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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 ==>

Many of us have been there; desperate for cash due to unexpected expenses or simply low on cash. Your next paycheck is two weeks away, but your Electric Bill is due now.

Sounds familiar? It may be easier than you think to get the money you need, when you need it. Payday Loans are a form of small short-term personal loans available through financial institutions, usually check cashing franchises, until your next payday. Some lenders may lend out to a month.

There are several advantages. Such as:

* Convenience
* Online Payday Loans
* No Credit Checks
* Speedy Turn Around- in most cases, you walk in, fill out an application, the representative verifies your information and you walk out with cash.
* No long term commitments
* No long time consuming lending application and forms
* Funds available immediately
* Easy qualification requirements

However, as well as the advantages, there are disadvantages to Payday Loans. It is a fact that Payday Loans are quick and convenient, but what about the down falls? Many people become addicted to Payday Loans convenience and soon become caught up in the system.

It starts with the need for money immediately, and then soon you find yourself getting Payday Loans from other lenders to pay off previous lenders. The common reason this happens is because individuals will borrow more than they can pay back.

Payday Loans comes with extremely high fees. Usually, to borrow $50.00, you will need to pay back $58.50 and to borrow $100.00 you will need to pay back $115.00. The average fee is $15.00 per every $100.00. If you default on your payment, the lender will cash the check you provided to get the loan.

If the check does not clear, you will be charged a bad check fee, typically $50.00 and a late penalty fee, which varies. Not to mention, the fees your bank will charge you.

The truth of the matter is that a Payday Loan can devastate your financial status.

If it is necessary to obtain a Payday Loan, never borrow more than you need. Make sure you have a strict plan on paying the money back.

If you are unable to pay the money back, speak with your lender and discuss a payment plan option. In most cases, the lender will work out a payment plan with you, in order to receive their money back.

This solution will be easier and more stable versus the hassles of collections attempts and paperwork.

Copyright 2005 Paul Johnson

Resource box: Payday loans can be a quick and easy financial solution. But you need to know what to look out for, and how to identify the best deals Click ==>

Global Insight, a leading economic and financial forecasting company, (formerly DRI-WEFA), states that all levels of government (federal, state, and local) should see steady increases in the purchases of goods and services through the year 2009.

Vendors willing to make the commitment to sell to government can reap the benefits of this projected government spending.

By the same token, government agencies able to expand and modernize their procurement programs can reap the rewards of increased productivity, and a reduction in the costs of goods and services.

If you are a company looking to efficiently market your goods or services, increase sales and receive targeted sales opportunities, or if you are a government agency looking to simplify your procurement process and increase vendor competition, there exist plenty of opportunities in today's online procurement marketplace.

Vendors: Consider Selling to Government

If you haven't considered selling to government, you are missing out. With past events like the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the slowing down of the private sector economy, more companies are focusing on doing business with government agencies. Believe it or not, the most reliable component of the economy right now is the government.

The U.S. Federal Government is the largest buyer in the world, and state and local governments often make up a large percentage of their respective marketplaces In many cities, government employs more people and buys more products and services that any other entity.

Doing business with government isn't just for corporate giants, either. The U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) helps to ensure that small businesses obtain a certain percentage of everything the government buys. And despite budget crunches in many municipalities, state and
local government spending remains the largest in any single market in the nation.

Deciding whether to bid on a government contract can have far-reaching and long-term implications for companies. It is crucial to reach the right decision - a decision which contributes to the health of an organization. If a company decides to bid, it is creating an opportunity to make money, enhance its reputation, gain experience and cement a relationship with a major new customer.

Where do Vendors Start?

There are literally tens of thousands of purchasing agencies to deal with, and it is difficult to know where to begin. Unfortunately, bidding for lucrative government contracts is a highly decentralized process. Companies used to have to be on an agency's bidding list in order to be notified of a purchasing opportunity.

Now, with the expansion of electronic government and recent government initiatives encouraging agencies to implement online procurement systems, many agencies are making the move to e-procurement. However, even with this move to online purchasing, identifying targeted bids can still be very challenging for companies.

Finding and monitoring bid notices is difficult because they are posted in so many different places, and often not well organized. Your business can spend a great deal of time surfing from one site to the next trying to track down the right bid opportunities.

In one area of government bidding, however, an effort to create a government-wide point of entry web site has resulted in an Internet purchasing marketplace called FedBizOpps. As of October 1, 2001 the Federal government requires federal agencies to use this system to post all their opportunities expected to exceed $25,000.

Although no such central web site exists for the over 87,000 state and local government agencies in the country, there are services available that match a company's criteria with agency bids on the Internet, then send this information directly to them via email.

The benefits of using a bid matching service are detailed by Tammy Axlund, a Marketing Manager with Midland Resources who says, "(Using a Bid) service has helped us build a national database to keep track of the industry happenings throughout the country, rather than just our region. We have also been able to win a few bids of which we had no prior knowledge."
Similarly, Teresa Eastman, the Inside Sales Manager for Accurate Safety Distributors, Inc. states "I no longer have to spend my days looking for bids individually, a needle in a haystack so to speak, instead (the bid service) does it all and sends them to me daily."

While no service can provide your company with every bid opportunity from every state and local government agency, bid matching services greatly reduce a vendor's time and money spent, allowing for additional time to be used to respond to bids.

e-Procurement Benefits for Government: Save time, Save money

In the recent past most agencies had to copy and mail their bid packages to any vendor who requested them, even though many would decide not to bid. Using an online e-procurement system allows agencies to simply provide vendors an electronic notice of their opportunities. This results in a tremendous savings in postage, paper, and time.

There have also been new efforts to simplify the entire procurement process for government agencies. For example, many agencies are having procurement systems customized for them using the Internet, driven by the need to disclose. Agencies used to be required to advertise all their requests for bid in the newspaper. But in recent years, the statutes in many states changed to permit advertising on the Web instead - which meets purchasing departments' requirements to make contract information public.

While posting bid information may seem like a lot of work, it isn't a duplicate process for government agencies because their sites serve a dual role as a vehicle for disclosure, and as their primary document archive. And usually only a minimal staff is required to keep the site up to date.

Karen Storm, director of Purchasing for Albany County, NY, explains that since joining the Capital Region Purchasing Group, an e-procurement system in upstate NY, "our municipality has streamlined the bid distribution and vendor notification processes. This has saved us hours of repetitive clerical tasks and has significantly reduced our copying and mailing costs. Our vendors love the system because it provides them immediate access to our information at little or no cost."

The City of Rochester Hills, Michigan, reports similar benefits, explaining that they have realized a savings of over $355,000 by posting approximately 85 solicitations from January to June of 2004 on their e-procurement system, the Michigan Inter-Governmental Trade Network. And, the Santa Rosa County School District Purchasing Department, which has been using an e-procurement system since the fall of 2000, says "The biggest benefit we have realized is that we no longer have to manage our bidder's list. Our old bidder's list had grown to over 20,000 vendors, most of whom never responded to solicitations. Managing the list was a burden that we do not miss!"

Many companies have been working with Purchasing Departments, to create customized e-procurement systems like the ones described above, that simplify and expedite the entire procurement process. And the best part is, they do this free of charge.

E-procurement systems provide many benefits for vendors as well. Vendors simply register themselves online with a system and create a profile specific to their products and/or services. Vendors then receive notices instantly by fax or e-mail every time bids are issued that match their profile and are given the ability to respond to quotes by fax or e-mail.

Systems like this can save companies significant amounts of time while increasing sales, it's also a good way for tax dollars to help grow businesses of all sizes and generating new profit centers. At the same time, government agencies benefit by decreasing their spending, gaining more control and simplifying the procurement process.

What are you waiting for? The new era of "e-procurement" is here, and it has significantly streamlined the entire bidding process for both buyers and sellers alike.

Copyright 2005 Christina DeMers

About Christina: Christina DeMers is the Marketing Coordinator for BidNet, a firm that has been providing services for both government buyers and their vendors, for almost 20 years. More information about BidNet can be found at their web site: or by calling: (800)-677-1997.

The source of frustration addressed in his article may be all too familiar if you happen to work at an Internet-based home business which relies on personal relationships and/or teamwork.

I am often contacted by members of my business team with a tale of woe regarding a lack of response from their affiliates. It typically goes something like..."I send out lots of emails to all of them and I very rarely get any response. What am I doing wrong".

If your particular internet business involves selling well known branded items, personal feedback is not an issue. Visitors to your website (potential customers) are primarily interested in selection, availability, and price. If it is a returning customer, then you can also throw customer service into the equation. Once the desired item is selected, your mouse does all the "talking" without any human interaction involved.

However, there are many types of internet-based home businesses where feedback and interaction are quite important and getting an affiliate or business team member to communicate with you is a definite objective. It's not at all surprising that this can be a challenge when you stop to think that what you are trying to do is initiate a dialog between two complete strangers who have never even seen each other.

Heavily branded websites like or are household names and carry an implied trust with visitors. However, the vast majority of websites are not well known and are found and visited as a result of searches performed by search engines. In these instances, the visitor is probably arriving at the website for the first time and human nature often dictates a sense of fear or suspicion of the unknown which is manifested by a reluctance to respond to email messages from an unknown party.

It seems that there is no pat answer as to the best way to elicit an initial email response from a person. I have tried several approaches with varying degrees of success. Individual styles will vary, but the following four points should be kept in mind:

*you need to build trust & credibility with thorough knowledge of your business and with straight forward talk about realistic expectations

*don't over-sell or indulge in hype as many people are expecting this and it can be an immediate turn-off

*send messages with at least one open-ended question that requires a response

*keep the messages fairly brief, long winded messages that go on and on quite frequently will not be read

One other thing to keep in mind is that your messages may not even be reaching the intended recipient and they have no opportunity to give you a reply. At the end of your messages you might want to ask the recipient to send you a return email just saying "got it".

We all agree that spam is a very serious problem. These days, any email providers and ISPs have appointed themselves to be the information police" and are employing various schemes to try to
recognize and block messages that constitute spam. Unfortunately, these mail filtering or blocking techniques are often very inaccurate and many messages that people actually want o receive are arbitrarily being sent off into the ozone.

I have some first hand experience with this situation. Not long ago, the ISP that my mother was using suddenly decided that she would not be allowed to receive messages from me! It took us a
while to figure out what was going on, but once we did, that ISP was going to soon become history as far as my mother was concerned.

In the final analysis, all you can do is give it your best shot. Some people will respond, some won't...and the beat goes on. Remember, it's nothing personal, just human nature at work.

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

It's tough out there, particularly because of layoffs and our sluggish economy. So what's a small business entrepreneur trying to make a living to do? Try these low-cost pricing strategies to keep sales moving.

TACTIC #1 -- Never simply slash your prices, unless you're trying to empty obsolete inventory. Instead, try repackaging your prices so they're more affordable in the short-run so more prospects can afford them. For example, rather than pricing your service for the year, "Our monthly newsletter is only $39 for the year." Instead, try "Our monthly newsletter is only $3.25 per month." If you accept credit cards, it's very easy to set up reoccurring monthly charges that are billed to your subscribers without having to intervene every month beyond the initial account set up. The upside to offering your subscription on a monthly basis is that you can now market a $3.25 headline versus a more expensive $39 headline, i.e. you're able to offer services at a more affordable rate without slashing prices.

Here's another example. Just last night I was on the phone with a potential marketing client. As a small business owner she's trying to get some marketing help and is on a tight budget. My standard hourly consulting fee is $225, which is not always appealing to some businesses. However, in trying to work within her budget I suggested that my services could be more affordable for her if she allowed me to help her through email instead of face-to-face or on the phone. Let's face it, when you're on the phone with a client it takes longer to accomplish what you're doing since you're not only answering their questions, but you're building a relationship and talking about unrelated topics. It's difficult not to. In fact, you should! No matter what type of consultant you are, building a successful business is not about the initial sale, it's about establishing a long-term relationship with customers. One-off sales don't lend themselves to growing a profitable business; rather, deep customer relationships do! However, since I was able to establish a trustworthy and comfortable relationship with my prospect on the phone, she thought my marketing services through email would be a win-win. Did I slash my prices? No, instead I found a more efficient way to offer my services, whereby I could offer them in less time and therefore, my client will pay less money. This strategy could work for business coaches, fitness experts or personal chefs, when the latter prepares meals in her home rather than in a client's home.

TACTIC #2 -- Create tightly niched product or service offerings. For example, if you're operating a personal concierge service, rather than just offer errand services at $25 an hour, try prepackaging specific errands with associated lower pricing. Why? Because you can offer a more aggressive price when isolating your fee to one particular service. If your customer challenges your reduced price as compared to your higher hourly fee, your response is simply, "I'm able to offer this lower packaged price because of economies of scale. While I'm out delivering your bundles to the Post Office, I'm also delivering packages for five other customers." Ultimately, your customers will never know how many other customers you're delivering for that day; however, the key is not to simply slash your pricing because you believe that reducing your prices will bring you more business. The key is to provide consistent and professional pricing practices.

P.S...Yes, business is slow for many entrepreneurs right now; however, be cautious with your pricing methods. Don't simply slash prices; instead incorporate long-term and short-term strategies that are always complementary to each other. If you offer a product for $15 today, then again at $35 six months from now, you must have your reasons in place, otherwise you'll aggravate your customers.

Copyright 2005 Sharron Senter

About Sharron: Sharron Senter is a New England-based marketing consultant, speaker, writer and founder of Senter & Associates, a marketing communications firm that helps small businesses deploy low-cost marketing strategies. Sharron is well known for her free monthly emailed marketing tips, found at She's also the cofounder of -- an onsite computer repair, networking and security company based north of Boston.

8 Penny Stocks to AvoidPeter LeedsJust The Ticket How To Get The Best Seats At Face Value For Any Sports Or Musical Event!Tukshad Engineer

It should be simple your favourite team/band/theatre play is just about to perform in a couple of weeks. You've waited months for this, now you're going to log on, book the tickets for yourself and your best buddy and bingoyou'll be at the event of the decade for a night to remember. If only it were that easy you have your credit card ready but the words that you dreaded flash up on your PC screen.SOLD OUT!

You try a few more ticket websites, but dismay soon blossoms into a magnificent panic as there seem to be no tickets online or through any of the usual ticket agencies. Then it strikes youeBayof course should have thought of it sooner. You tap in the address, sure that you'll be able to snap them up here. You're right but the bidding has gone insane and the tickets are already selling at 5 times their face value and there's still a few days till the auction ends. No chance here, unless you suddenly win the lottery.

If this sounds at all familiar, this article will provide you with some tasty little bites of information to help you secure just about any ticket you would want to purchase. You may have noticed that some people seem to be able to get the hottest tickets around ones that you ordinarily would have no chance of laying your hands on. Interested? Let's get going.

First, unless you have not made the leap into the information age, let me tell you that your best chances of getting hot tickets is by having an internet connection and a little working knowledge of the Ticketmaster site. I cant help with the first but by the time you're done here you'll know just about all you'll need to about Ticketmaster to becomewella ticketmaster.

The most obvious tip is that your best chances of getting some premo tickets to that hot event you're after is by trying to buy them within the first 5 minutes of them going on sale. Don't put it off until later, tomorrow or next week, as you won't have a prayer. If you are a frequent purchaser of tickets (or you want to make some nice cash reselling tickets on eBay) then you will want to register (free) with Ticketmaster. This way when you're about to purchase tickets you will not waste time frantically typing in your details before the purchase procedure. If the event you want to get tickets for is not yet on sale you'll need to know when Ticketmaster will start offering them. This is not always easy but check out the Ticketmaster alerts page while keeping up to date with the artists/teams etc website for details.

If you're intention is to profit from reselling tickets then you must bare in mind what the maximum amount of tickets you're allowed to purchase are. If you ignore this and try and grab more than the allocated maximum you'll end up with nothing and that could cost you a small fortune in profits.

It also helps if your internet connection is fast a slow connection does not exactly give you the advantage when the site opens up ticket sales. Also, ensure that you do not have too many applications running as it can slow down the speed of your PC again, because the timing is critical you want to give yourself the maximum competitive advantage.

Here's an interesting little fact you would think that the best seats are the ones to go first? Well they may be offered first, but online it's possible to get them later (e.g. up to half an hour after going on sale) that's because some buyers who get first priority to these can back out (often unwittingly as they discover there is something wrong with their credit cards). Oh and that reminds me, ensure your credit card is working perfectly before trying to get those hot tickets.

Now some advice for the profit-hunters among you. Reselling tickets can be a very good, exciting and relatively easy way of making a significant amount of extra money. If you do this, there is one key thing you need to know how likely is it that a particular event will be sold out. With a little bit of knowledge and research you can pinpoint several events every week that are likely to be total sell outs using the information you have just read you can purchase tickets to them and then profit from them till the cows come home. To state the obvious, eBay is the best place to sell the tickets you've obtained you're almost certain to have a huge amount of interested buyers. Like most things it takes a little bit of effort to get started but this is a good and honest way of making some extra money each week. I needn't tell you that many are doing this full time for a living I'll let you discover the possibilities yourself.

Well, hopefully the last few minutes have been highly interesting and useful for you. I wish you all the best, whether you wish to get hold of the best tickets to the hottest events for your own profit or pleasure!

Copyright Tukshad Engineer

Resource box: Want to find out how to make over $200 a day just by getting hold of hot tickets at face value and reselling them for huge profits? It takes just 12 minutes per day with this step by step plan, can be done from home anywhere in the world:

Losing a sale can be disheartening, especially if you lose it for reasons you aren't even aware of.

Traditional selling approaches tell us that sales are usually lost because of some element -- price, features, benefits -- having to do with our product or service.

So, when we sell, we naturally focus on what we're selling because we feel we have to differentiate our product or service so prospects understand what we're offering that's unique.

But...what if focusing all your energy on WHAT you're selling is actually the main reason WHY you're losing sales?

"Not possible!" you say. No?

Let's hear, in my client Ryan's own words, what happened to him.

His story will help you realize why you may be losing sales without really understanding why.


From: Ryan Subject: Unlock My Brain

Hi, Ari, It's been a while since we've been in touch, and I'm sure you were frustrated working with me because I was so engrained in traditional sales thinking. I have to admit that it has taken me quite some time to shift my selling mindset.

I just wanted to let you know that I've finally unlocked my brain -- and consequently the game!

Here's what happened.

Recently, my VP of sales strongly "suggested" that I push for a close with the largest account that my company had seen. We were all anxious for them to make a decision, but I knew that they needed to reach a few more milestones in their own processes first.

I tried to convey this to my VP, but the suggestion became a demand, and we proceeded down "our" path of techniques and whatnot to convince them to go with us. Of course, I had the VP on every call after this.

At the end of the day, they decided to go with someone else.

When I asked them for feedback, I got a real wake-up call.

They said that at first they felt as if I really understood their processes and problems. Our prices were a little higher than our competition, but what stood out was my approach to understanding them and not pushing the sale.

They felt as if I really had their best interests in mind, so they heard me out. But when I started to push for the close, they saw that I was just like everyone else who sells, so they had to make their decision based on price, instead of on the value of our relationship.

The relationship, and consequently the sale -- which I invested many hours developing-- died the moment I put on the pressure. By using traditional sales techniques, I wound up sacrificing the relationship and the sale.

This experience was what I needed to unlock my brain and realize the impact of traditional selling techniques on prospects (or should I say, "people").

I finally feel as if I've found the missing ingredients that make selling a natural, productive experience that will actually bring me sales instead of losing them.

Warmest Regards,


Ryan's story points to a very important lesson: if you don't have an approach that is a perfect balance of nonaggression and effective penetration of your prospect's core needs, you'll end up asking yourself time after time, "Why am I losing sales, and why has selling become so painful?"

You can risk the relationship and lose the sale, but with a different sales mindset, you don't risk anything at all -- because you can preserve the relationship, and make the sale.

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.

5 Instant Income Streams That No One Knows AboutTukshad Engineer

Something truly dramatic has happened over the past couple of decades. The world has made a transition from the industrial age to the information age, and the income rules that used to apply a few decades ago have now been blown apart. Possibly the biggest myth in personal wealth creation today is that you should focus on one thing for your income. We are all trained into believing that in order to be successful you need to train in a chosen profession. Then get a "good job" within that industry and slog your way up the corporate ladder. In other words we are all programmed to compete and succeed at the rat race by our parents, the school system and our peers. The simple truth however is that very few people gain either happiness or financial stability by using this cruel, tired old formula. And whichever way you look at it, the problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still just a rat.

If you wish to gain happiness and financial independence then you need to find new income sources and this insiders report will help you do just that. I am not advising that you rush to work tomorrow, throw hot coffee at your boss's face while quitting to start up new ventures everything takes time. But you should certainly consider using a wide number of different methods to provide income streams for you. Do not fall into the trap of depending on one source of income for your livelihood. Look around and you will discover that there are hundreds of different and very feasible ways of making money. The key is to educate yourself and then take action.

So what are the five income streams that you can set-up immediately to earn a constant stream of income? We'll look at these one by one:

(1) Arbitrage Do you know that the internet age has resulted in thousands of online bookmakers all competing for your money? Now if you are not a gambling man do not worry because arbitrage is an investment concept that can be used to derive a guaranteed 5% to 20%+ profit within a few hours with no possible chance of losing your original cash. How is this possible? Well online bookmakers often have huge differences in opinion on the same sporting events this creates some incredible anomalies in the way that certain sporting events are priced between different bookmakers. This is great news for us because everyday these anomalies allow us to invest money on all sides of a sporting event so that no matter who wins/loses/draws we can walk away with a risk free and guaranteed profit. These arbitrage opportunities are present many hundreds of times each week and the beautiful part is that you can find them in as little as five minutes per day once you know how. This is one of the least known and used income sources around and one that you should certainly set-up and profit from.

(2) Recycling Cell Phones For Profits Last year over 100 million cell phones were replaced. Only a tiny fraction of those were recycled. Many end up tossed away at the bottom of peoples attics, or are simply thrown away. Did you know that each old cell phone is worth up to $70 (although on average this is closer to the $20 mark)? Cell phones are a multi-billion dollar business and that trend is growing on a global level governments are beginning to offer incentives for those who are willing to recycle their phones and recycling companies are now setting up and offering a decent level of cash per phone that they receive. As an individual there are some very powerful ways of collecting hundreds of phones per week and selling these on for some monster profits. The start up costs are practically zero and this is a business you can operate from home.

(3) Importing Goods From India And China If you want a very solid, profitable and enjoyable work-from-home business then this is it. Some of the most popular goods cost a fraction of the cost that they are available for in UK/USA/Europe for example I regularly have access to top quality items from India that cost me 95% less per item than in the UK. One of the best things about importing for profits is that once you setup a product and find a supplier, you have secured an income stream that lasts, often, for years into the future. There are literally MILLIONS of products that can be imported profitably into your home country finding suppliers is not very difficult and you can boost your income further by selling them on auction sites such as ebay. There are also other benefits when you operate an import/export business from home you can write off travel expenses against profits and the set-up costs are actually very low. Get involved today.

(4) Reselling Works In The Public Domain Have you heard of the public domain? Maybe. Did you know that there are literally millions of books, videos, plays, courses, music and more that exist within the public domain that you can legally take, brand as your own and sell to keep 100% of the profits? Did you know that there are online sites that actually GIVE you text documents of public domain works you just download the document and you're ready to repackage it into your own product. Not a lot of people know that Walt Disney created the Disney empire out of a story that he found on the public domain it is simply a treasure trove of cash waiting to be discovered.

(5) Ebay I know it is hardly "unknown" but it really had to be mentioned - If you have not ventured into this incredible opportunity, you really ought to. Receiving over 1.5 billion page views a month and 9000 new customers everyday, ebay is a seller's dream. No matter what you wish to sell, there is a buyer waiting for you on ebay. There are powersellers who are making $100,000 and more per year with ebay and if they can do it the simple fact is so can you. Simple, addictive and fun you should setup your ebay income stream today.

So there you have it five instant income streams that you can setup today to earn an immediate online income with little or no capital. Now that you know about them the next (and most important) step is to actually start (something that sadly 95% of the readers statistically will not do). Remember, that once you set-up a new income stream it will derive cash for you years (if not decades) into the future. Don't be lazy get started today!

Copyright 2005 Tukshad Engineer

Resource box: Download the groundbreaking "5 Red Hot Income Streams That No One Knows About" ebook for F-R-E-E and set-up your internet income streams today:

Point of sale software gives business owners a convenient way of checking out customers and of recording sales. It can keep a record of the store inventory, updating it when an order is processed. It can also print out receipts, carry out credit card processing, track customers, etc. Point of sale software eases the flow at checkout terminals, while recording all the information that can help you make better business decisions.

Point of sale software allows users to input via keyboard or mouse, and some even have a touch screen interface. You can install the software on your checkout register.

When checking out a customer you can either input the sales item yourself or use a bar code scanner. The point of sale software will look up the item in the inventory and bring up the price. It can also calculate tax on the item and change for the customer.

POS software can print out receipts and reports. Point of sale software makes your business accounting a lot easier by creating reports on inventory, sales, customers, etc. Since it is already recording each sale, it can easily tell you the sales and revenue of the day.

Point of sale software can also help with credit card processing. Credit cards are the preferred method of payment. People do not want to carry around cash for all their purchases. Credit card is a convenient method of payment and if you do not have credit card processing, your business can lose some of its competitiveness.

Point of sale software receives input from the POS hardware, which is the scanning station for the credit card. The software will process the credit card payment for you. It can check that the card has not expired and is valid. You will need a merchant account for the point of sale software to do its job.

POS software is generally easy to install and easy to use. You will need to know how to update inventory and record a price change for an item. Point of sale software usually provides an easy to use interface to do this. It can make the job of the cashier a lot easier by automating the routine tasks of the day.

There is a wide variety of point of sale software available. You can choose one that fits your budget and meets the needs of your particular business. The software will have compatibility requirements with the point of sale hardware. It will also have operating system requirements such as it might need a Windows or Linux system.

Point of sale software can more than pay for itself over time by making checkout faster and doing your accounting for you. Point of sale software may be the right solution for your business and can provide you with tons of benefits.

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.

It has become increasingly important for businesses to be able to accept credit cards. Credit cards are the preferred method of payment nowadays. Whether you are an online merchant or own an on-site business, if you do not accept credit cards you are missing out on a lot of revenue.

To accept credit cards your business needs a credit card processing system. Creating a merchant account gives you that ability. Merchant accounts are accounts especially crafted to fit the needs of businesses to accept money.

If you own a store, you will need a card swipe terminal to accept credit card payments. Your merchant account provider may be able to provide you with this equipment. There will be a purchase fee or rent fee associated with the equipment. You can also shop elsewhere for point of sale equipment. POS terminal software can ease the processing of credit cards and can ease the job of a cashier at grocery stores, merchandise stores, bookshops, or any other type of store you own.

Once the equipment is in place you are ready to go. When a customer asks 'do you accept credit cards?' your answer will be a definite yes. At the Point of Sale terminal, customers can check out their items and pay by credit. You slide the credit card into the machine and it will automatically make the payment.

To accept credit cards is even more crucial for Internet merchants. If you only use checks to accept payments, it can be troublesome for customers to write and mail the check. Online payment methods such as Paypal and StormPay also have drawbacks since many people do not have accounts with them. These can be your secondary payment methods but it is important to be able to accept credit cards.

Different websites have different reasons to accept credit card payments. Some sites ask for a membership or subscription fee. Some sites may deliver tangible products where the payment gateway must be integrated with the shopping cart. Others may require a fee for online consumption of such things as music, movies, etc.

You will need an Internet merchant account to make a payment gateway on your e-commerce Website to accept credit cards. You have a great choice when it comes to selecting a merchant account. Things to look for when making your choice are:

- Fees, such as transaction, set up and charge back
- Reliable security features
- Professional customer support
- The Company's reputation and stability

If you are not skilled in programming, you should seek a merchant account provider that will set up your payment gateway for you or provide a cut and paste code. Setting up the payment gateway, to accept credit cards, in the right place and integrating it into your e-commerce Website is essential to driving sales. The gateway must be secure and the payment processing time must be fast.

Why you must Accept Credit Cards?

For online purchases, a majority of customers pay by credit cards. Thus if you do not accept credit cards you have reduced your customer base tremendously. Also credit cards promote impulse buying. You do not want to give your customers time to rethink their purchase when they are writing a check with all those zeros.

Also it can add credibility and professionalism to your business. If you accept credit cards, your site will look more legitimate and customers will have greater peace of mind when making payments. Your payment processor will be working and making money 24 hours a day, even while you sleep.

The benefits of accepting credit cards are many, even for on-site businesses. Credit cards are a convenient way to make payments. Customers do not have to carry cash around. Just slide the card in the processor and the payment is done. The merchant can potentially see a great increase in sales.

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'm what we in the business (the "business" being journalism) call a poacher turned gamekeeper -- that is, a journalist turned press officer. As a reporter I spent a huge part of my day sifting through a slush pile of press releases, all sent out by eager business owners desperate to get some publicity for their latest project. As a press officer, I was the one writing the press releases and trying desperately to get them published.

Quite apart from leaving me with some pretty good conversation openers, it left me with a good understanding of what kind of story makes the news, and what kind of press release gets filed straight under "bin". Here's how to make sure your press release is one of the good ones...

1. Get your story straight

Before you even think about writing a press release, you need to make sure you have the right story. The fact that you've just started a business isn't a good story. Trust me on this. At the last newspaper I worked on, I lost count of the number of press releases we received, which basically boiled down to, "Hey! Guess what! I started a business!" Well, so did a lot of people. If you want your press release to work, you're going to have to find an "angle" that your target publication will be interested in. There are various different ways to do this:

- Tell a strange/funny/touching story about how your business started, or how you helped one of your customers.

- Run a competition, offering your products or services as a prize.

- Offer your expertise in an "ask the expert" feature or column (if your paper isn't running one, offer to write it for them)

- Conduct a survey and present your findings in the form of a press release.
Sponsor a local student or organisation

- All you need to get your "angle" is a little bit of imagination. And once you have a story to tell, it's time to start selling...

2. Writing your press release

First things first, remember it's a press release you're writing, not a novel. Of course, you want to make sure you get all of the relevant facts across, but try to do it concisely. It's worth bearing in mind that the newspaper will probably re-word your release to make it fit their style or the space available in any case, so don't worry too much if you're not exactly Stephen King. Focus on your main points. Tell the reader:


These are the building blocks of any story: as long as you get these down, you're off to a good start. And speaking of starts...

3. Get your opening paragraph right

It's a sad fact of life that editors are overworked individuals, and their time is precious. If the opening paragraph of your press release doesn't grab them, they probably won't bother to read the rest. In newspaper journalism, the convention is to make the opening paragraph short and snappy, and to use it to sum up the story as best you can.

4. Use quotes

Quotes are more interesting to read than straight text, and if you don't include some, the journalist who receives your press release will have to find them for herself. Including a few ready-made quotes in your press release will reduce the amount of work the reporter has to do, and that will give your release a better chance of being used.

5. Include your contact information

No matter how hard you try to get it right, there will inevitably be some small point which the journalist writing your story will want to clarify, and to do that, they'll need to be able to contact you. Making things easier on the journalist, makes it easier for them to give your business some publicity.

6. Follow up!

If your press release doesn't appear in the very next issue of the newspaper you send it to, don't panic! Sometimes it can take a few weeks for a release which isn't time-sensitive to appear, but it doesn't hurt to give the paper a quick call to make sure they received it, just don't go overboard and take up too much of their precious time...

Copyright 2005 Amber McNaught

About Amber: Amber McNaught is the editorial and marketing director of Hot Igloo Productions. Hot Igloo are small business specialists, offering website design, online marketing, public relations and more. Their new press release writing service is now available - visit for details.

Poster digital printing is widely used by several companies that have proven it effective to clasp on prospect clients and regular customers. They are open to the printing expense of the poster digital printing because they are certain to get more from their good investment in having a catchy and effectual poster digital print.

Below are some tips that could be useful in your poster digital printing for it to be worth of printing. First and foremost, know your desire and goal in thinking of having a poster digital printing. It must be justified so that there will be no regrets at the end of the job but just rejoicing to a job well done. The second one is that, have a style that would surely fit your company. It is recommended to be simple yet attractive. The more the elements in it will just breakdown the goal of attracting possible clients for the poster will look sporadic and nonsense. Third, your company must also consider the text in it. It must not destroy the whole poster but instead serve as the magnet to let prospects paused and read. After all, what will be the use of the graphics and photographs if there will be no text on it.

Another consideration is that use appropriate images and photographs that will enhance the look of your poster and will attract more the prospect customers. Again, it would be better if images and photographs will look simple yet gorgeous and attractive. Colors matters a lot in poster digital printing for it will be the life of the poster. Gloomy colored posters are not that effective for it connotes a negative impression over it. Colors must be bright and harmonize with each other to get a total effect.

The texture of the poster material is also essential to be given importance since it will be the accepting material for the colors and designs. It should be appropriate that will enhance the richness and sharpness of the colors and images in the posters. The colors even if it is well blend and harmony is present yet the paper used does not suit it it will be just a waste of money as well as effort, idea and time.

Most of all, it should be taken in consideration that the whole packaging of your poster digital printing is worth every detail in it. From the paper, color, design, ink used and others is necessary to look into to achieve the goal of having a poster digital printing.

Quality matters in poster digital printing for it will be the frontline of your company and it will serve as the invitational material for your prospect customers. Poster digital printing as well as other digital printings should be considered to have a better look and quality guaranteed.

Copyright 2005 Kristine Llabres

Resource box: For additional information and comments about the article you may log on to

The modern and latest innovations in digital technology printing provide higher resolution in picture and images as well as brighter text certainly hassle-free. What is good with digital printing is that it is well equipped with modern know-how's that will make your printing needs really slick and catchy.

Below are suggested styles and tips that would shed a better look for your poster digital printing. Commonly for the most attractive poster digital prints should possess life and should radiate positive aura towards the target customers. Meaning if is not necessary to use dark and gloomy colors then do not since it is not bright and it does not produce illusions in the eye. What is bright colored attracts the attention of the eye.

But always bear in mind that poster digital printing must be simple and understandable. It is not necessary to be that gorgeous for it might not says it all. Comprehension of the viewer towards the poster is the essential thing not just the attractiveness of it. Poster digital printing is recommended to be "biting" for it to be efficient and to meet the desired effect of the company. There must be also the element of uniqueness and identity since it aims to attract prospect customers who will buy your products or will avail your services. So, it is but needed to have something from your poster that will make people remember when they saw it that yes that is your company.

Another tip will be use symbolic things in your poster digital printing that represent your company. For instance you have a telecommunications company then there should be an element in the poster that will represent it. So that even if the text was not given attention but still the elements presented were noticed. It would be a means of identity somehow for the company. We cannot deny that people would love to see pictures rather than reading the texts. That is another reason for the appropriateness of the elements that should be presented on the poster digital prints.

Furthermore, unique concepts and ideas blended with the creative hands would make a better look for your poster digital printing. Powerful craftsmanship and enhanced skill in the digital processes would be an advantage to attain the desired outcome of the digital poster that would draw-in customers.

The success of your business would somehow depend on the quality and impression of your prospect clients to your poster digital prints since it bears the advertising edge of your company. Along with that, the polished and crafted digital poster will show the reliability and authenticity of your products or services.

Copyright 2005 Kristine Llabres

Resource box: For additional information and comments about the article you may log on to

What is affordable is the most beguiling factor for the companies for it will be less to their expenses. Since promotion and advertisements are necessary for the company to gain more profit and increase customer participation. For quite sometime now, companies made use of posters to advertise new products or services, announce significant events and many other related concerns.

With the growing expansion of technology in printing, comes now the latest digital printing. Digital printing basically concerns the technology-wise items like personal computers, digital cameras and so on that have a large capacity to store pictures and other files. Digital printing is enhanced with the latest hand of capturing the real image beyond the contribution of the paper.

Poster digital printing need not be that expensive only to catch up the attention of the target customers rather there must be an interesting element about your poster that would bring out the best that it can be and be an effective one. Affordability of the poster is a thing to be considered but not to the extent of sacrificing the needed aura and effect of the digital poster. Since poster digital printing can earn more profit for the business by attracting possible customers with the use of the digital posters, companies already knew how to spend on with their money for promotional concerns. After all, even if it is very much affordable but then with no quality at all that is useless, money, idea, effort and times are just wasted in that matter.

Furthermore, with the modern living of people in our time digital posters will be much appreciated than the conventional ones that soon to become obsolete for they were overcome by the digital printing services. Being abreast with latest innovations of technology does not just provide new knowledge but promotes better quality living.

The look and set-up of the poster digital printing as a whole should fit-in with the taste of your desired clients. Since it is their interest that you are trying to win with your digital poster printings and their longing towards getting to know more your business it's a must to have the best of poster that your company can produced.

Good quality enhanced by proper production of the material with the appropriate elements in it should be considered always for it matters more for the target customers than just by giving less in the expenses to be affordable.

Poster digital printing is always a foot ahead than just the conventional posters primarily in the digital prints because it has sharp images that are being captured well with so much to offer in blending and harmonizing colors that will suit the need of the company and the desired result of the poster.

Copyright 2005 Kristine Llabres

Resource box: For additional information and comments about the article you may log on to

The most commonly used style in poster digital printing today are those digital posters with photographs in it. Since photographs embody life and energy, they seem to attract more customers to take into further detail in the poster later on be interested in the business that the digital poster offers. Photographs play vital role in digital posters for it may make or break the digital poster itself.

The quality of photograph prints on the digital poster will greatly depend on the materials used. The resolution of the image or photograph must be clear with appropriate light and texture. Poor picture and image prints just ruin the totality of a poster but not in the case of digital printing. Since digital printing sees to it that everything is in its appropriate level with proper coordination with everyone else.

For almost 25 years now, improvements on the photograph prints were discovered to get the highest possible photographic prints that are far more clear and precise. These kinds of prints can be achieved with the popularity of digital photographic prints. This innovation in the photographic printing is a great tool for the printing companies that print brochures, posters, banners, business cards and others that need a photograph or images to enhance the worth of the printing services.

Since it is very common now that almost everything and anything can be personalized just like by putting their pictures on it and do whatever they wanted to do with it and that is what digital printing is. Digital printing sees to it that the desires and expectations of the customers are being met with high quality satisfaction.

Poster digital printing can be adjusted with the specifications that a customer wanted it to be. With the use of digital imaging and digital printing it is handy, hassle-free and with competitive prices. It may not be of the same price as to the conventional posters but then the output of the printing is far enough from each other.

Glossy paper and good quality inks are recommended to achieve the greatest poster digital printing that you've been dreaming of. Designs and layouts of the elements in the poster should be in accordance with the company's field and with bearing to the desire of the company to increase profit. None the less, all of the needed materials in making digital posters should be given importance for the effectiveness of the poster depends on each others quality and precision.

Copyright 2005 Kristine Llabres

Resource box: For additional information and comments about the article you may log on to

Smaller companies don't always have the budget - or inclination - to retain a PR hotshot to tell the world about their business success, but that doesn't mean they aren't a ready source of news.

The problem is it's often dull news which is ignored by all except the industry press and quite rightly so in most cases. If you land a contract, you issue a press release. If you take on a new senior sales rep, you issue a press release. Attending an exhibition? Press release, natch. These are simply announcements that you are doing what you do, that it's business as usual.

With a little lateral thinking, however, you could be issuing press releases throughout the year which present topics and subjects that'll have editors from all disciplines chasing you for the full story. Below I've presented just five brainstormers to get the creative juices flowing.

Your Survey Says...

Even though I know nothing about your company, the odds are that you have the time and resources to carry out a survey which could get you some coverage if it's implemented and reported properly.

Concentrate on your niche, whether that's your industry or expertise. Keep it relatively simple, but ensure the final results have the potential to grab headlines. For example, if you're a butcher, you could ask 100 people if they would give up bacon if their partner issued an ultimatum. Ɗ Out of 10 Choose Bacon Over Marriage' is going to get an editor's attention!

But be honest about your methodology. If you've simply polled a handful of your colleagues, don't try to pass it off as a six-month research project.

Some journalists won't touch a survey story with a barge poll unless it's been carried out with the kind of planning that goes into a Nasa shuttle launch, but others might find it useful, particularly if it's a fun subject and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Your Opinion Counts

Surf the major news sites - try Google News for starters:

Ask yourself what you or your boss would have to say about the main news stories of the day. Or perhaps a current event impacts directly on your industry. Pretty soon you're going to have a story to tell.

A property solicitor in Scotland did this and the resulting story is great - here's the intro:

"Scottish property solicitor criticises Gordon Brown's tax U-turn.

A leading Scottish property solicitor has criticised Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's decision to abolish without notice the exemption for deprived areas from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), saying that the measure would have an adverse impact upon the commercial property market in Scotland."

Full story:

Your Opinion Counts 2 - Straight to the Editor's Desk

While serving as editor of business magazines in the past, there have been times when PR companies have contacted me following publication with some kind of gripe regarding coverage of their company or client.

Disgruntled PR people are often being beaten hard with large sticks by CEOs and senior management who just don't 'get media', so their persistence is somewhat understandable.

But 9.98 times out of 10 the PR exec is simply not going to get what they want - some kind of full-page, front-cover apology and glowing testimonial signed by the publisher himself printed with a photo of the editor's public execution.

Every time I let them down I did say: "Write in - we're always keen to receive letters to the editor." I'd guess one in 20 actually went ahead and did so, but you know what? If every one of them wrote in I would almost certainly have printed them all. Good editors embrace transparency - if you disagree with them or their reporters they're likely to print your letter.

So pick up copies of your favourite industry - or consumer - publications and fire off some missives to the editors to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your space.

Happy Birthday

At the very most you're 364 days away from some company milestone and if you put your mind to it you may find a few anniversaries just around the corner.

Don't limit yourself to the xx years since the company was launched, how about the anniversary of the company's first profit, a look back at the day the company took on its 10th employee, or the date a key contract was secured.

Then tell the tale of how your company has developed since this date. Be sure to include some drama, the good times and the bad, and plenty of meaty quotes from the most senior talking heads.

Make a Date

Hunt for an angle based on some future date that is covered in one way or another by local and national press.

Browse some of these major online almanacs for inspiration:

What you're doing here is following the Happy Birthday strategy, but looking for external hooks on which to hang your news release.

Local newspapers in particular like to keep an eye on the calendar, so if you can provide your neighbourhood newspaper with a story, photo opportunity or news release and photo package related to a particular event, celebration or holiday, you could get some great quality local coverage.

Only Five?

Trawl the internet for reasons to write a press release and you'll come up with dozens of lists. Some of them provide 30 plus reasons to issue a release, but the vast majority of them require you to have "done something". They are reactive reasons, rather than proactive.

The reasons given above can be put into action today - you don't have to wait to secure a new contract or make a high-level appointment to get ink.

You might not have known you were sitting on those news stories, but there's no time like the present to tip off the press that you have them.

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 property of Pressventures (, a provider of free and fee-based services to PR professionals.

The great majority of business conducted online is processed with a credit card. Also, credit card sales tend to be four times larger than a sale completed any other way. Knowing that most people decide to use a credit card and spend more when doing so, it only makes sense to be able to accept credit card payments.

The first step to being able to accept credit card payments is getting a merchant account. A merchant account is a special type of bank account that is able to receive payments from credit card purchases. Along with your account you will also need a hardware or software solution to actually process the payments, but this doesn't have to be supplied by the company providing your merchant account.

For online credit card processing there is one extra step, you also need a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a company that provides real time authorization of online transactions. When looking at gateways make sure that they are compatible with your site's software and your financial institution. You may wish to research your gateway and financial institution options before signing up for any services.

When researching your merchant account providers you may be surprised at the number of options available to you. While there are a lot of options, selecting the best provider for you is easy to do by knowing a little about what each company offers and how much they charge for their services.

The first step should always be to seek a mentor. Do you know someone who currently is conducting a similar business? If so ask them who provides their merchant account and what their thoughts are on that provider as well as others that they may have tried. After asking around search the Internet for people's opinions on merchant accounts. While opinions are not a good reason to base a decision, their accounting of the service they received and the ease of company to work with are valuable information to know.

After determining which companies will be the easiest to work with you can begin to narrow down your options by examining the services offered and history. A good merchant account provider should have extensive experience working with growing businesses. This experience will allow your merchant account provider to be able to set up your account faster, will ensure that they can expand their services as your company grows and requires more options and most importantly, has the experience required to actively combat fraud and charge backs.

Of course nothing is free, and your merchant account is no exception. The amount that you must pay will vary from company to company but the basics of your bill should be the same. If the company you are considering is charging more you may wish to seek another merchant account provider.

The biggest single cost is the set up costs. Your set up costs include your application fees, equipment costs and deposits. These fees tend to average about $275 but vary depending upon the options you have selected. For example, your start up costs will be much higher if you have decided to purchase your credit card processing equipment instead of leasing it. This may be an economically viable solution after adding up the amount of the deposit that will be required if you lease the equipment and the leasing fees for a year.

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount that your merchant account provider will be charging for each completed transaction. On average you will be charged 2.5% of the sale and there may be a few more annual fees. Be sure to very closely examine that amount you will be paying and what additional fees you may have to pay as each company will be different and the difference may save you a lot of money each year.

Starting and having a business grow is a very exciting time for any business owner. As you expand into new markets, such as online sales, you will find a plethora of new options and opportunities. After deciding to expand be sure to carefully consider your options in order to make your next step as smooth and cost effective as possible.

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.

Debt consolidation is a concept that most people are aware of and often is a good idea. Basically when consolidating your bills or loans, you combine the total amount owed and make a single monthly payment instead of many smaller payments through out the month. While this is often a good solution to debt problems, there are a few things that need to be considered first.

The first thing to consider is if a consolidation loan is in your best interest. Regardless of how you end up procuring a consolidation loan the basic facts are the same, you are borrowing more than you currently owe to get one monthly payment. Is this convenience worth the extra cost of the fees and interest on a loan for money than you currently owe?

Depending upon your situation there may be several courses of action to consider first. Step one is to take a serious look at you personal budgeting. Do you need to make changes to how you are currently spending your income? If there is too much debt to be repaid at once can you enter into a payment arrangement with your creditors to allow you the time that you need to get ahead?

If you are not able to work your way out of your current situation then you need to look at other borrowing solutions. The first option should be to examine what possibilities you already have. Do you have a mortgage?

If you have a mortgage there may be a few options available to you. First you may be able to increase the amount of your current mortgage. In order to increase the amount of your current mortgage you may have to switch lending institutions and basically re-mortgage your home while other places will simply add the extra amount to your current mortgage. The other similar option you have is to take out a second mortgage on your home. In this case you are borrowing against the equity in your home that you have already built up.

If you do not have a home but do have good credit then you may have other options available to you such as an unsecured loan. An unsecured loan is a good faith loan meaning that the business that lent to you trusts you enough to repay the loan. This type of loan will not impede your ability to buy and sell property since they will not but a lien on your assets. This may be important to you if you are planning on selling your vehicle or other assets in the near future.

Debt consolidation can be a valuable tool if you know what you are doing and how you got to this point. Debt consolidation may offer lower interest rates, lower monthly payments and only a single bill to pay once a month thus making your budgeting easier.

However, the cost of this convenience can be fairly high. Often companies will charge you for settling a loan earlier than arranged thus adding to the total amount owed. Generally consolidated loans payments are less than what you are currently paying. This is because the term is longer than before. Another way lenders make money is by offering loan insurance that you may already have. It always pays to shop around for any product since the company offering it at the time is usually charging more for the convenience of bundling it.

As you can see a consolidated loan can save you money but may not be the best option available to you. The key is to shop around and do your homework. Find out what various companies offer, what kind of interest rate you should expect to pay based upon your credit rating and what alternative options you have available to you. For example you may be able to borrow from your 401K plan and you will not be charged interest on the loan if you make an arrangement to repay the loan with your employer. A 0% interest loan is a much better option than a consolidated loan.

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.

At one point or another everyone of has encountered this situation, not having enough money to make it to our next payday. A common solution to this problem that seems to becoming more popular is a payday loan. While a payday loan may be fast and convenient, it may not be the best solution.

A payday loan company offers to loan you money based upon repaying it and a service fee on your next payday. This often seems like a perfect solution until you look closer.

There is a simple reason as to why we are seeing more payday loan companies opening up and advertising so much. Payday loans are very profitable for those doing the lending due to the high interest rates and often end up being almost addictive for those borrowing the money. A recent national survey of payday loan companies found that only 37% of companies accurately reflected their interest rate. At most places the interest rates varied from 390% to 851% annually with the average being 474%.

Once you get into a payday loan agreement it is often hard to get out of it due to the amount that must be repaid at once. In fact 77% of people who borrow money from a payday loan company can not afford to repay it in full so they roll the loan. When your loan is rolled a portion of the total amount owed is paid and the remaining amount of the old balance, including the old service fees, plus the new service fees and interest rates are added on to a new loan. Obviously it is very difficult to pay down the loan when so much more is being added on to what is owed.

If you can not afford to repay any of your loan then you may receive an even bigger surprise than the interest rates. It is common practice for you to sign a wage agreement that allows the payday loan company to garnish as much of your pay as they wish without having to go to court. Another option available to most companies is charging you with fraud. In many areas it is fraud to write a check if you do not have the money in your account to cover the check and you may receive court order fines or even some jail time.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to borrow from a payday loan company then perhaps it is time to pause and reflect upon how you got to this point. Sometimes situations arise that you have no power over but more often it is a fault of bad financial planning. Now would be a good time to review your monthly budget and try to see what went wrong and what you can do to prevent the problem from occurring again.

Depending upon your situation, there may be better options for you than a payday loan. For example, if you have a little time to wait, you may be able to use funds in your 401K plan. Funds withdrawn from your 401K you are only taxed at 10% and if you make arrangements with your payroll department to repay the withdrawal from your 401K then it is not taxable at all.

Before getting a payday loan make sure you have examined all of your options. Do you really need this loan? Is there a mistake on your credit report preventing you from getting a normal loan or credit card? Can you change your monthly budget to avoid the financial problem you are experiencing? Payday loans may seem like a convenient option but a steep price comes with that convenience.

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.

Do people that are successful in home based businesses share some common characteristics and, if so, what are the primary ones?

The dictionary defines successful as:

* having a favorable outcome, or
* having obtained something desired or intended, or
* having achieved wealth or eminence

When applied to a home business, I think the definition of the word successful involves a combination of financial gain, time flexibility, and being able to call your own shots (being your own boss). The order of importance will vary from person to person.

I have had the good fortune to be quite successful with home-based internet businesses. No, that is not completely accurate, I have had success because I have invested a lot of sweat equity in my work at home business activities.

Having spent many years in the corporate world, I am a firm believer in the team aspect of business and so I naturally gravitated toward network marketing instead of trying to go solo selling products/services and competing with the big players like Yahoo, Amazon and the other well known names.

After doing considerable research, I found a very well established and financially solid internet-based company to work with. Using my business experience in the "offline world" and developing my internet marketing skills on the fly in an OJT (aka: on-the-job-training) format, things have gone very well and I recently spent some time trying to identify some of the primary traits that are common in my most successful team members.

Whether you're breeding bird dogs, or race horses, or drafting college football players to play in the's important to develop "markers" that can be very useful in predicting success. From my offline, traditional, business experience I have known this from the get-go, but for some reason I was slow to learn (or, was it re-learn?) that identifying the people with a high likelihood of success is even more important when developing an online network marketing business that depends upon teamwork.

Reflecting back on many of the truly successful people I have worked with in network marketing, I made a list of the numerous success factors that emerged when I assessed each person individually. After compiling the list, three factors seemed to stand out as being the most common success indicators. In no particular order, these factors were:

* approaching the business with a long term perspective. It often takes a long time to become an "overnight success"

* exhibiting the tenacity of a pit bull

* being able to ride the emotional roller coaster (two steps forward and one step back) in the early stages of developing the business

Just because a person has these characteristics, it does not ensure success and, on the flip side, a person is not necessarily doomed to failure just because he or she does not possess all three of them.

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

There are a lot of ways to create and design your post card, whether in a black and white color or to the stunning four color print. You can also do it as simple as it is or make it as creative as possible. Nobody will stop you making your own style of post card because it is you who will decide for whatever idea you wanted to incorporate in your're free as a bird to do things the way you wanted it to be.

But most of the clientele would want to express their postcard in an eye-catching four-color print. They believe that the more vibrant the postcard will be the more customers will pay attention to it and give cognizance to the postcard. However, the question is, if you're just starting to use a four-color postcard what will be the best design to apply? A common question of a beginner who wanted to bring out the best in his four-color postcards.

Before developing the design of your postcard asks yourself what this postcard is intended for. Is it an order form, mini-news release, or a general statement of my products and/or services? Make your postcard in a way that will influence the reader to take action. Make sure that if your postcard is a form for ordering or surveying, keep it simple because too much text can be confusing which may cause the reader to lose interest.

When choosing a font make sure you use at least 10pt text. A sans-serif font (Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana) is best suited for smaller type size because it has a cleaner sharper look. According to recent marketing research it is proven that full color postcards are more effective than postcards printed in one or two colors. The visual cues in full color printing capture the attention of the reader. Another consideration when designing your custom printed postcard is what type of card stock you will use: coated or uncoated. Coated card stock will express your message on your postcard more vividly since the stock offers a smooth glossy finish adding also its durability.

Choosing your own style of four-color postcards is easy if you are going to consider the following tips suggested below:

  • Prepaid return postage.
  • Pre-addressed return address on card or a pre-addressed envelope.
  • Color. Neon-bright paper, pre-printed paper, or photo-postcards attract attention.
  • Plenty of room to fill in names and addresses, and easy-to-read large type.
  • Check-boxes that allow the recipient to quickly fill out order forms or surveys.
  • Incentives such as free gifts or drawings for prizes to entice recipients to return surveys or other types of reply cards.
  • Include your mailing address, phone number, or other alternate contact information on the card.
  • Repeat any special marketing message that is found in accompanying marketing materials.
  • Calls to action. Always tell the recipient what to do with the card -- "Fill it out & drop it in the mail" may seem obvious, but say it anyway.
  • I agree that a great looking card is always picked up, remembered and will stand out on any desk.
  • So the next time you decided to make your own postcard, try to be very smart!

Copyright 2005 Marlon Ludovice

Resource box: For additional information and comments about the article you may log on to

Here's a fascinating secret about miracles: You can't necessarily always place an order for magic at will, but you can deliberately create the conditions -- environment, atmosphere and attitude -- that make miracles a thousand times more likely to occur. Want to know how you can create a miracle-friendly world? By taking these practical steps, you will bring magic into your relationships, body, finances and more!

Your ability to Make Miracles is in direct proportion to your willingness to:

1. Tell yourself more truth about the situation you want to transform

The more honest you are about where you're really at, the more personal power you have to realize your dreams. By aligning yourself accurately with what is real, you retrieve all of the life force you've invested in holding together false situations and relationships. This re-captured energy then attracts the goals you desire. In this universe what's congruent gets the energy. What's not congruent doesn't get the energy. Where aren't you being honest or accurate about some aspect of your life? What truth about your life is right now safe, timely, helpful, nurturing and liberating for you to acknowledge to yourself?

2. Act "outside the box"

All magic occurs beyond the boundaries of your current belief system. What obstacles lie between you and moving outside your "comfort zone?" Where could you let your vision for your life be more outrageous? More fun? More of what you really want?

3. Withdraw from collective mass consciousness

Step beyond general consensus to remove the limits of what's possible for you to have. Many people have changed society -- and had fun -- by doing "what couldn't be done." You can too. When you withdraw your energy field from the energy field of the tribal collective agreement, you can create outside that agreement. Be "in the world, but not of it." Where in your life could you step a little further outside of mass consciousness thinking?

4. Use the Law of Attraction: Energize what you love with gratitude

Our magnetic field of energy is always (all ways) attracting exactly what we need to create our heart's desires. Discover the ancient wisdom of multiplying what you have with deep thankfulness. As you pour the vibration of appreciation into the love, health, prosperity and joy that you already have, this vibration will magnetize more of the same to you. It's the physics of the Universe. What aspects of your life could you right now be genuinely grateful for?

5. Experience "concrete, physical" reality as energy

When we choose to experience so-called "solid" things as the vibrational energy -- fields of energy -- that they actually are, these aspects of our reality become infinitely more malleable and flexible in responding to our intentions. Where are you willing right now to open to experiencing your body -- and other people, conditions, animals, rocks, emotions -- as an energy field (life force/flow dynamic) rather than as fixed, static, solid objects?

6. Reclaim your Personal Power

Are you energizing ideas and activities and maintaining relationships that no longer serve you? When you choose to invest in those relationships and situations that do feed your dreams, you regain tremendous personal power. When you choose to call back your spirit from the people, ideas and activities that no longer serve you, you regain tremendous personal power to invest in those relationships and situations that do feed your dreams. What are you tolerating, avoiding or denying in your life right now? Where are you compromising, sacrificing or settling for something less than what you really want? Where could you invest your time, energy and attention that would really serve you?

7. Relax your grip on your belief system

When you release your vise grip on the rigid, fixed beliefs you inherited from society, the things can shift that need to shift for something new, fresh, wonderful and miraculous to happen to you. What are your beliefs about how life operates? How important are these beliefs to your survival, identity, reputation (need for approval) and sense of worth? In what areas of your life could you right now relax your need to control the exact functioning of the people and events around you?

8. Build Your Chi Your Internal Life Force Energy

Our free attention, time and energy are the lifeblood of our ability to create and attract what we desire in life. The more we consciously manage and steward these natural assets, the more we can build a reservoir and reserve of miracle-producing power. Where could you be more accessible to energy-giving situations and people? Where could you be more inaccessible to energy-draining situations and people? How can you naturally and easily "build your internal life force chi" through activities that are fun for you? What in your life are you not experiencing as an adventure?

9. Connect directly with Spirit

Your soul is in charge of your life! Your spirit has been running the show from behind the stage curtain since the beginning of time. Open a direct line to the wonders, wisdom, support and guidance of your own brilliant soul plan. How do you mediate/pray? Is it as effective as you would like? Have you tried a moving meditation?

10. Align your personality with your soul

When you're aligned with your true intentions in being here this lifetime, prosperity flows automatically with no effort or doingness. Align your everyday lifestyle with your soul vision and receive all the support, energy and love you needand begin to enjoy the ride! What actions could you take that would bring your life more in accord with your life purpose? What changes could you make to be more authentic in your life?

11. Allow yourself to receive from Spirit

The primary joy and purpose of our spirit friends -- the Ascended Masters, guardian angels, spirit guides, nature devas, spirit animals -- is to assist us to reach our life goals. Do you regularly ask for assistance, and let in love and energy from your other dimensional allies?

12. Embrace your Shadow

What you choose not to see, you can't change. What weaknesses, faults, fears and shortcomings do you feel you have -- socially, physically, spiritually, romantically, financially, sexually? Are you willing to open up to your soul's point of view on your so-called "dark side"?

13. Hang with people who nurture you

By your own pre-arranged conscious design, old soulmates deliver messages to you that trigger timely awareness, alchemy and awakening. What people and environments are not entirely safe, supportive or inspiring for you to be with? Where could you refuse to let another be reckless with your heart? Where could you be less reckless with another's heart? Where could you celebrate the success of others?

14. Listen to your body

Our body is a natural feedback system to keep us abreast of how well we are dealing with the pressures and demands of life. What lessons is your body reflecting to you? What wake-up calls from your body have you been denying? What's the weight you are carrying around? What's your body dying to tell you?

15. Follow the guiding signs and synchronicities Spirit gives you everyday

Our soul is always (all ways) trying to steer us toward our goals. We live in an interactive, responsive universe that is designed to fulfill our deepest dreams -- if we would only play along! Allow your intuition to guide you to the forms and vehicles that will empower your spirit to express fully. What messages and signals has the Universe been sending you that you have been ignoring, misinterpreting, or are afraid to act on?

16. Choose to be innocent (free) of the past: Welcome surprise and serendipity

Open the door to more magic, meaning and money in your world by learning to suspend skepticism and conditioned responses. Learn to surf through the surprises of life, instead of being swept away by them. Where could you approach your goals with more flexibility, openness and sense of play?

17. Feng-shui your life: Give yourself a "spaceshift"

Feng-shui is the ancient art of consciously managing matter and energy within space. By intuitively re-arranging the elements of your daily life, you create the space to nurture the freedom, opportunities and effectiveness you desire. By clearing out the old, dead elements of your life, you create a natural vacuum and an unblocked channel for fresh, new energy and ideas to come into your private and professional life. How could you unblock your energy now? Where can you re-arrange the ways you live your everyday life in a fresh, new, intuitive way?

18. Live your life as an experiment

Consider your life as the latest -- and greatest -- experiment by human consciousness to express Heaven on Earth -- or just to have fun playing in the 3rd dimension. Where could you lighten up, celebrate and have more humor in your approach to living?

Copyright 2005 Keith Varnum

About Keith: Keith Varnum shares his practical approach to transformation as an author, radio host and "Dream Workshops" facilitator. Keith helps people get love, money, health and spirit with his free Prosperity Ezine, free Empowerment CD and free Coaching at

Have you clearly defined your target audience? These are the prime buyers of your products or services. It is the people or organizations you are pursuing actively as customers. You don't need every customer in the world! You need the ones who are a good match for YOU. The more specific you are, the more effective your marketing campaign will be.

But, let's take this concept one step further. You can develop specific strategies that will attract your DREAM customers. These are the people who are best suited to purchase your product or service.

A dream customer is someone who:

You want to work with and enjoy. For example, if you're wild about horses, why not specialize in the riding industry?

Needs and values the product or services you provide.

Is willing and able to pay what you need to charge.

Views you as an important resource - an expert.

Has problems and goals you care about.

Is loyal to your business and not easily swayed by competitors.

Is delighted to do business with you!

I can hear you asking: "Is it really possible to attract dream customers?" The answer is a resounding YES! The key is to absolutely know what sets you apart and to make a DIFFERENCE for your customers. In all of your marketing materials, be professional, creative, and consistent. And, always focus on the exciting benefits you offer to your customers. Don't fall into the trap of using boring feature-focused marketing phrases.

Here are some examples of boring, feature-focused marketing:

We provide excellent customer service.

Our firm has been around for 25 years.

We're a full-service company.

The XYZ product is the best of its kind.

Why is this boring marketing? Because there is nothing unique or remarkable about these statements. They focus on features, not benefits. And, they are the exact same messages your competitor is using. Yes, these sentences may be true. However, they do nothing to set your business apart. These phrases are not going to magnetize your dream customer.

Instead, you have to THINK like your customers. Meet their specific needs and solve their unique problems. In your marketing materials, tell them about the unique benefits your company provides. Make sure your business is memorable. If your customers can't remember you, they can't tell others about your services or products.

Examples of benefit-based statements to attract your DREAM customers:

Sales Trainer: "We will take the fear out of selling."

Cosmetic Dentist: "A smile makeover can make you look years younger."

Mortgage Company: "We'll find the right loan for you at the best price."

These statements work because they are focused on what a customer will get. They solve a problem. And, they show an understanding of people's challenges and plans for the future. If you want to be a magnet, ask your current customers what they like about you. Also, ask them what you can do better. Feedback is a great way to build your dream customer base.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. So, be proactive in your marketing. What do your current marketing materials say about your company? Are they creative? Do they look professional? Is your branding consistent and based on a theme? If you answer "no" to any of these questions, your marketing may not be working to effectively pull in your dream customers.

ACTION ITEM: Write down the characteristics of your DREAM customer and then write down the unique ways your business can meet their needs. This week, take one step toward making your company a customer magnet.

Copyright 2005 Wendy Gray Maynard, Kinesis

About Wendy: Wendy Gray Maynard is the co-owner of Kinesis. Kinesis specializes in marketing, graphic design, and business writing. Visit for more articles and free marketing wisdom. Want to harness the power of kinetic marketing? Sign up for Kinesis Quickies, a free bi-monthly marketing e-newsletter:

Everyone loves a Home Based Business Opportunity. I love mine and you cannot be an exception I guess! So let us start from the beginning and explore as to Who, Why, When and Where you could start this Business Opportunity using the Internet.


Anyone with a desire or urge to start a Home Based Business can venture into this field. All you need is a computer and who has not got one or access to one these days? An elementary knowledge of the working of a computer and the Internet is sufficient to get started. Many things can be picked up as you progress. This is what most of the people do.

The beauty of this Internet Home Business is that Age and Sex, Race and Religion are no barriers. It is sans borders. Entrepreneurs living in any part of the world can participate in thousands of Affiliate programs that are either Regional or Global in nature.

There are many programs that are Free to join! In fact there are several Affiliate programs that provide Entrepreneurs with Free Websites and Tools too. You could have your own personal website if you are prepared to spend a few dollars.


This is a pertinent question indeed! Some of the reasons for starting a Home Based Business are:

1. A desire to earn an Additional income to supplement the monthly income.

2. A desire to run your own home business and not depend on your Boss's pay packet

3. Dissatisfaction with your present Boss or your employment.

4. Being out of work or laid off.

5. Circumstances forcing you to be with the family or aging parents.

6. A Childhood ambition to have your own business.


You can start a Home Based Business at any age. It can be at twenty, fifty or even at seventy. What matters most is that you have to be sufficiently motivated and have the urge and desire to do it.

Allocating two hours a day for your cherished dream should not be difficult to start with. In fact about twenty hours a week would be useful and advantageous. I am aware of people who have retired from active work but are keeping themselves gainfully occupied by doing an Internet Home Based Business.

To be successful in life you should have a Plan, more so for your Internet Business Opportunity. Draw up a short term and a long term plan for what you intend to achieve. Initially draw up a Plan for the first three months to start with and try to stick with it, come what may.

While you are at the computer, Pop ups and other advertisements can and will divert your attention from your objective. Do not run after the goose that is going to lay the golden egg for you and waste your valuable time.

Top Marketers are brilliant people who spend much time and money in researching how to divert your attention and I can tell you, they are not going to fail! I should know! I have been in the marketing business for several years though not in the internet field. Hence you should remain completely focused on your work.


Unlike in a brick and mortar business, to operate a Business from home, the Home Based Business Entrepreneur needs no separate building. Your physical place of business will be your very home and no high start up fees is necessary. The computer can be set up wherever you like so that it is convenient to work with and free from noises and distraction.

Your success will to some extent depend on the support you receive from the members of your family. The spouse can be of great assistance by reading and researching resources and articles and doing a lot of other preliminary work, which can substantially reduce the number of hours you have to spend on the computer. In other words your spouse can be your partner in your Home Based Business.

The greatest benefit of this Internet Business Opportunity is that it works twenty-four hours (24/7) a day and is Portable. Wherever you travel, within the country or to any part of the world your Business travels with you. You have to carry your laptop along, that's it. Otherwise find access to a computer. It is as simple as that.

Why wait? Start working on your Home Based Business seriously. Work at Home, Work from Home or Work away from Home and reap the benefits the Internet Revolution has showered on you, the Internet Entrepreneur.

Copyright 2005 Kanaga Siva

About Kanaga: Kanaga Siva has been a Marketing Manager and Business Manager and has a wealth of experience in Marketing. He now operates his own Home Based Business. For Articles, Resources, Tips and Ideas to start a Home Based Business from anywhere in the World, visit his website,

There are many reasons why people choose to start a home-based business. Some of these are:

1. Dissatisfied with your present employment situation.
2. Out of work due for whatever reason.
3. You need to be home to care for young children.
4. You need to be at home to care for an infirm family member or aging parents.
5. You really want to be your own boss.
6. You really could use an additional income source.
7. You wish to have more time to spend with family or friends.

Over the years I have identified two of the most important factors in recognizing people who should not be starting a home based business. If a prospective entrepreneur says something like...

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


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

First, It takes a lot of time to successfully market and promote a new business and, if it is an internet business, a whole lot of "savvy" and information and resources you have probably never heard of. For a pretty good "first start" effort at setting up your internet business, see my article Tips For A Successful Internet Business.doc, also available through this resource -- 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. The internet is a great source of information.

Third, learn as much as you can about small business. go to and navigate to the sections dealing with home based businesses.

Fourth, write a business plan. Beyond my own eBook on starting a Home-based Business, here are a couple of Small Business Administration website locations that should prove useful:

Finally, seek the advice of a tax professional. See my article on taxes and choosing your tax man for some valuable tips and insight into this aspect of your Home-based business.

Whatever your reason(s) for starting a home-based business and whatever kind of endeavor you choose, there are a few common steps you need to take in order to launch your business and be successful.

Right now your first step should be to learn all you can about beginning a successful Home-based business. I have written several articles, which I'm turning into an eBook, on all the basic tips you need to start your own successful Home-based Business, be it truly "at home" or "on the internet". Check the following article list and pick out all you believe would be helpful to you:

1. Do I Really Need A Business Plan.doc
2. Writing A Homebased Business Plan.doc
3. Tax advantages of a homebased business.doc
4. How to Set Up Easy, Efficient Bookeeping.doc
5. Should You Pay to Join a Home Business Opportunity.doc
6. There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch Anymore.doc
7. How to Make Your Hobby Pay.doc
8. Tips For A Successful Internet Business.doc
9. Telecommuting, The New Way To Work From Home.doc
10. Writing Effectively Part 1.doc
11. Writing Effectively Part 2.doc
12. Home Based Business Time Wasters.doc

Then email me and request all the articles -- by title -- you decide you will need or will be helpful to you...and get started on your new successful Homebased business life. I'll email your articles to you in MS .DOC format. They're free. Or go to my website and download the complete eBook -- for free. But give it until April because its not yet written -- it's still just a plan that needs to come together. The full eBook will have a few more topics and chapters than the article list above.

I'm always amazed at the number of people who seem to think that magic is somehow created when you put in the words "home based" ahead of "business". It's still a just happens to be based in the home...and you have to treat it "as a business", keep regular business hours, and do everything you would do if you went to the office in order to have a successful "home-based business". There simply are no substitutes for hard work and focus.

Copyright 2004 Loring A. Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad has operated his own HBBs for nearly 40 years, is a published author and freelance writer. Loring has written grants, business plans and resumes that got the job done right. His latest HBB endeavor is

Let's take a look at Business and Business Philosophy. A business exists to 1) provide a service or product to customers and 2) to make a reasonable profit for the business owner.

In the past this took the form of two kinds of traveling salesman (the itinerant traveling salesman, working out of his wagon or truck, who brought otherwise unavailable products to places who simply could not economically travel the distance required to find those products...and the "drummer", or "route salesman" who went to the various "fixed location" businesses and sold them their "restocking supplies") and the "fixed location" businesses (stores) who carried a selection of "most needed" products in their store for customers to come in, select from and purchase.

Pretty much this mode of operation stayed true from the mid 1800's to the late 1900's. But by 1990 there was a new inroad into this model of business -- and business philosophy. Or was there? And just what was that inroad?

The Inroad was "The Internet", in existence since the 1960's, started "going commercial" by about 1990. It is now 2005 and this commercialization is an ongoing and evolving process. Business has changed and is changing. Many fixed location storefronts also have web locations and offer home delivery for online ordering, even for local customers. But how about "Business Philosophy"? It is changing, also? Or is it?

Right now internet businesses are proliferating at an alarming rate. I cannot count and possibly no one can count the total number of internet businesses in the world today. There are probably between 100 and 1000 "new" internet businesses starting every day somewhere in the world, and this figure could be much higher. There even is a "new category" of business which has evolved, sort of to keep track of those businesses.

No, it is not the electronic store front which offers products or services to customers anywhere in the world (though this is a major evolution from a standard "fixed location" real store front on your local street), nor is it the "hosting service" which electronically locates and "displays" your electronic storefront for customers to find. They are not unlike the building owner who sublets space for offices and stores. The new type of business is the "search engine" which "locates, catalogues and categorizes" all of these various business enterprises and allows you to find what you are looking for.

It is said that there are hundreds of different search engines out there, proliferating and multiplying like lemmings...and, like lemmings, falling by the wayside for various inadequacies. Except for the best and biggest. The number one "search engine" is probably Google. However, MSN is gaining and Alexa, All-the-Web, Alta Vista, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Matilda, Scrub the Web and a few others may be considered the "major" search engines, those which comprise, say, 95% or more of total search engine use worldwide.

There is possible a second type of "new business" brought to us by the Internet. This is the browser. In fact, the browser and the search engine work hand in hand and are completely different entities. Basically, they generally are set to work hand in hand and mutually complement one another. In fact, in my mind, the search engine is slightly more valuable but less independent.

The Number One Browser is likely to be Microsoft's Internet Explorer. But there are several more "major" browsers, which include AOL/Netscape, Firefox and Opera, as well as many more. These four probably comprise more than 95% of the worldwide "browser use" on the internet.

You could compare them (very loosely) thusly: look at the search engine as an exquisitely detailed map, showing not only everything that is there by business and location, but everything that is inside those locations -- the books and other resources within a library, the entire stock of the local store, all the services of a print shop, etc. And look at the browser as the vehicle that gets you from where you are to the resources, products and services you are looking for. It's nice to have such a detailed map but the map is useless without the ability to go there and see and use what is there.

The search engine, slightly more valuable in a sense, is not a "stand-alone" item. It requires a browser to be truly functional. The browser, however, is a stand-alone item which benefits mightily by the information the search engine provides. Compare the search-engineless browser to a long trip in a vehicle with an occasional rare find -- a resource you may or may not have been looking for.

So for you to be successful in your internet business endeavor you must not only be there -- on the internet -- and accessible to browsers, you must find a way to "be found" by the search engines and mapped so that the people using the browsers can find you.

To do this you must do several things. You must build your web site cleanly and meeting the "search criteria" of the various "search engines". Ideally you will want to use a pleasing layout, probably a cascading style sheet, optimize your verbal content for the search engine algorithms and engage the services of someone who really knows how to do this kind of work. You must also carefully, very carefully indeed, select the host for your web site. More on this in the next article, but see my #1 web site below.

I personally recommend Lawrence Deon of
I have seen several resources out there similar to what Lawrence Deon provides and they range in price from triple the cost to more than 10 times the cost...and they don't do anything that Ranking Your Way To The Bank doesn't do.

Organic Greens dot US ranks right up in the top 10 for nearly 20 different search terms and on most of the world's major search engines. This is purely thanks to Lawrence Deon. I have this one up and three more right now in varying stages of construction, all with Lawrence Deon's help. And I have more web sites up which are designed with thanks to Lawrence Deon.

Copyright 2004 Loring A. Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad has operated his own HBBs for nearly 40 years, is a published author and freelance writer. Loring has written grants, business plans and resumes that got the job done right. His latest HBB endeavor is

1. Choose opportunities more wisely and waste less time because I have my plan in place (P 6)

2. A single page can contain all the elements you need to tell your employees, board of directors, potential partners or banker where you are taking your business and how you are going to get there. (P 17)

3. The most important reason to have a business plan is to clarify your thinking, regardless of the size of your company (P 18)

4. It facilitates creating and analytical thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork. (P 18)

5. It creates hope and enthusiasm about the future. (P 18)

6. It also brings out procrastination, frustration, differences of opinions and possibly anger. (P 18)

7. Somehow writing initiates the transformation from idea to reality. (P 21)

8. The written word produces a contract with yourself that results in immediate action. (P 21)

9. Writing allows others to participate in your dream and give you feedback (P 21)

10. Because your coach, consultant, business builder strategist, friend, relative tells you that one of the top reasons businesses fail is a lack of planning! That's why!

Quotes 1-9 are from the One Page Business Plan Book, by Jim Horan. For more information on the One Page Business Plan, visit

Copyright 2005 Maria Marsala

Resource box: Elevating Your Business. Since 1998, Maria Marsala, a former Wall Street Trader, has worked more than 1000 women (and men) who own service business to increase their profits, save time, and live rich, fulfilling lives. Visit to request your 2 business reports and join our business building newsletter or forum.

1. You have the right to price your business services right!

2. You have the right to raise your prices at any time.

3. You have the right to say no to those who only want to "pick your brain."

4. You have the right to set boundaries that are in line with your integrity!

5. You have the right to terminate conversations with others because you don't feel that your experience is being respected.

6. You have a right to charge clients a late fee for not paying you promptly.

7. You have the right not only to charge more for rush jobs or jobs requested over the weekend - you have the right to say no to doing them.

8. You have the right to make mistakes, missteps. Learn, and do better next time.

9. You have the right to have fun and enjoy your "business."

10. You have the right to say no to someone in order to say YES to you!

Copyright 2005 Maria Marsala

Resource box: Elevating Your Business. Since 1998, Maria Marsala, a former Wall Street Trader, has worked more than 1000 women (and men) who own service business to increase their profits, save time, and live rich, fulfilling lives. Visit to request your 2 business reports and join our business building newsletter or forum.

23 Things To Say When Someone Wants To "Pick Your Brain"Maria Marsala

Many service business owners these days are "giving away" their business services -- and then wonder why people aren't hiring them in droves. In the name of "marketing," business owners are providing way too much information for free. Some shifts in thinking are necessary if these business owners expect to be in business years from now.

Even trained coaches, I believe, do too much pro-bono work. Why? They say that they need to practice, but the bottom line, IMO, is that they don't value their gifts.

What can you say to people who 1) ask outright for free information, or 2) want to "pick your brain" or 3) just start talking to you about something, and you realize that they're trying to "borrow" your valuable resources without becoming a client? Here are some ideas. Try them on to see which ones "fit" you best.

23 things to say when someone asks you - a service business owner -- for free information!

1. My charge for an initial consultation is "x." If we turn out to be a good match, and you hire me, I'll apply 1/2 of "x" towards your commitment.

2. I'm happy to give you 5 minutes or less of free time, however, most issues are more quickly & effectively resolved in an undisturbed session(s). May we schedule a meeting so I can give you my undivided attention?

3. If someone is very persistent, whip out a stopwatch & say "For $2 a minute I'd be happy to go into this now. May I start the clock & do you prefer to pay with cash or check?"

4. What I can do is refer you to a free resource on "_______."

5. I do work with two pro-bono clients, who are in desperate need financially. I'll take your card and add you to the waiting list.

6. Yes, I do work with clients on "name the issue." Would you like to set up a consultation?

7. That will cost "x" per hour.

8. There's a lot I can do for you that's similar to the work I did for "xyz" client. Would you like to get together and build a marketing plan? (And then charge for those services.)

9. Well, I'd love to suggest something; however, my fees are "xxx" per hour.

10. Are you looking to hire me?

11. Are you looking to hire _____? Well, I'd love to talk to you about that; my fees are "x" per hour."

12. You may call me for a 15-minute talk, very focused, on that issue.

13. "Well, the answer to that question depends" and then spend a few minutes explaining some of the options and considerations. For example, I may explain that the best way to identify the "solution" is to work backward from the desired end result and process. That provides a natural lead-in to: "If I were to work with you on this project, here's how we would do it..."

14. Sorry, I can't answer that unless you pay my fee (or hire me).

15. A complete answer to your question is going to take more than 15 minutes over the phone. Would you like me to send you a proposal on this?

16. I have really enjoyed talking with you and would like to help more. May I send you one of my brochures and a rate card?

17. Do you have a time line and/or budget in mind for solving this problem?

18. Have you looked at cost estimates from others who would like to help you solve this problem or complete this project?

19. It's not a good time for me to begin a session right this minute. Would you like to briefly discuss session times and fees?

20. Are you seeking generic free information on
"the topic" or to work with a "your profession here" to address your specific situation? [If I have a free resource, I'll ask for their email address and send it to them.]

21. I provide a general 3-4 sentence overview of how I would address their concern with them. Then I say that I've found that the sorting of the information available and subsequent application of that information is so specific to each individual that I always recommend hiring a "your profession here" for getting that one project completed.

22. Well what I can offer you on that subject is an ebook (CD, audio, etc) called ________. I'll email you the link.

23. Refer them to these "free" or "almost free" resources:

- The library has books/tapes/audios/CD/reference librarians.
- To an outsider, your local SBA and SCORE Offices "look" free. They're really not "free" either.Their classes "cost $" and their advice is paid for by all of us as part of our taxes.
- Find a professional who needs your services and see about some sort of in-kind exchange or barter. Again, this isn't totally free, as you do need to report it on your taxes, but in most cases, there isn't any money exchanged.
- Join lots of ezines by experts in the area you're looking to learn about, but do it quickly while they are still free. And know that the 'best of the best' contain ads and affiliate programs, too.

Marcia Yudkin, Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Author says this in Marketing Minute:

"You can head off a good portion of that from paying clients by settingdown in writing what your fees cover and do not cover. While you don't want to come off as some sort of dictator with a stringent rulebook, it helps to set forth guidelines for a productive relationship. For folks who are not yet clients, feel free to copy what I do. If I can answer a question in five minutes or less, I generally just go ahead and do so. If a question is more complicated than that, I reply, 'I couldn't do justice to your question without a consultation. My consulting rates are ...' Prevent hassles by making expectations explicit!"

Remember, as a service business owner, part of what you "offer" clients and what they value from you is your knowledge and expertise. It's as much a part of your "services" as any tangible materials you produce. So make sure to treat it as such, and get compensated fairly! When you value your services, others will, too.

With special thanks to members of the CoachU Alumni Helping Alumni List, Digital Eve Seattle and Freelance Seattle, discussion lists for sending me their questions and observations, which contributed greatly to this article.

Copyright 2005 Maria Marsala

Resource box: Elevating Your Business. Since 1998, Maria Marsala, a former Wall Street Trader, has worked more than 1000 women (and men) who own service business to increase their profits, save time, and live rich, fulfilling lives. Visit to request your 2 business reports and join our business building newsletter or forum.

You may remember being told as a child, "Keep quiet!" "Children should be seen, not heard," and "You talk too much." You were a "good" kid if you kept quiet. However, being quiet when you are little causes big problems later in life.

As an adult, you may have been punished for communicating. For example, if you admit you committed a crime and are sorry about it, no one cares. You still go to jail. If you honestly tell your spouse you are thinking about an affair, your marriage suffers if your spouse is not very understanding. If you tell someone you feel a little crazy, who knows what might happen. So you learn to keep your mouth shut.

However, businesses fail when managers do not talk to employees or employees do not talk to customers. Everyone mistakenly believes telepathy is working. "I thought you knew I was unhappy with your performance." "You should have known I was overworked."

Marriages are ruined by poor communication. Rather than openly discuss sex, money, body problems or whatever, couples hint about their concerns or simply say nothing. But without support and understanding from your primary teammate, you do not go as far. In fact, a bad marriage can ruin everything in your life. Both parties in a successful marriage are able to give and receive communication from their spouse on any subject.

Life is miserable if you have no one to openly communicate with. Friendships are based on communication. The lack of friends or a spouse to communicate with often leads to mental problems.

So the first communication skill you need is to get out there and talk.

Unfortunately, on some topics, you've learned to watch what you say, to keep it under your hat, to zip it up.

"So that is the basic lesson that anybody learns in this universe. They learn to keep their mouth shut, and it's the wrong lesson. When in doubt, talk. When in doubt, communicate." -- L. Ron Hubbard

Whenever you have doubts about something, COMMUNICATE! Talk, talk, talk until the problem resolves. When you feel stress, disagreement or resistance between you and someone near you, the wrong thing to do is ignore the problem. Instead, start communicating.

When you know you should say something, say it! For example, an employee knows another employee is embezzling money and so says something to the employee and/or boss. A doctor knows he must talk to a about the patient's rude behavior to the office staff. An employer knows she must discuss poor performance issues with some employees.

Take the bull by the horns. Move ahead in life. Spit it out.

If you're worried about the consequences of saying something, you can ask first. Examples: "Lisa, I want to say something about your driving to help keep you out of accidents, but I don't want to upset you. Can I tell you what I think or should I keep my mouth shut?"

"Boss, should I tell you if I think you are giving me bad advice?"

"John, our marriage means so much to me I don't want to say anything that would jeopardize it. But I have done something wrong and I'm sorry I did it. I think it would be good for our relationship if I told you. Don't you think it's best if we are 100% honest with each other?"

"Can you listen to something unfortunate I have to say and remain calm? Are you ready?"

In the long run, you are always better off by communicating. Take responsibility and talk. Staying silent solves nothing.

Copyright 2004 Fernando Soave

About Fernando: Fernando Soave is the author of "Cutting Edge MLM News." He has been in marketing for 20 years and is helping individuals succeed online. Visit his site to find out how you can get free reports. or Subscribe to the Free Cutting Edge MLM Newsletter and receive your +$585 MLM Value Pack. (subject: SUBSCRIBE)

It is believed that there are only two ways to ensure customer satisfaction. The first is quality in the output and second is the affordability of the service or product. Full color printing companies are now well-equipped to fulfill customers discriminating needs. In fact, some are even assisting their customers starting from the conceptualization stage to design, printing and finally to the mailing of the materials.

CMYK or full color printing can be relied upon in giving the most accurate, crisp and detailed reproduction of your materials. Its popularity can be concluded in its rampant circulation. Time, People Magazine and National Geographic are in fact, using it. Aside from newsletters, it is also widely used by other forms of advertising materials like postcards, posters, stickers, greeting cards, brochures, flyers and folders.

Before finding an expert printer is a time-consuming and hard task. Now, it's as easy as flicking a finger. Right at the very confines of your home, you can pick a printer and order instantly. Regardless of the quantity of your printing needs, you can have them easily taken cared of online. All you have to do is negotiate through your computer. Be reminded though that it will cut costs if you order more.

Most, if not all of the printers are very competitive. They give reasonable and viable prices for the customers to choose from. In connection to colors, the printing companies are offering a wide variety of colors ranging form one-color to six-color printing. Instant printing quotes and online approval of the four color printing job are given for you to preview and select how your printing job will push through without any hassles and delays. Not only that, the customers can already have their orders delivered in a matter of days depending if it is a rush or not.

As a rule of thumb, always consider the company image first with all your printing needs, because it is the most important thing that should reflect on your materials. That way, people will notice the company's image and the company per se. another thing to consider is to make the message lasting. To achieve this, you must first create an impression using full color printing. That impression will eventually result to retention.

With full color printing, your needs can be delivered quickly and efficiently. Printing made faster and easier! You don't have to worry about delays because your project will be delivered just on time!

Copyright 2005 Maricon Williams

Resource box: For suggestions, inquiries and additional information about full color printing services, log-on to

Have you been in a situation where you are sure that you are in dire need of a business card but then you are perplexed and unable to decide what kind must be chosen? Well, if you're in that situation, you are on the same boat as thousands of individuals all over the globe.

It is a given fact that black and white has an aura of elegance and formality. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the majority it can be perceived as dull and boring. Adding colors to it can make it stand out from the rest. The business card's appearance is very significant since at the onset it should grab the attention of the holder, otherwise it will not be read and the personality of the business or company will not be extended.

Full color business cards create an ambiance of ingenuity and creativity. It can emphasize, beautify, modernify and boost the design of the business cards. You can even incorporate it into the background to effect an outstanding work-of-art.

In today's modern environment, color as a catalyst to a successful design and craft, is just a mouse click away. You can order it online through your trusted online printing company. They are offering it with fast turnaround. So you can have it delivered swiftly.

Full color printing is somewhat similar to inkjet printing. In this kind of printing, all the inks are simultaneously printed on the paper. Therefore, in a matter of one run, cards are already printed -- no hassles just precision!

Nowadays, full color printing is becoming more and more affordable. It can turn your business cards sharper, jazzier and bubbly. If in case you have a colored graphic or logo, the least costly remedy is to have it full color printed.

In selecting the right business card look for you, you should bear in mind that it must project the business or the profession. If you are a lawyer, an elegant and formal business card is the right for you. You can add in glitz of gold and black inks. It is noteworthy that lawyers and other professions use cards to give information and not to solicit business. This is the bare minimum difference of using cards for profession and business.

To sum it up, you may have price as your most influential decisive factor, however, you must think first of the image and the resultant output before deciding on the matter. If you decide on this drastically, without weighing the possible outcomes, you might end up losing your hard earned resources.

Copyright 2005 Maricon Williams

Resource box: For suggestions, inquiries and additional information about full color printing services, log-on to

Does travel to places like Fiji, Rome, Italy, Hong Kong, Bora Bora, Paris, London, and Australia sound like something you want to do? Would you like to stroll on secluded beaches, dine in quaint little restaurants, or wander around in ancient castles? If so, becoming a travel agent may be a good choice for you.

But can you really make decent money being a travel agent? Is there a future in it?

According to the United States Department of Labor, "Industry consolidation and increasing use of the Internet to book travel will result in a decline in the employment of travel agents. The Internet increasingly allows people to access travel information from their personal computers, enabling them to research and plan their own trips, make their own reservations and travel arrangements, and purchase their own tickets."

So as the need for travel agents declines, so too will their salaries. And salaries of travel agents are already low. The United States Department of Labor, says that the "Median annual earnings of travel agents were $26,630 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,800 and $33,580. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,530, while the top 10 percent earned more than $41,660."

So if you had years worth of experience the best you would do is around $40,000 U.S. a year, which is very well likely to decline. And more likely you would only be earning $25K or less as a travel agent. That's not a very attractive salary for most people.

So if you become a travel agent you'll have the benefits of huge discounts on travel, but you won't likely be making money enough to afford to travel. In fact, you'll barely have enough to cover living expenses.

So does that mean you should look for another more profitable occupation?

There is a solution so you can still become a travel agent. The best way is to become a travel agent is with one of the new travel-based network marketing organizations. You become a travel agent of one of these travel companies and you get all the benefits of being a travel agent.

You still make money on travel commissions, but you also make money by helping other people become their own travel agents. This enables you to make way more than you could as an ordinary travel agent. In fact, if you do it right, you can make as much in a month as many travel agents make in a year.

With the trend moving towards people making their own travel plans, you're just helping them do what they are going to do anyway. Everyone wins! And you get to see the world in style!

Copyright 2005 Tim Bruxvoort

About Tim: Tim Bruxvoort is the Internet's Foremost Home-Based Business and Success Coach who helps people create successful and profitable lives in their own home-based businesses. You can visit his website at . If you are interested in becoming a travel agent, go to for a free report.

To achieve success in a home based business it is of critical importance to maintain a laser beam focus on your target market and to direct your marketing activities to that specific group. Website traffic is one thing, but targeted traffic is everything.

You have no doubt seen dozens of offers similar to "10,000 hits per hour driven to your website!". This type of website traffic is completely untargeted and will undoubtedly result in a very low conversion ratio. It's basically "throw it up against the wall and hope something sticks". The big incoming numbers give the illusion of progress, but you will achieve better results with a lower volume of highly targeted traffic.

I speak from experience because in the early days of developing my home business, I went for the big numbers instead of focusing on targeting prospects. It took me a while to appreciate the importance of targeting (quality) instead of just going for the big numbers, but it was a lesson well learned.

Exchanging links has been an important part of generating website traffic for quite some time, but the vast majority of people looking to trade links don't understand that just wildly swapping links with any willing webmaster is not the way to go.

For the last few years, most webmasters have been in a "pleasing Google" mode since Google had such a dominant position. Now that challengers are emerging, most notably Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves, the search engine ranking landscape is becoming much more complicated than just marching to the tune Google plays.

Many website owners seem to be of the opinion that the sole purpose of exchanging links is to try to improve the search engine ranking position of their website. While it is true that links pointing to your website can help your search engine ranking, the reason for obtaining inbound links goes far deeper than that.

In my opinion, the targeted traffic that relevant links pointing to your site will bring can be as important as the traffic that comes to your website from people using search engines. This is where linking philosophy comes in. If you limit yourself to exchanging links only with websites that have a theme highly relevant to your own, the traffic you receive from those links will be far more targeted (valuable) than traffic you might receive from links with websites that have nothing to do with your theme.

Not only do highly relevant links bring you more highly targeted traffic, but they also play a "customer satisfaction" role for visitors to your website who arrived there as a result of a search engine query. If someone arrives at your website after performing a search for, lets say "work at home" and then finds your website full of links to a bunch of off topic sites (Viagra, online casinos, hotel reservations, sports betting, etc, etc) the impression is often not favorable and may actually drive your visitor away before they consider whatever it is that your website itself is offering.

Keep your eye on the bullseye and develop highly targeted traffic by having good content on your website and exchanging links with highly relevant sites that also offer good content. Always keep in mind that...traffic is one thing, but targeted traffic is everything.

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

With an increasing amount of scams on the internet posing as legitimate home businesses it is becoming more and more difficult to find a business opportunity that is not going to take your money and run.

So how do you find a legitimate home business among all the scams and schemes? Below I have listed some things you should definitely look for when selecting a home business opportunity...

Proven Business System -- Is there a proven successful business system you can tap into and get up and running very quickly? You don't want to spend all of your time reinventing the wheel or trying to make a bad home business system work.

Length of Time in Business -- I would not invest my time, money, and resources into any home business opportunity that has not been successfully in business for at least five years. Most scams, schemes, and other bad business opportunities will not make it to the five-year mark. Therefore, you can greatly increase your chances of finding a legitimate home business by staying away from those that have not successfully been around for at least five years.

No Hyped Guarantees -- Every home business wants you to think that theirs is the best, so some fluff and hype can pretty much always be expected. However, you need to watch out for the business opportunities that overdue it.

For example, any home business that "guarantees" you will make hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars, in any amount of time, is flat out lying to you. There is no way that any business can guarantee you will earn that much and they certainly can't know how long it will take you to do it, if it even is possible.

Credibility -- I would not join a business opportunity unless it is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and other credible organizations. Plus it should have a good reputation with current and previous members. I suggest asking around at forums or doing a search for the name of the business to get some feedback on what others are saying about the company.

Product(s) -- Is the product something that people will actually want and use often? Look for a business opportunity with products that are used regularly. This will help you tremendously in getting new customers as well as repeat business from previous customers.

Free to Join -- Not every legitimate home business is free. In fact, many are not, but it is definitely a good sign if they at least let you check it out for free to see if it is for you. It is nearly impossible to build a successful home business without some monetary investment, so you will probably have to break into your piggy bank at some point. However, I would definitely be much more skeptical of an opportunity that does not let you have a free trial.

Free Website -- You will definitely need to get your own website sometime in the future but when you are just beginning you probably won't have one yet. So the business that you are joining should provide free websites for you to use. Chances are that you won't be able to make changes to these or get them into the search engines, but you can at least send prospects to them.

Compensation Plan -- When evaluating the compensation plan of a prospective business opportunity ask yourself these questions; How hard is it to get in profit? Can you earn a full time income with them? Are the income expectations reasonable (not full of hype)? There should be a clear compensation plan and you should earn commissions from your very first sale.

Lead Generation System -- Until you get more experienced at marketing it will be very difficult for you to bring in very many leads on your own. Good business opportunities will have a way for you to purchase high quality targeted leads for a fair price.

Resources and Training -- Every good home business opportunity should have a resource center that members can go to for support, training, and resources to help them succeed with their home business.

Your questions should be answered quickly and accurately and there should be more than one means to get help. Members should have two or more of the following available to them at all times; upline members, email support, phone support, live chat, or a forum.

Well, there you have it... some very good criteria to help you in selecting a legitimate home business opportunity. Use the above information as well as your own instincts when selecting a home business and you should never get scammed again!

Copyright 2005 Trent Brownrigg

About Trent: Trent Brownrigg is a successful internet marketer and home business mentor. Visit his website at and he will personally help you succeed with your own home business. Please subscribe to his "Biz Tips" Newsletter by sending a blank email to:

Getting low interest credit to finance your home or car, or to get a low interest credit card requires that you have good credit. Bad credit can disqualify you from many loans and from securing low interest rates.

It is important to find low interest when getting a credit card. Low interest credit cards can save you a lot of money over time. A great number of bankruptcies are declared each year because of overwhelming credit card debt. Low interest credit cards can help you avoid such a situation.

You can find low interest credit cards by shopping around. Conducting your search on the Internet can help you browse through the wide variety of credit card choices available.

You may have seen many advertisements for low interest credit on the TV or newspaper. Many of these offers require a person to have good credit. Sometimes low interest credit card advertisements may only state the introductory rate. The introductory rate is only applicable for a stated period of time and it will increase after the period has expired. Therefore it is important to find out what the long term APR is on any given credit card. The introductory rate can be as low as 0%.

Low interest credit cards can be great to transfer the balance from your old credit cards. This means you will end up paying a lot less interest on your balance. Make sure that your low interest credit card accepts transfers and find out if there is a transfer limit.

Low interest cards may not have many additional offers and rewards on purchases. Low interest credit cards are best for those people who normally carry over a balance each month.

Some low interest credit cards may offer a grace period of about a month. A grace period is a period of time for which you do not get any additional charges levied on if you fail to pay the bill.

When searching for low interest credit cards, it is also important to be aware of the fees associated with using the credit card. These fees can include annual fees, transfer fees, approval fees, etc.

If you have increased your credit score from the last time you got a credit card, you can apply for a new low interest credit card. A credit check can let you know if you are improving your credit score.

Low interest credit is also beneficial to financing your home, automobile and similar items. To get low interest car loans, it is beneficial to search online. Low interest home equity loans can substantially decrease your monthly payments. Find out your credit rating before you search for a loan. Next you can locate the average interest rates for people with similar ratings. This way you will know when you are getting a good deal.

If you have run up your debt to an unmanageable amount, you can seek debt reduction services to bring it under control. One way to reduce your debt by lowering your interest rates is to seek debt consolidation. Debt consolidation allows you to pay off your loans through one low interest credit loan.

A debt consolidation service can help you find low interest credit. Debt consolidation usually allows you to get a secured loan to finance your unsecured loans. A secured loan is a low interest credit loan since it is backed by collateral.

One way a debt consolidation service can help you is by re-mortgaging on your current home. Re-mortgaging includes finding low interest credit loans to substitute for your current mortgage. By getting this better deal, you will end up saving a lot of money on interest payments.

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 can use credit services to finance your needs. From buying a home or a car to financing your everyday purchases, credit services can help you meet your needs.

The credit services you seek will depend on your situation. A home mortgage can help you buy your dream house. Auto loans can finance your vehicle. Credit card services can help you make everyday payments.

A credit card companies may offer many credit services. The credit services will differ depending on the card you get. These include securing customers from fraud or theft, providing benefits and rewards on purchases, and offering low interest rates.

Many large credit card companies even offer financial and credit services to help you better manage your credit use. Financial services can allow you to build household budgets and saving plans. They offer a variety of other services, from setting up a retirement account to finding auto insurance.

Credit services can help you navigate the complex world of credit. A credit services company can help you become a better informed user of credit. They can help you with credit repair if your credit score is low. A credit service can also help you acquire your credit report from a credit reporting bureau and help you review it. A credit service can provide advice if you are unsure of how to handle your credit on your own.

If you are opening your own new home business, credit services can help you acquire business loans and help you manage your business finances. Credit services usually employ finance professions who can help you understand your situation and help you build up your credit score.

The credit services you need will depend on your situation. If you have a low credit score you can use a credit repair service to guide on how to fix your situation. If you end up getting into unmanageable debt, debt and credit counseling services can help you out.

A credit report service can help you analyze your credit report. If you have mistakes on your report, a credit report service can help you dispute those items. The fees may differ from company to company.

A credit report monitoring service can periodically review your credit report for you. They can pick out major changes and inform you about them, such as inquiries on your report.

Managing credit on your own is often difficult and confusing. Many people end up with huge debt burdens due to misuse of credit. Credit services can help you in whatever situation you find yourself.

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've been online for any length of time at all, I'm sure you know of Marketing Sherpa. This trusted and dependable source for online marketing information has put out some of the most widely known and highly praised books and reports available today. Some of their repeated best sellers include, "Email Marketing Metrics Guide" and "How To Get Your Permission Emails Past Filters." Marketing Sherpa consistently provides the tools that powerhouse companies use to supercharge conversions and profits repeatedly.

Well, they've done it again!

The newest release (already improving conversions by an average of 40% all over the 'Net) is called "Landing Page Handbook: How to Raise Conversions -- Data & Design Guidelines" and does it ever deliver. (Find it here:

After extensive research and testing with some major corporations as the guinea pigs (try Old Navy, NASA and the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau on for size!), Marketing Sherpa is now able to offer specific, conclusive information; suggestions and recommendations on how to improve your landing page conversions (for online and offline offers) by an average of 40%. Here's what they say about that shocking promise:

"If you follow the Handbook's data and design guidelines, we estimate your landing page conversions may rise by 40%.

Where did that 40% number come from? Well, Marketing Sherpa has researched more than 500 case studies on Internet marketing, most of which included landing pages. We noticed across all studies that marketers who followed landing page best practices tended to get at least 40% higher conversions than average."

What do you get when you order this ebook?

** 59 samples from real-life campaigns (use as templates for your own)
** 13 heatmaps: how actual visitors "see" landing pages
** 190 pages, including 16 tables & charts
** A 100% satisfaction guaranteed

Did I buy it? Yes. Have I actually read it? Yes. Did I find elements that could be improved on my own pages and those of my clients? You bet! I just finished making changes to one of my sites and I'll tell you the results in just a moment.

As with any Marketing Sherpa product, if you're not completely satisfied, you'll get an immediate refund of your purchase price.

Take your pick of a PDF (downloads instantly) or a printed copy (ships in 24 hours). Both include exclusive access to an online Creative Samples Library so you can view all samples in their full, colorful glory.


It's really surprising what we assume when we create landing pages (or any type of advertising). We think we know what the site visitor is looking at (and for), when, in fact, we don't.

Most often, our information is just out-of-date. Case in point: I've known for years that people look at people. It's a natural reaction for human eyes to float to the section of a Web page, landing page, ad (or whatever) that has a picture. However, what I didn't realize is that - on a landing page - having a picture of a person can be a dangerously distracting element. Times change and so does the behavior of buyers so we have to stay up-to-date.

The eye-maps included in this ebook also were very interesting to me. You can actually see what the site visitor looked at first and longest to know where to place the different elements of your page. Just very, very cool in my opinion!

If you're a:

** Website designer
** Copywriter
** Graphic designer
** Marketing professional
** PPC search engine marketer
** or anyone who wants to improve conversions up to 40%

you need to buy this book today.

I promised you I'd share the results of the improvements and testing I've done to my Copywriting Course site (see using Marketing Sherpa's newest report "Landing Page Handbook: How to Raise Conversions -- Data & Design Guidelines" so here it is.

I made another round of layout and design changes to the site about a week ago. Once again, I saw an immediate improvement. I had data from sales that were made using the original site design/copy and compared those to sales made after the first round of changes. Then I began tracking sales and traffic patterns after the second and third rounds of change. (If I'd made all the changes at once, I would not have been able to tell what worked and what didn't.)

Marketing Sherpa's headline for this new ebook promises a 40% increase in conversions when using their methods. Let's just see how they stacked up. At last check, using the same amount of traffic for each test, the results did not show a 40% increase. However, it did show a 37% increase in conversions! Not too shabby. I was impressed.

It's important to note that this was after three rounds of changes. I didn't get a 37% increase immediately. But that's something the ebook tells you... you'll have to test and track. The companies with the biggest returns are the ones who continually test.

I'll continue tweaking and testing so I can get even better results in the future, but my position on this report hasn't changed. "Landing Page Handbook: How to Raise Conversions -- Data & Design Guidelines" has extremely valuable information anyone who designs or writes landing pages would benefit from. I strongly encourage you to get yours today at

Copyright 2005 Karon Thackston

About Karon: Karon Thackston specializes in writing copy that ranks high with the search engines and converts visitors to buyers. Let Karon teach you to write better copy at Be sure to check out her latest e-report "How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)" at

Search engine copywriting has become an extremely important part of the overall search engine optimization process. However, in addition, search engine copywriting has developed into a misunderstood craft.

Shoving keywords in anywhere they can possibly go is not considered search engine copywriting. The process is more defined than that. Successful SEO copywriting takes planning. Any half-hearted efforts at writing copy geared strictly toward the engines will usually result in a decline in your customer's experience at your site.

What's the best way to write SEO copy? Starting with a plan is always a good idea. Keep in mind, these are guidelines of techniques that can be used *IF* they make sense for your site visitors. I never recommend writing solely for the search engines. In the case of search engine copywriting, the customer is truly #1.

1) Use Three Keyphrases Per Page -- Not a carved-in-stone rule, the guideline of three keyphrases per page gives good variety and helps keep the copy from sounding too repetitive. I always choose keyphrases first -- before I write -- because they can have a direct impact on the focus of the page.

2) Have 250 or More Words of Copy -- The length of your copy depends on several things: Your target customer's preferred communication style, whether the product is new to the marketplace, if a detailed explanation needs to be given, site design and many other factors. However, the 250-word minimum gives enough room to get your message across and offer an effective level of keyword support. Remember though, it's all about the customer. If your target customers prefer longer copy, write longer copy. If they like shorter copy, write shorter copy.

3) Write In Natural Language -- "Natural language" is a term popular in SEO copywriting. It means that the reader should not be able to (or should barely be able to) detect what keyphrases the page is being optimized for. The copy should flow as if it were not written with the search engines in mind. You don't want the copy to sound forced or stiff. When you generate ideas for the page copy, keep your keywords in mind. Ask yourself whether you can use them in the copy in such a way that they won't be obtrusive.

4) Use Keyword Phrases In Headlines and Sub-headlines -- IF it makes sense to do so. You will not blow your rankings if you have no keyword-filled or other tags. If your headline sounds stupid with keywords in it, don't use them. There are countless sites online that rank highly which have no keywords in the headline.

5) Use Keyword Phrases Once or Twice Per Paragraph -- Again IF it makes sense. Remember what I keep repeating? None of these guidelines are carved in stone. Read your copy out loud. If it sounds stupid or forced, take out some keywords or find ways to rework them so they flow more naturally.

6) Use Keyword Phrases In Bold, Italic or Bulleted Lists -- IF it makes sense to do so. Don't automatically bold or italicize every instance of your keywords. It will make your page look stupid, and your visitors will wonder what kind of drugs you've been doing!

7) Do NOT Use Keyword Phrases As Substitutes For Generic Terms -- For example, do not replace every instance of the generic word "cruise" with the keyphrase "Mexico cruise vacation." Your copy will sound ridiculous.

We offer Mexico cruise vacation packages on the most popular Mexico cruise vacation ships to the most breathtaking Mexico cruise vacation destinations. Oh please!!

8) Use Keyword Phrases As Anchor Text In Links -- This is certainly not always possible. If your primary keyphrase is "Mexico Cruise Vacation," you absolutely should not write every link to include that phrase. However, if you can include keywords in anchor text within body copy or in text navigation links, you might score a little extra credit.

9) Test and Track -- Lastly, and above all, please remember, it may take some tweaking to get your page to convert the way you want it to. All customers are not the same, and all sites are not the same. All keyphrases are not the same. There is no magic bullet. You'll have to test and track and see what works best for you.

Copyright 2005 Karon Thackton

Resource box: Copy not getting results? Learn to write SEO copy that impresses the engines and your visitors at Be sure to check out Karon's latest e-report "How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)" at

7 Cold Calling Secrets Even The Sales Gurus Don't KnowAri Galper

More and more e-mails are arriving in my in-box from people who hate cold calling. Here's what they're saying:

- "Cold calling terrifies me."
- "The phone feels like a 10,000-pound weight."
- "Every time I have to make a cold call, I freeze up."
- "I feel like a fraud when I'm cold calling."
- "I can't take the rejection when I do cold calling. It just kills me."
- "I've gone from top producer to 'hermit' because of my mental brick wall when it comes to cold calling."

Cold calling the old way is a painful struggle.

But you can make it a productive and positive experience by changing your mindset and cold calling the new way.

To show you what I mean, here are 7 tested cold calling ideas that even the sales gurus don't know.

1. Change Your Mental Objective Before You Make the Call

If you're like most people who make cold calls, you're hoping to make a sale -- or at least an appointment -- before you even pick up the phone.

The problem is, the people you call somehow always pick up on your mindset immediately.

They sense that you're focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want.

This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust-building.

Here's the benefit of changing your mental objective before you make the call: it takes away the frenzy of working yourself up mentally to pick up the phone.

All the feelings of rejection and fear come from us getting wrapped up in our expectations and hoping for an outcome when it's premature to even be thinking about an outcome.

So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus to thinking, "When I make this call, I'm going to build a conversation so that a level of trust can emerge allowing us to exchange information back and forth so we can both determine if there's a fit or not."

2. Understand the Mindset of the Person You're Calling

Let's say you're at your office and you're working away.

Your phone rings and someone says, "Hello, my name's Mark. I'm with Financial Solutions International. We offer a broad array of financial solutions. Do you have a few minutes?"

What would go through your mind?

Probably something like this: "Uh-oh, another salesperson. I'm about to be sold something. How fast can I get this person off the phone?"

In other words, it's basically over at "Hello," and you end up rejected.

The moment you use the old cold calling approach -- the traditional pitch about who you are and what you have to offer, which all the sales gurus have been teaching for years -- you trigger the negative "salesperson" stereotype in the mind of the person you've called, and that means immediate rejection.

I call it "The Wall."

The problem is with how you're selling, not what you're selling.

This is an area that's been ignored in the world of selling.

We've all been trained to try to push prospects into a "yes" response on the first call. But that creates sales pressure.

But, if you learn to really understand and put yourself in the mindset of the person you call, you'll find it easier to avoid triggering The Wall.

It's that fear of rejection that makes cold calling so frightening.

Instead, start thinking about language that will engage people and not language that will
trigger rejection.

3. Identify a Core Problem That You Can Solve

We've all learned that when we begin a conversation with a prospect, we should talk about ourselves, our product, and our solution. Then we sort of hope that the person connects with what we've just told them. Right?

But when you offer your pitch or your solution without first involving your prospect by talking about a core problem that they might be having, you're talking about yourself, not them.

And that's a problem.

Prospects connect when they feel that you understand their issues before you start to talk about your solutions.

When people feel understood, they don't put up The Wall. They remain open to talking with you.

Here's an example based on my own experience. I offer Unlock The Game™ as a new approach in selling. When I call a vice president of sales, I would never start out with, "Hi, my name is Ari, I'm with Unlock The Game, and I offer the newest technique in selling, and I wonder if you have a few minutes to talk now."

Instead, I wouldn't even pick up the phone without first identifying one or more problems that I know VPs often have with their sales teams. Problems that Unlock The Game™ can solve.

For example, one common problem is when sales teams and salespeople spend time chasing prospects who have no intention of buying.

So I would start by asking, "Are you grappling with issues around your sales team chasing prospects who lead them on without any intention of buying?"

So, come up with two or three specific core problems that your product or service solves. (Avoid generic problem phrases like "cut costs" or "increase revenue." They're too vague.)

4. Start With a Dialogue, Not a Presentation

Let's return to the goal of a cold call, which is to create a two-way dialogue engaging prospects in a conversation.

We're not trying to set the person up for a yes or no. That's the old way of cold calling.

This new cold calling approach is designed to engage people in a natural conversation. The kind you might have with a friend. This lets you both of you decide whether it's worth your time to pursue the conversation further.

The key here is never to assume beforehand that your prospect should buy what you have to offer, even if they're a 100 percent fit with the profile of the "perfect customer."

If you go into the call with that assumption, prospects will pick up on it and The Wall will go up, no matter how sincere you are.

Avoid assuming anything about making a sale before you make a call.

For one thing, you have no idea whether prospects can buy what you have because you know nothing about their priorities, their decision making process, their budget, etc.

If you assume that you're going to sell them something on that first call, you're setting yourself up for failure. That's the core problem with traditional old-style cold calling.

Stay focused on opening a dialogue and determining if it makes sense to continue the conversation.

5. Start With Your Core Problem Question

Once you know what problems you solve, you also know exactly what to say when you make a call. It's simple. You begin with, "Hi, my name is Ari. Maybe you can help me out for a moment."

How would you respond if someone said that to you?

Probably, "Sure, how can I help you?" or "Sure, what do you need?" That's how most people would respond to a relaxed opening phrase like that. It's a natural reaction.

The thing is, when you ask for help, you're also telling the truth because you don't have any idea whether you can help them or not.

That's why this new approach is based on honesty and truthfulness. That's why you're in a very good place to begin with.

When they reply, "Sure, how can I help you?," you don't respond by launching into a pitch about what you have to offer. Instead, you go right into talking about the core problem to find out whether it's a problem for the prospect.

So you say, "I'm just giving you a call to see if you folks are grappling (and the key word here is 'grappling') with any issues around your sales team chasing prospects who turn out to never have any intention of buying?"

No pitch, no introduction, nothing about me. I just step directly into their world.

The purpose of my question is to open the conversation and develop enough trust so they'll feel comfortable having a conversation.

The old way of cold calling advises asking lots of questions to learn about the prospect's business and to "connect." The problem is that people see right through that. They know that you have an ulterior motive, and then you're right back up against The Wall.

These ideas may be hard for you to apply to your own situation at first because trying to leverage calls based on what we know about our solution is so engrained in our thinking.

If you stay with it, though, you can learn to step out of your own solution and convert it into a problem that you can articulate using your prospects' language.

And that's the secret of building trust on calls. It's the missing link in the whole process of cold calling.

6. Recognize and Diffuse Hidden Pressures

Hidden sales pressures that makes The Wall go up can take a lot of forms.

For example, "enthusiasm " can send the message that you're assuming that what you have is the right fit for the prospect. That can send pressure over the phone to your prospect.

You must be able to engage people in a natural conversation. Think of it as calling a friend. Let your voice be natural, calm, relaxed, easy-going. If you show enthusiasm on your initial call, you'll probably trigger the hidden sales pressure that triggers your prospect to reject you.

Another element of hidden pressure is trying to control the call and move it to a "next step".

The moment you begin trying to direct your prospect into your "sales process ", there is a very high likelihood that you can "turn off" your prospect's willingness to share with you the details of their situation.

It's important to allow the conversation to evolve naturally and to have milestones or checkpoints throughout your call so you can assess if there is a fit between you and the person you are speaking with.

7. Determine a Fit

Now, suppose that you're on a call and it's going well, with good dialogue going back and forth. You're reaching a natural conclusion and what happens?

In the old way of cold calling, we panic. We feel we're going to lose the opportunity, so we try to close the sale or at least to book an appointment. But this puts pressure on the prospect, and you run the risk of The Wall going up again.

Here's a step that most people miss when they cold call. As soon as they realize that prospects have a need for their solution, they start thinking, "Great, that means they're interested."

What they don't ask is, "Is this need a top priority for you or your organization to solve, or is it something that's on the back burner for a while?"

In other words, even if you both determine that there ia a problem you can solve, you have to ask whether solving it is a priority. Sometimes there's no budget, or it isn't the right time. It's important that you find this out, because months later you'll regret not knowing this earlier.

Putting the Pieces Together

Have you ever wondered where the "numbers game" concept came from?

It came from someone making a call, getting rejected, and the boss saying, "Call someone else."

But with the new way of cold calling, it's not about how many people you call. It's about what you say and how you come across.

Do you remember the definition of insanity...continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results?

If you go on using the same old cold calling methods, you'll go on experiencing the ever-increasing pain of selling.

But if you adopt a new approach and learn how to remove pressure from your initial cold calls, you'll experience so much success and satisfaction that it'll really change the way you do business, bring you sales success beyond your imagination...and eliminate "rejection" from your vocabulary for good.

Copyright 2005 Ari Galper

Resource box: 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.

Increasingly, traditional benefits packages are disappearing from the Canadian business landscape. As the face of the Canadian workforce continually changes, companies are finding it necessary to address these shifts. The reality for many employers is that it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit workers if they are not able to offer an attractive benefits package. It is not simply enough to offer affordable health insurance; there must also be the option to choose. Today, many Canadians opt for a 'cafeteria-style' benefits package that offers them the freedom to design a customized benefits plan.

Although flexible benefits, commonly referred to as 'cafeteria-style', have been around for more than 20 years, they are only now gaining in popularity. Employers and workers alike are attracted to the flexibility they offer. They allow individuals to choose from a menu of benefits what best suits their needs. By designing a unique combination of health care coverage, employees are able to provide themselves with a feeling of security and protection. These benefits can be offered by an employer in their employee benefits package, or can be bought through a private health insurance provider in the form of supplemental health coverage.

This move away from the rigidity of traditional benefits packages comes as no surprise when one considers the variety of life circumstances among the Canadian population. Increasingly, family households have both partners working thereby causing a considerable overlap in benefits. With flexible coverage, one partner's traditional plan is complemented and any gaps in the family's coverage are easily filled. Younger Canadians may find themselves planning for a family and need to think about the necessity for vision insurance and/or dental insurance. Alternatively, aging individuals may need to secure a variety of previously unneeded benefits, such as disability insurance.

It is predicted that when the baby boomers are ready to retire, a massive job shortage will result. Subsequently, employers may find it challenging to compete for prospective employees. Perhaps it will be the employer who can appreciate the evolving needs of Canadians who will triumph.

Copyright 2005 Anna Dorbyk

About Anna: Anna Dorbyk is the editor for Canada Health Insurance and is a graduate student in Communication Studies at Concordia University. For more information on health insurance for Canadians please visit

One of the biggest problems that people have financially is probably credit card fraud. With the number of different ways that credit cards are used now, it's more and more likely that a credit card could be stolen. While it is scary to find out how many credit card numbers are stolen every day, you should just remember that there are a few simple precautions that you can take to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

First, all you need to do is to make sure that you keep your credit card with you at all times. You should always know where your wallet and credit card is so that if the physical card is ever stolen, you will know right away. However, not every credit card that is involved in credit card fraud is stolen in person. In fact, a lot of credit cards are stolen or used in fraudulent practices just with the credit card number itself.

There are a few major ways that thieves get access to credit card numbers. The first is by checking through the garbage can in order to find any credit card receipts that might have the full credit card number on them. These receipts are then used to either buy things online, or to make a new card that uses your credit card number and information. The other way that thieves can get access to your credit card number is by getting it offline. As a result, you should be very careful about which websites you give your credit card number to. Always make sure that you are putting the card number into forms on a website that you trust.

One way to make sure that you are not entering the credit card information into the wrong place is to avoid entering your number into websites that you get to through links in emails. If you ever get an email from a website that requires your credit card number, and it is a site that you have purchased from in the past, then you should go to the URL manually by typing it into the address bar in your internet browser. That way, you won't be tricked into giving your number to people trying to commit credit card fraud by websites using host masks.

You should also check your credit report as often as you can. That way, if there are any unusual charges on your card, or evidence of credit card fraud, you'll know right away. The first thing you should do if you notice irregular charges is to call your credit card company and report the stolen credit card. Remember, if you call in right away, you will not be held responsible for the charges on your card.

The best way to keep yourself from falling victim to credit card fraud is to stay aware of what your credit card is being used for.

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.

Bankruptcy is something that you should try to avoid unless it is absolutely necessary. There are several ways that you can determine whether or not you need to declare bankruptcy. Essentially, this is the best choice for you if you do not have a better way to pay off any of your bills, and if you do not think it is possible for you to ever get out of the debts that you owe.

If this is the case, then bankruptcy is a way to avoid paying more than you can afford, and it will allow you to take a fresh start, although you won't have very much money at all. There are a few things that you'll be able to keep even though you declare bankruptcy, and these are generally personal belongings that are not worth any real monetary value. If you are wondering which items are exempted where you live, then you should read through the bankruptcy rules and regulations regarding your state or country.

However, if you can possibly avoid bankruptcy, then you should. One reason for this is that even though bankruptcy can help you start over and get rid of most of your debt, it is still not very good for your credit rating. In fact, declaring bankruptcy can give you a very bad credit rating for years to come.

Luckily, there are a few different things that you can do in order to avoid bankruptcy. One thing that is used by many people every day is debt consolidation. Essentially, debt consolidation allows you to contact all of your creditors and ask them to make your monthly payments and interest rates easier to deal with. The reason that this works is that your creditors would much rather alleviate part of your debt and get most of the money they are owed.

Consolidating and paying your debts is also good for your credit rating. Instead of hurting it, paying off your debts will actually help your credit rating, since every time you pay your debts, it improves. Therefore, debt consolidation and other payment strategies are very preferable to declaring bankruptcy.

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.

The Truth About Negative Commands (Don't Read This!)Laurie Kristensen

Everyday when I read promotional emails and advertisements, or listen to television commercials and dialogue in shows and movies, or hear people around me in everyday life use commands such as the following examples, I feel dismayed for them.

This is because I understand something that many others do NOT!

And, since learning what I now understand, while I am BOMBARDED every day from all directions with commands like those listed below, in all their variations, I feel worse and worse for not speaking up!

I feel especially badly for all those advertisers out there who are ignorant about this, because I also realize they are often sincerely excited about what they are sharing and are working very hard to attract the attention of others.


- Don't miss this [fill in the blank]!

- Don't delay!

- Don't forget to be there!

- Don't forget to stop and buy milk [or pick up the dry cleaning -- fill in the blank]!

- Do not forget to be on time!

- You can't miss out on this opportunity!

- Don't be afraid to ASK!

- Would you like to [fill in the blank]? If so, don't wait another minute! Order Your [fill in the blank] NOW!

- Don't Live With Depression [fill in the blank]

And so on...

This is because your subconscious mind works in strange ways. I learned this while training to become a hypnotherapist.


FACT: Your subconscious mind cannot recognize a negative!


As a result, when a person reads or hears statements similar to the above, their subconscious mind actually understands the command as follows.


- Miss this [fill in the blank]!

- Delay!

- Forget to be there!

- Forget to stop and buy milk [or pick up the dry cleaning -- fill in the blank]!

- Forget to be on time!

- Miss out on this opportunity!

- Be afraid to ASK!

- Would you like to [fill in the blank]? If so, WAIT another minute! Order Your [fill in the blank] NOW! (In this case, you might think it's okay because the negative statement is followed by a positive request for action... but keep reading, you'll see how it can be improved!)

- Live With Depression [or, fill in the blank]

Whenever I have tried to explain this to those who use this type of command in their advertising or their everyday language, they ALWAYS say, "I'm trying to create a sense of URGENCY."

But research is absolute on this...

The subconscious mind CANNOT recognize a negative command.

And so, anytime you use a statement that includes a negative command, you are actually giving the OPPOSITE command for the action or results you desire!

This is also why using only positive language in personal growth affirmations and in hypnosis -- whether self-hypnosis or with a trained professional -- is crucial.

It's also important to avoid alternate forms of negative commands, such as the following examples:

- rather than...

- instead of...

- avoid...

- etc.

Always use POSITIVE commands and suggestions!

I'll admit, it takes some creative thinking, and it's a learning process to overcome the overwhelming cultural training we have all been living with!

However, by becoming aware, I am gradually learning how to choose my words more carefully and achieving greater results!

For instance:

- Instead of "Don't miss [fill in the blank]!" you can say "Take advantage of [fill in the blank]!" or "Get in on [fill in the blank]!"

- Instead of "Don't Delay!" you can say "Hurry!" or "Act Now!" or "Take Immediate Action!"

- Instead of "Don't forget to be there!" you can say "Be there!" or "Remember to be there!"

- Instead of "Don't forget to stop and buy milk [or pick up the dry cleaning -- fill in the blank]!" you can say "Remember to [fill in the blank] on your way!" or "Please buy [fill in the blank] before you get home!" or "Thanks in advance for [fill in the blank]!"

- Instead of "Do not forget to be on time!" you can say "Be there on time!" or "Remember to be there on time!" or "Be there at [time]-sharp!"

- Instead of "You can't miss out on this opportunity!" you can say "You must TAKE this opportunity!" or "TAKE this opportunity NOW!" or "This is a MUST-SEE (or MUST-DO) opportunity!"

- Instead of "Don't be afraid to ASK!" you can say "Feel free to ASK!" or "Please ASK any questions you have!" or "Freely ASK your questions!"

- Instead of "Would you like to [fill in the blank]? If so, don't wait another minute! Order Your [fill in the blank] NOW!" you can say "Would you like to [fill in the blank]? If so, ACT IMMEDIATELY! Order Your [fill in the blank] NOW!"

- Instead of "Don't Live With Depression [or fill in the blank]" you can say "Overcome Your Depression!" or "Live Free of Depression!" or even "Be Depression-Free!" and so on.

Get the idea?

Command, suggest, or inspire people to POSITIVE ACTION, and you will achieve far greater results!

And now, if you re-read my article headline, you can ALSO get an idea of how you can use this information to create some "reverse-psychology" results, as well!

Copyright 2005 Laurie Kristensen

About Laurie: Laurie Kristensen owns and operates a successful audio transcription and typing business from home, visit -- also be sure to browse through her Success Resources at

Pay Per Click Ads may seem to be a very expensive way of selling your products. But if it's done the right way, it can be a money making machine on auto-pilot.

Let's say that you have bought one of the many ebooks with reprint rights that you can find online. Then you use the tools that you receive with the ebook to set up your own web page on your own domain. It's very easy and often done in just one hour or two.

After your sales page is online and you have checked that everything is working fine, you should go to Overture and open an account. Then you start to make your keyword list. For that you can use Overture's own keyword tool. It's quite good because you can see how many times each keyword has been searched for the previous month. That gives you a clue of how popular the keyword is, and it predicts how many clicks you can get for that keyword.

When you search for keywords you should first look at your sales page, for words that are relevant for the product that you are promoting. Write all the words down or save them in a txt file. You can also put in spelling mistakes in these keywords. There are always a lot of searches with spelling mistakes. And these keywords have often no bids. This site offer a tool to find
spelling mistakes:

Now it's time to put all the words into Overture's keyword tool. If you use the tools that are available when signing up for an account, you should be able to see how high the bids are for each keyword.

The words that have the highest number of searches are most likely to have the highest bids, too. I have seen keywords that have bids for $40 and even higher for each click. What you want to find are the keywords that have high searches and low bids. If you are lucky you can find words that have no bids on them yet. Then you have the opportunity to have your ad on the first position for only $0,10 per click. This is the lowest bid on Overture. The minimum bid per click can vary among the companies that offer pay per click ads.

By the way, that amount is what you should bid on all your keywords. Try to find as many keywords as possible. It's better to have 5000 keywords that you have low bids on, than to have a few keywords with higher bids. That way, you will have a better chance to earn money.

Remember that you get 1000 visitors for $100 if you bid only $0,10 per click. So, if you are selling a product that costs $25, and you sell around one unit per 100 visitors, you will have earned $250 after getting 1000 visitors to your website. You will have earned $250 for every $100 spent on your keyword ad campaign.

You should also think about saving money when you write your ad. Don't try to lure people into click your ad by writing about free offers or any hype of that kind. You might get a lot of visitors that way, but they will leave your site when they see that they have to pay for your product. They are only using up your money without helping you to make a single sale.

Instead you should write exactly what you are offering, and what price you are asking for the product. That way you are getting targeted visitors that know they have to pay the price you set in the ad in order to get the product you are offering. To top it off, you can offer them a test drive. If it's an ebook you can put one chapter of it onto a auto responder in 5-7 emails. Then send the messages once a day to the people who sign up for the test drive.

Now you can sit back and see what results you get. Let the ad go for a month and see how many clicks it takes before anyone buys from you. If it's not bringing back enough money, you should try to figure out what's wrong. Is it the ad or is it your web page? Anyway, try to fix it and let the ad go for another month. When you have a reasonable return of investment (ROI), it's time to let the ad continue its run, without any more work on your part. Now, your ad is running on auto pilot. Just remember to check it once a month to see if the ROI is dropping. If it's not bringing in enough money, you can then find another product, and do the same thing all over again.

Copyright 2005 Torgeir Sunnarvik, Norway

About Torgeir: Torgeir Sunnarvik is the owner and webmaster of His site offer free downloadable ebooks, ebooks with resell rights.

Getting links to a new website without Google page rank can be difficult and sometimes nearly impossible. Most of the websites that have a good page rank in the first place don't link back to sites without page rank. Some of the webmasters won't link back to sites without a page rank of 4 or more.

Everybody knows that link popularity is one of the most important factors for getting high search engine rankings. So getting links in to your site should be one of your main targets in your everyday work on your site.

I struggled hard in the beginning. I sent hundreds of link requests every day. If I was lucky I got one link back. It was just too much work without getting anything in return. Now I know that I should have done things a little different. First of all I should have started out by sending my link to web directories, instead of using my time asking for links from webmasters that most of the time don't link back.

Second: Writing articles about the theme of my site. This seems to be the best way of getting links and targeted traffic. In the beginning it can be a little hard to find things to write about. The main thing is to write about the theme of your site. For instance, writing about dogs when your site is about cats won't get you the visitors that you want.

When you write an article that has some relevance to your site, you will get targeted visitors when they click the link at the bottom of your article. And by using your targeted keywords in the link description, you will get higher link popularity.

Including your link in various web directories is often the easiest way of getting good links to your site. Many of the directories are free and don't require a reciprocal link.

Here are some websites with lists of web directories:
Featuring major directories, targeted and directories from all over the world. This site is updated every week with new directories.
An alphabetical list of free directories. It also shows the page rank for each site.

Some sites to send your article:
A very high traffic site with high page rank.
This site offer a paid distribution service of your articles. It is worth every penny. Your article and link is spread all over the Internet.

There are many other linking strategies that you can use to get targeted traffic to your site. One of the ebooks that I recommend about linking is the "Power Linking 2: Evolution." I learned almost everything I know about linking from this ebook.

Copyright 2005 Torgeir Sunnarvik, Norway

About Torgeir: Torgeir Sunnarvik is the owner and webmaster of His site offers free downloadable ebooks, ebooks with resell rights.

You have all seen them, the sales letters that never ends. They go on and on about how this product can do this and that. The product can often be very good and have all the features you are looking for. But I think that many of the sales letters that have the task of selling products are too long and boring.

* First, it's a long list of problems that you might have, which this product can help you with.

* Then there are all the testimonials. I've seen products with 20 testimonials on the sales letter. It's fine with good testimonials, but 2-4 of these are enough in my eyes.

* Benefits and more benefits. Some sales letters are just so full of hype and over the top promises about the product that it just puts me off.

* But the most annoying thing is when I can't find the price. It's almost impossible to find. It's often the things that are mentioned least of all. And sometimes you have to click the buy now button before the price is revealed. It's as if they are afraid you will leave the site if you know the price upfront. If I think the price is too high I will leave anyway. It's of no use hiding it.

When I'm looking at a sales letter, I'm skimming all the content. Most of the time I'm just reading the headlines of each paragraph. And I don't think that I'm the only one that use this method. If there are some special features I might want to know about, I try to find a list of features or benefits on the sales letter. It's ok to read one or two testimonials. And also a decent guarantee.

If I think the product looks promising, I want to know the price, which should be easy to find in big numbers. Nothing puts me more off then not finding the price. Well, if I find that the price is fair I might buy.

If the product is complex and with a lot of features, or if you think you have to write long letters to sell your product, I think it's better to have one page for each part of the sales letter. You could have one page for the benefits/features, one page for testimonials and so on. Then make a summary of each page and put that together to one sales letter.

Now you have a sales letter with one or two testimonials. Under them you can have a link which says something like "Click here for more testimonials" When the people that want to read more of them click the link, they come to your page with all the testimonials.

Do the same with features/benefits. List five or ten features and then have a link to your page with all the features. You can do this with every part of your letter. Just remember to have a link on each of the pages directly to your payment processor with of course the price mentioned and the guarantee.

I can't speak for everybody, of course. But when I want to buy something, I don't mind clicking some links if I want more information.

What I do mind is when I have to read long pages of text with a lot of big words and promises before I find what I'm looking for.

Copyright 2005 Torgeir Sunnarvik, Norway

About Torgeir: Torgeir Sunnarvik is the owner and webmaster of His site offers free downloadable ebooks, ebooks with resell rights.

Mystery Shopper 007Jon Castle

As a mystery shopper you are kind of like a spy. Just as James Bond gets briefed on his next top-secret assignment at some high-tech cave complex beneath a tropical island, you, the mystery shopper, are briefed in advance over the telephone or emailed at your own secret location -- your home. While James Bond gets shot at, you get free mugs of beer placed in your hand, steak put on your plate, and you have to deal with several more hazards that come with the job -- like dodging golf balls while teeing off on an 18-hole golf course. That's because your job as a mystery shopper is to shop. That's the best part about being a mystery shopper -- companies will pay you to buy their products and services. Imagine getting a back massage as part of your job. Sounds like tough work doesn't it?

Attentive companies are hiring mystery shoppers to get an impartial consumer evaluation on the quality of their customer service. Customer service is arguably the most important factor contributing to a company's continued success. Every business has customers and if these customers aren't satisfied they can easily take their money somewhere else. There are several ways a company can screw up when it comes to customer service. A mystery shopper can inform a company about current business practices that might need adjustment or about employees whose attitudes need an even bigger adjustment. Companies use this feedback to improve the overall customer experience.

If you would like to mystery shop you have to be prepared to write a small evaluation report or complete a survey that grades the level of customer service you received from your client companies. In regards to that, you better have a decent memory and pay good attention to detail. You're probably not going to be allowed on the job with a laptop or a giant note pad and pencil. You will have to leave your, "I'm a Paid Mystery Shopper" t-shirt at home as well. Remember, as a mystery shopper, you are going in undercover.

You have several ways to get assignments:

1. Free lists of companies that hire mystery shoppers: You and everyone's uncle is going to apply for the same limited jobs because everyone else has the list. Good luck getting a call back.

2. Go business to business and offer your services: But be prepared for rejection, an empty gas tank, and sore feet.

3. Sign up with a professional mystery shopping referral company: The jobs come to you. Easily the best way to get assignments.

Mystery shopping is still a developing field but more and more companies are reaping the benefits of improved customer service through mystery shopping programs. Most mystery shoppers do it on the side for fun, free stuff, and supplemental income. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to get out there and sign up with as many mystery shopping companies as you can afford. This message will self destruct in five seconds (not really).

Copyright 2005 Jon Castle

Resource box: We are each a single drop of rain strafed by the wind to merge with other droplets and thereby form an ocean. For unconventional home business wisdom, home business opportunities, and more please visit Jon Castle's website

The world is an enormous place; a playground on an epic scale filled with exotic cultures, creatures, and serene landscapes. For most of us however, the greater world is a separate place, disconnected from the smaller one we occupy. During the workweek our scope of existence barely extends past the perpendicular lines of the office or workplace. What's worse is that our destinies are not in our control. In essence, our current function in life is to make a handful of rich men richer.

On our days off we have just enough time to finish all the errands that have aggregated over the previous five days. When we find a moment to scavenge for food we usually find it in a grease smeared paper bag handed to us through a window by some goofy kid with a paper hat and an apron covered with what looks like the remnants of a bovine suicide bomber. Surely, there is more to life than this? There must be a way to break free from our enclosed existence and explore the beautiful wide open spaces beyond. In fact, there are several ways.

The good news is that our future is entirely in our hands. There are virtually unlimited home based business opportunities out there that can earn us the income we need while allowing us the freedom to travel. All we need is persistence, a laptop computer, and a wireless connection to the internet -- and maybe a map. Then the question that we have to ask ourselves is not 'how badly do I want freedom' but rather, 'how hard am I willing to work for it?'

Building a home business during our free time leaves little time for us to unwind after our regular job. This sounds difficult, and it is, but it should be viewed as a temporary sacrifice. Think of building a home-based business as whittling away at the prison bars of your cell after a long hard day breaking rocks for 'the man.' Do you want to break rocks your whole life for a brief daily respite, or would you rather double your work so that one day you can escape altogether?

Copyright 2005 Jon Castle

Resource box: We are each a single drop of rain strafed by the wind to merge with other droplets and thereby form an ocean. For unconventional home business wisdom, home business opportunities, and more please visit Jon Castle's website

People are so focused on promoting their websites on the web these days that many are overlooking the original marketing medium -- the offline world! Many tried and true methods of advertising exist for brick and mortar businesses that could just as easily be applied to online businesses. These methods have been developed over hundreds if not thousands of years -- what cavemen used to sell I have no idea -- but the point is still valid. Business promotion existed long before the internet. So what methods of marketing in the "real" world can an online business owner apply to the cyber world?

One extremely effective method is brand marketing through merchandise. Think about it...before the web existed, how did businesses like real estate companies market their brands? One way they did it was to give stuff away -- a marketing trick that is still being applied effectively today. How many pens, pencils, and magnets do you have lying around the house, stuck to the refrigerator, placed behind your ear -- wherever -- that bear some company's logo or name? If you have ever worked in an office environment doubtless you would have noticed several different slogans on a hodgepodge collection of pens (some that might even still work) and pencils collected over time from seminars, informational fairs, trade events, etc. Brick and mortar businesses are doing it, so why aren't you?

If you don't want to market your website on writing utensils or magnets you have several alternatives. Other products that work well for marketing include coffee mugs, travel-and-go cups, mouse pads, bumper stickers, key tags, and stress balls. Let's not forget another great place to show off your website -- on your body! No, I'm not talking about taking drastic measures like tattooing your company URL on your forehead. Clothing advertisements are the name of the game. Clothing is a wonderful way to advertise your website, especially if you have a funny slogan or eye-catching logo. You can have your website address printed on hats, shirts, umbrellas, tote bags, and all sorts of wearable accessories. The best thing about advertising on clothing is that the advertisement is mobile -- it goes wherever you go. The next time you get dressed to go out why not wear something that promotes your business? Don't forget that you can give away things as well -- imagine a hundred walking billboards for your website!

There are plenty of companies that will apply your brands to products. The cost is cheap and the rewards can be high, so what are you waiting for? Look through your local phonebook or do an internet search for companies that print to merchandise and then go get branding!

Copyright 2005 Jon Castle

Resource box: We are each a single drop of rain strafed by the wind to merge with other droplets and thereby form an ocean. For unconventional home business wisdom, home business opportunities, and more please visit Jon Castle's website

Saving Money at the Pump...NOWJodi JillOuch!

I just pulled away from the pump. Purchased a full tank and the wallet is crying for mercy. Everyone I know and those I dont, have been upset about the continuing rise of gas prices. It is causing a financial hardship for those who barely make ends meet and taking a huge bite out of the profits.

Lately, I have been hearing about those websites to check out to see what gas prices are in the neighborhood and I applaud them for taking note. However, if you are like me, Internet access isnt available in my car and never close by when my tank is on empty. Worse yet, I have driven from Denver to Los Angeles twice in the last month and even after referencing the website, making planned stops at certain stations I found the price was already different and usually not the cheapest in the area.

Yet, to keep my gas guzzler from bankrupting the piggy bank I came up with a few ways to get the lowest price while tooling around even without the internet. Remember these tips next time you find yourself searching for the lowest price per gallon.

1. When traveling across the country, stick to truck stops in cities. After driving highways I-40, I-25, and I-70 I began to see a serious trend on gas prices. These pit stops were worried about losing customers and offered decent prices on their fuel. In Kingman, AZ the truck stops were actually a dime less than the mom and pop places. And watch for specials. The signs on top of the pumps had free food with a minimum gallon purchase. Not a bad deal for filling up anyway.

2. Remember the warehouses. In Los Angeles gas is pushing $2.70 a gallon. Not pretty to say the least. Yet, a quick trip to CostCo or Sams Warehouse brings this gallon price down twenty five to thirty cents. It is a dime less than fuel stations on the street in Denver too. A membership costs, but you can use it at any store across the United States and most of us have these memberships for purchasing supplies.

3. Grocery stores arent just for food anymore. Albertsons, Kroger, Ralphs and even Safeway have pumps in front of their stores at many locations. Pick up a preferred customer card and you have three to five cents off per gallon. In the Denver area the King Soopers stores (part of Krogers) have teamed up with Jug and Loaf Convenience Stores to offer a nickel off a gallon. Usually there isnt anything more than an index sign on the pump about the offer. Look for the signs or ask the cashier.

4. Ask for a discount. At a fuel station I was at in Las Vegas last week, I asked for a discount and got nothing...Except a recommendation to go down the street eight blocks for a twenty cent difference per gallon. Nobody likes the rising prices, not even the cashiers.

And above all, if you think it is too high, dont fill up. It may take ten more minutes, but you will save a lot of money in the long run. Hopefully station owners will get the idea the prices are too high and this rush to raise the price will subside. In the meantime, we got to take care of our pocketbooks.

Copyright 2005 Jodi Jill

About Jodi: Jodi Jill is a self-proclaimed tightwad, professional speaker and published author who wants every penny to stretch as far as possible. You can find out about her book series 'Tours For Free' highlighting places families can go for free at or Contact her at

Every day I speak to local groups. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Even on weekends. At every talk I sell a over HALF the audience. Plus I get referral sales on my website. You can too.

Over two years ago I had 10,000 books to peddle immediately. I would be at bookstore signings, smile and beg people to buy the book. Well, suffice to say bookstores are tough venues, but reality was I would sell one or two books and come home crushed that I didnt sell enough. So I did some research and discovered I had it all wrong.

I found out that 42% of the population doesnt visit a bookstore. Upon more research I found that 60% of the population prefers to purchase something that has a friend or family recommendation. Frustrated and annoyed, I started speaking for free at groups in my community. Originally it was just to get some feedback. Stunned, I found that the majority of the local groups didnt have many good speakers. They were welcoming with open arms and delighted I took the time. Even so I was completely shocked as I started to sell books to the group members.

Two years later, my book has been reprinted twice, my publisher loves me because he made more money than selling the books through the stores and the books became a popular series. Far from a beginning of a no name author, I now have people calling me to talk at their group instead of the other way around. And I have a pulse on the market as I see my audience every day.

Want to speak and sell? You can and here are some pointers to get started:

1. Offer yourself as just a member of the community with some good information. Be humble and be informed. Once they know you are local they will listen.

2. Dont pitch your product. Come to share information verbally about the subject. You would be amazed how many people cant remember things and that means you have a pending sale.

3. Ask every group in town. Make your talk basic with a twist on the audience you are addressing. How many concerts have you gone to where the artist says the name of the town and the fans go crazy? Well, do the same, but name the group.

4. Dont talk too long. An average talk is 20 to 30 minutes. Instead of taking the entire time, take 3/4. Leave the audience wanting more (so they will be interested in your product.)

5. Introduce yourself to everyone before the presentation begins. Say hi, smile and be delighted to be there. The more people who know your name the better the chance of a sale.

6. Bring your products, but do it quietly. I have a small black doctors bag. Never show the products before the talk and always end by commenting on how proud you are about the product. Of course, pass around one and make sure everyone touches it.

It doesnt matter if you are selling a book or a banana, local groups are a great way to sell your product at most of the time it is at full retail price. Realistically, I sell 200-400 books a week and you can too. Just warm up that voice and go!

Copyright 2005 Jodi Jill

About Jodi: Jodi Jill is the author of the ebook, Speak and Sell Locally, a step-by-step guide for those looking to achieve high sales locally. You can find out more about her ebook at Her book series Tours For Free are popular guides sharing where families can go on tours at no charge. More info about her books visit

The quality of your logo can mean the difference between success or failure. It can be that simple!

Trademarks and Logos make up the most international language in the world. An excellent logo can cross many barriers and provide your organization with a means of delivering to your customers an unequivocal and uniform message.

Every successful company has its own "personality," and just as human personalities are complex, so too is your companys personality. A successful logo is a means of condensing a complex reality into a single, simple statement, one that can be controlled, modified, developed and matured over time.

Your logo needs to be much more than just a distinguishing mark for your company. It must be an indication of quality, value, and reliability.

Does your logo do these things successfully?:

  • IDENTIFY your company, product, or service.

  • DIFFERENTIATE it from the mass of other similar companies.

  • COMMUNICATE information as to your products value and quality.

  • ADD VALUE by causing you to provide a quality service in order to maintain your companys reputation.

  • REPRESENT potentially valuable assets. When people see your logo, can they tell by the design that your product or service is of high quality.

If your logo doesnt do these things, then you might need to update it, possibly seeking professional advice.

Is your logo design really that important?

It is extremely important! Your logo is a part of the foundation on which you build your brand. Especially since the recent explosion of Internet businesses, but even before that, consumers have an overwhelming variety of choices. Chances are that whatever you are selling, there is something similar to it available. Chances are there is someone in direct competition with you right now. Yes, there are very few products that are shielded from direct competition because of a patent or for some other reason.

It is because of this that much of your efforts in marketing and branding should be concentrated on building a distinctive and differentiated "brand personality" for your company.

Take the success of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. There is some difference between these two products, but this difference is very subtle. Plus, there are hundreds of other brands of cola on the market. Even so, these two brands, Coke and Pepsi, are able to dominate the world wide cola market. What is the main factor for their success? It is the strength and appeal of their brands.

And what is the foundation for their brands?

It is their powerful Logos!

Your logo is the means by which you can distinguish your products and services and therefore serve both your needs and the needs of your customers.

Ok, so what are the TOP 5 components that make up an excellent logo?

  1. Long lasting style.

    It is often tempting to adopt a design that looks really cool at the time but that can become outdated very quickly. This leads to the logo being constantly changed. Your logo designer should resist the urge to change your logo unless it is really necessary. It is only after consumers frequently see your logo that people may start to notice it. (Sometimes this is after you are already bored with it)

  2. Distinctiveness.

    It is interesting to note that many new companies adopt logo styles that are very similar to everyone elses. Dont go overboard though, your designer should be sensitive to cultural norms. A really wacko design wouldnt do well in funeral home. However, you should still seek distinctiveness.

  3. Appealing to consumers.

    Your logo must be appealing to those who arent affiliated with your company. This means you must test your logo. Show it to your customers and see what they think. Ask them what emotions it evokes in them.

  4. Conveys the right image.

    What image are you trying to get across to your customers? Corporate? Upscale? Franchise looking?

  5. Legibility

    No matter what you do, if people dont understand your logo, then it will be ineffective. Who are you trying to target? Where are you going to be displaying your logo other than your web site? Will it be on your letterhead, business cards, auto signs? Does your logo put out the same message no matter where it is displayed.

In conclusion, your logo is central to your companys "personality". Even if your company has a great personality, if your logo doesnt convey that, then people may get the wrong idea and never do business with you. Within your logo and company name is held all of your investments, because it is this clear, identifiable aspect of your brand that theconsumer uses in selecting your company or purchasing your products.

Copyright © 2005 Nathan Cain

About Nathan: The author, Nathan Cain, has more ideas that will help your business marketing efforts. Visit his promotional products web site at

5 Innovative Ways To Advertise Your Web SiteMark Tse

1. Directory Linking
Create a directory of web sites on a specific topic. Give people the option of adding the directory to their web site by linking to it. Put your business advertisement at the top of the director's home page. This technique will get lots of people to link to your web site and give you free advertising.

2. Bonus Advertising
Do you have a product or service that doesn't sell good? Offer it as a free bonus for someone else's product or service. Get free advertising by placing your web site or business ad on the product or in the product package.

3. Autoresponder Trade
Trade autoresponder ads with other businesses. If both of you send out information with auto-responders just exchange a small classified ad to put at the bottom or top of each other's autoresponder message.

4. Tip Line
Start a free tip line. Offer a free daily, weekly, or monthly tip recorded on your voice mail. The tips should be related to your business. Include your ad for your web site or business at the beginning or end of your message.

5. Content Swap
Exchange content with other web sites and ezines. You could trade articles, top ten lists, etc. Both parties could include a resource box at the end of the content.

Copyright 2005 Mark Tse

Resource box: This article is written by Mark Tse in his Internet Marketing Blog. Mark provides new tips and articles about Internet Marketing everyday. You can read his latest posts here:

What makes one logo better than another?


A good logo works in the simplest form. It is a memorable representation of your brand and inspires confidence in your customers. It should be fresh and original -- without visual cliches or amateur effects.

A logo is well designed when it looks as good on a business card as it does on a web page or a billboard. To be functional, a good logo must reduce well to simple black & white or grayscale for use on faxes or in newspaper ads. The best logos are elegantly simple.

Why do you need a logo?

In a way, a logo is a visual shortcut to who you are. Your logo will establish your corporate identity and credibility. It builds loyalty among your clients and employees. You invest in your brand image every time your logo is displayed on a Web page, on a sign, or in an advertisement.

A professionally designed logo enables you to be immediately recognizable and must be unique, memorable and simple. Such a logo will become one of your most valuable corporate assets over time.

How does your current logo stack up?

Run down our logo quick test (

Copyright 2005 Vukan Karadzic

About Vukan: Vukan Karadzic is the main designer at E Logo Design (

So, you want to get a loan? Here are some simple tips that will help you make an informed decision about what kind to get, and who to get it from.

First ask yourself: do you really need it?

Can you manage without it?
Is it for something frivolous, like a holiday?
Could you get the money by other means (part-time job, from a relative, the sale an asset)?

Don't put a monkey on your back if you can avoid it.

A loan varies according to:

The amount borrowed;
The interest rate;
The type of rate (fixed or variable);
The term (repayment time in months or years);
Deposit (downpayment);
Associated fees (broker, origination, prepayment etc.);
Insurance required by the lender.

You are buying money for more than it cost the lender. Simple.

It's a mistake to only care about the interest rate; there are also arrangement fees and prepayment penalty clauses to consider. This is how brokers and lenders make their money. Work out the total cost of your loan before committing.

Many 'no fee' credit lines have a pre-payment penalty. There is no need to get a loan which contains any significant prepayment penalty, if you have good credit. One of the smartest things someone can do with a loan is to prepay it.

All you need to do is contact your lender and ask for its prepayment procedure. Then, every so often, check the loan balance the lender sends you, to make sure the additional payments have been accounted properly.

Keep a copy of every cheque you write for your loan. If you call your lender about your loan, make sure you get the full name of the person with whom you speak. Make a note of it. You may be dealing with a large bureaucracy, and will need to refer to this conversation later.

Do a budget. Make sure you use realistic figures. Keep all of your receipts, or keep a record, for all of the money that you spend for a month. Use that to help you compile the first draft.

Be prepared to review and update it regularly. A co-ordinated budget allows you to get the most loan for your money, without beggaring yourself, while getting rid of wasteful spending.

Avoid 'quicksand' loans. These contain combinations of the following attributes:

High up-front fees;
High rates;
Balloon payments;
Excessively high late fees;
Prepayment penalties.

Quicksand loans can swallow up any equity you may have, and ruin your financial position.

Submit a neat application form; it shows you're business-like and efficient. It will be read and assessed by a human being; appearances count.

Only pay up-front fees to well-known or highly recommended institutions. While most institutions are reputable, it is always best to be cautious.

Don't sign documents without reading them. As soon as possible, before you close the deal, review the documents you'll be signing, and make sure you understand them, so you won't have to sign them in a hurry.

Keep your credit line as small as possible. You could be turned down for other loans, even when your credit line has a zero balance, since a large credit-line indicates a large potential outgoings.

If your spending is out of control, don't get a home equity credit line to pay off your credit cards. Don't put your home at risk by spending large amounts on your credit cards, after paying them off with your credit line.

Pay off small debts before the due date. Cancel credit cards you are not using. Loan officers tend to count the total line of credit - even if you owe nothing - as a liability. They will only cloud the picture. Close credit lines that you have no intention of using in the near future. Also look closely at the interest rates and fees, when deciding which cards to keep.

Choose a lender with a clean record with the industry watchdogs in your country. The mortgage industry receives a great number of complaints against it. In the UK, credit brokers of any kind must have a licence from the OFT, and if they lose it, the OFT publishes this on their website.

Shop for rates when the market is calm. Rates change from day to day, so compare lenders. The quotes you get should all be from the same time period.

Check your payments are correct - do the mathematics. There's a one in ten chance you could be paying more than you should.

If you find yourself in a dispute with a lender about a payment or another issue, don't send correspondence to the same address you send your payment. You need to deal with the decision-makers, not the account clerks.

Copyright 2005 T. O'Donnell

About T. O'Donnell: T. O' Donnell ( offers personal loans, advice, an ebook and a loan calculator, in London, UK.

Consider the following advice from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development when applying for a loan:

Be sure to read and understand everything before you sign;

Refuse to sign any blank documents;

Do not buy property for someone else;

Do not overstate your income;

Do not overstate how long you have been employed;

Do not overstate your assets;

Accurately report your debts;

Do not change your income tax returns for any reason;

Tell the whole truth about gifts;

Do not list fake co-borrowers on your loan application;

Be truthful about your credit problems, past and present;

Be honest about your intention to occupy the house;

Do not provide false supporting documents.

Watch out for the 'Deal Of A Lifetime', the deal that seems too good to be true. If you see that a few companies are quoting much lower than average, ask: Why? If you you can never speak to an individual, or you have to wait 'on hold' for a long time, this speaks badly for the level of service you are likely to get.

Get cheaper household insurance - Reduce your household expenses by shopping around for your buildings and contents insurance. It's convenient to buy from your lender, but search the market and you could save a packet.

Don't take out a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG) - MIGs are now usually only charged on loans of 90% to value. A MIG is a one-off payment made to the lender that protects them if you fail to keep up your repayments and your home is repossessed. If you can avoid paying for one, do, it will save you money.

Getting a fixed rate: get a written statement which details the interest rate, how long the rate is fixed for, and details about the program.

When interest rates fall: try and leave your repayments as they are. You will therefore be paying more than the minimum each month. You'll repay your loan much earlier. If you continue paying at the higher rate, when rates rise again you might not have to change your repayment.

Don't churn your mortgage loan. Each time you refinance you'll likely incur completion costs and non-refundable fees. Don't let a lender talk you into rewriting your mortgage just to get a little cash back.

Many people find that they have added 6,500 or more to their debt in order to obtain 3,500 in cash. An example of this is second mortgage loans.

Beware of prepayment penalties. Many 'no fee' credit lines have a pre-payment penalty. This can be very expensive if you are planning to refinance or sell your house in a few years time.

There is no need to sign a loan which contains any significant prepayment penalty, if you have good credit. One of the smartest things someone can do with a mortgage is to prepay on the loan.

All you need to do is contact your lender and ask for its prepayment procedure. Then, once a year, check the loan balance the lender sends you, to make sure the additional payments have been accounted properly.

Don't look for a home without being pre-approved. You will have much more negotiating power with the vendor, and may be able to save thousands of pounds.

Verbal (oral) agreements are worthless. When buying or selling property, always get it in writing.

Don't buy a home without full, professional survey(s). Human beings can be perverse; happy to spend 150,000 on a house after a half-hour viewing, but be-grudge spending 500 finding out whether it's worth buying in the first place!

Don't take the vendors' word that repairs have been made. If the vendor agrees to make repairs, have your inspector verify the work's been done before completion.

Shop for home insurance well before you are ready to complete. If you wait until the last minute to get insurance, you may have no time left to shop around for the best policy. A paid homeowner's insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at completion.

Do a break-even analysis before refinancing. To determine the number of months you'll have to stay in the property to recoup your costs, divide the total refinancing costs by the monthly savings,

Find out the true value of your home. Get more than one independent appraisal. Compare it with the prices of similar-sized houses for sale in the same area. Be like mortgage companies and estate agents, and use the sales (or market data) comparison approach.

Keep your mortgage as small as possible. Aim for *comfortable* affordability.

You will find mortgage lenders who will stretch your qualification ratios. They aren't doing you a favour. The qualification ratio is the ratio of your total mortgage payment to your total income.

The traditional ratios are: The mortgage payment as 28% of your income; The total of your mortgage payment plus your monthly debt payments as 36% of your income.

Start gathering documents. Provide your mortgage company with documents in a timely manner. If you let your rate lock expire, you could end up paying higher rates.

There are a number of documents you will need, and the approval process will go much smoother if you begin to gather them now. Examples: Tax returns from the last few years (especially if you are self-employed), copies of pay slips, and bank statements for all accounts (current and saving) for the past three to six months.

Remember completion costs. In addition to your deposit/downpayment, you will need to reserve funds for completion costs. Depending on the type of loan and your location, these costs can range from 2-5% of the mortgage amount, which will be paid in cash at completion, *and cannot be borrowed funds*.

Consider a fifteen or twenty year term. Many purchasers assume that a shorter term will make their payments impossible. Unless you make the comparison, 'though, you may never know if a 15 or 20 year term could have been affordable. Try to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. *Use a mortgage calculator with an amortization function*.

Choose a lender with a clean record with the industry watchdogs in your country. The mortgage industry receives a great number of complaints against it. In the UK, credit brokers of any kind must have a licence from the OFT, and if they lose it, the OFT publishes this on their website.

Check your mortgage payments are correct - do the mathematics. There's a one in ten chance you could be paying more than you should.

Ensure you review your mortgage regularly - regular reviews, and possibly remortgaging, will ensure you pay as little as possible in interest.

Copyright 2005 T. O'Donnell

About T. O'Donnell: T. O' Donnell ( offers mortgage quotes, advice, an ebook and a mortgage calculator, in London, UK.

It's important to first acknowledge some of the natural barriers to acquiring new clients within the insurance and financial services industries. These include, but are not limited to, customers lacking knowledge about your products and, therefore, lacking the ability to ask questions, and customers afraid of being ripped off. Unfortunately, insurance and financial salespeople often carry the same stigma as used car salespeople. And I'm certain there are some great and honest used car dealers around. It's important to recognize this stigma so you can proactively address it in your marketing plan. Ultimately, to grow your business within the insurance and financial services industries you must strive to build an incredible reputation, built on a platform of reliability, honesty and product knowledge. I also encourage you to be very straightforward about your pricing and how you make your money. The fact is, your customer wants to know. Surprise them, and tell them upfront.

Here are some marketing strategies to try.

-- First, try teaming up with complementary professionals, such as estate attorneys, business attorneys, financial planners, etc. You'll receive referral business faster from such businesses for two reasons. One, their customers are currently utilizing services for "future" occurrences. Hence, your prospect is already in the mindset of planning and spending for the future. You now become another product they need to consider for the future. Second, there's an implied trust between an estate attorney and her customers. If an estate attorney referred her customers to you, that customer would be more likely to do business with you, than if he/she had simply seen your print ad in a local newspaper.

-- Launch a publicity campaign
For example, consider submitting a story idea to your local media about, "The Fallacies of Long-term Care Insurance. Who Needs It? What is it? Insider Secrets to Buying the Most Comprehensive Plan." I can't stress this next point enough; you must be objective when interviewing for such a story. When being interviewed by the media, it's not a chance to "sell" yourself; rather, it's an opportunity to express your knowledge and expertise, and help readers use your knowledge to their benefit. If they like what you have to say, they'll contact you.

-- Consider facilitating a bimonthly workshop(s) at your local library or community center called, "The Insider's Point of View to Long-term Care Insurance. Who Needs It, Who Doesn't?" Or, "Age & Long-term Care Insurance, When's The Right Time?" The workshop tactic is becoming slightly overused. However, I think it's still a very powerful marketing tool. Plus, it's affordable. You simply need to be more imaginative with your topics and headlines.

-- Try creating a "Long-term Care Insurance Top 10," fact sheet. It should include detailed content about the ins and outs of selecting long-term care insurance, i.e., why, why not? Who qualifies and what are the estimated costs? Distribute your fact sheet to prospects, the press and various public bulletins, such as the library, town hall, Post Office, colleges, doctor and attorney offices, etc. When you're selecting bulletin boards, stick to professional looking boards, rather than just catch-alls. The latter will reduce your professionalism. Some bulletin boards give off the impression, "What would she know; she's advertising on a bulletin board." On the fact sheet, you're not selling yourself; instead, you're selling the benefits/solutions of long-term care insurance with your bio at the bottom. If you've done a comprehensive and professional job, readers will contact you.

-- Partner with a local bank. The idea is to get yourself noted as a "pre-certified insurance expert for XYZ bank." Approach the bank VP and recommend an informal partnership whereby you're available for complimentary on site consultation for bank customers. Moreover, there's a tremendous amount of implied reliability and credibility when associating your business with a bank. The great thing about banks is that they usually distribute large monthly customer mailings. Ideally you'll want to piggyback on the bank's mailing by having your sales flyer included. These flyers are usually called, "bill stuffers." Don't forget banks also distribute calendars, year-end statements, etc. Try to get noted in all of their communications. Of course, under the umbrella that you're a partner with the bank.

-- A bank north of Boston lets their small business customers display sales materials for a week in their lobby. Approach your bank where you have your business account and ask for the same.

-- Try partnering with hospitals. They're well known for sponsoring workshops. They also distribute a weekly/monthly newsletter. My local hospital actually distributes their calendar of events in my local newspaper. By partnering with hospitals and similar organizations, your prospect-reach compounds tremendously, while you spend zero!

-- Consider joining your local chapter of Business Network International, Of course, like any organization, it's only as effective as your networking abilities and how well the members of that particular chapter work together. Always attend at least two meetings before joining. And watch out! Associations' memberships are down across the board due to the sluggish economy. There's definitely some hard selling going on. Take your time when deciding what organization is best for you. Don't be misled into joining anything.

-- Align yourself with a reputable online insurance media outlet. Ideally you want to become a regularly featured columnist, or perhaps act as a moderator for an upcoming online seminar, etc. This does several things for you. One, usually anything Internet-related is archived. So if a person is shopping around for insurance or financial products and you've partnered with a reputable and high search engine ranking online media outlet, there's a good chance your Web site will reflect high in search engine rankings. Two, if you're a regularly featured columnist, you immediately acquire more credibility than your competitors. Readers are more likely to reach out to you for product solutions.

-- Don't forget about organizations you already belong to. Are you taking advantage of their Web site resources, i.e., linking your Web site, being included in their membership directory, etc.? What's more, do a quick search on for free directories. Try, ["your expertise" insurance directories], or [financial sales representatives directories.]

-- The key marketing strategy to keep in mind for any salesperson is that you must circulate, "be seen." It's the most perpetuating sales lead program you can foster.

-- Finally, as you're working hard to generate all these new leads, make sure you have a follow-up plan in place. The fastest and most affordable follow-up method is to ask prospects if they want to receive your free monthly ezine.

Copyright 2005 Sharron Senter

About Sharron: Sharron Senter is a New England-based marketing consultant, speaker and founder of Senter & Associates, a marketing communications firm that helps small businesses deploy low-cost marketing strategies. Sharron is well known for her free monthly emailed marketing tips, found at She's also the cofounder of an onsite computer repair, networking and security company based north of Boston.

All to often credit is fun, easy to get and even easier to use. Many people find that even though they have an excellent income, that they can not keep up with their current debt load and even if they are managing to make their monthly payments they are not getting ahead. Is there a solution to this situation without having to claim bankruptcy or adversely effecting your credit score?

Credit counseling may very well be the answer for this type of situation. Credit counseling is designed to help correct your problem without impacting your credit score and may actually help improve your credit score. Credit counseling works by ensuring that all of your creditors are getting paid on time, eliminates the trap of revolving credit and helps you to learn to over come your credit problems.

Upon entering into a credit-counseling program you will be asked for financial details and to surrender most of your credit cards. Almost all programs acknowledge that you need a credit card or two for business or travel and will not try to restrict your ability to work and live in a reasonable fashion. Once your situation is assessed a plan will be made so that your will be debt free in three or four years and you will be offered the help you need to keep out of the situation that you are currently in.

While your credit score will not be effected an entry will be placed on your file. The entry on your file will generally say "DMP" or "credit counseling". This entry is put there to you from obtaining additional credit cards. Once you have completed your credit counseling this entry is generally removed or updated to reflect that you have finished the program.

One thing that will effect your credit rating is the promptness of your credit-counseling agency. When you are in a credit-counseling program you will give the agency a monthly check that they will use to pay your creditors. If the agency does not pay your creditors on time or in full your credit score will be impacted. Be sure to check out the history of your credit-counseling agency to avoid this.

As you might assume, committing to a credit-counseling program does require a lot of work and conviction from you. The hardest part for many people is to break the habit of reaching for a credit card to pay for a bill that just came in the mail. The second hardest thing for most people to do is to learn to live within in their means. Everyone likes instant gratification and often we feel entitled to it, but perhaps if we had shown a little more discipline in the first place we wouldn't need credit counseling now.

As you can see, credit counseling is a good and reasonable option if you find yourself with too much debt. Credit counseling will not effect your credit score and will ultimately make you a better person as you will learn better skills for handling your money. If you find yourself slipping into revolving credit card debt problems make sure you take the correct steps to resolve the problem before you are forced into bankruptcy.

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.

A home equity line of credit is very closely related to a home equity loan but the subtle differences can mean a lot. Determining which option is the best for you relies upon you knowing your current situation and having a clear plan for what you wish to accomplish with the money.

A home equity loan is a lot like a mortgage. With a home equity loan you are able to borrow the amount of your homes value that you have already paid off. The benefits of this type of loan is that it is almost always guaranteed since it is based upon the amount of your home that you already own, the terms are almost identical to a mortgage and you receive the entire amount of the loan up front after closing.

While a home equity loan is also based upon the amount of your home that you currently own, the terms of the loan are very different. A home equity loan is basically a credit card where the limit is the amount of equity that you have in our home. Instead of receiving one large lump sum of cash, you will receive an overdraft type of service on your account that will allow you to withdraw as much or as little of the equity that you wish to use.

Which choice is better for you? The answer depends upon what you need the money for. With a home equity loan the monthly repayment schedule is known and the interest on your loan will be lower than most other types of loans. However, with a home equity line of credit, you have instant access to cash and the payments will vary depending but the interest will vary. With this in mind the question really becomes do you need access to a varying amount of money or one known lump sum of cash?

A lump sum of cash with a set repayment schedule is great for specific things such as debt consolidation or the funding of specific projects with a predetermined cost. If you are considering debt consolidation for credit cards or any other high interest loans a home equity loan is most likely a very good idea. You will be able to repay all of your debt and will only have to make one monthly payment at a lower rate of interest that you are currently paying on your cards and other unsecured loans.

Home equity loans also make perfect sense if you know the exact amount that you need to borrow. While it is always nice to have cash on hand it is often better to have more credit available to you. The more of your credit limit that you use up the higher the interest rates will be for you and the tougher it will be to borrow more money in the event of an emergency. It is definitely to your advantage to only be in debt for a specific amount to complete one project.

A line of credit option may be better depending upon what you wish to do with your money. While you will still use up a portion of your credit limit, the payments and impacts on your available credit may be lower. With a line of credit you always have the same amount of money available to you. As you pay off the amount of credit used, you can reuse that portion if needed without having to apply for another loan. Also your payments may be considerably lower since you are only paying on the amount of money that you have actually used, not the total amount borrowed.

As you can see there are some big differences between a home equity loan and line of credit. If you are looking at a single project, such as a new car or adding a pool to your home, a home equity loan is the better choice for you. However, if you are looking at starting up a new business, wish to travel or can not settle on predetermined amount money, then a line of credit is the better option for you. With a line of credit you can use as much of your credit as you wish whenever you wish and, much like a credit card, you can reuse the amount of the line of credit that you have repaid with out having to re-apply for a loan.

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.

When I consult with small and home based business owners, more times than not one of the greatest concerns they have is how to increase reach to a targeted market while keeping costs down. Hands down, effectively using the power of the Internet is the cornerstone to achieving this outcome. More times than not, companies are not using their Internet presence as effectively as they can.

I often see a company that has a website that looks great from a design perspective, yet from a marketing and sales perspective the site is not working. Many people are under the mistaken belief that if a potential customer or client visits their site they will be so impressed they will automatically return time and again. Fact is, this is not what happens in the real world of the Internet. Chances are within minutes most visitors have forgotten sites they looked at unless there was something that encouraged them to remember.

People remember based on the value you create and a problem being solved. They also remember by you keeping your name and company fresh in their mind.

One way to do this is to offer visitors the opportunity to opt in to your mailing list. If people have taken the time to visit your site, you need to encourage them to leave their contact information. You do this by offering them something that is incredibly valuable that they sign up for.

It's incredible how many companies, large and small, miss the opportunity to encourage visitors to sign up for something. It is in the signing up you will build a mailing list that is worth more than its weight in gold.

Most people are so overloaded with information that if you don't immediately solve a problem for them they are not going to be interested in signing up for anything. Additionally, once they sign up if your information does not continue to solve their problem they will want off your list.

In today's world of Internet marketing, your job is to look for ways to continually offer value while increasing your distribution list.

Specific Strategies to Increase Your Distribution List

- If you are in the retail industry, every time someone comes to your store, simply ask them if you can add them to your distribution list to keep them updated on specials, events, and unique offers. In most cases if they are attracted to your store, they will gladly give you their information. Make sure to get their email address.

- If you have a current mailing list of clients, conduct a survey and offer an incentive for people to respond. Direct them to your site where they fill out a survey and perhaps receive a free report or eBook.

- If you do any type of presentations as a part of your job, collect contact information from the attendees. Send a follow-up message within 48 hours inviting them to sign up for your Ezine.

- Use your email signature file to encourage people to sign up for an incentive on your website. Put the web link right in your signature.

- Put a sign-up box on every page of your site. Many websites have a sign-up on the main page but have not put one up on other pages of their site. Fact is, a web search for a specific product or service can take people anywhere on your site, not just the main page. Make it easy for them to sign-up for something from every page.

- Write and distribute articles online with a strong byline at the end of the article. A byline is simply an information piece that is usually a few sentences in length. In the byline direct readers back to your website for something of value.

- Offer a free report from your site. Make sure it is compelling enough for people to want to sign up.

- Offer free eBooks to encourage people to leave their contact information in order to download the file.

Opt-in lists are one of the most powerful marketing tools you have in your online and offline marketing. Complemented by a good Ezine, website, consistent focus on driving traffic to your site and gaining visibility, the potential for growing your business is unlimited.

Copyright 2005 Kathleen Gage

About Kathleen: Kathleen Gage is a keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. Access Gage's's FREE eBook Street Smarts Marketing On the Internet at

Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but with so many demands on your finances you have to be extra cautious. TV ads are constantly bombarding the airwaves with messages that you need to buy this or you must have that. Usually, if you just wait a week or two, the urge to buy that new gadget will pass. But, what should you do if you have already spent more than you have? The following are several real world ideas that can help you save real dollars.

First of all, consider refinancing high interest-rate loans and credit cards. Obviously you would like to pay as little interest as possible, sometimes by shopping around and transferring a balance to a low-interest rate card, you can save hundreds of dollars. Even better, if you can find a lower rate on your mortgage, you will be savings thousands of dollars. Just make sure to get your debts paid down as quickly as possible.

Secondly, change the deductible on your auto insurance to $500 or $1,000. This change can save you up to 40%. The insurance company will make money no matter what. If you file a claim they are likely to raise your rates to make up the difference so you end up paying no matter what. It makes sense to cover the first $500 or $1,000 yourself and enjoy a lower monthly premium in the meantime.

Another idea is to trim some small expenses. For example, if you get your haircut every 6 weeks, see if you can go 7 or 8 weeks instead. This will save you the cost of 1-2 cuts per year. Check out that book from the library instead of buying it. Try renting a video instead of going out to the movies. Purchase a ready-made meal at the grocery store instead of going out to eat. Be creative and see what little expenses you can trim that will add up to big savings over time.

Other ideas include clipping coupons, taking your lunch to work, carpooling (or walking, biking, or taking the bus), stop smoking, and finally just don't even open up that catalog. Toss them out immediately. If you peek inside you're bound to find something you like.

In order to make sure that you stay on track with your budget, it is important to know where you stand. To get an idea of how your spending compares to a typical budget and see where your money is going each month, take a minute to use the free budgeting tools available at

Copyright 2005 Don Blackhurst

About Don: Don Blackhurst has been working in the banking and finance industries for over 15 years and has an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is the co-founder of (, which provides free budgeting tools, debt planning, and credit help.

Repairing Your Credit is as Easy as 1-2-3Don Blackhurst

Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but with so many demands on your finances you have to be extra cautious. TV ads are constantly bombarding the airwaves with messages that you need to buy this or you must have that. Usually, if you just wait a week or two, the urge to buy that new gadget will pass. But, what should you do if you have already spent more than you have? The following are several real world ideas that can help you save real dollars.

First of all, consider refinancing high interest-rate loans and credit cards. Obviously you would like to pay as little interest as possible, sometimes by shopping around and transferring a balance to a low-interest rate card, you can save hundreds of dollars. Even better, if you can find a lower rate on your mortgage, you will be savings thousands of dollars. Just make sure to get your debts paid down as quickly as possible.

Secondly, change the deductible on your auto insurance to $500 or $1,000. This change can save you up to 40%. The insurance company will make money no matter what. If you file a claim they are likely to raise your rates to make up the difference so you end up paying no matter what. It makes sense to cover the first $500 or $1,000 yourself and enjoy a lower monthly premium in the meantime.

Another idea is to trim some small expenses. For example, if you get your haircut every 6 weeks, see if you can go 7 or 8 weeks instead. This will save you the cost of 1-2 cuts per year. Check out that book from the library instead of buying it. Try renting a video instead of going out to the movies. Purchase a ready-made meal at the grocery store instead of going out to eat. Be creative and see what little expenses you can trim that will add up to big savings over time.

Other ideas include clipping coupons, taking your lunch to work, carpooling (or walking, biking, or taking the bus), stop smoking, and finally just don't even open up that catalog. Toss them out immediately. If you peek inside you're bound to find something you like.

In order to make sure that you stay on track with your budget, it is important to know where you stand. To get an idea of how your spending compares to a typical budget and see where your money is going each month, take a minute to use the free budgeting tools available at 1. Review Your Credit Report For Errors.

After you have received a copy of your credit report, you need to look through it very closely. If you do not yet have a copy, has negotiated with one of the credit bureaus to offer consumers a free look at their credit report and credit score. It is a 30-day free trial offer, so you get the information right up-front and you can cancel free of charge within 30-days. To check your credit report for free, visit to find out now.

It is important to first review all the personal identifying information in your credit report such as name, address, social security number, birth date, and so on.

You should then evaluate each account that is reported about you to the credit bureau. Determine whether any of this information is in any way inaccurate, incorrect, erroneous, misleading, or outdated. If you find that any of the information in incorrect, then you should move on to the next step.

2. Dispute the errors with the credit bureaus and your creditors.

You should dispute inaccurate information with both the consumer credit reporting agency and the furnisher (creditor). Disputing with both allows you to cover all of your bases to ensure that the corrections are consistently made by both sources.

You should follow up with these companies to ensure that the inaccurate or incomplete information is removed in a timely manner. You should then continue to monitor your credit information on a regular basis by ordering and reviewing your consumer credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies on a regular basis.

3. Repeat until satisfied.

It is very important that each questionable item, except for erroneous personal data, is dealt with individually. If you attempt to have the credit reporting agency correct several items at once, it will be easier for the agency to claim that your request is frivolous or irrelevant. If they make this determination, then your requests to correct inaccuracies will be discarded.

Make sure that you use a clear and concise statement indicating that the accuracy or completeness of a specific item is "disputed" or "challenged". Remember that explanations of why an item might be derogatory will not help you, only actual disputes of specific items will get the results you need.

As soon as the credit reporting agency provides you with an updated credit report indicating that the disputed item has been removed from your report, you should send another letter challenging the next most damaging item. Repeat this process, until each and every disputed item has been deleted from your credit report.

If you would like more detailed information about repairing your credit history including sample dispute letters to send to the credit reporting agencies, you will find more details available at

Copyright 2005 Don Blackhurst

About Don: Don Blackhurst has been working in the banking and finance industries for over 15 years and has an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is the co-founder of (, which provides free budgeting tools, debt planning, and credit help.

Lenders are using credit scores more and more to make decisions about who they will lend to. The main developer of these scores is called Fair, Isaac Co (FICO), thus these scores are often called FICO scores. Scores range from 300-850 with a lower score indicating a higher chance of defaulting on a loan and a higher score representing a better chance that the lender will get paid back. The national average score is approximately 680.

Every lender sets up its own score cutoffs but generally speaking, you can expect to receive the following treatments based on your score:

300-549: Extremely difficult to find any lender that will offer you credit.

550-619: You may be able to find credit, but very high interest rates and fees will likely apply.

620-679: You should be able to obtain credit, but you will probably be offered a higher interest rate.

680-749: You should have no problem getting credit and you will receive good interest rates and repayment terms.

750-850: Lenders are happy to offer you credit and provide you with their best rates and terms.

These scores are becoming even more important to us as consumers over time. For example, most insurance companies also check your score when you apply for car or home insurance. If your score is too low they might not even offer you insurance or they may offer it to you with higher premiums.

Many companies will also check your credit when you apply for a job. They look at how well you handle your personal finances as an indicator of how well you will take care of your professional responsibilities.

With so much at stake with your credit score it makes sense to know what your score is. has negotiated with the credit bureaus to offer consumers a free look at their credit report and credit score. It is a 30-day free trial offer, so you get the information right up-front and you can cancel free of charge within 30-days. To check your credit score for free, visit to find out now.

Copyright 2005 Don Blackhurst

About Don: Don Blackhurst has been working in the banking and finance industries for over 15 years and has an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is the co-founder of (, which provides free budgeting tools, debt planning, and credit help.

Customer service today is getting worse. Win customers over and you build your business for life. Proven by the leader in the industry -- Nordstrom's. Nordstrom's customer service keeps improving and they continue to drive others out of business because of it. Here are six ways you can thrill customers and snatch a larger market share from your competitors.

...Offer to do an extraordinary favor

Example: A customer of a moving firm wanted to ship a kitchen table and chairs set to his son in a city 300 miles away. But the moving firm had a hefty weight requirement and a high minimum fee. The firm's manager said he made regular trips to that city. So he offered--at no cost--to load the set in his station wagon and deliver it on his next trip.

...Under promise, over deliver

A well-known air freight company promises to deliver a package by 10 am the next morning--but often delivers by 9 or 9:30 am. A local printing company always finishes the job before the due date. These are companies customers can count on.

...Give them a benefit they don't know exists

If your business offers coupons for certain items, discount those items for those purchases even if customers don't have the coupons.

...Put concern above profit

Only offer customers items they can use. Don't sell them higher-priced products just to make a big sale. You'll win the loyalty of customers if you look out for their best interest.

...Follow up after the sale

The most successful salespeople follow up regularly at scheduled times--not when they have a spare moment. Help yourself follow up by keeping a log of commitments made and when you promised to keep them.

...Comfort customers in time of need

Let's discuss this with an example. If a customer's air conditioning unit blinked out on the hottest Saturday of the year. Have a backup plan for these type of emergencies. People never forget it when you ease their comfort and will become your biggest raving fan. Return their call no matter how busy you are or have a plan on how to handle these calls. Work later than normal or have someone part-time and on-call. Talk with them on how you can ease their comfort until you can make it there. Ask if they would like to go to the mall or a movie where it is air conditioned and you will call them when you arrive. It doesn't matter if you are in the air conditioning and heating business or you're a consultant, think of ways you can ease customer's comfort. And don't forget to advertise that as well.

Copyright 2005 Catherine Franz

About Catherine: Catherine Franz, writer, speaker, marketing master, specializes in infoproduct development. More at: and Including articles and ezines.

Internet Marketing Idea: Use Internet Marketing to Sell Network Marketing or MLMTim Bruxvoort

Experienced Internet Marketers and beginners alike have one thing is common. They need products or services to market on the Internet.

The lack of a good Internet Marketing Idea is often the most difficult problem the marketer is faced with, but it is one that can be solved within a few short minutes from now.

Many marketers spend so much time trying to find ideas for products or services they can create; they miss the obvious already-created opportunities in plain view. The best part of these opportunities is that all the market research and business planning has already been done.

So instead of trying to create that one product or service that leads to a million dollar homerun (and more often than not you strike out), you can quickly set up multiple streams of revenue from several websites. That way if one revenue stream dries up, you still have several more to rely on.

One way to quickly set up a new business is to market products and services from a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or network marketing opportunity. These opportunities already have support systems in place so all you have to do is to apply Internet Marketing techniques to sell the product or service.

Since few network marketers know how to use the Internet like you do, you'll have a unique marketing advantage.

You'll also have an advantage over other Internet Marketers as well because most of them have a negative view on network marketing. It's probably not because they experienced anything negative about network marketing themselves, but because they know someone else who is negative on it.

In marketing psychology, they call this "social proof." If everybody else thinks something, it's just easier to think the same thing rather than think for yourself. In a lot of cases social proof is beneficial, but sometimes it leads us down a path like sheep to a slaughter.

The network marketing business model itself is very sound so that's not what's responsible for the negative perception some people have. The problem is with the people who are being attracted to network marketing. Those joining typically don't have any business experience.

But if you target other Internet Marketers, other people with business experience, or you create easy to follow systems for people who have no business experience, you'll have much more success.

If the network marketing business model itself were flawed, you wouldn't find a lot of multi-millionaires involved in it. But the network marketing group includes top celebrity authors/millionaires who not only advocate MLM, but they are actually doing it. This group includes people like:

- Robert Allen, author of Multiple Streams of Income
- Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Warren Buffet, billionaire investor.

So if multi-millionaires are doing it, and your goal is to become a millionaire, why shouldn't you do it too?

If MLM or network marketing is done right, it can be one of the quickest ways to a million dollars. In fact, it is in the top five moneymaking opportunities of all time that people use to create wealth in their lives today. The top five are:

1. Public Speaking
2. Real Estate
3. Internet
4. Stock Investing
5. Multi-Level-Marketing

Since few people desire to speak publicly, that rules it out for the majority. Real estate and stock investing typically require a good deal of money to get started so that rules them out for a lot of people. But the Internet and network marketing are opportunities almost anyone can get into. And you are in a unique position to apply them both.

We are also in a totally unique time right now. At no other point in history have so many people been looking for their own businesses. The Internet is making it easier for anyone to get into business and have the entire world as a marketplace. And the unstable work environment most people face is driving more people to work for themselves.

So you can put yourself in front of two of the hottest money making trends in the world today: the Internet and home-based businesses.

So by helping other people use the Internet to create their own network marketing business, you'll be helping yourself to wealth. Then everyone is happy!

Copyright 2005 Tim Bruxvoort

About Tim: Tim Bruxvoort is the Internet's Foremost Home-Based Business and Success Coach who helps people create successful and profitable lives in their own home-based businesses. You can visit his website at . If you are interested in a hot network marketing opportunity you can go to for a free report.

Marketing public relations gives you cost effective ways to reach your audience. The trade-off, however, is time. It takes time to develop and execute public relations programs. It can take time for these programs to yield rewards.

Here are six simple steps for developing a news release program that extends your reach and generates inquiries at a fraction of the cost of advertising.

1) DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE AND MESSAGE. If you have a marketing or communications plan in place, you already have audiences and messages defined. No need to reinvent for your news release program, although you may need to select audiences and messages that are most appropriate.

2) BUILD A LIST. Once you know your audience, you'll need a list of publications they're likely to read. A great place to go to create a list is -- a service of Bacon's. It's reasonably priced and fast. The downside is the lists come with no updates. You may need to re-purchase your list several times during a year. Or it may make more sense for you to buy a media directory subscription.

However you build your list, make it broad. With a news release program you can send releases to many more publications than you can afford to advertise in. Sending a release just entails paper, printing, a photo, an envelope and a stamp.

3) DETERMINE NEWSWORTHY TOPICS. This is a tricky but critical step. You'll need to think like a member of your target audience. What's going to interest him or her? Usually it's new stuff -- products, services, applications, literature, software. If you don't have these to write about, your news releases might not get past the editors' trash can.

4) INCLUDE A PHOTO. Publications can be hungry for visuals so send one with your release -- a photo, illustration, chart or graph. In most cases a 3" x 5" glossy B&W print and a color slide will work. Be sure to send good quality visuals since the quality will reflect on you.

5) SET A SCHEDULE -- AND STICK TO IT. Sending releases regularly lets editors know you're reliable. If you have six topics for the year, send out a release every other month. Twelve topics -- one a month. General rule for monthly publications is one release per editor per month.

6) MEASURE RESULTS AND LEARN. It takes about three months before your releases will show up in monthly publications. Less time for pubs that come out more often.

Track what runs, where it runs, how much space you get and inquiries generated. You can use this information to measure results and improve your program.

Copyright 2005 Claire Cunningham

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 newsletter, Communiqu, at Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail:

Even if you're sure you don't have to worry about earthquakes, you should still find out how to insure your business.

The most important thing that you should do is to make sure that your business is insured as well as it should be. After all, the last thing you want to have happen is for your business to be insufficiently insured - especially when you consider all of the things that could go wrong. Not only that, but there are also several laws that require businesses to have some types of insurance in order to operate.

Some of the insurance policies are for catastrophic events. These are definitely the types of insurance that everybody should have. For instance, fire insurance is pretty important - if there is a fire in your building, then you could stand to lose everything that holds your business together, and that will at the very least result in the loss of a considerable amount of your money.

If you're trying to figure out how to insure your business, the first thing that you should do is sit down and make a list to figure out what types of insurance you're sure to need. Pretty much everybody should get insurance against huge disasters, however, you may also want to get insurance to cover several other things as well.

Another type of insurance that you will need to get is worker's comp. This is required in every single state in the United States. Essentially, this insurance will make sure that your company will be able to pay if one of your workers is injured and needs to sue in order to pay for medical bills. One problem with worker's comp, however, is that it can get pretty expensive depending on the type of business you have.

You will also want to make sure that you get auto insurance if you are going to have any sort of company car. Not only is this just a good idea, but it is also required by law if you are going to have anybody driving vehicles while they're on the job for you.

The most important thing to consider when you're trying to decide what type of insurance to get is that you should always check with the regulations of the area that you're in to make sure that you will get enough insurance to cover the right things.

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.

There are definitely advantages, but make sure you make an informed decision!

There are a lot of advantages to outsourcing, however, there are also some disadvantages. Since this is such a huge issue, and such a large decision for you to make regarding your company, you should make sure that you take a good look at both sides of the issue before you make your decision. Make sure you know exactly what you stand to gain or lose by outsourcing your work.

First of all, the advantages of outsourcing for your business are that you'll be able to get some of the less important jobs done for cheaper. For instance, if you're finding that you do not have enough money in your budget to make necessary changes in order to keep your business afloat, then you should probably find a way to reduce the amount of money that you're spending.

Another advantage of outsourcing is that there are actually other companies and places where you can get the work done better than you are already in your own company. Not only that, but if you have a company that requires a large number of different products or services in order to function, it might take less time for you to find a good outsourcer than it would take you to train new people.

There are a few disadvantages to outsourcing, however, and you should definitely take those into account as well. For one thing, if you outsource, it means that you're going to have to work very closely with the company that you outsource your work to. Otherwise, you won't get the finished work as soon as you need it. Having another company involved in your business might get tiresome after a while.

Another thing that you should consider is that depending on where you outsource to, it might hurt your business. This is generally only a big deal if who your customers are really matters, or if you're a very small business. Some people shop at small businesses because they're local - and if you're a business like that, then outsourcing might be to your disadvantage.

In the end, however, the question of whether or not outsourcing is right for your business can only be answered by you.

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.

4 Steps To Unleashing Profits In Your Online BusinessBarry Gilbert

Ever wonder how the thousands of "under the radar" web businesses that earn well over $100,000/year (many with much higher sales) out of their own home do it?

Over the last year I've had the great fortune to speak with many of these true, hidden entrepreneurs at conferences, seminars, etc.

What I'm about to share with you also came true for me, and is outlined in more detail in my Ultimate Information Entrepreneur's Success Package

Here's an example of their business model:

1. Information Products. Without a doubt, each one of the successes I know market their own infoproducts. For some, it's an ebook. Others have special reports. Still others run online coaching programs, membership sites, paid newsletters, teleseminars, or produce digital audio or video products. It's not their only source of income, but is a MAJOR source of income, and more important, brands them an expert in their field leading to success with #2 and #3 below.

2. Market related Affiliate Products. Again, in almost every case, these online success stories become experts at finding and creating joint venture deals with partners.

But, they work differently than most affiliates.

They start by ALWAYS reviewing the product they will market. Second, they look for a different way to present the product or service - a more beneficial way to show users the real benefit in the affiliate product. Third, they use the branding from #1 to negotiate higher commissions and focus on high commission programs only.

3. They monetize their traffic using Adsense or selling advertising on their sites. For high traffic pages where adding paid ads or Google's Adsense will not impact their own sales, they will run ads to further monetize their sites.

4. Sell their time. You will find that truly successful people online LOVE to help people succeed. But...for every person who is really dedicated to succeeding there are 10 "tire kickers" who want someone to hand them success on a silver platter. It doesn't work that way, nothing works that way. So, in order to leave time to help those who really want it, coaching programs are formed. Yes - you have to pay big money, but you should easily be able to get 10X the value for money spent.

So as you can see, there is no ONE single way to build your wealth online.

Instead, you build a diversified, rich and healthy business by focusing on these 4 pillars. Not only will you earn more money, but your business will be stronger and build momentum faster when you do.

Copyright 2005 Barry Gilbert

Resource box: "Write Your Own Income-Generating How-To Books Today! It's INSANE...5 Experts Share How Writing Books Changed Their Lives Forever! "Discover Where The Money Is With Writing Books...And How YOU Can Get It! Click Here==>

Recently passed by Congress, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 will require people who are filing for bankruptcy to first undergo mandatory credit counseling.

This is probably not a bad idea; after all, many people with problem debt could probably benefit from credit counseling. A good credit counselor can assist clients with problem debts in establishing a repayment schedule, creating a personal budget, and learning how to avoid debt and credit problems in the future.

The problem is that with the estimated one and a half million additional people seeking credit counseling each year, there will undoubtedly be more credit "counselors" entering the market, and many of them are only interested in reaping huge profits at the expense of their clients. There are already a number of credit counseling firms working in the marketplace that advertise themselves as "nonprofit", when they actually are closely tied to for-profit debt consolidation firms. These agencies will strongly encourage their clients to consolidate debt through their partner company, and the result may be a long-term loan for the client that doesn't help them at all, but reaps huge profits for the consolidation firm. How can someone who is genuinely seeking legitimate, helpful credit counseling choose a counseling agency wisely?

*Counselors should listen. If they start pitching a solution to you during the first fifteen minutes you are there, you should be suspicious. A credit counselor should be gathering information about you in order to determine how best to help you. They can't possibly know how to help if they don't understand your problem. Unless, of course, they don't care about your problem and only want to sell generic "solutions."

*Watch out for firms that want excessive fees up front. Be particularly wary of nonprofit agencies that ask for fees or "voluntary contributions" or nonprofit agencies that tell you that they cannot help you if you do not pay a fee upfront.

*Beware of firms that ask for a sizeable fee to obtain a copy of your credit report. Such agencies should be able to obtain your report at no charge, and you are entitled to one report per year for free.

*Sometimes, bankruptcy is unavoidable. Watch out if the agency doesn't mention bankruptcy at all, or if they change the subject if you bring up the topic. Debt consolidators cannot make any money on bankruptcy cases, but sometimes, that's your only option.

*Shop around. Talk to several different agencies and compare what they tell you. Any agency that differs dramatically from what the other agencies are telling you should probably be avoided.

*Check with your local Better Business Bureau, and ask if they've had any complaints about the agency.

*Watch out for firms that offer quick solutions to your problems. You didn't get into financial trouble overnight, and you won't get out of financial trouble overnight. Any competent debt or credit counselor will know this and will undoubtedly tell you that working your way out of debt takes time.

*See if the agency belongs to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Many do.

By taking a few simple precautions before agreeing to work with a credit counselor, you may save yourself a lot of grief and a lot of money later.

Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including

A lawsuit loan, or pre-settlement funding, is one option for people involved in a lawsuit to finance their daily needs. A lawsuit loan is advance money given to cash strapped individuals who are trying to claim their rights through a lawsuit.

Thus lawsuit loan can allow you to pursue your legal case to the full extent without being hurried to seek judgment because you are facing cash woes. Without the lawsuit loan option, many people would be willing to accept quick settlements if they knew their daily household bills were pilling up.

As the lawsuit judgment is delayed, it can hurt a person. If you are involved in a lawsuit, for example a workplace injury lawsuit, with a major corporation their lawyers will be able to delay judgment for a long time. With lawsuit loans you will be in a better place to pursue your rights to the full extent of the law.

Here are some common cases for which you can take out lawsuit loans:

- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injury
- Discrimination

If you have to leave your job due to injury or discrimination, keeping up with your household payments can be a huge strain. Lawsuit loans can allow you to take care of medical expenses, household bills, mortgage payments, auto payments, etc.

You can get lawsuit loans from several banks and private institutions. The amount of loan you get will be a percentage of the total amount of your lawsuit. The lenders will look at your legal case and determine how much to loan you.

Lawsuit loan has the benefit that you only have to pay back if you win the case. Therefore there are no monthly payments. There are no credit checks before loan acquirement; therefore you do not have to worry if you have poor credit.

Lawsuit loans may not be your only option if you are having trouble making ends meet while the case is being decided. You can look into other types of personal loans. Lawsuit loans will usually have high interest rates associated with them.

With lawsuit loans you should consider many options before you make your decision. Usually it is advisable to use a well-reputed company as your lender.

Copyright 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.

Using a loan calculator allows you to see the true cost of a loan before you actually apply for it. You can calculate such information as the amount of money you will have to pay every month. If your monthly payments are too high, you will end up with late payments and bad credit, face high interest accumulation and hounding collectors.

You can use a mortgage loan calculator to determine your rates. Loan calculators can also be used for auto loans.

Online loan calculates allow you to see what you will be paying before you actually acquire a loan. You can find many types of loan calculators online. While most of them are free to use, some of them are paid.

Online loan calculators offer ease and convenience by doing the hard work for you. You do not have to be a financial expert to determine how an online loan calculator works and you can use to figure out important values associated with your loans.

In an online loan calculator, you enter the required numbers and click the calculate button.

Different online loan calculators allow you to compute different values. For example for a home mortgage calculator, you can fill in the value of the loan, length of the repayment period and the interest rate and figure out your monthly payment amount. A mortgage loan calculator also takes into account compounding interest.

Or you can use your monthly earnings to determine via a loan calculator the house you can afford without overheating your household budget.

A great advantage of loan calculators is to compare loan offers. A loan calculator can make the job of comparing two or more loans to find the best deals.

Loan calculators can also be helpful when consolidating or refinancing your debt. You can compare your current loan with the new loan offers and decide if you will be saving enough to make the transition to a new loan.

A loan calculator can also help you see how much you will have to pay in interest and principal payments each month. Thus you can establish a monthly repayment amount that is best for you, where you are paying off the principal as well as the interest. A loan calculator can help you setting up your household budget and savings plan for the coming years.

Copyright 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 great mysteries of life is how the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) score credit. They all have secret statistical formulas for determining your credit score, but they are unwilling to divulge exactly what, exactly, constitutes your score. This can make it difficult for people with problem credit to try to improve their score in hopes of obtaining a home or car loan later.

While the exact formula is a secret, there are a few things you can do that will undoubtedly improve your score:

Pay off a home equity line of credit. These loans, which allow you to borrow more than once against your home's equity, are considered revolving credit, much like a credit card. Pay it down or pay it off; either should help your score.

Check your credit report regularly; you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year. By looking over your credit report, you can make sure that debts you have paid on time are shown on the report, such as student loans, or auto loans that have been paid in full. You can also make sure that your credit limits on your credit cards are reported correctly. Lenders look at the ratio of debt to available credit, and if your reported credit limit is low, it could make it appear as though you are nearly at your credit limit.

Check for duplicate information on your credit report. If your mortgage has been sold to another firm, make sure that your report doesn't show your mortgage twice.

Keep balances on credit cards and other revolving accounts low. You do not want to be seen owing too much money to too many different lenders.

Don't have too many open credit accounts. Ten Visa cards will not help your credit rating. Try to keep a maximum of three revolving credit accounts.

By checking your credit report regularly, and by eliminating unusual entries, you should be able to increase your credit score. And with credit, every little bit helps.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including

Jim Cockrum is a self-professed "eBay freak" whose eBook 'The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on eBay' became a top seller on the Internet in less than six months. And Jim wasn't surprised one bit by this. Why was he so sure his eBook would do so well? Because, he says, 'The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on eBay' is "full of original, useful, and POWERFUL ideas for anyone trying to make money on the Internet." Ideas that have made him an awful lot of money on eBay since 1997. Ideas he "learned from many eBay gurus and creative thinkers," and has put to good and very profitable use. Ideas he now wants to share with the rest of us to help us achieve a similar level of success.

Jim emphasizes that the potential for marketing and selling via eBay is truly mind boggling, with the number of eBay users having now reached over 100 million and growing larger every day. And by using his Silent Sales Machine technique, the rest of us can make the same kind of serious money on eBay and on the Internet that he's been able to, because "a Silent Sales Machine is a thing of beauty" and "there are unlimited ways to set one up using eBay as the fuel." Through his eBook, Jim is revealing his highly successful method for making lots of money on eBay, so we too can share in the $14 billion dollar eBay pie.

Without a doubt, Jim Cockrum makes some pretty bold claims, but he backs them up with some very impressive PayPal account earnings listings, and says that during a recent two-day period, virtually "every product I sold to these HAPPY eBay customers was free to me (100% profit), cost nothing to ship, and is available in unlimited supply." He asserts that his book "shows you how to do the same thing." And he wants you to know that he did NOT use drop-shipping to achieve his stellar sales results since a drop-ship method would NOT have resulted in 100% profit, of course.

It's quite a natural thing to be skeptical about claims made about Internet success these days. However, in his Silent Sales Machine technique, Jim Cockrum appears to have hit upon something that should prove well worth a bit of one's time to explore further, so as to possibly emulate his very impressive Internet sales track record and thus make some serious money for ourselves.

If you'd like further information about the eBay success secrets Jim shares in his eBook 'The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on eBay' (a 130-page book that is delivered immediately to you via download), please visit this site:

Copyright © 2005 Terry Mansfield

About Terry: Terry Mansfield is Owner/President of First World Enterprises, providing online customers world-wide with a choice of high-quality products, services, and business opportunities since 1999. Visit Firstworld.Biz -- the LinkUp Place at to see current recommendations. And get info on free downloads of music and movies at

Step 1: Spend less than you earn

Perhaps the simplest financial concept is the toughest for us to conquer- spend less than you earn. After paying your living expenses (bills, loan and mortgage payments, cost of food, charitable contributions, taxes, etc), you can begin to save and invest toward your future. If you are spending more than you earn, you must find a way to change this. You may even need to change your lifestyle- drive a more efficient car, eat out less, live in a smaller home, cancel your cell phone, etc. Make a commitment to your financial success to spend less than you earn. This may take a lot of discipline, but is an essential first step towards your financial wellbeing. Once you spend less than you earn, you will be on your way to reaching all of your goals.

Step 2: Prepare for an emergency
Before doing any actual investing, you need to establish an Emergency Fund (cash held in an account for emergencies). This fund can be used for various emergencies, but, its main purpose is to pay your living expenses in the event of a sudden loss of income. That is, if you lose your job, you will still be able to pay your bills without having to abruptly withdraw money from your investment accounts. A relatively conservative amount to keep in your Emergency Fund is that equal to 6 months of living expenses.

Step 3: Determine your goals
Would you take a road trip without an ultimate destination? How long will the trip take? What should you pack? In what direction would you drive? These questions are easily answered once you know where you are going. The same is true for investing. Before any investments are actually purchased, you must know your ultimate destination- you must create a list of your goals.

Determining your goals and writing them down will serve as the foundation for a proper investment plan, allowing you to customize your investments to each specific goal. Some examples of "goals" are: retirement, college, buying a house, taking a vacation, and buying a car.

In writing down your goals there are a few pieces of information you must identify. You must know the following about each goal: name (NAME), time until realization (TIME), cost in today's prices (COST), planned contributions (PAYMENT), and current money saved for this goal (PV). Below is an example of a goals list:

Retirement - 30 years - $2,500,000 - $1,000 mo.- $350,000 - ???
College Kid 1 - 12 years - $100,000 - $500 mo.- $20,000 - ???
College Kid 2 - 10 years - $100,000 - $500 mo.- $22,000 - ???
Buying a Boat - 6 years - $30,000 - $150 mo.- $0 - ???

Step 4: Invest
After determining your goals, you can begin to invest toward achieving them. Doing so means calculating the annual rate of return (RATE) needed to achieve each individual goal. For example, you may need a 7% rate of return to achieve your retirement goal, while only a 5% rate of return to attain your college goals. Thus, your actual investments may be significantly different for each goal, but will be tailored to each individually. (There are online resources and calculators that offer assistance computing your required rates of return.)

When purchasing investments, you need to buy those that will collectively earn the annual rates of return necessary to reach your goals. You may choose to invest on your own, use an investment advisor, or search for a broker/dealer to assist you with your investments. No matter how or where you invest, there are a few things to remember:

-- Put it in writing: Writing down your goals and how you will invest to achieve them is very important and will serve as a framework for decision making during uncertain times in the future.

-- Use Index Funds: There are thousands of different investments to choose from (for example: mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and annuities). Index Funds give the greatest advantages for reasons of cost, performance, simplicity, transparency, and diversification.

-- Get some advice: Paying a little for the advice of an investment professional can be very wise. There are even investment advisor firms online that will tailor your investments directly toward your goals for you.

-- Be unemotional: The financial markets fluctuate up and down- so will your investments. If you have any goals that are less than 5+ years away, you may want to invest these funds into something very conservative (such as a money market or certificate of deposit).

-- Rebalance periodically: Accounts should be rebalanced annually to keep in balance with your goals.

Final thoughts
When investing toward your goals, you need to make sure that no unforeseen circumstance prevents you from reaching them. Insurance is a very useful tool to assure your goals are realized regardless of what situation may arise. Through analysis, you can determine which goals are at risk for not being achieved should you get sick, become disabled, or pass away. Having enough money to pay for your goals regardless of death, disability, health problems, or any other unforeseen circumstance is an essential part of a solid financial plan.

In addition, estate planning serves an important role when planning your finances. A will, trust, or power of attorney can enable you to keep your plan in motion far beyond your living reach. (Please consult an attorney to discuss your estate plan.)

Having a solid, well-designed plan for your finances is something you can accomplish. With a little time and effort, you can be on your way to spending less than you make, establishing an Emergency Fund, and tailoring your investments to each of your specific goals. Plan your finances wisely, and then commit yourself to your plan.

Copyright 2005 Jonathan Citrin

About Jonathan: Jonathan Citrin provides financial goal planning services. Go to for hundreds of educational articles about Personal Finance, Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, and College Savings.

Employing Variable Cylinder Management technology (VCM), Honda Accord Hybrid is the first hybrid vehicle to deactivate three of its engine's six cylinders in certain conditions like highway cruising for greater fuel efficiency without affecting its performance.

The new 2005 V6 Accord Hybrid integrates the fuel economy of a four cylinder compact Civic and high-level performance.

Combining VCM with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology, Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid captured four of the top five slots in the EPA 2004 fuel economy ratings. In 2005, Honda-developed fuel cell stack featuring increased performance and fuel efficiency, reduced cost and the capability to start in below freezing temperatures.

Leading the pioneering efforts for the development and application of leading edge environmental technologies including the first Low Emissions (LEV) and Ultra-Low Emissions (ULEV) vehicles and the first commercially certified fuel cell vehicle, Honda now again has proven its innovative ideas.

FCX fuel vehicle powered by the Honda FC stack is the realization of Honda's long held effort of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The Honda FCX then on its launching will be the first and only fuel cell vehicle certified by the EPA and California Air Resources Board for regular commercial use.
Starting and operating a vehicle in cold weather and freezing temperatures is a daunting technical barrier to the mass-market application of fuel cell technology. Honda's answer to this problem is the Fuel Cell stack with its newly developed electrolyte membranes and stamped metal separator structure for improved efficiency, recycle ability, and operation over a greater range of temperatures.

Prior to the FC stack's introduction in the Honda FCX, public road evaluations in the U.S and Japan is on going.

Make Honda parts shopping hassle-free and satisfying for you. Partstrain offers the best prices to save you on your next Honda parts purchase. We give you the best value and superior quality Honda parts. Buy from and expect fast & reliable shipping of your Honda parts orders.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

Backed by Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering(TM) (ACE(TM)) body structure, the 2005 Honda Odyssey was the best choice from its segment in the recently concluded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal offset crash test.

The IHHS frontal crash tests have the front end of the vehicle hit a deformable barrier at 40 mph. When the vehicle is given a 'good" rating, it means that its front-end structure is able to withstand and manage the crash leaving the occupant compartment largely intact with hardly an intrusion into the driver's space reducing possible injury.

Reinforced frontal frame structures for the ACE body minimizes the probability for cabin intrusion and potential misalignment of the car's energy absorbing safety structure in the event of a collision between vehicles of varied size and height.

The federal government's top rating of Five Stars for both front-seating positions in the frontal impact test performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a part of its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) went also to the new 2005 Honda Odyssey.

To keep the company's effort of " Safety for Everyone" Honda Odyssey models is well equipped of the following safety features: dual-stage, dual-threshold driver's and front passenger's airbags, front side airbags with an Occupant Position Detection System, anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbag protection (with rollover sensor) for all three rows, Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control.

Partstrain has all your Honda equipment needs with top of the line Honda car parts, Honda auto body parts, Honda motor parts, Honda racing parts and more. We have top-caliber parts and accessories for the luxurious Honda Accord, the popular Honda Civic, the big and powerful Honda Odyssey, the sporty Honda CR-V and all other famous Honda car models., we guarantee you our product line's reliability, dependability and top performance. Just click on our convenient and user-friendly online store. Browse on the Honda parts you need in our informative parts catalog and check out any information on our services and deals securely. We guarantee you prompt and hassle-free transactions over the Internet every time you make your purchase. Simply order online or call us for the best Honda components of your choice. Our exceptionally trained customer service representatives are there to serve you.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

Are you looking around for an Internet Home Based Business? Probably you are! Then let's go Shopping and do it Systematically. Most consumers especially women spend hours walking several Blocks,Main Streets and Malls hunting for a bargain. When they do get one, their joy is boundless.

Shopping around, is what comes naturally to a consumer when he needs a product. The new Entrepreneur is no exception. Unfortunately he is completely clueless as to where he should begin and how he should get about. Certainly he is not going to find them in Malls and in Supermarkets. Where then should he go shopping for his Home Based Business and what criteria should he adopt in choosing it?

The best place to get acquainted with a Home Based Business is to go to the Internet and search for HOME BASED BUSINESS or INTERNET HOME BASED BUSINESS in Search Engines like Google. Yahoo or MSN. Millions of websites will be displayed right in front of you, with each one of them promoting several Affiliate Programs that you can pick and choose from, as your Home Based Business.

It will be wise and proper to spend several days studying these various Home Based Business Programs and their related promotion material. You should find out how these individual programs work and how popular they are in the Internet Business World. You should also make it a point to read articles written by experts in the connected fields. An in-deapth study at this stage will make you more knowledgeable and stand you in good stead in the years to come.

While you are on the Internet you should also explore some of the leading Affiliate Program Providers such as Click Bank, Commission Junction, Linkshare,Clixgalore,Shareasale etc. They provide a wide range of Affiliate Programs and other money making opportunities such as Pay per Sale or Pay per Lead.

In addition to this Google provides the popular Google Adsense Program where Google places advertisements on your site and makes payment everytime someone clicks on an advertisement.

Having researched and identified a few Affiliate Programs you are now ready to make a decision about your Home Based Business. It is very important and vital that you consider the following seven criteria amoung others when you make your decision.

It is presumed that you will obtain a Website or you will be provided one by your Affiliate Program.

1.Your first priority will be to ensure that the intended Home Based Business is not a Scam and not one of those "Get Rich Quick Schemes" either.

2.The Home Based Business should be long standing and with a good track record.It should not be one of those Fly by Night schemes that pop up suddenly from nowhere and disappear into oblivion in the same manner.

3.The Program should be Safe and Secure with a proper and regular payment scheme to its Affiliates.

4.The Program should be a member of Better Business Bureau or other similar Nationally or Internationally recognised organisations.

5.The Affiliate Program should provide its Affiliates with good support such as Tools,Tips,Websites and Forums especially for the Entrepreneurs since most of them are generally new to the field of Internet Marketing.

6.Your Home Based Business should preferably be Global in nature. With a Global Program you target the whole world for your products rather than limit yourself to a particular region.

7.It should preferably be Free to join- and most are.

Shopping for a good product is not always easy. It is often tiring and time consuming. Nevertheless at the end of the day after all this preliminary work you are definitely going to make the right choice or one that is not very far from the right choice.

Your hard work will soon start paying dividends and you will be on the way to becoming a successful Home Based Business Entrepreneur. Before long you are bound to YELL, "Let's go Shopping Systematically for more Home Based Businesses" on the Internet".

Copyright 2005 Kanaga Siva

About Kanaga: Kanaga Siva has been a Marketing Manager and Business Manager and has a wealth of experience in Marketing. He now operates his own Home Based Business. For Articles, Resources, Tips and Ideas to start a Home Based Business from anywhere in the World, visit his website,

Are you one of the millions of Americans who will be refinancing their home mortgage loan this year? When you sign your contract and the other papers for your refinance, will you know what you're signing?

Your home mortgage loan contract: This one is simple, but I would guess very few people do it. READ THE ENTIRE CONTRACT. It seems that usually the home mortgage refinancing contract is written with the preparer pointing out the obvious terms, i.e. sales price, earnest deposit, closing date, inspections, etc., but all of the language in the contract is binding; not just the part that your read and/or understand. Read it and if you don't understand your home mortgage loan, seek legal counsel. This is the agreement for every part of the transaction. How taxes will be prorated, who pays for what, when do you agree to close the transaction and when will you be allowed to take possession of the property are all in your home mortgage refinancing contract.

If your purchase is new construction there are often many specific clauses to your sale. Remember the builder probably sells many more houses than you buy and knows what language to include in his contract to protect and benefit him. Make sure this language is something you are willing to abide by.

There should be specific language in all home mortgage loan contracts as to what amount will be used to prorate items, in particular property taxes. It is particularly important in new construction or areas that are being reappraised to understand how taxes will be prorated. If it states that the last available tax amount will be used you need to find out, before agreeing to it, that this amount was not based on a lesser value.

In new construction the property was probably taxed on land value only or a partial value of the improvement. The tax bill that you will be responsible for will probably be based on a higher amount. If the Seller is giving you a credit for their part of the year that they owned the property before an actual tax amount can be ascertained, make sure that the best available information is being used to estimate the taxes. You also need to be aware that if you have an escrow account with your lender that they may set your monthly tax payment up on a lower amount than when your property is fully assessed. Be prepared to have your home mortgage loan monthly payment increase when the higher tax bill is paid and your escrow account is analyzed. You many have a shortage that you'll want to pay all at once rather than have it included in your payment increase.

If your escrow account is already short from a previous tax payment there will not only be an increase for the next year's tax bill, but an additional increase to cover the already existing shortage. Paying the shortage in one lump payment would eliminate this double increase. Your payment will still increase to the amount required to pay the next year's bill, but you won't also be making up for last year's shortage. This can be confusing so ask your home mortgage refinancing closer or loan-servicing department of your lender to explain your options.

If you're buying a property that was split at the time of your sale (duplex, large parcel split into smaller ones, or some types of new construction) make sure that your property is assigned it's own tax identification number before a tax bill is issued. You don't want to receive a tax bill that includes other property other than the one that you own.

When you review your preliminary title commitment tax information should be included in the search. You can find out if the tax identification number included other property. This number is also what you will use if you need to contact the County for any other information regarding taxes.

Before you sign, if there is something that is not clear to you or you don't understand, ask. Most home mortgage refinancing contracts are standard forms and your loan officer or mortgage loan closer can usually clear up any confusion you may have. Remember that the papers you sign are legal documents and you are agreeing to the terms stated in the contract. If you're not absolutely certain that you understand your home mortgage loan contract, seek legal counsel.

Copyright 2005 Linda Scott

About Linda: Linda Scott helps you discover how you can save on your home mortgage refinance. Apply for online home equity loans or home loans for bad credit. (

How often has someone thought of starting a business based solely on the fact they think it will be easier than working for someone else. Fact is, owning and operating a business can be one of the most grueling experiences you will have. Granted, there are many advantages, but unless someone has actually run a business there is much to consider before you make that decision.

The following information will help you operate a business more professionally. With today's technology there is no reason you cannot have the look of a large company even if you are working off your kitchen table. If you have a home based business it is suggested you have a room dedicated to your business. This helps you to stay focused and there are some major tax benefits in doing this.

-Choose voicemail rather than an answering machine. There is a major difference in the perception to the caller.
-Toll free number. Check with your local telephone company to find out if this is available to you if you will have a lot of clients/customers from outside your calling area.
-Have a separate business phone line. You do not appear very professional if your children answer the phone.
-Email. Avoid using free services due to limitations and perceptions.
-Dedicated fax line. A small business will appear as such if the fax number and phone number are the same.

-Stay organized. The more you can keep yourself organized the easier it will be to respond to customer's requests in a timely fashion.
-Color file folders. A great way to organize your file system. Each color indicates a category.
-Dedicated file cabinets. Separate personal papers from business.
-Form letters. Don't reinvent the wheel with every letter you write. Keep form letters on a disc or your hard drive.

FINANCIAL END of running the business. There will be many costs to running a business. The following are some of the investments you will need to consider.
-Medical insurance
-Separate phone lines
-Marketing material
-Office supplies
-Service fees
-Financial Planner
-Keep excellent records
-Keep all receipts


-Business license
-Financial planner
-Marketing material
-Business cards
-Letters of referral
-Bio sheet
-Product or service sheet
-Web site

-Which ones are most beneficial for you to join? To get the biggest benefit from any organizations you need to get involved. Use the monthly meetings to network.
-Dues and fees. How much are the annual dues and cost for monthly meetings?. Figure that in your budget.
-Conventions. Are there any conventions you need to go to? What is the time and cost investment? Talk to others who have gone to find out if it will be worth the investment.
-Network. Most of your business will come from referrals.

-Who is my customer?
-Do they have a budget for my product or service their budget?
-Do I want to work with them?

-Service agreements

-Responding to requests by providing what the customer needs. If you are not the person for the job, who can you refer (that's why networking is so important)
-Follow-up. Do your follow-up in a timely fashion
-Develop a good relationship with the client
-Return calls as soon as possible
-Send information in a timely fashion
-Priority mail is often less expensive than first class. And it can be more impressive to your client.
-Keep in touch after the fact. A mistake a lot of people make in doing business is they do a job for a client and then seem to forget the client. It is easier to get repeat business than it is to find new business, and yet, so often business owners and salespeople (which is what you are if you own a business) will look for the new customer and forget about their existing clientele.

Copyright 2005 Kathleen Gage

About Kathleen: Kathleen Gage is a keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. Access Gage's FREE eBook about how to gain visibility on the Internet with Street Smarts Internet Marketing at

Work ethics is a hot topic in today's business and educational worlds. Yet, how do we define this hybrid phrase with the word work meaning more than a specific outcome and the word ethics being more than the values that enhance that outcome?

When we say we are going to work, work becomes the place of employment. When we say we are working, the implication is that we are engaged in a work-related activity and should be performing one or more specific tasks. However, the word work in today's global economy does not easily denote specific outcomes much less measurable ones.

Years ago when our economy was agrarian based, farmers said they were going to work the fields. Their work or more specifically the outcomes of their work could be viewed from the plowed fields to the stacked bales of hay. In today's technology and service driven economy, workers outcomes are not as nearly recognizable, but what is noticed is their behavior.

Now, ethics is a difficult word to define, as it is more than the enhancement of outcomes. This is aptly demonstrated by the variety of expectations such as being to work or school on time, performing quality work, being self-directed, having self-initiative, or being positive to both fellow contributors and customers. Ethics, from these expectations, encompass the internal behaviors of the contributors or what I really believe are attitudes.

Let's step out of the box and construct a new and more accurate term that meets the expectations of both the business and educational worlds. First, let's ask ourselves are we more concerned with the behavior or the attitudes? If we recognize that it is the attitudes that drive the behaviors that generate the outcomes, it would suggest that the contributors' attitudes have the greater impact on the outcomes.

Next, since behavior has numerous meanings, possibly we can substitute performance for behavior. Performance can be measured provided the organization has accurate and complete expectations, valid assessments that do not penalize the contributors along with a well-communicated strategic plan. Through clearly articulated goals with consistent leadership and management, contributors have the opportunity to improve their performance thereby achieving measurable results.

Attitudes of performance appear then to better describe the desired outcomes and expectations that we have as employers, educators or even parents. As we all are contributors, by focusing on attitudes early in our performance experiences, we have the means to improve ourselves and more importantly our community.

Copyright 2005 Leanne Hoagland-Smith

About Leanne: Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS - The Process Specialist (, builds peace and abundance by connecting the 3P's of Passion, Purpose and Performance through improved processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.759.5601 or

The home equity loan has become quite popular in the last five years, and Americans have tapped into the equity of their homes in record numbers. The reasons vary, although home improvement and debt consolidation are the most common reasons for borrowing against a home's equity.

In the last fifteen years or so, a new twist has arrived in the home equity market -- the reverse mortgage. Like a traditional home equity loan or line of credit, a reverse mortgage allows you to borrow against the equity in your home. Unlike those other options, you don't have to make payments in order to pay it back. The repayment takes place when you die, when you move, or when you sell your home. You must be at least 62 years of age to qualify, but unlike other loans, you do not have to have any appreciable income in order to get a reverse mortgage.

There are a number of advantages of a reverse mortgage over a traditional home equity loan:

# Your options of receiving the money from the loan include a monthly payout, although you may also elect to receive a lump sum or a credit line. A monthly payout would effectively provide you with a regular "income" during the remainder of your time in your home.

# The loan isn't due until you move, sell the home, or die. There is no repayment schedule, as with regular installment loans. At the time of your death or when you sell the house, the loan must be repaid with interest.

# The amount you have to repay cannot exceed the value of your home. With this feature, you are protected should your home decline in value. The lender cannot force you to pay more than the value of the home.

Due to the age restrictions on reverse mortgages, they are not for everyone. But if you qualify, it could provide an excellent opportunity to have an income during your retirement years.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing.

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including and

Over the past few years, stem cells have been getting a lot of attention. What makes them so interesting is their ability to stimulate the production of many types of healthy cells. That means that a single stem cell can turn itself into brain cells, liver cells, skin cells, pancreas cells, and so on.

In February of 2003, an article about stem cells was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center reported, for the first time, that undifferentiated donor stem cells were able to cross the blood brain barrier and morph themselves into neuronal cells.

This was an especially important finding because, of all the cells in the body, neuron cells are the most advanced and complicated. This is significant because it means that if stem cells can morph themselves

I promise you'll be able to finish this article before you finish the first half of your PBJ. Are you sitting down? Good. Because I have some startling news for you.

Print ads are here to stay. That's right. Those dusty, musty, fusty old relics of the century past are still with us. And despite the ubiquity of commercials on radio and TV; despite the onslaught of banners, pop-ups and all manner of intrusive online ads; newspapers and magazines are, and always will be, a mainstay forum for mainstream advertising.

There's something about the readiness, the handiness, the heft and feel of a magazine or a newspaper that appeals to the nature of human beings. Yes, flat screens that glow with vivid colors are attractive. Especially when they're displaying something we specifically asked to see.

But as we page through a magazine or a newspaper while enjoying our lunch or riding a commuter train, we don't mind at all if a surprising or intelligent or just plain appealing ad -- even one in black and white -- suddenly grabs our attention. We expect it. We secretly look for it. We even welcome it as a break from all the dull gray type we've been slogging through. Why? Because -- let's face it -- a really good ad is a delight to behold.

Is this the kind of ad your target audience is seeing? Do your ads stop them and make them smile...think...take in your message and make a mental note to look closer at your product or service? Maybe even go to your website for the kind of information that could lead to a sale?

Think carefully about this. If your ad doesn't stand apart, doesn't attract, appeal or grab; if it doesn't delight in some way, the readers you want to capture and bring into your world will simply turn the page and plow on through the dull stuff ... until they bump into your competitor's delightfully different ad. And then they'll stop -- and, unfortunately for you -- pay attention to the message.

So take a close look at your company's ads. Do they stand out from the crowd of other ads? Are they different from your competitor's ads in a powerful and relevant way? And most important, do they convey your core message in an engaging, persuasive and delightful manner?

If so, let them run and run, because they're bound to bring you business.

If not, better change your approach soon. Before the competition eats your lunch.

Copyright 2005 Gary Watson

About Gary: Gary Watson writes ads for companies that want to add to their bottom line. He also does product/service naming, slogans/tag lines, billboards, web content, sales letters (print and email), etc. etc. He can be reached at How I Joined the Outsourcing RevolutionNader Ghali

Mention "outsourcing" to a programmer and you may as well be uttering profanity. The word suggests all the evils that have befallen the Information Technology sector since the Internet bubble burst a few years ago. We've been endlessly regaled with tragic tales of American companies who have closed up shop for many of their I.T. positions, only to "offshore" those same jobs to programmers overseas working for less pay than their American counterparts. A brain drain is taking place in the once highly secure computer programming profession.

Rather than cursing the darkness, however, I found myself recently lighting a candle (or making the problem worse, depending on your perspective). You see, just over six months ago, I joined the outsourcing revolution. I am therefore writing this article partly as a confession, my own personal "mea culpa" of complicity.

No, I haven't put myself up on the auction block to work for Indian rupees.

What I did was stumble upon several "reverse auction" web sites for outsourcing talent. If you haven't heard of them, they go by the name of (the largest site to date) or Both of these sites give companies an opportunity to outsource their projects to freelance workers like programmers, graphic artists and writers. Freelancers from all over the world compete for open bid requests, offering to do these contract jobs for a fixed price.

I happened upon a site called Rentacoder. Unlike the two sites mentioned above, Rentacoder didn't require a subscription fee. Their take was a straightforward commission out of each project cost. Within minutes I posted my resume and profile. Then I had a choice to make. Which projects to bid on? In addition to programming projects, they also listed writing jobs as well. I decided to bid on some of the writing jobs first, just to see how it went, and because I had always wanted to do some freelance writing on the side.

Within my first week, I won a bid to write a document on Policies and Procedures. I completed that assignment, got paid, and then won another bid -- a series of articles on stock market investing. Very soon I was addicted. I kept doing more writing...a technical white paper...web site content...economics articles...sales letters...a chapter in a novel...on and on. My payments were electronically transferred to my bank account, in New Economy style.

This addiction has grown into a decent part-time income for the past six months. I've worked for clients as far away as Australia and Turkey, in addition to clients in the East and West coasts in the United States. I became fixated with how easy it was to do business this way over the Internet, where the whole world became my market. Then I got hold of a book called Free Agent Nation, by a fellow named Daniel Pink. It was about how "teleworkers" such as myself are transforming America by doing business this new-fangled way, working for "gigs" instead of permanent commitments to one employer. I was part of another Big Thing.

Don't misunderstand, I haven't quit my day job just yet.

Am I getting rich?

Hardly. I make a few hundred extra dollars a month, and yes, I do get competition from workers in India. But now I am competing with them. The winning bid, in this case, doesn't always go to the lowest bidder. Writers from America have an edge in this arena. Some buyers of writing services prefer native English speakers.

As I said, however, there are programming jobs posted on most of these sites too. Can programmers from the United States make a living strictly off these sites? Probably not. But programmers who choose to freelance can use these sites to supplement their income while contracting through normal staffing channels. They might make some meaningful connections in the process.

So there it is. I got it off my chest.

"My name is Nader Ghali, and I joined the outsourcing revolution."

I feel much better. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make some more bids...

Copyright 2005 Nader Ghali

About Nader: Nader Ghali is a computer programmer living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he writes on a variety of issues. He may be reached at A sample of his writing portfolio may be seen at

7 Valuable Ezine Content TipsKen Hill

1. Provide a list of resources.

You could list your 10 favorite business sites along with a brief description of what each site offers.

You could do also some research to find sites that would be of value to your readers, and then list each site along with an overview of what they provide.

2. Provide your top 7 or top 10 tips on a subject.

You could write up your top 10 web promotion tips or your top 7 tips for new bloggers.

You could also provide your top 10 mistakes (i.e., Top 10 Ad Writing Mistakes) along with your solutions to each of these common problems.

3. Do an e-mail interview.

E-mail interviews are easy to put together and will provide your readers with relevant information.

Your interview could be in traditional article format or you could use the Q & A format for your interview.

Tip: For a great article on this subject visit:

4. Write a how to article.

Your how to article should solve a common problem your target audience faces.

For example, if your target audience is ezine publishers, your how to article could show your readers step by step how they can get more new subscribers or how they can create winning content.

5. Ask your readers to send you their profiles.

You could run a new profile every couple of issues that shares:

- what business your subscriber is in
- where your subscriber is located.
- your subscriber's web site address
- how your subscriber uses the information in your ezine.

6. Share how you've benefited your clients or customers.

You could publish a "before and after" where you show your customer's original ad copy and then your new ad copy along with a summary of how you've improved it.

You could also give a real life example of how you've solved a problem for your client, and use that as a springboard to providing more useful tips.

7. Write a product review.

Have you recently purchased a product that you are thrilled with?

Let your subscribers know all about it through your product review, and increase your commissions by publishing your review with your affiliate link.

Copyright 2005 Ken Hill

About Ken: Ken runs the Net Pro Marketer Article Directory. Topics include business, marketing and ezine publishing. Browse through the articles or submit your own at

Managers are the ones who can show behaviours, which will make the difference and lead to a team of highly motivated individuals developing your business forward.

So to help start the ball rolling, here are ten top ways to get your people motivated. Ten small steps for you to start with.

1) Recognise them
Recognise your people as people, by saying 'Good Morning', checking that they're OK and taking a little time with them.

2) Challenge them
People need stimulation at work, so to encourage growth, build on their achievement of one skill, with the introduction of another. Instruct, coach and then delegate the new task.

3) Encourage fun
Whilst it is a fine line between having fun and anarchy, it is worthwhile spending the time to understand, define and explore that boundary. Having fun is a great way to build team spirit. Checkout where everyone's 'fun' threshold is, respect it and then have a lot of laughs.

4) Listen - a LOT!
Listening to your people builds rapport and a bond which in itself is powerfully motivational.

5) Encourage mistakes
By stretching themselves, people sometimes get it wrong - and sometimes make gloriously powerful 'inventions' to move your business forward. By creating an environment where mistakes are not wrong but encouraged, you will find creativity soars. Even mistakes where things go wrong and cost money should not be wasted. Create value from these by really learning for the Henry Ford once said "Bring me people who make mistakes" Make it a safe place!

6) Say Thank You
It is surprising how much reward we all get from being recognised. The humble (if rare in some organisations), "Thank You" is a simple, yet very powerful way to recognise the efforts every one of your team puts in every day. Think of the last time someone said thank you to you and how great that made you feel.

7) Be Understanding
This tip needs careful and skilful management and great managers can do it. Understand that your people are real people with emotions and experiences which impact on them. Being sympathetic to their needs, occasionally and not so often that it impacts your business, will bring great rewards and commitment. Do set ground rules for yourself which allow 'understanding', yet enable you to draw the line clearly and firmly when you need to. Be consistent and fair.

8) Get Out of Their Way
By allowing your people to carry out 'the boss's work', you strongly build self-belief in your people. Be fair and don't just delegate the 'rubbish' jobs, but some of your fun jobs as well (and remember to choose individuals whose strengths match the task).

9) Share How You are Feeling
By being a partner with your people and showing that you are a real person too, you will encourage others to take big steps with you. This works because understanding that you share hopes, fears and challenges in common with your people makes them feel a committed part of you, as well as your business - this is a powerful message which they share.

10) Reward
Last but not least, pay appropriately. Whilst if you pay brilliantly, yet miss out 1-9 you may get short-term gain, it is unlikely to maintain motivation for more than a while. Conversely, if you pay badly, you may lose people because they simply can't afford to stay with you, however great it is. Striking a balance is the ideal. Don't forget to recognise with some fun rewards and as in No. 6, say thank you a lot. It will pay dividends and is free!

Copyright 2005 Martin Haworth

About Martin: Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, (

If you are delicate, apathetic, inconsequential and trivial in your approach as a manager, you may need to consider carefully whether or not you would fit into the culture of a German corporation, or would be able to lead negotiations successfully.

With the following ten points you will find out if there are any difficulties doing business to business in Germany.

1. Leaders

German values favor leaders who are seen to be clearly dominating and charismatic in their style of leadership. Though they are expected to encourage others to work as an integral part of the team, be accessible, and share information, managers in German companies are more distant. It is not unusual to find the chief executive of a big German company making his way to his private office in his own private elevator!

2. Employees

In Germany there is often a complex system of employee performance appraisal. The practice of according job titles and minutely detailing an employee's responsibilities is common in German companies. This can lead to complaints from Germans if they only get vague indications of what they are supposed to do. A lack of clear direction, defined responsibility and goals can result in beginning to lose focus. German employees then see their job as boring and demotivating.

3. Leaders vs. Employees

German corporations unnaturally distance their employees by denying them any meaningful responsibility that would make them feel partly responsible for the success of the company.

4. Punctuality

In Germany, punctuality is necessary and meetings start at the advertised time. Meetings go on for as long as committed followed by a time agenda. (visit for further information)

5. Laziness

It is uncommon for German employees to work Saturdays, take only one week's vacation, and count a day sick as holiday. Germans usually take up to five week's vacation, only work on weekends if their life depends on, and would even count two hours sick as a whole day sick. This lazy working schedule is alien in most other countries. Even though Germany is famous for its disciplinary attitude, Germans have a tendency towards laziness. This, however, does not count for most Managers, whose tend to do business to business in Germany.

6. Loyality

Many Germans don't stay with the same company all their working lives. German companies, who regularly headhunting top employees from other companies, are less committed to the tradition of employee loyalty that is favored by foreign corporations.

7. Initiative

German staff lacks initiative. In German corporations subordinates are seldom involved in, and expected to contribute to, the decision-making process. They may just be expected to follow orders and directives from the top. Although German workers have little responsibility for their work, they do expect recognition beyond an acknowledgment that the job has been done.

8. Relationship

German people place less importance on getting to know others well before entering into any kind of relationship, be that a long-term working relationship or one for a short-term purpose such as negotiating. It is a widely held view in German culture that, so long as people are doing their job, developing a close working relationship with, or even trusting others, is not a requirement.

9. Addressing

In Germany, first name usage is reserved for close family and friends. In the work place people are addressed by the last name headed by the address, unless someone offers differently.

10. Status Symbolization

In the German culture it is material goods, such as clothes, or the size of one's car or office, which symbolizes status.

Consider these ten bullets and you will do business to business in Germany more successfully.

Copyright 2005 Marcus Hochstadt

About Marcus: Marcus Hochstadt has a high interest in helping you gain the delightful form of a smart travel to and through Germany. Just recently, he has written a special report on How to Travel For Free! You can download it at

10 Terrific Ways To Energize Your SalesKen Hill

1. Ask your customers to fill out a brief survey.

You'll be able to gain valuable information from your customers that will help you to make your site more productive.

2. Offer a bonus.

Provide a bonus that will appeal to your target audience and that they'll view as very valuable.

For example, you could offer free software, an ebook that can't be found anywhere else, or a transcript of one of your web casts.

3. Publish an ezine.

You'll be able to capture more sales from your visitors who may have never returned to your site if you didn't reach them in their in boxes.

4. Offer a free trial of your software product.

The more your visitors use your free trial, and see how great your product is, the more they'll desire it, and you'll be able to add to your bottom line.

5. Provide testimonials.

Your testimonials will increase your credibility by sharing how your product has exceeded your customer's expectations.

6. Offer an affiliate program.

View your affiliate program as a partnership between you and your affiliates, and provide them with lots of promotional items.

Also follow up with them with your own tips and advice to ensure that they'll be able get started on the right track.

7. Write articles.

You'll increase your traffic, your name recognition, and also your search engine rankings as webmasters pick up your articles for content on their sites.

8. Offer a money back guarantee.

Take the pressure off of your visitors by providing them with a strong guarantee.

9. Create free ebooks.

Pack your ebooks full of valuable information that your visitors can use to increase their sales.

You'll be able to separate yourself from the crowd and increase your prospective customer's trust in you.

You'll also be able to get more webmasters to promote your business when you let them rebrand your ebooks with their affiliate links.

Tip: You can easily make your PDF ebooks "viral" with Michael Wagner's Viral PDF.

Learn more about his unique product at:

10. Lavish your customers with special customer only sales and discounts.

Your customers are the life of your business, treat them right, and you'll be able to increase your repeat sales and take customers away from your competition.

Copyright 2005 Ken Hill

About Ken: Ken runs the Net Pro Marketer Article Directory. Topics include business, marketing and ezine publishing. Browse through the articles or submit your own at

In recent years, it has become more common for victims of accidental injury who accept a settlement from the at-fault party to accept a structured settlement instead of a lump-sum payment. With a structured settlement, the injured party receives payments over an agreed-upon length of time -- five years, ten years, or even a lifetime, rather than receiving payment up front in a lump sum.

There are advantages to this for both parties. The injured party may require constant medical care, and the regular payments of a structured settlement guarantee that income will be available to cover the medical expenses. For the paying party, the settlement can be paid by purchasing an annuity, which allows an upfront payment to accrue interest, thereby producing a larger long-term yield from a minimal investment. In many cases, a structured settlement is viewed as a win-win situation for both parties.

There are restrictions on structured settlements that may not suit everyone. Once you agree to accept a structured settlement, you cannot trade it back in for a lump sum payment, nor may you use it for collateral for a loan. What if you want to buy a home and pay cash? What if some other unexpected expense comes up and you simply do not have the cash available? Under certain circumstances, you may be able to sell your structured settlement to a third party.

There are companies that are interested in purchasing structured settlements for investment purposes. Perhaps one or more of these companies has already contacted you. They will agree to pay you a lump sum, in cash, in exchange for you signing over your future annuity payments to them. Be aware that any party that offers to buy your annuity is interested in doing so for investment purposes. They wish to make money on the transaction, and for them, that profit will be spread over the long time that it takes to receive all of the payments that constitute the settlement. Once you combine the factors of time, interest, inflation, and the buying party's profit, you will find that the offer made to you will seem quite small. The amount you receive will be an amount equal to the present day value of the settlement, minus whatever sum the investors require for their profit on the transaction.

You should also know that some states prohibit the sale of structured settlements, that some insurance companies who handle the annuities prohibit sales to a third party, and that you will probably need to go to court to arrange the sale. In addition, there may be tax considerations involved in the sale, and the taxes due on large sums of money are not insignificant. If you are interested in selling your structured settlement, you will definitely want to discuss the sale with an attorney and a tax advisor beforehand.

While structured settlements are designed to benefit those who receive them, there are times when it may be desirable or necessary to sell them. If you are considering selling your settlement, make sure that you weigh all of your options carefully. Once you agree to sell, you cannot get it back.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to structured settlement and, a site devoted to home equity loan information.

From what I have seen and experienced, quitting is the greatest temptation during the first year of working at a home-based business. If smoking was like working at a home-based business, the occurrence of lung cancer would be dramatically reduced.

It is a known fact that a majority of the people that undertake a work at home business do not achieve real success. There are several reasons for this, but one of the primary reasons is that these people get frustrated and do not allow themselves enough time to actually succeed.

In the early going, one of the most difficult things about developing a new home based business is dealing with the emotional roller coaster that can result from the highs (successes) and lows (temporary setbacks) you are almost certain to experience. Once you have done the research and decided on a particular home based business opportunity, you really need to focus on persistence and realize that any real business will not just automatically become successful in a matter of days or weeks. You should be prepared to give it your best sustained effort for at least 6 to 12 months in order to begin to build a solid business base and begin to see some good income.

Highs and lows were something that I began to notice when I first started a home based business. I have many years of top level management experience in "traditional" corporations and have experienced lots of business cycles (corporate "ups and downs"), but the natural "ups and downs" that occur in a home business (particularly in the early stages) can be brutal from an emotional standpoint if you don't prepare yourself in advance for the fact that it is a basic law of will be a rocky road until you have spent enough time and effort to build your business to a level that sort of smoothes out the peaks and valleys.

The impact of the highs and lows you will probably experience in developing your home based business is amplified by the fact that you are now in business on your own. You are the boss and get to make all the decisions, but you are also on your own in dealing with the frustrations that will occur along the way while you are developing your 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 can also be periods of doubt in the early going...gee, 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.

You are most likely going to experience the "two steps forward and one step backward" syndrome and the ever-looming temptation to become discouraged. However, keep in mind that as long as you have more steps going forward than backward, you will eventually get ahead! Simple, but often overlooked.

Relatively minor setbacks can seem huge in the early stages of developing a work at home business and can really contribute to some noticeable "mood swings". For example, if you are just starting out and you have four customers/clients and you happen to lose one...that's a 25% 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%! Exactly the same event, just at a different point in time.

Hang in there and just keep on keepin' on. If you have chosen a viable home business opportunity (one that has been around for awhile and in which some other people are having success) you will achieve success, but it takes time and there will be ups and downs along the way. Remember the old saying..."it takes a long time to become an overnight success".

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

What would happen if your laptop computer were stolen? What would this cost you in time, money and frustration let alone loss of your confidential information such as you social security number, bank accounts, or passwords? Don't think it can't happen to you. It happens on campuses everyone day in and day out. By the time you finish this article someone will have had some type of equipment stolen.

Each year millions of laptops, desktop computers, digital projectors and flat-screen monitors are stolen. Unfortunately, not only is the equipment stolen, but valuable data is stolen.

Often the data is extremely confidential and critical to the successful operations of an organization. When it makes its way into the hands of a criminal this can cause irreversible damage. This problem is not limited to students. It impacts faculty as well.

In one recent incident in Berkeley, California a computer with data from tens of thousands of students was stolen. Confidential information slipped into the hands of an unknown assailant that most people thought was protected. It took those impacted hundreds of hours each to protect themselves. Unfortunately, as most people realize who have been the victims of identity theft, once your information is stolen, you are never completely protected.

Sadly, only a small percentage of equipment is ever recovered. Although the financial loss of the equipment can be high, the loss of data can be detrimental.

"The theft of a laptop results in an average financial loss of $89,000; only a small percentage of the sum actually relates to the hardware cost."
Source: 2002 Computer Security Institute/FBI Computer Crime & Security Survey.

Currently, there is a great deal of emphasis on network security while little, if any attention is placed on securing the equipment itself. Incredible amounts of money are spent on IT issues and yet, a common method for stealing data is through what is known as Smash and Grab.

Smash and Grab is exactly as it sounds. A thief simply breaks a door, window or panel to steal equipment. Not only do you have the loss of equipment, you have additional repair costs to whatever else was damaged.

While IT staff struggle with keeping cyber crooks away from your data--the old fashioned thief is walking away with your projectors, plasma screens, notebooks and other stuff that you need to run your organization.

How much would lost equipment really cost you? Not only in hardware costs, but in data costs. The sad truth is, many people are of the belief that this type of theft will happen to someone else but not to them.

To determine how secure your equipment and information is consider the following questions.

-Do you have security measures in place?

-When is the last time you reviewed security measures?

-Do you know what your personal and organizational risk factor is if your computer were stolen or lost?

-What would happen if you were suddenly without your laptop?

-What key information could a criminal access?

-What would happen if the wrong person had access to the information on your laptop?

-How would your staff/students/clients/customers be impacted by a security breach?

-Are your systems as secure as they could be?

-What would a system loss cost you in down time, credibility, embarrassment and security?

The best security is to educate faculty, students and maintenance on simple measure they can each take to reduce the risk of losing equipment. For students, you may have to repeatedly inform through brochures, newsletter articles, demonstrations and by posting information on bulletin boards.

A simple wrist or belt device will reduce the risk of someone snatching your items as well as you inadvertently forgetting them. Items like cell phones, PDAs and in many cases, laptops. The cost is minimal for this kind of protection.

For equipment that stays in one location, lockdown devices are recommended. You can also use no-cut cables for anything that is moved from location to location.

Other recommendations include tracking devices, labeling equipment, and keeping records of security numbers.

The fact is, computer and equipment theft is on the rise everyday. It is a problem that is not going away. Although it may never be eliminated, you can reduce your chances of being the next victim. By taking a few simple to apply steps before something happens, you prevent yourself from a problem that can impact you for months or years to come.

Copyright 2005 Ed Gallin

About Ed: Ed Gallin, CEO of KSL Security, is a recognized expert in desktop security and computer protection. KSL Security, based out of Waltham, MA., specializes in loss prevention for computer systems, AV equipment and other valuable electronic items. Access the FREE eBook, Theft Prevention Strategies Designed to Save YOU! by visiting

Want to get the most media attention and spotlight for your business? Then the first place to start is with a GREAT press release. Now I can almost see half of you leaving now, dreading the thought of having to write one of these. But wait!! I'm going to show you easy methods to make your press release work for you and get the attention it deserves. Ready? Let's go.

We'll briefly go over the basics because of their importance. Editors want to see things done the RIGHT way. I would bet that a lot of good releases simply get tossed out just because they aren't set up properly. To a busy editor, that all too familiar 10 second glance says a lot for you and your business and if you've done your research enough to warrant that release to be placed in their newspaper or magazine.

Here are your essentials:

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" on the top left of the page.

Your contact name, phone number, e-mail address, and website follows.

Headline is next, normally in bold and centered on the page. Summarize what the release is about and capture their attention. Spend almost as much time on your headline as you do writing the release. It's that important.

The press release body starts with the location of the release and the date (Margate, Florida, May 5, 2005.)

Most press releases are between 200-500 words, and no more than a page. The first paragraph has the most important information. Don't save the best for last, it won't get read. In this paragraph answer the questions, who, what, when, where and why?

It is recommended that you write press releases in the 3rd person and use short sentences and paragraphs. Do not go over board, trying to dazzle the editor, it won't work.

Target your release. You will be sending your release to a specific audience so make sure that in your release you keep to what would appeal to that audience. What don't they know that you can add? Nothing works better than getting an "AAH HAA" when an editor is reviewing your release.

Provide statistics. Do some research and find some relevant information that applies. You can easily do this through Google. Once you find your quote, do a Google search or Yahoo quote on that particular topic. However, don't stop on the first Google link and take that for gospel. Research it a bit further. Have it come from a respectable company or magazine.

Include relevant quotes from experts in your field that will reinforce what you are saying. Approach authors, leaders in your Industry, and other experts that back up the facts you are stating in your release. They will normally appreciate the added publicity and you get the quote you're looking for. For example, as an author I'll often get asked to provide a quote for an article on home-based businesses or the virtual assistant industry. I welcome the opportunity as it provides me more publicity.

Also, if you have a satisfied client that you feel will add credibility to your Release, add a quote from them as well. For the first time you mention the expert you can write out their full name. Then list them by last name or Mr. and Mrs. Smith only. I normally prefer the last name.

The last paragraph should be your call to action. You've talked the whole release about your business or product, now tell them what to do with this knowledge they just got.

At the bottom of the release include ### to indicate you are done, followed by a short bio. Make sure if you include your website that you include http:// in front of it for search engine recognition.

After the ### include a short bio including your information, any books authored, etc. Double check this for accuracy. At this point, you're tired and done with the Release. Well if it goes out to the world with the wrong web address, you've wasted your valuable time even writing the Release.

That's it! The basics for writing a press release. Now one other thing I'd like to add in, they work! They truly work. I've had a recent release get accepted by PRWeb (and yes they do reject bad ones!), and then go on to hit several other major newspapers and media outlines and the Google alert, which resulted in our paper in the area contacting me. You want to set up a Google news alert for your name so that you can follow the path and see when you make the news so you can follow up. Also, PRWeb at has complete guidelines for setting up a good press release. Go with the extra money and spend $20.00. It's worth it to get the additional exposure. You will also find places to submit your press release as well as other publicity tips on my website at

Copyright 2005 Diana Ennen

About Diana: Diana Ennen, Author; Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA Words From Home, Start, Run and Operate a Successful Word Processing Business and the Home Office Recovery Plan

Bankruptcy Interest Increases as Deadline ApproachesCharles Essmeier

Congress recently passed sweeping legislation that will significantly reform American bankruptcy law. Designed to eliminate the "convenience bankruptcy" of compulsive gamblers and the financially irresponsible, this legislation will make it more difficult for those seeking bankruptcy protection from the courts to have their debts relieved.

Under current law, people who have debts that they cannot repay may file under Chapter 7 of the Federal bankruptcy code, which allows nearly all debts to be wiped away. The new legislation, which takes effect in October, 2005, will require most people filing for bankruptcy to file under Chapter 13 instead. Chapter 13 requires that a repayment plan be established, usually over a period of five years. Chapter 7 filings will still be an option, but the new legislation includes a "means test" that examines the filer's income to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is appropriate.

With the new law set to take effect, the number of people inquiring about Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing has increased dramatically. Attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy law have reported that their phones are ringing constantly, as people who are in financial trouble are wondering if they should file for bankruptcy immediately. While this is good for business, many attorneys are a bit concerned about the sudden rush to file for bankruptcy.

While filing for bankruptcy may be the only option for some people, it is not something to undertake in haste. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for a minimum of ten years, and can your ability to obtain auto loans, mortgages or even jobs in the future, even if you have established financial stability. Bankruptcy should not be entered into lightly, and should be considered only as a last resort. Many creditors will work with those who owe them money, and it may be possible to establish a repayment plan without filing for bankruptcy.

If you feel that your financial situation is serious enough that bankruptcy is a possible option for you, you may wish to speak to a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney now. There are still five months remaining before the new legislation takes effect; this should provide most people with ample time to examine their options carefully. What you should not do is rush into filing a bankruptcy petition that may turn out not to be necessary. A rush to beat a five-month deadline may haunt you for ten years or more, and that is the last thing you want.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding home equity loans.

The invisible force surrounded him, squeezing tightly around his chest. His eyes became wide and bewildered.

Suddenly his mind raced with dark thoughts, his stomach churned, and he became engulfed with a sense of hopelessness.

This man had just come face to face with FEAR. Now he had a life altering choice to make, one that we all must face: Fight it off, or let it destroy his dreams.

You will never face a more worthy adversary than your own fear. It knows all of your weaknesses, and it will try to use them against you.

The thing about fear, is that it preys on your innermost demons. You can't hide these thoughts, because this dark force lives inside you. It hides in the shadows of your mind, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to pounce and create self-doubt.

Fear will manifest itself in many ways, and the more you feed it, the more control it has over your life.

If you want to be a successful online marketer, you must prepare yourself mentally to wage a personal battle against your inner demons and self-doubt.

Your family and friends can only offer you so much support and encouragement, but in the end, you must fight this battle alone.

If you are serious about making money online, you must strive to become a professional marketer.

In a nutshell, a professional is someone who does their job, no matter what the circumstances are.

They have fear just like you, but they don't let it control them. In fact, many professionals use it as a motivating factor to achieve their goals (I.e. fear of failure).

Learning how to control your fear won't happen overnight, but with practice, it can be done.

Becoming self-confident isn't something that just happens. It is a state of mind you must put yourself into.

You must teach your mind how to react to negative thoughts, and push these thoughts away with positive thinking.

Fear is simply a negative thought about a future event, which often times is something you have total control over.

Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler has written a powerful self-help course that teaches you how to use positive thinking to power up your self-confidence.

It is astounding how many people overlook the importance of these kind of courses. Most of the successful people I know, attribute their success directly to a self-help course.

To become a successful online marketer, it is almost a requirement that you think in a positive way. You must visualize your own success, even before it happens.

Remember, if you allow fear to control your life, you will have something much worse to live with:


Sadly, you can't control regret, because it is an emotion based on a past event. It is no longer something you can change.

I can think of nothing worse than waking up one day and saying to myself "What if..."

Copyright 2005 Jason Tarasi

About Jason: Jason Tarasi publishes the reciprocal links newsletter "Elite Links". Learn HOW thousands of other Elite Links members generate FREE traffic and increase their search engine rankings by swapping links. Grab your free lifetime subscription now at:

Ok, I know what you're thinking, another marketing guru selling a way to make quick money. Well, sorry, that's not the kind of easy money I'm referring to.

Network Marketing has been around for a while. Most of us know someone who has a friend or relative who became involved in off-line network marketing. We listened to their sales pitch with our mind already set on how we were going to say no and the best way to get out of the meeting as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Through out the sales pitch we thought to ourselves, what would drive someone to put this much effort into selling these products? Why would they spend all this time promoting their product to their friends and relatives? Would we ever be able to meet them again and look them in the face wondering if they were going to start into their sales pitch?

All in all, this kind of network marketing seemed rather painful to someone from the outside. Not only was it time consuming, but you needed to be a person with the ability to sell. Most people involved this way did not start out as professional sales people, but they knew they would need to learn these skills in order to succeed.

What our friends understood about network marketing is that the first customers are the hardest. Once these customers started recruiting their own customers things started getting easier. Over time, their income would grow faster. They were sold on the product they were selling and definitely the concept of network marketing. They were persistent and determined not to quit!

I could not help but think -- could they really be on to something? It seemed impossible, but what if it worked? Our friends did eventually become successful. But I believe it was only because they were determined to make it work. Giving up was not an option for them.

Times have changed and off-line network marketing has turned into on-line network marketing. The concept remains the same:

- Sell someone else's products and make a commission on each product.

- Sell the opportunity to others so they do the same, while making a commission on their sales as well.

The second sale is what makes network marketing most rewarding and leads to "RESIDUAL INCOME". This kind of income keeps coming without you yourself having to do the work.

Today, online network marketing has greatly simplified selling other companies' products. Not only do they generally do the selling for you, but THE WORLD IS NOW YOUR PROSPECT!

To become a network marketer all you need is a computer, internet connection and a good product with opportunity that can be sold. POINT AND CLICK IS THE METHOD OF SALES TODAY! Good companies offering affiliate programs for network marketing also provide many ways to learn the ropes and how to sell their products. Anyone can learn how to do it!

If online marketing is so easy, why isn't everyone doing it? It takes time and persistence. This is the hardest part. Our friends understood this and they were determined to succeed and persevere.

Is online network marketing easy? Yes. Does online network marketing take time and effort? Absolutely. Persistence and determination are the key skills needed for today's environment. The actual work is easy.

Do you want to make money? Are you determined and willing to persevere? Then set your mind on success and grab your network marketing gold!

You are free to copy this article to your site as long as you include the following resource information with an active link to my site:

Copyright 2005 Craig Ritsema

About Craig: Craig Ritsema operates a successful part time home business and resides in Michigan, USA. For more details visit his site at: (

A debt consolidation loan is a single loan you can take out to cover the rest of your loans. A debt consolidation loan can offer a lower monthly loan repayment amount and less in interest payments. Therefore this type of loan is suitable over your other high interest loans.

If you are facing a huge debt burden, a debt management/elimination agency can help you locate debt consolidation loan that will be of most help in your particular situation.

If your monthly debt repayments are unmanageable, you will be led into a downward spiral of debt. If your financial situation has gone off the track, you can use the reduced monthly payments from a debt consolidation loan to help you get back on track.

Also a debt consolidation loan from a debt management company can help you avoid the harassing calls from collectors, who will know that you are making good effort to pay back their money.

One way to get a low interest debt consolidation loan is to get a secured loan to pay off your unsecured loans. Often a low interest rate loan such as a home equity loan can help you reduce your monthly payments. For example the low interest loan can be used to pay off your credit card balance, so you can avoid the high annual interest rates from accumulating on your credit card balance.

Debt consolidation can help you bring your debts to a manageable level, you are able to live a stress-free life and save enough money for a vacation or for retirement. A debt consolidation loan can also help you avoid bankruptcy.

You have to do research to make sure that the debt consolidation loan offer will work for you. For example in certain conditions you may end up paying much more under your new loan than in your previous one.

You should take into account the length of the repayment period of the debt consolidation loan. Sometimes a debt consolidation loan can offer lower monthly payments by spreading the cost of the loan over a longer period of time. This could mean you may end up paying much more in the long term. However this can still be beneficial if you are more worried about your short term debt woes.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

Resource box: Please visit and learn how to eliminate your debt step by step.

Most loans are repaid through a loan amortization schedule. This includes making monthly payments until you have paid back all the money you owe. Each month the payment amount will include principle and interest on your balance.

Loan amortization is the spreading out of a lump sum cost over periods of repayment. Loan amortization can include home mortgages, car loans, boat loans, etc.

A loan amortization schedule can help you break down the cost of the loan into its main components. You can also use a loan amortization to see the payments from period to period.

Loan amortization shows you how much you will be paying from month to month. The monthly payments can be broken down into interest payments and principle payments. As the loan repayment period progresses, you will be paying less in interest payments and more in principle payments. This is because as your principal is reduced, there is less interest accumulating on your balance.

Loan amortization can allow you to structure your monthly payments accordingly. You can figure out the best amount to pay monthly on your debt repayment. You can also see any benefits of pre-payment on your loan. There might be penalties associated with pre-payment on some types of loans.

A loan amortization calculator can help you break down the amount you will be paying each month. Generating a loan amortization schedule is especially beneficial if you want to compare two loan options. You can see which loan will lead to paying more in interest payments and which loan will take longer to fully repay. If you are looking for a consolidation loan, you can compare it with your current loan to see if will be getting a better deal.

There are many sites online that offer free loan amortization calculators. You input the amount of the loan, the interest rate, period of repayment and calculate the monthly amounts of repayment. By trying different inputs you can figure out the monthly payment amount that will be best for you and will lead to higher principle payments and less interest payments.

Copyright 2005 Jakob Jelling

Resource box: Please visit and learn how to eliminate your debt step by step.

Color psychology is the biggest question I receive on a regular basis. The reason being is it's importance. Color is a trigger that is associated with traditions and used in marketing over the years so well that they must be honored or sales are lost.

Color will also trigger reactions. It is a given. This is why you must know how to choose the right color for the right reaction at the right time.

Because of a color's relevance to success in marketing, I always like to continue sharing and repeating in some cases, what colors to use and when.

Here are eleven of the basic colors. These colors work for triggers on Americans only. Every country, culture, have different representations for color. If you are even selling to the Asian culture in the United States, the colors will change. Learn the colors of whom you are selling too and sales will blossom just like a rainbow of tulips in your garden.

Quick List

Red creates excitement, displays strength, is used to express s*e*x, passion, speed and danger. Use appropriately and it works extremely well.

This is the most popular color. Why? Because it builds trust, reminds people of sky gazing/dreaming. Thus, builds trust, conveys reliability, a sense of belonging, coolness (in the 1980's sense), refreshing and clean.

We think of the sun and sunshine, it's warmth, being cheerful and happy. Place it together with blue and thoughts of sitting on the beach or looking out over the ocean connect.

Orange isn't used much in marketing. On a computer screen it looses its hue. When it is clearly visible that it is orange, it conveys playfulness, triggers child-like behavior -- great in workshops if you want to take people to that place, it also conveys warmth and vibrancy.

When we think of green we associate with trees and grass. This brings up associations with nature, freshness, coolness. It also means growth and abundance. Money is green and we are automatically associating green with prosperity.

Royal purple brings up pictures of royalty. Conveyed through the centuries from religion and palace decorations isn't going to change any of our associations today. Purple means spirituality and dignity as well.

Usually associated with femininity, it means soft, sweet, nurturing and many times security. The security of motherhood and all that it represents. As females mature they sometimes lose their feminine side due to business stiffness. To bring it back in surround yourself with pink for a year. Pink blouse, suit, watch, and household items.

White and black aren't really called a color but we recognize them as such. White represents pure, purity, virgin, clean, youthful and mild. This is why white backgrounds work better than black backgrounds on a website.

Black can trigger representation of the dark side of things in certain situations. Usually when black is the dominant color on the page. It can also represent sophistication, elegance, mystery. Black in clothing is seductive and thus will represent the same thing in many marketing materials -- even though it is only a mindful trigger and not a voiced one.

Gold is worth more than silver or copper but not diamonds. Since we've been taught to associate gold with value, that is exactly what is triggered when we see it in marketing materials. It can seldom be used in marketing materials though because the color usually isn't duplicated well. On the Net it gets confused with yellow a lot and what yellow represents.

Silver also represents prestige just like gold. It too, is a hard color to express on the Internet or in printed materials. It sends signals of cold or scientific. This is why silver kitchen appliances sell so well. It also represents cleanness in some instances, especially kitchens.

This isn't all the colors of the rainbow, they are the most important ones in marketing. Use them wisely and they will make a difference in sales -- or the type of response you are looking for.

Copyright 2005 Catherine Franz

About Catherine: Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Coach, specializes in infoproduct development. Newsletters and additional articles available:, blog:

How are they used, and how do I get one for my company?

While it is sometimes confused with general copyright or patent laws, the trademark is a very specific type of patent law. Trademarks are marks, words, or letter-number combinations that are used to mark the products of a certain company. These are usually done so that the company's products can easily be recognized, and it is a way for companies to make sure that they are not being ripped off.

If you're thinking of acquiring a trademark for some of your company's products then there are a few things you should do first. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the trademark you're thinking of using is not already in use by another company. If the trademark is already in use before you register then you will not be able to adopt it. If you're not sure how to find out whether or not the trademark you want to use is already in use, don't worry. You can always contact an attorney who specializes in trademarks to make sure that it is open for your use.

In some countries, you will be able to register your trademark right away. However, if you live in a country like the United States or the United Kingdom, you'll need to use the trademark before you'll be allowed to register it. This is to prevent people from registering large numbers of trademarks and selling the registered trademarks at a profit.

If you have a trademark that you would like to use, the first thing you need to do is to either use it or register it depending on where you live. However, that is not the only thing that you need to do in order to make sure that the trademark remains yours. For instance, you'll need to use the trademark properly rather regularly, otherwise it may become an abandoned trademark, and could be used by other people or companies.

You can also allow other companies to use your trademark, but you should always make sure that you are prepared to license and watch these other companies carefully to make sure that you still maintain control of your own trademark.

There are a few things that you should also keep in mind about trademarks that are not usually considered by most people. For instance, trademarks should only be used as adjectives. When they are used as nouns or verbs, it makes it more likely that the trademark will become a generic term -- and once it becomes a generic term, then other companies will be able to use the trademark.

Another thing that should be done if you are going to use a trademark is that you should also make sure that the way in which it is used is somewhat distinctive. You should always strive to set the trademark off from the rest of the text that it is being used in. This is another way to help keep your registered trademarks from becoming generic terms.

If you register and use a trademark effectively, however, it can help to increase the number of people who recognize your products on sight!

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.

Make sure you've chosen the best name for your company first!

If you're wondering how to register a company, you're not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people try to start their own businesses each year, and often they end up having more trouble than they should just because it is difficult to register a company if you are unfamiliar with the process. It would be nice if there was a simple, universal guide to registering a company - unfortunately, that is more or less impossible. Company registration is different in every country in every part of the world. Not only that, but it is subject to legal changes at any time.

The first thing you need to do, no matter where you are, is to make sure that there are no registered companies with your chosen name. If there are, you'll have to choose a new name. If there aren't then you're ready to move onto the next step. When you choose your company's name, make sure that it is short, and preferably something memorable - the more your name is memorable, the more likely it is that you'll get word of mouth business from people.

If your company is going to operate on the internet, then you should also check to see if the domain names that you would want to use are already taken. Essentially, if they are already taken and you think that it would be too hard to purchase the domain, then you should probably think about changing your company name. The best domain names, after all, would just be the name of your company, since these are the easiest to remember.

Once you decide on a company name, you need to make sure that you get all the proper forms. By registering as a company, you can get a lot of benefits that you wouldn't have if you were just selling things on your own. For instance, you'd be able to get a business credit card, and you could benefit from the help that some small businesses are eligible for.

Finally, even if you are going to register your company in the United States, you should also pay attention to the different rules for each state. You may want to choose which state to register in based on what the rules and restrictions for that state are.

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.

Just last week I was speaking to a group of 50 women and men. I opened by holding up a $20 and asking who would like this $20 bill. I also mentioned there were no strings attached. You would have thought that everyone would be raising their hand wanting the $20 bill.

That isn't what happened. Less than half the people raised their hand.

I gave the $20 bill away and stood in silence. It wasn't a long silence but silence when everyone expects to be hearing you talk is long whether its 10 seconds of several minutes. I was waiting until I saw a few audience members began fidgeting.

Then one women spoke up. "Darn, I could have used that $20 for gas today." You guessed it, she was one of the hesitant ones.

My topic was on marketing. The exercise demonstrated that even when we market from the truth with no strings attached and even though we totally think of the customer first, many people perceive, assume, that there is going to be a catch to the offer.

This is a powerful lesson when you are expressing your offer, whether its written or verbal, the majority of the people reading or hearing it are going to be thinking with an "it's too good to be true" mentality.

This means that whenever you are preparing any type of marketing material you need to see your offer from this perspective.

The following day I again spoke to another group. This time the audience was all women. I opened again with another $20. Only this time when I mentioned that there were no strings attached, I said it more powerfully - meaning more vocal variety - repeated it as if it was written in bold print and stated there were absolutely no strings attached. The word "absolutely" was set off with a mild hand slap.

Every hand raised.

The lessons learned:

Whenever you make an offer you absolutely have to make sure you tell whomever you want to buy into whatever your offer is conveying what's involved on their part. I'm talking about what will they loose out on if they pass on this opportunity. It could be a tank of gas or even lunch with a friend. It doesn't always need to be something big and bold.

Another lesson learned was that in the first audience, the majority of the people raising their hands were women. This demonstrated that women are more likely to jump on an offer than a man. This also says to me that women are more willing to take a gamble than a man. Hmmm, that's fuel for thought the next time you make an offer, isn't it?

What else does this exercise tell you? How would you present your offers differently? Here's your assignment.
Think on this for a few moments and look at one of your offers and then ask the questions that keep your audience's hands down and make sure you are addressing each one of them.

Copyright 2005 Catherine Franz

About Catherine: Catherine Franz, writer, speaker, marketing master, specializes in infoproduct development. More at: and Including articles and ezines.

A new idea is merely the combination of two or more old ideas. The creation of a new idea is the critical first step in establishing any business.

People who dream of setting up their own business but don't succeed, generally fall into one of three categories:

(1) too few ideas
(2) too many ideas or
(3) waiting for the 'perfect idea'.

Any of these three states of mind may hinder the budding entrepreneur.

'Would be entrepreneurs' with too few ideas.

These individuals typically say "if only I had 'an idea' for a business."

Just remember that if you say you don't have 'an idea' it really means you have 'no-idea'! If this applies to you, you need to get cracking on that 'first idea' fast! As soon as you are able to dream something up, you'll have the essential ingredient that all successful businesses are built upon.

'Would be entrepreneurs' with too many ideas.

Can you ever have 'too many ideas' I hear you say? Well if your creative process leaves you feeling overwhelmed for choice then it's definitely a possibility! Many highly creative people experience inertia in business purely because they have so many ideas. They don't know where to start or which idea to implement first!

If you fall into this category, just pick one of your ideas (it doesn't need to be your best one!) and begin to mentally develop it further. Consider the first key steps you need to take to push your business idea forward. Remember that you don't have to have a 100 page business plan or a fully formed idea before you can start taking action! All you need is a little focus.

'Would be entrepreneurs' waiting for the perfect idea.

This is the equivalent of expecting to know how to swim once you've found the perfect swimming costume.

If you fall into this category, even if you do manage to find the 'perfect idea', ask yourself whether or not you are going to have the right skill base to get it off the ground. Many successful entrepreneurs have failed many times before their 'perfect idea' came along. It is through being prepared to fall down and stand up again that you develop the tenacity required to succeed in business.

Stay Ahead of the Game.

Whatever your circumstances, whether you are in business already or looking to start a business, creating ideas and being innovative will help keep you on top of your game. The way we are doing business globally is changing at such a rapid rate that if you don't consistently innovate, you will soon be out of business.

Cultivate your Innovation skills.

All the entrepreneurs that I have met have been 'possibility thinkers'. By this I mean they keep their minds open to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. The best way for you to cultivate this ability within yourself is to spend time around other creative thinkers. Challenge each other to innovate.

A Simple Idea Creating Exercise.

Two nights ago I had a brainstorming session with a couple of entrepreneurial friends over a meal. We did a little 5 minute exercise where each wrote down as many ideas as they could on how to create a million pounds within a year. The quality of the initial ideas was absolutely irrelevant. What was really valuable was what came afterwards, when each person read out their individual lists and we discussed how these particular ideas could work.

We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and generated a couple of really great business ideas (as well as plenty of ordinary ones!), purely by focusing our brains to answer a simple question.

So how many entrepreneurs does it take to change a light bulb?

Well I'm not entirely sure on the answer to that one! But I do know how many ideas it takes to start a business...

Just one.

Copyright 2005 Damien Senn

About Damien: Damien Senn helps entrepreneurs create compelling businesses. He is one of the UK's top Business Coaches as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. Damien 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 download 颽 things to do before you die' please click the following link:

A new idea is merely the combination of two or more old ideas. The creation of a new idea is the critical first step in establishing any business.

People who dream of setting up their own business but don't succeed, generally fall into one of three categories:

(1) too few ideas
(2) too many ideas or
(3) waiting for the 'perfect

Making the financial transition from paid employment to earning a living on your own is probably the single biggest challenge facing many would be entrepreneurs. For most, the mere thought of financial insecurity holds them back from even trying. But if you have the vision, persistence and the ability to respond to market feedback the financial rewards will soon follow.

Two ways to make the transition.

There are essentially two main ways that you can make the financial transition.

1. Establish a revenue stream before you quit your job.

2. Quit your job and then build a revenue stream before your start-up capital runs out!

Establish a revenue stream before you quit your job.

Establishing a revenue stream whilst you continue to work, for most people is probably the more sensible of the two options.

The advantage of this approach is that it gives you the freedom to try things out at your own pace to see if there is a market for your pro or service before you actually cut off your regular income stream from your job.

A disadvantage of this approach is that it is often hard to devote the time necessary to get your business up and running particularly if you have a demanding full time job. Another slightly less obvious disadvantage is that the comfort of a regular income may make you less prepared to take the risks necessary to make your business succeed.

Quit your job and build a revenue stream before your start-up capital runs out!*

Now this is the riskier of the two strategies and definitely not for the faint hearted!

The advantage of this approach is that you have all your time to dedicate to your new venture. Another bonus is the uncomfortable fact that you don't have a regular income stream yet. It's incredible what you can achieve in life when you place you self in a position where you absolutely must succeed. This fact alone, if channeled effectively can rapidly propel you towards the achievement of your goal!

A disadvantage of taking this approach is the fact that it can put you under extreme financial pressure, which can then impact upon the other areas of your life as well as the lives of any of your dependants. It could even mean depleting all you capital creating a need to return to paid employment.

The approach I took to set up my Coaching Business

In setting up my own coaching business I decided to take the later of the two options. I gave up my ridiculously well paid corporate consulting job so I could dedicate all my energies into establishing a successful coaching business.

What I personally like about this approach is the uncomfortable feeling you get when you start eating into your start-up capital whether it be savings, borrowings or venture capital. This feeling has compelled many an entrepreneur to push forward rapidly and make breakthroughs that they would not have been able to achieve had they kept their job.

So which approach should you take?

This a question that only you can answer. Give deep consideration to how you feel about both approaches and determine which one is more suitable for you given your current circumstances. It is also important to consider the type of business that will satisfy your entrepreneurial needs. This may also impact upon your ultimate decision.

Regardless of your which approach you take, there is one thing that is for certain; if your will is strong enough and your idea compelling enough you will find a way!

* Financial Health Warning: if you do decide to take this approach please consult with your financial adviser first.

Copyright 2005 Damien Senn

About Damien: Damien Senn helps entrepreneurs create compelling businesses. He is one of the UK's top Business Coaches as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. Damien 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 download 颽 things to do before you die' please click the following link:

How many times have you received a check from work in one hand, then give it all away to bills in the other hand? This is the typical cycle for most people.

You work so hard to provide a decent life for yourself and your family; but, there is never enough money left over after bills to do anything nice for yourself. Then, out of the blue, something unexpected happens.

Your only means of transportation breaks down. Where will you get quick cash to have your car repaired? A Payday Loan may be right for you.

What is a Payday Loan?

A Payday Loan is a small loan, typically under $1,000.00, that is loaned through a small lending institution until the borrower's next payday. Payday Loans are also referred to as cash advance.

Generally, a Payday Loan is simply a cash advance; an advancement of funds, until your next Payday. Payday Loans differ from a typical personal loan. For instance, there is no credit checks required, countless number of paperwork to complete, nor do you have to wait days for approval. Where can you get a Payday Loan?

Most checking cashing institution and small lending institutions offers Payday Loans. However, for convenience a borrower can apply for a Payday Loan online and have the funds deposited directly into you checking or savings account.

What are the benefits of a Payday Loan?

A Payday Loan offers many benefits; such as: Quick approval- If you have all of the required documentation, you can have the cash in minutes. No credit checks required- Whether you have, bad credit or no credit at all, you may still be approved for a Payday Loan.

No time consuming and difficult paper work- If any at all, you will only have to sign one or two document, which explains the Payday Loan process and your obligations. No long-term obligations- You can pay off your Payday Loan with your next paycheck with no hassles.

Money there when you need it - If you ever find yourself in a financial bind, you will be able to return and receive another Payday Loan.

Payday Loans offers a borrower all of the convenience a loan from the bank can not. Contact a local check cashing or financial institution to find out your options and more information.

Copyright 2005 Frank Kelly

Resource box: Discover useful advice and information about payday loans. Website contains articles and advice about payday loans. Click ==>

With today's relatively low interest rates and climbing property values, many consumers are considering taping into their home equity to finance everything from home improvement projects to debt consolidation.

Secured home loans, also called home equity loans, are loans backed by the borrower's equity in their property. Equity is the difference between your home's appraised value and the balance on your mortgage.

When a homeowner takes out a secured home loan, they promise to repay the lender and sign a contract that makes their home the collateral for the loan. If the borrower does not repay the loan as agreed, the lender has the right to foreclose on the home. Generally, loans are repaid with a monthly payment over a fixed term.

As interest rates and loan terms may vary widely depending on your credit score, your home equity, and the amount of the loan, it is important to compare several different lenders to ensure you are getting the best loan for your situation.

There are many advantages to secured home loans. Home equity loans generally have lower interest rates than unsecured loans. In addition, there are many different types of secured home loans to fit your needs.

When considering using your home as a security instrument to obtain a loan, it is important to consider the amount you can afford monthly. Although loans can be used for virtually anything, if you are going to use the money to make large purchase, make sure you are buying something that will outlast the life of the loan.

Remember, if you do not repay the loan as agreed, you may lose your home. While it may be smart to tap into equity for home improvement projects that will increase your property value, it may be foolish to put your home on the line for that dream vacation.

Copyright 2005 Frank Kelly

Resource box: Discover useful advice and information about home equity loans. Website contains articles and advice about home equity loans. Click ==>

Home Equity Loans 101Frank Kelly

A secured home loan differs from an unsecured loan in that the secured loan borrows against one's home as collateral, thereby reducing the risk to the lender.

As such, secured home loans often offer better interest rates than unsecured loans, but offer higher risk to the borrower, as defaulting on these loans can have greater consequences, such as fines, or even possible repossession of the home originally put up as the secured collateral (subject to the amount of the loan, of course).

As the interest rates for secured home loans are usually significantly lower than unsecured loans, more of the monthly payment goes towards paying off the capital, rather than paying the accrued interest.

The monthly payments are often more flexible in secured loans, affording the borrower more leeway in working out a payment plan that fits his or her needs. However, care must be taken not to use this as justification for taking out such a loan, as it is a financial contract between lender and borrower.

There can be a number of reasons for taking out a secured loan, such as debt consolidation of high-interest loans, financing for remodeling, or repayment of college or car loans. Most lenders offering these types of loans recommend loan repayment insurance, to guard against an inability to pay on the loan for a time due to factors such as illness, losing a job or other unexpected occurrences.

Before taking on a substantial loan such as a secured home loan, a careful analysis of personal finances is in order. Having a friend or an accountant or finance officer assist in this process can save trouble and headaches later, as they may bring up issues and/or expenditures unthought-of, issues such as examining how much is spent on morning mochas at a favorite coffee shop? An outside perspective can often help clarify these matters so a better-informed decision can be made.

If proper planning and care is taken, a secured home loan can be a valuable tool for managing personal debt. Talking to a loan officer or financial advisor at a major lending institution can help make these possibilities a reality, and can be a step towards the realization of financial freedom.

Copyright 2005 Frank Kelly

Resource box: Discover useful advice and information about home equity loans. Website contains articles and advice about home equity loans. Click ==>

Increase Sales By Flying Under Your Prospects' "Radar Defenses"Jim Edwards

How do you persuade someone to do what you want them to do?

A whole world of marketing exists around us trying to do that every minute of the day. Do you even notice it anymore or, like your prospects, have you subconsciously set up a system of "radar defenses" against the daily bombardment of marketing messages?

Take a minute and count up the advertising methods which fight for your attention (and money) every day. Just the basic list includes:

- Yellow page ads

- Newspaper and magazine ads

- Postcards, catalogs, and direct mail circulars in your "snail mail" box

- Radio pitches interrupting the flow of your favorite songs

- TV ads - about 20 minutes worth per hour now

- Hundreds of storefronts, "mega" malls, and strip malls

- Highway billboards by the thousands

- Circulars hung on your doorknob

- Illegal signs on stop signs and telephone poles

- Legitimate email messages

- Spam email or UCE (unsolicited commercial email)

Just these 11 sources can overwhelm your brain with marketing messages. Like trapped rats, people develop defenses against this never-ending onslaught. They throw up a wall or a "radar defense" that goes into action the minute they smell a "pitch" or a sales job. Don't blame them. We all do it!

So how can you get around this psychological wall against the constant sales and marketing messages? Well, the answer does NOT lie in hitting people with more frequent and obnoxious advertising or sly, sneaky tactics. You might get them to trust you for a minute, but it will backfire in the long run.

You must do two things instead:

1. First, you must establish credibility for yourself and your business as an expert.

2. Second, you must reduce their fears about doing business with you.

Doing these two things will get you past their defenses and allow you the opportunity to persuade them to buy your product.

So how do you accomplish these two "simple" things? What will win someone's attention, raise your credibility, and lower their fear factor all at the same time? The one-word answer really applies to most everyone.


If a seller can get behind your defenses with information which makes you trust them, then that credibility will carry over into a sale much of the time.

How can you get this credibility?

Well, take this next fact as online marketing "gospel," for many people have proven its effectiveness.

Fact: Publishing and promoting with free articles gives you one of the most powerful opportunities available to tip the buyer's credibility scale in your favor.

How can we prove this works? Quite easily actually. Take a break from reading this and go check out a newspaper or magazine for a minute.

Which do you trust more, the ads or the articles? Most people will choose the articles hands down. Why? Because the articles don't try to "sell" you anything. Instead, they hand out useful information for educational or other practical purposes.

Most of us grew up in a culture which says we can believe and "trust" what appears in the standard "news" or "information" format. In other words, if it appears in print, then we can believe and trust the author.

So go ahead! Use this lifetime of conditioning to your advantage in selling your products and services!

Very few things will create an atmosphere of trust and confidence in people as reading one of your articles on a subject that greatly interests them. It shows you know your business. It also demonstrates you will do more than just try to sell them something.

Publishing articles literally lets you fly under their advertising "radar defenses."

So remember these points when deciding whether or not to use articles to promote your business:

1. Few things create as much trust and confidence in the minds of potential customers as reading an article you wrote on a subject which specifically and intensely interests them.

2. Articles establish credibility quickly because, right or wrong, we've all been trained to trust the "news."

3. An article, or series of articles, will differentiate you from the competition, who bombard people with nothing but sales messages.

4. Providing content-rich, non-sales-oriented articles will also help build and solidify your relationship with existing customers so they give you repeat business.

Copyright 2005 Jim Edwards

About Jim: Jim Edwards, a.k.a., is a syndicated newspaper columnist, nationally recognized speaker, author, and web developer. Owner of nine (9) successful e-businesses as well as a professional consulting firm, Jim's writing comes straight off the front lines of the Internet and e-commerce. Simple "Traffic Machine" brings Thousands of NEW visitors to your website for weeks, even months... without spending a dime on advertising! ==>

With lots of promotional and marketing tools that continue to come out one after the other, brochures are still one of the best means to advertise a company's products or services. By definition, brochures are single-sheet informational materials that are printed on one side or both sides with no fold, folded in half, thirds or a custom fold. We can take note that in this competitive corporate world, a brochure can definitely help a company to stand out from among its competitors.

In the Internet, you'll find lots of different colors and designs for your desired brochures. There are also lots of brochure printing services at affordable rates. When you decide to use brochures for your company, you will certainly experience lots of benefits. All of us know that brochures can build your company's image or identity, promote an important event or occasion, advertise a new product or service, and update product specifications. Aside from these advantages, there are still hundreds of other purposes that brochures can serve. It's for you to find out about these benefits.

Brochures are indeed an important aspect of a business especially in terms of marketability. If you're using other promotional means and don't get any improvements in your sales or profits, use these brochures now and experience tremendous gains for your company. They have been widely used by almost all business industries such as education, food and restaurant, travel and transportation, hotels and lodging houses, and many more. These industries have proven the efficiency and effectiveness of brochures in drawing the client's attention and motivating them to go to their establishments to transact business.

In effect, brochures printing companies have realized the power and capability of the Internet in motivating possible clients to avail of their services. These companies use instant brochures printing quote system where clients can actually get printing quotes online for free. These quotes show the price for the minimum run based on the format of your printing job. It consists of the production of film and plates, the electronic processing of your file, the setup of your job on a four-color press, and the trimming of your job to the final size. Printing quotes help us to evaluate prices between printers when you don't have extra time to do so.

Indeed, brochures continue to be in-demand nowadays. For businesses that haven't tried these advertising materials, this might be the perfect time for you to make use of these multipurpose brochures.

Copyright 2005 Mart Gil Abareta

Resource box: For Comments and Questions about the Article you may Log - on to

The European public will see Volvo's latest concept car, the 3CC, for the first time at the Geneva show, as Volvo rewrites the rules on how we will use our cars in the future.

Volvo 3CC demonstrates Volvo's vision of sustainable mobility for the future, as well as Volvo safety innovations for smaller cars.

"With the Volvo 3CC, Volvo Cars is pioneering a new way of looking at mobility so that future generations can enjoy the same freedom the car has given my generation. We believe it is necessary to show new ways to reduce pollution and congestion," says Lars Erik Lundin, Vice President & General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC). "We want to connect in a positive way with consumers so that they say 'I want to be seen in this car' ", Lars Erik Lundin explains."We want to add emotional value to people's lives by offering an environmentally compatible car that appeals to all the senses, and which people want to drive."

The 3CC is a small, sleek and environmentally efficient car with a powerful, zero emission electric power train, great aerodynamics and a lightweight, high-strength steel space frame. Its electric power comes from 3,000 lithium batteries identical to those used in modern laptop computers, packaged in a thin sandwich floor that could adapt to house the most appropriate power train in the future, whether it is petrol, biogas or a hybrid electric.

The double floor used to house the electric energy storage makes the concept future-proof in that the layout can be adapted for the most appropriate power train in the future, whether it be petrol, diesel, biogas, or hybrid electric," explains Ichiro Sugioka, Science Officer at VMCC in California

Created by the people behind the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in California, the Volvo 3CC is a 'future-proof concept' that would enhance sustainable mobility. Good aerodynamics on a compact footprint, lightweight body materials, and an electric power train where there is abundance of renewable energy sums up the Volvo 3 CC.

Partstrain offers Volvo parts focused on reliability, quality, great designs and affordable price. With the Volvo tradition of designing efficient and innovative cars, Partstrain has in its stock the widest array as well high standard Volvo Parts, Performance Parts, and Replacement Parts.

With only a few clicks, visit and you will find Parts train's impressive array of highly durable and reliable Volvo Parts to match the equally impressive performance of your Volvo.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

The Volkswagen Passat 2005 features a powerful design. The new VW face with its chrome radiator represents the greatest design progression since the creation of the series.

The new Passat is 4.77 metres long (+ 62mm), 1.82 metres wide (+ 74mm) and 1.47 metres tall (+ 10 mm). The wheelbase measures 2.71 metres. One real indicator of outstanding quality is the static torsional stiffness. .

Volkswagen is using the FSI engines with homogeneous direct injection for the first time in the Passat. They deliver 85kW / 115hp, 110kW / 150hp and 147kW / 200hp (Turbo FSI).

The Passat TDI will also be available with a diesel particulate filter. The most powerful TDI features the innovative Piezo high-pressure unit-injector system. The petrol engines with outputs of 85kW / 115hp, 110kW / 150hp and 147kW / 200hp can be optionally combined with a driver-friendly six-speed automatic gearbox

Using aluminum components (weight: -13.3 kilogrammes) guarantee a maximum level of agility, comfort and safety, it has new four-link rear axle, which has been decoupled from the body to reduce noise, along with the McPherson front.

The chassis technology has been perfected with the ESP + Trailer Stabilizations that comes as standard on all vehicles with a tow bar. All Passats have 16-inch brakes with an integrated "wiper" function. The brake pads are applied lightly at specific intervals. This "wipes away" any water film that may have formed while driving on wet surfaces and thus shortens the braking distance.

Standard for the first time is the electronic parking brakes at the push of a button. It has new Starting and Locking System, New Automatic Adaptive Cruise Control, Sound System from Dynaudi, Draught-free Climatronic, Bi-Xenon Headlights with Cornering Function. Hands-free telephone system with a Bluetooth interface is available as an option.

Equally impressive and highly durable Volkswagen auto body parts, performance parts, replacement parts, discount parts are available at Parts train's online store. When you need Volkswagen Hood, first class quality is available at Partstrain. Volkswagen Grille and Volkswagen fenders for example are put you on top of the race due to its strict quality control measures.

The number one provider of the best Volkswagen Parts online is just a click to with superb customer service and secured online transaction anytime. Nothing beats its excellent services and low price quotes.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

"The first Jeep Grand Cherokee created the luxury sport-utility market," said Jeff Bell, Vice President-Jeep about the best-selling SUV from Jeep. "Since then, many very strong competitors have intensified the full-size SUV market. Yet, none have matched Grand Cherokee's combination of legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, on-road refinement, technological innovations and safety features."

These are the words of Jeep's Vice President as it hits more than 3 million in sales since its debut in 1992. From then on, there is no turning back; Jeep Grand Cherokee lived up to its name with a level of comfort, ride and handling previously missing in most sport-utility vehicle, and was the pioneer for introducing a driver's side air bag to an SUV.

Jeep Grand Cherokee sales in March 2005 were 18,828 units, pushing sales to 3,013,296 units since it was in the market in 1992. The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best among the pack. Its best features are three new full-time four-wheel drive systems, two new transfer cases, all-new independent and front suspension, rack and pinion steering, and an all-new five-speed transmission.

The 2005 Grand Cherokee was the first Jeep vehicle available with the 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8 and the Multi-Displacement System. MDS imperceptibly deactivates four cylinders when the V-8 is not at work.

Its exterior is marked with the Jeep brand's signature seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel openings. Chrome, gated automatic shifter and a two-tone instrument panel with an easy-to-read instrument cluster and well-crafted seats accent the new interior

Safety features include Electronic Stability Program, SmartBeam(TM) headlamps that automatically and quickly adjust high-beam brightness and intensity, All-Speed Traction Control System, advanced multi-stage air bags with an Occupant Classification System and Anti-lock Brakes System.

At Parts train, we offer great selection of aftermarket auto parts, accessories, tools, and maintenance supplies for your Jeep Grand Cherokee. Visit our online auto parts stores at for a huge selection of Jeep parts for all models including the Jeep Cherokee, Liberty, Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and more. Our online store stocks thousands of Jeep parts for do-it-yourselfers and professional installers. Find OEM Jeep auto parts, remanufactured parts, new aftermarket parts, used parts, Jeep performance parts, and more. If you are in need of excellent quality Jeep parts fast and easy, drop us, a line and our friendly customer service staff will be glad to give you our best services.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

Designing a functional prototype from an idea in such a short time was challenging. It was a tremendous feeling when everything functioned as designed the first time" said Brett Wallihan, MillenWorks Design Engineer, "You just don't expect a vehicle to rotate around its own axis like that. It was surreal."

This statement summed up for the high praises and awe the crowd bestowed on the Jeep Hurricane took center stage at the Detroit auto show DaimlerChrysler Corporation press conference.

Innovative in style, the Jeep Hurricane included a centrally located twin-engine transfer case, in-board brakes, drive shafts, front and rear steering, and complete corner assemblies. It has a centrally located transfer case coupling power from both engines and distribute all wheel drive torque to each corner of the vehicle. The Jeep Hurricane's Shift-by-wire mechanisms allow the wheels on one side of the vehicle to run in reverse, which, coupled with split solid axles and 55 degrees front and rear wheel toe-in angles, allows the vehicle to rotate around its own axis.

Jeep Hurricane 2005 has Four Wheel and Crab Steering capability, with a combination of traditional and "steer by wire" technologies. The total of twenty inches of suspension travel was achieved through the use of a purpose-built front and rear double A-arm independent wishbone suspension with coil over dampers

Superior engineering describes the effort put into every inch of the Jeep Grand Cherokee by its grand designers -- the Millenworks. The new concept vehicle challenged the creative boundaries of MillenWorks' engineering team and the result is amazing.

We have everything you need for your Jeep Hurricane at Parts train. Exterior and interior accessories, suspension and performance parts, restoration and body parts, travel accessories, and much more are found at our online store. Just go to Quality products can now be purchased easily at our online shop. Find automotive equipment and accessories for almost any make or model and get low, everyday prices on almost anything you need.

Copyright 2005 Jenny McLane

About Jenny: Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.

While only comprising about 1% of all mortgages, the reverse mortgage has gained in popularity in recent years. Federally insured since the late 1980's, the reverse mortgage allows owners of paid-off homes of at least 62 years of age to borrow against the equity in their homes in the form of a lump sum, a line of credit, or in the form of monthly payments. The loan is repaid when the owners die or when the home is sold or no longer occupied.

In the early years of its existence, the reverse mortgage was regarded as a "last resort" step to avoid foreclosure, pay medical expenses or keep the home from disrepair. More recently, however, retirees have been finding creative ways to use the equity in their homes to allow their retirement years to be more enjoyable.

The huge growth of the housing market during the last five years has left millions of homeowners with large amounts of equity in their homes. Californians who bought homes in the early 1960's at modest prices are now retiring; many of them have home equity in the mid-six figures. With that sort of equity, homeowners are using their equity to buy recreational vehicles, boats, luxury vacations, and even second homes. The structure of a reverse mortgage makes it possible for some homeowners to pay cash for a vacation home, while continuing to live in their primary residence for as long as they like, or are able. Once they die, the primary residence would be sold to pay pack the loan, while the second home would become part of their estate.

This has provided a rare opportunity for many couples, who struggled to raise families and pay mortgages during the working years, to enjoy a few luxuries in their retirement years. Couples who could never afford to travel can now dip into their home equity and see Europe or take that cruise that always eluded them.

While this may seem like a win-win situation for all involved, those in the lending industry express caution. For most people, the equity in their home is their single largest asset, and borrowing against it should done only after careful consideration. What if a lengthy hospital stay became necessary? Would the homeowner have sufficient funds to pay for that after buying a second home through a reverse mortgage? What if a husband or wife became incapacitated and required permanent housing in a nursing home? These are things that must be considered before using home equity for a houseboat or RV, and those considering such a move should consider discussing their plans with a financial advisor.

Despite the potential drawbacks, the use of the reverse mortgage to fund a fun and adventurous retirement seems to be growing. With interest rates still near all-time lows, the trend will almost certainly continue in the near future.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including and

Look at your company logo. Does it fade into the background against other images you use to promote your company? Has it become dated? Does it still fit with your company vision? Is your message connecting with the customers you want?

Your visual identity is a vital tool in communicating the essence of your business. Before someone even buys a product or service from you, they formulate ideas about the business based on your logo and visual design. Having an identity which works can positively change how your customers perceive your business and put more money in your pocket. Don't believe me? Think Nike, Apple, Coke, Rolex...the list goes on.

How do you make your visual identity come alive and attract customers to your business?

What is your message?

Businesses change and develop over time, so the message you need to communicate will change too. The first step is to decide what you want to communicate about the changes in your business -- maybe the company is more modern in its approach to customers. You can use a new visual identity to communicate this. This can be achieved by a revamp of your logo, design and messaging or a completely new approach to all elements of your identity. Consistency is key when building a brand so when you revamp or change the design of your visual identity you must patiently and continually communicate the changes.

Who are you talking to?

You need to be aware of who your customer base is and if they understand and connect with the current visual identity of the company. Has your audience changed significantly over time? Maybe the current design worked for customers 20 years ago but leaves the new audience cold. Work out who you want to communicate with and what they will respond to.

How do you make it last a lifetime?

If you are going to develop a new design then it needs to stand the test of time. You should work with a good designer, who knows current trends and how to avoid anything ultra fashionable that will look dated in a year. A good design should last 20 years and should be solid enough to take slight adaptations or modernisations during this time.

How do you keep your brand intact?

Building a brand takes a long time and needs consistency, repetition and giving customers the service they expect time and time again. You don't want to alienate your existing customer base by a radical design change that they can't relate to. If you want a change, consider using elements already in place such as one main colour or image, think about the changes companies like Pepsi and Coke have made over time. A company with a strong logo and visual identity is taking the first step in building an established and profitable brand.

What you ultimately want to achieve is an identity which can evolve over time without noticeable change allowing you to maintain your core identity.

Copyright 2005 Amanda Vlahakis

Resource box: To find out more about making your visual identity come alive contact

Thanks to the combination of low interest rates and skyrocketing property values, home equity loans are more popular than ever. The value of home equity loans taken out by Americans has doubled in the last two years, and the market for them shows no signs of slowing down. Obtaining a home equity loan is usually a fairly simple process involving some paperwork, a credit check, and a home appraisal, and the entire process can often be done in just a few weeks. Lenders will often lend up to 80% of the value of the home's equity, and some lenders will even lend up to 125% of a home's equity.

Home equity loans are quite useful, and have several advantages over other types of loans, such as credit card loans or more traditional secured loans. The biggest advantage is that the interest on home equity loans is tax deductible. The interest rates on home equity loans are already pretty competitive, but the addition of the tax deduction makes them pretty hard to beat. But do you have to use a home equity loan to improve your home in order to qualify for the tax deduction?

Many people do not realize that improvements on your home are not necessary in order to take the tax deduction. While home improvement is probably the most popular reason for taking out a home equity loan, many people use them for any one of a number of other reasons -- buying a boat or RV, taking a dream vacation, or even just using the money for to debt consolidation. The relatively modest interest rates charged for home equity loans are far more favorable than the 20% or so charged by many credit card companies, making debt consolidation a pretty smart use for a home equity loan.

Whatever the reason for taking out a home equity loan, be it home improvement or otherwise, the tax deduction makes it a pretty good way to borrow money.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a Website devoted to debt consolidation information and, a site devoted to information on home equity loans

Studies show that Americans are now saving less than ever before. Along with that, Americans are carrying a heavier debt load than ever. It's easy for a home loan, a car loan and a few credit card bills to get out of hand, and many people are struggling with more debt than they can easily pay. To make matters worse, new bankruptcy legislation will make it harder than ever to file bankruptcy for those who simply cannot pay their bills.

There are a number of solutions available that allow most people to reduce their interest rate on their debt, reduce their total monthly payment, or both:

# Ask for a lower rate on your credit card. If you have been making payments regularly, and you haven't had a history of late payment, you may be able to lower your interest rate on your credit cards simply by calling your credit card company and asking them! It doesn't always work, but the market for credit cards is pretty competitive these days, and many lenders would rather lower your interest rate than lose you as a customer. It's worth asking.

# Get a new credit card. If your lender isn't willing to lower your rate, shop around for a credit card with a better interest rate. There is no reason to be paying 20% or more in credit card interest if you don't have to. The interest on credit cards is not tax deductible, but if you can get a credit card with a lower interest rate and you move balances from other cards to that one, you can save quite a bit.

# Take out a traditional bank loan with collateral. You can probably obtain a simple installment loan from your bank by putting up cash or investments as collateral for the loan. Like credit cards, the interest isn't tax deductible, but the interest rate may be better than credit cards, and if you consolidate several payments into one with a bank loan, you will lower your monthly payment.

# Take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. If you have equity in your home, you can borrow up to 80% of your equity in either a lump sum or a revolving line of credit. Interest rates are still quite low on home loans, so this one could be a good way to consolidate your debt. As a bonus, the interest is tax deductible. A minor downside is the fact that these loans usually have application fees and/or closing costs.

Most people can utilize one of the ideas above to help them reduce their debt. If none of these options work for you, you should consider speaking to a credit counselor, who can outline other options that may work for you. Many credit-counseling agencies are non-profit, so it may be worth your while to talk to a credit counselor if nothing else will work.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding home equity loans.

A problem that often arises when people try to refinance their home is the discovery of a pre-existing lien from a previous loan that was not removed by the lending company. The cost of removing a lien and returning the title to the homeowner, a process known as reconveyance, is usually included in fees associated with a home equity loan. When the loan is paid off, the lender is generally responsible for removing the lien, so that public records show the property to be unencumbered.

There are various reasons for why the lien isn't always removed -- oversight on the part of the lender, especially during heavy periods of refinancing, is often the problem. Occasionally, the problem can arise when a lender is sold to another company or when that lender goes out of business. No matter what the cause, a lien that hasn't been removed can come back to haunt a homeowner.

If a homeowner is in the process of refinancing a home and discovers an old lien that hasn't been removed, the entire refinancing process can be held up for weeks. This can be critical if the owner is trying to lock in an interest rate prior to closing. The problem can also arise when a homeowner is trying to take out another home equity loan, perhaps to facilitate debt consolidation or home improvements.

Here are a few things you can do to avoid this problem:

# Get a copy of your credit report. If there are any errors, particularly errors showing an open line of credit or a home equity loan that has been paid off, contact your lender.

# Keep your paperwork from all real estate loans, even if you have already paid them off. Then you will have them at hand should you need to demonstrate that you have fulfilled your obligations.

# If the lien shows up on public records or a credit report, but the original lender says that you have paid it, have them send you a copy of their documentation regarding your reconveyance.

As with most issues that come up when financing or refinancing a home, this one can be resolved by remaining diligent and keeping proper paperwork. As always, it's a good idea to check your credit report regularly, particularly if you plan on taking out a loan in the near future.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a Website devoted to debt consolidation information and, a site devoted to information on home equity loans.

Billboards have become an important part of business marketing. It has turned out to be an effective means of advertising a company's products and services. It has also been widely used by television networks and movie producers in the promotion of new events in the entertainment industry. It has also been gradually adapted by politicians in political campaigns. Truly, billboards have a lot to offer us and here are some of these great offerings that I'll be discussing in this article.

Just like any marketing paraphernalia, when billboards convey the right message that suits your business, they actually have a forceful street level presence that is easily being noticed by motorists. They have this surprising element to grasp interest and get people talking about what they speak about. They have the ability to catch people's attention at any time of the day especially when you're traveling, shopping or having a cup of coffee or a meal with your family and friends. Upon seeing these ads, these people who are potential clients easily absorb the messages.

Where billboards are placed, there are no instant advertised competitors. Through them, advertisers obtain a long-lasting image. You can maintain a unique trademark with these custom printed graphics. They can be showed off anywhere depending on how long its advertisers want them to be exhibited in there. They are salespersons that work for your business or company 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They cannot be turned off or put down. They successfully target specific markets for maximum results.

When you consider billboards as your marketing tools, you can reduce the advertising costs. They are indeed economical because there is no need for continuous production of these billboards. Only a few copies which will be situated in places that are easily accessed by many people are necessary. The fact that these billboard advertisements will show off daily is a must for advertisers because they can communicate effectively to a large extent. Billboards may just seem to be a small thing but they are actually the ones that help companies in making and keeping many clients.

Indeed, billboards are powerful visual graphics because the images and messages that they contain speak a thousand words. They are a visually dominant, stimulating advertising media. Compared to traditional media that add any number of pages or spots to hold many advertisers when necessary, billboards have certainly made advertising so easy. These things only manifest the good things that billboards bring to their viewers.

Copyright 2005 Mart Gil Abareta

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Stickers have become simple marketing tools. Even though most of the stickers that we see are small in sizes, they have been effective advertising materials. They can either be placed in cars, helmets or computers. They are usually distributed through mail, at trade shows, and penned with another company. Because of this, lots of printing companies offer sticker design and printing services. And, as a consumer, you must also know the considerations that these printers have in the creation of these promotional stickers.

Initially, you need to have enough time to design your stickers. Usually, sticker production lasts for two to four weeks. It is important, though, to brainstorm first, consider advice from manufacturers, and carefully prepare the design's layout. You must also think about the purpose that these stickers will serve. They can actually serve several purposes such as building a corporate image, promoting a certain product or service, informing a specific audience regarding your website, and a lot more.

Then, it is also necessary to know and understand the resources and processes of other sticker manufacturers in the industry. Through this, you might acquire the easiest way to produce your promotional stickers cost-effectively. In sticker designing, keep it simple as much as possible because it has to communicate a message easily, clearly and often from a distance. You must avoid stickers with small details, complex graphics, more than three colors, and more than one simple image or message. Stickers are tagged as very small billboards so you must also have a clear logo or a "headline".

If you are creating a promotional sticker, printing it on white vinyl doesn't necessarily mean that the sticker's background needs to be white. For a one-color sticker, you can use a printed color as the background and leave the copy white for a more valuable and attractive image. Also, don't waste the white space on the back of the sticker. You can still use it for news, coupons, advertising, postcard copy, and many more. In designing a sticker on clear material for application to windows, it has to be printed on white ink because this color reflects more visibility than other darker colors.

Indeed, creating a powerful and unique sticker will be tremendously effective for your marketing efforts. The use of stickers has been proven to be very effective advertising media. It might appear to be small yet its design process is something that must be thought of seriously, too.

Copyright 2005 Mart Gil Abareta

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If you want your business to be taken seriously by your target clients, a company letterhead is valuable for this purpose. It is truly a significant representation of your company. Printing all your communications on a nice piece of stationary, which contains your company name and contact information, makes it quick and easy for clients to communicate with you. So, if you're still thinking about coming up a corporate letterhead or just simply looking for means to modify your existing one, it is advisable to search for a professional designer to help you out with this task.

The image that will be manifested by a professional letterhead is as important as a high-quality printing job. To achieve a truly professional corporate identity, it is necessary to take note that the design of your letterhead must go along with the quality of printing. Many letterhead design potentials are certainly available because there are lots of paper stocks and ink colors, too. This does not have to be a costly project, and you just have to make use of complimentary colors, organized design, superior quality paper, and consistent type font choices.

The letterhead design process begins with your creative ideas and concepts. From there, review of these ideas and concepts happens before the actual designing takes place. In doing so, always remember that your goal is to build a unique and outstanding company image through your letterhead. Through this, your clients can easily identify where the correspondence comes from when they receive it and in its retrieval, too. Therefore, if you're still in the process of developing a business letterhead, it's advisable to ask assistance from a professional designer for an idea of what to put at the top of it.

Even if you have a tight budget, availing the service of professional designers must be considered in the creation of your letterhead. For smaller designing jobs, they can publicize your details into pre-designed templates that will still look good. For larger jobs, on the other hand, they can help you create a whole new brand identity. After all, they can certainly help you out in creating a nice letterhead design that matches perfectly with your company image. To have your own stationary is indeed a great way to boost the image of your business or company. Therefore, it is essential to produce unique, attention-grabbing logo designs and brand images for your target clients.

Copyright 2005 Mart Gil Abareta

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For those who still don't know, Microsoft Publisher 2000 assists users to easily produce, modify and print materials such as flyers, catalogs, brochures, newsletters and websites. I have two tutorials in this article that can hopefully help you get started with this software and may solve some of the problems that you'll encounter when you use it as a first-timer.

The first tutorial discusses about how to pack your publication to take to another computer. First, go to "File/Pack and Go/Take to Another Computer". The Pack and Go Wizard brings you all throughout the different steps of the packing process. Then, click "Next" to move to the following step. If you're transferring your publication on disk to another computer, click "A:" when the wizard asks you to select a location where your file will be saved. Also, click "Browse", select the drive and folder you want, and click "OK" if you're placing your files on a network, on an external drive, or on your computer's hard disk. Click "Next" afterwards.

To insert TrueType fonts and to make links for embedded graphics, select the choices you want and put in a check mark. To take out the linked graphics, click to remove the check mark. Click "Next" then click "Finish". If Publisher cannot find a linked graphic while packing your publication, you can either do one of the following methods: click "Retry" after you insert the disk or CD-ROM having the original graphic into the appropriate drive, click "Skip" to leave the current link and change the graphic later, or click "Browse" to situate a graphic that has been moved or to select another graphic and link it. Then, insert another disk if Publisher asks you and click "OK".

The second tutorial deals with the procedure on how to set up a publication for black and white commercial printing. First, go to Tools/Commercial Printing Tools/Color Printing. If you'll have black and white printing, click Spot color(s)/Change Spot Color in the "Print all colors as" box. In the "Choose Spot Color" dialog box, click "Black and white only". Then, click "OK" twice. For process-color printing, on the other hand, click "Process colors (CMYK)" in the "Print all colors as" box, then click "OK".

For spot-color printing, click Spot color(s)/Change Spot Color in the "Print all colors as" box. In the "Choose Spot Color" dialog box, click the arrow next to "Spot color 1", then pick the color you want. If you want to select a color that is not currently used in the publication, click "More Colors", select the color you want, and then click "OK". To pick a "second spot color", click the check box to the left of "Spot color 2", and then click the arrow to the right and click the "second spot color". Then, click "OK" twice.

Indeed, Microsoft Publisher 2000 is a software program that's also destined to become important.

Copyright 2005 Mart Gil Abareta

Resource box: For Comments and Questions about the Article you may Log - on to

7 Ways to Cut Loose from Old Sales ThinkingAri Galper

Sooner or later, we all backslide into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients.

A few weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with Julie, who has been struggling with the
old-style selling methods that her manager insists are the only way to sell their company's technology solution.

Regardless of what product or service you're selling, you should be able to relate to her dilemma.

Outdated sales skills fail to address the core issue of how we think about selling and unless we get to that core and change it once and for all, we'll go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales behaviors.

And we'll continue believing that we're always just one new sales technique away from the breakthrough we're looking for.

New Thinking = New Results

Maybe it's time to take a different approach. Maybe we need to analyze our thinking and identify why we're not making more sales.

Take a look at the table below and think about your current selling mindset.

How would your selling behaviors change if you changed your sales thinking?

Old Sales Mindset: Always start out with a strong sales pitch.
New Sales Mindset: Stop the sales pitch. Start a conversation.

Old Sales Mindset: Your goal is always to close the sale.
New Sales Mindset: Your goal is always to discover whether you and your prospect are a good fit.

Old Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually at the end of the sales process.
New Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually at the beginning of the sales process.

Old Sales Mindset: Rejection is a normal part of selling, so get used to it.
New Sales Mindset: Hidden sales pressure causes rejection. Eliminate sales pressure, and you'll never experience rejection.

Old Sales Mindset: Keep chasing prospects until you get a yes or no.
New Sales Mindset: Never chase prospects. Instead, get to the truth of whether there's a fit or not.

Old Sales Mindset: When prospects offer objections, challenge and/or counter them.
New Sales Mindset: When prospects offer objections, validate them and reopen the conversation.

Old Sales Mindset: If prospects challenge the value of your product or service, defend yourself and explain its value.

New Sales Mindset: Never defend yourself or what you have to offer. This only creates more sales pressure.

Let's take a closer look at these concepts so you can begin to open up your current sales thinking and become more effective in your selling efforts.

1. Stop the sales pitch. Start a conversation.

When you call someone, never start out with a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer.

Instead, start with a conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. For example, you might say, "I'm just calling to see if you are open to some different ideas related to preventing downtime across your computer network?"

Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase. Instead, you're addressing a problem that, based on your experience in your field, you believe they might be having. (If you don't know what problems your product or service solves, do a little research by asking your current customers why they purchased your solution.)

2. Your goal is always to discover whether you and your prospect are a good fit.

If you let go of trying to close the sale or get the appointment, you'll discover that you don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.

By simply focusing your conversation on problems that you can help prospects solve, and by not jumping the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you'll discover that prospects will give you the direction you need.

3. When you lose a sale, it's usually at the beginning of the sales process.

If you think you're losing sales due to mistakes you make at the end of the process, review how you began the relationship. Did you start with a pitch?

Did you use traditional sales language ("We have a solution that you really need" or "Others in your industry have bought our solution, you should consider it as well")?

Traditional sales language leads prospects to label you with the negative stereotype of "salesperson." This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you with trust or to have an honest, open conversation about problems they're trying to solve and how you might be able to help them.

4. Hidden sales pressure causes rejection. Eliminate sales pressure, and you'll never experience rejection.

Prospects don't trigger rejection. You do -- when something you say, and it could be very subtle, triggers a defensive reaction from your prospect.

Yes, something you say.

You can eliminate rejection forever simply by giving up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, be sure that everything you say and do stems from the basic mindset that you're there to help prospects identify and solve their issues.

5. Never chase prospects. Instead, get to the truth of whether there's a fit or not.

Chasing prospects has always been considered normal and necessary, but it's rooted in the macho selling image that "If you don't keep chasing, you're giving up, which means you're a failure." This is dead wrong.

Instead, ask your prospects if they'd be open to connecting again at a certain time and date so you can both avoid the phone tag game.

6. When prospects offer objections, validate them and reopen the conversation.

Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on "overcoming" objections, but these tactics only create more sales pressure.

They also keep you from exploring or learning the truth behind what your prospects are saying.

You know that "We don't have the budget," "Send me information," or "Call me back in a few months," are polite evasions designed to get you off the phone. Stop trying to counter objections. Instead, shift to uncovering the truth by replying, "That's not a problem." No matter what the objection, use gentle, dignified language that invites prospects to tell you the truth about their situation without feeling you'll use it to press for a sale.

7. Never defend yourself or what you have to offer. This only creates more sales pressure.

When prospects say, "Why should I choose you over your competition?," your instinctive reaction is to defend your product or service because you believe that you are the best choice, and you want to convince them of that. But what goes through their minds at that point?

Something like, "This 'salesperson' is trying to sell me, and I hate feeling as if I'm being sold."

Stop defending yourself. In fact, come right out and tell them that you aren't going to try to convince them of anything because that only creates sales pressure. Instead, ask them again about key problems they're trying to solve.

Then explore how your product or service might solve those problems. Give up trying to persuade. Let prospects feel they can choose you without feeling sold.

The sooner you can let go of the traditional sales beliefs that we've all been exposed to, the more quickly you'll feel good about selling again, and start seeing better results.

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.

Americans are using credit cards more than at any time in history, and credit card companies are reaping record profits. One of the reasons that the credit card industry is so profitable is that so many of us use our credit cards unwisely.

If you have good credit, you can get a credit card with a reasonable interest rate; say 10% or so. You can keep that rate by paying your bill on time. On the other hand, if you pay your bills late or fail to pay in full, then you will have to pay late fees and interest. Late fees often range between $15 and $29; some card issuers may charge even more. Adding to the pain of paying late fees, however, is the likely change in interest rates on your card if you pay late. A late payment may trigger a substantial increase in the interest rate on your card, and that "reasonable" interest rate of 10% may suddenly rise to 20% or even 25%!

It's hard to pay off your credit card balance when you have late fees and 25% interest, so this is something you definitely want to avoid. If you usually pay on time, and you pay late once and are charged a late fee, ask your credit company if they will waive the fee. They will often do it -- once. Some will not do it at all, but it is always worth taking the time to ask. If they are unwilling to help you, then you may be better off shopping around for a better credit card deal elsewhere.

You can often save money by transferring your balance to a lower interest credit card, if you have one. Competition has been fierce during the last few years among credit card companies, and it is fairly common to receive "promotional" rates of less than 5% if you transfer your balance to another card. Be sure to read the fine print, however. Those low rates usually apply only to transferred balances, and not to new charges placed on the card. There is usually a time limit associated with the promotional rate, and higher rates may apply at the end of the time limit, perhaps even retroactively!

In summary, if you want to minimize your credit card costs, try the following:

# Shop around for a credit card with a low interest rate.

# Pay your bills on time. A good way to do this is to pay online. That way, you won't have to worry about your check being delayed in the mail.

# Transfer balances from high interest rate cards to cards with lower rates.

# Use your cards wisely. If you can pay cash, do it.

A few simple steps can save you a fortune in interest charges and late fees.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding home equity loans.

This article is primarily directed toward people who work at home in a business that happens to involve teamwork in a network marketing environment.

I am often contacted by members of my business team with complaints regarding a lack of response or lack of action on the part of their affiliates. Their complaints typically go something like..."I send out lots of emails to all of them and I very rarely get any response and it seems like very few of them are taking any action. What am I doing wrong?"

There are many types of internet-based home businesses where feedback and interaction are quite important and getting an affiliate or business team member to communicate with you is a definite objective. It's not at all surprising that this can be a challenge when you stop to think that what you are trying to do is initiate a dialog between two complete strangers who have never even seen each other.

In the case of network marketing, it is of critical importance to build a sense of trust with your team members. Network marketing is very definitely a relationship business and each relationship typically starts out with two complete strangers sitting at their respective keyboards.

The team building aspect of network marketing is of vital importance to the success of each individual member and to the team as a whole. Two key elements of team building are trust and confidence and these factors play a very large role, particularly for new team members.

With all that being said, many people love the IDEA of making good money working at home in their own business and expect it to just "happen", but have no willingness to take any action or put forth any effort to make it happen.

Having been involved with team building and network marketing for some time, I have come to adopt the following as my operating credo..."if you have the desire and are willing to put in the effort, I'll pull you along so you can go faster down the road to success, but if you don't want move on your own, I'm not going to waste my time trying to push you forward".

Its like working with a length of chain...pulling it along works fine, but trying it push it forward only results in a pile of frustration.

You need to be able to distinguish between people that have a legitimate interest in developing a home based business and those lost souls that feel that they have just joined another chat group and only want to engage in an endless "debate" about the virtues of whatever business you are promoting, but never actually had any intention of establishing a will have to develop your own method of reading people like this (it's mainly a sense of feel...sort of a belly button thing).

You can help someone reach for success...but you can't reasonably expect to make them want to be successful. Its just another variation of that very old and tired cliche...that "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink".

Another way of looking at it is if you are trying to move people forward, you pull them from in front (a leadership position), but if you have to push them it will be from behind (not a position of leadership).

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

Managing Subscriber addresses: At the top of your email message you see the header, where you insert addresses and a subject heading. It all looks simple enough, but there are some tricks and tips you should know, and one very important warning. Let's start with that warning:

In addressing your newsletter, do not put subscriber names or email addresses in the TO or the CC (Carbon Copy) field. Addresses in either of these fields are visible to all recipients. And, if you have one unscrupulous person on your list, that person could start sending spam to the rest of the list.

Always put subscriber addresses in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field, where no one but you will see their addresses. This is very important in retaining their confidence. In fact, this might now be the single most important point to remember if you send an email message to any group.

So, to whom should the newsletter be addressed? Probably yourself. You can use your regular address, or set up a special address for the newsletter only. One other thought: use the CC field as a place to put the name of someone who wants to make their address known. For example, if you include a special offer by a third party in the newsletter, you can CC that third party, and as a result provide a backup email address.

Subject line: Make this line as strong as possible. It's the hook that encourages the reader to scroll down the page to your article(s). Try looking through the subject lines of the newsletters you now receive, and see what works for you.

The simplest approach, and an effective one, is to put the name of your newsletter in the subject line. That works well if readers find the content consistently helpful or interesting. But don't depend on just the name - here are some ideas for other hooks that may increase readership.

Make it descriptive, since many email users quickly scan the subject lines and quickly hit the Delete button if it doesn't immediately grab their attention. If that descriptive text hints at a solution to a problem shared by your readers, then you've got a winner.

Here's another subject line tip that may help you increase readership. Several email gurus recommend putting the date of the issue in the subject line, and I've tried that myself. In the limited testing I've done, it seemed to increase the number of clicks on the embedded ads.

This is how a recent subject line for Abbott's Communication Letter looked to my subscribers:

"April 27-05 Communication Letter - Communication & Company Size"

Explanations: April 27th is, of course, the date. Communication Letter is an abbreviation of the name of my newsletter; and Communication & Company Size is the title of the article that week.

Altogether, the whole subject line seems a bit long, but it does cover several bases, so it's what I'll use until I've had time to do extensive testing.

In summary: Don't look at the header of your email message as something to be finished and forgotten quickly. It can make or break your newsletter.

Copyright 2005 Robert F. Abbott

About Robert: Robert F. Abbott, the author of A Manager's Guide to Newsletters: Communicating for Results, writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Read more articles about Internet communication, as well as email and printed newsletters at:

Do you give web site visitors the opportunity to download a free trial of your product or service with the intention that they will come back and purchase? How are you following up with these visitors? Asking them to fill out a form and immediately giving them the download on the next page is not the best way to generate a quality opt-in list. Collecting accurate opt-in information from these visitors is essential to follow up education and making the sale.

Download giveaway opt-in conversion is extremely simple when done with the correct process. Unfortunately many businesses are leaving significant profits and subscribers on the table by using the wrong methods.

The Wrong Way

A visitor comes to your site and they fill out a form to request your free download. Upon submission of the form they are taken to your thank you page where you provide the link to download.

This person has been given your download but you have not given them a reason to subscribe to your list. They might have given you a fake email address and in all likelihood did give you a fake email knowing that they just need to get to the next page to receive your information. Since you can't follow up with them you might have lost a sale.

The Correct Way

Insert the AWeber opt-in form on your site. Within eye site of this form provide information about the importance of subscribing to your list. Add value to your list by giving them compelling reasons to subscribe. Make it clear that the download link will be provided in the email they receive after confirming their subscription.

On your thank you page (or redirect page) they are taken to after they fill out the form you need to provide information on verifying. Verified opt-in allows you to ensure that the person subscribing did so with his or her own email address and didn't provide a fake or malicious email. Let the visitor know that they should check their email inbox. Tell them what the subject line of the email says so they know what to look for. Convey that they must click on the link inside to verify and receive the download link to your product.

In the autoresponder they receive after verifying, give them the download link. Since they are subscribed to your list and have confirmed that the address they provided is valid you can effectively follow up providing more information about using the free or trial software, training tips, and further benefits or features earned by becoming a customer.

Using these techniques you are sure to increase your sales when converting free downloads to paid customers.

Copyright 2005 Sean Cohen

About Sean: Sean Cohen is Director of Client Relations & Development of Newtown, PA based AWeber Communications, Inc. an opt-in email service provider with 7 years managing opt-in follow up and newsletters for small businesses. Learn more:

When you first start out on your business venture, money is usually tight but you still need to advertise. One of the most affordable, yet very effective, ways to begin your advertising campaign is with flyers. Flyers are simply full page ads that are distributed directly to your potential customers. There are several ways in which they can be distributed.

You can either make the flyers yourself or have them made professionally, which might not be in the budget. ;-) There are several points to remember when designing your flyer, just as in writing ads or any other sales copy.

1. You want your flyer to get people's attention, so don't just use your boring, standard white paper. Use bright, alive and cheerful colors to bring out the message you are trying to convey.

2. The flyer's purpose is to sell, not to let everyone know your name. The flyer is not a business card. On the flyer, you want to highlight your problem solving product/service.

For example: Ants a problem in your house. We can get rid of them in just a few hours. No more problem!

3. Use incentives and/or closing dates to get people to act NOW!

Call NOW and get 10% Off our Regular Price! 1-800-ANT-B-Gone

4. Adding a few testimonials to the flyer can also be very effective. Highlight comments of past satisfied customers. List your qualifications as well, making sure to set yourself apart from other similar companies.

5. Another good idea is to encourage referrals. Having a statement such as, " If you are not in need of our product or service, please pass this along to someone who is." You might be pleasantly surprised at how many customers this one line can bring in!

6. Don't forget about the back of your flyer. Take advantage of this space as well. List some of your specials, sales, more testimonials, incentives, etc.

7. Do not stop at one try. You MUST follow-up!

8. Test your flyers as well. Use different incentives, headlines, paper colors and see which ones get the best response.

9. Distribute your flyers in targeted areas. If you offer a business opportunity, try distributing them at the unemployment office. If you offer weight loss products, visit the local gyms and exercise studios.

There are several ways you can distribute your flyers, once you have designed them and printed them out.

Post your flyers on Public Bulletin Boards found in grocery stores, community centers, banks, post offices, laundromats, etc.

Hand them out outside of targeted buildings such as stores, unemployment office, restaurants, etc. Never push your flyers on anyone. If they hand it back, smile and accept it back. Do not block doorways or sidewalks! If handing flyers out in stores, malls, etc., be sure and get permission.

Parades and other public events are great places to hand out flyers. Do not engage in conversation, just smile and offer the flyers. If they do not take it, move on.

You can also distribute your flyers door-to-door. Leave the flyers on the doorknob, not in mailboxes!

Talk with apartment building owners, real estate offices. People just moving into the area are always in need of this type of information.

Check with your town's ordinances. Leaving flyers on people's cars might not be allowed in your city. Be sure and know all local laws before starting your flyer campaign!

Copyright 2005 Terri Seymour

Resource box: Find tons more tips, information and articles at Terri Seymour and her husband Terry also offer a no-cost, non-MLM home business opportunity. They strive to help you build a successful home business. Take advantage of the tips, support, resources, and more for your home & business.

What software do I need? Should I create my newsletter in a word processor or email program? Which email program should I use?

Those questions came from a visitor to the Manager's Guide to Newsletters website. She planned to start an email newsletter that would go to parents of students at her school and wanted to know about the software she would need.

In response, we'll look at these two important questions for newsletter publishers.

Word processor or email program? This can be one of the simpler issues, at least if your mailing list is not too large at start-up. You can write your newsletter in any email program, or any word processor that allows you to save your work as plain text (ASCII). Most writers prefer to use a word processing program for at least the first draft, since it provides more text manipulation features and saving options.

Once you've written, rewritten, spellchecked, and proofread your newsletter in the word processor, copy and paste it into the body of your email program (we'll discuss how to handle that text in the next article in this series).

Of course, you'll need an email program of some kind to send out your newsletter, regardless of where you wrote it. Among email programs, check both those stand-alone programs and those integrated with browsers.

The most common program is Outlook Express, which comes bundled with Internet Explorer, and that in turn comes bundled with Windows. But, don't overlook the possibilities in the Netscape and Opera suites. In addition, there's also a new challenger, Mozilla Thunderbird, which is associated with the Firefox browser.

Turning to stand-alone email programs, take a look at Eudora (which offers an advertising-supported version and a version you can buy). It has a solid reputation among many email newsletter publishers, and I consider it the best all-purpose email client for my PC (however, I don't like it on my Mac, where I use the built-in program, Mail).

I've used all of these programs at one time or another, and each has advantages and disadvantages. In considering them, review the strengths and weaknesses of their address books as well as their message composition capabilities.

Once your mailing list grows beyond a certain point (depending on your personal inclinations), you'll need to move it out of the email program and into something more flexible.

In my case, once the list got to something like a hundred subscribers, I found the management of it frustrating. For example, adding and deleting email addresses from an email program takes more time and trouble than doing it in a word processing program or, on a more sophisticated level again, a database program.

In managing a list of several thousand, I use the Find feature to quickly pick out and delete someone who wants to unsubscribe. Similarly, it's easy to get the list back into alphabetical order at any time by using the sorting feature of a word processing program.

Another growth issue: As your subscriber list grows, you may want to move away from your email program and use an independent mailing service. In that case, you go to a provider company and upload your list one time. After that, you simply paste your newsletter into a form they provide, and click the Send button. Then, the service sends out your email using its servers.

But, to get started you need only an email program, and you have many free and worthwhile options. Try each one out for an issue or two of your newsletters, to find what suits you.

Copyright 2005 Robert F. Abbott

About Robert: Robert F. Abbott, the author of A Manager's Guide to Newsletters: Communicating for Results, writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Read more articles about Internet communication, as well as email and printed newsletters at:

One of the most common questions I get on this website is "Peter, how do I make the most money with these online survey opportunities?" There are a couple of extremely easy ways to add to your bottom line in the survey-taking world.

1) Apply to as many survey and market research sites as possible. When you join a Survey database, you will be given anywhere between 350 to 550 different survey companies. This may sound insane, but at some point, you will want to have had applied to ALL of them on the list. Don't try to knock them out all in one day, but go for 10-20 a day. The more survey companies you join, the more people who will want your opinion at some point and will come looking to pay you for it.

2) Decrease the amount of repetitive work that you have to do. When you're joining survey sites, they all ask basically the same information when first getting started. You don't need to put in the same info manually every time. Instead, use a tool like RoboForm. Using RoboForm you can fill in your information once, and when prompted on subsequent sites, fill in ALL your personal information with the press of a single button. This is a HUGE time saver. Saving time means having more time to fill out surveys for cash.

3) Many survey sites will offer you opportunities to complete sections that reflect your own personal information. There may be a section on your finances, what kind of car you drive, your travel habits, etc. Whenever you see these, FILL THEM OUT. This will give you access to surveys that the other 99% of the people who don't fill them out won't ever get to see.

4) Cash is good, but points aren't bad either. Many survey sites pay you in "points" and when you accumulate enough of them you get to use them to purchase items. Don't avoid the sites that pay in points. I don't know about you, but a $250 Wal-Mart gift certificate is as good as cash to me because it will definitely get used.

5) Don't avoid the drawings either. A lot of times, particularly on short surveys, market research companies will offer an entry into a cash drawing for your participation. There's no reason not to take the time to fill out a 3 minute survey for a chance to win $1,000 in addition to many other smaller cash prizes. Your chances of winning something are actually not bad because a LOT of people do not complete these surveys at all! They just wait until the cash surveys fill their box.

So basically the name of the game is to maximize your exposure. Join as many companies as possible, give them as much information about you as possible, and take as many surveys as possible. Those are some of the ways you can maximize your online survey profits! But you're not going to get anywhere if you haven't taken the first step. Click the link below to go back to the survey list page and get started!

Copyright 2005 Peter Dimas

About Peter: Peter Dimas is the webmaster of

computer affects people on the other side of the world just as easily as those living next door. However, how we affect those people may be different than we think. The following list will assist in making sure that the legitimate business contacts we have with others is mutually profitable.

1. Learn from different cultures. People have different insights and experiences and can offer valuable information with operating a home business, especially when marketing in other parts of the world.

2. English is not everyones primary language. People who use English as a secondary language do not always translate the same. They may misunderstand words that can have more than one meaning. Be considerate of this when communicating with people in other countries.

3. Marketing physical products is not possible in all parts of the world due to additional costs. If youre selling, make sure the companys products you are marketing include information or resource products which can be obtained via the internet. Training and "how-to" information can be invaluable for every home business. These kinds of products along with physical products allow a choice for everyone to purchase.

4. The products you are marketing should be available for purchase in different currencies. Thanks to the high-tech advances in banking and the use of credit cards much of the currency exchange is processed by the credit card companies. Purchasing goods from other parts of the world has become much easier.

5. Plan for time differences. With all the time zones, people we contact in different parts of the world are not able to respond immediately.

6. Give others the "benefit of the doubt". Cultural differences can affect how your communication is perceived. For example, responses from others can seem rude or impolite when that is not the intention.

7. Make friends with people in other parts of the world. Learn about their culture and the places where they live. This can be a very rewarding part of operating a home business in a global marketplace.

A good home business opportunity will provide training and marketing resources to assist in the Global Marketplace. A large network of experienced affiliates should be available, usually through internet discussion groups, so that anyone can learn how to succeed -- no matter where you live!

Check out any opportunity and make sure you are comfortable with the services and support they provide. Many of the people you work with over the internet will be from different parts of the world. This can and should be an exiting part of your business!

Copyright © 2005 Craig Ritsema

About Craig: Craig Ritsema operates a successful part time home business and resides in Michigan, USA. For more details visit his site at

Rosalind Gardner gets really mad if anyone says -- or even suggests -- that you can't make any money promoting affiliate products. How mad? Well, her usual rejoinder goes along the lines of "What a pile of unadulterated cow dung!" "Affiliate marketing isn't rocket science!" Rosalind says. She states emphatically that "it really is the easiest of all the ways to make money online...and LOTS of it!"

Rosalind says she's living proof that not only can you make money promoting affiliate products, you can make very big money doing it -- in her case, over $435,000 a year. And she wants to help others experience success as an affiliate too. So she's written and published a best-selling ebook called 'The Super Affiliate Handbook' that offers up the following:

-- How to assess a market for profitabilty.
-- Discover which products are actually sold online.
-- Learn which programs to avoid and when to drop others.
-- Where to find free software that saves both money and time.
-- Learn how to negotiate a raise in your commissions.
-- Discover exactly which qualities and actions set super affiliates apart from their less productive counterparts.
-- Learn how to stop Thieves from Stealing YOUR Commissions.
-- Discover the features your web host must have to get the best value for your buck.

Wait, that's not all, asserts Rosalind. She points out that there's lots more good stuff in 'The Super Affiliate Handbook,' such as:

-- Which 6 factors you MUST consider when choosing a domain name.
-- How to Promote Associate Programs and Products with a Newsletter.
-- How to use Signature Files to Gain MORE Visitors.
-- How Forums can bring you more traffic.
-- How to build a 1,000-page site in mere seconds!
-- The best alternative to selling products on your site.
-- Learn which methods bring traffic to your site FAST.
-- 9 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Site for FREE.
-- The TRUTH about reciprocal linking.
-- How writing a simple ezine article can bring more traffic to your site for FREE.
-- How to Get MORE sales from YOUR site even though you are selling the same product as thousands of other affiliates.
-- Learn EXACTLY what Super Affiliates do that other affiliates don't do.
-- The 20 questions that You MUST get answers to BEFORE you join an affiliate program.
-- My favorite places to advertise.
-- Learn which software finds profitable niche topics and saves HOURS, even DAYS of manual labor.
-- How to write compelling product endorsement.
-- Why you don't want to use the marketing material provided by some affiliate programs.
-- 6 Essential Components that EVERY successful web site has in place.

Rosalind Gardner states that in 'The Super Affiliate Handbook' you will see "the web sites that I actually promote to make tens of thousands each month," will get the "benefit of 7 years worth of my experience," and will learn exactly "which services and software give you best value for your dollar" so you can "avoid the costly mistakes that I've made during my learning process."

Her bottom line: there's absolutely no reason that you or I or anyone else can't achieve a very high level of success online through affliliate marketing. And she definitely wants to share her wealth of knowledge and experience and be the one to "show you exactly what you need to do to build your own lucrative affiliate marketing business." She's made, and keeps making month after month, a ton of money. The truth is, says Rosalind, "you can make INCREDIBLE MONEY online by promoting ONLY affiliate programs."

Some pretty bold claims, for sure, but compelling nonetheless. And thus for those among us who are quite serious about making serious money online, what Rosalind Gardner is offering in her ebook would appear to at least warrant some further exploration and examination. Since it's always a good practice to do a certain amount of due diligence, you can do so and obtain additional information about 'The Super Affiliate Handbook' by visiting:

Copyright 2005 Terry Mansfield

About Terry: Terry Mansfield is Owner/President of First World Enterprises, providing online customers world-wide with a choice of high-quality products, services, and business opportunities since 1999. Visit Firstworld.Biz -- the LinkUp Place at to see current recommendations. And if you're interested in making a Big Income as a Super Affiliate, you can learn how at

Caution! Handle with care! That ebook you just downloaded may be the next best thing to a winning lottery ticket.

Well... maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. O. K., a lot. But eBooks have become mainstream in the online world and they are great learning tools. Especially so for internet marketers

It seems that everyone is looking for the next big blockbuster ebook that's going to solve all their marketing and sales issues.

The problem is that many people don't take the time to read what they've already bought or downloaded for free. They skim the chapters looking for a silver bullet and when it doesn't jump out at them, they go buy or
download another.

The simple fact is that there is no silver bullet and learning what it takes to succeed online takes time and patience.

What you may not realize is that you may already have the answers you are seeking sitting on your hard drive right now.

If a sales page isn't performing as well as you like, take a few minutes to review that copywriting ebook you downloaded. If your traffic isn't where you want it, review the website promotion ebook you downloaded. You may find that you had "forgotten" or "didn't catch" a lot of what you needed to learn the first time you opened them.

So, before you jump to the next "best thing" in ebooks, take a little time to actually read what you already have.

You may even discover a few other uses for those ebooks as well. For instance, they can be great sources for article ideas, give you copywritng tips and be used as a resource for product creation.

But, whatever you do, keep on reading and learning!

Copyright 2005 Jogena

About Jogena: Jogena is an experienced webmaster and founder of Jogena's eBook and eZine Directories. Drop by and list your ezines and ebooks at Jogena's (

Mortgages are for a lifetime today and there is absolutely no trend of savings and 'burning the mortgage' party. Your home equity is more than enough to pay your expenses from. It is one bankable asset. Mortgages help you attain the home and also teaches you how to live by it. With mortgage rates plummeting down the roller coaster, the mortgage applications are rising. The refinance boom is still at large and the fear of being a bubble is slowly vanishing. Mortgage is the best secured loan and the cheapest option for financing.

Mortgage types : There is something for every one.

There is a jungle of mortgages in the market. Conventional mortgages have made way for hybrids. Lenders are continuously expanding their markets by following the mix- and- match policy and churning out customized mortgages with various terms and payment methods to match the borrowers' needs. With such rapid expansion and more mortgages types debuting, the home buyer has his hands full of choices-so many ways to that perfect dream home!

Mortgage refinancing : This is one option which helps you tap the equity in your home and also lock in the current record low rates. The best part is you can shift other debts to tax deductible housing debt. Refinancing can not only reduce your monthly cost but also you can draw out additional funds for other expenses.

Say, your house is worth $500,000 and your mortgage is locked at 6% interest rate. If you refinance it at 5%, earlier you used to pay $3000 every month now you will be paying only $2500 thus saving $500 every month.

Reverse mortgage : For those above 62 years, no income qualification involved, this mortgage helps you with monthly expenses and mainly medical bills which mount during these golden years. You don't have to make any repayments and you get a monthly income which is tax deductible.

Mortgages are for all seasons and all times. According to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumers, the mortgage debt from households headed by age 65-74 has grown up to 47% from 24.74% on 1995. This is mainly attributed to the huge popularity of reverse mortgages.

Remortgage : Your financial conditions may not remain the same forever. A remortgage allows you to switch to a new deal and lock in lower interest rates and also better servicing from a new lender. According to a survey conducted by the Homeowner Show, 72.8% of property investors are considering a remortgage this year compared to 62.8 % who opted for it last year. Credit card loans and other personal loans which have interest rates as high as 18-30% can easily be paid off using remortgages with rates as low as 6%.

Mortgage Rates : You can either opt for a fixed rate or an adjustable interest rate. While the former as the name suggests remain fixed through the full term of the loan, the latter is adjusted according to the market rate annually or semiannually (according to what is agreed on).

After the recession in 2001 the ARMs have lost a bit of their popularity because certainty and security have become no. 1 on the priority list of the US. Yet the 1 year ARM has fallen drastically to 4.11% from 4.23 the previous week.

While other loans especially credit card loans have rates as high as 18% while mortgage rates hardly rise above 9%.Mortgages are being increasingly used to pay off credit card debts. You can even consolidate your debts and pay them off using second mortgages. These are also called home equity loan. The value of your home can be converted into liquid assets and you can use them any way you like- for education, home improvement (thus building home equity), meeting expenses, investing, etc.

Mortgage - the Next Track

Mortgages have held the US economy together even during trying times. Its robust growth has only the internet business as competitor. It has realized the dream of thousands of low income and minority groups to have home of their own. Though the new purchases have lean market, investors still prefer to put their money into mortgage backed securities which fund the entire housing industry.

Copyright 2005 Lance Williams

About Lance: Lance Williams is an accomplished contributing writer for presently working in association with specialises in mortgage and real estate arena.

Over the past few weeks I've been developing plans for a communication project, a media relations campaign.

That's prompted me to reflect again on the communication management process by which we transform communication ideas into operational activities.

For me, the communication management process has four phases: conception (strategy); development (tactics); operations (execution); and review (evaluation).

Coming out of the conception or strategy phase, I think it's essential to have strategic clarity, which means a clear, focused objective (or objectives) that serves our ends, the ends of our audience, and allows for effective development and operations.

For example when I first started publishing newsletters, I didn't look or ask for strategic clarity from my clients. The result? Newsletters that faltered, sputtered, and eventually lapsed. Clients had wanted newsletters because they thought a newsletter would be a good idea. Communication is good, right? But, communication without a well-considered purpose is largely ineffective.

Other clients, though, did know what they wanted, both for themselves and for their readers. They turned out to be good clients with lots of staying power. And they had staying power because they clearly knew why they were communicating, and had some sense of the results, even if those results couldn't be measured.

To get strategic clarity, we first need to step back and ask some important questions. What do we want for the time, money, and perhaps other resources we're committing? What is the objective? Now, go one step further and articulate that objective in terms of reader response. Write down what they will do if you successfully communicate with them.

Next, write down why they would do what you're asking of them. It's one thing to have objectives, and it's quite another to serve readers' objectives as well as your own. And, what's the connection between your needs and the needs of the audience?

Does this sound like a lot of work? Well, can be. But, ask yourself how much value you get if you rush off and do something without thinking it through.

I've published two newsletters for my own company. The first went ahead quickly, with little strategic planning. Instead, I concerned myself with matters like color, typefaces, and so on. That was a mistake; the newsletter died after perhaps six or eight issues, and accomplished little.

Before I started my second newsletter, I carefully worked through all the strategic issues. In fact, I started on the newsletter project in May and didn't publish the first issue until September. Of course, I didn't work at it full time, but still a lot of hours went into clarifying the strategy.

And, it worked. More than five years later, I'm still publishing it, every week, and the newsletter still does the job it was developed to do.

In summary, your communication project has a greater chance of success if you take time up front to identify and articulate your objectives, as well as the desired reader responses.

Copyright 2005 Robert F. Abbott

About Robert: Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at:

Would you like to double, yet TRIPLE your business success in Germany? Do you consider doing business in Germany? Read on to find out what you can do to accomplish that.

No, I'm not going to talk about "how to give a successful powerpoint presentation" or "10 tips for an irresistible rhetoric." I won't meddle in here. You will find a lot of good tips from other professionals who handle this topic.

What I will let you know about is extraordinary. It is quite simple, and just few people consider them. I myself TRIPLED my business transactions with these "tools."

Anyhow, let's get started.

1. Television Towers

In each big German city you will find a Television Tower, or "TV Tower." Each one has its own restaurant. There you can meet your business partner to negotiate business contracts.

Sure, fist you have to make sure your business partner does not suffer from fear of heights.

So, you ask, "Do you suffer from fear of heights?" (German: "Haben Sie Hoehenangst?"). If your business partner answers "No, not at all!" you invite him to an appointment on the local TV Tower. You will experience how surprised he will be! Probably, he hasn't got such an invitation anytime before. Usually, we are invited to normal cold offices with cold and unhealthy artificial light.

Maybe some of them have been on a TV Tower before, but probably only for kind of sightseeing. Then you have big points by your business partner, and he will remember that day for the rest of his life!

If in your preferred city is no TV Tower, ask for the highest skyscraper with a tower restaurant. In Frankfurt, for example, the TV Tower is closed, but they have the "Main-Tower," which has a viewing terrace and a first class restaurant.

"And what if he suffers from fear of heights?" Okay, I have one more option for you:

2. Ships

Another good thing is to hold appointments on ships.

Each big city in Germany has its own river. And at each river are several ships river cruises. Some are big, some are small. Most of them have a big table or a room where you can hold a meeting. And sometimes you'll be undisturbed - or you discuss this with the captain. Many of them speak English. You even can rent a complete ship!

Imagine this, your partner experiences the nature, smells the river, feels the "silence," and realizes the power of your offer...

"And what if he can not stand the waves?" No problem...

3. Rail Stations / Trains

This is an option I also use. Well, I love to use our German Rail and its high-speed train ICE, which goes 300km/h (186mi/h) on its way from Frankfurt/Airport to Cologne. Visit for further information.

Now, the rail stations in the big German cities, such as Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and so on, have a lounge. These are called "DB Lounge," and you can have a quiet and interesting time in there. They offer laptop connections, some even have conference rooms. And some had been built in and with nostalgic surroundings (e.g. Leipzig).

But there is a catch to it (and also a benefit). For a first class passenger plus one colleague it's free, otherwise you will have to pay 10 EUR entrance fee. BUT, all beverages are FREE!

Frankly, I always had a quite good and relaxing time in there. At some lounges you can watch the trains come and go, or people passing by. Fascinating. Most lounges are on the first floor.

Or go outside the Rail Stations, do business inside the ICE Train! It's very exciting and comfortable in there! In the middle of it you will find the on-board restaurant. Good place too! Or, they have five-seat and six-seat compartments with a table in the middle. There you are quiet and undisturbed. You eventually want to reserve such compartments, just in case. And ask for no other than the ICE3. That is the newest and best one for doing in-train business in Germany.

That's it! Quite simple, but not well recognized yet!

By using these three opportunities, I tripled my business transactions. So, I hope you do too!

Okay, one more idea comes in my mind. You also can use the first two to tell your Love how awfully you love her/him. ;-)

Warmest regards,
Marcus Hochstadt

Copyright 2005 Marcus Hochstadt

About Marcus: Marcus Hochstadt has a high interest in helping you gain the delightful form of a smart travel to and through Germany. Just recently, he has written a special report on How to Travel for Free! You can download it at

You may be of the opinion that you don't need a real estate agent and that using one will add to the cost of buying your new home.

The fact is that a real estate agent's fees are typically paid by the seller of the home. So, as a buyer, you can get the services of a professional real estate agent without having to directly pay for it. Please confirm this in any paperwork or contracts that a real estate agent may provide because policies vary greatly by state and company. Be sure to ask about fees when you interview agents.

Most real estate agents may work with buyers and sellers but often they specialize in working with one or the other. Make sure the agent that you choose has experience working with buyers and with no down payment transactions.

Be careful if you are speaking with a real estate agent and they don't seem to recognize terms like "Down Payment Assistance Program".

Start making a list of possible real estate agents to interview with referrals from your lender, friends and family.

A referral from the lender is great because you get the services from people that have worked together in the past and are already familiar with each other's systems. This can help prevent any last minute surprises or obstacles.

Questions to ask while you are interviewing real estate agents:

Please explain your fees.

Are you familiar with any no down payment financing programs?

Have you been involved with no down payment buyers in the past?

Would you mind providing sample contracts so I may review them?

Does it clearly state in the contract who will be paying your fees?

How long have you been a real estate agent?

Do you mostly work with buyers or sellers?

I'm looking for a home in the areas of ______. How familiar are you with those areas?

What specific steps would you take to help me find the home I am looking for?

You should also try to get an idea of these factors while you are speaking with the agent.

- Does this person have good negotiating skills?

- Do you feel this agent is trying to understand your situation so that they can properly
represent you to sellers?

- How much knowledge does the agent have about mortgage markets?

Copyright 2005 Alex Fir

Resource box: Do you need business or finance information? Visit "Business Finance information", FREE web site for those who want to learn how to achieve success in business and finance.

Anyone with an online business, whether for auctions, services, or virtually any type of product, has asked the same question at some time during their quest to create the ultimate online business - "How do I accept credit cards?"

Since over 90% of all transactions on the Internet involve customers paying by credit card, accepting plastic money rates a must for almost any business.

The problem for most small online business owners involves the high cost of setting up and maintaining a credit card merchant account.

With startup fees ranging from $200 to $500, minimum monthly fees of at least $40 to $50, plus per transaction fees and a percentage of sales, most people who want to supplement their income online or test an idea can't risk that kind of money.

Add in credit checks, 48-month service contracts, expensive equipment purchases or leasing, financial statements, and last 3 years' tax returns and most people throw up their hands and give up before they even get started.

Fortunately several companies responded to this problem with unique solutions that enable smaller online merchants to accept credit cards at a fraction of those high startup costs with no long-term commitment, no equipment purchases, and zero minimum monthly fees.

PayPal has gotten some negative press over the last couple of years, but that press has been mostly undeserved.

PayPal makes it easy for you to collect money for your online sales, send money to merchants, bill people monthly, collect dues and donations and integrate a free shopping cart into your site.

Of all the payment and money transfer services online, PayPal ranks as the absolute lowest in cost and the easiest to set up.

PayPal allows merchants to sell physical and downloadable products along with personal services.

For a $50 one-time fee ClickBank enables online ebook, software and other electronic information sellers to not only accept credit cards, but provide instant delivery of their products to online purchasers.

ClickBank allows any merchant to accept virtually every major credit card on the planet.

The online merchant simply adds a purchase link to their site, the customer clicks the link, fills in their payment information and the credit card gets authorized on the spot.

Once the card gets approved ClickBank redirects the buyer to a page that enables them to download the ebook, software, or other product they have just purchased.

ClickBank also operates a fully integrated affiliate program that automatically pays affiliates who sell your products for you.

ClickBank heavily restricts what merchants may sell through the service and does not allow the sale of physical goods.

Of the three, Paysystems behaves most like a traditional credit card merchant account.

The service allows the merchant to integrate with a number of third-party shopping carts as well as use the PaySystems shopping cart system.

Merchants pay a small transaction fee and a percentage of the sale, but don't sign up for any long-term service contracts or equipment leases.

Copyright 2005 Jim Edwards

About Jim: Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how to use free articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted visitors to your website or affiliate links...Simple "Traffic Machine" brings Thousands of NEW visitors to your website for weeks, even months... without spending a dime on advertising! ==>

as was one of the last states to allow homeowners to take out home equity loans. Laws going back to the nineteenth century strictly prohibited home equity lending, as legislators feared that unscrupulous lenders would take advantage of homeowners for the purpose of seizing their homes through foreclosure. This made it impossible for citizens of the Lone Star State to use their equity for home improvements, debt consolidation or paying medical bills, as homeowners in other states may do.

In 1997, the Texas constitution was amended to allow homeowners to borrow against their home equity. The amendment allowed for traditional term loans, lines of credit, and reverse mortgages, but did not allow a line of credit on a reverse mortgage.

In a reverse mortgage, owners of homes who are at least 62 years of age may borrow against the equity in their home. They need not pay the money back until they die, move or sell the home. Reverse mortgages have become quite popular in the last few years, especially in areas like California, where homeowners may be cash poor but may have a lot of equity in their homes. Nationally, nearly 90% of homeowners who take out a reverse mortgage do so with a line of credit. In Texas, however, the only options are a lump sum or monthly payments. There are several advantages in taking a reverse mortgage in the form of a line of credit, rather than a lump sum. The most significant is the fact that interest is only due when money is actually drawn from the credit line. This saves the homeowner substantial amounts of interest over the life of the loan when compared to a lump-sum payout. Reverse mortgages have been quite popular in Texas since the law was changed to allow them, but lenders say that the demand should increase substantially if lines of credit are allowed.

The Texas Legislature has recently approved a constitutional amendment that will allow lines of credit for reverse mortgages, and this amendment is expected to be on the ballot in Texas this fall. This bill is expected to pass easily, and once it does, Texas may become the leading state in the country for issuing reverse mortgages.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a Website devoted to debt consolidation information and, a site devoted to information on home equity loans.

Bankruptcy is in the news these days, as Congress has finally overhauled the Federal bankruptcy law after years of talking about it. The credit card companies, rightly or wrongly, have been pressuring members of Congress to tighten the bankruptcy statutes, saying that too many people were willfully spending money they couldn't repay with the intention of avoiding paying the money back by filing for bankruptcy. That will soon change, and those with student loans may pay a heavy price.

Most everyone knows that consumers with problem debt who are unable to pay their debts may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal bankruptcy code. This allows for the court to basically wipe away all of the debtor's bills and allows them to start over. It's not entirely free; the bankruptcy filing stays on the debtor's credit report for the next ten years and may affect their ability to buy a home, borrow money or obtain employment. What many people fail to realize is that while installment loan debt or credit card debt can be wiped out through filing for bankruptcy, most student loans cannot. In fact, thanks to legislation enacted several years ago, most any loans acquired for education, including those issued by for-profit agencies, may not be eliminated through filing for bankruptcy.

What this means for those with student loans is that they will need to be repaid. If bankruptcy is inevitable, those with outstanding student loans should contact their lenders and see if they can't negotiate a repayment plan. Those with Federally funded student loans should contact their lender soon, as rates for student loans will go up on July 1, 2005. Now would be a good time to consolidate student loans, as the rates can be locked in for the long term. If these options are not viable, then holders of student loans should simply be aware that their lenders and their lenders' loan collectors will be keeping in touch with them for the foreseeable future. Those with student loans and other financial problems should also be aware that Federal bankruptcy law will change in October, 2005, making it harder to file for bankruptcy. If you have problem debt, now would be a good time to consider meeting with a credit counselor.

Copyright 2005 Retro Marketing

About Charles: Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding structured settlements.

Credit tips and tricks! Get articles, news and the best information for credit on the net.


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