floods your mind. Write it ALL down. Then read through it - you'll be able to add a lot more detail to many of the points. Edit it after you have exhausted all of your ideas.

Establish a marketing method and an advertising campaign. While it's agreed that the best e-commerce site in the world is worthless if no one can find it, but, too often, e-commerce start-ups either rely on search engines alone or use shotgun marketing, simply by advertising everywhere, to everyone, in the hope that a fraction of a percent of those who see the ads will respond. Promotion on the Internet has many methods, is complex, yet as with more traditional advertising requires that you understand where and how you will spend your marketing budget and what results are to be expected, as with any marketing campaign.

Create your own newsletter and start building your database. To be successful with a newsletter, you have to specialize. Your best bet will be with new information on a subject not already covered by an established newsletter. Regardless of the frustrations involved in launching your own newsletter, never forget this truth: There are people from all walks of life, in all parts of the world, many of them with no writing ability whatsoever, who are making incredible profits with a simple newsletter. Plan your newsletter before launching it. Know the basic premise for its being, your editorial position, the layout, art work, type styles, subscription price, distribution methods, and every other detail necessary to make it look, sound and feel like the end result you have envisioned.

In Conclusion- all successful businesses offer their customers something of value, but that's not enough. Customers constantly evaluate what they get against what they pay, and their criteria for making repeat purchases are very simple. They want everything: better, faster and cheaper! Even if you're clever enough to build a perfect business the first time and your product or service is ideal for your customers, your position will eventually erode because the marketplace is not static.

Your product or service may be unique, but it's not as though someone blew the whistle and stopped innovation. Sooner or later, and very soon if you're noticeably successful, other businesses will copy you. If they can provide a similar product or service better, faster or cheaper, they're going to surpass you.

Never forget that as a business owner you'll be in a constant race against an ever-improving marketplace and no matter where you are in the hunt, making improvements is a daily necessity.

Copyright 2004-2005

About Andy: Andy Cooper is the owner and operator of a successful online business. Andy has over 15 years in corporate business operations which include savvy marketing skills, customer service and Professional networking abilities.

Failure is only a matter of perspective. Change your perspective and change your outlook of failure.

Have you had a challenging day or week?

Maybe you're feeling a little tired or feel discouraged with a current situation.

Maybe you are ready to throw in the towel and quit something.

We all go through times of feeling that something in our life sucks, and all we can see and feel is the mess we are in.

When you feel that deep discouraged feeling, take a look at this report and reflect on this man's record of failure. It is a testament to how we as humans can learn and grow and win despite the losses and defeats we encounter.

Failed in business-------------------------------------1831
Defeated for legislature------------------------------1832
Failed in business again----------------------------1833
Elected to legislature---------------------------------1834
Sweetheart died----------------------------------------1835
Nervous breakdown------------------------------------1836
Defeated for speaker----------------------------------1838
Defeated for land officer------------------------------1843
Defeated for congress--------------------------------1843
Elected to congress-----------------------------------1846
Defeated for re-election-------------------------------1848
Defeated for senate------------------------------------1855
Defeated for vice president--------------------------1856
Defeated for senate------------------------------------1858
Elected President--------------------------------------1860

Who was he?

A simple uneducated country boy who refused to allow his uncongenial circumstances stop him. He refused to be a victim. He refused to accept failure. He refused to listen to people who told him he was crazy. He refused to stay down when he felt like nothing was going his way.

Simply put, he picked himself up no matter what and kept on going after his dream.
He educated himself and did whatever it took to keep moving in the direction of his passions.

Who was he? Abraham Lincoln.

If you reflect back on your life, I am sure that you can see a pattern of the times you grew the most. Many of those times are probably a result of some kind of previous 'failure.' Maybe even a series of them.

I would like to suggest that a child doesn't fail when they are learning to walk. They fall down over and over again. It is the falling that teaches them and strengthens them.

Each time we fail is a learning experience, and the faster we pick ourselves up, reflect on the past occurrence and go on again, the faster we can achieve our goals and dreams.

So with this in mind, choose the one thing that may not be going exactly as you wish right now and do one thing to move you closer to achieving the result you want!

And remember, life is about learning and growing.

Have fun and create a masterpiece!

Copyright 2005 Dr. Jamie Fettig

Resource box: Sign up for your FREE "Optimum Performance" Report (a $197 value), a weekly report to receive the most advanced thinking for achieving extraordinary results in your life and business. The key to a lasting change in anything is to change the way you think. Learn how to literally change the neurology and hardwiring of your brain in as little as 15 minutes a day for 30 days. To register and for more details go to

Oh, this is a great topic!

I remember when I was younger and in school, fear stopped me from asking out a girl I wanted to date.

I didn't understand it then but I certainly do today.

Do you ever have any thoughts of fear that cause you to not to move ahead with any of your dreams or goals?

Every human on earth at one time or another feels this "fear" and reverts back into their "safety" or comfort zone. The system was created to protect us in times of real danger but we must learn when danger is real or caused by our imagination of what may happen...again.

What ability causes one person to face and overcome possible rejection at work, in school or in a relationship, vs. someone who is paralyzed by the mere thought?

A man who goes after business like a tiger may be uncomfortable with women and therefore not be able to approach a woman for fear of rejection.

A woman who is miserable in a relationship may be petrified at the thought of saying anything to her spouse in fear of the potential discussion or backlash.

A child may not seek out other children to play with at school in fear of rejection.

The list can go on and on, from fear of leaving your job, to fear of hurting yourself if you try something new.

So, what is really going on, and how can we stop this once and for all?

First and foremost, understand that fear is a very common feeling and we all have one fear or another. The "feeling" of fear is almost solely based on what we think may happen if we try and fail. It is different than actually knowing that we will hurt ourselves, if we fall 20 stories from a building.

Most fears are illusions we create in our own head, based on past conditioning and not based on what is possible. As children we are natural born risk takers and for the most part we are fearless. The meaning we give an experience when we do not achieve the result we want, determines how we "see" and "feel" when a similar opportunity presents itself.

If we experience rejection more times than we care to, we tend to mentally label the experience a negative one. Over time, this becomes our belief, and our beliefs, as you already know, becomes our reality.

What would happen if we changed the meaning of an experience we didn't like?

What if we learned to label the experience a learning one or an interesting one? Do you think your tolerance level would increase for trying again?

I have learned that people who really succeed in various areas of life often frame their experiences differently than those who quickly label the experience as a negative one.

When we feel fear, we are playing a mental track that is not conducive to growth. All growth comes from stretching oneself past the comfort zone that limits us. Risk is a necessary part of the reward. You cannot have one without the other.

Let me suggest that you start to label your experiences in a way that serves you rather than limits you.

We have very few limits except the ones that we set on ourselves. And those are mostly out of fear from the past. Do not let your past control your present thinking. Step out and grow. Step out of your comfort zone and be free again!

And remember...

Create a Great Day!

Copyright 2005 Dr. Jamie Fettig

Resource box: Sign up for your FREE "Optimum Performance" Report (a $197 value), a weekly report to receive the most advanced thinking for achieving extraordinary results in your life and business. The key to a lasting change in anything is to change the way you think. Learn how to literally change the neurology and hardwiring of your brain in as little as 15 minutes a day for 30 days. To register and for more details go to

I received a very good question from a subscriber and I wanted to share it with you:

"I have almost 500 people signed up to receive my newsletter but each time I send it 8-9 open it and 1 =3 click onto the website. Now what do I do?"

Honestly, there could a lot of factors involved in the low open rate. If 8 or 9 actually open it and then you get 1-3 click...that's pretty good. But the problem here, seems to be with getting people to open the darned email.

Here's a couple things to think about:

1. How much of your email is getting through? Could your email or the service you're using be blacklisted by certain ISPs? I would check and see if you can see how many of your emails are actually going through.

2. How about a compelling subject line? Test out different subject lines to see what grabs your subscribers interest. If you're still writing:

" Newsletter Issue 1 Vol 14"

Then cut it out!:) That's not going to get people to open it. Try to give them a quick glimpse of what's inside and make it interesting. You'll probably find certain things grab your subscriber's attention than others.

3. What are the contents of your newsletter like? Is there a reason for people to open it if they don't have their wallet ready to buy something? I know that many people who sell products only place information about product specials, etc....but if your subscriber is not in a buying mood, they may not open your email.

Go the extra mile and provide them with VALUE in your newsletter. Give them special tips and advice related to your product that will help them solve problems.

For example, if you sell corporate gift baskets - give tips on developing client relationships or anything related to the goal of corporate gift giving.

4. If you reach a broad audience, customize your mailing lists. I happen to know the lady who submitted this question does sell gift baskets...but she sells all kinds of gift baskets. What kind of value can you deliver to your customers / prospects if some of them:

- buy new baby gift baskets
- buy corporate gifts
- buy Valentine's gifts

It's tough. I'd look to Amazon as the ultimate model to emulate -- they customize information for you based on your interests. They know what you looked at when you visited their website and they also keep track of what you buy. Then they deliver relevant products and content to you. You can apply the same plan to your mailing lists.

You can give opt-in subscribers tell you what topics they are interested in or if you are putting your customers on your follow up list -- make sure that follow up list is related to what they bought.

Keep working at it and learning what your subscribers WANT and deliver it to them. Don't give up...just get better. Also, do yourself a favor to help you in this process. Sign up for Alexandria K. Brown's (The Ezine Queen) Free Report:

"3 Simple Secrets to Publishing an Ezine That Makes You Money"

Copyright 2005 Alice Seba

About Alice: Alice Seba is a full-time online business owner that thrives on helping others say good-bye to their J-O-Bs forever. Sign up for her "Internet Marketing Prescriptions" to cure what ails your online business:

Last week, this e-mail from Jack arrived in my inbox:

To: Ari Galper
From: Jack
Subj.: Help! I need to get more appointments

Dear Ari,

I've just coined a new disease for the medical books, and I'm hoping you can help me cure it.

Have you ever heard of "freezing-up-on-the-first-call paralysis"? It's brought on by the stress of selling!

I'm new to sales, and, as I've been starting out, I've studied all the programs from all the "sales masters."

They all insist that, when I call new prospects, I should be laser-focused on getting appointments.

The problem is, when I make that first call and lead the conversation toward the goal of getting an appointment, I hit a "wall."

I know that if I can just get face-to-face with prospects, they'll see the value of my solution -- but I can't even get there because they shut me down.

When they tell me "I'm not interested" or "I'm busy now" or "We already have a vendor," I'm left with nowhere to go.

What's worse, I can't even come up with what to say next.

Can you recommend some "medicine" that will help?

Always open-minded,


"Whew!" I thought when I read this. "That's an intense e-mail!" Jack's e-mail started me thinking about the hundreds of conversations I've had with many of you who are out there selling your solutions day in and day out.

I realized that his "disease" is so pervasive that those of you who are suffering from it could probably use a "prescription" from the Unlock The Game™ pharmacy.

This was my response to Jack:

To: Jack
From: Ari Galper
Subj.: RE: Help? I need to make more appointments

Dear Jack,

First of all, thank you so much for being open to sharing your painful selling challenge.

You articulated so beautifully what so many other people are experiencing, and I hope you won't mind if I share your e-mail and this response with my newsletter subscribers.

Here's why you've been afflicted with this "disease"-- and what you can do to cure it.

The "wall" you hit when you try to get the appointment is the prospect's reaction to you putting your own objectives ahead of the crucial trust-building process that would actually allow an appointment to emerge.

By laser-focusing on getting the appointment, you're sabotaging three factors that are vital if you're going to build trust.

To build trust, you need to:

1. Focus the conversation on your prospect's problems, while holding off on offering your solution.

2. Create a two-way dialogue instead of a one-way monologue.

3. Determine whether you and your prospect are a "fit" in terms of being in sync about putting resources toward solving the problems.

All three of these elements must happen in the most natural way possible...and you can help them to come about. Here's how:

*Invite your prospect into the conversation naturally and comfortably -- not by making a mini-introduction about yourself (that only triggers the "wall"), but by asking, "Can you help me out for a second?"

*Toss out your selling scripts and create a dialogue path around the specific problems that you know your product or service can solve.

For example, rather than saying, "Our solution lowers costs," try, "Our solution solves three specific problems that you may be experiencing."

Then, state exactly what those problems are.

Identifying and agreeing on the prospect's problems is crucial but not enough to build the trust and commitment you're seeking.

You can continue the conversation with something along these lines: "Sounds as if these issues are important for you, but, if we can just take a second, are they considered a priority, given what else might be on your plate right now? I mean, are these problems immediate enough that your company can put resources into a solution at this point?"

You see, Jack, the basic cause of your "disease" is that you're not focusing your calls on your prospect's perspective. But if you simply expand your mindset and begin implementing new problem-solving language, you might be surprised when your prospect suggests making an appointment.

Warmest regards,


The next day, Jack replied:

To: Ari Galper
From: Jack
Subj. Re: Help! I need to make more appointments

Dear "Dr." Ari,

Thank you so much! Your reply gave me a huge sense of relief.

All of a sudden, I'm feeling "healthy" and motivated again.

Your relieved patient,


P.S. Sure, please do share our conversation with your subscribers so they don't have to suffer the way I have.

Try this medicine and see if it works for you.

Copyright 2005 Ari Galper

About Ari: With a Masters Degree in Instructional Design and over a decade of experience creating breakthrough sales strategies for global companies such as UPS and QUALCOMM, Ari Galper discovered the missing link that people who sell have been seeking for years.

His profound discovery of shifting one's mindset to a place of complete integrity, based on new words and phrases grounded in sincerity, has earned him distinction as the world's leading authority on how to build trust in the world of selling.

Leading companies such as Gateway, Clear Channel Communications, Brother International and Fidelity National Mortgage have called on Ari to keep them on the leading edge of sales performance. Visit to get his free sales training lessons.

Have you ever thought about how much better you could be doing in your business or career?
What about your relationship with someone you love or the state of your health right now?

I have to admit that at any point in my life, one or more of these areas needs more attention than I give it.

There seems to be so much to do, so much to accomplish if 'more' is the focus.

Let me suggest that the quest for more is a trap. It never stops.

Optimum performance is about playing life at the highest possible level. If we are so full of potential, then why are most of us not living up to that potential in every area of our life?

There are a couple of very good reasons that make perfect sense and we'll start with desire, passion and fun.

Do you remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to do was play?

What was one thing you loved to do that you could do for hours and never want to stop?

Ask yourself why?

If you are like me, then it's because it was fun and exciting and you felt good doing it. It made you happy and you never wanted to stop doing it until you dropped.

We all knew that we could get hurt running, playing, and challenging ourselves. But the reward of having fun, feeling free and the sense of accomplishment was worth the price.

We were born natural risk takers back then. What happened and why is it relevant to optimum performance?

Part of the reason you enjoyed what you did was the 'positive feedback' you received from others.

The other more important part is because it was what you wanted to do. It didn't really matter how 'good' you were. The 'how good' was secondary to just having fun.

It was the times you chose to do what you wanted that was the most fun and exhilarating. It wasn't when someone else said you needed to do or should do something.

Optimum performance can only truly be achieved when 'all of you' is in the game. And believe me, life is just a game. You loved playing as a kid and it's time to start playing again.

Just going through the motions in your relationship is so mediocre and not fun. Working in a job or career that you tolerate is not fun. Not earning the income you want is not fun. Not having the energy or health you want is not fun.

What's NOT FUN in your life right now?

So the real question you are now faced with is you want to have fun again? Do you want to play?

How great would the results be in each area of your life if it were fun again? Well it can be...and will be!

Do not confuse having fun with not putting in effort. You will achieve results in every area of your life in direct proportion to the effectiveness of the effort you put in, not the effort. Do not confuse activity with results.

In the coming months my focus will be to help you think about WHY you are getting the current results that in your life right now and how to significantly enjoy yourself more, so that the results are the by-product of having fun and doing what you love and want to do.

The game of life is about choosing what you really want. The real trick in having more is in becoming more and having fun. It is natural to grow and become more, when we do what we love and what we want.

Optimum performance is about doing the 'right things' really well.

Copyright 2005 Dr. Jamie Fettig

Resource box: Sign up for your FREE "Optimum Performance" Report (a $197 value) A Weekly report to receive the most advanced thinking for achieving extraordinary results in your life and business. The key to lasting change in anything is changing the way you think. Learn how to literally change the neurology and hardwiring of your brain in as little as 15 minutes a day for 30 days. To register and for more details go to

Here come those flying pigs!

Does it ever end? I've been involved with Internet-based home businesses for some time and I continue to be exposed to a seemingly endless barrage of offers (all costing me money, of course) claiming to be "the secret" for making a fantastic income, in a very short time, and with very little effort involved.

I must admit that I may have a slightly self-serving reason for addressing this topic. My articles are published on my home-based business websites for the purpose of trying to give prospective team members a true sense of what is really involved with starting and developing a successful home based business. The self-serving part, I suppose, is that I want people joining my team to have the straight scoop going in so that we don't waste each other's time. I admit to being selfish in this regard (I don't want to waste time working with people that have unrealistic expectations), but it is also very efficient for both parties involved, so it is not a totally one-way thing.

Now, back to the topic at hand. There's no magic here, folks. Once you have selected the home business that you are going to pursue, there are no substitutes for time and effort in developing your business. A dream of being an "overnight success" is just that, a dream.

I can tell you from personal experience, that once you "pay your dues" and begin to have real success with a home based business, it is really terrific. Think about Nirvana or Valhalla, take your pick, but in any event it's really sweet.

When I started developing a home based business, making a good income was obviously an objective, but I also had other sub-objectives. One of the most important things was to have nearly total time flexibility (I mean, if I was willing to continue to wear the 9-5 Mon-Fri collar I could just have just stayed in the previously "traditional" work force).

Time flexibility was (and still is) a "biggie" for me. Many people working at home have the same need for various reasons. For work at home moms, a home business can be a real godsend to accommodate the hectic time pressures, particularly when the kids are quite young and mom is also spelled "transportation".

In my own particular case, the reason is not quite so noble...I just want (need?) to be able to pick up my fly rod and go fishing at a moments notice (sometimes I'll be gone for a week or two at a time, but now the business has enough momentum that it keeps on operating just as well as if I were here tending to it on a daily basis).

Bear in mind, I am only able do the breakaway thing now that I have put in all the up-front time and effort and now have developed enough kinetic energy in my home-based Internet business to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Copyright 2005 Kirk Bannerman

About Kirk: Kirk Bannerman operates his own successful home based business and also coaches others seeking to start their own home based business. For more information visit his website at Proven Work At Home Business (

There are many situations in life that will require you to take out loans. Finding the right money lenders will allow you to get the loans that are best suited to your particular need.

First place to turn to in an emergency is your own family. Maybe they can help you out in emergency cases.

Bank loans are a safe and secure way to borrow money. You can find banks that offer various types of loans such as auto loans, home loans and student loans.

Many people want to start their own small business but back away since they do not have the start-up capital. Business loans are useful in helping such people start their own business. When starting your business, you should have a business plan ready, and then you can go out searching for small business money lenders. You can go to commercial lenders, banks or venture capitalists, give them your best sales pitch of your business idea and convince them of your future success.

Cash advance money lenders can help you get money in emergency situations. If you have run out of money before the end of the month, and need some quick cash to make sure your electricity or heat is not turned off, cash advance money lenders can help. They often do not carry out background checks and so it doesn't matter if you have bad credit. However these loans are meant to be only for the short term and if you do not pay them off on time, they can be very damaging.

Hard money lenders are a resource to turn to when you have bad or no credit and cannot find anyone to loan out money to you. They are private lenders who lend out money on homes and property, for private or business use, to finance the cost of buying or repairing the property. The advantage of hard money lenders is that they have little qualification requirements and will lend to you even if you have bad credit. Hard money lenders, however, often charge higher interest rates on their loans.

Any money lender you do business with, you should make sure is legitimate and can provide you with his credentials. Well known and reputed lenders are a safer bet.

If you get turned down by money lenders you can ask them why. Also you can acquire a copy of your credit report to see where you can make improvements. With a good credit score more money lenders will be willing to loan to you, and thus you will have more choices and offers available.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

If you do not understand consumer credit, you will be far more likely to misuse credit, and ruin your financial situation. That is why the subject of consumer credit is so important.

A lot of people get their first experience with consumer credit when they get their student credit card. This is where their study of consumer credit begins. Credit card users need to be knowledgeable in credit terms such as APR, rewards, balance transfer and cash back.

You can also get department store cards specific to one brand name store. A department store card has its pros and cons. A lot of offers are advertised if you sign up for a card, such as discounts and free gifts. However the APR on these consumer credit cards is often considerably higher than most regular credit cards.

When you are a consumer of credit you need to know your legal rights so that you can protect yourself. For example if you are being hassled by collectors, you should be aware of the Fair Debt Collection Act, which lays out the rules that limits the actions a collector can use to retrieve his money.

You have a legal right to view your credit report. Your credit report is a history of your financial transactions and if you are turned down for a loan, you can view your report to determine why. You can get your credit report from a credit reporting bureau. You may be eligible for a free credit report to view your consumer credit status. How good your credit score is will determine what loans you can get and on what interest rates.

Consumer credit counseling

Misuse of credit can often lead to a high amount of consumer credit loans which can in turn lead to bankruptcies. If you are facing an overwhelming debt situation, it may be advantageous to seek out consumer credit counseling.

If your credit situation has deteriorated, consumer credit counseling may help. Counseling can help you determine your financial situation and help you find ways to repair your credit. Counseling can help you better manage your finances, so that you can stay out of debt and become a more informed user of consumer credit.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

I am going to show you a way to easily get an extra 40 hours a month and what you need to earn per hour to achieve your yearly financial goals.

Have you ever asked yourself what your highest income producing activity is?

If you're like most people you probably go about your day-to-day business never really thinking about the moment-to-moment activities that consume your day. Here is a way to help you get a perspective on where to spend your time

365 days minus all holidays and vacation days leaves us with 238 days that most people work in a year.

That leaves each one of us with approximately 238 days in order to earn the income we desire. If you figure an average of working 10 hours a day you absolutely must be doing activities every hour that line up with this chart.

$25k = you must be earning $10.50 for every hour of work.
$50K = $21 per hour
$100k = $42 per hour
$250k = $105 per hour
$1 M = $420 per hour
$5 M = $2100 per hour
$10 M = $4200 per hour

What are you spending your time doing? Are you focused on the real money makers or the real time wasters? Are you making it easy for yourself to be a high-income earner or are you doing the things that can be done by someone whose income goal or ability is less than yours?

If you pay someone $5-$10 an hour for 10 hours a week to do everyday tasks for you, you will end up with an extra 40 hours a month that only cost you $200-$400 to get. How much more money could you earn with 40 extra hours a week? How much more time could you spend with your family and loved ones. Would that be worth $400 to you?

I can tell you that when you start to look at each hour this way, you'll stop doing the small stuff and you'll start doing the real high producing stuff that yields results. Just look at your most recent 3-5 days and count the number of hours you spent really making the big bucks vs. all the stuff that creeps up on all of us. What you discover will amaze you.

People often asked me what the next step would be if they wanted to achieve more income so here are just a few thoughts for you to ponder.

1-What skills must I now learn in order to command that income per hour? Please be brutally honest with yourself.

2- How long will that take?

3- Am I committed to doing that?

4- What beliefs about myself must I have in order to achieve a higher income?

5- Am I committed to changing my internal beliefs?

6- Am I prepared to take action now?

7- Who can guide me the fastest to reach my desired income/revenue?

The secret is putting it all in the right order and right sequence now!

To You Having It All

Copyright 2005 Dr. Jamie Fettig

Resource box: Sign up for your FREE "Optimum Performance" Report (a $197 value) A Weekly report to receive the most advanced thinking for achieving extraordinary results in your life and business. The key to lasting change in anything is changing the way you think. Learn how to literally change the neurology and hardwiring of your brain in as little as 15 minutes a day for 30 days. To register and for more details go to

As you read every word of this article, you'll be stunned by how quickly and easily you can build a massive list of opt-in subscribers without spending a fortune. (The idea is to make money, not spend money. Right?)

I'll get right to the point...

It can be a real pain in the butt trying to build an opt-in list using the "old school" methods of list building that every Internet marketing guru out there is teaching these days.

They tell you... "Use pop ups and pop unders, delayed pops, and exit pops", "Put a subscription box on every page of your website", "Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engines to drive traffic to your opt-in page", etc. etc. etc.

Those methods are OK, in my opinion. If you're using them now and they are effective for you, continue using them. If you're not, I'd suggest that you at least experiment with them to see if they work for your situation.


The two biggest problems you'll face using the "old school" methods are... either it takes way too much of YOUR TIME or it costs way too much of YOUR MONEY to build a list of any respectable size.

(In the BizOp, MLM, and Internet marketing arenas, many potential joint venture partners won't even talk to you unless your list has at least 50,000 - 100,000 subscribers.)


Very simple...

Instead of waiting for customers to come to you (which you have to do even with PPC search engines)...

You can BUY subscribers.

That's right! There are companies out there that will sell you the names and email addresses of people that have REQUESTED information about business opportunities.


There are 8 things you want to look for from any lead/subscriber source.

Here they are:

1. 100% Opt-In: You want to buy the contact information of people that have actively requested more information. There are various methods of capturing contact information. Some leads sources sell you names that came from CD-ROM that has 12 million names on it. Some lead sources pre-check the subscription box, so many of their leads didn't know that they were going to be sent any information from you. You want to make sure that all the names you buy have explicitly requested the information that you are going to send them.

2. Targeted: You want Business Opportunity Seekers ONLY! What good is it if the names you buy really just wanted to be on someone's joke list or recipe newsletter? I'll tell you... Absolutely NOTHING! Actually, less than nothing if you get a lot of SPAM complaints and your ISP bans you from sending emails or your email addresses ends up on blacklists all throughout the Internet.

3. Only "Fresh" Leads: Plain and simple... The older the list, the less responsive it will be to your offer. As time goes by, people become less and less interested in what they requested information on. The more time between their initial request and your first contact, the easier it is for them to forget that they even requested information. My personal recommendation is that you never buy leads that are over 30 days old, unless you can get them at a steep discount.

4. Quick Turn-around: You don't want to wait months for your leads source to fulfill your order. Many smaller sites aren't able to keep up with the demand for leads so you could be waiting months if your order is large. You want a source that can fulfill large orders in a timely basis. Time really is money... especially when someone has yours, and you're left waiting months for your list.

5. Accessible & Effective Support: You want to be able to ask a question any time, day or night, and get a fast, courteous, and most importantly, effective solution to your concern. With some companies, you send them an email and it takes them days to get back to you, if they reply at all. And, speaking bluntly, many of them use incompetent people for their support because they're only after a quick buck. Their motto, "Grab the money and run... They should be able to figure it out."

6. CAN-SPAM Compliant: If you buy a list that has been harvested from websites, forums, newsgroups or any number of other places, you could get in serious trouble just for sending them your email. It's just not worth it! Please, only send your information and promotional material to people that want to hear from you.

7. Exclusivity: You don't want to compete for your leads attention any more than you have to. Spam filter, blacklist, and unexplainable Internet "glitches" cause email marketers enough grief. You want to know that your list is not going to be resold to a dozen or a hundred different marketers. My personal recommendation is that you NEVER purchase a lead that is sold to more than 5 marketers. The quality of response will be horrible if you're competing with that many people for your prospects' limited time and attention.

8. Alternate Means Of Communication: If you can get them, you also want their home address and home telephone number. If you're really serious about promoting your opportunity, you should be communicating with your prospects with more than just email. Postcards and short phone calls/message have been proven to increase response to almost any offer - especially offers where people are naturally skeptical at the outset.

BTW, some websites (I won't name any names.) make it sound like they're doing you a favor by "giving you their name at no additional cost". Give me a break! Names are MANDATORY!

Now that you have the criteria, you should evaluate your current lead sources and check out a few new ones.

Copyright 2005 Dan Kelly

About Dan: Dan Kelly is the CEO and webmaster of - "Helping entrepreneurs build and profit from their single greatest marketing asset - their list." To see how inexpensive it can be to get your very own list check out today. You'll be glad you did!

If you work for yourself, the odds that you will still be in business in the year 2005 are only 1 in 5. In today's workplace swirling with change, one million people will start a new business this year. The UGLY truth is that 800,000 of those will be out of business in the year 2005.

If you work for someone else: It is likely you won't be with them in five years. Even major corporations lack staying power in today's international economy. Years of experience can become obsolete overnight. In fact most will change careers (not jobs) five to seven times over the next 40 years.

Security is no longer in the job, company, or industry. The only transferable skill is your ability to express yourself persuasively and convincingly. These skills never become obsolete. Research studies prove that a strong command of the English Language is directly linked to your career advancement, your earnings, and also social success. The same studies show that in hard times those laid off first tend to be those with poor communications skills.

Michael Leaven, in his book, Guerrilla P.R., tells us that the ability to use language persuasively is arguably the most important attribute for success.

FUTURIST Rolf Jensen, director of the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, says, "We are in the twilight of a society based on personal communication skills. Companies will recruit people based on how they express their ideas."

Oscar Bruce, in his book, WINNING WORDS WINNING WAYS, asserts: "With a strong command of language you will go farther and get ahead faster".

Give Yourself The Edge: Stack the deck in your favor professionally and socially. Give your conversation an upgrade.

Copyright 2005 Oscar Bruce

About Oscar: Oscar Bruce's books are considered the ultimate field manuals for managing conversations with power and persuasion. His website offers verbal strategies that will add power to your persuasion. His free newsletter is also available at the website.

Once you have made your choice, the two most important things are to stay focused and not to get takes a long time to become an overnight success!

I've had many active and enthusiastic business team members that were their own worst enemies because they exhibited the classic "flea on a griddle" behavior pattern and jumped around chasing one business opportunity today, and then another one tomorrow without ever putting in enough sustained and focused effort to reasonably give themselves a chance to succeed at any of them.

I can really relate to this situation since I briefly fell prey to this same "dog in a meat market" syndrome when I first started my own home based business a few years ago. I caught myself trying to chase several different opportunities at once and not being very successful with any of them.

There are so many home business opportunities (some real, some not) that it takes real personal discipline to avoid the scattergun know, throw enough against the wall and something is bound to stick. In the early going, it is really important to resist this temptation and to stay tightly focused on a single business.

Some will argue that "I don't want to have all my eggs in one basket". To those people I say, diversification is fine, but only after you have achieved solid success with your initial business. A premature attempt at diversification will quite likely cause a loss of focus and actually slow down your success rate.

If your main marketing vehicle is a website, you can fairly easily leverage your initial success and effectively promote a few other complimentary and closely related home based business propositions from the same website.

However, it is important not to go overboard and offer too many choices to visitors to your website. If you do, there is a good chance of confusing your visitors to the point where they will take no action and you have, in effect, diluted the effectiveness of your website.

Whatever you decide to do, you will need to stick with it for a reasonable length of time (give it at least one year) and put in a solid and sustained effort. Stay focused and don't get discouraged. As much as you would like it to be, starting and developing a real home based business is certainly not an instant gratification situation.

Copyright 2005 Kirk Bannerman

About Kirk: Kirk Bannerman operates his own successful home based business and also coaches others seeking to start their own home based business. For more information visit his website at

Google has always been the search industry's innovator and that's just what Google's aging delay symbolizes, the evolution of search innovation... yet another significant step forward for Google.

Google's success as a search engine can undeniably be attributed to its ability to consistently return the most relevant search engine results. That's what kept the search giant on top of the pack and leading the multi-billion dollar search industry & that's what's going to keep them there!

Now that said, is it any wonder why Google incorporated the infamous aging delay into their ranking criterion? The simple truth is, Google's aging delay is a full frontal assault on artificial link inflation.

With the induction of multiple clever off-page reciprocal-linking strategies engineered to artificially inflate link popularity and PageRank, Googles aging delay wasn't only necessary and long overdue; it was the next logical step in the evolution of search.

The confusion and misunderstanding of the aging delay among site owners is nothing short of amazing. Many of my clients are confounded because their new sites are well positioned in Yahoo, MSN & the other large search engines while they're site is no where to be found in Google's search engine result's pages (SERPs)... except for perhaps on the most obscure search terms.

Current and unconfirmed speculation has been misplacing the blame on Google's 'sandbox' effect. While this is a possibility I believe it's also highly improbable.

The sandbox holding period is typically anywhere between 90 to 120 days, the aging delay appears to be much longer. I've seen new sites delayed for up to 6-8 months.

The premise of the sandbox delay theory suggests that new sites are being penalized for gaining too many links too fast. To date I haven't seen a scrap of evidence to support that claim.

The sandbox theory is further disproved by the fact that newer sites engaged in procuring relevant links experience the same delay in climbing Google's SERPs as other new sites utilizing scores of purchased text links. This lends credibility to my thought that new sites are not being penalized on the premise of acquisition or quantity of inbound links and; supports my theory that it's the reciprocated links that are being delayed by an aging filter.

It just doesn't seem 'reasonable' for Google to penalize sites for acquiring legitimate directory listings & building an optimized reciprocal link based network. In my opinion, mainstream SEOs are confusing the existing sandbox effect, with Google's new 'aging filter' that arrived on the search scene earlier this year.

It seems more likely that Google's aging filter is weighing the 'maturity' of inbound links and not the new site itself. Meaning that in addition to the traditional ranking criterion, the age of a sites inbound links are also now considered.

My own theory is that newly acquired inbound links are placed on a 'probationary' status until they've 'matured' before they're considered. For example, a new and relevant inbound PR 6 link would not be given the same weight or consideration as a 'grandfathered' PR 6 link until the aging delay expired.

By placing newly acquired links on a probationary period and delaying the ranking of newer sites Google has effectively offset the instant free ride to the top of their SERPs. Purchasing volumes of brokered links to that end is now a moot point. After all, your site will still be delayed regardless of the amount of links you purchase and you won't see any return on investment (ROI) for at least 6 - 8 months.

Existing Site owners interested in immediate (ROI) are now strongly motivated to build new pages or expand existing sites in order to avoid Googles lengthy aging delay. With the 'all-the-rage' mini-network strategy shifting to more of a long-term commitment it seems likely that's exactly what will happen!

Whether by clever design or not, the only alternative to riding out the aging delay that produces immediate results in Googles SERPs is to advertise through Google's AdWords Program. So it seems that Google's solution vis--vis the aging delay has turned out to be an excellent vehicle to promote Googles own AdWords Program as well. Hmm...

How do you survive Google's aging delay? By taking pro-active action!

I haven't seen any new sites with new domains appear at the top of Google's (SERPs) since early to mid 2004. I've consulted with and tracked many of my clients' new sites and despite the fact they have hundreds of #1 positions in Yahoo, Alta Vista, AllTheWeb & MSN for their keywords I've yet to see any remarkable results in Google until the 6 - 8 month period.

The trend I've noticed suggests that new sites are initially indexed; ranked accordingly in Google's SERPs for a week or so and then literally vanish from the SERPs for several months. In most cases they can't even be found with the most obscure search terms... including their own name and address.

If you're launching a new site don't panic. Once you've registered your domain name and configured the hosting, you should set up a few temporary pages. Obtain links to them from other sites in Google's index to start the aging delay count down. I recommend launching a site immediately with enough content to set up and facilitate the requirements for directory listings to start. The sooner Google is aware of your domain the better. Just don't hold your breath waiting to see results... It could be as long as 6 - 8 months!

Gauge your optimization efforts by where your site ranks in the other search engines. Provided you're not engaged in unethical practices and followed Google's Webmaster's guidelines this should give you a ballpark indication of where Google will rank your site after the aging delay, just be patient.

To that end, don't keep tweaking and changing your pages source code and trying to manipulate your rankings until your site has been in Google's index for at least 6 - 8 months. In other words, there's no need to reinvent the wheel here because it doesn't seem to matter what you do, your site will still be delayed regardless.

Don't keep submitting your pages to Google either! It won't make any difference.

Check your server logs to confirm Googlebots' crawl and then forget about it. Googlebot will find your site again if you're actively reciprocating links so your time would be better served building an optimized reciprocal link network to get your site out there and linked to as early as possible.

If traffic from Google is crucial to your marketing and promotion plan, and I don't know anyone who would argue otherwise... budget to run an AdWords campaign for a few months until the site is indexed and positioned. You might even consider running an Overture campaign as well!

If you purchase non-directory links, reallocate that budget to Adwords advertising.

It's pointless to purchase links when you can invest in an AdWords or Overture campaign. Purchasing links is an investment you won't see a red cent ROI for at least 6 - 8 months while an Adwords campaign will drive targeted traffic to your site that can convert immediately. Keep in mind that Lycos, HotBot, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Iwon, Netscape & Teoma also receive paid results from Google! MSN, AllTheWeb, AltaVista & Yahoo receives paid results from Overture.

Do other search engines have an aging delay?

Google provides primary search results to other search engines. It only seems reasonable to expect that your site may be delayed in Google's partner sites as well.

One-way you may be able to work around this, and I can't emphasize this enough; is to make sure you submit your site to DMOZ, the open source directory. Google, in addition to the other major engines, receives directory results directly from DMOZ.

Yahoo and its partner sites don't seem to be utilizing an aging delay, nor does MSN, so focusing your early efforts on these search engines might give you a competitive edge in the Yahoo network.

At the end of the day when it's all said and done surviving Google's aging delay is just a matter of time. The days of purchasing instant link popularity and PageRank are over and in due course you will see Google give your site the recognition it deserves.

Copyright 2005 Lawrence Deon

About the author: Lawrence Deon is an SEO/SEM Consultant and Author of the popular search engine optimization and marketing model Ranking Your Way To The Bank.

I'm literally inundated with questions on the subject of invisible text & hosting so I thought I'd debunk some myths and give you the facts straight up.

What is invisible text? Invisible text is the body text that's the same or similar color to the background. You know, the stuff you can very easily see on a page if you press Ctrl-A or highlight everything on the page with your left mouse button.

Will invisible text hurt your search engine rankings? Undoubtedly! If you attempt to use the same color text as the background color of your web pages the search engines will penalize you.

Why? The use of invisible text is commonly considered black hat seo by the search engines and a blatant spam tactic. If your visitors can't see or read the text then what good is it anyway? It's deceptive period.

Trust Google when they say in their Quality Guidelines & Specific recommendations to avoid hidden text or hidden links.

Now here's why this topic is so interesting... and I know you're saying, why should I worry or care about invisible text if I've never used any on my web site? Well the answer is simple.

You may be hosting invisible text on your website right now & not even know it. In fact you were never intended to know it... That's why it's invisible!

WHAT? Yeah... you may be getting duped!

So just what exactly am I talking about? I'm talking about your hosting company (usually the free ones) leeching your Google PageRank & building link popularity for their clients off your web pages & bandwidth. If you don't think they do it... guess again. It's a lucrative business.

Now with that said I'm not going to name or badmouth any specific hosting service. What I am going to do is tell you how to determine if you're an unsuspecting victim.

Here's an invaluable tool to help you detect search engine spam penalties!

Secondly, double-check your cached pages to see what the search engine robots actually see when they index your page. Look for additional links & advertising in the source code that isn't in your original source code.

If you find additional advertising or links that aren't on your current pages... your host MAY be killing your search engine rankings. The simple solution to this problem is to immediately transfer your domain to a trusted service provider.

Now let's talk about the invisible text you can't see at all on a page. Yes, you could still be hosting invisible text. Even if you press Ctrl-A or highlight everything on the page with your left mouse button & nothing shows up!

Just for the record you'll find some content management programs employing this very technique. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my PageRank 5 realty site had two sets of Meta keywords on my pages, easily seen when I view Google's cached versions....

I was choked... especially since their user agreement didn't disclose this fact!

Is using invisible text in cascading style sheets good? Nope!

There's a new school of thought claiming you can use an alternative cascading style sheet (CSS) approach to placing invisible text on your web pages without penalty.

The theory is predicated on the premise that you could employ an external style sheet in another directory. There you' d simply define a special class for a tag like < P > where the font and background colors are identical.

The claim is there's no way for the current search engines algorithms to distinguish the color codes and penalize you. While this may or may not be the immediate situation it's fundamentally WRONG!

Invisible text is invisible text & it's spam.

Since many invisible text tricks utilize CSS positioning properties to hide their contents, you'll soon see (if not already) the search engines employing advanced algorithms to find hidden text in CSSs.

If you subscribe to the CSS theory you'll undoubtedly be revisiting your strategy or paying later by being blacklisted or removed entirely from the various search engine indexes.

Incidentally, before you roll the dice on this one you might want to consider the fact that the tool I just referred you to is only the beta version and the developer is already planning to add support for identifying invisible text in CSSs! Just how much more advanced and further ahead do you think the search engine techs are?

So what does it all mean to you & what should you do?

  1. Check your cached pages for invisible text.
  2. If you find Invisible text or advertising determine it's origin
  3. Read every user agreement very carefully
  4. Take action & do something about removing it!

The bottom line lesson here is simple. Trying fool the search engines with Spammy tricks or hocus pocus schemes has never worked for long in the past. Don't employ unethical spam techniques and don't become an unsuspecting victim yourself.

Copyright 2005 Lawrence Deon

About the author: Lawrence Deon is an SEO/SEM Consultant and Author of the popular search engine optimization and marketing model Ranking Your Way To The Bank.

Let me preface this report by citing advertisers in 2004 have spent 4 Billion dollars on search engine marketing according to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO).

Website marketers cited Search engine positioning was the top method to drive traffic to their sites (66%), followed by email marketing (54%). Source: Direct Marketing Association. Accordingly, the most cost effective way to market your web site online is to obtain several top 10-search engine rankings in the major search engines for your keywords.

According to a recent Jupiter Research Survey, searching on the search engines is one of the main uses of the Internet among 79% of users. Source: September 2002 Jupiter Research Survey. So that being the case, whatever your promoting you'll want to make sure it can be found on the first page of the search engines results page.

The reason is numerically simple. An Iprospect Survey in 2002 reported that 78% of web users abandon their search if the first 3 pages don't provide an answer to their question, and 28% don't scroll past the 2nd page of results. Source: Media Post article reporting results of Spring 2002 IProspect survey.

Combine those facts with the Internets explosive growth rate of 1.8 Million people worldwide going online every week for the very first time, Source: Official Guide To Internet Promotion and you can soon appreciate what a top 10 ranking can mean to you.

Google receives approximately 39.4% of all search engine traffic. Yahoo receives approximately 30.4%. They're simply the largest search engines being utilized online today.

Bringing up the rear is MSN at 29.6%, and AOL 15.5% then Ask Jeeves with 8.5%. Source: Nielsen//NetRatings January 2004

How much traffic is that? Well, Google and its partner sites were reporting a whopping 250 million searches a day in February 2003.

Overture and its partners were reporting over 167 million searches per day. Inktomi reported 80 million followed by LookSmart with 45 million per day.

FindWhat reported 33 million while Ask Jeeves reported 20 million, Alta Vista reported 18 million and finally Fast reported 12 Million searches per day. Source: 2004.

With all said, you can easily see how your search engine rankings are directly proportional to the traffic your web site receives, and your site traffic is directly related to your potential to profit online.

Oh, and in case your wondering how much money is spent online; a recent Forrester Research Report indicated that online spending reached $95,700,000,000 million in 2003! That's a cool 95.7 billion dollars. Projected online spending is estimated to grow to $229 billion in 2008! A whopping 139% increase in online spending! Source: Forrester Research

Now with these facts in mind I'm confident you can clearly see what a top 10-search engine ranking can mean for your bottom line. Although it does leave a question unanswered in my mind, what has a higher ROI... organic search engine optimization or paid search?

According to SEMPO's key analysis, the U.S. & Canadian SEM Industry Size Estimate by tactic in 2004, organic SEO accounted for 12% of the market share or $492,057,200 while Paid Placement accounted for $3,341,878,176 or 81.8%.

Interestingly, 9 out of 10 respondents are actively engaged in organic SEM marketing programs accounting for 89% of the respondent advertisers. This trend can be contributed to the average cost of popular keywords continuing to escalate.

If the escalation continues to rise it could make paid search engine advertising exponentially cost prohibitive for all but the largest advertisers... the 900lb gorillas!

Simply put, ROI is outpacing inflation: SEMPO's key analysis indicates advertisers could afford to pay on average 33% more for their keywords and remain profitable, while they say prices have gone up 26% on average in the last 12 months. That's leaves a 7% advertising margin to maintain current profits for 2005!

SEMPO's data also noted that advertisers will get smarter about managing their paid placement programs before they cut back on spending.

This is also consistent with a report released by Nielsen/NetRatings indicating that the growing demand for search engine advertising is outstripping the supply of currently available advertising space.

These findings seem to indicate the inventory of keywords is approaching a critical demand problem however; most advertisers felt they still have some degree of price flexibility in their paid placement programs before they will reach the threshold of diminishing returns.

Is there any wonder why organic search engine positioning has gained popularity for online marketers in 2004? Could it be higher (ROI) return on investments?

SEMPO also cites that 43% of advertiser respondents have shifted their budgets away from other marketing programs for Organic SEO.

So what does it all mean? Let the numbers speak for themselves.

Organic SEO is undeniably gaining favor over the lower ROI paid advertising. This is evidenced by virtue of the fact that paid advertising is becoming less profitable.

Although paid advertising will continue to hold a large portion of the market share, as paid advertising returns diminish and keyword costs soar my early 2005 forecast is for the materialization of a progressive organic SEO market trend to facilitate the need for advertising space.

Copyright 2005 Lawrence Deon

About the author: Lawrence Deon is an SEO/SEM Consultant and Author of the popular search engine optimization and marketing model Ranking Your Way To The Bank.


As a small business owner, it's the commodity you covet most but never seem to have enough of.

If you had more time, you could complete all the administrative chores required to operate your business.

With enough time, you could do more marketing, more networking, more planning and systemizing.

If you had just a little more, you'd be a whole lot less hurried and stressed.

But how on earth do you create more time to do all the things necessary to run smoothly, build business, and create revenue?

The obvious answer is to increase your manpower. But hiring staff is not always an easy or affordable proposition for the small business owner. Fortunately, there's an outsourcing alternative - Virtual Assistance.

Virtual Assistants provide office support on an independent contractor basis. They primarily serve small to mid-sized businesses who have smaller workloads, need only occasional help, or who don't have the budget or space for in-house office staff, much less the time to train and manage them.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) works from their own office utilizing computers and other technology to deliver their services and communicate with clients.

They provide just about any secretarial service you can think of: word processing, transcription, data-entry, database management, spreadsheet creation, proofreading you name it.

Many VAs offer additional specialties such as bookkeeping, web design, desktop publishing, writing and legal support services.

The savings can be huge compared to the cost of an actual employee because there are no payroll taxes or benefits to pay, and no extra office space or equipment needs.

Not to mention that not all employee time is productive (think breaks, sick leave, vacations and other downtime). With Virtual Assistance, clients pay only for the time the VA spends working on their behalf.

That's 100% productive time; you can't get more efficient than that!

The Virtual Assistance profession has been around well over 10 years now, and has its own industry associations and certification programs.

Virtual Assistants operate their businesses as professional service providers. They come from a variety of business backgrounds, but the common denominator is that they are typically overachievers with extensive administrative experience and superior skill sets and training.

Virtual Assistants are not temps. They are highly-skilled entrepreneurs who love what they do and in business to provide consistently top-quality work to clients to whom they are committed.

Virtual Assistants are commonly interested in establishing long-term partnerships with their clients. As the VA learns about the owner and his or her business, supporting the client becomes more intuitive.

The ideal is to achieve a very simpatico working relationship where the VA's support not only instills more efficiency and productivity, but is key to helping the client create more time to concentrate on the roles they love most while growing their business successfully.

Although Virtual Assistants are able to serve clients from anywhere in the world, you can find a VA near you by referencing your local Chamber of Commerce directory, or searching the Internet using keywords Virtual Assistant or Virtual Assistance + your city or state. There is also a great Virtual Assistant directory sorted by country and state located at:

Copyright 2005 Danielle Keister, The Relief

About the author: Danielle Keister is the owner of The Relief, a virtual assistance practice located in Tacoma, Washington, that has been delivering expert, personalized office support services to businesses large and small since 1997. She has over 20 years administrative management experience in both the private and public business sectors. Her areas of expertise also include bookkeeping, desktop publishing and web design. For more information, visit

Woolen jackets, paper rolls, light up teddy bears, clocks and DVDs there is tremendous potential to make a very good profit from all of these products and countless others just by knowing the basics of one of the worlds oldest trades.

Importing & exporting may not be the first thing that leaps into your mind when you think of home based businesses. However, there are few genuine opportunities that offer better prospects big profits, subsidised travel and a good work-from-home lifestyle are just a few of the benefits you'll enjoy once your import/export business is up and running. The set-up and operational costs can also be accommodated on a total shoe string budget.

So is importing/exporting from home right for you? Here are a few factors you need to consider before taking your first steps into this lucrative business:

1. Creating Contacts You will need to contact many different importers and exporters and this can be difficult for some. In the internet age just about every contact you need is already online. There are hundreds of free bulletin boards you can visit to see who wants to buy or sell any number of products, in addition to several specialist websites and trade magazines.

2. A fair level of attention to detail is required by keeping your customers satisfied and providing them with exactly what they request you will be setting yourself up for a good stream of future business.

3. You will need to create a detailed plan to identify your own desired goals and objectives from your business. We all know the saying "if you fail to plan then you plan to fail" ask yourself the difficult questions that many shy away from. Here are just a few of theseWhat do you have going for you to make this a success? Will you start full time or part time? Can you get any help (family/friends) in the beginning? What type of products will you trade? In which countries? What mode of transport will you use to get your goods from A to B? How will you learn about international trade regulations? What method of international payment will you use? What foreign regulations must you be aware of? Again, these are just a sample of the questions you need to ask get some paper and scribble down everything you could possibly think of.

4. You will need to decide on your form of organisation will you operate as a sole trader, partnership or limited company? Each form has it's own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

So how do you go about finding products to import and export once all the nuts and bolts are in place? One great way is actually by travelling around there are literally millions of products out there that have the potential to make you a small (or large) fortune once you import them into your domestic market. To illustrate my point, last year while on a holiday to India I stumbled over some delightful glow-up keyrings that were being sold for 10 rupees each (about 40 cents) instinct had told me there was enormous profit potential here and upon returning home I found the same key-rings selling for $7.95 in a popular department store. Do you think it would be possible to profit from this situation? Of course it is, and there are countless other opportunities like these simply waiting to be discovered. It is also possible to write off your travel expenses (flights, hotels, dining costs etc) against your profits which gives you a great chance to travel the world at a heavily subsidised rate.

You can also find ideas on what to sell by sifting through specialised publications & websites, investigating trade shows and by browsing national trade statistics (eg via the United Nations Yearbook Of International Trade Statistics). But above all, be alert when you see something interesting, ask yourself "can I import this thing in my home market?"

Now a word about marketing whether you like it or not, the long term success for any product depends to a large degree on the way it is marketed. Get this right and you could make a lot of cash very quickly. Get it wrong and you could struggle. Like most things marketing technique can be acquired and refined but you should come up with a marketing plan in addition to your general plan. Encouragingly from a work-at-home perspective there are any number of marketing methods that will bring you success, some at very low (or no) cost.

OK, what we have gone through is just the tip of the iceberg. A profitable work from home import & export business is more possible than most could envisage but as with any worthwhile venture you will require some level of persistence and willingness to learn. If you're willing to put in the effort the rewards are far greater than you could possible imagine.

Copyright 2005 Tukshad Engineer

Resource box: Start up your own outrageously profitable work from home import/export business. Everything you need to set-up including the best low cost trade sources all over the world, contacts and step by step blueprint to profit.

From an employee's perspective, management often conducts itself in ways that make no sense. When the economy is slow, jobs are few and far in between or people are fearful, staff will tolerate management behaviors and policies that are nonsensical (in their eyes) or they judge are harmful.

But when staff gets together for lunch and they start critiquing management, these are the Top 10 Reasons Why Staff Quit.

10. "My boss is arrogant and believes his own press clippings." As a result, staff feels taken advantage of..

9. "My manager micromanages rather than trusting staff to perform." Staff hates the boss and looks for ways to resist being over controlled.

8. "My manager is crushing my drive and desire." Hired because they were smart and energetic, the manager is afraid that she will not be seen as the shining light (the reason for success) and crushes the very qualities that made the new employee attractive to hire (and desirous of joining).

7. "My boss guesses what is needed without resorting to data or facts." Maybe he has the facts, but they sure aren't being communicated leaving the impression of "It's my way or the highway." There are a lot of new roads being built in this country and staff will leave rather than be abused.

6. "I'm treated like a child." Look, there are often generational differences between how managers and employees work. Younger workers may have "know-it-all" attitudes and unfamiliar techniques using technology to accomplish tasks. Staff feels misunderstood and resent their boss.

5. "Manager promotes someone from a different function who does understand the job and how to be successful." Staff does not believe they can learn from this person, judges her to be an anchor around their department and resents that they were passed over for promotion.

4. "My boss is extremely critical." The only way they interpret their boss is pleased is in the absence of nit picking.

3. "I get ideas lobbed at me with little clarity and I have to figure out what is really wanted." Staff is caught between a rock and a hard place and doesn't know the target of the task or have a clear idea of what needs to get done.

2. "I don't have sufficient resources to get the job done." Fitting 10 pounds of stuff into a five pound bag is pretty tough. Imagine you're the ten pounds and have to get squeezed in there! Staff often believes they have inadequate resources to get a job done.

And the number one reason your staff wants to quit:

"My company is grossly underpaying me." Show me the money! Staff can read job ads online and learn what their real value is. As much as they may love you and their work, eventually people realize they need to pay their bills and start to think of leaving.

Your staff, the ones you are mistreating or taking for granted are your competition's staffing solution (just as theirs is for you). Rather than taking their continued employment for granted, motivate them, excite them, coach and encourage them and they will go do anything for you (at almost any price).

Copyright 2004 Jeff Altman

About Jeff: Jeff Altman, Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is also a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist. For additional job hunting or hiring tips, go to If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at (If you're looking for a new position, include your resume).

Spruce Your Environment, Spruce Your SpiritPatricia Twitchell

After a long winter, this is the time of year to spruce up your environment with a good Spring Cleaning. It's amazing what doing this can do for one's state of mind.

Not only does a good spring cleaning seem to lift our spirits, it has actually been proven to preserve our home and office environment. Additionally, people tend to be more productive after a good cleaning.

Although the inclination is to want to be outside as soon as the great weather begins, by doing a good spring cleaning you are actually creating the feeling of spring inside your home and office. It is also a great way to get the entire family involved in doing something together. To do this though, it has to be viewed as a fun experience rather than drudgery.

If it is your office you are giving a good cleaning to you will find this to be a great team building opportunity. With the pressures all businesses experience day in and day out, doing something out of the ordinary will allow for a unique bonding opportunity that is sure to strengthen communication skills and team unity.

To make it enjoyable your attitude will set the tone. If you view the experience as fun, those around you are more likely to do the same. Something that is sure to help is to start from a place of gratitude. Yes, gratitude.

For The Home
Look around your home and realize you have a home to clean. What a gift this is. It doesn't matter the size of your home. What matters is what your home gives you. It gives you a place to enjoy time with family and friends. It gives you shelter from the elements. It gives you a space to relax in. That is of course if you have created it to offer these things.

For the Office

Think about all the ups and downs your business has been through in the last few years. Ups and downs many businesses have not survived. And yet, you have. Get your team involved in the process of acknowledging what it took to get to the point you are at. It is amazing the positive impact this can have.

The Process

Before you begin, find some good music you can enjoy while you clean. It's amazing what lively music can do for the spirit.

You will be most effective if you have all your cleaning materials available before you begin. Gather what you need ahead of time so that you don't have to stop midstream to run to the store for a bottle of window cleaner or furniture polish. Also make sure you have plenty of garbage bags, storage boxes and anything else that will make your job easier.

Give yourself a break from the phones, especially if you are making this a family experience.

As you clean each room, organizing what you have, be willing to let go of what you no longer need. There are plenty of people who would find incredible use from something you haven't touched in years.

You can either give the items to a family you know, a charity or you can have a garage sale. In the case of a business, do you have old equipment it is time to let go of? What about multiple items that are simply taking up space or collecting dust?

When you release what you no longer need or want you create the space for something new in its place.

You may want to focus on one room at a time cleaning and rearranging from top to bottom. One of the most exciting parts of spring cleaning is the joy you feel as you remember how special items came into your life.

I often hear stories from people who have gotten a teddy bear from my shop and relived the original feeling they had when they first got the item. I have been told what an incredible feeling they get when they spring clean and carefully rearrange their bear collection. They have a renewed feeling of pride over their collection because of the care they are taking in preserving the precious gifts.

In each room it is recommended to begin from the top and work down. This is true for cabinets, dusting, and washing.

When you are done, enjoy what you have just accomplished. Sit back and look around, take in the fresh fragrances and appreciate a job well done. Reward yourself with a good meal and quiet time.

For the office project, take the team out for a fun meal or order in. Acknowledge the gift of a fresh, inviting home or office you are blessed to enjoy. You will be glad you did.

Copyright 2005 Patricia Twitchell

About Patricia: Patricia Twitchell, aka The Teddy Bear Lady of Myrtle Creek, is the proprietor of Just Bears and Stuff, a unique gift shop located in Myrtle Creek, Oregon. As one of the main Boyd's Platinum Bear Dealers in Oregon, Just Bears and Stuff has one of the best selections of specialty gifts for family, friends, co-workers and customers. Receive "Beary Special Moments" a free online teddy bear facts and tips e-zine by visiting

Working a room...if only it could be fun...or at least guaranteed productive. I am referring to that mandatory event that requires us to mix and mingle, to meet and greet.

Command performance events like a cocktail party, a business dinner, or a charity event can feel stiff and uncomfortable. Very few people actually enjoy walking into a room full of strangers.

So why put yourself through that torture? Well for one thing, Nathan Keyfitz, professor of sociology at Harvard observes, "Social skills will be of even greater importance for economic success in the future. The most successful people will be those who can communicate and connect best."

Put another way, it's free advertising, and you control the entire message. Is it sometimes uncomfortable? Absolutely, but the upside is huge. The more you put yourself in networking situations, the easier it becomes and the greater the professional, social, and personal benefits.

Here is a condensed guide for working a room:

Approach every networking opportunity with the attitude that it is going to be fun. While no single event is guaranteed to change your life, any single event could. Remember, success is measured by percentages, not perfection. Who isn't attracted to someone who is smiling, laughing, and enjoying him or herself!

Be Prepared. Be clear about your objectives. Keep focus on your purpose in being there. Don't be easily distracted from the outcome you have in mind.

Next, don't wait for others to approach you. Yes, I know it is a bit uncomfortable for some, perhaps you. So think about how great you feel when someone takes the initiative to walk up to you and introduces themselves. Then you do the same.

Acquire and practice several good conversation openers. The best technique is art of asking intelligent questions that convey the impression there is depth and style to your personality. Show them that they could benefit by getting spending more time with you.

When you make an interesting contact, focus all your attention on that single person. Don't let your eyes wander around the room. Keep eye contact and actively listen. Give that person the sense that you have been waiting all evening just to meet them. In other words, make them feel important.

Learn the art of small talk. Call it chit chat or even foreplay if you like. Its purpose is to put people at east. It starts with finding an area of common interest. This means knowing just the right questions to ask, and at precisely the right moment. Always remember, small talk doesn't teach, preach, or try to impress. It is just light and easy conversation.

Do your homework. If possible review the names of the people attending, their spouses or partners, their affiliations. If you can recall any prior contacts, refer to that to open the conversation. That will appreciate the fact that you remember.

Finally, common sense tells us not arrive late, drink too much, dress too casually, or push your agenda excessively. Don't glue yourself to one person the whole night just because they are fascinating, mingle.

Few things personally or professionally happen by accident. Consider going to your next command performance (that's what it is) totally prepared. Then watch how much fun you can have when you know why you are there, and can tell your story with style and humor, persuasively.

Copyright 2005 Oscar Bruce

About Oscar: Oscar Bruce is considered the ultimate personal communications guru. His dynamic books are field manuals for managing conversation or confrontations. His website offers verbal strategies that can add power to your conversations. His FREE newsletter is available at

Credit scores are the most important aspect that determines your financial future. Carrying a good credit score is an asset and can pave your future towards greener pastures. On the other hand a negative marking on your credit report can be ruinous for your future dreams. However, "There Isn't Much anyone can do for those who will not Do Something for themselves." The same is applicable for credit scores. Your prime aim is to maintain a good credit score and lead a planned life.

How to assist myself to have a good credit score

To have a clear knowledge about your credit score, it is a good idea to get your credit report from the credit bureaus once a year. This will ensure your credit is being reported correctly. Usually the credit scores are within 400 to 850. If your credit scores are higher, your eligibility to get approved in a loan also gets higher in priority.

Credit scores consider 5 main categories for scoring consideration and are rated according to importance:

Payment History -35%;
Length of History -15%;
Amounts Owed -30%;
New Credit -10%;
Types of Credit -10%.

Correlation between the Credit Score and Defaulters

Most lenders consider people having credit score above 650 to be prime borrowers. This means they will most likely be approved at favorable interest rates. According to credit report from Equifax, 71% of the people with a credit score from 500-550 will default on their credit. Another 51% of buyers with a credit score from 550-600 will also default on their credit. Those individuals having credit scores of 650 or more is considered to have a decent credit score.

More than 2 million credit reports are issued each business day in the United States, allowing millions of consumers to purchase homes, cars and other durable goods and services on credit.

In the only statistically valid study conducted to date, Arthur Andersen concluded that in only two-tenths of one percent of the over 15,000 cases studied, where consumers denied a benefit based on an error in their credit report.

- Experian's credit files contain records on approximately 205 million credit-active consumers.

- Each month, there are more than 4.5 billion updates to credit report information throughout the U.S.

- The American credit databases are the most accurate and secure in the world.
- There are over one billion credit reports issued annually.

- Credit reporting saves the average person from 200 basis points on their mortgage loan.

In any part if the world it is very easy to stack up a large debt. Private debts on homes, cars and credits have ballooned through the sky. At such a juncture when people are undergoing the syndrome of easy to pile up and difficult to clear like dirty linens, one should be overtly conscious of their credit score.

For better insight on the effect of credit scores please view:

Copyright 2005 Janet Williams

About Janet: Janet Williams is a contributing writer to and is currently working on a special section in the site called do it yourself where you can eliminate your debts and become debt free. Email:

In the new millennium plastic money or credit cards has rendered a new zing factor to your pocket. This has not only made you economically more flexible but subsequently added glamour to your financial image as well. No more bulging out hip pockets with excess of liquid cash. Instead, the slimmer your pocket; the smarter you look. But behind all these inviting attributes of credit cards there seems to be a trap laid out for people who are impulsive and careless (

The usage of credit cards have been on the highest spree this decade and along with the usage, the debt rates has also somersaulted sky high. Majority of the citizens of the U.S. owe thousands of dollars as credit card bills. While gross dollar volume on bank credit cards has increased 2.5 times since 1994, the average transaction has increased about 16% over the past decade. The average transaction on a general purpose credit card, carrying the VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover brand, is now approaching $102, compared to $87 in 1994.

23rd Dec. 2004 is termed as Black Thursday and is poised to be a voluminous day in credit card usage in 2004. On this day Americans have used credit and debit cards to pay for nearly $12 billion. This computes to an average of more than $8 million per minute; however it could easily top $20 million per minute during peak hours.

In the present era credit card debt carried by an average American is about $8,562 (Approx.). The total U.S. credit card debt in the first quarter of 2002 was approximately $60 billion (Approx.). Total finance charges Americans paid in 2001is $50 billion (Approx.).

Recently, the New York Times examined how the use of credit has taken off dramatically in the United States since 1990. While the number of people holding charge cards grew about 75 percent. This went up from 82 million in 1990 to 144 million in 2003 and the amount they charged during that period grew by a much larger percentage. It is approximately 350 percent, from $338 billion to $1.5 trillion.

Nellie Mae, the nation's largest maker of student loans says that the average undergraduate student has $2,200 in credit card debt. That figure jumps to $5,800 for graduate students. David Sandor, a vice president at Visa USA, says that only 54 percent of college students pay off their credit card balances every month.

The average credit card interest rate is around 18.9%. Approximately half of all credit card holders pay only their minimum monthly requirements. There are a total of 1.2 billion credit and retail cards in North America. The number of credit card holders who declared bankruptcy last year was a huge 1.3 million.

Credit cards have undoubtedly given us better mileage in handling our finance; it has made us mobile and flexible in cash handling. But it is extremely important to make proper utilization of this plastic money. There lies a big black trench of debts if you use it recklessly. These slim plastic cards can often be the cause of bulk debts if one is impulsive or unwise.

For better insight in this topic please view:

Copyright 2005 Janet Williams

About Janet: Janet Williams is a contributing writer to and is currently working on a special section in the site called do it yourself where you can eliminate your debts and become debt free. Email:

FHA offers the most popular home loan programs among first time home buyers. This is mainly because of the low down payment and easy qualifying criteria.

FHA, which stands for Federal Housing Administration, is a governments backed loan. Most people are not aware that FHA does not provide loans. Instead, the loan which your lender provides to you, will be backed up and insured by FHA.

In other words, if you default on your loan, your lender will be covered by FHA insurance funding. This represents the main reason why it's easier to qualify for the FHA Loan Program.

Normally the only criteria's that a lender will request in order to qualify for the program include:

* 1. Credit Score. A credit score above 575, which is poor but moderate credit. Also, they will expect you not to have any derogatory accounts on your credit report. All past collections should be paid off upon submission of loan application.

* 2. Good and stable employment history. You will need at the least two years at your current position and or two years of employment history in the same line of work.

* 3. Down payment. You need funding to pay for closing cost and down payment cost. The closing cost normally range from 2-3% of home value and the down payment averages around 3% or more of the home value. There are FHA programs that offer zero down loans.

The amount your lender will lend to you depends on your income and the amount of your current debt. FHA figures your loan amount based on your monthly income and total debt combined with future mortgage expenses. They request that all of your debt not exceed 45% of your monthly income. This amount includes PITI (principal, interest, tax, and insurance.

For example:

If your gross monthly income is 4500.00, your monthly mortgage and debts can not exceed 2025.00. If you current debt averages 1000.00, you will only qualify for a monthly mortgage not to exceed 1025.00 including PITI.

Most lenders are strict with this criterion and will ask to see two years of W2's and six months to a year of pay stubs; in order to verify your monthly income is stable and does not fluctuate per month.

To get the best benefits of the FHA loan program find a lender that is most compatible with your current financial and credit situation.

Copyright 2005 John Williams

Resource box: A great, low interest mortgage rate can be found, if you know where to look. Discover useful information and advice on Mortgages for home loans. Click ==>

Considering filing bankruptcy? If your finances are in ruins and you're considering filing bankruptcy, there's a few things you should know.

Bankruptcy is not your only option. Millions of people credit is devastated by bankruptcy every year. Though filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will clear you of any obligation to creditors, it is devastating to your credit and will ride your credit report for ten years.

There are several alternatives to bankruptcy depending on your current situation. You may consider:

Debt Consolidation- Debt Consolidation is an easy and timely alternative. A Debt Consolidation Counselor will evaluate your current situation and past debt and develop a budget for you.

They will negotiate payment options with your creditors and simply provide you with the alternative to make one easy monthly payment to them and they will disburse the payment among your creditors. The benefits include:

* Usually, a lower monthly payment
* Lower percentage rates
* Debt payoff in a timelier manner
* Less contact from creditors or no contact from creditors
* You will be able to keep your credit at satisfactory standards versus the harsh impact a bankruptcy would have on it
* You're able to obtain new credit
* And with the money you save with the advantage of a lower monthly payment plan you can contribute to a Savings Account or Retirement Account

The above benefits are just a few of the benefits of Debt Consolidation versus Bankruptcy.

Another alternative is a Personal Loan or Debt.

Consolidation Loan. This is one large loan to pay off smaller loans or debts. With one large loan, you will normally have a lower percentage rate and a longer pay off period. The benefits include:

* The ability to pay off debts in full
* No more harassing phone calls from creditors
* Your credit will be saved from derogatory accounts and collections * Low percentage rate

However, in order to obtain a Personal Loan or Debt Consolidation Loan you will need satisfactory credit. Though there are alternative to filing bankruptcy; in some cases, bankruptcy is the only option.

Before deciding whether to file bankruptcy or consolidate, consult a financial advisor. He or she should be able to give you advice after evaluating your situation and current credit standings.

Copyright 2005 John Williams

Resource box: Discover the debt consolidation alternatives to Bankruptcy. Find out useful advice and information. Click ==>

Managing money and paying creditors on time is difficult for most people. There's temptation every where we look. In most cases, it is unexpected expenses or events that impair our budget. Such as:

Illness, followed by doctor bills; death of a loved one, car troubles, home repairs, braces for the kids and the list can go on and on. The fact is, no one expects to become financially troubled. It seems to sneak up on you at the worse of times.

You may believe that bankruptcy is your only option. It is true, filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will clear you of any obligations to creditors; however, bankruptcy is devastating to your credit and time consuming.

There's other options available, such as, debt consolidation.

Debt consolidation is a broad term. There are different types of consolidation that may be compatible to your needs, such as:

* Government Debt Consolidation
* Debt Consolidation Loans
* Non Profit Debt Consolidation.

Depending on your situation and financial stability will determine the most appropriate consolidation program for you.

Debt consolidation is the process of using one large loan to pay off smaller ones. Normally, you will receive a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments; however, you may have a longer repayment period.

On the other hand, you will not have your daily life interrupted by harassing creditors. You can use the money you save with debt consolidation to pay your current living expenses.

You may decide to invest the money you have available into a Savings Account. Other benefits will include:

* One low monthly payment,
* Lower interest rates,
* No negotiating with creditor or making payment
* Less stress,
* Less of your personal time used on creditors,
* Credit score not impaired by bankruptcy
* And best of all the satisfaction of being able to pay your bills and work your way out of financial ruins.

So don't despair if your debts seem too much to handle. Debt consolidation can be your way back towards financial freedom.

Copyright 2005 John Williams

Resource box: Discover the debt consolidation alternatives to Bankruptcy. Find out useful advice and information. Click ==>

It's no surprise that thousands of Americans are victimized by identity theft each year. What are we actually doing to protect ourselves from identity theft?

Many of us don't think about it and some may not even know what it is. The fact is it happens. Identity thieves victimize thousands of people each day. Causing havoc and destruction to all it seeks.

Last year over 9,000,000 people suffered devastation caused by identity theft; averaging over 45 billion dollars yearly.

As modern technology advance and become more sophisticated; identity thieves advance and become more sophisticated. By taking advantage of expensive, yet adequate technologies and software, these introducers are able to become undetectable.

By the time the average person realizes they have become a victim of identity theft; it is too late. By this point, the victim financial stability and credit ranking may be impacted significantly.

The truth is that the number of victims is growing everyday and there is no absolute solution; however, there are simple steps that can be taken to limit your chances of becoming a victim.

* The most important step in guarding yourself from identity theft is to keep your confidential information confidential. Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, Bank Account Information or any other confidential information should never be given to unknown companies or unidentified individuals.

Never tell anyone your personal information over the phone or send it through email, nor fax. Most legitimate companies will not request this information from you via phone or any other unprotected source.

If you are an online consumer, always make sure that you have a secure connection with the online eCommerce site, before submitting your credit card information and other identifiable information. Irresponsible credit card usage is the most common way to fall victim of identity theft.

* Monitoring your credit report monthly is a great step in stopping introducers in their tracks. By keeping close tabs on your credit activity you may be able to prevent major damages to your credit and financial wealth.

* Important documents containing your confidential information should be kept in safe, unexposed places. Even in the privacy of your own home, documents with such content should not be exposed. You may opt to use P.O. Box or Private Mail Boxes to send private documents.

By following these steps you can lower your risk of becoming an identity theft victim. Being informed is the most valuable protection against identity theft.

Copyrights 2005 John Williams

Resource box: Discover useful advice and information about low interest credit cards. What to look out for, and how to find the best low interest deals. Click ==>

While most people use the phrase "bad debt" to refer to a lot of debt, or just owing a lot of money, this phrase actually has a very specific use when it comes to financial issues. Bad debt in this case is a debt that cannot be collected. This usually happens when the person who owes the money goes bankrupt, and does not have the ability to pay toward the debt.

If you are a creditor and the person who owes you money declares bankruptcy, this bad debt can be a problem. After all, even though a good deal of the remaining estate will be separated out to the many different creditors, you will probably not get all of the money that you are owed. For this reason, most creditors try to work with the debtor in order to make it possible to pay back the debt - that way, they'll get all of the money back, instead of just a little.

If you owe money and you do not believe that you can pay it, it might sound like a good idea to have that debt declared as a bad debt. However, this is not the case, as declaring bankruptcy can have lasting effects on your financial situation, whereas being in debt and working to pay off your debts can actually be beneficial in the long run.

When you have a bad debt, it makes a big hit on your credit history. This can be a big problem, especially if you need to get a credit card or a loan. In fact, the credit history can effect pretty much anything you do in the financial world, including mortgages, buying a car, and being able to take out a much needed loan. Therefore, you should do whatever you can to make sure that you'll be able to pay off the debts you have.

To prevent bad debt, you should first minimize the number of debts you incur to begin with. For instance, if you can possibly avoid buying something, then you should wait until after you've saved the money for it, instead of buying on credit. If you already have a lot of debt, then you should look at some of the debt solutions, for instance, debt consolidation.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

Chase Credit is an important company if you're thinking about starting any sort of a credit reporting company. The reason for this is that this company offers all the technology that you need at a price that your business should be able to afford. Not only that, but the company does not require for you to purchase any special software or hardware - you can use their technology with the computer and software that you already have.

Therefore, if you're going to start a credit reporting agency, you should get in touch with Chase Credit right away. This technology is so easy to use that once you've learned it, you won't need to learn anything else. Not only that, but the usage plans are very flexible. Either your company can maintain the system pieces that you intend on using - or you can let Chase Credit do all of the work for you so that you only have to worry about dealing with your clients. Finally, this plan is set up so that you can change the way information is processed to lower the amount of time it takes for you to process credit reports.

If you're not looking into starting your own credit reporting agency, there is a different Chase company that you should look into. This company offers Chase credit that might be right for you or your small business. These credit cards are easy to apply for. Not only that, but the website even offers you tools to find out which credit card will be right for you. Don't apply for a card that you won't be able to use. Instead, compare the credit cards that are offered by Chase to find the one that will work for you.

If you're not necessarily looking for Chase credit cards either, don't worry. The Chase company also offers several other services that you may need. For instance, if you're looking to get a mortgage or student loan, then Chase probably has what you're looking for. You can even go to Chase if you need help with your retirement planning - and you definitely don't want to be without proper planning in that area of your life!

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

One of the worst things that can happen to you is credit card fraud. This is even worse if you don't pay very much attention to your credit reports, since you may not find out about the fraud until there are very serious problems to deal with. Even if it's possible to get out of paying for most of the fraudulent purchases that are made on your card, you will often have to pay for some of them - and you will have to go through the hassle of dealing with a stolen credit card if you're not careful.

One of the major places where credit card fraud happens now is online. Therefore, you should be very careful about the companies that you give your credit card number to. Ideally, you should figure out a way to avoid giving out your credit card number at all. There are several payment services online that will help you make your online payments without giving out your credit card number to unauthorized parties.

You should also make sure that if you are entering your credit card number that it is being entered into the right field on the right page, and that it is being sent over a secure connection. If the connection is not secure, then anybody online might be able to find the information that you sent.

Another place where credit card fraud is common is over the phone. For this reason, you should avoid giving your credit card number to people or companies over the phone if at all possible. You should also listen to your instincts regarding the phone and internet. If you have any doubts about the safety of giving your credit card number, then you should probably not do so. After all, when it comes to things like fraud, you're much better off safe than sorry.

If you do find that there are charges on your credit card that you don't remember making, then you might be a victim of credit card fraud. Luckily, there are a lot of options to people who think that their credit card might be stolen. The first thing you should do if you think that your card or card number has been stolen is to call up your credit card company and immediately cancel the card. This will keep the person who has stolen your card from using it anymore. While you'll still have to deal with what has already been done with your card, you will at least have limited the damage.

To keep yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud, however, the most important thing to do is just to use common sense. If something seems shady, then it probably is, and you shouldn't risk your credit card number if you are unsure of the situation.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

About Jakob: Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.

You ask, "Okay, I'm starting a small homebased business, not a huge million dollar International Conglomerate! But should I incorporate or keep it a proprietorship?" Actually, there are arguments in favor of either decision. This argument will be in favor of the proprietorship.

The first thing is that you need to know there is a totally different set of laws, regulations and tax law that governs proprietorships and corporations. And for the small business entrepreneur the tax advantages offered during the first 5 years are enormous. After 5 years you are expected to begin showing a profit but this is not necessarily "written in stone". Let's take a closer look at some of the advantages of a proprietorship.

If I were to show you how a one-time $439 USD investment could gain you from $1000 to $2500 in tax refunds and write offs per year would you be interested in learning more? Okay, here goes.

If you are a blue or white collar worker, a doctor, lawyer or other professional, can you write off on your taxes the gas and other travel and parking expenses you accumulate driving to and from work? Your lunch expenses? Your home office? Travel and vacations? Any part of your household utilities expenses?

The answer is NO - you cannot write these expenses off your income tax.

If you start a business, a proprietorship, working out of your home, call it "your name consulting" or whatever seems to fit best, you are now able to write off all of the following:

Automobile mileage
Other car maintenance
% of automobile depreciation*
Home office (as a % of your home)
% of home utilities expenses
& of your home telephone bill
Entertainment expenses
Vacation expenses
*100% of a Leased Car
And more, these are just the bigger ones.

There are, of course, conditions. You cannot go on vacation and simply "write off" all of your vacation expenses. You must "share the information" about your product or service with others while you are on vacation --- more than just "passing out business cards --- and you must also keep records of every contact you make. This will also help you with follow-ups.

These contacts, with whom you are sharing the details of your business service or product, are the contacts that will validate your write off. You should have at least two a day while on vacation. Who? The barber, your golfing partners, beautician, people you meet in the store or casually just about anywhere? All you have to do is talk to people, share your information and you have succeeded. You will be surprised, also, by how many will want to join you? But you must keep records of these contacts.

The same goes for your gasoline, insurance, depreciation and repairs and maintenance write-offs. You must keep accurate records of mileage. Your start mileage, destination(s), people contacted or business conducted, and finish mileage. Then, at the end of the year, you need to compute what percentage of your automobile use (based upon business and total mileage) was business. That is the percentage of total automobile expenses you are able to write off.

For the telephone you have a different situation altogether. You must get a business line. This can be accomplished one of two ways. Either by a cell phone or by a second phone line installed. There are several arguments for both but the most telling one is the convenience of the cell phone. With a separate "business phone" you are able to write off the entire expense.

But with the cell phone you must keep track of all personal calls. The advantage of the cell phone is that you have it with you and can advise your clients that you are on the way, running late because, etc. And keep in touch with your home base while you are out and pick up any messages which may have been left at your home number.

This applies, also, to your home. You are allowed to write off all home expenses in the amount that your business office at home is a percentage of your total home space. So if your home is 2000 sq. ft., and your office is 200 sq. ft., you may write off 10 percent of your total household expenses. This includes rent or mortgage payment and all utilities.

If you keep your meticulous records, take your "working vacation" every year and "do your business" all the time, you stand to save from $1000 to $2500 on your income taxes every year, for at least the first 5 years.

If you can start your business for under $1000, and keep your business going for under $1000 a year, you are in a plus situation where your business is actually making you a profit --- even though it is technically a loss --- every year for at least the first five years.

Copyright 2004 Windy Dawn Marketing and Windy Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad is a published author, columnist, freelance writer and successful HBB entrepreneur over the past 40 years. His latest HBB involvement is with Organic Greens.

It's great to have a challenging and interesting hobby such as origami, papier-mch sculpting, fine art painting and/or sketching, rockhounding, photography, or jewelry making. It's even more exciting to have a specialty in one of these fields that no one else has, and then to turn your special talents into a successful home-based business. It's gratifying indeed to be able to take two or more of these and combine them into a paying proposition.

That's exactly what Loring Windblad of Sierra Vista, AZ, did.

But these aren't isolated stories. Men and women across the country are joining the ranks of entrepreneurs converting hobbies into moneymaking propositions. It's important to note that none of these women originally planned to start a business. On the contrary, interest by others in their hobbies convinced them to sell their work.


Loring Windblad spent 20 years in the US Army in Electronics, and retired from that position on January 1st, 1976. But in the course of those 20 years additional skills were picked up including teaching (electronics), typing (over 100 wpm), general writing and technical writing (electronics and communications, lesson plans, etc), photography and even SCUBA diving.

Years and miles later (read on below, also) found Loring in Canada playing in a major bridge tournament but also renewing acquaintance with his first love, whom he met in 1952. Strange things happened and they got married in June of 1990 and began their own business in July of 1990. The business took on a form of its own, evolving from humble beginnings into a Desktop Publishing and Graphic Design endeavor by September, when they purchased their own computer and landed their first big job starting October 1st.

That same Friday night, September 30th, was portentous in several ways. Loring played his baseball games for his computer baseball league and then shut the computer down at midnight and went to bed. When the computer was turned on at 8 am to start the new job, nothing happened. Dead. No computer working. Obviously a dead power supply? No? Actually yes. The computer was two weeks old, under total warranty, but nothing could be done warranty wise over the weekend. So Loring called around to every computer business in the area and found one open on a Saturday morning, drove there, found a power supply that looked exactly like the one in the computer at home, made a deal to "rent it" for a week until a replacement could be gotten on warranty, took it home and put it in the computer.

It worked! The job began, a few hours late but on the day it was supposed to begin. And a new career was launched, even though we didn't know it at the time.

Calling upon his 20 years of experience plus lots of long talks with the Custom Computer Builder who had sold them their first computer, Loring slowly learned about computers and how to build them. Then, in 1992, a friend of a friend wanted a new computer. Loring "custom built" a computer for him, a brand new 486 CPU "screamer" type. The client was well satisfied. Time passed. Friends later in the year wanted computers, so Loring built them new computers. By 1994 Loring was building 5-6 custom computers a month, most months, in the "high profit" days of computers when they paid $400 or more profit per computer.

One of the biggest things was finding wholesale suppliers for a new computer builder to purchase quality components from. With a little help from their original computer salesman, i.e., making careful notes on everything he told them, June and Loring developed a list of possible suppliers, then applied for re-seller status. And sure, there were periods when no computers were sold as well as months when 6-8 were sold. It was obviously a struggle, but a good one.

Networking became a way of life. June joined all the women's networking groups and Loring joined all the missed networking groups. Both made presentations and work came in, both desktop publishing and new computers. From 1995 to 1998 Loring sold an average of 25-30 computers a year. However, by 1998 the profit margin was falling out of computers, the days of $400 were gone. By 1999 the margin was down to $100 a computer and when you are servicing a computer for 3 years warranty service on a total of $100 it starts getting pretty old pretty quick.

The sales kept up for a while, but by 2001 new technology, low profits and pending retirement for June and Loring caused a re-think of priorities. By the end of 2002 building custom computers was a thing of the past and a new era of life retirement was upon us. But the trip to and through building computers has been a fascinating one.


Way back when Loring first met June he learned that June knew how to not only take pictures but to develop and print those pictures in her basement darkroom. Never one to take a back seat when he could be learning something new, when Loring a few years later went to Vietnam in the Army he took up photography, including learning how to develop and print his photographs. This was 1965 to 1967. And in 1966 Loring helped to establish and run the unit photo hobby shop in Vietnam.

When Loring returned to the US he became an electronics instructor at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and he quickly made contact with the Post Photo Hobby Shop and got a part time job, thus learning more about photography for himself but also helping to teach others the fine art of photography.

Loring's next posting was to Panama where he continued with the local Post Photo Hobby Shop as a Photo and Color Printing Instructor for 2 years, and also picking up work as a free-lance photographer. Loring soon began photographing such things as kids visiting with Santa, then developing and printing and delivering the photos, Then action work such as youth Karate matches, Pop Warner football games, Little League baseball games, and both team and individual photos. And, of course, weddings. All these photo endeavors paid surprisingly well, and Loring was soon not only very busy but making enough money to more than support his photography needs. And teaching helped keep Loring up with everything in the photography field so soon everyone with a question about cameras and photography was coming to him.

Being around military bases there was always opportunity for youth sporting event photography. And wedding photography. From 1970 thru about 1977 Loring did a pretty brisk business in photography, made a lot of friends and took a lot of pictures. And made a pretty good "extra income" that not only paid for all his cameras and supplies but provided a lot of extra money supplementing his income.

But it was hard work and long hours and Loring's son, silver smithing and rockhounding were getting in the way. The transition was made leaving photography behind and embracing a new business jewelry making and silver smithing.


Loring was always a rock collector. This gave him an eye for rocks that were different everywhere he went. As a soldier in the US Army he managed to live in France for four years, Panama for five years, and Southeast Asia (Vietnam) for 2 years, as well as extensive periods from coast to coast across the United States including California, Georgia, New Jersey, Kansas and Arizona.

Loring was divorced while he was in Vietnam when his son was three. Eight years later, in August of 1975, his ex- called and said, "I can't handle your son any more. You've got to take him!" Without getting into gory details."Well, ok", and his son came to Arizona to live with him.

Loring, Jr., was an excellent artist and got straight A's in art in school. He was now in a new environment and Windy, as a way of keeping his son's interest up in the arts and new things, began taking Jr. and his friends out on camping and sightseeing trips in the Arizona desert. Loring also was taking Geology courses with the local Junior College, and began imparting that knowledge to his son and his son's friends while on their outings in the desert and mountain country of SE Arizona, the Basin and Range country.

Rockhounding gave the desert jaunts with his son extra meaning. Identification of various kinds of rocks and geological formations soon were followed with explorations of the old turquoise mines and an education in the copper-related gemstones of turquoise, malachite, azurite and chrisocolla. Use of the Army's lapidary hobby shop led to cutting slabs of the stones, revealing hidden patterns, then cutting the stone slabs into cabochons enhancing the pattern intricacies.

What are cabochons without jewelry? Silver smithing classes followed and then Junior turned his cabochons into some jewelry pieces for his mother and sister. Then came wax carving and lost wax casting, running the full gamut of classes and skills available. In order to keep expenses down Windy located wholesale outlets which supplied him with components to assemble jewelry such as chains, pendants, findings, etc.

After two years, Junior decided it was time to move back with his mother and Windy was left with all sorts time, of jewelry skills and pieces of original jewelry building up, some pieces rather unique. He turned to the local flea market and soon established himself as a regular jewelry maker, attending almost every weekend. Sales increased, and soon Windy began his jewelry business, The Stonewerkes, Southwest Originals in Wood and Stone. He was attending weekend flea markets and Art in the Park and Craft shows all over Arizona to sell his products. And he built up a chain of 8 businesses in two states which also handled his jewelry on consignment.

Loring actually took his "rockhounding" hobby turned jewelry business a large step further. He subscribed to all the commercial and trade magazines as well, and then combined his talents as a photographer and as a writer, photographed his silver smithing and lapidary projects, wrote photo-journalism articles on "how to" silver smithing projects and then sold them to the magazines.

Loring says "You never know when what you do as a hobby can end up being a very profitable business. Over the past 40 years I have had the rare pleasure of turning three hobbies into professions: photography, electronics and now rockhounding. And using other skills such as technical writing and typing in those endeavors. From humble beginnings."

Copyright 2004 and Loring Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad is a published author, columnist, freelance writer and successful HBB entrepreneur over the past 40 years. His latest HBB involvement is with Organic Greens.

If you spend any time online surfing the Internet or any time reading magazines that deal with business topics, you will more than likely run across countless business opportunity offerings --- the headlines will scream out at you "FREE this and FREE that and FREE! FREE! FREE!"

Here's one such ad (copied directly from a published articlethere's many more).

Free home based business by Mehdi Heidari
It is completely free home based business. We make your website free and teach you through our internet marketing course, secrets of internet millionaires, get out of debt system and much much more to promote your business

About the Author Mehdi Heidari was born in 1979 in Aarhus Denmark and then immigrated to Canada. He is a successful man in his home based business and helps the other people to make their home based business for free.

His headline is "Free Home Based Business. His first explanation is "completely free home based business. We make your website free" OK, so everything's "FREE"!

Not quite,,,,,,Remember, there's no free lunches left in the world anymore. They even shut down the free meals in Las Vegas.

His hook? The very next statement is "and teach you through our internet marketing course." They're giving away a free home business, yes, and they're giving away a free internet web site, yes (it'll cost later, of course). But they pay for this through sales of the course, a course which you purchase. Not free.

I used to have my web site hosted "Free" on well, I won't mention them because I'm not interested in giving out free advertising. But while it was "free" to me, someone was paying the hosting fee and in a way I was "paying" for it too.

I "paid for my 'free' web site" with pop up ads which came up on my web pages every time you moved to a new page or every 30 seconds, whichever came first. I paid in inconvenience, someone else paid in the cash it took to host the web site --- the persons who were putting the pop-up ads on. Hey, they had a good deal with me. I had nearly 200 pages up there. That's a whole lotta pop-up ads to be seen. A whole lotta advertising paying for my little ol' web site.

When anyone offers you something for free, you are going to pay for it sooner or later --- there aren't any free lunches left.

So how much is the "free" going to cost? Well, figure it out. Figure out how much the item really costs the person who is giving it away. Then multiply that figure by at least 2X to 5X.. This will give you a pretty good idea of the range of how much it's going to cost you.

Just as a "for example", I've spent my lifetime developing a "certain flair", a "certain skill" as it were, both as a bridge player and as a writer. I'm almost 70, so its most of my adult life that I've been learning to write effectively. How much is that worth? Let's say I write a booklet sharing my bridge secrets with you, teaching you how you can learn to play bridge as well as I play. How much is that worth? Maybe $20? How about $15? For sure at least $10. Now I give it away --- why? Only because you have purchased something from me which pays me what I believe is fair value (a good profit for me) and I want to "give you a gift that has extra value to you"!

Are you beginning to get the picture? No, I wrote my bridge book way back in 1968 and maybe I should write another one now? But the point I was illustrating is that, if I did write a book and if I then gave it away it would be to make you feel good about something you were buying from me, something which made enough profit for me that I could afford to give you something of value, something created out of my life's experience.

There are no free lunches -- and any time someone tries to convince you that there is, look for the real cost of what you're getting and make an educated decision on whether its really worth it. Is what you are paying for what you are buying worth what you are getting "for FREE"?

Oh, yes. I'm off of the "free" hosting --- and I no longer have those annoying pop-up ads coming up on my web site. Make sure that the next time someone offers you something "for FREE" that you check it out and make sure it really is worth what you are paying for it. Because you will be paying for it.

Copyright 2004 and Loring Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad is a published author, columnist, freelance writer and successful HBB entrepreneur over the past 40 years. His latest HBB involvement is with Organic Greens.

By now you have heard the whole story about marketing your products, services, or programs from someone who has been through it all, just like you and I have.

Yes it is very important to write articles, and link with other websites, post messages and fill out all of your classified ads. And don't forget about submission to search engines.

It is so easy to get turned around in a million different directions trying to make a profit.

Just keep in mind to be successful in your marketing strategies and to be able to increase your sales, you must know "What Works For You".

Whatever your business provides, the internet is certainly full of successful business that knows "What Works For Them", and have the ability to make people believe.

I wish you all the luck in developing your marketing strategies and in increasing your sales positioning.

It will take time; it will take effort; but done correctly with the ability to make people believe it will be very rewarding.

Copyright 2005 Rachel Hathorn

Resource box: For more home business opportunities and a chance to become more successful, visit:

9 Highly Effective Marketing TipsBob Leduc

Here are 9 low-cost but highly effective marketing tips to help you boost your sales and profits fast.

Tip 1:
Look for some low-cost ways you can enhance the perceived value of your product or service. Then test raising your price. Don't be surprised if both your sales and your profit margin go up.

Tip 2:
Try to limit your customer's decision making to either "Yes. I'll buy." or "No. I won't buy". Don't risk losing them by including "which one" decisions. The more options you offer, the more likely some customers will procrastinate and never make the decision ...causing you to lose a sale needlessly.

Tip 3:
You can demonstrate a low cost for your product or service by breaking down the price to its lowest time increment. For example, "Enjoy all of this for less than 90 cents a day" (for something priced at $325 a year).

Tip 4:
Add an unexpected bonus to every sales transaction just before completing the sale. It prevents customers from developing any last minute hesitation ...and changing their minds about buying.

Tip 5:
Print your best small ad on a postcard and mail it to prospects in your targeted market. Postcards are inexpensive and easy to use. Most recipients who ignore other types of advertising will read a brief ad when it's delivered to them on a postcard.

Tip 6:
Prospects who ask questions are usually close to buying. Take advantage of this. Don't just answer their question. Include a reason for them to buy as part of your answer. Then ask for the sale ...or tell them exactly what to do to place their order.

Tip 7:
Collect testimonials from your customers and use them in all your advertising. Testimonials provide evidence that your product or service delivers the results you promise. For maximum impact, use only testimonials that describe specific results the customer enjoyed.

Tip 8:
Include "benefit rich" headlines on all your web pages. Many visitors arrive at a web page then immediately click away ...unless something instantly catches their attention.

Tip 9:
Continually test and evaluate everything you use or do to promote your business. Allocate 80 percent of your advertising budget to proven promotions. Use the other 20 percent for testing new variations. Most businesses using this system continue growing - even in highly competitive markets.

Bonus Tip:
Handle customer complaints quickly and with a positive attitude. Strive to preserve your relationship with them instead of your immediate profit from the transaction. They will reward you with repeat sales and referrals ...instead of punishing you by telling everybody they know about their unhappy experience and causing you to lose future customers.

Each of these marketing tips provides a simple, low-cost way for you to boost your sales and profits quickly. All you have to do is to put them into action.

Copyright 2005 Bob Leduc

About Bob: Bob Leduc spent 20 years helping businesses like yours find new customers and increase sales. He just released a New Edition of his manual, How To Build Your Small Business Fast With Simple Postcards ...and launched *BizTips from Bob*, a newsletter to help small businesses grow and prosper. You'll find his low-cost marketing methods at: or call: 702-658-1707 After 10 AM Pacific Time/Las Vegas, NV

There's several criteria a lender will use before deciding to lend to a borrower: especially, a borrower with limited credit or credit less than perfect.

These items will include the borrowers:

* FICO Score and Credit History

A lender will evaluate your credit history to establish whether or not you are a high-risk borrower. If you credit report states any derogatory accounts, it may be required by your lender for those items to be resolved before a loan can be approved.

Having a low FICO Score or poor credit may result in higher interest rates and less than pleasing loan program options, such as Subprime loans and loans that may require 10-30% down payment.

* Employment History and Current Position

Most lenders prefer to lend to borrowers whom have a steady employment history. Also, lenders prefer a borrower who has been on his or her current position for two years or more.

This prospect gives the lender a view of your financial situation and employment reputation. A lender will be reluctant to approve a loan for an individual who may have a reputation of changing careers or poor work history.

* Current Debt

Though credit history and employment is essential to the approval of your loan, current debt may be just as vital.

Lenders will view your current debt, such as, loans, credit cards, car note, child support orders, tax liens, etc., and compare it to your current income.

Most lenders require that your debt not exceed 40% of your monthly income. Not only will current debts lower the value of your loan, but may result in denial of your loan.

Depending on your situation, you may find it difficult to meet all of the required criteria's that your lender sets forth; however, some factors may out weigh others.

For example: If you are employed and have worked the same position for 10 years, have substantial credit, but your current debt is 53% of your income- In this case, you may still qualify for a zero down loan, with a descent percentage rate; however, your lending amount may be less
than you are requesting.

The fact of the matter is that every borrower is different. Criteria's, Regulations and Rules will be different according to lending companies.

As a borrower it will be your responsibility to search and observe lending companies. For the best scenario's to choose a lending company that is compatible with your needs.

Copyright 2005 Paul Johnson

Resource box: Home equity loans can be great way of raising finance. Sometimes you can raise finance, yet pay a lower rate each month. But you need to know the pitfalls... Click ==>

Everyone looks forward to the time they will purchase their first home. It is a thrilling achievement at most. However, how do you know when you are truly ready to purchase your first home? How do you begin the process?

There are several advertisements and commercial stating that there is a home loan ready for you regardless of your situation. Think about it. Who will give away something for nothing? These are false guarantees.

When purchasing your first home, you want to get the best loan program available to meet your needs. The last thing you need is an extremely high mortgage due to over the top interest rates. Before deciding to purchase your first home, there are a few simple steps you may wish to evaluate:

In order to qualify for the loan that is most suitable to your needs you will need:

* Established and Satisfactory Credit

Your credit is most valuable to you when applying for a home loan. With above satisfactory credit, you will be able to choose a loan package of your interest.

You will be able to lock in on low interest rates and lower monthly mortgage expense. Lenders will compete for your business if your credit is up to par. With suitable credit, the lending process will be a breeze.

* Stable Work History

Your employment situation is as important as your credit, when applying for a home loan. If you have stable work history and have been at your current position for at the least two years, Lenders will view as a low risk and will not hesitate to compete for your business. Your income also determines the amount of loan you qualify for.

* Current and Past Debt

Current over extended credit can actually play as a negative mark against you when applying for a home loan. Lenders prefer that your current debt not to exceed 40% of your monthly income. If you have minimum credit cards, car loans, personal loans balances, you are viewed as a low
risk by Lenders.

By managing your credit and debt properly, you are taking the correct initiatives and be on your way to qualifying for the perfect home loan program that is compatible with your needs.

You will soon own your home, without the stress of high interest rates and outrageous mortgage expense. Many people opt not to educate themselves a head of time. They become manipulated by the idea that all credit is good credit and bad credit is okay.

The truth is bad credit qualifies you for bad loan programs, and too much credit qualifies you for bad loan programs. Being educated pays.

Copyright 2005 John Williams

Resource box: A great, low interest mortgage rate can be found, if you know where to look. Discover useful information and advice on Mortgages for home loans. Click ==>